The Center for an Informed America
NEWSLETTER #18
(actually Newsletter #17, Part II, but who's counting?)
October 2, 2002


Greetings, once again, to all subscribers!

This first story has much to teach us about the world in which we live. On September 19, the venerable L.A. Times reported that Maurice Papon, a top Vichy official in WWII France - which is to say, a Nazi fifth columnist - was released from prison after serving just three years for sending some 1,600 men, women and children to their near-certain deaths at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
(http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-fg-papon19sep19.story)

Papon had remained a free man for more than fifty years following the commission of his crimes against humanity. It was not until 1998, fifty-three years after the close of World War II, that Papon was sent to prison. And he wasn't in hiding all those years. No, he in fact remained a very powerful and public figure on the French political scene.

One of many offices Papon filled over the decades was budget minister in the administration of President Valery Giscard d’Estaing. A frequent sidekick of d’Estaing was Jean-Bedel Bokassa, the self declared Emperor of the Central African Republic. The French president's family had heavy investments in the African nation, and several family members reportedly served in the Bokassa regime.

I mention this because Bokassa was convicted in absentia, after fleeing the country, of participating in the slaughter of scores of schoolchildren. Bokassa himself personally butchered 40 of the children, and then cannibalized them. This fact was confirmed by both Amnesty International and through an independent, five-nation investigation.

Bokassa's palace was found to be brimming with evidence of cannibalism and other atrocities -- not unlike Jeffrey Dahmer's apartment, but on a much grander scale. Bokassa ultimately served about five years for his crimes, and died a free man.

And now, after serving a mere three years, Maurice Papon is a free man once again. Three years for knowingly sending 1,600 individuals to their deaths. Three years for playing a direct role in an egregious act of mass murder. Three fucking years! Wait a minute ... I almost forgot ... I should have written that like this: THREE FUCKING YEARS!

Meanwhile, Slobodan Milosevic continues to be prosecuted by a U.S.-led court for war crimes that there is little, if any, evidence that he actually committed.

How, you might be wondering, was it possible for a known Nazi collaborator and war criminal to remain a powerful figure in France for better than five decades? Well ... the same way that it was possible for a Nazi collaborator like John Foster Dulles to rise to the position of Secretary of State following World War II. And the same way it was possible for a Nazi financier like Prescott Bush to become one of the most powerful Senators in the country, and a personal adviser to President Eisenhower. And the same way that it was possible for a Nazi collaborator like Allen Dulles to become the longest-serving director of the Central Intelligence Agency. And the same way that it was possible for a Nazi collaborator like Nelson Rockefeller to become the Vice-President of these United States. And the same way that it was possible for a Nazi financier like Averell Harriman, a Bush/Walker business partner, to occupy various seats of power within the federal government. And the same way that it was possible for .... well, I think you get the idea.

The truth of the matter is that America's recent flirtation with overt fascism isn't some kind of historical anomaly, and it isn't simply a result of the Bush cabal seizing the White House and running amok. The fascists were here long before World War II, they were here during World War II, and they are still very much with us today.

For the truth, you see, is that Nazi Germany was not the incarnation of one man's singularly twisted vision. It was not the result of a megalomaniacal leader run amok. Far from it. Adolf Hitler was never anything more than a frontman, not unlike George Bush, except that Hitler was a far more charismatic and intelligent frontman than is G.W.

Nevertheless, in the final analysis, Hitler was merely the public face for the forces that drove Nazi Germany. And the largely unseen faces that he was fronting for were largely the same ones that George Bush is now fronting for.

Consider, if you will, that fully 70% of the money that financed the rise of the Third Reich came from the United States and Great Britain (according to former Justice Department investigator John Loftus). Consider also that the eugenics beliefs that fueled some of history's most appalling crimes against humanity came from the United States and Great Britain.

The international laws that enabled Nazi Germany to 'legally' loot and pillage most of Europe were drafted by high-powered attorneys from the United States, the primary one being John Foster Dulles. The Lebensraum (living room) policy that was used to justify Nazi Germany's genocidal imperialism was modeled directly after the genocidal destruction of the Native American nations.

One of the least discussed aspects of the Third Reich is the occult beliefs that in part shaped the ideology of the Nazi Party, particularly so in the case of Heinrich Himmler's Black Order of the SS. These beliefs relied heavily on the ideas and the writings of Eliphas Levi in France, and Madame Helena Blavatsky in New York City.

The financing, most of the ideological beliefs, and the legal justifications that the Reich relied on were all supplied by America and its 'Western' allies. And when the Nazi Party ultimately was defeated, who was it that rushed in to try to preserve as much of the fascist infrastructure as possible? Who was it that recruited literally thousands of Nazi spies and scientists? Who was it that helped set up the 'rat lines' that funneled countless Nazi war criminals out of Germany and into various corners of the world, with their plundered loot intact? And who was it, while we're on the subject, who had largely sat idly by while Spain, Italy, Germany, and then virtually all of Europe fell under fascist rule?

In case you're having trouble with those questions, the answer is, in each case, the United States. But it can't be, you say. Surely it wasn't American dollars that propelled Adolf Hitler into power. Surely it wasn't American ideas that fueled one of history's greatest horror shows. Surely American lawyers didn't knowingly grease the path for Nazi Germany to follow. And surely America didn't rush in to protect Nazi war criminals from ever answering for their crimes.

America would never do such a thing. Oh sure, we may have financed and supported an endless series of maniacal leaders who were morally equivalent to Hitler, albeit on a smaller scale -- men such as Duvalier, Marcos, Somoza, Mobutu, Pinochet, Noriega, Batista, Hussein, Pahlavi, Suharto, and a host of others -- but surely we didn't covertly back the real Adolf Hitler, the one to whom all the pretenders to the throne are compared ... or did we?

There is no question that a whole lot of Wall Street bankers and attorneys, and a laundry list of America's most powerful corporations, had an uncomfortably cozy relationship with the Reich, both before and during World War II.

So while we should rightfully be indignant that Papon served just three years for his complicity in the commission of crimes against humanity, it is still three years longer than Herbert Walker (George Bush, Sr.'s grandfather) served. Three years longer than Henry Ford served. Three years longer than Charles Augustus Lindbergh served. Three years longer than anyone on the boards of directors of Ford Motors, General Motors, ITT, RCA, Standard Oil, Chase Bank, or Brown Brothers-Harriman served. Three years longer than any native U.S. fascists served.

Oops ... I seem to have once again gone off on a rant there. I really need to stop doing that if I am ever going to get through this list of links.

But while we're on the subject of Adolf Hitler, I have to mention that German Justice Minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin recently noted that Bush was exhibiting some decidedly Hitlerian behavior -- a comment that White House propagandist Ari Fleischer described as "inexplicable." (http://www.theage.com.au/breaking/2002/09/20/FFXTN560B6D.html) In truth though, Daeubler-Gmelin could have gone much further in noting the parallels between Bush and the Fuhrer.
(see, for example, "Bush's 9/11 Reichstag Fire: http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0913-03.htm)

Daeubler-Gmelin gets bonus points, by the way, for having also harshly denounced the execution of a German national in 1999 by the state of Arizona. Not only was the condemned man denied rights guaranteed him by international law, but his execution was carried out in the gas chamber -- an act that understandably left a very bad taste in the mouths of the German people. Daeubler-Gmelin said at the time: "It is barbaric and unworthy of a state based on the rule of law. It is appalling the way the death penalty is celebrated in Arizona. Apparently it's used for the reelection of governors and state prosecutors."

Daeubler-Gmelin apparently voiced her opinions one too many times. Before I could even finish composing this newsletter, she was compelled to tender her resignation, as Gerhard Schröder - fresh from a narrow election victory, a victory based in large part on Schröder's posturing as a foe of Plan Bush - quickly begins burrowing his head up Bush's ass.
(http://jang.com.pk/thenews/oct2002-daily/01-10-2002/world/w4.htm and http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-433369,00.html)

An absolute must-read posting this week is "Oh Say Can You See," by Deck Deckert in the September 9 rendering of Swans. Deckert suggests that, as was done with German civilians following World War II, "the UN General Assembly order the U.S. to create a Witness Army. Young men and women would be forced to sign up for the WA when they turned 17. At the start of every U.S. war, American-backed coup, police action, 'air strike', embargo, 'peace action', 'preventive war', or attacks on aspirin factories, a Witness Army brigade would be sent in to confront what was done by their nation's leaders."
(http://www.swans.com/library/art8/rdeck028.html)

Out of Colombia came the shocking news that the army (backed, of course, by the U.S.) is working with paramilitary death squads. You don't say? (http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CAS209A.html and http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-links15sep15005033.story) And those paramilitary groups, acknowledged the Washington Post, derive "a large portion of [their] financing from [Colombia's] drug trade." Now that's even more shocking. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22043-2002Sep15.html) The L.A. Times reported that "the most violent province in one of the most violent countries in the world" just happens to be the one bordering an - who would have guessed it? - oil pipeline. (http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/la-fg-pipeline15sep15005033.story) For yet more news on the escalating levels of violence and repression in Colombia, see: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/sep2002/colo-s19.shtml, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2273680.stm and http://rense.com/general29/mart.htm.

Iraq, of course, is all over the news these days. Newsweek reminded us of who created Saddam Hussein (http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/09.18A.neswk.us.iraq.htm), while ABC News admitted that the U.S. and Iraq were not always enemies. (http://abcnews.go.com/sections/nightline/DailyNews/us_iraq_history_1_020917.html) The Sunday Herald, which has been at the forefront of coverage on the impending attack upon Iraq, reminded us of where Saddam got his weapons from (as did Counterpunch) (http://www.sundayherald.com/27572 and http://www.counterpunch.org/nimmo0919.html), and a number of media voices refreshed our memory on who supplied him with biowarfare agents (though the goal seems to be affirming that Iraq poses a grave threat to the world, rather than questioning America's past actions).
(http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/sep2002/nf20020920_3025.htm, http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20020923/1048504.asp, http://www.suntimes.com/output/novak/cst-edt-novak26.html, http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/tallahassee/news/politics/4186725.htm, http://www.washtimes.com/national/20021001-8211716.htm and http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/09.30A.byrd.wmd.htm)

Speaking of biowarfare, the Washington Post reported that it is Washington, and not Iraq or any other so-called rogue nation, that "has abandoned an international effort to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention against germ warfare, advising its allies that the United States wants to delay further discussions until 2006." (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A36677-2002Sep18.html)

In completely unrelated news, this excerpt from William Blum's Killing Hope reminds us of who it is that has waged various forms of chemical and biological warfare against the nation of Cuba (here's a hint: it's the same rogue nation that opposes strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention).
(http://rense.com/general29/amerca.htm)

And lest anyone mistakenly conclude that such actions represent ancient history, the Sunshine Project informed us that the U.S. is currently operating a very secret, and very illegal, biological and chemical weapons program.
(http://globalresearch.ca/articles/SUN209A.html)

And while we're on the subject of chemical and biological warfare, a couple of reports surfaced claiming that the gassing of the Kurds in Iraq (which, of course, we all 'know' was done by Saddam) was actually the work of Iran.
(http://www.polyconomics.com/searchbase/12-14-00.html and http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/cms.dll/articleshow?artid=22569589&sType=1)

The Independent, with "Don't look now: Saddam is drowning kittens," and the Christian Science Monitor, with "When contemplating war, beware of babies in incubators," warned us to beware of Washington's self-serving fables about Iraq.
(http://argument.independent.co.uk/regular_columnists/mark_steel/story.jsp?story=330556 and http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0906/p25s02-cogn.html)

The Sunday Herald revealed that plans for toppling Saddam were drafted before George Bush even began pretending to be the President -- which doesn't come as much of a surprise. The Herald also provided the lowdown on some of Washington's top contenders to lead the new Iraqi puppet government -- men described as "convicted embezzlers, accused war criminals and CIA stooges to a man."
(http://www.sundayherald.com/27735 and http://www.sundayherald.com/27877)

Gulf War I veterans warned that this time around will be a bloodbath, and one vet in particular asked, rather poignantly, "What Will I Tell My Children?" (http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/state/article/0,1299,DRMN_21_1430552,00.html and http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=14141)

The Telegraph of India worried that the nuclear taboo will soon be broken. (http://www.telegraphindia.com/1020910/asp/opinion/story_1177740.asp) There is, of course, very good reason to have such concerns. (http://www.counterpunch.org/boyle0722.html)

A number of leading American scientists have questioned one of the supposedly key pieces of evidence in Washington's 'case' against Iraq, though their voices are not, of course, being heard in the U.S. media. (http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=335531) And speaking of the American media, it is, shamelessly and nearly unanimously, banging the war drum and lionizing Sir George. (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/sep2002/pres-s25.shtml) Also banging the war drum, by the way, is one of Hollywood's most accomplished propagandists: Steven Spielberg.
(http://www.news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?id=1076682002&tid=518and http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/oct2002/spie-o03.shtml)

The media is also, as the FAIR organization has pointed out, trying to pretend as though it didn't report as fact just a few years ago that the UN weapons inspections teams were littered with U.S. spies.
(http://www.fair.org/activism/unscom-history.html)

The Washington Post informed us that the war will be paid for by cutting "wasteful" domestic spending, such as education: "President Bush will look for new ways to restrain growth of domestic programs -- including education spending he considers wasteful -- as he struggles to pay for an indefinite war on terror with falling tax revenue, officials said yesterday." (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A62787-2002Sep24.html)

The Halifax Herald Limited warned us that, in taking the Iraq war to the ground, U.S. troops will fall victim to the radioactive depleted uranium left behind in the last assault on Iraq, thereby setting off another round of 'Gulf War Syndrome.' Included in the posting are such interesting factoids as that uranium has a "radioactive half-life of 200 million years."
(http://www.herald.ns.ca/stories/2002/09/30/f104.raw.html)

And, finally, for those who are serious about stopping Iraq from being bombed into oblivion in their name, a British lawmaker is recruiting volunteers to form an international human shield around Baghdad.
(http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20020913/wl_nm/iraq_britain_galloway_dc_1)

I am reminded here of some of the most remarkable and moving images that came out of the U.S. assault on Yugoslavia -- the televised images of hundreds of Serbs, from all walks of life, standing hand-in-hand on key bridges to form human shields against aerial bombardment.

Ordinary people, looking very much like you and I, armed only with their determination, their pride, and their collective humanity, standing there in open defiance of the most powerful, technologically advanced, and feared war machine ever created.

It is images such as these that give us hope in a world that too often seems to be beyond hope.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, I was about to comment on Washington's new nakedly imperialistic 'national security strategy.' You know, the one that says that Washington has the self-granted right to bomb the hell out of (and, if necessary, nuke) any country that has any qualms with allowing its natural and human resources to be brutally raped and pillaged by U.S. corporate interests?

You can read it for yourself, in its entirety, at http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.pdf. Or you can read various analyses of it, the best of which, without question, is by Steve Gowans.
(http://www3.sympatico.ca/sr.gowans/security.html, http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/09.24A.wrp.history.htm, http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/09/20/1032054963259.html, and
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/09/22/1032055033082.html)

The Sydney Morning Herald, remarkably enough, claimed that a "senior White House official said Mr Bush had edited the document heavily 'because he thought there were sections where we sounded overbearing or arrogant.'" Since this document wasn't written in crayon, I'm guessing that George Bush actually had nothing to do with writing or editing it, and probably would have a difficult time even reading it. But if the missive was indeed edited, it boggles the mind how "overbearing and arrogant" the original must have been, given the unfathomable arrogance of the finished product.

Believe it or not, we're not even close to being done here, so I'd suggest you get comfortable. I'll try to pick up the pace a bit, but I still have a fairly sizable backlog of links to get through. Some of them, by the way, have been laying around for awhile, so they may have expired. I could, I suppose, go back through and check them all, but that would be a lot of work, and I'm kind of tired.

From the Centre for Research on Globalisation comes this revealing look at the "Prison-Industrial Complex and the Global Economy." (http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/EVA110A.html) The CRG has also offered up a number of postings that provide various pieces of the 9/11 puzzle, including: "The Taliban Minister, the US Envoy and the Warning of September 11 That Was Ignored" (http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CLA209A.html); "The Case of the Missing Terrorist" (http://globalresearch.ca/articles/LEV209A.html); and "9/11 and The Smoking Gun that Turned On its Tracker" (http://globalresearch.ca/articles/KUP209A.html; see also http://globalresearch.ca/articles/KUP209C.html and http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/completetimeline/AAsaeed.html).

The CRG also posted a look at the controlled and manufactured nature of the 'progressive press' in America -- a topic that I have been known to comment on from time to time. (http://globalresearch.ca/articles/PET209A.html) Further details were provided in a series of postings from Bob Feldman.
(http://www.questionsquestions.net/gatekeepers.html)

And while we're on that subject, I see where Christopher Hitchens - who has long been an obviously fraudulent voice of the 'left' - has decided that even The Nation, home to many a pseudo-leftist, is a little too liberal for his tastes.
(http://www.news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?id=1072482002)

Several avenues of the media, mainstream and otherwise, have questioned the case against the supposed 'terrorist cell' in Buffalo, New York. The problem? A serious lack of evidence.
(http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0918/p03s01-ussc.html, http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/sep2002/lack-s26.shtml and http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101020930-353549,00.html)

That reminds me that I saw a brief report a couple of weeks ago on the local news about the arrest of two alleged 'terrorists' in, believe it or not, my hometown of Torrance, California. I mention this because, with the exception of that local newscast, I haven't heard a peep out of any other avenue of the media about this case -- which leaves me wondering how many other alleged 'terrorists' have been taken into custody around the country while a compliant media stands mute. Can you say "Los Desaparecidos"?

This next posting informs us that the families of September 11 victims are wary of the erosion of civil rights in this country. (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&ncid=578&e=1&cid=578&u=/nm/20020909/ts_nm/attack_families_dc) They should also be wary of being demonized by the press -- a process that has already begun, with the first shots being fired by, appropriately enough, an allegedly progressive publication.
(http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2002/08/14/MN55184.DTL)

The demonization of survivor families is necessary because, as was reported in a previous newsletter, far too many of them have rebuffed Washington's offer of hush money and are contemplating using America's courts to get the answers to questions that Team Bush refuses to address.

Washington's mode of damage control will be to cast these families as greedy, amoral opportunists attempting to cash in on a national tragedy, rather than what they actually are: incensed and bereaved citizens who want answers to the unanswered questions surrounding the attacks on the Pentagon and the WTC towers.

The Christian Science Monitor asked people around the world if America is the "good guy." Guess what a lot of them said? (http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0911/p02s03-wogi.html) The World Socialist Web Site checked in with a look at what water privatization means to Africa. (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/sep2002/wate-s07.shtml) And the Baltimore Sun discovered that few Americans actually know what the Constitution says -- though almost all think it is a really neat document. (http://www.sunspot.net/bal-te.constitution17sep17.story)

A fairly new website, The Memory Hole, has some interesting 9/11 postings, including a rather bizarre one about a plane crash simulation that the CIA had supposedly scheduled for - you guessed it - September 11, 2001. I'm not really sure what to make of that one. (http://www.thememoryhole.org/911/cia-simulation.htm) Also of interest is this account of multiple explosions by a WTC survivor. (http://www.thememoryhole.org/911/veliz-bombs.htm) And then there's what is said to be a portion of the Flight 93 flight tape. (http://www.thememoryhole.org/911/ap-93tape.htm and http://www.airdisaster.com/cvr/atcwav.shtml)

Australia's The Age reminded us, in case any of us need reminding, that "America's war record is littered with lies," and also noted Hollywood's eagerness to help Washington design its new wars. (http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/09/11/1031608270446.html and http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/09/14/1031608342634.html)

The L.A. Times reported that "The income of American households fell last year and the poverty rate increased for the first time since the early 1990s, the Census Bureau reported." Let me think now ... who was the president in the early 1990s? I can't seem to recall ...
(http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-poverty24sep25004445.story)

And yet more bad news from the Times: "The number of Americans without health insurance jumped significantly last year after declining for the previous two years, the Census Bureau reported."
(http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/la-na-insure30sep30004434.story)

Here's some better news: CNN reported that America's violent crime rate was the "lowest in three decades." (http://www.cnn.com/2002/US/09/09/crime.rate.ap/index.html) Oh ... wait a minute ... I just noticed that it says: "The nation saw violent crimes except murder fall by 9 percent last year." (emphasis added)

If we can all agree then to no longer consider murder to be a violent crime, then I guess we can safely say that violent crime was down last year.

So ... I had the TV on the other day, but I wasn't really watching it, when a mud-slinging campaign ad aired. This particular ad was aimed at slamming California gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon. Now what I thought I was being told was that "Simon is backed by the homos."

My first thought was: "Wow! This campaign has really gotten ugly." My second thought was: "If Simon has the support of the gay community, then maybe he isn't as much of a dick as I thought he was." Then I saw the ad for a second time and realized that the message actually was that Simon is backed by the HMOs. I was, needless to say, a little disappointed.

Let's see now, what else is happening out there? Oh yes, Afghanistan doesn't seem to be quite as stable as it could be. (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/sep2002/afgh-s07.shtml) But never fear ... Washington has a new plan to hire a 'private' company to take over security for our favorite puppet, Hamid Karzai.
(http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/19/international/asia/19SECU.html?ex=1033456358&ei=1&en=286920e1ae690eb3)

A fear-mongering story surfaced last week claiming that 33 pounds of weapons-grade uranium was seized from two suspects in Turkey. The implication was clearly that the material was bound for Iraq, where it would be fashioned into a nuclear weapon and quickly hurled our way. By Sunday though, it was admitted that there actually wasn't 33 pounds of the material, but just five ounces. (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-uranium30sep30.story) And by Monday, it was quietly admitted that the seized material wasn't uranium at all, but rather a harmless mixture of "zinc, iron, zirconium and manganese." (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-uranium1oct01.story)

The corrections to the story though don't seem to have gotten nearly the airplay that the original contrived report did.

The UK's Guardian revealed that Great Britain plans to sell off part of its defense research industry to a certain U.S.-based company. Can you guess which one? Here's a hint: the principals of the firm include George Bush, Frank Carlucci, James Baker and John Major.
(http://www.guardian.co.uk/military/story/0,11816,786712,00.html)

The UK's Independent, meanwhile, noted that U.S. intelligence agencies received at least a dozen warnings prior to September 11 of commercial aircraft being hijacked and used as weapons. And those, of course, are just the warnings that have leaked out to the public. (http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=334633) The Independent also carried a report of the U.S. sending forces to wage a "secret war" in the Horn of Africa.
(http://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/story.jsp?story=334634)

Apparently such secret wars were what the Washington Post was referring to when it reported that the U.S. would be pursuing a "more covert approach to the next phase in the battle against al Qaeda and other international terrorist groups," by consolidating "control of most of the global war on terrorism under the U.S. Special Operations Command."
(http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A31594-2002Sep17.html)

The Environment News Service informed readers that being a hero can be hazardous to your health: "More than 90 percent of the New York City Fire Department rescue workers who responded to the collapse of the World Trade Center last September 11 have developed a severe cough."
(http://ens-news.com/ens/sep2002/2002-09-10-02.asp)

Just a few more issues to address and we'll be all done for this week. First of all, for reasons that are not entirely clear, interest in this website has increased dramatically in the last few months. There has been a significant increase in visits to the site, as well as in new subscription requests.

With that increased level of interest has come a corresponding increase in the volume of e-mail that I receive. It has therefore become increasingly difficult to respond to such mailings. The reality is, regrettably, that I simply do not have the time to personally respond to the e-mail that is forever collecting in my in-box.

In order then to make the most productive use of my time, I will no longer be able to provide individual responses to any e-mail that I receive. Sorry about that. I will attempt, whenever possible, to respond in the newsletters to queries that may be of general interest to readers, and to pass along valid criticisms of past writings.

Another bit of business pertains to an e-mail that I received recently from reader "Shanti," who thinks it would be a good idea for someone to come up with a humorous, fascist self-check exam. Something, she suggests, that could be printed out and posted on water coolers all around the country.

I like the idea, but I'm going to need some help to make it happen. My assignment then for all of you is to suggest possible questions that could be included on this 'exam.' One thought that comes to mind is that the entries on the list could be formatted along the lines of the Jeff Foxworthy "... you could be a Redneck" comedy routine. Questions then would be phrased something like this: "If ... then you could be a fascist."

Any suggestions for alternate formatting and for questions that could be included on the 'exam' are welcome. In the meantime, someone has already come up with a checklist to determine if your neighbors are suffering from "Stepford Citizen Syndrome." (http://www.democraticunderground.com/articles/02/09/05_stepford.html)

Finally, before signing off, I wanted to address the burning question that is on everyone's mind this week: after "Celebrity Weakest Link," "Celebrity Boxing," "Celebrity Fear Factor," and "Celebrity Boot Camp," is there anything that Greg Brady won't do to get his face back on the nation's TV screens?

I think it's time to give it a rest, Greg, if for no other reason than to give Peter and Bobby a chance to publicly humiliate themselves as well. Face the fact that you're never going to win one of these competitions. We all know that you can't perform under pressure. Remember the little incident with the egg during the driving challenge with Marcia? So do we. Enough said.

And that, at long last, is all I have for this outing. Until next week ...
 
 

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