December 4, 2005

  • Sunday morning TV. John McCain interviewed by Tim Russert on "Meet the Press", lamely playing the Bush apologist: "I still think we did the right thing by going there. Saddam Hussein was trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction..." and blah blah blah. It's so pathetic to see this guy who was a war prisoner himself during the Vietnam War now aiding the chickenhawk administration perpetrate a disastrous, unjustified, idiotic war in Iraq. His presidential ambitions overrule his integrity and even his common sense. He sounds like a moron when he mouths Bush policy. He winces at the sound of his own words because the Bush case is so ridiculous and indefensible.
  • Bush's Obstruction of an Abramoff Investigation -- According to Daily Kos, Bush cut off an investigation of Jack Abramoff in 2002 by firing the prosecutor who was conducting it. And, "Jack Abramoff's own secretary, Susan Ralston, became Karl Rove's Personal Assistant, and that Abramoff said he contacted Rove personally on relieving his client Tyco from having to pay some taxes and still be able to get federal contracts. Abramoff said 'he had contact with Mr. Karl Roveon Tyco."
  • The Fitzgerald probe continues, more testimonies, a new grand jury, and indications Rove's turn may be next. Robert Parry
  • Curling up in a ball -- Good strategy for victory! Maureen Dowd

    December 9, 2005

  • Heroism in Journalism Award -- The Village Voice proves itself to be one of the only mainstream newspapers to have the courage to ask questions about things that defy common sense about what our dear, upstanding, moral, trustworthy government has told us about 9/11.
  • Barbara goes off on Cheney and Rove -- Barbara Bush is not someone you want angry at you. That is one scary mama. But rumors are bouncing around that she's angry at Rove, Cheney, Andrew Card and the others who "handle" her boy for how badly he's doing in the polls. Imagine -- I left you in charge and now look! You know Georgie doesn't know about these things. We trusted you and you let us down! The Washington Note, The Moderate Voice, Buzzflash
  • Oh boy! Fitzgerald back in with a federal grand jury. Yahoo

    December 10, 2005

  • Tis the Season to be as jolly as you can. It is not a peaceful world, but one must steal a little celebration when the occasion permits. So I celebrate, surrounded by the warm reds of Christmas, strong yang energy to balance the yin energy of the coming winter solstice. We celebrate peace and joy and steal ourselves for our work in the new year, throwing off the world fascist movement before it destroys everything we hold dear.

    Though sullied by many of the people who have claimed it as their tradition, Christianity has this about it at its core: It is a belief in hope, a celebration of joy, a proclamation that love can overcome hate and fear, the discovery of forgiveness and tolerance, the possibility of change, rebirth. Never mind the killers and thieves who claim it as their badge of war, like Bush, who use the name as a political tool but don't really believe in any of its elements. The prince of war pretends to follow the Prince of Peace. What a laugh.

  • The Season for Ethnic Bashing -- I thought I might call O'Reilly, that exemplary Christian (not), and propose a boycott of the song "O Holy Night", which is, after all, French. This would be a nice segue from his current campaign against the monsters (terrorists?) who are involved in a massive plot to "de-Christianize" Christmas with those hateful slogans like "Happy Holidays" instead of the correct and Godly "Merry Christmas".

  • Loathsome drug addict/hatemonger Rush Limbaugh expressed his pleasure in the kidnapping of the four members of the Christian Peacemakers Team in Iraq. Is there any bottom for this creep? At the site you can link to the program and listen to fatboy Rush saying, "I'm telling you, folks, there's a part of me that likes this.... Well, here's why I like it. I like any time a bunch of leftist feel-good hand-wringers are shown reality." When you get down to such base expressions of the lowest, cretinous emotions, what is left to defend? What is this great ideology again that all this hatred is allegedly justified by? Limbaugh has laid out clearly the attitudes of the Christian Right to which he is aligned. "Christian" doesn't mean a thing if you don't sign on to our agenda of war. You can call yourself a Christian, but if you go so far as to advocate peace, even so ludicrously far as to reach out to offer some comfort to Iraqis who are being put through hell by the war the U.S. brought to them, then we wish you be kidnapped, tortured and killed. That's the measure of mercy of the great Christian Right.
  • World Hypnosis -- Harold Pinter, receiving his Nobel Prize, said the United States had not only lied to justify waging war against Iraq but had also "supported and in many cases engendered every right-wing military dictatorship" in the last 50 years. "The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them," Pinter said. "You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis."

    December 11, 2005

  • Bush in Freefall -- According to Terence Samuel in the American Prospect, "The holidays are coming, people are not broke and they are feeling pretty good about themselves, and that for the moment may have arrested George W. Bush’s downward spiral in the polls. It’ll be interesting to see how Democrats react to that piece of good news for the Whi

    John Lennon
    October 9, 1940-December 8, 1980:

    25 Years Later:
    Why Did John Lennon Die?
    Who Authorized the Lennon Assassination?

  • Logic w/o Blinders -- On Democracy Now, history professor Jon Wiener discusses Lennon's politics, FBI files and why Nixon tried to deport him. "The U.S. government saw Lennon as such a serious threat that President Nixon attempted to have him deported in 1972. In addition the FBI closely monitored his actions and amassed a file on Lennon of over 400 pages."

    It's Lennon's death day, not his birthday. December 8 was the day he was shot by a broken shell of a human being who dropped into a trained military posture and fired four bullets with deadly accuracy into John Lennon's body. It's worthwhile 25 years after his death to give some thought to how he died, and why he died. Nixon and FBI czar and cross-dresser J. Edgar Hoover thought he was dangerous and put him under 24-hour surveillance, creating a 400-page file that monitored his every move. (See also "Targeting John Lennon" for more on the FBI files on Lennon.)

    Many would acknowledge that such a treatment of John Lennon was a little overboard. But many of those people are too comfortable in their conventional view of life to imagine that the paranoid behavior of the likes of Nixon and Hoover might go one step farther and have Lennon put out of the way for good. Many prefer to think that such men do not exist and such things do not happen, not in America anyway. But those with a sober, mature view of history know that that is the way government works, that is the way power asserts itself. More governments have changed hands through violence than through ballot boxes.

    According to Fenton Bresler, who wrote Who Killed John Lennon?, the detective who spent more time with the assassin immediately following the murder than anyone else, Arthur O'Connor, said, "It is definitely illogical to say that [the assassin] committed the murder to make himself famous. He did not want to talk to the press from the very start. It's possible somebody could have used him. I saw him the night of the murder. I studied him intensely. He looked as if he could have been programmed." (See Who Authorized the Lennon Assassination?. For further consideration see Assassination as a Tool of Fascism by John Judge.)

    December 13, 2005

  • Governor Schwarzenegger could have let the guy live, if he had wanted to. Stanley Tookie Williams, the man on death row, was a Nobel nominee, who wrote children's books warning young people against gang violence, who admitted to being no angel, but swore innocence of the crimes that put him on death row. (New York Times) Witnesses have come forward, Williams' lawyers say, with evidence that shows his innocence. According to Barbara Becnel, an ally of Williams, important new evidence comes from "an unsolicited call that we received from a total stranger, who had read in the newspaper about one of the jailhouse informants that had been used, their testimony had been used against him, and this guy in reading that realized that this was one of his former cell mates in the L.A. County Jail at the same time Stan was there, and he realized that this guy, who had promised to lie and perjure himself on the witness stand in order to lower his own sentence -- he was facing the death penalty for kidnapping, rape, murder and mutilaton -- and because this guy wanted to lower, get off of death row himself, or the potential of landing on death row -- he had not been tried yet -- he had told his cell mate that he was going to make up some lies, and to lower his sentence in order to make up lies against Stan, with the help of representatives of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, feeding him information from Stan's police files." (Democracy Now).

    Was there absolutely no doubt that killing him was the best course? The alternative was life in prison, was that so dangerous for the population? Or was it too expensive to cover his meals? No, it's not that. Schwarzenegger has to send a signal to the big guys that killing doesn't make him squeamish. Otherwise he's no good for operating on a high level of government, where killing is just part of a day's work. Schwarzenegger wants to be seen as a viable candidate, a tough guy. So Williams has to go. I doubt Arnold will lose a lot of sleep over it.

    Taking on an oddly righteous tone for the gangbanging animal we know he is, Schwarzenegger wrote, "Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption." But Williams said he was innocent of the crimes, so apologizing for them would be absurd. I wonder how Schwarzenegger feels about the senseless and brutal killings required to invade and occupy Iraq on false pretenses? Does he think Bush has atoned for his "error"?

  • The Vote Fraud Game Comes Into Focus -- The CEO of the Diebold vote-rigging computers, who once promised publicly to "deliver Ohio" to Bush-Cheney, resigned from the company. It seems to good to be true, but on second thought not surprising that these corrupt bastards can't leave well enough alone with the theft of a few elections. What's power for if you can't steal from the public coffers? They can't help themselves. They eventually push too far till it all blows up in their faces.

    According to Mark Crispin Miller, "O'Dell's resignation comes just days after reports from that the company was facing imminent securities fraud litigation surrounding charges of insider trading. It also comes on the heels of a RAW STORY interview with a Diebold insider, who raised new allegations of technical woes inside the company, as well as concern that Diebold may have mishandled elections in Georgia and Ohio."

    Georgia was where the Republicans beat triple amputee Vietnam war vet Max Cleland by running pictures of him with Osama bin Laden. He was an incumbent, a decorated war hero. Did people really buy the Bin Laden connection and vote him out? It seems unlikely. According to the official results, 60% of the population "live in counties which dramatically shifted partisan loyalties between the primary and general elections." (Baltimore City Paper) There has been serious evidence of vote machine tampering. Perhaps we'll yet see it come out in the open.

  • The Great Helen Thomas wrote a piece on Condoleezza Rice's ridiculous attempts to stonewall questions about torture from high-ranking officials of Europe. "She had hoped to mend relations that have been strained by the U.S. invasion of Iraq," wrote Thomas. "Instead, to her exasperation, she has been hounded with questions about whether the United States has maintained secret prisons in two European nations — as reported by the Washington Post. She has steadfastly refused to answer yes or no, thus providing inadvertent confirmation of the report."

  • Fried Rice -- by Ray McGovern

  • More Reporters on the Bonfire -- Greg Mitchell in Editor & Publisher on the latest Novak's failure to tell her editors about her deep involvement in the Plame leak case for months and months.

    December 14, 2005

    Intellectual Obsequiousness -- I got my five minutes of TV today. I flipped around a few channels and heard some guy reading a newsmagazine essay about Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov. Then suddenly I realize it's a segment within PBS' News Hour with Tom Lehrer. There's Lehrer himself, an earnest look on his face, maybe too earnest. As he continues, it seems not earnest but 'umble, obsequious, groveling... He says "Iraq stepped up its security" heading into the elections. I'm thinking, What do you mean Iraq? Who is that you're talking about. The regime propped up by the Americans? The Iraqi supporters of the occupiers. And are any of the Iraqis really supporters of the American occupation -- really? In their hearts and minds? Then Lehrer goes on. He tells us "Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has warned that there would be increasing violence going into the elections..."

    It's the dutiful expression on his face, the subservient posture that really gets under my skin with these talking heads I think. Why is he repeating Rice's pronouncement as if it's not ridiculous? Is the fact that she has predicted the violence preceding the election supposed to somehow give her credit for the violence, or somehow neutralized the fact that people are killed?

    When he recites her official pronouncement without comment, without comment he transmits the lie underlying her statment. He passes on the lie that somehow this uprising preceding the election is a statement of opposition to democracy, as if some tyrannical power is trying to oppose freedom in Iraq. This is their fantasy scenario, an Lehrer just parrots it as though he were a robot with no will, no independent intelligence.

    Lehrer's passivity reinforces the erroneous notion -- the fantasy -- that the insurgency is resistance to democracy and freedom by people who want to install an autocratic regime. This is Bush's bedtime fairy tale for someone, maybe himself. To an Iraqi it is more like resistance to occupiers, plunderers, killers who are trying to establish a kind of tyranny they call "democracy", but which is really more like Stalinist totalitarianism, or worse.

    No wonder newspapers are laying off thousands and networks are losing their audiences. They are dead. They have no soul, no connection to the people. It's over. The people know that the media are the enemy, some alien force to be very wary of.

  • The Nuspeak of Politics is so deeply ingrained now, that political spokespeople find it difficult to ever tell the truth about enything, or even utter a sensible remark it seems. Ex-president Ford went to the hospital and his spokes people said it was "routine". What kind of a routine is that? Wash your face, brush your teeth, go to the hospital. Okay, don't tell us what is wrong with President Ford. We'll find out soon enough.

    December 15, 2005

    Reality and Myth

    Tonight on WNET Channel 13 in New York a program called The American Experience focused on the World Trade Center, from its beginning to its end. It was a film made after 9/11, with the knowledge of the fact of 9/11. It was a brilliant film, the history was moving and fascinating. But it crashed into the incomprehensible official story of how it happened. It covered the facts closely, but somehow avoids confronting the paradoxes, the unexplainable aspects of the official story. These are gone into at length on many research sites and do not need to be rehashed every time the subject comes up. But for me, the research has convinced me that the towers could not have been destroyed the way they were by those two planes and the burning office material that was all that continued burning after the initial explosion burned almost all the jet fuel. Once you've seen that, you cannot re-enter the other zone. But here you see these layers of history being built upon these misconceptions -- lies that have solidified into myth. It makes you wonder how many myths are built into our history, the collective human history.

    For me just the fact that the lie stands is in itself very painful, independently of the immense human tragedy of that day. The fact that those buildings must bear the blame for being so badly conceived and constructive, that a cool fire of office equipment for an hour or so would cause the whole thing to come collapsing perfectly into a dusty hole in the ground -- when it's not true. The idea that buildings should not be built that tall anymore because it's not safe, when it's not true, is to build limitations into our conceptions of what we are and what we can be that are not based on lies. That's the signature of the Bush administration. The weakening and diminishing of the American people through fear and lies. The people who try to stop the teaching of evolution science in school, are leading a de-evolution of humankind.

    It's very sad. No one can bring the World Trade Center back, or all the people who were killed there. No one can restore the innocence that was lost forever there. But by facing the real truth of everything that happened that day, by rising above the state-media perpetuated myths, we can be strengthened by it. We can gain back something of what we have lost.

    December 17, 2005

  • Shot Down -- Bad news for Bush is good news for America. The Senate refused to extend the sunset provisions of the Patriot Act. [Chicago Sun Times, Detroit Free Press, London Free Press] That's incredibly good news. "In a stinging defeat for President Bush..." Some very glum looking Republicans lately. They can't hide it in their wax faces.

    In an America that has lain supine for five years, this is a very good sign. A nod from the comatose body politic. These good signs are only a slight and very delayed reaction to an ongoing flood of abuses since the Bushovites seized power in the U.S. five years ago, bringing the country a bit closer every day to disaster, adding one disgrace upon another, shame, shame, shame, until Americans are letting their president so-called resist a legislative affirmation of a principle that is already clearly the law and custom of the land, a prohibition of torture, of cruel and inhumane practices. Bush, in case you weren't listening is for them.

    It's the maximum force of the constant outrage that has in the past succeeded in shocking and numbing the population beyond the capacity to respond. But we are seeing the rallying of anti-Bush forces. It's been showing itself reassuringly for a while now. Though the anti-Bush motion wanes cyclically, it continues to reassert itself. One can never relax when dealing with the Cheneyverts, but it would look pretty grim seen from the other direction.

    It's only the extreme degree of the outrages that makes any reaction possible. Bush can't keep a story straight for five minutes straight, but the evil empire doesn't want to make sense. That is part of the way it maintains control, by a total assault on the very comprehensibility of the public dialogue. So Bush often reiterates his alleged policy that the U.S. does not condone torture. At the same time he fights like a mad dog against the legislature stating that policy in a law. The Geneva Conventions outlaw torture explicitly and the Bushites may call the document "quaint" and inadequate to "the war on terror", but it is still the law of the land. No new law is necessary to outlaw torture.

    The totalitarians use conflicting signals -- SIT DOWN! STAND UP! -- to paralyze the population and make it pliant. It's worked so well. But it's great to see sustained pressure finally taking form against the administration. It seems that a silent majority is coming to grips with the realization that their America is slipping away very rapidly and being supplanted by a monstrous corporate military dictatorship. All the worst elements of American historical character manifesting, coming to flower.

    Now the Bush administration is constantly on the defensive. With an aggressive, deadly organization like the Bush administration, having it on the defensive is the only way to tie up its aggressive tendencies in a relatively safe way.

    The outrages have been ongoing and constant for years. The reactions are just getting going. As someone told me last night, "I will not live to see the damage of this administration repaired." Very sad, and with a stunning ring of truth.

    Arlen Spector (historically a creepy oligarchist who has the unique distinction of having invented the Magic Bullet Theory that made it possible for the government to pretend Kennedy was killed by a lone nut with no purpose and no allies) is now the very voice of moderation and rationality in comparison to the BushCheneycrats. He's now saying the judiciary committee will investigate Bush's illegal authorization of spying and bugging without court authorization.

  • Die Diebold! More good news, the top election official in Tallahassee, Florida, is onto Diebold, says the infamous voting machines have failed repeated tests to demonstrate their security against fraud.

    "That's kind of scary," he said. "If there's no paper trail, you have to rely solely on electronic results. And now we know that they can be manipulated under the right conditions, without a person even leaving a fingerprint.'' The toothpaste is coming out of the tube of electronic voter fraud.

  • Bumbling Bush issued an absurd pronouncement of Tom Delay's innocence, which prompted some uncharacteristically alert press people to say, If you can comment on this ongoing court proceeding, then you can't anymore maintain that you cannot comment on the CIA leak case. You can't hide behind that anymore. (Forbes)
  • And speaking of Delay, his lawyers are playing some hilarious word games. Jim Hightower writes, "But wait, DeLay’s lawyers now cry—it all depends on what the word 'is' is. First, they tried to claim that the state’s anti-money-laundering law applied to 'money' as in cash—not checks. But these sharpies missed the fact that the legislature had amended the law some time back to make it apply explicitly to checks, so this ploy didn’t wash. OK, said Tom’s legal beagles, but what about this? The checks sent to Texas were not the exact same checks received from the corporations, so ergo, ipso facto, and mumbo jumbo—no crime occurred. Gosh, now there’s a twisted interpretation of money laundering that the drug cartel would love to have!"
  • Old News -- The New York Times bombshell that Bush authorizes illegal spying on U.S. citizens was kept under wraps for a year by the paper itself under pressure from the White House. Think of it. For a year they've had that story. What were you doing a year ago? ("Washington Post)
  • No election under the occupation will be credible, says Harith al-Dari in The Guardian
  • Meanwhile, the slime that first revealed the CIA agent's identity to the public, says, "I'm confident the president knows who the source [of the leak] is. I'd be amazed if he doesn't. So I say, don't bug me. Don't bug (Washington Post reporter) Bob Woodward. Bug the president as to whether he should reveal who the source is." (Reuters)
  • Further Down the Toilet -- And Novak is moving from CNN to Fox. (Editor & Publisher)


    December 18, 2005

    Some reports and commentary this weekend worthy of passing on:

  • The Bush Mafia -- Noam Chomsky reflects on the CIA leak case and says, "Putting aside our own attitude towards the executive branch and what it does with the CIA as its instrument, it’s of interest to observe what leaking the name tells us about the mentality of the radical reactionary nationalists of the Bush administration. From their point of view, punishing minor disobedience is more important than preserving the capabilities of the CIA. That reveals a deeply fascist streak, or perhaps more accurately, a Mafia-style mentality. This is one of only many examples." But the Mafia don't go after the women of the people they have a vendetta against.
  • President Amuck -- The New York Times writes on its editorial page, "Americans expected some reasonable and carefully measured trade-offs between security and civil liberties. They trusted their elected leaders to follow long-established democratic and legal principles and to make any changes in the light of day. But President Bush had other ideas. He secretly and recklessly expanded the government's powers in dangerous and unnecessary ways that eroded civil liberties and may also have violated the law." Why, then, did the Times sit on the story for a year?
  • Yeah, What Of It? Bush, however, admits he's been spying on Americans illegally and fully intends to continue. LA Times
  • Angry Reaction to Domestic Spying Case from Congress -- Washington Post
  • Karl, Here Comes the Man -- Fitzgerald may be handing down an indictment of Karl Rove as soon as next week, according to sources familiar with the case. Jason Leopold
  • Caught -- Why Rove's story doesn't make sense. Slate. Rove's current predicament is a classic study in character and fate. If a man lives by using lies to exercise mercilessly aggressive and destructive power against his enemies, is it inevitable that he will eventually go too far, trip himself up and get caught in the web of his own lies? We shall see.
  • Americans in Peril -- Buzzflash explicitly makes a case that should be obvious enough: "Every Day Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are in Office, Our Lives and the Lives of Our Loved Ones are Increasingly at Risk". For example: "Evidence Fact Number One: Bush and Rice were warned in August of 2001 that Al-Qaeda was planning imminent hijackings in the United States -- in fact that was the title of the "eyes only" presidential briefing paper given to Rice and Bush -- but they did nothing -- we repeat, nothing -- to prevent hijackings in our nation. Could they have prevented 9/11 by taking aggressive action to prevent hijackings? Yes, they very well could have. But, Bush went on a vacation for a month and Rice boned up on her survival skills in living in a parallel universe. Then 9/11 happened and Bush reacted by reading a book about a pet goat."
  • "The War is Coming Home," writes Richard Reeves. Surveys taken by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press in collaboration with the Council on Foreign Affairs in New York show Americans show many striking and disturbing trends, including that 66% see America as "less respected" than before and see the war in Iraq as the reason. Meanwhile, as the government squanders the country's resources in pursuit of its grand geopolitical exploits, Americans themselves are wishing it would pay some attention to their actual welfare. "Only 44% see free-trade agreements, particularly the North American Free Trade Agreement, as being good for the United States, and 84%, statistically just about everyone, agreed with the statement that protection of American jobs should be a major and long-term objective of American policy. Pluralities of both the public and influentials results listed 'luck' as the major reason there has not been a major terrorist incident in the country since Sept. 11." The bottom line of all these numerical trends, Reeves says, is "the most important reason for getting American troops out of Iraq as soon as possible is not what is happening on the ground there but what is happening here at home. Good or bad, successful or a disaster, the war is beginning to tear apart our country."
  • Brain Drain -- The university system has fallen into dysfunction. "According to a shocking new federal report, just 25 percent of new grads are proficiently literate."

    December 19, 2005

    The President's Speech. Please mix me a stiff drink. What madness! By now we are so far off in fantasyland it's hard to make any sense of anything happening. Does anyone believe George Bush's speech? Do people believe that he is bringing democracy and freedom to Iraq and that's what this is all about? The discussion on CNN after the speech on Larry King with Republican Senator Lindsay Graham and Democratic Senator Joe Biden gets one no closer to reality. They are still keeping their discussion entirely within the fantasy defined by George W. Bush. It's all imaginary. The opposition does not oppose. It brings no cogent objection to the policy. Lunatics leading the blind. God help the U.S.A.

    December 21, 2005

    City at a Standstill

    Today is the solstice. The big news in New York, of course, is the transit strike that has brought the city to its knees. How could any story supercede that one?

    I don't know all the details of the negotiations. I heard that the union was being pushed to give up some health benefits for the new members coming up now. They were being asked by the Metropolitan Transit Authority to roll back some of the benefits for workers of the future. But the decision makers of today were not going to be touched. Just collaborate with us on screwing those who come after you and we'll take care of you now. It's a pretty appealing proposition.

    But the union is standing against that. Perhaps there is some corruption in the union, perhaps its motives aren't pure. Perhaps these workers really have it better than the majority of workers in any job. There are so many reasons to discount their cause, discredit it, disregard it.

    The corporate media system is so sophisticated at persuasion, advertising, PR, mind control, that it can convince most people to vote against their own interests. The middle class, under whom the carpet is being pulled now, still identifies with and supports the actions of the wealthy elite, which is now putting the screws to it, much as the Bush administration has done to its guests in Guantanamo, Abu Graib and the many mysterious secret prisons in Europe. I hear people say, "There are many unions who have had to give up much more than this union was asked to give up. Asking people to pitch in on their health insurance in this day and age is not a big thing. I don't think they are going to get a lot of sympathy on that."

    I hear that and I know the speaker has been watching TV. Americans been pounded with this point of view so much they think it is only right. The unionists -- they are deviants! How can they want so much when the rest of us have given up so much?...

    But I think it's important for organized labor to take a stand somewhere, and where better than here? Against a government entity that is sitting on a surplus. The head of the government is Michael Bloomberg, who's basically an okay guy but he's a Republican, and that means he is implicitly a supporter of Bush and the Bush policies that are breaking this country, both economically and morally. If he has not supported the policies, he has done nothing to register his opinion. Millions -- billions! -- are being shoveled out of the public funds to the president's cronies through no-bid contracts, billions funneled into the hands of the president's contributors, the rich corporations, the well-funded lobbies, billions into the absurd war effort. And when there is no money, allegedly, it always falls on the working people to make more concessions. They are asking these people to move backwards in terms of their healthcare, and this from a government entity, not a struggling private business. Are the CEOs willing to move backward?

    Meanwhile Bloomberg and the governing class are not forced to face the issues that are systemic and are destroying the quality of life for Americans, the consequences of the policies that tacitly approve of. We will continue to take money, healthcare, benefits from the people on the low end of the rung and not address the issues of the plutocracy, how the powerful lobbies like the healthcare industry can rig things to avoid taxes, avoid regulation, make the legislature invoke protectionist measures against drugs from Canada to protect their profits at our expense.

    I heard one of the union people at a press conference say, "What happens here is important for all working Americans. It's important for you, the reporters, too because when do you think the corporations you work for will take your pensions, because you know that is what is happening all across America."

    Things have gotten so bad in America, that when an airline is going bankrupt and can't pay its bills, it merely steals the pensions its workers have built up with decades of dedicated work. And the court system allows them to do it. Rob the middle class people in order to pay the big banks, the debtors of the poorly run corporation, a corporation run by a CEO who pocketed millions while he was running the company down. That has become the climate in America. People don't even fight back. They just let the corporations continue to steal more from people. As long as it appears to be someone else who gets the brunt of it.

    So I support the strikers. I support their efforts, their courage, their sacrifice. It's time labor stood up again to the big corporations who run the country.

    To me you can't separate the budget issues at the heart of this strike from the federal issues that are squandering the resources of this country for the enrichment of a few and the fantasies of a deranged cabal that thinks it can rule the world. If Bloomberg says the money isn't there to maintain the standard of living of the past for the transit workers, then lets look at where the money went. What policies were responsible for taking the money that might have supported the transit system? Why didn't Bloomberg stand up for New York against the government that is robbing from all the working people? Bloomberg must declare where his allegiance lies. Will he support the Republican party even as it screws the city for which he has responsibility?

    The money to fuel our healthcare system, to maintain our lives and our world went to Iraq, went to corruption, went to no-bid contracts, went to corrupt politicians.

    I remember a transit strike in 1980 and I found it exhilarating. Everything was different; people adapted. People walked. It was quiet. The change of routine was novel. The inconvenience is pretty minor compared to 9/11, for example, or what is going on in Baghdad.


  • Judicial Rebellion -- A series of rebukes of the Bush administration's grabs for power. Common Dreams
  • Slimeball -- Joseph Wilson says Novak probably "sang like a canary" to Pat Fitzgerald. And Scooter Libby is a "slimeball". "[Judith Miller] spent 85 days in jail because Lewis Libby was too cowardly to step forward and accept responsibility for his own actions. This is a man who has the title of ‘Assistant to the President of the United States.’ This is a man who swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. He is now being accused of impeding a federal [grand jury] investigation. That is in and of itself a violation of his oath of office. I find him [Libby] really a slime ball. The fact that he would allow, that he would go, first of all, after my wife, and then allow Judy Miller to spend 85 days in jail, and then, now, he says he want to clear his good name. This is a serial abuser...” Baltimore Chronicle
  • Majority Favor Impeachment -- In MSNBC online poll 85% say Bush should be impeached.
  • Impeachment no longer an impossibility -- James Ridgeway at the Village Voice
  • Remembering Criminal Government Acts -- Good time to recall when the FBI told Martin Luther King it would release its eavesdropping recordings if he didn't commit suicide. AlterNet

    December 24, 2005

  • Coup -- The White House wants to push Padilla case to supreme court so its buddies can give Bush ultimate power over every citizen. Washington Post
  • The Banality of Evil -- Buzzflahs makes an on-the-money evaluation of the present tendency of the corporate media to try to push us back into a "normalcy" mode.
  • Pinochet booked for murder -- Hurray!! His lawyer calls it "an affront to the former president", who took power by force and killed thousands of people, turned a democracy into a primitive dictatorship, with the help of Kissinger and Nixon. Yahoo
  • Legal Crossroads -- ACLU ad -- He lied
  • The Logical Conclusion: Molly Ivins: Bush's illegal wiretapping: "Either the president of the United States is going to have to understand and admit he has done something very wrong, or he will have to be impeached."

    December 24, 2005

    Happy Christmas! God bless us everyone! Christmas, by the way, is for anyone who wants it. It's not just about Christians. It's certainly not just for the kinds of militant Christian rightists so prominent in American politics these days. In spite of that lunatic O'Reilly's attempts to make it strictly a Christian (as he defines Christian) event, it's actually an amalgamation of many different cultures, Christian as well as pagan. When you throw in Kwaanza and Hanukkah, it's really the great festival of the season that we celebrate. It's multicultural and both secular and spiritual, even commercial.

    Admonishments from the Amoral -- Hearing Bloomberg and Pataki self-righteously railing about the "selfish and illegal" strike just didn't ring with much truth or authority -- not when only a few days before these Republicans' leader George Bush was flaunting defiantly his intention to go right ahead breaking the law and wiretapping anyone he damn well pleases, as he admittedly had been doing for the last few years. This in itself, as bad as it is, is much less of a crime than Bush's flaunting of larger international laws, laws against aggression against defenseless countries, torture, illegal search and seizure.

    The Republicans have no moral authority, period. That's over. And it's just and right that people would no longer invest them with moral authority -- the only sane reaction to someone who lies is to expect them to lie. But it is a problem for the country because the country does need leaders.

    What makes the strike illegal, or what justifies their assertion that it is is the Taylor Act, which makes it illegal for government workers to strike. But the Taylor Act also makes it illegal for management to alter pension agreements without the consent of the legislature. So the legality of the strike was not so black and white as those guys would like you to think.

    It's good that the strike is over so a lot of people don't have to suffer for lack of transportation. Now let's see what happens next. Did the strike serve to bring enough attention to the issues that it will force the MTA to behave in a way that stands up to public scrutiny? Let's see.

    Meanwhile, the strike was a milestone for a labor movement that has been comatose for a generation or two. The widespread thievery, literally, of corporate America -- including judges who enable corporations to steal their employees' pensions in order to pay Boeing, or whatever other large corporations are recognized as "debtors", and CEOs who pocket millions while their employees are laid off or forced to take reductions in pay and benefits -- has gone far enough.

    December 29, 2005

    Christmas is over, and the crop of Christmas movies are over, with Dick Cheney as Old Man Potter in It's a Wonderful Life, and performing beautifully as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, his best role since he played Dr. Evil.
  • Small Dose of Justice -- Things heating up a bit for Ken Lay and the top brass at the giant ripoff corporation Enron after its former top accountant pleaded guilty to fraud and is cooperating with prosecutors. Monsters and Critics

    New Year's Eve
    December 31, 2005

  • Auld Lang Syne for 9/11 -- Bud McClure: "I want to start the New Year by proposing that we remove the term 9/11 from our vocabulary and let the people who were killed in that tragic event rest in peace. Since September 11, 2001, 9/11 has become the ubiquitous term for everything that has gone wrong in the 21st century.... Unfortunately for the world, as events have confirmed, we had the wrong man in office at the wrong time on that September day in 2001. While the smoke was still billowing from the ashes of the Two Towers we chose the wrong path for humanity, and the right one for the weapons manufacturers, the defense contractors, and the warlords." Commondreams
  • Impeachment Buzz -- "Why is it that Republicans, somberly intoning about the 'rule of law,' could muster the political will to impeach a President over a semen-stained dress, but impeachment based on misleading the country into war and illegal wiretapping is beyond the pale? Were ClintonÕs lies about his affair with a White House intern of graver national significance? Were the legal grounds for impeachment more solid? Of course not... But the political atmosphere is changing... The case for impeaching President Bush has grown more compelling over the last year, as evidence emerged that the President lied about IraqÕs weapons of mass destruction, systematically disregarded laws protecting human rights abroad and civil rights at home in the name of the 'war on terror,' and, most recently, conducted a secret, illegal wiretapping program that targets American citizens." The Progressive
  • The Bush Family Coup -- The elite drive for autocratic power. Village Voice
  • The Dream Is Over -- The American Dream, apparently, is done. "It struck me as a sad irony that Jefferson's America overthrew the tyranny of King George III, overthrew his oppressive society ruled by men and not by laws. But then, just 230 years later, another tyranny imperceptibly returns as another George dismisses Jefferson's grand Constitutional dream with a simple smirk - and in doing so declares himself King." Commondreams
  • The Republican Crackup -- In These Times

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