HAMMERNEWS- Michael Hammerschlag

Current Political Commentary by journalist Michael Hammerschlag; Thoughts on foreign policy, Republican outrages, liberal strategies, science by 8 year correspondent in Russia/Ukraine over 22 years and longtime commentator; Website: http://HAMMERNEWS.com

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


I love how they celebrate their filibuster agreement as "saving the Senate". All they did was give the Germans Czechoslovakia. Later, whenever they want, they will come for Poland, because the principle has been established that they have a right to. Only because they are willing to commit any crime to get their way. Any change of the filibuster required 67 votes, a fact never mentioned by skimpy news reports, but the Repubs only had 49-52, and cheated through the whole bullying excersize.


Continued: http://hammernews.com/filsenators.htm

This is the most radical act since Japanese internment, and will permanently damage America, democracy, and the Senate. CALL + FAX these Repub moderate Senators: Collins, Snow, Dewine, Voinovich, Spectre, Sununu, Hagel, Murkowski, Lugar, Warner, Shelby, Smith, Alexander (Chafee and McCain have said they oppos e killing filibuster). Some have said they support killing Phil, but are pseudo moderates- (Shelby voted against some of impeachment), and may possibly be swayed. 4 more votes are needed. Voinovich should be after Lugar in order of contact (first 8 best). My letter is at bottom. I recommend sending faxes, but with all these district offices, you are guaranteed with getting through because DC and maybe main home numbers will be tied up. These numbers (esp. fax) are very hard to get anywhere else. CONTACT CONGRESS

If this goes through, it will be looked back on like Germany looked at 1931 or '32 and thought, "how could we have been so stupid?"

Phone contact + fax numbers of all offices of the Repub moderates who might vote against this coup: FULL LIST

Sunday, May 08, 2005

SMOKING GUN for IMPEACHMENT- Iraq lies exposed

His questioners are his groupies, adoring fans of our adorable president who would not think of asking him a hard question. They are vetted, examined down to their ideological DNA, rehearsed and then sent out like automatons to ask programmed questions. Bush's town meetings are town meetings only if the town is Pyongyang. - Richard Cohen

This scandal broke May 1st, front page in London Times, but barely a peep emerged from any major American media (except Knight-Ridder) about this, now descended farther and farther into neo-Stanlinist correctness. Anything negative on our Dear Leader now often doesn't see the light of TV tube or print.
London Times memo: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1593607,00.html
Greg Palast's take: http://gregpalast.com/detail.cfm?artid=426&row=1
new Seattle Times: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002265205_intel06.html

by Ray McGovern, TomPaine.com

"Intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy."

Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would see those words in black and white—and beneath a SECRET stamp, no less. For three years now, we in Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) have been saying that the CIA and its British counterpart, MI-6, were ordered by their countries' leaders to "fix facts" to "justify" an unprovoked war on Iraq. More often than not, we have been greeted with stares of incredulity.

It has been a hard learning—that folks tend to believe what they want to believe. As long as our evidence, however abundant and persuasive, remained circumstantial, it could not compel belief. It simply is much easier on the psyche to assent to the White House spin machine blaming the Iraq fiasco on bad intelligence than to entertain the notion that we were sold a bill of goods.

Well, you can forget circumstantial. Thanks to an unauthorized disclosure by a courageous whistleblower, the evidence now leaps from official documents—this time authentic, not forged.

Whether prompted by the open appeal of the international Truth-Telling Coalition or not, some brave soul has made the most explosive "patriotic leak" of the war by giving London's Sunday Times the official minutes of a briefing by Richard Dearlove, then head of Britain's CIA equivalent, MI-6. Fresh back in London from consultations in Washington, Dearlove briefed Prime Minister Blair and his top national security officials on July 23, 2002, on the Bush administration's plans to make war on Iraq.


WILD WILD WEST: In a typical denoument for holier than thou Repubs, Spokane Mayor and longtime WA legislative powerhouse (Senate majority leader) James West, who was virulently anti-gay, has been accused by 2 men of molesting them when boys in the '70's while he was a deputy sherrif. He denied this, but admitted to having recent gay sex with men he solicited on the Internet. He was caught by newspaper reporters pretending to be a 18 year old guy. Come to think of it, Artemous Gordon always seemed a little light in the loafers.


Even as scientists issue rules on chimeras in labs, a spine-tingling he-monster with the power to drag us back into the pre-Darwinian dark ages is slouching around Washington. It's a fire-breathing creature with the head of W., the body of Bill Frist and the serpent tail of Tom DeLay. - Maureen Dowd

Amazing story about greed and environmental madness, where Gas Co. plans to drill within a few hundred feet of the site of a west Colorado 8000 ft deep cavern created when they exploded an 40kt nuke in 1969 to liberate natural gas, part of manic Edward Teller's Project Plowshares plan to harness nukes for peacefull purposes. LA Times

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

VIETNAM REDUX- final terrible act 30 years ago


Well, the 30 year anniversary of the final terrible act of the Vietnam War is here. I still remember that sick deep feeling of loss as the helicopters fled Saigon- that it was all for naught, all wasted- the shattered lives, the dead, the wounded, the poisoned destroyed country... and on a selfish professional level, that I had never seen this shaping force of a generation and a half and experienced the most unlimited power reporters have ever had in a war. Missed the PBS special on it, but a 28 page excerpt of Fall of Saigon book by a liberal American reporter who stayed is at http://www.coldtype.net/Assets.05/Essays/04.Saigon.pdf. The wild guestimate of Vietnamese dead is now 3 million, rather than equally unverified 2 million. In my recent Brown U. lecture (GETTING GOOD NEWS: The Government vs. the Press in Times of War (realaudio) (windowsmedia) on how Vietnam totally changed the relationship in subsequent wars, I speculated whether the media did lose Vietnam, whether it was in fact winable in '68-69, but the strategic and tactical devastation the Viet Cong suffered in Tet was converted in the media into a moral and propaganda win. NY Times has an interesting commentary on The War We Could Have Won http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/01/opinion/01morris.html . A million boat people risked a 50% fatality rate to escape the North's brave new world.

Had an opportunity to talk to Quyen Troung and her father, who spent 7 years in the Communists concentration "reeducation camps", along with 600,000 others while America turned away and danced to disco, at a Watson Inst. Conference on Vietnam. The feared Bloodbath didn't happen there (though 200,000 dead? in camps wasn't insignificant), but it DID happen in Cambodia, and it had nothing to do with Kissinger's bombing, perhaps the most absurd and specious liberal truism ever accepted. The Cambodian genocide of 1-2 million of 8 total ranks as one of the worst proportional genocides in modern times, and we not only ignored it, we left the Khmer Rouge rep stay in the UN for years to protest the Vietnamese invasion (liberation).

I did a TV commentary comparing and contrasting the simultaneous anniversaries of the end of WW2 and Vietnam in a 1985 Mpls veterans cemetery, that decried the miserable treatment of veterans and that the multifarious lessons of Vietnam hadn't been accepted. It's one of best things I've done. 25:30 min into TV Resume Tape realvideo ANNIVERSARIES COMMENTARY (3:08 total,2:14 text May 85).

It was a war that should never have happened, but for Truman turning Vietnam back to brutal French colonial masters in '45 when he was being begged for help by Ho Chi Minh, who read a word for word copy of the American Declaration of Independence to a half-million crowd in Hanoi (below)! My feelings on Vietnam are mixed- I thought then and now, that the war was mostly justified, but the conduct of it was madness. I would have gone if called, but think possible I would have deserted when I saw what was happening. In the end, I suspect Bill Marr may be correct: that it was an essential war that may have helped forestall a nuclear conflict by proving to the Russians that we were willing to pay any price to resist Communist expansionism, even if our notion that it was externally directed was wrong. And that we all owe Vietnam vets a tremendous debt of gratitude and a huge apology.

Danny Schecter draws the parellels of lies and actions between Vietnam and Iraq in his blog.


The sudden Japanese collapse took many in French Indochina by surprise, but the Vietminh were ready for what they called the "August Revolution." Declaring Vietnam independent, they marched in to take Hanoi peacefully. Ho Chi Minh formed a government in Hanoi, carefully mixing in members of other nationalist groups. But in the South, away from Ho's moderating influence, his followers started purging rival nationalists. Still with the Vietminh, and perhaps reinforcing the idea of American support, was the OSS.

ARCHIMEDES PATTI: Two or three days after I met Ho, he asked me to come in and stop and see him at which time he wanted to show me something, and what he wanted to show me was a draft of the Declaration of Independence that he was going to declare several days later. Of course, it was in Vietnamese and I couldn't read it and when it was interpreted to me, I was quite taken aback to hear the words of the American Declaration of Independence. Words about liberty, life and the pursuit of happiness, etcetera. I just couldn't believe my own ears.

NARRATOR: On September 2, 1945, on board the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Japan formally surrendered. On the same day throughout Vietnam, the Vietnamese celebrated their self-proclaimed Independence Day and the formation of a new country, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. In Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh read a speech that began, "All men are created equal. They are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights..."

DR. TRAN DUY HUNG: I can say that the most moving moment was when President Ho Chi Minh climbed the steps and the national anthem was sung. It was the first time that the national anthem of Vietnam was sung in an official ceremony. Uncle Ho then read the Declaration of Independence, which was a short document. As he was reading, Uncle Ho stopped and asked, "Compatriots, can you hear me?" This simple question went into the hearts of everyone there. After a moment of silence, they all shouted, "Yes, we hear you!" And I can say that we did not just shout with our mouths but with all our hearts, the hearts of over 400,000 people standing in the square then. After Uncle Ho finished reading the Declaration of Independence, an airplane, a small plane, circled over us. We did not know whose plane it was. We thought that it was a Vietnamese plane. But when it swooped down over us, we recognized the American flag. The crowd cheered enthusiastically.

NARRATOR: Ho appealed to President Harry Truman but he would probably have accepted anyone's support. Truman did not respond to Ho's letters. He had been in office only four months in August 1945 and had not had time to formulate a policy on Indochina.

ABBOT LOW MOFFAT: There was quite a division in the State Department over Indochina. Both the Far Eastern office and the European office were in complete agreement that we wanted a strong France recovered in Europe from the trauma of Vichy and the defeat in the war, but the European division felt that to help get the French back on their feet we should go along with practically anything that the French wanted.

TERRORIST CAPTURED: Libyan Al Qadda leader Abu al (Scooter) Libbi was caught in Pakistani .

REPUBLICAN COUP AT PBS?? - Alarming report of the Republican progress to hobble and gut any fearless news/documentary criticism at PBS by taking over the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which provides some 10% of PBS funding.