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Neo-Cons Are Thrilled:-- Two (2) Million To Lose Unemployment Benefits ...
01.31.04 (4:39 pm)   [edit]
[b]Is this really the kind of society that "We the People" want to leave to future generations??? ... A callous, barbaric, neo-feudal slave state resulting in the largest Gap between the [i]Hyper-Rich-Haves [/i]and the [i]Impoverished-Slavish-Have-Nots [/i] since the Great Depression ... and a return to [i]SLAVERY[/i] in the American 3rd World Country of Tomorrow ... [/b]

Of course, the neo-con, neo-fascist thugs & goons in the Corporate-[i]Bought-and-Paid-for [/i]Bush regime must be thrilled, as they continue to [i]celebrate in a drunken riotous rage of ecstasy [/i]over their diminishing GDP-- that[i] isn't [/i]helping most Americans [i](the so-called growth is generating profits funnelled into the pockets of gluttonous corporate robber-barons who are raping our working people and society, senseless ...)[/i] while over 3.3 million citizens are homeless, over 9-15 million citizens are without jobs [i](Dubya's economic fiasco destroyed 3.3 million jobs ... Clinton's economy created over 22 million jobs ...)[/i], over 25 million families live below the poverty line, over 45 million citizens are without health care ... the crime rate is skyrocketing ... and the misery and suffering continues ...

[b]Two (2) Million To Lose Unemployment Benefits[/b]:

The [i][b]Center on Budget and Policy Priorities [/b][/i]is calculating that a record high 375,000 jobless workers will exhaust their unemployment insurance benefits this month. An estimated 2 million workers will lose benefits over the first six months of the year.


DemocracyNOW, 01/30/04 on

Secrecy as Policy ... And "Secretive Regimes That Want To Deceive" ...
01.31.04 (12:27 pm)   [edit]
"[i]When you are dealing with secretive regimes that want to deceive, you’re never going to be able to be positive [/i]..." - Condi Rice, 01/29/04,

"[i]George W. Bush's presidency has been characterized by a zeal for secrecy, an unrelenting push to stem the free flow of information[/i]." - Charles Lewis,

[b]It is any wonder that the entire planet is terrified of the neo-con terrorists in the Bush regime, the big bullies [i]on the block [/i]who are terrorizing the world community? ... [/b]The corrupt Bush/Cheney Inc [i]junta[/i] is the most dangerous terrorist threat to the world today because they have under their control the largest stockpiles of WMDs known to mankind and they [i]lust[/i] to use their massive weaponry again, following Iraq, in their insane plans to invade Pakistan, Syria, Iran, North Korea and anyone else they unilaterally choose to subdue in order to flex their muscles ([i]instead of their miniscule brains[/i]) and in their grab for global power & vast wealth ... Bush has the world's largest stockpiles of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons at his disposal and his neo-fascist side-kicks including Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice & Rove have made it clear that they'll [i]use 'em [/i]... They can hardly wait to [i]use 'em [/i] ([i]'cause diplomacy takes brains ... whereas brute force is easy when you're not terribly bright & are safe-and-sound in the bosom of armed-guards far from the action![/i] ...) ... Oh, won't that make Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, Lockheed-Martin, the Defense Contractors, Big Oil and the Military Industrial Complex [i]thrilled [/i]and [i]tickled-pink[/i]!

The neo-imperial Bush regime has betrayed our nation by ignorning warnings prior to 9/11 that may well have prevented that tragedy, and subsequently launching their neo-con pre-emptive invasion of Iraq that was illegal and immoral, given that Iraq didn't threaten us and was co-operating with the U.N. Inspections ([i]by the way, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 either, nor did they have those neo-orwellian fabrications:-- WMDs [/i]...) ... Now Bush refuses to handover papers revealing what he was told about security threats in the days leading-up to 9/11 ... Moreover, he is refusing to support an independent probe into the lies, deceptions and falsehoods that were propagated upon us regarding the non-existent WMDs in Iraq, supposedly posing an imminent threat to our national security, the Bush regime's [i]casus belli [/i]for their insane neo-fascist war. Instead, Bush simply continues to [i]smirk and simper [/i]his [i]imbecilic smile [/i]that makes any intelligent person [i]sick at heart [/i]and [i]sick to the stomach[/i]!

Bush's refusal to co-operate with the 9/11 investigative committee [i]and[/i] his refusal to demand an independent probe into the Iraqi WMDs [i]cock-up, [/i]both demonstrate his corruption and his negligence, and are sufficient grounds to demand that Congress finally do its duty and call for impeachment hearings to remove Bush and his corrupt cabal of neo-con thugs & goons from office.

Consider also "[b]Secrecy as Policy[/b]" by [i]Charles Lewis[/i], The Center for Public Integrity , in an excerpt from his book "[i]The Buying of the President 2004[/i]" on :

George W. Bush's presidency has been characterized by a zeal for secrecy, an unrelenting push to stem the free flow of information.

One particularly notable example has been the Administration's effort to undermine the Freedom of Information Act, the 1966 law that grants citizens access – although with some exceptions – to federal agency records. By statute, government FOIA officers may withhold records dealing with classified national security information, trade secrets, personnel or medical issues, and a handful of other matters – decisions that in each case are left to an official's own discretion (although those denied the requested information may appeal). In October 1993, to better standardize the process and create more openness in government, Attorney General Janet Reno dispatched a memorandum revamping the way the Act would be administered; from now on, the memo directed, FOIA officers should "apply a presumption of disclosure." To drive home the point, Reno decreed that, in the event of FOIA-related litigation, the Justice Department would no longer defend an agency's withholding of information merely because there was a "substantial legal basis" for doing so. "Where an item of information might technically or arguably fall within an exemption," she added, "it ought not to be withheld from a FOIA requester unless it need be."

But eight years later, in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, Reno's successor renounced that presumption of disclosure. In a memo to the heads of federal departments and agencies, Attorney General John Ashcroft decreed that a well-informed citizenry may be vital to government oversight, but not at the expense of undermining national security. "Any discretionary decision by your agency to disclose information protected under the FOIA should be made only after full and deliberate consideration of the institutional, commercial, and personal privacy interests that could be implicated by disclosure of the information," he wrote. And unlike Reno, whose policies engendered more government in the sunshine, Ashcroft promised legal cover for agencies coming down on the side of non-disclosure. "When you carefully consider FOIA requests and decide to withhold records, in whole or in part, you can be assured that the Department of Justice will defend your decisions unless they lack a sound legal basis or present an unwarranted risk of adverse impact on the ability of other agencies to protect other important records," his memo added. In other words, Justice would bow out of litigation only if its participation might subsequently imperil the government's ability to withhold other information.

While 9/11 was the presumed catalyst for the revamped FOIA guidelines, the policy change was actually in keeping with Bush's historical aversion to the release of government papers. In 1997, for example, Bush successfully championed legislation that allowed the governor of Texas to designate an in-state university or alternate institution, in lieu of the Texas State Library and Archives, as the repository for his or her papers. And he later exploited the law by ordering that his own gubernatorial papers be deposited in the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, at Texas A&M University, which is home to his father's executive records.

At the time, the shipment of Bush's documents received scant attention. But the relocation effort later generated consternation among reporters, historians, researchers, and others seeking access to the eighteen hundred boxes of not-yet-cataloged papers. The reason: because records at the presidential library are under the jurisdiction of the National Archives and Records Administration, which is a federal agency, there was confusion whether release of the younger Bush's papers was bound by the federal Freedom of Information Act or the Texas Public Information Act, which mandates a much speedier response time for requested records.

Bush's attorney denied that the move reflected a desire to restrict public access to the papers. And in an interview with the Center, Chris LaPlante, the state archivist, also dismissed the conspiratorial claims of open-government activists: He and his colleagues, he said, knew that the governor's papers were destined for an alternate repository, and they assumed that the Bush library staff were equipped to deal with the documents. But Bush's action nonetheless imposed weeks-long, even months-long delays on the release of documents. And it left consumer advocacy organizations such as Public Citizen grumbling that the departed Texas governor lacked the legal authority to give away state records or place them beyond the reach of the state's open-records law. In May 2002, following protracted legal wrangling, Texas Attorney General John Cornyn agreed. He ruled that the disputed papers were indeed state property, and therefore subject to the Texas open-records law.

But while Texans earned easier access to some historical records, the public at large was being saddled with a variety of new impediments to an open federal government. To wit:

On November 1, 2001, President Bush signed Executive Order 13233, not-so-aptly titled "Further Implementation of the Presidential Records Act." In truth, the executive order actually overrides the 1978 Presidential Records Act, the Watergate-inspired edict which stipulated that the papers of presidents and vice-presidents would be made available to the public twelve years after their leaving office. Under Bush's plan, however, former presidents or their heirs may veto the release of their presidential papers, as may the sitting president – a decision that vested George W. Bush with the authority to block release of his father's papers, for example, or even those of Bill Clinton. Bush's order drew fervent bipartisan condemnation on Capitol Hill (although not enough to force reinstatement of the '78 Act), and it particularly rankled librarians and historians. The comments of Steven Hensen, president of the Society of American Archivists, were typical. Writing in the Washington Post, he asked: "How can a democratic people have confidence in elected officials who hide the records of their actions from public view?"

Following the September 11th terrorist attacks, the Bush Administration encouraged federal agencies to purge a wide array of potentially sensitive data from their Web sites – a decree that, for a time, removed the entire online presence of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and which ultimately resulted in hundreds of thousands of pages being deleted from sites maintained by the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Archives and Records Administration, and other federal entities. "It is no longer possible for families and communities to get data critical to protecting themselves – information such as pipeline maps (that show where they are and whether they have been inspected), airport safety data, environmental data, and even documents that are widely available on private sites today were removed from government sites and have not reappeared," OMB Watch, which for two decades has been chronicling the activities of the Office of Management and Budget, noted in a paper released in October 2002.

On March 25, 2003, President Bush signed an order that postponed, by three years, the release of millions of twenty-five-year-old documents slated for automatic declassification the following month. What's more, Executive Order 13292, which amended a Clinton Administration order, granted FOIA officers wider latitude to reclassify information that had already been declassified, and further eliminated a provision that instructed them not to classify information if there was "significant doubt" about the need to do so. While President Bush maintained that the order balanced national security with open government, some were not convinced. For example, the Washington Post quoted Thomas Blanton, executive director of the nonprofit National Security Archive, as saying that the order sends "one more signal from on high to the bureaucracy to slow down, stall, withhold, stonewall."

When the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press surveyed the post-September 11th landscape, the First Amendment watchdog concluded that the government had embarked on "an unprecedented path of secrecy" that stifled the press' and the public's right to know. Among the reporters ensnared by the government's flight from the traditional culture of openness is John Solomon, deputy bureau chief of the Associated Press. Solomon, who works out of the Washington, D.C. bureau, was twice victimized. In one incident, a package sent by Federal Express to Solomon from another AP bureau was intercepted by the U.S. Customs Service and forwarded to the FBI, where its contents – an eight-year-old, unclassified Bureau lab report previously made public in a court case – were seized and withheld for seven months. In a previous incident, the Justice Department subpoenaed Solomon's home phone records in an attempt to unearth his confidential source for a wire service story. Solomon, who only learned about the subpoena months later, told the Center it's his understanding that the traditional practice of subpoenaing reporters as an absolute last resort in a "leaks" investigation is no longer the department's modus operandi. "I'm not quite sure it's gotten the public attention it deserves," Solomon told the Center. "I don't think the profession has realized the importance of the change of standards that has occurred as a result of my case."

[b]Other Sources[/b]:

"The Mirror Has Two Faces" by Maureen Dowd on

"Blair's case for war built on sand - now it's shifting" on

"White House Holding Notes Taken by 9/11 Commission:-- Panel May Subpoena Its Summaries of Bush Briefings" on


"Bush 'No' to WMD intelligence probe call" on

Paying For Politics:-- Corporate Fascism ...
01.31.04 (10:22 am)   [edit]
"[i]The Presidency of the United States was an office neither to be sought nor declined. To pay money for securing it directly or indirectly, was in my opinion incorrect in principle[/i]." --John Quincy Adams, 1828

[b]"We the People" should be very, very, very concerned and be prepared to take action [i]now[/i]: Corporations and big monied interests have established a vast infrastructure of powerful lobbyists, corporate propagandists, and immoral ([i]and possibly illegal[/i]) funds transfer mechanisms & companies, all used in order to [i]buy-n-pay-for [/i]our government in the most arrogant abuse of power and theft of our country for private interests, not seen in this nation, since the 1920s just prior to the Great Depression.[/b]

The Age of Corporate Fascism is upon us, and we are tragically witness to the most obsene prostitution of corrupt and criminal political whores, particulary the Bush regime, who are prepared to[i] sell [/i]our nation out to the [i]highest bidder[/i]. This used to be called TREASON. It still is TREASON under the U.S. Constitution-- however, these Corporate Fascists have installed their traitorous sluts in all three arms of our government: In the Supreme Court, we have Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas-- who betray our nation in return for jobs for their [i]not-too-bright [/i]and[i] criminal [/i]off-spring ... In Congress, particuarly among the GOP, we have many incumbents including DeLay, Lott, Hastert, and other political hacks willing to bribe, intimidate and punish anyone who[i] stands-up [/i]for the American people-- these traitors let Corporations write the legislative bills that harm and embezzle Americans in their heinous grab for infinite power and vast riches ... In the White House, we've been saddled with the most corrupt regime in our nation's history, the neo-con, neo-fascist Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta[/i] who have massacred tens of thousands of human beings in their illegal & immoral neo-nazi grab for OIL and moreover they've let their corporate pimps [i]define our foreign, domestic and economic policies [/i]...

We are embroiled in fiascos abroad [i]and[/i] at home resulting in the largest swindle & scam in the history of our nation, whereby the U.S. Treasury's Taxpayer Dollars are being re-distributed to Corporations, Corporate Looters & Thieves, the Filthy Rich Oligarchs & Plutocrats, who have [i]hijacked[/i] our nation ... It is time to contact Congress and demand that Bush be impeached for his horrendous [i]Crimes Against Humanity [/i]... It [i]can be accomplished [/i]because his lies, deceptions and falsehoods perpetrated upon our nation to lead us into war, is a[i] crime of treason [/i]under the U.S. Constitution!

Let us take our nation back from these [i]corporate-take-all[/i] fascists and fulfill the promise of our Founding Fathers to promote the [i]General Welfare of All [/i]and to provide [i]Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness for All [/i]([i]and not just for the gluttonous rich and the corrupt powerful corporate robber-barons [/i]...)!

Visit the[i] NOW With Bill Moyers [/i]web-site topic entitled "[i][b]Paying for Politics[/b][/i]" on and peruse some of the facts and figures regarding the fascism that is corrupting our nation:

"[i]The Presidency of the United States was an office neither to be sought nor declined. To pay money for securing it directly or indirectly, was in my opinion incorrect in principle[/i]." --John Quincy Adams, 1828

Fine sentiments from the sixth president of the United States, a man not without significant familiar and financial influence going in to his own race for the White House. According to federal government historians money has played a role in since the earliest days of the nation. However, it has been in since 1960 that money spent on campaigns has begun to increase dramatically. Find out more about how much money is flowing into the system below.

[b]The ECONOMIST estimates that in the national election cycle of 2000 over $3 billion was spent on presidential and congressional races. Totals for the 2004 cycle are expected to rise significantly[/b].

[i]More on [/i]>>

TAKE ACTION NOW:-- Vote To Impeach George W. Bush!!!
01.30.04 (4:17 pm)   [edit]

Vote To Impeach George W. Bush on !!![/b]

The situation [i]in Iraq is dire [/i]with 520 US Soldiers and Tens of Thousands of Innocent Iraqi Civilians massacred on the basis of a false pretext including a series of despicable lies, deceptions and falsehoods propagated by the corrupt Bush regime warning us of WMDs in Iraq posing an imminent threat to our national security-- [i]that all proved to be bold-faced LIES.[/i]

The situation [i]here at home is dire [/i]with an arrogant and callous[i] out-of-control [/i]Bush regime that is ruthlessly and recklessly [i]squandering[/i] our nation's wealth, as they funnel our taxpayer dollars into the bulging pockets of gluttonous corporations, their sordid & squalid corporate cronies and the filthy richest-of-the-rich oligarchs & plutocrats ... resulting in the largest deficits and debts in our nation's history-- [i]that is turning us into a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY.[/i]

[b]Question:[/b] "Question Authority"'s excellent TBlog entitled "[i][b]National Impeach George W. Bush Day[/b][/i]" on , proposes that we call for a [u]National Impeach George W. Bush Day[/u] ... and we need your help to get the message out and to organize a day in which we will propose that Americans demand that Congress perform their duty and call for impeachment hearings for George W. Bush.

Please assist us in making our voices heard by the White House and Congress !!!

>>" href="">"Imminent" Semantics ... The Meaning Of The Word "Imminent" IS >>>
01.30.04 (1:25 pm)   [edit]
[b]The Bush regime is desperate in their [i]panic-stricken modus operandi [/i]to rehabilitate their many, many, many lies, deceptions and falsehoods regarding [i]their own statements on record [/i]in justification of their [i]casus belli [/i]for their neo-con, neo-fascist incursion into Iraq:--[/b]

For months, Dubya, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rove and the rest of this squalid gang of neo-orwellian thugs & goons propagated a false story that the U.S.A. was in imminent danger of attack from Saddam Hussein whom we were told possessed massive stockpiles of WMDs including chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Yes, Dubya even smirked in a State-of-the-Union screed that Saddam Hussein had purchased uranium yellow cake from Niger: [i]a boldfaced LIE[/i] ... Yes, Cheney even stated that Saddam Hussein had reconstituted his nuclear weapons facilities ([i]in those days, he didn't say "programs" or "activities" [/i]...): [i]more boldfaced LIES [/i]...

Moreover, we were told by Condi Rice that unless we invaded Iraq and changed its regime, that "[i]mushroom clouds[/i]" would rise-up from our cities killing millions of us within 45 minutes of the "terrorists" decision to attack us: [i]another boldfaced LIE [/i]... Many of us considered this[i] ludicrous drum-beating [/i]and could see through the Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta's[/i] treasonous [i]fear-mongering [/i]to obtain their[i] war-mongerings [/i]on behalf of their [i]war-profiteers[/i]: Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, Big Oil, etc.

Conscientious Americans are demanding that Congress conduct open-door investigations and hearings into the lies, deceptions and falsehoods perpetrated by the Bush regime, that has resulted in the unnecessary deaths of 519 US Soldiers, Tens of Thousands of Innocent Iraqi Civilians, and countless others ... Moreover, instead of addressing the [i]dire needs [/i]of our nation's poor, homeless, jobless, those without health care, those families living below the poverty line, a crumbling national infrastructure, etc.-- nearly $100 Billion has been [i]squandered[/i] thus far in an insane, immoral and illegal re-distribution of our U.S. Treasury's Taxpayer Dollars into the pockets of Dubya and his corporate cronies, leaving us with historical record-level deficits and debts ... and a wanton, callous, ruthless and reckess[i] Gap [/i]between the [i]Hyper-Rich-Haves [/i]and the[i] Impoverished-Slavish-Have-Nots [/i]unseen since the Great Depression.

Consider [b]"[i]'Imminent'[/i] Semantics"[/b] on :

[i][b]AP[/b][/i] reports, "since he resigned as the top weapons hunter in Iraq, David Kay's public statements have sparked widespread questioning of the Bush administration's main justification for war: to remove an imminent threat posed by Saddam and his supposed weapons." However, instead of explaining why it [i]ignored repeated warnings from the intelligence community [/i] that the White House's WMD case was weak, [i]newswires[/i] report the Administration responded by "denying it ever warned that Saddam Hussein posed an 'imminent' threat to the United States." But a closer look at the record shows the Administration not only used exact phrase "imminent threat," but also buttressed it with claims that Iraq was a "mortal threat," "urgent threat," "immediate threat," "serious and mounting threat," "unique threat," and a threat that was actively seeking to "strike the United States with weapons of mass destruction" – all just months after Secretary of State Colin Powell admitted that Iraq was "[i]contained[/i]" and "[i]threatens not the United States[/i]." See [i]a long list of the Administration's "threat" rhetoric [/i] in this new American Progress backgrounder.

[b][u]"IMMINENT THREAT," PART I[/u][/b]: White House spokesman Scott McClellan yesterday lashed out at reporters yesterday saying "some in the media have chosen to use the word 'imminent'. [i]Those were not words we used[/i]." But almost exactly a year ago, it was McClellan who said the reason NATO should go along with the Administration's Iraq war plan was because "[i]this is about imminent threat[/i]." Similarly, when White House spokesman Ari Fleischer was asked whether America went to war in Iraq because of an imminent threat, he replied "[i]Absolutely[/i]."

[b][u]"IMMINENT THREAT," PART II[/u][/b]: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was asked whether Iraq was an imminent threat and replied affirmatively, citing 9/11 as justification: "Go back before September 11 and ask yourself this question: Was the attack that took place on September 11 an imminent threat the month before or two months before or three months before or six months before? When did the attack on September 11 become an imminent threat? Now, transport yourself forward a year, two years or a week or a month...So the question is, when is it such an immediate threat that you must do something?" And despite the Administration's efforts to pass the blame for failure to find WMD onto the intelligence community, Rumsfeld essentially admitted that[i] the intelligence community had, in fact warned the White House [/i] of the weakness of its WMD case – yet still raised the "imminent threat" specter. On 9/18/02, he said "Some have argued that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent - that Saddam is at least 5-7 years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so certain."

[u][b]"GATHERING" THREAT[/b][/u]: McClellan told reporters that the White House only "used the phrase 'grave and gathering threat.' We made it very clear that it was a gathering threat." According to the Roget's Thesaurus, "[i]gathering" is a direct synonym of "imminent[/i]". A synonym, we might recall, is defined as "[i]a word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another word[/i]" – meaning the White House's continued attempts to differentiate between the use of "imminent threat" and "gathering threat" are hollow and silly semantics. It was President Bush who said in October 2002 that Iraq was a "[i]gathering threat[/i]" – and has continued to repeat this phrase for the next two years.

[u][b]"IMMEDIATE" THREAT[/b][/u]: Once again, Roget's Thesaurus [i]defines "immediate" as a direct synonym of "imminent[/i]" – and the Administration also repeatedly used this phrase to describe Iraq. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told Congress on 9/19/02 that "No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq."

[u][b]"URGENT," "UNIQUE," "TERRIBLE, " "MOUNTING" THREAT[/b][/u]: Other phrases of similar hue to "imminent" were also repeatedly invoked by the Administration to play on America's post-9/11 fears. The phrases "urgent" and "unique" threat were also repeatedly invoked. As President Bush said on 11/23/02, "The world is also uniting to answer the unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq." He said on 10/2/02 that "the Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency." Vice President Dick Cheney said on 1/30/03 that Iraq poses "terrible threats to the civilized world." Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said on 1/29/03 that "Iraq poses a serious and mounting threat to our country."


[i]The Center for American Progress [/i]on

Bush's Economic Optimism Belied by Deficits, Unemployed ...
01.30.04 (11:18 am)   [edit]
[b]NOW IS THE TIME for "We the People" to focus on issues that are crucial to our lives including our health & well-being, jobs [i]vs[/i]. joblessness, poverty [i]vs[/i]. prosperity, food safety, retirement in dignity, crime here at home, deficits & debts ... as well as [i]our standing in the world[/i] ...[/b]

[i]An example [/i]...

"[b]Bush's Economic Optimism Belied by Deficits, Unemployed ...[/b]" on :

Visiting New Hampshire yesterday, President Bush argued on behalf of making his tax cuts permanent, saying, "government has got plenty of money."1 But in Washington, the White House announced that the Medicare law signed six weeks ago would cost 35% more than indicated.2 White House officials have maintained the $134 billion increased estimate was "understandable and relatively close."3

The president also said yesterday that the government needs "needs to stay focused and principled."4 But the administration's budget, to be unveiled next week, is expected to produce a $520 billion deficit, about $150 billion more than the deficit for 2003.

President Bush hasn't yet articulated how he'll successfully "cut the deficit in half over the next five years,"5 other than being "wise with the people's money," as announced in his State of the Union. The White House has already announced an increase in spending for homeland security by 9.7%6, a 7% increase for defense spending7, and is stumping hard to make his tax cuts permanent, an additional cost of $2 trillion over ten years, according to the non-partisan Brookings Institution.8

The president spent much time yesterday claiming his tax cuts were successful and fair, "as opposed to trying to pick or choose winners in the political debate."9 All analyses, however, show that the top 1% received almost half of the president's tax cuts, even though that group pays only 21 percent of federal taxes.10

The [i]Washington Post [/i]characterized Bush's speech as an "economic pep talk,"11 in which the president devoted a good deal of time lauding the success of his tax cuts. Bush said his tax cuts were "working. People are finding work."12 However, the Post also reported on the facing page of Bush's speech, that a record number of jobless workers, 375,000 will exhaust their unemployment benefits tomorrow, the highest number ever recorded for a single month.13


1. Presidential Speech and Q & A on Economy, 1/29/04.

2. "Bush's Aides Put Higher Price Tag on Medicare Law," New York Times, 1/30/04.

3. "In Bush budget, cost of Medicare bill grows 35%," Associated Press, 1/30/04.

4. Presidential Speech and Q & A on Economy, 1/29/04.

5. 2004 State of the Union, 1/20/04.

6. "Bush Proposes Increase in Homeland Security Funds," 1/22/04.

7. "Bush to Seek 7 Pct Boost in U.S. Military Budget," Reuters, 1/23/04.

8. "Key Points on Making the Bush Tax Cuts Permanent," Brookings Institute, 1/21/04.

9. Presidential Speech and Q & A on Economy, 1/29/04.

10. "Key Points on Making the Bush Tax Cuts Permanent," Brookings Institution, 1/21/04.

11. "Bush Visits N.H. in the Democrats' Wake," Washington Post, 1/30/04.

12. Ibid.

13. "Record Number to Run Out of Unemployment Benefits," Washington Post, 1/30/04.

Can A Deserter, A Liar and A Cowardly Arm-Chair Chicken-Hawk Keep Us Safe?
01.30.04 (9:15 am)   [edit]
[b]"We the People" aren't[i] all [/i]fooled ... not [i]all [/i]of the time, anyway![/b]

[b]Can a deserter, a liar and a cowardly arm-chair chicken-hawk who bombastically pretends to play Top Gun while hiding behind his security guards and his neo-con thugs & neo-fascist goons, keep us [i]safe[/i]?[/b]

[b]I don't think so. We are [i]not safer abroad [/i]as terrorism is increasing due to Dubya's illegal and immoral neo-con war-mongerings on behalf of his greedy & traitorous corporate war-profiteers. No one in the entire world ([i]with an iota of brain matter[/i]) will believe Dubya in the future, as it has become evident he lied about non-existent WMDs in Iraq and non-existent threats to our national security.

And, we are[i] not safer here at home [/i]as Dubya has squandered our economy in an economic rape, plunder and looting on behalf of his neo-fascist corporate paymasters. The dire problems of skyrocketing poverty, homelessness, joblessness, lack of health care, a crumbling infrastructure-- are all being ignored while the corporations and the richest among us are enjoying their gluttonous neo-Belle Epoque.


[b]Bush has cynically and mendaciously used 9/11 ... 9/11 ... 9/11 as a mind-numbing mantra in order to justify a long list of criminal activities ([i]Meanwhile, 9/11 had nothing to do with his foreign war-mongerings abroad, nor his economic swindle and fraud here at home ... [/i]) ... In so doing, Dubya has used 9/11 to exploit our fears against ourselves, in order to hand over the formation of foreign, domestic and economic policies into the hands of greedy and corrupt corporations and big-monied interests ...[/b]

-4. Bush has created the largest deficits and debts in our nation's history in an insane re-distribution of wealth to corporations and the top 5% awarded immoral tax cuts, tax loopholes and boondoggles.

-3. Bush has reigned over the highest number of jobs lost (3.3 million) since the Great Depression. Clinton's economy created over 22 million jobs. Bush has squandered our U.S. Treasury on his rich corporate cronies while 3.3 million are homeless, 9-15 million are without jobs, 25 million families live below the poverty line, 45 million are without health care, etc.

-2. Bush has lied about non-existent WMDs in Iraq posing an imminent threat to our national security, resulting in an illegal and immoral invasion of a sovereign nation and the unnecessary deaths of U.S. soldiers and innocent civilians. Meanwhile, Bush has ruthlessly exploited us ([i]and our fear of another 9/11 attack[/i]) in order to enrich Hallibuton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, Big Oil, etc.

-1. Bush has used our fear to create unconstitutional Patriot Acts that undermine the checks-and-balances of the three branches of the U.S. Government ([i]Executive, Legislative, Judicial[/i]) giving himself the unlawful extraordinary imperial powers of an Emperor and placing our civil liberties in jeopardy.

0. After the "Great Appointed", he left the Pentagon open to attack by ending a 16 year multi tiered tatical responce team, began by his father, and added to by President Clinton. Then, too late, calls F-15s from Langley Virginia, 120 miles & 20 minutes away. Instead of Andrews Air Force Base only 10 miles away. At the very least, Criminal Negligence.

1. Significantly eased field-testing controls of genetically engineered crops.

2. Cut federal spending on libraries by $39 million.

3. Cut $35 million in funding for doctors to get advanced pediatric raining.

4. Cut by 50% funding for research into renewable energy sources.

5. Revoked rules that reduced the acceptable levels of arsenic in drinking water.

6. Blocked rules that would require federal agencies to offer bilingual assistance to non-English speaking persons. This, from a candidate who would readily fire-up his Spanish-speaking skills in front of would- be Hispanic voters.

7. Proposed to eliminate new marine protections for the Channel Islands and the coral reefs of northwest Hawaii (San Francisco Chronicle, April 6, 2001).

8. Cut funding by 28% for research into cleaner, more efficient cars and trucks.

9. Suspended rules that would have strengthened the government's ability to deny contracts to companies that violated workplace safety, environmental and other federal laws.

10. OK'd Interior Department appointee Gale Norton to send out letters to state officials soliciting suggestions for opening up national monuments for oil and gas drilling, coal mining, and logging.

11. Appointed John Negroponte - an un-indicted high-level Iran Contra figure-to the post of United Nations Ambassador.

12. Abandoned a campaign pledge to invest $100 million for rain forest conservation.

13. Reduced by 86% the Community Access Program for public hospitals, clinics and providers of care for people without insurance.

14. Rescinded a proposal to increase public access to information about the potential consequences resulting from chemical plant accidents.

15. Suspended rules that would require hardrock miners to clean up sites on Western public lands.

16. Cut $60 million from a Boy's and Girl's Clubs of America program for public housing.

17. Proposed to eliminate a federal program, designed and successfully used in Seattle, to help communities prepare for natural disasters.

18. Pulled out of the 1997 Kyoto Treaty global warming agreement.

19. Cut $200 million of work force training for dislocated workers.

20. Eliminated funding for the Wetlands Reserve Program, which encourages farmers to maintain wetlands habitat on their property.

21. Cut program to provide child care to low-income families as they move from welfare to work.

22. Cut a program that provided prescription contraceptive coverage to federal employees (though it still pays for Viagra).

23. Cut $700 million in capital funds for repairs in public

24. Appointed Otto Reich - an un-indicted high-level Iran Contra figure - to Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs.

25. Cut Environmental Protection Agency budget by $500 million.

26. Proposed to curtail the ability of groups to sue in order to get an animal placed on the Endangered Species List.

27. Rescinded the rule that mandated increased energy-saving efficiency regulations for central air conditioners and heat pumps.

28. Repealed workplace ergonomic rules designed to improve worker health and safety.

29. Abandoned campaign pledge to regulate carbon dioxide, the waste gas that contributes to global warming.

30. Banned federal aid to international family planning programs that offer abortion counseling with other independent funds.

31. Closed White House Office for Women's Health Initiatives and Outreach.

32. Nominated David Lauriski - ex-mining company executive - to post of Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health.

33. OK'd Interior Secretary Gale Norton to go forth with a
controversial plan to auction oil and gas development tracts off the coast of eastern Florida.

34. Announced intention to open up Montana's Lewis and Clark National Forest to oil and drilling.

35. Proposes to re-draw boundaries of nation's monuments, which would technically allow oil and gas drilling "outside" of national monuments.

36. Gutted White House AIDS Office.

37. Renegotiating free trade agreement with Jordan to eliminate workers's rights and safeguards for the environment.

38. Will no longer seek guidance from The American Bar Association in recommendations for the federal judiciary appointments.

39. Appointed recycling foe Lynn Scarlett as Undersecretary of the Interior.

40. Took steps to abolish the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

41. Cut the Community Oriented Policing Services program.

42. Allowed Interior Secretary Gale Norton to shelve citizen-led grizzly bear re-introduction plan scheduled for Idaho and Montana wilderness.

43. Continues to hold up federal funding for stem cell research projects.

44. Makes sure convicted misdemeanor drug users cannot get financial aid for college, though convicted murderers can.

45. Refused to fund continued cleanup of uranium-slag heap in Utah.

46. Refused to fund continued litigation of the government's tobacco company lawsuit.

47. Proposed a $2 trillion tax cut, of which 43% will go to the wealthiest 1% of Americans.

48. Signed a bill making it harder for poor and middle-class Americans to file for bankruptcy, even in the case of daunting medical bills.

49. Appointed a Vice President quoted as saying "If you want to do something about carbon dioxide emissions, then you ought to build nuclear power plants." (Vice President Dick Cheney on "Meet the Press.")

50. Appointed Diana "There is no gender gap in pay" Roth to the Council of Economic Advisers. (Boston Globe, March 28, 2001.)

51. Appointed Kay Cole James - an opponent of affirmative action - to direct the Office of Personnel Management.

52. Cut $15.7 million earmarked for states to investigate cases of child abuse and neglect.

53. Helped kill a law designed to make it tougher for teenagers to get credit cards.

54. Proposed elimination of the "Reading is Fundamental" program that gives free books to poor children.

55. Is pushing for development of small nuclear arm to attack deeply buried targets and weapons, which would violate the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

56. Proposes to nominate Jeffrey Sutton - attorney responsible for the recent case weakening the Americans with Disabilities Act- to federal appeals court judgeship.

57. Proposes to reverse regulation protecting 60 million acres of national forest from logging and road building.

58. Eliminated funding for the "We the People" education program which taught School children about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and citizenship.

59. Appointed John Bolton - who opposes nonproliferation treaties and the U.N. - to Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.

60. Nominated Linda Fisher - an executive with Monsanto - for the number-two job at the Environmental Protection Agency.

61. Nominated Michael McConnell - leading critic of the separation of church and state - to a federal judgeship.

62. Nominated Terrence Boyle - ardent opponent of civil rights - to a federal judgeship.

63. Canceled 2004 deadline for automakers to develop prototype high mileage cars.

64. Nominated Harvey Pitts - lawyer for teen sex video distributor - to head SEC.

65. Nominated John Walters - strong opponent of prison drug treatment programs - for Drug Czar. (Washington Post, May 16, 2001.)

66. Nominated J. Steven Giles - an oil and coal lobbyist - for Deputy Secretary of the Interior.

67. Nominated Bennett Raley - who advocates repealing the Endangered Species Act - for Assistant Secretary for Water and Science

68. Is seeking the dismissal of class-action lawsuit filed in the U.S. against Japan by Asian women forced to work as sex slaves during WWII.

69. Earmarked $4 million in new federal grant money for HIV and drug abuse prevention programs to go only to religious groups and not secular equivalents.

70. Reduced by 40% the Low Income Home Assistance Program for low-income individuals who need assistance paying energy bills.

71. Nominated Ted Olson- who has repeatedly lied about his involvement with the Scaiffe-funded "Arkansas Project" to bring down Bill Clinton - for Solicitor General.

72. Proposes to ease permit process - including environmental considerations - for refinery, nuclear and hydroelectric dam construction. (Washington Post, May 18, 2001.)

73. Proposes to give government the authority to take private property through eminent domain for power lines and gas pipelines.

74. Proposes that $1.2 billion in funding for alternative renewable energy come from selling oil and gas lease tracts in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve.

75. Plans on serving genetically engineered foods at all official government functions.

76. Forced out Forest Service chief Mike Dombeck and appointed a timber industry lobbyist as his replacement.

Is Ignorance Bliss? ...
01.29.04 (6:12 pm)   [edit]
[b]"We the People" should use our voice to demand that Congress conduct an independent investigation into the obvious intelligence failures that have led to 9/11 and the corrupt Bush regime's illegal and immoral incursion into Iraq, that has cost us so heavily in the precious lives of 519 U.S. Soldiers and Tens of Thousands of Innocent Iraqi Civilians, as well as, costing nearly $100 Billion in U.S. Taxpayer Dollars thus far that are diverted into the bulging pockets of Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, Big Oil, etc., instead of addressing the dire problems here at home: including skyrocketing poverty, joblessness, lack of health care, homelessness, etc. etc. etc. ... There is no end in sight to the carnage and cost until we discover the truth and bring about justice for the [i]Crimes Against Humanity [/i]that have been committed by the corrupt Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta[/i]![/b]

To-date the 9/11 commission is being thwarted and stonewalled by Dubya. Moreover the Bush regime refuses to consider a probe into the intelligence failures regarding the phony WMDs, their [i]casus belli [/i]for their insane pre-emptive neo-con, neo-fascist war in Iraq ... Why doesn't Bush want to know the truth? ... Hmmm ... Ignorance Is[i] NEVER [/i]Bliss!

Consider "[b]Think Again: 9/11 and the Bush Administration: [i]Is Ignorance Bliss[/i]?[/b]" by [i]Eric Alterman[/i] on :

Flying under the political radar of a media obsessed with New Hampshire voters and missing weapons of mass destruction is the story of the White House’s nearly successful campaign to quiet all criticism of its handling of the terrorist threat, pre-9/11. Every time a political figure raises the question of whether Bush and company might have been able to prevent the attacks if only they had been a little bit more on the ball, the Republican attack machine goes into hyperdrive to shut them down. Now the president and his allies in Congress are seeking to ensure that the 9/11 investigatory commission — whose work they have sought to undermine at every turn — will not have sufficient time to complete a thorough investigation. One wonders just what frightens them so much.

The commission has been given only three months to complete its review of 200 interviews and 2 million documents, many of which had to be pried loose from an uncooperative executive branch that has done nearly everything it could to frustrate the commission’s purpose. As former Commissioner Max Cleland, a former Democratic senator from Georgia, told Eric Boehlert of Salon last November: "I think the White House has made it darn near impossible to get full access to the documents by May, much less get a full report out analyzing those documents by May." The commission has requested a 60-day extension, which would place the report date uncomfortably close to the 9/11-anniversary-timed Republican convention in September 2004. Obviously, the administration will do everything it can to avoid that, and House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) has already announced that he "can't imagine a situation where they get an extension."

In the meantime, the right-wing spin machine is doing its darndest to ensure that any criticism of the president and his administration’s lack of action to defend the country before 9/11 are ruled out of political bounds. And much of the media seems willing to cooperate. When retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark opined that “I think the record's going to show he [President Bush] could have done a lot more to have prevented 9/11 than he did,” and that as president, Clark would do more, Fox’s Sean Hannity termed the general’s statement "reckless and irresponsible." Tim Russert of "Meet the Press" tried to shift the blame to the Clinton administration. And Ann Coulter — who oughta know — called Clark "crazier than a March hare."

But anyone who studies the record with any care will know that there were any number of moments when it would have been possible for a more alert administration to intervene in such a fashion as to interfere and quite possibly thwart the hijackers’ purposes. Here are just a few:

* What if Bush's National Security Agency had translated on Sept. 10, 2001 - instead of Sept. 12 - disturbing Arabic intercepts that referred to phrases "tomorrow is the zero hour" and "the match is about to begin"?

* What if the FBI had acted on the Phoenix memo and aggressively investigated — and arrested potential terrorists and illegal aliens who were taking flight lessons for the purpose of hijacking?

* What if the CIA had received and acted upon the Minneapolis memo, and combined with the FBI to apply its vast knowledge of al Qaeda operations to break up the U.S.-based network of fliers?

* What if the FBI and CIA had not mysteriously decided to drop their investigations of the whereabouts of hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar who, following their return from an al Qaeda planning meeting, continued live and work under their own names in San Diego?

* What if Bush and Cheney had seized upon the recommendations of the Hart/Rudman Commission rather ignoring - and pretending to review - them?

* What if Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had agreed to the Senate and House Armed Services committee’s request to reprogram $800 million from missile defense to terrorism protection?

* What if Bush’s National Security Council had carefully studied the evolution of terrorist threats: to hide bombs on 12 U.S.-bound airliners and crash an explosive-laden airline into the CIA; to crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives into the Pentagon, CIA or the White House; and crash a plane into the Eiffel Tower or to the Genoan castle where Western leaders met in spring 2001?

* What if the same NSC had taken seriously the recommendations of Clinton counterterrorism chief Richard C. Clarke to institute an aggressive program in order to: attack the financial network that supported the terrorists, freezing its assets and exposing its phony charities, and arrest their personnel; offer help to such disparate nations as Uzbekistan, the Philippines and Yemen to combat al Qaeda forces; increase U.S. support for the Northern Alliance in their fight to overthrow the Taliban’s repressive regime; and institute special operations inside Afghanistan and bombing strikes against terrorist training camps?

* What if the Bush Treasury Department had taken a less indulgent view of the kind of money-laundering operations that support terrorist networks and worked with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development to try to curb it?

* What if Secretary Rumsfeld had green-lighted the use of the CIA’s Predator surveillance plane over Osama bin Laden’s camps in Afghanistan, armed with Hellfire missiles?

* What if Attorney General John Ashcroft had taken the initiative in speeding up the FBI request to add 149 field agents, 200 analysts and 54 translators to its counterterrorism effort, instead of vetoing it entirely to focus on his higher priorities?

* What if Attorney General Ashcroft, instead of simply deciding not to fly commercial like the rest of us, persuaded the administration to institute an emergency program to improve airport security to prevent hijackers from reaching their targeted weapons?’

The administration and its allies rule all such questions out of order, going to extraordinary lengths to ensure they don’t enjoy any political traction. When the issue was first raised, back in 2002, Vice President Cheney termed all suggestions "incendiary," and "thoroughly irresponsible and totally unworthy of national leaders in a time of war," Even the usually apolitical Laura Bush got into the act by calling the questions about what the administration might have done as an attempt to “prey upon the emotions of people." But Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), former chairman of the Senate intelligence panel and co-chairman of the inquiry, had a different answer. "The attacks of Sept. 11 could have been prevented if the right combination of skill, cooperation, creativity and some good luck had been brought to task."

And because of the success of the administration’s efforts to keep the commission from getting at truth—as well as a decided incuriosity on the part of the mass media, it’s likely we will never know. Apparently, that would suit the Bush administration just fine.

[i]Eric Alterman is a senior fellow of the Center for American Progress and the co-author of The Book on Bush: How George W (Mis)Leads America[/i].

BBC AT WAR ... In The Aftermath Of A "Whitewash" ...
01.29.04 (3:45 pm)   [edit]
[b]"We the People" ought to be horrified at the appalling assessment by Lord Hutton who remains [i]in the pocket [/i]of the powerful oligarchy that runs the U.K.-- [/b]They are indeed threatening one of the fundamental institutions of a democracy which is a [i]Free Press [/i]... Methinks you will see more and more outrage expressed by British patriots in the weeks to come, as many will refuse to remain silent in the face of the new Corporate Fascism that is overtaking our Global Community!

We should be concerned in the U.S.A. because a more insidious destruction of our Media & Press is well underway as a consequence of the corporate take-over and ownership of our news outlets by the very same [i]corporate pimps [/i]who have hijacked our nation and installed their [i]corporate whores [/i]like Bush & Cheney in office, to represent their greedy, ruthless and reckless grab for infinite power and vast riches.

Hutton's Report was indeed a "[i]Whitewash[/i]" of the corrupt Bush/Blair lies, deceptions and falsehoods regarding phony WMDs used to wage an illegal and immoral incursion into a sovereign nation that posed no threat to anyone ... Their war has cost the lives of hundreds of American & British soldiers, far too many journalists, and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians ... It has also cost the U.S.A. nearly $100 Billion that could have otherwise been used to address the dire problems of skyrocketing poverty, obscene deficits & debts ([i]due to Dubya's giveaway to corporations & the rich[/i]), joblessness, homelessness, lack of health care, a crumbling infrastructure, etc. etc. etc. ...

Consider "[i][b]BBC at War[/b][/i]" by [i]Greg Palast[/i] on :

He did not say, "hello," or even his name, just left a one-word message: "Whitewash." It came from an embattled journalist whispering from inside the bowels of a television and radio station under siege, on a small island off the coast of Ireland: from BBC London.

And another call, from a colleague at the Guardian: "The future of British journalism is very bleak." However, the future for fake and farcical war propaganda is quite bright indeed. Today, Lord Hutton issued his report that followed an inquiry revealing the Blair government's manipulation of intelligence to claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass murder threatening immanent attack on London

Based on the Blair government's claim, headlines pumped the war hysteria: SADDAM COULD HAVE NUCLEAR BOMB IN YEAR, screeched the London Times. BRITS 45 MINS FROM DOOM, shrieked the Sun newspaper.

Given these facts only a sissy pacifist, a lunatic or a Saddam fellow traveler would fail to see that Prime Minister "Winston" Blair had no choice but to re-conquer it's former Mesopotamian colony.

But these headline were, in fact, false, and deadly so. Unlike America's press puppies, BBC reporters thought it their duty to check out these life or death claims. Reporters Andrew Gilligan and Susan Watts contacted a crucial source, Britain's and the United Nation's top weapons inspector. He told reporter Watts that the Weapons of Mass Destruction claims by Blair and our own President Bush were, "all spin." Gilligan went further, reporting that this spin, this "sexed up" version of intelligence, was the result of interventions by Blair's PR henchman, Alistair Campbell.

Whatever reading of the source's statements, it was clear that intelligence experts had deep misgivings about the strength of the evidence for war.

The source? Dr. David Kelly. To save itself after the reports by Gilligan and Watts, the government, including the Prime Minister himself, went on an internal crusade to out the name of its own intelligence operative so it could then discredit the news items.

Publishing the name of an intelligence advisor is serious stuff. In the USA, a special criminal prosecutor is now scouring the White House to find the person who publicly named a CIA agent. If found, the Bushite leaker faces jail time.

Blair's government was not so crude as to give out Dr. Kelly's name. Rather, they hit on a subterfuge of dropping clues then allowing reporters to play '20 questions' - if Kelly's name were guessed, they'd confirm it. Only the thickest reporters (I name none here) failed after more than a couple tries.

Dr. Kelly, who had been proposed for knighthood was named, harangued and his career destroyed by the outing. He then took his own life.

But today is not a day of mourning at 10 Downing Street, rather a day of self-congratulations.

There were no weapons of mass destruction, no nuclear warhead just short of completion, no "45 minutes to doom" bombs auguring a new London blitz. The exile group which supplied this raw claim now calls the 45 minute story, "a crock of shit."

Yet Blair's minions are proclaiming their vindication.

This is not just a story about what is happening "over there" in the United Kingdom. This we must remember: David Kelly was not only advisor to the British but to the UN and, by extension, the expert for George W. Bush. Our commander-in-chief leaped to adopt the Boogey Man WMD stories from the Blair government when our own CIA was reticent.

So M'Lord Hutton has killed the messenger: the BBC. Should the reporter Gilligan have used more cautious terms? Some criticism is fair. But the extraordinary import of his and Watts' story is forgotten: our two governments bent the information then hunted down the questioners.

And now the second invasion of the Iraq war proceeds: the conquest of the British Broadcasting Corporation. Until now, this quasi-governmental outlet has refused to play Izvestia to any prime minister, Labour or Tory.

As of today, the independence of the most independent major network on this planet is under attack. Blair's government is "cleared" and now arrogantly sport their kill, the head of Gavyn Davies, BBC's chief, who resigned today.

"The bleak future for British journalism" portends darkness for journalists everywhere - the threat to the last great open platform for hard investigative reporting. And frankly, it's a worrisome day for me. I'm not a disinterested by-stander. My most important investigations, all but banned from U.S. airwaves, were developed and broadcast by BBC Newsnight, reporter Watts' program.

Will an iron curtain descend on the news? Before dawn today, I was reading Churchill's words to the French command in the hours before as the Panzers breached the defenses of Paris. Churchill told those preparing to surrender, "Whatever you may do, we shall fight on forever and ever and ever."

This may yet be British journalism's Finest Hour.

[i]Greg Palast is the author of The New York Times bestseller, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy." His reports for BBC Newsnight and The Guardian papers and other writings may be viewed at [/i]

Even Some Republicans Condemn The GOP Energy Bill Swindle of America!
01.29.04 (12:51 pm)   [edit]
[b]Even some Republicans condemn the [i]GOP Energy Bill [/i]swindle of America![/b]

It is truly outrageous that at a time of Dubya's illegal and immoral neo-con, neo-fascist wars in the Middle East, primarily waged for global hegemony, control of the oil rich nations of the world, and to enrich Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, Big OIL, etc. ... that the [i]bought-and-paid-for corporate whores [/i]in the White House and Congress should have the audacity, ruthlesslness and corruption to even propose this reckless and foolhardy rape of America on behalf of their [i]corporate pimps of the first water[/i]: [i]Big OIL[/i].

Consider[i] Matt Bivens' [/i]excellent [i]The Daily Outrage [/i]entitled "[i][b]Sucking Wind[/b][/i]" in [i]The Nation[/i] on :

"[i]I'm going to resist with all that I can muster the disassembling of this [energy] bill in a manner that does not assure us of getting most of the bill passed[/i]."

So says Republican Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico. And with good reason: The 1,200-page mystery concoction known as the Energy Bill is at heart an indefensible project. Consider just that it would gift-wrap at last count about $37 billion -- billions! -- for the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries.

No one wants to stand there, red-faced, and try to explain why they want to borrow against the credit of the American people -- just so they can give away billions of dollars on the sly to the oil, gas, coal and nuclear polluters. Therefore, the core budget-looting project has been hidden behind a few far more modest, far more popular proposals -- like upgrading the electric grid system, investing in energy efficiency, and extending a tiny, routine tax credit for wind power.

Unhitch those sensible-sounding projects from the $37 billion for the polluters, and you're left there openly shilling for a bizarre sort of Marxist- style income redistribution -- only in favor of Big Oil and King Coal .

The Energy Bill seems to have collapsed , at least for now, [i]under the weight of its own greed and excess[/i] . One consequence: that tiny wind tax credit was allowed to expire on December 31. All of the major Democratic candidates for president save Joseph Lieberman are on record here supporting an extension of the wind credit, and other smart investments in wind and solar power -- smart because, despite some lofty Apollo Project-type rhetoric, the ideas put forward represent reasonably-scaled pump-priming for new and desirable technologies -- exactly what government subsidies should be -- as opposed to the status quo of command-economy-scale welfare for undesirable dinosaur technologies. (Consider that federal subsidies to solar power have historically amounted to 1/32nd of those to nuclear power. See "[i]Federal Energy Subsidies: Not All Technologies Are Created Equal[/i]," found here as a PDF file.)

But the Republicans are damned if they're going to let the boom in wind power continue unless their oil and coal and nuclear buddies get paid some tribute first. Such has been their stance for years now. As I wrote not so long ago in [i]The Nation[/i], the remarkably successful wind production tax credit over a decade has cost every American about 19 cents. The latest version of the Energy Bill (the pork keeps getting salted in) would now cost every American about $126.50. That's $506 for a family of four. As if you aren't paying enough already for gas and heating.

[b]Another useful historical reference[/b]:


What Just One Company Can Do To the World ...
01.29.04 (7:44 am)   [edit]
[b]"We the People" have entered the Age of Corporate Fascism ... The Global Corporate Empire has installed their corrupt puppets at the Supreme Court ([i]Scalia, Thomas, Rehnquist[/i]), in Congress ([i]the GOP[/i]) and in the White House ([i]Dubya, Cheney, Rice & Rove[/i]) ...[/b] This corrupt[i] corporate-owned cabal [/i]have allowed corporations to define our foreign, domestic & economic policies and to ravage our planet in their dangerously [i]unsound plunderings [/i]on behalf of the selfish interests of a few hyper-rich & greedy criminals ...

The results of the Corporate Fascist's hijacking of our nation have been a disaster ... a catastrophe -- as war-mongerings abroad for war-profiteers have made the world less safe and indeed, far, far more dangerous -- as the economic rape, swindling & looting here at home have created the largest re-distribution of wealth from the middle-and-working classes to corporations & the wealthiest plutocrats & oligarches ... leaving in their wake skyrocketing poverty, misery, bloodshed and desperation for many millions of Americans and other human beings who are being unconscionably massacred or mercilessly exploited.

Instead of enlightened leaders who fulfill the promise of promoting the General Welfare of our People and a properous Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, in the richest nation in the history of the world:-- we have been saddled with neo-con, neo-fascist traitors who have abused our U.S. Military as their [i]'cannon-fodder' [/i]in their obscene warfare to expand their own infinite grab for brute power and vast, obese riches ... Moreover, they have treated us with contempt: having lied, deceived and falsified intelligence information in order to lead us into an illegal and immoral war. Furthermore, in the richest nation in the history of our planet, they have callously and wantonly awarded massive tax cuts, tax loopholes & boondoggles to their rich corporate cronies-- while ignoring the 3.5 million homeless, the 9-15 million jobless, the 25 million families living below the poverty line, the 45 million without health care, etc. -- Instead, they have placed a back-breaking burden of the largest deficits & reckless debts in our nation's history upon us and future generations, while they ruthlessly "[i]take the money and run[/i]", with the largest Gap between the [i]Hyper-Rich-Haves [/i]and the [i]Impoverished-&-Enslaved-Have-Nots [/i]since the Great Depression.

We deserve better than this corrupt cabal of neo-con, neo-fascist thugs and goons who are trampling upon our U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, and destroying our great nation before our very eyes ... Please contact Congress and demand that impeachement hearings be called for Dubya, Cheney and this traitorous and criminal administration who have betrayed our people, other nations, and our planet.

Consider also "[i][b]What Just One Company Can Do To the World[/b][/i]" by [i]Sanjay Suri [/i]on :

LONDON - Just one oil company has thrown three times as much carbon dioxide into the air as the current annual emissions from fossil fuels, a new study by Friends of the Earth claims.

The study by the leading global environment watchdog says Exxon Mobil has produced 20.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in its 120 years of existence. This it says is about three times the annual global emissions now and 13 times the annual emissions from the United States.

The [i]Friends of the Earth International [/i] (F0EI) report says that the oil giant and its predecessors since the foundation of the Standard Oil Trust in 1882 have caused between 4.7 and 5.3 percent of all man-made carbon dioxide emissions across the globe.

ExxonMobil has strongly denied the charge made in the report. The company trades as Esso, Mobil, Imperial Oil, Tonen General and Exxon in different countries.

The report [i]'Exxon's Climate Footprint'[/i] is based on two studies commissioned by FoEI. The group says the studies were carried out by independent experts in the United States and New Zealand.

”The research involved adding up data on fuel used and sold, calculating the emissions generated and feeding the results into an internationally recognized computer model,” FoEI said in a statement Thursday.

”The research, based on data Exxon published in its annual reports, and on other sources, also shows the impact Exxon-related emissions have had on global temperatures and the rise in sea level.”

FoEI says this is the first time a company's contribution to global climate change has ever been calculated ”and could prove vital in paving the way for compensation claims against companies by victims of global warming caused by man-made pollution.”

The FoEI report shows that about 70 percent of the company's emissions have come after 1967 ”when scientists produced the first reasonably solid evidence that global warming could really happen.”

Climate change as a result of global warming produced largely by carbon dioxide emissions means that hundreds of millions of people could lose their livelihoods because of changing rainfall patterns and severe storms, the report says.

A million species face extinction as a result of global warming, FoEI says, citing scientists.

The report says that United Nations scientists had warned in 1996 that man- made pollution was having a discernible effect on the global climate. ”Seven out of the ten worst years for ExxonMobil's emissions have occurred since this warning,” the report says.

This is the ”best estimate so far of ExxonMobil's contribution to climate change,” says Peter Roderick, director of the FoEI climate justice program.”It shows how the company's emissions have significantly increased over the years as climate science strengthened. This is essential reading for those current and future victims of climate change who wish to seek compensation from the company.”

The report points out that institutional shareholders have already expressed concern about business risks associated with climate change. The Carbon Disclosure Project, which represents 87 institutional investors with assets of more than 9 trillion dollars under management, has written to the 500 largest quoted companies in the world asking for the disclosure of investment-relevant information concerning their greenhouse gas emissions.

Challenging the report, a spokeswoman for ExxonMobil told IPS that ”it seems to us that Friends of the Earth is suggesting that it is illegal to be in the business of supplying energy for the world's needs”.

She said the company needs to examine the ”basis, methodology and therefore the accuracy of the data” but said that in the past the environment group's reports about the company have been ”high on sensation and low on substance.”

The statement that ExxonMobil is not taking a constructive approach to the issue of climate change is ”completely unfounded,” she said. The company has taken to conserving energy in refineries and chemical plants, resulting in 37 percent more efficiency than 25 years ago, she said. ”This equates to a decrease in carbon emissions of over 200 million metric tons.”

The company is also ”researching new energy systems with much lower carbon emissions and increased fuel efficiency,” she said. The company is the ”world's leader” in expanding the use of natural gas which is ”an attractive way to meet the world's growing demand for energy while emitting less carbon than other fossil fuels.” The company claims to be investing ”significant amounts in research of climate issues.”

The spokeswoman said it is ”ridiculous” to suggest that ExxonMobil's approach to climate change could affect shareholder value.

FoEI vice-chair Tony Juniper told IPS that ExxonMobil is indeed doing a lot on climate change ”but it is doing so by funding lobbyists who are pushing the Bush administration against signing the Kyoto Protocol to limit emissions.”

Most of the scientific studies being promoted by ExxonMobil ”are not giving the correct picture” on climate change, he said, ”and so the company is active at many levels in many ways.”

Juniper said it is important that shareholders are given the correct picture now. ”If the company is held responsible by courts over emissions, it is bound to have consequences for share value.”

ExxonMobil was meanwhile ordered to pay nearly 7 billion dollars Wednesday to thousands of Alaskans affected by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. A district court judge ordered the company to pay 4.5 billion dollars in punitive damages and around 2.25 billion dollars in interest.

The judge ordered distribution of the money among the 32,000 Alaskans affected by the 37,000-tonne spillage in the Prince William Sound area. Exxon Mobil says it will appeal against the ruling.

NEWSFLASH:-- Bush May Finally Do ONE GOOD THING!!! ...
01.28.04 (8:57 pm)   [edit]
[b]NEWFLASH:-- Bush may finally do[i] ONE GOOD THING[/i]!!! Let us hope so ... If the following report is true and not simply another cynical [i]publicity stunt that "mysteriously [sic]" evaporates [/i]([i]like Dubya's promise to help AIDS victims-- and that quietly disappeared [/i]... ), then ... well, while Bush still remains a War Criminal who deserves to be impeached from office for lying us into an illegal & immoral invasion of a sovereign nation that posed no threat ... then, the following action while just a [i]drop of water in the desert [/i]... it indeed, remains a positive action that deserves some credit ...

Who would have thought that Bush would support funding for the NEA??? ... The NEA is still under-funded in this country, but it is a step in the right direction, [i]if true [/i]...[/b]

"[b]Bush Is Said to Seek More Money for Arts[/b]" by [i]Robert Pear [/i] of the N.Y. Times on :

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 — President Bush will seek a big increase in the budget of the National Endowment for the Arts, the largest single source of support for the arts in the United States, administration officials said on Wednesday.

The proposal is part of a turnaround for the agency, which was once fighting for its life, attacked by some Republicans as a threat to the nation's moral standards.

Laura Bush plans to announce the request on Thursday, in remarks intended to show the administration's commitment to the arts, aides said.

Administration officials, including White House budget experts, said that Mr. Bush would propose an increase of $15 million to $20 million for the coming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. That would be the largest rise in two decades and far more than the most recent increases, about $500,000 for 2003 and $5 million for this year.

The agency has a budget of $121 million this year, 31 percent lower than its peak of $176 million in 1992. After Republicans gained control of Congress in 1995, they cut the agency's budget to slightly less than $100 million, and the budget was essentially flat for five years.

In an e-mail message inviting arts advocates to a news briefing with Mrs. Bush, Dana Gioia, the poet who is chairman of the endowment, says, "You will be present for an important day in N.E.A. history."

Mr. Gioia (pronounced JOY-uh) has tried to move beyond the culture wars that swirled around the agency for years. He has nurtured support among influential members of Congress, including conservative Republicans like Representatives Charles H. Taylor and Sue Myrick of North Carolina. He has held workshops around the country to explain how local arts organizations can apply for assistance.

Public support for the arts was hotly debated in the 1990's. Conservatives complained that the agency was financing obscene or sacrilegious works by artists like Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano. Former Senator Jesse Helms, Republican of North Carolina, repeatedly tried to eliminate the agency.

Some new money sought by Mr. Bush would expand initiatives with broad bipartisan support, like performances of Shakespeare's plays and "Jazz Masters" concert tours.

Mrs. Bush also plans to introduce a new initiative, "American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius." This would combine art presentations — from painting and literature to music and dance — with education programs. The program would give large numbers of students around the country a chance to see exhibitions and performances.

New York receives a large share of the endowment's grants. But under federal law, the agency also gives priority to projects that cater to "underserved populations," including members of minority groups in urban neighborhoods with high poverty rates.

The president's proposal faces an uncertain future at a time of large budget deficits.

Melissa Schwartz, a spokeswoman for the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, an advocacy group, said, "We'll be fighting tooth and nail for the increase."

Some conservatives, like Representative Tom Tancredo, Republican of Colorado, vowed to oppose the increase. Even without support from the government, he said, "art would thrive in America."

Representative Louise M. Slaughter, a New York Democrat who is co-chairwoman of the Congressional Arts Caucus, said she was delighted to learn of Mr. Bush's proposal.

"There's nothing in the world that helps economic development more than arts programs," Ms. Slaughter said. "It was foolish for Congress to choke them and starve them. We should cherish the people who can tell us who we are, where we came from and where we hope to go."

Mr. Tancredo expressed dismay. "We are looking at record deficit and potential cuts in all kinds of programs," he said. "How can I tell constituents that I'll take money away from them to pay for somebody else's idea of good art? I have no more right to do that than to finance somebody else's ideas about religion."

The agency has long had support from some Republicans, like Representatives Christopher Shays of Connecticut and Jim Leach of Iowa.

"Government involvement is designed to take the arts from the grand citadel of the privileged and bring them to the public at large," Mr. Leach said. "This democratization of the arts ennobles the American experience."

[i]Elisabeth Bumiller contributed reporting for this article[/i].

The U.K. "Economist" Cites The Carnegie Endowment For International Peace WMD Report
01.28.04 (5:18 pm)   [edit]
"[b]We the People" are being misled by the neo-con propaganda machine that is out to attack anyone who exposes the [i]truth [/i]regarding the lies, deceptions and falsehoods perpetrated upon us by the corrupt Bush regime ... The [i]Carnegie Endowment for International Peace WMD Report [/i]is highly respected, well-researched and is also being cited by many news outlets including the Conservative U.K. "Economist" ... because the [i]Carnegie Endowment for International Peace [/i]has an outstanding reputation for impeccable credentials and publishing solid, factual and reputable research.[/b]

It is highly recommended that you read for yourself the [i]Carnegie Endowment for International Peace WMD Report [/i]entitled "[b]WMD in Iraq: Evidence and Implications[/b]" on ...

Refer to the U.K. "Economist"'s "[i][b]Bush and Blair Under Fire[/b][/i]" on :

[b]The American and British leaders are under renewed attack over their case for war and how they handled officials who questioned it ...[/b]

TEN months after America and Britain led the invasion of Iraq which successfully toppled Saddam Hussein, President George Bush and the British prime minister, Tony Blair, might have hoped that the rows over the case they made for war would have died down. Far from it. A report due on Wednesday January 28th from Lord Hutton, a senior British judge, may criticise Mr Blair’s claims over Saddam’s elusive weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It may also say the Blair government contributed to the suicide of an official who was the source of a BBC report accusing the government of exaggerating the case for war. Mr Bush’s Democratic opponents are demanding an official inquiry after America’s chief WMD-hunter resigned, saying Saddam did not appear to have had any. And an investigation is under way into claims that Mr Bush’s officials disclosed the identity of an American undercover agent, whose husband, a diplomat, had contradicted Mr Bush’s claims about Saddam’s weapons.

Mr Bush and Mr Blair built their case for war principally on the argument that Saddam was a menace to world security because he had chemical and biological weapons, and was seeking nuclear arms. Mr Blair published a dossier in the run-up to the war claiming that Iraq had some WMD ready to be fired within 45 minutes of an order from Saddam. And Mr Bush, in his state-of-the-union speech last January, claimed that Iraq had sought to buy uranium from Africa for its nuclear-arms programme. Neither of these claims is now thought to be true and, despite months of searching in postwar Iraq by American inspectors, no banned arms have been found. Last Friday, David Kay, the head of the WMD-hunting team, resigned after concluding that Saddam’s regime had all but abandoned making chemical and biological weapons after the 1991 Gulf war.

Mr Kay said in Monday’s [i]New York Times [/i]that Iraq had tried to revive its nuclear-arms programme as recently as 2001 and had been trying, shortly before the war, to make a bomb containing ricin, a deadly poison. Nevertheless, his conclusion that Saddam had no large stocks of banned weapons—and therefore was not an immediate threat to the world—has damaged Mr Bush and Mr Blair.

America’s secretary of state, Colin Powell, admits that it is now an “open question” as to whether Saddam had possessed banned weapons. He insists, however, that the war was still justified, on the grounds of upholding international law. But with Mr Bush facing re-election in November, his opponents have seized on what they believe is powerful ammunition against him. Senator John Kerry, currently the leading Democratic contender to run against the president, has demanded a congressional inquiry into the White House’s claims over Iraqi weapons.

Mr Kay’s bombshell follows two damning reports on the Iraq war, published this month by influential American research bodies. An analysis by Jeffrey Record, a visiting professor at the US Army War College, concluded that it was “an unnecessary war of choice” and that it has “created a new front in the Middle East for Islamic terrorism”. [i]An extensive study of the evidence for Iraqi WMD by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a left-of-centre think-tank, concluded that Mr Bush’s officials had exaggerated intelligence agencies’ findings on the extent of Saddam’s weapons, which in turn had exaggerated the real picture[/i].

Lord Hutton’s inquiry was not, strictly speaking, into Mr Blair’s justification for the war: it was an investigation into the suicide last July of David Kelly, an expert on Iraqi weapons in Britain's defence ministry. However, Kelly was the source of reports by Andrew Gilligan, a correspondent for BBC radio, which accused Mr Blair’s officials of ignoring British intelligence chiefs’ doubts about the “45 minutes to launch” claim. Among the many questions it is hoped Lord Hutton will answer on Wednesday are: did the prime minister or his officials ignore spy chiefs’ concerns and publish a misleading dossier on the case for war? Or did Mr Gilligan exaggerate Kelly’s words? And, in the furious row between the government and the BBC that followed the journalist’s reports, did Mr Blair or his officials authorise the leaking of Kelly’s name to the press, contributing to the pressures that led to his suicide?

Mr Blair has emphatically denied authorising the leaking of Kelly’s name and has said he would resign if Lord Hutton blamed him personally for this. Mr Blair received an advance copy of the Hutton report on Tuesday, hours before he narrowly avoided an embarrassing defeat in Parliament over his proposal to increase university tuition fees. The rebellion by parliamentarians from Mr Blair's Labour Party was smaller than some had expected. But that Mr Blair's notional majority of 161 in the 659-seat House of Commons shrank to just five votes was a sign of the disquiet on the Labour benches over the direction of government policy under Mr Blair—including his decision to back Mr Bush over Iraq. If Mr Blair is criticised in Lord Hutton's report, the prime minister's authority, already dented, may be damaged irreparably.

Mr Bush faces a potentially damaging official inquiry with similar overtones to the Kelly affair. The Department of Justice has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate who leaked the identity of Valerie Plame, an undercover agent of the Central Intelligence Agency, to a newspaper columnist. Her husband, Joseph Wilson, a former American ambassador, has accused Bush administration officials of leaking her name in retaliation for his contradicting Mr Bush’s claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium. The prosecutor in the inquiry has reportedly begun presenting evidence to a grand jury, a step towards a possible criminal investigation in which Mr Bush’s officials would be forced to give testimony under oath.

A worst-case scenario is just about imaginable: both Mr Bush and Mr Blair are forced to step down, over either the case they made for war or the treatment of those officials who questioned it. This is unlikely, though it is quite possible that the British and American inquiries, added to the failure to find Saddam’s fabled WMD, will damage the two leaders’ reputations sufficiently to cut short their political careers (Mr Blair must decide whether to seek a third term as prime minister in the next 18 months or so). [b]There may have been other good reasons for toppling Saddam, but having rested their case mainly on his supposed arsenal of banned weapons, they will find it hard to complain if it is this issue on which the American and British public judge the two leaders' conduct in their Iraqi venture[/b].

Why the Bush/Cheney Regime's BIG LIE Over WMDs in Iraq Won't Go Away ...
01.28.04 (3:52 pm)   [edit]
[b]"We the People" will not forget the Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta's[/i] BIG LIE over non-existent WMDs in Iraq ... Their neo-orwellian propaganda & mendacious spin won't make it go away ... [/b]The United Nations and over 145 nations out of 191 (U.N.) on this planet opposed Dubya's insane neo-con rush to war ... They begged the U.S. to permit the U.N. inspections to continue ... But instead, Dubya, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell, Wolfowitz, Perle, etc. and all of the rest of their neo-con, neo-fascist ideologues, liars, thugs & goons spread their massive lies, deceptions and falsehoods regarding the imminent threat posed to the U.S.A. if WMDs were not destroyed in Iraq.

Subsequently, we have learnt that no WMDs existed since they were destroyed in the early 1990's U.N. inspection process -- we have learnt that Saddam Hussein posed no imminent threat to our national security -- we have learnt that Saddam Hussein had no links with Osama bin Laden or Al Qaida -- nor were there any connections between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein or Iraq.

One example of the[i] back-peddling [/i]by the immoral, incompetent and corrupt Bush regime is:


"[i]I think some in the media have chosen to use the word 'imminent[/i].' [i]Those were not words we used[/i]." - White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 1/27/04 [Source: ]


"[i]This is about imminent threat[/i]." - White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 2/10/03 [Source: ]

Moreover, Dubya told us in a [i]State-of-the-Union [/i]address prior to his illegal & immoral invasion that Iraq had obtained uranium yellow-cake from Niger, that proved to be a lie -- Cheney told us that Iraq had reconstituted nuclear weapons facilities, that proved to be a lie -- Rice told us that "mushroom clouds" would[i] rise-up [/i]from our cities any day now if we did not invade Iraq, when in fact, Iraq had no capability to strike us and no WMDs ... [b]Lies, Lies and More Lies ...[/b]

Apparently, now Dubya is planning to attack Pakistan in the Spring? ... Surely, we have sufficient evidence to demonstrate the solid reasons why this corrupt cabal of neo-con, neo-fascist "[i]crazies[/i]" should be ousted from office ... Call for Congress to conduct impeachment hearings for Dubya, Cheney and the rest of this disgraceful administration.


Bush's War Record: Missing, Inaction ...
01.28.04 (1:22 pm)   [edit]
[b]It is tragic to watch the right-wing corporate-owned neo-fascist media & press [i]Go Silent & MIA [/i]regarding Dubya's humiliating and despicable war record ... Dubya was a 'deserter', missing-[i]from[/i]-action and by all accounts, swilling booze and partying his way through the War in Vietnam, while better men were sent to fight & die ...[/b]

"We the People" are faced with a stark choice in the November 2000 election, which will probably be between Kerry, a man who is bright & honorable and was a true War Hero ([i]who didn't flee from danger, and indeed saved his injured comrades[/i]) and Bush, a cowardly party-boy & [i]ne'er-do-well [/i]([i]who has been bailed-out of his life-long failures by his Poppy[/i]) and is a [i]not-too-bright [/i]liar, war criminal, puppet & useful idiot of the corrupt corporate robber-barons, filthy oligarchs and gluttonous plutocrats who have hijacked our nation.

It is not a difficult choice for those of us who are true patriots!

Consider "[b]Operation Desert Guard: Bush's War Record: Missing, Inaction[/b]" by [i]James Ridgeway[/i] on :

The moral dictates of the Christian right are nothing compared with the concerns of the protectors of public morality in the press corps. Ever vigilant in our behalf, they recently condemned Michael Jackson (Who needs a trial with the people's advocate Nancy Grace and CNN judge Larry King on the job?). But even Jackson didn't have the audacity to say what Michael Moore said—that the president of the United States is a deserter. Yes, indeed. He said that. Not only did Moore say it, but he said it in public on a stage in the midst of a political campaign. In the midst of a war, no less. The press corps blushed in shame for all of us and promptly condemned Moore as an ignorant fool who ought to stick with his disgusting comedy shows.

Fortunately for us, Michael Moore is crazy like a fox. By calling Bush a "deserter," he got the big-time journalists—horrified David Broder, incredulous Peter Jennings, outraged Robert Novak, nonplussed Tim Russert—to openly raise the deserter issue before millions. It is now a political topic once again. As the journalists damn Moore, the populace is once again wondering, well, maybe Bush is a deserter after all. And the idea of a deserter running this war makes it even more sick than it already is. Consider that this weekend warrior is already responsible for the following toll in Iraq: 513 GIs sent to their death; 8,000 medevacked out of Iraq; 2,919 wounded (missing arms or legs, or blinded, or psycho); and at least 22 GI suicides. God only knows how many Iraqi men, women, and children. And when it was his turn to fight for his country, Bush booked.

What are the facts? The single best rundown on this issue was contained in an article by Walter V. Robinson of The Boston Globe on May 23, 2000. On May 28, 1968, Bush enlisted in the Texas Air National Guard's 147th Fighter-Interceptor Group at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston and was selected for pilot training. In July of that year a board of officers said he should be commissioned as a second lieutenant; he left for six weeks of basic training and was commissioned that September 4. Then he took off for eight weeks to work on a Florida Senate campaign. Next he attended and graduated from flight school (November 25, 1968, to November 28, 1969). He trained full-time to be an F-102 pilot at Ellington, where from July 7, 1970, to April 16, 1972, he attended frequent drills and alerts.

From this point on, his record is murky. Bush's records reveal no sign he showed up for duty during his fifth year as a guardsman, according to the Globe. On May 24, 1972, Bush had moved to Alabama to work on a Senate race and received permission to serve with a reserve unit there. Headquarters ordered that he serve with a more active unit, and on September 5, 1972, he got permission to perform his Guard duty at the 187th Tactical Recon Group in Montgomery. But there is no record of his turning up, and the unit commander says he never did. From November 1972 to April 30, 1973, Bush was in Houston but didn't go to his Guard duties. In May 1973, two lieutenant colonels in charge of Bush's Houston unit were unable to rate him for the prior 12 months, claiming he had not been at the unit during that time. From May to July 1973, Bush logged 36 days on duty after special orders for active duty were issued to him. His last day in uniform was July 30, 1973, and that October 1, after beginning Harvard Business School, this weekend warrior was discharged from the Texas Air National Guard. That was eight months before his Guard tour was scheduled to expire.

[b]If the president wasn't a deserter, what was he?[/b]

Living In Simulated America
01.28.04 (12:36 pm)   [edit]

Are Parallels To Nazi Germany Crazy?
01.28.04 (7:30 am)   [edit]
[b]As a people, "We the People" are dangerously ignorant of U.S. & World History, which is [i]why[/i] corrupt and traitorous tyrants, corporate rapists and neo-con con-artists are so effective at fooling us ... as these neo-fascists are swindling, plundering & looting our U.S. Treasury in order to enrich themselves, corporations & the richest-of-the-rich ... and as they are waging insane, illegal and immoral neo-con warfare based upon lies, deceptions and falsehoods.[/b]

[i]Some food for thought ...[/i]

Let us not wait until 6,000,000 human beings are massacred before we take action to stop the Bush/Cheney Inc.[i] junta's [/i][i]Crimes Against Humanity[/i] ... Let us not become hapless collaborators pretending not to see ([i]or worse: rationalizing[/i]) atrocities in Iraq and here at home ... Let us not make the same mistake [i]good Germans [/i]made in the 1930s ...

Consider "[i][b]Are Parallels To Nazi Germany Crazy?[/b][/i]" by [i]Harley Sorensen [/i]on :

The customers always write. I get about 400 e-mails in response to my columns every week, which might explain why I didn't answer yours. Here, slightly edited, is one of the more interesting ones from last week. It's from Herr Moellers in Germany:

"[i]Dear Mr. Sorensen,

"I have many American friends and used to go on business travel to the U.S. a lot (I stopped doing that after even our European governments have given in to Uncle Sam's appetite for information about individuals traveling to God's Own Country), and I am shocked by the deterioration of democracy in a country that I used to love. This administration is a shame and the destabilization they have brought to the world is scaring the s** out of me.

"My father was a Nazi soldier and he realized during the war what he and most of his generation was led into. I have learned from him that a nation can be guilty and that we must stop the arrogance of the powers at the very beginning. To me, America is becoming truly scary and the parallels to the development in Germany of the thirties (although the reason behind it are totally different) are sickening.

"Thank you for writing about this development. The world is waiting for signs of opposition in the Unilateral States of America![/i]"

Herr Moellers' e-mail is typical of a half dozen or so I've received over the past year from people with intimate knowledge of Nazi Germany.

I respect experience, so I'm inclined to believe what these people are telling me. Perhaps their memories help explain the attitude of Germans toward the Bush administration these days.

They've been there, they've done that. They know what a corrupt government smells like.

But are they "over the top"? Are they overreacting to a normal swing of the pendulum in American politics?

To make a comparison between Germany in the 1930s and America now, I relied on a Web site called "A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust." The passages in quotations below are taken from the site.

"With Adolf Hitler's ascendancy to the chancellorship, the Nazi Party quickly consolidated its power. Hitler managed to maintain a posture of legality throughout the Nazification process."

Whether by chance or design, George W. Bush is the most powerful American president in modern history. Not only does he have both houses of Congress beholden to him, but the majority of the Supreme Court is acting like a quintet of Bush lapdogs. And it all appears legal.

"Domestically, during the next six years, Hitler completely transformed Germany into a police state."

Civil libertarians insist that this is happening here now, with the USA Patriot Act in force and Patriot II on the table.

"Hitler engaged in a 'diplomatic revolution' by negotiating with other European countries and publicly expressing his strong desire for peace."

Nobody can accuse Bush of being overly diplomatic, but, like all political leaders, he is an apostle for peace, even while starting two wars during his brief tenure.

In 1933, the Reichstag, Germany's parliament building, was burned to the ground. Nobody knows for sure who set the fire. The Nazis blamed communists. "This incident prompted Hitler[,then Germany's chancellor,] to convince [German President Paul von] Hindenburg to issue a Decree for the Protection of People and State that granted Nazis sweeping power to deal with the so-called emergency."

The Reichstag fire parallels the Sept. 11 attacks here, and Hindenburg's decree parallels our USA Patriot Act.

Soon after Hitler took power, the concentration camp at Dachau was created and "the Nazis began arresting Communists, Socialists and labor leaders ... . Parliamentary democracy ended with the Reichstag passage of the Enabling Act, which allowed the government to issue laws without the Reichstag."

With Bush leading all branches of government around by the nose, there's a question whether parliamentary democracy still exists here. Certainly, concentration camps exist, if we're willing to call the lockup at Guanténamo Bay what it really is. And the USA Patriot Act allows the president to effectively take citizenship rights from any American-born criminal suspect.

"Nazi anti-Semitic legislation and propaganda against 'Non-Aryans' was a thinly disguised attack against anyone who had Jewish parents or grandparents. Jews felt increasingly isolated from the rest of German society."

How comfortable do American-born Arabs feel in the United States today?

While the German concentration camps were being built and Jews were being persecuted, in 1936 Nazi Germany hosted the Olympic Games and put its best face forward to the world. We have the Super Bowl.

In the mid- to late 1930s, Germany was able to annex nearby territories without firing a shot. That was because of the threat of the German military, the strongest in the world at the time. That might be compared with the sudden flexibility of Iran, Pakistan, Syria and Libya, all of whom are aware that Bush will do more than just threaten; he'll do it.

When one is comparing then and now, I think the most interesting factor is that most German Jews remained in Germany until it was too late. They just couldn't believe Hitler was as dangerous as some people said he was. The more prescient Jews (most often those who could afford to do so) got out, however.

Hitler came to power in 1933, but the killing of Jews (and others) didn't begin until five years later, in 1938, with the historic Kristallnacht ("Night of Broken Glass") on Nov. 9. On that day, "nearly 1,000 synagogues were set on fire and 76 were destroyed. More than 7,000 Jewish businesses and homes were looted, about 100 Jews were killed, and as many as 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps to be tormented ... ."

We haven't seen anything like that here, nor does it appear to be one the horizon, yet one must wonder about the hundreds shut away in Guanténamo Bay and in other lockups in the United States and throughout the world.

I haven't space here to list all of the apparent comparisons between then and now, but you can see them for yourself by reading the teacher's guide mentioned earlier.

My conclusion is that some comparisons between modern times and Nazi Germany are valid, and some are not. Enough are valid, in my opinion, however, for us to be wary, and as vigilant as humanly possible.

Whatever happens in this year's election, I would hope that Congress, the Supreme Court and the president himself start reeling in the power of the presidency. It has been expanding ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt, if not before, and now it is way out of proportion to what the Founding Fathers had in mind for our system of checks and balances.

Our current president has the power to turn the world into turmoil with a mere stroke of the pen. No man should have that much power, no matter who he is.

[i]Harley Sorensen is a longtime journalist. His column appears Mondays. E-mail him at [/i]

Red Ink Realities ...
01.27.04 (6:30 pm)   [edit]
[b]As the corrupt Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta[/i] plunge, squander and swindle us [i]deeper, deeper and deeper [/i]into the largest deficits and debts in our nation's history [/b]-- on insane neo-con warfare to enrich their war-profiteers -- on immoral tax cuts, tax loopholes & boondoggles for corporations and the richest-of-the-rich -- and, callously ignore the needs of over 3.5 million homeless, 9-15 million jobless ([i]Dubya destroyed 3.3 million jobs/Clinton created 22 million jobs[/i]), 25 million families living below the poverty line, 45 million without health care-- and skyrocketing poverty and misery ... the neo-con, neo-fascists are using diversionary tactis and neo-orwellian propaganda to divert our attention away from their many, many crimes.

"We the People" would do well to heed the dire warnings of experts including Nobel Prize Economist George Akerlof, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates Sr., Professor Paul Krugman, etc. ... Consider today's article entitled "[i][b]Red Ink Realities[/b][/i]" by [i]Paul Krugman [/i]on :

Even conservatives are starting to admit that George Bush isn't serious when he claims to be doing something about the exploding budget deficit. At best — to borrow the already classic language of the State of the Union address — his administration is engaged in deficit reduction-related program activities.

But these admissions have been accompanied by an urban legend about what went wrong. According to cleverly misleading reports from the Heritage Foundation and other like-minded sources, the deficit is growing because Mr. Bush isn't sufficiently conservative: he's allowing runaway growth in domestic spending. This myth is intended to divert attention from the real culprit: sharply reduced tax collections, mainly from corporations and the wealthy.

Is domestic spending really exploding? Think about it: farm subsidies aside, which domestic programs have received lavish budget increases over the last three years? Education? Don't be silly: No Child Left Behind is rapidly turning into a sick joke.

In fact, many government agencies are severely underfinanced. For example, last month the head of the National Park Service's police admitted to reporters that her force faced serious budget and staff shortages, and was promptly suspended.

A recent study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities does the math. While overall government spending has risen rapidly since 2001, the great bulk of that increase can be attributed either to outlays on defense and homeland security, or to types of government spending, like unemployment insurance, that automatically rise when the economy is depressed.

Why, then, do we face the prospect of huge deficits as far as the eye can see? Part of the answer is the surge in defense and homeland security spending. The main reason for deficits, however, is that revenues have plunged. Federal tax receipts as a share of national income are now at their lowest level since 1950.

Of course, most people don't feel that their taxes have fallen sharply. And they're right: taxes that fall mainly on middle-income Americans, like the payroll tax, are still near historic highs. The decline in revenue has come almost entirely from taxes that are mostly paid by the richest 5 percent of families: the personal income tax and the corporate profits tax. These taxes combined now take a smaller share of national income than in any year since World War II.

This decline in tax collections from the wealthy is partly the result of the Bush tax cuts, which account for more than half of this year's projected deficit. But it also probably reflects an epidemic of tax avoidance and evasion. Everyone who wants to understand what's happening to the tax system should read "Perfectly Legal," the new book by David Cay Johnston, The Times's tax reporter, who shows how ideologues have made America safe for wealthy people who don't feel like paying taxes.

I was particularly struck by Mr. Johnston's description of the carefully staged Senate Finance Committee hearings in 1997-1998. Senators Trent Lott and Frank Murkowski accused the I.R.S. of "Gestapo"-like tactics, and Congress passed new rules that severely restricted the I.R.S.'s ability to investigate suspected tax evaders. Only later, when the cameras were no longer rolling, did it become clear that the whole thing was a con. Most of the charges weren't true, and there was good reason to believe that the star witness, who dramatically described how I.R.S. agents had humiliated him, really was engaged in major-league tax evasion (he eventually paid $23 million, insisting he had done no wrong).

And this was part of a larger con. What's playing out in America right now is the bait-and-switch strategy known on the right as "starve the beast." The ultimate goal is to slash government programs that help the poor and the middle class, and use the savings to cut taxes for the rich. But the public would never vote for that.

So the right has used deceptive salesmanship to undermine tax enforcement and push through upper-income tax cuts. And now that deficits have emerged, the right insists that they are the result of runaway spending, which must be curbed.

While this strategy has been remarkably successful so far, it also offers a big opportunity to the opposition. So here's a test for the Democratic contenders: details of your proposals aside, which of you can do the best job explaining the ongoing budget con to the American people?

01.27.04 (4:51 pm)   [edit]
"[b][i]Someone who would trade freedom for security, deserves neither[/i][/b]." - [i]Benjamin Franklin[/i]

[b]"We the People" are holding protests and demonstrations throughout the [i]fruited plains[/i], in order to call for the repeal of the fascist PATRIOT ACT![/b] Please contact Congress on to demand that this insane neo-hitlerian act be repealed immediately and express your concern that the neo-con's transformation of our nation into a fascist state is unacceptable ...

What do we stand for if we are prepared to allow the corrupt Bush regime to trample and tread upon the U.S. Constitution & Bill of Rights?

[i][b]Repeal the PATRIOT ACT [/b][/i]calls for the immediate and total repeal of the 2001 USA Patriot Act for the following reasons and more:

* It breaks the political backs of the judiciary and legislative branches of government.

* It allows random arrests and detention without hearings or trials for anyone or any group designated by the President. Retroactive Prosecution, too!

* It allows the concealment of Presidential records.

* It permits secret "Military Tribunals" for presidentially-designated "terrorists".

* It legalizes "sneak-n-peek" searches and seizures.

* It allows the unlawful infiltration and surveillance of legal, domestic religious, labor and political organizations.

* It allows the wholesale surveillance of private citizens, private business records and other materials without proof of probable cause.

* It destroys all e-mail and internet privacy...

[b]Click onto the [i]Repeal the PATRIOT ACT [/i]web-site [/b]on .

Also refer to an indepth article entitled "[b]Repeal the USA Patriot Act[/b]" by [i]Jennifer Van Bergen[/i]

Kerry IS Right ... NIXON'S TREASON: He Stopped an Early Peace in Vietnam
01.27.04 (2:02 pm)   [edit]
[b]Kerry IS Right!

Nixon and Kissinger committed treason in undermining a sitting U.S. administration's peace talks in order to steal the election from the the Democrats. The Republicans were willing to do anything in their grab for power ... not unlike today ...[/b]

"We the People" had better spend a little time and study our own history ([i]and it wouldn't hurt us to know a little world history, as well [/i]...) ... in order to avoid the neo-orwellian propaganda being fabricated by the mendacious right-wing fascists who have hijacked our government.

Consider "[b]NIXON'S TREASON: He Stopped an Early Peace in Vietnam[/b]" on :

A biography [September 2000] of Richard Nixon has made media headlines in recent weeks: mostly for the wrong reasons. The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon by Anthony Summers makes the claim that Nixon beat his wife in 1962 and that in 1974 he was so looped from self-prescribing the mood-altering prescription drug Dilantin that his Secretary of Defense, James R. Schlesinger, had to tell military commanders to confirm all orders emanating from the White House with the Pentagon or the State Department.

The wife-beating story is obviously second hand. No one can possibly verify it except Pat and Dick, and they're dead. Summers tries to puff it up by claiming that Nixon's psychological profile fits that of typical batterers. Nixon may have been a bastard but there's no hard evidence that he was a batterer. Violence against women is serious business, but even Richard Nixon deserves to be considered innocent until proven guilty.

The sources for the Dilantin include Schlesinger himself, as well as Jack Dreyfus, the founder of the Dreyfus Fund, who apparently loved Dilantin so much he gave bottles of one-thousand 100 milligram capsules to all his friends. The Dreyfus story adds to other absurdist stories of the Nixon presidency. Recall Nixon's famous photo-op with Elvis Presley. In order to gain credibility with young people, Nixon deputized Elvis to help fight the war on drugs. Presley, of course, was zonked at the time.

There is a third major accusation that Summers makes in his biography. And this, a consequential historical story, has been ignored by the media. In order to win the presidential campaign of 1968, Summers says, candidate Nixon undermined a serious initiative to end the Vietnam War.

This is not the first time that this charge has been raised.

Tom Wicker, in his 1991 book, One of Us, Richard Nixon and the American Dream, cites, but then dismisses, intelligence reports that "high-level Nixon campaign officials" tried to reach South Vietnam's President Nguyen Van Thieu to urge him to oppose a peace initiative that President Johnson was negotiating with the North Vietnamese. To Wicker, it was "hard to believe" that Nixon would undermine an effort to end the war. "Obviously, it would be fatal for the Nixon campaign to be connected with an effort to delay a bombing halt, possibly a peace settlement, for domestic political purposes," Wicker says.

In writing his biography, Wicker ignored Seymour Hersh's 1983 book, The Price of Power: Kissinger in the White House. In it, Hersh describes Henry Kissinger as advising the Democrats on Vietnam policy and then secretly reporting what he knew about peace negotiations to the Nixon campaign.

This contact, between Kissinger and Nixon, is confirmed in RN, Nixon's memoir. According to Nixon, Kissinger warned him in September 1968 that Johnson would call a bombing halt in late October. Johnson and Democratic presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey had finally come to understand that to win the election they would have to find a way out of the war and, in late October, there was movement in Hanoi and Washington towards starting peace negotiations.

Hersh describes Nixon sending Anna Chennault to lobby South Vietnamese President Thieu to urge him to obstruct the effort to start peace negotiations. Chennault was a vice president of the Republican election finance committee and chairwoman of Republican Women for Nixon. As head of Flying Tiger Airlines, a company originally formed, with CIA backing, to assist Chiang Kai-shek in his war against the Chinese Communists, Mrs. Chennault had high-level contacts in the South Vietnamese government.

This is authenticated in the 1986 book The Palace File by Nguyen Tien Hung and Jerrold Schecter. Hung was an advisor to President Thieu and Schecter was Time magazine's Diplomatic Editor. "During the closing week of the election, Nixon's campaign manager John Mitchell, called [Chennault] 'almost every day' to persuade her to keep Thieu from going to Paris for peace talks with the North Vietnamese," they write. She was successful. Five days before the American election, Thieu announced his refusal to participate in the peace talks.

This is again confirmed by Stanley Karnow in his revised (1991) and updated Vietnam: A History which, in its first edition, was the basis for the PBS series. As Karnow writes, "through one of Nixon's foreign policy aides, Richard Allen, [Kissinger] contacted the Republicans, offering to furnish them with covert information on Johnson's moves. A clandestine channel was set up through Nixon's campaign manger, John Mitchell, and Kissinger guided the Republicans secretly on the Vietnam issue for nearly two months -- thus supplying Nixon with the ammunition to blast Humphrey for 'playing politics with war.'"

Karnow further documents Chennault's advice to Thieu to obstruct the peace negotiations. And he supplies new information that Johnson, suspicious of Nixon's intrigues, was bugging the conversations that Chennault had with Thieu.

Anthony Summers's book provides the authentication for what we already know -- but which the media deems less interesting than gossip about Nixon's marriage or his penchant for mood-changing drugs. Unlike earlier biographers, Summers had access to FBI documents, though much of what Hoover found out is still covered up. Although Johnson ordered the FBI to investigate the Nixon-Chennault-Thieu connection, Hoover told Chennault not to worry, that "the bureau was 'making a show' of obeying Johnson's orders."

Nevertheless, what FBI and other documents show is that in the final days of the 1968 campaign, with peace negotiations in the offering, Nixon urged Thieu to stonewall President Johnson in order to undermine the prospect of peace negotiations. As Nixon told Chennault to tell Thieu, he could expect a "better deal" when Nixon became president.

The question remains why neither Johnson nor Humphrey blew the whistle on Nixon during the last days of the campaign. The fact is that they lacked conclusive evidence of what Nixon was doing. Without a smoking-gun, they themselves would have been accused of unprecedented partisanship and attempting to steal the election. Once Nixon won, such an accusation, still without conclusive evidence, would have greatly compromised the country's Vietnam position.

That Nixon sabotaged peace to win the 1968 election can no longer be dismissed as speculation, theory, or even Nixon-bashing, however. The documents provide the smoking-gun. It's history. It happened.

According to Nixon's memoirs (and verified by the public opinion polls at the time), LBJ's bombing halt and his declared intention to enter peace negotiations, "resulted in a last-minute surge of support for Humphrey" which was "dampened on November 2, when President Thieu announced his government would not participate in the negotiations Johnson was proposing." Nixon won the election by a narrow margin and the war continued.

The media's obsession with private lives instead of public issues is destroying our democracy. It's Nixon's treason and not his marriage or his self-medication that is the major story.

For a citizen, even a candidate, to secretly undermine the affairs of state is a serious crime, perhaps even treason. More than 20,000 American soldiers and millions of Southeast Asians died as a result of Nixon's successful attempt to steal the 1968 election.


TomPaine on

Bush's Double Cross ...
01.27.04 (1:41 pm)   [edit]
[b]Bush has double crossed our nation ... Dubya, Cheney, Rice, Rove, Powell, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and the rest of the gang of neo-con thugs & goons have [i]played us all for fools [/i]and they are [i]laughing all the way to the bank [/i]...[/b]

Ironically, their ilk of ruthless neo-fascist liars & thieves and neo-con war-mongers & war-profiteers, don't even respect their slavish buffoons, brain-dead sheep, and corporate-owned court-jesters & attack-dogs who blindly show [i]imbecilic devotion [/i]and [i]regurgitate whatever the Bushies tell 'em all to regurgitate [/i]... Dubya and his immoral gang simply laugh at how [i]gulllible[/i] these puppets are and how easy they are to [i]manipulate[/i] ...

It is up to "We the People", who refuse to be their collaborators in their [i]Crimes Against Humanity[/i], to fight in order to have them impeached from office and tried for treason before they are finally [i]shipped off [/i]to the International Court at the Hague, where they belong ...

Consider "[i][b]Kay's Admission, Bush's Double Cross[/b][/i]" by [i]Matthew Rothschild [/i]on :

Over the weekend, eight more U.S. soldiers died in Iraq. Now more than 500 Americans have lost their lives in George W. Bush's needless war.

Thousands more have been injured, and the CIA warns of a possible civil war ahead. Increasingly, the resistance is coming from indigenous Islamic forces, not leftovers of the Baath regime or foreign terrorists, as Bush continues to falsely claim.

Meanwhile, the major rationale for invading Iraq is more discredited than ever.

David Kay, whose work Bush cited in his State of the Union Address, resigned four days after that speech, saying that Saddam Hussein had gotten rid of his weapons of mass destruction prior to the war.

[i]Gone were the tons of sarin.

Gone the kettles of botulism.

Gone the vials of anthrax.

Gone the mobile biological labs.

Gone the hiding of weapons in Syria.

Gone the nukes.[/i]

[i]Actually, only Dick Cheney was so brazen to say, prior to the war, that Saddam actually had a nuclear weapon[/i].

Kay says Iraq was nowhere near getting its nuclear act together, trailing behind Iran and Libya, and both those countries were behind North Korea.

So the "grave" and "urgent" and "unique" threat that Bush repeatedly said Saddam posed actually wasn't so grave or urgent, and wasn't unique at all.

If I were the parent or the child or the husband or the wife of one of those 500 American troops who died for Bush's lies, I would despise this President and this Vice President who took my loved one away under false pretenses and for ulterior motives.

The pain of these families will never heal.

[b]Bush double-crossed them, and they--and their proud soldier--paid the price.[/b]

U.S. Abuses Human Rights in Iraq ...
01.27.04 (11:35 am)   [edit]
[b]According to a new report, the U.S. is abusing the human rights of the people of Iraq ... Dubya, Cheney, Rove, Rice, Powell, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Bolton & the rest of this neo-con, neo-fascist regime should be impeached and sent off to the International Court at the Hague to be tried for their '[i]Crimes Against Humanity[/i]' ... [/b]

It is time to face the horrifying reality that the vast [i]lies, deceptions and falsehoods [/i]perpetrated upon "We the People" and the entire world are having dire and destructive consequences at home and abroad. In their insane lust for global hegemony in order to install their Global Corporate Empire ([i]on behalf of their corporate paymasters: Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, Big Oil, etc[/i].), this corrupt cabal of criminals who have hijacked our government, have committed atrocities against our U.S. Soldiers & the Iraqi people! Contact Congress and demand Impeachment Hearings NOW on . Let us not be silent collaborators in the daily massacre and abuse of the innocent Iraqi people, many tens of thousands of whom have been slaughtered by the corrupt neo-con, neo-fascist Bush regime.

Consider "[i][b]US abuses human rights in Iraq, useless compensation system[/b][/i]" on :

According to a new report, the US military in Iraq is arrogant and cruel when dealing with Iraqis seeking compensation for wrongful death, injuries and property destruction. The report, authored by [i][b]Iraq Occupation Watch[/b][/i] and The National Association for the Defense of Human Rights in Iraq (NADHRI), slams US military practice in Iraq since March 1, 2003 and charges that the US compensation system in Iraq is useless.

The "[i][b]Joint Report on Civilian Casualties and Claims Related to US Military Operations[/b][/i]", investigates cases of civilian casualties caused by random shootings, house searches, car accidents between civilian and military vehicles, and deaths caused by cluster bombs. It also explores how the compensation system is working.

Bush declared heavy fighting in Iraq to be over last May. However, the report claims that "the postwar situation is often bloodier than the war itself". Up to 512 American soldiers have died as of January 24, 2004. The Associated Press reports that most of the deaths have occurred since Bush's May 1 declaration. According to the Christian Science Monitor there aren't any reliable statistics on the numbers of Iraqis killed since the war but, "most analysts in Iraq say the local civilian death numbering well into the thousands".

After May 1 the US created a legal system where Iraqi civilians who have suffered can present claims for compensation to US military authorities. This system operates anytime the US military is deployed to a foreign country.

The US military said it would hear claims from Iraqis whose family members were killed or wounded in incidents involving US troops as long they took place in non-combat circumstances. The claims are dealt with under the Foreign Claims Act and cover material damage, injury and death. These incidents must have occurred after May 1, during a non-combat situation and be generated by wrongful action or negligence.

According to [i][b]Human Rights Watch [/b][/i] , the US military has received nearly 5,400 claims as of mid-September, 4,148 of which had been adjudicated and 1,874 denied. The New York Times reports that the US military has paid out more than $2 million in compensation for damage and injury claims since May.

Lawyers for NADHRI have filed 120 cases for compensation with the military. Occupation Watch has filed 20 and logged more than 80. None of these claims have received compensation.

To file claims Iraqis have to go to Civilian Military Operation Centers (CMOC). The report documents an extensive list of difficulties experienced at CMOC offices. These include no Arabic copies of the Foreign Claims Act procedures, all replies are written in english, lack of female soldiers for interactions with Iraqi women and loss of seized documents, safes, money and gold.

The report describes one case outlining the death of Mazen Antoine Hanna Noraddin, a 32-year-old pharmaceutical company sales representative. Mazen was killed in military crossfire while waiting on the side of the road for a taxi.

American military unites shot Mazen seven times while firing randomly across a 200-meter stretch of road in response to an attack.

The American units took Mazan's corpse to the airport for a forensic examination allowing Mr. Antoine, Mazen's father, 72, to accompany them. He waited two hours at the airport before being told to take his son's corps back home--by taxi. Mr. Antoine refused, telling the soldiers that no taxi would pick him up and that its difficult to find a taxi near the airport.

After some discussion, the same unit received orders to return Mazen's body and his father to his home. The unit insisted that he get out at the nearest intersection instead. Mazen's father, told to carry the body the rest of the way, replied that he could not and that there was no problem for the unit in reaching the house. They agreed on the condition that he run in front of the truck as a human shield. Mazen's father ran until they reached Mazen's road, where they refused to go any further. Mazen's father, with some friends on the street, carried Mazen's corps back to the house.

A compensation claim was filed for the case of Mazen and the family received $2,500 "sympathy money".

Occupation Watch researcher Paola Gasparoli commented that, in the case of "sympathy money", the US military authority "doesn't recognize respect. They simply say 'our units were acting in the respect of the rules of engagement. But we understand that for your family it's a tragedy. So, we pay $2, 500'".

Reconsideration of Mazen's case was requested but refused. The case is now closed.

Gasparoli said, "The fact they don't want to investigate combat situations is increasing the impunity between soldiers because there is no inquiry about the disproportionate use of force or to see if the reaction of the soldiers was useful to catch the attacker. So the units know that nothing happens to them."

When asked if there is a process for holding troops accountable she responded, "No, because [Iraqis] don't go to a court or tribunal. Here there are judge-lawyers. They are military so they arrive in uniform and they are armed. And it's just up to them to accept or reject the case. Lawyers and judges are the same person."

She said, that for Iraqis, the compensation claims "are not only a question of money. But, that they see the refusal to accept the claim as another insult, as another form of disrespect."

The report concludes by observing that "the way the compensation system is structured and managed, the American troops have adopted an atmosphere of impunity. Arrogant and violent behavior goes unpunished and continues".

[i]Chris Spannos produces radio in the Redeye collective , heard on Vancouver's Cooperative Radio, CFRO. He is a founder and collective member of Vancouver's Participatory Economics Collective .[/i]

Neo-Fascist Oligarchs For Bush ...
01.27.04 (9:25 am)   [edit]
[b]The neo-fascist oligarchs are[i] out in force [/i]for Bush! Why not? They are raking in hundreds of billions of dollars embezzled, swindled and stolen from the U.S. Treasury & American workers-- so that the corrupt Bush family, their putrid corporate paymasters and the richest-of-the-rich oligarchs, plutocrats & mafia dons can like like squalid neo-emperors while the rest of us are forced to play the role of their miserable neo-slaves![/b]

"We the People" are witness to our great nation being tragically transformed into a sordid neo-fascist militaristic [i]stalinist-like [/i]state run by the criminal class of corporate oligarchs who install their greedy puppets like Dubya & Cheney et al.-- all willing to destroy our country in order to enrich themselves ...

Consider [i]Katrina vanden Heuvel's [/i]excellent [i]Editor's Cut [/i]in [i][b]The Nation [/b][/i]on :

Do you have 250 family members, friends, associates, and colleagues who can afford to give $2,000 to President Bush ?

On January 22, the [i]Washington Post [/i]reported that there's now "whispered talk on Wall Street of a new category of super-fundraiser, those able to bundle $500,000 or more" for President George W. Bush's re-election campaign.

These super-fundraiser would supercede the Rangers (who raise a paltry $200,000 for the President ) as the measurement of ultimate loyalty to the Bush White House . The campaign denies it will name the new category but it was just too tempting for reformers to leave alone.

So, the [i]Public Campaign Action Fund[/i] , a nonpartisan campaign finance reform organization, has launched a contest to help name the category for Bush-Cheney Inc. (And I've agreed to help select the five finalists from which the public will choose the winner.)

Click here to submit your suggestion. Each finalist receives a Fat Cat T-Shirt, a poster and the satisfaction of helping raise public awareness of the brazen corruption of this Administration . [i][b]Bring those names on.[/b][/i]

[b]Read also [/b]>> "Ever Wonder Why The NEWS Is Mis-Reported In The U.S.A.?" on

The Bush Regime's MATH Doesn't Add Up!
01.27.04 (7:37 am)   [edit]
[b]The Bush Regime's [i]MATH[/i] doesn't add up! ... Is it surprising? ... No WMDs posing an imminent threat are found in Iraq ... Halliburton commits crimes & are still awarded obscene & bloated contracts by Dubya & Cheney ... Bravado by the Bushies about a failing economy that is [i]tooted-and-touted [/i]while poverty & inflation skyrocket -- more jobs have been lost ([i]Bush destroyed 3.3 million * Clinton created 22 million jobs[/i]) than since the Great Depression -- immoral awards of ruthless tax cuts, tax loopholes & boondoggles to corporations and the richest-of-the-rich -- and, they have[i] run-up [/i]the highest and most reckless deficits & debts in the History of our Nation!

The Bushies continue their neo-orwellian campaign of lies, deceptions and falsehoods about everything related to Iraq and the State of the Union ... We are embroiled in a bloody neo-con guerrilla quagmire that is continuing to take a daily toll of death of U.S. Soldiers & Innocent Iraqi civilians![/b]

"We the People" must look beyond the Bush regime's mendacious rhetoric, for like most con-artists & fraudsters, their [i]scam-talk [/i]is not consistent with the [i]unpleasant reality on the ground[/i]!

Consider "[i][b]The Administration’s Numbers Don’t Add Up[/b][/i]" on

The President Bush and his conservative allies in Congress sold the country on three rounds of tax cuts, tilted heavily towards the richest Americans, on the premise that they would pay for themselves through higher growth and not harm the nation’s long-term fiscal situation. However, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office today reported a much bleaker assessment of the administration’s economic policies that severely undermines the president’s plans to make the tax cuts permanent. [b]The CBO reports the federal government’s budget deficit will top $475 billion this year alone, with nearly $5 trillion in accumulated debt projected through 2014.[/b]

[b]1. The near $500 billion deficit is a sign of a dramatic long-term deterioration, not a one-time blip due to 9/11 and Iraq.[/b] A deficit of this size would be harmful but not nearly as serious if it represented a one-time effort to address short-term problems, and was in the context of long-term policies to restore fiscal discipline. Yet recently, a number of independent organizations from Goldman Sachs to the Center for Economic Development have projected ten-year deficits of $5 trillion, which suggest that $500 billion annual deficits will be the rule, rather than the exception.

[b]2. The CBO confirms these ten-year $5 trillion deficit projections.[/b] The CBO’s report clearly demonstrates that these independent deficit projections are on the mark. When you add to the baseline deficit projections the cost of making the tax cuts permanent and a reasonable reform of the Alternative Minimum Tax, the ten-year deficit is about $5 trillion, including lost interest.

[b]3. The continued deterioration in our nation’s finances is due overwhelmingly to declining revenues, not higher spending:[/b] The report projects that revenues will continue to deteriorate in 2004 to 15.8% of GDP, the lowest level since 1950. Meanwhile spending will remain low by historical spending. In fact, spending as a share of GDP is projected to be lower than in any year from 1975-1996. When you hold aside spending increases for defense and homeland security, discretionary spending on things like education and job training has remained virtually unchanged, and cannot be blamed for our fiscal deterioration.


[i]The Center for American Progress [/i]on

Veep Cheney 'Waged War' on Blair Iraq Strategy ...
01.26.04 (4:19 pm)   [edit]
[b]Veep Cheney 'Waged War' on Blair Iraq Strategy ...[/b]is the[i] lede [/i]of today's article in the U.K. Conservative's [i]Financial Times [/i]... Cheney is a neo-con thug of the[i] 1st water[/i]: a liar, a bully, a thief and a traitor with no respect for the U.S. Constitution & Bill of Rights ...

It is the filthy putrid ilk like the cowardly AWOL 'deserter' Dubya and his side-kicks Cheney, Rice, Rove, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, etc. who should be impeached from office and tried for treason ... as they used[i] lies, deceptions and falsehoods [/i]to wage their illegal and immoral neo-con, neo-fascist war turned bloody guerrilla quagmire in Iraq, in order to enrich their pimps: Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, Big Oil, etc ...

"We the People" must take our nation back!

Consider "[i][b]Cheney 'waged war' on Blair Iraq strategy[/b][/i]" by [i]James Blitz in London and Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington[/i] on :

[b]Dick Cheney, US vice-president, "[i]waged a guerrilla war[/i]" against attempts by Tony Blair, the British prime minister, to secure United Nations backing for the invasion of Iraq.[/b]

Mr Cheney remained implacably opposed to the strategy even after George W. Bush, US president, addressed the UN on the importance of a multilateralist approach, according to a new biography of Mr Blair.

The US vice-president, along with the neo-conservatives in the Bush administration, has consistently argued that the US could be constrained by the UN's inability to reach agreement over the need to invade Iraq.

He told the World Economic Forum in Davos at the weekend: "There comes a time when deceit and defiance must be seen for what they are. At that point, a gathering danger must be directly confronted. At that point, we must show that beyond our resolutions is actual resolve."

The extent of Mr Cheney's opposition emerges in the biography of the British prime minister by Philip Stephens, the Financial Times' political columnist.

In the run-up to the war, Mr Blair worked closely with Mr Bush to try to secure prior UN backing.

But Mr Stephens writes that Mr Cheney's opposition to UN involvement left Mr Blair uncertain whether Mr Bush would go down the UN route until he uttered the relevant words in his speech to the UN general assembly in September 2002. One Blair aide remarked: "[Mr Cheney] waged a guerrilla war against the process . . . He's a visceral unilateralist". Another agreed: "Cheney fought it all the way - at every twist and turn, even after Bush's speech to the UN."

In the US, Democrats have also accused Mr Cheney of putting pressure on intelligence agencies to produce evidence Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. On Friday, David Kay, the top US weapons inspector in Iraq, resigned, saying he did not believe Iraq had large stocks of biological and chemical weapons.

Mr Stephens' book reveals a string of acid interventions by Mr Cheney during critical talks between the president and prime minister at Camp David in September 2002. Once, he directly rebuked Alastair Campbell, Mr Blair's communications director.

In occasional contacts with British officials, Scooter Libby, the vice-president's chief of staff, made little secret of his boss's scorn for multilateralism. He once jibed: "Oh dear, we'd better not do that or we might upset the prime minister."

Mr Stephens also reveals that Mr Blair was concerned about relations with other European leaders, particularly Jacques Chirac, French president.

Mr Blair confided in close aides before the Iraq war that he believed Mr Chirac was personally "out to get him" because he feared the UK prime minister was usurping his own position as the natural leader of Europe.

According to Mr Stephens, the prime minister came to the view that Mr Chirac wanted to see him fall from power after receiving intelligence reports about the French president's private conversations.

Dubya's Economic Meltdown Will Create A Staggering $1.9 Trillion Deficit!!!
01.26.04 (12:48 pm)   [edit]
[b]Dubya's economic meltdown will create a staggering $1.9 trillion deficit over the next decade according to the Congressional Budget Office ... [/b]Dubya has squandered our labor and swindled, plundered and looted the U.S. Treasury in order to enrich himself, greedy corporations, and of the obese plutocrats, who have betrayed our nation's promise of seeking the [i]General Welfare of All of Our Citizens [/i]as per the U.S. Constitution ... and instead they are grabbing all of the power and riches that they can amasse, irrespective of the laws they break and the lives they destroy!

Dubya will [i]swan-off [/i]to his[i] Saddam-Hussein style [/i]palacial estate in Crawford Texas, where he and the rest of his putrid and obscene family and sordid and squalid rapacious slave owners will gorge on rich foods and swill on gallons of booze, while ...

* Over 3.5 million citizens are homeless & Dubya refuses to approve a new census count because it is worse than that ... Dubya does nothing about the homeless and his puppets in his [i]corporate-owned right-wing media & press [/i]refuse to report upon this horrific scandal ...

* Over 9-15 million citizens are without jobs, while Dubya destroyed over 3.3 million ([i]Clinton created over 22 million jobs on his watch[/i]) to create a slave labor class desperate for work ([i]and he is pushing towards letting illegal aliens take slave labor jobs[/i]!) ...

* Over 25 million families live below a back-breaking, miserable poverty line established in the 1960s ... Dubya refuses to allow a new poverty line to be set ... the situation is dire for many millions of families across America ...

* Over 45 million citizens are without health care ... so they suffer in unconscionable pain & anguish ... or die ... or go bankrupt ... in the richest nation on the planet ... and the only industrialized nation to refuse to help those who are sick, ill and suffering ... although the majority of Americans want a Universal Health Care System ([i]but Dubya's pimps, the Pharmaceuticals, Insurance Scam corporations, HMOs, etc. don't want it, because they feed off the vulnerable like leeches[/i]) ...

* Other issues such as a crumbling infrastructure, neglect of our public school education, an FDA that is starved so we are poisoned with Mad Cow Disease and god only knows what other unsafe foods, beverages and water systems ... an environment that is being polluted, raped and ravaged ... etc. etc. etc. ...

Dubya has created the largest gap between the [i]Hyper-Rich-Haves [/i]and the [i]Impoverished-Slavish-Have-Nots[/i], since the Great Depression and the largest deficits and debts in our Nation's History ... [b]Dubya is leading us 'off the cliff' towards a catastrophe ...[/b]

"We the People" should contact Congress and demand that impeachment hearings be held for Dubya's [i]Crimes Against Humanity [/i]in Iraq, where over 513 U.S. Soldiers & tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians have been slaughtered in order to enrich the despicable Bush family, Cheney family, Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, Big Oil, etc.

Consider "[i][b]Next decade's deficit seen at $1.9T - Congressional Budget Office sees '04 deficit down $3B to $477B; gap from '05-'14 seen widening[/b][/i]." by CNN [i]Money[/i] on :

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Congressional Budget Office on Monday forecast a slight improvement in this year's federal budget deficit, but gave evidence of worsening deficits over the next decade.

In its bi-annual budget outlook, details of which were obtained by Reuters from congressional sources, the nonpartisan agency forecast a record federal deficit of $477 billion in 2004, only $3 billion less than the past forecast made in August.

It predicted next year's deficit will total $362 billion, up from $341 billion predicted in August. Based on current federal spending plans and tax policy, the deficit is expected to reach nearly $1.89 trillion between 2005 and 2014, up from prior predictions of $1.4 trillion.

The government's previous record deficit of $374 billion, posted in fiscal year 2003, easily eclipsed the prior high of $290 billion set in 1992. The shortfall predicted for 2004 would still be less than levels seen in the early 1980s when considered as a percentage of the size of the U.S. economy.

In recent days, President George W. Bush has begun taking fire from conservatives within his own party for not laying out concrete plans to cut government spending and reduce the deficit.

That led administration officials to promise Thursday an effective freeze on federal discretionary spending next year not connected to defense or homeland security, calling that the foundation of a plan to halve the deficit in the next five years (see "[b][i]Bush's budget trick[/i][/b]" ). Automatic payments such as Social Security and Medicare would not be affected.

Congressional and private-sector budget analysts, however, note the move would save the government only around $8 billion dollars out of a $2 trillion-plus federal budget -- even if Congress can be made to swallow the cuts it would require.

"It's more like an effort to get through the next 10 days," said Stan Collender, a veteran budget watcher at public relations firm Fleishman Hillard. "It isn't going to happen."

The USA Is Now In The Hands Of A Group of Neo-Fascist Extremists ...
01.26.04 (8:57 am)   [edit]
[b]"We the People" must surely be sleepy-headed or ignorant or corrupted if we don't recognize that our nation has been hijacked by neo-fascist extremists who recklessly wage illegal and immoral neo-hitlerian "pre-emptive" warfare based upon lies, deceptions & falsehoods in order to enrich their corporate paymasters, and who are also ruthlessly creating the largest gap between the hyper-rich-[i]have[/i]s and the impoverished-slavish-[i]have-nots [/i] in our nation since the Great Depression[/b].

Moreover, the callous and putrid Bush/Cheney Inc.[i] junta [/i]ignore the skyrocketing poverty and inflation in the U.S., including 3.5 million homeless, 9-15 million jobless ([i]Dubya destroyed 3.3 million jobs, while Clinton created over 22 million jobs[/i]), 25 million families living below the poverty line and over 45 million without health care-- while these crooks [i]run-up [/i]the largest deficits and debts in our nation's history on behalf of corporations and the wealthiest among us.

Currently the sordid and squalid Bush regime has their neo-orwellian propagandists, court-jesters and attack-dogs in the[i] corporate-owned right-wing media & press[/i], out to trash and destroy [b]George Soros[/b], for telling us the truth about these liars and swindlers!

[b]Attack-and-destroy [i]'whistle-blowers' [/i]who are loyal to our nation[/b] instead of to these neo-con, neo-fascist liars & thieves and thugs & goons, is the Bushies [i]modus operandi [/i]... Just ask Joseph C. Wilson IV, his wife Valerie Plame, Paul O'Neill, Helen Thomas, and others ...

Consider "[i][b]The US is now in the hands of a group of extremists[/b][/i]" by [i]George Soros [/i]on,3604,1131132,00.html :

[b]Fundamentalism has spawned an ideology of American supremacy [/b]

The invasion of Iraq was the first practical application of the pernicious Bush doctrine of pre-emptive military action, and it elicited an allergic reaction worldwide - not because anyone had a good word to say about Saddam Hussein, but because we insisted on invading Iraq unilaterally without any clear evidence that he had anything to do with September 11 or that he possessed weapons of mass destruction.

The gap in perceptions between America and the rest of the world has never been wider. Abroad, America is seen as abusing the dominant position it occupies; opinion at home has been led to believe that Saddam posed a clear and present danger to national security. Only in the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion are people becoming aware they have been misled.

Even today, many people believe that September 11 justifies behaviour that would be unacceptable in normal times. The ideologues of American supremacy and President Bush personally never cease to remind us that September 11 changed the world. It is only as the untoward consequences of the invasion of Iraq become apparent that people are beginning to realise something has gone woefully wrong.

We have fallen into a trap. The suicide bombers' motivation seemed incomprehensible at the time of the attack; now a light begins to dawn: they wanted us to react the way we did. Perhaps they understood us better than we understand ourselves.

And we have been deceived. When he stood for election in 2000, President Bush promised a humble foreign policy. I contend that the Bush administration has deliberately exploited September 11 to pursue policies that the American public would not have otherwise tolerated. The US can lose its dominance only as a result of its own mistakes. At present the country is in the process of committing such mistakes because it is in the hands of a group of extremists whose strong sense of mission is matched only by their false sense of certitude.

This distorted view postulates that because we are stronger than others, we must know better and we must have right on our side. That is where religious fundamentalism comes together with market fundamentalism to form the ideology of American supremacy.

We may have more difficulty in perceiving the absurdity of pursuing supremacy by military means, because we have learned to rely on military power and we particularly feel the need for it when our very existence is threatened. But the most powerful country on earth cannot afford to be consumed by fear. To make the war on terrorism the centrepiece of our national strategy is an abdication of our responsibility as the leading nation in the world. The US is the only country that can take the lead in addressing problems that require collective action: preserving peace and economic progress, protecting the environment and so on.

Whatever the justification for removing Saddam, there can be no doubt that we invaded Iraq on false pretenses. Wittingly or unwittingly, President Bush deceived the American public and Congress and rode roughshod over our allies' opinions.

The gap between the administration's expectations and the actual state of affairs could not be wider. We have put at risk not only our soldiers' lives but the combat readiness of our armed forces. We are overstretched and our ability to project our power has been compromised. Yet there are more places where we need to project our power than ever. North Korea is openly building nuclear weapons; Iran is doing so clandestinely. The Taliban is regrouping in the Pashtun areas of Afghanistan. The costs of occupation and the prospect of permanent war weigh on our economy, and we are failing to address festering problems both at home and globally. If we ever needed proof that the neo-cons' dream of American supremacy is misconceived, Iraq has provided it.

It is hard to imagine how the plans of the defence department could have gone more awry. We find ourselves in a quagmire that is in some ways reminiscent of Vietnam. Having invaded Iraq, we cannot extricate ourselves. Domestic pressure to withdraw is likely to build, as in the Vietnam war, but withdrawing would inflict irreparable damage on our standing in the world. In this respect, Iraq is worse than Vietnam because of our dependence on Middle East oil.

Nobody forced us into it; on the contrary, everyone warned us against it. Admittedly, Saddam was a heinous tyrant and it was a good thing to get rid of him. But at what cost? The occupying powers serve as a focal point for attracting terrorists and radicalising Islam. Our soldiers have to do police work in full combat gear.

And the cost of occupation is estimated at a staggering $160bn for the the fiscal years 2003-2004 - $73bn for 2003 and $87bn in a supplemental request for 2004 submitted at the last minute in September 2003. Of the $87bn, only $20bn is for reconstruction, but the total cost of reconstruction is estimated at $60bn. For comparison, our foreign aid budget for 2002 was $10bn.

There is no easy way out. The Bush administration is eager to get the United Nations more involved but is unwilling to make the necessary concessions. We have no alternative to sticking it out and paying the price for our mistake. Eventually a different president with a different attitude to international cooperation may be more successful in extricating us.

The US is not the only country at the centre of the global capitalist system, but it is the most powerful and it is the main driving force behind globalisation. The European Union may equal the US in population and gross national product, but it is far less united and far less comfortable with globalisation. In military terms, the EU does not even qualify as a power, because members make their own decisions.

Insofar as any nation is in charge of the world order, it is the US. That is not to suggest that other countries are exempt from having to concern themselves with the wellbeing of the world. Their attitudes are not without consequence, but it is the US that matters most.

If Bush is rejected in 2004, his policies can be written off as an aberration and America resume its rightful place in the world. But if he is re-elected, the electorate will have endorsed his policies and we will have to live with the consequences. But it isn't enough to defeat Bush at the polls. The US must examine its global role and adopt a more constructive vision. We cannot merely pursue narrow, national self-interest. Our dominant position imposes a unique responsibility.

[i]© George Soros 2004

This is an edited extract from The Bubble of American Supremacy, by George Soros, published on Thursday by Weidenfeld & Nicolson at £12.99. To order a copy for £10.99 plus p&p, call the Guardian book service on 0870 066 7979.[/i]

Neo-Fascism In Action:-- Conservative Putrid Dirty Tricks
01.26.04 (7:39 am)   [edit]
[b]The neo-fascists in the corrupt Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta[/i] have a sordid & squalid track-record of despicable & putrid dirty tricks that warrant not only investigation, but also impeachment and imprisonment.[/b]

Dubya and his corrupt cabal of neo-con thugs & goons should be tried and impeached for [i]Crimes Against Humanity [/i]having massacred hundreds of U.S. Soldiers and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians in order to enrich their corrupt corporate cronies ([i]Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, Big Oil, etc[/i].) in the biggest embezzlment scam of the Middle & Working Class taxpayers in the history of our nation ...

"We the People" are witness to neo-fascism in action. [i]Consider this [/i]>>>


[b]Conservative Putrid Dirty Tricks[/b][/b]

Conservative efforts to push forward a radical right-wing agenda appear to have now reached into the realm of illegal conduct. The Boston Globe reports that "Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Committee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year." Democrats on the Committee had twice rejected the nomination of Judge Charles Pickering, over his controversial civil rights record (a record that President Bush ignored when he used his recess power to appoint Pickering to the court hours after visiting MLK Jr.'s grave ). Conservatives, enraged that progressives have blocked a handful of radical right-wing nominees including Pickering, used their access to Democrat's computers to launch their attacks. Excerpts from confidential memoranda by Judiciary Committee Democrats "showed up in the pages of the conservative-leaning newspapers." The dirty tricks could lead to "criminal charges under computer intrusion laws" and up to a year in prison.

[u][b]CONSERVATIVE SPIN MACHINE KICKS INTO HIGH GEAR[/b][/u]: Even before the investigation has concluded, C. Boyden Gray, former George H. W. Bush senior White House counsel, has begun "circulating a 'fact sheet' arguing that no rules or laws were broken" in the computer break-in controversy. According to Gray's fact sheet, staffers were "entitled to access their own desktop computers and committee network on which the documents were inadvertently disclosed." But Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has a different take. Last November, after concluding his own initial probe into the matter, Hatch said he was "mortified that this improper, unethical, and simply unacceptable breach of confidential files may have occurred on my watch."

[u][b]THE NOVAK CONNECTION[/b][/u]: Enhancing his bona fides as the conservative's leak receptacle of choice, many of the stolen memos "formed the basis for a February 2003 column by conservative pundit Robert Novak ." The column, citing "internal Senate sources," described "closed-door Democratic meetings about how to handle nominees." Novak refuses to "confirm or deny" whether his column was based on the stolen files.

[u][b]ADMINISTRATION TERRIFIED ABOUT PLAME LEAK[/b][/u]: In a DC federal courthouse "a grand jury began hearing testimony,8599,581456,00.html in the investigation of who leaked the identity of CIA operative." The information was leaked, of course, to columnist Robert Novak. Novak still refuses to disclose them name of the leaker even though "in December, the FBI asked some administration staffers to sign a waiver releasing reporters from confidentiality agreements in connection with any conversations they had about the Wilson affair." So taxpayers continue to foot the bill for a doubtlessly expensive investigation. According to Joseph Wilson, the leak "was an act of retaliation against him for undercutting Bush's weapons-of-mass-destruction rationale for going to war in Iraq." An internal White House source told time magazine that "the administration people are all terrified."

[b][u]CHENEY: DISCREDITED LEAKS "BEST SOURCE OF INFO"[/u][/b]: In a Rocky Mountain News,1299,DRMN_35_2565269,00.html interview on January 9th, Vice President Dick Cheney was asked about his assertion that there was a connection between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. He said people "ought to go look at an article that Stephen Hayes,1299,DRMN_35_2565269,00.html did in the Weekly Standard here a few weeks ago." Cheney added that the Hayes article was the "best source of information" on the issue. On top of the fact that Cheney was trumpeting an article the Administration had condemned for exposing classified information, there was one other problem: the Department of Defense has already discredited Hayes's column. Shortly after the column was published in the Weekly Standard the DoD issued a release stating that "recently confirmed new information with respect to contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq in a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee are inaccurate ." The release continued that "individuals who leak or purport to leak classified information are doing serious harm to national security; such activity is deplorable and may be illegal."


[i][/i]The Center for American Progress:

It Is NOT FUNNY Because It IS TRUE!!!
01.25.04 (8:11 pm)   [edit]
[b]It is NOT FUNNY because it IS TRUE!!![/b]

If you were in the National Guard and simply disappeared for a couple of years, would you be charged with being a '[i]deserter[/i]'??? It would depend upon whether or not your Poppy was a powerful member of Congress from a hyper-rich family with a sordid & squalid history of collaborating with fascist swindlers, embezzlers and looters!!!

"We the People" should demand that Congress call for impeachment hearings for George W. Bush, the [i]cowardly drunkard who was indeed AWOL during Vietnam[/i], when better men died-- and who waged an illegal and immoral [i]neo-con war-turned-guerrilla-quagmire in Iraq[/i], based upon[i] lies, deceptions and falsehoods[/i], in order to enrich his corrupt corporate cronies: Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, Big Oil, etc.

Consider "[i][b]Bush's Military Record Reveals Grounding and Absence for Two Full Years[/b][/i]" by [i]Robert A. Rogers (ret. 1st Lt. Mission Pilot)[/i] on :

[b]With two years left in his six-year obligation to the Texas Air National Guard, 1st Lt. George W. Bush was mysteriously suspended from flight - and never again reported for a single day of duty.[/b]

[i][b]Robert A. Rogers [/b]is a self-employed Northern Virginia businessman and an Air National Guard veteran of eleven years, 1954 through 1965. After this he had a 30-year career in the commercial airline industry, including independent consulting with various US Government civilian agencies and military services.[/i]

[b]Major Findings[/b]

"I think that people need to be held responsible for the actions they take in life. I think that's part of the need for a cultural change. We need to say that each of us needs to be responsible for what we do." – George W. Bush in the first Presidential debate, October 3, 2000.

''I did the duty necessary ... That's why I was honorably discharged" – George W. Bush, May 23, 2000

From the beginning of his Presidential campaign, George W. Bush has forcefully and repeatedly insisted that he faithfully fulfilled all his military obligations by serving his time as a member of the Texas Air National Guard.

But the first independent investigation of Bush's military record by a former Air National Guard pilot has revealed the following:

1. Pilot George W. Bush did not simply "give up flying" with two years left to fly, as has been reported. Instead, Bush was suspended and grounded , very possibly as a direct or indirect result of substance abuse.

2. The crucial evidence – a Flight Inquiry Board – that would reveal the true reasons for Bush's suspension, as well as the punishment that was recommended, is missing from the records released so far. If no such Board was convened, this raises further questions of extraordinary favoritism.

3. Contrary to Bush's emphatic statements and several published reports, Bush never actually reported in person for the last two years of his service – in direct violation of two separate written orders. Moreover, the lack of punishment for this misconduct represents the crowning achievement of a military career distinguished only by favoritism.

This in-depth investigation and analysis of Bush's apparent misconduct over the last two years of his six year obligation suggests that Bush did not fulfill all of his military obligations to the Texas Air National Guard and to his country, contrary to his repeated assertions.

Moreover, Bush's misconduct could have resulted in significant disciplinary action by his Commanding Officer, ranging in severity from temporary or permanent grounding, a career-damaging letter of reprimand, to forced reenlistment in the US Army (including active duty in Vietnam), to a less-than honorable discharge.

These issues are not trivial, nor are they ancient history. This cloud of questions goes to the heart of George W. Bush's promises to restore honor and integrity to the White House, to strengthen the military, and to speak the plain truth on the campaign trail.

If Bush had received a less-than honorable discharge, it is safe to say that he would not be the Republican candidate for President today. But the absence of any sign of severe disciplinary action in the records we obtained raises serious questions that can only be answered if Bush himself requests the release of his full military service record.

[i][b]Read the entire article on [/b][/i]

[b]Additional source:[/b]

"SPECIAL AFTERNOON MIS-LEAD: Questions About Bush's Military Service Linger" on

Low Morale, High Suicide Among US Soldiers in Iraq
01.25.04 (3:33 pm)   [edit]
[b]The Cost of War in Iraq may be measured not only in the deaths of those U.S. Soldiers & Innocent Iraqi Civilians who have been brutally massacred in order to enrich the Bush & Cheney families, their corrupt corporate cronies (Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, Big Oil, etc.) and their insanely greedy & barbaric richest-of-the-rich campaign contributors ... [/b]It must also be measured in the thousands of those human beings injured, maimed and damaged for life ... and of course, the very real tragedy of those who try and/or succeed in committing suicide.

Please contact Congress and demand that Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and the rest of their blood-thirsty, callous and rapacious neo-con, neo-fascist warmongers & war-profiteers be tried, impeached and removed from office immediately.

Consider "[i][b]Low morale, high suicide among US soldiers in Iraq[/b][/i]" on :

THE Times of Oman, in its regular column Viewpoint, entitled Why American soldiers in Iraq commit suicide, this week pointed to the increase in suicide among US soldiers in Iraq, arising out of depression and psychiatric problems. The same has now been asserted by popular British broadsheet Observer.

The paper revealed that the suicide and severe psychiatric problems among American soldiers besieged in Iraq have gone up dramatically. In a report from Iraq published in the paper yesterday, it was disclosed that an American medical team expert in treating war illnesses, said one out of five American soldiers in Iraq would suffer from depression.

The paper said over 600 American soldiers were evacuated from Iraq for psychological reasons in March 2003, and that more than 22 American soldiers committed suicide since last May. This is a high percentage and this is why an investigation is being conducted into this matter, the paper observed.

The psychiatrists noted many disorders among American soldiers such as sleep disorder, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, anger, diarrhoea and alienation.

The paper reported the case of a US soldier who killed himself, leaving a suicide note on the miserable situation that led him to take his life. Psychiatrists are worried about the high suicide rate, which is totally different from other wars, the paper concluded.

IRAQ: The Secret Tab ...
01.25.04 (8:19 am)   [edit]
[b]"We the People" had better be [i]very, very, very [/i]concerned regarding the obscene & nightmarish[i] out-of-control[/i] squandering of the precious lives of our U.S. Soldiers and of our U.S. Treasury ... [/b]We were misled about [i]phony, non-existent WMDs [/i]in Iraq posing an imminent threat to our nation ... Now we're being told that these WMDs in Iraq don't exist!

Instead of addressing the dire needs of over 3.5 million homeless, 9-15 million jobless, 25 million families living below the poverty line, 45 million citizens without health care, etc.-- the corrupt Bush/Cheney Inc. [i] junta [/i]is wantonly swindling, plundering & looting the U.S. Treasury, in their immoral re-distribution of our nation's wealth to their corporate cronies, plutocrats, and the richest-of-the-rich. We now face the largest gap between the [i]Hyper-Rich-Haves and the Neo-Slave-Have-Nots [/i]since the Great Depression and the largest deficits and debts in our nations' history!

"We the People" deserve[i] better [/i]... Let us demand that Congress hold impeachment hearings to ensure justice for all those illegally and immorally massacred and slaughtered by the Mad King George and his neo-con, neo-fascist regime of traitorous criminals!

[b]IRAQ: The Secret Tab ...[/b]

According to a new report from Reuters, Americans are about to be hit with another massive spending bill for the war in Iraq, but President Bush "is unlikely to send the request to Congress until after the November presidential election" an effort to "minimize any political damage." Some congressional sources and budget analysts say the White House "may seek an additional $40 billion or more" while others "said it could be closer to $75 billion or $100 billion." Instead of the "affordable endeavor" Americans were initially promised the price tag keeps skyrocketing. This derails the President's State of the Union claim that "We can cut the deficit in half over the next five years," as his plan "omits a number of likely costs" such as the continued cost of Iraq and the Administration's own defense spending plans. See more on the White House's previous declarations about the affordability of the Iraq endeavor .

[u][b]SECRET ELECTION WORRY[/b][/u]: The White House claims holding Iraqi elections by June 30 isn't feasible due to the cumbersome nature of compiling lists of eligible voters. However, the NYT reports "some experts say that many of these conditions could be met. Another obstacle, perhaps greater and largely unacknowledged, according to the military, the United Nations and outside election experts, is the continuing violence in Iraq." To "argue that security is a serious impediment, however, would be to admit that American forces are unable to quell the running war with the insurgents."

[u][b]CIA WARNING[/b][/u]: Contrary to recent assurances by the President, the CIA is warning that the job in Iraq is about to get tougher. According to Knight-Ridder, agency officers yesterday warned "the country may be on a path to civil war ... starkly contradicting the upbeat assessment that President Bush gave in his State of the Union address." The Shiite and Kurdish populations of the country are growing increasingly restive. Said the son of one top cleric, if the U.S. pushes forward with the current caucus plan and ends the military occupation, the interim government will be short-lived. Intelligence officers warned Iraq's Shiite majority "could turn to violence if its demands for direct elections are spurned." And the Kurds are starting to chafe under the occupation, pressing their "demand for autonomy and shares of oil revenue."

[u][b]ROTATION ISSUES[/b][/u]: U.S. plans to rotate nearly a quarter of a million troops in and out of Iraq over the next few months will also create a security nightmare. According to Gen. Peter Schoomaker, this will be the "most challenging period for the Army since World War II." The logistics of this kind of mass movement "make the bulging numbers of U.S. troops in Iraq more vulnerable to attack by the anti-occupation insurgents." Iraqis have grown more efficient in the past months at shooting things out of the sky. According to the NYT, "a classified Army study of the downings of military helicopters in Iraq found that guerrillas have used increasingly sophisticated tactics and weapons — including at least one advanced missile — to attack American aircraft."


[i]The Center for American Progress[/i],

Rule by the Capricious and the Corrupt: Militarism vs. Democracy
01.24.04 (3:31 pm)   [edit]
[b]"We the People" had better recognize that the neo-con's vision of imposing their Global Corporate Empire to rule the world by force, using America's vast, over-bloated Military Industrial Complex is at odds with democracy, civilization and the enlightenment. Frankly, it is also reckless and unsustainable![/b]

The insane neo-con, neo-fascist direction envisaged by the corrupt Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta[/i] is in violation of the [i]Founding Father's [/i]intentions established in [i]the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights[/i], which calls for promoting the[i] General Welfare of All Citizens [/i]... and is not intended to be abused to further the barbaric lusts of the Bush tyrants, corporations, plutocrats and the wealthiest traitors who have hijacked our nation!

In "[i][b]Rule by the Capricious and the Corrupt: Militarism vs. Democracy[/b][/i]" by William A. Cook on , he illustrates the reasons why Militarism undermines Democracy:

“[i]More than 725 American military bases (are) spread around the world. ... Many garrisons are in foreign countries to defend oil leases from competitors or to provide police protection to oil pipelines, although they invariably claim to be doing something completely unrelated--fighting the ‘war on terrorism’ or the ‘war on drugs,’ or training foreign soldiers, or engaging in some form of ‘humanitarian’ intervention[/i].” - [i]Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire[/i]

How many Americans understand the implications of Johnson’s observation? Bush’s “State of the Union” address, with its repetitive mantra declaring America’s gift of “freedom” to the world and its on-going fight against “terrorists” (used 20 times) obscures the reality of America’s deployment of “over half a million soldiers, spies, technicians, teachers, dependents and civilian contractors in other nations” (Johnson) for purposes of protecting private investors who use American forces to protect their private interests, not the interests of American citizens. Indeed, it is arguable that our invasion of Iraq and our toppling of the Taliban, a government the US put in place, happened because we needed Iraq’s oil reserves and the Taliban refused to cooperate with the deployment of oil and gas lines through their territory. Bush’s idealistic rhetoric follows a stream of recent efforts to present this administration’s imperialistic and militaristic agenda as economic freedom for the world and security at home.

He was particularly active in November when he spoke to the National Endowment for Democracy, when the administration supported the international business deal cobbled together by the corporate representatives at the Free Trade Area of Americas, and when he addressed the Brits and defended his invasion of Iraq. All these efforts hinge on an abuse of the word “freedom.” Bush lassos freedom to economics, as in “economic freedom,” implying that the management of income or resources has equal rights with the citizen, that by some occult metamorphosis an economic system has been reborn as a person. The FTAA business deal in Miami managed to avoid any reference to humanitarian concerns or laborers’ rights, although Venezuela pressed for such consideration, as they made possible “freedom” for trade; the brazen omission of the citizens from consideration did not cause them to blink as they, too, conferred on “trade” rights that are reserved for people.

Peggy Noonan, Ronald Reagan’s speech writer, told Chris Mathews recently that President Bush’s speech to the National Endowment For Democracy was a “master piece.” In that talk at the beginning of November, Bush used Reagan’s speech at Westminster Palace in 1982 as the reference point for his own remarks. Perhaps Peggy penned Ronnie’s words? Why else label Bush’s derivative remarks a “master piece”? Well, there is another reason: it is a “master piece” of deception, but, then, so too was Ronnie’s. Both speeches embody the manipulative duplicity of the ruling elite as they mouth “Democracy” and “freedom” when they mean in their guts “Corpocrisy” and “indentured servitude.” (“Corpocrisy” is the apparent rule by the people through a voting process, but the actual rule by corporate hegemony.)

What Jefferson feared at the inception of this nation has become the reality of our democracy: a land governed by “pseudo-aristoi,” as Jefferson sardonically labeled them, “extremely wealthy individuals and overly powerful corporations.” This was the third of the “agencies” Jefferson feared as threats that could destroy a democracy. The remaining two were other forms of governments like monarchies and organized religions (Thom Hartmann, Unequal Protection, 2002). Those “overly powerful corporations” now act as individuals claiming rights under the 14th amendment, would you believe, despite the reality that the Supreme Court has never stipulated as “law of the land” that corporations can legitimately claim that right (Hartmann 107). For those who would argue that the Court has accepted that status based on precedent, remember that same Court upheld the “Institution of Slavery” on the same grounds! Precedent is often the imprisonment of the people on the cross of coddled consistency.

What Bush describes as the passing of tyranny before the march of freedom masks the reality of these past twenty years of “globalization,” the insidious take over of the rights of nation-states by trans-nationals, at the expense of “universalism,” the caring spread of individual rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to peoples throughout the world. Perhaps that was what Bush meant when he noted “observers on both sides of the Atlantic pronounced (Reagan’s) speech simplistic and naive and even dangerous.” Perhaps Bush realizes that “observers” sense the truth behind the duplicity. Those observers, particularly sophisticated Europeans, the kind Bush mocks in his talk, understand that Reagan’s simplistic truth, freedom for all, masks the reality: the “momentum of freedom” opens the door of exploitation for investors who can hire Chinese laborers at thirty three cents per hour to replace American workers at the Huffy bicycle plant who earned eleven, and those Chinese laborers work far more than 8 hours per day, receive no health benefits, are protected by no OSHA regulations, and have no retirement plan (example taken from remarks made by Sen. Dorgan, ND at hearings held in Washington in November). Perhaps these same observers understood the naivety of Reagan’s remarks that assumes the world desires the American way, or to be more specific, the American consumer way that requires two incomes to support the American way. Perhaps “dangerous” is the most explosive of those observations; it cuts to the chase: the imposition, by force if necessary as Iraq makes clear, of America’s will on nation-states to ensure ever greater markets for the goods the trans-nationals produce cheaply by exploiting workers throughout the “undeveloped” world even as it ensures control of necessary natural resources owned by those nation-states.

But Bush’s duplicity reflects nothing more than a continuation of the abuse of the language that characterizes the American voices that have controlled our government since its inception. What Bush proposes here is nothing new; it simply pushes American economic practice off shore, onto other countries, since our markets are now inadequate to satisfy the insatiable greed of the corporate class. As far back as 1975, Professor Takaki in Iron Cages shed light on America’s Capitalistic underbelly. He tracked Richard Dana’s two years before the mast as it revealed the reality of Capitalistic enterprise and its incessant need to create new markets and exploit labor to produce more goods at the cheapest possible cost. “The American emphasis on productivity and profits, moreover, had a stifling effect on the quality of human life in the work situation,” Takaki notes.

But quality of life is not an issue in accounting’s bottom line. Dana had left Boston in 1852 on board a trade ship carrying cotton goods around South America to Mexico City and San Francisco. The cotton goods were produced in New England mills on looms driven by Irish girls, indentured servants, slaves to the mill owners and investors. The cotton came from slave plantations that offered the cheapest possible labor. But the cotton was grown on land taken from the Natives who had been “ethnically cleansed” or killed, land illegally obtained. When Dana arrived in San Francisco, the cotton was loaded on trains that ran on rails over the bodies of Chinese coolies, more indentured servants working for slave wages. The whole capitalistic process thrived on the backs of workers exploited for the purpose.

But now the corporations need cheaper labor because they must pay decent (read “too high”) wages in America and that cripples profits. The world now becomes the playground for this most recent “Industrial Revolution.” Never mind that we learned about exploitation of workers -- unsafe working conditions, no health coverage, no child labor laws, no retirement benefits, no job protection, and no labor rights -- two centuries ago during our previous industrial revolutions here and in England; laborers in China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Mexico, and any other country that can be controlled and exploited must endure what English and American workers endured before the laws caught up with the corporations… and that took a hundred years! This is the freedom Bush promises: freedom for exploitation, freedom for investors, freedom to profit at the expense of people unable to protect themselves.

Consider the benefits of “free markets”: “U.S. workers lost 879,280 jobs as a result of NAFTA in the past 10 years … with all fifty states and the District of Columbia losing jobs to NAFTA between 1993-2002” according to Robert Scott (the Economic Policy Institute). If we can do this poorly with two nations involved, imagine the number of jobs yet to be lost when we migrate our jobs to 34 nations upon implementation of FTAA! But lest one think that the Mexican citizen benefitted from America’s loss of jobs, think again. “The cost to the Mexican consumer has risen by 257%” since the inception of NAFTA and the “earnings of Mexican growers of corn, wheat and rice, along with beans, have plummeted” (LA Times, Nov. 20, 2003).

Who, then, benefits from such agreements? Need you ask? “Free trade eliminates tariffs, giving the economic advantage … to those industries blessed with governments capable of delivering massive subsidies. In other words, to the already industrialized and wealthy nations” (LA Times). Note how free trade slips from the legislation when it is detrimental to corporate America. The Medicare bill recently passed scurried through our representatives in the dead of night and attempted to eliminate “free” choice purchasing of medicine from Canada even as it ensured profits of 139 billion to pharmaceutical companies over the next five years. Free is free only for the “pseudo-aristoi”! Add to this bill the Fast Track bill that passed the House and the Senate. “The bill has language that forbids enforcement of workers’ rights and environmental protection” that should be enforced in agreements like that moving through the FTAA. Indeed, the bill strips out a clause that would protect women against discrimination (“Stop the Free Trade Area of the Americas,” Our government guarantees “freedom” to a “paper person” as it denies it to one of flesh and blood.

If the consequence of free trade in these “undeveloped countries” siphons workers from the countryside thus depleting native food sources, stuffs them into overcrowded ghettoes creating thereby unsanitary conditions, shackles the laborer to the production line at pitiably low wages, and forces them to suffer without benefits of any kind--health care, safe working conditions, unemployment compensation, or retirement --then the United States, that subsidizes and protects these corporations, cripples peoples’ freedom and denies them the rights it claims to provide. Worst of all, it indicts the American citizen as complicit in this exploitation of other people. Ted C. Fishman made this observation in Harpers: “The freeing up of the world’s markets may have nothing to do with the declining fortunes of many of its citizens, but the capitalist impulse can just as powerfully prolong poverty as end it” (August 2002). To illustrate his point, Fishman notes, “Over the twenty years ending in 1980, gross domestic product in Latin America and the Caribbean grew by 75 percent per person, but over the next twenty years --the period of great market liberalization and international investment --GDP rose only 6 percent.” The duplicity inherent in Bush’s selling democracy as “economic freedom” and “free trade” when its real product is exploitation of the worker and enhanced profits for the investor is at best cynical and at worst insidious.

While Bush expounded on the virtues of America’s presence across the world, noting that the US had “made military and moral commitments in Europe and Asia which protected free nations from aggression and created the conditions in which new democracies could flourish,” he failed to mention that “expanding U.S. military presence worldwide only serves to reinforce the economic hegemony” that guarantees survival of the corporations that exploit the citizens of the undeveloped nation-states as they take control of that nation’s natural resources (“Free Trade May Not Be Fair Trade,” Roger Hollander, LA Times, Nov. 2003). Bush continues his exhortation of American largesse: “we also provided inspiration for oppressed peoples.” Indeed! How were the Palestinians inspired? Did our worship of Sharon’s savagery inspire? Did our overwhelming financial support for his indomitable military force inspire? Did the Bush administration’s incarceration of over 1,000 in Guantanamo without due process - no criminal charges, no consultation with lawyers, and no rights whatsoever - inspire? Did the occupation of Iraq preceded by an internationally illegal invasion inspire?

But there’s more! Bush, energized by the applause from the National Endowment personnel, declaimed, “…militarism and rule by the capricious and corrupt are the relics of a passing era.” Really? What is our rule in Iraq? What is more “capricious” than the unilateral invasion of a nation that has done nothing to America but to threaten a new born Christian Zionist’s belief in his mythological mission as portrayed in the Book of Revelation? What is more corrupt than support for the war lords of Afghanistan who throttle the poor population of that country while raking millions from the American people through their tax donations? What is more corrupting than support for the terrorists who live in Israeli settlements and thrive on the destruction they can inflict on Palestinians? What duplicity is this?

But there’s still more! “China has discovered that economic freedom leads to national wealth … Eventually men and women who are allowed to control their own wealth will insist on controlling their own lives and their own country.” How, pray tell, does a person control “their own wealth” when the industry moguls threaten to fire the employee if he/she objects to the working conditions or attempts to unionize to obtain the benefits and job protection that belongs to them by right, a strategy used to offset unionization in the U.S. as well as in “undeveloped” countries (“Stop the Free Trade Area of the Americas”). How does one control his/her wealth when they make 33 cents per hour and live in squalid conditions with no benefits? When I spoke with business faculty at Yantai University in China in the mid-90s, they understood then that the new industrialization did not provide for workers’ health care or retirement. They saw the pollution that spread like a brown blanket over Beijing. They spoke of streams that had been turned into cesspools. But they also knew that the trans-nationals would not enter China if the government imposed regulations that forced the industry to spend on safety, health care, or workers’ rights. “In reality,” as Roger Hollander states in the LA Times, “for historical and geopolitical reasons, what Third World countries are ‘best at’ is having their natural resources extracted and exported to the industrialized nations (which in turn sell back manufactured products at a high cost) and having their populations exploited for cheap labor.” If this is the historical reality of Bush’s “economic freedom” and “free trade,” why does he lie to the American people and convert rapaciousness into rights that will accrue to the citizen? What duplicity is this?

But the duplicity here has a source, the “National Security Strategy of the United States of America,” issued in September 2002 as a guide to this administration’s foreign policy. There, George enunciated that “free enterprise” made the third leg of “a single sustainable model for national success.” He continued, “In the twenty-first century, only those that share a commitment to protecting basic human rights and guaranteeing political and economic freedom will be able to unleash the potential of their people and assure prosperity.” How, given the statistical evidence that graphically illustrates the degradation of human rights described above, could the potential of people be unleashed?

What has been unleashed and what will be unleashed is the potential for further corporate exploitation of people and resources and the continuing erosion of personal rights. This administration is committed to the empirical dominance of the corporate powers that it represents protected by an unparalleled military that it sustains, all in the facetious name of “protecting American interests” even as they impose their will on all the countries of the world. One can only resort to cynicism: corporations are rogue nation-states that wander the world like whores seeking to bed with whoever will offer the most breaks for the bang. This is not freedom for the people; it is freedom for the “overly powerful corporation.”

[i]William A. Cook teaches English at University of California at La Verne. He can be reached at:[/i]

Dubya Is In "HOT WATER" Across The Fruited Plains ... (According To NEW Poll!) ...
01.24.04 (2:41 pm)   [edit]
[b]Dubya is in "hot water" across the fruited plains ... according to a new MSNBC-Newsweek poll ... Kerry would beat Dubya with 52% support ([i]unless the corrupt Bush/Cheney Inc. junta rig the 2004 election as they did in their 2000 neo-con banana republican coup d'etat[/i])![/b]

Perhaps "We the People" are awakening from our collective slumber? ... We shall see ...

Consider "[b]Newsweek Poll: And They're Off[/b]" on : -[i] Excerpts [/i]-

And for the first time in the poll's history a Democrat is enjoying a marginal advantage over President George W. Bush.

Despite having delivered a State of the Union address that was well received by his conservative core, Bush’s own standing has slipped among registered voters. "Because of American leadership and resolve, the world is changing for the better," he declared Tuesday. But more people now say they are dissatisfied (52 percent) than satisfied (43 percent) with the way things are going in the United States, down from a post-9/11 peak last April of 50 percent satisfied. And even thought Bush used the State of the Union to emphasize his controversial tax cuts, Medicare overhaul, opposition to gay marriage and a burgeoning economic rebound, Bush saw his job performance ratings dip to 50 percent approval (versus 44 percent who disapprove)—his most negative ratings to date—suggesting a nation sharply divided over the president and his policies. To be sure, Bush is just as solidly backed by Republicans (85 percent) as he is opposed by Democrats (86 percent).

[i][b]Overall, 52 percent of those polled by NEWSWEEK say they would not like to see Bush serve a second term[/b][/i], compared to 44 percent who want to see him win again in November. As a result, Kerry is enjoying a marginal advantage over Bush, a first for the poll. Forty-nine percent of registered voters chose Kerry, compared to 46 percent who re-elected Bush. In fact, all Democrats are polling better against Bush, perhaps due to increased media attention to their primary horserace: Clark gets 47 percent of voters’ choice compared to 48 percent from Bush; Edwards has 46 percent compared to Bush’s 49; Leiberman wins 45 percent versus Bush’s 49 percent; and Dean fares the worst with 45 percent of their votes to Bush’s 50 percent.

[i][b]More [/b][/i]>>

U.S. Comptroller General Condemns Dubya's Policies As "Imprudent and Unsustainable"!
01.24.04 (2:00 pm)   [edit]
[b]The U.S. Comptroller General condemns Dubya's insane economic policies as "imprudent and unsustainable" ... strong words for someone in Washington D.C. who wants to keep his job![/b]

"We the People" are being shovelled neo-orwellian [i]horse-shit[/i] by Dubya's neo-fascist court-jesters & attack-dogs ... and should contact Congress http://www.congress and demand an end to the fiscal irresponsibility demonstrated by the corrupt Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta[/i] -- and demand that the tax cuts, tax loopholes & boondoggles for corporations and the richest-of-the-rich be[i] repealed [/i]today!

Consider "[b]Top fiscal watchdog delivers stinging attack on deficit[/b]" on :

[b]WASHINGTON [/b]--The U.S. comptroller general, David Walker, laid out a blistering attack on the nation's growing deficit yesterday, saying it is undermining the future of the nation and putting an all-but-intolerable tax burden on future generations.

"[i][b]The path we're on is imprudent and unsustainable[/b][/i],'' he said.

Walker, a balding, meticulously dressed man whose background is as a certified public accountant, does not look like a rabble rouser. But that's what he has become.

In a session with reporters, Walker, who also heads the General Accounting Office, the non-partisan watchdog arm of Congress, said he has become convinced that neither the Bush administration nor members of Congress nor the public understand how serious a problem the nation's public debt and rising deficit are becoming.

Entitlement programs such as Medicare have grown out of control, he said, and the base spending of the government must be overhauled.

Some popular programs are not just growing insolvent, but are not going to be sustainable, he said. The new prescription drug coverage for seniors through Medicare will cost $8 trillion for the next 75 years, costing every man, woman and child $25,000, he said. That's in addition to $18 trillion that Medicare will cost over that period.

He also predicted that the benefits being offered in the new drug program, which takes full effect in 2006, will disappoint so many people that Congress will be pressured to make it more extensive and thus even costlier.

Although Walker said that making President Bush's tax cuts permanent, as he demanded in his State of the Union speech Tuesday, would be more expensive than anyone has publicly stated, he insisted that his comments were not intended to be political. He only sought to sound a "wake-up-call,'' he said. "All major tax proposals need to be examined carefully,'' he said.

Asked about Vice President Dick Cheney's remark -- reported by former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, whom Cheney had fired -- that deficits do not matter, Walker said Cheney may believe that deficits don't matter politically, but that the vice president can't possibly believe that they don't matter for the economy.

"[i][b]Deficits do matter -- especially when they are large, structural and growing[/b][/i],'' Walker said.

[i][b]The nation now has a total debt of $7 trillion -- $4 trillion of it held by the public or foreign investors -- and is expected to have a record deficit this year of $500 billion.[/b][/i]

If foreign investors decide that they don't want to hold U.S. debt anymore, it could be catastrophic, he said.

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press earlier this month conducted a poll which found that half of those surveyed said the deficit should be a top national priority, up from 40 percent a year ago. Democrats in particular were concerned.

The administration of President Ronald Reagan produced significant deficits, and they didn't hurt his political career. But Walker said the mechanics that eventually reduced the deficits in the 1990s are gone now. And he said that even when surpluses were "projected" in the 1990s, there were still long-term deficits forecast.

Walker said there is "low-hanging fruit" everywhere, meaning that there are dozens of federal programs that could be cut or axed. Dozens of programs created in the 1940s and '50s have never been subject to re-evaluation or reassessment, he said. And there are "billions" of dollars in the defense budget listed as "miscellaneous,'' he said.

When Bush promises to reduce the deficit by half within five years, Walker said, the president's projections are "only as good as the assumptions that underlie them.'' In five years, should Bush be re-elected in November, he will be leaving office, Walker said. "It's absolutely critical to consider where we'll be in 10 years'' with current spending levels, he said.

On the Democratic side, he said, none of the figures cited by those seeking the party's presidential nomination add up. Even those contenders calling for repeal of Bush's tax cuts have ideas about where they want to spend the money, he said. [[b]Of course, the poor fellow wants to keep his job[/b]!]

Of Course the White House FEARS Free Elections in Iraq ...
01.24.04 (8:50 am)   [edit]
[b]Of course the White House fears free elections in Iraq - Only an appointocracy can be trusted to accept US troops and corporations [/b] is the [i]lede[/i] of an article by[i] Naomi Klein [/i]on,3604,1130138,00.html .

[b]"Who are you going to believe, Dubya or your own eyes?" [/b]adapted from Groucho Marx's famous quip ([i]Note to neo-con ignorami who don't know history: Groucho Marx wasn't related to Karl Marx .... Don't confuse the two ... [/i])!

"We the People" surely must recognize by now that the neo-con's insane war on Iraq was devised in order to [i]empower[/i] the Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta's[/i] Global Corporate Empire and to [i]enrich[/i] their corrupt corporate paymasters including Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, Big Oil, etc.

Consider "[i][b]Only an appointocracy can be trusted to accept US troops and corporations[/b][/i]" by [i]Naomi Klein[/i]:

"The people of Iraq are free," declared President Bush in his state of the union address on Tuesday. The previous day, 100,000 Iraqis begged to differ. They took to Baghdad's streets, shouting: "Yes, yes to elections. No, no to selection."

According to Iraq occupation chief Paul Bremer, there really is no difference between the White House's version of freedom and the one being demanded on the street. Asked whether his plan to form an Iraqi government through appointed caucuses was heading towards a clash with Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's call for direct elections, Bremer said he had no "fundamental disagreement with him".

It was, he said, a mere quibble over details. "I don't want to go into the technical details of refinements. There are - if you talk to experts in these matters - all kinds of ways to organise partial elections and caucuses. And I'm not an election expert, so I don't want to go into the details. But we've always said we're willing to consider refinements."

I'm not an election expert either, but I'm pretty sure there are differences here that cannot be refined. Al-Sistani's supporters want all Iraqis to have a vote and the people they elect to write the laws of the country - your basic, imperfect, representative democracy.

Bremer wants his Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to appoint the members of 18 regional organising committees. These will then choose delegates to form 18 selection caucuses. These will then select representatives to a transitional national assembly. The assembly will have an internal vote to select an executive and ministers, who will form the new government. This, Bush said in the state of the union address, constitutes "a transition to full Iraqi sovereignty".

Got that? Iraqi sovereignty will be established by appointees appointing appointees to select appointees to select appointees. Add the fact that Bremer was appointed to his post by President Bush and Bush to his by the US Supreme Court, and you have the glorious new democratic tradition of the appointocracy: rule by an appointee's appointee's appointees' appointees' appointees' selectees.

The White House insists its aversion to elections is purely practical; there just isn't time to pull them off before the June 30 deadline. So why have the deadline? The favourite explanation is that Bush needs a "braggable" on the campaign trail: when his Democratic rival raises the spectre of Vietnam, Bush will reply that the occupation is over, we're on our way out.

Except that the US has no intention of actually getting out of Iraq: it wants its troops to remain, and it wants Bechtel, MCI and Halliburton to stay behind and run the water system, the phones and the oilfields. It was with this goal in mind that, on September 19, Bremer pushed through a package of economic reforms that the Economist described as a "capitalist dream".

But the dream, though still alive, is now in peril. A growing number of legal experts are challenging the legitimacy of Bremer's reforms, arguing that under the international agreements that govern occupying powers - the Hague regulations of 1907 and the Geneva conventions of 1949 - the CPA can only act as a caretaker of Iraq's economic assets, not its auctioneer. Radical changes - such as Bremer's order 39, which opened up Iraqi industry to 100% foreign ownership - violate these agreements and so could be easily overturned by a sovereign Iraqi government.

This prospect has foreign investors seriously spooked, and many are opting not to go into Iraq. The major private insurance brokers are also sitting it out. Bremer has responded by quietly cancelling his plan to privatise Iraq's 200 state firms, instead putting up 35 companies for lease (with a later option to buy). For the White House, the only way for its grand economic plan to continue is for its military occupation to end: only a sovereign government, unbound by the Hague and Geneva conventions, can legally sell off Iraq's assets.

But will it? Given the widespread perception that the US is not out to rebuild Iraq but to loot it, if Iraqis were given the chance to vote tomorrow, they could well decide to expel US troops immediately and to reverse Bremer's privatisation project, opting instead to protect local jobs. And that frightening prospect - far more than the absence of a census - explains why the White House is fighting so hard for its appointocracy.

Under the current American plan for Iraq, the transitional national assembly would hold on to power from June 30 until general elections are held "no later" than December 31 2005. That's 18 leisurely months for a non-elected government to do what the CPA could not legally do on its own: invite US troops to stay indefinitely and turn Bremer's capitalist dream into binding law. Only after these key decisions have been made will Iraqis be invited to have their say. The White House calls this "self-rule". It is, in fact, the very definition of outside-rule, occupation through outsourcing.

That means that the world is once again facing a choice about Iraq. Will its democracy emerge stillborn, with foreign troops dug in on its territory, multinationals locked into multi-year contracts controlling key resources, and an economic programme that has left 60-70% of the population unemployed? Or will its democracy be born with its heart still beating, capable of building the country Iraqis choose?

On one side are the occupation forces. On the other are growing movements demanding economic and voter rights in Iraq. Increasingly, occupying forces are responding to these forces by using fatal force to break up demonstrations, as British soldiers did in Amara earlier this month, killing six.

Yes, there are religious fundamentalists and Saddam loyalists capitalising on the rage, but the very existence of these pro-democracy movements is itself a kind of miracle; after 30 years of dictatorship, war, sanctions, and now occupation, it would certainly be understandable if Iraqis met further hardships with fatalism and resignation. Instead, the violence of Bremer's shock therapy appears to have jolted hundred of thousands into action.

This courage deserves our support. At the World Social Forum in Mumbai last weekend, the author and activist Arundhati Roy called on the global forces that opposed the Iraq war to "become the global resistance to the occupation". She suggested choosing "two of the major corporations that are profiting from the destruction of Iraq" and targeting them for boycotts and civil disobedience.

In his state of the union address, Bush said: "I believe that God has planted in every heart the desire to live in freedom. And even when that desire is crushed by tyranny for decades, it will rise again." He is being proven right in Iraq every day - and the rising voices are chanting: "No, no USA. Yes, yes elections."

Update Failure ...
01.23.04 (6:29 pm)   [edit]
[b]In perilous times as "We the People"[i] fight the good fight[/i]-- a [i]sense of humor [/i]remains a vital necessity ... [/b]

[b]Update Failure ...
[i]Cartoon by Mark Fiore [/i][/b]

[i]Enjoy[/i] >>

The Mad Cowboy ...
01.23.04 (4:06 pm)   [edit]
[b]The Mad King George or Mad Cowboy who has hijacked the White House is clearly the [i]Useful Idiot [/i]not only of neo-con warmongers, "crazies" in the Pentagon, oil industry robber-barons, but also of corporations and big industry rapists who are ruthlessly embezzling workers..., swindling investors..., harming consumers..., and plundering our environment.[/b]

"We the People" would not[i] dream of [/i] (at [i]least, not before Dubya who has the most pernicious secret neo-fascist government in our nation's history[/i]) no-accountability and/or no checks-and-balances within our U.S. Government ... Nor can we permit corporations, industries and businesses to operate without any regulations and accountabilities! It places workers in harm's way -- consumers in danger -- investors at risk -- and our environment open to wanton destruction!

For example, consider the reckless and dangerous lack of regulation of the Beef Industry causing [b][i]Mad Cow Disease[/i][/b]:

The United States and Europe have similar cattle populations,[8] for example, yet[b] [u]Europe[/u] [i]tests almost a million cattle every month[/i][/b].[9] [b][u]France[/u], [i]which has only a fraction of the U.S. cattle population, tests more cattle in a single week then the U.S. has tested in a decade[/i][/b].[10] According to Europe's latest annual report, [b][u]Europe[/u] is [i]testing cattle at a rate of almost two thousand times that of the[/i] [u]United States[/u][/b].[11] [b]Nobel Laureate Dr. Stanley Prusiner[/b], the world's expert on prion disease, describes the number of[i][b] tests done by [u]USDA as "appalling." [/u][/b][/i]When asked what level of testing in the [u]U.S.[/u] he'd be comfortable with, Prusiner replied, "[b]I'd like to see every cow tested, just as they do in [u]Japan[/u][/b]."[12]

Consider carefully "[i][b]Mad Cowboy: The connections between American beef and Bush policy[/b][/i]" on :

We've found the perfect ailment for the age of George W. Bush: bovine spongiform encephalopathy, better known as Mad Cow Disease.

The actual number of humans who suffer from the human variant of Mad Cow Disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob, is, as of now, statistically small, but you would not know that from the media's fascinated fixation on it as a vehicle of hysteria (read: [i]ratings boost, distraction from dead Americans in Iraq[/i]).

Thus I ask readers to think of Mad Cow Disease as a metaphor for the Bush era. Consider the following: the brain of Mad Cow victims is turned into mush, rendering them incapable of even eating a pretzel without coming to harm. The incubation period for the disease in humans can be as long as 30 years; thus, we won't know the extent of the damage that has been done until far into the future. The cause of the disease getting into the food supply is lax enforcement of an agency due to pressure from corporations that donate money in order to thwart regulations. And -- the real Bush signature -- the current crisis was avoidable had public health been a priority and voices of experts including a Nobel Prize winner (Stanley Pruisner) six months ago, been heeded.

Finally, the disease affects only beef, the man's meat, the veritable cowboy of meats.

If you're still eating American beef at this point, you're more optimistic than most of the rest of us. No one else on the planet is eating American beef. The Department of Agriculture projects beef exports to fall by 90 percent this year; nearly all foreign countries have banned imports of American beef. Replace the words "American beef" with "Bush government policies" in the last three sentences and you have The Age of Bush, writ small.

Surely you don't feel consoled by reassurances from Ann "Steak for Christmas!" Veneman, Bush's agriculture secretary. Come on. This is the same crew who said Saddam had "yellow cake," then said he had anthrax, then smallpox, then ... ad nauseum. Every time they were caught in a lie, they simply switched to a new justification. At the moment, the pretext for the Iraq war is: Saddam talked too loudly during study hall.

That lone cow in Washington state that recently came down with bovine spongiform encephalopathy got it from something it ate. That same feed was ingested by thousands of other cows. The incubation period for this disease in cows can sometimes be as long as three years. You don't think other cows that have since entered the food chain had mad cow prions coursing through their cells? Do you still believe in the tooth fairy too?

One would feel sorry for the cattlemen, if they hadn't already gotten every break in the book: corporate welfare, cushy grazing deals on public lands, etc. Or if they hadn't bribed every elected official in sight.

Congress, in fact, had a chance in July 2003 to prevent the current crisis. That was when the proposed Downed-Animal Protection/Human Safety Act (H.R. 1421) was voted on in Congress. This act would have prohibited downed livestock from entering the U.S. food supply. The meat industry lobbied against the bill, which hastened its defeat.

As an activist explained it to me, "In theory the practice of processing downed cows for feed or human consumption is illegal, but violators haven't been seriously prosecuted, and potentially diseased parts of downed animals have long been processed by feed mills to be consumed by healthy animals who could be infected by mad cow prions. This bill would have put teeth in the enforcement end, preventing potentially diseased cow brains and spinal cord tissue from being processed for animal feed while preventing the exploitation and inhumane treatment of sick animals."

The bill was defeated by three votes, 199 to 201 (all five Connecticut reps voted "yes," to their credit). The key to H.R. 1421's defeat was the fact that 15 Democrats were "no-shows" when the vote was taken. The most shameful? Presidential candidate Dick Gephardt. Bet old Dick hasn't eaten any Big Macs lately.

The lesson here, one that will never be learned by the Bushies, is that when you put profits before people, you will inevitably lose. You may fly high for a while, like Enron, but that only means the crash will be more spectacular. Just this week, Andrew Fastow and his wife copped pleas that got them relatively light prison terms in exchange for testimony against those who were the major players behind Bush's 2000 campaign, including Ken Lay.

[b]Of all the great mysteries about the ascendancy of the Republican Party, the greatest is this: The [i]vast majority of those who vote Republican are voting against their own best interests, the quality of their lives, their public health, and the future security of their nation and progeny. It doesn't just beggar the mind; it buggers it, repeatedly[/i].[/b]

[b]Other Sources:[/b]

"OrganicConsumers Association ... Campaigning for Food Safety, Organic Agriculture, Fair Trade & Sustainability" on

"USDA Measures Don't Go Far Enough to Protect the American Public" on

Bush's Word Is No Good ... But Will Voters Focus on the Details?
01.23.04 (8:25 am)   [edit]
[b]"We the People" are facing a turning point in our nation's history ... [/b]Our Founding Fathers warned us about the necessity of eternal vigilence, but wise ole' Benjamin Franklin was prescient in his fear that Americans would become corrupted and seek to be ruled by tyrants and dictators ... It only took 225 years for Franklin's dire warning to materialize!

For we are no longer a vigilent people ... We have not demanded that our media and press remain free, independent and probing of government and corporations ... We have not demanded accountability of our government to remain focused on promoting the General Welfare of "We the People", as per the U.S. Constitution & Bill of Rights ... Instead we have permitted our media and press to become[i] bought-out [/i]by corporations who[i] force-feed [/i]us mendacious neo-orwellian propaganda ... Instead we have permitted our government to become the [i]useful tool [/i]of corporations who install their [i]useful idiots [/i]to impoverish us in order to generate vast power and riches for the corporate robber-barons, embezzlers, swindlers, the greedy plutocrats and the obscene richest-of-the-rich campaign contributors!

Will we take our nation back? ... Hmmm ... Can we take our nation back, or are our elections now rigged? ... Hmmm ... "We the People" have the power to decide, but will we? .... Hmmm ...

Consider "[i][b]Look Closely: President Bush's promises aren't what they're cracked up to be. But will voters focus on the details[/b][/i]?" by [i]Robert Kuttner [/i]on :

President Bush's major speeches are a combination of high-blown rhetoric, paltry particulars, and calculated cynicism. They need to be carefully scrutinized, both in terms of what they actually deliver and who their real audience is. Bush's re-election will hinge on whether voters pay attention to the rhetoric or the details.

For instance, Bush's call Tuesday to broaden the availability of health insurance and rein in costs falls apart on close inspection, just like his Medicare drug insurance legislation. Most people who can't afford good insurance don't get enough subsidy from Bush's proposal. A patchwork approach, built on tax credits and big out- of-pocket costs, doesn't solve the problem. It only enriches private insurers and drug companies -- the proposal's true audience.

Will voters focus on the details? Bush, shrewdly and cynically, set the start date of his drug legislation for 2006. So nobody will have first-hand experience, by November, of just how bad the plan is.

In Tuesday's State of the Union address, Bush also proposed to allow younger voters to partly shift from government-guaranteed Social Security to private investment accounts. This is part of his "ownership society" - the vision of every American as a capitalist.

All of us want to accumulate nest eggs. The trouble is that life throws us curves. Unlike an investment account, Social Security pays a guaranteed monthly check as long as you live, no matter how bad your luck or your timing. Individual accounts can hit downdrafts of bear markets, and people can be gulled by bad investment advice.

The audience? Wall Street investment firms who manage individual accounts and naïve younger voters pursuing easy riches. The more that people take the trouble to study this plan, the better Social Security looks. But will they take the trouble?

Or take Bush's proposed guest-worker program. It would create a permanent class of non-citizen workers. Bush assumes, heroically, that creation of this new category would reduce illegal immigration. But students of migration patterns have demonstrated that enlarged networks of immigrants attract still larger flows of extended family members and neighbors. Imagine what will happen to Americans and foreigners with green cards making a too-low seven or eight dollars an hour when there's a whole new force of "guest-workers" willing to work for five dollars.

The stated goal is improving the lives of immigrants and relations with Mexico. But the actual target audience is corporate employers seeking low-wage, docile employees, and Hispanic voters with undocumented relatives. In fact, every major Hispanic group opposes the plan. Bush is counting on individual voters not to read the fine print.

And why is the President promising America the moon at a time when his deficits are already sky high? Although the American public loves grand plans, polls suggest that many Americans are skeptical of an expanded space program. But there's a narrower audience here: the aerospace industry and a few key counties around Cape Canaveral, which happens to be located in swing-state Florida.

Bush also wants to make his huge, upwardly-tilted tax cuts permanent. However, when you add the local property tax hikes made necessary by cuts in federal aid, your net tax load is probably higher than in 2000.

In the 1990s, President Bill Clinton hired investment banker Robert Rubin, who explained that budget discipline was necessary to produce lower interest rates and economic recovery. Thus far, this logic has not caught up with President Bush. His deficits are far worse than Reagan's or those that Bill Clinton inherited. But for the moment, Wall Street is enjoying the tax breaks and the stock market boom, and interest rates are still low.

A very serious reckoning will come, but will it come by November? And will voters pay attention to benefits and risks? Will voters notice that smaller and fairer tax cuts would leave more money to pay for good health insurance?

If ever there were an election where the details mattered and cynical slogans needed to be discounted, it is this one. In Iowa last Mnday, something hopeful happened. The primary voters rejected two candidates who got into an unfortunate pattern of disparaging each other, and rewarded two who talked more positively about the substance of issues.

Iowa is, of course a small state and Tuesday's voters were mostly Democrats. But if this is truly the mood of the electorate - a willingness to do the work of citizenship and pay attention to the real details -- it doesn't bode well for Bush.

[i]Robert Kuttner's is co-editor of The American Prospect. A version of this column originally appeared in The Boston Globe[/i].

Who Are You Going To Believe, Dubya Or Your Own Eyes?
01.23.04 (7:44 am)   [edit]
[b]"Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?" ... [/b]Has Karl ([i]Bush's Brain & America's Joseph Goebbles[/i]) Rove stolen Groucho Marx's famous quip?

The Bush regime are continuing their [i]war of terrorism against "We the People"[/i] in their daily on-slaught of lies, deceptions and falsehoods! Whether it be the State of the neo-con's insane Bloody Guerrilla Quagmire in Iraq that may erupt into a tragic Bloody Civil War-- or the State of the neo-fascist Bushies' ruthless and reckless Swindle, Plunder & Looting of Our US Treasury in the largest re-distribution of wealth to their corporate cronies and the richest-of-the-rich, resulting in the largest gap between the [i]Hyper-Haves-and-the-Have-Nots[/i] since the Great Depression-- or the State of our non-existent Health Care, crumbing Public Education, the ravaged Environment, Largest Deficits & Debts in Our Nation's history ... or even Dubya's imbecilic Moon & Mars Bases for their Star Wars adventure ... etc. etc. etc. [b]It takes [i]moral fortitude, intellectual integrity and courage[/i] to stand firm against the Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta's[/i] mendacious neo-orwellian propaganda.[/b]

Consider[i] Molly Ivin's [/i]article entitled "[i][b]Our finances are in a state[/b][/i]" on :

My fellow Americans, the state of the union's finances is enough to make an Enron accountant gag.

When George W. Bush took office, he was handed a going concern. Projected annual surpluses from 2002 to 2011 were $5.6 trillion. In its most recent projection, the Congressional Budget Office says it expects $1.4 trillion in total deficits from 2004 to 2013.

Bush's new future spending proposals -- including everything from the goofy manned-flight-to-Mars to the promotion of marriage -- already total an additional $2 trillion.

When Bush took office, the national debt was $5.7 trillion, and his first budget proposed to reduce it by $2 trillion over the next decade. Today, the debt is $7 trillion.

Last year, Bush predicted a deficit of $262 billion. According to the CBO, the deficit is currently $480 billion. Bush plans to cut biomedical research, health care, job training and veterans funding, and that still leaves a projected deficit of $450 billion.

It is unclear to me why anyone would believe anything the president says about our fiscal situation. Keep in mind that this is a man who took three Texas oil companies into bankruptcy.

I anticipate a painful skewing of the statistics on jobs, but there's not much even the finest spinners can do with the basic problem. Under Bill Clinton, the economy gained an average of 236,000 jobs every month. Under George W. Bush, the economy has lost an average of 66,000 jobs a month. Nor is the news getting better.

Last month, the economy, supposedly in full recovery, added 1,000 jobs. The economy needs to generate more than 100,000 jobs a month just to absorb new workers.

Not only are the 2 million jobs we have already lost not coming back, but the trend will continue.

The lead story in Monday's Wall Street Journal was about IBM's plan to shift 3,000 high-paying jobs overseas, known as "off-shoring." We are not just hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs. As the Journal reports, "This 'off-shoring' process has raised fears that even high-skill jobs that were supposed to represent the U.S.'s future are being lost to countries that have already taken over low-skill factory work."

In the other words, your nice, middle-class rear is on the line here.

There are, of course, some jobs that cannot be exported -- farms cannot be moved to another country, nor can restaurants. So the president proposes a giant new bracero program to import foreign workers legally to fill those jobs.

As Jamie Galbraith wrote in Salon, the online magazine: "There is no reason to believe the Bush administration's hand-wringing over its pathetic record on employment. The president's backers want a stagnant job market -- it keeps the help from getting uppity."

In another sign of how deeply Bush cares about workers, the plan to end overtime pay for millions of workers is back.

You may recall this little charmer from last year -- the Bush proposal to "update" the Fair Labor Standards Act. Both the House and the Senate nixed the idea by passing an amendment proposed by Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, but in the magic way of the Republican-run Congress, the amendment was later dropped from a spending bill after heavy pressure from the White House.

Now, in another typical move, the administration plans to bypass Congress altogether and issue the new regulations as an "administrative rules change" to go into effect in March.

The administration claims that the new regulations will extend overtime pay to an additional 1.3 million low-income workers. That would certainly be a good thing, except for the fact that it would exempt another 8 million workers from getting overtime by reclassifying them as management or professionals.

Another great deal for the corporations: They get to cut overtime for a lot of higher-paid workers and only have to add a few lower-paid workers. Do you really have any doubts about whom this administration is being run for?

We will, of course, have to listen to the president tell us how wonderful his Medicare drug coverage bill is. The bill includes a special tax subsidy to encourage employers to retain prescription drug coverage for their retirees.

But (oops) The Wall Street Journal reports that the White House quietly added "a little-noticed provision" that allows companies to severely reduce or almost completely terminate their retirees' drug coverage without losing out on the new subsidy.

And guess what? The major backers of that "little-noted provision" are all major donors to Bush and the Republican Party.

[i]Molly Ivins writes for Creators Syndicate. 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045 [/i]

NEWSFLASH: GOP Law-Breaking, Crimes & Dirty-Tricks in The Senate!
01.22.04 (2:10 pm)   [edit]
[b]Unbelievable ... and[i] how much money are you willing to bet that it doesn't receive any news coverage [/i]by the neo-fascist right-wing corporate-owned media and press!?!?!

"We the People" should rise up and demand impeachment hearings for the GOP leaders of the Senate who are responsible for perpetrating these illegal activities, crimes and dirty-tricks in the U.S. Senate (and the House of Representatives?) ... (and the White House?) ... Please contact Congress http://www.congress to Demand Action!!!!! Vote Against These Corrupt Politicos in November!!!!![/b]

[i]This story in today's [b]Boston Globe [/b]should knock everything else off the front page. It's an amazing story , a huge scandal. Read the lede ....[/i]

Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Commitee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media, Senate officials told The Globe.

From the spring of 2002 until at least April 2003, members of the GOP committee staff exploited a computer glitch that allowed them to access restricted Democratic communications without a password. Trolling through hundreds of memos, they were able to read talking points and accounts of private meetings discussing which judicial nominees Democrats would fight -- and with what tactics.

The office of Senate Sergeant-at-Arms William Pickle has already launched an investigation into how excerpts from 15 Democratic memos showed up in the pages of the conservative-leaning newspapers and were posted to a website last November.

With the help of forensic computer experts from General Dynamics and the US Secret Service, his office has interviewed about 120 people to date and seized more than half a dozen computers -- including four Judiciary servers, one server from the office of Senate majority leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, and several desktop hard drives.

But the scope of both the intrusions and the likely disclosures is now known to have been far more extensive than the November incident, staffers and others familiar with the investigation say.

[i]So the law-breaking and dirty tricks were systematic and of long standing. And I suspect it's much more widespread than even what is described in this article. [b]It's creeping DeLayism. No rules -- only power[/b][/i].


TalkingPointsMemo by [i]Joshua Micah Marshall [/i]on

Politics and the English Language
01.22.04 (7:22 am)   [edit]
"We the People" must enlighten ourselves regarding the pernicious and insidious manipulation of our language to hide the destructive direction our nation is headed:-- the control of our nation by ruthless corporate interests, and, the fascist policies designed to exploit workers as slaves-- harm consumers and leave them with no legal recourse-- swindle and scam investors-- and, plunder and ravage our environment.

[b]Politics and the English Language [/b]by George Orwell

In our time it is broadly true that political writing is bad writing. Where it is not true, it will generally be found that the writer is some kind of rebel, expressing his private opinions and not a “party line.” Orthodoxy, of whatever color, seems to demand a lifeless, imitative style. The political dialects to be found in pamphlets, leading articles, manifestoes, White papers and the speeches of undersecretaries do, of course, vary from party to party, but they are all alike in that one almost never finds in them a fresh, vivid, homemade turn of speech. When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases — bestial, atrocities, iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder — one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker’s spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them. And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself. If the speech he is making is one that he is accustomed to make over and over again, he may be almost unconscious of what he is saying, as one is when one utters the responses in church. And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favorable to political conformity.

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, “I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so.” Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:

While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.

The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as “keeping out of politics.” All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer.

[i]George Orwell, (1903-1950) was the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair, British novelist, critic and essayist. Best known for his anti-authoritarian novels Animal Farm and 1984, he also attacked the creeping ideology of totalitarianism in “Politics and the English Language”, from where this passage was selected[/i].

Why the U.S.A. "Ain't" Doing So Hot ...
01.21.04 (8:24 pm)   [edit]
[b]The U.S.A. [i]"ain't"[/i] doing so hot ... (Unless you're a corporate robber-baron-- or, have a very good job [i]for the moment[/i]-- or, unless you're rich!) ... Most citizens are faring comparatively better in the E.U. than in the U.S.A. except for those in the top 10-15% income brackets!

At least the E.U. has safety-nets that ensure that their people don't starve-- go without health care-- or find themselves homeless ...[/b] The working people of the E.U. pay taxes at approximately the same rate ([i]in some cases lower[/i]) as American workers ... However, the higher income brackets in the E.U. bear a higher tax burden than in the U.S.A., in order to ensure that their society is[i] free [/i]to permit all citizens to live decently and are [i]free[/i] from the high crime rates-- The U.S.A. [i]"enjoys"[/i] the highest crime rates of any 1st-tier nation largely due to poverty, misery and desperation.

The U.S.A.[i] "ain't"[/i] doing so hot ... because of the[i] laissez-faire [/i]attitude of the corrupt Bush regime who panders to corporations, the plutocrats and the richest-of-the-rich, who amasse obscene fortunes off the backs of the working people of America, whom they ruthlessly and recklessly exploit, swindle, plunder and loot! Until we return to progressive taxation and demand that those who have profitted from America [i]face-up [/i]to their right and proper obligations and responsibilities to our great nation-- the following problems will worsen:

* 45-85 million citizens with no health care-- the U.S.A. is the only 1st-tier nation with no health care system, although the majority of Americans support Universal Health Care -- ([i]Over 18,000 Americans die each year due to lack of health care coverage[/i] ...);

* 25 million families living below the 1960s-defined poverty level;

* 9-15 million citizens are jobless;

* 3.5 million citizens are homeless;

* Our crime rate is the highest of any 1st-tier nation-- over 7 times that of any E.U. nation;

* A falling dollar against other currencies that results in higher prices of goods ([i]most of which are imported, now that the Bush regime is destroying manufacturing by shipping jobs to 3rd world nations in order to pay slave labor wages[/i]) and therefore, inflation hits hard lower-income workers who find themselves with less and less disposable income;

* Our public education is neglected in favor of corporate robber-baron's swindle of our young people to profit from their putrid corporate scams and [i]privatized "schemes[/i]"; Our environment is being poisoned and plundered for private profit; Our nation is embroiled in [i]bloody guerrilla quagmires [/i]abroad that we were led into based upon lies, deceptions and falsehoods; while the insanely bloated expenditure on the military industrial complex is[i] out-of-control[/i]; etc. etc. etc.

"We the People" must reject the[i] fascist-style capitalism [/i]that ruthlessly takes us back to an era when the [i]corporate top-dogs and fat-cats [/i]lived like neo-emperors while the majority of our people struggle miserably to [i]make-ends-meet[/i]! This is not democracy in action-- this is simply a horrendous con-game and an unconscionable scam by ruthless and greedy thieves who criminally enrich themselves at the expense of their fellow citizens: not in the spirit of the [i]General Welfare for All [/i]enshrined in the preamble of the U.S. Constitution.

Consider [i]The Center for American Progress' [/i]article entitled "[b]State of the Economy[/b]" on :

In the lead up to President Bush's State of the Union speech, the White House has dispatched Vice President Dick Cheney to sugarcoat the economy – and divert attention from troubling signs. In his first newspaper interview in two years, Vice President Cheney said, "The economy's looking pretty good," and told an audience that "strong growth has also begun to bring down the unemployment rate." But as the [i]Economic Policy Institute [/i]notes, "Unemployment fell in December only because people gave up looking for work because of bleak employment prospects." In all, 255,000 jobless simply gave up seeking employment. And as a[i] NYT [/i]magazine story points out, millions are still hurting from stagnating wages and skyrocketing health care costs. For more on the labor market, see this column by [i]American Progress economist Christian Weller[/i].

[b]THE JOB TRAINING PROPOSAL[/b]: The President is proposing $1 trillion in new tax cuts, $1 trillion to privatize Social Security, $273 billion for an untested national missile defense system, $50 billion more for war in Iraq, $1.5 billion to promote marriage, and a Mars proposal that could cost $500 billion – yet he is only proposing $120 million in new job training grants for vocational/community colleges. On top of that, as the WP notes, "the Center for American Progress released a chart asserting that Bush has 'repeatedly slashed job training and vocational education programs.'" In the last three years, Bush has proposed almost $1 billion in cuts to job training and vocational education – meaning the President's "new" proposal really is simply a push to restore a fraction of his own massive cuts.

[b]THE SAVINGS PROPOSAL[/b]: In his State of the Union address, President Bush is also expected to repackage old tax proposals for savings accounts as a way to achieve an "ownership society." But under his previous proposals, the 95% of Americans who currently do not save enough to max out on their current savings account would see no benefit. As a new American Progress column points out, the White House proposals will spur "retirement wealth amongst the wealthiest households" but not for lower- and moderate-income households. If the Administration were really serious about addressing middle class concerns, they could propose "regulations for defined benefit pension plans and better designed low-income tax credits." For more on the flaws of this proposal, see this backgrounder from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. And for an alternative proposal see American Progress's Progressive Savings Project.

[b]WHERE IS THE WAGE PROPOSAL?[/b]: In sum, the President's State of the Union Address will propose a weak job training proposal, new tax cuts packaged as "savings incentives," a $1 trillion proposal to make previously enacted tax cuts permanent, and a $1 trillion proposal to privatize Social Security. Noticeably absent, however, is any proposal to deal with the problem of stagnating wages, or a continued opposition to a raise in the minimum wage.

[b]MOST FEEL NO TAX RELIEF[/b]: A new NYT poll finds, "Fewer than one in five Americans said their tax burden had been eased by Mr. Bush, who has made tax cuts the centerpiece of his economic program." That is probably because the tax cut was so skewed towards the rich – and gave so little to average Americans. As American Progress's State of the Union Viewing Guide notes, "In 2005, the President's most recent tax bill gives people who make over $1 million an average tax cut of more than $22,000. At the same time, it gives people making $35,000 per year a tax cut of $35."

[b]LOBBYISTS HOPING FOR A FIELD DAY[/b]: AP reports that corporate lobbyists are hoping for a field day in tonight's State of the Union speech. "You tell everybody you can think to tell" in the White House, said Dan Danner, lobbyist for the National Federation of Independent Business, which most recently aided the White House's push to limit overtime pay to workers. "You tell the speechwriters. You tell the congressional people. You tell the policy people. You tell the public liaison people and the economic shop." Financial service firms "would like to see Bush note several items, including legislation to limit class-action lawsuits.” The National Association of Manufacturers, which helped kill ergonomics rules protecting workers, "hand-delivered its 2004 agenda to dozens of government officials." And the American Meat Institute "has worked closely with the administration to spread the word that American beef is safe," while making sure the new Mad Cow regulations are not too.

Dubya's Mendacious Rhetoric Versus His Callous Actions ...
01.21.04 (10:29 am)   [edit]
[b]Dubya's mendacious rhetoric is at odds with his callous actions ...[/b]

"We the People" must quickly learn to distinguish between the Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta's[/i] neo-orwellian [i]propaganda[/i] screeds and their neo-con [i]barbaric [/i]foreign policies and their neo-fascist[i] corporate-take-all [/i]domestic/economic policies ...

Consider "[i][b]Give Iraqis the election they want: Despite Bush's rhetoric, the U.S. is opposing true democratic voting[/b][/i]" by [i]Robert Scheer [/i]on :

Proving again that Martin Luther King Jr. had the right idea, the peaceful demonstrations by thousands of Iraqi Shiites demanding direct elections have been a far more effective challenge to the arrogance of the U.S. occupation than the months of guerrilla violence undertaken by a Sunni-led insurgency.

Led by clerics demanding real democracy, the protests have strongly raised this question: What right does the United States have to tell people that they cannot be allowed to rule themselves?

With the stated reasons for the U.S. invasion -- the imminent threat of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and his ties to Al Qaeda -- now a proven fraud, the Bush administration was left with one defense: It was bringing democracy to this corner of the Mideast. If we now fail to promptly return full sovereignty to the Iraqis, inconvenient as that outcome may be, the invasion will stand exposed as nothing more than old-fashioned imperial plunder of the region's oil riches -- and the continued occupation could devolve into civil war.

The Shiites do not require divine revelation to see through the U.S. plan to perpetuate its influence through an opaque process of caucuses designed, implemented and run by Washington and its Iraqi appointees. It is just colonial politics as usual. That's why the conservative Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the revered cleric of Iraq's Shiites (who make up 60% of the country), is requesting a transparent one-person, one-vote election.

The U.S., however, has not agreed. And a top Sistani aide recently suggested that President Bush's opposition to a universal ballot election stemmed from a fear that his own reelection efforts could be hurt if the invasion he launched resulted in another Mideast country where ayatollahs played a major political role. Or, perhaps worse from the president's point of view, an independent government might be so bold as to ask the U.S. to pull out its troops, hand back control of its oil and dismiss billions in reconstruction contracts with corporations like Halliburton.

The White House now says that a free election is impossible because no census has been taken. Is it naive to ask why this hasn't been done? After all, we've been in control of the country for nearly a year now. Couldn't we have spent some of those billions in taxpayer dollars dedicated to Iraq to employ a few thousand Iraqis to go door-to-door with clipboards? We also are told that key Iraqis signed off on the caucus plan, yet the Washington Post writes that "there is no precise equivalent in Arabic for 'caucus' nor any history of caucuses in the Arab world, U.S. officials say." Perhaps a format Iraqis might better understand could have been generated by, say, Iraqis?

The fact is, history teaches us that when foreigners forcibly intervene in another country's affairs it is a terribly messy business that usually fails miserably. And in Iraq, which is an artificial construct of previous colonial intervention, "nation-building" is a flat-out nightmare.

Our most trusted local allies, the Kurds in the north, are loudly seeking an autonomous state in a federation; the Sunni minority has grown used to a vastly disproportionate degree of power that it will not easily relinquish; and the much poorer Shiites are clearly ready to enjoy some fruits of majority rule.

Yet all this was ignored by Pentagon intellectuals, who so cavalierly dismissed the warnings of the French and Germans -- not to mention many millions of protesters at home and abroad -- while convincing themselves that bringing peace and stability to Iraq would be a "cakewalk." Now, the top U.S. general in Iraq tells us that the Iraqis "don't want us to stay, but they don't want us to go," which is as good a definition of quagmire as any.

There is, of course, no guarantee that a freely elected Iraqi government would prove efficient or enlightened. But at least under a representative government, decisions would be made by the people who have to live with the consequences, rather than by self-interested foreigners. After all, isn't that the radical idea upon which our own country was founded?

[i]For more, please see the Robert Scheer archive on[/i]

Who Tells Dubya What To Think? ... Karl Rove, Renaissance Man
01.21.04 (9:05 am)   [edit]

[b]Other Useful Sources:[/b]

"The Bush administration's designs on Mars and the moon are, well, a little spacey" on

"After the War" by[i] Noam Chomsky [/i]on

"It's about money: Follow the greenbacks to learn where seemingly haphazard Bush policy comes from" by [i]Molly Ivins [/i]on

"Exposing Karl Rove" by [i]Wayne Madsen [/i]on

"Bush's Missed Opportunity ... and its potential costs" by [i]John Hood [/i]on

Dubya's Cynical "Vision" Is "Going For Broke" ...
01.20.04 (5:08 pm)   [edit]
[b]Dubya is cynically[i] taking us all for fools [/i]... The corrupt Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta[/i] are betting that "We the People" will blindly accept their insincere promises of delivering us the [i]Entire World (or the Moon or Mars or Uranus ... or Neo-con Pre-emptive Warfare)[/i] for Nothing!!! No Sacrifice, No Price, No Demands!!! ... Come on folks ... Behind the scenes, the bills, the checks & the massive debts are [i]mounting, mounting, mounting [/i]... Dubya is simply a ridiculous liar ...[/b]

In an insanely reckless[i] spending spree [/i]for corporations, plutocrats, and the richest-of-the-rich, Dubya is ruthlessly placing the back-breaking burden and load upon the working people of America for the most massive deficits and debts in our nation's history-- The callous Bushies know it ... The callous Bushies are ignoring the dire needs of our nation ... [i][b]Let us reject the callous Dubya's cynical and mendacious screed devised to fool us, yet again[/b][/i]!

Consider "[b]Going for Broke[/b]" by[i] Dr. Paul Krugman[/i], on :

According to advance reports, George Bush will use tonight's State of the Union speech to portray himself as a visionary leader who stands above the political fray. But that act is losing its effectiveness. Mr. Bush's relentless partisanship has depleted much of the immense good will he enjoyed after 9/11. He is still adored by his base, but he is deeply distrusted by much of the nation.

Mr. Bush may not understand this; indeed, he still seems to think that he's another Lincoln or F.D.R. "No president has done more for human rights than I have," he told Ken Auletta.

But his political handlers seem to have decided on a go-for-broke strategy: confuse the middle one last time, energize the base and grab enough power that the consequences don't matter.

What do I mean by confusing the middle? The striking thing about the "visionary" proposals floated in advance of the State of the Union is their transparent cynicism and lack of realism. Mr. Bush has, of course, literally promised us the Moon — and Mars, too. And the ever-deferential media have managed to keep a straight face.

But that's just the most dramatic example of an array of policy proposals that don't withstand even minimal scrutiny. Mr. Bush has already pushed through an expensive new Medicare benefit — without any visible source of financing. Reports say that tonight he'll propose additional, and even more expensive, new initiatives, like partial Social Security privatization — which all by itself would require at least $1 trillion in extra funds over the next decade. Where is all this money going to come from?

Judging from the latest CBS/New York Times Poll, these promises of something for nothing aren't likely to convince many people. It's not just that the bounce from Saddam's capture has already gone away. Unfavorable views of Mr. Bush as a person have reached record levels for his presidency. It seems fair to say that many Americans, like most of the rest of the world, simply don't trust him anymore.

But some Americans will respond to upbeat messages, no matter how unrealistic. And that may be enough for Mr. Bush, because while he poses as someone above the fray, he is continuing to solidify his base.

The most sinister example was the recess appointment of Charles Pickering Sr., with his segregationist past and questionable record on voting rights, to the federal appeals court — the day after Martin Luther King's actual birthday. Was this careless timing? Don't be silly: it was a deliberate, if subtle, gesture of sympathy with a part of the Republican coalition that never gets mentioned in public.

A less objectionable but equally calculated gesture will be Mr. Bush's demand that his tax cuts be made permanent. Realistically, this can't make any difference to the economy now, and it makes no sense, given the array of new spending plans he will simultaneously unveil. But it's a signal to the base that any seeming moderation needn't be taken seriously, and that the administration's hard-right turn will continue.

Meanwhile, the lying has already begun, with the Republican National Committee's willful misrepresentation of Wesley Clark's prewar statements. (Why are news organizations letting them get away with this?)

The question we should ask is, Where is all this leading?

Some cynical pundits think that Mr. Bush's advisers plan to leave the hard work of dealing with the mess he's made to future presidents. But I don't think that's right. I can't see how the budget can continue along its current path through a second Bush term — financial markets won't stand for it.

And what about the growing military crisis? The mess in Iraq has placed our volunteer military, a magnificent but fragile institution, under immense strain. National Guard and Reserve members find themselves effectively drafted as full-time soldiers. More than 40,000 soldiers whose enlistment terms have expired have been kept from leaving under "stop loss" orders. This can't go on for four more years.

Karl Rove and other insiders must know all this. So they must figure that once they have won the election, they will have such a complete lock on power that they can break many of their promises with impunity.

What will they do with that lock on power? Their election strategy — confuse the middle, but feed the base — suggests the answer.

Consider Carefully the Real "State of the Union" ...
01.20.04 (12:45 pm)   [edit]
[b]"We the People" should consider carefully the real[i] "State of the Union" [/i]under the Mad King George's putrid reign ... A Sorry "[i]State[/i]" indeed ...:[/b]

[b]George W Bush and the Real State of the Union: [/b] [i][b]Today the President gives his annual address. As the election battle begins, how does his first term add up?[/b][/i],

232: Number of American combat deaths in Iraq between May 2003 and January 2004

501: Number of American servicemen to die in Iraq from the beginning of the war - so far

0: Number of American combat deaths in Germany after the Nazi surrender to the Allies in May 1945

0: Number of coffins of dead soldiers returning home from Iraq that the Bush administration has allowed to be photographed

0: Number of funerals or memorials that President Bush has attended for soldiers killed in Iraq

100: Number of fund-raisers attended by Bush or Vice-President Dick Cheney in 2003

13: Number of meetings between Bush and Tony Blair since he became President

10 million: Estimated number of people worldwide who took to the streets in opposition to the invasion of Iraq, setting an all-time record for simultaneous protest

2: Number of nations that Bush has attacked and taken over since coming into the White House

9.2: Average number of American soldiers wounded in Iraq each day since the invasion in March last year

1.6: Average number of American soldiers killed in Iraq per day since hostilities began

16,000: Approximate number of Iraqis killed since the start of war

10,000: Approximate number of Iraqi civilians killed since the beginning of the conflict

$100 billion: Estimated cost of the war in Iraq to American citizens by the end of 2003

$13 billion: Amount other countries have committed towards rebuilding Iraq (much of it in loans) as of 24 October

36%: Increase in the number of desertions from the US army since 1999

92%: Percentage of Iraq's urban areas that had access to drinkable water a year ago

60%: Percentage of Iraq's urban areas that have access to drinkable water today

32%: Percentage of the bombs dropped on Iraq this year that were not precision-guided

1983: The year in which Donald Rumsfeld gave Saddam Hussein a pair of golden spurs

45%: Percentage of Americans who believed in early March 2003 that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 11 September attacks on the US

$127 billion: Amount of US budget surplus in the year that Bush became President in 2001

$374 billion: Amount of US budget deficit in the fiscal year for 2003

1st: This year's deficit is on course to be the biggest in United States history

$1.58 billion: Average amount by which the US national debt increases each day

$23,920: Amount of each US citizen's share of the national debt as of 19 January 2004

1st: The record for the most bankruptcies filed in a single year (1.57 million) was set in 2002

10: Number of solo press conferences that Bush has held since beginning his term. His father had managed 61 at this point in his administration, and Bill Clinton 33

1st: Rank of the US worldwide in terms of greenhouse gas emissions per capita

$113 million: Total sum raised by the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign, setting a record in American electoral history

$130 million: Amount raised for Bush's re-election campaign so far

$200m: Amount that the Bush-Cheney campaign is expected to raise in 2004

$40m: Amount that Howard Dean, the top fund-raiser among the nine Democratic presidential hopefuls, amassed in 2003

28: Number of days holiday that Bush took last August, the second longest holiday of any president in US history (Record holder: Richard Nixon)

13: Number of vacation days the average American worker receives each year

3: Number of children convicted of capital offences executed in the US in 2002. America is only country openly to acknowledge executing children

1st: As Governor of Texas, George Bush executed more prisoners (152) than any governor in modern US history

2.4 million: Number of Americans who have lost their jobs during the three years of the Bush administration

221,000: Number of jobs per month created since Bush's tax cuts took effect. He promised the measure would add 306,000

1,000: Number of new jobs created in the entire country in December. Analysts had expected a gain of 130,000

1st: This administration is on its way to becoming the first since 1929 (Herbert Hoover) to preside over an overall loss of jobs during its complete term in office

9 million: Number of US workers unemployed in September 2003

80%: Percentage of the Iraqi workforce now unemployed

55%: Percentage of the Iraqi workforce unemployed before the war

43.6 million: Number of Americans without health insurance in 2002

130: Number of countries (out of total of 191 recognized by the United Nations) with an American military presence

40%: Percentage of the world's military spending for which the US is responsible

$10.9 million: Average wealth of the members of Bush's original 16-person cabinet

88%: Percentage of American citizens who will save less than $100 on their 2006 federal taxes as a result of 2003 cut in capital gains and dividends taxes

$42,000: Average savings members of Bush's cabinet are expected to enjoy this year as a result in the cuts in capital gains and dividends taxes

$42,228: Median household income in the US in 2001

$116,000: Amount Vice-President Cheney is expected to save each year in taxes

44%: Percentage of Americans who believe the President's economic growth plan will mostly benefit the wealthy

700: Number of people from around the world the US has incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

1st: George W Bush became the first American president to ignore the Geneva Conventions by refusing to allow inspectors access to US-held prisoners of war

+6%: Percentage change since 2001 in the number of US families in poverty

1951: Last year in which a quarterly rise in US military spending was greater than the one the previous spring

54%: Percentage of US citizens who believe Bush was legitimately elected to his post

1st: First president to execute a federal prisoner in the past 40 years. Executions are typically ordered by separate states and not at federal level

9: Number of members of Bush's defense policy board who also sit on the corporate board of, or advise, at least one defense contractor

35: Number of countries to which US has suspended military assistance after they failed to sign agreements giving Americans immunity from prosecution before the International Criminal Court

$300 million: Amount cut from the federal program that provides subsidies to poor families so they can heat their homes

$1 billion: Amount of new US military aid promised Israel in April 2003 to offset the "burdens" of the US war on Iraq

58 million: Number of acres of public lands Bush has opened to road building, logging and drilling

200: Number of public-health and environmental laws Bush has attempted to downgrade or weaken

29,000: Number of American troops - which is close to the total of a whole army division - to have either been killed, wounded, injured or become so ill as to require evacuation from Iraq, according to the Pentagon

90%: Percentage of American citizens who said they approved of the way George Bush was handling his job as president when asked on 26 September, 2001

53%: Percentage of American citizens who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president when asked on 16 January, 2004

Who Benefits From A Perpetual War?
01.20.04 (8:45 am)   [edit]
[b]"Follow the money" is an American[i] home-grown [/i]cliche, with a spark of truth. It is always useful to ask the question: [i]Who Benefits[/i]?, when pro-offerred with proposals regarding foreign and/or domestic policies! Otherwise, we are subject to scams, con-games & swindles ... This is exactly what Dubya and his corrupt cabal of neo-con propagandists, liars and thieves depend upon:-- Us [i]not[/i] asking that most insightful question, or any other questions for that matter![/b]

[i][b]Who Benefits From A Perpetual War? [/b][/i] ... This question indeed deserves indepth, substantive analysis and coverage because Perpetual War is just what the corrupt Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta [/i]propose as their insane [i]modus operandi [/i]for our role in the world!

It really isn't terribly hard to discover the unpleasant and sordid truth underlying this very important question of [i][b]Who Benefits From A Perpetual War?[/b][/i] ... If only "We the People" will remove our blinders and face this dire reality, then Dubya and his corrupt cabal of neo-con thugs & goons will be ousted in November!

Consider "[i][b]Fear Trumps Freedom In A Perpetual War[/b][/i]" on

As World War II ground to a halt, the United States set out to obliterate Japan. Our B-29s rained terror on Japan's major cities. Tens of thousands of civilians were blown apart or burned to death in the summer of 1945.

Then, on Aug. 6, came the coup de grace, the atomic bomb ("Little Boy," they called it) dropped on Hiroshima. Three days later, before the Japanese had a chance to holler "Uncle!" we followed up with a second A-bomb ("Fat Man") on Nagasaki.

Thus did the war end. Our troop ships, ferrying GIs from Europe to Japan, did U-turns in the middle of the Pacific and headed for home. The Japanese, on Sept. 2, in a ceremony aboard the battleship USS Missouri, agreed to an unconditional surrender.

It was a glorious time for the United States. To get a hint of our involvement, turn to the paid death notices in your local newspaper. Nearly every obituary for a man in his 80s lists his service in World War II. We were all involved, one way or another.

We Americans, never known for our humility, were pumped with our success. We had finally emerged as a world power to be taken seriously. We were not kings of the world, as we imagine ourselves now, but we certainly were crown princes.

It didn't take us long to flex our newly discovered muscle. When North Korea invaded South Korea in July 1950, we came dashing to the rescue of the South Koreans, overlooking the fact that North Korea was friendly with China. When China sent massive numbers of troops in to reinforce the North Koreans, we were almost blown off the peninsula. We survived, and prevailed, but the experience made us a little more cautious.

Our mentality became that of a barroom brawler or schoolyard bully. Ask any bully why he fights so often, and he'll tell you he never looks for trouble. Then he'll add, "But I never back down from a fight, either."

Here's a list of 23 nations we didn't back down from since 1945: Japan (1945), China (1945 and 1950), Korea (1950), Guatemala (1954 and 1960), Indonesia (1958), Cuba (1959), Vietnam (1961), Congo (1964), Laos (1964), Peru (1965), Cambodia (1969), Lebanon (1983), Grenada (1983), Libya (1986), El Salvador (1980s), Nicaragua (1980s), Panama (1989), Iraq (1991), Somalia (1993), Bosnia (1995), Sudan (1998), Yugoslavia (1999v, Afghanistan (2001).

(I took the above list from a Web site and can't vouch for its accuracy. However, it seems to fit with my memory of events over the years.)

Looking at that list, it would be fair to conclude that we've become a warlike nation. Rather than printing "E pluribus unum" on the Great Seal of the United States and on coins, we should consider "Have bombs, will travel."

Fighting limited wars has replaced baseball as our national sport. And we love it. We love the parades, the flag waving, the patriotic songs, the flyovers, the funerals, the memorial services, the "defense" contracts.

Most of us consider ourselves "Christian soldiers, marching as to war," so we've declared war on crime, poverty, drugs -- just about anything we consider undesirable.

Now, thanks to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, we've talked ourselves into a state of perpetual war, probably the most accurate definition of our culture ever. But, in true 1984 newspeak, we don't call it that. We call it a war on terrorism. We admit it'll be a long war, but we're not yet ready to admit it will never end.

As the Soviets learned during their long period of oppression against organized religion in the U.S.S.R., you cannot defeat an "ism." Isms, like religion, know no boundaries. Trying to defeat an ism is like trying to defeat crime or bad manners or the hiccups. No matter how hard you try, they'll still pop up in the most unexpected places.

Vice President Dick Cheney was in Los Angeles last week drumming up support for the never-ending war on terrorism. Before the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, Cheney reassured a hushed audience, "The use of military force is, for the United States, always the last option in defending ourselves and our interests."

Even on C-SPAN, one could almost hear the united hearts of his listeners thumping in pride at America's nobility and restraint.

Why, oh, why, one wonders, do the nations of the world so often force us to reluctantly use our last option?

As with all his speeches, Cheney's talk last week was liberally sprinkled with flattering references to his boss, President George W. Bush. At one point in his speech, he outlined the dangers of terrorism:

"We know, ... from the training manuals we found in Afghanistan and from the interrogations of terrorists we have captured, that they are doing everything they can to gain the ultimate weapon: chemical, biological, radiological and even nuclear weapons.

"Should they ever acquire such weapons, they would use them without any constraint of reason or morality. Instead of losing thousands of lives, we might lose tens or even hundreds of thousands of lives as the result of a single attack, or a set coordinated of attacks."

That danger, he said, requires "a shift in America's national-security strategy. There are certain moments in history when the gravest threats reveal themselves. And in those moments, the response of our government must be swift, and it must be right."

Cheney, who missed his calling as an undertaker, had his audience exactly where he wanted them: in terror.

The American people, who certainly must love wars, considering how often we fight them, seem also to love fear. The enemy is everywhere and knows no constraints. So we, you and I, look for strong leadership and assurance that everything possible is being done to protect us.

It would be terrible, would it not, if other nations some day did to us what we've been doing to them over the years?

So we have agreed to airport searches, and, soon, to government-issued travel documents. We have agreed to let our federal law-enforcement agents scour the world for would-be terrorists and bring them to the Guantánamo U.S. Naval Base, our foothold on Cuba, for indefinite "investigation." We have agreed to secret trials and even to no trials for people Mr. Bush decides are "enemy combatants."

We are now, like Nazi Germany before us, like the old Soviet Union, like Iran in the days of our good buddy, the shah, content to have people "disappear," as long as they have Arabic-sounding names.

Torture has become an acceptable tool of interrogation for us. When we use it ourselves, it's usually "mere" mental torture, primarily sleep deprivation. If we feel more intensely physical methods are called for, we farm out our interrogations to governments less squeamish than ours.

So, while we're protecting American lives, we are destroying American values.

This is what Dick Cheney brings us. This is what the boss he slobbers over, George W. Bush, brings us. This is what our cowardly Congress brings us, with its "Patriot" acts. And this is what we bring upon ourselves, by supporting senators and representatives who are willing to sell out our freedoms in the hope of buying a little security.

[i][b]Our collective cowardice virtually assures George W. Bush a second term[/b][/i].

[i][b]In 1945, as World War II wound down, we were a beacon of liberty to the rest of the world[/b][/i].

[b]That was then. What are we now?[/b]

[i]Harley Sorensen is a longtime journalist. His column appears Mondays. E-mail him at [/i]


[b]Other Useful Source of Information:[/b]

"[i][b]George W Bush and the real state of the Union[/b][/i]" on

100,000 Iraqis March For Elections Denied By Dubya ...
01.19.04 (8:13 pm)   [edit]

[b]As 100,000 Iraqis protest in a march for elections that are denied by Dubya, the violent opposition to the corrupt Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta's[/i] disastrous bloody guerrilla quagmire, in their insane grab for[i] OIL, Reconstruction Contracts, and their Swindle of the U.S. Treasury[/i]-- may well prove to be the worst foreign policy blunder committed by a ruthless and reckless U.S. administration in our nation's history.[/b]

[b]"We the People" must demand that Congress[/b] put an end to this insanity and madness of [i]blood-thirsty blood-letting [/i]by greedy neo-con war-mongerers on behalf of their gluttonous neo-fascist war-profiteers: Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, etc. ...

Consider "[b]Why the US is running scared of elections in Iraq: [i]Washington's plan to transfer power without a direct vote is a fraud[/i][/b]" by[i] Jonathan Steele [/i]on,2763,1126178,00.html :

The occupation of Iraq continues to get worse for George Bush and Tony Blair. The deaths of at least 20 people in a suicide bomb attack outside the coalition headquarters in Baghdad yesterday morning underlines the spiralling unrest in the country. The toll of US casualties since Saddam Hussein's capture is higher than in the same period before it. Angry protests over unemployment and petrol shortages have erupted in several cities in the south, in areas under British control.
Above all, Washington's plans for handing power to an unelected group of Iraqis is being strongly challenged by Iraq's majority Shia community. The occupiers who invaded Iraq in the name (partly) of bringing democracy are being accused of flouting democracy themselves.

Oh yes, and then there's the small matter of the weapons of mass destruction on which Saddam increasingly appears to be the man who had truth on his side. When he said he had destroyed them years ago, he, rather than Bush and Blair, was the man not lying.

While the Hutton inquiry looms as the main Iraq worry for the prime minister, the primary problem for Bush is the chaos in Iraq. His plans for minimising Iraq as an election issue are in tatters. They relied on three things: the capture of Saddam; a reduction in the toll of US dead and maimed; and the start of a process of handing power to Iraqis.

The first was accomplished in December when the former dictator's successful eight-month evasion of massive hunting parties came to an end. But instead of it leading to a collapse of resistance, US casualties have gone on growing. Bush's always dubious argument that Saddam was running the insurgency from various well-hidden quarters has fallen apart.

Baathists who did not want to be seen as defending a hated leader were freed from that image. Other branches of the resistance were never Saddam supporters. It also transpires that Saddam rejected part of the resistance. Although he called for jihad against the occupiers in the tapes slipped out to al-Jazeera and other Arab media, he was writing more careful private notes to his friends. He urged them to beware of the fundamentalists - an ironic sign that even in his months of beleaguered clandestinity, he remained faithful to the secular principles which had made him attractive to western governments in the 1980s, when the main enemy was seen as Iran.

With casualties stubbornly continuing to remain high, the US is now banking on its project for transferring power to Iraqis this summer. This is an acceleration of Washington's earlier plans. The UN security council resolution it pushed through unanimously last October called on Iraq's governing council to draw up a timetable for drafting a constitution and holding elections. It also called for the UN "to strengthen its vital role in Iraq".

But the White House has a habit of ignoring the UN resolutions it sponsors. Just as it went to war without a second resolution, after getting unanimity on one which most member states did not feel contained a trigger, the October 2003 resolution was also ignored. A month after it was passed, the US came up with a plan which made no mention of any role for the UN and cobbled together an extraordinary process of "caucuses" to pick a government.

At least in Iowa, the Democratic party caucuses involve elections. Not in the US plan for Iraq. The US is proposing that "notables" in each province attend these caucuses to appoint an assembly which would select a government. Not surprisingly, the Shia leadership smells a rat. After generations of being excluded from power, first by the British occupiers in 1920, and then by successive Sunni governments up to the one led by Saddam, they are angry.

Their spiritual head, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has repeatedly denounced the plan. He wants direct elections. His legitimate fear is that the US wants to control the selection of a government because it thinks the wrong people will win, in particular the Shia. Washington is also worried that Sunni fundamentalists and even some Baathists might do well in the poll.

The other new element in the US plan was that power would be transferred to the new government at the end of June. This would allow Bush to claim mission accomplished. Barely a year after the invasion, Iraqis would have a legitimate government at last. It would invite US troops to stay, but these could gradually be reduced in number or pulled back to bases in Iraq, as new Iraqi security forces were built up. US casualties would fall, the invasion would have been legitimised, and Messrs Dean and Clark would have to shut up.

Now the whole thing is in ruins. Ayatollah Sistani refuses to drop his opposition, and people were out on the street in Basra last week to support his line. Protests may spread to other Shia cities. The latest allegations of US and British torture of detainees will only inflame passions. Worst of all for Washington, Sistani has made it clear that no government which is undemocratically appointed will have the right to ask American troops to stay.

Washington is trying to argue that if there are to be direct elections, the transfer of power will have to be delayed. Sistani rejects that. His supporters say the oil-for-food ration-card lists which covered the whole Iraqi population can easily be used in place of the poll cards which Washington says would take at least a year to prepare. Unlike Afghanistan, with its remote villages and months of snow which make polling stations hard to deploy and staff, Iraq's geography is no obstacle to quick elections.

The moment of truth for the administration is also one for the United Nations. Having snubbed the UN for so long, the White House is turning to Kofi Annan at a meeting in New York today to bail it out. Like his Shia forebears who refused to meet the British after 1920 for fear of being denounced as stooges and sell-outs, Sistani refuses to talk to Paul Bremer, the top US envoy, or his British colleagues. He meets Iraqis who bring messages from the coalition authorities, and he meets the UN. So Washington is pressing the UN either to go and persuade Sistani that elections are impossible, or to monitor the caucuses and give them its seal of approval.

Annan should resist the poisoned chalice. He should support the concept of direct elections. It need not mean a delay in sovereignty for Iraq. Five months are not too long to prepare a vote. Alternatively, the UN should offer to take over responsibility for the entire transition to Iraqi rule, as many member governments originally hoped.

Washington's plan for a transfer of power is a facade. The real intent is to get Bush re-elected and continue the occupation by indirect means. The UN should have no part of it.


"100,000 demand Iraqi elections", [i]Associated Press [/i]on,2763,1126468,00.html : - [i]Excerpt[/i] -

[i]Tens of thousands of Shia Muslims demonstrated in Baghdad today to demand prompt elections, the protest coming hours before US and Iraqi officials prepared to seek UN approval for their plans to transfer power in Iraq.

A delegation headed by the US chief administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, is in New York for a meeting later today with the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, hoping to persuade the world body to play a greater role in the transition of power in Baghdad.[/i]

Hatred Continues In The Neo-Fascist United States of America ...
01.19.04 (4:36 pm)   [edit]
[b]Amusing, oh so amusing to see the attacks continue unabatted against France [/b]([i]who has been a loyal ally from our Revolutionary War of Independence onwards, even after Dubya betrayed our nation with neo-con corporate-take-all war-mongerings carried-out in order to obscenely profit the Bush regime's neo-fascist war-profiteers[/i]) ... But unless France parrots and cheers for the crimes committed by the corrupt Bush regime, they are [i]bashed and bashed and bashed[/i]! Ha ha ha!

[b]France, like Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, and indeed, all of the EU nations [/b]have established regulations to ensure that [i]corporations, swindlers, corporate robber-barons, plunderers, plutocrats, looters and the neo-fascist thieves[/i], are all unable to ruthlessly rape their citizens ... They hold dear health care for all, decent paying jobs, freedom of speech, public education, and services to ensure that their nation's wealth is not amassed into the bulging pockets of a few greedy oligarchs, at the expense of those who are the working people and the vulnerable ... [b]These EU nations have learnt the lessons of history ... Apparently, the United States of America has not, as yet![/b]

[b]Hatred continues in the neo-fascist United States of America, under the insane reign of the Mad King George[/b], who only believes in the "freedom" for his sordid family and squalid corporate cronies to ruthlessly exploit workers, endanger consumers, embezzle investors, and to destroy & poison our environment.

[b]The insane Bushies' neo-orwellian propaganda tactic is to malign and slander anyone who believes that our democracy must provide rights as well as the proper distribution of wealth for all of our citizens. [/b] Anyone who [i]stands-up [/i]for working people and the environment is insanely and maliciously labelled as a "Marxist" or a "Communist" or "Martian" or any other appellation that will scare the [i]not-too-bright [/i]into permitting corporations, plutocrats and the neo-fascists to continue their neo-con swindles, con-games & scams! Without workers, investors cannot succeed to generate revenue and realize profits ... Profits should be shared in proper proportion and workers should not be paid slave labor wages in order for corporate top-dogs & fat-cats to live their obese and gluttonous life-styles. This is not "marxist" or "communist" or "martian"-- it is simply the recognition that [i]the right and proper [/i]distribution of the harvest of all of our efforts is to the benefit of our nation!

[b]By the way, ever notice that in these so-called "hateful" countries (e.g. France, U.K., Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, etc.), their citizens are not trying to escape from their own nations and immigrating en-masse to the United States of America? Refer to Barbara W. Tuchman's "The Proud Tower" and "The March of Folly" ...[/b]

[b]Our nation is being turned into a hateful neo-fascist slave state[/b], where our political discourse is being cynically manipulated and the inclusiveness of all citizens in our political process is being destroyed, by the extreme right-wing tyrants, who only permit those who [i]cheer-lead [/i]for corporations, the plutocrats, and the rich, to fully participate and have a real voice.

Consider "[i][b]It's Just Opposition, Stupid! ... Have you noticed how sensitive some of these Republicans are? [/b][/i]" by [i]Katrina vanden Heuvel[/i] in her excellent "Editor's Cut" in [i]The Nation[/i], on :

[b]Have you noticed how sensitive some of these Republicans are? When did plain and simple opposition become political hate speech?[/b]

After former Vice-President Al Gore delivered a smart, sometimes humorous, and ultimately scathing critique of the Bush Administration's assault on the environment in a speech in New York City last Thursday, GOP Chairman Ed Gillespie characterized Gore's remarks as "political hate speech" and called on him to repudiate such "vile tactics." (Click here for the full text of Gore's speech.)

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay --who dishes it out but can' t take it--had the same overheated reaction to Senator Edward Kennedy's powerful talk last week in which he accused Bush and his advisers of capitalizing on fear from the September 11th attacks and putting "a spin on truth to justify a war that could well become one of the worst blunders in more than two centuries of American foreign policy." ([i]Click here to read Kennedy's remarks [/i] .)

Kennedy's speech , according to DeLay--the man aptly called the Hammer--was a "hateful attack" that "insulted the President's patriotism." Someone's gotta get these guys into a good Con-Law class fast before they brand the Bill of Rights a subversive document because it protects the right to dissent--or what Gillespie calls "political hate speech."

[i]NOTE: Thanks to longtime Nation reader Adam Komisaruk from Morgantown, West Virginia for his help with drafting "Parallel O'Reilly Factor."[/i]


[b]Grover's World [/b]

Talking about political hate, did you see the [i]Washington Post's [/i]January 12 profile of anti-tax guru Grover Norquist? Norquist , an intimate of Karl Rove is the head of Americans for Tax Reform and the architect of a rightwing infrastructure designed to implement his long-cherished plan to shrink government "down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."

More recently, Norquist has made comments like "Bipartisanship is another name for date rape," or fantastically compared the estate tax to the Holocaust. (His reasoning: Referring to the supposedly specious argument that the estate tax was worth keeping because it really affected only "two percent of Americans," Norquist went on, "I mean that's the morality of the Holocaust. 'Well, it's only a small percentage,' you know, I mean, it's not you. It's somebody else.")

Now, he's ready to crush and purge. According to the [i]Post[/i] profile , Norquist says "Democrats used to anger him." But "he's past angry now. 'Do you get mad at cancer? We'll defeat and crush their institutions, and the trial lawyers will go sell pizza, We're not going to hang them. Most of the the people on the left will be happy in Grover's world. I feel about the left the way Rumsfeld felt about the Iraqis." Welcome to Grover's world. Talk about haters.

[i]NOTE: Thanks to longtime Nation reader Adam Komisaruk from Morgantown, West Virginia for his help with drafting "Parallel O'Reilly Factor." [/i]

History Shows The Stock Market Does Better Under Democrats ...
01.19.04 (1:58 pm)   [edit]
[b]"[i][b]History shows the stock market does better under Democrats[/b][/i]" is the opening lead in today's CNN Money ... [i]"We the People"[/i] and the [i]Republic For Which It Stands [/i]prosper when all of our citizens have a rightful stake ([i]a share in the prosperity that is created by working people[/i]) in the success of our nation ... [/b]Dubya's insane retrograde policy of re-distributing our nation's wealth to corporations, the richest plutocrats and his greedy un-christian campaign contributors-- fosters barbaric poverty, miserable joblessness, un-humane suffering and costly crime.

Dubya has awarded immoral tax loopholes, tax cuts and boondoggles, to his corporate cronies and the wealthiest top 5%-- resulting in the biggest gap between the [i]haves-and-the-have-nots[/i] in over 75 years! Moveover, Dubya has overseen the largest job losses since the Great Depression ... and furthermore Dubya has callously neglected the needs of our citizens with over 45+ million without health care-- 9-15+ million without jobs-- 3.5 million+ homeless-- and over 25+ million living below the [i]1960s-defined [/i]poverty line.

Surely we can do better than a cowardly, corrupt ignoramus like Dubya, who ignores the dire needs of our people ([i]while the profit from the so-called "growth" [sic] is simply being swindled, plundered & looted by themselves & their corporate robber-barons[/i]) in favor of illegal and immoral neo-con war-mongerers and imbecilic neo-fascist space adventures-- all to profit his obscene war-profiteers: Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, etc. ... [i][b]Let's do better in November![/b][/i]

Consider [i][b]"A Dem the Street might like ... Which of the top Democratic candidates does the stock market prefer?"[/b][/i] by [i]Alexandra Twin [/i]on :

[b][Disclaimer: The Wall Street investor class is only interested in [i]lining their own pockets with gold [/i]and creating a neo-feudal slave state for the rest of us. These [i]medieval-style [/i]robber-barons are living their neo-Belle Epoque under the Mad King George, while our workers are being swindled, plundered & looted ... In the following article, many of the so-called [i]cons[/i] are actually [i]pros[/i] for America's workers! Dubya's insane tax welfare for the rich, should be repealed for the health of our nation.][/b]

[b]NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - History shows the stock market does better under Democrats.[/b]

A recent study from the University of California at Los Angeles, published in the October issue of the Journal of Finance shows that between 1927 and 1998, the stock market returned approximately 11 percent more a year under a Democratic president versus safer, three-month Treasurys. By comparison, the stock market only returned 2 percent more a year versus the T-bills under Republicans.

But all the statistics in the world don't mean much to the investors who believe that Democrats aren't as good for business or Wall Street as Republicans. And for those investors, Republican President George Bush's re-election this year is the best thing for the market, particularly with the Republican-dominated Congress to contend with.

To that end, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, Wall Street firms have contributed $3.9 million to Bush’s reelection campaign. John Kerry, Wall Street's favorite Democratic candidate in terms of campaign contributions, has received slightly more than a quarter of that.


Still, with the Iowa caucus only days away and New Hampshire just around the corner, it's worth looking at how the top Democratic contenders are perceived on the Street and who is seen as the most market friendly.

Assessing the Democratic candidates' potential impact on the stock market during the primaries is difficult, said Leslie Alperstein, political economist and president of Washington Analysis, an independent research firm that used to be connected to investment bank HSBC.

At this time, hardly any of them has a detailed plan on the economy, the budget deficit or taxes, he said. What's more, candidates from either party tend to shift their platforms closer to the center once the primaries are over and they need to appeal to a broader vote.


A January Money magazine poll of the so-called "investor class" shows that roughly half of those surveyed would vote for Bush. Of the Democrats, the order of preference was Howard Dean, Wesley Clark, John Kerry, Joe Lieberman and then Richard Gephardt.

John Edwards did not rank in the top five in the Money survey, but he is one of the top democratic candidates whose campaign the securities industry has contributed to and he has lately been surging in the polls leading up to the Iowa Caucus.

Here's a look at what Wall Street perceives to be the [i]pros[/i] and [i]cons[/i] of the top candidates:

[b]Howard Dean[/b]

"The consensus view [is] that the front runner, who seems to be Dean at this moment, combined with a Republican congress, would probably mean more control over spending," said James Lucier, a political analyst at Prudential Financial.


Dean has a first-hand understanding of financial markets. He was a stockbroker and an analyst before moving into medicine, and beyond that, quadrupled a $1 million gift from his parents over 20 years of investing in stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

[i]Cons: [/i]

Supports outright repeal of Bush Administration's tax cuts. [[i]Yes[/i]!]

Says the federal government has worked for the benefit of large corporations for too long and wants to switch the focus to empowering small business. [[i]Yes[/i]!]

Says corporations need to be responsible for more in taxes, and would set up harsher penalties for companies that use foreign tax shelters to avoid paying U.S. taxes and use other tax loopholes. [[i]Yes[/i]!]

[b]John Edwards[/b]

"The market never met a tax cut it didn't like and it would not be happy with a complete roll back," said Barry Ritholtz, market strategist at Maxim Group, "but if the economic recovery seems to be full-throated, the market might be willing to accept the rolling back of select tax cuts as a means of reducing the deficit, making John Edwards and John Kerry more appealing."


Does not support repeal of all of Bush's tax cuts, and would create new tax cuts for the middle class. [[i]Too bad[/i]!]

Would give corporations a 10 percent tax credit for keeping jobs in the United States.


Would require expensing of stock options [[i]Yes[/i]!]

Wants to pass a "CEO Right to Know" law that would require corporations to tell shareholders how much CEO's earn. [[i]Yes[/i]!]

Would stop companies from using international tax shelters. [[i]Yes[/i]!]

[b]Richard Gephardt[/b]

"A guy like him has at least been around for a while. He's a beltway insider," Luskin added.


He's a long-time Washington insider Wall Street might feel comfortable with.


He supports an outright repeal of Bush Administration's tax cuts, cutting back on spending. [[i]Yes[/i]!]

[b]John Kerry[/b]


Does not support repeal of all of Bush's tax cuts. [Too [i]bad[/i]!]

Wants to give a tax credit to companies that create U.S. manufacturing jobs.


Wants to close tax loopholes for companies that move jobs overseas. [[i]Yes[/i]!]

Wants to set a cap on executive pay. [[i]Yes[/i]!]

[b]Wesley Clark[/b]

"All of the top candidates have said that they want to repeal some or all of the Bush tax cuts, but Clark at least has a specific plan," said Don Luskin, chief investment officer at Trend Macrolytics.


After a life long military career, he returned to the private sector in 2000 and worked as an investment banker in his home state of Arkansas for three years, before declaring his candidacy for president.

He does not advocate repealing all of Bush Administration's tax cuts. [[i]Too bad[/i]!]


Wants to close corporate tax loopholes and increase the tax rate on wealthiest Americans. [[i]Yes[/i]!]

[b]Joseph Lieberman[/b]

"I would say Joe Lieberman (would be perceived as being the most pro-business)," said Thomas Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. But he also noted that Lieberman "is the least likely of the major candidates to win the nomination."


He's a long-time centrist and is seen as being not as "pro-regulatory" as other candidates. [[i]Too bad[/i]!]

He supports sustaining some of Bush tax cuts for the middle class. [[i]Yes[/i]!]

He has backed the Bush administration as a Senator on some of the more "pro-business" issues brought before Congress in the last three years. [[i]Too bad[/i]!]


Lieberman believes in raising the tax rate for the top income earners. [[i]Yes[/i]!]

Dubya's Poll Numbers Are Sinking ... At Last ...
01.19.04 (12:46 pm)   [edit]
[b]Dubya's poll numbers are sinking ... At last ... Perhaps "We the People" cannot be fooled, all of the time ...[/b]

In "[b][i]Poll: Bush's Approval Sinking[/i][/b]", [i]CBS News [/i]reports on :

[b](CBS)[/b] After rising in public support following the capture of Saddam Hussein, the President gives his State of the Union message next week with a decidedly less positive audience. His approval rating of 50% matches his lowest approval ratings ever, and the largest number ever – 45% - disapprove.


[i]Approve 50%
Disapprove 45%[/i]

[i]Approve 60%
Disapprove 33%[/i]

This decline (from 60% approval the week after Saddam’s capture) comes after former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill’s criticisms of the Administration in a book and in interviews, and after continuing attacks on American troops in Iraq. And there is other bad news for the President.

Less than half now approve of how he is handling the situation in Iraq. 51% say the war was not worth the costs.

Two of the President’s just-launched initiatives have met with negative public assessment. Most Americans oppose temporary work permits for illegal immigrants and don’t think a permanent space station on the moon is worth it.

Just 41% say the President has the same priorities on the issues they do.

Only 30% say he is more interested in protecting the interests of ordinary Americans than in protecting the interests of large corporations. Just 39% -- fewer than before -- have confidence in his ability to make the right economic decisions.

Looking ahead, registered voters are evenly split on whether they would now vote for President Bush or the as-yet-unnamed Democrat in November. But most think the President will win that race.

The Democratic candidates, campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire, have also spent time attacking the President (as well as attacking each other). Nationally, Howard Dean still leads among Democratic primary voters, with 24% of the vote. Wesley Clark and Dick Gephardt are also in double digits.

Overall, most Americans say things in the country are worse now than they were five years ago. 57% say things are worse now, while 21% say they’re better. But they are more optimistic than pessimistic about the future. Looking ahead five years, 45% say things will be better than they are today, while 26% think things will be worse.

[b]GEORGE W. BUSH [/b]

The president’s overall job approval ties with the lowest ratings he has received since taking office, and his disapproval rating is at its highest. Several other evaluations of the president -- such as his ability to handle an international crisis, and perceptions of the respect he receives from foreign leaders -- have fallen back to pre-9/11 levels after having risen sharply in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

50% now approve of the job Bush is doing as president, and 45% disapprove. In August 2001 and November 2003 his rating was also 50%. Bush’s approval rating has fallen over the past month; it was 60% in a CBS News Poll taken in mid-December, but prior to that had hovered in the mid-50s for several months.

Bush’s highest job approval rating was in October 2001, when 90% approved of the job he was doing as president.

Republicans overwhelmingly approve of the President’s job performance, while most Democrats disapprove. Independents are now slightly negative, with 45% approving and 50% disapproving.

In fact, most of the decline in Bush’s approval ratings in the past month comes from Independents. With the exception of terrorism, Bush suffers significant double-digit declines in all approval ratings from this group.

This president’s job approval rating surpasses his father’s at the same point in that administration, and ties Bill Clinton’s. In January 1996, as Bill Clinton was preparing his ultimately successful re-election campaign, only about half of Americans approved of the job he was doing. George H. W. Bush was in worse shape at the same point in his presidency, with a 43% approval rating and 47% disapproving.


George W. Bush, Now:
[i]Approve 50%
Disapprove 45%[/i]

Bill Clinton, 1/96:
[i]Approve 49%
Disapprove 40%[/i]

George H.W. Bush. 1/92:
[i]Approve 43%
Disapprove 47%[/i]

Views of Bush on a more personal level, like the views of him as president, are more closely divided than ever. 41% of Americans have a favorable view of the president, but nearly as many -- 38% -- have an unfavorable opinion of him. That unfavorable rating is his highest since taking office.

Other personal evaluations of the president reveal that he is viewed as a strong leader (although not as widely as in early 2002, a few months after the 9/11 attacks), and empathetic. However, only 41% think he shares their priorities – and that measure has declined quite a bit since early 2002. And fewer than four in ten have confidence in his economic decisions, down from 47% a year ago.

Just over half of Americans think Bush is in charge of his administration, and about a third think others are running the show. While views of the president’s leadership in this area were lower when he took office, they rose after 9/11 and have remained consistent since then.

During the campaign for president in 2000, Bush said he would be a uniter, not a divider. Americans themselves are divided as to whether that has come to pass; 43% think his presidency has brought different groups of Americans together, while 44% think it has divided them.


Perhaps reflecting the rising stock market, the Bush Administration receives more credit this year than before for a strengthening economy; 58% think the administration has made a lot or some progress improving the economy, up from 51% in January 2003. More now also think the administration has made progress reducing the cost of prescription drugs for the elderly, but that number is still less than a third. Minorities see progress being made at improving public schools, and keeping Social Security and Medicare afloat for future generations.

There is evidence that many Americans see the improvements in the economy as a “jobless recovery.” In fact, 45% think the administration’s policies have caused the number of jobs to decrease, while less than half as many -- 19% -- think it has increased jobs.


* Increase 19%
* Decrease 45%
* Stay the same 29%

Few have seen much personal benefit as a result of the Bush tax cuts -- more think their taxes actually have risen. 32% say their taxes have gone up as a result of the administration’s policies, while 19% say they have gone down. 44% have seen no change in their taxes.


* Go up 32%
* Go down 19%
* Not affected them 44%

Wealthier Americans are more likely to have perceived a benefit on their tax returns; 31% of those with incomes of %75,000 a year or more say their taxes have gone down.

Views of the administration’s policies are highly subject to partisanship; most Republicans see them as effective, Democrats view them as making little progress, and Independents are divided.


Just as dealing with terrorism is a strong suit for the President himself, it is also a strong suit for his administration. Two thirds of Americans think the administration’s policies have made the U.S. safer from terrorism, and only 15% think it has become less safe.


* Safer from terrorism 68%
* Less safe from terrorism 15%
* Not effect 14%

But the public is critical when it comes to relations with the rest of the world, especially the Arab world. By more than two to one, Americans think the U.S.’ image among Arabs has become worse rather than better as a result of the Bush administration’s policies.

49% think leaders of other countries have respect for the president, but 43% think they do not. Just before the U.S.-led war against Iraq, many countries disagreed with U.S. plans for war, and just under half the public also thought Bush was respected. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, 67% thought Bush was respected by leaders of other countries.

When it comes to handling an international crisis, views of the President are mixed: 49% are confident in his ability to handle such a situation, but just as many are uneasy. These figures represent a more negative view than was the case just after the war with Iraq began and in January 2002 -- in fact, current views closely resemble feelings about Bush prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.


The war in Iraq divides the public in several ways: half the public thinks the war has made the United States safer from terrorism – but just as many say the overall result of that war was not worth its cost.

A month after U.S. troops in Iraq captured Saddam Hussein, 50% now say the war has made the U.S. safer from terrorism, while 18% think the U.S. is less safe and 29% say the war hasn’t made any difference.

Seven in ten Republicans say the war with Iraq has made the U.S. safer from terrorism, compared with 36% of Democrats and 47% of Independents.

Many also think that if Iraq becomes a stable democracy that may reduce the threat of terrorism against the U.S. While 52% say that would not make any difference, 38% believe the U.S. will be safer and only 6% think that would make the U.S. less safe.

Despite these generally positive assessments, Americans are more likely to say the result of Iraq war was not worth the loss of American life and other costs than say it was worth it. 43% think the war in Iraq was worth it, but 51% say it was not.


* Yes 43%
* No 51%

Views on whether the Iraq war was worth it correlates with evaluations of the war’s impact on the fight against terrorism. Two-thirds of those who believe the war in Iraq has made the U.S. safer from terrorism say the war was worth it, while 87% of those whose think the U.S. is now less safe as a result of the war say the war was not worth it.

The public gives the Bush Administration mixed reviews on its efforts to fight two wars at the same time. Half thinks the Bush Administration has struck the right balance between fighting the war in Iraq and fighting the Al Qaeda terrorists, but four in ten say the Administration has focused too much on Iraq and not enough on Al Qaeda. Very few think it has focused too much on Al Qaeda.

This poll was taken after former Treasury Secretary O’Neill made the claim that President Bush decided to invade Iraq soon after his inauguration, eight months before the September 11th attacks. 33% of the public thinks the Bush Administration was telling all or most of what it knew about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before going to war. But more, 39%, think the Administration was hiding important elements of what it knew, and another one in five Americans believe it was mostly lying about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction before taking military action.

The percentage of people who think the Bush Administration has been telling the truth about what it knew about the weapons in Iraq has decreased in the past two months, from 44% in November.

Many Americans continue to think the Bush Administration rushed into the war in Iraq. 49% now say the Administration was too quick to get the U.S. militarily involved in Iraq; 35% think the timing was about right, and 13% say the U.S. was too slow to take military action.


Americans disagree with President Bush’s immigration reform proposal to give illegal immigrant workers temporary work permits allowing them to work and stay in the U.S. legally for three years. Just one-third support the President’s initiative.

Those in the West are the most likely to support the President’s temporary worker proposal: 46% of Westerners think illegal workers should be permitted to get temporary legal status; but slightly more -- 51% -- oppose it.

Many Americans do not want to see even legal immigration into the U.S. increased. Just 16% think legal immigration to the U.S. should be increased, 45% think it should be decreased, and another one-third say immigration should be kept at its current level. Three months after the September 11th terrorist attacks, even more Americans said the immigration level should be decreased.

More than half of Americans think immigrants coming to this country mostly take jobs Americans don’t want, but many, 39%, say immigrants take jobs away from American citizens. These views are unchanged from 1996.

Opinions on President Bush’s immigration proposal correlate with other views about immigration and immigrants. Those who want the immigration level decreased are opposed to the new temporary worker program, as are 83% of those who say immigrants take jobs away from Americans.

Many Americans do give immigrants credit for being hard workers. 46% say immigrants work harder than those who were born in this country; only 6% think immigrants do not work as hard.


Many Americans oppose some key elements of George W. Bush’s recently announced space exploration program. A majority does not think a permanent space station on the moon is worth the costs and risks involved, and many are concerned that the country is already spending too much money on space programs. Also, while NASA’s rover Spirit crawls the surface of Mars, public support for a manned mission there is divided, and lower than in previous polls.

For the first time since the CBS News/New York Times Poll started asking the question, there is not a clear majority favoring sending astronauts to the red planet. 48% of Americans favor the idea of sending astronauts to explore Mars but just as many - 47% - oppose the idea. Up to now, Americans have been supportive of such a program. In 1999, 58% favored sending astronauts to Mars.

Another component of Bush’s proposal includes a permanent manned space station on the moon. The public opposes this. 58% do not think a permanent space station on the moon is worth the costs and risks involved; 35% say it is.


* Yes 35%
* No 58%

The space program’s projected cost -- about $12 billion over the next five years -- may be too high for many Americans. Just 17% think the U.S. should be spending more money on space programs. In fact, 40% now say the country is spending too much, more than thought so after the Columbia disaster.

There are demographic differences when it comes to sending men (and women) to Mars. Men still favor the idea (and so do Republicans), while women are opposed (in 1999 54% of women favored the idea). Those under 30 appear most excited about the prospect of a manned mission to Mars: 66% of them favor the idea.


One major component of President Bush’s education reform policy – mandatory testing – gets majority support from the public. But an even larger majority opposes using the results of the testing to determine federal funding for public schools, something the No Child Left Behind Act requires.

71% favor mandatory testing in public schools in order to determine the quality of education students receive, but support for mandatory testing drops to just 19% if the results of such tests are used to determine whether a school can receive federal funds, as outlined in the Act.

77% of the public opposes giving federal money to schools where students score well on tests and withholding federal money from schools where students perform poorly. That includes more than seven in ten Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.


Public perceptions that the administration’s ties to big business are too close continue. Two thirds of Americans think big business has too much influence on the administration.

A majority of Americans think the president himself puts the needs of big business above the needs of average Americans, and that view has become more widespread. 58% think he cares more about protecting the interests of large corporations, while 30% think he is more interested in protecting ordinary Americans.

Views on this question may impact whether or not people think the president shares their priorities. 77% of those who think Bush cares more about large corporations also think he does not share their priorities, and 76% of those who think he cares about ordinary Americans think he does.

Perceptions that the administration caters to the wealthy also persist -- in this poll, 57% think the administration’s policies favor the rich. 11% think they favor the middle class and 25% think they treat all groups the same.


* The rich 57%
* The middle class 11%
* The poor 1%
* Treat all the same 25%


The public’s views of the economy – while positive -- have slipped slightly since last month. Now, 54% think the economy is in good shape, while 45% think it is in bad shape. In December, 59% said the economy was good and 40% said it was bad.

However, American’s ratings of the economy are more positive now than they were a year ago. In January 2003, 55% of Americans said the economy was in bad shape.

The public’s outlook continues to be mixed: 34% think the economy is getting better, but more – 39% - think it is staying the same. A quarter says the economy is getting worse.

In December, after the capture of Saddam Hussein, there was an uptick in the number of Americans who thought the country was headed in the right direction; now, views have slipped back to where they were in November: 53% say things in the U.S. have seriously gotten off on the wrong track, while 42% say things are going in the right direction. These perceptions mirror the opinions Americans had at the start of 2003.

The public’s mood seems to be tied to the economy. 75% of Americans who think the economy is in bad shape say the country is going in the wrong direction. Among those who say the economy is good, 60% think things in this country are going well.

Half of Americans say the tax cuts enacted since 2001 have had no effect on the economy, 27% say the tax cuts have been good for the economy, while 17% think they have been bad. These views are nearly identical to what they were in the fall.

Republicans and Democrats disagree on this question.


When asked to compare things in the U.S. now to five years ago, 57% of Americans say things are worse today. Only 21% say things are better, while nearly as many think things are about the same as they were five years ago.

However, more are optimistic than not about the future of country. 45% expect things in the United States to be better five years from now; a quarter say things will be worse.

On the negative side, many Americans today feel the impact of a sluggish economy. Almost two-thirds of Americans are now having a difficult time keeping up with their bills – more than the number who said so two years ago. Then, 55% said they were having a hard time keeping up with their bills.

71% of those who reside in the Northeast are having a hard time paying their bills – more than in any other region. Not surprisingly, those with lower incomes are more likely to say they are having a hard time keeping up.

Moreover, nearly four in ten Americans (39%) are concerned that they or someone in their household will lose their job in the next year (including 21% who are very concerned).

There are demographic differences on this question. Blacks are more likely than whites to be concerned about losing their job. Also, Americans without a college degree are more concerned than college graduates about them or someone in their household losing their job.

In assessing their family’s overall finances, about half of Americans report their financial situation is the same as it was when George W. Bush took office. 29% say they are worse off, and 20% say their family is better off financially.

[i]For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here[/i]:

[i]This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 1022 adults, interviewed by telephone January 12-15, 2004. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. Sampling error for subgroups may be higher[/i].

Amerikkkans: the Redcoats of the 21st Century
01.18.04 (3:06 pm)   [edit]

[b]"We the People" were not left the great legacy of our Founding Fathers, in order for blood-thirsty corporations and an un-patriotic, rapacious plutocracy to establish a neo-feudal slave state to enrich themselves and a few greedy robber-barons, off the[i] blood, sweat & tears[/i] of impoverished citizens. Dubya has ruthlessly and recklessly swindled the American workers and plundered & looted the U.S. Treasury, in order to fund his [i]corporate-take-all [/i]rape of America and Iraq, resulting in the un-christian re-distribution of wealth to the top 5% richest ... creating the largest gap between the [i]haves-and-the-have-nots[/i] in over 75 years ... the largest deficits in our nation's history with nothing to show for it ... and an increasingly impoverished citizenry bereft of health care, decent paying jobs and basic services.

Dubya and his corrupt cabal of neo-con thugs & goons have repeatedly lied to us ... They have led us into an immoral & illegal war with Iraq in which people are being massacred daily-- to enrich Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, etc ... Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11 ... Saddam Hussein had no WMDs ([i]that posed an imminent threat to our nation[/i]) ... Saddam Hussein was not connected with Al Qaida ... Saddam Hussein hated Osama bin Laden. The Bush family has connections with the bin Laden family ... [i]Dubya was going to get Osama bin Laden [/i]([i]who was responsible for 9/11[/i]) "[i]Dead or Alive[/i]" ... [i]Where is he?[/i][/b]

Consider "[b]Amerikkkans: the Redcoats of the 21st Century[/b]" on :

[b]Veterans: This veteran above did not spend a cold winter in Valley Forge so that Amerikkkans could become the Redcoats of Iraq![/b]

The Bush administration and its puppets CNN, ABC, CBS, Foxnews, NBC, the New York Times and Washington Post have called Iraqis "terrorist" for attacking U.$. troops by suicide bombing and for not always fighting in uniform.(1) The last meaningful distinction to the word "terrorism" has been lost in a swirl of non-stop Pentagon propaganda: terrorism is supposed to be violence against civilians to pressure a government toward a change of direction. Fighting against troops is supposed to be called "war," even according to the bourgeois experts of yesteryear who misused the word "terrorism."

While MIM also wants change from the days of 1776, we do not consider a return to British-style colonialism worth the dignity of considering; yet that is exactly what the Bush administration announces hour by hour and day by day. As of the end of March 2003, the Bush administration was still maintaining plans to administer Iraq as a colony--and pointing to the examples of post-war Japan and Germany as examples.(2) Even nutty exiles in the INC (Iraqi National Congress) organization of Iraqis have refused to adopt "adviser" roles under a Bush administration: at least that's what they say so far. Right now the plan is for Iraqi exiles recently assembled in Kuwait to advise 23 U.S. military officers who will run every ministry of the new U.$. administration in control of Iraq, if and when the united $tates wins the war. That's right: the Bush administration is so far openly planning a colonial administration of Iraq. (We say so far, because we wonder if the Bush administration will use this position to negotiate for the UN, Japan and European Union to pay for the costs of the war and subsequent occupation in exchange for allowing Iraqis or the UN to run Iraq.)

The United $tates has gone so far backwards, especially since 911, that the Bush administration criticizing "terrorism" now sounds identical to the Redcoat officers criticizing the American revolutionaries. It's not just that the Redcoats also claimed that their opponents were uncivilized nationalist fighters. The Redcoats were also anti-French. Those claiming to be Americans and calling Iraq's patriotic guerrillas "terrorists," supporting Bush's colonial administration idea and ridiculing the French for their opposition to colonialism are traitors to the American Revolution.

Thomas Paine wrote his famous quote: "[i]These are the times that try men's souls[/i]" to refer to war in which American revolutionaries often in absolute poverty fought without uniforms, hiding behind trees and rocks, much to the disgust of the British Redcoats, who had bright red uniforms and fought out in the open, waiting for the enemy to come to fight with honor. The American revolutionaries learned their style of fighting from the indigenous people. The revolutionaries did not share the British idea of honorable fighting, because the American revolutionaries believed what they were doing was acceptable to save their nation.

"Indeed, every day brought more of those rebel soldiers to New York, including a rifle battalion and five battalions of infantry under General William Heath, who were seen to be young and well armed, but without uniforms. As fear grew among the populace--Tory and Whig alike--that the anticipated attack by British forces would be accompanied by a naval bombardment, thousands of residents fled--perhaps as many as 11,000 out of a population of 27,000."(3)

How similar that sounds to today: substitute "Iraq" for "America" and we will see that now it is the Iraqis who fight without uniforms. Instead of fighting in the open sand where Amerikkkan bombers can wipe out their armored vehicles as in 1991's Gulf War, Iraqis are in clumps of trees and buildings today, according to reporters in bed with the U.S. military in Iraq.

[i]As Dr. Albert Carnesale, the head of University of California, Los Angeles said on April 27, 2002, "So in the American Revolution, Americans were considered terrorists because they fired from behind trees at the British Redcoats who were in formation in their bright red uniforms. But that's very different from killing innocent people as a means to bring about some political end." When Carnesale said that, he did not know how the Iraq war would intensify and Bush would make a mockery of the meaning of all words[/i].


1. "'The Iraqi regime's endorsement of terrorist tactics on the battlefield and on the streets of the United States and United Kingdom is nothing less than state-sponsored terrorism,' said Jim Wilkinson, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command. 'But no determination has been made on whether any of the enemy prisoners of war will be sent to Guantanamo.'" (The British appear to favor calling the Iraqis "Prisoners of War," not "terrorists," so they reportedly oppose sending the Iraqis to Guantanamo--either that or Bush lets the British take that credit to help Tony Blair build public opinion in England for an English role.)

See also,,2933,82687,00.html

"Q: How concerned are you about potential continued use of suicide bombings or car bombings against U.S. forces in Iraq? And specifically, what can you do to guard against this tactic?

GEN. MCCHRYSTAL: We're very concerned about it. It looks and feels like terrorism." (Source: )

"So the Army's senior ground commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace, has found that 'the enemy we're fighting is different from the one we've war-gamed against' and that the Iraqis are using all means at their disposal to resist this invasion of their homeland [front page, March 28]. "Apparently, without any sense of irony, the general professes to be 'appalled by the inhumanity of it all.'

"Who taught this guy military tactics? Gen. Charles Cornwallis?

"Next thing you know we'll be complaining that the Iraqis won't come out from behind the rocks and trees and march in a straight line toward our tanks wearing red uniform." (Source: )

If the French were consistent, they'd aid the Iraqis just as they aided the Americans led by George Washington to fight British colonialism. ( )

"Without France, the United States wouldn't even exist--it would still be a British colony.

"Every American schoolchild learns that a French naval blockade trapped Cornwallis' forces at Yorktown, bringing the American revolution to its victorious conclusion. But fewer people are aware that King Louis XVI spent so much money on arms shipments to American rebels that he bankrupted the royal treasury, plunged his nation into depression and unleashed a political upheaval that ultimately resulted in the end of the monarchy." (Source: )

To see ABC News accept the "terrorist" pablum about Iraqis while also speaking of Iraq as if it were as close as Ireland is to England, see

The Washington Times also bought it:

To see Voice of America botch the difference between guerrilla warfare against an army and terrorism against civilians, never mind failing to provide any reasonable context of criticism of Amerikan military propaganda, see

Although Kanadian people oppose the war, the mainstream Canadian press also does not know the difference between "terrorism" and guerrilla warfare against an army, as proved by these blindly accepted quotes from the U.S. Army. "'We're fighting an enemy that knows no rules of law, that will wear civilian uniforms, that are willing to kill in order to continue the reign of fear of Saddam Hussein,' he told senior officials at the Pentagon. 'But we're fighting them with bravery and courage.' [MIM aside: yeah, bombing anything that resists from 30,000 feet and sending off thousands of missiles from the sea takes a lot of courage.]

"In Qatar, Gen. Renuart told reporters that his forces had come under attack from people dressed in civilian clothes, driving civilian buses and trucks. Calling them 'terrorist-types forces [using] terrorist techniques. . .'"

Likewise, CNN did not explain the difference between "terrorism" and war against an army: "Coalition forces are viewing the suicide bombing as a warning sign. U.S. Central Command Director of Operations Maj. Gen. Victor Renuart Jr. condemned Saturday's attack as a terrorist act but said it did not change the coalition's strategy." (Source: )

CBS News called the Iraqi draft for its military "terrorism"--as if force did not back the draft in other countries and points of history as well.

NBC bought into Iraq's warriors being "terrorist" while maintaining Amerikkkans' warriors are not in reference to attacks on soldiers, not civilians, e.g. "'The practices that have been conducted by these paramilitaries are more akin to the behaviors of global terrorists than they are to a nation,' says Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks."

Among other places, the movie "The Patriot" depicts how Americans hid behind tree and rocks without uniforms to kill British troops. If the South wants to be proud of the American military it should be proud of the irregular fighters who harassed the British General Cornwallis and not proud of U.S. troops now facing similar irregulars in Iraq. (The very word "irregular" means not professional army and hence in all likelihood not having a uniform.)

In an ocean of idiotic military propaganda, there was one exception from the New York Times:


3. Richard Ketchum, Saratoga: Turning Point of America's Revolutionary War (Henry Holt & Company, 1997), chapter 1.

[[i]The author of this article learned all the above meaning of the American Revolution in 5th grade and distinctly remembers understanding it by 8th grade. Help us expand this article. Send your favorite quotes from the British colonialists and other historical references during the American Revolution to We can rewrite this article together[/i].]

Human Rights Groups: US May Be Guilty Of “Collective Punishment” War Crime In Iraq
01.18.04 (8:33 am)   [edit]
[b]The corrupt Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta[/i] have no respect for Human Rights.[/b] They have waged immoral & illegal warfare resulting in the massacre of hundreds of U.S. soldiers & tens of thousands of innocent Afghanistani & Iraqi civilians. They have established a concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay in which "enemy combattants" ([i]anybody that Dubya doesn't like and can label at his neo-imperial whim[/i]) can be detained and secretly held with no rights of [i]habeus corpus[/i], legal representation, and/or the ability to have contact with their families.

The mendacious and brutish Bushies have treaded and trampled upon our U.S. Constitution & Bill of Rights, via their Big Brother Patriot Acts , designed to intimidate and frighten "We the People" into sheepishly conforming with their tyrannical neo-con ideology and blindly supporting their fascist economic rape of our nation, as well as their horrifying war-mongerings abroad-- in order to enrich their barbaric and greedy war-profiteers. Those who fight for our freedoms and oppose the dictatorial Bush regime, are insanely labelled as "traitors" and bizarrely face brutal punishments and worse-- a [i]betrayal of our rights [/i]in this [i]Republic For Which It Stands[/i].

Consider "[i][b]Human Rights Groups: US May Be Guilty Of “Collective Punishment” War Crime In Iraq[/b][/i]" by [i]Joanne Laurier [/i]on :

US military forces in Iraq appear to be committing war crimes by detaining the relatives of suspected insurgents and demolishing their homes, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the international human rights organization.

In a January 12 letter addressed to US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, HRW executive director Kenneth Roth charged that on at least four occasions over the past two months, houses appear to have been destroyed for the purpose of punishing families of suspected insurgents or to coerce them into cooperation. “In two of these incidents,” HRW’s Roth writes, “U.S. forces also reportedly detained close relatives of a person that the U.S. was attempting to apprehend. In these cases the individuals detained were themselves not suspected of responsibility for any wrongdoing.”

In the most recent incident, reported by the Associated Press (AP) on January 3, US forces operating in or around Samarra destroyed the home of Talab Saleh, a suspected insurgent. The HRW letter states that there was no indication that the house was being used for insurgency operations. US troops also arrested Saleh’s wife and brother, claiming they would only be released upon Saleh’s surrender.

Punishing any person for an offense that he or she has not committed or destroying civilian property as a reprisal or deterrent amounts to collective punishment prohibited by the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to which the United States is a signatory. The Convention applies during military occupation.

“[T]he detention of close relatives for the purpose of prompting the surrender of a wanted person appears to be in violation of the strict international humanitarian law prohibition against hostage-taking. Under the laws of war, a hostage is a person taken into custody for the purpose of compelling some recourse of action by the opposing side. Taking hostages is a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions—in other words, a war crime,” states Roth’s letter to Rumsfeld.

In another case reported December 3, 2003, troops of the 173rd Airborne Brigade partially destroyed the house of an elderly couple in the town of Hawija, west of Kirkuk, after explosives were found. The HRW executive director comments: “The troops reportedly parked a bulldozer in front of their home and threatened to demolish it unless the couple provided information. After the woman gave the soldiers information, they destroyed the front wall of the compound and took her into custody. ‘OK, I’m not gonna destroy the house,’ Maj. Andrew Rohling, the unit commander, was reported saying. ‘Just the front, as a show of force.’”

In a separate incident in Tikrit in mid-November 2003, “US troops reportedly used tank and artillery fire to destroy homes belonging to families of Iraqis who allegedly mounted attacks against US forces. A spokesman for the US Army’s 4th Infantry Division said the demolitions were intended to ‘send a message’ to the insurgents and their supporters.”

The fourth case involves the arrest on November 25, 2003, of the wife and daughter of General Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, former vice-chair of Iraq’s Revolutionary Command Council. Roth states: “As far as we are aware, they remain in US custody. US officials have provided no information as to the reason for taking these family members of a wanted person into custody. At the time they were detained US forces also destroyed a house belonging to the family.”

(Two days after Human Rights Watch sent its protest letter to Rumsfeld, in a continuation of the same illegal policy US forces arrested four of al-Douri’s nephews in pre-dawn raids in Samarra. They remain in custody.)

The HRW letter ends by reiterating that “[t]hese actions appear to be in violation of US obligations under international humanitarian law.” It suggests that the military command “should investigate these and other allegations of serious violations of the laws of war, and hold accountable anyone responsible for ordering, condoning, or carrying out such actions.”

This is the second time since the US stepped up its campaign of terror against the Iraqi civilian population—in an operation launched in mid-November 2003 code-named “Iron Hammer”—that a human rights organization has written to Rumsfeld alleging that the US might be committing war crimes in the form of collective punishment in Iraq.

On November 20, 2003, Amnesty International (AI) issued a press release addressed to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld declaring that “[t]he US government should clarify whether it has officially permitted house demolitions as a form of collective punishment or deterrence.”

AI was informed that at least 15 houses had been destroyed in Tikrit by US forces since November 16. The group made mention of the case of a family given five minutes to evacuate their home before it was razed to the ground by tanks and helicopter fire. In another incident, two men and four children were left in freezing temperatures in the back of a truck before their house was destroyed.

Major Lou Zeisman, a US military official from the 82nd Airborne Division is reported by AI to have threatened: “If you shoot at an American or Coalition force member, you are going to be killed or you are going to be captured, and if we trace somebody back to a specific safe house, we are going to destroy that facility... [W]e didn’t destroy a house just because we were angry that someone was killed, we did it because the people there were linked to the attack and we are not going to tolerate it anymore.”

US military authorities, claims the Amnesty International press release, are thereby in breach of Articles 33 and 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention; the former establishes that “Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.”

AI also refers to Article 147, which concludes that “extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly, is a grave breach of the Convention.”

The human rights group adds that “house demolition, in certain instances, amounts to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” and is a breach of Article 16 under the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT), which monitors adherence to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which the US is a state party.

Frustrated over the growing popular resistance to the colonial-style occupation and no doubt directed to reduce American casualties in Iraq before the November 2004 elections, the US military has begun using methods routinely employed by the Israeli Defense Forces to suppress Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

A US operation in Samarra, a city of 200,000 people, is a case in point. On December 17, some 2,500 US soldiers sealed off the city and began Operation Ivy Blizzard. Troops from the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, backed by Apache attack helicopters and F-16 fighters, began using sledgehammers, crowbars, explosives and armored vehicles to smash down the gates of homes and the doors of workshops and junkyards “to attack the Iraqi resistance that has persisted despite the capture of Saddam Hussein,” according to AP.

Freelance journalist Rob Eshelman wrote from Samarra for Electronic Iraq that the city was “the site of new and aggressive US Army tactics that are similar to Israeli-style counterinsurgency. The methods involve house-to-house searches, curfew, neighborhood-wide closures, and retaliatory home demolitions. The US military says they are targeting resistance cells, however, the people of Samarra say that it’s indiscriminate punishment and intimidation.

“If the track record of Israel’s occupation of Palestine is any barometer for how these tactics work, then the US Army needs to prepare for what happens when the hearts and minds of Iraqis are lost.”

Along the same lines, Dr. Wamid Nadmi, a professor of political science at Baghdad University, told reporters: “The increasing American violence may lead to the killing or arrest of some resistance fighters. But the other side is this will increase the people’s rage against the Americans, especially those people whose homes are being destroyed or family members are being killed.”

[b]See Also:[/b]

Protests grow against US-led occupation of Iraq
[15 January 2004],

Massacre in Samarra: US lies and self-delusion
[3 December 2003],

US military adopts “no-holds barred” tactics against Iraqi resistance
[1 December 2003],

The Patriotism Police
01.18.04 (6:22 am)   [edit]

Reasons to Hope ...
01.17.04 (5:54 pm)   [edit]
[b]"We the People" will take our nation back in November 2004 and instruct our public servants in Washington D.C. that we insist on addressing the real needs of all of our citizens-- instead of the current insane neglect of dire problems endured by our people, because the immoral, un-christian, right-wing neo-con thugs & goons pay homage and worship at the altar of corporations & the wealthiest among us. [/b]

We also will demonstrate that we do not accept these corporate pirates' ruthless and reckless[i] take-over [/i]of the U.S. Treasury for their own private swindling, plundering & looting ... Nor do we accept our citizens' well-being neglected in order to enrich the corrupt corporate robber-barons, squalid plutocrats, and sordid lobbyists/campaign contributors ... Nor do we accept corporate whores in our White House ([i]e.g. Dubya, Cheney, Rice, Rove, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, etc[/i].) installed by their corporate pimps, to do their joint bidding: empower & enrich themselves from the blood, sweat and tears of our people. We care deeply about our nation and will not sit-back and let these liars and thieves turn us into a miserable and barbaric neo-feudal slave state.

Consider "[i][b]Reasons to Hope: Bush catalyzes a nascent progressive movement[/b][/i]" on :

Our commander-in-chief has reason to celebrate this holiday season as his politics of utter failure cede territory to marginal gain: U.S. military personnel captured Saddam Hussein [[i]it was really the Kurds who turned Hussein over ... never mind the fact that the real terrorist who attacked us, Osama bin Laden was never captured "dead or alive" as promised[/i]]; the Dow hit 10,000 the first time in 18 months [[i]although a miniscule number of jobs are created (as compared with the millions wiped out by Dubya's economic rape) and the profits are going into the bulging pockets of their corporate top-dogs & fat-cats[/i]], and a recent flash poll showed his disapproval rating dip by 1 percentage point [[i]the slide is continuing inexorably downwards for Shrub Dubya[/i]].

But this issue of In These Times is dedicated to hope, specifically progressives’ hope, that the nation can reverse course on the punitive and injurious stands now defining our polity. And there’s cause for celebration here, too: Progressives are engaged in the largest grassroots operation in U.S. history; liberals have formed a new political think tank, and studies show a preponderance of Americans share our values.

[b]Yet our biggest reason for optimism in 2004 may be the man himself[/b].

“Bush has galvanized the left and enabled the political activists to lay down their differences and figure out how to work together. And they have a very singular goal—and that is to un-elect George Bush,” says Ellen Miller, publisher of, an online public interest journal. “There’s no question in my mind that this is the beginning of a progressive movement that has disparate elements but a single goal. Bush has united the people.

“I’ve been part of the process for 30 years now, and I just see in the various views—whether it’s the environment or campaign finance where I come from—tremendous cooperation, people willing to do what needs to be done instead of just what they want to do.”

[b]United we stand in opposition[/b]

The sectarianism that for decades bedeviled the left even now rumbles in its reaches. But a dawning understanding that this tendency has marginalized the movement—and abetted the right’s rise to power—has many progressives moving beyond their entrenched camps.

“The attitudes of progressives toward the Democratic Party have sometimes approached religiosity—with some liberals seeing the party as their savior and some leftists seeing it as a satanic trickster that needs its throat cut,” says Norman Solomon, founder of the Institute for Public Accuracy and a Ralph Nader supporter in 1996 and 2000. “But in the real world, the party isn’t an angel or a devil. Its national leaders are routinely problematic and often serve as corporate flunkies. But there are compelling reasons to support some Democratic candidates who are clearly preferable to the right-wing crazies now running Washington. In 2004, the imperative of dislodging the far right from the White House requires that we build a united front to defeat Bush. Like it or not—and I don’t—the obvious electoral tool for accomplishing that goal will be the Democratic presidential nominee, and that’s who we should support in 2004.”

Historian James Weinstein, founder of In These Times and, most recently, author of The Long Detour: The History and Future of the American Left, says progressives ought to take their cue from the religious right and encamp in the Democratic Party rather than back protest or third-party candidates who remain largely irrelevant within a national context.

“People have to understand that the major parties are not political parties in the European sense,” Weinstein says. “They are coalitions of parties and provide an arena in which people can operate and express themselves. That’s what the Republican right did. They represent only about 20 percent of Republicans, but they have organized and pushed their ideas and their organization and now have effective control of the Republican Party. That is why it makes sense to run in a Democratic primary instead of staying on the outside until that whole process is over and then run as a third party. That way you won’t be totally ignored—and appropriately.”

Viewing the Democratic Party as a coalition—and evolving beyond the age-old left-right division—holds enormous potential for engaging Americans who share progressive principles but don’t identify with the left. These are the people who politicians like Bill Clinton incorrectly classify as the “mushy middle” and mistakenly also argue hold “centrist” positions.

Studies in the last decade show that this middle bloc represents an estimated 36 percent of all adults and 45 percent of likely voters. The group skews favorably toward national health coverage (93 percent), ecological sustainability (78 percent) and feminism (74 percent), among other issues. More than 80 percent oppose big business and 50-plus percent reject social conservatives, yet only 18 percent define themselves as left. Their numbers far outdistance the 12 percent of Americans aligned with the liberal left and the 19 percent who view themselves as social conservatives. And yet, no one is engaging this potential bloc.

[b]The New Progressives[/b]

“The data shows that if you look at people’s values and positions, what amounts to a progressive position is held by a good 55 to 60 percent of the voters,” says Paul H. Ray, who has conducted applied social research for 40 years and is co-chair of the Forum for a Wise Civilization in San Francisco. “They’re not a ‘mushy middle.’ They’re just fed up with conventional politics. They’re fed up with the conventional left-right rhetoric. We discovered that the people who really wanted to be active were very active locally where they could see some result, but they had withdrawn from national politics because they felt it had been bought by big-money interests. Now this is not a neutral position, this is not a muddled position. They were saying, ‘We are totally pissed off.’ They choose to, in effect, stay out of the game because they see it as crappy and dirty.”

The rise of the New Progressives, as Ray calls them, contravenes the commonly held position that America’s political landscape resembles a bell-shaped curve, in which small numbers occupy the fringes and the bulk of citizens reside in the passive center. He offers a new configuration represented by a compass, in which north and south are added to right and left. Although the New Progressives don’t identify with either side, they willfully and knowingly stand in opposition to the southern station—“Big Business Conservatives,” responsible for 80 percent of campaign contributions but comprising only 19 percent of voters. According to Ray’s research, New Progressives deeply internalize political struggle—that is, they view it in terms of what threatens our planet and our children’s future, such issues as global warming, educational spending, diminishing quality of life and worldwide violence.

Conventional political messages—both in their delivery and in their delivery system—clearly fail to inspire New Progressives’ participation. Television ads that reduce discourse to inflamed charges lack the nuance, personal engagement and authenticity these people seek. What does work—and where progressives already are heading—is door-to-door retail politics. But establishing commonality between progressives and this group requires updating metaphors and routines that appear tired and dated.

“Given the size of these numbers and the issues represented, this suggests that our recent history has been not just a failure of the left with voters, but also a substantial success—at the level of change in political culture,” Ray says. “There has been a change in the hearts and minds of many Americans to accept many viewpoints the left wants to claim. However, I also want to suggest that while the broad progressive constituency has evolved into more sophisticated interests, many progressive leaders are often trailing behind with obsolete rhetoric, perspectives and political culture.”

[b]Massaging the message[/b]

The right suffers no such crisis of message. After getting their collective butt kicked in 1964, Republicans gradually regrouped and reframed their core issues—and in the intervening years, with think tanks churning out thousands of position papers, massive direct mail campaigns reaching millions of voters and political demagogues dominating the public sphere, their message has been loud and clear.

Democrats responded from a defensive crouch—first modulating their message then seemingly lacking one altogether, ceding all terms of the debate to the other side.

“The reason I think Democrats have done so poorly in the last few election cycles is they didn’t really know what they wanted to accomplish,” says John Nichols, who writes extensively on national politics and is associate editor of the Capital Times in Madison, Wisconsin. “They just wanted to maintain a hold on the White House and get the House and the Senate back. Just clawing your way back to power is not a very attractive thing. Republicans offer something real. And at this point the Democrats have had several cycles of offering nothing more than saying, ‘We’re not Republicans.’ ”

Backing away from radical rhetoric even as the left seeks fundamental change also is a nonstarter because it’s correctly read by voters as fearful, insincere and patronizing: All too often, progressives’ attitudes seem to be “We know the truth and you can’t handle it.” A New York Times poll after the WTO protests in Seattle, for example, showed that 52 percent of Americans agreed with the demonstrators, despite persistently muted critiques from Democratic leadership.

“I think it’s a loser from an organizing point,” says Robert Jensen, associate professor of journalism at the University of Texas and author of the upcoming Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity. “If you’re trying to offer a milquetoast alternative to the radical right, which may be completely evil and corrupt but has a very clear and powerful message, then you’re fighting clear and powerful with milquetoast. You’re not going to get the dominant majority by talking this way.”

Recent shifts in mainstream thinking prove that progressive principles—defined in genuine and positive ways—can prevail in the marketplace of ideas.

“I think it’s really significant that a lot of the things the left has been saying for a long time are being proved true,” Nichols says. “We always believed what we said. But now it’s being quantified. For instance, we said a corporate model for free trade would be bad for American workers and would do nothing to raise the standard of living for workers in other countries. We said NAFTA was a terrible idea. And for years we were dismissed, even many Democrats like Bill Clinton said we were wrong. But now our argument has become a very mainstream argument, and we’re able to go into this discourse and say ‘Look, we were right about this.’ I think we should be hopeful. It’s absurd to be anything else.”

[b]A failed presidency. A unified left. A predisposed constituency. Hope ...[/b]

Founding Fathers Created Our Nation To "Promote the General Welfare"
01.17.04 (1:30 pm)   [edit]
[b]Our Founding Fathers created our nation for "We the People" and not [i]we the corporate robber-barons[/i]![/b] ...

"The enduring accomplishments of our nation's leaders are those that are grounded in the fundamental values that gave birth to this great country. As our Founders so eloquently stated in the preamble to our Constitution, this nation was founded by "[i]We the People... in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity[/i]." Over the course of two centuries, these ideals inspired and enabled thirteen tiny quarreling colonies to transform themselves-not just into the most powerful nation on earth, but also into the "[i]last, best hope of earth[/i]." These ideals have been uniquely honored by history and advanced by each new generation of Americans, often through great sacrifice."

Consider "[i][b]Bill of Rights Freedoms Belong to People, Not Corporations[/b][/i]" by [i]Jeff Milchen [/i]on :

[i]The Founding Fathers despised corporations, and for years states kept their power in check. But as corporate influence grew, laws were passed giving the entities many of the rights of individuals. A recent California court decision against Nike was an important blow against "corporate personhood" -- so why in the world was the ACLU defending Nike's right to lie?[/i]

With political dissent under attack as "unpatriotic" and immigrants' rights flouted by the federal government, the American Civil Liberties Union has a vital role to fulfill in defending personal freedoms. So why is the ACLU now supporting an argument that transnational corporations should enjoy Bill of Rights protections?

For years, human rights advocates have investigated and worked to expose horrid working conditions in the Nike Corporation's overseas "sweatshops." Naturally, Nike fought the accusations with a public relations campaign denying the claims and disavowing responsibility for subcontractors' conditions.

Activist Marc Kasky sued the company for fraud under California consumer protection laws for broadcasting misinformation, but his suit was thrown out in state courts, which said Nike's public relations were protected "free speech."

On appeal of Kasky v. Nike Inc. to the California Supreme Court, the ACLU of Northern California sided with Nike. Their argument was that the company's public relations communications -- press releases, letters to the editor and other public statements -- were partly political debate and thus protected by the right to free speech under the First Amendment. So those corporate communications were not required by law to be truthful.

Thankfully, Nike and its ACLU supporters lost. Commercial speech does not have First Amendment protection, and on May 2, the Court ruled 4-3 that Nike's public relations were commercial speech as much as its advertisements are. The court reinstated Kasky's suit without ruling on the merits of the case, which now will be heard in trial court.

The ruling was a victory for the public interest and groups taking on powerful corporations and their image-makers. But the court should have dismissed Nike's claim altogether. It should have said, "Corporations are not people and the Bill of Rights does not apply." The notion that corporations -- entities unmentioned in our Constitution -- should enjoy protections created for living human beings is a concept deserving burial deep in the same dark closet as the legal precedents of slavery and "separate but equal."

But unlike our history regarding slavery, our founders got it right. They despised corporations as they knew them -- as tools to drain wealth from the colonists and enrich the English monarchy. When states began chartering some corporations in the late 1700s, all agreed that corporations were tools to serve the public interest. We chartered (licensed) corporations because they were a useful tool to gather investment and disperse financial liability in order to provide public goods, such as construction of roads, bridges or canals.

Though corporations subsequently were allowed to enter other business realms, for many years state officials ensured they were fully subordinate to state legislatures. Those legislatures revoked charters of corporations that exceeded their permitted roles and tightly controlled other aspects of corporate activity. States also forbade corporations to spend money to influence elections, legislation or public opinion.

So where did this concept of "corporate free speech" come from?

Later generations, lacking firsthand experience of corporate exploitation, were less vigilant about keeping them in check. States allowed the number, size and scope of corporations to grow rapidly in the 1800s. As corporations grew in wealth, their economic power bestowed political power to their owners.

Following the Civil War, corporations rapidly completed the transformation from tools to serve the public to tools for consolidating wealth and power for their owners, culminating in the 1886 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad. Without any explanation for its position, the high court created "corporate personhood," declaring that the 14th Amendment, and hence the Bill of Rights, applied to corporations -- years before most human beings enjoyed its full protection.

So how does this relate to civil rights and Nike? Ultimately, the undeserved privilege and power of corporations comes directly at the expense of our power as individual citizens. If corporations are calling the shots in our Congress and courts, we are not.

Ironically, one dissenting justice in the Nike case wrote that the decision failed to "account for the realities of the modern world -- a world in which personal, political and commercial arenas no longer have sharply defined boundaries." You can bet that corporations will continue to try blurring those boundaries to usurp personal freedoms.

So long as we accept such absurdities as "corporate free speech," we preclude the possibility of democracy, for we can never speak as loudly with our own voices as corporations can with the unlimited amplification of money. ACLU supporters should demand that it stop promoting corporate "rights" and recognize that greater corporate privilege occupies the space that citizens' rights otherwise would occupy.

The Nike case presents a superb provocation to explore our forgotten history and reclaim some of our tools for keeping capital and corporations subordinate to democracy.

[i]PNS contributor Jeff Milchen ( directs, a nonprofit devoted to restoring democratic authority over corporations. [/i]

State of the Union Scorecard
01.17.04 (12:53 pm)   [edit]
[b]What "wonders" does Dubya have in store for us, in his upcoming State of the Union screed this next week?[/b] ... "We the People" can depend upon a long list of expensive goodies for corporations and the rich ([i]that poor working people will be forced to fund[/i])-- other [i]to-be-forgotten [/i]promises for the rest of us ([i]that he won't deliver upon, again[/i])-- and lies, deceptions and falsehoods ([i]like last year's phony Niger uranium yellow cake sales to Iraq, used to bolster his false case for his immoral and illegal corporate-take-all neo-con wars waged on behalf of his corrupt war-profiteers[/i]) ...

[b] [/b]has a [i][b]State of the Union Scorecard[/b][/i], that you can download to keep track of Dubya's boondoggles for the rich, broken promises to the rest of us, and, lies, deceptions & falsehoods perpetrated upon the entire world on

01.17.04 (10:26 am)   [edit]

New Poll Trends Against The Mad King George ...
01.17.04 (9:51 am)   [edit]
[b]The only thing that is absolutely amazing is that anyone with an[i] iota of brain-matter [/i]amongst "We the People" would even consider voting again for the Liar-and-Thief, the Mad King George![/b] ... Apparently Karl ([i]Bush's Brain & America's Joseph Goebbles[/i]) Rove can fool some of the people, most all of the time?!?!?

Slowly, the trends are moving against Dubya. In a recent [i]Time/CNN Poll conducted by Harris Interactive[/i] on , the results are revealing:

"[i]If George W. Bush runs for reelection, how likely are you to vote for him: very likely, somewhat likely, somewhat unlikely, or very unlikely[/i]?"

Very Likely
Some what likely
Unlikely Very
Not Sure

12/30/03 - 1/1/04.......33...18....8....38...3

49% very likely or somewhat likely to vote for Bush.
48% very unlikely or someone unlikely to vote Bush.

[b]Come on, folks! Wake-up![/b]

A Progressive View Of The State Of The Union
01.17.04 (8:24 am)   [edit]
[b]"We the People" have endured over these past 3 years through a terrible period in America, in which we have seen our nation hijacked by the corrupt Bush/Cheney regime, whose track-record will be cast in history as one of callous corruption, insane ruthlessness and appalling recklessness, including[/b]:

* An [i]economic platform [/i]totally devoted towards the stupidly dangerous re-distribution of our nation's wealth to corporations, the greedy plutocrats and hyper-rich campaign contributors, who are awarded massive tax cuts, tax loopholes and boondoggles; resulting in the largest deficits in our nation's history & the largest gap between the[i] haves-and-the-have-nots [/i]in over 75 years-- while the problems of over 45+ million without health care; 9-15+ million without jobs; 3.5+ million homeless; 25+ million families living below the 1960s defined poverty-line; the environment and our nation's infrastructure:-- all are wantonly neglected;

* [i]War-mongering [/i]in Afghanistan and Iraq, on the basis of a traitorous, medieval neo-con ideology of brute power & fascist suppression of the weak by the strong ([i]and a barbaric contempt for the rule of law, the US Constitution & Bill of Rights[/i]) resulting in over 600 U.S. soldiers massacred (100 in Afghanistan & 500 in Iraq) and tens of thousands of innocent Afghanistani & Iraqi civilians slaughtered:-- all to enrich obscene [i]war-profiteers [/i]including Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, etc.;

* [i]Arrogance, corruption and ineptitude [/i]that has alienated the rest of the world and rendered the U.S. not only hated and feared, but also mistrusted, due to the many lies, deceptions, frauds and falsehoods:-- all perpetrated by the mendacious Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta[/i], who want to turn the entire planet into their neo-feudal slave state with the few very, very rich rulers impoverishing ([i]paying slave labor wages, plundering the environment, eliminating worker's rights, looting protections for investors, consumers & workers, etc[/i].) the rest of us.

As President Bush prepares to tell the American people that the State of the Union is strong, our nation stands divided at home and weaker abroad. The administration’s extremist policies – driven by ideology, and not facts – have hurt hard-working families and failed to make the American people safer than we were one year ago.

At home, we are a country divided between an elite that has seen its taxes cut and can afford private health care and schools and the hard-pressed middle class which has fewer job opportunities, and declining access to quality health care and education. This administration has let special interests rewrite the laws in their favor, with citizens and the public interest relegated to second-class status. [i][b]More... [/b][/i]{E9245FE4-9A2B-43C7-A521-5D6FF2E06E03}/SOTUTP.pdf

Dubya's Corporate Pimps Stand to Reap Billions Off of Space Lunacy
01.16.04 (1:49 pm)   [edit]
[b]Ah, the real truth again emerges ... Another neo-con con-game & swindle of "We the People" by Dubya who cares nothing for life on [i]terra firma [/i] ([i]unless you are a corporation or very, very rich ...[/i]) ... [/b]Dubya doesn't give a damn about anything other than[i] stuffing big bucks[/i] into his own bank account and that of his corrupt [i]corporate-take-all [/i]swindlers, greedy & immoral plutocrats, and sordid & squalid campaign contributors!

[i]DemocracyNow[/i] reports on :

[b]Boeing & Halliburton To Reap Billions Off Space Program[/b]

The [i]Washington Post [/i]is reporting that the U.S. aerospace and energy industries stand to reap billions of dollars in contracts if the country proceeds with president Bush’s new space plans. Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Halliburton, are among the companies who may profit most. The [i]Post [/i]notes that in 2000 a Halliburton scientific advisor wrote an article for the Oil & Gas Journal about the importance of exploring Mars. Halliburton is hoping to develop new drilling techniques on Mars that could then be used to improve oil drilling on Earth.

[b]It was obvious that there were other motives (as [i]per Iraq, where the oil, not phony WMDs, was the real casus belli[/i]) for his laughable space lunacy truly devised to enrich, yet again, the neo-fascist Bushies & their [i]criminals-in-arms[/i]! ... At the expense, of course, of the working people of America, as Dubya has ruthlessly & recklessly awarded immoral, un-christian tax cuts, tax loopholes & boondoggles to his corporate embezzlers, traitorous plutocrats, and wealthy thieves who avoid their duties, obligations and responsibilities to our nation![/b]

Also, refer to the [i]BBC News [/i]"[i][b]World press pans US Mars shot[/b][/i]" on - [i]Excerpt[/i] -

But few of the world's papers were as cynical this week as Switzerland's[i] Le Temps[/i], which accused Mr Bush of "[i]using space as a diversion at a time when his Iraq policy is not exactly a shining success[/i]".

[b]An under-statement that might cost the Swiss [i]big-time [/i]... Maybe Karl Rove will suggest that we boycott Swiss cheese![/b]

Dubya BOOED by Demonstrators at Martin Luther King Jr.'s Grave
01.16.04 (10:44 am)   [edit]
[b]Martin Luther King Jr. stood for everything that Dubya is against![/b] King was an anti-war activist ... Dubya is a cowardly neo-con arm-chair chicken-hawk who led us into an immoral & illegal war based upon lies, deceptions & falsehoods ... King wanted equality for all ... Dubya wants a neo-feudal slave state in order that he & his half-witted, imbecilic family ([i]who can't make it on merit, but must rape others & whore for their corporate pimps[/i]) can remain on the "top of the heap" ... King was a man who had the courage to stand against tyranny ... Dubya is a bloody tyrant!

"We the People" should hang our heads in shame, that we have not the moral fortitude to strongly demand that Congress hold impeachment hearings in order to oust the corrupt Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta[/i] from power that they have so cravenly and wantonly abused!

Consider "[i][b]Bush booed by demonstrators[/b][/i]" on :

[b]US President George Bush was jeered on Thursday as he laid a wreath at the tomb of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.[/b]

The demonstrators gathered near the tomb shouting "Bush go home", "Make peace, not war."

The noisy hecklers were close enough for Bush to hear them, but a string of Atlanta city buses encircling the tomb kept them out of the president's sight.

The president, accompanied by King's widow, Coretta Scott King, placed the wreath at the tomb and left without public comment.

In a statement released by the White House, Bush said "in remembering Dr King's vision and life of service, we renew our commitment to guaranteeing the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans."

He reiterated that 19 January would be a national holiday in observation of King's memory.

King, born on 15 January, 1929 and a figurehead in the fight against racial discrimination, was assassinated by a sniper in April 1968.

Job Losses in 26 out of 32 Months ... and Dubya's Lousy Swindle Continues ...
01.16.04 (8:43 am)   [edit]
[b]Job losses in 26 out of 32 months in the USA were reported by the Employment Policy Foundation in Washington D.C. America is bleeding more jobs than it can produce, under Dubya's lousy economic rape and swindle of the working people, on behalf of corporations who rejoice in high unemployment & the opportunity it affords to pay slave labor wages, eliminate worker's benefits including health care, and, amasse huge profits into their already bulging pockets![/b]

Dubya should be tried for treason, ([i]not only for lying us into an insane, immoral & illegal war in Iraq[/i]), having put his corrupt [i]corporate-take-all[/i] cronies, rich plutocrats & greedy campaign contributors, before "We the People" ... Dubya and his [i]whorish [/i]cabal of neo-con thugs & goons should be impeached for betraying their oaths of office in order to enrich themselves & their corporate[i] pimps[/i]!

Consider "[i][b]Working to rules: Battle for skills born in the USA[/b][/i]" on :

[b]Jobs - a lack of them - will be a key issue in this year's American presidential election.[/b]

While the US media was full of news in the last quarter of 2003 bemoaning a jobless economic recovery - the longer-term picture is very different.

As the huge population of American baby-boomers starts to retire - the oldest members are currently about 57 - a lack of skilled workers will start to bite.

That, according to the centrist Employment Policy Foundation in Washington DC, will be one of the key challenges facing the American workplace in the early 21st century.

In 2001, the foundation predicted that based on demographic trends and labour-force participation rates, American will face a shortage of 27.9 million employees by 2031.

US firms face fundamental challenges that threaten the viability of the world's richest nation to remain competitive in a global economy. These include:

* Recognising the inevitability of changes in the workplace - the rise of professional and managerial jobs and the decline of blue-collar work. Workplace policies blind to those realities will impede productivity growth and add "burdensome costs".

* Managing change in the diversity of the workforce, which is likely to include increased female and minority participation. Issues include managing language barriers and accommodating religious and cultural differences.

* Keeping the burden of workplace taxes and regulation, and rising health and pension costs, to a minimum to ensure productivity is kept high and costs competitive.

* Closing the skills gap. Technological change and occupational shifts from global competition are creating a demand for higher levels of education and training but the supply is falling short.

Foundation president Ed Potter says obsolete laws governing the American workplace - some dating from the 1930s - need modernising.

The foundation believes existing employment policy assumes all workplaces fit into a hierarchical, command and control structure and that the interests of employers and staff are fundamentally adversarial.

"Right now about 35 per cent of all jobs are managerial or professional jobs. The rest would be more or less blue collar, hourly pay jobs," Potter says.

"But if you look at the jobs that are going to be created over the next 10 years it has almost flipped on its head.

"Essentially we're going from a dirty-fingernail society, to a knowledge-based cognitive-ability one."

He says solutions to the looming labour crisis include immigration and higher workforce participation rates - but the country already has a 63 per cent participation rate.

"We put in more hours of work than any other nation - it's not likely we will do more hours of work - in fact I think the hours will decline."

That leaves productivity increases - and Potter believes it will be difficult to sustain the increases the US has been achieving.

There is continuing concern over the loss of manufacturing jobs, including claims they are not being replaced. But Potter says they are - in the health, education and business services sectors - which pay more but require fundamentally different skills only a responsive education and training system can provide.

Reasons cited for the current stagnant US jobs market include rising productivity allowing firms to do more with fewer staff, continued flight of manufacturing to foreign countries, and soaring employee benefit costs making firms reluctant to hire.

In September it was reported that 26 of the previous 32 months have seen job losses - the worst stretch since 1939. Since 2000, 2.8 million jobs have been lost in the economy.

In an October survey of economists, unemployment was still forecast to hover in the 5.8 to 6.0 per cent range for much of this year despite accelerating economic growth.

However, Potter looks longer-term. He is not alone. A recent New York Times article warned firms ignored the coming jobs crunch at their peril - and those discriminating on the basis of age even in its most subtle forms will regret it.

Philadelphia-based Steven Wall, a senior lawyer and manager of the labour and employment practice at law firm Morgan Lewis, predicts a coming battle for talent.

If New Zealand faces a similar predicament, how much work has been done by policymakers here? How prepared is this country for such a crisis?

* [i]Kevin Taylor visited the US to study employment law after jointly winning the 2002 Business Roundtable Douglas Myers media scholarship[/i].

[b]Another source:[/b]

"More Workers Are Likely to Retire Without Company Health Benefits" on,1,1434862.story?coll=la-home-headlines

[b]Dubya should be frog-marched off to jail with Kenny-boy (Enron) Lay, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Bolton, Powell, Feith-- and all of the rest of these neo-fascist criminals![/b]

Some things are worth listening to again and again ...
01.16.04 (7:37 am)   [edit]
[b]Some things are worth listening to again and again ...[/b]


(Off Camera) When you take a look back, Vice President Cheney said, "there is no doubt Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction." Not programs, not intent. There is no doubt he has weapons of mass destruction. Secretary Powell said "100 to 500 tons of chemical weapons." And now the inspectors say that there's no evidence of these weapons existing right now. The yellow cake in Niger. George Tenet has said that shouldn't have been in your speech. Secretary Powell talked about mobile labs. Again, the intelligence, the inspectors have said they can't confirm this, they can't corroborate. Nuclear, suggestions that he was on the way on an active nuclear program. David Kay, "we have not discovered significant evidence of ... "




(Off Camera) Is it "yet"?


But what David Kay did discover was they had a weapons program. And had that -that -let me finish for a second. Now it's more extensive than, than missiles. Had that knowledge been examined by the United Nations or had David Kay's report been placed in front of the United Nations, he, Saddam Hussein, would have been in material breach of 1441, which meant it was a causis belli. And, look, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein was a dangerous person. And there's no doubt we had a body of evidence proving that. And there is no doubt that the President must act, after 9/11, to make America a more secure country.


(Off Camera) Again, I'm just trying to ask, these are supporters, people who believed in the war who have asked the question.


Well, you can keep asking the question. And my answer's gonna be the same. Saddam was a danger. And the world is better off because we got rid of him.


(Off Camera) But stated as a hard fact, that there were weapons of mass destruction as opposed to the possibility that he could move to acquire those weapons still.


[i]So what's the difference?[/i]


(Off Camera) Well ...


The possibility that he could acquire weapons. If he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger. That's, that's what I'm trying to explain to you. A gathering threat, after 9/11, is a threat that needed to be dealt with. And it was done after 12 long years of the world saying the man's a danger. And so, we got rid of him. And there's no doubt the world is a safer, freer place as a result of Saddam being gone.


(Off Camera) But, but, again, some, some of the critics have said this, combined with the failure to establish proof of elaborate terrorism contacts, has indicated that there's just not precision, at best, and misleading, at worst.


Yeah. Look, what, what we based our evidence on was a very sound national intelligence estimate.


(Off Camera) Nothing should have been more precise?


I, I made my decision based upon enough intelligence to tell me that this country was threatened with Saddam Hussein in power.


(Off Camera) What would it take to convince you he didn't have weapons of mass destruction?


Saddam Hussein was a threat. And the fact that he is gone means America is a safer country.

[b]What's the difference?

That says it all.

The "[i]difference[/i]" is whether to go to war or not ... and, "[i]safer[/i]"? Uh-huh, tell that to the U.S. soldiers & Iraqi people who are slaughtered almost daily to enrich Dubya's corporate cronies! ([i]And, tell that to the CIA & FBI who confirm that Al Qaida who had nothing to do with Iraq, is growing-- Osama bin Laden who had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein, is still at large[/i]--!) Yet, since we now know Dubya intended to go to war in Iraq from the outset of ([i]and prior to[/i]) his insane and bungling [i]term-in-office[/i], "We the People" must [i]face-up [/i]to the fact that we've got a dangerously stupid, corrupt & inept president recklessly wielding power who must be ousted in November 2004![/b]


TalkingPointsMemo by [i]Joshua Micah Marshall [/i]on

Bush's Fiscal Meltdown ...
01.15.04 (12:19 pm)   [edit]
[b]The corrupt Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta[/i] is destroying the Middle-Class in America ... They have betrayed American workers on behalf of their traitorous corporate robber-barons, squalid plutocrats & sordid campaign contributors-- who are exploiting the poor & vulnerable throughout the world, in order to pay slave labor wages, and impoverish us all, in their insane fantasy of a neo-feudal slave state.

"We the People" must fight to take our nation back from these neo-con, neo-fascist thugs & goons who have hijacked our government to carry-out their own corrupt crimes & atrocities against the rest of us.

The Center for American Progress publishes "Bush’s Fiscal Meltdown" on

The Effects of Big Budget Deficits on Family Finances[/b]

A new bipartisan report by former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Peter Orszag, and CEO and Chief Global Economist of Decision Economics, Inc., Allen Sinai, warns that the Bush Administration’s record deficits will have “severe adverse consequences” for all Americans. “The U.S. federal budget is on an unsustainable path,” they write, adding, “In the absence of significant policy changes, federal government deficits are expected to total around $5 trillion over the next decade.” What does this mean for hard-working American families and individuals?

[b]* When the Bush check comes due, younger generations can expect a weaker job market, fewer public services, and a declining standard of living.[/b] To put the deficits in perspective, five years from now the average family’s share of the national debt will be more than $84,000, compared to a projected $500 per family when Bush took office. The picture for America’s children is grim. Large, sustained deficits eventually suck up national savings, meaning less money for education and training of young people and workers and lower investment in other economic sectors. As deficits continue, huge chunks of taxpayer dollars will be diverted from education and health programs to service the national debt. Interest rates will rise and living standards will decline.

[b]* Big deficits today affect family budgets tomorrow.[/b] As the Rubin report shows, Bush Administration economic policies are sharply increasing the chance of financial chaos. “Taken to the extreme, such a path could result in an economic crisis. Foreign investors could stop investing in U.S. securities, the exchange value of the dollar could plunge, interest rates could climb, consumer prices could shoot up, or the economy could contract sharply,” according to a 2003 Congressional Budget Office report. Just last week, the IMF issued a strong warning about U.S. fiscal policies stating, “large U.S. fiscal deficits also pose significant risks for the rest of the world.”

[b]* We can change course – the President’s tax cuts for the very wealthiest must be repealed now.[/b] The Bush Administration believes spending cuts alone will cure its ballooning deficits but economists agree that’s wishful thinking. By repealing the tax cuts for the top 1 percent of earners, and letting other tax cuts expire, the U.S. can begin restoring fiscal discipline and begin preparing for the huge expenses of the coming Baby Boomer retirement.

For more about tax cuts and fiscal responsibility, see these reports (click here: and here: ) from the [i]Center for American Progress[/i].

[i]Daily Talking Points [/i]is a product of the Center for American Progress, a non-partisan research and educational institute committed to progressive principles for a strong, just and free America.


The Center for American Progress,

Remarks of Edward M. Kennedy
01.15.04 (11:43 am)   [edit]
[b]"We the People" thank Senator Kennedy for his wise observations and true warnings to the American people and the Republic for Which It Stands!

"Remarks of Edward M. Kennedy"
Member, United States Senate (D-MA)
Washington, D.C., January 14, 2004[/b]

Thank you General Nash for that generous introduction.

General Nash had an impressive career in the U.S. Army. His experience and expertise in conflict prevention and post-war reconstruction from his leadership in the Balkans has greatly assisted the debate on post-war Iraq.

I'm grateful to him for his impressive public service, and for joining us today.

I'd also like to thank Brian and Alma Hart and Sergeant Peter Damon for coming today. The Hart's son, John, was killed in Iraq this fall on patrol in an unarmored Humvee. Sergeant Damon lost both his arms serving in Iraq. We honor their service and their sacrifice.

The enduring accomplishments of our nation's leaders are those that are grounded in the fundamental values that gave birth to this great country. As our Founders so eloquently stated in the preamble to our Constitution, this nation was founded by "We the People... in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." Over the course of two centuries, these ideals inspired and enabled thirteen tiny quarreling colonies to transform themselves-not just into the most powerful nation on earth, but also into the "last, best hope of earth." These ideals have been uniquely honored by history and advanced by each new generation of Americans, often through great sacrifice.

In these uncertain times, it is imperative that our leaders hold true to those founding ideals and protect the fundamental trust between the government and the people. Nowhere is this trust more important than between the people and the President of the United States. As the leader of our country and the voice of America to the world, our President has the obligation to lead and speak with truth and integrity if this nation is to continue to reap the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.

The citizens of our democracy have a fundamental right to debate and even doubt the wisdom of a president's policies. And the citizens of our democracy have a sacred obligation to sound the alarm and shed light on the policies of an Administration that is leading this country to a perilous place.

I believe that this Administration is indeed leading this country to a perilous place. It has broken faith with the American people, aided and abetted by a Congressional majority willing to pursue ideology at any price, even the price of distorting the truth. On issue after issue, they have moved brazenly to impose their agenda on America and on the world. They have pursued their goals at the expense of urgent national and human needs and at the expense of the truth. America deserves better.

The Administration and the majority in Congress have put the state of our union at risk, and they do not deserve another term in the White House or in control of Congress.

I do not make these statements lightly. I make them as an American deeply concerned about the future of the Republic if the extremist policies of this Administration continue.

By far the most extreme and most dire example of this Administration's reckless pursuit of its single-minded ideology is in foreign policy. In its arrogant disrespect for the United Nations and for other peoples in other lands, this Administration and this Congress have squandered the immense goodwill that other nations extended to our country after the terrorist attacks of September 11. And in the process, they made America a lesser and a less respected land.

Nowhere is the danger to our country and to our founding ideals more evident than in the decision to go to war in Iraq. Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill has now revealed what many of us have long suspected. Despite protestations to the contrary, the President and his senior aides began the march to war in Iraq in the earliest days of the Administration, long before the terrorists struck this nation on 9/11.

The examination of the public record and of the statements of President Bush and his aides reveals that the debate about overthrowing Saddam began long before the beginning of this Administration. Its roots began thirteen years ago, during the first Gulf War, when the first President Bush decided not to push on to Baghdad and oust Saddam.

President Bush and his National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft explained the reason for that decision in their 1997 book, A World Transformed. They wrote the following: "Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream... and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs... We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, there was no viable exit strategy we could see, violating another of our principles... Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land." Those words are eerily descriptive of our current situation in Iraq.

During the first Gulf War, Paul Wolfowitz was a top adviser to then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, and he disagreed strongly with the decision by the first President Bush to stop the war after driving Saddam out of Kuwait.

After that war ended, Wolfowitz convened a Pentagon working group to make the case that regime change in Iraq could easily be achieved by military force. The Wolfowitz group concluded that "U.S. forces could win unilaterally or with the aid of a small group of a coalition of forces within 54 days of mid to very high intensity combat."

Saddam's attempted assassination of President Bush during a visit to Kuwait in 1993 added fuel to the debate.

After his tenure at the Pentagon, Wolfowitz became Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and continued to criticize the decision not to end the reign of Saddam. In 1994 he wrote, "With hindsight, it does seem like a mistake to have announced, even before the war was over, that we would not go to Baghdad..."

Wolfowitz's resolve to oust Saddam was unwavering. In 1997, he wrote, "We will have to confront him sooner or later-and sooner would be better... unfortunately, at this point, only the substantial use of military force could prove that the U.S. is serious and reverse the slow collapse of the international coalition."

The following year, Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld and 16 others - 10 of whom are now serving in or officially advising the current Bush Administration - wrote President Clinton, urging him to use military force to remove Saddam. They said, "The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action, as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy."

That was 1998. President Clinton was in office, and regime change in Iraq did become the policy of the Clinton Administration - but not by war.

As soon as the current President Bush took office in 2001, he brought a group of conservatives with him, including Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and others, who had been outspoken advocates for most of the previous decade for the forcible removal of Saddam Hussein.

At first, President Bush was publicly silent on the issue. But as Paul O'Neill has told us, the debate was alive and well.

I happen to know Paul O'Neill, and I have great respect for him. I worked with him on key issues of job safety and health care when he was at ALCOA in the 1990s. He's a person of great integrity, intelligence, and vision, and he had impressive ideas for improving the quality of health care in the Pittsburgh area. It is easy to understand why he was so concerned by what he heard about Iraq in the Bush Administration.

In his "60 Minutes" interview last Sunday, O'Neill said that overthrowing Saddam was on the agenda from day one of the new Administration. O'Neill said, "From the very beginning there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go... It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The President was saying, "Go find me a way to do this."

The agenda was clear: find a rationale to end Saddam's regime.

But there was resistance to military intervention by those who felt that the existing sanctions on Iraq should be strengthened. Saddam had been contained and his military capabilities had been degraded by the Gulf War and years of U.N. sanctions and inspections. At a press conference a month after the inauguration, Secretary of State Colin Powell said, "We have kept him contained, kept him in his box." The next day, Secretary Powell very clearly stated that Saddam "has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction..."

Then, on September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked us and everything changed. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld immediately began to link Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda and the attacks. According to notes taken by an aide to Rumsfeld on September 11, the very day of the attacks, the Secretary ordered the military to prepare a response to the attacks. The notes quote Rumsfeld as saying that he wanted the best information fast, to judge whether the information was good enough to hit Saddam and not just Osama bin Laden. "Go massive," the notes quote him as saying. "Sweep it all up. Things related and not."

The advocates of war in Iraq desperately sought to make the case that Saddam was linked to 9/11 and Al Qaeda, and that he was on the verge of acquiring a nuclear capability. They created an Office of Special Projects in the Pentagon to analyze the intelligence for war. They bypassed the traditional screening process and put pressure on intelligence officers to produce the desired intelligence and analysis.

As the world now knows, Saddam's connection to 9/11 was false. Saddam was an evil dictator. But he was never close to having a nuclear capability. The Administration has found no arsenals of chemical or biological weapons. It has found no persuasive connection to al-Qaeda. All this should have been clear. The Administration should not have looked at the facts with ideological blinders and with a mindless dedication to the results they wanted.

A recent report by the Carnegie Endowment concluded that Administration officials systematically misrepresented the threat from Iraq's nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs. They also concluded that the intelligence community was unduly influenced by the policymakers' views and intimidating actions, such as Vice President Cheney's repeated visits to CIA headquarters and demands by officials for access to the raw intelligence from which the analysts were working. The report also noted the unusual speed with which the National Intelligence Estimate was written and the high number of dissents in what is designed to be a consensus document.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, President Bush himself made clear that his highest priority was finding Osama bin Laden. At a press conference on September 17, 2001, he said that he wanted bin Laden "dead or alive." Three days later, in an address to a Joint Session of Congress, President Bush demanded of the Taliban: "Deliver to the United States authorities all the leaders of al-Qaeda who hide in your land." And Congress cheered. On November 8, the President told the country, "I have called our military into action to hunt down the members of the al-Qaeda organization who murdered innocent Americans." In doing that, he had the full support of Congress and the nation-and rightly so.

Soon after the war began in Afghanistan, however, the President started laying the groundwork in public to shift attention to Iraq. In the Rose Garden on November 26, he said: "Afghanistan is still just the beginning."

Three days later, even before Hamid Karzai had been approved as interim Afghan President, Vice President Cheney publicly began to send signals about attacking Iraq. On November 29, he said "I don't think it takes a genius to figure out that this guy [Saddam Hussein] is clearly... a significant potential problem for the region, for the United States, for everybody with interests in the area."

On December 12, the Vice President elaborated further: "If I were Saddam Hussein, I'd be thinking very carefully about the future, and I'd be looking very closely to see what happened to the Taliban in Afghanistan."

Prior to the terrorist attacks on September 11, President Bush's approval rating was only 50%. But with his necessary and swift action in Afghanistan against the Taliban for harboring bin Laden and al-Qaeda, his approval soared to 86%.

Soon, Karl Rove joined the public debate, and war with Iraq became all but certain. At a meeting of the Republican National Committee in Los Angeles on January 19, 2002, Rove made clear that the war on terrorism could be used politically, and that Republicans, as he put it, could "go to the country on this issue."

Ten days later, the deal was all but sealed. In his State of the Union Address, President Bush broadened his policy on Afghanistan to other terrorist regimes. He unveiled the "Axis of Evil" - Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. Those three words forged the lock-step linkage between the Bush Administration's top political advisers and the Big Three of Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz. We lost our previous clear focus on the most imminent threat to our national security-Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

What did President Bush say about bin Laden in the State of the Union Address that day? Nothing.

What did he say about the Taliban? Nothing.

Nothing about bin Laden. One fleeting reference about Al Qaeda. Nothing about the Taliban in that State of the Union Address.

Barely four months had passed since the worst terrorist atrocity in American history. Five bin Laden videotapes had been broadcast since September 11, including one that was aired after bin Laden escaped at the battle of Tora Bora. President Bush devoted 12 paragraphs in his State of the Union Address to Afghanistan, and 29 paragraphs to the global war on terrorism. But he had nothing to say about Bin Laden or al-Qaeda.

Why not? Because of an extraordinary policy coup. Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz-the Axis of War-had prevailed. The President was changing the subject to Iraq.

In the months that followed, Administration officials began to draw up the war plan and develop a plausible rationale for the war. Richard Haass, Director of Policy Planning at the Department State during this period, said recently that "the agenda was not whether Iraq, but how." Haass said the actual decision to go to war had been made in July 2002. He had questioned the wisdom of war with Iraq at that time, but National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice told him, "Essentially...that decision's been made. Don't waste your breath."

It was Vice President Cheney who outlined to the country the case against Iraq that he had undoubtedly been making to President Bush all along. On August 26, 2002, in an address to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Vice President argued against UN inspections in Iraq and announced that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, meaning chemical and biological weapons. He also said: "We now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Among other sources, we've gotten this from the firsthand testimony of defectors, including Saddam's own son-in-law, who was subsequently murdered at Saddam's direction. Many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon." Those were Cheney's words.

It is now plain what was happening: The drumbeat for war was sounding, and it drowned out those who believed that Iraq posed no imminent threat. On August 29, just two days after Cheney's speech, President Bush signed off on the war plan.

On September 12, the President addressed the United Nations and said: "Iraq likely maintains stockpiles of VX, mustard, and other chemical agents and has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon." He told the United Nations that Iraq would be able to build a nuclear weapon "within a year," if Saddam acquired nuclear material.

President Bush was focusing on Iraq and Saddam, even though one year after the attack on our country, bin Laden was still nowhere to be found. A sixth bin Laden tape had been aired, and news reports of the time revealed new military threats in Afghanistan. U.S. and Afghan military and intelligence officials were quoted as saying that al-Qaeda had established two main bases inside Pakistan. An Afghan military intelligence chief said: "al-Qaeda has regrouped, together with the Taliban, Kashmiri militants, and other radical Islamic parties, and they are just waiting for the command to start operations."

Despite the obvious al-Qaeda threat in Afghanistan, the White House had now made Iraq our highest national security priority. The steamroller of war was moving into high gear. The politics of the timing is obvious. September 2002. The hotly contested 2002 election campaigns were entering the home stretch. Control of Congress was clearly at stake. Republicans were still furious over the conversion of Senator Jim Jeffords that had cost them control of the Senate in 2001. Election politics prevailed, but they should not have prevailed over foreign policy and national security.

The decision on Iraq could have been announced earlier. Why time it for September? As White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card explained on September 7, "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August."

That was the bottom line. War in Iraq was a war of choice, not a war of necessity. It was a product they were methodically rolling out. There was no imminent threat, no immediate national security imperative, and no compelling reason for war.

In public, the Administration continued to deny that the President had made the decision to actually go to war. But the election timetable was clearly driving the marketing of the product. The Administration insisted that Congress vote to authorize the war before it adjourned for the November elections. Why? Because the debate in Congress would distract attention from the troubled economy and the troubled effort to capture bin Laden. The strategy was to focus on Iraq, and do so in a way that would divide the Congress. And it worked.

To keep the pressure on, President Bush spoke in Cincinnati on Iraq's nuclear weapons program, just three days before the Congressional vote. He emphasized the ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda. He emphasized Saddam's access to weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons. He said, "If the Iraqi regime is able to produce or steal an amount of highly enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year. And if we allow that to happen, a terrible line would be crossed... Saddam Hussein would be in a position to pass nuclear technology to terrorists."

The scare tactics worked. Congress voted to authorize the use of force in October 2002. Republicans voted almost unanimously for war, and kept control of the House in the election in November. Democrats were deeply divided and lost their majority in the Senate. The Iraq card had been played successfully. The White House now had control of both houses of Congress as well.

As 2003 began, many in the military and foreign policy communities urged against a rush to war. United Nations weapons inspectors were in Iraq, searching for weapons of mass destruction. Saddam appeared to be contained. There was no evidence that Iraq had been involved in the attacks on September 11. Many insisted that bin Laden and Al Qaeda and North Korea were greater threats, but their concerns were dismissed out of hand.

Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz insisted that Iraq was the issue and that war against Iraq was the only option, with or without international support. They convinced the President that the war would be brief, that American forces would be welcomed as liberators, not occupiers, and that ample intelligence was available to justify going to war.

The gross abuse of intelligence was on full display in the President's State of Union address last January, when he spoke the now infamous 16 words, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." The President did not say that U.S. intelligence agencies agreed with this assessment. He simply and deviously said, "the British government has learned."

As we all now know, that allegation was false. It had already been debunked a year earlier by the U.S. intelligence community. Yet it was included in the President's State of the Union Address. Has any other State of the Union Address ever been so disgraced by such blatant falsehood?

In March 2003, on the basis, of a grossly exaggerated threat and grossly inadequate post-war planning, and with little international support, the United States invaded Iraq when we clearly should not have done so.

Major combat operations ended five weeks later. Dressed in a flight suit, the President flew out to an aircraft carrier and proclaimed "Mission Accomplished." It was a nice image for the 2004 campaign, until the facts intruded. The mission was far from accomplished. As the war dragged on and casualties mounted, the image on the aircraft carrier was ridiculed. The Administration replaced it with a new image-the President in Baghdad with cheering troops on Thanksgiving Day. Again, the image-makers stumbled. This time, the image was of the President holding his policy on Iraq-a turkey.

On a recent visit to Iraq, the writer, Lucian Truscott, a 1969 graduate of West Point, spoke with an Army colonel in Baghdad. In an op-ed article in the New York Times last month, he wrote that Army officers spoke of feeling that "every order they receive is delivered with next November's election in mind, so there is little doubt at and near the top about who is really being used for what over here."

There is little doubt as well that the Administration's plan to transfer sovereignty to the Iraqi people by this summer - and the pressure to hold elections in Afghanistan at that time - are intended to build momentum for the November elections in this country as well.

Our troubles in foreign policy today are as clear as they are self-made. America cannot force its vision of democracy on the Iraqi people on our terms and on our election timetable.

We cannot simply walk away from the wreckage of a war we never should have fought, so that President Bush can wage a political campaign based on dubious boasts of success. Our overarching interest now is in the creation of a new Iraqi government that has legitimacy in the eyes of its own citizens, so that in the years ahead, the process of constructing democratic institutions and creating a stable peace can be completed. The date of Iraq's transition must not be determined by the date of U.S. elections.

We all agree that the Iraqi people are safer with Saddam behind bars. They no longer fear that he will ever return to power. But the war in Iraq itself has not made America safer.

Saddam's evil regime was not an adequate justification for war, and the Administration did not seriously try to make it one until long after the war began and all the other plausible justifications had proven false. The threat he posed was not imminent. The war has made America more hated in the world, especially in the Islamic world. And it has made our people more vulnerable to attacks both here and overseas.

By far the most serious consequence of the unjustified and unnecessary war in Iraq is that it made the war on terrorism harder to win. We knocked al-Qaeda down in the war in Afghanistan, but we let it regroup by going to war in Iraq.

For nearly three weeks, our nation was recently on higher terrorist alert again. And certain places will continue to be on high alert for the foreseeable future. As Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said so ominously in announcing the recent alert: "al-Qaeda's continued desire to carry out attacks against our homeland are perhaps greater now than at any point since September 11."

Eleven times in the two years since 9/11, al-Qaeda attacked Americans in other parts of the world and other innocent civilians. War with Iraq has given al-Qaeda a new recruiting program for terrorists. For each new group of terrorist recruits, the pool is growing of others ready to support them and encourage them.

As another dangerous consequence of the war, our Army is over-stretched, over-stressed, and over-extended. Nearly 3,500 of our servicemen and women have been killed or wounded. By the end of 2004, eight of our ten active Army divisions will have been deployed for at least a year in the Middle East in support of Afghanistan or Iraq. The Army is offering re-enlistment bonuses of $10,000 to soldiers in Iraq, but many are turning the money down and turning a new tour of duty down. Members of the National Guard and Reserve are being kept on active duty and away from their families, jobs, and communities for over a year.

Al-Qaeda and the Taliban fighters who support them are stepping up their terrorist campaign in Afghanistan, launching more and more attacks against military personnel and civilians alike. The warlords are jeopardizing the stability of the country. They make their money from the drug trade, which is now booming again. International humanitarian assistance workers, once considered immune from violence, are now targets of a new Afghan insurgency.

In all these ways, we are reaping the poison fruit of our misguided and arrogant foreign policy. The Administration capitalized on the fear created by 9/11 and put a spin on the intelligence and a spin on the truth to justify a war that could well become one of the worst blunders in more than two centuries of American foreign policy. We did not have to go to war. Alternatives were working. War must be a last resort. And this war never should have happened.

We all care deeply about national security. We all care deeply about national defense. We take immense pride in the ability and dedication of the men and women in our armed forces and in the Reserves and the National Guard. The President should never have sent them in harm's way in Iraq for ideological reasons and on a timetable based on the marketing of a political product.

We know the high price we have also had to pay-in our credibility with the international community-in the loss of life-in the individual tragedies of loved ones left behind in communities here at home-in the billions of dollars that should have been spent on jobs and housing and health care and education and civil rights and the environment and a dozen other clear priorities, and should not have been spent on a misguided war in Iraq.

The Administration is breathtakingly arrogant. Its leaders are convinced they know what is in America's interest, but they refuse to debate it honestly. After repeatedly linking Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden in his justification for war, the President now admits there was no such link. Paul Wolfowitz admitted in an interview that the Administration settled for "bureaucratic reasons" on weapons of mass destruction because it was "the one reason everyone could agree on."

The Administration is vindictive and mean-spirited. When Ambassador Joseph Wilson publicly challenged the Administration for wrongly claiming that Iraq had purchased uranium from Niger for its nuclear weapons program, the Administration retaliated against his wife, potentially endangering her life and her career.

President Bush and his advisers should have presented their case honestly, so that Congress and the American people could have engaged in the debate our democracy is owed, above all, on the issue of war and peace.

That is what democracy means, and it is the great strength of the checks and balances under the Constitution that has served us so well for so long.

President Bush said it all when a television reporter asked him whether Saddam actually had weapons of mass destruction, or whether there was only the possibility that he might acquire them. President Bush answered, "So what's the difference?" The difference, Mr. President, is whether you go to war or not.

No President of the United States should employ misguided ideology and distortion of the truth to take the nation to war. In doing so, the President broke the basic bond of trust between government and the people. If Congress and the American people knew the whole truth, America would never have gone to war.

To remain silent when we feel so strongly would be irresponsible. It would betray the fundamental ideals for which our troops are sacrificing their lives on battlefields half a world away. No President who does that to this land we love deserves to be re-elected.

At our best, America is a great and generous country, ever looking forward, ever seeking a better nation for our people and a better world for peoples everywhere. I'm optimistic that these high ideals will be respected and reaffirmed by the American people in November. [b]The election cannot come too soon[/b].

Thank you very much.


The Center for American Progress, Progress Through Action, America, Iraq and Presidential Leadership,

VIPs Letter to Bush:-- Restoring Credibility
01.14.04 (8:00 am)   [edit]
[b]"We the People" have been so horribly deceived by the corrupt Bush & his neo-con regime of thugs & goons, that it is hard to imagine how their shattered credibility, their squalid reputation and their sordid [i]un[/i]-trustworthiness, could possibly be restored.[/b] The crimes committed by Dubya, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Rove and the others are so far more serious ([i]than Clinton's sexual liaison & lying about that [/i]...) than anything we've seen in modern times, because their lies, deceptions & falsehoods have resulted in the slaughter of nearly 600 U.S. soldiers ([i]nearly 500 in Iraq & over 100 in Afghanistan[/i]) and tens of thousands of innocent Afghanistani & Iraqi civilians.

The traitorous Bush regime has ruthlessly betrayed America in their reckless grab for infinite power & vast riches. However, the following letter sent to Bush by the [i]Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity [/i]that includes Gene Betit, Pat Lang, David MacMichael and Ray McGovern, is revealing.

[i]Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity is composed of retired senior intelligence officers from various federal intelligence services. VIPS' steering committee consists of Gene Betit of Arlington, VA, Ray Close of Princeton, NJ, David MacMichael of Linden, VA, and Ray McGovern of Arlington, VA.[/i]

[b]DATE:[/b] January 13, 2004

[b]MEMORANDUM FOR:[/b] The President

[b]FROM:[/b] Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

[b]SUBJECT:[/b] [i]Your State of the Union Address [/i]

We write this, our fifth such memorandum to you since our critique of Secretary of State Colin Powell's United Nations speech last February, out of concern that the same advisers who served you so poorly in drafting the Iraq section of last year's State of the Union address will embarrass you again.

Your credibility and that of the intelligence community suffered a major blow from the hyperbole that characterized that speech—not to mention the infamous 16 words based on the forgery alleging that Iraq was seeking uranium in Africa.

The panel led by Gen. Brent Scowcroft—whom you asked to investigate how these 16 words wound up in your speech—reportedly attributes it to desperation on the part of your staff to "find something affirmative" to support claims like those made by Vice President Dick Cheney that Saddam Hussein had "reconstituted" Iraq's nuclear program.

We suggest you ensure that those over-eager functionaries responsible for the 16 words, and for your speech claim last spring that weapons of mass destruction had been found in the form of two "bio-trailers" (since proven to be generators for weather balloons)take no hand in drafting this year's address.

[b]Spin Doctors [/b]

Before your State of the Union address last year we urged you resist the temptation to favor "ideologues and spin doctors over the professional intelligence officers paid to serve you."

Specifically, we noted that most of our major allies, with whom we have extensive intelligence-sharing arrangements, had taken strong issue with U.S. claims regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They found the evidence on the presence of weapons of mass destruction inconclusive —and far short of what would be necessary to justify war. Ten months of unsuccessful quest for such weapons, together with freshly obtained documentary evidence, has proved them right.

After all the emphasis on weapons of mass destruction as the main reason for war, it will take considerable humility and courage to acknowledge error. But such a step is needed to stem further erosion in the credibility of your administration's statements and the intelligence adduced to justify them. Further dissembling on Iraq will inevitably bring still more damage. Besides, conceding error is the honorable thing to do—and the only way to go forward with confidence and self-respect.

Each week brings new evidence that the case for war was bogus. On Jan. 7, for example, the prestigious Carnegie Endowment for International Peace released a meticulously documented study concluding that: "Administration officials systematically misrepresented the threat from Iraq 's nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs."

We in Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity recently completed a post-mortem on why, hardened professional skeptics that we are, most of us still expected that some weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq (not enough to justify war, but some).

Why that conclusion? Our post-mortem found that our professional judgment was beclouded by the repeated claims by you and your senior advisers that the evidence available to you "left no doubt" about the presence of WMD in Iraq. There were also hints that the evidence was too sensitive to reveal, and we are very familiar with that problem. In addition, there was a new factor for us who, until now, have devoted what we used to call "propaganda analysis" only to the pronouncements of foreign leaders.

In all candor, as Americans we found it difficult to be as objectively critical of statements from Washington as we would have been of ones from Baghdad or, say, Paris. Consequently, most of us were inclined to give you and other administration spokesmen the benefit of the doubt.

[b]Hussein Kamel Also Said: the Full Story [/b]

But we were being told only half the story. Consider, for example, the information provided by Hussein Kamel, Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, who defected in August 1995. He is the defector you quoted in the key speech you made on Oct. 7, 2002, the speech that gave great impetus to the successful attempt to persuade Congress just four days later to cede to you its power to declare war.

Referring correctly to Kamel as "the head of Iraq's military industries," you noted that his defection forced Baghdad to admit to having produced "deadly biological agents."

Kamel had already been extolled as defector par excellence. In his scene-setter-for-war speech of August 26, 2002, Vice President Cheney singled out Kamel "as a reminder to all that we often learned more as the result of defections than we learned from the inspection regime itself."

The vice president spoke truth in underscoring the value of the first-hand information provided by Kamel. But it was half-truth, of the kind we warned you about before the war—for example, in our 2002 memorandum "Forgery, Hyperbole, Half-Truth: A Problem." There we noted that: "Kamel also said that in 1991 Iraq destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them."

That part of the debriefing was suppressed until Newsweek disclosed it on Feb. 24, 2003, several weeks before the war. On the day the Newsweek report appeared, CIA spokesman Bill Harlow pulled out his entire tray of deprecatory adjectives, branding it "incorrect, bogus, wrong, untrue." But a few days later when the official transcript of the Kamel debriefing (originally classified UNSCOM/IAEA SENSITIVE) was made available to the press, there on page 13 was Kamel stating categorically:

"I ordered destruction of all chemical weapons. All weapons—biological, chemical, missile, nuclear—were destroyed."

The rest of the information that Kamel provided about major WMD programs, many of them undetected before his debriefing, proved to be accurate. Understandably, his assurances that he had decided to "disclose everything" required confirmation, but it is odd that those assurances were totally suppressed—particularly since so much of what he said had already proved true.

Confirmation has now come in two very persuasive ways. First, none of the weaponry that Kamel said was destroyed at his order has been found. Second, documentary evidence corroborating Kamel's testimony has now come to light.

In a lengthy Washington Post article on January 7, "Iraq Arsenal Was Only on Paper," Barton Gelman reported he had acquired a handwritten letter written to Saddam Hussein's son Qusay five days after Kamel's defection.

The writer was Hossam Amin, director of the key Iraqi office overseeing U.N. inspectors. The letter was essentially a damage report warning that after Kamel's defection the cover stories masking forbidden weapons were no longer sustainable. Considered together with the subsequent findings of the U.N. inspectors who pursued every item in Amin's catalogue, the letter shows that Iraq had in fact destroyed its entire inventory of biological weapons during the summer of 1991, before the U.N. inspectors even knew of their existence.

You will recall that in September 2002, when your administration mounted a full-court press to make the case for war in Congress, the Defense Intelligence Agency published a dissonant report which, had it not also been suppressed, might have caused a game-losing turnover. The DIA report asserted that there was no reliable evidence that Iraq possessed or was producing chemical or biological weapons.

DIA specialists had read and evaluated the Kamel debriefing reports as well as the other available evidence on this issue. To their credit, even lacking the documentary confirmation now provided by the Amin letter, DIA analysts apparently decided that, since most of what Kamel said had proven accurate, it would be less than honest to simply ignore his important claim that chemical and biological weapons had been destroyed at his order.

This did not prevent your advisers from inserting into your important speech of Oct. 7, 2002 an alarming passage exaggerating what Kamel said about biological agents and omitting altogether what he said about having had them all destroyed:

"In 1995, after several years of deceit by the Iraqi regime, the head of Iraq's military industries defected. It was then that the regime was forced to admit that it had produced more than 30,000 liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents. The inspectors, however, concluded that Iraq had likely produced two to four times that amount. This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for, and capable of killing millions."

Your State of the Union address last year reiterated those claims. And a week later, in his U.N. speech of Feb. 5, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell emphasized that it was only after Kamel's defection that Iraq finally admitted that "it had produced four tons of the deadly nerve agent, VX. A single drop of VX on the skin will kill in minutes." Powell, too, neglected to mention that Kamel had also said that such stocks had been destroyed. Nor did he mention that in the six and a half years following Kamel's debriefing the United States had turned up no evidence challenging his testimony.

It is important that you be completely clear on timing. While the Newsweek report of February 24, 2003 was the first to publicize Kamel's testimony that the weapons had been destroyed, U.S. and British intelligence (as well as U.N. officials) had had that information since August 1995. If you were not given a full account of what Kamel said before it appeared in Newsweek, your advisers should certainly have given you the whole truth when Newsweek did break the story three weeks before you sent U.S. troops into Iraq to destroy those same weapons. If they did not tell you, heads should roll. If they did, it becomes necessary to explain why the information from Kamel had no apparent effect on your decision to launch the invasion.

[b]The "Bio-Trailers"[/b]

Barton Gelman's detailed report also addresses other key aspects of the case made against Iraq on weapons of mass destruction. Discussing the two trailer-mounted "bio-labs" found near Mosul last spring—the ones that led you to say while on a trip to Poland that weapons of mass destruction had been found—Gelman quotes David Kay's description of that find as a "fiasco."

Kay told the BBC last fall, "I think it was premature and embarrassing." The two trailers, it is now widely accepted, are mobile hydrogen generators purchased from the U.K. in 1982 to fill weather balloons measuring wind and temperature for Iraqi artillery units.

Summarizing his talks with the investigators working under Kay, Gelman writes that they have found no support for the twin fear expressed in Washington and London before the war—that Iraq had a hidden arsenal of old weapons and advanced programs for new ones. What is now clear is that Iraq did not have the wherewithal to build a forbidden armory on anything like the scale it had before the Gulf War in 1991. In his interim report of October 2, 2003, Kay reported no discoveries last year of finished weapons, bulk agents, or ready-to-start production lines, and some of the investigators working for Kay told Gelman they now have little expectation of such a find.


* We suggest that you announce that you are requesting the reintroduction of U.N. inspectors. It is time to bring in the experts. They know Iraq; they know the weaponry and what it takes to produce them; they know the Iraqi scientists, with whom they have dealt in past years; and they even have adequate U.N. funding to do the job. If weapons are to be found, they will find them.

In contrast, David Kay's is a highly inefficient operation. Of the 1,400 people in his group, most have no prior experience as inspectors because, for some reason, previous U.N. inspectors were generally not invited to join. Consequently, fewer than 100 of the 1,400 are actually involved in generating information from field investigations, and the number of Iraqi weapons scientists interviewed by Kay's inspectors is very low.

* Announce that you are asking Gen. Brent Scowcroft, head of your Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, to look into why only half of Kamel's story was told. This would be a limited investigation into one discrete aspect of the general credibility problem, not unlike the inquiry Scowcroft recently completed into how it was that the canard about Iraq seeking uranium found its way into your speech last year. The Scowcroft panel might be instructed to report back to you on the Kamel affair by May 1.

* Make it clear that you will hold people accountable if the Scowcroft panel investigation turns up evidence of ineptitude or deliberate distortion in intelligence analysis. And be prepared to make good on that. The buck does stop with you.

* Announce that you are widening your circle of advisers beyond what has become known as your "praetorian guard." This is all the more necessary as it grows clearer and clearer that fresh ideas are needed on how to address the post-invasion situation in Iraq. Reinforcements are needed, and new ideas.

A ready lesson can be drawn from what President Lyndon Johnson chose to do when he began to realize he had been misled on Vietnam by his closest advisers. Just weeks after the surprise Vietnamese Communist Tet offensive in early 1968 (another major intelligence failure), Johnson asked Clark Clifford to convene a panel of "Wise Men" to review the entire Vietnam situation de novo and develop its own policy recommendations.

Just three weeks later, the panel briefed the president on the gravity of the situation; Johnson abruptly changed course and sought a negotiated settlement with Hanoi. One key lesson here is that a panel of distinguished advisers need not take inordinate amounts of time to come up with constructive recommendations.

* Looking toward more systemic problems and the longer term, we suggest you endorse the following recommendation from the report that the Carnegie Endowment put out this month, "WMD in Iraq: Evidence and Implications:"

Create a nonpartisan independent commission to establish a clear picture of what the intelligence community knew and believed it knew about Iraq's weapons program throughout 1991-2002, which can be compared to what actually happened in Iraq when that becomes known. The commission should consider the role of foreign intelligence as well as the question of political pressure on analysts and the adequacy of agencies' responses to it."

* Finally, you may wish to read the advice we provided prior to [i]last year's State of the Union address[/i]. With the hope that this might prompt you to take this year's recommendations more seriously, we append last year's message.

[b]Attachment: Last Year's VIPS Warning (letter as published in [i]The Birmingham News, January 28, 2002[/i])

Mr. President: [/b]

As you prepare to make the case against Iraq in your State of the Union address Tuesday, beware the consequences of favoring ideologues and spin-doctors over the professional intelligence officers paid to serve you.

Until last week many Americans were inclined to take your top aides at their word that the looming war with Iraq is not about oil or vengeance but rather about Iraq's continuing pursuit of "weapons of mass destruction." Now all but the most unquestioning loyalists are having serious second thoughts.

Doubt grew exponentially as France and Germany, with whom we have extensive intelligence sharing arrangements, took strong issue with your administration's claims about Iraq. Those two major allies and others have concluded that the evidence that Iraq is continuing to pursue new weapons of mass destruction is far from conclusive and that it falls far short of justification for starting a war.

Your speeches on Iraq last October in Cincinnati and at the United Nations were rhetorical triumphs. But you need to be aware now that much of the evidence you adduced against Iraq could not withstand close scrutiny. Your advisers had you shooting yourself in the foot with hyperbole.

In both speeches they had you making alarmist claims that our allies know do not square either with the facts or the judgments of the United States and wider allied intelligence communities. I'll mention just two:

1) Singling out the high-strength aluminum tubes Iraq has been trying to purchase, you said they "are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons." After an aggressive investigation, the U.N. inspectors in Iraq have now concluded that the tubes were not meant for enriching uranium but rather for making ordinary artillery rockets, as the Iraqis have said.

2) You also claimed that Iraq could produce a nuclear weapon "in less than a year." Our allies are finding it difficult to reconcile that with the formal estimate of the U.S. intelligence community that Iraq will not be able to produce a nuclear weapon until the end of the decade, if then.

On January 3, to the well-rehearsed cheers of our troops at Fort Hood, you stated three times that Iraq is a "grave threat" to the United States. But for our allies, and for an increasing number of Americans, repetition alone does not enhance credibility. They are looking for proof. (You are, after all, talking war.)

In the past, Mr. President, you have said that the CIA delivers the world's best intelligence, but now you seem captive to the "intelligence" coming from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz. You will recall how stung Wolfowitz was last fall, when the CIA insisted that reports tying Iraq to al Qaeda lacked credibility and that the available evidence on Iraq's nuclear program was inconclusive. And you are probably aware that he has declared publicly that CIA analysis "is not worth the paper it is written on."

To be sure, CIA's conclusions are often unwelcome. The question is whether they are more accurate than the ones you are getting from the Pentagon.

When NATO ambassadors asked Wolfowitz last month about the evidence against Iraq, he likened it to pornography: "I can't define it, but I will know it when I see it." He did little to rehabilitate himself as super analyst last Thursday with his long, unpersuasive speech in New York.

Rather than offering evidence to support the points he was trying to make, Wolfowitz fell back on phrases like "there is every reason to believe." Worse, he has a peculiar affinity for information from defectors and exiles, sources that experienced intelligence professionals know to be notoriously unreliable.

Suffice it to say that were Wolfowitz an apprentice intelligence analyst in his two-year probationary period, I would not recommend taking him on as a career employee.

As you prepare for Tuesday's address, you might consider giving your principal intelligence adviser, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet, an advance look at your draft this time. And please think long and hard about the rhetoric.

Talk is cheap, and it is easy to play down the significance of rhetoric. But it would be a serious mistake to do so with reference to major pronouncements like the State of the Union.

That words can have far-reaching consequences is shown by North Korea's decision, after you labeled it part of the "axis of evil" in last year's address, to renege on its commitment to forgo nuclear weapons. No one should have been surprised when the North Koreans concluded that, without a strengthened nuclear deterrent, they would be next in line after Iraq for a US "preemptive" attack.

Hopefully, your intelligence advisers have warned you of the possibility that Pyongyang will decide to take further advantage of your fixation on Iraq in the weeks ahead and perhaps even go beyond words to threaten the 37,000 U.S. troops who form a human tripwire south of the demilitarized zone. There, beyond question, is a real and present danger.

Good luck Tuesday evening. Please cool the rhetoric and stay close to the facts.


"Restoring Credibility", A Letter to President Bush, published by on

Visit the "Conservatives Against Bush" Web-Site ...
01.13.04 (8:43 pm)   [edit]
[b]Visit the "Conservatives Against Bush" web-site ... [/b]as more conscientious conservatives are coming [i]out of the closet [/i]to oppose the neo-con, neo-fascist Bush/Cheney Inc.[i] junta [/i]...

[b]Conservatives Against Bush [/b] may be accessed on ... While one might not agree with all of their principles , the outrage at the corrupt Dubya's insane economic policies and neo-con war-mongering to enrich criminal war-profiteers, touches all people who possess moral fiber.

The "[b]Conservatives Against Bush[/b]" introductory statement reads:

[i]Conservatives Against Bush was founded to propound the conservative principles that this administration has forsaken. This President has expanded the welfare state, saddled future generations with debt, eroded some of our basic freedoms, and waged a spurious war in Iraq that in the end did not make the U.S. any safer. We seek to reenergize conservatives, so they will press for change in this administration[/i].

Other conservatives, including Patrick J. Buchanan, have written excellent articles concerning Dubya's betrayal of America. Read Patrick J. Buchanan's most recent article entitled "[i][b]Real message of the Bush amnesty[/b][/i]", published yesterday on : - [i]Excerpt[/i] -

If George Bush's amnesty for between 8 million and 14 million illegal aliens is enacted, you can kiss the old America goodbye.

Consider what the president is saying with his amnesty. He is telling us that he cannot or will not do his constitutional duty to defend the states from invasion. He is saying he simply cannot or will not protect our borders or enforce our immigration laws. He is saying he will no longer send illegal aliens back.

Not long ago, this would have produced calls for impeachment and cries that, "If Bush won't enforce our laws, let's elect a president who will."

... [i][b]Buchanan concludes[/b][/i]:--

The real threats to America's survival do not come from the Sunni Triangle. They come from within, and unfortunately we have a president who either does not understand them or will not look them in the face.

[b]"We the People" agree with you, Mr. Buchanan-- the real threat is from the corrupt & whorish buffoon, Dubya, who is only [i]loyal[/i] to his own greedy financial interests, and that of his criminal corporate pimps![/b]

Neo-Con Court-Jesters & Attack-Dogs Exploit 9/11 Tragedy To Excuse Dubya's Crimes ...
01.13.04 (7:30 pm)   [edit]

[b]The neo-con court-jesters and attack-dogs ineffectually try to despicably exploit the 9/11 tragedy in order to excuse, rationalize & justify Dubya's crimes against American citizens ([i]ruthless rape of the Middle-Class & Working People[/i]) and U.S. Soldiers & innocent Afghanistani & Iraqi citizens ([i]ruthless slaughter of nearly 600 Americans & Tens of Thousands of Innocent Civilians[/i]) in order to enrich the sordid Bush family & their squalid corporate robber-barons ([i]Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, etc[/i].)! ... [/b]

This insane neo-con, neo-fascist "defense [sic]" of the indefensible Dubya's destruction of everything noble that the U.S. Constitution & Bill of Rights stands for, truly demonstrates how far we've fallen as a nation!

"We the People" will not stand by and allow the neo-con criminals to hijack our nation ... We will fight to take back our nation!

Human Rights Watch Charges U.S. With War Crimes in Iraq
01.13.04 (2:37 pm)   [edit]
[b]"We the People" are on a [i]Ship of Fools [/i]being steered by the Mad King George and his neo-con pirates who have hijacked our nation ... [/b]and are swindling, plundering and looting whomsoever crosses their murderous path!

Now, [i]Human Rights Watch [/i]charges the U.S. with War Crimes in Iraq. Their charges only represent the [i]tip-of-the-iceberg[/i] of the atrocities committed by this insane neo-con administration:-- for the corrupt Bush regime is indeed responsible for [i]Crimes Against Humanity[/i], including the slaughter of nearly 600 U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan (100) & Iraq (496), as well as tens of thousands of innocent civilians in these countries-- to enrich themselves and their ruthless & contemptible corporate paymasters: Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, etc.

A sample of the Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta's[/i] criminal activities is revealed in "[i][b]Group Accuses U.S. of War Crimes in Iraq[/b][/i]" on :

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A top human rights group Tuesday accused the U.S. military of committing war crimes by demolishing homes of suspected insurgents and arresting the relatives of Iraqi fugitives.

The military denied the charges by Human Rights Watch, saying it only destroyed homes that were being used to store weapons or as fighting positions, adding that all Iraqis detained were suspected of taking part in attacks on coalition forces.

``Assertions that the coalition is intentionally attacking homes as a matter of collective punishment are false,'' said Col. William Darley, a military spokesman. `People are not arrested because they are related to other suspects - people are detained because they themselves are suspects.''

The New York-based human rights group said American soldiers demolished at least four Iraqi homes for no apparent military reason other than to punish the families of anti-U.S. guerrilla suspects.

``Troops are entitled to suppress armed attacks, but they can only destroy a civilian structure when it is being used in an attack,'' Kenneth Roth, the group's executive director, said in a statement. ``These demolitions did not meet the test of military necessity.''

The group also accused the U.S. military of kidnapping in two cases in which American soldiers arrested civilians who happened to be related to guerrilla suspects.

In one case, the Army detained the wife and daughter of Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a former top lieutenant of Saddam Hussein and now the most wanted man in Iraq. The two women remain in U.S. custody more than six weeks after they were arrested without charge.

Darley refused to discuss al-Douri's wife and daughter, saying there were ``special circumstances'' surrounding their case.

``Detaining persons for the purpose of compelling actions from the opposing side amounts to hostage-taking, which is a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions - in other words, a war crime,'' Human Rights Watch said.

Demolishing homes and destroying civilian property as a reprisal or deterrent amounts to collective punishment, which is also prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.

``International law allows occupying forces to detain individuals who have attacked them or who pose security threats,'' Roth said. ``U.S. forces should immediately release anyone being held solely because they are related to a wanted person.''

In a letter to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, the group called for a halt to such tactics and asked him to ensure U.S. forces abide by the 1949 Geneva Conventions, holding soldiers accountable for ordering, condoning or carrying out serious violations of the laws of war.

Human Rights Watch also condemned as war crimes bombings, assassinations and other attacks by Iraqi rebels that target civilians.

Military analysts have said many of the U.S. military counterinsurgency tactics resemble those used by Israeli troops on the Arab territories they occupy. Human Rights Watch and other groups have also accused Israel of war crimes.

Recent U.S. methods in Iraq increasingly mimic those Israel uses in the West Bank and Gaza - house demolitions, setting up impromptu checkpoints, keeping militants on the defensive with frequent arrest raids and, in at least one case, encircling a village and distributing travel permits.

[b]On the Net[/b]:

HRW letter to Rumsfeld:

HRW condemns Iraq rebels:

Fmr Top Republican Strategist Describes the Sordid Rise to Power by the Corrupt Bush Family
01.13.04 (8:09 am)   [edit]
[b]A former Top Republican Strategist discusses the sordid rise to power by the corrupt Bush family-- who have a very long, despicable and squalid track-record for supporting, aiding and abetting Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Chun of S. Korea, Suharto in Indonesia, Pinochet of Chile, and a host of other ruthless, rapacious dictators & thugs--[/b], and, now the Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta's[/i] [i]neo-Saddam Hussein:[/i] Ahmed Chalabi ([i]convicted liar, swindler & thief[/i]) who is encouraged to perpetrate the wholesale rape, plunder & looting of Iraq, as their neo-con Bush puppet-- to enrich himself, the criminal neo-fascist Bush family, and their corporate pay-masters: Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, etc ...

"We the People" must put a stop to this bloody madness perpetrated by the Bush regime, and call upon Congress to demand[i] impeachment hearings [/i]for Bush & Cheney-- and a trial in the International Court at the Hague for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Rove, Wolfowitz, Bolton, Feith, and the other neo-cons responsible for their heinous [i]Crimes Against Humanity[/i].

Consider "[b]American Dynasty: Fmr. Top Republican Strategist Discusses The Bush Family's Rise To Power Since WWI[/b]" on :

We speak with Kevin Phillips is a former top Republican strategist. He first became well known in 1969 with the publication of his book his book [i]The Emerging Republican Majority[/i] which [i]Newsweek[/i] described as "the political bible of the Nixon Administration."

After Ronald Reagan's election in 1980, Phillips was generally acknowledged as the Republican party's principal electoral theoretician. In 1982, the [i]Wall Street Journal [/i]described him as "the leading conservative electoral analyst -- the man who invented the Sun Belt, named the New Right, and prophesied 'The Emerging Republican Majority' in 1969."

He has since become a prolific writer and a critic of the current state of the Republican Party. Among his books are [i]Wealth and Democracy [/i]and [i]The Politics of Rich and Poor[/i].

His latest book is [i]American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics in the House of Bush[/i]. It examines how the Bush family has been consolidating its power for four generations and how the Bushes have been staging their ascent to national power since World War I.

[b]Kevin Phillips[/b], author of the new book [i]American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics in the House of Bush[/i] is interviewed by [b]Amy Goodman[/b].


This transcript is available free of charge, however donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution.

[b]AMY GOODMAN[/b]: Today we turn to Kevin Phillips, talking about [i]American dynasty, aristocracy, fortune, and the politics of deceit in the house of Bush[/i]. Phillips is a former top Republican strategist. He first became well known in 1969 with the publication of his book, ?he Emerging Republican Majority,?which Newsweek described as the political bible of the Nixon administration. After Ronald Reagan's election in 1980, Phillips was generally acknowledged as the Republican Party's principle electoral theoretician. In 1982, the Wall Street Journal described him as the leading conservative electoral analyst, the man who invented the Sun Belt, named the New Right and prophesied ?he Emerging Republican Majority?in 1969. He since has become a prolific writer and a critic of the current state of the Republican Party. Among his books are ?ealth and Democracy and The Politics of Rich and Poor.?He game into our new studios here at Downtown Community Television in the bottom floor of the firehouse, where the engines used to come in and out. He came in last week to talk about his book, [i]American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush[/i].?

[b]KEVIN PHILLIPS[/b]: It's kind of amazing because it really did fly in under the radar. The biographies that were written about George H. W. Bush in the 1980's, where actually, one was written by a fellow who had worked for him at the United Nations and the second was by a social chum from Rhode Island who had a C.I.A. connection, like I think Bush did. Oddly enough, nothing was ever really done by somebody else, and the up shot of this was, as you say, that nobody looked at the two previous generations in any depth. Now, they have had scatterings, but -- what really happened where the Bush dynasty started was the role of the current president's two great grandfathers in the period around World War I. Now, the one who was really the founding father, George Herbert Walker, that's a familiar set names in terms of the names of the 41st and 43rd presidents. He was a financier from St. Louis, very hard-charging and very successful, was very much involved in his earlier days before World War I in repackaging companies in the south central United States, railroads, gas companies and so forth. He became known to the Harrimans who were Union Pacific and railroad people, at very large scale in that role. Ultimately, Averell Harriman lined him up as Harriman's partner in 1919. But before that, he and his chums from St. Louis were very much involved in the wartime finance and the relations with the allies. The United States provided huge amounts of materiel for the British and French. George H. Walker ultimately came out of all of this as a major, major player on Wall Street in the 1920's and 1930's. What he did in that role with Harriman was that they did a lot of business in France -- a little in France and mostly in Germany and Russia. Some of these episodes were really diplomacy on a pretty grand scale, because George H. Walker and Harriman went in and developed and tried to fix up the Russian oil industry in the Caucasus as things would happen 400 miles from Iraq where we are now. That didn't go over too well with some of the people in Washington, but they practically had under Harriman and Walker a kind of little intelligence operation in the investment business. Through one of the companies that they were involved in, the American International Corporation, which had played a considerable role in World War I they actually hired as one of their directors, the fellow who had been the number two in the State Department intelligence operation. To make a long story short, his role in international business, George H. Walker's, was huge: ties to Russia and Germany and the ties to Germany will swim back into the portrait a little later. Samuel Prescott Bush, who was another great grandfather of the current president's was a major steel executive in Ohio. And his connection was to the Rockefellers. Because Standard Oil of Ohio, the famous Standard Oil of the history books, owned some of the shares in Buckeye Casting, which was the business of Sam Bush.

So, he was connected to the Rockefellers, and Standard Oil used its power over the railroad industry through carrying oil to get their business for Buckeye Castings, which was mostly a railroad equipment. But during World War I, Buckeye Castings did war manufacturing, barrels for guns and casings for shells and so forth. But Sam Bush went to Washington and he was the -- in charge of the section of the war industry's board that regulated small arms, ammunition, and ordinance, ordinance being guns, basically, of an artillery nature. He was a major player in the wartime regulation of who was selling what in terms munitions. By the time the two streams converge, you get Samuel Bush's son, Prescott, marrying George H. Walker's daughter, Dorothy in St. Louis in 1921. What you have got is a family union that had more than a little bit to do with the emergence of the military industrial complex in the United States. And I was on a couple of St. Louis radio stations on the day that the president went out to St. Louis, and I was asked by one of them, had I noticed that he never introduces himself as having had any tie to St. Louis. I said, I wasn't too surprised, because St. Louis was the -- takes you back into the George H. Walker and the whole role of that family, and I went through what the role was. So, that's a very cursory look at Sam Bush and George H. Walker. These were big-time players behind the scenes in Washington, in World War I, and then especially George H. Walker in the 1920's, and Prescott Bush, who is the current president's grandfather was George H. Walker's assistant and prot?g? in the W. A. Harriman firm and then in Brown Brothers Harriman, and he, too, had a lot of dealings with the intelligence services in Russia and Germany.

[b]AMY GOODMAN[/b]: Can you talk about that as we move to the second World War, as we move to the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency where he comes from, and where the secret societies that all of the Bushes seem to be a part of, particularly at Yale, Skull and Bones, fits into this?

[b]KEVIN PHILLIPS[/b]: I hate to overdo the secret societies, because the average person has no idea of this. And I went to Harvard Law School and then Harvard has these secret societies, too. But the ones at Yale, I think, if anything, are more influential it's hard to cold turkey reign in and say, my god, Skull and Bones, this is virtually like a diplomatic or international business piracy. You can almost see the pirate flag. But they all took it very serious because admiral Harriman had, instead of going to Harvard and getting involved in The Porks, so to speak, which was the club up at Harvard, he went to Yale and did Skull and Bones. A crowd of people who were involved in operations like National City Bank, and Guaranteed Trust and just a whole lot of people that were major players in finance were Skull and Bones. The crowd that was at W.A. Harriman was full of Skull and Bones people and Prescott Bush was Skull and Bones. A lot of these people who were Skull and Bones wound up in the intelligence services or they were assistant secretaries for aviation in the war department and things like this. It was a whole network.

[b]AMY GOODMAN[/b]: But for people who don't know what Skull and Bones is, what you are referring to...

[b]KEVIN PHILLIPS[/b]: It's a Yale secret society. And Yale has other secret societies. Another one was called Book and Snake. So, they came up with these names. But these people took secrecy incredibly seriously. Books that have been written about Skull and Bones, they have got a vault at Yale and nobody is supposed to be able to get in there. You cannot even tell your wife about Skull and Bones. Averell Harriman, his wife received a letter that was in hieroglyphics, and she didn't know what to make of this, and Averell Harriman said, well, that's Skull and Bones, and I have got to tell you about that, and he said, oh, no, I cannot tell you about that. If you want to know why they deal in secrecy and all of this, it's because, (A), you have got Skull and Bones, and (B), so many of them were also in the intelligence services and that whole side of Washington and New York.

[b]AMY GOODMAN[/b]: Well, can you talk about that, the beginning of intelligence and how the Bush family fits into the beginning of intelligence agencies?

[b]KEVIN PHILLIPS[/b]: Well this gets complicated because nobody quite agrees when the Intelligence Agency started. But Yale was front and center because the statue that's in front of the C.I.A. is Nathan Hale. Nathan Hale's statue that they copied that from appears in front of Connecticut Hall at Yale in New Haven. If you go back to the revolution you have Yale and the secret service.

[b]AMY GOODMAN[/b]: And it also goes over to Andover where Bush went as well.

[b]KEVIN PHILLIPS[/b]: Andover was really in the thick of this sort of stuff. They had a secret society sort of junior grade where you practiced to be a Skull and Bones type at Yale when you were at Andover. It all sounds like a joke today, but it certainly wasn't back then. What happened was the crowd that was in with Prescott Bush and George H. Walker with W. A. Harriman, a number of them became prominent in the intelligence community and then when you get to the firm that was merged out of W. A. Harriman, which was Brown Brothers Harriman, one of the partners there was Robert A. Lovett, who was the son of one of the big cheeses in Harriman's railroad operation. I mean it all fits together. Robert A. Lovett was the man who came up with the blueprint for the C.I.A. after World War II, which was never acknowledged and only became public knowledge -- maybe 15, 20 years ago. So, he was a major player, and Prescott Bush, I have no doubt, was very close to the intelligence agencies during World War II. He was a director of two companies, one was Dresser Industries, which is now part of Halliburton, and the second was Vanadium Corporation of America. They were both involved in the atomic energy project. Prescott Bush was a friend of Alan Dulles, who went on to be the C.I.A. director, but he was also a lawyer in the 1930's for some of the Brown Bros. Harriman international gamesmanship, so to speak. They were very tightly knit into all of this. The real thing about the Bushes is how far back they go in this loose combination of investment banking, Wall Street law, the intelligence community, the international business, the state department, and the war department.

[b]AMY GOODMAN[/b]: We're talking to former top republican strategist Kevin Phillips. His new book is called, [i]American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush[/i].?We'll be back with him in a minute.

[b]AMY GOODMAN[/b]: This is Democracy Now!, the War and Peace Report. I'm Amy Goodman. As we continue our conversation with Kevin Phillips, who has written a new book called "American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush." He talks about how the world is fully aware of the family ties between the 41st and 43rd American presidents, but Phillips shows how not two, but four generations of Bushes have mounted the ladder of national power since World War I. Since then, through a recurrent flair for old boy networking at Yale, on Wall Street, in the Senate and the C.I.A., and through their involvement in finance, energy and national security, three key enterprises of the American 20th century, the Bush family has moved to the forefront. Phillips argues the Bush family has parlayed its financial and social credentials, its aristocracy into political and dynastic clout, thereby subverting the very core of democracy, he says. We continued the conversation when I asked him about the Bush family generations, and their relationship with Cuba.

[b]KEVIN PHILLIPS[/b]: George H. Walker was a real piece of work. I mean, he was a buccaneer. He was sort of a Joe Kennedy, but with a social register type qualification. He got involved in the 1920's with a bunch of Cuban companies, because of his ties to Percy Rockefeller and the National City Bank. They handled a lot of investments in Cuba. He was a director during the 1920's of eight or nine Cuban companies. George H. Walker had ties to the -- investment ties that were independent, so he had invested in some of these companies. One of them turned out several -- several turned out to merge into something called West Indies Sugar. West Indies Sugar became one of the major American companies in Cuba, and George H. Walker Jr., the son of George H. Walker and Prescott, Bush's cousin was a director, held a family seat on West Indies Sugar. Now during the late 1950's, West Indies Sugar was based in the Indy province in Cuba. That's where the Castro insurgency was developing. Castro and his people sort of shook down West Indies Sugar. They used their trucks and hit them up for money and so forth. They were unhappy with the Castro movement. In 1959 or 1960, I forget which year, Castro's people nationalized West Indies Sugar, and at this time George H. W. Bush's uncle was Director of West Indies Sugar. The value of West Indies sugar had been about $50 million and it wound up being virtually peanuts. I don't know how much their stake was. I couldn't begin to guess. It may not have been nearly as much as one would suggest from the bigger numbers. They were an unhappy set of campers when West Indies Sugar went bye-bye.

[b]AMY GOODMAN[/b]: Can you talk about the date, November 29, 1963.

[b]KEVIN PHILLIPS[/b]: That was the date, I believe, when a document came out of the F.B.I. in which they mentioned having briefed a George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency on the rest of this in Miami after the Kennedy assassination. The C.I.A. and "The Nation" magazine had a couple of articles about this. This is where that came from. The C.I.A. said, well, it's a different George Bush. And it turned out they were talking about a fellow who was a G.S.5, a low-grade federal classification, was an analyst that he analyzed coastlines, so it couldn't have been the same. They were coming up with a red herring there. The allegations of George H. W. Bush's involvement in the C.I.A. often come back to something in the Caribbean and something involving the Bay of Pigs. This is just another suggestion of the probable C.I.A. connections of some sort of George H. W. Bush.

[b]AMY GOODMAN[/b]: This was just a week after President Kennedy was assassinated?

[b]KEVIN PHILLIPS[/b]: That's right.

[b]AMY GOODMAN[/b]: You seem to have evolved yourself during this book. You write about your dismay and disillusionment, you said, as you were writing, more than you have imagined. The result, an unusual and unflattering portrait of a great family, great in power, not morality, that has built a base over the course of the 20th century in the back corridors of the new Military Industrial Complex and in close association with the growing intelligence and national security establishments. You talk about the three presidents from Texas and their three wars, Lyndon Johnson? Vietnam, and the Bushes?Iraq, Iraq and how unusual that is. The two Bushes, one carrying on the legacy of the other.

[b]KEVIN PHILLIPS[/b]: There are a bunch of questions in that question. It's difficult for me to know where to start slicing it. The emergence of the Military Industrial Complex is often something that the average American may think is an unfair term that rose with the left and so forth. In fact, Dwight Eisenhower when he gave his farewell address in 1961, in leaving the presidency, good Republican President from my standpoint of my old politics, warned against the Military Industrial Complex and the danger it would pose to the United States if it gained power. I was a little bit appalled as I got into all of this to see that probably the Bushes were connected with the rise of exactly what Eisenhower had warned against. And the Republican I work for, Richard Nixon, when I wrote a book called ?he Politics of Rich and Poor?that came out in 1990, which attacked Bush economic policies, he gave me the lead quote on the back of the book jacket, and the Bush people didn't like that at all. I would say that anybody that figures that the Republicans were complicit in doing all of this or another bunch of Republicans that were against it. In no sense does this represent, I think, what a lot of the people I knew in the Republican party in the 1960's, and even in the 1970's wanted to see happen. And what's happening with the emergence of this Military Industrial Intelligence Complex is that you have had a family able to create a dynasty, and the dynasty has become the first family in American politics to basically pass the presidency to the eldest son eight years after his father left office. That's a major change in democratic -- with a small d, and republican with a small r, governance in the United States. And as the further I got into this, the more that I found that it wasn't simply a phenomenon of dynasty, but it had all of these underlying connections. I had thought there were probably things like this, because George H. W., as he rose through the ranks of politics in Washington, he never seemed to win elections. He was defeated twice in Texas senate races, but, you know, he continued to thrive. What he had were these connections to the establishment and a kind of permanent government that kept him going even though he didn't really have the elections success. And I always thought that, but as I got into this book, and I could see the family background, and how the economics and the corporate connections interacted with the intelligence and war departments and so forth, I really began to be convinced that there was something pretty big here.

[b]AMY GOODMAN[/b]: You have appendixes in this book. Appendix B reviews the family's penchant for secrecy and for cleaning and locking up government records. Can you talk about not just the secrecy of the intelligence agency, but this idea of -- well of wiping things out, information.

[b]KEVIN PHILLIPS[/b]: Well, you have a whole set of factors that add up to -- have made the Bushes favor this sort of disinformational clandestine approach. The first is simply that they were -- both of the great grandparents were involved in this backstage World War I. A lot of it would have been quite secret. They were involved in munitions. They were involved in supplies for the British and the French and what have you. They basically didn't talk about it a lot. That's not unreasonable if you come out of that. Then, when their businesses in the 1920's, or George Herbert Walker's businesses, they were clandestine because he was doing stuff that the government didn't know about, and in some cases when they knew about it, they didn't like it. If so, you have the sense of being closemouthed. Prescott Bush was in Skull and Bones. And all of the Skull and Bones people, that was secrecy to the end degree. Averill Harriman, he used his Skull and Bones code number on his briefcase and all of this, and I mean, here we're talking about a Democrat. I mean it was bipartisan. So, they had that whole sense of secrecy from Skull and Bones. They had the intelligence communities. The C.I.A. obviously is an institution that has indulged enormously in disinformation and deceit. Sometimes they probably had a good reason. Other times they did not have a good reason. The Bushes absorbed after lot of this, but the Bushes would also -- let's call it deceive about their economic status. The President's grandfather, Prescott Bush was actually quoted, and I have it in there somewhere, about how his father couldn't afford to send him to law school. He didn't have enough money. His father had been a business partner of John D. Rockefeller's brother. He made a lot of money during the war. I was able to get -- World War I. I was able to get a book on business that included something about Buckeye Steel Castings. That was a very successful company based on war contracts. So, Prescott Bush's father had plenty of money, but he didn't want people to know that. He didn't want people to know about the Rockefeller connection. He did all of this poor mouthing because George H. W. would talk about when he interviewed for a job. I don't think he ever interviewed for a job in his life. His father had all of these connections. So, there was a major misrepresentation there, too. The last thing they did, which was involved in this kind of secrecy disinformation, and I don't know when it started, but they got into Machiavelli. I was always interested in Machiavelli from the stand point of he was influential in change in Renaissance politics in Europe and in Italy. But interestingly enough, both of the Bush presidents have had political advisers who read Machiavelli. Karl Rove, the advisor to George W., and Lee Atwater was the adviser to George H. W. Now, Rove was quoted in one of the books that came out recently as saying that Lee Atwater, who was his friend, reread Machiavelli's "The Prince" once a year to sort of keep up on the wisdom of the master, so it speak What Machiavelli says in one of these book, most notefully, the prince, is that the prince has to be all talk about humanity and religion and fairness and nice-nice type of things, but what really makes a prince a success is to deceive, because you can basically pull the wool over most people's eyes most of the time. His historical analysis is that people like Pope Alexander VI and others there were successful because they deceived. And his analysis in the discourse is Machiavelli is the -- is that the history of success sort of in the Renaissance period didn't come from force as a way of getting leadership positions. Fraud was how you got leadership positions. I don't know how many copies of Machiavelli? ?he Prince?are at the C.I.A. It? possible that C.I.A. George H. W. got this from his C.I.A. connections. They would think in terms of keeping things quiet and deceiving. You had the advisers that fed on Machiavelli.

[b]AMY GOODMAN[/b]: Would you call President Bush now a liar?

[b]KEVIN PHILLIPS[/b]: Well, I would say if it's a lie to talk about things that involve the C.I.A. with a large degree of falsity, then you probably had a list of liars that began with Woodrow Wilson with the intelligence community went through all of the Republicans in the 1920's to F.D.R. to Harry Truman to everybody, because the C.I.A. Presidents have not discussed that with candor. In fact, you could probably say with great certainty, if you knew what they really knew, that they had lied. So, you know, I would say that the Bushes have lied about things like this, but I wouldn't say only the Bushes.

[b]AMY GOODMAN[/b]: The Enron-Halliburton state.

[b]KEVIN PHILLIPS[/b]: Well, this is again kind of mind boggling to me, because the Enron connection spreads across two generations. Enron through Ken Lay, who was the big cheese at Enron, got involved with George H. W. Bush when he was running for President in 1980. This was before Ken Lay was at Enron. He was at another company. He wasn't a major force then, but after the 1984 election, when Bush was Vice President, he was working on energy deregulation in the Reagan administration, and Lay, who was interested in deregulating the natural gas industry got a little closer to Bush. I wouldn't say they were buddies or anything, but Lay was involved in Republican fund raising. When George Bush senior was elected in 1988, he was again closer to Lay. He named Lay as one of the members of the President's Export Council. He appointed him to head the preparation for one of the economic summits in Texas. This helped Lay's credibility enormously in terms of expanding overseas and getting support from the Export-Import Bank, which is a government agency that supports foreign operations. Then you pass the baton to George W., who was very close to Ken Lay, in the mid 1980's. One of the episodes with George W. and Ken Lay is that apparently right after his father was elected in 1988, he is alleged to have gotten on the phone to the minister of whatever it was in Argentina to say that they wanted this contract -- or this pipeline or whatever it was to go to Enron in Argentina, and George W. Appears to have had some relationship according to the Chicago Tribune with gas properties in Texas, where the gas was bought by Enron, but with certainty, as George W. was Governor of Texas, he got very close to Enron again, and of course, when he came to Washington in 2000, Enron was just omni present in terms of appointments in the Commerce Department and the Trade Operations and especially the Energy Department and even the Department of the Army because they were expecting to privatize military procurement of energy, one of the Enron executives went in as Secretary of the Army. So, it's just quite a relationship. And Halliburton, of course, that was the Dick Cheney company, but Halliburton bought Dresser, which was the industry that Prescott Bush first--that was the company where he got involved with the oil industry in 1930. So, what Prescott Bush had been involved with Dresser Industries became part of Halliburton, which was the Cheney company, and it all became one group of happy people connected to the Enron-Halliburton administration also known as the Bush-Cheney administration.

[b]AMY GOODMAN[/b]: And you talk about how you had independent prosecutor for Clinton, then certainly one should have been appointed when it comes to the Bushes and Enron.

[b]KEVIN PHILLIPS[/b]: What you have to bear in mind is that the Republicans were all over Clinton big-time. I didn't like Bill Clinton, and I thought he disgraced the presidency in the way that he behaved, but the Republicans were trying to nail him 25 hours of every day. And the Democrats are a very feckless crowd by Careson. They just didn't really go in like sharks for the kill. I think partly because Enron had financed more than a few Democrats, too.

[b]AMY GOODMAN[/b]: We are talking to Kevin Phillips, who is a Republican strategist, who has written a very damning book about the Bushes, "American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush," saying that dynasty subverts democracy. You can talk more about that?

[b]KEVIN PHILLIPS[/b]: I think it does. The implicit aspect of dynasty is you get an office by factors and forces that are related to heredity, and a line of descent and a power structure outside of the democratic, small d, and republican, small r, framework. I think that's what we have seen. The whole notion that the Bushes could put in George W. Bush in 2000, I think, part of that was because there was this enormous religious reaction against Clinton, which is something I try to measure in several portions of the book, too. And Al Gore, who had been a very active Southern Baptist, was sufficiently tainted by the Clinton connection. He couldn't carry a single southern state. The Bushes orchestrated -- I'm not suggesting there was a great nefarious plot, but I think clearly there was an attempt to harness the whole Bush apparatus from his father to get George W. into the White House. Now, you have to go back and look at the family. George H. Walker, four generations in the beginning, was a great believer in politics as the vehicle of real power. And his son-in-lay, Prescott Bush, who in 1952, became a senator from Connecticut, by the late 1950's was saying to his wife that he wished he had gotten into politics earlier. So, he thought he could have been president. She said that in sources and so she acknowledged that her husband thought he might have become president. This in the early 1960's, George W., when he was at Andover, said that his father wanted to be president. This was even before he ran for the Senate in 1964. So, they have had the oval office up there in the secret ink on the wall of the house of Bush for a long time. And it was tied in to all of these connections, and to me, that is not what you want to have in the United States. That is not what Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and John Adams basically helped set the country up for. I mean, we just dumped two Georges throwing the -- George I George II, and George III, and we dumped George II, and now we have George I -- we dumped George III, and now we have George the I and George II. You talk about John Adams' son, too, became president.

[b]AMY GOODMAN[/b]: Yeah, but that doesn't matter much because it was 24 years after his father left office, and they shared no machinery, and they were in different parties. How did they differ from the Kennedys?

[b]KEVIN PHILLIPS[/b]: The Kennedys never became a dynasty that elected more than one president. Now, they certainly tried in 1968 and they tried in 1980. They didn't pull it off. I think the big difference is that the Kennedys had some connections that they never wanted people to realize. John Kennedy shared a girlfriend with a mob leader, and they obviously bought a couple of ever estates that they carried in 1960. Nobody can debate that now. They were never a dynasty that A. ever got two presidents and B., had this whole tie to the real power structure of United States in investment banking and oil and defense and the old line social upper crust. Because that wasn't what the Kennedys were. They were outsiders. Joe Kennedy made his money out of bootlegging whiskey.

[b]AMY GOODMAN[/b]: Then you have Jeb Bush, who seems to be in the wings?

[b]KEVIN PHILLIPS[/b]: Well, Albie is not in the wings. He is actual the one that his parents thought would be the serious presidential candidate. In the 2000 inauguration, his son, George P., actually commented and was quoted by one of the newspapers as saying, you know, nobody ever believed that his uncle would be the one who ran. I don't think people thought he had the temperament. I'm not certain that Jeb had any temperament either. He? been involved in a lot of cute stuff but hopefully he's not waiting in the wings.

[b]AMY GOODMAN[/b]: Finally, Bush, the current president, George W., how he rose to power. His re-inventing himself from a silver spoon Yankee WASP to a bible-thumping Texan and how he started his oil company, Arbustos, Spanish for Bush, and the connections for perhaps the Bin Laden family?

[b]KEVIN PHILLIPS[/b]: Well, there's probably not much doubt about this. The Bin Laden family is not the same thing as Osama in the sense that Osama is a black sheep who rebelled against them. But it's absolutely true that the Arbusto package involved a $50,000 investment by a fellow named James Bath, who was the U.S. representative of the Bin Ladens, and the Khalid Bin-Mafuse, who was also distantly related, because they had all had four wives, and the concubines kids could get in the pie and everything. A lot of people were related. These two are said by some of the experts to have actually been the ones who provided the money that Bath gave to Bush in 1979, and then in his later business, Harkin Energy, which was in the late 1980's, B.C.C.I., the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, which was mixed up in Iran contra and a lot of other scandals was front and center in Harkin. You have a tie to two of Bush's oil investments that bring you to the Persian Gulf types. The Bin Laden family was also involved in the Carlysle group, which George H. W., after he left office in 1993, became very prominently affiliated with the Carlysle group. There are these ties.

[b]AMY GOODMAN[/b]: What about the fact that the Carlysle group has benefited so handsomely. In other words, George H. W. Bush the father of the President, has benefited so handsomely from the war in Iraq, from the whole militarization after 9-11?

[b]KEVIN PHILLIPS[/b]: Well, there were 12 Saudi families who were involved in Carlysle, so you can say that the Saudi establishment also benefited from a lot of this. I have no idea how much money George Bush has taken out of the Carlysle group. I have no idea of the size of his investment. You cannot get these numbers. There's just no way to get them. So, it's not fair to say hugely. You can just say it's pretty probable that he made a fair amount of money on it. Nobody really knows.

[b]AMY GOODMAN[/b]: Former White House Represent Strategist, Kevin Phillips. His new book is, "[i]American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush[/i]." 5XÌ?

[b]Another read[/b]:

"Dictators R Us" by Noam Chomsky on

55% of Americans Want Health Care System, Not Dubya's Clownish MoonWalk!
01.12.04 (7:52 pm)   [edit]
[b]The majority of Americans want [i]our[/i] taxpayer dollars [/b]([i]the working people's-- since the Bushies' campaign contributors, corporations & the rich plutocrats aren't paying anywhere close to their fair share in taxes[/i]) [b]to be invested in programs to improve our lives here on earth[/b]-- instead of the corrupt Dubya's clownish bases on the Moon & Mars ... an imbecilic & laughable propaganda ploy to [i]prop-up [/i]the incompetent Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta[/i], and divert our attention away from their criminal economic rape of America-- their lies, deceptions & falsehoods-- and their war-mongerings in Afghanistan & Iraq on behalf of greedy war-profiteers -- resulting in massacres, mayhem, chaos & misery for "We the People" and innocents in other nations.

Refer to "AP Poll: U.S. Tepid on Bush's Space Plans" on .

Inexperience Is A Red-Herring: But Ineptitude, Stupidity & Corruption Are Lethal
01.12.04 (7:45 am)   [edit]
[b]It is hilarious to watch the hysterical right-wing neo-con hypocrites, buffoons & [i]corporate-take-all [/i]robber-barons, wantonly attack Howard Dean and the other Democratic candidates[/b].

They cite Howard Dean's lack of experience in dealing with international matters-- this is laughable in the extreme, given the fact that Dubya not only has shown an appalling lack of experience in any and all matters related to international relations, defense ([i]warmongering to enrich Halliburton & his other neo-fascist war-profiteers '[u]ain't[/u]' in our national security interest[/i]), fiscal discipline of which Dubya has shown a recklessness & ruthlessness that Al Capone would be proud of, etc. -- after all, he was a lousy Governor of Texas, who only got the job because Daddy Bush's corrupt cronies like Kenny-boy (Enron) Lay, put him in office to rape the working people, on behalf of their corporate swindles & embezzlements.

At least, Howard Dean has brains and the courage to speak the truth-- [i]even if it ain't always pretty[/i]-- which then the corrupt neo-con [i]spin-meisters [/i]warp & twist Dean's words, [i]neo-orwellian style[/i], as they did their phony WMDs, phony Iraq-Al Qaida ties, phony threats posed by Saddam Hussein, etc. etc. etc. ... And, Dean would appoint better men and women, than the neo-con liars, thieves, and murderers who surround the mafioso Mad King George! Very few presidents have vast international experience before they take office: [b][i]Dubya HAD NONE-- and by God, it shows, exascerbated by the fact that he has squandered precious lives, precious good-will & standing in the world, and our U.S. Treasury, on behalf of his corporate campaign contributors[/i][/b]!!!

Moreover, not only has Dubya shown an appalling lack of experience on the world stage, as well as, here at home, [i]where our economy is in deep, deep trouble[/i]-- he has also shown an extreme ineptitude, stupidity and corruption, that has proven lethal to hundreds of Americans who have lost their lives; many tens of thousands of Afghanistanis & Iraqis who have lost their lives;-- and the masses of workers in this country, whom the rapacious Bushies are impoverishing-- as these thieves steal their pensions, their rights, and their futures, to whorishly enrich themselves & their corporate pimps.

It is time for "We the People" to make in change in 2004-- to oust not only the corrupt Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta[/i], and their sordid gang of squalid thugs & murderous goons-- but also, to oust scores of Congressmen and women, who are also in the pockets of the corporate robber-barons, who are out to destroy America.

[b]For your information[/b]:

"Ex US-Treasury Chief: Saw No Evidence of Iraq WMDs [& Dubya said 'deficits don't matter']" on

"Bush Sought to Oust Hussein From Start, Ex-Official Says" on

"America's Red Ink - [IMF says Bush's reckless economic policies will harm US & world economies]" on

Bush Wants To Destroy America's Middle-Class ...
01.11.04 (8:12 pm)   [edit]
[b]Bush wants to destroy America's middle-class, and replace our great nation with a 3rd world style, neo-feudal slave state ... [/b]where corporations, robber-barons & the wealthiest plutocrats embezzle all of the workers' hard-earned assets-- and these callous and arrogant thieves will live the Belle Epoque in neo-imperial style, while the rest of us are impoverished, miserable, and struggling to survive ...

"We the People" must put a stop to this insanity that will create a calamitous & fascist country that turns our citizens into indentured servants ... Contact Congress and demand a change in direction of the corrupt Bush regime's[i] corporate-take-all [/i]policies-- and demand that the insane, immoral and illegal tax loopholes, tax cuts & boondoggles for corporations and the richest of the rich, be repealed today!

[b]Highly recommended sources[/b]:

"[i][b]US job growth virtually zero in December[/b][/i]" on : - [i]Excerpt[/i] -

The US unemployment rate fell in December to 5.7 percent from 5.9 percent in November, but the decrease was almost entirely accounted for by workers dropping out of the labor force. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), only 1,000 new jobs were created last month, while some 309,000 people stopped looking for work. The labor force participation rate of 66 percent was the lowest since December 1991.

Analysts variously described the BLS report as “disappointing,” “unexpectedly poor,” “anemic” and “shockingly weaker.” The US dollar fell to record low levels Friday against the euro as a consequence. Brian Williamson, vice president of equity trading at Boston Company Asset Management, told the press, “The numbers are very disappointing. They essentially show a standstill in company hiring, and that doesn’t give us much confidence in the state of the economy.”

"[i][b]Call It the Family Risk Factor[/b][/i]" on : - [i]Excerpt[/i] -

The truly staggering changes, however, are taking place in the private sector. The number of Americans without employment-based health benefits has been rising for decades. Employers are also restructuring workplace benefits to impose more risk on workers. Once, for instance, workers lucky enough to have a pension enjoyed a guaranteed benefit. Now, with so-called defined-contribution plans like 401(k)'s, workers have to put away their own wages and the returns of the plan depend entirely on their own investments.

What might be done to help families cope with the new economic insecurity? The essential first step is to shore up existing policies to ensure broad-based and secure unemployment, pension and health benefits.

Yet simply upgrading present efforts is not enough. I believe we need a new, flexible universal insurance program to protect families against catastrophic expenses and drops in income, before families fall into poverty. Universal insurance would, in turn, be coupled with tax-subsidized savings accounts that would help middle and lower-income families manage these expenses before they reached catastrophic levels.

Our economy is in the throes of a great transformation — from an all-in-the-same-boat world of shared risk toward a go-it-alone world of personal responsibility. Protecting families from the greatest "hazards and vicissitudes of life" — in Franklin Delano Roosevelt's still relevant words — is necessary and possible, and it offers perhaps the best hope for reviving a constructive role for government, on bold new terms, in this new century.

The Buying of the President 2004: Who's Really Bankrolling Bush & the Others?
01.11.04 (7:44 am)   [edit]
[b]Big corporate money is corrupting our political system in ways that are harmful to our people and destructive to our nation ... For the first time, the Wall Street firms are investing in their[i] corporate-take-all [/i]puppet Bush, because they want to destroy social security ([i]that they see as a fund to plunder[/i]), banking regulations ([i]to swindle working people out of their assets[/i]), financial accounting standards ([i]to avoid being held accountable for embezzling retirees out of their pension plans[/i])-- and other protections that safeguard the savings and solvency of working people ...

[u]Dubya has shown that his only loyalty is to enrich himself and his corporate rapists-- no matter whom he has to violate, exploit & destroy, in the process[/u] ...

[/b]"We the People" are not paying attention, as corporations and the wealthiest Americans are swindling, plundering, looting & exploiting us ... Let us stop this corruption and refuse to support those criminal politicos who are turning our nation over to thieves, robber-barons & embezzlers.

Citizens must take back [i]our[/i] government-- that is supposed to be: [b]Of the People, By the People, For the People[/b] ... and not rigged ([i]as it is today, by a 3rd world style oligarchy, who pays for its own private politicos who serve their corrupt paymasters-- and impoverish and rape the rest of us[/i]) ... America doesn't belong to corporations ... nor does it belong to the wealthiest robber-barons ... It belongs to [i]ALL OF THE PEOPLE[/i].

[b]The Buying of the President 2004: Who's Really Bankrolling Bush & His Democratic Challengers And What They Expect In Return[/b] on :

President Bush has raised a record $130 million for his 2004 campaign. Charles Lewis of the Center of the Public Integrity talks about how the process of choosing a president has moved from the voting booth to the auction block. [includes transcript] This from today's New York Times: A new study released Thursday shows that employees and political action committees of brokerages, banks and credit companies make up 6 of President Bush's top 10 career contributors, a clear indicator of his increasing support from the financial sector. In a similar study during the 2000 election, no major financial services firms were among the top 10.

The study was conducted by the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity and published as a book, "The Buying of the President 2004."

[i]Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity. He is the author of the new book "The Buying of the President 2004: Who's Really Bankrolling Bush and His Democratic Challengers -- and What They Expect in Return."[/i]


[i]This transcript is available free of charge, however donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution. Donate - $25, $50, $100, more...[/i]

AMY GOODMAN: We're now joined by the author of the book and the head of the Center for Public Integrity, Charles Lewis. Welcome to Democracy Now!

CHARLES LEWIS: Nice to be here, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: It's good to have you with us. Has the democratic candidate for president been chosen at this point?

CHARLES LEWIS: Well, no. Well, it's starting to coalesce a bit, although it's getting complicated. There is a dirty little secret in American politics. The presidential candidate who raises the most money the year before the election gets the nomination every time since 1996. Based on that, the coalescing of funds have gone around Dean who raised $40 million, compared to the $130 million that Bush raised doubling his own record shattering 1999 total. So, you know, but now Clark is surging apparently, and I guess we can get into all of that, but the money is circling, and whenever you get up in those stratospheres, you're going to be taking money not from backyard barbecues and those kind of places, you are taking money from people that want something. So, that person theoretically, has been chosen. We'll see if it holds in the next several months.

AMY GOODMAN: Today we're going to look at questions like which candidate was paid by a pharmaceutical firm to give speeches while running for the senate. Who turned the homeland security act into a bonanza for the biotech industry. Who is the go-to guy for the insurance industry. But I want to start going back one election: McCain versus Bush. You talk extensively about this and particularly interesting since McCain is also known as being one-half of the McCain-Feingold Bill, that deals with campaign finance. But talk about President Bush's rise to power, and his contributors.

CHARLES LEWIS: Well, you know, this is a story just in another stratosphere. We have never seen anything like this. This is a fellow who runs for president in '99, had been an elected official for five or six years in the United States, and he raises three times, almost three times more than any presidential candidate in U.S. history. Why? How? He had an extensive bundling network involving hundreds and even thousands of people who not only would give checks - the Pioneer system - the Pioneers would have to raise at least $100,000, but the insidious part of the Pioneer thing is that every check would be numbered so every industry would get credit for the cash. And new documents that have come out show letters where they want to make sure they get credit. Now, why do they want credit? Gosh, I wonder. But anyway, so he gets the money. He starts to rise. But then a stunning thing happens. McCain beats him in New Hampshire. No one saw that one coming, including Karl Rove, by the way. McCain wins by 19 points. It was not even close. They go into South Carolina as the next primary in 2000, and the entire Republican establishment and moneyed interest all coalesce into South Carolina. The head of the Team 100 said, if you want to see soft money continue in American politics, you better get off your duff and get out there. So, the reason I focused heavily on South Carolina is the unaccountability of what happened. McCain was mugged. Through emails and leaflet drops and phone banking and all kinds of slightly under the radar, for the media, stuff. McCain was outspent by five to one at least by Bush and another millions and millions of dollars spent by a half a dozen to a dozen, quote, unquote, "independent groups", all of whom seemed to like George Bush, and basically smeared him. I mean, said that his wife was a drug addict and that they had a black baby and just the most spurious stuff that you can imagine to try to upset South Carolina voters. At the end of the day, Bush wins, and they think "the reformer", he had a phrase, "the reformer with results", they felt that the reformer was actually Bush, because they had seen all of these ads about being a "reformer with results". Bush had never reformed anything regarding politics in Texas, and was in fact against campaign finance reform. The facts and the truth were rendered irrelevant.

AMY GOODMAN: In fact, he made campaign finance reform a major issue when he was in South Carolina. An issue that he, I believe you said, had never raised?

CHARLES LEWIS: Right. He had political laryngitis in his career until that moment. And his proposal, it was a five-page proposal like a day before the debate, was a non-existent proposal.

AMY GOODMAN: But you also talk there, and when talking about the Pioneers (the name of the Bush campaign for the highest contributors) about the significance of Enron and when it came to South Carolina, the allegation that - and this is all too common in politics - the companies making hidden contributions by putting campaign campaigners on their payroll for a particular candidate. Can you talk about Ralph Reed?

CHARLES LEWIS: Sure, Ralph Reed, who lives in Georgia and has a company called Century Strategies contacted hundreds of thousands of voters. This was reported at the time, I'm not suggesting that I did this. Rick Burke of the New York Times did a story that Enron had Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition, on their payroll and they did not want the public or the media to know that this right-wing conservative, who is inflammatory in some circles in the U.S., was on the Bush payroll, so they put him on the Enron payroll as a lobbyist. Now of course Rove and Reed hotly denied it, but it was on page one of the New York Times a few years ago. So Reed, and what's particularly frustrating, is what happened with this under the radar spurious stuff that happened against McCain happens two years later with Max Cleland, a guy, who as McCain put it, left three limbs on the battlefield. They had ads comparing him with, picturing him with Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, and questioning his patriotism. This was all done by Ralph Reed and others, outside groups that were not part of the party officially, and not part of the campaign against Cleland in that case. So, I mean what I'm interested in is what's happening to American politics? We don't know who's out there doing anything. It's very hard to track these people.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, you say that there was a very systematic approach to raising money with the Pioneers. Everything, the marking of the checks, the credit going to the industry. So, where are those records?

CHARLES LEWIS: Well, that's the other part. You know, strangely, they can't account for $60 million that they raised. They can't quite produce those records. I made a joke in the book and said it's like "the dog ate my homework". The excuse they have given in depositions. There's litigation that ensued because of the Supreme Court case that was decided, the McCain Feingold case. Under oath, the head of the Pioneers and all of these people said, "well, gosh, we cannot find these records." It doesn't sound terrifically credible, obviously.

AMY GOODMAN: They don't legally have to hand over the information about who was contributing money?

CHARLES LEWIS: They have to hand over - the contributors themselves are disclosed but how you got there, and what you did, in this instance, this is a discovery thing, in a legal case. And now that the case has been decided by the Supreme Court, I'm sure all of these things will be rendered moot, so we'll probably never know, at least any time soon that I can see. They're essentially stonewalling or saying they don't have it. However you want to interpret it.

AMY GOODMAN: It's interesting, a lot of people will remember the Lincoln bedroom and President Clinton and the Lincoln bedroom for sale or rent, for reservation overnight to the highest donors. You talk about governor Bush in Texas. Before he was president and his own little White House there. And who got to sleep over.

CHARLES LEWIS: Well, that's right. He had about 60 big funders sleep over. There's something that the national media and the public don't fully appreciate. Bush was planning to run for two or three years. Was flying people in to Texas to tutor him. Was bringing in funders to gear up the campaign and planning the Pioneer system. The funders were sleeping overnight in the governor's mansion. What's deceptive about that is when he announces his candidacy in March of 1999, he bursts out and within three months raises $37 million. Which at that point had never happened in American politics. So, all of the other republicans and the media all gushed over, my God, he's so popular, everyone is swarming to him. He clearly, as far as I can tell, had been laying the groundwork for two years. When did you start announcing your campaign and when did it officially begin? Is it the day that you file your papers or the day you start collecting checks? There was clearly a lot of orchestration going on here that's not been fully ever laid out, and it's pretty interesting, I think.

AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to Charles Lewis. He is author of, along with his staff at the Center for Public Integrity, "The Buying of the President, 2004: Who's Really Bankrolling Bush and his Democratic Challengers and What They Expect in Return." Now the biggest money for Bush. Where is it coming from?

CHARLES LEWIS: It's coming from the financial sector, as just noted, from the Times this morning. Six out of ten of his top career patrons are from the financial district. But the issue with Bush is, he is an incumbent president. He's obviously friendly to the business community. And that is, you know, that means just that people are going crazy. I mean, he's gone from $67 million that he raised in 1999 as a challenger, to $130 million you know, four years later. So, he's expanding his financial base, and clearly, there are companies and industries all over America that are very happy with Mr. Bush and his policies. And so it's not just the financial sector, obviously. It's from the mining companies, the pharmaceutical industry. Back in 1992, the pharmaceutical companies, the richest and most profitable industry in America gave evenly to both parties. Now they give between 80% and 90% to the Republicans because for the first time in a half century, the Republicans control the entire, with a capital 'E', Federal Government. So, what's happening is money is following power, which frequently happens when you track money in a substantial, huge way. The fact that it's not just Bush in the White House it's across the board, and these companies now see this is a spectacular moment for them, a bonanza. They're not only giving them money and they're writing the Bills and look out! And that's what's happening.

AMY GOODMAN: Not in their wildest dreams did the mining industry imagine that a kindred soul, hell, one of their own lobbyists would become chair of the Republican Party.

CHARLES LEWIS: That's right. Mark Roscoe was a mining lobbyist. He is now by the way, a lobbyist helping companies get Homeland Security contracts after he has left and a new lobbyist, Mr. Gillespie, is now. So, the corporate community has embraced, you know, this administration. Maybe that's probably not news to anyone, but what we do is show how they have embraced it, how much money each sector has provided. We get into a lot of detail about who got what, what policies have changed. Obviously, the environment and a lot of things have changed. So, yeah. My favorite part about the Bush chapter is the Cheney letter. I don't know if you saw that, but the fact that...

AMY GOODMAN: Hold it for one minute. Stations are going to break to identify themselves and we'll be back with Charles Lewis, author of "The Buying of the President, 2004" in a minute.

AMY GOODMAN: "Money, money," here on Democracy Now! We're talking about "Buying the President, 2004." Who is really bankrolling the president and his Democratic challengers, and what they expect. We are talking to Charles Lewis, a longtime reporter who decided to do a non-profit to really do the investigations that the mainstream media rarely does. The Cheney letter?

CHARLES LEWIS: Well, we did 200 Freedom of Information Act requests, which is a record for us at the Center. We do them occasionally, but never like that. We found a letter that Dick Cheney, as C.E.O. of Halliburton sent to Vice President Al Gore. So, right off the bat, that's an unusual letter to find. And we, you know, nothing gets by us, we instantly realized, this is intriguing. The letter urged basically the Vice President to relax - or eliminate - there was a current proposed policy to increase environmental regulation, essentially, regarding clean air and other matters. He complained about the impact that this legislative initiative or regulatory initiative would have on his industry or his company. He closed the letter saying, whatever you do, it should be in a clear and open debate in the public. This obviously is fascinating for several reasons. From an environmental standpoint looking at what happened under Bush-Cheney in the first three years with the environment. It shows what everyone has suspected. You have two people from the oil industry with basic hostility towards most of the environmental standards in this country. And, of course, they're getting huge amounts of money from all of the industries. The polluters and the mining industries and all of those people. So, that letter kind of confirms if you had any doubt where he's coming from, it's in black and white on his own stationery. The real delicious irony, of course, is that he wants a clear and open debate, given that he didn't want any of the meetings by the energy executives in America who have been secretly meeting with them to plan their policies. He has gone to court to prevent any access to information about just who was in the meetings. That's all that the litigation is about. It's not really about much more than that. People want to know it's government property, public policies, wouldn't it be nice to know who the people are who are meeting. Of course, no environmental groups were invited or included in any substantive way. The letter is a snapshot in many ways, a metaphor, to me, at least, for all of the things that I have been hearing and reading and noticing the last three years. That's on our site. We actually have the letter up somewhere.

AMY GOODMAN: Okay. Well, Charles Lewis, a quick test, which candidate was paid by the pharmaceutical firm to give speeches while running for the senate?

CHARLES LEWIS: That was Carol Moseley-Braun.

AMY GOODMAN: Who turned the Homeland Security Act into a bonanza for the biotech industry?

CHARLES LEWIS: That, I guess, that's Lieberman. There are several people who are friendly to the industry.

AMY GOODMAN: Which candidate proposed 32 separate tax breaks for big business that support his campaign

CHARLES LEWIS: That's got to be Bush.

AMY GOODMAN: And who is the go-to guy for the insurance industry?

CHARLES LEWIS: That would be Senator Lieberman.

AMY GOODMAN: Let's take on the democrats right now. And look at who is funding them. Let's begin with Howard Dean.


AMY GOODMAN: Why don't we go in alphabetical order. Wesley Clark.

CHARLES LEWIS: Wesley lark, we didn't have any career patrons, he announced September 17th and we turned in the manuscript. He has since raised $13 million. We are watching it, but we have to wait a few weeks to figure that out. The most interesting thing about Clark that we found is that he was a registered lobbyist at the time he announced his candidacy for a company called Axiom trying to get government contracts. While he was an analyst on CNN, and during the Iraq war, he was trying to get Homeland Security and airport security and all kinds of other government contracts, and including reportedly met with Dick Cheney in 2001 and 2002 on behalf of that company. On one hand he is creating a leadership committee to run for president basically to begin the process of that, and simultaneously, he is on the air as an expert retired general. The other part of it is he is doing what many generals do, cashing in and helping a company get contracts. It's a part that's not in the resume ads right now in Iowa.

AMY GOODMAN: Howard Dean.

CHARLES LEWIS: Howard Dean, Vermont is a funny state because they have limits on contributions of $400. All the Democratic numbers are approximately, well, a tenth of Bush's numbers, but particularly so in Vermont. Even after 11 years as governor, his highest contractor is, you know, $60,000 or something like that. He's got money from some of the telecom companies and things. The most interesting thing we found about him was he had helped - there was a utility deregulation in Vermont - and he basically assisted the utility industry in a way that infuriated many, many rate payers and may saddle them with hundreds of millions of dollars in higher rates. And one of his chief of staff, went to work as a lobbyist and a top person for the leading utility. That's not something that you see in the ads, either. It's just interesting. He also was - we all know that he has had an issue about his gubernatorial papers being opened up - but he also in 11 years did not open up any, did not have disclosure for himself and his own assets which are nearly $4 million or any state legislator himself and his lieutenant governor. Vermont has the worst disclosure in America. Vermont and two others have no disclosure for personal assets of their senior folks. Not only did Dean try to improve or reform it or change it, he did not endorse legislative initiatives to try to reform it.

AMY GOODMAN: What does it mean, the governor's papers? What's in these papers?

CHARLES LEWIS: That, I don't know. I would dearly love to read the papers. In a way, it's unclear. Is it correspondence from supporters? Is it memos from a staff about I'd like to run for president? I don't think anyone really knows what's in those documents. We know that Dean has portrayed it as a proprietary people for their personal privacy who contacted him, but it has certainly given the Republicans and the Republican National Committee an issue to portray themselves as more open than Howard Dean which has amusing ironies, to say the least.

AMY GOODMAN: Certainly the campaign changes as someone becomes as successful as Dean has become, starting on the internet, getting the small amounts of money and then when the establishment sees that he is surging ahead, a whole new group starts to give money. What has been the transformation of that campaign? How is the nature of where the money comes from changed?

CHARLES LEWIS: Well, the nature is that a lot of big companies that maybe have never even visited Vermont are giving tons of money, and there are telecom companies, there's AOL Time-Warner. Anyway, a lot of them are embracing Dean now in the flooding of the zone, so to speak, with their cash. The part that we have to watch now, I have to tell that you because we have tracked his numbers in the first six months of the year, we now have the third quarter numbers up on the site. But we are going to see more of this. You look at his donors. You have Howard Dean's campaign staff was the third highest donor. Patron for his career. That shows how anemic his numbers are. The third highest patron through June was $15,000. From all of those folks. AOL Time-Warner is the top donor and Microsoft is coming in, and Goldman Sachs and IBM and you have union support, united food and commercial workers. But what you will see now is more. Now that he's up to $40 million, the numbers are going to get more corporate over time. It's just inevitable, because they're worried that he might actually be the nominee and some, in their way of thinking, some fluke may happen and he might actually become president. They better make sure they have an in with the next president. So you're going to see money flow more and more to him. Obviously, everyone is waiting to see what happens to him in Iowa and New Hampshire. It does relate directly to what happens in those states, what the money flow will be in the next few weeks. AMY GOODMAM: John Edwards?

CHARLES LEWIS: John Edwards. Nothing earthshaking to report, except that 22 of the top 25 career patrons are law firms. He has already been perceived as almost entirely having funding from the trial lawyers. The question for him all along was, could he expand his base beyond trial lawyers? There's not substantial evidence that he has done that, to be honest.

AMY GOODMAN: People just talk about trial lawyers like Bush Senior talked about the ACLU.

CHARLES LEWIS: Right, fair.

AMY GOODMAN: What trial lawyers mean? What interest does that represent?

CHARLES LEWIS: Well, no, well trial lawyers are the plaintiffs bar that brings litigation against, frequently, product liability litigation, or, you know, powerful folks when there's no other recourse. That's one way at looking at trial lawyers. That's not the way many people look at trial lawyers. That is what they do - they bring lawsuits. Some people feel there's too many lawsuits. You could do five shows on it. But that has a different thing to different people. What Edwards has done which is really interesting is he has unabashedly a trial lawyer. He doesn't shy away from being one. In fact, he is proud that he is one. He uses the populist David and Goliath image of going into the courtroom against the suits as part of his message. And the question is if it didn't resonate fully with Democratic voters, which is unclear, will it resonate with the rest of the nation? And no-one has ever done that. This is new territory, politically.

AMY GOODMAN: Richard Gephardt.

CHARLES LEWIS: Most interesting about Gephardt, maybe not surprising to some, but to the nation, that's it's just getting acquainted with him, it is relevant information. His top donor is Anheuser-Busch which gave over a half million dollar. They are based in St. Louis. On five occasions, Gephardt tried to and successfully helped the alcohol industry avoid being taxed, including a fairly famous instance in the 1990's on Air Force One with Bill Clinton during the health care situation. The reform legislation, he wanted to make sure that you can tax tobacco, but don't do it for alcohol and Clinton essentially agreed with him and backed off.

AMY GOODMAN: In the New York Times today in their piece on your book, they end with a spokesperson for Gephardt saying that the congressman was representing the needs of a larger employer - of a large employer in his district. It makes sense that a hometown company would have a good relationship with their member of congress. Eric Smith said about Anheuser-Busch.

CHARLES LEWIS: Well, you know, I agree with him. That's fair. A member of congress is supposed to represent their constituents, and a big employer and company in their district, they do have to pay attention to that. However, if I'm a voter watching someone run for president, I want to know who their patrons are. I want to know who is behind them. I want to know who their friends are and who they're going to reward when they get into power. It's that simple. Unfortunately, we have a commercial democracy, a pay to play process, where everyone has alliances with vested interests. Whether it's business or labor or whatever the groups are. And one of the ways to find out - we have a motto at the center "watch what they do, not what they say". Ignore the ads and the speeches. See who is behind these guys and you will learn a lot real fast. I think that's relevant data. It's not illegal, taking money from an Anheuser-Busch. But don't the voters all over America, not just in St. Louis, have the right to know that's not his best friend in the whole wide world.

AMY GOODMAN: Senator John Kerry.

CHARLES LEWIS: Kerry is an interesting guy with three terms in the Senate. What we found that I was interested in, the top patron is a law firm in Boston where his brother works. And they have given something like $222,000 over his senate career. That is one of the leading telecommunication firms in America. Kerry sits on a committee that has oversight over the telecom industry, but also the Federal Communication Commission that regulates the telecom industry. On a number of occasions, he has sort of done the bidding of certain companies that are represented by that firm, and we actually did a report separate - a breakout type report on our website in the spring, and we elaborate further in the book about this relationship. It's not the only other relationship. He has other patrons, but that was his top patron and that was something that sort of jumped out.

AMY GOODMAN: And Dennis Kucinich, the Ohio congressman.

CHARLES LEWIS: Kucinich is the most quintessential Democratic candidate if you look at his donors and the perceptions we have as Americans of their donor base. I believe nine out of his top ten patrons are unions, and the other one is the trial lawyers association. The numbers are anemic. There's hardly - there's not much money there. But, you know, he has done things, obviously, to help labor and big surprise, because when you have that much concentration from nine of the top ten, you clearly, if there's one labor candidate, pure labor candidate at the highest levels of your patron list, it's Mr. Kucinich.

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Joseph Lieberman.

CHARLES LEWIS: Senator Lieberman is a complex case because he's sort of a new way Democrat. He has reached out aggressively throughout his career to basically the business community. So, he has funding mechanisms, a fund raising network outside his campaign committee, by the way, which we talk about in the book. Listen to his top donors, Citigroup, Hartford Financial, Chase Enterprises, Goldman Sachs Merrill Lynch, Liebman Brothers, Credit Suisse. Heavy, heavy financial folks from the New York-Connecticut area, and insurance interests which are important in Connecticut. He has helped a number of these companies. Remember, it was Lieberman who helped the accountants change their standards, and helped - we had an Enron scandal because partly no one was watching the store in terms of auditing. When Enron broke, Lieberman was shocked that we could have this scandal and how could this happen? Lieberman has been very helpful to these accounting companies to insurance companies. We have a specific instance also with biotech companies that he is close to, and again all of these relationships are very elaborately laid out.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain the biotech connection.

CHARLES LEWIS: The biotech connection is... these things are complicated. Hold on a second. The biotech connection is...

AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to Charles Lewis, author of "The Buying of the President, 2004: Who's Really Bankrolling Bush and his Democratic Challengers and What They Expect in Return." Charles Lewis is a long-time reporter, but now goes more deeply into issues as head of this non-profit that looks into moneyed interests, money connections to politics.

CHARLES LEWIS: Right. Basically what he did is he took hundreds of thousands of dollars from the biotech industry and from several other companies, and he hired their Top lobbyists on his staff. He then cosponsored bills that they wanted. To get more details, I would recommend reading the chapter for all of the listeners and viewers.

AMY GOODMAN: As we move down the alphabetical list, Carol Moseley-Braun.

CHARLES LEWIS: Carol Moseley-Braun is the person who gave speeches. I mentioned Glaxo-Wellcome paid her $20,000, which is one-third of her income, the year she was a candidate, and there was a senate ban on speech honoraria. In other words, they couldn't receive it, but she was a senator-elect, not a senator, so weeks before taking the oath - there is a pattern with her of repeatedly poor judgment on ethical matters where she was under a cloud, under scandals, under investigations, monies - there was problems with her staff and her money being spent by her senate office. So, there are a lot of things involving the conduct while in office involving money that were very, very interesting, but, you know, she embraced Glaxo-Wellcome, back to them, the pharmaceutical industry. Powerful interests were close to her in her short time in the senate.

AMY GOODMAN: The Reverend Al Sharpton?

CHARLES LEWIS: Well, Al Sharpton, we could talk for a long time. Is he the most interesting and multitextured in terms of things we found. Obviously, a controversial figure in lots of ways. Most interesting is that the co-mingling of non-profit money with personal money. Strange things happening like records being required by the I.R.S. and there's a fire and there's no records provided. He's the only candidate that's been indicted multiple times. I mean, he is a very interesting guy. When you read it, it's probably the most fun to read chapter in the book. You know, Sharpton is ahead of Kerry in the national poles. I don't mean to make any aspersions about his level of candidacy. In terms of his background this is not what you would call a typical major candidate background in terms of scrapes with problems and issues. He claims he has no assets except his ring and watch because he has been under so much litigation. The suits that he wears are borrowed. When you read stuff like that, you are like, what? It's just too interesting. I could talk for a long time about him. I find him very interesting.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you make of Ted Koppel's questioning of Kucinich, Moseley-Braun and Sharpton saying, basically, asking if they're running vanity campaigns? That defining the effectiveness of their campaign is to do with the money that they have raised and ABC pulling their reporters from their campaigns right after that debate.

CHARLES LEWIS: Well, you know, I think that they are saying things in their campaign that no one else is saying, and I think it's very important for their voices to be heard, and, you know, we do have a problem where we have candidate candidates that are getting matching funds and they desperately need the matching funds, because they were never prolific fund-raisers in their careers, that are then discounted by the media as not being players because they don't have money. And it's sort of a vicious cycle here. Then we'll discount them further and just have the moneyed folks who are considered important.

AMY GOODMAN: Yet as you said, even pulling behind them in the national polls. The candidates we didn't talk about were the two parties, the Republican and Democratic parties because their money is often some of these candidates' money.

CHARLES LEWIS: We have a big chapter on the parties, and we have the top 50 patrons for both parties. You know, Phillip Morris is the top patron for the Republican party. The tobacco companies, three of the top ten are tobacco companies for the Republican party. But, you know, you have a case of very robust corporate presence, not just tobacco. Over on the Democratic side, labor unions are all over the top ten. I believe six of the top ten are labor unions. The number one donor for the democratic party in the last ten years but probably the last 20 years is the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFSME, which has given to the 527's. $36 million to the 527's, the secret mysterious organizations, not counting campaigns and parties. You do see - that doesn't mean there's not a strong corporate presence also with the Democratic Party, but there is. But not obviously not to the extent ever the Republicans. The numbers are always lower.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Charles Lewis, thank you for taking us on this money journey through the candidates' coffers from President Bush to the Democratic candidates, Charles Lewis is head of the Center for Public Integrity, and they have published "The Buying of the President, 2004: Who's Really Bankrolling Bush and his Democratic Challengers and What They Expect in Return." Thank you. D">

Saddam's Defense:-- Summon Daddy Bush 41 To The Stand ...
01.11.04 (6:55 am)   [edit]
[b]One of the truly bizarre unspoken stories of the Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta's[/i] war turned bloody guerrilla quagmire in Iraq, is [/b]([i][u]not only[/u]: their lies about phony WMDs-- their lies about the so-called "threat" posed by Saddam Hussein-- their lies about non-existent links between Iraq & Al Qaida-- their lies about when the war was planned: not after 9/11, but before Dubya took office-- etc...[/i]) [b]the fact that Saddam Hussein could not have have perpetrated his crimes against his own people without the [i]aide, support & abetting [/i]by Daddy Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and a whole host of other criminals associated with Dubya and his corrupt regime, who were in collusion with Saddam, [i]providing [/i]him with weapons & giving him the [i]go-ahead [/i]to kill his own people.[/b]

In fact, "We the People" should demand that Daddy Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and other traitors who sold WMDs ([i]that were largely destroyed in the 1990s inspection process[/i]) be tried in the dock, along with Saddam Hussein, for their joint [i]Crimes Against Humanity[/i] in violation of the Iraqi people. Dubya, Rice, Rove and the other neo-con criminals should also be impeached and tried for their recent [i]Crimes Against Humanity [/i] in violation of the U.S. soldiers, other coalition soldiers, journalists, and Iraqi people who have been tragically massacred, based upon lies, deceptions & falsehoods-- in order to enrich the squalid Bush regime's sordid corporate cronies.

Consider also "[i][b]Saddam's Defense: Summon Bush Sr. to the Stand[/b][/i]" by Kurt Nimmo, on :

Is it possible French lawyer Jacques Verges will be allowed to defend Saddam Hussein? Verges told AFP on December 19 that if called to defend Saddam, he'd march a slew of US and European witnesses to the stand.

At the top of the list are Reagan and Bush Senior.

"Right now the former Iraqi regime is being blamed for certain events that took place at a time when its members were treated as allies or friends by countries that had embassies in Baghdad and ambassadors not all of whom were blind (to Iraqi crimes)," said Verges.

"Today, this indignation appears to me contrived."

"When we reprove the use of certain weapons (we need to know) who sold these weapons," he said about Iraq's past purchase of arms from France, Britain, the United States, and Russia.

"When we disapprove of the war against Iran (we need to know) who encouraged it."

It was primarily Reagan and Bush who "encouraged" Iraq's merciless war against Iran. That's obvious, although many Americans -- the same Americans who cannot tell the difference between Saddam and Osama -- are clueless.

Calling Reagan to the stand, however, is out of the question -- he's got Alzheimer's. He wouldn't know Saddam from Edwin Meese at this point. He might even kick the bucket before a trial gets under way.

That leaves the main architect of Reagan's Operation Coddle Saddam, Bush Senior. Old Skull and Bones Bush is healthy and of sound mind, so to speak.

Call him to the stand.

On the first day of the trial, Jacques Verges may want to show the Rumsfeld video, the one where Rummy shakes hands with Saddam. Creepy, admittedly, but a good piece of theatrics to get the point across -- all of these guys were in bed with Saddam.

Rummy was in Baghdad on December 20, 1983 as a "special envoy" sent by Reagan to "thaw" relations between the United States and Iraq.

Saddam was using chemical weapons on the Iranians at the time, but that really wasn't an issue. Rummy tried to say later he slapped Saddam's hand for using chemical weapons, but a declassified cable recording of the meeting reveals Rumsfeld didn't even mention it.

Is it possible Reagan knew about Saddam's human rights violations, or was he taking a nap at the time, as he was wont to do back in the day?

As the evidence indicates, Bush Senior knew for certain. So did a lot of other people in the Reagan administration.

In 1981 US Secretary of State Alexander Haig told the Senate foreign relations committee that Saddam was worried about "Soviet imperialism in the Middle Eastern region," a concern that conspicuously followed the Soviet Union's refusal to deliver arms so long as Iraq continued its military offensive against Iran.

In other words, the Reaganites saw Saddam's falling out with the Soviets as an opportunity not to be missed, regardless of all the tortured political prisoners wasting away in Saddam's gulags or buried in mass graves. Bush Junior would later feign outrage over these atrocities as he pedaled his illegal and immoral war against the people of Iraq.

As the New York Times reported more than a year ago, the United States gave Iraq important battle-planning assistance during the Iran-Iraq war as part of a secret program under Reagan, even though US intelligence agencies had a good idea the Iraqis would use chemical weapons. More than 60 "specialists" from the Pentagon's DIA provided Saddam with detailed information on Iranian military deployments, tactical planning for battles, plans for air strikes, and bomb-damage assessments.

In 1984, according to Bob Woodward, the CIA began to secretly supply Iraq with intelligence that was used to "calibrate" mustard gas attacks on Iranian troops.

The following year Reagan established full diplomatic relations with Iraq.

In 1985 the Reagan administration encouraged American corporations licensed by the US Department of Commerce to export a whole lot of nasty biological and chemical materials to Iraq -- anthrax, botulinum toxin, and other toxigenic and pathogenic substances -- according to a 1994 Senate report.

"The American company that provided the most biological materials to Iraq in the 1980s was American Type Culture Collection of Maryland and Virginia, which made seventy shipments of the anthrax-causing germ and other pathogenic agents," writes William Blum.

Other US companies doing business with the Butcher of Baghdad include Hewlett Packard, Dupont, Honeywell, Alcolac International, and Bechtel Group, to name but a few. In total about $1.5 billion worth of biological agents and high-tech equipment was exported to Iraq from 1985 to 1990.

Bechtel is one of Junior's favored corporations, slotted to "rebuild" Iraq -- in other words, make a pile of money replacing what Dubya's daddy, Clinton, and Junior have destroyed over the last twelve or so years: power generation facilities, electrical grids, municipal water systems, sewage systems, etc.

"The United States spent virtually an entire decade making sure that Saddam Hussein had almost whatever he wanted," says Representative Samuel Gejdenson, Democrat of Connecticut and chairman of a House subcommittee investigating the exports to Iraq. "The Administration has never acknowledged that it took this course of action, nor has it explained why it did so. In reviewing documents and press accounts, and interviewing knowledgeable sources, it becomes clear that United States export-control policy was directed by U.S. foreign policy as formulated by the State Department, and it was U.S. foreign policy to assist the regime of Saddam Hussein."

"By the end of 1983, US$ 402 million in agriculture department loan guarantees for Iraq were approved," explains Norm Dixon. "In 1984, this increased to $503 million and reached $1.1 billion in 1988. Between 1983 and 1990, [US Agriculture Department's Commodity Credit Corporation] loan guarantees freed up more than $5 billion. Some $2 billion in bad loans, plus interest, ended up having to be covered by US taxpayers." Bush was at the center of these export credits and bad loans floated by the typically oblivious US taxpayer.

"A similar taxpayer-funded, though smaller scale, scam operated under the auspices of the federal Export-Import Bank," Dixon continues. "In 1984, vice-president George Bush senior personally intervened to ensure that the bank guaranteed loans to Iraq of $500 million to build an oil pipeline. Export-Import Bank loan guarantees grew from $35 million in 1985 to $267 million by 1990."

Just in case there's any doubt that Reagan and Bush Senior allowed the sale of deadly biological and chemical agents to Iraq, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs with Respect to Export Administration, reported in 1994 that "microorganisms exported by the United States were identical to those the United Nations inspectors found and removed from the Iraqi biological warfare program."

The exports continued to at least November 28, 1989, well into Bush Senior's administration.

One of the first things Dubya's daddy did upon assuming office was sweep Saddam's horrendous human rights record under the carpet. Bush refused to join the UN in condemning the forced relocation of around half a million Kurds and Syrians in 1989. This violated the 1948 Genocide Convention -- but then Bush, Reagan, and Clinton rarely mentioned human rights unless they were giving speeches or excoriating official enemies.

All of this preferential treatment went out the window the day Saddam made the boneheaded mistake of invading Kuwait.

Reagan and Bush had lavished so many biological and chemical weapons on Iraq that in 1990 the deadly stuff became a threat to the United States, or rather the US military.

"That American troops could be killed or maimed because of a covert decision to arm Iraq," Murray Waas wrote in the Village Voice, "is the most serious consequence of a U.S. foreign policy formulated and executed in secret, without the advice and consent of the American public."

"I hate Saddam Hussein," Bush Senior told CNN's Paula Zahn in September 2002. "I don't hate a lot of people. I don't hate easily, but I think he's, as I say, his word is no good and he's a brute. He's used poison gas on his own people."

It is, all told, a remarkable conversion, one perfectly synchronized with Saddam's descent from useful client to demonized renegade and international outlaw.

Back in 1992 Douglas Frantz and Murray Waas of the Los Angeles Times wrote a story headlined, "Bush secret effort helped Iraq build its war machine." Frantz and Waas apparently got their hands on some classified documents that revealed "a long-secret pattern of personal efforts by [George Bush senior] -- both as president and vice president -- to support and placate" Saddam Hussein.

Jacques Verges would also do well to call James Akins, the former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

In 1963 the CIA was ramping up its coup against Iraqi Prime Minister Abudul Karim Qassim and Akins was in Baghdad. "I knew all the Ba'ath Party leaders and I liked them," Akins told Said K. Aburish, author of a book about the CIA-coordinated coup that eventually led to the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein (A Brutal Friendship: The West and the Arab Elite). "The CIA were definitely involved in that coup," Akins admitted. "We saw the rise of the Ba'athists as a way of replacing a pro-Soviet government with a pro-American one and you don't get that chance very often... Sure, some people were rounded up and shot but these were mostly communists so that didn't bother us."

In fact, a lot of them were doctors, lawyers, teachers, and professors who formed Iraq's educated elite. The CIA wanted them killed. It drew up lists and brought one of its prized assets in from Cairo to help with the torture, murder, and mayhem -- Saddam Hussein.

Another CIA spook that may be of interest to Verges is Miles Copeland, who is tight with Bush Senior. Copeland told the UPI's Richard Sale that the CIA had enjoyed "close ties" with the Ba'ath Party, just as it had "close ties" with the intelligence service of Egyptian leader Gamel Abd Nassar.

Sale quotes a former State Department official as saying that Saddam became part of the CIA plot to kill Qassim. Adel Darwish, Middle East expert and author (Unholy Babylon: The Secret History of Saddam's War), says that Saddam's CIA handler was an Iraqi dentist working for the CIA and Egyptian intelligence. US officials separately confirmed Darwish's account, according to Sale.

Unfortunately, none of these details will be revealed in open court or will they make corporate press headlines -- or for that matter find their way to page E16).

Last month the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) issued a press release before former Gen. Wesley Clark testified against Slobodan Milosevic.

The normally simultaneous broadcast of testimony, said the ICTY in a press release, would "be delayed for a period of 48 hours to enable the US government to review the transcript and make representations as to whether evidence given in open session should be redacted in order to protect the national interests of the US."

Geneva-based reporter Andreas Zumach may break the news about how US corporations illegally helped Iraq build its biological, chemical, and nuclear programs under the watchful eyes of Reagan and Bush Senior in the German newspaper Die Tageszeitung, but that does not mean the Bush Ministry of Disinformation -- Fox News, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, etc. -- are obliged to inform the American people about it.

In fact, the names listed in Zumach's report were mentioned in Iraq's 12,000-page report submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Geneva and the United Nations.

In order to redact those names, the Bushites violated an agreement with the Security Council and blackmailed Colombia, which at the time was presiding over the Council, grabbed the UN's only copy, removed the corporate names and other information, and distributed the result to the other four permanent members of the Security Council.

In other words, the Bushites can do whatever they want and nobody can do anything about it.

Jacques Verges will have to settle for the notoriety of defending the Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, jet setting terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez (aka Carlos the Jackal), Holocaust revisionist Roger Gaurady, and fall guy Slobodan Milosevic.

There's a good chance the Bushites will not allow Jacques Verges or any other lawyer anywhere near Saddam Hussein.

[b]Kurt Nimmo [/b][i]is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent no holds barred blog at . Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair's, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire, will soon be published by Dandelion Books[/i].

Administration Claims of Better Economy Don't Follow the Numbers
01.10.04 (5:13 pm)   [edit]
Ultimately, "We the People" must choose between tax money spent by corporate-owned Republicans to enrich the already filthy rich plutocrats & corporations, turning us into a neo-fascist, feudal slave state-- or by conscientious Democrats and/or Independents to improve the lives of all of our citizens -- and become a 1st rate nation.

Currently, we live in a bizarre and corrupt society, in which corporations and the wealthy are not paying their fair share in taxes ... These greedy traitors would not be wealthy without the collective efforts of the working people-- our system of laws that enables them to own property & wealth-- and, our environment and resources. The rich and corporations have an obligation to contribute back into the society that has enabled them to prosper, and not be allowed to exploit our people and rape our nation, as these rapacious & graspy thieves are doing now.

The imbecilic notion that all taxation is [i]BAD[/i], is ludicrous, for how else, could all citizens enjoy the basics needed for safety (e.g. [i]clean water, sewage systems, regulations on food[/i], etc.) and security (e.g. [i]police enforcement, firemen, worker safety[/i], etc.)-- What is truly [i]BAD[/i], is when corporate interests and the rich plutocrats do not contribute fairly, and strangle the working people who struggle to survive and are relegated to miserable living conditions. We should demand a 1st rate civilized society for all of our citizens-- and refuse to accept a return to the calamitous feudal days of yore.

Do you want to live in a 3rd world nation, with a few greedy rich robber-barons amassing all of the wealth? [i]Then vote back-in the corrupt Dubya & his corporate whores[/i] ... Or,

Do you want to live in a 1st rate nation, with our taxes used to provide services for all-- public education, health care, social security, clean environment, safe food, etc.? [i]Then vote against the corrupt Dubya & his corporate whores ...[b] Vote Democrat or Independent, Demand Change, and Take Our Nation Back[/b][/i]!

[b]Administration Claims of Better Economy Don't Follow the Numbers[/b]

While the Bush/Cheney re-election website promotes the idea that the economy is "stepping on the gas pedal,"1 new figures released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed hiring to be flat in December 2003 with a net gain of 1,000 jobs.2 A new report released today by the Economic Policy Institute finds that the Bush administration's assertion that the president's 2003 tax cut fell 1.615 million jobs short of its prediction for the year.3

The president publicly unveiled his 2003 tax cut last year by tying it to job creation. In the State of the Union, Bush said, "When America works, America prospers, so my economic security plan can be summed up in one word: jobs."4 But the president's policies have failed to benefit American workers. A National Journal piece last week noted that "The economy is so far behind the administration's forecast that an average of 400,000 jobs would have to materialize every month until the end of 2004 to keep to the White House schedule. How hard is that? During the 1990s boom, such phenomenal job growth occurred in eight months out of 102."5

The White House has thus far focused on putting a positive spin on the state of the economy. The president said in early December, "This administration has laid the foundation for greater prosperity and more jobs across America so every single citizen has a chance to realize the American dream."6 But so far, the widely reported increases in productivity and growth aren't translating into jobs or higher wages. New jobs being created are paying 13% less than those lost during the recession--$14.65/hour versus $16.92/hour. By contrast, new jobs created during the later years of the expansion, 1998 to 2000, paid 12% more.

While the rapid growth of the recovery has so far failed to benefit workers, corporate profits have increased at a rate far beyond those of previous recoveries. According to the EPI study, previous recoveries provided an average of 61% of total income growth - and never less than 55% -- to workers. In this recovery, however, only 29% of the total income growth has gone to workers' wages and benefits. Meanwhile, corporate profits have claimed an average share of 46% of total income growth in this recovery, compared to an historic average of 26%.7


1. Bush/Cheney '04 Web Site, 1/4/04.
2. "Employment Situation Summary: December 2003," 3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1/9/04.
4. Job Watch, Economic Policy Institute.
5. 2003 State of the Union, 1/29/03.
6. "The Politics of Jobs," National Journal, 1/3/04.
7. "In Heart of Steel Country, Bush Talks of Economy, Not Tariffs," New York Times, 12/2/03.
Job Watch, Economic Policy Institute.


"Administration Claims of Better Economy Don't Follow the Numbers" on

What Are The Implications of Our Government's Lies About WMDs in Iraq?
01.10.04 (9:54 am)   [edit]
[b]Newton's Third Law of Motion states that "[i]for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction[/i]" ...[/b] So, what are the implications of our government's lies about WMDs in Iraq?

For a government to lead a people into a war, that was opposed by most of the world's nations-- [i]who could not comprehend why we did not allow the inspection process to proceed to identify whether or not, Iraq did or did not actually possess the massive stockpile of WMDs, that we were mendaciously told posed an imminent threat to our national security[/i]-- that was the Bush regime's [i]casus belli [/i]for their neo-con war ... And, then to find that these WMDs that we were emphatically told [i]did [/i]exist, instead [i]did not [/i]exist-- demands an accountability and a reconciliation ...

"We the People" must not allow the Bush regime to avoid the rightful consequences and the ultimate responsibility for lying to us-- waging war under false pretences, based upon dishonest pretexts-- irrespective of the post-war rationalizations that they are now desperately trying to persuade us justifies their illegal and immoral actions. Their new rationalizations do no excuse their lies, deceptions and falsehoods-- and[i] there will be a reaction[/i]-- if not within the U.S.A. over time, by the rest of the world-- who no longer can place trust in the untrustworthy words of our leaders; or in the empire-building motives of the corporations who run our nation; or, in our lost moral authority. Dubya has recklessly and ruthlessly squandered our nation's standing in the world-- and there will be a reckoning.

Consider "[b]WMD IN IRAQ:[i] Evidence and Implications. Summary of New Carnegie Report[/i][/b]" on :

[b]WMD in IRAQ:[/b] Evidence and Implications, a new study from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, details what the U.S. and international intelligence communities understood about Iraq's weapons programs before the war and outlines policy reforms to improve threat assessments, deter transfer of WMD to terrorists, strengthen the UN weapons inspection process, and avoid politicization of the intelligence process.

The report distills a massive amount of data into side-by-side comparisons of pre-war intelligence, the official presentation of that intelligence, and what is now known about Iraq's programs.

The authors of the report are: Jessica T. Mathews, president; George Perkovich, vice president for studies, and Joseph Cirincione, senior associate and non-proliferation project director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


[b]Changes to U.S. Policy [/b]

· Revise the National Security Strategy to eliminate a U.S. policy of unilateral preventive war, i.e., preemptive war in absence of imminent threat.

· Create a nonpartisan, independent commission to establish a clearer picture of what the intelligence community knew and believed it knew about Iraq's weapons program.

· Consider changing the post of Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) from a political appointment to a career appointment, based on the outcomes of the independent commission.

· Make the security of poorly protected nuclear weapons and stockpiles of plutonium and highly enriched uranium a much higher priority for national security policy.

[b]International Action[/b]

· The United States and United Nations should together produce a complete history and inventory of Iraq's WMD and missile programs.

· The UN Secretary General should commission a high-level analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the WMD inspection processes in Iraq, and how inspections could be strengthened in the future.

· The UN Security Council should consider creating a permanent, international, nonproliferation inspection capability.

· Make the transfer of WMD a violation of international law.

[b]Changes to Threat Assessments [/b]

· Recognize distinctions in the degree of threat posed by the different forms of "weapons of mass destruction" - chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons pose vastly different risks and cost-benefit calculations of actions to combat them.

· Recognize red flags indicating that sound intelligence practices are not being followed.

· Examine and debate the assertion that the combined threat of evil states and terrorism calls for acting on the basis of worst-case reasoning.

· Examine assumption that states will likely transfer WMD to terrorists.


[b]Iraq WMD Was Not An Immediate Threat[/b]

· Iraq's nuclear program had been suspended for many years; Iraq focused on preserving a latent, dual-use chemical and probably biological weapons capability, not weapons production.

· Iraqi nerve agents had lost most of their lethality as early as 1991.

· Operations Desert Storm and Desert Fox, and UN inspections and sanctions effectively destroyed Iraq's large-scale chemical weapon production capabilities.

[b]Inspections Were Working[/b]

· Post-war searches suggest the UN inspections were on track to find what was there.

· International constraints, sanctions, procurement, investigations, and the export/import control mechanism appear to have been considerably more effective than was thought.

[b]Intelligence Failed and Was Misrepresented[/b]

· Intelligence community overestimated the chemical and biological weapons in Iraq.

· Intelligence community appears to have been unduly influenced by policymakers' views.

· Officials misrepresented threat from Iraq's WMD and ballistic missiles programs over and above intelligence findings.

[b]Terrorist Connection Missing[/b]

· No solid evidence of cooperative relationship between Saddam's government and Al Qaeda.

· No evidence that Iraq would have transferred WMD to terrorists-and much evidence to counter it.

· No evidence to suggest that deterrence was no longer operable.

[b]Post-War WMD Search Ignored Key Resources[/b]

· Past relationships with Iraqi scientists and officials, and credibility of UNMOVIC experts represent a vital resource that has been ignored when it should be being fully exploited.

· Data from the seven years of UNSCOM/IAEA inspections are absolutely essential. Direct involvement of those who compiled the more-than-30-million- page record is needed.

[b]War Was Not the Best-Or Only-Option[/b]

· There were at least two options preferable to a war undertaken without international support: allowing the UNMOVIC/IAEA inspections to continue until obstructed or completed, or imposing a tougher program of "coercive inspections."

Bush's Immigration Policies Will Turn Workers Into Quasi-Indentured Servants
01.09.04 (12:09 pm)   [edit]
[b]The Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta[/i] have ruthlessly & recklessly betrayed the working people of America ... [/b]This corrupt cabal of [i]corporate-owned[/i] whores to their pimps: the corporations & richest 5% of plutocrats, have[i] sold us down the river[/i], in order to grab endless power & obscene riches ...

Under the Bush regime, our economy is now a [i]train-wreck[/i] in the making ... we are headed down a path towards a neo-Great Depression over the next decade:--

1. Poverty is skyrocketing to the highest levels in over 75 years, with over 25 million families living below a poverty-line, established in the 1960s ... it is more chronic than the statistics suggest ...

2. Homelessness is reported at 3.5 million citizens, although experts cite that the problem is worse-- but the corrupt Bush regime refuses to allow a new census to be taken ...

3. Between 45-85 million citizens are without health care insurance, and either bear their illnesses with no care, even if they are suffering unbearably, or they die ... or they go bankrupt ... the U.S.A. is the only 1st-tier nation not to provide a universal health care system for our citizens ...

4. Unemployment stands at between 9-15 million citizens-- whose jobs have been slashed under Bush ([i]over 3.3 million lost ... while Clinton created over 22 million jobs[/i]) ... and the callous Bush regime is slashing unemployment benefits, medicare & they want to wipe-out social security ... and they are lying about the unemployment statistics ...

5. The growing gap between the richest ([i]corporate robber-barons, wealthy top-dogs & fat-cats[/i]) and the rest of us ([i]middle-class, working people & the poor[/i]) has risen to the highest levels in over 75 years ... with inflation, local & state taxes, and costs rising ... to pay-off the criminal Bushies' $560 Billion deficit for 2003 alone ([i]$1.9 Trillion for Dubya's disastrous term in office[/i]) ...

6. Our nation's infrastructure and educational system is being neglected by this corrupt administration-- who instead, creates the largest deficit in our nation's history in order to redistribute the wealth of [i]ALL OF OUR LABORS [/i]into the bulging pockets of their corporate robber-barons, the richest among us, and, in neo-imperial warfare to enrich themselves & their neo-con corporate cronies ...

7. Our nation's people and our natural world & environment, are being poisoned, swindled, plundered & looted by corporations [i]run amok[/i].

Tragically, this is but the [i]tip-of-the-iceberg[/i], of the corrupt Bush regime's rape of America ... The average debt for the American family is over $19,000-- and when the debt collectors come [i]knocking-at-the-doors[/i], the filthy rich [i]vultures[/i] ([i]like the Bush & Cheney families, corporate rapists & the greedy plutocrats[/i]) [i]will be circling [/i]and they will steal everything in sight, including the livelihoods of the vulnerable -- Meanwhile, the insane neo-con Bushies are trying to wipe-out ([i]they call it "privatization[/i]") social security, education & worker's benefits-- to make us a desperate and [i]dumbed-down [/i]populace who will be compliant to their neo-fascist lusts, desires & greed.

It is time that "We the People" recognize that the [i]corporate-take-all [/i]Bushies are purposely turning the U.S.A. into a neo-feudal [i]slave state[/i]-- with our people becoming impoverished in order to make us their [i]neo-slaves[/i]-- to serve these neo-fascist [i]slave owners[/i]:-- the squalid Bush & Cheney families, their sordid court-jesters, the rapacious corporations, and the wealthiest 5% greedy neo-imperial plutocrats!

Consider "[i][b]Worked Over:-- How Bush's immigration proposal would turn workers into quasi-indentured servants[/b][/i]" by [i]Maria Echaveste[/i], on :

Yesterday the president proposed a massive new temporary program for undocumented workers living and working in the United States. The proposal would allow these people (and future foreign workers) to live and work in the country for a three-year period -- with another three-year extension if specific jobs are available to them at that time.

Is this good news for undocumented workers? Hardly. I'll explain why in a moment. But first, let's take a look at George W. Bush's track record on immigration.

It's been two years since the president last spoke about immigration policy. He has been noticeably silent about two bills currently pending before this Congress regarding the illegal workforce in this country: AgJobs, which would provide a path to legalization for farmworkers (in an industry where 60 percent to 70 percent of the workforce is illegal) and streamline the guest-worker program to make it easier for employers to bring in future workers, and the Dream Act, which would help undocumented students go to college. Both have strong broad bipartisan support, and if the White House were to get on board, they could become law. But Bush hasn't said a word about either of those bills.

Instead, he's speaking out on a brand new initiative, and his announcement comes just five days before he is scheduled to meet with Mexican President Vicente Fox at the Summit of the Americas, a gathering of leaders to be held in Monterey, Mexico. My sources tell me White House officials have arranged for a private meeting with Fox at the summit. Perhaps not coincidentally, this meeting would present a great photo op for Bush, standing or sitting close to Fox . The photo could then be used later in the year -- a handy item, no doubt, for the incumbent to have as election day approaches.

The president's proposal is, at best, an empty promise and, at worst, a cynical political ploy to attract Hispanic votes. The proposal would essentially have undocumented persons in this country sign up for second-class status, only to be removed once their temporary tags expire.

There's nothing new about Bush's approach. In many ways, his proposal recalls the much-criticized bracero program of the 1940s and '50s. "Bracero," which is a takeoff on the Spanish word for "arms," brought more than 4 million Mexicans here to work in the fields and on farms. The program was designed to address a labor shortage in this country, but despite the significant contribution these workers made to U.S. agriculture and the legal protections for these workers, it remains an example of exploitation of people desperate to work and escape poverty. From the failure of employers to pay the wages promised to the workers to horrible working conditions, workers were unable to rely on either the U.S. or the Mexican government to protect them.

Today, Bush proposes that the new temporary foreign workers will receive financial incentives to return to their home countries. After they go back, he says, they will receive the Social Security benefits they paid during the time they were working here.

This may sound familiar to those who know the bracero program. It also proposed financial incentives to encourage foreign workers to return home in the same manner -- by having workers contribute to Social Security here and then, at least theoretically, to receive a portion of those funds after returning home.

Too bad it didn't work: There are still lawsuits pending for the millions of dollars that were owed to the workers long ago.

In addition to the poorly thought out financial aspects, Bush's new proposal does nothing for long-term undocumented residents of this country. He has neither proposed a new program for them to obtain residency nor has he sought an increase in the number of visas under the existing employer- and family-sponsored programs. In practical terms, that means you may have U.S.-born children, or have lived in this country for five or 10 years, or have even run your own businesses. Under the president's plan, though, you would have no opportunity to obtain permanent residency. To put it bluntly, Bush is saying, "We want you as workers, but we don't want you as full members of our society."

And so much for workers' rights. The program would require that workers be sponsored by an employer before they obtain a visa. If your only chance to get a green card is to stick with your employer, clearly you're never going to complain about your wages or the conditions in which you work.

Yet Bush has put a different spin on his program. By saying that the new temporary-worker program would provide "legal status," his administration is trying to appear compassionate while at the same time arguing that some type of legal status is better than nothing.

So who really benefits? Corporate America.

Bush-administration officials are shamefully using the fear and desperation of millions of undocumented people to curry favor with big business and employers dependent on low-skilled, low-wage workers.

The Wal-Marts of this country would be able to hire cheap labor for their cleaning crews. The big hotels and restaurant chains would no longer have to worry about violating labor laws when they hire undocumented workers. And the proposal would help the thousands of employers and corporations who currently employ undocumented persons and subject immigrants to eventual deportation.

When I first found out about the program, I found it breathtaking to see how a president could turn America's values upside down. If you buy his line, the program will help ensure national security and illegal immigrants will no longer have to hide in the shadows but be able to work freely and without fear. In reality, it would essentially mark all the immigrants with a little star so that we can get rid of them as soon as they finish their work. It does nothing to place hardworking, taxpaying undocumented immigrants on a path to permanent residency. Instead, it would create a permanent breed of service workers with second-class status.

If this proposal is enacted, America would be turning its back on a long tradition of welcoming immigrants as true participants in the society. It would also be following the unworkable models of countries like Saudi Arabia and Germany, which have long had guest-worker programs and the attendant problems of failing to integrate those participating into their respective societies.

We must have real immigration reform. Here's what we can (and should) do:

* Offer earned legalization for undocumented immigrants in the United States who work hard, pay taxes and otherwise obey the rules, so that they can become full participants in society, including becoming citizens.

* Design a temporary foreign-worker program that responds to U.S. labor demands while ensuring that U.S. workers are not displaced, and that offers family unification, the right to organize and a clear path to citizenship.

* Develop strong, enforceable long-term labor standards in our trade agreements and target development assistance to areas of high migration. This would help create strong middle classes abroad such that people would not need to migrate to the United States in search of work.

[i]Maria Echaveste, an American Prospect board member, is the former deputy chief of staff for President Bill Clinton. She is also the co-founder of a Washington consulting group, Nueva Vista, and represents, among others, the United Farm Workers[/i].

[b]Another source[/b]:

"Bushite betrayal of working America" by Patrick J. Buchanan on

Hypocritical Neo-Cons Outraged At The "Pot Calling The Kettle: Hitlerian" ...
01.09.04 (11:05 am)   [edit]
[b]The neo-scandal is actually quite a funny, hilarious & foolish buffoonery ... if there wasn't so much blatant hypocrisy & outright double-standards applied by the Bush regime's whorish media puppets [/b]... The hypocritical neo-cons are outraged ([i]as well as, "shocked! ... shocked! ... shocked!"[/i] ...) at the "pot calling the kettle: [i]hitlerian[/i]"!

Hitler, of course, was rightly condemned for his pre-emptive strikes & invasions of Czechoslovakia and subsequently Poland-- neither of which posed an imminent threat to Germany ... But, Hitler thought that both of these nations would be happier to live under a Germanic speaking government with a Germanic culture ... Of course, [i]Hitler will rightly be condemned by history[/i] for having massacred innocent human beings in his grab for power-- but mainly, [i]because he lost the war[/i]. Thank goodness, that Hitler lost the war.

After the horrors of WW2, and over fifty years of U.S. diplomacy and negotiations with the rest of the world community, international treaties and agreements were established, that condemned such unilateral invasions of other nations and the arrogant presumption that any single nation may be allowed to impose it's own form of government on another, as both immoral and illegal, and in contravention of the right of a nation to enjoy it's own sovereign rights. If a nation has a grievance with another, then it must seek international support to obtain legal redress, under the auspices of the United Nations. The only exception to this agreed standard of civilized behavior is in self-defense in response to a direct attack or threat of attack. Iraq neither attacked the U.S.A., nor did it pose any threat of attacking the U.S.A. However, due to American force of power ([i]we outspent Iraq militarily by over 400 times year-in-and-year-out for over 12 years prior to Dubya's incursion into Iraq[/i]), Dubya may win, and thus may not be condemned for his [i]Crimes Against Humanity[/i].

The arrogant and stupidly ignorant Dubya and his neo-con cabal of thugs & goons now say, "[i]We're Powerful ... We're Number One ... We'll Do Whatever The Hell We Like ... We Don't Respect The Law ... You're Either With Us, Or Else[/i] ..." in a return to the neo-hitlerian days of the early 20th century-- when the insanely barbaric, "[i]Right Makes Right[/i]" brute force method of rule with an iron fist, reigned ... So frankly, it is hard to condemn the comparisons between the neo-fascist Bush and the fascist Hitler-- both of whom recklessly invaded other nations to impose their own insane wills ... and massacred many, many innocent human beings!

"We the People" would do better to think a little more deeply about why we condemned insane tyrants of the past ... and why we foolishly permit Dubya to behave as [i]our own [/i]insane tyrant in the present time ... We should learn from history!

However, Matt Bivens, in his excellent[i] Daily Outrage[/i], in [i]The Nation[/i], makes the following excellent point entitled "[i][b]Forget Bush-Hitler[/b][/i]", on :

As [i]The Nation's [/i]John Nichols reports , is being pounded upon hysterically by the Republican Party over two ad contest entries -- mailed in from the public, not endorsed by MoveOn and even apologized for and pulled from the website -- ads that compared George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler.

MoveOn notes sourly, however, that none of this indignation was around when Democratic Senator Max Cleland -- a decorated veteran who lost both legs and an arm serving in Vietnam -- was smeared by the Republican leadership with television advertisements comparing him to Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

And Timothy Karr at observes , even as the mainstream media has raised cries of shame at the Bush-Hitler ads -- which were mailed in to a "Bush in 30 Seconds" ad contest and promptly rejected -- there's been silence about the still-truculently defiant decision by [i]The New York Post [/i]to run a column devoted entirely to comparing Howard Dean supporters to Hitler's Brownshirts, and Dean himself to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

Kerr suggests you ask your favorite news outlet to explain the double- standard: Two citizens send in speech comparing the Bush Administration to Hitler -- speech that's promptly rejected by progressives, even apologized for, out of embarrassment to even be briefly associated with -- and it's a sordid national news event. But leading citizens and editors at a major metropolitan newspaper craft and print a detailed comparison of Howard Dean to Hitler -- they don't apologize -- they don't back down or disavow -- and there's smug silence.

While you're at it, ask them how it wasn't a national disgrace that a man who left three of his limbs on the battlefield in Vietnam could be called, in Republican Party-sponsored ads on television, an al-Qaeda lover -- just because Republican operatives coveted his Senate seat, and becase he had dared question the president's war in Iraq. [i]That[/i] was probably the closest thing we've seen yet to a Goebbels moment -- where was [i]The New York Post's [/i]crack Goebbels-watching team then? Maybe if the Republicans policed their own ranks, a minority of the American public wouldn't be entertaining dark fears about homegrown fascism.

The White House Finally Gives-Up Their Phony WMDs Search in Iraq?!?!?
01.09.04 (10:27 am)   [edit]
[b]The White House is hinting that they are about to finally give-up their phony WMDs search in Iraq ... [/b]Of course, for months this extravagantly expensive search has been a phony operation staged to[i] keep the questions [/i]regarding the corrupt Bush regime's lies [i]at bay [/i]... When asked, the cynically manipulative neo-con Bushies have been able to respond that we are still searching for WMDs-- although anyone with an [i]iota of brain matter[/i], could see that the whorish Bush/Cheney Inc.[i] junta [/i]ruthlessly lied in order to invade Iraq and take-over the oil fields & swindle the U.S. Treasury in order to enrich their corporate pimps: Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, etc ...

Colin Powell is even admitting that he cannot back-up the plethora of lies, deceptions & falsehoods, that he criminally passed along at the United Nations, in order to "justify" the insane neo-con Bush regime's lust for war in Iraq.

"We the People" should be demanding that our corporate-owned, rubber-stamp Congress commence hearings into the impeachment of Bush & Cheney, and the trials for treason committed by Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell, Wolfowitz, Perle, Bolton, Feith & others who lied to America and the world-- and aggressively invaded a sovereign nation that posed no threat to ourselves or others-- resulting in the massacre of hundreds of Americans and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians.

Consider "[b]U.S. cuts back crew searching for Iraq weapons - [i]Hint that Bush team may no longer hope to find banned arms[/i][/b]" on :

[b]Washington[/b] -- The Bush administration has quietly withdrawn from Iraq a 400-member military team whose job was to scour the country for military equipment, according to senior government officials.

The step was described by some military officials as a sign that the administration might have lowered its sights and no longer expected to uncover the caches of chemical and biological weapons that the White House cited as a principal reason for going to war last March.

A separate military team that specializes in disposing of chemical and biological weapons remains part of the 1,400-member Iraq Survey Group, which has been searching Iraq for more that seven months at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. But that team is "still waiting for something to dispose of," said a survey group member.

Some of the government officials said the most important evidence from the weapons hunt might be contained in a vast collection of seized Iraqi documents being stored in a secret military warehouse in Qatar. Only a small fraction has been translated.

Senior intelligence officials acknowledged in recent days that the weapons hunters still had not found weapons or active programs, but in interviews they said the search must continue to ensure that no hidden Iraqi weapons surfaced in a future attack.

The search for Iraqi weapons remains "the primary focus" of the survey group, a senior Defense Department official said. But he acknowledged that most of the dozens of new linguists and intelligence analysts to join the team recently had been given assignments related to combating the Iraqi insurgency rather than to the weapons search.

David Kay, the head of the survey group, made it known last month that he might leave his post. Government officials said Wednesday that he had not reached a decision, but that both he and his top deputy, Maj. Gen. Keith Dayton of the Defense Intelligence Agency, were in Washington, in part to discuss what direction the hunt should take.

"I am sure that if they had found important evidence, we would know about it," said Rep. Jane Harman, D-Rancho Palos Verdes (Los Angeles County), the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. She has said the administration exaggerated the Iraqi threat.

CIA spokesman Bill Harlow said Wednesday that "the team needs to complete its work, and no one should jump to any conclusions before it has an opportunity to examine all of the circumstances."

U.S. intelligence officials who described the seized documents said they hoped the documents might eventually help to unravel the mystery of whether Iraqi weapons remained hidden or whether they had been destroyed long before what the Bush administration initially portrayed as a mission to disarm Iraq.

A report to be released today by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has concluded that it is unlikely that Iraq could have destroyed, hidden or sent out of the country the hundreds of tons of chemical and biological weapons and related production facilities that U.S. officials claimed were present without the United States detecting it.

Through their spokesmen, Kay and Dayton declined requests for interviews.

The 400-member team withdrawn from Iraq, known as the Joint Captured Materiel Exploitation Group, was primarily composed of technical experts and was headed by an Australian brigadier, Defense Department officials said.

Its work included searching weapons depots and other sites for missile launchers that might have been used with illicit weapons, the officials said, and it was withdrawn "because its work was essentially done."

"They picked up everything that was worth picking up," one official said. The weapons disposal team still in place, known as Task Force D/E, for disablement and elimination, has been used to collect suspicious material, although none has proved to be part of any illicit weapons program.

[b]Another source[/b]:

"Powell Admits No Hard Proof in Linking Iraq to Al Qaeda" on

Defense of Corporate Rape IS NOT A Defense of Liberty-- IT IS Just A Defense of RAPE
01.08.04 (7:54 am)   [edit]
[b]The hypocritical, callous & neo-fascist defense of corporate rape by the [i]corporate-owned [/i]puppets, attack-dogs & court-jesters, [i]IS NOT [/i]a defense of "liberty"-- [/b]as they falsely claim ... It is simply a defense of [i]RAPE[/i]!

"We the People" really would do better not to fall for this neo-con [i]con-game[/i], that gives free license to corporations to swindle, steal, plunder & loot workers, consumers & investors ([i]and the environment[/i])-- while impoverishing the rest of us ... in order that a few greedy plutocrats can amasse all of the fruits of [i][b]our[/b][/i] labors into their own bulging pockets -- Instead, we should demand that corporations be held accountable ([i]as are the rest of us-- In Fact: People Should Have More Rights Than Corporations, Not Visa Versa[/i]!) for adhering to safety standards-- paying living wages to workers-- paying their fair share of taxes back into this nation without which they would not succeed-- following proper accounting standards-- producing safe goods, products & services-- and, not polluting our natural world ... etc ...

A related article showing the cynical manipulation & viciousness of the[i] corporate-owned [/i]Bushies, who serve corporations instead of the people of the U.S.A., refer to "[i][b]This business cycle could get vicious[/b][/i]" by Robert Kuttner, on :

IN 1975, POLITICAL scientist Edward Tufte and economist William Nordhaus put forth a theory of the political business cycle. Usually, "business cycle" refers to the normal ups and downs of the economy. Their insight was that the business cycle is influenced by politics.

These scholars documented that incumbent presidents often used their influence with Congress and the Federal Reserve to artificially pump up the economy for their reelections and dealt with the resulting damage once they were safely returned to office. Richard Nixon's 1972 landslide nicely fit the pattern. So did Lyndon Johnson's "guns and butter" economic program of 1967-68 (except that the Democrats were undone by the Vietnam War).

The theory later fell into disfavor. Neither Jimmy Carter (defeated in 1980) nor George H.W. Bush (defeated in 1992) could manipulate the economy well enough to save their jobs. Carter fell to stagflation and Bush I to recession and a jobless recovery.

But the political business cycle is back with a vengeance, and this time the morning after will be a corker. The only question is whether the damage will be visible before or after Election Day.

President Bush has unleashed the most massive fiscal stimulus program since World War II, with immense deficits that only grow after 2004 as the biggest tax cuts for the wealthiest kick in. He has timed the relatively meager breaks for the middle class for this (election) year.

Meanwhile, Fed chairman Alan Greenspan (up for reappointment in June) is doing his part to fuel the election-year boom. Despite his own misgivings about immense deficits -- he was far from shy about this during the 1990s -- Greenspan has loyally kept mostly silent when it comes to Bush's deficits. More important, Greenspan is pumping up the recovery with low interest rates notwithstanding his earlier concerns about the danger of economic bubbles.

Thanks to this short-term hyperstimulation, Bush might well have his election year recovery. For now, corporate profits are up, the stock market is booming, and there is even a trickle of job growth.

But there is not a reputable economist -- left, right, or center -- who thinks this act can continue beyond a year or two. Bush's own treasury secretary, John Snow, and his chief economist, Greg Mankiw, both warned about this danger in their previous lives.

As the deficits spin out of control, interest rates will rise. If Bush is reelected, the deficits would also be used as justification for a round of cuts in social outlays that would make Bush's program cuts to date look like mere tinkering.

Meanwhile, serious social challenges like the retirement of the baby boomers and the spiraling of health care costs would be shifted from society back to the individual through proposed privatization of Social Security and health plans that made the subscriber pay ever more of the costs out of pocket (or go without). The larger fiscal and economic mess would be left for Bush's successor after Bush was safely in his presidential library.

Not only has Bush taken short-term political manipulation of the economy, in Tufte's sense, to new and cynical extremes; he has invented a wholly new kind of political business cycle in the form of programs and policies that look impressive only in the short run and turn out to be disasters later on.

Exhibit A is the recently enacted Medicare drug benefit program. Consumers won't experience the fraud firsthand this year since the program doesn't become available until 2006. Nice touch, that. As the law is written, less than half of actual drug costs for most participants will be covered. And seniors will get only one chance to decide whether to opt for the (inadequate) Medicare program or to stay with (increasingly unregulated) private drug insurance coverage that could deteriorate over time.

No Child Left Behind, Bush's big education program, is even worse. It creates perverse incentives for districts to dumb down tests and "lose" dropouts in order to make schools look better. It adds impossible mandates that states and districts have to finance locally. By 2005 the program is likely to collapse of its own weight, but in 2004 Bush is parading as an education president.

Iraq fits the pattern. We have Saddam's head on a platter this year -- and the likelihood of greater regional instability, nuclear proliferation, and anti-Americanism afterwards.

Some of Bush's time bombs may be delayed until after the election. Some could explode prematurely before the election. But all of them could, and should, backfire on Bush now -- if voters are paying attention.

[i]Robert Kuttner's is co-editor of The American Prospect. His column appears regularly in the Globe[/i].

Dubya's Neo-Orwellian "Information Domination" From Iraq ...
01.08.04 (7:26 am)   [edit]
Dubya and his neo-con gang of thugs & goons misled us before their illegal & immoral incursion turned bloody guerrilla quagmire in Iraq, misled us during this fiasco ... and are using neo-orwellian "[i]information domination[/i]" to continue to mislead us to this day.

"We the People" were told that the U.S.A. needed to invade Iraq because Saddam Hussein refused to disarm Iraq of all of those massive stockpiles of nuclear, chemical & biological weapons, that supposedly posed an imminent threat to our national security (although [i]Hussein, in fact, posed no threat to us[/i])-- none of which existed!

"We the People" were then told that the U.S.A. would be welcomed by the Iraqi people[i] with open arms [/i]... and that they would be "tossing flower petals in the paths" of our tanks & military, while they "pop open the champagne"-- none of which happened ([i]as predicted by many Middle-East experts before the war who said that the Iraqis would not welcome a neo-hitlerian occupying force[/i])!

"We the People" are now being told that it is hard to bring about democracy to a people who were so brutalized by a corrupt tyrant & that it will require a "[i]generational commitment[/i]" ([i]it's starting to sound a lot like Viet Nam[/i]) ... but it seems that the Iraqi people are not happy about being brutalized by the corrupt tyrant: Dubya!

[i][b]Why are we still in Iraq?[/b][/i] ... I guess one must pose this question to Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal ... and the Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta's[/i] energy cronies-- who are [i]running-the-show [/i] as they rape Iraq of their oil & businesses-- while swindling, looting & plundering the U.S. Treasury & U.S. Taxpayers to fund the "re-building" boondoggles after we destroyed the Iraqi people's infrastructure, buildings & businesses!

In "[i][b]The domination effect [/b][/i]- [i]Since the beginning of the war in Iraq, the US has sought not just to influence but to control all information, from both friend and foe[/i]" by David Miller, on,3604,1118096,00.html , the mechanisms of the Bush regime's lies are exposed, [i]again[/i]:

"Information dominance" came of age during the conflict in Iraq. It is a little discussed but highly significant part of the US government strategy of "full spectrum dominance", integrating propaganda and news media into the military command structure more fundamentally than ever before.

In the past, propaganda involved managing the media. Information dominance, by contrast, sees little distinction between command and control systems, propaganda and journalism. They are all types of "weaponized information" to be deployed. As strategic expert Colonel Kenneth Allard noted, the 2003 attack on Iraq "will be remembered as a conflict in which information fully took its place as a weapon of war".

Nor is information dominance something dreamt up by the Bush White House. It is a mainstream US military doctrine that is also embraced in the UK. According to US army intelligence there are already 15 information dominance centres in the US, Kuwait and Baghdad.

Both the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in this country have staff assigned to "information operations". In future conflicts, according to the MoD, "maintaining morale as well as information dominance will rank as important as physical protection".

Achieving information dominance according to American military experts, involves two components: first, "building up and protecting friendly information; and degrading information received by your adversary". Seen in this context, embedding journalists in Iraq was a clear means of building up "friendly" information. An MoD-commissioned commercial analysis of the print output produced by embeds shows that 90% of their reporting was either "positive or neutral".

The second component is "the ability to deny, degrade, destroy and/or effectively blind enemy capabilities". "Unfriendly" information must be targeted. This is perhaps best illustrated by the attack on al-Jazeera's office in Kabul in 2001, which the Pentagon justified by claiming al-Qaida activity in the al-Jazeera office. As it turned out, this referred to broadcast interviews with Taliban officials. The various attacks on al-Jazeera in Kabul, Basra and Baghdad should also be seen in this context.

The evidence is that targeting of independent media and critics of the US is widening. The Pentagon is reportedly coordinating an "information operations road map", drafted by the Information Operations Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. According to Captain Gerald Mauer, the road map notes that information operations would be directed against an "adversary".

But when the paper got to the office of the undersecretary of defence for policy, it was changed to say that information operations would attempt to "disrupt, corrupt or usurp" adversarial decision-making. "In other words," notes retired US army colonel Sam Gardiner, "we will even go after friends if they are against what we are doing or want to do."

In the UK, according to Major Nigel Smith of the 15 Psychological Operations Group, staffing is to be expanded and strategic information operations "will take on a new importance" as a result of Iraq. Targeting unfriendly information is central to the post-conflict phase of reconstruction too. The collapse of distinctions between independent news media and psychological operations is striking.

The new TV service for Iraq was paid for by the Pentagon. In keeping with the philosophy of information dominance it was supplied, not by an independent news organisation, but by a defence contractor, Scientific Applications International Corporation (Saic). Its expertise in the area - according to its website - is in "information operations" and "information dominance".

The Saic effort ran into trouble. The Iraqi exile journalists it employed for the Iraq Media Network (at a cost $20m over three months) were too independent for the Coalition Provisional Authority. Within weeks, occupying authority chief Paul Bremer introduced controls on the IMN. He also closed down some Iraqi-run newspapers and radio and TV stations. According to Index on Censorship, IMN managers were told to drop the readings from the Koran, the vox-pops (usually critical of the US invasion) and even to run their content past the wife of a US-friendly Iraqi Kurdish leader for a pre-broadcast check. The station rejected the demands.

But this did not stop Bremer, and further incidents culminated in a nine-point list of "prohibited activity" issued in June 2003. Bremer would reserve the power to advise the IMN on any aspect of its performance, including matters of content and the power to hire and fire staff. Thus, as Index on Censorship notes: "The man in absolute authority over the country's largest, richest and best-equipped media network is also his own regulator and regulator of his rivals, with recourse to the US Army to enforce his rulings."

Attacks on al-Jazeera continue. In September 2003 the Iraq governing council voted to ban reports from al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya on the grounds that they incite violence. As evidence of this, one member of the Iraqi National Congress who voted for the ban, noted that the TV stations describe the opposition to the occupation as the resistance. "They're not the resistance, they are thugs and criminals," he said.

But the Iraqi people appear not to share this view of al-Jazeera. Those with satellite access to al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya are more likely to trust them over IMN. As the experience of IMN shows, achieving dominance is not always a straightforward matter. This is precisely why the strategy for "unfriendly information" is to "deny, degrade and destroy".

· [i]David Miller is editor of Tell Me Lies: Propaganda and Media Distortion in the Attack on Iraq [/i]

Economists Sound Loud Alarm: Bush Deficit A Threat To The USA & World Economy
01.08.04 (7:07 am)   [edit]
[b]Economists are sounding a loud alarm that "We the People" would do well to listen to and act upon -- [/b]The reckless Bush deficits are a threat to the well-being of the U.S.A. and to the world economy ... The corrupt Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta[/i] has awarded massive immoral & illegal tax cuts, boondoggles & tax loopholes to: -- gluttonous & rapacious corporations -- the greedy richest 5% plutocrats -- and, their un-christian & un-patriotic campaign contributors -- [i]ALL OF WHOM [/i]are willing to destroy the health of our nation in order to amasse the wealth of our collective labors into the pockets of a few rich thugs & goons ...

Meanwhile ...

* Job losses of over 3.3 million under Bush (Clinton created over 22 million jobs) are not coming back -- only about 300,000 jobs have been created leaving a major net loss by the neo-fascist Bush's [i]corporate-take-all [/i]economic policies;

* Unemployment still stands at between 9-15 million people, while the callous Bush regime slashes unemployment benefits, leaving those without jobs in misery, desperate & bereft;

* Between 45-85 million citizens are without health care insurance, and the neo-imperial Bushies are ignoring this basic need, because they are satisfied to push us into a [i]3rd world style [/i]status;

* Over 3.5 million citizens are homeless and the poverty rate has skyrocketed under the Bush regime with over 25 million families living below the 1960s-defined poverty line;

* The ruthless Bush swindlers have created the largest deficit in our nation's history and the highest job losses since the Great Depression.

The results of Bush's neo-fascist economic policies are the greatest gap between the [i]haves-and-have-nots [/i]since the Great Depression-- and the highest [i]re-distribution of wealth from the middle-class & working people to the top 1%[/i] in over 75 years!

Consider "[i][b]I.M.F. Says Rise in U.S. Debts Is Threat to World's Economy[/b][/i]" by Elizabeth Becker and Edmund L. Andrews, on :

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 — With its rising budget deficit and ballooning trade imbalance, the United States is running up a foreign debt of such record-breaking proportions that it threatens the financial stability of the global economy, according to a report released Wednesday by the International Monetary Fund.

Prepared by a team of I.M.F. economists, the report sounded a loud alarm about the shaky fiscal foundation of the United States, questioning the wisdom of the Bush administration's tax cuts and warning that large budget deficits pose "significant risks" not just for the United States but for the rest of the world.

The report warns that the United States' net financial obligations to the rest of the world could be equal to 40 percent of its total economy within a few years — "an unprecedented level of external debt for a large industrial country," according to the fund, that could play havoc with the value of the dollar and international exchange rates.

The danger, according to the report, is that the United States' voracious appetite for borrowing could push up global interest rates and thus slow global investment and economic growth.

"Higher borrowing costs abroad would mean that the adverse effects of U.S. fiscal deficits would spill over into global investment and output," the report said.

White House officials dismissed the report as alarmist, saying that President Bush has already vowed to reduce the budget deficit by half over the next five years. The deficit reached $374 billion last year, a record in dollar terms but not as a share of the total economy, and it is expected to exceed $400 billion this year.

But many international economists said they were pleased that the report raised the issue.

"The I.M.F. is right," said C. Fred Bergsten, director of the Institute for International Economics in Washington. "If those twin deficits — of the federal budget and the trade deficit — continue to grow you are increasing the risk of a day of reckoning when things can get pretty nasty."

Administration officials have made it clear they are not alarmed about the United States' burgeoning external debt or the declining value of the dollar, which has lost more than one-quarter of its value against the euro in the last 18 months and which hit new lows earlier this week.

"Without those tax cuts I do not believe the downturn would have been one of the shortest and shallowest in U.S. history," said John B. Taylor, under secretary of the Treasury for international affairs.

Though the International Monetary Fund has criticized the United States on its budget and trade deficits repeatedly in the last few years, this report was unusually lengthy and pointed. And the I.M.F. went to lengths to publicize the report and seemed intent on getting American attention.

"I think it's encouraging that these are issues that are now at play in the presidential campaign that's just now getting under way," said Charles Collyns, deputy director of the I.M.F.'s Western Hemisphere department. "We're trying to contribute to persuade the climate of public opinion that this is an important issue that has to be dealt with, and political capital will need to be expended."

The I.M.F. has often been accused of being an adjunct of the United States, its largest shareholder.

But in the report, fund economists warned that the long-term fiscal outlook was far grimmer, predicting that underfunding for Social Security and Medicare will lead to shortages as high as $47 trillion over the next 70 years or nearly 500 percent of the current gross domestic product in the coming decades.

Some outside economists remain sanguine, noting that the United States is hardly the only country to run big budget deficits and that the nation's underlying economic conditions continue to be robust.

"Is the U.S. fiscal position unique? Probably not," said Kermit L. Schoenholtz, chief economist at Citigroup Global Markets. Japan's budget deficit is much higher than that of the United States, Mr. Schoenholtz said, and those of Germany and France are climbing rapidly.

In a paper presented last weekend, Robert E. Rubin, the former secretary of the Treasury, said that the federal budget was "on an unsustainable path" and that the "scale of the nation's projected budgetary imbalance is now so large that the risk of severe adverse consequences must be taken very seriously, although it is impossible to predict when such consequences may occur."

Other economists said they were afraid that this was a replay of the 1980's when the United States went from the world's largest creditor nation to its biggest debtor nation following tax cuts and a large military build-up under President Ronald Reagan.

John Vail, senior strategist for Mizuho Securities USA, said the I.M.F. report reflected the concerns of many foreign investors.

"I would say they reflect the majority of international opinion about the United States," he said. And he added, "The currency doesn't have the safe-haven status that it has had in recent years."

Many economists predict that the dollar will continue to decline for some time, and that the declining dollar will help lift American industry by making American products cheaper in countries with strengthening currencies.

"In the short term, it is probably helping the United States," said Robert D. Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International.

Fund officials and most economists agreed that the short-term impact of deficit spending has helped pull the economy through a succession of crisis. And unlike Argentina and other developing nations that suffered through debt crises, the United States remains a magnet for foreign investment.

Treasury Secretary John W. Snow did not address the fund's report directly. But in a speech to the United States Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, he said Mr. Bush's tax cuts were central to spurring growth and reiterated the administration's pledge to reduce the deficit in half within five years.

"The deficit's important," Mr. Snow said. "It's going to be addressed. We're going to cut it in half. You're going to see the administration committed to it. But we need that growth in the economy. We had an obligation to the American work force and the American businesses to get the economy on a stronger path. We've done it and we have time to deal with the deficit."

But the report said that even if the administration succeeded it would not be enough to address the long-term problems posed by retiring baby boomers.

Moreover, the fund economists said that the administration's tax cuts could eventually lower United States productivity and the budget deficits could raise interest rates by as much as one percentage point in the industrialized world.

"An abrupt weakening of investor sentiments vis-à-vis the dollar could possibly lead to adverse consequences both domestically and abroad," the report said.

Condi Rice: The Arrogant & Incompetent National Security Adviser
01.07.04 (11:11 am)   [edit]
[b]Condi Rice is considered by historians, experts & past administration officials in the U.S. government, to be the worst National Security Adviser that this nation has the bad fortune to have thrust upon us. She is arrogant and incompetent: a nasty & volatile combination.[/b]

Rice was warned about [i]hijackings of US airplanes [/i]prior to 9/11 ... and [i]did nothing about it [/i]...

Rice was warned about [i]Al Qaida threats [/i]by her predecessor, Sandy Berger ... and [i]did nothing about it [/i]...

Rice was warned about [i]the pitfalls of post-war Iraqi conflicts and problems[/i], and is supposed to co-ordinate the activities between agencies within the Pentagon & State Department, to establish policy ... and has [i]done a very, very poor job indeed [/i]... Rice's performance is abysmal, and her inability to co-ordinate policy has resulted in bloody guerrilla quagmires in Afghanistan & Iraq with unnecessary massacres, carnage, mayhem & misery.

Rice stupidly refuses to listen to sub-ordinates in the "[i]bowels[/i]" of the National Security Agency ... an arrogant and inept approach-- as those who isolate themselves, are ignorant of the truth ... But Condi Rice's singular accomplishment is her close ... very, very close relationship with Dubya. They watch football together-- exercise together-- and, goodness only knows what else they[i] do [/i]together ... ([i]but it seems to have little to do with policy ... since US policy is a shambolic mess[/i]) ...

Dubya & Condi enjoy a bizarre sort of "mutual admiration society", with these two arrogant, defensive and incompetent people, desperately [i]hanging onto each other for dear life[/i], [i]akin to life-preservers[/i]-- afraid to listen to others who know far, far more about national security, foreign policy and the world around them! By isolating themselves in their own little private cocoon, they are able to pretend that they are smarter than they are ... and they are able to delude themselves regarding the disastrous effects of their corrupt decisions.

Normally, the press & media [i]fall all over themselves [/i]to pay homage and show fawning deference to Rice-- in a sickening sort of celebrity-worship and sycophantic obeisance, that has tragically allowed Rice to get away with a dangerous ineptitude & perhaps, criminal activities ... We live in dangerous times when our press & media refuse to pursue the truth & expose the corruption within our government ...

Today's article in the NY Times by Elisabeth Bumiller on , entitled "[i][b]A Partner in Shaping an Assertive Foreign Policy[/b][/i]", states that Condi Rice will not be serving in a 2nd Bush term ... This statement counters rumors that Rice will be made Secretary of State ... Let us hope that we've seen the [i]back-side [/i]of Condi Rice and her perilously appalling track-record!

"We the People" deserve better than this arrogant & incompetent liar, who has placed our nation in grave & dire danger of greater terrorism, hatred & attacks than ever before in our nation's history!

Wrap Yourself in the American Flag (Cartoon)
01.06.04 (5:57 pm)   [edit]
[b]Wrap Yourself in the American Flag[/b]


Coalition of the Shrill
01.06.04 (9:22 am)   [edit]
[b]"We the People" are being told that economists & experts [/b]([i]e.g. Warren Buffet, Paul Krugman, George Akerlof, etc. ... and now, Robert Rubin[/i]) [b]are shrill[/b], who warn us about the looming disaster facing our economy, as a result of the corrupt Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta's[/i] tax cuts for the rich-- giveaways to corporations-- tax loopholes for the wealthiest among us-- boondoggles for campaign contributors-- reckless spending on unnecessary neo-con warfare to enrich wanton war-profiteers-- slashing of programs to help the needy & vulnerable-- etc. ...

The United States of America now has the largest deficits in our nation's history-- not based upon an investment in our people and our infrastructure that could reap dividends in the future-- but, instead based upon a swindle, plundering & looting of the U.S. Treasury, to funnel our hard-earned taxpayer dollars into the pockets of the neo-fascist Bushies' fat cats & top dogs ... This will reap no dividends for "We the People" ... [i]The lives of our people and the well-being of our nation is not being taken care of -- and there is no greater priority for a nation's leaders than the health of its people[/i]!

Instead, we are faced with skyrocketing poverty & homelessness-- joblessness at the highest rates since the Great Depression-- lack of investment in education & health care-- a crumbling infrastructure-- etc. ... The [i]corporate-take-all [/i]Bush regime is turning the U.S.A. into a [i]3rd world-style [/i]neo-feudal slave state run by greedy criminals who are amassing the[i] wealth of our nation [/i]for their own insatiable Global Corporate Empire ... as these neo-fascist goons & thugs turn the rest of us into their miserable neo-slaves ...

The economists and experts who are warning us are perhaps shrill-- they are telling us to wake-up and take a cold, hard look at the unpleasant reality that will soon overtake [i]our nation [/i]... [i]now is the time for [b]shrill[/b][/i]!

Consider "[i][b]Rubin Gets Shrill[/b][/i]" by Dr. Paul Krugman, NY Times, on :

Argentina retained the confidence of international investors almost to the end of the 1990's. Analysts shrugged off its large budget and trade deficits; business-friendly, free-market policies would, they insisted, allow the country to grow out of all that. But when confidence collapsed, that optimism proved foolish. Argentina, once a showpiece for the new world order, quickly became a byword for economic catastrophe.

So what? Those of us who have suggested that the irresponsibility of recent American policy may produce a similar disaster have been dismissed as shrill, even hysterical. (Hey, the market's up, isn't it?) But few would describe Robert Rubin, the legendary former Treasury secretary, as hysterical: his ability to stay calm in the face of crises, and reassure the markets, was his greatest asset. And Mr. Rubin has formally joined the coalition of the shrill.

In a paper presented over the weekend at the meeting of the American Economic Association, Mr. Rubin and his co-authors — Peter Orszag of the Brookings Institution and Allan Sinai of Decision Economics — argue along lines that will be familiar to regular readers of this column. The United States, they point out, is currently running very large budget and trade deficits. Official projections that this deficit will decline over time aren't based on "credible assumptions." Realistic projections show a huge buildup of debt over the next decade, which will accelerate once the baby boomers retire in large numbers.

All of this is conventional stuff, if anathema to administration apologists, who insist, in flat defiance of the facts, that they have a "plan" to cut the deficit in half. What's new is what Mr. Rubin and his co-authors say about the consequences. Rather than focusing on the gradual harm inflicted by deficits, they highlight the potential for catastrophe.

"Substantial ongoing deficits," they warn, "may severely and adversely affect expectations and confidence, which in turn can generate a self-reinforcing negative cycle among the underlying fiscal deficit, financial markets, and the real economy. . . . The potential costs and fallout from such fiscal and financial disarray provide perhaps the strongest motivation for avoiding substantial, ongoing budget deficits." In other words, do cry for us, Argentina: we may be heading down the same road.

Lest readers think that the most celebrated Treasury secretary since Alexander Hamilton has flipped his lid, the paper rather mischievously quotes at length from an earlier paper by Laurence Ball and N. Gregory Mankiw, who make a similar point. Mr. Mankiw is now the chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, a job that requires him to support his boss's policies, and reassure the public that the budget deficit produced by those policies is manageable and not really a problem.

But here's what he wrote back in 1995, at a time when the federal deficit was much smaller than it is today, and headed down, not up: the risk of a crisis of confidence "may be the most important reason for seeking to reduce budget deficits. . . . As countries increase their debt, they wander into unfamiliar territory in which hard landings may lurk. If policymakers are prudent, they will not take the chance of learning what hard landings in [advanced] countries are really like."

The point made by Mr. Rubin now, and by Mr. Mankiw when he was a free agent, is that the traditional immunity of advanced countries like America to third-world-style financial crises isn't a birthright. Financial markets give us the benefit of the doubt only because they believe in our political maturity — in the willingness of our leaders to do what is necessary to rein in deficits, paying a political cost if necessary. And in the past that belief has been justified. Even Ronald Reagan raised taxes when the budget deficit soared.

But do we still have that kind of maturity? Here's the opening sentence of a recent New York Times article on the administration's budget plans: "Facing a record budget deficit, Bush administration officials say they have drafted an election-year budget that will rein in the growth of domestic spending without alienating politically influential constituencies." Needless to say, the proposed spending cuts — focused only on the powerless — are both cruel and trivial.

If this kind of fecklessness goes on, investors will eventually conclude that America has turned into a third world country, and start to treat it like one. And the results for the U.S. economy won't be pretty.

Bush Knew ... Condi Rice Knew ... That is Why They Don't Want To Testify ...
01.06.04 (7:55 am)   [edit]
[b]Bush Knew ...

Condi Rice Knew ...

... That is Why They Don't Want To Testify before the Independent Commission Investigating 9/11[/b], overseen by Republican Thomas Kean, who seems to be asking unpleasant questions, that the Bush regime would prefer be [i]bulldozed and buried [/i]like their phony WMDs-- heart-breaking bungled, bloody guerrilla quagmires in Afghanistan & Iraq-- back-breaking, record-level deficits causing inflation here at home-- White House felons who expose a CIA undercover operative-- secret deals made in secret energy meetings-- and a litany of other sordid & squalid criminal activities ...

"We the People" should not sit idly by and watch [i]Crimes Against Humanity [/i]committed in [i]our names[/i], in order that the corrupt Bush/Cheney Inc.[i] junta [/i]may enrich themselves, their corporate cronies & the wealthy plutocracy, all of whom have collaborated in hijacking our nation ... Contact Congress and demand that impeachment hearnings be called for Bush & Cheney, and insist upon the resignations of Rumsfeld, Rice, Rove, Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Bolton & Powell ...

Refer to an [i]excerpt[/i] from "[i][b]Two Loud Words[/b][/i]" by William Rivers Pitt on :

Two words: [b]'Bush Knew[/b].'

It is, frankly, amazing that this has fallen down the memory hole. Recall two headlines from that period. The first, from the UK Guardian on May 19, 2002, was titled "Bush Knew of Terrorist Plot to Hijack US Planes." The first three paragraphs of this story read:

"[i]George Bush received specific warnings in the weeks before 11 September that an attack inside the United States was being planned by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, US government sources said yesterday. In a top-secret intelligence memo headlined 'Bin Laden determined to strike in the US', the President was told on 6 August that the Saudi-born terrorist hoped to 'bring the fight to America' in retaliation for missile strikes on al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan in 1998. Bush and his aides, who are facing withering criticism for failing to act on a series of warnings, have previously said intelligence experts had not advised them domestic targets were considered at risk. However, they have admitted they were specifically told that hijacks were being planned[/i]."

Another story on the topic came from The New York Times on May 15, 2002, and was titled "Bush Was Warned bin Laden Wanted to Hijack Planes."

Unlike the Guardian piece, the Times chose to lead the article with the Bush administration's cover story, one the administration has stuck with to this day:

"[i]The White House said tonight that President Bush had been warned by American intelligence agencies in early August that Osama bin Laden was seeking to hijack aircraft but that the warnings did not contemplate the possibility that the hijackers would turn the planes into guided missiles for a terrorist attack. 'It is widely known that we had information that bin Laden wanted to attack the United States or United States interests abroad,' Ari Fleischer, the president's press secretary, said this evening. 'The president was also provided information about bin Laden wanting to engage in hijacking in the traditional pre-9/11 sense, not for the use of suicide bombing, not for the use of an airplane as a missile[/i].'"

Yes, we were warned, said the Bush administration, but who could have conceived of terrorists using airplanes for suicide bombings?

A lot of people, actually.

[b]According to a Time magazine story that appeared on Jan. 2, 2004, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice is balking at requests to testify before Thomas Kean's 9/11 commission under oath. She also wants her testimony to be taken behind closed doors, and not in public. The crux of her hesitation would appear on the surface to be her comments of May 16 2002, in which she used the above-referenced excuse that no one "could have predicted that they would try to use a hijacked airplane as a missile." If that excuse is reflective of reality, why does she fear to testify under oath?[/b]

[b]Perhaps Ms. Rice fears testifying because too many facts are now in hand, thanks in no small part to the work of 9/11 widows like Kristen Breitweiser, which fly in the face of the administration's demurrals[/b]. For example, in 1993, a $150,000 study was commissioned by the Pentagon to investigate the possibility of an airplane being used to bomb national landmarks. A draft document of this was circulated throughout the Pentagon, the Justice Department and to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In 1994, a disgruntled Federal Express employee broke into the cockpit of a DC-10 with plans to crash it into a company building in Memphis.

That same year, a lone pilot crashed a small plane into a tree on the White House grounds, narrowly missing the residence. An Air France flight was hijacked by members of the Armed Islamic Group, which intended to crash the plane into the Eiffel Tower. In September 1999, a report titled "The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism" was prepared for U.S. intelligence by the Federal Research Division, an arm of the Library of Congress. It stated, "Suicide bombers belonging to Al Qaeda's Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives (C-4 and Semtex) into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the CIA, or the White House."

Throughout the spring and early summer of 2001, intelligence agencies flooded the government with warnings of possible terrorist attacks against American targets, including commercial aircraft, by Al Qaeda and other groups. A July 5, 2001 White House gathering of the FAA, the Coast Guard, the FBI, Secret Service and INS had a top counter-terrorism official, Richard Clarke, state that "Something really spectacular is going to happen here, and it's going to happen soon." Donald Kerrick, who is a three-star general, was a deputy National Security Advisor in the late Clinton administration. He stayed on into the Bush administration. When the Bush administration came in, he wrote a memo about terrorism, Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. The memo said, "We will be struck again." As a result of writing that memo, he was not invited to any more meetings.

In a late November truthout interview, former Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal said:

"[i]Richard Clarke was Director of Counter-Terrorism in the National Security Council. He has since left. Clark urgently tried to draw the attention of the Bush administration to the threat of al Qaeda. Right at the present, the Bush administration is trying to withhold documents from the 9/11 bipartisan commission. I believe one of the things that they do not want to be known is what happened on August 6, 2001. It was on that day that George W. Bush received his last, and one of the few, briefings on terrorism. I believe he told Richard Clarke that he didn't want to be briefed on this again, even though Clarke was panicked about the alarms he was hearing regarding potential attacks. Bush was blithe, indifferent, ultimately irresponsible."
"The public has a right to know what happened on August 6," continued Blumenthal, "what Bush did, what Condi Rice did, what all the rest of them did, and what Richard Clarke's memos and statements were. Then the public will be able to judge exactly what this presidency has done[/i]."

George W. Bush is going to run in 2004 on the idea that his administration is the only one capable of protecting us from another attack like the ones which took place on 9/11. Yet the record to date is clear. Not only did they fail in spectacular fashion to deal with those first threats, not only has their reaction caused us to be less safe, not only have they failed to sufficiently bolster our defenses, but they used the aftermath of the attacks to ram through policies they couldn't have dreamed of achieving on September 10. It is one of the most remarkable turnabouts in American political history: Never before has an administration used so grisly a personal failure to such excellent effect.

Never mind the final insult: They received all these warnings and went on vacation for a month down in Texas. The August 6 briefing might as well have happened in a vacuum. September 11 could have and should have been prevented. Why? Because Bush knew.

This administration must not be allowed to ride their criminal negligence into a second term. Someone needs to say those two words. Loudly. After all, Bush has proven with Social Security and with 9/11 that third rails can be danced across. All it takes is a little boldness.

[b]Read the entire article at [i]TomPaine[/i].com [/b]on .

[i]William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times best-selling author of two books, War On Iraq (Context Books) and The Greatest Sedition is Silence (Pluto Press). His book Our Flag, Too: The Paradox of Patriotism will be available in August from Context Books [/i]

The spy who is back out in the cold
01.06.04 (7:33 am)   [edit]
[b]John le Carre has upset the neo-cons[/b], who now hate him & are [i]on the attack [/i]... le Carre is a brilliant writer of spy novels, with an insider's view of the sordid reality of the inner-workings of governments, having worked in the British Intelligence Service during the Cold War ... "We the People" would do well to [i]cast-off our feigned innocence [/i]and take a cold, hard look at what the Bush regime is doing to [i]our[/i] nation.

In "[i][b]The spy who is back out in the cold[/b][/i]", Anne Summers, concludes that "[i]John le Carre could say what he liked about the Russians, but not so about the Americans[/i]" ... on :

Hell hath no fury like a conservative scorned. Or so it would seem from the savagery with which the neo-con and right-wing cabals have turned on John le Carre and his latest book, Absolute Friends.

Why are they bothering? It's a novel, after all. Can you imagine the left caring enough about Tom Clancy's latest to go to the barricades?

Le Carre, of course, is different. His Cold War books had the authority and verisimilitude of having been written by a former spy. Despite his protestations that he is not a spy turned writer ("I was nothing of the kind. I am a writer who, when I was very young, spent a few ineffectual but extremely formative years in British Intelligence," he told his publisher's sales force in 1996), the right could have justifiably presumed le Carre was onside, or at least a fellow traveller, because George Smiley and his cohorts were working against the Russians. They, and thus he, must have been anti-communist and, ergo, pro-the West and pro-American.

But the world has changed since that uneasy balance provided by the posturings of the two super powers. And so, apparently, has le Carre. Last January he published in The Times in London a no-holds-barred opinion piece entitled "The United States of America has gone mad".

"The reaction to 9/11 is beyond anything Osama bin Laden could have hoped for in his nastiest dreams," he wrote . "As in McCarthy times, the freedoms that have made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded. The combination of compliant US media and vested corporate interests is once more ensuring that a debate that should be ringing out in every town square is confined to the loftier columns of the East Coast press.

"How Bush and his junta succeeded in deflecting America's anger from bin Laden to Saddam Hussein is one of the great public relations conjuring tricks of history," he went on. "But they swung it. A recent poll tells us that one in two Americans now believe Saddam was responsible for the attack on the World Trade Centre. But the American public is not merely being misled. It is being browbeaten and kept in a state of ignorance and fear."

These words fell like kerosene onto the already inflamed worldwide debate about the morality of a pre-emptive strike against Iraq by the United States.

And the flak Le Carre copped then is being repeated now because his latest book, published in early December, takes up these themes with even greater gusto.

"There's a new Grand Design about in case you haven't noticed," he has one of his characters say. "It's called pre-emptive naivety, and it rests on the assumption that everyone in the world would like to live in Dayton, Ohio, under one god, no prizes for guessing whose god that is."

Absolute Friends is the story of an Englishman, Ted Mundy, son of a pukka sahib whose mother went into labour in India and gave birth in Pakistan (le Carre is not just against American imperialism), and Sasha, his Berliner friend with whom he shares an anarchist past before the two collaborate as double-agents to pass Stasi secrets to the British government. After the Wall falls they go their separate ways until Ted is summonsed once again by Sasha to join what seems at first to be a relatively benign educational project.

Le Carre is a compelling story-teller. It has been said his plots have the intricate precision of marquetry. His principal characters are equally complicated, usually imbued more with self-doubt than ideological fervour. He is always a great read but this one has something else, a white-hot anger fuelled by his absolute comprehension of the evil that is being done to humankind in the name of politics, religion and profit.

As Robert McCrum wrote last month, in a glowing review in The Observer: "few could fail to be thrilled by the unbridled rage that fuels his storytelling. If he was seething when he wrote The Constant Gardener, he is now incandescent."

Sample the following: "What would it be like really and absolutely to believe?" Mundy asks himself at one point. "To believe that God sends you to war, God bends the path of bullets, decides which of his children will die, or have their legs blown off, or make a few hundred million on Wall Street, depending on today's Grand Design?"

There is another element, too: despair.

This is evident in the book's finale, which is as shocking as it is unexpected. It is this ending (which I won't spoil for anyone who plans to read the book) that has raised the blood pressure of the right and caused them to fire off the "anti-American" bazookas.

The Washington Times (the print equivalent of Fox News when it comes to ideology dictating content and point of view) quoted a reviewer who "wondered if Mr le Carre had farmed out the writing of the manuscript to ultra-left reporter John Pilger". (In fact, somewhat surprisingly, le Carre mentions the influence of Pilger in the narrative and the Acknowledgements.)

The London Daily Telegraph's Daniel Johnson sneered: "The author, having pensioned off Smiley a decade ago, is rather lost without him. Absolute Friends recycles lots of familiar Cold War material. Its villains, however, are no longer KGB spymasters but those who defeated them. The West is the new Eastern bloc; the sinister right is the new left; loyalty to the Atlantic alliance is the new treachery."

Yet if we believed le Carre's depiction of Russian evil, why shouldn't we believe him about America? Is this what the right is really worried about? That le Carre, with his best-seller status, could really popularise these views?

September 11, described by a CIA operative in the book as "the most sensational act of anti-capitalism since the invention of gunpowder", destroyed all the old rules and gave the victim nation the notion that it could reshape the world to its own design. It now justifies everything from the invasion of Iraq to the turning back of planes mid-flight from Mexico. In le Carre's story, it becomes a justification for an act of political alchemy that turns political stool pigeons into sitting ducks - with devastating implications for those of us who still like to think we live in democracies.

Le Carre's critique of "this extremely delicate point in all our histories" is chilling because of his contention that the threat of terrorism is now being used to sneak other agendas past the political radar. It's not enough that bombs explode daily from Baghdad to Rawilpindi, Tel Aviv to Aceh, that trans-Atlantic air travel is in chaos or that young American Air Force pilots are being made psychologically ready to shoot down crowded passenger planes.

The world has to fall into line (are you for us or against us?). If le Carre is speaking with authority about just how far America is willing to go to promote its Grand Design, the world has become an even scarier place than we could possibly have imagined.

The Naked Rape of America
01.05.04 (11:56 am)   [edit]
[b]The Naked Rape of America [/b]is being witnessed but not fully reported ([i]it isn't making headline news[/i]!) by a callous corporate-owned media, who are slavishly subservient to the corrupt neo-fascist Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta[/i] acting on behalf of their Global Corporate Empire, Filthy Rich Plutocrats & Greedy Campaign Contributors-- and the neo-orwellian propaganda is again devised to deceive "We the People".

The working people, elderly & vulnerable of America are being ruthlessly swindled, plundered & looted ... by Dubya's wild spending on tax cuts for the rich & goodies for corporations resulting in the largest deficits in our nation's history that are creating a terrifying inflation ([i]a sinking dollar that buys less & less[/i]) ... as well as state & local taxes that are skyrocketing to make-up for the Bushies' sordid embezzlement of the U.S. Treasury to pay for unnecessary war-mongerings to enrich themselves and their rapacious war-profiteers ... and, the costs of goods, fuel and services that are sharply rising, on a daily basis-- with no end in sight to the misery of joblessness, poverty & homelessness here in America, and the terror being reeked abroad by the squalid Bush regime.

Consider "[i][b]Despite Rebound, States' Budgets Are Still Reeling[/b][/i]" by John M. Broder on :

After three consecutive years of dismal fiscal news at the state level, officials are beginning to detect signs that the worst may be over. But state budgets will continue to be stressed by slow job growth and rapidly rising health care costs, and battles in state capitals over taxing and spending will continue to rage, analysts say.

The growing national economy and the rising stock market have begun to be felt in the states; tax revenues in most states rose slightly in the second half of last year for the first time since mid-2001.

Governors, legislatures and budget directors welcomed the news after three years in which state officials had to contend with a cumulative $200 billion in budget shortfalls. But officials warned that many states were entering the new year and preparing for next year still facing substantial budget deficits.

Over the past three years, total spending at the state level rose, at most, by one-half percent, a marked change from the record of the previous 25 years, in which spending growth averaged 6.5 percent a year.

"In quite a large number of states, budgets will be smaller in actual dollar amounts than they were two or three years ago," said Scott Pattison, executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers, based in Washington. "That's pretty unusual and significant. The good news is it appears most states have hit bottom and are slowly climbing out, but boy, the bottom was deep. It's going to be hard coming out of that."

States have responded by greatly cutting spending and raising fees on all kinds of services, from fishing licenses to divorce filings. Sales taxes rose in 17 states, while 10 states, including New York, increased income taxes, although most made the increases temporary. Many states resorted to one-time remedies to raise revenue, including accelerating tax collections in Michigan and deferring salary payments into the next fiscal year in Virginia. States have borrowed against pension funds and tobacco settlement payments and offered amnesty to delinquent taxpayers to encourage them to make overdue payments.

In California, state general fund spending in the current fiscal year, which began July 1, is projected to fall to $73 billion from $78 billion the previous year. This week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will present a budget for the coming fiscal year that must address a projected shortfall of at least $14 billion. Governor Schwarzenegger has vowed not to raise taxes, and the success of his plan hinges on a March referendum approving the sale of $15 billion in bonds to cover the deficit.

California has coped with its fiscal crisis with one-time budget gimmicks and deep cuts in spending on higher education, health care and numerous programs, from parks to the arts. The fiscal crisis has also had profound political implications, leading at least in part to the recall of former Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, and the rollicking election that brought Mr. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, to power in November.

States from coast to coast are facing similar fiscal problems and the political fallout that accompanies them. In Alabama, a conservative Republican governor, Bob Riley, who said he had never voted for a tax increase in his three terms in Congress, proposed the largest tax increase in the state's history to cover a deep budget deficit.

Mr. Riley devised the $1.2 billion tax package to protect the state's poorest citizens, but opponents seized on provisions like a tax on services like car repairs to build public sentiment against it.

Voters roundly rejected the tax increase in the fall, and now cuts have begun. Five thousand nonviolent offenders are being paroled early from prisons, troopers have gone to a four-day workweek, and schools have run out of money for textbooks and computers.

In Oregon, Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski, a Democrat, negotiated with Republicans in the State Legislature to win passage of an $800 million package of tax increases to address a projected $1 billion budget shortfall. The plan included a temporary increase in the state income tax and new taxes on tobacco and businesses. Oregon does not have a sales tax.

But antitax forces in the state, including members of the Libertarian Party and conservative Republicans, collected more than 50,420 signatures to put the governor's plan before the voters in a February referendum. Even the plan's supporters expect it to be rejected, which would force Governor Kulongoski to cut spending by $800 million.

Defeat of the tax plan would "end the Oregon Health Plan as we know it, cutting it by hundreds of millions of dollars, and cause deep cuts in K-12 education, as much as $400 million or $500 million," said Peter Bragdon, the governor's chief of staff.

Like several states, Oregon broadened medical coverage in the boom years of the late 1990's. Now, with budgets shrinking and health care costs rising at double-digit rates, states are cutting back severely by raising eligibility requirements and eliminating coverage for hundreds of thousands of people.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonprofit research group in Washington that tracks the effects of government policies on low-income people, 34 states have cut spending on Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program over the past two years.

Missouri, for example, lowered the income limit for eligibility for Medicaid to $11,750 from $15,260 for a family of three, and tightened the requirements in other ways, eliminating benefits for as many as 42,700 people. Florida has stopped granting children's health benefits to new applicants, putting them on a waiting list instead; this has affected 44,000 children. Texas increased monthly premiums for the children's health program and imposed an asset test for families. Those and other changes will drop as many as 494,000 Texans from the ranks of the insured.

In all, the center estimates, 1.2 million to 1.6 million poor people have lost their health benefits as a result of cuts at the state level.

The last time states faced such difficult fiscal conditions was after the 1990-91 recession. But the response to the current slowdown has been vastly different, said Arturo Perez, a senior fiscal analyst in Denver for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

He said that in 1991, states raised taxes by $15.4 billion, about 5.4 percent of the previous year's tax collections. In 2003, by contrast, states raised taxes by $7.8 billion, or 1.5 percent of revenue from the year before. Mr. Perez said that politicians have become tax-shy in the past decade.

"Look what happened to Florio and Cuomo and others who supported tax increases in campaigns after that period," Mr. Perez said, referring to two former governors, James J. Florio of New Jersey and Mario M. Cuomo of New York, who lost to rivals who campaigned against unpopular tax increases. "That lesson hasn't been lost."

Widespread opposition to tax increases prompted officials to compensate by raising excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco and a variety of charges for state services, calling them user fees rather than taxes.

Alaska raised fees on rental cars. Arkansas imposed a 3 percent excise tax on beer and doubled, to $150, the fee for reinstatement of drivers' licenses revoked for drunken driving. Georgia tripled the cigarette tax to 27 cents a pack. North Carolina increased the fee the state charges for analyzing pap smears. Ohio raised the elevator inspection fee. Texas is erecting tollbooths on state highways, raising college tuitions and imposing a $1,000 surcharge on drunken driving convictions.

Massachusetts raised the fee for a marriage license to $50 from $4. New Jersey raised the divorce filing fee to $250 from $200.

Last spring, the New York State Legislature voted to raise taxes and borrow about $4 billion to avoid deep cuts to education and medical services for the poor that Gov. George E. Pataki had proposed to close an $11.5 billion budget gap. The governor vetoed most of the Legislature's plan, but lawmakers from both parties overrode him.

A reluctance to raise taxes or cut spending was among the chief causes of the current fiscal fix, said Ray Scheppach, executive director of the National Governors Association, based in Washington. Federal tax policy, unfinanced mandates for programs like domestic security, and ever-rising Medicaid costs all contributed to what will be long-term fiscal problems, no matter how the economy performs over the next 12 months, he said.

"I think we've bottomed out and it's going to get better," Mr. Scheppach said, describing the states' fiscal plight as the worst since World War II. "But not a lot better."

[i]Reporting for this article was contributed by Maureen Balleza, Ariel Hart, James C. McKinley Jr., Jo Napolitano and Stacey Stowe.[/i]

"The search for Iraqi WMD has become a public joke. But I, for one, am not laughing!"
01.04.04 (10:49 am)   [edit]
[b]It is shocking that the corrupt Bush regime can break the law with impunity and that their lies, deceptions & falsehoods that led us into the most horrific act that any nation can undertake, namely [i]WAR[/i], can go on, not only unpunished, but without the public outrage that would demonstrate that a conscientious people are truly concerned about the right and proper accountability of their government to act within the law and with moral probity.[/b]

One perhaps could have been forgiven in the past, for wondering how the well-educated German people could have allowed Adolf Hitler to commit heinous atrocities ... One cannot be forgiven today, for wondering how the Holocaust could have taken place-- "We the People" have acted like the German people did in the 1930s, allowing the insane neo-con Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta[/i] to perpetrate [i]Crimes Against Humanity[/i], in their illegal & immoral incursion into sovereign nations ([i]Afghanistan & Iraq[/i]), that has resulted in the unnecessary massacre of hundreds of Americans and the tragic slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis ... as well as the unconscionable carnage & maiming for life of thousands of Americans and untold thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians.

The [i]casus belli [/i]for the neo-con's neo-hitlerian invasion of Iraq was their infamous lies, deceptions & falsehoods regarding phony WMDs ... Their criminal claims of false-danger are so much more serious, damaging and destructive to America than any sex-scandal of Clinton's, that it [i]boggles the mind [/i]that the public has not loudly demanded and insisted that Congress hold open impeachment hearings for Bush & Cheney, and called for the resignations & criminal trials of Rumsfeld, Rice, Rove, Wolfowitz, Perle, Powell, etc ...

Consider "[i][b]Scott Ritter: The search for Iraqi WMD has become a public joke. But I, for one, am not laughing -- Hutton stopped far short of a real investigation into the Blair government's abysmal abuse of power[/b][/i]" on :

President George Bush, in his State of the Union address in January last year, told the world that Saddam Hussein had promised he would disarm his weapons of mass destruction, and that this promise had not been fulfilled. Bush spoke of the Iraqi president retaining massive stocks of chemical and biological agent, as well as an ongoing nuclear weapons programme.

On 20 March 2003, Bush ordered American military forces, accompanied by the armed forces of Great Britain, to invade Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power. In hiding since the fall of Baghdad, Saddam was finally run to ground in December. On his capture, he is reported to have said that WMD was an issue created by George Bush to justify the invasion of Iraq. This is a claim that has increasing validity.

Tony Blair had already been embarrassed by a growing recognition that his own intelligence-based estimates regarding Iraqi WMD were every bit as cooked up as the American president's. He faced further ignominy when Paul Bremer, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, publicly mocked his assertions that David Kay, the former UN weapons inspector turned CIA agent who headed the so-far futile search for WMD in occupied Iraq, had found "massive evidence of a huge system of clandestine laboratories". Dismissed by Bremer as a "red herring", Blair's discredited comments only underscore the sad fact that the issue of Iraqi WMD, and the entire concept of disarmament, has become a public joke.

The misrepresentation and distortion of fact carried out by President Bush and Prime Minister Blair is no joke, but rather represent an assault on the very fabric of the concept of a free and democratic society which they espouse to serve. The people of the United States are still waiting for a heavily divided Congress to break free of partisan politics and launch a genuine investigation. This should certainly look at the massive intelligence failure surrounding the gross distortion of the Iraqi WMD threat put forward by the US intelligence community. But perhaps more importantly, the investigation should focus on the actions of the White House in shaping the intelligence estimates so that they dovetailed nicely with the political goals and objectives of the Bush administration's Iraq policy-makers.

Many in Great Britain might take some pride in knowing that their democracy, at least, has had an airing of the pre-war Iraq intelligence which has been denied their American cousins.

The Hutton inquiry has been viewed by many as an investigation into the politicisation, or "sexing up", of intelligence information by the British government to help strengthen its case for war. It stopped far short of any real investigation into the abysmal abuse of power that occurred when Blair's government lied to Parliament, and the electorate, about the threat posed by Iraq's WMD. There was no effort to dig deep into the systematic politicisation of the British intelligence system, to untangle the web of deceit and misinformation concerning Iraq peddled over the years by the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Defence and British intelligence.

The damage done goes well beyond the borders of the US and Britain. One must also calculate the irreparable harm done to the precepts of international law, the viability of multilateral organisations such as the United Nations, and the concepts of diplomacy and arms control which kept the world from destroying itself during the last century.

Iran, faced with 130,000 American soldiers on its border, has opened its nuclear facilities to inspection. North Korea has done the same. Libya, in a surprise move, has traded in its own overblown WMD aspirations in exchange for diplomatic recognition and economic interaction with the West. But none of these moves, as welcome as they are, have the depth and reach to compare with the decision by South Africa or the former republics of the Soviet Union to get rid of their respective nuclear weapons. The latter represented actions taken freely, wrapped in the principles of international law. The former are merely coerced concessions, given more as a means of buying time than through any spirit of true co-operation. Sold by George Bush and Tony Blair as diplomatic triumphs derived from the Iraq experience, the sad reality is that these steps towards disarmament are every bit as illusory as Saddam's WMD arsenal. They are all the more dangerous, too, because the safety net of international law that the world could once have turned to when these compelled concessions inevitably collapse no longer exists.

[i]Scott Ritter was a UN weapons inspector from 1991-98. He is the author of 'Frontier Justice: Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Bushwhacking of America' [/i]

The George Who Lost America, Redux
01.04.04 (8:01 am)   [edit]
[b]Americans treat politics like they do their [i]sports games [/i]... [/b]we sadly only become interested in politics when the season starts, and only become angry when [i]we've lost [/i]and it gets bad, really bad ... A "[i]win-at-all-costs[/i]" political strategy is however, a barbaric, bankrupt & dangerously heinous one-- as a civilized society endeavours to ensure that ALL citizens are engaged and ALL citizens work together to improve ALL of our lives-- The U.S.A. should not be the [i]playground[/i] for the few powerful & wealthy power-brokers & corporate robber-barons to ruthlessly exploit, swindle, loot & plunder!

The election of 2004 is perhaps the most important in our nation's history-- because it will determine whether or not we give a mandate to, or reject the Mad King George's neo-fascist corporate rape of America & neo-con unilateral war-mongerings abroad ... Will the Global Corporate Empire succeed in installing their neo-feudal slave state to empower & enrich the corporations & plutocrats beyond all reason-- and impoverish & enslave the rest of us?

"We the People" are forewarned that our decision in November 2004 is more important than a silly [i]sports game[/i]-- and we had better seriously assess the impact of our decisions-- and not be blindly led into squandering our attention on "diversionary" or "emotive" issues that are not really crucial to our lives ... Instead, let us focus on the economy, on how to avoid unnecessary wars, and on the[i] well-being [/i]of our citizens and our nation. Our nation was not created for corporations, rich plutocrats & the Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta's[/i] corrupt cronies to swindle, plunder & loot!

Consider "[i][b]The George Who Lost America, Redux[/b][/i]" by [i]Karen Kwiatkowski [/i]on :

Like the vast majority of Americans, I don’t harbor blind, irrational, or any other kind of hatred for George W. Bush. In this, I am in good company with at least 52% or 53% of the population. That’s all it will take in 2004, by the way.

In an era where Wal-Mart shoppers like me have tightened our belt a bit, we can certainly appreciate that, for those who donate money to George W. Bush’s re-election campaign, he is a penny pincher extraordinaire .

I commend the President on his tightwad ways with a political donation. It’s too bad he doesn’t extend this same courtesy to our money otherwise extracted.

Sadly, the cash wrung from already squeezed taxpayers, small businesses and investors through taxes and fees is not treated with the same tender concern by our Great Leader.

One observer likens the Bush economy to the guy who maxed his credit cards, pawned his property, and mortgaged his house and now has "a big wad of walking around money." It is amazing that we haven’t seen more in the media about the financial mess we are in. An unnecessary mess, one created by the very Republican Party once known as conservative, meaning among other things, "restrained in style," "moderate," "cautious."

The mess, in simple terms, is reflected in the fact that Merrill Lynch recently initiated a new monthly report entitled "The Overseas-Funding-of-America Report." The November 27th issue states "It is amazing how many investors still have no idea that America today is more dependent on the rest of the world for capital than at any time in the past fifty years. The US is running a record current account deficit of the order of 5% of GDP and this has to be funded by saving from the rest of the world." Concern about the state of the United States economy has significantly increased during the George W. Bush era, and replacement of Treasury secretaries has done little to reassure serious observers or participants.

A swaggering cowboy with wads of cash eager to buy his friends another couple of rounds doesn’t fit with my image of conservative. Or Webster’s. Things do change. But Republicans today, whether due to party loyalty or really low collective self-esteem, seem afraid to stand up and call out the federal sins of greed, gluttony and sloth.

Domestically, these three sins continue to be embraced lovingly by President Bush and the Republican Congress. This unseemly festival has created a major personal and philosophical challenge for individual Republicans, as they consider the ramifications of another George W. Bush presidency. Is it even possible for a real Republican to vote for Bush in 2004?

Set aside the fact that Republican (and its antecedent Whig) history tracks closely to where we are today – big invasive authoritarian government, preferring force over freedom, favors over fact. I was raised in an average Republican home where we didn’t study political history. We identified with the GOP as the antidote to FDR and LBJ excess, the promoter of entrepreneurs and independent producers, the party of fiscal conservatism and small government.

George W. Bush has clearly gone off that reservation, and he exhibits governing sins none of us tolerate in our local representatives, our mayors, even our governors. Of course, whether George W. Bush really understands what he is losing is debatable. One more sad parallel between our George and George III.

Critical information that will help Americans decide what they want for their fiscal and moral future resides in a million distributed places. It is in the Wal-Mart aisles. It is in the eyes of our twenty-something children who are looking for honest work or want to start a legitimate business only to be overwhelmed by the federal burden placed on employers and entrepreneurs. It is in the nagging worry of two-income parents who know that one unexpected expense or one unexpected reduction in work hours will cost the family a mortgage payment. It lives every moment in the hearts of parents and grandparents and spouses as their precious loved one stands guard over unwanted American outposts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ironically and unexpectedly, Bush’s own government in the past three years has helped move the rest of us in a more traditionally American direction. Our cynicism about King George’s Washington approaches the late 1700s level of cynicism about a different King George , in a different far away city. Then as now, we are turning to self-reliance in our personal economies, education, and spirit. Like an absentee father, our current George pays little attention to our real needs. While generally vacant and unproductive, he periodically showers us with extravagant gifts that we never needed and he can’t afford. Like children of the absentee father, we feign interest in his rare but always urgent advice (Orange? Yellow? War on whatchamacallit…) and then continue on with what we were doing.

Clues and hints that will guide our individual choices, today and in November 2004, are accessible to every one of us. The answer is not centralized, but in the lively hum and bustle of the trillion individual choices made by Americans, for themselves, their children, and grandchildren. This year, some may choose not to act or react, always a very valid and powerful option. Some may choose to act in a way consistent with their real principles, in the privacy of a voting booth. Others will work to change the GOP into the party they hoped it was, and still others will leave it behind in the dustbin of political evolutions gone bad.

Can George, Dick and Karl Rove turn this tide? I don’t think so. The federal ship of largesse, sloth, waste and arrogance is already far from port. Its cheerful crew guzzles free drinks and slaps backs, steaming under full power in the opposite direction of the solid rock of American tradition and Constitutional values. Even if Bush reversed engines – a painful and jolting procedure requiring real backbone and a sober reassessment of his presidency-- it will make no difference this late in the game.

This time, the famous BushCo spin machine will need a bit more super-heated air than even it is capable of generating. But I think the rising gale force of an angry and betrayed people – Republicans and Democrats alike – will do the trick.

[i]Karen Kwiatkowski [send her mail: ] is a recently retired USAF lieutenant colonel, who spent her final four and a half years in uniform working at the Pentagon. She now lives with her freedom-loving family in the Shenandoah Valley[/i].

Neo-Fascist Corporate Propaganda for Kids of All Ages
01.03.04 (7:25 am)   [edit]
[b]The neo-fascist [i]corporate propaganda machine [/i]is spewing neo-orwellian lies, deceptions & falsehoods, in order to brain-wash [i]kids of all ages [/i]... [/b]The [i]corporate-take-all [/i]fantasy that somehow if we allow corporations [i]free reign [/i]to rape workers of a[i] living wage & employees benefits[/i], swindle investors by [i]cooking the books[/i], and, harm consumers by being[i] "free" of regulations[/i]-- that these corruptions are all "[i]good[/i]" for America-- [b]is illogical and insane nonsense [/b]... The accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few based upon enslaving & exploiting the many is a heinous form of medieval fascism & tyranny that leads to misery & calamity!

"We the People" should recognize by now ([i]as working people have suffered, been brutalized & fought for basic rights ... over & over again throughout history[/i]) that this neo-con scam, perpetrated by the corrupt Bush regime, who is [i]in the bulging pockets of corporations[/i]-- has been done before ... It is nothing new ... We've been there, seen it and don't want to be neo-con conned by these neo-fascists all over again!

One example amongst many is "[b]Mad policies infect nation's body politic: [i]Reckless deregulation leads to billions of dollars in lost food exports[/i][/b]" on :

Why is the disease threatening our health and our economy called "mad cow"? Cows are innocent herbivores that would never knowingly consume the rendered remains of their fellow creatures. Perhaps the malady should instead be called mad executive, mad bureaucrat, mad lobbyist, mad cattleman or mad politician -- thus paying due homage to all those who vacillated when the nation was confronted by an obvious and preventable threat.

Their past opposition to increased federal testing of slaughtered cattle, which would add a few cents per pound to the cost of beef, certainly appears "mad" in retrospect. Having pursued short-term interests, the industry and its friends in government face potential losses in the billions of dollars from banned exports and falling prices.

While considering a more appropriate nickname for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, let’s think of this ailment as a political metaphor for the ruling ideology that mindlessly opposes government regulation. Like a rogue molecule tearing away at vital tissue, right-wing extremism has ravaged the regulatory systems that should protect the food supply from both misshapen proteins and crooked feedlots. Ideology has bored deep holes into the political cerebrum, making our government too stupid to act in our defense.

Whether the cow in question came from Canada or the United States will scarcely matter in an era of free trade and agricultural globalization. What matters to the countries that have already banned American beef imports -- and what should matter to American consumers as well -- is how government responds to the crisis.

Recent history offers little reassurance. As The New York Times reported last week, the Nobel-winning biologist who is the leading authority on B.S.E. and its causes has been trying to warn the Department of Agriculture about the need for universal testing since last May, when the disease first showed up in a Canadian cow. After five months, Dr. Stanley Prusiner finally got a meeting with Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, only to discover that "she did not share his sense of urgency."

Dr. Prusiner was not alone in warning the government that its measures against B.S.E. are far from adequate. Last July, Consumers Union wrote Ms. Veneman a detailed letter urging her to quickly and rapidly expand testing of animals most at risk. The nonpartisan consumer group protested the government’s feeble enforcement of an existing ban on livestock feed containing rendered animal products, which are suspected of spreading B.S.E. Consumers Union also noted that regulations still don’t prevent central-nervous-system tissues, which are most likely to be contaminated, from entering the food supply.

Investigations by the General Accounting Office have repeatedly revealed these failures to anyone who cared to know. Senator Tom Harkin, the tough Iowa Democrat who demanded the G.A.O. probes, also voiced his concerns about lax enforcement last June.

So the government and the industry can scarcely claim that nobody told them about this danger. Why did they not act?

The underlying causes are depressingly familiar: Agribusiness executives seek to minimize the cost of insuring food safety, even after observing the devastating results of inadequate protection in other countries. They and their lobbyists give millions to politicians and political parties, obtaining undue influence over policy. Those politicians appoint regulators who regard their mission as pleasing rather than policing the corporate sector.

Such stubborn resistance to regulation doesn’t even serve the true interests of the industry -- as so many other businesses have discovered after their reputations and profits were ruined by scandal. When the damage has already been done, regulation suddenly seems more attractive. Today the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which has opposed more stringent testing all along, says it will accept more regulation. But that acceptance is almost certainly too tardy to prevent billions in lost exports, and the persistent loss of confidence in an American product.

Protecting the food supply requires stronger government that can eventually insure better farming and production practices. This would mean not only far more stringent testing, but more humane treatment of animals and cleaner facilities; it would also mean the encouragement of organic agriculture instead of factory "farms."

Until those enlightened policies take hold, however, the least that government can do is to adopt better standards. It could begin by banning spinal columns and neck bones from use as food for animals or humans. Agribusiness methods for extracting every bit of meat from a carcass have contaminated the food supply with brain and spinal-cord tissues that can carry the B.S.E. infection.

The Department of Agriculture must expand its testing system immediately. Last year, the agency tested fewer than 20,000 cows in a population of about 100 million. In Europe, every animal above a certain age is tested, and in Japan every single animal is tested, with no exceptions.

Of course, Europe and Japan don’t suffer from the brain-wasting disease that afflicts our politics and policy.

[i]Joe Conason writes for the New York Observer and, and is the author of Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth.[/i]

True Conservatives Agree That Dubya Has Betrayed America's Workers
01.03.04 (6:58 am)   [edit]
[b]Traditional conservatives are starting to "[i]come out of the closet[/i]" and decry Dubya's betrayal of the American working people ...[/b]

"We the People" should contact Congress , and demand that the traitorous neo-con Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta[/i] be investigated for their neo-fascist criminal activities:-- ... that are leading to the unravelling of our democracy-- increased poverty, homelessness and joblessness-- and, illegal & immoral war-mongerings that enrich un-christian war-profiteers from the blood, sweat & tears of innocent human beings.

Surely, we deserve better than this!

Consider "[i][b]Bushite betrayal of working America[/b][/i]" by Patrick J. Buchanan on :

On Christmas Eve, a story and column in the Washington Post caught the eye. For they tell much about the two Americas we are becoming under George Bush and a Democratic Party that has cut its roots to working America.

The front-page story by Mike Allen describes a Bush initiative on "immigration reform." Seems that U.S. employers would post jobs and the wages that go with them on a Department of Labor website. If no Americans came forward to take the jobs, the employer would be allowed to bring Mexican temporary workers in legally, give them the jobs, and put them on a fast track to permanent residency and citizenship.

What would this mean? U.S. companies would offer pay at or near the minimum wage for jobs they had open in, say, construction.

As few Americans can support a family and kids in school on $5 an hour, many of these jobs would go begging. The employer would then be allowed to go to Mexico, where the minimum wage is about 60 cents an hour, or countries where it is even less, and hire all the hard-working labor he needed at the U.S. minimum wage.

As there are billions of people on earth who do not earn anything near $5 an hour, what the Bush plan means is throwing open America's borders to millions of workers who will come in and suppress the wages of America's workers.

Why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce might love this is easy to understand. But what is Bush doing to the working Americans who put him in office? Yet, as one reads further in the story, it appears it is not Bush who is doing this, it is boy-wonder Karl Rove. Bush's guru seized on the idea as part of the campaign's "compassion agenda."

In addition to bringing in millions of workers who would take jobs at a fraction of a living wage for American families, Bush will propose that 10 million aliens, who are in this country illegally, be made legal.

According to the Post, Rove & Co. "concluded that they needed a response to the large population of undocumented workers for the plan to be credible and for Bush to get credit from Hispanic voters.

In that last clause lies the motive behind the sellout.

Rove is pandering to Hispanics, giving militants in the Latino lobbies what they demand – some form of stealth amnesty, where those who broke into this country are made legal residents of the United States and put on the path to citizenship. He is buying votes by selling out the white working class, which, presumably, has nowhere else to go.

As a sop to those who believe aliens who break our laws should be sent back home, the Bushites promise better border controls. In brief, if you want Bush to enforce America's immigration laws, you must permit him to pardon those who broke these laws. And if you agree, Bush will promise to be more conscientious in doing his presidential duty to defend the borders of the United States.

How are the Bushites shafting American workers? Let me count the ways. Under Bush's free-trade zealotry, the United States has lost manufacturing jobs for 40 straight months, the longest stretch since the Great Depression. Under Bush, hundreds of thousands of high-tech workers have been brought into the United States to take jobs at wages one-half or a third of those commanded by the U.S. workers they replace.

Under Bush, the "outsourcing" and "off-shoring" of U.S. jobs has accelerated, with tens of thousands of jobs once held by high-paid white collar and information-technology workers going to Asia.

Under Bush, millions of legal and illegal immigrants have poured into the country, putting downward pressure on wages.

Under Bush, the merchandise trade deficit has risen to $550 billion, which represents a massive annual transfer of factories, jobs and technology. China, Japan and East Asia are the lead looters of America's once-awesome manufacturing base. Americans today buy nearly 15 percent of the entire GDP of China. The Chinese buy two-tenths of 1 percent of ours. It's what the Bushites call "free and fair trade."

What are the consequences for American workers? In a Post column, "Un-American Recovery," Harold Meyerson says it all.

U.S. corporate profits have been rising for 7 months. In the third quarter of 2003, the economy grew at 8.2 percent, productivity at over 9 percent. Have our workers shared equally in the good times?

Writes Meyerson: "Since July, the average hourly wage increase for the 85 million Americans who work in non-supervisory jobs in offices and factories is a flat 3 cents. Wages are up just 2.1 percent since November 2002, the slowest wage growth we've experienced in 40 years."

That's right. According to Meyerson, the wages of Americans have gone up three cents since the economy took off on a tear in July.

Let it be said: Working America has no powerful voice in politics. Both Democrats and Republicans are open-borders, free-trade zealots, who troll for cash from corporate America and burn their incense at the altars of the global economy.

[b]America needs a new party[/b].

Positive Profiteering
01.02.04 (6:57 am)   [edit]
[b]"We the People" must stop believing in insane fairy tales, propaganda & outright lies, perpetrated by the corrupt neo-fascist Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta[/i] & their neo-con[i] attack-dogs & court-jesters[/i] in the right-winged corporate-owned media -- for our own survival's sake ... [/b]the Bush regime doesn't give a damn about the working people of America-- retirees on fixed incomes-- the poor or the vulnerable among us ... Indeed, they are clearly acting in the most callous manner with regards to the majority of Americans who are being swindled, looted & plundered on behalf of corporations, the richest 5% plutocracy and their wealthy campaign contributors. Moreover, the immoral, illegal & un-christian [i]war-profiteering [/i]that is perpetrated by the Bush & Cheney families, Corporations & the Filthy Rich represents a [i]Crime Against Humanity[/i]!

The [i]War on Iraq News Log [/i]on AlterNet ( ), published a highly recommended cartoon on :--

Cartoonist [i]Ruben Bolling [/i]suggests we keep President Bush's word and grant Iraq reconstruction contracts to "only those who sacrificed and risked their lives" – the grunts on the ground, rather than bloated defense contractors.


AlterNet on

Britain Says U.S. Planned to Seize Oil in '73 Crisis ...
01.02.04 (6:30 am)   [edit]
[b]Britain Says U.S. Planned to Seize Oil in '73 Crisis ... [i]Is It Any Wonder That The Iraqis Don't Trust Us???[/i] ...[/b]

"We the People" were told egregious lies, deceptions & falsehoods by the corrupt Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta[/i]-- that led us into an insane illegal & immoral incursion turned bloody guerrilla quagmire in Iraq-- that has led to the unnecessary massacre & slaughter of hundreds of U.S. Soldiers & tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi Civilians-- that has led to the miserable carnage, maiming & injury for life of many thousands-- that has led to increased poverty & homelessness and other needs in our nation ignored or left unaddressed due to skyrocketing debt, greed & the callous disregard for [i]our nation's well-being[/i]-- ... --all to enrich Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal-- and the Oil Industry: [i]Bush & Cheney's Industry[/i]!

Dubya and his corrupt cabal of neo-con, neo-fascist thugs & goons should all be tried for [i]Crimes Against Humanity[/i] ... Please contact Congress and demand that hearings be called to try the Bush regime for Treason today on .

For more historical background & context concerning the real underlying motives of the corrupt corporations & plutocracy who have hijacked our nation & installed their [i]puppet-Bush-regime [/i]read "[i][b]Britain Says U.S. Planned to Seize Oil in '73 Crisis[/b][/i]" on :

LONDON — The United States government seriously contemplated using military force to seize oil fields in the Middle East during the Arab oil embargo 30 years ago, according to a declassified British government document made public on Thursday.

The top-secret document says that President Richard M. Nixon was prepared to act more aggressively than previously thought to secure America's oil supply if the embargo, imposed by Arab nations in retaliation for America's support for Israel in the 1973 Middle East war, did not end. In fact, the embargo was lifted in March 1974.

The declassified British memorandum said the United States considered launching airborne troops to seize oil fields in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, but only as a "last resort."

President Nixon's defense secretary, James R. Schlesinger, delivered the warning to Lord Cromer, the British ambassador in Washington at the time. In the document, Lord Cromer was quoted as saying of Mr. Schlesinger, "it was no longer obvious to him that the United States could not use force."

The seizure of the oil fields was "the possibility uppermost in American thinking when they refer to the use of force," the memorandum said.

The potential for such a military action was taken so seriously by British intelligence services that a report was written listing the most likely scenarios for the use of American force in the Middle East and the consequences of each. The report, dated Dec. 12, 1973, was titled "UK Eyes Alpha" and was sent to Prime Minister Edward Heath.

The memorandum was one of hundreds of documents released by Britain's National Archives under a law that makes government papers public after 30 years. Details of the document were reported on Thursday by The Washington Post.

The exchange between Mr. Schlesinger and Lord Cromer came on the heels of the war between Israel and Egypt and Syria that began in October 1973. As retaliation for American support for Israel in the war and in an effort to sway world opinion, Arab members of OPEC imposed the oil embargo.

The embargo led to petroleum shortages around the world and to sharp increases in the price of gas in the United States.

As recounted by Lord Cromer, Mr. Schlesinger told him the United States was unwilling to abide threats by "underdeveloped, underpopulated" countries.

The document did not rule out the possibility that Washington would consider pre-emptive strikes if Arab governments, "elated by the success of the oil weapon," began issuing greater demands.

"The U.S. government might consider that it could not tolerate a situation in which the U.S. and its allies were in effect at the mercy of a small group of unreasonable countries," the document said.

As outlined in the memorandum, military action would be relatively straightforward: two brigades were estimated to be needed to seize the Saudi oil fields and one each for Kuwait and Abu Dhabi. In the case of Abu Dhabi, the Americans might ask for British military cooperation.

The greatest threat would arise in Kuwait, the document said, "where the Iraqis, with Soviet backing, might be tempted to intervene."

The British warned in their assessment that any occupation of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi might have to last as long as 10 years. The use of force would also alienate Arab countries and irritate Moscow, although a military confrontation with the Soviet Union would be unlikely, the document said.

Discontent among Western allies was also cited as a possible consequence of military action. "Since the United States would probably claim to be acting for the benefit of the West as a whole and would expect the full support of allies, deep U.S.-European rifts could ensue," it said.

A separate document, also just released, illustrated Mr. Heath's profound anger toward Mr. Nixon, when the American president failed to inform the British prime minister he was putting American forces on a global nuclear alert during the Middle East war.

Mr. Heath went so far as to suggest that Mr. Nixon issued the alert in an attempt to deflect attention away from Watergate, which was in full swing in the fall of 1973.

"An American President in the Watergate position apparently prepared to go to such lengths at a moment's notice without consultation with his allies," Mr. Heath wrote in the second document, adding that there was no "military justification" for putting American forces on a nuclear alert at the time.

The alert was ordered after Leonid I. Brezhnev, the Soviet leader, warned that he might send Soviet troops into the Middle East after Israel crossed the Suez Canal.

Confirmed: UK "Sexed-Up" WMDs ...
01.01.04 (7:49 am)   [edit]
[b]The neo-con Bush regime wanted their ugly war in Iraq prior to 9/11 ([i]although Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11 ... and posed no threat to the U.S.A. ... 9/11 simply gave them the phony "[u]excuse[/u]" that they exploited to scare Americans into supporting their Crimes Against Humanity[/i]) ... Their [i][u]Real Motives[/u][/i]: Control of OIL And Plundering of [i]Our[/i] U.S. Treasury & Iraqi businesses for the Squalid Bush & Cheney families, their Sordid Corporate Cronies & Filthy Rich Campaign Contributors[/b]-- [i]all of whom have made many billions of dollars in immoral & illegal war-profits from the blood & misery of others[/i].

One wonders just what the corrupt Veep Cheney [i]promised to deliver[/i] in his secret energy meetings with his neo-fascist corporate energy buddies in the summer of 1991 [i](no wonder he refuses to release even the attendees of his bizarre highly secretive Energy Policy meetings, although he has been instructed to do so by the Federal Appeals Court)[/i] ... We are supposed to live in a democratic society with transparency in government accountable to the people.

The mendacious [i]casus belli [/i]for the Bush regime's insane, illegal & immoral war in Iraq was a massive stockpile of nuclear, chemical & biological WMDs posing an imminent threat to us ... Remember all of those "[i]mushroom clouds[/i]" that could [i]wipe millions of us out [/i]any day ... These were bold-faced lies, deceptions & falsehoods ...

"We the People" should demand that Congress indict Dubya & his regime of neo-con war-mongers for crimes of treason-- as it is a crime under the U.S. Constitution to wage war under false pretences ... Moreover, the Bush regime should be [i]in the dock [/i]along with Saddam Hussein for [i]Crimes Against Humanity[/i], since hundreds of Americans & tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have been massacred by the Bushies to enrich Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, etc ...

Consider "[i][b]Confirmed: UK sexed up WMDs[/b][/i]" on :

LONDON: The British government has confirmed that MI6 had organised Operation Mass Appeal, a campaign to plant stories in the media about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

The revelation will create embarrassing questions for Tony Blair in the run-up to the publication of the report by Lord Hutton into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly , the government weapons expert.

A senior official admitted that MI6 had been at the heart of a campaign launched in the late 1990s to spread information about Saddam's development of nerve agents and other weapons, but denied that it had planted misinformation.

"There were things about Saddam's regime and his weapons that the public needed to know," said the official.

The admission followed claims by Scott Ritter, a former US marine who led 14 inspection missions in Iraq, who said that MI6 had recruited him in 1997 to help with the propaganda effort.

Capture of Saddam 'Has Not Altered Enemy Tactics'
01.01.04 (7:14 am)   [edit]
[b]The question that "We the People" should be asking of the Bush regime, this New Year's Day, is:-- Why are we still in Iraq?[/b]

... There are [i]no WMDs [/i]...

... Saddam Hussein [i]no longer [/i]presents any danger to his people (he [i]never did [/i]threaten or pose any danger to [i]us[/i]) ...

... The majority of Iraqis[i] don't want us occupying [/i]their country anymore ...

Why are we still in Iraq? ... Perhaps we ought to be asking Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, Unocal, et al.-- as the Bush/Cheney Inc. [i]junta's[/i] corporate cronies seem to be running our [i]insane neo-con [/i]foreign policies abroad, and our [i]corrupt neo-fascist [/i]domestic policies here at home.

In "[i][b]Capture of Saddam 'has not altered enemy tactics'[/b][/i]" on , another of Bush's many LIES crumbles:-- as the Bushies' [i]false claim that once Saddam was captured, the Iraqi people would welcome us with open arms[/i] proves yet again to be either another "mis-calculation" by incompetent & arrogant buffoons or a bold-faced falsehood perpetrated by mendacious & cynical thugs & goons-- [i]or both[/i]!

US military officials said yesterday they did not believe the capture of Saddam Hussein had galvanised Iraqi insurgents or made them change tactics, despite a spike in killings of coalition soldiers in the last week.

A senior American general said the number and type of attacks on US and allied troops had not changed in the last two weeks, although he acknowledged there appeared to be an attempt by guerrillas to use the Christmas holiday to mount an offensive.

"Since the capture of Saddam Hussein, we've seen the number of engagements stay relatively the same," said Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of operations for coalition ground forces.

"Unfortunately, some of those engagements have been a little more deadly, [but] I don't think that that has anything to do with the specific capture of Saddam Hussein."

Twenty coalition soldiers were killed over a five-day period starting on Christmas Eve - the largest death toll over such a short period since 19 soldiers were killed when two Black Hawk helicopters were downed more than a month ago.

The dead included two Thai engineers and four Bulgarian soldiers killed in multiple car bombings on Saturday in the southern Shia city of Karbala

Coalition officials insist they are seeing signs that mid-level officials from the former regime have given up hope of a return of Ba'athist rule following Mr Hussein's capture, a change that US officials hope will quell their support for the insurgency.

Brig Gen Kimmitt said US forces had stymied a larger Christmas attack by capturing weapons that had been set to fire at several targets.

He said coalition officials had gathered intelligence that at least 18 separate attacks had been planned between 6am and 8am on Christmas morning. While some of those attacks were carried out, they caused little damage.

"The capture of Saddam Hussein has provided intelligence which has been helpful in continuing the operations," the general said. "Yes, the number of personnel that we're capturing is about the same that we've been capturing consistently over the last couple of months, but the quality of captures has gone up a bit."

These included the killing on Saturday of Sarhid Ab Sarhid, a former officer in the Iraqi military intelligence directorate, who was believed to have been a leader of the Baghdad-based insurgency cell that shot at and hit a DHL transport aircraft as it was leaving Baghdad's international airport.

Although the aircraft returned safely, civilian flights from the airport have been barred since.


Cost of the War in Iraq
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