June 17, 2007

9/11: Question Authority -- I love the clip of David Lynch being interviewed on Dutch TV. (See YouTube.) Despite the fact that his films portray manifest depravity, his mastery of the form, to be able to deliver those images so purely and vividly, reflects a very evolved intelligence. (Check out Lynch's Filmography) Though filmmaking delivers an imaginary world, the industry exists in a very material world and the creation of a successful film is not pulled off by people who are out of touch with reality. I state the obvious only because the standard mainstream media auto-response to anyone casting doubt on the royal story of 9/11 is to write him off as whacky. On Dutch TV (not in the U.S., kids, sorry -- adults only) Lynch does just that, ask questions about the official explanations of events of 9/11. But this man is so moderate, not just in his tone and bearing, but also in his statements. (You can see him talking about the most mundane subjects with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show ) He resists being led to any conclusions. He just asks the questions. And when asked if he thinks "the government" had something to do with it, he sidesteps the question and just says that "it's too big... No one wants to think about it."

He hits the nail right on the head. Surely the Fox News Squad will pummel him with abuse. But he made no claims. He remained eminently reasonable. He raised questions about things that are so badly explained that they should raise flags. He makes no accusations, no presumptions, except to comment on the unanswerability of the question, the unposeability of the question. His silent implication is even if it were true that the official story is false and in fact there had been some high-level complicity in the crimes of 9/11, it is virtually unknowable because it is a possibility that is just too big for most people to try to accommodate mentally. The implications of the idea that the people who have their hand on the button are not telling the whole truth about 9/11 are just too frightening. Let me forget that nightmare, roll over and go back to sleep!

Lynch has done a great service by making that observation. It is a courageous thing to express one's opinion publicly in the United States if it disagrees with the official public opinion. That fact too, should set up alarm flares in the minds of American citizens. Why is it dangerous to even express an opinion that opposes that of Bush and Cheney?

Obviously today, unlike in late 2001, many opinions against the Bush machine are being expressed. Certain conclusions that were rushed to at that time, however, are still as sacred and unapproachable as they were during the mass insanity of 9/11. There are still dangers in expressing doubts about the official explanations of 9/11, the Lone Gun Theory, as it were.

The official story, if you recall, was delivered complete in the first few hours after the attacks, and nothing in the final report ever contradicted much of the story that was assembled that day. Almost immediately after the second strike on the World Trade Center, the world was told that this was "the work of Osama bin Laden." There was never an ounce of doubt by anyone in the mainstream from the very first moments. Soon the government that claims to have been taken utterly by surprise until that moment, became suddenly very brilliant and produced rapidly the names and pictures of 19 Arabs who were allegedly responsible. Again it was stated as an absolute fact. These Saudi Arabians, we were told, worked for Osama bin Laden. Perfect evidence emerged quickly, passports were deftly pinpointed among the blocks of rubble, while the virtually indestructible flight boxes on the planes were never recovered. The absurdities continue to pile on from the first moments, and are well documented elsewhere. What is relevant here is that the official story was created during the catastrophe and delivered to the public with jackhammer intensity during the long, painful hours when the disaster was unfolding. The story was deeply, deeply imprinted into the population at its most frightened and vulnerable hour. Who would deny that 9/11 was the most frightening collective event in American history? At least in terms of visual impact. At least in the memory of those living. The meme was created, widely disseminated, delivered with a supercharged jolt of terror into the population at large, at a time when everyone was wishing desperately for anything that could be trusted. They delivered it, the illusion of safety in a storm of terror.

These questions are all framed wrongly in the corporate media and the reality system that is created by the corporate media and dominates America. The way the authorities and their propaganda channels frame the questions, it nullifies the relevance of the questions, or undermines any search for truth at the outset. The question should never be: Should I believe the government's official telling of the tale of 9/11, or should I pay attention to my senses and common sense? Why does believing the government ever enter into the discussion? When have governments ever been reliable sources of the truth? I'm not saying that what the Bush government says about the catastrophe that took place on its watch is irrelevant. But where it contradicts reliable evidence the relevant question is why is the government telling us a story that contradicts the evidence? That may get us to some truth. Using government reports as standards of truth is ludicrous in light of the history of government lies. And no government ever outdid the Bush administration when it comes to lies.

The fact that the authorities have always tried to suppress investigation into the incident, then finally, with feet dragging, put together a tightly reined committee that then failed to answer many essential questions should raise some concern. The fact that any questioning of the official explanation leads to an immediate media trashing by anyone who is well-known enough to be heard should also raise some curiosity. The Soviet style information management, suppression and intimidation should make some Americans question the motives of the authorities, who just happen to be engaged in some other colossal deceptions right now that are seemingly unrelated, but widely acknowledged.

June 24, 2007

Mitt the Twit -- The allegedly devout Christian Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney reiterated his support for the goings-on at Guantanamo, where the Bush administration imprisons and tortures people and asserts its right to do so even to people who have never been charged with a crime and given a chance to defend themselves against such a charge. Mitt the Mormon madman violates the most elementary logic of constitutional law in justfying the activities based on an assumption that these are "violent heinous terrorists", though there is no process in place to separate such people from other people falsely accused. (NYT Blogs, The Star) This fool wants to be in charge of protecting and defending the Constitution, of which he displays not the most rudimentary understanding.
  • Mounting Death -- GI casualty rates are mounting quickly as seven more U.S. troops were killed, bringing the June death toll to 77. The total, according to the (CNN report is now 3,554, quickly to be replaced by a larger number. This doesn't count "contractors", tens of thousands of wounded or hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. In what is supposed to make people feel better about it all, "The U.S. military also reported Saturday that seven insurgents suspected of ties to al Qaeda were killed and 10 others captured by coalition forces in several operations across Iraq Friday and Saturday." The key word is "suspected". Who will ever know the truth?
  • Good Idea -- "Following Vice President Dick Cheney's assertion that his office is not a part of the executive branch of the US government, Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) plans to introduce an amendment to the the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill to cut funding for Cheney's office," reports the Raw Story.
  • No Explanation -- According to NY Daily News, "The White House struggled to explain yesterday why President Bush complies with rules and oversight on secret documents but Vice President Cheney doesn't. There were also no answers about why Cheney followed the rules in 2001 and 2002 but began stonewalling on documents in 2003 as the CIA leak case was breaking and weapons of mass destruction were not to be found in Iraq. 'I will check into it," White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said. "I don't know when - I don't know why the change, and I'll see if there was any different interpretation.'" How much longer can these maniacs continue this madness?
  • Bush Almighty -- Now the White House is saying Bush and Cheney are both exempt from the executive order about handling of classified documents and always were, even though the order doesn't say so. LA Times
  • Bush in the Pits -- According to a Newsweek poll, Bush's approval rating has fallen even lower, to 26%, making him the most unpopular since Nixon.


    June 21, 2007

    Cheney in Wonderland -- Cheney has really gone off the deep end now. He appears almost certifiably insane. A man who has already stretched the bounds of decency by orders of magnitude, he has now proclaimed that the office of the Vice President is not part of the executive branch, so is not subject to the laws that apply to it. (See ABC ) Actually the office of the vice president is really the second highest position in the executive branch and is theoretically subject to the laws. But laws mean nothing unless they are enforced. Cheney is forcing a showdown with Rep. Henry Waxman, who is exercising his mandate for oversight as chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Cheney has refused to comply with a presidential order governing the protection of classified information by government agencies. Cheney has refused to provide his staff with details regarding classified documents or submit to a routine inspection as required by presidential order. So far Cheney has been able to break about any law or convention known to humankind, so why shouldn't he continue to push the envelope? Underlying Gaza Chaos -- According to Jonathan Steele in The Guardian, "Hamas acted on a very real fear of a US-sponsored coup. Washington's fingerprints are all over the chaos that has hit Palestinians." Explanation: "The fundamental cause is, of course, well known. Israel, aided by the US, was not prepared to accept Hamas's victory in last year's Palestinian elections. Backed by a supine EU, the two governments decided to boycott their new Palestinian counterparts politically and punish Palestinian voters by blocking economic aid. Their policies had a dramatic effect, turning Gaza even more starkly into an open prison and creating human misery on a massive scale. The aim was to turn voters against Hamas - a strategy of stupidity as well as cynicism, since outside pressure usually produces resistance rather than surrender." And "Reports have been circulating for months of a more sinister side to the boycott. According to them, the US decided last year on a plan to arm and train Mahmoud Abbas's presidential guard in a deliberate effort to confront and defeat Hamas militarily. Israel has already locked up several dozen Hamas legislators and mayors from the West Bank. The next stage was to do the same in Gaza but have Palestinians, rather than Israelis, run the crackdown.Arming insurgents against elected governments has a long US pedigree and it is no accident that Elliott Abrams, the deputy national security adviser and apparent architect of the anti-Hamas subversion, was a key player in Ronald Reagan's supply of weapons to the Contras who fought Nicaragua's elected government in the 1980s."

    June 23, 2007

    Unmanned War -- This morning I came upon a clipping from the New York Times April 15, 2007. Though the Times charges for its archived articles, the article has been widely reposted on the Web: "The Pilotless Plane That Only Looks Like Child's Play" by Charles Duhigg. The subtitle is "The Future of Warfare Brought to You By ... Whom?" There are many things about the article that are intriguing. One is the subtitle itself: "The future of warfare..." It's a future being foisted upon the majority of the world's population by a relative few lunatics who are very hung up on war. They have certainly been in ascendance in the last decade, and in a less pronounced trajectory over the last half century since the winding down of the second of the war to end all wars. But to most of us, it would be much preferable to have a future that did not include war. To those who do not make money off war, or are not obsessed with war gadgets and war history and strategy or filled with fear, hatred and rage for The Other, war has no attraction and really has no place in this globally connected world. While war obviously has no place in the resolution of conflict anymore, it is rising in its actual frequency. As illustrated well by the Israeli destruction of Lebanon last summer, shelling cities and killing people had no effect at all on the actual progression of political events. It was just a side trip, gleefully supported by the Bush administration that lives for war, but just a timeout from the political issues for mass destruction, then a return to face the issues themselves. The destruction in no way aided or affected any aspect of the resolution of conflict. It was just gratuitous violence for the sake of violence and destruction. It didn't even further the objectives of its agents, the Israeli government.

    It's really time to reverse the brainwashing about war as a necessity, as something that will always be part of human affairs. In the U.S. the military industrial complex wields so much force that Americans have war on the brain. But the whole military function is anachronistic as it exists. Observe the war in Iraq, which has served to show that even the mightiest military force in the world can be brought to its knees in futility by a virtually defenseless nation. What more evidence do you need of the uselessness and obsolescence of the whole war machine that just keeps churning on like a monstrous, blind habit?

    The other fascinating thing to me about the article on drone planes is that it brings to the brink of consciousness the questions about what really happened on 9/11, since we've never had a remotely plausible explanation for those events. What about the possibility of drone planes being used on that day? That would, like the government strain of anthrax that was unleashed on Democratic congressional leaders the week they rammed the Patriot Act through Congress, implicate those who have access to such things. No one has access to the drone planes except high level government officials. Articles like the one in the times can bring these issues to the brink of consciousness of a country in denial, but still avoid making the connection or dealing with the full range of implications. People would rather cling to the discredited claims of Condi and Cheney that "no one ever thought of flying passenger planes into buildings before" and the stories about cell phone transmissions from moving airplanes that have been shown to have been impossible in 2001.

    These questions bring us right to the door of the 9/11 mystery, but not over the threshold to actual questioning.

    June 29, 2007

    Dirty CIA: Nothing Old -- Truthout
  • What's 'Not Worth it'? The site Scholars & Rogues describes an encounter with Nancy Pelosi in which she says it would not be worth expending the political capital to impeach Bush. He's almost out, she said. It might be worth it if he was new, but with less than two years left and his record as a failure etched in stone, the stronger weapon would be oversight. This is very sad. What is not worth it? Is the Constitution not worth protecting? Is it not worth taking any steps to proclaim that unconstitutional behavior, abuse of power, lying to drag the country to war, ignoring all legal restraints, destroying due process and even habeus corpus, instituting torture as US policy, etc. etc. etc. is not to be tolerated? If not now, when is impeachment ever appropriate? The fact that it's late in Bush's "presidency" only reflects the sad negligence of Congress to do its duty years ago. Bush abused power disgracefully when he seized power through illegal means. Stopping the counting of votes to take over is not acceptable in the USA. Waiting till the end of his presidency to address these grave issues is like welcoming more corruption from Bush's predecessor. Impeachment of Cheney and Bush is necessary, as are many other legal actions to rout out the corruption that has infected the government. A real investigation of 9/11 is also necessary, long-neglected work.

    June 30, 2007

    Could It Be? Is is possible that the most qualified candidate hands down is considering a run for president? Apparently some are seeing indications that it is. See Ostroy Report. The thought of having to choose between Giuliani, the ultraphony, vicious megalomaniac, or Hillary Clinton, the person of no convictions, is unutterably depressing. In such a lackluster field, former Republican Michael Bloomberg looks like a knight in shining armor. Obama is charismatic, smart and stands for worthy positions, though green. Edwards is on the right track with his populist vision, but what was blocking his vision when he voted to give Bush the authority for his phony war against Iraq? But Gore -- Gore is the man. Gore was the actual winner of the 2000 election and that can be easily documented even though the mass media has its head in the sand over the issue. Gore has unrivaled governmental experience, as a non-candidate has been able to campaign for action against global warming, which though it is the number one threat to survival of the human species is considered almost a tabu subject in the corporate controlled media environment of America. It is easy to envision a scenario in which Gore declares his candidacy in a reasonable timeframe -- it is after all well over a year before the election now -- and walks out upon the political stage as the clearly dominating figure. Gore is a man who offers some hope for saving America from its ongoing trajectory toward catastrophe. Gore for president!

    Given the horrendous, unthinkable calamity of the condition of the United States, Gore has the historical opportunity to become a real hero. The greatest American presidents have emerged from the necessity of horrendous emergencies. It's the Tolsoyan theory that history produces heroes at certain moments of inevitability -- crisis. The Bush pirates have brought on a crisis of inconceivable dimensions. Given the drastic nature of the emergency, most people, including people in de facto positions of leadership, literally cannot think of it, cannot face it, cannot perceive it. Are blindly awaiting whatever fate is to befall the nation.

    In Washington's time it was the attack of the mighty power of Great Britain upon the audacious claims of independence of the colonists. Fun and games were over, Boston Tea Parties and proclamations of self-evident troops. The British navy and army were there and there were few good choices left. Thus the gentlemen farmer got out of his comfortable chair and took action.

    In Lincoln's time the new Republic was collapsing, torn apart at the seams by opposing economic and social forces. The moderately successful Kentuckian from Illinois was brilliant and extremely resourceful, but far from prepared for what he faced in Washington. Not only was he personally not prepared, no one was or could have been. The world had never seen such a situation, and he saw correctly that it was his responsibility to keep the unique vision of the revolutionaries intact. That made the talented lawyer and congressman into a real force that had a determining effect on history. He held together an idea that was about to fall apart, and would have almost for sure without his actions. But if he had not emerged, would someone else have? Who knows?

    Franklin D. Roosevelt also emerged at a time when the republic was collapsing. In his time the calamity was brought on by economic collapse. And Roosevelt had the advantage of having the people strongly behind him, trusting in him as a leader to show the way out of the calamity -- an advantage Lincoln had to earn as things went to hell around him. Roosevelt's policies are precisely the heart of what the New Right has sought to destroy, and has to a dizzyingly successful degree. For that matter, the right wing, the corporatists represented by Bush, are also attacking the principles of Lincoln -- government of the people, by the people and for the people -- and they are uprooting the very principles of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, etc. the FFs.

    So we are back to the crisis point again, moment when the nation stands over the pit of its own destruction with strong momentum at its back and no one is there to prevent its going over the edge. This is the time when the hero is supposed to emerge. This is when the populace must single out a leader in which to put its trust and confidence. Who will that person be? Hillary Clinton? I don't think so. She is a perfect representative of everything that is wrong left of the far right. She's 10,000 percent better than Bush, or Giuliani the Despot, or Romney the Fool or McCain the Whore. But she is just a product put forth by the decadent establishment that is presiding over this catastrophe. People say, "The country isn't ready for a woman president," which is nonsensically missing the point. Her gender is not a problem. The country is more than ready for a female leader, its so diseased with testosterone and rigidity. But Hillary Clinton has demonstrated no principle. She does not stand with the people. She's beholden to the corporate establishment first, then extends herself to the people with whatever is left, which ain't much.

    Obama definitely has the potential. He could be the one who is galvanized by the ever worsening calamity engulfing America. But he is somewhat disadvantaged by his rank and experience. Ideally he could use a few more years to build that authority, to tie up the alliances and power, the knowledge that could serve him well. But if Gore stands back, Obama is the next best bet. Obama has the potential to ultimately be a greater leader than Gore, perhaps, but he could use a little more time to prepare for the big jump.

    Gore, however, is the man whom history has placed at exactly the right part of the spectrum for this round of crisis of the American republic. A Gore-Obama ticket would be killer. Obama could learn a lot from Gore. Gore could learn from Obama and gain from his energy, point of view, charisma, brilliance. What a combo.

    Gore fought his way up through the ugly political world without losing his humanity and renouncing his intelligence. He had the advantage of being in a political family, which gave him a good launching pad, a solid footing and knowledge from his formative years. But he had the strength of character and intelligence to maintain some soul and intelligence. He opposed Bush's war fiasco from the beginning. He has renounced political gamesmanship in order to be able to fight for what is really important, diametrically opposite to Clinton, who had to build her political credentials in the last few years, so has been unable to take courageous stands, or at least that's how she seems to have judged things.

  • Bad Airline Karma -- Northwest Airlines canceled 204 flights on Wednesaday by 8 p.m., over 1,000 in the last week. Eventually this mad corporate greed gets so out of control it even destroys the masters who practice it. They have gotten so used to running anything they want on people and getting away with it, they get to the point where they are so arrogantly cynical they destroy their own projects. This Northwest catastrophe is a direct result of downsizing the company until there is nothing left in human resources, only a few people left to run the airline -- the corporate masters made off with all the earnings and keep starving and squeezing their people, the real heart and soul of the operation don't kid yourself. Just like with the mad neocons, these fools have finally diminished the value of the airline to the point when there is hardly anything left even for them to plunder and pillage.

    According to AOL Money, "The carrier began canceling a large number of flights last week as pilots reached flight-time maximums. The Northwest pilots contract sets flight time limits at 90 hours a month. The Federal Aviation Administration sets limits at 100 hours." According to Bill Moyers Journal, the airline recently "dodged the bankruptcy bullet" by cutting labor costs, forcing the people who run the airline, the flight attendants, baggage handlers, mechanics and pilots, to take pay cuts. The CEO for his accomplishment in forcing these people to take less money, was awarded with millions himself. (see Association of Flight Attendants for a transcript from the Moyers program "High Flying Airline Executives")

    According to Moyers, "After 20 months of restructuring, Northwest's CEO Doug Steenland exited the bankruptcy with a big pay package. On top of Steenland's salary, reported at $516,384 dollars last year, he will get a total compensation package of more than $26.6 million in stock. That's $5.8 million in stock options and $20.8 million worth of restricted stocks that will vest over the next four years. Northwest workers bore the brunt of the restructuring - after a $1.4 billion a year cut in labor expenses - pilots and flight attendant wages were cut by between 20% to 40%."

    When asked about his clever heist in an interview, Steenland claimed he had nothing to do with it: it was decided by the compensation committee of the board of directors. He could, however, have displayed real leadership like the CEO of Delta and refused the extreme payoff in the spirit of solidarity with his employees, or like Lee Iaccocca in an earlier period, who saved Chrysler and waived pay for a year to do it. As Moyers said, CEO greed is common today. "When US Air emerged from bankruptcy in 2005, CEO Doug Parker was awarded an almost $6 million package - employees got pay cuts of up to 53 percent. USAir's pilots lost their pensions completely. But when Delta Air Lines emerged from bankruptcy in April of this year, CEO Gerald Grinstein actually turned down 10 million dollars in stock awards and reduced his pay to $338,000. Delta employees had taken cuts in pay and benefits of up to 40 percent."

    When you screw your workers and cut the company down to its bare bones, sooner or later it will come back. Eventually that behavior will run into a brick wall. Miserable employees can't possibly perform as well as happy ones. And in the case of Northwest, it just doesn't have enough pilots anymore to meet consumer demand. Great job Steenland! How much money did you lose this week canceling 1,000 flights? How much in customer good will?

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