Thursday, January 20, 2005

Reality Bites FauxNews In The Ass

Fair and Balanced Meltdown. FauxNews anchor Brigitte Quinn got more than she bargained for when Vanity Fair's Judy Bachrach voiced her opinion on the $40 million inaugural festivities. Well, that ought to have temporarily awakened the FauxNews viewers.

Wish I could be there:

Jazz Funeral For Democracy. That said, I will be back on the air as of Friday night (January 21) spinning some jazz tunes - in part a belated tribute to the late great MLK Jr. and in part a protest of Junior Caligula's coronation. I haven't finalized the playlist just yet, but a lot of 1950s & 1960s hardbop & avant-garde tunes (I'll likely include Charles Mingus' "Fables of Faubus", Archie Shepp's "Rufus", John Coltrane's "Alabama", as well as tunes by Sun Ra, Marion Brown, Sunny Murray, Albert Ayler, etc.) and possibly portions of David S. Ware's interpretation of the classic "Freedom Suite." Stay tuned. Fire Music is coming back!

Happy Black Thursday!

To celebrate Black Thursday, here's The 34 Scandals of George W. Bush:

1. Memogate: The Senate Computer Theft

The scandal: From 2001 to 2003, Republican staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee illicitly accessed nearly 5,000 computer files containing confidential Democratic strategy memos about President Bush's judicial nominees. The GOP used the memos to shape their own plans and leaked some to the media.

The problem: The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act states it is illegal to obtain confidential information from a government computer.

The outcome: Unresolved. The Justice Department has assigned a prosecutor to the case. The staff member at the heart of the matter, Manuel Miranda, has attempted to brazen it out, filing suit in September 2004 against the DOJ to end the investigation. "A grand jury will indict a ham sandwich," Miranda complained. Some jokes just write themselves.

2. Doctor Detroit: The DOJ's Bungled Terrorism Case

The scandal: The Department of Justice completely botched the nation's first post-9/11 terrorism trial, as seen when the convictions of three Detroit men allegedly linked to al-Qaida were overturned in September 2004. Former Attorney General John Ashcroft had claimed their June 2003 sentencing sent "a clear message" that the government would "detect, disrupt and dismantle the activities of terrorist cells."

The problem: The DOJ's lead prosecutor in the case, Richard Convertino, withheld key information from the defense and distorted supposed pieces of evidence - like a Las Vegas vacation video purported to be a surveillance tape. But that's not the half of it. Convertino says he was unfairly scapegoated because he testified before the Senate, against DOJ wishes, about terrorist financing. Justice's reconsideration of the case began soon thereafter. Convertino has since sued the DOJ, which has also placed him under investigation.

The outcome: Let's see: Overturned convictions, lawsuits and feuding about a Kafkaesque case. Nobody looks good here.

3. Dark Matter: The Energy Task Force

The scandal: A lawsuit has claimed it is illegal for Dick Cheney to keep the composition of his 2001 energy-policy task force secret. What's the big deal? The New Yorker's Jane Mayer has suggested an explosive aspect of the story, citing a National Security Council memo from February 2001, which "directed the N.S.C. staff to cooperate fully with the Energy Task Force as it considered the 'melding' of ... 'operational policies towards rogue states,' such as Iraq, and 'actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.'" In short, the task force's activities could shed light on the administration's pre-9/11 Iraq aims.

The problem: The Federal Advisory Committee Act says the government must disclose the work of groups that include non-federal employees; the suit claims energy industry executives were effectively task force members. Oh, and the Bush administration has portrayed the Iraq war as a response to 9/11, not something it was already considering.

The outcome: Unresolved. In June 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court sent the case back to an appellate court.

4. The Indian Gaming Scandal

The scandal: Potential influence peddling to the tune of $82 million, for starters. Jack Abramoff, a GOP lobbyist and major Bush fundraiser, and Michael Scanlon, a former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), received that amount from several Indian tribes, while offering access to lawmakers. For instance, Texas' Tigua tribe, which wanted its closed El Paso casino reopened, gave millions to the pair and $33,000 to Rep. Robert Ney (R-Ohio) in hopes of favorable legislation (Ney came up empty). And get this: The Tiguas were unaware that Abramoff, Scanlon and conservative activist Ralph Reed had earned millions lobbying to have the same casino shut in 2002.

The problem: Federal officials want to know if Abramoff and Scanlon provided real services for the $82 million, and if they broke laws while backing candidates in numerous Indian tribe elections.

The outcome: Everybody into the cesspool! The Senate Indian Affairs Committee and five federal agencies, including the FBI, IRS, and Justice Department, are investigating.

5. Halliburton's No-Bid Bonanza

The scandal: In February 2003, Halliburton received a five-year, $7 billion no-bid contract for services in Iraq.

The problem: The Army Corps of Engineers' top contracting officer, Bunnatine Greenhouse, objected to the deal, saying the contract should be the standard one-year length, and that a Halliburton official should not have been present during the discussions.

The outcome: The FBI is investigating. The $7 billion contract was halved and Halliburton won one of the parts in a public bid. For her troubles, Greenhouse has been forced into whistle-blower protection.

6. Halliburton: Pumping Up Prices

The scandal: In 2003, Halliburton overcharged the army for fuel in Iraq. Specifically, Halliburton's subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root hired a Kuwaiti company, Altanmia, to supply fuel at about twice the going rate, then added a markup, for an overcharge of at least $61 million, according to a December 2003 Pentagon audit.

The problem: That's not the government's $61 million, it's our $61 million.

The outcome: The FBI is investigating.

7. Halliburton's Vanishing Iraq Money

The scandal: In mid-2004, Pentagon auditors determined that $1.8 billion of Halliburton's charges to the government, about 40 percent of the total, had not been adequately documented.

The problem: That's not the government's $1.8 billion, it's our $1.8 billion.

The outcome: The Defense Contract Audit Agency has "strongly" asked the Army to withhold about $60 million a month from its Halliburton payments until the documentation is provided.

8. The Halliburton Bribe-Apalooza

The scandal: This may not surprise you, but an international consortium of companies, including Halliburton, is alleged to have paid more than $100 million in bribes to Nigerian officials, from 1995 to 2002, to facilitate a natural-gas-plant deal. (Cheney was Halliburton's CEO from 1995 to 2000.)

The problem: The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prohibits U.S. companies from bribing foreign officials.

The outcome: A veritable coalition of the willing is investigating the deal, including the Justice Department, the SEC, the Nigerian government and a French magistrate. In June, Halliburton fired two implicated executives.

9. Halliburton: One Fine Company

The scandal: In 1998 and 1999, Halliburton counted money recovered from project overruns as revenue, before settling the charges with clients.

The problem: Doing so made the company's income appear larger, but Halliburton did not explain this to investors. The SEC ruled this accounting practice was "materially misleading."

The outcome: In August 2004, Halliburton agreed to pay a $7.5 million fine to settle SEC charges. One Halliburton executive has paid a fine and another is settling civil charges. Now imagine the right-wing rhetoric if, say, Al Gore had once headed a firm fined for fudging income statements.

10. Halliburton's Iran End Run

The scandal: Halliburton may have been doing business with Iran while Cheney was CEO.

The problem: Federal sanctions have banned U.S. companies from dealing directly with Iran. To operate in Iran legally, U.S. companies have been required to set up independent subsidiaries registered abroad. Halliburton thus set up a new entity, Halliburton Products and Services Ltd., to do business in Iran, but while the subsidiary was registered in the Cayman Islands, it may not have had operations totally independent of the parent company.

The outcome: Unresolved. The Treasury Department has referred the case to the U.S. attorney in Houston, who convened a grand jury in July 2004.

11. Money Order: Afghanistan's Missing $700 Million Turns Up in Iraq

The scandal: According to Bob Woodward's "Plan of Attack," the Bush administration diverted $700 million in funds from the war in Afghanistan, among other places, to prepare for the Iraq invasion.

The problem: Article I, Section 8, Clause 12 of the U.S. Constitution specifically gives Congress the power "to raise and support armies." And the emergency spending bill passed after Sept. 11, 2001, requires the administration to notify Congress before changing war spending plans. That did not happen.

The outcome: Congress declined to investigate. The administration's main justification for its decision has been to claim the funds were still used for, one might say, Middle East anti-tyrant-related program activities.

12. Iraq: More Loose Change

The scandal: The inspector general of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq released a series of reports in July 2004 finding that a significant portion of CPA assets had gone missing - 34 percent of the materiel controlled by Kellogg, Brown & Root - and that the CPA's method of disbursing $600 million in Iraq reconstruction funds "did not establish effective controls and left accountability open to fraud, waste and abuse."

The problem: As much as $50 million of that money was disbursed without proper receipts.

The outcome: The CPA has disbanded, but individual government investigations into the handling of Iraq's reconstruction continue.

13. The Pentagon-Israel Spy Case

The scandal: A Pentagon official, Larry Franklin, may have passed classified United States documents about Iran to Israel, possibly via the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a Washington lobbying group.

The problem: To do so could be espionage or could constitute the mishandling of classified documents.

The outcome: A grand jury is investigating. In December 2004, the FBI searched AIPAC's offices. A Senate committee has also been investigating the apparently unauthorized activities of the Near East and South Asia Affairs group in the Pentagon, where Franklin works.

14. Gone to Taiwan

The scandal: Missed this one? A high-ranking State Department official, Donald Keyser, was arrested and charged in September with making a secret trip to Taiwan and was observed by the FBI passing documents to Taiwanese intelligence agents in Washington-area meetings.

The problem: Such unauthorized trips are illegal. And we don't have diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

The outcome: The case is in the courts.

15. Wiretapping the United Nations

The scandal: Before the United Nations' vote on the Iraq war, the United States and Great Britain developed an eavesdropping operation targeting diplomats from several countries.

The problem: U.N. officials say the practice is illegal and undermines honest diplomacy, although some observers claim it is business as usual on East 42nd Street.

The outcome: Little fuss here, but a major British scandal erupted after U.K. intelligence translator Katherine Gun leaked a U.S. National Security Agency memo requesting British help in the spying scheme, in early 2003. Initially charged under Britain's Official Secrets Act for leaking classified information, Gun was cleared in 2004 - seemingly to avoid hearings questioning the legality of Britain's war participation.

16. The Boeing Boondoggle

The scandal: In 2003, the Air Force contracted with Boeing to lease a fleet of refueling tanker planes at an inflated price: $23 billion.

The problem: The deal was put together by a government procurement official, Darleen Druyun, who promptly joined Boeing. Beats using a headhunter.

The outcome: In November 2003, Boeing fired both Druyun and CFO Michael Sears. In April 2004, Druyun pled guilty to a conspiracy charge in the case. In November 2004, Sears copped to a conflict-of-interest charge, and company CEO Phil Condit resigned. The government is reviewing its need for the tankers.

17. The Medicare Bribe Scandal

The scandal: According to former Rep. Nick Smith (R-Mich.), on Nov. 21, 2003, with the vote on the administration's Medicare bill hanging in the balance, someone offered to contribute $100,000 to his son's forthcoming congressional campaign, if Smith would support the bill.

The problem: Federal law prohibits the bribery of elected officials.

The outcome: In September 2004, the House Ethics Committee concluded an inquiry by fingering House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), saying he deserved "public admonishment" for offering to endorse Smith's son in return for Smith's vote. DeLay has claimed Smith initiated talks about a quid pro quo. The matter of the $100,000 is unresolved; soon after his original allegations, Smith suddenly claimed he had not been offered any money. Smith's son Brad lost his GOP primary in August 2004.

18. Tom DeLay's PAC Problems

The scandal: One of DeLay's political action committees, Texans for a Republican Majority, apparently reaped illegal corporate contributions for the campaigns of Republicans running for the Texas Legislature in 2002. Given a Republican majority, the Legislature then re-drew Texas' U.S. congressional districts to help the GOP.

The problem: Texas law bans the use of corporate money for political purposes.

The outcome: Unresolved. Three DeLay aides and associates - Jim Ellis, John Colyandro and Warren RoBold - were charged in September 2004 with crimes including money laundering and unlawful acceptance of corporate contributions.

19. Tom DeLay's FAA: Following Americans Anywhere

The scandal: In May 2003, DeLay's office persuaded the Federal Aviation Administration to find the plane carrying a Texas Democratic legislator, who was leaving the state in an attempt to thwart the GOP's nearly unprecedented congressional redistricting plan.

The problem: According to the House Ethics Committee, the "invocation of federal executive branch resources in a partisan dispute before a state legislative body" is wrong.

The outcome: In October 2004, the committee rebuked DeLay for his actions.

20. In the Rough: Tom DeLay's Golf Fundraiser

The scandal: DeLay appeared at a golf fundraiser that Westar Energy held for one of his political action committees, Americans for a Republican Majority, while energy legislation was pending in the House.

The problem: It's one of these "appearance of impropriety" situations.

The outcome: The House Ethics Committee tossed the matter into its Oct. 6 rebuke. "Take a lap, Tom."

21. Busy, Busy, Busy in New Hampshire

The scandal: In 2002, with a tight Senate race in New Hampshire, Republican Party officials paid a Virginia-based firm, GOP Marketplace, to enact an Election Day scheme meant to depress Democratic turnout by "jamming" the Democratic Party phone bank with continuous calls for 90 minutes.

The problem: Federal law prohibits the use of telephones to "annoy or harass" anyone.

The outcome: Chuck McGee, the former executive director of the New Hampshire GOP, pleaded guilty in July 2004 to a felony charge, while Allen Raymond, former head of GOP Marketplace, pleaded guilty to a similar charge in June. In December, James Tobin, former New England campaign chairman of Bush-Cheney '04, was indicted for conspiracy in the case.

22. The Medicare Money Scandal

The scandal: Thomas Scully, Medicare's former administrator, supposedly threatened to fire chief Medicare actuary Richard Foster to prevent him from disclosing the true cost of the 2003 Medicare bill.

The problem: Congress voted on the bill believing it would cost $400 billion over 10 years. The program is more likely to cost $550 billion.

The outcome: Scully denies threatening to fire Foster, as Foster has charged, but admits telling Foster to withhold the higher estimate from Congress. In September 2004, the Government Accountability Office recommended Scully return half his salary from 2003. Inevitably, Scully is now a lobbyist for drug companies helped by the bill.

23. The Bogus Medicare "Video News Release"

The scandal: To promote its Medicare bill, the Bush administration produced imitation news-report videos touting the legislation. About 40 television stations aired the videos. More recently, similar videos promoting the administration's education policy have come to light.

The problem: The administration broke two laws: One forbidding the use of federal money for propaganda, and another forbidding the unauthorized use of federal funds.

The outcome: In May 2004, the GAO concluded the administration acted illegally, but the agency lacks enforcement power.

24. Pundits on the Payroll: The Armstrong Williams Case

The scandal: The Department of Education paid conservative commentator Armstrong Williams $240,000 to promote its educational law, No Child Left Behind.

The problem: Williams did not disclose that his support was government funded until the deal was exposed in January 2005.

The outcome: The House and FCC are considering inquiries, while Williams' syndicated newspaper column has been terminated.

25. Ground Zero's Unsafe Air

The scandal: Government officials publicly minimized the health risks stemming from the World Trade Center attack. In September 2001, for example, Environmental Protection Agency head Christine Todd Whitman said New York's "air is safe to breathe and [the] water is safe to drink."

The problem: Research showed serious dangers or was incomplete. The EPA used outdated techniques that failed to detect tiny asbestos particles. EPA data also showed high levels of lead and benzene, which causes cancer. A Sierra Club report claims the government ignored alarming data. A GAO report says no adequate study of 9/11's health effects has been organized.

The outcome: The long-term health effects of the disaster will likely not be apparent for years or decades and may never be definitively known. Already, hundreds of 9/11 rescue workers have quit their jobs because of acute illnesses.

26. John Ashcroft's Illegal Campaign Contributions

The scandal: Ashcroft's exploratory committee for his short-lived 2000 presidential bid transferred $110,000 to his unsuccessful 2000 reelection campaign for the Senate.

The problem: The maximum for such a transfer is $10,000.

The outcome: The Federal Election Commission fined Ashcroft's campaign treasurer, Garrett Lott, $37,000 for the transgression.

27. Intel Inside ... The White House

The scandal: In early 2001, chief White House political strategist Karl Rove held meetings with numerous companies while maintaining six-figure holdings of their stock - including Intel, whose executives were seeking government approval of a merger. "Washington hadn't seen a clearer example of a conflict of interest in years," wrote Paul Glastris in the Washington Monthly.

The problem: The Code of Federal Regulations says government employees should not participate in matters in which they have a personal financial interest.

The outcome: Then White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, spurning precedent, did not refer the case to the Justice Department.

28. Duck! Antonin Scalia's Legal Conflicts

The scandal: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia refused to recuse himself from the Cheney energy task force case, despite taking a duck-hunting trip with the vice president after the court agreed to weigh the matter.

The problem: Federal law requires a justice to "disqualify himself from any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned."

The outcome: Scalia stayed on, arguing no conflict existed because Cheney was party to the case in a professional, not personal, capacity. Nothing new for Scalia, who in 2002 was part of a Mississippi redistricting ruling favorable to GOP Rep. Chip Pickering - son of Judge Charles Pickering, a Scalia turkey-hunting pal. In 2001, Scalia went pheasant hunting with Kansas Gov. Bill Graves when that state had cases pending before the Supreme Court.

29. AWOL

The scandal: George W. Bush, self-described "war president," did not fulfill his National Guard duty, and Bush and his aides have made misleading statements about it. Salon's Eric Boehlert wrote the best recent summary of the issue.

The problem: Military absenteeism is a punishable offense, although Bush received an honorable discharge.

The outcome: No longer a campaign issue. But what was Bush doing in 1972?

30. Iraq: The Case for War

The scandal: Bush and many officials in his administration made false statements about Iraq's military capabilities, in the months before the United States' March 2003 invasion of the country.

The problem: For one thing, it is a crime to lie to Congress, although Bush backers claim the president did not knowingly make false assertions.

The outcome: A war spun out of control with unknowable long-term consequences. The Iraq Survey Group has stopped looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

31. Niger Forgeries: Whodunit?

The scandal: In his January 2003 State of the Union address, Bush said, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

The problem: The statement was untrue. By March 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency showed the claim, that Iraq sought materials from Niger, was based on easily discernible forgeries.

The outcome: The identity of the forger(s) remains under wraps. Journalist Josh Marshall has implied the FBI is oddly uninterested in interviewing Rocco Martino, the former Italian intelligence agent who apparently first shopped the documents in intelligence and journalistic circles and would presumably be able to shed light on their origin.

32. In Plame Sight

The scandal: In July 2003, administration officials disclosed the identity of Valerie Plame, a CIA operative working on counterterrorism efforts, to multiple journalists, and columnist Robert Novak made Plame's identity public. Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, had just written a New York Times opinion piece stating he had investigated the Niger uranium-production allegations, at the CIA's behest, and reported them to be untrue, before Bush's 2003 State of the Union address.

The problem: Under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act it is illegal to disclose, knowingly, the name of an undercover agent.

The outcome: Unresolved. The Justice Department appointed special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to the case in December 2003. While this might seem a simple matter, Fitzgerald could be unable to prove the leakers knew Plame was a covert agent.

33. Abu Ghraib

The scandal: American soldiers physically tortured prisoners in Iraq and kept undocumented "ghost detainees" in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The problem: The United States is party to the Geneva Conventions, which state that "No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever."

The outcome: Unresolved. A Pentagon internal inquiry found a lack of oversight at Abu Ghraib, while independent inquiries have linked the events to the administration's desire to use aggressive interrogation methods globally. Notoriously, Gonzales has advocated an approach which "renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions." More recently, Gonzales issued qualified support for the Geneva Conventions in January 2005 Senate testimony after being nominated for attorney general. Army reservist Charles Graner was convicted in January 2005 for abusing prisoners, while a few other soldiers await trial.

34. Guantánamo Bay Torture?

The scandal: The U.S. military is also alleged to have abused prisoners at the U.S. Navy's base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. FBI agents witnessing interrogations there have reported use of growling dogs to frighten prisoners and the chaining of prisoners in the fetal position while depriving them of food or water for extended periods.

The problem: More potential violations of the Geneva Conventions.

The outcome: An internal military investigation was launched in January 2005.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Liberated Iraqis

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Bu$hCo's Faith-Based Initiatives: Corrupt Failures

The scoop can be found in the following posts: Faith-Based Corruption and 4 "Faith Based" Myths demolished

There is No Crisis

Social Security: There Is No Crisis. Anyone telling you differently is likely trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Learn more here, here, and here.

Torturegate in the UK

The Army's shame. The UK has its own court martial proceedings concurrent with the ones happening here in the US with regard to the torture of Iraqi POWs. The picture shown in this article is strikingly similar to what we've seen perpetrated by the US military (more pictures may be found here. Not too terribly surprisingly, the editors of the UK Spectator call Blair's human rights record the worst of any British PM in 30 years. Quite a proud legacy, eh?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Seymour Hersh

Why we should take Sy Hersh seriously - The man who broke the Mai Lai and Abu Ghraib stories has a history of getting it right. That the best his detractors can do is character attacks rather than address the substantive issues his journalistic endeavors have raised tells us that he's still a force to be reckoned with. These days, he's warning us about Bu$hCo's possible future dealings with Iran - think of Iraq magnified.

Seymour Hersh: U.S. Conducting Covert Operations in Iran For Possible Military Strike - an Amy Goodman interview on Democracy Now!.

Say Hello To

Frameshop: Politics Gets a Tune-Up

Nice application of Lakoff's work.

Monday, January 17, 2005

How the other side celebrated MLK Day

Looks like Matt Lavine via Doug of GWBWYPGN. Here's the sample of Freeper remarks about MLK Day courtesy of Doug:

The one thing I remember about MLK is that he was a great Civil Riot Leader. Wherever he went, riots soon broke out.

MLK day should be called what it really is: "Pacifying the Black Lobby Day" instead of placing a race-baiting, white-hating, criminal on a pedestal

MLK was a commie and don't forget that his FBI file is still closed and it was closed for 75 years.

. . . I dont know about that. But I was THERE during the MLK RIOTS! I saw with my own eyes what this "great american" accomplished. The only reason there is an MLK day is liberals wanted it that way to shut the Black Caucus , the ACLU, and the NAACP.

I guess that what REALLY went on is just not PC enough for today's 'We Must Like All Blacks Because They Were Opressed" world.

"Do you agree that the civil rights movement was a just and moral movement?"

As a whole, no. Everyone has equal opportunity, protection and civil liberties., If you don't take advantage of the opportunity it doesn't make you oppressed, it makes you a ward of the State, which is exactly what mlk, jfk,lbj and the liberals want the blacks to be.

If ignorance is bliss, the Freeper crowd must be insanely blissful.

Snappy Comebacks for Stupid Wingnut Remarks

HOMEWORK, by Suburban Guerilla:

Sometimes I get email from readers saying they wish they knew as much as I did, that they hesitate to get into arguments with wingnuts because they don't know enough.

Silly rabbits! Facts are for liberals. You don't need real facts to fight with wingnuts: Make them up.

Well, not make them up, exactly. But you don't need a foot-noted thesis to state the obvious: "If the Republicans want to privatize Social Security, that's a good enough reason to oppose it. Everyone knows the Republicans are the party of the rich and powerful."

See how easy?

When a wingnut defends the multitude of shifting reasons Bush cited for the war, laugh a hearty laugh. "The next thing you know, you'll tell me he was 'just holding it for a friend.' I wouldn't accept those excuses from a teenager, let alone the president of the United States."

That's not so hard, is it?

Now, go forth and attack. If someone wants to support this insane regime, don't help them feel okay about it. They should be ridiculed at every available opportunity.

It's Martin Luther King's birthday. He was killed for speaking out. What consequences are we talking about here - someone who won't sit with you in the company lunchroom?

Take no shit - and take no prisoners.

One More MLK Opinion Column

John Nichols

The Nation

January 17, 2005

The anniversary of the birth of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. falls just five days before the second inauguration of a president who has broken faith with most of the civil rights leader's legacy -- at home and abroad.

But, while today's leaders are out of touch with King's legacy, Americans who still hold out hope that their country might truly embrace a higher and better morality than that of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice must keep in touch.

Amid our celebrations of King's monumental contribution to the struggle for racial and economic justice in the United States, we must also celebrate his commitment to peace ­ and to the humane foreign policies that ultimately provide the best defense against threats and violence.

Thus it will be appropriate over these next few days, as we honor King's memory, that we recall what the slain civil rights champion had to say about a subject that is much in the news these days: moral values.

"A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life's roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: 'This is not just.' It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: 'This is not just.' The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just," King explained in his April 4, 1967, address at Manhattan's Riverside Church.

King explained that robbing the nation's treasury to fund military misadventures abroad did not fit into any definition he knew of "moral values." Indeed, he suggested, morality called Americans to oppose presidents who embarked upon careers of empire -- for the sake not just of victimized nations on the other side of the planet, but for the sake of America.

"A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: 'This way of settling differences is not just.' This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."

We honor King best by following his teachings. And, while he taught us much about how to live with one another, he taught us even more about how to live in peace with the rest of the world. It is that lesson that we must carry into what the Bush administration and the pliant press will portray as a festive week of celebration.

For those who are not celebrating with the Bushes and Cheneys, however, it is important to remember that King would not have settled for the excuse of "necessity" that the president will peddle. America, King told the crowd at Riverside Church on that April evening, could change.

"America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values," the Nobel Peace Prize winner explained. "There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood."

A round-up of MLK-related opinion pieces

Holiday for a Hero

Though Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is an officially declared public holiday, many local government agencies still refuse to shut their doors, while opposition is most persistent among businesses.


Smaller, non-unionized companies have the worst record of all. Barely one-quarter of them grant workers a day off. There are strong signs that the wave of enthusiasm of businesses to celebrate the King day has peaked. Their prime argument against the King holiday is still the cost. The estimate is that the holiday costs governments and the private sector $8 billion to give workers the day off. The heavy cost burden is a valid argument particularly for smaller companies with narrow profit margins, and higher labor costs than major corporations. But even if the expense of honoring the day were not a factor, many private businesses, public agencies, and millions of Americans still probably wouldn't bother commemorating the day.

They simply do not see King as a legitimate American hero. It's no surprise why. By 1968, King had strayed far from the goals of civil rights and moderate political change. He increasingly incorporated anti-capitalist rhetoric in his speeches, and denounced American society as greedy and materialistic. On several occasions he told friends and Southern Christian Leadership Conference staffers that he believed in "democratic socialism" for America. He often expressed admiration for the writings of Karl Marx. He called America "corrupt" and demanded "a fundamental redistribution of the wealth." He accused the United States government of waging an "imperialist war" of domination against the Vietnamese peasants. This made him a pariah with President Lyndon Johnson's administration. The major civil rights leaders openly slammed him for his war opposition, and his poor people's campaign.

The biggest reason, though, for the continued shunt of the King holiday is the holiday itself. The still widespread public perception is that the King holiday is a holiday exclusively of, by, and for blacks. The blizzard of tributes, proclamations, and speeches on King are rendered more often than not by black officials. The parades and celebrations in cities are held mostly by blacks. Most of the streets, schools, and monuments, parks, and public buildings that have been renamed after King are in black communities, and in many cases they are in the poorest of the poor black neighborhoods.

Despite the skewed public perception, and narrow racial focus of the King holiday, the civil rights movement, that King did more than any single figure to lead and inspire, was an authentic American movement. It increased civil liberties protections, expanded universal voting rights, and produced a vast array of legal, social and educational programs that permanently transformed American society and enriched the lives of millions of Americans of all races and income groups.

The King we've lost: On Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, and what we've lost as his historical memory fades

King, the man, was, along with Mohandas Gandhi, one of the two most internationally revered symbols of nonviolence in the 20th century. He spent his too-brief adult life defying authority and convention, citing a higher moral authority, and gave hope and inspiration for the liberation of people of color on six continents.


King is not a legend because he believed in diversity trainings and civic ceremonies, or because he had a nice dream. He is remembered because he took serious risks and, as the Quakers say, spoke truth to power. He is also remembered because, among a number of brave and committed civil rights leaders and activists, he had a flair for self-promotion, a style that also appealed to white liberals, and the extraordinary social strength of the black Southern churches behind him. And because he died before he had a chance to be widely believed a relic or buffoon.

What little history TV will give us in the next week is at least as much about forgetting as about remembering, as much about self-congratulatory patriotism that King was American as self-examination that American racism made him necessary and that our government, at every level, sought to destroy him. We hear "I have a dream"; we don't hear his powerful indictments of poverty, the Vietnam War, and the military-industrial complex. We see Bull Connor in Birmingham; we don't see arrests for fighting segregated housing in Chicago, or the generations of beatings and busts before he won the Nobel Peace Prize. We don't hear about the mainstream American contempt at the time for King, even after that Peace Prize, nor his reputation among conservatives as a Commie dupe.

We don't see retrospectives on his linkage of civil rights with Third World liberation. We forget that he died in Memphis lending support for a union (the garbage workers' strike), while organizing a multi-racial Poor Peoples' Campaign that demanded affordable housing and decent-paying jobs as basic civil rights transcending skin color. We forget that many of King's fellow leaders weren't nearly so polite. Cities were burning. We remember Selma instead. And we forget that of those many dreams King had, only one -- equal access for non-whites -- is significantly realized today. And nearly a half-century after the Montgomery bus boycott catapulted a 26-year-old King into prominence, even that is hardly achieved. Instead, blacks are being systematically disenfranchised in our presidential elections, and affirmative action and school desegregation are all but dead.

But an even bigger problem is as a generation dies off and the historical memory fades, that King has become an icon, not a historical figure (distorted or otherwise). The racism he challenged four and five decades ago in Georgia and Alabama was also dominant throughout the country. Here in Seattle, for example, few whites know that history: the housing and school segregation, laws barring Asians from owning land (overturned only in the '60s), the marches downtown from predominantly black Garfield High School, police harassment of both radical and mainstream black activists, the assassination of a local NAACP leader, still unsolved.

Every city in America has such histories. We don't know the stories of the people, many still with us, who led those struggles. And we rarely acknowledge that the overt racism of Montgomery 1955 is no longer so overt, but still part of America 2005; it shows up in our geography, in our jails, in our voting booths, in our shelters and food banks, in our economy, and yes, in the very earnest and extremely white activist groups that still carry the banner on these issues.


If the King of 1955 or 1965 were alive today, he would be accused of treason for his pacifism, as he was reviled for "Communism" then; instead of the FBI trying to bring him down, he, and most of his associates, would be prosecutable under new anti-terrorism statutes. And the moral outrage of Americans that made his work so effective? We don't do that any more. We can torture thousands of mostly innocent Iraqis and Afghans, in plain sight, and nobody is held accountable. It'd take a whole lot more than police dogs to make the news today.

Hope And Despair On King Day

But our primary problem is that our country has turned its back on King's message of justice and equality. When black folks meet and talk politics these days, they lament the long "winter in America" that has reigned in the 25 years since Ronald Reagan came to office. The doors to good schools and hospitals remain closed to so many of us because conservatives resist real equal opportunity in the name of small government and low taxes. We live in a time where good public education is a privilege for those who can buy into the right community, instead of a right for all kids—just as health care is a disappearing job benefit instead of a basic social good.

The conservatives who rule the country despise most blacks, which is not surprising given their forebears and their current public. But the liberals have also abandoned King by concluding that the fight for justice can only be waged when they run the government. The liberals forget King's most basic lesson: Justice is alive when we treat each other with great love, respect and care. Justice is a collective achievement of people committed to each other's well-being. Without that commitment, justice is nothing more than an election-day slogan or a pleasant, maybe desperate daydream.

Government is a limited tool for realizing real freedom and therefore justice. Too many liberals believe that income redistribution is the substance of justice and equality, not realizing that justice begins with solidarity—real intimacy and trust in daily life—so that all persons see themselves as harmed when any of their countrymen are threatened by fear, deprivation or violence. When the political tide turned against the liberals, too many gave up the fight for justice because they couldn't win elections, not understanding that the fight for justice is first about erasing the dividing lines that keep us penned in our little ghettos. King, the radical Christian voice for social justice, shriveled to Martin Luther King, liberal Democratic mascot.

King's day is a sad day, in part because we know that the political forces that control the government are driven by deep animus toward black people and poor people. But King's day can be a great day if we remember that the battle for justice is far more than a contest for power or political advantage. The fight for justice is, in the end, a struggle to tear down the barriers that split us from each other, and from our better selves. Governmental power is always less important than the community of men and women who commit themselves to each other's well-being, and fight for each other's freedom. If we remember King's lessons about solidarity as the basis for justice, we will be ready to do battle with our conservative nemeses, despite their great wealth and numbers.

What Would Martin Luther King Do?

Last year around this time, as throngs of protesters chanted and booed on the streets nearby, President Bush placed a wreath on Dr. King's grave in Atlanta. The President had said of King earlier that day that he wanted to 'honor his life and what he stood for.'

Now, as we usher in the President for a second term in office, it's time to ask whether he has lived up to Dr. King's legacy. On his watch working people and poor people--disproportionately people of color--lost ground. 'Every American deserves to be an owner of the American dream,' said President Bush, but a great racial divide remains. If Bush wants to make this a nation where we can all be owners, he should be asking 'WWMLKD?'


Decades ago, King spoke of millions of Americans 'smoldering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society.' This still rings true in 2005. In the past four years, some gains made in the nineties have been lost. In 2000, the Black unemployment rate dipped to an all-time low of 7%. Now more than one out of ten Black Americans is unemployed, as compared to roughly one out of twenty whites. The familiar call for personal responsibility loses its momentum when a person tries desperately and is unable to find work.

Income levels and poverty rates also worsened since 2000. The number of families in poverty fell rapidly during the nineties for all groups, but especially fast for Latinos and Blacks. Much of that progress has been lost in the past four years. As for earnings, the average Black income was 65% of white income in the year 2000, but 62% of white income in 2003. The first Bush administration blocked Congressional efforts to increase the minimum wage.


So WWMLKD? Of course there is no quick fix for centuries of unequal opportunity, but there are many positive steps the federal government could take. The next Bush administration should maintain those few progressive taxes we do have, such as the estate tax, which funds services and programs for the neediest through after-death taxes on multimillionaires. We need new policies that encourage wealth-building. Imagine a brand-new version of the post-WWII GI Bill, one that helps Americans build up nest eggs, get mortgages, and fund higher education. The money could come from closing corporate loopholes and giveaways.

Dr. King was greatly disturbed by the complacency of many Americans towards the economic injustice around them. He said, 'Let us be dissatisfied until those who live on the outskirts of hope are brought into the metropolis of daily security.' We should take heed as we inaugurate another four years of President Bush. The dream of economic security is still out of reach for many. If the president wants to honor Dr. King, he should do it not with words or a wreath, but with actions that patch up our damaged ladder of opportunity.

Of course we know that the best we can expect of Bu$hCo is more empty words. That's a given. Where do we go from here? That's the question we progressives had damn well better be able to answer, and given the state of the union and the world, there's a lot to be answered for. For me fundamentally it all comes down to nurturance: building a sustainable future for ourselves and our offspring; making sure the opportunities are there for all of us to survive and to thrive (Mother Nature may have provided us with the raw materials to become intelligent, responsible beings but without the social support to nurture us those raw potentials go to waste, never to be fully realized). On that note, good night.

So obvious it shouldn't even need stating:

War is terrorism, magnified a hundred times.

-- Howard Zinn from his November 2001 essay, The Old Way of Thinking

A King quote that is as timely as ever:

While the anti-poverty program is cautiously initiated, zealously supervised and valuated for immediate results, billions are liberally expended for this ill-considered war.... Curtailment of free speech is rationalized on grounds that a more compelling American tradition forbids criticism of the government when the nation is at war.... Nothing can be more destructive of our fundamental democratic traditions than the vicious effort to silence dissenters.

From The Casualties of War in Vietnam.

Happy 76th MLK

As I said last year around this time: " Thanks for sharing your dream. May we remember to honor your legacy with our actions."

And via Eli of Left I on the News, some MLK quotes and links to some mp3 files:

"I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government."

"When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered."

"Don't let anybody make you think that God chose America as His divine messianic force to be -- a sort of policeman of the whole world." [He's talkin' to you, George.]

More King quotes from speeches and sermons may be found here.

Note, for whatever reason beyond my limited technical expertise, I can't get the hyperlinks to the mp3 files to work out (Eli I noticed has the same problem). So, if you'd like to hear the mp3 files containing the quotes above, go directly to the following link: Martin Luther King and War at the Institute for Public Accuracy's website.

Seems fitting as we celebrate MLK's life and accomplishments:

that there'd be a story about four Democratic legislators on the House Judiciary Committee demanding a criminal investigation of Ohio's Secretary of State Blackwell. More here.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Wall Street Journal and Credibility: two terms that do not go together

Conflict of interest questions arise at paper which disparaged liberal bloggers

A clip:

The chief editorial writer at the Wall Street Journal, the paper which disparaged two progressive blogs over accepting money from Howard Dean’s campaign, serves on President Bush’s fellowship board with Armstrong Williams, RAW STORY has learned. He is also being hired as chief speechwriter for the Bush Administration.


McGurn’s association with both Williams and the Bush administration alone is not itself indicative of conflict of interest since the editorial pages and newsroom function autonomously, though there is usually some synergy between the editorial page and a paper’s news voice.

But in combination with assertions that the Journal fabricated a quote in an the article attacking liberal blogs MyDD and Daily Kos questions are bound to surface about the Journal’s motivations. The paper was roundly criticized by other media outlets for its “overblown” coverage. The Washington Post and the Associated Press, after making calls, decided not to run an article, the bloggers said.

The spokeswoman for Democracy for America, a spin-off of the Dean campaign, asserted Saturday on the group’s blog that Wall Street Journal reporter Jeanne Cummings passed an off the record quote to the reporters on the article, who then proceeded to use it in print.

“By the end of the conversation she had confirmed…that this was what she called a ‘dead story’–and said that she didn’t think there would be any article at all,” Democracy for America spokeswoman Laura Gross wrote.

“Next thing I know there appears in the WSJ an article so sloppy and so inaccurate that I spent the morning trying to track Jeanne down to find out what happened,” she continues. “Jeanne’s colleagues committed a journalistic no-no: they took her background conversation with me and made up a quote from ‘a Dean spokeswoman.’ Their fake quote had this spokeswoman apparently admitting that the bloggers were paid for promoting the campaign.”

Cummings did not respond to an email request for comment.

The fake crisis

Via smartone's Daily Kos diary, I stumbled on this gem in Rolling Stone Magazine - The Fake Crisis: Economist Paul Krugman explains Bush's latest con -- social security

Some other suggested reading:

A Question of Numbers, a synopsis of which may be found here.

Paul Krugman has also published a white paper on Social Security titled Confusions About Social Security, showing that the case for privatizing Social Security is purely a sham.

Beware charlatans in phony military garb attempting to get you to "panic buy" into some vague scheme. They exist solely to rip you off.

Note: I should also add this post from Kid Oakland as well to the mix.

The Bush Theocracy

Not that we need any reminder! Rainbow Demon tips us off to an LA Weekly article on yet another one of Bu$hCo's right-hand men.

Honor Dr. King. Demand electoral reform nationwide.

There are so many powerful images from our country's long struggle for racial and economic equality. Every history book has the same black and white pictures -- from places like Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee.

So, as we prepare to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King on Monday, I'd like to share some equally powerful images of Election Day, 2004 -- from places like Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

In honor of Dr. King and the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, please sign your name to our demand for electoral reform nationwide.

Join the fight. Send these images to everyone you know.

We're just beginning to understand the impact of the aggressive campaign of misinformation, repression and intimidation that was unleashed by corrupt Republican officials and partisans in 2004. Here are just a few examples (View the orginials by clicking here ):


In Lake County, Ohio, a fake letter appearing to come from the Lake County Board of Elections was sent to newly registered voters saying that registrations gathered by progressive organizations (including ACT) are illegal and those voters would not be able to vote.


The week before the election, flyers were circulated in Milwaukee under the heading "Milwaukee Black Voters League" with some "warnings for election time" including that anyone convicted of any offense, however minor, is ineligible to vote; that any family member having been convicted of anything would disqualify a voter; and that any violation of these warnings would result in ten years in prison and a voter's children being taken away.


A flyer designed to look like an official announcement from McCandless Township in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, was designed to misinform voters on a partisan basis. The flyer claimed that "Due to the immense voter turnout that is expected on Tuesday, November 2 the state of Pennsylvania has requested an extended voting period" encouraging people to vote on November 3rd.

So, with the dust settling on the 2004 elections, a much longer fight must continue on the streets and in the precincts where too many voices went unheard.

This petition and the strength of ACT's ongoing field campaign will oppose and defeat any corrupt federal, state, and local official who blocks common sense efforts to ensure fairer voting in future elections.

Click the pic to find out more.

"Why My Brother Died"

via fyi, William Pitt's blog:

Why My Brother Died

After two years, the government has called off its fruitless hunt for WMD.

By Dante Zappala

This week, the White House announced, with little fanfare, that the two-year search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq had finally ended, and it acknowledged that no such weapons existed there at the time of the U.S. invasion in 2003.

For many, this may be a story of only passing interest. But for me and my family, it resonates with profound depth.

My brother was Sgt. Sherwood Baker. He was a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard deployed a year ago with his unit out of Wilkes-Barre. He said goodbye to his wife and his 9-year-old son, boarded a bus and went to Ft. Dix, N.J., to be hastily retrained. His seven years of Guard training as a forward observer was practically worthless because he would not face combat. All he needed to do was learn how to not die.

He received a crash course in convoy security, including practice in running over cardboard cutouts of children. We bought him a GPS unit and walkie-talkies because he wasn't supplied with them. In Iraq, Sherwood was assigned to the Iraq Survey Group and joined the search for weapons of mass destruction.

David Kay, who led the group until January 2004, had already stated that they did not exist. Former United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix had expressed serious doubts about their presence during prewar inspections. In fact, a cadre of former U.N. inspectors and U.S. generals had been saying for years that Iraq posed no threat to our country. On April 26, 2004, the Iraq Survey Group, at the behest of the stubborn administration sitting safely in office buildings in Washington, was still on its fruitless but dangerous search. My brother stood atop his Humvee, securing the perimeter in front of a suspect building in Baghdad. But as soldiers entered the building, it exploded; the official cause is still not known. Sherwood was struck by debris in the back of his head and neck, and he was killed.


Even with every prewar assumption having been proved false, today more than 130,000 U.S. soldiers are trying to stay alive in a foreign desert with no clear mission at hand.

At home, the sidelines are overcrowded with patriots. These Americans cower from the fight they instigated in Iraq. In a time of war and record budget deficits, many are loath to even pay their taxes. In the end, however, it is not their family members who are at risk, and they do not sit up at night pleading with fate to spare them.

Change is vital. We must remind ourselves that the war with Iraq was not a mistake but rather a flagrant abuse of power by our leaders — and a case of shameful negligence by the rest of us for letting it happen. The consequence is more than a quagmire. The consequence is the death of our national treasure — our soldiers.

We are all accountable. We all share the responsibility of what has been destroyed in our name. Let us begin to right the wrongs we have done to our country by accepting that responsibility.

Banality of Evil

The Normalization of Horror: American Gulags Become Permanent

NEW YORK--A new documentary, "Hitler's Hit Parade," runs 76 minutes without narration. Comprised entirely of archival footage, the film prompts its reviewers to remark upon Hannah Arendt's famous observation about the banality of evil. German troops subjugated Europe and shoved millions of people into ovens; German civilians went to the movies, attended concerts, and gossiped about their neighbors. People lived mundane, normal lives while their government carried out unspeakable monstrosities.

Sound familiar?

As Congress prepared to rubberstamp the nomination of torture aficionado Alberto Gonzales as the nation's chief prosecutor, the Washington Post broke news that would have torn a saner nation apart. The Bush Administration, the paper reported January 2, is no longer planning to keep hundreds of Muslim prisoners currently rotting away in U.S. concentration camps at Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib and Bagram merely "indefinitely." The Defense Department and CIA are now planning "a more permanent approach for potentially lifetime detentions" for these innocents.

We're locking them up forever. Without due process.

Before gangsters like Alberto Gonzales seduced us into abandoning our values, a person was considered innocent before being proven guilty. Now we're locking people away because "the government does not have enough evidence to charge [them] in courts." And everyone, including Democrats, is OK with this.


Bush plans to divide U.S. concentration camp victims into two groups. One set of "lifers" will end up in U.S.-run stalags like Gitmo's new Camp 6, built to hold 200 "detainees who are unlikely to ever go through a military tribunal for lack of evidence, according to defense officials." But not to worry: Camp 6 would "allow socializing among inmates."

Others captured in the "war on terrorism" will be outsourced "to third countries willing to hold them indefinitely and without proceedings" in foreign-run gulags that pledge to make victims available for torture by American interrogators. This practice, some claim, is "an effective method of disrupting terrorist cells and persuading detainees to reveal information."


Look at what we're talking about. Consider the breezy way we Americans--Americans!--are debating the pros and cons of torture. Marvel at our moral bankruptcy. The liberal argument against torture used to be that it was wrong. Now it's that it doesn't work.


Read any good books lately?

A picture and a quote

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"If it requires a uniform it's a worthless endeavor." -- George Carlin

Click the pic if you want more details.

A Jungian Perspective on Bush

The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis

George W. Bush is ill. He has a psycho-spiritual disease of the soul, a sickness that is endemic to our culture and symptomatic of the times we live in. It’s an illness that has been with us since time immemorial. Because it’s an illness that's in the soul of all of humanity, it pervades the field and is in all of us in potential at any moment, which makes it especially hard to diagnose.

Bush's malady is quite different from schizophrenia, for example, in which all the different parts of the personality are fragmented and not connected to each other, resulting in a state of internal chaos. As compared to the disorder of the schizophrenic, Bush can sound quite coherent and can appear like such a "regular," normal guy, which makes the syndrome he is suffering from very hard to recognize. This is because the healthy parts of his personality have been co-opted by the pathological aspect, which drafts them into its service. Because of the way the personality self-organizes an outer display of coherence around a pathogenic core, I would like to name Bush's illness ‘malignant egophrenic (as compared to schizophrenic) disease,’ or ‘ME disorder,’ for short. If ME disorder goes unrecognized and is not contained, it can be very destructive, particularly if the person is in a position of power.

In much the same way that a child's psychology cannot be understood without looking at the family system he or she is a part of, George Bush does not exist in isolation.We can view Bush and his entire Administration (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, etc), as well as the corporate, military industrial complex that they are co-dependently enmeshed with, the media that they control, the voters that support them, and ourselves as well, as interconnected parts of a whole system, or a "field." Instead of relating to any part of this field as an isolated entity, it’s important to contemplate the entire interdependent field as the ‘medium’ though which malignant egophrenia manifests and propagates itself. ME disease is a field phenomenon, and needs to be contemplated as such. Bush's sickness is our own.

There's more that can be found if you follow the above link. Dr. Paul Levy's website is here if you're interested in more of his writing.

Welcome to the occupation

US in Iran, according to Seymour Hersh + bad news from last week. If Seymour Hersh is correct, Junior Caligula's next conquest will be Iran - even though the Iraq occupation is an unqualified disaster, and Afghanistan is hardly a bed of roses. I don't see how Bu$hCo will pull that off without a return to a military draft - and even then it would be a while before they'd have enough troops to even fathom further escalating their stupid war. Tom Kertes also has a summary of other news regarding developments in Iraq.