Democratic Underground  


APRIL 2003

U.S. Iraq Policy for Dumbbells
April 30, 2003 · What with Shia and Sunni and Ba'ath and imams and Syria and Abu Mazer and WMDs, it's no wonder many are confused in this post-Iraq-war period. Time once again to turn to some easy-to-comprehend answers to difficult questions. By Bernard Weiner

Homeland Security, Domestic Violence
April 30, 2003 · For those of us fed up with military homecoming parades and demolished palace toilets, (the staples of post-invasion reportage on Iraq), FOX and CNN's renewed and aggressive coverage of the missing Modesto mother-to-be, Laci Peterson, comes almost as a welcome relief. One could argue, however, that Iraq's plundered and eviscerated artifacts and the discovery of the pregnant 27 year old's remains are both revealing examples of the Bush administration's agenda to corporatize, at any cost, all aspects of social and economic life at home and abroad. By Leilla Matsui

No One To Beat But Ourselves
April 30, 2003 · In sports, an individual or a team will occasionally be put into a position where they are far superior to any opposition. They can only beat themselves, the saying goes. That's the position we're in now. But this is a sports season that never ends, and sooner or later something will happen to make us stumble, and in this sport, the price for failure is very high indeed. By Joseph Vecchio

Can This White House Be Saved?
April 29, 2003 · With well over a year until election 2004, Dubya isn't even close to entering the kind of political tailspin that makes pundits salivate. But, as the embedded reporters return to the land of Starbuck's and infomercials, the media coverage is starting to pick up on the Republicans' litany of foibles, faults, and fiascos. By Martin Matheny

The Bush Economy
April 29, 2003 · The current White House has proven its incompetence in maintaining a healthy economy and has chosen to pursue an agenda to help its donors and corporate bedpartners. The talk of short-term stimulus has obviously not been the practical aim of the administration. The reduction of the burden on the working class has been overlooked. By Justin Hill

Gephardt's Plan
April 29, 2003 · Congressman Dick Gephardt rolled out a proposal for universal health coverage this week to a chorus of jeers from conservatives who want to portray it as anti-business. But a closer look at the plan shows that it will benefit businesses as well as rich and poor alike. Gephardt's plan to use the Bush tax cuts should be attractive to rich and poor alike. The poor will get health coverage at affordable rates, and the majority of the rich people will still enjoy their tax cuts. By Patrick McIntyre

Is Everything We Learned a Myth?
April 26, 2003 · Throughout our formative years, we were taught that might does not make right, crime doesn't pay, cheaters never prosper, and the guys in the white hats are always the winners. We were led to believe that justice would prevail, that good conquers evil. Peace and solace were gained by clinging to those beliefs. Our lives became more manageable when we believed in these principles. Now, today, these beliefs are shattered beyond repair. By Ronald Gerughty

Workers Memorial Day: April 28
April 26, 2003 · Workers' health and safety circumstances have vastly improved since the "robber baron" industrial era when U.S. mines, mills, and factories were a constant, unrelieved threat to employee life and limb. Still, a grim, unacceptable fact remains. Each year in this country almost 6,000 workers are killed on the job. 50,000 die from occupational diseases, and additional millions are hurt. By Dennis Rahkonen

Rick Santorum: Conservatism Without Make-Up
April 25, 2003 · Perhaps it's the giddiness of success that has brought us the public slip-ups of prominent, high-ranking conservatives. Comfortably fatted on their newfound power, conservatives have decided to let us all in on the sham of their linguistic spackling of the truth. But I don't want Senator Santorum to step down. I want him to keep it up. I want every Republican to say what they mean. By Terry Sawyer

Can An Entire Country Go mad?
April 25, 2003 · Can an entire country go mad? Of course it can! And history provides many examples: the Salem Colony during the witch trials (and its 20th century counterpart, the McCarthy mania), Nazi Germany, Cambodia under Pol Pot, and arguably the United States under George Bush. Worse yet, most people living at a time of national derangement perceive that condition as perfectly normal, and even moral. And pity the poor soul who sees things differently: the "one-eyed person in the land of the blind." By Ernest Partridge

The Bombs that Fall on Baghdad Hit in Birmingham
April 24, 2003 · Some of the most curious fallout of the War on Terror has been the fact that, despite Bush's substantial bounce in popularity, a small group of Republican moderate senators who previously caved to the party line on previous votes stood up to the White House and managed to halve Bush's tax cut, and kill the proposal for ending taxes on dividends. Why would members of Bush's own party defy him on such a crucial issue? By Steven Attewell

Freedom is Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose
April 24, 2003 · Never did we imagine, even for a millisecond, that we could actually see the demise of democracy here in the land of the free, home of the brave - America. But there's a new threat to our freedom; to the rights we thought were our birthright. It is with horror and a heavy heart that I tell you that this threat comes from within; from the very ones we thought were our protectors; the very men and women held in esteem and regard; learned men and women; men and women we, the American public voted into office. By Norma Sherry

We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming
April 23, 2003 · In the weeks immediately following September 11th, America looked more like a land under siege then at any time since Pearl Harbor. But as the weeks passed the more apparent signs of a society at war slowly faded from view. Soon it seemed as though American life had returned to its former self - albeit slightly less innocent. By Michael Shannon

Washington Bobs
April 23, 2003 · Years ago then-Secretary of State Dean Acheson defended Cold War policies with the principle that "politics ends at the waters edge." In the aftermath of Vietnam many on the right and in the military itself blamed negative coverage for the loss of the war and consequently American lives. The press, apparently cowed by the criticism, has since adopted a policy that journalism also ends at the waters edge. By Mike McArdle

April 23, 2003 · Although the president of these United States repeatedly assured the world that our wars are against terror - not Islam - the message doesn't seem to be sinking in. Could it be that in addition to President Bush's inability to keep the idea that he may have been Chosen to his own damn self, Muslims familiar with repressive countries ruled by fundamentalism might be a tad concerned about the born-again Christian president's growing religious influence in the United States? By Lisa Ashkenaz Croke

The Department of Offense
April 22, 2003 · Once again, I'm a bit confused about this country in which we live. Amongst the two Bushes which have found themselves in the Presidency, this current insanity of ours is the fourth premeditated war in, to date, the six years of their tenure. Current Bush administration officials are hinting at new targets - even as we simply try to get our bearings on our military location in Iraq - through warnings issued almost simultaneously by Rice, Rumsfeld, Bolton, et al, to Iran and Syria. North Korea awaits. By punpirate

Speaking Freely in a Time of War
April 22, 2003 · I received a letter which was is in many ways typical of the anti-free speech arguments heard these days. In this essay, I will address some of the logic behind these arguments. My goal is to expose their hidden premises, the parts that are implicit but left unspoken. By exposing these hidden premises, I will demonstrate that the anti-free speech arguments used against critics of the war are not sound. By Barry Mauer

The Night the War Began We Took Down Our Flag
April 19, 2003 · A few days before Mr. Bush’s sequel to his father’s Persian Gulf misadventures, we discussed what our flag might signify to passersby. Rather than proclaiming us proud Americans, it might signify that we support an administration which arbitrarily chose to invade a sovereign nation. By Jeff Rosenzweig

The Same Old Supply-Side Song
April 19, 2003 · If George W. Bush had chosen music as a career instead of politics, his entire body of work would be limited to one laboriously long treatment of 999,000 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. You can see it in his economic policy, a string of tax cuts, followed by tax cuts, followed by - guess what? - more tax cuts. By Martin Matheny

Tim Robbins, The Brave, The Plastic Bag and The Refrigerator Magnet, or A Letter to Tim Robbins
April 18, 2003 · After finishing reading the transcript of your speech given at the National Press Club in Washington two days ago and I immediately went outside to my patio, light a cigarette I was hoping to avoid, and started to cry. I was more than just moved by your words. Devastated and inspired is a better description. By Elayne Keratsis

Hockey Served with War
April 18, 2003 · You see spring and hockey go hand in hand for us Canucks. It's what we talk about at work, its what we watch as we eat our suppers, its what we dream about in our sleep. This spring not only brings us our annual dose of playoff hockey but sadly brings us war as well. By Jason Berry

Fighting the Long Defeat
April 18, 2003 · No matter how easy the victory, this "war" has set some horrible precedents. Taken to a personal level, it means that, if I felt threatened by anyone, that I not only have the right, but the duty to take them out before they do the same to me. By Joe Vecchio

Mourning Iraq
April 17, 2003 · Please don't talk to me of "precision bombing" and "liberation." Don't talk of "minimal loss of life" and cheering Iraqis. Don't come with your "I told you so." and your "See, the war wasn't that bad." Because I know better. I know there was little that was precise and liberating about this war. I know while many Iraqis are thrilled to be done with Saddam; they are equally appalled at how this war has played out. By Carol Norris

Good Morning, America
April 16, 2003 · Since your head is pounding, I'll speak very softly. I know you enjoyed last night's mega winning-the-Iraq-war orgy party. It was fun while it lasted, no doubt. But like every party animal, you went too far this time, and did some things you may end up regretting. What's worse, those at the party who refrained from heavy drinking remember most of your shenanigans and as a result have absolutely no respect for you now. As if you cared, but still. By Wayne Francis

In Your Face, Your Holiness
April 16, 2003 · Maybe we don't need to do anything right now except savor the triumph of American Might, join in on the nyah-nyah-nyah sessions the antiwar protesters - including, presumably, the Pope - have been enduring lately, and wonder who's going to play Jessica Lynch in the inevitable TV movie of her story. By Kevin Dawson

View From the Living Room
April 16, 2003 · Let's pretend I have been buying into everything coming out of Washington. Here I am, sitting in my living room watching my TV, waiting to be informed... By Dr. Dragon

Osama and Saddam: Dead or Alive?
April 15, 2003 · When you're prosecuting a war, and you want to get people behind your cause, personifying your enemy is a pretty good way to motivate people. It gives them something to focus their hatred on. There are thousands of examples of this throughout history, even in America's relatively brief history we've had a pretty decent share of them. My question, then, is a simple one: where is Osama bin Laden? And where is Saddam Hussein? The answer, unfortunately, is a lot more complex. By Joe Vecchio

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
April 15, 2003 · According to cave-age economics, what's most needed is most valued. This old economic approach works best if you are an Iraqi, currently in Iraq, and have a hotline to someone with a good connect to the current global head honcho. How many people can put a price tag on the value of an Iraqi providing information that "proves" the existence of weapons of mass destruction? By Lisa Walsh Thomas

Wolfowitz's Confidential Memo on Post-Iraq Plans
April 15, 2003 · An intercepted memo from Paul Wolfowitz to Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Don Rumsfeld, Bill Kristol and Jim Woolsey, on PNAC's next moves. Satire by Bernard Weiner

The Nine Contenders
April 12, 2003 · WASHINGTON, D.C., April 9, 2003 – Tonight I attended the first gathering of the nine candidates for the 2004 Democratic nomination for President. The event was hosted by the Children's Defense Fund, and the questions and statements focused to a large extent on policies affecting children. Let's look at them in order, from best to worst, in terms of their apparent ability to serve well as president. By David Swanson

Don't Mess With Texas
April 12, 2003 · Teach them a lesson they'll never forget. So goes the thinking in Texas-on-the-Potomac. And what a lesson it has been! They'll never mess with us again, nosirree Bob! As this childish thinking worms its way around the neocon braintrust, now giddy with "success" of their own definition (like toppling the Taliban?), it is instructive what lessons might be drawn by more rational - albeit scared to death - observers around the world. These are some of the conclusions I've drawn, doing my humble little part to follow Bush's sage advice. By Daniel Patrick Welch

War is Bush's Teflon Cloak
April 11, 2003 · I think I am on firm ground saying that never in America's history has a president taken our nation into war on such flimsy if not out-and-out fabricated "evidence"; and never in history have a president and his family and friends so directly profited from waging war. They don't even bother to use middlemen for "cover"; the owners and directors of the companies making the munitions and supplying the military's needs are all friends, family and campaign supporters of George W. Bush. By Madison

Forget Sunscreen - Save Democracy
April 10, 2003 · A lot has changed in the quarter century since Paul Conrad sent me and my classmates out into the world. We are involved in an immoral, unjustified, pre-emptive, unilateral "war" against a sovereign nation. Those who dissent against the war are branded as traitors. A sprawling bureaucratic "anti-terrorism" apparatus, with the ominous name of "Homeland Security," is being erected by the political party that traditionally inveighs against the evils of big government. Who said irony was dead? By D.G. Bowman

What Now, George?
April 10, 2003 · What now George? Where are you going to send our boys and girls now? What kind of threat are you going to make up now? Who else are you going to try and connect to our nation's worst day? More importantly, what are you going to do for the Iraqi people? Take their oil to pay for this liberation? Let them have democratic elections? What happens when the new regime doesn't like you George? What happens then? By Ed Hanratty

Was It Worth It?
April 9, 2003 · In these cynical times of infomercials, telemarketers, network marketing schemes, spam, and a perpetual barrage of advertising, Americans tend to be rightly skeptical and cautious before committing their hard-earned dollar. Should we not expect the same from our government? Ask any conservative, watching our budget like the proverbial bean counter. Surely our government would not resort to the same cheap, desperate tactics these other low-level marketers utilize when rolling out a new product? By a_random_joel

Electronic Americans
April 9, 2003 · For the most part, Electronic Americans don't look much different than you and me - only whiter, less brighter and more likely to get their news from the Fox News Network. Electronic Americans, contrary to popular belief, were not artificially conceived in some secret, off-shore Sony lab but rather programmed here at home. By Leilla Matsui

Depression - And Its Activism Antidote - Will Lead to Bush's Downfall
April 8, 2003 · Let's talk about a subject that remains mostly hidden in American social discourse: depression. Depression is a sane, normal way of dealing with overwhelming grief, loss, confusion, shame - in this instance: cluster-bombs, depleted uranium weapons, children being slaughtered as "collateral damage," and all in our name. Because depression shakes us up, it provides opportunities, once we regain our energy and focus, for effective political action. By Bernard Weiner

Blood in the Sand
April 8, 2003 · Back in the days of Desert Storm when I was in the business of "managing" information to make the Army look good, the cold and darkly secretive Dick Cheney was pulling the strings over at Defense, issuing rules for media coverage of the Gulf War. The rules, which had worked so well for Cheney during his recent Panama invasion, were simple - the Pentagon was to have total control over the media... there were to be no unpatriotic questions... and there was to be no blood in the sand. By Sheila Samples

Speaking Truth to Ignorance: An Open Letter to Charlie Daniels and the Warmongers
April 5, 2003 · It is understandable that people want to rally behind our troops and attack the world's tyrants. No one in the anti-war movement likes Saddam Hussein and they will be relieved when he is dead and gone. That said, most Americans are not informed about the real issues behind this military campaign. By Christian Dewar

Murmurs from the Urban Heartland - Dean Meetup, Philadelphia
April 5, 2003 · Half a world away people were people killing one another for reasons that to many made no sense. And the man in the White House who initiated the war was once again riding a rally-round effect to high poll numbers, however temporary they may be. But the calendar dictates that another Presidential campaign is about to begin so on Wednesday night I went to a "meetup" of supporters of about the only Democrat who seems to be attracting any attention these days – Howard Dean of Vermont. By Mike McArdle

Why I Can't Just Shut Up
April 4, 2003 · Okay. So you want me to shut up and support the troops. I read the polls. I know that some ungodly huge percentage of Americans feel duty bound to support the war because they deeply feel the need to support the troops. Apparently we, as a people, have yet to understand that we can support the troops and oppose the war at the same time. By Tom Pain

Bi-Nationalism : A Roadmap to Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, or a Mere Pipe Dream?
April 4, 2003 · George W. Bush recently announced a "road map for peace" in the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict. Drawing a roadmap for peace in there is like charting a course through a minefield for a blindfolded sap on roller blades. Whether or not something as intricate and convoluted as this horrific tragedy can be understood, let alone solved by Mr. Bush is anyone's guess. By Brian Kupfer

The Plan
April 4, 2003 · It seems rather bleak, doesn't it? It's coming so fast, so flagrantly, that one barely has time to contemplate one outrage, when five others appear. The latest, of course, being our invasion and attempted colonization of the Middle East. I'm experiencing a growing sense of frustration and hopelessness; a fear that the corporate despots who have seized control of our government may very well be unstoppable; that every possible contingency has already been contemplated, and a response planned. By K. Tomasi

Operation Iraq Invasion, By the Numbers
April 3, 2003 · A variation of a question-and-answer piece on the relationship between Iraq, the U.S., Europe, and military campaigns circulating through cyberspace. The numbers speak for themselves. By Jackson Thoreau

While Watchdogs Sleep
April 3, 2003 · It is a mistake to bet against the Bushists based on a wish to see them do badly. These illegitimate men - these bastards?- are being permitted, by the media and by the Democratic "opposition," to do as they please with their ill-gotten power without anyone raising the slightest objection to the illegitimate means that enabled them to pursue their illegitimate ends. By Burt Worm

Civilian Casualties Will Soar
April 2, 2003 · The official U.S. version of what's going on in Iraq is just so much disinformational nonsense. A totally different picture emerges from foreign and independent sources, which uniformly agree regarding this pivotal factor: There have been many more Iraqi civilian casualties than either the White House, the Pentagon or our whitewashing monopoly news channels are admitting to. By Dennis Rahkonen

War Gone Wild: A Programming Disaster
April 2, 2003 · Initial television ads for the new reality show Operation Iraqi Freedom promised viewers a kinder, gentler, more whimsical spin on traditional warfare. Audiences would be treated to a heartwarming desert romp featuring jig-dancing Iraqi peasants tossing floral bouquets at throngs of liberating U.S. troops. But even hardcore fans of O.I.F. have become disenchanted at the presumed never-ending length of the series, hoping the producers will cut back to two episodes a week. By Glen Coburn

Winning Iraqi Hearts, One Corpse at a Time
April 1, 2003 · Fifty-eight Iraqi shoppers were killed the other day as an errant Cruise missile slammed into a busy Baghdad market. Tragic as that loss may be, what is more tragic is that these dead people will never taste the sweet flavor of American-style democracy. As the recently-expired were mourned by their loved ones, battles raged all over Iraq to save the still-living from the yoke of tyranny. By Phil Lebovits

Fast Food Media
April 1, 2003 · Like its fast food counterparts, American news relies on the statistical improbability of the consumer ever actually opening the bun to reveal the reconstituted offal inside. News Inc., has become the forum for generals, commanders and CEO's to deliver a non-stop monologue of praise for themselves and the institutions that bask in the reflected glory of the shining tin on their chests. By Leilla Matsui

Bush Gives Iraqis 48 Hours to Dance in Streets
April 1, 2003 · President Bush, evidently growing impatient with the pace of the Iraqi liberation and the attitude of the Iraqi citizens, has issued a new ultimatum, only this time it's to the Iraqi people themselves. "I'm a patient man" said the President at a hastily called news conference, "but there are limits to my patience. I feel that I have no choice but to tell the Iraqi people that they must dance in the streets and express their jubilant gratitude to me and our troops within 48 hours or face the most serious of consequences." Satire by Mike McArdle

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