Note: The first program of the First Quarter 2003 was broadcast on December 23, 2002.
Episode #301: Ready To Go Nuclear
First Broadcast: 12/30/02 Opening animation and all our opening credits cut off (including our "Free New York" title and our episode title).
Why is the U.S. pursuing a "diplomatic" path with North Korea, who admits having nuclear weapons, but pursuing a military path with Iraq, which was declared to have not had any nuclear weapons capability by the U.N. weapons inspectors (like Scott Ritter) who were last there in 1998? Why is the hypothetical "two-war" scenario the U.S. has been talking about for so long now suddenly coming closer to being a reality? Why is it the U.S. is willing to attack other countries in order to "disarm" them of alleged nuclear weapons, but nuclear weapons are considered an acceptable option for the U.S. to use on other countries--even countries which do not have nuclear weapons themselves? Why did the U.S. remove 8000 pages from Iraq's 11,000 page weapons disclosure report to the U.N.? And why is Trent Lott still in the Senate? It's not even 2003 yet and I'm already pissed off!
Episode #302: Over Every Nation On Earth
First Broadcast: 1/6/03 Program started at about 10 seconds past 2:00 AM, with our countdown at "4".
Repeated: 1/13/03 Program started at about 10 seconds past 2:00 AM, with our countdown at "4".
1. So, new Republican Senate majority leader Bill Frist is conveniently at the scene of a car accident in Florida to help the victims. Is it just a coincidence that CounterPunch says Mr. Frist is best known for "stalk[ing] the halls of congress looking for someone having a heart attack," so he can conveniently be there to save them?
2. Does the rest of the White House talk to Colin Powell, considering how often the statements he makes are at odds with everyone else there?
White House: The UN inspectors in Iraq aren't moving fast enough.And Charles Rangel thinks we should bring back the draft? He thinks it would eliminate the disproportionate amount of poor and minorities in the armed forces? He thinks it would make people think twice before they commit "their children" to combat in a far-away land? Oh, because that worked so well when they were drafting people off to Vietnam, huh? Give me a break! (P.S.: What about that bomb we dropped in Pakistan?)
Colin Powell: The UN inspectors in Iraq need more time to do their jobs.
White House: a. North Korea is part of an "Axis of Evil."
b. The U.S. reserves the right to make "pre-emptive" strikes against any nation it perceives as a threat.
c. The U.S. reserves the right to use nuclear weapons against any nation, even those that do not possess nuclear weapons themselves. [The Nuclear Posture Review says a lot more than I can -- Chris F.]
Colin Powell: "We are not planning a pre-emptive strike," against North Korea.
Episode #303: Chosen By Experts
First Broadcast: 1/20/03 Program started about 15 seconds past 2:00 AM, with countdown at "4".
This week (or the week we taped, anyway), even though public schools still need funding, bridges are falling apart, millions of people don't have health insurance, and children still go to sleep in this country homeless and hungry, alleged "President" Bush decided that what we need is the elimination of $670 Billion worth of revenue, starting with ending the tax on stock dividends--the profits one receives from owning shares of stock. Never mind that most people don't own stock:
Nine tenths of all stocks remain in the hands of the richest 10 percent of Americans. The wealthiest 5 percent of Americans own three-quarters of the market and a full half of the market is owned by the top 1 percent of those whose annual family income exceeds $250,000 or an average income worth of $650,000.
Progressive Populist, 5/11/99
In 1992, the most recent year available, the richest 1% of households - about 2 million adults - owned 39% of the stock owned by individuals; the top 10%, over 81%. Even if that's shifted a bit, thanks to the mutual fund boom, there's no changing the fact that the bottom 90% of the population has a smaller share (23%) of investable capital of all kinds to play with than the richest 1/2% (29%).
Left Business Observer #76, February 1997
Oh, and Bush himself would have saved $17,000 if he didn't have to pay dividend taxes for 2001; "Vice President" Cheney would have saved $107,000. A person earning minimum wage with no investments would save--oh, yeah: nothing! How can anyone seriously argue that this is a good thing?
P.S.: Some additional statistics from the May 2003 issue of The Progressive, p. 11:
Elite-traveler.com flaunts the concentration of wealth in the United States. "The top 0.5 percent (one half of 1 percent) of Americans own: 31.4 percent of all stocks, 32.2 percent of all bonds, 54.8 percent of all businesses, and 25.8 percent of all net worth." Editor-in-chief Douglas D. Gollan draws this conclusion: "Our readers are the folks who are still spending on luxury products."
Episode #304: Actually, It's Blue
First Broadcast: 1/27/03
Mostly, we discuss Dr. Martin Luther King, the holiday in his honor, and the idea that perhaps there ought to be a moratorium on trotting out the "I Have A Dream" speech every third Monday in January when the subject comes up, since Dr. King had so many other things to say as well (such as "Why I Oppose The War In Vietnam," for instance). Also: White House spokesman Ari Fleischer seems to be incapable of giving a straight answer, judging by the way he dodges questions left and right at White House press briefings, such as the ones on December 9, 2002, and January 6, 2003, where he refused to answer anything about how many convicted criminals (besides Elliott Abrams) are on the White House staff. Is it any wonder I don't trust anyone on Bush's payroll? (P.S.: more dirt on Iran-Contra can be found in Lawrence E. Walsh's report here, if you're interested.)
Episode #305: Weapons Of Mass Distraction
First Broadcast: 2/3/03
NOTE: The video problems you see here (i.e., the stutter in the picture) are our own--as is the typo which proclaims this as "Episode 300." Send all comments to Kim, please.
The question here is this: Who do you believe is telling the truth about U.S. intentions towards Iraq? George W. Bush in his extremely hawkish State of the Union address? Or 100 law professors who think the U.S. would violate international law if it starts a war with Iraq? Or the people at the Pentagon who are preparing for mass graves in Iraq? Or the people at the Pentagon who are planning to fire 800 cruise missiles at Iraq in the first 48 hours? Or the people at the Pentagon who want to use nuclear weapons in Iraq? Or the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who think war is the wrong option--and who Bush thinks are committing an act of treason as a result? Stop the war before it starts!
Episode #306: Words That Were Easy To Translate
First Broadcast: 2/10/03 Program started shortly before 2:01 AM.
So, what have we learned from Secretary of State Colin Powell's presentation to the U.N. Security Council, which was supposed to convince them to join the U.S. in attacking Iraq? Well, we already know Mr. Powell has a history of creating disinformation that goes all the back to Vietnam, when he refused to investigate the massacre at My Lai and insisted that "relations between [American] soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent." We also know that several very knowledgable people and organizations disagree with the main assertions of Powell's report--specifically: Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei, U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet. And, since our taping, we have learned that a recently released British intelligence paper on Iraq--one that was cited by Mr. Powell in his presentation as being a "fine paper" and "exquisite" in detail--was plagiarized from two separate articles: one written in 1997 by an anti-war journalist, and another written in 2002 by a California graduate student describing events in Iraq in the 1990's--neither of which can be considered up-to-date intelligence. The moral of the story? The Bush administration is preparing to go to war with the flimsiest of reasons. It is up to the rest of us to protest this outrageous behavior and stop the war before it starts.
Episode #307: Orange Alert
First Broadcast: 2/17/03 Episode started at about 20 seconds past 2:00 AM in black, then switched to what looked like our color bars, then to the "Coming Up at..." bumper, before finally starting the program at about 20 seconds past 2:01 AM. Last few seconds of episode cut off at about 20 seconds past 2:29 AM.
We started off by briefly discussing the "Orange Alert" status of the alleged likelihood of a terrorist attack in the U.S. (an alert that was partially based on fake information, we later found out), but quickly moved on to the apparent contradiction of how American media outlets were discouraged by the White House from airing any statements made by Osama bin Laden back in 2001 (based on the idea that they might contain "coded messages"), but now those same outlets and that same White House are vigorously encouraging the airing of a new statement by bin Laden that supposedly proves a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq. So, bin Laden is bad to listen to when he talks about his usual crap, but he's good to listen to if he backs up Bush's rationale for war? That's the contradiction. However, reading the full transcript of this latest statement shows a message directed at the people of Iraq, and not a message supporting the Iraqi government. In much the same way, Bush claims to have sympathy for the Iraqi people himself, and none for the Iraqi government. The difference being bin Laden wants the Iraqi people to attack Americans, and Bush wants the Iraqi people to attack Saddam Hussein. (Conversely, most people who are anti-war are also sympathetic to the plight of the Iraqi people, but are opposed to bin Laden and Hussein, as well as Bush.) So, in other words, there is no genuine link, and the U.S. is still grasping at straws in order to justify a war which is opposed by millions of Americans, as well as millions of others around the world. So keep on protesting! Stop the war before it starts!
Episode #308: Freedom Fries
First Broadcast: 3/3/03 Episode began at 2:01 AM.
This week, showing yet another example of his violent tendancies, George Bush has apparently authorized his subordinates to murder Saddam Hussein if they get the chance. Now, there's no denying that Hussein is a violator of human rights (although the U.S. isn't immaculate either in that regard), but that is still no reason to kill him--or anyone else for that matter. Killing someone just because you don't like them is no way to maintain international law; in fact, that violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, just as sure as a premeditated invasion of Iraq would violate the U.N. Charter. Oh, those "no-fly zones" are illegal too, having never been explicitly authorized by the UN either. That means all the constant bombing of Iraq by the U.S. that's been going on for so many years is illegal as well. Is it any wonder that so many people all over the world oppose the war that Bush wants to start? Even diplomats in the government itself? Veterans? Antarctic scientists? Stop the war before it starts!
Episode #309: You Guys Are Spies
First Broadcast: 3/10/03 Episode began at about 30 seconds past 2:00 AM.
We present a graphic example of media criticism tonight, showing how a WNBC-TV evening news story about the U.S. expelling Iraqi U.N. diplomats on charges of spying completely ignores the greater context: that the larger story internationally is about the U.S. spying on all the ambassadors to the U.N. Security Council (except itself and the U.K.), in order to determine precisely how to influence their votes on a potential resolution to attack Iraq! So, when Iraqis are accused of spying, that's bad; but when the U.S. spies on others, it's not even worth a mention? Shame on you, Channel 4 (and Channel 11, for that matter; that's the first station I saw that presented one story while ignoring the other). Also, shame on them for devoting so little time, comparatively, to a student anti-war protest and not talking to any of the protesters as well. I also talked about this guy upstate who was arrested for wearing an anti-war t-shirt in a mall, and another person who was arrested and interrogated for saying "Bush is out of control" in an internet chat room. Is "Free New York" next on the list? Stop the war before it starts!