Planet Waves

Written by Chris Floyd 14 October 2005 7442 Hits
This article was originally published in the Oct. 14 edition of The Moscow Times. You can find annotations and links here.

Humankind received yet another harsh message from its landlord last week. In the agony of Kashmir, in the laments of Guatemala, the planet once again laid down the hard truths of its brutal gospel: The earth doesn't love you. The earth doesn't need you. The earth doesn't know you are here.

All across the Hindu Kush, spreading through Central and South Asia, an underground tsunami of stone sent tens of thousands down to Sheol - old and young, male and female, good and evil alike. On that same day, on the other side of the world, hundreds more were drowned in mud and rock when the backwash of a hurricane tumbled down on the Mayan Indians of Panabaj.

As on the day when the ocean surges and river floods destroyed America's Gulf Coast, the blind, implacable processes of nature made short work of humanity's pretensions to significance. All of the petty, pointless human divisions into religions, tribes, races and political factions, all the prideful ambitions for power and wealth, all the private hopes for love and fulfilment, all the prayers of the faithful and the scorn of the defiant - everything of human worth and meaning - all were obliterated without mercy by the swift, iron hand.

"The situation is very, very bad," an official in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province told The New York Times after Saturday's quake. "There are bodies lying everywhere. Those who have survived are lying in the open without food, shelter or medicine. The situation has been made worse by the rain and hailstorm that followed the earthquake. There is no way we can reach out to them."

"Entire families have disappeared," a local aid worker in Santiago Atitlan told Reuters after Saturday's storm-triggered mudslide buried Panabaj in 40 feet of mud. "In some cases, there is no one that can identify the cadavers. And in other cases, it is because of the state of decomposition that we are going to have to bury them without names."

Bury them without names. The earth doesn't know your name. The earth doesn't care. The earth doesn't dote on your children. The earth doesn't tend your sick and your old. The earth neither accepts nor rejects you. You are simply one of the literally innumerable organisms battening on its flanks. For billions of years, there were none of your kind here; billions of years from now, your kind will be long gone - buried without a name - and even the planet itself will be consumed in the great slow fiery death of the sun. And the earth doesn't care about that either.

So where is the human factor in this vast indifferent planetary engine? Obviously, our accelerating rapine of the earth is destabilizing global weather patterns, exacerbating killer storms, bringing droughts here and floods there, quietly targeting untold millions of people living on the coastlines of rising oceans. But this, too, doesn't trouble the earth; its mechanics grind on irregardless of the particular mixture of heat and gases fed into the system. If the oceans boil, they boil; if nations starve, they starve; if the human community tears itself to pieces in a vicious war of all-against-all for dwindling resources - as even the Pentagon now predicts for the coming century, The Observer reports - why then, so be it. The aftermath rain will still lash the survivors lying in the open without food, shelter or medicine; it won't ask who supported the Kyoto Treaty or who voted for President George W. Bush.

Although we've already passed the tipping point on global warming, we could still mitigate some of the effects, we could lessen the blow - but we won't. Too many of those meaningless divisions bind us: too much greed, too much self-righteousness, too much ignorance and fear. And of course there is no mitigation for the tectonic plates shifting beneath the skin of the earth; they'll continue to push on relentlessly, creating new deadly fissures, ripping open ocean floors, bringing down mountains and raising mountains up. Against this no human action can prevail.

Where the human factor shows most starkly is in the extent of unnecessary suffering in these unavoidable catastrophes. In Pakistan and Guatemala - as in New Orleans - the poor died in overwhelmingly greater proportions than the rich, who build their homes on higher, firmer ground. The rickety apartment blocks that collapsed in Islamabad caught no mine-owners or telecommunications entrepreneurs in their ruins. The poor drowned by the hundreds in low-rent Gulf Coast districts shorn of protection by ruthless commercial development, insufficient funding of levees and reclamation projects, and bipartisan, corruption-bloated political posturing, as The Washington Post shows in a devastating report.

And as in all disasters, those with political pull will benefit most from "reconstruction" aid. In Sri Lanka, poor villagers are being banned from re-settling on tsunami-hit beachfronts for "safety reasons" - yet their land is being given to developers for five-star hotels, the Guardian reports. In New Orleans, the feasting on the dead by Bush cronies has grown so brazen that Washington has now been forced to re-bid some of the early pork payoffs, The New York Times reports. This is largely a show to allay public outrage, of course; billions more will remain safely stuffed in Bushist coffers.

At every turn, human greed compounds our suffering. The urge to eat each other alive for power and profit, to consign whole sections of the common human family to degradation and exposure is a cruel mimicry of the planetary indifference that shadows us all. Of course, the earth isn't human, it has no capacity for conscience and compassion - but what's our excuse for cruelty?

Chris Floyd

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The Big Fix

Written by Chris Floyd 12 October 2005 6612 Hits

Jonathan Schwarz continues his ruthless exposure of the lies of Colin Powell in yet another outstanding post at A Tiny Revolution. Step by step, with relentless detail, he shows how almost every assertion of "fact" Powell made during his pre-attack UN presentation (which "clinched the deal for war," as the mooing herd of punditry all agreed afterward) was unsupported by intelligence data -- and that Powell knew this when he spoke. Jon has chapter and verse, link and source -- it's devastating. Powell was the "human face" of a monstrous conspiracy to lead the United States into an unnecessary war, an act of aggression, a war crime of Nuremberg proportions. And tens of thousands of innocent people lie dead because of it. How many thousands more will die in the global chaos and instability that this act of criminal insanity has unleashed?

These murdering liars: it just chokes you with fury, what they've done -- and what they will get away with. For be assured: even if Patrick Fitzgerald makes all our dreams come true, handing down indictments for Karl Rove, "Scooter" Libby and even the great sulphurous belch of corruption that is Dick Cheney, Bush will simply pardon them all -- just like Papa did in his last days in office, with a bagful of pardons that quashed the investigation into the Iran-Contra scam (which was, in many respects, a very similar act of warmongering treason).

What's more, even if -- in the wildest dream on the edge of possibility -- Bush himself gets caught in the cross-hairs, there's always the old Nixon-Ford ploy. You take a pliable outsider and say: "I'll make you Vice President if you promise to pardon me when I'm gone and you take over." Cheney -- an old Nixon White House hand who became Ford's chief of staff and was a top insider in all the Bush I machinations -- knows how to play this game. Sure, if worst comes to worst, you may have to step down from office -- but nobody does time, and more importantly, nobody loses any money.

No, these guys will sleep on feather-beds for the rest of their lives, feted -- and fattened with cash -- in the gilded bubble of the right-wing elite. The fix is in -- and as always, it is the innocent, the weak and the most vulnerable in the world who will pay the cost for the crimes of these bloated, bloodsoaked liars.

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Even Better Than the Real Thing

Written by Chris Floyd 11 October 2005 3690 Hits

Officials Find No Evidence of Subway Bombing Plot
Excerpt from the Chicago Tribune: A reported plot to bomb [New York] subways with remote-controlled explosives has not been corroborated after days of investigation, law enforcement officials said Sunday amid an easing sense of concern.
Interrogations of suspects captured in Iraq last week after a tip about bomb-laden suitcases and baby carriages have yet to yield evidence that the plot was real, officials said.

"The intelligence community has been able to determine that there are very serious doubts about the credibility of this specific threat," Homeland Security Department spokesman Russ Knocke said. [end]

How many times will they pull this stunt – directing massive resources to bogus threats issued for transparently political reasons – before the real thing happens while first-responders and security services are off on a wild goose chase?

That's a rhetorical question, of course, but a cynic – i.e., any sentient being who has observed the Bush gang in action during the past five years – might be tempted to answer: They'll keep pulling it as many times as they have to – until Bush's approval ratings hit, oh, 15 or 20 percent. Then the real thing will happen.

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Bush Regime Thinks Holocaust Deniers Are "Scholars"

Written by Chris Floyd 11 October 2005 5782 Hits

Well, they would, wouldn't they? From Mark Crispin Miller via The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies. Excerpt: A new U.S. government report refers to Holocaust-deniers as "scholars and researchers"..."Holocaust-deniers are not scholars or researchers -- they are bigots who try to hide their anti-semitism behind the mask of fake scholarship," said Wyman Institute Director Dr. Rafael Medoff. "For a U.S. government report to call them 'scholars' gives them the legitimacy they desperately crave but do not deserve."

But why all the hub-bub? It's just like "intelligent design," right? You know, the rejection of evolution that's rejected by 99.5 percent of actual scientists. The cranky ID minority funded by billionaire Christian "Dominionists" are also treated as legitimate scholars by the Bushists. Heck, why not just teach Holocaust denial in the public schools? You know, "teach the controversy," as the Bushists say about ID.

This is what you get when you denigrate science and reason in the name of political expediency. The Bushists want -- need -- to spread moral chaos throughout society, in order to mask their own crimes and push their radical agenda upon a demoralized, confused, divided and atomized public. This is a sinister ideology, and it will bear evil fruit.

For more historical context on the Bush Family's moral nullity -- and its curious, well-documented business links to Nazi Germany - see these past articles:

Prophet Margin: Prescott Bush Foresees the Future
Revise and Conquer: Bush Family History Makes Strange Bedfellows
Death Wish: The Presidential Prerogative of Murder

Plus these primary sources:
Heir to the Holocaust: Prescott Bush, $1.5 Million and Auschwitz (Clamor Magazine, May/June 2002)

Bush-Nazi Dealings Continued Until 1951: Federal Documents (New Hampshire Gazette, Nov. 7, 2003)

And for the Bush Faction's dangerous bent toward extremist religious rule, take a gander here:
Pin Heads: The Bushist Push for Theocracy

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I, Bagman: The Story of Colin Powell

Written by Chris Floyd 10 October 2005 13603 Hits

Jonathan Schwarz is back and loaded for bear over at Tiny Revolution, with a takedown of the tissue of lies that Colin Powell disgorged in an interview with ABC News last month. Powell's reputation as "one of the good guys" in the Bush Administration has been one of the most enduring mysteries of our sad, demented times. He was not only one of the chief enablers of Bush's war crime in Iraq, but his entire career has marked him out as a bagman for a bloody elite, ever willing to turn a blind eye -- or pitch in directly -- when there is dirty work to be done, from the My Lai massacre to Iran-Contra to the murderous excursion in Panama to the warm embrace of Saddam Hussein to his final apotheosis as Imperial Handmaiden in his sick-making appearance at the UN in February 2003, when he "made the case" for war.

Now, of course, Powell goes around with furrowed brow, dramatically declaiming how he was "betrayed" by unnamed intelligence agents into prostituting his (entirely vaporous) credibility at the UN. But as Jon shows, Powell knew full well that he was lying to the world during his UN fan-dance, claiming that his baseless assertions about Iraq's non-existent WMD were iron-clad gospel truth -- when, as we now know, those very same "unreliable" intelligence agencies had told Powell, in writing, that his charges lacked a solid foundation.

Jon has the goods, and promises that this is just part of a ongoing project "that will examine Powell's mendacity in all its glorious detail." For some historical context, you might examine this column that I wrote -- in May 2002 -- drawing on the excellent historical research of Robert Parry: General Principles: Colin Powell, Bagman.

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Written by Chris Floyd 09 October 2005 5521 Hits
The new CD, Wheel of Heaven, a musical collaboration between "Tennessee songwriter Chris Floyd and global musician Nick Kulukundis" (as the promo says), is now on sale from CafePress. You can find it here or via the Merchandise section of the blog, on the left. Various cuts from the album have been featured for months in the "Audio Burlesque" section on the right. Anyway, it's out now, so y'all come and get it if you want it. Below is an excerpt from the excerpt of the liner notes featured at the CafePress site. Add a comment

Moot Court: Harriet, Jughead and Judicial Jokery

Written by Chris Floyd 07 October 2005 9211 Hits

This is an expanded version of the column published in the Oct. 7 edition of The Moscow Times. For annotations and sources, see the Times version here.

Last week, George W. Bush filled the final vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court – and right on cue, all the knee-jerk Bush-bashers were up in arms, sputtering the usual objections: Unqualified crony! Right-wing apparatchik! Fawning, groveling Bush Family factotum! Wheel-greasing goon in high-priced threads!

Poor little dissident lambkins. They must be the only people left in the United States who still take the country's governance seriously. For it's obvious that the nation's political elite – whatever party label they happen to wear – do not. No ruling class that was actually serious about governing would ever countenance the pair of jokers whom Bush has foisted on what is supposed to be the ultimate guarantor of law in the land. Yet the first bad joke sailed through with bipartisan support and the second is bound to follow. Clearly this is an Establishment in the throes of nervous breakdown, collapsing in a fit of hysteria-induced giggles while a pack of ruthless thugs loot the store and burn down the house.

For its sheer brazen mockery of the judicial system, Bush's nomination of his personal lawyer Harriet Miers to the high court outdoes the installation of hard-right knee-capper John "Jughead" Roberts as Chief Justice. Jughead spent most of his early career trying to screw the poor and the dark-skinned out of whatever meagre rights and protections they had won after hundreds of years of slavery, exclusion and savage repression. He really made his bones, however, with his stalwart service in the Busha Nostra's shutdown of the Florida recount in 2000. For this, Jug was elevated to the federal appeals court, where – while he was negotiating for the Supreme slot – he upheld Bush's imperial right to "disappear" anyone on earth into his own rigged system of military tribunals.

Miers, who has zero judicial experience, is cut from the same cloth. Bush first hired Miers to dig into his own past and bury the skeletons she found there as he limbered up for his presidential run in the 1990s, AP reports. Miers delivered the goods, brokering a convoluted $23 million payoff to former Texas lieutenant governor Ben Barnes and his business partner. Barnes said he'd used political pull to get young war-coward Georgie into the National Guard back in the Vietnam day, the Washington Post reports. With payoff in hand, the whistleblower's memory suddenly became all fuzzy. Miers was also instrumental in wangling Bush out of a jury duty assignment: the standard jury questionnaire would have revealed the drunk driving conviction that Bush had hidden for more than 20 years, the Philadelphia Daily News reports. (Yes, Bush is the first convicted criminal ever elected – or in this case, selected – as president.)

Miers – an ex-Catholic turned hardcore Protestant evangelical – has broader experience, of course. She was the managing partner of a high-powered Texas law firm that, under her gentle Christian guidance, paid out more than $30 million in two separate cases of helping corporate clients defraud their investors, The Huffington Post reports. At the firm, Miers also walked in Our Saviour's footsteps by specializing in union-busting and gutting worker safety protections. As the firm's prospectus proudly noted: "We defend [safety and injury] claims of any type, including multiple death cases." If you accidentally fed a few of your coolies into the company wood-chipper, no worries: Holy Harriet and her crew would have your back. (continued)

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Woman, Thou Art Loosed (Not)!

Written by Chris Floyd 06 October 2005 4360 Hits

More of the peculiar brand of freedom that Bush has brought to Afghanistan:

Editor of Afghan women's magazine arrested (via AP)
Excerpt: The editor of an Afghan women's rights magazine was jailed after a presidential adviser accused him of publishing un-Islamic material — including an article critical of the practice of punishing adultery with 100 lashes, officials said Friday. Minority Shiite Muslim clerics in Kabul objected to that article and another in the monthly Haqooq-i-Zan— or Women's Rights — that argued that giving up Islam was not a crime, Police arrested the magazine's editor, Ali Mohaqiq Nasab, on Saturday. (end)

Note that this draconian action was taken at the instigation of a top adviser to Hamid Karzai, the fashion-plate hand-picked by Bush to lead the American satrapy in Afghanistan; the same Karzai who has made deadly alliances with mass-murdering warlords and despair-peddling dopelords. Extremism, enforced religious belief, murder, crime, misogyny and corruption: that's Bush's idea of freedom and democracy -- one which he is busily applying not only in ancient lands but in the heartland of the Homeland itself.

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God's Errand Boy: The Revelation of St. George

Written by Chris Floyd 06 October 2005 6370 Hits

Original version published in The Moscow Times, June 27, 2003.

So now we know. After all the mountains of commentary and speculation, all the earnest debates over motives and goals, all the detailed analyses of global strategy and political ideology, it all comes to down to this: George W. Bush waged war on Iraq because, in his own words, God "instructed me to strike at Saddam."

This gospel was revealed, appropriately enough, in the Holy Land this week, through an unusual partnership between the fractious children of Abraham. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz was given detailed minutes of a negotiating session between Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and faction leaders from Hamas and other militant groups. Abbas, who was trying to persuade the groups to call a ceasefire in their uprising against Israeli forces, described for them his recent summit with Ariel Sharon and George W. Bush.

During the tense talks at the summit, Bush sought to underscore the kind of authority he could bring to efforts at achieving peace in the Middle East. While thundering that there could be "no deals with terror groups," Bush sought to assure the rattled Palestinians that he also had the ability to wring concessions from Sharon. And what was the source of this wonder-working power? It was not, as you might think, the ungodly size of the U.S. military or the gargantuan amount of money and arms America pours into Israel year after year.

No, Bush said he derived his moral heft from the Almighty Himself. What's more, the Lord had proven his devotion to the Crawford Crusader by crowning his military efforts with success. In fact, he told Abbas, God was holding the door open for Middle East peace right now – but they would have to move fast, because soon the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe would have to give His attention to something far more important: the election of His little sunbeam, Georgie, in 2004.

Here are Bush's words, as quoted by Abbas in Haaretz: "God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then He instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me, I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."

You can't put it plainer than that. The whole chaotic rigmarole of Security Council votes and UN inspections and Congressional approval and Colin Powell's whizbang Powerpoint displays of "proof" and Bush's own tearful prayers for "peace" – it was all a sham, a meaningless exercise. No votes, no inspections, no proof or lack of proof – in fact, no earthly reason whatsoever – could have stopped Bush's aggressive war on Iraq. It was God's unalterable will: the Lord of Hosts gave a direct order for George W. Bush to "strike at Saddam."

And strike he did, with an awesome fury that rained death and destruction on the mustachioed whore of Babylon, with a firestorm of Godly wrath that consumed the enemy armies like so much chaff put to the flame – and with an arsenal of cruise missiles, cluster bombs, dive bombers and assault helicopters that killed up to 10,000 innocent civilians: blasted to pieces in their beds, shot down in their fields and streets, crushed beneath the walls of their own houses, boiled alive in factories, ditches, and cars, gutted, mutilated, beheaded, murdered, women, children, elders, some praying, some wailing, some cursing, some mute with fear as metal death ripped their lives away and left rotting hulks behind. This was the work of the Lord and His faithful servant, whom He hath raised high up to have dominion over men.

And this is the mindset – or rather, the primitive fever-dream – that is now directing the actions of the greatest military power in the history of the world. There can be no doubt that Bush believes literally in the divine character of his mission. He honestly and sincerely believes that whatever "decision" forms in his brain – out of the flux and flow of his own emotional impulses and biochemical reactions, the flattery and cajolements of his sinister advisers, the random scraps of fact, myth and fabrication that dribble into his proudly undeveloped and incurious consciousness – has been planted there, whole and perfected, by God Almighty.

And that's why Bush acts with such serenity and ruthlessness. Nothing he does can be challenged on moral grounds, however unethical or evil it might appear, because all of his actions are directed by God. He can twist the truth, oppress the poor, exalt the rich, despoil the earth, ignore the law – and murder children – without the slightest compunction, the briefest moment of doubt or self-reflection, because he believes, he truly believes, that God squats in his brainpan and tells him what to do.

And just as God countenanced deception on the part of Abraham, just as God forgave David for the murders he ordered, just as God blessed the armies of Saul as they obliterated the Amalekites, man, woman and child, so will He overlook any crime committed by Bush and his minions as they carry out His will. That's why Bush can always "do whatever it takes" to achieve his goals. And by his own words to Abbas, we see that he places his election in 2004 above all other concerns, even the endless bloodshed in the Middle East.

So what new crimes will the Lord have to countenance to keep His appointed servant in power?

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