American Samizdat

Sunday, August 31, 2003. *
Juxtaposing Transportation Situations
"Ford Transit" shows us how the charismatic driver of a makeshift West Bank bus negotiates the treacherous border, and gives an ear to the Palestinian passengers' points of view along the way.

Many dramatic films don't have a character as good as Rajai Khatib, who drives one of "The Fords" that take Palestinians from checkpoint to checkpoint as they cross from the West Bank to Israel and back again.


Driving in the Valley of the Shadow of Death
It's the management problem from hell: How do you run a company whose customers and employees are being killed?

As Baratz looked through his windshield, the number 32A bus exploded right in front of him. The blast was so powerful, it blew out all the windows of bus32A, and the big bus leaped up off the road. The boom of the explosion rolled over Baratz and his passengers. There was a moment or two of total silence. Then the screams started.
posted by Hanan Cohen at 9:26 PM
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The Zionist revolution has always rested on two pillars: a just path and an ethical leadership. Neither of these is operative any longer. The Israeli nation today rests on a scaffolding of corruption, and on foundations of oppression and injustice. As such, the end of the Zionist enterprise is already on our doorstep. There is a real chance that ours will be the last Zionist generation. There may yet be a Jewish state here, but it will be a different sort, strange and ugly.

There is time to change course, but not much. What is needed is a new vision of a just society and the political will to implement it. Nor is this merely an internal Israeli affair. Diaspora Jews for whom Israel is a central pillar of their identity must pay heed and speak out. If the pillar collapses, the upper floors will come crashing down.

The opposition does not exist, and the coalition, with Arik Sharon at its head, claims the right to remain silent. In a nation of chatterboxes, everyone has suddenly fallen dumb, because there's nothing left to say. We live in a thunderously failed reality. Yes, we have revived the Hebrew language, created a marvelous theater and a strong national currency. Our Jewish minds are as sharp as ever. We are traded on the Nasdaq. But is this why we created a state? The Jewish people did not survive for two millennia in order to pioneer new weaponry, computer security programs or anti-missile missiles. We were supposed to be a light unto the nations. In this we have failed.

It turns out that the 2,000-year struggle for Jewish survival comes down to a state of settlements, run by an amoral clique of corrupt lawbreakers who are deaf both to their citizens and to their enemies. A state lacking justice cannot survive. More and more Israelis are coming to understand this as they ask their children where they expect to live in 25 years. Children who are honest admit, to their parents' shock, that they do not know. The countdown to the end of Israeli society has begun.
[more]
posted by Gordon at 12:52 PM
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You're Free Now Aincha?


(pic from the Great Micah Wright of course...)

If you would like to know what a female Iraqi programmer thinks of our "liberation", then you might want to check out this blog called Bagdad Burning. Check out her decimation of the Iraqi governing council, which they couldn't vote for or choose themselves (some democracy) and her realization that she couldn't work anymore. We also get to peek at one of those 8000 dead Iraqis that the pro-warblogracy never seems to take into account. Heartbreaking stuff. (I know she and Juan Cole have been linked to earlier, but this is worth an encore...)

Here's an Excerpt:

I stood staring at the mess for a few moments longer, trying to sort out the mess in my head, my heart being torn to pieces. My cousin and E. were downstairs waiting for me- there was nothing more to do, except ask how I could maybe help? A. and I left the room and started making our way downstairs. We paused on the second floor and stopped to talk to one of the former department directors. I asked him when they thought things would be functioning, he wouldn’t look at me. His eyes stayed glued to A.’s face as he told him that females weren’t welcome right now- especially females who ‘couldn’t be protected’. He finally turned to me and told me, in so many words, to go home because ‘they’ refused to be responsible for what might happen to me.

Ok. Fine. Your loss. I turned my back, walked down the stairs and went to find E. and my cousin. Suddenly, the faces didn’t look strange- they were the same faces of before, mostly, but there was a hostility I couldn’t believe. What was I doing here? E. and the cousin were looking grim, I must have been looking broken, because they rushed me out of the first place I had ever worked and to the car. I cried bitterly all the way home- cried for my job, cried for my future and cried for the torn streets, damaged buildings and crumbling people.

I’m one of the lucky ones… I’m not important. I’m not vital. Over a month ago, a prominent electrical engineer (one of the smartest females in the country) named Henna Aziz was assassinated in front of her family- two daughters and her husband. She was threatened by some fundamentalists from Badir’s Army and told to stay at home because she was a woman, she shouldn’t be in charge. She refused- the country needed her expertise to get things functioning- she was brilliant. She would not and could not stay at home. They came to her house one evening: men with machine-guns, broke in and opened fire. She lost her life- she wasn’t the first, she won’t be the last.

Before, the war, over at Warblogger Watch, I argued that women in Iraq had it better than in any other Mid Eastern state. Now, after the war, I'm arguing that we have to build a real democracy to ensure that women like this get their lives back. Bush is unable to do this, but Dean just might. The UN could certainly do a better job if they get rid of the cronyism and the no bid contracts. Also, check out the corruption in the Iraqi bidding process for repairs. Apparently, Tony Soprano is running the Iraqi Esplanade reconstruction projects...

Meanwhile, Perle, of all people, says that mistakes were made. Juan Cole, arguably one of the best analysts of Iraq out there, tells him where he's wrong. (scroll down) One of his primo military sources got shot and killed by the way. He lists the entire email exchange on his site.
posted by Philip Shropshire at 8:41 AM
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Saturday, August 30, 2003. *
43% of U.S. foreign debt is controlled by China and Japan. That's pretty alarming, especially upon reading this interview with Bernard Lietaer, who "co-designed and implemented the convergence mechanism to the single European currency system (the Euro), and served as president of the Electronic Payment System in his native Belgium. He also co-founded one of the largest and most successful currency funds." In this interview, he is impressively candid, cogent, and, curiously, hopeful, particularly about "private monetary systems." There is a small system in place in Berkeley, for example, and the founder of Visa is working with others to set up a larger-scale alternate currency, as well.

Lietaer:
It's a chicken and egg story: unstable currency equals unstable government. There is practically no way today for a developing country to have a reasonable monetary policy within the current rules of the game. Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate in economics and formerly head economist at the World Bank, makes the same claims in his book Globalization and Its Discontents (Penguin, 2002). Whether you fix your currency to the dollar or let it float, you end up with an unmanageable monetary problem, like Brazil, Russia or Argentina have experienced. Eighty-seven countries have gone through a major currency crisis in the last 25 years. Their fiscal policies are imposed by an International Monetary Fund (IMF). I am afraid that if the United States had to live by the rules that are imposed on, say, Brazil, the United States of America would become a developing country in one generation. It's the system that is currently unstable, unfair and not working.

The majority of humanity has gone through a recent monetary crisis at least once already. We'e living here, in America, in an island of perceived stability. And even that is an illusion. We could have a run on the dollar under the current rules.

We are dealing with an unstable system, an ailing system. Back in 1975, I had come to the conclusion that there would be a systemic series of monetary crashes, starting with Latin America. And that's why I wrote my book on how the money system was not working and its impact on Latin American development, Europe, Latin America and the Multinationals (Praeger, 1979). I predicted that the first crash in Latin America would be in the early 1980s. It actually happened in 1981 in Mexico. Since then we have had more than 80 other countries undergoing similar monetary crises.
...
Now the point is: there are many new agreements being made within communities as to the kind of medium of exchange they are willing to accept. As I said, in Britain, you can use frequent flier miles as currency. It's not a universal currency, it's not legal tender, but you can go to the supermarket and buy stuff. And in the United States, it's just a question of time before privately issued currencies will be used to make purchases. Even Alan Greenspan, the governor of the Federal Reserve and the official guardian of the conventional money system, says, "we will see a return of private currencies in the 21st century."
posted by Brad Larcen at 11:00 PM
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Maureen Dowd goes after Super Villain Dick Cheney: It has also now become radiantly clear that we have to drag Dick Cheney out of the dark and smog. Less Hobbes, more Locke.

So far, American foreign policy has been guided by the vice president's gloomy theories that fear and force are the best motivators in the world, that war is man's natural state and that the last great superpower has sovereign authority to do as it pleases without much consultation with subjects or other nations.

We can now see the disturbing results of all the decisions Mr. Cheney made in secret meetings.

The General Accounting Office issued a report last week noting that the vice president shaped our energy policy with clandestine advice from "petroleum, coal, nuclear, natural gas, electricity industry representatives and lobbyists."

Favoritism to energy pals led to last week's insane decision to gut part of the Clean Air Act and allow power plants, refineries and other industrial sites to belch pollutants.

Another Bush-Cheney energy crony is Anthony Alexander of Ohio's FirstEnergy Corporation, which helped trigger the blackout after failing to upgrade its transmission system properly since deregulation. He was a Bush Pioneer, having raised at least $100,000 for the campaign.

This logrolling attitude has led to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allowing Halliburton — which made Mr. Cheney a rich man with $20 million worth of cashed-in stock — to get no-bid contracts in Iraq totaling $1.7 billion, and that's just a start.

All this, and high gas prices, too?

When he wasn't meeting secretly with energy lobbyists, Mr. Cheney was meeting secretly with Iraqi exiles. The Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi and other defectors conned Mr. Cheney, Rummy and the naïve Wolfowitz of Arabia by playing up the danger of Saddam's W.M.D.'s and playing down the prospect of Iraqi resistance to a U.S. invasion.
Who's Losing Iraq?
posted by Douglas at 8:43 PM
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The headline says it all...

Case of 19 terrorists unravelling

[It is] Canada's most sensational -- and most controversial -- terrorism case in recent years.


After they were jailed on the grounds that they could pose a risk to Canada's national security, the case made headlines around the world as the news media quoted a government official's now infamous words: 'I guess the easiest way of putting it is there is a suggestion they might, in fact, perhaps be a sleeper cell for Al-Qaeda.'


Other Immigration officials raised allegations that some of the men may have been in search of diagrams and schematics of the CN Tower and other prominent Toronto landmarks.


However, the case of the terrorists among us began to unravel almost as soon as the detention reviews began, with the RCMP and Citizenship and Immigration Canada distancing themselves from the idea that the men posed a clear threat to security.


The RCMP, which is just beginning to sift through 25 boxes of files and 30 computers seized in the raid that netted the 19 men, said this week there is no evidence that Canada's national security is at risk. Immigration officials underlined that they are investigating only the possibility of such threats.


'I can comfortably say there is no known threat; what is being investigated is a reasonable suspicion,' said Giovanna Gatti, spokesperson with Citizenship and Immigration Canada. 'It's taken the spin that it has taken in the media for whatever reason.'"



Yeah, that damned irresponsible media, doing its usual spin thing... I wonder why they got so excited about nineteen immigration violations? I guess the easiest way explaining it, or of putting it, was the suggestion they might, in fact, perhaps 'be a sleeper cell for Al-Qaeda.'

posted by Mr. GluSniffer at 1:57 PM
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Friday, August 29, 2003. *
TOP TEN REJECTED DAVE EGGERS TITLES
10.) Some Go Up But Me I Like It Down Here on the Couch Where It's Warm

9.) We Ran to the Park and There Got VD

8.) Once We Were Kings (Albeit with Really Big Hair)

7.) We Fought the Wind Until It Died Down and So Did We

6.) Genius? You Bet I Am!

5.) One Day I Went Running and Then I Got Hit By a Car

4.) Hold Still While I Empty Your Wallet

3.) Me and Ms. Kay Act Like Three Small Bitches

2.) I Crapped In the Parlor and Ten Publishers Came A-Runnin'

1.) I Lost My Stick and Then I Was Sad
posted by Dr. Menlo at 5:27 PM
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Paying for war crimes - $16 billion to restore Iraq's water
A big story this week is that it is going to cost us (and I do mean us - you and me, assuming you're a U.S. taxpayer) $16 billion to fix the problems with the Iraqi water system. Most news stories just leave it at that, but at least one TV report I heard added that this was the results of 13 years of neglect.

But what was it that happened 13 years ago, and what was it that was happening during the last 13 years? You won't find out listening to or reading the U.S. mainstream media, not a word. What happened 13 years ago, in fact, was that a major war crime was committed, on a scale of staggering proportions - the U.S. deliberately and systematically destroyed the Iraqi water system. Article 54 of the Geneva convention states:

"It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies, and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive."
And what was it that was happening during the last 13 years of "neglect" of the Iraqi water system? Of course, it was the UN sanctions, kept in place that entire time by the refusal of the US and UK to consider their repeal, and with the US and UK repeatedly vetoing attempts by Iraq to import "dual-use" chemicals which were needed to repair the water filtration system. And the consequences? An estimated half million Iraqi children died because of the lack of clean drinking water.

Was this an accident? A surprise to the U.S.? Any civilized person might like to think so, but, sadly, the answer is absolutely no. In 2000, Professor Thomas Nagy of George Washington University managed to obtain military documents written before the Gulf War. These documents make absolutely clear that the U.S. had studied in detail all aspects of Iraq's water system, had planned a strategy for preventing Iraq from reconstructing that system (via the sanctions), and knew in advance that "this could lead to increased incidences, if not epidemics of disease."

What happened in Iraq during the Gulf War was a deliberate war crime, one of the greatest in history, without any question. A half million children died as a result of that war crime, and now the people of the U.S. will end up paying $16 billion to pay for that crime. The war criminals, meanwhile, continue to be "respected" citizens.

From Left I on the News

posted by Left I on the News at 1:17 PM
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Thursday, August 28, 2003. *
An emerging whodunit in Central Oregon hovers amid the smoke draping the east side of the Cascade Range.

Can it be pure coincidence, locals are asking, that two wildfires sprang up in view of the spot where President Bush planned to promote his plan to thin forests for wildfire prevention?

And that they both appeared just as his plans emerged?

"I think everyone in the community here is wondering that," said Judy Wattier, who works at the KOA Campground just east of Sisters, where business is in the doldrums because of the blazes that have covered almost 40,000 acres in the nearby Deschutes National Forest. "Everyone I've mentioned it to can talk about it for hours." [more]

"Bush posing with the environment is like Ted Bundy posing with pretty women."
--Geov Parrish

Bill Moyers:
The facts on the ground. I'm a journalist, reporting the evidence, not an environmentalist pressing an agenda. The Earth is sending us a message and you don't have to be an environmentalist to read it. The Arctic ice is melting. The Arctic winds are balmy. The Arctic Ocean is rising. Scientists say that in the year 2002 -- the second-hottest on record -- they saw the Arctic ice coverage shrink more than at any time since they started measuring it. Every credible scientific study in the world says human activity is creating global warming. In the face of this evidence, the government in Washington has declared war on nature. They have placed religious and political dogma over the facts. [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:11 PM
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Fox news wags discuss the proliferation of anti-Bush sites (including counterpunch.org, takebackthemedia.com, bushbodycount.com) on the internet.
posted by New World at 7:54 PM
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From the Charlotte Observer
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, reportedly plans to introduce legislation in September to further expand federal police powers.

The Hatch bill, entitled the Victory Act (Vital Interdiction of Criminal Terrorist Organizations Act), is seen by some to be a substitute for the so-called Patriot Act II -- the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 -- which was leaked and caused a furor in Congress as well as among liberal and conservative civil liberties groups. A draft copy of the Victory Act has been posted on the Web (www.libertythink.com).
posted by Joseph Matheny at 5:53 PM
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The size and scope of the government contracts awarded to Halliburton in connection with the war in Iraq are significantly greater than was previously disclosed and demonstrate the U.S. military's increasing reliance on for-profit corporations to run its logistical operations. Independent experts estimate that as much as one-third of the monthly $3.9 billion cost of keeping U.S. troops in Iraq is going to independent contractors.
Reposted from Metafilter where there are additional links and a discussion thread.

And from an article entitled Nation Builders for Hire:

"By July 2000, Cheney claimed on ABC's ''This Week'' that neither Halliburton nor its subsidiaries dealt with Iraq at all. 'Iraq's different,'' Cheney said at the time. ''I had a firm policy that we wouldn't do anything in Iraq, even arrangements that were supposedly legal.'' But in fact from 1997 to 2000, when Cheney was running Halliburton, two of its subsidiaries sold Saddam Hussein's government a total of $73 million in oil-field supplies. The deal didn't violate U.S. sanctions because the subsidiaries, Dresser-Rand and Ingersoll Dresser Pump Company, were foreign.

KBR/Halliburton, then, has rounded the bases when it comes to Iraq. It got rich doing business with Iraq, it got rich preparing to destroy Iraq and it's now getting rich rebuilding Iraq."

Also, see All in the Family, a recent 60 Minutes report on Cheney and Halliburton.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:52 PM
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posted by Joseph Matheny at 9:43 AM
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Wednesday, August 27, 2003. *
Friend of the Devil?
Now I can't definitively say, due to the paucity of my theological background if Mr Bush is the Anti-Christ, (He does seem to be the anti-Prince of Peace and a pretty polar opposite to the fellow who is called "The Truth and The Way) but I can state with confidence he is the Anti-Life.
Mother Jones has the lowdown on just how anti-life. Consider his pillaging of the EPA, Clean Water and Clear Air acts or look at just who has been appointed to regulate what- there is a strange confluence of folks with strong corporate ties, a rabbit guarding the carrot patch melee that is costing "We the People" our very health and natural world. Check out some of these figures:
Tons of additional air pollutants permitted to be released by 2020 under Bush's "Clear Skies" plan:
42 million

Estimated number of premature deaths that will result:
100,000

Estimated amount that Clear Skies-related health problems will cost taxpayers, per year:
$115 billion

Days after Bush took office that he reneged on his campaign promise to regulate CO2 emissions from power plants:
53

Days after the U.S. Geological Survey released a 12-year study indicating that drilling in the Arctic Refuge would pose "significant harm to wildlife" that the agency reversed itself:
7

Years that the Bush administration says global warming must be further studied before substantive action can be taken:
5

Number of members of the 63-person energy advisory team Bush convened early in his administration who did not have ties to corporate energy interests:
1

Amount that energy team members gave to Republican candidates in the 2000 election:
$8 million

Do you see a trend here?
Mr Bush, you and your other so called "Christian" cronies are obviously serving Mammon. Here's a quick quote from your own Scripture:
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
--Matt 6:19-24 RSV

You claim in your autobiography, "A Charge to Keep" that you have read the Bible through and through.
As I studied and learned, Scripture took on greater meaning, and I gained confidence and understanding in my faith. I read the Bible regularly. Don Evans gave me the "one-year" Bible, a Bible divided into 365 daily readings, each one including a section from the New Testament, the Old Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. I read through that Bible every other year. During the years in between, I pick different chapters to study at different times.

As a lapsed Catholic but active Panentheist I ask you Mr Bush to follow the First of the Ten Commandments you publicly claim to adhere to.
You shall have no other gods before me

Kick Mammon to the curb and turn a new leaf, Sir. You'll save your soul and help to keep our world livable. And think of the moral support you'll be offering Judge Ray Moore
Maybe your buddy and spiritual mentor Billy Graham can clear things up for you. Because Mr Bush, it really is simple:
If I obey the Ten Commandments perfectly, will I go to heaven when I die? I don't think I've broken any of them, but what would happen if I did? -- M.C.
Dear M.C.:
Only one thing will keep you out of heaven, and that is sin. And just as only one teaspoon of sewage would be enough to make a barrel of pure water undrinkable, so only one sin would be enough to keep you out of heaven.

Now don't you want to reconsider and support the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts?


posted by m at 7:52 PM
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Young people at the call centres are helping robots to phone American citizens to enlist their support and money for the political party, with plans to extend the scheme if they whip up enough donations. [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 6:39 PM
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Rory McCarthy returns to Baghdad after two months to find electricity and water still in short supply, aid workers leaving, and insecurity growing.
posted by A.Q. at 10:27 AM
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Corporate/Vote Count Nexus
Black Box Voting. "Foolproof" electronic voting, touted to not be as "messy" as paper voting machine ballot collecting, you know, with hanging chads and all. Now in the book "Vote Scam" back in '92 we were offered just how easily vote fraud could occur with a paper trail, speaking of proprietary computer algorithm's tabulating the votes and all. These new high tech voting systems are unfettered by anything that would insure "We the People" of their accuracy. Check out Bev Harris' Black Box Voting site (or read a to the point digest at Online Journal) to see a story worthy of a summer blockbuster movie- A Saudi Electronic voting company that never turned a profit bought up by what used to be Arthur Anderson to tally up our votes... This same offshore company being used to tally our service peoples internet votes. All the elements of a horror story but with PR, a sort of mega Florida debacle redux. Read the links, I only offered a teaser.
Stop the Florida-tion of the 2004 election.
You don't hear about this stuff much in the media. Spread the word.
posted by m at 8:42 AM
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Tuesday, August 26, 2003. *
For the percentage that thinks...
'My relationship to power and authority is that I'm all for it,' he once explained. 'People need somebody to watch over them.... Ninety-five percent of the people in the world need to be told what to do and how to behave.'
--Arnold Schwartzenegger

Gleaned from Atrios

Take 40 minutes or so to hear about the case of Ed Forchion- see his censored by Comcast commercial. Freedom is not something given, it is something we claim. Go to NJWeedman.com (realmedia file) and see a "little guy", a regular Joe standing up to the juggernaut of Government.
Consumer or Patriot, it is a personal choice we all make...
Check out ReconsiDer.org, visit their links page as you navigate around the site.
Remember we live in the land of the Free and the home of the Brave. How do we go about realizing these lofty thoughts?

Visit the site of the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics and download their report On Medical Marijuana and Cognitive Liberty(it is a .pdf file). It will help clear your head of any of the sensationalist BS the mainstream media blasts at you. Plus it offers perspective to counter the hype on MM for when you discuss the issue with folks. CCLE has an amazing links resource too.
Where do Democratic candidates for President stand on the issue of Medical Marijuana? Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana can show you. I'll give you a clue, some of the great slightly "left of center" hopes are quibbling...
posted by m at 11:40 AM
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Empire Builders

The Christian Science Monitor has put together a fantastic interactive resource of information about neoconservatism. They have a background/primer section called Neocon 101 , and a quiz so you can find out if you're a neocon. There is also an index of neocon institutions and publications. Hopefully, we are about to see more of this kind of site. The web and hyperlinks make a great medium for explaining a topic with so many tangents and relevant personalities.

Already, there have been several attempts by individuals to build a sort of central clearinghouse of information on neoconservatism, though before most of them were focused on the Project for the New American Century:
PNAC.info
PNAC Revealed
and I made one, too... PNAC Primer

But the CSM's site, while it may match these other amateur sites in terms of its goal and purpose, emboldens this inquiry in two key ways. Initially, the fact that the CSM is a respected periodical--especially as regards international matters--and it lends some credibility to what was too easilly dismissed as "conspiracy theory" before. It was all too easy to dismiss questions about neoconservatives by pretending the term itself had no meaning. More importantly, though, the Empire Builders site--created in an environment now tempered by Irving Kristol's recent neocon coming out--moves the discourse forward and away from criticism of one think thank and one group of individuals and towards a sort of public vetting of an ideology.
posted by Patton at 10:12 AM
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Monday, August 25, 2003. *
This remarkable journal comes from a female programer in Iraq. Full of great writing and fascinating commentary from a girl living under US occupation in Baghdad. Recommended by Relton DuPiniot of Le Blogeur.
posted by A.Q. at 4:59 PM
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Laying the groundwork for the next (?) war
Two wars (Afghanistan and Iraq) and still very much in progress, but the ground is being prepared for the next (?) war, this one against North Korea. One thing that paves the way for such a war, just as in Iraq, is a constant drumbeat about the "evil" nature of the leader of another country (the "next Hitler" syndrome). With North Korea, the drumbeat is particularly loud and comes from all directions. Unless you're a reader of Workers World newspaper, you're unlikely to have read a single positive statement about North Korea in your entire life.

Appearing on the Larry King show yesterday, Bill Maher referred to Kim Jong Il as "Little Kim," (I know Maher is a comedian, but this kind of figurative and in this case literal belittlement is hardly limited to him) and told how a German doctor returned from North Korea and claimed that a "holocaust" was taking place there. Maher talked about people "starving to death," but of course, if they were just starving due to a poor economy or drought or similar reasons, the proper response would be for the world to rush in food aid to prevent people from dying. But to Maher, what is happening in North Korea is "evil" we can't "tolerate," which, when coupled with a German referring to a "holocaust," certainly gives the listener the impression that the government is systematically killing or "ethnically cleansing" its own people. Of course nothing of the kind is happening in North Korea.

Meanwhile, over in the San Jose Mercury News, Karl Schoenberger (the Mercury News' Asia-Pacific correspondent who has covered Korea and Japan for the past 20 years), has his own "fun," asking whether North Korea is like the country in "The Mouse That Roared," pretending it has the "Q-bomb" in order to get aid and attention. Here are some of the phrases we find littered throughout this deadly (potentially, quite literally) article: "threaten[ing] the world with nuclear blackmail," "Kim's paranoia," "kicking out weapons inspectors in a tantrum," "recklessness," "obstreperous mouse." This kind of juvenile language is what passes for serious journalism on the subject of North Korea - the article was accorded the respect of nearly a full page in the "Perspective" section of the paper, starting on the first page on the upper right.

"Nuclear blackmail"? North Korea has never once threatened to use nuclear weapons except in self-defense. Only one country in the world has not ruled out the use of nuclear weapons in a first-strike situation - you guessed it, the United States.

"Paranoia"? I hate to state the obvious, but "maybe you're not paranoid, maybe they really are out to get you" as the saying goes. Surely, given the American record in Afghanistan and Iraq (and a host of other countries before that), thinking that there is a possibility that the U.S. might attack North Korea and, if you are North Korea, trying to do something about that could hardly be considered "paranoia."

A "tantrum"? North Korea is a country, who made a decision that they thought was in their best interests. It's the Bush administration which has been throwing its toys (unfortunately, deadly weapons) around the world like a baby out of control.

"Recklessness"? Let's see, let's name all the countries North Korea has invaded in the last 40 years. Hmm, let me think. OK, it's coming to me...none. OK, now let's name all the countries that the U.S. has invaded, bombed, or helped in the overthrow of their government in just the last decade or two: Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, I'm sure I'm forgetting plenty more. And we're going to say that it's North Korea who is reckless?

"Obstreperous mouse"? Let's see, "noisily and stubbornly defiant, "aggressively boisterous." Just which country is it that fits those descriptions? North Korea, who has been peacefully minding its own business? Or the U.S., which insists on describing North Korea as part of an "axis of evil" that must be dealt with and clearly is threatening military action? The "mouse" goes right along with Maher's "Little Kim" and George Bush calling Kim a "pygmy" - the kind of insults we expect to find in the third grade, not in serious political discourse.

I saved the best and most serious (although in some ways the funniest) section for last. Schoenberger writes this:

What's required is a willingness to chip away at Kim's post-Iraq paranoia by responding seriously to his shrill and unbending demand for a "non-aggression pact.'' No U.S. president would sign such an agreement, and Congress would never ratify it. But the U.S. delegation could break the ice by making an unambiguous statement that America does not intend to strike militarily at North Korea.

The statement would carry more weight than past assurances because it would be witnessed in a formal context by North Korea's sympathetic former benefactors, China and Russia, who are party to the talks along with U.S. allies South Korea and Japan.
A "shrill and unbending demand" for a "non-aggression pact"? What a downright dastardly, bellicose thing to ask for! It speaks volumes that North Korea is asking for such an elementary thing, and that the author thinks that "No U.S. president would sign such as agreement and Congress would never ratify it." And then, almost laughably, he procedes on to claim that we could solve this problem not with a "non-aggression pact" but with a "statement from Congress that was "witnessed in a formal context." This just has to be the funniest thing I've read in quite a while. The U.S. tears up treaties (e.g., the ABM treaty) it decides are no longer in its best interests, it has its president sign treaties which it then renegs on (e.g., the international criminal court). And Schoenberger thinks that a "statement from Congress" would be worth anything more than the paper it's printed on?

Readers can make up their own minds about the nature of the North Korean state, I won't address that here. But whatever your opinion on that front, you should be aware that the ground is being prepared, and your minds are being prepared, to make North Korea the next "enemy" "threatening our national security" and "putting us at great risk" who we "must" invade or take other military action against immediately. It is up to those of us who can see through these lies to make sure this doesn't happen.

Followup: Oops! I don't know how I misread that quote, but it's actually worse than I thought! Schoenberger didn't say a "statement from Congress" was the answer, he says that a statement from the "U.S. delegation" would do it. Carrying even less weight on the already weightless scale.

From Left I on the News

posted by Left I on the News at 3:54 PM
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Deceiving the Public
Deceiving the public to consolidate power and influence U.S society and culture has roots reaching back America's Industrial Revolution- well, at least ever since there has been a corporate elite enriched by American industry.
The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others. Dangerous as these people may be, they are not so significant as thousands of other people who have never been mentioned. The really dangerous American fascists are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.....




If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. Most American fascists are enthusiastically supporting the war effort. They are doing this even in those cases where they hope to have profitable connections with German chemical firms after the war ends. They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead.

American fascism will not be really dangerous until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartels, the deliberate poisoners of public information, and those who stand for the K.K.K. type of demagoguery.


This quote is from Henry Wallace in the year 1944. He was Secretary of Agriculture under FDR and then Vice President in Roosevelts second term in office. This writing is timeless. Sad to say, it seems what Wallace forecast has come to pass- we can see the results of a "purposeful coalition" as we see our air and water poisoned, our natural resources sacked for corporate gain. An illegal war prosecuted at the hands of an appointed President, whose largest campaign contributors, the energy and defense industries in collaboration with the media they own making a mockery of Democracy by denying the citizenry the accurate information needed to allow the political system to actually and effectively exist. Deliberate poisoners of public information? One can see by the present Administrations' employ of Iran/Contra criminals its disregard for even an appearance of honesty; while Mr Bush employed outright lies in his State of the Union Address of all things, as did his minions before the UN Security Council as well as before the people repeatedy on television "Talking Head" shows. KKK type demagoguery? O'Reilly with his "wetbacks" and Savage with his "turd world nations" and slurs against gay folks and the disabled along with Limbaugh joining them, lying left and right to get folks to hate even themselves, that special interest group "the working poor" that constitutes the vast majority of Americans, and a majority of his listener demographic.

The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy. They use isolationism as a slogan to conceal their own selfish imperialism. They cultivate hate and distrust of both Britain and Russia. They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.


Alright, so today there is little talk of isolationism, Mr Bush and his neocon Administration have used fear based propaganda to stoke up a love of Empire, of a so-called Pax Americana among the less well informed, with media complicity the present US regime has done all Mr Wallace ascribes to the American Fascists of his day. I find it truly amazing that the masses of Americans would be so easily led to vote and act out against their own best interests.

John Taylor Gatto can offer a few well footnoted clues as to why the majority of our populace seems to have difficulty in cutting through the smoke and mirrors that comprise what we call "The News" Why it seems the masses of us are not bothered by contradictory statements coming from those who govern us. Why "we the people" sit passively by for the most part as Mr Bush tells baldfaced lies that even our entertainment drenched short term memories realize are pure BS. I'd ask you to go to your local independent bookstore and grab two things, one, the September edition of Harpers that has a Gatto piece as the "headliner"(subscribe to Harpers, trust me on this one) , two, get yourself a copy of "Everything You Know is Wrong" (edited by Russ Kick of the indispensable website The Memory Hole) that has another more extensive version covering the same subject- just what are the aims and philosophical underpinnings of 20th century compulsory schooling? And who has financed and promoted this new compulsory education?

Between 1896 and 1920, a small group of industrialists and financiers, together with their private charitable foundations, subsidized university chairs, university researchers, and school administrators, spending more money on forced schooling than did the government itself. Carnegie and Rockefeller, as late as 1915, were themselves spending more. In this laissez-faire fashion a system of modern schooling was constructed without public participation. The motives for this are undoubtedly mixed, but it will be useful for you to hear an excerpt from the first mission statement of Rockefeller's General Education Board as it occurred in a document called Occasional Letter Number One (1906):

In our dreams, people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present educational conventions [intellectual and character education] fade from our minds, and unhampered by tradition we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have ample supply. The task we set before ourselves is very simple ... we will organize children ... and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.

The above quotation is from "Some Lessons from the Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto. His references to the "experts" of their day are truly frightening- and eye opening. As we see the gap between the richest and the majority of Americans steadily widening, outright lying to the populace an accepted tool of governance and the acceptance of the Corporate/Government nexus as normal in our lives it seems these far seeing social engineers are, long after their individual deaths, well on the way to realize their anti-American goal of an elite comfortably riding roughshod over the majority of us. Plantation USA.

If you have a hard time believing this revolution in the contract ordinary Americans had with their political State was intentionally provoked, it's time to meet William Torrey Harris, US Commissioner of Education from 1889 to 1906. Nobody else who rose out of the ranks of professional pedagogues, other than Cubberley, ever had the influence Harris did. Harris standardized our schools and Germanized them. Listen as he speaks in 1906:

Ninety-nine [students] out of a hundred are automata, careful to walk in prescribed paths, careful to follow the prescribed custom. This is not an accident but the result of substantial education, which, scientifically defined, is the subsumption of the individual.
-The Philosophy of Education (1906)..


Listen again to Harris, giant of American schooling, leading scholar of German philosophy in the Western hemisphere, editor/publisher of The Joumal of Speculative Philosophy which trained a generation of American intellectuals in the ideas of the Prussian thinkers Kant and Hegel, the man who gave America scientifically age-graded classrooms to replace successful mixed-age school practice:

The great purpose of school can be realized better in dark, airless, ugly places.... It is to master the physical self, to transcend the beauty of nature. School should develop the power to withdraw from the external world.
-The Philosophy of Education (1906)..


Nearly a hundred years ago, this schoolman thought that self-alienation was the secret to successful industrial society. Surely he was right. When you stand at a machine or sit at a computer, you require an ability to withdraw from life, to alienate yourself without a supervisor. How else could that be tolerated unless prepared in advance by simulated Birkenhead drills? School, thought Harris, was sensible preparation for a life of alienation. Can you say he was wrong?


What was your experience of public school? Unbridled learning or boredom and disaffection with the whole process? My sense was that we moved on slowly overall, only to cover much the same material the first half of the next year. I remember the popular kids, dumb kids, the scapegoat kids, the poor kids. the weird kids- the pecking order. I'm guessing I was one of the weird kids, the ones that liked art, that read too much. One book I read in high school gave me a philosophical base to argue with instructors that cared about why I thought the whole school experience seemed largely like a waste of time was Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society. I offer it as food for thought because it came to mind and I found it in its entirety here on the 'Net. Interesting to see after twenty-something years have passed.
I hope Gatto and Illich offer some insight, a jumping off point for ones own thought- most of us have been through public school and through that commonality can rate the writers accuracy. What do you think?
The thought of masses of kids running in the streets or being impressed into underpaid factory jobs just like many of their Moms and Dads used to have; well they had them before "Free Trade" sent most U.S factory work to China scares me. I offer no options, just hope that seeing what the wellsprings of education are in the U.S moves you and helps strengthen your resolve to keep active in the larger struggle of taking America back and working toward our nations promise.
I see my good friend's beautiful daughter's misspelled writing, some letters backwards, hung up and am told it is ok, "they" want the student to feel comfortable expressing themselves, even if it is in a non-standard way. I see the same child rushing to get an electronic calculator to do simple math. This is a very bright wonderful young person. I did some work for a newspaper near one of the largest military bases in America which featured articles written at only a sixth grade level. I see the stupidity of what passes for a majority of television entertainment is obvious, but people stare at the "idiot box" unable to entertain themselves. I see masses of folks that can just about sign their paycheck listening to Rush Limbaugh and effectively being led to hate their own class as well as anyone who is different, whether that difference is in ones race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or intellectual functioning level. If you listen to the blowhards of hate you'll find that thinking is elitist. When I see these things I see America's promise denied. One more quote from Gatto:

Since Aristotle, thinkers have understood that work is the vital theater of self-knowledge. Schooling in concert with a controlled workplace is the most effective way ever devised to foreclose the development of imagination. But where did these radical doctrines of true belief come from? Who spread them? We get at least part of the answer from the tantalizing clue Walt Whitman left when he said that "only Hegel is fit for America." Hegel was the protean Prussian philosopher capable of shaping Karl Marx on one hand and J.P. Morgan on the other; the man who taught a generation of prominent Americans that history itself could be controlled by the deliberate provoking of crises. Hegel was sold to America in large measure by William Torrey Harris, who made Hegelianism his lifelong project and forced schooling its principal instrument in its role as a peerless agent provocateur.

Harris was inspired by the notion that correctly managed mass schooling would result in a population so dependent on leaders that schism and revolution would be things of the past. If a world could be cobbled together by Hegelian tactical manipulation, and such a school plan imposed upon it, history itself would stop. No more wars, no civil disputes, just people waiting around pleasantly like the Eloi in Wells' The Time Machine. Waiting for Teacher to tell them what to do. The psychological tool was alienation. The was to alienate children from themselves so they couldn't turn inside for strength, to alienate them from their families, religions, cultures, etc. so no countervailing force could intervene.

Indoctrination and alienation as tools of social control. Americans "controlled by the deliberate provoking of crises" "They cultivate hate and distrust..." "If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings..." Welcome to 21st century America. We can diagnose the sickness and together, work for the cure.
Share what you learn.


Another John Taylor Gatto resource:
Spinning Globe Gatto Page
posted by m at 1:06 PM
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Sally Baron hailed as hero by many

The story of Sally Baron, a Stoughton woman whose obituary asked that memorial funds go toward the removal of President Bush, was catching hold across the country as her family held memorial services Friday.

Dozens of people from around the United States have written to The Capital Times saying they will make donations to various organizations in her name, and the request was aired on national TV Thursday night.

Baron's story is also being hotly discussed on online bulletin boards, among both liberals and conservatives.

Baron "has become a sort of poster girl for all of us who despise George Bush," wrote Nancy Tonies of Appleton.

Baron raised six children, one of whom died of leukemia at age 21, in the timber and mining country of Iron County. Her husband was crushed and nearly killed in a 1969 mining accident and died seven years ago, shortly before Baron moved to Stoughton.

Her family described how their mother - a waitress, cook and factory assembly worker - was furious with Bush for what she saw as a stolen election and dishonest statements. Baron's favorite nickname for Bush, which she used to shout at the TV, was "whistle ass."
posted by Joseph Matheny at 9:27 AM
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The United States has asked Israel to check the possibility of pumping oil from Iraq to the oil refineries in Haifa. The request came in a telegram last week from a senior Pentagon official to a top Foreign Ministry official in Jerusalem.

The Prime Minister's Office, which views the pipeline to Haifa as a "bonus" the U.S. could give to Israel in return for its unequivocal support for the American-led campaign in Iraq, had asked the Americans for the official telegram.

The new pipeline would take oil from the Kirkuk area, where some 40 percent of Iraqi oil is produced, and transport it via Mosul, and then across Jordan to Israel.

...

Iraqi oil is now being transported via Turkey to a small Mediterranean port near the Syrian border. The transit fee collected by Turkey is an important source of revenue for the country. This line has been damaged by sabotage twice in recent weeks and is presently out of service.

In response to rumors about the possible Kirkuk-Mosul-Haifa pipeline, Turkey has warned Israel that it would regard this development as a serious blow to Turkish-Israeli relations.

Sources in Jerusalem suggest that the American hints about the alternative pipeline are part of an attempt to apply pressure on Turkey.
posted by Bill at 5:12 AM
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Sunday, August 24, 2003. *
Saturday, August 23, 2003. *
posted by Mike at 7:07 PM
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Republicans in California have initiated a recall against the governor, giving three reasons for their effort:

1. The state's budget has gone from a sizeable surplus to a substantial deficit in a few short years.
2. Gov. Davis did not tell the truth to voters about the state's budget and economic situation.
3. The state's economy remains in dismal shape, and the chief executive of the state is ultimately responsible for it's welfare.

If we apply these standards to a governor, then they must also be applicable to a president. The next recall effort is long overdue: a Bush recall campaign.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:06 AM
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Friday, August 22, 2003. *
The Big Bad One that got away due in part to Bush-Rumsfeld incompetency
in not bringing multilateral forces on the ground in Afghanistan
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Inside story of the hunt for Bin Laden
posted by Douglas at 8:25 PM
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The President has signed the recess appointment of Daniel Pipes of Pennsylvania to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the United States Institute of Peace. The President nominated Mr. Pipes on April 2, 2003.
posted by New World at 4:33 PM
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Bev Harris, a middle-aged woman who operates a small public-relations business out of her Renton home, would seem an unlikely person to be at the center of a national battle over electronic voting.

Yet in recent months her muckraking, Web-based journalism has helped energize a growing movement of citizens and computer scientists concerned about the potential for fraud in America's increasingly high-tech elections.

Harris has been vilified as a conspiracy theorist and lauded as "the Erin Brockovich of elections."
posted by New World at 10:02 AM
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The Toronto Star newspaper said the men were arrested after a "pattern of suspicious behavior" which featured one man taking flight lessons that took him directly over an Ontario nuclear power plant.

The newspaper said two other men were considered suspicious after police found them in April 2002 outside the same nuclear plant, which sits near the shores of Lake Ontario.

Police said the detained men, who are from Pakistan, tended to "reside in clusters of 4 or 5" and changed addresses as a group, according to the newspaper.
posted by New World at 9:33 AM
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The Australian government lied about the threat of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction to justify its involvement in the U.S.-led war, an official inquiry into intelligence on Iraq was told on Friday.

A former senior intelligence analyst, Andrew Wilkie, who resigned in March in protest over Australia’s case for war, said Prime Minister John Howard, a close U.S. ally, created a mythical Iraq by dropping ambiguous references in intelligence reports.

“The government lied every time it skewed, misrepresented, used selectively and fabricated the Iraq story...The exaggeration was so great it was pure dishonesty,” Wilkie, formerly of the Office of National Assessment (ONA), told the inquiry.
posted by New World at 9:21 AM
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Thursday, August 21, 2003. *
The good news is that the United States government has removed Nelson Mandela, Tokyo Sexwale and Sidney Mufamadi from its list of global terrorists.

The bad news is that the removal is only for the next 10 years. George Bush, the US president, and consular officials privately informed the three men during Bush's recent visit to South Africa, according to an official US source.

The US state department is reviewing the status of hundreds of listed South Africans. Some were listed for having convictions against them for terrorism, sabotage, treason or related offences against the apartheid state. Others were members of the guerrilla army, Umkhonto we Sizwe.

One US embassy official, who preferred to remain anonymous, denied that Mandela, Sexwale and Mufamadi were listed as terrorists, but refused to clarify what they were listed as.
posted by A.Q. at 3:53 PM
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A former Energy Department intelligence chief who agreed with the White House claim that Iraq had reconstituted its defunct nuclear-arms program was awarded a total of $20,500 in bonuses during the build-up to the war, WorldNetDaily has learned.

Thomas Rider, as acting director of Energy's intelligence office, overruled senior intelligence officers on his staff in voting for the position at a National Foreign Intelligence Board meeting at CIA headquarters last September.

His officers argued at a pre-briefing at Energy headquarters that there was no hard evidence to support the alarming Iraq nuclear charge, and asked to join State Department's dissenting opinion, Energy officials say.

Rider ordered them to "shut up and sit down," according to sources familiar with the meeting.

As a result, State was the intelligence community's lone dissenter in the key National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, something the Bush administration is quick to remind critics of its prewar intelligence. So far no banned weapons have been found in Iraq to confirm its charges.

The secret 90-page report, prepared Oct. 1, was rushed to sway members of Congress ahead of a key vote on granting the White House war-making authority. It also formed the underlying evidence for the White House's decision to go to war.

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham gave Rider a $13,000 performance bonus after the NIE report was released and just before the war, department sources say. He had received an additional $7,500 before the report.

"That's a hell of a lot of money for an intelligence director who had no experience or background in intelligence, and who'd only been running the office for nine months," said one source who requested anonymity. "Something's fishy."
This story is a few weeks old, but I don't recall it being posted here. It's also getting no play whatsoever in the media. Surely this deserves some sort of follow up.

(PS - Be sure to check out the book being pushed by WND at the end of this piece. I had to blink twice when I saw it.)
posted by Bill at 8:47 AM
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Wednesday, August 20, 2003. *
"According to the Center for Responsive Politics, First Energy contributed $852,915 in the 2000 election cycle, 72 percent of which went to Republicans. The company gave $1,044,807 in the 2002 election cycle, 70 percent of which went to Republicans."

Related:
In June 2001, the National Resources Defense Council issued a report called
The Bush-Cheney Energy Plan - Players, Profits and Paybacks in response to the administration's energy plan which had just been released. It's worth a retrospective look post-blackout.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:11 PM
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The researchers claim this is the first photograph of a whale letting one go in the icy waters of Antarctica. "We got away from the bow of the ship very quickly."
posted by riley dog at 1:11 PM
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Depleted Uranium in Iraq
posted by Left I on the News at 9:24 AM
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"The extremely dense DU shells easily penetrate steel armor and burn on impact. The fire releases microscopic, radioactive and toxic dust particles of uranium oxide that travel with the wind and can be inhaled or ingested. They also spread contamination by seeping into the land and water.

In the human body, DU may cause harm to the internal organs due both to its chemical toxicity as a heavy metal and its release of radiation.

An otherwise useless by-product of the uranium-enrichment process, DU is attractive to military contractors because it is so cheap, often offered for free by the government.

According to the Uranium Medical Research Center, the toxic and radiological effects of uranium contamination may weaken the immune system. They may cause acute respiratory conditions like pneumonia, flu-like symptoms and severe coughs, renal or gastrointestinal illnesses.

Dr. Asaf Durakovic of UMRC explains that the initial symptoms will be mostly neurological, showing up as headaches, weakness, dizziness and muscle fatigue. The long-term effects are cancers and other radiation-related illnesses, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, joint and muscle pain, rashes, neurological and/or nerve damage, mood disturbances, infections, lung and kidney damage, vision problems, auto-immune deficiencies and severe skin conditions. It also causes increases in miscarriages, maternal mortality and genetic birth defects."

from "Another U.S. war crime? Iraqi cities 'hot' with depleted uranium"
posted by ashleyb at 5:34 AM
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Tuesday, August 19, 2003. *
"...The location for Banksy's Turf War was kept secret until just a day before the event. An email gave an address in Dalston, East London. And all of a sudden half of the East End's new media community (basically all of those who didn't go to the party the night before) were off to the venue - a disused warehouse in Kingsland Road." From the Banksy Graffiti Gallery at Art of the State.
posted by Andrew at 8:43 AM
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Monday, August 18, 2003. *
For $5,500 to $6,000 a semester, the 32-year-old school is offering bachelor's and master's humanities degrees with a concentration in "activism and social change." Whereas schools from Vermont to Santa Cruz boast versions of do-gooding curricula, degrees in activism are hard to come by.

"Students can shape their own (activist) program at other schools," said Michael Baer, senior vice president at the American Council on Education and former provost at Northeastern University. "But to have it all together -- the theoretical and the practical -- under one roof and labeled as such is somewhat rare." Almost as rare is New College's eclectic lineup of activist instructors, a progressive all-star team that includes tree-sitting environmentalist Julia "Butterfly" Hill and "ecofeminist witch" and author Starhawk.

But New College wears its progressive stripes proudly -- Hill once delivered a commencement address by cell phone from her tree perch in the wilderness -- so school officials said it was unlikely that conservative instructors would be on hand.
posted by New World at 8:41 PM
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Just 5 words
In Iraq, a Reuters cameraman, Mazen Dana, was deliberately shot and killed ("engaged" as the military obscenely puts it) by US troops. On MSNBC/CNBC, reporter Dawna Friesen noted that Dana had an extensive background in reporting from dangerous areas, notably the West Bank, and had been shot and beaten many times during the course of his work. She "neglected," however, to include five key words in her story - "by Israeli troops and settlers." Over on CNN, during the Lou Dobbs show, a similar report, noting that while reporting from Hebron, Dana had been "beaten and attacked." Again, no mention of who might have been responsible.

From the Committee to Protect Journalists, part of Dana's story:

In May 2000, Dana was shot in the leg with a rubber-coated bullet while filming Palestinian youths throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers. Two months later, Jewish settlers beat him unconscious while he tried to film a conflict. The next day, an Israeli police officer slammed Dana's head in the rear door of an ambulance while he was filming the evacuation of a Palestinian youth wounded in clashes. Dana was shot again last October, in the same leg, two days in a row.

Thanks to Arash from Afghan Voice, this link to video footage of Mazen Dana being shot by Israeli soldiers.

Of course, this (not so) curious omission is not limited to the broadcast media. Here's how the New York Times puts it: "During his career, Mr. Dana, who was married and had four children, had been threatened, beaten and shot at on several occasions." And don't think for a second that the Times isn't aware of who did the threatening, beating, and shooting, since they quote extensively from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Via Left I on the News

posted by Left I on the News at 8:37 PM
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The Bush administration intends to side with a Senate Republican attempt to freeze a disputed regulatory proposal meant to strengthen the nation's aging power transmission system, which was blamed in last week's massive blackout, a senior administration official said yesterday.

via Spitting Image
posted by thistle at 1:39 PM
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Sunday, August 17, 2003. *
In fact, Florida, California and a handful of other states are home to hundreds of accused war criminals and torturers from all over Latin America, according to Amnesty International, a human rights group. Other suspected human rights abusers have made their way to the United States from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Iraq, Sierra Leone, Vietnam, Somalia, Eastern Europe and Afghanistan, sometimes settling in the same communities as their victims. (Torture treatment centers and refugee groups claim there are roughly 500,000 torture survivors nationwide, with an estimated 40,000 in the Washington area.) Vides Casanova and Garcia received U.S. visas in 1989 after retiring from the military; Garcia was granted political asylum on the grounds that he and his children had been threatened during the war. Vides Casanova was allowed to enter the country despite a 1983 report to the State Department that he was likely "aware of, and for a time acquiesced in, the coverup" of the murders of four American churchwomen. [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 12:34 PM
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posted by madamjujujive at 7:03 AM
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According to the Independent on Sunday, "The (UK) Government's dossier on Iraq's weapons capability was hardened up in the days before its publication in a number of key respects that did not tally with the views of some of its most senior experts..."

posted by ashleyb at 3:30 AM
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This month marks 35 years since the infamous 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. Hope was at a low ebb in the wake of a turbulent year that saw the assassinations of MLK and RFK. Peace activists and yippies took to the streets to protest the Viet Nam war and to nominate a pig for president. Police responded with shocking brutality. The ensuing Chicago Seven Trial was theatre of the absurd, with a colorful and prominent cast of characters. So what's changed in 35 years? Can next year's conventions be expected to generate outrage or apathy?
(repost from MetaFilter where there are additional links)
posted by madamjujujive at 12:37 AM
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Friday, August 15, 2003. *
Libertythink has obtained from Washington contacts a draft copy of the "Vital Interdiction of Criminal Terrorist Organizations Act of 2003," also known by the Orwellian sobriquet "VICTORY Act."

Attorney General John Ashcroft is currently putting on a little road show to garner support for the bill, as well as for the USA PATRIOT Act, which had two of its more Draconian provisions targeted for defunding by the House of Representatives in late July.

(Though it does contain similar provisions, the VICTORY Act is not the same bill as the Domestic Security Enhancement Act, popularly known as PATRIOT II, which was leaked in January.)

The draft obtained by Libertythink is dated June 27, and word in the Beltway is that the VICTORY Act is still being retooled over the August recess before it is introduced in the Senate. Although this may not be the final form of the act, Libertythink encourages its readers to study the bill and hit Ashcroft with hard questions when and if he comes to your town.

Measures in the 89-page draft include:
  • Creation of a new category of crime called "Narco-terrorism."
  • Radical expansion of asset forfeiture powers for the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.
  • Expansion of the definition of money-laundering to several kinds of transactions, including offshore banking as a means of tax evasion.
  • Creation of a ludicrous new "crime" of "reverse money-laundering."
  • Longer jail terms for a number of nonviolent drug and nondrug offenses.
  • Expanded opportunities for judge-shopping in wiretap cases.
  • Expansion of nonjudicial "administrative subpoenas" for "terrorism" investigations as broadly defined in the USA PATRIOT Act.

. . . and that's just a partial listing.

(Originally posted by Total Information, 08/14/03, 1:43 PM, Server time)
posted by valis at 4:25 AM
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Thursday, August 14, 2003. *
Joe Conason's Journal. The GOP strategists behind the California recall include some fairly unsavory characters. No doubt they'll be eager to help Arnold "clean house" if he winsSalon.com | Joe Conason's Journal
posted by Douglas at 5:51 PM
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Blair gang assailed Doctor Kelly
News
posted by Douglas at 5:44 PM
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AS THE DEADLINE looms this month for what will likely be thousands of copyright lawsuits filed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) against individual computer users, anxious file swappers are turning to this and other new services in hopes of avoiding legal consequences. In EarthStation 5’s case, it is returning industry legal threats with bravado.

“We’re in Palestine, in a refugee camp,” said Ras Kabir [ed. translation: Big Head], the service’s co-founder. “There aren’t too many process servers that are going to be coming into the Jenin refugee camp. We’ll welcome them if they do.”

...For now, Kabir and his brother are worrying just as much about maintaining a functioning technology operation in an area where suicide bombings and military reprisals are still a way of life. The company has talked to militant Palestinians as well as Israelis and has gotten the go-ahead to operate without being drawn into the ongoing conflict as much as possible, he says.

“We have met with the organizations on our side, met with the leadership, and we said we just want to support ourselves and support Palestinians,” Kabir said. “Everyone thought we were nuts. But we all came to agreement. We’re entitled to eat, too.”
posted by A.Q. at 2:58 PM
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Because 2.3 million Americans — conservative and liberal — decried the FCC's lifting of media ownership caps, Congress will soon vote on a rollback of the new rules. Big media lobbyists are fighting back.

Another massive wave of public pressure is essential to move Congress to act. This petition will be delivered to Congress shortly before the crucial vote in September.
posted by Joseph Matheny at 10:49 AM
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Wednesday, August 13, 2003. *
We still don't know what happened in the 9/11 attacks thanks to Bush stone-walling, do they have something to hide? [either utter incomptency and flawed polices or complicity]
Salon.com | The big wedding
posted by Douglas at 10:00 PM
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Engineering experts from the Defense Intelligence Agency have come to believe that the most likely use for the two mysterious trailers found in Iraq was to produce hydrogen for weather balloons rather than to make biological weapons, government officials say.
That's people from Rummy's own sphere of control now backpedalling. So far, this doesn't seem to have caused the row that the supposed Niger plutonium deal did. But this from the first paragraph of Calling Out Colin : What Powell got wrong in his U.N. briefing on Iraq at Slate--
In the middle of a fascinating article in Monday's Los Angeles Times, which quotes several former Iraqi officers on why they lost the war so badly, the following passage leaps out: "Commanders interviewed for this article said they were issued no orders regarding chemical or biological weapons. And they denied that Iraq ever possessed such weapons."
would be hard to criticize now that these Commanders have nothing to fear in retribution from Saddam Hussein.
posted by thistle at 5:21 PM
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Juan Cole, a history professor at University of Michigan, runs a must-read weblog for those interested in the Middle East, the 'war on terror', Islam, South Asia, and numerous other topics.
posted by A.Q. at 4:56 PM
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Has there ever been such a massive attempt in modern history to completely imprison a civilian population?

Click here for maps and details from Israeli group Btselem.
posted by A.Q. at 10:14 AM
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Tuesday, August 12, 2003. *
Quick and dirty candidate information
Election time is upon us, so I thought I'd share a couple resources for quick information on candidates. Of course, it's no substitute for independent research, but who has time for that these days? =)
  • On the Issues "Every candidate on every issue." Not quite, but close.
  • Skeletons in the Closet "Dirt" on many candidates. Check out the entry on Kucinich
  • posted by Klintron at 8:40 PM
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    Over objections from some Muslim American groups, President Bush plans to sidestep Congress and appoint a Middle East scholar who has been derided by critics as anti-Muslim to a federally funded think tank, congressional sources said on Tuesday.

    Bush's expected recess appointment of Daniel Pipes could spark a backlash from some Muslim Americans and Democrats in Congress, who oppose his nomination to serve on the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace, which was created by Congress to promote peaceful solutions to world conflicts.
    posted by Bill at 8:40 PM
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    Coady stressed that the name "security fence" hardly does justice to the barrier the Israelis are erecting. "This so-called 'security fence' is a football field wide, and on the two extreme edges are large rolls of concertina wire," he recounted. It is also protected by a deep V-shaped trench, he said. "If you went down (in it), you couldn't get back up," he said.

    According to information from the Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network, the wall is being built from the northwest to the southwest of the West Bank. Even without possible expansions, it is expected to be at least 220 miles long when completed. It will average 25 feet high, with armed concrete towers, and a buffer zone of about 100 to 300 feet, for trenches, electric fences, cameras, sensors and security patrols. If completed with no expansions, it is expected to isolate 95,000 Palestinians, or around 4.5 percent of the West Bank population, as well as cutting off 200,000 people in East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank.

    "They are essentially building giant prisons for the Palestinians," Coady said. "They really don't want to look at these Palestinians... You should see it. It's unbelievable."
    posted by New World at 10:22 AM
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    A friend of mine coined the term "Brainwashington" after watching the media-coverage in the wake of the 9-11 terror attacks on New York and Washington. A joke at first, but now, nearly 2 years after these attacks, and after investigating and writing on this case since Sep 12th - I have to admit: it's quite serious. I think we all have become witnesses and victims of the biggest brainwashing operation in history. (via)
    posted by Mike at 6:06 AM
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    Monday, August 11, 2003. *
    Oh, this is great. I can't wait to see this play out in court, especially with the previous court case from Florida where Fox argued that they didn't have to tell the truth in their news.
    Franken's "intent is clear - to exploit Fox News' trademark, confuse the public as to the origins of the book and, accordingly, boost sales of the book," the suit said.

    No, man, Franken's intent is to expose you for the lying liars you are--that's in the title, too, right above the 'fair and balanced' part. But this will be great publicity for the book; any satirist knows this.

    "Your Honor, is Fox news being 'Fair and Balanced' when during the election fiasco of 2000 one of their reporters said: 'Is this a case where knowing the facts actually would be worse than not knowing? I mean, should we burn those ballots, preserve them in amber, or shred them?'"

    "Or, your Honor, what about the court case where:
    Fox argued from the first, and failed on three separate occasions, in front of three different judges, to have the case tossed out on the grounds there is no hard, fast, and written rule against deliberate distortion of the news. The attorneys for Fox, owned by media baron Rupert Murdoch, argued the First Amendment gives broadcasters the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on the public airwaves.

    " . . . would you call that 'Fair and Balanced'?"

    So according to their previous arguments they will also argue that if they have the right to lie and distort the news, then they can also call this whatever they want including "Fair and Balanced" and someone who calls them on this whilst repeating this phrase sarcastically is using Fox's market cache to sell their own stuff? Let's all thank Fox for shooting Al's book to the top of the charts!


    posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:45 PM
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    If you're not familiar with Little Green Footballs, I suggest that you follow this link to a little movie which gives special thanks to the "great" Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs at the end. This can give you some idea about the kind of thinking that Charles helps and inspires. Or you can check out LGF's comment sections to hear his followers routinely refer to the Palestinians as "Paleos" (dehumanizing an entire race is definitely a sign of pro-ethnic-cleansing philosophy at work, or just watch the movie to see the ethnic-cleansing viewpoint openly espoused), and gleefully expounding upon their fervent desire to piss upon Rachel Corrie's grave whenever her name is brought up.

    Frankly, it's a whole lotta racist, fundamentalist bullshit to me, and I'm more than a little surprised that Boing Boing has taken it up. Hopefully it's some kind of naive mistake, otherwise I think they oughta revise their slogan to Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things Which May Or May Not Include Links to Fundamentalist Pro-Ethnic-Cleansers.
    posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:10 PM
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    Go away. And if you don't go away you might want to upgrade your server--your site takes for-freaking-ever to load. Really, Joe, I'm a lifelong Democrat & if by some chance you should win the nomination of my party, I will go to the poll to vote on other candidates, but leave the presidential line blank. That is, I think you're worse than Bush--you take his policy positions but mask them in a sanctimonious syrup of rhetoric; at the same time, you attack members of your own party who hold the current president to account. Just to pose a single question, what exactly are those "failed Democratic policies of the past" that "we" must "reject"? A living wage? Free speech? Civil rights? An economy run for the many not the few? International cooperation? Support for the UN? Concern for those who suffer both within & outside our borders? Well, you see where I'm coming from. I've supported these policies since I could first vote more than thirty years ago & now, apparently, you want me to reject them in favor of some weird DLC dream of political expediency? No thanks.

    Really, Senator, it is difficult for me to refrain from using obscenity. You are a disgrace; you make me sick. And, by the way, your performance during the 2000 coup only aided the Republican take-over of my government. Please, you're not going to win a single primary, but your attacks on the other candidates harm the party: if you are still a Democrat, get out of the race now. Save face. Senators have a nice life. Please, take your moralistic ego-trip & go away. [See also this version of the campaign. It's much better than the official "Joe" site. And I speak as someone named Joe, so I know the sociology of Joe v. Joseph.]
    posted by Joseph Duemer at 7:12 PM
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    The Premature War
    "The United States military, the Central Intelligence Agency and Iraqi exiles began a broad covert effort inside Iraq at least three months before the war to forge alliances with Iraqi military leaders and persuade commanders not to fight," reported Sunday's NY Times.

    This news does not come as a surprise, especially since revelations about the premature bombings to "soften up" Iraqi defenses came to light, but it nonetheless blows another hole in the repeated claim by the Bush administration in the months preceding the assault that they were doing their best to avoid war. "No decision yet" is what Wolfie, Ari, Colin, Dick, and, yes, even George kept telling the press in mid to late 2002. They were, obviously, lying.

    In reality, the decision was immediately made to use 9/11 to justify a war in Iraq. After the Afghan bloodletting, the plan was set into motion and the appeal to the UN in Fall 2002 was used to garner as much support as possible, since the administration had to give the military a few months for a troop buildup anyway.

    All of the hemming and hawing over WMD capabilities is and was just a clever front to obscure these points.
    posted by Bill at 3:05 PM
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    Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, both of whom spent the better part of the past decade advocating the use of military force against Iraq, put the issue to rest once and for all.

    Judging by recent interviews Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz gave to a handful of media outlets during the past week, the short answer is yes, the public was misled into believing Iraq posed an imminent threat to the United States. Both admit that the war with Iraq was planned two days after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
    posted by A.Q. at 11:23 AM
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    Sunday, August 10, 2003. *
    In her brief to the court, Weber argued that DRE machines, which record and tabulate votes electronically using a touchscreen "ballot," have no hardcopy mechanism to verify the accuracy of votes.

    "Voters could never know for sure that their vote had been recorded as they intended, or that their votes, once recorded, would not be manipulated, either fraudulently or by a glitch," she said.

    "In the event of a contested election, the absence of an independently auditable 'paper trail' [would] render a meaningful recount impossible."

    The lawsuit argues that touchscreen voting systems are illegal under California law and violate the Fourteenth Amendment's "equal protection" clause. According to California Elections Code §19205, all voting machines must be "safe from fraud or manipulation."

    However, Weber lost the first round when Judge Stephen V. Wilson ruled against her on September 3, 2002.

    In his decision, Wilson said "the state's interest in easy, attractive voting machines which might increase voter turnout outweighed the voters' interest in verifiable results," said Weber.

    For more information on Weber's lawsuit, visit: www.electionguardians.org.
    posted by New World at 11:29 AM
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    This should be done in every city across the country, and one of the nice things about the otherwise California gubernatorial debacle is that it can force the issue of the potentially riggable electronic voting machines on us a year before the '04 vote and maybe give us enough impetus and time to fix the problem before the Get Out Bush Vote in '04. I really feel that next year in many ways is [the possibility for] Democracy's Last Stand here in America. Which side of the bars are you on?
    posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:42 AM
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    "If too many people arrive this evening, we'll have to start turning them away,'' Christine Tellen, one of the organizers said on Canal Satellite's all-news channel. "There'll be signs put up explaining that the site is full.''

    The site is running out of water and space for parking. The event has attracted more than 100,000 people, she said. Attendance is estimated at half that by local officials.

    But isn't that always the case? Must be one of the oldest tricks in the book: "Uh, attendance at the anti-Bush rally reached a high of oh maybe twenty today . . . 20 dirty hippies . . . " when several city blocks are jammed full of people carrying signs and not gonna take it any more . . .
    French farming militant Jose Bove, freed from jail last Saturday, called on the government to initiate a national debate on the Cancun round of World Trade Organization negotiations that take place next month. Larzac, an annual gathering that lasts all weekend and uses the slogan "The World Is Not For Sale,'' was the site of Bove's first protest 30 years ago. [more]
    I remember Bove standing on a stopped bus at an intersection here in Seattle back on November 29th, 1999, the day before the big protest. He was an instant folk hero from the get-go, and I still think his efforts are laudable, to say the least--his and Naomi Klein's and Kevin Danaher's and Medea Benjamin's and on and on . . . but I also know that George Soros is right when he says that "The fate of the world depends on the United States, and President Bush is leading us in the wrong direction," . . . therefore the number one aim of all human-rights, progressive and environmental activists the world over is to do what they can--whatever they can, to not get George Bush elected (not "Re-elected" ya filthy WaPo and others).

    In America you can help by assuring a free and fair election and making sure that those electronic voting machines are not tampered with and at least are necessitated to leave a paper trail . . . you can spread the word about who actually owns the corporate media and what that does to the messages they spread, and promote healthy information-alternatives . . . and you can know Rove propaganda when you see it--Don't attack Bush, my ass!--How many times have you heard the sentiment that Democrats need to get a spine? How many times?! This country is craving for someone to fight back against that stupid greedy sonofabitch administration and not the aforementioned filthy WaPo nor early Dem nominee sore loser Lieberman and his DLC are gonna sell a rotten bill of goods to the people of this country that Bush doesn't deserve to be stood up against and uncovered for what he is: a lying, manipulative (and manipulated) fraud who would sooner loot the US Treasury, kill thousands, eliminate all social services in America and irrevocably destroy our land, air and water in order to make a buck in the name of his simpleton fundamentalist God than do one single thing that's good for all Americans--the poor and underprivileged included.

    By helping to unseat Bush you are saving the world, the most important step at a time.
    posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:59 AM
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    He's a Vietnam War hero from a proud lineage of warriors who served the United States, so he never expected to be called a traitor.

    After 39 years in the Marines, including commands in Somalia and Iraq, Gen. Anthony Zinni never imagined he would be tagged "turncoat."

    The epithets are not from the uniforms but the suits — "senior officers at the Pentagon," the now-retired general says from his home in Williamsburg, Va.

    "They want to question my patriotism?" he demands testily.

    To question the Iraq war in the U.S. — and individuals from Main St. merchants to Hollywood stars do — is to be branded un-American.

    Dissent, once an ideal cherished in the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment, now invites media attacks, hate Web sites, threats and job loss.

    After Zinni challenged the administration's rationale for the Iraq war last fall, he lost his job as President George W. Bush's Middle East peace envoy after 18 months. [more]

    War hero? Don't matter to AWOL, as Skippy calls him . . . ya either do what the People for a New American Century say or you're against us . . .
    posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:50 AM
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    Saturday, August 09, 2003. *
    The Hive reborn: http://www.incunabula.org/hive/

    techno§hamanic reborn: http://www.incunabula.org/techno/

    We're still working out some of the bugs, but they're up again. Don't forget to reset your links and bookmarks.
    posted by Joseph Matheny at 2:54 PM
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