Notes From The Overground

Progressive-minded weblog devoted heavily to politics and media with some music and popular culture sprinkled throughout working on the assumption that anything that comes out of Washington or the mass media is bogus propaganda unless proven otherwise.

Created by Tom

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Saturday, March 22, 2003

The Willfully Ignored Reality of Bombing

Painful and saddening, but a necessary depiction of the uncomfortable reality: "We Bomb, They Suffer." No matter how intelligent the bombs, no matter how selective the targeting, "collateral damage" is nothing more than a vulgar euphemism.

"It is the same old story," says British war reporter Robert Fisk,"If we make war – however much we blather on about our care for civilians – we are going to kill and maim the innocent."

CNN, MSNBC, FOX, et al marvel at the relatively low number of (reported) casualties. Pundits and talking-heads and various other traitors to truth romanticize the war pouring hyperbolic adulation over the approved footage while ignoring the brutality of air-strikes in favor of images of distant explosions and Coalition troops liberating thankful villagers. (Villagers who were lucky enough not to live in Baghdad where they risked multiple shrapnel wounds). Meanwhile the CNN/USA Today/Gallop poll announces a 76% approval rating for the invasion (a surely misleading number that speaks more toward the soft, Pentagon-approved media coverage).

As "Operation Iraqi Freedom" envelopes the Fertile Crescent like an infectious disease the simple truth buries its head in the sand: it is an outrageous tragedy that one innocent person should suffer because of the Bushites' unnecessary self-serving war.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Some Much Needed Comic Relief

Mock the devil, and he will flee from thee...

Relief via


No Glory in Devastation

No matter where one stands on the war issue, the shockingly awful televised images of blinding flashes and mushroom clouds over a cityscape amidst roar after explosive roar are brutal, ugly and saddening. It is all rather incongruous when played splitscreen on CNN alongside Ari Fleischer claiming that the "president" still holds out hope for a peaceful solution vis a vis the Iraqi leadership. It is all lip service. Peace never had a chance in Baghdad.


Senate Rejects Lowering Tax Cut

Senate rejected the proposition to lower Shrubya's tax cut from $726 billion to $350 billion. They did, however, vote to cut $100 billion from the tax cut package to help pay for the war.

As noted before, the budget resolution activity is conveniently (for Republicans) occurring off the public radar in the "shadow of war."


Under Cover of War

Despite the astronomical costs of "Operation Iraqi Freedom (TM)" and homeland security under Dubya's doctrine of perpetual war on terrorism, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Bushie's $726 Billion tax cut plan as part of a $2.2 Trillion budget plan. The proposal still has to pass through the Senate where there are efforts to lower the tax cut to $350 Billion.

As the national deficit deepens and Bush's priorities (defense, "homeland security" and satisfying his coffers) cut into budget concerns, many social programs, some that could help the people in this time of economic hardship, will likely be slashed and burned.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

South Carolina Tax Dollars At Work
Or, More Signs Of Dementia Attributed to War Fever

The lengths the pseudo-patriotic will go to to silence those who speak out of turn:

(3/20/03, 6 p.m. ET) -- The Dixie Chicks controversy has made it all the way to the South Carolina House. Representative Catherine Ceips introduced a resolution Wednesday (March 19) calling for the country music group to perform for South Carolina troops and their families as a way of apologizing for criticizing President George W. Bush. Read more...

The resolution passed on a 50-35 vote. Let me contextualize the illegality of this un-American act of stifling dissent. First from the Constitution of South Carolina:

SECTION 2. Religious freedom; freedom of speech; right of assembly and petition.

The General Assembly shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government or any department thereof for a redress of grievances.

Now let us turn our attention to the Constitution of the United States of America:

Article [I.]
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Thus Congress and the State of South Carolina can make no law abridging the freedom of speech.
Ceips's resolution is not only a sickening example of jingoistic censorship during wartime, its passage is also in clear violation of both the United States Constitution and the Laws of South Carolina.


Deja Vu All Over Again

Jimmy Breslin has an interesting column regarding the Fourth Reiche in today's New York Newsday entitled, "Familiar, Haunting Words."

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Un-American To Shut Up

As war has all but begun and the nation is polarized between those for and against the war emotions are high. Congressional Democrats who disagree with Bush, torn between opposing the war and supporting the members of the armed forces whose lives are endangered have been careful to temper all their rhetoric with pleas for unity behind the women and men on the front lines. There are those from moderate to right-wing who believe that no matter how one feels, to protest the war is un-American and an insulting betrayal of the troops. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is un-American to stifle dissent, to stifle one's convictions when one knows that democracy has been circumvented and the country is moving in the wrong direction, heading toward a possibly devastating war while isolating itself from the rest of the world. It is American to show compassion for those who may be killed in an unjust war. It is support and concern for the men and women on the front line that makes us plead for their safe return home. It is possible to be against the war and support the troops -- these are not mutually exclusive ideas, no matter how many propagandists on the right suggest so.

For those of us who believe this war is wrong, the day we stop voicing our opposition is the day we stop being American. The day we are silenced is the day our Bill of Rights has died.

God save the troops. Let them come home alive and unharmed without having the lives of innocents on their souls.

This war is wrong.
It is patriotic to criticize the powers-that-be.
Our leadership is unjust.
Our nation is in the midst of an economic crisis, a security crisis, and a crisis of democracy.
And meanwhile America pushes the rest of the world away -- damaging alliances that may never be repaired, may never be there again in a time of need.
Meanwhile, those of us who try to see through the propaganda and the lies and the orgy of lascivious war fury feel like we are losing our minds, or that some surreal twilight zone of America has appeared before our eyes. The lunatics have clearly taken over the asylum.

Let this war end quickly.


Bush's Letter to Congress

Dubya delivered his letter of justification for the war to Congress invoking the 9/11 attacks:

(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

Forget the fact that there is zero evidence that Iraq authorized, committed, or aided the 9/11 terrorists. What matters more is the propaganda link that the administration has created between Iraq and 9/11, a link that transcends truth and sways the misinformed.

More via This Modern World.


Oh, Sweet Irony

From the man who helped make possible King George's coronation...

CLEVELAND - Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia banned broadcast media from his speech Wednesday at an appearance where he received an award for supporting free speech. (emphasis added) Read more of the coverage that was allowed...

Need I say more? (Am I even allowed to?) This is the same man who proclaimed:

"The Constitution just sets minimums," Scalia said after a speech at John Carroll University in suburban Cleveland. "Most of the rights that you enjoy go way beyond what the Constitution requires."
Scalia did not discuss what rights he believed are constitutionally protected, but said that in wartime, one can expect "the protections will be ratcheted right down to the constitutional minimum. I won't let it go beyond the constitutional minimum." Read more, if you dare...

A rather frightening interpretation from one of the supposed protectors of the law of the land.


A Small Victory

The United States Senate rejected Shrubya's plan to drill for oil in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge. While Senate allowed King George and his court the fields of Iraq, there is at least one part of the planet he won't be allowed to rape in the name of big oil.


Homeland Security

Hopefully, if al Quaeda attacks, they won't be using tractors.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A tobacco farmer who parked his tractor on the National Mall and threatened to blow it up surrendered to police on Wednesday after a two-day standoff that raised questions about the U.S. capital's ability to handle more serious threats from international terrorists. Read more...

Remember, code orange calls for extra vigilance.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Bowling For Baghdad

Michael Moore weighs in on the march toward war with an open letter to "president" Bush.

Monday, March 17, 2003

Some Notable Quotes From Dubya's State of the War Address

The truth behind Bush's address...

Over the years, U.N. weapon inspectors have been threatened by Iraqi officials, electronically bugged, and systematically deceived. Peaceful efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime have failed again and again -- because we are not dealing with peaceful men.

Yeah, it is wrong to electronically bug U.N. officials.

Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.

Like North Korea.

This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq's neighbors and against Iraq's people.

Most notably in March of 1988 when they were a "friend."

The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East. It has a deep hatred of America and our friends. And it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda.

Is he talking about Iraq or another "friend," Saudi Arabia? By this account they're virtually indistinguishable.

The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this threat.

Nobody deserves this threat. But perhaps irresponsibly short-sighted foreign policy in the region added fuel to the fire...

The United States of America has the sovereign authority to use force in assuring its own national security. That duty falls to me, as Commander-in-Chief, by the oath I have sworn, by the oath I will keep.

"Dude! I'm the Commander-in-Chief!!! I can commit troops." This was one of the many points in the speech where it appeared that Bushie was trying really hard not to grin.

Recognizing the threat to our country, the United States Congress voted overwhelmingly last year to support the use of force against Iraq. America tried to work with the United Nations to address this threat because we wanted to resolve the issue peacefully.

Read: "We've sandbagged and undercut every effort for peace."

We believe in the mission of the United Nations. One reason the U.N. was founded after the second world war was to confront aggressive dictators, actively and early, before they can attack the innocent and destroy the peace.

The U.N. was created to prevent atrocities like Shrub is about to commit.

In the case of Iraq, the Security Council did act, in the early 1990s. Under Resolutions 678 and 687 -- both still in effect -- the United States and our allies are authorized to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. This is not a question of authority, it is a question of will.

And when we invade Baghdad, we will illustrate the Triumph of the Will.

Last September, I went to the U.N. General Assembly and urged the nations of the world to unite and bring an end to this danger.

Translation: "Last September, I went to the U.N. and told them You are with us or against us."

Today, no nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed. And it will not disarm so long as Saddam Hussein holds power. For the last four-and-a-half months, the United States and our allies have worked within the Security Council to enforce that Council's long-standing demands. Yet, some permanent members of the Security Council have publicly announced they will veto any resolution that compels the disarmament of Iraq. These governments share our assessment of the danger, but not our resolve to meet it. Many nations, however, do have the resolve and fortitude to act against this threat to peace, and a broad coalition is now gathering to enforce the just demands of the world. The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours.

Translation: "For the last four-and-a-half months, we have bullied the U.N. Yet some permanent members of the Security Council (I'm not naming names, France) have publicly announced that they are in league with the devil. These governments are pussies who can't handle what the Bush is cooking."

In recent days, some governments in the Middle East have been doing their part.

In hopes that we won't incinerate them.

They have delivered public and private messages urging the dictator to leave Iraq, so that disarmament can proceed peacefully. He has thus far refused. All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end. Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing.

Oh, how's about in a day or so?

For their own safety, all foreign nationals -- including journalists and inspectors -- should leave Iraq immediately.

Unless you're a member of some independent "lefty" press unit, then stand at these coordinates...

Many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast, and I have a message for them. If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you.

Sorry about the 21,000 pound bomb that's about to destroy your village and your life.

As our coalition takes away their power, we will deliver the food and medicine you need.

If you survive and show the appropriate "shock and awe" when officials demand it.

We will tear down the apparatus of terror and we will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free. In a free Iraq, there will be no more wars of aggression against your neighbors, no more poison factories, no more executions of dissidents, no more torture chambers and rape rooms. The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near.

Iraq will be a wonderland where trees grow candy and rivers are chocolate. You will be blessed with a race of Oompa Loompas whose job it will be to serve you. If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it...

And all Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning. In any conflict, your fate will depend on your action. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people.


Do not obey any command to use weapons of mass destruction against anyone, including the Iraqi people. War crimes will be prosecuted. War criminals will be punished. And it will be no defense to say, "I was just following orders."

I mean, if Saddam Hussein blew up the Brooklyn bridge, would you do it too?

Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it.

Okay, the statement's half true. Actually, every measure has been taken to ensure war. "But, make no mistake about it; we will win."

Americans understand the costs of conflict because we have paid them in the past. War has no certainty, except the certainty of sacrifice.

Translation: "I know, from hands on military experience and watching lots of TV as a kid."

Yet, the only way to reduce the harm and duration of war is to apply the full force and might of our military, and we are prepared to do so.

Okay, it's not the only way. But over in the White House it happens to be their favorite way.

If Saddam Hussein attempts to cling to power, he will remain a deadly foe until the end. In desperation, he and terrorists groups might try to conduct terrorist operations against the American people and our friends. These attacks are not inevitable. They are, however, possible. And this very fact underscores the reason we cannot live under the threat of blackmail. The terrorist threat to America and the world will be diminished the moment that Saddam Hussein is disarmed.

Translation: "Trust me. I know I haven't even begun to prove this conclusively. But trust me. God and Ashcroft are on my side."

Our government is on heightened watch against these dangers. Just as we are preparing to ensure victory in Iraq, we are taking further actions to protect our homeland. In recent days, American authorities have expelled from the country certain individuals with ties to Iraqi intelligence services.

They've also expelled anybody who they thought looked funny, wore a turban or who might be a foreign member of a lefty peacenik organization.

Among other measures, I have directed additional security of our airports, and increased Coast Guard patrols of major seaports. The Department of Homeland Security is working closely with the nation's governors to increase armed security at critical facilities across America.

He likes to call it "a compassionate police state."

Should enemies strike our country, they would be attempting to shift our attention with panic and weaken our morale with fear. In this, they would fail. No act of theirs can alter the course or shake the resolve of this country. We are a peaceful people -- yet we're not a fragile people, and we will not be intimidated by thugs and killers. If our enemies dare to strike us, they and all who have aided them, will face fearful consequences.


We are now acting because the risks of inaction would be far greater. In one year, or five years, the power of Iraq to inflict harm on all free nations would be multiplied many times over. With these capabilities, Saddam Hussein and his terrorist allies could choose the moment of deadly conflict when they are strongest. We choose to meet that threat now, where it arises, before it can appear suddenly in our skies and cities.

Translation: "Again, trust me on this. I know I haven't proven it, but God is on my side."
If Hussein is kept in check (as he has been for twelve years) it is highly unlikely in this age of technology that his threat will materialize out of nowhere in one to five years.

Terrorists and terror states do not reveal these threats with fair notice, in formal declarations -- and responding to such enemies only after they have struck first is not self-defense, it is suicide. The security of the world requires disarming Saddam Hussein now.

Translation: "In these times we don't need to wait for you to be a threat. We say you are, and you're done."

As we enforce the just demands of the world, we will also honor the deepest commitments of our country. Unlike Saddam Hussein, we believe the Iraqi people are deserving and capable of human liberty. And when the dictator has departed, they can set an example to all the Middle East of a vital and peaceful and self-governing nation.

Actually, it will just be an outpost of the American empire, but you get the picture.

The United States, with other countries, will work to advance liberty and peace in that region.

So long as the oil flows out and the money flows in.

Our goal will not be achieved overnight, but it can come over time.

Translation: "Perpetual war is a workable model for us."

That is the future we choose. Free nations have a duty to defend our people by uniting against the violent.

That's right. As free citizens of the United States we must rise up and protest this act of war committed by an unelected leader who has taken control of our government and stifled our democracy.

Good night, and may God continue to bless America.

God, if you are listening, please save America...


Fear and Warfare

The War administration raised the national terror level to "Orange" ("High" for those who are color blind) in response to the impending war on Iraq. Fear and war go hand in hand. If the nation is shocked by the fear of war, the added fear of the high terror level will certainly keep the bewildered herd in check. The administration is cultivating a climate of fear with the hopes that the American people will say "Please, do whatever you need to, strip our civil liberties, destroy the economy, don't worry about our jobs or our financial welfare, just deliver us from evil." Thus it could be argued that the Bushies fit the definition of "terrorist" as well as any al Quaeda leader who would strike fear into the hearts of Americans.

The Intelligence Community believes that terrorists will attempt multiple attacks against U.S.and Coalition targets worldwide in the event of a U.S. led military campaign against Saddam Hussein. A large volume of reporting across a range of sources, some of which are highly reliable, indicates that Al-Qaida probably would attempt to launch terrorist attacks against U.S.interests claiming they were defending Muslims or the Iraqi people rather than Saddam Hussein's regime. Read more...

Which begs the question: why provoke the greater risk? Of course the paradoxical party-line answer is "to make us safer." Yet if you read between the party-lines the hidden agendas become abundantly clear.


Dubya Speaks, The Press Relays, Dems Obediently Behind the President

The "president" has spoken and thus far the press has merely echoed and amplified his message. We will go to war, we will disarm Saddam, war with Iraq is worth the risk of terrorist reprisal. Why? Because Dubya said so. Typical American media echo chamber.

Meanwhile despite their discomfort with the failed diplomacy, the Democrats are back in the spinelessly compliant form that originally authorized the Cowboy-in-Chief's use of force.


Stop Making Sense

The Bush administration has ended all diplomatic efforts in the U.N. and given Saddam Hussein a final ultimatum. And so it goes that the Commander in Thief has led a breakaway faction of rogue states to breach the authority of the United Nations and unleash death, destruction and war with no proven or sound reason.

Yet the war on Iraq makes perfect sense to the anti-democratic power-mongering of the Bushie empire. First, by thumbing their nose at the U.N. they illustrate that they are beholding to nobody (except the moneyed interests they represent). To them, America has cow-towed to the liberals and the rest of the world for too long; it is time for America to realize her true manifest destiny under the right-winged Bush Doctrine.

In addition, the war creates an even thicker layer of fear in the air, a layer that will be shaped and manipulated by the totalitarian fear-mongers John Ashcroft and Tom Ridge. With apprehension of terrorist reprisals for U.S. action on Iraq keeping the public cowed and docile, Big Brother Ashcroft will find it much easier to chip away at our civil liberties, perhaps pass that Patriot Act II, while the nation panics under shifting color-coded terror alerts. The war on Iraq does create a more dangerous environment. As has been noted, U.S. invasion of Iraq is being used as a rallying cry for terrorist recruitment. But this danger is the perfect environment for our "leaders" to free us from our freedom. And if, God forbid, terrorists do manage to strike again, Big Brother will have an even thicker smokescreen of fear and faux patriotism to hide the administration's totalitarian acts behind.


War on Iraq a "Battle Cry" for Terrorist Recruiters

Intelligence officials believe that al Quaeda and other terrorist organizations are seizing the anti-American sentiment resulting from the impending invasion of Iraq to intensify recruiting efforts.

In recent weeks, officials in the United States, Europe and Africa say they had seen evidence that militants within Muslim communities are seeking to identify and groom a new generation of terrorist operatives. An invasion of Iraq, the officials worry, is almost certain to produce a groundswell of recruitment for groups committed to attacks in the United States, Europe and Israel. Read more...

Making the world safe for democracy... It is sickeningly enraging to see that an unelected president can wage a hegemony-serving war that will put us all at a greater risk of homeland terror strikes based on the shoddiest array of evidence while he shovels heaps of pandering propaganda that feed on a bought-and-paid-for mass-mediated national ignorance.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall

Striking his fiercest Wild West via Jerry Bruckheimer pose, emperor Bushie declares Monday, March 17, "a moment of truth for the world."

Here is a simple lyric that cuts right to the point... the more the times have a-changed, the more they've stayed the same:

Masters of War
by Bob Dylan

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead

Copyright © 1963; renewed 1991 Special Rider Music

We'll watch the next world war from our bleachers out on Highway 61...


Character Sketch of a Madman

The man who is more frightening than Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein...
For an intimate portrait of delusional righteous anger and the slow and deliberate transformation of American democracy into totalitarianism read "On Terror and Spying, Ashcroft Expands Reach."

Click here to cast your vote now in the national referendum to stop the war in Iraq.