We are Spiritual Beings having a human experience. This means we must take part, in all of it; including the political, the social, psychological, the economic and the spiritual issues of our day! We strongly recommend meditation and/or quiet contemplation, but it will do no good until the insights are acted upon. Get on you feet! JOIN US, IN REVOLUTION; which is what always happens when evolution is attacked and thwarted!
The Peaceful Occupation of Crawford - Day 25
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Cindy Sheehan
"If Zarqawi and bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks," Bush said. "They'd seize oil fields to fund their ambitions. They could recruit more terrorists by claiming a historic victory over the United States and our coalition." (George Bush, August 30, 2005 in San Diego.)
So it is official, Casey had his blood shed in Iraq for OIL. He died so we could pay over 3.00/gallon for gas. Like I suspected all along, my dear, sweet son: almost 1900 others; and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis died so the oil fields wouldn't "fall into the hands of terrorists" and so George and his immoral band of greedy robber barons could become wealthier. Like I have said all along: how can these people sleep at night and how can they choke down their food knowing it is purchased off of the flesh and blood of others? We have found our "Noble Cause." And it is OIL. This man and his handlers need to be stopped.
Well, George and I are leaving Crawford today. George is finished playing golf and telling his fables in San Diego, so he will be heading to Louisiana to see the devastation that his environmental policies and his killing policies have caused. Recovery would be easier and much quicker if almost ½ of the three states involved National Guard were not in Iraq. All of the National Guard's equipment is in Iraq also. Plus, with the 2 billion dollars a week that the private contractors are siphoning from our treasury, how are we going to pay for helping our own citizens in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama? And, should I dare say "global warming?" and be branded as a "conspiracy theorist" on top of everything else the reich-wingers say about me.
We are now packing up Camp Casey and leaving Crawford and heading to George's place of employment. He wouldn't talk to us, his employers, while we were here to give him his "job evaluation," so we must go to him to have our little chat.
I just want to thank a few people and groups for their support, help, and love while we have been here in Crawford. So many people made the Camp Casey experience possible and so successful. If I miss someone, I am so sorry: that is the difficult thing about thanking people. I love you all, even if I don't remember to thank you!!
My sister: Dede Miller: My kids' second mom who is always by my side and supports me 100% in whatever I do. My cause is her cause, and I couldn't do what I do without her.
Carly, Andy, and Janey: Who would love to see more of their mom, but who understand that we are trying to save their future by what we do. I love you guys, and I will see you very, very soon (yea!!) I couldn't do what I do without their love and support.
The Crawford Peace House: I got an email from Hadi Jawad the day that I decided to come and camp in Crawford and he pledged the help and support of the Peace House. At that time, they only had a few bucks in their checking account and the phone was turned off. Now, thanks to America, they have been able to keep Camp Casey going and they will be able to continue their good works indefinitely. Thanks to John Wolf who had the vision for peace in Crawford and I think that Camp Casey was a fulfillment of his vision. They are going to make a garden and call it "The Casey Sheehan Memorial Peace Garden." What a tribute to my son.
Code Pink: Jodie Evans and Tiffany and Alicia were the first ones here on Monday 08/08 to jump in and save me from going crazy and hopping on one of the trains that runs past the Peace House and pulling an "Agatha Christie." Code Pink also worked tirelessly (and I mean tirelessly) outside of Camp Casey.
MoveOn: For organizing the highly successful candlelight vigils.
Lisa Fithian: For all the organizing work she did behind the scenes.
GSFP, IVAW, MFSO, AND VFP: Our organizations with "skin in the game" for all of their support, presence, love, and help.
Bill Mitchell: Bill's son Mike, was KIA in the same battle as Casey and he was the first GSFP member to come to Camp Casey and take some of the heat off of me. He found a new love at Camp Casey (one of our miracles) and I am sooo happy about that. Plus, Bill is one of my most ardent supporters and he just gets in the middle of things, digs in, and helps wherever. I love him and he and his family will be parts of our family forever.
Fred Mattlage: For donating the amazing piece of land for our use that allowed Camp Casey to expand to include thousands.
Air America: The Morning Sedition, Randi Rhodes, Mike Malloy, and Laura Flanders. Thank you for your support . Ed Schultz belongs there, too, although he is not affiliated with Air America Radio. Amy Goodman was here, too!
The bloggers on The Daily Kos (and most bloggers in general): I would read their comments everyday after I posted my diary and I was always heartened and encouraged by their remarks. After all of the negativity, their positivity gave me strength to go on. In addition, the first night we were in Crawford, and being harassed by the SS, they were posting things and getting the word out that we were there alone and defenseless, which may have saved our lives, or saved us from being injured, or harassed out of there.
So many other people: The Camp Casey volunteers literally hundreds. The more than 10,000 people who came through CC. Ann Wright who kept CC going. Arianna Huffington for her advice and support. Joan Baez who kept CC's spirits alive while I was in California attending to my sick mother. George Bush for not meeting with me on August 6th. Martin Sheen for his support and presence. A.I.M for Dennis Banks and Russell Means. Gary Hart, John Conyers, Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, Sheila Jackson Lee, Jan Schakowsky, Dennis Kucinich, Frank Pallone, Lynn Woolsey, Chuck Hagel, Ralph Nader, Jim McDermott, Walter Jones, Charlie Rangel and the other politicos who either came to CC, or called me to offer their support and love. I know I am forgetting some, but thanks to you all. Joe Wilson and his family for paving the way for me to be able to ignore and dismiss the reich-wing smear machine who always tried to marginalize and discredit me by exaggerating or twisting my words and lying about me. The clergy who were there with their love and support: Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Rabbi Dennis Shulman; Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Bob Edgars, Rev. Jesse Jackson (who prayed bed time prayers with me), Rita Brock, etc.
There were so many good people who donated money, goods, or services who want to be kept anonymous.
But especially to Americans who resonated with Camp Casey and gave us prayers, support, money, love and most of all hope for the future.
We will take our country back. And it will be a country that we want back.
God Bless America!!!!
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
Check out www.BringThemHomeNowTour.org for more info on the bus tour and how you can be involved.
In a few days, it will be four years since the awful events symbolized by the date "9/11." Time for our annual list of what we've learned from that tragedy and what followed from it.
Much new information has been revealed this year, with corroborating documents verifying aspects of the story we only surmised previously. So without further ado, below are the twenty things we now know four years after 9/11, based mainly on documented evidence found in the Bush-friendly mainstream media.
A general assessment before we begin the numbered list: There now is a widely-accepted foreign and domestic judgment that the Bush Administration is composed of bumbling, dangerous, close-minded ideologues. You can see it in the polls (as I write this, Bush has only a 40% approval rating, amazingly low) and, particularly, in how many conservative/traditional Republicans and former military officers are expressing remorse at having supported this guy in the 2004 election. Bush these days still has his true-believer base of about 30%, but he's extremely vulnerable politically, which is why Rove and his minions are so desperate right now and are ratcheting up the rhetoric and smear-tactics against their political enemies. And the desperation helps us understand why Bush keeps returning to 9/11, the one talisman that he thinks still may work for him, that singular moment in his history when many Americans thought he looked good.
1. THE 9/11 ATTACK & COVERUP
We know that 9/11, regardless of the degree of complicity you believe the Bush Administration was guilty of, was seized on by Bush&Co. as the event that would be used to justify all that would follow domestically and in foreign/military affairs. The evidence indicates that, at the least, the highest circles in the White House knew a spectacular attack was in the works in the days and weeks preceding 9/11 -- warnings were coming into the White House from a host of foreign leaders and intelligence agencies -- but chose to do nothing, presumably to make use of those events in the service of their hidden agenda.
Similarly, nothing was done as a result of the government's own intelligence warnings. The August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing, entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.," talked about al-Qaida wanting to hit the nation's capital, preparations for airline hijackings, casing of buildings in New York, terrorists in the U.S. with explosives, etc. Bush went to ground in Texas, the FBI told Ashcroft to stop flying commercial jets, etc. The attacks finally came about a month later, and the Bush forces were ready to make their moves.
The key neo-con leaders in charge of U.S. foreign/military policy (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bolton, Perle, Khalilzad, et al.) were founders of, and affiliated with, The Project for The New American Century; in one of their key reports, they noted that the far-right should expect their revolution to take a long time, "absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor." Enter 9/11. (See "How We Got Into This Imperial Pickle: A PNAC Primer.)
The neo-cons realized that presidents enjoy enormous patriotic support during wartime, but when the war ends, those leaders lose their compelling luster, as was the case with Bush#1. Ergo, Bush#2 would become a PERMANENT wartime president, and those who opposed him could then be tarred forever with the "unpatriotic" brush, and their political opposition marginalized. And it worked: the Democrats cowered and gave Bush virtually everything he wanted, up until relatively recently, when occasionally they remember they have spines in their bodies and stand up and fight as an opposition party should.
2. OIL & THE POLITICS OF PNAC
We know that after 9/11, Bush seemed to bring the entire country along with him when he launched an attack on al-Qaida and its Taliban-government supporters in Afghanistan. But there's no oil in that destitute country -- and, as Rumsfeld reminded us, not much worth bombing -- and thus no lessons could be drawn by Middle East leaders from the U.S. attack. But, as Cheney's secret energy panel was aware, there was another country in the region that did have oil, and lots of it, and could be taken easily by U.S. forces; thus Iraq became the object-lesson to other autocratic leaders in the Middle East: If you do not do our bidding, prepare to accept a massive dose of "shock&awe": You will be overthrown, replaced by democratic-looking governments as arranged by the U.S.
The neo-cons -- most from PNAC and similar organizations, such as the American Enterprise Institute -- had urged Clinton to depose Saddam Hussein in 1998, but he demurred, seeing a mostly contained dictator there, whereas Osama bin Laden, and those terrorists like him, actually were successfully attacking U.S. assets inside the country and abroad.
But the PNAC crowd had larger ambitions than simply toppling a brutal dictator. Among their other recommendations: "pre-emptively" attacking countries devoid of imminent danger to the U.S., abrogating agreed-upon treaties when they conflict with U.S. goals, making sure no other nation (or organization, such as the United Nations) can ever achieve power-parity with the U.S., installing U.S.-friendly governments to do America's will, using tactical nuclear weapons, and so on. All of these extreme PNAC suggestions, once regarded as lunatic, were enshrined in 2002 as official U.S. policy in the National Security Strategy of the United States of America.
3. SEXING UP THE INTEL
We know that given the extreme nature of the neo-con agenda, the Bush Administration had their work cut out for them in fomenting support for an invasion and occupation of Iraq. Therefore, among the first move by Rumsfeld following 9/11 was to somehow try to connect Saddam to the terror attacks. The various intelligence agencies reported to Rumsfeld that there was no Iraq connection to 9/11, that it was an al-Qaida operation, but that was merely a bothersome impediment. Since the CIA and the other intelligence agencies would not, or could not, supply the intelligence needed to justify a war on Iraq, Rumsfeld set up his own rump intelligence agency, the Office of Special Plans, stocked it with political appointees of the PNAC persuasion, and soon was stovepiping cherry-picked raw intel straight to Cheney and others in the White House. Shortly thereafter, Cheney, Rice and others in the White House Iraq Group went big-time with the WMD scare and the melding of Saddam Hussein with the events of 9/11.
Based on this sexed-up and phony intelligence, Cheney, Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld and the others began warning about mushroom clouds over the U.S., drone planes dropping biological agents over the East Coast, huge stockpiles of chemical weapons in Iraq, etc. Secretary of State Colin Powell, regarded as the most believable of the bunch, was dispatched to the United Nations to make the case, which he did, reluctantly, by presenting an embarrassingly weak litany of surmise and concocted facts. The world didn't buy it, and the opposition to the U.S. war plan was palpable and huge: 10 million citizens throughout the world hit the streets to protest, former allies publicly criticized Bush. Only Tony Blair in England eagerly hitched his wagon to the Bush war-plan with large numbers of troops dispatched -- as it turned out, over the legal, moral and political objections of many of his closest aides and advisers.
4. THE DOWNING STREET REVELATIONS
We know that those advisers warned Blair that he was about to involve the U.K. in an illegal, immoral and probably unwinnable war -- which would put U.K. and U.S. troops in great danger from potential insurgent forces. How do we know about these inner workings of the Blair government? Because a few months ago, someone from inside that body leaked the top-secret minutes from those war-Cabinet meetings, the so-called Downing Street Memos.
We also learned from those minutes that Bush & Blair agreed to make war on Iraq as early as the Spring of 2002 -- the intelligence, they decided, would be "fixed around the policy" to go to war -- despite their telling their legislative bodies and their citizens that no decisions had been made. In fact, the Bush Administration had decided to go to war a year before the invasion. "Fuck Saddam,? Bush told three U.S. Senators in March of 2002. "We're taking him out."
5. BUSH RACES TO WAR
We know that many of Blair's most senior advisors thought the WMD argument rested on shaky ground, and that the legality of the war was in question without specific authorization from the United Nations Security Council. But the Bush Administration rushed to war anyway -- in haste because the U.N. inspectors on the ground in Iraq were not finding any WMD stockpiles -- without proper planning and with no workable plan to secure the peace and reconstruct the country after the major fighting.
6. THE BIG LIE TECHNIQUE ON WMD
We know (thanks to the Downing Street Memos) that both the U.S. and U.K. were well aware that Iraq was a military paper tiger, with no significant WMD stockpiles or link to Al-Qaida and the 9/11 attacks. Nevertheless, the major thrust of Bush&Co.'s justification for going to war was based on these non-existent weapons and 9/11 links. The Big Lie Technique -- repeating the same falsehoods over and over and over -- drummed those lies into our heads day after day, month after month, with little if any skeptical analysis by the corporate mainstream media, which marched mostly in lockstep with Bush policy and thinking. Wolfowitz admitted later that they chose WMD as the primary reason for making war because they couldn't agree on anything else the citizenry would accept. But frightening people with talk of nuclear weapons, mushroom clouds, toxins delivered by drone airplanes and the like would work like a charm. And so they did, convincing the American people and Congress that an attack was justified. It wasn't.
7. PUSHING IRAQ TOWARDS IRAN
We know that the real reasons for invading Iraq had precious little to do with WMD, Islamist terrorists coming from inside that country, installing democracy, and the like; there were no WMD to speak of, and Saddam, an especially vicious dictator, did not tolerate religious or political zealotry of any stripe. No, the reasons had more to do with American geopolitical goals in the region involving oil, control, support for its ally Israel, hardened military bases and keeping Iran from having free rein in the region.
As it turned out, by invading and occupying Iraq, it pushed that country and Iran into a far closer religious and political alliance than would have been the case if Saddam had been permitted to remain in power. Bush may have sacrificed thousands of American dead, tens of thousands of American wounded, and more than 100,000 Iraqis as "collateral damage" -- and now Bush&Co. quietly are willing to accept an Islamist government more attuned to Teheran than to Washington, one with precious little regard for human rights, especially involving women. That is one royal FUBAR.
8. IRAQ AS A DISASTER ZONE
We know that Bush's war has been a thorough disaster -- built on a foundation of lies, and incompetently managed from the start. As a result, the Occupation has provided a magnet for jihadists from other countries, billions have been wasted or lost in the corrupt system of organized corporate looting that ostensibly is designed to speed up Iraq's "reconstruction," etc. etc. Indeed, so much has Bush's war been botched that the "realists" in the Administration know they must get out as quickly as possible if they are to have any hope of exercising their considerable muscle elsewhere in the Middle East.
9. WHERE WILL THE BODIES COME FROM?
We know that Bush's Middle East agenda also is suffering because the U.S. military is spread way thin in Afghanistan and Iraq, the desertion rates are high, soldiers are not re-upping at the usual clip, recruitment isn't working and illegal scams are being used to lure youngsters into signing up -- in short, there are no military forces to spare on the ground. Either a military draft will be instituted or all future attacks will have to come from air power or from missiles, which will merely deliver a message, making the bombed populations even angrier at America, and with no guarantee of success in forging U.S.-friendly "democratic" governments in Iran, Syria, et al. In short, we are witnessing the limits of imperial power in the modern world.
10. HIDING THE TRUTH FROM THE PUBLIC
We know that Bush&Co. made sure that there would be no full-scale, independent investigations of their role in using and abusing the intelligence that led to war on Iraq.
The Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Republican Pat Roberts, held hearings on the failures lower down the chain, namely at the CIA and FBI level, and promised there would be followup hearings on any White House manipulation of intelligence. But, election over, Roberts says no purpose would be served in launching such an investigation. Likewise, the 9/11 Commission did not delve deeply into how the Bush Administration misused its pre-9/11 knowledge. Bush sent an October 5, 2001 memo to Rumsfeld, Powell, O'Neill, Ashcroft, and the heads of the CIA and the FBI restricting their talking to Congress about 9/11 and other "national-security" matters; the only Democrats who could receive these "sensitive" briefings -- meaning they were forbidden to make them public -- were the Senate and House Minority Leaders, and the ranking members of the Intelligence Committees. Nobody else was to be in the loop. In short, this secretive administration made sure that everything was done to head off at the pass any investigations whatsoever. Cheney and Bush told the minority and majority leaders in Congress that there should be no 9/11 hearings, for "national security" reasons. Bush&Co. fought tooth and nail against an independent 9/11 Commission, and against the families who pushed for it.
11. THE ROAD TO DICTATORSHIP
We know that Bush has no great love of legitimate democratic processes, certainly not inside the United States. He much prefers to rule as an oligarch, but to do that, he had to invent legal justifications that granted him the requisite power. So he had his longtime lawyer-toady, Alberto Gonzales, devise a legal philosophy that permits Bush to do pretty much what he wants -- ignore laws on the books, disappear U.S. citizens into military prisons, authorize torture, etc. -- whenever Bush says he's acting as "commander-in-chief" during "wartime."
And, since "wartime" is the amorphous "war on terrorism," from which there is no end, Bush is home free. There always will be terrorists trying to do anti-U.S. damage somewhere around the globe, or inside America, and the "commander-in-chief" will need to respond. Ergo, goes this logic, Bush is above the law, untouchable, in perpetuity. (Bush&Co. also made sure that U.S. officials and military troops would not be subject to indictment by any international court or war-crimes tribunal.)
Neither Gonzales, nor Bush, has disavowed this legal philosophy of a dictator-like President being beyond the reach of the law. No doubt, the issue ultimately will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, to which Bush has nominated Judge John Roberts, who would be the key swing vote. Roberts, as author Chris Floyd has noted, recently upheld Bush's sovereign right to dispose of "enemy combatants" any way he pleases. In a chilling decision, the appeals panel, of which Roberts was a member, ruled that the Commander-in-Chief's arbitrarily-designated "enemies" are non-persons, with no legal rights. Bush now feels free to subject anyone he likes to the "military tribunal" system he has concocted.
The fact that Roberts did not recuse himself from ruling on this issue while he was in the process of being interviewed for the Supreme Court appointment by the employer being sued in the case, would seem to be an open-and-shut case of conflict-of-interest. If the Democrats have any balls, this egregious ethical lapse should serve as an "extraordinary" reason for a filibuster of his nomination.
12. TORTURE AS OFFICIAL STATE POLICY
We know that Gonzales, then Bush's White House Counsel, and Pentagon lawyers beholden to Rumsfeld, devised legal rationales that make torture of suspects official state policy. These Bush-loyalist lawyers also greatly widened the definition of what is acceptable interrogation practice -- basically anything this side of death or terminally abusing internal organs. They also authorized the sending of key suspects to countries specializing in extreme torture. After all this, Bush and Rumsfeld professed shock, shock!, that those under their command would wind up torturing, abusing and humiliating prisoners in U.S. care. But the Administration made sure to stop all inquiries into higher-up responsibility for the endemic torture. The buck never stops on Bush's desk -- if something goes wrong (and he never will admit to mistakes), it's always someone else's fault.
13. MAKING THE BILL OF RIGHTS "QUAINT"
We know that the Bush Administration has been able to obtain whatever legislation it needs in its self-proclaimed "war on terror" by utilizing, and hyping, the understandable fright of the American people. The so-called Patriot Act -- composed of many honorable initiatives, and many clearly unconstitutional provisions, cobbled together from those submitted over the years by GOP hardliners and rejected as too extreme by Congress -- was presented almost immediately to a House and Senate frightened by the 9/11 attacks and by the anthrax introduced into their chambers by someone still not discovered. Ridge and Ashcroft emerged periodically to manipulate the public's fright by announcing another "terror" threat, based on "credible" but unverified evidence; Ridge, who has since resigned, recently admitted that there were no good reasons for many of those supposed "alerts." Meanwhile, Congress (shame on you, Democrats!) recently made most of the Patriot Act laws permanent! Unless those can be repealed, that vote will be a nail into the coffin housing the remains of the Bill of Rights.
14. THE OUTING OF COVERT AGENTS
The Bush Administration, for its own crass political reasons, compromised American national security by outing two key intelligence operatives -- one, CIA agent Valerie Plame, who had important contacts in the shadowy world of weapons of mass destruction (outed by "senior Administration officials," apparently in retaliation for her husband's political comments); revealing the identity of a CIA agent can be a felony. The other, apparently to show off how successful they were in their anti-terrorism hunt, was a high-ranking mole close to bin Laden's inner circle, who could have kept the U.S. informed as to ongoing and future plans of al-Qaida. That's our war-on-terrorism government at work.
It's now clear who at least two of the "senior administration officials" were who leaked Plame's identity: Karl Rove, Bush's guru, now deputy chief of staff, and I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff. Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is expected to unseal indictments in this case sometime this Fall that either could focus narrowly on perjury involving Plame's outing, or could be expanded to the broader issue of the manipulative lies emanating from the machinations of the White House Iraq Group (Cheney/Libby, Rove, Card, Rice, Hadley, Hughes, Matalin, et al.) in taking this nation to war. It is possible that Bush and Cheney and Bolton, among others, could be charged or listed an unindicted co-conspirators.
15. PROTECTING THE VOTE
We know that America's voting-machine system -- and more importantly, vote-counting system -- is corruptible and likely has been corrupted. Sophisticated statistical analysis along with wide-scale exit-polling, suggests strongly that the 2004 election results were fiddled with by the private companies that tally the votes. These companies are owned by far-right Republican supporters. But the same objection would be lodged if Democrats owned the companies. There are no good reasons to "outsource" vote-counting to private corporations -- who refuse to permit inspection of their proprietary software, and whose technicians have behaved suspiciously on election nights in 2000 in Florida, in 2002 in Georgia, and in Ohio and Florida in 2004. And we haven't even mentioned the GOP dirty-tricks department whose function has been, by hook or by crook, to lower the number of potential Democrat voters, especially minority voters. Note: Unless the vote-counting system can be changed soon -- and the vote-tallying scandal will not be adequately dealt with by voter-verified receipts -- the integrity of our elections will be suspect into the far future. Even if all the other reforms were implemented, they would mean nothing without the guarantee of honest elections.
16. NO ECONOMIC PLAN
We know that the Bush Administration paid off its backers (and itself) by giving humongous tax breaks, for 10 years out, to the already wealthy and to large corporations. In addition, corporate tax-evasion was made easier via offshore listings. All this was done at a time when the U.S. economy was in recessionary doldrums and when the treasury deficit from those tax-breaks was growing even larger from Iraq war costs. So far as we know, the Bush Administration has no plans for how to retire that debt and no real plan (other than the discredited "trickle-down" theory) for restarting the economy and creating well-paying jobs for skilled workers, so many of whom have had their positions outsourced to foreign lands.
17. STARVING THE GOVERNMENT
We know that the HardRight conservatives who control Bush policy don't really care what kind of debt and deficits their policies cause; in some ways, the more the better. They want to decimate and starve popular social programs from the New Deal/Great Society eras, including, most visibly, Head Start, Social Security, Medicare (and real drug coverage for seniors), student loans, welfare assistance, public education, etc. (Especially egregious is the education scam known as "No Child Left Behind.") Since these programs are so well-approved by the public, the destruction will be carried out stealthily with the magic words "privatization," "deregulation," "choice" and so on, and by going to the public and saying that they'd love to keep the programs intact but they have no alternative but to cut them, given the deficit, weak economy and "anti-terrorist" wars abroad. Bush's whirlwind tour trying to sell his Social Security "reform" plan has backfired badly, but he's still pushing a good many of those ideas, just in case he can slip it in somewhere, maybe by tying it somehow to Saddam Hussein and 9/11.
18. THE ENVIRONMENTAL GIVEAWAY
We know that Bush environmental policy -- dealing with air and water pollution, mineral extraction, national parks, and so on -- is an unmitigated disaster, giving pretty much free rein to corporations whose bottom line does better when they don't have to pay attention to the public interest. It's the worst sort of grab-the-money-and-run scenario.
19. THE GREED OF POLITICAL POWER
We know from "insider" memoirs and reports by former Bush Administration officials -- Joseph DeIulio, Paul O'Neill, Richard Clarke, et al. -- that the public interest plays little role in the formulation of policy inside the Bush Administration. The motivating factors are mainly greed and ideological control and remaining in political power. Further, they say, there is little or no curiosity to think outside the political box, or even to hear other opinions.
20. FAITH- OR REALITY-BASED PROGRAMS
We know that this attitude ("my mind is made up, don't bother me with the facts") shows up most openly in how science is disregarded by the Bush Administration (good example: global warming) in favor of faith-based thinking. Some of this non-curiosity about reality may be based in fundamentalist religious, even Apocalyptic, beliefs. Much of Bush's bashing of science is designed as payback to his fundamentalist base, but the scary part is that a good share of the time he actually believes what he's saying, about evolution vs. intelligent-design, stem-cell research, abstinence education, censoring the rewriting of government scientific reports that differ from the Bush party line, cutbacks in research&development grants for the National Science Foundation, etc., ad nauseum. This closed-mind attitude helps explain, on a deeper level, why things aren't working out in Iraq.
AMERICA OR GERMANY IN THE '30s?
In sum (although we could continue forever detailing the crimes and misdemeanors of this corrupt, incompetent Administration), we know that more and more the permanent-war policy abroad and police-state tactics at home (the shredding of Constitutional rights designed to protect citizens from a potential repressive government) are taking us into a kind of American fascism domestically and an imperial foreign policy overseas. All aspects of the American polity are infected with the militarist Know-Nothingism emanating from the top, with governmental and vigilante-type crackdowns on protesters, dissent, free speech, freedom of assembly, etc. happening regularly on both the local and federal levels. More and more, America is resembling Germany in the early 1930s, group pitted against group while the central government amasses more and more power and control of its put-upon citizens.
Bush has had a rough first year of his second term. It's as if the public blinders are starting to come off, and the true nature of this man and his regime are finally starting to hit home and he is seen for what he is: an insecure, arrogant, dangerous, dry-drunk bully who is endangering U.S. national interests abroad with his reckless war in Iraq, his wrecking of the U.S. economy at home, and with his over-reaching in all areas.
If a Democrat president and vice president had behaved similarly to Bush and Cheney, they'd have been in the impeachment dock in a minute. If the Plame-Iraq indictments come down as expected, a momentum for impeachment of Bush and Cheney will be generated.
Our job now is to keep that political momentum building to get rid of these guys, while we try to organize a pro-democracy, anti-imperialist movement for change in this country that is inclusive, non-dogmatic, and capable of winning elections. That may or may not involve the Democratic Party.
Copyright 2005, by Bernard Weiner
IT HAS BEEN CALCULATED THAT IF EVERYONE IN THE UNITED STATES DID NOT PURCHASE A DROP OF GASOLINE FOR ONE DAY AND ALL AT THE SAME TIME, THE OIL COMPANIES WOULD CHOKE ON THEIR STOCKPILES.
AT THE SAME TIME IT WOULD HIT THE ENTIRE INDUSTRY WITH A NET LOSS OF OVER 4.6 BILLION DOLLARS WHICH AFFECTS THE BOTTOM LINES OF THE OIL COMPANIES.
THEREFORE SEPTEMBER 1ST HAS BEEN FORMALLY DECLARED "STICK IT UP THEIR @$$ " DAY AND THE PEOPLE OF THIS NATION SHOULD NOT BUY A SINGLE DROP OF GASOLINE THAT DAY.
THE ONLY WAY THIS CAN BE DONE IS IF YOU FORWARD THIS E-MAIL TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS YOU CAN AND AS QUICKLY AS YOU CAN TO GET THE WORD OUT.
WAITING ON THIS ADMINISTRATION TO STEP IN AND CONTROL THE PRICES IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE REDUCTION AND CONTROL IN PRICES THAT THE ARAB NATIONS PROMISED WEEKS AGO?
REMEMBER ONE THING, NOT ONLY IS THE PRICE OF GASOLINE GOING UP BUT AT THE SAME TIME AIRLINES ARE FORCED TO RAISE THEIR PRICES, TRUCKING COMPANIES ARE FORCED TO RAISE THEIR PRICES WHICH EFFECTS PRICES ON EVERYTHING THAT IS SHIPPED. THINGS LIKE FOOD, CLOTHING, BUILDING MATERIALS, MEDICAL SUPPLIES ETC. WHO PAYS IN THE END? WE DO!
WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. IF THEY DON'T GET THE MESSAGE AFTER ONE DAY, WE WILL DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN.
SO DO YOUR PART AND SPREAD THE WORD. FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW. MARK YOUR CALENDARS AND MAKE SEPTEMBER 1ST A DAY THAT THE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES SAY "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH"
PLEASE FORWARD THIS ON TO EVERYONE YOU CAN!!!!
IF YOU GET THIS SEVERAL TIMES< YOU KNOW THE WORD IS GETTING AROUND
In my view, Robertson and Khomeini belong together.<
This story can be found at: http://www.tampatrib.com/News/MGBDT4RCZCE.html
Byron Williams - byronspeaks.com 08.30.05 - Perhaps it was tucked away in one of those seldom-used Old Testament passages that I never bothered to read, next to burnt offerings and sacrificial lambs. I just don't understand the theological doctrine that supports going on the air and calling for the assassination of a foreign leader. Somewhere it must exist, or there would have been no reason for the 700 Club's Pat Robertson to call for the killing of Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez. I thought it couldn't get any lower on the fundamentalist Christian class meter when the Rev. Jerry Falwell suggested on Robertson's 700 Club immediately following the 9/11 tragedy: "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'" But Robertson may have topped him. In a display of brazeness par excellence, the Christian broadcaster and 1988 presidential candidate stated recently on his 700 Club TV show that "We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability." Chavez made news last year when he warned Washington that if it invaded his country, "not a drop of oil would reach the U.S. from Venezuela." He also accused the U.S. of plotting his death -- charges Washington has denied. The United States was believed to have been involved in the 1963 assassination of South Vietnam President Ngo Binh Diem along with attempts to assassinate Cuba's Fidel Castro. President Ford in the mid-1970's signed an executive order calling for the end of political assassinations. To this, Robertson humbly stated: "I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it." Venezuelan oil accounts for roughly 7 percent of the U.S. gasoline market. Chavez has made it clear that he would love nothing more than to sell his oil to someone other than the United States. The problem with Robertson's statements beyond the obvious unmitigated lunacy is his sense of entitlement. Is the real issue Chavez's desire to stick an economic harpoon into the side of the United States or is it our dependency on foreign oil? The emerging economic strength of China and India is a greater threat than the words of Chavez. It translates into two countries with more than 2 billion people collectively buying a larger percentage of the finite resources on which we are so dependent. I think we should applaud Chavez. Not because of his anti-American rhetoric, but for serving as a necessary reminder that we must alter our behavior. Neo-Manifest Destiny rhetoric is no answer for the need to reduce our foreign oil consumption. But entitlements are strange creatures. They can be easily justified without much regard for reality. Moreover, if unchecked they can lead one down a directionless path. Iraq has become the regretful gold standard. As for Robertson, while others may not be as shameless, I would suspect that he is not alone in his viewpoint. However, his words are neither Christian, American, nor human; there is no place for them in the public conversation. (c) 2005, byronspeaks.com
08.30.05 - Perhaps it was tucked away in one of those seldom-used Old Testament passages that I never bothered to read, next to burnt offerings and sacrificial lambs. I just don't understand the theological doctrine that supports going on the air and calling for the assassination of a foreign leader. Somewhere it must exist, or there would have been no reason for the 700 Club's Pat Robertson to call for the killing of Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez. I thought it couldn't get any lower on the fundamentalist Christian class meter when the Rev. Jerry Falwell suggested on Robertson's 700 Club immediately following the 9/11 tragedy: "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'" But Robertson may have topped him. In a display of brazeness par excellence, the Christian broadcaster and 1988 presidential candidate stated recently on his 700 Club TV show that "We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability." Chavez made news last year when he warned Washington that if it invaded his country, "not a drop of oil would reach the U.S. from Venezuela." He also accused the U.S. of plotting his death -- charges Washington has denied. The United States was believed to have been involved in the 1963 assassination of South Vietnam President Ngo Binh Diem along with attempts to assassinate Cuba's Fidel Castro. President Ford in the mid-1970's signed an executive order calling for the end of political assassinations. To this, Robertson humbly stated: "I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it." Venezuelan oil accounts for roughly 7 percent of the U.S. gasoline market. Chavez has made it clear that he would love nothing more than to sell his oil to someone other than the United States. The problem with Robertson's statements beyond the obvious unmitigated lunacy is his sense of entitlement. Is the real issue Chavez's desire to stick an economic harpoon into the side of the United States or is it our dependency on foreign oil? The emerging economic strength of China and India is a greater threat than the words of Chavez. It translates into two countries with more than 2 billion people collectively buying a larger percentage of the finite resources on which we are so dependent. I think we should applaud Chavez. Not because of his anti-American rhetoric, but for serving as a necessary reminder that we must alter our behavior. Neo-Manifest Destiny rhetoric is no answer for the need to reduce our foreign oil consumption. But entitlements are strange creatures. They can be easily justified without much regard for reality. Moreover, if unchecked they can lead one down a directionless path. Iraq has become the regretful gold standard. As for Robertson, while others may not be as shameless, I would suspect that he is not alone in his viewpoint. However, his words are neither Christian, American, nor human; there is no place for them in the public conversation. (c) 2005, byronspeaks.com
I just don't understand the theological doctrine that supports going on the air and calling for the assassination of a foreign leader. Somewhere it must exist, or there would have been no reason for the 700 Club's Pat Robertson to call for the killing of Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez.
I thought it couldn't get any lower on the fundamentalist Christian class meter when the Rev. Jerry Falwell suggested on Robertson's 700 Club immediately following the 9/11 tragedy:
"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"
But Robertson may have topped him.
In a display of brazeness par excellence, the Christian broadcaster and 1988 presidential candidate stated recently on his 700 Club TV show that "We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability."
Chavez made news last year when he warned Washington that if it invaded his country, "not a drop of oil would reach the U.S. from Venezuela." He also accused the U.S. of plotting his death -- charges Washington has denied.
The United States was believed to have been involved in the 1963 assassination of South Vietnam President Ngo Binh Diem along with attempts to assassinate Cuba's Fidel Castro. President Ford in the mid-1970's signed an executive order calling for the end of political assassinations.
To this, Robertson humbly stated: "I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it."
Venezuelan oil accounts for roughly 7 percent of the U.S. gasoline market. Chavez has made it clear that he would love nothing more than to sell his oil to someone other than the United States.
The problem with Robertson's statements beyond the obvious unmitigated lunacy is his sense of entitlement. Is the real issue Chavez's desire to stick an economic harpoon into the side of the United States or is it our dependency on foreign oil?
The emerging economic strength of China and India is a greater threat than the words of Chavez. It translates into two countries with more than 2 billion people collectively buying a larger percentage of the finite resources on which we are so dependent.
I think we should applaud Chavez. Not because of his anti-American rhetoric, but for serving as a necessary reminder that we must alter our behavior.
Neo-Manifest Destiny rhetoric is no answer for the need to reduce our foreign oil consumption. But entitlements are strange creatures. They can be easily justified without much regard for reality. Moreover, if unchecked they can lead one down a directionless path. Iraq has become the regretful gold standard.
As for Robertson, while others may not be as shameless, I would suspect that he is not alone in his viewpoint.
However, his words are neither Christian, American, nor human; there is no place for them in the public conversation.
(c) 2005, byronspeaks.com
If the thunder don't get you
Then the lightning will ... -- Robert Hunter
Try this madness on for size.
Here we have Pat Robertson, ostensibly a Christian, judging by the number of crosses he surrounds himself with, calling for the assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Parsing the gibberish that pours forth from this fraud of a holy man has been a parlor game in my home for a while now. My favorite remains the statement made by Robertson in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, when he said the attack was God's judgment on America for our tolerance of gays, feminists and the ACLU.
After you get past the immediate disgust that comes whenever you hear something so vile, you are left with the Robertson pretzel-logic. Think about it: If the attacks of 9/11 were the righteous judgment of the Lord, as the false priest told us, then the terrorists were acting on behalf of and to the purposes of God. In other words, they were doing holy and important work, and are therefore above reproach. Call off the War on Terra, folks, and let's bring the troops home. We're waging war on a bunch of dudes who were only seeking to follow Jesus' direct orders.
Yes, such is life in the la-la land of Pat Robertson. This newest one, the call to put a bag on Hugo Chavez, verges into equally bizarre territory. This televangelist is supposed to be a Christian leader, and the last I'd heard, Christ was the guy they called the Prince of Peace. I have this image of Robertson's version of Jesus, however, being an Aramaic rendering of the Max Fischer character from the movie "Rushmore," contemplating the murder of Chavez while walking around Nazareth muttering, "He just made my list of things to do today. I'm gonna pop a cap in his ass."
Some talking head on Fox News the other day coughed up the names and home address of two guys who live in La Habra, California. He released this information live over the network while claiming the two were tied to a man named Iyad Halal, whose group is allegedly connected to the London bombings. The two guys from La Habra, who of course have no terrorism ties whatsoever, now have police protection outside their home, because a whole mob of loyal Fox watchers have been accosting them, screaming profanities at them and spray-painting their house with the word "terrorist." But here's the funny part: Whoever tagged their house with that graffiti did great honor to the intellectual reputation of Fox viewers by spelling the word "terrist." Thus fell Lord Perth, and the earth did shake with that thunder.
Sometimes you just have to laugh when an entire nation takes seeming leave of its senses, when the appalling becomes the mundane, when normally level-headed people lose the capacity to be shocked. The problem, of course, is that there is nothing funny about any of this. The top leadership of this nation has gone barking mad, has enwombed itself in a fantasy world where dead people don't hit the ground and where no plan is the best plan, and that madness has trickled down over the rest of us.
George W. Bush coughed up his latest rationale for continuing the Iraq war - I think this is the fourth or fifth one of these to this point - by saying that because so many American soldiers have been killed, we have to keep sending American soldiers to get killed as a means of honoring the American soldiers who have been killed. Big talk from a guy who spends more time on vacation than a French aristocrat.
Cindy Sheehan, the Gold Star mother who lost her son in Iraq and who has spent the last month perched outside the Crawford ranch like Poe's raven, almost sounds like she pities George in her latest dispatch from Camp Casey. "Since the Freedom and Democracy thing is not going so well," writes Sheehan, "and the Iraqi parliament is having such a hard time writing their constitution, since violence is mounting against Iraqis and Americans and since his poll numbers are going down every day, he had to come up with something."
Oh yeah, about that Iraqi constitution? It's a blueprint for civil war. The Sunnis, who make up about 30% of the population, were completely cut out of the thing and do not accept the version that has been decided on. The Arab League has rejected the document as incomplete and overly solicitous of Iraqi Kurds. The Shi'ite majority, who crafted the document, want to take nine Shi'ite territories and amalgamate them into one autonomous region that would umbilically connect itself to Iran. Those nine territories, it should be noted, have the richest oil reserves in that country. Welcome to Balkanized Iraq, a nation whose quasi-constitution, by the way, basically eviscerates any and all rights for women.
Bush is rocking a 40% approval rating right now, a number that Charles Manson would find embarrassing. The war in Iraq, the rising casualty numbers, the disastrous constitutional thrashing about, not to mention gas prices that are beating consumer confidence to death, are pig-piling all over his sunnily deranged view of things. The hurricane that threatened to annihilate New Orleans caused oil prices to bang above $70 a barrel on Monday, and the storm itself will likely do damage to the petroleum infrastructure in that region, which will further boost gas prices all across the country.
The hurricane itself, at least, isn't George's fault, though one can imagine Karl Rove on the roof of the Crawford ranch summoning the storm like Saruman in order to change, at least for a little while, the subject. Yet the hurricane is a pretty decent example of how Bush priorities do lethal damage to ordinary people, both here and abroad. 3,000 members of the Louisiana National Guard's 256th Brigade, who serve as the front-line saviors when natural disasters strike their home state, sit today in Iraq and can only watch helplessly as the storm batters their neighbors and friends.
Back in June, the New Orleans district of the US Army Corps of Engineers absorbed a record $71.2 million reduction in federal funding. This was an epic reduction for one fiscal year. A story from the Dolan Media news wire reported at the time that, "The cuts mean major hurricane and flood protection projects will not be awarded to local engineering firms. Also, a study to determine ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane has been shelved for now."
But whatever. It's just people, right? The geometry of public discourse, of priorities and the public good, has been perverted almost beyond comprehension. So-called holy men call for assassinations, national television stations put the finger on innocent citizens and open the door for poorly-spelled harassment, soldiers have to keep dying because soldiers have been dying, the Iraqi Founding Fathers drafted a constitution that would have excluded everything north of Virginia had it been written here a couple hundred years ago, and a bad storm is going to be worse because George didn't think keeping New Orleans safe was an important budget item.
You want to know the really funny part, the over-the-moon wacky part? Pat Buchanan has called for the impeachment of George W. Bush in his latest column. It seems Pat is put out by Bush's immigration policies. "Some courageous Republican, to get the attention of this White House," writes Pat, "should drop into the hopper a bill of impeachment, charging Bush with a conscious refusal to uphold his oath and defend the states of the Union against 'invasion.'"
The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that a majority of Americans support the actions of activist mom Cindy Sheehan and believe that the president should meet with her.
According to the poll, 52 percent of those surveyed say that the president should talk to Mrs. Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq last year while 46 percent say he should not. Meanwhile, 53 percent of Americans support Mrs. Sheehan's actions in holding a vigil outside of Mr. Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch while 42 percent oppose her actions.
Sheehan started her vigil in Crawford on August 6, taking a one-week break when she returned to California to help care for her ailing mother. Mrs. Sheehan wants to discuss the war with the president and wants to know for what 'noble cause' her son died for.
Mr. Bush has been on a five-week long vacation at his ranch but has refused to meet with Mrs. Sheehan. She plans a bus tour which will end in Washington, DC on September 24 with a 24-hour vigil against the war.
Not surprisingly, the poll found Americans divided sharply along partisan lines. Roughly 70 percent of Democrats support Mrs. Sheehan's position on the ongoing war in Iraq while a like number of Republicans are opposed.
Interestingly enough, while the press has given Sheehan credit for galvanizing the anti-war movement, 80 percent of Americans say Sheehan's actions have not changed their attitudes towards to the war. The remaining 20 percent are split down the middle with 10 percent saying Mrs. Sheehan makes them more likely to support the war and 10 percent saying her actions make them more likely to oppose it.
The survey was conducted between August 25 and August 28. A total of 1,006 adults were selected at random throughout the country. The margin or error for the poll is plus or minus three percent.
Copyright: Jerry Ghinelli. All rights reserved. You may republish under the following conditions: An active link to the original publication must be provided. You must not alter, edit or remove any text within the article, including this copyright notice.
Published on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 by the Baltimore Sun
by G. Jefferson Price III
|The similarities among the radical wings of religious fundamentalism are striking and frightening. |
In Iran, for example, the mullahs issue fatwas, the exhortations to assassinate people they don't like. The most notorious of these in recent times was the fatwa issued in 1989 by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini against the Indian-born author Salman Rushdie. The ayatollah was incensed because Mr. Rushdie's novel Satanic Verses seemed to insult Islam.
We have our own religious nuts here in America. They issue their own fatwas. The latest example of this came last week from one of the nuttiest of them all, the so-called Rev. Pat Robertson, who urged the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
When his fatwa caused an uproar among more sensible evangelicals, Mr. Robertson first said he was misquoted - which he wasn't - and then apologized as if he didn't mean what he said. So he's not just a nut, he's a liar.
Possibly, he is a dangerous liar. Arthur Hirsch, reporting in The Sun last week, found many who say that Mr. Robertson's influence has waned. But if a single psychotic listening to Mr. Robertson's 700 Club broadcast took it into his head that the preacher was expressing God's will and decided to follow instructions, the outcome could be dangerous.
Mr. Robertson's outburst of malevolence was not exceptional for him or for some of his equally excessive brethren, such as the Rev. Jerry Falwell.
Mr. Hirsch's article was accompanied by some of the more outrageous things Mr. Robertson has said in the past.
Here's one of my favorites:
"The feminist agenda ... is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."
Wow! How come God never told me that?
Another of my favorites is from Mr. Falwell, speaking on Mr. Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network immediately after 9/11.
"I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way - all of them who have tried to secularize America - I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen."'
To which Mr. Robertson said, "I totally concur."
Later, they both apologized.
If it were just the religious fundamentalist radicals, off in their own world, sharing insulting absurdities with each other, that would be one thing. But like the mullahs in Iran, the Robertsons and the Falwells of our world would like to transform America from a democracy into a theocracy.
The mullahs succeeded in Iran. Imagine what America would be like if the Christian mullahs had their way. What would they do with all the pagans, the feminists, the witchcrafters, the communists (of whom there are so few left in America, they'd probably appreciate the attention)?
The holocaust would go on forever, with Mr. Robertson and Mr. Falwell dancing around the pyres happier than Mather and Torquemada put together. And what wars would they launch against pagan nations? Especially the ones where people believe in Mohammed, the "terrorist," as Mr. Falwell once called the founder of Islam. (He apologized for that, too.)
Unfortunately, the Christian radicals are not off in their own world. They have become a serious political force in the very democracy they would like to replace with a theocracy. They were particularly influential in the last two elections. That helps to explain why President Bush - who has his own divine illusions and disabled apology system - did not react unhappily to Mr. Robertson's latest outrage.
Here's my question, though: If a prominent minister here can call for the murder of people who represent a different political and cultural view, why should anyone be surprised if a foreign mullah does the same?
Both are corrupters of the divinity they claim to represent.
G. Jefferson Price III was a foreign correspondent and an editor at The Sun.
© 2005 Baltimore Sun
Todd Gitlin (toddgitlin.net) contributes regularly to TPMcafe.com and is the author of The Intellectuals and the Flag, forthcoming from Columbia University Press.
There come moments in the course of all movements when they go mainstream, despite the best efforts of their enemies to demonize them and of their most radical elements to purify them. Such a moment has probably arrived in the case of the current anti-war effort. But pitfalls also loom.
You cannot trade on certainties in such elusive matters, because events intrude. But a probable turning point arrived the evening of Wednesday, August 17, when (according to Moveon.org) some hundreds of thousands around the country turned out for more than 1,600 candlelight vigils to express solidarity with Cindy Sheehan at Camp Casey outside Crawford, Texas. In White Plains, N.Y., the more than 100 who gathered included, I was told by a correspondent, loads of soccer moms, Little League dads and plenty of their kids. In Indianapolis, 400 turned out. A few days later, it was 2,000 in Salt Lake City, addressed by the Democratic mayor . Elizabeth Edwards wrote a piece supporting the vigils, though not necessarily total withdrawal. Most Democrats continue to duck anti-war demonstrations, though ex-Senator Gary Hart has urged them to come out of hiding. But the growing anti-war base is unlikely to let them rest easy in silence.
This is, by and large, not a movement of extremists, as casually charged (August 22) by MSNBCs White House correspondent Norah ODonnell in an interview with former FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley, now a Democratic candidate for a House seat in Minnesota. Rowley had paid a visit to Sheehans Camp Casey in Crawford, and told ODonnell: The majority of the people I saw down in Crawford were actually veterans groups. There were military families and At that point, ODonnell cut her off.
It wont be the last time a journalist cuts off a mainstream war protester in mid-description. The heat is rising. As the American Legion condemned all public anti-war protests, an AP-Ipsos poll said 87 percent of Americans thought protests legitimate. But the White House and its surrogates will surely continue tarring Sheehan and her supporters and anyone else they can find with the gaudiest brushes they can find. And some on the lefts margins will step forward to play their assigned role.
The historical analogy game is as irresistible as it is tricky, so here goes. The Sheehan vigils are reminiscent of a moment in the fall of 1969 when the anti-Vietnam-war Moratorium organized thousands of events across the country. There were big demonstrations in the usual locations, but the striking thing was the turnout in small and medium locales and places not noted for hippies or cosmopolitanism. Then too, the media caught on to the scale and diversity of the turnout. The demonstrations were in synch with public opinion. Around that time, according to Gallup, 49 percent supported some troop withdrawal, and 78 percent wanted it faster than Nixons pace.
Now too, as with Vietnam, the public has long since concluded that the Iraq war was a blunder in the first place. Moreover, now the hawkish side of the spectrum is much weaker than the withdrawal side. But this doesnt mean the public knows what it wants done. In polls, a lot depends on the question asked, and the results, though not splendid for Bush, are not automatically running toward withdrawal. According to last weeks AP-Ipsos poll, 60 percent say American troops should remain until Iraq is stable, as against 37 percent who preferred immediate withdrawal. (Foolishly, Ipsos offered only these two choices.) Early in August, Gallup found 56 percent for either total or partial withdrawal (as against maintenance or increase), with the largest single bloc, 33 percent, going for total withdrawal.
Heres the rub about 1969: As the war became less popular, so did the anti-war movement. It was hated, in factby the end of the decade, the most hated entity in America. In the 1969 Gallup poll I just cited, as Harold Meyerson reminded his Washington Post readers in June, 77 percent disapproved of the antiwar demonstrations, which were then at their height. To what degree this was because the movement was reputed to be against the troops, to what degree because of confrontational revelries and symbolic anti-Americanism on the left, to what degree because of psychic projection, who can tell? But all this was a gift to Nixon, and it has been the gift to the right that keeps on giving.
Perhaps mindful of this inauspicious history, one unnamed correspondent during a recent Washington Post chat wrote the following:
The anti-war movement really has to learn about behavior. The candlelight vigil thing was great. That's the sort of action that makes sense, actually makes for good PR, and draws in the mainstream .But sadly, too much of this has been run by the Giant Puppet, Bongo circles for peace, and Street Theatre crowd. For example, the upcoming United for Peace and Justice rally is going to protest the war, the World Bank, Israel, and demand unilateral Nuclear Disarmament. All accompanied by Trustafarians with bongos and Giant Puppets.
When the mainstream sees that idiocy, they start considering that the pro-war side may have a point. I opposed this joke in Iraq from day one, and I find these folks silly and counterproductive. The anti-war movement needs more adults in charge, not folks trying to pretend its 1968 all over again, without all the drugs.
The September 24 Washington rally referred to above is co-sponsored by International ANSWER, which along with Stop the War in Iraq offers these slogans: Support the Palestinian Peoples Right of Return, U.S. out of the Philippines, and U.S. out of Puerto Rico. (Somehow help for Darfur is missing. That must not be anti-imperialist enough.)
Cindy Sheehan has already been Swift-Boated, and theres probably more coming. With their poll numbers sinking, Bush and Karl Rove need reinforcements. Theyll go down and dirty, as usual. Those who rightly want to dissent from the whole awful Bush war will have to decide, once again, how to do so in such a way as to increase their leverage and avoid getting painted into a corner.
Following Robertson's call for Chavez's assassination, ABC Family added disclaimer to 700 Club
The cable channel ABC Family has changed the disclaimer at the end of its telecasts of the Christian Broadcasting Network's (CBN) The 700 Club. The disclaimer now reads, "The preceding CBN telecast does not reflect the views of ABC Family." On August 26, ABC Family's post-700 Club graphic read "The proceeding program was brought to you by CBN." The new disclaimer appeared on August 29 following host Pat Robertson's call on August 22 for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez:
The previous disclaimer, which last ran on August 26:
Media Matters for America called for ABC Family to stop showing The 700 Club following Robertson's remarks, which have been widely condemned. In response, ABC Family stated that it is "contractually obligated to air The 700 Club and has no editorial control over views expressed by the hosts or guests," and that it "strongly rejects the views expressed by Pat Robertson" [The New York Times, 8/24/05].
Posted to the web on Monday August 29, 2005 at 4:08 PM EST