Saturday, January 08, 2005

Bush to Truth, Justice, Democracy


Sunday, October 17, 2004

Bush governs not by facts, but by his "gut", by "instinct" !

Without a Doubt, by Ron Suskind

George Bush's "instincts" may be great with regard to his own political maneuvering for power, but certainly his disastrous record of domestic and foreign policy shouts out to the contrary.

Ron Suskind's article offers a shocking look at the man whose finger is on the trigger. (Read the whole New York Times article)

Bruce Bartlett, a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and a treasury official for the first President Bush, told me recently that ''if Bush wins, there will be a civil war in the Republican Party starting on Nov. 3.'' The nature of that conflict, as Bartlett sees it? Essentially, the same as the one raging across much of the world: a battle between modernists and fundamentalists, pragmatists and true believers, reason and religion.

''Just in the past few months,'' Bartlett said, ''I think a light has gone off for people who've spent time up close to Bush: that this instinct he's always talking about is this sort of weird, Messianic idea of what he thinks God has told him to do.''Bartlett, a 53-year-old columnist and self-described libertarian Republican who has lately been a champion for traditional Republicans concerned about Bush's governance, went on to say: ''This is why George W. Bush is so clear-eyed about Al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist enemy. He believes you have to kill them all. They can't be persuaded, that they're extremists, driven by a dark vision. He understands them, because he's just like them. . . .

''This is why he dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts,'' Bartlett went on to say. ''He truly believes he's on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence.'' Bartlett paused, then said, ''But you can't run the world on faith.'' . . .

'''Mr. President,' I [Sen. Joe Biden] finally said, 'How can you be so sure when you know you don't know the facts?'''

Biden said that Bush stood up and put his hand on the senator's shoulder. ''My instincts,'' he said. ''My instincts.''

Biden paused and shook his head, recalling it all as the room grew quiet. ''I said, 'Mr. President, your instincts aren't good enough!''' . . .

Paul O'Neill, Christine Todd Whitman and Colin Powell to generals fighting in Iraq -- have been told for years when they requested explanations for many of the president's decisions, policies that often seemed to collide with accepted facts. The president would say that he relied on his ''gut'' or his ''instinct'' to guide the ship of state, and then he ''prayed over it.''
. . .

Once he makes a decision -- often swiftly, based on a creed or moral position -- he expects complete faith in its rightness.

The disdainful smirks and grimaces that many viewers were surprised to see in the first presidential debate are familiar expressions to those in the administration or in Congress who have simply asked the president to explain his positions. Since 9/11, those requests have grown scarce; Bush's intolerance of doubters has, if anything, increased, and few dare to question him now. . . .

This is one key feature of the faith-based presidency: open dialogue, based on facts, is not seen as something of inherent value. It may, in fact, create doubt, which undercuts faith . It could result in a loss of confidence in the decision-maker and, just as important, by the decision-maker. Nothing could be more vital . . . .

A cluster of particularly vivid qualities was shaping George W. Bush's White House through the summer of 2001: a disdain for contemplation or deliberation, an embrace of decisiveness, a retreat from empiricism, a sometimes bullying impatience with doubters and even friendly questioners. Already Bush was saying, Have faith in me and my decisions, and you'll be rewarded. All through the White House, people were channeling the boss. He didn't second-guess himself; why should they? . . .

''Where people often get lost is on this very point,'' he said after a moment of thought. ''Real faith, you see, leads us to deeper reflection and not -- not ever -- to the thing we as humans so very much want.''

And what is that?

''Easy certainty.''


Sunday, September 26, 2004

Bush family history shows a dark past unseen by most

Seeing the big picture. Getting to know the players.

Few would argue that trust, like democracy, is earned and not inherited. So how is it that we've missed the lessons of four generations of Bush family history?

As Kevin Phillips recounts in "American Dynasty," the Bush family presents a record of war profiteers who use public office to gain wealth and advantage. Along the way, Bush family business cronies receive political access and legitimacy.

One of the most venal characters is Prescott Bush, the president's grandfather. ...

For 60 years, the full record of Prescott Bush's complicity in the Nazi war machine has been ignored or denied by participants and the U.S. media.

But no more. Documents relating to the seizures were recently uncovered in the National Archives and the Library of Congress. Confirmed by Dutch government sources, they show that Bush shipped tons of strategic resources to the Third Reich as Hitler prepared to invade Poland.

Despite this history, the news media continues to present a selective picture of the Bush family and its business connections. People who tried to show the warts were shouted down; in 2000, the publisher of "Fortunate Son," a George Bush biography, was forced to recall and burn its inventory.

After launching a bloody occupation of Iraq, perhaps it's time Americans connect the dots and see the big picture. ...

In private action and public policy, Bush family history reveals a pattern of war profiteering spanning four generations. It's a legacy of deceit and death. For the naïve and uninformed, the facts may be a slap in the face. For those who look closely, the sign is as clear as blood on snow.

Then again, perhaps the pattern is lost in the noise. According to Bob Woodward's "Bush At War," the president attended a New York Yankees game not long after the 9/11 attacks. Wearing a New York City fireman's jacket, Bush threw out the first pitch and the crowd roared its approval. From a sky box above the stadium, Karl Rove, Bush's political adviser, likened the roar of the crowd to 'a Nazi rally.'"
I wonder how world history will compare grandfather and grandson a century from now. Will collusion with the Third Reich really be regarded as any more venal than the crimes George W. is now perpetrating on this nation and world, and intends to advance yet further in a 2nd term?

Read the whole 9-12-04 article at The Fairbanks News-Miner.

Also read this Guardian Unlimited 9-25-04 article on the subject.


Friday, September 24, 2004

Millions Blocked from Voting in US Election

Millions of U.S. citizens, including a disproportionate number of black voters, will be blocked from voting in the Nov. 2 presidential election because of legal barriers, faulty procedures or dirty tricks, according to civil rights and legal experts.

The largest category of those legally disenfranchised consists of almost 5 million former felons who have served prison sentences and been released.

In total, 13 percent of all black men are barred from voting due to a felony conviction, according to the Commission on Civil Rights. Polls consistently find that black Americans overwhelmingly vote for Democrats.

"This has a huge effect on elections but also on black communities which see their political clout diluted. No one has yet explained to me how letting ex-felons who have served their sentences into polling booths hurts anyone," said Jessie Allen of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. ...

Wired News

In 2000 five right wing Supreme Court justices selected George W. Bush as president by stopping the Florida vote count when Bush had 512 votes over Gore. For Jeb Bush, Katharine Harris, Clayton Roberts and the Republican Party it was a job well done, but for our democracy and the clear majority of potential voters, it was the theft of the presidency and an indecent outrage against the founding principles of this republic.

Our risk averse, government beholden US media corporations eagerly stepped up to pay homage to the interloper as president and subsequently failed in their duty to fairly pursue and report on the injustices that had bend one in our banana republic election at the hands of GOP operatives.

But unlike two other international elections that were stolen that year, because our media corporations supported the coup by failing to pursue and report it, there were no mass uprisings of outraged citizens marching up to the White House demanding justice, our election remained stolen and by far the worst presidency of 100 years was given a free pass to plunder our treasury, eviscerate our economy, and shred our Constitution. And what the GOP has in mind for this nation in another four years of power may very well make today seem like the good old days.

Greg Palast, American investigative journalist and film producer for the BBC and The Guardian, and author of best-selling The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, has done much to reveal this scandalous coup d'etat but generally stands alone crying in the US media wilderness. It was Palast who reported on BBC about the illegal "felons list" ordered by Jeb Bush, Katharine Harris, and Clayton Roberts as a Democratic hit list to prevent more than 50,000 eligible Florida Democratic voters access to the polls, and further that Katharine Harris prevented the counting of another 20,000 Democratic votes.

His findings were confirmed by the Commission on Civil Rights, as described and further elaborated upon by Alan Elsner, which states that nationally, the "largest category of those legally disenfranchised consists of almost 5 million former felons who have served prison sentences and been released" and that polls "consistently find that black Americans overwhelmingly vote for Democrats." That being the case, one can readily appreciate why any GOP dominated state legislature would be more than a little reluctant to allow ex-felons the vote and thereby give up their valuable felons list, accurate or not. Fourteen states still deny ex-felons the right to vote.

Add this to the fact that nationwide, predominantly black precincts are those that get the oldest, most often malfunctioning voting equipment. Any equipment delays or breakdowns in these precincts — which occur at a higher rate than in precincts with better equipment — therefore deprive more Democratic voters from casting their ballots. It is estimated that the votes lost in this manner exceeds 1,000,000.

Following are some Greg Palast links. Find out what the elite media corporations are unwilling to let you know. (links to Palast's writings and more of his A/V's)
BBC TV: Theft of the Presidency - What Really Happened in Florida?
Silence of the Media Lambs (audio)
The Bush Family Fortunes (complete video)
Jim Crow Revived in Cyberspace 05-13-03 (article)


Thursday, September 16, 2004

Hijacking Catastrophe

Take a look at the underlying premises that drive Bush's agressive foreign policy.

"Hijacking Catastrophe is powerful, understated, straightforward and educational. In a single meticulously organized hour of evidence and analysis, viewers are treated to a thoughtful explanation of modern American empire, neo-conservatism as a driving force for the current Bush administration." -- Information Clearing House

Watch full length version or buy your own DVD.


Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Public Power in the Age of Empire

August 16th famed Indian author and activist Arundhati Roy addressed the American Sociological Association in San Francisco. She spoke to an overflow crowd about war, resistance and the Presidency. Her speech, entitled 'Public Power in the Age of Empire,' offers continuing insight into the big picture.

She offers a graphic comparison of Kerry and Bush: "It's not a real choice. It's an apparent choice. Like choosing a brand of detergent. Whether you buy Ivory Snow or Tide, they're both owned by Proctor & Gamble." She further comments that there is, however, a qualitative difference between the two candidates. (Another writer has more directly characterized that difference by asking "Which do you prefer, a slap in the face or a brickbat to the head?")

Watch/Listen to/Read Arundhati Roy's presentation.


Thursday, August 19, 2004

Suckers for Jesus

This Crisis Papers article identifies the main components of the present GOP as libertarians, free market absolutists, greedy plutocrats, and Christian fundamentalists and asks the question, "Why, then, do religious fundamentalists follow, and vote for, wealthy and powerful individuals who openly violate the basic moral teachings of their 'Lord and Savior'?"

The writer concludes: "The Fundamentalist Christians have been 'had' – suckered – by the libertarians and oligarchs. Thus the fundamentalists have worked diligently and faithfully toward their own disadvantage and undoing."

Read the whole article for yourself.


Sunday, August 15, 2004

Bill Moyers:  Inequality Matters

A few days ago DISH Network carried a replay of Bill Moyers' keynote address at the June 2003 Inequality Matters Conference (Videos/Transcripts of Speeches -

He speaks passionately and articulately of the deliberate class warfare being waged on the middle and lower classes in America by very wealthy conservatives and their corporate boards of directors, supported and encouraged fully by religious conservatives, especially Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

Bill Moyers snapshots a frightening big picture that reveals the danger the conservative GOP movement has brought to our doorstep.


Developing the Big Picture

For months I've been trying to get a glimpse of the big picture of what is really driving US politics today.

For years I have watched the political comings and goings in this country without understanding enough of history to recognize the big picture, but now that Bush and the extremist GOP have pushed what is left of our already nonfunctioning democracy to the edge of extinction, it seems urgent to try to realize what is really going on and why, as a fundamental step in fighting back.

Self-serving spin, obfuscation and silence, of course, are the rule of the day. There is so much out there to obscure the facts, getting at the truth feels a lot like trying to cross a pond by stepping from one lily pad to the next.

So what is really going on? What is the big picture and what are its parts? That's what I would like to come to understand and document in this blog.