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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, February 20, 2003

 
Why is accused adulterer Joe “Gary Condit” Scarborough a Republican spokesman on Hardball?

Did anyone else object to seeing former Florida Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough – the Reps’ answer to Gary Condit – on MSNBC’s Hardball Tuesday as a party debate member against a Democratic Congresswoman from California on Iraq? That’s like the Democrats putting up fellow accused adulterer and former California Congressman Gary Condit.
Since Scarborough was forced to resign his seat in 2001 after an alleged extramarital affair with aide Lori Klausutis, who was FOUND DEAD IN HIS OFFICE WITH A MAJOR HEAD INJURY [Hello?? National media?? Anyone home??], Scarborough has found a good living as a Republican media whore on Hardball and other shows. Bush even appointed him to the President's Council on the 21st Century Workforce, where he serves with Labor Secretary Chao.
Meanwhile, Condit, whose mistress at least did not die in his office and was never linked to her disappearance, has been exiled, probably never to be heard from again.
Does anyone besides me see the hypocrisy in this treatment? Let me try to spell it out: You have two former Congressmen who had employees with whom they have been accused of having sex on the side die. One’s case was covered 24 hours a day by the national media, and he lives as a recluse. The other’s was barely mentioned inside the newspaper briefs section and nowhere on national TV, and he is a celebrated national party spokesman. Guess which one is a Democrat and which one is a Republican.
The hypocrisy by the national media and the Republican Party in this case is shameless, but not surprising. As Mary MacElveen pointed out in a October 2002 column on MikeHersh.com [see http://www.mikehersh.com/article_121.shtml], a Google search of Scarborough and Klausutis turned up exactly ZERO news articles. Meanwhile, a similar search of Condit and Chandra Levy had 18 news articles show then – when I checked recently it was up to 51.
There are a number of questions that DEMAND investigation in the Klausutis case, but only a few are asking them, much less investigating them. Chris George and Denis Wright did some excellent work that ran on American Politics Journal [see http://www.americanpolitics.com/20010808Klausutis.html] and Online Journal. Jennifer van Bergen wrote more on the case on Truthout.com [see http://www.truthout.org/docs_01/01.07B.Klausutis.3.htm]. Gil Christner provided a great chart that contrasts the media’s treatment of Condit and Scarborough in an article on Democratic Underground [see http://www.democraticunderground.com/articles/02/03/25_tape.html].
Among the questions is why the desk, which officials say caused Klausutis’ death after she fainted and hit it, was nowhere near her body. Another is why Fort Walton Beach Police Chief Steve Hogue initially said that a preliminary investigation into Klausutis' death did not turn up any evidence of trauma to her body. That was before Medical Examiner Michael Berkland’s autopsy showed clear evidence of severe trauma to the head – including a seven-and-a-half-inch fracture across the top of the head. Berkland said that Klausutis had an "undiagnosed cardiac arrhythmia” that halted her heart and stopped her breathing before the blow to her head. Berkland himself raises questions, including why his license was revoked in Missouri and why he was suspended in Florida.
Another question is why did Scarborough divorce his wife shortly before this incident, then say he was resigning from Congress to “spend more time with my family” after Klausutis died? It doesn’t seem like there is much family left when you get divorced, at least not the way it was before.
A final question: Does anyone else get mad when they see Scarborough smugly issuing some arch-conservative rhetoric on TV these days?

Thank God for France, but not for ‘spokesfascist’ Sean Hannity

Writing in the Russian Journal, Matt Taibbi points out the contrast between how the U.S. press has treated France, compared to Russia and Germany, which are making similar stands against Bush Inc.’s immoral invasion of Iraq. As Taibbi says, the vitriol being heaved France’s way “is of a rare and spectacular variety. Short of a call for an actual invasion of France, it couldn’t get any worse.”
Taibbi also scores points with me by calling Fox News’ Sean Hannity a “spokesfascist.” He’s not the first to use that term – man, I wish I had come up with that label. I guess I’ll have to be content with being the one to give the world the term “Republicanazis,” which I coined the majority party to mock Limbaugh calling feminists “feminazis” shortly after Bush Inc. stole the White House in Dec. 2000.
Anyways, Taibbi’s column was recently chosen as my “Column or Article of the Day.” Read it at http://www.therussiajournal.com/index.htm?obj=35220&type=3&sid=812154540157608838998533&cat=8

More than 2 million workers laid off again in 2002

As the media focuses so much attention on Iraq as the Republicans want, few have noticed that more than 2 million people were again laid off in 2002. The U.S. Labor Department reported in its final mass layoff press release in late December that 2 million people were laid off between January 2002 and November 2002.
Since the mass layoff program was canceled by the Bush administration, supposedly due to lack of funds [c’mon, they can find funds to jet Bush and others around the country to campaign for Republicans and take vacations, but they can’t find money just to record some important statistics??], in late 2002, we can only speculate about the total. A whole month of uncounted layoffs probably put the number to 2.2 million, a little below the 2.4 million reached in 2001.
Many of these companies that lay off workers still make nice profits. The firm that laid me off in 2001 because it only broke even that year made $131 million last year.

The Esteemed Howard Zinn writes

Among all the really great emails I have received lately was one from one of my favorite authors, Howard Zinn, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Boston University, author of A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present and many other books, civil rights activist, and playwright. A People’s History was a big inspiration to me to co-author a similar book on Dallas in 1991 that a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist called “a good start at providing a history of Dallas for everyone” in a Dallas Morning News review. It was great to hear from Prof. Zinn, as he praised some of my writings.
I have included the comments of Prof. Zinn, fellow progressive journalist Lydia Howell, and others as promotional blurbs for the 120,000-word e-book I co-authored called We Will Not Get Over It: Restoring a Legitimate White House. Read them at http://www.geocities.com/jacksonthor/ebook.html – and feel free to support the cause.

Police brutality at New York peace rally

Reports of police brutality in New York during Saturday's peace march that authorities stopped before it began have surfaced. That causes more concern for people like me who believe in giving more than lip service to that “liberty and justice for all” phrase in our pledge. You can read about the police using pepper spray and charging the crowd on horses yourself at http://nyc.indymedia.org/.







Tuesday, February 18, 2003

 
Here is my report of the Dallas peace march Saturday, probably the largest anti-war rally that city has seen. A shorter version is up on AlterNet at http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=15197.

People around the world have spoken in numbers that Bush can’t continue to ignore

By Jackson Thoreau

You could say I’m a veteran of peace demonstrations. Since the early 1980s, I estimate that I have participated in more than 200 such rallies and marches around the world, from Dallas to Washington, D.C., to New York City to London to Paris to Berlin to Moscow to New Dehli.
Some, like many in my resident city of Dallas, Tx., have been relatively small, but important nonetheless. Others, like in D.C. and European cities, have been massive. In some, we didn’t march. In others, we marched for miles.
But on Saturday, Feb. 15, I have to say I emerged from the largest demonstration I’ve ever attended in Dallas with more hope that our situation will improve than ever before. It wasn’t just that 5,000 or so people from one of the most right-wing areas of the world, the former home of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and the fictional J.R. Ewing and many others who represent cold-hearted, selfish economic and political policies, had braved the wind and cold and threats and everything else to make a statement to Bush Inc. that a blood-for-oil-personal-revenge-world-domination-military-boost war against economic-sanctions-wracked Iraq was unacceptable.
It was the wide array of people from all walks of life represented – high school students showing they cared about more than their own problems, soccer moms protesting for the first time, retired school teachers, professionals in suits, war veterans, parents who also brought their young children as I did – that gave me the most hope.
Bush can continue to ignore veteran activists and liberals like me. But he can’t ignore the independent suburban voters, the kind who don’t vote straight-ticket Republican or any other political party.
Bush can’t ignore people like Virginia Abdo, a 68-year-old retired teacher from University Park, a wealthy suburb right next to the ‘burb where Cheney lived until he helped steal the White House. When people like Abdo carry signs like, "Old Euro-Americans Want Peace, Too,” Bush has to take notice, or risk being another one-term Bush president.
Bush can’t ignore people like Virginia Barnett, a 49-year-old graphics technician from Dallas who attended a peace rally at the memorial for assassinated former President John F. Kennedy for the first time in her life on Saturday. He can’t ignore Harold Jones, an 81-year-old World War II veteran who carried a sign that read “Brains Not Bombs.” He can’t ignore Jason Lantz, a computer systems administrator running for a City Council position in Plano, a city north of Dallas even more conservative than the latter. Lantz proudly displayed his “No War in Iraq” button as he spoke about his campaign.
These are people who know that to solve our problems, it will take more than duct tape and plastic sheets and tax cuts for the wealthy and corporate paybacks to campaign contributors and phony terrorism alerts that seek to divert attention from the real problems and immoral, bullying invasions of far weaker opponents.
Bush and British leaders like Tony Blair can’t ignore the estimated 2 million people who jammed London’s streets, the largest by far protest ever in that city [police put the crowd at less than 1 million, but they always low-ball demonstrations]. They can’t ignore the estimated 3 million people at a massive protest in Rome, probably the largest demonstration in world history. There were another 500,000 or so people each at more gigantic rallies in New York, Berlin, Madrid, and Barcelona.
The major media couldn’t ignore such numbers, and Bush can’t either. Even the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which ignore most protests, covered the rallies.
Bush, Blair, and others can’t ignore the other protests in the other more than 350 cities around the world that were largely without arrests – the most boisterous rally was in Athens, Greece, where police fired tear gas at demonstrators. Speakers stuck to the message that we don’t support Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, but war is not an answer when that country has not attacked us.
That’s a message we must adhere to if we want to broaden this movement even farther. We must not give the right-wing any ammunition that would allow them to tell more lies about how we are supposedly anti-American. I believe the people who came out and practiced their democratic rights on Saturday are more American than those who sat on their butts and criticized them. We must continue to display our flags with pride, showing we are patriots who care about more than the selfish, violent agenda pushed by Bush Inc. When someone tells me to go protest in Baghdad or some other country, I answer that I am an American who pays taxes that support Bush's policies, and I have a responsibility here to protest those policies if I believe they are wrong. Furthermore, the US was born on protests, such as the Boston Tea Party of 1770, and those who tell me I am anti-American for engaging in protests are ignoring our country's history.
We must continue to remind Christians who support bombing Iraq of Christ’s messages to “love your enemies” and “blessed are the peacemakers.” We must also continue to remind others from other rligions like Osama bin Laden that they must stop their violent acts, as well.
Organizers with various peace groups around the world – including the Dallas Coalition Against the War in Iraq, the North Texas Coalition for a Just Peace, and the Dallas Peace Center that coordinated the Dallas one – deserve much praise and support. Saturday’s demonstrations were successful beyond most people’s wildest dreams.
Even if Bush Inc. continues its path of bullying Iraq and other countries, millions of people stood up to the Bush bullies in unprecedented numbers Saturday. They will remember come election time.
Even more importantly, history will remember us as people who stood up for peace, justice, humanity, and international goodwill in the face of the Bush Inc. regime that seeks to be another empire, like the British and Roman and others, that enslaves and dominates the planet. Such a stand against tyrants – and Bush is a tyrant, even if he appears benevolent on the surface to some people - is always worth making, no matter what occurs in the future.
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 Internet site at www.geocities.com/jacksonthor/ebook.htmltizens 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 an American supporting the invasion of Iraq:

I think the taking sides over issues could go on and on as each of us have their own ideas on things. I very much respect the opinions of others, and hope I get the same in return.
I give my opinion, but do not pretend to be totally informed on all issues.. I let that up to those that have years of experience in government matters. I had an uncle very high up in the military. He often spoke of how those misinformed or lack of information can harm what those government officials try to do. He also told us all that we do NOT know all the facts and shouldn't. There are things that we all do not know of the comings and goings of these people the US is trying to handle.
So I often rely on our government to do what should be done. Too many people are
"Arm Chair politicians" and so called experts that think they have all the right answers when in fact know nothing but misguided information from the press or , God Forbid, these post areas.
No one wants killings thru war or harming even one individual. But I feel rather them then us and there WILL be an us if we don't get busy and out of the negotiating tables. There already have been " us " with 911. They caught us with our Pants down so to speak. That cannot happen again but its going to and by Iraq. I am amazed at how blind so many people are. With Bin Laden and Saddam, there is no such thing as peace. They do not want peace, nor do they care.. They kill their own all the time.... People need to wake up to that fact. They do NOT care. The cannot be dealt with peacefully, and don't want to.
Those thousands that may be killed in Iraq if we go to war, are those that actually spit on American flags. TV cameras have caught KIDS in action against Americans and other countries. Those are the future? Hope not.
This country has to take care of its own and I hope and pray that they do.
I often wonder how the peace activists will feel as well as France and others that oppose any action, when the terrorists attack and hit maybe one of their own. And its going to happen. Or when Iraq surprises a few of these countries, and our own. We NEED to be ready or take first step.
We shouldnt be preparing for the results of attacks but preparing for our fight for our own freedom.
That post area is full of nut cases and I hope it is screened by the FBI. I heard it was. Some of these people need to be checked into.

Jackson's response:

I just don't believe in giving blind trust to our government. Our government has lied to us so many times, from Vietnam to Watergate to Contragate to Monicagate to this Iraq situation. It has little credibility in my book.
Furthermore, it was a Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt, who said, "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
There are times when war is just such as WWII when we were actually attacked and the german nazis really threatened to take over the world. You can't tell me that tiny Iraq with its $1.4 billion annual military budget, compared to our $400 billion, is going to take over the world. It's more likely that some US leaders want us to take over the world.
Terrorism has always been with us. Ask any black person in this country about terrorism. They have been terrorized for centuries by white people in slavery and then the KKK. They have been taken from their homes, stripped of dignity, killed, beaten, etc. That's terrorism. Ask the British about the Irish terrorists. No matter what they do, the Irish have still committed terrorism since the 1920s. Many Irish see the British as immoral invaders of their land. And they find a way to fight back because they know the British would slaughter them in a conventional war. Same with Arabs against Israel. Why don't we get Israel to destroy all of its weapons of destruction? Israel won't disarm so why should Arab nations?
The bottom line is that Iraq presents no imminent danger to my country or any others that would justify a war. Iraqi disarmament issues can be solved peacefully through the United Nations. An attack on Iraq would only fuel extremism around the world and increase acts of terrorism.
And watch out for supporting crackdowns by the FBI on people like me who only exercise our constitutional rights. Someday you might not have a leader in the white house you agree with and you might want to speak out against him.




Sunday, February 16, 2003

 
His Excellency Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere
Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations
245 East 47th Street
New York, NY 10017

Dear Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere:

As a 43-year-old American citizen born in Washington, D.C., and now living in Dallas, Tx., I want to thank you for supporting the United Nations inspection process in regards to Iraq. I also thank you for opposing the attack the United States government obviously wants to carry out against Iraq.
I know your country has been unjustly vilified by some Americans because of your position. I want to make it clear that many Americans like me support your position. Just last Saturday, Feb. 15, I participated in the largest peace demonstration in Dallas history. Several signs praised France's efforts. One said, "Viva la France!"
Many Americans forget our history, particularly how if it was not for France, Great Britain would have probably won the American Revolutionary War of the 18th century. I am well aware of that history and of our countries' links. I think it is important to remember our bonds during such times. I often remind my fellow Americans of your country's role in helping to secure my country's independence and your importance in history.
It is also important to have differences of opinions between leaders of different countries to provide checks and balances so that no country becomes a world empire again. While some Americans want our country to dominate the world, many of us want to be a good global citizen that works well with other nations to create a more just and peaceful world.
I urge you not to waver in the face of intense U.S. pressure. Iraq presents no imminent danger to my country or any others that would justify a war. Iraqi disarmament issues can be solved peacefully through the United Nations. An attack on Iraq would only fuel extremism around the world and increase acts of terrorism.
Sincerely,

Jackson Thoreau
Dallas, Tx.





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