Friday, February 06, 2009

The conscience of a generation: "We Shall Overcome"

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

She was the conscience of a generation and remains the conscience of every generation. Joan Baez lent courage to millions outraged by what is still euphemistically called 'US involvement' in Viet Nam, indeed, she carried aloft the banner of equality, peace and the achievement of both through activism.

She is recognized for inspiring the 'Velvet Revolution'. Joan was given Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees by Antioch University and Rutgers University for her political activism and the "universality of her music." Three years later, in 1983, she performed Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" --a song she first performed twenty years earlier --as she appeared for the first time on the Grammy Awards.

Joan played a major role in the Live Aid concert of 1985 and given her voice and talent to other causes and peace 'conspiracies'. They include Amnesty International's 1986 "A Conspiracy of Hope" and her guest spot on the "Human Rights Now!" tour.
In the summer of 1958, Joan Chandos Baez, a 17-year old high school graduate (by the skin of her teeth) moved with her family - her parents Albert and Joan, older sister Pauline and younger sister Mimi - from Palo Alto to Boston. They drove cross-country with the Kingston Trio's "Tom Dooley" all over the radio, a guilty pleasure of Joan's. She was an entering freshman at Boston University School Of Drama, where she was surrounded by a musical group of friends who shared a passion for folk music.

A stunning soprano, Joan's natural vibrato lent a taut, nervous tension to everything she sang. Yet even as an 18-year old, introduced onstage at the first Newport Folk Festival in 1959, her repertoire reflected a different sensibility from her peers. In the traditional songs she mastered, there was an acknowledgment of the human condition.
She recorded her first solo LP for Vanguard Records in the summer of 1960, the beginning of a prolific 14-album, 12-year association with the label. Her earliest records, with their mix of traditional ballads and blues, lullabies, Carter Family songs, Weavers and Woody Guthrie songs, cowboy tunes, ethnic folk staples of American and non-American vintage, and much more - won strong followings in the US and abroad.
Among the songs she introduced on her earliest albums that would find their ways into the repertoire of 60's rock stalwarts were "House Of the Rising Sun" (the Animals), "John Riley" (the Byrds), "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" (Led Zeppelin), "What Have They Done To the Rain" (the Searchers), "Jackaroe" (Grateful Dead), and "Long Black Veil" (the Band), to name a few. "Geordie," "House Carpenter," and "Matty Groves" inspired a multitude of British acts who trace their origins to Fairport Convention, Pentangle, and Steeleye Span. 
In 1963, Joan began touring with Bob Dylan and recording his songs, a bond that came to symbolize the folk music movement for the next two years. At the same time, Joan began her lifelong role of introducing songs from a host of contemporary singer-songwriters starting with Phil Ochs, Richard Farina, Leonard Cohen, Tim Hardin, Paul Simon, and others. Her repertoire grew to include songs by Jacques Brel, Lennon-McCartney, Johnny Cash and his Nashville peers, and South American composers Nascimento, Bonfa, Villa-Lobos, and others. 
At a time in our country's history when it was neither safe nor fashionable, Joan put herself on the line countless times, and her life's work was mirrored in her music. She sang about freedom and Civil Rights everywhere, from the backs of flatbed trucks in Mississippi to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's March on Washington in 1963. In 1964, she withheld 60% of her income tax from the IRS to protest military spending, and participated in the birth of the Free Speech movement at UC Berkeley. A year later she co-founded the Institute For The Study Of Nonviolence near her home in Carmel Valley. In 1966, Joan Baez stood in the fields alongside Cesar Chavez and migrant farm workers striking for fair wages, and opposed capital punishment at San Quentin during a Christmas vigil. 
The following year she turned her attention to the draft resistance movement. In 1968, she recorded an album of country standards for her then-husband David Harris. He was later taken into custody by Federal marshals in July 1969 and imprisoned for 20 months, for refusing induction and organizing draft resistance against the Vietnam war. As the war escalated, Joan traveled to Hanoi with the U.S.-based Liaison Committee and helped establish Amnesty International on the West Coast. 
In the wake of the Beatles, the definition of folk music - a singer with an acoustic guitar - broadened and liberated many artists. Rather than following the pack into amplified folk-rock, Joan recorded three remarkable LPs with classical instrumentation. Later, as the '60s turned into the '70s, she began recording in Nashville. The "A-Team" of Nashville's session musicians backed Joan on her last four LPs for Vanguard Records (including her biggest career single, a cover of the Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" in 1971) and her first two releases on A&M.
Within the context of those albums and the approaching end of hostilities in Southeast Asia, Joan turned to the suffering of those living in Chile under the rule of Augusto Pinochet. To those people she dedicated her first album sung entirely in Spanish, a record that inspired Linda Ronstadt, later in the '80s, to begin recording the Spanish songs of her heritage. One of the songs Joan sang on that album, "No Nos Moveran" (We Shall Not Be Moved) had been banned from public singing in Spain for more than forty years under Generalissimo Franco's rule, and was excised from copies of the LP sold there. Joan became the first major artist to sing the sung publicly when she performed it on a controversial television appearance in Madrid in 1977, three years after the dictator's death. 
In 1975, Joan's self-penned "Diamonds & Rust" became the title song of an LP with songs by Jackson Browne, Janis Ian, John Prine, Stevie Wonder & Syreeta, Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers Band - and Bob Dylan. His Rolling Thunder Revues of late 1975 and '76 (and resulting movie Renaldo & Clara, released in 1978) co-starred Joan Baez. 
In 1978, she traveled to Northern Ireland and marched with the Irish Peace People, calling for an end to violence. She appeared at rallies on behalf of the nuclear freeze movement, and performed at benefit concerts to defeat California's Proposition 6 (Briggs Initiative), legislation that would have banned openly gay people from teaching in public schools. Joan received the American Civil Liberties Union's Earl Warren Award for her commitment to human and civil rights issues; and founded Humanitas International Human Rights Committee, which she headed for 13 years. She won the San Francisco Bay Area Music Award (BAMMY) award as top female vocalist in 1978 and 1979, and a number of film and video and live recordings released in Europe and the U.S. documented her travels and concerts into the '80s. 
In 1983, she performed on the Grammy awards telecast for the first time (singing Bob Dylan's "Blowin' In the Wind"). In the summer of 1985, after opening the U.S. segment of the worldwide Live Aid telecast, she later appeared at the revived Newport Folk Festival, the first gathering there since 1969. In 1986, Joan joined Peter Gabriel, Sting and others on Amnesty International's Conspiracy of Hope tour; her subsequent album was influenced by the tour, as it acknowledged artists and groups whose lives in turn were influenced by her, with songs from Gabriel, U2, Dire Straits, Johnny Clegg, and others. Later in 1986, however, she was chosen to perform The People's Summit concert in Iceland at the time of the historic meeting between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. Joan's 1989 concert in Czechoslovakia was attended by many of that country's dissidents, including President Vaclav Havel who cited her as a great influence in the so-called Velvet Revolution. 
After attending an early Indigo Girls concert in 1990 (the year after their major label album debut), Joan teamed with the duo and Mary Chapin Carpenter (as Four Voices) for a series of benefit performances. The experience reinforced Joan's belief in the new generation of songwriters' ability to speak to her. When her album, Play Me Backwards, was released in 1992, it featured songs by Carpenter, John Hiatt, John Stewart, and others. 
In 1993, Joan became the first major artist to perform in Sarajevo since the outbreak of the civil war as she traveled to war-torn Bosnia-Herzegovina at the invitation of Refugees International. The next year, she sang in honor of Pete Seeger at the Kennedy Center Honors Gala in Washington, D.C. Also in 1994, Joan and Janis Ian sang for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Fight the Right fundraising event in San Francisco.
In 1995, Joan received her third BAMMY as Outstanding Female Vocalist. Joan's nurturing support of other singer-songwriters came full circle with her next album, Ring Them Bells. This idea of collaborative mentoring was expanded on 1997's Gone From Danger, where Joan was revealed as a lightning rod for young songwriting talent, with compositions from Dar Williams, Sinead Lohan, Kerrville Music Festival newcomer Betty Elders, Austin's The Borrowers, and Richard Shindell (who went on to tour extensively with Joan over the years). 
In August 2001, Vanguard Records began the most extensive chronological CD reissue program ever devoted to one artist in the company's history. Expanded editions (with bonus tracks, and newly commissioned liner notes) were released of her debut solo album of 1960, Joan Baez, and Joan Baez Vol. 2 (1961). The six-year campaign went on to encompass every original LP she recorded while under contract to the label from 1960 to 1972. In 2003, spurred by Vanguard's lead, Universal Music Enterprises gathered Joan's six complete A&M albums released from 1972 to 1976 into a mini-boxed set of four CDs, also with bonus material and extensive liner notes. 
The release of Dark Chords On a Big Guitar in September 2003 was supported with a 22-city U.S. tour. On October 3rd, Grammy Award-winning classical guitarist Sharon Isbin presented her debut performance of "The Joan Baez Suite, Opus 144". Written for Isbin by John Duarte and commissioned by the Augustine Foundation, the piece featured songs from Joan's earliest days in folk music. 
On the night of February 11, 2007, at the 49th annual Grammy Awards telecast viewed by more than a billion people worldwide, it was announced that Joan Baez had received the highly prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, the greatest honor that the Recording Academy can bestow. In turn, she introduced the live performance of "Not Ready To Make Nice" by dark horse nominees the Dixie Chicks. It was an ironic moment, as Joan's 'lifetime' of activism resonated in sync with the trio. They had been blacklisted by country radio and the Academy Of Country Music (ACM) when they criticized the President and the impending war in Iraq back in March 2003.
Most recently, Joan was seen by a billion tv viewers around the world, standing center stage behind Nelson Mandela at the "46664" 90th birthday celebration in his honor, at London's Hyde Park on June 28, 2008. 
"All of us are survivors," Joan Baez wrote, "but how many of us transcend survival?" 50 years on, she continues to show renewed vitality and passion in her concerts and records, and is more comfortable than ever inside her own skin. In this troubled world, to paraphrase "Wings," she will always continue to seek "a place where they can hear me when I sing." 
--Fifty Years of Joan Baez, Arthur Levy, July 2008
A gentle reminder: the US still occupies --illegally --the sovereign nation of Iraq. Our troops must be recalled now though it is too late to restore life to some 1.5 million Iraqis civilians who were literally murdered by the US upon the order of a mass murdering war criminal: George W. Bush.

The US is at the same time poised upon an economic precipice which followed inexorably from the policies of aggression and empire, policies which 'paid off' a conspiratorial Military-Industrial complex for whom US mass murders in Iraq were a bonanza. This Military-Industrial Complex must be 'smashed into a thousand pieces' as JFK had promised he would do to the CIA, the MIC's covert arm.

The US still lags the industrialized world in educational standards. It is hard not to conclude that it is because our educational standards have deteriorated with the rise of GOP 'leadership' that the US is now perched, like late Rome, upon the brink of twilight and collapse.

A final shot at those last bleating voices of bigotry whose campaigns of hate and prejudice sought to blame many another 'Joan', 'Bob' or 'Lennon': the peace movement of the sixties and seventies was right. It is still right. Nattering, teeth-gnashing critics of it remain dead wrong and, in many instances, guilty of crimes including mass murder, high treason and grand theft of the nation's wealth.

The time has come for the righting of wrongs --justice amid the ruins visited upon us by hate, greed and bigotry.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Why Lee Harvey Oswald Had to Die!

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The government case against Lee Harvey Oswald consisted of a single bullet --the so-called 'magic bullet'. Surely --the government knew it had a problem. The 'magic bullet' could not have been placed at the scene of the crime. If the case were heard today, the 'magic bullet' still cannot be placed at the scene of the crime. Without the 'magic bullet', the government has no case against Oswald. 'No case against Oswald' means:
  1. 1) Oswald would have walked;
  2. 2) the murder of JFK was not the work of a 'lone gunman'.
  3. Oswald, therefore, died for the sins of a junta that --with the death of JFK --seized power in the United States. That is why things have not been the same in the United States since our brightest hope was was dimmed forever on a Dallas street in full view of a horrified world! Lee Harvey Oswald was murdered so that he would be tried in absentia in the media. It is was not merely convenient but necessary that Lee Harvey Oswald be murdered before he could talk.
If the government had tried to prosecute a case against Oswald, the case would have been laughed out of court. The government dared not risk letting a competent, honest judge hear the bogus case against Lee Harvey Oswald --a case consisting of nothing less and only a magic bullet'!

They government either found a 'magic bullet' or the government planted it! They planted it!

The government needed a magical bullet that did the work of six ordinary, non-magical, run-o-the mill, every day bullets most which got beat up and deformed in the line of duty. 'Magic bullets' are above all that.

Arlen Specter is credited with concocting the theory that a single 'magical' bullet could smash bone and cartilage but nevertheless emerge with nary a scratch! Arlen Specter would pull a pull a 'magical theory' out of thin air and an equally 'magic bullet' out of his ass.

The government had a problem!

Lee Harvey Oswald would have to be tried for the crime of murdering the President. For quite some time in our history, those charged with crimes were given trials. The government had not yet figured out that if you just call them a bad name (terrorist) you can dispense with all those niceties.

Someone, somewhere was alarmed! What if Lee Harvey Oswald should get a real lawyer, or a good lawyer or --worse --a real good lawyer!? What if LHO should get a trial and be acquitted? What if Lee Harvey Oswald proved his charge that he was just a patsy! Worse ---what if the public were convinced that LHO was --indeed --a 'patsy'!?

Connections: Al Capone, Nixon, Johnson

At this time a sleazy strip club operator and erstwhile mobster who had once run errands for Al Capone and may have worked for Richard Nixon obliged the government by putting aside their fears. Jack Ruby would silence Lee Harvey Oswald even as he implicated Lyndon Johnson in the death of JFK.

Dead men are not put on trial. It is no mere coincidence that Jack Ruby --the man who had shut up Lee Harvey Oswald --had been a a Richard Nixon 'asset'. A little known memo supports the charge that Ruby was Nixon's personal spy, or more accurately, one of several.
The 1947 memo, found in 1975 by a scholar going through a pile of recently released FBI documents, verifies everything we know about Ruby and Nixon. Undercover work for the young Congressman Nixon would have been in keeping with Ruby's history as a police tipster and government informant. In 1950, Ruby gave closed-door testimony to Estes Kefauver's special Senate committee investigating organized crime. Committee staffer Luis Kutner later described Ruby as "a syndicatelieutenant who had been sent to Dallas to serve as a liaison for Chicago mobsters." In exchange for Ruby's testimony, the FBI is said to have eased up on its probe of organized crime in Dallas and in 1959, Ruby became an informant for the FBI.

--The Plot to Silence the Truth
By the time the Warren Commission released its voluminous 'cover story', it was clear that by murdering Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby had saved the government from having to prove its kooky theory that a single 'magic bullet' was solely responsible for seven wounds to two people: JFK and John Connally. It's absurd on its face!
Everything pertaining to what's happening has never come to the surface. The world will never know the true facts, of what occurred, my motives. The people had, that had so much to gain and had such an ulterior motive for putting me in the position I'm in, will never let the true facts come above board to the world.

Reporter : Are these people in very high positions Jack ??

Jack : Yes.

Why has nobody seen this footage at the time it was shot? Because certain people with enough power didn't want you to see it. Just like they didn't want you to see the Zapruder film. Imagine what would have happened if the american public was shown just both of these films. 
--Files on JFK
So --who killed JFK? Whoever sanctioned the 'hit' on JFK were 'these people' (Ruby's words). They had what Ruby called 'ulterior motives'. 'These people' had much to lose by any defense that Oswald might have made. 'These people' had every reason to shut Oswald up. In fact, he was shut up for good.
Well, you won't see me again. I tell you that a whole new form of government is going to take over the country, and I know I won't live to see you another time.  
--Jack Ruby, Statement to Warren Commission

The government's case against Oswald would have to succeed or fail upon whether or not it could convince a jury that a single bullet had created created some seven wounds in both JFK and John Connally. A 'single' bullet would have had to change course several times to account for the several wounds in both JFK and John Connally.

Now U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter, was at the time an ambitious junior counsel for the Warren Commission. It was Specter who originated and championed the theory that a single 'magic' bullet had done the work of a conspiracy. Henceforth, the word 'conspiracy' is verboten in those cases in which it may be certain that there was a conspiracy.

The government was saved further difficulties due to timing. Oswald was, of course, long dead by the time of the so-called 'investigation'. Had Oswald gone to trial, it is doubtful that the government would have had such a theory just waiting in the wings to be rolled out. And if it had, it would most certainly have been hammered by any competent defense attorney. Would the 'state' have dared to put Oswald on trial and thus expose their lies to rigorous cross examination? Would the 'state' have dared to let a 'hot dog' defense attorney make them look like liars or fools of lying fools? Would they state have risked losing an attempt to get a conviction? Would the state have risked a public expose of mere lies, cover stories and baseless conjecture? Of course not! And, of course, they didn't!

Ruby saved the government considerable embarrassment. The 'magic bullet' would have been challenged by a competent defense; it might have been ruled inadmissible by an honest judge.
The 'chain of evidence' had been broken.

There is no evidence placing the magic bullet in Dealy Plaza at the time of the crime. It is doubtful that the 'magic bullet' had ever penetrated bone or flesh. A growing chorus -some 45 years after the event --says that Lee Harvey Oswald was the fall guy for a CIA/Government crime that most certainly amounts to high treason.

The 'magic bullet', credited with miracles yet to be duplicated and cannot be placed at the scene pf the crime. Yet the 'magic bullet' is marked in evidence by the Warren Commission. Every other bullet marked in evidence by the Warren Commission is seriously deformed, damaged, twisted or smashed. Every other bullet so marked can be connected to Dealy Plaza. For every other such bullet there is a chain of evidence that must meet the standard of a court.

Yet it is the 'magic bullet with nary so much as a dent that is said to have done the work of some six or seven other bullet/fragments in evidence. One wonders where those bullets came from! They look like they struck something hard like bone. The 'magic bullet' --by contrast -- looks like it was fired through crepe paper if fired at all.

With the untimely death of Lee Harvey Oswald, the government was saved the trouble of having to prove its case. Lee Harvey Oswald had been shut up for good. He would never have the chance to convince a jury hat he was, as he had said, 'a patsy'!

Patsies are supposed to 'take a fall'

But Lee Harvey Oswald was no ordinary patsy. Even if he had not spilled the beans, his case would have been thrown out of court by an honest, competent judge. Even if he had not revealed secrets that higher ups intended to keep secret, the dismissal of charges against him would have have forever denied a dishonest Warren Commission a chance to rewrite history and put an official label on it. The masterminds of high treason had already decided that it was much easier to murder a talkative patsy than it would have been to buy off an unpredictable judge.

The question then is why is the 'state' so dogmatically adamant about the 'magic bullet theory'? As Shakespeare put it: 'methinks they protest too much!' The government is organized and invested in the cover stories. Warren Commission critics, by contrast, are dispersed throughout the populace.

The 'state' theory is handed down from above and defended with all the powers of the 'state'! Now --if the 'state' or agencies of the state, say, the CIA, FBI, were in any way 'embarrassed' by the facts, efforts by said agencies are completely understandable.

The guilty always try to cover up their crimes

Of all Warren Commission exhibits of 'bullets' and/or bullet fragments, only one --CE 399 --is very nearly pristine. Every other exhibit is mangled, smashed, and/or deformed to such an extent that the untutored eye might not recognize them as bullets or bullet fragments. Many of these 'exhibits' have a documented history, i.e, a 'chain of evidence' sufficient to make them admissible evidence had the case against Lee Harvey Oswald ever gone to court.

The 'state's case' i.e, the 'official theory' does not follow from the evidence. The state's case then as now rests upon the flagrant dismissal of real evidence recovered at the scene but upon a fanciful ex post facto 'cover story' invented by Arlen Specter. The government chose to cherry pick its evidence and when that didn't work, they would simply invent a cover for which there is, in fact, no evidence whatsoever.

Anyone wishing to defend the government's position must:
  • cite proof that the magic bullet was at the scene of the crime at the time of the assassination.
  • prove that CE - 399 was the fatal shot. There is no evidence to that effect. The government has merely asserted a 'theory'. And because Oswald was 'conveniently' murdered, the government's hand was never forced; it never had to put up or shut up!
It needed only to demonize seekers of truth as 'conspiracy theorists', leftists, commies, or whatever epithet focus groups say are most effective at the time.

"The thing I am concerned about, and so is [Deputy Attorney General Nicholas] Katzenbach, is having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin."
--FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, speaking on the telephone to Johnson aide Walter Jenkins two hours after Oswald was murdered by Jack Ruby, HSCA Report, vol. III, pp. 471-73. (The Warren Commission -- charged with determining the truth in the JFK assassination -- relied upon Hoover's FBI as its primary investigative arm.) 
"We have not been told the truth about Oswald."

--Senator Richard Russell, former Warren Commission member, conversation with researcher Harold Weisberg in 1970, Whitewash IV

The official version of the assassination of President Kennedy has been so riddled with contradictions that it is been abandoned and rewritten no less than three times. Blatant fabrications have received very widespread coverage by the mass media, but denials of these same lies have gone unpublished.

Photographs, evidence and affidavits have been doctored out of recognition. Some of the most important aspects of the case against Lee Harvey Oswald have been completely blacked out. Meanwhile, the F.B.I., the police and the Secret Service have tried to silence key witnesses or instruct them what evidence to give. Others involved have disappeared or died in extraordinary circumstances.

It is facts such as these that demand attention, and which the Warren Commission should have regarded as vital. Although I am writing before the publication of the Warren Commission’s report, leaks to the press have made much of its contents predictable. Because of the high office of its members and the fact of its establishment by President Johnson, the Commission has been widely regarded as a body of holy men appointed to pronounce the truth. An impartial examination of the composition and conduct of the Commission suggests quite otherwise.

The Warren Commission has been utterly unrepresentative of the American people. It consisted of two Democrats, Senator Russell of Georgia and Congressman Boggs of Louisiana, both of whose racist views have brought shame on the United States; two Republicans, Senator Cooper of Kentucky and Congressman Gerald R. Ford of Michigan, the latter of whom is a leader of his local Goldwater movement and an associate of the F.B.I.; Allen Dulles, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Mr. McCloy, who has been referred to as the spokesman for the business community. Leadership of the filibuster in the Senate against the Civil Rights Bill prevented Senator Russell from attending hearings during the period. The Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Earl Warren, who rightly commands respect, was finally persuaded, much against his will, to preside over the Commission, and it was his involvement above all else that helped lend the Commission an aura of legality and authority. Yet many of its members were also members of those very groups which have done so much to distort and suppress the facts about the assassination. Because of their connection with the Government, not one member would have been permitted under U.S. law to serve on a jury had Oswald faced trial. It is small wonder that the Chief Justice himself remarked that the release of some of the Commission’s information “might not be in your lifetime” Here, then, is my first question: Why were all the members of the Warren Commission closely connected with the U.S. Government?

If the composition of the Commission was suspect, its conduct confirmed one’s worst fears. No counsel was permitted to act for Oswald, so that cross-examination was barred. Later, under pressure, the Commission appointed the President of the American Bar Association, Walter Craig, one of the supporters of the Goldwater movement in Arizona, to represent Oswald. To my knowledge, he did not attend hearings, but satisfied himself with representation by observers.

In the name of national security, the Commission’s hearings were held in secret, thereby continuing the policy which has marked the entire course of the case. This prompts my second question: If, as we are told, Oswald was the lone assassin, where is the issue of national security? Indeed, precisely the same question must be put here as was posed in France during the Dreyfus case: If the Government is so certain of its case, why has it conducted all its inquiries in the strictest secrecy? 
--Bertrand Russell, Nobel Laureate
Additional resources:

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Main Core, PROMIS and the Shadow Government (Pt.3)

by Ed Encho

With the long overdue departure of the Bush administration from the White House it is the hope many that the myriad of transgressions against the Constitution and the people of America will begin to seep out into the public domain. It took a remarkably short time. The day after the helicopter hauled ole George away like so much rubbish a major story broke. In an astonishing shot across the bow directed at the shadow government the first significant whistleblower has already come out with a story (once again ignored by the corporate media) and delivered a devastating blow to the premise that the massive illegal domestic spying programs of the Bush administration were undertaken in order to protect America from terrorism in the aftermath of September 11th, 2001.

Former NSA analyst Russell Tice during two recent interviews on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann (pt1,pt2)confirmed that the Bush-Cheney-Rove phony war on terror was as people like myself have always strongly suspected in actuality a war on America itself. According to the patriotic Mr. Tice the targets of the domestic spying included news organizations and journalists and that the surveillance for specific targets was not limited to professional matters alone, they were spied on 24/7.
"The National Security Agency had access to all Americans' communications," he said. "Faxes, phone calls and their computer communications. ... They monitored all communications."

Tice said the NSA analyzed metadata to determine which communication would be collected. Offering a hypothetical example, he said if the agency determined that terrorists communicate in brief, two-minute phone calls, the NSA might program its systems to record all such calls, invading the privacy of anyone prone to telephonic succinctness.

Tice was involved in only a small part of the project, that involved trying to "harpoon fish from an airplane."

He said he was told to monitor certain groups in order to eliminate them as suspects for more intense targeting. Those groups, he said, were U.S. journalists and news agencies. But rather than excluding the news organizations from monitoring, he discovered that the NSA was collecting the organizations' communications 24 hours a day year round.

"It made no sense," he said.

Tice did not identify the reporters or organizations allegedly targeted.

Olbermann asked if this means there's a file somewhere containing every e-mail and phone conversation these reporters ever had with sources, editors and family members.

"If it was involved in this specific avenue of collection, it would be everything, yes." Tice answered.

(Exerpted from Wired's Kim Zetter's blog)
The Tice interviews followed another former insider speaking out on the gross illegality of the Bush administration programs, a former DOJ employee named Thomas Tamm was featured in a Newsweek magazine cover story by Michael Isikoff entitled The Fed Who Blew the Whistle from which I excerpt the following:
In the spring of 2004, Tamm had just finished a yearlong stint at a Justice Department unit handling wiretaps of suspected terrorists and spies—a unit so sensitive that employees are required to put their hands through a biometric scanner to check their fingerprints upon entering. While there, Tamm stumbled upon the existence of a highly classified National Security Agency program that seemed to be eavesdropping on U.S. citizens. The unit had special rules that appeared to be hiding the NSA activities from a panel of federal judges who are required to approve such surveillance. When Tamm started asking questions, his supervisors told him to drop the subject. He says one volunteered that "the program" (as it was commonly called within the office) was "probably illegal."
The name of the program was Stellar Wind and please pay particular attention to this next excerpted piece from Isikoff's story:
The NSA, with the secret cooperation of U.S. telecommunications companies, had begun collecting vast amounts of information about the phone and e-mail records of American citizens. Separately, the NSA was also able to access, for the first time, massive volumes of personal financial records—such as credit-card transactions, wire transfers and bank withdrawals—that were being reported to the Treasury Department by financial institutions. These included millions of "suspicious-activity reports," or SARS, according to two former Treasury officials who declined to be identified talking about sensitive programs. (It was one such report that tipped FBI agents to former New York governor Eliot Spitzer's use of prostitutes.) These records were fed into NSA supercomputers for the purpose of "data mining"—looking for links or patterns that might (or might not) suggest terrorist activity.
This latest glimpse beneath the facade at the massive, secretive and highly illegal surveillance campaign against the American people is an outrage. Given the proclivity of those who run the system in this country to exert raw power to advance their own agendas it is no leap in logic that journalists alone were the only group targeted. There remains the question of whether blackmail, especially sexual blackmail is routinely used as a tool to keep government and media officials from not straying too far from the dirty business of imperialism and financial chicanery of the sort that has brought the economy to its knees.

I personally found the media spectacle of the fortuitously timed prostitution bust of former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer who incidentally had just announced his intention to declare war on the banksters and their accomplices in the Bush White House in a February 14, 2008 Washington Post piece entitled Predatory Lenders Partner in Crime to be extremely suspicious. The rogue Bush regime and the NSA have been using their big lie of the war on terror as an excuse to scrutinize credit card use and Spitzer would have been an obvious target as is indicated by the above excerpt from the Newsweek story. It also makes skeptics such as myself wonder whether the witch hunt to impeach former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich may at least in part be attibuted to his threat to suspend state business with Bank of America, 'Blago' was arrested the day afterwards.

In light of the Tice revelations as well as an already long and extremely sordid history of U.S. government surveillance into the activities of dissidents and reporters that predated the Bush regime, we also need to ask some very serious questions of a much more troubling and nefarious nature. For example, how does such spying tie into not only the manipulation of the news but the now standard lack of spine from the Democratic congress when it comes to prosecuting the Bush administration criminals? Notorious fixer Karl Rove has already announced his intent to defy yet another subpoena for his testimony that was to have been delivered on Monday in front of the House Judiciary Committee.

As of this writing, John Conyers has once again caved and the date has now been pushed into February and likely will soon disappear down the same memory hole where similar attempts to enforce the law have been flushed.

Intense political pressure, threats of unemployment in a time of economic crisis and potentially embarassing sexual acts subject to blackmail are all entirely made possible by the rampant unaccountability of the domestic spying programs, but are there measures that go far beyond just the spiking of stories, the discrediting or the ruining of careers alone? Think back to the vicious institutionalized slander directed former San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary Webb for example for his Dark Alliance series. The savagery with which Webb was taken down by the establishment was stunning and it ultimately resulted in his suicide, a broken and haunted man who only dared to try to tell the truth.

There is a long trail of untimely demises of investigative journalists and other insiders whose knowledge represents a threat to very existence of the shadow government and those who it as a matter of routine does business with in order to avoid legitimate channels. Perhaps the most terrifying of all question is exactly what actions do end up being taken in order to prevent the exposure of widespread criminal activity, systemic grand scale fraud and extra-constitutional black operations that have been conducted for decades.

Investigative journalist Wayne Madsen wrote of an NSA database that was at one time named FIRSTFRUITS that was maintained to engage in surveillance against journalists and that was renamed after its discovery. Some of the names in this database allegedly included Christiane Amanpour, Seymour Hersh, James Bamford, James Risen and Madsen himself. According to chatter in the blogosphere that were it not consistent with the historical trail of dead bodies could easily be dismissed as paranoia and disinformation. One story floating around the internet mentioned an unnamed NSA security officer allegedly mused about ‘just killing’ troublesome bloggers.

This may be a product of paranoia (one would think paranoia would be a natural state in a land of fear and loathing such as that which the United States has become post 9/11) but there is great progress currently being made by internet researchers and such reputed threats should not simply be waved off as the rantings of tin foil hatters or the favorite of all pejoratives directed at those who dare to ask inconvenient questions, conspiracy theorists. The fact that the alternative media and many bloggers are slowly starting to put the pieces together one can only reasonably suspect that such behavior scares the living hell out of the establishment, and after all, there is a history of that sort of thing. While this is not a comprehensive list the Committee to Protect Journalists keeps a database to track the prematurely deceased in a most dangerous profession.

The bizarre absence of any reporting of this very serious violation of civil liberties has received absolutely no coverage in the corporatized, mainstream pocket media. This is unconscionable that there is apparently no interest in exposing these crimes, especially considering that those targeted could actually save their own hides (and perhaps instill some dignity) by outing this program. It's a sad testament to the state of today's 'journalism' that is shameful by comparison to that of days of yore when reporters were intrepid souls determined to speak the truth to power.

Writer Eric Alterman puts it spot on in his recent Center for American Progress piece entitled Think Again: Spying on Journalists? Why the Silence? when he notes the lack of intestinal fortitude in the mainstream media:

Clearly something deeply disturbing lurks beneath these revelations, and with Bush gone from office, it’s hard to understand just what is preventing journalists from seeking the truth about this program more energetically. The only thing they have to fear is fear itself.

This sad state of affairs brings to mind the following:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

- Pastor Martin Niemöller
And the silence by those tasked by the First Amendment’s now quaint and antiquated imbuing upon them a responsibility for a free press as an essential check on authoritarianism is deafening in its absence. Quislings, cowards and public relations flacks seem to be the one thing that our journalism schools never failed to produce over the past several decades, feckless and spineless careerists with neither a sense of honor nor of their place as defenders of precious liberty. There shall be no refuge for the weasels nor the rats in the end therefore their mass abrogation of their chosen profession along with their acute absence of courage is even more damnable for when the time comes they will perhaps live to lament that they did not speak out when they had the chance.


“Death Solves All Problems, No Man, No Problem”

-Joseph Stalin
The National Security State has a history of silencing those who would speak out and especially reporters deemed to have become a nuisance. This is done either through intense pressure brought down on media corporations through organized harassment of sponsors, brutal coordinated smear campaigns much like the one that took down the aforementioned Gary Webb or when all else fails, the reporters often just happen to turn up mysteriously dead. The list of ‘suicides’ and accidents is a long one and in the view of the ruthless psychopaths who both run and profit from a high-tech snooping network seems to be that any means are to be undertaken to keep their games going even if it ultimately results in termination with extreme prejudice. I believe that I will have to put together a list myself but when I just started writing down names off the top of my head of strange deaths I came up with over thirty right off the bat.

The ugly truth is that none of these police state powers are being used to protect the United States from foreign enemies, terrorism or any other excuse that is being made in order to get Americans to submit their rights. It is all in the name of power, money and to protect the interests of the oligarchy and the power elite who run the establishment and it needs to be stopped because it is out of control.

Take the strange case of Danny Casolaro for example...

Perhaps the closest to get at the truth about PROMIS and how it was an integral piece of the shadow government was investigative journalist Danny Casolaro. Casolaro had been working on research for a book on a shadowy transnational power group that seemed to run through the postwar era and had connections to many of the major scandals including Iran-Contra, BCCI, the Nugan Hand Bank, international drug cartels, weapons dealers and intelligence operatives in not only the U.S. government but internationally as well. Casolaro dubbed this group, one that largely rose out of a ‘dirty old boy network’ of the OSS/CIA out of the ashes of World War II as The Octopus. Casolaro began to become aware of the more sinister aspects of what Professor Peter Dale Scott refers to as the deep state but is more commonly known as either the shadow government, the parallel government and even arguably the permanent government while investigating the theft of the PROMIS software from the Inslaw corporation.

On Saturday, August 10, 1991 a maid at a Martinsburg, West Virginia Sheraton Inn was horrified to find the nude body of Joseph Daniel Casolaro in the bathtub, the victim of an apparent ‘suicide’. It was by accounts a particularly grisly scene and a strangely violent ‘suicide’ with both of his wrists slashed deeply multiple times with a razor blade. There was a very short and impersonal note, blood splattered on the tile walls and a pair of bloody towels that were shoved under the sink away from the bathtub.

Strange circumstances followed in the aftermath of the discovery of Danny Casolaro’s corpse in a blood filled bathtub. His body was hastily taken away and embalmed (making any subsequent autopsy much more difficult) before family members were officially notified (a violation of state law by accounts) and room 517 had been professionally cleaned thereby removing critical evidence prior to any sort of thorough forensic investigation could be performed. Compounding doubts about the official ‘suicide’ story are contradictory statements made by friends and family that Casolaro was NOT suicidal at all but was actually quite exited over the prospect of publishing his book on the findings of his investigative work, even to the extent that he had scheduled a party to celebrate. He was in the final stages of nailing down the story of the century and had gone to West Virginia in search of the evidence that would prove his theory, make the connection to PROMIS and ‘bring back the head of the octopus’. The sudden ending (yet another hotel room 'suicide') was especially suspicious because when the body was discovered, his files were missing.

In addition to the shadowy players in the global arms and narcotics trades the Octopus also appeared to have had as tentacles rogue elements of U.S. intelligence Casolaro found connections to not only Iran-Contra but also BCCI, the Nugan Hand bank, the October Surprise, money launderers and organized crime as well as a continuous thread of involvement in dirty dealings both domestically and abroad. The roots of this milieu of malevolence stretched back to the post World War II era when a collection of spooks, corrupt bureaucrats and extremist right wing ideologues began to operate as a faction within the intelligence apparatus, a state upon themselves to profit financially while engaging in the darks forms of clandestine activities and black operations.

Author Joel Bainerman in his 1992 book entitled The Crimes of a President wrote the following (some of this ostensibly quoting William Hamilton of Inslaw as well as a 1991 story from the St. Louis Dispatch) that has a very good description on Casolaro's theory:
“Casolaro had discovered a common denominator to the theft of Inslaw’s software and other recent scandals” says Hamilton who worked very closely with Casolaro right up to his death in helping him to uncover the dirty dealing behind the theft of Inslaw’s software. A group of individuals trained in covert intelligence operations and aligned with the U.S. political leadership who were allegedly profiting from each of these scandals.

These veterans of U.S. covert intelligence operations had also allegedly been selling pirated copies of Inslaw’s software to foreign intelligence and law enforcement agencies and funneling the funds through BCCI. Casolaro believed that some of the profits from these illegal sales made their way into a slush fund used for political payoffs and covert intelligence operations not authorized by congress.

Danny Casolaro is far from the only one to whom mysterious death had befallen after their investigative work got them too close to the real power structure or presented an obstacle to its need for the cloak of secrecy. Too many rising politicians, uncooperative politicians and judges, hostile witnesses, whistle blowers and reporters have met with no small number of strange and untimely deaths often attributed to accidents (small plane crashes in particular), ‘suicides’( a good deal of them in hotel rooms), sudden heart attacks or seizures (many in people with no history of such problems) and random acts of extreme violence that go unsolved by authorities.

In addition to Casolaro, other suspicious deaths of investigators of this particular nexus of evil include Financial Times reporter Anson Ng, reportedly a friend of Casolaro who was found dead from a gunshot wound in his Guatemala City apartment where he was reportedly working on a story related to BCCI and to try to interview a guy named Jimmy Hughes who according to the writer Rodney Stitch had information regarding shady dealings at the Cabazon Indian Reservation near Palm Springs, CA as well as Jonathan Moyle whose body was found hanging in a closet in a Santiago hotel room where he had been investigating the CIA and the arms trade.

Joel Bainerman also noted in his book that the Cabazon Indian Reservation where the PROMIS software was allegedly modified for espionage purposes by a very interesting character, a technical genius named Michael Riconosciuto to include the ‘back door’ feature (to allow for secret access) was in fact a “CIA cutout”. The government contracting firm Wackenhut, a Florida based corporation alleged to have been involved in senstive 'private security' matters (Blackwater before Blackwater) was involved at the time in a joint-venture with the Cabazon tribe to use the sovereign land status of the reservation to work on a variety of endeavors including the development and testing of arms including a fuel air explosive, biochemical warfare agents and other armaments that could be provided to third world regimes, primarily to right wing governments in Latin America.

The Cabazon Indian Reservation was allegedly transformed into veritable spook nest as well as a staging ground for covert military industrial complex purposes. Wackenhut incidentally is back in the news (or at least the alternative media) with Ellen Brown's recent story about the mysterious prison buses spotted in Arizona so they are still a player and a big one at that. I would venture to speculate that the truth about Wackenhut Corporation and its longtime involvement in the prison industrial complex that has become so very, very lucrative to this fascist society is something that deserves one hell of a good deal of scrutiny.


Interestingly enough there was a local news investigation in the Palm Springs area in 2008 that had focused on the 2005 multiple murder-suicide of Riverside County District Attorney Investigator David McGowan and five members of his family. As the series continued questions began to arise on whether McGowan had been digging a bit too deeply into a cold case file regarding a 1981 triple murder on the Cabazon Reservation that had ties to the covert activities that Danny Casolaro was investigating. Subsequent installments in the KESQ series by news reporter Nathan Baca began to ask questions about PROMIS as well as the other mysterious activities at the reservation and began to delve into the 1981 murders of tribal leader Fred Alvarez who resisted those behind the Cabazon-Wackenhut joint venture as well as two friends. An interview was conducted with the daughter of one of the victims who is to this day seeking justice for the murder of her father Ralph Boger. Rachel Begley (her website is called desertfae) very accurately described what has been going on at Cabazon as follows:
"I'm more shocked than anything. I had no idea these things were going on. Most of America doesn't know these things are going on," said Begley. "It's still going on to this day. It's a big web of corruption."
The series ended abruptly in October after an installment that began to delve into whether other local Indian tribes may have been involved in dealings with Wackenhut and mentioned “an experimental electromagnetic weapon called a "railgun" as being one of the projects. That the KESQ story has not continued is disappointing but certainly not surprising given the history of what has happened to those digging too deeply into affairs involving the PROMIS software - I would hope that it will eventually be resumed. In my own opinion, I would suspect that fear may a motivating factor in the suspension of this series, especially after the detective who had been investigating the case stated that he: "doesn't want to continue on the case based on the number of people who have met an untimely demise while doing so". Who knows, I hope that that isn't the case and that a new installment will be forthcoming in the near future, as a concerned American it is extremely imporant that it at some point continue because Mr. Baca is onto something BIG.

Now, since I feel that it is particularly relevant I am posting an email from said detective to an unnamed third party who he was seeking advice from and specifically for the comments of said detective that I have highlighted that should send a chill up the spine of all who read this:
----- Original Message -----
From: X
To: X
Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2008 1:44 PM
Subject: Alvarez Triple Homicide

Hello X

My name is X and I'm with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. I'm a homicide detective assigned to the cold case division. The Alvarez triple homicide was assigned to me a couple of months ago.

For the past two months I have reviewed nearly a thousand documents of police reports, and spent many hours browsing the Internet for additional sources of information. As I am sure you can imagine, I feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland after falling down the rabbit hole. I no longer have a complete grasp on the real world.

You should know first off, that I am an experienced investigator with 18 years on the Sheriff's Dept. and I consider myself pretty intuitive when it comes to filtering out the BS. After my first review of the police reports in this case, I wasn't sure why it remained unsolved for over 26 years. All of the players were identified and the Modus Operandi seemed to be well established. I couldn't understand why every few years the case was suddenly dropped and put back on the shelf.

That's when Rachel Begley introduced me to the rabbit hole. After the countless hours I have now spent on her website and the numerous other conspiracy theorists websites, I'm having a very difficult time sifting through the BS.

I have also spent much time on your website and I have found your investigations impressive and your opinions refreshing. That is why I am writing to you now. I do not make it a habit of talking to journalists about open homicide investigations, however, it appears you are much more educated about this particular case than I am.

I know you are very busy and I understand the Alvarez triple homicide is a very small part of the Octopus, but I would be very interested in spending any time with you that you have available, in order to get some perspective on what I've read.

Just so you understand where I am in this case. I am currently preparing a review and summary for my Sergeant. My conclusion will be that I do not wish to continue investigating this case, based on the number of people who have met an untimely demise while doing so.

My actions in this matter go against everything I believe in, and this case is very difficult for me to walk away from, especially with the allegations that involve the deaths of Investigator Dave McGowan and his family. But I am conceding to a higher power (my wife) and trying to give her some peace of mind. I cannot look her in the eyes and tell her that I am willing to risk the life of my family by pursuing this.

I am interested in your opinion. Am I just another lamb to the slaughter? Is the Puppet Master pulling my strings via Rachel Begley? Is this just a simple case of murder by Jimmy Hughes at the direction of John P. Nichols, or is it really much more than that?

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you,

Detective X
RSO - Central Homicide
(951) X desk
(951) X cell
IV: Conclusion:

It is with the hope of this humble blogger that this series as well as other damning information such as that put forth by Mr. Tice, Mr. Tamm and other patriotic Americans who have risked all (and at times paid with their careers and lives) all in order to get the truth out will encourage others to do the same. It is long past time to bring attention to the history of grossly immoral and criminal acts that have been perpetrated against the people of the United States by the very institutions that are supposed to be protecting us.

It is imperative that others begin to work independently (and together whenever possible) to mount their own investigations into how the government has been weaponized by a pack of fascist thugs so that they may reap the benefits at the expense of those who are not connected to an elitist ruling class that is hell bent on maintaining the status quo.

Danny Casolaro did not have the most powerful tool against injustice and corruption available while he was alive, the internet was only in its nascent stages and had he the ability that we enjoy due to advances in technology he may very well still be alive and the criminal usurpers of our democracy and violators of our constitution could be where they belong – in prison. It is my hope that one with more influence, internal knowledge and resources than I have at my disposal begin to not only do very serious investigative work but to also petition the new administration of President Barack Obama for the following:

1: An immediate cessation of all illegal, unconstitutional surveillance and data-mining that has been ongoing against law abiding American citizens.

2: The creation of an independent investigative body along the lines of the Church Committee imbued with sweeping powers to investigate abuses of intelligence both within the government as well as with private contractors who have collaborated in crimes against the republic and its citizens.

3: A case by case federal investigation into ALL suspicious deaths of reporters and other individuals either directly or indirectly involved in the investigation of what has been done with the PROMIS software, NSA spying and Continuity of Government programs. Especially now that it has been revealed that the NSA has been actively spying on journalists and news organizations.

4: A restoration of the rule of law as a bulwark against tyranny as was intended by our founding fathers who having full knowledge of how unaccountable despots behave risked all to lay the foundation of a free society where the highest ideals of liberty can be enjoyed by all.

5: In iron tight regulatory system to ensure that such flagrant abuses of power never be allowed to occur again in the future. The cloak of secrecy needs to be removed and all government must be open to the scrutiny of those who it is supposed to serve.

6: The prosecution to the full extent of the law of those who are currently or who have in the past been involved in any criminal activity in relation to the aforementioned.

Truly, nothing else will suffice if we are to have any credibility as a nation based on laws.

To Be Continued....

Next: Part Four - The Octopus

With Any Luck --the End of the GOP

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

It may not be the Twilight of the Gods, but, with any luck, it could be a permanent brownout of the GOP --not a political party but a crime syndicate, an evil cult, a 'canker in the body politic'.

Even the New York Times concedes that election Day exit polls have sent shivers down the GOPs notochord. According to to the numbers, the GOP is literally 'withering away'.
More than six-in-ten Americans (62%) say they have a positive opinion of the Democratic Party, compared with 40% who say they have a favorable opinion of the Republican Party. The current Democratic favorability advantage is the largest measured in nearly two decades.

The widening gap is primarily a result of an increase in favorable views of the Democratic Party since the election, up from 57% in late According to a poll conducted by The New York Times and CBS News this month, only 21 percent of respondents said that they consider themselves Republicans. This was the lowest percentage for that response since The Times started asking the question in 1992. By comparison, nearly twice as many respondents said that they consider themselves Democrats.

--Pew Report

“We’re all concerned about the fact that the very wealthy and the very poor, the most and least educated, and a majority of minority voters, seem to have more or less stopped paying attention to us, and we should be concerned that, as a result of all this, the Republican Party seems to be slipping into a position of being more of a regional party than a national one.”

--New York Times, Whither the Republicans?
Concurrently, Chris Bowers reports that the GOP has not 'blown it' due to mere mistakes. The GOP is headed for a crash not because it made mistakes but because of deliberate crimes and endemic arrogance.
  • The invasion of Iraq was terrible policy to begin with, dreamt up by neo-con theorists in the Project for the New American Century in the late 1990's. It was always a bad idea to spontaneously invade and occupy a country that did not attack us and with a population that did not want us there. When has that ever ended well? That the policy was justified by intentionally misleading the country on WMD intelligence shows just how bad an idea it was from the start. There was no good reason to do it. Further, any mistakes that were made during the occupation, especially those by private contractors, would never receive serious oversight. The modern conservative movement has no intention of holding private companies accountable for anything. They certainly have no intention of holding their leaders, such as Rumsfeld and Rice, accountable for anything, since the only thing the conservative movement ever holds their leaders accountable for is being pro-choice. Iraq was always going to be a disaster, and the mistakes made would never be fixed. That is inherent to the Republican Party in the age of the conservative movement. It wasn't a "mistake."

  • The attempt to privatize, and thus destroy, Social Security was run by Republicans and the conservative movement with as much political smarts as any other legislative campaign they have run since 1994. However, the difference was that Democrats and the progressive movement actually successfully fought back. This wasn't a Republican mistake--destroying Social Security has been a goal of the conservative movement for nearly fifty years. It is just what they do. Again, this was inherent to the Republican system of governance in the age of the conservative movement, but Democrats and the progressive movement just managed to throw a wrench into the machine with an effective defense.

  • The Foley scandal is also the point of Republican governance in the era of the conservative movement. As brilliantly document in the 2005 book Off Center, in order to continue to govern with a radical agenda far out of line with the majority of the country, it has been necessary for conservative Republicans to operate on a powerful 50% + 1 strategy for many years. Republicans have consistently pulled power grabs in order to maintain their narrow majority through tactics such as mid-decade redistricting and voter suppression. Thus, it makes perfect sense that Republicans would cover up for a child predator as long as it meant they could keep another seat in Congress. Cover-ups in order to maintain power are inherent to the 50% + 1 strategy employed by the Republican Party in the era of the modern conservative movement. Again, this wasn't a mistake--that is just how they operate.

  • When it comes to Katrina, in the era of the conservative movement, it is in no way surprising that incompetent cronies led ineffective disaster relief operations in areas where poor people and minorities live. The crony part is a gimme: people are rewarded in the modern conservative movement for supporting the movement, not for being good at their jobs, or even qualified for their jobs. It also is in no way surprising that a movement which proclaims its desire to "drown government in a bathtub" wasn't exactly well prepared to have a governmental organization respond to a disaster of this scale. And heck, since African-American in New Orleans are not exactly a demographic the movement sees as key to maintaining its 50% + 1 majority, there wasn't an immediately apparent political need to respond with utmost urgency. Maybe if New Orleans had several women in persistent vegetative states on life support, and each of them happened to have huge, conservative, white evangelical followings, then the Bush administration would have been better prepared to capably respond. But, since it wasn't key to their own base, it wasn't high on the list of priorities.
  • --Republicans Are Not Losing Because of "Mistakes"
I told you so!

The GOP is NOT a political party; it is a crime syndicate, a kooky cult! GOP policies are intended to enrich its base and they succeeded in doing that. As of this moment just one percent of the nation owns more than about 90 percent or more of the rest us combined.

The salaries of CEOs have risen exponentially since 1980, the year of Reagan's ascension if not his apotheosis. That economic polarization is by design, the result of favorable treatment given 'elites' at least since Ronald Reagan.

To understand the GOP, you must first understand that only the GOP base benefited from GOP tax cuts. Everyone else lost ground. GINI indices from the Bureau of Labor Stats, the Census Bureau and the US Commerce Dept-BEA prove it beyond any reasonable doubt. The process by which the GOP elite gains at everyone's else expense halted and reversed for a brief while under Bill Clinton only to resume with a vengence under the failed and criminal Presidency of George W. Bush.
The heads of America's 500 biggest companies received an aggregate 54% pay raise last year. As a group, their total compensation amounted to $5.1 billion, versus $3.3 billion in fiscal 2003.

We define total compensation as salary and bonus plus "other" compensation, which includes vested restricted stock grants and "stock gains," the value realized from exercising stock options during the just-concluded fiscal year.

For those companies in which the chief executive has been in office six years or longer, we looked at average six-year total compensation and compared this to long-term stock performance of industry peers as well as the overall stock market. We ranked 189 chief executives in our performance versus pay scorecard.


B.R. (before Reagan) anyone earning 100,000 dollars per year was earning real money. Today, 100,000 dollars could not make a down payment on even a modest River Oaks (Houston) mansion. CEO salaries in 1970 (including bonus packages) averaged $700,000 or about 25 times 'worker' salaries. By the year 2000, CEO salaries approached $2.2 million, some 90 times average worker salaries. [See:2004 study on CEO pay by Kevin J. Murphy and Jan Zabojnik].

Wealth Does Not Trickle Down

Don't believe the marlarky peddled by business publications that CEO pay increases the tax base! As long as there are 'tax dodges' the gulf between 'tax base' and 'revenues' will never close. If what the business publications say were true, why have trillions been exported to offshore tax dodges since the ascension of Ronnie Reagan? How does money that is squirreled away offshore increase 'tax bases'. Bluntly: CEOs salaries do not increase the tax base. They subvert it! The 'business' publications are lying. Wealth does not trickle down; it rushes upward and leaves behind an impoverished nation on the brink of another GOP 'great depression'.

The causes of depression now as then are greed and lies! Wealth did not trickle down then. It has not trickled down since Ronald Reagan began the trend with this improvident, 'supply side' tax cut of 1982 which his own Budget Director, David Stockman, called a 'trojan horse'.

A 'Trojan Horse' is a deadly virus that pretends to be something it is not. Disguised, it infiltrates the body politic, the body 'economic'. The GOP leadership and Ronald Reagan did not dare tell you the truth. They dared not tell you that the intended goal of the 'tax cuts' was to pay off the GOP 'base'. Seen in this way, it is fair to categorize GOP 'tax cuts' as payoffs or bribes.

GOP 'supply side' theories were to the economy as AIDS was to the populace: a deadly infestation -- 'canker on the body politic' --for which there has been no cure and little treatment since the ascension and, later, the apotheosis of the 'Great Communicator', Ronald Reagan, about whom GOPPERS still swoon: "he made us feel good about ourselves!" That was Reagan's 'gift'. Bush's gift to the rest of us was that he made even the GOP base feel like the slimy, reptilians that they really are.

Now, in anticipation of the much heard factoid: '...but the Democrats are just as bad!'

No! Democrats are NOT just as bad!

The following stats are just a sample of the numerous, seemingly endless instances in which the GOP has been dead wrong and the Democratic party has been absolutely correct. Let's take a look at the history before it gets re-written:
  • Any Democratic President has presided over greater economic growth and job creation than any Republican President since World War II.
  • When Bush Jr took office, job creation was worst under a Republican, Bush Sr, at 0.6% per year and best under a Democrat, Johnson, at 3.8% per year.
  • Economic growth under President Carter was far greater than under Reagan or Bush Sr. In fact, economic growth in general was greater under Johnson, Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton than under Reagan or Bush. Democrats always outperform a failed party: the GOP!
  • The job creation rate under Clinton was 2.4% significantly higher than Ronald Reagan's 2.1% per year.
  • The "top performing Presidents" by this standard, in order from best down, were Johnson, Carter, Clinton, and Kennedy. The "worst" (in descending order) were Nixon, Reagan, Bush.
  • Half of jobs created under Reagan were in the public sector --some 2 million jobs added to the Federal Bureaucracy. Hadn't he promised to reduce that bureaucracy?
  • Reagan, though promising to reduce government and spending, tripled the national debt and left huge deficits to his successor. Bush Jr's record will be even worse.
  • By contrast, most of the jobs created on Clinton's watch were in the private sector.
  • Put another way: any Democratic President beats any Republican President since World War II.
These are just a few that I had knocked out quickly in preparation for a previous article. With any real work, any one with a nodding acquaintance of economics can demolish the GOP. The GOP is a crime syndicate, specially a FRAUD foisted upon the American populace in order to enrich the increasingly tiny elite. That they have been highly successful is convincing evidence, perhaps absolute proof of the cult-like nature of this phony 'party'.


A statue of shoes, erected in honor of an Iraqi journalist who dared to express his outrage over Bush's capital crimes against the people of Iraq, has been ordered taken down. Let's protest this decision by sharing pictures of shoes on as many 'inter-tube' sites as will allow you to post them.

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