Geov Parrish

The Land of the Hunted – August 12, 2002

Geov is eloquent about the unspeakableness of waging war on Iraq. This piece is a battle cry against trading in violence not only by the administration, but by the power structure at large. "We have now a political leadership that is corrupt beyond all measure, in bed with the predators that have been stealing our savings as well as our democracy – a leadership that has been shredding, in the process, the guarantees of personal liberty that many, many Americans take very seriously (and rightly so). And, not incidentally, it's also a leadership frightfully willing to use its military might to commit mass murder at the drop of a hat, for what can only be viewed as selfish political and economic purposes."

Dubya's Finger on the Button: Hiroshima Provides Needed Reminders – August 5, 2002

The mind boggles at the quality of intelligence that's running a world with a nuclear capacity. Read about it here. What to do? What to do? "...we're not building missile systems – not to mention more fanciful weapons systems now under development, like the Airborne Laser – to defend ourselves from North Korea. We're doing it to pay off Dubya's and Dick Cheney's buddies in the defense industry (notice how Halliburton, despite the cloud of corporate scandal hovering above it, is pulling down all these lucrative NMD contracts of late?)."

Invasion on Autopilot: The Bush Wars and Public Dissent – Then and Now – August 1, 2002

Here's the desperation report from Geov about the war that Bush is intent on having with Iraq. What to do? Geov says it's up to the people to oppose the power structure. That's us. Makes me yearn for some organized way to wield our power...??? "So far, media coverage, Senate hearings, and Pentagon and White House pronouncements have all been reinforcing one well-coordinated message: the necessity of an inevitably one-sided massacre. The bipartisan enthusiasm for it all has shut out the most basic question possible: whether we should be engaging in such mass murder."

Put it in Crawford, Texas: Nuclear waste management and your backyard – July 24, 2002

As Geov Parrish is in the running for the person with the most vitriol for George Bush, which is abundantly clear here, this column also is a clarifier about the nuclear waste problems we face. Scary stuff. "The majority of the United States' nuclear waste is now slated to sit 65 miles upwind [of a major American city], a decision that seems clinically insane."

Cruel and Unspeakable Punishment – July 2, 2002

As opposed to the death penalty as I am, I went even deeper into my conviction when I read this. I always remember a career warden who all of a sudden couldn't do it any more, and spoke about the toll it took on the humanity of everybody involved with executions. After all the reasons to oppose the death penalty, from the issue of executing innocent people to it being unconstitutional as "cruel and unspeakable," Geov goes further. "But none of the legal hair-splitting speaks to the basic, underlying problem with the death penalty: if killing people is wrong, it follows then that having the government kill people is wrong, too. And as a premeditated, publicly-funded spectacle, it's in many ways worse...Why do we kill people to show people that killing people is wrong?"

A World of Hurt: Telecom Giant Goes Way of Enron and Other Bloated Corporate Creatures – June 26, 2002

Geov takes the rapier to WorldCom, and to the corporate culture in which it thrived. He is such a good read. "...until global capitalism makes room for a different kind of accounting altogether – one that incorporates moral values and social costs and benefits into business decisions big and small – scandals big and small will keep right on happening."

Threat Assessment: The War That Isn't and the Constitution That is No Longer – June 12, 2002

Nothing very new here, but this is a well written sorrowful dirge about the state of our world that makes me itch to do something about it. I feel so blessed to be able to share Geov Parrish with everyone. I wish he'd ask me to sign up for the Mad As Hell And Not Going To Take It Anymore Club. "The Bush Administration has, in effect, announced that they are giving us a new American constitution to replace the old one – by executive order. Presumably, as with the ABM Treaty the U.S. officially withdraws from today (since nuclear weapons are no longer a threat, right?), it's just a relic of a bygone era. All that freedom-and-stuff is no longer relevant to America's 21st century needs."

Hello? Is anybody getting this down? The U.S. Constitution, Now Fully Waivable – June 11, 2002

Geov's indignation at Ashcroft's announcement that U.S. citizens will now be held indefinitely without charges or trial is for all of us. How come we are being assaulted this way by this administration, and can't we do anything about it? "U.S. General John Ashcroft announced in Moscow Monday that the Bush Administration can now hold U.S. citizens in prison indefinitely, without charges, access to defense lawyers, or trial. I am not making this up. And you'd think it would be a screaming headline. Instead, this little nugget is being buried as, oh, I don't know – one sentence in the sixth paragraph of Tuesday morning's Associated Press story in one of my local papers."

British Invasion: American Journalist Says Deep Political Reporting Only Possible from Abroad – June 10, 2002

This column is on Greg Palast, the BBC/Guardian investigative reporter whose reports on American political and corporate evildoings have won widespread acclaim in Britain, but can't get air time in the United States. Here's insight into how our media is failing us. "'You don't learn how to investigate in [an American] newsroom. I get all this praise; the trick is that I have editors and producers [here] that will give me the money, the time, the backing, and the space. I can get on the air and tell the story of how the election was stolen in Florida; I would have to take hostages to get on the air in America.' That's true even though Palast's BBC program has a reciprocal, free story-trading agreement with ABC; only Ted Koppel has nibbled so far, but even Nightline, eventually, backed away from the Florida story."

Lines of Control: The Thinkable Nuclear War – June 3, 2002

What will it take to wake us all up to how dangerous we've made our world? There is business as usual re economics being the ruling discipline, when the extinction of humanity could be the consequence of such a priority. We are hell bent for something so catastrophic that all the survivors will be plunged into a dark ages, but the cash register keeps indifferently clanging along. " can almost see the wheels turning as White House officials weigh the costs versus benefits of a nuclear war on the Indian subcontinent."

Bombs Away: Leaving Omnicide to the Free Market – May 30, 2002

Oh God, spare us. Geov is eloquent here about our folly. "[June 12] is the expiration of the six-month's notice...of the 1973 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. Ever since (literally) taking office, Bush has been insisting, much to the slack-jawed disbelief of the rest of the world, that the ABM Treaty should be discarded entirely as an outmoded relic that no longer serves either the security needs or the technological developments of the 21st Century. It would be far more accurate to say that the ABM Treaty does not serve the financial interests of U.S. military contractors or the global conquest fantasies of penthouse warriors like Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney. This prospect of having the world's dominant military power walking away from limits on arms control has left nuclear proliferation experts aghast."

Feeling unregulated? Public drowning in shower of dropping shoes – May 29, 2002

A big picture piece about corporate corruption – add it all up here, re who and what on the bankrupcy front. What a world, where deregulation, instead of creating healthy competition, led to avaricious abuse. "When, last month, federal regulators released correspondence between Enron lawyers and executives that detailed a stunning variety of predatory practices, those documents also included a number of claims that, in effect, 'everybody's doing it' – that is, that Enron's major competitors (including Duke Energy, Dynegy, the Williams Companies, Mirant, and Calpine) were engaging in the same sort of price manipulation."

Colombia on the Verge: The next crisis is here – May 28, 2002

It is so disheartening to take in the scope of what our tax dollars are funding. Read this and weep about the victory of a far right extremist in Columbia's presidential election, and what tragedy that bodes for that country and ours. "The talk in Bogota these days is of a 50-year cycle of tragedy and how the United States is not only walking right into it, but encouraging it...A dramatic escalation in Colombia's war is upon us and, in both Bogota and Washington, the expectation is that the United States will be a full partner...For years observers have been warning that Colombia could explode, with the United States caught in the explosion. By all accounts, that crisis is finally here."

Running for Cover: On Bush, the Press and Impending Doom – May 24, 2002

Here's another smart stab from Geov at turning us to right thinking about the futility of our war making mentality. Old common sense ever more urgent for us to realize as we face presumably inevitable attack. "...prevention can only be successful if America stops making enemies – that is, if America changes the way it conducts itself in the world. And that's a topic nobody in Washington wants to discuss."

Scandalmongering: Hit the Panic Button Enough and No One Will Read the Real News – May 21, 2002

If you love to loathe this administration, you will be fed by Geov's disdain here. In remarking on today's warnings about future attacks on the U.S., he does not mince words in a denunciation of the way the people are being toyed with. "[Asking]how our government brought us and the world to this sorry point, and how we can make it better should be the preoccupation of every waking moment of every political leader in both parties."

In the Name of Womanhood – May 13, 2002

Profound food for thought in this history lesson about Mothers Day, which "was originally conceived as a sort of one-day women's general strike to protest the carnage of war. It began in 1870 as a rallying cry for mothers who lost husbands and sons in the U.S. Civil War, and as a renunciation of war, militarism, and what we now call patriarchy." Read the stirring "original, pre-Hallmark, Mother's Day Proclamation, penned in Boston by Julia Ward Howe in 1870" here. In another piece, A History of Mother's Day, you get an interesting snapshot of our descent into the rampant materialism that has become the American Way. "Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia is credited with bringing about the official observance of Mother's Day," and, being of one mind with Julia Ward Howe about its serious purpose, she died with "her maternal fortune dissipated by her efforts to stop the commercialization of the holiday she had founded." (Highly recommended echo of the "renunciation of war, militarism, and what we now call patriarchy": our Five Star Piece, More Shock and Horror, that was posted when we went to war in Afghanistan.)

Making Money from Misery – May 9, 2002

This cuts to the chase about what happened with Enron and California. "...the staggeringly expensive energy crisis suffered by California and other western U.S. states in 2000-2001 was to a substantial extent artificial, manipulated, at least by Enron, to reduce supply, jack up prices, and keep them inflated. The phrase 'at least' pertains because internal Enron memos suggested that 'other market participants' – including Duke Energy, Dynegy, the Williams Companies, Mirant, and Calpine – were using similar methods to take advantage of deregulation's gaping loopholes." Read it and weep about how these shameful manipulations may prove to have been legal dealings. "...the sheer variety and creativity of profit-taking methods outlined in the Enron memos suggest the extent to which energy companies got the laws written for their own benefit – and our loss."

The Untied Nations: The Israeli and Iraqi Double Standard for International Oversight – May 2, 2002

This column is about the impotence of the U.N., as a puppet of American whim, and the trump card that it gives Iraq by failing to ask that Israel be held up to the same scrutiny it wants for Iraq. "Dubya's particularly obtuse insistence that Iraq accept the U.N. teams gives Saddam Hussein a sympathy card that will play well virtually throughout the world. And now, Iraq can rub it in even further, by pointing to the grotesque double standard of Israel's right to reject a U.N. inspection – one which it had previously approved – when the topic is not potential for mass murder, but determining whether mass murder has already occurred."

And the Beating Goes On: American Media and Colin Powell Have Moved on But the Nightmare Hasn’t – April 19, 2002

I missed this one somehow, which was made even more poignant, when I happened upon it, by the rabid and unqualified defense of Israel going on, in our conversation section by two correspondents, one of whom has broken off communication with me and removed me from his list that I've been on for some years. Their position is grounded in the lack of verification for Israel having committed atrocities, as if you couldn't conclude such a thing from pieces like this, which I can't imagine being unconvincing about the wanton brutality Israel soldiers are inflicting on Palestinians. It's scary to me that such a whitewash is underway here in America – like the U.S. version of the Middle East, where you are on one side or another. No matter that I suggest there need to be no sides, and that, regardless of support for the best of what Israel represents, we have to come out from any blanket approval, as would be true of anything we fundamentally support, to be in the here and now where we hold all people to account. We are a world of people who all need to be supporting oneness, not indiscriminately line up on sides, and that track is the only one that leads to peace. "In Britain: prominent Jewish MP Gerald Kaufman, to approving cries from both sides of the aisle, delivered a blistering speech this week on the floor of the House of Commons, calling Ariel Sharon a 'war criminal' who was 'staining the star of David.' In the U.S., we hear that Yasser Arafat is failing to control people he cannot possibly control..."

The Fight: All Bow Down and Pray to the Almighty Dollar – April 25, 2002

I want to urge you to click through to read this column. Something about it is very haunting, and the quotes can't capture it. This is one of those definitive portraits of life in our times that will put us on the same page – plus, it has the added attraction of some humor that had me cackling loudly. "What progressives are asking is for Americans – an incredibly privileged lot, by world standards – to advocate policies for reasons other than short-term financial gain, and then to believe that our political system is even capable any longer of responding to such a seemingly irrational idea...if these issues do mean something, how do we create alternative institutions – replacements for our lost sense of community, something that harnesses faith or patriotism for positive ends – that can give people a value system, one based on human needs rather than personal finances, to apply to these issues?"

Zionists for Peace: 375 Israeli COs

Demonstrate the Greatest Courage in the Conflict – April 11, 2002

This is another contribution to the ongoing attempt to shine some light on the imploded situation in the Middle East. It fleshes out the background of the Five Star Piece we posted from a Jewish 'refusenik',' continuing, for me, the educating of us liberals to a more nuanced understanding than we've had in our prior tendency to give one-sided support to Israel: "These are not pacifists, and they are Zionists; they believe in Israel, and are willing to fight to defend it, but not to steal Palestinian land, massacre civilians, or endanger their comrades (and, ultimately, Israeli civilians) unnecessarily."

The Trouble With Normal: The Bar is Low for Israeli Tactics Acceptable to the White House – April 9, 2002

Thanks to Geov's contact with Middle East eyewitnesses, we are seeing what you can't get in the media, which is not only shocking to our sensibilities, but reveals the escalating retaliatory endangerment to us. "Ariel Sharon's government, now, also seems to be playing a game, of just how much of the West Bank it can punish before overwhelming international condemnation forces it to either pull back or at least mitigate its tactics – sickening, brutal, inexcusable, and starkly illegal tactics...Europe has lost patience with both Sharon and Bush. The third world is united behind Palestinians as never before. As for the Arab world, says Jamal Khashoggi, deputy editor-in-chief of the Saudi daily, Arab News, 'The rage [of Arabs] is phenomenal...What's happening in Palestine is creating suicide bombers everywhere, not only in Palestine.'"

News From the Front: Welcome to Hell, Where the Children Smile Amid the Gunfire – April 5, 2002

Please read this – for what the media isn't telling us about what's going on in the Middle East. Geov has first hand connections who are over there, in the thick of it, and I don't think anyone reading what they say would fail to be outraged by what is being done. "What if, my health conditions notwithstanding, I could expect to be rounded up, arrested, jailed, and beaten every now and then, just for my age, gender, and race, just so I knew who was boss? What if I couldn't get electricity, or water, or medical care, or food, let alone a job or a future for my children? What if my whole city were in the same situation? And what if the rest of the world was doing nothing about it?"

Witness to Horror: Nothing Excuses the Cold-blooded Israeli Attacks Upon the Civilian Population of Palestine – April 4, 2002

This column of Geov's is THE voice at this time in the progressive media found on the Net. I can't help but compare what Israel is doing, in the assault on Palestinian civilians, to the atrocity of our attacking a whole country in response to terrorist attacks against us. It's violence begets violence, in a vicious worldwide cycle. "That [Israeli] military is now carrying out calculated actions thought by many to be unimaginable in the 21st century. For much of the world, the United States – which, to the extent it has said anything at all, still seems to blame Yassar Arafat for this spectacle – is equally culpable."

The Wrong Side: Bush’s Photo-op Tour of the Other Americas Will Gloss Over the Inequities – March 22, 2002

This column is a laundry list of our dirty dealings south of the border. It is disheartening to note, after our world changed so much last September, how much we haven't changed at all. "...catastrophes America has helped create and that are threatening to engulf much of the region...are gathering steam because throughout much of the Americas south of the Rio Grande, there is a sharp cleavage between the people running the various countries and the people living in them, and the Americans are invariably on the wrong side."

Deeper than Whitewater: Clinton’s Real Crimes Continue into the Bush Administration – March 21, 2002

Although for my taste, the lying Clinton was beyond the pale, I'm with Geov here. He points out how that flap took our attention off what Clinton did – "the result of intentional public policies, embraced, for the most part, by both parties, the Clintons and their appointees as well as the Bushes" – that was far more hurtful to us. "...for all of the non-policy related embarrassments Clinton's Republican persecutors howled about, they were conspicuously silent on the real crimes – the sorts of betrayals of public trusts that are, along with the necessary arrogance and ego, hallmarks of just about anyone who manages to rise to high political office in the United States. Simply put, you can't work the system in America unless you've been bought and sold so many times you no longer stand for anything except the expansion of your own power. And Clinton was a master at it."

It's Our War, Too: America’s Role in Israel Seen Abroad But Not at Home – March 15, 2002

This is a hard hitting call to us to force Israel to create a solution. "What is obvious outside this country is that the world is also associating the United States with Sharon's abuses – an association that, in a time of Islamic jihads and the 'War On Terrorism,' carries obvious risks for every U.S. citizen...Washington has, for too long, financed and defended this brutal occupation; Washington must now bring it to an end."

Wanna Know a Secret? Bush’s Troubling Security Shell Game – March 12, 2002

This column gives a good snapshot of the government by fiat, stripped of its checks and balances, that we are living under. "...the Bush Administration is facing no meaningful accountability for its policy decisions, foreign or domestic, good or arguably the most important and far-reaching network of policy initiatives undertaken by the federal government since the New Deal – set in motion by a single catastrophic event – Bush is not only refusing to answer critics, but is refusing to give out enough details to allow informed criticism."

The Doomsday Regime: The Bush Administration is Hurdling us Toward Armageddon – March 11, 2002

Geov apologizes for harping on a theme, "but it seems like every week brings us a measurable step closer to this completely unnecessary brink." If there's anything you haven't thought yourself about how terrifying the latest Bush nuclear pronouncement is, Geov has covered it in this brilliant column, which has this chilling end: "Six months ago today, the world was horrified by the devastation in New York, D.C., and Pennsylvania. Since then, it has been doubly horrified by the Bush Administration's exploitation of a few thousand tragic deaths to set in motion a series of policy decisions, based explicitly upon an aggressive desire for military domination of the world for up to the next 50 years, that if pursued for any length of time will unquestionably kill tens of millions, including many of us. If not all life on earth. No wonder he's not worried about global warming."

What Nightmares are Made of: Weapons of Mass Destruction, Theirs and Ours – March 6, 2002

After a comprehensive review in this column of the danger we are in of another attack, and how misguided our policies are which so endangers us, the concluding paragraphs are the poetry of nightmare that all thinking people could rally round. As Geov says at the end of this, "There is no more urgent issue in the world today."

The Empire Strikes Forward: America is Trying to Take Over the World, and No One Can Stop Us Except Us – March 4, 2002

This is a passionate cry of protest to our relatively unremarked headlong march of conquest. " the United States hurtles toward a vision of the world as being America's to control by force, is the anti-war crowd today?...needing to do a better job of defending our own territory does not automatically translate into the need to control everyone else's."

The Future is Now: Today’s Conflicts are Caused by Yesterday’s Policies…Which Persist – February 27, 2002

For my money, this is a must read. Geov has captured the zeitgeist here of the grand sweep of the last 25 years. It ain't pretty. If I thought I was revolutionary enough, this impels me to go further – to somehow, someway command the world's attention to the sorry mess we have made, and somehow, someway slam it into a rude awakening...before it's too late. "It's not just that, as the left likes to say, people need two incomes, longer hours, no job security, and a far worse quality of life just to earn what a family with one income-earner brought home in America a generation ago. Beyond that, a generation ago, the global South had hope. Today, countries like Tanzania aren't worried about hope; they're worried that they'll lose half their population to AIDS in the next few years, or that they are one dictatorial kleptocracy away from famine and civil war."

Death of a True Terrorist: Africa's Leading Terrorist Killed – No Thanks to the War on Terrorism – February 26, 2002

Again, Geov educates us about a nightmare we haven't been ruffled by, at the same time as he underscores the contradictory nature of our war on terrorism. This story was occasioned by the death – not at our hands – of Jonas Savimbi, "a man almost single-handedly responsible for plunging Angola into 27 years of civil war that has cost at least 1.5 million lives...But Savimbi has never been called a terrorist by American media, because for much of his career, he was our guy."

Qian shuo (‘money talks’): Why North Korea is ‘Evil’ and a More Oppressive China is our Partner in Crime – February 19, 2002

This is one of those reports that makes you wonder how – and why – we will survive. How low can materialism and consumerism sink? In our friendliness to China, low enough for Geov to say, "It makes me want to puke."

Evil-doer #629183-A: Why Milosevic, of all the World’s War Criminals, is the Only One on Trial – February 14, 2002

As Milosevic heads for the reckoning he deserves, Geov points to some filthy laundry that it's not politically correct to sanitize. This is the underbelly of our own machinations that led to us becoming targets, that we still fail to acknowledge. "The problem isn't that [Milosevic] shouldn't be tried – it's that a lot of other more well-feted people ought to be showing up on dockets, too."

Call This a ‘Plan?' Bush is About to Throw America into the Boiling Waters of Colombia – February 8, 2002

It is disheartening to get a glimpse of the horrors in which the U.S. is participating, in theaters off the main stage where we are waging war. All the ripples feel like the build-up of a tidal wave that can only bring devastation. The arena here is Colombia, and our immanent participation in an apocalypse that's in the making. "The talk in Bogotá these days is of a 50-year cycle of tragedy, and how the United States is not only walking right into it, but encouraging it. Soon, perhaps, inflicting it."

Buried in the Numbers: Is There Really no Money Left for Human Dignity and Welfare? – February 5, 2002

More insight into how deeply anti people and pro corporation our government is, as reflected in "the political and economic hokum that's been fed to us annually" in the country's budget. "Turns out, after years of yelping and preening about deficit spending by both parties, that we didn't need a balanced budget at all – it was just a rhetorical device to justify axing popular programs that big business didn't benefit from."

That's Entertainment: Why Bush Spent $3,200,000 of our Tax Dollars on Super Bowl Propaganda – February 4, 2002

Here's an echo of the piece we gave five stars to last week, Pricey Prime Time Propaganda: Anti-Drug Adverts and the Super Bowl. It is infuriating to me how my money is spent on folly, never more glaring than in the Super Bowl's anti-drug ads. "In an unprecedented move, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (home of the 'Drug Czar') spent over $1.6 million each for two 30-second ads airing during the telecast of yesterday's game. That's over $50,000 a second, by far the largest single-event advertising buy in U.S. government history. And what did we get for our money? Blatant's not drugs that fuel political violence throughout the world – it's their prohibition, and the forcing of drug transactions into the black market."

Things Fall Apart: Nigeria Joins the Club of IMF-fueled Chaos and Violence – January 30, 2002

Here's some education we vitally need about what what causes the widening gap between the rich and the poor that can unravel the world. It's an insight we don't get in the press into how what could be wealth from the abundant oil in a desperately poor Nigeria is siphoned off by the globalization that profits foreign oil companies and by the corrupt native elite. "This weekend, the world's global economic elites meet at the World Economic Forum in New York, and in the opulence of the Waldorf Astoria, Nigeria's misfortunes will be forgotten. Unfortunately, even when the country is in the news, U.S. media also seems unable to make the links between the chaos and misery of 'a tentative transition to democracy' and policies crafted in New York, Washington, and the board rooms of the world."

Long Live Dick: The President’s Nixon-esque Disdain for Democracy – January 29, 2002

If you still smart from the bogus election, and are beside yourself from the tyranny of "the most deeply anti-democratic presidency in modern American history," this column, in its sharply written, irrefutable documentation of the horrors of this administration, will be richly satisfying to you.

Prisoners of What? America’s Linguistic Tricks Belie Human Rights Abuses in Cuba – January 28, 2002

As someone sickened by the fact that we waged a war rather than a pursuit of criminals, I've been waiting to read something speaking to the absurdity of those we captured not being called prisoners of war. Thanks to Geov for doing it in this column. "...the United States invaded an entire country, displaced its government, and captured troops employed by that government to defend its country against foreign invaders. The Geneva Convention explicitly states that if there is any ambiguity over whether someone is a prisoner of war, they are."

Return of the Jihad: Bin Laden is Still Alive and an Embarrassment for the U.S. Military – January 24, 2002

This is a good summary of where we stand in our warring. "...not only is Osama bin Laden likely to survive, but terrorism itself is guaranteed to do so. George Bush's War, as presently constituted, may be popular, but it has also failed. It could hardly do anything else. When Osama reappears, and significant parts of the world laugh at the U.S. in response, perhaps someone somewhere in the Executive Branch will have the sense to suggest rethinking the whole approach."

Greed is Good, Again Missing the Real Enron Scandal: Business as Usual – January 14, 2002

Once again, Geov gives us a lay of the land, with the bigger picture of the Bush administration's enthusiasm for cronyism and its support for corporate greed, inside which Enron is making such abhorrent news – along with the idea that what would have made us more secure than our military ever will is if military allotments had gone for developing sources of alternative energy. "...his policy yardstick is greed. Government should be larger, and spend more, when it benefits Bush's friends, allies, and business supporters."

No Money Down: U.S. Corporations Skip on Paying Taxes, Only Now it’s Legal – January 8, 2001

I'm so grateful to Geov Parrish, on an almost daily basis, that I'm keeping some columns up past when the next one is available, for readers that haven't (yet?) made us your default setting to help you read us every day. Today, Geov shines the light on a new wrinkle in how big corporations are disgustingly supported by our government to bleed this hurting world. "In a lightly reported decision published last week, a federal appeals court greatly narrowed the types of tax shelters and investment strategies that the IRS can disallow as having no purposes other than tax avoidance...In the weeks and months since September 11, it has become fashionable for big corporations – entities that span the globe and owe their allegiance to no country – to loudly proclaim their patriotism, wrapping themselves, and their products, in the U.S. flag. Far more of those corporations will now be able to completely skip paying taxes."

Under Our Foot: The War on Terrorism Looks for its Next Target, in Iraq – January 7, 2002

"The 'American way of life' refers not just to unparalleled consumption, but to its inevitable companion, conquest...the War On Terrorism, like all wars, is a war on people. The people underneath the bombs are somehow always the least enthusiastic about wars, and the Saddam Husseins of the world are somehow always among the last to suffer."

Against the System: Argentina’s Meltdown is a Result of, and Protest over, IMF Policy – January 2, 2002

Here's a lesson in economics and history that deals with the root reality which gives rise to the world problematique that threatens the survival of the human race. "The United States and other lender countries, and the financial institutions (like the IMF) that they control, need to get serious about debt relief and improving the fate of the world's dispossessed. Otherwise, Americans' security and comfort, and the economic empire that makes it possible, will be threatened by far more than a few zealots in a cave in 2002."

The Forgotten Dead – December 18, 2001

There is something consummately horrible about the evil we are doing in retaliating against the evil that was done to us, including how passively we Americans are letting this go on. "...the United States media, alone amongst international news sources, was badly understating the civilian dead and badly overstating, in perfect harmony with Pentagon press releases, the precision of U.S. weaponry."

Shot in the Dark – December 13, 2001

This is a distressing column, about where we are between a rock and a hard place. At one level it deals with corporate greed, but, even if corporations were humane, we still wouldn't have a reliable course of action in which to invoke emergency protection in a bioterrorist attack. "There's also a history, with the pharmaceutical industry, of massive public vaccination campaigns that turned out to be unsafe."

Help! Police! – December 11, 2001

This column speaks to a chilling climate in our land of presumable free speech, where critics of our government's policies are castigated as unpatriotic. "Last week, John Ashcroft all but accused critics of his civil liberty-trashing measures of abetting terrorism."

Non-Western Eyes, November 30, 2001

This is a must read eye-opener about the spin we are in, from a young female Muslim journalist from South Africa. "Most Muslims think that CNN is a vehicle for the U.S. government to propagate and justify its attacks on an innocent people."

American Dystopia, November 27, 2001

Today's column is on the astonishment of the lack of outrage that attends what the government does that is outrageous. "Our ability to chart our own destiny is being taken away from us, and like the sleeping infant whose parent is carefully prying a favored toy from her fingers, we're not even noticing."

Have you heard?, November 26, 2001

This column is on stories that have fallen through the cracks as we move our attention from Afghanistan to holiday shopping. On one front, "As winter makes ground travel impossible, and food aid groups need to use precisely located food drops to reach the pockets of starving villagers and refugees scattering throughout the mountains (one report says there are 229 such pockets), aid groups don't know where the people are who most need food. And the Pentagon is now the sole proprietor of that information, and isn't sharing it."

A Fork in the Road, November 15, 2001

Geov says to hold our applause. Far from advancing toward victory, our situation is very perilous. Today's column ends with, "The United States has a major choice to make...One is a path toward permanent war; the other, a path toward permanent peace. A decision is at hand."

For a complete listing of Geov's articles:

Working For Change

Arianna Huffington

Redefining The Bottom Line: The Coming Corporate Revolution? – August 12, 2002

After Arianna brandishes her rapier, she opens a new door, pointing to the now well-developed socially conscious underground in the business community. Maybe this is a signal that presages more attention being paid to those heroic entrepreneurs who try to help others re-evaluate what's on the bottom line. "Yes, stock price is important, say Triple Bottom Liners, but so is how you treat your workers, the effect you're having on the environment, and whether the McNuggets you sell are made from chickens raised in deplorable conditions."

A Democracy On Corporate Autopilot – August 8, 2002

Arianna doesn't give our squirming government anyplace to hide. In this column, she's not settling for the government's pseudo fixes of the corporate morass. I emailed her my two cents to cheer her on: "Arianna, as you and some other dogged compatriots keep at it, methinks that is how the tide will turn. Even though we tear our hair, I think it is in the natural progression for the entrenchment to give way slowly – and then, as in that inspirational report from Howard Zinn about the trial of the Camden 28, all of a sudden the old collapses and it's a new game. I can just feel your relentlessness paying off in the end."

Holding Dick Cheney "Accountable" – August 5, 2002

Why hasn't Cheney been talking to us? Get the lowdown on how indefensible his Halliburton actions have been – with a side swipe at the parallel to Bush with Harken. These reports are at least easy to read, thanks to Arianna's blessedly entertaining style, but they still will make your blood boil. Woe is us. "Halliburton did end up giving a little something back to America – in the form of $2 million worth of fines for consistently overbilling the Pentagon. In one case they charged $750,000 for work that actually cost them only $125,000. Despite all this, the company has continued to be awarded massive government contracts."

How Can This Be Legal? – July 25, 2002

To catch up on where we are in our corporate culture – i.e. still stuck where we've been – this is a good synopsis. "It's hard to imagine, but even with the public screaming for reform, behind the scenes on Capitol Hill, the high-level – and perfectly legal – gaming of the system continues unabated."

Undercover Brothers: The Anti-Reformers Blend In – July 11, 2002

Read this for a fascinating and informative rundown on how slippery the powers-that-be are, where the force to reform in the face of our corporate scandals may seem to be operating, but the entrenchment in the status quo is stronger. And the echoes of the call to the rest of us are reverberating, a la Howard Zinn in the last Update, showing us how the tide can indeed turn when the masses get mad enough. "The only thing that will make it possible for the handful of real reformers to keep the corporate swine at bay is public outrage. It's up to us to keep demanding that the stirrings of reform are not stillborn."

Still Life in Prison Stripes: A CEO’s Not So Artful Dodge – June 13, 2002

The ever entertaining Arianna gets her teeth into a member of the lowest-of-low-lifes billionaires club, Dennis Kozlowski, who "viewed all of Tyco's assets as his own because, well, without him Tyco was nothing." Even as we weep for how deeply corrupt things are, it at least can afford a modicum of satisfaction when one thief is caught in the act, as Kozlowski has been in facing jail for evading a million dollars of sales tax "on $13.2 million worth of paintings, wryly described by the New York Times as 'second-tier work by big-name artists.'"

Congress And Enron: Why The Bang Turned Into A Whimper – June 10, 2002

As happened with the non-election of Bush, if Arianna is right – and I always find she is – we're watching, in plain sight, another victimization of the populace. Here, big money is buying its way out of consequences from Enron and from Wall Street's double dealing. How can we let this happen to us? Why doesn't everyone who isn't bought, like Arianna, scream, "No?" How to collect ourselves – to get a meaningful voice, that affects policy, for all those people who keep Michael Moore on the best seller list – is, to me, the central question. How can we stand what's being done to us? What to do, what to do...????? Arianna, I know you're reading this. Do you have any ideas about how can we link up to be more than gadflies, and become a force? "Of course, the real reason is the one we're not hearing: there is no Enron-inspired reform because the big donors are determined there will be no Enron-inspired reform. And they are willing to pay through the nose to guarantee it."

Did The Drug War Claim Another 3,056 Casualties On 9-11? – June 3, 2002

I keep feeling immense gratitude for how Arianna cuts through the spin we're in to present us with clear pictures of what's going on in the bureaucratic maze dominated by short term thinking and individual self-interest. This is such an astute piece, which exposes the sexy underbelly of the unwinnable drug war, to which we have sacrificed the less splashy-with-arrests reality of what we should have been doing – and must switch to doing now – to combat the threat of terrorism. "Director Robert Mueller seemed to consider the FBI's tragedy of errors a question of flawed management flow charts, nothing that a rejiggered PowerPoint presentation couldn't fix. But there was a much more fundamental problem plaguing the bureau before Sept. 11. And it wasn't one of office politics, but of office-wide priorities. Namely, the agency's crippling addiction to America's war on drugs."

Why Is Washington Ignoring The Warning Signs Of Economic Devastation? – May 30, 2002

I don't know how Arianna is so knowledgable, but we are fortunate that she has the capacity to make such a detailed compilation of the elements that go into "corporate scumbags undermining the modern private enterprise system." "'It is unlikely,' Sen. Jon Corzine, a Banking Committee member championing reform, said this week, 'that we will get strong reform unless there is a new event that captures the public imagination.' You mean the largest corporate bankruptcy in history and the parade of corruption that has followed weren't big enough?... Do we have to wait for another 433 companies to go belly up, and two million more Americans to lose their jobs, before our leaders heed the warning signals and make passing the post-Enron reforms a top priority?"

How Can I Never Repay You? The CEO Loan Racket – May 23, 2002

Each time I've seen this information in passing, as just part of everyday reality, I've done a double take, thinking it sounded stinking. Arianna to the rescue – it's not just one of those little things. It's BIG and it's awful – one of the almost unbelievable ways that corporate culture is swindling America. "To the ever-growing mountain of evidence that corporate kingpins live in an entirely different world from the rest of us we can now add the latest revelations about the gargantuan loans CEOs receive from their companies...Essentially, these are simply large gifts, dressed-up with paperwork and disguised as 'loans.'"

Has The Patent Expired On The Pharmaceutical Industry's Invincibility? – May 20, 2002

Here's a great panorama of what's going on in the pharmaceutical world. I feel so well-informed now – with, believe it or not, blessedly good news. What a world of corporate sleaze we live in – you get a good dose of its perversity here. A highly recommended read – just why we run with Arianna as a regular here. "...drug companies find themselves under fire on a series of fronts – assailed by Congress, federal prosecutors, federal regulators, human rights activists and international health organizations...Since we so often lament the terrible injustices that surround us, let's take a moment to celebrate this rare instance of chronically corrupt corporations getting a helping of their just desserts."

Scooby Dooby Doo, Harvey Pitt, Where Are You? – May 13, 2002

In case you can't grasp the handles on the homefront for just how things add up in terms of corporate greed and Wall Street malfeasance, here's Arianna summing up the disaster that Harvey Pitt, chairman of the SEC is, "at the very moment when the average shareholder desperately needs a champion...naming a man who had made a career out of butting heads with the SEC as its new chairman was a little like naming Osama bin Laden to run the Office of Homeland Security."

Greed, Fraud, And Apologies: Corporate America's New Bottom Line – May 6, 2002

Eliot Spitzer for president – or maybe vice president, under Arianna. Here's one for lovers of whistle blowing – the horrors to which Wall Street and corporate America have subjected the public know no bounds, and these good folks are making sure everybody knows it. Three cheers for "Eliot Spitzer, the crusading attorney general of New York, whose investigation into conflicts of interest in the investment banking world is ruffling feathers from Wall Street to Capitol Hill."

The Free Market Shrugged – April 18, 2002

As I was reading this indictment of what has become the American way, my thoughts went to how impossible it is to achieve success at creating an equitable world by plugging all the loopholes that people squeeze through to get personal favor. The nature of capitalism is personal favor, and you go against the tide if you try to get the river to flow in a more inclusive way. The very idea of success on which capitalism rests needs to change for there to be the kind of system that those who would be on the side of equity would advance. Instead of success being equated, in a quantifiable way, with money and power, it would have to be reckoned in a qualitative evaluation. It would be seen to come from the nature of your relationship to yourself, to each other, and to the natural world. Being at peace with yourself, finding yourself in a caring and compassionate juxtaposition to the rest of humanity, and involved in the sustainability of the home in which you and your progeny get to dwell would be what mattered most in the world where people would recognize that these were values that would let the game continue – that they weren't pasted on generosities, after money and power were satisfied ideals.

I like this piece by Arianna a lot. It's a catechism of how it is that it shouldn't be, where we can perceive the big picture of "a crony capitalism where the interests of CEOs are no longer aligned with the interests of their shareholders and workers or even the long-term interests of the companies they run – not to mention society as a whole," where, "thanks to stock options, golden parachutes, and asleep-at-the-wheel corporate boards, CEOs are now protected from their own incompetence and rewarded for their failures," and, "The game has been rigged: no matter how badly these fat cats play it, they manage to win."

But, I don't think we really will get anywhere, no matter how much we attempt to legislate "an end to a state of affairs in which businessmen – those 'symbols of America' – are richly rewarded for failing." Can we think one big step further, standing in the shoes that Arianna polished for us, and call not for more laws but for the change of heart that would make those laws unnecessary? What if this call was more than a distant ideal, but actually was a survival necessity?

Tulia And Beyond: Taking Drug Task Forces To Task – April 15, 2002

The war metaphor being so prevalent in our world, hatred and opposition at every turn makes the conflagration that can wipe out humanity chillingly logical. In my own personal life, world Jewry and crop circle researchers, two communities I belong to that you'd expect to be united, are divided and at each other's throats. We all know that progress is made from hardship and breakdown – the struggles keep teaching us or shocking us into awareness. But, now that we have the penchant and the capacity to detonate humanity, shall we go along with being party to this at every turn? Here, Arianna lights up the dark corners on the drug war front. This piece is a graphic documentation of how ordinary the embattlement is in this zone of us against ourselves. Understanding precedes action. It's time for us to "take a much harder look at the abuses being perpetrated in the name of the war on drugs."

Hollywood Sends A Message: Sign the Mine Ban Treaty – March 27, 2002

At best this is an unbearably sad prime example of the folly of war. How can it continue to be so ordinary? And how can Bush turn our backs on at least doing what we can about it? "The buried bomblets claim a new victim every 22 minutes – that's 24,000 casualties a year. And of those 24,000, 95 percent are civilians. Even more horrifying, 50 percent of those maimed or killed are will take over 150 years to get rid of them all. And that's if no new mines are laid. Unfortunately, for every mine that is removed, a staggering 25 new mines are being laid."

Poverty, the President and the Pest – March 25, 2002

Looks like Arianna has picked up on a Bush awakening to what has been one of the advocacies of many of us – as she pushes and prods for follow through, and then some. "'We cannot,' said the president, 'leave behind half of humanity as we seek a better future for ourselves. We cannot accept permanent poverty in a world of progress. There are no second-class citizens in the human race.' Pie in the sky speechifying? Maybe. But it nevertheless represents a major shift in the administration's stated public policy's a direct result of 9/11."

National Missile Defense: Blowing The Whistle On Bad Science – March 14, 2002

Move over Moore, Kucinich and Lee, to make room for whistle blower Nira Schwartz, "a scientist and computer expert, [who] was hired in 1995 by TRW to test the key component of the missile defense system," in the foundational structure of a new progressive movement. If this weren't Arianna reporting on some even grosser aspects of the proposed missile defense system than most of us are aware of, I'd think it was coming from conspiracy zealots. Here she quotes Nira Schwartz: "...we've wasted a decade, and billions of dollars, in a quest for a missile defense shield based on a technology that will never work." P.S.: "[Schwartz's] commitment to exposing the truth has come at a high price. A gifted scientist with a Ph.D. in physics and engineering, and the holder of 24 United States patents, Schwartz [having been fired from TRW] has found herself effectively blackballed since filing her suit [against TRW for fraud] – unable to land a job in her field despite having sent out over 300 resumes."

Cheney's War On The Public's Right To Know – February 27, 2002

Arianna is after the administration for its perverse stand on principles, which it argues for when it suit its needs, and disregards when it doesn't. "Cheney is fighting tooth and nail to hide something incriminating. But it's not his information to withhold. He doesn't own it. We do."

The Bush Oil-igarchy's Pipeline Protection Package – February 21, 2002

Arianna is appropriately outraged that our government is using our dollars, "toadying to another deep-pocketed energy giant," to protect corporate interests Columbia. "...the president wants to spend close to $100 million to help Occidental Petroleum protect an oil pipeline unwisely built in war-torn Colombia."

The Rubber Meets The Road: Powell Commits Sin Of Honesty – February 18, 2002

How much death does it take to get the powers that be to drop their sanctimonious facades? Here, our tireless truth teller, Arianna, rips at what masks the AIDS pandemic to cheer Colin Powell for his recent remarks. "Instead of being excoriated, Powell deserves to be celebrated for abandoning the double talk that is the lingua franca of those in power."

The War on Terror's Newest Target: America's Kids – February 7, 2002

A smashing echo of Geov's column about misuse of our money on drug propaganda. Can any reader of these two pieces not feel rage at the establishment? (For what this reader is doing with that rage, see the conversation with Joe Simonetta on this site.) "In the single largest ad buy the federal government has ever made, the White House spent nearly $3.5 million to get these commercials on the Super Bowl – $3.5 million spent not on treatment but on demonizing America's young people. Our tax dollars at work."

The Evil Ones Here at Home – January 23, 2002

I laughed out loud reading this – give Arianna the host job on "Politically Incorrect." She's got her teeth into Enron here. I only disagree with one statement, when she says, "I'm not suggesting that there is any kind of equivalence, moral or otherwise, between those responsible for murdering innocent civilians and the evil ones at Enron." I see a direct connection, where the inherent abuses of our market economy are what allows terrorism to fester.

Memo to Washington: We Can Handle the Truth – January 17, 2002

Arianna is such a good read. I saw the interviews on the Sunday talk shows that infuriated her. Go, Arianna! Would that we could have shaken her fantasized response from Commerce Secretary Don Evans: "Oh, dear god, yes! Yes, of course, it's true! Money buys access, and access buys influence. Our whole system is nothing but a corrupt cesspool of legalized bribery!"

America's Other War Heats Up – January 14, 2002

What a mess our drug policy is – another unwinnable war, where we keep putting fingers in a failing dyke, and never deal with rethinking of all our activities. Arianna's column gives us a look at a hotspot in Colombia, "where a simmering civil war is wired to explode."

2001: A Watershed Year For Political Leadership – January 7, 2002

This column deals with the leadership vacuum we are in. "It's one thing to ride the crest of a current crisis, and quite another to be able to look ahead and address the tough issues before they become crises...[Bush has] nudged us back to our daily lives but doesn't seem to have given much thought to how those lives could be better. For far too many on the losing end of the new New Economy, 'getting back to normal' isn't such an inviting prospect."

The Enron Scandal: Why Was No One Minding The Store? – December 19, 2001

Our watchdog, Arianna, is on duty here, barking at what I think – after many, many, many other things that can be said about the Enron debacle – is the quintessential indicator of how radically we need attention to how deadly it is to maintain the privilege of wealth when so many in the world are impoverished. "...Enron's executives were playing fast and loose with the books while bilking employees and investors out of their life savings..."

A Child Left Behind: Johnny's Story – December 13, 2001

Arianna is so good at translating the double talk that this administration specializes in – here she deflates the deceptive balloon being floated about the new education bill. "Sadly, it's yet another case of Congressional false advertising – a lump of coal wrapped in shiny tinsel."

On Flying High And Lowered Expectations – December 10, 2001

Arianna is such a good read. Here's a spotlight on the rank materialism that doggedly underlies patriotism in our day, the threat to humanity's survival non-withstanding. "'Ask not what your travel agent can do for you, ask what you can do for your travel agent' isn't exactly a sentiment for the ages."

The Evildoers And The Misled – December 6, 2001

As we demonize the enemy, we fail to see the complex web in which we play a part. Small things can make for big insights, and here our American Taliban helps us see who is who and what is what. "Apparently 'evil' automatically morphs into 'misled' when pronounced with an American accent."

For a complete listing of Arianna's articles:

Arianna Online

Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour,
Rains from the sky a meteoric shower
Of facts...they lie unquestioned, uncombined.
Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
Is daily spun, but there exists no loom
To weave it into fabric...

-Edna St. Vincent Millay-

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