The Center for an Informed America NEWSLETTER #9
July 14, 2002
Greetings to all subscribers!
On July 9, representing an administration littered with some of the country's most notorious corporate criminals, George Bush delivered to a room full of equally corrupt corporate criminals a supremely hypocritical speech that was allegedly meant to signal to America's captains of industry that Washington is no longer going to tolerate rampant corporate criminality.
Standing before an Orwellian backdrop that featured the words "Corporate Responsibility" written repetitively, Bush delivered a mixture of distortions, evasions, misrepresentations, and outright lies. As a public service to readers, Bush's words - which were clearly tailored to his Wall Street audience - are translated/clarified here for the rest of America.
Little George's actual words, as per a transcript of the speech posted by CNN, appear below. They are followed (in red) by the corresponding translations/explanations.
"The misdeeds now being uncovered in some quarters of corporate America are threatening the financial well-being of many workers and many investors."
"The crimes now being uncovered in many quarters of corporate America are threatening the legitimacy of my administration, and of the entire corporate/political infrastructure of this country. They are also threatening the well-being of many workers and small investors, who I couldn't care less about."
"At this moment America's greatest economic need is higher ethical standards ... "
"At this moment, America's greatest economic need is to address the obscene and ever-growing income and wealth gap between those at the top of the food chain, who financed my theft of the presidential election, and all the rest of you."
"The American economy, our economy, is built on confidence. The conviction that our free enterprise system will continue to be the most powerful and most promising in the world."
"Though we routinely refer to our economic system as the 'free enterprise system,' there is certainly nothing free about it. It is actually a system based on grossly unequal power relationships, exploitation, greed, and - when all else fails - outright theft. And yes, in case you're wondering, I was supposed to say 'confidence' rather than 'conviction,' but I have trouble reading big words from a teleprompter."
"Our society rewards hard work and honest ambition ..."
" ... and if you believe that, then maybe you can explain to me how the hell I managed to be appointed to the highest office in the land, despite having never in my pathetic life indulged in hard work, and with no more ambition than a frat boy on Spring Break."
"The American economy is the most creative and enterprising and productive system ever devised. We can be confident because America is taking every necessary step to fight and win the war on terror."
"My speech writers thought it would be a good idea if I segued here into a completely irrelevant mention of my fraudulent 'war on terror,' which my pollsters tell me is my strongest suit and the best way to distract attention away from my administration's direct complicity in the fleecing of America by corporate criminals."
"In spite of all that happened last year, from the economic slowdown to the terrorist attack, worker productivity has grown by 4.2 percent over the last four quarters."
"Of course, during that same time period, workers' wages have declined. That means you all are working harder for less money, even while my Wall Street pals rob the country blind."
"In the first quarter of 2002 the economy grew at an annual rate exceeding 6 percent."
"Those figures, of course, are based largely on grossly inflated profit figures from corrupt corporations and the equally corrupt accounting firms that 'cook the books' for them."
"I will insist on, and if need be enforce, discipline in federal spending so we can meet our national priorities without undermining our economy."
"That spending discipline, it goes without saying, applies only to education, healthcare, Social Security benefits, and other social services, and certainly not to military spending and expenditures for 'Homeland Security,'"
"The vast majority of business men and women are honest. They do right by their employees and their shareholders."
"As always, we here in Washington are employing the 'it's just a few bad apples that are spoiling it for everyone' approach to dealing with this problem, rather than acknowledging that there is wholesale systemic corruption within corporate America. This, of course, is also the way that we deal with indications of wholesale corruption and abuse among the nation's police forces."
"In the long run, there is no capitalism without conscience, there is no wealth without character."
"In the long run, American capitalism has no conscience, and the illusion of character is for sale to anyone with enough wealth to purchase it."
"First we will use the full weight of the law to expose and root out corruption. My administration will do everything in our power to end the days of cooking the books, shading the truth and breaking our laws."
"Some of the members of my administration who will be assisting me in exposing and rooting out corporate corruption are: my vice-president, Dick Cheney, who was at the helm of Halliburton at the time that the company fraudulently boosted its profits to the tune of $100 million; my Secretary of the Army, Thomas White, who was the vice-chairman of that criminal enterprise known as Enron; and my appointee to head the SEC, Harvey Pitt, who previously served as an attorney for a number of corrupt accounting firms, including Arthur Andersen ... "
(http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/jul2002/bush-j09.shtml and http://www.nypress.com/print.cfm?content_id=6472 and http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-cheneyjul11.story)
" ... and if I find that my administration lacks sufficient manpower to handle this task, I might enlist the aid of my brothers, some of whom know even more about fraud and corruption than I do."
"I ask Congress to strengthen the ability of SEC investigators to temporarily freeze improper payments to corporate executives ..."
" ... such as the 'improper' profits and 'loans' that I myself received from Harken Energy, and from a few other shady business deals. These deals are not though, contrary to press reports, what made me a multi-millionaire; I was born a multi-millionaire."
(http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/07.03D.krug.outrage.htm and http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16302-2002Jul2.html and http://www.public-i.org/story_01_100400.htm)
"Yet when a company uses deception, deception [sic] accounting to hide reality, executives should lose all their compensation -- all their compensation -- gained by deceit. Corporate leaders who violate the public trust should never be given that trust again. The SEC should be able to punish corporate leaders who are convicted of abusing their powers by banning them from ever serving again as officers or directors of a publicly held corporation. If an executive is guilty of outright fraud, resignation is not enough. Only a ban on serving at the top of another company will protect other shareholders and employees."
"I am doing my damnedest here to sound like I am serious about getting tough on corporate criminals, though I am actually carefully avoiding proposing any sort of meaningful reform of a system that actively encourages predatory behavior. The truth is that the SEC already has the authority to prohibit corrupt executives from occupying seats of power in publicly held companies, making the long-winded passage that I just muddled my way through entirely meaningless. If I wasn't a craven lap-dog for the movers and shakers of corporate America, I would propose some real reform measures, such as that executives who are guilty of outright fraud should be locked away in the same appalling conditions that are faced by the country's petty criminals, instead of receiving more lenient sentences than first-time drug offenders, as is currently the case -- on those rare occasions when their crimes are prosecuted at all."
When all was said and done, The Smirk's speech was nothing but a collection of empty platitudes, as was widely acknowledged by the press, as in this summation by the Los Angeles Times: "Many of the reforms Bush proposed Tuesday in a Wall Street speech are irrelevant to today's corporate crime wave, professionals said, and others already are in place. Some even appear to be less exacting than existing regulations."
The harsh reality is that America's laws are not now intended, never have been intended, and never will be intended, to punish so-called 'white-collar' crime. Quite the contrary, our laws are designed to protect corporate criminals - to protect those who fleece the American people out of millions of dollars, who rob and steal out of pure, unmitigated greed - even while harshly punishing those who steal out of desperation.
A correspondent in Europe (whom I will call 'Nick' -- primarily because that is his name) took note of that fact in an e-mail that he sent to me this past week:"I have just been watching yet another piece of TV bollocks (this time on BBC Newsnight) about catching the criminals before they commit crimes (genetics, body language analysis from CCTV images, psychological profiling, etc, inspired by some crap Spielberg has recently thrown up) and yet again, as is invariably the case, they're only after the openly (as distinct from covertly) homicidal and the uncomplicatedly (as distinct from corporately devious) kleptomaniac.His observations here are, needless to say, quite accurate. The covertly homicidal - which is to say, those who sponsor mass murder in the name of corporate profits and/or American hegemony - are regarded as contemporary and historical heroes, while 'street' criminals are viewed as the lowest form of human life.
Our history books are filled with glowing homages to genocidal sociopaths like Andrew Jackson, who played a central role in the indiscriminate slaughter of untold numbers of Native Americans and the destruction of their ancestral homelands -- but who nevertheless is proudly displayed on the primary instrument of U.S. currency, the $20 bill.
More recently, engineers of mass murder like General H. Norman Schwarzkopf are presented to us by our media and our schools not as the sociopaths that they are, but as great American heroes. That reminds me that now - with incessant talk from Washington of an impending attack upon the nation of Iraq, and with a growing trail of what are obviously deliberate 'leaks' of supposed details of the impending attack - might be a good time to remind readers of what really happened in the Persian Gulf the first time around. This posting by Bill Blum provides a crash course.
And I suppose it is also a good time to point out that the various self-serving justifications put forth by the current Bush administration for a 'proactive' strike against Iraq don't stand up to the slightest bit of scrutiny, though that isn't really of much concern to the Bush mob, since the media never bothers to scrutinize any of the ludicrous claims made by Washington mouthpieces.
(http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/jun2002/iraq-j29.shtml and http://www.fpif.org/papers/iraq.html)
Getting back to the e-mail from my European correspondent, Nick, his comments concluded with the following observations and inquiries:"Now you and I know that an awful lot - not a few, but many - of the good folks at the top end of running the corporate (and to some extent political) show are sociopaths who are at best extremely disturbed (compulsive workaholics, proto sadists, whatever) and at the worst borderline, or even quite definitely, psychotic.I must confess that it has been nearly twenty years since I cracked open a psychology textbook, but I seriously doubt that much has changed during that time in the way that the 'science' of psychology is taught to the masses. So I feel that I can safely say that you will not find - in the, ahem, 'scientific' literature - any mention of where society's real sociopaths reside.
"You're the psychological graduate, so here's the question: how come not one psychologist of the sort who come to the attention of us laymen has - in my observation - even hinted, professionally, that the really sociopathic loonies are at least as prevalent in Pacific Palisades as in Watts? Do they do so in the literature, or are they all just a pack of deadhead dickwits and grant-chasing buttkissers?"
A sociopath is, as the mental health community tells us, essentially a hollow shell of a man. A man lacking a conscience. A man capable of committing the most reprehensible acts without the slightest hint of remorse, and yet simultaneously capable of presenting himself to the world as a man of character -- likable and charismatic.
In a nutshell, a sociopath is said to be someone who can successfully assume a facade of charming civility to mask a monster lurking within. And the 'performance' of the facade personality can be remarkably convincing. That is why, whenever a garden variety sociopath is brought to justice, friends and neighbors invariably line up to tell reporters and police investigators that the suspect is the last person in the world that anyone would have suspected of being a deranged mass murderer.
What the term 'sociopath' actually describes is a dissociative disorder: a form of what used to be dubbed Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) and is now referred to as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). It is not the case that the sociopath's 'true' personality is hidden behind an elaborate and conscience facade, but rather that the person has two (or more) separate and distinct, highly-developed personalities that are largely autonomous.
That is precisely why the 'performance' of a 'sociopath' can be so convincing. And nowhere in the country, and likely in the world, will you find a finer group of sociopathic performers than in Washington -- or on Wall Street, which is populated by pretty much the same people.
That those in the halls of power in Washington are indeed sociopaths couldn't be any more obvious -- to anyone who is able to get beyond a lifetime of social conditioning to objectively review the evidence and, in doing so, to catch a glimpse of our exalted politicians for what they really are.
The problem is that the objective reality is so much at odds with the manufactured reality that most Americans refuse to believe that people like George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney (as well as Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, and William Cohen) are capable of committing the most heinous of crimes even while projecting the outward appearance of decency and civility.
That is precisely why it is so easy for so many people to dismiss 'conspiracy theories' out-of-hand. For most Americans, it is simply inconceivable that the good and decent men (and women) that we see on our TV screens every day, kissing babies, shaking hands with the common folk, and feigning compassion for the plight of the downtrodden, are fully capable of callously ordering the mass slaughter of millions of foreign nationals -- not to mention thousands of American citizens.
So great is the gap between the public and private behavior of our political, corporate and military leaders that many people, when confronted with the mountains of evidence of official corruption, choose to embrace the inane ideas pitched by the likes of David Icke, who claims that our esteemed leaders are actually lizards.
Icke is not, it should be clarified here, speaking metaphorically when he makes such claims. He claims that the world's political elites are, quite literally, shape-shifting reptiles. This is obviously a ludicrous claim, and yet it is one that millions have latched on to.
Why? Because the abhorrent behavior of those who wield power in this world is easier to accept if one looks upon these people as reptilian aliens rather than as the seriously deranged humans that they actually are. The reality is that what Icke and his ilk are pitching is just another layer of government sponsored disinformation ... but here I digress.
Before diving into this week's 'news,' I need to follow-up on a couple of stories that have received attention in previous newsletters. The first of those is the July 4th shooting at LAX that was mentioned briefly last week, primarily for the purpose of pointing out the extra-judicial execution of alleged gunman Hesham Hadayet.
It appears, based on some sleuthing done by investigative journalist and Rabin assassination researcher Barry Chamish, that Hadayet was likely executed to ensure that the case was closed before anyone had a chance to actually investigate the circumstances of the shooting, which could reveal that Hadayet was not the actual shooter -- or at least not the primary gunman.
According to numerous initial reports cited by Chamish, the gunman was not Hadayet, a forty-one-year-old Egyptian man with short black hair and a dark complexion, but was in fact a fifty-two-year-old white man with blond hair and a ponytail. For instance, the UK's Guardian reported that: "The gunman was described as white, pony-tailed and aged 52."
It is, of course, rather interesting that the man's exact age was being reported even as authorities were claiming that the shooter had yet to be identified. And the Guardian certainly wasn't the only media outlet that fingered someone other than Hadayet as the gunman. Cox News Service spoke of: "The 52-year-old gunman, whose name and nationality were not released."
The UK's The Times similarly reported that: "The Los Angeles Police Department said that the gunmen was aged 52, but there was no indication of his identity, nationality or motive." Again, the question that is begged here is how the police and various media outlets knew the suspect's exact age, when it was later reported that the purported gunman, Hadayet, carried no identification and obviously wasn't in a position to be volunteering any information, given that he had been executed.
Australia's Herald Sun noted that: "The gunman ... may have had an accomplice according to the LAPD." UPI also spoke of a second suspect: "There were unconfirmed reports that a second suspect was being sought." That same UPI report added that: "One man, wearing long sideburns and a blue shirt, was seen being taken away in the back of a police car. His role in the incident was not revealed."
Who was the man seen being taken away in a police cruiser? Was he the 52-year-old blond man with the ponytail? And why has he never been mentioned again by the press?
We have seen this scenario play out before, including at Columbine High School, where an additional shooting suspect was reliably reported to have been seen, very much alive, being taken into custody, only to have it later claimed that the perpetrators of the shooting were dead and that the case was closed. Hmmm .....
Another issue that needs to be further addressed is the September 11 attack on the Pentagon. First up is a transcript of a speech delivered by one of the country's foremost 'conspiracy' researchers, John Judge, explaining why there are undeniable indications that an order to 'stand down' was issued on or before September 11.
This posting, from CBS News, describes the extraordinary aerial maneuvers that were successfully performed by an allegedly poorly trained pilot at the controls of a decidedly unwieldy 757 passenger jet.
Finally, we have a posting from New Zealand that demands answers to questions that no one in the media has bothered to ask, and a posting from Michel Chossudovsky in which he explains, among other things, why the foreknowledge issue is a red herring.
Moving on to other matters of interest, it is time once again for me to wade into the troubled waters of the current Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The last time that I did so, several weeks ago, I found myself targeted in a harassment campaign organized by some pro-Zionist lobby.
Suddenly my mailbox was overflowing with multiple copies of postings from some of the most obnoxiously right-wing voices in the U.S. media -- with as many as 100 such mailings piling up in a single day. Worse yet, these same mailings were posted to various discussion groups using my name and e-mail address, though they obviously had not been posted by me.
Apparently, whoever organized this campaign thought that I could be cowed into silence on all matters concerning Israel -- but that isn't likely to happen. Nice try though, guys. It's good to see that you are such staunch supporters of free speech.
First off, let's revisit a place called Jenin. This title of this first posting is self explanatory: "Getting Away With Murder in Jenin." It is followed by a posting from Ha'aretz that reveals that Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres himself has referred to the battle in Jenin as a "massacre." That is followed by a BBC report that includes stills from a videotape that portrays an Israeli tank opening fire on fleeing civilians.
Also of interest is this Washington Times report that speaks of the U.S. and Israel forming a joint anti-terror office. Now isn't that special ... two of the leading sponsors of terrorism in the world today banding together to fight terrorism. Orwell would be so proud were he alive today.
And speaking of sponsoring terrorism, it would appear that the purportedly anti-Israel 'terrorist' group known as Hamas was, and quite likely still is, funded by the Israeli government (not unlike, I should note, the way the Taliban was funded and largely created by the U.S.)
Finally, we have here two postings that discuss the Nazi-like Apartheid laws currently being considered by the Sharon regime, followed by an article that looks at how the Palestinian lands are rapidly shrinking.
That's all I have for now on Israel, though I am sure that is enough to trigger some further harassment. I can hardly wait.
This next pair of articles focus on some of the ways that dissent is being stifled. The first deals with the pressure that is being applied to the nation's editorial cartoonists, and the second with the extraordinary measures that were taken at the recent G-8 summit to suppress any and all dissent.
Turning our attention next to Pakistan, this next posting reveals that "The Pakistan-India conflict is being funded and fomented by the same faces that brought you the war on terrorism" -- namely, the Carlyle Group. That is followed by a look at how President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan has lost all legitimacy in his own country, owing to the fact that he is widely recognized as being a puppet of the Bush regime.
This next link will transport you to the website of Common Courage Press, where you can read about how this publisher, and a number of other small publishers, are being ripped off by Bank One.
It is not, I should note here, actually Common Courage Press that is being ripped off; it is the authors who write for Common Courage Press that are being ripped off, one of whom is dutifully typing out these words, and who has not received any royalty checks for nearly a year-and-a-half.
Some have suggested that I do what I do for financial gain -- that I am knowingly peddling fraudulent 'conspiracy theories' to the gullible masses to fatten my own wallet. That is, it must be stated here, pure bullshit. These newsletters (and other Internet postings) and the maintenance of my website are provided as a public service, without any financial compensation.
Ahhh, but some say, then you are making a lot of money off of your book sales. That is also bullshit. Bank One is making money off my book sales. I haven't received a fucking penny since around the time that George Bush stole the White House. Not that I'm bitter about that or anything ...
I suppose, since I just used that awful "F" word once again, that I should respond to those who occasionally criticize my use of "obscenities" in my writings. As near as I can tell, my writings don't actually contain any offensive language -- certainly nothing that I would consider to be obscene.
There are certainly words in the English language that are obscene, but I refrain from using them. These are words like nigger, kike, spic, dago, fag, and bitch (when not referring to a female dog). Those are truly offensive words, which is why you will not find them in my writings (other than their use here to illustrate a point).
The word "fuck," on the other hand, is one of the most useful - and, in all its variants, one of the most versatile - words in the English language. I fail to see why people would be offended by its use. Some apparently object on religious grounds, though I don't remember ever reading anything in the bible that said: "Thou shalt not say fuck."
So I really don't see what the fucking problem is.
Anyway, I really need to wrap this newsletter up, so here are, in rapid succession, the remainder of the links this week to articles of interest:
ABC News ran a piece on the growing resistance to the provisions of the so-called Patriot Act: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/usapatriot020701.html
USA Today, in a similar vein, covered the growing resistance to the emerging police state: http://www.usatoday.com/usatonline/20020710/4259970s.htm
Yellow Times focused on what the Patriot Act actually says: http://www.yellowtimes.org/article.php?sid=444
New Scientist magazine covered the illegal suppression of 'non-lethal' weapons reports: http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992254
Yorkshire CND posted a piece on appropriations for airborne lasers: http://www.cndyorks.gn.apc.org/yspace/articles/airlaser5.htm
The Department of Defense released information on Project SHAD (Shipboard Hazard and Defense), a series of chemical and biological warfare tests conducted on American servicemen: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/May2002/b05232002_bt264-02.html
Edward Hammond exposed a report from the Pentagon's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate on psychopharmacological warfare -- a report which "veers very close to defining dissent as a psychological disorder": http://www.counterpunch.org/hammond0702.html
(I feel compelled to note here that fraudulent 1960s icon Timothy Leary decades ago explicitly defined dissent as a physical/psychological disorder when he said: "The cause of social conflict is usually neurological. The cure is biochemical." But here, of course, I have once again digressed.)
The San Francisco Chronicle talked to a juror in the Judi Bari case, who revealed that FBI and Oakland Police "investigators were lying [on the witness stand] so much it was insulting ... I'm surprised that they seriously expected anyone would believe them": http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2002/07/03/BA190647.DTL
The Miami Herald revealed that, despite fear-mongering coverage by the likes of Fox News, the U.S. Justice Department had approved Saddam Hussein's stepson's request for flight training in - where else? - Florida: http://www.miami.com/mld/miami/news/politics/3612456.htm
And, finally, Common Dreams offered a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek posting entitled "Arafat Calls for Democratic Elections in the United States -- World Reaction is Mixed": http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0626-06.htm
Until next week ...