Thursday, October 8, 2009

Response to Arthur Caplan's Hysterical Rant on

Holding a Mirror up to Arthur Caplan: Health Commentators Must Refrain from Hysterics or Should Have Their Agit Prop Refused by MSNBC
Matthew J. Bell October 8, 2009

Enough already with all of the alarmist and unbalanced ranting and pontificating by Big Pharma propagandists. Commentators, reporters, professorcrats, and so-called "experts" ought to be required to maintain at least the semblance of objectivity or find another line of work.

A cardinal rule for responsible dialog is the commitment to avoid straw man attacks and to interact sober-mindedly with the strongest formulation of an opponent's position that is available. Arthur Caplan, however, is apparently either ignorant of sophisticated vaccine dissent or, what is more likely, he is such a zealot for pharmaceuticals that anyone failing to show the requisite obeisance for almighty Science is guilty of profaning the temple of Asclepius. In Caplan's estimation, apparently, it is an article of faith that "sophisticated vaccine dissent" is impossible.

Arthur Caplan professes not to be able to imagine what rights are being violated when health workers are pressured into inhaling or otherwise receiving the latest witches' brew into their bodies in order to keep their jobs. Perhaps he studied bioethics in a vacuum, isolated from any political context. Perhaps he didn't pay sufficient attention to political philosophy. Or, what is perhaps more likely, Caplan thinks that his PhD and his bully pulpit put beyond question his own view about how the various pertinent rights should be ranked.

Caplan's hysterical rhetoric seems to reveal quite a bit about either the limits of his imagination or about his inflated estimation of his own opinions. But, his ridiculous and one-sided caricature of vaccine-dissent goes no distance towards addressing what dissenter's suggest are the relevant issues or allaying what to many people are salient objections. In other words, his opinion piece is irresponsible.

Caplan bestows upon himself the title of vaccine thought-policeman. And Caplan, like "most" (to echo Caplan's own vague generalizations about the supposed beliefs of "most" rally-goers) thought-cops, alludes only obliquely to "all the evidence of safety and efficacy of vaccines" that vaccine dissenters "ignore", but he doesn't scruple to provide any examples of this alleged evidence - though it constitute a veritable mountain. And, as is typical for vulgar propagandists of his ilk, he doesn't deign to quote his opposition at length or to enter into an actual point-counterpoint debate.

Instead, Caplan paints dissenters as malicious and selfish. According to Caplan, health workers who refuse the vaccine essentially want to claim for themselves the "right[s] infect [their] patient[s] and kill them" and "to create havoc in the health care workforce ".

Caplan "understand[s] that there are a few people who have medical reasons" for declining to receive flu shots. Presumably, Caplan is here "allowing" for persons with conditions (like egg-allergies) to forego flu vaccinations. Such merciful "allowances" are not an affront to his worship of Science since, in this case, Science itself grants the indulgence.

But, he certainly will not tolerate any deviation from Orthodoxy - specifically no one is permitted to deny the dogmas of vaccination. Caplan even recites a line from the "Hymn to the Flu Shot": "The vaccine will save lives." (I suspect that high-level initiates like Caplan think it prudent, at this point, to forbear pronouncing the "Amen" audibly, lest the cowans get the wrong idea.)

Hence, medical doctors who advise that the Swine Flu "Vaccine May Be More Dangerous Than [the] Swine Flu" itself are, in virtue of this heterodox (even blasphemous) profession, treated as heretics. To Caplan it is doubtless surprising that medical doctors of this type can cease fiddling with their leeches long enough to type articles and, surely, no such doctors would consent to appearing on video to propagate their medieval views, lest the recording equipment steal their souls away.

(Oops! See, e.g., and

Philosophical dissent is completely out of the question, in principle. Hence, persons who might argue for giving priority to particular prima facie ethical duties (like respect for personal autonomy), which priority Caplan would not endorse, should be compelled to recant their heresy or should be fired. (Hopefully Caplan would encounter resistance if he tried to arrange ritual stake-burnings.)

Caplan ends more subtly - and deceptively - than he begins. In conclusion he writes that: "health care workers' own code of ethics dictates that they put the interests of others — their patients — [before their own interests]".

This is "subtle" in the sense that his rebuke here is mild compared with the frantic upbraiding he opens with. It is "deceptive" because it ignores the fact that some vaccine dissenters likely believe that their refusal to take a vaccine WOULD benefit their patients.

First or all, we should qualify our praise of the immediate benefits of the vaccine. Vaccine-boosters themselves should have to admit that "Even those first in line for [flu] shots [in October] won't have immunity until around Thanksgiving."

(MIKE STOBBE, "Swine flu: 10 things you need to know," AP Medical, Tue Sep 1, 11:22 am ET,

Perhaps all health workers should be suspended until Thanksgiving so that they do not "infect and kill" their patients in the meantime.

(And, in passing I remark that it is beyond belief how a medical ethicist can conscionably conflate "infection" and "death". I take it that not even all "infected" persons will even display clinical symptoms of illness - whether they be health workers or patients with some other ailment other than swine flu - let alone die merely in virtue of being "infected".)

Second of all, vaccine dissenters may be mindful of factors such as the possibly non-negligible risk of vaccine failure (i.e., when a vaccinated individual fails to elicit adequate antibody production and, hence, fails to obtain the intended "immunity" from the vaccine), vaccine-induced illness, and the possibility of transmitting foreign animal pathogens to their patients. And these factors ignore personal factors such as exposure to foreign animal enzymes (such as reverse transcriptase) and exposure to a cocktail of potentially harmful or fatal preservatives, germicides, and adjuvants. (See, e.g., Catherine Diodati's privately published book, Immunization: History, Ethics, Law and Health.)

But Caplan, in his capacity as archpriest of the vaccine cult, can dismiss these concerns with a few solemn intonations and pronouncements (one can almost hear the choir, perhaps with organ accompaniment, singing about the glories of flu vaccines as mankind's "best protection [for] babies, pregnant women, the elderly and the frail") and a wave of his hand.

Such objections ("fears" to use Caplan's disparaging term, evocative of superstitious peasants hiding from an eclipse) are obviously "irrational". After all, regardless of the content of the arguments and the caliber of the source materials, anyone without a column on MSNBC, or without a book from a University publishing house, or without the approbation of the Orthodox, obviously has nothing rational to say.

And Caplan has the perfect solution for this rampant "irrationality": Health workers (and perhaps all of the lowly non-initiated population) should be treated just like enlisted military or immigrants and should be forced to submit to vaccinations.

And we have seen that Caplan arrives at this prescription by entirely ignoring the opposing arguments, demonizing vaccine dissenters, and giving dire prognostications about ignoring the oracles of Orthodox Vaccine Science. For a moment, Caplan seemed on the verge of linking all of this vaccine-refusing lunacy with the Mayan calendar.

In other words, Caplan's opinion piece reads rather more like an apocalyptic or prophetic treatise than a piece of philosophy or science. (And, for those keeping track, the “science” in view is the one with a little "s". That is, the discipline that concerns itself with the continual and patient collection and meticulous analysis of evidence and counterevidence and not the ersatz version with the big "S" which, in this case, busies itself with the repetition of sanitized corporate press releases and the protection and propagation of the poisoned needle racket).

But dealing honestly and rigorously with the opposition's arguments, and dealing soberly with risk assessments, is the least that those who claim to be doctor's of philosophy ought to do. (And dealing respectfully with the opposition is just a function of common courtesy.)

It's time for Caplan to "man-up" and start acting like the director of a philosophical center and not like the hierophant of bizarre cult that believes that the earth will be destroyed if we do not inject diseased animal matter into ourselves without delay. Or else perhaps MSNBC should consider filing Caplan's future pieces under the "Religion" section, in the subsection of "Scientism" or else should perhaps refuse his propaganda altogether.


Caplan's opinion piece can be read here:

Sobriety Checkpoints on the Road to Totalitarianism

Sobriety Checkpoints on the Road to Totalitarianism
by Matthew J Bell

One of the hallmarks of totalitarianism is the attempt, by the ruling class, to regulate the lives of the population. Moreover, a primary concern amongst the ruling class is the instillation of obedience in the citizenry - obedience to the ruling class. Furthermore, one facet (although certainly not the only the only one) of this "obedience instillation" process is the utilization of the police forces.

Now, I must preface my further remarks with the following emphatic statement: I am NOT "anti-police" in some unqualified sense nor am I of the opinion that the majority of workaday patrol-persons and "beat cops" have nepharious intentions. I have no doubt but that, aside from the few "bad apples" that plague every bunch, the majority of police officers are just ordinary folks with an extraordinarily dangerous job. But, the fact that I harbor no ill will toward our officers - and I do NOT harbor any ill will - cannot prevent me from criticizing policies and procedures according to the dictates of my conscience.

And, in that vein, I must confess that I perceive that a number of police policies and procedures are, despite the stipulated good intentions of most police officers, contributing to a formation of a species of totalitarianism here in the United States by effectively coercing and instilling obedience in the population. And I remind my readers that "the population" is none other than the "We the People" whose country this is supposed to be.

Amongst the tactics apparently used to instill obedience is the tactic of the creation of fear in the population. It is perhaps unfair to suggest that this particular tactic is a "police tactic" per se, as the media, NTSB, NHTSA, etc., arguably play much more significant roles in this regard. I include reference to this tactic, as this tactic is relevant to the present discussion. However, I will leave aside the problem of determining whether it should rightly be called a "police tactic."

A pertinent example the fear-instillation tactic could be the instillation of the fear of drunk drivers. Drunk drivers are presented as "putting us all at risk" - even though the statistical probability of any one of us, individually, encountering such a driver is quite low, and the probability of being killed by a drunk driver is even lower.

Note well, however, that merely acknowledging the low probabilities does NOT in any way diminish the trauma of drunk driving accidents that do occur. But, that trauma alone is not clearly enough to justify the police intrusion of "checkpoints" that disturb hundreds of drivers, approximately 97% of which turn out to be law-abiding.

(For the 97& statistic see the NTSB press release at the following URL, which release related that the percentage of drivers at roadside "surveys" who were discovered to be "legally intoxicated" was 2.2%. 100% - 2.2% = 97.8%.

(In a similar way, the fact that the statistical likelihood of dying by a lightning strike is also extremely low does not make being hit by lightning a pleasant experience for those unfortunate enough to be hit. But, the horror of being hit by lightning does not seem to have prompted the legislatures to direct police to ticket people for being outside during electrical storms - even though, if police did so, they would surely save SOMEBODY'S life.)

Another totalitarian obedience-inducing tactic is the deliberate application (and repetition) of suggestive language. While I am not competent to chronicle the progression, over some interval traversing the not-too-distant past, Americans have gone - in these sorts of contentious, "civil rights" contexts - from calling persons with both guns and (legitimate) badges "police" or "peace officers" to calling them "authorities". I suggest, though have not the space presently to argue, that the word "police" did not serve to instill the proper submissiveness in contentious contexts.

One will likely read that "Authorities in [such-and-such city] are organizing a checkpoint". Who is organizing a checkpoint? "Authorities" are organizing it. Presumably, we are to understand that this means the police departments with the permission of the city councils, etc. But, the value of the word "authorities" seems to be, in part, that the validity of the checkpoints is more readily accepted. After all, if the "authorities" set up the checkpoints, who is some John Q. Citizen to object? (Note, again, that the use of the suggestive word "authority" does not eliminate recalcitrance, it just arguably minimizes it as well as allowing the recalcitrant to be labeled "disobedient" or, in some contexts, "subversive.")

Every properly educated citizen knows that you don't refuse to "comply" with (obey an) an "authority"! "Authority," after all, is a term of power.

Yet another tactic used to instill obedience is lifted directly from the pages of Skinnerian behaviorism. (Although here, I am afraid, I must again qualify my comment. For this is tactic is not really a separate tactic from those already identified. It is, perhaps, better to say that this point looks at the checkpoint tactic in general.) The existence of such a thing as a "checkpoint" seems to be a case study in operant conditioning. It is difficult for me, not being a behavioral psychologist, to tell whether the checkpoint is best viewed as a positive punishment or a negative punishment - perhaps it is a little of both. But, it seems clear that a primary goal for the checkpoint-technique is psychological: namely, to "increas[e] ... risk perception" - a phrase occasionally employed by the NHTSA (see, e.g.,

But the phrase "increas[e] ... risk perception" has a double meaning. For the "unimpaired", the checkpoints increase the perception that the risk from drunk drivers is so high that drastic and intrusive measures are needful - and this in spite of the low statistical probability that a given motorist will encounter a drunk driver, as mentioned above. For the "impaired" driver - that 2.2% of motorists - the presence of checkpoints increases the perception that it is well nigh impossible to escape the long arm of the law.

There are other tactics as well, of course. But, presently, I do not want to try the a reader's patience further by multiplying examples.

Let me end, then, by reiterating and restating my opening comments. I believe that the police are engaging in practices that contribute to the formation, in America, of a totalitarian system of interference and control. But, I am NOT imputing malevolence to the majority of workaday cops, nor am I suggesting that most police would even consciously recognize (let alone endorse) what I perceive to be their role in employing the sorts of authoritarian tactics that I enumerate above. (I do not blame workaday cops any more than I would blame workaday teachers if I perceived that teachers had inappropriate roles thrust upon them - e.g., as babysitters) I believe that police are victims of the injustices engendered by totalitarian polices and procedures, just as much as non-police. And, to a large extent, workaday cops are "just carrying out orders" - somewhat like bank tellers are forced to charge exorbitant fees and exact oppressive interest charges. I do not hate them personally, even if the system that they serve is odious and despicable.

I do hope that more people - including (or even especially) officers - would take a few steps back and perhaps look at police policies and procedures with new lenses, situating these policies and procedures in the larger context of a country with a declining economy, that is in the midst of prosecuting two imperialistic foreign wars, and that has allowed severe reductions in hard won civil liberties dating back, not just to the 1960s, but to the Magna Carta.

Perhaps, in this context, the best starting point is this: pondering the old adage ‘Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?', that is ‘Who will guard the guards?' Having set up police as unquestionable and irresistible "authorities" what sorts of checkpoints and other intrusions will we have to submit to next?

"The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance." ~ Attributed to Thomas Jefferson.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

US Corporate Assistance to Nazi Germany (after Pearl Harbor): A Brief

US Corporate Assistance to Nazi Germany (after Pearl Harbor): A Brief
September 2007; Updated July 2009

"Standard Oil of New Jersey made payments towards the development of synthetic petrol in Germany, for war purposes, up to 1944."[1]

According to historian Edwin Black, "...IBM managers in New York maintained close contact with Nazi Germany throughout the war. ...IBM's chief New York lawyer, HarrisonChauncey...traveled to Berlin in 1942 to arrange for IBM's head office to receive money from its German operations via neutral Switzerland."[2]

"...IBM actively supplied the technology and expertise that aided Nazi Germany...IBM's punch-card tabulating machine, the precursor to the computer, was critical to the first racial censuses conducted by the Nazis in their efforts to purify the master race... ultimately the so-called Hollerith machine was also used to organize Nazi deportations and concentration camps. [Author Edwin Black states:] "When Germany wanted to identify Jews by name, IBM showed them how. When Germany wanted to use that information to launch programs of social expulsion and expropriation, IBM provided the technologic wherewithal. When the trains needed to run on time, from city to city or between concentration camps, IBM offered that solution as well...".[3] And such endeavors were reportedly undertaken by the Nazis until war's end.

"Two of the nation's leading banking companies, Chase Manhattan and J.P. Morgan, were accused in a lawsuit...of wrongfully seizing bank accounts and safe deposit assets of Jewish customers during the German occupation of France in World War II and then failing to return them after the war. ... The suit charges that "the Paris branch of Chase, with full knowledge of its New York home office, collaborated with the German authorities and displayed excessive zeal in its enforcement of anti-Jewish laws," including blocking and freezing the accounts of depositors. It said Morgan continued to operate during the German occupation of France through an affiliate."[4]

"When American GIs invaded Europe in June 1944, they did so in jeeps, trucks and tanks manufactured by the Big Three motor companies in one of the largest crash militarization programs ever undertaken. It came as an unpleasant surprise to discover that the enemy was also driving trucks manufactured by Ford and Opel -- a 100 percent GM-owned subsidiary -- and flying Opel-built warplanes. ... A U.S. Army report by investigator Henry Schneider dated Sept. 5, 1945, accused the German branch of Ford of serving as "an arsenal of Nazism, at least for military vehicles" with the "consent" of the parent company in Dearborn. ... German Ford was the second-largest producer of trucks for the German army after GM/Opel, according to U.S. Army reports. ...

"The importance of the American automakers went beyond making trucks for the German army. ... American Ford agreed to a complicated barter deal that gave the Reich increased access to large quantities of strategic raw materials, notably rubber. Author Snell says that Nazi armaments chief Albert Speer told him in 1977 that Hitler ‘would never have considered invading Poland' without synthetic fuel technology provided by General Motors. ...

"Documents show that the parent companies followed a conscious strategy of continuing to do business with the Nazi regime, rather than divest themselves of their German assets. Less than three weeks after the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, GM Chairman Alfred P. Sloan defended this strategy as sound business practice, given the fact that the company's German operations were ‘highly profitable.' The internal politics of Nazi Germany ‘should not be considered the business of the management of General Motors,' Sloan explained in a letter to a concerned shareholder dated April 6, 1939. ...

"General Motors and Ford became crucial to the German military, according to contemporaneous German documents and postwar investigations by the U.S. Army. James Mooney, the GM director in charge of overseas operations, had discussions with Hitler in Berlin two weeks after the German invasion of Poland. ... Opel used French and Belgian prisoners at its Russelsheim plant in the summer of 1940, at a time when the American Hoglund was still looking after GM interests in Germany. ...

"...after the war, American Ford received dividends from its German subsidiary worth approximately $ 60,000 for the years 1940-43. ... In June 1943, the Nazi custodian of the Cologne plant, Robert Schmidt, traveled to Portugal for talks with Ford managers there. In addition, the Treasury Department investigated Ford after Pearl Harbor for possible illegal contacts with its subsidiary in occupied France, which produced Germany army trucks. ... Ford was eager to demand compensation from the U.S. government after the war for "losses" due to bomb damage to its German plants and therefore should also be responsible for any benefits derived from forced labor."[5]

"But while Britain and the US regard their titanic war efforts as proof of the power of patriotism and community spirit, it appears some of their most important citizens had a different view of their national duty. ... In some cases, Hitler apparently would have been unable to carry out major operations without the co-operation of quintessentially US corporations such as Ford and General Motors."[6]

"George Bush's grandfather, the late US senator Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany. ... His business dealings, which continued until his company's assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act, has led more than 60 years later to a civil action for damages being brought in Germany against the Bush family by two former slave labourers at Auschwitz... The evidence has also prompted one former US Nazi war crimes prosecutor to argue that the late senator's action should have been grounds for prosecution for giving aid and comfort to the enemy. ... even after America had entered the war and when there was already significant information about the Nazis' plans and policies, he worked for and profited from companies closely involved with the very German businesses that financed Hitler's rise to power. It has also been suggested that the money he made from these dealings helped to establish the Bush family fortune and set up its political dynasty." [7]


[1] Paul Lloyd, "Nazi Business," Hobart Mercury (Australia), 28 April 2001.

[2] Dominic Rushe, "IBM Faces Fresh Revelations of Nazi 'Collaboration'," Sunday Times (UK), 31 March 2002, Business section.

[3] Michael Hirsh, "Dark Questions for IBM," Newsweek , U.S. Edition, 19 February 2001 , International Section, p. 38.

[4] JOSEPH P. FRIED, "Chase and Morgan Sued Over Jewish Assets," The New York Times, Thursday, Late Edition – Final, December 24, 1998, Business/Financial Desk, Section C; Page 16; Column 1.

[5] Michael Dobbs, "Ford and GM Scrutinized for Alleged Nazi Collaboration," The Washington Post, Monday Final Edition, 30 November 1998, p. A01.

[6] Matthew Pinkney, "Who Financed Hitler?" Sunday Mail (Australia), 13 Dec. 1998, Sunday Edition, p. 4.

[7] Ben Aris and Duncan Campbell, "How Bush's grandfather helped Hitler's rise to power," The Guardian (UK), 25 September 2004, online at:,12271,1312540,00.html.

(Compiled by Matthew J Bell)

There is no rational basis for persisting in the notion that Iraq had WMD at the time of the U.S. invasion in 2003

There is no rational basis for persisting in the notion that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) at the time of the U.S. invasion in 2003.

Below, please find my substantiation of the above conclusion, drawing from FOX NEWS, the JERUSALEM POST, and comments from George W. BUSH himself as well as other Bush administration officials. In other words, the conclusion that Iraq did not possess WMD can be justified from sources with which even neoconservatives (of the sort that advanced the case for Iraq "regime change" by asserting that Saddam did possess WMD), and their sympathizers, cannot easily quibble.

Fox News reported, on January 12, 2005:

"The search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has quietly concluded without any evidence of the banned weapons that President Bush cited as justification for going to war, the White House said Wednesday."

("Officials: Search Is Over for Iraq WMD," Fox News | Wednesday, January 12, 2005,,2933,144143,00.html)

The Jerusalem Post reported:

John McCain, in discussing the possibility of war with Iran on the TV show "Hardball", admitted that justifying such a war would be difficult owing to the present 'credibility gap' neoconservatives have and "which was created after President George W. Bush justified the invasion of Iraq in 2003 on the existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction" that did not exist. Plainly, there would not now be a "credibility gap" if Bush's primary war justification had been vindicated.

("McCain: War with Iran would be hard sell," JPOST.COM STAFF | Apr 16, 2008 9:58 | Updated Apr 16, 2008 10:20,

In an article entitled "Powell regrets UN speech on Iraq WMDs", the former Secretary of State called his infamous speech " '...a blot' on his record" admitting that his speech "will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It's painful now." "In the February 2003 presentation to the UN Security Council," recall, "Mr Powell forcefully made the case for war on the regime of Saddam Hussein, offering" what Powell at the time regretably called "'proof' that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The presentation included satellite photos of trucks that Mr Powell identified as mobile bioweapons laboratories. After the invasion, US weapons inspectors reported finding no Iraqi nuclear, biological or chemical weapons." Powell said that "said he felt 'terrible' at being misinformed."

As an aside, Powell also noted that "he had 'never seen evidence to suggest' a connection between the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States and the Saddam regime."

(ABC News Online | Friday, September 9, 2005. 10:28am (AEST),

Still aside, former Vice President, Dick Cheney, remarked that "...there was 'never any evidence' that Saddam Hussein's Iraq played any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. 'On the question of whether or not Iraq was involved in 9/11, there was never any evidence to prove that,' Cheney said during an interview Monday [June 1, 2009] night with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren. 'There was some reporting early on, for example, that Mohammed Atta had met with a senior Iraqi intelligence official,' Cheney said. 'But that was never borne out.' ..."

(Andy Barr, Cheney: No 'evidence' of Iraq, 9/11 link, Politico, Tue Jun 2, 12:13 pm ET,

Some have alleged, without citing any concrete evidence, that Saddam did have WMD after all, but that the reason no weapons inspectors have been able to verify this is because Saddam spirited his WMD cache out of Iraq, prior to the invasion. Syria is sometimes mentioned as the WMD destination in these speculations.

(Mention of Syria, in this regard, can perhaps be traced to comments made in April of 2003 by Israel's then prime minister, Ariel Sharon. Baghdad had just fallen to the U.S. and Sharon, for several reasons, was eager to try to direct the U.S. to quickly follow up with an attack on Damascus. In an effort to build momentum for aggression against Syria, Sharon denounced president Assad to the media as "'dangerous' ... and he [Sharon] claimed that Assad had allowed Saddam to move military equipment into Syria just before the Iraq war began." [John J. Mearshimer and Stephen M. Walt, The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007), p.272.] Sharon has very little credibility, here. Firstly, his comments were plainly motivated by his desire to pursuade the U.S. to attack Syria, for Israel's benefit. And, secondly, Sharon had badly misled the U.S. regarding Iraq. "Following the invasion and the revelation that there were no WMD in Iraq, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Israeli Knesset released separate reports revealing that much of the intelligence Israel gave to the Bush administration was false." [Ibid., pp. 235-6.] And, in the buildup to war with Iraq, "by Sharon's own reckoning, 'strategic coordination between Israel and the U.S. [had] reached unprecedented dimensions." [Ibid., p. 235.])

Note that according to the above-mentioned Fox News article, instead of protesting or even hinting that the WMD were moved to Syria:

President Bush himself "appointed a panel to investigate why the intelligence about Iraq's weapons was wrong".

Take note. Bush tacitly admitted that the intelligence regarding Iraqi WMD was WRONG - as in *not correct*.

Bush tacitly admitted it.

Moreover, Bush's "White House press secretary Scott McClellan said there no longer is an active search for weapons and the administration does not hold out hopes that any weapons will be found."

See, again,,2933,144143,00.html

Hence, according to the Bush White House, the search for Iraqi WMD is over, and none were found.

The CIA's final assessment was in agreement with the White House press secretary:

"CIA's final report: No WMD found in Iraq"

"In his final word, the CIA's top weapons inspector in Iraq said Monday that the hunt for weapons of mass destruction has 'gone as far as feasible' and has found nothing, closing an investigation into the purported programs of Saddam Hussein that were used to justify the 2003 invasion. 'After more than 18 months, the WMD investigation and debriefing of the WMD-related detainees has been exhausted,' wrote Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraq Survey Group, in an addendum to the final report he issued last fall."

("CIA's final report: No WMD found in Iraq: Recommends freeing detainees held for weapons knowledge," AP | updated 8:24 p.m. CT, Mon., April 25, 2005,

As to the notion that WMD were "[transferred] from Iraq to Syria[, one of the CIA report's addenda stated that:] No information gleaned from questioning Iraqis supported the possibility... The Iraq Survey Group believes "it was unlikely that an official transfer of WMD material from Iraq to Syria took place. ..."

And on the point of speculated transfers, the opinion of the Iraq Survey Group - that no such transfers took place - was echoed by "intelligence and congressional officials [who have said that] they have not seen any information - never 'a piece,' said one - indicating that WMD or significant amounts of components and equipment were transferred from Iraq to neighboring Syria, Jordan or elsewhere."

("U.S. found no evidence WMD moved from Iraq: No signs that weapons were smuggled, intelligence officials say," AP | updated 1:24 a.m. CT, Mon., Jan. 17, 2005,

Again, take careful note: There is no evidence of WMD transfers.

But, then again, plausibly, Iraq was not really attacked over WMD in the first place. Even administration insiders didn't care much about WMD, or a lack thereof, as early as 2003 - the year the Invasion was launched.

Curiously, during his trip to Iraq in July of 2003, a mere four months after the invasion, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz proclaimed to the Associated Press, "I'm not concerned about weapons of mass destruction" and relegated the issue of Iraqi WMD to a "secondary" status, when "President Bush [had] cited [allegations of Iraqi WMD capability] as his main justification for going to war".

("Wolfowitz: WMD secondary issue in Iraq," AP | Posted 7/22/2003 8:44 AM,

Appallingly, "According to a stunning report posted by a retired Navy Lt Commander and 28-year veteran of the Defense Department (DoD), the Bush administration's assurance about finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was based on a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) plan to "plant" WMDs inside the country."

("US tried to plant WMDs, failed: whistleblower," Daily Times Monitor | Tuesday, August 12, 2003,

Such a plan is not without historical precedent. For example, "In the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba. Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban e/migre/s [emigres], sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities. The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war to oust Cuba's then new leader, communist Fidel Castro. America's top military brass even contemplated causing U.S. military casualties, writing: "We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba," and, "casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation."

(See: David Ruppe, "U.S. Military Wanted to Provoke War With Cuba," ABC News, May 1, 2001,

But, whatever the truth of these allegations about planting WMD, retrospect (in the form of a "study by two nonprofit journalism organizations") has revealed "that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks."

That is, Bush and other related administration personnel issued statements which are now, in hindsight, and in many cases through investigation (such as the hundreds of millions of dollars search for WMD in Iraq) known to be false.

An interesting question, then, is whether the Bush administration knowingly (i.e., intentionally) issued false statements, possibly, as the above "study concluded that the statements 'were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.' ..."; or whether the Bush administration was merely woefully incorrect.

But, the key point - about which there can be no argument - is that the Bush administration turned out to have been wrong - whether innocently or not.

It is worth mentioning, however, that the Bush White House's track record on lying is not stellar.

For instance, "The Environmental Protection Agency's internal watchdog says White House officials pressured the agency to prematurely assure the public that the air was safe to breathe a week after the World Trade Center collapse. The agency's initial statements in the days following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks were not supported by proper air quality monitoring data and analysis, EPA's inspector general, Nikki L. Tinsley, says in a 155-page report released late Thursday. An e-mail sent just one day after the attacks, from then-EPA Deputy Administrator Linda Fisher's chief of staff to senior EPA officials, said "all statements to the media should be cleared" first by the National Security Council, the report says. Approval from the NSC, which is chaired by President Bush and serves as his main forum for discussing national security and foreign policy matters with his senior aides and Cabinet, was arranged through an official with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the report said. That council, which coordinates federal environmental efforts, in turn "convinced EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones," the inspector general found. For example, the report found, EPA was convinced to omit from its early public statements guidance for cleaning indoor spaces and tips on potential health effects from airborne dust containing asbestos, lead, glass fibers and concrete. ...The White House directed EPA to add and delete information..."

(JOHN HEILPRIN, "EPA influenced by White House on air quality statements," The Associated Press, State & Local Wire August 22, 2003, Friday, BC cycle; cf.: "Spinning 9/11: The White House toned down EPA reports on air quality after terrorist attacks," The Times Union, THREE STAR EDITION, (Albany, NY; The Hearst Corporation), August 26, 2003 Tuesday, MAIN, Pg. A14.)

The Bush administration has also misrepresented paid advertisements, supportive of Bush's policies, for news stories.

(See, for example, Andrew Buncombe, "Bush 'planted fake news stories on American TV',"
Independent, Monday, 29 May 2006, )


Someone might object that Fox News reported that WMD WERE found after all. And, indeed, at one point, Fox News touted the discovery of "500 WMDs" inside of Iraq. The article quotes Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) as declaring: "We have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, chemical weapons."

("Report: Hundreds of WMDs Found in Iraq," | Thursday, June 22, 2006

But, regarding the 'discovery' "...the Pentagon and outside experts stressed that ... [these "WMD" were in fact 500] abandoned shells, many found in ones and twos, [that they] were 15 years old or more, [that] their chemical contents were degraded, and [most importantly, that] they were unusable as artillery ordnance." Even the Fox article acknowledges that the shells "contain[ed] degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent".

Hence, the '500 WMD' were unusable shells that dated back to Iraq's war with Iran.

A box of unusable shells was discovered - shells which dated from the era of the Iran-Iraq war.

"Since the 1990s, such 'orphan' munitions, from among 160,000 made by Iraq and destroyed, have turned up on old battlefields and elsewhere in Iraq, ex-inspectors say. In other words, this was no surprise."

And this was not corroboration of the Bush Administration's allegations regarding Iraqi WMD capability.,0,5878038.story?coll=sns-ap-nationworld-headlines

However, despite the fact that the White House has acknowledged publicly that WMDs were never located; and despite the fact that the CIA's official report not only stated that WMD were never found, but also, that WMDs were in all likelihood NOT transferred to Syria; and despite the fact that even President Bush himself tacitly acknowledged the falsity of the "Intelligence" regarding Iraq's WMD; lamentably:

"Half of U.S. Still Believes Iraq Had WMD"

This disregard for the results of careful investigatiion, however, is explicable as a psychological phenomenon. Repeated claims become familiar and take on an aura of truth. And there have been many "repeaters", for example "a drumbeat of voices from talk radio to die-hard bloggers to the Oval Office".

This "don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up" mentality is also, I must remark, a by-product of intentional exposure to psychological warfare mechanisms. And, as the Wall Street Journal reported as early as October of 2004, in the wake of 9/11: "The Pentagon...has begun deploying forces to mount psychological operations, or 'psy-ops'"

(Carla Anne Robbins, "Spin Control: U.S. Has Early Priority: Managing Its Message," Wall Street Journal, Eastern edition, New York, N.Y.: Oct 4, 2001, p. A.1.)

And, as the UPI reported in a wire report on April 10, 2006:

"'US Home Audience' Admitted Target of US Military Propaganda"

("U.S. military stoking xenophobia in Iraq," UPI, UPI NewsTrack TopNews, April 10, 2006.)

But, let us simply end where we began, and remind readers that even Fox News, which has often been Bush's defender over these past 8 years, now reports that no WMD were ever found in Iraq.

The search is over.

Even Fox News now reports that the search for WMD ended without turning up any.

Officials: Search Is Over for Iraq WMD
Fox News / AP | Wednesday, January 12, 2005,2933,144143,00.html

Anyone still advancing the notion that Iraq had WMD is either ignorant or deranged. And those still placing their faith in speculations of WMD transfers to Syria or elsewhere are simply advancing a position that even former President Bush never publicly propounded and for which there is no evidence. Being a lone voice, however, does not automatically render one incorrect, of course. But, it certainly does relocate the "burden of proof".

Until or unless solid evidence can be brought forth, contrary to the evidence and testimony cited briefly herein, and much other evidence besides, the positions that Iraq had WMD or that it transferred WMD out of the country, simply should not be rationally believed.

- Matthew J Bell (Newly Updated July 2009)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Message to Christian Voters: McCain is every bit as anti "life" as Obama

Message to Christian Voters: McCain is every bit as anti "life" as Obama
by Matthew J Bell | Originally Sent Via Email on the Eve of the Presidential Election, November 2008

"Vote for life". This is a slogan that is bandied about quite frequently in Christian circles during election times. The notion of being "for life" is not a little slippery. On one reading, for example, it may mean opposition to abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty (which triumverate is sometimes given, in a gimmicky way, as being "for life from the womb to the tomb"). On another reading, being "for life" is really more narrowly used as a sort of synonym for opposition to abortion alone. In many cases, with either of the first two senses, there is often a (somewhat understandable) presumption of attention on domestic matters. And, additionally, with the first two senses, questions about "war" and "economics" are understood to be distinct questions. Hence, on the first two senses, one can be "for life" and, say, "for the Iraq war" at the same time. But, there is at least one other sense of being "for life". And, this third sense is broad enough to include war and economic considerations. Specifically, one cannot, on this third sense, be "for" an unjust war or be "for" oppressive economic policies, and still arrogate to themselves the title "pro-lifer". Thus, John McCain, who champions U.S. occupation of Iraq and had championed the unjust (according to Catholic just war theory) invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and who is a shill for monopolistic "capitalism", is every bit as AGAINST life, as his (only media-acknowledged) rival, Barack Obama.

Let me first (try to) ensure that this criticism of John McCain is NOT misunderstood as an endorsement of Obama. If we take his slogan at face value - a dangerous proposition, to be sure - then Obama stands for "change" (whatever that means). Are there changes that a Christian should desire for this country? Without question, there are. Chief among them would be desiring a change in the abortion industry, putting an end to abortions-on-demand. But, this is hardly the sort of change that Obama is interested in. On the contrary, here, Obama seeks to preserve the status quo.

Christians must not rest with a status quo that includes the murder of millions of innocent and vulnerable human beings. Hence, Barack Obama is not someone that a Christian can or should endorse.

But, this IS part of the status quo. Lamentably, abortion is a "fact on the ground". Obama certainly aids and abets abortion, and, indeed, advances it; but, without minimizing that evil, we must say that this is not the equivalent of saying that Obama ushered in the practice or authored the policy.

But, how did abortion get to be a fact on the ground? Tracing out the policy on abortion, of course, must take us at least to the opinion in Roe v. Wade. Justice Harry Andrew Blackmun authored that particular majority opinion - an opinion which overturned the abortion laws throughout the nation. And Harry Blackmun had been nominated to the court by Republican President Richard Milhous Nixon, who, during his election bid in 1968 had cast himself as a social conservative who was totally opposed to the leftist "counterculture". The New York Times tells us just how conservative Nixon was: "On Jan. 22, 1973, when the Supreme Court struck down laws criminalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade, President Richard M. Nixon made no public statement. But privately, newly released tapes reveal, he expressed ambivalence. Nixon worried that greater access to abortions would foster 'permissiveness,' and said that 'it breaks the family.' But he also saw a need for abortion in some cases — like interracial pregnancies, he said.
'There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,' he told an aide, before adding, 'Or a rape.' "[0]

Recently, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made a backhanded reference to much the same thing, saying: "...I had thought that at the time Roe (v. Wade) was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion...".[0]

Author Will Bunch writes that "conservative revolutionary" Republican President Ronald Reagan "invested no real political capital...on the...right-to-life movement...". "In fact," Bunch goes on, "...Reagan ensured the long-term future of legalized abortion in America when he named Sandra Day O'Connor as his first nominee for the Supreme Court...". "...O'Connor would...uphold a woman's legal right to an abortion...over a twenty-four year career on the court." This should not, however, have surprised those who monitored Reagan's political career closely. "As California governor...Reagan...[signed] the bill on legalized abortion in the Golden State...".[0]

More recently, "social conservative" "Christian" Republican President George W. Bush was a "disappointment" to those credulous "pro-life" voters who had been (neo)conned into supporting Bush on the basis of his supposedly unwavering commitment to life - a "commitment" that was either a hollow Machiavellian gambit to begin with or else was simply outweighed in Bush's scales of deliberation by factors of political expediency.

"'Mr. Bush has been disappointing since the election because he supported [Pennsylvania Republican Senator Arlen] Specter for the Judiciary chairmanship over the strong objections of pro-life Christians and because he nominated pro-choice candidates for both attorney general [Alberto Gonzales] and secretary of state [Condoleezza Rice],' says Rod Pennington, founder of Voices Heard, a new grass-roots Christian activist group."[1]

The Associated Press reported in November 2004 that the pro-Abortion Republican (at the time) Specter "bluntly warned newly re-elected President Bush ... against putting forth Supreme Court nominees who would seek to overturn abortion rights or are otherwise too conservative to win confirmation. ... 'When you talk about judges who would change the right of a woman to choose, overturn Roe v. Wade, I think that is unlikely,' Specter said, referring to the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. 'The president is well aware of what happened, when a number of his nominees were sent up, with the filibuster,' Specter added, referring to Senate Democrats' success over the past four years in blocking the confirmation of many of Bush's conservative judicial picks. '... And I would expect the president to be mindful of the considerations which I am mentioning.'" [2]

And indeed, for example, Associate Justice Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr. is at best a question mark on the issue of Roe v. Wade ("it appears that Alito believes some restrictions on the procedure are constitutionally permitted, but has not signaled a willingness to overturn Roe v. Wade" [3]), while Chief Justice John Glover Roberts, Jr. "has indicated [that] he supports some abortion restrictions but has not committed to overturn Roe v. Wade." [4]

Hence, Bush's appointees can claim at once to be "pro life", but, yet, committed to "upholding the law". Catholics, at least, owing to the intellectual inheritance that they possess from persons like Saint Thomas Aquinas, whose view of law was such that an unjust code could never actually be LAW, ought to see that Bush's appointees, are, therefore, at best, opportunists. But, just perhaps, these appointees are merely token appointees, meant to appease the loud, but intellectually lazy, "pro life" crowd, but not meant to actually undermine the tissue of injustice that allows women to legally murder their own unwanted children.

Beyond this "disappointing" state of affairs with respect to abortion opposition, "pro-life" "Evangelical" George W. Bush has, in part through lies and deception [5], also mired the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq causing upwards of 90,000 [6] (and, quite possibly, 1 million [7]) civilian deaths in Iraq alone as well as the deaths of around 4,000 American soldiers [8] - and all of this has transpired with the express approval of "pro life" "conservative" John McCain [9].

Again, their "pro life" credentials are only held intact by those who either lamentably compartmentalize their concern for life so that children murdered by surgery are somehow distinguished from children murdered by bombing; or who allow caricatured propaganda to dehumanize other human beings so that "enemy" civilians are somehow justifiably exterminated - women and children included - even as the murder of our own innocent civilians (9/11) prompts the country's own battle cry.

And, we must not neglect to mention the deaths of Iraqi civilians which have resulted from U.S. "war" and occupation efforts post-2003 must be added to the deaths of Iraqi civilians between 1991 and 2001, which resulted from the '91 "Gulf War" and the subsequent sanctions. Within six years of the Republican "Pro-Family" George H.W. Bush's attack on Iraq, and the subsequent sanctions of Bush and Clinton there were already estimates of upwards of one million civilian deaths: "The U.N. Children's Fund estimated in 1997 that more than 1.2 million people, including 750,000 under the age of 5, have died because of a lack of food and medicine in Iraq [as a result both of the initial US military actions and subsequent 'sanctions']. The World Health Organization reported in 1998 that 5,000 to 6,000 children die every month in the country as a result of economic sanctions. Human Rights Watch estimated that U.S. and allied bombs killed about 3,000 civilians during the 1991 Gulf War. A study by the Medical Educational Trust in London in late 1991 indicated that as many as 250,000 Iraqis died as a direct result of bombing, Loe said."[10]

For Catholics, especially (although not exclusively), it is worth recalling the Catholic Church's opinion of the 2003 "war" in Iraq - just as it is worth recalling the Catholic Church's teaching regarding abortion, for unjust wasting of life through war is as deplorable as through abortion: "The Roman Catholic Church, led by Pope John Paul II, opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq." [11] A "top Vatican official" declared " "the war was useless, and served no purpose,". [12] As of April, 2007, "In an Easter litany of the world's suffering, Pope Benedict XVI lamented that 'nothing positive' is happening in Iraq and decried the unrest in Afghanistan and bloodshed in Africa and Asia. ..." [13].

In addition, this wasteful war has ruined the Iraqi water supply [14], ruined the mental health of untold U.S. veterans [15], and contributed to the ruination of the U.S. economy, along with the millions of people whose livelihoods are thereby affected. And the wasteful war only compounded the brutalizing effects of Bush's broader economic policies. "By running persistent budget deficits, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) warns, leading countries, primarily the United States during the Bush years, "are 'sacrificing' their children."[16]

And, indeed, this closes the circle. For the oppressive economic policies of greedy buccaneer capitalists [17] (amongst which despicable crowd we number the Bush family [18], and John "Keating Five" McCain [19]), arguably foment the sort of hopelessness and disrespect for family that create demand for convenience abortions in the first place.

As a poet has said, regarding the effects of usury:

...Usura slayeth the child in the womb
It stayeth the young man's courting
It hath brought palsey to bed, lyeth
between the young bride and her bridegroom

It is not for nothing that Saint Paul warned Timothy that "the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil" (1 Timothy 6:10).

Why should the Christian Church's ire be raised for one evil and not another? Is economic oppression, which helps to create the market for abortion, not every bit as worthy of our condemnation as abortion itself? Or, do we content ourselves to pull off the aerial parts on the plant of evil and leave the root untouched?

In an earlier age, exponents of the ruinous plague of usury, like John McCain (and the Bush family before him), would have been the recipients of the Church's disapprobation, every bit as much as abortionists are the recipients of it now. It can be "inferred from the (Christian Church) Fathers and ecclesiastical writers... that it is contrary to mercy and humanity to demand interest from a poor and needy man." "[S]uch transactions..., under the pretence of rendering service to the borrower, really threw him into great distress." "The canonical laws of the Middle Ages absolutely forbade the practice" of lending money at interest.[21]

Why should Christians condemn mass murders in utero, while turning a blind eye towards mass murders in Iraq and Afghanistan? As one commentator has put it:

"With regard to abortion, show me where in the Gospel Jesus made one violation of God's law the sole litmus test? The single-issue anti-abortion campaign is a trap that ensures the election of presidential mass murderers. The reason 'conservative' Christians are not passionately opposed to the mass murders of children by Pres[ident] Bush is because these children have been derogated -- the humanity of Arabs (including Arab Christians) and Muslims has been diminished by Orthodox Judaism and its widespread influence over Churchianity.

"The pompous, self-righteous Phariseeism of Catholic and evangelical supporters of McCain and Bush is grotesquely sinful and nauseating. (I say the same about 'Christian' support for Obama and Biden). God will not bless America or any political movement implicated in the killing of the innocent, whether born or unborn, no matter what Catholic prelates who are complicit with or complacent toward the priestly molestation of children, proclaim or abjure." [22]

Yes, Obama is odious. Catholics should oppose him. Christians of any denomination should oppose him. But, what of "Country First" McCain? Should Christians be among those who put "country first"?[23] Maybe Catholics should help to reform the entire political landscape instead of rationalizing poor voting choices as being justified as a selection of the "lesser of two evils". A "lesser evil" is, after all, still evil. And I put it to the reader that in the case of McCain his evils only appear to be "lesser" because many of them are carried out on distant shores, and most of us have poor eyesight.

Christians must choose whether they want to be Christians first or political partisans first. One can utter "God and Country", like some sort of mantra. But, our God is a jealous God. And we will one day be brought to account for all sins - including, without limitation or exception, murdering through abortion, murdering through unjust war, and murdering through economic warfare (e.g., usury). So, let us be "pro life" in a thoroughgoing way. But, if we do, then we must judge McCain to be just as odious as Obama. Christians need to forge a third way.


The above message would not have been possible without the innumerable insights of Michael A. Hoffman II,


0. On Nixon: CHARLIE SAVAGE, "On Nixon Tapes, Ambivalence Over Abortion, Not Watergate," New York Times, June 24, 2009, On Ginsburg: EMILY BAZELON, "The Place of Women on the Court," New York Times, July 12, 2009, On Reagan: By Will Bunch, "Tear Down This Myth: How the Reagan Legacy Has Distorted Our Politics and Haunts Our Future," (New York: Free Press, 2009), pp. 100, 114-5, & 20.

1. Ralph Z. Hallow, "Bush 'disappointing' some pro-lifers," The Washington Times, December 8, 2004 Wednesday, SECTION: NATION; Pg. A04. Additionally, The supposedly Christian "Bush is Ariel Sharon's staunchest ally, knowing full well that Sharon authorized the assault on the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002, birthplace of Our Lord!" Michael A. Hoffman II, email.

2. LARA JAKES JORDAN, "Likely new Senate judiciary chairman warns Bush against nominating anti-abortion judges," The Associated Press, November 3, 2004, Wednesday, BC cycle.



5. "Study: False statements preceded war Hundreds of false statements on WMDs, al-Qaida used to justify Iraq war," The Associated Press, updated 1:30 a.m. CT, Wed., Jan. 23, 2008,; cf.: Rumsfeld Employs Churchill's 'Bodyguard of Lies': Erwin Chemerinsky, "Truth is vital for a democracy," Reprinted in: Deseret News (Salt Lake City) from the L.A. Times, October 13, 2001, Saturday, P. A09.; cf. Jon Dougherty, "Terror alerts manufactured? FBI agents say White House scripting 'hysterics' for political effect," World Net Daily, Posted: January 04, 2003, cf. ANNE FLAHERTY, "Ex-officials: Bush admin. ignored Iraq corruption," Associated Press,; cf. "And Now, the Counterfeit News," The New York Times, Late Edition – Final, March 16, 2005 Wednesday, Section A; Column 1; Editorial Desk; Pg. 22.; cf. Andrew Buncombe, "Bush 'planted fake news stories on American TV'" Independent, 29 May 2006,; cf. "Audit assails White House 'propaganda'," The Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey), FINAL EDITION, October 1, 2005 Saturday, NEWS; Pg. 4; cf. 'US Home Audience' Admitted Target of US Military Propaganda: Wire Report, "U.S. military stoking xenophobia in Iraq," UPI, UPI NewsTrack TopNews, April 10, 2006; cf. "The Pentagon...has begun deploying forces to mount psychological operations, or 'psy-ops'": Carla Anne Robbins, "Spin Control: U.S. Has Early Priority: Managing Its Message," Wall Street Journal, Eastern edition, New York, N.Y.: Oct 4, 2001, p. A.1.


7. Tina Susman, "Civilian toll in Iraq may top 1M," Los Angeles Times, September 14, 2007,,1,4491851.story?track=rss&ctrack=2&cset=true; cf. "Over 1 million Iraqi deaths since 2003," Mon, 13 Aug 2007 06:29:42 GMT,

8. BRADLEY BROOKS, "US nears 4,000 dead in Iraq," Associated Press, Sun Mar 16, 5:17 PM ET,

9. Mark Benjamin, "John McCain's real war record," January 17, 2008,; cf.; cf. Shmuel Rosner, "Why lovers of Israel should vote for McCain (according to Lieberman)," Haaretz, Last update - 18:36 29/01/2008, Note: McCain's credentials even as a political conservative are suspect: "...Now the party has an apparent candidate who is a friend of Sen. Russ Feingold - on campaign finance reform - [Congressman Ron] Paul said. And now the party has an apparent candidate who is a friend of Ted Kennedy - on immigration - Paul said. ... And then there is the war in Iraq, with Paul the only one of several Republican candidates for president this year who took a stance against the war."McCain says we should stay there for 100 years if necessary - I say there is no need," ...", Mark Silva, "Ron Paul: McCain friends with Feingold, Kennedy," Baltimore Sun, February 7, 2008,; cf. "Bill Clinton: John McCain and Hillary are 'very close'," CNN, Posted: 06:45 PM ET, January 25, 2008,

10. PARIS ACHEN, "Unveiling the casualties of war: Activist crafts newspaper to tell stories of those touched by conflict," The Houston Chronicle, 2 STAR EDITION, March 13, 2003, Thursday, THISWEEK; Pg. 1; cf. PATRICK COCKBURN, "Pentagon revises its Gulf war scorecard," The Independent (London), April 14, 1992, Tuesday, INTERNATIONAL NEWS PAGE; Page 12; cf. ANDREW STEPHEN, "The Gulf War: Saddam sends Bush 'ballistic with anger' - How Iraq's peace ploy may hasten the bloody land battle," The Observer (UK), February 17 1991, Pg. 9.

11.; cf. "...both the U.S. bishops and top Vatican officials sharply questioned the decision to invade Iraq in 2003", Alan Cooperman, "U.S. Catholic Bishops Call for 'Honest Dialogue' on Iraq," Washington Post, Tuesday, November 14, 2006; Page A15,

12. Saddam's capture may bring peace, doesn't excuse war, cardinal says, Catholic News Service,

13. FRANCES D'EMILIO, "Pope: 'Nothing positive' from Iraq," Associated Press, And, apparently, the Pope is not the only one with a low opinion of the Iraq "war": "Legal scholars work to build case for Bush war crimes prosecution," Press Release: Massachusetts School Of Law, 17/06/08,

14. SELCAN HACAOGLU, "Filthy Iraqi drinking water raises cholera fears," Associated Press, 2 August 2008,; cf. Hannah Allam, "5 years after Iraq's 'liberation,' there are worms in the water," McClatchy Newspapers, Sun Mar 16, 6:00 AM,; cf. PATRICK COCKBURN, "After five years of U.S. occupation, Iraq is destroyed as a country," THE INDEPENDENT, Last updated March 18, 2008 4:59 p.m. PT,; cf. STEVEN R. HURST, "Water taps run dry in Baghdad," Associated Press, Thu Aug 2, 2:19 PM ET,

15. PAULINE JELINEK, "Army: soldier suicide rate may set record again," Associated Press, Thu Sep 4, 5:33 PM ET,; cf. PAULINE JELINEK, "Army suicides reported up again -- at 108," Associated Press,; cf. Suicide rate high among US veterans, Wed, 14 Nov 2007 11:36:06,; cf. PAULINE JELINEK, "Wartime PTSD cases jumped roughly 50 pct. in 2007 Associated Press,"; cf. "1-in-10 US Iraq veterans have stress disorder: study," Reuters, February 28, 2006;"Report: 121 veterans linked to killings," Sunday Jan. 13, 2008; cf. DEBORAH SONTAG and LIZETTE ALVAREZ, "Across America, Deadly Echoes of Foreign Battles," New York Times, January 13, 2008

16. Iraq war 'caused slowdown in the US'," Peter Wilson, Europe correspondent | February 28, 2008,,25197,23286149-2703,00.html; cf. Jane Corbin, "BBC uncovers lost Iraq billions," BBC News, Tuesday, 10 June 2008 18:25 UK,; cf. DAVID M. HERSZENHORN, "Estimates of Iraq War Cost Were Not Close to Ballpark," March 19, 2008, By; cf. KIMBERLY HEFLING, "Veterans make up 1 in 4 homeless in US," Associated Press,; cf. Ralph Forbes, "151 Congressmen Derive Financial Profit From War:Blood money stains the hands of more than 25% of members of the U.S. House and Senate," May 28, 2008,; cf. JEANNINE AVERSA, "To fix economy, get out of Iraq," AP,; Noam Chomsky, "Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy," (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006), p. 226.

17. This is not to say that Obama is not beholden to the same financial interests. He surely is. Cf. Pam Martens, "Obama’s Money Cartel: How he’s fronted for the most vicious firms on Wall Street," CounterPunch, February 23, 2008,; Ralph Forbes (Posted by chris rice), "151 Congressmen Derive Financial Profit From War: Blood money stains the hands of more than 25% of members of the U.S. House and Senate,", May 28, 2008 at 09:20:59,

18. WHY WE FIGHT FOREIGN WARS: "Four Western oil companies are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service the country’s largest fields. ...", ANDREW E. KRAMER, "Deals With Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back," New York Times, 19 June 2008,; cf. BBC's Newsnight "said the younger George Bush made his first million with an oil company partly funded by the chief US representative of Salem bin Laden, Osama's brother, who took over as head of the family after his father Mohammed's death in a plane crash in 1968", "US agents told to back off bin Ladens," 7th November 2001,; cf. Ben Aris in Berlin and Duncan Campbell in Washington, "How Bush's grandfather helped Hitler's rise to power," The Guardian, Saturday September 25 2004,; cf.: "The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush’s Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression": Mike Thomson, "The Whitehouse Coup," BBC Radio 4, Monday 23 July 2007,

19. Keating Five scandal: "Mr. Keating, his associates, and his friends contributed $56,000 for Senator McCain's two House races in 1982 and 1984, and $54,000 for his 1986 Senate race. Mr. Keating also provided his corporate plane and/or arranged for payment for the use of commercial or private aircraft on several occasions for travel by Senator McCain and his family, for which Senator McCain ultimately provided reimbursement when called upon to do so. Mr. Keating also allowed Senator McCain and his family to vacation with Mr. Keating and his family, at a home provided by Mr. Keating in the Bahamas, in each of the calendar years 1983 through 1986." [F]rom 1984 to 1987, Senator McCain took actions on Mr. Keating's behalf or at his request. The Committee finds that Senator McCain had a basis for each of these actions independent of the contributions and benefits he received from Mr. Keating, his associates and friends. ..." Moreover, McCain is a hot-head who has nearly engaged in fisticuffs with a colleague in the Senate (see, e.g., Michael Leahy, "McCain: A Question of Temperament," Washington Post, Sunday, April 20, 2008; A01, and who - unless he is serious - thinks that it is funny to “joke” about being an “aspiring dictator” (see McCain's Interview with the editorial board of the "Des Moines Register" in Iowa, 30 September 2008) even as the United States Congress was threatened over the economic bailout with the prospect of "martial law" if the plan failed to pass (see: and even as the USA Patriot Act, and Patriot Act II, Total Information Awareness, Military Commissions Act, John Warner Defense Authorization Act, and Presidential Decision Directive 51 literally erect the scaffolding for a full-fledged police state. Plus, McCain apparently thinks that it is amusing to “joke” about mass-murdering the Iranian people: "Republican presidential candidate John McCain was asked about an Associated Press report that $158 million in cigarettes have been shipped to Iran during George W. Bush's presidency despite restrictions on U.S. exports to that country. 'Maybe that's a way of killing them,' McCain told reporters... ", AP, July 8, 2008; cf.: McCain sings "Bomb Iran" to tune of "Barbara Ann": Republican US presidential contender Senator John McCain's joke on how to deal with Iran is not making everybody laugh. He responded to a question from an audience in South Carolina on Wednesday by breaking into the melody of the Beach Boys song "Barbara Ann" but changing the lyrics to "Bomb Iran", "John McCain, you've done it again," AP/Sydney Morning Herald, April 20, 2007.

20. Ezra Pound, Canto XLV -- "With Usura" (reference owed to Michael Hoffman)

21. Arthur Vermeersch, The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912 ed., Volume XV, New York: Robert Appleton Company, p. 235 (references owed to Michael Hoffman).

22. Michael Hoffman, "Augustine, Abortion and the Democrats: The Talmud is the source of dissent and confusion within Christendom over abortion," 9/01/2008 08:53:00 AM,

23. And which country? From some of McCain's rhetoric and history, and from some of the rhetoric of his handlers (chiefly, Joe Lierberman), one might conclude that the country McCain puts first is, often enough, Israel. See, again: Shmuel Rosner, "Why lovers of Israel should vote for McCain (according to Lieberman)," Haaretz, Last update - 18:36 29/01/2008, But, then again, all of the "mainline" candidates are zionists of one stripe or other (tending, again from much of the rhetoric, towards the Likud end of the spectrum): "America's powerful Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), held a recent summit that featured moments described by one writer as "surreal," "energized" and even "circuslike." "AIPAC's three-day summit included fiery evangelical oratory, adoration for Dick Cheney -- and new plans for going after Iran," reports Gregory Levey for Salon. "Amid an energized and at times almost circuslike atmosphere," Levey writes, "just about everyone in attendance shared two main preoccupations: the 2008 U.S. presidential election and confronting Iran. ... Levey notes that a bipartisan spirit permeated the conference. "Even if Democrats and Republicans bicker on every other issue," he writes, "AIPAC leaders seemed constantly eager to stress that one thing on which the parties can come together is unswerving devotion to Israel." To that end, both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) made appearances. ... Cheney's presence yielded a rousing, warm reaction, says Levey. "When Cheney first appeared on the stage on Monday morning," he writes, "the crowd immediately rose to its feet and filled the room with loud applause, which continued intermittently through his predictably hawkish speech." "It seemed a remarkable contrast to the currently dismal public opinion polls regarding Bush and Cheney," concludes Levy, who quoted a nearby AIPAC delegate among the cheering throng as saying, "This has got to be the last crowd that still greets him this way." Excerpts from the exclusive Salon article, available at , follow... # When the thousands of lobbyists descended on Capitol Hill, they were greeted by nearly every U.S. senator and more than half the members of the House of Representatives -- approximately 500 meetings were held between AIPAC representatives and members of Congress on Tuesday alone. In addition to pushing for the sanctions plan, the goal was to showcase the strength of AIPAC and establish more ties for future communication and lobbying. The AIPAC activists were aided in their mission by some members of Congress themselves, who advised them how to reach out to their colleagues. "Our commitment to Israel defines us as a nation," said Republican Norm Coleman of Minnesota, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, adding that the AIPAC lobbyists "help make sure that we don't forget." ... Following the dinner, Clinton and Obama held competing dessert receptions in the conference center -- in rooms about 25 yards apart -- both eager to highlight their pro-Israel credentials. Debates ensued over which one to attend. "I can't decide," one AIPAC delegate said. "I'd really like to see Obama in person, but Hillary is better for Israel." # Mike Sheehan, "Israel lobby's summit included 'adoration for Cheney'," 03/16/2007,