Today\’s harvest

October 2, 2001 at 1:09 pm
Contributed by:

Hey y’all,

Here’s today’s harvest. The last couple of days had some good ones too but I
didn’t send them to my list. See for those.

See below for more, and allow me to summarize:

1. This situation is becoming more Orwellian as time goes on. We’re being
told half-truths and outright lies by the Administration. Self-censorship by
the media and by individual Americans is on the rise. We’re losing personal
liberties and there’s not much complaint about it. Being critical of
America’s actions, of the Administration, or the President, is now
tantamount to being unpatriotic. Yet we have some serious problems in all of
the above, perhaps first among them being:

2. This situation, at root, has everything to do with our national energy
policy. That too is receiving scant discussion in the major media. As
Americans, we should consider ourselves responsible for our national energy
policy and for making our desires known to our leadership. Within a mere 6
month time frame, we have: slashed our national investment in all clean
renewable energy sources, pumped billions of new dollars into dirty
nonrenewable energy, stated publicly that “Conservation may be a sign of
personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive
energy policy”, aggressively pursued drilling in the Alaskan wilderness, and
found ourselves right back in a “war” in the Mideast, essentially over our
past actions there in pursuit of “cheap” oil…although no one has ever, to
my knowledge, added up the HUMAN cost of–how many lives have been lost
over–our determination to have “cheap” oil from elsewhere in the world.
Conservatively, it’s in the millions. Meanwhile the sun and wind and flow of
water and growing plants could provide (nearly) free, untapped energy, all
over the planet, every day, without killing a single soul or needing the
participation of any other government or having anything at all to do with
foreign policy or religion. You need look no further than our leadership to
understand why this absolutely brain-dead pursuit of a dead-end path to
energy continues: it consists primarily of guys who have become
multimillionaires through the oil industry.


“The fact that top officials, at a time of extraordinary crisis and public
anxiety, lied to protect the president’s image has immense implications. If,
within 24 hours of the terror attacks, the White House was giving out
disinformation to deceive the American public and world opinion, then none
of the claims made by the government from September 11 to the present can be
taken for good coin.”


September 30, 2001

We Love the Liberties They Hate


I have studied the Bushes, father and son, for two decades and I can tell
you certain things with absolute certainty.

They are devoted to sports, to family and to country, with a sentimentalism
about America that sometimes moves them to tears.

I accept and admire their patriotism. And I’d like to believe that they
accept and admire mine.

My father was an immigrant who went to war for America and, as a police
detective here, risked his life protecting presidents and members of
Congress for 25 years. In our family, policemen, firemen, the military, the
flag and the Statue of Liberty were icons long before Sept. 11.

So I don’t need instructions from Ari Fleischer, the White House press
secretary, on the conduct of a good American. Patriotism, it seems, is the
last refuge of spinners.

Even as the White House preaches tolerance toward Muslims and Sikhs, it is
practicing intolerance, signaling that anyone who challenges the leaders of
an embattled America is cynical, political and — isn’t this the subtext? —

“The reminder is to all Americans, that they need to watch what they say,
watch what they do, and that this is not a time for remarks like that,” Mr.
Fleischer said haughtily in dressing down Bill Maher, the host of
“Politically Incorrect,” for saying something politically incorrect.

Then, perhaps showing a belated appreciation for freedom of expression, the
White House dropped the Big Brother words “watch what they say” from its
official transcript.

Mr. Fleischer acts offended — and vindictive — when someone has the nerve to
challenge the White House while our country is a target. But especially when
we are a target, we should not suppress the very thing that makes our foul
enemies crazed with twisted envy — our heady and headache-inducing clash of
ideas. We should dread a climate where the jobs of columnists and comedians
are endangered by dissent.

Is stopping-while-you’re-ahead a lost art? (Yes, Mayor-for-Life Rudy, that
means you, too.)

President Bush is basking in nearly unanimous public support. Garry Trudeau
has pulled his featherweight- Bush cartoons. Barbra Streisand has taken
anti-Bush diatribes off her Web site. David Letterman has been as diplomatic
as Colin Powell. “Saturday Night Live” will tone down its scorching Bush

And yet top Bush advisers have become image profiteers, spinning tall tales
in a greedy quest to transform the president they had fretted was coming
across as too small before the crisis into a larger-than-life figure now.

“They’re trying so hard to make him look Churchillian and it’s entirely
unnecessary,” says one Republican who advises the administration. “They’re
overselling a product that’s selling itself.”

The hyperventilated spin began the morning after the attacks. To deflect
criticism that the administration had been without any commanding and
reassuring Giuliani-like voice for 10 hours, as the president and other
high- level officials scrambled around, Karl Rove and Mr. Fleischer pushed
the spurious and elaborately embroidered stories that the White House and
Air Force One were also intended targets.

Such big, lame inventions undermine our trust, just as the Bush team starts
to do a lot fast and in secret.

The chief of staff, Andy Card, has instructed the whole White House to stop
speaking to reporters, so that the chosen few can spoon-feed the press the
image of an In-Charge, Focused, Resolute President.

Proving that “a 90 percent approval rating is a dangerous tonic,” as one
Democrat says, Mr. Rove gets upset when any attention is deflected from Mr.
Bush. The White House was irked at Bill Clinton’s high profile. And Mr. Rove
was furious when Dick Cheney told of dispatching the president off to a
Midwest bunker while he stoically stayed in the White House basement.

The White House is wrapping the flag around a little too snugly, as the
senior Bush did in the 1988 campaign when he appeared at a flag factory and
talked about being “on the American side.”

At a time when Americans are willing to vest extraordinary power in the
president, to trust him with life-and- death decisions, to give him him
considerable leeway in curbing civil liberties and spending billions, this
is a time when questions and debate are what patriotism demands. Even the
most high-minded government is not infallible.


Terrorism and the Four Freedoms
Doris Haddock
September 28, 2001

The following is a speech given by 91 year-old Doris “Granny D” Haddock, who
walked across the U.S. in 1999-2000 for campaign finance reform, in Unity,
Maine on September 22, 2001.

It is hard to think clearly as we yet rock in the wake of the recent
terrorist attacks on our cities and our people. But think clearly we must.
Politics is a serious business. Not everyone cares to listen when people
argue about the policies and practices of our political leaders. Americans
would rather be painting their house or going to a good ball game than
listening to a speech, and that is not a bad thing. We wouldn’t get much
if we just argued politics all the time.

But there is a time for it, and this is that time. Our neighbors and
are being killed in great numbers because Americans are not in control of
American government, and haven’t been for some time. And now we are being
killed by our own airplanes, just as we were killed in our African embassies
in 1998 by our own explosives, which we gave to the Islamic fundamentalists
so that they would please kill our then enemies, the Russians.

And four months ago the current Bush administration gave $43 million to the
current Taliban Regime so that it would please kill our enemies, the heroin
dealers of Afghanistan. Or was it to protect an oil pipeline? That’s what we
are now learning.

Our subcontracting of death has never done us much good, with Vietnam still
the shining example, and with many other examples still bleeding in Central
and South America, Africa, and in Southeast Asia.

The Coca-Cola company has been accused of financing the death squads in
Columbia that kill union activists among the plantation workers. This so
our Coca-Cola is affordable to us. Wherever our large mining companies
extract the value from foreign lands, we have a CIA and a military working
keep any leaders in power who will guarantee us a cheap labor supply and
cheap mining products, at the expense of local people and their efforts
toward democracy.

This is not who we want to be.

If you ask the common American to describe the America he or she wants us to
be, you will here this: “We are the country that represents freedom,
opportunity and fairness. We use our strength to help people around the
world. We oppose brutal regimes and work toward world health and justice and
democratic participation of all people. The Statue of Liberty is our beacon
to the world.”

The common American wants the American government to be that — to be that
every day, in every corner of the world.

The common American would never answer: “America is this: We use our
military forces, intelligence forces, and our huge financial power to
from weaker countries what we need for our own, affordable lifestyle in the
US. We will support any brutal regime so long as they provide us with the
cheap labor and materials we need, and so long as they keep any competing
political systems out of the region. We will finance the massacre of
and workers, the torture of journalist and clerics, and the rape of nature
and the sky itself so that we may live pleasantly today in America.”

The common American feels ill at such words. And yet, that is the vision of
America that many people in the world carry in their angry hearts. They see
their miserable lives and their precious children and land being sacrificed
for our luxury. They see our US-made helicopters and jets and guns and
rockets suppressing and killing them. Naturally, they celebrate when we are
made to suffer.

The disconnection between their perception and ours is profound: Our people
are stunned at the idea that we are not universally loved.

In classrooms all over America this week and last, teachers and professors
asked their students, “why do you suppose that some people around the world
are so angry at us?” Many students no doubt suggested that differences in
religion make some people intolerant and fanatically homicidal. What other
reason could they have?

In a West Virginia college classroom last week, a friend of mine had
something different to say.

“Look at it like this,” he said to a classroom filled with honor students
couldn’t imagine why America was under attack, except for reasons of
religious extremism. “Imagine that West Virginia was a third world country,”
he said. “We have all this valuable coal, but there is one country, far
that buys it all. They are the richest nation in the world, and they stay
that way by getting our resources cheaply. They use their wealth to buy-off
our government officials, and to kill or torture any worker here who tries
organize a union or clean up the government. How mad would we be toward that
distant country, and just how innocent would we think its citizens are, who
drive around in luxury cars and live in elegant homes and buy the best
medicines for their children, and otherwise live a life in sparkling
skyscrapers — a life made affordable by the way they get resources from us?
They admire their own democracy, turning a blind eye to what their
and their corporations do abroad.”

The classroom was silent. “Well,” he said, “that’s pretty much what we do
over the world.”.

Someone at the back of the room said, “Well, we may not be perfect, but this
attack didn’t come from Central America or Africa or Southeast Asia, it came
from wealthy people from the Mideast, for religious reasons. ”

The class soon remembered that the US had supported the brutal regime of the
Shah of Iran so to better protect the supply of oil to the US, and that the
brutality of the Shah led to the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini and the camp
of violent Islamic fundamentalists, of which Bin Laden was a product. The
class was silent again. Then they began to discuss our problem, and they
in a position to come up with real answers.

So must all Americans see America as the world see us, so that we can strive
for justice and the peace that comes with justice.

The politics that killed six thousand people in New York last week is the
politics of Mideast oil, the politics of the Shah of Iran and our support
him and his torture police — supported so that we might secure cheap oil
an anti-Communist puppet at any price to the local people and at any price
their democracy. The Shah did not deliver peace or safety, but instead he
delivered into the world the Ayatollah Khomeini and the present wave of
violent Islamic fundamentalists — who are no more Islamic in their
than America’s radical right are Christian in their practices. Both radical
fringes are beating the war drums and accusing everyone who is not exactly
like them of causing last week’s horror. George Bush, has declared war on
evil. That is a holy war as chilling as the Taliban’s call for war on evil.

This is not a time for all good Americans to forget their political
differences and rally behind the man in the White House. The man in the
House should apologize for the most serious breach of internal security in
the nation’s history, not disguise his failure in calls for war. Can he hope
that the fiery explosions in New York and Washington and Pennsylvania will
more acceptable to us if they are placed in a larger context of explosions
our own making? I do not rally around that idea. It is “wag the dog” taken
an extreme level, for he is not covering up his failure with a fake war, but
with a real one.

He has taken every opportunity to make the world less safe, first in North
Korea and then in the Mideast and in Russia and in China. He needs a
dangerous world to sell his military vision of the future. He is getting it.
We must not go along with him.

The international community may soon have to rescue the Afghan people from
the Taliban just as we had to rescue Europe from the Nazis, and rebuild it
and let it find its way to self-government, but that is not the same issue
and that will not resolve international terrorism at its roots. It is a
diversion of our attention from Bush’s catastrophic failure at home and

Sixty years and eight months ago Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his
“four freedoms” State of the Nation speech to Congress as he prepared the
nation for war. In it, he laid down the sensible and humane preconditions
future world peace and democracy.

If Mr. Bush insists on preparing us for his war against evil, let him learn
from that great speech.

Let me read you the final paragraphs:

“In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world
founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech
and expression — everywhere in the world.”

Now Mr. Bush, do not tell us that we must prepare to lose our free speech
rights and our rights to privacy, so that you and your corporate-military
complex can continue to abuse the world safely. Do not take away our first
freedom. You have installed your closest political associate as the head of
FEMA, which has its own prison camps set up across America for any coming
disturbances. We are indeed disturbed.

And now it seems we are to have an internal secret police, headed not by a
law enforcement man but by Tom Ridge, and it is to be a cabinet-level
position. This puts it far above the FBI, our non-political, professional
internal security police, which has been discredited in an intensive
this year.

“The second,” FDR continued, “is freedom of every person to worship God in
his own way — everywhere in the world.”

Do not, Mr. Bush, let your vision of good and evil and your friends on the
religious right overpower the religion of mainstream America, which is the
religion of peace and justice. Do not take away our second freedom.

“The third,” said FDR, “is freedom from want, which, translated into world
terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a
healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.

We cannot live peacefully if we do not work every day for the people, not
despots, of the world — for justice, not for banking arrangements and trade
agreements to fatten our already fat banks and corporations. Do not deprive
the third world of this third freedom, for none of us are free if some of us
are yet enslaved.

“The fourth is freedom,” said FDR, “from fear, which, translated into world
terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such
a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of
physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world.”

Let the US stop selling the weapons of death throughout the world. We have
fallen far, far away from the vision of a peaceful, unarmed world. We are
the principle source of arms and high-tech weapons for all the despots of
world. Mr. Bush, you can only give us freedom from fear if the people of the
world are free of fear. This the common American knows in his heart.

I remember Roosevelt’s speech well. My husband and I no doubt discussed it
the dinner table. We had already been married eleven years at the time. I
hope I speak for many common Americans who cannot see our flag without
getting emotional with love for it. Our dream is that it should always
represent the best that human beings can do on this earth. This is a time
us to rally around its best values and its highest dreams.

To the terrorists, here is my message: you are not martyrs, but cowards.
selfish, ego-maniacal greed for a place in heaven cannot be purchased with
the deaths of other people. Look across the Khyber Pass toward the land of
Gandhi, who taught us that violence makes justice harder to come by, not
easier. Today in America, the work of terrorists makes the work harder for
those who want reform America’s policies and practices. You do not want to
change American policies, or you would be using your millions to bring your
message to us in ways that we can understand and act upon. You want only
shortcut to heaven. We have the same great God, the same Allah, and he
his head in sad disbelief at your spiritual immaturity.

“The ultimate weakness of violence,” Dr. King taught us, “is that it is a
descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of
diminishing evil, it multiplies it… Through violence you may murder the
hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases
hate…. adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness
cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Terrorism makes it hard for us to do the right thing, but do it we must.
Old “Fighting Bob” LaFollette, that great reformer, said that “war is the
money-changer’s opportunity, and the social reformer’s doom.” But we will
accept doom. We will keep going. It is a time for all of us to speak the
truth with courage and hope. America is, despite all, still the best hope
the world. But we are a work in progress, and we all have some work to do
right now. It is the work of peace, of frank education, of making our lives
and our communities more sustainable and less dependent on the suffering of
others, and of cleaning up a campaign finance system that has allowed our
elected leaders to represent not our interests and values, but those of
international corporations who are set on world domination and who have the
resources to buy our government away from us if we will let them. We will
not, so long as we live, and so long as our four freedoms are our guiding
lights and inspiration.


SF Chronicle – Money Talks – Sunday, September 23, 2001
Oil rises to the top in debate on economic policy


SF Chronicle – Money Talks – Sunday, September 16, 2001
Attack raises troubling questions on U.S. economic policy

“Nobody wants to hear this, but tyranny breeds terrorism. U.S. corporations,
and the military might they subsidize, have profited in foreign lands for
decades, too often taking what’s best for them and leaving social chaos in
their wake. ”

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