Sunday, November 28, 2004

Driving off the economic cliff??!

Driving off the economic cliff

by Ronald Bleier

November 28, 2004

Articles in the NYT in the last two days demonstrate the inability of the American political culture to respond to its most pressing economic threats: out of control budget and trade deficits and threats to the dollar. Once the international community loses confidence in the dollar, the U.S. and the world economy is at risk.

The first is an article detailing loss of international support for the dollar (“Foreign Interest Appears to Flag As Dollar Falls,” 11.27.04) and the second is an article on Social security “reform” (Vast Borrowing Seen in Altering Social Security,” 11.28.2004) --a plan that needs no reform, as it continues its decades long surplus, and will continue to pay its way through 2042 and could continue indefinitely with minor adjustments. (See links to the Times articles below.)

The current drive to destroy Social Security is a remarkable demonstration of the ability of the right wing to advance its agenda in the face of facts and common sense. The current plan, not unlikely to become law within a year, is so bad that a year before the 2004 election, a special commission appointed by President Bush to promote it, gave up in despair.

Now, with another brazenly stolen election behind us, there may be no political force in this country strong enough to impede the momentum driving such plans. The only hope is that the international community will pull out of the dollar quickly enough to demonstrate to public at large that increasing the debt involved in a Social Security privatization scheme is as untenable as it is reckless and irresponsible. Another possibility is that the stock market could crash at a politically sensitive moment.

Such reflections only go to show how much pain will be required to interrupt the plans of the radical extremists running our government who repeatedly demonstrate that they are impervious even to the most immediate economic threats not to mention to the most fundamental needs of their people.


New York Times
Foreign Interest Appears to Flag as Dollar Falls

November 27, 2004

Investors and analysts are increasingly worried that the
last big source of support for the American dollar - heavy
buying by foreign central banks - is fading.

New York Times
Bush's Social Security Plan Is Said to Require Vast Borrowing

November 28, 2004

The plan for personal accounts could require borrowing from
hundreds of billions to
trillions of dollars over 10

Ronald Bleier
Editor, DESIP
The Demographic, Environmental and Security Issues
Project (DESIP)

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

U.S. inspired assassinations in Iraq?

In her important article on the privatization and looting of Iraq, “Baghdad Year Zero,” Naomi Klein presents information that might suggest U.S. involvement in targeted assassinations in Iraq (see below.)

A NY Post story (11.24.2004, GIS BLITZ 'DEATH TRIANGLE) on the Iraq war, noted that two Sunni clerics who have called for a boycott of the elections have been gunned down.

Masked gunmen shot to death a Sunni cleric yesterday in the second such attack against a member of the influential Association of Muslim Scholars, which has called for a boycott of the national elections.

The cleric, Sheik Ghalib Ali al-Zuhairi, was killed as he left a mosque after dawn prayers in the town of Muqdadiyah, 60 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

His assassination occurred a day after another prominent Sunni cleric was killed in the northern city of Mosul — Sheik Faidh Mohamed Amin al-Faidhi, who was the brother of the association's spokesman.

from Naomi Klein, "Baghdad Year Zero"
Harpers, Sept 24, 2004

Incident #1
> Bremer had found his legal loophole: There would be a
> window -- seven months -- when the occupation was
> officially over but before general elections were
> scheduled to take place. Within this window, the Hague
> and Geneva Conventions' bans on privatization would no
> longer apply, but Bremer's own laws, thanks to Article
> 26, would stand. During these seven months, foreign
> investors could come to Iraq and sign forty-year
> contracts to buy up Iraqi assets. If a future elected
> Iraqi government decided to change the rules, investors
> could sue for compensation.

> But Bremer had a formidable opponent: Grand Ayatollah
> Ali al Sistani, the most senior Shia cleric in Iraq. al
> Sistani tried to block Bremer's plan at every turn,
> calling for immediate direct elections and for the
> constitution to be written after those elections, not
> before. Both demands, if met, would have closed
> Bremer's privatization window. Then, on March 2, with
> the Shia members of the Governing Council refusing to
> sign the interim constitution, five bombs exploded in
> front of mosques in Karbala and Baghdad, killing close
> to 200 worshipers. General John Abizaid, the top U.S.
> commander in Iraq, warned that the country was on the
> verge of civil war. Frightened by this prospect, al
> Sistani backed down and the Shia politicians signed the
> interim constitution. It was a familiar story: the
> shock of a violent attack paved the way for more shock
> therapy.

But on the way out of the gates, a young
> security guard handed my translator a note. He wanted
> us to meet him after work at a nearby restaurant, "to
> find out what is really going on with privatization."
> His name was Mahmud, and he was a twenty-five-year-old
> with a neat beard and big black eyes. (For his safety,
> I have omitted his last name.) His story began in July,
> a few weeks after Bremer's privatization announcement.
> The company's manager, on his way to work, was shot to
> death. Press reports speculated that the manager was
> murdered because he was in favor of privatizing the
> plant, but Mahmud was convinced that he was killed
> because he opposed the plan. "He would never have sold
> the factories like the Americans want. That's why they
> killed him."

Monday, November 22, 2004

Ohio Recount Impossible?

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Ohio Recount Impossible?

David Cobb, the Green candidate for President, pointed out on Citizen Reno, a WBAI radio program, Sunday morning (11.21.2004), that the officials running the Ohio election seem to be planning to delay posting the official election results well into December, making a recount and/or audit of the vote practically impossible.

This information has not surfaced even on such activist websites as ( and others.

Both Citizen Reno and David Cobb expressed disgust and confusion regarding Kerry’s concession. It seems even clearer now that Kerry is just as opposed to a reversal of the election results as is Bush.

It was also pointed out that no recount of Ohio’s votes would be possible were it not for the Green party since Kerry and the Democratic party are not supporting such an effort.

Item: The media blackout/whitewash continues and even activist Democrats are accepting the status quo. According to Citizen Reno, at a NYC event starring Whoopi Goldberg, there was no hint that the disputed election was an issue.


NYT opposes military action vs. Iran

It’s encouraging to see the Times for the moment, taking a firm and early stand against the Bush gang’s drive to take military action against Iran. Their excellent editorial “Groundhog Day,” (11.20.2004) points to the latest “unverified information” that Powell is peddling in an apparent effort to set the stage for an intensification of the pressure on Iran. The Times seems refreshingly determined, for now, not to be bulldozed on this one.

Laura Rozen reports that she just

heard that the CIA is recommending that the Justice Department investigate who told the WaPo's Dafna Linzer about concerns surrounding Powell's recent comments on Iran's nuclear program. This seems an effort at intimidation -- against sources and journalists. Surely what's more worth investigating is if what Powell said is true.

November 19, 2004

Check out her blog for links to the MSNBC news story detailing concerns surrounding Powell’s comments. See also the link to her useful LA Times op ed (11.15.04, “Overthrow Tehran? Hey, Not So Fast,”) detailing the Michael Leeden-Iran connection and the forces that are driving the Bush/Israeli attack on Iran.

While the Times editorial cites Iran’s support for Hezbollah, yet the editors prefer to pass over in silence the widely understood neocon desire to strike at Israel’s next most powerful opponent. Once again, the sensibilities of U.S. Zionists are preserved against making any connection between their support for a Jewish state in Palestine and the horrors of the Bush gang.

Ronald Bleier


New York Times
November 20, 2004
Groundhog Day

Stop us if you've heard this one before. The Bush administration creates a false sense of urgency about a nuclear menace from a Middle Eastern country. Hard-liners talk about that country's connections to terrorists. They portray European diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions as a feckless attempt to appease a rogue nation whose word can never be trusted anyway. Secretary of State Colin Powell makes ominous-sounding warnings about new intelligence, which turns out to be dubious.

That is how President Bush rushed the country into an unnecessary conflict with Iraq in his first term, and we have been seeing alarming signs of that approach all week on Iran.

Let's be cleareyed about this: Iran has an active nuclear program, has not tried terribly hard to hide it and has been dishonest in its dealings with the West. But nothing we have seen suggests some new, urgent development in Iran that would impel American officials to start talking about "the military option." In fact, the most recent developments have been encouraging. Last week, under the threat of a looming U.N. deadline, Tehran said it would freeze all uranium and plutonium processing and invite back international inspectors.

It was a welcome step, resulting from efforts by Britain, France and Germany, and signaled that even the hard-liners in Tehran are susceptible to economic appeals. If the negotiations over Iran's nuclear programs go well, Europe promises to resume talks on a preferential trade agreement. If they don't, it will be time for international economic sanctions. After meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mr. Bush went out of his way to praise and endorse the Europeans' efforts.

But on Wednesday, Mr. Powell suddenly offered scary sounding talk about new intelligence that supposedly showed that Iran was not only working on enriching uranium, a big step toward making a bomb, but was also working on ways to attach such a weapon to a missile. His alarmist tone was a bit puzzling, since everyone has already agreed that Iran has nuclear ambitions, and it's hard to imagine a country wanting to own a nuclear bomb without exploring ways to use it. The world has also known for years that Iran was testing guided missiles.

Puzzlement turned to alarm yesterday when The Washington Post reported that Mr. Powell's comments were based on unverified information that had been brought to the United States by a previously unknown source whose reliability and authenticity had not yet been vetted. That certainly did bring back old memories - of Mr. Powell assuring the world that Iraq was developing nuclear weapons, based on fanciful intelligence reports about aluminum tubes.

Steven Weisman of The Times reported that administration hawks were also talking about fresh intelligence on Iran's support for Hezbollah, which the world has known about for decades, and Iran's support for insurgents in Iraq, another old story. The hawks seem to be already starting to throw cold water on the prospects for a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear problem while trying to open the door to contemplating a military option. An administration official told The Times that Mr. Powell was trying to avoid meeting with the Iranian foreign minister at a conference both men are to attend in Egypt next week.

Small wonder, then, that the Europeans started to accuse Washington of trying to undermine diplomacy with Iran, just as the Bush administration thwarted their efforts to resume the U.N. inspections of Iraq - inspections that we now know had been highly effective.

Iran has long been a target of the hawks in the administration, who are undoubtedly feeling their oats after the election. But we hope that President Bush has learned enough from the Iraq adventure to understand the dangers of using flawed intelligence to create a false sense of urgency about a national security threat.

Obviously, a nuclear-armed Iran run by its current brand of extremists, who have twisted religion to support terrorism, would be a cause for real concern. But there is no military solution here. Iran's scattered and secretive nuclear program cannot be bombed out of existence. And even if the United States had not stretched its military to the limit in Iraq, invading Iran, a country of nearly 70 million people, would be a catastrophic mistake.

The Bush administration has said that stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons is at the top of its foreign policy agenda. That's where it belongs. But it's a goal that can be pursued only through truly multilateral diplomacy, in which the United States works with its European allies, rather than trying to undermine them, and the Europeans are prepared to stand behind Washington with a credible threat of economic sanctions when they are justified. It is not an excuse for war or even for pretending that war is a rational option.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Friday, November 19, 2004

Election Fraud '04: Kerry, The Times and the Democrats

Election Fraud 2004: Kerry, the Times and the Democrats

by Ronald Bleier

November 18, 2004

Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now (11.17.04 asks why Kerry isn’t using $50 million in unspent campaign funds to assist in recounts of the election —especially an Ohio recount. What’s the political imperative preventing Kerry from joining the Green and Libertarian parties who have raised $150,000 in the last week to file for a recount there? David Cobb, the Green Party candidate for president appeared on the Democracy Now program and excoriated Kerry for his silence on the issue, especially decrying his premature concession. The result is that we are now left with the great majority of Americans including even the majority of Democrats and independents essentially investing Bush once again with an unearned legitimacy through another fraudulent election.

Kerry’s brutally swift capitulation dramatically undercut his supporters and created confusion, with some wondering if Kerry and elements of the Democratic Party are somehow in tacit collusion with the Bush forces. My own guess follows Michael Thomas of the Observer in suggesting that like several Democrats before him, Kerry simply did not have the stomach for the job. (See his article and my comments: (, It seems that rather than face the demands of the presidency, Kerry preferred to return to his relatively undemanding Senate position.

The New York Times continues its campaign of burying the controversy over election fraud with a short AP article “Most Ballots Pass Scrutiny, Ohio Officials Say,” (11.17.2004). On the one hand, one can’t blame them for not daring to get out in front of Kerry and powerful elements of the Democratic Party. On the other hand, they seem to be dismissing the clear threat to democracy in this country if this fraudulent election is allowed to go unchallenged. In their Nov 14 editorial, “About Those Election Results,” not once but twice the Times editors assert “that there is no evidence” that the “nightmare scenario of electronic voting” might have occurred, all the while assiduously ignoring any such evidence and refusing to allow their reporters to properly investigate the Ohio and Florida results. As they determinedly look the other way, evidence and studies of suspicious discrepancies between the exit polls and the official results continue to pile up on the Internet. By mid November, googling “Election Fraud 2004” yielded more than two million results. (See for example, ( and

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the posture of the Times on the election may be striking a chord with its readers, and with the majority of Democrats. Once Kerry conceded, even the most passionate Bush haters seemed to prefer to tune out evidence that Kerry might have won the election. For many, such a reaction may be understandably defensive. As emphasized by the anonymous author of “How I stole your election by George W. Bush,” widely distributed on the internet (, there is nothing to prevent a continuation and extension of the Republican juggernaut in the 2006 and 2008 elections by similar means. For many, such a scenario may be too awful to confront. It is much easier psychologically to accept the official story rather than to face the anxiety-generating turmoil of a leaderless and perhaps fruitless campaign to highlight the 2004 anomalies. Most people, like the editors of the Times, may be simply trying to get on with their lives, attempting to find their personal and isolated ways to accommodate the new reality of a radical extremist junta rapidly consolidating power.


Thursday, November 18, 2004

M. Thomas: Kerry can't handle presidency: why such a lame campaign?


Personal Reflections and Michael Thomas (NY Observer):
Kerry can't handle presidency--theory of a lame campaign


Perhaps you'll agree that Michael Thomas of the Observer has written a brilliant article, all the more so in that it agrees with my theory of Democratic candidates including Carter, Dukakis and Gore, all of whom ran lackluster campaigns and lost races that were theirs to lose. (Mondale and McGovern I'd put in a separate category of running uphill campaigns.) The reason for their uninspiring campaigns, as explained here: they weren't strong enough psychologically to assume the responsibility of leadership. Dukakis in large part because of his wife's alcholism and drug addiction. Carter, who almost lost to Ford, lost to Reagan because the election came at a time when he was emotially exhausted and he could no longer deal with the pressures of the presidency, especailly with pressures emanating from the Israeli lobby and Begin and Sharon. Gore lost (and Kerry is losing) because of the kind of psychological weaknessess Thomas details below.

Thomas is especially good for pointing out that polls indicating that Bush will win suggest that voters are tuning in and they will choose the candidate who demonstrates that he wants the job. The Left misses the point when they bewail the stupidity or ignorance of those giving Bush the lead. The electorate is not going to crown a candidate who seems to want to lose.

One answer to the question of why the Democrats have been unable to come up with suitable candidates (with the exception of Clinton -- a semi-Republican?) has been put forward by Jim Di Eugenio in The Assassinations. Simply put, they killed our leaders, JFK, RFK, MLK, Malcolm X and we've never recovered.

--Ronald Bleier


September 25, 2004

Three hundred million people in this great Republic and we get these two to vote for.

by Michael M. Thomas

Three hundred million people in this great Republic and we get these two to vote for.
It is what the late political analyst James Durante would have called "a revoltin’ development!"

What makes it doubly revolting—and puzzling—is the Kerry campaign. Hardly a day goes by without some word or pose by the Massachusetts Senator that causes people like me to ask, "I don’t like Bush, but can I really make myself vote for this assh—-?"

I say this as someone who holds no brief whatsoever for the present administration. The purpose of any war is to secure the victory, and that has been achieved neither in Iraq nor, it now seems, in Afghanistan—and in both theaters of pacification, albeit at different rates, the situation may be approaching the point at which the effort can no longer justify its cost in blood and treasure.

On the domestic front, it seems clear that a Kleptocratic regime is firmly in place (that’s with a capital K, as in K Street) determined to suck the trough dry and deploy the Public Capital—including the power to tax, or not, and the power to borrow and print money—almost exclusively to its own uses. No wonder Lord Black saw no problem about making free with the assets and revenue streams of his companies; if the White House can do it, why not he? You might say His Lordship was in this respect delusional, but then on-the-make Canadians tend to be: for additional proof, viz. Graydon Carter’s new book.

That said, one wonders whether the thief one knows mightn’t be a better choice for the clear-eyed voter than the idiot one doesn’t. And "idiot" may not be too strong a word. Notwithstanding the encomia heaped on Senator Kerry’s Boston performance by the likes of "Senior Analyst" Jeff Greenfield and little Howard Fineman, that "reporting for duty" shtick was every bit as cringe-inducing as Dukakis in the tank helmet, and the speech that followed perfectly appalling. And things have gone from clumsily bad to oafishly worse.

Why? That is the question—and in pondering it, I have come up with a theory that may just be on the money and—if so—has very disturbing implications.

My theory is this: It may just be that, somewhere in his subconscious, hidden possibly even from himself, John Kerry doesn’t want to be elected.

That is why he has run the campaign he has, in the style he’s chosen: following solecism with what can only be called "photo disopportunities," seeming to encourage staff disorganization, hiding his No. 2, wasting his time and energy on marginal issues.

The key in all is ambition. Senator Kerry is ambitious to a fault. To a fault, mind you, and therein may lie the rub. It could well be that, like a rider on a runaway horse, hanging on for dear life and wishing only for the nightmare to end, and knowing that somewhere up ahead there’s a river or an ocean or a cliff that will bring the rogue steed to a halt, John Kerry has been carried by his ambition to a point that he knows to be beyond his abilities and his character—and he fears to go further.

For a perhaps more effective metaphor, imagine a mountaineer who is scaling a lofty and dangerous peak and who pauses, just before the final run-up to the summit, looks back, is made suddenly aware of the dangers he’s surmounted, and imagines that only worse dangers still lie ahead. He cannot make himself push on, but off to one side, he sees an approaching cloud cover that will make further advance impossible and provide the excuse—which he now desperately wants—to abandon the attempt and blame it on the weather. All he need do is stay where he is, and wait, and Nature will provide.

And then don’t forget this: John Kerry grew up among the remnants of, and has openly craved to be a part of, the old WASP value system in which losing gracefully—especially to a rhetorically and culturally coarse or barbaric opponent—is considered to be almost as good as winning. Indeed, depending on the rewards and responsibilities forced on one by victory, losing may be preferable, certainly to fighting dirty.

Certainly, something seems to be holding the man back. That something may be lodged in the candidate’s subconscious. If so, he will not be the first egotistical, ambitious man to back off, to in effect choose failure in preference to taking on the heavy responsibilities he has suddenly glimpsed lurking behind the bright glitter that has bedazzled him all these years. Certainly, all the excuses are in place. Indeed, the Kerry campaign has to date been a more productive exercise in excuse-positioning than a calculated, gloves-off fight for the highest office in the land—and all that goes with that office.

This may be what the polls are telling us. Say what you want about this country, but the American people’s instincts are what they are, and one thing we don’t like is being played for a fool. We may be ruled by a posse of thugs and thieves and grifters, but at least we know what they’re up to. Can we say the same—can we vote for—a man who, deep, deep down, possibly at a level he himself does not grasp, may not really want—is scared of—the office he is asking us to give him? I just don’t know.

You may reach Michael M. Thomas via email at:
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This column ran on page 1 in the 9/27/2004 edition of The New York Observer.


Saturday, November 06, 2004

A Black Day

A Black Day

by Ronald Bleier

November 2, 2004 will go down as the blackest day in U.S. history, the re-election of the very worst president by far in our history. The extent of the damage is too great to calculate immediately, but certain things are already clear.

1. The economy. The hallmark of the Bush administration is ruthless extremism and the most careless irresponsibility. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in their ongoing destruction of the world’s most important economy. The New York Times printed an op ed about a year ago arguing that the markets were banking on the Democrats coming in to rescue our economy from the trade and account deficits and the looming mountain of unfunded liabilities. Now that such a rescue has been made impossible, and the Bush administration evidently committed to further damage through additional tax cuts, the defunding of social security, and more, it’s only a question of time before we experience a dramatic financial collapse. It’s social Darwinism at its cruelest and most painful.

2. The Bush administration is led by those who believe that war is bracing, that war is the essence of humanity. Their war fighting mentality dovetails with neocon interest in making the Middle East safe for Israel. Thus we have the war on Iraq which will now be conducted in the most destructive possible manner. The Bush administration is committed to retaining the 14 U.S. military bases there and to keeping any potentially anti -Israel faction from attaining power in Iraq. In other words, they are determined to resist democracy there as well as here. We can expect increased pressure against Iran and Syria and military action against them by the U.S. and/or Israel, and the inevitable fallout from such policies.

3. We can expect a continuation and intensification of the war on civil liberties and the continued war against the democratic process at home. We can expect to see more of Ashcroft’s ruthless malevolence – now on steroids. We’ve waved good bye to an independent Congress and now we can look forward to an even more supine Supreme Court and federal and states judiciary.

4. There is noting to prevent their continued rape of the environment and their ongoing dismantlement of the New Deal and social justice agenda.

All this comes at a time when we are entering the age of peak oil and the onset of global warming, a moment in history that would require a firm, fair and judicious hand to bring us through a difficult transition. Instead we will have the most extreme, ruthless and irresponsible leadership to drive us into uncharted territory. It’s a real question how or if or in what state we will emerge four years from now. November 2nd has threatened the future of the U.S. and the world.

Election Fraud
See Democracy Now 11/3/04 ( ) for Greg Palast’s theory that voter suppression in Ohio, including the trashing of tens of thousands of registration forms, etc., which he calls the non count of the vote was responsible for Bush’s victory in Ohio and his lead in New Mexico. But the non count of votes doesn’t account for the exit polling results which led Zogby to predict a Kerry victory by 313 to 213. The exit polling results showed Kerry winning Ohio by 4 points, and by 51-48 in Florida. Presumably the exit polling count voters, not non voters.

What is required is an analysis of the extent of touch screen and other unverifiable voting in Florida and Ohio to see if fraud could account for the disparity of results. I’m not aware of anyone interested or capable of conducting such an investigation.