Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Bush's hometown paper endorses Kerry

Kerry Will Restore American Dignity

2004 Iconoclast Presidential Endorsement

Few Americans would have voted for George W. Bush four years ago if he had promised that, as President, he would:

  • Empty the Social Security trust fund by $507 billion to help offset fiscal irresponsibility and at the same time slash Social Security benefits.

  • Cut Medicare by 17 percent and reduce veterans' benefits and military pay.

  • Eliminate overtime pay for millions of Americans and raise oil prices by 50 percent.

  • Give tax cuts to businesses that sent American jobs overseas, and, in fact, by policy encourage their departure.

  • Give away billions of tax dollars in government contracts without competitive bids.

  • Involve this country in a deadly and highly questionable war, and

  • Take a budget surplus and turn it into the worst deficit in the history of the United States, creating a debt in just four years that will take generations to repay.
These were elements of a hidden agenda that surfaced only after he took office.

The publishers of The Iconoclast endorsed Bush four years ago, based on the things he promised, not on this smoke-screened agenda.

Today, we are endorsing his opponent, John Kerry, based not only on the things that Bush has delivered, but also on the vision of a return to normality that Kerry says our country needs.

<edit>

In those dark hours after the World Trade Center attacks, Americans rallied together with a new sense of patriotism. We were ready to follow Bush's lead through any travail.

He let us down.

When he finally emerged from his hide-outs on remote military bases well after the first crucial hours following the attack, he gave sound-bytes instead of solutions.

<edit>

Bush said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction trained on America. We believed him, just as we believed it when he reported that Iraq was the heart of terrorism. We trusted him.

The Iconoclast, the President's hometown newspaper, took Bush on his word and editorialized in favor of the invasion. The newspaper's publisher promoted Bush and the invasion of Iraq to Londoners in a BBC interview during the time that the administration was wooing the support of Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Again, he let us down.

Once and for all, George Bush was President of the United States on that day. No one else. He had been President nine months, he had been officially warned of just such an attack a full month before it happened. As President, ultimately he and only he was responsible for our failure to avert those attacks.

We should expect that a sitting President would vacation less, if at all, and instead tend to the business of running the country, especially if he is, as he likes to boast, a "wartime president." America is in service 365 days a year. We don't need a part-time President who does not show up for duty as Commander-In-Chief until he is forced to, and who is in a constant state of blameless denial when things don't get done.

<edit>

Kerry's four-point plan for Iraq is realistic, wise, strong, and correct. With the help from our European and Middle Eastern allies, his plan is to train Iraqi security forces, involve Iraqis in their rebuilding and constitution-writing processes, forgive Iraq's multi-billion dollar debts, and convene a regional conference with Iraq's neighbors in order to secure a pledge of respect for Iraq's borders and non-interference in Iraq's internal affairs.

<edit>

The re-election of George W. Bush would be a mandate to continue on our present course of chaos. We cannot afford to double the debt that we already have. We need to be moving in the opposite direction.

John Kerry has 30 years of experience looking out for the American people and can navigate our country back to prosperity and re-instill in America the dignity she so craves and deserves. He has served us well as a highly decorated Vietnam veteran and has had a successful career as a district attorney, lieutenant governor, and senator.

Kerry has a positive vision for America, plus the proven intelligence, good sense, and guts to make it happen.

That's why The Iconoclast urges Texans not to rate the candidate by his hometown or even his political party, but instead by where he intends to take the country.

The Iconoclast wholeheartedly endorses John Kerry.

Daily Kos - Original, unedited Iconoclast article


 

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Bush family history shows a dark past unseen by most

Seeing the big picture. Getting to know the players.

Few would argue that trust, like democracy, is earned and not inherited. So how is it that we've missed the lessons of four generations of Bush family history?

As Kevin Phillips recounts in "American Dynasty," the Bush family presents a record of war profiteers who use public office to gain wealth and advantage. Along the way, Bush family business cronies receive political access and legitimacy.

One of the most venal characters is Prescott Bush, the president's grandfather. ...

For 60 years, the full record of Prescott Bush's complicity in the Nazi war machine has been ignored or denied by participants and the U.S. media.

But no more. Documents relating to the seizures were recently uncovered in the National Archives and the Library of Congress. Confirmed by Dutch government sources, they show that Bush shipped tons of strategic resources to the Third Reich as Hitler prepared to invade Poland.

Despite this history, the news media continues to present a selective picture of the Bush family and its business connections. People who tried to show the warts were shouted down; in 2000, the publisher of "Fortunate Son," a George Bush biography, was forced to recall and burn its inventory.

After launching a bloody occupation of Iraq, perhaps it's time Americans connect the dots and see the big picture. ...

In private action and public policy, Bush family history reveals a pattern of war profiteering spanning four generations. It's a legacy of deceit and death. For the naïve and uninformed, the facts may be a slap in the face. For those who look closely, the sign is as clear as blood on snow.

Then again, perhaps the pattern is lost in the noise. According to Bob Woodward's "Bush At War," the president attended a New York Yankees game not long after the 9/11 attacks. Wearing a New York City fireman's jacket, Bush threw out the first pitch and the crowd roared its approval. From a sky box above the stadium, Karl Rove, Bush's political adviser, likened the roar of the crowd to 'a Nazi rally.'"
I wonder how world history will compare grandfather and grandson a century from now. Will collusion with the Third Reich really be regarded as any more venal than the crimes George W. is now perpetrating on this nation and world, and intends to advance yet further in a 2nd term?

Read the whole 9-12-04 article at The Fairbanks News-Miner.

Also read this Guardian Unlimited 9-25-04 article on the subject.


 

Friday, September 24, 2004

Millions Blocked from Voting in US Election

Millions of U.S. citizens, including a disproportionate number of black voters, will be blocked from voting in the Nov. 2 presidential election because of legal barriers, faulty procedures or dirty tricks, according to civil rights and legal experts.

The largest category of those legally disenfranchised consists of almost 5 million former felons who have served prison sentences and been released.

In total, 13 percent of all black men are barred from voting due to a felony conviction, according to the Commission on Civil Rights. Polls consistently find that black Americans overwhelmingly vote for Democrats.

"This has a huge effect on elections but also on black communities which see their political clout diluted. No one has yet explained to me how letting ex-felons who have served their sentences into polling booths hurts anyone," said Jessie Allen of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. ...

Wired News

In 2000 five right wing Supreme Court justices selected George W. Bush as president by stopping the Florida vote count when Bush had 512 votes over Gore. For Jeb Bush, Katharine Harris, Clayton Roberts and the Republican Party it was a job well done, but for our democracy and the clear majority of potential voters, it was the theft of the presidency and an indecent outrage against the founding principles of this republic.

Our risk averse, government beholden US media corporations eagerly stepped up to pay homage to the interloper as president and subsequently failed in their duty to fairly pursue and report on the injustices that had bend one in our banana republic election at the hands of GOP operatives.

But unlike two other international elections that were stolen that year, because our media corporations supported the coup by failing to pursue and report it, there were no mass uprisings of outraged citizens marching up to the White House demanding justice, our election remained stolen and by far the worst presidency of 100 years was given a free pass to plunder our treasury, eviscerate our economy, and shred our Constitution. And what the GOP has in mind for this nation in another four years of power may very well make today seem like the good old days.

Greg Palast, American investigative journalist and film producer for the BBC and The Guardian, and author of best-selling The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, has done much to reveal this scandalous coup d'etat but generally stands alone crying in the US media wilderness. It was Palast who reported on BBC about the illegal "felons list" ordered by Jeb Bush, Katharine Harris, and Clayton Roberts as a Democratic hit list to prevent more than 50,000 eligible Florida Democratic voters access to the polls, and further that Katharine Harris prevented the counting of another 20,000 Democratic votes.

His findings were confirmed by the Commission on Civil Rights, as described and further elaborated upon by Alan Elsner, which states that nationally, the "largest category of those legally disenfranchised consists of almost 5 million former felons who have served prison sentences and been released" and that polls "consistently find that black Americans overwhelmingly vote for Democrats." That being the case, one can readily appreciate why any GOP dominated state legislature would be more than a little reluctant to allow ex-felons the vote and thereby give up their valuable felons list, accurate or not. Fourteen states still deny ex-felons the right to vote.

Add this to the fact that nationwide, predominantly black precincts are those that get the oldest, most often malfunctioning voting equipment. Any equipment delays or breakdowns in these precincts — which occur at a higher rate than in precincts with better equipment — therefore deprive more Democratic voters from casting their ballots. It is estimated that the votes lost in this manner exceeds 1,000,000.

Following are some Greg Palast links. Find out what the elite media corporations are unwilling to let you know.

GregPalast.com (links to Palast's writings and more of his A/V's)
BBC TV: Theft of the Presidency - What Really Happened in Florida?
Silence of the Media Lambs (audio)
The Bush Family Fortunes (complete video)
Jim Crow Revived in Cyberspace 05-13-03 (article)
Update 10-28-04: Palast's BBC 10-26-04 report on a Florida Republican "caging list" and other dirty (illegal) tricks (audio)

Another writer's 2000 election theft summary: Stolen Election Deja Vu, Steve B. Cobble, for Nov3.us


 

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Bush and Blair: Secrets and Lies

If Blair knew it, you can bet Bush and his boys knew it. The question is, "Then why?"

Part of that answer is documented at my blog Krineina - Developing the Big Picture.

The Sunday Herald (Glasgow)

The rotting albatross that is Iraq still hangs around Blair’s neck, and, after the revelations of secret government papers laying out the dangers of joining Bush’s war, its stench has become impossible for anyone to ignore but for the man closest to it – the Prime Minister

BLAIR’S secrets are out, and this is what he knew a full year before the invasion of Iraq: the war was illegal, it would turn into a quagmire that could last for generations and it was more than likely that, once Saddam was overthrown, a new Iraqi government, even a democratic one, would start developing weapons of mass destruction.

These warnings were contained in a series of top-secret documents that Blair read and digested long before the invasion. It’s little wonder that Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, says these revelations are 'the crown jewels'.

The documents show that, despite the reservations of his own foreign secretary and the Cabinet Office Overseas and Defence Secretariat, Blair was swept along by George W Bush into a war that the British people did not want. His motive? The preservation of the transatlantic special relationship. America, under Bush, was going to take out Saddam no matter what happened – and the White House clearly expected its loyal ally the UK to follow in step behind the US. ...
Also watch Eric Blumrich's animation Tony B£air's "Values", available at Bushflash.


 

Suckers for Jesus

This Crisis Papers article identifies the main components of the present GOP as libertarians, free market absolutists, greedy plutocrats, and Christian fundamentalists and asks the question, "Why, then, do religious fundamentalists follow, and vote for, wealthy and powerful individuals who openly violate the basic moral teachings of their 'Lord and Savior'?"

The writer concludes: "The Fundamentalist Christians have been 'had' – suckered – by the libertarians and oligarchs. Thus the fundamentalists have worked diligently and faithfully toward their own disadvantage and undoing."

Read the whole article for yourself.


 

Friday, September 17, 2004

Reconstructing Bush’s Military Record: Examination of Official Docs Released by White House Question Bush's Duty

Democracy Now!

We take a close look at President Bush's record in the National Guard with Eric Boehlert. He is the senior writer at Salon.com and has written extensively about Bush's military service - closely examining the more than 400 pages of military documents released by the White House last February. [includes rush transcript]

* Eric Boehlert, senior writer at Salon.com. He has written extensively about Bush's military service in the National Guard. ...


 

Blogger Who Initially Faulted CBS Documents Is Conservative Activist (Freeper)

Evidence surfacing that CBS docs were a GOP plant to draw media attention away form Bush's dismal record on everything he has touched.

LA Times

It was the first public allegation that CBS News used forged memos in its report questioning President Bush's National Guard service — a highly technical explanation posted within hours of airtime citing proportional spacing and font styles.

But it did not come from an expert in typography or typewriter history as some first thought. Instead, it was the work of Harry W. MacDougald, an Atlanta lawyer with strong ties to conservative Republican causes who helped draft the petition urging the Arkansas Supreme Court to disbar President Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the Times has found.

The identity of "Buckhead," a blogger known previously only by his screen name on the site freerepublic.com and lifted to folk hero status in the conservative blogosphere since last week's posting, is likely to fuel speculation among Democrats that the efforts to discredit the CBS memos were engineered by Republicans eager to undermine reports that Bush received preferential treatment in the National Guard more than 30 years ago. ...

MacDougald, 46, confirmed that he is Buckhead, but declined to answer questions about his political background or how he knew so much about the CBS documents so fast. ...

MacDougald had taken pains to remain in the shadows ...

The Sept. 8 late-night posting — written less than four hours after the CBS report was aired — resulted in a flurry of sympathetic testimonials from fellow bloggers, spreading within hours to other sites. The next day, major newspapers such as The Times and the Washington Post began consulting forensic experts and reporting stories that raised similar questions.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe even speculated openly to reporters that the whole thing could have been orchestrated by White House political advisor Karl Rove. ...

While bloggers and some conservative activists hailed Buckhead as a hero in their longtime efforts to paint the mainstream media as politically biased, some Democrats and even some conservative bloggers have marveled at Buckhead's detailed knowledge of the memos and wondered whether that suggested a White House conspiracy.


 

Secretary General Finally Uses the I-Word

The word is getting around, but American Elite Media will likely see to it that Americans are the last to know — Bush's Iraq war is ILLEGAL and always has been ILLEGAL.

The use of a single word in diplomacy can often mark a significant moment and the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's use of the word 'illegal' about the war in Iraq is one such moment. He has carefully avoided the word before. ...

BBC News


 

Top brass says Iraq war far graver than Vietnam


After killing tens of thousands in Iraq, Bush is still bragging about how he is winning that illegal war, but "most senior US military officers now believe the war on Iraq has turned into a disaster on an unprecedented scale."

The Guardian

... according to the US military's leading strategists and prominent retired generals, Bush's war is already lost. Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, told me: "Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al-Qaida, it's worse, he's lost on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost." He adds: "Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends."

Retired general Joseph Hoare, the former marine commandant and head of US Central Command, told me: "The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We're conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong."

Jeffrey Record, professor of strategy at the Air War College, said: "I see no ray of light on the horizon at all. The worst case has become true. There's no analogy whatsoever between the situation in Iraq and the advantages we had after the second world war in Germany and Japan."

W Andrew Terrill, professor at the Army War College's strategic studies institute - and the top expert on Iraq there - said: "I don't think that you can kill the insurgency". According to Terrill, the anti-US insurgency ... is expanding and becoming more capable as a consequence of US policy. ...

"If you are a Muslim and the community is under occupation by a non-Islamic power it becomes a religious requirement to resist that occupation," Terrill explained. "Most Iraqis consider us occupiers, not liberators." ...

"I see no exit," said Record. "We've been down that road before. It's called Vietnamisation. The idea that we're going to have an Iraqi force trained to defeat an enemy we can't defeat stretches the imagination. They will be tainted by their very association with the foreign occupier. In fact, we had more time and money in state building in Vietnam than in Iraq."

General Odom said: "This is far graver than Vietnam. There wasn't as much at stake strategically, though in both cases we mindlessly went ahead with the war that was not constructive for US aims. But now we're in a region far more volatile, and we're in much worse shape with our allies." ...

General Odom remarked that the tension between the Bush administration and the senior military officers over Iraqi was worse than any he has ever seen with any previous government, including Vietnam. "I've never seen it so bad between the office of the secretary of defence and the military. There's a significant majority believing this is a disaster. The two parties whose interests have been advanced have been the Iranians and al-Qaida. Bin Laden could argue with some cogency that our going into Iraq was the equivalent of the Germans in Stalingrad. They defeated themselves by pouring more in there. Tragic."

· Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Clinton, is Washington bureau chief of salon.com


 

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Still Unreported: The Pay-off in Bush Air Guard Fix

In 1968, former Congressman George Herbert Walker Bush of Texas, fresh from voting to send other men’s sons to Vietnam, enlisted his own son in a very special affirmative action program, the ‘champagne’ unit of the Texas Air National Guard. There, Top Gun fighter pilot George Dubya was assigned the dangerous job of protecting Houston from Vietcong air attack.

This week, former Lt. Governor Ben Barnes of Texas 'fessed up to pulling the strings to keep Little George out of the jungle. "I got a young man named George W. Bush into the Texas Air Guard - and I'm ashamed."

THE $23 MILLION PAY-BACK

That’s far from the end of the story. In 1994, George W. Bush was elected governor of Texas by a whisker. By that time, Barnes had left office to become a big time corporate lobbyist. To an influence peddler like Barnes, having damning information on a sitting governor is worth its weight in gold – or, more precisely, there’s a value in keeping the info secret.

Barnes appears to have made lucrative use of his knowledge of our President’s slithering out of the draft as a lever to protect a multi-billion dollar contract for a client. That's the information in a confidential letter buried deep in the files of the US Justice Department that fell into my hands at BBC television.

Here's what happened. ..."
Go to Greg Palast's website to read the details of this provocative story.


 

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Hijacking Catastrophe


"Hijacking Catastrophe is powerful, understated, straightforward and educational. In a single meticulously organized hour of evidence and analysis, viewers are treated to a thoughtful explanation of modern American empire, neo-conservatism as a driving force for the current Bush administration." -- Information Clearing House
Watch full length version or buy your own DVD.

Also watch Democracy Now! interview with director Sut Jhally.


 

Don't mess with the Bushes

David Talbot talks to Kitty Kelley, whose scathing portrait of the Bush family has fired up the Republican camp
Best selling author Kitty Kelley has finally released her withering exposé of the Bush dynasty. Immediately it has become Amazon's #1 selling book.

There is a lot more to it besides Laura's pot dealing at college and W's cocaine snorting at Camp David.

Read this detailed Guardian Unlimited article to see what Ms. Kelley has to say about the real Bush family and their not so admiral methods of keeping the truth hidden.


 

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Bush accuses Kerry's national agenda of costing $2 trillion, then proposes his own costing well in excess of $3 trillion

Another popular Bush propaganda trick: criticize your opponent for something while your own something is substantially worse.

At the RNC Bush criticized Kerry for a national agenda that would cost $2 trillion over ten years, then went on to outline what he implied was a less expensive agenda of his own. Now it turns out that Bush's agenda would cost well in excess of $3 trillion, which makes it well in excess of 50% more costly than Kerry's.

Remember what Grover Norquist, top Bush and GOP party strategist, declared in a National Public Radio "Morning Edition" interview May 25, 2001,
"I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."
Well, folks, Bush is showing us how it's done — spend down the treasury like there's no tomorrow, till you have to privatize or simply chop away programs that are intended for the general good.

Read this Yahoo! News link or the original Washington Post analysis.


 

Monday, September 13, 2004

Bush responsible for thousands more deaths in post 9/11 NYC !  Where is the outrage ?

Immediately after the disaster the White House forced the EPA to declare lower Manhattan air safe to breathe, so the stock exchanges and other business institutions could reopen. They can't blame this premeditated homicidal recklessness on foreign terrorists.

Don't think the Bush team will respect your health in any future attack any better. They've proved their loyalty is to Big Business. Are you Big Business?


9/11 pollution 'could cause more deaths than attack'
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor, The Independent (UK)

12 September 2004

Up to 400,000 New Yorkers breathed in the most toxic polluting cloud ever recorded after the twin towers were brought down three years ago, but no proper effort has been made to find out how their health has been affected, according to an official report.

The US government study provides the latest evidence of a systematic cover-up of the health toll from pollution after the 9/11 disaster, which doctors fear will cause more deaths than the attacks themselves.

The Bush administration suppressed evidence of increasing danger and officially announced that the air around the felled buildings was "safe to breathe". Another report reveals that it has since failed at least a dozen times to correct its assurances, even when it became clear that people were becoming sick.

The official report - sent to Congress last week by the US Government Accountability Office - says that between 250,000 and 400,000 people in lower Manhattan were exposed to the pollution on 11 September 2001. But it shows that the government has yet to make a comprehensive effort to study the effects on their health.

And it reveals that there is no systematic effort to adequately monitor the well-being of those affected, give them physical examinations or provide treatment.

Scientific studies have shown that the cloud of pulverised debris from the skyscrapers was uniquely dangerous. The US government's own figures show that it contained the highest levels of deadly dioxins ever recorded - about 1,500 times normal levels. Unprecedented levels of acids, sulphur, fine particles, heavy metals and other dangerous materials were also measured.

Asbestos was found at 27 times acceptable levels, and scientists found about 400 organic alkanes, phthalates and polyaromatic hydrocarbons - many suspected of causing cancer and other long-term diseases.

The site at Ground Zero went on smouldering, becoming what scientists describe as a "chemical factory", creating new dangerous substances.