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Political and social commentary with a liberal bias
For more columns and other liberal views, see Jackson's Liberty and Justice For All Site at http://www.geocities.com/jacksonthor/.

Email Jackson at jacksonthor@justice.com

 

Thursday, July 17, 2003

 
U.S. media still REFUSES to mention Bush sexual assault lawsuit that Texas woman continues to pursue

By Jackson Thoreau

Copyright 2003

A Texas woman continues to pursue a lawsuit she filed last December against George W. Bush alleging that the White House inhabitant sexually assaulted her.
Contacted by phone at her home in mid-July by this writer, plaintiff Margie Denise Schoedinger said I was one of the first media members to attempt to contact her about the case. In case you’re counting, that’s more than seven months after she filed the legal brief in a Fort Bend County court.
“I am still trying to prosecute [the lawsuit],” said Schoedinger, a 38-year-old African-American woman who lives in the Houston suburb of Missouri City. “I haven’t had a court date set, yet….I want to get this matter settled and go on with my life.”
I must say at this point that I’ve been a journalist for mostly mainstream publications for more than 20 years. In my time, I’ve dealt with my fair share of crackpots, probably more than my fair share. I’ve been around the block a few times – and have survived so far.
But Schoedinger didn’t sound like the average crackpot. She sounded intelligent, articulate, soft-spoken, and yeah, even honest over the phone, for whatever that’s worth. I know many people who sound honest – like a certain White House occupant at times – are really not. But my point is that Schoedinger didn’t sound like she was on drugs, although being drugged by federal agents is part of her lawsuit.
Anyways, I could only unearth one U.S. mainstream newspaper that has mentioned the lawsuit - a December 2002 story by the Texas-based Fort Bend Star. And that paper even later ran a nasty letter by a reader recommending it fire the reporter for simply doing her job and covering the story.
Not even scandal sheets like the National Enquirer will report on this lawsuit, to my knowledge, although they cover the latest allegations about Clinton and other Democrats. Hell, I once read a story in one of those scandal sheets that said Clinton was dating a woman with three breasts. And they can’t find the space to mention a sexual assault lawsuit against our latest White House occupant?
If Schoedinger had filed a lawsuit against Clinton, do you think the story would be at least mentioned in every U.S. media outlet from Maine to Hawaii to Alaska to Florida? I’d bet my mortgage on it. Can you say mainstream media double standard, once again?
Look at the way the national and local U.S. media has run with the sexual assault allegation against NBA star Kobe Bryant. The 19-year-old woman who alleges that Bryant assaulted her in June did not even go to the trouble and expense of filing a lawsuit. She just reported it to police, who actually arrested Bryant without filing any charges.
The story ran on the national news for numerous days. Bryant, who denied the charge in published reports, is not known as being politically active, and a Federal Elections Commission search did not reveal any contributions to political candidates. But his coach, Phil Jackson, has given money to several Democratic candidates, including Bill Bradley, who he played with in the NBA.
Could that link to Democrats, as well as Bryant’s African-American background, be why the mainstream media pounds this Bryant assault allegation into the ground before the facts are clear, and ignores allegations filed in a public court case against the Caucasian Republican Bush? More on that question later.
When I asked about the lack of media coverage, Schoedinger said she wasn’t seeking publicity. She did not even know about the Fort Bend Star story, although that article said the paper tried to contact her [funny, I had no problem reaching and speaking to Schoedinger on my first attempt]. She said she was surprised the case wasn’t covered more because “it is true……People have to be accountable for what they do, and that’s why I’m pursuing it.”
To be sure, Schoedinger’s accusations – which include being drugged and assaulted numerous times by Bush and men purporting to be FBI agents - are bizarre enough and hard for the average, television-media-brainwashed drone to believe. But to those of us who search beyond our conventional media and go places relatively few dare, her story could be true. Who the hell besides Schoedinger and Bush and a few others really knows?
Strange things have occurred in human history, probably stranger than we can imagine. The U.S. government – like most governments – contains its share of evil bastards who would think nothing of doing more than assaults to people. These are people without consciences, without caring about any cosmic, karmic principle that you reap what you sow.
I’ve learned about too many strange deaths and mind-control experiments and sex orgies that the CIA and other parties play around with to know that they occur. Each one I hear about makes me madder and more determined to do something to stop the madness. My contribution is to keep trying to expose these bastards’ evil deeds to the light of day, to side with the truth-and-justice seekers, even if we are sorely overmatched, even if we are laughed at and discredited in an attempt to divert attention from what’s really going on. Evil bastards hate the light – they like to operate in the dark, behind the scenes.
One of my favorite movies is one that many critics raked over the coals as too shallow and corny and unbelievable to the point of making them vomit. But I don’t give a damn what such critics think. Amazing Grace and Chuck [1987] starred former NBA player Alex English as a pro hoopster who quit and joined a protest by a Little League baseball player to rid the world of all nuclear weapons.
Many people believe that will never happen, especially now with Bush-Cheney in control, coming up with “smaller” nuclear weapons, space weapons and lies to develop and use them like the kind they told to justify killing some 10,000 innocent Iraqi civilians – not to mention the war combatants on both sides - earlier this year. But that’s not the point. The point of movies like Amazing Grace and Chuck is to show us what a different way of life would be like and give us some ideas on how to begin the process of getting there. The point is to give us some hope.
Yes, with Ted Turner as an executive consultant, the movie was preachy. You may be laughing now, thinking, you tough-sounding, cussing, hard-ass reporter/writer enjoyed a sappy movie like that? I guess there still is that other Gemini side to me, a more optimistic side that likes to dream big, even if that dream seems unreachable. Like many people, I’m not a simple, one-dimensional human being.
The movie had some good ideas on how to reach the masses to really make a dent – namely through our modern-day gladiators who find their social consciences and really listen to what kids think. In real life, English is a cool guy who actually supports the views of his character on the issue of nuclear disarmament. When someone told his character ridding the world of such weapons was unrealistic, he didn’t try to overwhelm them with numbers and frightening scenarios. He simply said, “Maybe so, but wouldn’t it be nice?”
English’s character knew how to operate in the light, to disarm critics, to reach people. He also knew how to be tough, to stand up to the evil nuclear weapons barons. After personally threatening one, English’s plane was blown apart. But his spirit lived on and kept inspiring others to keep working towards the seemingly unreachable goal - just as the spirits of JFK and RFK and MLK and Wellstone and the others our real-life evil bastards assassinate live on in those of us who choose to keep remembering them and keep working for the principles for which they stood and fought.
As a freshman reporter for my junior college newspaper in 1978, I met a witness of the John F. Kennedy assassination who saw the president’s head explode a few feet in front of him. He was convinced Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone. That meeting propelled me to an investigation that has yet to stop.
As a senior for my college paper in 1981, I took a phone call from a representative of a D.C. CIA watchdog organization. He said Steve Gorman, one of my college’s political science professors, worked for the CIA and used some of his students for such research. I didn’t hang up on him. By then, I had read too many books, interviewed too many people, thought too much on the topic of government skullduggery and conspiracy to not follow through here.
I confronted Gorman, who denied doing any work for the CIA or using his students, as expected. But I sensed an underlying uneasiness – he was too casual, almost joking in his denial. Further research showed Gorman was a member of the Latin American Studies Association, which has ties to the CIA. He also had lived in and researched four Latin American countries – Peru, Ecuador, British Honduras and Mexico - in which the CIA did its dirty work.
Still, I didn’t think I had enough for a story then. I pretty much forgot about it until a couple of years later when I read a short story on Gorman’s weird death.
He had been run over by a train in the middle of nowhere early one morning.
A bomb exploded in my mind, and they have yet to stop exploding.
So what does the above have to do with Schoedinger’s lawsuit against Bush? There is a method to my madness here. If you read through Schoedinger’s briefs on the surface without knowing much about how “intelligence” and other government agencies really work, you might laugh at her allegations that Bush was behind a campaign to harass her into committing suicide to cover up the sexual assaults he allegedly committed. But if you knew the level of harassment that Bush and his minions committed against, say, J.H. Hatfield, author of an explosive bio on Bush who supposedly committed suicide in 2001 shortly after the book’s publication, you might not laugh so loudly.
If I was to coldly do a just-the-facts news story on this lawsuit and not give you some personal anecdotes like the strange Gorman death that leads me to believe there might be more to this than meets the eye, you might not give this story much thought. You might just think, man, there are a lot of wackos out there. So I’m breaking some of the rules I learned back in j-school and inserting my personal experiences and observations here. I’ve never enjoyed writing those impersonal articles, anyways. This is more my style.
In her court petition, Schoedinger said police in Sugar Land, another Houston suburb where she said some assailants linked to Bush attempted to unsuccessfully abduct her from her car shortly before the 2000 election, refused to take a report or do anything about that incident. She filed a lawsuit against the Sugar Land department and said that in preparing its defense, Sugar Land police found out that she dated Bush as a minor. I didn’t get a chance to ask Schoedinger about that tie and didn’t meet her in person, but her driver’s license lists her as being 5-foot-8 and weighing 125 pounds, for what that’s worth.
The Fort Bend Star story quoted a Sugar Land police captain saying his department had no record of any complaints by Schoedinger. All he had to do was what I did – go to the Fort Bend County Internet site and do a simple search on Schoedinger’s name in the area of civil court records. I found the lawsuit Schoedinger filed in December 2000 against Sugar Land police, and it even had numerous responses by the department’s attorneys in that case.
So someone in that department knew about Schoedinger.
Somebody is lying.
And something strange is going on here.
When I started asking Schoedinger about certain details on the case, such as alleged surveillance at her home and if she was still legally representing herself, she politely ended our conversation. “I need to see what has been written,” Schoedinger said. “I feel like it’s best for me to end our conversation.”
Obviously, she had learned to be careful about what she said and to whom she said it. I could understand her being leery about talking about her situation with a stranger over the phone.
But some media members besides me and the Fort Bend Star need to attempt to talk to Schoedinger and investigate this situation. Hello, Houston Chronicle? Hello, 60 Minutes? Hello, 20/20? Hello, Washington Post? Hell, hello, Geraldo Rivera and Jerry Springer?
Do your jobs. Please.
Remember how much you played up Monica Lewinsky’s blow jobs and Paula Jones’ sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton in the 1990s, while ignoring or downplaying extramarital activities by the hypocritical Republicans who served on Clinton’s impeachment committee like Henry Hyde and Bob Barr? Remember how much you covered Gennifer Flowers’ affair allegations – which did not even include a lawsuit – against Clinton, while ignoring or downplaying affair allegations against more prominent Republicans like Newt Gingrich and Bush Jr.? [The GWB one was by a 39-year-old Texas woman, Tammy Phillips, a former stripper who was quoted in the National Enquirer in 2000 saying she had an affair with Bush that had ended in 1999. I have yet to track her down. There are just too many Republican mistresses and not enough hours in the day.]
Remember how much you covered Democrat Gary Condit and Chandra Levy, while ignoring or downplaying the allegations of extramarital affairs committed by Republicans Jeb Bush and Joe Scarborough, who even resigned from Congress and was rewarded with his own MSNBC show? Remember how you reporters staked out Democrat Gary Hart to catch him with a woman who was not his wife and end his presidential ambitions, and downplayed or ignored allegations of affairs committed by Republicans Reagan, Bush Sr. and others?
Quick now, has anyone heard of Randy Ankeney? He was a rising star in Colorado Republican circles until he was arrested in 2001 and accused of trying to have sex with a 13-year-old girl he met through the Internet. Police said he even warned the girl he’d ruin her life if she told anyone. Does that sound familiar? That’s how many of these Republicans keep their affairs quiet – they threaten a bunch of people. Another 17-year-old girl said Ankeney sexually assaulted her while working on a political campaign. Last year, he pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault of a child.
What about Republican hypocrite John Fund, who was moved to the Wall Street Journal’s Internet magazine after reports came out that he impregnated the daughter of an old girlfriend and then the supposed anti-abortion-supporter looked the other way when she aborted his child? Does Republican Marty Glickman, one of those rabid dog conservative talk radio commentators in Florida who was arrested in 2001 and charged with giving drugs and money to underage girls in exchange for sex, ring a bell?
How about Parker J. Bena, a Virginia Republican activist who proudly cast one of his state’s electoral vote for Bush in 2000, being indicted for possessing child pornography in 2001? Anyone hear of Kevin T. Coan, a Republican director of the St. Louis Election
Board who was charged with trying to solicit sex from a 14-year-old girl in cyberspace? Or Virginia Republican activist Richard Delgaudio who was sentenced to two years probation in 2003 after pleading guilty to a child pornography charge?
Then there is Philip Giordano, the former Republican mayor of Waterbury, Conn., who was recently sentenced to 37 years in prison for soliciting sex with underaged girls and violating their civil rights. It’s more likely you’ve heard of him since this case has received ample media coverage unlike most of the other sex stories involving Republicans. Another case that got some attention was Beverly Russell, a leader in the Republican-based Christian Coalition and Pat Robertson’s former presidential campaign who allegedly molested children-drowner Susan Smith.
Supposedly, it is relatively common among Religious Right nuts to read sexual material under the guise of knowing what’s in it so they can keep it from their children. Yeah, right, the fucking hypocrites. Many Religious Rightists also believe a man can have sex with his wife anytime he pleases, whether she wants to or not. Some would call that rape, but I’m sure these nuts have another word for it.
What about Bill Thomas, Bob Livingston, Dick Armey, Dan Burton, Charles Canady, J.C. Watts, Helen Chenoweth, Sue Myrick, Ken Calvert, John Peterson, Dan Crane, Donald Lukens, Jim Gilmore, Scott McInnis and Arlan Stangeland – all Republican politicians accused of various sexual misdeeds? Most of these hypocrites attacked Clinton for his affairs and expressed outrage when people put a microscope on their private sexual lives.
For details on their cases, as well as some on various Democrats – I’m not by any means excusing Democrats, just pointing out the hypocrisy of many Republicans and mistaken belief of many people that mostly Democratic politicians commit affairs - go to Comedy on Tap’s excellent compilation at http://www.comedyontap.com/features/congress.html. Connie Cook Smith has also detailed other such Republicans, such as Katrina Leung, a California Republican fund-raiser who sold secrets to the Chinese while working as an FBI informant and reportedly had extramarital affairs with two FBI agents, on her blog at http://www.conniescomments.blogspot.com.
I’m sure if you asked the average person who was most likely to have had an affair, [a] Democrat Gary Condit, or [b] Republican Sue Myrick, Condit would be the overwhelming choice. But the correct choice is [c] all of the above.
So c’mon, mainstream media. At least make an effort to balance the scales.
Here’s your chance. I’ll even help you find Schoedinger’s contact information. Go to http://ccweb.co.fort-bend.tx.us/imgcache/CCCIVIL217038-1-7.pdf. Read all the way to the last page. Call her. Call Bush. Call the Sugar Land police. Call the FBI. Mention Schoedinger’s name and make them squirm some.
For the record, I contacted Bush’s media office and have yet to hear back. That’s fine. I don’t really want to speak to those lying bastards, anymore than they want to speak to me. I just want them out of the White House.
Media members, do your god-damn jobs, like you did when Clinton was legitimately in the White House.
Or are you too damn intimidated, too afraid of you and your family being harassed by CIA-Mafia spooks? [That’s a legitimate concern. Remember that classic line in War’s song, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” I know you’re working for the CIA – They wouldn’t have you in the Mafia. A lot of truth there.] Too afraid of losing your jobs and prestige and White House dinner invitations when Bush and Co. dry up your political sources? Too afraid of losing your jobs and prestige when the big Bush-supporting bosses upstairs come down hard on your ass for covering another Bush scandal? Or do you just not want to deal with all those hateful phone calls, emails and letters by conservatives who blindly believe Bush and Co. are the second coming of Christ, when they are really more like the anti-Christ?
Oh I know a few of you do your jobs. More of you are following the Iraqi war lies trail. That’s good. But get on these Republican sex scandals, as well. Show the American people that Republicans commit just about as many dirty sexual deeds as Democrats. Help get these Republican Religious Right hypocrites who chirp about morals, honor and dignity while their actions speak otherwise off their god-damn high horses.
Schoedinger’s allegations, which include possible assaults against Schoedinger’s husband while they were drugged and possibly losing a child Bush might have fathered, may turn out to be figments of an overactive imagination or exaggerated claims. But they need to be investigated and aired with the same zeal as the allegations against Clinton when he was in the White House. That is only fair.
Sure, I hope this story helps lead to Bush’s defeat in 2004. I’d like to see anyone who committed a crime be brought to justice, but I’d also like to see this case hurt Bush. I’m open about my motives, unlike many conservatives who said they supported prying into Clinton’s private life because it was a matter of “justice.” Those were civil legal actions brought on by partisan Republican conservatives. Gimme a fucking break.
I want to see Bush and Cheney fall because, if not, they will continue their idiotic, selfish plans to use the American military to dominate the world. It’s weird that many Americans can stomach a president lying about military matters and saying stupid things like “Bring ‘em on,” although they end up causing more deaths, pain and suffering as the Iraqi quagmire is doing. But lying about having an extramarital affair? That’s another matter.
Anyways, the Schoedinger case is about more than a private alleged affair – it’s about alleged crimes, cover-ups and harassment campaigns. Some say her story is typical of the treatment inflicted on CIA mind-controlled slaves, of which there are more than most people realize. Remember that Bush is a member of the secret order of Skull and Bones, an exclusive Yale-based club for the elite that practices weird, Satanic-like, sexual initiations and ceremonies. Such strange sexual ceremonies are used as blackmail to guarantee Skull and Boners do what the power elite wants [there are even rumors that Bush has had sexual relations with a male Skull and Boner], just as some elitists are alleged to commit unspeakable sexual trauma on their kids to assure obedience. Several books document these practices, including TranceFormation of America by Cathy O’Brien and Mark Phillips [http://www.trance-formation.org].
The bottom line is that Schoedinger’s lawsuit deserves much more investigation than it’s received in the last few months. Maybe we need a liberal legal firm to represent Schoedinger, like the conservative Rutherford Institute supported Paula Jones. Hello, ACLU? Hello, NAACP? Schoedinger is also alleging race-based discrimination. Maybe then, it will get some national coverage.
If you can send a link to this story or this entire essay to your local or national media outlet or any other place you think might be interested in it, by all means, do it. The universe, the cosmic forces of good, will thank you. Yes, I operate from a spiritual perspective, as well as political. You have to when you do this kind of work. Even the most evil bastards have the potential to recognize somewhere inside them that I might, just might, be right about this metaphysical, reap-what-you-sow, karmic philosophy, and they might face dire consequences in their afterlives if they continue on their present courses. [Yes, I believe in God, just not the way most in organized religion do.]
Do I really think this Schoedinger case will help defeat Bush in 2004? With the ability to fix elections through electronic voting machines that leave no paper trails and other means, and the inability of many Americans to get news from more sources than TV, maybe not.
But like Alex English’s character said in Amazing Grace and Chuck, wouldn’t it be nice?

Jackson Thoreau is an American writer and co-author of We Will Not Get Over It: Restoring a Legitimate White House. The updated, 120,000-word electronic book can be downloaded on his Internet site at http://www.geocities.com/jacksonthor/ebook.html. Citizens for Legitimate Government has the earlier version at http://www.legitgov.org/we_will_not_get_over_it.html. Thoreau can be emailed at jacksonthor@justice.com or jacksonthor@yahoo.com.

 
U.S. media still REFUSES to mention Bush sexual assault lawsuit that Texas woman continues to pursue

By Jackson Thoreau

Copyright 2003

A Texas woman continues to pursue a lawsuit she filed last December against George W. Bush alleging that the White House inhabitant sexually assaulted her.
Contacted by phone at her home in mid-July by this writer, plaintiff Margie Denise Schoedinger said I was one of the first media members to attempt to contact her about the case. In case you’re counting, that’s more than seven months after she filed the legal brief in a Fort Bend County court.
“I am still trying to prosecute [the lawsuit],” said Schoedinger, a 38-year-old African-American woman who lives in the Houston suburb of Missouri City. “I haven’t had a court date set, yet….I want to get this matter settled and go on with my life.”
I must say at this point that I’ve been a journalist for mostly mainstream publications for more than 20 years. In my time, I’ve dealt with my fair share of crackpots, probably more than my fair share. I’ve been around the block a few times – and have survived so far.
But Schoedinger didn’t sound like the average crackpot. She sounded intelligent, articulate, soft-spoken, and yeah, even honest over the phone, for whatever that’s worth. I know many people who sound honest – like a certain White House occupant at times – are really not. But my point is that Schoedinger didn’t sound like she was on drugs, although being drugged by federal agents is part of her lawsuit.
Anyways, I could only unearth one U.S. mainstream newspaper that has mentioned the lawsuit - a December 2002 story by the Texas-based Fort Bend Star. And that paper even later ran a nasty letter by a reader recommending it fire the reporter for simply doing her job and covering the story.
Not even scandal sheets like the National Enquirer will report on this lawsuit, to my knowledge, although they cover the latest allegations about Clinton and other Democrats. Hell, I once read a story in one of those scandal sheets that said Clinton was dating a woman with three breasts. And they can’t find the space to mention a sexual assault lawsuit against our latest White House occupant?
If Schoedinger had filed a lawsuit against Clinton, do you think the story would be at least mentioned in every U.S. media outlet from Maine to Hawaii to Alaska to Florida? I’d bet my mortgage on it. Can you say mainstream media double standard, once again?
Look at the way the national and local U.S. media has run with the sexual assault allegation against NBA star Kobe Bryant. The 19-year-old woman who alleges that Bryant assaulted her in June did not even go to the trouble and expense of filing a lawsuit. She just reported it to police, who actually arrested Bryant without filing any charges.
The story ran on the national news for numerous days. Bryant, who denied the charge in published reports, is not known as being politically active, and a Federal Elections Commission search did not reveal any contributions to political candidates. But his coach, Phil Jackson, has given money to several Democratic candidates, including Bill Bradley, who he played with in the NBA.
Could that link to Democrats, as well as Bryant’s African-American background, be why the mainstream media pounds this Bryant assault allegation into the ground before the facts are clear, and ignores allegations filed in a public court case against the Caucasian Republican Bush? More on that question later.
When I asked about the lack of media coverage, Schoedinger said she wasn’t seeking publicity. She did not even know about the Fort Bend Star story, although that article said the paper tried to contact her [funny, I had no problem reaching and speaking to Schoedinger on my first attempt]. She said she was surprised the case wasn’t covered more because “it is true……People have to be accountable for what they do, and that’s why I’m pursuing it.”
To be sure, Schoedinger’s accusations – which include being drugged and assaulted numerous times by Bush and men purporting to be FBI agents - are bizarre enough and hard for the average, television-media-brainwashed drone to believe. But to those of us who search beyond our conventional media and go places relatively few dare, her story could be true. Who the hell besides Schoedinger and Bush and a few others really knows?
Strange things have occurred in human history, probably stranger than we can imagine. The U.S. government – like most governments – contains its share of evil bastards who would think nothing of doing more than assaults to people. These are people without consciences, without caring about any cosmic, karmic principle that you reap what you sow.
I’ve learned about too many strange deaths and mind-control experiments and sex orgies that the CIA and other parties play around with to know that they occur. Each one I hear about makes me madder and more determined to do something to stop the madness. My contribution is to keep trying to expose these bastards’ evil deeds to the light of day, to side with the truth-and-justice seekers, even if we are sorely overmatched, even if we are laughed at and discredited in an attempt to divert attention from what’s really going on. Evil bastards hate the light – they like to operate in the dark, behind the scenes.
One of my favorite movies is one that many critics raked over the coals as too shallow and corny and unbelievable to the point of making them vomit. But I don’t give a damn what such critics think. Amazing Grace and Chuck [1987] starred former NBA player Alex English as a pro hoopster who quit and joined a protest by a Little League baseball player to rid the world of all nuclear weapons.
Many people believe that will never happen, especially now with Bush-Cheney in control, coming up with “smaller” nuclear weapons, space weapons and lies to develop and use them like the kind they told to justify killing some 10,000 innocent Iraqi civilians – not to mention the war combatants on both sides - earlier this year. But that’s not the point. The point of movies like Amazing Grace and Chuck is to show us what a different way of life would be like and give us some ideas on how to begin the process of getting there. The point is to give us some hope.
Yes, with Ted Turner as an executive consultant, the movie was preachy. You may be laughing now, thinking, you tough-sounding, cussing, hard-ass reporter/writer enjoyed a sappy movie like that? I guess there still is that other Gemini side to me, a more optimistic side that likes to dream big, even if that dream seems unreachable. Like many people, I’m not a simple, one-dimensional human being.
The movie had some good ideas on how to reach the masses to really make a dent – namely through our modern-day gladiators who find their social consciences and really listen to what kids think. In real life, English is a cool guy who actually supports the views of his character on the issue of nuclear disarmament. When someone told his character ridding the world of such weapons was unrealistic, he didn’t try to overwhelm them with numbers and frightening scenarios. He simply said, “Maybe so, but wouldn’t it be nice?”
English’s character knew how to operate in the light, to disarm critics, to reach people. He also knew how to be tough, to stand up to the evil nuclear weapons barons. After personally threatening one, English’s plane was blown apart. But his spirit lived on and kept inspiring others to keep working towards the seemingly unreachable goal - just as the spirits of JFK and RFK and MLK and Wellstone and the others our real-life evil bastards assassinate live on in those of us who choose to keep remembering them and keep working for the principles for which they stood and fought.
As a freshman reporter for my junior college newspaper in 1978, I met a witness of the John F. Kennedy assassination who saw the president’s head explode a few feet in front of him. He was convinced Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone. That meeting propelled me to an investigation that has yet to stop.
As a senior for my college paper in 1981, I took a phone call from a representative of a D.C. CIA watchdog organization. He said Steve Gorman, one of my college’s political science professors, worked for the CIA and used some of his students for such research. I didn’t hang up on him. By then, I had read too many books, interviewed too many people, thought too much on the topic of government skullduggery and conspiracy to not follow through here.
I confronted Gorman, who denied doing any work for the CIA or using his students, as expected. But I sensed an underlying uneasiness – he was too casual, almost joking in his denial. Further research showed Gorman was a member of the Latin American Studies Association, which has ties to the CIA. He also had lived in and researched four Latin American countries – Peru, Ecuador, British Honduras and Mexico - in which the CIA did its dirty work.
Still, I didn’t think I had enough for a story then. I pretty much forgot about it until a couple of years later when I read a short story on Gorman’s weird death.
He had been run over by a train in the middle of nowhere early one morning.
A bomb exploded in my mind, and they have yet to stop exploding.
So what does the above have to do with Schoedinger’s lawsuit against Bush? There is a method to my madness here. If you read through Schoedinger’s briefs on the surface without knowing much about how “intelligence” and other government agencies really work, you might laugh at her allegations that Bush was behind a campaign to harass her into committing suicide to cover up the sexual assaults he allegedly committed. But if you knew the level of harassment that Bush and his minions committed against, say, J.H. Hatfield, author of an explosive bio on Bush who supposedly committed suicide in 2001 shortly after the book’s publication, you might not laugh so loudly.
If I was to coldly do a just-the-facts news story on this lawsuit and not give you some personal anecdotes like the strange Gorman death that leads me to believe there might be more to this than meets the eye, you might not give this story much thought. You might just think, man, there are a lot of wackos out there. So I’m breaking some of the rules I learned back in j-school and inserting my personal experiences and observations here. I’ve never enjoyed writing those impersonal articles, anyways. This is more my style.
In her court petition, Schoedinger said police in Sugar Land, another Houston suburb where she said some assailants linked to Bush attempted to unsuccessfully abduct her from her car shortly before the 2000 election, refused to take a report or do anything about that incident. She filed a lawsuit against the Sugar Land department and said that in preparing its defense, Sugar Land police found out that she dated Bush as a minor. I didn’t get a chance to ask Schoedinger about that tie and didn’t meet her in person, but her driver’s license lists her as being 5-foot-8 and weighing 125 pounds, for what that’s worth.
The Fort Bend Star story quoted a Sugar Land police captain saying his department had no record of any complaints by Schoedinger. All he had to do was what I did – go to the Fort Bend County Internet site and do a simple search on Schoedinger’s name in the area of civil court records. I found the lawsuit Schoedinger filed in December 2000 against Sugar Land police, and it even had numerous responses by the department’s attorneys in that case.
So someone in that department knew about Schoedinger.
Somebody is lying.
And something strange is going on here.
When I started asking Schoedinger about certain details on the case, such as alleged surveillance at her home and if she was still legally representing herself, she politely ended our conversation. “I need to see what has been written,” Schoedinger said. “I feel like it’s best for me to end our conversation.”
Obviously, she had learned to be careful about what she said and to whom she said it. I could understand her being leery about talking about her situation with a stranger over the phone.
But some media members besides me and the Fort Bend Star need to attempt to talk to Schoedinger and investigate this situation. Hello, Houston Chronicle? Hello, 60 Minutes? Hello, 20/20? Hello, Washington Post? Hell, hello, Geraldo Rivera and Jerry Springer?
Do your jobs. Please.
Remember how much you played up Monica Lewinsky’s blow jobs and Paula Jones’ sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton in the 1990s, while ignoring or downplaying extramarital activities by the hypocritical Republicans who served on Clinton’s impeachment committee like Henry Hyde and Bob Barr? Remember how much you covered Gennifer Flowers’ affair allegations – which did not even include a lawsuit – against Clinton, while ignoring or downplaying affair allegations against more prominent Republicans like Newt Gingrich and Bush Jr.? [The GWB one was by a 39-year-old Texas woman, Tammy Phillips, a former stripper who was quoted in the National Enquirer in 2000 saying she had an affair with Bush that had ended in 1999. I have yet to track her down. There are just too many Republican mistresses and not enough hours in the day.]
Remember how much you covered Democrat Gary Condit and Chandra Levy, while ignoring or downplaying the allegations of extramarital affairs committed by Republicans Jeb Bush and Joe Scarborough, who even resigned from Congress and was rewarded with his own MSNBC show? Remember how you reporters staked out Democrat Gary Hart to catch him with a woman who was not his wife and end his presidential ambitions, and downplayed or ignored allegations of affairs committed by Republicans Reagan, Bush Sr. and others?
Quick now, has anyone heard of Randy Ankeney? He was a rising star in Colorado Republican circles until he was arrested in 2001 and accused of trying to have sex with a 13-year-old girl he met through the Internet. Police said he even warned the girl he’d ruin her life if she told anyone. Does that sound familiar? That’s how many of these Republicans keep their affairs quiet – they threaten a bunch of people. Another 17-year-old girl said Ankeney sexually assaulted her while working on a political campaign. Last year, he pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault of a child.
What about Republican hypocrite John Fund, who was moved to the Wall Street Journal’s Internet magazine after reports came out that he impregnated the daughter of an old girlfriend and then the supposed anti-abortion-supporter looked the other way when she aborted his child? Does Republican Marty Glickman, one of those rabid dog conservative talk radio commentators in Florida who was arrested in 2001 and charged with giving drugs and money to underage girls in exchange for sex, ring a bell?
How about Parker J. Bena, a Virginia Republican activist who proudly cast one of his state’s electoral vote for Bush in 2000, being indicted for possessing child pornography in 2001? Anyone hear of Kevin T. Coan, a Republican director of the St. Louis Election
Board who was charged with trying to solicit sex from a 14-year-old girl in cyberspace? Or Virginia Republican activist Richard Delgaudio who was sentenced to two years probation in 2003 after pleading guilty to a child pornography charge?
Then there is Philip Giordano, the former Republican mayor of Waterbury, Conn., who was recently sentenced to 37 years in prison for soliciting sex with underaged girls and violating their civil rights. It’s more likely you’ve heard of him since this case has received ample media coverage unlike most of the other sex stories involving Republicans. Another case that got some attention was Beverly Russell, a leader in the Republican-based Christian Coalition and Pat Robertson’s former presidential campaign who allegedly molested children-drowner Susan Smith.
Supposedly, it is relatively common among Religious Right nuts to read sexual material under the guise of knowing what’s in it so they can keep it from their children. Yeah, right, the fucking hypocrites. Many Religious Rightists also believe a man can have sex with his wife anytime he pleases, whether she wants to or not. Some would call that rape, but I’m sure these nuts have another word for it.
What about Bill Thomas, Bob Livingston, Dick Armey, Dan Burton, Charles Canady, J.C. Watts, Helen Chenoweth, Sue Myrick, Ken Calvert, John Peterson, Dan Crane, Donald Lukens, Jim Gilmore, Scott McInnis and Arlan Stangeland – all Republican politicians accused of various sexual misdeeds? Most of these hypocrites attacked Clinton for his affairs and expressed outrage when people put a microscope on their private sexual lives.
For details on their cases, as well as some on various Democrats – I’m not by any means excusing Democrats, just pointing out the hypocrisy of many Republicans and mistaken belief of many people that mostly Democratic politicians commit affairs - go to Comedy on Tap’s excellent compilation at http://www.comedyontap.com/features/congress.html. Connie Cook Smith has also detailed other such Republicans, such as Katrina Leung, a California Republican fund-raiser who sold secrets to the Chinese while working as an FBI informant and reportedly had extramarital affairs with two FBI agents, on her blog at http://www.conniescomments.blogspot.com.
I’m sure if you asked the average person who was most likely to have had an affair, [a] Democrat Gary Condit, or [b] Republican Sue Myrick, Condit would be the overwhelming choice. But the correct choice is [c] all of the above.
So c’mon, mainstream media. At least make an effort to balance the scales.
Here’s your chance. I’ll even help you on finding Schoedinger’s contact information. Go to http://ccweb.co.fort-bend.tx.us/imgcache/CCCIVIL217038-1-7.pdf. Read all the way to the last page. Call her. Call Bush. Call the Sugar Land police. Call the FBI. Mention Schoedinger’s name and make them squirm some.
For the record, I contacted Bush’s media office and have yet to hear back. That’s fine. I don’t really want to speak to those lying bastards, anymore than they want to speak to me. I just want them out of the White House.
Media members, do your god-damn jobs, like you did when Clinton was legitimately in the White House.
Or are you too damn intimidated, too afraid of you and your family being harassed by CIA-Mafia spooks? [That’s a legitimate concern. Remember that classic line in War’s song, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” I know you’re working for the CIA – They wouldn’t have you in the Mafia. A lot of truth there.] Too afraid of losing your jobs and prestige and White House dinner invitations when Bush and Co. dry up your political sources? Too afraid of losing your jobs and prestige when the big Bush-supporting bosses upstairs come down hard on your ass for covering another Bush scandal? Or do you just not want to deal with all those hateful phone calls, emails and letters by conservatives who blindly believe Bush and Co. are the second coming of Christ, when they are really more like the anti-Christ?
Oh I know a few of you do your jobs. More of you are following the Iraqi war lies trail. That’s good. But get on these Republican sex scandals, as well. Show the American people that Republicans commit just about as many dirty sexual deeds as Democrats. Help get these Republican Religious Right hypocrites who chirp about morals, honor and dignity while their actions speak otherwise off their god-damn high horses.
Schoedinger’s allegations, which include possible assaults against Schoedinger’s husband while they were drugged and possibly losing a child Bush might have fathered, may turn out to be figments of an overactive imagination or exaggerated claims. But they need to be investigated and aired with the same zeal as the allegations against Clinton when he was in the White House. That is only fair.
Sure, I hope this story helps lead to Bush’s defeat in 2004. I’d like to see anyone who committed a crime be brought to justice, but I’d also like to see this case hurt Bush. I’m open about my motives, unlike many conservatives who said they supported prying into Clinton’s private life because it was a matter of “justice.” Those were civil legal actions brought on by partisan Republican conservatives. Gimme a fucking break.
I want to see Bush and Cheney fall because, if not, they will continue their idiotic, selfish plans to use the American military to dominate the world. It’s weird that many Americans can stomach a president lying about military matters and saying stupid things like “Bring ‘em on,” although they end up causing more deaths, pain and suffering as the Iraqi quagmire is doing. But lying about having an extramarital affair? That’s another matter.
Anyways, the Schoedinger case is about more than a private alleged affair – it’s about alleged crimes, cover-ups and harassment campaigns. Some say her story is typical of the treatment inflicted on CIA mind-controlled slaves, of which there are more than most people realize. Remember that Bush is a member of the secret order of Skull and Bones, an exclusive Yale-based club for the elite that practices weird, Satanic-like, sexual initiations and ceremonies. Such strange sexual ceremonies are used as blackmail to guarantee Skull and Boners do what the power elite wants [there are even rumors that Bush has had sexual relations with a male Skull and Boner], just as some elitists are alleged to commit unspeakable sexual trauma on their kids to assure obedience. Several books document these practices, including TranceFormation of America by Cathy O’Brien and Mark Phillips [http://www.trance-formation.org].
The bottom line is that Schoedinger’s lawsuit deserves much more investigation than it’s received in the last few months. Maybe we need a liberal legal firm to represent Schoedinger, like the conservative Rutherford Institute supported Paula Jones. Hello, ACLU? Hello, NAACP? Schoedinger is also alleging race-based discrimination. Maybe then, it will get some national coverage.
If you can send a link to this story or this entire essay to your local or national media outlet or any other place you think might be interested in it, by all means, do it. The universe, the cosmic forces of good, will thank you. Yes, I operate from a spiritual perspective, as well as political. You have to when you do this kind of work. Even the most evil bastards have the potential to recognize somewhere inside them that I might, just might, be right about this metaphysical, reap-what-you-sow, karmic philosophy, and they might face dire consequences in their afterlives if they continue on their present courses. [Yes, I believe in God, just not the way most in organized religion do.]
Do I really think this Schoedinger case will help defeat Bush in 2004? With the ability to fix elections through electronic voting machines that leave no paper trails and other means, and the inability of many Americans to get news from more sources than TV, maybe not.
But like Alex English’s character said in Amazing Grace and Chuck, wouldn’t it be nice?

Jackson Thoreau is an American writer and co-author of We Will Not Get Over It: Restoring a Legitimate White House. The updated, 120,000-word electronic book can be downloaded on his Internet site at http://www.geocities.com/jacksonthor/ebook.html. Citizens for Legitimate Government has the earlier version at http://www.legitgov.org/we_will_not_get_over_it.html. Thoreau can be emailed at jacksonthor@justice.com or jacksonthor@yahoo.com.



Thursday, July 03, 2003

 
NOW far right-wingers are calling for impeachment of U.S. Supreme Court justices

By Jackson Thoreau

After the moderates on the U.S. Supreme Court recently prevailed in upholding some affirmative action laws and invalidating anti-sodomy laws, many far right-wingers have predictably gone ballistic.

For example, in a recent column calling for the impeachment of any justice who doesn’t hold narrow, right-wing views, Joseph Farah, editor of World Nut Daily, one of numerous conservative ezines polluting cyberspace, labeled the U.S. Supreme Court “out of control” and “renegade” and a “ruling elite.” Of course, he didn’t make such comments when the same court made its most anti-democratic decision in history in the 2000 Bush v. Gore case.

To Farah, the court is only “exceeding its constitutional authority” when even several Republicans on that court recognize that anti-sodomy laws are an unjust invasion of privacy, not to mention ludicrous to enforce. Of the 13 states with sodomy laws that are now finally eradicated, four — Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri — prohibited oral and anal sex only between same-sex couples. The other nine stone-age states that are now forced to join the 21st century banned consensual oral and anal sex for everyone: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.

I know Farah and others would love to see a special police force out there whose only duty is to enter Americans’ bedrooms and arrest anyone who is engaging in male-to-male, female-to-female, oral, anal or any other form of sex not covered by the traditional male-to-female position. They would love to see a law that only married Americans can perform sex only for the purpose of trying to procreate, and it must be done in the missionary position at all times.

In short, Farah and Co. would love other Americans to have as boring sex lives as they probably have. Perhaps that’s why they are so concerned about other Americans’ sex lives and they want to be legal voyeurs – because their sex lives are so boring.

To Farah, the nation’s highest court is only “sticking its thumb in the eye of the people” when its decisions don’t benefit super-wealthy, white, apparently heterosexual Americans [except for those like dress-wearing J. Edgar Hoover and some other closet gay conservatives]. Farah and Co. see no problem with far right-wingers Rehnquist, Thomas and Scalia, of course. It’s the other more moderate members they seek to oust.

They want justices who hate homosexuals [except for certain conservative ones], minorities [especially Arabs], civil liberties, the ACLU, anyone who smokes a joint in private, and anyone who questions why the Bush administration has the divine right to bully and dominate the world.

These are people who are not satisfied with controlling Congress, the White House, most state legislatures, and most of the media and the courts. They want to stamp out any sign of hope for true progress. They call themselves patriots, but they are anything but.

The true patriots are those who strive for a liberty and justice for all that goes beyond selfish, narrow boundaries. As the celebrated American patriot Tom Paine said, “My country is the world.”

As the esteemed writer, professor and people’s historian Howard Zinn wrote in a recent column on TomPaine.com, “I suggest that a patriotic American who cares for his country might act on behalf of a different vision. Instead of being feared for our military prowess, we should want to be respected for our dedication to human rights. Should we not begin to redefine patriotism? We need to expand it beyond that narrow nationalism which has caused so much death and suffering. If national boundaries should not be obstacles to trade - we call it globalization - should they also not be obstacles to compassion and generosity? Should we not begin to consider all children, everywhere, as our own? In that case, war, which in our time is always an assault on children, would be unacceptable as a solution to the problems of the world. Human ingenuity would have to search for other ways.”

Like Zinn, I am not in a mood to celebrate much this July 4th, when so many Americans are blind to the pain and suffering we are causing in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places, when so many Americans just want to continue the selfish, unilateral, “America First” approach to foreign policy and most everything else. Yet when I think more about it, I recognize there is much good in our country, such as it developed people like Paine and Zinn. Indeed, we have much to celebrate, although I will not overlook the negative parts. I will keep hoping, keep working, keep fighting for a better America and a better world.

Here’s hoping that the broader patriotism of people like Paine and Zinn will eventually win out and not the narrow patriotism of those like Farah.

Jackson Thoreau is an American writer and co-author of We Will Not Get Over It: Restoring a Legitimate White House. The updated, 120,000-word electronic book can be downloaded on his Internet site at http://www.geocities.com/jacksonthor/ebook.html. Citizens for Legitimate Government has the earlier version at http://www.geocities.com/jacksonthor/ebook.html. Thoreau can be emailed at jacksonthor@justice.com or jacksonthor@yahoo.com.
Zinn’s column is at http://www.tompaine.com/feature2.cfm/ID/7726. Farah’s column is at http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=33380.



 
NOW far right-wingers are calling for impeachment of U.S. Supreme Court justices

By Jackson Thoreau

After the moderates on the U.S. Supreme Court recently prevailed in upholding some affirmative action laws and invalidating anti-sodomy laws, many far-right wingers have predictably gone ballistic.

For example, in a recent column calling for the impeachment of any justice who doesn’t hold narrow, far-right views, Joseph Farah, editor of World Nut Daily, one of numerous conservative ezines polluting cyberspace, labeled the U.S. Supreme Court “out of control” and “renegade” and a “ruling elite.” Of course, he didn’t make such comments when the same court made its most anti-democratic decision in history in the 2000 Bush v. Gore case.

To Farah, the court is only “exceeding its constitutional authority” when even several Republicans on that court recognize that anti-sodomy laws are an unjust invasion of privacy, not to mention ludicrous to enforce. Of the 13 states with sodomy laws that are now finally eradicated, four — Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri — prohibited oral and anal sex only between same-sex couples. The other nine stone-age states that are now forced to join the 21st century banned consensual oral and anal sex for everyone: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.

I know Farah and others would love to see a special police force out there whose only duty is to enter Americans’ bedrooms and arrest anyone who is engaging in male-to-male, female-to-female, oral, anal or any other form of sex not covered by the traditional male-to-female position. They would love to see a law that only married Americans can perform sex only for the purpose of trying to procreate, and it must be done in the missionary position at all times.

In short, Farah and Co. would love other Americans to have as boring sex lives as they probably have. Perhaps that’s why they are so concerned about other Americans’ sex lives and they want to be legal voyeurs – because their sex lives are so boring.

To Farah, the nation’s highest court is only “sticking its thumb in the eye of the people” when its decisions don’t benefit super-wealthy, white, apparently heterosexual Americans [except for those like dress-wearing J. Edgar Hoover and some other closet gay conservatives]. Farah and Co. see no problem with far-rightwingers Rehnquist, Thomas and Scalia, of course. It’s the other more moderate members they seek to oust.

They want justices who hate homosexuals [except for certain conservative ones], minorities [especially Arabs], civil liberties, the ACLU, anyone who smokes a joint in private, and anyone who questions why the Bush administration has the divine right to bully and dominate the world.

These are people who are not satisfied with controlling Congress, the White House, most state legislatures, and most of the media and the courts. They want to stamp out any sign of hope for true progress. They call themselves patriots, but they are anything but.

The true patriots are those who strive for a liberty and justice for all that goes beyond selfish, narrow boundaries. As the celebrated American patriot Tom Paine said, “My country is the world.”

As the esteemed writer, professor and people’s historian Howard Zinn wrote in a recent column on TomPaine.com, “I suggest that a patriotic American who cares for his country might act on behalf of a different vision. Instead of being feared for our military prowess, we should want to be respected for our dedication to human rights. Should we not begin to redefine patriotism? We need to expand it beyond that narrow nationalism which has caused so much death and suffering. If national boundaries should not be obstacles to trade - we call it globalization - should they also not be obstacles to compassion and generosity? Should we not begin to consider all children, everywhere, as our own? In that case, war, which in our time is always an assault on children, would be unacceptable as a solution to the problems of the world. Human ingenuity would have to search for other ways.”

Like Zinn, I am not in a mood to celebrate much this July 4th, when so many Americans are blind to the pain and suffering we are causing in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places, when so many Americans just want to continue the selfish, unilateral, “America First” approach to foreign policy and most everything else. Yet when I think more about it, I recognize there is much good in our country, such as it developed people like Paine and Zinn. Indeed, we have much to celebrate, although I will not overlook the negative parts. I will keep hoping, keep working, keep fighting for a better America and a better world.

Here’s hoping that the broader patriotism of people like Paine and Zinn will eventually win out and not the narrow patriotism of those like Farah.

Jackson Thoreau is an American writer and co-author of We Will Not Get Over It: Restoring a Legitimate White House. The updated, 120,000-word electronic book can be downloaded on his Internet site at http://www.geocities.com/jacksonthor/ebook.html. Citizens for Legitimate Government has the earlier version at http://www.legitgov.org/we_will_not_get_over_it.html. Thoreau can be emailed at jacksonthor@justice.com or jacksonthor@yahoo.com.
Zinn’s column is at http://www.tompaine.com/feature2.cfm/ID/7726. Farah’s column is at http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=33380.




Tuesday, May 27, 2003

 
In 1984, I quit my job as a reporter at a mainstream newspaper to protest my boss's decision not to publish a story I wrote about the local nuclear freeze movement. I am heartened to hear that some mainstream journalists still stand up to media censorship and the military/industrial complex.
This story can also be read at other sites, including Information Clearinghouse.


Standing up to media censorship and the military/industrial complex

By Jackson Thoreau


In 1984, at the height of Reagan’s militarism, the editor of a Texas suburban newspaper - where I had worked as a reporter for two years right out of college - told me the paper could not print a feature article I wrote on a local woman who began a nuclear weapons freeze organization because it would “upset” advertisers. After all, many of those advertisers worked for the U.S. military/industrial complex.
This is a situation that sadly is more common in today’s media environment than it was in 1984. I had a choice back then: I could meekly resign myself to this ethical roadblock and go back to work, or I could quit my job in protest and find another way to get the story to the public. I was 24, probably even more liberal and idealistic than I am now, and the proverbial “angry young man” who wasn’t going to compromise my idealism and integrity or let anyone stop me from my mission to expose our society’s evil bastards. I was single and didn’t have to worry about feeding a family, as I do now. So, of course, I chose the latter option. I took the story to a competition paper - which published it - and submitted my letter of resignation to my boss. I didn’t regret it then, and I don’t regret it now. In fact, I’m prouder of my stand now, despite what my parents and others think.
I didn’t just quit my job in protest – I joined an intensive, Survivor-like protest march against the worldwide nuclear arms race across this country and Europe to Russia. The stand I took on my former job helped me march some 5,000 miles for the next 18 months. But not even walking all those miles lessened the anger in me or my resolve to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
Once that was over, I returned to journalism in Texas, starting with weekly suburban newspapers and eventually working as a reporter for a bureau of one of the largest newspapers in the Southwest. Though I had to confront numerous other times in which stories I suggested or did were shot down for various excuses, I did not resign in protest again. I tried to work within the limited corporate framework, taking consolation in small victories, such as being able to cover certain peace demonstrations and progressive causes. I was one of the few to give a voice to local progressive community activists who were shunned by many media outlets. With one of those activists, I wrote a book on the history of a certain Texas city that was viewed as opening the door to greater understanding of the plight of minorities and the disenfranchised.
But that still wasn’t enough for me. The large newspaper where I started working in the mid-1990s had this hypocritical policy that reporters and editors could not express any political viewpoint beyond voting, supposedly because doing so would compromise our so-called “objectivity,” one of many journalism myths with which I had problems. Although many large U.S. papers, including the Washington Post and New York Times, have this suppressive policy, that doesn’t make it right. Europe is more progressive in this area - the leading papers defend the political rights of journalists.
In my case, I thought I could adequately separate my professional and personal life, while retaining my Constitutional rights. I mean, what my employer was saying was that we don’t trust you to be fair and professional in your stories if you care enough about our country to get politically involved. In effect, we are denied our Constitutional rights if we want to keep our jobs. We can’t sign petitions, participate in demonstrations, work on political campaigns or give money to candidates.
Yet, the senior managers could do all that and more – most gave boatloads of cash to conservative politicians. This hypocrisy not only burned me up on the face of it – our upper bosses could flaunt a policy they placed on us – but here we were, an institution that was supposed to support the First Amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to issue hypocritical policies, freedom to find ways to get around them, and we were not exactly practicing what we preached.
Not wanting to openly protest this policy by quitting again because I had a family by this time and I thought I needed the job, the rebel part of me had to find ways to break that policy without getting caught. It became an on-the-edge type of engagement to me, one that gave me a somewhat exciting double life to lead. I attended demonstrations on the guise of covering them for the paper, and usually I would use material and quotes in later stories. I used a pseudonym – my late dog’s name, Jackson - to sign petitions. I helped the campaigns of progressive candidates in ways that I hoped would not be detected. This went on for all of the ten years I worked for that media company.
There were a few times when I thought I would be fired, such as when the book, which we originally self-published before I began working for this larger media company, was reprinted by a local publisher while I worked for that firm. But my immediate supervisor was a cool guy – for a moderate Republican - who also knew the activist, and he probably helped save my job.
After Bush Inc. stole the 2000 presidential election, I became much more active. I added the Thoreau last name to my pseudonym to honor one of my favorite writers and Americans. I began arguing with conservatives on message boards, chat rooms and anyplace I could. I started contributing to progressive electronic journals and Web sites using this pseudonym.
However, there wasn’t much my immediate supervisor could do to keep me from being laid off from my job a year after Bush’s coup, after a decade with that newspaper company. They gave the excuse that all companies give – tough economic times – even though that company was doing fine on its bottom line. Indeed, many big firms making huge layoffs these days are still making good money. The greedy bastards at the top just want more – and Bush and Co. help give it to them with their corporate-friendly policies and tax cuts that mostly benefit these wealthy, greedy bastards.
I thought the layoff had a lot to do with my 40-something age – they had to pay reporters like me more than the ones fresh out of college, even though I sure wasn’t making much. I also suspected it could have had something to do with the book I wrote and my liberal activities. I filed a complaint with the Texas Human Rights Commission, but that, predictably, went nowhere in union-busting Texas, which sides with corporate management on most issues.
I continue to this day to expose and work against Bush-Cheney through my writings and activism, mostly under my pseudonym, which has become more popular than my real name. I have found other ways to make a living to feed my family, including as a photographer, book author and all-around handyman. Fortunately, I’m a man of many talents, and I have discovered, in fact, that I don’t need to keep a low-paying newspaper job whose fascist owners take away our Constitutional rights to survive. Although the mainstream media needs progressive journalists, the thought of working full-time for another such newspaper nauseates me.
But I think it’s important for readers, especially those who criticize the mainstream media with a wide brush, to know something about my story. You never know how many other reporters are doing something like I did, leading a sort of double life because they believe in that basic journalism tenet to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Unless they are a journalist like Seymour Hersh or Molly Ivins, they can’t really openly carry out that principle in today’s upbeat-lifestyle-good-news-bad-news-only-if-it-involves-a-non-Republican-dominated corporate media environment.
Many reporters today are ordered to concentrate on safe puff pieces that speak favorably about companies that advertise. Others are forced to focus on lifestyle stories on the latest high-tech gadget or how to open an IRA - news you can supposedly use - and to make sure you get “real people” to say something to make it appear like the media cares about what the average reader thinks. A few reporters are allowed to chase government and even corporate secrets to make it look like the media still wants to do its job, but their numbers are dwindling and their reports are watered down beside the puff pieces.
Still, some journalists find other ways to live out the afflicted principle, as I did and am doing. And you will never hear about most of those ways.
In recent months, there has been an alarming increase in the number of mainstream reporters fired or reprimanded for simply exercising their Constitutional rights. The result is just what the Bush-Cheney New World Odor [yes, I mean, “Odor,” as in these heartless elitists stink like crap] wants: an increasing working environment of fear in which people goosestep behind their political leaders or stay silent because they are afraid for their jobs or even their lives. I feel for these reporters. As much as progressives like to complain about the media - and I do my share - I also realize the constraints of the profession. It’s hard to quit a job in protest – or even mildly go against the grain - when you have to feed a family in a tough job market. Members of the Bush-Cheney New World Odor know this. It’s all part of the plan. It’s why we have a tough job market today. That’s right, the New World Odor wants a tough economic market to better control us.
In the face of this fascist environment, the convictions and courage of some mainstream journalists continue to inspire me. Henry Norr, a former technology columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, was fired in April for participating in a demonstration against the U.S. invasion of Iraq. That came despite that newspaper not having a policy that reporters or columnists could not participate in demonstrations at that time. The paper has since implemented such a hypocritical, fascist policy against employees taking part in actions against the war that has had a chilling effect on the newsroom, even though corporate bigwigs are free to engage in whatever political activity they want. Norr also covered areas largely unrelated to politics and war.
Norr has filed several complaints with state commissions, including the California State Labor Commission, which prohibits employers from interfering with the political activity of employees. But as he said, at least one media corporation in another state got around a similar law by saying – in a bit of Orwellian doublespeak that Bush-Cheney would be proud of - that the First Amendment gave newspaper owners the right to limit the free speech of employees.
As he awaits decisions from the commissions, Norr continues to take action - he was shot in the leg with a wooden dowel in Oakland and arrested for civil disobedience outside the gates of Lockheed-Martin, the world’s largest arms manufacturer. “I intend to continue exercising my constitutional rights and my moral obligation, as I see it, to oppose the Bush Administration’s reckless and illegal imperial adventures,” he wrote in a statement published recently in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. “Someday I may have grandchildren who ask my daughters what our family did in the face of this madness. At least they’ll be able to say we all tried to make our voices heard - my wife and both of my daughters have also been arrested in civil disobedience this month. And I’m glad to know they won’t have to say that I just stood on the sidelines for fear of retaliation from my employer.”
Ed Gernon is another casualty of these McCarthyism times when you can’t even comment in general about what our country is like without being fired. The veteran TV producer was fired in April from the company that produced the CBS mini-series Hitler after this comment about that project in TV Guide: “It basically boils down to an entire nation gripped by fear, who ultimately chose to give up their civil rights and plunge the whole nation into war. I can’t think of a better time to examine this history than now.” What’s wrong with that, besides using “who” rather than “that?”
Another note for conspiracy theorists: TV Guide is owned by far-right media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Was Gernon set up? At the very least, his firing for expressing an opinion about a society when such opinions were suppressed further proves his point about the parallels between 1930s Nazi Germany and present-day U.S.
Not even a respected Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent like Peter Arnett can get away with saying general comments. He was fired by NBC in March after saying on an Iraqi television station that war planners “misjudged the determination of the Iraqi forces” and that there was “a growing challenge to President Bush about the conduct of the war.” An NBC statement said, “It was wrong for Mr. Arnett to grant an interview to state-controlled Iraqi TV - especially at a time of war - and it was wrong for him to discuss his personal observations and opinions in that interview.”
Why is it ever wrong to state opinions in a so-called “free society?” Could it be that our society is not as free as we like to think it is? Why does our “free society” have to stop allowing freedom of speech and the press when there is a war? Could it be because those opinions might get in the way of executing that war and reduce advertising and thus media owners’ profits? So much for freedom of speech and the press by such hypocritical, greedy media owners.
I don’t buy the argument that Arnett’s comments could have led to more American troops dying, or that he shouldn’t be talking to Iraqi media. American and Iraqi troops and as many as 10,000 Iraqi civilians died because Bush-Cheney invaded Iraq for their own selfish political and economic reasons, not because of anything Arnett said. Put the blood on Bush-Cheney’s hands. And to really get beyond war, we have to stop seeing everything in nationalistic terms. As Tom Paine said, “My country is the world.” But of course, Bush-Cheney won’t stop the patriotic nationalism wave because it keeps them in power.
Republicanazi Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky and others even called for Arnett, who quickly found another job with England’s Daily Mirror, to be arrested and tried for treason. And people in this country still think there are no parallels to Nazi Germany here?
The corporate masters even want to control our private thoughts. Former Fort Worth Star-Telegram business reporter Steve McLinden was axed in March for simply sending a private email critical of a political fascist group called Young Conservatives of Texas. Like Norr, McLinden’s job had little to do with politics, and he wasn’t even getting arrested in a demonstration. All McLinden did was send an email to this group in response to a mass email sent by the conservative group announcing its plans to protest an Austin speech by Our Last Elected President Clinton in February. The hypocritical fascists, who call on others to take responsibility but look for someone to blame whenever something goes wrong under a Republican regime, predictably blamed the Sept. 11 terrorist acts on Clinton. That was despite those actions happening under Bush, who had plenty of warning and went on a month-long vacation right before Sept. 11, 2001, and despite Republicans’ long history of support for military aid and training to terrorists like bin Laden.
As the Fort Worth Weekly pointed out, Young Conservatives of Texas is the same group that has objected to Rice University’s annual Hispanic Professionals’ Leadership Day, called affirmative action “anti-white,” labeled an idea by Democrat Ron Kirk to require high school students to perform community service as a “scheme for Soviet-style social engineering at the hands of Washington bureaucrats,” and filed complaints against Texas hospitals that provide non-emergency care to undocumented immigrants.
So McLinden had every right to send a private email – he didn’t even roast this group in public as the Weekly did – stating that he did not like this organization’s actions. McLinden did so in admirable colorful fashion: “Ah, the heartless, greedy, anti-intellectual little fascists are mobilizing again. Let me guess. All you frat boys saved up your allowances and monies from your McDonald’s jobs for those Beemers you’ll be driving to the protest, and those new jackboots you’ll be sportin’ en route. Hey, don’t forget all the nasty little deals that Reagan’s henchmen cut with Middle East figures that got us directly into this mess today. I’m sure you’ll be protesting the Reagan household any day now. By the way, is it not enough to have the White House and Congress? Would you like to stamp out all signs that we are a two-party, Democratic country? What’s that? You would? How noble of you. I salute you and your polarized, little status-quo world.”
Touche. I couldn’t have written a better response myself. I sent such biting, sarcastic emails to similar fascist groups many times when I was employed under the Thou Shall Not State a Political Opinion Newspaper Slave Owners – I just was smart enough to use a pseudonym and not the company computer.
Then came the fascist owners who control McLinden’s former place of employment, who were informed of the sarcastic email by another mailing by the Young Conservatives. His boss actually sent the conservatives an email apologizing for McLinden’s PRIVATE comments and promptly fired McLinden, who has SIX children. He was canned despite the Young Conservatives making clear in another press release it did not want McLinden fired. So why did the Star-Telegram fire McLinden? To send another chilling, Nazi-like message to its employees that you have no political rights, you are our slaves. We even want to control your PRIVATE thoughts. That is the ultimate Orwellian nightmare coming home to roost.
There are several other examples of such firings. Dan Guthrie, a former columnist for the Grants Pass Daily Courier in Oregon, was fired for describing Bush as “hiding in a Nebraska hole” rather than returning to Washington immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks. Tom Gutting, former city editor of the Texas City Sun, was also fired after he wrote that Bush “was flying around the country like a scared child seeking refuge in his mother’s bed after having a nightmare.”
Las Vegas Mercury editor Geoff Schumacher was among those to condemn such firings. He quoted author Barbara Kingsolver: “It’s a fact of our culture that the loudest mouths get the most airplay, and the loudmouths are saying now that in times of crisis it is treasonous to question our leaders. Nonsense. That kind of thinking let fascism grow out of the international depression of the 1930s. In critical times, our leaders need most to be influenced by the moderating force of dissent. That is the basis of democracy, in sickness and in health, and especially when national choices are difficult, and bear grave consequences.”
Finally, most people have heard that MSNBC fired Phil Donahue in February. But most probably do not know about MSNBC officials’ real reasons, not the fake ones about supposed low ratings. Donahue was a “difficult public face for NBC in a time of war,” according to a company memo. In effect, Donahue was fired simply because he is liberal, still another McCarthyism action.
Then there are those journalists who are not fired from their jobs but lose columns or other forums. Brent Flynn, a reporter for the Lewisville Leader in Texas, saw his column axed earlier this year after he wrote about a Dallas anti-war demonstration in which he participated. “It is ironic that after writing a forceful essay in support of the first amendment, my column was cancelled,” Flynn wrote in a note on his personal Web site [http://brentflynn.com/brent/useful_idiots.htm]. “I was told that because I had attended an anti-war rally, I had violated the newspaper’s ethics policy that prohibits members of the editorial staff from participating in any political activity other than voting. I am convinced that if my column was supportive of the war and it was a pro-war rally that I attended, they would not have dared to cancel my column..…
“I was also told that my objectivity as a reporter would be called into question. However, my opposition to an invasion of Iraq was well documented in previous columns before I revealed that I had participated in the protest. But instead of taking me off of my beat or terminating my employment as a staff reporter, my opinion column was cancelled - the aspect of my job that was enhanced by my participation in the rally. In my opinion, a powerful liberal voice was unwelcome in the conservative Republican county served by my newspaper. The fact that the column was cancelled just days before the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq raises serious questions about the motives for the cancellation.”
Flynn continues to be a news reporter for the paper, while writing more interesting columns on his Internet site.
Kurt Hauglie, a former reporter and columnist for Michigan’s Huron Daily Tribune, actually resigned in protest from the paper in March after his bosses declined to publish an anti-war column he wrote because it might upset readers.
Meanwhile, right-wing radio disc jocks like Clear Channel’s Glenn Beck – who admittedly aren’t really journalists – can go as far as to organize, not just attend and participate in, pro-war rallies.
Another case came in April when NBC reporter Ashleigh Banfield was rebuked by network President Neal Shapiro for saying in a speech at Kansas State University that television reporters sugarcoated Iraqi war coverage with patriotism and did not show the realities of the conflict. Banfield’s comments were true. For example, CNN’s Moneyline host Lou Dobbs appeared on camera with an American flag pin in his lapel and called weapons inspection head Hans Blix “a petulant UN bureaucrat.” No one dared broadcast pictures of Iraqi children blown to bits by our “smart bombs.” The bottom line is that NBC bigwigs don’t really care as much about telling the truth as they do about making the bucks.
Perhaps some of these reporters really are scared for their lives during wartime and don’t want to further risk their lives by getting the U.S. military mad. Reporters Without Borders, which ranks the U.S. 17th in press freedom with Finland, Iceland, Norway and Holland at the top, accused the U.S. Defense Department and the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission of ignoring its demands for a proper search for two journalists that were missing in southern Iraq for a month. The agencies also refused to investigate deaths of several journalists there. Those are real concerns.
There are numerous other forms of censorship occurring. The country band Dixie Chicks was taken off the air of several radio stations simply for questioning the Iraqi invasion and saying they were ashamed that Bush is from their home state. Right-wingers have organized a campaign to revoke filmmaker Michael Moore’s Oscar and try to keep Bowling for Columbine out of theaters.
The Web site YellowTimes.org, which features original anti-war commentary, was shut down by its Internet hosting company in March, after it posted images of U.S. POWs and Iraqi civilian victims of the war. Orlando-based Vortech Hosting told Yellow Times in an e-mail, “Your account has been suspended because [of] inappropriate graphic material,” according to a press release by Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting.
Another Vortech email said, “As ‘NO’ TV station in the U.S. is allowing any dead U.S. soldiers or POWs to be displayed and we will not either.” The site is now back, however.
In two separate recent cases at malls in New York and Arkansas, people were arrested and charged with trespassing simply for wearing t-shirts with peace messages on them. They were not in the mall to protest, just to have lunch and shop. People can wear all kinds of vulgar, hateful messages on shirts in these malls, but not ones that call for peace, something which Christ and other religious leaders that so many people claim to follow have done.
While today’s society seems like it is becoming increasingly less free on the surface, perhaps there is more happening underneath that will one day unearth itself. Journalism may not be the right-the-wrongs watchdog profession I envisioned it as more than two decades ago, but some people are still trying. Maybe there are more Henry Norrs and Kurt Hauglies in mainstream journalism willing to put their principles on the line than we realize. On the surface, the fascist owners may seem to win when they fire one of us, or make us resign in protest. But that’s only on the surface. Deep down, we push on. The firings and resignations only make us push on harder.
For instance, New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Chris Hedges gave an inspiring commencement address to Rockford [Ill.] College’s graduating class in May in which he warned of the dangers of U.S. empire.
“As we revel in our military prowess - the sophistication of our military hardware and technology, for this is what most of the press coverage consisted of in Iraq - we lose sight of the fact that just because we have the capacity to wage war it does not give us the right to wage war,” Hedges said. “This capacity has doomed empires in the past….War, we have come to believe, is a spectator sport. The military and the press - remember in wartime the press is always part of the problem - have turned war into a vast video arcade came. Its very essence - death - is hidden from public view…..We no longer understand that war begins by calling for the annihilation of others but ends if we do not know when to make or maintain peace with self-annihilation. We flirt, given the potency of modern weapons, with our own destruction.”
That a journalist would give such a speech at a relatively conservative university – which admittedly did not receive it well – is reason in itself for hope. Though officials actually turned off Hedges’ microphone at one point – which he called “heartbreaking” – still some got the message.
In addition, perhaps there are more journalists like me in my latter career, leading double lives and getting back at the fascists in other ways. Perhaps some like me write for progressive journals and Web sites under pseudonyms, if just to show the bastards in power that they haven’t gotten to us entirely.
Almost 20 years after the year for the setting of Orwell’s 1984 and some two decades after my resignation from a newspaper in protest of journalistic censorship, I can take comfort that some reporters are still making such stands. And unlike the characters in Orwell’s classic novel, Big Brother Bush-Cheney have yet to totally break our spirits. They can cut us with their doublespeak, jolt us with electricity. But they’ll never take the better part of us, the spirit that makes us freer than they will ever know.
Jackson Thoreau is co-author of We Will Not Get Over It: Restoring a Legitimate White House. The updated, 120,000-word electronic book can be downloaded on his Liberty and Justice For All web site at http://www.geocities.com/jacksonthor/ebook.html. Citizens for Legitimate Government has the earlier version at http://www.legitgov.org/we_will_not_get_over_it.html. Thoreau can be emailed at jacksonthor@justice.com.


Email from The Raven and others



I found your article rather interesting. What gave me pause was this quote: "Yet, the senior managers could do all that and more - most gave boatloads of cash to conservative politicians."
When I read that line, following as it did your complaint that your political viewpoints were being suppressed by the papers you have worked for, it seems to me that you have a problem with a
newspaper expressing a conservative bias, whereas were it to proclaim a liberal stance you would have no objections whatsoever.
Here, then, is the crux of the matter. It would seem that the owners of a paper have every right to be highly concerned if their reporters are weaving all over the political spectrum. "For God's sake," you can imagine them thinking, "can't these damned writers just get the story and leave their freaking
progressive politics out of it?"
I don't think Europe has any particular edge over us in this regard. The S.F. Chronicle and LA Times are extremely liberal publications, as is the Detroit Free Press - champions of diversity all and deeply committed to eradicating caucasian influence in society. The Chi Trib and Philly Inquirer seem fairly neutral, and the NYT seems fairly left of center. The Wash Post and Times are both rather conservative, yet I'd also argue that fact is what makes them eminently quotable - it isn't their bias per se, rather the lack of obvious slant that makes them solid vehicles for the formation of opinion.
And then there's this: "I have discovered, in fact, that I don't need to keep a low-paying newspaper job whose fascist owners take away our Constitutional rights to survive."
It would seem that you have every right to start your own newspaper and publish whatever news the public deems of value. In fact, I'll bet that if you did start your own paper, "The Leninist Observer" or whatnot, you'd be pretty anxious not to piss off your advertisers. Suddenly, you'd understand where the
"fascist" managers were coming from all these years. What we need to move forward as a people are more citizens who think carefully and deeply about the things that are important, and we need
fewer "activists" whose egotistical concern with feeling good about themselves leads to tremendous wastes of energy and intellectual ennui.
Best regards,
The Raven
D.S.

RESPONSE FROM JT: Thanks for your email. I just have to say that I don't have a problem with a paper giving a conservative viewpoint on its editorial page. My problem comes when senior managers can disobey a policy they place on us. That is called being a hypocrite in my book.
I understand how many people in the news business want to please advertisers. But as a writer, that is not my job. My job is to get the story and write it as truthfully, fairly and accurately as I can. It is not to worry about whether something I write will offend an advertiser.
My point is that even though I have progressive views, I can be professional and make sure the story is fair and accurate. I think I have done that throughout my career. I don't need some paper taking away my Constitutional rights, especially when that policy is not enforced on all employees.
Finally, I don't write just to "feel good about myself." I write for many reasons, including because I see a lot of areas that are just not being challenged these days, especially when it comes to the yahoos in the White House.



My particular field of "activisim," is corruption in the courts. However, it has come about thanks to the SAME FACTORS you outlined - information control to brainwash the public, and a "dumbing-down" thanks to our (lack of) educational system, which then makes us all "easy pickings" to be robbed of our rights. I did EXTENSIVE research on it, which culminated in a RICO lawsuit, which can be viewed on civicusa.org - click on "Who Killed Lady Justice?" MY findings were: the "mainstream media" is DEFINITELY involved, as the same big advertisers have their "stoolies" in practically every government committee and foundation, which is responsible to serve the people and give them accurate information.
Hats off to you for hanging in there! We can take our country back, as long as the public is EDUCATED and INFORMED.
J.

Way to go my friend! I can't thank you guys at AmericaHeld enough for helping keep me sane. I also know what it feels like taking a stand and getting dixie chicked, having my promising music career stomped back in the 80's protesting Reagan.
Luckily I didn't have a family either (and never did get to afford one), but we can see where these so-called moral majority folks have taken us. I haven't lost a lick, just as strong and vital (maybe better) than way back then, and ready to surface whenever that economic and political ice breaks above me.
My latest tune has the chorus: "Our flag's been ripped down and spit on, by those who claim to love it most, over the protest of any, and the founding fathers ghosts. Our flag has been ripped down and shredded, and used as a filthy bloody rag, by those who do evil in its' name, and want your freedoms
banned"
Wouldn't that be a fun little pop tune to have on the air right now? I'm that missing artist between Bob Dylan and Rage Against The Machine haha. Good luck out there on all this madness, my friend.
R.C.

I just read one of your articles: Big Brother Bush-Cheney have yet to totally break our spirits, and just wanted to say that I was very moved by what you said about going against the grain.
I know it's often difficult to report anything honestly about the 'powers that be' unless you speak of them in glowing terms, and I, for one, have always found it almost impossible to know where to draw the line on idealism - one does need to earn after all.
N.S.

I just read your column on the Information Clearing House website. In a real, conflicted, human way, it eloquently points out that we all make choices, and that we must be held responsible for the choices which we make.
I don't know if you're familiar with a poem entitled, "The Apolitical Intellectuals" by poet and revolutionary, Otto Rene Castillo, but it's a powerful statement of what you write about being, "...asked what you did when the light of liberty was being extinguished in our country".
As a writer, I was especially delighted by the wonderfully dry, double or triple-layered irony of the taking to task of Ed Gernon's grammar. You obviously have put in your time as an editor of not just your own writing, but of that by others. But seriously (don't call me seriously, my name is Jackson), don't you think the punishment for violating Strunk & White a bit extreme for the crime? Let's just call Rupert and explain it to him. I'm sure, once he has all the facts, he'll apologize to Ed, reinstate him, shake his hand, write him a check for back salary, and, to show there's no hard feeling, throw in a little something extra.
As someone who obviously is concerned with turning this Titanic of a country of ours before it hits the iceberg, I thought you might be interested (if you aren't already) in what's going on with independent politics in Texas. A friend of mine has been working her butt off in Austin to build a political force that can wield a powerful political stick to hit these bastards upside the head (cause we know, that's what it takes to get their attention.)
While I throughly enjoyed both the content and style of your writing, what I thought was missing --and, as well, missing in so many other good pieces about what is happening in America-- was what your readers can DO (as this is an email, I can't italicize DO, so I capitalized it. Forgive me).
I believe that building independent politics is the only hope we have to change the TweedleDee/TweedleDum seesaw of power that has been the virtually unassailable status quo for lo these many years. And since you no longer are constrained by a media oligarch's undemocratic and unconstitutional hypocrisy, if you like what you find (unless you already have), by golly, you can just
join right in on the fun.
B.L.

Just finished reading your opinion piece at Information Clearing House. Thank you for standing up and describing a systemic assault on the rights and liberties of this people and the peoples of the world. I think that we are now on the verge of perennial conflict with much of the world and that we are, and have been, at war against the people and Constitution and Bill of Rights of this country.
That Mr. Hedges was booed at Rockford College is no surprise to me. I live in a community near Rockford, Illinois and have lived in the area and Rockford itself. This is very much a corporate community. Its population have been raised and educated to accept carte blanche what is told them by institutions - governmental, corporate and familial. The one major newspaper - Rockford Register Star - is owned by Gannett and long ago gave up any semblance of responsible journalism in favor of repeating shamelessly whatever a given authority figure - government or corporate - claims. We are addicted to suv's, mortgages, beer - and other drugs -, sports, tv and belonging. That Rockford is not unique in this country is very disturbing.
My background is: USMC Vietnam Era Vet (volunteered December, 1972), former Adjunct Assistant Professor in Business and Management for Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and former small business owner. I do not think that I am a rabid revolutionary nor a mindless adherent to a popular or given philosophy. I am trying to make a difference by public speaking, writing letters and calling our elected/purchased representatives. I am seeking a way to do more.
I am most interested in communicating with you and developing strategies and methods to further a public discussion about the direction that our nation is going. If you have the time and inclination I would appreciate the opportunity to e-mail you and enlist your assistance in considering and editing and discussing articles and writings.
Thank you for speaking out.
P.G.

I received a nice note from Michael Copps, an FCC Commissioner that does battle with Michael Powell on a daily basis. I had written him after seeing his appearance on PBS, speaking about the rule changes which allow concentration of media ownership. He is fighting an uphill battle to prevent Rupert Murdoch from controlling the Ministry of Truth.
The Communications Act of 1996 was the worst thing Bill Clinton ever did.....far more damaging that any Oval Office antic.
The loss of our Fourth Estate and the curious capitulation by our mainstream newspapers and journalists give me a sense of impending doom. Among my acquaintances, none, more than can be counted on one hand, feel as strongly as I do. It is refreshing to read your essays, so that I don't feel isolated in my opinion about our lost freedoms.
On KLRU, a day or so ago, was an interview with Greg Palast, who I imagine you know very well. I recalled his interview today when reading your trials with employer / censors. He suffered the same problem and solved it by leaving the country to work with BBC and the Guardian. We need your voices, so keep writing and I will keep reading.
J.C.

I keep wondering how long this attempt to smother the smouldering volcano of folks like you with conviction and training, journalists, is going to go on without blowing up noisily and undeniably even by Bush and Co.. I've been to your web site, and I go to Smirking Chimp and others and I just wonder.
What'd happen if some of you guys with conviction, and justifiable outrage got your heads together to put out a Web site,on the model of, like, oh, Christian science monitor on a weekly or twice a week basis? How many $5 dollars would it take to make this work? I say five cause my pension gives me tight
opportunity to survive. The Columbia Journalism Review which I subscribe to, is edging in this direction of being sure enough journalists in these times,but pulling it's punches. You don't have to be mad. Just professional. A journalist like you are must have many others you know about who are as upset and
angry as you are, and I'll betcha they know others. Get a BUNCH of pseudo names and put out a web paper which tells it like it is. No exaggeration, just tells it like it is.
Course you could have "letters to the editors", and opiinion pieces in it. And you could have a section in it about reporting on the reporters: newspapers, media in general coverage. Oh man would you have an avid reader in the likes of me. And in the circle of friends I have.
I suspect the "leaning on the t roops" process in which top management lets you know if you want to keep your job with"us" you better not embarrass the GOP or Bush, or Ashcroft etc., never in a memo or any paper trail, but just "leaning on" you is the order of the day most all over.
How about a breath of fresh air? There's gotta be someone out there with enough coin to fee nagle this thing, and as I say, I'll betcha there lots of folks, Dem/green/GOP who'd like to see the news really returned to the glory of what being a journalist is all about.
Get a bunch of folk who see it all like you do together, even if it's cyber, and do a weekly or bi weekly or something. See where it goes. Here comes the cop out. I wish I could do something. Heart problems,
vascular problems, etc. age stuff won't let me. I'm back water. But I got $5, maybe $10. Tie a knot in some thread and begin sewing. Whatever. Thanx very, very much for this article in The Smirking Chimp. It
lifted me!
These are the times.
H.E.

I love you man! You have courage, strength of your convictions, and your actions and words are truly uplifting. Sometimes, we peaceniks and lovers of life feel discouraged, outnumbered, worn out and jaded, until someone like you comes along to, once again, remind us that we are neither outnumbered nor alone, and that our love of life and our positive determination to make this world a better place really is possible, and that it requires faith, hope, desire, commitment, energy and action, and Inspiration (being reminded). Yeah baby!
Though I am not a journalist, I, too, have been punished (several or perhaps many times, I can't keep count. But I do know the score, and though on the outside I sometimes look like a loser, and on the inside, sometimes feel like one, I wake up and realize that I am not.) for standing up to and speaking out against injustice or wrong doing, for daring to defy the slave masters, the war lords (medieval mo'f...rs!) for demonstrating integrity, especially at work. Sometimes, I was defending myself, sometimes others, sometimes principles. It cost me, sometimes a lot. But it was always worth it, and besides, I`ve still got my soul and many, other blessings.
Reading your story this afternoon, gave me a much needed shot in the arm today.
Peace out brother. God bless you and yours. Keep on standing. Right on! Write on....
I almost forgot to say, "THANK YOU".
A.M.J., Toronto

GREAT piece on the Information Clearing House! You crack me up I would have never guess that was not your name! Keep up the great work. My Family also has not stopped expressing their Disapproval of my life! I have never been close to them, I use to pray that I was adopted then everything would make since, I do not come around them very often, holidays and only if my mom really complains.
Bbut mostly I do not bother. I love them but do not feel the need to subject myself to the bullshit and crap that I know will follow.
Anyway you made my day I was tired and a little sad being in Los Angels away from my chosen family, who is in Fresno, all 5 Friends who I love moer that life itself. I find you and am encouraged tomorrow is another day who know what wonderful thing will be given me!
T.

Maybe it's time for a journalist movement. After all there are more of you then there are of them. Journalist strikes? Get together and start your own media conglomerate? Start a newspaper? Radio stations? TV News stations?
Pool your resources .... I've learned first hand that it only takes one to get the ball rolling and there most definitely is strength in numbers. Connect with other journalists, to those politicians like Gore that are speak out against media consolidation, and the people with money that are against it ... form a network. To fight them you have to become a large voice.
Here our school district was on the verge of major cuts ... losing 12 teachers, programs, the buildings were falling apart ...... It was in disarray and we hadn't passed a school budget in 11 years. We were also facing an embedded and very strong good old boys network that was working against us. My children were young, I was naive to the workings of the network, but being the rebel I am, I went to a few that I hardly knew, but people I knew were upset about the way things were and we banded together for our own movement.
We basically said screw them and we went to the people ... the parents ... we gained strength by adding to our numbers and growing in opposition to the good old boys. Growing in numbers automatically happens when others are ready to take a chance and step up to the plate ... some do it right from the beginning and other's need time to get over their fears. We also took anyone that was willing to give any time, no matter how small, to the cause in whatever way they could. Needless to say we've won and we've passed 11 of 12 school budgets since that time, as well as, changed the caliber of the education in the school district. We started out as 6 people and have grown to hundreds that are willing to help elected pro-education candidates to the board of education and pass the yearly budget.
Now when districts all over the country are having to make big cuts to weather the Bush storm, we have the ability to ride it out for a while and do it under budget.
There a lot to be said about working for Nobel causes, it's a powerful motivation for people and I have found as long as you keep your eye on the goal and go about it in a manner that is honest and above board, it's difficult for others that are more powerful to undermine the honesty and truth of the noble cause. In other words we always made sure we were honest and that we crossed every t and dotted every i.
Look what just happened when the antiwar movement banded together ... common goal, they didn't win, but they sure weren't ignored, their voices were heard and they can't be stopped, but they also need journalists to report the truth. Many of you have readers ... together you all have a wealth of contacts, and people to support you. Someone just needs to take the ball and run. I have found it works and it works better than the lone wolf, or a number of lone wolves separately fighting city hall.
S.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your courage and perserverence. How can this article be sent to people in power? This is such a frightening time---and the implications of what you are writing are horrific for this country. Sometimes I feel like there is nothing I can do, and then I read these kinds of articles and feel renewed to say the emperor has no clothers. Keep up the wonderful work.
K.W.

WOW!! I believe you have outdone yourself!! You made me cry and you made me angry. I am so proud to know you!
It was a long, hard read. I'm a speed reader and I had to take it slow. Once again, wow, powerful, powerful!
S.





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