Today's Note from a Madman

Monday, November 7, 2005



Forrester's Weapons of Mass Distortion

As reported in the Newark Star-Ledger, Forrester's campaign manager Rick England has been conducting a whisper campaign on Corzine's personal life for months. This whisper campaign was conducted in a large measure through a blog called Enlighten-NJ. Finally, the Drudge Report helped push the rumors to the mainstream press.

Forrester has refused to discipline his campaign manager and communications director Sherry Sylvester for pushing these rumors. Hence, Forrester is culpable and suspect of planning the smear campaign.

As noted on the blog, Enlighten-NJ is part of a network of blogs funded to push rumors on Democrats. They appear to be pursuing a blog-storming strategy - a coordinated set of attacks. This sort of strategy is something we must watch closely in the future.

Suffice to say, Forrester's campaign has been disgraceful.

-Robert Scardapane

Fathers and Sons

Mike and Chris Wallace

The following are excerpts from Chris Wallace's (Fox News Channel) interview with his father, Mike Wallace (CBS News and 60 Minutes anchor) and some comments by me (Noah Greenberg):

CHRIS WALLACE: I get e-mails from time to time saying to me you're just like your father. And they don't mean it as a compliment.
MIKE WALLACE: What does that mean?
C. WALLACE: They say, "Go to CBS. Go to one of the big networks. Go to the mainstream media," as if that were a foreign land. Do you understand why some people feel such disaffection for the mainstream media?
M. WALLACE: Oh, yes. They think we're wild-eyed commies, liberals. Yes?
C. WALLACE: That's what they think. And how do you plead?
M. WALLACE: I think it's damn foolishness.
C. WALLACE: Really?
M. WALLACE: Look, you know as well as I, reporters are in the business because they want to be — first of all, they're patriots just as much as any conservative. Even a liberal reporter is a patriot, wants the best for this country. And people — you know, your fair and balanced friends at FOX — don't fully understand that.

I think you're wrong Mike. I think the people at Fox News Channel understand it all too well and, in every way possible, exploit it to their advantage. While many people, like the elder Wallace believe that reporters want to be good and "fair and balanced," and that they are "patriots," the people at Fox intentionally move the "fair and balanced" bar so far to the right that they screw up the curve.

Much like President "G"lobal "W"arming Bush and the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party, they have moved so far to the right that the moderate right looks socialist to them. Truly, it's a "with US or against US" mentality.

Take a look at what Chris Wallace quoted his listeners as saying. They said, "(I should) Go to the mainstream media." Fox News is so extreme that their own viewers can't tell that they ARE the mainstream media. If Chris Wallace is too far to the left for Fox, then who do they want anchoring their "news" division? Josef Goebbels? (Hitler's Propaganda minister).

By the way, I used the word "news" very loosely in relation to what Fox News does to it, but not as loose as Fox News uses it themselves.

Now for my favorite Fox News misinformation. Son Chris tries to use the "some people say" inference on his dad, Mike Wallace.

C. WALLACE: Let's talk about the story itself. Some people, the people that have questions about the mainstream media, say Rather and his team were so quick to believe the fake memos because they are so quick, as are a lot of people in the mainstream media, to believe the worst about George W. Bush.
M. WALLACE: Are you serious? You believe that somebody on purpose failed to authenticate those memos? I mean, come on.
C. WALLACE: I think...
M. WALLACE: Do you buy into the fact that the...
C. WALLACE: Now, this is feeling familiar. I think that they were quicker to believe it and, therefore, sloppier about checking it out than they would have been about John Kerry.
M. WALLACE: I don't believe that for a moment.
C. WALLACE: All right. Let's talk about the book. (In an attempt to stop the shellacking from his father, Mike)

It's nice to see dad Mike take his son to task. One wonders if he scolded Son Chris in the green room after the interview. I watched the interview and the disappointment in Mike Wallace's face was extraordinary.

Now we know Mike Wallace grew up in the independent news media. You do remember the independent news media, don't you? They were the guys who wanted to make a difference, not a quick buck. But just how did Chris Wallace grow up? My bet is as the spoiled son of a wealthy television news personality who wasn't home a lot. My bet is that son Chris went to all the best private schools and didn't want for anything. I guess you can call Chris Wallace one of "G"lobal "W"arming Bush's "core constituents."

Much to Mike Wallace's credit, he did tell Chris that he is "proud" of him. I guess Mike didn't want to embarrass his son yet again on the "mainstream media."

-Noah Greenberg

by Victoria A. Brownworth
copyright c 2005 Journal-Register Newspapers

*Don't snitch.*

It's more than just a line from a rap song.

That message is everywhere. From the highest levels of the Bush Administration to the streets of the poorest urban neighborhood, the message that telling the truth will get you into trouble is ubiquitous.

Witness the Plamegate case in Washington. Ambassador Joe Wilson told the truth that Iraq did not purchase nuclear materials to make weapons of mass destruction. A few days later Wilson's wife, an undercover CIA agent, had her identity revealed by high-ranking members of the Bush Administration, putting her life and the lives of those she worked with at great peril.

October 28th Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby was indicted on felony perjury and other charges for his involvement in the revelation of Valerie Plame's name to the press. President Bush's senior advisor Karl Rove is still being investigated, as is the Vice President himself. But it took a Grand Jury investigation to elicit the truth because the message to Wilson from the Bush White House as well as the message to Libby and others who might have been involved in the crime was clear: *Don't snitch.*

In Southwest Philadelphia on October 31st, 13-year-old Jacob Gray, a recent immigrant from Liberia attending Tilden Middle School, was walking several miles to his home because of the SEPTA strike when he was accosted by two adults and a teenager. Gray was beaten so severely he was comatose for more than 24 hours.

Investigators initially believed the incident was a hate crime, but two days after the assault, police revealed the real reason for the attack: Gray had told police drugs were being sold at his school and had signaled who was doing so. The life-threatening assault was both retaliation and warning: *Don't snitch.*

The tragic hit-and-run killing of 15-year-old Kayla Peters in East Falls on Father's Day last June left her family angry and grief-stricken. Peters was a pretty, lively girl and a good student who was hit and left for dead after she got off a bus less than 100 feet from her home that Sunday evening.

Restaurateur Suzannah Goihman, whose white Lexus sustained serious damage (pieces of the car left at the scene of the accident were traced to Giohman's vehicle at her East Falls home less than a mile from where Peters was struck), was implicated in the hit-and-run just days after Peters was found dead in the street. Yet it wasn't until November 2nd–months after Goihman continually refused to talk with police and a Grand Jury had to be convened–that Goihman was arrested for Peters' killing.

Grand Jury testimony elicited some disturbing facts: Goihman had been scheduled to surrender her driver's license the day after Peters was killed because of a prior DUI. The Grand Jury found that Goihman had been out drinking at a restaurant in Manayunk with her married lover prior to the accident. Goihman's boyfriend thought she was too drunk to drive, so he took her back home, the two had sex and then he allowed Goihman to drive him back to the restaurant. It was on her second trip home–driving alone after having consumed more than eight drinks in a two-hour period–that she allegedly struck and killed Peters.

Goihman and her boyfriend clearly knew what had happened to Peters yet neither told police until a Grand Jury was convened. For months Peter's family and friends suffered, not knowing if the girl's killer would be brought to justice.

*Don't snitch.*

Two weeks ago Philadelphians watched as City Councilman Rick Mariano stood atop City Hall and allegedly contemplated suicide. Mariano, who has since been the latest Philadelphia official indicted for bribery and other pay-to-play crimes, was depressed over the looming indictment. His friends at City Hall claimed Mariano was just locked in the tower to "clear his head," but it was obvious that more was happening than a man getting a breath of fresh air.

Mariano, too, was the subject of a Grand Jury investigation in which others are also soon to be named. Mariano has remained silent on all counts, not revealing his own misdeeds or the name of those with whom he did his dirty business dealings at the taxpayers' expense.

*Don't snitch.*

When Spec. Joseph Darby from Pennsylvania turned in his fellow servicemen and women at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq for the murder, torture and humiliation of prisoners, he was called a snitch and threatened repeatedly. *Snitch* is a dirty word. A*snitch* is considered a low-life. But neither Jacob Gray nor Joseph Darby are low-life's. Rather they are people who chose truth over lies, right over wrong. "Snitching" about crimes, about violence is never wrong.

A few months ago T-shirts emblazoned with *Don't snitch* began being sold throughout Philadelphia, having already proven popular in other cities. Police and community activists as well as religious leaders were appalled by the message.

But where was the outrage from others? Don't we care about all these lies that put lives at risk in our own city and the world? That message--*Don't snitch*–implies that there is something inherently wrong with telling the truth.

Perhaps if Jacob Gray had been a native Philadelphian instead of a Liberian immigrant he would have known the rule of the street is to look the other way when crime invades your neighborhood, your school or your government. But instead he was fearful of drugs being sold at his Middle School–to 12, 13 and 14 year old kids. He was fearful also of the accoutrements of drug dealing: guns.

When Joe Wilson revealed the result of his fact-finding mission to Niger prior to the war on Iraq, it was to determine whether or not Iraq actually was a nuclear threat to the U.S., Europe or other Middle Eastern countries. Yet when he returned with the information that uranium yellowcake had not been sold to Iraq by Niger, that information was buried by the Bush Administration which had already decided to invade Iraq for strategic reasons, notably control over oil.

As a former ambassador and someone with intimate knowledge of the impact a war in the Middle East might incur, Wilson took his findings public. A few days later his wife's life was put in jeopardy by Bush's henchmen.

What Spec. Darby did was "snitch" on military corruption that had reached a level of implacable violence at Abu Ghraib and in doing so attempted to stop any more such violence from occurring.

Last week the Washington Post, New York Times and the New Yorker magazine all snitched on the CIA by revealing that the U.S. is involved in "rendition" to eight different nations: sending alleged terrorists and "persons of interest" to be interrogated in nations that regularly utilize torture. These people are being sent–incognito–through Britain, which has caused a furor there, as the U.K. has an anti-torture policy.

There are wars going on all over the world. Some are declared, like the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. Others are undeclared, but just as violent and lethal, like the drug wars on the streets of Philadelphia and other U.S. cities.

Each of us is engaged in a war we have to fight, most of us daily: the war between right and wrong. It's very uncool and very unhip to state it, but lying is wrong. Most of us do it every day, but that doesn't excuse it, doesn't make it right, doesn't smooth over the damage all those lies add up to in a society in which evil outweighs good far too much of the time.

When we promote the message *Don't snitch* we promote lying. Perhaps Suzannah Goihman and her boyfriend didn't think they were lying when they refused to tell police that Goihman struck and killed Kayla Peters while she was driving drunk. But when you know the truth and you don't reveal it, that's a lie of omission. When President Bush knew from Joe Wilson's fact-finding mission that Iraq did not have the capacity to build WMDs but invaded Iraq anyway, that was a lie of omission: not telling the American people the truth.

There are all kinds of lies in the world today. Some lies don't seem to hurt anyone, like calling in sick when you aren't. But other lies–like denying you killed someone's child, even if it was an accident or taking the nation to war based on something you knew to be false–those lies are dangerous, those lies put lives at peril.

*Don't snitch* might sound cool and hip within the context of a rap song, but in the context of real life in the 21st century, *don't snitch* is a dangerous message that creates an atmosphere of deceit that can lead, often, to murder. What if the friends of the suicide bombers on 9/11 had decided to "snitch" instead of keeping the truth to themselves? The lives of more than 3,000 people would have been saved that day–not to mention the lives of all those in killed in the retaliatory war with Afghanistan.

Snitching isn't the problem in today's society. Keeping silent is. When you know something is wrong, you have a moral obligation to do what is right, to tell the truth, to reveal the lie.

At 13 Jacob Gray set an example the adults around him did not: he risked his own life to tell the truth about drug-dealing to children that risked countless lives. For that act of conscience he nearly died.

*Don't snitch* is the wrong message, no matter whether it's being sent by the highest levels of government or the average thug on the street. It's time to punish the criminals, not those who tell the truth, not those who know how to do the right thing.

In response to, "Ever wonder why Ari Fleischer REALLY left the White House?" Pat Thompson writes:

Because even though it was a high level job, he couldn't sink that low. And his mother is a Democrat. GWB once asked Ari jokingly whether his mother had come over to their side yet.

I thought it was because they couldn't understand why he wanted to stay a Jew. Having very close friends who are Evangelicals, I know the pressure they can exert on a traditional Jew, like myself. -NG

In response to, "If President Bush feels he can't handle the job of being president without the likes of Karl 'The Traitor' Rove, then perhaps he rally can't handle the job at all. Perhaps he never could. Perhaps Georgie-Boy should step aside himself rather than let the nation wallow in his problems," Pat Thompson writes:

Of course he can't handle the job, and he never could. He's just an empty suit with a name that had some value. The right wing that was decimating Clinton did some polling and found that the name Bush had value -- it would bring in contributions, and the name recognition thing works with ignorant voters. Perhaps there's even some deep seated, primordial need among some humans for the former King's son to retake the throne. I could never imagine why anyone would vote for this former drunk, and miserable failure. In 2000 I was dumbfounded that anyone would vote for him, and totally disgusted with the news media who treated him so "royally" and never asked the hard questions. Finally, some of them have regrown some cojones! They report on his lower and lower approval ratings, ask him the embarrassing questions. It is amazing.

Today's Quote
and a bit more

"intentionally misleading"
-A US Military Intelligence warning to "G"lobal "W"arming Bush regarding the relationship between Al-Qaeda and Iraq, February 2002

February 2002, for those of you who don't remember, was a full one year and one month prior to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. It was also eleven months before President Bush spoke those 16 fateful, lying words in his January 2003 State of the Union Address:

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
-President Bush

By the way, those are the 16 words that started the whole Traitor-Gate scandal.

"This newly declassified information provides additional, dramatic evidence that the administrations pre-war statements were deceptive,"
-Senator Carl Levin (D-MI)

Isn't it amazing that the Bushies have US all so well trained that even good people, like Senator Levin have to use code-words like "deceptive" instead of what it really was... A BUSH LIE!

Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, a senior military trainer at an Al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan told the Bush administration just what they wanted to hear... Or maybe the Bush administration told al-Libi what to say knowing what they had to hear. In any event, the Bushies got what they wanted and we got over 2000 dead and over 7000 seriously injured.

Al-Libi told the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) that Iraq helped train al Qaeda agents and they manufactured Weapons of Mass Destruction for their use.

Even al-Libi's DIA interrogators didn't buy the story, but someone did.

"It is possible he does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual (al-Libi) is intentionally misleading the debriefers."
Al-Libi "may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest."
-The DIA report

Even after the DIA's repudiation of al-Libi's statements, the Bush administration couldn't resist:

"Iraq has trained Al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases."
-GW, during a speech in Cincinnati, Ohio

It has been a recurring statement, even considering its status as an out-and-out LIE.

"I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these weapons to Al-Qaeda,"
Secretary of State Colin Powell, to the United Nations, repeating the al-Libi LIE, something he now regrets

Al-Libi's "an entirely unreliable individual upon whom the White House was placing substantial intelligence trust. And that is a classic example of a lack of accountability to the American people."
-Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)

By the way, al-Libi now says he had LIED to his DIA interrogators. One wonders if al-Libi's "confessions" were somehow "coerced" using "questionable tactics." In any event, his "misstatements" or "misquotes" or LIES, as I like to call them may have helped lead to the deaths and life-long injuries to the Youth of America.

-Noah Greenberg

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-Noah Greenberg