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Unprecedented Corruption:
A guide to conflict of interest
in the U.S. government

"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time,
and your government when it deserves it."
-- Mark Twain

by Michael Jennings
Futurepower ® Publishing

July 12, 2004, 14:04. May be frequently updated;
reload your browser. Copyright 2004. Web addresses:

The 3 movies and 35 recently published books linked below all tell pieces of the same story: They say that the U.S. government has become extraordinarily corrupt.

The authors are from many backgrounds. There are Republicans, Democrats, generals, former government leaders, a Pulitzer Prize winner, political commentators, editorial writers, environmental organizations, and members of the public.

There are links to the reviews of every book, so it's easy to get a quick overview.

Those who want corruption try to make it difficult to understand, so it may be useful to read the section of this article titled Quick Tips for understanding U.S. government corruption.

Movies about U.S. government corruption

These movies show more complete information than media stories, which cover just a small piece of each story in each TV show or magazine or newspaper article. Seeing the whole story and seeing government officials talk is immediately and intensely persuasive.

  1. Fahrenheit 9/11    by Michael Moore. Released on June 25, 2004, Miramax. Web site: Fahrenheit 9/11. Reviews of the DVD: (Not yet released. The DVD release date will be at the end August, 2004.)

    A few facts about the Bush family connection with rich Saudis, including the family of Osama bin Laden, are shown in this new documentary by Michael Moore. For example, in the Saudi culture, men sometimes hold hands. In the movie, George W. Bush is shown holding hands with a man the Bush family calls "Bandar Bush", and the ruling family of al Saud calls "Prince Bandar".

    Many other conflicts of interest in the Bush administration are documented, also. As Fahrenheit 9/11 says, and articles published by respected news sources began saying perhaps 20 years ago, it is surprising, to say the least, that the oil kingdom of the House of al Saud would invest in a small, failing oil company in Texas owned by a man who was at the time, by his own admission, having "problems" with alcohol.

    Fahrenheit 9/11 won the Palme d'Or at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. The Palme d'Or is the festival's top prize and "one of the most coveted honors in international cinema". A May 22, 2004 New York Times story [free registration required] says "Mr. Moore's film had received what many thought was the longest standing ovation ever at Cannes when it was screened here last Monday."

    The movie is extraordinarily successful in U.S. theaters. A June 27, 2004 commentary in the Sports [!] section of the Kansas City Star gives an example. The writer, Jason Whitlock, says:

    “Fahrenheit” is the most powerful movie I've ever seen. Not even Moore's heavy-handed, pro-Democrat slant could undermine his indictment of Bush's reaction to 9/11. The movie appears to have struck a chord with American moviegoers. I spent all Friday afternoon and evening driving from North Carolina theater to North Carolina theater trying to see the movie. The showings were all sold out. I snagged one of the last tickets to a mid-day Saturday showing.

    (Reading the Kansas City Star commentary, ‘Fahrenheit' powerful, persuasive, requires free registration. However, that media company has a typically adversarial marketing department. The company says it will send you email, so you might give a trash email address, or use a free trash email address at Mailinator.com or DodgeIt.com or Mail Expire. Judging from the registration information, if you give a real postal mail address, they will probably send you unwanted mail, also.)

    I've read about 150 reviews of Fahrenheit 9/11. The best review was written by Michael Moore himself: My Wild First Week with Fahrenheit 9/11.

    Funny and Sad: Many of the reviews quote supporters of the Bush administration saying they haven't seen the movie, but it is full of lies.

    Most of the news media have handled the issues in Fahrenheit 9/11 very poorly, as can be dramatized this way:

    Fahrenheit 9/11: There is evidence that the U.S. government has become amazingly corrupt.

    News media: Let's have a discussion about Michael Moore!

    Mr. Moore has authorized free downloading of the movie from the Internet: Fury as Fahrenheit 9/11 director backs illegal not-for-profit downloads.

    Mr. Moore won an Academy award for his movie Bowling for Columbine. That reporting in that movie was of widely varying quality, although Mr. Moore made his point.

  2. Uncovered: The Whole Truth about the Iraq War    by Producer/ Director Robert Greenwald, 2003, 56 minutes. Independent film by the Producer. Web site: Uncovered. Reviews:  Powell's (out of stock, no reviews)  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    This documentary shows the actual video of Bush administration officials justifying the war in Iraq. The overall effect is powerful.


    • "... it is a federal felony, it's a crime, to mislead and distort information and present it to the Congress." -- 23:14 minutes into the movie.

    • "... the administration has not been honest..."

    • "... very disturbing ... intervention by people particularly from Vice President Cheney's office and Vice President Cheney himself ... to produce precisely the language which would allow them ... to support the decision to go into Iraq." -- Dr. David C. MacMichael, former CIA analyst. Page 7 of the transcript, 7:32 minutes in the movie.

    • "It is somewhat puzzling, I think, that you can have a hundred percent certainty about the weapons of mass destruction's existence, and zero certainty about where they are." -- Hans Blix, chief weapons inspector, referring to the administration's statements, at 34:44 minutes into the movie.

    This work is available several in several forms, some of which are free:

    • A transcript of the movie is available online. NOTE: Both forms of the transcript contain errors. The errors I've seen are minor. The quotes here have been checked against the movie.

    • The transcript is also available as a downloadable Adobe Acrobat PDF file. The Acrobat PDF Reader software needed to view the transcript is a free download for all computers.

    • You can buy the DVD online for $9.95 from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or from CafeShops.com, at a Cafe Shops online store that is inappropriately titled Disinformation. The store originally sold items connected with a humorous TV show called Disinformation.

    • The DVD is available on loan through Netflix.

    • Make your own copies: Kate McArdle, one of the producers, told me that they encourage people to make copies of the DVD and give them to friends (but not sell them, of course). Also, they encourage people to play the movie for groups of people, without extra payment.

  3. Unprecedented - 2000 Presidential Election    by Richard Ray Perez, Joan Sekler, and Robert Greenwald, 2002, reissued 2004. Web site: Unprecedented. Reviews:  Barnes & Noble  Amazon, DVD  Amazon, VHS  IMDB

    From a review in the New Yorker: "... if all eligible votes [in Florida] were counted, including 175,000 unread ballots, Gore would be President."

    And, "The moviemakers also take the time to complete stories that got short shrift from print and broadcast journalists..."

    The movie shows how Republicans paid $2,000,000 of taxpayer money to produce a list that was used to exclude voters who were likely to vote for the Democratic candidate, Al Gore.

    The strategy was:

    1. They made a list of people convicted of serious crimes. These people are not allowed to vote in Florida.

    2. They made the list in such a way that many people who had never been convicted were included. Those who were included who should not have been were people who would mostly vote for Democratic candidates, giving the Republicans a big advantage if they could keep those people from voting.

    3. They made it complicated and difficult to fix this arrangement, even after it was discovered.

    Jeb Bush, the brother of President George W. Bush, is still Governor of Florida, as he was in 2000, and the arrangement is continuing, as this June 10, 2004 article says: Florida orders new purge of voter list. There are still people on the list of criminals who have never broken a law in their lives, and the Florida state government is still making it difficult to get off the list. This June 6, 2004 editorial in the St. Petersburg, Florida, Times, Removing doubt from voter list, says:

    "The state Division of Elections also sent out a memo advising supervisors to send a letter to those listed, explaining that they must, essentially, prove they are not felons. It is difficult to prove a negative, of course, and those targeted incorrectly could still lose their vote for failing to respond because of a bad address, misunderstanding or intimidation."

    The news agency CNN is suing the Florida government: CNN asks Florida court for ineligible voters list. U.S. senator Bill Nelson has joined in the lawsuit: Senator Objects To Secrecy Of Voter List. If the list cannot be examined, it cannot be independently checked for accuracy. This June 14, 2004 article in Wired magazine says that the secrecy is partly as a result of a law made in 2001: Florida Faces Election Fracas.

Books about U.S. government corruption

Notice that many of these books come from large, respected publishers. All of the books are available at my local library, so, if you live in the U.S., I imagine they are available at your library, also. I used my computer to put them on reserve, and read them when they arrived. I haven't read them all yet; some are included because of the recommendations of others.

Many bookstores in the U.S. have coffee shops inside, so it is possible to get a book, sit and drink coffee or tea, and read enough to get a general understanding.

Some online bookstores give a commission to a web site author when someone buys a book from a link on the web site. This arrangement does not increase the cost to a customer. Since it requires many hours to write an article like this one, it seems sensible to accept the commission. If you want to buy a book, and don't want the bookstore to pay a commission, simply paste the name of the book into the bookstore's search field.

  1. House of Bush, House of Saud: The secret relationship between the world's two most powerful dynasties   by Craig Unger, 2004, Scribner, New York, New York, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    House of Bush, House of Saud discusses the business and family involvements between the Bush and Saudi Arabian families, including the bin Laden family, of which Osama bin Laden is one of the 54 children of one father.

    I first became aware of the connection between the U.S. government and rich Saudis from watching a CBS 60 Minutes TV perhaps 15 years ago. A Saudi man named "Prince Bandar" was interviewed, and it was obvious that much of his involvement with the U.S. government was hidden. Since then I've followed the story in articles in magazines and newspapers, so I already knew most of what is in the book.

    In a April 18, 2004 60 Minutes show, titled Woodward Shares War Secrets, an excerpt from Bob Woodward's book Plan of Attack is mentioned that shows Prince Bandar receives more respect from the White House than U.S. Secretary of State Powell. Speaking of Bush Administration plans to go to war in Iraq, he says: "... two days before the president told Powell [about the plans for war], Cheney and Rumsfeld had already briefed Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador."

    So, it is not only U.S. citizens who were not allowed to know Cheney's intentions in the beginning, even the U.S. Secretary of State was not initially informed.

    One of the efforts by Saudis to get George W. Bush re-elected is happening now, in mid-July, 2004, according the the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration. Gasoline prices are dropping, as this quote from the show and transcript linked above said they would: "Prince Bandar enjoys easy access to the Oval Office. His family and the Bush family are close. And Woodward told 60 Minutes that Bandar has promised the president that Saudi Arabia will lower oil prices in the months before the election - to ensure the U.S. economy is strong on election day."

    The Bush family connection with the Saudis is also documented in the extremely popular new documentary by Michael Moore, released on June 25, 2004, Fahrenheit 9/11.

  2. The Iron Triangle: Inside the secret world of The Carlyle Group   by Dan Briody, Wiley, 2003, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    The company called The Carlyle Group apparently acts as a method of hiding the connection between government officials and private interests. An October 31, 2001 article, The ex-presidents' club, in The Guardian, a newspaper in England, said:

    "It should be a deep cause for concern that a closely held company like Carlyle can simultaneously have directors and advisers that are doing business and making money and also advising the president of the United States," says Peter Eisner, managing director of the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit-making Washington think-tank. "The problem comes when private business and public policy blend together. What hat is former president Bush wearing when he tells Crown Prince Abdullah not to worry about US policy in the Middle East? What hat does he use when he deals with South Korea, and causes policy changes there? Or when James Baker helps argue the presidential election in the younger Bush's favour? It's a kitchen-cabinet situation, and the informality involved is precisely a mark of Carlyle's success."

    There is far too much material to document here. For example, see the articles Meet The Carlyle Group and CHRONOLOGY: The Bushes And The Carlyle Group.

  3. The Halliburton Agenda: The Politics of Oil and Money   by Dan Briody, John Wiley & Sons, April, 2004. Reviews: Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    For a good summary of the conflict of interest between Cheney's role in government and his involvement with the company at which he was CEO, Halliburton, see the June 1, 2004 The Guardian article, Email shows Cheney 'link' to oil contract. Here are four quotes from the article:

    • "The US vice-president, Dick Cheney, helped to steer through a huge contract for the reconstruction of Iraq's oil industry on behalf of his old firm, Halliburton, Time magazine reported yesterday."

    • "Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, the Houston company has won $17bn (£9bn) in contracts to rebuild Iraq, far outstripping its competitors."

    • "... Mr Cheney has not severed his links with Halliburton. Last year, he received $178,437 in deferred compensation from the company."

    • "A report to the House of Representatives committee on government reform last week noted that $107bn in contracts had been awarded without open competition. Nearly three-quarters of those exclusive arrangements - worth about $88bn - involved work in Iraq, the report said. Halliburton has won a sizeable share of them."

    See also the July 19, 2002 ABC News article: Cheney's Corporate Liability: VP's Former CEO Role at Halliburton Connects Him to SEC Inquiry. Apparently, Halliburton earnings were overstated just enough to make Halliburton look like a good investment. Halliburton did this by changing its accounting methods. The article says,

    "Cheney stepped down as head of Haliburton to join Bush in the race for the White House in the summer of 2000. He cashed in his stock options for $35 million. Haliburton's fortunes have plunged since Cheney's departure." [There should be two Ls in Halliburton.]

    After Mr. Cheney sold his stock, it became known to other investors that the company was not as profitable as the company had made it appear, and the stock price went down. The main issue here is not whether Vice President Cheney participated in accounting fraud, but that he has involved himself in many situations in which his former business associates will benefit if the U.S. goes to war, especially war in countries where there are big oil contracts.

    As was mentioned in the CBS News show 60 Minutes story, All In The Family, Cheney, while U.S. secretary of Defense, participated in changing the rules so that, in some cases, the Pentagon could award secret, no-bid contracts. Then, as the story says, Cheney was made CEO of Halliburton:

    "Why would a defense secretary, former chief of staff to a president, and former member of congress with no business experience ever in his life, not for a day, why would he become the CEO of a multibillion dollar oil services company," asks Lewis[.]

    "Well, it could be related to government contracts. He was brought in to raise their government contract profile. And he did. And they ended up with billions of dollars in new contracts because they had a former defense secretary at the helm."

    After being CEO of Halliburton, Mr. Cheney went back into government in his present position of Vice President of the United States in the George W. Bush administration. The new Bush administration immediately looked for ways to justify going to war with Iraq, convinced people that it was necessary, and then the U.S. military gave Halliburton secret no-bid contracts under the new rules which Cheney helped write that said the contracts could be awarded in secret.

    Richard Clarke, in his book, Against All Enemies: Inside America's war on terror, which is linked below in this article, said that Mr. Cheney opposed trying to make a coalition of forces during the planning for the U.S. government to invade Iraq the second time. However, Mr. Clarke seems to have misunderstood the reason. If there is a true coalition, then there will be fewer contracts available to U.S. companies, because companies from other countries would be allowed to bid.

    We now know, as Secretary of State Colin Powell said, the reasons for the second U.S. invasion of Iraq were founded on lies. The war in Iraq was arranged to maximize the profit for those in the weapons and oil industries. A sloppy U.S. invasion of an oil-rich Arab country is strong encouragement for Arabs and Muslims to support the violence of al Qaeda and other groups, so it seems likely the weapons profit will continue for decades.

    For the citizens of the U.S., however, this has been the worst foreign policy disaster since the Vietnam war. It seems likely U.S. citizens will pay for this for the rest of their lives, not only because the U.S. government has gone into debt partly to support war, but because the reputation of the U.S. has been severely damaged, and the U.S. government has made tens of millions of new enemies. Also, U.S. citizens may have lost rights forever.

  4. Vice President Dick Cheney is a very sick man, and has been for many years: Cheney's history of heart problems. Also see Cheney Returns To Work.

  5. The Great Unraveling: Losing our way in the new century   by Paul Krugman, 2003, W.W. Norton, New York, New York, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    From a review at Amazon: "... economist and columnist Paul Krugman lays much of the blame for a slew of problems on the Bush administration, which he views as a 'revolutionary power...a movement whose leaders do not accept the legitimacy of our current political system.' "

    The Great Unraveling is a collection of essays originally printed twice-weekly in the Op-Ed section of the New York Times. The book is especially valuable because it explains some of the corruption in considerable depth. Paul Krugman is a winner of the John Bates Clark medal for the best American economist under forty. He teaches at Princeton University.

    A quote from this book is used to explain Method of Corruption #1, below.

  6. Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego, and the Death of Enron    by Robert Bryce, 2002, 2004, Public Affairs, New York, New York, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    Quotes and notes:

    • "Enron failed because its leadership was morally, ethically, and financially corrupt." -- Page 12. [At the time of its bankruptcy, Enron's failure was the biggest in U.S. history.]

    • "Surely it's just a coincidence. What else would explain why Enron Oil and Gas, a subsidiary of Enron Corp., would have been in business George W. Bush way back in 1986? Bush the Younger was many things, including the eldest son of the [then] Vice President of the United States. A successful oilman he was not." -- Page 85.

      The author of the book seems to feel the same sense of incredulity that I feel. How do those who want corruption find each other, and so early? Both Ken Lay of Enron, and rich leaders of Saudi Arabia were involved in the failed business schemes of George W. Bush. There was no economic motive for this association, because George W. Bush's businesses were failures.

      Only one theory about this early association seems to make sense: The Bush family members must have been advertising their availability for corruption. Otherwise, why would a Saudi Arabian with billions in Saudi oil businesses want to become involved with a small unsuccessful oil business in Texas?

    • "Why did Enron get corrupted...? The greatest obstacle in finding good answers... was access. None of the key miscreants... were talking." -- Author's notes.

    • "[Enron CEO Ken] Lay threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Then he moved to his private box and watched the game with his friend George W. Bush, [then] governor of Texas." -- April 7, 2000, Page 3.

    • George W. Bush has a habit of giving his associates disrespectful nicknames. He calls Ken Lay, "Kenny Boy". -- Page 3

    • "One promotional video produced by [now bankrupt accounting firm Arthur] Anderson featured a testimonial from then Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney." -- Page 235.

      In the video, Cheney praised the behavior that destroyed Arthur Anderson and later became illegal.

    • "Ken Lay's money on George W. Bush had been well spent." -- Page 274

    • "... the Bush administration's interventions on behalf of Enron are remarkable because they occurred at such a high level." -- Page 300.

    • "President George W. Bush appointed Harvey Pitt to succeed Leavitt at the commission." [former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Chairman Arthur Leavitt]

      "Pitt, the man the Big Five accounting firms hired in 2000 to help them defeat Leavitt's reform movement, was taking the same stance now that he was running the agency: that is, there's no reason to prohibit accounting firms from providing consulting to the firms they also audit." [That practice is now illegal, and resulted in the bankruptcy of one of those firms, Arthur Anderson.] -- Page 357.

    • "Of course, Bush didn't just help Enron in California. Bush and Cheney allowed Enron to write part of the administration's energy task force plan for America's national energy policy." -- Page 271.

    • "By the time of Enron's bankruptcy, Mark Lay ... had quit business altogether and was attending the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Houston." [Mark Lay is former Enron CEO Ken Lay's son, whose involvement with Enron reportedly caused the company to lose hundreds of millions of dollars.] -- Page 154.

      Pretending to be Christian is Method of Corruption #7 in this article.

    There's more about the connection between Enron and the Bush administration in this Alternet article: How Much Were Bush and Cheney Involved?

    • "Early 2001: Vice President Cheney held several secret meetings with top Enron officials, including its Chairman Kenneth Lay. These meetings were presumably part of Cheney's non-public Energy Task Force sessions. A number of Enron stockholders, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, became officials in the Bush administration. In addition, Thomas White, a former Vice Chairman of Enron and a multimillionaire in Enron stock, currently serves as the Secretary of the Army."

      Generally, insiders sold their stock in Enron before the company collapsed. It is not clear if that applies to Bush administration stockholders.

    • November 1, 2001: Bush signed Executive Order 13233 which limits public access to papers of all presidents since 1980 -- including George W. Bush.

    • "December 27, 2001: Bush Administration repealed a Clinton-era rule that prevents the government from awarding federal contracts to businesses that have broken environmental, labor, tax, civil rights or other laws."

    • "December 31, 2001: President Bush appointed a former aide to Unocal, Afghan-born Zalmay Khalilzad, as special envoy to Afghanistan. The nomination was announced nine days after the US-backed interim government of Hamid Karzai took office in Kabul." [Unocal is a large U.S. oil company that has been planning a pipeline across Afghanistan for many years.]

    • "February 22, 2002: The GAO sues Cheney for refusing to reveal details of his meetings with Enron officials. It is the first time that the agency has sued a member of the executive branch of government." [The GAO is the U.S. government's General Accounting Office.]

    "While the White House has repeatedly described former Enron chairman Kenneth Lay as simply a 'supporter' of George W. Bush, extensive correspondence between the two men paints a far cozier picture of their relationship..." These letters were obtained by a Freedom of Information request: Letters between George W. Bush and Ken Lay.

  7. Rise of the Vulcans: The history of Bush's war cabinet   by James Mann, 2004, Viking, New York, New York, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    Quote from the publisher: "When George W. Bush campaigned for the White House, he was such a novice in foreign policy that he couldn't name the president of Pakistan and momentarily suggested he thought the Taliban was a rock-and-roll band. But he relied upon a group called the Vulcans -- an inner circle of advisers with a long, shared experience in government, dating back to the Nixon, Ford, Reagan and first Bush administrations."

    All of the "Vulcans" are what has become known as "chickenhawks". Chickenhawks are people who recommend violence strongly and enthusiastically, but would never get near it themselves. They want other people to be violent. In psychological therapy groups, this phenomenon is called, "Let's you and him fight." But the chickenhawks aren't just encouraging two other people to argue. Because of Chickenhawks, people die and families are destroyed, and the U.S. government is heavily in debt.

    One of the vulcans is U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. An article in The New Yorker Magazine, posted May 15, 2004 called The Gray Zone: How a secret Pentagon program came to Abu Ghraib by Seymour M. Hersh explains that Donald Rumsfeld authorized the program of sexual torture in Iraq. An earlier article Torture at Abu Ghraib by Mr. Hersh, posted April 30, 2004, says that there were numerous instances of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses at Abu Ghraib.

    It is the vulcans that control many of the U.S. government's major decisions, partly because they have seized power by lying to everyone else. For example, they lied to Secretary of State Colin Powell. For example, see the May 17, 2004 Seattle Times article Powell says his assertions were wrong. Here are quotes from Mr. Powell:

    "When I made that presentation in February 2003, it was based on the best information that the Central Intelligence Agency made available to me," Powell said yesterday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

    "It turned out that the sourcing was inaccurate and wrong and, in some cases, deliberately misleading. And for that, I am disappointed, and I regret it," he said.

    There is a saying about President George W. Bush that has become popular: "He lied, they died". Someone sent me an article making the point that it was wrong to say that Bush lied to make way for the war in Iraq. It's possible, according to the people who write about these things, that is correct. Maybe President Bush did not lie. Maybe he was misinformed, too, as was Powell.

    President Bush oftens seems uninformed and even detached from the reality of the U.S. government. For example in the April 30, 2004 CNN article, One year later, Bush defends Iraq speech, President Bush is quoted as praising the results of the second U.S.-Iraq war, "there are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq."

    The article continues with the conclusion of another observer, who sees the war very differently: "Iraq has become a quagmire," Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts said in a speech Thursday on the Senate floor. "It may well go down as the worst blunder in the entire history of American foreign policy."

  8. Bushwomen: Tales of a cynical species   by Laura Flanders, 2004, Verso Publishers, London, England and New York, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    From the Amazon review: "... while these women have had successful careers in fields traditionally dominated by men, Flanders tells us that they have often done so with the assistance of questionable corporate connections. Bushwomen also suggests that the Bushwomen's political careers constitute, in many cases, a betrayal of the various forces (feminism, affirmative action, the civil rights movement) that put them in power."

    From the Washington Post review: 'First Lady Laura Bush? She's "cover art, used by the White House to reassure middle-of-the-road voters, while her husband curries favor with hardliners," Flanders charges, noting that a week after the former librarian kicked off the Campaign for America's Libraries her husband proposed shrinking library funding. And he championed the Patriot Act, which advocates spying on library readership records.'

    "Find out why Chevron named a[n oil] tanker after National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice; how financial ties to big tobacco corporations got Secretary of the Interior Gale Ann Norton dubbed "The Woman from Marlboro Country"; how Labor Secretary Elaine Chao bullied union longshoreworkers to benefit her trading-with-China family and friends; read excerpts of Lynne Cheney's lesbian novel..."

  9. The Bush Dyslexicon: Observations on a national disorder   by Mark Crispin Miller, 2001, W. W. Norton, New York, New York, USA Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    Many times it seems obvious that President Bush just speaks words that are written for him, without caring or comprehension. There are plenty of indications that he is not fully mentally engaged in the business of government. In recent years, his speaking has improved, because he more often has his statements written for him.

    There are a few examples on the web page, George W. Bush: His statements show he is not really interested or mentally engaged.

    Here are four examples:

    • "I'm the master of low expectations." -- Aboard Air Force One, June 4, 2003

    • "What's not fine is, rarely is the question asked, are, is our children learning." -- January, 2000.

    • "You can fool some of the people all of the time and those are the ones you want to concentrate on." -- George W. Bush, March 31, 2001.

    • President Bush announced that the U.S. government would destroy the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, where U.S. soldiers tortured Iraqis, and build a more efficient prison with taxpayer money. Each time he spoke the words "Abu Ghraib", he mispronounced them. He did not sound like someone who had discussed and thought about this extremely serious matter. If he had, he would have used the name of the prison so many times that he would already have dealt with the problem of how to pronounce the name. The incidents of torture have seriously damaged the reputation of the United States. An involved leader would have discussed the incidents for hours with many people. -- May 25, 2004

    It is possible to buy posters showing some of President Bush's misstatements.

  10. Crude Politics: How Bush's oil cronies hijacked the war on terrorism   by Paul Sperry, 2003, WND Books, Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    Author Paul Sperry is a Republican. From a reader's review on the Barnes & Noble web site:

    "Wondering why the Bush administration concentrated so heavily on conquering the Taliban in the western part of Afghanistan, while pretty much ignoring the search for Osama bin Laden in the south? Could it have anything to do with the planned construction of 2 huge pipelines through western Afghanistan, by companies closely connected to Bush? A must read for anyone interested in the hows and whys of America's role in the current world situation."

    The U.S. oil company Unocal and others have been wanted to build an oil pipeline through Afghanistan, but they need political control for 1) safety, and 2) because if some other company builds the pipeline, the profits will go to that company. It is understood that, if the U.S. makes war, it will be arranged that a U.S. company will build the pipeline.

    Also see the article, How Much Were Bush and Cheney Involved?

  11. Worse than Watergate: The secret presidency of George W. Bush   by John W. Dean, 2004, Little, Brown and Co., New York, New York, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    Here are quotes from an NPR Interview of John Dean, which is available online (NPR is National Public Radio in the U.S.):

    "This is not a left-right issue. It's not a Republican, Democrat issue. I draw on as many Republicans who are critical of the secrecy of this presidency as I do Democrats." From the written introduction: "Reporters covering the White House of George W. Bush claim that the current administration is more pre-occupied with controlling information than any of his predecessors."

    More quotes from John Dean: "Bush is head of state and Cheney is head of government." George W. Bush is "frighteningly unsophisticated for a president of the United States". "I can't find anything that is comparable in history."

  12. The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity -- A Diplomat's Memoir   by Joseph C. Wilson, 2004, Carroll & Graf Publishers, New York, New York, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    Quote from an Amazon review: "When President George W. Bush claimed in the now notorious sixteen words in his 2003 State of the Union address that 'Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa', Wilson could not stand by silently. For at the request of the CIA he himself had traveled to Niger the previous year and found no evidence to support the rumor of a uranium deal."

  13. Battle Ready   by Tom Clancy, with General Tony Zinni and Tony Koltz, 2004, G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, New York, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    General Zinni was the former U.S. Central Command Commander in Chief. He retired from the U.S. military in September 2000. General Zinni held the position that General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, of the first U.S. war in Iraq, held earlier. General Zinni served in the U.S. military for almost 40 years, and resigned because of the corruption. The book largely reports General Zinni's experiences.

    Tom Clancy, the other principal author, is famous for his novels on geo-political subjects. His novel The Hunt for Red October, for example, makes conflict seem thrilling. In reading Battle Ready, it is easy to see that both Tom Clancy and General Zinni find violent conflict very interesting. They do not seem to have exceptional abilities to make relationships with other people. The size of a social problem that seems to them to have only a violent solution is not particularly large.

    General Zinni is far more socially engaged than most generals, however. On page 308, he reveals that he understands a little of the differences between the U.S. and the Arab cultures. The extended quote there is more of a recognition of a problem than a discussion of how to fix the problem, or an account of successes in making relationships. For example, General Zinni says he was visiting Arab leaders with former U.S. Secretary of Defense Cohen, who is Jewish. Arabs and Jews are at war in the longstanding Palestine-Israel conflict. General Zinni shows no recognition that this would make a difference in the talks.

    General Zinni says on page 426, "In the lead-up to the [2003 U.S.-] Iraq War and its later conduct, I saw at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence, and irresponsibility, at worse, lying, incompetence and corruption."

    On page 425, General Zinni says, "I have been amazed that men who bravely faced death on the battlefield are later, as senior officers, coewed and unwilling to stand up dor what is right or to point out what is wrong." This exactly fits with what I was in my four years of service in the U.S. Air Force.

    A May 25, 2004 article in the Omaha World-Herald, from the Washington Post news service, also quoted General Zinni:

    Zinni, an early critic of the war who served for five months as a special envoy for President Bush, wrote that he was moved to speak out by "false rationales presented as a justification; a flawed strategy; lack of planning; the unnecessary alienation of our allies; the underestimation of the task; the unnecessary distraction from real threats; and the unbearable strain dumped on our overstretched military."

  14. The President of Good & Evil: The ethics of George W. Bush   by Peter Singer, 2004, Dutton. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    The cover of the book says, "Paul Singer reveals the gigantic gap that exists between Bush's noble rhetoric and the down and dirty realities of this president."

    The Powell's Bookstore web site quotes a review in the New York Times, "Singer is a generous critic....[But he] is led, on issue after issue, to a double conclusion: Bush's views are not intellectually defensible, and his behavior shows he doesn't believe in them anyway."

    A review on the Amazon web site from a reader says, "Ethicist, animal rights activist and noted author Peter Singer is too polite to outright call President George W. Bush a childish, simple-minded religious zealot; but his book will leave the reader's thoughts in that disturbingly rocky territory."

    There is an enormous amount of information about the Bush administration selling itself to private interests. For example, the National Resources Defence Council says, "This administration, in catering to industries that put America's health and natural heritage at risk, threatens to do more damage to our environmental protections than any other in U.S. history."

  15. The Book on Bush: How George W. (mis)leads America   by Eric Alterman and Mark Green, 2004. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

  16. Fraud: The strategy behind the Bush lies and why the media didn't tell you   by Paul Waldman, 2004, Sourcebooks, Inc., New York, New York, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    Paul Waldman is the past associate director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center and holds a Ph.D. in communications.

    From the Publisher's comments on Amazon: "In Fraud, leading political and media analyst Paul Waldman exposes the truth behind the rise of George W. Bush. What is revealed is more shocking than just a pattern of lies and incompetence. It is the story of how a clever political machine built a high-stakes game of deception, a policy of lies to capture the highest office in the free world, a fraud that continues to this day."

  17. The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the education of Paul O'Neill   by Ron Suskind, 2004, Simon & Schuster, New York, New York, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    From the Amazon review: "The President is not a fully engaged administrator but an enigma who is, at best, guarded and poker-faced but at worst, uncurious, unintelligent, and a puppet of larger forces."

    The documents cited in The Price of Loyalty are online: An Experiment in Transparency

  18. Against All Enemies: Inside America's war on terror   by Richard A. Clarke, 2004, Free Press, New York, New York, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    Mr. Clarke was the head of the U.S. government's anti-terrorism effort until he quit because of disagreement with the George W. Bush administration. Mr. Clarke had served under President Reagan, the former President Bush, and President Clinton.

  19. Perfectly Legal: The covert campaign to rig our tax system to benefit the super rich -- and cheat everybody else   by David Cay Johnston, 2003, Portfolio. Reviews: Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    Mr. Johnston has twice won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting.

  20. Bush's War for Reelection: Iraq, the White House, and the people   by James Moore, 2004, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    From one of the reviews: "James Moore masterfully details how Bush's war for reelection has real victims: the families of soldiers who have died in Iraq and American citizens who have dared to tell the truth. This exhaustively researched book exposes the dishonest underside of an administration that claims integrity as its calling card."

  21. Thieves in High Places: They've stolen our country -- and its time to take it back   by Jim Hightower, 2003, Viking Penguin, New York, New York, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    "If you can imagine Ralph Nader with the sense of humor of Jon Stewart and a Texas accent, you pretty much have Jim Hightower." -- Molly Ivins

  22. Lies (and the lying liars who tell them): A fair and balanced look at the right   by Al Franken, 2003, Dutton, New York, New York, USA Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    "This book is laugh-out-loud funny." -- The Washington Post

  23. The Buying of the President, 2004: Who's really bankrolling Bush and his Democratic challengers -- and what they expect in return   by Charles Lewis and the Center for Public Integrity, 2004, Perennial. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    Buying of the President answers questions such as:

    • Which candidate was paid by a pharmaceutical firm to give speeches while running for the Senate?

    • Who turned the Homeland Security Act into a bonanza for the biotech industry?

    • Which candidate proposed 32 separate tax breaks for big businesses that support his campaign?

    • Who is the "go-to guy" for the insurance industry?

  24. The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the politics of deception   by David Corn, 2003, Crown Publishers, New York, New York, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    David Corn, the author, is the Washington editor of The Nation.

    The American Library Association's Booklist Review says "It's getting a little hard to find a book about George W. Bush that doesn't have the word lie in the title."

    From the book's Introduction: "George W. Bush is a liar. He has lied large and small, directly and by omission. He has mugged the truth -- not merely in honest error, but deliberately, consistently, and repeatedly."

    There are web sites, too, that discuss the lies. For example, see Bush Lies.

    Why do people lie? Because they're liars! -- Al Sharpton

    There's far too much material to mention even a summary of Bush administration lies. A June 1, 2004 article from the Cato Institute seems especially worth mentioning, however. The article, U.S. Planning Long Stay in Iraq, says:

    'In his speech at the Army War College, President Bush asserted repeatedly that Iraq would receive "full sovereignty" on June 30. But the president seems to have a peculiar definition of that concept. The United States and its coalition partners plan to give Iraqis nothing more than nominal sovereignty, and the "handover of power" is little more than an exercise in symbolism.'

    Also, "Other U.S. officials confirm that the interim government will not have authority over current or future reconstruction contracts." That's a polite way of saying that someone else will have authority.

    Also, 'And although the resolution officially gives the Iraqi government control over the country's oil revenues, an "international advisory board" is to make certain that the revenues are used "properly." That provision suggests more than a little foreign control over the decision-making process.'

    Even the cartoon Sylvia suggests that the administration would lie. See the May 28, 2004 cartoon.

  25. American Dynasty: Aristocracy, fortune, and the politics of deceit in the house of Bush   by Kevin Phillips, 2004, Viking, New York, New York, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    Kevin Phillips, the author, is a former Republican strategist. His idea that the Bush family is a dynasty is an unfortunate distraction. The book documents actions that indicate the Bush family is merely selling the U.S. government to those who want corruption. Is that a dynasty?

    American Dynasty is a valuable source of background information about how things got to where they are. For example, George H.W. Bush was at one time the head of the U.S. government's CIA agency. The book says about the 1979 candidacy of Ronald Reagan and George Bush senior:

    "It can hardly be overemphasized that their vice-presidential nominee was an ex-CIA director, that the [Republican] party's national campaign manager [William Casey] was a man whose covert operations and contacts went back to World War II, when he served as chief of the OSS secretariat in the Europe theater."

    "At the staff level, the Republican campaign structure overflowed with ex-CIA people, not a few of them 007 wanna-bes who had worked at the CIA under George W. Bush...".

    The book says that Richard Allen, who was the foreign policy chief of the 1979 Reagan campaign, criticized the ex-CIA people for "playing cops and robbers". He called them "nutballs". [Page 285]

    The CIA connection is extremely important. The CIA is allowed to break laws and kill people to accomplish what has been secretly decided is U.S. government policy. Without U.S. government involvement which starts with secret agencies like the CIA, and often ends with action by the U.S. military, many oil contracts would not be profitable.

  26. Free Culture: How big media uses technology and the law to lock down culture and control creativity   by Lawrence Lessig, 2004, Penguin Press, New York, New York, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    Mr. Lessig's exceptionally well-written book explains how big media companies try to control what you see and hear. Some U.S. media companies manufacture weapons or have oil investments, also. The concentration of media power is a major enabler for government corruption. Whereas the other books listed here cover several areas of corruption, this book is only about inappropriate media control, and covers it in depth.

    The entire book is available free from Mr. Lessig's Free Culture web site. Click on the "Free Content" menu choice.

  27. The Bush-hater's Handbook: A guide to the most appalling presidency in the past 100 years   by Jack Huberman, Nation Books, 2003, New York, New York, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    The title is misleading; I was unable to find any hate in this book. Other than the extremely poor judgment of calling those who are associated with George W. Bush, "Bushies", the book is apparently just a reasonable, well-organized catalog of the corruption.

    For example, Vice-President Cheney's apparent involvement in stock fraud is summarized in the book on pages 59 and 60. Here is the same story in more detail, as told in a July 19, 2002 ABC News article: Cheney's Corporate Liability VP's Former CEO Role at Halliburton Connects Him to SEC Inquiry.

    Examples from this book are used to illustrate Method of Corruption #5, below.

Books about those who designed
the Bush administration's deliberate dishonesty

There are many excellent people in the Republican political party in the United States. But there is are people who say they are Republicans who might be called "Re-money-cans". (There is no "public" in Remoneycan.) They are only interested in money and power and they achieve them by using dishonesty as a tool. For example, the Remoneycans have been running advertisements on U.S. television claiming that George W. Bush is a more experienced military leader than John Kerry, who opposes him for the 2004 presidential election. During times when people in the U.S. feel threatened, a large percentage of them feel that violence is the only answer, and the ads manipulate that feeling. The ads may be very convincing if the viewer does not know the truth, that John Kerry is much more experienced, as the Military Service Records for Bush and Kerry show. Also see the essay Bush's Military Records Show He Shirked.

  1. Boy Genius: Karl Rove, The brains behind the remarkable political triumph of George W. Bush   by Lou Dubose, Jan Reid, and Carl M. Cannon, 2003, PublicAffairs. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    The secret of Karl Rove's success is that U.S. voters don't want to believe there is widespread corruption in their government. Therefore, if lies are extreme enough, they will be accepted.

    President George W. Bush has a habit of giving disrespectful nicknames to those with whom he works. "Boy Genius" is one of Mr. Bush's nicknames for Karl Rove. Mr. Bush also calls Karl Rove, "Turd Blossom". The term refers to a flower that grows in the feces of a cow.

  2. Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove made George W. Bush presidential   by James Moore and Wayne Slater, 2003, John Wiley & Sons, New York, New York, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    An Amazon review about the present U.S. president, George W. Bush, quotes the book: "Karl Rove matters to all Americans, many who have never even heard his name. While the president chafes at the description of Rove as 'Bush's Brain,' he can hardly deny that every policy and political decision either goes through, or comes from, the consultant," write the authors, leading them to pose the question, "Who really runs this country?"

  3. Bad Boy: The life and politics of Lee Atwater   by John Brady, 1997, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Reading, Massachusetts. Reviews:  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    Lee Atwater and Karl Rove worked together, but Lee died of a brain tumor when he was 40. Mr. Atwater also had no interest in government policy, but only in how to get someone elected. For example, see the top of page 103 of the hardcover edition: "Indeed, Lee had no interest in the policy loop." Another quote, about his sexual involvement with women other than his wife, from page 151: "He [Lee Atwater] has no morals and will freely admit that."

    The author of this book clearly admires Mr. Atwater, and the stories of his dishonesty are recounted quickly. But there is enough information to get the idea of Mr. Atwater's personality. For example, Mr. Atwater wrote a letter saying in part, "If you look at one trend the last [thus] ten or fifteen years in this country, it has been that people have solidly and steadily lost faith in all American institutions." [Page 297] Most U.S. voters don't know it, but Mr. Atwater was a big force in helping that happen.

    From the Kirkus Reviews review on Amazon: "Unconcerned with issues or consequences for the country, this devotee of Machiavelli approached political campaigns as wars to be won at any cost." On page 258, Mr. Atwater is quoted as saying, "See how I got a man elected president?", referring to his involvement in the election campaign of George Bush, Senior.

Corruption in the U.S. Supreme Court

The corruption in the White House is not the only extremely serious corruption. The U.S. Supreme Court has been corrupted by packing it with politically motivated judges.

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case about U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney's secret activities involving large oil businesses. One of the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia, is a long-time friend of Cheney and is judging this case, even though there are very strong rules against conflict of interest. The issue of conflict of interest is so strong that even this one issue is enough to demonstrate that Justice Scalia is corrupt.

A March 18, 2004 CBS News article about the same issue, Scalia Vows To Hear Cheney Case says, "A defiant Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia refused Thursday to remove himself from a case involving his good friend, Vice President Dick Cheney".

Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court decided that George W. Bush would be president of the U.S., not the voters. For more about that, see these books:

  1. Supreme Injustice: How the high court hijacked election 2000   by Alan M. Dershowitz, 2001, Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, and New York, New York, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

  2. Betrayal of America: How the Supreme Court Undermined the Constitution and Chose Our President   by Vincent Bugliosi. Foreword by Gerry Spence, Foreword by Molly Ivins, 2001, Thunder's Mouth Press/Nation Books, New York, New York, USA, Distributed by Publishers Group West. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

Acting through secret agencies
makes corruption secret.

The following books show some of the history of the U.S. government's secret agencies, and help explain much of the underlying reasons for violence in the Middle East. Often the secret agencies have acted for special interests and against the good of the people. For example, the CIA overthrew the democratically elected president, President Mossadegh, because he wanted his country to receive more of the profit from oil pumped from his country. The U.S. government's political interference eventually resulted in a violent revolution in Iran, and a determination by Iran to strike back.

  1. Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America, and international terrorism   by John K. Cooley, 2000, Third edition, Pluto Press, London, England and Sterling, Virginia, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    Osama bin Laden is "the personification of blowback". You can read more about how the CIA created a political climate very supportive of Osama and his ideas in an article by Jane's, a very well-respected publication devoted to military issues. The article was published 3 days after the second World Trade Center bombings, on September 14, 2004: Why? An attempt to explain the unexplainable.

    The CIA brought Arabs to the U.S. and trained them in terrorism. The rules by which al Qaeda operate seem to come from the CIA training.

  2. Blowback: The costs and consequences of American empire   by Chalmers Johnson, 2000, Metropolitan Books, New York, New York, USA. Also, there was a new edition in 2003 with a new introduction. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    "Blowback" is a CIA term for the unintended consequences of CIA actions. The title of the book is a subtle extension of the meaning; Blowback is consequences people in the CIA don't like. In the title, Blowback refers to consequences of secret U.S. government action that someone interested in good government would not like. Since trouble-making often gets promotions and raises for CIA employees, the two ways the word is used are often quite different in view.

    From a Kirkus Review article cited by Amazon: "Johnson sees the imperialistic mentality as the defining style of American actions and expectations abroad."

  3. Defrauding America: Encyclopedia of secret operations by the CIA, DEA, and other covert agencies   by Rodney Stich, 1998, Diablo Western Press, Alamo, California. Expanded 3rd edition. Reviews --  Only Amazon carries the 3rd Edition: Amazon

  4. The secret history of the CIA   by Joseph J. Trento, 2001, Forum, Roseville, California, USA. Reviews:  Powell's  Barnes & Noble  Amazon

    A government that operates in secret is a dictatorship of those who do the things they want to keep secret. This is one of many books that show that the CIA is often completely outside anyone's control, and helps provide background that shows how the U.S. government came to be in its present state. (Note: The conflict of interest comes when a country acts in secret. There does not seem to be a problem with collecting information in secret.)

    From a reader's review on the Barnes & Noble web site: "The book is filled with U.S.-led efforts that manipulated elections, tried to keep leaders from office, attempted and performed political assassinations, and helped establish dictators. You will also learn about deals with the Mafia, opium smuggling, and routinely lying to Congress."

    A Publisher's Weekly review of this book characterizes the CIA as incompetent. However, it seems that the CIA gets exactly the results that are secretly intended, but those results are not good for the country. The conflict of interest in the U.S. government's secret agencies is huge. For example, if there is widespread peace, CIA employees will lose their jobs. If there is trouble, they will be seen as more necessary and will get promotions.

An article I first wrote in 2001, and recently updated, gives a basic overview of one of the activities of the CIA Directorate of Operations: The CIA trained Osama bin Laden and other Arabs in the techniques of terrorism. Note that there is apparently no public evidence that shows that anyone from the CIA actually met Osama bin Laden; that is unknown, apparently. His training may have been provided through other people. What is known is that the idea of training skilled terrorists and the knowledge of how to be effective at terrorism came from the CIA.

Quick Tips for understanding
U.S. government corruption.

  1. Most people don't read books.   People are very busy in the U.S., and only 2% read non-fiction about subjects other than their work. So, although there is plenty of information available about U.S. government corruption, most people don't know that. Those who corrupt government don't care much what book authors say because it is possible to continue in power without 2% of the voters. (The 2% statistic is from an old study. However, it fits with my recent independent experience.)  [Back to the Introduction.]

    Television, magazine, and newspaper news reporters rely on being granted access to politicians, and therefore cannot say anything very negative without risking losing their jobs. Also, part of the corruption is that all ways of communicating in the U.S., except the Internet, are now owned by big companies that want continued favorable government assistance.

    Only books have comprehensive information. A book author has the luxury of spending two years gathering facts. Those who want corruption try to arrange such complicated situations that they cannot be easily researched or explained.

    Of course, not all books are written by authors who care primarily about the facts. In recent years Bob Woodward, for example, is known for being especially positive toward those who grant him access. That creates a kind of blackmail in which people grant him access to avoid having negative things written about them.

  2. The words "liberal" or "conservative" generally refer to illogical thinking.   Those words are used in so many ways that they have no logical meaning. Sometimes "conservative" means someone who wants to corrupt the government, but is pretending he or she is motivated by philosophy.  [Back to the Introduction.]

  3. Much of the nature of government corruption is due to accident or ignorant tinkering.   Sometimes an opportunity for corruption arises because of circumstances, without planning, and the corrupters merely take advantage of it.  [Back to the Introduction.]

  4. There are two kinds of "oil business".   Lee Raymond, Chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil, is involved in what is normally considered the oil business.

    Those in the other kind of oil business have little or no interest in geology. They are only interested in the profit from oil that can be obtained by manipulating and corrupting governments.

    It's wrong to say that the U.S. government goes to war over oil. The amount of oil is the same. It is who gets the oil profit that motivates the U.S. government violence in Iraq.

    There are many government dictators in the world who are sometimes violent, perhaps 50. Why did the U.S. government focus on Iraq and Saddam Hussein, and not the others? Because in Iraq there are huge profits to be made from contracts, such as oil contracts. Vice President of the U.S. Dick Cheney was CEO of Halliburton. Now Halliburton is one of the biggest U.S. contractors in Iraq.  [Back to the Introduction.]

  5. The weapons business and oil business are connected.   Many of the same people are involved in both the oil business and the weapons business. Vice-President Dick Cheney is one of them, for example.

    Weapons and oil are connected because both are businesses conducted mostly in secrecy, and in both government influence can arrange huge profits.

    It is so unpleasant that it is difficult for many to believe, but those who wanted the invasion of Iraq by the U.S. government are getting exactly what they wanted. They want as much bad feeling as possible, because more war means more pre-arranged oil contracts and more weapons contracts with governments.

    The oil contracts that U.S. companies achieved by making war on Iraq are profitable only because achieving security is free. U.S. taxpayers pay for the security, because it is called "war". Other oil contracts achievable through corruption are from the U.S. government purchasing fuel so that it can make war. So, war helps oil profits, and oil helps war profits.  [Back to the Introduction.]

  6. Secret actions are destructive to government.   When a government acts in secret, it can no longer be trusted. When a government acts in secret, anyone may legitimately suspect that the government was involved in every bad thing that happens, even if there was no involvement.

    The part of the U.S. government's spy agency, the CIA, that does secret operations does those operations with 100% conflict of interest. If CIA employees act in such a way as to minimize problems, they lose their jobs. If CIA employees cause trouble, they are promoted and get raises.

    Secrecy destroys democracy. A government that operates in secret is not democratic. United States citizens cannot evaluate the performance of their government if they are not allowed to know what the government did.

    No one should think he or she knows the names of all the secret U.S. government organizations. No one should think he or she knows how they get money, or how much money is being given to them by the U.S. government. That is kept secret. The U.S. government even allows itself to plant stories in magazines and newspapers that mislead readers. The U.S. government allows some secret agencies to have businesses, so that they have independent ways of getting money, and therefore independent power.

    Not all activities involving secret actions of government are part of government corruption. The conflict of interest comes when a country acts in secret. There does not seem to be a problem with collecting information in secret.

    Those who want corruption in government are opportunists. They may corrupt only what is necessary to get what they want.  [Back to the Introduction.]

  7. Don't say "we".   If you are a U.S. citizen, when you talk about the activities of the U.S. government, don't say "we". You are only paying. You have no control, and you aren't even allowed to know the truth. So, the word "we" does not apply.  [Back to the Introduction.]

  8. Where there's smoke, there's fire.   Those who manipulate government for profit have others do their work. They never seem to be directly involved in the corrupting activities. They always have deniability. So, when you see evidence of secret manipulation of government, it is possible that the amount of corruption is a hundred times greater than it first appears.

    Those who want corruption lie about the purpose of the changes they want in government. It is often very difficult to discover the true purpose of suggested policies.  [Back to the Introduction.]

  9. Corruption is inefficient.   Corrupt people with political power often cause their governments to lose $100 million so that they can take $1 million, a 100-to-one ratio. Corruption is extremely inefficient. Also, sometimes corrupt affairs are started and fail.  [Back to the Introduction.]

  10. When calculating the cost of war, consider all costs.   When calculating the cost of war, it is necessary to consider both the cost to the war-making country and the cost to the country that is having its people killed and its property destroyed.

    When calculating the cost of war, it is intellectually dishonest to count only the deaths of citizens of your own country. For example, U.S. news companies often quote the U.S. military death toll in Iraq, as though those are the only people killed. However, about 10,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq by the U.S. government in the second U.S. government invasion of Iraq. There is an organization called Iraq Body Count that tries to count the deaths accurately. The organization certainly does not know how to design a web site, but they explain the careful methods they use to count civilian deaths.

    Each of the Iraqi civilians killed have families and friends and loved ones, and maybe children and older people dependent on them. The human pain caused by the U.S. government is enormous and lasting. It would be foolish to think that they will forget who did the killing.

    Those who try to sell war sometimes talk about "smart bombs" that minimize unwanted damage. Explosives are by their very nature not well controlled. The talk about "smart bombs" is often directed toward distracting listeners from thinking about the destruction.  [Back to the Introduction.]

  11. Many people do not think U.S. government violence is superior.   People in the Middle East often do not agree that the U.S. government violence is morally superior to their violence. For a typical example of how they think, read the editorial Whirlpool Of Terrorism, or the April 27, 2004 Al Bawaba newspaper article Leader of al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia vows more attacks against Americans, Jews.

    Many people think that, if the U.S. government can use violence to achieve its political aims, then they can use violence to achieve their aims, also. I'm 100% against violence. However, it is logical that, if violence is acceptable for one group, it is acceptable for another group, also.  [Back to the Introduction.]

  12. Religious extremism is a sickness.   "Religious" extremism has no connection with religion. Religious extremists try to deal with their inner conflict by saying that a book, generally the Torah for Jews, the Christian Bible for Christians, and the Koran for Muslims, has everything they need to understand themselves and the world.

    There is no religion in violence. Those who justify being violent with religion are showing evidence of a kind of mental illness, not religion.

  13. Love your country, truly love your country.   Only those who relate to the United States in a complete way can say they love their country. Those who selectively ignore their country's activities, and who selectively avoid obvious conclusions don't truly love their country. It's the same with loving another person; only loving and wanting to know and understand the entire person is real love.

    Those who do not educate themselves about negative aspects of the U.S. government cannot say they love the United States. By some measures, the U.S. government is the most violent government that has ever existed. I haven't reviewed all the years myself, but one writer said that, in the last 100 years, there were 99 in which the U.S. government was violent to groups outside the country.

    I did review U.S. government violence since the Second World War, and found that the U.S. government has been violent in at least 24 countries since then. Much of this violence was motivated by the desire to interfere politically to increase the profit of U.S. companies in those countries. I put together some explanation and a few links about the history of U.S. involvement which led to the war in Iraq: History surrounding the U.S. war with Iraq: Four short stories.

    Contrast the U.S. government with the Brazilian government. Brazil is about the same size as the U.S. without Alaska. Both countries have large areas of less useful land. Brazil has the Amazon region; the U.S. has the Sonoran desert. Both countries are populated by people of European descent. In Brazil there is a higher percentage of Africans. In both countries, Caucasian people of Christian religion are dominant.

    My understanding is that the last time the Brazilian government initiated violence in another country was 1878, during its invasion of Paraguay. Why is it that the European descendants in Brazil find ways to live peacefully in the world, and those in the U.S. find peace largely impossible?

    There would be less profit for U.S. companies if the U.S. government did not involve itself in the affairs of other countries. Many of the operations of those companies would not be profitable without the hidden contribution that U.S. taxpayers make. So, the operations cannot be said to be truly profitable; the companies are partly embezzling money from the U.S. government.  [Back to the Introduction.]

  14. Method of Corruption #1: When discovered, they counter-attack.   When information about U.S. government corruption becomes public, often the answer of those who want corruption is to counterattack. Paul Krugman, prize-winning economist, says in his book, mentioned in the book list in this article, The Great Unraveling, on page 16:

    "Expect a revolutionary power to respond to criticism by attacking. A revolutionary power, which doesn't accept the legitimacy of the existing system, also doesn't accept the right of others to criticize its actions. Anyone who raises questions can expect a no-holds-barred counterattack."

    I think this is a good insight, but not a complete analysis. Rather than being a true revolutionary political movement, the present government leaders are experiencing a shared mental breakdown, such as the mental breakdown started by U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, who from 1950 to 1954 accused people of being communist.

    Another example of counter-attacking is the recent attack on Michael Moore. When Mr. Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11 won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, there were articles claiming that Mr. Moore had lied about Disney blocking film distribution to get publicity. These stories generally implied that Mr. Moore lied about the negative information about the Bush administration in the film, also. However, in a May 25, 2004 article, Moore Film Is Held Up by Questions About Rights, The New York Times provided more detail, showing that there really are difficulties with being allowed to distribute the film.

    Note that those who seem to agree with the corruption may not necessarily be directly benefiting from the corruption. Sometimes they take sides to act out their anger, or to attract attention to themselves, or because they don't understand the issues, or because they want to establish themselves as part of a social group.  [Back to the Introduction.]

  15. Method of Corruption #2: They starve government departments of money, so the government cannot do its work.   Those who want corruption arrange that there is not enough money for important branches of government like the patent office and the courts to do the work. This is happening not only on a federal level, but throughout the United States; they attack the weakest states first. Here is a quote from an article written by the president of the Oregon State Bar Association:

    "The crippling loss of nearly one-third of their staff have left our [Oregon State] courts unable to hear criminal cases such as car theft, shoplifting, prostitution, fraud and identity theft. Criminals, meanwhile, have figured this out and in some cases are operating virtually unchecked by a broken public safety system." -- From In Our Opinion, by Charles Williamson. Published in the Oregonian newspaper on 2003-06-24. Available from OregonLive.com for a charge for archive access.

    For a discussion of starving the SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, regulates the stock exchange), see this article: Keeping the SEC on a Starvation Diet. Those who want corruption don't want their stock manipulations discovered.

    They are corrupting the IRS (U.S. Internal Revenue Service, collects taxes), too. The corrupters don't want their tax returns to be audited, so they arrange that there is not enough money for audits: Bush Request for IRS Not Enough, Report Says.

    There have been severe difficulties with insufficient funding of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. According to a March 8, 2004 story in Federal Daily, there is a bill before the Congress to almost double the number of Patent Office staff: House Votes To Fund Improved USPTO Examiner Recruiting And Hiring. Patents that would be found invalid if considered in court are still very intimidating to those who don't have the money for a court case.

    There are big intellectual challenges facing patent offices, and not enough people to consider them.

    Note that the same March 8, 2004 Federal Daily web page says, "The FAA carelessly allowed systems specialist staffing to fall below 6,100, the absolute minimum number PASS believes is necessary..." , in the section titled Arbitrator Finds FAA In Violation Of Minimum Staffing Agreement. Those who want corruption minimize the money spent by the government, and cause the government to borrow money, incurring literally trillions of dollars in government debt, apparently because that way there is more money to steal. [Back to the Introduction.]

  16. Method of Corruption #3: When a problem is discovered, they change the subject.   United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's behavior in this short excerpt from an interview on the influential TV program "Face the Nation" is an example: When Secretary Rumsfeld was caught lying, he changed the subject.  [Back to the Introduction.]

  17. Method of Corruption #4: They preserve deniability by taking money from privately-held companies.   They get paid tens of thousands of dollars for making speeches, for example. See the discussion of The Carlyle Group in the section on books, and the story Meet The Carlyle Group.  [Back to the Introduction.]

  18. Method of Corruption #5: They give a sensible-sounding name to a corrupting effort.   The book, The Bush-hater's Handbook: A guide to the most appalling presidency in the past 100 years, in the book list above, gives several examples of this method. I don't like the title of the book, or the fact that the author calls associates of the Bush family, "Bushies", but those seem to be the only objectionable elements of the book. The writing is otherwise reasonable. Here are some examples starting on page 45 of the paperback edition:

    • Clear Skies Initiative: A program to gut the Clean Air Act and substitute weaker anti-pollution regulations.

    • Economic Stimulus: Massive tax cuts for corporations and the rich that failed, in theory and practice, to stimulate.

    • Energy Security: The barely lessened dependence on Mideast oil to be achieved by drilling in U.S. national parks and wilderness preserves.

    • Free Speech: 1) The ... right of pharmaceutical and other companies to make exaggerated or false advertising claims for their products, or 2) the right to raise and spend as much campaign money as you want, in any way you want.

    • Healthy Forests Initiative: A policy of blaming forest fires on "tree-hugging" environmentalists and letting logging companies cut down the forests to save them.

    • There are plenty of others in the book.  [Back to the Introduction.]

  19. Method of Corruption #6: They do many small abuses rather than a few large ones.   Many small abuses are far more difficult to document. Writing an article or making a TV show about many small abuses requires resources and time that are not available to most media employees. The many small abuses give the abusers an opportunity to contest or lie about each small abuse.

  20. Method of Corruption #7: They pretend to be Christian.   The excellent book, Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego, and the Death of Enron, says:

    "By the time of Enron's bankruptcy, Mark Lay ... had quit business altogether and was attending the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Houston." -- Page 154.

    Perhaps surprisingly, this works. Claiming to be Christian impresses many people in the U.S., and can even allow someone to avoid time in prison.

    The book reviewed above, American Dynasty: Aristocracy, fortune, and the politics of deceit in the house of Bush, quotes a March 10, 2003 Newsweek Magazine story: "Bible-believing Christians are Bush's strongest backers" [Page 211]. But how can someone who often lies be Christian?

    The Newsweek article says, "But he was a drinker, and a serious one. Only after work and at night, he told himself. But sometimes the nights were long. He could be famously obnoxious at parties, and, worse, a bore to his patient wife. The birth of his twin daughters in 1982 brought him joy. But, friends say, Laura grew increasingly fed up with his drinking."

    The article says, "Bush says he never considered himself to be an alcoholic, and never attended an AA meeting." To put this into perspective, most alcoholics say they don't consider themselves to be alcoholics. Denial is one of the psychological characteristics of alcoholism. The article continues:

    But it turned out he didn't have to [attend an AA meeting]. CBS [Christian Bible Study] was something akin to the same thing, ... Bush did quit drinking in the summer of 1986, ... "It was 'goodbye Jack Daniels, hello Jesus'," said one friend from those days."

    The Newsweek quotes President Bush, "I would not be president today," he said, "if I hadn't stopped drinking 17 years ago. And I could only do that with the grace of God."

    In the United States, having had terrible personal behavior and claiming to have cured it with Christianity can sometimes be a bigger vote-getter among those who call themselves evangelical Christians than never having been an alcoholic.

    The next section of this article makes the point that George W. Bush can be better understood as a non-drinking alcoholic rather than as a Christian.

The psychological effects of alcoholism
provide a framework for
understanding the Bush administration.

Most voters have little understanding of the psychological effects of alcoholism, so they don't realize how many indications there are that Bush administration is influenced by those effects. Both U.S. President George W. Bush and U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney are recovered alcoholics. That means that they no longer drink, but stopping drinking does not make a thorough change in an alcoholic's personality.

George W. Bush was arrested once for the crime of DUI and Dick Cheney twice:

George W. Bush DUI, 1st record of arrest

George W. Bush DUI, 2nd record of arrest

Dick Cheney DUI, record of 1st arrest

Dick Cheney DUI, record of 2nd arrest

DUI means "Driving Under the Influence" of alcohol. A DUI is a conviction for a very serious crime, a crime that endangers everyone on the road, a crime that often kills people. A DUI conviction means that the driver felt such a strong need to be drunk that he or she was willing to take a chance of murder.

According to his wife Laura Bush and George W. Bush himself, she threatened to leave him because of his drinking.

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton was not an alcoholic, but his parents were violent alcoholics. The book, The Dysfunctional President: Inside the Mind of Bill Clinton, discusses the fact that Bill Clinton's misuse of sexuality is typical of the children of alcoholism-influenced families. The behavior of such children is so typical that they are called ACOA, Adult Children of Alcoholics, and every U.S. city has ACOA support groups.

Most people have little experience with alcoholics. If you know one, ask him or her about the information presented here. Recovered alcoholics have told me that it usually requires "4 to 6 years" of driving drunk before they get a DUI.

If you want to investigate alcoholism, it's easy to find alcoholics and recovered alcoholics in the United States. Anyone can go to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. In the small metropolitan area of Portland, Oregon, USA, there are 27 AA meetings each week, three each day. Although I seldom drink alcohol, someone invited me to an ACOA meeting, and I went.

You may have heard the saying "Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic." This does NOT mean, "Once an alcoholic, always a problem drinker." It means that those who have become alcoholics typically have many, many characteristics of an alcoholic personality, and that those characteristics don't go away when the person stops drinking.

For example, while they are drinking, alcoholics are typically drunk a large part of the time. They cope with this by extensive lying, and eventually they learn to be habitual liars. When they stop drinking, they do not necessarily stop their habit of lying.

Typical personality characteristics of a recovered alcoholic   Here are some typical characteristics of an alcoholic personality. You can decide for yourself if they apply to George W. Bush. I have, however, supplied a few links to articles that support this view, and the books listed in this article support it also. Note that I've just pulled this information together by quick Googling as a very part-time, unpaid effort. There is a huge amount of information available, far too much to mention here.

  1. Likability   Alcoholics are often surprisingly socially engaging and likable, during times when they aren't angry. Many people are unwilling to believe that someone who seems so friendly could be corrupt, so the likability is part of a formula for staying in power.

  2. Anger   "... why is Bush so eager to engage in violence and so incapable of explaining why?" See the Sept. 24, 2002 American Politics Journal article written by someone whose brother was an alcoholic, Dry Drunk Is Bush making a cry for help? and Addiction, Brain Damage and the President -- "Dry Drunk" Syndrome and George W. Bush.

    Another example of President Bush's disrespect is his saying that Iraqis are ready to "take the training wheels off" and take political power.

    The USA Today article mentioned above says, "He's [Bush] infuriated by reporters and retired generals who publicly question the tactics of the [Iraq] war plan." The article also says, "He rarely jokes with staffers these days and occasionally startles them with sarcastic putdowns."

  3. Lying   There are so many examples of lying by George W. Bush that the lies fill entire books. Five of the books listed in this article mention his lying in the title or on the cover.

    A June 18, 2002 article in Salon says, Losing the "trifecta" says, "It takes a brazen politician to make up a story that can be proven false and then to keep lying about it after being busted repeatedly." Also see the October 8, 2002 CounterPunch article, Bush's Leaps of Illogic Don't Answer People's Questions About War.

    A June 4, 2004 Boston Globe editorial mentions other lies: Bush speech spins the winds of war.

  4. Absence of deep or analytical thinking   (If anyone has any information about George W. Bush showing evidence of analytical or sophisticated thinking, please write to me.)

  5. Polarized thinking   Mr. Bush's statement, "you are either with us or against us" is an example. Another example is his statement, "Look my job isn't to try to nuance. I think moral clarity is important... this is evil versus good."

  6. Rigid thinking   A laudatory April 2, 2003 article about Bush in USA Today newspaper says, "He has a special epithet for members of his own staff who worry aloud. He calls them "hand-wringers." Another quote: "Still, even some of Bush's allies say privately that they wish the president would be a little less certain and more willing to reassess decisions."

  7. Obsessive repetition   On August 7, 2002, during his "working vacation" at his Crawford, Texas, ranch, Bush used the word "home" six times in a minute of conversation with reporters: "It's nice to be home ... This is my home ... It's good to be home ... This is where you come home ... This is my home," etc. In a five-minute speech later in the month, Bush mentioned values at least seven times and "neighbor" or "neighborliness" or "neighborly" six times. In a twenty-minute speech the next day he used "character" eleven times. -- Some of the examples here are drawn from a September 6, 2001 article in The Atlantic magazine, The Bumbling Communicator. Not only was Bush repetitive, he was lying. The article says, "Bush lived in the Texas governor's mansion and vacationed in swank resorts and at Kennebunkport before the campaign began."

  8. Inability to perceive the needs of others, inability to understand someone different from oneself   

  9. Grandiosity, believing that one's own ideas are all-important   Bush, and the oil and weapons people who support him, say the U.S. has the right to take military action before the adversary even has the capacity to attack. The very positive April 2, 2003 article about Bush in USA Today newspaper says, "Bush believes he was called by God to lead the nation at this time, says Commerce Secretary Don Evans, a close friend who talks with Bush every day."

  10. Impatience   "If we wait for threats to fully materialize," President Bush said in a speech he gave at West Point, "we will have waited too long."

  11. Incoherence   Things don't make sense in the mind of an alcoholic. An alcoholic's pattern of speech sometimes reflects his or her inner chaos. For example, see the book linked above, The Bush dyslexicon: Observations on a national disorder by Mark Crispin Miller, 2001.

  12. Illogic   There are many, many cases of this. For example, see the October 8, 2002 CounterPunch article mentioned above, Bush's Leaps of Illogic Don't Answer People's Questions About War.

  13. Mood Swings   The USA Today article quoted above says, "On March 17, [2003] before he delivered a 48-hour ultimatum to Saddam, Bush summoned congressional leaders to the White House. They expected a detailed briefing, but the president told them he was notifying them only because he was legally required to do so and then left the room. They were taken aback, and some were annoyed. They were just as surprised by his buoyant mood two days later at another White House meeting."

The U.S. government corruption is
part of a general social breakdown.

Normally social problems are discussed separately. However, taken together they seem to be evidence of a widespread social breakdown in the United States. The U.S. is now the most obese country in the history of the world; eating when not hungry is evidence of unhappiness. The present U.S. Supreme Court is corrupt in an unprecedented way. The Bush administration is the most corrupt the U.S. has ever had. Companies such as WorldCom, Enron, and Tyco have not only self-destructed, but self-destructed in such a way that their officers have been convicted of crimes.

I could give many, many examples of people who are having a very difficult time in life, but, if they are people you don't know, the examples might not interest you. So, I use the Clinton, Bush, and Cheney families as examples. Voters in the U.S. picked those men as the best people to lead the country.

Family life is so stressful in the U.S. that children turn to drugs to try to cope:

"The daughter of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was arrested... ... while allegedly trying to buy the anti-anxiety drug Xanax." (Jeb Bush is George W. Bush's brother.) Noelle Bush was arrested and charged with fraud, not for trying to buy marijuana, but for trying to buy an anti-anxiety drug. Why was she willing to break the law to buy a drug to become less anxious? Because living in her family is very anxiety-producing?

George W. Bush's daughters seem to be imitating their alcoholic father. The BBC article, Alcohol sentence for Bush daughter, says that "Barbara and Jenna Bush were both charged." Ask yourself, why do these teenage women feel they need a drug like alcohol so badly that they are willing to break the law?

This article discusses the lives of well-known people as evidence of the widespread social breakdown in the United States. However, there is so much information about general social problems that it would fill many books. Here are only three examples:

The American Medical Association says that obesity is "causing problems in children that were unthinkable 20 years ago". Why do people eat more than necessary? Because they are unhappy.

A May 5, 2004 article in Science Daily discusses another effect of the social breakdown: Average Blood Pressure Levels On Rise Among American Children And Teenagers. The article says, "... blood pressure levels for children and teenagers have risen substantially since 1988..." according to a study supported by the National Institutes of Health. Another article gives more detail: 90's saw significant increase in blood pressure among children.

According to an article in the American Medical News that appears in the printed edition on May 10, 2004, 26% of American children are grossly overweight. In the center of U.S. cities, where children feel less safe, 51% are obese: Obesity weighs hard on urban kids.

Most U.S. citizens don't put these issues together and make an overall assessment, however. They have been told many times that the U.S. is a "Superpower" and that "The U.S. is the best country in the world". (My father says that, for example.) Many are unwilling to look at the problems and therefore don't truly love the United States. On the other hand, there is so much pain in the life of many people in the U.S. that looking at one more problem would be an overload beyond their ability.

The disfunctionality of families in the U.S. has created a social breakdown that affects everything in U.S. life. For example, consider breakdowns of large companies such as the Enron fraud and the WorldCom fraud and the Tyco fraud.

The disfunctionality of families in the U.S. has created corruption in the U.S. federal, state, and local governments.

The U.S. is a rich country. It is not that there is not enough money. This is widespread corruption of government. This is deliberate degradation of government by those who want to use the power of government to make money. Healthy people do not corrupt their country.

The U.S. has the highest percentage of its citizens in prison of any nation ever, in the history of the world. For a discussion of that, see the chapter of an old article, All cultures have cultural problems.

U.S. citizens are apparently the heaviest legal drug users of any nation ever, in the history of the world. Even the illegal use of legal drugs is high. For example, see the ABC News article, Steep Rise in Abuse of Legal Drugs: Estimated 9 Million People Use Prescription Drugs for Non-medical Purposes.

It is my understanding that U.S. citizens are also the heaviest illegal drug users. For example the U.S. CDC, Center for Disease Control says that 8 percent of U.S. citizens 12 years of age and over used illegal drugs in the month before the 2002 survey. The U.N. said that about 4.2 percent of people worldwide over 15 years of age consumed illegal drugs in the late 1990s.

As the books in the book list above show, those who want corruption have already partly accomplished the overthrow of our system of government. Corruption of government is one indication of social breakdown.

What complaint do the attackers
have with U.S. citizens?
They have no problem with U.S. citizens.

If you are an average U.S. citizen, you may wonder why Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda and their followers want to make trouble for you. The answer is: They don't. It is the largely secret actions of the U.S. government they don't like, not anything about average citizens.

Osama bin Laden has two basic complaints: 1) He wants the U.S. government to stop interfering in the politics of Saudi Arabia, and 2) He wants the U.S. government to stop giving money to Israelis to buy weapons that are used to kill Arabs and Muslims. Recently, on the Charlie Rose TV interview show, both the foreign minister of Iran and the Prime Minister of Jordan could be seen expressing exactly the same complaint, that "90 percent" of the problem is U.S. government support for Israeli violence.

These are Osama bin Laden's only complaints, apparently.

Nothing in this article is intended to justify any kind of violence. It seems likely to the author of this article that violence is caused by a kind of mental illness. There is no religion in violence. But Osama bin Laden's violence could not be accomplished without wide and strong support, and he could not get that support if there were no real issues. Many Arabs and Muslims feel so strongly about these issues that they are willing to die for them.

If you are an average U.S. citizen, these complaints have no connection with you. Instead, the reasons for the attacks against the U.S. are connected with destructive activities of those who run the U.S. government that have, until now, been largely unknown to most U.S. citizens.

What is written here and in the books listed above is often very difficult to believe for those who have not been reading the books and articles about U.S. government involvement with other countries. However, all the subjects here have been widely reported in the mainstream media. Usually, however, each story is presented disconnected from other stories, so it is easy to miss the overall significance.

Nothing here is intended to be even slightly radical. Everything here is very well supported by numerous articles and TV shows and books. If anyone finds any error, write to me at the email address at the bottom of this article and I will correct it. Please realize that I may be slow in making the correction because this article is just a part-time unpaid effort; I have many other responsibilities.

Osama bin Laden is one of 54 children of one father. Some people would say that it is surprising that more of the bin Laden family are not violent, since one father cannot have given good child care to that many children. In any case, it seems that Osama bin Laden has made a partly bad adjustment to life.

The complaints are justified, the violence is not.   Both of Osama bin Laden's complaints are justified, and can be supported by an enormous amount of material. The complaints are reviewed below:

Complaint #1 about the U.S. government: Interference in Saudi politics.

Osama bin Laden's first complaint is that the U.S. government interferes with needed political change in Saudi Arabia. The first book mentioned above, House of Bush, House of Saud, shows some of how, in fact, the U.S. government does interfere with the politics of Saudi Arabia.

The official understanding of the U.S. government is the same as Osama bin Laden's. For example, see a transcript of an interview with Senator Biden, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in an article I wrote, Senator Biden says the Saudi government cannot continue in power without U.S. government support.

One way I investigated the complaint was by talking to the children of rich Saudis. For several years, I worked out extensively at a gym and began to be part of the social group there. Several Saudis who were attending a local university were often at the gym. They didn't drink, so they didn't go to bars. They didn't integrate very well into the U.S. culture. So some of them spent a lot of time at the gym. This was long before the attack against the U.S. on September 11, 2001, but after the first bombing of the World Trade Center on February 26, 1993.

I asked my Saudi acquaintances about Saudi politics. They told me that there were big problems, and that Saudi Arabia badly needed political change. Nothing my Saudi acquaintances said was surprising to me, because, anyone like me who read the articles and books already had a good general idea of the problems. Even in Saudi Arabia, where the media is heavily controlled, there is plenty of mention of political issues. For example, the Saudi government recently relaxed the restrictions against women. See the June 6, 2004 story in al-Jazeera Saudi women can own businesses:

"... 55% of university graduates in the oil-rich kingdom are female, but the overwhelming majority stay at home because of the ban and a general lack of job opportunities." See also the caption below the photo, "Women are not allowed to drive or travel alone in Saudi Arabia".

The licenses mentioned in the article are licenses for women to move around on their own. What is not being stated clearly is that the loosening of restrictions is because the government partly agreed with al Qaedas complaints.

The attackers who give support to al Qaeda don't like the heavy involvement of the Bush family with powerful leaders of the Saudi government. That involvement resulted in U.S. military presence, and many, many conflicts of interest in which the Bush family's interests are against the interests of U.S. and Saudi citizens.

The books listed above give an excellent overview of U.S. government involvement in Saudi Arabia. So, to show that interference in Saudi Arabia not an isolated example, it seems reasonable to give another example that has many parallels:

Venezuela is another example of U.S. government involvement.   In general, it is good to go for news to news media whose employees would not be fired if they told the truth. The media in India are able to tell the truth about this subject. For example, see the 14th paragraph of the excellent June 8, 2004 article, Oil speculation and global growth in the Hindu Business Line, a business publication in India. The Saudi government has been trying to lower oil prices to help George W. Bush be re-elected:

"In fact, the government of Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer (and the only OPEC country with significant excess capacity at the moment) has actually been trying for several weeks to ease prices downward. It announced that it will pump more oil itself and managed to persuade other OPEC members to raise the group's production quotas by about 2 million barrels a day, to ease any fears of supply constraints."

That is NOT in the interest of U.S. citizens; the Saudis are only trying to manipulate U.S. voters. A Saudi official and close friend of the Bush family, Prince Bandar, said the reason for lowering oil prices is to help President Bush get re-elected; after the election oil prices could rise again. They are high, as the article says, because of U.S. military involvement. The Bush, bin Laden and the other rich Saudi families make more money when the cost of oil is high.

The Hindu Business Line article says, "But the real problem is that price increases driven by speculative activity hits the oil importers hard, without delivering the benefits to oil exporters in full." Also, "In the final analysis, it is only the speculators who win in a world of [finance dominance]." Oil speculators can make even more money if they have political connections with the U.S. government, and can discover U.S. government plans in advance.

In paragraph 12 the Hindu Business Line article says,

"A range of factors have affected OPEC's capacity to keep pumping out oil in response to demand increases. These include the Iran-Iraq war, the Gulf war and the attempt by US-backed Venezuelan oil workers in 2002 to topple the Chávez government by paralysing the oil industry."

There it is again, U.S. government involvement, but in Venezuela this time. Part of the reason for the increase in oil prices has been semi-secret U.S. government involvement in violence. The involvement is semi-secret because, although there are plenty of freely published stories, U.S. media almost never provides an insight into how to link the stories together. If an employee of a U.S.-owned or British-owned media company tried to do so, the article might not be published, and the employee might be fired or re-assigned. (The U.S. government and the British government are both involved in violence which tries to help their companies maximize oil profits. This association is more than 50 years old.)

The U.S. needs open leadership.   It is not the intention of this article to take a position about politics in a country outside the United States. That's exactly the point: The U.S. government should not do that either. There is a long history: The U.S. government becomes involved, largely secretly, in politics of other countries. There is violence. The U.S. taxpayer pays again, this time for a new war, or "police action" or "operation". The results are usually terrible for the country, but what the perpetrators wanted.

Any involvement with other countries should be explained to the voters and put to a vote. Those who want corruption don't want democracy because a major purpose of democracy is to lessen corruption.

It is my guess that more than 98% of voters in the U.S. don't realize that the U.S. government was involved in ALL the violence listed in paragraph 12 of the Hindu Business Line article. The U.S. government sold arms to Saddam Hussein in Iraq because it wanted to support Saddam's violence against Iran. At that time, the U.S. government opposed Iran because of Iran's support for retaliation against U.S. government interference. The Gulf war happened, apparently, because of U.S. government encouragement of Saddam in invading Kuwait. You can read about this in my previous article, History surrounding the U.S. war with Iraq: Four short stories.

More about Venezuela as an additional example of U.S. government interference.   The March 17, 2002 BBC article, Oil industry locks horns with Chávez explains U.S. government involvement with the problems in Venezuela. President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez...

"... wants PDVSA to be at the service of his attempts to redistribute the nation's oil wealth in a country where 80% of the population live in poverty."

A side issue here is that, to accomplish the re-distribution, the well-paid oil workers may be disadvantaged. This is discussed in more detail in the March 17, 2002 BBC article, Oil industry locks horns with Chavez. The article mentions a connection with the Bush administration: "Luis Giusti, a former head of PDVSA who helped shape US President George W Bush's oil policy, told the BBC..." The article also says:

' "Mr Chavez has criticised the company for being "a state within a state" and said it is not acceptable that company executives who, he said, earn 15 million bolivares a month (US$15,000), live it up in "luxury chalets..." '

Five steps to violent, expensive failure:   These five steps have been the underlying cause of most of the U.S. government violence since the Second World War: 1) Companies based in the U.S. and Britain make abusive contracts to extract wealth from poor countries. 2) Eventually, some leader in the poor country is elected or selected with the idea that the contracts will be re-negotiated. 3) Amazingly, there are secret U.S. and British government agencies that are well funded by their taxpayers and are ready and willing to engage in secret violence and secret acts which are criminal under the laws of the United States. These secret agencies interfere with the politics in the other country. 4) The trouble is reported in the U.S. in a way that makes it look like the fault of people in the other country. 5) The consequences are such that, if ALL the expenses and all the effects of the violence are accounted for, these "operations" are bleak failures, even by the standards of those who believe that secret government violence is acceptable.

The U.S. government tries to keep profits for Venezuela down.   The rich only think about being richer. For example, see this paragraph from a June 14, 2002 article written for the Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG), a Canadian organization, Coup-making in Venezuela: the Bush and oil factors:

"Venezuela has been receiving about half of its revenues from the state owned Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA).(3) So providing more for the country's poor multitudes necessarily meant maximizing the gains from Venezuela's rich national resource, oil. This entailed altering the 60-year-old agreement with foreign oil companies "that charges them as little as one percent in royalties," plus handing them huge tax breaks, according to the London Guardian. (4)"

A February 29, 2004 article originated by Reuters, Chávez: Venezuela would stop oil to U.S. if invaded says,

'In his speech, Chávez also called Bush an "asshole" for, he said, supporting a short-lived coup in 2002 that briefly toppled him.'

If English is not your first language, you should be aware that "asshole" is a very derogatory colloquial term. It is also very impolite. However, it is the only word in English that expresses the psychological phenomenon of someone who has so much anger that he or she continually seeks ways to act out that anger. This phenomenon is typical of alcoholics, for example.

The article also says that President Chávez is worried that President Bush would invade Venezuela:

"Mr. Bush must know that if he gets the mad idea of trying to blockade Venezuela, or, even worse, of invading , if that happened, the people of the United States should know that not a drop of oil would reach them from Venezuela, not a drop more," Chávez told tens of thousands of cheering supporters.

The issue is who gets oil profit, not oil itself.   The writers of these articles often make a common mistake. The violence of the U.S. government is not about oil, it is about who gets the oil profits. Generally, oil is always pumped. It is always sold at a price based on the world market rates. The amount of oil available to the U.S. is quite constant. The violence is over who will get the profit from bringing the oil and refined products to the United States.

"Venezuela is a major cash cow."   The article by the Centre for Research on Globalisation mentioned above also says,

The unmistakable backdrop behind the U.S. position is Venezuela's status as the fourth largest oil-exporting country in the world, and currently the third largest source of U.S. oil imports.(1) "Venezuela is a major cash cow for Phillips Petroleum and ExxonMobil. Chevron Texaco and Occidental Petroleum are two other major oil companies with interests in Venezuela and Colombia."(2)

The CRG article continues:

"Also particularly rankling to the Bush Administration with its abundance of right-wing Cubans, is Chávez's sale of oil to Cuba in exchange for medical care."

Again, this is probably a misunderstanding. Judging from the 35 books reviewed above, it is unlikely that the Bush administration cares about Cubans, except to get their vote. Probably the real issue is oil profits. Once it becomes established that medical care is bought with oil directly, instead of appearing on the world market, it would be politically difficult or impossible for a foreign company to profit from that transaction, even if President Chávez is overthrown.

Not surprisingly, although many U.S. citizens think the U.S. government is superior, there are many who disagree. For example, see the January 11, 2004 article originated by Reuters, Venezuela's Chavez Says U.S. Seeking His Overthrow. The following two paragraphs are from the article:

'On Saturday, rebuffing condemnation from Rice of his friendship with Cuba's Communist President Fidel Castro, Chavez told the U.S. government to stop "sticking its nose" in Venezuela's affairs.'

'He attacked Rice again Sunday. "Am I not right to call her a meddling illiterate?" Chavez asked.'

President Chavez means to imply that U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice is illiterate in the sense that the does not understand or care about Venezuelans. (Her expertise in foreign policy specialized in the old Soviet Union. The big oil company Chevron named an oil tanker after Condoleezza, but renamed it when the name began to be a political problem.)

U.S. Democratic candidate for president John Kerry also says the Bush administration does not care about U.S. citizens in a poorly produced ad titled Oil House, that shows some of the involvement of the Bush administration with oil.

Complaint #2 about the U.S. government: Support for Israeli violence.

There is plenty of evidence that this complaint is very well justified, too. The U.S. government gives billions of dollars to Israel in "foreign aid" which must be used to buy weapons from U.S. weapons makers. When you see on television an Israeli Blackhawk helicopter firing at Palestinians on the ground, you are seeing U.S. taxpayer's dollars supporting violence against Arabs and Muslims. Basically, it would be illegal for U.S. weapons makers to take money directly from the government. But it is not illegal to send money to Israel that must be spent with the weapons makers. It is, effectively, an international embezzlement scheme.

The problems between the Jews and Arabs and Muslims are complicated and severe. However, there is simply no evidence that U.S. government "support" has done anything but make the violence worse.

I wrote an article in 2001 that summarizes a few of the issues: New York Governor Pataki's statements are equivalent to a declaration of war. Apparently, Governor Pataki supports Israeli violence because that helps him get votes from radical Jews living in New York City. New York city has the highest Jewish population in the world, more than in Israel. (Giving money for violence in another country is not restricted to radical Jews. Remember that Irish U.S. citizens supported the violence in Ireland.)

The U.S.-Afghanistan and U.S.-Iraq wars have improved nothing.

The U.S. government's war in Afghanistan and in Iraq has improved nothing about these complaints. The situations behind the Osama bin Laden's complaints are unchanged, except that the wars have increased Arab and Muslim determination to fight against U.S. government secret involvement for private profit with their countries.

Why did they attack? Arabs and Muslims are not good communicators.   The U.S. government interfered in many countries, such as Venezuela, as was described above. The difference between Saudi Arabia and Venezuela is that, after many, many years of warnings, Saudi Arabians, some of them led by Osama bin Laden, decided to do to the United States what the U.S. government was doing to them. Since the U.S. government so obviously believes in violence, it is logical that other people will believe in it, too. (However, nothing about this makes violence acceptable.)

Unfortunately, Osama bin Laden and people and other Arabs and Muslims lack eloquence in English and lack an understanding of U.S. culture. They don't know how to communicate with U.S. citizens.

The violence was not necessary. Merely finding a way to communicate to U.S. citizens the truth about their government would have been enough. If the taxpayers knew that many U.S. oil company operations in foreign countries are not profitable without embezzling taxpayer money and using it to maintain political control, they would revolt, and demand that their government stop interfering.

Score:  Citizens 0,  Corrupters 3.   Although citizens of the U.S. got nothing from the U.S.-Afghanistan and U.S.-Iraq wars, and had to pay an enormous amount and will pay an enormous amount in the future, they get nothing but the bills.

Those who want government corruption, however, got three things they wanted:

  1. Security in Afghanistan.   They want to build an oil pipeline through Afghanistan to supply oil from the fields near the Caspian Sea to Pakistan, where it can be sold to Pakistan and surrounding countries. Previously, there was too much tribal conflict for investors to feel comfortable.

    It's excellent that there is security, and the pipeline is a good project. However, accomplishing the project through violence and dishonesty, and making U.S. citizens pay, has been terribly destructive.

  2. Control over Iraqi oil.   A June 4, 2004 Boston Globe editorial describes the lies about Iraqi oil, and says that the U.S. is not releasing control: Bush speech spins the winds of war.

  3. A better climate for weapons contracts.   The corrupters want violence, because that creates weapons contracts. The potential for violence in the world has increased enormously. Attacking Iraq, and torturing Iraqis, was equivalent to advertising for new members of al Qaeda.

When a government is violent so that a few people can make more money, it is no longer a properly constituted body. Part of the violence is that the U.S. government has been overthrown by corruption.

The author:   The author of this article, Michael Jennings, is a U.S. citizen of European descent from a family that has been in the U.S. for five generations. He is against violence; he believes violence is caused by mental illness. The author believes that true love partly means accepting responsibility to improve difficult situations. True love means continuing to care and continuing to try to understand even when a situation becomes difficult.

The author of this article not a member of any group. The research and writing of the article was entirely an independent, part-time, unpaid effort, in the hope of making a contribution toward better government.

The author's interest in politics came accidentally.   Like most people, I normally have little interest in politics. However, I served in the U.S. Air Force in Thailand during the Vietnam war, and something happened there that caused me to take an interest in the activities of the U.S. government. One day we were told that we should not tell anyone that the American military was in Thailand. This was utterly crazy, because our families all knew where we were; we wrote to them often. Also, the jets taking off to bomb Hanoi were very, very noisy. They took off heavily loaded with bombs, and returned with no bombs. When the military people went to town, it was certainly obvious that Americans were there. Many Thais worked on the air base, and the presence of the military was completely obvious and much discussed. So, the only reason to lie about our presence in Thailand was to hide the magnitude of military activities from U.S. voters.

That was the first time I realized that the U.S. government might lie. Because of that I began taking notice of such activities.

by Michael Jennings
Futurepower ® Publishing

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To link to this article, copy this and paste it into your HTML code: <a href="http://www.futurepower.org/usgovcorruption.htm">Unprecedented Corruption: A guide to conflict of interest in the U.S. government</a>

Revision history:

Before June 9: numerous drafts. [polit03i.htm]

June 9, 2004, 16:37 -- Initial finished draft. [polit03k.htm]

June 10, 2004, 10:37 AM -- Numerous corrections of sloppy wording. Added the book, Pipe Dreams. [polit03k.htm]

June 14, 2004, 02:00 -- Rewrote the introduction in response to a discussion of problems. Reorganized the movie section. Added an explanation about voter fraud in Florida to the movie section. Reorganized the section about al Qaeda's complaints, and put it all toward the end; formerly part was in the beginning. [polit03L.htm]

June 14, 2004, 04:00 -- Discovered that Microsoft Internet Explorer does not format line breaks correctly. Re-coded the entire article to use paragraphs. [polit03m.htm]

June 14, 2004, 09:16 -- Many improvements in HTML code quality, using HTML Tidy. [polit03m.htm]

June 15, 2004, 11:07 -- Added link to an article I wrote in 2001 about one of the CIA's activities: Training Arabs such as Osama bin Laden and his group to be terrorists: The CIA trained Osama bin Laden and other Arabs in the techniques of terrorism. (Unbelievable if you didn't read all the articles in the 1980s.) Added a link to a Wired magazine article explaining the new Florida election arrangements more clearly that will prevent some people from voting who are likely to vote for Democrats. [polit03m.htm]

June 20, 2004, 14:00 -- Added the web page, George W. Bush: His statements show he is not really interested or mentally engaged. Changed some of the links to bookstores that allow receiving a commission. This does not increase the cost to the customer. If you want to buy a book, and don't want the bookstore to pay a commission, simply paste the name of the book into the bookstore's search field.

June 22, 2004, 05:30 -- Added information to Method of Corruption #2, in the section Quick Tips for understanding U.S. government corruption [polit03p.htm]

June 24, 10:18 -- Added more information to Quick Tips for understanding U.S. government corruption. Readers should consider that corruption may be opportunistic, and not planned. [polit03p.htm]

June 27, 2004, 02:17 -- Added more information about the unprecedented popularity of Michael Moore's film, Fahrenheit 9/11. [polit03p.htm]

July 4, 2004, 12:18 -- Added information about the phenomenal success of Michael Moore's movie, Fahrenheit 9/11. [polit03s.htm]

July 12, 2004, 14:04 -- Rich Saudis have said they will lower gasoline prices to help George W. Bush be re-elected. Added a link to show that is happening as promised. Added more information about the book Battle Ready. Fixed three bad sentence constructions. [polit03s.htm]

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