Fraud & skulduggerous speechifying
Expanded from the Sunday, 1-25-2004, Daily
Sparks, Nev., Tribune
1-29-2004 Comstock Chronicle
Dubya is nothing if not a great motivator. His snake of the union speech last week inspired me to write a line-by-line rebuttal. Dear Abby and Ann Landers long advocated putting one's frustrations on paper and then deciding whether to send the letter or tear it up. Either way, they guaranteed, you'd feel better afterward.
Alas, I didn't and neither should you. As the great guru Lily Tomlin once opined, no matter how cynical you become, it's hard to keep up. I'm so barnacled now that I think most people are too stupid to be allowed to vote. You may construe the following as an invitation to prove me wrong. But first, review the evidence...
PEOPLE VOTE ON URBAN LEGENDS. How many times have you heard that Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds in 1988? The U.S. Army War College analyzed photos of the dead and concluded that whatever killed them was not nerve gas. The San Francisco Chronicle printed a lengthy report on it during Bush the First's PR buildup to the 1991 Gulf War, but other media just weren't interested in a story which went against the Pentagon's myth machine.
Last week during the New Hampshire candidates debate, Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., repeated the falsehood that Saddam tried to assassinate Poppy Bush when he visited Kuwait in 1993. Bill Clinton bombed Iraq over it. The plot was later found to have been non-existent and the revelation was published worldwide. Apparently, Lieberman doesn't let facts get in the way of a convenient story. As the old saying goes, a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth gets its pants on. This convenient falsehood provided one of the underpinnings for invading Iraq and continues to serve warmongers well.
NATIONS GO TO WAR ON URBAN LEGENDS. Horror stories to sell war are not a new idea. Remember the doe-eyed teen named Nayirah who testified before Rep. Tom Lanto's, D-Calif., committee in 1990? She said she witnessed Saddam's thugs throwing some 300 infants out of their hospital incubators to die. Her last name was not released, with good reason. Nayirah al Sabah was a member of the Kuwaiti royal family and never saw any such thing. Her story was a fabrication disseminated by the Hill & Knowlton PR firm which had been hired by the Kuwaiti government in exile to gin up support for the war.
One of Hill & Knowlton's founders was Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud and the father of modern public relations. He worked for U.S. Army intelligence in WWI and left convinced that military propaganda techniques could be utilized to further corporate interests. Bernays sold American women on smoking by turning it into a cool, fashionable thing, where it had been viewed as smelly and unladylike. Millions of lung cancer victims can thank Mr. Bernays.
As much pressure existed for the U.S. to intervene on the side of Germany in WWI as there was to fight for the British and French. A well-organized and powerful German immigant population was a force to be reckoned with. Guess what tipped the balance? A story about undisciplined Huns bayoneting Belgian babies in their cribs. After the war, when U.S. yentas traveled to Europe to commiserate with the grieving parents, they found out they'd been had.
PETER JENNINGS, LEGEND PIMP. During last week's debate, the Canadian-born ABC news anchor went from questioner to participant in his skewering of retired general Wesley Clark. Jennings asked about film maker and author Michael Moore's comment that Dubya was a deserter during Vietnam. Clark showed he's not ready for prime time by bungling his attempts at several non-answers. (See below.)
Gory Wesley could have torn a page from the Reagan playbook. In 1966, when King Ronald the Vague was given no chance of getting through the California GOP gubernatorial primary, he was asked about an endorsement he had received from the ultra-right, Commie-under-every-bed John Birch Society. Remembering his script, Reagan deftly responded that he wanted the vote of every American citizen, but just because they endorsed him did not mean he endorsed them.
In the alternative, Clark could have defended his supporter Moore's statement. It's been well settled for years that Dubya failed to report for duty while a member of the Texas Air National Guard and his whereabouts for a year remain unknown. (Perhaps he was off skiiing with Howard Dean.)
OOPS DEPT. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that Pat Robertson defeated Daddy Bush by coming in first in the 1988 Iowa caucuses.Actually, Bob Dole won and the millionaire preacher finished a surprising second by importing busloads of ringers. Poppy sputtered home third. We might have been better off with a President Robertson. A certified war wimp like Lush Rambo and so money other chicken hawk conservatives, Robertson might not have been so eager to rush into war in the Persian Gulf. And unlike Bush the Elder, his state department might not have given Saddam permission to invade Kuwait. We can only dream...
SCURRILOUS RUMOR MILL: Talk on the street is that Sparks-born railroad engineer Joe Carter, who ran against Sen. Maurice Washington, R-Sparks, in 2002, is considering running against GOP Assemblyman John Marvel this year. Marvel's district goes from eastern Sparks halfway to Elko or Washington, DC, I forget which.
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO HOWARD DEAN? He piqued too soon.
Be well. Raise hell.
Message from the Mahatma
George W. Bush A.W.O.L.
by Michael Moore
In last night's Democratic Presidential debate in New Hampshire, broadcast on the Fox News (Nuisance?) Channel and ABC's Nightline, Peter Jennings went after Wesley Clark and me because I said I want to see Clark debate Bush... ("The General vs. The Deserter")
Jennings, referring to me as "the controversial filmmaker," asked if Clark wanted to distance himself from me and my "reckless" remark. Clark would not back down, stating how "delighted" he was with my support, and that I was entitled to say what I wanted to say AND that I was not the only one who had made these charges against Bush.
The pundits immediately went berserk after the debate. As well they should. Because they know that they and much of the mainstream media ignored this Bush AWOL story when it was first revealed by an investigation in the Boston Globe in 2000.
The Globe said it appeared George W. Bush skipped out in the middle of his Texas Air National Guard service and no charges were ever brought against him. It was a damning story, and Bush has never provided any documents or evidence to refute the Globe's charges.
George W. Bush was missing for at least a 12- month period. That is an undisputed fact. If you or I did that, we would serve time.
Senator Daniel Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii and a World War II veteran, joined with Vietnam vets Sen. Max Cleland and Sen. Bob Kerrey to challenge Bush on the gaps in his military record.
"The question is, where were you, Governor Bush? What would you do as commander-in-chief if someone in the National Guard did the same thing? At the least, I would have been court-martialed. At the least, I would have been placed in prison," Inouye said (http://www.michaelmoore.com/#article2).
The Washington Post, the New Republic, and others also presented the evidence that Bush had fled from duty.
The most comprehensive piece I've seen was on Tom Paine.com with all the relevant links and documents.
There are far more important issues to deal with in this election year.
Poor Peter Jennings. What was he doing on Fox? All that seems left of his Canadianess is the way he pronounced my name ("Michael Moooore"). The question he posed to Clark was typical of a lazy media looking for a way to distract the viewers from the real issues: the war, the economy, and the failures of the Bush administration. But if they want to really get into the issue of Bush and his "service record," then I say, bring it on! The facts are all there, including the empty flyboy suit.
PS: This is the second time I've been thrown into a New Hampshire presidential debate. Four years ago, Republican Alan Keyes was asked why he jumped into Michael Moore's mosh pit to the music of Rage Against the Machine. Now THAT was an issue of substance!
PPS: You can read the exchange between Jennings and Clark here: www.michaelmoore.com/#article8.
Copyright © 1982-2004 Andrew Barbano
Andrew Barbano is a 35-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of NevadaLabor.com and JoeNeal.org. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.
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