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By Mike Hersh (c) 2002

After The Soul Searching Ends, It's Time To Work For Our Survival.

We deserve some time to look inside ourselves to ponder what happened. We are only human, and cannot fault ourselves for seeking simple answers, giving in to sadness or letting out our anger. When the fog of failure lifts, when the blame game ends, we have to get to work.

What went wrong? Maybe we forgot the lesson of the sixties which the right wingers learned from us. Remember what we said then? "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." If you're not mobilized, you're nothing. The right wingers remembered this lesson. We seem to have forgotten.

Are we too passive, short-sighted and tight wadded to protect ourselves from the right wingers? Are we no longer like the liberals and progressives who built America into greatness, who constructed the New Deal and Great Society out of our generosity of spirit? Are we just cheap lazy bastards? I just can't believe that.

The 100,000s who marched against Bush's endless war of aggression just days ago prove our passion and power are still there. We're not dead yet. We're OK. We're still moving.

True, we've missed some great opportunities. If the Democrats and other well-off sensible people started investing just a fraction of their 401-k money during the 90s to protect their interests, what would we have today?

If they -- and you -- pumped money into websites like AmPol, Buzzflash, Liberal Slant, Online Journal ... and mine, maybe we'd have Al Gore in office and more in our 401-k's today. True, we should have been on this long ago, but it's not too late to start now. We should start now and build a new media.

In the aftermath of the 2002 Election Day debacle, there's plenty of blame to go around. Many point fingers at the Democratic candidates and leaders. Some with good reason. Others react out of shock and anger.

Dick Gephardt fell on his sword. He led Democrats to embrace Bush on Iraq, and delayed too long before offering a coherent, progressive economic message. His strategy backfired. His approach failed. Now, he's stepping aside, and opening the door for Rep. Nancy Pelosi's fresh leadership. Good for him.

Now, what about the rest of us? What are we doing to protect our interests? We can't expect anything from the mainstream corporate media. We know that. You don't like the right wing media bias, but what can you do? What are you going to do to get your views into the public debate? I can help.

Start Investing In Alternative Media. Now.

Think back to before the Clinton impeachment, when we let the right wing flood the public with bizarre allegations and they convicted an innocent president in the media.

Think back to before the Clarence Thomas fiasco when right wingers projected an unqualified right wing token onto the Supreme Court where he could roll back decades of hard-won progress and help overturn the 2000 election.

To see our way clear out of this darkness, think all the way back to the late 1970s, when the right wingers were complete losers with their backs to the wall. Like we are today, but even worse off if you can imagine that.

Right wingers were floundering in the face of the mighty civil rights and anti-war movements. Watergate and other scandals exposed their leadership as a ruthless criminal element. But they didn’t quit.

Right wingers didn't give in. They never tried to become "liberal lite." They organized. They built their base. They pushed relentlessly for what they wanted. They put their sweat and money where their interests were. They pumped $millions into "think tanks" and small publications. They prevailed. So far, moderates, liberals and progressives -- the politically sane -- are not doing anything like that. There's no excuse.

We should have been on this long ago. Think about the new economy millionaires who made out so well from the forward-thinking Clinton-Gore policies in the 90s. Add to that all the professionals who lean left of center. Eye doctors, shop owners, college professors. We didn't just lose the war of words to the right wingers. We fled the field of battle.

The right wingers don't dominate the public conversation by accident. They planned this all along, under the leadership of former Nixon Treasury Secretary William Simon, the billionaire who pioneered hostile takeovers, junk bonds and other tools of Kamikaze Capitalism. Think of Gordon Gecko in the movie Wall Street leading the right wing efforts to buy and control the media and you get the idea.

We let the right wing buy and consolidate the media. We let the Reagan Administration kill the Fairness Doctrine. We let oil companies and ADM buy PBS. President Clinton allowed Gingrich's telecom law to unleash another round of media mergers and acquisitions until a handful of corporations dominate everything most Americans see, hear, read -- think and believe.

The right wing never stops getting out their views -- they sweat and invest their (and your) hard-earned money to do it. What are we doing? Too many moderates and liberals and progressives sit passively watching TV, consuming products bad for us and the planet which enrich and empower the right wing. Then we blame our haplessness on others. We assume that since we're right on the facts, we don't have to worry about getting out our message.

But what is our message? Our diversity and free thinking are our strength and our curse. No sense trying to change that. It's who we are. There's no justice faulting Daschle for not delivering our "united message." We don't have one. We have to win without one.

I am offering you an extremely easy, relatively cheap, and very cost-effective way to make things better for yourself and your planet. I am still here, licking my self-inflicted wounds still visible in the form of naive innocent optimism. I will stay here, fighting for you, provided you give me a helping hand.

That means you have to stop relying on the few generous people who have kept me afloat for the past year. They're running out of time and I will have to cut way back on my activities on your behalf. Unless you do something right now.

"Where Is The OUTRAGE?"

Remember the wall-to-wall coverage -- nay, OUTRAGE!!! -- concerning Hillary's billing records? Billy Dale's travel office firing? A box of out-of-date FBI reports -- not files, background reports -- a low-level flunky asked for? Accusations the Clintons were "selling" burial plots in Arlington Cemetery? All the other non-scandals, some as silly as Bill Clinton's haircut?

From the way the national TV news and papers of record acted, you'd think the fate of the world hung in the balance. Every day that passed before the Clintons coughed up 1000s of pages of documents brought us nearer the eve of destruction. All those papers, all those $millions and FBI hours ended up showing nothing untoward. Nothing illegal. Nothing unethical. Not one wrong action in any of it. Except Clinton lied about oral sex.

Where are the Whitewater-obsessed media witch hunters as Cheney defies and delays following court orders to present evidence about his secret energy task force meetings? Where is the outrage as Bush and Cheney twist Congressional arms to block investigations into 9/11 and order the CIA to withhold basic evidence?

The Boston Globe reports: "It is one of the enduring mysteries of President Bush's business career: Who bought his stock in a struggling energy company 12 years ago when Bush needed the cash - and just before the Harken Energy shares began to drop in value? Was it, as some have speculated, Harvard University, at the time the largest investor in Harken? Or perhaps some well-positioned investor seeking to curry favor with then-President George H.W. Bush by helping out his oldest son?" See: Bush's Harken stock mystery endures, Michael Kranish, Boston Globe, 11/8/2002.

Yes, the mainstream media actually is reporting on this story, but not on TV, just in print. In the business section, not on the front page. Most importantly, not before the election when it matters.

Just in time for Karl Rove and Bush to laugh after Republicans retook the Senate and as they plan to invade Iraq and pack the federal judiciary with extreme right wing fanatics. This is one example of even a "liberal bastion" like the Boston Globe in the far left "Peoples' Republican of Massachusetts" carrying right wing water.

How much has the TV media reported about Dick Cheney's energy task force? It met dozens of times, allegedly doing dirty deals with Enron as that criminal corporation ripped off California customers. Top Bush officials -- including Bush, Cheney and Army Secretary White -- kept in close contact with Enron even after it's pyramid scheme blew up, leaving employees and the US Army holding the bag. How many voters knew about that?

As Bush led us to war against Iraq and cynically used discussion of upcoming invasion to drown out discussion of his failed economic policies, how many voters knew Cheney's corporation Halliburton empowered Saddam Hussein for profit? Part of the blame for this ignorance rests with Democrats who failed to hold Senate hearings and demand answers. The double-standard media also earns much of the blame.

While Bush and Cheney get away with these manipulations and cover-ups, the corporate funded punditry pounds away at a media-manufactured "outrage" -- Paul Wellstone's memorial. This versus Bush and Cheney's possible crimes including obstruction of justice, defying court orders to provide evidence, and maybe even lying under oath. Not about personal lives. About what looks a lot like bribery, dereliction of duty, and even aiding our enemies.

Let This Be A Warning To All Liberals

The Republican run "justice" machine is going after Martha Stewart rather than "Kenny Boy" Lay or ... W. Bush. At worst, Stewart saved herself about $50,000 acting on a tip from a broker -- not an insider -- just like many investors do. Is it wrong? Perhaps. Like jay walking or fibbing about sex is wrong. Not like Bush and Lay acted wrongfully, however.

Lay ran Enron like a permanent floating Ponzi scheme. He made the final decisions and set the tone for Enron's criminal corporate culture. Double standard? Bush and the Republicans want to throw Stewart in prison. They tried to give Enron $250,000,000.00 of your tax dollars. Then there's W. Bush himself.

Unlike Martha Stewart, W. Bush was an actual insider -- a key figure in the Harken Energy executive structure -- not just some investor with a tip. Bush made nearly a $million in a shady sweetheart deal. Reports show Bush ignored clear legal advice not to sell his Harken stock after learning the company was in trouble. Then, he withheld this information from federal investigators -- actions which may constitute obstruction of justice.

We still don't know the name of the "white knight" who bailed out Bush when his debts incurred buying a stake in the Texas Rangers baseball team came due. We don't know the details of the deal such as what favors Bush's father -- the then-President -- may have offered W's financial savior in return.

Contrast Stewart's actions against W. Bush's.W was politically protected. Martha Stewart was "politically profiled" -- singled out because she supports Democrats. Let this be a warning to all liberals, especially the well-off. It would appear W got away with brokering and laundering bribes as he swung from one insider deal to another.

Meanwhile, Martha may go to prison for heeding the advice of a stock broker speaking out of school -- essentially saying some honcho at ImClone was doing exactly what Bush did regarding Harken. We have to make that contrast on our own. The millionaire media sure won't do it for us.

Our side doesn't have a counter to Richard M. Scaife, Rupert Murdoch, Sun Myung Moon or William Simon who keep pouring millions of dollars worth of toxic propaganda sludge into the public mind. We have a few deep pockets, but not enough are coming through how, when and where it matters.

We sit divided, confused, apathetic and impotent as the other side funds bogus think tanks to pollute the marketplace of ideas with market-based BS. Virulently anti-moderate "leftist" publications thrive, but "alternative" media on the center-left is dying of neglect. We're starving to death here. Do you care?

If Ms. Stewart opened up her purse to support a free investigative journalism project on the web with some of the $billions she got from her IPO, our efforts might have snowballed by now. She might not be facing prison time in a partisan witch hunt prosecution / persecution. A team of corporate criminals might not be in charge of our entire federal government.

Bush's triumph this year is a credit to smart politicking but also massive money and complicit media. We can also see many things our national political leaders could have done better. We can blame Dick Gephardt, Tom Daschle and Terry McAuliffe. We could also blame ourselves and each other. This stage may be a necessary part of healing, but we should get past it quickly and get back to work.

Our Mantra For '04 Is Pretty Simple

After 9/11, Americans came together and gave Bush and the GOP everything they wanted. Most elected Democrats backed Bush on national security, and the voters supported Bush even more than that. By a narrow but decisive margin, they granted tacit support to much of Bush's domestic agenda -- despite their misgivings registered in opinion polls.

Millions of Americans put their faith in Bush and his team. So far they've delivered -- for the top 1%. That leaves a lot of people already worse off now than they were in 2000. Almost all of them will be even worse off in 2004 after two years of the right wing pulling all the levers of power.

Meanwhile, what are we doing while they prepare to consolidate control? We're still fighting each other and wasting energy on piddling nonsense. Speaking just for me, 10,000s visit my websites, but only dozens contribute anything. That's not just disappointing. That's sickening.

It's not just me. Even big hitters like American Politics Journal, Bush Watch, the Liberal Slant, Make Them Accountable and Online Journal get next to nothing. We work hard for you, but we’re not getting the support we need. If that doesn't change, we won't be able to continue. Period.

You want to point fingers at someone for the losses November 5th? If you're reading this and other websites who've been fighting for you, but haven't supported our work, you're as much to blame for November 5 as any namby-pamby pink tutu Democrat. It just doesn't make any sense! You can't afford not to help yourself by helping us.

America is hurting now, and Karl Rove can exploit 9/11 for just so long. While Bush can't offer much more than tax breaks for big corporations and killing Muslims thousands of miles away, out-of-work parents demand more from our government. They want good education for their kids, and secure Social Security for their parents and themselves. They don't want to send their boys to spill their blood for oil.

We know that a third of the voters will stay Republican no matter what, but the rest will be looking to us for a clear vision. They reject Bush's vision, but they want to be for something, not just against Bush. If we fail again, we will only have ourselves to blame.

Will we reach them? It all depends on us -- you the reader, and those of us busily pounding away day after day at our keyboards. If we offer voters an optimistic, credible vision for leadership in theirs and the national interest, we will win. If not, we will lose. What are you doing to educate other voters?

You can do a lot right now. Start by supporting free independent media. Send whatever you can to keep us going. Support Free Media at

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