Tuesday, July 27, 2004


America Deserves Better # 24

Dear friends,
Just a short letter this time. I stumbled across a real clear and simple budget message at:
http://tinyurl.com/4ajmp or if the "tinyurl" doesn't work, you can cut and paste:
http://ww11.e-tractions.com/truemajority/servlet/Gamelet;jsessionid=DF6179634A347C46EA0730FF4EAD1CEF?req=BjEzO6PaM3E3tzM6bjEFtXM6B3Ef%2BWC3Q%2FmabjF9b9Z1ozMzGjEft2MzMjEFt3taB3Ef%2Ba5ZpiFkv4x%3D .
Obviously we will need more budget fixing than this to get rid of the deficit, but even these simple changes would provide a much better balance. Of course the only way we will start moving toward a better budget is to change the administration. America deserves better. Vote for a change in Nov.
All the best, Murray


America Deserves Better # 23A

Dear friends,
Overnight my outrage at the intentional CIA deception grew, until this morning I sent the following letter to my 2 Senators. I urge, implore, beg you to send a similar letter to your Senators, and to ask all of your friends and their friend etc., to do the same.
Sincerely yours, Murray

Senator Ernest Hollings July 16, 2004
Re: The Senate Intelligence Committee report on prewar intelligence assessment on Iraq
Dear Senator Hollings,
So far I have only read Section III of the report, starting on page 84, in detail, but that is quite sufficient. This section deals with Iraq’s nuclear program, and is concerned mainly with the now famous aluminum tubes. The report available to me at http://news.findlaw.com/legalnews/lit/iraq/documents.html is much censored, especially in the conclusions. What I can see leads me to believe that, in the interests of bipartisan unanimity, the Committee significantly understated the real conclusions. Whitewash may be too strong a word, but compromise is certainly applicable.
The 21 conclusions in this section, (conclusions 28 through 47 of the report) use phrases like "the conclusion was not supported by the evidence, the conclusion was incorrect, the conclusion had several equally likely explanations, some intelligence was more definitive than the NIE showed, the intelligence was more indicative of a non-nuclear program". In only 3 cases did the Committee use stronger wording:
Conclusion 24: the conclusion was incorrect, contradictory and a serious lapse
Conclusion 38: CIA reporting was at a minimum misleading, and in some cases incorrect
Conclusion 41: something (blacked out) was presented only with analysis that supported CIA views.
However a careful reading of the report reveals unequivocally that, from June 2001 through July 2002 the CIA produced at least 10 "Intelligence Reports" withheld from other agencies and making the case that the tubes were for gas centrifuges for uranium enrichment. Throughout this period the DOE disputed the CIA conclusions. Finally in Sept. 2002 both the CIA and DIA published reports supporting the gas centrifuge theory, and these reports were the basis of the Sept 2002 NIE that supported the Congressional Resolution that empowered President Bush. It is also unmistakeably clear that these reports contained conscious and intentional lies of selective information, omissions, fabrications, distortions, and outright falsifications, in addition to doubtful interpretations. The NIE conclusions were not so much based on poor intelligence as on purposeful disintelligence.
The CIA disintelligence campaign started in April 2001 and continued at least through May 2003, which can hardly be a coincidence. There are only two likely explanations. Either the CIA analysts were Neocon plants or sympathizers that finally saw their chance to influence events, or they were sycophants that responded to undue pressure to provide the intelligence their masters sought. In either case they should be taken into custody, charged and tried. The trial will reveal the correct conclusion.
Your loyalty to your Senate colleagues must not lead you to let things rest here. You owe it to the wives and mothers of South Carolina (nay, even the 6000 plus wives, widows and mothers in the nation) with maimed or dead husbands and sons, to dump the compromise and bring this situation into the full light of public attention. It is clear that Congress and the nation were misled with intentionally falsified "information" under the guise of intelligence, with the undeniable purpose of justifying an otherwise unsupportable war. Such deception must be illegal, and must not go unchallenged. Please begin action now to uncover and punish the miscreants ultimately responsible for this outrage. In the interest of a bipartisan effort, by copy of this letter, I am asking Senator Graham to join you in this effort.
Respectfully yours,
Murray Duffin


America Deserves Better # 23

Dear Friends,
By now you have all heard at least a little bit about the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the evidence supporting The Bush administration's arguments for a war in Iraq. A bowdlerized version of the actual report can be found at:
The committee concluded that faulty intelligence was the problem, and that there was no evidence that the intelligence community was pressured to come up with the desired story. As the report is over 500 pages long I have not read it all, but I did read one section in detail, the section dealing with Iraq's nuclear program. When you read this section, and the conclusions at the end of the section, it is clear that, in order to reach unanimity, the committee pulled their punches. It may not be a whitewash, but the conclusions are a far cry from the actuality.
The body of the report makes it clear that the CIA analysts who prepared the intelligence reports concerning the famous aluminum tubes consciously fabricated supposed intelligence, interpreted intelligence in unlikely ways that supported the desired conclusions, reported known data selectively, reported data falsely, ignored other reports or failed to mention known reports that disputed their conclusions, lied about other data, lied about the results of their own experiments and lied about other known uses of the tubes in question. Their "National Intelligence Assessment" was a farrago of lies, distortions, half truths, selective data and knowingly improbable analysis. The reinterpretation of the data started in April 2001, and reached a peak in Sept. 2002.
With one exception the wording of the committee's conclusions gets no stronger than to state that various conclusions were wrong.
There is no way that the conclusions were wrong due to faulty intelligence or to lack of "humint". The conclusions were the result of conscious distortions, omissions and fabrications, but that is never stated. The commitee's understatements come pretty close to whitewash.
One should ask oneself why the CIA began to consciously and falsely reinterpret their intelligence starting in April 2001 if they were under no pressure to do so. Remember Paul O'Neal's input that discussions of war on Iraq started at Bush's first cabinet meeting. Do you think that is a coincidence?
Regretably the media has played along with the game rather than exposing the real meat of the report. If any of you doubt me I beg you to read the report for yourself, or at least read the section on the Nuclear Program to assure yourself that I am not exaggerating.
The administration didn't simply act on poor intelligence, they acted on intelligence that was consciously changed and falsified, and that was done so only after this administration took office. You can reach your own conclusions. I conclude that there was pressure to produce the desired intelligence, and that sycophants in the intelligence community responded to that pressure as desired. Intelligence was clearly fabricated to persuade Congress to support a war of choice, a decision they would not otherwise have made.
We cannot let such deceit continue to be the basis for national policy. America deserves better. Defeat this administration.
Yours, in shock,

Tuesday, July 06, 2004


America Deserves Better # 22

Dear Friends
The pundits tell us that voters in Nov., will decide based on the economy and conditions in Iraq. Some of you may have already decided that the economy is now doing OK. For a more accurate take, you may want to read the following analysis. Let me draw your attention to one point: "The president of Aetna, one of the biggest health insurers, recently told investors, "It's fair to say that a lot of the jobs being created may not be the jobs that come with benefits." Where is the growth going? No mystery: after-tax corporate profits as a share of G.D.P. have reached a level not seen since 1929."

2% of adults have lost jobs. The % employed tells us more than the % unemployed, because people no longer looking for jobs have been dropped from the unemployment statistics. 2% of adults is well over 3 million people!, and the jobs being created are lower paying and "a lot come without benefits". That is great economic performance!

Thirty years ago, corporations paid an average tax rate of about 30%. Today, in spite of rapidly rising profits, they pay about 12%. As a retired executive and investor, I am not anti-corporate, but that is ridiculous. I know from long experience that well managed corporations can carry their share and still do well for their investors. We won't take control of our country back from the big corporations unless we defeat this administration. America deserves better.

Sincerely yours, Murray

Published on Tuesday, July 6, 2004 by the New York Times
Bye-Bye, Bush Boom
by Paul Krugman

When does optimism — the Bush campaign's favorite word these days — become an inability to face facts? On Friday, President Bush insisted that a seriously disappointing jobs report, which fell far short of the pre-announcement hype, was good news: "We're witnessing steady growth, steady growth. And that's important. We don't need boom-or-bust-type growth."

But Mr. Bush has already presided over a bust. For the first time since 1932, employment is lower in the summer of a presidential election year than it was on the previous Inauguration Day. Americans badly need a boom to make up the lost ground. And we're not getting it.

When March's numbers came in much better than expected, I cautioned readers not to make too much of one good month. Similarly, we shouldn't make too much of June's disappointment. The question is whether, taking a longer perspective, the economy is performing well. And the answer is no.

If you want a single number that tells the story, it's the percentage of adults who have jobs. When Mr. Bush took office, that number stood at 64.4. By last August it had fallen to 62.2 percent. In June, the number was 62.3. That is, during Mr. Bush's first 30 months, the job situation deteriorated drastically. Last summer it stabilized, and since then it may have improved slightly. But jobs are still very scarce, with little relief in sight.

Bush campaign ads boast that 1.5 million jobs were added in the last 10 months, as if that were a remarkable achievement. It isn't. During the Clinton years, the economy added 236,000 jobs in an average month. Those 1.5 million jobs were barely enough to keep up with a growing working-age population.

In the spring, it seemed as if the pace of job growth was accelerating: in March and April, the economy added almost 700,000 jobs. But that now looks like a blip — a one-time thing, not a break in the trend. May growth was slightly below the Clinton-era average, and June's numbers — only 112,000 new jobs, and a decline in working hours — were pretty poor.

What about overall growth? After two and a half years of slow growth, real G.D.P. surged in the third quarter of 2003, growing at an annual rate of more than 8 percent. But that surge appears to have been another blip. In the first quarter of 2004, growth was down to 3.9 percent, only slightly above the Clinton-era average. Scattered signs of weakness — rising new claims for unemployment insurance, sales warnings at Target and Wal-Mart, falling numbers for new durable goods orders — have led many analysts to suspect that growth slowed further in the second quarter.

And economic growth is passing working Americans by. The average weekly earnings of nonsupervisory workers rose only 1.7 percent over the past year, lagging behind inflation. The president of Aetna, one of the biggest health insurers, recently told investors, "It's fair to say that a lot of the jobs being created may not be the jobs that come with benefits." Where is the growth going? No mystery: after-tax corporate profits as a share of G.D.P. have reached a level not seen since 1929.

What should we be doing differently? For three years many economists have argued that the most effective job-creating policies would be increased aid to state and local governments, extended unemployment insurance and tax rebates for lower- and middle-income families. The Bush administration paid no attention — it never even gave New York all the aid Mr. Bush promised after 9/11, and it allowed extended unemployment insurance to lapse. Instead, it focused on tax cuts for the affluent, ignoring warnings that these would do little to create jobs.

After good job growth in March and April, the administration declared its approach vindicated. That was premature, to say the least. Whatever boost the economy got from the tax cuts is now behind us, and given the size of the budget deficit, another big tax cut is out of the question. It's time to change the policy mix — to rescind some of those upper-income cuts and pursue the policies we should have been following all along.

One last point: government policies could do a lot about the failure of new jobs to come with health benefits, a huge source of anxiety for many American families. John Kerry is right to make health care a central plank of his platform. I'll analyze his proposals in a future column.


America Deserves Better # 21

Dear Friends,

The following speaks for itself. For the source go to http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0616-07.htm . See also http://www.veteransforpeace.org/Arlington_west_121003.htm

Army Spc. Casey Sheehan was killed in Bagdad on April 4th 2004. His younger sister Carly wrote this poem about her brother's death. Carly's poem has been posted at the Veterans for Peace memorial in Santa Barbara, California and is making quite an impact on those who have read it.

Carly's Poem
A Nation Rocked to Sleep
by Carly Sheehan June 16, 2004 by CommonDreams.org

Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?
The torrential rains of a mother's weeping will never be done
They call him a hero, you should be glad that he's one, but
Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?

Have you ever heard the sound of a father holding back his cries?
He must be brave because his boy died for another man's lies
The only grief he allows himself are long, deep sighs
Have you ever heard the sound of a father holding back his cries?

Have you ever heard the sound of taps played at your brother's grave?
They say that he died so that the flag will continue to wave
But I believe he died because they had oil to save
Have you ever heard the sound of taps played at your brother's grave?

Have you ever heard the sound of a nation being rocked to sleep?
The leaders want to keep you numb so the pain won't be so deep
But if we the people let them continue another mother will weep
Have you ever heard the sound of a nation being rocked to sleep?

Don't let yourself be among those "rocked to sleep"! Defeat this administration. America deserves better.
Wakefully yours, Murray


America Deserves Better # 20

Dear Friends,
Due to travels, and some time lost to upgrade my internet access, I have been off-line for about 4 weeks, so I will be sending 2 or 3 letters in a row. One of the more interesting events recently has been the release of a statement by "Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change" News services have noted that for such apolitical national servants to issue such a statement is unprecedented in American history. That they felt so compelled to set such a precedent speaks for itself. Clearly they feel the same compulsion that has caused me to write these letters. Relative to Bush administration diplomacy, their statement fully supports the points I have been making. I hope you will find this exceptional initiative persuasive. For more information go to http://www.diplomatsforchange.com/ .

The only way to repair America's standing and influence in the world is to defeat this administration. America deserves better.
Best regards, Murray

Following are opening remarks by spokesperson Phyllis Oakley, former assistant secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, in advance of the official statement of the Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change:

"Deep concern about the current state of our nation's international relations compels us, 27 men and women who have served the United States in senior diplomatic, national security, and Military positions, to speak out and call for a fundamental change in the United States' approach to foreign policy.

Let me note that we did not seek large numbers of supporters for our statement -- we have assembled a varied and representative group of like-minded former senior career officials. Since news of the statement came out, we have been besieged by calls from friends and colleagues around the world who have offered support and encouragement. This is very gratifying.

Before reading the statement, I would add that to be involved in an act that will be seen by many as political if not partisan is for many of us a new experience. As career government officials, we have served loyally both Republican and Democratic administrations. We have not only worked overseas; we have also held positions of major responsibility in the Department of State, Department of Defense, National Security Council, and at the United Nations. For many of us, such an overt step is very hard to do and we have made our decisions after deep reflection.

We believe we have as good an understanding as any of our citizens of basic American interests. Over nearly half a century we have worked energetically in all regions of the world, often in very difficult circumstances, to build piece by piece a structure of respect and influence for the United States that has served our county very well over the last 60 years.

Today we see that structure crumbling under an administration blinded by ideology and a callous indifference to the realities of the world around it. Never before have so many of us felt the need for a major change in the direction of our foreign policy.

We will be among the first to recognize that the nation currently faces unprecedented threats. We recognize too that the Bush administration is now reaching out to allies. But everything we have heard from friends abroad on every continent suggests to us that the lack of confidence in the present administration in Washington is so profound that a whole new team is needed to repair the damage. Repair it we must, we believe, as the future security and well being of the United States depends on it."


The undersigned have held positions of responsibility for the planning and execution of American foreign and defense policy. Collectively, we have served every president since Harry S. Truman. Some of us are Democrats, some are Republicans or Independents, many voted for George W. Bush. But we all believe that current Administration policies have failed in the primary responsibilities of preserving national security and providing world leadership. Serious issues are at stake. We need a change.

From the outset, President George W. Bush adopted an overbearing approach to America's role in the world, relying upon military might and righteousness, insensitive to the concerns of traditional friends and allies, and disdainful of the United Nations. Instead of building upon America's great economic and moral strength to lead other nations in a coordinated campaign to address the causes of terrorism and to stifle its resources, the Administration, motivated more by ideology than by reasoned analysis, struck out on its own. It led the United States into an ill-planned and costly war from which exit is uncertain. It justified the invasion of Iraq by manipulation of uncertain intelligence about weapons of mass destruction, and by a cynical campaign to persuade the public that Saddam Hussein was linked to Al Qaeda and the attacks of September 11. The evidence did not support this argument.

Our security has been weakened. While American airmen and women, marines, soldiers and sailors have performed gallantly, our armed forces were not prepared for military occupation and nation building. Public opinion polls throughout the world report hostility toward us. Muslim youth are turning to anti-American terrorism. Never in the two and a quarter centuries of our history has the United States been so isolated among the nations, so broadly feared and distrusted. No loyal American would question our ultimate right to act alone in our national interest; but responsible leadership would not turn to unilateral military action before diplomacy had been thoroughly explored.

The United States suffers from close identification with autocratic regimes in the Muslim world, and from the perception of unquestioning support for the policies and actions of the present Israeli Government. To enhance credibility with Islamic peoples we must pursue courageous, energetic and balanced efforts to establish peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and policies that encourage responsible democratic reforms.

We face profound challenges in the 21st Century: proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, unequal distribution of wealth and the fruits of globalization, terrorism, environmental degradation, population growth in the developing world, HIV/AIDS, ethnic and religious confrontations. Such problems can not be resolved by military force, nor by the sole remaining superpower alone; they demand patient, coordinated global effort under the leadership of the United States.

The Bush Administration has shown that it does not grasp these circumstances of the new era, and is not able to rise to the responsibilities of world leadership in either style or substance. It is time for a change.

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