Friday, September 30, 2005

They Said, I Said

Ironically, to respond to Mr. Otis’ letter of three
weeks ago, I find myself in the insane position of
having to defend President Jimmy Carter.

I should start out by admitting that Mr. Otis is quite
correct: I am naively obsessed with “good guys versus
bad guys.” I hasten to add that I am not so naive as
to think that there are no “black hats” in the
conservative movement. A few weeks ago, I wrote about
a few Republicans who I think need to be spanked.
However, there is no need for me to speak too often to
that issue because there are so many voices in that
chorus that one more adds nothing to the cacophony.
In fact, those raised to decry the iniquities of the
left are like voices in the wilderness.

Take for example Chuck Gregory’s obligatory
Bush-baiting and soft-sell on Al Gore two weeks ago.
Bush sabotaged the levies of New Orleans by not
funding them and, had Gore been President, he would
have allotted funds for their maintenance and been
castigated by evil Republicans as a wastrel. The
nonsense is so droll it has become unsurprising, if
not expected. However the facts, as usual, read quite
differently than the spin. While it is true that Bush
has consistently budgeted less than the Army Corps of
Engineers has asked for, Congress has always raised
the figure slightly, but still less than what the
Corps asked for. Even despite that, Corps civil works
projects in Louisiana have been better funded than
those in any other state in the union, to the tune of
$1.9 billion - note that California only got $1.4
billion.

What Chuck seems to have forgotten is that Al Gore was
the Vice President for 8 years and so we have a record
to look at and compare. What the record shows is that
the Bush Administration has budgeted more for
flood-control projects in the Big Easy than the
Clinton Administration did - I’m sure that Al Gore did
his best to influence Bill to be more giving, but
failed...again. ‘Bill and Al’s Excellent
Administration’ cut 98 flood-control projects and
terminated a $120 million project which would have
protected the West Bank (Harvey Canal) and its 140,000
lower-income black residents - but no one claimed Bill
and Al were racists. In 1999, Clinton budgeted only
half of what New Orleans officials requested for
flood-control - but no one claimed they wanted black
people to drown. In a completely Al Gore moment, Bill
promised to veto FY2000 appropriations for the Army
Corps, not because it spent more than he wanted, but
because it lacked a pet environmental project he
wanted - no, not levee maintenance, but rather a
project to save endangered birds and fish in the
Missouri River. As has always been the case, the
radical environmentalist agenda would save birds and
fish and let people drown - but that doesn’t get
reported. What the record also shows is that during
the Clinton years, the Corps was encouraged to engage
in flashy, often unnecessary, construction while the
Bush team has been trying to redirect them away from
new construction and back to maintenance, which in
many instances was long overdue - but Bill was
responsible and George is inept.

There’s quite a hubbub over Tom DeLay’s indictment by
Ronnie Earle with precious little substantial
information being presented. If DeLay is guilty,
which an indictment doesn’t even come close to proving
(especially this one), then he should be punished -
and frankly, more seriously than you or I would be for
the same crime, because he has more power than we do.
However, it has yet to be proven that he is, in fact,
guilty of anything at all. On the other hand, I’ll
wager that most of you have no clue what happened to
Michael Steele. That would be Lieutenant Governor
Michael Steele of Maryland. Oh, by the way, he’s a
Republican and considering a run for the US Senate
seat of retiring Paul Sarbanes. Senate staffers Katie
Barge and Lauren Weiner lifted Steele’s Social
Security Number from public records and used it to
gain his credit report. ID theft is a federal crime
and this instance of it comes with a stay at a prison
of the State’s choice lasting up to 2 years. Did I
mention, Barge and Weiner work for Sen. Chuck Schumer
(D-NY) of the Schumer-Nelson ID Theft Prevention Bill?
That would be the obnoxious wind-bag Schumer who
blasted Choicepoint VP Don McGuffy with questions
like: “Do you have a policy when someone’s identity
has been stolen...about notifying law enforcement
immediately?”

Barge and Weiner stole the information in conjunction
with their work for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign
Committee (DSCC) which Schumer happens to be the
chairman of. Their theft occurred sometime in early
July and they were immediately fired and reported to
authorities....err, no, they were put on paid leave
through August 31. They were allowed to resign in
mid-September following an ‘internal investigation.’
Sen. Schumer’s office “immediately notified” Lt. Gov.
Steele in a timely fashion shortly thereafter. Barge
and Weiner are now being investigated by the Justice
Dept and the FBI, who were “immediately notified”
after the DSCC ‘internal investigation.’ Somehow, I
doubt that the honorable Senator Schumer or the DSCC
will be subjects in the investigation, just as they
are not subjects in the news. Contrast the reporting
of this event with the reporting of DeLay’s indictment
or the rumor-mongering masked as reporting about Karl
Rove’s involvement in the Plame affair. Suggesting
that the press has a right slant or is conservatively
controlled is simply laughable.

Which brings me back to defending Jimmy Carter. Mr.
Otis’ references to David Rockefeller, Jimmy Carter
and the Panama Canal treaty is a thin skein of
distantly-related parts of a larger event in time.
Certainly, it is easy to fill in the blanks, draw
connections, see shadows and explicate a complicated
issue in simpler terms. Unfortunately, sometimes, the
world is just complicated. Many very large banks had
financial rods in Panama’s fire. American and Latin
American relations were at a low point. Jimmy Carter
wanted a foreign policy ‘win’ - God knows, he needed
some sort of success somewhere. However, it is not a
conspiracy that the ‘movers and shakers’ rise to the
top in their professions and often come to positions
of power in politics. I’d rather have a crackerjack
banker working Federal finance than a bang-up
bookkeeper, but I’m probably just too naive.

The US State Department’s website says:”President
James E. ("Jimmy") Carter saw returning the Panama
Canal as key to improving U.S. relations in the
hemisphere and the developing world.” I see no
historical reason to doubt that. In fact, much as I
hate to admit it, Jimmy Carter, who I think was one of
the worst Presidents ever and a moron in foreign
policy and military matters, hit the nail on the head
returning the canal to Panama, even considering the
continued US funding involved. By the 1970s, the
military justification of the canal was nonexistent
and the political potential of the deal, at the very
least, worthy of consideration. Unfortunately, within
a decade, Manuel Noriega would take over and any
political gain was lost, but that’s not Carter’s
fault.

Now, according to the Trilateral or Neocon conspiracy
theory, the Bankers were behind the treaty as an
assurance of their investments in Panama. That is
simply a fool’s argument, as Noriega proves. If there
were such a super-power secret-society, Noriega would
not have been allowed to rise to power. Moreover, had
the banks wanted stability for their investments, it
would have been far easier to simply foreclose on the
entire country and take it over. Profits to the
conglomerates would have been far greater that way.

Sadly, despite Mr. Otis’s very cogent writing and the
very fair and even-handed approach he takes to issues,
the truth about conspiracy theories (my own probably
included) is that they “offer meaning and
purposefulness in a capricious, kaleidoscopic,
maddeningly ambiguous, and cruel world. They empower
their otherwise helpless and terrified believers.
There are more than 186,600 Web sites dedicated to
conspiracy theories in Google's database of 3 billion
pages...There are 1077 titles about conspiracies
listed in Amazon and another 12078 in its
individually-operated Zshop.” (‘The Economics of
Conspiracy Theories’ Sam Vaknin, Ph.D.)

So you see, I find it hard to shed any tears over the
one-sided way in which I choose the targets of my
scribblings. However, if I have ever offended anyone,
I apologize with all my heart for any feelings I may
have hurt. I can’t look at a magazine or newspaper,
flip through television news broadcasts, or tune
through the radio dial without being bombarded with
‘views from the left.’ Those few, albeit refreshing,
right-side pundits are just that...few. By the same
token, I find it hard to credit the ‘conspiracy
theory’ that the media is leaning right or even
controlled by a right-leaning cabal. To give credence
to some neoconservative, masonic, knights templar,
illuminati, or trilateral secret society that seeks
world dominance is just so much 007 fantasy. It has
been making the rounds for hundreds of years and
probably a lot longer than that.


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Friday, September 23, 2005

Nuclear Made Unclear

I have always loved Superman. My fascination for
heroes probably influenced my reaction to the recent
movie “The Incredibles.” Almost any kid, when I was a
kid, could tell you that Superman fought for “Truth,
Justice, and the American Way” (sotto voce thanks to
George Reeves). Now, as an adult, still hanging on to
that spirit, I can totally relate to Mr. Incredible’s
comment that after saving the world he’d “just like it
to STAY SAVED for a few minutes.” I feel like that
sometimes. You would think that the truth would trump
the lies, but sadly that’s just not true

An email crossed my path recently. It was an alarming
notice of the Vermont Public Service Board’s hearing
on Entergy’s proposal about Dry Cask Nuclear Storage.
As is so often the case with “alarmist emails,” the
dire warnings were overstated and frightening
information was false or misleading. Why is it so
hard for activists to tell the truth?

Specifically, this email focuses on Entergy’s use of
the phrase “temporary, passive storage.” The email
objects to calling the facility ‘temporary’ because
“once high level nuclear waste is canned and put in
place, no one can say when it will be removed.” Not
only is this claim illogical, it’s just foolishly
untrue. Because the spent fuel rods are canned, they
CAN be put in place, and because they are PUT in a
place, they CAN be removed. In fact, the reason the
proposal is being made in the first place, is because
the national nuclear waste repository at Yucca
Mountain, Nevada has become politicized. That point
is glossed over in the email, which explains that Sen.
Harry Reid (D-NV) is sponsoring legislation to keep
nuclear waste at the facility where it originated.
The email neglects to say that the issue was decided
in 2002 by both parties in both houses of Congress and
the legislation passed to the President, who signed it
into law.

Politics doesn’t scare people very much, so to gin up
the fear factor, the email raises the specter of
radiation, claiming that “it is, in fact,
self-energized and powered by radioactivity” and
therefore not ‘passive’ as Entergy claims. This
statement is base and misleading. Certainly the spent
fuel rods are radioactive, but the dry cask system
contains the radiation. The email plays fast and
loose with a description of the construction of a dry
cask, specifically suggesting that the irradiated
materials are open to the air, which is patently
untrue.

The email moves into rally mode with “THE BUCK STOPS
HERE...IT IS NOW UP TO US.” and after making the
obligatory “let us demand” call to action, it closes
with a brief paragraph just seething with terror: the
dry casks “will contain...deadly fission products,
such as...Strontium 90...[and] Plutonium 139 which
will remain lethal for 240,000 years and sufficient to
make about 20 nuclear bombs.” What utter ROT!

Nuclear reactors use Uranium 235, which is transformed
into Plutonium 239 (not 139). While it is true that
pure Plutonium 239 is the fuel for nuclear weapons,
what comes out of a reactor is not pure, it includes
isotopes of Plutonium 240, 241, and 242. A nuclear
bomb made with such contaminated Plutonium will not
work and it is not possible to separate the isotopes
out. Granted, the waste is still radioactive and
deadly with even minimal exposure; however the specter
of terrorists making nuclear bombs with this stuff is
just old-fashioned fear-mongering.

Strontium 90 is another, nastier, matter. Strontium
90 not a naturally-occurring isotope. According to
the Nuclear Energy Institute, “there are three sources
for strontium-90 in the environment: fallout from
nuclear weapons testing, releases from the Chernobyl
accident in the Ukraine, and minute releases from
nuclear power reactors.” It is chemically similar to
calcium and thus is easy to test for in bones and
teeth. An adult body differentiates Strontium 90 from
calcium (favoring calcium), but an infant’s body does
not.

The email specifies this isotope to take advantage of
a scare tactic that’s been making the rounds for over
30 years. On July 27, 2005 the Brattleboro Reformer
ran an article titled “Groups to study VY radiation
emissions.” The article opened, “at the behest of
local organizations, the Radiation and Public Health
Project will be examining the levels of Strontium-90
in baby teeth belonging to children living within a
50-mile radius of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear reactor
in Vernon.” The article correctly identifies the
“local organizations” as the Citizens Awareness
Network, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the
Taprock Peace Center and notes that they are activists
in opposition to nuclear weapons and power, but
doesn’t delve much further to reveal their
anti-capitalist nature or socialist agenda (and how
better to achieve that agenda than by undermining the
economy by denying it energy efficiency). However,
the reporter really drops the ball by not identifying
the Radiation and Public Health Project (RPHP).

The RPHP is a national activist group founded in 1985.
Basing their initial research on work performed at
the St. Louis Washington University in 1959, the group
has performed “studies” around the nation finding
Strontium 90 in baby teeth and linking it to nuclear
reactors and cancers, garnering them the nickname:
“the Tooth Fairy Project.” Their reports have been
thoroughly and completely evaluated and dismissed by
such organizations as the National Institute of
Health, the National Cancer Institute, the American
Cancer Society, not to mention, the U.S. Atomic Energy
Commission’s Health and Safety Laboratory. The
American Academy of Pediatrics, hardly unconcerned
with infant health issues, described the RPHP studies
as “unfounded and unsubstantiated.” The Nuclear
Energy Institute describes Strontium 90 releases from
nuclear reactors as “so small they would be
undetectable in comparison with the amount of
strontium-90 already in the environment from weapons
testing. These levels are well below government
limits. No credible scientific study has shown that
the levels of strontium found in the environment pose
a health risk.”

That doesn’t stop the activists. Truth does not trump
activism. They have an agenda and it drives them.
They proffer “renewable energy,” knowing full well
that the ideas they suggest are not viable for large
scale continuing energy production. Even the name
“renewable energy” is a misnomer: biomass is used up
in the production of energy, and solar and wind are
not supplies we have control over so we can’t renew
them - either the wind blows or it doesn’t and either
the sun shines or it’s cloudy, sometimes you produce
power, sometimes you don’t. In fact, the only truly
“renewable energy” source is fissionable nuclear
reactions. So if the activists’ agenda isn’t truly
energy independence and it’s not peace (they don’t
protest North Korea or Iran’s nukes), the only logical
goal left is to keep us energy dependent on fuels that
sap and weaken our economy. History shows that
failing economies often produce more liberal and
socialist governments. It is not a coincidence that
many activist groups label themselves “such-and-such
for Social this-or-that.” They used to have to cloak
that, not so much anymore.

Many European countries derive a substantial amount of
their energy from nuclear reactors and the stockpile
the waste from them not at the reactors, but at
national repositories. PBS’s Frontline did a report
on France’s nuclear program and observed that the
French were uneasy relying on OPEC and looked at the
nuclear option as “no oil, no gas, no coal, no
choice.” What the Europeans have done, that we
consistently fail to do in the U.S., is to educate.
“The French authorities have worked hard to get people
to think of the benefits of nuclear energy as well as
the risks,” Claude Mandil, General Director for Energy
and Raw Materials at France’s Ministry of Industry,
tells Frontline, “Glossy television advertising
campaigns reinforce the link between nuclear power and
the electricity that makes modern life possible.
Nuclear plants solicit people to take tours – an offer
that six million French people have taken up.” In
Finland, Ahti Toivola, a nuclear engineer and
spokesman for TVO, Finland’s nuclear energy operator,
noted that “one of the most crucial factors in
fostering public confidence...was the media’s
reporting of a lot of facts during the four year
debate. This enabled a very open and informed
discussion between stakeholders and the general
public.” Another Finn, Timo Seppala, warns that
“public opinion polls should not be the sole basis for
political decision making...the results are too
dependent on the framing of the question.” He also
notes that “politicians had to be more assertive in
driving the case for nuclear power.” If the French
didn’t make the case eloquently enough perhaps
Professor Risto Tarjanne of Lappeenranta University of
Technology will: “nuclear had the lowest generation
costs of any power source and zero carbon
emissions...nuclear power would ensure the security of
a cheap energy source.”

So, when Sen Harry Reid (D-NV), as the point-man for
the anti-nuke Luddites, defies both the House of
Representatives and the Senate (ostensibly the will of
the people), is he doing his duty as a representative
of the people, or is he politicking for the special
interest groups that line his pockets? With the
strangle-hold that OPEC has, are the Citizens
Awareness Network, Physicians for Social
Responsibility, the Taprock Peace Center, and the
Radiation and Public Health Project really educating
the public or feathering their nests by sowing
irrational fears? Are the media performing their
moral and ethical duty, the one that goes with that
Constitutional freedom they talk about, when they hype
the sexy sci-fi of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl
without putting the science in context with the
fiction, or are they co-conspirators with their
activist friends? There is a reason why Europe is
becoming independent of fossil fuels and the U.S. is
not and it isn’t because, as the email says,
government “muffed its chance to gain even minimal
protections for future generations of area people.”

Please reply to jmstettner@yahoo.com or http://jmstettner.blogspot.com

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Polanski Twist

Pedophiles are among the worst offenders of humanity.
The repercussions of a rape are like echoes haunting
the victim throughout the years of her life. The rape
of a child is worse, compounding the violation and
trauma, the heinous crime obliterates the 'innocence'
of childhood. Certainly a trite concept, but not the
less accurate for being true. Oliver Twist is the
classic story of child abuse. That the tale is retold
by the ultimate child-abuser, a pedophile, is a
sadistic twist of culture - a Polanski twist, if you
will.

Roman Polanski has directed the latest incarnation of
Oliver Twist, now in theaters. Roman Polanski is a
pedophile. He raped Samantha Geimer (nee Gailey),
then 13, in March 1977 during a dinner party at the
home of Jack Nicholson. The artful Polanski charmed
the thirteen year old with his old-world airs and
champagne then fed her a Quaalude. He seduced her
with fairy-tale Hollywood images of stardom to coax
her out of her clothes for nude photos to grace the
pages of French Vogue. The 43 year old Polanski
directed the girl next into a hot tub where he began
fondling her. Like the staging of a screenplay, the
scene moved to a bedroom. Despite her pleas to stop,
Polanski's fondling developed to groping all the while
interrogating her about her period and use of
birth-control. The old dodger proceeded to repeatedly
rape the teen in a variety of positions. In her grand
jury testimony, Geimer said she didn't fight "Because
I was afraid of him." Polanski agreed to a plea deal
but then fled to Europe rather than face a judge who
might void the deal and send him to prison.

Polanski has lived in French luxury for nearly thirty
years without the fear of extradition. He accepted an
Oscar for "The Pianist" in absentia rather than risk
being arrested on his return. Harrison Ford
personally accepted and hand delivered the Oscar.
Polanski sees nothing wrong with his behavior. His
opinion is expressed perfectly in his interview with
Agence France Presse of March 24, 2003: "Normal love
isn't interesting, I assure you it's incredibly
boring." This philosophy begs the question of his
recent successful libel suit against Vanity Fair.
Lewis Lapham reported a story with corroborating
witnesses that Polanski was trolling for sex on the
way to the funeral for Sharon Tate, his murdered wife.
Polanski claimed that "it was particularly hurtful
because it dishonours my memory of Sharon." He won
the suit because Lapham's timing was apparently off,
it seems, the episode happened after the funeral.
After her death, Polanski described Tate as "the
perfect woman," but before her death, he said "I can't
stand seeing Sharon blown up the way she is...This
pregnancy has made her such an insecure, nagging
b--ch." Tate was pregnant with his child when she was
murdered. What is undeniable is that within a week of
the funeral, Polanski was posing for a photo for Life
magazine at the door of the house where his wife was
murdered and he charged $5,000 for it. Polanski's
pedophelia is the stuff of legend and he considers it
normal. His autobiography describes how within a few
months of his wife and unborn child's vicious murder,
Polanski spent Christmas in Gstaad treating himself to
a series of sexual liasons with "girls from the local
finishing schools."

Polanski is now married to Emmanuelle Seigner and the
father of two children: a daughter, Morgane, the same
age as Samantha Geimer was when he raped her, and a
son, Elvis, who is seven. His 're-imagining' of the
Charles Dickens classic is a break for Polanski. His
films include Rosemary's Baby. Chinatown, Tess,
Frantic, and the aforementioned The Pianist. Polanski
admits, "My films always seem so unsuitable for a
family audience." With Oliver Twist, he "realised
that this was the way forward and I could do something
different. The Dickens story is a Polanski family
favorite and as he notes, "I have two young children
and want them to see a film of mine at the cinema."
But how could any parent trust Roman Polanski with
their children - it would be like asking Michael
Jackson to babysit. Oliver Twist has been released
internationally. In the UK it hit a snag, according
to the BBC: "Before the formal submission of the film,
the company was given advice that the strength of the
beating delivered by Bill Sykes (Jamie Foreman) to
Nancy (Leanne Rowe) was unlikely to be acceptable at
the PG category. The footage was reduced in strength
in the version submitted for classification." In the
United States is rated PG-13. Thus, despite his
professed intentions, Polanski's children would not be
admitted to the film. Quite frankly, it begs the
question, is this film really just another blow to
dull the sensitivity to violence in our children,
another chink in the armor of our ethical standards,
another step in legitimizing Polanski's point of view?
If Roman Polanski actually wanted to make a family
film, why didn't he shoot for the G rating? When was
the last time you actually saw a G rated film coming
out of Hollywood?

There is a director who is not quite so (in)famous as
Roman Polanski, his name is Carol Reed. In contrast
to the films of Polanski, cult-classics at best, Reed
directed some of the most recognized talents in some
of the most notable films. Reed was, according to the
New York Times, "the most lionized British director
this side of Alfred Hitchcock...[and] the first movie
director ever to be awarded a knighthood." His films
include Night Train To Munich with Rex Harrison,
Immortal Battalion with David Niven, The Third Man
with Orson Welles, Trapeze with Burt Lancaster, Mutiny
On The Bounty with Marlon Brando and Richard Harris,
The Agony And The Ecstacy with Charlton Heston and Rex
Harrison. Reed also directed such talents as James
Mason, Oliver Reed, Trevor Howard, and Bernard Lee.
Carol Reed also has the distinction to be one of a
very few directors to have made a successful,
blockbuster musical in the 1960s. Competeing with the
likes of Doctor Doolittle, My Fair Lady, Hello Dolly,
Music Man, Camelot, West Side Story, and Funny Girl,
Reed's musical stands out as the 20th century's last
musical to win the Best Picture Academy Award. If you
are looking for a Charles Dickens family film, Carol
Reed's Oliver! is your best bet. Why support a
pedophile and those who support him? If you have to
spend your money, bring home Oliver! for half the cost
of one movie ticket, enjoy it in the comfort of your
own family room, and tell Hollywood and Polanski that
they can keep their schlock and watch it themselves.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Conspiracy Theory 101

Conspiracy theories abound. Personally, I hate them. I shy away from anyone who promotes one. The problem with conspiracy kooks is they always lack evidence. Sure, there are books on the various theories, reporters and academics spewing a screed to con the feeble-minded into buying their books. "But, comes a doubter, and the entrails aren’t right, the stars aren’t aligned, and we don’t do tests...," nor do ‘we’ provide much proof either. It seems only those who know the secret handshake are ‘in the know’ and everyone else is hoodwinked or blindly worshiping. I am especially skeptical of the ‘real, hidden, true story’ schtick. Like most people, I find that evidence works so much better than supposition and facts are more credible than innuendo. That there is an anti-capitalist movement, quite content to be mis-identified as anti-Bush, is not a theory. It is demonstrable with evidence and fact. When you cut through the rhetorical and theatrical static, they stand out. When exposed, they thrash about and scream like vampires staked out in sunlight.

The Bush haters, or more accurately, the anti-capitalists, operate on two levels. On the surface is the lie and the ‘bigger’ the lie the better. The lie is the way to reel in the gullible, to snag the loons to hold the placards. The popular movement usually overshadows the agenda; be it save the whales, protect the earth, anti-nukes, or anti-war. The real agenda appears as a side-line, among the links on the web-site, listed as a partner in the coalition. The ‘real deal’ is what they don’t want you to see. Most of the people in a given movement are simple folk who’ve been bamboozled with catchy slogans that tug on the heart strings. The leaders, the lieutenants giving the marching orders, the aparatcheks goading the faithful, and the party bosses on the street corners beating the drums are the ones who obfuscate. They don’t dare to identify the true agenda, or risk sending their ‘supporters’ running for the tall grass.

The current anti-war movement provides an excellent object lesson. In the early 1980s Medea Benjamin was an Institute for Food and Development Policy (IFDP) project coordinator. In 1988, she founded Global Exchange, ostensibly an international human rights organization. Benjamin assisted Leslie Cagan to create United for Peace and Justice (UPJ) in October 2002 and, in November 2003, helped Nermin Al-Mufti form the Baghdad-based International Occupation Watch Center (IOWC). Benjamin and Cagan coordinated with Jodie Evans to form Code Pink. So what? Just a bunch of nice ladies who care enough to spend their money trying to save lives. They’d like you to think so.

IFDP, while sounding humanitarian, was actively supporting the Marxist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua and Medea Benjamin’s work for it was to provide aid to the enemy of the United States. Benjamin is a committed anti-capitalist. Extolling the social justice of Cuba, which she has visited often, Benjamin said it was like she’d "died and went to heaven." She works closely with the communist Workers World Party which is committed to "fight against capitalism." Benjamin has been very vocal recently, saying things like: "the Muslim world sees the United States as willing to bomb but not willing to feed people," and notes her coalitions are "determined to stop the US from unilaterally dictating to other people...who their leaders should be," and states her group’s goal is "[to build] a world that rejects ethnic and religious divisions, celebrates diversity...[and] focuses on building a global community." What Medea Benjamin never, ever, says is that America donates more food and money around the world than any other nation; that Americans have fought and died in greater numbers than any other nation to free others from dictators; and that her idea of "heaven," communist Cuba, is the anti-thesis of her stated goals. In fact, Benjamin’s idea of a global community would "reject ethnic and religious divisions" by denying religion. To achieve her agenda, Benjamin has to lie about who she is, what she stands for, and what her goals truly are.

Leslie Cagan was coordinator of the National Mobilization for Justice and Peace in Central America and what she coordinated were anti-US marches in support of - you guessed it - Manuel Ortega’s Sandinistas. She also is a devotee of Fidel Castro. She was director of the Cuba Information Project for 7 years and spent two months in Cuba between 1969-70, "Just ten years into their revolution, the Cubans had taken control of their history...and there we were in Cuba, a whole nation under attack from the US." My father, who had escaped from Cuba saw it somewhat differently. Cagan organized the 1982 Central Park (NYC) anti-nuke rally. Cagan opposed the use of force to remove Saddam from Kuwait with the National Campaign for Peace in the Middle East. She was a member-in-good-standing in the Communist Party USA when it split in 1991 and she co-founded the Committee of Correspondence to continue her support for Gorbachev. In October 2002, Cagan founded United for Peace and Justice (the parent of Springfield Peace and Justice). Where was her concern for Peace and Justice for the Kuwatis, or for the non-communist Cubans and Nicuraguans, or is it only loyal comrades who deserve Peace and Justice?

Benjamin and Cagan helped Jodie Evans create Code Pink. Evans shares their world view. She is a director for Rain Forest Action Network (RAN), which was co-founded by Mike Roselle of ELF/ALF fame. Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and Animal Liberation Front (ALF) top the FBI Domestic Terrorist list.. RAN, ELF, and ALF are vehemently anti-capitalist. ELF/ALF activists go to Steve Kretzmann for training with his Ruckus Society. Kretzmann is also Code Pink coordinator and his Ruckus Society is a member of the UPJ coalition. Kirsten Moller was in IFDP with Benjamin and is now Global Exchange’s executive director, as well as an organizer for Code Pink. The public face of Code Pink is Sand Brim, their go-to-gal for news media interviews, but in the 80s, she was the executive director of Medical Aid. Brim used Medical Aid as a cover to provide a neurosurgeon to treat Nidia Diaz, Ortega’s Marxist Revolutionary Party Commander. Diaz liked to brag about the four US Marines and nine civilians her group recently killed.

That brings us to Nermin Al-Mufti, a co-director of IOWC, which purports to be "an international coalition of peace and justice groups" ideally headquartered in Baghdad, and with direct ties to Global Exchange, Code Pink, and a coalition member of UPJ. Al-Mufti has been identified by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan as a Ba’athist mouthpiece for Saddam Hussein who worked for the regime-run newspapers and magazines; Al-Thawra, Al-Qadisaya, and ALIFBA. Today, Al-Mufti earns a decent living touring American universities saying things like "How can you let your children fight Bush’s war? Please explain to me why this is happening? Why is Bush destroying cultural centers, houses, hospitals and museums? We do not understand this war. What does Bush want? Petrol?" and "They looted and burned all the universities, the hospitals. I used to cry...[It’s a] scheme to make the Iraqis lose their identity." Al-Mufti states that the IOWC exists to provide Iraqis an advocate against abuses "under [US] occupation, including the activities of international corporations and advocate for the Iraqi’s right to control their own resources, especially oil." Al-Mufti never reported that Saddam used oil-for-food contracts to bribe international corporations and ministers. The ‘oil-for-food’ money meant to feed starving Iraqis but used for Saddam’s palaces and military never appeared in her reports. She was unfazed by the insurgents use of schools, homes, hospitals, museums and mosques for weapons depots. She has denied the thousands of rapes in the well-known rape-rooms. She inflates the civilian casualties, but was silent about Saddam’s mass graves and his maiming or murder of dissenters. According to Al-Mufti, Saddam was a benevolent, kindly man who loved his people and provided well for them. Most Iraqis disagree.

All of the organizations and people mentioned are vehemently anti-corporate and anti-capitalist, and all have direct ties to the Marxist-Leninist, Socialist, or Communist parties. Their overarching thesis is that corporations are a threat to democracy and individuals rights. Their strategy is to redistribute wealth by increasing minimum wages, opposing trade, and legislating the growth of corporations. The means to accomplish this include assaulting big business, forcing white-collar layoffs, promoting ‘green’-energy while opposing nuclear energy, protesting the building new electrical power plants and oil refineries, blocking the opening of domestic oil fields, multiculturalism and segregation by oversensitive ethnic diversity, lowering the standard of education, rampant unrestrained welfare, deconstructing the stock market, the inflationary ballooning of minimum-wage, and incurring profit loss for businesses. In short, the dissolution of the American way of life brought to you courtesy of Social Justice.

In an interview with The Sunday Oregonian, Medea Benjamin noted that the timetable for "the movement" was a gradual shift of 20 years or more, which, despite the economic collapse, would bring forth a "healthier, more stable economy." Bush supporters believe in the same things he does: a strong America, a strong economy, personal ownership of property and the means to create wealth - that’s not worship, it’s common ground. The anti-capitalists hide their true agenda in anti-Bush sloganeering, defrauding their followers by political sleight of hand in much the same way that Lenin did to the Russian people who believed his promise of a better life. One encyclopedia describes communism as the antithesis of capitalism, achieved by the violent overthrow of society. Socialism, it said, accomplishes the same goal peacefully and incrementally over time. We know from history that neither communism nor socialism work; if they did, the activists would be emigrating to such countries. In those misbegotten systems the wealth is not shared equally, it is held by the party leaders. It is instructive to observe that Benjamin et al have made nice fortunes that are well-insulated from the global collapse they are trying to foster. If that’s not the typical Leftist "I’ve got mine, but you can’t have yours," I don’t know what is.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Bush Truths

The main difference between the pro-Bush crowd and the anti-Bush crowd is not one of worship. Most people who voted for Bush and support him do not agree with him on every issue, so it is not a case of worship. Coincidentally, those who supported Clinton were often amused by how deftly he lied and got away with it - even Washington reporters often jested with each other about his mendacity. Clintonistas excused his lies, his adultery, his perjury, his suborning perjury, his renting of the Lincoln bedroom, and his vindictive headhunting because “character doesn’t matter” and if that’s not ‘worshiping,’ I don’t want to know what is.

The difference between the Bush supporters and Bush haters is two-fold: agenda and honesty. The folks who support Bush don’t fabricate fraudulent documents. Folks who believe in President Bush don’t lie. Terry McAuliffe said that “George Bush never served in our military in our country.” You don’t have to support the man, but that is a bald-faced lie. Bush learned to fly the F-102. He flew that plane on homeland security missions to intercept Soviet Tu-95 bombers. The F-102 was one of the most dangerous planes in our Air Force with a lifetime accident rate (LAR) of 13.69, while the average LAR falls somewhere around 4.94. The F-102 was almost obsolete when he flew, and 70 Air Force and Air National Guard pilots were killed in non-pilot-error accidents. The Bush haters say that serving in the ANG isn’t serving in the military. Or is it just when Bush served? ANG servicemen and women have served in overseas conflicts for decades. If that’s not serving, I don’t know what is.

The Bush haters resurrected the nearly 20-year old lie, fostered by none other than John Kerry, about the Bush family being tied to drug trafficking. In 1988, Bush Sr. put this to rest by challenging Kerry to ‘put up or shut up’ when he said, “it’s all been looked into, and I would challenge Senator Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, to show some evidence and stop leaking information that is not true.” Kerry didn’t rise to the challenge and the Boston Globe, his home paper, put the lie to death reporting that his “assertions are clouded by his inability to provide much documentary evidence of [Bush’s] involvement with the scheme.” Evem that didn’t stop Kerry and company from reviving the story two decades later and if that’s not lying, I don’t know what is.

George Soros said, “When I hear Bush say, ‘You’re either with us or against us,’ it reminds me of the Germans.” By which, of course, he meant Hitler and the Nazis. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WVA), who was a....I mean, who knows first-hand about racism and nazism, compared Bush to Paul Joeseph Goebbels. Granma, the Cuban Communist Party newspaper ran “Bush Family Funded Adolf Hitler” as their May 13, 2003 headline. All the Bush haters gobbled it up and repeated it ad nauseum. Of course, the truth is that Prescott Bush took a seat on the board of Union Banking Corp, which happened to be owned by the German family Thyssen, who did provide support to the early Nazi party. Bush rose to his position AFTER Fritz Thyssen was arrested and sent to a Nazi prison camp for speaking out against Kristallnacht. Bush and Thyssen never met, much less spoke nor did Bush invest in Thyssen’s company. Then there was Silesian-American Corp., in which the Bush family had an interest. Critics use that to suggest that the Bushes made money from Auschwitz. Silesian-American was a Polish company and Auschwitz was in Poland. What the critics omit is that the year before the death camp was built, the Nazis nationalized the company, effectively stealing it from it’s owners and investors. I can only guess from his objecting to Bush’s comment, that Soros is either ‘with’ the terrorists, or at least on the fence about who’s side he is on - but that doesn’t seem to occur to the Bush haters. And one other thing, Soros and Byrd never turn to Teddy Kennedy (D-MA) and chastise him about his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. who was in fact a Nazi sympathizer! If that isn’t two-faced, I don’t know what is.

How about the “War For Oil” lie? On September 16, 2002, the United Nations received a letter from Saddam Hussein including that phrase. The next day, Tariq Aziz spoke to international anti-war activists in Baghdad saying, “America...wants to control the oil in Iraq.” The Marxist-Leninist Workers World Party, MoveOn.org, Veterans for Peace, United For Peace And Justice, Global Exchange, Code Pink, and others immediately picked up the line. And just how are we fighting for oil? We didn’t take the oil fields of Kuwait or Iraq, though we could have if that were the idea. In fact, the same Bush haters have claimed we didn’t do enough to secure and defend the oil fields! So, they talk out of both sides of their mouths and then repeat the lies of America’s enemy while we’re at war, and still claim they support our troops. If that’s not siding with the enemy, I don’t know what is.

“Despite repeated warnings from the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, President Bush and his administration hyped and distorted the threat that Iraq posed,” MoveOn.org has said. Where was MoveOn.org when Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Al Gore, John Kerry, Sandy Berger, the governments of France, Russia, England, Germany, and the leadership of the United Nations all said the same things or worse? Where were they when the United States Congress passed and Bill Clinton signed the Iraqi Liberation Act in 1998? Where is their criticism of the various reports to Congress that cite the threat of Hussein’s latent hibernating weapons programs? It was Duelfer’s opinion that Saddam was an “even greater threat than we imagined” and Scott Ritter’s original testimony of September 3, 1998, noted that “once effective inspection regimes have been terminated, Iraq will be able to reconstitute the entirety of it’s former nuclear, chemical, and ballistic missile delivery system capabilities within a period of six months.” If omitting all facts that disagree with a premise isn’t lying, I don’t know what is.

Fast-forward to today: hurricane Katrina is blamed on Bush for not stopping Global Warming, as if that psuedo-scientific scam began in January 2001; the magnitude of the catastrophe in New Orleans is Bush’s fault because he didn’t do enough to get the people to safety or provide enough aid, which begs the question of why those people didn’t heed the warnings they were given; Bush’s ‘war for oil’ has our National Guard in Iraq so there aren’t enough to provide aid to the stricken areas, as if 28,000 volunteers isn’t enough. The most egregious fib is that Bush engineered the event to further line the pockets of his big oil pals, which completely ignores the fact that the activists on the Left have opposed and stymied oil development, drilling, and the building of new refineries for more than 20 years! Take a lesson from California: when you don’t build power plants for decades, don’t be surprised when you run out of power - if that’s not a foolish energy policy, I don’t know what is.

The greatest lie is that these people are anti-Bush. The majority are actually simply anti-Republican/Conservative from a mindless adherence to the marching orders disseminated by the Left. However, the worst of the lot are anti-capitalists. Opposed to private ownership, they don’t believe in individual success, they’re the ones spouting the “it takes a village” mantra. This group never wants to be held accountable for the results of their actions, only their intentions. The anti-capitalists are committed to nationalizing the major industries and they’ve done such a great job with the education system and Social Security that I’m excited to place my livelihood and future in their hands, aren’t you?