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Laugh-Riot Bush Should Show His Slide Show To Families Of Dead Soldiers

"Bush Pokes Some Fun During Media Dinner, by SIOBHAN McDONOUGH
Associated Press Writer, March 25, 2004, 8:07 AM CST

"WASHINGTON -- President Bush poked fun at...himself Wednesday night at a black-tie dinner where he hobnobbed with the news media. Bush put on a slide show, calling it the "White House Election-Year Album" at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association 60th annual dinner...There was Bush looking under furniture in a fruitless, frustrating search. 'Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere,' he said."

Bush, Sharon, And The Assassination Of Peace

"America is committed, and I am personally committed, to implementing our road map toward peace," [Bush] declared on March 14. But then came Iraq and all the unanticipated post-war problems that still plague the Americans there.

By last November, Mr Bush was developing a far broader Middle East "vision" in which Palestine was one issue among many. In a speech to the National Endowment for Democracy, he vowed to develop "a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East". In this, Palestine had but a walk-on part.

Since then, Mr Bush's grandiose, non-specific ideas have morphed into an even vaguer reform plan entitled the Greater Middle East Initiative. Many in Washington now believe his aim is merely to contain the Israel-Palestine conflict until the November US presidential election is out of the way. --Simon Tisdall, The Guardian, 03.23.04

"Part of finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict involves inducing the fundamentalist Islamic movement to pursue its agenda by peaceful means, as have similar groups in Egypt and Jordan. Some Israelis believed Sheik Yassin was inching in that direction; he recently spoke of accepting a long-term truce with Israel if it withdrew from the West Bank and Gaza. His violent death at Israel's hands seems more likely to postpone rather than accelerate any moderation by his followers.

"Mr. Sharon can discount such considerations because he has abandoned the option of negotiating with the Palestinians; instead, for the past several months, he has been engaged in intensive and secret bargaining with the Bush administration. He is pushing for action, and he is in a hurry. His hope is that President Bush will endorse his plan and the United States, at least, will accept Israel's de facto annexation of substantial parts of the West Bank and its encirclement of Jerusalem." --WP Ed, 03.23.04

"At Harvard Business School, thirty years ago, George Bush was a student of mine. I still vividly remember him. In my class, he declared that "people are poor because they are lazy." He was opposed to labor unions, social security, environmental protection, Medicare, and public schools. To him, the antitrust watch dog, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Securities Exchange Commission were unnecessary hindrances to "free market competition." To him, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was "socialism." Recently, President Bush's Federal Appeals Court Nominee, California's Supreme Court Justice Janice Brown, repeated the same broadside at her Senate hearing. She knew that her pronouncement would please President Bush and Karl Rove and their Senators. President Bush and his brain, Karl Rove, are leading a radical revolution of destroying all the democratic political, social, judiciary, and economic institutions that both Democrats and moderate Republicans had built together since Roosevelt's New Deal. " Yoshi Tsurumi, Glocom Platform, 03.01.04

"Bush dishonors the memories of more than 3,000 Americans who died in the worst terrorist attack ever launched against this country. Bushs minions claim the ads showcase his leadership. What leadership? An economy in the crapper? Millions of Americans out of work? Hundreds of Americans dead in a war waged under false pretenses? Billions wasted in a war against Iraq while Osama bin Laden, the man behind the death of more than 3,000 Americans remains at large? A goose-stepping attorney general who tramples on the privacy and rights of Americans and uses the Constitution to wipe his [behind] after he craps on all our freedoms? The memory of Americans who died on 9-11 deserves better." Doug Thompson, Capitol Hill Blue, 03.05.04

BUSH MORE LIKELY TO GO NEGATIVE... Who is more likely to "go negative" on an opponent's character in a presidential campaign? A new study suggests it is Republicans. The study, by University of Missouri professor William L. Benoit, found that during much of the last half-century, Republican presidential candidates have aimed a larger proportion of their attacks at their opponents' character -- their honesty, integrity, leadership skills -- than their Democratic rivals. Benoit found that in television campaign ads aired between 1952 and 2000, for example, GOP candidates focused 44 percent of their attacks on such personal issues. Democrats did so about 33 percent of the time. --WP, 02.22.04

"As Mr. Bush's "growth" program rolls out, the richest 1 percent of Americans can expect an estimated 17 percent cut in their taxes by 2010, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. The other 99 percent get a 5 percent cut — along with accumulated deficits of $4 billion or more across the next 10 years and the lost chance that the now-vanished surplus might be used to protect their future Social Security benefits." , nyt ed

Bush's Failure: "The truth is that America tolerates -- even accepts -- persistent child poverty. Our education system reflects it, as do our tax policy, child care policy and child support policy. We say that we will leave no child behind, but in fact we continue to drag millions of children behind each year. And the reality is that they may never catch up and become fully participating members of society. Poor children in France, Germany and the Nordic countries are six times more likely to escape poverty than their American counterparts....President Bush cannot truthfully declare the state of the Union strong in the face of the harsh facts of life for America's poor children." , smeeding

WMD? Who Cares? By now, we've become accustomed to the fact that the absence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction  the principal public rationale for the war  hasn't become a big political liability for the administration. That's bad enough. Even more startling is the news from one of this week's polls: despite the complete absence of evidence, 53 percent of Americans believe that Saddam had something to do with 9/11, up from 43 percent before his capture. The administration's long campaign of guilt by innuendo, it seems, is still working. --Paul Krugman, 12.19.03

"Yo Quiero Taco Bush"

WASHINGTON, December 14, 2003 (AP) - President Bush's re-election campaign has quietly recruited a large media team, featuring some of the GOP's most renowned ad makers, in preparation for spending tens of millions of dollars on television advertising next year. The additions to the media team include...Vada Hill...who previously worked for Taco Bell and was credited for creating the fast-food chain's talking-Chihuahua ad campaign.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. June 5, 2003 (AP) -- A federal jury Wednesday ordered Taco Bell Corp. to pay $30.1 million to two men who claimed the fast-food chain stole their idea for the advertising campaign featuring a talking Chihuahua. Thomas Rinks and Joseph Shields, both of the Grand Rapids area, sued Taco Bell in 1998, saying they pitched the idea for a character called "Psycho Chihuahua" more than a year before Taco Bell began airing the dog commercials in 1997. They said Taco Bell advertising executives reached an oral agreement with them to use their idea, but then introduced the Chihuahua character without paying them.

Gratitude? Bush Opposes Katherine Harris In Florida Senate Elections

Advisers to Pres Bush are worried by Rep Katherine Harris's interest in running for Senate in Florida in 2004, fearing that she will drive state's Democrats to polls in record number because of her lead role in Florida's presidential recount in 2000, when she was secretary of state; Housing Sec Mel [Martinez], with reported White House encouragement, says he will seriously consider reversing his earlier decision not to seek Senate seat in 2004; Harris says she has not reached decision but will not do anything to undermine Bush's re-election; Gov Jeb Bush, president's brother, is said to have been initially miffed by White House effort to micromanage his state's politics by encouraging Martinez's candidacy. (NYT, 12.06.03)

FLORIDA: H.U.D. SECRETARY RESIGNS Mel Martinez, who has been urged by the White House to run for the Senate in Florida, said he was resigning as secretary of housing and urban development. Mr. Martinez, a Cuban-born former chief executive of Orange County, Fla., has been near the bottom in polls for the Senate seat being vacated by a Democrat, Bob Graham. Bush political strategists have asked him to run, concerned that the candidacy of another Republican, Representative Katherine Harris, Florida's secretary of state during the disputed 2000 presidential voting, may hurt the president. (NYT 12.10.03)

See our Katherine Harris Museum Of Political Images HERE

Clark digs Up Bush's Battle With The Bottle

November 24, 2003 -- WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential wannabe Gen. Wesley Clark said yesterday that Americans admire President Bush because of the way he overcame "alcoholism" and salvaged his marriage by sobering up. The blunt comments from Clark on a seldom-raised subject came as he tried to explain his dismay with Bush's re-election strategy - which critics say exploits lingering 9/11 fears. "I'm not running to bash George Bush. A lot of Americans really love him," said Clark. "They love what he represents, a man who's overcome adversity in his life from alcoholism and pulled his marriage back together and moved forward," added Clark. Although Bush has always refused to discuss his years of excessive drinking, he occasionally refers to it as a dark chapter in his life. --New York Post, 11.24.03

Mission Creep: Americans Not Aware What Military Is Doing Here At Home

Preoccupied with the war in Iraq and still traumatized by Sept. 11, 2001, the American public has paid little attention to some of what is being done inside the United States in the name of anti-terrorism. Under the banner of "homeland security," the military and intelligence communities are implementing far-reaching changes that blur the lines between terrorism and other kinds of crises and will break down long-established barriers to military action and surveillance within the U.S.... Given the absence of terrorist attacks inside the United States since 9/11, it may seem surprising that [the Defense Department's] Northern Command is already working under the far-reaching authority that goes with [Bush's state of emergency declaration which triggered] "extraordinary operations." But it is....It is only in the case of "extraordinary" domestic operations that the unique capabilities of the Defense Department are deployed. These include not just such things as air patrols to shoot down hijacked planes or the defusing of bombs and other explosives, , but also bringing in intelligence collectors, special operators and even full combat troops. --William M. Arkin, LAT, 11.24.03

Nader Set To Halp Bush Get Elected In 2004

"Ralph Nader, who in 2000 was the worst thing to happen to civil liberties and poor people in quite a while, is winding up to do them another favor. The former Green candidate for president is traveling the college circuit, coyly hinting that he'll decide about his political plans later, but few people think he'll sit it out.... Nader not only elects Republicans, he's starting to sound like them." --David Sarasohn, The Oregonian, 11/12/03

Why Americans Don't Want A Democracy

Benjamin "Franklin said, [the U.S. Constitution] will fail, as all such constitutions have in the past, because of the essential corruption of the people. He pointed his finger at all the American people. And when the people become so corrupt, he said, we will find it is not a republic that they want but rather despotism --the only form of government suitable for such a people....Ours is a totally corrupt society. The presidency is for sale. Whoever raises the most money to buy TV time will probably be the next president. This is corruption on a major scale. ...Once you have a business community that is so corrupt in a society whose business is business, then what you have is, indeed, despotism. It is the sort of authoritarian rule that the Bush people have given us. The USA PATRIOT Act is as despotic as anything Hitler came up with  even using much of the same language....Nobody has ever wrecked the Bill of Rights as [Bush] has. " --Gore Vidal, LAW, Nov. 14-20, 2003

Bush's Veterans Day Hypocrisy (And Lie)

Four months after [Bush's] superiors reported they'd seen hide nor hair of him during the previous year, [he asked to] be discharged early so he [could] attend Harvard Business School. Enjoy. If you need a refresher course on President Bush's elusive career in the Air National Guard (first reported [in the mainstream press] in May 2000 by the Boston Globe 's Walter V. Robinson, ), David Corn of The Nation provides one here . A complete set of documents concerning the president's military record, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act by Martin Heldt, can be found here. For a chaser, you might sample the Veterans Day speech President Bush gave today, in which he said, "Every veteran understands the meaning of personal accountability and loyalty and shared sacrifice." --Timothy Noah, Slate, 11.10.03

Why Democracy In The U.S. Hs Become A Joke

The point of elections is to test ideas and hold officials accountable. This process is short-circuited when like-minded voters are so concentrated in districts as to render the outcome a certainty. Lack of competition amplifies ideological differences and further polarizes U.S. politics, because Republican officeholders need not answer to Democratic constituents and Democratic officeholders can ignore Republican voters....Until the corrupt redistricting process is reformed, competition will continue to be the loser. And more and more elections will be...jokes at the expense of voters, perpetrated by politicians who elected themselves the day they drew the lines. --WP editorial, 11.07.03

While He Was President, "...Reagan Was Not All There," Noah...His Treasury Sec. Said Reagan "Never Told Me...What He Wanted To Accomplish"...His Pres Sec. Said "He Doesn't Really Hear Very Much"...His Communications Director Said "He Was Remarkably Unaware Of And Indifferent To Developments Around Him."..."RR totally lost, out of his depth, uncomfortable." said a Reagan NSC staffer-scholar. Now, in "a near-vegatative state," conservatives worship him as a "plaster saint," the father of their ideology, with any criticism of him seen as being in bad taste, if not heretical. more, 11.06.03

NYT Columnist Sucks Up To The Bush Midland Myth
"One of Mr. Bush's strengths as a politician is his optimistic nature, but I now fear it is also his central weakness in governing. Reckless overconfidence led him to adopt fiscal policies that will leave our children indebted, and this same cockiness led us into Iraq. Brash optimism perhaps has its roots in Mr. Bush's hometown, Midland, Tex., an oil town that regularly rewarded hard work with a gusher, a place where everybody you meet displays this same hearty can-do confidence. In Midland, Mr. Bush unfortunately absorbed the lesson that risks in the desert pay off." --William Kristoff, 11.05.03

Caste, Rape, Death: Read About The Real Midland Here
To the Editor, NYT: "George W. Bush waxes nostalgic about the values of the West Texas town where he grew up, declaring that 'anybody could succeed, and everybody deserved a chance' (transcript, Aug. 4). I also remember the West Texas of the late 1950's and early 60's, when my family and many other Mexican-American families migrated to the region to pick cotton. I re'ember the signs on the restaurant windows in Lubbock and other regional towns that warned us, "No Mexicans or dogs allowed.' "This same region had official policies for segregated schools during the time that Mr. Bush is memorializing. So what does this say about Mr. Bush? That he didn't know these things were happening? Or that he knows but that they don't factor into his vision of the past because they didn't matter?"
--ELMA GONZÁLEZ Culver City, Calif., Aug. 4, 2000, The writer is a professor in the department of organismic biology, ecology and evolution, University of California at Los Angeles.

Once again, the power of the snarling Right Wing took down a TV show, not based upon the show, itself, but based upon one undocumented report of the contents of the show in the NYT, leading CBS (Viacom, its parent, has bills presently pending before a Republican Congress) to say it was pulled because it "did not present a balanced portrayal of the Reagans," meaning it did not present the portrayal that the snarling Right Wing would approve and CBS feared the threat of an advertiser boycott. The only thing that would have stopped CBS would have been the greater threat of an advertiser boycott from the left, which was not forthcoming. Prediction: The left will have its chance when CBS creates and runs a Reagan hagiography to appease the rabid masses of the snarling Right Wing that will demand it because the Reagan series in question will be run on Showtime, for those who pay for it. Once again, the snarling Right Wing rewrites history, while attacking the left for rewriting history. (The Bush-Right Wing strategy has always been to arrogantly break the rules while, at the same time, accusing the left of breaking the rules.) Once again, the power of the snarling Right Wing mainstream media, mainly, Right Wing talk show hosts on radio and cable TV-- because those rabid masses they reach are better at listening than reading-- has gathered its rabid masses, not to change the facts of history, but to mold the present-day perception of the facts of history, in the name of a cynical ideology that crushes fact under the jackboot of mindless belief. Reagan Airport, Reagan Drive, Reagan Stamp, Reagan Memorial, Reagan Prison of the Mind. --Bill Brasin, Special to Bush Watch. Breaking News at CNN, 11.05.03

"Today's Republican Party is arguably the most extreme -- the furthest from the center -- of any governing majority in the nation's history. But the poisons that Gingrich and others released into the atmosphere also turned out to sicken many voters. And so George Bush ran for President as a 'compassionate conservative' and 'a uniter, not a divider.' Bush has not, of course, been a uniter. His most important domestic policy initiative by far, his massive tax cuts, received only token Democratic support and catered to his own party's most doctrinaire wing. The same is plainly true of the administration's environmental, regulatory and energy policies. He has made a theologically inspired conservative, John Ashcroft, his attorney general." --James Traub, NYT, 10.26.03

Bush "is a hardened cynic, staging moral anguish he does not feel, pandering to people he cannot possibly agree with and sacrificing the future of many American citizens for short-term political advantage. Is that a good enough reason to dislike him personally?" --Michael Kinsley, WP, 10.24.03


When a president's honesty is impugned, the stakes are high. A string of modern leaders  Johnson and Nixon, Reagan and Clinton  saw their administrations killed or maimed by official deceit. Now George W. Bush, after a long post-September 11 honeymoon, is facing scrutiny for this potentially fatal vice....

What catapulted Bush's credibility onto the front pages was the failure to find nuclear, chemical, or biological materials in Iraq last spring. Suddenly, the president's critics, including some hawks -- call it invader's remorse -- questioned whether Bush, in agitating for war, had misrepresented the state of Saddam Hussein's weapons program. In July, the administration confessed that the president had made false claims in his State of the Union address in January  specifically, his line that Saddam had tried to buy uranium from Africa  and "Uranium-gate" took root.

The scandal directed public attention to the scattered writings of journalists who had long argued that Bush lied quite regularly. Respected columnists, along with indie Web sites like Buzzflash, Bushlies, and Bushwatch, framed the uranium deceptions as part of the president's familiar M.O., which was to utter untruths with such nonchalance that no one could possibly believe he was deliberately lying. On close inspection, the Iraq claims turned out to be no more spurious than other statements Bush had made.... --David Greenberg, Columbia Journalism Review, September-October, 2003

"Strategic Bigotry" The Republican Party "is busy at work ensuring that the 2004 election turns on the question of banning gay marriage. Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie predicts that the party platform will proclaim that the sacrament of marriage is for straights only. But party strategists and right-wing activists aren't content to stop there. "We're going to help it become a front-burner issue at the state and national level," Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told [the Washington Post's Mike] Allen. House Republican staffers said that they were planning to draft a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage next year.

"You can understand the Republicans' concern. With polls showing more than half the American public now doubting the president's capacity to handle both foreign and economic policy, the administration needs an issue to distract the disgruntled. More pointedly, as Karl Rove himself has noted, 4 million Christian evangelicals did not bestir themselves to vote in the election of 2000. At the rate things are going, Bush will need every one of those votes next year. Time, then, to unveil the real risk to our security. No, not al Qaeda fanatics plotting the deaths of Americans at home or abroad....Be it cultural traditionalism or strategic bigotry, the war on gay marriage -- that is, on human equality -- looms large in the GOP's electoral calculations for 2004." --Harold Meyerson, Washington Post, 10.29.03

Bush's Attention-To-Deficit Disorder

WASHINGTON, DC...Pointing to massive war-time tax cuts, physicians from the Congressional Budget Office diagnosed President Bush with attention-to-deficit disorder Tuesday. "The president exhibits all the symptoms of ATDD: impulsiveness, restlessness, inability to focus on mounting U.S. debt likely to reach $400 billion by the year's end," Dr. Terrence Spellman said. "Failing to address his affliction could lead to serious long-term fiscal health problems for future generations of Americans." To treat the president's ATDD, Spellman prescribed Ritalin and an introductory course in high-school economics. For more News In Brief, visit


"In the past two years, FirstEnergy Corp. of Akron has discovered a gaping hole in the nuclear reactor at its Davis-Besse power plant, lost a lawsuit brought by the Environmental Protection Agency and announced plans to restate its earnings to correct mistakes in its accounting. Then, over the weekend, investigators identified several power lines owned by FirstEnergy as the likely trigger point for the power failure Thursday that pulled the plug on a large swath of the Midwest, the Northeast and Canada....The nation's fifth-largest power company has also been a lightning rod for criticism. "Historically, their rates are 30 to 60 percent higher than in the rest of the state, and they have admitted to prioritizing profit above maintenance and safety," said Shari Weir, head of Ohio Citizen Action, an environmental group...Long before the recent blackout, the region was the starting point of a still-unresolved, century-long struggle between government and private companies for control of the electrical industry. At the dawn of the 20th century, Cleveland Mayor Tom Johnson helped create one of the nation's first city-owned power companies because, he said, "if you do not own them, they will own you.." , wp

"The top two executives of FirstEnergy Corp., the Ohio-based utility that is a focus of investigations into last week's cascading blackouts, are key financial supporters of President Bush, according to campaign records.... Democrats have questioned whether Bush's administration coddled electric companies because of his long personal ties to the energy industry. FirstEnergy's ties could increase Capitol Hill scrutiny of the White House handling of the blackout aftermath. Bush's campaign had no comment. " , wp

"The New York power grid, which collapsed, plunging millions of Americans into darkness, is owned by the British utility National Grid Transco." , ind

"Agency planned exercise on Sept. 11 built around a plane crashing into a building"

By John J. Lumpkin, Associated Press

WASHINGTON  [September 2002] "In what the government describes as a bizarre coincidence, one U.S. intelligence agency was planning an exercise last Sept. 11 in which an errant aircraft would crash into one of its buildings. But the cause wasn't terrorism -- it was to be a simulated accident.

"Officials at the Chantilly, Va.-based National Reconnaissance Office had scheduled an exercise that morning in which a small corporate jet would crash into one of the four towers at the agency's headquarters building after experiencing a mechanical failure.

The agency is about four miles from the runways of Washington Dulles International Airport. Adding to the coincidence, American Airlines Flight 77 -- the Boeing 767 that was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon -- took off from Dulles at 8:10 a.m. on Sept. 11, 50 minutes before the exercise was to begin. It struck the Pentagon around 9:40 a.m., killing 64 aboard the plane and 125 on the ground.

The National Reconnaissance Office operates many of the nation's spy satellites. It draws its personnel from the military and the CIA. --Boston Globe Archives

"The White House collaborated heavily with corporations in developing President Bush's energy policy but repeatedly refused to give congressional investigators details of the meetings, according to a federal report issued yesterday....Among the previously disclosed meetings were private sessions for Kenneth L. Lay, then the chairman of Enron Corp., the Texas energy trading company that collapsed in the nation's largest accounting scandal. Lay was given a 30-minute meeting with Cheney and a conference with a top aide for the task force...David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States and head of the GAO, said in an interview that the standoff over the task force documents called into question the existence of "a reasonable degree of transparency and an appropriate degree of accountability in government." Walker said the energy investigation was the first instance since he took office in November 1998 in which the GAO was unable to do its job and produce a report according to generally accepted government auditing standards."The Congress and the American people had the right to know the limited amount of information we were seeking," Walker said.", wp, 08.26.03


"Schwarzenegger didn't shy away from controversial views. He often got into heated battles with Rick Wayne -- a black bodybuilder from St. Lucia, a Caribbean island -- about one of the most emotional international issues of the 1970s: racial segregation in South Africa.Wayne said Schwarzenegger defended the apartheid system and argued that white South Africans could not turn power over to black South Africans without ruining the nation.``At the time, I just thought he was an out-and-out racist,'' Wayne said in a recent interview.Schwarzenegger also appeared to have no qualms about telling Jewish jokes to his friends.Wayne said he watched Schwarzenegger upset Jewish friend Joe Weider to the point of tears with his crass jokes, which included doing an impression of Hitler.As their friendship evolved, Wayne said he came to understand Schwarzenegger's sense of humor.Wayne once asked his friend how an Austrian immigrant had conquered Hollywood.In a moment of ``pure mischief,'' he said, Schwarzenegger stood up, looked him ``straight in the eye and said, `Because I've got the greatest physique in the world, I'm sharp, I'm super talented.' Then he stood up, walked down the hall, looked over his shoulder and said: `And I'm white.' ''"

Free Press? U.S. Ranked 31st Behind Germany, Canada, France, UK

Germany 8th, Canada 10th, France 26th, UK 27th, Japan and Israel 44th, Australia 50th, Afghanistan 135th, U.S. Iraq 135th, Israel Occupied Territories 146, Russia 148th, Saudi Arabia 156, China 161, North Korea 166 (last). STORY, 10.22.03

Apres Moi, C'est Moi! Angry Bush Behavior Over Leaks Gets Leaked

Concerned about the appearance of disarray and feuding within his administration as well as growing resistance to his policies in Iraq, President Bush - living up to his recent declaration that he is in charge - told his top officials to "stop the leaks" to the media, or else. News of Bush's order leaked almost immediately....

Bush, himself, asked how bad it was. "This isn't as bad as [George] Shultz vs. [Caspar] Weinberger, is it?" he asked, referring to a legendary Reagan administration rivalry between secretaries of state and defense. One top official reportedly nodded and said it was "way worse."

The infighting has strained Bush's patience. On Monday, reacting to reports of internal conflict among his top advisers, the President told one regional broadcaster: "The person who's in charge is me."

Late Tuesday, in a brief, brusque arm-twisting session with nine senators, the President made it clear that he was not there to answer questions or debate the merits of his $87 billion Iraq and Afghanistan aid package. He demanded that the aid to Iraq be in the form of grants, not loans, as some of the senators have urged....At one point, as he discussed the question of providing some of the money as a loan, Bush slammed his hand down on the table and said: "This is bad policy." When Sen. Susan Collins tried to ask a question, the President replied: "I'm not here to debate it." --PI110.116.03

Bush UN "Victory" Tour Defeated In Asia

While U.S. officials kept mum, Japanese officials reported PM Koizumi told Bush that he needed to work more within the UN, but Bush disagreed. Mr. Koizumi also indicated that Bush wasn't getting more money than promised before the UN resoloution, a much smaller portion of what Japan gave his father, and no troops were discussed. Koizumi and Bush also disagreed on the strength of the U.S. dollar. The PM wants a strong U.S. dollar, and Bush has been talking out of both sides of his mouth, but his actions indicate he wants to weaken the dollar, in part to satisfy his biggest campaign contributors. --Politex analysis of NYT report, 10.17.03.

Three Reasons The UN Security Council Passed The U.S. Iraq Resolution

1. The Bush "compromises reflect, albeit to a very limited degree, a realization that the United Nations must be more actively involved in the occupation if a new, democratic Iraq is ever to take hold."

2.[From the perspective of the members of the UN Security Council, according to the NYT, a unified vote was needed in order to express a unified desire for stability in Iraq. --Politex]

3. "Just as it poses no real obligations for the United States to share power in Iraq, it also poses no obligations for the rest of the world to share burdens.

"As with previous resolutions on the subject, it merely 'welcomes the positive response of the international community'; ; 'calls upon member states  to contribute to the training and equipping of Iraqi police'; 'appeals to member states and international financial institutions to strengthen their effort to assist the people of Iraq in the reconstruction and development of their economy'; and so forth. Nowhere does the resolution determine or demand or insist that assistance be rendered. (Emphasis added.)" --Fred Kaplan

On the other hand, if past actions continue, you can look for the Bush propaganda machine to distort the implications of the resolution, which has been termed "toothless" and "largely symbolic" by members of the mainstream media, when Bush passes through Asian countries shortly and when he "talks to the American people" through controlled events and informal press briefings. If past experiences with the BushAdmin distortion of reality predict anything, the resolution will be painted as representing a "mandate," an order, which it is not, for UN money-troops support of American actions in Iraq, and it will be used to attempt to convince countries on the fence to send troops and money in support of the supposed UN resolution. Members of the UN Security Council have spelled out the limits of their support of the resuolution through money and troops. For example, according to the NYT, Germany, France, Russia, Pakistan and Syria are sending neither, beyond what money was promised before the resolution: from little to nothing. --Politex, 10.16.03

"The Soviet Republic of Texas"

   "YOU MIGHT THINK America's rigged system of congressional elections couldn't get much worse. Self-serving redistricting schemes nationwide already have left an overwhelming number of seats in the House of Representatives so uncompetitive that election results are practically as preordained as in the old Soviet Union. In the last election, for example, 98 percent of incumbents were reelected, and the average winning candidate got more than 70 percent of the vote. More candidates ran without any major-party opposition than won by a margin of less than 20 percent. Yet even given this record, the just-completed Texas congressional redistricting plan represents a new low." --WP Editorial, 10.14.03

Nuke News About Israel

While Israel has never acknowledged it has nuclear weapons of its own, Israeli and foreign experts believe it possesses 100-200 nuclear devices and has the capability to deliver them via American-made F-15 and F-16 warplanes and the Jericho II missile, based on a prototype Israel developed with France in the 1960s.

The ability to deliver nuclear weapons from submarines would significantly enhance Israel's reported nuclear deterrent, by shielding the launch platform from all but the most sophisticated countermeasures. According to the Times story, Israel would use Dolphin class diesel-powered submarines acquired from Germany to launch the nuclear-armed Harpoon missiles. Israel has three such submarines in its arsenal.

A report Sunday in the German weekly Der Spiegel said Israel had identified six sites where Iran was allegedly developing nuclear weapons, most believed to be inland. Der Spiegel reported that Israel's Mossad intelligence agency was developing a plan to attack the alleged nuclear weapons sites in Iran. Iran acknowledges that it has a nuclear development program, but says it is designed only to generate electricity. --Haaretz, 10.13.03

America Becomes Arnold's Disneyland

"A certain amount of people are meant to be in control. Ninety-five percent of the people have to be told what to do, have to be given orders." --from Arnold's autobiography, "Arnold: The Education Of A Bodybuilder"

"By Mr. Schwarzenegger's own admission, he grew up craving the adulation of the crowd, whether admiring the for cheering Hitler at Nuremberg or for J.F.K. in Berlin. The columnist Charles Krauthammer suggested on "Fox News Sunday" last week that such comments meant that 'what he is after is power for its own sake. And I think, in our own history, the idea of a politician who's after power for its own sake, who does not have  let's be kind about this  who does not have a well-formed political ideology, is dangerous.'" --Todd Purdum, 10.10.03

"'I never grabbed anyone,' he told Tom Brokaw on "Dateline NBC," to which the newsman countered, 'So you deny all those stories about grabbing?' Mr. Schwarzenegger's answer: 'No, not all. I'm just saying this is not  this is not me.' What was that again?" --Frank Rich, 10.12.03

"Up until Arnold Schwarzenegger, no one had creating a powerful political movement according to the Disney park aesthetic: a content-free campaign, as hollow inside as a movie set's facade....Forget California. For America, the Arnold juggernaut is here to stay." --Frank Rich, 10.12.03

"It is up to the American people to stop rewarding the very politicians who are ultimately responsible for the anger that they feel, those who have turned our Democratic process into a mindless commercial and our citizens into unthinking fans." --Jerry Politex, 10.10.03

Recall Arnold

Friday Sneak: Limbaugh To Try Drug Detox For 3rd Time. Experts Doubt 30-Day Cure. , kurtz
Drug "Addict" Limbaugh "has regularly told his listeners that drug users should be jailed.", nyt

Sometimes, Any Headline Is Inadequate

Bush said he insulates himself from the "opinions" that seep into news coverage by getting his news from his own aides. He said he scans headlines, but rarely reads news stories. "I appreciate peoples opinions, but Im more interested in news," the president said. "And the best way to get the news is from objective sources, and the most objective sources I have are people on my staff who tell me whats happening in the world." --The Associated Press, September 22, 2003

"Israel Is Losing": Occupation "Impossible," Genocide "Out Of The Question"

If you read the Israeli press, the despair is palpable. To some, especially those on the left, Israel has become virtually a dysfunctional society. The government can't protect its people. Corruption is endemic. Religious zealots have inordinate influence, and their vision, a Greater Israel, compels the building or thickening of West Bank and Gaza Strip settlements. With every suicide bombing, the rational course -- a withdrawal from Palestinian areas -- seems like weakness rather than wisdom. Israel must return to the so-called Green Line -- the border before the 1967 Six Day War. It must dismantle most of the settlements. It must do this because occupation is corrupting and, in the long run, impossible...Genocide is out of the question." --Richard Cohen, 10.06.03

Creative Fiction Of The Year: Bush On 9/11

The Bush administration has all the creative fire that the creative world lacks. In two years it has changed the meaning of "the day that changed everything" beyond recognition. In place of the old 9/11 it erected a new one, a work of art in its way, ingeniously created by the brilliant Bush team of makeover artists. Their attention to wicked detail puts them firmly in the school of Hieronymus Bosch. They allowed the country to believe in a plot line in which the villain is Saddam Hussein, not bin Laden, and the 9/11 hijackers were predominantly Iraqi rather than Saudi. The White House even manipulated press releases to launder the foul post-9/11 air in lower Manhattan into ersatz cleanliness. This is fiction on so epic a scale that were it published as a novel it would be a candidate for a Laura Bush literary salon....Government officials are supposed to deal in facts, not fiction. Artists are supposed to invent fictions that illuminate the truth. Where are those with the courage and imagination to challenge a government of brilliant fabulists at what should be the artists' own game? --Frank Rich, NYT, 10.05.03

Head Of Vote Machine Company "Committed To" Bush Ohio Victory

Columbus, Ohio - The head of a company vying to sell voting machines in Ohio told Republicans in a recent fund-raising letter that he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." The Aug. 14 letter from Walden O'Dell, chief executive of Diebold Inc. - who has become active in the re-election effort of President Bush - prompted Democrats this week to question the propriety of allowing O'Dell's company to calculate votes in the 2004 presidential election. --by Julie Carr Smyth, Clevland Plain Dealer, August 28, 2003

"The top arms manufacturers -- and the U.S. sells more weapons than the rest of the world combined -- have a vested interest in keeping their product on the move, legally or otherwise. And aren't there also simply times when a government decides it's in its best interest, and its citizens' best interest, to let traffickers traffic?... According to Clinton administration N.S.C. officials, from its first days the Bush administration didn't see transnational crime as a national-security issue, and it didn't share their fixation on Victor Bout [the world's largest arms dealer.] Condoleezza Rice instructed the N.S.C. to work the Bout problem diplomatically. ''Look but don't touch'' is how one former White House official put it to me. After Sept. 11, Rice called off the Bout operation altogether. Moscow was not to be pressured on arms trafficking in general and Victor Bout in particular. The reasoning, according to a source who talked to Rice, was that they had ''bigger fish to fry.'' (Rice refused to comment for this article.) " , nyt, 08.17.03

Study Shows Pro-War Misperceptions Came From TV News, Particularly Fox

The more commercial television news you watch, the more wrong you are likely to be about key elements of the Iraq War and its aftermath, according to a major new study released in Washington on Thursday. And the more you watch the Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox News channel, in particular, the more likely it is that your perceptions about the war are wrong, adds the report by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA). ....48 percent of the public believe US troops found evidence of close pre-war links between Iraq and the al-Qaeda terrorist group; 22 percent thought troops found weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq; and 25 percent believed that world public opinion favored Washington's going to war with Iraq. All three are misperceptions. The report, Misperceptions, the Media and the Iraq War, also found that the more misperceptions held by the respondent, the more likely it was that s/he both supported the war and depended on commercial television for news about it. The study is likely to stoke a growing public and professional debate over why mainstream news media - especially the broadcast media - were not more skeptical about the Bush administration's pre-war claims, particularly regarding Saddam Hussein's WMD stockpiles and ties with al-Qaeda. "This is a dangerously revealing study," said Marvin Kalb, a former television correspondent and a senior the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. --Asia Times, 10.04.03

Bush And Crony Leave Baghdad Children Behind

On CBC radio this morning re the opening of public schools in Baghdad. The interview took place in a grade school that has 1500 students. They showed up and guess what... the school was in horrible condition. No electricity, filthy, bathrooms didn't work, etc. Here's the kicker. Bechtel, who has the (no bid) lucrative contract to take care of these things hasn't done a thing. The principal stated, in pretty good English, that some months before, someone from Bechtel came by to take a look and then no one ever came back. So... the school won't open just yet, as the teachers and staff need a week or more to do what Bechtel was supposed to and didn't. --Stan, 010.01.03


(Meet the Press, 09.28.03) MR. RUSSERT: But when you say that no one in our circles, and it was maybe down in the bowels of the Intelligence Agency, a month after that appearance, you said this, "The CIA cleared the speech in its entirety." And then your top deputy, Stephen Hadley, on July 23, said this. "Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters that he received two memos from the CIA in October that cast doubt on intelligence reports that Iraq had sough to buy uranium from Niger to use in developing nuclear weapons. Both memos were also sent to chief speechwriter Michael Gerson and one was sent to national security adviser, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Hadley said." And George Tenet called Mr. Hadley directly and put-issued a warning on that information. Were you aware of any concerns by the CIA about this incident?

DR. RICE: First of all, the CIA did clear the speech in its entirety and George Tenet has said that. He's also said that he believes that it should not have been cleared. And we apparently, with the-in October for the Cincinnati speech, not for the State of the Union, but the Cincinnati speech, George Tenet asked that this be taken out of the Cincinnati speech, the reference to yellow cake. It was taken out of the Cincinnati speech because whenever the director of Central Intelligence wants something out, its gone.

MR. RUSSERT: How'd it get back in?

DR. RICE: Its not a matter of getting back in. It's a matter, Tim, that three-plus months later, people didn't remember that George Tenet had asked that it be taken out of the Cincinnati speech and then it was cleared by the agency. I didn't remember. Steve Hadley didn't remember. We are trying to put now in place methods so you dont have to be dependent on peoples memories for something like that.


Information Sharing: Why Did Bush Coordinate All National Security Through Himself Via Condi Rice?

Margie Burns has attended two D.C. press conferences and a press briefing on the newly released 9-11 report. Here is her first response to it, how unclassified information is being dropped down the Bush memory hole. --Politex

a July 4th message...

"Trade with China will promote freedom. The case for trade is not just monetary, but moral - not just a matter of commerce, but a matter of conviction. Economic freedom creates habits of liberty. And habits of liberty create expectations of democracy." --George W. Bush, May 17, 2000


"The Founders understood something that today's economic determinists do not: that politics -- meaning how we choose to govern ourselves -- is more important than economics. The Declaration focuses almost entirely on political rights with its ringing denunciations of King George's violations of the liberties of free citizens. ("He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.") Trade and taxes don't get mentioned until halfway through, and then only briefly and in connection with political rights. The Founders did not protest taxes as such, but the fact that they were levied "without our Consent."...

"In rejecting economic determinism, Chinese advocates of freedom think far more like our Founders. "It goes too far to say that economic development alone will inevitably lead to democracy," Fang Lizhi, a famous Chinese dissident, has said. "The communist authorities clearly like this theory because they can use it to cover up their record of human rights violations. It would be wonderful if democracy did indeed grow automatically out of economic development, but history gives us, unfortunately, no such guarantees."

"We should be grateful that the Founders refused to accept the idea that self-government was something they were supposed to wait for. It made no sense to them that liberty could come only after a suitable period of economic growth and tutelage from some despot. When men and women in other lands follow our Founders' example, we should stand with them and not offer smug theories that justify our freedom while rationalizing their oppression." --E.J. Dionne, Jr., July 4, 2003

I watched Michael Moore frightening away all Republicans and most of those who consider themselves to be moderates in his smug, self-satisfied effusion at the Oscar ceremonies. Speaking as one who voted for Roosevelt in 1944 and who has never voted for a Republican candidate for President, I despise spoilers along with those who, like Moore, are certain that they have the revealed truth and that they must blurt it out on all occasions. If I were a Republican moderate or a Democratic conservative the Moores of this world might well push me into the embrace of George Bush and his crew of immoderate reactionaries. I grow ever more tired of the Green Party, Ralph Nader and all the rest of the left-wing nuts. I call them nuts, because although agreeing with much of what they say, it is much more important to throw George W. Bush out of office than it is to base a campaign on what to the average voter seems to be just another bad-tempered rant. --Richard G. Elliott, 06.24.03

Lessons about Plants that are Bushes

I was taught as a wee youngster that bushes were plants and that bushes were nice things to have around. Some bushes smell really good I learned. They give me clean air and make me happy because of their beautiful colors. Besides, they are harmless. But George W. has taught me some different lessons about bushes.

I’ve learned from George W. Bush that some bushes don’t really grow from the ground. Instead, these bushes lie on the ground and they lie in the air. They lie in a warplane landing on the deck of the U.S.S Lincoln. They lie about weapons of mass destruction, and they lie about making the world a peaceful place to live. I’ve learned from Bushmaster George W. that behind every bush in politics there’s a trick. For example, the White House species of bushes are immune to Round Up. Instead they feed on it. No matter how many corporate scandals they create and get caught up in, these bushes uncannily escape all scrutiny and keep right on growing stronger. It took me a while to find out how they do it. These bushes thrive in fraud, lies and deceit, not topsoil, for their nourishment.

There is a Clique of Special Gardeners who tend to these bushes and love them. They are called "right-wingers" because the part of their body normal people use to navigate life is missing. I’ve learned it’s a funny kind of symbiosis and the rules of regular gardening that you and I know don’t apply. The leaves of these bushes are never trimmed and their branches are never clipped. Unlike corn which may develop rust, the stems are brown from all the smut. Gardening by the Clique of Special Gardeners consists of planting secrets and hoeing crises rather than sewing seed and pulling weeds. By such stimulation the bushes and their Clique of Special Gardeners produce vast quantities of crises crops upon which they both survive.

When 9/11 occurred, the first crisis crop called Invented Terrorism was harvested. So nourishing and promising was this special fodder that since 9/11 many special crises fruits have been produce by the bushes and their Clique of Special Gardeners. The bushes have produced Iraqonthecobb, Hubris unbounded, Fraud aplenty, Francistan, WMD noseeum variety, Unemployment noendinsight variety, Taxrebate richonly subspecies, and now Middle East Roadmap ala commode. I also learned from George W. that some stealth bushes in government are carnivorous – afterall, he’s a ram-eating bush, isn’t he? Called Trickum americanus, this worrisome attack species grows particularly well in small poor third world countries rich in oil. I just can’t imagine how all the plants in the world will survive 4 more years of bushes. --KENT A. SCHNEIDER, Ph.D. June 14, 2003

-- Dr. SCHNEIDER is an anthropologist that uses modern remote sensing technology to unlock the archeological record. He is active in educational activities seeking open and honest government in America. He can be reached at

Study Indicates Leading "Conservative" Newspapers More Biased Than Leading "Liberal" Newspapers

A new Harvard study says the conservative editorial pages [of the Wall Street Journal And the Washington Times] are more intensely partisan, and far less willing to criticize a Republican administration than the liberal pages [of the New York Times and the Washington Post] are to take on a Democratic administration. [The study] examined the editorial commentary on 10 Bush and Clinton episodes that were roughly comparable.... The liberal papers criticized the Clinton administration 30 percent of the time, while the conservative papers slapped around the Bush administration just 7 percent of the time. The liberal papers praised the Clintonites 36 percent of the time, while the conservative papers praised the Bushies 77 percent of the time. One more set of numbers: The liberal papers criticized Bush 67 percent of the time; the conservative papers criticized Clinton 89 percent of the time. --Howard Kurtz, WP, 08.05.03

It's impossible to disagree with your analysis of Mr. Bush and his Gang of Thieves. I read the entire BUSH WATCH every day and am always sorry I've done so. This is not meant unkindly. It's just that, by the time I'm through, I begin to wonder if I should emigrate to someplace like Estonia.

I am seventy-one years old, and I felt quite confident that there would never be as ghastly a president as Richard Nixon. I was wrong. My husband and I had seven kids and now have fourteen grandchildren. I cannot bear the thought that this family, or any other family in our country might grow and flourish under the impression that "if the president does it, it must be OK." IT IS NOT OKAY!

It is not okay to lie, to cheat (beginning with Brother Jeb in Florida), to say "I'm going to do such and so" and never do it, and above all, to send United States service men and women to Iraq on the feeble and dishonest premise that Iraq was afloat in WMD's. It apparently never occurred to him that people DIE in wars; not just our service men and women, but innocents, as well. I cannot get the picture of little Ali with both arms blown off out of my mind. Does he never consider that as anything but "collateral damage"?

And now, he wants to dismantle Social Security and Medicare. This is particularly galling since he gets all his health care for nothing, and will leave office with a fat wallet.

Thomas Jefferson (can you imagine what he would be thinking?) once said, in a different context, "I tremble for my country when I recall that God is just." So do I. --Jan Overstreet, 06.12.03

While I was reading "Dereliction of Duty" by Robert "Buzz" Patterson, I noticed something I thought was telling. On page 139 Patterson says, "I opened the PDB to rearrange the notes and noticed the heading "Operation Bojinka." I keyed on a reference to a plot to use commercial airliners as weapons and another plot to put bombs on U.S. airliners. Because I was a pilot, this naturally grabbed my attention. I can state for a fact that this information was circulated within the U.S. intelligence community, and that in late 1996 the president was aware of it."

In Mr. Patterson's zeal to prove he had personal knowledge of President Clinton's failure to take the security of America seriously he also proves that the Bush administration is not being straight forward when it claims it didn't have a clue about planes being used as weapons (missiles). --Daniel Hestand, 05/30.03

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile." --Condi Rice

I was amazed wen I found Bush Watch back in 2000 and I am still amazed with the breadth and decency in which you bring light to much of what mainstream America is 'meant' to miss. Once again thank you, and don't ever lose faith, Bush will be gone in 2004 - he's his own worst enemy, not to mention the world communities. I am a US/UK citizen living in London. I left California in Sept 2000 (I was going anyway, but I like tell people I left because of Bush - nice coincidence).

Here's my view of Europeans and their reactions to Bush America: What you hear and see in virtually every aspect of public discourse is an honest gut reaction to the policies of this administration. That is what is so dangerous about Bush, he has managed to polarize the vast majority of the European citizens, and in turn create a truly negative view of the United States. Any President who would do such a thing intentionally is not fit for the job. Instead of burying their heads in the sand, Americans should recognize that the opinion of Europeans is very important to America's economy, culture, and world position. On this count (like so many others) Bush is an absolute failure. He is an abhorrently bad president.

For example, here are two articles that start out as benign swipes at the US, but turn ultimately to criticizing Bush America.

Regarding George Soros,3604,960213,00.html

Reactions at the Cannes film festival,3604,960201,00.html

David Axelbank, London, 05.26.03

Dear Mr. Politex,

Yes. You're right. Moore did help Bush into the White House, and he will do it again. So. What's wrong with that? When he does it again in 2004 and refuses to support a Democratic nominee, what will come of it? Bush will indirectly receive his help and MIGHT end up in the White House again. What else? Perhaps, with the swell in the Republican Party, we will see the fall of the Democratic Party. From the ashes of this former opposition party we will see the rise of a REAL opposition party (the Greens) as well as other so-called "third parties". Sure, we would have to suffer through another four years of Bush, Jr. and perhaps four or eight years of another Republican after him. But in the end, the 2-party system would be no more. I think we all agree that this 2-party system is not serving the purpose (of representing all Americans) and needs to be replaced. The only way, that I see, for that to happen is for one or both of those Parties to be removed. I believe the Republican party to be too powerful, so it has to be the Democratic Party. What do you think?

Bodie Pfost

P.S. In voting, we are responsible for choosing the candidate that will represent us the best. We are not obliged to choose "the lesser of two evils" or to choose a certain candidate because we don't want another candidate to win. This goes against everything that voting means in our government.

I heard about Bush Watch on C-Span and immediately looked you up. WOW! I think I've died and gone to heaven. The question that I daily ask my husband as I read the paper, watch news on TV, and critically think about this administration and its lies and poor leadership is "Where is the outrage?" Now I have an answer to that question. The OUTRAGE has gone underground in order to be heard and, as in Bible times when Christianity was born, those people went underground also, and look what blossomed from those efforts!

Now, we can emerge from the catacombs of the news media, burst upon the scene, and make our voices known to the people who would rather bury their heads, examine their own navel, and blindly follow behind the lead elephant. The Republicans who do just that remind me of a herd of elephants. When you place that herd in a parade, the elephants marching behind the leader drop their heads and blindly follow the butt in front of them. I'm glad I'm a mule. I don't move until I know where I'm going and why. And only then do I pick up my stubborn body and go to work. Keep up the good words! --Mary Louise Selph, Lakeland, Fl., 05.16.03

Are Jews Anti-Semites If They Support The Roadmap To Peace?

"Israel Lobby...Leaders Tear Roadmap To Peace Into Little Pieces," Supporting Sharon , weiss | 05.15.03 |related stories

In Jewish political life, there are little Jews and big Jews. Little Jews might be college presidents or retired accountants, but they vote (for Democrats mainly), write letters and give money. Big Jews head Jewish organizations. They are the leaders and fund-raisers of the Israel lobby, which lately would appear to be a monolith supporting the Sharon government....After drafts of the timetable got around, the Israeli government raised objections, and a drumbeat of opposition began among Jewish organizations. The plans were attacked by Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, Mortimer Zuckerman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, James Tisch of the United Jewish Community, and by the Washington Institute, which has connections to the leading pro-Israel organization, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC circulated a letter in Congress aimed at countering the road map by saying that the Palestinians bore the burden of achieving peace.There were rumors that big Jews had resolved to roll up the road map. Because Secretary of State Colin Powell had lost on Iraq, he was weak and dismissible. The Israel lobby could work with hawks in the Defense Department to bring the Bush administration around—and, oh yes, remind politicians about next year’s elections. Then the monolith cracked....For now, a struggle has commenced over the American role in the peace process—and there are, at last, big Jews on both sides.

Self-Identified Jewish President Of Harvard Smears Critics Of Israel As Anti-Semites , nyo | 05.15.03 |related stories

In his choice of examples, Mr. Summers comes close to saying that attacking Israel is the same as being anti-Semitic. He adds: "I have always throughout my life been put off by those who heard the sound of breaking glass in every insult or slight, and conjured up images of Hitler’s Kristallnacht at any disagreement with Israel. Such views have always seemed to me alarmist if not slightly hysterical. But I have to say that while they still seem to me unwarranted, they seem rather less alarmist in the world of today than they did a year ago." If I read Mr. Summers correctly, he does believe that negative opinions about Israel are tantamount to anti-Semitism. If that isn’t what he means, then given his position of power and influence as the president of Harvard University, Mr. Summers ought to take an opportunity to make some crucial distinctions.

WMD Not Found? So What?
I hear a lot of noise about not finding WMD ("Bush Iraq WMD Search Group Gives Up, Blames Failure On Poor Intelligence, Unprotected Sites" and "Top Bush Officials Worried By Inability To Fine Evidence of Iraq WMD, Intelligence Agencies Struggle To Avoid Blame") but, do not see anything on what the significant consequences will be. As far as I can tell, Bush will remain in office, Iraq will still be a conquered and occupied nation, and Bush cronies will continue to profiteer.

Bush does not appear to worry because there is nothing for him to worry about. Most of the polls show that the US public really does not care if no WMD are found. They are too busy making heroes of a military that had no chance of losing. The same with the news organizations.

There have been a few references to what might happen if WMD are not found. These imply something dire will be of consequence; but, do not say what. If there is anyone who believes that there will be the dire consequences, please tell me what they are, for I do not see anything beyond having to say "the French were correct". --Frank J. R. Hanstick, Renton, WA

Dem Prez Candidates Being "Gored" By Bush And His Media

I agree that John Kerry is being "Gored" by the media. But, I would suggest it goes far further than that.

From what I can see, they are "Goring" every Democratic candidate. All the things that have been attributed to Gore are being attributed to at least one Democratic candidate in the field and I have no doubt whoever wins will be "Gored" much worse than Gore himself was, because at least Gore had several years in the VP to counter the impressions created by the GOP controlled media.

This goes back to my original premise, which is that Gore was not such a bad candidate, but rather that he was crucified by the media and made to look to the public as a person that he never was. (Sure Gore made some choices I consider mistakes, but then so has every candidate when viewed with those rose-colored 20/20 hindsight glasses.)

What happened to Gore is going to happen to ANY Democratic candidate and Ds need to get over the idea that if we can only find the "magic bullet" candidate, everything will be okay. We need to get it right now that every Democratic candidate will be Gored and made a mere caricature of the actual person.

Perhaps if we make it clear to everyone to expect this, it will help prevent what happened to Gore from happening to the 2004 nominee. --M.E. Bucciere, 05.08.03

Flyboy, Big Dog, And The Conservative Media

When he enlisted in the Texas Air Guard, Bush had signed a pledge stating he would complete his pilot training and then "return to my unit and fulfill my obligation to the utmost of my ability." Instead, he received flight training--at the government's expense--and then cut out on his unit. He had not been faithful to the Guard. He had not kept this particular charge

But that was then. After 9/11, after Afghanistan, after Iraq--and before who-knows-what--Bush has become a man with no past. He is a different fellow, that's for sure, and now wears the commander-in-chief uniform more comfortably than before those airliners crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. But could Bill Clinton--even in a similar situation--have gotten away with joy-riding a S-3B Viking aircraft onto a carrier for a mega-photo-op without commentators reminding viewers of his sly draft-dodging ways? --David Corn, 05.05,03

Green Blindness

>You have my 100% total agreement on the Greens. Perhaps you can, by persistent trying, hit the button which will enlighten the Green voters in their mad-dash to their hedonistic voter pleasure in these times of national disaster. Wish you luck.

I have had conversations with beaming Green voters. They have the air about them of floating above the fray, like this national mood and glee about the war is awful but they are not 'at fault' because they are true to their cause. To the bitter end they will be true to their cause. When I tell them they are in a boat headed toward the edge of a cliff and every one who could take an oar and row like heck is needed, and you sit there and state 'no, my cause is my cause! -and I will not row with you!' it is like talking to a wall.

It is a mindset that will rejoice in its own destruction with utter defiance come what may. It is surely a second cousin to the same mindset of at least some of the millions of GOP voters who voted for GW. There must be some of them who have to also see the ruinous course being run by this cabal but who also are willing to go down with the boat, no matter what.

You can show them the picture but you cannot make them see. --Cole, 04/29/03

The Groan Of The Wurlitzer

I attended an antiwar poetry reading at Macalester College yesterday, and was handing out copies of my "Talking back to the Wurlitzer" pamphlet. I even gave a 5 minute talk on the need for activists to recognize when the Wurlitzer is playing, so that they can defend themselves against the power of political propaganda.

That was all right. I even got to speak to Robert Bly again, whom I have not spoken to in 22 years. Even if all I communicated was where in the chapel basement the men's room was.

Afterward, a nice woman came up to me and said, "I have something to tell you that will give you joy."

Well, it actually caused me some discomfort. It turned out that she is a church organist and a lover of all things relating to the original Wurlitzer name, from the proud theater organs to the dazzling jukeboxes of the 50s.

"So you see," she said, "the Wurlitzer is really the good guy!"

Alas, I told her, the matter was out of my hands. I didn't invent the Wurlitzer name. In fact, the first half dozen times I heard it referred to, no one had the kindness to explain it to me.

Which was why I wrote the damn pamphlet in the first place, because I was tired of elitist lefties chuckling over a metaphor I didn't understand. Grrr to that, am I right?

So what could I say to the woman? First, her promise of joy was a false one. I felt a little guilty and apologetic afterwards, not slap-happy.

Second, the die was cast, and the splendid Wurlitzer name had been permanently retrofitted to stand for the propaganda machine of the Bush Family Evil Empire (BFEE). Nothing I could do about it now. Sorry, lady.

It's like the sacking of the Iraqi National Museum -- culture perishing so wicked men can light their cigars.

I console myself that the good Germans who crafted the marvelous musical machines would understand this better than anyone. --Michael Finley, 04.28.03

Carla Binion's article, A Whiff of Fascism in the Bush Administration is one of the best offerings I have had the pleasure of reading in quite some time. Profound but frightening! Our Country is being so horribly propagandized by right-wing extremists that Americans are not even aware that their Democracy is in great jeopardy. --Moriah, 04.25.03

Hollywood Liberals

Stimulated by the Tim Robbins/Baseball Hall of Fame fiasco, I have been pondering the matter of Hollywood and politics. Why is it so many actors and musicians seem to sign on for progressive causes?

Just a few names that have bubbled to the surface of late: Robbins, Barbra Streisand, Sean Penn, Alex Baldwin, the Dixie Chicks, Pearl Jam.

It's to the point where you almost assume that an artist will be anti-war or anti-tax-cut or pro-environment. Notable exceptions are hard to come up with.

Is it calculation, that the mass of Americans are so liberal that we won't love popular artists unless they are to the left of Ralph Nader?

That hardly seems true, even in liberal Minnesota. To the contrary, these people surely risk eye-rolling when they sign onto the usual litany of liberal causes. It's not good for one's career when Rush Limbaugh starts to make fun of you.

So what's the deal?

I have decided that it is in the nature of performing artists to be empathic. That in order for an actor to be any good, he or she has to be able to feel what their own characters and other people in a scene are feeling.

Next step: to be empathic is almost identical to being a modern day liberal. It is, as everyone lampooned Bill Clinton the template for Hollywood liberals, to feel others' pain. Liberals by definition are sensitive to the feelings of (mainly) the downtrodden and dispossessed.

I'm not saying empathy is an absolute virtue. Conservatives are right, sometimes, to wish there was less empathizing going on in politics – they see it as pandering, or worse, plantation management. At best, it's an inefficient and expensive way to ponder public policy.

Think of the phrases conservatives use to insult liberals. More than anything, they connote the talents of a stage actor -- emotional responsiveness. "Bleeding heart. "Knee jerk."

The noteworthy thing to me is what a burden it places on known conservative actors to be good actors without cultivating this aspect of political empathy.

Think about it: Bruce Willis. Arnold Schwartzneggar. Clint Eastwood. Charlton Heston. Ronald Reagan. John Wayne. Sonny Bono?

It's not that they are awful actors. In fact, many of our best “hero” actors are here, actors talented at seeming to perform great deeds.

But they seem, as a group, awfully limited stacked up against the liberal likes of Hoffman, Streep, Dylan, Springsteen, Robbins and Sarandon.

-- Michael Finley, 04.22.03

I like Lower's essay. It's lofty and long, but then, evolution is infinite so to write about it is not easy, especially in the short format of an essay article. I have sensed much the same and I am certain many more sense it, but either do not speak it out of intimidation or just lack of articulation, because what is happening is complex.

After reading this essay, it helps me better understand why I have been prone to digging around into world history lately, wanting to better hone in on the rise and fall of civilizations, the persecutions and then the carry overs of tribal hostilities. When I consider the histories, it's easier to imagine what is happening today is the cumulative effects of all of life ever lived. Too, I think it possible, the old notions of war are nearing expiration in global terms. The argument or, if you will, oxymoron of "just" wars is holding less and less. And so, is war, then, a necessary evil? Can the human being overcome addiction and suffering? A number do for various reasons, mainly, enough are getting sick and tired of or plain bored with keeping up this suffering game of "war". Seems only those either caught up in their individual power or blindness of platitudes are still the ones hanging on to the primal and tribal existence, as though there is no other choice.

I also sense that the Bush logic or doctrine will fail. I see it--the thinking -- as a violent, devouring cancer that feeds on itself. Bottom line, I just don't feel any life or creativity springing forth from this Administration. The life and thrill of discovering more life is coming from the common peoples. In a broader, impersonal sense, the whole unilateral, fundamentalist thrust is like the force of destruction, beside the force of creation, doing it's dirty job of cleaning out it's own bowels, unknowingly making room for the healing and new. --Liz Rose, Monterey Bay, California, 04.21.03

On Bush And Cultural Evolution

I'd like to make a few small comments on the excellent and well thought out essay by Dr. Lower about Bush and cultural evolution.

I am a computational molecular biologist and also spent several years as an elementary teacher and doing curriculum development work in science education.

First of all, I cannot fault your essay as regards to scientific progress effecting cultural evolution. I feel however, that you have overlooked an issue which should not change your conclusion but will put a much finer point on it!

I would argue that cultural evolution can also be correlated with progress in child rearing practices and lost when these practices decay. Early childhood nutrition and stimulation are the most profound causative factors effecting physical and intellectual development.

Aboriginal cultures have great reverence for their children, and yet as hunter-gatherers the child's quality of life depends on the day to day success of the tribe. Larger clan structures became the roots of the first agrarian civilizations which had stable quality nutrition for children for the first time and consequent cultural advance (writing).

Certain ancient civilizations stand out starkly against vast tracts of time without such highly organized culture. Take the ancient Egyptians for example. Recent archeological evidence shows that the pyramid builders had a core of high status engineers, masons, stonecutters, administrators and other functionaries. Laborers rotated in and out of their villages in what now appears to be actions of civic pride, and their working and living conditions support this: Rich diets of fish, beef, bread, and beer were provided on a vast scale and living quarters were austere but comfortable. These findings belie the long held notion that the pyramids were built by slaves or conscripts. Therefore: good child nutrition leads to healthy populations, the trades had good apprentices and the Egyptians produce a Wonder of the World!

The dark ages in Europe illustrate the opposite condition. Child rearing practices were brutal, malnutrition and disease led to a dull and beaten vast feudal underclass, with an ignorant and brutal ruling class. Even Rome treated their children better.

The Renaissance led to a beautification of all children in the image of the child Christ and interestingly child rearing practices improve and great cultural progress follows with Michelangelo and Da Vinci as exemplars.

The industrial revolution again resulted in maltreatment of children, who were pressed to work as wage slaves in the burgeoning textile industry. A consequence was virulent nationalism and 3 centuries of wars.

The American Revolution, followed by others in Europe led to a progressive and humanist approach to child rearing which led to the introduction of compulsory education and eventually child labor laws.

Today our children are under another attack. The resources committed to child nutrition and education are a vanishingly small amount compared to our vast national wealth and getting smaller. Perhaps history teaches that when a certain critically low ratio between child spending/total wealth is reached, society begins to break down (school shootings, serial killers, delinquency etc.).

My thesis in a nutshell: Culture is made by people, all people were once children, therefore how we care for our children profoundly effects what kind of person they end up being, and these people either help advance or retard the dynamic punctuated equilibrium of cultural evolution.

--Kindest regards, Michael Sullivan, 04.18.03

Dear Michael,

Thank you for your kind comments and for your discussion of the importance of parent-child relationships in cultural evolution. You are correct, of course. Of all the relationships in the world, parent-child relationships are the most important. I have a respected friend who was raised in Nazi Germany by a hard-line Catholic father (what a combo!) and he has since devoted his life to lecturing about the fundamental importance of that relationship. The first Christian had a good deal to say about that relationship as well in thinking of children as the light of the world, which they are.

The question to ask, of course, is what destroys that natural relationship? And here is where culture comes into the equation, the ideas and actions of larger sociocultural human organizations which impose themselves upon the parent-child relationship. Imagine being raised in Nazi Germany. Hell, imagine being raised in contemporary America, where most of our young people are lost right along with their parents. Much of what we Americans have been asked to believe over the past half century is simply not worthy of human belief, and parents have largely dealt with that fact by covering it up, ignoring it and going with the flow to provide their children with really no viable information as to how the world does work or ought to work. One just needs money, thats all, don't ask what for.

In considering societal impositions upon family relationships, it is also true that some of us turn out the way we do because of that imposition, and others of us turn out the way we do in spite of that imposition. I live in a very conservative and very religious and very capitalistic socio-cultural arena (and a South Dakota arena it is) where many young people I have met haven't asked a "why" question in years, nor have they had any answered for them. And, yet this anti-intellectual social arena has produced some of our greatest liberal thinkers, e.g., Senator George McGovern, Governor Peter Norbeck and Dr. Van Potter, the "Father of Global Bioethics," in spite of it all. In the same way, my friend's hardline Nazi father in Germany, by going over the hard line, produced a very warm and decent and actively-caring person in his son. Amazing how the world works, is it not? The shortcoming of this approach is that it involves an immensely steep and tortuous learning curve.

So, I think it is not people who need changing so much as the cultural systems which define what it means for them to be human and part of a people. I am pushing for Jeffersonian Democracy because I think we should see ourselves as thoughtful and caring, interdependent citizens, quite able to understand life and nurture fairness and freedom. That would be all I ask.

In other words, this entire thing boils down to human self-concept, does it not? We do not have social and political problems in America. We do not have environmental problems in America. We have problems with self-identity, caused by our having been coerced into becoming consumers instead of citizens, all in the name of crony capitalism. I do believe that compassion and knowledge would go ever so much farther than money in solving human problems.

Great to hear from you, Michael. Thank you again for your kindness. Please feel free to maintain the dialogue.

Most respectfully, Gerry Lower, 04.18.03

Since a mob of Iraqi citizens trashed and plundered a Baghdad museum of priceless antiquities last week, we've learned that the Bush Administration had been warned by numerous individuals and groups throughout the world that steps had to be taken to protect cultural artifacts that speak for the entire world, not just the recent, artificially created country of Iraq. Yet, nothing was done, although the Bush corporate hawks made darn sure that Iraq's oil fields were protected, sending in troops to guard the oil wells even before the cities were invaded. Rumsfeld's defense of the administration's priorities was something on the order of "Boys will be boys." After all, he told Pentagon reporters, the Iraqis had to do something to express their frustrations with the Saddam regime. Meanwhile, the world has lost irreplaceable works of art that belonged to the citizens of the world. This is just one more exaple of the gap between administration propaganda and the reality of their values. The corporate hawks running the show obviously cared more about Iraq oil than the aspirations of the people as expressed through their art. As for Bush, what can we expect from someone who thinks of the Oak Ridge Boys as the apotheosis of his cultural aspirations. --Politex, 04.17.03

Just wanted to thank you for the service you provide. It's nice to see all the news you won't see anywhere else, all in one place. However, your true genius lies in the fact that you mostly use articles from the very same corporate news outlets that consistently paint that gang of thugs in DC in an godlike aura. You take the stories they try to bury and hang them out in the light of day for anyone with an ISP to see. And conservatives can't use the old "but that story's just conspiratorial rambling from some nutcase's website," because the stories are from "legitimate" news sources like CNN, and the New York Times. Brilliance! Sheer brilliance! --Mark Cason, 04.15.03

Why doesn't some reporter or group of reporters take some of Bush's most palpable and outrageous lies and distortions and confront him with them and keep confronting him with them until he has to respond in some way? A couple I can think of: (1) his lie in fall 2002 with Tony Blair by his side that the IAEC had said in its report on the Iraqi nuclear program that they could have a bomb in 6 months, a report which according to the IAEC doesn't exist, and they never said such a thing in any other report. (2) Bush's claim that Iraqi agents were posing as nuclear scientists to fool inspectors in interviews. Where did that come from? For one thing, at the time the Iraqi scientists were not allowing private interrogations anyway, and for another, as Al-Baradei said, these agents would have been recognized by their interviewers who were real nuclear scientists and would be difficult if not impossible to fool. Bush moves on so quickly to new lies and distortions that people don't stick to one thing long enough to make it obvious he's lying. Some reporter needs to get hold of that tape of Bush lying about the IAEC and replay it over and over, just as reporters gleefully played over and over the tape of Clinton saying, "I never had sex with that woman." The tape was replayed once on Bill Moyers' "Now" on PBS. Copies need to be made and verifiable proof from IAEC experts that the report does not exist. Bush is a habitual liar and this needs to be documented clearly and presented over and over to the American people. --Steve Carter, 04.14.03

Pouring over many speeches Hitler delivered to the Reichstag for a course I’m teaching this semester on Judaism, I was struck by his constant concern for world opinion when promulgating his anti-Jewish legislation. As Nazi Propaganda Minister Goebbels noted in his dairy, the silence of the world regarding the Jews was viewed as tacit approval of Nazi policy toward the Jews by the rest of the world. Now consider Bush’s attitude toward the international community today regarding his war on Iraq. A question thus asserts itself: Who cares more about world opinion, Hitler or Bush? --Stephen L. Hood, University of Houston, Religious Studies, 04.09.03

I was born in 1937 and I remember WWII. I, also, remember the Korean War and Vietnam, which should never have happened. Now I am living through the 2nd Iraqi war, which is highly illegal. Bush tells us that God has selected him to be our leader and eliminate the evil in the world. I am getting tired of God being blamed for all of these mentally disturbed people saying that God told him(her) to kill. God gave us a free will and He isn't sitting in Heaven (or wherever he exists) directing us what to do. We live in a country that was founded by people who escaped from persecution by religion. Why are we now letting the Christian Right determine what is "Good and Evil" and call anybody that disagrees with their beliefs Anti-American? --Jody Kobiak

Heard a quick report on PRI while driving home from work--an interview with a former Gulf war veteran and current reporter from Iraq war talking about how some of the American pilots were seen wearing badges on their arms of US Oil Company logos. When asked about it, some of them nonchalantly laughed. The former Gulf veteran knew of this from the previous war said that this was done out of a cynicism and sort of as a spoof to all the talk about the war being for oil. However, he continued, it's an underlying troublesome thought for the soldiers, and it's just a way for them to deal with the frustration of serving in a questionable, multi-agenda war. --Bush Watcher, 04.04.03

The best I can do is mourn with the relatives of those who would give their lives, believing they served the best interest of this country; however, under no circumstances can I explicitly or implicitly support their being there or what they are doing. I can only support their coming home now.

To those who question my patriotism and/or love of country, I need only remind them that no greater demonstration of either can be made than that of putting one's life at risk to do so. More so when there is no belief of an afterlife to lessen risk's totality. Having a DD form 214 (discharge papers) demonstrates my willingness to do what needs to be done when I perceive an actual threat. Until more than lip service is given by detractors, any questions regarding my patriotism and/or love of country are without merit. --Frank J. R. Hanstick, 04.03.03

This should be required reading. Every American but and especially all of the pro war fanatics. This is supposed to be an example of how we export democracy? How we "liberate" a people? How we are a just nation?

We are supposed to support our troops when they murder? This was not a "casualty of war" or "collateral damage" This was outright murder - a war crime.

"Sorry" just doesn't cut it. --Linda, 04.02.03

Imagine the horror of this event.

Imagine the nightmares. Waking up every night for the rest of your life remembering. I am appalled, I am saddened, I am furious. The loss of innocent life, and the loss of innocence.

Imagine the horror that these young men of the US military will have to live with for the rest of their lives, knowing they made a tragic mistake.

Knowing they killed these children, seeing the torn a tattered little bodies every time they close their eyes. You can bet George Bush will not dream of this. You can bet Richard Pearl won't lose any sleep over the deaths of a few Iraqi children, but I'll bet those young soldiers will be haunted by their tragic mistake for the rest of their lives.

I consider the rank and file of our military, the ones who are sent to fight, to kill, and to die, to be victims of this war. Just as the Iraqi people are victims of this war, just as we are all victims of George Bush's war!

It was all so unnecessary! It is all so sad. --Arthur Rodriguez, Shamokin, PA

Hi all -

We have a number. Jim McDermott's Depleted Uranium legislation is now official - it should be referred to as HR 1483. I've attached the basic documents:

1. HR 1483
2. The Dear Colleague letter that was sent to other members of the House to urge them to sign on as co-sponsors.
3. An article entitled "The War Against Ourselves" from the Spring issue of Yes Magazine that was attached to the Dear Colleague. The article is an interview with Dr. Doug Rokke.
4. The press release announcing the bill
5. An article entitled "Depleted Uranium: The American Legacy" by Sara DeHart and Louis Farshee. I think this article is well written and presents the issue in an easy to read writing style.

Peace -
Ken Kadlec
Office of Congressman Jim McDermott
1809 7th Avenue # 1212
Seattle WA 98101-1399

For some strange reason I seem to find it necessary to preface my letter by insisting that I in no way consider myself anti-American. I listen to Rock and Roll, I go to Hollywood movies, cook a mean hamburger, will gladly accept a glass of decent bourbon, and am an admirer of the founding principles of the American Republic.

I live in Barcelona, Spain, recently referred to by your President for its massive demonstrations. Perhaps he should also have referred to the hundreds of other cities, big and small, but never mind. I suppose he is surprised by the reaction of the people in the streets: 1.5 million demonstrators in a city with a population of 1.3 (?). Let me explain: we in Europe still have a memory of the horrors of war.

After World War I, the "Great War" or the "War to End All Wars", it was decided that mechanisation had made war such a threat to human existence on this planet that it had become necessary to establish a set of international tools for going about things. First the League of Nations -- defunct --, then the United Nations, World Bank, IMF, and with them international treaties: the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, ABM Treaty, Test Ban Treaties, etc.

Admittedly, these first faltering steps in international law leave much to be desired, but Mr Bush now wants to dismantle a broad range of consensually accepted international precepts. This would take us back to the eve of the Great War of 1914-18. Think I'm kidding? When was Turkey last a player on the international scene? 1914.

We remember these things in Europe.

Want to get rid of Saddam Hussein? Easy. Sign up to the International Criminal Court and ratify the Germ Warfare Treaty. Going back to the past would be, is, collective suicide. --Luis Jorba, Barcelona, Spain, 03.30.03

View From Scotland

I am a scot and would like to offer my view which I think reflects the majority opinion in the UK and Europe. George Bush is frequently lampooned in the press here, and many people are genuinely worried at what they see as an individual with an enormous amount of power but lacking the intellectual capacity to use it wisely. Nations naturally look out for their own interests, but there is no longer a balance of power in the world. Many people are now genuinely fearful of a future with an unchallenged hyperpower governed by a far-right, corrupt administration. We see military and economic domination.

We see:

* US insistence on a global free-market, while protecting its domestic one ( as in tariffs on european steel) and economic retaliation ( eg. against our tendency to buy bananas from the caribbean rather than US-dominated latin american produce).

* The policy of pre-emptive strikes against states deemed to present a threat to US interests. The fear of many is, who is next? US intervention is not benign historically and it will happen again at some point in the future against a country somewhere that fails to toe the line, as seen by the US.

* Rhe willingness of the administration to ignore global institutions like the United Nations and Security Council.

* Moves to pull out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and develop a new generation of nuclear weapons, and the cherished desire of this administration to establish military bases in the Middle East, Southeast Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia.

I fervently hope that, come the next election, the majority of americans will exercise their vote, and chase out these power-hungry businessmen. Moreover, I hope their votes will be respected. Perhaps then America can lay our fears to rest. --Nicola Pitt

Your articles put into words what most of us feel as a vague unease, an uncertainty about what is going on. I think most of us can also see that there is a fair amount of repression happening in the media. And you're right, I think that Europe is definitely getting more unbiased news, and they will see things from a different viewpoint than we do here.

It's very obvious that this administration is very unprofessional. They seem to make blunders constantly, and the only way they seem to counter it is by showing an increasingly hardened image in front of the camera. It's hard to believe that these people are in charge of the US and most of the free world because they appear to have no skills as far as diplomacy or tact. The one thing they have is arrogance and pride.

I think it's very frightening for most Americans to think that their leaders are inept fools, so they ignore the glaring truth and wave the flag and hope that everything goes well. But the truth is out there, even in the news. I think it's too much of a proposition to stamp out all criticism, because they can't possibly do it. So it seeps out, everywhere. --Christina Liss, 03.26.03

I just realized that after Bush's speech on 17 March how similar the prosecution of the war has been to the underhanded settling of the 2000 election. They both involved truncating due process when no crisis is present, disrespectfully snubbing a legitimate source of power (the voters and the U.N.), the use of propaganda to cover logic that simply does not pass the "smell test," and cronyism below the surface, permeating all decisions. I'm sure you can probably think of others. I've learned long ago that political hacks use the same tactics over and over with few variations. --Barry Lemmons, 03.24.03

. I am an Australian, settled in Somerset, UK. I remember the last war. I remember why it was fought last time (oil). I dont think one of us is convinced beyond doubt that it's all about weapons of mass destruction. As the war progresses, it is obvious that the Iraqi forces hardly even possess the resources to bring forth a 'smoking gun.' So much for nukes.

Even so, I see protest in almost every country. Everyone I talk to is VERY much against this event. I saw my own Australian country men and women protesting on the telly this morning. I cried. My frustration is almost making me physically sick. Why is it that public opinion has no hope of affecting the progression of this action, even though we all know why it is that Iraq is being attacked, maybe even with the same weapons (including low grade plutonium) that the forces (U.S) used last time albeit mainly on civilians.

So thank you! More information needs to be placed out in the public we all know that the censorship job from main media organisations is as transparent as the desires of George W Bush. --Simone, 03.22.03

Ombudsman, the Washington Post

Would you help me, please, or send this request to the appropriate person?

Today's 03.20.03 editorial "Putting Patriotism to the Test," (see below) was removed from the Washington Post web site at mid-morning. When will it be re-posted? Failing that, why was it removed?

Thanks for your kind help.

Sincerely, Jerry Politex, Editor, Bush Watch,

DE LAY, FRIST, AND HASTERT REPUBLICANS DO "A DISSERVICE TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND TO AMERICAN VALUES" WITH THEIR ATTACKS ON DISSENT AS UNPATRIOTIC "THE COUNTRY is embarking on a war that many of its citizens and elected officials oppose. We believe it to be necessary, as we have said, but we recognize that thoughtful people of goodwill certainly will arrive at different conclusions about its wisdom or timing. Even supporters may question aspects of Bush administration policy, such as its inability to garner more international support. All of this is legitimately open for discussion, even with hostilities underway. All Americans, no matter their views on the war, hope for a swift and successful conclusion and for the safety of the troops. All are also entitled -- and should be encouraged -- to debate the war's advisability, its conduct and its aftermath....We disagree strongly with Mr. Daschle's remarks, which unreasonably blamed the conflict on the Bush administration...But being wrong isn't the same as being unpatriotic, as a number of Republicans offensively suggested in response. Their coordinated torrent of criticism does a disservice to the Republican Party and to American values." 3.20.03 wp ed note: "Putting Patriotism To The Test" has been removed by WP. |related stories

FOLLOW-UP Today (03.21.03) the Washington Post re-posted "Putting Patriotism To The Test" under a new title, "Speaking Out In Wartime," adding a paragraph further castigating the Dems. --Politex

Mr. Safire,

Please prepare a detailed report on Germany, France, US, UK, Spain, Belgium, and so on with regard to shipments of arms and related materials from companies in these countries. You have the research resources and the platform to air such a report. It should be balanced by including countries in opposition to the coalition of the willing as well as the countries that are members of the coalition of the willing.

I don't know what the facts may be and there have been enough allegations of US involvement as well as other countries so that it ought to be informative to understand the extent of international support of Iraq's military. I would be shocked to learn that there were no import-export companies located in the US that have not brokered questionable trades with Iraq in the past 12 years. Of course once the government learned of such trades these companies would be fined and so forth.

Is France the only culpable country?

--Chris Tomlinson

Dear Dr. Krugman,

I very much look forward to your columns and hope that you are not silenced in the coming days, weeks and months.

I do have a comment regarding your most recent column. At the conclusion you state:

"Maybe [the Bush administration] will honorably refuse to act on this dangerous knowledge. But I can't help worrying that in domestic politics, as in foreign policy, this war will turn out to have been the shape of things to come."

Surely you are deliberately understating the case. Karl Rove's handling of the propaganda machine doesn't "honorably refuse to act on" any such knowledge, especially that which it fabricates. The 2000 republican primary demonstrated just how the game is played with the various (to me unbelievable) attacks on McCain such as the Long Island breast cancer smear and so forth. The technique is to inoculate or preemptively attack the opponent just as the administration is claiming to do in Iraq and is doing today with France via Mr Blair's assertions that Chirac is responsible for the coming war since his country refused to support the administration's intention to utilize military force in Iraq from last fall.

The hypocrisy, arrogance and cynicism of this administration with respect to both domestic and foreign relations is so palpable that it completely astounds me that most of the domestic population is still supportive of the administration. --Chris Tomlinson, 034.18.03

OSCARS BLACKLIST STARS IN BID TO PREVENT WAR PROTEST SPEECHES "THE backlash against prominent stars opposing any attack on Iraq has impacted on this year's Oscars, with organisers drawing up a blacklist of people who will not be allowed a platform to air anti-war views. Meryl Streep, Sean Penn, Vanessa Redgrave, George Clooney, Dustin Hoffman, and Spike Lee are among those who will not be speaking, amid fears they could turn the ceremony into an anti-war rally. In a move denounced by some as a return to McCarthyism, star presenters have been ordered to stick to scripts, while winners, who the producers have no control over, could find their acceptance speeches cut if they say anything much more than a brief thank you. " 3.14.03
scotsman |related stories

US Blitzkrieg on Baghdad: It's like when Hitler invaded Poland to protect the Third Reich from "terrorists"

I got into a huge argument with a member of my church yesterday. "Europe did nothing to stop Hitler," said the member. "America had to do it all. And now Europe is doing nothing to stop Saddam Hussein either."

After this conversation, I went home and pouted and fumed for hours because I hadn't come up with some brilliant answer to get him to see that a preemptive strike on a million children is just NOT the same as Chamberlin giving away the Seudatenland. All I had been able to come up with was some weak stuff like "It's un-Christian to massacre women and children...."

But when I woke up this morning, I had the perfect analogy: "Bombing Iraq is like when Hitler blitzkrieged Poland!" Plus the occupation afterwards will be just about as much fun for US troops as it was for SS troops occupying the Warsaw ghetto. "We are not appeasing Hitler," I should have said. "We are BECOMING Hitler."

I have standards! I have hopes! I am an American! I don't want to be like Hitler! I want to be like Thomas Jefferson! And, unlike our current leaders, I also want to be more like Jesus. --Jane Stillwater, Berkeley, CA

Politex, It was refreshing to read the views of Kent Southard (Features). I agree with him on almost every thing he said about this Bush character, this empty vessel for the Republican hawks. This guy, who said he was a uniter, not a divider: isolated this country from the world; is attempting to break up (UN) or weaken (NATO) our international institutions; is attempting to separate our long terms allies from their populations, is risking the chance of them losing their governments; has refused to join Kyote, thereby refusing to protect the environment; is taking away our rights and enacting laws that clearly go against our constitution; has destroyed the balanced budget that he assumed, while threatening to increase the deficit to massive, unheard of levels; and I could go on and on about this corrupt, unjust, un-elected administration. We can only pray until the next election in 2004, and hope that we can survive until that time. Maybe we will still have a country worth saving from the tyranny of this administration. I agree with Mr Southard that we may be headed for a police state, like the Nazi one. Bush so mimics the error of Hitler's rise that it is actually scary. I thought a president is suppose to calm our fears, not constantly make ill-informed decisions that frighten the wits out of the people. As I have noticed, when his poll numbers start to go down, the terror alert goes up. As if to say "you need us to protect you from terrorism". This is the most pathetic, shameless, abusive administration, and, indeed, as Helen Thomas has stated, Bush is the worst president ever! --Esther in Virginia

Peugeot Ad Tells It Like It Is

We forgive all you bourgeois pigs.

It's not for us to hold the grudge--not even against ignorant swine. And so we come back to America, where you think your replacement starter should come so fast as your cherished McNuggets. A starter is not a McNugget. It is a creation wrenched from the mind of man. It is Art.

Sadly, you cannot understand such things. So this time, like the indulgent parent, we add features expressly designed for Americans. Your speed, it is shown by the Heads-Up Mime. Your angst, it is calmed by five-year/50,000 mile ennui protection. The Peugeot--she is more than you deserve.


More than you deserve

JIMMY CARTER SAYS SOUTHERN BAPTISTS BACKING WAR HAVE "COMMITMENT TO ISRAEL BASED ON...FINAL DAYS THEOLOGY" "As a Christian and as a president who was severely provoked by international crises, I became thoroughly familiar with the principles of a just war, and it is clear that a substantially unilateral attack on Iraq does not meet these standards. This is an almost universal conviction of religious leaders, with the most notable exception of a few spokesmen of the Southern Baptist Convention who are greatly influenced by their commitment to Israel based on eschatological, or final days, theology." 3.09.03
carter |related stories

WHAT, ME WORRY? INDICATION THAT BUSH PRESS CONFERENCE SOLEMNITY WAS JUST A "DELIBERATELY UNDERSTATED" ACT "Friends and officials who met with President Bush at the White House this week said they were surprised to find him upbeat and chatty despite a barrage of diplomatic setbacks, and said he seemed to be at peace with the clear path he has set toward war with Iraq. The guests' descriptions of Bush's mood contrast with the studied solemnity that marked his East Room news conference Thursday night, when he appeared bent on convincing American and overseas audiences that he would be a reluctant, not rash, warrior.... One of the leaders described Bush as "cocky and relaxed" and said he conveyed the clear impression that he had concluded that attacking Iraq was inevitable.... Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center, said Bush's East Room bearing seemed designed to allay one of the biggest vulnerabilities that polls are showing in his public image -- the impression of many people that he has rushed to war, has pushed Iraq too hard and has done too little diplomacy....Behind the scenes, though, Bush is still Bush. " 3.08.03
nyt |related stories

Was Resident Bush's Q&A tonight well scripted or what? He looked to his notes to find the names (and also a seating chart with numbers 1, 2, 3 ...) of who to ask next, and all the softballs they threw him had to be read from their notes too. It certainly didn't seem to have any "off the cuff" thought process that Ari is confronted with. The "news reporters" were also mostly from the favorable networks, and those that usually guffaw with Ari. Also, he had to look down to his notes to read his answers several times, even his oft-repeated mantras. This was too heavily scripted, and I'm sure that many of the so-called-reporters won't sleep well tonight, knowing that they just stooped to their knees for this guy....His slow pace was meant to take up the allotted time, rather then substance. Proof: he broke out of it a couple of times, when he was talking from the "top of his head" (actually, oft repeated bla-bla-blas that he should know by heart; he just didn't know where to put them), but none-the-less, he slowed it down to fill the time. He provided no news; just what I expected, and they didn't ask him anything that would require a thinking answer. Sometimes Bush almost makes Ashcroft and Ridge look smart! --Everett English

Also, Everett, unlike actual press conferences, there were no follow-ups, even when Bush obviously didn't answer the question asked. This farce should have been an insult to those who bothered to watch this attempt to co-opt Blix's UN report tomorrow, but if the commentators who spoke afterwords are any indication, most Americans, like the favored reporters allowed to ask questions and get stroked by a stern but caring presidential persona, will just eat it up. After all, when Bush was on the campaign trail, the posturing pundits after the campaign debates gave Bush brownie points for just showing up and not making an absolute fool of himself. Talk about the emperor having no clothes! --Politex, 03.06.03

As always, the purpose of propaganda is to distract the public from the facts, which means denying that oil has anything to do with our intentions in Iraq. The administration has hammered away at this, with designated dove Colin Powell declaiming, "The oil of Iraq belongs to the people of Iraq." Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld's undersecretary of defense, said on Fox News on February 25, "This is not a war about oil. This is going to—if we have to use force, it's going to be to liberate Iraq, not to occupy Iraq. The oil resources belong to the Iraqi people." Rumsfeld himself is quoted as saying, "An Iraq war has absolutely nothing to do with oil." And on Meet the Press on February 23, Perle, in a retort to presidential aspirant Dennis Kucinich, said, "Allow me to say: I find the accusation that this administration has embarked upon this policy for oil to be an outrageous, scurrilous charge for which, when you asked for the evidence, you will note there was none. There was simply the suggestion that, because there is oil in the ground and some administration officials have had connections with the oil industry in the past, therefore it is the policy of the United States to take control of Iraqi oil. It is a lie, congressman. It's an out-and-out lie."

Four years ago Perle was singing a different tune. On January 26, 1998, Perle, Wolfowitz, and Rumsfeld, along with several others, signed a letter to President Clinton that said, "It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world's supply of oil will all be put at hazard." --Ridgeway, 03.06.03

Bush, 2000 in Debate "If we're an arrogant nation, they'll resent us. If we're a humble nation but strong, they'll welcome us. And our nation stands alone right now in the world in terms of power, and that's why we've got to be humble and yet project strength in a way that promotes freedom."

Bush 2003 in Office "Turkish officials blame Saturday's defeat in part on tough U.S. bargaining. "We told them the vote would be difficult, but the American negotiators thought this was about a bazaar mentality," Zapsu said. "I think they understand now, after the vote, that it's about a political reality." The Pentagon has been waiting weeks for permission to begin moving its forces toward Turkey's 218-mile border with Iraq. The Bush administration is considering giving up on Turkey and ordering dozens of U.S. ships waiting to unload tanks and equipment to Kuwait instead." --WP, 03.03.03

Politex, thought you might be interested in the following transcript aired on Australia's ABC Lateline program 24th Feb 2003 where the economic outlook of the US economy (and the world's) was talked about with Ken Courtis, Vice-Chairman of Goldman Sachs in Asia, especially in response to Bush's new economic policies and the cost of war on Iraq.

When asked what affect the fear of a war is having, He states:
"It's making people be very careful, it's holding corporations back from investing, it's creating great uncertainty in the stock market, it's part of the dynamic that's driven up energy prices -- and the energy prices, where they are today, $36-7/barrel, is already raining about 0.5 per cent off global growth."

Asked if the energy prices could go higher:
"It really depends on how this war goes. The global energy equation is reasonably delicately balanced. Saudi Arabia could bring 2-2.5 million more barrels on stream, but Iraq probably is producing 2.5 million barrels at the moment. So, should their production capacity largely get knocked out, yes, we could have a very delicate balance and prices would go higher. So when the war comes, of course, there's the immediate cost of the war, for all the countries who are directly involved. There are the indirect costs of the war -- there's the cost of rebuilding, there's the cost of the refugees, there's always dislocation."

He goes on to say:
"I think this war is going to cost us a lot more than we think."

Full transcript available at

Grame Thompson, Sydney - Australia

political paroday alert...sigh...political parody alert...sigh...political parody alert...sigh...political parody alert...sigh...

"Even before he walks on the water he later boils to bring his doting wife, Laura, a morning cup of coffee, he goes off to a quiet place to read alone. But to the surprise of many – Newsweak continues – he isn’t studying the latest CIA and MLB intelligence reports, or, as others speculate however unfairly, flattering focus group and opinion poll results. No, he’s told friends, it’s a book of evangelical mini-sermons, “My Utmost for His Highest.”...“Looketh straight into the camera, in front of a cheesy 3-word backdrop, lift up your eyes on high," the prophet of the Testament said, “and convince your audience made up exclusively of government employees or military personnel to behold who hath urged thee to createth these things.”...After his speech in Nashville, and his aids had moved the 3-word backdrop, Bush met privately with pastoral social workers, government employees and military personnel and bore witness to his own uncanny likeness to the way devout white people have imagined Jesus Christ himself looked for almost 2000 years. “I would not be president today,” he said, “if I hadn’t stopped drinking 17 years ago. And I could only do that with the grace of God and even though this irrelevancy has little or nothing to do with the prospect of a most holy war with Iraq it is 'weighing heavy' on me.'" (more)

political paroday alert...sigh...political parody alert...sigh...political parody alert...sigh...political parody alert...sigh...

Dick Cheney on the History Channel, Feb 23 2003, "Operation Desert Storm" (aired at 9pm Pacific Time), speaking about the decision not to go into Baghdad at the end of Operation Desert Storm:

"As long as we were leading the coaltion liberating Kuwait we were looked upon, I think, with great favor, and wide spread support in the Arab world. If we crossed over, to the point where we were going to Baghdad, taking down an Arab government, and replacing it with some other kind of government, then we would have been the colonial imperialist power and the perception would have been very different."

$2.50 a gallon for gas? Thank you, George!

"My God! Gas is now $2.50 a gallon!" I exclaimed to a resigned-looking gas station attendant last night. "It is a great tribute and credit to the American economy that it has survived thus far with the Global Village Idiot at the helm!" The attendant nodded and grinned. I bet his rent had just gone up and his wages had just shrunk like everyone else's -- thanks to our very own Uncle George.

Here is a typical example of GVI economics: Taxpayers now pay 50 billion dollars a year to give oil companies access to the Middle East. Oil companies in turn sell it back to us taxpayers for only 19 billion dollars. "Can oil companies do that?" asked the horrified ghost of John Maynard Keynes.

"Of course they can," I replied. "Big Oil hasn't paid a cent for any of the troops we've kept stationed in the Middle East, solely for their benefit, for the last 50 years. Taxpayers pay all that. Taxpayers pay $79,000,000,000, the oil companies pay pennies to be able to sell it back to us -- and guess who gets to wear the Armanis?"

Do the math, America. Get a solar-powered car. Bring our troops home. Save us from carpetbaggers, scalawags, terrorists and asphyxiation from duct tape! Evict George Bush.

"Sounds economical to me," mused Mr. Keynes.

Sincerely, Jane Stillwater, Berkeley, CA, 02.28.03

The New York Times altered the text of an AP wire story. While it is customary for AP subscribers to edit to cut length, it is unheard of to edit an AP story, keeping it under the AP byline, to change the meaning of the story.

THE REAL AP STORY: "the Santa Clara County board of supervisors tentatively approved an investment of $20 million in 5,000 touch-screen machines...The paperless system angered computer scientists gathered for the board meeting...."

THE AP STORY as CHANGED BY THE NEW YORK TIMES: "The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted today to invest $20 million in 5,000 voting machines that produce paper receipts,"

The Santa Clara issue has become incendiary. Had the story been reported accurately, it would have triggered citizen action. Unfortunately, and not just in New York, most citizens are now falsely reassured that the paper trail is on its way. Many papers around the USA will pick up the incorrect NY Times version of the AP story, instead of the accurate one.

Bev Harris --02.27.03

You may be interested to know that the times ran a correction today:

Because of an editing error, an article yesterday about electronic voting referred incompletely to a decision by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in California to invest $20 million in 5,000 electronic voting machines. While the machines have the ability to produce paper receipts, the county's plan for a pilot receipt program is contingent on state approval and negotiations with the manufacturer

As one would say in wartime, the damage is already done. --leQ, 02.27.03

White House Press Corps Laughs At Bush Lie About Not Buying Off Nations

I was just watching the WH press conference on C-Span.

A stenographer...oops, I mean a reporter...queried Ari about whether Hussein was an assassination target, and then another segued into a question about relaxing worker prohibitions between Mexico and the US and doing something similar with respect to Colombia. Ari gave one of his more baffling nonanswers -- I didn't catch it, but it was one of his more typical blow-off responses. Then the gal persisted, saying the French said two State Dept. officials had told them that the US was trying to win Mexico's vote by this method -- and Ari cut her off, looking at her is if she had just bitten off the head of Baby Jesus, and said with great seriousness, something to the effect that "You're implying that nations allow themselves to be bought off and that just isn't the case."

The whole room erupted in loud laughter. They reall did.

Ari turned on his heel and left.

The press corps was still laughing.

I don't think it's because the press corps (aside from Helen Thomas) is actually trying to show a little guts... I think people just couldn't help themselves, since it was such a whopper. --Rosmond, 02.25.03 (wh transcript)

Here's What Each Country Gets For Voting Bush

Gives: Support in UN Security Council vote
Gets: Guarantees on $10-$12bn of Iraqi debt and possible oil contracts

Gives: Facilities for training the Iraqi opposition
Gets: Enhanced international status and financial support

Gives: Vote on UN Security Council
Gets: US support for entry to EU and increased military co-operation within Nato

Gives: Vote on UN Security Council
Gets: Strengthened position in talks on US trade tariffs

Gives: Access for US air defence, radar and special forces
Gets: $1bn in direct aid and military assistance

Gives: Arab support to campaign
Gets: $1bn and promise of increased US support for Middle East peace process

Gives: Behind-the-scenes assurances they will not retaliate
Gets: $12bn in direct aid and loan guarantees. US promises of defence

Gives: Vote on UN Security Council
Gets: Improved immigration regulations

Gives: Vote on UN Security Council
Gets: Future co-operation with US companies in developing offshore oilfields

Guinea, Cameroon
Give: Votes on UN Security Council
Get: Development aid and increased international status

Gives: Key military facilities for US invasion from the north and a regional ally
Gets: At least $26bn in direct aid and loans --Times, 02.25.03

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