American Samizdat

Sunday, February 29, 2004. *
A Neocon Reader
Bedtime for Bonzos
A drop-dead exposé!
The idea that some of the major Neocon players might be "dual loyalists" has been around for a while, although it's generally been balanced by the idea that one should not rush to over-read what simply might be staunch advocacies of Israeli concerns. This report puts an end to this question. With fact after fact after fact and covering a span of thirty-five years, Stephen Green paints the professional resumés of key Neocons repeatedly compromising or being suspected of compromising U.S. national security interests in favor of those of Israel. Green changes the question from one of dual loyalist or stranch advocate to one of dual loyalist or outright spy.

Consider Stephen Bryen, under investigation for espionage (for Israel) in 1979 and subverting technology transfer rules (for Israel) in 1988, only to find himself in 2001 on a commission to investigate illegal technology transfer (by Israel) to China.

Or consider Michael Ledeen, who in the mid-80's was classified by official CIA documents as an "agent of influence" of Israel. Michael, it seems, has a long history of discomforting his co-workers by hanging around when documents he wasn't cleared to see were present and even asking for those documents by the classified names of then he was not even supposed to know.

And then there are the principles, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and Douglas Feith, who have not avoided their own investigations and keep bringing both Bryen and Ledeen back in. At every turn, all of these men seem to be under investigation for some sort of security breach or illegal technology transfer. At every turn, they seem to be losing their Top Secret access. And at every turn, they seem to be conspiring with each other to regain that Top Secret access. But most of all, they all have that access now, and until Richard Perle's resignation last week, they were all employed by or consult to the Bush administration's defense policy apparatus.

A lengthy but alarming exposé. Don't miss it!

From Mother Jones:
The Lie Factory
"Feith-based intelligence"
Only weeks after 9/11, the Bush administration set up a secret Pentagon unit to create the case for invading Iraq. Headed by Douglas Feith under the leadership of Paul Wolfowitz, the unit set about it's task of "proving" what did not exist.
Both Wolfowitz and Feith have deep roots in the neoconservative movement. One of the most influential Washington neo- conservatives in the foreign-policy establishment during the Republicans' wilderness years of the 1990s, Wolfowitz has long held that not taking Baghdad in 1991 was a grievous mistake. He and others now prominent in the administration said so repeatedly over the past decade in a slew of letters and policy papers from neoconservative groups like the Project for the New American Century and the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. Feith, a former aide to Richard Perle at the Pentagon in the 1980s and an activist in far-right Zionist circles, held the view that there was no difference between U.S. and Israeli security policy and that the best way to secure both countries' future was to solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem not by serving as a broker, but with the United States as a force for "regime change" in the region.

More Karen Kwiatkowski:
Pygmalion, Neocon-Style
Did I mention that Karen Kwiatkowski doesn't think much of Neocons?
Chalabi, if I may interpret, means to say that words and facts have no intrinsic value, but only instrumental value, as a means to an end. Words don't have to mean anything, and facts exist only to be described in such a way to ensure we get what we want. For neocons and other pre-logic humans, getting what one wants is the only thing that matters.

In fact, like three-year-olds, neocon "thought processes are characterized by great awareness; yet these islands of sophistication exist in a sea of uncertainty. Children during this period still understand relatively little about the world in which they live and have little or no control over it. They are prone to fears and they combat their growing self-awareness of being small by wishful, magical thinking."

Hanging around people like this, and getting his policy advice from them, it’s no wonder Secretary Higgins, er, Rumsfeld is often confused about what we know, don’t know, think we know, think we don’t know, and know we don't think we know. Don’t get me started with what we know now, and what we now know we don’t know.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 7:34 PM
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posted by New World at 2:27 PM
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Saturday, February 28, 2004. *
Oh my God! Terrorists everywhere!
BOSTON (Reuters) - The chairman of American International Group Inc., the world's largest insurer by market value, on Tuesday called lawyers opposed to tort reform "terrorists" and said class-action lawsuits are a "blight" on the United States.

AIG Chairman Maurice "Hank" Greenberg's remarks came a day after U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige sparked an uproar when he called the nation's largest teachers' union a "terrorist organization" during a meeting with U.S. governors. The White House said he later apologized.

In remarks to business executives in Boston, Greenberg likened the battle over reforming class-action litigation to the White House's "war on terror." AIG insures corporations against multibillion-dollar claims of damages in asbestos lawsuits, for example.

"It's almost like fighting the war on terrorists," Greenberg told Boston College's Chief Executives' Club. "I call the plaintiff's bar terrorists."

And I thought it was only the teachers.
posted by Mischa Peyton at 1:25 PM
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Ray McGovern:
No Skunks Allowed
Not all of the pre-war intelligence on Iraq was wrong. In fact, the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) did a pretty good job at figuring out which claims didn't make the grade. So why were they disinvited from the Senate Intelligence Committee's worldwide threat assessment briefing (Tuesday, Feb. 24) for the first time since those briefings began? Ray McGovern, co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, points to Committee Chairman Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan):
Roberts and his Republican colleagues decided to preclude the possibility that some recalcitrant senator might ask why INR was able to get it right on Iraq when everyone else was wrong.
In other words, the INR might actually say something at the briefing that might embarass the administration.

This is actually pretty astonishing when you think about it. This is an annual briefing, presumably to provide background needed to guide this committee's work in the coming year. One would think then that the committee would want as thorough a briefing as possible, and that would require the inclusion of the INR. What Chairman Roberts has effectively done then is to place national security concerns second behind protecting the President's backside.

And this is the party that claims to be tough on defense? Tough on defending Bush's image perhaps, but the rest of us? We're only second.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 1:05 PM
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Friday, February 27, 2004. *
This is dynamite! You MUST see it.
This is 28 minutes of Karen Kwiatkowski laying it all bare. To clip a few words would not do it justice. There would have to be too many. Lots of name-dropping.

Just one clip: "Reality has never been a constraint" to Neoconservatives. "They are not the kind of people that America as a nation are proud of."

[NOTE: My link above is high bandwidth. If you are on dial-up, you might want this link instead.]

posted by Mischa Peyton at 9:47 PM
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San Francisco Chronicle:
Why can't they vote?
Disenfranchisement by any name is disenfranchisement:
Few people realize that voting rights are left up to the states -- a legacy of the South's post-Civil War effort to prohibit newly freed slaves from voting.

California's voting laws, however, are relatively liberal compared to the 14 states that permanently bar ex-felons from voting and the 29 states that prevent criminals from voting while on probation. Only two states -- Maine and Vermont -- follow the European pattern of allowing all inmates and ex-convicts to vote.

You're probably thinking this has nothing to do with you. But you would be wrong. It could affect your troubled teenager. As New York defense attorney Andrew Shapiro has noted, "An 18-year-old first-time offender who trades a guilty plea for a nonprison sentence may unwittingly sacrifice forever his right to vote."

Felony disenfranchisement is an abomination. Racist in its roots, its supporters today, afraid to state that motivation, resort to agruments that border on ("It's part of the punishment.") and often cross the line of absurdity ("Well, murderers might vote to legalize murder!").
  • "It's part of the punishment." ~ But isn't the threat of punishment supposed to be the deterrent? Has anyone ever not committed a crime because they feared losing their right to vote?

  • "Well, murderers might vote to legalize murder!" ~ So what? How can anyone entertain the sillyness that murders will ever have enough votes to elect a pro-murder candidate?
The fact of the matter is that felony convictions rates among blacks are far higher than among whites. And yes, blacks do commit more crimes per capita than whites, but that is because on a per capita basis, they are simply poorer. When race is removed as a factor, income level proves to be a far greater predictor of felony conviction rates. And poor people tend to vote Democratic.

The bottom line on felony disenfranchisement is that it is a tool being used by the Republican Party to lower opposition voting. Let's call a spade a spade.

[From Black Box Notes.]

posted by Mischa Peyton at 8:47 PM
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E. J. Dionne Jr. is ...
Grateful to Greenspan
... but I'm not.
Leave it to Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan to stir the political pot. Theoretically above politics, Greenspan has more influence on the political class than almost any human being, presidents -- perhaps -- excepted. This week Greenspan did something no Democrat could do: He made Social Security an issue in the 2004 election.
Sure, Social Security needs to be looked at, but is this really a good thing to draw into this election? To my mind, I simply don't want George Bush anywhere near this issue, and I certainly don't want him bringing a $100+ million war chest to the issue.

Dionne well places the issues on this: If we are going to keep these outrageous tax cuts, Social Security as we know it is out the door. The problem is that this is not what Greenspan said. Greenspan acted as if the two were separate issues, and the Bush campaign will use its money to promote that quite rediculous spin.

Dionne sees this as a good wedge issue for the Democrats and it well should be. Are we willing to trade the retirements of the poor and middle class for the benefit of the rich? Classic class warfare.

And that's the problem. Today's Democratic Party hasn't figured out how to fight the class warfare fight yet. And if they fight it poorly here, we might as well just carve the tombstone for our social safety net.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 4:36 PM
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... the higher hustlers, in search of easy money ...Chris Floyd:
Why did George W. Bush insist -- with such fanatical certainty, despite the well-established, clearly-stated doubts of his own intelligence services -- that Saddam Hussein was hoarding a vast arsenal of weapons of mass destruction? Why the insistence on this pathological disassociation from reality, which led directly to the death of thousands of innocent people? Why did he tell such lies, such cynical lies, such horrible lies, lies dripping blood, lies breeding more lies like rats on a plague ship?

That's easy -- his family was making money from it.

"The nature of the customer doesn't matter -- king, communist, nazi, sheikh, warlord, poobah -- it all comes down to this: Are they open for business?"
posted by Mischa Peyton at 11:53 AM
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Thursday, February 26, 2004. *
You could get ten years in prison just for reading this.

I have on my desk right now a copy of the new Rhode Island "homeland security" bill proposed by Governor Carcieri. It's an 18 page document, and right on the first page, before talking about weapons of mass destruction or poisoning the water system or anything else that a rational person might consider "terrorism", it says "any person who shall teach or advocate anarchy" will go to prison for ten years.

Let me make this clear. I am an anarchist. I write an anarchist blog. Don't be fooled by the pop-culture references and the fact that I maybe don't fit whatever rock-throwing stereotype is the current popular view of anarchism. I am facing ten years in prison for writing if this bill passes, because I am not going to stop being an anarchist just because some dumbass politician wants to tell me what I'm allowed to believe. [more]

. . . via FMH.

posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:26 PM
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Wednesday, February 25, 2004. *
So says a "political pit bull" and "a foot soldier" for
Attorney General John Ashcroft     . . . of course
Viet Dinh has been called a "political pit bull" and "a foot soldier" for Attorney General John Ashcroft. But the 36-year-old author of the Patriot Act prefers to be called an "attendant of freedom."

In May 2001, the professor of law at Georgetown University was tapped by the Justice Department to work for two years as an assistant attorney general, working primarily on judicial nominations for the department. But three months later the World Trade Center towers collapsed, and Dinh was drafted to work on the USA Patriot Act, a bill that would give the government some of its most controversial surveillance powers. The bill, coupled with the government's subsequent treatment of immigrants and native-born citizens, prompted critics to charge the administration with overthrowing "800 years of democratic tradition."

Now, Viet Dinh is hardly a dumb man. Obviously from Vietnam, he got his law degree from Harvard, but I think he's kind of stuck on some sort of Southeast Asian concept of "freedom", a concept quite different from mine. This one best characterizes Dinh's denial:
  • To the claim that 5,000 people have been detained using the Patriot Act with only five being actually charged under it and only one conviction, he responds that the number is probably closer to 500. Wonderful. Apparently it is OK to arrest 100 people for each person actually charged. Viet Dinh justifies all of the rest of these as anticipatory fishing expeditions.
posted by Mischa Peyton at 6:23 PM
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Iraqi Shiite Leader Seyyid Ali Al-Sistani yesterday warned that he would call for an intifada (uprising) if American soldiers stayed in Iraq after the handover of power on June 30, 2004.


Sostani's comments come in the wake of Commander of the Coalition Ground Forces in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez's statement on Wednesday that American troops might continue their deployment in Iraq for years to come and U.S.-Appointed Administrator to Iraq Paul Bremer's request yesterday that coalition members to maintain a presence in Iraq until the end of December 2005.
posted by Norm at 6:04 PM
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If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator
--George W Bush

George Bush, one term President? Like father like son; it looks as if that could be the case, even with the support of his corporate media cronies, the truth about him, and his administration is getting mainstream. The Black Box voting issue aside...

What my reading has shown though is that the present regime in DC is much bigger than George W. Bush. In fact, when the highest office in the land is under threat and the Vice President goes into hiding, what are we to think? Who is the front man? Who is/are the brains of the operation?
"Am I the evil genius in the corner that nobody ever sees come out of his hole? It's a nice way to operate, actually." --Dick Cheney

The Neoconservatives that people the present administration have been involved in governance at some level for decades, bringing their marginal political philosophy to the fore; its' policy of endless war, and lies to control the subordinate masses, to head the most powerful nation on Earth. We all saw how this cabal got into the White House...

I really care about my work here in the information cybersphere, and will offer documentation to back up what I have to offer; I don't want you to wonder if I am wearing a tinfoil beanie.

Operation Garden Plot
There is a plan to allow the military to assist law enforcement in quieting "civil unrest".
Urban areas can be the scene of inner-city conflicts, labor disputes, and political struggles. Disturbances in urban areas are usually fueled by aggrieved members of the community.

I'd like you to take a look at Field Manual (FM) 19-15 which spells out the military policy in controlling civil disturbance. The Field Manual is comprehensive; but I think you will be a bit more enlightened by giving it a good read. The way crowds are managed, the psychology behind say, behind soldiers holding their weapons at "safe port" so their bayonets are apparent to the folks in the back of the crowd, or when exploding CS grenades might be used rather than burning grenades to greater effect, even how a to choose between shooting protesters with either a rubber ring airfoil projectile or a CS powder containing CS projectile from the M234 launcher on your M-16.

The term "Rules of Engagement" is not used for domestic operations- the term "Rules for Use of Force" applies.

Alright, so perhaps the military can be called out for such domestic disturbances as riots, you may be thinking, remembering Los Angeles after the police we watched beat Rodney King so many times on the tv were aquited. The Los Angeles Riots saw deployment of active duty Marines and Army Troops, as well as federalized California National Guard Troops. The National Guard is not constrained by Posse Comitatus Act. Once Federalized it is constrained, while under the command of the Govenor it is not.

What we saw in place in Los Angeles was Department of Defense Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2, better known as "Operation Garden Plot". This plan to use the military to deal with widescale domestic dissent had its origins in the rioting and unrest of 1967. Although the riots in Newark, New Jersey; New York City; Cleveland, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; Chicago, Illinois; and Atlanta, Georgia; and Detroit, Michigan were mostly confined to African Americans, the growing antiwar movement offered another domestic concern. There were 160
incidents such as these in 128 cities
in the first nine months of 1967, the National Guard was called out at least 25 times. President Johnson called a National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders into being to figure out the "why" of this mass unrest.

Army Chief of Staff Harold Johnson set up an task force to study the role of the Army in civil disturbances.

After Martin Luther King was assassinated rioting broke out in 19 US cities.

The army task force became the Directorate of Civil Disturbance Planning and Operations, which had a further name change to the Directorate of Military Support, working out of the basement of the Pentagon, it's headquarters known as "the domestic war room". A full time staff of 150 manned communications equipment in touch with the National Guard and the nation's military installations. A computer kept track of politcal dissent. And dissenters.

Ronald Reagan hired retired National Guard General Louis O. Giuffrida to implement a Garden Plot subplan called Cable Splicer. Giuffrida had earlier advocated "the detention of at least 21 million American Negroes in assembly centers or relocation camps" to counteract African American militancy. Reagan established a counter-terrorism training center, the California Specialized Training Institute; Guiffrida was commandant.

On October 30, 1969 President Nixon issued Executive Order 11490, cosolidating 21 Executive orders and 2 Defense Mobilization orders, assigning emergency preparedness functions to Federal departments and agencies.

President Ford created Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency (FEPA), in 1976, using Executive Order 11921, further consolidating Nixons order.

In 1979 President Carter brought the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) into being with Executive Order 12148, expending on Ford's FEPA.

President Reagan made Louis Giuffrida his "emergency czar" as head of FEMA. Guiffrida created a Civil Security Division at
the agency, and set up a Civil Defense Training Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland, much like CSTI in California., where civilian defense personel were taught military police methods, counter-terrorism and survival skills. FEMA gained intelligence agency status by giving the National Security Council authority over the planning for civil defense and civil security by top secret National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 26. Reagan further a senior-level interdepartmental board, the Emergency Mobilization Preparedness Board (EMPB) to develop a national policy statement on emergency mobilization preparedness.

Along with Guiffrida, Oliver North was a part of EMPB, having been assigned there by Robert McFarland from 1982 to 1984. Thier plans for an America run by FEMA and Presidential fiat where gaining attention. FEMA was collecting intelligence on American activists. A fact that placed them in conflict with Federal Bureau of Investigations Director William Webster. General Frank Salcedo, FEMA Director of Civil Security in the end had to turn over the 12,000 files his agency had collected. Attorney General William French Smith got wind of this and some of the details of the REX 84 readiness exercises conducted under President Reagan and involving 34 other agencies, an exercise that countenanced rounding up 100,000 Central American immigrants as well as taking control of the Department of Defense and shutting down the Constitution. Salcedo had been quoted saying "at least 100,000 U.S. citizens, from survivalists to tax protesters, were serious threats to civil security"
"Over the long term, the peacetime action programs of FEMA and other departments and agencies have the effect of making the conceivable need for military takeover less and less as time goes by. A fully implemented civil defense program may not now be regarded as a substitute for martial law, nor could it be so marketed, but if successful in its execution it could have that effect."-- Louis Giuffrida

Guiffrida was found to have used 170,000 dollars in FEMA funds to set himself up in a swank "batchelor pad" at the Emmitsburg training facility. He was let go and does not appear in FEMA's official history though he was there from its inception. FEMA was found to have spent its money on building a civil security infrastructure, but it neglected its given role, civil defense.

North was reappointed by McFarlane to the Office of Public Diplomacy, where he disseminated disinformation. Iran/Contra brought North's other crimes concerning Central America (including condoning Contra cocaine running into the US) and the crimes of many, some within the present administration into light. His FEMA/EMBP involvement became public as well; offering a glimpse into these malignant entities.

Reagan signed Executive Order 12656 putting the NSC at the helm of national security emergency preparedness policy. FEMA is now at hand to assist in policy implementation and co-ordination with Federal agencies, state and local governments. It advises the NSC on mobilization preparedness, civil defense and continuity of government among others.

FEMA is now... The Department of Homeland Security's Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate.

What got me reading about this was the Sydney Morning Herald article "Foundations are in place for martial law in the US" The reading I've been doing points to the fact that a small group of hardliners has been in the background of GOP politics during some of the most shameful incidents of US history in the past 30+ years.

You should be aware, as stated in FM 100-19 "Principles of Operations Other Than War"
Perseverance - Prepare for the measured, protracted application of military capabilities in support of strategic aims. Domestic support operations may require years to achieve desired effects. They may not have a clear beginning or end decisively.
posted by m at 3:41 PM
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Keep the tax cuts,
 The poor can eat cake
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan testifies before the House Budget Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. CHARLES DHARAPAK, AP
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, stepping into the politically charged debate over Social Security, said Wednesday the country can't afford the benefits currently promised to the baby boom generation.

He urged Congress to trim those benefits to get control of soaring budget deficits, which he said threatened a "very debilitating" rise in interest rates in coming years. ...

The central bank chairman also repeated his view that Bush's tax cuts should be made permanent to bolster economic growth. He said the estimated $1 trillion cost should be paid for, preferably, with spending cuts so the deficit would not be worsened.

See also:
posted by Mischa Peyton at 1:52 PM
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Iraq: Call to rebel?
Cleric sets June 30th as final pull-out date
Via the Marianne Williamson Show: Dennis Kucinich has reportedly informed Marianne that a major Iraqi cleric has indicated that a full pull-out of U.S. troops there must occur by June 30th or he will call for a full-scale rebellion by the Iraqi people.

Note: I have been unable to confirm this by any other source. Officially (via Defenselink), the June 30th date applies only to the return of Iraqi sovereignty, and that Iraqis favor a continued U.S. troop presense beyond that date.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 1:17 PM
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Tuesday, February 24, 2004. *
"Prove it and Win $10,000 Cash!"

posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:03 PM
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A Pair on the Prince of Darkness:

Jude offers an introduction to a Pat Buchanan review of Richard Perle's book, An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror.
When Richard Perle and his neo-con henchman David Frum decided to write a book about "How to Win the War on Terror," they knew they been successful in persuading President Bush to go to war with Iraq. As their manuscript went to the publisher, it was clear the US-led coalition forces had won a quick and easy victory over Saddam Hussein. All that was left was some mopping up, installing their buddy Ahmad Chalabi as Saddam's successor, and then move on to the next war against the "axis of evil." But by the time the book arrived in the bookstores, it was even clearer that the war they and their Cabal had cooked up was a total mess, with no end in sight to either Iraq's miseries or to the costs to America in blood and treasure. Whoops!
Buchanan's quite negative review does come somewhat late, but Jude's observation is quite on target. When Perle wrote the book, he was riding high. Now with the Iraq situation in shambles, Perle's urgings seem much more the ravings of the madman he is. takes a look at some of Richard Perle's more recent activities: putting down the CIA, speaking before a a terrorist group, and agitating for a war with Iran. The man has dug himself a hole, and he seems to think that his only choice is to continue to dig.

Keep digging, Rick. I'll pick out the headstone.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 2:37 PM
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Monday, February 23, 2004. *
The Washington Post reports that the Bush administration is starting to put some money where its mouth is on its AIDS initiative by announcing details, albeit vague ones, of a five-year plan to combat the disease, including the approval of $350 million in grants to religious groups and humanitarian organizations.

While this plan is the "largest commitment undertaken by a nation on a health issue," according to Post reporter Robin Wright, AIDS groups are criticizing it because, while focusing on Southern Africa and a few nations in the Caribbean, no money is allocated towards China and Russia, two nations where the number of AIDS cases promises to rise dramatically in coming years.

Yet, the issue that seems most controversial is that the US is trying to funnel money directly to programs that encourage "abstinence, fidelity and condom use," thus bypassing the Global AIDS Fund. Says the Post:

[A]IDS advocacy groups criticized the Bush administration for cutting back the U.S. contribution to the Global AIDS Fund by about 64 percent in the new budget, despite its pledge to collaborate with the international community on a joint strategy. Congress allocated $547 million for the fund in 2004; the administration's 2005 budget calls for $200 million.

"The big issue in this report is the ideological battle underway: Whether the United States should program money through a go-it-alone approach or work through the Global AIDS Fund," said Paul Zeitz, executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance. "While recognizing the problem in 14 countries, they're actually making the problem worse by setting up a parallel program rather than working through existing partnerships that are already up and running."
So with one hand the administration is promising $350 million of new funding; with the other, it has cut $347 million from arguably the most effective AIDS program in existence. The reality of the situation is that hardly any new money is being allocated.

The reasons for this are clear. Rather than addressing the AIDS catastrophe via the existing channels, the Bush administration seems to be letting its ideology, which emphasizes conservative sexual mores and faith-based services, color how it's going about this fight against AIDS.

I can only say that, with so much at stake over the coming decades, this is hardly an issue to be playing political games with.
posted by Bill at 10:23 PM
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Deployed "on the fly" in the first hours of turmoil on Sept. 11, one participant said, the shadow government has evolved into an indefinite precaution.

In the current issue of Atlantic Monthly (March 04) James Mann has written an article called "The Armageddon Plan" which
tells about the involvement of both Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld in a clandestine plan to ensure "continuity of government" in case of a nuclear attack hatched by the Reagan Administration.

Cheney and Rumsfeld, both partisans of the 1976 "Team B" effort to thwart approved intelligence
were in the position
to know that a Soviet attack on the US was not a reality based threat assessment. Yet then Congressman Cheney and Rumsfeld, CEO of Searle, not even then a part of elected US government, were principle actors in a Reagan plan that would circumvent Constitutional lines of Presidential succession while leaving elected Congress out of the equation entirely.

Iran/Contra criminal Oliver North was a part of this secret project. He was also at this time involved in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) planning that brought the disaster relief agency formed under President Carter into a new role: what was called "Civil Defense"planning.

They included executive orders providing for suspension of the constitution, the imposition of martial law, internment camps, and the turning over of government to the president and FEMA.

The above quote is from the Sydney Morning Herald. I hope to touch on this in another post, which may take a few days..
I find it very alarming to see a continuity of neoconservatives influencing government policy in ways that seem highly anti-democratic. Neoconservatives that are now in the highest posts of our government. That you see and hear on the airwaves, in the daily paper. People we need to learn about, whose "track records" need to be made familiar to every American.
It is as if "We the People" are left in the dark by the media that should serve as with the key information we need to form an informed electorate. But back to the case in hand.

The order of Presidential Succession runs like this, I'll offer the names of the present administrators, offering a partial listing, the "Top Ten".
1. Vice President of the United States - Dick Cheney
2. Speaker of the House - Denny Hastert
3. President pro Tempore of the Senate - Ted Stevens
4. Secretary of State - Colin Powell
5. Secretary of the Treasury - John Snow
6. Secretary of Defense - Donald Rumsfeld
7. Attorney General - John Ashcroft
8.Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton
9.Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman
10.Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans

As Mann relates the Reagan Administration fear was that the USSR would attempt to enact the same nuclear strategy that the US was planning; that is to "decapitate" the Russian civilian and military leadership through nuclear strikes targeting officials and their lines of communication. To prevent this end in America three teams were set up that included Cabinet officials and folks like Cheney and Rumsfeld who had high level executive branch experience and ideally a connection to the national security apparatus as well. James Woolsey, PNAC signer and later director of the CIA was a team leader at one point. The Cabinet members would be figureheads in the public eye, issueing orders as "President" while defering to the more experienced chief of staff in the background.

Reconvening Congress was seen as overly bothersome. There might be those that would balk at the administrators now held in charge. The primary goal of this project was to get a workable chain of command going in case of nuclear attack.
An unsworn President that could control the military was what was sought under Reagan. One has to wonder about just who would have their finger on the button of the worlds largest nuclear arsenal during these conditions. Six or seven three star generals had this responsibility, as did several NORAD big wigs. Yup, NORAD, the folks that have no answers concerning 9/11.

The program went from a policy of running the would be clandestine governments from a few hardened facilities that were predictable to more far flung ones it was thought the soviets would be unable to keep track of. Big rigs pulling lead lined trailer of communications equiptment and 4 bys with the administrators would light out to hidden spots on parklands and in resorts across the US. This mimicked the process US intelligence saw the Soviets practicing. FEMA base Mt Weather and Camp David were supplemented by other, more discrete, hardened hideaways. has an interesting list of them including one under the Green Briar resort.

During the Presidency of the elected President Bush these exercises went on. During the Clinton years they were shelved as being unrealistic in light of the fall of the Soviet Union. 16 year spy Robert Hanssen, who shares the distinction of belonging to the same church where the Tridentine Latin Mass is offered (a Mel Gibson favorite) and same fundamentalist fascist religious organization as his boss at the time Louis Freeh and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Opus Dei revealed how these plans operated to the Soviet government.

The new millenium's Pearl Harbor, the 9/11 disaster brought these plans back to the fore.
Q Mr. President, is there a shadow government in place since September 11th? And --

THE PRESIDENT: A shadowy government or a shadow government?

Perhaps "to the fore" is not an accurate phraseing. Senate president pro tempore of the time, Robert Byrd had not been told that the Bush administration had instituted this "shadow government" plan; and he was third in line of Presidential succession.
In television interviews on Sunday, the leading congressional Democrat, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, confirmed that neither he nor any other congressional leader had been consulted about the plan. Asked whether this constituted a secret government, not just potentially in the future, but in actuality today, he replied, "I don't know. I don't know what their role is, what their current authority is, because we haven?t been informed. You'd think one person in Congress would know, and whether a congressional and judicial component is included."

O.K, to be clear we live in a Constitutional Federal Republic with a strong democratic tradition. But if the third person in line for Presidential succession is unaware of the Bush Administration "Continuity of Government" plan does this plan strike you as either Constitutionally correct or in the least democratic? But there was a briefing given on this plan, that overlooked Robert Byrd who as was stated is in the line of Presidential succession. The Secretary of the Senate Jeri Thomson and the Senate Seargent at Arms were said to be told of these plans September 22, after the 9/11 disaster, but it seems they were not told much.
Lenhardt and Thomson said in a statement last night they "visited a classified location to receive information regarding [presidential] line of succession in the event of a national emergency. We were not briefed on a program involving executive branch personnel being assigned on a rotating basis to insure operation of the executive branch."

The WaPo article said this.
House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) first learned from a reporter about yesterday's classified briefing for congressional leaders on the contingency plans, his aides said. White House press secretary Ari Fleischer blamed a "scheduling matter" and said Gephardt had "already been talked to," which Gephardt's aides said was untrue.

The White House also disputed lawmakers' claims that they had not been advised of the administration's contingency plans, reported last week in The Washington Post, involving scores of career government officials taking rotations in underground bunkers outside of Washington. Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), who as Senate president pro tempore is third in line to the presidency, and Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) had said they were not informed of the plans.

So it seems although 70 to 150 civilian managers are sent to hardened bunkers to ensure continuity of government in the case of an attack on Washington these individuals are just there to implement executive branch policy. From my reading I could find no reference to House or Senate or Judicial members being included to insure the Constitutionally mandated "checks and balances", and a closer reading sees that members of the Democratic Party are kept outside the loop concerning this "shadow government".
Because Bush has decided to leave the operation in place, agencies including the White House and top civilian Cabinet departments have rotated personnel involved, and are discussing ways to staff such a contingency operation under the assumption it will be in place indefinitely, this official said.

The material I link to is from a year ago when the existence of this "shadow government" was made public to us and our legislators. What this body was up to was shadowy then, and just as indistinct now.

What I can find is that the American Enterprise Institute (which counts Perle, Jean Kirkpatrick, Gingrich, Michael Ledeen, Lynne Cheney and Irving Kristol and among its scholars and fellows) and The Brookings Institute (illuminating but dated reference), are working together to promote their Continuity of Government Commission that as Phyliss Schlafly stated to the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights on August 29, 2003:
An elite group of former Clinton advisers and former public officials of both political parties gathered at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington to announce their proposal to convert the House of Representatives from an elected body to an appointed body in the event of a national emergency. This group calls itself the Continuity of Government (COG) Commission, and the acronym is apt. The COG Commission is trying to be a cog that manipulates our constitutional process of self-government.

We need to be very vigilant. Tommy Franks spoke about what could occur with another 9/11 type terrorist attack.
the potential of a weapon of mass destruction and a terrorist, massive casualty-producing event somewhere in the western world-it may be in the United States of America-that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass-casualty-producing event. Which, in fact, then begins to potentially unravel the fabric of our Constitution.

On one hand a terrorist attack that could be used by the political elite to further curtail the very liberties we hold as defining what sets America apart, think PATRIOT Act, CAPPS. Police infiltration of civil rights and anti-war groups.

Keep in mind, here in the cradle of world democracy, a country that exports the democratic concept to the world, when all was said and done, despite the Supreme Court appointment, history shows Gore won the Presidency according to the vote in Florida
posted by m at 8:17 PM
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Link roundup
Left, right and whatever . . .

A Wall as a Weapon

No End to War

Patriotic Gore

Pursuing the Millennium: Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel

Now the Pentagon tells Bush: Climate Change Will Destroy Us

Moving our Economy Offshore

From the last link:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics offers no evidence to support economists' claims that outsourcing production to Asia creates new and better jobs in the United States. On Feb. 11, the BLS released its 10-year projections of U.S. job growth by industry and occupation. Missing in the BLS lineup are the high-tech and knowledge jobs that economists have been falsely promising us are our rewards for losing our manufacturing jobs.

Are you ready for this? The BLS says that the bulk of U.S. job growth over the next decade will be in low-paid nontradable services that do not require a college education. Here is America's job future for the next 10 years:

-- waiters and waitresses;

-- janitors and cleaners;

-- food preparation;

-- nursing aides, orderlies and attendants;

-- cashiers

-- customer service representatives;

-- retail salespersons;

-- registered nurses;

-- general and operational managers;

-- postsecondary teachers.

Of these 10 areas of greatest job growth, RNs require an associate degree, managers a bachelor's degree, and postsecondary teachers a graduate degree. The BLS says the qualifications for the other seven are met by on-the-job-training.
posted by New World at 9:16 AM
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Sunday, February 22, 2004. *
A New York Times editorial:
Elections With No Meaning
On gerrymandering:
Totalitarian nations hold elections, but what sets democracies apart is offering real choices in elections. In recent years, contests for the House of Representatives and state legislatures have looked more and more like the Iraqi election in 2002, when Saddam Hussein claimed 100 percent of the vote for his re-election. In that same year in the United States, 80 of the 435 House races did not even include candidates from both major parties. Congressional races whose outcomes were in real doubt were a rarity: nearly 90 percent had a margin of victory of 10 percentage points or more. It is much the same at the state level, only worse. In New York, more than 98 percent of the state legislators who run for re-election win, usually overwhelmingly.
The reference to totalitarianism is telling (if understated) here, because this is exactly what today's gerrymandering efforts are attempting to do. Aided by newer and smarter computers, what was once a "best guess" human endeavor has evolved into the science of hyperpartisan line-drawing. While you might still get a vote, it simply doesn't count. This is merely another form of disenfranchisement; perhaps a different "flavor" than the E-vote issues, but still a denial of the vote to the electorate.

And this is important: It does not matter if the tampering is in your favor. Be it gerrymandering, E-vote tampering, targeted scubbing of voter roles, or any of the other forms of vote rigging, once you figure out that your vote does not matter, you'll stop voting.

[From Black Box Notes.]

posted by Mischa Peyton at 1:01 PM
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"Votewatch might be the most important political smart mob ever," says Smart Mobs author Howard Rheingold.

This is an encouraging development.
posted by Klintron at 12:40 PM
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Discovering Fundamentalism

... not guided by spiritual generosity but by some deeper pathological condition.
Alan Bisbort:
Thy People's Will Be Done
Flying the fanatical skies with
American Airlines
Lest any armchair fundamentalists out there get the wrong idea, none of this is stated from a position of areligious "humanism." Each Sunday, in fact, during silent prayer at my church I ask that the anger I feel toward these people be lifted from my heart and that the darkness they have visited upon my land be whisked away in the healing light of truth. And I ask that when George W. Bush and his self-appointed God squad are gone that I never again disturb my gray matter on them. I pray only that they disappear into their inner darkness and leave the rest of us alone.

But, of course, zealots never disappear. Like Dave Koresh, Jim Jones, Osama and Robertson, they're not guided by spiritual generosity but by some deeper pathological condition. There is a sadistic element to their religion, a need to punish and condemn rather than to lift up and inspire.

Alan Bisbort identifies an important point here when he suggests that religious zealots are guided by "some deeper pathological condition." Allow me to address this at length.

I consider myself fairly well studied on world religions. As an Atheist (or more formally, a classical pantheist), I find them especially fascinating and often even beautiful. Here are these various groups of people who believe differently than I do. Where are their beliefs different from mine? Where are they the same? Are all of the variations simply "different flavors" of a greater whole? These are the questions that have fascinated me throughout my 30+ years of Atheism and even beyond.

It was about four years back (when I began my "internet life") that I first began conversing with fundamentalists. Now I had ran into evangelicals before (there is overlap between the two groups (fundamentalists and evangelicals), but they are not identical), and mostly I had had no problems with them. So all of this was something new to me. For all of my study of world religion, I realized that I had no idea what it was that drove a person from a more centrist belief in a religion to a fundamentalist belief in that same religion. Certainly this occurred in all regions, but what was it? Was it a single thing across all religions, was it different between religions, or did it vary from individual to individual? I set out to find the answer.

The answer was illusive. I interviewed (via chat rooms and e-mail) many self-professed fundamentalists (mostly Christian, but that was my upbringing), and many of them over long periods of time. I never hid my own Atheism, nor did I hide my goal. Better to be honest up front, I felt, than to be later accused of fraudulent representation. In fact, this proved quite helpful, since none of the fundamentalists I spoke with had ever run into a "real live" Atheist before, and most were as curious about me as I was about them.

But still, my answer was illusive. In my previous studies, I had been concerned about what someone believed, and it is fairly easy to get people to tell you that. Now I was concerned with a quite different question: why did someone believe what they believed?

Try asking someone that question about their religion some time. Here's the answer you'll get: "Because it's true."

But here is what fundamentalists believe. They believe that theirs is the "one true religion". Yet many non-fundamentalists believe the exact same thing. They believe in the primacy of their own religious text (e.g., the Bible, the Koran). Yet many non-fundamentalists believe the exact same thing. They believe that their god will punish those who err and reward those who do not. Yet many non-fundamentalists believe the exact same thing. Where they differ is in their belief that their own religious text is inviolate; that it must be interpreted as the literal truth.

This last item is most curious. Here we have people who will turn on their coffee pots each morning, knowing full well that science says that the flow of electrons through the wires will heat the water that makes their coffee. Here we have people who will drive their cars across a long bridge, knowing full well that it is science that prevents them from falling into the waters below. Here we have people who will board a jet and fly across the country, knowing full well that it is science that even allows that jet to get off the ground. And yet these very same people (Christian fundamentalist, in this case), when presented with scientific evidence that the earth is more than 6,000 years old, invent excuses as to why that very same science is wrong. These very same people, when presented with scientific evidence that human beings evolved from earlier species, invent more excuses as to why that very same science is wrong.

Here is something else fundamentalists believe: They believe that science is a religion. And that as a religion, it competes with their own. To the extent that they can drink their hot coffee, cross rivers, and travel thousands of miles through the air, that "religion" is fine. To the extent that it refutes their sacred texts however, it is nothing less than evil itself.

Of course, they misunderstand entirely what science is (as do most people). Science is not some assembled body of "truths". Science is merely a methodology. It is a methodology that simply asks that those who propose "truths" do so in a fashion that they might be tested as such by independent analysts. It is nothing more. "Scientists" are allowed to propose "truths", but these same "truths" are open to refutation by anyone who choose to try. This is hardly the trappings of a "religion" however. Refutations of religious doctrine by outsiders is simply not allowed by the religious "elders", at least not in Western monotheism. But this leaves us nowhere, because the question is really why fundamentalists, who quite regularly avail themselves of the benefits of science, suddenly abandon it in favor of their contrary religious beliefs.

My search for an answer as to why fundamentalists take such extreme beliefs actually lasted the better part of three years, and it was almost accidental when I fell upon the answer. I was reading an article about Osama bin Laden, and suddenly drew the extremely important parallels between his fundamentalism and the fundamentalism of the many Christians I had interviewed over this time. It was my third point about what fundamentalists believe (above, "(t)hey believe that their god will punish those who err and reward those who do not") that was the operating principle behind what draws people to fundamentalism. Theirs is a god of fear. It is not a god of love.

What drew my conclusion here was my previous work with people suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). If you have never encounter a sufferer of this, here is how they re-act. The PTSD sufferer imagines a threat. They believe this to be threat quite real. We who do not suffer from this disease of course quickly recognize the imagined threat to be exactly that: imagined.

But this is where it gets critical. If you act in any way before the PTSD sufferer that suggests to them that you do not also believe their imagined threat to be real, they will attack you (even physically) as if you are the very embodiment of that fear itself.

Now I'm not suggesting here that all fundamentalists suffer from PTSD. What I have learned instead is that all real fundamentalists suffer from a pathological paranoia; a fear response that causes them to lash out at anyone who does not share their paranoia of an avenging god, in the exact same fashion that PTSD suffers do. No, not all who suffer from pathological paranoia become fundamentalists. But all who suffer from pathological paranoia who also turn to religion as a comfort will also turn to a fundamentalist version of it.

Fundamentalists are fundamentally paranoid. They are control freaks who sense that they cannot actually control. They are just as mad about this as any pathologically paranoid person would be. And they will always respond against those who do not share their own imagined threats as somehow "real". They will respond with exactly as we are seeing today; a vitriolic hatred of everyone who questions their percieved fear. The exact definition of pathological paranoia.

This is what we have leading our nation now. The pathologically paranoid. This is why we pathologically exaggerate our national threats. This is why we cannot spend too much on a military that is already so far in advance of any of our competitior's.

Because we are ruled by the insane.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 9:42 AM
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Election Briefs:
  • So Ralph Nader is running. Good for him! Look, the Democrats really have no right to ask Nader not to. The party, drawn to the right by years of DLC dominance, was literally dead in the water. It was the Progressives (Nader-types) under Dean (and to a lesser extent, Kucinich) that put life back into it. And what did they get for it? They got a DNC that stood by silent when the media decided to go after Dean like a pack of wild dogs. Note that the DNC is now quite vocal as Kerry is being attacked. What's the difference?

    The difference is that to today's Democratic Party leadership, the Progressives are much like the Blacks, groups of voters the party wants but is willing to do little to get. Indeed, the operating prinicple in the party seems to be to expect these votes because "they have no place else to go." Well, sorry, but now they do.

    Some additional points:

    • As Nader pointed out, he was hardly the only third party candidate to run in 2000; he was simply the most successful. To ask him and not others to stay out of the race is to say that third party candidacies are acceptable only when they are marginal. This is avery dangerous way to think.

    • Special interests. All the main candidates are talking about them, hurling accusations back and forth. Nader didn't use that term. He used the term "corporations", and there's a big difference. Yes, corporations form SIGs, but so do environmentalist, gay rights advocates, pro-life proponents, and many more. All of these latter groups however are people coming together to influence legislation, and that's what people are supposed to do in a democracy. Corporate SIGs are different entirely. They are capital coming together to influence legislation, and we need to decide if this is how we want to run our country.

    Finally,, and no, that's not an endorsement.

  • The "Chickenhawk Defense!" I was wondering what Kerry was going to pull out against the "Hanoi Jane" charge, and this is fairly clever: He's simply pointing out that if the Republicans want to question his Vietnam record, they probably shouldn't be sending out chickenhawk front men to do it. The real question is whether the Republicans actually have any front men who are not chickenhawks to do this. I hardly expect John McCain to be volunteering for the job anytime soon.

    Of course, the RNC is already trying to dodge this bullet, claiming that we really shouldn't "revisit old wounds" from 30 years ago, a faint attempt to sideline both the chickenhawk tag and Bush's own service record. But the fact of the matter is that to many in the far right core of the Republican Party, Vietnam is still very much an issue. These are the people who, in spite of the revealed statements of every President invovled in that conflict, in spite of the more recent admissions of Robert MacNamara, and in spite of the personal testimonies of so many who fought in that conflict, still believe that the only reason we "lost" Vietnam was that we stopped "supporting our troops" there. It was these people after all who dusted off the old "Hanoi Jane" label, and it is these very same people to whom that label is as fresh today as it was when it was first minted.

    The RNC then, when it says we should not "revisit old wounds", is actually being quite disengenuous. The fact of the matter in fact is that many of their base are still living there.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 9:36 AM
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Up to 170 civilians have been massacred at a refugee camp in northern Uganda, according to sources.

Reports on Sunday blamed the carnage on rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), who have been fighting the government in Kampala for several years.

"I have just been there, and I have managed to confirm that 173 people were killed of which 57 had already been buried while others were still burning in their houses," Roman Catholic missionary Sebat Ayala said.
posted by A.Q. at 9:03 AM
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Saturday, February 21, 2004. *
For those still puzzling over the whys and wherefores of Washington's invasion of Iraq 11 months ago, major new, but curiously unnoticed, clues were offered this week by two central players in the events leading up to the war.

Both clues tend to confirm growing suspicions that the Bush administration's drive to war in Iraq had very little, if anything, to do with the dangers posed by Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or his alleged ties to terrorist groups like al-Qaeda – the two main reasons the U.S. Congress and public were given for the invasion.

Separate statements by Ahmed Chalabi, the head of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), and US retired Gen. Jay Garner, who was in charge of planning and administering postwar reconstruction from January through May 2002, suggest that other, less public motives were behind the war, none of which concerned self-defense, preemptive or otherwise. [more]
posted by Bill at 5:28 PM
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No! Say it ain't so, Bill!
posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:13 AM
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Friday, February 20, 2004. *
If George W. Bush is the result of affirmative
  action then we have to end it immediately.
"I'm also not very analytical. You know I don't spend a lot
of time thinking about myself, about why I do things.

~ George W. Bush, June 4, 2003

When President Bush sat down for an interview with Tim Russert on Meet the Press he single-handedly proved that affirmative action is a bad thing. George W. Bush is the poster child for affirmative action. He attended prep school at Andover Academy because his father was an alumnus. He didn’t get good grades at Andover but got into Yale because the Bushes were alumni there as well. His father’s connections got him into a National Guard unit and helped him avoid serving in Vietnam. When he didn’t feel compelled to complete his National Guard duty he just walked away and didn’t suffer because of his decision. He then went to Harvard where he earned his MBA. He was admitted to Harvard despite earning only a C average while at Yale.

George W. Bush has participated in a racial preference program his entire life. But after all those years of entitlement and connections to the best America has to offer, George W. Bush has emerged as a man who can’t put together more than two coherent sentences and stumbles and pauses when attempting to express very simple ideas.

Have fun!
posted by Mischa Peyton at 1:12 PM
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... dwarfing the combined fortunes of Bush and Cheney -- the most bloated pair of plutocrats ever to rule the country.Chris Floyd:
This is no ordinary election. It's emergency surgery -- a desperate operation in the field, using whatever comes to hand to keep the patient from dying.
Indeed, Kerry has vested interests, usually in the millions of dollars, in almost every aspect of U.S. commerce. Finance, media, electronics, food, energy, health care, agriculture -- the list is staggering in its reach. It will be practically impossible for him to take any action as president that will not have a substantial impact on his family assets. These are conservatively estimated at more than $550 million, dwarfing the combined fortunes of Bush and Cheney -- the most bloated pair of plutocrats ever to rule the country. A Bush-Kerry contest will offer about as much democratic authenticity as Crassus and Pompey bribing their way to consulships in the death throes of the Roman Republic.
"Kerry might be a rusty knife, but the life of a patient in extremis takes precedence over questions of hygiene. When the worst is past, then judge the knife -- discard it if necessary -- and get on with the work of restoring the Republic."
posted by Mischa Peyton at 1:05 PM
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A flash animation by Mark Fiore.
posted by Bill at 12:16 PM
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Not newsworthy, but I found this amusing.
posted by Bill at 12:13 PM
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Four crop-spraying planes circling overhead have brought silent death to the fields of wheat and barley that Shaikh Salih Abu Darim and his beduin tribe will need to feed themselves and their goats and sheep for the year.

The Araqib tribe have farmed the land close to the city of Beer Sheva in southern Israel for generations. But in the past year the Israeli government has declared war on them and some 70,000 other beduin living in 45 communities it refuses to recognise in the Negev (al-Naqab).

On 15 January the authorities stepped up the pressure on the Araqib to leave by spraying powerful herbicides on their crops, making the young shoots shrivel and die in the following weeks.

It was the third time the Araqib's crops had been sprayed in the past two years by a government agency, the Israel Lands Authority.

"This time we hurriedly took what crops we could for feed," says Abu Darim. "We made the mistake of giving them to our animals. Nearly 400 of the sheep miscarried."

The recent campaign of crop-spraying by the authorities - more than 6000 acres have been destroyed over a wide area of the Negev in the last two years - is not the only weapon being used by the state.
posted by A.Q. at 10:03 AM
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Thursday, February 19, 2004. *
Don't Forget March 20th - Takin' it to the Streets
Kurt Nimmo's thoughts are well worth reading. He does a good job of highlighting the stakes faced by the current generation of young people. Next year could very well be the year that the draft rears its ugly head, three decades after its demise. Why a draft? Someone's going to have to be cannon fodder for the state of perpetual war envisioned by the neocons who currently hold sway in the White House. The current all-volunteer military set-up simply is not able to support neocon foreign policy objectives. We're seeing already the strain on the full-time branches of the service, but the Reserves and National Guard as well.

Who's at risk? Young people, especially young men. If you're in your late teens or 20s and haven't included being killed or wounded on a foreign battle field in your plans, you might be in for a rude awakening. If there are young people reading this blog, all I can say is that your actions this year -- on the streets and in the voting booth -- will be critical. Ending mandatory military conscription the last time around was rather difficult when members of Kurt Nimmo's generation were working to end the draft. With an even more-solidly entrenched military-industrial establishment to deal with in this first decade of the new century, the task of ending a resurrected draft may prove to be more daunting. Our best hope is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Like Kurt, I'm not going to be directly affected if the draft is revived. If I am to believe the statistics, I'm at or just past the half-way point in my lifespan (I'm 38). I've been quite ready to be a conscientious objector in any case, and have been since the mid-1980s. My main concern is for my son, who will turn 8 just days after the scheduled March 20th demonstrations and who would be a potential draftee a decade hence. That's not the future I would want for him. It's on his behalf that I write and on his behalf that I will do whatever it takes to persuade our leaders that a perpetual war state is a very very bad idea.
posted by Don Durito at 10:37 PM
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The Pakistan Daily Times:
A guide to Israeli hawks
So much of the debate on Israel is so instantaneously polarized, that even my mouth hesitates to tread there. But this article is refreshing. A simple explanation without taking sides.

Knowledge is strength, and this article provides it.

posted by Mischa Peyton at 5:01 PM
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"The worst president in our lifetime" is how many Americans view George W. Bush.
But Bush is not merely the worst president in recent memory. He's the worst in all US history. And he's won the distinction not on a weakness or two, but in at least nine separate categories, giving him a triple trifecta.

It's a record unmatched by any previous president.

  • TRIFECTA ONE: Economy, Environment, Education
  • TRIFECTA TWO: Corruption, Constitution, Global Contempt
  • TRIFECTA THREE: Military madness, Messianic delusion, Macho Matricide
Have fun!
posted by Mischa Peyton at 4:42 PM
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posted by Mischa Peyton at 4:40 PM
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Five of the nine British prisoners being held at a United States military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba are to be returned home "in the next few weeks".

Officials said on Thursday the five men are Rhuhel Ahmad, Tariq Dergoul, Jamal al-Harith, Asif Iqbal and Shafiq Rasul.

British police will consider whether the five should be arrested under anti-terrorist legislation when they arrive in Britain, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said.

He added that discussions are continuing with Washington over the other four Britons who are being held at the military base after they were picked up during the US-led "war on terror".
posted by A.Q. at 3:10 PM
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Check this out!

That's Jeffrey Skilling in the middle, former CEO of Enron. Notice his hands behind him? That's called HANDCUFFS!

42 counts. We must have an election coming up.

A few stories on this:

CBS News: Feds Throw Book At Ex-Enron CEO

ABC News: Former Enron CEO Skilling Faces 42 Counts

BBC News: Enron's dream of world domination

"Kenny Boy" Lay. Will he still be smiling with handcuffs on?You know what gets me about all of this? Both Skilling and "Kenny Boy" Lay (right, smiling) are trying to claim that as the top two executives at Enron, neither of them had a clue as to what was going on. Consider for just a moment that this is true.

Then what the hell were they being paid for?

But let's say they get off with that excuse. Sounds to me like the basis of a quite solid class action by Enron shareholders. If they really didn't know what was going on, then why should they have ever been compensated?

But if you're like me, someone who has actually had the pleasure of wearing handcuffs, then you'll delight in seeing a few more pics of Skilling in handcuffs. Glad to oblige! [ 1 ] [ 2 ] And you can actually see the cuffs on the second! Too cool!

posted by Mischa Peyton at 2:52 PM
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Union of Concerned Scientists:
Scientific Integrity in Policymaking
An Investigation into the Bush Administration's Misuse of Science
Science, like any field of endeavor, relies on freedom of inquiry; and one of the hallmarks of that freedom is objectivity. Now more than ever, on issues ranging from climate change to AIDS research to genetic engineering to food additives, government relies on the impartial perspective of science for guidance.


That was then; this is now.

The Bush administration has deliberately and systematically distorted scientific fact in the service of policy goals on the environment, health, biomedical research and nuclear weaponry at home and abroad, a group of about 60 influential scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, said in a statement issued Wednesday. The group, the Union of Concerned Scientists, has documented its findings and accusations in a 38-page report.

From the report's Executive Summary:

The U.S. government runs on vast amounts of information. Researchers at the National Weather Service gather and analyze meteorological data to know when to issue severe-weather advisories. Specialists at the Federal Reserve Board collect and analyze economic data to determine when to raise or lower interest rates. Experts at the Centers for Disease Control examine bacteria and viral samples to guard against a large-scale outbreak of disease. The American public relies on the accuracy of such governmental data and upon the integrity of the researchers who gather and analyze it.

However, at a time when one might expect the federal government to increasingly rely on impartial researchers for the critical role they play in gathering and analyzing specialized data, there are numerous indications that the opposite is occurring. A growing number of scientists, policy makers, and technical specialists both inside and outside the government allege that the Bush administration has suppressed or distorted the scientific analyses of federal agencies to bring these results in line with administration policy. In addition, these experts contend that irregularities in the appointment of scientific advisors and advisory panels are threatening to upset the legally mandated balance of these bodies.

The quantity and breadth of these charges warrant further examination, especially given the stature of many of the individuals lodging them. Toward this end, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) undertook an investigation of many of the allegations made in the mainstream media, in scientific journals, and in overview reports issued from within the federal government and by non-governmental organizations. To determine the validity of the allegations, UCS reviewed the public record, obtained internal government documents, and conducted interviews with many of the parties involved (including current and former government officials).

The report's findings?
  1. There is a well-established pattern of suppression and distortion of scientific findings by high-ranking Bush administration political appointees across numerous federal agencies. These actions have consequences for human health, public safety, and community well-being.

  2. There is strong documentation of a wideranging effort to manipulate the government's scientific advisory system to prevent the appearance of advice that might run counter to the administration's political agenda.

  3. There is evidence that the administration often imposes restrictions on what government scientists can say or write about "sensitive" topics.

  4. There is significant evidence that the scope and scale of the manipulation, suppression, and misrepresentation of science by the Bush administration is unprecedented.
The White House predictably has denied the accusations.

Additional Resources:

From the Union of Concerned Scientists:In the media:
posted by Mischa Peyton at 12:25 PM
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Wednesday, February 18, 2004. *
Who exactly is Stephen Schwartz?
posted by Amir at 10:06 PM
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If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience. --George Bernard Shaw

This article from The American Conservative magazine highlights the situation Karen Kwiatkowski found herself in while working under William Luti and being exposed to the malignant Neoconservative influence on the intelligence that made its way to the White House via the Office of Special Plans.

This attempt to pre-empt vetted information from America's formal intelligence analysts at the CIA and DIA that the Neoconservatives didn't find useful to their ideological plans is not new. History shows it to be an ongoing and successful trend, both in implementing Neocon policy and in managing public opinion in that policies support. Many of the same players nearly thirty years ago worked to influence politicians and the media through leaks and politically "cooked" intelligence. This time the Neocons were afraid of President Ford's moves toward detente' with the Soviet Union.

Ford was concerned that he would lose the Republican Presidential nomination to Ronald Reagan, who called his Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger too liberal.
Under Kissinger and Ford," Reagan intoned, "this nation has become number two in a world where it is dangerous--if not fatal--to be second best."

Team B
President Ford was supportive of the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty II. The CIA assessments showed radically less arms spending by the USSR, dropping from 68% to less than 17% of their GNP. Soviet military expenditures were destroying their economy by the end of the 1960's. Showed that the missiles they had were less accurate than was widely thought. Using hard data, CIA National Intelligence Estimates showed a USSR that was no longer a threat. History shows that their supposedly "soft" estimates underestimated the weakness and instability of the Soviet government.

But politics won out over common sense. The word "detente'" disappeared from the Presidents vocabulary. He was afraid his support of the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty II would cause him to look soft on our ailing enemy. Kissinger was perceived as a liability to Ford during the election campaign.

A shakeup occured to Fords staff. Henry Kissinger lost his position as special assistant to the president for national security affairs but was retained as Secretary of State. Ford fired outspoken Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger, a one time RAND researcher and hired one of Fords closest associates and advisors, Donald Rumsfeld, former US Ambassador to NATO and part of Fords transition team to be the new Secretary of Defense. William Colby was replaced as Director of the CIA by George H.W. Bush. In a departure from the thought of Colby Bush was warm to the idea of non-analysts critiquing CIA intelligence estimates.
It was, Colby said, hard "to envisage how an ad hoc independent group of analysts could prepare a more thorough, comprehensive assessment of Soviet strategic capabilities than could the intelligence community".

Team B was started under the auspices of Bush.
1976 found our Neo-conservative lead actors staffing a George H. W. Bush - then Director of Central Intelligence- approved intelligence Team B. The Team was made possible by Neo-con leading light and Rand Corporation heavyweight Albert Wohlstetter. Staffers included Wohlstetter's son-in-law Richard Perle and associate Paul Wolfowitz. Team B was headed by Neo-con media maven Daniel Pipes' father, Richard. The President was Gerald Ford, high in his administration were Richard Cheney, who reportedly helped Bush Senior secure the CIA job, and Donald Rumsfeld. This early Neo-Con venture challenged and hoped to undermine nuclear detente with the USSR. CIA and State Department analysis were not well suited to this goal. Traditional and professional assessments were not panic inducing, questions and opposition remained credible- even reasonable. Opponents of containment needed another understanding to dominate. "Intelligence" from Team B offered a possible solution. The Team set out to develop its own assessments of Soviet Military might

An "untimely" end to the cold war could derail hawk/neocon plans for a pre-eminent US military authority in the world. Without the threat of the Soviet Union it would become hard to get the American people, who were growing more isolationist after the Viet Nam debacle, fully behind greatly increased US arms spending.

Today, the Team B reports recall the stridency and militancy of the conservatives in the 1970s. Team B accused the CIA of consistently underestimating the "intensity, scope, and implicit threat" posed by the Soviet Union by relying on technical or "hard" data rather than "contemplat[ing] Soviet strategic objectives in terms of the Soviet conception of 'strategy' as well as in light of Soviet history, the structure of Soviet society, and the pronouncements of Soviet leaders."

Team B ramped up the Soviet threat. Housed in the offices of Coalition for a Democratic Majority, bringing together Conservatives of all stripes, Republican and Democrat. Founded by Henry "Scoop" Jackson the group believes in
"peace through stength".
The CDM argued that the U.S. must have a strong national defense and a foreign policy of active resistance to what it calls "totalitarianism and repression." Further it urges strong support for "foreign allies who share America's democratic values--whether it is the government of Israel in the Middle East or the government of El Salvador's Jose Napoleon Duarte in Central America."

Bush, who had written Ford stating "I want to get the CIA off the front pages and at some point out of the papers altogether," under President Carter promoted the ad hoc intelligence group on "Meet the Press". The Times carried an article on Team B.

Team B promoted it's skewed intelligence through leaks to journalists and "top secret" briefings held with Legislators on the Hill. Through the revitalized Committee on the Present Danger media was managed to put the public in a state of fear concerning the Soviet Union. This undermined incoming President Jimmy Carter and his administrations efforts concerning disarmament and set the stage for the Reagan Presidential campaign based on fear of "the Evil Empire". This spin also allowed him to to drain the countries finances in a one sided arms race, enriching weapons manufacturers and ensuring campaign contributions and support from the military/industrial complex.

The Neocons presently controlling US policy rose to power based on lies, and consolidated their hold on America under Reagan.

Rumsfeld again was party to using "cooked" intelligence to counter the CIA analysts counselling against a need for National Missile Defense when he chaired the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States. Newt Gingrich helped him to establish this group dedicated to pumping up fear contrary to a credible CIA assessment.

Much like Ford changing his stance on detente', Democrats do not wish to be seen as weak on defense. Clinton vetoed the idea but Rumsfeld would run with his pet project. He has longstanding ties to organizations funded by interested weapons contractors.
Perhaps worst of all, for missile defense to become a reality, the landmark Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty needs to be amended--something the Russians are not eager to do. No matter, says Rumsfeld; at his confirmation hearings, he dismissed the ABM treaty as "ancient history" and said he had no compunction about abrogating it.

In his weekly radio address Mr Bush said that the US is threatened by ballistic missiles.

As the case of the intelligence concerning Iraq shows, the same players have been skewing intelligence to serve their ends since the mid seventies, coming up with a new "cause" in line with their inherent militarism each time the old one is revealed for the sham it is.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it...
posted by m at 8:45 PM
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