Saturday, September 24, 2005

JAKE'S WORD: The Lessons of Katrina

Excerpt from THE LESSONS OF KATRINA By Jack Random (see Government & Politics):

"On September 22, 2005, with Hurricane Rita bearing down on the coasts of Texas and southwest Louisiana, President Bush addressed a gathering of journalists to defend the war in Iraq. What was disturbing was not only that the facts on the ground did not support his optimism but that the president considered it an appropriate time to lecture the media on foreign policy."

Response by Jake Berry: Once again. Yes, all thru. Have you heard about the destruction of evidence by the Pentagon concerning Mohammad Atta and the existence of an Al-Queda cell in the U.S. in the years 2000, 2001, and 2004? They knew they were here. They knew they intended terrorism, and shortly before the actual attacks, even the President himself knew what they were planning on doing. They did nothing to stop it. Instead they destroyed the evidence. In short - global corporations are VERY close to amassing an aggregation of capitalist empires worldwide. They may have already accomplished it. If this is true, then the governments of the world are irrelevant. Where does that leave us? Can we take government back and extract it from the hands of the global capitalists or must we resort to direct revolt against the corporations?

Random response: I am an advocate of peaceful revolution. Yes, we revolt against international conglomerate corporations by refusing to buy their goods and their stocks. We revolt by refusing to vote for any candidate who accepts their campaign contributions. Buy local. Buy informed. Buy progressive. Buy antiwar. Vote with your conscience and with your checkbook. Change is possible. Jazz.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Jake's Word


[Note: These thoughts were offered in response to “Clinton’s Revenge & The New Democrats.” Noting that the Democratic response to the Katrina crisis has been less than inspired the commentary calls for independents to rally and organize an electoral alternative.]

My thoughts exactly! Eloquently stated. And we do desperately need an outsider. But who? Who can stand up to corporate media scrutiny that will inflate every mistake? You were divorced from your first spouse? Why? Does that demonstrate faulty judgment? You took illegal drugs? Did they destroy your ability to make sound judgments now? You take prescription drugs now? Why? What is wrong with your body or mind? Will you be incapable of withstanding the stresses of office.

It will require a real populist - a devout one - with no allegiance to either party, or any major sources of funding. He or she will have to be someone we've never heard of, but with conviction and charisma, and most of all, a coherent, rational vision for the nation based on constitutional principals. He or she would also need the ability to adapt quickly, to admit mistakes quickly, and change course to what works. In other words, a chief executive with enough intelligence to grasp issues quickly and penetrate to the heart of those issues and make decisions based on a deep and broad knowledge of American and world history, on the origins and development of constitutional law and a passionate devotion to the Bill of Rights. Such a candidate could speak directly and plainly to the populace and back his arguments with history and precedent of what works and what has failed and what is most likely to work in the present system of information nuclei and corporate greed. Step on the big guy who is destroying competition and help the little guy who expands and increases competition and innovation.

And finally, we have to have an end to this political and media propaganda of America as the last remaining super power. How about no more superpowers? How about making the idea of a superpower anathema? Replace it with mutual cooperation among nations to resolve global problems. And leave national problems (like tyrants of economically destroyed third world countries) to be taken care of by the citizens of the nation. Tyrants can be contained by the global community and undermined from within by the local community, and the ultimate result of all tyranny - either cease tyranny and join the world or die in your hole.

Where is the individual who has the courage to embrace these positions and the populist appeal to draw the millions to the cause? I don't see anyone like that in the Senate or House - Robert Byrd is too old and Ted Kennedy is too stigmatized.

Ultimately the solution lies with the middle class. Will it feel the threat to its own survival acutely enough to move beyond Washington theatrics? Or will it be satisfied with new gadgets and other forms of escapism until it vanishes into a kind of third world groveling for crumbs as if they were jewels? The greed of the last thirty years, the pandering of Clinton to the right wing, and the managerial catastrophe of neo-conservative idealism have all dealt a severe blow, as you say, the worst since the great depression. And a global war would not save us now, it would sink us.

Always before, just when it seemed too late, the breaks went in our favor or the popular discontent grew so loud that things changed just enough to keep us moving forward. We're close now. About two years - four at the most. If we don't get one of those breaks soon, America will begin a descent from which it will not return. Consider England 100 years ago. Now they are (the government I mean) tagging along in hopes some American glory will rub off on them and allow them the illusion that they are still one of the great world powers. Another four years, without a break in the favor of democracy and America will be irrelevant to democracy. And I mean a real break. Not Kerry or Clinton or some other mask.

Thanks for your provocation and compassion. Keep it coming.

Jake Berry
Author of Brambu Drezi

[Postscript: Here is a beginning list of possible candidates. Note: If you're not against the war and occupation, if you're not for bringing the troops home in short order, you're not a candidate. In fact, I believe we should start a unity party for all candidates against the war. In the lost language of irony, it should be called The War Party.

For Congress: Amy Goodman, Arianna Huffington, Medea Benjamin, Norman Soloman, Robert Fisk, Robert Scheer, Cindy Sheehan, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Danny Glover. For Senate/Governor: Christianne Amanpour, Bernie Sanders, Ralph Nader, Ray Nagin, Warren Beaty, Robert Redford. For President: Jesse Ventura, Colin Powell, Robert Kennedy Jr.]

Sunday, September 18, 2005


By Jack Random


The president’s FDR moment (his pledge to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf communities no matter the cost) has already given way to a stark reality: George Bush is no FDR. He intends to use this disaster as an excuse to prosecute his master plan of economic austerity. He intends to sever the social safety net. He will rebuild New Orleans on the backs of the working poor, the jobless poor, the elderly and infirm. The trickle down policy of tax cuts for the elite will continue unabated while funding for education, health care, unemployment, job training and welfare are cut to the bone. It is what the neocons in the smoke-filled rooms laughingly refer to as “starving the beast.” The government is the beast but it is the people who will starve.


From the floor of the United Nations, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela condemned America’s defiance of international law and international institutions. Echoing decades of demands by the rightwing of the American political spectrum, he called for the United Nations to be relocated outside the United States. His point is well taken. The United Nations will never be the kind of organization that can stand against the lawlessness of its most powerful members. Rather than calling for relocation, however, I suggest an alternative community of nations with an organizational structure more resembling the American system (minus the absurdity of the electoral college). Recognizing that the world’s most powerful and wealthy nations must be represented beyond their numbers, such nations should be allotted additional votes in an upper policy-making body more resembling the United States Senate than the UN Security Council. No nation should ever possess the power of veto. No nation should have a license to commit any act of war or crime against nature with absolute impunity.


Judge John Roberts has distinguished himself as a truly brilliant man who figured out early in life that conservatives had the money and Roberts wanted his share. Within two minutes of observing the Senate confirmation hearings, I came to the following conclusions: First, Roberts is smarter than his inquisitors. If anyone thought there would be a fumble, a Bork or Thomas moment, give it up. Second, it is entirely possible that Chief Justice Roberts will not be what the right wing assumes he is. He has a sense of a constitutional right of privacy. He appears to favor a libertarian approach that will not invade the lives of individuals. He will not overturn Roe V. Wade.


While our eyes were glued to images of shock and despair on the dark skin faces of Americans stranded in the city of jazz, our military launched its latest offensive in the war: Fallujah, Ramadi, Anbar Province, and now Tel Afar. While we were absorbed in the ongoing saga of a drowning metropolis, the Iraqi insurgency answered. In a matter of days, an estimated 200 have been killed and 600 wounded. While our leaders on both sides of the mainstream aisle continue to warn us that, if we pull out, anarchy and civil war will descend, we wonder how anarchy and civil war would look any different than what we observe now.

In a particularly telling incident, insurgents lured a massive crowd to a van with the promise of employment. Over a hundred desperate day laborers died when it exploded.

There are no more jobs in Baghdad today than there are in New Orleans – which is to say, everyone who works, works for Halliburton. All contracts are in the hands of the corrupt corporations that do the government’s bidding. If you work for Halliburton, you work for Bush-Cheney and the occupation forces. There are no more free agents in Baghdad or New Orleans. You are either with us or against us. Either you live to serve us, or you die opposing us. It is the American way.


[NOTE: See for a review of Nicolas Rossier's documentary film, "Aristide & The Endless Revolution."]