The Peach

Proudly providing the reality-based community with the juice on politics, media, religion and culture

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Baron's Brain: God on Our Side

Coincidence or divine retribution? Is Jerry Falwell right, that God strikes for political reasons? That's the question many of us ruminators are asking even as Hurricane Jeanne storms toward the eastern coast of Florida. Is God ticked off at Floridians and is he politically motivated? Well, thank God for Bob Morris. Apparently, Mr. Morris mapped the track of Charley, Frances and Ivan and, lo and behold, look what he discovered. All three hurricanes smote only counties that went Bush in 2000. So maybe God isn't the right-wing conservative that so many right-wing conservatives like to paint him as. Maybe, he is just like you and me when it comes to smelling a rat. I have only this to say to the people of Florida: watch your hanging chads and vote for Kerry. God's watching and he has a few more hurricanes up his sleeve.

Baron's Brain

Close Ally Contradicts Bush's Rosy "War on Terror"

In an interview with CNN's Paula Zahn, Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan, stated that not only does he believe Osama Bin Laden to be alive, but that the war in Iraq has made the world both more dangerous and, ultimately, less safe. So, let's think about this. The same week President Bush twists John Kerry's statements in order to imply JK is helping terrorists, our closest ally in the hunt for Osama essentially makes the same damning criticisms of this administration's actions and policies. What is George going to say about this? That he has a right to his opinion and thank God he lives in a democratic country? Or that Pervez has been hitting the hookah a bit too much? We can only hope that as more of our friends and allies speak out against the hypocrisies embraced by this administration, the more the wheels will begin to come off the Bush wagon.

Minimally-Competent Journalist of the Week Award

Goes to AP's Jennifer Loven for "Bush Twists Kerry's Words on Iraq." In this article on Bush's response to Kerry's recent comments on Iraq, Ms. Loven notes in each instance where Bush's characterizations are far from the truth -- without relying on a counter-claiming talking head to do her job for her.

Here's a sample:

[Bush] stated flatly that Kerry had said earlier in the week "he would prefer the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein to the situation in Iraq today.". . . But Kerry never said that. In a speech at New York University on Monday, he called Saddam "a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell." He added, "The satisfaction we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: We have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure."

Unfortunately these days, a journalist who does her job is so rare that it deserves special recognition. Congrats and thanks to Ms. Loven.

A Little Flip Here, A Little Flop There

The Washington Post reports that, after promising in his convention speech to give $1 billion to aid children without health insurance, Bush will next week return 1.1 billion dollars in unspent children's health funds to the U.S. Treasury. The loss of the money means that six states participating in the Children's Health Insurance Program will face budget shortfalls for 2005, leaving 750,000 youngsters uninsured. Another instance of Bush giveth and Bush taketh away when no one is looking. So far, WaPo has been the only outlet courageous enough to report it.

Bush Family Has Long History of War Profiteering

A new report in the Guardian (U.K.) suggests that President Bush's penchant for war profiteering may be genetic. His grandfather, Prescott Bush, served as a director for a company that reaped profits from the financial backers of Hitler -- and continued to work for them after America entered the war.

At the time, an investigation revealed that Prescott Bush's bank had operated what amounted to a shell company for a German group that had at least partly financed Hitler's rise to power. More intriguing, but less clear-cut, is the suggestion that Prescott Bush may have had an interest in a company called CSSC (Consolidated Silesian Steel Company)which used slave laborers from Auschwitz during the war.

The point here is not that Prescott Bush was a Nazi-sympathizer -- there is no evidence that he was. It is that the Bush family clearly has a long history of finding war to be profitable for themselves and their associates. And they have worked hard to hush up that fact, both in the past and today. What we have here is a pattern.

Rather Not

When 60 Minutes got hold of those National Guard documents, it must have thought it had something that would be ratings gold, because it made the decision to bump another important political story -- regarding other fraudulent documents -- to get the now-discredited, but way more sensationalistic National Guard report onto the airwaves.

The displaced story centers on a report -- which played a starring role in Bush's initial argument for going to war -- that Iraq had attempted to buy "yellowcake" uranium from Niger, pursuant to developing nuclear weapons. The whole idea was based on telexes, letters and contracts that turn out to be forgeries. The question of who forged them and why is an intriguing one that deserves to be answered. So does the question of how we could find ourselves at war, with 1,100 young Americans dead, based in part on documents that were almost instantly determined to be forgeries when examined by an impartial group.

The Bush administration may have been taken in, but they wanted to be taken in. Now, CBS News cannot imagine going on the air with a report that demands accountability for the administration's willingness to be taken in by phony documents. The Peach will only note that CBS, to its credit, has been willing to be held accountable for its error. They have not forfeited their right -- or been relieved of their obligation -- to report the truth.

When a major news organization decides that it would be "inappropriate" to air a report questioning our leaders prior to an election, the free press as we know it is in big trouble.

Friday, September 24, 2004

A Prince Serves -- What About the Bush Princesses?

Reuters reports that Britain's Prince Harry, third in line for the throne, will enter the British Army next year after successfully passing a rigorous four-day entrance exam. Harry is continuing the royal family's tradition of military service that also included his grandfather, father and uncles. In this country, alas, we see precisely the opposite tradition: our draft-dodging president is keeping his little darlings out of harm's way while sending other people's children to die in a bogus and illegal war.

Bush Twins Should Serve

Since their father is so gung-ho about the war in Iraq, perhaps it would behoove the Bush girls (who admitted they are "looking around for something to do")to serve their country in the military. Outlet Radio Network suggested it, and we, The Peach, think it not only a fine idea, but one that could actually mitigate Bush's hypocrisy on the subject.

Chicken George's "Sky is Falling" Act

A Washington Post analysis has alerted The Peach to another fear tactic embraced by this administration and the entire Republican party. It seems the new position is that anyone questioning the direction of the Iraq war "emboldens the terrorists." The Prez seems to think that John Kerry's attacks on current policies encourages the terrorists/insurgents to continue and intensify their actions. The Peach feels this is the furthest thing from the truth. In fact, we vehemently argue that the terrorists would like nothing better than to have George W. reelected. It would guarantee four more years of being shunned by the international community, four more years of chaos in the Middle East, four more years of insecurity and four more years of ineptitude covered up. Meanwhile, if John Kerry were elected we feel the international community would once again be willing to help rather than feeling ridiculed and bullied.

Eroding the Separation of Powers

AP reports that the House yesterday passed a bill protecting the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance from further court challenges. The Peach believes that whether we approve or object to the "under God" language per se, we are treading on dangerous ground when we begin selectively removing the Supreme Court's appellate jurisdiction.

The Depths of the President's Surface

In this week's East Hampton Star, writer E.L. Doctorow writes movingly and pursuasively of our democracy's systematic erosion under Bush. For The Peach, the passage in which we heard our own thoughts echoing the most was this:
[T]his president does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the weapons of mass destruction he can't seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man. He does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. He does not feel a personal responsibility for the 1,000 dead young men and women who wanted to be what they could be.

The Peach wonders: Is there some kind of absolute, genetic, hard-coded difference between people who see this clearly about Bush, and the others who look at him and see the opposite? Are our brains wired differently so that where we see a shallow, phony, self-interested would-be dictator, those red-staters see substance, integrity and the secure future of our democracy? We just don't get it. How can they not see, along with Mr. Doctorow, along with the rest of us, that Bush "cannot mourn but is a figure of such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves."

Baron's Brain: He's Convinced Me

After listening to President Bush's press conference with Ayad Allawi and after months of being bombarded with the same mantra, I'm convinced that the day after John Kerry is sworn in as president, our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan will pull up their stakes and leave these countries to fend for themselves. Bush has also convinced me that in gratitude for helping him win the election, President Kerry will send each Iraqi and Afghani a five gallon container filled with gasoline as well as a videotape documenting Detroit's celebration of the 1984 World Series win by their beloved Tigers. I mean if we're going to teach them a lesson, let's show them what real mob chaos looks like.

Following this, in order to create a stronger international coalition, I have come to believe that President Kerry will arrange a marriage between one of his daughters and Prince William of England making the Kerry family and these two countries the most powerful in the world.

These countries will subsequently preemptively invade Greenland because it's conveniently located between England and the U.S., and if we're going to have a preemptive strike why not have it against a country that really least expects it. Besides, there must be some Greenlanders who are thinking violent thoughts against us. Ultimately we will control the Northern Atlantic and survive on cheap fish while reaping the benefits of a seafood monopoly and overpriced exports. How's that for an economic plan? It also beats invading Canada because we all know Canada is just a part of America. More mind-numbing revelations to come.

Baron's Brain

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Another Symbol of Republican Hypocrisy

What's with the Republican Party? It's becoming more apparent that the anti-gay agenda proudly trumpeted during their convention in NYC was in reality a thinly veiled attempt to "closet" party members' own sexual preferences. First Ed Schrock and now congressman David Dreier, chairman of the House Rules Committee and co-chairman of Californians for Bush, is getting his own outing party. He has recently been awarded the Roy Cohn award for working against gays and lesbian rights while himself being gay. The Peach would like to know when Republicans will admit that they're in denial and ask Americans for a great big hug. Whatever happened to "We're here, we're queer, get used to it?" Get the whole story here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Ride Your Peace Train Outta Here

In another effort to secure the safety of the American people, government officials have denied Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens) entry into this country. Yes, the creator of such terror inciting songs as "Peace Train," "Morning has broken," and "Moonshadow" was told to take the next plane out of here. It seems that Mr. Islam (if that's what his real name is) had been placed on a list of undesirable Muslims who could not enter the country. U.S. agents weren't going to fall for that peacenik facade. To read the whole story click here.

Even Independents See The Light

Bernie Sanders, representative from Vermont, was added to the list of "elected officials not Democrat who can't stand Bush." Hooray for Bernie. Read his thoughts here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Thank God for Military with Brains

Believe it or not, but it's been reported that 9 out of 10 soldiers stationed in Iraq would vote for anyone other than George W. Bush in the next presidential election. Maybe we can get them to campaign for Kerry. Let's hope the administration doesn't pull another "Florida fix" on those who have the mind to do what's right, but are in a place where even that is difficult. Read the whole story here.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Sane Republicans Deserting Bush?

Senator Lincoln Chafee, Republican moderate from Rhode Island, has said he will not vote for Bush come election day. A trend? Too early to be sure. But one thing is for sure: Chafee says this has been his position for months, but this is the first we're hearing it from the mainstream press. Why?

The Powell Doctrine

It comes as no surprise to most Peach readers that George W. Bush went to war in Iraq in defiance of historical precedent, expert opinion and common sense. Now it further develops that the war is also in defiance of the considered thinking of one of the president's own chief advisors, Colin Powell. We were perusing the Secretary of State's detailed outline for military action known as "The Powell Doctrine," articulated after the first Persian Gulf War, and were struck by this quote:
We must not, for example, send military forces into a crisis with an unclear mission they cannot accomplish -- such as we did when we sent the U.S. Marines into Lebanon in 1983. We inserted those proud warriors into the middle of a five-faction civil war complete with terrorists, hostage-takers, and a dozen spies in every camp, and said, 'Gentlemen, be a buffer.' The results were 241 Marines and Navy personnel killed and a U.S. withdrawal from the troubled area.
As far as The Peach is concerned, we can only determine that this was written prior to Iraq because our current mission there is too vague to even define as "a buffer" or anything else. And because we have seen 1100 casualties in Iraq, not 241.

Colin Powell out of the public eye. A coincidence? We think not.