Connecting The Dots
By Larry Kelley
"It's shocking when you see how easily they fold in the media today. They don't stand their ground. If they're criticized by the White House, they just fall apart."
-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton
The Deep Throat bombshell seems to have disappeared faster than Fallujah. And after months of ignoring the elephant in the living room, corporate media finally got around to the story that's bigger than Watergate-the Downing Street Memo, which indicates that President Bush had decided to go war against Iraq while telling the world he hadn't yet made up his mind. The British intelligence memo states that "facts were being fixed" around the policy of removing Saddam Hussein "through military action justified by the conjunction of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction," according to the head of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, Sir Richard Dearlove.
Predictably, this smoking gun memo seems to be vanishing as fast as the $6 trillion surplus President Clinton handed Bush upon leaving the Oval Office. It doesn't seem likely that the Republican Congress will do much, if anything, about these well-documented allegations, which include an attempt to "goad" Saddam into a response by bombing "heavily" in Iraq. The memo quoted the Bush Administration's position that it would be difficult to go to war based on the "thin WMD claim," so the US would have to "create conditions" to justify a war in Iraq.
The Dynamic Duo bombed "heavily" but Saddam didn't take the bait. Secretary of State Colin Powell then lied (inadvertently, he claims) to the United Nations and Condy Rice hysterically warned that soon there would be a "mushroom cloud" over Manhattan. What was a president to do? The answer was "Shock and Awe," or 40,000 bombs in 48 hours dropped on a country that had done nothing to us.
Discontent over the war is not coming only from Democrats. In an interview in the current U.S. News & World Report, Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska recently contradicted the Administration's optimistic attitude on the war with a bit of sobering reality: "Things aren't getting better, they're getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality. It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is, we are losing in Iraq."
After VP Dick Cheney claimed the insurgency was in "its last throes," Republican Senator John Mc Cane advised, "The White House should stop telling America that victory is around the corner." Speaking anonymously, several White House officials described Cheney as "overly optimistic."
And in the House of Reps, thirty-eight Republicans joined with the Democratic minority in denying the FBI blanket power to seize library and bookstore records under the Patriot Act. Unfortunately, only one of the Act's many flaws is affected. Slightly better than a poke in the ear.
On June 20, Bush told visiting European leaders that his strategy "is going to work." Unfortunately, he didn't say when or what that strategy might be. In a June radio address, the president still was claiming that the US was forced into war because of the Sept. 11 strikes. "We went to war because we were attacked and we are at war because there are still people out there who want to harm our country and hurt our citizens." But in September 2003, the flip-flopper said, "We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in the September 11 attacks." The 9-11 Commission agreed but corporate media remains silent about the Big Lie. Remember follow-up questions?
An opinion poll conducted by the University of Maryland in October "04 concluded that 75% of Bush's supporters believe Iraq was providing substantial support to Al Qaeda." The same poll found that people who get their news from Fox "are four times more likely to believe things that aren't true."
* * *
For the 13th consecutive month, the majority of the public has disapproved of Bush's handling of the war. A recent Washington Post/ABC poll indicates that almost 75% of the country think it's time to get the hell out and the Pentagon has announced it won't release monthly recruitment figures after again failing to meet its goals.
And while two American soldiers are killed every day in Iraq, the Army is offering a $40,000 bonus and a $50,000 mortgage payment to anyone who will sign up for eight years.
Perhaps a re-write of the Army's handbook for recruiters is in order. According to the New York Times, the little-known guide, "School Recruiting Program Handbook" offers such gems as, "Don't forget the (high school) administrative staff... Have something to give them (pen, calendar, cup, donuts, etc.) and always remember secretary's week, with a card or flowers." Touching.
* * *
The Michael Jackson trial finally is over, so now what? To keep the public distracted, Jeb Bush is calling for an investigation of Michael Schiavo, claiming he took too long to call 911 after his wife Terri collapsed in 1990. The Bush Brothers had done everything short of tearing up the Constitution to block the court-ordered removal of her feeding tube, claiming her condition could improve.
The recent autopsy put an end to that fantasy, describing her brain as withered to half its normal size, that no treatment could have remotely improved her condition and that she, in fact, was blind when she died. While most of her supporters were back-peddling, Jeb had decided that the best defense was a good offense, asking Florida state attorney Bernie McCabe to open an investigation. McCabe, a Republican, has agreed.
Jeb seems to think he could (or should) be the next president, a distinct possibility as long as we keep using the paper-less arcade machines that can be manipulated by any high school hacker. A House resolution, sponsored by New Jersey Democrat Rush Holt is the only hope for saving democracy at this point. The bill, H.R. 550, would require paper trails and random audits of the machines' vote count and would ban the use of undisclosed software. However, it needs Republican support to pass. OOPS.
* * *
Christian Conservatives are gearing up for the Big Smear campaign against Hillary, who is up for re-election next year and may run for president in 2008, by pushing a new attack book, "The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She'll Go To Become President." If the title isn't tedious enough, the publisher, Sentinel, has compared the book to one written by the Swift Boat Veterans, a group that lied about the service record of John Kerry in the 2004 presidential race.
Kerry was slow to respond, but Hillary doesn't seem to have that problem. "There has never been an administrationÉmore intent upon consolidating and abusing power to further their own agenda," she recently told supporters at a re-election fund-raiser. "It's very hard to stop people who have no shame about what they're doingÉIt is very hard to stop people who have never been acquainted with the truth."
* * *
In case you're not worried or distracted enough yet, you're probably one of 400 million credit card holders whose information was stolen by computer hackers. Fear not. If your card has a large balance, you can buy it back on the Internet for $200.
Coastal Post Home Page