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  1. #1426
    Registered User Saundra Hummer's Avatar
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    A THANKSGIVING BONUS. WAS IT IN THE BAG FOR YOU? NO? WELL HOW ABOUT THIS - BUT DON'T GO OFF INTO A SNIT FIT, AFTER ALL YOU SHOULD BE USED TO IT BY NOW, BUT THIS TIME REMEMBER WHO AND WHY WHILE AT THE POLLS. NOW HERE COMES THE CLINCHER AND WHY ARE DEMS NOT MAKING A BIG ISSUE OUR OF THIS? .....SRH

    At a time of massive budget deficits and Republicans' demanding huge cuts to programs that help ordinary Americans, the Washington Post reported that "the Republican-controlled Congress helped itself to a $3,100 pay raise" before heading home for Thanksgiving recess. The New Republic's Michael Crowley asks a very important question: "Why haven't House Democrats, well, shamelessly demagogued this?"

    It's a good question, considering the potential political power of the issue. If you don't believe that it is a powerful issue, just look at the intense public outrage in Pennsylvania after the Republican-controlled state legislature voted itself pay raise.

    Sadly, Crowley answers his own question as to why this hasn't become a real political issue for Democrats in Congress. He notes that after the an earlier pay raise vote, the Associated Press reported that raising lawmakers' pay seems to be one thing congressional Republicans and Democrats agree on. Why? Because, as Crowley says, Democratic congressional aides acknowledge that "some leading House Democrats simply aren't willing to really go all-out in the quest for the majority." How sad.

    Posted by David Sirota at 9:35 AM | Link | Discuss (6)

    categories: Politics
    http://www.workingforchange.com/blog/
    Sandi from Hermosa Beach

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    Registered User Saundra Hummer's Avatar
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    The Press: The Enemy Within

    By Michael Massing
    The New York Review of Books

    15 December 2005 Edition

    The past few months have witnessed a striking change in the fortunes of two well-known journalists: Anderson Cooper and Judith Miller. CNN's Cooper, the one-time host of the entertainment show The Mole, who was known mostly for his pin-up good looks, hip outfits, and showy sentimentality, suddenly emerged during Hurricane Katrina as a tribune for the dispossessed and a scourge of do-nothing officials. He sought out poor blacks who were stranded in New Orleans, expressed anger over bodies rotting in the street, and rudely interrupted Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu when she began thanking federal officials for their efforts. When people "listen to politicians thanking one another and complimenting each other," he told her, "you know, I got to tell you, there are a lot of people here who are very upset, and very angry, and very frustrated." After receiving much praise, Cooper in early November was named to replace Aaron Brown as the host of CNN's NewsNight.

    By then, Judith Miller was trying to salvage her reputation. After eighty-five days in jail for refusing to testify to the grand jury in the Valerie Plame leak case, she was greeted not with widespread appreciation for her sacrifice in protecting her source but with angry questions about her relations with Lewis Libby and her dealings with her editors, one of whom, Bill Keller, said he regretted he "had not sat her down for a thorough debriefing" after she was subpoenaed as a witness. The controversy revived the simmering resentment among her fellow reporters, and many Times readers, over her reporting on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. In the Times's account, published on October 16, Miller acknowledged for the first time that "WMD - I got it totally wrong." Bill Keller said that after becoming the paper's executive editor in 2003, he had told Miller that she could no longer cover Iraq and weapons issues, but that "she kept drifting on her own back into the national security realm." For her part, Miller insisted that she had "cooperated with editorial decisions" and expressed regret that she was not allowed to do follow-up reporting on why the intelligence on WMD had been so wrong; on November 8, she agreed to leave the Times after twenty-eight years at the paper. [1]

    These contrasting tales suggest something about the changing state of American journalism. For many reporters, the bold coverage of the effects of the hurricane, and of the administration's glaring failure to respond effectively, has helped to begin making up for their timid reporting on the existence of WMD. Among some journalists I've spoken with, shame has given way to pride, and there is much talk about the need to get back to the basic responsibility of reporters, to expose wrongdoing and the failures of the political system. In recent weeks, journalists have been asking more pointed questions at press conferences, attempting to investigate cronyism and corruption in the White House and Congress, and doing more to document the plight of people without jobs or a place to live.

    Will such changes prove lasting? In a previous article, I described many of the external pressures besetting journalists today, including a hostile White House, aggressive conservative critics, and greedy corporate owners. [2] Here, I will concentrate on the press's internal problems - not on its many ethical and professional lapses, which have been extensively discussed elsewhere, but rather on the structural problems that keep the press from fulfilling its responsibilities to serve as a witness to injustice and a watchdog over the powerful. To some extent, these problems consist of professional practices and proclivities that inhibit reporting - a reliance on "access," an excessive striving for "balance," an uncritical fascination with celebrities. Equally important is the increasing isolation of much of the profession from disadvantaged Americans and the difficulties they face. Finally, and most significantly, there's the political climate in which journalists work. Today's political pressures too often breed in journalists a tendency toward self-censorship, toward shying away from the pursuit of truths that might prove
    unpopular, whether with official authorities or the public.

    _________________


    In late October 2004, Ken Silverstein, an investigative reporter in the Washington bureau of the Los Angeles Times, went to St. Louis to write about Democratic efforts to mobilize African-American voters. In 2000, the Justice Department later found, many of the city's black voters had been improperly turned away from the polls by Republican Party officials. Democrats were charging the Republicans with preparing to do the same in 2004, and Silverstein found evidence for their claim. Republican officials accused the Democrats of similar irregularities, but their case seemed flimsy by comparison, a point that even a local Republican official acknowledged to him.
    =.

    While doing his research, however, Silverstein learned that the Los Angeles Times had sent reporters to several other states to report on charges of voter fraud, and, further, that his findings were going to be incorporated into a larger national story about how both parties in those states were accusing each other of fraud and intimidation. The resulting story, bearing the bland headline "Partisan Suspicions Run High in Swing States," described

    the extraordinarily rancorous and mistrustful atmosphere that pervades battleground states in the final days of the presidential campaign. In Wisconsin, Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Oregon and other key states, Democrats and Republicans seem convinced their opponents are bent on stealing the election.
    The section on Missouri gave equal time to the claims of Democrats and Republicans.

    Troubled by this outcome, Silverstein sent an editor a memo outlining his concerns. The paper's "insistence on 'balance' is totally misleading and leads to utterly spineless reporting with no edge," he wrote. In Missouri, there was "a real effort on the part of the GOP...to suppress pro-Dem constituencies." The GOP complaints, by contrast, "concern isolated cases that are not going to impact the outcome of the election." He went on:

    I am completely exasperated by this approach to the news. The idea seems to be that we go out to report but when it comes time to write we turn our brains off and repeat the spin from both sides. God forbid we should...attempt to fairly assess what we see with our own eyes. "Balanced" is not fair, it's just an easy way of avoiding real reporting and shirking our responsibility to inform readers.
    This is not to deny that the best newspapers run many first-rate stories, Silverstein said, or that reporters working on long-term projects are often given leeway to "pile up evidence and demonstrate a case." During the last year, he has written articles on the ties between the CIA and the Sudanese intelligence service; on American oil companies' political and economic alliances with corrupt third-world regimes; and on conflicts of interest involving Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha. When it comes to political coverage, though, Silverstein told me, newspapers are too often "afraid of being seen as having an opinion." They fear "provoking a reaction in which they'll be accused of bias, however unfounded the charge." The insistence on a "spurious balance," he says, is a widespread problem in how TV and print organizations cover news. "It's very stifling."

    As Silverstein suggests, this fear of bias, and of appearing unbalanced, acts as a powerful sedative on American journalists - one whose effect has been magnified by the incessant attacks of conservative bloggers and radio talk-show hosts. [3] One reason journalists performed so poorly in the months before the Iraq war was that there were few Democrats willing to criticize the Bush administration on the record; without such cover, journalists feared they would be branded as hostile to the President and labeled as "liberal" by conservative commentators.

    The Plame leak case has provided further insight into the relation between the journalistic and political establishments. It's now clear that Lewis Libby was an important figure in the White House and a key architect of the administration's push for war in Iraq. Many journalists seem to have spoken with him regularly, and to have been fully aware of his power, yet virtually none bothered to inform the public about him, much less scrutinize his actions on behalf of the vice-president. A search of major newspapers in the fifteen months before the war turned up exactly one substantial article about Libby - a breezy piece by Elisabeth Bumiller in the The New York Times about his novel The Apprentice.

    In reporting on the government, the Los Angeles Times, like other papers, faces another serious constraint. As a result of budget cuts imposed by its corporate owner, The Tribune Company, the Times recently reduced its Washington staff from sixty-one to fifty-five (of whom thirty-nine are reporters). Doyle McManus, the bureau chief, says the paper is stretched very thin. Since September 11, 2001, he has had to assign so many reporters (eight at the moment) to covering news about national security that many domestic issues have been neglected. The Times has only four daily reporters to cover everything from health care to labor to the regulatory agencies, and it has no regular reporter in Washington dealing with the problems of the environment. "It's nuts for a California paper to have its environmental job open this long," McManus says. The Chicago Tribune, he said, has a full-time agriculture writer whose beat includes agribusiness and its activities in Washington. Despite the huge national political influence of agricultural interests, the Los Angeles Times, like most other big US papers, lacks the resources to report on them regularly.

    The same is true of most of official Washington. At no time since before the New Deal, perhaps, has corporate America had so much power and so much influence in Washington. Between 1998 and 2004, the amount of money spent on lobbying the federal government doubled to nearly $3 billion a year, according to the Center for Public Integrity, a watchdog group. The US Chamber of Commerce alone spent $53 million in 2004. During the last six years, General Motors has spent $48 million and Ford $41 million. Before joining the Bush White House, chief of staff Andrew Card worked as a lobbyist for the big auto companies. To what extent have such payments and activities contributed to the virtual freeze on the fuel-efficiency standards that have long been in effect in the US and which have helped to produce the current oil crisis? More generally, how have corporations used their extraordinary wealth to win tax breaks, gain no-bid contracts, and bend administrative rules to their liking? On November 10, The Wall Street Journal ran a probing front-page piece about how the textile industry, through intensive lobbying, won quotas on Chinese imports - an example of the type of analysis that far too rarely appears in our leading publications. "Wall Street's influence in Washington has been one of the most under covered areas in journalism for decades," according to Charles Lewis, the former director of the Center for Public Integrity.

    Of course, corporations are extensively covered in the business sections of most newspapers. These began growing in size in the 1970s and 1980s, and today The New York Times has about sixty reporters assigned to business. The Times, along with The Wall Street Journal, runs many stories raising questions about corporate behavior. For the most part, though, the business sections are addressed to members of the business world and are mainly concerned to provide them with information they can use to invest their money, manage their companies, and understand Wall Street trends. Reflecting this narrow focus, the business press in the 1980s largely missed the savings and loan scandal. In the 1990s, it published enthusiastic reports on the high-tech boom, then watched in bafflement as it collapsed. Of the hundreds of American business reporters, only one - Fortune's Bethany McLean - had the independence and courage to raise questions about the high valuation of Enron's stock. The criminal activities in recent years of not only Exxon but also WorldCom, Tyco, Adelphia, and other corporate malefactors have largely been exposed not by the business press but by public prosecutors; and the fate of the companies involved, and of those who were damaged by their lies, has been only fitfully followed up.

    While business sections grow larger, the labor beat remains very solitary. In contrast to the many reporters covering business, the Times has only one, Steven Greenhouse, writing full-time about labor and workplace issues. (Several other Times reporters cover labor-related issues as part of their beats.) Greenhouse seems to be everywhere at once, reporting on union politics, low-wage workers, and corporate labor practices. More than any other big-city reporter, he has called attention to Wal-Mart's Dickensian working conditions. Yet he could surely use some help. When, for instance, General Motors recently announced that it was scaling back health benefits for its workforce, the story appeared on the Times's front page for a day, then settled back into the business section, where it was treated as another business story. As a result, the paper has largely overlooked the painful social effects that the retrenchments at GM, the auto-parts company Delphi, and other manufacturing concerns have had on the Midwest. More generally, the staffs of our top news organizations, who tend to be well-paid members of the upper middle class living mostly on the East and West Coasts, have limited contact with blue-collar America and so provide only sporadic coverage of its concerns.

    This summer, Nancy Cleeland, after more than six years as the lone labor reporter at the Los Angeles Times, left her beat. She made the move "out of frustration," she told me. Her editors "really didn't want to have labor stories. They were always looking at labor from a management and business perspective - 'how do we deal with these guys?'" In 2003, Cleeland was one of several reporters on a three-part series about Wal-Mart's labor practices that won the Times a Pulitzer Prize. That, she had hoped, would convince her editors of the value of covering labor, but in the end it didn't, she says. "They don't consider themselves hostile to working-class concerns, but they're all making too much money to relate to the problems that working-class people are facing," observed Cleeland, who is now writing about high school dropouts. Despite her strong urging, the paper has yet to name anyone to replace her. (Russ Stanton, the Los Angeles Times's business editor, says that the paper did value Cleeland's reporting, as shown by her many front-page stories. However, with his section recently losing six of its forty-eight reporters and facing more cuts, he said, her position is unlikely to be filled anytime soon.)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    On August 30 - the same day the waters of Lake Pontchartrain inundated New Orleans - the Census Bureau released its annual report on the nation's economic well-being. It showed that the poverty rate had increased to 12.7 percent in 2004 from 12.5 percent in the previous year. In New York City, where so many national news organizations have their headquarters, the rate rose from 19 percent in 2003 to 20.3 percent in 2004, meaning that one in every five New Yorkers is poor. On the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where I - and many editors of The New York Times - live, the number of homeless people has visibly grown. Yet somehow they rarely appear in the pages of the press.

    In 1998, Jason DeParle, after covering the debate in Washington over the 1996 Welfare Reform Act as well as its initial implementation, convinced his editors at The New York Times to let him live part-time in Milwaukee so that he could see Wisconsin's experimental approach up close. They agreed, and over the next year DeParle's reporting helped keep the welfare issue in the public eye. In 2000, he took a leave to write a book about the subject, [4] and the Times did not name anyone to replace him on the national poverty beat. And it still hasn't. Earlier this year, the Times ran a monumental series on class, and, in its day-to-day coverage of immigration, Medicaid, and foster care, it does examine the problems of the poor, but certainly the stark deprivation afflicting the nation's urban cores deserves more systematic attention.

    In March, Time magazine featured on its cover a story headlined "How to End Poverty," which was about poverty in the developing world. Concerning poverty in this country, the magazine ran very, very little in the first eight months of the year, before Hurricane Katrina. Here are some of the covers Time chose to run in that period: "Meet the Twixters: They Just Won't Grow Up"; "The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America"; "The Right (and Wrong) Way to Treat Pain"; "Hail, Mary" (the Virgin Mary); "Ms. Right" (Anne Coulter); "The Last Star Wars"; "A Female Midlife Crisis?"; "Inside Bill's New X-Box" (Bill Gates's latest video game machine); "Lose That Spare Tire!" (weight-loss tips); "Being 13"; "The 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America"; "Hip Hop's Class Act"; and "How to Stop a Heart Attack."

    The magazine's editors put special energy into their April 18 cover, "The Time 100." Now in its second year, this annual feature salutes the hundred "most influential" people in the world, including most recently NBA forward Lebron James, country singer Melissa Etheridge, filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, Ann Coulter (again!), journalist Malcolm Gladwell, and evangelical best-selling author Rick Warren. Time enlisted additional celebrities to write profiles of some of the chosen one hundred - Tom Brokaw on Jon Stewart, Bono on Jeffrey Sachs, Donald Trump on Martha Stewart, and Henry Kissinger on Condoleezza Rice (she's handling the challenges facing her "with panache and conviction" and is enjoying "a nearly unprecedented level of authority"). To celebrate, Time invited the influentials and their chroniclers to a black-tie gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center in the Time-Warner Building.

    A staff member of Time's business department told me that the "100" issue is highly valued because of the amount of advertising it generates. In 2004, for instance, when Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina was named a "Builder and Titan," her company bought a two-page spread in the issue. Because Time's parent company, Time Warner, must post strong quarterly earnings to please Wall Street, the pressure to turn out such moneymakers remains intense. By contrast, there's little advertising to be had from writing about inner-city mothers, so the magazine seems unlikely to alter its coverage in any significant way.

    Time's "100" gala is only one of the many glitzy events on the journalists' social calendar. The most popular is the White House Correspondents' Dinner. This year, hundreds of the nation's top journalists showed up at the Washington Hilton to mix with White House officials, military brass, Cabinet chiefs, diplomats, and actors. Laura Bush's naughty Desperate Housewives routine, in which she teased her husband for his early-to-bed habits and his attempt to milk a male horse, was shown over and over on the TV news; what wasn't shown was journalists jumping to their feet and applauding wildly. Afterward, many of the journalists and their guests went to the hot post-dinner party, hosted by Bloomberg News. On his blog, The Nation's David Corn described arriving with Newsweek's Mike Isikoff, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, and Times editor Jill Abramson. Seeing the long line, Corn feared he wouldn't get in, but suddenly Arianna Huffington showed up and "whisked me into her entourage." Huffington, he noted, asked everyone she encountered - Wesley Clark, John Podesta - if they'd like to participate in her new celebrity-rich mega-blog.

    It was left to Jon Stewart on The Daily Show to imagine what the journalists and politicos at the dinner were saying to one another: "Deep down, we're both entrenched oligarchies with a stake in maintaining the status quo - enjoy your scrod."

    A ruthlessly self-revealing look at journalists' obsession with celebrity was provided earlier this year by Bernard Weinraub. Writing in The New York Times about his experience covering Hollywood for the paper between 1991 and 2005, he told of becoming friendly with Jeffrey Katzenberg (when he was head of Walt Disney Studios), of being dazzled by the ranch-style house of producer Dawn Steel, of resenting the huge financial gulf between him and the people he was covering. He recalled:

    Waiting for a valet at the Bel-Air Hotel to bring my company-leased Ford, I once stood beside a journalist turned producer who said, "I used to drive a car like that." Though I'm ashamed to say it, I was soon hunting for parking spots near Orso or the Peninsula Hotel to avoid the discomfort of having a valet drive up my leased two-year-old Buick in front of some luncheon companion with a Mercedes.
    During the 1990s, the Times reporters, Weinraub among them, breathlessly recorded every move of the agent Michael Ovitz. Today, it does the same for Harvey Weinstein. The paper's coverage of movies, TV, pop music, and video games concentrates heavily on ratings, box-office receipts, moguls, boardroom struggles, media strategists, power agents, who's up and who's down. The paper pays comparatively little attention to the social or political effects of pop culture, including how middle Americans regard the often sensational and violent entertainment that nightly invades their homes. As in the case of factory shutdowns, journalists at the elite papers are not in touch with such people and so rarely write about them. [5]

    http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/112605B.shtml

    .....[There's a lot more to this article, lots of opinions and facts, an interesting read. ...SRH]

    Notes
    [1] Her comments on her case are available at JudithMiller.org.

    [2] See "The End of News?," The New York Review, December 1, 2005.

    [3] See the discussion of conservative new commentators in "The End of News?"

    [4] American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, and a Nation's Drive to End Welfare (Viking, 2004); see the review by Christopher Jencks in this issue of The New York Review.

    [5] For more on this subject, see my article "Off Course," Columbia Journalism Review, July/August 2005.

    [6] See, for example, Human Rights Watch, "A Face and a Name: Civilian Victims of Insurgent Groups in Iraq," October 3, 2005.

    [7] See the NPR show This American Life, "What's in a Number?" October 28, 2005.

    [8] Human Rights Watch has issued many reports about the civilian victims of US military actions, including "Civilian Deaths/Checkpoints," October 2003, in which it observed that "the individual cases of civilian deaths documented in this report reveal a pattern by US forces of over-aggressive tactics, indiscriminate shooting in residential areas and a quick reliance on lethal force."
    Sandi from Hermosa Beach

  3. #1428
    Registered User Saundra Hummer's Avatar
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    Exit Strategy in Search of a Party

    By Harold Meyerson
    Wednesday, November 23, 2005; A19

    George W. Bush has precious little to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and nothing whatever when it comes to his adversaries. Beset at every turn, the president and his men have been pining for some patsies, some loudmouth liberals, some effete elitists whom they can demonize in the best traditions of the party of Richard Nixon.

    Instead, look who's come after them in the past half-year: Cindy Sheehan, whose down-the-line dovishness is more than offset by her standing as the mother of a soldier killed in Bush's war; Patrick Fitzgerald, the straight-arrow boy prosecutor out of New York's Irish working class; and now John Murtha, the toughest and most decorated Marine in the House, who represents a Pennsylvania district straight out of "The Deer Hunter."

    Not a Michael Moore in the bunch. Nothing there for the Roves and the Reeds and the Swift Boat slanderers to work with.

    Not for lack of trying. For the past two weeks, with his control of Congress in jeopardy, the president has been saying that those who question his manipulation of intelligence in the run-up to the war are threatening our guys on the ground in Iraq. It's a time-honored tactic that goes back to Nixon: conflate criticism of the war with contempt for our troops and our nation.

    Truth be told, Nixon had a lot to work with. The war in Vietnam was so bloody and unending, and the New Left so increasingly unhinged, that demonstrations turned violent and patriotism among many of the protesters seemed in short supply. The Yippies and the Panthers were all over the news. For an accomplished demagogue such as Nixon, who'd won his first elections by labeling his anticommunist liberal opponents as "commie symps," the rest was child's play. In short order he and his vice president were mushing together the measured antiwar sentiment of congressional Democrats with the boiling rage in the streets. Indeed, Nixon didn't so much argue the merits of staying the course in Vietnam -- nobody wanted to do that -- as inflame the sentiments of his "silent majority" against war protesters and the Democrats who opposed the war, too.

    As political strategy, it was a smashing success, and the mere thought of it must today evoke a wrenching nostalgia in the political boiler room we call the White House. Where are the Yippies of yesteryear? Even as the American people turn decisively against the war in Iraq, war protests are few and well-behaved. Most congressional Democrats, and all their leaders, apparently have taken a vow of silence rather than offer an alternative plan for Iraq. And when one of them finally does pipe up, it's the unassailable Jack Murtha.

    Oh, the Republicans gave it a shot. Initially, the White House compared Murtha to Moore, and some pipsqueak freshman congresswoman from Ohio called Murtha a coward, but these attacks embarrassed and angered so many Republicans that they quickly ground to a halt. For their part, the Democrats sang Murtha's praises but gave his proposal a wide berth.

    But if the Democrats' silence is driving Rove batty, it's making their own supporters a little crazed as well. The Democratic base clearly supports withdrawing the troops; in Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco district, that position probably commands nearly unanimous support. Meanwhile, the case for continuing our involvement grows increasingly absurd: In its latest iteration, we are there to prevent war between Shiite and Sunni, which looms, of course, only because we invaded Iraq in the first place. We stay to mitigate the consequence of our coming. We've had wars in which our soldiers died for better causes than that.

    Still, the Democrats stay largely mute. Some believe that the nonexistence of an alternative policy that will actually make Iraq a more sustainable nation means we have to stay there. More believe that while the administration has made a hash of its war in Iraq, it will wage a relentless and quite possibly more effective war on the Democrats domestically should they call for bringing the troops home. Judging by its performance in the Murtha matter, the Bush White House is aching for the opportunity.

    But it's not 1969. There is no silent majority to be rallied in support of the war, just a frustrated minority. The streets are quiet. Demonstrators are decorous. The audience for Dick Cheney's hatchet jobs has dwindled. The president's credibility is reaching Nixonian depths. The Democrats have been pushed to the brink of opposing the war, but there -- on the brink -- they totter.

    And so, on the most urgent question confronting America today, we have reached an absurd and exquisite equipoise. The Republicans cannot credibly defend the war; the Democrats cannot quite bring themselves to call for its end. And the war goes on.

    meyersonh@washpost.com

    OR:
    http://www.workingforchange.com

    OR:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...201356_pf.html

    ... [What is this game which is going on? "Follow The Leader" at all costs? Isn't it time that those in Washington, Democrat and Republican alike, use logical, uncorrupted thinking and do the people's will for a change? As it is, we aren't all just chattering masses, the rabble our founding fathers so feared, we have learned and know of what is going on in "OUR" government. We do have rights and with these we have good thoughts. Our beings and our political leanings aren't driven by corporate greed and graft. The spotlight is on all of them, as we now have ways, at our disposal as never before, to learn of and see where both parties are taking us and we are't too happy about it. Surely they realize this. In this electronic age we all live in, information is much more readily available, and not controlled by an owner, or editor, in an ivory tower, we have it at our fingertips and we are spreading the word. ...SRH]
    Sandi from Hermosa Beach

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    Registered User Saundra Hummer's Avatar
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    . .. . "I recoil with horror at the ferociousness of man. Will nations never devise a more rational umpire of differences than force? Are there no means of coercing injustice more gratifying to our nature than a waste of the blood of thousands and of the labor of millions of our fellow creatures?"
    Thomas Jefferson

    =
    . .. . "Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive." -- Henry Steele Commager - (1902-1998) Historian and author

    =
    . .. . "Who are a free people? Not those over whom government is exercised, but those who live under a government so constitutionally checked and controlled that proper provision is made against its being otherwise exercised." John Dickenson - (1732-1808) - Source: Farmer’s Letters, 1767

    =
    . .. . "No man survives when freedom fails, The best men rot in filthy jails, And those who cry 'appease, appease' Are hanged by those they tried to please." Hiram Mann

    =
    . .. . "The civility of no race can be perfect whilst another race is degraded. It is a doctrine alike of the oldest and of the newest philosophy, that man is one, and that you cannot injure any member, without a sympathetic injury to all the members" Ralph Waldo Emerson. 1844
    Sandi from Hermosa Beach

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    Former Canadian Minister Of Defence Asks Canadian Parliament To Hold Hearings On Relations With Alien "Et" Civilizations

    (PRWEB) - OTTAWA, CANADA (PRWEB) November 24, 2005 -- A former Canadian Minister of Defence and Deputy Prime Minister under Pierre Trudeau has joined forces with three Non-governmental organizations to ask the Parliament of Canada to hold public hearings on Exopolitics -- relations with “ETs.”

    By “ETs,” Mr. Hellyer and these organizations mean ethical, advanced extraterrestrial civilizations that may now be visiting Earth.

    On September 25, 2005, in a startling speech at the University of Toronto that caught the attention of mainstream newspapers and magazines, Paul Hellyer, Canada’s Defence Minister from 1963-67 under Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Prime Minister Lester Pearson, publicly stated: "UFOs, are as real as the airplanes that fly over your head."

    Mr. Hellyer went on to say, "I'm so concerned about what the consequences might be of starting an intergalactic war, that I just think I had to say something."

    Hellyer revealed, "The secrecy involved in all matters pertaining to the Roswell incident was unparalled. The classification was, from the outset, above top secret, so the vast majority of U.S. officials and politicians, let alone a mere allied minister of defence, were never in-the-loop."

    Hellyer warned, "The United States military are preparing weapons which could be used against the aliens, and they could get us into an intergalactic war without us ever having any warning. He stated, "The Bush administration has finally agreed to let the military build a forward base on the moon, which will put them in a better position to keep track of the goings and comings of the visitors from space, and to shoot at them, if they so decide."

    Hellyer’s speech ended with a standing ovation. He said, "The time has come to lift the veil of secrecy, and let the truth emerge, so there can be a real and informed debate, about one of the most important problems facing our planet today."

    Three Non-governmental organizations took Hellyer’s words to heart, and approached Canada’s Parliament in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, to hold public hearings on a possible ET presence, and what Canada should do. The Canadian Senate, which is an appointed body, has held objective, well-regarded hearings and issued reports on controversial issues such as same-sex marriage and medical marijuana,

    On October 20, 2005, the Institute for Cooperation in Space requested Canadian Senator Colin Kenny, Senator, Chair of The Senate Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, “schedule public hearings on the Canadian Exopolitics Initiative, so that witnesses such as the Hon. Paul Hellyer, and Canadian-connected high level military-intelligence, NORAD-connected, scientific, and governmental witnesses facilitated by the Disclosure Project and by the Toronto Exopolitics Symposium can present compelling evidence, testimony, and Public Policy recommendations.”

    The Non-governmental organizations seeking Parliament hearings include Canada-based Toronto Exopolitics Symposium, which organized the University of Toronto Symposium at which Mr. Hellyer spoke.

    The Disclosure Project, a U.S.– based organization that has assembled high level military-intelligence witnesses of a possible ET presence, is also one of the organizations seeking Canadian Parliament hearings.

    Vancouver-based Institute for Cooperation in Space (ICIS), whose International Director headed a proposed 1977 Extraterrestrial Communication Study for the White House of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who himself has publicly reported a 1969 Close Encounter of the First Kind with a UFO, filed the original request for Canadian Parliament hearings.

    The Canadian Exopolitics Initiative, presented by the organizations to a Senate Committee panel hearing in Winnipeg, Canada, on March 10, 2005, proposes that the Government of Canada undertake a Decade of Contact.

    The proposed Decade of Contact is “a 10-year process of formal, funded public education, scientific research, educational curricula development and implementation, strategic planning, community activity, and public outreach concerning our terrestrial society’s full cultural, political, social, legal, and governmental communication and public interest diplomacy with advanced, ethical Off-Planet cultures now visiting Earth.”

    Canada has a long history of opposing the basing of weapons in Outer Space. On September 22, 2004 Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin declared to the U.N. General Assembly,” "Space is our final frontier. It has always captured our imagination. What a tragedy it would be if space became one big weapons arsenal and the scene of a new arms race.

    Martin stated, "In 1967, the United Nations agreed that weapons of mass
    destruction must not be based in space. The time has come to extend this ban to all weapons..."

    In May, 2003, speaking before the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada Lloyd Axworthy, stated “Washington's offer to Canada is not an invitation to join America under a protective shield, but it presents a global security doctrine that violates Canadian values on many levels."

    Axworthy concluded, “There should be an uncompromising commitment to preventing the placement of weapons in space.”

    On February 24, 2005, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin made official Canada's decision not to take part in the U.S government’s Ballistic Missile Defence program.

    Paul Hellyer, who now seeks Canadian Parliament hearings on relations with ETs, on May 15, 2003, stated in Toronto’s Globe & Mail newspaper, “Canada should accept the long-standing invitation of U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio to launch a conference to seek approval of an international treaty to ban weapons in space. That would be a positive Canadian contribution toward a more peaceful world.”

    In early November 2005, the Canadian Senate wrote ICIS, indicating the Senate Committee could not hold hearings on ETs in 2005, because of their already crowded schedule.

    “That does not deter us,” one spokesperson for the Non-governmental organizations said, “We are going ahead with our request to Prime Minister Paul Martin and the official opposition leaders in the House of Commons now, and we will re-apply with the Senate of Canada in early 2006.

    “Now is the time for open disclosure that there are ethical Extraterrestrial civilizations visiting Earth,” a spokesperson for the Non-Governmental Organizations stated. “Our Canadian government needs to openly address these important issues of the possible deployment of weapons in outer space and war plans against ethical Extraterrestrial societies.”


    Word Count: [1011

    Canadian Exopolitics Initiative
    http://www.peaceinspace.net

    Click here to send your letter to the Parliament of Canada requesting public “ET” Hearings
    http://exopolitics.blogs.com/star_dr...nate_of_c.html

    CONTACT NOW:
    Toronto, Canada: Victor Viggiani, Exopolitics Toronto Symposium
    Tel: 905-278-5628
    http://www.exopoliticstoronto.com

    Winnipeg, Canada: Randy Kitchur
    Tel: 204-582-4424

    Washington, D.C.: Dr. Steven Greer, The Disclosure Project
    Tel: (540) 456-8302 (Office)
    http://www.disclosureproject.org

    Vancouver, Canada: Alfred Lambremont Webre, JD, MEd
    ICIS-Institute for Cooperation in Space
    Tel: 604-733-8134
    http://www.peaceinspace.net

    ###

    ICIS
    Alfred Webre
    604-733-8134
    E-mail Information.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/prweb/200511...BhBHNlYwM5NjQ-
    Sandi from Hermosa Beach

  6. #1431
    Registered User Saundra Hummer's Avatar
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    Dishonest, Reprehensible, Corrupt ...

    By Frank Rich
    The New York Times
    Sunday 27 November 2005

    George W. Bush is so desperate for allies that his hapless Asian tour took him to Ulan Bator, a first for an American president, so he could mingle with the yaks and give personal thanks for Mongolia's contribution of some 160 soldiers to "the coalition of the willing." Dick Cheney, whose honest-and-ethical poll number hit 29 percent in Newsweek's latest survey, is so radioactive that he vanished into his bunker for weeks at a time during the storms Katrina and Scootergate.

    The whole world can see that both men are on the run. Just how much so became clear in the brace of nasty broadsides each delivered this month about Iraq. Neither man engaged the national debate ignited by John Murtha about how our troops might be best redeployed in a recalibrated battle against Islamic radicalism. Neither offered a plan for "victory." Instead, both impugned their critics' patriotism and retreated into the past to defend the origins of the war. In a seasonally appropriate impersonation of the misanthropic Mr. Potter from "It's a Wonderful Life," the vice president went so far as to label critics of the administration's prewar smoke screen both "dishonest and reprehensible" and "corrupt and shameless." He sounded but one epithet away from a defibrillator.

    The Washington line has it that the motivation for the Bush-Cheney rage is the need to push back against opponents who have bloodied the White House in the polls. But, Mr. Murtha notwithstanding, the Democrats are too feeble to merit that strong a response. There is more going on here than politics.

    Much more: each day brings slam-dunk evidence that the doomsday threats marshaled by the administration to sell the war weren't, in Cheney-speak, just dishonest and reprehensible but also corrupt and shameless. The more the president and vice president tell us that their mistakes were merely innocent byproducts of the same bad intelligence seen by everyone else in the world, the more we learn that this was not so. The web of half-truths and falsehoods used to sell the war did not happen by accident; it was woven by design and then foisted on the public by a P.R. operation built expressly for that purpose in the White House. The real point of the Bush-Cheney verbal fisticuffs this month, like the earlier campaign to take down Joseph Wilson, is less to smite Democrats than to cover up wrongdoing in the executive branch between 9/11 and shock and awe.

    The cover-up is failing, however. No matter how much the president and vice president raise their decibel levels, the truth keeps roaring out. A nearly 7,000-word investigation in last Sunday's Los Angeles Times found that Mr. Bush and his aides had "issued increasingly dire warnings" about Iraq's mobile biological weapons labs long after U.S. intelligence authorities were told by Germany's Federal Intelligence Service that the principal source for these warnings, an Iraqi defector in German custody code-named Curveball, "never claimed to produce germ weapons and never saw anyone else do so." The five senior German intelligence officials who spoke to The Times said they were aghast that such long-discredited misinformation from a suspected fabricator turned up in Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations and in the president's 2003 State of the Union address (where it shared billing with the equally bogus 16 words about Saddam's fictitious African uranium).

    Right after the L.A. Times scoop, Murray Waas filled in another piece of the prewar propaganda puzzle. He reported in the nonpartisan National Journal that 10 days after 9/11, "President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda."

    The information was delivered in the President's Daily Brief, a C.I.A. assessment also given to the vice president and other top administration officials. Nonetheless Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney repeatedly pounded in an implicit (and at times specific) link between Saddam and Al Qaeda until Americans even started to believe that the 9/11 attacks had been carried out by Iraqis. More damning still, Mr. Waas finds that the "few credible reports" of Iraq-Al Qaeda contacts actually involved efforts by Saddam to monitor or infiltrate Islamic terrorist groups, which he regarded as adversaries of his secular regime. Thus Saddam's antipathy to Islamic radicals was the same in 2001 as it had been in 1983, when Donald Rumsfeld, then a Reagan administration emissary, embraced the dictator as a secular fascist ally in the American struggle against the theocratic fascist rulers in Iran.

    What these revelations also tell us is that Mr. Bush was wrong when he said in his Veterans Day speech that more than 100 Congressional Democrats who voted for the Iraqi war resolution "had access to the same intelligence" he did. They didn't have access to the President's Daily Brief that Mr. Waas uncovered. They didn't have access to the information that German intelligence officials spoke about to The Los Angeles Times. Nor did they have access to material from a Defense Intelligence Agency report, released by Senator Carl Levin of Michigan this month, which as early as February 2002 demolished the reliability of another major source that the administration had persistently used for its false claims about Iraqi-Al Qaeda collaboration.

    The more we learn about the road to Iraq, the more we realize that it's a losing game to ask what lies the White House told along the way. A simpler question might be: What was not a lie? The situation recalls Mary McCarthy's explanation to Dick Cavett about why she thought Lillian Hellman was a dishonest writer: "Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the.' "

    If Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney believe they were truthful in the run-up to the war, it's easy for them to make their case. Instead of falsely claiming that they've been exonerated by two commissions that looked into prewar intelligence - neither of which addressed possible White House misuse and mischaracterization of that intelligence - they should just release the rest of the President's Daily Briefs and other prewar documents that are now trickling out. Instead, incriminatingly enough, they are fighting the release of any such information, including unclassified documents found in post-invasion Iraq requested from the Pentagon by the pro-war, neocon Weekly Standard. As Scott Shane reported in The New York Times last month, Vietnam documents are now off limits, too: the National Security Agency won't make public a 2001 historical report on how American officials distorted intelligence in 1964 about the Gulf of Tonkin incident for fear it might "prompt uncomfortable comparisons" between the games White Houses played then and now to gin up wars.

    Sooner or later - probably sooner, given the accelerating pace of recent revelations - this embarrassing information will leak out anyway. But the administration's deliberate efforts to suppress or ignore intelligence that contradicted its Iraq crusade are only part of the prewar story. There were other shadowy stations on the disinformation assembly line. Among them were the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group, a two-man Pentagon operation specifically created to cherry-pick intelligence for Mr. Cheney's apocalyptic Iraqi scenarios, and the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), in which Karl Rove, Karen Hughes and the Cheney hands Lewis Libby and Mary Matalin, among others, plotted to mainline this propaganda into the veins of the press and public. These murky aspects of the narrative - like the role played by a private P.R. contractor, the Rendon Group, examined by James Bamford in the current Rolling Stone - have yet to be recounted in full.

    No debate about the past, of course, can undo the mess that the administration made in Iraq. But the past remains important because it is a road map to both the present and the future. Leaders who dissembled then are still doing so. Indeed, they do so even in the same speeches in which they vehemently deny having misled us then - witness Mr. Bush's false claims about what prewar intelligence was seen by Congress and Mr. Cheney's effort last Monday to again conflate the terrorists of 9/11 with those "making a stand in Iraq." (Maj. Gen. Douglas Lute, director of operations for Centcom, says the Iraqi insurgency is 90 percent homegrown.) These days Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney routinely exaggerate the readiness of Iraqi troops, much as they once inflated Saddam's W.M.D.'s.

    "We're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history," the vice president said of his critics. "We're going to continue throwing their own words back at them." But according to a Harris poll released by The Wall Street Journal last Wednesday, 64 percent of Americans now believe that the Bush administration "generally misleads the American public on current issues to achieve its own ends." That's why it's Mr. Cheney's and the president's own words that are being thrown back now - not to rewrite history but to reveal it for the first time to an angry country that has learned the hard way that it can no longer afford to be without the truth.
    -------
    http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/112705Y.shtml
    Sandi from Hermosa Beach

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    . .. . "My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I'm going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you. And no fascist-minded people like you will drive me from it. Is that clear?" : Paul Robeson (1898-1976) - from testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee, June 12, 1956

    =
    . .. .. "The history of mankind is a history of the subjugation and exploitation of a great majority of people by an elite few by what has been appropriately termed the 'ruling class'. The ruling class has many manifestations. It can take the form of a religious orthodoxy, a monarchy, a dictatorship of the proletariat, outright fascism, or, in the case of the United States, corporate statism. In each instance the ruling class relies on academics, scholars and 'experts' to legitimize and provide moral authority for its hegemony over the masses." Ed Crane

    =

    . .. .. "Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." Benito Mussolini

    =

    . .. .. "The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group," Franklin D. Roosevelt quotes

    =

    . .. . "Fascism is capitalism plus murder." Upton Sinclair
    Sandi from Hermosa Beach

  8. #1433
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    Fascism then. Fascism now?

    When people think of fascism, they imagine Rows of goose-stepping storm troopers and puffy-chested dictators. What they don't see is the economic and political process that leads to the nightmare.

    By Paul Bigioni

    11/27/05 "Toronto Star" -- -- Observing political and economic discourse in North America since the 1970s leads to an inescapable conclusion: The vast bulk of legislative activity favours the interests of large commercial enterprises. Big business is very well off, and successive Canadian and U.S. governments, of whatever political stripe, have made this their primary objective for at least the past 25 years.

    Digging deeper into 20th century history, one finds the exaltation of big business at the expense of the citizen was a central characteristic of government policy in Germany and Italy in the years before those countries were chewed to bits and spat out by fascism. Fascist dictatorships were borne to power in each of these countries by big business, and they served the interests of big business with remarkable ferocity.

    These facts have been lost to the popular consciousness in North America. Fascism could therefore return to us, and we will not even recognize it. Indeed, Huey Long, one of America's most brilliant and most corrupt politicians, was once asked if America would ever see fascism. "Yes," he replied, "but we will call it anti-fascism."

    By exploring the disturbing parallels between our own time and the era of overt fascism, we can avoid the same hideous mistakes. At present, we live in a constitutional democracy. The tools necessary to protect us from fascism remain in the hands of the citizen. All the same, North America is on a fascist trajectory. We must recognize this threat for what it is, and we must change course.

    Consider the words of Thurman Arnold, head of the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in 1939:

    "Germany, of course, has developed within 15 years from an industrial autocracy into a dictatorship. Most people are under the impression that the power of Hitler was the result of his demagogic blandishments and appeals to the mob... Actually, Hitler holds his power through the final and inevitable development of the uncontrolled tendency to combine in restraint of trade."

    Arnold made his point even more clearly in a 1939 address to the American Bar Association:

    "Germany presents the logical end of the process of cartelization. From 1923 to 1935, cartelization grew in Germany until finally that nation was so organized that everyone had to belong either to a squad, a regiment or a brigade in order to survive. The names given to these squads, regiments or brigades were cartels, trade associations, unions and trusts. Such a distribution system could not adjust its prices. It needed a general with quasi-military authority who could order the workers to work and the mills to produce. Hitler named himself that general. Had it not been Hitler it would have been someone else."

    I suspect that to most readers, Arnold's words are bewildering. People today are quite certain that they know what fascism is. When I ask people to define it, they typically tell me what it was, the assumption being that it no longer exists. Most people associate fascism with concentration camps and rows of storm troopers, yet they know nothing of the political and economic processes that led to these horrible end results.

    Before the rise of fascism, Germany and Italy were, on paper, liberal democracies. Fascism did not swoop down on these nations as if from another planet. To the contrary, fascist dictatorship was the result of political and economic changes these nations underwent while they were still democratic. In both these countries, economic power became so utterly concentrated that the bulk of all economic activity fell under the control of a handful of men. Economic power, when sufficiently vast, becomes by its very nature political power. The political power of big business supported fascism in Italy and Germany.

    Business tightened its grip on the state in both Italy and Germany by means of intricate webs of cartels and business associations. These associations exercised a high degree of control over the businesses of their members. They frequently controlled pricing, supply and the licensing of patented technology. These associations were private but were entirely legal. Neither Germany nor Italy had effective antitrust laws, and the proliferation of business associations was generally encouraged by government.

    This was an era eerily like our own, insofar as economists and businessmen constantly clamoured for self-regulation in business. By the mid 1920s, however, self-regulation had become self-imposed regimentation. By means of monopoly and cartel, the businessmen had wrought for themselves a "command and control" economy that replaced the free market. The business associations of Italy and Germany at this time are perhaps history's most perfect illustration of Adam Smith's famous dictum: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."

    How could the German government not be influenced by Fritz Thyssen, the man who controlled most of Germany's coal production? How could it ignore the demands of the great I.G. Farben industrial trust, controlling as it did most of that nation's chemical production? Indeed, the German nation was bent to the will of these powerful industrial interests. Hitler attended to the reduction of taxes applicable to large businesses while simultaneously increasing the same taxes as they related to small business. Previous decrees establishing price ceilings were repealed such that the cost of living for the average family was increased. Hitler's economic policies hastened the destruction of Germany's middle class by decimating small business.

    Ironically, Hitler pandered to the middle class, and they provided some of his most enthusiastically violent supporters. The fact that he did this while simultaneously destroying them was a terrible achievement of Nazi propaganda.

    Hitler also destroyed organized labour by making strikes illegal. Notwithstanding the socialist terms in which he appealed to the masses, Hitler's labour policy was the dream come true of the industrial cartels that supported him. Nazi law gave total control over wages and working conditions to the employer.

    Compulsory (slave) labour was the crowning achievement of Nazi labour relations. Along with millions of people, organized labour died in the concentration camps. The camps were not only the most depraved of all human achievements, they were a part and parcel of Nazi economic policy. Hitler's Untermenschen, largely Jews, Poles and Russians, supplied slave labour to German industry. Surely this was a capitalist bonanza. In another bitter irony, the gates over many of the camps bore a sign that read Arbeit Macht Frei — "Work shall set you free." I do not know if this was black humour or propaganda, but it is emblematic of the deception that lies at the heart of fascism.

    The same economic reality existed in Italy between the two world wars. In that country, nearly all industrial activity was owned or controlled by a few corporate giants, Fiat and the Ansaldo shipping concern being the chief examples of this.

    Land ownership in Italy was also highly concentrated and jealously guarded. Vast tracts of farmland were owned by a few latifundisti. The actual farming was carried out by a landless peasantry who were locked into a role essentially the same as that of the sharecropper of the U.S. Deep South.

    As in Germany, the few owners of the nation's capital assets had immense influence over government. As a young man, Mussolini had been a strident socialist, and he, like Hitler, used socialist language to lure the people to fascism. Mussolini spoke of a "corporate" society wherein the energy of the people would not be wasted on class struggle. The entire economy was to be divided into industry specific corporazioni, bodies composed of both labour and management representatives. The corporazioni would resolve all labour/management disputes; if they failed to do so, the fascist state would intervene.

    Unfortunately, as in Germany, there laid at the heart of this plan a swindle. The corporazioni, to the extent that they were actually put in place, were controlled by the employers. Together with Mussolini's ban on strikes, these measures reduced the Italian labourer to the status of peasant.

    Mussolini, the one-time socialist, went on to abolish the inheritance tax, a measure that favoured the wealthy. He decreed a series of massive subsidies to Italy's largest industrial businesses and repeatedly ordered wage reductions. Italy's poor were forced to subsidize the wealthy. In real terms, wages and living standards for the average Italian dropped precipitously under fascism.

    Even this brief historical sketch shows how fascism did the bidding of big business. The fact that Hitler called his party the "National Socialist Party" did not change the reactionary nature of his policies. The connection between the fascist dictatorships and monopoly capital was obvious to the U.S. Department of Justice in 1939. As of 2005, however, it is all but forgotten.

    It is always dangerous to forget the lessons of history. It is particularly perilous to forget about the economic origins of fascism in our modern era of deregulation. Most Western liberal democracies are currently in the thrall of what some call market fundamentalism. Few nowadays question the flawed assumption that state intervention in the marketplace is inherently bad.

    As in Italy and Germany in the '20s and '30s, business associations clamour for more deregulation and deeper tax cuts. The gradual erosion of antitrust legislation, especially in the United States, has encouraged consolidation in many sectors of the economy by way of mergers and acquisitions. The North American economy has become more monopolistic than at any time in the post-WWII period.

    U.S. census data from 1997 shows that the largest four companies in the food, motor vehicle and aerospace industries control 53.4, 87.3 and 55.6 per cent of their respective markets. Over 20 per cent of commercial banking in the U.S. is controlled by the four largest financial institutions, with the largest 50 controlling over 60 per cent. Even these numbers underestimate the scope of concentration, since they do not account for the myriad interconnections between firms by means of debt instruments and multiple directorships, which further reduce the extent of competition.

    Actual levels of U.S. commercial concentration have been difficult to measure since the 1970s, when strong corporate opposition put an end to the Federal Trade Commission's efforts to collect the necessary information.

    Fewer, larger competitors dominate all economic activity, and their political will is expressed with the millions of dollars they spend lobbying politicians and funding policy formulation in the many right-wing institutes that now limit public discourse to the question of how best to serve the interests of business.

    The consolidation of the economy and the resulting perversion of public policy are themselves fascistic. I am certain, however, that former president Bill Clinton was not worried about fascism when he repealed federal antitrust laws that had been enacted in the 1930s.

    The Canadian Council of Chief Executives is similarly unworried about fascism as it lobbies the Canadian government to water down proposed amendments to our federal Competition Act. (The Competition Act, last amended in 1986, regulates monopolies, among other things, and itself represents a watering down of Canada's previous antitrust laws. It was essentially rewritten by industry and handed to the Mulroney government to be enacted.)

    At present, monopolies are regulated on purely economic grounds to ensure the efficient allocation of goods.

    If we are to protect ourselves from the growing political influence of big business, then our antitrust laws must be reconceived in a way that recognizes the political danger of monopolistic conditions.

    Antitrust laws do not just protect the market place, they protect democracy.

    It might be argued that North America's democratic political systems are so entrenched that we needn't fear fascism's return. The democracies of Italy and Germany in the 1920s were in many respects fledgling and weak. Our systems will surely react at the first whiff of dictatorship.

    Or will they? This argument denies the reality that the fascist dictatorships were preceded by years of reactionary politics, the kind of politics that are playing out today. Further, it is based on the conceit that whatever our own governments do is democracy. Canada still clings to a quaint, 19th-century "first past the post" electoral system in which a minority of the popular vote can and has resulted in majority control of Parliament.

    In the U.S., millions still question the legality of the sitting president's first election victory, and the power to declare war has effectively become his personal prerogative. Assuming that we have enough democracy to protect us is exactly the kind of complacency that allows our systems to be quietly and slowly perverted. On paper, Italy and Germany had constitutional, democratic systems. What they lacked was the eternal vigilance necessary to sustain them. That vigilance is also lacking today.

    Our collective forgetfulness about the economic nature of fascism is also dangerous at a philosophical level. As contradictory as it may seem, fascist dictatorship was made possible because of the flawed notion of freedom that held sway during the era of laissez-faire capitalism in the early 20th century.

    It was the liberals of that era who clamoured for unfettered personal and economic freedom, no matter what the cost to society. Such untrammelled freedom is not suitable to civilized humans. It is the freedom of the jungle. In other words, the strong have more of it than the weak. It is a notion of freedom that is inherently violent, because it is enjoyed at the expense of others. Such a notion of freedom legitimizes each and every increase in the wealth and power of those who are already powerful, regardless of the misery that will be suffered by others as a result. The use of the state to limit such "freedom" was denounced by the laissez-faire liberals of the early 20th century. The use of the state to protect such "freedom" was fascism. Just as monopoly is the ruin of the free market, fascism is the ultimate degradation of liberal capitalism.

    In the post-war period, this flawed notion of freedom has been perpetuated by the neo-liberal school of thought. The neo-liberals denounce any regulation of the marketplace. In so doing, they mimic the posture of big business in the pre-fascist period. Under the sway of neo-liberalism, Thatcher, Reagan, Mulroney and George W. Bush have decimated labour and exalted capital. (At present, only 7.8 per cent of workers in the U.S. private sector are unionized — about the same percentage as in the early 1900s.)

    Neo-liberals call relentlessly for tax cuts, which, in a previously progressive system, disproportionately favour the wealthy. Regarding the distribution of wealth, the neo-liberals have nothing to say. In the end, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. As in Weimar Germany, the function of the state is being reduced to that of a steward for the interests of the moneyed elite. All that would be required now for a more rapid descent into fascism are a few reasons for the average person to forget he is being ripped off. Hatred of Arabs, fundamentalist Christianity or an illusory sense of perpetual war may well be taking the place of Hitler's hatred for communists and Jews.

    Neo-liberal intellectuals often recognize the need for violence to protect what they regard as freedom. Thomas Friedman of The New York Times has written enthusiastically that "the hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist," and that "McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the U.S. Air Force F-15." As in pre-fascist Germany and Italy, the laissez-faire businessmen call for the state to do their bidding even as they insist that the state should stay out of the marketplace. Put plainly, neo-liberals advocate the use of the state's military force for the sake of private gain. Their view of the state's role in society is identical to that of the businessmen and intellectuals who supported Hitler and Mussolini. There is no fear of the big state here. There is only the desire to wield its power. Neo-liberalism is thus fertile soil for fascism to grow again into an outright threat to our democracy.

    Having said that fascism is the result of a flawed notion of freedom, we need to re-examine what we mean when we throw around the word. We must conceive of freedom in a more enlightened way.

    Indeed, it was the thinkers of the Enlightenment who imagined a balanced and civilized freedom that did not impinge upon the freedom of one's neighbour. Put in the simplest terms, my right to life means that you must give up your freedom to kill me. This may seem terribly obvious to decent people. Unfortunately, in our neo-liberal era, this civilized sense of freedom has, like the dangers of fascism, been all but forgotten.

    Paul Bigioni is a lawyer practising in Markham. This article is drawn from his work on a book about the persistence of fascism.

    http://informationclearinghouse.info/article11155.htm
    Sandi from Hermosa Beach

  9. #1434
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    Teen With Peanut Allergy Dies After Kiss

    SAGUENAY, Quebec - A 15-year-old girl with a peanut allergy died after kissing her boyfriend, who had just eaten a peanut butter snack, hospital Christina Desforges died in a Quebec hospital Wednesday after doctors were unable to treat her allergic reaction to the kiss the previous weekend.

    Desforges, who lived in Saguenay, about 155 miles north of Quebec City, was almost immediately given a shot of adrenaline, a standard tool for treating the anaphylactic shock brought on by a peanut allergy, officials said.

    An autopsy was being performed. Dr. Nina Verreault, an allergist at the Chicoutimi Hospital in Saguenay, declined to comment on the case.

    The symptoms of peanut allergy can include hives, plunging blood pressure and swelling of the face and throat, which can block breathing.

    Peanut allergies have been rising in recent decades. The reason remains unclear but one study found that baby creams or lotions with peanut oil may cause children to develop allergies later in life.

    About 1.5 million Americans are severely allergic to even the smallest trace of peanuts and peanut allergies account for 50 to 100 deaths in the United States each year. Canadian figures were not immediately available.
    ==
    FULL COVERAGE: ALERGIES AND ASTHMA--GO TO ONLINE SITE TO ACCESS LINKS:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051128/...BhBHNlYwM5NjQ-
    Sandi from Hermosa Beach

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    Bush's Burgeoning Body Count


    Commentary: Casualties of the Bush Administration, Part II.

    By Nick Turse

    November 28, 2005

    Also in this Series:The Fallen Legion
    The ever more numerous casualties of the Bush Administration

    A Nation Under God
    Let others worry about the rapture: For the increasingly powerful Christian Reconstruction movement, the task is to establish the Kingdom of God right now—from the courthouse to the White House.

    About six weeks ago, at the urging of fellow TomDispatch author Rebecca Solnit, I undertook the beginnings of an on-line memorial to the Fallen Legion of the Bush administration. It was, in effect, a proposal for a virtual "wall" made up of the seemingly endless and ever-growing list of top officials as well as beleaguered administrators, managers, and career civil servants who had quit their government posts in protest or were defamed, threatened, fired, forced out, demoted, or driven to retire by administration strong-arm tactics, cronyism, and disastrous policies. As a start, I offered 42 prospective names for a Fallen Legion (and brief descriptions of their fates). These ranged from well-known figures like the President's former chief adviser on terrorism on the National Security Council, Richard Clarke, former Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki, and former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill to the archivist of the United States, the state director of the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho, and three members of the White House Cultural Property Advisory Committee (who resigned over the looting of Iraq after Baghdad fell to U.S. troops). I also called upon readers to aid my future efforts and to send suggestions to: fallenlegionwall@yahoo.com. (And I renew that call in this piece.)

    The response has been, in a word, overwhelming. Hundreds of letters poured in -- from readers who took me to task for the omission of their own personal picks for such a "Wall" to notes of encouragement from courageous former officials already included in my listing (like Teresa Chambers, the U.S. Park Police Chief who was fired for speaking out and now has a website documenting her long struggle). Some of the fallen whose stories, sad to say, I hadn't even heard of, wrote in as well.

    Here, then, is the second installment in what is by now an ongoing series at Tomdispatch dedicated to continuing to build the Fallen Legion Wall, "brick" by "brick." Included in this installment is one honorary legionnaire, former NFL football player Pat Tillman, and a consideration of some officials picked by readers for spots of honor whose departure from government service was less than clear cut. This new installment adds approximately 175 additional casualties to the rolls of "the Fallen." But bear in mind that this list is not yet close to being finished. Many suggested Fallen Legionnaires (even some who wrote in personally) do not appear below, but will take their bows in future follow-ups.

    Additional Casualties

    Jesselyn Radack: An attorney in the Justice Department's Professional Responsibility Advisory Office who worked on the case of John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban, Radack warned federal prosecutors that interrogating him without his attorney present would be unethical. When the FBI interviewed Lindh anyway, Raddack told Tomdispatch, she "then recommended that [the transcript] be sealed and only used for intelligence-gathering purposes, not for criminal prosecution." Again, her advice was ignored. Later, when Lindh was on trial, Radack learned that the judge in the case had requested copies of all internal correspondence concerning Lindh's interrogation. Although Radack had written more than a dozen e-mails on the subject, she discovered that only two of them had been turned over and neither reflected her contention that the FBI had committed an ethics violation.

    Checking the hard-copy office file, she discovered that the rest of her e-mail messages were missing. With the help of technical support, she "resurrected the e-mails from her computer archives, documented them, provided them to her boss, and took home a copy for safekeeping in case they ?disappeared' again." She would later turn over copies of the e-mails to Newsweek magazine in compliance with the Whistleblower Protection Act. She has paid a heavy price for her stand against the government. As she told TomDispatch:


    "I was forced out of my job at the Justice Department, fired from my subsequent private sector job [with the law firm of Hawkins, Delafield & Wood] at the government's behest, placed under criminal investigations, referred to the state bars in which I'm licensed as an attorney, and put on the "no-fly" list. I have spent $100,000 defending against a criminal investigation that was dropped and a bar charge that was dismissed. The D.C. Bar Complaint is still pending after two years and despite the fact that I was elected to the D.C. Bar's Legal Ethics Committee."

    Resigned, April 2002

    Sibel Edmonds: Hired shortly after the 9/11 attacks as an FBI translator of documents related to the war on terror (due to her knowledge of Turkish, Farsi, and Azerbaijani), Edmonds alleged security breaches, mismanagement, and possible espionage within the FBI in late 2001 and early 2002, and was fired. She then sued the Justice Department, alleging "that her rights under the Privacy Act and her First and Fifth amendment rights had been violated by the government," but her case was dismissed by a U.S. District Court judge after then-Attorney General John Ashcroft invoked the state-secrets privilege, which allows the government to withhold information to safeguard national security. A summary of a report by the Justice Department's Inspector General, released in January 2005, however "conclude[d] that Edmonds was fired for reporting serious security breaches and misconduct in the agency's translation program." Fired, March 2002

    Stephen R. Kappes: deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency's clandestine services resigned, according to the Washington Post, after a confrontation with Patrick Murray, chief of staff to the new CIA director and Bush administration enforcer, former Congressman Porter Goss, who was said to be "treating senior officials disrespectfully." According to the Baltimore Sun, a "former senior CIA official said that the White House ?doesn't want Steve Kappes to reconsider his resignation.'" Resigned, November 2004.

    Robert Richer: After less than a year on the job, Stephen Kappes' replacement as the number two official in the Central Intelligence Agency's Directorate of Operations "quit" the agency as well. In a highly unusual move, the former CIA station chief in Amman, Jordan, and head of the Near East division, attended "a closed session of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence? to answer questions about how his concern over a lack of leadership at the agency triggered his retirement." But before meeting with the Senate committee, he first went right to Goss and, according to a CIA agent whose identity (wrote the Washington Post), is protected by law, "Rob laid at his doorstep, in a collegial way, that Goss is out of touch? It fell on deaf ears." As a result, "Richer left the meeting angry and walked out of the Langley headquarters for perhaps the last time, several officers said." Retired, September, 2005.

    Central Intelligence Agency (30-90 personnel): Kappes and Richer were not alone. The Washington Post recently reported that under Porter Goss -- a Bush appointee who is "close to the White House"-- "[a]t least a dozen senior officials -- several of whom were promoted under Goss-- have resigned, retired early or requested reassignment." The Post also noted that in "the clandestine service alone? Goss has lost one director, two deputy directors, and at least a dozen department heads, station chiefs and division directors -- many with the key language skills and experience he has said the agency needs." Since Goss took over, according to Robert Dreyfuss in the American Prospect, "between 30 and 90 senior CIA officials have made their exit, some fleeing into retirement, others taking refuge as consultants. Others, unable to retire, have stayed, but only to mark time at the agency." Resigned/Retired/Reassigned, 2004-2005.

    The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division (dozens of employees): According to a recent report in the Washington Post, the agency responsible for enforcing "the nation's anti-discrimination laws for nearly half a century, is in the midst of an upheaval that has driven away dozens of veteran lawyers and has damaged morale for many of those who remain, according to former and current career employees." The Post notes that -- in addition to a 40% drop in "prosecutions for the kinds of racial and gender discrimination crimes traditionally handled by the division" over the last five years, "[n]early 20 percent of the division's lawyers left in fiscal 2005, in part because of a buyout program that some lawyers believe was aimed at pushing out those who did not share the administration's conservative views on civil rights laws." Additionally, it was reported that "dozens" of those who remained with the agency were reassigned "to handle immigration cases instead of civil rights litigation." According to Richard Ugelow, a law professor at American University who left the Civil Rights Division in 2004,"Most everyone in the Civil Rights Division realized that with the change of administration, there would be some cutting back of some cases. But I don't think people anticipated that it would go this far, that enforcement would be cut back to the point that people felt like they were spinning their wheels." Retired/Resigned, 2005.

    The Office of Special Counsel (7 employees): After Elaine Kaplan, a Clinton-appointee who headed the U.S. Office of Special Counsel -- the agency that investigates federal whistleblowers' allegations -- failed to be reappointed to a second term by President Bush, she tendered her resignation stating, "in these times of heightened concern about national security, it is very important that OSC be viewed as a credible, non-partisan advocate on behalf of whistleblowers." She was replaced by Scott Bloch, a Bush appointee who has been called "a gay-hating, secretive, partisan, political hack" and previously served as deputy director of the Task Force for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Bloch, reports the Project On Government Oversight, went on to order "more than 20 percent of his headquarters legal and investigative staff to relocate or be fired. According to a letter of protest filed? by three national whistleblower watchdog groups, those targeted for forced moves [were] all career employees hired before Scott Bloch became Special Counsel, as part of a purge to stifle dissent and re-staff the agency with handpicked loyalists." Most refused to uproot their lives and, within a mandatory 60-day time limit, move from Washington, D.C. to Dallas, Oakland, or Detroit and were dismissed as a result. Fired, 2005.

    Individual Ready Reserve (73 soldiers): Members of a special reserve program of "inactive troops" who are still under contract to the armed forces and were called back to service due to the Bush administration's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they "defied orders to appear for wartime duty, some for more than a year, yet the Army has quietly chosen not to act against them." Refused service, 2005.

    Brent Scowcroft: A retired Lieutenant General, national security adviser to President Gerald Ford, and longtime friend and former national security adviser to George H.W. Bush, Scowcroft served as the chairman of President George W. Bush's President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB). This group advises the chief executive on "the quality and adequacy of intelligence collection, of analysis and estimates, of counterintelligence, and of other intelligence activities" and is composed, says the White House, of "distinguished citizens outside the government who are qualified on the basis of achievement, experience, independence, and integrity." In August 2002, Scowcroft wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal whose title made its point abundantly clear: "Don't Attack Saddam." As a result, "his old friends in high office -- Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, and so forth -- stopped speaking to him" and his appointment to the PFIAB was not renewed when his term expired in 2004. Failed to be reappointed, 2004.

    John J. DiIulio Jr.: The first director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, he quit his post after only seven months on the job. In an interview with Esquire magazine DiIulio disclosed, "There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus. What you've got is everything -- and I mean everything -- being run by the political arm. It's the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis." He also decried "a virtual absence as yet of any policy accomplishments that might, to a fair-minded nonpartisan, count as the flesh on the bones of so-called compassionate conservatism." Resigned, August 2001.

    David Kuo: After serving in the White House for two-and-a-half years as a Special Assistant to the President and deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, he left his post in 2003. Kuo wrote, "I have deep respect, appreciation, and affection for the president," but went on to say that "[t]here was minimal senior White House commitment to the faith-based agenda" and that there never really was great concern over what he called "the ?poor people stuff.'" Resigned, December 2003.

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    Marlene Braun: A 13-year veteran of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), she was appointed manager of Carrizo Plain National Monument -- 250,000 acres of native grasses and Native American sacred sites, located about 120 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Once the Bush administration came to power, the BLM, under Interior Secretary Gale Norton, "began crafting a grazing policy that lifted protections for wildlife and habitat across 161 million acres of public lands in the West, including the Carrizo." In an August 2005 article the Los Angeles Times wrote, that Braun "was torn between the demands of a new boss who she felt favored the region's ranchers, and conservation policies adopted nearly a decade ago to protecting the austere swath of prairie she shared with pronghorn antelope and peregrine falcons, the California condor and the California jewelflower." That boss, said Braun, stripped her of "almost all my influence on the Plain," transferring it to those she deemed to be "pro-grazing." She repeatedly clashed with him and wrote to colleagues, "I ... can't keep fighting indefinitely, I don't think? [but m]aybe fighting is better than capitulating.... The Carrizo could lose a lot if I give up.... But hell, you only live, and die, once!!!!" When Braun contacted other officials at the Department of Fish and Game as well as the Nature Conservancy about "several public misstatements she believed [her boss] had made about federal grazing law," he found out and suspended her. Braun appealed the suspension, but on February 15, 2005, her appeal was denied. Braun remained in touch with Bureau of Land Management officials concerning issues related to management of the Carrizo Plain and was repeatedly reprimanded for it. As a result, she told friends, she was certain she would be fired from the Bureau. Braun forwarded the disciplinary memos she continued to receive to officials at the Department of Fish and Game and the Nature Conservancy. She wrote, "I will no longer be participating in this mess.... I will not take being treated like a whipping girl..." The next day she put a .38 caliber pistol to her head and pulled the trigger. Committed Suicide, May 2, 2005.

    The Used: An Honorary Fallen Legionnaire

    Pat Tillman: A defensive back in the National Football League who turned down a $3.6 million contract to join the military after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he died in a hail of bullets in Afghanistan. Tillman, following in the tradition of the long-ago cast aside Jessica Lynch, was embraced by the administration as a poster-boy for the American war effort. His name was invoked by the White House as well as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as a "symbo[l] of our country's courage and determination." But even in death, Tillman proved too tough for the administration to tame. Steve Coll of the Washington Post revealed that, while "records show Tillman fought bravely and honorably until his last breath," they also revealed "that his superiors exaggerated his actions and invented details as they burnished his legend in public, at the same time suppressing details that might tarnish Tillman's commanders." In fact,"the Army kept the soldiers on the ground quiet and told Tillman's family and the public that he was killed by enemy fire while storming a hill," reporting that "Tillman was part of a coalition combat patrol that was ambushed" by enemy forces. It turned out, however, that he had been gunned down by U.S. troops and that fact was simply covered up by military officials. Soon his family spoke up. Said his mother, Mary Tillman:

    "Pat had high ideals about the country; that's why he did what he did. The military let him down. The administration let him down. It was a sign of disrespect. The fact that he was the ultimate team player and he watched his own men kill him is absolutely heartbreaking and tragic. The fact that they lied about it afterward is disgusting."

    His father, Patrick Tillman Sr., was equally furious, stating:

    "After it happened, all the people in positions of authority went out of their way to script this. They purposely interfered with the investigation, they covered it up. I think they thought they could control it, and they realized that their recruiting efforts were going to go to hell in a hand basket if the truth about his death got out. They blew up their poster boy."

    And from beyond the grave, the administration's would-be propaganda puppet (who, it turns out was a major Noam Chomsky fan) had the last word -- via the recollections of his close friend, Army Specialist Russell Baer, who served with Tillman in Iraq:


    "We were outside of [a city in southern Iraq] watching as bombs were dropping on the town. We were at an old air base, me, Kevin [Tillman, Pat's brother] and Pat, we weren't in the fight right then. We were talking. And Pat said, ?You know, this war is so f____ illegal.' And we all said, ?Yeah.' That's who he was. He totally was against Bush."

    The Fallen?

    Numerous readers sent in possible additions to the list of "the Fallen." Among them were cases of high officials who left government service under somewhat ambiguous circumstances. Did they or didn't they resign in protest? Were they forced out? Was it cover-your-ass infused political self-preservation or total revulsion with administration policies? You make the call:

    Christine Todd Whitman: A favorite of readers who want to believe the best about humanity, Whitman was appointed by Bush in 2001 as chief of the Environmental Protection Agency and served two-and-a-half years before resigning. Her tenure was plagued by scandal over an alleged cover-up concerning the air quality in lower Manhattan following the 9/11 attacks and, according to Jeff Ruch, the executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), she also "presided over the greatest rollback in environmental enforcement in history? [and] pushed pollution control policies that put corporations rather than public health considerations in the driver's seat." Whitman noted that she sometimes had arguments with the White House that were "a little awkward" -- and, after leaving office, she authored a book, It's My Party, Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America in which she mildly criticized the current state of the Republican party. It didn't stop her, however, from becoming co-chair of Bush's 2004 reelection campaign in New Jersey and one of the campaign's "Rangers" -- an elite group of fundraisers, each of whom was responsible for gathering up more than $200,000 for the president.

    Colin Powell: A professional soldier for 35 years, including service as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Powell was appointed Secretary of State by Bush and served in that capacity for the President's entire first term in office. During his tenure, Powell was said to have been a lone voice advocating diplomacy in the rush to war with Iraq. Despite this, it was Powell who appeared before the United Nations Security Council and made the case for war on the basis of supposed weapons of mass destruction that were later proved to be non-existent. In his letter of resignation, Powell stated that he was "pleased to have been part of a team that launched the Global War Against Terror, liberated the Afghan and Iraqi people, brought the attention of the world to the problem of proliferation, [and] reaffirmed our alliances?" In the time since, Powell has admitted that making the case for war will remain a "blot" on his record. "I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United States to the world, and [it] will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It's painful now," he said. But as former CIA analyst Melvin Goodman said recently on a Democracy Now segment devoted to discussing "The Fallen Legion":

    "The sad thing about the list? is the resignation that didn't take place. And that's Colin Powell. So, you have the great American story. And Colin Powell is that. But he's always going to have to live with the fact that he used the phony intelligence that the C.I.A. prepared for him, and he had to know that some of this was really bogus, that he was really stretching a point. And he had John Negroponte, the U.N. ambassador, sitting behind him, along with [CIA Director] George Tenet, while these lies were told to an international community, therefore jeopardizing American credibility."

    Charlotte Beers: A top advertising executive who was, in the immediate wake of 9/11, tasked with "spearhead[ing] a public diplomacy campaign aimed at winning the hearts and minds of the Muslim world," she submitted her resignation in March 2003, claiming "health reasons" as the cause of her departure. CNN, however, reported that an unnamed "U.S. official" said the real reasons were due to "problems she encountered in the job."

    General Kevin P. Byrnes: A Vietnam veteran, he ranked third in seniority among the Army's 11 four-star generals and headed the Army's Training and Doctrine Command (TRACDOC). While Byrnes was said to have "a previously unblemished record [and] was set to retire? after 36 years of service," he was sacked -- the first case, said Army officials, of a "four-star general being relieved of duty in modern times." The official reasons for this, wrote the Washington Post, were "allegations that he had an extramarital affair with a civilian." But the newspaper also noted, "Relieving a general of his command amid such allegations is extremely unusual, especially given that he was about to retire" and some commentators raised the possibility that the "White House's need to block anti-torture legislation on detainees" figured into the general's firing. A number of others similarly called attention to the odd fact that, as Ariana Huffington wrote, at the Pentagon, "Torture is Rewarded While Sex is a Firing Offense."

    The Mounting Toll The Mounting Toll

    Over the years, presidents who have launched illegitimate military actions and pursued ruinous policies have often left a trail of wrecked careers in their wake. While he publicly defended Lyndon Johnson's policies, Undersecretary of State George Ball privately argued against military escalation in Vietnam, eventually resigning his post in 1966. Jimmy Carter's secretary of state, Cyrus Vance, resigned in protest over the failed military operation to rescue U.S. hostages in Iran, which he had opposed. In all, "eight of Jimmy Carter's cabinet members eventually resigned during his one term in office," while "[o]ther top administration officials, including Carter's Ambassador to the United Nations, Andrew Young, were forced out? because of unauthorized meetings with PLO leaders." Analysis of their archives by Lexis-Nexis researchers found that Ronald Reagan "saw all but one of his cabinet positions change hands during his two terms in office from 1981-1989" and that he had a total of "four chiefs of staff and six national security advisors." Lexis-Nexis also determined that "[b]efore he finished his second term in office, [Bill Clinton] had 10 of his original cabinet members resign and several of their replacements also resign." Further, resignations on moral and ethical grounds during the Clinton Administration included "top Department of Health and Human Services officials Peter Edelman, Mary Jo Bane and Wendell Primus." They resigned in protest "over President Clinton's decision to sign a welfare bill that the officials thought would be a disaster for the poor and the country." Meanwhile, in a 1998 article in the New York Times, a then-less-known Judith Miller reported that a then-less-known United Nations weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, had resigned?[from his UN post] charging that the U.N. secretary-general, the Security Council and the Clinton administration had stymied the inspectors? ." Not exactly one of Clinton's "Fallen," but, in light of revelations since, worth mentioning nonetheless.

    Over the years, many public servants from many administrations have been fired, forced out, or have quit their posts in protest. Unfortunately no one, to my knowledge, has bothered to catalogue them all. Despite a lack of precise figures, it also seems that no administration in recent memory has come close to the Bush presidency in producing so many high-profile public statements of resignation, dissatisfaction, or anger over administration policies, actions or inaction. Even discounting an entire class of ambiguously "fallen" officials and appointees, from Whitman and Powell to Valerie Plame (who is, apparently, still a CIA employee) and her husband ex-ambassador Joseph Wilson (the one-mission man), there are a seemingly endless number of legionnaires whose names have yet to be inscribed next to the approximately 217 already on "the Fallen Legion Wall." When added to the rolls of the real "Fallen" -- Iraqis and Afghans; Americans and other coalition forces; civilians, guerillas, mercenaries, and soldiers -- the human cost of the Bush administration's actions and policies will prove staggering.
    SIZE="2"]A Nation Under God[/SIZE]
    Let others worry about the rapture: For the increasingly powerful Christian Reconstruction movement, the task is to establish the Kingdom of God right now—from the courthouse to the White House.

    About six weeks ago, at the urging of fellow TomDispatch author Rebecca Solnit, I undertook the beginnings of an on-line memorial to the Fallen Legion of the Bush administration. It was, in effect, a proposal for a virtual "wall" made up of the seemingly endless and ever-growing list of top officials as well as beleaguered administrators, managers, and career civil servants who had quit their government posts in protest or were defamed, threatened, fired, forced out, demoted, or driven to retire by administration strong-arm tactics, cronyism, and disastrous policies. As a start, I offered 42 prospective names for a Fallen Legion (and brief descriptions of their fates). These ranged from well-known figures like the President's former chief adviser on terrorism on the National Security Council, Richard Clarke, former Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki, and former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill to the archivist of the United States, the state director of the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho, and three members of the White House Cultural Property Advisory Committee (who resigned over the looting of Iraq after Baghdad fell to U.S. troops). I also called upon readers to aid my future efforts and to send suggestions to: fallenlegionwall@yahoo.com. (And I renew that call in this piece.)

    The response has been, in a word, overwhelming. Hundreds of letters poured in -- from readers who took me to task for the omission of their own personal picks for such a "Wall" to notes of encouragement from courageous former officials already included in my listing (like Teresa Chambers, the U.S. Park Police Chief who was fired for speaking out and now has a website documenting her long struggle). Some of the fallen whose stories, sad to say, I hadn't even heard of, wrote in as well.

    Here, then, is the second installment in what is by now an ongoing series at Tomdispatch dedicated to continuing to build the Fallen Legion Wall, "brick" by "brick." Included in this installment is one honorary legionnaire, former NFL football player Pat Tillman, and a consideration of some officials picked by readers for spots of honor whose departure from government service was less than clear cut. This new installment adds approximately 175 additional casualties to the rolls of "the Fallen." But bear in mind that this list is not yet close to being finished. Many suggested Fallen Legionnaires (even some who wrote in personally) do not appear below, but will take their bows in future follow-ups.

    Additional Casualties

    Jesselyn Radack: An attorney in the Justice Department's Professional Responsibility Advisory Office who worked on the case of John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban, Radack warned federal prosecutors that interrogating him without his attorney present would be unethical. When the FBI interviewed Lindh anyway, Raddack told Tomdispatch, she "then recommended that [the transcript] be sealed and only used for intelligence-gathering purposes, not for criminal prosecution." Again, her advice was ignored. Later, when Lindh was on trial, Radack learned that the judge in the case had requested copies of all internal correspondence concerning Lindh's interrogation. Although Radack had written more than a dozen e-mails on the subject, she discovered that only two of them had been turned over and neither reflected her contention that the FBI had committed an ethics violation.

    Checking the hard-copy office file, she discovered that the rest of her e-mail messages were missing. With the help of technical support, she "resurrected the e-mails from her computer archives, documented them, provided them to her boss, and took home a copy for safekeeping in case they ?disappeared' again." She would later turn over copies of the e-mails to Newsweek magazine in compliance with the Whistleblower Protection Act. She has paid a heavy price for her stand against the government. As she told TomDispatch:


    "I was forced out of my job at the Justice Department, fired from my subsequent private sector job [with the law firm of Hawkins, Delafield & Wood] at the government's behest, placed under criminal investigations, referred to the state bars in which I'm licensed as an attorney, and put on the "no-fly" list. I have spent $100,000 defending against a criminal investigation that was dropped and a bar charge that was dismissed. The D.C. Bar Complaint is still pending after two years and despite the fact that I was elected to the D.C. Bar's Legal Ethics Committee."

    Resigned, April 2002

    Sibel Edmonds: Hired shortly after the 9/11 attacks as an FBI translator of documents related to the war on terror (due to her knowledge of Turkish, Farsi, and Azerbaijani), Edmonds alleged security breaches, mismanagement, and possible espionage within the FBI in late 2001 and early 2002, and was fired. She then sued the Justice Department, alleging "that her rights under the Privacy Act and her First and Fifth amendment rights had been violated by the government," but her case was dismissed by a U.S. District Court judge after then-Attorney General John Ashcroft invoked the state-secrets privilege, which allows the government to withhold information to safeguard national security. A summary of a report by the Justice Department's Inspector General, released in January 2005, however "conclude[d] that Edmonds was fired for reporting serious security breaches and misconduct in the agency's translation program." Fired, March 2002

    Stephen R. Kappes: deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency's clandestine services resigned, according to the Washington Post, after a confrontation with Patrick Murray, chief of staff to the new CIA director and Bush administration enforcer, former Congressman Porter Goss, who was said to be "treating senior officials disrespectfully." According to the Baltimore Sun, a "former senior CIA official said that the White House ?doesn't want Steve Kappes to reconsider his resignation.'" Resigned, November 2004.

    Robert Richer: After less than a year on the job, Stephen Kappes' replacement as the number two official in the Central Intelligence Agency's Directorate of Operations "quit" the agency as well. In a highly unusual move, the former CIA station chief in Amman, Jordan, and head of the Near East division, attended "a closed session of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence? to answer questions about how his concern over a lack of leadership at the agency triggered his retirement." But before meeting with the Senate committee, he first went right to Goss and, according to a CIA agent whose identity (wrote the Washington Post), is protected by law, "Rob laid at his doorstep, in a collegial way, that Goss is out of touch? It fell on deaf ears." As a result, "Richer left the meeting angry and walked out of the Langley headquarters for perhaps the last time, several officers said." Retired, September, 2005.

    Central Intelligence Agency (30-90 personnel): Kappes and Richer were not alone. The Washington Post recently reported that under Porter Goss -- a Bush appointee who is "close to the White House"-- "[a]t least a dozen senior officials -- several of whom were promoted under Goss-- have resigned, retired early or requested reassignment." The Post also noted that in "the clandestine service alone? Goss has lost one director, two deputy directors, and at least a dozen department heads, station chiefs and division directors -- many with the key language skills and experience he has said the agency needs." Since Goss took over, according to Robert Dreyfuss in the American Prospect, "between 30 and 90 senior CIA officials have made their exit, some fleeing into retirement, others taking refuge as consultants. Others, unable to retire, have stayed, but only to mark time at the agency." Resigned/Retired/Reassigned, 2004-2005.

    The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division (dozens of employees): According to a recent report in the Washington Post, the agency responsible for enforcing "the nation's anti-discrimination laws for nearly half a century, is in the midst of an upheaval that has driven away dozens of veteran lawyers and has damaged morale for many of those who remain, according to former and current career employees." The Post notes that -- in addition to a 40% drop in "prosecutions for the kinds of racial and gender discrimination crimes traditionally handled by the division" over the last five years, "[n]early 20 percent of the division's lawyers left in fiscal 2005, in part because of a buyout program that some lawyers believe was aimed at pushing out those who did not share the administration's conservative views on civil rights laws." Additionally, it was reported that "dozens" of those who remained with the agency were reassigned "to handle immigration cases instead of civil rights litigation." According to Richard Ugelow, a law professor at American University who left the Civil Rights Division in 2004,"Most everyone in the Civil Rights Division realized that with the change of administration, there would be some cutting back of some cases. But I don't think people anticipated that it would go this far, that enforcement would be cut back to the point that people felt like they were spinning their wheels." Retired/Resigned, 2005.

    The Office of Special Counsel (7 employees): After Elaine Kaplan, a Clinton-appointee who headed the U.S. Office of Special Counsel -- the agency that investigates federal whistleblowers' allegations -- failed to be reappointed to a second term by President Bush, she tendered her resignation stating, "in these times of heightened concern about national security, it is very important that OSC be viewed as a credible, non-partisan advocate on behalf of whistleblowers." She was replaced by Scott Bloch, a Bush appointee who has been called "a gay-hating, secretive, partisan, political hack" and previously served as deputy director of the Task Force for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Bloch, reports the Project On Government Oversight, went on to order "more than 20 percent of his headquarters legal and investigative staff to relocate or be fired. According to a letter of protest filed? by three national whistleblower watchdog groups, those targeted for forced moves [were] all career employees hired before Scott Bloch became Special Counsel, as part of a purge to stifle dissent and re-staff the agency with handpicked loyalists." Most refused to uproot their lives and, within a mandatory 60-day time limit, move from Washington, D.C. to Dallas, Oakland, or Detroit and were dismissed as a result. Fired, 2005.

    Individual Ready Reserve (73 soldiers): Members of a special reserve program of "inactive troops" who are still under contract to the armed forces and were called back to service due to the Bush administration's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they "defied orders to appear for wartime duty, some for more than a year, yet the Army has quietly chosen not to act against them." Refused service, 2005.

    Brent Scowcroft: A retired Lieutenant General, national security adviser to President Gerald Ford, and longtime friend and former national security adviser to George H.W. Bush, Scowcroft served as the chairman of President George W. Bush's President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB). This group advises the chief executive on "the quality and adequacy of intelligence collection, of analysis and estimates, of counterintelligence, and of other intelligence activities" and is composed, says the White House, of "distinguished citizens outside the government who are qualified on the basis of achievement, experience, independence, and integrity." In August 2002, Scowcroft wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal whose title made its point abundantly clear: "Don't Attack Saddam." As a result, "his old friends in high office -- Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, and so forth -- stopped speaking to him" and his appointment to the PFIAB was not renewed when his term expired in 2004. Failed to be reappointed, 2004.

    John J. DiIulio Jr.: The first director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, he quit his post after only seven months on the job. In an interview with Esquire magazine DiIulio disclosed, "There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus. What you've got is everything -- and I mean everything -- being run by the political arm. It's the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis." He also decried "a virtual absence as yet of any policy accomplishments that might, to a fair-minded nonpartisan, count as the flesh on the bones of so-called compassionate conservatism." Resigned, August 2001.

    David Kuo: After serving in the White House for two-and-a-half years as a Special Assistant to the President and deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, he left his post in 2003. Kuo wrote, "I have deep respect, appreciation, and affection for the president," but went on to say that "[t]here was minimal senior White House commitment to the faith-based agenda" and that there never really was great concern over what he called "the ?poor people stuff.'" Resigned, December 2003.

    Copyright 2005 Nick Turse

    This piece first appeared, with a short introduction by Tom Engelhardt, at Tomdispatch.com.
    I think I foulded up this posting so go on site to see it, where the first sentance came from is not working for me, go use the following link to access the site.

    http://www.motherjones.com/commentar...y_count-2.html
    Somehow, trying to drag the 2nd page into it's right place, I fouled up this post, so go to the motherjones address by just clicking on it and see the article on their site. Sorry about that, but haven't the time to fix it right now.
    http://www.tomdispatch.com/
    Sandi from Hermosa Beach

  11. #1436
    Registered User Saundra Hummer's Avatar
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    FEMA'S Contracting Disaster

    By Sean Reilly
    Newhouse News Service

    Monday 28 November 2005

    A little-noticed internal report reveals that over a year ago, the Department of Homeland Security knew FEMA contracting was a scandal.
    Government programs are only as good as the bureaucrats who run them. That truism might seem sadly obvious now that former Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown has become the tragicomic face of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

    But Brown has moved on, while questions over FEMA's fondness for no-bid and limited competition contracts aren't going away. So, it's worth pondering a report released last year by the inspector general of FEMA's parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security. With the less-than-riveting title "An Audit of FEMA's Acquisition Workforce," the report has drawn little press attention pre- or post-Katrina.

    But auditors' conclusions were jaw-dropping.

    In short, they found there was no way to know whether the people charged with buying millions of dollars worth of goods and services in normal times (and a whole lot more after a disaster) had a clue. To use the report's phrasing: "It was impossible to determine whether the acquisition personnel met training, education and experience requirements." Record-keeping was so slipshod that auditors were "unable to assess the qualifications of the workforce."

    FEMA officials countered with the perennial complaint that there was too much work and too few resources to keep up with all that paperwork. Although auditors archly noted that they did not "independently" verify that assertion, some of the missing documentation did in fact materialize in the course of the review.

    But the inspector general's staff made some other disquieting discoveries. One was that the 75-person procurement staff didn't seem overly preoccupied with fostering competition among government vendors. Once a year, they were supposed to review their contracting operations with an eye to promoting full and open competition; no such review had been done since 1992.

    Although the office was supposed to have a designated advocate to enforce competition policies, there was some confusion over who actually held the job. In any case, the post did not carry "the independence necessary to be effective," the report states. Finally, the procurement office failed to meet its fiscal 2001 small business goals and then didn't bother with submitting a required written explanation and corrective action plan to the Small Business Administration.

    Taken together, those findings all the more intriguing in light of recent complaints that FEMA purchasing agents have been far too reliant on big, well-connected contractors in the Katrina relief effort. Last week, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and a bi-partisan group of five other House members introduced a bill to require the agency to set up a database of small businesses capable of handling post-disaster work.

    "FEMA is saying they can't find these individuals to give them work," Thompson told reporters in a conference call. By requiring the agency to maintain that data, he said, "we take that excuse off the table."

    In a written response to the inspector general's findings, the top procurement officer for the homeland security department promised complete "corrective action" by the end of last year.

    This week, FEMA's press office did not return a phone message inquiring whether those changes had been made.
    ==
    Sean Reilly is a reporter with Newhouse News Service in Washington, D.C.

    http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/112805D.shtml

    ...[I don't know about you, but why is Brown still on the payroll with Fema to the tune of $148,000. This is a disservice to the the American public, and to those who were directly affected by his non-response more than anyone. Why are those who let him do his nothingness still around as well. I share Maureen Dowd's ire, and disgust when it comes to Fema and those who control its actions. ...SRH]
    Sandi from Hermosa Beach

  12. #1437
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    Daschle: Timing Entwined War Vote, Election

    By Ronald Brownstein and Emma Vaughn
    The Los Angeles Times

    Monday 28 November 2005

    Washington - Tom Daschle, the former Democratic senator from South Dakota, remembers the exchange vividly.

    The time was September 2002. The place was the White House, at a meeting in which President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney pressed congressional leaders for a quick vote on a resolution authorizing military action against Iraq.

    But Daschle, who as Senate majority leader controlled the chamber's schedule, recalled recently that he asked Bush to delay the vote until after the impending midterm election.

    "I asked directly if we could delay this so we could depoliticize it. I said: 'Mr. President, I know this is urgent, but why the rush? Why do we have to do this now?' He looked at Cheney and he looked at me, and there was a half-smile on his face. And he said: 'We just have to do this now.' "

    Daschle's account, which White House officials said they could not confirm or deny, highlights a crucial factor that has drawn little attention amid rising controversy over the congressional vote that authorized the war in Iraq. The recent partisan dispute has focused almost entirely on the intelligence information legislators had as they cast their votes. But the debate may have been shaped as much by when Congress voted as by what it knew.

    Bush's father, President George H.W. Bush, did not call for a vote authorizing the Persian Gulf War until after the 1990 midterm election. But the vote paving the way for the second war with Iraq came in mid-October of 2002 - at the height of an election campaign in which Republicans were systematically portraying Democrats as weak on national security.

    Few candidates sparred over the war resolution itself. But Republicans in states including Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota and Georgia strafed Democratic senators seeking reelection who had supported military spending cutbacks in the 1990s, accepted money from a liberal arms-control group, opposed Bush's preferred approach for organizing the new Department of Homeland Security, and voted in 1991 against the Persian Gulf War.

    With national security then such a flashpoint in so many campaigns, many Democrats believe, the vote's timing enormously increased pressure on their party's wavering senators to back the president, whose approval rating approached 70% at the time.

    "There was a sense I had from the very beginning that this was in part politically motivated, and they were going to maximize the timing to affect those who were having some doubt about this right before the election," Daschle said.

    White House counselor Dan Bartlett denied that charge, saying the vote's timing represented a desire to increase pressure on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, not Democrats.

    "The president, during the run-up to the war, went out of his way not to make it political," Bartlett said.

    Whatever the motivation for the vote's timing, the effect was to produce a clear contrast between the Democratic senators who sought reelection that November and those who did not.

    The Democrats not on the ballot split almost evenly, with 19 supporting the war resolution and 17 opposing it. Among those facing the voters, 10 voted for the resolution while only four opposed it. And of those four, only one - Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, who died in a plane crash a few weeks after the resolution vote - was in a seriously competitive race.

    "The political currents were extraordinarily strong for everybody involved," said Jim Jordan, then executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. "I'm certainly not implying that Democrats had their finger to the wind and didn't make votes of conscience, but it was a piece of the puzzle, clearly."

    It is, of course, impossible to say whether more Democrats would have opposed the war resolution - which passed the Senate 77 to 23 on Oct. 11, just hours after the House approved it 296 to 133 - if the vote had occurred after the 2002 election.

    Daschle, who voted for the resolution and was not up for reelection that year, said he did not think so, "given the circumstances, the environment, the sense that we were responding to 9/11, and all of the urgency that was created by the rhetoric and cajoling of the administration."

    But Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) said recently that a delay might have prompted more Democrats to vote no by increasing the time available to study the evidence for war and by dissipating the political pressures surrounding the decision.

    "There was a stampede to vote on this," Kennedy said. "A lot of our people got caught up in it."

    Bartlett said that if some Democrats felt "like they would have made a different decision before the election or after, that doesn't speak very well of them, because the facts didn't change in the course of one month."

    Democrats themselves were divided over the vote's timing. Kennedy, Wellstone and Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) were among those who passionately urged Daschle to defer the vote until after the election, said several sources who requested anonymity when discussing the party's internal debate.

    The sources said that other Democratic senators supported Bush's push, in part because the senators believed an early vote might help the party shift attention to domestic issues it wanted to spotlight before election day. Democrats also felt more pressure to act because they recognized that the GOP-controlled House would agree to Bush's request on the vote's timing.

    Against this backdrop, Republicans across the country were escalating attacks on their Democratic opponents on defense issues.

    Starting in mid-September, for instance, then-Rep. John Thune (R-S.D.) issued statements and organized news conferences by veterans to criticize Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson for voting against the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

    On Oct. 4, one week before the Senate vote, Thune released an ad that used images of Hussein and terrorist leader Osama bin Laden to criticize Johnson for voting against missile defense systems.

    In Minnesota beginning in mid-September, Republican Norm Coleman organized retired military officials to hold news conferences charging that Wellstone "didn't just vote to devastate our defense; he voted to dismantle it." In late September, the National Republican Senatorial Committee ran ads attacking Wellstone over votes to reduce military spending.

    The committee ran similar ads against Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) one week before the vote.

    Although he did not criticize Democrats over Iraq, Bush stoked the overall security debate during a series of appearances between Sept. 23 and Oct. 4. He criticized Senate Democrats who were blocking the administration's preferred version of legislation to create the Department of Homeland Security because, they said, it gave the president too much freedom to suspend workers' civil service protections.

    "The Senate is more interested in special interests in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people," Bush said in New Jersey.

    Bush's comments reverberated most powerfully in the Senate race in Georgia, where Saxby Chambliss, then a Republican House member, began criticizing incumbent Democrat Max Cleland over the Homeland Security issue.

    Less than a day after the Senate authorized the use of force in Iraq, Chambliss aired what became the most talked-about ad of the 2002 election: a sharply worded jab that used pictures of Hussein and Bin Laden to accuse Cleland of voting "against the president's vital Homeland Security efforts."

    Cleland, Johnson and Harkin were among the Democrats who voted for the war resolution; Wellstone voted no.

    Less than a month later, Johnson and Harkin were reelected, Cleland was defeated and Coleman beat former Vice President Walter F. Mondale for Wellstone's seat after the senator's death. Overall, Republicans widened their majority in the House and swept back into control of the Senate.
    -------
    http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/112805F.shtml
    Sandi from Hermosa Beach

  13. #1438
    Registered User Saundra Hummer's Avatar
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    . .. . "Propaganda is persuading people to make up their minds while withholding some of the facts from them.": Harold Evans

    =
    . .. . "The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty." James Madison - (1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President

    =
    . .. . "As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." -- H.L.Mencken

    =
    . .. . "I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies another this right makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it." Thomas Paine (1737-1809) Source: The Age of Reason, 1783

    =
    . .. . "Mourn not the dead that in the cool earth lie, but rather mourn the apathetic, throng the coward and the meek who see the world's great anguish and its wrong, and dare not speak." Ralph Chaplin

    ===
    To read this newsletter online http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/ or http://snipurl.com/ayzc
    Sandi from Hermosa Beach

  14. #1439
    Registered User Saundra Hummer's Avatar
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    Moyers Has His Say
    By John Eggerton
    Broadcasting & Cable

    Monday 28 November 2005

    Former NOW host on media bias and his feud with former CPB Chairman Ken Tomlinson.

    Bill Moyers became the central figure in absentia in the controversy surrounding former Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson. It was Tomlinson who pointed to Moyers' NOW newscast on PBS as a chief reason for his efforts to bring "balance" to public broadcasting by adding conservative shows. Moyers has since left NOW and is currently president of the Schumann Center for Media & Democracy. He spoke with B&C's John Eggerton in the wake of a CPB Inspector General report concluding Tomlinson had violated the law by dealing directly with a programmer during the creation of a show to balance Moyers' program.

    You are the exemplar of liberal PBS bias, according to Ken Tomlinson. Was your show liberally biased?

    Right-wing partisans like Tomlinson have always attacked aggressive reporting as liberal.

    We were biased, all right - in favor of uncovering the news that powerful people wanted to keep hidden: conflicts of interest at the Department of Interior, secret meetings between Vice President Cheney and the oil industry, backdoor shenanigans by lobbyists at the FCC, corruption in Congress, neglect of wounded veterans returning from Iraq, Pentagon cost overruns, the manipulation of intelligence leading to the invasion of Iraq.

    We were way ahead of the news curve on these stories, and the administration turned its hit men loose on us.

    Tomlinson actually told The Washington Post that he was irate over one of our documentary reports from a small town in Pennsylvania hard-hit by outsourcing.

    If reporting on what's happening to ordinary people thrown overboard by circumstances beyond their control and betrayed by Washington officials is liberalism, I stand convicted.

    It is an old canard of right-wing ideologues like Tomlinson to equate tough journalism with liberalism. They hope to distract people from the message by trying to discredit the messenger.

    NOW threw the fear of God into Tomlinson's crowd because they couldn't dispute the accuracy of our reporting.

    And when we weren't reporting the truth behind the news, we were interviewing a wide variety of people: Ralph Reed and Ralph Nader; Cal Thomas and Molly Ivins; Robert Bartley, editor of the Wall Street Journal; Katrina Vandenheuval, editor of The Nation; The Conservative Union's David Keene; Dorothy Rabinowitz (also of the Wall Street Journal); Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity; the Club for Growth's Stephen Moore; historian Howard Zinn; and Indian activist Arundhati Roy. And on and on.

    Did you get any direct pressure from Tomlinson or CPB to change the content of your show?

    The people at PBS told me they were getting excruciating pressure because of our reporting, including threats to de-fund public television unless "Moyers is dealt with." They never identified the source of that pressure.

    We know now it was Tomlinson. [Tomlinson] even told some people [we have confirmed it with two people who were present] that "Moyers is a coward because he doesn't want to talk to people who disagree with him."

    Hello? See the above list of all the conservatives who appeared on the show.

    What happened to the debate idea between you two?
    I asked him repeatedly. He refused. He didn't even respond. But when all this started to unfold early last year, I asked three times to meet with the CPB board and try to find out what was going on.

    I thought we could reason together and maybe agree on how to cooperate to protect Public Broadcasting's independence. I mean, I not only read the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, I helped to create it. CPB's job was to be a firewall between guys like them and the producers, journalists, and content of public broadcasting.

    I thought at the time that I was dealing with people who cared about this institution. I didn't realize they had gone over to the dark side.

    What prompted your departure from NOW?

    I needed a break, and I also sensed that we were up against serial abusers and that I could fight back more effectively if I weren't on the air.

    -------
    http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/112805Q.shtml
    Sandi from Hermosa Beach

  15. #1440
    Registered User Saundra Hummer's Avatar
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    GIVING THANKS

    Will Durst - WorkingForChange.com


    11.28.05 - Aaah. Thanksgiving.The very bestest holiday of them all. Food, family, football: three of the four Fs. Not to mention four-story tall helium balloons on rope tethers. What a day, 40-foot cartoon characters, tryptophan overdosing, lime Jello with carrot shreds and a chance to see the Dallas Cowboys lose? Where's the bad?

    The good news is that right now it's not that difficult to come up with a list of what to be thankful for. You start with the old standbys: a wonderful family, good health, odd friends and the fact that we're Americans and don't have to worry about the president calling in an airstrike and bombing us… yet.

    Then you move on to the obvious.

    Anchor Steam Christmas Ale and double cheeseburgers on a butter-grilled bun. But in these troubling times its also important to look beyond our personal cubicles and find the universal threads that weave together to make up the fabric of our lives. I have no idea what that meant either. Mostly its just a segue into a list of other things we should all be thankful for. “We” meaning that highly influential splinter group encompassing political comedians and editorial cartoonists.

    — China. For its status as a safe publicity haven for any politician sinking in the polls faster than a gravel truck with no brakes off a hairpin cliff turn into a mountain lake. Re: November trips for both California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and President George W Bush.

    — France. Because now the French are revolting. But that's redundant, isn't it?

    — Robert Novak for his inability to keep a low profile since leaking the name of CIA agent, Valerie Plame.

    — Our State Department for invading a country based on the ramblings of a source the CIA nicknamed “Curveball.”

    — Corporate marketers for their conspicuous patriotic refusal to infringe on the sanctity of the Fourth of July by delaying the start of their Christmas campaigns until early August.

    — The 23rd Amendment for prohibiting this president from serving more than two terms.

    — Vice President Cheney for his epic condescension. A man without whom we would never be cognizant of the subtle intricacies of the concept of “compassionate torture.”

    — President Bush for his use of the tactic of “stonewalling,” washing all us boomers in a nostalgic wave of a better time.

    — The administration for wanting to have their turkey and eat it too. Swift Boating anybody who dares suggest we leave Iraq, then having generals leak plans to do the exact same thing.

    — Karl Rove, Scott McLellan and Scooter Libby for their unceasing and continuing efforts to stretch the bounds of human incredulity. And oh yeah, let's not forget Tom DeLay and Bill Frist. And Pat Robertson. And the entire executive branch. And every Democrat breathing save Congressman John Murtha. I salute each and every one of these gentle people for their part in making us rethink on a daily basis exactly how much crap we're willing to swallow to keep our SUVs full of gas.

    — Congress. For the construction of a Prescription Medicare plan just a wee bit murkier than the instructions for a wire bookcase translated from the original Mandarin into Sanskrit before being printed on grey paper with insufficient toner in something resembling English. A little.

    — Lobbyist Jack Abramoff for the pure chutzpa of convincing an Indian tribe to pay for his FedEx Stadium luxury suite to watch the Redskins play.

    Will Durst had his turkey and ate it too. And it was good.


    (c) 2005 WorkingForChange. All Rights Reserved


    URL: http://www.workingforchange.com/arti...m?itemid=19937

    . .. . [Thanks to WorkingForChange.com for all of their terrific contributor and their articles. SRH]
    Sandi from Hermosa Beach

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