American Samizdat

Thursday, September 30, 2004. *
Core Convictions
Bush kept saying you can't trust someone who changes their core convictions.
Bush is a born-again Christian.

posted by Dave at 9:42 PM
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President Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, said Wednesday that the Bush-Cheney campaign is planning some October "surprises" for challengers John Kerry and John Edwards. [more]


See also: Name The October Surprise.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 7:57 PM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 7:39 PM
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Did Bush just say [Iraqi] "Prime Minister Chalowi"?
I'm guessing this is a cross between Chalabi and the current Prime Minister?

"I see on the TV screens how hard it is."--Bush, speaking of Iraq

Ah-ha! So this is where he gets his information! Wonder what channel he watches?!!

"I just know how the world works!"--Bush

Ayep, spoken like someone who, actually, knows nothing about how the world works. Can you imagine Einstein saying that? People who actually know how the world works wouldn't have to state, "I just know how the world works!"

What's a "transshipment"?
posted by Dr. Menlo at 6:26 PM
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In a letter to the White House, a leading US Senate Democrat expressed "profound dismay" that the White House allegedly wrote a large portion of Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's speech to Congress last week.

"I want to express my profound dismay about reports that officials from your administration and your reelection campaign were 'heavily involved' in writing parts of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's speech," California Senator Dianne Feinstein wrote in a letter to President George W. Bush
posted by A.Q. at 4:20 PM
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A boy picks up the damaged bicycle of his dead brother from the site after two car bombs and a roadside bomb went off in succession in the al-Amel neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2004. At least 41 were killed, most of them children and over 200 were wounded in the attack. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
posted by A.Q. at 10:55 AM
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Israel has been quietly lobbying for the launch of a U.S. project to provide advanced conventional submarines to Taiwan.

The reason: a Taiwan buy could launch a conventional submarine production line in the United States that would be used by Israel to procure additional subs.

"Israel really wants advanced conventional submarines but can't afford to buy them on the open market," a U.S. official said. "With a production line in the United States, Israel could purchase these vessels with U.S. military aid."
posted by A.Q. at 10:48 AM
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Ashcroft's Trojan Horse
Via email:

Attorney General Ashcroft and the House Republican leadership, taking advantage of the nation's desire to avoid another 9/11 tragedy, are pushing legislation that provides the Federal government with abusive police powers and methods to invade our privacy. This measure is a cynical attempt to hijack the effort to fix our broken intelligence system and should be voted down.

Here's a form you can use to contact your representatives.

The ACLU has more.

posted by Deleted at 9:19 AM
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Wednesday, September 29, 2004. *
The Constitution vs. The Flag
One of the widest gulfs between the left and right is the chasm separating science and religion. People like Dubya because he has the faith to reject science. In the broader historical scheme there has been a battle between the Enlightenment and the counter-Enlightenment since the 17th century. While the Enlightenment is generally understood to support reason and liberalism, the counter-Enlightenment has been the standard-bearer of faith and conservatism.

This election reflects the conflict between Enlightenment and counter-Enlightenment with an eerie perfection. Kerry is the advocate for science and evidence. Bush advocates faith and gut-feelings. Regardless of the debates and the debate spin, people are going to vote with their heads or their hearts. The liberals will point to the constitution and say we must obey the rule of law to stay civilized. The conservatives will point to the flag and say we must believe to be saved.

Philip Green addresses this better than I in a recent issue of Logos . The article is called "Neo-Cons and the Counter-Enlightenment."

So what I want to do to begin is describe this counter-Enlightenment, for that is what it is, with one pregnant addition. It certainly hasn’t replaced classical American liberalism, but it contends for power with it; and now it has welded together its own anti-modernism with a political strategy imported by ex-Trotskyite and ex-Leninist intellectual savants. Together they now look not just to struggle with liberalism but to wipe it out—along with, of course, all variants to the Left of liberalism. This is where my theme of counter-Enlightenment meets the more specific theme of "neo-conservative strategies."
posted by Dave at 6:46 PM
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t’s not enough that Rumsfeld and probably Bush not just tacitly condoned but actively encouraged studies of optimal torture regimes, creating a climate in which undeniable and disgusting torture was used against Iraqi civilians, including children. And at Guantanamo (more). Even they at least had the hypocrisy to attempt to do the Iraq torture planning under wraps. (Hypocrisy being “the tribute vice pays to virtue”.) Meanwhile, at home, being too delicate to torture domestically, the Administration quietly subcontracted the job to Syria. (See my post almost exactly a year ago, Maher Arar Affair: What is the Pluperfect of ‘Cynic’?.)

Comes now a group of Congressional Republicans who are pure vice, and are not even trying to hide it: they have proposed that US law be amended to remove protections against torture — ie to legitimate torture, to plan to torture — for people we label “terrorists” (modern unpersons). The full horrid details are at Obsidian Wings: Legalizing Torture. The key move would be to exclude “terrorists” from the protection of the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The “terrorists” could be held in secret unless they could somehow overcome (without lawyers or witnesses?) a presumption of guilt. When they failed to overcome this impossible burden they could be subject to “extraordinary rendition” which is bureaucrat for “being ported or transferred to a country that may engage in torture”—a deportation that currently would be a serious violation of US law.

Anyone who votes for people capable of supporting these policies has blood on their hands. Not to mention what they are doing to the image of the US as the ‘City on the Hill’, the beacon to mankind. Once we descend into the torture pit, we’re just arguing about circles in Hell.
posted by A.Q. at 4:45 PM
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The Lone Star Iconoclast, the newspaper in George Bush's home town, shook the small settlement of Crawford, Texas, yesterday by turning against its most famous resident and endorsing John Kerry.
The decision has not made W Leon Smith, the Iconoclast's publisher and editor-in-chief, very popular among Crawford's 705-strong population, a mainly conservative crowd who hope a second Bush term will invigorate the sleepy local economy.
"We're getting a lot of emails about it. A lot of hate mail and some saying this was something that needed to be done," Smith told the Guardian yesterday.
He conceded that the hate mail outweighed the more encouraging messages, but said: "Sometimes you have to do things that aren't very popular but you know in your gut are the right thing to do."

link via the Guardian UK.

posted by http://lifeinthepresentlives at 2:02 PM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:40 AM
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Tuesday, September 28, 2004. *
The November 2nd surprise, only not a surprise anymore, and the GOP is responding with more illegal turn-off-the-likely-dem-voters shit. No question, folks, but always good to be reminded:

GOP = Anti-Democracy

GOP = The True Enemy of Freedom--the Freedom to Vote

GOP = Roman Empire 2, Because Vietnam 2 Wasn't Enough

(Here the spirit of PKD would silently interject, "But the Roman Empire never ended, yo," . . . )

posted by Dr. Menlo at 7:37 PM
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"Comment: We have not yet confirmed the veracity of these photos."

Needless to say, let's hope that veracity won't pan out.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 7:29 PM
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Is Now A Good Time to Talk About Framing?
George Lakoff is not a crypto-right-winger, as far as I can tell.

But is the sudden, blog-encompassing focus on a meta-narrative, so close to election time, a good thing?

Comments appreciated.

For the record, Lakoff claims that Arnie won in Cali because of framing. That's a fraud. The record turnout (88.4%) reminds the savvy politics-watcher of nothing-so-much-as Jesse Ventura's success in Minnesota, with high turnout.

Political neophytes, with their thumb's on the pulse of the entertainment industry, elected both men. One was a reformer, the other an Enron stooge.

I believe the Lakoff-framing-meme is being pushed by the bad guys, to distract us from real issues. Either that, or the good guys, to distract us from real issues.

Let's talk "meta" _after_ we've won!
posted by JoshSN at 7:12 PM
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eye on amsam 28 sept. 04

Big thanks to new Harbingers! (in order of acceptance): Josh Narins of Remain Calm, Alien Intelligencer and Michael Miller of Public Domain Progress! Thank you all!

posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:30 AM
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HEY! BUT WE GOT THE OLD MAN HIDING IN THE SPIDER HOLE! DON'T YOU FEEL SAFE?! ISN'T THAT WORTH BILLIONS OF DOLLARS?! ISN'T THAT WORTH TENS OF THOUSANDS OF LIVES!?
posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:15 AM
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How I wouldn't like to get that lying fucker Tucker in a dark alley . . .
posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:06 AM
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Monday, September 27, 2004. *
Get'em Jimmy

"The Federal Elections Commission is in the process of "Florida-izing" our national election system, which will subject our entire nation to the same flaws of the 2000 election. Are we planning to purge millions of eligible voters from the roles before November 2004 in a fashion similar to the illegal voter roll purges that denied tens of thousands of eligible voters their rights in Florida? I call for Jimmy Carter to monitor the American 2004 elections, for the sake of our democracy." -- What WMDs?, my letter to Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), August 13, 2003


Still Seeking a Fair Florida Vote

By Jimmy Carter
Washington Post, September 27, 2004

After the debacle in Florida four years ago . . . The disturbing fact is that a repetition of the problems of 2000 now seems likely, even as many other nations are conducting elections that are internationally certified to be transparent, honest and fair. . . .

It is unconscionable to perpetuate fraudulent or biased electoral practices in any nation. It is especially objectionable among us Americans, who have prided ourselves on setting a global example for pure democracy. With reforms unlikely at this late stage of the election, perhaps the only recourse will be to focus maximum public scrutiny on the suspicious process in Florida.

Former president Carter is chairman of the Carter Center in Atlanta.

"Over the years, Jimmy Carter has been one of the meanest- spirited politicians that I have seen." -- Robert Novack, CNN Crossfire, December 12, 2003


Get 'em Jimmy
posted by Michael Miller at 9:22 AM
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Sunday, September 26, 2004. *
to further economically terrorize non-rich Americans next term:

Question: Who is going to win on November 2?

Answer: It doesn't matter. We will control the House
of Representatives, and probably the Senate. If Kerry
wins, he will not be able to do anything that we do not
want him to do. We will not give him money to spend.
He will not be able to raise taxes. He will not steal
our firearms. Even though we lose the White House, it
will not be the end of the world.

Q: And if Bush wins?

A: The Democratic Party will be forever doomed. If we
take control of the legislature and the executive
branch, we will reenforce our control of the Judicial
Branch to direct it against the Democrats. We will
brng about a modest limit of the ability of the people
to initiate lawsuits against corporations, which will
damage the lawyers who specialize in these cases, which
is one of the props of the Democratic Party. We will
accelerate the decline of the unions. We will cut
funding to groups of public employees, like teachers,
who are one of the great sources of Democratic votes.
And we will begin the move the Welfare State toward a
private system, in pensions and healthcare.
posted by New World at 4:56 PM
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What to do, what to do?
Part of an Alternet interview
with Arundhati Roy


What do you believe Americans of conscience can do? How do we make a difference in a democracy in which the media and the people themselves seem to conspire to lower the intelligence of the public? In which people feel good electing charming leaders who do not serve their interests?

Even though I know it isn't the majority position in America right now, coming from the outside, I do have a lot of respect for the quality of the dissent that I have seen in America. To see that march against the Republican Convention was absolutely spectacular.

On the run-up to the march, the papers were full of these stupid stories about aging anarchists who had penetrated the system and were going to be violent, and about how New Yorkers had all left town. This whole cloud of fear was constructed. The march itself happened, and day after day after day spontaneous protests took place across the city, and there wasn't any violence. The newspapers said this was only because of the extraordinary restraint of the police. It's almost as if you're goading people into being violent.

Yes.

...I think the more absurd the corporate media gets, the more distorted Fox News gets, we have to find ways of making independent media a forum that is heard and listened to. There is good independent media here, though I suppose it's quite marginal because we're dealing with a very indoctrinated population.

Given the amount of propaganda people are subjected to, that a half a million people will turn out on the street tells me that something is happening. That's thanks to this kind of under-the-surface drumbeat of the independent media of newspapers and radio stations...

...and the internet.

Exactly. I'm completely flummoxed sometimes. Since I don't come to America often, I can't believe that people even know who I am. I'm not published in any mainstream American paper, but obviously there are listeners and readers and there's an audience that's getting bigger, and that is wonderful.

One of the tragedies for me is that all the hopes and efforts of those who've opposed the war, whether in protests or in support of Howard Dean or Dennis Kucinich, finally depend for their expression on the idiosyncratic decisions of one man and his ten advisors.

But it cannot be idiosyncratic. That's what I find very frightening. Given that the Democratic party must have some kind of thermometer by which they judge the popular temperature, how is it that they are not being forced to take a position against the war? They seem so terrified of appearing weak or being mocked for not being strong enough on America's security.

It's the same thing in India. Even if it wanted to -- and I don't know if it wants to -- the Congress party seems terrified of taking a proper position on Kashmir, because it will always be outdone by the right. So everything just keeps drifting towards the right. That's the frightening thing about this so-called game of democracy.

And on that note, have I mentioned how much I got out of Propaganda and Control of the Public Mind? Perhaps not, since it seems like so long since I left Holland for Qatar.
posted by mr damon at 1:33 PM
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posted by Bill at 1:07 PM
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Saturday, September 25, 2004. *
Even Atheists Know - A Florida Vote For Bush is a Bad Idea
http://www.bartcop.com/message-from-God.gif
posted by Trevor Blake at 8:15 PM
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The Conservative Echo Chamber
Onegoodmove reader Jeremiah John responds to David Brooks and company.

Mr. Brooks,

Leaving aside the considerable self-incurred political problems Kerry has on the issue of Iraq, the conservative echo chamber with regard to his suggestions for Iraq has been amazingly well executed. When Kerry rejects Dean's facile proposals for withdraw, he is labeled a War Democrat, which means he agrees with Bush's policy on Iraq in almost every way (Bill Kristol). When Kerry expresses reservations about the way in which the war was launched and managed, reservations which many conservatives have themselves voices, Kerry then becomes a Flip-Flop Democrat (RNC talking points). Now, when, Kerry says that the war was in the final analysis a bad idea and should be ended as soon as possible, he becomes an Irresponsbile Democrat (David Brooks). No matter what Kerry says, he is either pro-Bush, indecisive, or beyond the pale.

More interesting is the fact that this completely manipulative and distorted frame seems to have been made easier to paste on Kerry not by Bush's successes in Iraq, but by his enornous failures. Kerry's goal of bringing troops home soon is called "irresponsible", mainly because the situation--military and political--is an absolute mess. Never mind that any choice we make at this point will be at best the lesser of grave evils, or that it wasn't Kerry, but Bush who has brought us to this range of choices. Bush and conservatives like yourself, who proposed invading and occupying a multi-national, Middle Eastern country with a history of despotism, not for the sake of immediate security interests but for a quixotic project of democratization-to-fight-terrorism are the authors of a policy which may be causing over 1000 soldiers to "die for nothing". Politically, Kerry may not be able to win an election talking about Iraq--somehow it is Kerry and not Bush we are now demanding answers from. But morally this war belongs to Bush and those like yourself who supported it for the worst reasons. Is Kerry irresponsible, simply because he is trying to map out a difficult change of course? I have no illusions that most American troops will be coming home next July. But I do know that if Kerry is elected, he will be considerably less eager to treat pessimistic CIA reports and mounting deaths in Iraq as fodder for spin, and that when he speaks at the U.N. he will be much less likely to lecture foreign leaders for domestic political gain while wasting another chance to secure their help. Lincoln couldn't have produced an easy or painless route out of this disaster. Heaven knows that you never have, nor likely ever will, ask George W. Bush to chart such a route.

Sincerely,

Jeremiah John
Doctoral Candidate
Department of Political Science
University of Notre Dame
posted by Norm at 1:50 PM
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Too addictive.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:30 AM
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CAN I ASK WHO YOU'RE GOING TO VOTE FOR IN NOVEMBER? I'm really concerned about this Administration. Now, does that mean that they've completely lost any chance? Not really. Things could change drastically. But let me put it this way: they've put themselves in a giant hole, as far as I'm concerned. And as far as I'm concerned, their best argument for election is, Yes, I drove us into a brick wall. But I didn't blink! [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 1:52 AM
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Friday, September 24, 2004. *
posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:16 PM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:34 PM
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Two Bowdoin students were ejected from President Bush's campaign appearance in Bangor yesterday on suspicion that they planned to protest inside the event. Another Bowdoin student, who worked at the event, was involved in the removal.


Bree Dallinga '06, co-president of the Bowdoin College Democrats, and Ashley Cusick '05, both self-described liberals, said they planned to attend the event to observe and possibly protest by wearing anti-Bush t-shirts. According to Dallinga, after successfully passing through security, Dan Schuberth '06 spotted the two students and requested their removal from the event.


Chris Averill, executive director of the Maine College Republicans, said Schuberth played a role in the ejection. Averill said, as head of volunteers at the event, "Schuberth had the discretion to have [potential protesters] checked out by security." [more]


Now the Department of Precrime includes PreProtest!
posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:59 PM
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This is one of many articles being floated around where the Bush admin starts to hint about pulling out of Iraq sooner rather then later. Is it a bluff? A tactic to shore up support among conservatives ill-at-ease with the NeoCon domination strategy? Only time will tell...

Rumsfeld: U.S. Troops Can Leave Before Iraq Peaceful



The United States does not have to wait until Iraq "is peaceful and perfect" before it begins to withdraw military troops from that troubled country, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Friday.

Responding to questions from reporters, Rumsfeld said Washington was determined to provide security for scheduled January elections in Iraq, where nearly 140,000 American troops are now fighting a growing insurgency.

But "any implication that that place has to be peaceful and perfect before we can reduce coalition and U.S. forces, I think, would obviously be unwise," he told a press conference after meeting Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.
posted by A.Q. at 3:23 PM
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Amid growing concern that Israel might launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran's budding nuclear program, the United States is moving ahead with the transfer to Israel of 5,000 heavy, precision-guided bombs, including 500 "earth-penetrating" 2,000-pound bombs designed for use against underground facilities.

The transfer also includes 2,500 2,000-pound Mark-84 bombs, 500 1,000-pound Mark-83 bombs, 1,500 500-pound Mark-82 bombs and live fuses. All the bombs are being fitted with the Joint Direct Air Munitions (JDAM) kit which uses inertial guidance and beacons from U.S. military Global Positioning Satellites for deadly accuracy.

"That's an arsenal for war," said Joseph Cirincione, senior associate for non-proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. He said any attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, clustered in three major complexes and dozens of other sites, "wouldn't be a pinprick strike; it would have to be a large-scale military airstrike that would result in large-scale casualties."
posted by A.Q. at 12:07 PM
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The most monumental cover-up in media history may be the one I’m about to describe. In my entire experience with American journalism, I have never found anything as extreme, sustained, and omnipresent.

Three and a half years ago, when the current Palestinian uprising began, I started to look into Israel and Palestine. I had never paid much attention to this issue before and so – unlike many people – I knew I was completely uninformed about it. I had no idea that I was pulling a loose piece of thread that would steadily unravel, until nothing would ever be quite as it had been before.
posted by A.Q. at 8:47 AM
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The House passed legislation Thursday that would prevent the Supreme Court from ruling on whether lamb can be prepared with the milk of it's mother. Supporters insisted that Congress has always had authority to limit federal court jurisdiction, and the legislation is needed to protect an affirmation of religion that is part of the national heritage. The bill, which was passed 247-173, would prohibit federal courts, including the Supreme Court, from hearing cases involving the Ten Commandments and would prevent federal courts from preparing, serving or consuming lamb prepared with the milk of it's mother.

Just kidding (get it? kid-ing!). Actually, the House has forbidden the Supreme Court from ruling on whether the worlds 'under God' should be removed from the Pledge of allegiance. Most religious people wouldn't mind having 'under God' left in, but some religious people object to 'taking oaths' very strongly. And so this legislation, for all its claims to be ecumenical, is actually highly selective in what flavor of what religion it is promoting. So why not go all the way with it and forbid the cooking of lambs prepared with the milk of it's mother, just like it says in the Ten Commandments? If the United States is to become a Christian theocracy then let's just get on with it and kill everyone who doesn't want to be a Christian as our Lord and Savior, the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ commanded us to do.
posted by Trevor Blake at 8:44 AM
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What the Zell?
Don't tell me the Bush administration ignores history. They've studied it very, very carefully.

And like you, I ask which leader is it today that has the vision, the willpower and, yes, the backbone to best protect my family?

The clear answer to that question has placed me in this hall with you tonight. For my family is more important than my party.

There is but one man to whom I am willing to entrust their future and that man's name is George Bush.


-- Zell Miller, RNC Convention, 2004



I ask, which leader is it today that has the vision, the willpower, and yes, the backbone to best protect us?

The clear answer to that question has placed me in this hall with you tonight.

There is but one man to whom I am willing to entrust our future and that man's name is Adolph Hitler.



-- Joseph Goebbels, 65 years ago.


Credit to WhatReallyHappened for the Goebbels pointer, and to Google for the serendipitous discovery of Zell's plagarism.
posted by Michael Miller at 6:28 AM
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Plucking Their Strings
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Most honest observers would rate the Progressive movement's impact on public affairs as "insignificant". Such judgments shouldn't come as a shock. After all, what is a "progressive"? I'd imagine the dozens of answers to that question would be as diverse as the multitude of factions that call themselves "progressive." In fact, I'd say that Progressivism is not a movement at all. Rather, it is a plurality of special interests and radical politics that needed a word to replace "liberal". Adele Stevenson once remarked that a Liberal was "one who had both feet firmly planted in the air."

The various sects of Progressivism -- which include New Deal Liberalism, Socialism, environmentalism, pacifism and anarchism -- tend to keep their goals self-centered, static, and uncompromising. This is a shame; if these sects could cooperate and support each other, they might be able to revolutionize our government.

Most of the ideas forged by the progressive mind are forever exiled to highbrow books, academia, and the local coffee shop debating society. Meanwhile, Conservatives find total unity in their never ending quest for the dollar.

Conservative philosopher Russell Kirk once wrote that Conservatism is "the negation of ideology". Indeed, what appears as conservative ideology to a progressive is actually the conservative's "populist" bait for the voters. The conservative is not concerned with abortion or gay marriage, rather the conservative is interested in using those issues to gain votes. Indeed, as a general rule, stupid people are the easiest to control and reward. Thus, the backward message of pro-Life, anti-gay, "pro-bombing the browns" gets Republicans elected. Like moths to a porchlight, it draws the troves of racist weak-minded dolts to vote polls. Meanwhile, the progressives are still debating the finer points of enviromental reform at Joe's Java.

Once the conservatives are elected, than they usually proceed with their planned orgy-like festivals of tax breaks and corporate handouts. Since they are good businessmen, they are also sure to throw some table scraps to their base in the form of a judicial nominations or proposed amendments. It keeps the dogs coming back.

It's a bleak reality for progressives. Our entire movement depends upon people being intelligent and good hearted -- and look where its gotten us: A Democratic canidate who is tanking, the prospect of the supreme court being controlled by rightwing ideologies, a Republican congress, and a "war president". So, I've dropped the dream of "waking people up". I've decided to cross over to the dark side.

Unless we Progressives can learn the "dark arts of Rove", we don't stand a chance. Its time that we learn to pluck the strings of greed, vanity, and stupidity in the electorate. But don't fret, we just have to change our message, not our ideals -- and god forbid one of us gets elected, we could exercise our power in the way we always knew we would have: to advance that which is true, just, and beautiful.

"In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia."-George Orwell

posted by Nick at 1:14 AM
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Thursday, September 23, 2004. *
Monkey Hacks Black Box Machine

Fox news coverage (Fox?? Must be too sensational for them to pass up).

Black Box coverage, News clip: ***NEW*** Chimpanzee manipulating a Diebold election machine

Via Metafilter.

posted by Deleted at 11:25 PM
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LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - Six Lancaster city men are headed to court next month, accused of dropping their pants this summer in protest during President George W. Bush's visit to Smoketown Elementary School.

Each of the self-monikered "Smoketown Six" has been charged with one count of disorderly conduct for stripping down to thong underwear minutes before the president's bus rolled by on its way to the Conestoga Valley elementary school.

East Lampeter Township Police arrested the men as they were re-enacting the infamous human-pyramid photo of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, Iraq. [more]


[no registration required, just a few quick questions]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:34 PM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:31 PM
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"There might be a real or staged terrorist attack in order to postpone the elections," McGovern said. "This might seem outlandish; I hope it is."

He mentioned how the Bush administration wanted to involve the country with the war in Iraq for certain reasons other than fear of weapons of mass destruction, which was just a more media-friendly explanation for the war.

"I have initials for why I think we went to war in Iraq," McGovern said. "O.I.L. O-I-L, O is for oil, I is for Israel and L is for logistics, as in when we have Iraq we have a foothold and a number of bases strategically placed in the Middle East so we can be in control over there and also to protect Israel."

Next he brought up civil liberties in the United States and how they have declined in the past few years. [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:25 PM
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Public Announcement: I Am Going to Murder Christians On Sight
I've never seen a Christian in my life I wanted to marry. I'm going to be blunt and plain: if one ever looks at me like that, I'm going to kill him and tell God he died. I've used that statement thousands of times about all sorts of people, and that I do not mean to harm anyone. That's a little cliche. It's a tongue and cheek statement that's meant to be humorous and funny.

Nobody ever really said the above
. Here's what really got said, by Reverend Jimmy Swaggart, on television broadcast all over Canada and the United States: "I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm going to be blunt and plain: If one ever looks at me like that, I'm going to kill him and tell God he died." When people complained, he said "That's a little cliche. It's a tongue and cheek statement that's meant to be humorous and funny." Ha ha ha, don't stop now!

What else does Brother Swaggart have to say? "The Supreme Court of the United States of America is an institution damned by God almighty" ... "Evolution is a bankrupt speculative philosophy, not a scientific fact. Only a spiritually bankrupt society could ever believe it. [...] Only atheists could accept this Satanic theory" [...] "The minister of the Gospel is really the yardstick by which the nation measures its morals" [...] "Sex education classes in our public schools are promoting incest" ... "If I do not return to the pulpit this weekend, millions of people will go to hell." HA HA HA!

You slay me, Jimmy. I hope you don't mind my telling a funny little joke too, every now and then.
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:05 PM
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Americans Pay High Cost for War provides state-by-state data on the number of soldiers killed and wounded, the dollar cost, and the number of reservists and National Guard troops on active duty. This data is presented in the context of worsening conditions in Iraq as well as expert opinions on national security policy.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:37 AM
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Bush Pioneer?
posted by Deleted at 5:37 AM
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Wednesday, September 22, 2004. *
posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:10 PM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:02 PM
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O'REILLY: OK. You know what's really frightening?

STEWART: Uh oh.

O'REILLY: You know what's really frightening?

STEWART: You've been reading my diary.

O'REILLY: You actually have an influence on this presidential election. That is scary.

STEWART: If that were so, that would be quite frightening.

O'REILLY: But it is. It's true. I mean, you've got stoned slackers watching your dopey show every night, OK, and they can vote.

STEWART: Yeah.

O'REILLY: You can't stop them.

STEWART: Yeah, I just don't know how motivated they would be, these stoned slackers.

O'REILLY: Yeah, it just depends if they have to go out that day.

STEWART: What am I, a Cheech and Chong movie? Stoned slackers? [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:57 PM
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Bruce Springsteen knows a historical crossroads when he sees it. And Republican retiree Alice Cooper thinks you’re a moron. Springsteen told an interviewer this summer that he and his band had spent the last 25 years socking away a nest egg of credibility in the minds of the millions who count themselves among his fans. “There comes a moment when you have to spend some of it,” he said. “This is that moment.” [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:30 PM
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(with Quicktime example)
posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:24 PM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:11 PM
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Millions Blocked From Voting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - "Millions of U.S. citizens, including a disproportionate number of black voters, will be blocked from voting in the Nov. 2 presidential election because of legal barriers, faulty procedures or dirty tricks, according to civil rights and legal experts.

The largest category of those legally disenfranchised consists of almost 5 million former felons who have served prison sentences and been released.
In total, 13 percent of all black men are barred from voting due to a felony conviction, according to the Commission on Civil Rights. Polls consistently find that black Americans overwhelmingly vote for Democrats. "

Link - http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/nm/campaign_vote_dc
posted by http://lifeinthepresentlives at 4:36 PM
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Top Secret Debate Contract Addendum
As most people know by now, President Bush and Senator Kerry have signed on to a 32 page debate agreement. But few are aware that they also signed a secret addendum to that agreement. Fortunately, MadKane.com has an exclusive copy of that secret addendum, provided by a DC insider whom I will identify only as "Debate Throat."

TOP SECRET ADDENDUM TO ELECTION 2004 DEBATE AGREEMENT, entered into on September 20, 2004 by President George W. Bush (hereinafter referred to as "Bush") and Senator John F. Kerry (hereinafter referred to as "Kerry")

WHEREAS, The interesting thing about being the President is you don't have to explain things;

WHEREAS, If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier; and

WHEREAS, Bush and Kerry have entered into a Debate Agreement and wish to modify it and memorialize certain secret debate terms.

NOW, THEREFORE, Bush and Kerry hereby agree to the following top secret provisions:

1. Kerry shall be required to answer all debate questions in French.

2. Bush shall be required to answer all debate questions in English.

3. Throughout each debate, the backdrop behind Bush shall feature several U.S. flags, the precise number of which is subject to further negotiation.

4. Throughout each debate, the backdrop behind Kerry shall feature a map of Massachusetts and two life-size photos of Kerry with Jane Fonda.

The rest of the Top Secret Debate Contract Addendum is here.
posted by Mad Kane at 3:17 PM
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The President of Switzerland (the next to be deposed by recall vote?), Joseph Deiss, has declared that
In hindsight, experience shows that actions taken without a mandate which has been clearly defined in a security council resolution are doomed to failure.
For a more general roundup, try the Christian Science Monitor.  Christian Science is a loony religion (aren't they all?), but their international news service has decades of good reputation under its belt.
posted by JoshSN at 1:59 PM
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The Women in Iran web site tries to open a window, however small, to the life of Iranian women -- this always hidden half of our society. This web site, with the slogan of "Women's Right Is Human Right", tries to tell the story of struggles, issues and successes of Iranian women, and in this way we would like to extend our hands to and welcome all those who believe in the social and intellectual equality of women and men.
posted by A.Q. at 11:38 AM
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Kofi Annan expresses concern over illegality of Iraq war and need to follow international law, slamming Bush hard: "Secretary General Kofi Annan opened the annual United Nations debate of world leaders on Tuesday with a plea for greater observance of international law and a reminder of his misgivings about the legality of the American-led war in Iraq.

"Those who seek to bestow legitimacy must themselves embody it, and those who invoke international law must themselves submit to it," he told the audience of delegates in the General Assembly hall, which included President Bush and Ayad Allawi, the interim Iraqi prime minister.

Mr. Annan, who last week told a BBC interviewer that he considered the war in Iraq "illegal" because it proceeded without Security Council approval, stuck to the point by citing the example of Iraq in his larger argument about the primacy of international law and how it applies to advanced powers as well as unprincipled individuals.
"In Iraq, we see civilians massacred in cold blood while relief workers, journalists and other noncombatants are taken hostage and put to death in the most barbarous fashion," he said.
He then drew a parallel to American actions. "At the same time," he said, "we have seen Iraqi prisoners disgracefully abused."
He also noted pointedly that "even the necessary fight against terrorism is allowed to encroach unnecessarily on civil liberties."
The New York Times > International > United Nations: Annan Reiterates His Misgivings About Legality of War in Iraq
In a stinging editorial, the NYT slams Bush for failing to engage UN diplomatically and offering stump speech bragging about his "accomplishments": "We did not expect President Bush to come before the United Nations in the middle of his re-election campaign and acknowledge the serious mistakes his administration has made on Iraq. But that still left plenty of room for him to take advantage of this one last chance to appeal to an increasingly antagonistic world to help the Iraqis secure and rebuild their shattered nation and prepare for elections in just four months. Instead, Mr. Bush delivered an inexplicably defiant campaign speech in which he glossed over the current dire situation in Iraq for an audience acutely aware of the true state of affairs, and scolded them for refusing to endorse the American invasion in the first place.

Even when he talked about issues of common agreement, like the global fight against AIDS and easing the crushing third-world debt, Mr. Bush seemed more interested in praising his own policies than in assuming the leadership of an international effort. The speech would have drawn cheers at an adoring Republican National Convention, but it seemed to fall flat in a room full of stony-faced world leaders.

Mr. Bush has never exhibited much respect for the United Nations at the best of times. But the United States now desperately needs the partnership of other nations on Iraq. Without substantial help from major nations, the prospects for stabilizing that country anytime soon are bleak. American soldiers and taxpayers are paying a heavy price for Washington's wrongheaded early insistence on controlling all important military, political and economic decision-making in post-invasion Iraq.

Other nations have generally responded by sitting sullenly on the sidelines. Even when they cast grudging votes for American-sponsored Security Council resolutions, they hold back on troops and financial support. With the war going so badly and voters hostile to it in most democracies, that situation is unlikely to change unless Washington signals a new attitude, and deals with other countries as real partners whose opinions and economic interests are entitled to respectful consideration.
Mr. Bush might have done better at wooing broader international support if he had spent less time on self-justification and scolding and more on praising the importance of international cooperation and a strengthened United Nations. Instead, his tone-deaf speechwriters achieved a perverse kind of alchemy, transforming a golden opportunity into a lead balloon."
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/22/opinion/22wed1.html?hp
posted by Douglas at 8:08 AM
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Tuesday, September 21, 2004. *
Don't you feel MORE comfortable knowing there are SECRET laws you must obey in addition to all the regular ones? Ignorance of the law is NO excuse, even when the law is SECRET.

John worked his way up the bureaucratic chain and was eventually told by United Airlines that there were security directives that mandated the showing of ID, but that he couldn't see them. These secret directives, issued by the Transportation Security Administration, are revised as often as weekly, and are transmitted orally rather than in writing. To make things even more confusing, these orally transmitted secret rules change depending on the airport.
posted by Dave at 9:23 PM
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As the US government releases a few of the innocent people it has held in Cuba's Guantanamo Bay internment camp for years, four convicted Cuban terrorists were recently pardoned by Panama's outgoing President Mireyas Moscoso. Upon being released from prison on August 26, three of the terrorists were flown on a private jet to Miami where they were met by their families. The four men, along with two others, were convicted on charges relating to a plot to assassinate Fidel Castro by blowing up a crowded auditorium in 2000.

Despite these men's longstanding ties to the CIA, stretching back to the 1970s anti-leftist terror war in South America, "Operation Condor," the US State Department denied having lobbied for their release, and said that it would leave all comments on these particular terrorists for the Panamanian government. As the local US embassy spokesman, William Ostick, said, the US never officially "requested the Panamanians to pardon these individuals."

Nonetheless, China's Xinhua news agency reported that President Moscoso left a telephone message for a former US ambassador to Panama saying "Ambassador, good morning, this is the president to inform you that the four Cubans were pardoned last night and have already left the country. Three are headed for Miami and the other to an unknown destination. Good bye, and all the best." According to the report, Moscoso has acknowledged the recorded voice was hers. [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 4:39 PM
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"Despite the recent destructive series of hurricanes and tornadoes, global warming is off the radar screen of the U.S. presidential election campaign."
posted by Dr. Menlo at 4:28 PM
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Other US troops expressed feelings of guilt over killing Iraqis in a war they believe is unjust.

'We shouldn't be here,' said one Marine infantryman bluntly. 'There was no reason for invading this country in the first place. We just came here and [angered people] and killed a lot of innocent people,' said the marine, who has seen regular combat in Ramadi. 'I don't enjoy killing women and children, it's not my thing.'
posted by A.Q. at 10:05 AM
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Purchasing a FOX Blocker and telling the advertisers at FOX News why you did it will encourage advertisers spending their money somewhere else.

If we band together and tell the advertisers to shut the FOX up, we can help limit the scope, or at least the profitability of FOX News.

FOXBlocker is an innovative new product that filters out the FOX News network. Simply screw the filter into the back of your TV and never be exposed to right wing propaganda again (at least through FOX News). Using a proprietary technology, the FOXBlocker works to filter out FOX News from your cable lineup. [more]

posted by Dr. Menlo at 7:48 AM
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Monday, September 20, 2004. *
USD$6 Million for Lawyers, Goose Eggs for Rape Victims
As you read through the many reports on the Dioces of Tucson filing for bankruptcy after the specter of being held accountable for hosting child molesting priests for decades arose, see how many times it is reported that the official policy of the Roman Catholic Church has been to hide child molestors for decades. More details via past amsamery.
posted by Trevor Blake at 10:31 PM
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The great historical irony of the catastrophe unfolding in Iraq is that the shock-therapy reforms that were supposed to create an economic boom that would rebuild the country have instead fueled a resistance that ultimately made reconstruction impossible. Bremer’s reforms unleashed forces that the neocons neither predicted nor could hope to control, from armed insurrections inside factories to tens of thousands of unemployed young men arming themselves. These forces have transformed Year Zero in Iraq into the mirror opposite of what the neocons envisioned: not a corporate utopia but a ghoulish dystopia, where going to a simple business meeting can get you lynched, burned alive, or beheaded. These dangers are so great that in Iraq global capitalism has retreated, at least for now. For the neocons, this must be a shocking development: their ideological belief in greed turns out to be stronger than greed itself. [more]
posted by Bill at 7:27 PM
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Before I begin, let me state that I am a soldier currently deployed in Iraq, I am not an armchair quarterback. Nor am I some politically idealistic and naïve young soldier, I am an old and seasoned Non-Commissioned Officer with nearly 20 years under my belt. Additionally, I am not just a soldier with a muds-eye view of the war, I am in Civil Affairs and as such, it is my job to be aware of all the events occurring in this country and specifically in my region.

I have come to the conclusion that we cannot win here for a number of reasons. Ideology and idealism will never trump history and reality.

When we were preparing to deploy, I told my young soldiers to beware of the "political solution." Just when you think you have the situation on the ground in hand, someone will come along with a political directive that throws you off the tracks.

I believe that we could have won this un-Constitutional invasion of Iraq and possibly pulled off the even more un-Constitutional occupation and subjugation of this sovereign nation. It might have even been possible to foist democracy on these people who seem to have no desire, understanding or respect for such an institution. True the possibility of pulling all this off was a long shot and would have required several hundred billion dollars and even more casualties than we’ve seen to date but again it would have been possible, not realistic or necessary but possible.

Here are the specific reasons why we cannot win in Iraq. [more]

. . . via.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:47 AM
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up in smoke
Eli Lilly is a pharmaceutical company. Eli Lilly & Company are big friends of the Bush family.
British Indian companies introduced cannabis into Europe (Queen Victoria loved it!). It caught on and was taken to the States in form of Ely Lilly's Dr Brown Sedative Tablets.
Unfortunately, now they no longer want us to consume marijuana because they want us to buy paxil.
If you have family members who have taken paxil and have had family members who have smoked marijuana, you know that between the two, that which should be illegal is the former.
posted by cynthia korzekwa at 8:39 AM
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Sunday, September 19, 2004. *
Europe Wins Ryder Cup
U.S. Team Blames Bush Leadership for Loss


All is not well in the Green Zone. The United States suffered its second straight loss at this years Ryder Cup. The choice of George W. Bush to be the captain of the team turned good winning chances into a humiliating defeat. Tiger Woods was perhaps the most outspoken. "When I checked my bag I was missing several clubs I needed," he said. "You should never send a team into competition without providing them with the proper equipment." I asked my Dad to send me a putter from home, but I lost two holes before it arrived. Phil Mickelson was more upset that the team had to use carts. It's tradition, it's in the rules that the players walk the course. It put our caddies out of a job, but even worse was George's choice of Hummers. They caused us a lot of problems. We were constantly on the lookout of IEDs (Improvised European Derision) It's hard to concentrate when you're being ridiculed. The President refused to apologize. The equipment was the best available, and as to some rule about no carts, we don't need a permission slip from Europeeeans to use Hummers. One unanswered question was how George was picked as captain. A majority of the team had voted for someone else. In spite of a dismal showing there were a few bright spots. On the last day of competition Davis Love won his match even after finding his ball in a Cheney Bunker on the eighteenth hole. Stewart Cink said "most players would give up upon finding their ball in a Cheney bunker it's to Love's credit that he didn't, but in the final analysis it wasn't enough and now we'll have to wait two more years to redeem ourselves. George when asked to comment on our teams performance said "I'm satisfied we're making progress."
posted by Norm at 2:43 PM
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. . . via PlasticBoy.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:58 AM
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Would you like to work for a company that, when facing millions of dollars in lawsuits, buys you a multimillion-dollar house? How about an employer who adds a second story to your already-massive abode even while the government forces it to pay $5.2 million to settle a lawsuit?

Think it can only happen at Halliburton? Well, think again: you can enjoy all of this if you're a priest for the Catholic Diocese of Orange!

Yes, when Bishop Tod D. Brown became the spiritual head of Orange County's 1.2 million Catholics in 1998, he abandoned the Church's millennia-old practice of housing priests in humble rectories on parish grounds and began shacking up clergy in fancy digs few of the faithful could afford: quaint Balboa Island bungalows, beachside manses and other high-class abodes featuring three-car garages, walk-in closets and in-ground spas. In a confidential Sept. 3 memo written by Father Michael Heher to diocesan priests, Heher defended this practice by citing Brown's policy of allowing priests "to live off-site, affording them more privacy and a place away from their work environment." And just last month, Brown admitted to purchasing a gated-community lot on which he plans to have built a multimillion-dollar mansion for himself near the proposed site of the $100 million Christ Our Savior Cathedral in Santa Ana.

This is the same diocese currently pleading poverty in explaining why it can't reach a settlement with sex-abuse victims and why it laid off 11 diocesan workers in the spring. Brown has repeatedly said he will not sell church property - parishes, convents, church halls, etc. - to free up more money for his operation. But what about the $2 million house whose sole tenant is retired Monsignor Lawrence Baird? Or the San Clemente complex mere minutes from the ocean? Considering there appears to be more than enough room at the inn for priests in the diocese's 56 parish rectories, why doesn't Brown consider a fire sale of its secular properties? In fact, if Brown begins with the following 10
[see URL], then the diocese could reap something like $8,837,323 - very conservatively estimated - and get back to its main focus: paying out big-money settlements to victims of priestly rape.

The article goes on to provide photographs and cost estimates of the mansions owned by the parish as well as cost estimates for providing food and shelter to the needy. If it wasn't clear enough from that where the parish's priorities lie, how about this: Last year, the Diocese of Orange contributed $398,500 to its charitable arm, Catholic Charities of Orange County. This amount is one-third of what Brown's Santa Ana house costs and constitutes 8 percent of the organization's total assets (other revenue came from government grants and fund-raising).

Now is as good a time as any to do a cost/benefit analysis of providing tax exemption to religious organizations. I think you will find that we aren't getting our money's worth. Please refrain from donating to the religious organization of your choice this holiday season.
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:09 AM
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Saturday, September 18, 2004. *
For the last year and a half, the pain in my gut screamed at my head write about this war, speak out against the war! But my aching heart said, "You can't undermine your son's confidence in what he is doing." Memories of people scorning and smearing Vietnam vets ran rampant through my mind. You see, my son, 1st Lt. Neil Anthony Santoriello Jr., was living his dream. He had fulfilled his dream of becoming a military officer. I thought he was fulfilling his destiny of being a man of purpose, compassion and justice working to make the world a better place.
 
Now my son is dead. How did he die? According to the Army, he was killed on Aug. 13 in western Iraq when an IED -- an "improvised explosive device" -- detonated near his vehicle. According to me, he was killed by the arrogance and ineptitude of George W. Bush aided by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:35 PM
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The link goes to Rense.com but purportedly the "govt insider" is a former senior advisor to Bob Dole, Stanley Hilton.

Just for argument's sake, Randi Rhodes said she thought they never told Bush so that he would have "plausible deniability."

What do you think?
posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:09 PM
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In the interests of social control during difficult times it's important to infix a conditioned reflex in the average Murkan civilian to respond to color-coded terror alerts the way you can get chickens to play basketball.

Hence a new Terror Alert System has been developed to get people to jump as high as you tell them.

Since terrorist attacks can be predicted with the same degree of accuracy as tornadoes and earthquakes you might as well get people used to the idea of living with a vague sense of universal, impending doom. Doing so will help make unruly peons law-abiding citizens wonderfully malleable as you adjust their sense of dread like a rheostat controlling a dining room chandelier.

Now you can do your part to get people to take seriously every pronouncement of the Department That Cries Wolf [DTCW] — add the Panic Induction Stress State of National Unity Alert Logo (PISSONUAL) to your website.

Here's the code:

<a href="http://inspectorlohmann.blogspot.com/2004/09/panic-induction-stress-state-of.html"><img src="http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-8/807547/pissonu.sm.cur.jpg" width=250 height=141></a>


The DTCW's
Panic Induction Stress State Of National Unity Alert Logo
[PISSONUAL]



Current Status
posted by Inspector Lohmann at 3:07 PM
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Friday, September 17, 2004. *
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says that its conference on “business-education partnerships” is to help create “opportunities for companies seeking to improve their support for K-12 education.”

While nearly all would agree that most schools need more “support,” much of what is called “business-education partnerships” really is plain old corporate marketing, sometimes dressed up with nominal gifts; or else it is public relations, in using schools to boost a corporation’s sagging public image.

Regrettably, in the last fifteen years, corporations have increasingly rejected the notion of philanthropy, in which they give money to schools because it is the right thing to do. Instead, business groups like yours are touting “business-education partnerships” which often involve using schools as public relations props or as marketing arenas to address a captive audience of children. The purpose is not so much to improve education, as it is to increase the sales of junk food and drinks such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi. It is the opposite of philanthropy, but it seems to be the dominant model for so-called “business-education partnerships.”




posted by Deleted at 8:27 PM
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Because They Own Your Body; Because They Own Your Life
Its called the "Universal National Service Act of 2003". Its currently pending in both the House and the Senate under the headings, S.89 and H.R.163:

Summery: Universal National Service Act of 2003 - Declares that it is the obligation of every U.S. citizen, and every other person residing in the United States, between the ages of 18 and 26 to perform a two-year period of national service, unless exempted, either as a member of an active or reserve component of the armed forces or in a civilian capacity that promotes national defense.

Amends the Military Selective Service Act to authorize the military registration of females.


To anyone who will be between the ages of 18 and 26 during the next 5 years: if you think that College will exempt you from being drafted, think again. If this bill becomes a law, your induction into the military would be delayed no longer than the end of a current semester.

The SSS has already recruited 2000 "Selective Service System Local Board Members", who are -- to put it more succulently-- the people who will decide who goes to war. While they deny that they are moving towards reinstating the draft, the memory hole has recovered the SSS's erased "Defend America" website. You can be the judge.

Why isn't anyone talking about this bill? Charles Pena, senior analyst with the Washington-based Cato Institute said, "I don't think a presidential candidate would seriously propose a draft -- but an incumbent, safely in for a second term — that might be a different story."

Mr Pena continued, "When you crunch the numbers, you understand why you hear talk about a draft. You only have to look at troop levels to realize we don't have the numbers to do the job in Iraq properly."

Of course, the SSS, DOD, and Pentagon all insist that none of this has anything to do with reinstating the draft. But they haven't commented on it for a year. The situation in Iraq has gotten signifigantly worse since November 2003. I think we need to all be thinking very carefully about this.
posted by Nick at 1:54 PM
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What is a Fascist?
A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends. The supreme god of a fascist, to which his ends are directed, may be money or power; may be a race or a class; may be a military, clique or an economic group; or may be a culture, religion, or a political party.

In every big nation of the world are at least a few people who have the fascist temperament. Every Jew-baiter, every Catholic hater, is a fascist at heart. The hoodlums who have been desecrating churches, cathedrals and synagogues in some of our larger cities are ripe material for fascist leadership.

The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others. Dangerous as these people may be, they are not so significant as thousands of other people who have never been mentioned. The really dangerous American fascists are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.

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

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

Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion.

The symptoms of fascist thinking are colored by environment and adapted to immediate circumstances. But always and everywhere they can be identified by their appeal to prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities of different groups in order to gain power. It is no coincidence that the growth of modern tyrants has in every case been heralded by the growth of prejudice. It may be shocking to some people in this country to realize that, without meaning to do so, they hold views in common with Hitler when they preach discrimination against other religious, racial or economic groups.

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

Several leaders of industry in this country who have gained a new vision of the meaning of opportunity through co-operation with government have warned the public openly that there are some selfish groups in industry who are willing to jeopardize the structure of American liberty to gain some temporary advantage. Monopolists who fear competition and who distrust democracy because it stands for equal opportunity would like to secure their position against small and energetic enterprise. In an effort to eliminate the possibility of any rival growing up, some monopolists would sacrifice democracy itself.

This Article was written in 1944 by Vice President Henry Wallace. It was edited so as not to make it obvious that it was 60 years old. Draw your own conlusions, here is the whole thing.
posted by Nick at 1:07 AM
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Thursday, September 16, 2004. *
A Call To Arms

Now, this is what it might look like if the Democrats adopted the style and methodology of Rush Limbaugh.

However, while I do believe that the Democrats need to shed their spineless side and get on the GOP's lying, shameless, evil ass, I also know that they can simultaneously take the high road because--unlike Sack O'Shit Rush--they don't need to lie to do it.

We have only to remember what's at stake to let loose the caboose: if elected (not fucking re-elected for the nth time) the Cheney/Bush admin will institute the draft (rumored to go up to age 35 for men and women), invade at least Iran and Syria, destroy remaining National Parks by giving them over to their archaic energy company buddies, enlarge significantly even more than the 1.2. million last year of new people entered into poverty the gap between rich and poor, and on and on but most importantly: they will stop current efforts to put receipt systems into the electronic voting machines ala Diebold and then, forget about it--democracy in America will be completely over.

Is this a time to mince words?

So Get Vicious. Laura Bush killed her boyfriend. George Bush was an AWOL, coke-snorting motherfuck who enjoys taking away children's school lunches and killing brown people by the thousands. He sends over a thousand Americans to their death and thousands more to get their limbs erased and permanently damaged in endless ways for a LIE, and then callously laughs about it to a room full of journalists, "The weapons have got to be here somewhere!" When teenagers show him the protest sign, George Bush shows them his middle finger--this from the man who believes that God talks to him--the Xtian Falwell-friendly God, y'understand, the kind that blame fags for 9-11. Dick Cheney, head puppeteer, has a sneer that could chill a crematorium operating at full house. No man has caused people to shower more after just a look. Still, you can't soap off his evil aura: this the man who voted against equal rights for women, against letting Nelson Mandela outta jail, and who after repeatedly being proven wrong, was the only Bush admin official to keep repeating the lie that Iraq was involved with 9-11. This man is so completely brazen, you really can't underestimate what he may do or what he has already done. If anybody in the current administration would have been capable of pulling 9-11, it would hands down be Dick Cheney. His mendacious gravitas is equaled only in size and strength by his cocky affront: "Don't fuck with me," his manner screams. "I am the most dangerous and powerful man on earth--in that order. You look at me askance, I will not only murder you and your family, I'll murder your fucking country, hell, your whole entire-ethnic-fucking tribe. You dare challenge me giving no bid contracts to Halliburton who can't account for billions of it? GO FUCK YOURSELF."

To all my critics: debate me. Don't send me pantywaist little emails that sound like I stopped wanting to be your friend in 7th grade and a week later you write an angry letter to get back at me--I'm talking to you "Jim V" (jcven@hotsheet.com)--who fails at arguing but excels at regurgitating wingnut talking points after they've been repeated to you often enough. Come over to American Samizdat and debate me. Now until the election I invite all my critics to come and have a shot at me: go amsam. Or debate Bartcop, or Mike Malloy . . . or hell, if you think you really got a pair, debate Randi Rhodes.

And everyone else, sharpen your swords and attempt to arouse anyone you know, because if that asshole is elected this time, this country and this planet are FUCKED. One and half more months and the tally will be in: Apocalyse or No. This is truly time to put fwd your best--and I know you're fatigued; I know you're burnt out and I know even a lot of you are depressed, but we have just one and a half more months of possibility open here: and if the anger on the ground is as hot as all of us feel, in all parts of the US (and farther, countless friends), then the polls will be damned and KERRY WILL WIN IN A LANDSLIDE.

At least, that's where my energy is going.

A belated thanks to new Harbingers (in order of acceptance):

Trevor Blake of OVO, Root.Cellar, Nick Lewis of Net Politik and Cecil B. Demented of Locked In A Box. Thank you all!

And to all the progressive bloggers out there who would like to contribute (only double-posts of your best is required, frequency up to you) to the group progressive blog effort now going on with over a hundred active and inactive members for over two years known as American Samizdat, please write to me immediately.

One and a half more months: fast slide into dictatorship or slow shimmy out?

posted by Dr. Menlo at 7:10 PM
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Rove's Possible Motive
There is a plausible reason why Karl Rove would have wanted to release fake guard documents. It also happens to be a simple, brilliant, and utterly unpredictable strategy (especially if you have access to military bases):

The Setup: They forged documents that were entirely believable, and sold them to CBS under the pretense that they'd soon be released to rival news organizations.

The accusations against Bush are entirely plausible, and perhaps even true. Any intelligent observer will conclude that he is hiding something, and that he hasn't been forthcoming. But, even had the documents been true, they would have had little effect. The electorate is not paying any attention to Bush's guard service. So, in other words, its the perfect bait -- its news worthy, but not too news worthy.

So why did CBS take it and air it so quickly? All News organizations want to be the first to break stories -- and that desire, coincidently is probably the number one reason for inaccuracy in news broadcasting. It's likely that the scammer threatened to go to other news sources. By putting time pressure on the producers , CBS was esily duped; frankly, the scammers played them like a slut.

The Bait: There were obvious errors on the documents that any -- and I mean ANY -- scam artist would have avoided. This allowed the right-wing "new media" to quickly uncover the false hoods without actually having any knowledge of the plot.

Super script? Times New Roman? A true scammer would have probably used a type writer. Even I, at 22 (the only time I used a typewriter was when I played with one as a tottler) , know to use the Courier font if I'm trying to make it look like a type writer.

So, the right wing bloggers and talk radio hosts now appear to be "truth squads"; and Rove knew that they would figure it out. It was an absolutely safe bet. Hopefully, by now you are beginning to see the strategy.

The End Result- Discrediting News Sources that don't give Bush 100 percent support.

I'm guessing this is the intended message:
News Sources like CBS are sloppy, partisan, and not to be trusted. Fox News, and other organizations of "truth squads" uncover their lies and deceptions. It was good average Americans who uncovered these left-wing lies. As we all know, they'll go to any lengths to discredit Bush (Remember that the claims agains him are anything but wild -- but now they'll have no effect, as they say: the boy has already cried wolf). Don't read NYTimes! Read NY Post! Don't Watch CBS! Watch FOX! The Liberal media are liars, FOX and NRO represent the Truth.

Recap:
Rove decided not to directly attack Kerry, instead he attacked News Sources that were hurting Bush and helping Kerry. At the same time, he managed to frame Bush-loyal news as being "truth hunters". Its suttle, and if anything is to be learned, its that Rove is a lot sneakier than you think. The strategy was not directly related to making Bush or Kerry look better or worse -- its a long term strategy to gain better control of the public forum. Of course, I might just be giving Karl Rove too much credit. However, I'm not willing to take that bet.


Cross posted at Net Politik
posted by Nick at 2:23 PM
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&sdot&sdot&sdot
America is nothing but a Multinational Corporation with a tenured Board of Directors, who every so often have to allow the plebs to pick between two hand-chosen senior administrators that pass muster. ("Passing muster", in this case, means that the actor can fit into the red shirt without flubbing their lines too much.) The only practical difference when new actors are chosen to fill their roles is how much they'll turn the rudder on the ship of state. The destination is always the same (ie, corporate global hegemony), but the tack may be different.
&sdot&sdot&sdot
For one thing, the Board only allows promotion from within the company; outsiders, like Nader and Kucinich, aren't even invited for an interview with HR — because they would turn the ship around. Basically, since the Board has two competing factions jockeying for control of the Company it is they who get to determine who their candidates will be. That's why pre-ordained, insider candidates like Kerry and Bush will always ultimately prevail against ostensible "grassroots" nominees like Dean and McCain. And because the Company's bylaws states that new administrators must be chosen by the stockholders every four years the two factions of the Board doll up their chosen nominees and put on a dog-and-pony show to lure the voters to allow their faction a chance to implement their strategy for the Company for the next four years.

(What's the goal of the Company? Simply to increase the size of the bank accounts of the Board of Directors and their nepotistic supporters.)
&sdot&sdot&sdot
[Zbgniew] Brzenski represents one strategy the Board wanted to pursue. BushCo represented the other. And as you read Brzenski's book, and then refer to BushCo's own blueprint for the New American Century, you realize the extent to which the entire Iraqi adventure was merely a matter of implementing a policy drawn up by one faction of the Board prior to their election. 9/11, WMD, the whole UN approval bullshit — all smoke and mirrors used to provide cover for BushCo's big play on the Risk gameboard. Do you think democracy means anything to them? Or to the Board of Directors running MurkaCo?

America's modern (entire?) history is primarily one of politics in the Boardroom between two factions, each trying to get their turn at the helm of ship of state. The factions may bitterly contest the route to get there, but both agree what kind of ship it is and where it's heading. Currently, there's a dust up in the boardroom as BushCo makes its power grab.

Be that as it may, the farcically painful "elections" America endures are, ultimately, a dog-and-pony show where each faction's candidates will say anything they wish to get them elected — it just doesn't matter in the end because the Board will always get what it wants.
&sdot&sdot&sdot
posted by Inspector Lohmann at 1:04 PM
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'Bring them on!" President Bush challenged the early Iraqi insurgency in July of last year. Since then, 812 American soldiers have been killed and 6,290 wounded, according to the Pentagon. Almost every day, in campaign speeches, Bush speaks with bravado about how he is "winning" in Iraq. "Our strategy is succeeding," he boasted to the National Guard convention on Tuesday.

But, according to the US military's leading strategists and prominent retired generals, Bush's war is already lost. Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, told me: "Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al-Qaida, it's worse, he's lost on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost." He adds: "Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends."

Retired general Joseph Hoare, the former marine commandant and head of US Central Command, told me: "The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We're conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong."

Jeffrey Record, professor of strategy at the Air War College, said: "I see no ray of light on the horizon at all. The worst case has become true. There's no analogy whatsoever between the situation in Iraq and the advantages we had after the second world war in Germany and Japan." [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:09 AM
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"I think some have hoped that if they kept their heads down and stayed out of the line of fire, they wouldn't get hit. I think what happened in Russia now demonstrates pretty conclusively that everybody is a target. That Russia, of course, didn't support us in Iraq, they didn't get involved in sending troops there, they've gotten hit anyway." -- Dick Cheney

In other news, would Russia be turning into a dictatorship if the US weren't? Is US leading the world in dictatorship-building? The Likudization of the World, indeed . . . all in the name of a war on a feeling.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 7:59 AM
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from Universidad Complutense de Madrid via Awoken (with commentary) :
[FROM THE AWOKEN 'DUPING THE HIJACKERS' FILE]

"The author, ROHAN GUNARATNA, is the one who blew the whistle on that January 2000 MEETING THAT SPAWNED 9/11, in Malaysia, which "was monitored by the Malaysian secret police at the CIA's request." This Al Qaeda summit was "chaired" by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who told the others that "the targets would include the World Trade Center and the date of the attacks would be Sept. 11, 2001, Gunaratna said." Khalid Sheikh Mohammed "plunged into the anti-Soviet Afghan jihad soon after graduating from college" and "in 1992, KSM spent some time fighting alongside the mujahideen in Bosnia and supporting that effort with financial donations."
posted by valis at 4:18 AM
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Wednesday, September 15, 2004. *
"He really didn't have to go by the rules."
Killian's secretary tonite on 60 Minutes II speaking of Bush.

"They snickered about what he got away with it . . . "

"They resented it . . . "

. . . of course, all of this bullshit about the memos is nothing but the ole' bait and switch. What is this manufactured "controversy" supposed to divert our eyes from this time? Why, none other than the 'Gates of Hell'!
posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:13 PM
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posted by Deleted at 5:00 PM
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I Love Mail Like This:
From "Jim V" (jcven@hotsheet.com):
I cannot resist commenting on a 'blog' page of your creation... one titled :
D r. M e n l o presents:

My main comment is that unless a person is on drugs, your blog makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. As I scanned through the pages... and I stress 'scanned', I found no redeeming value to your rants and raves. To me your page bears testimony that you obviously are a communist, and a Godless anarchist... believe me it shows... You must be a sad pathetic person, unloved and misunderstood to feel that you need to express yourself like you do.... Take a piece of advice, grow up... I pity your parents

J
posted by Dr. Menlo at 3:12 PM
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" . . . BECAUSE THE ONLY SURPRISE WILL BE IF THERE ISN'T ONE"
posted by Dr. Menlo at 1:38 PM
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"In a stealth takeover by the Carlyle Group, facilitated by 5 Admirals, the management contract will be transferred next year to the University of Texas where the military and the Carlyle Group will have control. A new ‘ramping up’ of the nuclear weapons program is underway, with program funding at the highest level ever - even higher than during the Cold War – extending nuclear weapons into outer space, into the very atmosphere that makes life on earth possible, and with no "real" enemy in site."
via | ddjangoWIrE
posted by Cyndy at 10:39 AM
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When I invited Aaron to the Samizdat a couple years ago he told me very politely he was very busy but he would have to think about it because if he didn't join he'd feel like Pete Best. He was funny, intelligent, passionate and kind. Needless to say, he will be missed.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:25 AM
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An Afghan court has found three Americans guilty of torturing Afghans in a private jail, a case that comes on the heels of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal in Iraq.

Jonathan K. "Jack" Idema, a former Green Beret and the alleged ringleader of the operation, received a 10-year jail term on Wednesday.

Brent Bennett, an Idema associate, got a 10-year jail term and Edward Caraballo, a journalist, received an eight-year-term.

They had denied the charges, saying they were operating in Afghanistan with the approval of the U.S. and Afghan governments.

Flogging the Simian has an 18 part series that investigates who he is, his ties to the US government, and the trial. Links to the series are on her sidebar along with a BBC video report about Jonathan K Jack Idema.
posted by Cyndy at 10:21 AM
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Why Socialists Don't believe in Fun
By George Orwell
1943

The thought of Christmas raises almost automatically the thought of Charles Dickens, and for two very good reasons. To begin with, Dickens is one of the few English writers who have actually written about Christmas. Christmas is the most popular of English festivals, and yet it has produced astonishingly little literature. There are the carols, mostly medieval in origin; there is a tiny handful of poems by Robert Bridges, T.S. Eliot, and some others, and there is Dickens; but there is very little else. Secondly, Dickens is remarkable, indeed almost unique, among modern writers in being able to give a convincing picture of happiness.

Dickens dealt successfully with Christmas twice in a chapter of The Pickwick Papers and in A Christmas Carol. The latter story was read to Lenin on his deathbed and according to his wife, he found its 'bourgeois sentimentality' completely intolerable. Now in a sense Lenin was right: but if he had been in better health he would perhaps have noticed that the story has interesting sociological implications. To begin with, however thick Dickens may lay on the paint, however disgusting the 'pathos' of Tiny Tim may be, the Cratchit family give the impression of enjoying themselves. They sound happy as, for instance, the citizens of William Morris's News From Nowhere don't sound happy. Moreover and Dickens's understanding of this is one of the secrets of his power their happiness derives mainly from contrast. They are in high spirits because for once in a way they have enough to eat. The wolf is at the door, but he is wagging his tail. The steam of the Christmas pudding drifts across a background of pawnshops and sweated labour, and in a double sense the ghost of Scrooge stands beside the dinner table. Bob Cratchit even wants to drink to Scrooge's health, which Mrs Cratchit rightly refuses. The Cratchits are able to enjoy Christmas precisely because it only comes once a year. Their happiness is convincing just because Christmas only comes once a year. Their happiness is convincing just because it is described as incomplete.

All efforts to describe permanent happiness, on the other hand, have been failures. Utopias (incidentally the coined word Utopia doesn't mean 'a good place', it means merely a 'non-existent place') have been common in literature of the past three or four hundred years but the 'favourable' ones are invariably unappetising, and usually lacking in vitality as well.

By far the best known modern Utopias are those of H.G. Wells. Wells's vision of the future is almost fully expressed in two books written in the early Twenties, The Dream and Men Like Gods. Here you have a picture of the world as Wells would like to see it or thinks he would like to see it. It is a world whose keynotes are enlightened hedonism and scientific curiosity. All the evils and miseries we now suffer from have vanished. Ignorance, war, poverty, dirt, disease, frustration, hunger, fear, overwork, superstition all vanished. So expressed, it is impossible to deny that that is the kind of world we all hope for. We all want to abolish the things Wells wants to abolish. But is there anyone who actually wants to live in a Wellsian Utopia? On the contrary, not to live in a world like that, not to wake up in a hygenic garden suburb infested by naked schoolmarms, has actually become a conscious political motive. A book like Brave New World is an expression of the actual fear that modern man feels of the rationalised hedonistic society which it is within his power to create. A Catholic writer said recently that Utopias are now technically feasible and that in consequence how to avoid Utopia had become a serious problem. We cannot write this off as merely a silly remark. For one of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too -rational and too-comfortable world.

All 'favourable' Utopias seem to be alike in postulating perfection while being unable to suggest happiness. News From Nowhere is a sort of goody-goody version of the Wellsian Utopia. Everyone is kindly and reasonable, all the upholstery comes from Liberty's, but the impression left behind is of a sort of watery melancholy. But it is more impressive that Jonathan Swift, one of the greatest imaginative writers who have ever lived, is no more successful in constructing a 'favourable' Utopia than the others.

The earlier parts of Gulliver's Travels are probably the most devastating attack on human society that has ever been written. Every word of them is relevant today; in places they contain quite detailed prophecies of the political horrors of our own time. Where Swift fails, however, is in trying to describe a race of beings whom he admires. In the last part, in contrast with disgusting Yahoos, we are shown the noble Houyhnhnms, intelligent horses who are free from human failings. Now these horses, for all their high character and unfailing common sense, are remarkably dreary creatures. Like the inhabitants of various other Utopias, they are chiefly concerned with avoiding fuss. They live uneventful, subdued, 'reasonable' lives, free not only from quarrels, disorder or insecurity of any kind, but also from 'passion', including physical love. They choose their mates on eugenic principles, avoid excesses of affection, and appear somewhat glad to die when their time comes. In the earlier parts of the book Swift has shown where man's folly and scoundrelism lead him: but take away the folly and scoundrelism, and all you are left with, apparently, is a tepid sort of existence, hardly worth leading.

Attempts at describing a definitely other-worldly happiness have been no more successful. Heaven is as great a flop as Utopia though Hell occupies a respectable place in literature, and has often been described most minutely and convincingly.

It is a commonplace that the Christian Heaven, as usually portrayed, would attract nobody. Almost all Christian writers dealing with Heaven either say frankly that it is indescribable or conjure up a vague picture of gold, precious stones, and the endless singing of hymns. This has, it is true, inspired some of the best poems in the world: Thy walls are of chalcedony, Thy bulwarks diamonds square, Thy gates are of right orient pearl Exceeding rich and rare! But what it could not do was to describe a condition in which the ordinary human being actively wanted to be. Many a revivalist minister, many a Jesuit priest (see, for instance, the terrific sermon in James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist) has frightened his congregation almost out of their skins with his word-pictures of Hell. But as soon as it comes to Heaven, there is a prompt falling-back on words like 'ecstasy' and 'bliss', with little attempt to say what they consist in. Perhaps the most vital bit of writing on this subject is the famous passage in which Tertullian explains that one of the chief joys of Heaven is watching the tortures of the damned.

The pagan versions of Paradise are little better, if at all. One has the feeling it is always twilight in the Elysian fields. Olympus, where the gods lived, with their nectar and ambrosia, and their nymphs and Hebes, the 'immortal tarts' as D.H. Lawrence called them, might be a bit more homelike than the Christian Heaven, but you would not want to spend a long time there. As for the Muslim Paradise, with its 77 houris per man, all presumably clamouring for attention at the same moment, it is just a nightmare. Nor are the spiritualists, though constantly assuring us that 'all is bright and beautiful', able to describe any next-world activity which a thinking person would find endurable, let alone attractive.

It is the same with attempted descriptions of perfect happiness which are neither Utopian nor other-worldly, but merely sensual. They always give an impression of emptiness or vulgarity, or both. At the beginning of La Pucelle Voltaire describes the life of Charles IX with his mistress, Agnes Sorel. They were 'always happy', he says. And what did their happiness consist in? An endless round of feasting, drinking, hunting and love-making. Who would not sicken of such an existence after a few weeks? Rabelais describes the fortunate spirits who have a good time in the next world to console them for having had a bad time in this one. They sing a song which can be roughly translated: 'To leap, to dance, to play tricks, to drink the wine both white and red, and to do nothing all day long except count gold crowns' how boring it sounds, after all! The emptiness of the whole notion of an everlasting 'good time' is shown up in Breughel's picture The Land of the Sluggard, where the three great lumps of fat lie asleep, head to head, with the boiled eggs and roast legs of pork coming up to be eaten of their own accord.

It would seem that human beings are not able to describe, nor perhaps to imagine, happiness except in terms of contrast. That is why the conception of Heaven or Utopia varies from age to age. In pre-industrial society Heaven was described as a place of endless rest, and as being paved with gold, because the experience of the average human being was overwork and poverty. The houris of the Muslim Paradise reflected a polygamous society where most of the women disappeared into the harems of the rich. But these pictures of 'eternal bliss' always failed because as the bliss became eternal (eternity being thought of as endless time), the contrast ceased to operate. Some of the conventions embedded in our literature first arose from physical conditions which have now ceased to exist. The cult of spring is an example. In the Middle Ages spring did not primarily mean swallows and wild flowers. It meant green vegetables, milk and fresh meat after several months of living on salt pork in smoky windowless huts. The spring songs were gay Do nothing but eat and make good cheer, And thank Heaven for the merry year When flesh is cheap and females dear, And lusty lads roam here and there So merrily, And ever among so merrily! because there was something to be so gay about. The winter was over, that was the great thing. Christmas itself, a pre-Christian festival, probably started because there had to be an occasional outburst of overeating and drinking to make a break in the unbearable northern winter.

The inability of mankind to imagine happiness except in the form of relief, either from effort or pain, presents Socialists with a serious problem. Dickens can describe a poverty-stricken family tucking into a roast goose, and can make them appear happy; on the other hand, the inhabitants of perfect universes seem to have no spontaneous gaiety and are usually somewhat repulsive into the bargain. But clearly we are not aiming at the kind of world Dickens described, nor, probably, at any world he was capable of imagining. The Socialist objective is not a society where everything comes right in the end, because kind old gentlemen give away turkeys. What are we aiming at, if not a society in which 'charity' would be unnecessary? We want a world where Scrooge, with his dividends, and Tiny Tim, with his tuberculous leg, would both be unthinkable. But does that mean we are aiming at some painless, effortless Utopia? At the risk of saying something which the editors of Tribune may not endorse, I suggest that the real objective of Socialism is not happiness. Happiness hitherto has been a by-product, and for all we know it may always remain so. The real objective of Socialism is human brotherhood. This is widely felt to be the case, though it is not usually said, or not said loudly enough. Men use up their lives in heart-breaking political struggles, or get themselves killed in civil wars, or tortured in the secret prisons of the Gestapo, not in order to establish some central-heated, air-conditioned, strip-lighted Paradise, but because they want a world in which human beings love one another instead of swindling and murdering one another. And they want that world as a first step. Where they go from there is not so certain, and the attempt to foresee it in detail merely confuses the issue.

Socialist thought has to deal in prediction, but only in broad terms. One often has to aim at objectives which one can only very dimly see. At this moment, for instance, the world is at war and wants peace. Yet the world has no experience of peace, and never has had, unless the Noble Savage once existed. The world wants something which it is dimly aware could exist, but cannot accurately define. This Christmas Day, thousands of men will be bleeding to death in the Russian snows, or drowning in icy waters, or blowing one another to pieces on swampy islands of the Pacific; homeless children will be scrabbling for food among the wreckage of German cities. To make that kind of thing impossible is a good objective. But to say in detail what a peaceful world would be like is a different matter.

Nearly all creators of Utopia have resembled the man who has toothache, and therefore thinks happiness consists in not having toothache. They wanted to produce a perfect society by an endless continuation of something that had only been valuable because it was temporary. The wider course would be to say that there are certain lines along which humanity must move, the grand strategy is mapped out, but detailed prophecy is not our business. Whoever tries to imagine perfection simply reveals his own emptiness. This is the case even with a great writer like Swift, who can flay a bishop or a politician so neatly, but who, when he tries to create a superman, merely leaves one with the impression the very last he can have intended that the stinking Yahoos had in them more possibility of development than the enlightened Houyhnhnms.
posted by Nick at 8:31 AM
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