Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Rather Than Couric

Tom Degan, one of the best new voices of the blogosphere (and long renowned for his comments at Alternet), has just written an excellent piece on CBS News, the hostile ouster of Dan Rather and the planned arrival of Katie Couric in September 2006. I have been thinking about this topic quite a bit myself lately.

Tom Writes
"When [CBS] announced that they were replacing the great Bob Scheiffer on the CBS Evening News with someone of the journalistic stature of Katie Courac, that did it. When it comes to getting the news, "cute and perky" doesn't really work for me. Maybe she'll surprise us. When Mike Wallace arrived at the company in 1962, no one took him seriously either."

My Reply
Yes, but in 1962, every single tributary of the mainstream media wasn't owned by the same five republican-driven corporations, and there was certainly no policy at that time to promote "cute and perky" faces to the job of presenting party-line, zero-substance, PR propaganda. In the present era, no journalist will succeed in the PR industry (because it's not really "news" anymore) if he or she doesn't follow those rules. If a "journalist" even dared to try to expose any really substantive truth to the public in any story regarding the Bush Administration, or present the other side of a story fairly, their show would either be cancelled or immediately moved from its prime 7 PM (EDT) time slot to 11 PM (EDT).

As for Couric herself, I have had zero respect for her (to put it mildly) since April or May of 1995, when she interviewed a celebrity who believes in always questioning our government officials and never simply taking their word for anything (I'm almost certain that man was comedian David Brenner, whose hometown is Philadelphia, PA, birthplace of the Constitution). I believe (because it's not easy to remember the details), Brenner came on to discuss the U.S. Constitution or the freedom to dissent, or something like that. The interview took place shortly after the Oklahoma City bombing, and the country was in a rage against the sort of radical separatist groups to which Timothy McVeigh supposedly belonged (even though he had been a rabidly patriotic soldier in the first Gulf War just a couple of years earlier).

During the course of Couric's interview, she asked him several questions. To one question, he responded as all TRULY patriotic Americans have responded since the founding of our government in 1787. It's been eleven years since the interview, so I don't remember his exact words, but his response was very vaguely along the lines that he didn't trust our government without question and that no American should trust our government without question. He may even have said (or I was thinking it myself as I watched) the Founding Fathers expected American citizens to be ever vigilant in scrutinizing the actions and motives of our goverment. Keep in mind that Brenner wasn't discussing the FBI debacle in Waco in 1993 or to the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. He was just speaking in general.

In short, Brenner was being the sort of person that the press had been championing for decades.

But, by 1995, times had changed. Couric suddenly, and with great hostility, launched into classic TV-news ambush mode, comparing Brenner to the likes of Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols and all the members of the Neo-Nazi groups in this country.

With a very loud scream of disbelief and anger, I immediately switched the channel, and I have never watched Couric since. I can say with great certainty that I despise her and her cutesy, innocent-looking, cherubic face. In that brief moment, she had lumped all patriotic Americans in with radical hate groups because we dare to question our government and to mistrust its motives in some cases.

Anti-Climactic Post Script
As for Rather's retirement, I'm hoping he will soon be hitting us with a few excellent exposés on the Bush/Cheney gang of evil stooges now that he is free of major corporate shackles (or as free as any news person can get in this country). I'm not going to hold my breath, but I might slow my breathing down a bit -- every once in a while.

Monday, June 26, 2006

An Amazing Coincidence

Regardless of your position on this topic, you cannot help but admit that a major coincidence (at the very least) took place on the morning of June 23, 2006.

It all began on the evening of June 22, 2006, when "Hannity & Colmes" (on the FOX/RNC Channel) had a guest on by the name of Dr. James H. Fetzer (see endnote). Fetzer is a member of 9/11 Scholars for Truth. Due to some unexpected initial confusion on the part of the hosts regarding their chosen "attack theme" (they got their "facts FOXED," as Fetzer said), Fetzer was given a rare opportunity to answer an open-ended question -- almost without interruption. As the lawyers all say, "Never ask a witness any question to which you do not already know the answer."

Colmes asked Fetzer something to the effect, "So can you give us one piece of evidence that would tend to point toward 9/11 being an inside job by the Bush Administration?"

While Ollie North (who was guest hosting for Hannity) was apparently still lost in confusion, Fetzer had a rare opportunity to speak a few full sentences without hostile, obnoxious interruptions. He said (and I'm paraphrasing here again), "I point you to Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta's testimony before the 9/11 Commission. Mineta said he had encountered Vice President Cheney in a bunker in Washington, DC, at 9:20 AM, on the day of the attacks [forty-three minutes earlier than Cheney said he had arrived]. Every few seconds a young man would come into the room and say, 'Sir, it's 50 miles out. Sir, it's 40 miles out. Sir, it's 30 miles out,' and so on. Finally the young man asked the Vice President, 'Sir, do the orders still stand?' Cheney replied gruffly, 'Of course, the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?'

Fetzer went on to explain that only later did Mineta learn that the young man was referring to Flight 77 approaching Washington, DC, and the orders the young man was referring to were obviously orders NOT to shoot the plane down [please see my first July 6, comment in the comments section for an update on this paragraph]. That's why the young man had finally asked if the orders still stood, to which Cheney replied that they did. Shortly thereafter, Flight 77 (or a "reasonable" facsimile thereof) struck the Pentagon.

Obviously, the producers of the "Hannity & Colmes Propaganda Hour" had not anticipated such a damning bit of irrefutable evidence to escape over "their" airwaves to their glassy-eyed, drool-chinned audience.

Here's the Real Kicker...
The very next morning, less than twelve hours after his 9/11 testimony had been unexpectedly "exposed" to the FOX faithful, Norman Mineta resigned as Secretary of Transportation.

What an unbelievably amazing coincidence of timing!

Just for the sake of argument, let's say Mineta's timing was truly nothing more than a coincidence. If so, then he couldn't have picked a worse time to announce it (unless it was his relatively subtle way of sending a message to the masses). Or, if he was forced to resign by Bush/Cheney (for whatever reason), they couldn't have picked a more self-incriminating time to make it happen.

There has been barely a peep about Mineta's resignation in the mainstream media. I saw the same, generic, non-informational, totally uncurious five-second clip about it several times, but there has been absolutely no speculation as to why he did it (although his recent back surgery is implied to be the main reason). That's incredibly unusual behavior for our babbling heads, isn't it? Other high-level resignations in the last few months from the Bush Administration were the subject of endless babble among the MSM "elite."

A Final Thought
I can only imagine the sudden conflicting thoughts of at least five out of every one hundred Fox viewers who had heard Fetzer mention Mineta's damning testimony just a few hours before Mineta resigned. What must they have been thinking for a short time before their self-hypnosis kicked back in?

Click here to download the clip of the four-minute interview (in Windows Media Format). An AVI version is here.

[Note: James H. Fetzer (FM) Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, a former Marine Corps officer, author or editor of more than 20 books, and co-chair of Scholars for 9/11 Truth.]

VIDEO: Cheney Usurps Command of NORAD

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Trojan Horse Party

The following is an observation of an independent voter (me):

Bad people with lots of money, power and sinister motives have learned to choose their electors wisely.

The Set Up
Most Americans would probably agree that democrats tend to vote across party lines more than republicans do. Republican voters, on the other hand, have traditionally shown a very stubborn loyalty to candidates and elected officials of their own party. They tend to remain loyal to those candidates and elected officials even when they are caught telling serious lies or engaging in illegal behavior. In fact, republican voters seem to be completely unwilling to admit that anyone in the republican leadership is capable of making mistakes or of engaging in illegal activity. (1)

What an Opportunist Would See
Herding republican voters in a particular direction is a snap..., but only if you are "one of them." For instance, if a republican leader (such as George W. Bush) points to a perceived enemy (either foreign or domestic, or real or invented), republican voters will immediately start waving the American flag while eagerly waiting for orders to attack the "enemy" and/or smear any "disloyal" doubters in this country. If a democratic leader (such as Bill Clinton) points to a perceived enemy, republican voters immediately accuse him of pulling a selfish ratings stunt.

Trying to herd democratic voters in any direction, on the other hand, is like trying to herd cats. They are an unwieldy collection of loosely allied groups who can barely agree with one another half the time. They have allied themselves with one another merely for the sake of political convenience (since the two-party system is entrenched in this country). If either republican or democratic leaders point to a perceived enemy (either foreign or domestic, or real or imagined), many democratic voters (and independent voters) will march in protest and demand proof of the government's claims before they will lend their support to such a cause. (2)

An Opportunist Makes His Decision
Now please tell me, if you were a wealthy, greedy, power-hungry individual with sinister motives, and you wanted to fool the largest number of voters into voting for you and defending you blindly once you were elected, which group of Americans would you choose to hoodwink? Would you try to smooth-talk an unwieldy collection of loosely allied groups who can barely agree with one another half the time? Or would you smooth-talk those voters who are blindly, fanatically loyal to their party, no matter how corrupt their candidates or leaders might be? If I were a greedy, sinister, corrupt power broker, and I wanted to fool the greatest number of voters into voting for me, I would definitely campaign as a republican and spout all sorts of patriotic and democrat-bashing clichés. Depending on where I live in this country (Nebraska, for instance), I would almost certainly win the election in a landslide.

In Conclusion
What this tells us is that those Americans who are the most patriotic of all are also the most gullible in allowing evil people to take over our country. The Republican party has come to resemble the famous Trojan Horse, and republican voters are the Trojan soldiers who are unwittingly bringing the bad guys into the fort. I wish republican voters would keep that in mind from now on. I fear that it is too late, though. The damage has been done. The evil people are already in power (thanks, in part, to gullible voters and to the stolen elections of 2000 and 2004), and they will find every way they can never to relinquish that power again. (3)


(1) Such blind loyalty might, in part, be attributable to the almost thirty years of incessant conservative propaganda that has thoroughly demonized the democratic party. This propaganda seems to have left most moderate republicans completely afraid to vote for any democratic candidate, even when they cannot stand the republican candidate. Even when members of the republican leadership are caught red handed engaging in illegal activities, republican voters usually rationalize that they did it because that is the only way for "decent, patriotic American leaders" to get around "evil liberal" judges and politicians, as well as the "liberal" media. Breaking the law is the only way they can fight the "good fight" in order to "save" America.

(2) By the way, nourishing a healthy suspicion of our government's activities is exactly how the Founding Fathers intended for Americans to act.

(3) Thanks to rigged voting machines (a fact proven by several official tests) that are manufactured by virulently pro-republican corporations.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Double-Standard Test

Illegal President George W. Bush is promoting what amounts to an open-border policy with Mexico. Why hasn't it occurred to most people (liberals, independents and other common-sense Bush haters) that if he is for it then there are probably a thousand reasons that we should all be totally against it? That embarrassment of a human being cannot possibly have a noble motive in promoting such a policy. He has never had a noble motive in his life (check out the definition of a sociopath; if that doesn't describe George W. Bush, then nothing does). He clearly has an ulterior motive, and he is tricking liberals in this country (using their ideals against them) into giving him exactly what he wants (keep in mind that I am a staunch independent who leans ever so slightly to the left in most situations). His chief aim is almost certainly to help corporations by replacing high-wage American workers with low-wage foreign workers. He is probably using those foreigners to lower our own wage standards, so that we will all eventually have no choice but to work for the same low wages if we want to put any food at all on the table. The richest of the rich (one percent of the population) will then get to add a big portion of that ten-percent of America's wealth that they don't already control to the remaining ninety percent that they do control. Of course, as immediate citizens, these immigrants would also get to vote right away, and one wonders who they would vote for in grateful numbers (Jeb Bush? or George again, if he breaks the law and chooses to run again?). Of course millions of them would settle in California. Would they be enough to turn California into a Bush state? There may be more sinister motives behind Bush's immigration policy, but that remains to be exposed.

For the record, I am not at all against people immigrating legally to this country or even staying on extended visas or green cards. Throughout most of my life, if there has been someone from another country in the same room with me, I will invent any excuse I can think of to visit with that person. My brother even dragged a Norwegian tourist home with him once because he thought I would want to visit with him (I was actually head-over-heels in love with an Iranian woman in college, and, yes, she was head-over-heels in love with me too; to be truthful, though, I fell in love with her before I was fully aware of her foreign status). However, I do know that there is a limit to what our job market/economy can handle, and an endless stream of people immigrating here illegally is not sensible. Paul Craig Roberts, a conservative economist who hates Bush with a passion (he thinks, as I do, that Bush is the most dangerous, destructive and incompetent leader this country has ever seen) wrote the following a few months ago. The numbers are very sobering: Nuking the Economy. Roberts says it far, far better than I can, so I strongly encourage you to read his editorial (or at least the first four or five paragraphs if you are pressed for time). In fact, I strongly encourage you to read all of his editorials (most of which don't involve economics). They can be found at the same web site, as well as at two or three other sites.

Think of It This Way
Imagine two lifeboats on the open sea. Both are filled to capacity with passengers. Adding a few more passengers to either boat would cause it to sink. The first boat suddenly springs a slow leak. It may well be moral and instinctual for some of the passengers in the second boat to invite the passengers from the first boat to join them (I would probably be among those doing the inviting), but is it realistic? Wouldn't it be a lot more sensible for all concerned in both boats if those passengers in the first boat took some initiative and fixed the leak instead of abandoning their boat? Wouldn't Americans fix the "leak" if it was in our own boat? Isn't that what we've done a number of times in the past 230 years?

In fact, let's think about that for a moment: What if the roles were reversed? What if the United States was suffering from the economic "troubles" that Mexico is now experiencing? What if millions of Americans just abandoned this country and their moral responsibility as citizens and crossed illegally into Mexico or Canada and then, to add insult to injury, started demanding (while waving thousands of U.S. flags at huge protest rallies) that those governments give them full citizenship? Would Americans really have the audacity to do that? What would the world say about those millions of us who participated in those invasions and rallies? I suspect the general consensus would be negative -- AND RIGHTFULLY SO. Most liberal and independent Americans would probably be doing the loudest screaming, saying such things as, "How dare we impose our will on any foreign government! Those are sovereign nations! We have no right to invade their countries and then demand that they give us what we want!"

Yet when the shoe is on the other foot, and it is the United States that is being illegally invaded by the millions, we are demonized for not giving in to the invaders' demands. Why do other nations, and even tens of millions of our own citizens, hold the United States to a different standard?

Friday, June 02, 2006

Will the Misleading Never End?

Lou Dobbs, whom I respect half the time, finally reported on the highly suspect "irregularities" of one of the voting-machine companies, in this case, Sequoia. He mentioned the "problems" experienced by voters in Illinois who recently used Sequoia machines in the primaries.

I thought Lou's report was probably too good to be true, and it was. He immediately blamed all of the company's shady problems on the fact that they are now owned by a Venezuelan company. It's mighty convenient for Lou that Venezuela is ruled by that "horrible" socialist and "public enemy" No. 3 or 4 or 5, Hugo Chavez (who is no more a threat to us than Castro has been since November 1962 -- after the Cuban Missile Crisis had ended --, only Hugo has that highly addictive magic elixir, OIL, which makes the ultra rich take all leave of their senses, their ethics, their common sense, etc., at the mere mention of its name).

Yep, Lou found a foreign scapegoat to take the implied blame for "all" of America's voting "irregularities." Never mind the fact that those irregularities were almost certainly engineered by the Americans who owned the company long before the Venezuelans had even heard of it. It's also mighty convenient that Lou found this foreign scapegoat just in time to counter Robert Kennedy Jr.'s Rolling Stone article.

Yes, Lou, it's totally OK to ignore the far more serious and thoroughly proven criminal behavior of such one-hundred-percent American-owned companies as Diebold and ES&S.

Lou condemns American corporations, such as Big Oil, all the time, but he refuses to condemn the voting-machine companies. Why?

I think the answer is simple: Big Oil cannot hide its criminal behavior from the American people. We are victims of it every time we pull up to a gas pump. The Mainstream media cannot hide this truth from us. The criminal behavior of voting-machine companies, on the other hand, is supposed to be a secret. We are not supposed to know that we are being screwed every time we use one of their machines; therefore, the mainstream media is duty bound to continue to hide those horrible secrets at all costs -- unless there just happens to be a foreign "enemy" to use as a convenient scapegoat. The mainstream media probably wouldn't even have reported this fact if it hadn't found it necessary to conduct damage control in the wake of Kennedy's article.

Yes, I am just speculating, but the timing is amazing. It has been public knowledge for a while that a Venezuelan company owns Sequoia. Why did Dobbs wait until now a day or two after Kennedy's article, to attack them?

Update June 7, 2006: On the June 5, episode of Lou Dobbs, reporter Kitty Pilgrim said, "The big worry for U.S. elections is Smartmatic and other voting machine companies are private companies. They have proprietary software that they can call a trade secret. Electronic voting experts with extensive experience say it's nearly impossible to verify if a proprietary system is tamper-proof... Some voter watchdog groups and others in congress are calling for a full review and say the ownership of all electronic voting companies should be reviewed to determine if it poses a risk to U.S. elections."

I got the above Pilgrim quotes from "Hannan," a commenter at BradBlog. I replied to him as follows:

"I just read Hannan's Kitty Pilgrim quotes after I made my previous comment. I didn't watch Lou Dobbs yesterday (after being frustrated with last week's report), so I must commend Kitty Pilgrim on making such helpful comments. That is encouraging.

"Wildly wishful thinking: Maybe she and Dobbs (or at least Pilgrim alone) are ever so carefully -- deviously -- working their way around CNN's neocon censors. Maybe their report on foreign (or at least Venezuelan) ownership of a voting-maching company is merely the trojan-horse method of talking about the electronic-voting scandal in this country.

"Yes, as I say, that is wildly wishful thinking. The skeptic, the optimist and the realist in me are equally powerful (or weak), and every day, all day long, they battle it out with one another like the Three Stooges during Happy Hour."