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Byrd's Filibuster * Congress Overwhelmed * Ruppert's Rubicon

5 October 2002

1) Byrd's Filibuster? -- Tell Senate to Deny Bush Blank Check
2) Congress Overwhelmed With Anti-War Calls
3) Ruppert's ‘Across the Rubicon'

Editor's Notes:

Item 1 is important. It could be the saving grace that can stop Congress from rubber stamping a Bush preemptive strike policy. You can take a critical action today by calling Senator Byrd's office to comment on the consideration for a filibuster. Item 2 is a report from Democracy Now! on public pressure on Congress for peace. This needs to intensify this coming week. Item 3 is a piece by Michael C. Ruppert, with, as usual, keen perspective and observations.

Flyby News wishes to thank William Rivers Pitt for his talk on October 3 in Amherst. His balanced, sharp-witted political insights are still being absorbed. Meeting this man is good for the soul. A video on 9/11 related subjects is in the making. Special thanks to Eliz for recording this presentation, which will be aired via community access television stations. Also, Emily, thanks for your talents with the fliers, and richness in working on these events.

Flyby News presents ~
A Dennis Kucinich Video Presentation
"Peace in Space and On Earth" (Discussion to follow)
Thursday November 7 at the Jones Library, downtown Amherst, Massachusetts -- 7:00 to 9:00 PM

This video is a different one than the one shown on October 3, and includes more on the campaign to ban space-based weapons. Besides watching the video, we plan to have a discussion on US democracy and responsibilities for safeguarding our planet. This comes two days after the 2002 elections, which should help make discussions interesting. If interested in receiving one of our fliers, by snail mail or as an attached file, please reply to The last two fliers include the remarkable cartoons from Norman D. Livergood's web site: Brainwashing America:

Please, call Congress this week for a better future, and Senator Byrd now for a possible filibuster to help stop a war from consuming us all.

1) Byrd Filibuster? -- Tell Senate to Deny Bush Blank Check

Published on Friday, October 4, 2002 by the Charleston Gazette (West Virginia)
Byrd Asks Senate to Deny Bush Blank Check
by Paul J. Nyden

In one of his most impassioned speeches during his 50 years in Congress, Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., pleaded with fellow senators on Thursday not to issue a "blank check" to President George W. Bush.

"The president is using the Oval Office as a bully pulpit to sound the call to arms. But it is from Capitol Hill that such orders must flow. The people, through their elected representatives, must make that decision," Byrd said.

Quoting Roman historian Titus Livius, Byrd called Bush "blind and improvident....

"As sure as the sun rises in the east, we are embarking on a course of action with regard to Iraq that, in its haste, is both blind and improvident. We are rushing into war without fully discussing why, without thoroughly considering the consequences, or without making any attempt to explore what steps we might take to avert conflict."

The "bellicose stance" taken in Bush's resolution, sent to the Senate 33 days before Election Day, is motivated by campaign politics, Byrd argued.

"Before risking the lives of American troops, all members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, must overcome the siren song of political polls and focus strictly on the merits, not the politics, of this most serious issue."

Immediately after Byrd sat down, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said, "He has been a voice of sanity and reason. He has been a voice the American people wanted to hear....

"When our president didn't want to come to Congress, Sen. Byrd stood up and said, ‘Just a moment. Read the Constitution. The Congress shall have the power to declare war,'" Boxer said. "I cannot support a blank check. It would be an affront to the people of this country to do that."

Bush defended himself Thursday, saying his resolution would affirm his right to use pre-emptive military strikes only as a last resort.

Byrd called the Bush resolution "a product of haste ... a product of presidential hubris. This resolution is breathtaking in its scope. It redefines the nature of defense, and reinterprets the Constitution to suit the will of the Executive Branch.

"It would give the president blanket authority to launch a unilateral pre-emptive attack on a sovereign nation that is perceived to be a threat to the United States. This is an unprecedented and unfounded interpretation of the president's authority under the Constitution, not to mention the fact that it stands the charter of the United Nations on its head," Byrd said.

Last month, the Congressional Research Service issued a report noting the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis: "represented a threat situation which some may argue had elements more parallel to those presented by Iraq today. But it was resolved without a ‘pre-emptive' military attack by the United States."

Bush argues the Joint Resolution on Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, authorizes him to initiate military actions on his own.

Byrd called Bush's argument "a cynical twisting of words.... Nowhere was there an implied recognition of inherent authority under the Constitution to ‘deter and prevent' future acts of

"Other nations will be able to hold up the United States as the model to justify their military adventures. Do you not think that India and Pakistan, China and Taiwan, Russia and Georgia are closely watching the outcome of this debate?" Byrd asked.

"A war against Iraq will affect thousands if not tens of thousands of lives, and perhaps alter the course of history. It will surely affect the balance of power in the Middle East. It is not a decision to be taken in haste," Byrd said. "Yet that is exactly what the Senate is proposing to do."

Byrd said the White House failed to establish any concrete ties between Iraq and al-Qaida.

"We know who was behind the Sept. 11 attacks," Byrd said. "We know it was Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida terrorist network. We have dealt with al-Qaida and with the Taliban government that sheltered it. We have routed them from Afghanistan and we are continuing to pursue them in hiding....

"No one in the administration has been able to produce any solid evidence linking Iraq to the Sept. 11 attack," Byrd said.

Byrd also warned that Saddam, "ruthless in gaining and staying in power," is likely to use all weapons at his disposal if attacked.

"Iraq is not Afghanistan, impoverished by decades of war, internal strife, and stifling religious oppression. Though its military forces are much diminished,... it is a large country that has spent years on a wartime footing, and it still has some wealth."

And even a successful attack could lead to a long-term, expensive occupation of a nation so religiously and ethnically divided.

"If the Congress authorizes such a mission, we must be prepared for what will follow," Byrd said. "Nation-building cannot be accomplished with the wave of a wand by some fairy godmother."

Byrd criticized Bush for providing no detailed estimates of the costs of war, including the cost in human lives.

"The questions surrounding the wisdom of declaring war on Iraq are many and serious. The answers are too few and too glib. This is no way to embark on war."

Byrd again said the United Nations is the "proper forum" to search for and destroy Iraq's weapons. "If Iraq again chooses to interfere with such an ongoing and admittedly intrusive inspection regime, then and only then should the United States, with the support of the world, take stronger measures....

"Let us guard against the perils of haste, lest the Senate fall prey to the dangers of taking action that is both blind and improvident."

© Copyright 2002 The Charleston Gazette
Published on Friday, October 4, 2002 by the Charleston Gazette (West Virginia)
To contact staff writer Paul J. Nyden, E-mail:

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For the complete transcript of the October 3, 2002 speech by Senator Robert C. Byrd,
"Rush to War Ignores U.S. Constitution"

URGENT - Calls Needed to Senator Byrd's office to Stop the War
It is urgent to call Sen. Robert Byrd's office (202-224-3954) and ask the Senator to filibuster against the war resolution of the Administration (and Dem leadership).
His office is taking a poll on whether he should do this. We need to swamp the offices to urge him on. He has been one of the few courageous voices on this. His filibuster may be the only impediment to the war plans, and it may spark demonstrations of support in DC and around the country. You can leave a message at his number after hours.

Sen. Robert Byrd (202)224-3954

2) Congress Overwhelmed With Anti-War Calls – MORE NEEDED!
From "The Silenced Majority"

Democracy Now

29 September 2002

Republican and Democratic Senate offices report "overwhelming" opposition from their constituents to war with Iraq. This comes as Congress prepares to pass a war resolution granting President Bush sweeping powers to invade Iraq.

The national news radio show Democracy Now! conducted an informal survey on Thursday of 70 Republican and Democratic Senate offices.

Of the 26 offices which responded to our inquires, 22 reported an overwhelming majority - in some cases up to 99 percent -- of constituents opposed war in Iraq; three said the response was split and just one office reported a majority called backing the war. Among the findings:


* Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl: Aides say they are receiving 1,000-2,000 calls per week with the
overwhelming number opposed to an attack on Iraq.

* Washington Sen. Patty Murray: Over 5,000 letters and phone calls were received last week on Iraq, aides say. Only about 100 came from constituents who supported an attack.

* California Sen. Dianne Feinstein: Staff in her San Francisco office reported about 200 calls a day with 99 percent of the callers opposing the war.

* New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman: The D.C. office has been receiving at least 1,300 calls a day with about 70 percent opposed to war.


* North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms: Staff declined to give figures but said the "majority is against" when it comes to calls on Iraq.

* Nebraska Sen. Charles Hegal: According to aides, constituents favor diplomacy over war at a rate of 5 to 1.

* Virginia Sen. John Warner: About 150 constituents a day are calling into the D.C. offices. "A very small minority supported military action," said one aide.

"It's extraordinary that, as Senators work with the Bush Administration to draft a war resolution, their constituents are expressing overwhelming opposition to an attack against Iraq," said Amy Goodman, the host of Democracy Now! "Unfortunately we are hearing very little about this in the media. These calls represent the silenced majority, not the silent majority."

Democracy Now is a daily nationwide news show based in New York. It is broadcast on over 130 public radio and television stations around the country.

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Congress will likely try to vote on a resolution to authorize the use of military force against Iraq early next week. The sheer volume of calls and letters has caused Congress people to think twice about rubber-stamping Bush's proposal. Many Senators and Representatives are still on the fence about how to vote. It is absolutely critical that we keep the pressure on in these last few days. Please call your Senators soon and often.

Congressional Switchboard for Washington offices (202) 224-3121;
or 1-800-839-5276 [ Toll-free number from ]
Please, call, too, Senator Majority leader Tom Daschle (D-SD)

For more Congressional contact info, visit:

For resources and links on the Stop the War Campaign, visit:
Flyby News Archives –
Alert==>Stop Bush War Resolution * Call Congress

3) Ruppert's ‘Across the Rubicon'

The following is excerpted from Michael C. Ruppert's
"Across The Rubicon"
For more information on Michael Ruppert, visit: The Wilderness Publications

..The Asia Times, in a story published Sept. 30, also confirms the position taken by FTW about eight weeks ago that the move against Iraq and Saudi Arabia is a move to break the back of OPEC and drastically reduce prices by increasing production from the only two countries in the world that can open oil taps wider. This position was also noted on a Sept. 28 Fox News show by former CIA Director James Woolsey, who has had a habit of addressing FTW themes in interviews. Woolsey noted that Iraq is currently exporting only 1 million barrels of oil a day and that this could be increased by 3- to 4 million barrels per day as a price "control" measure. When asked if Saddam might scorch the earth and attempt to destroy his oilfields Woolsey replied, "Saddam is capable of anything." He then implied that the U.S. was prepared for that contingency by recalling that Saddam had tried that tactic in 1991, and the U.S. had quickly restored production. "But we could do the same thing again," said Woolsey and "get the fields online quicker than anyone thought."

As the invasion plans appear more and more unstoppable, the heavy shuttle diplomacy taking place in the Arab world between Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim states indicates that the OPEC/Muslim world sees the plan also. They want to slow the U.S. down and prevent the invasion. While staving off an inevitable collapse of the U.S. economy by drastically reducing oil prices (including heating oil and fuel for power generation) just before winter, the Bush Administration would also gut the national incomes of most countries in the region. Our immediate economic instability would be immediately transferred to the Middle East. The Saudi monarchy, awaiting the imminent passing of King Fahd, must see this clearly. The civil war between Princes Abdullah and Sultan that looms from that event alone might turn into anarchy if the Saudi government is suddenly unable to meet the domestic financial obligations that keep it in place.

What seems clear to me now is that the administration has thought through all of these contingencies and has prepared for them. The administration's arrogance is as frightening as its power. I have recently learned from trusted sources on Capitol Hill that the Armed Services committees have quietly begun planning for a re-institution of the draft. That harkens back to my June 2000 essay, "When the Children of the Bull Market Begin to Die." The eventual drafting of our youth is to me as much a certainty as anything else I have written about thus far. Reserve units, now having been called up for more than a year, are nearing the breaking point. A bloody and protracted war -- something the rest of the world may now be hoping for -- will overextend our military, and the draft will be essential as the criminals occupying the Executive Branch desperately attempt to make their grasp meet their reach. I think that there is better than a 50-50 chance that nuclear weapons will be used on the battlefield by either the U.S. or Israel within the next six months.

Russia and China wait as close to the sidelines as possible. China will be the ultimate endgame as it competes with growing demand for dwindling supplies of energy. And should the U.S. stumble, China will exert herself even more on the world scene..

..Most of our critics, notably David Corn of The Nation and self-anointed media critic Norman Solomon, have gone silent as both our reporting and predictions have been completely validated by events. And both Corn and Solomon have also revealed themselves to be agents of the U.S. State Department run by Colin Powell and career covert operative and criminal Richard Armitage. Last November in a story published on Alternet Corn wrote, "I had been dispatched to Trinidad by the U.S. State Department to conduct a two-day seminar on investigative reporting for local journalists (your tax dollars at work!)..." And just recently Norman Solomon of the Institute for Public Accuracy traveled with sitting congressman Nick Rahall and others on what CNN described as an official delegation to meet with officials of the Iraqi government.

I make these points because it seems to me that the learning curve of activism has not matched that of the oppressor. It is true that the Internet may prove itself to be the saving grace of mankind. But I look back at all the dedicated activists of the last 30 years and ask what have they accomplished? Human rights are worse. The environment is worse. Globalization is batting near 1000. Military spending has skyrocketed. And there seems to be nothing that can stop the empire's progression. (That is what I labeled it in January 2001).

Visionaries like Catherine Austin Fitts [ ] continue to demonstrate how our government is not a government but a criminal enterprise run for the benefit of corporations and syndicates. Her writing about alternative economic models that succeed without killing attracts far too little attention. And while FTW is growing, we are constantly short of funds as we continue to provide the most accurate reporting, analysis and predictions in the marketplace of ideas.

This is all because most of the people in this country still avoid the hard realities and try to cure symptoms rather than the causes of this great illness that envelops our country. Just recently I was in Washington, D.C. and attended several seminars at the Congressional Black Caucus. One seminar, on COINTELPRO, the FBI's domestic suppression operation of the '60s and '70s, featured Martin Luther King III who said, "We are a sick nation. Every day we are getting sicker."

I could not agree more.

But Julius Caesar has crossed the little river called the Rubicon with his legions and is heading toward Rome. The Republic is dead. And throughout human history it was at these times, when answers were hard to find and darkness seemed unstoppable, that a part of the human spirit persisted -- "I will not give up. I will not go quietly. I will not surrender." It was at these moments that faith demonstrated its true power, that courage found itself in the heart, and that the human race justified its existence in the universe.

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