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A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Harvey Wasserman

We are all now desperate runners in the epic race between doom and boom. It's a global-warmed dead heat between apocalyptic ecological collapse versus a Solartopian green-powered prosperity.

A BUZZFLASH INTERVIEW

The playing field has never, ever, ever, ever been level between right wing and liberal. The genius of Limbaugh was not Limbaugh, it was Roger Ailes. ... the person who comes up with the best marketing idea is the person who usually comes up with the winner, not the person who comes up with the best product. Right-wing talk radio is not a good product. It's toxic. It's destructive. It's negative. But it had behind it a marketing genius, Roger Ailes.

A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Dave Lindorff

Vice President Cheney says he doesn't have to obey the law relating to national security records held in the executive office because as vice president, he's not part of the executive branch.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007 07:20

Larry Beinhart: Springtime in Guantanamo

A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Larry Beinhart

Generally it's a mistake to use words such as Nazi, Fascist, and Hitler when we're talking about the Bush administration. But every once in a while, something comes along that cries out for a Colonel Klink accent and a rousing chorus of Springtime For Hitler.

The song comes from the film (and later the stage show), The Producers, by Mel Brooks. It's the story of a Broadway entrepreneur, Max Bialystock, who realizes that nobody asks where the money went when a show flops (could that be the plot behind the war in Iraq?). Anyway, Max figures he can oversell shares in the show by 25,000%, provided he's sure the show will fail. He searches for the worst play in the world and finds a paean to the Fuhrer by Franz Liebkind, once a member of Hitler's household staff.

Bialystock is willing to say whatever it takes to get the rights to Liebkind's play. The following dialogue ensues:

BARBARA'S DAILY BUZZFLASH MINUTE

Had he been so wise a man back when it could have made a difference, how much better the world would be! "Sen. Richard Lugar, a senior Republican and a reliable vote for President Bush on the war, said Monday that Bush's Iraq strategy was not working and that the United States should downsize the military's role."

Tuesday, 26 June 2007 04:41

BuzzFlash Mailbag for June 26, 2007

BUZZFLASH MAILBAG

Want to join the conversation? Share your thoughts with other Mailbag readers by clicking here.

Subject: Mujahidin Predecessors Of The Taliban Or Al Qaeda?

A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Michael Winship

Maybe you remember this bit of childhood doggerel, written by the American educator Hughes Mearns:

"Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today
Oh how I wish he'd go away."


A recent piece at HuffPo annoyed me more than a little and I wrote to complain about it to Roy Sekoff, HuffPo's managing editor. I got a very nice note back from him acknowledging this was some dicey terrain and he asked for my suggestions on how to handle it. I e-mailed him some ideas and then figured a better way to go was to just write my own column.

However, because I went after one of his boss' pals, I told Sekoff that if they didn't run it for that reason, I would understand.

About a week after I sent the piece to him, Sekoff wrote back to say (as I anticipated) that it wasn't right for HuffPo for the reason I suggested.

The reason that this story now
Deserves a second (or third) look
Is Trent soon received 250 grand
From Mister Murdoch for a book.

Trent, we're all so disappointed;
This is something we can't ignore:
Only a quarter million? Jeez, you
Should have gotten so much more.

THOM HARTMANN'S "INDEPENDENT THINKER" BOOK OF THE MONTH REVIEW

I'm a pretty jaded guy. Back in October of 2001, I wrote -- first anonymously under the pseudonym "Rusticus" and then over my own name -- the first widely-circulated article comparing the Republican response to 9/11 with the Nazi response to the burning of the Reichstag (Parliament) building in Germany in 1933 (it was titled "When Democracy Failed"). It was widely distributed and I was attacked for being an alarmist, although few say so these days.

I thought I'd seen it all. I was part of SDS in the late 1960s, was spied upon, and our group infiltrated by the Michigan State Police and the FBI. I've been followed, photographed, wiretapped, and tear-gassed.
Yet that was nearly forty years ago, and even though today I report on the daily Republican outrages 3 hours a day 5 days a week on the most listened-to progressive talk radio show in America, I have to admit -- this book shocked me.

Walking around the Take Back America Conference last week -- where I was both speaking and doing my show from Radio Row- - Matthew Rothschild walked up to me, introduced himself, and handed me a fresh-off-the-presses copy of his new book, You Have No Rights. We get an average of 6 to 8 books a day in the mail (our mail is about a cubic foot a day, in part because of all the books), and people are always handing me books at public events, but I remembered Matthew from all the great articles he's written and his work as editor of the Progressive, and so was both glad to meet him and curious about what he'd written.

I started reading it on the plane back to Oregon from Washington, DC, and couldn't put it down.

If we don't begin to expose the horrors in this book in a real, meaningful, national, and highly visible way, democracy is in even worse trouble that I thought. And, as I said, I thought I knew how bad it really was.

It's worse.

As the publisher, The New Press, notes in their summary of the book:

"I'm very liberal and sometimes my friends say I'm giving them some kind of paranoid, nutty stuff, and I agree, but then the FBI show up." -- Marc Schultz, reported to the FBI for reading an article called "Weapons of Mass Stupidity: Fox News hits a new lowest common denominator" while he stood in line at a coffee shop.

In West Virginia, Renee Jensen put up a yard sign saying "Mr. Bush: You're Fired." She's questioned by the Secret Service.

In Alabama, Lynne Gobbell put a Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker on her car. She's fired from her job.

In Vermont, Tom Treece had his high school students write essays and make posters either defending or criticizing the Iraq War. After midnight, the police entered his classroom and took photos of the student artwork.

Near Albany, New York, Stephen Downs went to a mall with his son Roger, and the two of them bought shirts in a T-shirt shop. Downs put his shirt on, went to eat in the food court -- and was arrested. The T-shirt's message? "Peace on Earth."

Most of these stories don't have the crackling immediacy of the Kent State shootings or the MSU campus shutdown or Watts burning, but in some ways they're even more sinister, because they reflect a fundamental change in the assumptions held by average people of what America is.

We're no longer the land of the free and the home of the brave; we're the land of the fearful and the home of Big Brother. We're no longer the shining beacon of democracy that inspired nascent democracies for over 200 years; we're now the example repressive dictatorships use to justify espionage against and torture of their own citizens. We're no longer a land of laws governed by We, The People, protected from our government by our Constitution; we're now a land of "leaders" who claim they owe "no accountability" to Congress or the people who elect them.

Very quickly, under the radar but in a deep and real way, we're moving from being a liberal democracy to a conservative theocratic corporatist/fascist state.

Because these stories lack the violence of the 1960s, they are all the more shocking. The subtlety of this transformation is so very Orwellian, so very much like that imagined by Huxley, that warned of by William Shirer and Milton Mayer.

In a previous book review, I suggested a Rex Stout novel about the private detective Nero Wolfe, written in the 1950s, in large part because it showed how back then a citizen could say through a locked door to the police, "Go away if you don't have a warrant." Today TV shows glorify militarized police squads kicking in doors, and citizens are arrested for filming police activity.

The America of 2007 is not the America I was born into in 1951, and with startling rapidity it's not even the America it was in the last year of the Clinton/Gore presidency just six short years ago. It highlights the banality of evil.

Which is why it's so important for us all to read Matthew Rothschild's book ... and so vital that we pass it along to those who haven't yet pulled back the curtain and seen what's going on in the shadows not covered by our infotainment industry. Buy a copy of this book to read yourself, by all means, but buy a second to pass along. It's that good.

THOM HARTMANN'S "INDEPENDENT THINKER" BOOK OF THE MONTH REVIEW

Thom Hartmann is a New York Times bestselling author and the host of The Thom Hartmann Program syndicated nationally by Air America Radio. His website is ThomHartmann.com.

 

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