(November 29, 2004)
John Steppling's Review of Swans' November 15 Edition [Ed. A quick word of appreciation for the folks/friends/comrades on Marxmail. Big John sent me a file created on a Linux/Unix machine using the Openoffice suite and saved it as a Unix file. Obviously, I was unable to open it in my M$ Windows environment. A quick post to Marxmail with a request for help...and within minutes the file that had originated in a bookstore in Krakow, Poland and had been retrieved in California, went all the way to New Zealand, New York, and Chicago, before coming back to me in text and word format... That's both the power of the Internet and of solidarity!]
To the Editor:
My previous favorite oxymoron was military intelligence, but now, thanks to Joel Wendland, it's a principled democratic party. Is Joel really serious? Maybe this is a good quick segue to Louis Proyect's very good study of American organized crime and its current fashionable TV branding, The Sopranos. Or better. Philip Greenspan's excellent look at the reality of electoral politics. All those who want to "reform" the Democratic Party, pay attention, this counts against your final grade.
Greenspan's main position is that micro changes won't work -- the system itself needs to be tossed out like rancid soup and an entirely new system put in place. I strongly agree. THIS SYSTEM DOESN'T WORK. Mr. Wendland, and many others, continue to paddle in circles, looking to tweak this party knob or adjust the setting on the DNC or just organize more in the backroom of the food co-op after closing time. I've watched this sort of futility for a long while...always with good people, serious people, and compassionate people...but it won't work. Greenspan points out that "not" voting may well be the most effective position to take these days. It will put you in a majority movement to begin with...and it also carries a kind of dignity. Don't play against the house when the deck is marked.
Proyect's article makes a number of good historical points relating to the relationship between organized crime and the major US political parties -- especially those principled democrats. My only complaint with his analysis has to do with the actual critique of this post modern crime family series. HBO seems to have been embraced by its target demographic...liberal well-educated white folks...with a bit of money (to spend on cable TV). It's easy to be seduced by series like The Sopranos and Six Feet Under, and both are, in different ways, quite good, and, needless to say, much better than most studio product or network TV. However, they are a far cry from the Playhouse 90 days (or the other much forgotten dramatic series of the 1950s). Those shows were anthologies of course, but were also individual efforts that suffered no compromises from the advertisers of the day, and when seen now are breathtakingly serious and articulate. Only the first season of Cracker (in the U.K.) when Jimmie McGovern was writing it, was as good. Watch that and then watch the Sopranos, and you'll see just how corporately mediated the HBO material really is. The Sopranos eclipses most of the opposition these days, but it still carries the softening genes of modern media compromise -- the humor, and the slight sanitizing effect of the high concept conceits on which the show is predicated, surface often enough to make one long for Jack Palance in Requiem for a Heavyweight. That original version is stark and ugly and painfully truthful -- and it still gives me the psychic heebie-jeebies when I watch it...something that HBO has yet to do.
Joe Davison's piece is full of pertinent material to file away. The numbers of dead children in the third world (from preventable disease and hunger) is a good example. The pillage of the developing world (a phrase I am finding funnier and funnier) is conducted not by marauding hordes but by the business elite who patrol the corridors of the IMF, World Bank, and the rest of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs). These are the favorites of the Clinton liberals -- the Soros gangsters who masquerade as benevolent paternal helpers (makes me think, again, of Arundhati Roy and so much of her recent criticism) and the do-gooder nice guy colonialists who write for the New York Review of Books (NYRB) and the New York Times. Until the reality Davison describes can be understood by the general public (sic), the charade of party politics will continue. We will keep listening to the blathering of liberal pundits and the utterly compromised rhetoric of folks like Samantha Power (read her latest on Rwanda in the NYRB for an object lesson in intellectual lobotomy). The system doesn't work. Poor people die and suffer while the rich get richer. Bigotry and ignorance seem badges of honor and the practice of scapegoating is the favorite indoor sport for most Americans. So, file away Davison's piece and re-read it again on the first of every month. It will remind you how many more children have died for entirely unnecessary reasons.
I am glad to see my old friend Charles Marowitz writing here at SWANS. A pillar of theatrical intelligence and insight during our years in Los Angeles, Marowitz remains a man worth listening to on all matters cultural. His review nicely outlines the role of wit and humor in this age of darkness and...well...witlessness.
Milo Clark's article on, among other things, passions, is a bit confusing to me. Clark's quick sketch of political history in the U.S. seems mostly right -- except I have this lingering sense of apology for the Democratic Party. He, for instance, calls Clinton a paradox. Hmmm? Clinton bombed Belgrade, the Sudan, and capped welfare spending so he could escalate defense spending. A paradox? I don't think so. This illusion is so threadbare at this point, so obviously incorrect that I wonder why anyone on the left still soft sells this hustler from the Ozarks. We could talk about that execution in Arkansas too, and well....geez, the list goes on and on and on. I won't bore you all with it...but Clinton's crime bill, all by itself, ought to put the lie to "paradox." There was and is nothing paradoxical about Bill or Hillary. The paradox is why smart guys like Clark won't see what he really is. Then again, perhaps I misread Clark on this one....and I do find Clark's mention of Reich at the end of his piece quite pertinent. The repression and hysteria of our current culture makes one shudder -- and the hysteria comes from both sides, not just the far right. It's a good time to dip into Reich again, as the rise of the uber super ego (so to speak) seems in no way to be slowing down. Zealotry of all stripes is not healthy.
Gilles' blips take on, as usual, an assortment of topics. I found the discussion of water profits the most interesting. That 34,000 people die each day due to diseases of insanitation is one of those stark statistics (like many of Davison's) that cause one to stop dead still and take a long slow breath. Our fearless leader asks how it is our species can seemingly accept such catastrophe. It's an important question...and one that leads us right back to Milo Clark's piece, and Greenspan's and Davison's. It is the un-health -- what Reich called the emotional plague, that deserves attention here. As this year of unreality winds down I suspect a good many of us are pondering questions like the one Gilles asks. The intellectual and spiritual paralysis of our society is all too obvious, and the wanton narcissism (again, on both sides of the political aisle) and venality are so entrenched that I find myself longing, at times, for a cave in Nepal...or maybe just an abandoned mine in the Ukraine, to go sit in and waste away. America as a culture makes me feel only shame, only disgust. Bush or Kerry? Satan in Falluja, and a corporate media that LIES openly each and every day. Shame and disgust.
Phil Rockstroh and Richard Macintosh (and again, get better Richard! [ed. Richard has had to revisit the hospital with continuing heart problems.]) both give us their usual excellent analysis (and read the Debs quote at the end of Richard's piece!!)-- but...
...I fear I must close... Anna and I moved this week, and moving is always a trauma. A nicer flat closer to the quiet flowing Wisla, but my life surrounds me in boxes and I still have no phone and am typing this at the English language bookstore my friends own. There is close to a foot of snow on the ground...and I am cooking a goose for Thanksgiving, but I left it out on the sink, and suddenly realize Boris might have gotten hungry in my absence...
...So it's time to get home.
Krakow, Poland - November 24, 2004
[ed. Steppling is a LA playwright (Rockefeller fellow, NEA recipient, and PEN-West winner) and screenwriter (most recent was Animal Factory directed by Steve Buscemi). He is currently living in Poland where he teaches at the National Film School in Lodz.]
Regarding Eli Beckerman's Help Is On The Way: Implications Of A Stolen ElectionTo the Editor:
Good article -- You mentioned pouring campaign $$$ into their own press organization. There is one small paper that still brings truth to light. It's American Free Press, formerly know as the Spotlight. I've subscribed for 15 years. Best game in town for a real paper. Thanks and keep up the good work.
Houston, Texas, USA - November 15, 2004
To the Editor:
"The masses, uninspired, followed as well. But as they recently found out, help was not on the way. All the money that they poured in, wasted in ad-buys on the same corporate media that refuse to cover the voting irregularities, might have instead built an alternative press." I really agree that this is the way forward. But not "alternative" press: buy one of the big 3 TV channels I say.
Lynne Benckendorff (US citizen)
London, U.K. - November 15, 2004
Eli Beckerman's article on "Implications Of A Stolen Election" strikes a chord of disdain felt by myself and many of my colleagues. It is a matter of great concern to most of us that the record turnout of voters in Ohio, Massachusetts and other bastions of Democratic strongholds would succumb to such previously unknown numbers of votes for the "election" of the current administration without question or public clamor. If we observe more votes than voters, should we simply smile and say, "Vote, and vote often?" How can the votes always add up to 100% of the electorate when so many votes have been rejected for one reason or another, unmailed absentee ballots, or simply not counted?
Incomprehensible, if not impossible, some would say. Others, like Mr. Beckerman, came to the immediate and justifiable conclusion that our system of vote "counting" leaves no doubt that fraud, manipulation, coercion, intimidation and felonious larceny has run amok throughout the "land of the free and the home of the brave." Strangely enough, there are laws and rules on the books that deal with voter fraud, but only on the level of the voter, not those running the voting system and more specifically the counting of votes. Those who may be unfortunate enough to be in the heretofore unknown territory of vote manipulation would be immune from prosecution as there are no laws to violate. What few laws exist with respect to the voter are at the State level. Is it just a coincidence that those in power continuously shun any attempt to place comprehensive laws on the books requiring those charged with the responsibility to conduct vote counting to operate within specific guidelines? Is it just a coincidence that three critical hours of vote tabulation in Ohio are missing from the most powerful computer in the State which was run by a civilian contractor from Texas without supervision of a neutral observer or media representative?
The stirring of the honey-bucket of "truth and lies" usually allows the stench of fraud to engulf those with only the average sense of smell.
In this instance, stirring is not necessary as the putrid odor of egregious strong arm tactics has immersed itself into the authority of the Constitution and blocked the sweet fragrance to our sense of normalcy. Did not Stalin utter the words; "It is not who votes that counts, but rather who counts the votes"?
The "voting" of 2004 joins the other travesties of justice accepted and condoned by our electorate and elected. The status quo of our so called election system and our system of justice have become corrupt without recourse. But why should we be surprised when the soon to be ex-Attorney General has refused for the past three years to address the crimes of treason in wartime and conspiracy to obstruct justice in a capital murder case to cover-up the treason? It is duly noted that thousands of US Attorneys had been dispatched to "observe" the voting procedures in various States, but to what avail?
The passive reaction to those who ran for the Democratic Ticket is incomprehensible to those of us who expected at least cries of "Foul!" and "Fraud!" Was the promise of "every vote will be counted" just part of the ruse? The silence has created a vacuum resulting in this preordained exercise to become a charade. Is that not what has occurred here; the American Public quietly accepting the fraud of the voting mechanism?
No public clamor. No hue and cry. The corruption of our voting hood-wink amidst the ongoing treason resulting in preemptive attacks on sovereign nations justified by fabricated "intelligence" provided by those who served at the pleasure of the president only now to be forced from office in the Intelligence Community brings the "plan" full circle. Plausible deniability rears its ugly head once more. Let's rid ourselves of those disgruntled leadership positions of CIA and State Department officials who are the silent "fall guys" whose untimely exposure of the fraud of the Iraqi War will be met with admonitions of sour grapes to late whistle blowers. Credibility be damned! Their "disloyalty" to Bush, albeit in the secret, compartmented channels, in providing immediate questions of concern over the legitimacy of the processed "intelligence" offered by those sources with highly questionable motives has ultimately resulted in their removal from career positions of responsibility. Those in the know are dangerous to the exposure of corruption and fraudulent acts resulting in treason, the usurping of the Constitution and the virtual annihilation of the possibility for Congressional Restraint of unbridled preemptive acts of war. This proves the point: "It is dangerous to be right when your government is wrong" --Voltaire.
Roll over, America. You have just taken it in the shorts. And now that the music has ended, the blood baths have begun and the public clamor has been stifled. These are times reminiscent of the shades of Europe, 1933, when those who dared to question the absolutely obvious facts that a country was going to hell in a handbag of illusions, skullduggery and out right fraud were met with the original "Patriot Act."
Once again, those who have raised the voices of concern over the War in Iraq and the so-called "election" will be shouted down as we were during and after the War in Vietnam: "Forget about it! It's over. Get over it! That's old news! Stay in the middle of the road! Get on the team!" It wasn't until more than twenty years later that the truth about the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was exposed. Had that information been made available via such a system as the Internet back then, certainly the rally would have been effective against the advance to the conflict in South East Asia.
Our Country right or wrong? Is our arrogance dangerous? Who's to challenge us, the only Super Power?
Otherwise, we are witness to the erosion of our alleged position as leader of the "Free World," the glue that brings the cohesiveness to nations of truth, the demise of the bastion of world democracy and the fearsome and unbridled evolution of the aggressor nation.
The following is a reality check from the remarks of former Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, acting as lead prosecutor before the Nuremberg International War Crimes Tribunal in 1946:
"WE MUST NEVER FORGET THAT THE RECORD ON WHICH WE JUDGE THESE DEFENDANTS TODAY IS THE RECORD ON WHICH HISTORY WILL JUDGE US TOMORROW."
Dare we face the music and challenge the wolves of war who would rid us of our Rights? Or will we dance as a nation of sheep and follow this Judas Goat to the slaughterhouse of the tyrant?
God Bless America might very well evolve into May God Forgive America.
It was easy to say "No!" before the war but now it requires moral courage to have the people speak out against the blatant and unrelenting effects of the so called Patriot Act I. The Amendment to the precancerous effects of Patriot Act I is Patriot Act II. Both are virtual copies of the "Reichstagsbrandverordnung," followed by the "Ermächtigungsgesetz;" two connected Enabling Laws of Hitler's attempt to thwart all previous Rights and Privileges of the German people which ultimately created the requirement of neighbor spying on neighbor for the State and ultimately voided the Weimarer Verfassung (Constitution). The fear factor of terrorism and Communism was drilled into the population with the expected results. Can anyone say, déjà vu?
The creation and passage of the above law and the Patriot Act I was voted into law without those voting having hardly read the document, much less debate it due to time constraints. The time frame of the passage of the Enabling Law in Germany in 1933 after the Reichstagsbrand (Fire) equates to the time frame of the passage of the Patriot Act I after 9/11. This is no coincidence because the time necessary for the compilation of the Patriot Act required it to be written well before 9/11. The script must have been written beforehand and adjusted to the final version passed within 6 weeks, on October 24, 2001. http://www.epic.org/privacy/terrorism/hr3162.html You may refer to the following draft of Patriot Act II, below, for comparison to the Enabling Laws above. http://www.pbs.org/now/politics/patriot2-hi.pdf
Who should know better of the evolution of these laws than George Bush? Grandfather Prescott Bush and George Herbert Walker supported Hitler during the period when the Enabling Laws were quickly pushed though the parliamentary process in 1933. It worked once, why not again? (--> Trading With The Enemy Act, http://www.lpdallas.org/features/draheim/dr991216.htm, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,100474,00.html).
This application for the removal of Civil Rights and the eradication of the Constitution of Germany worked so well, it has been duplicated by the passing of the Patriot Act. Even the title of this effort to erode the Constitution smacks of obvious propaganda as there is nothing patriotic in its concept nor its intended purpose. What lurks within the framework of this Act is unmitigated treachery.
Approval of Patriot Act II would disallow the questioning of voting irregularities, the eradication of the Posse Comitatus Act, the enactment of Marshall Law and the end to life and freedom as we know it. We would become the land of the enslaved, unable to question authority of any kind and at the mercy of those enforcing the will of a tyrant. The jackbooted thugs of our worst dreams would become a reality like Waco and Ruby Ridge and our Constitution moot, a relic of the past, a memory to be eradicated and eventually stamped out of existence thereby allowing one party rule similar to the Nazi system.
The removal of Civil Liberties and other inalienable rights makes a mockery of our Constitution which would read more like the rules in George Orwell's Animal Farm. Additionally, the new enactment and interpretation of the laws of justice and their application in dealing with so-called "tribunals" as an instrument in dealing with terrorism would further erode the legitimacy of all courts. Orwell would be so proud.
Mr. Beckerman writes of the necessity to rebuild America. Certainly we can do that, but only after we recognize the erroneously contrived conditions mentioned above and remedy them by necessary means.
Los Angeles, California, USA - November 16, 2004
To the Editor:
Regarding Eli Beckerman's "Help in on the Way," I would like to fax this to Kerry and Edwards...
Simply put, and well put, I might add. It would be great that those two read your words which express the voices of at least 48 million people. I would add nothing or subtract nothing.
Dennis Sagwitz (Registered to vote in Boston, MA)
Quebec, Canada - November 17, 2004
[Ed. Please, go ahead, fax the article to these two idiots.]
To the Editor:
It is now after the election and the thing that troubles me is that not only did Kerry concede too soon, but the whole Democratic apparatus is taking no part in the investigations of Republican fraud.
The Democrats are questioning the 15 million dollar nest-egg that Kerry has that was not spent on the election. They want it to help Congressional candidates. Black Box Voting is not a bunch of conspiracy theory nuts, nor either is the University of California Berkeley group of statisticians that says that 200,000 Florida votes were not counted. With the exception of Keith Olbermann, who is getting a lot of heat, the media is ignoring the fact that the web is steaming with charges of a stolen election. The American people are being railroaded by a phony wrestling match. Both political parties get their money from the same source. As usual Nader was right as he has always been right.
John H. St. John
Spring Valley, California, USA - November 21, 2004
Conspiracies galore : Milo Clark's What Are We Seeing?To the Editor:
Like millions I observed WTC towers collapse. However from day one free fall of buildings reminded me too much of planned demolition as often witnessed on TV.Therefore to this day I have been examining most sites on net. I have written dozens of personal letters asking pertinent applicable questions. Strangely without any evidential researched replies whatsoever. I wrote twice to ASCE; surely it would have been just plain courteous to reply. Some years later more folks are starting to question demonstrable obfuscation by Bush cabal. Surely; insurance companies, developers, builders, architects, elevator, building material suppliers, steel corps., banks, fire authorities, etc., etc., etc. would like to know the resultant facts relating to this major catastrophe. Consequently hundreds of questions will not be given the light of day. Until these matters are addressed more questions will arise forevermore -- e.g. why did WTC # 7 implode in free fall? Why has not Silverstein been questioned? Please explain the lack of a discernible Boeing 757 wreckage at the Pentagon? Why has DNA of some 60 odd Pentagon victims been established whence engines vanished? How can Boeing profile penetrate 3 rings of Pentagon in ARROW like trajectory exiting circular hole? Observing low hit Pentagon outer wall, please estimate the height the plane was at, prior to the strike, taking into consideration that the engine pods are located below wings. Not one skid mark on the Pentagon lawn... Most people believe what has been conveyed by the media & the "authorities," without personal critical examination. WHILST SECRECY PREVAILS, DEMOCRACY WITHERS & FAILS.
Sydney, NSW, Australia - November 15, 2004
Another fan of Bruce Anderson: Gilles d'Aymery's Bruce Anderson's AVA Oregon!Mr. d'Aymery:
And, if justice has any redeemable meaning in this disintegrating country and doomed culture, he'll get Mike Sweeney for the murder of Judi Bari. You can count on it!Wanna bet? Only an idiot who relies on Bruce Anderson for "facts" would write that Judi Bari was murdered. She died in her own home of breast cancer in 1997, surrounded by family and close friends.
Anderson conducted a famous vendetta against Bari after she called him a misogynist and stopped writing for the AVA. He put her down and belittled her when he wrote about her death, and so did his pal Cockburn, who wrote "Cancer nailed poor Judi Bari."
Anderson pretends to be a socialist, and postures as "lefter than thou," but in his actions and his writing he's to the right of Rush Limbaugh. He boasted in print in the AVA that he called the FBI and invited them to come see him for some helpful hints about beating Bari's lawsuit, and according to Anderson, they came to see him. Is that the mark of the true socialist, calling the FBI to offer helpful hints on how to defeat your former friend whom they tried to frame as a terrorist bomber?
We don't know if the FBI really did come to Boonville to talk to him, because the AVA has never been a reliable source of facts. Anderson said in a sworn declaration filed in a libel suit against him that he didn't have time to check facts. He has also said in writing that he's not familiar with the Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics, and he's proud of that ignorance.
There's really nothing Anderson likes better than to get attention and feel important. He writes off the top of his head, reporting half-remembered rumors as hard fact, not caring if he's right or wrong, or who he hurts, and acting like it's his victims' responsibility to demand correction if he's wrong. He's a bully, a blowhard, and the poster boy for irresponsible journalism.
Mendocino, California, USA - November 15, 2004
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