Thursday, December 23, 2004

The perjurer on the Supreme Court

Clarence Thomas , recently being eyed by GWB for Chief Judge of the Supreme Court of this land did in fact as the preponderance of circumstancial evidence indicates, achieve that post by lying under oath. Fifteen years later, in a significantly different environment, it may be possible to reopen this case and slow GWB down in his quest to achieve complete control of the Supreme Court by the Right Wing.

Now that GWBush has control of the Congress it is imperative that we stop his imminent control of the Supreme Court. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, 80, has thyroid cancer and will not be returning to the court this year. In addition to Rehnquist, two other justices have had bouts with cancer, and four are in their 70s or 80s. Bush will almost certainly have an opportunity to nominate at least one new justice during his second term (and most likely more than one).

Next to a dirty cop there is nothing as repulsive as a lying judge. Yet, amazingly, there sits on the bench of the highest court of the land a man who, in 1991, achieved that position by twice lying under oath; Clarence Thomas.

Short of having a confession on his part, the evidence against him in the case of Anita Hill is overwhelming. She was a 26 year old recent graduate from Yale with a JD, a conservative from a rural Baptist background when she worked for Thomas. She was 35 years old and a law professor at the University of Oklahoma when she accused him of harassment.

Few people remember the details of his nomination hearings. Plain and simple, when Thomas was nominated, Anita Hill reluctantly accused him of having sexually harassed her during 1981-83 while he was her boss at the US Department of Education and then at the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Her testimony, under oath, was simple and straightforward: “He harassed me sexually and this is how he did it.” He had talked to her about pornographic films, group sex, about women having sex with animals, about sexual positions, about the size of his penis and his prowess at oral sex. He did, to his credit, never touch her. (see for the full record of her testimony.) There is other corroborating evidence but her testimony is sufficiently convincing.

He, also under oath, “unequivocally, categorically” denied that he had ever “had conversations of a sexual nature or about pornographic material with Anita Hill.” On the basis of this denial he was confirmed. In addition, even though he similarly denied, again under oath, ever discussing Roe v. Wade--an issue on which he protested neutrality-- the evidence is that he did discuss it with at least three separate individuals and he is clearly not neutral based on his decisions on the Court.

About Hill it was said that she was suffering of “pure feminist dementia,” probably psychotic and that she had hallucinated Thomas’ harassment and honestly believed it to be true. From a psychiatric point of view this is completely implausible. If she did actually completely manufacture these accusations (and persist in believing them for twenty years,) she would had been suffering from a pathology without parallel in psychiatric history.

A serious, devoted, totally sane, high achieving professional who imagines, reports to friends and then harbors fantasies of harassment for five years before she reported them at the cost of endangering her successful career is simply not a credible story. There is no possible motive or known form of mental derangement that could explain such actions. She was a fully functioning law professor before her accusations, has continued as a respected lecturer on sexual harassment and Supreme Court issues and continues to teach la--now at Brandies University--in the fifteen years since.

The other rather more lame explanations that were offered for her behavior were that 1. She was an incompetent lawyer and was jealous of Thomas’s success, that 2. She made the accusations to propel herself to national fame and that 3. She was in love with Thomas and was taking revenge because he rebuffed her.

On the other hand, it is virtually certain that Thomas harassed her as so many men have harassed women at the workplace before and since. Having thought that his initial denial would be accepted, Thomas, in a classic liar's nightmare, found himself eventually lying to his family his fellow politicians and eventually hundreds of millions of people around the world.

At the time of the hearings in 1991 the majority of blacks, whites men and women believed Thomas. No wonder, given the barrage of anti-Hill propaganda that was unleashed by the Republicans. Within one year as the dust settled the situation became clear and the polls reversed and most people believed Hill. Then in 1992, David Brock thoroughly smeared her with a string of anonymous and unconfirmed anecdotes of rampant sexuality in The Real Anita Hill; a book that became a instant best seller and that Brock now recants and regrets having written, describing it as “ a cruel smear disguised as a thorough investigation”.

Thomas sits on the bench for life and rumors are that he is being considered by Bush for the office of Chief Justice. Given that the greatest damaged caused by the recent election of GWB could arguably be his impending appointments to the Supreme Court it seems that reopening the Thomas case could be a very powerful pre-emptive move. And the question never asked by anyone—Anita Hill, David Brock, or any politician--is: “Can our nation endure a perjurer as Chief of the US Supreme Court?”

An “Impeach Thomas” movement would open an effective front in the battle against the New Right.

*Just to point out and repeat that our potential Chief Justice is also very likely perjurer is bracing enough.
*Working women and feminists would rediscover common cause with this issue.
*Frustrated Kerry voters would be energized to have a powerful fresh cause.
*It’s a great Internet, blog, MoveOn, Truth Out issue. Lots of information and data to be unearthed and evaluated.
*While attacking a black man was in 1991 a problematic act and probably the reason he was confirmed in a 48-52 vote, today with OJ behind us, it might not arouse African-American ire. The Clinton case is also instructive in this respect; the likelihood that Thomas will be impeached is small but questioning his competence as a Supreme Court judge seems a worthwhile goal.
*Anita Hill declines to comment on the issue saying only it was very painful. She is the one human being that knows for certain that Thomas lied under oath. Perhaps she can be persuaded to make that statement openly:
“Judge Clarence Thomas sits on the Supreme Court today based on his perjured testimony at his confirmation hearings, says Anita Hill” would be instant front page news and catastrophic for Thomas.
*Likewise David Brock her best known detractor can be persuaded to state his conviction in clear terms.

Claude Steiner

Post-election rave


The election is over and we lost. It seems unbelievable after all the work and money expended but they beat us. In my opinion this has been an information age, propaganda coup d'etat, planned for decades and executed by the wealthy Right Wing. But the people in charge now are neither particularly wealthy nor conservative. They are an extreme brand of antidemocratic, Nietshian/Malthusian ideologues with ruthless, imperial ambitions for the US. How can we beat them?

A small group of extremists backed by wealthy American right wingers has managed to gain control of the Presidency, the Senate, the House of Representatives and are poised to take over the Supreme Court; thereby acquiring overwhelming power over the affairs of the country and to a certain extent, the world. What appears to be a democratic election, won fair and square, looks to me like a modern-day, information age, faux democratic take over by radicals with fascist tendencies and imperial ambitions.

Before we start rush to the barricades let us try and understand the nature of these developments. The election of GWB has been variously blamed on Kerry’s poor campaigning, the gay marriage thing, fear of terrorism, unwillingness to change commander-in chief in the middle of a war, the values thing, outright fraud, etc.

What Is Going On?

In spite of GWB’s overwhelmingly bad record; his early alcoholism, his military service, the beginning and conduct of the Iraq war and his conceits of “mission accomplished,” and “bring it on,” bravado, despite prisoner mistreatment and torture, dwindling health care and under-employment, the electorate lent a deaf ear, believing instead the message of Christian, moral certitude presented by the Bush propaganda machine.

The rumors about voter fraud persist. There is little chance that they will have an effect; only the Supreme Court can undo these elections and we know how they operate.

Accusations of fraud aside we have experienced a modern day, information age coup d’etat. The seeds of this take-over were sewn after Barry Goldwater lost his election forty years ago and a group of wealthy entrepreneurs decided to pool their efforts and vitalize the US Right Wing movement with billions of dollars for think-tanks to strategize just this kind of take over, and additional billions for campaign and lobbying money. After forty years of systematic and progressively more successful efforts victory is at hand and, as GWB explained on November 3, they have political capital and they will use it.

How Was This Election Lost?

I am loath, as are many, to make parallels between 2004 and 1933 but the similarities are striking. Hitler was appointed to the Chancellorship of Germany by democratic means after a campaign of persuasive propaganda in spite of his well known propensity towards violence. With the support of major German industrialists he was able to build a mighty war machine with which he ruthlessly pursued his “liberating” dreams. His plan, until he invaded Russia, was rational and well thought out; successful enough to subjugate Europe and eventually drag the nation into complete destruction. The German people never protested and went with him through fire, famine and death, to the last. To this day, Germans live in the embarrassing shadow of their acquiescence, as will we, if we don’t effectively respond to this millennial challenge.

Hitler’s triumph was achieved with cutting-edge technology of radio and posters plus huge anti-Semitic lies. As he pointed out, people:

“…in the primitive simplicity of their minds… more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously."

In this election most of the so called “wedge” issues were manufactured and made "relevant" to people by systematic and skillful propaganda. Kerry's so called “flip flops,” gay marriage, the whole morality question; every one of these issues was phony and did not go to the heart of people’s needs. The terrorist threat was especially phony as an issue. Most of the people truly threatened, in the large cities, voted for Kerry, Oklahoma voted for Bush.

“So what?” you may say, “Both sides used propaganda!” Yes, but White House propaganda by ignoring the agreed-upon rules of engagement in political discourse and by telling “colossal untruths,” overwhelmed ours, just as the blitzkrieg overwhelmed the Polish cavalry in 1939.

Who Are These People?

We have been hearing about the “neoconservatives;” Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice, Krystol. They are also called Bushites, Right Wingers, New Right. Whats shall we name them? Oilopolists? Nietshian-Malthusians? The Corporate Right?

None of these labels do them justice. The are not really conservatives nor are they Republicans, actually, as many Republicans are beginning to notice. They have usurped the conservative and Republican mantle. They are not the least bit religious or particularly Christian, they believe in evolution while 66% of Americans do not. They don't care about school prayer, divorce or pornography on the Internet. Nor are they worried about deficit spending, terrorism, gay rights or abortion Their point of view is rather transparent:

Their goal is the takeover of multinational, corporate capitalism to benefit the US and its empire. Their current focus is on oil, hence their interest in the Middle East. But that is temporary; other priorities already exist and will emerge with time.

The are fundamentally anti-constitutional. They consider the strictures of freedom of speech, civil rights, constitutional protections, separation of Church and State quaint and annoying. They disrespect the democratic process and the “will of the people.” For them it is essential that people do not vote in their own self-interest

Their point of view is a blend of vulgarized Nietzsche and Malthus. The world as they see it is divided into two kinds of people. On one hand the clever, intelligent, disciplined, productive people who make things happen and will, if properly rewarded raise, like cream, to the top. On the other hand the incompetent, stupid, dependent, ignorant self-destructive underclass that overpopulates the world and prevents us from achieving our goals and who will and should die, the earlier the better. The program is to reduce the size of government by incurring huge debt and thereby withdrawal of education and services as a way of speeding the process of Malthusian selection.

Their shared views however are never spoken about aloud for they recognize how agitating they would be, but they are expressed in code words and sentences which are perfectly understood by the like-minded. Outsiders who accuse them of holding these viewas are invalidated as class-warfare paranoids.

What are their tactics?

Ask yourself the question: How would a coup d’etat be achieved in a democratic, highly advanced society like the US?

Obviously it would not be possible to march into the White House and--as in the case of Chile in 1973--assassinate the President and take over with the help of the military. The coup has to be achieved in spite --with the help, in fact--of democratic principles and the Constitution

Except for outright voter fraud the only possible instrument of subversion available to them is the manipulation of people’s vote through propaganda-- in the form of mis and disinformation. When blatant lies and state-of-the-art techniques of focus groups and lightning fast response are used, a decisive advantage is gained similar to the power-reversing advantage gained in warfare by powder, automatic weapons, submarines, airplanes or nuclear weapons.

a. As an example, in Tennessee the Bush campaign claimed that if elected Kerry would ban the Bible. No even remotely comparable lie was propagated by the Democratic campaign.

b. The blatant lies of the Swift Boat Veterans--ads that Bush could certainly have repudiated but refused to--are another example without parallel in the campaign.

c. On the other hand, as an example of our side’s contrasting civility, Kerry ran an ad which contained footage of Republican Senator McCain accusing Bush of using smear tactics during the 2000 campaign. This was a very effective ad at the time of the Swift Boat smears, and would have been very helpful but Kerry pulled it at McCain’s request. Polite restraint when telling the truth cannot win against blatant lies.

In this election the lies were directed at Church going Christian, Middle Americans who they evidently convinced that a Godless and lilly livered Kerry and the atheist Democrats would undermine their life-style and security even though the opposite is almost certainly the case.

What Can We Do?

We and all who depend on us will suffer terribly at the hands of this malignant take over. Billions will be wasted and our economy will be destroyed as we build the US into a security/police state. Injustices will be perpetrated; education and health will be further decimated. The health and security of our Nation are at risk.

The situation cries for some sort of action but what to do is not clear. Before we start rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic let us spend some time trying to grasp what has occurred. If this is indeed an information-era propaganda putsch we will have to use information age tools and skills to counter it. Some say we have to tell bigger lies than they do; I doubt that is the answer. Reorganize the Unions. Develop and explain Liberal morality and religious faith; good but not enough. Provide people with an alternative to welfare on one hand and Fundamentalist Christian Churches in the other; sure but can we do it? Something needs to be done. What it is remains to be seen.

For my part I am convinced that, at the very least, it will take truth-telling, cooperation, real person-to-person connections and support to counteract the propaganda and lies of those who now hold almost complete control of our government. How to translate our progressive values into effective reality election winning is the task that lies ahead.

Claude Steiner PhD
Berkeley, November 21, 2004