sz fletcher's folly

August 12, 2005

by Norman Solomon

When a mass killer is at the helm of the ship of state, taking a bow now and again while "Hail to the Chief" booms from big brass bands, a significant portion of the country's population feels revulsion. And often a sense of powerlessness -- a triumph for media manipulation. Passivity is the health of the manipulative media state.

Cindy Sheehan and Celeste Zappala have joined with others in Crawford to insist that death is not a message for more death -- that we can understand death as a profound reality check, imploring us to affirm and defend life. more...

August 11, 2005

MoveOn is taking out an ad in President Bush's local newspaper in support of Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq who is camped outside Bush's ranch in Texas asking for a meeting with the president. They'll publish the number of signers and the best comments in a full two-page spread in the newspaper nearest to Crawford (The Waco Tribune Herald) while Cindy holds her vigil. Can you sign and spread the word before the 3:00 PM Friday print deadline?


Why No Tea and Sympathy?
by Maureen Dowd  

W. can't get no satisfaction on Iraq.  

There's an angry mother of a dead soldier camping outside his Crawford ranch, demanding to see a president who prefers his sympathy to be carefully choreographed.  

A new CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll shows that a majority of Americans now think that going to war was a mistake and that the war has made the U.S. more vulnerable to terrorism. So fighting them there means it's more likely we'll have to fight them here?  

Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged yesterday that sophisticated bombs were streaming over the border from Iran to Iraq.  

And the Rolling Stones have taken a rare break from sex odes to record an antiwar song called "Sweet Neo Con," chiding Condi Rice and Mr. Bush. "You call yourself a Christian; I call you a hypocrite," Mick Jagger sings. more...

August 10, 2005

600 Arrests, But Only 76 Charged
Chertoff's Preemptive Crackdown

"For too long, these gangs have gone unchecked flouting all laws and demonstrating a blatant disregard for public safety."
----Michael Chertoff, Homeland Security

Homeland Security's Michael Chertoff is a busy man. In the last month alone he's arrested more than 600 gang members. There's only one problem. None of them has been charged with a crime.

No matter.

In Chertoff's world that's only a minor glitch; after all, Chertoff engineered the infamous round up of 1,100 Muslims following 9-11; tossing them all in the federal hoosegow and barring them from legal counsel.

It was quite a coup, and probably helped the public feel more secure from the looming threat of domestic terror.

As it happens, not one of Chertoff's detainees was ever convicted of a crime or connected in any way to terrorism. It turns out the whole misadventure was a bigger flop than a Bill Bennett Las Vegas vacation. more...

August 9, 2005

When News Isn‚t News
By Molly Ivins

I hope this is not too Inside Baseball for you, but I am truly hacked with what the bloggers call the MSM, or „mainstream media.š The New York Times and The Washington Post have both gone way out of their way to deny that the Downing Street Memos (it‚s now plural) are news.

Let me tell you something. Like many of you, during the entire lead-up to the war with Iraq, I thought the whole thing was a terrible idea. I bring this up not to prove how smart we are, but to emphasize that I followed the debate closely and probably unconsciously searched for evidence that reinforced what I already thought. I read not only the American press but the European press as well. I think I read most of the leftwing publications in this country, as well as a good number on the right, and I read the Times, the Post, The Wall Street Journal, and several Texas papers every day. It‚s my job. This is what I do for a livingųtry to stay well informed.

When I read the first Downing Street Memo, my eyes bugged out and my jaw fell open. It was news to me, and as I have tried to indicate, I‚m no slouch at keeping up. I had to write a column that day, and there was no way I could let that pass without at least pointing out what it said. more...

August 8, 2005

Good Things Happening in Venezuela 
By Michael Parenti

Even before I arrived in Venezuela for a recent visit, I encountered the great class divide in that country. On my connecting flight from Miami to Caracas, I found myself seated next to an exquisitely dressed Venezuelan woman. Judging from her prosperous aspect, I anticipated that she would take the first opportunity to hold forth against President Hugo Chavez. Unfortunately, I was right. 


Other critics I encountered in Venezuela shared this same mode of attack: weak on specifics, but strong in venom, voiced with all the ferocity of those who fear that their birthright (that is, their class advantage) is under siege because others below them on the social ladder are now getting a slightly larger slice of the pie.  more... 

August 7, 2005

Straight-shootin' George Galloway 
by Mike Whitney 

"I am utterly against the punishing of innocent people for the crimes of the guilty, whether it is done on the underground of London or the streets of Falluja by George Bush's air force". George Galloway MP 

George Galloway is quite a guy. 

His trip to the Middle East is causing a ruckus back in London, where his criticism of Bush and Blair is appearing like a spread-sheet on the front-page of the tabloids. 

Congrats, George; those two deserve a good lambasting. 

Yesterday he fired-off another barrage, landing a direct hit on Prime Minister Milquetoast and his Texas-twin. He said, "There's far more blood on the hands of George Bush and Tony Blair than there is on the hands of the murderers who killed those people in London."  more... 

August 6, 2005

by James J. Kroeger  

When historians look back on the current era in American politics it will likely stand out as the period when Republican cunning & marketing savvy completely dominated the political landscape.  Obliging Democrats have thrown themselves into the fray with enthusiasm, armed with idealistic visions of civil „discourseš, only to be humbled repeatedly by their political masters.  Republican strategists have been able to blend their astute grasp of marketing principles & human nature & social psychology into a formula that delivers almost guaranteed success at the polls.   While Democrats knock themselves out every election cycle trying to talk to Swing Voters about The Issues, Republicans have calmly focused their attention on winning THE Image Campaign.  Quite simply: Democrats lose because they don‚t understand what moves their target audience.

The Issues might actually be important to many Swing Voters early on in a political campaign, but when both sides start to pick apart each other‚s facts & interpretations, the typical Swing Voter quickly becomes confused.  As the debate over The Issues drags on, Swing Voters realize that they don‚t understand the details well enough to make an informed decision, so they end up relying on their impressions of the candidates.  Republican strategists see this clearly.  That is why they continuously try to create doubts in the minds of the Swing Voters about the character of the Democratic candidate.  They know that it doesn‚t really matter if they can‚t find any real flaws in their Democratic opponents.  Accusations, insinuations, & innuendo will work just fine.  They hope to encourage voters to question the motivation and dependability of The Democrats.  They try to create the perception that Democrats are „defectiveš in a disturbing way.  By accusing, the Republicans suggest to Swing Voters that they are not [defective like the Democrats].  What was the non-existent „defectš in John Kerry‚s character that Republicans alerted Swing Voters to this year?  They claimed that he was an indecisive and shallow „flip-flopper.š more...

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August 12, 2005

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July 30, 2005 - August 5, 2005

No War in Iraq march.

San Francisco, Ca., January 18, 2003
San Francisco, Ca., February 16, 2003


Klezmatics concert photos. (These are uncorrected straight out out of the camera)

On April 3, 2005, Barbara and I went to see the Klezmatics, with guest Joshua Nelson, Jewish gospel singer. To quote the concert program, "Their soul-stirring Jewish roots music recreates klezmer in arrangements and compostions that combine Jewish identity and mysticism with a contemporary zeitgeist and a postmodern aesthetic. Since their founding in New York City's East Village in 1986, the Klezmatics have celebrated the ecstatic nature of Yiddish music with works by turn wild, spiritual, provocative, reflective and danceable." The concert was phenomenal.


This site consists of original photographs and composites by Fletcher Oakes, unless otherwise credited.

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