War Drums

October 8, 2002 at 4:47 pm
Contributed by:

Hello Defenders of the Free World,

If you haven’t had a chance to catch up with the media of late, the war

drums are banging ever louder, but finally there appear to be at least a few

audible voices of dissent.

Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia appears to be leading the opposition.

Not only has he decried the Administration’s attempt to push a resolution

through the Congress, before the upcoming election, that would grant the

President anytime, anywhere control over the U.S. military, but he also has

raised some very cogent questions about the push to war with Iraq. (See his

comments at



Please, if you agree, let him know. Along with Jim McDermott and a notable

few others, they have been taking a lot of heat for holding fast against the

Administration right now, and they need to know that people are behind them.

Attached is a copy of the email I sent to Sen. Byrd, if you want to

paraphrase that, along with another well-written letter urging people to

support him, and an email about “Jihad Jim” McDermott’s efforts

Senator Byrd: senator_byrd@byrd.senate.gov or call his office at


Rep. McDermott: http://www.house.gov/mcdermott/contact.html

You can also use this form to send email to your Senators:


Also: a great article sent in by an alert reader, which I highly recommend.

“The president’s real goal in Iraq” by JAY BOOKMAN of the Atlanta



I thought it really helped to put this Iraq situation into proper


Finally, the attached article, Inside Iraq. It’s not the easiest

reading–there is a lot of stuff to absorb esp. if you’re not that schooled

on Middle East history, and a lot of discussion about “isms”…but it’s

informative, if nothing else.

At least in theory, we ARE the government. Let your people know!

Thanks as always to readers who sent me all this stuff!

[You are on my private Poli-spam list. If you don't want to be on it, just

say so.]


—–Original Message—–

FW: A call to action. Fillibuster. Please read this

Dear Friends,

We are going to ask you to do something very important Tuesday morning,
something that might help stop a war.

We attended a meeting tonight in Seattle where Scott Ritter and Congressman
Jim McDermott spoke. There were approximately 1500 people there. We came
away feeling very much afraid for the people of Iraq and for the spirit of
our democracy that we have taken for granted. The evening started with
pictures of Iraqi children. There is absolute evidence that over 500,000
Iraqi children have died because of sanctions. Scott Ritter is a decorated
US Marine with 8 years of experience in intelligence work in Iraq searching
for weapons. He states unequivocally that Iraq was disarmed.

A war in Iraq will not be a video game war that we watch with interest on
TV. It will be a war fought on the city streets in Baghdad where American
military personnel, our children, will go house-to-house fighting a war that
will devastate the 5,000,000 people who live in Baghdad. There will be many
casualties. This war may spread all over the Middle East.

This letter is not defending Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal person and
should be brought to justice. But our government is lying to us in order to
prepare us for a war. This is not about getting rid of Saddam, or even
about weapons of mass destruction. This is about empire building by the US.
This is about the US controlling Middle East Oil and ruling the world as its
only superpower. Consider the fact that you have not heard the President
speak Osama Bin Laden¹s name since March 8th. He has disappeared and Saddam
has become the evil one who bombed our cities. They are using our fear to
create their agenda. This evidence has been printed in the press but you
need to search for it, as the Oliberal media¹ just ain¹t so liberal and does
not report much the other side of this story. We could file charges against
Saddam in the world court of justice recently set up for this purpose but we
voted against that. We don¹t want Americans charged before international
tribunals. People all over the world are demonstrating and marching against
our plans to go to war in the hundreds of thousands.

The military build up is already in full force. The House will vote next
week giving the President unprecedented power to maker war. The Senate will
probably vote the following week and then Congress will recess October 18th.
We may have one chance left to stop this war and that is to support Senator
Byrd from West Virginia in his plans to filibuster this power grab by the
President and the conservatives around him. Please!

Senator Robert Byrd is offering to
filibuster the proposal if he gets enough support from us. I implore
you to stop everything and contact him with your support:
senator_byrd@byrd.senate.gov or call his office at 202-224-3954. Next, call
your Senator¹s again and finally
forward this message on to everyone on your email list.

Thanks, everyone! Jeri & Scott
—— End of Forwarded Message

—–Original Message—–
From: Chris Nelder Sent: Tuesday, October 08, 2002 4:24 PM
To: senator_byrd@byrd.senate.gov
Subject: I support your stance against the Iraq resolution! Thank you for defending the Constitution!

Dear Senator Byrd,

I’m not a member of your constituency, being a California resident, but I want to give you a resounding voice of support for your recent efforts in keeping the U.S. from going it alone against Iraq, and for defending the balance of power as stated in the Constitution. Without an elder statesman like yourself to bring this resolution into historical focus, and to explain how it would grant a President unprecedented and unmitigated control over the use of American armed forces, our country could well be lost right now. You are one of the few Democrats who’s had the guts to stand up and decry the Emperor’s new clothes, and I am very grateful. Keep up the good fight! We’re with you!


Christopher Nelder

Monday, October 7, 2002

Thousands in Seattle Protest Bush Policy on Iraq


SEATTLE — U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, recently back from Baghdad, told about

5,000-plus peace activists at a rally Sunday that President Bush is out for

blood in Iraq and it will take their efforts to stop him.

“We can let the president know he does not get a free ride on this,”

McDermott, D-Wash., told the crowd at a downtown rally as the activists

cheered and waved signs that read “No Iraq War.”

During his five-day trip to Iraq, which ended last Tuesday, McDermott

suggested the president might mislead the American people about the need for

war, something the White House swiftly denied. Bush has said Iraq must be

disarmed to ensure the world’s security.

Conservatives criticized McDermott for his comments, dubbing him “Jihad Jim”

and accusing him of sympathizing with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

When he returned to Washington, D.C., McDermott qualified his remarks,

saying that he had perhaps “overstated” his case.

But the congressman showed no such contrition Sunday: “I meant what I said,”

he insisted in an interview with The Associated Press.

“We have a president who says … ‘I can do whatever I want in the world,”‘

McDermott said. “He must go through the United Nations. He must exhaust

diplomatic means. He’s trying to provoke the Iraqis. He wants a war.”

As for the nicknames bestowed on him, McDermott said, “It’s like in second

grade. When you call names it’s because you can’t think of anything

intelligent to say.”

McDermott used even stronger language in a town hall meeting at the

Jefferson Park Community Center on Beacon Hill, where he said Bush is moving

toward an imperial presidency by denying that congressional action is

required to authorize an attack on Iraq.

“And what we are dealing with right now in this country is whether we are

having a kind of bloodless, silent coup or not,” McDermott said.

“This president is trying to bring to himself all the power to become an

emperor to create Empire America,” he said. “If you go along like sheep,

that is what will happen.”

Sunday’s downtown rally was organized by a group called “Not in Our Name,”

and took place in conjunction with rallies around the country over the

weekend. Thousands protested Sunday in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and

about 5,000 protesters gathered in Portland, Ore., on Saturday.

“This war would be a huge mistake,” Seattle math teacher Jerry Gallaher, 49,

said Saturday. “We’d end up killing lots of innocent people. The diplomatic

solutions haven’t been explored, and we don’t have international support for


Across the street, a handful of pro-Bush protesters called McDermott a

traitor. Mark Muhlenkort, an electrical engineer from Poulsbo, held a sign

that read: “Jihad Jim loves Saddam.”

“Go kiss him,” it taunted.

Muhlenkort said there was nothing inherently wrong with McDermott’s trip to

Iraq, but there was something wrong with his comments there.

“It’s important that we defend ourselves,” he said. “Saddam might get nukes,

and I’m afraid he’d use them against us or against Israel. He’s got a

history of irrational actions, and he’s been supportive of terrorists in the


Interview / Vicious circles closing in

By Micha Odenheimer- h a a r e t z d a i l y

A journalist, human rights activist and intellectual, Thomas von der

Osten-Sacken is considered one of Germany’s leading authorities on human

rights in Iraq. He began traveling to Iraq in 1991, when he spent eight

months doing humanitarian work in the southern part of the country just

after Saddam Hussein crushed the Shi’ite uprising there. In 1992, Von der

Osten-Sacken co-founded an aid and advocacy organization called Wadi,

operating in Iraqi Kurdistan – the semi-autonomous safe haven carved out for

Kurdish refugees after the Gulf War – and on behalf of Iraqi refugees in

Germany. He spends part of each year in Kurdistan where Wadi has founded the

first shelter there for women in distress and is also involved in helping

the local government reform the prison system that has been left over from

Iraqi rule. In Germany, Wadi advises Iraqi opposition groups and works

closely with the Coalition fo! ! r a Democratic Iraq.

Von der Osten-Sacken, 34, publishes articles in German magazines such as

Jungle World and Konkret, and has co-edited a book on Iraq called “Saddam’s

Last Battle?”, which is due to be published next month. He is one of the

relatively few contemporary German writers and thinkers on the left who

consider themselves pro-Israel and have developed a left-wing critique of

the anti-globalization left in today’s Europe. Along with his other

activities, he is conducting research for his doctoral thesis on

German-language Zionist newspapers in the 1930s for the German literature

department at the University of Frankfurt.

This interview was conducted with him earlier this week.

When did you first realize that the Iraqi regime was not just another Middle

East dictatorship?

Von der Osten-Sacken: “When I first came to Iraq, I very quickly realized

that I could not compare the situation there to other Middle Eastern

countries I had been in, like Syria, Jordan or Egypt. This country was hell.

We were the only Europeans in a city called Amara in the Shi’ite area of

southern Iraq near Basra, and we arrived just a few weeks after the uprising

had been crushed. There was a belt of tanks around the city. The majority of

buildings were burned out. There was no food in the market. There was also a

terrible degree of malnourishment there.

“People in Iraq won’t talk freely, because they are terrified that their

friends are working for one of Saddam’s nine horrible security services.

Because of this atmosphere, it took us three or four months to learn some

details about the uprising. The Iraqis made people lie down in the streets

and then buried them alive under asphalt. They killed everyone who looked a

little religious, because this was a Shi’ite area. It was forbidden to take

the corpses from the street. All in all, 60,000 or 70,000 people were killed

in this area in 1991.

“The first thing that was done after the uprising was crushed was to repaint

the pictures of Saddam Hussein. People had riddled them with bullets. Not

one had been left. We were shocked at how neglected the south was, with open

sewage systems, even though it is rich in oil. Saddam said before smashing

the uprising that these Shi’ites were dirty people, not really Iraqis. We

left there in October ’91 when we felt we could not continue our work

without unintentionally helping the government.”

What was the atmosphere like in Baghdad then?

“Baghdad was 300 kilometers away, and we went quite often – for a good

dinner, to have a meeting with another organization or even to make a phone

call to Germany. The fear in Iraq, a BBC reporter said recently, is so

palpable you can eat it. It’s really indescribable. Syria is a dictatorship,

but the fear and control in Iraq reaches into your living room. If there is

no picture of Saddam Hussein in your living room, you might be arrested.

There is no privacy. The Iraqi government considers everything political. In

Syria, as long as you are not a member of the opposition, you can relax. You

know you will not be harmed. But in Iraq, if you are in the wrong place at

the wrong time, you may be arrested, tortured, killed.”

“When I was in southern Iraq in ’91, we had a lot of conversations with a

very nice, very sophisticated doctor. One day, he was watching television

and the Iraqi army was being praised for having won the second part of the

Gulf War [after the initial U.S. attack aimed at driving Iraq out of

Kuwait]. The doctor just said, `Well, it is a strange victory if daily

children are dying of hunger.’ That was enough. Someone heard him. He was

taken, tortured for three weeks and brought back a broken person. Letting

one sentence slip is cause enough for a person to vanish into an Iraqi

prison or even to be killed.”

You have said that estimates are that Saddam has killed approximately one

million of his own citizens since 1979.

“Yes, that would include Kurds, Shi’ites, Christians and Sunnis. There were

two huge massacres. There was the so-called Anfal campaign against the Kurds

at the end of the 1980s when 4,000 villages were destroyed, and about

100,000 to 150,000 persons were killed, some with poison gas. Up to a

million people were sent into internal exile. The other big massacre was in

the south in the 1990s, where the regime has killed about 300,000 Shi’ites

in the last 10 years. In addition, there have been enormous massacres

against communists over the past two decades.

“The estimate of one million killed only includes civilians. A million Iraqi

soldiers were killed in the Iran-Iraq war. A half-million Iraqis died of

hunger or disease because of sanctions on Iraq, and more were killed in the

Gulf War. Some 1.5 to two million people have been internally displaced, and

4.5 million Iraqi refugees are scattered across the globe. Ten percent of

the Iraqi population has been killed or deported during the rule of Saddam

Hussein. That is the essence of his regime. It is not an accident. It is


What is the ideology behind Saddam Hussein’s regime?

“The Ba’ath ideology mixes pan-Arabism with admiration of Mussolini and

Hitler, some ideas of state socialism and the notion of an Arab supremacy

which will be realized after the Arabs have liberated themselves from

foreign – that means mainly Jewish – influence and British and American

imperialism. Ba’athism is strongly anti-communist and anti-imperialist, and

it is anti- Semitic from its beginning. Everything in Iraq is explained

through this huge conspiracy theory against the Arabs, in general, and Iraq,

in particular. Iraq is thought to be the greatest Arab nation and the

natural leader of Arab unity.”

So Iraq sees itself as the center of the Arab world?

“Yes, the leader of Arab unity. Saddam Hussein dreams of ruling a united

Arab nation that would become a superpower confronting East and West. Iraqi

children are taught in kindergarten that they have to be strong Arab


Is Iraqi Ba’athism Islamist?

“Pan-Arabism has always said that Mohammed is the forefather of pan-Arabism

and that Islam was spoiled when it crossed the borders of the Arab world to

Iran and Turkey. The task now is to `re-animate’ the real Islam that was

taught by Mohammed as an Arab ideology. Especially during the Iran-Iraq war,

when Iraq had to face the Iranian revolution, they loaded their own ideology

with Islamic content. The Iranians and the Zionists, they said, are part of

a 2,000-year-old plot to smash Iraq and divide the Arabs. `We are fighting

for the real Islam’ the regime said, not the kind of spoiled Islam that Iran

represents. I think it was a mistake for the Americans to believe, as they

did, that Iraq was a stronghold against Islam.”

Is it conceivable that Al Qaeda and Iraq have cooperated?

“Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden share the same enemies, the same

conspiracy theories. They share the claim that they are fighting in the name

of the Arab masses. Both these men grew up in the same poisoned climate of

Arab dictatorships. Their ideologies are quite close, even if Saddam is not

an Islamist. And since he has been supporting many terror organizations, I

would not be surprised if there are close ties on the ground between Iraq

and Al Qaeda.

“I think that Osama bin Laden is trying to walk in the footsteps of Saddam

Hussein. At the same time, Saddam Hussein in the 1990s was trying to

strengthen the ties between Iraq and the Islamic movements. He put `Allah

Akhbar’ [`God is great'] into the flag of Iraq and also financed different

Islamic groups in Palestine and other places in the Arab world. There is a

terrorist education center in Baghdad called Salmanpak and according to the

Iraqi opposition, in the mid-’90s, terrorists from other countries were

being trained there in such skills as how to hijack planes and use chemical

weapons. They may be cooperating and even if they are not, these are two

trees growing in the same soil.”

So you would not agree with the idea that the war on Iraq is a distraction

from the war against terror that President George Bush has proclaimed.

“American policy in Iraq is a series of huge mistakes. Firstly, it was a

mistake to support that horrible regime in the 1980s knowing, for example,

about the massacres against the Kurds. Secondly, it was a huge mistake not

to let the Iraqi people topple Saddam in ’91. The Americans feared democracy

in the Middle East, they feared the breakup of Iraq because it would

strengthen Iran, so they allowed Saddam to crush the uprising.

“With regimes like the Iraqi one, there will be no peace in the Middle East.

You cannot contain a regime like Saddam Hussein’s. That was a mistake of the

West. So the question is: Is America ready to face up to the mistakes it

made in ’91 and in the ’80s? Are the Americans ready to support democracy?

Because people like Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden grew out of the

Middle East. They are not products of Afghanistan.”

What kind of influence does Saddam have in the Arab street, and what kind of

affect could it have to topple him?

“The most regressive and dangerous elements in the Arab and Islamic world

depend on Saddam Hussein. Really toppling Saddam Hussein means uprooting the

Ba’ath regime, with the help of the Iraqi people. This would give the final

blow to pan-Arabism in the Middle East. Syria and a lot of very radical

factions in Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt and the Gulf states would be affected.

These factions look up to Saddam Hussein as a pan-Arabist, anti-imperialist

hero – although he is anti-imperialist in the tradition of the Nazis, not

the left. Also, Saddam is financing organizations like the Arab Liberation

Front in Palestine, which is a Ba’ath organization. He is paying the

families of suicide attackers. He is directly and indirectly responsible for

a lot of terrorism in the Middle East.”

What is his relationship with Yasser Arafat and the PLO?

“Part of the Palestinian establishment has very close ties to Iraq since

1991 when the Palestinians decided to support Saddam, which was a huge

mistake. This includes some quite influential figures within the security

apparatus of Yasser Arafat and the PLO. There is a struggle within the

Palestinian establishment right now over whether these elements should be

isolated. I think that certain people like Abu Mazen and some of the

security forces who were trained by the CIA are struggling against others

who have very close ties to Baghdad, and who still want to join Iraq in the

next battle with terrorist attacks, or worse – with chemical or biological

attacks on Israel or somewhere else in the world. That, I think, would be

another terrible mistake for the Palestinians to make.”

What will have to be done, the day after Saddam is gone, to make the

distinction between merely switching Iraqi regimes and starting something

completely new and democratic?

“In 1991, the Americans feared the results of a public uprising. They hoped

to find someone within the military who could topple Saddam Hussein and rule

Iraq with some cosmetic changes, but with the same security apparatus. This

hope proved a failure because for 25 years, Saddam has been trying to get

rid of anyone that might pose a threat to him. Every influential general has

been killed. Yearly cleansing campaigns are carried out against high-ranking

members of the Ba’ath Party so that no one can threaten the position of his

family, which is more or less ruling Iraq. The hawks in the U.S., people

like Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney or Richard Perle, analyzed the situation

and realized that they cannot just change someone at the top. It is not like

a South American dictatorship. If they really want change, they have to

create a new Iraq.

“Iraq is so ruthless and cruel against any opposition that people cannot

rise up without an outside trigger. But the moment a possibility is created,

the vast majority of the Iraqi people will rise up. They will uproot the

Ba’ath Party and even take personal revenge on the ruling regime; you won’t

have any Ba’ath Party anymore. So you really have to think about what to do

afterward. The only alternative is creating a democracy, which is a real

experiment because nothing like this exists in the region. Iraq considers

itself an Arab country, but actually contains nearly all the different

minority and ethnic groups of the Middle East.

“So, if it is really done with heart, it is the first step to creating a new

Middle East. A democracy in the region will very much affect other

countries. It is a huge challenge and experiment. The question is: Do the

Americans know what they are going to do there? Because Turkey, Iran and

Europe will all try to impose their own policy. Iraq is an oil-rich country

and you don’t know if this great game will not lead to catastrophe.”

Does Iraq have a national identity that could come together as a democracy?

Or are these fears that the Shi’ites and Kurds will split off legitimate?

“Iraq is very unique in the Arab world. First of all, you already have a

very long tradition of opposition to the central regime. And you have a

tradition of a national identity. Even the Kurds in Iraq never wanted to

split off, unlike their brethren in Turkey. They want a federal Iraq with

strong Kurdish autonomy. I don’t think the Shi’ites want to split off.

Usually the minority is the one that wants to split off. The Shi’ite are the

majority in Iraq. What they want is more influence in Baghdad. From my

experience from living there, I don’t think the Shi’ites are attracted by

the mullah regime of Iran. You also have a strong leftist tradition, mainly

in places like Basra and Amara, and Iraq has one of the oldest and strongest

communist parties in the Middle East. This tradition has been strongly

repressed by the Ba’ath Party, but it still exists.

“I think the Kurdish autonomy is a positive example for Iraq. Kurdistan has

horrible conditions. It’s not recognized internationally. It is more or less

under double embargo: the international sanctions against Iraq and some

internal sanctions from the central government. Turkey, Iran and Syria are

all trying to destabilize the Kurds. But even under these dire

circumstances, the Kurds have been able to build up what is not really a

democracy, but a place which is, except for Israel, the most liberal and

free in the Middle East. There are a lot of newspapers, freedom of speech,

up to a limit – you are not allowed to insult the Kurdish political leaders

- but in comparison with central Iraq, you can really call it paradise. And

there is to a certain extent democracy. If the Kurds are able to do it, why

shouldn’t the Iraqis, with assistance from abroad?”

Are you in favor of waging war against Iraq?

“Let me say first that I am not in favor of war, especially until we know

how the Americans want to conduct the war. But one also has to consider that

what the Lebanese intellectual Fouad Ajami has said: that for 30 years, Iraq

has been conducting a war against its own society. Saddam Hussein is

conducting a war against his own people and it must be stopped. It is hard

to think of another people who have suffered in the last 20 years like the

Iraqi people have suffered at the hands of Saddam Hussein and because of

international policy aimed at containing him. If Americans are really ready

to topple him, it might be very good for the Iraqi people and very good for

the region. If the Americans start just another stupid war like the one in

1991, then I am against it, too.

“At this very moment there is a huge Arabization campaign against Kurds

living in Karkuk. People are systematically deported because the regime

wants to change a Kurdish city into an Arab one. Just now there are

tremendous prison cleansing campaigns. Every Wednesday, the security forces

come into the largest prison in Baghdad and say: You, you, you and you. Five

hundred people are taken out to be killed just because the prisons are

overcrowded. The Iraqi National Congress says that there are 600,000 to

700,000 political prisoners in Iraqi detention camps at present.

“So the question is: Are they really ready to support democracy in the

Middle East? In that case, I think the war is necessary and good. Or do they

just want to put some horrible general in instead of Saddam? Then I oppose

this war very much.”

During the Gulf War in 1991, Israel refrained from retaliating after the

Scud missile attacks. How should Israel respond if it is attacked this time?

“Seventy percent of the Iraqi people are allies of the Americans. If the war

is waged correctly, it will focus on the regime, on the leaders, on the

security apparatus and on this horrible Ba’ath Party, but not on the Iraqi

people. So if Israel is attacked, it should consider this point: This is a

war against the regime, and the Iraqi people are allies in fighting Saddam

Hussein. So it is very important to refrain from attacking civilians. There

has been a debate about Israel nuking Iraq if attacked with weapons of mass

destruction. That would be a disaster – the end of the democratization of

the Middle East. Everyone would be against the Iraqi opposition and against

Israel. If there is a need for Israel to strike back, it should only be

against military targets. Israel should openly declare that it is not

conducting a war against the Iraqi people, and that it is ready to support a

multi-ethnic democracy in Iraq, friendly to the Iraqi people and only

hostile to this govern! ! ment.”

What is the attitude toward Israel and the United States in liberated


“The United States created the safe haven in 1991 not for the Kurds, but to

protect Iran and Turkey from the influx of refugees. Still, people know that

they are protected by the U.S. and they have a positive attitude toward it.

I spent September 11, 2001 in Kurdistan in front of the television and the

next day, I crossed through Syria to Jordan. In Syria, people told me that

it was a conspiracy against the Arabs, but in Kurdistan, people were deeply

shocked and sorry for the victims of the World Trade Center attack.

“In regard to Israel, it’s astonishing: The Kurds were all taught in Iraqi

schools that the Jews and Israel are the main enemy, blood-suckers, part of

a huge conspiracy, but I did not find any real anti-Israel sentiments.

Critics of the occupation, of the settlements, yes, there are some, and I

think that is legitimate, but no anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. In fact,

people in Kurdistan are now starting to reflect on the mass immigration of

Kurdish Jews in the 1950s when 99 percent of the Jewish community left

mostly to Israel. Many times, I heard Kurds saying that it was sad that this

living together with Jews had stopped, and that the Jewish heritage of

Kurdistan should be kept alive.

“Also, you have to understand the dynamic. Nearly every week, Saddam Hussein

or a leading Ba’ath member declares that Iraqi Kurdistan is the Israel of

Iraq, or accuses the Kurds of being Zionists agents. The same thing is said

about every opposition party – be they Islamists, nationalists, communists

or Christians. People who are anti-Zionist themselves, such as Iraqi

communists, are put into prison, tortured and killed as Zionist spies. That

forces people to have a different attitude toward the whole Middle East

conspiracy theory. I think this is why intellectual Iraqis abroad are much

less likely to be anti-Israel than other Arab intellectuals. Iraqis oppose

pan-Arabism and Ba’athism much more than they oppose Israel. So, it may be

more possible to find a way to work with a future Iraqi government than with

any other government in the region. If the Kurds are strong in Baghdad, the

Jews will not face this irrational anti-Jewish sentiment.”

What do you think drives German policy against U.S. intervention in Iraq?

“Germany gains very good material benefit from Iraq. One should not forget

that German technology enabled Iraq to enlarge the range of the Scud

missiles so that they could reach Israel, that without German assistance,

Iraq would not have been able to gas Iranian soldiers or its own people in

Kurdistan or to threaten Israel. So there are deep relations. Iran, Libya

and Syria, but especially Iraq, have this relationship with Germany. German

policy has always put its eggs in Saddam’s basket and gained from trade with

Iraq, especially after ’91 when America and England were out of Iraq.

“Also, ideology is important, especially at such times as during the last

election campaign when the Social Democrats start to play on the

anti-American piano. There are very close ties between a certain German

ideology dating back to the 19th century, running through World War I and

escalating in World War II with the Nazis and continuing afterward, which

has close ties to pan-Arabism. One that shares the same enemies: America,

the Jews, Israel. Anti-American and anti-Israel resentments are very strong

in Germany and they have become stronger since 1989.

“Saddam Hussein is not usually seen in Germany as a horrible dictator

murdering his own people. People blame the sanctions and not him, and people

blame the Israeli occupation for the whole situation in the Middle East, not

Palestinian terrorists or Saddam for continually destabilizing the region.

Also, since 1945, many Germans have very strong anti-war feelings,

especially if these wars are conducted by the United States. The majority of

people opposed the second part of the Gulf War; there were tremendous

demonstrations against it. Now this opposition is stronger, because Germany

is stronger.

“Germany is now conducting its own independent foreign policy, which in the

last two to four years, has become simply to contrast itself to the U.S. If

the U.S. is supporting a government, we should support the opposition to

this government. In the Middle East, there is an attempt to tighten

relations with Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinians and Iraq. Also, the Germans

are quite afraid of the archives in Baghdad and what they tell about the

poison gas and other weapons deals that were made between Iraq and a lot of

German enterprises.”

So both the left and the right in Germany have strong anti-American feeling?

“Anti-American and anti-Israeli-anti-Semitic. At the moment, you can hardly

distinguish between the very far right wing and the very far left wing. The

far right openly supports Saddam Hussein, saying that he is fighting the

Jews and the Americans and thus supporting the German battle. And certain

left-wingers from an orthodox left-wing tradition think that Saddam Hussein

is anti-imperialist, anti-globalization, that he is fighting for the rights

of the Arabs to self-determination. Others on the left say that Saddam may

be horrible, but another American war will not solve any problems. The war

will just help Israel’s interest, so we should oppose it. This is also the

governmental policy at the moment.”

The European and Third World left have developed an ideology that unites

anti-globalization, anti-Americanism, anti-Israel feeling and, to a certain

extent, anti-Semitism. What is the internal logic behind this combination?

“This is not a very new phenomenon. In the German left, these attitudes

existed during the 1920s with the idea of `a shortened anti-capitalism’ that

distinguished very sharply between financial capital and productive capital,

and demonized financial capital. This idea was later adapted by the Nazis,

and is in itself anti-Semitic because Jews are identified with the

circulation sphere – with banks. Whoever does not criticize capitalism in a

Marxist way, but criticizes only the surface [aspects] of capitalism – the

huge banks or the monopoly capitalists – is automatically using an

anti-Semitic phraseology, even if he is not speaking about Jews or Israel.

This is what some of the anti-globalization rhetoric is about.

“These associations are so deeply written inside European and especially

German history, that you can be anti-Semitic without even mentioning Jews.

This way of thinking was kept alive in certain Leninist groups and in the

far right wing in the ’60s and ’70s, and now it is more or less unfolding in

the mainstream movements. It is always a question of whether these

resentments, which are quite common, are taboo or whether the government is

signaling that they can be voiced. Until 1989, anti-Semitism and

anti-Americanism were taboo in Germany. These views found space on the left

and on the far right. In the middle of society, they were hidden in the

signals and phrases communicated in the subtext. Now, due to the new

international constellation, the taboo has broken down and these ideas can

be found in the mainstream.

“So you have more or less the same idea that you had since the ’20s: There

is a global struggle pitting the `good’ people who are fighting against

colonialization against a conspiracy between the huge American trusts, banks

and the Jews, which wants to force the world to adapt a universal

capitalism. The Jews were also accused then of being the purveyors of the

global communist principle, but since 1989, that has been forgotten. These

old ideas were re-animated now due to the ethnic conflicts in the Balkans

and the conflict in the Middle East, and especially since September 11, when

the focus has been on the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel, and

the conflict between Iraq on one side and the U.S. and Britain on the


Leaving aside the overt anti-Semitism, what do you, as a Marxist, see as the

primary mistake of this ideology that is attacking the U.S. as the purveyor

of global capitalism?

“The moment this anti-globalization ideology brings together Hamas, Saddam

Hussein, Osama bin Laden, nationalistic movements in the Balkans, the

Zapatists in Mexico, and the neo-Nazi right wing, which is very active in

the anti-globalization movement, it means they are not fighting for

universal freedom, liberation and emancipation, but are reproducing

anti-universalist, anti-Semitic stereotypes that are only leading to

barbarism. Rosa Luxemburg once said that the question is socialism or

barbarism, and that question is still valid. But at the moment, I think the

fight is to defend the Western world against those who would like to be its

successors. These people are also, dialectically, the products of the

Western, capitalistic world. Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden grew out of

the bad politics of the U.S. and Europe in the Middle East. They didn’t fall

from the moon.

“But at the moment, I think one has to support the West, which means in this

case America, Britain and Israel, in its battle against its own creations.

Then you can think again of how to create a much better world. The questions

the anti-globalization movement raises are very important – issues like the

environment, world hunger and the enrichment of a very small minority of

people while the vast majority become poorer. But with the Ba’ath Party and

Hamas as your actors, you will not change anything. They are not the

historical subjects who are carrying the idea of emancipation.

“In extremis, you have a constellation that reminds one of the ’30s. On the

one hand, you have Britain, the U.S. and Israel – the Jews are always in the

metaphysical center of these conflicts. This side is fighting for a

capitalistic Western ideology. Then you have these National Socialist,

self-determination ideas, which are always led by the Germans. In 1939, the

Germans said that they were fighting universal capitalism and for

self-determination in the Third World. They had a very anti-colonialist

phraseology. You can find the same words and the same phrases as are being

used today in the ’40s when the Germans were supporting India’s and the

Arabs’ revolt against the British. Even France is again in the same position

- supporting Britain and the U.S. half-heartedly.

“Ten years ago, everyone thought Germany was a close ally of the U.S.,

supporting its policy. But no. In this conflict, Germany is signaling that

it is standing on the other side. Everywhere in the Middle East, in the

Syrian press, in the Hezbollah press, in the Baghdadi press, Germany is

being praised for taking the same side they did 50 years ago. So people

understand what the Germans are doing. And I think that that is quite

interesting – and quite horrifying.”

Why do they hate us?

October 2, 2002 at 2:58 pm
Contributed by:

Dear Friends,

I never thought I was an anarchist…or even a libertarian. But in this
article, written by a self-described anarchist libertarian, I can’t find
anything to disagree with, either factually or argumentatively. Hmm.

“Why do they hate us?”

This is a great article discussing the “Why do they hate us?” question with
a lot of background information. Those of you who have been following along
closely will be familiar with most of this material, but it’s an excellent
primer for anyone in the U.S. who may not be aware of all the background
material that is regularly excluded from media attention. (And that subject,
once again, is treated fully by Chomsky.)

Unlike most of the articles I have circulated, this one actually engages the
subject of Israel. I realize it’s a very sensitive subject, and some see any
criticism of Israel and US-Israeli relations as being tantamount to
anti-Semitism. I hope this article will not be taken that way, and as I’m
not the most well-versed guy on Israeli history, I welcome feedback on this
article from Jews who know more than I do.

I encourage you to send this one to friends & family who might welcome the
education. Sept 11 may have opened our eyes to the rest of the world, but we
need to keep them open and read a little.


[You are on my private Poli-spam list. If you don't want to be on it, just
say so.]

Secret Societies

September 26, 2002 at 3:45 pm
Contributed by:

I saw the last part of this program on TV late last night…one of only two showings of it on the History Channel this month…and boy, did it give me a lot to think about. Would love to hear your take on it, showing again this Sunday.

Incredible But True?

Secret Societies

Sunday , September 29 1:00 PM-2:00 PM

Some of the world’s most powerful individuals belong to secret organizations. The Skull & Bones, the Bilderbergs, and the Tri-Lateral Commission are just a few of the groups that many suspect are conspiring to take over the world. Others believe they already have. What fuels such rampant conspiracy paranoia? We examine a number of these clandestine organizations, past and present, and reveal why so many people fear their nefarious agendas. TV PG


TIME Investigative Report re: 9/11

September 25, 2002 at 6:20 pm
Contributed by:

This is an excellent article–long, but well worth the read. It’s the most

comprehensive report about the intelligence we had on Al-Qaeda prior to 9/11

that I’ve seen yet.

More to come…

—–Original Message—–

Subject: TIME Investigative Report re: 9/11

Explains the Clinton administration had a plan drawn up to deal with

Al-Queda, and the current administration’s reluctance to be investigated for

any foreknowledge.


This link came from the following article at Salon.com:


War on Iraq: Let your Congressmen know how you feel

September 25, 2002 at 6:11 pm
Contributed by:

Congress is expected to pass a
resolution next week – contact
them now.


Attached, another similar suggestion from the “Not in our Name”
initiative. Good text.


then, enjoy a bit of humor:




[You are on my PRIVATE Poli-spam list; if you don't want to be, just say

—–Original Message—–

Don’t Attack Iraq; Work Through the

If you agree with the objective, then definitely try this out. It
literally took me about 2 minutes to send a fax/email to 30 US Reps.
Pro-peace citizens have just a
couple of days to
influence the Congressional debate about Iraq.
is expected to pass a resolution next week –
and there is evidence that a
strong outpouring of
anti-war sentiment is starting to have an impact, as

members from both parties express skepticism about the
broad war mandate
sought by the White House.

Please take a minute as soon as you can

(1) Send a letter to Congress
can do it in less than a minute.

(2) Pass this alert along to your

(3) Display your opposition to war with peace
    U.N. flags, Earth flags, anti-war posters,
    Proceeds make Progressive Portal possible.

(4) For more information,
see the Iraq section of the
Global Exchange Web site, and the Iraq links

is VERY short — please act today if you can!

More on Chemtrails, and CIA connections

September 19, 2002 at 1:30 pm
Contributed by:



Catching you up with a few more articles:


Another, more detailed, site about Chemtrails. Seattle friends, best get
yourselves some gas masks and HEPA filters! 

Chemtrail smoking gun

If you haven’t heard of Mike Ruppert yet, I suggest you check out his 30-year
effort to expose the CIA’s involvement with drug smuggling and money laundering
for world financial markets. A former LAPD detective who was courted for a while
by the CIA, he has crusaded against their shenanigans ever since. Recently he
has produced a video called “Truth and Lies of 9-11″ that, while failing to make
a truly cogent argument IMO, does present a lot of very interesting (and
damning) facts about the connections between the CIA, the SEC, our government,
and business leaders of major corporations over many years. Worth a


Also at that site, be sure to check out the story of D. “Mike” Vreeland,
who worked for U.S. Naval Intelligence and who tried to warn the U.S. about the
9/11 attacks as early as December 2000, and who has since been the subject of a
campaign to discredit him:


all for today.


[You are
on my PRIVATE Poli-spam list. If you don't want to be, just say

Paul Krugman, \"Cronies in Arms\"

September 18, 2002 at 7:06 pm
Contributed by:

Hello all
you defenders of Truth, Justice, and the American Way (what is that these
days, anyway?),


If you’re
not familiar with Paul Krugman, his column in The Economist is consistently
incisive and high quality. As another correspondent said:


so I’m just gonna keep sending along Krugman’s
column’s every week until he’s not the most well-researched analyst of all that
is wrong with the folks that are running things in DC right now. the evidence is
so surmountable that it’s hard to figure out what it all means sometimes, but he
does it perfectly and with so much fact that he can’t be denounced.

I concur
completely. Read on. And no, I don’t have a subscription to The Economist, so
those of you who do, please keep ‘em coming!



Cronies in Arms

In February 2001 Enron presented an imposing facade, but insiders
knew better: they were desperately struggling to keep their Ponzi scheme going.
When one top executive learned of millions in further losses, his e-mailed
response summed up the whole strategy: “Close a bigger deal. Hide the loss
before the 1Q.”

The strategy worked. Enron collapsed, but not before
insiders made off with nearly $1 billion. The sender of that blunt e-mail sold
$12 million in stocks just before they became worthless. And now he’s secretary
of the Army.
Dick Cheney vehemently denies that talk of war, just weeks
before the midterm elections, is designed to divert attention from other
matters. But in that case he won’t object if I point out that the tide of
corporate scandal is still rising, and lapping ever closer to his feet.
article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal confirmed what some of us have long
argued: market manipulation by energy companies – probably the same companies
that wrote Mr. Cheney’s energy plan, though he has defied a court order to
release task force records – played a key role in California’s electricity
crisis. And new evidence indicates that Mr. Cheney’s handpicked Army secretary
was a corporate evildoer.
Mr. Cheney supposedly chose Thomas White for his
business expertise. But when it became apparent that the Enron division he ran
was a money-losing fraud, the story changed. We were told that Mr. White was an
amiable guy who had no idea what was actually going on, that his colleagues
referred to him behind his back as “Mr. Magoo.” Just the man to run the Army in
a two-front Middle Eastern war, right?
But he was no Magoo. Jason Leopold, a
reporter writing a book about California’s crisis, has acquired Enron documents
that show Mr. White fully aware of what his division was up to. Mr. Leopold
reported his findings in the online magazine Salon, and has graciously shared
his evidence with me. It’s quite damning.
The biggest of several deals that
allowed Mr. White to “hide the loss” – a deal in which the documents show him
intimately involved – was a 15-year contract to supply electricity and natural
gas to the Indiana pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. Any future returns from the
deal were purely hypothetical. Indeed, the contract assumed a deregulated
electricity market, which didn’t yet exist in Indiana. Yet without delivering a
single watt of power – and having paid cash up front to Lilly, not the other way
around – Mr. White’s division immediately booked a multimillion-dollar profit.

Was this legal? There are certain cases in which companies are allowed to
use “mark to market” accounting, in which they count chickens before they are
hatched – but normally this requires the existence of a market in unhatched
eggs, that is, a forward market in which you can buy or sell today the promise
to deliver goods at some future date. There were no forward markets in the
services Enron promised to provide; extremely optimistic numbers were simply
conjured up out of thin air, then reported as if they were real, current
earnings. And even if this was somehow legal, it was grossly unethical.
outsiders had known Enron’s true financial position when Mr. White sent that
e-mail, the stock price would have plummeted. By maintaining the illusion of
success, insiders like Mr. White were able to sell their stock at good prices to
naïve victims – people like their own employees, or the Florida state workers
whose pension fund invested $300 million in Enron during the company’s final
months. As Fortune’s recent story on corporate scandal put it: “You bought. They
It was crony capitalism at its worst. What kind of administration
would keep Mr. White in office?
A story in last week’s Times may shed light
on that question. It concerned another company that sold a division, then
declared that its employees had “resigned,” allowing it to confiscate their
pensions. Yet this company did exactly the opposite when its former C.E.O.
resigned, changing the terms of his contract so that he could claim full
retirement benefits; the company took an $8.5 million charge against earnings to
reflect the cost of its parting gift to this one individual. Only the little
people get shafted.
The other company is named Halliburton. The object of its
generosity was Dick Cheney.

Don\’t Mention the \’O\’ word

September 17, 2002 at 3:36 pm
Contributed by:

One more Poli-spam article for today. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wonders why, in all the talk about going to war with Iraq, no one has mentioned the “O” word, and who sees that omission as glaring. We must read between the lines if we’re going to understand what’s afoot. It will be interesting to see if there is any news coverage on Thursday of the OPEC meeting.


—–Original Message—–

…you’re so right about it. It is everything. After reading the following, I went from being very vague about about what was at stake in Iraq – aside from Junior getting back at Daddy’s nemesis – to seeing the whole thing only too clearly.

Don’t Mention the “O” Word – The Economist

Air Traffic Controllers Concerned Over Chemtrails

September 17, 2002 at 3:00 pm
Contributed by:

Brilliant! Instead of dealing with the causes of global warming, let’s fill
the air with more chemicals! (Thanks Stephanie for this link.)
Yes, I have much, much more Poli-spam stuff to send you all, but I’m waiting
for a point when I have the time to assemble it all properly. BTW I’m now
finally getting around to reading Noam Chomsky’s _Manufacturing Consent_,
and it couldn’t be more timely. It’s dense reading, but I highly recommend
Stay tuned…


\"The Troubling New Face of America\" by Jimmy Carter

September 11, 2002 at 12:13 pm
Contributed by:

Hello friends,


On this “Patriot
Day,” I feel compelled to submit some sort of commentary. I actually have a big
pile of stuff I’ve been meaning to send to you all, and soon I will, but for
today, I will content myself with sending out this one.


And though it’s a
bit late, I encourage all of you to boycott the media today while they treat
9/11 as another Super Bowl, and instead focus your thoughts on how true patriots
should respond to the world and the political stance of the U.S. at this point.


Published on Thursday, September 5, 2002 in the
Washington Post


The Troubling New Face of America by Jimmy


Fundamental changes are taking place in the
historical policies of the United States with regard to human rights, our role
in the community of nations and the Middle East peace process — largely without
definitive debates (except, at times, within the administration). Some new
approaches have understandably evolved from quick and well-advised reactions by
President Bush to the tragedy of Sept. 11, but others seem to be developing from
a core group of conservatives who are trying to realize long-pent-up ambitions
under the cover of the proclaimed war against terrorism.


Formerly admired almost universally as the
preeminent champion of human rights, our country has become the foremost target
of respected international organizations concerned about these basic principles
of democratic life. We have ignored or condoned abuses in nations that support
our anti-terrorism effort, while detaining American citizens as “enemy
combatants,” incarcerating them secretly and indefinitely without their being
charged with any crime or having the right to legal counsel. This policy has
been condemned by the federal courts, but the Justice Department seems adamant,
and the issue is still in doubt. Several hundred captured Taliban soldiers
remain imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay under the same circumstances, with the
defense secretary declaring that they would not be released even if they were
someday tried and found to be innocent. These actions are similar to those of
abusive regimes that historically have been condemned by American


While the president has reserved judgment, the
American people are inundated almost daily with claims from the vice president
and other top officials that we face a devastating threat from Iraq’s weapons of
mass destruction, and with pledges to remove Saddam Hussein from office, with or
without support from any allies. As has been emphasized vigorously by foreign
allies and by responsible leaders of former administrations and incumbent
officeholders, there is no current danger to the United States from Baghdad. In
the face of intense monitoring and overwhelming American military superiority,
any belligerent move by Hussein against a neighbor, even the smallest nuclear
test (necessary before weapons construction), a tangible threat to use a weapon
of mass destruction, or sharing this technology with terrorist organizations
would be suicidal. But it is quite possible that such weapons would be used
against Israel or our forces in response to an American attack.


We cannot ignore the development of chemical,
biological or nuclear weapons, but a unilateral war with Iraq is not the answer.
There is an urgent need for U.N. action to force unrestricted inspections in
Iraq. But perhaps deliberately so, this has become less likely as we alienate
our necessary allies. Apparently disagreeing with the president and secretary of
state, in fact, the vice president has now discounted this goal as a desirable


We have thrown down counterproductive gauntlets to
the rest of the world, disavowing U.S. commitments to laboriously negotiated
international accords.


Peremptory rejections of nuclear arms agreements,
the biological weapons convention, environmental protection, anti-torture
proposals, and punishment of war criminals have sometimes been combined with
economic threats against those who might disagree with us. These unilateral acts
and assertions increasingly isolate the United States from the very nations
needed to join in combating terrorism.


Tragically, our government is abandoning any
sponsorship of substantive negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis. Our
apparent policy is to support almost every Israeli action in the occupied
territories and to condemn and isolate the Palestinians as blanket targets of
our war on terrorism, while Israeli settlements expand and Palestinian enclaves


There still seems to be a struggle within the
administration over defining a comprehensible Middle East policy. The
president’s clear commitments to honor key U.N. resolutions and to support the
establishment of a Palestinian state have been substantially negated by
statements of the defense secretary that in his lifetime “there will be some
sort of an entity that will be established” and his reference to the “so-called
occupation.” This indicates a radical departure from policies of every
administration since 1967, always based on the withdrawal of Israel from
occupied territories and a genuine peace between Israelis and their


Belligerent and divisive voices now seem to be
dominant in Washington, but they do not yet reflect final decisions of the
president, Congress or the courts. It is crucial that the historical and
well-founded American commitments prevail: to peace, justice, human rights, the
environment and international cooperation.


Former president Carter is chairman of the Carter
Center in Atlanta.


 2002 The Washington Post

Take Action – Stop Senate Attacks on Marijuana Rallies and Other Events

July 10, 2002 at 5:35 pm
Contributed by:

I have checked this out myself and it appears to be legit. And
You can use this Web page to fax your letter to your


Hey There … scary news here … read on and do what you can

Big Brother is knocking at our door.

> Subject: Take Action
- Stop Senate Attacks on Marijuana Events
> [The following
important message is being forwarded by the Marijuana
> Policy Project on
behalf of the Drug Policy Alliance and DanceSafe.
> Please direct any
questions to bpiper@drugpolicy.org.]
> Stop the Senate
From Banning Marijuana Rallies and Other Events
> Take Action at:
> The Senate is
poised to pass legislation that would give federal
> prosecutors new
powers to shut down hemp festivals, marijuana rallies
> and other events
and punish business owners and activists for hosting
> or promoting them.
The proposed law would also potentially subject
> people to enormous
federal sentences if some of their guests smoked
> marijuana at their
party or barbecue. It would also effectively make
> it a federal crime to
rent property to medical marijuana patients and
> their
> The bill, known as the Reducing American’s
Vulnerability to Ecstasy
> Act (RAVE Act), was just introduced in the
Senate on June 18th and has
> already passed the Senate Judiciary
Committee. It is moving VERY
> rapidly and could be passed by the Senate
as early as this week. While
> it purports to be aimed at ecstasy and
other club drugs, it gives the
> federal government enormous power to fine
and imprison supporters of
> marijuana legalization, even if they’ve never
smoked marijuana.
> It is urgent that you take action
> **  Fax your
Senators today. Go to http://ga1.org/campaign/rave
to find out more.
> **  Forward this alert to your friends,
family, and co-workers.
> **  After you fax your Senators,
please follow it up with phone calls.
>     Tell them
you just faxed them a letter in opposition to S.
>     the Reducing American’s Vulnerability to
Ecstasy Act. Tell them
>     that innocent business
owners shouldn’t be punished for the crimes
>     of
their customers. Tell them this bill has dangerous
>     liberties provisions that they need
to be aware of, and this bill
>     deserves serious
> You can contact your Senators through the Capitol
Switchboard at
> 202-224-3121. To find out who your Senators are go
> http://www.senate.gov/senators/senator_by_state.cfm
> The Senate is considering legislation that
would give federal
> prosecutors new powers to shut down raves, marijuana
rallies and other
> events they don’t like and punish businessmen and
women for hosting or
> promoting them. The bill (S. 2633), also known as
the Reducing
> American’s Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act (RAVE Act), is
moving very
> rapidly and could be considered by the full Senate as early
as this
> week. (A similar bill is also pending in the
> S. 2633, sponsored by Senators Durbin (D-IL), Hatch
(R-UT), Grassley
> (R-IA) and Leahy (D-VT), expands the so-called “crack
house statute”
> to allow the federal government to fine or imprison
businessmen and
> women if customers sell or use drugs on their premises
or at their
> events. Property owners, promoters, and event coordinators
could be
> fined hundreds of thousands of dollars or face up to twenty
years in
> federal prison if they hold raves or other events on their
> If the bill becomes law, property owners may be too afraid to
rent or
> lease their property to groups holding hemp festivals or putting
> all-night dance parties, effectively stifling free speech and
> raves and other musical events.
> The new law
would also make it a federal crime to temporarily use a
> place for the
purpose of using any illegal drug. Thus, anyone who used
> drugs in their
own home or threw an event (such as a party or
> barbecue) in which one or
more of their guests used drugs could
> potentially face a $250,000 fine
and years in federal prison. The bill
> also effectively makes it a
federal crime to rent property to medical
> marijuana patients and their
caregivers, giving the federal government
> a new weapon in its war on
AIDS and cancer patients who use marijuana
> to relieve their
> Health advocates worry that the bill will endanger
our nation’s youth.
> If enacted, licensed and law-abiding business owners
may stop hosting
> raves or other events that federal authorities don’t
like, out of fear
> of massive fines and prison sentences. Thus, the law
would drive raves
> and other musical events further underground and away
from public
> health and safety regulations. It would also discourage
> owners from enacting smart harm-reduction measures to protect
> customers. By insinuating that selling bottled water and
> “cool off” rooms is proof that owners and promoters know drug
use is
> occurring at their events, this bill may make business owners
> afraid to implement such harm-reduction measures, and the safety
> our kids will suffer.
> The RAVE Act punishes
businessmen and women for the crimes of their
> customers and is
unprecedented in U.S. history. The federal government
> can’t even keep
drugs out of prisons, yet it seeks to punish business
> owners for failing
to keep people from carrying drugs onto their
> premises. If this bill
passes, federal authorities will have the
> ability to scare business
owners away from using or renting their
> property for marijuana
festivals, as well as any other “politically
> incorrect”
> For more information on this bill, go to http://thomas.loc.gov/
> under “bill number” search for

Fuel Cell Hold-up

June 25, 2002 at 6:56 pm
Contributed by:


This article belies the Bush administration’s disingenuous promises about fuel cell cars. It sounds great for speeches and soundbites, but Wall Street ran screaming. Why?
Experts say it is a case of too little, too late, and for far too long.

Fuel Cell Hold-up
Government’s go-slow approach promises to keep the technology on the shelf

Hal Plotkin, Special to SF Gate

Thursday, June 20, 2002

The Ultimate Insult

March 29, 2002 at 11:50 am
Contributed by:

Hello all,

Not much commentary today, but there’s
a couple of things here you just
gotta know about:

Bush Tapped Solar
Energy Funds to Print Energy Plan

state of things in the Mideast, in a single photo

Study Takes Ominous Look at Drug and Drug Policy Web Sites

then! Is there anything going on out there that doesn’t consist of
contempt for what’s democratic, right, and just?

“Don’t let your heart
get broken by this world.” –Dan Bern


The Top 5 Lies of this Administration, and other things…

March 21, 2002 at 10:28 am
Contributed by: Chris

Hey all you lovers of truth, justice, and the American Way,

In this issue of Poli-spam:

- My personal “Top 5 Lies of this Administration” list

- A select list of President Bush’s accomplishments in office so far, with my attempt to verify it attached.

- Links to sites dealing with drug policy

- A little humor, after you’re all bummed out. The Wgirls and Dubyaman!


It\’s all about our energy policy

March 16, 2002 at 11:26 am
Contributed by:

Hi all,

I didn’t intend to follow up on yesterday’s
massive missive so soon; but I
was really struck by the A section of this
last Sunday’s SF Chronicle and
wanted to share this observation with

If I have any “regular readers” on this list, they are by now
familiar with
my drumbeat about energy policy. I think it’s at the heart of
most of our
major national dilemmas right now.

Take a look at this set
of headlines, all from the 20-page A section:

–> This is a great
article. Very encouraging, and very much in line with
the concepts I’ve been
reading lately in Paul Hawken’s (and Amory Lovins’,
of the Rocky Mountain
Institute) latest book, Natural Capitalism, which I
“Danes’ great green machine”


accident, I just now came across this publication, also by the Rocky
Institute. “California’s Electricity Supply Myths” I haven’t read
it yet, but
it looks very interesting!

“Threat of drought looms across U.S.” (unfortunately the Chron does
republish this online, as it’s AP copy.)

- “Executives not likely
to be punished (The Enron Collapse)”. Also not
republished by the Chron; it’s
by Kurt Eichenwald of the NYT

- “4000 laid-off employees feel scandal’s
stigma (The Enron Collapse)”. Also
not republished by the Chron; it’s by Jim
Yardley of the NYT

- [and several other articles about terrorists in the
Mid East...where all
the oil is.]

I though…wow, it’s ALL about
energy. If the U.S. decided to push forward,
boldly, and deploy renewable
energy generation on a vast scale today (which,
by the way, is now both
technologically feasible AND economically
sound…it’s just not politically
popular), how much of the above would be
in the news?

Think I’m nuts?
Well, give me your thoughts.


Military Promises \’Huge Numbers\’ For Gulf War II The Vengeance

March 14, 2002 at 3:00 pm
Contributed by:

God bless The Onion!

Military Promises ‘Huge Numbers’ For Gulf War II The Vengeance

Compiled articles, sites, and opinion about oil and the \"War on Terror\"

March 5, 2002 at 11:11 am
Contributed by:



been awhile since I sent one of these missives out, but not for a lack of
reportable news. More because I have been trying to form a coherent picture of
what’s happening.


is some worthwhile reading for you. It’s pretty depressing but I think it’s
vitally important that we all stay as informed as possible. And hopefully, get
outraged enough to start writing our Congressmen. (For what it’s worth.) 
There is a lot of information to digest here. Take your time with it, print it
out and read it in the bathroom or whatever.


  1. This story, linked from
    the latest Red Rock Eater, is the best
    summary yet of the
    Enron/Bush/Oil/Terror connection. I’d call this a Must-Read:   http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=12525

  2. If
    you’re still looking for details about the political contributions made by
    Enron to the GOP, check out this site: http://www.EnronOwnsTheGOP.com/

  3. See “You Don’t Care About Enron” below. “Call
    it the New American Ennui, caused by one part disingenuous warmongering, one
    part fervent oil-grubbing, one part residual Clinton-era moral slimeballing,
    and one huge part Bush WASP mafia election-rigging and pro-corporate
    anti-everything-else reshuffling. Makes you all numb inside.” Tell it like it
    is, baby!

  4. Here’s one place where the War on Drugs (WoD) and the War
    on Terror (WoT) come together. Remember the Iran-Contra affair? Remember how
    we trafficked cocaine through the CIA, to raise money for the contras, under
    the leadership of George H. Bush et. al.? According to the White House
    Spokesman Ari Fleischer, John Poindexter is now an “outstanding American” and
    “The president thinks that Adm. Poindexter has served our nation very well.”
    I’ll bet. The American people may have seen a scandal in Iran-Contra, and even
    tried to punish those involved, but the powers in the administration protected
    them and the good ol’ boys in the GOP have never failed in their support of
    Poindexter, North, and all the rest of ‘em. Now they’ve got new political
    careers and lots of power all over again, and basically puts Poindexter in the
    Big Brother seat:

  5. You can tell the truth, but will anyone listen? Allow me
    to plagiarize a letter written by one amanda morrison

    Over the past year, we have witnessed the
    behaviour of the current Presidential Administration go from bad, to worse
    than we could have ever imagined. Since September 11, the mere utterance of
    anything critical, let alone derogatory about the President or his
    administration was risky. There has been little criticism in the mainstream
    media and until now, none from any member of Congress. Fortunately, this
    fear-induced silence is coming to an end. Finally, a brave member of Congress
    has spoken up with both candor and criticism. United States Congressman Dennis
    J. Kucinich (D-Ohio) recently made a very daring speech, highlighting the
    injustices happening en masse, right before our very eyes.

    Please take a moment to read the
    words that have been a long time coming. http://truthout.com/02.23C.Kucinich.Prayer.htm 

  6. Speaking of the utter lack of criticism of our administration, and the
    dangers of speaking against it in a time when our civil liberties and freedom
    of speech have been cast aside and called a luxury, have you noticed the
    similarities between Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft’s admonishments and those of
    Sen. Joe McCarthy? Think you can tell the difference? Bet you can’t! (I only
    scored 71% myself) http://www.morons.org/feature/whosaidit.php

  7. If you’ve read this far, you deserve a humor break. See “French Intellectuals
    to be Deployed in Afghanistan…” below.

  8. “What do you
    think, Chris?” Well, I’ll tell ya.

    Our country is substantially under
    the control of the corporations that form the military-industrial complex,
    just as Eisenhower warned. They buy all the influence there is, from the
    bottom to the top of our government. They own our administration and our
    Congress. They are as anxious to seize total control of our government as GW
    is to run the country like a business. Good rhetoric, but what does it mean?

    These companies want a couple of

    1. The continued massive
    consumption of oil, because that’s where their dollars come from, or that’s
    what their products and services
    depend upon. This is the source of
    the money that gives them their power, and control over the rest of the world.

    2. Continued government subsidy of
    their businesses, be it in the form of new contracts, or continued production
    of armaments, or Superfund cleanup dollars, or subsidies to NOT plant stuff
    like hemp and soy that could provide an alternative source of fuel, and the
    many of the other forms such subsidies take.

    3. Increased control over public
    opinion about their activities.

    4. No end in sight to any of the

    Therefore, the best way for them to
    ensure they get these things is to get us, as a nation, into two unwinnable,
    vaguely defined “wars”, with no clear objectives or defined ends, under which
    auspices they can control the spin in the media, suspend citizens’ rights,
    push through MASSIVE spending bills that nobody will ever read or understand,
    get huge new investment in their businesses, obtain a huge advantage over
    competitors in the global markets, get the help of foreign governments in
    dominanting their markets, obtain intelligence about anyone they please, and
    overwhelm the popular consciousness (easily done) with their activities, so
    that people don’t want to know what’s happening, or fight about it, they just
    want to get sedated and watch “Friends.”

    And now we have them: The War on
    Terror and the War on Drugs. Neither of them makes any sense at all. Neither
    is defined, winnable, or even scoped–that is,
    they are both designed to continue into perpetuity
    And both can be used to justify the suspension of our
    Constitutionally assured rights, at any time, because such actions are
    “necessary to fight terror” or “necessary to fight drug operations”.
    Each consumes billions of public money. In both cases, the
    administration and its puppet pundits seek to portray “the enemy” in the most
    extreme terms, in terms of “evil” and
    without any attempt at, or need for, any justification,
    evidence, or anything. We never have to account for the fact that we are
    simultaneously one of the largest operations in the world in fighting drugs,
    and also one of the largest distributors and suppliers of drugs. (Because
    after all, it’s not REALLY about drugs, it’s about money and power going into
    hands that we do not control, and we can’t have that.) If we lose our main
    target in one war (bin Laden) we can pick the next one on the list (Saddam)
    and keep going in our “war” without breaking stride. The public will never
    notice that this has occurred, because they’re busy soaking up human interest
    stories, like who gets how much from the Sept 11 fund, or the reopening of a
    movie house in Afghanistan. We never have to justify anything we do in either
    “war,” to anybody. And they can go on indefinitely. Pay no attention to the
    men behind the curtain. We are the great and powerful Oz.

    It really is 1984. We are
    at “war” with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eurasia. Eurasia is the
    Axis of Evil. We must fight them because we are Good, and they are EvilOnce you have lost your freedom of speech,
    ny criticism of our policy or actions
    is treachery and traitorous.

  9. Oh sure, there are
    plenty more articles to read. See the list at the end of this

Until next time,


Don’t Care About Enron
In Bush’s America, it just doesn’t pay to give a damn
about flagrant political corruption

Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist  
February 13, 2002

course you know they did it.

You know the whole pod of shivery Enron
execs are all guilty as sin. You can see it in the folds of their chins, the
beady black voids of their eyes, the way their horns twitch when they take the

You can see it in the way Kenny Boy slumps in the chair looking
like a deflated blow-up doll,
mouth slightly agape, stunned and goosey, wondering how he let it all get away,
as the congressmen tsk-tsk him and shake their heads and call him names.

There they all are, except for the one who committed suicide and gosh isn’t
that just the slightest bit telling, hiding and equivocating and lying at the
Senate hearings like the Big Tobacco execs of yore, who stood up and raised
their taloned fingers and swore before God that they really, really don’t
believe nicotine is in any way deadly except for the heart disease and the
cancer and the rampant toxic death.

You know it’s all true, mountains of
incriminating shredded documentation and roughly $500 million hidden away in
magic “fuzzy math” debt, hundreds of millions more shuffled off to non-existent
“Star Wars” companies, gutted retirement accounts and ruined employees and Gucci
suppositories in the executive washrooms and blatant gouging of California during the
energy crisis. Just for starters.

Political back-scratching and
toe-sucking and wallet-padding galore, the vast majority (but no, not all) of
the scandal landing like a giant elephant-dropping on the Republican side of the
aisle and do you hear that? That frantic shredding sound coming from Dick
Cheney’s office? That ain’t Lynne’s Gunslinger
vibrator, people.

Indeed, this one goes all the way to the
top. The Bush administration is so clearly
embroiled in Enron’s gleeful depravity it would be embarrassing and
even downright comical to watch, say, Cheney’s outward refusal to reveal all the
political inbreeding and cigar-chompin’ back-slapping that went on during the
energy policy discussions, were it not so insulting and wrong.

Sure you
probably feel some pity for all the disgruntled Enron employees whose financial
futures are now ruined, the countless gullible stockholders sucked into the
vortex and spit out like easy marks at a sidewalk shell-game, the American
economy hobbled and wobbly and so clearly at the disposal of corrupt
power-mongering CEOs it makes your soul wince.

Over 50 percent of
Americans think the Enron debacle is very
important to the country, more than double that of Whitewater, and
yet it seems to be common knowledge that Ken Lay will get off with barely a
scratch, he and his squad of flying monkeys will get nothing but a spanking and
maybe a month in Michael Milken minimum-security prison, where the punishment
consists of slightly restricted cellphone privileges and less dipping sauce for
the kitten-kabobs and forced viewings of Lynne Cheney in a bikini (which
actually is fairly brutal, come to think of it).

You know all this and
yet you’re not the slightest bit shocked anymore, maybe because you realize this
is how corporate politics has always worked, this is the capitalist system’s
most hypocritical slap to any notion of fairness or justice you may harbor,
people going to prison for years for selling small amounts of pot or for having
underage gay sex but when multimillionaire Bush-buddy execs get busted with
their entire bodies in the cookie jar, well, it’s nothing a few high?priced
lawyers can’t quickly snuff out while helping to broker a six-figure book deal.

You may even sense how it’s all connected, the
war-that’s-not-really-a-war and our rabid oil dependency and the 17 pro-Enron
provisions in Cheney’s Energy Policy and all those former Enron execs now
cruising in high-level posts in the Bush administration. Unworkable
multibillion-dollar missile defense plans and
National Sanctity of Life Day and
PretzelGate. See the thread? Of course you do.

Call it the New American
Ennui, caused by one part disingenuous warmongering, one part fervent
oil-grubbing, one part residual Clinton-era moral slimeballing, and one huge
part Bush WASP mafia election-rigging and pro-corporate anti-everything-else
reshuffling. Makes you all numb inside.

Of course Bush will not be
impeached for his obvious puppeteering role. Of course Cheney is hunkering down
in the bunker, shredding as fast as possible, denying everything. Of course
there will be no sweeping reforms or serious restrictions placed on corporate
funding of political candidates.

Nor will there be limits set on how
many execs an undeserving president can appoint from one company, no limits on
how much corporate backstabbing one country should endure. Remember the S&L
scandal? The one that cost taxpayers billions and that we’re still paying for
and will be for years to come? That’s OK. No one else does either.

will be harsh words and furrowed brows and maybe a few laws passed. There will
be wrists slapped and apologies made and big dopey shrugs from the Shrubster as
he leverages his baffling and war-drunk positive approval rating to dodge the
scandal like a slippery hog in a Texas pen.

You don’t care about the
Enron debacle because if you did, you’d just be disappointed again, hurt and
betrayed as justice is thwarted and snuffed out like a candle, leaving you with
the urge, yet again, to yank all your money out of the bank and take off for the
woods with a case of Grey Goose and some really good kalamata olives and a
Leatherman tool and a tent and Auden’s collected poems and not come back for a

But that just wouldn’t be very patriotic at all.

for the author? Email him.

Mark Morford’s Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and
Friday on SF Gate, just like a special magic bunny of love. He also writes the
Morning Fix, a deeply skewed daily email column and newsletter. Subscribe at



French Intellectuals to be Deployed in
Afghanistan To
Convince Taliban of Non-Existence of A


The ground war in Afghanistan hotted up
when the Allies revealed plans to airdrop a platoon of crack
existentialist philosophers into the country to destroy the morale
Taliban zealots by proving the non-existence of the


Elements from the feared Jean-Paul Sartre
or ‘Black Berets’, will be parachuted into the combat zones to
doubt, despondency and existential anomie among the enemy.
by numerous intellectual battles fought during their long occupation
Paris’s Left Bank, the Berets first action will be to establish a
pavement cafes at strategic points near the front


There they will drink coffee and talk animatedly
about the absurd nature
life and man’s lonely isolation in the
universe. They will be
by a number of heartbreakingly
beautiful girlfriends who will further
the enemy by sticking their
tongues in the philosophers’ ears every five
minutes and looking remote and
unattainable to everyone else.


Their leader, Colonel Marc-Ange Belmondo, spoke
yesterday of
confidence in the success of their mission. Sorbonne
graduate Belmondo,
very intense and unshaven young man in a black
pullover, gesticulated
wildly and said, “The Taliban are caught in a logical
fallacy of the
ridiculous. There is no deity and I will prove it.
Take your tongue out
my ear, Juliet, I am


Marc-Ange plans to deliver an impassioned thesis on atheism,
man’s freedom of action, with special reference to the work
and the films of Alfred Hitch*censored*.


However, humanitarian agencies have been quick to condemn the
operation as
inhumane, pointing out that the effects of secondhand smoke
from the
Frenchmens’ endless Gitanes could wreak a terrible toll on


Here are some
more URL’s.  Thanks to everyone who contributed.

RRE home page: http://dlis.gseis.ucla.edu/people/pagre/rre.html


US Backing Helps Warlord Solidify Power

Bin Laden’s No 2 “Captured in Iran”
(who knows)

conservatives gung-ho for war with Iraq

the seriously creepy return of John Poindexter

Pentagon Readies Efforts to Sway Sentiment Abroad

leading politician gives major war speech — press writes about his beard


refugees dying in Afghanistan

New York Debates Competing Visions for Rebuilding Devastated Downtown

civil liberties and security

Where the Bodies Are Buried in Peru
(if anyone has URL’s for documents
relating to the commission, do send)

French Decision Prompts Questions About Free Speech and Cyberspace

Canadian Media Spat: Profit vs. Free Speech






extensive censorship of biology research

The USA PATRIOT Act and Patron Privacy on Library Internet Terminals

Justice Department Hiding Secret Weekly Reports to the Attorney General


“smart” biometric ID cards in Hong Kong

Center for Identification Technology Research

Larry Smarr’s talks on future Internet architecture and applications

(some of which involve pervasive sensor networks with privacy implications)


BMW’s iDrive May Herald New Era

impressive “This American Life” show about the mob mentality
(listen and
think about campus confrontationalists or talk radio ranters)

Scientists Recount US Biodefense Labs’ Security Lapses

Airlines Fended Off Security Upgrades


Bush in Verbal Japan Deflation-Devaluation Debacle
(war suits him because
the concepts are simple)

Defense Department Cannot Account for 25% of Funds –  $2.3 Trillion


Records: Bush Smoothed Path for Enron

Bush 2000 Adviser Offered to Use Clout to Help Enron

Army Secretary’s Enron Role Probed

Controversial US Army Secretary, Ex-Enron Exec, Building Home in Naples


The Potemkin Populism of the Republicans’ Chief Enron Investigator

Acting CEO Plans Legal Assault Amid Effort to Salvage Enron

Enron Had More Than One Way to Disguise Rapid Rise in Debt

“documents show Enron hid a disastrous bookkeeping error from investors”


Firms Reverting to by-the-Books Balance Sheets

Congress to Investigate Wall Street’s Ties With Enron

Enron Moved Accounts Offshore, Harder to Track

Cayman Islands Open to US Requests for Assistance on Enron Investigation


Enron Case Shapes Up as Tough Legal Fight
(the difference between rich
and poor is that the crimes of the rich are legal)

Enron Is Not Yet a Political Scandal, But It Will Become One

intellectual property

article about the woes of the music industry
(under the guise of an
article about boomer come-back bands)

Record Labels Answer to Napster Still Has Artists Feeling Bypassed

Entertainment Industry’s Copyright Fight Puts Consumers in Cross Hairs

scaling up Gnutella

Developing User-Friendly Digital Rights Management

“defensive publishing” to prevent others from patenting your idea
should organize “prior art parties” to brainstorm ideas to prevent patents)


Intellectual-Property Ecology

Searchable Intellectual Property Databases

news from Planet Microsoft

Ashcroft Queried Over Microsoft Campaign Contributions

Microsoft’s Lobbying Efforts Eclipse Enron

Microsoft Must Give States Windows Code, Says Judge

New Microsoft Bug Problems Blamed on Globalization

everything else

An Open Grid Services Architecture for Distributed Systems Integration

Bio IT World, Boston, 12-14 March 2002

ArsDigita Shut Down
(they tried to organize an independent computer
science undergraduate program)

Design Research News

German Experience in the Construction of Virtual Town Halls and Market Places


Software Engineering for Large-Scale Multi-Agent Systems, Orlando, 19 May
(I don’t know about this as science, but it’s sure interesting as

Digital Resources for Information Research

Search Engine Guide

Information for Social Change

Spam and Web-Visible E-Mail Addresses: Bait a Spammer and See the Results


special report on the crisis on the cell phone industry


September 11: How Much has the US Really Changed?

February 14, 2002 at 10:58 am
Contributed by:

all you defenders of the free world,


a good one.


I hope
you all are still reading and keeping your critical ears on and paying attention
out there. Anybody heard the name “bin Laden” on the news lately? Where did
Public Enemy #1 go, and why are we suddenly no longer concerned with him? As a
friend pointed out yesterday, “we went after him in such a sloppy
manner that we never intended to catch him so he can always be at large, always
be a threat, and we will always have funding for our long, protracted war and be
able to drop the “renewed terrorist threat” on the people anytime we need to get
a little support and/or get the fear engine goin.’”


Everybody ready for another venture against Saddam? Are
you all fully aware now about the “Axis of Evil” and is it perfectly clear why
that’s our new target?


the spin.




—–Original Message—–

September 11th: The Terrorism Totality

The really compelling politico-economic issues, the central
that afflict our nation and much of the world, are regularly
shut out
of public discourse.  No on in the corporate media dares to
dwell on
how the undemocratic powers of corporate America create
injustices for
working America, how wealth for the few creates poverty for
the many.  
No critical examination is offered concerning the
inequities of the tax
system and the gross inadequacies of our human
services.  The threats
to the world’s ecology posed by transnational
globalization, and the
monopolistic “free trade” treaties like NAFTA,
GATT, and FTAA that
undermine our democratic sovereignty earn hardly a
glance.  And never
do official circles or corporate media acknowledge
how US military
forces (or their US-supported surrogates) have repeatedly
mass terrorism upon unarmed civilian populations in Vietnam,
Cambodia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Grenada, Indonesia,
Mozambique, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and scores of other

countries, at a cost of millions of lives.

With all these central
issues systematically suppressed, a void is
created in the life of the
polity, which the media attempt to fill with
endless puffery and stories
about Monica Lewinsky, OJ Simpson, etc.  
What the terrorist attacks
of September 11 gave the opinion makers is
an issue of compelling
centrality, equal to any of the ones they have
suppressed, but one that
could be selectively treated with CONSERVATIVE
EFFECT, an issue that
rallies everyone around the flag and points a
finger at a fanatical
Islamic sect rather than at corporate America or
the US national security

So for several months the media have been consumed by the
tragedy of
September 11 and its aftermath.  Every panel of pundits,
column, guest column, and every news story dwelled on the
attacks, offering a seemingly infinite constellation of spin-off

stories.  And not just the news media.  The editor of a poetry
worried that in the “…profoundly changed world …” created by
11, “…will we now say that poetry is even more irrelevant?”
Predictably, he concluded that poetry was MORE important than

In similar spirit, stand-up comedians announced that humor was
more than ever.  Movie reviewers wrote that this or that film
was a
welcome antidote to the horrific events of September 11.  And
writers reassured us that a good vacation was all the more a
experience.  Sporting events began with militaristic
commemorations.  All the mail that crossed my desk,
subscription and fund-raising appeals from every organization

imaginable – from the Yale Alumni Association to the Center for Cuban

Studies – felt compelled to reference September 11 before launching

into their pitch.  Friends wrote to tell me that they were “doing as

well as might be expected in this post-911 world”.  Almost as if
credibility depended upon it, nothing could be communicated without

referencing September 11.

President George II announced that “..our
nation can never go back to
what it was September 10.”  A tearful TV
anchorman appeared on a late
night show and blubbered about how this
“…wound has changed America
forever.”  The drumbeat carried across
the political spectrum.  A
statement from the Communist Party, USA
issued in mid-November began:
“Our world has changed on September 11.”
 And others wrote that “…the
indelible images of the World Trade
Center will remain with us

Those who fear that our world
or our nation has changed irretrievably
should think again.  Very
little has changed.  President Bush proposes
billions in tax cuts for
the rich just as he did when the World Trade
Center stood tall.  The
White House pushes an “economic stimulus”
package of $100 billion – really
nothing more than the usual corporate
subsidies, bailouts, and retroactive
tax cuts – to help poor little
struggling businesses like IBM, Ford, GE,
and GM, while doing nothing
for the tens of thousands of workers who have
been laid off.  The Bush
gang readies itself to drill for oil in the
Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge.  And a compliant Congress pumps
billions more into an already
bloated military budget.
 Unfortunately, here is a nation profoundly
Unchanged by the recent
terrorist attacks.

Other things in the newly “transformed” America seem
drearily familiar.  
As in previous decades, our fearless leaders
continue to wage
devastatingly one-sided aerial wars agains small weak
nations, while loading the media with jingoistic hype.
 They continue
to deny the terrorist role they themselves have played
around the
world.  And they continue to neglect human services and
loot the Social
Security surplus in order that they might claim that
Social Security is
“going broke” and must be eventually

Still other things remain the same.  As they have done
during every
crisis, liberal legislators supinely line up with
conservatives to vote
the president absolute powers.  Media lapdogs
talk about how this same
president has “risen to the challenge” and “grown
in office”.  Flag-
waving yahoos call for blood, believing that their
government only
opposes terrorism and never practises it.  Meanwhile,
thousands of US
residents are subjected to ethnic profiling.
communities are terrorized by trigger-happy cops.
 And fanatical
Christian fundamentalists commit terrorist acts
against abortion
clinics, while law officials seem unable to stop

So the struggle to inject reality and justice into the national

dialogue continues as always.  It feels very much like September 10

Comments Off

George W. in the Garden of Gethsemane

January 28, 2002 at 7:53 pm
Contributed by:

[Sorry for this one being included in the 2004-01-30 issue of GRL. It got incorrectly dated when I put it into the blog system. Hey, one error out of 389 ain't too bad. --C]

Hey all,

been a while since I posted anything to the poli-spam list, but don’t
for a
minute think that I haven’t still been thinking and studying about
questions. I hope you have been too!

Here’s another classic, freshly
minted, from Michael Moore.


From: Michael Moore [mailto:mike@michaelmoore.com]
Tuesday, January 29, 2002 10:21 AM
To: michaelmoore@topica.com
George W. in the Garden of Gethsemane




“George W. in the
Garden of Gethsemane”
An Open Letter to George W. Bush from Michael

Dear George,

When it’s all over in a couple months, and
you’re packing up your pretzels
and Spot and heading back to Texas, what will
be your biggest regret? Not
getting out more often and seeing the sights
around Rock Creek Park? Never
once visiting the newly-renovated IKEA in
Woodbridge, Virginia? Or buying
your way to the White House with money from a
company that committed the
biggest corporate swindle in American history? I
got a feeling you didn’t
miss much by not spending an entire Saturday
afternoon assembling a Swedish
bookcase — but you should have known that
there was no way you would ever
finish your term by hopping into bed with
Kenneth Lay.

It’s kind of sad when you think about it. Here you were —
the most popular
president ever! — the recipient of so much good will from
your fellow
Americans after September 11, and then you had to go and blow it.
You just
couldn’t stay away from your old cowpoke friend from Texas, Kenneth

Kenny has always been there for you. You needed a way to fly around
to all
the primaries and campaign stops in the 2000 election — so Kenny gave
his corporate jet. Did you tell the voters when you arrived in each
that the bird you flew in on was from a billionaire who was
conspiring to give the bird to all his employees and investors? He
flew you
around America on the Enron company jet, and for that favor you
down on tarmac after tarmac to tell your fellow citizens that you
“going to restore dignity to the White House, the people’s house.” You
this standing in front of an Enron jet!

Man, you loved Lay so
much, you not only affectionately referred to him as
“Kenny Boy,” you
interrupted an important campaign trip in April, 2000, to
fly back to Houston
for the Astro’s opening day at the new Enron Field –
just so you could watch
Kenny Boy Lay throw out the first pitch. How

I mean, you
loved this man so intensely that, when you were awarded a set
of keys the
Supreme Court had made for you so you could live in the White
House, you
invited Kenny Boy to set up shop — at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!
interviewed those who would hold high-level Energy Department positions
your administration.

You not only let Kenny Boy decide who would head the
regulatory agency that
oversaw Enron, you let him hand-pick the new chairman
of the Securities and
Exchange Commission — a former lawyer for his
accountant, Arthur Andersen!
Kenny and the boys at Andersen also worked to
make sure that accounting
firms would be exempt from numerous regulations and
would not be held
liable for any “funny bookkeeping” (don’t you wish you were

Then rest of Kenny Boy’s time was spent next
door with his old buddy, Dick
Cheney (Enron and Halliburton, as you’ll
recall, got the big contracts from
your dad to “rebuild” Kuwait after the
Gulf War). Lay and Dick formed an
“energy task force” (Operation Enduring
Graft) which put together the
county’s new “energy policy.” This policy then
went on to shut down every
light bulb and juicer in the state of California.
And guess who made out
like bandits while “trading” the energy California was
in desperate need
of? Kenny Boy and Enron! No wonder Big Dick doesn’t want to
turn over the
files about those special meetings with Lay!

The only
thing that surprises me more than all the Enron henchmen who ended
up in your
cabinet and administration is how our lazy media just rolled
over and didn’t
report it. The list of Enron people on your payroll is
impressive. Lawrence
Lindsey, your chief economic advisor? A former advisor
at Enron! Treasury
Secretary Paul O’Neill? Former CEO of Alcoa, whose
lobbying firm, Vinson and
Elkins, was the #3 contributor to the your
campaign! Who is Vinson and
Elkins? The law firm representing Enron! Who is
Alcoa? The top polluter in
Texas. Timothy White, the Secretary of the Army?
A former vice-chair of Enron
Energy! Robert Zoellick, your Federal Trade
Representative? A former advisor
at Enron! Karl Rove, your main man at the
White House? He owned a
quarter-million dollars of Enron stock.

Then there’s the Enron lawyer you
have nominated to be a federal judge in
Texas, the Enron lobbyist who is your
chair of the Republican Party, the
two Enron officials who now work for House
Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and
the wife of Texas Senator Phil Gramm who sits
on Enron’s board. And there’s
the aforementioned Mr. Pitt, the former Arthur
Andersen attorney whose job
it is now as SEC head to oversee the stock
markets. George, it never stops!
My fingers are getting tired typing all this
up — and there’s lots more.

Don’t get me wrong, George — I do not think
you’re an evil man. You don’t
need any crap from people like me — heck, you
got mother-in-law problems!
Now, I have a very good relationship with my
mother-in-law, but then, I
never told her to put $8,000 of her money into a
company my administration
knew was going belly-up.

You say you didn’t
know? Your bag man — Don Evans, the man who squeezed
all that money for you
from Enron as your campaign finance chairman (and is
now collecting his
reward as your Commerce Secretary) — has admitted that
he got calls from
Enron begging for help last year because they were going
under. Didn’t he
tell you this?

Then Paul O’Neill, your Treasury Secretary, admitted that
Enron and Kenny
Boy called him, too, for some special favors to save Enron.
Didn’t he
mention this to you? They claim to have called your chief of staff,
Card, and he said he didn’t bother to inform you. What does
mother-in-law think about these boys her daughter’s husband consorts

I love watching the O’Neill and Evans show. What a couple of
They’re, like, all proud of themselves for “not doing Enron any
Actually,  I think it’s more like they didn’t do your
favors. Enron got LOTS of favors. And why not? Kenny Boy
has been your
number one financial backer since you ran for governor. No
other American
or Saudi has given you more money than Kenny Boy and his gang
Enron.  O’Neill, Evans, Cheney, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham —
ALL of
them gave Lay and Enron special favors from day one. The New York
last May was so concerned about how Kenny had the run of the place
Pennsylvania Ave.), they referred to Lay as the “shadow advisor to

And what advice! Who was it that wanted you to
deregulate the energy
industry further? Kenny Boy! Who was it that convinced
you to explore the
sick idea of PRIVATIZING our water supply and then allow
corporations to “trade” it in the future? Kenny Boy! Who was it that
Social Security to be tied to the stock market? Yup, Kenny Boy!
if you will, what would have happened to our precious Social
Security funds
had they been invested in Enron stocks as you, George,
suggested be done
during your campaign as yuppies everywhere clucked along in
agreement over
that genius idea.)

O’Neill’s and Evans’s admission that
they “did nothing” when Enron told
them of the company’s shell game and
impending collapse is reason enough
for you and yours to hit the Beltway and
never return to that sacred trust
we call Our American Government. They are
proud of “doing nothing?” By
doing nothing, millions of Americans have been
swindled. Tens of thousands
have lost their jobs. Thousands more have lost
their savings and their
retirement. Yet your cabinet secretaries gloat over
what a “good job” you
and they did by “doing nothing.”

Let me ask you
this: If someone was setting a house on fire, and they
called you to help
them set it on fire, and you said no you wouldn’t help
them — BUT then you
also DIDN’T call 911 and inform the police that
someone was going to burn
down a house, do you think you would have
committed a crime?

Of course
you would have! You had prior knowledge and then you knowingly
purposefully HID this information from the authorities and the people
in the house! You only admitted that you knew a house was going to
be torched
when you were confronted by the police. Are you complicit? Yes!
Are you an
accessory? Yes! Who would even think of going around boasting,
“Hey, look
what a great guy I am — a friend of mine told me he was going
to commit an
act of arson, and then I decided NOT to tell ANYONE about

Enron and Kenny Boy bought your silence and the
silence of your cabinet
members. You yourself didn’t have to actually raid
the 401(k) accounts of
those poor people in Houston (many of whom probably
voted for you every
time your name was on a ballot). All you had to do was
remain silent,
change the government regulations that let them get away with
it, and
install their hand-picked cronies to sit on the “oversight” boards
were supposed to be keeping an eye on them.

While doing all
this, you told the American people that these rich friends
of yours were not
getting any special breaks — when, in fact, Enron had
already scammed their
way out of paying NO taxes in four out of the last
five years. Your economic
“stimulus” bill that you got the House to pass
after 9-11 had a section that
would give Enron a gift of $250 million of
our tax money. You were pushing
this bill in November and December, long
after your administration knew that
Enron was raiding the vault and
screwing its workers and

You and your Republican friends are quick to point out that
Enron had their
claws into the Democrats as well. Yes, they did, and thank
you for making
the case why we not only need an alternative to the current
make-up of the
Democratic Party, we need private money removed from our
electoral process

But, George, let’s be real — the Democrats
only got a pittance from Enron
compared to the millions you and the
Republicans received. Democrats just
don’t have the killer instinct to do
anything right, and they certainly
don’t know much about making money the
old-fashioned way, one off-shore tax
shelter at a time. I would expect
nothing less from a Party that couldn’t
even put their candidate in the White
House after he had already won the

The Democrats are like a
Yugo — you know it won’t last long or work well,
but it will occasionally
get the job done. Fat cats know they can buy the
Democrats at discount
prices, and so they do. Anyone who tries to deflect
this scandal away from
you, George, or away from the Republicans, or away
from the whole dirty way
we elect our leaders, is someone who is
desperately trying to cling to what’s
left of a very crooked system that
has to go and go now.

The saddest
part of this whole affair was the day the scandal was revealed
– and you
denied that you even knew your good friend, Kenneth Lay. “Ken
who?” you said.
Oh, he’s just some businessman from Texas. “Heck, he backed
my opponent for
governor, Ann Richards!” was your way of trying to deflect
the truth that was
hitting you like a Mack truck. You knew that he, in
fact, endorsed YOU and
gave you THREE times the money Ann Richards ever saw
from him.

hardly ever talk to the guy, you said. You were like Peter in the Garden
Gethsemane, denying he knew Jesus, three times. And then the *censored*
crowed. And
Peter felt shame and ran away.

What shame do you feel tonight, George,
for the lies you have told? What
shame do you feel using the dead of 9-11 as
a cover for your actions,
hoping that our sorrow for those lost souls and our
fear of being killed by
terrorists would distract us from what your boys and
Kenny Boy were up to
during those horrific weeks in September and

It was during those very days, while the rest of us were in
shock and
sadness, that the executives at Enron were selling off their stock
shifting assets to their 900 phony partnerships overseas. Did they
the remains of the dead being pulled from the rubble while they
downloading their millions, or were their eyes glued only to the
third of the TV screen as the stock ticker with the rigged Enron
crawled across the images of firemen desperate, in tears, to find
fallen brothers?

The country was behind you when you said you
were fighting the evildoers
who did this. In fact, all the while, the real
fight your friends at Enron
were conducting was the fight against the clock,
to see how fast they could
transfer all the loot to their personal accounts
and run away. Those were
the evildoers, George, and you knew it. And because
you, by design or
negligence, allowed this to happen, it is time for you to
resign. The *censored*
has crowed for the last time.

At the very least, your
mother-in-law deserves better.


(revised ranking)

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Axis of Just As Evil

January 26, 2002 at 1:39 am
Contributed by:


Bitter after being snubbed for membership in the “Axis of Evil,” Libya, China, and Syria today announced they had formed the “Axis of Just as Evil,” which they said would be way eviler than that stupid Iran-Iraq-North Korea axis President Bush warned of his State of the Union address.

N. Korea Wondering What It Has To Do To Get US Attention

“Everyone in my country refers to me as ‘Dear Leader.’ Is that not disturbingly cultish?”Kim continued. “I do not understand why President Bush is so much more interested in Saddam than me. I’m a strange, despotic, unpredictable madman, too, you know.”

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