Saturday, January 01, 2005

9/11 Was Anticipated by the Bush Administration 

And I don't mean the usual "they brought it on themselves" relating to Bush and Rumsfeld helping Saddam during his genocidal days in the mid-80's. Rather, I refer to the fact that the 9/11 attacks were expected, welcomed and exaggerated (if not planned) by the Bush Administration.

First came the ready-to-ship Patriot Act:

Many people do not know that the USA PATRIOT Act was already written and ready to go long before September 11th. Recent criticism of Bush's admission that he had received warnings only weeks before September 11th has made it more important to understand the origins of the USAPA. The USA PATRIOT Act - the so-called "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001," a.k.a. the USAPA -- was enacted in the immediate wake of 9/11, riding a wave of fear that spread over the nation. This Act has caused much concern amongst civil rights advocates. The Administration, however, responded to such concerns by calling critics unpatriotic. Now, the White House has had a similar response to critics of Bush's recent admission of early warnings.

Some will go to calling the entire 9/11 attacks a hoax:

See http://www.serendipity.li/wot/911_a_hoax.htm

Or see the article asking these questions:

And there are many more troubling questions. For example:

What are the odds that all the "black box" flight recorders were damaged beyond use?

Why did the south tower of the World Trade Center collapse first, when it was not as extensively damaged as the North Tower which burned for almost an hour and a half before collapsing?

Why did the destruction of the towers appear like a controlled implosion?

Why did many witnesses claim to hear other explosions within the buildings?

Why were the alleged hijackers' names not on the passenger lists?

Why are several alleged hijackers reported to be still alive?

Why did one of the alleged hijackers take luggage on a suicide flight, then leave the luggage and an incriminating note in his car at the airport?

Why did the seat numbers of the hijackers, given in a cell phone call from Flight Attendant Madeline Amy Sweeney to Boston Air Traffic Control, not match the seats occupied by the men the FBI claims were responsible?

Why were none of the attacking planes intercepted?

How did the terrorists obtain top-secret White House and Air Force One codes and signals--the stated reason for not returning President Bush promptly to Washington on September 11?
Finally, and very significantly, why does the U.S. not hold hearings on these questions, when it would serve the U.S. objective of keeping Americans focused on the "war on terrorism?"

Besides the alleged hijackers, others may have had the means, motive, and opportunity to carry out the attacks of September 11. Indeed, reports indicate that the Israel, and possibly, the U.S. armed forces could have played a role.

However, I do not aim to set up all of 9/11 as a conspiracy in this blog. This seems to be covered elsewhere, and I will instead focus on the little sister to the Twin Towers, the mysterious and unexplained Pentagon attack. Why the Pentagon? Why not the White House or the Capital? Why not the Sears Tower, for that matter?

As it turns out, the need for a "Pearl Harbor" like attack demanded an attack on a US military base, as outlined by PNAC on http://www.bushpresident2004.com/pnac.htm:

The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) is a Washington think-tank founded in 1997 to advance the power and influence of the United States throughout the world. The ideological birth of PNAC was a February 1992 draft document entitled "Defense Planning Guidance" authored by Paul Wolfowitz, then working for President George H.W. Bush's Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney as Under Secretary for Policy.

PNAC outlined the need:

PNAC's vision is detailed in its September 2000 report entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century." Among other suggestions, this report calls for the United States to:

Withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, stop the reduction of nuclear missiles, develop new nuclear weapons, and deploy a national missile defense system.

Increase defense spending to a minimum 3.8 percent of gross domestic product (up from the 3 percent spent at the time of the report).

"Fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars" as a "core mission."
Warns that "we cannot allow North Korea, Iran, Iraq or similar states to undermine American leadership," and American military preeminence rests on the ability to "[remove] a dangerous and hostile regime when necessary."

Keep all peacekeeping and rebuilding missions within the power of American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations.

Use key allies, such as the U.K., as the "most effective and efficient means of exercising American global leadership."

Take military control of the Persian Gulf region through the establishment of permanent bases.

Take control of cyberspace, otherwise "[America] will find it difficult to exert global political leadership."

In this 2000 report, PNAC predicted this more assertive defense policy would come about slowly, unless there were "some catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor."

More on PNAC can be obtained at: http://home.earthlink.net/~platter/neo-conservatism/pnac.html

The Pentagon attack, apparently, was to be the new Pearl Harbor. So, instead of a 757, who knows what actually hit the Pentagon to complete the "sneak attack"? Indymedia, as usual, provides a provocative article on the Pentagon "attack":


Clearly, this could not have been a Boeing 757. It was either a missile or a much smaller craft. Until Bush is out of office, we will never know. And even then, the evidence may have been whitewashed away. The "perfect holes" in the "D" and "C" rings of the Pentagon are beyond explanation...certainly nothing like what happened in the Twin Towers.

My opinion, for what it's worth, is that the Pentagon was attacked, most likely by an advanced technology-based missile (I give them credit for trying to hit the part that was "under construction" to minimize the loss of lives), to provide a military target to complement the business target (Twin Towers) hit earlier (most likely by the Al Qaeda, probably without direct US government involvement). It certainly looks bad, doesn't it?

Why isn't more being done to explain the Pentagon attack? We're all living with wool over our eyes.


Sweden's 9/11 

Sweden, a nation with 9 million people (one for every 30 in the USA), has lost more people to the tsunami than the USA lost in 9/11.

There are more than 3,000 visitors from Sweden among the missing in Thailand, and the Scandinavian nation is braced for what could be the worst natural disaster toll in its history.

All told, the tsunami has killed a much more substantial percentage of the world's people than the 9/11 attacks did of the people in the USA! Plus, as the next blog will show, the 9/11 attacks may not even have killed as many as we have heard.

The tsunami merits a huge relief effort. The USA has spent $500 Billion in response to 9/11. The tsunami relief merits a similar response.


The Harmer in the Dell 

Michael Dell continues to amaze us with his cozy relationship with "W":

The $250,000 donors also include former Enron president Richard Kinder of Houston; Dell Computer founder Michael Dell of Austin, Texas; United Technologies Corp.; the Little Rock, Ark.-based investments firm, Stephens Group Inc., and Sallie Mae Inc., the Reston, Va.-based organization that makes student loans.

Hmmm. You need to grease the wheels when you're running a company with no core intellectual property and an outsource-only model. Also, when you're the Fortune 500 company with the largest percent of your current share price valuation based on new investments (see Christensen and Raynor, "The Innovator's Solution", p. 6), you'd better continue to keep the powers-that-be happy. Gosh, I wish I could be mentioned in the same breath as Enron, too, Mr. Dell. Maybe Dell will be the next Enron.

Of course, this may spread to HP...at least according to one prediction:

The Hewlett-Packard (HPQ, news, msgs) board ousts Chief Executive Carly Fiorina and replaces her with a former top executive at Dell (DELL, news, msgs). The new management team pares down the production and distribution infrastructure, revamps sales and marketing and produces a comeback in just six quarters. Growing acknowledgment that the change is working catches investors by surprise, but the stock ultimately becomes a leading name in the Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) for 2005.

I, for one, hope HP looks at the following site first before deciding to Do The Dell:



Thursday, December 30, 2004

Framing The Fight Against Terrorism 

Chris in Mydd called for the Democrats to abandon the frame "War on Terror." He argued that the "War on Terror" is a Republican construct and any attempt to address terrorism within the construct basically concedes the issue to Republicans no matter the attempt to make it a Democratic strength. All Democrats do is reinforce the frame and strengthen the Republicans on this issue and national security in general. What he didn't do is suggest an alternative frame.

Democrats from the beginning should have argued "The Fight Against Terrorism" within the "Criminal Justice" frame. The U.S. deals with domestic terrorists, abortion bombers and the Timothy McVeighs, within this frame. Why the difference with Osama and friends? Terrorism, whether domestic or international, is an expression of idealogy through the illegitimate use of deadly force to instill fear and panic in the civilian population. Terrorism, as an continuous threat to society, rightly belongs within the confines of criminal justice. Osama is a criminal, nothing more.

The distressing aspect of this situation is that the Democrats have not only failed to frame this to their advantage, but they have also even failed to use the "War in Terrorism" frame to any benefit. They should have used it to address anti-abortion and white supremacy violence and make Bush uncomfortable in the process.


Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Rapture 

More than a Blondie song, it's what the religious right whose coup d'etat has them currently in control of the nuclear arsenal of the US believes...according to Bill Moyers:

Writing in Mother Jones recently, Bill described how the problems we journalists routinely cover - conventional, manageable programs like budget shortfalls and pollution - may be about to convert to chaotic, unpredictable, unmanageable situations. The most unmanageable of all, he writes, could be the accelerating deterioration of the environment, creating perils with huge momentum like the greenhouse effect that is causing the melt of the arctic to release so much freshwater into the North Atlantic that even the Pentagon is growing alarmed that a weakening gulf stream could yield abrupt and overwhelming changes, the kind of changes that could radically alter civilizations.

That's one challenge we journalists face - how to tell such a story without coming across as Cassandras, without turning off the people we most want to understand what's happening, who must act on what they read and hear.

As difficult as it is, however, for journalists to fashion a readable narrative for complex issues without depressing our readers and viewers, there is an even harder challenge - to pierce the ideology that governs official policy today. One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the oval office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington. Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but they are always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts.

Remember James Watt, President Reagan's first Secretary of the Interior? My favorite online environmental journal, the ever engaging Grist, reminded us recently of how James Watt told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, 'after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.'

Beltway elites snickered. The press corps didn't know what he was talking about. But James Watt was serious. So were his compatriots out across the country. They are the people who believe the Bible is literally true - one-third of the American electorate, if a recent Gallup poll is accurate. In this past election several million good and decent citizens went to the polls believing in the rapture index. That's right - the rapture index. Google it and you will find that the best-selling books in America today are the twelve volumes of the left-behind series written by the Christian fundamentalist and religious right warrior, Timothy LaHaye. These true believers subscribe to a fantastical theology concocted in the 19th century by a couple of immigrant preachers who took disparate passages from the Bible and wove them into a narrative that has captivated the imagination of millions of Americans.

Its outline is rather simple, if bizarre (the British writer George Monbiot recently did a brilliant dissection of it and I am indebted to him for adding to my own understanding): once Israel has occupied the rest of its 'biblical lands,' legions of the anti-Christ will attack it, triggering a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. As the Jews who have not been converted are burned, the messiah will return for the rapture. True believers will be lifted out of their clothes and transported to heaven, where, seated next to the right hand of God, they will watch their political and religious opponents suffer plagues of boils, sores, locusts, and frogs during the several years of tribulation that follow.

I'm not making this up. Like Monbiot, I've read the literature. I've reported on these people, following some of them from Texas to the West Bank. They are sincere, serious, and polite as they tell you they feel called to help bring the rapture on as fulfillment of biblical prophecy. That's why they have declared solidarity with Israel and the Jewish settlements and backed up their support with money and volunteers. It's why the invasion of Iraq for them was a warm-up act, predicted in the Book of Revelation where four angels 'which are bound in the great river Euphrates will be released to slay the third part of man.' A war with Islam in the Middle East is not something to be feared but welcomed - an essential conflagration on the road to redemption. The last time I Googled it, the rapture index stood at 144-just one point below the critical threshold when the whole thing will blow, the son of God will return, the righteous will enter heaven, and sinners will be condemned to eternal hellfire.

So what does this mean for public policy and the environment? Go to Grist to read a remarkable work of reporting by the journalist, Glenn Scherer - 'the road to environmental apocalypse. Read it and you will see how millions of Christian fundamentalists may believe that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded but actually welcomed - even hastened - as a sign of the coming apocalypse.

As Grist makes clear, we're not talking about a handful of fringe lawmakers who hold or are beholden to these beliefs. Nearly half the U.S. Congress before the recent election - 231 legislators in total - more since the election - are backed by the religious right. Forty-five senators and 186 members of the 108th congress earned 80 to 100 percent approval ratings from the three most influential Christian right advocacy groups. They include Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Assistant Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Conference Chair Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Policy Chair Jon Kyl of Arizona, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and Majority Whip Roy Blunt. The only Democrat to score 100 percent with the Christian coalition was Senator Zell Miller of Georgia, who recently quoted from the biblical book of Amos on the senate floor: "the days will come, sayeth the Lord God, that i will send a famine in the land.' He seemed to be relishing the thought.

And why not? There's a constituency for it. A 2002 TIME/CNN poll found that 59 percent of Americans believe that the prophecies found in the Book of Revelation are going to come true. Nearly one-quarter think the Bible predicted the 9/11 attacks. Drive across the country with your radio tuned to the more than 1,600 Christian radio stations or in the motel turn some of the 250 Christian TV stations and you can hear some of this end-time gospel. And you will come to understand why people under the spell of such potent prophecies cannot be expected, as Grist puts it, "to worry about the environment. Why care about the earth when the droughts, floods, famine and pestilence brought by ecological collapse are signs of the apocalypse foretold in the Bible? Why care about global climate change when you and yours will be rescued in the rapture? And why care about converting from oil to solar when the same God who performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes can whip up a few billion barrels of light crude with a word?"

Because these people believe that until Christ does return, the lord will provide. One of their texts is a high school history book, America's Providential History. You'll find there these words: "the secular or socialist has a limited resource mentality and views the world as a pie…that needs to be cut up so everyone can get a piece.' however, "[t]he Christian knows that the potential in God is unlimited and that there is no shortage of resources in God's earth……while many secularists view the world as overpopulated, Christians know that God has made the earth sufficiently large with plenty of resources to accommodate all of the people." No wonder Karl Rove goes around the White House whistling that militant hymn, "Onward Christian Soldiers." He turned out millions of the foot soldiers on November 2, including many who have made the apocalypse a powerful driving force in modern American politics.

I can see in the look on your faces just how had it is for the journalist to report a story like this with any credibility. So let me put it on a personal level. I myself don't know how to be in this world without expecting a confident future and getting up every morning to do what I can to bring it about. So I have always been an optimist. Now, however, I think of my friend on Wall Street whom I once asked: "What do you think of the market?" "I'm optimistic," he answered. "Then why do you look so worried?" And he answered: "Because I am not sure my optimism is justified."

I'm not, either. Once upon a time I agreed with Eric Chivian and the Center for Health and the Global Environment that people will protect the natural environment when they realize its importance to their health and to the health and lives of their children. Now I am not so sure. It's not that I don't want to believe that - it's just that I read the news and connect the dots:

I read that the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has declared the election a mandate for President Bush on the environment. This for an administration that wants to rewrite the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act protecting rare plant and animal species and their habitats, as well as the National Environmental Policy Act that requires the government to judge beforehand if actions might damage natural resources.

That wants to relax pollution limits for ozone; eliminate vehicle tailpipe inspections; and ease pollution standards for cars, sports utility vehicles and diesel-powered big trucks and heavy equipment.

That wants a new international audit law to allow corporations to keep certain information about environmental problems secret from the public.

That wants to drop all its new-source review suits against polluting coal-fired power plans and weaken consent decrees reached earlier with coal companies.

That wants to open the arctic wildlife refuge to drilling and increase drilling in Padre Island National Seashore, the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world and the last great coastal wild land in America.

I read the news just this week and learned how the Environmental Protection Agency had planned to spend nine million dollars - $2 million of it from the administration's friends at the American Chemistry Council - to pay poor families to continue to use pesticides in their homes. These pesticides have been linked to neurological damage in children, but instead of ordering an end to their use, the government and the industry were going to offer the families $970 each, as well as a camcorder and children's clothing, to serve as guinea pigs for the study.
I read all this in the news.

I read the news just last night and learned that the administration's friends at the international policy network, which is supported by ExxonMobil and others of like mind, have issued a new report that climate change is 'a myth, sea levels are not rising, scientists who believe catastrophe is possible are 'an embarrassment.

I not only read the news but the fine print of the recent appropriations bill passed by Congress, with the obscure (and obscene) riders attached to it: a clause removing all endangered species protections from pesticides; language prohibiting judicial review for a forest in Oregon; a waiver of environmental review for grazing permits on public lands; a rider pressed by developers to weaken protection for crucial habitats in California.

I read all this and look up at the pictures on my desk, next to the computer - pictures of my grandchildren: Henry, age 12; of Thomas, age 10; of Nancy, 7; Jassie, 3; Sara Jane, nine months. I see the future looking back at me from those photographs and I say, 'Father, forgive us, for we know not what we do.' And then I am stopped short by the thought: 'That's not right. We do know what we are doing. We are stealing their future. Betraying their trust. Despoiling their world.'

And I ask myself: Why? Is it because we don't care? Because we are greedy? Because we have lost our capacity for outrage, our ability to sustain indignation at injustice?
What has happened to out moral imagination?

On the heath Lear asks Gloucester: 'How do you see the world?" And Gloucester, who is blind, answers: "I see it feelingly.'"

I see it feelingly.

The news is not good these days. I can tell you, though, that as a journalist, I know the news is never the end of the story. The news can be the truth that sets us free - not only to feel but to fight for the future we want. And the will to fight is the antidote to despair, the cure for cynicism, and the answer to those faces looking back at me from those photographs on my desk. What we need to match the science of human health is what the ancient Israelites called 'hocma' - the science of the heart…..the capacity to see….to feel….and then to act…as if the future depended on you.

Believe me, it does.

If this doesn't scare the Hell out of you, nothing will. My friends in Israel assure me this is true, and that they know all about it there.


Serves you right... 

I wanted to wait through the Holiday season for something good to happen in Iraq, but it's not in the cards.

For those of you who voted for Bush, go out and sign up for duty. It's only going to get worse. The situation is untenable everywhere throughout Iraq.

Bush is a war criminal and should be impeached and imprisoned.

And Saddam is going to go free. His WMDs can be traced to Bush senior and Rumsfeld. Another war crime. What a fiasco.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?