Saturday, October 02, 2004

A World of Cleavage 

Stare at these headlights for a good cause.

Fox Mimics News Times, Reports Bullshit Lies  

Using the New Times model (approved by scumbag Mike Lacey) of reporting pure bullshit as the truth, Fox TV fabricated quotes attributed to presidential candidate John Kerry yesterday.

Talking Points Memo, Oct. 2:

A few questions and points about Carl Cameron's Kerry-bashing fabrications on Fox, or A Guide for the Perplexed (media reporters) ...

1. How long did the fabricated quotes run on the Fox News website?

2. Fox News says Cameron has been 'reprimanded.'

Help Restore the Promise

How? Are there any consequences? What happened to him? How was he reprimanded? Fox spokesman Paul Schur, who first spoke to TPM yesterday afternoon, told The Daily News "We're simply moving on from this, we have no further comment." And that doesn't inspire a lot of confidence that the 'reprimand' is anything more than a 'Carl, Don't post any more fabricated quotes on the website.' Meanwhile, Schur declined to tell the LA Times what if any discipline Cameron faced.

3. Just for the sake of discussion, can there be any question that Carl Cameron has contempt and disdain for John Kerry -- contempt and disdain that he has great difficulty keeping a lid on?

4. Shouldn't Cameron be taken off the Kerry campaign beat? Assume for the moment that Cameron's fabricated story wasn't supposed to run on the site. If Cameron sits around writing up phony news stories only for Fox News colleagues which portray Kerry as a swishy fool, can he really credibly cover the campaign as a straight news reporter? The answer is obvious, I think. Of course, he can't.

5. Fox says Cameron made an "error" because of "fatigue and bad judgment." What was the error? Making up the fabricated quotes? Sending a Kerry-bashing parody around to colleagues at Fox News? Posting it on the website as a news story?

6. Did Cameron post the material to the site himself, not realizing there was a problem? Or did a tech person or editor at the website get a hold of Cameron's fabrications and post it not realizing it was a fabrication?

7. How tired is Carl Cameron and will Fox News be requiring him to get more sleep?

8. Why did comments very similar to Cameron's fabrications come up again and again from Fox commentators on debate night?

9. If CNN's John King posted a story on the CNN website with fabricated quotes that had the president joking about funneling money to Halliburton or telling a crowd how only saps went to Vietnam, what would the fall-out or consequences be? ...

[read more]

Watching the Gassing After the 2000 Presidential Debate  

Four years ago, during the presidential debate at Washington University, I was riding my bicycle home from work on Skinker Boulevard, when I came across a standoff between the police and demostrators at Forsyth and Skinker Boulevards in St. Louis.

The demonstrators had wanted to March down Forsyth, but had been halted by the cops. They were hemmed in, with riot-equipped St. Louis County cops and Missouri Highway patrol officers to the west and city cops to the east.

The situation lasted for hours. During the fracas, I overheard a young female St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter speak derisively of the demonstrators, claiming that their anti-globalization views and other issues were basically unfounded, pointless and ridiculous.

After the presidential debate on campus concluded and all the TV cameras disappeared, the police allowed the demonstrators to walk up Skinker to a church parking lot, where many of their cars were parked. When the dwindling number of demonstrators didn't disperse quickly enough to suit the city cops, the cops sprayed several of them with pepper spray directly in their faces. Most of those who were sprayed were young women.

This was the harbinger of the Bush II era: a biased, self-satisfied, right-wing press who ignored the issues and allowed police brutality to be committed without reporting it.

You see what we got since then? MORE OF THE SAME.

Friday, October 01, 2004

October 8 Coaliton Announces Plans 

MEDIA ALERT For Immediate Release
Attention: News Assignment
St. Louis October 8 Coalition
www.stlo8.org * info@stlo8.org

Betsy Reznicek, 314-605-1580
Art Friedrich, 314-359-2505

Take Back the Debate!

Events to Address Issues Ignored by Candidates
Teach-in, parade, and rally planned during St.
Louis Presidential Debate

ST. LOUIS, October 2004 – On October 8 the
Democratic and Republican presidential
candidates will participate in a debate in St.
Louis. The St. Louis October 8 Coalition is
planning a host of events to bring attention to
issues that are not being addressed by either
presidential campaign.

Organizers say the presidential candidates both
represent the interests of big-money donors and
large corporations instead of the interests of
the majority of Americans. Issues left out of
the debates that will be addressed in the
protest events include the increasing poverty
and joblessness in the country, the
ever-expanding prison system, the illegal war in
Iraq and other U.S. military interventions, and
the crimes committed by U.S. corporations in
Latin America and across the globe.

Groups planning the protests say the debates do
not represent real democracy because the voices
of ordinary people are excluded from the
process. They say the candidates hide behind
handpicked audiences and television cameras to
avoid answering questions about the continuing
decline of the middle and working classes and
the increasing costs of food, housing,
healthcare and education.

“We are kept out of the debates, so we have to
make our voices and issues heard in the
streets,” says Betsy, an organizer of the
protest events. “The candidates have nothing in
common with ordinary people and continue to
ignore the issues facing poor and working
communities in this country.”

Schedule of Events, Friday October 8

9 AM – 4 PM ~ Grace United Methodist Church ~
6199 Waterman
Workshops begin every hour

Parade for Real Democracy
4 PM ~ Beginning at Grace United Methodist
Church ~ 6199 Waterman

Rally Outside Debate Hall
5 PM ~ Northmoore Park ~ near Northmoore Drive
and South Big Bend Blvd.
Speakers: Reverand Al Smith of St. Paul's AME
Church, Chris McClarren, Michael Badnarik of the
Libertarian Party, David Cobb of the Green
Party, Sunfrog, and Brian Terrell
Musicians: Anna Roland, Ryan Harvey, JG, Evan
Greer, and David Rovics

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Top Ten Secrets of the So-Called Presidential Debates 

Brought to you by the purveyors of beer, dope and gambling.

NPR, Sept. 29:

1. Fortune 100 corporations are the main funders of the CPD-sponsored debates, and the CPD's co-chairs are corporate lobbyists.

The CPD is run by Frank Fahrenkopf, a pharmaceutical industry lobbyist, and Paul Kirk, a top gambling lobbyist," Rice says. "And the biggest muliti-national corporations write the checks that fund the CPD -- Phillip Morris, Anheuser-Busch and dozens more. The audience may have to be silent and motionless, but the corporate sponsors can have banners, beer tents, Budweiser girls handing out pamphlets protesting beer taxes -- a corporate-sponsored circus to go along with the Kabuki Debates. ...

[read more]

Bush's Top-10 Flip Flops 

Quotes from the Waffle King.

CBS News, Sept. 28:

"We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories."(May 29, 2003)

"I recognize we didn't find the stockpiles [of weapons] we all thought were there." (Sept. 9, 2004) ...

[read more]

The Italian Job 

Deep do-do related to the Plamegate

Italian Ex-Spy Discusses Own Role in Iraq-Niger Uranium Traffic Hoax
Milan Il Giornale in Italian 21 Sep 04 Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Interview with Italian former SID Defense Intelligence Service agent Rocco Martino by Gian Marco Chiocci; place and date not given: "Former 007 Rocco Martino Speaks Out: 'Here Is the Truth About Nigergate'" -- first two paragraphs are Il Giornale introduction

(FBIS Translated Text) [FBIS is the CIA's Foreign Broadcast Information Service.]

Rome -- After growing a mustache, he has now also grown a beard, and a thick one at that, but it is not phony like the ones that stereotype secret agents are alleged to sport. "Giacomo o' spione" ("James the spy" in southern Italian dialect) is the name favored by newspapers engaged in telling the spy story (previous two words in English in original) in which he is the leading player in connection with a hoax dossier on alleged uranium trafficking between Niger and Iraq. After being questioned by Assistant Public Prosecutor Franco Ionta, he agreed to make a confession to Il Giornale in a downtown bar. Almost as though he were organizing an (illegal) rave party (previous two words in English in original), 66-year-old Rocco Martino from Tropea, a "free-lance intelligence" (previous three words in English in original) agent as he likes to style himself, constantly shifted the venue of our rendez-vous, in keeping with his need to put people off the scent after a month of dangerous living around the world, in his capacity as a much-wanted key player in a mystery story involving the 007's of Italy, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and which is partly responsible for the US military operation in Iraq.

There was to be no beating about the bush. Former SID (Italian Defense Intelligence Service, now defunct) agent Martino went straight to the point: "I do not have much time, and even though I have quite a few things to say about this damned Nigergate business, I would like to start by pointing something out."

(Chiocci) Go ahead.

(Martino) I have not been on the run from the Italian law; I simply moved away for reasons that are easy to comprehend -- let us say, for personal security reasons and also so as not to become cannon fodder for the national media. I traveled abroad and that is where I stayed pending a summons from Prosecutor Ionta who had been contacted and urged to issue a summons by my lawyer, Giuseppe Placidi. When the magistrate asked to meet with me, I landed in Rome in the space of a few hours in order to provide my version of events, borne out by various documents and recordings that confirm my total good faith in this murky story -- a story which is much bigger than me, and in which I turned out to be the weak link.

(Chiocci) You speak of total good faith, but the file which you slipped to Panorama and which the weekly failed to publish after checking the affair out, was a spectacular hoax.

(Martino) I did not know that it was a hoax, and there is proof of what I say. I have been engaged in intelligence (previous word in English in original) for many years, offering my cooperation to various intelligence services including the French, about whom a great deal has been said and about whom we will be talking later on. The hoax began one day when a Nigerian (as published) Embassy source who had proven to be reliable on previous occasions and who had contacts also with the collaborator of a SISMI (Intelligence and Military Security Service) aide, passed on to me a whole lot of information. It is true that that information included some references to a uranium traffic between Niger and Iraq. What did I do at that juncture? I passed it on to the French secret service, with which I am in touch and by which I was remunerated. I passed it on also to Panorama, which assessed it in order to study it, dispatching a reporter to Niger and turning the file over to the US Embassy in Rome for cross-checking.

(Chiocci) What happened then?

(Martino) The female journalist told me that the trip to Niger had not produced any real confirmation, and also the French confirmed to me that the reports I had passed on to them were groundless. But at that juncture the beans had been spilled. The file was circulating, the reports contained in it were going around the world, and Bush and Blair were talking about those documents, albeit without actually mentioning them. I turned the television on and I did not believe my ears...

(Chiocci) The suspicion is that you may have played France's game, opposed as it was to intervention in Iraq and planning to cook up a "poisoned meat ball" to give the lie to the United States and to the United Kingdom, which were hunting around for any kind of excuse to justify the invasion of Iraq: Nigergate.

(Martino) I do not know what you are talking about. These are lunatic ravings, among other reasons because the documents in question originated back in 2000, a year before the attack on the Twin Towers in New York and three years before Bush's decision to proceed with the war against Saddam.

(Chiocci) Someone may have remembered those documents, picked them up out of the waste basket, and released them back into circulation at the right moment.

(Martino) Anything is possible. And in any case, I am the victim, the tool used by someone for games much bigger than me.

(Chiocci) When did you realize that you were in trouble?

(Martino) When I read an article in a British newspaper that more or less called me a hardened criminal, pointing the finger of accusation at me as a double-crosser working for the French, who were clearly interested in what we were talking about just now.

(Chiocci) But you were followed, photographed, and recorded while speaking with French agents.

(Martino) So? I told you, I cooperate with them. And not only with them. But I did not plot against Italy or against the United States.

(Chiocci) The British 007's think otherwise.

(Martino) That is their business.

(Chiocci) You told the Sunday Times in an interview that also the Italian Government and the SISMI were involved in the Nigergate affair. Then you backtracked when talking with Prosecutor Ionta the other day. Where does the truth lie?

(Martino) I reached a preliminary agreement with the Sunday Times for interview that was never conducted. We talked about this and that, including the SISMI, but only to say that my source on the uranium traffic was the same as the source of an Italian intelligence service aide. As far as I know, the SISMI has nothing to do with it. I never, and I repeat never, said that Forte Braschi (SISMI's Rome headquarters) was involved, and certainly not that the Italian Government was involved.

The truth is that I have been duped, manipulated, used. I would like to figure out why they chose me; I do have some idea, but without any evidence one gets nowhere.

(Chiocci) Whom were you duped, manipulated, used by?

(Martino) If I knew that, I would dash off to report it to the magistracy, to whom indeed I have already handed over important documents and revealed the names of all the players in this murky business.

(Chiocci) People have written things about your previous misadventures...

(Martino) I have read them. What lies! To mention but two of them, I was never thrown out either of the Carabinieri Corps or of the SID.

(Chiocci) I do not wish to harp on about it, but if you had nothing to hide, why have you yourself been in hiding for all this time?

(Martino) Because the game, for those who are familiar with certain mechanisms, had become too dangerous. I do not know whether, as some people have written, there were any secret agents of various nationalities hunting me down in order to eliminate me. I do not even know in whose interest it would really have been for me not to open my mouth. The fact remains that, thanks to my lawyer, Giuseppe Placidi, and to my contacts with the public prosecutor over my giving a statement, also that veiled propensity for suicide that had begun to oppress me has disappeared.


(Description of Source: Milan Il Giornale in Italian -- right-of-center daily owned by the Berlusconi family)

[read more]

State Department Turns Blind Eye to Colombia's Death Squads 

Federal Register, Sept. 29:

Determination Related to Colombian Armed Forces Under Section 563
of Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs
Appropriations Act, Division D, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004,
(Pub. L. 108-199)

Pursuant to the authority vested in me as Secretary of State,
including under section 563 of the Foreign Operations, Export
Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, Division D,
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004, (Pub. L. 108-199), I hereby
determine and certify, in accordance with the conditions contained in
section 563(a)(2), that: (A) The Commander General of the Colombian
Armed Forces is suspending from the Armed Forces those members, of
whatever rank who, according to the Minister of Defense or the
Procuraduria General de la Nacion, have been credibly alleged to have
committed gross violations of human rights, including extra-judicial
killings, or to have aided or abetted paramilitary organizations; (B)
the Colombian Government is vigorously investigating and prosecuting
those members of the Colombian Armed Forces, of whatever rank, who have
been credibly alleged to have committed gross violations of human
rights, including extra-judicial killings, or to have aided or abetted
paramilitary organizations, and is promptly punishing those members of
the Colombian Armed Forces found to have committed such violations of
human rights or to have aided or abetted paramilitary organizations;
(C) the Colombian Armed Forces have made substantial progress in
cooperating with civilian prosecutors and judicial authorities in such
cases (including providing requested information, such as the identity
of persons suspended from the Armed Forces and the nature and cause of
the suspension, and access to witnesses, relevant military documents,
and other requested information); (D) the Colombian Armed Forces have
made substantial progress in severing links (including denying access
to military intelligence, vehicles, and other equipment or supplies,
and ceasing other forms of active or tacit cooperation) at the command,
battalion, and brigade level, with paramilitary organizations,
especially in regions where these organizations have a significant
presence; (E) the Colombian Armed Forces are dismantling paramilitary
leadership and financial networks by arresting commanders and financial
backers, especially in regions where these networks have a significant
The Department of State has consulted with internationally
recognized human rights organizations regarding the Colombian Armed
Forces' progress in meeting the conditions contained in section
563(a)(2), as required in section 563(c).
This Determination shall be published in the Federal Register and
copies shall be transmitted to the appropriate committees of Congress.

Colin L. Powell,
Secretary of State, Department of State.
[FR Doc. 04-21795 Filed 9-28-04; 8:45 am]

News Flash: Chickasaw Nation Invades Arnold, Mo. with Pentagon Backing 

Chances are you won't see this in the business pages of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch or St. Louis Business Journal. Geronimo is rolling over in his grave, no doubt.

U.S. Defense Department, Sept. 29:

Chickasaw Nation Industries Inc.*, Ada, Okla., was awarded on Sept. 27, 2004, an $11,722,919 firm-fixed-price contract for design and construction of a data center. Work will be performed in Arnold, Mo., and is expected to be completed by May 27, 2006. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This was a sole source contract initiated on July 1, 2004. The U.S. Army National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Arnold, Mo., is the contracting activity (HM1575-04-C-0007).

[read more]

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The Essence of the Rove Strategy Revealed  

Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo summarizes an Atlantic piece from this month that reveals how the President's Brain attacks opponents by smearing them with their own virtues. In one case, Rove, for example, started rumors that a Alabama Supreme Court judge noted for his advocacy on childhood issues was a pedophile.

[read more]

Monday, September 27, 2004

Executing a Staged Anti-Terrorist Campaign in Pakistan 

Asia Times, Sept. 27:

... On Sunday, Pakistan announced that paramilitary police had killed Amjad Farooqi, a suspected top al-Qaeda operative wanted in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl two years ago, as well as for two assassination attempts against Musharraf last December.

Asia Times Online contacts, however, are adamant that Farooqi was in fact arrested some months ago, and that the "incident" resulting in his death in the southern Pakistani city of Nawabshah was in fact stage-managed by Pakistani security forces.

Pakistan's establishment recently labeled Farooqi al-Qaeda's mastermind in the country. However, Asia Times Online contacts say that, certainly, Amjad was wanted in connection with the murder of Pearl in Karachi in 2002. The contacts claim, though, that Amjad was in fact a "stand-alone" operator who did not draw support from any one organization as he was able to gather his own manpower and financial resources. Senior intelligence officers told Asia Times Online that while Farooqi was a stand-alone operator, he carried out specific operations in conjunction with local and foreign elements. ...

[read more]

Bush: "Don't Worry, Be Happy" 

Washington Post, Sept. 26:

Less than four months before planned national elections in Iraq, attacks against U.S. troops, Iraqi security forces and private contractors number in the dozens each day and have spread to parts of the country that had been relatively peaceful, according to statistics compiled by a private security firm working for the U.S. government.

Attacks over the past two weeks have killed more than 250 Iraqis and 29 U.S. military personnel, according to figures released by Iraq's Health Ministry and the Pentagon. A sampling of daily reports produced during that period by Kroll Security International for the U.S. Agency for International Development shows that such attacks typically number about 70 each day. In contrast, 40 to 50 hostile incidents occurred daily during the weeks preceding the handover of political authority to an interim Iraqi government on June 28, according to military officials. ...

[read more]

Powell's 20-20 Hindsight 

Washington Post, Sept. 27:

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said yesterday that the insurgency in Iraq is getting worse and that the U.S. occupation there has increased anti-American sentiment in Muslim countries, but he said successful elections in Afghanistan and Iraq would turn the situation around.

"We have seen an increase in anti-Americanism in the Muslim world. We'll not deny this," Powell said on ABC's "This Week." "But I think that that will be overcome in due process because what the Muslim world will see . . . is that in Afghanistan, 10 million people who have registered to vote will vote on the ninth of October and bring in place a freely elected president. ...

[read more]

Florida: A U.S. Banana Republic Headed by Jeb Bush 

BBC, Sept. 27:

Carter fears Florida vote trouble

Carter has monitored more than 50 elections worldwide

Voting arrangements in Florida do not meet "basic international requirements" and could undermine the US election, former US President Jimmy Carter says.
He said a repeat of the irregularities of the much-disputed 2000 election - which gave President George W Bush the narrowest of wins - "seems likely".

Mr Carter, a veteran observer of polls worldwide, also accused Florida's top election official of "bias".

His remarks come ahead of the first TV debate between Mr Bush and John Kerry.

They are expected to discuss the war on Iraq and homeland security during the programme on Thursday. ...

[read more]

Bush, the Son of a Son of a Nazi Collaborator 

Jerusaleum Post, Oct. 19, 2003:

Bush's grandfather directed bank linked to Nazis

US President George W. Bush's grandfather was a director of a bank seized by the US government because of its ties to a German industrialist who helped bankroll Adolf Hitler's rise to power, government documents show.

Prescott Bush was one of seven directors of Union Banking Corp., a New York investment bank owned by a bank controlled by the Thyssen family, according to recently declassified National Archives documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

Fritz Thyssen was an early financial supporter of Hitler, whose Nazism Thyssen believed was preferable to communism. The documents do not show any evidence Bush directly aided that effort. His position with Union Banking never was a political issue for the late Bush, who was elected to the Senate from Connecticut in 1952.

Reports of Bush's involvement with the seized bank have been circulating on the Internet for years and have been reported by some mainstream media. The newly declassified documents provide additional details about the Union Banking-Thyssen connection.

Trent Duffy, a spokesman for President Bush, declined to comment.

Union Banking was owned by a Dutch bank, Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaardt N.V., which was "closely affiliated" with the German conglomerate United Steel Works, according to an October 5, 1942, report from the federal Office of Alien Property Custodian.

The Dutch bank and the steel firm were part of the business and financial empire of Thyssen and his brother, Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the report said.

The 4,000 Union Banking shares owned by the Dutch bank were registered in the names of the seven US directors, according a document signed by Homer Jones, chief of the division of investigation and research of the Office of Alien Property Custodian, a World War II-era agency that no longer exists.

E. Roland Harriman, the bank chairman and brother of former New York Gov. W. Averell Harriman, held 3,991 shares. Bush had one share.

Both Harrimans and Bush were partners in the New York investment firm of Brown Brothers, Harriman and Co., which handled the financial transactions of the bank as well as other financial dealings with several other companies linked to Bank voor Handel that were confiscated by the US government during World War II.

Union Banking was seized by the government in October 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act.

No charges were brought against Union Banking's American directors. The federal government was too busy trying to fight the war, said Donald Goldstein, a professor of public and international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.

"We did not have the resources to do these things," Goldstein said.

Fritz Thyssen broke with the Nazis in 1938 over their persecution of Catholics and Jews, and fled to Switzerland. He later was arrested and spent 1941 to 1945 in a Nazi prison. His brother lived in Switzerland from 1932 to 1947 but continued to operate businesses in Germany.

The new documents were first reported by freelance writer John Buchanan in The New Hampshire Gazette.

The Euro Gulf Syndrome 

Buffalo News, Sept. 19:


by Hamilton Wende; SPECIAL TO THE NEWS

The room was crowded. Most people were sitting in rows of chairs, clutching a glass of cheap wine and crunching on potato chips. In typical London fashion, the room was largely silent. Only a few muttered remarks drifted through the polite coughing and mildly impatient scraping of chairs as no one dared speak to his neighbor -- unless, of course, they already knew one another or had been properly introduced.

I was part of the audience , which had gathered in a bookstore in the intellectual heartland of London, very near Russell Square and the British Museum. We were waiting to hear Timothy Garton Ash, a prominent British writer on European and international politics. Finally he took the podium and began to speak about the rapid dissolution of the traditional alliance between Europe and America.

His latest thesis is that the growing distrust between the two societies is in danger of becoming a yawning, mutually antagonistic gulf, especially under the presidency of George W. Bush. At one point in his talk, he said: "I have no doubt that things would be much different under a Kerry administration." He paused for a moment. "This election," he said, "is the most important election of our lives."

Of our lives? I couldn't help thinking that no one in that room was entitled to vote in an American election, and yet the audience was utterly silent, deep in thought. He had touched on an issue of vital significance to them. They, like all Europeans, know that the course that America chooses to follow in November will affect their lives for years to come.

Suspicion, resentment, even rage, is mounting among both people and politicians on both sides of the Atlantic, especially among the old, loyal allies of America after World War II. This is especially true of Europe's two biggest powers, France and Germany. The assumptions and values that held the West together during the long decades of the Cold War have faded into near-irrelevance. But no one quite knows what will replace them.

For many Europeans, what is at stake in November is the defining notion of our time -- they believe the American election will decide whether the most powerful nation in history will continue to act in an arbitrary, unilateral fashion or whether it will choose to work with other countries to strengthen the fragile community of nations. This matters to them immensely.

Strong ties remain

/ If you walk down the Avenue d'Iena in Paris, you will come to the Place des Etats-Unis. It is a small, peaceful square with a park where children play. In the center of the square is a monument showing a French and an American soldier clasping hands in front of an angel of victory.

It is a poignant monument, especially as you slowly begin to read the names of those who died -- the American volunteers of the Lafayette Escadrille and those who served in the Foreign Legion and the American Field Service. Each name resonates with meaning. Those men volunteered to come to Europe to fight and die for France, and resist the Kaiser, in order to defend a deeply held American notion: the belief that no king, emperor -- or president -- should be allowed to rule unchecked.

This shared conviction is why the relationship between Europe and America still matters. Many Americans might argue that, as the United States did in Europe in WWI and WWII, the invasion of Iraq was undertaken in order to bring democracy to the Middle East. Most Europeans, however, simply don't accept that argument. Instead, they believe that America, under the government of President Bush, has betrayed this core value of Western democracy by going to war without telling the truth about why it did so.

A pivotal election

/ This election is a pivotal moment for the relationship between Europe and America. As a German colleague said to me, "We have to remember that America saved us from the Nazis, and gave us democracy, but things change, and America today is no longer the representative of democracy in the world." Hard words indeed, but he speaks for a growing number of Europeans.

Of course, not all Europeans feel that way. Europe is changing, especially with the recent addition to the European Union of many Eastern European countries. Those countries largely admire America. Even in what Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called "Old Europe," there are some who retain a more positive, if somewhat complex, view of the United States and of its relationship with Europe.

"We should understand that Bush is not stupid," said a man at a dinner table in the countryside near Toulouse. "We can see that he is straight. He says what he means. Of course, we are all waiting for Kerry, but I don't think the split between Europe and America is that serious."

But his view is not typical. The political and psychological divide of the Atlantic is colder and wider than it has been in over 60 years. In fact, it is difficult, almost impossible, to find anyone in "Old Europe" who wants anything other than a Kerry victory.

That is true even in Britain. Most politicians from the governing Labour Party, led by Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush's closest ally, will tell you off the record that they are hoping for a Kerry victory. As will almost everyone else you meet in Britain.

American military power and its use is of primary concern to Europeans, but what matters almost as much to them is the change in how America regards its relationship with Europe. Almost as much as Iraq, the deep anger and frustration of Europeans toward America can be attributed to the fact that America seems no longer to take Europe or European opinion very seriously. That both angers and humiliates many Europeans, especially those of the old alliance.

There has been a huge change from 1961, when John F. Kennedy stood in the center of Europe and declared to wildly cheering crowds, "Ich bin ein Berliner," to today, where Kerry has to hide the fact that he speaks French.

As Jacques, a man I met in a cafe near the Sorbonne in Paris, said to me. "Bush is a catastrophe."

But he was not anti-American. "I meet many young Americans especially," said Jacques. "They are very open and willing to listen to why French people think what they do about America. I don't believe the problem between the two countries is fundamental."

And yet Kerry remains something of an enigma to Europeans, and they are skeptical about his ability, or desire, to alter American foreign policy much. "Kerry is still an interventionist," Jacques went on to say. "He is very martial. He wants to keep the troops in Iraq. Most people in France can't agree with that."

/ An isolationist streak

Many Europeans have come to see America as a self-obsessed, inward-looking power, and believe this isolationist streak lies at the heart of many of its recent failures in foreign policy. And that also is the cause of so much anti-American resentment around the world.

"We French are selfish," a woman told me while I was speeding underneath the channel on the Eurostar train. "We don't really care about the world. We only care about our holidays and a good life. But still, I think the Americans have to learn that they are not so strong as they believe. They should understand that they too have some weaknesses. With Kerry maybe it will be different."

The upcoming American elections are being watched with real interest all over Europe. Bouncing uncomfortably over the waves in an inflatable boat on a fiord in Norway, I got to speaking with Dagfinn, an engineer working with an oil company. "Who do you think is going to win the elections?" he asked me eagerly.

"Well, who do you think is going to?" I asked him in turn.

He smiled. "It will be 50/50, like it was the last time around. Most Europeans want Kerry, but I have mixed feelings. Bush certainly went to war in Iraq without telling us the real reasons, but I don't agree with the left-wing press here. They constantly stir things up. I think Bush might win."

Dagfinn had a lot to say about how he saw the relationship between Europe and America. His perspective as a Norwegian, a smaller European nation historically vulnerable to the machinations of the old Great Powers, was more nuanced. "The Europeans don't understand America. America is a more open society than Europe, talking about the doings of the president and the reasons for the war very openly. In Europe that kind of thing is done behind closed doors.

"Americans had to come into Europe and clean up the mess that Germany and France and Britain made in 1918 and then again they had to do it after the Second World War. They are finding it hard now to admit they have a made a mistake (in Iraq) like they did in Vietnam. They feel guilty and ashamed, and they don't know what to do."

/ Kerry brings hope

Many Europeans of the old alliance are hoping for a lot from John Kerry -- probably too much. For those who care about the broader world, Kerry represents the chance to heal the rift that has opened between Europe and America.

It is, of course, far from certain that Kerry will be elected president. What will happen if Bush wins? How will that affect the relationship between Europe and America over the next four years?

"The damage has already been done," said a Scottish colleague of mine. "The French, especially, and the Americans have come to despise one another. I don't think it can, or will get much worse. After all, even if Bush is elected, he can't go to war again, can he? He's too tied down in Iraq, and that will keep him busy until at least 2007 -- and then it's another election year."

Dems Charge Hanaway with Illegal Campaign Financing 

Missouri Democratic Party press release, Sept. 24:

Jefferson City, MO – Republican candidate for Secretary of State Catherine Hanaway has violated federal election law by making a soft money in-kind contribution to the campaign of George W. Bush, enabling her to produce and air a television ad in which she appears with the President. Hanaway’s illegal contribution prompted the Missouri Democratic Party to file a complaint today with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

"Catherine Hanaway wants to be in charge of election laws in Missouri but has willingly and flagrantly violated federal election laws as part of an effort to boost her own struggling campaign," said Steve Glorioso, spokesman for the Missouri Democratic Party. "Catherine Hanaway has once again shown that she believes the rules others must play by don’t apply to her. But come November, Missouri voters will let her know that her holier than thou attitude is a one-way ticket to defeat.”

Hanaway violated federal election law by coordinating on the production and broadcast of a Hanaway campaign commercial featuring Bush introducing her at a Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign rally. The Hanaway ad has aired on cable television repeatedly across the state and is featured on her campaign web site, www.hanaway.org. Such coordination and the cost of production and broadcast of the ad amount to an in-kind contribution from the Hanaway campaign to the Bush campaign, a violation of federal election law because the Bush campaign has already accepted public funds and is therefore prohibited from accepting any outside contributions.

Furthermore, Catherine Hanaway is candidate for non-federal office, and consequently the in-kind contribution her campaign made was funded with non-federal or “soft” money, also an illegal practice. The law expressly prohibits this type of contribution, holding that state candidates like Hanaway are totally prohibited from using their non-federal campaign funds to promote or support federal candidates.

“As someone running to be Missouri’s chief elections official, Catherine Hanaway should know that such a contribution from her campaign to the Bush campaign is a soft money contribution in violation of elections law,” Glorioso continued. “But even with that knowledge, she went ahead and coordinated with the Bush campaign to produce and air this ad because she felt that she needed to make it seem like she was close to George W. Bush in order to raise her profile.

“She has demonstrated a blatant disregard for elections law in pursuit of her political goals, calling clearly into question her fitness to oversee Missouri’s elections system.”

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Timeline of Bush Clan's Nazi Collaboration 

1924:W.A.Harriman & Co invested $400,000 in setting up Union Banking Corp to act in partnership with the Thyssen-owned Bank voor Handel en Scheepvart in Holland. Prescott Bush brought into the firm to manage Union Bank. Prescott was the son in law of George Walker and son of Samuel Bush. Union bank is now in the position to transfer funds back and forth for Thyssen’s United Steel. ...

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Dead On Signs of the Times 

courtesy of freewayblogger.com:

"Hey, Clear Channel, How many people have to die before we can listen to the Dixie Chicks again?"

"Nobody died when Clinton lied."

"If they went after Bin Laden like they went after Clinton he'd be dead by now."

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Bush Clan's Nazi Collaboration Continued After the War 

New Hampshire Gazette, Nov. 7, 2003:

by John Buchanan and Stacey Michael

After the seizures in late 1942 of five U.S. enterprises he managed on behalf of Nazi industrialist Fritz Thyssen, Prescott Bush, the grandfather of President George W. Bush, failed to divest himself of more than a dozen "enemy national" relationships that continued until as late as 1951, newly-discovered U.S. government documents reveal.

Furthermore, the records show that Bush and his colleagues routinely attempted to conceal their activities from government investigators. Bush's partners in the secret web of Thyssen-controlled ventures included former New York Governor W. Averell Harriman and his younger brother, E. Roland Harriman. Their quarter-century of Nazi financial transactions, from 1924-1951, were conducted by the New York private banking firm, Brown Brothers Harriman.

The White House did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Although the additional seizures under the Trading with the Enemy Act did not take place until after the war, documents from The National Archives and Library of Congress confirm that Bush and his partners continued their Nazi dealings unabated. These activities included a financial relationship with the German city of Hanover and several industrial concerns. They went undetected by investigators until after World War Two.

At the same time Bush and the Harrimans were profiting from their Nazi partnerships, W. Averell Harriman was serving as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's personal emissary to the United Kingdom during the toughest years of the war. On October 28, 1942, the same day two key Bush-Harriman-run businesses were being seized by the U.S. government, Harriman was meeting in London with Field Marshall Smuts to discuss the war effort.

Denial and Deceit

While Harriman was concealing his Nazi relationships from his government colleagues, Cornelius Livense, the top executive of the interlocking German concerns held under the corporate umbrella of Union Banking Corporation (UBC), repeatedly tried to mislead investigators, and was sometimes supported in his subterfuge by Brown Brothers Harriman.
All of the assets of UBC and its related businesses belonged to Thyssen-controlled enterprises, including his Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart in Rotterdam, the documents state. ...

The records also show that Bush and the Harrimans conducted business after the war with related concerns doing business in or moving assets into Switzerland, Panama, Argentina and Brazil - all critical outposts for the flight of Nazi capital after Germany's surrender in 1945. Fritz Thyssen died in Argentina in 1951.

One of the final seizures, in October 1950, concerned the U.S. assets of a Nazi baroness named Theresia Maria Ida Beneditka Huberta Stanislava Martina von Schwarzenberg, who also used two shorter aliases. Brown Brothers Harriman, where Prescott Bush and the Harrimans were partners, attempted to convince government investigators that the baroness had been a victim of Nazi persecution and therefore should be allowed to maintain her assets.

"It appears, rather, that the subject was a member of the Nazi party," government investigators concluded. ...

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