Devolution and Destruction
January 12, 2004
Winners and LosersI had a little good fortune today, a lucky break and I felt like a winner. It seemed like it had been a long time since I felt that way. I searched my mind and the last time I could remember feeling like that was election night -- early election night. That's when I had heard some embargoed reports about the exit poll results in Ohio and Florida. Kerry was taking it. It was a strong trend, almost beyond a reasonable doubt. And it was from reliable sources behind the scenes in major network newsrooms.
So for a few hours I enjoyed myself, partying with some friends, relishing the possibility of a world in which Bush was chased back to Crawford. Then it hit me, at the moment that I was telling someone else: I remember feeling that way for a while on election night in 2000. It was one thing to hear the exit polls, previously and still elsewhere a reliable measure of the vote, what counted was the "official" results. That would be what people would go by. In 2000 the results were obviously manipulated. At that moment I remembered the voting machines, and the voter roll purges and voter intimidation, moving polling places, lying about voting requirements that took place in Florida in 2000. That feeling of winning was soon to pass and has scarcely shown its face since.
We are living in a pinched, distorted reality in which all right and wrong, truth and lies, success and failure, is measured according to the whims of the Bush Administration. It's like Alice in Wonderland with Bush instead of the Queen of Hearts. All these CBS people hatcheted -- not because their story was untrue -- but because their evidence was not perfectly vetted. Bush got off on a technicality. Yet Bush can tell as many lies as he wants, and never has to pay a price. Now in what is left of the media -- the "free press", there are few who would dare challenge power, even if their story was true. More than even before, the press is cowed. In shackles, feeling lucky it's not being tortured. This is what America has come to.
January 14, 2004Dueling 911review sites:
According to Oil Empire, some 9/11 sites promote exremely implausible theories in order to promote the impression that all non-official theories are loony. See Oil Empire for discussion.
Greg Palast on CBS Bloodletting for Bush: "'Independent' my ass. CBS' cowardly purge of five journalists who exposed George Bush's dodging of the Vietnam War draft was done under cover of what the network laughably called an 'Independent Review Panel.' The 'panel' was just two guys as qualified for the job as they are for landing the space shuttle: Dick Thornburgh and Louis Boccardi. Remember Dickie Thornburgh? He was on the Bush 41 Administration's payroll. His grand accomplishment as Bush's Attorney General was to whitewash the investigation of the Exxon Valdez Oil spill, letting the oil giant off the hook on big damages. Thornburgh's fat pay as counsel to Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, the Washington law-and-lobbying outfit, is substantially due to his job as a Bush retainer. This is the kind of stinky conflict of interest that hardly suggests 'independent.' Why not just appoint Karl Rove as CBS' grand inquisitor and be done with it?" Greg Palast The CBS move, and its paralyzing effect on the media industry will tend to make the media even less effective, less courageous at confronting the crimes of the powerful than before. In the short run, it may tighten the control of the Bush-Rove propaganda machine. But it will also serve to make the media even more irrelevant than before, and force more people to seek alternatives. Tax Dollars to Brainwash You -- "Today, Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY-28), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Rules joined House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Henry Waxman and other members of the House Democratic leadership in calling for an immediate and thorough examination of departments and agencies under the Bush Administration into their use of covert propaganda... As reported in USA Today, Williams was allegedly paid $240,000 by the Bush Administration to discuss the No Child Left Behind program in a favorable light as a regular part of his radio and television broadcasts on stations owned by the two broadcast groups. 'The Armstrong Williams incident is a serious breach of the public trust. The American people deserve to know if there are more secret propaganda contracts being funded with their hard earned money,' stated Slaughter." Slaughter.house.gov
January 15, 2005It is imperative that human beings transform the world, or transform how we interact with the world. We don't know how long we have to do this. It is time to get serious. Topanga Canyon falling down, giant bolders on the street, houses washed away with mud. Are we waking up yet?
It is not possible to say, the experts tell us, whether any one of the many catastrophic weather events is a result of the global climate change that has been predicted by scientists. But, they say, the rain disaster in California fits perfectly into the category of the kinds of weather anomalies that these scientists to have predicted as a result of global warming -- which is probably being accelerated by car exhaust.
Bush denies science and says he won't sign onto any global warming prevention plan "that hurts our economy", meaning specifically the oil industry. But a drive toward finding new ways of providing energy that will not contribute to catastrophic weather changes could create new industries, an economic boom. Imagine real leadership.
End of the World as We Know It -- Climate change is an ongoing process and we are rushing into it. But we don't know where it leads. Glaciers are melting away at an alarming rate. Read about it every day. (See Denver Post). Fascist Maniac in Heels -- "The January 10 edition of the New York Observer printed a January 3 interview with right-wing pundit Ann Coulter, in which she stated that she was 'fed up with hearing about ... civilian casualties' in Iraq; that 'it would be fun to nuke' North Korea; that all feminists are 'weak and pathetic;' that former President Bill Clinton 'was a very good rapist.' Coulter's personal website provided a link to the interview. Coulter gave the interview to George Gurley, a columnist for the New York Observer, who has interviewed Coulter in the past. During an August 2002 interview, Coulter told Gurley: 'My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.'" Media Matters Save Social Security -- Sign a petition to save Social Security from Bush. AFL/CIO Same Old Crap -- Now the Bushcons are stirring up a scare on Social Security similar to how they tricked the country into war in Iraq with a scare about weapons of mass destruction. Molly Ivins America in the Dust -- The Voice of America tells us that "A new forecast compiled by U.S. intelligence experts foresees China and India spearheading an expansion of Asian political and economic influence throughout the world." Gee. Good thing we have intelligence. China and India are not blowing the resources of their countries on medieval wars. Neither is Europe. The Neocons are putting Americans into the stone age. The rest of the world is leaving it in the dust.
January 16, 2004
Old Friend MartinThis weekend we celebrate the birthday of one of America's greatest real leaders, a man who never ran for political office, but whose ideas and words still exert more real positive influence on Americans than all the empty words of all the sellout, opportunist political hacks occupying center stage in today's political arena.
Where will the leadership come from to drag America out of this pit? When the evidence of widespread voter fraud and suppression, almost no one in Congress even stood up for investigating the charges. Few care to challenge the powers that run Washington now, even if they destroy Constitutional America.
Ironically, this week will mark not only Martin Luther King's birthday, but also the crowning of the fraudulent king, George W. Bush, the Fortunate Son, "made to wave the flag, but when the band plays 'Hail to the Chief', they point the cannon at you." The draft dodger/warmonger who entered the military as commander in chief 30 years after going absent without leave is being reinstalled under the clouds of doubt engendered by all the voter irregularities that no elected offical seems to care about.
To find out about ACT's program to fight for voter reform, see ACT
Remembering Martin Luther King: Martin Luther King and Existential Politics, Martin Luther King: Beyond Vietnam.
Other Links of Interest:
Target: Iran -- "The United States has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran to help identify potential nuclear, chemical and missile targets..." Reuters Resistance You Can Afford -- Received by e-mail: "Since our religious leaders will not speak out against the war in Iraq, since our political leaders don't have the moral courage to oppose it, Inauguration Day, Thursday, January 20th, 2005 is 'Not One Damn Dime Day' in America. On Not One Damn Dime Day, please boycott Walmart, KMart and Target. Please don't go to the mall or the local convenience store. Please don't buy any fast food (or any groceries at all for that matter). For 24 hours, please do what you can to shut the retail economy down. The object is simple. Remind the people in power that the war in Iraq is immoral and illegal; that they are responsible for starting it and that it is their responsibility to stop it. Not One Damn Dime Day is to remind them, too, that they work for the people of the United States of America, not for the international corporations and K Street lobbyists who represent the corporations and funnel cash into American politics." Home of the Torturers -- According to the BBC, outgoing Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge said the U.S. "should not rule out torture." Wrong again -- Bush says voters "ratified" his war. An AOL poll run with the story racked up 70% against. Bad Choice -- An advocate of Bush, the Iraq war and fascism in general ("If you see someone holding a sign that says Bush is Hitler, beat the shit out of him."), Dennis Miller is now the spokesperson for NetZero. Ad Rants Simple Mind -- Plain-speaking Bush, when asked why the U.S. couldn't catch Osama bin Laden, the alleged perpetrator of the 9/11 attacks, Bush was unequivocal: "Because he's hiding." Washington Post Head of the FCC Michael Powell, whose father Colin Powell is one of Bush's right-hand men, "ordered an investigation Friday into whether conservative commentator Armstrong Williams broke the law by failing to disclose he was paid by the Bush administration to plug the president's education agenda," according to the Associated Press. Boy, I'll bet that's going to be a tough investigation. Bush must be nervous.
January 17, 2004Frank Rich of the New York Times on conservative commentator, talk-show host and newspaper columnist Armstrong Williams, who was paid a quarter of a million dollars worth of taxpayers' money by the White House to propagandize for Bush's "Leave No Child Behind" policy. Williams appeared on Crossfire the day USA Today reported the payoff and Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala of Crossfire didn't bring it up.
January 19, 2004
Real Heroes of Democracy -- "A growing number of Americans are beginning to identify with the pro-democracy activists whose courage opened much of the world to freedom in the final decades of the 20th Century. We remember and honor the poet revolutionary Vaclav Havel of Czechoslovakia, where Charter 77 rendered the flowers and songs of a velvet revolution more powerful than the guns of oppression. We remember the shipyard hero, Lech Walesa, of Poland. We remember those who stood non-violently in Russia, in Yugoslavia, in Tiananmen Square, in East and West Germany. It was their fearless living that ended the Cold War, not Reagan’s saber rattling. When people stand united with certain courage against oppression, they get their way. That is an axiom in the geometry of world history." Granny D in Commondreams Signs of Life? Kerry alleges voters were 'suppressed'.Boston Globe. Krugman on Bush's Social Security Con -- The Social Security scare is Bush's new WMD panic. Rolling Stone The Bush Rule in Journalism -- Don't take on the Bushes. "A painful irony for the CBS producers was that the central points of the memos – that Bush had blown off a required flight physical and was getting favored treatment in the National Guard – were already known, and indeed, were confirmed by the commander’s secretary in a follow-up interview with CBS. But even honest mistakes are firing offenses when the Bushes are involved." Consortium News Killer Teflon -- "More than 50 years after DuPont started producing Teflon near this Ohio River town, federal officials are accusing the company of hiding information suggesting that a chemical used to make the popular stick- and stain-resistant coating might cause cancer, birth defects and other ailments." Chicago Tribune War Criminal -- "Alberto Gonzales should not be the Attorney General of the United States. He should be considered a war criminal and indicted by the Attorney General." Marjorie Cohn in Truthout.org 34 Bush Scandals Worse Than Whitewater -- Salon
January 18, 2005
ChoicesThe Three Gorges Dam in China is estimated to coast about $23 billion all together. It will prevent the flooding of the region which periodically kills hundreds of thousands of people and leaves tens of millions homeless. The dam will also provide hydroelectric power (no oil!), 10% of the electric power for China's 1.2 billion people.
This is an example of the kinds of things governments can do with billions of dollars. In America, we spend many times that to destroy and conquer Iraq, for the benefit of the oil cartel and its surrounding network of power.
As China, India, Europe and many other places grow in economic strength and prosperity, Bush is bankrupting the country with war, corrupt defense contracts, and corporate giveaways. The US is falling behind, into a dark age while the world moves on.
January 19, 2005
Tales of FascismDon’t skip class if you’re Muslim!
A friend of mine from Turkey has been here on a student visa. He had missed a few sessions of one class last spring and his teacher advised that he simply drop the course rather than drag his GPA down. Unfortunately, because he dropped the class, he was reclassified as "part-time" which unknown to him screwed up his visa status. When he tried to enroll for his fall semester courses, he was unable to because his visa was messed up. So he was forced not to attend classes last fall.
Recently a number of police showed up at his apartment and took him away because of his visa violation. They were very suspicious about why he was here while not being enrolled. Apparently, the school had the obligation to inform homeland security of his absence. He spent 5 weeks in an immigration prison, sharing a large open room with a couple dozen other prisoners, only one pair of underwear allowed, lights on 24-7, people gradually going crazy over time. According to him, the prison was formerly owned by Barbara Bush's family, and has since been sold to other members of the Bush family. The prison gets $250 per day per prisoner from the good old American tax base...that is you and I. As far as my friend knows, no one has committed any crime other than visa violations. As soon as one cot is freed up by an innocent person who has family, friends and lawyers who have the resources to get him released, he is immediately replaced with a new "criminal." Do the math...say 20 million illegal aliens in the US at any given moment...say 1% incarcerated...times $250 per prisoner per day. Haliburton is SO small change. And as long as we keep killing Arabs, more will want to join terrorist organizations. Then eventually, someone my friend knows will be on a list, and my friend can go back to prison at $250 a day. Or, perhaps, as 3rd world countries are somewhat known to have corrupt police (let me tell you about my wife's Rumanian story!), a Turkish officer might decide he wants a new car for Ramadan, and presto...that dormant file on the desk is suddenly filled with "facts", giving John Q. Officer a bonus. Wow! A win-win situation! Muslim men are becoming as valuable as Arab oil, at least for the Bush's prison business.
People want to kill themselves in this prison, especially those who have been in there 11 months...one guy for nearly 5 years! Within a couple months people's sleep patterns are completely screwed up. One guy bounces a ball against the wall all night long. The TV is constantly on boxing or wrestling! (that would do me in!) The people they "know" as terrorist suspects (note the brackets) are taken to Cuba, so the people at this prison are in because of their religion or national origin and are not criminals. It cost my friend $8000 in bail and $5000 in legal fees and he still has trials coming up. Also, he had to keep up on his bills while incarcerated. If they find that anyone he's met or has known in his life, an old roommate, someone he worked with, even a casual aquaintence who might re appear a couple times in his life has been accused – not even convicted – of a crime, never mind a crime related to terrorism - he could be dragged back in for indefinite time periods for questioning. Perhaps even taken to Cuba as a "criminal." This is becoming like what we did to the Japanese during world war II.
This is the America we live in under the Bush agenda. Moral values indeed!
Whatever you do DON’T SKIP CLASS!
January 20, 2005
Inauguration DayThe triumph of evil. The day arrogance revels in its glory. I want to be sedated.
January 20, 2005
Days of ExileGeorge Bush and his merry band of troglodytes now prepare to drag the US and the world farther back into a dark age, a time of medieval wars over fossil fuels, mass carnage, poison nuclear power plants, ravaged landscapes, stunted students of neobiblical doctrine, filthy air and water, a time when the strong relish keeping their collective boot on the throat of the weak, when terror and force rule the world and law is an arbitrary tool of the mighty. It is a dark, ugly vision, one that stands in opposition to a vision of enlightenment that has taken root and flowered in the world since the 18th century, one that found its most congenial home in North America, but is now being driven out with primitive brutality. Hail Bush. All hail our Fuhrer, Pharoah of the New World Order.
Inauguration 2005: The Eve of Destruction Daniel Perlstein Top Evidences Against Evolution -- Creation Science
January 21, 2005Some folks are born made to wave the flag
Oooh they're red white and blue
And when the band plays 'Hail to the Chief'
Oooh they point the cannon at you
Now the Blue Meanies really rule. This is the death of the dream. John Lennon is 64. But all endings lead to new beginnings.
The revolution has to take a different form. A higher level. Singers and songwriters must create new anthems for the people.
I recommend to everyone the movie Amandla (See IMDB), a film about the liberation of South Africa from Apartheid, and especially about the music that was an indispensable part of the movement. It shows vividly the power of music as a political force. Someone in the movie says it. You could give people a long political analysis and they will not understand what you mean. But when you sing it in a song, they get it: "Down with Apartheid!"
Cheney, was one of the few who was a big supporter of South Africa's brutal oppression of the Black majority. He was one of few in Congress who voted against a resolution to support the freeing of Nelson Mandela after 23 years in prison. (See Democracy Now, Joe Conason
In his inaugural speech, George Bush talked about bringing freedom and democracy to the world, death to tyrants. "Bush starts new term with aim of ending tyranny," except his own.) What is he talking about? He's greatly reduced freedom and democracy in the US. Where has he encouraged either? Iraq? What a sad joke. It's not what he says that is the problem. Remember "Compassionate Conservatism"? Brilliant catch phrase. Had absolutely nothing to do with reality. Bush is compassionate like Atila the Hun.
When I was in Africa last October I was exposed to a song called "Black President" sung by Brenda Fassie, "The Queen of South African Pop." (See BuildAfrica.org, photo gallery, BBC bio, Stern's Music discography, Stern's detailed discography with one-minute MP3 samples.) In "Black President" Fassie sings about Nelson Mandela with a passion that would raise the earth. "I would die for my president," she sings. And when you hear it you can understand. This man spoke the aspirations in the hearts of the people. And their collective energy was channeled through him. Hearing the soaring emotion of that performance, which defies description, I felt deep longing to be able to believe in a leader that way, to have faith, to have a leader worthy of your faith.
There is a way. There will be a way.
See here (some links):
On TV Torture Takes a Holiday -- Frank Rich: "With the torture story all but vanished from television, Americans can look the other way rather than confront the evil committed in our name." Bush vision "electrifies" world, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Just like JFK -- Wall Street Journal editorial: "Not since JFK in 1960 has an American President provided such an ambitious and unabashed case for the promotion of liberty at home and abroad. ...The entire speech was about Iraq, as a way of explaining to Americans why the sacrifice our troops are making there is justified." What's all this about "liberty" and "freedom"? Is this the same George Bush that is turning the US into a police state? Hello? Excellent analysis of Bush's I-speech, his incessant use of the words "liberty" and "freedom". Axis of Logic Bush's Speech Life on Earth snuffed out by global warming The Australian Mock Coffins and Jeers as Bush Sworn In -- Reuters Air America is spreading its breath of sanity (though angry) with two new cities: Washington, D.C., Detroit, and Cincinnati, bringing its nationwide total to 45 markets. Wall Street Journal Amnesty International to Bush: Human Rights Not Hollow Words What's Wrong with Torture? Jonathan Schell Demolition Derby -- Now Bush's radical agenda is turning loose on Social Security. The big Bush-Cheney scare campaign in starting up, just like it did with Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. Social Security must be ended, as we know it, they tell us. Bush's plan will cost the government more, reduce benefits and pay a huge bonus to the investment industries, who gave Bush millions for his inauguration. But Americans could be fooled about war in Iraq. 100,000 dead Iraqis and 1400 poor Americans dead thousands more maimed. But who are they? Most Americans probably still don't know one. But Social Security. Now you're messing with my pocketbook, my money. Bush may have a tougher fight on this one. Bush longs to dismantle what is left of the New Deal. But he may have met his Waterloo on this one. Truthout
January 24, 2004
Looking Back on AmericaIncreasingly I find that I am seeing things as if from the view of a future archaeologist, and I am analyzing why this civilization fell. It's like staring paralyzed at a slow motion car wreck, but on a vast scale, on the order of continental drift.
Who can predict if and when the end will come? "Are these the shadows of things that must be? Or are they only the shadows of things that might be?" Who can predict the outcome of a car wreck -- even well into it? A flipping automobile might right itself before it lands and the passenger, if strapped in, might walk right out the door.
But there are certain laws of physics that must be satisfied. When forces are in motion they continue in motion, until they are impinged upon by some outside force. (Crash!) So Newton said and it still is news.
The US is in a violent spin right now. We'll see where it goes. There's nothing like the change that occurs at the moment a threat is recognized -- e.g. "My car is spinning through space, better pay attention." At any point that people wake up and begin to take action against the multiple disasters that are emanating from Washington under corporate occupation, things could change rapidly. But it's all about getting the message across.
When I started doing this website after the disgraced election of 2000 I was posting things that seemed on the lunatic fringe to most of the people I ran into. Now the same message is relatively mainstream -- not corporate media but mainstream in the actual grassroots population. People I knew who looked at me with concern as though I might be clinically insane now have no significant disagreement with me.
Given the statistically indisputable evidence of voter irregularities, as well as outright evidence of crime and disenfranchisement of Democratic Party voters in election 2004, it seems likely that the opposition party is much larger than the group in power. But the power players are impervious to the wishes of the people, more determined than ever to steamroll their agenda over all opposition. So it's going to take much more than a simple majority to restore power to the people. It's going to take a massive movement on the order of the democratic revolutions in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Russia and South Africa. [Check out Granny D's amazing discussion of democratic revolutions of the late 20th century.] In those countries, the tyranical governments weren't even pretending to allow people to vote. And still the people overthrew those regimes.
Now we are at a place where even the straight-laced corporate media couldn't successfully obscure Bush's manifold crimes and still the guy gets enough votes in the country to be able to steal the election by shifting a few hundred thousand votes here and there with corrupt voting machines. So obviously we got a bigger problem than voting machines. The message about Bush's corporate war on the middle class, freedom and democracy in America is not getting out to the targets to the assault. Maybe it has gotten out to a certain level of the professional, middle class, educated and indoctrinated Americans. But not yet to a huge core group of Americans.
To comment on Bush's crimes in prose at this point is maddening, empty repetition. I keep thinking of the man in the film Amandla who said, (paraphrased) "You could give people a long political analysis and they will not understand what you mean. But when you sing it in a song, they get it: Down with Apartheid!'"
The filmmakers have risen to the cause. Many of the musicians came out in 2004. It is time to get the message into media that people can understand, people who may not even suspect there is anything outside the media system that forms their reality. A lot of the American kids who are dying, being maimed or psychologically crippled for life in Iraq just didn't know that alternate reality was out there. This is the crime of the mass media. Murder as a sin of omission.
Since the recent lynching of Dan Rather, the mainstream media has become even more compliant to the wishes of the regime, and therefore less relevant to the population. If presented an alternative, they may get a glimpse of the world beyond the eggshell of their world, and having once seen can never go back to unseeing. So it's up to all the alernative means of communication, the cartoonists, animators, comedians -- to talk about the real world. So Americans will know it exists.
January 25, 2005
Democrats on Condi Rice: Why promote failure? -- Blue Lemur Global Warming Approached Threshold of Disaster -- Associated Press
January 26, 2005
This morning I heard Democracy Now, where Matt Rothschild of The Progressive Magazine deconstructed Bush's inaugural address and uncovered the many hidden allusions to the Bible. Later Amy Goodman interviewed Gore Vidal, whose words only reinforced my worst fears of the future of America. The Europeans, he said, are "much better educated than we are, and they're richer. Get that out there: The Europeans per capita are richer than the Americans, per capita. And by the time this administration is finished, there won't be any money left of any kind, starting with poor social security, which will be privatized, so that is the last gold rush for (as they say) men with an eye for opportunity..." And more: " I don't see much future for the United States, and I put it on economic grounds. Forget moral grounds. We're far beyond any known morality, and we are embarked upon a kind of war against the rest of the world. I think that the thing that will save us, and it will probably come pretty fast, when they start monkeying around with Social Security, that will cause unrest. Meanwhile, the costs of the wars the cost of rebuilding the cities immediately after we knock them down, if we didn't knock them down, we wouldn't have to put them back up again, but that would mean that there was no work for Bechtel and for Halliburton. We are going to go broke. The dollar loses value every day. I live part of the year in Europe, which is always held against me. What a vicious thing to do, to have a house in Italy; but I also have one in Southern California. We are a declining power economically in the world, and the future now clearly belongs to China, Japan, and India. They have the population, they have the educational systems. They have the will. And they will win. And we will -- we only survive now by borrowing money from them in the form of treasury bonds which very soon we won't have enough revenue to redeem, much less service. So, I put it down to economic collapse may save the United States from its rulers." And Randi Rhodes, understandably bummed that Condi Rice, the conniving, lying, former oil executive who helped spread the lies that boondoggled the American people into Iraq, is sailing to her new job as secretary of state with virtually no opposition. Barak Obama, the only African American senator, who bowled over even white people with his speech at the Democratic convention, just rolled over and gave his vote to the lying, cheating Rice. Why would he do that? Senator Biden, who was quite outspoken about Rice's complicity in the Bush war crimes, still voted to approve her. Do the Democrats have no guts whatsoever? A rhetorical question. Obviously not. They are nearly all too timid to stand for principle, even in opposition to mass murder on false pretenses. They are bought and sold, so entangled in the political deals they dare not make a move that upsets any big money donors or power players. And on AOL Hillary Clinton, also playing the stupid political game, is noted for advocating finding a "common ground" on abortion. Hillary is no dummy. She is smart enough to know the idiocy of what she is saying. There is no middle ground to the misnamed "pro lifers". The middle ground is choice. Those who can tolerate an opposing view are pro choice, the majority of tolerant folks who don't want to have their hands in everyone else's personal affairs and tragedies. That's like the deceptive move of Republicans who say, "We Republicans are pro-life, but there's room in the Republican party for different points of view." Then you are not "Pro Life". Tolerance of different points of view is Pro Choice. Don't talk nonsense. At least do us that -- oh never mind.
January 27, 2004
"Bush Steadfast on Bloody Day" -- says AOL News. Of course. Unshakeable conviction. Absolute certitude. Not a trace of doubt. No matter how many die. Doublespeak -- Bush talks of "freedom" and ridding the world of tyranny while he rounds up innocent people, puts them in prison, refuses to charge them or allow them due process and tortures them. "These are bad people," he said. Coming from him, the words "freedom", "democracy", "tyranny" have no meaning. He has made the U.S. a less free, democratic and just society. And much less safe. Reuters Economic Bottom Falling Out -- "China has lost faith in the stability of the U.S. dollar and its first priority is to broaden the exchange rate for its currency from the dollar to a more flexible basket of currencies, a top Chinese economist said Wednesday at the World Economic Forum." Associated Press US Putting World Economy Off Balance -- "The United Nations on Tuesday urged all the major industrial countries, especially Japan and the nations of Europe, to help the United States reduce its deficits by spurring their own economies to grow faster. In a report, 'World Economic Situation and Prospects 2005,' the United Nations said that the budget and trade deficits of the United States were putting the global economy off balance." NY Times
January 28, 2005
The Lords of TortureBush said Condi Rice was respected around the world. Ha! That's great! She's respected around the world about like Rudolph Hess.
But here in Bushcountry (formerly the USA), you can say things like that without an explosion of laughter that could blow that pretty boy Bush right out the door.
Americans live in an information fishbowl controlled by Big Brother Bush. It's an alternate reality. Americans believe in the strength of their belief, and it is reinforced and reflected back at them everywhere they look in America, if they don't step out of the narrow prescribed channels too much. But in the rest of the world, the Bush fishbowl reality is virtually nonexistent.
So Americans exist in a strange alternate reality in the eyes of the rest of the world. You can hold on to your belief system with all your might, you can squint, close your eyes tight, put your fingers in your ears and yell at the top of your lungs and anything else that helps you successfully ignore the existence of the rest of the world, but it will not make it go away. It may make you blind and ignorant and vulnerable, but it will not make the world outside go away.
You may not see the war crimes of your government in Iraq, but the rest of the world does. If you are more comfortable hiding from the truth, suit yourself. It does not bode well for your survival skills.
Condi, Gonzales, Bush... this is the torture administration. Support them at your own peril.
Fascinating and Creepy Links
Bad Blood -- Irish genealogists claim that Killer George is descended from Strongbow, the power-hungry warlord who led the Norman invasion of Ireland thus heralding 800 years of mutual misery. Yo! Guardian Iraq just keeps getting bloodier. Wednesday, January 26, was the bloodiest day of the whole war for Americans. Reuters Planetary Temperature 'Skyrocketing -- "The largest ever climate-change experiment reveals that scientists may have dramatically underestimated the threat of global warming. The study by British scientists, which is published today, found the planet's global temperature could climb by between 2C and 11C because of skyrocketing levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. That more than doubles the current prediction of a 1.4C to 4.5C rise this century... Even rises that are more modest are expected to trigger disastrous changes, including melting glaciers, sea-level rises, shut-down of the Gulf Stream, and increases in droughts, cyclones and other extreme weather events." News.com.au, see also Independent. "We've been taken over by a cult," says Seymour Hersh, a hard-nosed reporter, certainly no "conspiracy theorist"... In a recent talk, Hersh said, "I can’t begin to exaggerate how frightening the position is -- we're in right now, because most of you don't understand, because the press has not done a very good job." Hersh also has some insight into the war as it really is proceeding, not how it is in the Bush fantasy as portrayed by the corporate propaganda media. "I think there's a way out of it, maybe. I can tell you one thing. Let's all forget this word 'insurgency'. It's one of the most misleading words of all. Insurgency assumes that we had gone to Iraq and won the war and a group of disgruntled people began to operate against us and we then had to do counter-action against them. That would be an insurgency. We are fighting the people we started the war against. We are fighting the Ba'athists plus nationalists. We are fighting the very people that started -- they only choose to fight in different time spans than we want them to, in different places. We took Baghdad easily. It wasn't because be won. We took Baghdad because they pulled back and let us take it and decided to fight a war that had been pre-planned that they're very actively fighting. The frightening thing about it is, we have no intelligence. Maybe it's -- it's -- it is frightening, we have no intelligence about what they're doing..." And back to where we started: "the amazing thing is we are been taken over basically by a cult, eight or nine neo-conservatives have somehow grabbed the government. Just how and why and how they did it so efficiently, will have to wait for much later historians and better documentation than we have now, but they managed to overcome the bureaucracy and the Congress, and the press, with the greatest of ease. It does say something about how fragile our Democracy is. You do have to wonder what a Democracy is when it comes down to a few men in the Pentagon and a few men in the White House having their way." Democracy Now Kettle Black -- CNN founder Ted Turner calls Fox News a "propaganda voice" for the Bush administration. SF Gate
January 29, 2005
Do Something -- Register at the National Conference for Media Reform at Freepress.net Money, Media and the Mess in America by Robert Parry. "Sometime after 2009, when historians pick through the wreckage left behind by George W. Bush’s administration, they will have to come to grips with the role played by the professional conservative media infrastructure." Consortium Letter to Biden: Dear Senator Biden, I heard some of your criticism of Conoleezza Rice during her confirmation hearing, and I thought it was on the money. Her incompetence, to put it kindly, has been staggering. Her complicity in lying to the American people to railroad us into a horrible war in Iraq could very well be considered a war crime. Why, then, did you vote to approve her? You said you thought "a president" should have the people he chooses to work with him." That's very charitable of you. But if the roles were reversed, would the Republicans give an inch to honor principle? You know they wouldn't. They fight tooth and nail in every battle and don't care whether they are right or totally corrupt. It is time for the Democrats to toughen up. You have to fight them with at least a fraction of the ferocity with which they turn on Democrats. Sincerely, DC Note from a friend on George Bush's definition of Democracy: "Create an election, lock down everything, don't release the names of candidates until a day before, have 7,000 people running for office, keep polling places secret, and no one knowing who they're voting for. As one correspondent put it, this is democracy at the end of a gun. This is George Bush's idea of a 'free' election... not to mention the many U.S. soldiers maimed for life and Iraqis killed.....all in the name of 'democracy.'" See "Iraq battens down for polls" Even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked -- "Temptation's page flies out the door, you follow find yourself at war, watch waterfalls of pity roar, you feel to moan but unlike before you discover that you'll just be one more person crying." -- Bob Dylan New Ohio Vote Fraud Allegations -- "Serious new election tampering allegations have emerged from an Ohio county, where witnesses allege that stickers were placed on presidential election ballots, RAW STORY has learned. Several volunteer workers in the Ohio recount in Clermont County, Ohio have prepared affidavits alleging serious tampering, violations of state and federal law and possible fraud. They name the Republican chief of Clermont's Board of Elections Daniel Bare and the head of the Clermont Democratic Party Priscilla O'Donnell as complicit in these acts." Raw Story Here it comes -- The Project for a New American Century's letter asking Congress to reinstate the draft. newamericancentury.org Criminals the Lot of Us -- Scott Ritter. "The invasion of Iraq was a crime of gigantic proportions, for which politicians, the media and the public share responsibility." Guardian Gonzales' Long History with Torturer -- Check out Randi Rhodes' conversation with a man who claims to have served under Alberto Gonzales in the Air Force, and was given torture training by Gonzales. (See "Show Sound" column on the middle of the home page.)
January 30, 2004
Devolution and DestructionScientists studying evolution have long been preoccupied with the question, What makes humans superior? At what evolutionary juncture did humans separate themselves from the rest of the animal kingdom? What environmental pressures and influences combined with what genetic adaptations to create the intelligence that separates humankind from animals and makes it the master? Was it the development of the prehensile thumb? Was it the large forebrain? Or was it the discovery of language, of symbols?
I think they have been asking the wrong question. Though the discovery of evolution forced scientifically minded people to cast off religious dogma about The Creation as the literal story of human history, the underlying prejudices of those religious beliefs did not fall away instantly. They hang on today under a thin overlay of scientific doctrine. God created Man and gave him dominion over the rest of the animals, the Bible says. No scientific theory dares challenge the premise of human superiority. Even when DNA analysis forces scientists to put chimpanzees in the same genus as humans, few humans would reconsider for a second the premise of human uniqueness, superiority and separateness from the rest of nature.
But how intelligent is it to make your own environment uninhabitable? How can the destructiveness we see in front of us in Iraq be attributable to intelligence or superiority? How can the utter refusal to deal with the environmental crisis be squared with the description of a species that is superior in survival skills by virtue of its adaptability?
But then, this group claims not to believe in evolution. Not the specifics of the Darwinian theory, which may indeed be flawed and probably is, but the idea that there is any such thing as evolution at all. Or maybe the regime only encourages anti-scientific religious doctrinism for its political value. It certainly practices policies that are more reflective of Social Darwinism than anything remotely resembling Christian beliefs. Trying to figure out which side of the philosophical fence they sit on leads one to conclude that they don't think at all, at least not beyond the machinations of power, the one thing they truly believe in.
This human species, and the worst example of it now reflected in the mad policies of America, looks less and less like a superior species and more like an example of a pathology, a sickness plaguing the earth, spreading a scourge of toxicity and destruction.
Yes, we are clever. We are technologically advanced. But we are psychologically very primitive.
Democrats Won State Elections -- In spite of the supposed Republican victory in the national elections, Democrats made gains in local elections. This statistical anomaly is being called "hard to explain." It could be more evidence of fraud. USA Today A Rocket Attack on the U.S. Embassy -- AOL News. Recall Seymour Hersh's blood-chilling comments: "We are fighting the people we started the war against. We are fighting the Ba'athists plus nationalists. We are fighting the very people that started -- they only choose to fight in different time spans than we want them to, in different places. We took Baghdad easily. It wasn't because be won. We took Baghdad because they pulled back and let us take it and decided to fight a war that had been pre-planned that they're very actively fighting." Good Questions from a Republican still in possession of his faculties -- What if it's all a mistake? Not just Iraq. The whole premise of interventionism. "America's policy of foreign intervention, while still debated in the early 20th century, is today accepted as conventional wisdom by both political parties. But what if the overall policy is a colossal mistake, a major error in judgment? Not just bad judgment regarding when and where to impose ourselves, but the entire premise that we have a moral right to meddle in the affairs of others? Think of the untold harm done by years of fighting - hundreds of thousands of American casualties, hundreds of thousands of foreign civilian casualties, and unbelievable human and economic costs. What if it was all needlessly borne by the American people?" Delivered on the floor of the House by Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) Report from the Ground in Iraq -- from Dahr Jamail: "We are driving around Baghdad today attempting to take photos and conduct interviews, and the streets are nearly completely empty. An oddity in Baghdad, where traffic jams often find people waiting for hours in places to creep their way through clogged streets. Over 90 streets in the capital city are barricaded, further increasing the horrendous congestion on 'normal' days." U.S. "coalition partners" in Iraq are preparing to pull out. According to the Financial Times, "Even as U.S. forces struggle to stabilise Iraq during the tense election period, they may soon face another challenge following Sunday's vote: the determination of several coalition members to withdraw thousands of troops from the region. Several allied countries, many of them eastern European, that were part of the original 'New Europe' group backing the Iraqi war have said they will either completely withdraw or substantially reduce their forces in Iraq after the January 30 elections." Truthout "'The story today is going to be very discouraging to the American people,' President Bush said at a news conference Wednesday, hours after 37 American troops died in Iraq. 'I understand that. We value life. And we weep and mourn when soldiers lose their life.' How long will the U.S. news media continue to indulge that sort of pious talk from the White House without challenge? The evidence is overwhelming that the president and his policy team are quite willing to devalue -- in fact, destroy -- life when it gets in their way." Norman Solomon in Yubanet