portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting united states


Michael Moore and Democrats deluded over General Wesley Clark; Corporate media complicit

a collection of the Wesley Clark / Michael Moore posts that have gone up on pdx indy so far. intended to be a center column feature.
In what some would consider an uncharacteristic lapse of judgement, filmmaker Michael Moore is urging General Wesley Clark to run for president on the Democratic ticket [ story ]. Posters to Portland Indymedia were quick to provide Mr. Moore and Indymedia readers with an education on Clark's abyssmal record, and posted a series of comments (in the same story) exposing Clark for what he is: a war criminal and opportunistic careerist. In response to this investigative work, one commenter wrote: "if the above was true Moore would not be urging Clark to run". But another commenter replies, "...Or... Michael Moore didn't do his homework. Portland Indymedia did."
"epidemic" writes: Yup, when even Michael Moore has been bitten by the "We must beat Bush, nothing else matters" bug, it's clearer to me than ever that it's an virulent epidemic, and it's got to be stopped... Sheesh... about this time Bush, is already beating himself... and even the lap-doggie media polls are saying so... Maybe it'd be smarter to just kick back and watch his karma catch up with some more, than trying to find an ever larger and blurrier selection of Dems to lob at him in sheer blind desperation?
Mitchel Cohen, an activist with the Green Party in New York, wrote an essay that was posted to the wire saying that Clark "is no anti-war candidate, despite what Michael Moore and other misinformed individuals would like to believe". The article also points out that Clark was "tactical consultant" to US military forces present at the Waco, Texas massacre on February 28, 1993, and notes that "[t]hus far, the corporate media have given him a free pass and have not asked him about it" [ story ].

Independent journalist Lloyd Hart posted an article in which he called Clark "Clinton's Wrecking Ball" and wrote: "There's absolutely no possible way General Wesley Clark can unite the Democratic big tent while operating out of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) pup tent that Bill Clinton pitched with his presidency and win the election for the simple fact that this man used the Powell doctrine on Kosovo." Hart also criticizes presidential contender Howard Dean for ignoring the reality of the race as it is being molded by the corporate media: "The corporate media allowed Governor Dean immense amounts of positive media coverage in the set up in which the corporate media plans to knock Governor Dean down to the corporate media's predetermined size, setting up a right wing democratic candidate to lose against Bush." [ story ]

On Sept. 16, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting put out a press release that spells out and documents the corporate media's mischaracterization of Clark: "[W]hile recent coverage of Clark often claims that he opposed the war with Iraq, the various opinions he has expressed on the issue suggest the media's 'anti-war' label is inaccurate." [ story ] (Now if only they would give this much attention to the 9/11 cover-up!)

Weighing in at the radical infoshop.org, Marko takes Michael Moore to task point-by-point. Marko writes: "The Moore argument then becomes this; only Wesley Clark, because he is a "GENERAL", can (supposedly) beat Bush therefore he must be supported. In other words the peace movement must vote for a Bush clone because only the Bush clone can beat Bush... It will be very interesting to see which sectors of the peace movement will fall behind this shameful policy. For instance Michael Albert of Znet has already called for the support of whoever is the Democratic candidate in marginal areas. If it is the objective of the peace movement to oppose and end the unjust occupation of Iraq, then how can it support a candidate that seeks to escalate the occupation?" [ pdx indy post | infoshop post ]

Last, but not least, DJ Shadow writes that Moore only "wants your money", and lists the cost of attending Moore's upcoming speech in Portland: "Individual tickets are just $29, or $20, or $15 for the crappy seats. Tables [for activist groups wanting to table] cost anywhere from $100 to $250." [ story ]

The hyperactive but vacuous coverage of the race for the presidency we have been witnessing lately -- from the artificial elevation of Dean to the breathless speculation around Clark -- reveals once again the shallowness of Democratic Party politics and the uselessness of U.S. corporate media. Presidential politics have become a game to be followed like the World Series or the spring basketball play-offs; at least in sports some honest skill is often required to win.

divide and conquer 17.Sep.2003 13:17

just me

What would you like us to do, vote for Nader? I tried that last time, and I'm not too wild about the results.

I can already hear it: "This time he'll get that 5%, really!"

The left in this country had better get its act together. That stuff called pragmatism might taste like cough syrup going down, but it sure would cure what's ailing us at the moment.

Maxim 17.Sep.2003 13:42

Green Voter

Choosing the lesser of 2 evils ensures one thing: more evil.

I'm tired of being sold out by the Democrats; both parties are corrupt to the core.

well, i've got news for you.... 17.Sep.2003 14:16

news guy

this is politics, and politics is always about compromise, because there is *no way* to get 250 million people to reach a consensus on anything.

the only alternative to compromise is authoritarianism.

Compromise? Hardly. 17.Sep.2003 14:28

Clark, Dean, or Bush: we still need a revolution

There's not really any compromising when the elite and corporate money have preselected their acceptable candidates.

Of course, there is the Green Party, and a number of other independent parties, worth considering before either of the two corrupt parties in power.

you can go on ignoring reality if you want 17.Sep.2003 14:34

reality guy

but that doesn't make it any less real.

You're right! 17.Sep.2003 15:04

someone else

The reality is both Bush and Clark are warmongers.

I'll vote for someone else.

take back your party 17.Sep.2003 15:56

just me

Would you like to explain to me how "corporate money and influence" propelled the frontrunning Democratic candidate into the spotlight when he hasn't accepted any corporate contributions? In point of fact, he made his name nationally by opposing the war in Iraq when just about every other politician was supporting it. He was derided for this stance by every political pundit at the time.

And after all the other Dem candidates started questioning the war, how did he keep the focus on him? By raising a record amount of money via the grassroots organization he'd been building all the while. THAT sort of thing WILL get you noticed, and it's a great example of the pragmatic outweighing the efforts of dogmatic.

If my only choice in 2004 is between the Evil Empire (TM) currently in power, 3rd parties that don't have a hope of winning (much less getting enough vote for Fed Matching funds), or a flawed but workable party that I have the ability to reform from within, well you can bet I won't get fooled again. I'll do the PRAGMATIC thing and make sure someone is voted in who won't make somebody like Ashcroft head of the Justice Dept, shoot the Kyoto Treaty down without a thought, squander our international goodwill, help erode abortion rights, stymie a 9/11 investigation, commisserate with my oil cronies to draw up energy policy, yadda, yadda, yadda, et infinitum, ad nauseum. Those things WOULD NOT have happened under a Democratic president, and I'm going to work to make sure that's what we have after the next election is over.

it's a myth that democrats are better 17.Sep.2003 16:13

sees things as they are

to "take back your party":

re. democrats and abortion, i know y'all don't like to hear the truth but:

It is important to point out that this erosion has taken place under democratss and republicans alike. The Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal assistance for poor women's abortions, passes every year regardless of which party dominates Congress. During Clinton's presidency, when Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate, none of the promised abortion rights improvements—including the Freedom of Choice Act and a fight against the Hyde amendment—took place. Instead, in a deal with Republicans, Clinton agreed to a global gag rule. Sentate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, a Democrat, proposed a ban on all post-viability abortions. Still NOW and NARRAL uncritically back democrats, silencing critics and alternative candidates such as Ralph Nader, who would actually defend our right to safe, legal, and accessible abortion.
( http://www.utexas.edu/coc/cms/faculty/DCloud/politicalwritings/TalkingPointsonAbortion.htm)

[T]he abortion rights movement had largely gone to sleep during the Clinton administration, kinda trusting the Democrats to do right by us after the 12 years of the Reagan/Bush era. Of course we know that the eight years of Clinton/Gore saw a continued erosion of abortions availability coupled with an aggressive anti-abortion movement which, beyond activity in the legislative arena, has employed tactics from killing doctors and bombing clinics; posting through the internet contact information on abortion doctors; inviting their harassment or killing; all the way down to the subterfuge of operating chains of phony clinics which portray themselves as "rescue centers" or "crisis pregnancy" centers but are actually anti-abortion propaganda centers.

James Harris, Socialist Workers Party ... warned against having confidence in the Democratic Party to defend women's rights. "Over the past eight years, the Clinton/Gore administration has presided over a continued erosion of access to abortion, and outright restrictions, such as parental notification laws. It is this administration that has carried through massive assaults on working people. Clinton vowed to 'end welfare as we know it,'" Harris said, "and he has fulfilled that threat, in addition to the rulers' assault through expanded use of the death penalty and attacks on Social Security.

"The Democrats, like the Republicans," Harris said, "represent the wealthy rulers who benefit from sexism, racism, and other prejudices that divide the working class. Every gain we have won for women's rights--from decriminalization of abortion to affirmative action--has been won by the struggle of the women's movement, the union movement, and the gains made by the civil rights movement. The reason rightists were defeated in their efforts to shut down abortion clinics in the early 1990s is because supporters of women's rights mobilized in the thousands in city after city and pushed them back."

there's more, of course, on other issues, but that's one of the ones you named.

the plain truth is that neither the republicans nor democrats are going to do the things they say when it comes to abortion because a) they both need it as a campaign scare-issue and b) the american people wouldn't go for a ban on abortion OR federally funded abortions. abortion rights will continue to erode slowly no matter who is elected.

get your head out of the sand.

just ignorance? or deep denial? 17.Sep.2003 16:34

the lesser of two evils guarantees one thing: more evil

"Those things WOULD NOT have happened under a Democratic president"

Are you for real, "just me?"

Clark did not build a grassroots campaign, or raise any money to date. A few army brats in Arkansas lobbied for him to run, and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in corporate money to do so. The corporate media has propelled Clark into the spotlight the same way it propelled Ahnuld in California. Clark did not oppose the war on Iraq, but hindsight is as easy as criticising W. Check out the FAIR article at  http://www.fair.org/press-releases/clark-antiwar.html. Clark cheered on the pResident for making the "Right call" on the Iraq war at the time.

As for the completely corrupt Democrats who voted for Bush's war powers, under Democratic Clinton, we waged war on Iraq for 8 years, destroyed then country of Yugoslavia while supporting KLA terrorists. Clinton stymied--covered up--the murders of Vince Foster and dozens of others who knew the depth of the Clintons' corruption. Clinton ignored the environment for 8 years, until the final hours before Bushler took over, signing a few executive orders to make Bushler look bad on the environment. Clinton signed off on the misnamed "timber salvage rider," which resulted in the further degradation of our national forests, and the practice of arson to damage timbered areas so they could be "salvaged." Clinton signed off on the first draconian "Patriot Act" after the Oklahoma federal building was bombed (no, it wasn't called the Patriot Act at the time, but it was a law enforcement wish list which greatly expanded the power of the Feds, while doing little to enhance security). Clinton expanded the feds power through legislation expanding the powers of FEMA. Wesley Clark, under Clinton's Janet Reno, coordinated the massacre at Waco. He commiserated with elite criminals like Marc Rich and the drug runners at Mena, Arkansas. Don't tell me these things wouldn't happen under a Democratic president. They already did.

What a pitiful, short memory you must have if you think the Dems can be reformed, and actually stand for anything any more. You're either ignorant, delusional, or in deep, deep denial.

Stop kidding yourself that you can reform a party run and owned by corporate money. But hey, it's your vote. Be a chump.

Wesley Clark: Republican In Dems Clothing 17.Sep.2003 17:01



Former NATO Commander Wesley Clark, who today announced his candidacy for President, joined the field of contenders competing for the Democratic nomination. But as recently as two years ago, he was addressing Republican dinners in his home state of Arkansas amid speculation about a possible future Clark run for office -- as a Republican.

Speaking on May 11, 2001, as the keynote speaker to the Pulaski County Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner, Clark said that American involvement abroad helps prevent war and spreads the ideals of the United States, according to an AP dispatch the following day.

Two weeks later, a report in U.S. News and World Report said Arkansas Republican politicos were "pondering the future of Wesley Clark:" "Insiders say Clark, who is a consultant for Stephens Group in Little Rock, is preparing a political run as a Republican. Less clear: what office he'd campaign for. At a recent Republican fund-raiser, he heralded Ronald Reagan's Cold War actions and George Bush's foreign policy. He also talked glowingly of current President Bush's national security team. Absent from the praise list -- his former boss, ex-Commander in Chief Bill Clinton."

Clark told CNN's Judy Woodruff earlier this month that he had decided to register as a Democrat. Left unsaid and unknown at this point is exactly when and why he decided to become a Democrat.

divide and conquer THIS 17.Sep.2003 17:39


plu*toc*ra*cy Pronunciation Key (pl-tkr-s)
n. pl. plu*toc*ra*cies
Government by the wealthy.
A wealthy class that controls a government.
A government or state in which the wealthy rule.
[Greek ploutokrati : ploutos, wealth; see pleu- in Indo-European Roots + -krati, -cracy.]
pluto*crat (plt-krt) n.
pluto*cratic or pluto*crati*cal adj.
pluto*crati*cal*ly adv.

Source: The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition


\Plu*toc"ra*cy\, n. [Gr. ?; ? wealth + ? to be strong, to rule, fr.? strength: cf. F. plutocratie.] A form of government in which the supreme power is lodged in the hands of the wealthy classes; government by the rich; also, a controlling or influential class of rich men.
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1996


n : a political system governed by the wealthy people
Source: WordNet 1.6, 1997 Princeton University

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

A Plutocracy is a government system where wealth is the principal basis of power (from the Greek ploutos meaning wealth).

The influence of wealth on governance can be expressed either via the wealthy classes directly governing, or (more typically) by the wealthy classes using money to control the government. This control can be exerted positively (by financial "contributions" or in some cases, bribes) or negatively by refusing to financially support the government (refusing to pay taxes, threatening to move profitable industries elsewhere, etc).

There have not been many examples of a "true" plutocracy in history as such, although they typically emerge as one of the first governing systems within a territory after a period of anarchy. Plutocracy is closely related to Aristocracy  http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristocracy as a form of government, as generally wealth and nobility have been closely associated throughout history.

In the present era, there are numerous cases of wealthy individuals exerting financial pressure on governments to pass favourable legislation. Most western partisan democracies permit the raising of funds by the partisan organisations, and it is well-known that political parties frequently accept significant donations from various individuals (either directly or through corporate institutions). Ostensibly this should have no effect on the legislative decisions of elected representatives, however it would be a bit idealistic to believe that no politicians are influenced by these "contributions". The more cynical might describe these donations as "bribes", although legally they are not.

See also:

Pareto principle (on unequal distribution of wealth)
corporate police state


"Plutocracy" Defined

The term "plutocracy" is formally defined as government by the wealthy, and is also sometimes used to refer to a wealthy class that controls a government, often from behind the scenes. More generally, a plutocracy is any form of government in which the wealthy exercise the preponderance of political power, whether directly or indirectly.

Plutocracy may also have social and cultural aspects. Thus, in Democracy for the Few  http://progressiveliving.org/who_rules_samples.htm political scientist Michael Parenti is led to comment "American capitalism represents more than just an economic system; it is an entire cultural and social order, a plutocracy, a system of rule that is mostly by and for the rich. Most universities and colleges, publishing houses, mass circulation magazines, newspapers, television and radio stations, professional sports teams, foundations, churches, private museums, charity organizations, and hospitals are organized as corporations, ruled by boards of trustees (or directors or regents) composed overwhelmingly of affluent businesspeople. These boards exercise final judgment over all institutional matters."

The question of whether or not the United States could be said to be a plutocracy is discussed at length in Who Rules America  http://progressiveliving.org/who_rules_samples.htm by sociologist G. William Domhoff. There Domhoff remarks: "The idea that a relatively fixed group of privileged people might shape the economy and government for their own benefit goes against the American grain. Nevertheless, this book argues that the owners and top-level managers in large income-producing properties are far and away the dominant power figures in the United States. Their corporations, banks, and agribusinesses come together as a corporate community that dominates the federal government in Washington. Their real estate, construction, and land development companies form growth coalitions that dominate most local governments."

The argument to the effect that the US is a functional plutocracy (that is, that the wealthy exercise a preponderance of American political power) is different from, enormously better documented, and altogether more credible, than claims to the effect that there exists a small circle of conspirators bent on ruling the world, claims for which no credible evidence exists. (Domhoff explicitly disavows the existence of any such conspiracy.)


See the resource on the Bush cabinet, with links that illustrate its plutocratic nature
Go to the Essay on Politics
Go to the PL Political Field Guide
Return to the PL Site Map

Some other enlightening and useful links:

Corporate Capitalist Plutocracy

The Plutocratic Presidency, 1789—2003

The Corporate Domination of American Culture and Politics

Coke = Republicons
Coke = Republicons
Pepsi = Democraps
Pepsi = Democraps

I wasn't talking about Clark 17.Sep.2003 20:50

just me

I was talking about Dean, the current Democratic frontrunner, though that's certainly in jeopardy now that Clark is in the race. We'll see.

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother, given that the left functions as a beautifully arranged circular firing squad. You'll notice that I didn't drag out any of the supposed "dirt "on Nader to make my point, and yet here you go with the character asassination on Clark (and soon Dean). A perfect example of how the left eats its own and hands power to the right in this country.

Far leftists, I can't agree with your brand of extremism any more than I can agree with the DLC calling everyone to the left of them "elitist". If you won't make the effort to try to find common ground with those more moderate than you, and work with them to make the changes you value most, then we're in for 4 more years of this clown and his court, and I don't think this country can take much more. THAT'S the reality we're facing.

It's Called Journalism 17.Sep.2003 21:15

just reporting

"yet here you go with the character asassination on Clark"

It's called journalism. It's about asking tough questions, and sometimes reporting some facts that aren't so pretty. Had the corporate media done its job in the 2000 election, we probably wouldn't have the moron in the White House now. Had the corporate media done its job, it would have exposed Bush's lies before the current Iraq mess--and if we had representative democracy, the Iraq war might not have happened.

If you don't like the reporting, tough. Try Fox "News" for government-approved delusions instead.

Dennis Kucinich! 17.Sep.2003 21:38


Dennis Kucinich is a progressive visionary! Check him at www.kucinich-oregon.us and www.kucinich-washington.org

Not a leftist 17.Sep.2003 22:31


a) i thank "just reporting" for pointing out what i was doing with this simple compilation of articles from the newswire.

b) to "just me" -- i am not a leftist. i am a human who wants to see life continue on this planet, and if any word could describe me, it's "anarchist". left/right is an old worn out dichotomy that has never really existed, anyway. i ain't part of no circular firing squad. i am among those seeking truth and answers. dean is a nothing special and in fact might be quite dangerous. clark is a fucking general. neither of them should be in the whitehouse. preferably, of course, the white house should be turned into a museum with no president at all!

i don't want a world that's "not so bad", which is what the liberals always settle for. i want a world that's great, which is what many anarchists aspire to and try to build. i am not on your side. our values exist in conflict with one another. if you are supporting dean, you are supporting the continued destruction of life and the planet, and i do not support that.

ok 17.Sep.2003 22:57

just me

ok. guess i've been set straight now. democrats don't have goals in common with anyone, and they're all cut from the same cloth. check.

see ya when president nader (or whoever, if he's no longer considered "pure") is running things in 2004.

can you READ, "just me"? 17.Sep.2003 23:50


did i say anything about nader? "preferably, of course, the white house should be turned into a museum with no president at all!"

READ before you comment!

What would Dean do for the working class? 18.Sep.2003 15:54

George Bender

I can understand people being desperate for anybody but Bush, but what's in it for me?

I bailed out of the Democratic party after Clinton signed the so-called welfare reform bill in 1996. Welfare is an important part of the safety net that working-class people, with our low wages and nonexistent job security, depend on for survival. The welfare reform bill abolished welfare as an entitlement and put a lifetime limit of 5 years on it. Middle-class Democratic liberals didn't seem to have any problem with that, if they even noticed. Clinton also worked with the Republicans, in the name of budget balancing, to cut other safety net programs. He also pushed so-called free trade, which helped accelerate the export of manufacturing jobs that working-class people depend on. Clinton did raise taxes on rich people and expanded the earned income tax credit for poor people, but that didn't come close to making up for his other attacks on working-class people.

So I voted for Nader in the last two presidential elections and will probably do so again. I like Kucinich but as a registered Green I will have no vote in the Democratic presidential primary. Also, since most of the Democratic left is supporting Dean, there seems to be no hope for Kucinich. Democratic liberals don't want to reform their party, they just want to beat Bush. They seem to want to turn back the clock to Clintonism, but Clinton was not good for working-class people. Clinton was basically a moderate Republican who knew how to sound liberal when he felt like it.

Dean sounds to me like another Clinton. What will he do for working-class people? The only thing I've heard so far is expanding access to medical insurance through a variety of reforms. I would be more impressed by that if you could tell me what he did on that issue while governor of Vermont.