Monday, May 12, 2008

'Untimely deaths' that benefited R. M. Scaife, the CIA, and the Bush Crime Family

In a twisted, right wing brain like that of Richard Mellon Scaife, murder may be justified by endless ideological rationalizations. Not only lives are lost but truth itself. It is a sick mentality that sacrifices the voice of reason for lies and bullshit. Short-term, short-sighted victories are pyrrhic and the very fabric of society is corrupted.
The whole fabric of society will go to wrack if we really lay hands of reform on our rotten institutions. From top to bottom the whole system is a fraud, all of us know it, laborers and capitalists alike, and all of us are consenting parties to it.

--Henry Adams
Surely someone has done a study that proves that the murder of liberals is suspiciously and statistically high in America and would be higher still if you include those who are 'suicided' under 'suspicious circumstances'. No theory --just cold hard statistics! Numbers don't lie but liars often take up a gun, a private airplane, or a lonely bathroom stall when they have no other argument to back them up.

That has been the case with the morally bankrupt and depraved American right wing for too long now. Even Rome fell --but America will have done in a few decades what took centuries for Rome. The bad news is --the process of America's fall was begun in the middle seventies. The time now is about one minute to midnite.

There have been many milestones along the US path to fascism and dictatorship. For excellent reasons, I have often singled out Ronald Reagan's infamous tax cut of 1982 which I said re-started a pernicious trend: the rich getting obscenely rich and everyone else getting obscenely poor.

See: Conscience of a Liberal by Paul Krugman.

We had not yet 'survived' the worst effects of that cut when Bush, the Lesser made of three short words --'tax', 'cut' and 'elite' --his entire economic philosophy and program. Gore Vidal, in his Decline and Fall of the American Empire, denounced the emergence of an American empire which began a long decline in the middle 80's when the US became a net debtor nation.

The late Steve Kangas, however, dates the onset of decline to the middle seventies. It was between 1975 and 1994, claimed Kangas, that income inequality grew most dramatically. WWII, coming as it did toward the end of the Great Depression, had ushered in what has been called the 'Great Compression', the most egalitarian period in American History.
Income inequality in postwar America can be divided into two distinct periods. Between 1947 and 1974, income inequality was reduced from .376 to .355 on the Gini scale (which goes from 0 to 1, with 1 being the most unequal). But between 1975 and 1994, income inequality dramatically grew, from .357 to .426, a level not seen since the Great Depression. Although the decades immediately following World War II were socially conservative, they were impeccably liberal from an economic standpoint. In the 1950s, the top individual tax rate was 91 percent. By the 60s, President Johnson would cut poverty nearly in half with his Great Society programs. And this was an era of unprecedented prosperity; white middle class families never had it so good, either before or since. Black families made enormous strides towards equality, with their poverty rate falling from 55 to 31 percent.

This liberal economic era came to an end in 1975, when a quiet revolution took over Washington DC The stage was set in 1974, when the House of Representatives decentralized its power, allowing 22 committees to delegate much of their authority to 172 subcommittees. This not only created a mass of competing special interests, but enabled corporations to lobby their particular subcommittees much more directly, secretly and effectively. But the real shift in power came with the 1975 SUN-PAC decision, which basically legalized corporate political action committees. In 1974, there were only 89 quasi-corporate PACs; a decade later, this had exploded to 1,682. By 1992, corporations formed 67 percent of all PACs, and they donated 79 percent of all contributions to political parties.

The rise of the corporate special interest system in 1975 resulted in a tremendous shift in power, away from workers and the poor, and towards corporations and the rich. Corporate lobbyists wasted no time scaling back the programs of the New Deal and the Great Society. Under Jimmy Carter's presidency alone, corporate lobbyists bribed Congress to do all of the following:
  • Pass the first tax cut for the rich in 15 years: a reduction in the capital gains tax from 39 to 28 percent.
  • Raise social security taxes, a heavily regressive tax that hits the poor the hardest.
  • Impose a tax on unemployment benefits. (!)
  • Reduce cash welfare benefits.
  • Kill Ralph Nader's pet project: the creation of a Consumer Protection Agency.
  • Deregulate airlines, trucking, railroads, oil, telecommunications and interest rates, and create the deregulation machinery that Reagan would later use.
  • Increase defense spending.
And all this happened before Ronald Reagan!

Under the corporate special interest system, the top tax rates were reduced from 70 percent to as low as 28 percent, while regressive payroll, state and local taxes were raised on the poor. Executive pay exploded, while the average hourly wage fell from $8.55 to $7.40 in constant 82 dollars. The value of individual welfare benefits were cut over 40 percent. Poverty has actually risen, from 11 to 15 percent. And this is the first generation of middle class Americans who believe that they will not see their parents' standard of living -- while the richest 1 percent owns nearly 40 percent of America's wealth.

This, in a nutshell, is the core problem facing liberals. Those who wish to become activists need to direct their energies to dismantling the corporate special interest system and restoring greater equality of income. The gap between the rich and poor cannot be completely eliminated, nor should we want it to, but the gap should certainly be reduced from its current insane size, and policies should be enacted that allow rich and poor incomes to grow at the same pace, not apart.

--Steve Kangas, Activism in Three Easy Steps
Thus, the right wing sought to shut up yet another dissenter and may have done it the old fashioned way, as it had done with John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, and, most probably, Paul Wellstone and JFK Jr. The right wing has a stake in your not believing 'conspiracy theories' or in the truth. Killing folk is how the right wing 'wins' a 'debate'. Shutting your mouth is a permanent solution to dissent.

It was “Origins of the Overclass” in which Kangas mentioned Richard Mellon Scaife by name.
The origins of this machine, interestingly enough, can be traced back to the CIA. This is not to say the machine is a formal CIA operation, complete with code name and signed documents. (Although such evidence may yet surface — and previously unthinkable domestic operations such as MK-ULTRA, CHAOS and MOCKINGBIRD show this to be a distinct possibility.) But what we do know already indicts the CIA strongly enough. Its principle creators were Irving Kristol, Paul Weyrich, William Simon, Richard Mellon Scaife, Frank Shakespeare, William F. Buckley, Jr., the Rockefeller family, and more. Almost all the machine's creators had CIA backgrounds.

During the 1970s, these men would take the propaganda and operational techniques they had learned in the Cold War and apply them to the Class War. Therefore it is no surprise that the American version of the machine bears an uncanny resemblance to the foreign versions designed to fight communism. The CIA's expert and comprehensive organization of the business class would succeed beyond their wildest dreams. In 1975, the richest 1 percent owned 22 percent of America’s wealth. By 1992, they would nearly double that, to 42 percent — the highest level of inequality in the 20th century.

--Kangas, Origins of the Overclass
That was in 1999.
Body no. 2: Steve Kangas, a prolific writer who got on the wrong side of George W Bush and his cronies, was found dead on 8 February 1999. He was discovered in a semi-conscious state by electrician, Don Adams. Adams reported blood on the floor around the spot and left to call for help.

When he returned they found Steve sitting on the toilet slumped over and covered in blood. His website, Liberalism Resurgent, ruffled many high-profile feathers, but it disturbed billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife most of all, even though he was only fleetingly mentioned on Kangas's website. Scaife, a publishing magnate and Bush crony who the most generous donor to conservative causes in American history, hired a private detective to look into Kangas' past.

The award-winning political website, with over 300 html pages, was a 'one-stop-shop' of liberal arguments and facts to be used in debates against popular neo-conservative myths. Scaife tried to discredit Kangas by viciously attacking him with a long-running smear campaign in his many newspapers. While Scaife was on the war path, Kangas was quietly working with a publisher to finish his book. Kangas' body was found in a 39th-floor bathroom outside of Scaife's offices in Pittsburgh, the victim of an apparent suicide.

But the story is full of holes: Kangas was a prolific writer, yet he left no note. Why did he go on a long trip from Las Vegas to Pittsburgh with a fully-packed suitcase of clothes? He also bought a burglar alarm shortly before he left for Pittsburgh. Why did he need a burglar alarm if he was planning to kill himself? A gun-control campaigner, he nevertheless bought a gun. What was he afraid of? And why on earth did he go to Pittsburgh just outside of Scaife's doorway?

After his death, everything in his flat was trashed, but his computer was sold for $150 and its hard drive wiped clean. Although the most bizarre detail of his suicide is that he was shot twice in the head? The police never conducted an investigation beyond the autopsy and the very next morning, 18 hours after his death, they ruled it a suicide, without even carrying out toxicology tests. Equally odd, there are over 1,000 internet posts on this topic, dated from eleven days after his death, yet it was not reported in mainstream media until nearly a month later.

--The extraordinary frequency of untimely deaths that benefit the Bush family, Britt Collins
Kangas described specifically the cozy partnership between the CIA and the US media, pointing out that “Journalism is a perfect cover.”

“People talk freely to journalists”, Kangas wrote; "few think suspiciously of a journalist aggressively searching for information. Journalists also have power, influence and clout. Not surprisingly, the CIA began a mission in the late 1940s to recruit American journalists on a wide scale, a mission it dubbed Operation MOCKINGBIRD. The agency wanted these journalists not only to relay any sensitive information they discovered, but also to write anti-communist, pro-capitalist propaganda when needed.”
Every four years the naive half who vote are encouraged to believe that if we can elect a really nice man or woman President everything will be all right. But it won't be. Any individual who is able to raise $25 million to be considered presidential is not going to be much use to the people at large. He will represent oil, or aerospace, or banking, or whatever moneyed entities are paying for him. Certainly he will never represent the people of the country, and they know it. Hence, the sense of despair throughout the land as incomes fall, businesses fail and there is no redress."

--Gore Vidal
'Liberal' comes from the Latin liberalis, literally, pertaining to a free man. In politics, therefore, to be liberal means extending democracy to all citizens through change and reform, or, if need be, revolution. It was the latter course favored by both Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence, and Che Guevara, in his Principles of Guerilla Warfare. As Gore Vidal points out, one understands why the word 'liberal' simply 'had to be erased from our political lexicon'.

The erasure of 'liberal' from 'politically correct' discourse in America has taken many forms, primarily, the seizure of the US media by irresponsible liars, like Rupert Murdoch, or mendacious money grubbers like Clear Channel. More ominously, dissenters are simply murdered, 'suicided', or disappeared. I am hard pressed to name a single 'right wing' activist to have ever 'disappeared' but the list of 'lefties, pinkoes, liberals, 'niggers', and 'tree huggers' to have died under 'mysterious circumstances' is legion. I am not inclined to believe an absurd and obvious cover story that Steve Kangas knocked out his own teeth before he shot himself in the head. Twice!

Radical right wing nut jobs who think it possible to shoot one's self in the head TWICE, should try it themselves!
When I first heard that Steve Kangas may have died in Pittsburgh, I searched for an obituary and could find none. I wanted to know about the circumstances. I knew Steve Kangas had written an investigative essay on Richard Mellon Scaife and wondered whether there might be a connection, though I really didn't expect to find one. Finally, someone with Lexus Nexus access verified that Steve Kangas had actually died, and sent me the short obituary from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette of Feb. 12:

"The body of a 37-year-old man found in a 39th floor bathroom of One Oxford Centre late Monday night has been identified as Steven Kangas of Las Vegas. He died of a gunshot wound to the head. The Allegheny County coroner's office ruled the death a suicide."
I plugged in One Oxford Centre and Scaife -what popped up made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
Scaife Foundations
One Oxford Centre
301 Grant Street, Suite 3900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219-6401
Since then, the questions surrounding the death of Steve Kangas have snowballed. There were two parallel tracks being taken. One track was seeking more information about Steve's death and wanting a further investigation. The other track was bent on smearing Steve's reputation and turning him into everything from an embezzler to a neo nazi to a down and out womanizing drunk to an assassin out to murder Richard Mellon Scaife. For instance Tucker Carlson, in an article "Stalking Scaife" characterized Steve Kangas as, "Kangas, a 37-year-old Internet pornographer from Las Vegas" and Tony Snow, in an article "Steve Kangas Left-Wing Vince Foster" characterized Steve Kangas as, "Squeeky Frohme with intellectual pretensions."

For any who are unfamiliar with Steve Kangas and wish to make up their own mind, I suggest you visit his web page and read through his essays ("The Origins of the Overclass" is the essay that mentions Scaife).

[...]

He posted his last essay to his Web site on February 3, just five days before his untimely death. In my opinion, it is not the writings of a man in throes of alcoholism, though people like Richard Scaife have suggested as much and he may well view Steve's work as pornography. See:

[...]

There are more questions than answers. Richard Scaife hiring a detective to try and dig up dirt on Steve Kangas raises a red flag. He used the same detective, Rex Armistead, that was used to try and dig up dirt on President Clinton for the Arkansas Project. [See: A Break in the Case , Rex P. Armistead's "odoriferous background",Rex Armistead spied on CNN's correspondent John Camp, Assaulted suspect] The Pittsburgh police should have been so thorough. I doubt the police even questioned Richard Scaife, though one report did say they were thinking about it. The systematic attempted trashing of Steve Kangas' raises questions. Discrepancies between the coroner's report, in which Steve was injured when first found, and the police report, with no mention of injuries when he was first found raises questions. The quick cremation and the erasure of Steve Kangas' hard drive raises questions.

If magically I could have three questions about the circumstances around this case answered, I suppose they would be -- (1) Is the checking of the circuit breakers in One Oxford Centre rest rooms sop, and is there a log to prove this? (2) Was the gun that killed Steve empty when found? The news articles infer this, stating 47 rounds were found in his backpack and in one pocket. This is important because if Steve Kangas were in custody of Scaife security, they may have initially taken his gun away and emptied the clip. There may even be prints on the bullets or the clip, if the gun is still in evidence. (3) One intriguing puzzle piece that doesn't fit with the theory of suicide -- the bullet found around the time that Steve Kangas was found. There was a bullet hole found in the window of a street level clothing store. The slug was found inside the store. The bullet got there somehow. The location of One Oxford Centre doesn't appear to be a part of Pittsburgh where random bullet holes would be found. I suspect this may be the first time ever that a bullet hole was found in a window of one of the shops. Maybe some time after all the stores had closed, Steve Kangas had attempted to leave, was stopped by Scaife security, shots or a shot were fired, with Steve Kangas was forced to go back up to the 39th floor. If that bullet is connected, suicide becomes implausible.

I don't know what happened to Steve Kangas on the evening of February 8. I can write several scripts from the facts, as reported in the various newspaper articles. Many of the facts of the case seem suspicious and do not fit well with the theory of suicide. When I started digging on my own, that is what I expected to find. But from the burglar alarm system, to the $300 gun, to the intensive work he'd been doing on his political web site, that does not seem to be where Steve Kangas was at.

And then there is that bullet hole in the window of the Kountz and Rider clothing store.

For Steve's sake, this case deserves to be investigated further by someone with the means and abilities far greater than I. Hopefully someone, or some agency, will investigate the death of Steve Kangas in the manner it deserves.

Rest in peace, Steve Kangas.

--John Van Matre

--A letter from John Van Matre
Are we 'liberals' to cower in alley ways? Not a chance! We organize and inspire a revolution that will sweep away the inequities compounded since Ronald Reagan. We undo Bush's treasonous assault upon the Constitution. We prosecute and sentence those guilty of mass murder, war crimes and high treason!

We bravely shout: 'J'Accuse!' or, as is often said today, we speak truth to power!

We get in their faces!

We shall never shut up!

Piecemeal, 'they' can simply 'off' one of us here, another there. Anyone daring to connect a fall from a hospital window with a tragic plunge from an airplane is simply marginalized as a 'conspiracy theorist'. But what if millions rise up in defiance amid massive civil disobedience? What if when Bush whines class warfare, we answer in a chorus: 'well, DUH, you stupid fuck!!!'
And what if you track down these men and kill them? What if you murdered all of us? From every corner of Europe hundreds of men -- thousands -- would rise up to take our places. Even Nazis can't kill that fast....

Lazlo to Major Strasser, Casablanca

And not even the Bush crime family or the GOP can kill or 'suicide' that fast.

Selected Links from Kangas' Liberal Resurgent Other resources

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