Eat At Joes

Just a regular Joe who is angry that the USA, the country he loves, is being corrupted and damaged from within and trying to tell his fellow Americans the other half of the story that they don’t get on the TV News.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Images: Tom Paine and I.F. Stone

At a National Press Club event earlier this week, NBC White House correspondent David Gregory argued that, because there is so much polarization in politics today, “people try to divine or assign our motives” for asking certain questions at the White House press briefings. When Helen Thomas asked Gregory what was responsible for the polarization, Gregory answered:
I think it’s because of the internet largely. The polarized atmosphere in the internet and blogs and whatnot have been a major contributor to that.
Think Progress, 12-2-97

Hard Rain Journal 12-3-07: David Gregory Meet I.F. Stone and Tom Paine x 10,000

By Richard Power

Yes, of course, it was the bloggers who polarized the US body politic.

The bloggers spent $50 million plus on Ken Starr's rogue investigation, which was coordinated with the work of the privately funded, reich-wing "Arkansas Project."

The bloggers shackled Susan McDougal and sent her to jail.

The bloggers impeached a popular President at a time of peace and economic prosperity over testimony in a civil suit involving sexual intercourse.

The bloggers issued that voluminous report on Bill Clinton's dalliance with Monica Lewinsky, and posted it on the WWW.

The bloggers ignored accurate US intelligence on Al Qaeda pre-9/11, leading to the slaughter of thousands of innocents at the WTC, and the bloggers distorted accurate US intelligence on Iraq post-9/11, leading to the deaths of thousands of US military personnel, and the maiming of tens of thousands more.

The bloggers swift-boated John Kerry in 2004, morphed Max Cleland's face into Osama bin Laden's in 2002 TV ads, and smeared John McCain in South Carolina in 2000.

The bloggers gutted the surplus, and took the leash of the federal deficit.

In 2000, the bloggers stopped the counting of the ballots ordered by the Florida Supreme Court, and installed the man who lost, as the counting, finished later by researchers, would confirm.

In 2004, the bloggers made sure there weren't enough voting machines in the poorest and blackest districts of Ohio.

The bloggers caged voters. The bloggers purged voters from the rolls.

The bloggers intimidated voters.

The bloggers jammed the phones of the Democratic Party on election day 2002 in New Hampshire.

Yes, it was the bloggers who wasted seven years the planet could not afford to waste clinging to denial and disinformation about the nature, causes and implications of global warming.

The bloggers prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman on false charges.

The bloggers fired eight US Attorneys for pursuing Bush-Cheney associates and not pursuing Bush-Cheney adversaries. The bloggers made Habeas Corpus and the Bill of Rights optional.

The bloggers established a Gulag system, instituted torture and rendition, and started disappearing people. The bloggers stayed on vacation while New Orleans drowned.

The bloggers blocked federal funding for stem cell research.

The bloggers tried to make certain that the brain-dead Terri Schiavo would be kept on a feeding tube indefinitely.

The bloggers betrayed US secret agent Valerie Plame, and then made certain that I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby -- the man who was convicted of obstructing Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation -- would not spend a single day in prison.

Yes, of course, the bloggers have polarized us all.

The sad fact is that if the David Gregorys of the US mainstream news media had fulfilled their special responsibilities as the "fourth estate," which are articulated in both the US Constitution and the writings of the Founders, most us who have served as citizen journalists and commentators would never have gone into blogging.

Blogging is really simply the pamphleteering of our age.

If Tom Paine were alive today, he would, of course, be a blogger.

But this time there is no need for a revolution, only for the restoration of the democratic institutions that were won in the revolution, including a press free of both governments and corporations.

In the 1960s and 1970s, we only need one I.F. Stone; because, in large part, the US mainstream news media still did its job, at least on some stories concerning egregious wrongs, e.g., Watergate and the Pentagon Papers. But now, after decades of media consolidation, we need an Internet-based Information Rebellion, and that is what we have delivered.

What David Gregory is really saying is that he and those who write his checks are scared of the future. And they should be. They are on the wrong side of the digital barricades, and the wrong side of US history.

For Words of Power's archive of posts on Corporate News Media Complicity, Power of Alternative Media, Propaganda & Freedom, click here.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Interesting Q & A Between a Son and Father About Iraq Invasion

Q: Daddy, why did we have to attack Iraq?
A: Because they had weapons of mass destruction.

Q: But the inspectors didn’t find any weapons of mass destruction?
A: That’s because the Iraqis were hiding them.

Q: And that’s why we invaded Iraq?
A: Yep. Invasions always work better than inspections.

Q: But after we invaded them, we STILL didn’t find any weapons of massdestruction, did we?
A: That’s because the weapons are so well hidden. Don’t worry, we’llfind something, probably right before the 2008 election.

Q: Why did Iraq want all those weapons of mass destruction?
A: To use them in a war, silly.

Q: I’m confused. If they had all those weapons that they planned to usein a war, then why didn’t they use any of those weapons when we went towar with them?
A: Well, obviously they didn’t want anyone to know they had thoseweapons, so they chose to die by the thousands rather than defendthemselves.

Q: That doesn’t make sense. Why would they choose to die if they had allthose big weapons with which they could have fought back?
A: It’s a different culture. It’s not supposed to make sense.

Q: I don’t know about you, but I don’t think they had any of thoseweapons our government said they did?
A: Well, you know, it doesn’t matter whether or not they had thoseweapons. We had another good reason to invade them anyway.

Q: And what was that?
A: Even if Iraq didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Husseinwas a cruel dictator, which is another good reason to invade anothercountry.

Q: Why? What does a cruel dictator do that makes it OK to invade hiscountry?
A: Well, for one thing, he tortured his own people.

Q: Kind of like what they do in China?
A: Don’t go comparing China to Iraq. China is a good economiccompetitor, where millions of people work for slave wages in sweatshopsand help make U.S corporations richer.

Q: So if a country lets its people are exploited for American corporategain, it’s a good country, even if that country tortures people?
A: Right.

Q: Why were people in Iraq being tortured?
A: For political crimes, mostly, like criticizing the government. Peoplewho criticized the government in Iraq were sent to prison and tortured.

Q: Isn’t that exactly what happens in China?
A: I told you, China is different.

Q: What’s the difference between China and Iraq?
A: Well, for one thing, Iraq was ruled by the Ba’ath party, while Chinais Communist.

Q: Didn’t you once tell me Communists were bad?
A: No, just Cuban Communists are bad.

Q: How are the Cuban Communists bad?
A: Well, for one thing, people who criticize the government in Cuba aresent to prison and tortured.

Q: Like in Iraq?
A: Exactly.

Q: And like in China, too?
A: I told you, China is a good economic competitor. Cuba, on the otherhand, is not.

Q: How come Cuba isn’t a good economic competitor?
A: Well, you see, back in the early 1960s, the US government passed somelaws that made it illegal for Americans to trade or do any business withCuba until they Stopped being Communists and started being capitalistslike us.

Q: But if we got rid of those laws, opened up trade with Cuba, andstarted doing business with them, wouldn’t that help the Cubans becomecapitalists?
A: Don’t be smart.

Q: I didn’t think I was being one.
A: Well, anyway, they also don’t have freedom of religion in Cuba.

Q: Kind of like China and the Falun Gong movement?
A: I told you, stop saying bad things about China. Anyway, SaddamHussein came to power through a military coup, so he’s not really alegitimate leader anyway.

Q: What’s a military coup?
A: That’s when a military general takes over the government of a countryby force, instead of holding free elections like we do in the UnitedStates.

Q: Didn’t the ruler of Pakistan come to power by a military coup?
A: You mean General Pervez Musharraf? Uh, yeah, he did, but Pakistan isour friend.

Q: Why is Pakistan our friend if their leader is illegitimate?
A: I never said Pervez Musharraf was illegitimate.

Q: Didn’t you just say a military general who comes to power by forciblyoverthrowing the legitimate government of a nation is an illegitimateleader?
A: Only Saddam Hussein. Pervez Musharraf is our friend, because hehelped us invade Afghanistan.

Q: Why did we invade Afghanistan?
A: Because of what they did to us on September 11th.

Q: What did Afghanistan do to us on September 11th?
A: Well, on September 11th, nineteen men - fifteen of them SaudiArabians - hijacked four airplanes and flew three of them intobuildings, killing over 3,000 Americans.

Q: So how did Afghanistan figure into all that?
A: Afghanistan was where those bad men trained, under the oppressiverule of the Taliban.

Q: Aren’t the Taliban those bad radical Islamics who chopped offpeople’s heads and hands?
A: Yes, that’s exactly who they were. Not only did they chop offpeople’s heads and hands, but they oppressed women, too.

Q: Didn’t the Bush administration give the Taliban 43 million dollarsback in May of 2001?
A: Yes, but that money was a reward because they did such a good jobfighting drugs.

Q: Fighting drugs?
A: Yes, the Taliban were very helpful in stopping people from growingopium poppies.

Q: How did they do such a good job?
A: Simple. If people were caught growing opium poppies, the Talibanwould have their hands and heads cut off.

Q: So, when the Taliban cut off people’s heads and hands for growingflowers, that was OK, but not if they cut people’s heads and hands offfor other reasons?
A: Yes. It’s OK with us if radical Islamic fundamentalists cut offpeople’s hands for growing flowers, but it’s cruel if they cut offpeople’s hands for stealing bread.

Q: Don’t they also cut off people’s hands and heads in Saudi Arabia ?
A: That’s different. Afghanistan was ruled by a tyrannical patriarchythat oppressed women and forced them to wear Burqas whenever they werein public, with death by stoning as the penalty for women who did notcomply.
Q: Don’t Saudi women have to wear Burqas in public, too?
A: No, Saudi women merely wear a traditional Islamic body covering.

Q: What’s the difference?
A: The traditional Islamic covering worn by Saudi women is a modest yetfashionable garment that covers all of a woman’s body except for hereyes and fingers. The Burqa, on the other hand, is an evil tool ofpatriarchal oppression that covers all of a woman’s body except for hereyes and fingers.

Q: It sounds like the same thing with a different name.
A: Now, don’t go comparing Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis areour friends.

Q: But I thought you said 15 of the 19 hijackers on September 11th werefrom Saudi Arabia ..
A: Yes, but they trained in Afghanistan.

Q: Who trained them?
A: A very bad man named Osama bin Laden.

Q: Was he from Afghanistan?
A: Uh, no, he was from Saudi Arabia too. But he was a bad man, a verybad man.

Q: I seem to recall he was our friend once.
A: Only when we helped him and the Mujahadeen repel the Soviet invasionof Afghanistan back in the 1980s.

Q: Who are the Soviets? Was that the Evil Communist Empire Ronald Reagantalked about?
A: There are no more Soviets. The Soviet Union broke up in 1990 orthereabouts, and now they have elections and capitalism like us. We callthem Russians now.

Q: So the Soviets - I mean, the Russians - are now our friends?
A: Well, not really. You see, they were our friends for many years afterthey stopped being Soviets, but then they decided not to support ourinvasion of Iraq , so we’re mad at them now. We’re also mad at theFrench and the Germans because they didn’t help us invade Iraq either.

Q: So the French and Germans are evil, too?
A: Not exactly evil, but just bad enough that we had to rename Frenchfries and French toast to Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast.

Q: Do we always rename foods whenever another country doesn’t do what wewant them to do?
A: No, we just do that to our friends. Our enemies, we invade.

Q: But wasn’t Iraq one of our friends back in the 1980s?
A: Well, yeah. For a while.

Q: Was Saddam Hussein ruler of Iraq back then?
A: Yes, but at the time he was fighting against Iran, which made him ourfriend, temporarily.

Q: Why did that make him our friend?
A: Because at that time, Iran was our enemy.

Q: Isn’t that when he gassed the Kurds?
A: Yeah, but since he was fighting against Iran at the time, we lookedthe other way, to show him we were his friend.

Q: So anyone who fights against one of our enemies automatically becomesour friend?
A: Most of the time, yes.

Q: And anyone who fights against one of our friends is automatically anenemy?
A: Sometimes that’s true, too. However, if American corporations canprofit by selling weapons to both sides at the same time, all thebetter.

Q: Why?
A: Because war is good for the economy, which means war is good forAmerica also, since God is on America’s side, anyone who opposes war isa godless un-American Communist. Do you understand now why we attackedIraq?

Q: I think so. We attacked them because God wanted us to, right?
A: Yes.

Q: But how did we know God wanted us to attack Iraq?
A: Well, you see, God personally speaks to George W. Bush and tells himwhat to do.

Q: So basically, what you’re saying is that we attacked Iraq because George W. Bush hears voices in his head?
A: Yes! You finally understand how the world works. Now close your eyes,make yourself comfortable, and go to sleep. Good night.

Good Night, Dad….!


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Muslim Grad Student Sacrificed Self for Another Student at Virginia Tech

Another tale of heroism this time a Muslim graduate student named Waleed Shalaan, who was already wounded by the Virginia Tech killer, deliberately distracted the shooter long enough to allow a fellow student to escape.

This on the heels of the story of Jewish Professor Liviu Librescu who shielded his students from the killer.

Both men died protecting others.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

In the Midst of Chaos Israeli Hero Gives Life to Save His Students

Liviu Librescu, a professor at Virginia Tech, bolted to the door of his classroom holding a table against the door and eventually blocking it with his body – preventing the gunman from entering until his students could escape through the windows. He was shot dead, but his actions saved his students who made it to safety. Librescu had held the shooter at bay long enough to ensure their survival.

While we mourn the victims of this senseless violence let us remember a man who selflessly and courageously laid down his life for the young people under his care.

But who was this man? Librescu was born and raised in Romania; he suffered under the Nazis surviving the holocaust as a Romanian Jew. Then he suffered further under Soviet domination of Romania until he and his family emigrated to Israel in 1978. He moved to the US to teach engineering sciences and continue his research. Ironically he died on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

As we remember the fallen on this sad day, let us take a moment to reflect upon this outstanding example of heroism and bravery.

Liviu Librescu is survived by his wife of 42 years and two sons. He was 76.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Right-Wing Front Group “Catholic” League Violated Tax Exempt Status

Right-Wing Pundit Bill Donahue, president of tax exempt political group, the Catholic [sic] League, may have violated the IRS laws forbidding such religious non-profit groups from interfering in political campaigns. Donahue has appeared in many TV and radio shows in his role as president of the group demanding that presidential candidate John Edwards fire two members of his campaign. Furthermore the “Catholic” League used its official website to pressure Edwards to fire the pair as well. It worked. One of them resigned today. However by interfering in a political campaign Donahue has technically forfeited his group’s tax exempt status.

Now as an American Donahue is free to use his right of free speech anyway he sees fit. But he can’t get out of paying the taxes that all other Americans pay. The law is clear that 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations, as Donahue’s group is, cannot interfere in political campaigns. And the evidence that Donahue’s group did just that is overwhelming.

The IRS is under President Bush. He is legally bound to have the IRS investigate Donahue’s group and pull their tax exempt status if they find evidence of violating the 501(c)(3) tax laws. Evidence that is amply available.

Previously President Bush used the IRS to go after a church in California that preached against war based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. The Bush Administration is still threatening to remove their tax exempt status. Although it’s obvious he is simply punishing them for being anti-war.

Let’s see if Bush does his constitutional duty to enforce the tax laws in the case of the “Catholic” League. If he does not, he is violating his oath of office and it will become further grounds for impeachment.

I’m not holding my breath that he’ll uphold his oath of office and enforce the law.

UPDATE: The second targeted Edwards Campaign staff member has resigned citing pressure from Donahue and the "Catholic" League's ideological attacks on her. Well done, Mr. Donahue. You've broken the law! Let's see if Bush has the balls to enforce the law. I'm thinking...NO!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Proof Oil Companies Purposefully Lowered Gas Prices In Run Up To the 2006 Election

A new study by a consumer watchdog group found that Exxon, Shell and Marathon Oil slashed fourth quarter refining profit margins to temporarily lower pump prices in the run up to 2006 General Election. Exxon dropped margins 18% in the run up to the election. Shell dropped theirs by 23%. In addition the oil companies flooded the market with extra oil to drive the prices down before the election. The prices went back up after the election. These same Oil Companies contributed far more to Republican candidates than to Democratic candidates.

Also after the election President Bush thanked the Oil Industry by introducing new policy that would increase the price of gas. He doubled the amount of oil that the government buys to keep in surplus resulting in a huge drop in supply sending prices (and oil company profits) skyward.

More analysis of the oil industry collusion that resulted in lower gas prices before the election and increased prices after can be found here.

Consumer Advocate Jamie Court, president of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, had this to say:

Now, the oil industry claimed pump prices fell because crude oil prices dropped. But gas prices dropped far more steeply than crude oil. Crude oil comes in barrels. There are 42 gallons in a barrel and the price of each gallon was down 10 cents this October over last. But gas prices fell 61 cents a gallon over the same time last year. In other words, in the run-up to the election, oil companies cut gasoline prices 500 percent more than their raw material cost fell. And it wasn't because refining and distribution costs rose. They're relatively stable. Oil companies simply took less profit from their refineries for a short period of time. Could it have been to influence a political outcome? Well, right after election day, the price of gas suddenly rose after two months of sharp decline. Post-election, refineries have slowed down, inventories are shrinking, and gas prices are climbing.

I hope the new Democratic led Congress will investigate what amounts to election tampering on the part of the Oil Industry. There is evidence that the industry has done this in previous elections as well. Even if no law was broken the American people deserve to know that the Oil Industry has been manipulating the price of gas to change the outcomes of US Elections.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Bush Administration Lying About Number of Wounded US Troops in Iraq

The Bush Administration has found a perfect way to reduce the number of casualties in Iraq…They have changed the definition of “nonmortal casualties” which means troops who have been wounded, but not killed, so that the number of casualties is lessened by 16,164 troops. Yes, that’s right. The Bush Administration has found by changing what “casualties” is defined as they can lie to the American people about the number of American men and women injured in the Iraq War. The definition that has been on the books for generations is now modified to hide 16,164 men and women and make the Iraq War seem less dangerous. They have already subtracted the 16,164 troops from the official counts.

This will make any comparisons to prior wars comparing apples and oranges and bias any comparisons in favor of the Bush Administration.

In addition it conceals the real cost of the Iraq War. Paul Sullivan, director of research and analysis of Veterans for America and formerly a project manager at the Department of Veterans Affairs, said that the department was not prepared to provide the health care that returning veterans would need for mental and physical disabilities.

Don’t you feel safer? Neither do I!

Impeach Bush and Cheney NOW!