Saturday, July 16, 2005

Was Rove Set-Up?

Rove Set-Up?
PEJ News

C. L. Cook

July 16, 2005

Known as the ultimate political dirty fighter,
is it possible the Mayberry Machiavelli was himself set-up
to take the fall in the Valerie Plame outing case?

Was Karl Rove Set-Up?
C. L. Cook
PEJ News

July 16, 2005

As difficult to believe as it may seem, Karl Rove, the political dirty trickster that makes Richard Nixon's famous transgressions look absolutely Boy Scoutish appears to be taking a fall for the real culprits behind the felony offence disclosure of the identity of deep-cover CIA agent, Valerie Plame-Wilson.

The Plame-Wilson affair has simmered these past two years just beyond the media's range of acceptable stories. That all changed last week when Patrick "Bulldog" Fitzgerald's demand that recalcitrant Grand Jury witness, New York Times reporter, Judith Miller's incarceration for contempt was granted. Miller is in prison yet, still not talking, but the move prompted Time Inc. to fork over the notes of Matthew Cooper, another reporter facing jail time for refusing to reveal his White House source of the Plame-Wilson identity. Those notes implicated Karl Rove, aka "Bush's Brain."

Rove is a difficult person to feel sympathy for; he has, over the course of his career managing George Bush to the Texas State House and White House, employed every dirty trick in the book, and invented a few new ones. So, it may be understandable that Rove's many enemies in political circles and the press are gleefully trumpeting his impending fall from grace, but that joy could be the biggest impediment to getting to the bottom of the affair and revelations of a larger crime against the American people and the world of which the Plame-Wilson outing is but a single strand.

The criminal release of classified information is generally thought to have been a stab at Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV, the man Vice-President Dick Cheney's office sent to Niger in 2002 to investigate claims contained within a document handed over to U.S. authorities through the offices of Italy's CIA counterpart SISMI claiming then-Iraq President Saddam Hussein was seeking yellowcake uranium from that country. Yellowcake is the foundation ore for the development of nuclear fissile material. The claims were one part of the Bush administration's PR campaign to launch attacks against Iraq.

Wilson debunked the claims, but they were later reiterated as fact in George Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech in the months leading to the U.S. invasion. Hearing the speech, Wilson wrote an Op-ed piece, published by the New York Times, essentially calling Bush a liar and so, it's thought, was targeted by Rove, as have many other dissenters. But, the focus on Rove may be providing a smokescreen obscuring the true nature of the crimes commited and the identities of the culprits.

The crux of the case lies in the nature of the information released into the public sphere. There's no reason to believe Rove, despite his close relationship with Bush, would know the classified identity of Plame-Wilson. She was a deep-cover agent working on nuclear and WMD proliferation. It's the kind of information not bandied about to political strategists, or any others without a defined "need to know."

It's clear, Rove did discuss Plame-Wilson with Cooper at least, but he contends, through his lawyer, that he learned of her double-life through conversations with right-wing columnist and television commentator, Robert Novak. Novak is a long-time acquaintance of Rove's and has served his political interests in the past. Novak authored the first article on Plame-Wilson, thus beginning the scandalous escapade.

So, where did Novak get his information? Curiously, it's a question overlooked. There is speculation that Novak has already given testimony to the Grand Jury ex Parte (not for public consumption) and so has been spared the ordeal of Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper.

Justin Raimondo, at speculates Novak's source is none other than controversial Bush nominee for the ambassadorship of the U.N., John Bolton. Bolton, in a previous political incarnation served as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, a position that would see him receiving intelligence briefings based on the work of Valerie Plame-Wilson.

Raimondo ties Bolton and his friends at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a heavy-hitting political think tank whose membership is a veritable Who's Who of the current administration, and Dick Cheney's Office of Special Plans, a parallel intelligence organization long at odds with the CIA and State Department. Raimondo suggests, the outing of Plame-Wilson was not a simple matter of malice, but a broader swipe at the CIA; a serious blow to their intelligence gathering capabilities that weakened the security of the nation.

Rove will fall through this affair, but his descent will be only one of many to follow. The question now is: How far will the tear run?

Chris Cook
hosts Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. He also serves as a contributing editor at

The Spiggot Behind Rove's Leaks

Rove-gate: Who Leaked
to the Leakers?

This isn't about Karl Rove

by Justin Raimondo
July 15, 2005

What if Karl Rove isn't guilty of knowingly leaking Valerie Plame's name as a covert CIA agent involved in nuclear proliferation issues? What if Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, is correct when he says that he's been assured by prosecutors that his client is not a target of the ongoing investigation into Plame-gate? I'm going to swim against the tide, here, and against the expectations of my readers, by suggesting that this investigation isn't about Rove – and, furthermore, that Rove is a victim, in an important sense, someone who was used and abused by the real culprits. And who are these mysterious culprits? We'll get to that in a moment, but first some background…

One thing that has always struck me as odd about this whole affair – and I wasn't the only one – is a seemingly minor detail: why did Novak's original column, which started all this brouhaha, identify Valerie Plame by her maiden name? After all, most married women – even in this era of Women's Liberation – defer to the tradition of taking their husband's name, but I have to admit that, even after wondering about it for a brief moment, I shrugged and moved on. As it turns out, however, this is an important detail, because now we have Rove's lawyer saying that he at no time gave out Valerie Plame's name: but if Rove identified her as Joe Wilson's wife, what the heck is the difference?

The difference is that, as Valerie Plame, Mrs. Wilson was affiliated with a CIA front company, Brewster-Jennings & Associates, engaged in tracking and stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons. As soon as her name was made public, the implications for U.S. national security amounted to a grave breach – far more of a crime than merely violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which has only had a single prosecution since its passage in 1982. As the Washington Post reported when the Plame scandal broke:

"A former diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity said yesterday that every foreign intelligence service would run Plame's name through its databases within hours of its publication to determine if she had visited their country and to reconstruct her activities. 'That's why the agency is so sensitive about just publishing her name,' the former diplomat said."

The publication of her maiden name not only endangered Valerie Wilson, but also blew the cover of a CIA front and imperiled anyone she might have come in contact with during her stint overseas. This isn't just a matter of of violating a statute that, at most, entails a 10-year jail sentence and a fine – this is a question of possible espionage.

What also seems fairly clear is that Karl Rove would not have had direct knowledge of Plame-Wilson's covert activities on behalf of the CIA, and that only a very few people high up in the national security bureaucracy had the clearance to get access to her name. So who was it? If Rove leaked to Novak, and half a dozen Washington reporters, then who leaked to the leakers?

This isn't about Rove.

It's about a cabal of war hawks inside the administration who passed on this information to others without telling them about Plame-Wilson's deep cover status, perhaps suggesting that she was just an analyst working at a desk rather than a covert operative involved in a vitally important overseas operation, the knowledge of which was highly compartmentalized and only dispensed on a need-to-know basis. When Rove and his shills blabbed to reporters and anyone who would listen, they didn't realize that they were aiding and abetting an elaborate ploy to stick it to the CIA.

Seen against the backdrop of the fierce intra-bureaucratic war that broke out in the administration in the run-up to the Iraq war – with the CIA and the mainline intelligence and diplomatic communities pitted against civilian neoconservatives in the upper echelons of the Pentagon and the Office of the Vice President – the outing of Plame and her colleagues amounts to an act of espionage committed out of a desire to exact revenge. The leakers meant to retaliate not just against Joe Wilson, through his wife, but against the "old guard" that was resisting the campaign to lie us into war. When the CIA wouldn't go along with the neocon program and "spice up" their analyses with Ahmed Chalabi's tall tales and the outright forgery of the Niger uranium documents, the War Party struck back at them with the sort of viciousness for which the neocons are rightly renowned.

The neocons had a fix on their target; now the question was how to get someone else to pull the trigger. The leakers, in order to protect themselves, "laundered" the leak through journalists (Judith Miller, one of their favorite conduits) and Bush operatives – Rove. In his book, The Politics of Truth, Joe Wilson says as much:

"Apparently, according to two journalist sources of mine, when Rove learned that he might have violated the law, he turned on Cheney and Libby and made it clear that he held them responsible for the problem they had created for the administration. The protracted silence on this topic from the White House masks considerable tension between the Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President.

"The rumors swirling around Rove, Libby, and Abrams were so pervasive in Washington that the White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, was obliged to address them in an October 2003 briefing, saying of Rove: 'The president knows he wasn't involved. … It's simply not true.' McClellan refused to be drawn into a similar direct denial of Libby's or Abrams's possible involvement, however."

Suddenly, the complacent – and often complicit – American media seems to be waking up. Reporters are now publicly pillorying White House spokesman Scott McClellan:

"QUESTION: You're in a bad spot here, Scott…


"… because after the investigation began – after the criminal investigation was under way – you said, October 10th, 2003, 'I spoke with those individuals, Rove, Abrams and Libby. As I pointed out, those individuals assured me they were not involved in this,' from that podium. That's after the criminal investigation began. Now that Rove has essentially been caught red-handed peddling this information, all of a sudden you have respect for the sanctity of the criminal investigation.

"MCCLELLAN: No, that's not a correct characterization. And I think you are well aware of that."

Reporters who heard McClellan's assurances back in October 2003 weren't being deceived so much as lulled to sleep, and that really didn't take much of an effort on the part of the administration, now did it? They were basically asleep anyway, and weren't really listening to what was being said. Some people were paying attention, however, and taking notes, Joshua Marshall for one:

"So, when McClellan was asked to be more clear, he opted for a meaninglessly vague statement and then fell back on the 'leaking of classified information' dodge. Can we all take note of this now? That denial wasn't what it seemed to be. In fact, I doubt it was a real denial at all.

"There's more there. Why not find it?"

Patrick J. "Bulldog" Fitzgerald is now in the process of finding it – and Rove is not his real quarry, although he and some others in the White House could wind up as collateral damage. By all indications, Bulldog's real target points more in the direction of the Office of the Vice President. Ambassador Wilson knows who his enemies are, and he pointed to them in his book and in an interview with Joe Conason in Salon:

"Gleaned from all those crosscurrents of information, the most plausible scenario, and the one that I've heard most frequently from different sources, has been that there was a meeting in the middle of March 2003, chaired by either [Cheney's chief of staff] Scooter Libby or the vice president – but more frequently I've heard chaired by Scooter – at which a decision was made to get a 'work-up' on me. That meant getting as much information about me as they could: about my past, about my life, about my family. This, in and of itself, is abominable. Then that information was passed at the appropriate time to the White House Communications Office, and at some point a decision was made to go ahead and start to smear me, after my opinion piece appeared in the New York Times."

"Salon: You mention two other names: John Hannah, who works in the Office of the Vice President, and David Wurmser, who is a special assistant to John Bolton, the undersecretary of state for arms control and national security. Last Wednesday, their names both appeared on a chart that accompanied an article in the New York Times about the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans and the war cabal within the Bush administration. Did these people run an intelligence operation against you?"

"Wilson: I don't know if it's the same unit, but it's very clear, from what I've heard, that the meeting in March 2003 led to an intelligence operation against my family and me. That's what a work-up is – to try to find everything you can about an American citizen."

After the War Party met in solemn conclave, and the command went out from Cheney: "Bring me the head of Joe Wilson!", there was only one logical place for Cheney's minions to go. Who in the administration would've had access to the specific information regarding Plame-Wilson's role in a deep-cover CIA operation involving nuclear proliferation? Why, the man who was the State Department deputy secretary in charge of "weapons of mass destruction" – the somewhat irritable if not downright reckless John Bolton, would-be ambassador to the UN, who played a central role in promulgating the Niger Uranium Myth.

Conveniently, two of Bolton's assistants, David Wurmser and John Hannah, also worked in Cheney's office. A story by UPI's Richard Sale, published last year, points at Cheney's office and specifically at Hannah as having played a key role in all this:

"Federal law-enforcement officials said that they have developed hard evidence of possible criminal misconduct by two employees of Vice President Dick Cheney's office related to the unlawful exposure of a CIA officer's identity last year. The investigation, which is continuing, could lead to indictments, a Justice Department official said.

"According to these sources, John Hannah and Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, were the two Cheney employees. 'We believe that Hannah was the major player in this,' one federal law-enforcement officer said. … The strategy of the FBI is to make clear to Hannah 'that he faces a real possibility of doing jail time' as a way to pressure him to name superiors, one federal law-enforcement official said."

Hannah is Cheney's Middle East policy point-man, and before that was director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). Middle East expert Juan Cole shines his reportorial flashlight on what's under that particular rock:

"Libby and Hannah form part of a 13-man vice presidential advisory team, sort of a veep NSC [National Security Council], which helps underpin Cheney's dominance in the US foreign policy area. Hannah is a neoconservative and old cold warrior who is really more of a Soviet expert than a Middle East expert. But in the 90s he for a while headed up the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a think tank that represents the interests of the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC). Hannah is said to have been behind Cheney's and consequently Bush's support for refusing to deal with Yasser Arafat. But he was also deeply involved in getting up the Iraq war.…"

The AIPAC connection should raise a red flag: AIPAC is already at the center of a case involving espionage conducted by Israel against the United States, with Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin indicted [.pdf] for passing classified information on to longtime AIPAC leader Steve Rosen and his aide Keith Weissman, with an Israeli embassy official, chief political officer Naor Gilon, directly involved. In both cases, which involve the unlawful dissemination of sensitive U.S. secrets, the defense is claiming that "everyone does it" and that the classified information they're accused of leaking – or, in AIPAC's case, directly handing over to the Israeli government – is supposedly "common knowledge."

Treason is nothing to these people, because their real allegiance is not to the U.S., but to their own cause, which is perpetual war. Libby and Hannah were the enforcers who made sure that the lies put out by this administration to bamboozle us into war with Iraq were strictly adhered to within the government. Libby was a frequent visitor over at CIA headquarters, along with his boss, and, as Juan Cole writes:

"[H]annah had fingers in all three rotten pies from which the worst intel came – Sharon's office in Israel, the Pentagon Office of Special Plans (for which Hannah served as a liaison to Cheney), and fraudster Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress. Hannah had probably been the one who fed Cheney the Niger uranium story, triggering a Cheney request to the CIA to verify it and thence Joe Wilson's trip to Niamey in spring of 2002, where he found the story to be an absurd falsehood on the face of it."

In short, Hannah was at the center of that vortex of deception that swept us into a disastrous war. When Ambassador Wilson came out with his famous debunking of the infamous "16 words," Hannah was well positioned to go after the heretic.

If we look at the passing of this leak as we would a ball game, as "super smart commenter Sara" pointed out on Digby's blog, the probable trajectory of the ball as it makes its way to the goal goes something like this: "Bolton to Wurmser and Hannah, to Cheney (and/or Libby) to Rove."

In this case, however, unlike soccer or basketball, possession of the ball is not an asset: according to the rules of this game, the last man holding it loses.

I do not believe for a moment that this lengthy and increasingly controversial investigation is centered around alleged violations of a rarely invoked statute, incurring a penalty that hardly seems proportionate to the energy expended to get a conviction. It is extremely hard to prove that someone has violated the Intelligence Identities Protection Act; there are all sorts of conditions and sub-clauses that provide a legal escape route for anyone so charged: that can't be what all this is about.

If, however, Fitzgerald can prove there was a conspiracy inside the government to collect and selectively reveal classified information in order to crush political opponents, and shape U.S. policy, then the charges could be much more serious. By all accounts, the Plame investigation is said to be widening, and I would venture to say that by this time it is wide enough to include charges of espionage. The mere existence of a highly placed cabal that was engaged in collecting and utilizing highly sensitive information – a kind of intelligence bank that existed outside of normal governmental channels – would be of great interest to the FBI's counterintelligence unit, and word is out that they've been plenty busy lately. Who made withdrawals from this Intelligence Bank, and did any of these account holders include foreign governments – such as Iran, which received an intelligence treasure trove from neocon poster boy Ahmed Chalabi, and Israel, which is already under suspicion because of the Franklin affair, and has close links to several of the suspects in the Plame-gate investigation?

And then there is the question of the Niger uranium forgeries themselves: who forged the documents that fooled a president? Wilson's exposure of the Niger uranium ploy angered whoever introduced those documents into the U.S. intelligence stream – it was Hannah and Libby, by all accounts, who fought to keep these allegations in the president's speech, in spite of opposition from the CIA and the State Department. The same crowd that pushed this phony intelligence must have known something about the murky origins of what turned out to be a crude forgery.

Forging "evidence" that helped get us into a war – what are the penalties for that?

The fast developing scandal seemingly centered around Rove and a few journalists has only begun to unfold. By the time it is over, we'll have the War Party – or, at the very least, a few high profile representatives – in the dock, and then the fun will really begin. So forget "Rove-gate" and get ready for "Cheney-gate." I'll gladly forgo the pleasure of seeing the president's chief political advisor frog-marched out of the White House for the prospect of seeing our vice president, along with his top staffers, led out of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in handcuffs.

– Justin Raimondo

Hot Night in the Cite: U.N. Massacre Caught on Tape

Hot Night in the Cite: U.N. Haiti Massacre Caught on Tape

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - Frustrated perhaps with their inability to control the population of Cite Soleil, one of Port-au-Prince's most desperate neighbourhoods, on July 6th United Nations "peacekeepers" launched a full military offensive against locals they describe as "bandits." In the ensuing mayhem, at least twenty people were killed, most unarmed citizens going about the arduous business of daily survival in Haiti's capital city. Portions of the attack were recorded on video, contradicting the U.N.'s official version of events, and prompting charges of massacre against the U.N.

U.N. "Massacre" Caught on Tape
C. L. Cook
PEJ News

July 15th, 2005

The United Nations says the military offensive mounted against Cite Soleil was necessary to stop "gang" violence. They've admitted to killing five people, "bandits" resisting the onslaught that included tanks, helicopters and troops.

They came before dawn to this depressed slum, a political stronghold of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his Lavalas party, looking for Dread Wilme, political activist/notorious gang leader, depending on whose story you listen to. But, the U.N.'s crediblility has come into question in the wake of the attack.

U.N. Casualty declarations, and the nature of the raid, are both belied by video taken on the scene and aired by Democracy Now! The video, recorded by a resident was given to a labour and trade delegation sponsored by the San Francisco Labor Council visiting Port-au-Prince. Now they, and other human rights organizations are charging the U.N. with commiting a massacre.

More than seven thousand U.N. "peacekeepers" are currently deployed in Haiti, sent in to ostensibly reorganize the western hemisphere's poorest nation following the U.S. engineered coup d'etat that removed the democratically elected government of former priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February of last year.

Aristide was spirited out of the country under the threat of death by U.S. military personnel and transported to the Central African Republic (CAR). Aristide, currently living in exile in South Africa, has charged the U.S. kidnapped him to serve the interests of Haiti's elite and international business. The coup effectively put an end to peace and reconciliation efforts in the country following decades of despotic rule by U.S.- sponsored father and son dictators, Papa Doc and Baby Doc Duvalier.

Thousands have been killed, imprisoned, and disappeared in the eighteen months since the fall of the legitimate government, though little is known of the situation in North America. The press has been slow to come to the story, perhaps because the coup was sponsored by both the United States and Canada. France too has played a large role in the ouster.

For its part, the U.N. is not commenting on the raid, further than denying a massacre occurred.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. He also serves as a contributing editor at You can check out the GR Blog here.

Evidence Mounts of a U.N. Peacekeeper Massacre in Haiti

Haiti's Canada-backed coup: Interview with Jean Saint-Vil

Group Charges ”Massacre” in U.N. Raid
Haider Rizvi

Eyewitnesses Descibe U.N. Massacre in Haitian Slum

Aristide in Exile
Naomi Klein

Canada Haiti Relations (DFAIT)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Who's Jihad?

Global Eye
By Chris Floyd
July 15, 2005
Issue 3209. Page 112.

They were still scraping body parts out of the blasted carriages in the London Underground last week when the terrorists brazenly announced a harvest of blood fruits from their murderous campaign. The declaration -- bone-chilling in its moral nullity, its brutal cynicism -- was made in the fearsome name of Jihad.

That would be Asim Jihad, of course, spokesman for the Iraqi Oil Ministry. Yes, just one day after London's agony, the state terrorists who perpetrated the ongoing mass atrocity of aggressive war in Iraq celebrated an important victory in their campaign of violence and fear: 11 juicy oil fields are being put up for tender to international investors, AdnKronos International reports.

The corporate cornucopia of these fertile fields in oil-laden southern Iraq -- 3 million barrels per day, said Jihad -- will surpass the nation's entire current output of 2.2 million bpd: rich pickings for the oil barons whose branch office in the White House has done such outstanding advance work for them. With oil prices soaring past $60 per barrel -- on their way to the $100 mark in the near future, some experts say -- the $25 billion ante that the Iraqis are seeking will be a small price to pay for a seat at this game.

But goodness gracious me -- as Pentagon pump-jockey Don Rumsfeld would say, in that prim spinster patois he likes to affect when wiping blood off his hands -- nobody in their right mind believes all that money will actually go to the Oil Ministry, which will maintain ostensible control of the sold-off fields for the alleged benefit of the Iraqi people. Heavens to Betsy, no!

Some of the loot will be skimmed by Bushist-favored bagmen in the new Baghdad regime. Some will be siphoned off to fund the death-dealing, torture-happy goon squads now operating on behalf of various factions in the government. Some will be kicked back to the oil barons. And some will be smuggled into slush funds for covert ops, mercenaries, campaign hijinks in the Homeland and "retirement packages" for good and faithful servants of the Bush war machine.

How do we know this will happen? Because it has already happened to Iraqi oil money that fell into the hands of the profiteer-in-chief, President George W. Bush. According to detailed audits and investigations by Congress, the Pentagon, the General Accountability Office, the International Advisory and Monitoring Board, and the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, more than $8.8 billion in Iraqi money under Bush's control simply went walking between October 2003 and July 2004, the London Review of Books reports. These were revenues supposedly earmarked for the Iraqi government -- but no one knows where they actually went, except for a few dollops that investigators found were bankrolling many of the worthy endeavors outlined above.

And this epic rapine -- looting on a scale not seen since the days of the Mongol Horde -- is just a single rivulet in the vast delta of corruption draining the conquered land. Christian Aid estimates that an additional $4 billion in unmetered oil export revenue was sold off under the counter, Saddam-style, to coalition cronies. Then there were the planeloads of cold cash spread around by Bush's "Provisional Authority" -- off the books, natch -- to "couriers," brokers, Western contractors, tribal leaders, "intelligence assets" and anyone else who had the moxie to put their hands out at the right time.

All of this money was stolen from the Iraqi people. In fact, every bit of Iraq's oil money was seized by Bush and transferred to New York's Federal Reserve Bank in May 2003. Perhaps this was the operation Bush was referring to in his ballyhooed "Mission Accomplished" declaration that same month. (He certainly couldn't have been talking about the military mission -- not with "major combat operations" still being launched even as we speak.) And oil revenues kept flowing to Bush's bank account after the conquest. All told, by the time Bush's personal viceroy, Jerry Bremer, did his "last days of Saigon" bug-out from Baghdad last year, the Crawford Caligula had run through $20 billion of Iraq's oil money.

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No one has been brought to justice for this monstrous -- indeed murderous -- thievery. And the oil barons preparing to feast on the new tenders needn't worry about such "quaint" notions as legality either. That's because Bush -- hugger-mugger as usual -- recently renewed his infamous Executive Order 13303, the blanket immunity for all U.S. corporate interests involved in any way with Iraq's oil, the Deep Blade web log reports. The original edict was issued in that fateful, fruitful month of May 2003.

Bush's ukase applies to all traffickers in Iraqi oil -- as long as their loot finds its way, by hook or crook, into the coffers of "United States persons or entities." Bush declares flatly that any "judicial process" launched against these protected entities -- not excluding criminal proceedings for, say, fraud, corruption, extortion, even murder -- "shall be deemed null and void." But what if some rogue nation still clinging to the outmoded principle of law and order tries to take Bush's cronies to court? Not to worry: one of the many agencies authorized to "employ all powers" to "carry out the purposes of this order" is none other than Spinster Rumsfeld's own little parlor -- the Pentagon.

Money and power, grabbed through violence and deceit: that's the real point -- the only point -- of Bush's "war on terror." It is in fact a war of terror, where both sides use senseless murder and mass slaughter to advance their degraded ambitions. No doubt the innocent victims of the London bombing are happy to have died in the service of such a noble cause.

Storming the Sporting Bastille

Storming the Castle:
Why We Need To Know Our Radical Sports History

Dave Zirin
July 14, 2005

In High School, I was a 5' 10" inch center for the fearsome Friends Seminary Quakers in New York City. It wasn't pretty, but I lived for it and didn't care if the opposing center could spit on my head. I just loved sports. My walls were shrines to Magic Johnson, Lawrence Taylor, and Keith Hernandez. Every stat, every record, and every rule existed only to be memorized. Weekends were for playing ball until sunset.

But somewhere along the way, I got a life. 'Operation Desert Storm', and the L.A. Riots burned across my TV screen. As the world seemed to turn upside down, sports began to seem meaningless at best, and at worst, against any concept of social justice. This became jarringly clear during the 1991 Gulf War when I saw "my team's" mascot thrash a person in an Arab suit at half court while the jumbo-tron encouraged chants of U-S-A. Limping away from the arena, I concluded, that sports were part of the problem, and cheering blindly was like going to see 'Rambo' to admire the special effects while ignoring the Vietnamese villagers Stallone was stamping out like bugs.

Then in 1996, a basketball player named Mahmoud Abdul Rauf refused to stand for the National Anthem. Rauf believed the flag to be "a symbol of oppression and tyranny," and was willing to suffer the consequences. His courage was stunning, but even more shocking was the howling cries for his head. When Rauf was suspended, some news reports resembled lynch mobs. But others likened him to Muhammad Ali, whose title was stripped for being a draft resistor during the Viet Nam war. This was a history I barely knew. As Rauf began to buckle under the tremendous pressure of right wing bombast, it became clear that our side needed a history of the resistance in US pro sports. To aid this effort, I started writing a column called Edge of Sports, and just completed my first book "What's My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States."

When some friends back home heard what I was writing, a Friar's Club Roast seemed to spontaneously generate. These guys seemed to magically morph into a gaggle of Henny Youngmans in baggy jeans. "Pro Sports and radical politics?" one budding Borscht Belter smirked. "That will make a helluva pamphlet!" Or "What's your next book, Dick Cheney's Diet Tips? John Ashcroft's Favorite Black History Moments?"

Everyone had a jibe. But my buddies are like Shaquille O'Neal's free throws: simply way off. The history of how social struggles have exploded onto the playing field is vibrant, thrilling and very real. More importantly, it's a tradition that arms us with the ability to challenge the dominant ideas in that swoosh adorned ivory tower . The problem is that its political teeth have been so thoroughly extracted that the most compelling parts of our history, the parts that have the most to show and teach us today, reside forgotten on the ESPN cutting room floor.

For example, we may know that baseball was segregated until 1947. But we don't know the story of Lester "Red" Rodney, the sports editor of the Communist Party's newspaper the Daily Worker. Rodney ran his 1930s sports page as an organizing center to fight for baseball's integration. This campaign garnered over a million signatures, collected at ballparks around the country. ["Red" Rodney is still with us at age 95, and interviewing him for this book was an experience I will never forget].

We may know that Jackie Robinson was the first player to integrate baseball. But we know him only as a kind of quiet suffering black saint, who did it "the right way," under the paternal eye of Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey. We don't know him as the person who thought, "'To hell with Mr. Rickey's noble experiment. To hell with the image of the patient black freak I was supposed to create.' I could throw down my bat, stride over to the dugout, grab one of those white sons of bitches, and smash his teeth in with my despised black fist. Then I could walk away from it all."

We may know that the great boxing champ Muhammad Ali refused to fight in Viet Nam. But we don't know he consciously stood with the National Liberation Front in Vietnam, - the resistance - saying, "The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice freedom, and equality."

We may know about the famed Black Power Salute, of Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympics. But we don't know that they wore beads to protest lynching, went without shoes to protest poverty, or that John Carlos wore his shirt open because as he said to me, "I was representing shift workers, blue-collar people, and the underdogs. The people whose contributions to society are so important, but don't get recognized."

We may know about Billie Jean King's "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match against Bobby Riggs at the Astrodome. But we don't know how intertwined that tennis match was with the fight for Title IX, one of the enduring victories of the women's liberation movement of which King was proudly a part. We also don't know that King was far more than a symbol. She also started a union for women's tennis players to fight for equal pay.

We need to know this history because it is a living history - which is precisely what makes it so threatening. As Carlos said to me, "So much is the same as it was in 1968. Look at Mississippi or Alabama. It hasn't changed from back in the day. Look at the city of Memphis and you still see blight up and down. You can still see the despair. It's alive"

He's right. But it's also alive anytime athletes today attempt to use their platform to speak on social issues or draw inspiration from struggles in the street. It's alive when NBA Most Valuable Player Steve Nash says, "The war in Iraq is based on oil," while wearing a t-shirt that reads "No War! Shoot For Peace." It's alive when then-Toronto Blue Jays slugger Carlos Delgado made clear that he wouldn't stand on the steps during the seventh inning stretch to God Bless America because the war in Iraq is "murder based on lies". It's alive every time when the NBA's Etan Thomas shows up at anti-death penalty events to read his slam poetry; poetry that calls out the racism of the system in utterly stark terms. And it's alive when the US Congress feared calling Barry Bonds to testify on steroids for concern that he would say to them what he has been saying to reporters, namely "Why is steroids cheating but making a shirt in Korea for 50 cents and selling it here for $150 isn't?"

Knowing this history positions us to support and embrace athletes who go out on a political limb, risking their careers for principle. This method allows us not only engage and embrace the Etan Thomases, Carlos Delgados, and other 21st century Athletic Rebels but also the fans that thrill to their exploits.

My friends believe that having a "some kind of theory" or analysis drains the life out of sports. The opposite is in fact the case. By confronting the messages pumped out through our play, we can dissect what we like, what we dislike, and begin to challenge sports - and our society - to change.

When warplanes fly overhead we can ask how many physical education classes are cut to pay for each Blue Angel.

When college athletes are pilloried for taking under-the-table payoffs, we can ask whose blood, sweat, and tears paid for the brand spanking new enormo-dome that grace their campuses.

When insanely sexist commercials trade on women's oppression for the high cause of selling beer, we can make clear that this has no place in sports.

When the announcers on Fox become as aghast as a Southern belle when a touchdown dancer gets raunchy, we can ask why a network that pays Bill O'Reilly millions and promotes shows like Who's Your Daddy? and The Littlest Groom has the right to be the purity police.

When our cities are soaked by sleazy stadium deals, we can stand up as sports fans and say, "Hey, we love baseball, but I'm not going to give a billionaire a $350 million present for the privilege of watching it."

By speaking out for the political soul of the sports we love, we do more than just build a fighting left that stands for social justice. We also begin to impose our own ideas on the world of sports - a counter morality to compete with the rank hypocrisy of the pro leagues. These are ideas that can embrace and cheer competition. That can appreciate the artistic talents of athletes and the strategy of coaches and players alike. That can thrill to seeing Barry Bonds swinging a bat, or Michael Vick shredding a defense, or Mia Hamm kicking a soccer ball. But unlike the mainstream sports jabber, it's a morality that recognizes male and female athletes - and all women - as human beings with minds as well as bodies.

It also needs to understand that the incentive of athletes to speak out for social justice lies not in their individual brilliance but in our ability to build a struggle outside the arena and in the streets. If we want more Muhammad Alis, more John Carlos', and more Billie Jean Kings - if we want to see a gay male athlete have the courage to risk his neck by coming out - then we need to build a broader movement for social justice outside the arena, so our "heroes" will also have people to look up to.

In that fight we need every drop of history, experience, and tradition we can get our hands on. As Tommie Smith himself said about his famed Black Power salute, "It's not something I can lay on my shelf and forget about. My heart and soul are still on that team, and I still believe in everything we were trying to fight for in 1968. [It] has not been resolved and will be part of our future."

Dave Zirin's new book "What's My Name Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States is now in stores.. You can receive his column Edge of Sports, every week by e-mailing Contact him at

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Still to Come

Google's Bias for Bigness

"Still to Come...": Media Rovings

PEJ News - C. L. Cook
- The Media Machine is humming on Karl Rove's current catastrophe.
Employing 'Full Spectrum Dominance' of the airwaves,
the White House message/marching orders are out. As are its dutiful messengers.

Still to Come:
Media on its Knees

C. L. Cook
July 13, 2005

Incredibly, across what passes for a public information system, the Lamestream and STate TV Admin. allies far and wide tonight were flushed from the comfort of their fortified hedgerows to answer the clarion-call muster to the defense of Baron von Turd Blossom.

Today, the corporate media ran their take(s) on the alleged dirty doings of Karl Rove (nee Roverer). Without exception, each organ tip-toed around the issue at issue, focussing instead on arcane legal lingo, and other trivialities; the core of the matter left yet ill-attended.

Even as the blogosphere (bs) is blasting the RoveGate affair, corporate PR and "professional media workers" loyal to the administration media echo-chamber continue to contend their boss' innocence. Lawyers, especially of the variety of "what does 'is' mean, are chowing down on prospects, while the "project" goes on.

But, is that a dash of mayo I see on Aaron Brown's cheek?

Yes, while damning and sourcing the 'scourge of journalism,' Aaron manages to shrug off the bulk of the litany of gross, criminal violations commited by this sitting administration. At this late hour, following a bitter long trail of betrayal, the (bs) voices most Americans count on for their daily news continue; they can still not find the courage to call Spades.

Rove has nothing to fear from the pup press wolf packs in D.C. and New York. ThePenultimate word in media manipulation sees his greatest threat HERE. And the myriad mirrors on the net.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada, every Monday between 5-6pm pacific time. You can check out the GR Blog here. He also serces as a contributing editor to

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Brain's Back Story: Mad Rovings

George Bush's Brain
Sander Hicks

Heads Magazine, Toronto

Karl Rove, America's top kingmaker is a college drop-out, a former consultant to big tobacco giant Philip Morris, a self-taught historian and George W. Bush's brain. He doesn't blink. He doesn't hesitate before the kill. If not for Rove, and if not for his ruthlessness, the hapless preppie George W. Bush would not be in the White House today.

Rove is a burly, folksy character. During the primary season, he persistently took control of television discussions. When challenged by the McCain camp on his unethical campaigning, Rove turned the tables. Piece by piece, week after week, he took apart John McCain in the media, and then went on television and shifted the blame onto McCain's staff. Soon, the public was left with an image of McCain as as hot-tempered, war-damaged veteran. McCain's underdog groundswell for a campaign finance reform was scuttled by Karl Rove.


Karl Rove got his start in politics when he ran for president of the College Republicans, and met Lee Atwater in 1972. Shortly afterward Rove was investigated by the Republican National Committee for teaching political campaign "dirty tricks" to college students. Young George W. Bush worked with Atwater and Rove to create the Willie Horton scandal that scuttled Dukakis in 1988.

After Atwater died of brain cancer, Rove and Bush went on to blindside the popular Democratic incumbent Ann Richards in the 1994 Texas governor's race. Rove carried on the strategy from Atwater: scare-tactics, shocking TV ads and personal attacks. Rove minimized Bush's public appearances and limited the spontaneous public speaking of the tongue-tied Bush, a tactic Rove reprised in the recent race for President.

Rove used Governor Bush's re-election campaign in 1998 as an opportunity to launch Bush's White House career. Democrat Gary Mauro was a weak target, but Rove needed a landslide to create the impression of a racially-diverse, popular mandate. He and Bush campaigned hard to decimate an already weak opponent and win the support of minorities usually hostile to the right wing agenda. Rove claimed that Bush's popularity among Latinos was proof that a Compassionate Conservative could "erase the gender gap, open the doors of the Republican Party to new faces and new voices, and win without sacrificing principles."

Bush won almost 50% of all Hispanic votes, according to his own "fuzzy math." The Bush machine trumpeted that Bush had created "political history," with 49% of the Hispanic vote, and 27% of the black vote, citing the exit poll conducted by Voter News Service of New York.

However, a co-designer of the Voter News Service survey, political scientist Bob Stein, said that the actual data on Bush's Hispanic vote was somewhere between "the high 30s and low 40s." He said Bush's percentage among black voters was probably in the low 20s. The Willie Velasquez Institute in San Antonio's exit poll showed Bush got 39%, and a local El Paso poll, conducted by a professor at the University of Texas, showed Bush with 37% of Hispanic voters. When the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram called the Bush campaign with questions about this discrepancy, they were referred to the "governor's consultant," Karl Rove. The paper glumly stated, "Attempts to reach Rove were unsuccessful."

Compassionate Communist

At what point did the Republicans change from being the starched old white men of golf courses and martinis to the merciless, tech-savvy, media manipulators? After eight years of Bill Clinton, the Republicans were eager for blood, and a change in tactics was badly needed. For Campaign 2000, Marxist-turned-Reaganite David Horowitz handed the Republicans a little book called The Art of Political War, which claimed that the Left had a monopoly on strategy, aggression and tactics. The Republican Party would not reclaim the White House until they crushed their opponent with the mercilessness of total war.

Rove adopted the book as his own political Bible. Horowitz wrote The Art of Political War to call on Republicans to create a politics that appealed to the masses: the working families, gays, unions, etc. Karl Rove praised The Art of Political War as indispensible and provided the cover blurb. ("A perfect pocket guide to winning on the political battlefield"-Karl Rove") It is recognized today as the genesis of "Compassionate Conservatism" and is used nation-wide by the Republican Party Chairs in 32 states.

Horowitz took what he learned in the late sixties, and put it in the service of the same people he once referred to as "pigs." [footnote: Radical Son, pp. TK also, for legalization advocates: note that as recently as this 1997 memoir, Horowitz recalls his brief use of cannabis in the late 60's as "the experience was seductive-but I remained skittish."] Certain fundamentals of Horowitz's politics have remained the same througout his time: politics is war by other means, and one thing you can rely on in America is that people tend to root for the underdog. But since only 10% of the country identifies themselves as "hard Republicans," Horowitz realized that the right-wing agenda would be unpalatable to the majority, unless it was wrapped in a different package. Compassionate Conservatism was born, a new brand indentity for the intolerance, fear and hate of the right-wing.

Karl Rove became the salesman and Bush was the fun and fuzzy mascot. Rove is the perfect salesman: a ballsy top dog who swaggers like the old Texan he is. He used the language of the people to promote his candidate with maximum aggression. He understood that the agenda was to promote inclusiveness, and openness, at least until the White House is taken.

Karl Rove is known for discipline and hard-right ideological rigor. Yet, he is also known to burst spontaneously into song. Like Bush, he speaks in the common tongue. On the television discussions of the campaign, he would taunt his McCainite opponents, calling them "Man." His salty use of late 60's youth culture slang obscures the fact that he's a leading conservative.

He shrinks at the dynamism and inclusive energy of modern thought. When asked what political writers he is most influenced by, he states Myron Magnet, Gertrude Himmelfarb, and James Q. Wilson.

Over the course of the campaign, George W. Bush also made somewhat dubious claims to have read Myron Magnet. But was this just a rote answer handed him by his senior advisor?

Magnet, in his book, The Dream and the Nightmare, states that the late 60's counterculture was a huge social disaster because it set a bad example for the underclass. The hippies encouraged indulgence and laziness instead of the virtues of hard work and competition. Yet, Bush doesn't seem to have the same harsh memories of the 60's. On Newshour with Jim Lehrer on April, 27th, 2000, Bush seemed to not quite understand what Magnet could have been talking about. Bush spoke about "responsible behavior" being the legacy and the political consciousness of the 60's. As Mark Crispin Miller points out in his excellent The Bush Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder (coming out this June from Norton), Bush stated, "I'm a strong candidate because I come from the baby boomer generation recognizing that we've got to usher in an era of responsible behavior."

Mark Crispin Miller writes "that inversion of the Myron Magnet thesis was the opposite of what Bush had meant to say-and what he did say all the time." Perhaps. Or perhaps Bush's memories of the 60's were a lot of pot and cocaine, so much so that a theory based on hate just didn't compare. [for more on David Horowitz, see's confrontational feature on him, here >> ]


When the media stumbled upon a story regarding George W. Bush's 1972 cocaine possession arrest, Rove had to find a way to kill the story. He did so by destroying the messenger. Pop culture biographer J.H. Hatfield was on hand, traveling in and out of Texas at the time, interviewing Rove and other Bush aides to research the premier Bush biography "Lone Star Rising." The book that was later titled Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President, a more critical title that reflects its turbulent publishing history.

One of Hatfield's acquaintances and primary sources was longtime Bush friend and schoolmate, Clay Johnson, a longtime Dallas businessman. When Hatfield was convicted of a felony in the late 80's, it’s likely Johnson learned of it.

When Hatfield approached them to research Bush, the Bush campaign already had the upper hand by knowing Hatfield’s felony record: a perfect way to discredit all stories of Bush's drug past. In October 1999, St. Martin's published Fortunate Son amidst a lot of buzz and hope of positive attention from major media. However, St. Martin's was hit with a one-two punch.

First, the New York Times refused to give the book the coverage St. Martin’s was counting on. So, St. Martin's dragged Hatfield into a meeting and leaned on him to reveal the confidential Bush campaign sources that told him the cocaine story. Fearing retribution, and honoring his journalistic code, Hatfield refused.

Then, St. Martin's learned that the Dallas Morning News was about to break news about Hatfield's felony record. The Bush Campaign began to publicly make legal threats against the book, and the media uproar about Hatfield's felony record killed the book, and the cocaine story. More than 70,000 copies of Fortunate Son were withdrawan.

"They're heat! Furnace fodder!" snapped the vitriolic St. Martin's Vice President Sally J. Richardson. The media focus shifted from reporting on Hatfield's Bush story to loud, loose talk about Hatfield's felony. The major media tended to sing the same chorus: "How ironic, this Hatfield character who was involved in a dirty plot to kill his boss in 1987 is trying to verify these rumors about young Bush being arrested for cocaine possession in 1972.

But this story couldn't be true, of course, since Hatfield's a criminal...right?"

I borrowed one of the rare, repossessed copies of the book from a friend and read it on a bus trip. I traveled with a pack of sticky notes and hit every page with something relevant and newsworthy and under-reported about Bush’s past. Pretty soon, the book overflowed with the edges of sticky notes poking out like the feathers of a peacock.

Bush dodged the draft, was a C student at Yale, lost a lot of other people's money in boom times in the Texas Oil market, was investigated by the S.E.C. for insider trading. What a garish life of special favors, what a clear colorful pattern of cut corners, what blurry values. I came back to New York and maneuvered my company, Soft Skull Press, Inc. to step in and acquire the rights to the book. Meanwhile, Hatfield was in hiding.

The tabloids were after him. Camera crews camped on his front lawn for two weeks. The phone rang off the hook. They all wanted to know who the confidential sources were who fed him the story, but Hatfield stuck to his journalist code. His sources were confidential. They had talked to him under condition of anonyminity. But J.H. Hatfield, our man in Arkansas, was coming to New York.

Two months after the bloody October of Hatfield’s public destruction, it was a crisp sunny winter day in New York City. Although Hatfield had the flu, he taped his portion of 60 Minutes early in the morning, and I went in later. Leslie Stahl, the elegant host of the program, had pointedly asked me on tape if I knew the sources. I said no, but that Hatfield had promised to reveal them to me. After the taping, we walked through the Lower East Side.

I had taken Hatfield and his lawyer, and my coworker to lunch at a Chinese restaurant. I needed to hold Jim Hatfield to his promise to share the sources with me; I needed to see the phone and travel records. I needed to know the whole thing wasn't a big sick joke. I needed to be 100% sure. My gut had me already believing in Jim Hatfield.

He believed in what we were doing. He stood behind all his research. He admired me for making a maverick decision, and attempting to redeem his battered book. Hatfield stopped on the corner of Ludlow and Rivington and turned to me in the bright light. His hands were stuffed deep into the pockets of his Navy peacoat. He looked tired, but determined. He looked down the street. "You've got to take this information with you to your grave. You've got to swear." I swore not to repeat it to anyone. I also knew that the truth is bigger than one person.

We would both choose to reveal the sources publicly when the time was right, when we had no other choice. When we no longer had anything left to lose.

The Eufaula Connection?

That was Karl Rove. The other top Bush advisor was Clay Johnson. The Bush confidante, was his minister, Mayfield. Now you know. Remember, you’ve got to swear now....


By February 2000, McCain was gaining on Bush in terms of charisma, message and experience. His promises of campaign finance reform struck a chord nationwide, and on the first of February, 2000, he blew Bush away in the New Hampshire primary.

McCain defeated the New York Republican Party establishment in the courts, and forced the Bush-loyal party bosses to put him on the ballot for the upcoming New York primary. Bush appeared at the rightwing Bob Jones University, in an attempt to get his campaign back on track by appealling to the party's extreme right. Showing his true colors as a politician, McCain's campaign desperately phoned Catholic voters with a recorded message that implied Bush was anti-Catholic by association with the pope-haters at Bob Jones University.

Depite his acrimony on television, Rove knew that McCain's manueveurs were the desperate acts of a campaign in its death throes: Bush would sweep all major primaries from here on in, and take the Republican Nomination in July. By the end of February, Rove was homing in on Gore. By the end of February, New Hampshire was in the distant past. Rumors were circulating (from who knows where?) that McCain was a bit crazy and had a bad temper from being a P.O.W. in Viet Nam.

Al Gore clearly had Bush beat on experience, intelligence and gravitas. While Bush had lost $371 million of other people's money in bad investments and bankrupt oil companies, Gore had served as a Senator and later a Vice President. While Texas had the worst air pollution of any state, Gore was a moderate interested in developing new energy alternatives. Part of Rove's strategy was to trip the cumbersome Gore up on petty questions about Gore's minor factual errors.

Instead of attacking Bush, Gore spent time countering minor barbs about whether he had lied in statements about inventing the Internet or attending a Texas fire disaster site. Perhaps this shows that Gore didn't have as shrewd a top strategist.

While the Democrats watched polls and tried to create a likeable, casual personality for their stiff candidate, Rove kept harping on Gore's for being "a serial exaggerator" and kept Gore in the stereotype of an uncoordinated egghead. On October 8 with both campaigns slinging mud feverishly, Rove went on NBC's "Meet the Press," and accused Gore of being "a man who has difficulty telling the truth. He constantly exaggerates and embellishes."

Rove's strategy of disinformation follows the pattern set by all masters of public opinion of the 20th Century. Rove is the kingmaker. He is the man behind the man. Today, he works in the White House, in a job invented just for him: the Office of Strategic Initiatives. What does that mean? It means anything Mr. Rove wants it to mean.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Gorilla Radio for July 11th, 2005

Gorilla Radio for Monday, July 11th, 2005

This week on GR:

Patricia Goldsmith of Long Island Media Watch on America's coming Medicaid Wars

Chris Hedges, author and former war correspondent for the New York Times and Christian Science Monitor and what every person should know about war.

And, Janine Bandcroft bringing us up to speed with all that's good to do in and around Victoria this week.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, 104.3 cable, and on the internet at: He also serves as a contributing editor at the progressive web news site:

You can check out the GR blog at:

Gorilla Radio
July 11, 2005
5-6pm pdt

With so many outrages perpetrated by the Bush administration, it’s easy to miss one or two; especially on the domestic front.

Consistent with the privatization regime he would force on the vanquished denizens of the empire’s outpost, at home too the ruthlessness of “the project” demands the weak and needy be catapulted from sight, stranded upon the merciless ice floes of the market economy.

The latest victims to be cast adrift are the millions receiving Medicaid.

In a move that may ring familiar in Canadian ears, the Fed has starved transfer payments to States-administered health care systems, referring them to privatization. Patricia Goldsmith is with Long Island Media Watch, a New York-based grassroots watchdog group. Her writing appears in, among other places, the progressive websites, Dissident and Democratic

Patricia Goldsmith and the looming Medicaid Wars in the first half.

And; enjoying a sunny summer’s day in North America, you wouldn’t know we are at war.

Right now, soldiers serving the interests of both Americans and Canadians are on the field of battle in foreign lands. What we citizens do see of these wars is first run through a media laundry, scrubbed and pressed into palatable packages that allow we sleep soundly as our agents maim and destroy far off lands.

As Londoners discovered last week, occasionally, our collective actions return as spasms of extreme violence. There and then, the media displays the blood and guts essence of what war means, the pathetic fate of random victims, the waste and violation of humanity, but never do they continue the conversation, exploring the nature of this beast writ more large, or the devastation wreaked upon the innocent lives we routinely ravage.

Chris Hedges is a former war correspondent and author. He spent more than fifteen years reporting from various fields of battle for The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, and America’s National Public Radio. He shared the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting and that year’s Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. His books include, War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, and What Every Person Should Know About War.

Chris Hedges and getting to know war in the second half.

And; Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with all that’s good to do in and around Victoria this week.

G-Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the mainstream media.

Some past guests include: M. Junaid Alam, Joel Bakan, Maude Barlow, David Barsamian, William Blum, Vincent Bugliosi, Helen Caldicott, Noam Chomsky, Michel Chossudovsky, Diane Christian, Juan Cole, David Cromwell, Jon Elmer, Reese Erlich, Jim Fetzer, Laura Flanders, Susan George, Stan Goff, Robert Greenwald, Denis Halliday, Chris Hedges, Julia Butterfly Hill, Robert Jensen, Dahr Jamail, Diana Johnstone, Kathy Kelly, Naomi Klein, Anthony Lappe, Frances Moore Lappe, Dave Lindorff, Jim Lobe, Wayne Madsen, Stephen Marshall, Linda McQuaig, George Monbiot, Loretta Napoleoni, John Nichols, Kurt Nimmo, Greg Palast, Michael Parenti, William Rivers Pitt, Sheldon Rampton, Paul de Rooij, John Ross, Danny Schechter, Vandana Shiva, Norman Solomon, Starhawk, Grant Wakefield, Bernard Weiner, Mickey Z., Dave Zirin, and many others.

Frog March Chorus Warms for Rove

Frog March Chorus Warms for Rove

The Nation - David Corn - At a public meeting in the summer of 2003, Joseph Wilson, responding to a question about the leak, quipped that it would be interesting "to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs." He then had to pull back from that comment and concede he had no evidence to support his hunch that Rove was one of the leakers. With Newsweek's latest article, we may be getting closer to frog-marching time.

copyright 2005- David Corn- (used by permission of Agence Global)

David Corn Sun Jul 10, 2005 1:28 PM ET
UPDATE: The Newsweek story I described below is out. Reporter Michael Isikoff has obtained a copy of an email that Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper sent his bureau chief, Michael Duffy, on July 11, 2003--three days before conservative columnist Bob Novak first published the leak that outed CIA officer Valerie Wilson/Plame. In that email, Cooper wrote that he had spoken to Rove on "double super secret background" and that Rove had told him that Joseph Wilson's "wife...apparently works at the agency on wmd issues." "Agency" means CIA. Read the full Newsweek piece here, and read the item below for why it is so important.

Time to get ready for the
Karl Rove frog-march?

David Corn
The Nation

July 9, 2005

I don't usually blog on Saturday evenings. But I've received information too good not to share immediately. It was only yesterday that I was bemoaning the probability that -- after a week of apparent Rove-related revelations--it might be a while before any more news emerged about the Plame/CIA leak. Yet tonight I received this as-solid-as-it-gets tip: on Sunday Newsweek is posting a story that nails Rove. The newsmagazine has obtained documentary evidence that Rove was indeed a key source for Time magazine's Matt Cooper and that Rove--prior to the publication of the Bob Novak column that first publicly disclosed Valerie Wilson/Plame as a CIA official -- told Cooper that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife apparently worked at the CIA and was involved in Joseph Wilson's now-controversial trip to Niger.

To be clear, this new evidence does not necessarily mean slammer-time for Rove. Under the relevant law, it's only a crime for a government official to identify a covert intelligence official if the government official knows the intelligence officer is under cover, and this documentary evidence, I'm told, does not address this particular point. But this new evidence does show that Rove -- despite his lawyers claim that Rove "did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA" -- did reveal to Cooper in a deep-background conversation that Wilson's wife was in the CIA.

No wonder special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald pursued Cooper so fiercely. And Fitzgerald must have been delighted when Time magazine -- over Cooper's objection--surrendered Cooper's emails and notes, which, according to a previous Newsweek posting by Michael Isikoff, named Rove as Cooper's source. In court on Wednesday, Fitzgerald said that following his receipt of Cooper's emails and notes "it is clear to us we need [Cooper's] testimony perhaps more so than in the past." This was a clue that Fitzgerald had scored big when he obtained the Cooper material.

This new evidence could place Rove in serious political, if not legal, jeopardy (or, at least it should). If what I am told is true, this is proof that the Bush White House was using any information it could gather on Joseph Wilson -- even classified information related to national security -- to pursue a vendetta against Wilson, a White House critic. Even if it turns out Rove did not break the law regarding the naming of intelligence officials, this new disclosure could prove Rove guilty of leaking a national security secret to a reporter for political ends. What would George W. Bush do about that?

On September 27, 2003 -- after the news broke that the Justice Department, responding to a request from the CIA, was investigating the Plame/CIA leak -- White House press secretary Scott McClellan said of the Plame/CIA leak, "That is not the way this White House operates, and no one would be authorized to do such a thing." He also declared that the allegation that Rove was involved in this leak was "a ridiculous suggestion, and it is simply not true." Days later, Bush issued a straightforward statement about the Plame/CIA leak:

There are too many leaks of classified information in Washington. If there's leaks out of my administration, I want to know who it is, and if the person has violated the law, the person will be taken care of.

Perhaps Bush won't have to "take care of" Rove if this new evidence does not lead to a prosecutable violation of the law. But Bush also called on any government official with knowledge of the leak to "come forward and speak out." Has Rove done so? No. So it seems he violated a presidential command. Would Bush be obliged to fire him for insubordination? And there's another key point to consider: whether Rove told the truth when he testified to Fitzgerald's grand jury. Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, has acknowledged that Rove appeared before the grand jury, and Luskin has said that Rove did speak to Cooper prior to the publication of the Novak column. But what did Rove tell Fitzgerald and the grand jury about this conversation with Cooper? And -- here's the big question -- does Rove's account jibe with the new documentary evidence that Newsweek is scheduled to disclose? If it does not, Fitzgerald would have a good start on a perjury charge against Rove.

At a public meeting in the summer of 2003, Joseph Wilson, responding to a question about the leak, quipped that it would be interesting "to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs." He then had to pull back from that comment and concede he had no evidence to support his hunch that Rove was one of the leakers. (By the way, Novak cited two unnamed Bush administration officials when he published the Plame/CIA leak.) With Newsweek's latest article, we may be getting closer to frog-marching time.

By the way, for other recent pieces I've written on the Plame/CIA leak case, please check out my own blog at

Willie's Revenge: BioWillie

Biodiesel is Willie's Surprise Drivetime Hit

Andrew Gumbel reports from Carl's Corner, Texas

July 9, 2005 by the lndependent/UK

When country singer Willie Nelson goes on the road, his tour bus is fueled not by petrol but by biodiesel. Now he has launched his own version, BioWillie, at a truck stop near Austin, and customers are queuing up to buy it.

Carl Cornelius isn't just interested in offering truckers a place to fill up their 18-wheelers and hang their hats for a while along the long, lonely highways of northern Texas. He is intent on starting a revolution.

Carl is the irrepressibly colorful owner and impresario of Carl's Corner, a truck stop 60 miles south of Dallas that has been drawing drivers for more than 20 years with its lavishly welcoming restaurant (house specialty: chicken-fried steak) and a variety of entertainments that have included a swimming pool and hot tub, the only alcohol-serving bar in an otherwise dry county, live country music and even, during the most down-and-dirty period of his entrepreneurial career, a strip joint.

Now he has a new attraction to offer: biodiesel fuel. The idea of powering trucks and cars with vegetable oils and animal fats may not be new in Europe, but in the United States - especially a United States uncomfortably aware of its dependence on Middle Eastern oil in the wake of the 11 September attacks - it is both a novelty and a cause of growing excitement.

Truckers who have tried it love it because it is cheaper than petroleum diesel, gives them better mileage and cleans out their engines. Farmers are excited because it offers them the prospect of a brand new market for their products - especially now that concern over mad cow disease threatens to restrict or cut off food-related uses of animal fats.

Cornelius loves it partly because it has given him the opportunity to push his business in a new direction, partly because he, too, sees it as a way of changing America and the world for the better, and partly because it has put him in business with his old friend, the legendary songwriter and country singer Willie Nelson. Nelson has been an energetic advocate for truckers, farmers and the hardscrabble American heartland for decades - he organized the Farm Aid concerts in the 1980s - and became a convert to biodiesel after his wife filled her Volkswagen with it at their holiday home in Hawaii a few years ago. Now he has lent his name and his considerable celebrity marketing skills to a whole new line of fuel called BioWillie.

And that is what truckers are now descending on Carl's Corner to buy. Since October, they have been able to fill up on B20 (20 per cent biodiesel to 80 per cent petroleum) beneath Carl's celebrated canopy adorned with six brightly painted polyurethane dancing frogs. Starting last weekend, when a raucous Independence Day weekend celebration of music and spit roasts launched a grand re-opening at Carl's Corner, the operation has expanded to include B40 (40 per cent biodiesel) and B95.

The four-lane fuel stop is being expanded to 10 lanes. The back of the property, where the pool and hot tub used to be, has been converted into a state-of-the-art, 800-seat theater adorned with Texan horse motifs, old Hank Williams posters and framed sheet music pages from Nelson's most famous songs. Plans have already begun to build a dedicated biodiesel production facility a few hundred yards away.

"I am so doggone enthused about it right now, it makes my liver quiver," Cornelius said. "We don't have to be pioneers in this, because Europe's already ahead of us by a dozen years. All we've got to do is a little plagiarism ...

"We've got the resources in the United States ... we've got feedstock from animal fat, soybeans, sunflower seeds, the whole works. All we need is plants to process the biodiesel and get it going. If everybody's got biodiesel, we don't need awful wars. We can be totally independent from foreign oil."

Outside, in the sizzling heat of the Texas summer, truckers lined up for their own fix of BioWillie. Some had heard about it because they've been coming to Carl's Corner for years. Some heard Willie Nelson talking about it on his regular satellite radio program - satellite radio being to truckers in the digital age what CB radio was a generation ago, a community-defining forum for what is otherwise a dauntingly lonely line of work.

Cynthy Cook, a compactly built driver from Nebraska who was hauling beef ribs across the country, said she had been interested in biodiesel for a while and found out about Carl's Corner on the internet. "You know how women are," she joked. "We're very nosey. I had to see what was going on." She, like her fellow truckers, could talk about her vehicle and her engine more intimately than some spouses can talk about their partners. So when it came to listing the advantages of biodiesel, she could reel them off with almost machine-gun speed. "It burns clean, it gives me better fuel mileage, it doesn't gel up in winter as easy and it helps the farmers out." Seeing me scribble down the list as fast as I could manage, she slowed down for a moment to summarize, with a laugh: "It's good shit."

Bernard Mugge, a ginger-bearded trucker from Indiana wearing a "Don't Mess With Texas" T-shirt - he loves the Lone Star State and stops off every chance he gets - said his interest was primarily economic, especially at a time of precipitous fuel price rises. "We don't make it out here," he said. "By the time I've made the truck payments and given the broker his cut and the company his cut and spent $20 (£11.50) to $30 a day just to eat, I'm getting maybe a third of what I make. I'm $11,000 in the hole and I just can't get out of the hole. So every little piece helps. If I can save on fuel, I'll do it."

The truckers say biodiesel gives them up to one mile per gallon of extra fuel efficiency. On big rigs that normally get little more than five miles to the gallon, the difference is huge - representing an annual saving on fuel costs that could run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Biodiesel also offers one of the last best hopes to independent farmers, a dying breed in the American heartland because of the increasing dominance of vast agribusiness conglomerates and a federal government all too often indifferent to the plight of Americans in sparsely populated rural areas, representing little or no interest to them at election time.

In Nebraska and Iowa, two of the more progressive plains states, biodiesel production facilities are already up and running. This week, a group of small investors in impoverished western Kansas announced they were putting together about $40m to build a facility to produce both biodiesel and ethanol, another vegetable-based fuel. In Texas, various business entrepreneurs are believed to be working on building as many as eight facilities across the state.

Whether biodiesel can really fulfill the promise that Cornelius and others see in it remains an open question. Ethanol triggered a similar wave of excitement in the 1990s, but has provoked mixed feelings since - first because a number of studies showed that producing ethanol takes as much energy, if not more, than can be extracted from it afterwards; and secondly because it became apparent big agribusiness companies were taking advantage of the fad, and the federal subsidies that came with it, to dump their excess grain at the expense of small producers.

Biodiesel may be vulnerable to similar problems. A study published this week by researchers at Cornell and Berkeley universities suggested biodiesel, like ethanol, may require more energy to make than it produces. That finding, however, is contradicted by a 1998 study by the Environmental Protection Agency, which said that for every unit of energy going into biodiesel, 3.2 units are generated.

Mark Bernstein, an energy specialist and senior policy researcher with the Rand Corporation, said the truth was probably somewhere in the middle, not least because the technologies for extracting energy from raw materials were evolving all the time. "If you are using waste products - used oil and grease - then there's probably a net energy benefit you don't get if you have to grind the seeds from scratch," he said. "It also depends on the plant. Some plants are better for converting than others. The thing about biodiesel and ethanol is that they are good niche markets and we need those niche markets. But it's also clear that for a wide-scale use, the technology is not here yet."

Converting used oil and grease is an intriguing possibility. In a country where obesity rates are soaring, restaurants throw out an estimated 2.5 billion pounds of waste cooking oil every year. Could that be recycled profitably? Could it be that what is making Americans fat could also make them more fuel-efficient?

A group of students from the University of Virginia is putting that theory to the test with a cross-country road trip to Alaska in a souped-up, 20-year-old school bus. According to a piece in the Washington Post this week, the students have been stopping at restaurants and provoking all kinds of eyebrow-raising reactions by asking permission to siphon off their grease dumps. The slogan they have put on the side of the bus reads: "Powered by vegetable oil."

In many ways, biodiesel is to working-class heartland America what hybrid petrol-electric vehicles are to energy-conscious liberals in coastal cities and liberal university towns - a way of feeling better about the US's voracious appetite for fossil fuels and making their consumption a little more reasonable.

Cornelius, for one, has read his history and knows countries that do not look out for the big questions about their economies end up with depressions, political mayhem and families burning their furniture to stay warm in winter. "This is about changing the direction of the American economy," he said. And he has every intention of doing just that. As a shirt he has periodically sold in his convenience store, Carl's Potbellied Western Shirt, proclaims, he doesn't give up easily. His motto: "Cain't never could."

Alternative fuels

Biodiesel, manufactured in about 35 plants across the United States, is just the latest of numerous responses to the problem of energy supply. According to researchers such as Mark Bernstein of the Rand Corporation, the most promising avenues to pursue to reduce dependence on foreign oil are, first, mandating increased fuel efficiency in motor vehicles - something the Bush administration and Congress appear unwilling to countenance - and, second, developing hydrogen-based fuel systems.


This is on the Bush administration's radar, but is probably a decade away as a large-scale proposition. The city of Los Angeles possesses a few hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and operates a special high-pressure hydrogen fuel filling station, but this is only a pilot project for the moment.


California, a pioneer in alternative energies, had a big push a few years ago to install special recharging stations in public parking places. The problem with electric vehicles, at least for the moment, is that they do not go very far before they have to be recharged - no more than 100-150 miles.


Electric cars have been largely superseded by hybrid petrol-electric vehicles, which use fuel to fire up the engine and charge up the battery, which then takes over on downhill stretches or at lower speeds. Hybrids, pioneered by Toyota and Honda, have proved a huge hit on the US coasts. American manufacturers are rushing to put out their own hybrids, including four-wheel-drive versions.


In the heartland, the trend has been towards alternative fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol - firstly because they are more suited to trucks, and secondly because they can help small farmers otherwise struggling to stay in business. It is a cyclical arrangement: animal fats can be used to make biodiesel, while the left-over pulp from corn used to make ethanol can be put back into animal feedlots.

Ethanol has enjoyed federal subsidies for years, and biodiesel is beginning to as well. In Texas, biodiesel is exempt from state tax, so it can retail for about the same as traditional petroleum diesel - roughly $2.30 (£1.32) a gallon (3.8 liters).

© 2005 Independent News & Media (UK) Ltd.

Countdown to Medicaid Meltdown

DAY 19

Bredesen’s Drug Cap Violates the ADA Five Scrip limit

for people in the community, unlimited free drugs for those in institutions

By Tim Wheat

(BOULDER, COLORADO) Governor Phil Bredesen’s Medicaid prescription drug proposal treats people in institutions to an unrestricted supply of free prescription drugs while citizens with disabilities attempting to live in the community are limited to five medications.

The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act defines institutionalization as a unique area of discrimination directed toward people with disabilities. The five-prescription limit of medications is illegal discrimination for TennCare enrollees with disabilities.

In Fisher v. Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the state of Oklahoma attempted to limit medications to people living in the community, but because their was no limit on the drugs given to people in nursing homes, the state’s program was ruled illegal discrimination by the 10th Circuit Court in Denver.

Since the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act people with disabilities have won the right to full participation in civic life, and cannot be unnecessarily locked away or blocked from equal participation. The 1999 Olmstead decision and the US Department of Justice’s ruling on the Laguna Honda Nursing Home further clarified the principal of institutionalization as discrimination: "The Supreme Court [in Olmstead] has made clear that unnecessary isolation of individuals with disabilities in institutions, including nursing homes, is discrimination that diminishes individuals' ability to lead full and independent lives. The [ADA] requires, and we will ensure, that people with disabilities, like all Americans, have equal access and opportunity to participate in community life."

The governor suggests his drug limit will cut costs, but it also isolates and injures people with disabilities in Tennessee. The policy makes nursing homes the prime providers for people with disabilities, while those that struggle for equality in the community have more barriers placed in front of them by the state. Bredesen discriminates against people with disabilities by making institutionalization and isolation the state policy of Tennessee.

Tennessee is already the worst of all 50 US states at providing alternatives to nursing homes. One dollar is provided for home and community alternatives for every $149 spent on facilities. Institutions are the most expensive and least desirable form of long-term care. The governors proposed drug policy, which favors institutions, would undoubtedly result in more expensive unnecessary confinement.

Federal Medicaid policy was developed in the 1960s and has an institutional bias because, at the time, that was the only delivery system for people with disabilities. The Nursing Home Industry has profited from this bias by dominating the market in every Tennessee County. Even though 70% of their funding comes from government sources, the nursing home industry has one on the largest lobbies in the state to keep the public funds flowing to facilities. Every other US state has some level of cost saving alternatives to nursing homes. By waiving institutional requirements states may offer optional home and community services at huge savings to the state. Each person who is eligible for a nursing home level of care, that is served in the community instead, will save the state about $23,000.00, or about one-third of institutionalization.

The real reason for this unique definition of discrimination is that people with disabilities don’t want to be hidden away any longer. People with disabilities are stepping out of the shadows of the dark discrimination of seclusion and into the light of public participation. They are leading the protest of Bredesen’s TennCare cuts and people with disabilities will be seen on the landscape of local, state and federal policy. Get used to it, disability is part of life. - Tim Wheat

DAY SEVENTEEN: People with HIV and AIDS Join the Protest

Gov. Bredesen created consent decree changes he is going to court to overturn.

(NASHVILLE, July 6, 2005) Yesterday, people with HIV and AIDS joined the demonstration outside Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen’s office. People infected with HIV or who have AIDS have much to fear if they are trapped in the governor’s massive healthcare cuts.

"It's like a double whammy," said one of the HIV/AIDS patients losing prescription coverage. "You find a treatment that works, but many people will be worse off after stopping treatment than if they had never been on it."

TennCare spokeswoman Marilyn Elam said unlimited prescription benefits are a major reason for the program's increasing costs. "If I get sick and put in the hospital,” said Tim Vance of Dowelltown, “then it's going to cost the state a lot more than my medicines."

Gov. Bredesen has blamed the need for enormous cuts in enrollment on consent decrees made rather than admit the state was involved in illegal activity. Testimony in the Grier case however, shows that Gov. Bredesen directed all of the changes and approved the consent decrees. Bredesen’s website states: Following a full year of study, the Governor in 2004 proposed a comprehensive TennCare reform strategy designed to preserve full enrollment by placing reasonable limits on benefits. The plan won broad support from legislators, providers and enrollees, but public-interest lawyers thwarted it by refusing to lift legal roadblocks to reform. []

The governor praised the consent decrees at the time, but now Bredesen condemns the decrees and has gone back into court at the taxpayers expense to change the settlements. His own declaration that TennCare must undergo massive enrollment cuts appears to be because of his own negligence and mismanagement.

"I think what this shows is that the governor has been distracting the public with talk of the consent decrees," said Michelle Johnson of the Tennessee Justice Center. "

The problem for the taxpayers is that if we have the wrong diagnosis for the problem, we are going to get the wrong treatment." "There were always financial problems in the TennCare program,” said Manny Martins who oversaw the TennCare program last year for Bredesen, “but I did not relate them to the consent decree."

Today the Grier testimony has been made over changing the definition of what is "medically necessary." The governor is proposing to restrict the definition, which advocates for enrollees say will significantly lessen the effect of doctors' opinions on treatment. Dr. Stephen Cha said making the definition more restrictive would eliminate important and necessary care that doctors know to be effective but haven't been the subject of clinical trials. "We're not talking about what's cost effective,” said Dr. Cha, a clinical scholar in the Department of General Internal Medicine at Yale University, “we're talking about what's less adequate.” -Tim Wheat

DAY THIRTEEN: Bredesen ignores real savings with TennCare

Governor’s Medicaid plan fails to offer real cost-savings

(NASHVILLE, July 2, 2005) Nursing home care is a requirement of the Medicare program. Every US state asks the federal government to waive this Medicaid policy so that citizens may receive home and community based services to remain in their own home. Institutional care is the most expensive and least desirable form of long-term care, but Tennessee offers almost no alternatives to institutions. For every dollar Tennessee spends on alternatives to nursing homes, the state spends $149 on costly institutions.

Tennessee is last in the nation in providing home and community long-term care services. Faced with few alternatives, many Tennesseans do without healthcare rather than live in a nursing home. The TennCare system is burdened with the huge cost of institutional services, while not providing cost-saving alternatives. Activists have occupied the governor’s office day and night since June 20. The coalition of TennCare supporters is demanding that the governor stop the massive disqualification of citizens in need of healthcare, and openly discuss the issues. Governor Bredesen has refused to meet openly with the demonstrators; he has offered only closed-door meetings. TennCare is the Tennessee Medicaid program that offers additional healthcare coverage beyond the federal minimal requirements.

Governor Bredesen’s “plan” is to return to the federal minimum, terminating healthcare to over 300 thousand citizens. Yesterday activists were pushed out of the office and into the adjacent hall. “We have always had someone in the room,” said Don DeVaul. “I was away at the bathroom when they strong-armed the door closed and refused to let anyone back in for the day.”

The Nursing Home Industry and their powerful lobby work to keep a strong hold on the public funding. Although most nursing homes are for-profit, nearly 70% of their income is from government funds. This corporate welfare inflates the cost to taxpayers and weights TennCare down. To keep the nursing home lobby satisfied, the governor’s plan does not offer any cost-saving alternatives to institutionalization.

State governments across the US are replacing institutional services with home and community based alternatives that allow citizens to remain in their own homes. Typically home services cost a third of institutional care. Tennessee knows of 6,458 people currently incarcerated in nursing homes that wish to leave, but because the state has virtually no home support, they stay in expensive facilities costing the taxpayers more about $150 million.

Testimony this week in the Grier case shows that the governor’s plan, which ends healthcare coverage for 323,000 citizens, will cost an additional $100 million dollars. “The State Troopers here are watching DVD’s all night,” said Don DeVaul a TennCare enrollee outside the governor’s office. News reports over the past week have said that the demonstration at the governor’s office is costing about $2,000 per day. The figure, however, is completely artificial; the protest is a peaceful, non-violent demonstration and organizers have not asked for additional security. The decision to spend money on security is completely Gov. Bredesen’s, and the choice not to meet the demands continues the demonstration.

“Why doesn’t Bredesen station National Guard jets overhead?” asked one supporter, “the way he wastes our tax money and spins public-relations, I expect to see a large marble statue of ‘Phil the Great’ out here next week

Monday, 07/04/05
Letter: TennCare disenrollment a ‘death sentence’

To the Editor:

My father, Kennith Hodge of Gray, Tenn., is a self-employed electrician who relies on TennCare for medical coverage. Due to his income, he could not afford private health insurance. Up until this year, he only used TennCare for emergencies and regular check-ups.

In April of this year he was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma, a rare cancer of the blood and bone marrow. He was admitted to Johnson City Medical Center, and later transferred to Vanderbilt, for intensive chemotherapy. Doctors said that if he were to have any chance of survival, he would need at least 6-8 chemo treatments over the next few months. They also told him that due to the chemo side effects and weakening of his immune system that he would be out of work for at least one year and would be considered disabled. He began applying for governmental assistance for help with household bills. He was approved for foodstamps, but we are still waiting to hear from the Social Security Disability office.

In the meantime, he received notice from the state that he was one of the people whose TennCare coverage would be terminated. We filled out all the proper paperwork and sent in statements from his doctors, etc., thinking that they wouldn’t possibly disenroll him during the middle of his treatments. Boy, were we wrong. He received another notice on June 29 that he did not qualify to remain on TennCare and that his coverage would terminate on July 17th. We have filed an appeal, but unless they change their minds or he can get approved for SSI, he will have to stop receiving the treatments he needs if he is to have any chance of beating this disease. The state is basically sentencing him to die.

What I can’t understand is how young, healthy people can remain on TennCare while people who are actually sick get kicked off during the middle of their treatments and basically told that their lives are meaningless. If my dad were able to get his remaining four treatments, he would have a good shot at going into remission. If he doesn’t get them, it’s not a question of if he will survive, but when he will die. Because that is what is going to happen in 6-12 months.

We are holding out hope that he will be approved for SSI before his next round of chemo is to take place. That is in about four weeks. If that doesn’t happen, then I will hold the state, and Gov. Bredesen, responsible for my dad’s death. I urge the citizens of this state to do whatever it takes to keep Mr. Bredesen from getting re-elected. I know that I will definitely not be voting for him, and I will be urging others I know not to vote for him as well.

The state made people dependent upon TennCare. The state sat around and watched it balloon out of proportion and did nothing until it was falling apart. And now the state wants to just cut people off and decide which people deserve treatment? That is totally irresponsible and inhumane, and the state will have to answer for it.

Nancy Wike