Saturday, October 16, 2004

Plans to Attack Iran?

Plans to Attack Iran?
A senior intelligence officer in Tel Aviv revealed that President Bush "is now firmly convinced that Iran poses a greater threat to Israel than Iraq did". And a senior Pentagon official has further confirmed that a number of Department of Defence planners have recently travelled to Tel Aviv to discuss plans to attack Iran.


"The best way to avoid the draft is to vote for me."

--GW Bush, October 16, 2004
Bush is a liar.
Why would you believe him now, given all you already know?

Talking Points Memo- An issue that deserves a lot of attention, but receives precious little

Every person in long lines for flu shots..

Every person in long lines for flu shots..
..and every person who can't get one will remember to vote for John Kerry in a couple weeks (if they're not in bed with a high fever--or six feet under).
Meanwhile, in merry olde England...
"Flu vaccine may be delayed in some locations, but the shortages America is seeing are not expected here, thanks in part to early action by British health officials.

Late this summer, at the first sign of new problems at the Chiron Corp.'s long-troubled plant, the British began searching for other suppliers of flu vaccine

Daily Kos- Swing State Front-Page News: Flu Shot Shortages!
"Maybe God, in the midst of telling George Bush to invade Iraq, forgot to mention that it might also be a good idea to look after the health of our grandparents."

Washington Post- How U.S. Got Down to Two Makers Of Flu Vaccine
Bottom line, there's not enough money in the business of protecting Americans from a life-threatening illness. The fruits of Bush's coddling of big business come home to roost with millions of unprotected Americans in the middle of flu season.
"Wyeth threw away 7 million unsold doses, for a loss of $30 million. It then quit making flu shots. It eventually closed the Marietta plant, which once employed 800 people..."

The Rise of Pseudo Fascism, Dave Neiwert, Orcinus

The Rise of Pseudo Fascism by Dave Neiwert, Orcinus

Excerpts from this must-read work:

"Today we have a milieu in which this administration's manifest incompetence is hailed as moral clarity; in which the torture of prisoners at American hands is dismissed as a fraternity prank; in which the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II is defended as a necessary step (that may need to be repeated); in which a policy to further denude America's forests is called the Healthy Forests Initiative, and the evisceration of the nation's public education system is named No Child Left Behind. We're relentlessly sold an image of Bush himself as strong and resolute, and yet when he appears for a national debate on TV, what we see instead is a "peevish and bored" caricature of a leader, a man more likely to remind us the feckless pointy-haired boss we all once had than an actual president....

...the movement not only makes reality a function of the movement's agenda; its agenda itself can shift rapidly according to the strategic needs of the movement in its acquisition of power. Thus, as described in Part 1, the conservative movement has come to resemble nothing so genuinely conservative at all but rather something starkly radical: profligate spending; incautious and expansionary wars, pursued unilaterally; the steady dumbing-down of the nation's education system. The neo-Confederate-laden GOP no longer has even a passing resemblance to the "party of Lincoln." Even at the micro-political level, in interpersonal debate, the famous conservative carefulness, politeness and reserve has utterly vanished...

..The conservative movement, as such, is an ever-shifting beast. Its drive is power, and as such it has gradually adopted the familiar architecture of another power-mad phenomenon of mass politics: fascism..."


Articles/Columns You Shouldn't Miss

Articles/Columns You Shouldn't Miss

William Rivers Pitt: Bearing Bloody Witness, Truthout, October 12, 2004
"I wanted to vomit because Bush and Cheney, since the release of the Duelfer report, have attempted to scramble towards a new rationale for the invasion. It was never about weapons of mass destruction, but about the possibility that someday - if the entire world decided to stop watching Iraq, and if the sanctions somehow magically disappeared - Hussein might maybe somehow make the stuff we've been looking for. I wanted to vomit because I have spent the last two years listening to things like this from George W. Bush and the members of his administration: 'Simply stated,' said Dick Cheney on August 26 2002, 'there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction'...'We know for a fact that there are weapons there,' said Ari Fleischer on January 9 2003...'There is no doubt,' said General Tommy Franks on March 22 2003, 'that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction'....'We know where they are,' said Don Rumsfeld on March 30 2003, later denying to the press that he ever said such a thing. 'They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad'...'We have sources that tell us,' said George W. Bush on February 8 2003, 'that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons'...'Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt,' continued Bush on March 17 2003, 'that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised'...In his February 5 2003 speech to the United Nations, Secretary of State Colin Powell warned of the 'sinister nexus between Iraq and the Al Qaeda terrorist network'."

Philip Gourevitch: Reality Check: John Kerry's Iraq Attack, The New Yorker, October 18, 2004 issue
"Despite a pre-debate "memorandum of understanding" between the Bush campaign and the Kerry campaign that there would be no televised "cutaways" or reaction shots, more than sixty-two million Americans watched George W. Bush appear to come unglued while hearing, for the first time, John Kerry's forceful voice of opposition. Bush's face betrayed him on the very first cutaway. He had insisted that the focus of his initial encounter with Kerry, in Coral Gables, Florida, be foreign policy and national security-the issues on which, as a self-proclaimed "war President," he believes himself to be strongest, and on which he has staked his bid for a second term-yet, barely a minute into the debate, he had been subjected to more direct criticism than he had endured in public in the previous four years, and it soon became obvious that he couldn't take it. . . . Now, faced for the first time in his Presidency with an inescapable adversary, he appeared to experience the debate as an insult. At times he sulked, at times he winced, as Kerry picked apart the Administration's catastrophic Iraq adventure. "I didn't need anybody to tell me to go to the United Nations," Bush protested. "I decided to go there myself." And, a bit later, 'Of course I know Osama bin Laden attacked us. I know that.' "

Seen in Austin, TX

kid oakland/Daily Kos- Making History, October 15, 2004
"I firmly believe we will make history this November. I wouldn't say it if I didn't believe it was so. And, I guess, this diary is, in a way, a kind of time out from that to reflect on something that I feel the need to remember:
I firmly believe that we share this nation with people who don't agree with us. It's all of ours. Together. Hell, some of us are related. And, right now we are all just trying to figure how better to run our government.
History is weird. We might have one perspective on things now...and see it changed by events outside our control.
The one thing we do our integrity...staying true to ourselves and our values. Standing up for our principles. Paying authentic witness to our times, no matter who we are or where we find ourselves. Our stories, collectively, are what make history. And we must never forget that, because, in a way, that is the basis of our politics."

Paul Krugman: Checking the Facts, In Advance, New York Times, October 12, 2004
" The point is that Mr. Kerry can, at most, be accused of using loose language; the thrust of his statements is correct. Mr. Bush's statements, on the other hand, are fundamentally dishonest. He is insisting that black is white, and that failure is success. Journalists who play it safe by spending equal time exposing his lies and parsing Mr. Kerry's choice of words are betraying their readers."
(Related: Robert Kuttner's "How Kerry Can Win")

Media Matters- On Nightline, Vietnamese witnesses further debunked Sinclair exec's report on Kerry's Silver Star
"An October 14 report on ABC's Nightline strongly refuted claims by opponents of Senator John Kerry, including Sinclair Broadcast Group vice president Mark Hyman and the anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, that, in Hyman's words, Kerry "shot a wounded teenager retreating from battle" when he was in Vietnam.
In a September 13 televised commentary titled "Kerry and the Killing," Hyman purported to discredit Senator John Kerry's account of events that led to his receipt of the Silver Star. Hyman claimed that an "official after action report" obtained "[i]n an exclusive" from U.S. Navy archives contradicted Kerry's account and supported the account of "eyewitnesses" that "allege Kerry shot a wounded teenager retreating from battle." Similarly, in the book Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry (Regnery, August 2004), co-authors Jerome R. Corsi and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth co-founder John E. O'Neill described the man Kerry killed is described as "a lone, wounded, fleeing, young Vietcong in a loincloth." Media Matters for America noted at the time that the Navy document Hyman cited did not contradict Kerry's account.
Hyman's commentaries, called The Point, appear on many of the 62 TV stations Sinclair owns or operates."
(Related: MyDD- Nightline---Wow! SVFT Exposed as Liars!
ABC News Story)

Imagining the Danger of 2000 Redux By John M. Broder
NYT, October 17

The danger may be greater than 2000: Could the country stand another Florida?

Winning the War for Muslim Minds: What Bush can learn from The Battle of Algiers DVD, Slate, October 14 by Fred Kaplan
"Gilles Kepel notes, "The most important battle in the war for Muslim minds during the next decade will be fought not in Palestine or Iraq but … on the outskirts of London, Paris, and other European cities, where Islam is already a growing part of the West." Most of these Muslims emigrated to the West not to export terror, but to earn a living. If they're given an opportunity, maybe Muslims everywhere will take notice and wonder if the West is really as bad as the Bin Ladens say."

Military probing whether unit in Iraq refused dangerous mission Boston Globe, October 17
"The grandfather of an Army Reserve soldier whose platoon refused to deliver supplies in Iraq said his grandson told him Saturday that he and other soldiers had been detained by military authorities but were later released. Meanwhile, military officials said commanders reassigned five members of the unit. Some in the platoon had told relatives they refused to deliver tainted helicopter fuel in poorly maintained vehicles by traveling a dangerous supply route without an armed escort.
The Army is investigating up to 19 members of the platoon, which is part of the 343rd Quartermaster Company based in Rock Hill, S.C. The unit delivers food, water and fuel on trucks in combat zones."

A three-hour election show from film-maker Michael Moore has been dropped by In Demand cable TV company. BBC, October 16
The Michael Moore Pre-Election Special, including the first TV showing of his film Fahrenheit 9/11, was to be shown on pay-per-view channel In Demand. The company said the decision to axe the show the night before the November 2 elections was due to "legitimate business and legal concerns." "Apparently people have put pressure on them," said Moore. Moore said he signed a contract with In Demand last month and is now considering legal action.

The unAmerican Sinclair Broadcasting Network:

FCC Chairman Powell Won't Block Anti-Kerry Election Propaganda, Boliek
Kerry Team Demands Equal Time From Sinclair, Kurtz
Sinclair's slander, bg ed
Backlash Begins Against Sinclair Broadcasting, wd
Unreality TV: Ohioans Try To Survive An Attack By Swift Boats, Harkavy
*thanks to
Jay Rosen/Press Think- Agnew with TV Stations: Sinclair Broadcasting Takes On John Kerry and The Liberal Media
Sinclair Action Constitutes "Sovietization" of U.S. Television, Buzzflash, Oct 17

READ WHAT I WROTE ABOUT SINCLAIR LAST APRIL--Be sure to see their political contribution record linked at my post.

To be continued

Review-Vote For Change Concert Oct 11 in DC

Review-Vote For Change Concert
October 11, 2004
MCI Center, Washington D.C.

"I am a patriot
and I love my country
Because my country is all I know
I want to be with my family
With people who understand me
I got nowhere else to go

And I ain't no communist, and I ain't no capitalist
And I ain't no socialist
and I sure ain't no imperialist
And I ain't no democrat
And I ain't no republican either
And I only know one party
and its name is freedom
I am a patriot.."

-from the song I Am A Patriot (and the river opens for the righteous) by Little Steven Van Zandt, sung by Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, and Keb Mo at the Vote For Change concert finale, October 11, 2004 in Washington, D.C.

The sun was shining on a clear Sunday afternoon in Washington D.C. The mall was sprinkled with people tossing footballs and frisbees, tourists strolling the sculpture garden at the Hirschorn Museum, and students reading their schoolbooks at the Starbucks on 7th Avenue. You could tell which people were headed to the Vote For Change concert finale at the MCI Center either by their Kerry-Edwards T-shirts or anti-Bush statement shirts. If you listened carefully, you may have heard some say jovially to one another "So, have you heard the rumors on the internets?"

A few hours before the show, four or five Freeper-types stood across the street, one with a Saddam Hussein costume on, another holding a sign saying something ludicrous like " rocks for Osama" and "Saddam-Aid 2004". I waved to them while happily, thinking about the great music they were never going to be hearing that evening while they backed Bush the loser whose big-name entertainment supporter is Wayne Newton.

As concert time drew near, a large crowd gathered outside the MCI center. There were people handing out flyers and stickers, groups looking for volunteers to travel to swing states, and 'Billionaires for Bush' looking dapper and darling. Inside the arena, a large crowd swarmed the T-Shirt concession area, lining up six-deep to gaze upon the Vote For Change merchandise.

By the time the show started, at 7pm sharp, most people were not yet in their seats. By the time the first artist, John Mellencamp, had taken the stage, the crowd had quickly gotten into their assigned places to enjoy the show, which had been sold-out 30 minutes after tickets had gone on sale last month.

Before Mellencamp sang, a group of artists came out to make a brief political statement. Bruce Springsteen, Emily Robison (of the Dixie Chicks), Dave Matthews, Michael Stipe, and Eddie Vedder came onstage together. Without mentioning Bush or Kerry, Springsteen said, "We're here to raise our voices loud and clear...we want to change our government."

Eddie Vedder added, "We want government that's open, rational, responsible for the citizenry, and humane."

I enjoyed Mellencamp's set. I'd seen him at a small club when he was still John Cougar Mellencamp back in the 80s, and watching him at the MCI Center, I realized he has never lost his energy or his spirit through the years. He set the tone for the night with a solid acoustic performance. Mellencamp's rootsy band included a drummer, two guitarists, violin, accordian, upright bass, and background singer. Songs performed:

1. In my time of dying (blues version)
2. Paper in Fire
3. Walk Tall (prefaced by the statement, "This next song is about what the Devil can do if you don't keep your eye on him.")
4. Authority Song
5. Pink Houses

By the time Mellencamp had finished his set, the crowd was on its feet with an energy that would last the whole night long.

Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds was next, doing one smooth, blues-injected song, "Change the World" (a hit song written by Eric Clapton, produced by Babyface).

Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, and KebMo were next, performing the following songs together:

1. Worlds in Motion
2. For What It's Worth
3. I am a Patriot
4. Stand up and be Strong

At the end of the set, Bonnie Raitt stated, "America, we'll see you at the polls!"

"I am a Patriot" was one of my favorites of the concert. It was written by Little Steven Van Zandt, and I believe its lyrics and reggae spirit stayed closest to the theme of the raucous evening of political rock for change.

Jackson Browne came back to the stage after a short break as the stage was rotated to a new set and he introduced the hip hop act, Jurrassic 5.
1. I Am Somebody
2. And you Don't Stop
3. Freedom
After the performance, members of the group stated, "It starts with you first."; "Don't point the finger at no one else."; "Vote yes on Proposition 66"

At about 8:30pm, REM took the stage. I was thrilled as it was my first opportunity to see them in concert. It was a dream-set with stellar guest-singers. REM gave a CD-quality performance of the following songs:

1. The One I Love
2. Begin the Begin (with guest singer Eddie Vedder)
3. Leaving New York (an excellent new song)
4. Losing My Religion (oh, man, this was great)
5. Man in the Moon (with Bruce Springsteen)

Pearl Jam was next.

1. Grievance
2. Save You
3. New World (by X) (with guest singer Tim Robbins)
4. Bushleaguer
5. Master of War (The Bob Dylan song, and Vedder sang the tune with a decided high-lonesome Appalachin feel, a bone-chilling rendition--one of the best performances of the night.)

Vedder was heard saying, "I guess now everyone is going to vote" Also, Vedder remarked that everyone is talking about November 3rd--how the work will have just begun on November 3rd. He said he was worried people would forget the actual day they need to vote and he asked the audience to raise their hands for the television cameras and show them the day they have to vote. The 2nd sign doubled for the peace sign, and Eddie Vedder was pleased with the resulting visual mass statement.

"I hate it when they say you shouldn't change horses in mid-stream. The horse can't swim and it's in way over its head and that horse shouldn't have crossed the stream in the first place, and there's a good democratic mule right there. So change that horse. Change it."

--James Taylor

Pardon my adolescent-sounding admiration, but I was blown away by James Taylor.

1. The Secret of Life
2. Hold Them Up

(Out came the Dixie Chicks to join Taylor for a couple songs)

3. Sweet Baby James (A sweet rendition with Natalie Maines on vocals and Taylor on harmony--the audience went wild with appreciative applause after the song.)
4. Shower the People

James Taylor made the most astute remarks of the evening:

--"I hate it when they say you shouldn't change horses in mid-stream. The horse can't swin and it's in way over its head and that horse shouldn't have crossed the stream in the first place, and there's a good democratic mule right there. So change that horse. Change it."

--"We started the tour on the eve of the first debate and I've been asked 'What advice do you have for undecided voters?' You take a look at the two candidates; you study 'em real close... and YOU CHOOSE THE SMART ONE. You choose the smart one."

The Dixie Chicks performed the next set on their own:

1. Some Days You Gotta Dance (with guest James Taylor)
2. Truth No. 2
3. Mississippi (Bob Dylan song)

Natlaie Maines' comments included:

"Gosh, I hope y'all show up to our next tour." and "After 'the incident', people asked me if I wanted to take back what I'd said. I thought, well, no, because after that, Bush would just call me a flip-flopper." The audience cheered with amused delight.

At about 10:20, the Dave Matthews Band took the stage. Their set list:

1. Don't Drink the Water
2. One Sweet World
3. Joy Ride
4. Ants Marching
5. So Much to Say
6. Too Much

Bruce Springsteen took the stage a bit past 11:00.

1. The Star Spangled Banner (guitar version)
2. Born in the USA
3. Badlands
4. No Surrender

John Fogerty was introduced by Springsteen as the Hank Williams of our generation. Fogerty, along with the E Street band, started with a new song called Deja Vu. It was another one of my favorites of the night. It sounded as if the song was written just for the evening. It was a fresh look at what's happening today through the eyes of someone who's lived long enoughto have seen it all before. Shades of "Won't Get Fooled Again". Fogerty then performed a rousing version of "Fortunate Son" to a responsive and enthusiastic crowd.

Springsteen continued on with his set.

5. Because the Night /with Michael Stipe (It was GORGEOUS.)
6. Mary's Place (From the post-9/11 CD "The Rising", a song which contained the key line for the whole album, "How do you live brokenhearted," with a juxtaposition of sad lyrics and complete party music with Clarence Clemons playing a mean, mean sax).

Public Service Annoucement -Bruce Springsteen, in a televangelist preacher style, called all believers to their television screens and asked them to touch the screen and chant (three times) a healing: "Halliburton, Halliburton, Halliburton". ;) Springsteen then got serious and it was the one and only time he mentioned his confidence in and support of John Kerry and John Edwards, which he expressed with a serious yet hopeful patriotic tone.

7. Born to Run (with Peter Buck and Mike Mills of REM--and just about every member of the audience!)

I can't begin to tell you about the energy that was running through the arena by this time. It was more intense than I'd ever experienced at a concert in the past--and I've attended many a concert in my day. The E Street band sounded like they did in the late 70s/early 80s, with a vibe that sent shivers down my spine.

It was time for the finale. All the stars came to the stage to join in singing:

8. What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Understanding? (With Michael Stipe and Eddie Vedder playing air guitar and bouncing joyously.)

11. People have the Power

I watched the finale from the stage left door looking directly onto the singers onstage. It's a moment I wish I could have recorded by means other than memory. It's a sight I'll never forget. I only hope the message sent by these fine, conscientious performers will travel straight to the hearts of Americans and will be translated to their hope--our hope---which is new leadership in the capital of the nation we all love so much.