American Samizdat

Saturday, January 31, 2004. *
posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:43 PM
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"Right now we have a very favorable conjuncture because the US economy is in the hands of Karl Rove, the strategist arranging for the campaign of Bush," he said. "Everything that could be done to pump up the economy has been done - successfully so far."

Mr Soros said the world's largest economy had also benefited from a rebound in the world economy and the fall in the dollar, which had boosted US exports. "But there will be a penalty to pay after the election, so it looks good this year but less good from 2005." [more]

Post-election economic blues, a brain drain, a draft, at least two more invasions (of Syria and Iran) . . . there couldn't be a more worse-case scenario for the world if that sonofabitch manages to slink his way into the White House again. Needless to say.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:30 PM
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The Ball is tonite.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:40 PM
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Behold the holiness of a Bush marriage.
This just in — some of that Bush sperm may have ended up outside the holy matrimonial loins (AP):
HOUSTON - A judge ordered DNA testing to determine whether President Bush's brother Neil fathered a child with another woman while he was married.

Neil Bush's ex-wife, Sharon, requested the tests to defend herself against a defamation lawsuit filed by the other woman's ex-husband.

Sharon Bush testified during the couple's contentious divorce that she heard rumors that her husband had an affair with Maria Andrews and is the father of her 3-year-old son. Andrews and Neil Bush are now engaged.

Andrews' ex-husband, Robert, filed a defamation lawsuit against Sharon Bush in September, saying he is the boy's father.

The DNA testing was ordered by the court on Friday.

Dale Jefferson, Robert Andrews' attorney, said the child will submit a swab in March and he is confident it will prove Robert Andrews' paternity.

Similar testing requested by Sharon Bush during her divorce case was denied because Robert Andrews was not a party to that case.
Most recently we wrote bout Neilsie here but feel free to peruse this more complete list at skimble. Don't neglect Neil's dalliances with shady business deals and pre-paid Asian prostitutes.

With such a supremely lousy example of heterosexual marriage as Neil Bush's, it will be difficult for George to argue for anti-homosexual constitutional amendments — with a straight face.
posted by skimble at 7:17 PM
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New Movie Called "The Corporation"

This movie looks like it's very very important. Its subject matter is horrific, or rather it documents our time's truly big story, that the so-called "librul" media, which won't even take our Super Bowl ad money let alone our ideology, of how private power has corrupted everything. Here's a review. Their links page is especially good. I didn't know the Multinational Monitor links were so extensive.

In fact, from those MM links, try out Oligopoly Watch, where we learn all about how "slotting" practices determine the politics behind the California supermarket strike.

posted by Philip Shropshire at 10:15 AM
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Friday, January 30, 2004. *
From Robert B. Reich and the New York Times, what the Democratic primary is really all about:
The dismal fifth-place showing by Senator Joseph Lieberman in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday serves as both reminder and motivator to the other Democratic presidential candidates on what it will take to win in November. For so long now, everyone has assumed that recapturing the presidency depends on who triumphs in the battle between liberals and moderates within the party. Such thinking, though, is inherently flawed. The real fight is between those who want only to win back the White House and those who also want to build a new political movement — one that rivals the conservative movement that has given Republicans their dominant position in American politics.
By now, I'm supposed to be settled in on this: Anybody But Bush. After all, it is hardly a secret that I despise the man. The trouble is that I can't sign on to anything that simple simply because it is that simple.

You see, I am a Movement Liberal, and I am tired of getting my head stomped on for the last 20 years by the radical ideologues of the Movement Conservatives. The Presidency is not enough for me. They've wanted my head, and now I want theirs.

But isn't Anybody But Bush better than Bush, you ask? Think about it. What chance will a non-Movement Democrat have with a Congress and Supreme Court stacked with Movement Conservatives? If you thought what they did to Clinton was bad, remember, they have further consolidated their power since then, and they are going to be mad as hell if Bush gets beaten. (It couldn't after all be Bush's fault, could it?)

But that's only the start. Greenspan is going to extraordinary lengths to hold together the jobless recovery until after the election. After that, all bets are off. And where Bush has positioned the country, you can almost bet on a severe crash. If a Democrat is in, that Democrat will get blamed, and the Movement Conservatives will further entrench themselves. The worst of all possible worlds.

So no, it is not sufficient to simply win the Presidency; we must also bring along our "Movement" if we do. If the Democrats want to simply put up a "safe" candidate, then I just can't go along. Better to vote for Bush and have the chance that way of sweeping out the Movement Conservatives as they finish wrecking the economy and launch war after war. And if worse comes to worse, we can all just have four more years of fun trying to impeach the bastard.

A Benedict@Large Opinion.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 12:54 PM
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If you are a U.S. Citizen who lives or has an address within the United States, you can use this link to:
  • Register to vote in your State;
  • Report a change of name to your voter registration office;
  • Report a change of address to your voter registration office; or
  • Register with a political party.
You must also have an inkjet or lasar printer and Adobe Acrobat Reader. (You can get Adobe Acrobat Reader here.) This link will provide you with a completed voter registration application for your state, and (optionally) a pre-addressed envelope to your voter registration office. [Note: If zip code selection doesn't work for you, use the state selection option.]

This on-line registration service is provided by the Democratic National Committee, though you need not register as a Democrat to avail yourself of it. I've used it myself (to alter my party affiliation), and it's quite easy.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 11:01 AM
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Dennis Kucinich knew it

And said so

Thousands of bloggers knew it

And said so

Intelligence experts knew it

And said so

Newspaper columnists knew it

And said so

Millions of protesters worldwide knew it

And said so, loud and clear

George W. Bush knew it

And lied, and continues to lie

Dick Cheney knew it

And lied, and continues to lie

Condeleeza Rice knew it

And lied, and continues to lie

Donald Rumsfeld knew it

And lied, and continues to lie

Colin Powell knew it

And lied, and continues to lie

Corporate media mouthpieces knew it

And lied, and continue to lie

What did they all know?

Iraq had no WMD

Iraq was not a grave and gathering threat

Iraqi citizens did not deserve death and DU

"Iraq has not committed any act of aggression against the United States. Iraq was not responsible for 911. No credible evidence exists linking Iraq to Al Qaeda's role in 911. Iraq was not responsible for the anthrax attack on our nation. The United Nations has yet to establish that Iraq has usable weapons of mass destruction. There is no intelligence that Iraq has the ability to strike at the United States."

-- Dennis Kucinich
U.S. Representative Swearing-In Ceremony
Sunday, January 5, 2003; Cleveland, Ohio

(quote via Public Domain Progress)
posted by Bruce at 10:27 AM
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Unfortunately, it's rare to hear this level of informed debate. Few people remind us how minor the terrorist threat really is. Rarely do we discuss how little identification has to do with security, and how broad surveillance of everyone doesn't really prevent terrorism. And where's the debate about what's more important: the freedoms and liberties that have made America great or some temporary security?

Instead, the Department of Justice, fueled by a strong police mentality inside the administration, is directing our nation's political changes in response to Sept. 11. And it's making trade-offs from its own subjective perspective--trade-offs that benefit it even if they are to the detriment of others.
posted by A.Q. at 10:05 AM
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Morris' disease was diagnosed over forty years ago, by Frantz Fanon. Based on his experience in subjugated Africa, Fanon observed that "the colonial world is a Manichean world. It is not enough for the settler to delimit physically, that is to say, with the help of the army and the police, the place of the native. As if to show the totalitarian character of colonial exploitation, the settler paints the native as a sort of quintessence of evil ... The native is declared insensitive to ethics ... the enemy of values. ... He is a corrosive element, destroying all that comes near it ... the unconscious and irretrievable instrument of blind forces" (from "The Wretched of the Earth"). And further down, "the terms the settler uses when he mentions the native are zoological terms" (let's not forget to place Morris' metaphors in the context of so many other Israeli appellations for Palestinians: Begin's "two-legged beasts", Eitan's "drugged cockroaches" and Barak's ultra-delicate "salmon"). Morris is a case history in the psychopathology of colonialism.
posted by A.Q. at 9:57 AM
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From The BLACK CoMMentator:
Howard Dean has joined the list of victims of U.S. corporate media consolidation. Dean shares this distinction with Dennis Kucinich and the people of the formerly sovereign state of Iraq, among many others. Dean was stripped of half his popular support in the space of two weeks in January while John Kerry – tied in the polls with Carol Moseley-Braun at seven percent just two months earlier – rose like a genie from a bottle to become the overnight presidential frontrunner. Both candidates were shocked and disoriented by the dizzying turns of fortune, and for good reason. Neither Dean nor Kerry had done anything on their own that could have so dramatically altered the race. Corporate America decided that Dean must be savaged, and its media sector made it happen.

This commentary, however, is not about the merits of Howard Dean. If a mildly progressive, Internet-driven, young white middle class-centered, movement-like campaign such as Dean’s – flush with money derived from unconventional sources, backed by significant sections of labor, reinforced by big name endorsements and surging with upward momentum – can be derailed in a matter of weeks at the whim of corporate media, then all of us are in deep trouble.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 5:23 AM
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Groups Fear Citizens Abroad Will Be Compromised
In a highly unusual pairing, the Republican and Democratic party organizations for citizens living abroad have banded together against the Pentagon's Internet voting program for the presidential election.

Concerns about the security of the online ballots could cast the entire election under a cloud of suspicion, they said in a joint letter urging a halt in the program. The letter released yesterday is being sent to several congressional committees.

"We do not want to undermine confidence in our system of voting by discovering some real or imagined fraud in the November balloting," wrote the leaders of Republicans Abroad and Democrats Abroad.

And the best part about this? These people wouldn't have had a clue to complain about this without all the work done by the black boxers. And we didn't even much have to tell them this time!
posted by Mischa Peyton at 3:25 AM
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The New York Times reports of a new study handed to Maryland voting officials regarding Diebold e-voting security. The difference between this and earlier studies is that this is the first study of the Diebold systems under conditions found during an election. Four key findings:
  • There are numerous vulnerabilities through which these systems could be hacked.

  • Some of these can be addressed prior to the March primaries.

  • Some additional vulnerabilities can be address prior to the November general election.

  • Ultimately, Diebold election software has to be rewritten to meet industry security standards.
In his usual statement of denial, Bob Urosevich, president of Diebold Election Systems, said this report and another by the Science Applications International Corporation "confirm the accuracy and security of Maryland's voting procedures and our voting systems as they exist today." This however was hardly the tone expressed by several members of the "red team".

"We were genuinely surprised at the basic level of the exploits" that allowed tampering, said Michael Wertheimer, the Red Team leader and a former security expert for the National Security Agency. Referring to the inconsistent application of security, he added, "It's like washing your face and drying it with a dirty towel."

William A. Arbaugh, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Maryland and a member of the Red Team exercise, said, "I can say with confidence that nobody looked at the system with an eye to security who understands security." He added, "It seemed everywhere we scratched, there was something that's pretty troubling."

[Additional coverage from the Washington Post.]

posted by Mischa Peyton at 2:38 AM
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... who sits in the ghoulish mire he's created and calls himself good.Chris Floyd:
A man in Lawrence, Kansas walks into a day-care center. He has a gun in his pocket but nobody sees it. He goes up to the second floor, where the preschool kids are having their afternoon snack of cookies and juice.


The room is filled with smoke and the sharp tang of freshly gutted meat. The man takes a desultory look around, shrugs his shoulders, then sits down on the snack table. When the police come and ask him why he did it, he answers forthrightly, without a shred of guilt or unease, as if it were the most natural thing in the world:

"Somebody said the guy who runs this place might attack me someday. I had questions that needed to be answered: Did he have a gun or a knife -- or nothing? We must be prepared to face our responsibilities and be willing to use force if necessary."

The cops roll their eyes -- another nutball. "So," says an officer, humoring him, "did he have any weapons?"

The killer shakes his head. "Nah, don't look like it. But he could have had some. What's the difference? ...

"That's all they have left as a public defense: the ravings of a man who killed for no reason, who sits in the ghoulish mire he's created and calls himself good."
posted by Mischa Peyton at 12:18 AM
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My thought is, that since you have stopped by, you must be looking into "the news" already; odds are you already see the Emperor has no clothes. Getting the truth out to our fellow Americans is crucial right now. A good place to start is to nip the thought that Mr Bush and his administration were merely the victims of "bad intelligence" in the bud.

My reading shows that this is not true. But you will not hear the truth on the evening news. This is where we come in.
[More, lengthy and link filled]

Here's how it ends:
Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event like a new Pearl Harbor.

It is not bad intelligence that got the US to attack Iraq. It was a concerted NeoCon effort.
Help get the truth out. Let's hold their feet to the fire. The truth could get us an elected President.
posted by m at 12:07 AM
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Thursday, January 29, 2004. *
Something Truly Terrifying
The following is a paid op-ed ad that appeared in the New York Times by the Washington Legal Foundation, a lobbying group comprised of the most powerful law firms in Washington who represent the largest global corporations. It accepts no summarization:

In All Fairness
The State of Our Union

America's celebration of the new year was shadowed by stark reminders of the perilous world we now live in — unprecedented security measures, grounded flights, and specific threats of impending catastrophic attacks. While most Americans firmly support the war against terrorism, some professional activists and opportunistic politicians began 2004 with a resolution to keep homeland security efforts tied up in a legal straitjacket. And sadly, they are manipulating one of America's most respected institutions — the judiciary — to do it.

These ideologues remain convinced that their absolutist view of "civil liberties" must always prevail over Americans' right to live free from terrorism. No aspect of our government's security operation is immune from activists' carefully planned and executed campaign. Relentless attacks on public officials dedicated to protecting our lives have fueled activists' profitable fund-raising drives. Special interest groups and lawyers then invest their overflowing war chest in lawsuits and mean-spirited public relations advertising opposing everything from major military actions overseas to the review of airplane passenger manifests. Even moves to modernize outdated intelligence gathering techniques have met with paranoid claims that government is running roughshod over everyone's rights.

Worst of all, however, is the activists' use of litigation to impose the rules of our overprotective criminal justice system on the president's military decision making. Terrorists are enemy soldiers without a government, not ordinary criminals. Yet, ideological lawyers have convinced some federal courts that unelected judges, and not our Commander-in-Chief, should have the last word on how our military can detain captured terrorists. One appeals court in New York City made the incredible declaration last month that since America has not been formally declared a "zone of combat," federal officials must charge a captured terrorist with a crime or release him.

While judges and activists quibble over legal niceties, our despicable enemies are pondering how to take advantage of their newly created constitutional rights in the next attack. One can only hope the U.S. Supreme Court, which will review these matters soon, reminds judges that our Constitution doesn't authorize them to run military operations.

Creating national insecurity

It would seem that for some professional activists, 9/11 is a distant memory. Why else would they want to constrict America's ability to protect its citizens? But the terrorists' war is far from over. Their fanatical ambition to kill innocent Americans and cripple our economy has in no way subsided. Preempting the next terrorist attacks on our soil remains a daunting task. And there is no margin for error.

So it's time we got our priorities straight. Do we defer to the ideologues' rigid agenda of absolute "civil liberties" for all, including our enemies, or do we trust government officials and our military to use their powers wisely and protect us from the horror terrorists can unleash?

These people are crazy. Just flat out crazy.
A PDF is available here.

Via Avedon from and an original post at The Great Divide.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 9:52 PM
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U.S. military 'sure' of catching bin Laden this year

The U.S. military is "sure" it will catch Osama bin Laden this year, a spokesman said Thursday, but he declined to comment on where the al-Qaida leader may be hiding.

Bin Laden, chief suspect in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that sparked the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, is widely believed to be holed up somewhere along the mountainous Pakistani-Afghan border with former Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

Following last month's capture of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, American commanders in Afghanistan have expressed new optimism they will eventually find bin Laden. Spokesman Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty said the military now believed it could seize him within months.
posted by A.Q. at 7:57 PM
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The "Mainstream" Media- a Weapon of Mass Deception?

Editor and Publisher points out that 13 large metropolitan dailies have featured editorials concerning statements made by David Kay about the lack of weapons of mass destruction. The majority of these blame failures in the systems of intelligence.
My reading gives me a sense that the intelligence resources of the White House are going to be the fall guy for this administration's falsehood based rush to war, in attempt to clear Mr Bush and Mr Cheney of their responsibility. Take a moment to read "The Lie Factory" to see how Mr Cheney circumvented the usual channels of intelligence ( I subscribe, the access code is mj1204) and brought unvetted "raw" intelligence into the Oval office. "The Intelligence Chain" gives a graphic representation of how this all worked, keeping all the names and positions straight is easier with its aid..

Here is a quote that shows either the NY Times is a bit uninformed or just plain dishonest:
The vice president's myopia suggests a breathtaking unwillingness to accept a reality that conflicts with the administration's preconceived notions. This kind of rigid thinking helped propel us into an invasion without broad international support and, if Mr. Cheney is as influential as many say, could propel us into further misadventures down the road.

The Italics are mine. Mr Cheney wrote his Defense Planning Guidance Draft of late 1992 that clearly states the US should act unilaterally to preserve its' hegemony over the world and it's resources. Plain and simple. David Armstrong's "Dick Cheney's Song of America" gives the history of this ideas evolution, and points out the fact that Rumsfeld Wolfowitz and Powell also have had a hand in it. This administrations "preconcieved notions" are in accord with Mr Cheney alright, he helped to formulate them. Jeb Bush has a finger in the pie too.
[Read More]
posted by m at 2:13 PM
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The United States announced on Thursday it had released three juvenile "enemy combatants" held at the U.S. military prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and flown them to their home country.

The three, ranging from 13 to 15 years old, were the only juveniles in the prison camp.
posted by A.Q. at 9:58 AM
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We’re here with the Oldest Curmudgeon in the World. While he slips under the radar of most busy Americans, we were persistent in our efforts to locate him. Hopefully, you’ll find his cranky perspective as bracing as we did.

So, Mr. Curmudgeon, what do you think about the American administration?

Look, these people are insane. You have to work off of that premise from the start. They are not “Americans,” they have no loyalty to a people and a democracy that was, up until now, still limping along as a hopeful experiment. And the media, my God. People from other countries are just aghast when they see it. They wonder how you people can live here. How do you stand it when you are subject to the most nauseating drumbeat of fear and innuendo, with no real content, no practical, rational voice to speak of. It’s nothing but one big smirk. How do you get up in the morning, when they tell you every second of every day that you either conform to this business-centric, homogenized ideology or there is something wrong with you?

Oh sure, you have a few stalwarts in the media, remnants from a bygone era, but they spend all their time mildly objecting to just a miniscule portion of the bullshit. You can’t bail out a sinking boat with a dixie cup, let alone sail the high seas.

I’m detecting a metaphor here: So is America the Titanic?

Oh yeah. Except you never hit the iceberg. You don’t have a disastrous hole in your ship. You have a manageable breakdown. Your best and brightest could fix it in a heartbeat. But you’ve got this mad captain and he’s willing to let the ship go down rather than share the glory.

Yeah, you people are going down. Do you even realize that most of the rest of the world live their lives without constant threat? You’ve been at War since 1940s – WWII, the Cold War and now the War on Terrorism. And there was one more little one, as a sort of bridge between the Cold War and TWOT – the war on drugs. That worked out pretty well, as they can now use all they learned about demonizing those who differ in that “war” and expand it to protesters, liberals, etc. It’s all the same to them.

Imagine what you could do without these fear and death merchants feeding off of you. Yeah, I’m speaking of the Bush family, the Carlyle Group, the CIA. They are running loose. Their Psyops on you will be one for the history books.

posted by Bruce at 5:46 AM
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Companies that send jobs overseas could kiss their state contracts goodbye if two Colorado lawmakers have their way.

Democratic state Sens. Deanna Hanna of Lakewood and Terry Phillips of Louisville said too many companies are moving jobs out of state or overseas, hurting the state economy. [more]

In December I read about a similar bill proposed here for Washington State; I immediately wrote to both the congressmen who were to introduce the bill with my own proposed title for the bill: "The Economic Patriot Bill."

Later that day my manager stuck her head around the corner of my cubicle, "[Menlo], [HR guy] would like to talk to you for a minute."

I followed her up the elevator to another floor of the company and we went together down the hall to the CEO's office. There the HR guy sat behind the desk and next to the desk was some upper-level manager. I sat down and before she launched fully into her spiel I stopped her, "So I'm being laid off?"

She objected. "We're initiating a workforce reduction project."

Ah, then. That was different. I told her just to skip ahead to the next step in this process, wherein I was led to a conference room where several others nominated for the same project were already sitting. We were waiting for several more and then our last seminar in said conference room would begin: how to apply for unemployment, etc. When nobody managerial from the company was present we talked openly amongst ourselves while we waited.

"Well, this isn't a surprise, but a week before Christmas?"

"Two of the managers were the first to go. One couldn't even stop and give her phone number to a fellow worker. They were escorted right out of the building. When they sat down to their computer when they went back to their office to pack, they were already locked out."

"Why do we have to wait here? Why can't we just go?"

"I feel like a criminal."

Some had tears. I had only been at the company for a year as an employee and a year before that as a temp, and was all of their juniors there by far. I tried to lighten the room with jokes. There was one fellow who had been brought into the company months ago to oversee all production. He gave inspirational meetings puncuated by the handing out of stuffed animals. He told us all that there was turbulence ahead but if we worked hard, there were a lot of oppurtunities for moving up. His own office had enough stuffed animals in it to supply several nursery-school nap rooms. He wandered the office hallways spreading ominous, unspeakable jolly. More than once in the restroom I would notice that after using the urinal he would dash straight to the exit without washing his hands. He was supposed to make the entire department more efficient, but in the end all he did was send all the jobs to India. He was primarily the butt of my jokes.

When I got home I called Pagan and asked her to meet me for dinner after work. I was not entirely unhappy--this had been only a day job for me. I was eligible for six months of unemployment while I looked for something else and retrained. I had a decent severance check and the rest of my 401K. But I felt sorry for the people who worked there and really cared about the place, who had put in years and years and one in particular--the lady who had actually hired me--who as an empty nester had started working there in the mailroom and after years of dedication and loyalty had worked her way up. These people didn't need to be treated like this. They didn't need to be herded into a conference room a week before Christmas with tears in their eyes only to then be escorted downstairs to clean out their office or cubicle and then to the door, like a common criminal.

This company, like the ones mentioned in the aforementioned article, deals only in state contracts. Transnationals like Boeing can and do routinely flex their ability to move elsewhere if they're not given enough tax breaks, but a company which exists solely on state contracts cannot do that, which is why I predict big things for this bill in Colorado and the one just like it here in Washington. The American people have been gathering anger for at least twenty years as they've watched their corporate overlords send more and more of their jobs overseas--first it was the blue-collar jobs, and now the white-collar jobs are also going--and this anger has combined with a sense of impotence because there's nothing that they can do about it. So if you give them one sector of the society where they can do something about it? The Economic Patriot Bill, indeed. Would pass easily, and not only that, the companies who deal in state contracts could probably not muster the lobbying power and campaign money needed to overcome the aforementioned twenty years of simmering anger and resultant impotence directed at corporate off-shoring like the hefty transnationals could.

More importantly, targeting these companies with state contracts with legislation to stop their overseas outsourcing could lead to a momentum--and perhaps the politicians fueled by the public would finally take on the transnationals on this subject as well.

Obviously we're hearing a lot of heady speeches these days promising a lot, but the now-nationalized phrase "Benedict Arnold CEO" is certainly a step in the right direction.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 1:14 AM
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Wednesday, January 28, 2004. *
That such a question can even be posed in today's Israel is dismal testament to the transformation of Zionism into what it claims to abhor. In two recent, extraordinary documents — a commentary in London's The Guardian and an interview with Ha'aretz — Israeli historian Benny Morris prepared the ground for Israel to justify any atrocity, no matter how much it transgresses human rights, law and decency.
posted by Bill at 11:31 AM
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Tuesday, January 27, 2004. *
President Bush declined Tuesday to repeat his claims that evidence that Saddam Hussein had illicit weapons would eventually be found in Iraq, but he insisted that the war was nonetheless justified because Mr. Hussein posed "a grave and gathering threat to America and the world."
posted by A.Q. at 9:47 PM
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Toine van Teeffelen writing from Bethlehem, occupied Palestine, Live from Palestine, 20 January 2004.
posted by A.Q. at 9:44 PM
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Late post. And to the best site in blogtopia ( thanx skippy). I froze my ass talking to the American people today. They care and are worried, uncomfortable and catalyzed by the present Administration. Anyone but Bush is the cry, one guy said he'd vote for a talking dog with dentures in its' ass rather than Mr Bush. He was Republican. Voting Democrat now. But folks seem to follow polls in this "Anyone but Bush" race. I picked a precinct with a spread of folks, from renters to urban professionals- you can see that the media affected their votes.
Actually 2 posts. But look. People care, and want change. One post above, one scroll down.

Get the truth into light. We thinking, caring folks are the majority... People are searching out the news, and they Know it.
posted by m at 9:05 PM
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Monday, January 26, 2004. *
Children Must Play
A bit of a follow-up on my earlier post with an assist from StageLeft.

In that post, I linked to a Telegraph/UK article where David Kay essentially reversed himself when he claimed that he doubted Iraq had any WMDs for years before the war, this time saying that "some components of Saddam's WMD programme" had been moved to Syria. Now why Saddam (or any dictator) would want to simply give anything like this away, especially to a neighbor, is beyond me and perhaps beyond rationality itself. Be that as it may, consider Kay's statement itself. If it is true, then it also most certainly is classified. If it is classified, then Kay could not say it to the Telegraph/UK without the permission for someone in that beehive of Neoconism, the Department of Defense. And even if it were disinformation, he'd still need DoD approval to say it.

From StageLeft now comes a statement by Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Pat Roberts that there is "some concern Iraqi weapons of mass destruction had gone to Syria." One more finger pointing at Syria.

Now, on Syria's part comes the denial by Syrian Minister Ahmad al-Hassan: "This (allegation) is meant to mislead (the public opinion). So long as there were no weapons of mass destruction (found) in Iraq itself how can they be in Syria?" Of course, he's right on both points here. But then al-Hassan continues, "They are seeking to cover their failure," but here he is at least partly wrong. Sure, it would be nice to have a cover story for the failure, but in light of Kay's new allegation (reversal), clearly, there is a greater purpose: Syria is being set up.

O.K., I made that allegation in the earlier post, but wait. Just a while back, National Security Advisor, Condi Rice was denying the Syrian allegation: "... I want to be clear: So far we do not have indicators that can be considered authentic and serious that this had taken place." And just Saturday, Secretary of State Colin Powell was dancing around Kay's earlier statements saying that Iraq hadn't had WMDs in years; dancing, but certainly neither denying them nor updating them with Kay's latest allegation. What? Didn't he get the memo about Syria?

Of course, Powell didn't get any memo about Syria, because there was no memo about Syria. What's going on here is that we're back to the same old games where DoD is trying to whoop up the fever for (another) war by making end runs around State and the NSC. Forget the fact that DoD has amply demonstrated that it doesn't know how to run one of these wars, being a Neocon is never having to say you're sorry.

Children Must Play.

Which gets to the real point here. Bush is clearly trying to run for re-election as some sort of skilled Commander-in-Chief, and yet he can't even manage his own immediate staff. No doubt he is not even aware that his children are once again fighting, and one might easily suspect that he still doesn't even know about the first time. This is a skilled Commander-in-Chief?

No. This is the man Paul O'Neill descibed; disengaged and uninvolved. A "blind man in a roomful of deaf people". And he is also the man with his finger on the trigger of the most powerful arsenal in the history of the world.

This article previously appeared on Benedict@Large.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 5:00 PM
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Clearly the most comprehensive article I've yet encounter on the Pentagon's new Internet voting system, Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment, or SERVE. Discussed are the highly critical SERVE Security Analysis (below), the Canadian Internet voting experience (hardly flawless), the history of the SERVE project, the implementation strategy, and more.

[Note: Wired News consistently offers perhaps the most thorough news articles relating to e-vote developments. If you use an RSS/XML reader, use this feed to be notified of their latest e-vote stories as they are released.

A one-page site with the Executive Summary (and conclusions) as well as a links to the full report (34 pages, 372 KB PDF), press reports, and e-mail contacts. For those currently involved with DRE (direct recording electronic) voting systems, the first conclusion is most telling:
  • DRE voting systems have been widely criticized elsewhere for various deficiencies and security vulnerabilities: that their software is totally closed and proprietary; that the software undergoes insufficient scrutiny during qualification and certification; that they are especially vulnerable to various forms of insider (programmer) attacks; and that DREs have no voter-verified audit trails (paper or otherwise) that could largely circumvent these problems and improve voter confidence. All of these criticisms, which we endorse, apply directly to SERVE as well.
The remainder of the conclusions pertain to numerous Internet vulnerabilities, which the authors state cannot be overcome given the current architecture of the Internet. The authors recommend an immediate halt to any efforts to implement the system, and recommend against any future efforts to implement Internet-based voting.

This article previously appeared on Black Box Notes.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 4:55 PM
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A contest! A contest!
Do you have 250 family members, friends, associates, and colleagues who can afford to give $2,000 to President Bush? Do you have a name for people who do? Then this contest's for you.
posted by Mischa Peyton at 4:47 PM
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Sunday, January 25, 2004. *
Good to see that the Democrats are calling the Bush Administration to claim responsibility for their war on Iraq based on their various claims that Iraq was an imminent threat due to it's supposedly active nuclear, chemical and biological weapons program.
Kerry was joined in his call for an investigation by other Democrats on the campaign trail who are vying for the chance to beat President Bush in November.

The Neocon influence on intelligence to make it "fit" their aims is something we have spoken about here many times, and the truth is getting mainstream.
Cheney and his most senior aide reportedly made multiple trips to the CIA before the war to question analysts studying Iraq's weapons programs. Cheney has denied his visits were intended to pressure analysts into making assessments fit the administration policy objective of ousting Saddam.

Mr Powell is no longer sure about the existence of the banned weapons in Iraq. While sightsseing in Rome a reporter asked Dick Cheney about Mr Powells less cocksure stance on the weapons:
The vice president stopped briefly for photographers as he was greeted at the museum entrance, but headed inside when a reporter asked if he had any reaction to Secretary of State Colin Powell's weekend statement that it was an "open question" whether Iraq had banned weapons of mass destruction before the US-led invasion.
"Nice to see you all," Cheney said as he headed into the museum, the first stop on a day of sightseeing.

Let justice be served.

Get a copy of 'Uncovered: the whole truth about the Iraq war" by Robert Greenwald

If you haven't noticed, the Administration has changed it's phraseing about the weapons:
March 2003: Weapons of mass destruction.
June 2003: Weapons of mass destruction programs.
October 2003: Weapons of mass destruction-related programs.
January 2004: Weapons of mass destruction-related program activities

An instructive introduction to Mr Bush's lies concerning Iraq has been compiled by Steve Perry, read "Bring 'Em On!
The Bush Administration's Top 40 Lies About War and Terrorism".
posted by m at 2:39 PM
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remember the old saying in new hampshire, you can spackle us and you can grout us, but you can't caucus. [ed. note: what?]

the best part of the polls coming out of new hampshire this week is one by newsweek in which john kerry beats awol by three points.

overall, 52 percent of those polled by newsweek say they would not like to see bush serve a second term, compared to 44 percent who want to see him win again in november. as a result, kerry is enjoying a marginal advantage over bush, a first for the poll. forty-nine percent of registered voters chose kerry, compared to 46 percent who re-elected bush. in fact, all democrats are polling better against bush, perhaps due to increased media attention to their primary horserace: clark gets 47 percent of voters’ choice compared to 48 percent from bush; edwards has 46 percent compared to bush’s 49; leiberman wins 45 percent versus bush’s 49 percent; and dean fares the worst with 45 percent of their votes to bush’s 50 percent.
[ed. note: great internet poll on that page! go take it!]

even better, john kerry is not backing down on his earlier assertions that awol is awol. the nypost, of all places, reports:

when vietnam veteran kerry, who tried to cut a macho image yesterday by playing in an ice hockey game with some former boston bruins players, was asked about moore's harsh attack, he said it was "over-the-top language."

but in 2000, kerry lashed out: "those of us who were in the military wonder how it is that someone [bush] who is supposedly serving on active duty having taken that oath can miss a whole year of service without even explaining where it went."

asked if kerry still believes that, spokeswoman stephanie cutter replied: "he stands by that statement."
so do we.

cross-posted on our own blog and the american street and our daily kos diary.
posted by Unknown at 12:07 PM
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Arthur Silver, The Light of Reason: Well, leave it to the most hawkish of the hawks to prove my point ... that nothing -- not the facts, not the disintegration of all their arguments for war with Iraq in the cold light of day, not the fact that our military is close to the breaking point now -- nothing will slow the hawks down in their plans to "remake" the Middle East.

Not content to leave bad enough alone, David Kay has some news for us, beyond the fact that with regard to Iraq's "large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq": "I don't think they existed." No, Mr. Kay has this additional tidbit to impart:

David Kay: We are not talking about a large stockpile of weapons. But we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam's WMD programme. Precisely what went to Syria, and what has happened to it, is a major issue that needs to be resolved.
No, David, that is not what has to be resolved. What needs to be resolved is if some components of Saddam's WMD programme went to Syria, where the hell are the rest of them? Some "former iraqi officials" could tell you that some WMD components went to Syria, but they couldn't tell you where any of the rest of them were?

No, no, no. This doesn't even begin to make sense. This is too transparent. This is the Neocons trying to set Syria up. And they don't give a damn if Syria has WMDS or not. Just like they didn't give a damn if Iraq did or not.

And then there is this:

UPDATE: David Kay will be interviewed on the NBC Nightly News on Monday.
posted by Mischa Peyton at 5:09 AM
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Bush vs. Dean: Who's more presidential?
posted by BrianF at 1:22 AM
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Saturday, January 24, 2004. *
"Meanwhile, a week after President Bush's State of the Union address, his approval rating has fallen to 50 percent from 54 percent in the last Newsweek Poll (1/8-9/04). Yet, a 52-percent majority of registered voters says it would not like to see him re-elected to a second term. Only 44 percent say they would like to see him re-elected, a four-point drop from the last Newsweek Poll. (Of that, 37% strongly want to see him re-elected, and 47% strongly do not). However, a large majority of voters (78%) says that it is very likely (40%) or somewhat likely (38%) that Bush will in fact be re- elected to a second term in office. Only 10 percent believe it is not too likely or not at all likely (10%)."
posted by Klintron at 4:44 PM
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Looking for that silver lining:
Wars 'useful', says US army chief
Army Chief of Staff General Peter Schoomaker:
"There is a huge silver lining in this cloud," he said.

"War is a tremendous focus... Now we have this focusing opportunity, and we have the fact that [terrorists] have actually attacked our homeland, which gives it some oomph."

He said it was no use having an army that did nothing but train.

Let me get this straight. Pete is over here in the Pentagon while we have 150,000 troops in war zones? I wonder how much they agree with him?

Just one more "bring 'em on" moment.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 2:36 PM
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You may have heard the flap about Michael Moore saying he'd like to see Clark and Bush debate; He'd call it "The General vs The Deserter. (Scroll down offered Moore link for the David Broder WaPo story)
Here's a piece of the transcript of the NH debate where this was mentioned featuring Peter Jennings and Mr Clark...
PJ: Let me ask you something you mentioned then because since this question and answer in which you and Mr. Moore was involved, you've had a chance to look at the facts. Do you still feel comfortable with the fact that someone should be standing up in your president, in your presence and calling the president of the United States a deserter?

WC: To be honest with you, I did not look at the facts Peter. That's Michael Moore's opinion; he's entitled to say that, I've seen, he's not the only person who's said that. I've not followed up on those facts, and frankly it's not relevant to me and why I'm in this campaign.

Michael Moore has compiled an extensive documentation on George AWOL Bush You might want to send a link to the Clark campaign.
For a bunch of quotes showing the present Administration flip-flopping on the reality of Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological (non)weapons stop here. Remind everyone you can about the slippery, war mongering Neocons. The absent weapons were the reason Iraq was attacked so hastily. And the reason our soldiers are dying there.
posted by m at 1:54 PM
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The annotated Richard Perle:
U.N. Should Change -- or U.S. Should Quit
The world body's rules prevent America from answering threats.
An LA Times guest commentary by our Neocon friends, Richard Perle and David Frum, resident fellows of the American Enterprise Institute and coauthors of the Armagedon instruction manual, "An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror" (which I commented on here).

You've really got to hand it to these guys. They are consistent. They've been calling for our exit from the UN since before Ronald Reagan. But the "tooth fairy"?

The United Nations is the tooth fairy of American politics: Few adults believe in it, but it's generally regarded as a harmless story to amuse the children. Since 9/11, however, the U.N. has ceased to be harmless, and the Democratic presidential candidates' enthusiasm for it has ceased to be amusing.
And then they throw down the gauntlet:
The United Nations has emerged at best as irrelevant to the terrorist threat that most concerns us, and at worst as an obstacle to our winning the war on terrorism. It must be reformed. And if it cannot be reformed, the United States should give serious consideration to withdrawal.

The U.N. has become an obstacle to our national security because it purports to set legal limits on the United States' ability to defend itself. If these limits ever made sense at all, they do not make sense now.

Wait a minute, Richard. They don't make sense now? Isn't that code for post-9/11? But you never wanted us in the UN ... ever!

But allow me to digress. I attributed this to Perle, because Frum probably wrote the article (and the book -- he was a speechwriter for the Chimp), but the ideas all belong to Richard "Prince of Darkness" Perle, who is a consultant to Rummy and, let's not forget, a very rich arms broker. No conflict of interest there, is there, Dick?

But there's more:

The trouble is that the U.N. defines aggression in outdated ways. For the U.N., "aggression" means invasion across national borders. Send Nazi shock troops into Poland -- that's aggression. Give sanctuary to thousands of anti-American murderers, as the Taliban did in Afghanistan, that's not aggression.
You're confusing me, Dick. As I recall, the UN wasn't standing in our way on Afghanistan. And how many countries joined us? Nah. It would be easier to count the number of countries that didn't. A bit of revisionist history there, Dick.
In other words, under U.N. rules, the U.S. is obliged to let terrorists strike first before retaliating -- and might even be prohibited from striking second.
Come on, Dick. The UN listened to your case on Iraq, and you just didn't make it. Remember? The WMDs? And now you're blaming them because you couldn't make your case? Well, Dick, where the hell are they? You know. The WMDs?
We need new rules recognizing that harboring terrorists is just as much an act of aggression as an invasion and that those who are targeted by terrorists have an inherent right to defend themselves, preemptively if necessary.

Of course, it won't be easy to persuade the U.N. to adopt these changes.

Well, of course not, Dick. You shot your credibility on the WMD issue. 15,000 people dead, and you want another chance?

And finally:

In a little more than a decade, our world has been transformed, first by the fall of the Soviet Union and then the events of 9/11. Everything has changed -- except for the U.N. It remains an invention of a vanished era, designed to solve vanished problems.
Uh, Dick? You mean countries can't invade other countries in a pre-emptive fashion anymore? Weren't you watching last March?

Listen up, Dick. You too, Dave. Spend a little time brushing up on your composition skills. Otherwise, you just might end up getting published in the LA Times and looking STUPID.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 1:41 PM
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Oil and politics make an intoxicating cocktail ­ addictive, but with deadly consequences. It has always been so.

Just look at the events of the past three decades: the rise of OPEC in the early 1970s and its spectacular initial success in setting global oil prices; the 1973 Arab oil embargo that shook Western economies to the core; last year’s US-led invasion of Iraq, a country that happens to possess the world’s second-largest oil reserves, after Saudi Arabia. Not to mention the often repeated call by neoconservatives in America to “occupy” Arab oil countries.

Just a few weeks ago: the arrest of Russian oil tycoon Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, head of the Yukos energy firm, when he “defied” a Kremlin directive by trying to sell a major stake of his firm to ExxonMobil.

To understand the meaning of the Kremlin’s move against Yukos, it is important to appreciate that ExxonMobil is one of the world’s two largest corporations, along with General Electric, and the biggest of all oil companies. It is therefore a major player in American politics.

The bottom line in all these episodes is the same: Oil is the one strategic commodity of the world that governments, from superpowers to minor states, will never allow to be free of political control.

Big boys play rough.
posted by Mischa Peyton at 11:49 AM
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Globalism, corporatism, imperialism, neoconism; the goal's all the same, and you ain't part of it. Arundhati Roy of The Nation declares war against the New American Century.
In the great cities of Europe and America, where a few years ago these things would only have been whispered, now people are openly talking about the good side of imperialism and the need for a strong empire to police an unruly world. The new missionaries want order at the cost of justice. Discipline at the cost of dignity. And ascendancy at any price. Occasionally some of us are invited to "debate" the issue on "neutral" platforms provided by the corporate media. Debating imperialism is a bit like debating the pros and cons of rape. What can we say? That we really miss it? ...

This brutal blueprint has been used over and over again across Latin America, in Africa and in Central and Southeast Asia. It has cost millions of lives. It goes without saying that every war Empire wages becomes a Just War. This, in large part, is due to the role of the corporate media. It's important to understand that the corporate media don't just support the neoliberal project. They are the neoliberal project. This is not a moral position they have chosen to take; it's structural. It's intrinsic to the economics of how the mass media work.

A lengthy look at what your life will be like in the New American Century, ... if you live long enough.
posted by Mischa Peyton at 11:40 AM
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In many places across George Bush's America, you may be losing your ability to exercise your lawful First Amendment rights of speech and assembly. Increasingly, some police departments, the FBI, and the Secret Service are engaging in the criminalization--or, at the very least, the marginalization--of dissent.
The Progressive takes a look at the problem, and it's probably worse than you think. The account of the Miami FTAA protests is especially chilling.
posted by Mischa Peyton at 3:10 AM
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A New Target
So what did you expect? John Edwards does a surprizing second in Iowa and pulls into the lead in New Hampshire polls, and BAM! the Mighty Wurlitzer kicks in it's slander machine. Try this title from The Weekly Standard: Two-Face John Edwards is a Clinton-style golden boy.

So what is the Standard's problem? It seems that Edwards hasn't named his campaign contributors. Well, wait a minute. All of that is reported quarterly by law. So Edwards waits until then? So does Bush.

But, oh no, it must be those evil trial lawyers sending Edwards money. Well duh? He was one. You might expect them to like his candidacy.

I'll tell you. If this is the best that Bill Kristol's boys can do against Edwards, they should save their typespace. I would have been ashamed to put my name on such a shabby article.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 2:42 AM
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Friday, January 23, 2004. *
The Chicago Sun-Times pipes in.
But the Pentagon is standing by the system, which could get its first test Feb. 3 in South Carolina. ...

So far, seven states have signed on to the experimental system: Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 11:36 PM
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Making Votes Count:
The Perils of Online Voting
A New York Times editorial:
Internet voting has been viewed as a possible cure for some of the ills that afflict the mechanics of American democracy. Recently, the technology has seemed to move ahead of any serious consideration of whether it is actually a good idea to allow home computer owners to choose a president in the same way they order bath towels online or send e-mail to their relatives. But now there are grave questions about whether even the technology makes sense.

Four computer scientists brought in by the Pentagon to analyze a plan for Internet voting by the military issued a blistering report this week, concluding that the program should be halted. These four are the only members of a 10-member advisory committee to issue a report on the program. Their findings make it clear that the potential for hackers to steal votes or otherwise subvert elections electronically is too high. Congress should suspend the program.

The intentions behind the Pentagon's plan, the Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment, are laudable. Military personnel overseas, and other Americans abroad, face obstacles to registering and voting. The new program would ease the way by allowing them to use any computer hooked up to the Internet. This year, it would be limited to voters abroad who are from one of 50 counties in seven states, but it could eventually be used by all of the estimated six million American voters overseas.

But the advantages of the Pentagon's Internet voting system would be far outweighed by the dangers it would pose. The report makes it clear that the possibilities for compromising the secrecy of the ballot, voting multiple times and carrying out vote theft on a large scale would be limited only by the imagination and skill of would-be saboteurs. Viruses could be written that would lodge on voters' computers and change their votes. Internet service providers, or even foreign governments that control network access, could interfere with votes before they reached their destination.

This week's report — which was written by respected scientists, including Aviel Rubin, an associate professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University — is not the first to call Internet voting into question. A March 2001 study conducted by the Internet Policy Institute and financed by the National Science Foundation found that Internet systems like the Pentagon's "pose significant risk to the integrity of the voting process."

There is every reason to believe that if federal elections can be tampered with, they will be, particularly when a single hacker, working alone, might be able to use an online voting system to steal a presidential election. The authors of this week's report concede that there is no way of knowing how likely it is that the Pentagon's voting system would be compromised. What is clear, however, is that until the vulnerabilities they identified are eliminated, the risks are too great.

But they're still missing the point: Keep the military out of the voting business.
posted by Mischa Peyton at 11:21 PM
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While the corporation has the rights and responsibilities of ”a legal person”, its owners and shareholders are not liable for its actions. Moreover, the film explains, a corporation's directors are legally required to do what is best for the company, regardless of the harm created.

What kind of person would a corporation be? A clinical psychopath, answers the documentary, which is now playing in four Canadian theatres.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 10:26 PM
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Now this is what Democracy is about. A mix of people with different ideals sharing their perspective, in a forum where all get a chance to speak. When I say "different ideals" I mean it- in attendence were 2 Republican candidates for President, one who lead us in prayer. There was a Pat Buchanan supporter complete with confederate flag. A woman who claimed the use birth control pills is tantamount to having an abortion. The majority well informed, caring conscious Progressives. And all were heard, not heckled, not ridiculed. Folks with opposing points of view politely aired their say. A lively New England Town Hall Meeting in the spirit of that august tradition.

The evening started out with a presentation of Symbolman's "An Army of One" flash animation. This compelling video is being shown on TV commercials across the Granite State. I'd urge you to give it a look. The one minute TV version is a touch different; you'll get the tenor of their thought though from this internet piece. It was good to meet Symbolman, as another humble internet activist it was reinforcing to talk for a bit.

The centerpiece of this occasion was a screening of 'Uncovered: the whole truth about the Iraq war" ( Get this important DVD) by Robert Greenwald. You need to see this film, to purchase it and get copies circulating to everyone you know. Everyone. It is a damning expose` of the Neocon rush to war, very well done, the hypocrisy of the current Administration laid out for all to see. MoveOn and The Center for American Progress should be applauded for promoting this audio-visual monument to the truth of why our soldiers are dying in Iraq. And how lies wrest Democracy from the honest Americans that make up the majority of our nation.

I got to meet Stranger of Blah3, he too is associated with Take Back The Media and has been a blogging ally since I first started. He plays a serious sinuous strident strat too, if you didn't know. He rocked sweet playing his song "Den of Thieves" in a room where Democracy breathed. Later he played again, another cut from his upcoming CD.

CNN claims Mr Bush is running unopposed, but a viable Republican is running against George W. Bush. From hearing him speak I have to admit I admire the guy, despite his party affiliation. John Buchanan is his name, you may know him as the gentleman that outed the Bush family as Hitler supporters in America's oldest newspaper, The New Hampshire Gazette. Other newspapers in America have not touched the story in over 60 years. I talked with Buchanan, he has offered the story out widely.

Iona Bigga Yacht introduced the Billionaires For Bush video entry to the MoveOn "Bush in 30 seconds"contest "Leave No Billionaire Behind". F. Scott Fitzgerald was right, the rich are different from us, they have more money. And as the lovely Ms Bigga Yacht demonstrated, much cooler accents and diction than "We the People".

James, a lively guy from added to the festivities, offering us "Chicken Hawk-In-Chief World Domination Tour" hoodies- warm hoodies to counter the New Hampshire night deep in its single digit arctic blast. Much appreciated! Earlier this good man was marching in cadence to an accompanying video in an AWOL jumpsuit and helmet- and rubber George Bush mask. Working hard to get the message out. He was featured in a video with (I'm guessing) actors that looked like Mr Cheney and Mr Powell just rolling with corporate dough. What a hoot!

People to People TV was filming the action. This was not your usual "talking heads" manipulated media happening; it was real people coming together, making Democracy alive.

Meetings like this are what America is all about.

Links Fixed

posted by m at 10:08 PM
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Remember, always, when dealing with the Bushes: Follow the money, not the mouthing.Chris Floyd:
To carry out this choice bit of war profiteering, Halliburton hooked up with Altanmia Marketing of Kuwait. Altanmia was given exclusive rights to ship Kuwaiti gasoline to Iraq -- "even though it had no prior experience transporting fuel," U.S. Congressional investigators report. So what is the firm's actual expertise? Investments, real estate -- and acting as "representative agents for companies trading in military and nuclear, biological and chemical equipment," The Wall Street Journal reports.

In other words, Halliburton's new partner traffics in the essential elements of WMD -- the very stuff whose spread and sale the United States is ostensibly dedicated to stopping around the world. Ostensibly. But as always with the Bushists, the rhetoric of "security" is a thin rag to cover their unquenchable thirst for state-supported brigandage.

"Remember, always, when dealing with the Bushes: Follow the money, not the mouthing."
posted by Mischa Peyton at 10:07 PM
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Thursday, January 22, 2004. *
The problem has always been what President Eisenhower loosely called “the military-industrial complex.” That is, if the USA comes to terms with all the rogue states of the world who were aligned with Moscow or Beijing in the Cold War, there would no enemies to guard against or to defeat if they were deemed imminent threats. Public support for defense spending would dry up and the Pentagon would wind up living on crumbs, as it was in the 1930's.
Jude's article points to My Secret Talks With Libya, And Why They Went Nowhere by Gary Hart (remember him?), in which hart documents his own negotiations with Libya in 1992. The Libyan government wanted a lifting of our sanctions against them and a normalization of relations, and were willing to put "everything will be on the table" simply for an assurance that this process would commence in an honest fashion.

This was not to be however. Bush, Sr. refused all solicitations by the Libyan government. Hart questions why:

I anticipate (sic) obvious questions in response to these facts. Why me? The only plausible explanation is that I had publicly condemned (based largely on my experience on the Church committee, which revealed previous assassination plots) President Reagan's attempt to assassinate Gaddafi by long-range bomber in 1986. Was I singled out? Not really; others had been approached. Do I believe the offer was rejected because the Swiss would demand jurisdiction over the bombers in the 40 feet between airplanes? Not in the least. Was the offer rejected because the intermediary was a Democrat? The first Bush administration will have to respond to that question.
And he concludes:
This account suggests, and strongly so, only one thing: We might have brought the Pan Am bombers to justice, and quite possibly have moved Libya out of its renegade status, much sooner than we have. At the very least it calls into serious question the assertion that Libya changed direction as a result of our preemptive invasion of Iraq.
posted by Mischa Peyton at 11:52 PM
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A new $22 million system to allow soldiers and other Americans overseas to vote via the Internet is inherently insecure and should be abandoned, according to members of a panel of computer security experts asked by the government to review the program.
And you thought Diebold was a problem? This system is nonsense ten times over.

Let's look at some potential and actual problems:

  • Technical:
    • Viruses can easily corrupt voting computers and servers, possibly rendering them inoperable. If this were not detected and corrected in advance, voters may be denied the opportunity to vote. Even if these could be detected in advance, there is no guarantee that skilled personnel will be available to correct the problem.
    • Viruses can easily corrupt the voting computers and servers in a manner that misrecords or deliberately alters the votes cast. These viruses can also be programmed to delete themselves once voting was completed.
    • Even viruses that do not attack the voting computers and servers themselves can cause the communications lines that carry their messages to become overloaded, thereby denying voters the opportunity to vote.
    • Soldiers stationed in areas subject to power failures could be denied the opportunity to vote by such a failure.
    • Systems such as Carnivour could easily intercept and even change internet votes

  • Practical:
    • It is the responsibility of each voting supervisor to verify the eligibility of every person casting a vote to actually be eligible to cast a vote in their district. Military write-in voting offers at least a cursory opportunity for the voting supervisor to just that. The system being implemented by the military will simply forward vote totals to the various districts. Voting supervisors will thus be placed in the position of accepting a mere vote count without any possibility of verifying that individuals are eligible.
    • Voting supervisors will be unable to inspect the voting computers being used to insure that they meet local standards.
    • Paper trails and systems audits will be impossible for voting supervisors.

  • Political:
    • Most troublesome is the fact that this system essentially militarizes a portion of our voting system, bring it under direct control of the military. Inspection by elected officials and/or their appointees will be impossible. The military simply should not be a part of our voting process beyond their current role of providing all soldiers the opportunity to vote.
    • This system is being suggested as a "pilot test" of a future national voting system. This would have the potential of bringing the majority of our voting system under military control. Since the military is effectively under the control of the Executive, the Executive could literally order the military to tamper with the vote.
Of course, this is simply what I've thought up in an hour, and I'm sure that there are more reasons that to reject internet (and especially military control of) voting. It is simply a bad idea. Just because a technological solution can be found for something is not a justification for the implementation of that solution.

This article also appears at Black Box Notes.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 5:41 PM
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Friedman argues from a Pro-Globalization, Pro-Zionism perspective, but he believes that American policy in regards to Israel is insane and contrary to American and Israeli interests. Here is an excerpt of his perspective:

et's not mince words. American policy today towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is insane.

Can anyone look at what is happening - Palestinians, gripped by a collective madness, committing suicide, and Israelis, under a leadership completely adrift, building more settlements so fanatical Jews can live in the heart of Palestinian-populated areas - and not conclude the following:

That these two nations are locked in an utterly self-destructive vicious cycle that threatens Israel's long-term viability, poisons America's image in the Middle East, undermines any hope for a Palestinian state and weakens pro-American Arab moderates.

The Bush team, backed by certain conservative Jewish and Christian activist groups, believes that the correct policy is to do nothing. Well, that is my definition of insane. Israel must get out of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as soon as possible and evacuate most of the settlements. Otherwise, the Jewish state is in peril. The United States should be forcing it.

The Bush team rightly speaks of bringing justice to Iraq. It rightly denounces Palestinian suicide madness. But it says nothing about the injustice of the Israeli land grab in the West Bank. The Bush team has not persuaded Israel to give up one settlement in three years. To think that America can practise that sort of hypocrisy and win the war of ideas in the Arab-Muslim world is a truly dangerous fantasy.
posted by A.Q. at 5:11 PM
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The Anuak have lived for centuries in a verdant western region of Ethiopia. There are active gold pits and oil reserves on the Anuak’s ancestral land, resources the Ethiopian government covets. Over the past decade the Anuak have pressed the factional government in Addis Ababa for a share in the projected development of these resources and have been answered in political subjugation, physical beatings and now the government-led pogrom.

It is a small genocide compared to those of the Turks, Jews, Cambodians, Tutsis and Bosnian Muslims, but it has all the markings of a state-sponsored attempt to extinguish an entire race.

Over the past decade some 20,000 Anuak have fled into refugee camps in northern Kenya (primarily the Ifo camp), and into southern Sudan. Until December 13, most of the killings of Anuak were by their ancient tribal enemies, the Nuer, many of whom have resettled on Anuak land as civil war refugees from Sudan. The United Nations runs three refugee camps in western Ethiopia for these refugees, most of whom are Nuer.
posted by A.Q. at 5:05 PM
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by Leilla Matsui

As if we didn't have enough to worry about here on "Terror Firma", the Bushi'ites have now set their unblinking, beady eyes on space, starting with the plan to extend Texas's borders to the moon and moving on to conquering the war planet itself. In the wake of NASA's success with "Spirit", a Mars probing rover now scouring the martian soil for signs of life, Bush has cashed in on the moment with a blank check to cover the future costs of destabilizing the solar system, with the eventual goal of establishing a permanent military presence on Mars. For the evil geniuses plotting Intergalactic Armageddon from their revolving steakhouse headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue, regime change can now be applied to any ravaged and barren "wasteland", particularly ones ill-equipped to defend themselves against their "liberators".

In the month since Saddam Hussein's lice-ridden mug shot became a euphoric symbol of conquest, the Moor's head on the neo-Crusader's victory banner, so to speak, the US has failed to deliver the spectacular, beyond its own failures at least. The way Bush and Co. see it, if US forces could arrange for a dictator to pop out of his remote, well camouflaged "spider hole" on cue, then presumably other hostile life forms could just as easily be coaxed out of a crater and forced to hand over their resources as well.

Meanwhile, closer to home, another "Red Menace" has prompted the Bush administration to take to the unfriendly skies. With China poised to establish a permanent lunar presence after her successful leap forward into orbit late last year, the US is once again going it alone in a race against time to make the galaxy safer for Boeing and Bechtel. It doesn't take a rocket scientist, or a Freudian analyst for that matter, to realize that Bush the Lesser's real target for one-upmanship is no other than George the Elder himself; the cranky old patriarch who spent much of his lifetime being underwhelmed by the achievements of the halfwit who bears most of his name.

Since the first George Bush failed to capture the imagination of Congress in 1989 to the tune of almost $500 billion with his own "vision" of a manned space mission to Mars, the younger Bush has found yet another way to beat the old chickenhawk at his own game. Perhaps, the scriptural lesson here reads as follows: the sissy sins of the panty-waisted father will not be visited upon this particular son-of-a-bitch. Saddam Hussein's head on a platter was the first oedipal act of vengeance against a despised paternal figure by an unworthy boozehound son. Flipping him the bird from space, symbolically at least, will arguably be a moment to cherish, up there with stealing the old veteran's flight suit and prancing around the deck of an aircraft carrier.

If delusions count for anything, then the less senior Bush has "vision" in spades. Most notably, the ability to conjure up a unifying theme of imperiled national security to divert public attention away from more pressing economic concerns. Rallying the population around a flagpole -- and beating dissenters at home and abroad with it -- has so far proved effective in replacing the Bill of Rights with the Patriot Act. Since the phantom menaces in the fictional war on terrorism have outlived their usefulness in terms of whipping up support for an invalid presidency, the administration now needs G.I. Jesus to focus his efforts on looking benevolently sage in front of an artificial celestial backdrop.

If Bush has succeeded in terrifying "aliens" on his own turf, no doubt he'll be able to keep the martians in line with similar tactics like his recently unveiled plan to partially legalize the 10 million or so undocumented workers who've already landed on US soil. Perhaps, he'll try to win over the hearts and minds of his new single-eyed subjects with vague promises of green cards. In exchange for temporary servitude as guest workers on their own planet and exempt from the rights and privileges of earthly citizenship, he can keep labor costs down to a minimum here on Planet Lunch and look "compassionate" at the same time.

And while Americans are busy gazing through the smog towards the no longer visible heavens, their leaders, ironically enough, are hard at work sealing up their terrestrial borders. Visitors to the US now have to undergo invasive and humiliating procedures not unlike the alien abductees' ordeals at the hands of those coldly efficient, uniformly white beings who overwhelm and probe them with terrifying hi-tech gadgetry. The "alien" theme has always played a significant role in shaping the policy of this pod administration. In only a few short years, they have managed to "alienate" even their closest allies who undoubtedly view the new masters of the universe with a skepticism normally reserved for tentacled invaders from a distant planet.

With a chimp at the pretend helm of the Starship Free-Enterprise, the neo-con administration is steering the nation towards bankruptcy and charting a course of environmental disaster. The Whitehouse's decision to earmark untold billions towards expanding its search for fossil fuel outside the ozone comes just weeks after a scientific study revealed that approximately half a million plant and animal species face extinction here on earth. Around the same time NASA expects to have achieved its goal of planting an American on Mars, Earth will likely resemble the desolate planets on Bush's hit list. If all goes according to plan, future generations won't have to travel far to experience the thrill of discovering phantom evidence of life in a barren and hostile environment.

Leilla Matsui is a freelance writer living in Tokyo, Japan. She can be reached at:

This article previously appeared in Dissident Voice, January 20, 2004
posted by nina h.pixie at 10:58 AM
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More than 500 pairs of empty Army boots were placed side-by-side in downtown Chicago Wednesday to serve as a reminder of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq.

The black boots, some dusty and dirty from use, were placed on Federal Plaza in front of a posterboard display that listed the names, ages and states of all soldiers killed in the war.

The memorial served as a powerful symbol for visitor Becky Schillo.

‘‘You hear about one or two soldiers being killed, then 500," the 24-year-old said. ‘‘It kind of hits home."

As of Wednesday, 503 U.S. service members have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq, both from hostile and non-hostile causes, according to the military.

posted by Jeremy Galinho Doido at 5:45 AM
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The short answer? Yes. It was going to happen anyways. Exact same schedule. Exact same plan. The only thing that 9/11 changed was that the press was going to cover it.
posted by Mischa Peyton at 1:38 AM
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Wednesday, January 21, 2004. *
232: Number of American combat deaths in Iraq between May 2003 and January 2004

501: Number of American servicemen to die in Iraq from the beginning of the war - so far

0: Number of American combat deaths in Germany after the Nazi surrender to the Allies in May 1945

0: Number of coffins of dead soldiers returning home from Iraq that the Bush administration has allowed to be photographed

0: Number of funerals or memorials that President Bush has attended for soldiers killed in Iraq

100: Number of fund-raisers attended by Bush or Vice-President Dick Cheney in 2003

13: Number of meetings between Bush and Tony Blair since he became President

10 million: Estimated number of people worldwide who took to the streets in opposition to the invasion of Iraq, setting an all-time record for simultaneous protest

2: Number of nations that Bush has attacked and taken over since coming into the White House

9.2: Average number of American soldiers wounded in Iraq each day since the invasion in March last year

1.6: Average number of American soldiers killed in Iraq per day since hostilities began

16,000: Approximate number of Iraqis killed since the start of war

10,000: Approximate number of Iraqi civilians killed since the beginning of the conflict

$100 billion: Estimated cost of the war in Iraq to American citizens by the end of 2003 [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:25 PM
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I did my best to gather resources showing that the State of the Union Address was another Bush exercise in "The Big Lie" technique of governance. Remember, "The Big Lie" cannot be utilized effectively without media complicity.
We need to be the media, person to person. My analysis is lengthy. You can see it here.
posted by m at 8:47 PM
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The U.S. Marine Corps lawyer assigned to defend an Australian terror suspect being held at the Guantanamo naval base in Cuba Wednesday criticized the military tribunal process and said it will not allow a fair trial.

Maj. Michael Mori, who in November was assigned to be the military attorney for David Hicks -- an Australian held at the U.S. military prison in Cuba -- said the system set up by the Pentagon for trials of non-U.S. citizens captured during what U.S. officials call the war on terror was unfair.

"The military commissions will not provide a full and fair trial," Mori told a news conference. "The commission process has been created and controlled by those with a vested interest only in convictions."

"Fairness is extremely important in all cases, particularly those that have commanded such international attention and will have international impact," he said.
posted by A.Q. at 4:27 PM
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WASHINGTON - A House committee recommended legislation Wednesday that would provide for fast special elections if a terrorist attack killed or incapacitated many House members.

The measure would require expedited elections under "extraordinary circumstances" when the speaker of the House announces that vacancies in the 435-member chamber exceed 100.

The bill stipulates that parties choose candidates within 10 days of that announcement and that state elections be held within 45 days.

The legislation has also been approved by the House Administration Committee and now goes to the full House for consideration.

Pardon me, but can someone tell me why this is necessary? If more than 100 members of the House are suddenly dead, why in hell do we need a full House in 45 days to do anything? Like we are going to be worried about proportional representation a month and a half after a terrorit attack that kills over 100 representatives? Just pass the war resolution, and leave the rest of anything off the table until we all get our heads back on. Whatever else needs to be done can be fully handled through the martial law that would most certainly be declared.

Pardon me if I smell a rat.

This article previously appeared on Black Box Notes.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 3:21 PM
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Black people get crappy health care. You can read that in lots of places. But the one place you won't read about it is in a new study of racial disparities in health care released by the federal government.

George Bush doesn't want you to know. And so Health and Human Services didn't tell you.

George Bush didn't want you to know about the quality of asbestos-tainted air at Ground Zero after 9/11. And so the Environmental Protection Agency didn't tell you.

George Bush doesn't want you to know that there is no link between abortion and breast cancer. And so the National Cancer Institute won't tell you that anymore.

George Bush doesn't want you to know that there is no link between education about condom use and increased sexual activity. And so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention won't tell you you that anymore.

SOTUHere's what George Bush wants you to know.

Some people lie by omission. Some people lie by comission.

George Bush is good at both.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 11:01 AM
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