October 21, 2006
Check It Out -- William Rodriguez: 9/11 Hero
October 23, 2006
Abject Failure -- The US policy in Iraq is increasingly a failure, acknowledged by government representatives themselves. According to report in Prensa Latina, "Washington is now willing to to talk to any insurgent group apart from al-Qaeda in Iraq, to reduce sectarian bloodshed, said Alberto Fernandez, an Arabic speaker who is director of public diplomacy in the state department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs." In an interview with Al Jazeera, Fernandez said the world is "witnessing failure in Iraq" and that itęs a failure not only for US, but a regional disaster. "I think there is great room for strong criticism, because without doubt, there was arrogance and stupidity by the United States in Iraq," he said. Highest Monthly U.S. Death Toll of 2006 -- U.S. casualties for October up to 80, with 43 Iraqi civilian deaths a day. CNN White House Braces for Partisan Warfare -- If Republicans lose control of Congress. Forbes Autism Linked to Too Much TV --Times Online Israel Admits Using Phosphorous Weapons -- Incendiary weapons banned by the Geneva Conventions. There's a new holocaust with Israel on the other side this time. BBC Foley's Place -- Foley to 16-year-old page: "You could always stay at my place. I'm always here, I'm always lonely, and I'm always up for oral sex." Washington Post Tipping Point -- According to the Guardian, "Last week a tipping point was reached as political leaders in Washington and London began openly to think the unthinkable: that the war was lost." America's Collapsing Middle Class -- "This is the new world of the middle class--haunted by debt, stalked by layoffs, pinched by vanishing pensions and health benefits, and forced into ever more contingent forms of work as 'real' jobs give way to benefit-free contract work. Far from being on an elite perch in the 'knowledge economy,' the middle class hovers just inches above the working poor." Barbara Ehrenreich
October 26, 2006
Pretense No Longer Useful -- Now the Washington Times says the U.S. is backing a coup against the government that was chosen in the elections set up by the U.S. The idea of democracy, one of the last standing supposed justifications for the slaughter in Iraq, is now no longer even a pretense. Hidden History -- Read up on the original October Surprise at Consortium News
October 27, 2006Fear of Knowing -- As I talk to people lately I am struck by a problem that is worse than ignorance, more fundamental than fear in the normal sense. I find often that when people are presented very compelling and strong evidence about threats against them, they do not even want to hear it. They are afraid to know, afraid to even consider possibilities. It's as though they are saying, I am happy in my little world with my set of beliefs. I don't care if they are true. I don't want to hear anything that disrupts my world view.
To some degree every human being does this. There are no saints or perfect people in this regard. The mind has limits as to what it can absorb and process. The tendency to shut off is something we all have to watch for in ourselves. It is part of the process of thinking. The mind must close out some things in order to concentrate on others. We all do it all the time. If you take LSD or other psychedelic drugs, you see vividly how much your mental screens are operating under normal circumstances because once the drug relaxes the filtering process, the brain is flooded with input, more data than it can process.
So we all do it. We just need to be aware of it because if someone warns us of a threat, it is probably not something we want to hear. Threats have a way of coming when they want, not when we want, which is never. But what you don't know can definitely hurt you, can kill you, can wipe you out before you ever recognize a threat.
I recently saw a film of a speech by William Rodriguez, the janitor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center for 20 years before 9/11. He was a hero on that day. He saved many people, he stayed in the building until it collapsed and he was pulled out of the rubble. He was lauded as a great hero. For a while the Republicans courted him, wanted him to run for office. There are pictures of him with George W. Bush as the establishment praised his heroism. He helped to write and push through legislation after the catastrophe. The Republicans offered him money, backing, the good life.
Only thing, Willie, you gotta stop talking about all those explosions. That's not good. It just confuses things. It could give people the wrong idea, get some people riled. BUt Rodriguez wouldn't take the payoff, wouldn't shut up, and now he tours and talks to people around the world about what happened. "When I saw them use our disaster, our suffering to push an agenda against the people here and around the world, I had to speak up."
The thought that there were explosions in the building forces us to face implications few are willing to face. Americans may just be too fat, comfortable and spoiled to ever willingly abandon their beliefs about the little white-picket-fence world they live in. They are so deeply afraid they let a liar lead them around because he claims to be strong and to be the only one they can count on to protect them. If it's true, what Rodriguez and many others say, that there were explosions in that building, then the official story that they just turned into dust that day as a result of an airplane hitting the building on one of the top floors itself collapses. And we are left with a whole new set of questions. Who set off those bombs? How did they get into the building? And the gravest question of all, who in power does not want us to explore this question?
The screens people put up are incredibly strong. Rodriguez is very credible when you hear him speak. He really knew that building, every inch of it. He's a Puerto Rican janitor. He could have been living the good life as a rich Republican politician. What do people think he is doing? What do they think his agenda is? He could have been rich and famous much easier by going along with the program. What do people think his agenda is?
What I find though, is that many intelligent people will not even go so far as to ask the question. They will not consider it at all. They don't have to ask themselves the questions because they will never allow a flicker of that kind of doubt to enter their minds. They close it out completely, as soon as they get the first hint that it may lead them down a forbidden road.
I was having a nice e-mail exchange with a friend the other day, one of the most intelligent people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I had just seen the Rodriguez video and it was on my mind -- something that disturbing stays on the mind -- so I said a few things about it and sent the link. That was the end of the e-mail exchange. The previous message had included a warm invitation to get together for a drink. After the mention of Rodriguez the conversation was over, stone cold, not another word.
It's one thing to have a difference of opinion with a friend. It's something else to be so intolerant of an idea that you have to immediately stop the conversation and cease communicating with the person. That's how people keep their barricades up against so much evidence that contradicts what they think they know. It's not a passive process. It takes effort to screen out everything that contradicts one's sacred beliefs.
The implications of explosions in the WTC may be the most grave of all that Americans must face. But I have experienced a similar reluctance to face the issues of the corruption of the electronic voting machines, and the whole program of voter suppression. Why are people reluctant to look at the voluminous evidence? Once again, the implications are absolutely dreadful. I can only assume that is why people are reluctant to even consider it. But obviously, the more staggering the implications are, the more important it is to face them.
There are times when the failure to perceive a threat is itself fatal. I'm afraid that so much of America is in deep denial about the threat from within their own government, that they are completely defenseless. And they would effectively rather die ignorant than face a painful truth. So let's see how it goes. What will survive? Will the Bush-Cheney onslaught against Constitutional rights be sustained? Or will Americans rise up and overthrow this illegitimate grab for power? I'm afraid I see few signs of the necessary fortitude in the American people. I deeply wish I did. But year after year, the country seems to stay in the same trough. The will to stand up and defend the republic seems to be lacking. This just may be America's last stand.
Meanwhile, as we usher in the dictatorship, here are a few more interesting news links.
Jimmy Carter Sounds Off -- AOL Video Fascism: It's Here, What Now? If you've already read this one, maybe it's time to review it. Bernard Weiner, "The 'F'Word and How to Escape From Its Clutches The Crisis Papers Bush Performs "Sunday Bloody Sunday" -- Who better to sing those words? If Bush Told the Truth -- Google Video
October 28, 2006
Rush: The Character Issue -- Rush Limbaugh, this hippo of a man who is trotted out by the right wing to spread the most despicable slanders imaginable, recently made headlines again, this time for attacking Michael J. Fox for faking the symptoms of Parkinson's disease in an ad advocating stem cell research. Forget about kindness or taste, let's just look at the argument and who is making it.
So he's attacking a man reduced to a pitiable state through a horrible disease, who is making a plea for himself and others who may benefit from stem cell research. Rush apparently thinks it is offensive for Fox to hold this point of view, and for some reason he thinks his best argument against the position is to viciously attack the person of Michael J. Fox. He asserts that Fox is faking it! Why anyone would do such a thing is mysterious, how Rush justifies this assertion is also mysterious. But in the infantile logic of the far right, disagreement is a capital offense and no degree of viciousness could ever be too much of a penalty.
So on top of the fact that it's practically unimaginable that someone would go on TV and fake such a thing, we have Rush attacking the integrity of Fox. Fox's integrity has not elsewhere come into question as far as I have noticed. He has no history of crime or dishonesty. Rush on the other hand...
Let's put aside all the lies he tells all the time, the defamation of countless others in the manner of his assault on Michael J. Fox, and the fact that the agenda he serves with his lies is the program of mass murder on false pretensese of the Bush administration. The man who wants you to take his word that Fox has cooked up some monstrous scheme to deceive you into falsely thinking he has Parkinson's disease was busted for buying at least 30,000 oxycontin capsules, "hillbilly heroin" it's called because like heroin it's an opium derivative. Rush is a junky! He was taking 30 a day. He's setting up his maid to get it for him illegally, exchanging cigar boxes of money for cigar boxes of pills in a Denny's parking lot. Okay, this is pathetic, and very definitely criminal. But it would be one thing if Rush was just another pathetic, obese junky. But Rush is a powerful, rich right winger, very important to the Republican cause, and part of his job is to go on the air and advocate that other people who take drugs illegally rot in jail for years for it. It's similar to the Bush/Rove/Cheney types who like to send other people's kids to war, but made sure they never got near one themselves. That Rush is one sick hippo.
And in other news:
Heil Mein Fuhrer! NBC refused to run the ad for Dixie Chicks movie because it's allegedly "disparaging to President Bush". ThinkProgress.org 60 Seconds to Rig -- At the progressivedailybeacon.com under the story about Karl Rove is a video Robert F. Kennedy on the Chris Matthews show talking about the unreliability of voting machines. Government for the Rich -- Bush's economy is only good for the richest, says Molly Ivins. For the rest of us, incomes are stagnant, and education and healthcare costs are skyrocketing. Bye Bye to Freedom of the Press -- The US now ranks 53rd on the World Press Freedom Index. Christian Science Monitor Election 2004 Stolen -- Steven Freeman and Joel Bleifuss on how the numbers don't add up. Seven Stories Press Check this out. For People Who Care About Elections -- Save Our Vote Dot Com Child Slave Labor --I definitely misunderestimated Bush. I could tell he was a scoundrel, it just radiated. I thought he wanted to take the country back to the pre-Vietnam Era and undo all the social progress of the 1960s. I didn't imagine he'd be willing and able to take the country back hundreds of years to before the Magna Carta by negating habeus corpus. Following his lead, the world is rushing backwards toward primitive times with astonishing speed. An article at International Middle East Media Center, reports on "Forced labor for Palestinian children in Israeli prison". It's hideous. Steven King recently put out a message via MoveOn.org, saying, "If I know anything, I know scary. And giving this president and this out-of-control Congress two more years to screw up our future is downright terrifying. Thankfully, this national nightmare is one we can end with--literally--a wake up call." It's not really funny at all to point out that King's stories seem quaintly comforting compared to the reality we now face in the Bush World Order. All for Power -- The New York Times: "The generals who told President Bush before the war that Donald Rumsfeld's shock-and-awe fantasy would not work were not enough to persuade him to change his strategy in Iraq. The rise of the insurgency did not do the trick. Nor did month after month of mounting military and civilian casualties on all sides. So what finally, after all this time, caused Mr. Bush to very publicly consult with his generals to consider a change in tactics in Iraq? The president is worried that his party could lose some of its iron grip on power in the Congressional elections next month." The Unofficial (majority) View -- On Video: 9/11 Discussion with Alex Jones, Webster Tarpley, Steven Jones, James Fetzer and Bob Bowman at the American Scholars Symposium in June '06.
SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES
October 29, 2006
Stay the Course Don't Stay the Course -- After Tony Snow tried to pretend Bush hadn't said "stay the course" about Iraq, or maybe only a few times, Keith Olbermann pulled out some footage to help jog Snow's memory, about 30 repetitions of the nauseating mantra. War is Peace -- As Jon Stewart points out, the beauty of propaganda is that there is no internal logic to violate, so at any moment you can just change reality. The Daily Show on Youtube.com
October 31, 2006The Last Days of the American Republic -- I hear people comment hopefully that the tide is turning in the U.S. and that, for example, the news media are challenging the Bush administration on some things. The most annoying thing about the way the corporate mindless media cover events is that they portray everything as business as usual, as though these battles we see going on in politics are within the normal playing field of American politics with two sides vying to win elections. In actuality, the only really important question is how long until we will be in a full-fledged dictatorship. The pieces are all in place, the laws to invoke martial law and the means to enforce it are all in place, just waiting for the incident that nearly everyone says is inevitable.
This is not politics as usual on the playing field of the American democratic republic. This is the endgame of the corporate dictatorship. The constitution is nullified and the republic is hanging by a thread. The world's great experiment in democracy is on the verge of concluding with a result of failure, and once it goes, it's hard to say who in the world, if anyone, will carry on the tradition.
Baby boomer Americans will have the unique distinction of being the generation who gave up the American Dream for good.
Personally I'm of course profoundly disappointed, but also surprised. When George W. Bush came to office I knew something about the family history. I saw his father champing at the bit to launch one war after the other, the brutal Panama Invasion, the destruction of that country allegedly to catch a drug pusher who used to be a Bush crony. Sound familiar? Then the phony Gulf War. And there was all the Iran Contra crime, the drug running and the secret death squads in Nicaragua and weapons deals with Iran in exchange for money and for holding hostages to destroy Carter's presidency. But the public picked up on the stench of Bush senior and because of an unusually bright politician opposing him, he was kicked out and his lust for war was temporarily frustrated.
So the Bush crime family regrouped and prepared for its takeover, getting Jeb Bush in place in the old Bush Bay of Pigs stomping grounds of Florida, and George W. in charge of Texas. And George W. hooked up with the neocons and mounted a campaign based on the well-crafted myth of the "compassionate conservative". It was easy to see that if the Bush family could get its hands on the controls again they would push for war. But it was just as easy to see that the public was not very keen on war and would have to be pushed.
Like many others, of course, I could see through the compassionate conservative pose, but one thing I did not expect was 9/11. And when that happened they had everything in place to pull off their takeover. They had the military already in place to take Afghanistan. They had the Patriot Act drafted and ready to run through a stunned congress. And here we are five years later. The public is starting to shake off the paralysis of fear. But in most cases Americans have not shaken off the hypnosis of the phony construct presented to them by the corporate media as reality. They believe the game is still being run by the rules of the Constitution by men who respect the Constitution and believe in the oaths they took to support it. In fact, the the Bush/Cheney/Rove types are bent on destruction of that Constitution and the elimination of the inconvenient limits it places on their powers. An unaware public, not informed by its media is a flock of sitting ducks for when the next attack comes. And God knows how much more time we have until it does.
On the administration's latest moves toward martial law, see WarWithoutEnd.co.uk