June 01, 2005

LNS Oceania Review June 2005 Part I

LNS Oceania Review June 2005 Editorial

At least 1,669 US soldiers have died in the Bush Abomination's foolish military adventure in Iraq. That's at least 88 more than the May Day issue of LNS Oceania Review, and well over the average of one US soldier per day. For what? The neo-con wet dream of a Three Stooges Reich. Nothing more. Our young men and women in the military are losing their lives (in more ways than one) everyday in the Mega-Mogadishu of Iraq and yet the opposition leaders prattle on about health care, social security and education...Meanwhile, W Jong Il, the Maximum Leader of the Minimally Minded, pouts and gloats atop the edifice of the new One Party apparatus being relentlessly, ruthlessly installed before our eyes. There are political commissars in the corporations to make sure you donate to the right PACs. There are political commissars in the churches to make sure you vote for the right candidate. There are political commissars in the newsrooms to make sure you only hear what they want you to hear or at least that you hear what you have to hear how they want you to hear it...Two consecutive presidential elections have been stolen, war crimes have been perpetrated in our name, treason has been committed against the Republic (pre- and post-9/11), our national treasury has been gutted and we as a nation have been plunged into economic disaster by robber barons, we have lost four years already in a race against time to save the planet from environmental disaster, and yet in spite of it all, the US news media is unabashedly carrying the filthy water of the Bush cabal. They are wholly complicit...We are living in the midst of a prolonged national nightmare. When will the political leadership of the opposition wake up? Perhaps not at all. They should declare a national emergency on the floors of both the House and the Senate. They should refuse to cooperate in any way on any issue with the illegitimate regime or its lackeys and co-conspirators in the wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party. Instead, they talk about "why we lost" and "how we were beaten," they talk about "new agendas" and "reaching people in red states," and "what's wrong" in their political style or approach and how to "fix it." They prattle on about health care, social security and education -- as if we just have "do a better job at getting our message across." Some say “we should move to the right,” some say “we should move to the left.” At best, they are living in deep denial; but, sadly, it is more likely that Mark Crispin Miller was right when he told me they are simply "craven." [NOTE: make no mistake, however, the many failures of the Democratic Party do not absolve or vindicate the shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Ralph-Nader for his betrayal of all that is good.] What will it take to turn this country around and restore the Republic? Here is an agenda to share with your friends: 1. A return to fair elections and a free press in the USA, 2. An independent investigation of the Bush abomination on charges of treason and war crimes, 3. Strong medicine to put the nation on the road to recovery from the economic and environmental disasters induced by the Bush Abomination. But this agenda, the only one that address the grim realities of our circumstances, will require political leadership willing to risk everything, "lives, fortunes and sacred honor," to restore the republic.
The LNS Oceania Review June 2005 is organized into ten sections in three parts *plus* a special supplement on the most abhorrent stories of the month. [NOTE: We are no longer posting full texts, only excerpts and URLs.]
The Liberation News Service began publishing on a daily basis everyday, like a shaman’s drum beat in a rain dance, until the 2004 election in an attempt to right the wrong of the coup in 2000. Subsequently, we published a series weekly and bi-weekly Post Coup II Supplements to document the theft of the 2004 election. Since the swearing in of W Jong Il for his second term, we have published a monthly digest, the LNS Oceania Review, to provide some context for the second term and what it would mean to us all. Now, we are entering yet another phase. Moving forward, we will be publishing brief and timely bulletins as we see fit and we will keep the LNS searchable database live and current, refreshing as needed, for researchers and students.
Down the road, there will be more...Stay tuned…
Meanwhile…Remember, and resist…Listen to Air America! Donate to F.A.I.R. and www.mediamatters.org. Listen to Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! Subscribe to The Nation. Support the bastions of the Internet-based information rebellion, www.truthout.org, www.consortiumnews.com, www.buzzflash.com, www.gregpalast.com, etc.
As Dunston Woods, LNS Foreign Correspondent says, "We didn't start the Kulchur War, but we will damn well finish it!"

LNS Oceania Review June 2005 Part I:

1. Death of the Republic?
2. Theft of 2004 Election
3. Complicity of the Corporatist News Media
4. The War is Iraq is Worse than Immoral or Illegal, It is Stupid, Insanely Stupid

Death of the Republic?

Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune Memorial Day Editorial, 5/30/05l: In exchange for our uniformed young people's willingness to offer the gift of their lives, civilian Americans owe them something important: It is our duty to ensure that they never are called to make that sacrifice unless it is truly necessary for the security of the country. In the case of Iraq, the American public has failed them; we did not prevent the Bush administration from spending their blood in an unnecessary war based on contrived concerns about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. President Bush and those around him lied, and the rest of us let them. Harsh? Yes. True? Also yes. Perhaps it happened because Americans, understandably, don't expect untruths from those in power. But that works better as an explanation than as an excuse.
The "smoking gun," as some call it, surfaced on May 1 in the London Times. It is a highly classified document containing the minutes of a July 23, 2002, meeting at 10 Downing Street in which Sir Richard Dearlove, head of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, reported to Prime Minister Tony Blair on talks he'd just held in Washington. His mission was to determine the Bush administration's intentions toward Iraq…
It turns out that former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke and former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill were right. Both have been pilloried for writing that by summer 2002 Bush had already decided to invade...
As this bloody month of car bombs and American deaths -- the most since January -- comes to a close, as we gather in groups small and large to honor our war dead, let us all sing of their bravery and sacrifice. But let us also ask their forgiveness for sending them to a war that should never have happened. In the 1960s it was Vietnam. Today it is Iraq. Let us resolve to never, ever make this mistake again. Our young people are simply too precious.

Bill Gallagher, Niagara Falls Reporter, 5/10/05: When historians write about our times, they'll shake their heads and wonder how so many people could believe so many lies for so long. They might actually write two parallel books -- one describing the cascading lies and deceptions George W. Bush and the Republicans sold and the other telling the truth.
We're told, in effect, that trampling on civil liberties and eroding freedom are a sure way to protect us from terrorists who envy our freedom. That colossal lie will be one of the lasting stains on this era, and I fear the day coming when the Busheviks or their political heirs, gripped in fascist fever, will silence those who expose the fraud…
The Sunday Times of London got hold of the minutes of a 2002 meeting Blair had with members of his cabinet to discuss consultations with the Bush people on U.S. intentions toward Iraq…
The words of Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, blow the lid off the lies. Known as "C" in spy talk, his read on the U.S. position contained in the memo tells all…
George W. Bush lied to the world when he said he sought peace in Iraq and war was a "last resort." That's what historians will write and they now have a document proving it.
Journalism is often called the first draft of history. For the most part, America's big corporate media's first draft of Bush's war has been devoted to his propagating lies. That's very dangerous in a fragile democracy.

Bill Moyers, Closing Address, National Conference on Media Reform, 5/16/05: Without a trace of irony, the powers-that-be have appropriated the newspeak vernacular of George Orwell’s “1984.” They give us a program vowing “No Child Left Behind” while cutting funds for educating disadvantaged kids. They give us legislation cheerily calling for “Clear Skies” and “Healthy Forests” that give us neither. And that’s just for starters.
In Orwell’s “1984”, the character Syme, one of the writers of that totalitarian society’s dictionary, explains to the protagonist Winston, “Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?” "Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now? The whole climate of thought,” he said, “will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking -- not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”
An unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only on partisan information and opinion that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda, is less inclined to put up a fight, to ask questions and be skeptical. That kind of orthodoxy can kill a democracy – or worse…
I would like to give Mr. Tomlinson the benefit of the doubt, but I can’t. According to a book written about the Reader’s Digest when he was its Editor-in-Chief, he surrounded himself with other right-wingers -- a pattern he’s now following at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. There is Ms. Andrews from the White House. For Acting President he hired Ken Ferrer from the FCC, who was Michael Powell’s enforcer when Powell was deciding how to go about allowing the big media companies to get even bigger. According to a forthcoming book, one of Ferrer’s jobs was to engage in tactics designed to dismiss any serious objection to media monopolies. And, according to Eric Alterman, Ferrer was even more contemptuous than Michael Powell of public participation in the process of determining media ownership. Alterman identifies Ferrer as the FCC staffer who decided to issue a ‘protective order’ designed to keep secret the market research on which the Republican majority on the commission based their vote to permit greater media consolidation.
t’s not likely that with guys like this running the CPB some public television producer is going to say, “Hey, let’s do something on how big media is affecting democracy.”
Call it preventive capitulation.

Sidney Blumenthal, www.salon.com, 5/26/05: President Bush's drive for absolute power has momentarily stalled. In a single coup, he planned to take over all the institutions of government. By crushing the traditions of the Senate he would pack the courts, especially the Supreme Court, with lock-step ideologues. Sheer force would prevail. But just as his blitzkrieg reached the outskirts of his objective he was struck by a mutiny. Within a span of 24 hours he lost control not only of the Senate but, temporarily, of the House of Representatives, which was supposed to be regimented by unquestioned loyalty. Now he prepares to launch a counterattack -- against the dissident elements of his own party.
Bush's wonder weapon for total victory was a device called the "nuclear option." Once triggered, it would obliterate a 200-year-old tradition of the Senate…
By depriving Democrats of the filibuster, Bush intended to transform the Senate into his rubber stamp…
Over the weekend, two elders, Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., and Sen. John Warner, R-Va., together privately pored over the Federalist Papers, written by the constitutional framers, to refresh their thinking about the inviolability of the Senate. On Monday, seven Republicans and seven Democrats signed a pact that preserved the filibuster under "extraordinary" circumstances and allowed several of Bush's appointments to be voted on.
The mutiny is broader than is apparent. More than the seven Republican signatories supported the accord, but they let the others take a public stance without revealing themselves. Bush's radicalism offended their conservatism…
The day after Bush was frustrated by Republicans in the Senate, 50 Republicans in the House deserted him on the issue of stem cell research. His policy limiting scientific work that might cure many diseases is a sop to the religious right, which views the stem cell question as an extension of abortion. (Historians will discover that in early August 2001 Bush was immersed in delivering a nationally televised speech on stem cells while ignoring the CIA memo titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.") Debate in the House was marshaled by Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who argued that Bush's policy must be supported because "Jesus of Nazareth" began life as an embryo. (DeLay was apparently oblivious to his heresy on the doctrine of Immaculate Conception.) Bush promised to veto the stem cell bill passed with massive Republican defections, the irony of his opposition to the filibuster going unmentioned. http://www.commondreams.org/news2005/0524-15.htm

Eric Alterman, How to lose a country in seven easy steps, MSNBC, 5/26/05: Point one: The Bush administration is, as this piece in today’s Washington Post puts it, working to “consolidate influence in a small circle of Republicans and to marginalize dissenting voices that would try to impede a conservative agenda
Point Two: They are doing so with a historically unprecedented, at least in this country, degree of secrecy, and therefore lack of accountability
Point Three: These same people, acting with unprecedented centralization of power, and secrecy, have taken it upon themselves to suspend the most basic rights enumerated in our constitution, and are carrying out the functional equivalent of a police state on Guantanamo Bay, and at various prisons around the world
Point Four: While they pay rhetorical tribute to “democracy,” they side with tyrants whenever convenient.
Point Five: In response to even the most carefully documented evidence, the White House simply refuses to engage and, instead, impugns the character of those who present it, like this: “In response, Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, said, 'I think the allegations are ridiculous, and unsupported by the facts.'" They also take Orwellian doublespeak to a level that would have embarrassed Orwell. “'We've also - are leading the way when it comes to spreading compassion,’ Mr. McClellan said."
Point Six: And one reason they get away with it is that many in the media, even alleged “liberals” are eager to help. And I don’t mean just Fox, Rush, and the entire structure of the conservative echo machine. (See below)
Point Seven: No less important in allowing it all to take place, is that the so-called “Gang of 500,”—the insiders of the mainstream media, do not really care about any of the above. Here, according to the (functional, but not intentional) commissars at “The Note” are the top concerns of the day:
1. Waiting for the Rosen verdict (and wondering if it will have any political impact either way).
2. Watching the filibuster deal starting to fray over some of the ambiguities.
3. Measuring George Voinovich's emotional state as the Bolton vote approaches.
4. Calibrating if Sen. McCain's political stock is up or down since Monday in a macro sense, and in which direction it is headed.
5. Picking through the tea leaves on stem cells and the highway bill and trying to figure out what will happen.
6. Potential French rejection of the EU treaty and its effect on trans-Atlantic power balances (permit us a brief moment of wonkiness).
Call me shrill, ideological, or whatever you like, but I think we’re losing our Constitution, our civil liberties, and in many significant respects, our country. When future historians look back on this period, they will wonder, most of all, I think, how we let it go without a fight. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3449870/

Robert Parry, The Answer is Fear, www.consortiumnnews.com, 5/26/05: One benefit of the new AM progressive talk radio in cities around the United States is that the call-in shows have opened a window onto the concerns – and confusion – felt by millions of Americans trying to figure out how their country went from a democratic republic to a modern-day empire based on a cult of personality and a faith-based rejection of reason.
“What went wrong?” you hear them ask. “How did we get here?”
You also hear more detailed questions: “Why won’t the press do its job of holding George W. Bush accountable for misleading the country to war in Iraq? How could the intelligence on Iraq have been so wrong? Why do America’s most powerful institutions sit back while huge trade and budget deficits sap away the nation’s future?”
There are, of course, many answers to these questions. But from my 27 years in the world of Washington journalism and politics, I would say that the most precise answer can be summed up in one word: fear.
It’s not fear of physical harm. That's not how it works in Washington. For the professionals in journalism and in intelligence, it’s a smaller, more corrosive fear – of lost status, of ridicule, of betrayal, of unemployment. It is the fear of getting blackballed from a community of colleagues or a profession that has given your life much of its meaning and its financial sustenance…
So, what’s the answer? If a big part of the problem is fear, how can fear be overcome?
It’s simply not enough to tell journalists, politicians and others that they must buck up and do the right thing, especially when people who do show courage are systematically destroyed and made into object lessons for colleagues left behind.
If individuals are expected to be courageous, there must be courageous institutions to surround and protect them. That’s why the creation of a counter-infrastructure – one that will take on both the powerful conservative infrastructure and the cowardly mainstream media – is so vital.
Examples of how this counter-dynamic could work can be found in the take-no-prisoners ethos of the anti-Bush Internet sites, or in the irreverent comedy of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” or in the unabashed liberalism of the fledgling progressive talk radio.
All have shown toughness in refusing to genuflect before Bush and his enormous political power.
Just as cowardice can come in small pieces, none seeming to be that important alone but which added together can destroy a worthy cause, so courage can build one piece on top of another until a solid foundation is established from which a mighty edifice can rise.
But it is urgent that progressives begin immediately to invest in the building blocks of this new infrastructure. It's the only hope for a healthy political balance to be restored.

John Nichols, Hersh Sees Democracy in Peril, Capital Times (Madison, WI), 5/17/05: Seymour Hersh, arguably the greatest journalist of our time and certainly the most necessary, joined me last week at a University of Illinois conference that asked the question: "Can freedom of the press survive media consolidations?"
The Pulitzer-winning journalist reworked the question, asking: "Can freedom of the press survive the Bush presidency?"
No one is sharper in his rebukes of U.S. officials than Hersh, the man who exposed the My Lai massacre, CIA domestic spying, the role of the United States in the 1973 coup in Chile that deposed elected President Salvador Allende, Israel's nuclear ambitions and, most recently, the failures of the U.S. government in the pursuit of Osama bin Laden and the prison torture scandal at Abu Ghraib…
Hersh suggests that, unlike Kissinger, who lied but did so from a basis of knowledge, Bush spreads misinformation that the president, himself, actually thinks is true…
The problem, says Hersh, is that Bush gets information tailored to satisfy his biases and to mirror the warped view of public affairs peddled by Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other adherents of the neoconservative line…
Unfortunately, Hersh does not have an easy answer for the current crisis. "I don't know how we're going to get out of this," he says. "We're not going to find leadership in Congress. ... The media, for the most part, is not doing its job."
And that is what has Hersh really worried…
"We need to do something different," says Hersh, who argues that it is necessary restore a measure of seriousness to mainstream media and to explore new options for alternative media.
The issue at stake is not one of administration, nor even one of war. It is not even the question of whether freedom of the press will survive in an era of media consolidation. It is a question of whether democracy, which the founders believed needed a free flow of information and honest debate, will survive.
"A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both," warned James Madison. "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."
In this time of tragedy in Iraq and farce in so much of our media, Hersh says, "It turns out our democracy is much more fragile than we think. We're in peril."

Charlotte Higgins, Final Star Wars Bears Message for America, Lucas wins festival trophy and hopes his epic will awaken US to democracy in peril, The Guardian UK, 5/16/05: The republic is crumbling under attack from alien forces. Democracy is threatened as the leader plays on the people's paranoia. Amid the confusion it is suddenly unclear whether the state is in more danger from insurgents, or from the leader himself.
It sounds more like a Michael Moore polemic than a Star Wars movie. But George Lucas, speaking as his latest epic was given its world premiere at Cannes yesterday, confirmed that Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, could be read as a parable about American politics.
When he conceived his series of films in the 1970s, he says, he was thinking about Vietnam and Nixon, investigating "democracy, and how a senate could give itself over, could surrender itself to a dictator".
He found historical echoes down the ages. "I looked at ancient Rome, and how, having got rid of kings, the Senate ended up with Caesar's nephew as emperor ... how democracy turns itself into a dictatorship. I also looked at revolutionary France ... and Hitler.
"It tends to follow similar patterns. Threats from outside leading to the need for more control; democracy not being able to function properly because of internal squabbling."
"I hope that situation never arises in our country," he said. "Maybe the film will awaken people to this danger."

Ted Sorenson, What JFK Might Tell Our Leaders, Boston Globe, 5/28/05: Tomorrow would have been John F. Kennedy's 88th birthday. Were he still alive, I have no doubt that, with his customary idealism and commitment to country, he would still be offering advice to our current leaders in Washington. Based upon his words of more than 40 years ago, he might well offer the following:
To President George W. Bush on Iraq, Iran, and North Korea: ''The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war. This generation of Americans has had enough -- more than enough -- of war." (American University commencement, 1963)…
To Vice President Dick Cheney on international organizations, alliances, and consultations: ''The United States is neither omnipotent nor omniscient. We are only 6 percent of the world's population . . . we cannot impose our will upon the other 94 percent of mankind." (University of Washington, 1961)
To Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on terrorism: ''If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." (Inaugural address, 1961)
To United Nations ambassador-designate John Bolton on diplomacy: ''Civility is not a sign of weakness. The United Nations [is] our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace." (Inaugural address, 1961)
To Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on space: ''We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding. This new ocean must be a sea of peace, [not] a new terrifying theater of war." (Rice University, 1962)…
To White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan on negative news media: ''It is never pleasant to be reading things that are not agreeable news, but it is an invaluable arm to the presidency as a check on what is going on . . . [e]ven though we never like it . . . and wish they didn't write it . . . we could not do the job at all in a free society without a very, very active press." (Television interview, 1962)
To pastor-in-chief Pat Robertson on church-state separation: ''I believe in an America where no [clergyman] would tell his parishioners for whom to vote, where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the public acts of our officials, where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference. The presidency must not be the instrument of any one religious group." (Houston ministers, 1960)…
How I miss his friendship. How our nation misses his wisdom.
Theodore C. Sorensen is former special counsel to President Kennedy.

Theft of 2004 Election

Jim Lampley, Huffington Post, 5/10/05: At 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on Election Day, I checked the sportsbook odds in Las Vegas and via the offshore bookmakers to see the odds as of that moment on the Presidential election. John Kerry was a two-to-one favorite. You can look it up.
People who have lived in the sports world as I have, bettors in particular, have a feel for what I am about to say about this: these people are extremely scientific in their assessments. These people understand which information to trust and which indicators to consult in determining where to place a dividing line to influence bets, and they are not in the business of being completely wrong. Oddsmakers consulted exit polling and knew what it meant and acknowledged in their oddsmaking at that moment that John Kerry was winning the election.
And he most certainly was, at least if the votes had been fairly and legally counted. What happened instead was the biggest crime in the history of the nation, and the collective media silence which has followed is the greatest fourth-estate failure ever on our soil.
Many of the participants in this blog have graduate school educations. It is damned near impossible to go to graduate school in any but the most artistic disciplines without having to learn about the basics of social research and its uncanny accuracy and validity. We know that professionally conceived samples simply do not yield results which vary six, eight, ten points from eventual data returns, thaty's why there are identifiable margins for error. We know that margins for error are valid, and that results have fallen within the error range for every Presidential election for the past fifty years prior to last fall. NEVER have exit polls varied by beyond-error margins in a single state, not since 1948 when this kind of polling began. In this past election it happened in ten states, all of them swing states, all of them in Bush's favor. Coincidence? Of course not.
Karl Rove isn't capable of conceiving and executing such a grandiose crime? Wake up. They did it. The silence of traditional media on this subject is enough to establish their newfound bankruptcy. T

Posted by richard at June 1, 2005 02:15 AM