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KN4M 01-17-04

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  • robalini@aol.com
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com http://www.statesman.com Nelson pens protest
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 17, 2004
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      Please send as far and wide as possible.

      Thanks,
      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist
      http://www.konformist.com

      http://www.statesman.com

      Nelson pens protest song
      By Michael Corcoran
      AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

      Wednesday, December 31, 2003

      Willie Nelson woke up early Christmas morning at the Lake Elsinore,
      Calif., home of his in-laws and turned on the news.

      "There was nothing but bad news, and here it was Christmas Day,"
      Nelson said. "I said, `There sure are a lot of babies dying and
      mothers crying,' and (wife) Annie said, `That sounds like a song.' "

      By the end of the day, Nelson had written the anti-war ballad "What
      Ever Happened to Peace on Earth," which he will debut at Saturday's
      fund-raising concert for Democratic presidential candidate Dennis
      Kucinich at Austin Music Hall.

      "That's only the second protest song I've ever written," Nelson said
      Tuesday from his tour bus in Tennessee, "but it just came pouring
      out."

      Nelson often performed his anti-war composition "Jimmy's Road" at
      peace rallies during the 1991 Gulf War. It was released on
      1992's "The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories?"

      Asked if he's concerned that the new song -- which asks such biting
      questions as "How much oil is one human life worth?" and "How much is
      a liar's word worth?" -- might cause a backlash with conservative
      country music fans, Nelson said, "I sure hope so. I don't care if
      people say, `Who the hell does he think he is?' I know who I am."

      Nelson plans to record the song in Nashville today and rush-release
      it as a single, though the song itself suggests that it won't get
      much airplay: "Now, you probably won't hear this on your radio/
      Probably not on your local TV/ But if there's a time, and you're ever
      so inclined/ You can always hear it from me." The lyrics were
      released Tuesday by the Kucinich campaign.

      Nelson said the reaction he's had from friends for whom he's played
      the song has been overwhelmingly positive. Houston lawyer Joe Jamail,
      a longtime Willie crony, told the singer that he plans to buy a full-
      page ad in the Houston Chronicle to display the lyrics.

      "Now, I haven't played it for Toby (Keith) yet," Nelson said with a
      laugh. Although the two are close friends, the sentiments of "What
      Ever Happened to Peace on Earth" are the polar opposite of Keith's
      angry-American anthem "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," with its
      call to arms.

      "Toby wrote that song in reaction to 9/11, which was a totally
      different thing than watching U.S. soldiers die in Iraq," Nelson
      said. "Toby's said he's not a Republican or a Democrat; he's a
      Christian. So we're coming from the same place."

      Nelson said he became interested in endorsing Kucinich because of the
      Ohioan's support of family farmers. The four-term congressman from
      Cleveland has also been an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq.

      "I just like him because he tells the truth," Nelson said. "Whether
      he's electable or not, who knows? But when you've got a guy you can
      trust, you've got a good candidate."

      Kucinich has raised about $5 million for his campaign, far less than
      the $40 million raised so far by the campaign of former Vermont Gov.
      Howard Dean.

      Saturday's concert, which will be Webcast live at www. kucinich.us,
      will also feature Michelle Shocked, Bonnie Raitt, Tish Hinojosa and
      Pat Simmons and Michael McDonald from the Doobie Brothers.

      Tickets to the fund-raiser are $45 and on sale at Star Tickets
      locations.

      Kucinich spokeswoman Susan Mainzer says the goal is to raise more
      than $80,000 during the candidate's two-day visit to Austin.

      Kucinich will hit town Friday to file for a spot on the Texas
      Democratic primary ballot.

      Texas isn't expected to be in political play for the November general
      election, but Democratic presidential hopefuls have been visiting the
      state for campaign cash and for support in the state's March 9
      primary.

      Kucinich also will attend a reception Friday night and will meet with
      AFL-CIO members Saturday morning.

      He's scheduled to speak at a peace rally at the Capitol at 1:30 p.m.

      Saturday and will tape a question-and-answer session with young
      people at 2:30 p.m. at the Austin Music Network.

      mcorcoran@...; 445-3652

      ***

      What Ever Happened To Peace On Earth
      There's so many things going on in the world
      Babies dying
      Mothers crying
      How much oil is one human life worth
      And what ever happened to peace on earth

      We believe everything that they tell us
      They're gonna' kill us
      So we gotta' kill them first
      But I remember a commandment
      Thou shall not kill
      How much is that soldier's life worth
      And whatever happened to peace on earth

      (Bridge)
      And the bewildered herd is still believing
      Everything we've been told from our birth
      Hell they won't lie to me
      Not on my own damn TV
      But how much is a liar's word worth
      And whatever happened to peace on earth

      So I guess it's just
      Do unto others before they do it to you
      Let's just kill em' all and let God sort em' out
      Is this what God wants us to do

      (Repeat Bridge)
      And the bewildered herd is still believing
      Everything we've been told from our birth
      Hell they won't lie to me
      Not on my own damn TV
      But how much is a liar's word worth
      And whatever happened to peace on earth

      Now you probably won't hear this on your radio
      Probably not on your local TV
      But if there's a time, and if you're ever so inclined
      You can always hear it from me
      How much is one picker's word worth
      And whatever happened to peace on earth

      But don't confuse caring for weakness
      You can't put that label on me
      The truth is my weapon of mass protection
      And I believe truth sets you free

      (Bridge)
      And the bewildered herd is still believing
      Everything we've been told from our birth
      Hell they won't lie to me
      Not on my own damn TV
      But how much is a liar's word worth
      And whatever happened to peace on earth

      *****

      NeoCons Demand 'End To All Evil' And Maybe France, Too
      By David Rennie in Washington
      The Daily Telegraph - UK
      1-2-4

      Washington's hawks have sent a public manifesto to President George
      Bush demanding regime change in Syria and Iran and a Cuba-style
      military blockade of North Korea backed by planning for a pre-emptive
      strike on its nuclear sites.

      The manifesto, which was sent on Tuesday, is presented as a "manual
      for victory" in the war on terrorism. It also calls for Saudi Arabia
      and France to be treated not as allies but as rivals and possibly
      enemies.

      The manifesto is contained in a new book by Richard Perle (pictured),
      a Pentagon adviser and "intellectual guru" of the hardline neo-
      conservative movement, and David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter.
      They warn of a faltering of the "will to win" in Washington.

      In the battle for the President's ear, the manifesto represents an
      attempt by hawks to break out of the post-Iraq doldrums and strike
      back at what they see as a campaign of hostile leaking by their foes
      in such centres of caution as the State Department or in the military
      top brass.

      Their publication, An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror,
      coincided with the latest broadside from the hawks' main enemy, the
      Secretary of State, Colin Powell.

      Though recovering from prostate cancer, Mr Powell summoned reporters
      to his bedside to hail "encouraging" signs of a "new attitude" in
      Iran and call for the US to keep open the prospect of dialogue with
      Tehran.

      Such talk is anathema to hawks like Mr Perle and Mr Frum, who urge
      Washington to shun the mullahs and work for their overthrow in
      concert with Iranian dissidents.

      The book demands that any talks with North Korea require the complete
      and immediate abandonment of its nuclear program.

      As North Korea will probably refuse such terms, the book urges a Cuba-
      style military blockade and overt preparations for war, including the
      rapid withdrawal of US forces from the South Korean border so that
      they move out of range of North Korean artillery.

      Such steps, with luck, will prompt China to oust its nominal ally,
      Kim Jong-il, and install a saner regime in North Korea, the authors
      write.

      The authoritarian rule of Syria's leader, Bashar Assad, should also
      be ended, encouraged by shutting oil supplies from Iraq, seizing arms
      he buys from Iran, and raids into Syria to hunt terrorists.

      The book calls for tough action against France and its dreams of
      offsetting US power. "We should force European governments to choose
      between Paris and Washington," it says.

      The Telegraph, London

      *****

      Ex US-Treasury Chief: Saw No Evidence of Iraq WMDs
      Sun Jan 11, 2003
      By Adam Entous

      CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill
      said he never saw any evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass
      destruction -- President Bush's main justification for going to war --
      and was told "deficits don't matter" when he warned of a looming
      fiscal crisis.

      In excerpts from a new book chronicling his rocky two-year tenure and
      an interview with Time magazine, O'Neill said Bush balked at his more
      aggressive plan to combat corporate crime after a string of
      accounting scandals because of opposition from "the corporate crowd,"
      a key constituency.

      O'Neill, fired in a shake-up of Bush's economic team in December
      2002, also said he tried to warn Vice President Dick Cheney that
      growing budget deficits -- expected to top $500 billion this fiscal
      year alone -- posed a threat to the U.S. economy.

      Cheney cut him off, according to the interview posted on the Time Web
      site on Sunday. "Reagan proved deficits don't matter," he said.
      Cheney continued: "We won the midterms (congressional elections).
      This is our due."

      A month later, Cheney told the Treasury secretary he was fired.

      The vice president's office had no immediate comment, but John Snow,
      who replaced O'Neill, insisted that deficits "do matter" to the
      administration. "We're not happy about the size of these deficits.
      They're larger than they should be," Snow told ABC's "This Week,"
      adding that Bush was committed to cutting them in half over the next
      five years.

      Democrats seized on O'Neill's account.

      "What Paul O'Neill says... is what a lot of other people are
      beginning to conclude -- that there was an overstatement by the Bush
      administration of the weapons of mass destruction part of the
      argument for going to war against Saddam Hussein," Democratic
      presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman, a U.S. senator from
      Connecticut, told "Fox News Sunday."

      'BLIND MAN'

      O'Neill likened Bush at Cabinet meetings to "a blind man in a room
      full of deaf people," according to excerpts from an interview to air
      Sunday evening on CBS's "60 Minutes."

      Democratic presidential hopeful Richard Gephardt, a U.S. congressman
      from Missouri, said he had a similar impression of Bush, telling
      CBS' "Face the Nation" program: "He is a nice man. And he's a smart
      man. But he doesn't have experience. He doesn't have knowledge. And
      he has no curiosity."

      Commerce Secretary Don Evans defended Bush.

      "I know how he leads, I know how he manages.... He drives the
      meetings, tough questions, he likes dissent, he likes to see debate,"
      Evans told CNN's "Late Edition."

      Republican Rep. Mark Foley of Florida accused O'Neill of taking "a
      Shakespearean approach to advance his career and his book sales. Not
      since Julius Caesar have I seen such a blatant stab in the back. Et
      tu, Mr. O'Neill?"

      In the book by former Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind, "The
      Price of Loyalty," O'Neill charged that Bush entered office in
      January 2001 intent on invading Iraq and was in search of a way to go
      about it.

      "In the 23 months I was there, I never saw anything that I would
      characterize as evidence of weapons of mass destruction," O'Neill,
      who sat on the National Security Council, told Time.

      "There were allegations and assertions by people... To me there is a
      difference between real evidence and everything else," he added.

      The magazine said O'Neill sought support for his position on deficits
      and corporate reform from long-time friends -- Cheney and Federal
      Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who he says agreed with many of his
      proposals and helped craft a tough plan to hold executives
      accountable.

      "I realized why Dick just nodded along when I said all of this, over
      and over, and nothing ever changed," he said. "This is the way Dick
      likes it."

      *****

      Cheney Target of Criminal Investigation
      By David J. Sirota, The Progress Report
      January 9, 2004

      Though neglected by major media in the United States, international
      news sources report that French law enforcement authorities have made
      Vice President Dick Cheney the target of a criminal investigation for
      his role in a massive bribery scandal during his time as CEO of
      Halliburton. Le Figaro, one of France's biggest (and most
      conservative) newspapers, reports "an investigative judge is looking
      into allegations of corruption during construction of a natural gas
      complex in Nigeria by Halliburton and a French oil company."

      According to a gas and oil trade publication (picked up by the
      international AP newswire on October 11, 2003) the judge is "looking
      into who may have benefited from nearly $200 million in potentially
      illegal commissions allegedly handed out from 1990 to 2002." In May,
      Halliburton admitted that, under Cheney's stewardship, it paid "$2.4
      million in bribes to Nigerian officials to get favorable tax
      treatment." Halliburton now says it is cooperating with a
      simultaneous review by the Security and Exchange Commission.

      The London Financial Times reports the investigation specifically
      focuses on the criminal charges of "misuse of corporate funds"
      and "corruption of foreign public agents." The Sydney Australia
      Morning Herald reports the investigative judge is specifically
      targeting Cheney for his "alleged complicity in the abuse of
      corporate assets."

      Though the investigation is being spearheaded by French law
      enforcement, the UK Guardian notes, it would be prosecuted under
      international laws agreed to by the United States in a 35-nation
      treaty signed in 1997, meaning the consequences could be very real.
      The treaty, "under the auspices of the Organization for Economic
      Cooperation and Development, aims to fight corporate attempts to buy
      the favors of public authorities abroad." Not coincidentally, the
      London Financial Times points out that the Bush Administration is
      using similar agreements to aggressively "seek the extradition and
      pressing claims against senior French finance industry executives
      connected with the Credit Lyonnais purchase of Executive Life, the
      failed Californian insurer."

      *****

      Dixie Trap for Democrats in Presidential Race
      Norman Solomon, AlterNet
      January 12, 2004

      Many pundits say President Bush is sitting pretty, but this year
      began with new poll data telling a very different story. A national
      Harris survey, completed on Jan. 1 for Time magazine and CNN, found
      that just 51 percent of respondents said they were "likely" to vote
      for Bush in November, compared to 46 percent "unlikely." When people
      were asked to "choose between Howard Dean, the Democrat, and George
      W. Bush, the Republican," the margin for Bush was only 51-43, and
      when the survey focused on "likely voters" the gap narrowed to 51-46.

      While other polls have some different numbers, clearly the race for
      the White House could be quite close. But one of the obstacles to
      Democratic success is the pretense of having a chance to carry a
      bunch of Southern states. Actually, for a Democratic presidential
      campaign in 2004 -- in terms of money, travel time, rhetoric and
      espoused ideology -- Dixie is a sinkhole.

      In 2000, the Bush-Cheney campaign swept all of the South, albeit with
      electoral thievery in Florida.

      The percentage margins were double-digit in Alabama, Georgia,
      Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. But
      leading Democrats show no signs of acknowledging what ought to be
      self-evident: They should not exert their presidential campaign to
      troll for electoral votes in such states any more than the Bush team
      will push to win in Massachusetts or Hawaii.

      During the Jan. 4 debate in Iowa, responding to a question about how
      he plans to "reach out" to "particularly white Southern voters who no
      longer even consider Democratic candidates," Sen. John Kerry offered
      patriotic-sounding flourishes. "I am a veteran," he said. "I've
      fought in a war. They particularly respect service to country in the
      South."

      Then Kerry added a real doozy: "And in the end, if I'm the nominee, I
      could always pick a running mate from the South, and we'll do just
      fine."

      But in 2000, even with a Southerner at the top, the Democratic ticket
      did not get a single electoral vote from the South. So this year, in
      the South, how could a ticket headed by Kerry "do just fine"?

      Such posturing is partly a charade for the primary season. Several
      Democratic candidates are concentrating appreciable resources on the
      South Carolina primary, for instance, because they could win some
      early delegates there. Yet, come November, the likelihood of South
      Carolina's electoral votes going to the Democratic ticket is on a par
      with the chances that Laura Bush will publicly express a fervent
      desire to marry Dennis Kucinich.

      At the risk of riling some political journalists, the Democrats
      should stop kidding themselves about the South in this year's
      presidential campaign. "The 2000 election left us with a map split
      between blue states and red states," Joe Velasquez and Steve Cobble
      write in the Jan. 5 edition of The Nation magazine. "The conventional
      wisdom is that a Northern nominee, to win, will have to find a way to
      convert some of the old Confederate gray from red to blue. But most
      Southern states are burial grounds for Northern Democrats, not
      battlegrounds."

      Velasquez and Cobble make a persuasive case. "For almost 40 years
      now," they point out, "the white South has been moving steadily into
      the Republican ranks. Indeed, white Southerners now run the GOP and
      provide a very high proportion of its cultural shock troops. Given
      these facts, we believe it's past time to target the electoral map in
      a different way. The new path to the White House runs through the
      Latino Southwest, not the former Confederacy, especially for a
      Northern nominee. Hope blooms as a cactus flower, not a magnolia
      blossom."

      Longtime progressive electoral strategists, Velasquez and Cobble
      single out three states with booming Latino populations -- Arizona,
      Nevada and Colorado -- carried by Bush in 2000 but within striking
      distance for the Democratic ticket in 2004. Also, they note, New
      Mexico was "essentially a dead heat" won by Al Gore.

      "When considering the Latino vote," they write, "reflect on this
      potentially empowering statistic: There are as many unregistered
      Latinos who are American citizens as there were Latino voters in
      2000 -- more than 5.5 million. These potential voters are not likely
      Bush voters, despite Republican rhetoric."

      According to Velasquez and Cobble, "re-defeating George W. Bush in
      2004 hinges on holding blue states on both coasts, making gains in
      the Midwest from West Virginia through Ohio to Missouri and adding
      New Hampshire -- and registering and mobilizing massive numbers of
      Latino voters in the Southwest and Florida." They
      conclude: "Mobilizing the fast-rising Southwestern Latino population
      around the same progressive economic issues that can also unite poor
      whites and African-Americans is the ticket to ride in 2004."

      The notion of carrying several Southern states is often encouraged by
      media pundits eager for a more "moderate" Democratic standard bearer.
      But the Dixie trip is a dead end. And a fixation on the conservative
      sensibilities of white Southerners is apt to tilt the ticket away
      from the kind of political message that could resonate sufficiently
      elsewhere to mean victory.

      Norman Solomon's weekly syndicated column is archived at
      www.fair.org/media-beat.
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