Bush as our Savior?, Bush as 'God's Delivery Boy', World's Second-Largest Rainforest Facees Destruction, Carbon Dioxide at Record Levels, New Evidence TV Can 'Switch Your Channels', US Anti-Terrorist Funds Used to Terrorist US Citizens, and more....
March 29, 2004

The White House has carefully staged a number of press photos to make George W. Bush appear to be the savior (literally!) of the country. (Senator John Kerry also courts the religious vote in photo-ops.) Credit: Photo-collage / The-Edge
Bush as Savior? Good Lord!
Writer James Donahue raises a provocative question in an essay called "Herding the Sheep." Donahue's query: "Have you noticed the halos and orbs around the head of President George W. Bush in recent press pictures?"

You probably haven't because these images are targeted to penetrate the subconscious mind. From the bullhorn at Ground Zero to the landing on the aircraft carrier and the fake Thanksgiving turkey in Baghdad, everything Bush does is carefully staged. Credit goes to White House "perception management" genius Karl Rove for doing "a brilliant job of portraying [Bush] as something almost superhuman."

"One of the more sickening tricks, and most obvious," Donahue observes, "are the pictures emanating from the president's public relations office." In these photos, Bush has been positioned so that the Presidential Seal hanging in the background forms a halo around his head. In some of these staged shots, Mr. Bush appears to be praying. But the image that gets Donahue's vote for the "most pretentious of the lot" is the portrait of Bush posing before a lighted cross, that rises over his head displaying a crown and the word "LORD."

"Every day we are shown pictures that the White House Republicans use to influence our vote," writer media critics Renee T. Louise and Ruth M. Sprague. "Television and movies have made us a nationÂ… that substitutes pictures for fact. We make stars of actors and heroes of those whose heroism exists only in their publicity releases.

Bush as 'God's Delivery Boy'
The March 17 edition of The Progressive featured and article by Matthew Rothschild that further explored "Bush's messianic militarism." On March 11, Bush addressed the National Association of Evangelicals Convention via satellite and opened with the benediction: "You're doing God's work with conviction and kindness, and, on behalf of our country, I thank you."

To which Rothschild responds: "Separation of church and state, anyone?"

"America is a nation with a mission," Bush told the evangelicals. "We're called to fight terrorism around the world." Bush has intentionally invoked the religious term "called" over the past two and a half years. "As freedom's home and freedom's defender, we are called to expand the realm of human liberty," Bush intoned. "By our actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, more than 50 million people have been liberated from tyranny.... Yet I know that liberty is not America's gift to the world -- liberty and freedom are God's gift to every man and woman who lives in this world."

Follow W's logic: IF God's gift is liberty, AND if Bush has liberated millions, THEN Bush is God's delivery boy.

Rothschild observes that the planet is placed in a dangerous situation when any world leader proceeds under the "tautological conviction that whatever he is doing he is fulfilling God's will."

World's Second Largest Rainforest to be Destroyed
CONGO (March 18, 2004) -- The World Bank and United Nations are seeking to increase logging by 60 times in the Democratic Republic of Congo's priceless ancient rainforests. They are doing so without a government in place and against local opposition. Similar protests in Papua New Guinea helped reduce industrial logging of primary rainforests by 80%. Protect the World's last wildlands. Please forward this alert widely and send a message to the UN. If industrial logging becomes established in the Congo to the degree it has elsewhere, there is little hope that Congolese rainforests -- and their ecosystems, species and peoples -- will survive. It takes one minute to protest turning Congo's rainforest wilderness into diminished tree farms. Please do so at:

Carbon Dioxide Reported at Record Levels
Global warming carbon dioxide gas (CO2) has hit record-high levels in the atmosphere, according to researchers at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawai'i. Before the industrial age, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere stood at about 280 parts per million (ppm). On March 19, average readings at the 11,141-foot Mauna Loa Observatory, hovered around 379 ppm, compared with about 376 a year ago. This annual increase of about 3 ppm is considerably higher than the average annual increase of 1.8 ppm over the past decade.

Scientists offered various explanations. NOAA carbon-cycle expert Pieter Tans told the AP: "China is taking off economically and burning a lot of fuel. India, too," Another leading climatologist, Ralph Keeling, noted that planetary warming forces the release of CO2 from the ocean and soil.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects that by 2100, atmospheric CO2 concentrations could range from 650 to 970 ppm, driving global temperatures up 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius (2.7 and 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol called for reducing CO2 emissions to minimize potential global warming but the pact has not taken effect because the US, the world's biggest CO2 emitter, refused to ratify it and the Bush administration has withdrawn its support.

New Evidence that TVs Can Switch Your Channels
If you enjoy watching TV, it may be that you've really been enjoying is a bath of electromagnetic feedback. Consider the following quote taken from the filing papers for US Patent 6,506,148:

"Physiological effects have been observed in a human subject in response to stimulation of the skin with weak electromagnetic fields that are pulsed with certain frequencies near1/2 Hz or 2.4 Hz, such as to excite a sensory resonance. Many computer monitors and TV tubes, when displaying pulsed images, emit pulsed electromagnetic fields of sufficient amplitudes to cause such excitation. It is therefore possible to manipulate the nervous system of a subject by pulsing images displayed on a nearby computer monitor or TV set. "

(Left) International Earth Day Proclamation by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. (Right) Edge Editor Gar Smith and Berkeley Councilmember Kriss Worthington ring in Nature's New Year at the moment of the Equinox, March 19.
Anti-Terrorist Funds Used against American Citizens
When Congress approved millions in additional spending for Iraq and Afghanistan, no one anticipated that $8.5 million of these taxpayer dollars would be used to attack nonviolent protestors in US streets. But somehow a portion of this "military" appropriation was diverted to the Miami police for the purchase of a variety of "non-lethal" weapons that were deployed just in time to be used on American citizens protesting the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas. The new weapons included CS-gas sprays, desert-colored armored personnel carriers and water-cannon trucks.

A report carried on AlterNet noted that reporters covering the Miami protests were "embedded Iraq-style among the police [and] provided a complementary narrative rationalizing the show of force." In once example, a young woman flashing a V-sign was shot point blank with a rubber bullet. A local ABC newsperson reporter: "She took a rubber bullet in the stomach. She must have done something: You wanna play, you gotta pay." There was no evidence that the young woman had actually done anything to justify the assault.

Miami Mayor Manny Diaz praised the police for mounting "a model for homeland defense" (as if the goal were to defend the "homeland" against its "citizens"). And Miami chief John Timoney, asked to explain his approach to citizens exercising their First Amendment rights, told CBS: "If they engage in lawful activity, we're gonna arrest them." If that was a Freudian slip, Timoney didn't bother to correct it.

Is the US Planing to Attack Iran?
While violence and disorder continue to plague the US occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush administration appears to be preparing for a similar "regime change" in oil-rich Iran. While most of the world community praised Tehran for agreeing to permit UN inspections of its nuclear program, US Secretary of State Colin Powell called the agreement "deficient" because it didn't contain "trigger mechanisms" that would allow the US to invade Iran.

In a report for WSWS News, Mike Head reports: "For the third time this year, the US has demanded that the 35-member IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) board of governors declare the Islamic republic in "non-compliance" with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). [The US] wants the IAEA to cite the breaches to the UN Security Council, paving the way for a UN resolution to justify punitive measures."

Head reports that Washington's attempt to strong-arm the IAEA is causing friction with Russian, France, Japan and Malaysia, all of which have companies with "multi-billion dollar contracts for exploration and drilling in Iran, which has the fourth-largest crude oil reserves and the second biggest natural gas reserves in the world.

"These companies have substantially supplanted the US and British firms that effectively controlled Iran's oil and gas riches for 25 years under the Shah of Iran. The US and British contracts were revoked following the 1979 revolution that ousted the US-backed dictator. A US economic embargo on Iran since 1979 also allowed its European and Asian rivals to win large shares of the country's substantial internal market.

"The aim of any US intervention would be to install a puppet regime that would privatize the country's oil industry and turn it over to US-based transnationals." A successful "regime change" in Iran would "establish unchallenged American hegemony over the Middle East and Central Asia."

A Stern Rebuke
Howard Stern is feeling persecuted. His website in now adorned with a parody image of the poster for Mel Gibson's latest film. It bears the title: The Passion of the Stern. Stern points an accusing microphone at the White House: "My days here are numbered because I dared to speak out against the Bush administration and say that the religious agenda of George W. Bush concerning stem cell research and gay marriage is wrong. And that what he is doing with the FCC is pushing this religious agenda. And also the fact that the guy takes more vacation than any President ever. It's time for him to leave. Having said that, they pushed me off the air in six markets."

Stern confessed that he was "tempted to shut my mouth about all of it, because it will go away" but finally decided: "I don't think we can stop it, short of me calling up President Bush and saying 'Look man, I'm going to support you, so don't do this.'"

Stern wonders why he was suspended because a caller used the N-word, while the same zero tolerance policy wasn't wasn't applied to Clear Channel's Los Angeles station KIIS-FM. "Didn't Ryan Seacrest's first day have the F-word and the S-word? Why was the guy not fired?" And why hasn't Clear Channel given the boot to Michael Savage who recently told a caller that he should "get AIDS and die." Howard's parting howl: "Clear Channel had no problem hiring [Savage] after comments like that, because he's pro-Bush."

Was Saddam's Capture a Ruse for a Constitutional Coup?
The following is an edited version of a December 24, 2003 article by David Martin that appeared in the San Antonio Current.

On December 13, when US forces captured Saddam Hussein, President George W. pulled out his pen and signed into law a bill that grants the FBI sweeping new powers. By signing the bill on the day of Hussein's capture, Bush effectively consigned a dramatic expansion of the USA Patriot Act to a mere footnote. Consequently, while most Americans watched as Hussein was probed for head lice, few were aware that the FBI had just obtained the power to probe their financial records, even if the feds don't suspect their involvement in crime or terrorism.

The Bush administration and its congressional allies tucked away these new executive powers in the FY 2004 Intelligence Authorization Act. The Act redefines "financial institution" to include stockbrokers, car dealerships, casinos, credit card companies, insurance agencies, jewelers, airlines, the US Post Office, and any other business "whose cash transactions have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, or regulatory matters."

To get financial records, the FBI no longer needs to appear before a judge, nor demonstrate "probable cause." Moreover, the search powers come with a gag order, preventing any financial institution from informing its clients that their records have been surrendered. Finally, the FBI will no longer be required to report to Congress on these searches.

Opponents of the PATRIOT Act and its expansion claim that safeguards like judicial oversight and the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure, are essential to prevent abuses of power.

In February 2003, the Center for Public Integrity obtained a draft of a comprehensive expansion of the Patriot Act, nicknamed Patriot Act II, written by Attorney General John Ashcroft's staff. It appeared that the Bush Administration was waiting for the start of the Iraq war to introduce Patriot Act II, and then exploit the crisis to ram it through Congress with little public debate.

The leak and ensuing public backlash frustrated the administration's strategy, so Ashcroft and Co. reassembled the parts of Patriot Act II into other legislation. By attaching the redefinition of "financial institution" to an Intelligence Authorization Act, the administration and its congressional allies avoided public hearings and floor debates.

The Bush Administration has yet to answer pivotal questions about its latest constitutional coup: If these new executive powers are necessary to protect United States citizens, then why would the legislation not withstand the test of public debate? If the new act's provisions are in the public interest, why use stealth in ramming them through the legislative process?

The complete article can be read at:

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