American Samizdat

Sunday, October 31, 2004. *
posted by Dr. Menlo at 6:53 PM
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The Men Who Stare At Goats
In the wake of Vietnam, the US military were demoralised and prey to some fairly crazy ideas. They thought they could train 'super soldiers' with psychic powers. In 1979 a secret unit was established by the most gifted minds within the US Army. Defying all known accepted military practice - and indeed, the laws of physics - they believed that a soldier could adopt the cloak of invisibility, pass cleanly through walls and, perhaps most chillingly, kill goats just by staring at them. Entrusted with defending America from all known adversaries, they were the First Earth Battalion. And they really weren't joking. What's more, they're back and helping to fight the War on Terror. Why are they blasting Iraqi prisoners-of-war with the theme tune to Barney the Purple Dinosaur? Why have 100 de-bleated goats been secretly placed inside the Special Forces command centre at Fort Bragg, North Carolina? In his new book, The Men Who Stare At Goats, Jon Ronson describes the connections between 1970s new age bullshit and the torture of prisoners in Iraq. Read excerpts via the Guardian [1] [2], mirrored at Religious News Blog [1] [2]. See also
posted by Trevor Blake at 10:42 AM
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Formerly a great activist, now a bitter old man who has ruined his legacy and talks to dolls.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:22 AM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:17 AM
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I recently read this (rough) quote from Alice Walker: "The easiest way that people give up their power is to believe they don't have any."
I open with that because I desired to say something more constructive than "Kerry says stuff like this, and I wonder why I should bother mailing my ballot."

"In response to this tape of Osama bin Laden, let me just make it clear, crystal clear, as Americans we are united in our determination to hunt down and destroy Osama bin Laden and the terrorists," Kerry said. "They are barbarians, I will stop at absolutely nothing to hunt down, capture or kill the terrorists wherever they are, whatever it takes."

In that video, Osama -- who's obviously absorbed in his own distorted vision and violent agenda -- dropped this nugget of reality: "Your security is not in the hands of Kerry, Bush or Al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands."

Read outside of the context,
that statement is exactly right.

We, as individuals and beings of intelligence, creativity and common, conditional, interdependent existence, are the ones who must take responsibility for ourselves and the world in which we live. To continue to allow self-interested (or interest-driven) men and their power games be "the way it is" is to give up power and control of our collective destiny, and to consign this world and its inhabitants to ongoing and unnecessary suffering and injustice.

No matter who the system is said to be led by, we have to wake up and accept that we are fully capable of leading ourselves and crafting the world that must come to be if our species is going to survive on this planet.

To paraphrase King:
"We must learn to live together as family,
or perish together as fools."
posted by mr damon at 8:30 AM
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The Kerry campaign accused the Bush administration on Friday of delaying a government report that could show the number of starving Americans rose last year.

The U.S. Agriculture Department's annual Household Food Security report for 2003, considered by some as the most authoritative estimate of hunger in the United States, was supposed to be released around Oct. 28.

Nancy McNiff, a spokeswoman for USDA's Economic Research Service, which publishes the report, said it "was held for further review." [more]

posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:11 AM
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Saturday, October 30, 2004. *
Considering that this coming Tuesday promises to be FUBAR'd, and taking into account all the shit that has gone down in the past four years, it's important not to forget what happened the last time Americans s/elected their President since there's a good chance we're going to have to fight for this election after the polls close. But this time we need to win.

So I urge you to revisit the 2000 election, and all that it entailed: felon voter purges, blatant conflicts of interest, furious legal maneuvering, the "Brooks Brothers Riot," racially skewed voting patterns, Supreme Court shenanigans, butterfly ballots, "Jews for Buchanan," etc.

The easiest way to do this is by checking out the documentary "Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election," which you can watch online in its entirety.
posted by Bill at 3:08 PM
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Lancet survey fallout
While Fred Kaplan of Slate is skeptical of the recent Lancet survey of Iraq war fatalities, Juan Cole remarks that if the figure of 100,000 deaths is accurate, "the US has already killed a third as many Iraqi civilians in 18 months as Saddam killed in 24 years."
posted by Bill at 2:35 PM
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"The devastating scandal of Abu Ghraib," writes Phillip Carter in the Washington Monthly, "was a direct—and predictable—consequence of a policy, hatched at the highest levels of the administration, by senior White House officials and lawyers, in the weeks and months after 9/11. Yet the administration has largely managed to escape responsibility for those decisions; a month from election day, almost no one in the press or the political class is talking about what is, without question, the worst scandal to emerge from President Bush's nearly four years in office."
posted by Bill at 2:31 PM
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Hey everyone, spread the word on this one:

if you try to vote, either early or next week, and you are not on the voting list, be sure to ask for a provisional ballot. With such a ballot you can cast your vote anyway and the election officials will determine your eligibility after the polls close. If you are indeed eligible to vote, your vote will be counted.

And make sure you're in the right pricinct, or your vote will not be counted.
posted by Klintron at 11:02 AM
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Osama tape: res ipsa loquitor
----- Original Message -----
To: Bishop, Kevin (L. Graham) [Senator Lindsey Graham, SC-R]
Sent: Saturday, October 30, 2004 1:06 PM
Subject: Osama tape: res ipsa loquitor

Dear Senator Graham,
Osama Bin Laden must be tracked down and held accountable for the murders of 9/11. Islamic radicals to exist and they do want to do America harm. We must defend ourselves. Even so, it's time we started paying attention to the consequences of our own actions. The policy of the United States -- in deed, if not in word -- is that Palestinians are occupying Greater Israel's property. Never mind that Israel invaded in 1967 under the morally bankrupt doctrine of preemption, using now discredited information to justify their actions. Israel started an unwinnable war and they're staying the course. We're right behind them all the way. Perhaps instead of comparing Iraq to Vietnam, we should compare it to Palestine. They're a dead match.
Senator Kerry, President Bush, and virtually our entire Congress steadfastly insist our policies towards Israel, Palestine, and the Middle East are correct when they are not only wrong, they are immoral. These policies contribute to deep, lasting, and justified resentment of the United States of America. We, the United States of America, have yet to honestly examine our own culpability in the terrible crime of 9/11. Cause and effect do exist. We will be attacked again if we do not change our policy. This requires the courage to admit we're wrong, and the strength to change course. Senator Graham, I trust you will look past the rhetoric of the day to see what lies before us all.

It's our policy.

Michael Miller
361 Capic Road
Anderson, SC

posted by Michael Miller at 10:34 AM
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"Where is the graveyard of dead gods? What lingering mourner waters their mounds?" So begins H. L. Menkin's 1922 memorial service for all the dead gods of history. This is a fine piece to suggest to theist friends: they may realize that their faith, too, will someday be extinct, and is not the truth of all time they think it is. Or try "John and Mary Pay a Visit" for a more direct means to offer theists a reflection of their claims.
posted by Trevor Blake at 2:04 AM
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With their record on civil rights, combined with their grasp on history, I'm sure the Mormons are the prefect choice to oversee public lands.
posted by Trevor Blake at 1:31 AM
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Friday, October 29, 2004. *
Enteligint Desin is Gud Siens
William Buckingham is a man who learns from his mistakes. When he became addicted to pain killers in February of this year he realized this was a problem. He offered his resignation from the school board of Dover, Pennsylvania. The rest of the school board appreciated his bravery at coming forward as a drug addict, and gave him a vote of confidence by letting him stay on the board.

In another public meeting, Buckingham had stated that he was against the separation of church and state, and that the United States was a Christian nation. Buckingham said “Nearly 2,000 years ago someone died on a cross for us; shouldn’t we have the courage to stand up for him?” Buckingham voted against the adoption of the textbook Biology (Prentis Hall) for Dover area schools. Biology taught that evolution was the explanation for life on Earth that best fit the known facts. Buckingham said he would have voted for Biology if the board also approved a 'companion' book, Pandas and People. Pandas and People teaches that 'intelligent design' is the best explanation for life on Earth that fits the known facts. Buckingham learned from his mistakes: to present Christianity and creationism by name wouldn't fly, but if they were presented as 'intelligent design' then they can be slipped in as a competing scientific theory. "All I'm asking for is balance," Buckingham said. Never mind that the balance extends only as far as the invisible monster that lives in the sky that he prefers, and that the creation stories of other cultures and times would not be given equal time. And never mind that the Supreme Court has already designated such fairy tales as unscientific - thus inappropriate for science class except as a discredited theory.

Buckingham advocated for Pandas and People with everything he had. He challenged the literacy, knowledge of American history and patriotism of anyone who disagreed with him. But Buckingham learned from his mistakes: he appologized to anyone who he might have offended. Not that he was wrong, but he was sorry they were offended.

Buckingham has just won over the rest of the Dover school board, which now includes the following in its curriculum: "Students will be made aware of gaps/problems in Darwin's Theory and of other theories of evolution including, but not limited to, intelligent design. Note: Origins of life will not be taught." Dover is the first area in the United States to mandate students in public schools learn 'intelligent design.' Buckingham doesn't send his own children to public school, mind you, but what's good enough for his kids is surely good enough for other children. If those children happen to be Hindu, or Buddhist, or Native American, or have some other creation story they prefer, well - fuck 'em. And double that if they are atheist kids. Science doesn't belong in science class, after all.
posted by Trevor Blake at 10:47 PM
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Question: would Saddam Hussein have killed 100,000 Iraqis during the same period if we hadn't invaded?

Would Saddam have killed 1111 American soldiers?

posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:14 PM
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[...] new legislation in Iraq has been carefully put in place by the US that prevents farmers from saving their seeds and effectively hands over the seed market to transnational corporations. This is a disastrous turn of events for Iraqi farmers, biodiversity and the country's food security. While political sovereignty remains an illusion, food sovereignty for the Iraqi people has been made near impossible by these new regulations.

Agribusiness has been doing this everywhere it can, of course, as part of the overall corporate goal of complete subjugation of all of us serfs. The invasion of Iraq has made it trivial to do there, but watch carefully: what they do to Iraq they want to do to you.

posted by JohnFen at 8:53 PM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:15 PM
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OK folks. We now have what everyone keeps saying no one can come up with. We now have evidence that certainly looks like altering a computerized voting system during a real election, and it happened just six weeks ago. [more]


posted by Dr. Menlo at 6:18 PM
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A second, independent, confirmation of a fact is useful when there is some question about the truth. In this case, two U.S. aid workers confirm that (a) the weapons depo at Al Qaqaa was full of weapons (b) the weapons were unguarded (c) the unguarded weapons were reported to Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez (the highest ranking Army officer in Iraq) and (d) the weapons disappeared some time afterwards. This means, and can only mean, that the weapons disappeared on the Bush administration's watch, and that the Bush administration is therefore accountable for this occurance.
posted by Trevor Blake at 2:01 PM
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Good for Only a Limited Time
Go to google, search for "failure", and click the "I'm Feeling Lucky!" button.

[When it stops working this is where it takes you if you're interested.]

Another good one is doing the same for "weapons of mass destruction." Look at it carefully when it loads -- it's not an error page.

[When this one stops working this is where it takes you.]
posted by Inspector Lohmann at 9:09 AM
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Trucks Outside of Bunkers
Photographs do not depict motion or stillness (aside from blurriness caused by a great discrepancy between camera and object speeds). Therefore, it seems unlikely that the pentagon photograph of trucks outside of the bunker where the weapons were can be said to be parked. They may have just been passing by.
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:06 AM
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At last, a solid reason to vote for Bush:

The presidency is a mixed blessing for incumbents seeking a second term, said Ken Khachigian, who worked in the Nixon and Reagan White Houses.

"You have to take the good with the bad," Khachigian said. "The good is, you're the president of the United States, flying on Air Force One and military helicopters. It's pretty impressive, and that's been helping the president."

At the same time, "there's a natural tendency in the media to try to expose the incumbent," he said.

Yep, he looks good in a codpiece. That's good enough for me!

(Stupid "natural tendency" of the media to expose the incumbent! Bad media! [Yeah, if only...])

Oh, later in the article, Bush himself cites another good reason to vote for him:

In his addresses Thursday, Bush skated past the bad news, sticking to his prepared remarks and avoiding reporters. On Iraq, he emphasized that elections are scheduled for January.

"Think how far that society has come from the days of torture chambers and mass graves," Bush said in Saginaw, Mich. "Freedom is on the march!"

Yep. There's nothing like Freedom™ in Iraq! You know, sometimes you have to destroy a country to save it...
posted by Inspector Lohmann at 8:51 AM
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Thursday, October 28, 2004. *
posted by Dr. Menlo at 6:35 PM
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The news crew was based just south of Al Qaqaa, and drove two or three miles north of there with soldiers on April 18, 2003.

[...] During that trip, members of the 101st Airborne Division showed the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS news crew bunker after bunker of material labelled "explosives."

[...] In one bunker, there were boxes marked with the name "Al Qaqaa", the munitions plant where tons of explosives allegedly went missing

The news site seems to require using IE as the browser of choice to view the video. onegoodmove has a quicktime version here.
I also mirrored his quicktime version here
posted by Cyndy at 2:17 PM
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. . . in Quicktime. Thanks to our good friend Norm Jenson over at One Good Move (actually contains many good moves).
posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:57 AM
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From Reuters:
Deaths of Iraqis have soared to 100,000 above normal since the Iraq war mainly due violence and many of the victims have been women and children, public health experts from the United States said Thursday.

"Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100,000 excess deaths, or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq," researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland said in a report published online by The Lancet medical journal.

"Violence accounted for most of the excess death and air strikes from (U.S.-led) coalition forces accounted for the most violent deaths," the report added.

The new figures, based on surveys done by the researchers in Iraq, are much higher than earlier estimates based on think tank and media sources which put the Iraqi civilian death toll at up to 16,053 and military fatalities as high as 6,370. [more]
Update: The AP report on the Lancet survey does a better job providing context and background.
posted by Bill at 11:01 AM
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Sounds like a step forward. Of course, not everyone's happy with it.

Palestinian officials remain deeply suspicious of the plan, saying the withdrawal from Gaza is designed to shield an expansion of Israeli control in the West Bank.


Some opponents have accused Mr Sharon of "caving in to terrorism" and of being a traitor because he is considered the godfather of the settlements and oversaw the massive expansion of Israel's West Bank and Gaza colonies during the 70s and 80s.

But the latest opinion poll, in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, shows overwhelming public support for the withdrawal, with 65% of Israelis in favour and 26% opposed.


Some opponents have accused Mr Sharon of "caving in to terrorism" and of being a traitor because he is considered the godfather of the settlements and oversaw the massive expansion of Israel's West Bank and Gaza colonies during the 70s and 80s.

But the latest opinion poll, in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, shows overwhelming public support for the withdrawal, with 65% of Israelis in favour and 26% opposed.

posted by Klintron at 9:48 AM
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From the AP: By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer

Cheney has said he suspects terrorists will try to disrupt Tuesday's election.

[I'm still looking for the source...]
posted by Inspector Lohmann at 7:12 AM
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Wednesday, October 27, 2004. *
He beat a shortlist that included the nefarious Doctor Octopus, played by Alfred Molina, in "Spider-Man 2"; "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'"s cannibalistic Leatherface; Andy Serkis' creepy Gollum from "Lord of the Rings" trilogy; and Elle Driver, the eyepatch-wearing assassin played by Daryl Hannah (news) in "Kill Bill." [more]

posted by Dr. Menlo at 6:15 PM
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This just in, regarding voter caging lists in Florida
" the way, the Republicans have recruited
3600 people to do the exact same thing here in Ohio."

From a member of The Columbus OH League of Pissed-Off Voters
posted by mr damon at 1:18 PM
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Body & Soul has a compelling intro.

It was worth installing Apple Quicktime to watch. It's that good.


Watch it.

posted by Michael Miller at 6:46 AM
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With another assault forthcoming, Patrick Graham revisits past and predicts future war crimes in Falluja.
posted by Bill at 3:05 AM
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A secret document obtained from inside Bush campaign headquarters in Florida suggests a plan - possibly in violation of US law - to disrupt voting in the state's African-American voting districts, a BBC Newsnight investigation reveals.

Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign's national research director in Washington DC, contain a 15-page so-called "caging list".

It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida.

An elections supervisor in Tallahassee, when shown the list, told Newsnight: "The only possible reason why they would keep such a thing is to challenge voters on election day." [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 1:10 AM
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Tuesday, October 26, 2004. *
How is Iraq like Vietnam?

How is Iraq like Vietnam?

We failed.

We left Vietnam without accomplishing anything but death, misery, and destruction. There was no victory. We did not stay the course. We left.

We will leave Iraq without accomplishing anything but death, misery, and destruction. There will be no victory. We will not stay the course. We will leave. The only question is when.

We already know the rationalization was a lie, just like it was for Vietnam.

We already know things are getting worse, just like it they did in Vietnam.

We console ourselves by thinking that if we just stay the course, it will all work out, just like we did in Vietnam.

We will leave in shame, just like we did in Vietnam.

We rationalize that we're staying for the Iraqi peoples' sake now; that if we leave in chaos, they will suffer even more. It's difficult to see how. We've already killed more people than Saddam did during his entire dictatorship. America is a bigger killer of Iraqis than the brutal American-made despot Saddam. We're continuing to murder on a massive scale. Numbers vary, but as best I can tell, we've killed over 30,000 Iraqi troops, over 30,000 Iraqi civilians, and we're spreading highly toxic Depleted Uranium all over two nations, poisoning people and the land. Afghan babies are already being born deformed. Leukemia is on the rise. Over 7,000 Amercans are coming home badly mangled and injured, and that doesn't count the ones that will be permanently mentally disabled, or the ones who's chromosomes are being scrambled by DU (Depleted Uranium). Every day, singed body parts fly off their former owners. The ones that die are lucky. It is living (and dying) hell on earth. How can our leaving possibly make things worse? It doesn't make sense.

The Logic of Withdrawal Howard Zinn, The Progressive, January 2004 Issue

Invading Iraq was immoral, unethical, unconstitutional, illegal, wrong, stupid, against our own interests, and a crime worse than 9/11. We've already killed well over 10 times as many people as were killed on 9/11 and Iraq had nothing -- not a shred -- to do with 9/11. Iraq was no threat to us, Kuwait, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Turkey, or anyone else on the entire planet. Iraq was successfully contained.

It's way past time to stop the crime in progress. This is OUR crime now. We are responsible for ongoing murder. The longer it goes on, the more cuplpable you are. And me. And all Americans.

The Iraqis, almost to a person, want us gone. Every single day we're there is another day we're committing atrocities and making things worse. Nothing we can do will change that except leaving. Our presence there makes it impossible to achieve anything positive but will catagorically make things worse and worse until we declare victory and leave. It isn't a matter of winning. Winning is absolutely, flat-out impossible. We can stay there 10 years and build our military as much as you please and all we'll accomplish is death.

Got a problem with that? Good. I need someone to tell me how I'm wrong because I've had this position since the day we went in and so far, nobody has been able to explain how staying the course does anything but make things worse. So far, the evidence has only served to reinforce my opinion. Bring them home now.

I need to understand how allowing this continuing crime of mass murder, this ongoing atrocity, to continue will make things better instead of worse. Besides bringing on the Rapture, I mean. I don't see it. I want to, but I don't.

Tell me how I can support my troops without bringing them home right now.

posted by Michael Miller at 3:52 PM
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Yet Another Anti-Bush Poem
Lost explosives -- many tons.
Feeling safer anyone?
Bush forgot to mind the store.
Must not give him four years more.

The rest of my Anti-Bush Poem is here.
posted by Mad Kane at 1:48 PM
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Dispatch from Doug Ireland:

Once in a very rare while, something pops up on the little screen that makes you want to call everyone you know and shriek, "WATCH!" The superb documentary about Karl Rove -- "Bush's Brain" -- will air on the evening of November 1, on the Sundance Channel, at 10:10 E.S.T.

The film is based on the meticulously researched investigative bio of the same name by two solid Texas journalists (James Moore and Wayne Slater). It explains the strategy that brought Bush first to the Texas State House, then to the White House, and shows you how and why The Twit's re-election campaign this year was planned waaaaay in advance, and has gone perfectly according to Rove's script. I doubt that you'll be able to resist buying the book once you've seen the film--which is scary, and damning, and even--by turns--quite funny. If you have any friends or neighbors who are even considering voting for TheTwit--poor you!--invite them over the night before the voting starts on any pretext and make them watch it. "Bush's Brain" is more effective than a hundred of those dreadful Kerry commercials.

Call up your local paper and insist they pre-review it (their reviewer can get a screening copy of theDVD of the film by e-mailing Susan Mainzer at susan@bushsbrain.comf, or by ringing Susan at 213-840-0077.) Then, pour yourself a stiff one, sit back, and watch The Man Behind the Curtain...

Doug Ireland blogs at Direland.
posted by Nick at 1:31 PM
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Marry An American
Via DRT News,

posted by Deleted at 4:44 AM
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Monday, October 25, 2004. *
According to White House and Washington Beltway insiders, the Bush administration, worried that it could lose the presidential election to Senator John F. Kerry, has initiated plans to launch a military strike on Iran's top Islamic leadership, its nuclear reactor at Bushehr on the Persian Gulf, and key nuclear targets throughout the country, including the main underground research site at Natanz in central Iran and another in Isfahan. Targets of the planned U.S. attack reportedly include mosques in Tehran, Qom, and Isfahan known by the U.S. to headquarter Iran's top mullahs.

The Iran attack plan was reportedly drawn up after internal polling indicated that if the Bush administration launched a so-called anti-terrorist attack on Iran some two weeks before the election, Bush would be assured of a landslide win against Kerry. Reports of a pre-emptive strike on Iran come amid concerns by a number of political observers that the Bush administration would concoct an "October Surprise" to influence the outcome of the presidential election. [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:25 PM
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Although U.S. officials say it's too early to tell whether the cadets were set up, some American officers have long regarded Iraq's security forces as susceptible to infiltration. Last week, defense officials in Washington described Iraq's security forces as ``heavily infiltrated'' by insurgents. [more]

See also: Internet Tape Purportedly Shows Beheading, which quotes the man being beheaded right before he was killed: "I am telling anybody who wants to work with Americans to not work with them. I found out that the mujahadeen have very accurate information (and) strong intelligence about everything. They are stronger than I thought."

So D.C. officials say it, and an Iraqi man about to be beheaded says it. Mission accomplished?
posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:27 PM
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The Most Unsexy Thing in the World
Think for a moment of the most powerful person on the planet. Perhaps that might be a head of state, or a religious leader, or the owner of a multi-national corporation. Think of all the responsibilities they have - you must agree that they are making some big decisions about large sums of money, many employees, and their effect on the world in general. Set aside for now any thoughts about whether or not they make good decisions - just think about the decisions themselves. There must be hundreds of them every day, and no time at all for decisions that can be deligated to others or left to sort themselves out.

Now think about that same level of decision making in an imaginary person who was the leader of all the nations of the world, all the religions, and all the corporations. Wow, they would really have to prioritize their decision making!

Whether or not a person makes good decisions, there is a point in everyone's life where you have to either deligate decisions to others or just let things sort themselves out. Unless... unless you're God! If you're God, then the most important thing in the world isn't to keep the laws of physics running smoothly across near-infinite expanses of space and time. No, the most important thing of all is the sex lives of people who may or may not believe in God.

Think I'm kidding? Well, tell that to James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and current supporter of Republican Oaklahoma candidate for the U. S. Senate, Tom Coburn. What is God concerned about? People's sex lives! How concerned is God about people's sex lives? If we don't fuck the right people in the right ways then what will happen? "It will destroy the Earth." And tell it to pharmacist Todd Sklencar, who refused to sell the morning after pill to a woman or tell her where else she could get it until it was too late to take. Because God loves them babies, yes sir, that's why God takes such good care of all them babies and none of them are starving, infected with terminal diseases, neglected or abused. And tell it to the sixteen-year-old who was hung or her boyfriend who got 100 lashes for unGodly fucking. Around the world, God and His Very Best Buddies are obsessed with sex, sex, sex!

Religion is the most unsexy thing in the world.
posted by Trevor Blake at 3:27 PM
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Library is blocking access to blogs!

And, I have been horribly, horribly slighted

Shameless self-promotion...sue me...
posted by rick at 2:49 PM
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"Join the Army! It's just like Xbox - only you die."
posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:11 AM
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Media Bias, One More Time

From letters to the Ny Times Public Editor,

How Would Jackson Pollock Cover This Campaign?" (Oct. 10), you confuse evenhandedness with objectivity.

If the paper spent more of its front-page space on investigative reporting and presenting factual information about the candidates, and less time offering each of them opportunities to publicize their rhetoric, the public would be better served, and The Times would be a better newspaper.

When I write a scientific article, I present the data that I have collected. If those data support one point of view, I don't spend a lot of time describing the beliefs of people who have another point of view.

I wish The Times would model itself a little more on the scientific model, and a little less on a candidate's model (trying to say something to please everyone), in its coverage of the election.

New Marlborough, Mass., Oct. 10, 2004
The writer is director of the program in teaching, department of psychology, Williams College.

We're all adults, or most of us who read the Times are, and we can account for journalists', editors' and publishers' bias. It's a given and it's much less of problem than a lack of competence and thoroughness. When a bill is in news, we'd like to know the House and Senate numbers and the roll call votes on it. When a think tank scholar offers an opinion we'd like to know who funds that think tank. When something is known beyond a shadow of a doubt to be false, yet a public figure says it anyway, that too should in any article.

Ms. Engel makes the best point of all. With all the resources and prestige the NY Times has, in spite of all the fraud, investigative journalism is well within reach. The pablum offered by Elizabeth Bumiller and Adam Nagourney is almost devoid of any serious content. We don't care about their opinions or the perceptions of other pundits. Adult readers want to make up their own minds and look to the Op-Ed page for that kind of journalism.

posted by Deleted at 2:32 AM
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Sunday, October 24, 2004. *
posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:07 PM
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Judge Ken Starr, best known as the independent counsel appointed during the 1990s to investigate scandals involving then-President Bill Clinton, said Friday that America's founding fathers never intended for religion to be separate from government and public education. [...] "Just because you object doesn't mean society cannot hold up the traditions of Washington and Lincoln and Eisenhower ... that the nation is under God."
posted by Trevor Blake at 5:56 PM
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This MUST be said
Although I would never define my political beliefs as "extremist", I do recognize that many positions I take are well outside the mainstream. A particularly unpopular one is that I strongly advocate a national self-examination from which our country might identify its own policies, attitudes, and actions that contribute to "terrorist" phenomena. It must be clear by now that if we don't make changes in how we interact with the rest of the world's peoples, if we just take a "you vill be assimilated, resistance is futile" path, everybody, including ourselves, will be in deeper and deeper doo-doo.

That is why I have been loath to attach the word "terrorism" to many of the events that have taken place in Iraq and elsewhere. I have seen the insurgency in Iraq to be an understandable response to occupation by a foreign force. I side with those who believe we never should have invaded and should get out yesterday.

I want to make it crystal clear, however, that "understanding" and "condoning" are not the same thing. I have been an unswerving adherent to the principles of non-violent resistance since my father took me to hear Dr. King speak over 40 years ago. But . . .

The capture, emotional and physical torture, detention, and/or killing of aid/relief workers is absolutely unacceptable. Such actions by extremists must be condemned with unwavering certainty by all of us on the Left
posted by total at 2:06 PM
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posted by Michael Miller at 1:58 PM
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Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the biggest rogue of all?
KSG conference defines, discusses 'rogue' states
By Alvin Powell, Harvard Gazzette, October 21, 2004

Sessions probe ways of dealing with rigid, repressive states

Diplomats, academics, and leaders of nongovernmental organizations gathered at the John F. Kennedy School of Government last week for a three-day conference examining the world's "rogue" states and how best to handle them.

Robert Rotberg, director of the Program on Intrastate Conflict, Conflict Prevention, and Conflict Resolution, said the international community has strategies to deal with different types of nations, with one exception. Those countries, loosely termed "rogue" states, appear around the world, have different origins, but share similar characteristics.

They are repressive to their own populations and uncooperative with the international community, but unlike a failed state, they have rigid government structures and tight control over power.

"We're trying to see, through this meeting, what comparability we see between these disparate states and what U.S. policy should be towards them," Rotberg said. . . .

"If we could apply the RICO statute internationally, we could prosecute the state as a criminal enterprise," Noland said. . . .

Perhaps we should apply RICO domestically and sue ourselves.

posted by Michael Miller at 1:52 PM
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"The Pentagon knows exactly where Osama bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan, it just can't get to him, John Lehman, a member of the 9/11 Commission, said Thursday. [...] In the interview, Lehman noted, 'There is an American presence in the area, but we can't just send in troops. If we did, we could have another Vietnam, and the United States cannot afford that right now.' When pressed on why the United States couldn't send troops into the region to capture the world's No. 1 terrorist, Lehman said the Baluchistan region of the country is filled with militant fundamentalists who do not recognize the legitimacy of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, a close ally of the United States. [...] Asked how bin Laden was surviving, Lehman said he was getting money from outside countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, and high-ranking ministers inside Saudi Arabia. 'He is not a wealthy man," Lehman said. "We ran that information into the ground, and discovered he only receives about $1 million a year from his family's fortune. The rest of what he gets comes from radical sympathizers.'"

It appears that the Bush administration knows where bin Laden is and doesn't want to go get him; the Bush administration knows US ally Saudi Arabia is funding bin Laden and doesn't do anything about it; and the Bush administration considers the stability of Pakistan more important than bringing bin Laden to justice. Could it be that the wildest conspiracy theories about Bush having some connection to bin Laden and Saudi terrorists might be the weensiest-teensiest bit true?
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:44 AM
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Rush Limbaugh Coordinates Denial of Service Attack
Transcripts from Rush Limbaugh's own Web site from his show confirm that he coordinated a Denial of Service attack on a third party's Web site. This is a crime punishable by up to 5-10 years incarceration, according to one source. The victim of this attack has elected to not seek legal compensation, but that does not make the attack any less illegal.

Rush Limbaugh, September 28, 2004: "Let's shut this website down, folks. Shall we? [...] I don't often suggest this kind of thing, but this could be fun here. [...] And, you know, we've shut down the server, folks. That's why you can't get through. Don't tell me the address is wrong, that's what happens when you ask about five million people to go to the same website at once, you shut it down, that was the objective here. We want them to get all excited and say wow, our website is taking off. Essentially in the computer world what we've created here is a DOS, a denial of service attack, so many people trying to get in at one time."

Rush Limbaugh, September 30, 2004: "And so when I heard about this I thought we'd have a little fun with it. [...] I said, 'Let's go shut 'em down, folks,' meaning not put 'em out of business, but let's just flood them with activity knowing full well that that's always gonna happen when I give a web address here and suggest people go look at it. There are simply too many millions of people here, and this is obviously a small website. Shut it down for awhile. "
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:09 AM
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EARLY THIS MONTH the federal government launched the latest crude offensive in its so-called war on terror. Titled the October Plan, the program called for "aggressive – even obvious – surveillance" of a wide range of individuals (regardless of whether or not they're suspected of any criminal wrongdoing) until the Nov. 2 presidential election, according to an internal document leaked to the press. [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 1:07 AM
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Saturday, October 23, 2004. *

David Scott Anderson writes:

If Republicans think they can intimidate Black Voters in this year's election, they will soon find it is NOT going to fly. For my conservative friends who tried to pooh pooh dissenfranchisement of
black voters in Florida in 2000, or spin it with claims that soldiers voting by absentee ballot were also dissenfranchised, whatever. It is NOT going to happen this time folks.

The Bullshit is starting to stink up the whole country now. What is happening in Ohio is an outrage. But this time it wont be allowed to stand. A lot has happened in four years, and part of what happened is US, the troops in the trenches who will not allow this to be covered over.

I am going to make it my mission the next days up until the election to fight this bullshit at every turn, and to mobilize as many progressive bloggers as I can to the cause as well.So I am throwing out a challenge to progressives everywhere, and to those on the right who care about our constitution, and not just their guy winning. It is time we cleaned up the dirt, and go back to being Americans again, people who pledge every day to defend the ideals of our republic.

I saw my people robbed of their constitutional right in Florida, something that infuriates me every time a conservative denies it. I also saw what happened in Philadelphia....It wont happen again, and if I have to join forces with the devil himself, (a reference to you and my other conservative friends constantly criticizing me for linking other liberal blogs who take a harder outlook on the issues) I will do so. It IS time we woke up and realized we were all Americans,
and part of that wake up call is to realize that no one candidate is worth subverting our constitution or throwing our American values out the window for!

posted by Nick at 7:59 PM
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Fresh Out of Flowers. Will RPG's Do?

. . . via Bartcop
posted by Dr. Menlo at 7:39 PM
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Links and Link Changes I need to Make
New address for Riley Dog!

New address for Craig's Booknotes!

New project from our very own John Fenderson: The Cabal!

New address for DRT News!

On a couple pages I had the great EBC as .com--it's DOTNET!

New project from our very own Philip Shropshire: Mirror Universe!

Our very own Ollapodrida gives us: Smirky MP3s!

Link to The American Book of the Dead!

Possible new member of the Samizdat: Way Down Here!

Our very own root.cellar makes a TERROR-izing Free Dick Cheney pumpkin-head paper mask!

Thanks for the nice words to Dr. Menlo from the producer of BUSHISMS ON DVD!
posted by Dr. Menlo at 3:08 PM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 11:38 AM
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Tell God He Died
Just Out (Volume 21, Number 24, October 15 2004) asked for letters to the editor on the following topic: Televangelist Jimmy Swaggart said during a worship service that he'd kill any gay man who looked at him "and tell God he died." He apologized after getting complaints from several queer groups, saying the remark wasn't meant to harm anyone. Did the mainstream media do a thorough job covering these events, or were they downplayed? To their credit, they printed my letter at the risk of alienating the majority of their advertisers.

Here is the perspective of one bisexual atheist. We can wish that the Rev. Swaggart did not advocate the murder of homosexuals with the approval of Jesus Christ. But that is what he said: wishing otherwise doesn't change that. We can wish that the Bible did not advocate the murder of homosexuals (Leviticus 20:13) with the approval of Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:17-18). But that is what the Bible says: wishing otherwise doesn't change that.

Christianity has inescapable murderous intent toward homosexuals, and therefore Swaggart was only following his faith. The problem isn't a misrepresentation of Christianity that requires a sincere apology. The problem is Christianity itself; wishing otherwise doesn't change that.
posted by Trevor Blake at 11:30 AM
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Friday, October 22, 2004. *

That's when things got interesting. [OH. I had tried to call the station, Channel 30, earlier to complain about the programming change, and both numbers for the station in my phone book were no longer valid - one rang an unused number at Emory Hospital, and the other, the Atlanta School system???? I was using the '02 to '03 phone book, for what it's worth]. But right where I had come into the second half of the NOW program on Channel 8, and the discussion revolved around class warfare, and a corporate takeover of America, the same program on Channel 30, suddenly switched to last week's second half programming of the NOW show, which was on election fraud. Now why would that be? Why in mid sentence would this week's program be switched to last week's program? I mean, I can't believe in this day and age, that it had anything to do with someone screwing up on a reel change. Those days are over. If you have this week's show, you have this week's show, right?

But then, all of a sudden, another programming change - they weren't showing Speaking Freely tonight. Why? It was in my hardcopy TV guide that I get from my paper. It showed up the first time I checked programming on the TV Guide channel. Why all of a sudden would they drop the programming they had promised me? Who owns this station?
posted by rick at 11:15 PM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:52 PM
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These were sent to me via Chocolate Morphine - Political Bohemian Rhapsody and my favorite, Voting in Florida.

The second one may be experiencing heavy traffic, as I couldn't get the page to open. Hopefully it will work later. I'll check back
posted by rick at 3:12 PM
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Does the death of an Arab weigh the same as that of a US or Israeli citizen? The Israeli army, with utter impunity, has killed more unarmed Palestinian civilians since September 2000 than the number of people who died on September 11, 2001. In conducting 238 extrajudicial executions the army has also killed 186 bystanders (including 26 women and 39 children). Two thirds of the 621 children (two thirds under 15 years) killed at checkpoints, in the street, on the way to school, in their homes, died from small arms fire, directed in over half of cases to the head, neck and chest--the sniper's wound. Clearly, soldiers are routinely authorised to shoot to kill children in situations of minimal or no threat. These statistics attract far less publicity than suicide bombings, atrocious though these are too.

Amnesty International has called for an investigation into the killing of Asma al-Mughayr (16 years) and her brother Ahmad (13 years) on the roof terrace of their home in Rafah on 18 May, each with a single bullet to the head. Asma had been taking clothes off the drying line and Ahmad feeding pigeons. Amnesty noted that the firing appeared to have come from the top floor of a nearby house, which had been taken over by Israeli soldiers shortly before. Amnesty suspects that this is not "caught in crossfire," this is murder.
posted by A.Q. at 12:26 PM
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Eminem slams Bush
From Drudge:

President Bush is "like dog chasing its tail," the Hollywood-bound Eminem tells the magazine set for publication during the first week of November.

RS: You get deep into your feelings about President Bush and Iraq on “Mosh.” Do you think the Iraq War was a mistake?

E: He’s been painted to be this hero and he’s got our troops over there dying for no reason. I haven’t heard an explanation yet that I can understand. Explain to us why we have troops over there dying.

RS: There is no good answer.

E: I think he started a mess. America is the best country there is, the best country to live in. But he’s f**kin’ that up and could run our country into the ground. He jumped the gun, and he f**ked up so bad he doesn’t know what to do right now. He’s in a tailspin, running around like a dog chasing its tail. And we got young people over there dyin’, kids in their teens, early twenties that should have futures ahead of them. And for what? It seems like a Vietnam 2. Bin Laden attacked us and we attacked Saddam. We ain’t heard from Saddam for ten years, but we go attack Saddam. Explain why that is. Give us some answers.

RS: Are you voting?

E: This is the first year I’ve registered to vote. And I’m gonna vote. Bush is definitely not my homie, but I’m still undecided. Kerry has been known to say some things that’s caught my attention, made a few statements I’ve liked, but I don’t know. Whatever my decision is, I would like to see Bush out of office. I don’t wanna see my little brother get drafted. He just turned eighteen. I don’t want to see him lose his life. People think their votes don’t count, but people need to get out and vote. Every motherf**kin’ vote counts.
posted by Klintron at 10:50 AM
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Hunter S. Thompson endorses Kerry
Thompson proves he's still the hardest writer out there:

This year's first presidential debate was such a disaster for George Bush that his handlers had to be crazy to let him get in the ring with John Kerry again. Yet Karl Rove let it happen, and we can only wonder why. But there is no doubt that the president has lost his nerve, and his career in the White House is finished. NO MAS.


Every GOP administration since 1952 has let the Military-Industrial Complex loot the Treasury and plunge the nation into debt on the excuse of a wartime economic emergency. Richard Nixon comes quickly to mind, along with Ronald Reagan and his ridiculous "trickle-down" theory of U.S. economic policy. If the Rich get Richer, the theory goes, before long their pots will overflow and somehow "trickle down" to the poor, who would rather eat scraps off the Bush family plates than eat nothing at all. Republicans have never approved of democracy, and they never will. It goes back to preindustrial America, when only white male property owners could vote.

Things haven't changed all that much where George W. Bush comes from. Houston is a cruel and crazy town on a filthy river in East Texas with no zoning laws and a culture of sex, money and violence. It's a shabby sprawling metropolis ruled by brazen women, crooked cops and super-rich pansexual cowboys who live by the code of the West -- which can mean just about anything you need it to mean, in a pinch.


The question this year is not whether President Bush is acting more and more like the head of a fascist government but if the American people want it that way. That is what this election is all about. We are down to nut-cutting time, and millions of people are angry. They want a Regime Change.


Of course I will vote for John Kerry. I have known him for thirty years as a good man with a brave heart -- which is more than even the president's friends will tell you about George W. Bush, who is also an old acquaintance from the white-knuckle days of yesteryear. He is hated all over the world, including large parts of Texas, and he is taking us all down with him.
posted by Klintron at 10:13 AM
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Walkin' down the street in Doha...
...I spied the cover of the
Oct. 25 Outlook India:

"Bush or Kerry:
Who is Better
for India?"

Who, indeed.

Anyhow, when I went to
the mag's site to find
that image, I also
discovered an interesting
piece by Howard Zinn:

Our War on Terrorism

"I am calling it 'our' war on terrorism because I want to distinguish it from Bush's war on terrorism, and from Sharon's, and from Putin's. What their wars have in common is that they are based on an enormous deception: persuading the people of their countries that you can deal with terrorism by war. These rulers say you can end our fear of terrorism -- of sudden, deadly, vicious attacks, a fear new to Americans -- by drawing an enormous circle around an area of the world where terrorists come from (Afghanistan, Palestine, Chechnya) or can be claimed to be connected with (Iraq), and by sending in tanks and planes to bomb and terrorize whoever lives within that circle.

"Since war is itself the most extreme form of terrorism, a war on terrorism is profoundly self-contradictory. Is it strange, or normal, that no major political figure has pointed this out?"
posted by mr damon at 9:38 AM
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Many Bush supporters disregard Iraq weapons findings

Posted on Fri, Oct. 22, 2004
By Frank Davies
Knight Ridder

WASHINGTON - A large majority of President Bush's supporters continue to believe that Iraq either had weapons of mass destruction (47 percent) or a major program to develop them (25 percent), contrary to official findings, a survey taken this month found.

Three out of four Bush backers believe Saddam Hussein provided substantial support to Al-Qaida or was involved in the Sept. 11 terror attacks, while 56 percent said the Sept. 11 Commission found such ties.

In reality, the commission found "no collaborative relationship" between Iraq and Al-Qaida.

The survey by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes, released Thursday, shows that the supporters of Bush and Sen. John Kerry have stark differences and see "separate realities" about Iraq and other foreign-policy issues.

The poll, conducted by Knowledge Networks, was taken of 968 people Oct. 12-18, after the final report by Charles Duelfer concluded that Iraq did not have a significant weapons of mass destruction program. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.2 percentage points to four percentage points.

Earlier samples of 798 and 959 people were taken in September.

Steven Kull, program director, said Bush supporters had a "resistance to information" on several fronts that reflected a powerful bond with the president formed after the Sept. 11 attacks. Kull also cited the perception -- shared by Kerry supporters -- that Bush still asserts that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

In recent months, Bush has said that he was "disappointed" that such weapons were not found, that the search continues and that it was important to "disarm" Saddam.

There may be another reason for the misperceptions, Kull said. Asked whether U.S. forces should have invaded Iraq if U.S. intelligence had concluded that Iraq was not making weapons of mass destruction or providing support to Al-Qaida, 58 percent of Bush supporters said no.

"To support the president and to accept that he took the United States to war based on mistaken assumptions is difficult to bear, especially in light of the continuing costs in terms of lives and money," Kull said.

"Apparently, to avoid this cognitive dissonance, Bush supporters suppress awareness of unsettling information."

A Bush campaign official, Reed Dickens, said the perceptions on weapons were understandable "given that it's only in the last few weeks we've had this definitive finding" of the Duelfer report.

[via Hairy Fish Nuts]

I'm glad the term "cognitive dissonance" was used to account for this, since that is exactly the reason BushCo supporters cannot face realities that counter their beliefs. Those interested in learning more about the mindset that allows such doublethink should refer to the recent study of the psychology behind conservatism.

[extended version cross posted at Inspector Lohmann]
posted by Inspector Lohmann at 9:33 AM
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In 1650, James Ussher (Archbishop of Armagh) used the Bible and the best science available to him to determine that the Universe was created at 6:00 PM on Saturday October 22, 4004 BCE. Since that time, by examining the geological record, the light from distant stars, fossils, and more, we have learned that the Universe is actually much, much older than six thousand years.

Scientists in the UK can make gentle fun of themselves by making statements about Archbishop Ussher. And newspapers in the UK can make gentle fun of scientists and Archbishops both. But can you imagine that any newspaper in the United States is going to say word one that might imply a religious figure was wrong on any topic at any time?

Religion has a special place in the United States. That special place is on top of any other concern. I work at a homeless shelter for teenagers; if an underage woman told me that she was being abused, I am required by law to report such abuse. Even if an adult reports abuse of a minor, I am required by law to report such abuse. The shelter I work at is a non-profit agency, just like any religious organization. But if a minor or an adult reports abuse to clergy, they are not required by law to report such abuse.

It's a funny thing about religous non-profit status. There is no law in my state of Oregon, nor in the United States, nor on the international level that defines what a 'religion' is. All you have to do is say you are religious and hey presto you are. Religious non-profits are not required to explain how they use their funding (unlike secular non-profits, which must account to the penny). Religious non-profits are not required to do any public service (unlike secular non-profits, which must demonstrate they earn their tax-exempt status). And while secular non-profits have mandatory reporting of child abuse, religious non-profits do not.

What is a religion, anyway? What does it take to get the protection of the First Ammendment? Here's what the Supreme Court said: "religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent, or comprehensible to others in order to merit First Amendment protection." So here's the scoop, my friends: you can believe and do anything you want if you cloak it in talk about the invisible monster that lives in the sky. Get away with anything, make millions, have a TV show, it's all there if you substitute your dignity with God.
posted by Trevor Blake at 8:47 AM
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The Selective Service has been updating its contingency plans for a draft of doctors, nurses and other health care workers in case of a national emergency that overwhelms the military's medical corps.

"in case."

(By the way, you can avoid registration at the New York Times via
posted by Trevor Blake at 8:39 AM
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The agency is withholding a damning report on intelligence failures before 9/11 that points at senior officials.
posted by Trevor Blake at 8:37 AM
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82% of Americans agree: "business has too much power over too many aspects of our lives."* But most of them don't know that corporate personhood is the root of corporate power.

Corporate personhood is the doctrine that corporations are considered to be individual persons in the eyes of the law. Corporate personhood is the most critical social and political issue of our time. It lies at the heart of campaign finance reform, labor abuse, deterioration of communities, destruction of the environment, and more.

-- Persons Inc.


Via the invaluable, indispensable, indefatigable Michael Miller
posted by Bruce at 5:56 AM
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Thursday, October 21, 2004. *
For Those Who Can't Get Enough
Slashdot has started a "politics for nerds" site, and Technorati tracks "political conversations in the blogosphere," and a "politics attention index" with tabs so you can choose between All, Conservative, and Liberal bloggers.
posted by Dave at 7:37 PM
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Great news! Oil companies will see record profits as supplies tighten.

The world has lost Iraq's oil: The U.S.-led invasion has resulted in the loss of an average of 2 million barrels a day of Iraqi oil from world markets. That is a significant number with huge consequences for economies around the globe. [via informationclearinghouse]

All according to plan. After all, if you think the Cheney administration wants peace in the Middle East, you haven't been paying attention. They want this conflict to spread across the entire region as part of their grand strategery of inserting permanent US military forces and eventually controlling every drop of oil for ourselves international oil comanies. Ongoing conflict is also marvelous for the Carlyle group and other players in the mega military/industrial complex. While we're helping the military/industrial complex by using their wares at a furious pace, we're destroying stuff that needs to be rebuilt! More profits, for Halliburton and, ahem, company. And, for the grand finale, Rapture awaits.

posted by Michael Miller at 6:15 PM
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NBC News: "Military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawi’s operation was airtight, but the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam."

Kinda like how preventing the terrorist attacks against the US on Sept. 11th would have undercut their case for a war against Afghanistan?

Via Talking Points Memo
posted by Klintron at 2:27 PM
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From John W. Dean:

Osama's Dream Team: Kerry-Edwards or Bush-Cheney?
Friday, Sep. 10, 2004
&sdot &sdot &sdot
Without Doubt Osama Would Like Bush and Cheney Reelected

Can there be any doubt about who Osama would like to see in the White House? I think not. Let me explain.

In my book, Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush, I included a detailed examination of the Bush-Cheney record on terrorism from 9/11 to February 2004 (when the book went to press). I noted much tough talk, and over-reaction by Bush and Cheney. I also concluded that such tactics will only entice and encourage terrorists "to up the ante toward a worse-case scenario."

Today, that reality is only clearer, as I have continued to examine the goals of the terrorists. As prolific writer Joseph Coates explains, terrorists have clear goals: they "seek to prove that governments cannot protect their people." By committing terrorist acts, they hope to provoke an extreme response, "the more extreme the better" - for such a response aids them in recruitment, and arouses hostility toward the responder.

In his recent essay, law professor Oren Gross described a similar dynamic: he believes that by forcing excessive response, terrorists seek to destroy the fabric of democracy, discredit the government, alienate citizens, and undermine the moral basis of the government's actions.

What better way to convince other Islamic fundamentalists that the West shouldn't be in the Middle East, than for a Western country - in an extreme response only tenuously connected, if at all, to a terrorist attack - to wage a preemptive bloody war in the Middle East? Even better, that this war would be justified by the need to prevent the use of dangerous weapons that turn out not to exist.

Bush and Cheney have to be Osama's dream team for November. They have all but promised even more extreme responses in the future, which surely must please Osama.
posted by Inspector Lohmann at 1:24 PM
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IRV Bill in Congress
This is the first bill ever submitted regarding IRV.

Called the Majority Vote Act of 2004 (Introduced in House)
2d Session
Submitted Oct 8, 2004

To require States to conduct general elections for Federal office using an instant runoff voting system, to direct the Election Assistance Commission to make grants to States to defray the costs of administering
such systems, and for other purposes.

To see the full text of the bill you must go to and do a search for bill HR5293 108 Congress

Contact your Representative, ask him/her to co-sponsor the bill. Do all you can to educate people about IRV. Instant Runoff Voting. Most people haven't a clue.
posted by Cyndy at 1:16 PM
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The Reverend Pat Robertson claims that in a discussion with President George W. Bush before the US invasion of Iraq, Rev. Robertson said to President Bush "Mr. President, you better prepare the American people for casualties." According to Reverend Robertson, President Bush replied "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties."

As Mike McCurry, adviser to the Kerry campaign, said: "We believe President Bush should get the benefit of the doubt here, but he needs to come forward and answer a very simple question - was Pat Robertson telling the truth when he said he didn't think there'd be any casualties or is Pat Robertson lying?"

Is there any evidence that Rev. Robertson might lie at times? Within the single article sited above, Rev. Robertson states both that President Bush will win the 2004 Presidential election by "a blowout" and by "a razor-thin" margin. Rev. Robertson claims that "The Lord told me it [the invasion of Iraq] was going to be, A, a disaster and, B, messy." President Bush claims that "God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam [ Hussein], which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East." At best, God told President Bush to do it and Rev. Robertson what it was going to be like. But a less generous interpretation of these conflicting claims of divine guidance might be that one of these gentlemen is mistaken. Actually, that is the generous interpretation - the blunt interpretation is that these two grown men are claiming their imaginary friend, an invisible monster that lives in the sky, tells them anything they do is okay. And if they seem to get mixed signals from their super-special ghost-pal it's because... uh... Clinton got a blow job! Yellow alert! Abortion! HOMOSEXUALS!!!

Let's examine Rev. Robertson's record. God told the New York Times that he (Robertson) was destined to become President of the United States. Rev. Robertson stated that he would only hire Jews and Christians in his administration. He claimed that the reason the attack on the United States on September 11th 2001 was such a success "is that God Almighty is lifting His protection from us." Rev. Robertson's television network CBN was the main contributor to the Contras in Nicaraguan - this was recognized by the Contras, who named one of their units the Pat Robertson Brigade. Rev. Robertson has publicly prayed for the death of Supreme Court judges that do not agree with the voices in his head. Strangely enough, it was Rev. Robertson's claim that he had served in combat during a time of war - a false claim - that led to his downfall. That doesn't seem to have troubled President George W. Bush; perhaps God likes Bush better, and the lie stuck this time. Rev. Robertson has had heavy investments in the blood diamonds and blood gold of Africa, owned fraudulent health care companies, and race horses. And although Rev. Robertson conducts "faith healing," you can be sure that when he got cancer he went to a doctor.

So... yeah, there's some evidence to support the idea that Rev. Pat Robertson tells lies. President Bush too. Maybe there isn't really a God, eh? Maybe electing people, or supporting people financially, who claim their brains are haunted is the exact opposite of a good idea.
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:52 AM
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"Bush Relatives for Kerry" grew out of a series of conversations that took place between a group of people that have two things in common: they are all related to George Walker Bush, and they are all voting for John Kerry. As the election approaches, we feel it is our responsibility to speak out about why we are voting for John Kerry, and to do our small part to help America heal from the sickness it has suffered since George Bush was appointed President in 2000. We invite you to read our stories, and please, don't vote for our cousin! [more]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 7:59 AM
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Let Freedom Reign
The Bremer Administration Embezzled $8.8 billion

An Iraqi government report showed that the Bremer administration embezzled $8.8 billion in the form of salaries for fictitious people who do not exist, according to reporting from Akhbar Al-Khaleej Bahraini newspaper.

posted by Bruce at 5:28 AM
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Wednesday, October 20, 2004. *
Nader's Unholy Alliance with a Cult
Doug Ireland wrote a story last March about an unholy connection between Ralph Nader and a Cult leader named Fred Newman. Ireland describes Newman's cult, formally known as the New Alliance party:
This cult is the antithesis of every value Nader holds dear. A Maoist grouplet
in the ’70s, the Newmanites morphed into supporters of Pat Buchanan in the
Hitler-coddling commentator’s 2000 takeover of the Reform Party. Newman recruits and controls his followers through a brainwashing scheme baptized “social
therapy,” designed to create blind allegiance to Newman. He has frequently
dipped his rhetoric in the poisonous blood-libel of anti-Semitism, denouncing
Jews as “storm troopers of decadent capitalism.” By French-kissing the cultists
to get on the ballot, Nader has allowed himself to be used as bait to lure the
unsuspecting into the Newmanite orbit, where they risk being sucked into the
cult. That’s a betrayal of the many young people to whom Nader is still a hero.
And an acid commentary on Nader’s judgment.
Greens for Impact , an organization of "principled, pragmatic Green Party members and progressive populists dedicated to the goal of defeating George W. Bush", has issued further evidence of the Nader-Newman alliance. Though Nader's spokesman has denied Ireland's accusations, the facts speak for themselves.
posted by Nick at 1:38 PM
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Oct. 20, 2004 | TEHRAN, Iran (AP) --

The head of Iran's security council said Tuesday that the re-election of President Bush was in Tehran's best interests, despite the administration's axis of evil label, accusations that Iran harbors al-Qaida terrorists and threats of sanctions over the country's nuclear ambitions.

Historically, Democrats have harmed Iran more than Republicans, said Hasan Rowhani, head of the Supreme National Security Council, Iran's top security decision-making body.

Between this endorsement, and the endorsement of Russia's President Putin [an ex KGB officer], all we need now to make this really complete is for both Meir Dagan, the Director of Mossad (Israel's Secret Police), and Bush family benefactor Sun Myung Moon, to make their blessings public too. (Unless, of course, Jesus, Lucrezia Borgia, Torquemada, Idi Amin, and Godzilla all return to give theirs, too.)

Oh, also in the news, Cheney wants us to shit our pants:

Cheney: Terrorists May Bomb U.S. Cities

Oct 19, 6:03 PM (ET)

CARROLL, Ohio (AP) - Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday raised the possibility of terrorists bombing U.S. cities with nuclear weapons and questioned whether Sen. John Kerry could combat such an "ultimate threat ... you've got to get your mind around."

"The biggest threat we face now as a nation is the possibility of terrorists ending up in the middle of one of our cities with deadlier weapons than have ever before been used against us - biological agents or a nuclear weapon or a chemical weapon of some kind to be able to threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans," Cheney said.
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(Is that saliva dripping from his rictus?)

Dr. Strangelove: Mein Führer! I can walk!

posted by Inspector Lohmann at 9:12 AM
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By Steven Clemons
Outside View Commentator

Washington, DC, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- The United States' chief arms inspector in Iraq, Charles Duelfer, has reported that nearly all of America's assumptions about Saddam Hussein's weapons capabilities were wrong. Saddam was nearly powerless in his region but did not want to let his chief rivals, particularly Iran, know how effectively he had been de-clawed after the 1991 Gulf War.
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Any junior-level strategist with the vaguest knowledge of the ferocity of the Iran-Iraq War and the competition between these two rivals for regional hegemony would have known that Saddam perceived Iran as a clear and present danger. After the United States, the United Kingdom and other powers pushed Saddam back to his borders and disarmed him -- coupled with sanctions, no-fly zones, and U.N. weapons inspections (ad hoc though they were) -- Saddam's objective was to be a troublemaker just enough to keep Iran deterred but not enough to prompt another punitive engagement by the world's great powers.

What is ironic is that Saddam may have tried to communicate with President Bush to explain his situation through his famous interview with Dan Rather just before the U.S. invasion since there was
no hotline available. But our strategic class -- Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Stephen Hadley, Condoleezza Rice, Zalmay Khalilzad and others -- were not interested in preventing miscalculation and escalation. That makes their complicity in cherry-picking intelligence and drawing bad conclusions about Iraqi intentions even worse. Nearly all of these people have been in and out of RAND or are deeply familiar with RAND-type thinking about strategic threats and their management.
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The real tragedy of the Duelfer report is that it makes even more evident that miscalculation and escalation were what America's new wizards of Armageddon wanted. These people were the best trained in America at thinking through -- via games and calculations -- what kinds of natural deceptions a rival might try. We didn't see what Saddam was up to because we decided we didn't want to.

I'm sorry, I just forgot -- what are the biggest campaign issues this election?
posted by Inspector Lohmann at 8:53 AM
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Unicorns, Dragons and the Grand Canyon
"In August of 2003, Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Joe Alston attempted to block the sale of Grand Canyon: A Different View, by Tom Vail, a book explaining how the park’s central feature developed on a biblical rather than an evolutionary time scale. NPS Headquarters, however, intervened and overruled Alston. To quiet the resulting furor, NPS Chief of Communications David Barna told reporters that there would be a high-level policy review, distributing talking points stating: 'We hope to have a final decision in February [2004].' In fact, the promised review never occurred. [...] Instead, the real agency position was expressed by NPS spokesperson Elaine Sevy as quoted in the Baptist Press News: 'Now that the book has become quite popular, we don’t want to remove it.'"

I'm fine with some of my tax money going to support the presentation of fairy tales. I like the idea that the libraries in our schools have made-up stories in them, and that I can see public art depicting scenes that did not and could not occur. But when the fairy tales and made-up stories that I paid for are presented as fact, nothing could be futher from appropriate. There was no 'great flood,' period. The Grand Canyon formed over a long period of time due to natural forces, period. There is no 'different view' of these facts that is not based on telling lies to oneself - and now, to others.

I'm proud to be a member of the reality based community. It's the community that makes medicine, non-animal transportation, telecommunication, and all the rest of the modern
(ie since the dawn of agriculture) world possible. Christians may act like if they believe hard enough that things come true, but reality doesn't work that way. If it did, my desire that they would leave this planet like they've been promising for 2,000 years would come true and we could get on with things.
posted by Trevor Blake at 8:41 AM
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A proposed $500 million tax increase to put more police on the streets of Los Angeles has drawn fire from opponents who say top law-enforcement officials are trying to scare voters into approving it with commercials that raise the specter of a suburban crime nightmare.
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But most galling to the opponents is a commercial that shows a woman and her daughter cowering next to a bed in a suburban home, screaming helplessly for police who are too late to save them from a shadowy intruder slowly climbing the stairs.

The ad ends before the little girl and her mother meet their presumably violent fate. It fades to black as the woman screams "No!" -- followed by the sound of a heartbeat and empty dial tone.

"It's extortion. That's what an extortionist does, try to scare people into giving up their money," Kris Vosburgh, executive director of the anti-tax Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, said of the ad. "When somebody puts a gun in your ribs and asks for money you give it to them because you are frightened."
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A Web site for the proposal had also drawn criticism for implying that crime was at an all-time high in Los Angeles, using headlines borrowed from an Arkansas newspaper. In fact, major crime rates in Los Angeles are down by about 40 percent over the past decade. The claims were pulled from the Web site this week after local newspapers drew attention to them.

A police state doesn't just fund itself, you know. Someone's got to pay for it...
posted by Inspector Lohmann at 7:39 AM
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COL Spock sent me this piece "Project Censored: Censored articles to Email to the Hypnotized" by Deanna Zandt and Evan Derkacz from AxisofLogic/ Activism, News and Comment, which contains ten examples, egregious all, of stories that have not been reported or have seriously been under reported. It also fits in with my ongoing personal analysis on the value of information.
posted by rick at 5:25 AM
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Tuesday, October 19, 2004. *
War President's New York Debut
Hey, this is Joe from American Leftist. As part of a group show called Face Off, a large print of my image "War President" -- the mosaic of Bush composed of photos of the US Iraq war dead -- will be exhibited by Ronald Feldman Gallery in New York City from October 23rd to November 27th. The opening reception is this Saturday from 6-8pm, and I will probably be in attendance.
posted by Joe at 4:12 PM
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Evangelicals endeavor to redeem the vote

By Bill Sammon
Published October 19, 2004

President Bush's re-election campaign is getting a boost from powerful Christian groups, which are enlisting entertainers such as actor Jim Caviezel of "The Passion of the Christ" to cajole millions of evangelicals into voting.

One of the newest groups is Redeem the Vote, the religious community's answer to MTV's secular Rock the Vote. The group is touring battleground states with Christian rock groups and voter-registration drives that organizers say are putting the fear of God into Sen. John Kerry's supporters.

"This is really scaring Democrats," said Redeem the Vote founder Randy Brinson. "This is major, major news that the major media have ignored because we're not liberal."

Mr. Brinson persuaded Mr. Caviezel, the actor who portrayed Jesus in Mel Gibson's hit film, to appear in a Webcast imploring Christians to vote. Although Mr. Caviezel never explicitly endorses the president, his message is designed to remind Christians that Mr. Bush shares their opposition to abortion, judicial activism and homosexual "marriage."

"In this election year, Americans are faced with some of the most important issues in the history of our country," he said. "In order to preserve the God-given freedoms we each hold dear, it's important that we let our voices be heard."

The message is hammered home in millions of e-mails that Redeem the Vote is sending to evangelical Christians, whose names were obtained from the marketing firms that made "The Passion of the Christ" a blockbuster.
posted by Inspector Lohmann at 9:01 AM
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Over the top
Apparently, that OTHER dickhead of state and exploiter of tragedy, Alexander Pootie-Poot, yesterday endorsed his American Idle Idol.

Well, that rips it for me. That makes The Doubleduh-Cheney Gang unbeatable. I mean now they get all the electoral votes not in just ONE Georgia, but TWO!

Next thing you know, the Pootster'll be shootin' ducks with Scalia. Eeeeeeehaaaaaaaahhh!
posted by total at 6:23 AM
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Where are all the drunk pilots when you need them?
posted by Dr. Menlo at 1:05 AM
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Monday, October 18, 2004. *
The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
posted by Klintron at 1:44 PM
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Next week, something will happen that will unmask the upside-down morality of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. On October 21, Iraq will pay $200m in war reparations to some of the richest countries and corporations in the world.

If that seems backwards, it's because it is. Iraqis have never been awarded reparations for any of the crimes they suffered under Saddam, or the brutal sanctions regime that claimed the lives of at least half a million people, or the US-led invasion, which the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, recently called "illegal". Instead, Iraqis are still being forced to pay reparations for crimes committed by their former dictator.
posted by A.Q. at 9:30 AM
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A third of the world's amphibian species are in danger of extinction, according to the first ever global survey of the animals. Scientists think that the mysterious collapse in numbers might be a warning that our environment may be in a worse state than we think - amphibians are known to be the most sensitive of all animals to subtle changes in their ecosystems. [more]
posted by Bill at 6:24 AM
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In a revealing interview with Ha'aretz, Ariel Sharon's senior adviser Dov Weisglass recently admitted that Israel's proposed Gaza withdrawal is a ploy to "freeze the peace process" and "prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state."
posted by Bill at 6:21 AM
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Sunday, October 17, 2004. *

We are an emergent self-organized network of independent citizens and activists whose broad agenda includes world peace, human rights, sustainable development, environmentalism, and social justice. We do not identify with a singular nation, but rather our world society as a whole. We recognize that on a fundamental level we are all one. Blogging is our medium; our message will be the story of a new world.

Join us.
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posted by Nick at 7:05 PM
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Matt Taibbi is one of the best (well, at least one of the funniest) political journalists of his generation. An equal-opportunity-misanthrope, he not only humorously skewers the Repubs, but also the more pretentious aspects of the Democratic Party as well. Worth a read.
posted by New World at 5:27 PM
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And who will they be paying war reparations to? Halliburton ($18m), Bechtel ($7m), Mobil ($2.3m), Shell ($1.6m), Nestlé ($2.6m), Pepsi ($3.8m), Philip Morris ($1.3m), Sheraton ($11m), Kentucky Fried Chicken ($321,000) and Toys R Us ($189,449) among others.
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:05 AM
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Saturday, October 16, 2004. *
posted by Dr. Menlo at 6:24 PM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 5:50 PM
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One Party to Rule Us
In his recent article "The Democratic Party Is Toast," Grover Norquist has no qualms about advocating a one-party system for the US.

"This is good for the Republicans, if not the republic."

And this Atlantic Online article about Karl Rove reveals the Rovian strategies for bringing about that one-party system.
posted by Dave at 5:13 PM
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Reader Mail
Received this today from
RatherGate proved that bloggers are the best fact checkers. That is why we are writing to a few bloggers asking for help.

Yes Bush Can has collected several documents that are clearly suspect. But we need your help to prove they are fake:

Let's spring to action before these documents needlessly tarnish the reputation of our Commander and Chief. You know the drill: analyze the handwriting, search for factual errors, and post your discoveries.

And keep us posted by sending email to

Thanks in advance for your help.


Their website turns up even more comedy gold:
You exposed RatherGate by proving the CBS documents were fake -- nice work! But now the liberals have found a bunch more documents so our work is not done. Let's get to work proving that these are fake, too!

Dick Cheney's DUI
George W. Bush's DUI
George W. Bush's Second DUI
Bush and Cheney have excellent judgement and would never get behind the wheel while drunk.

Memo to Ken Lay
Second Memo to Ken Lay
Ken Lay has been indicted on felony fraud charges -- there is NO WAY he was this close with President Bush.

Bush Daughters' Possession of Alcohol
It must be fake: This is clearly a liberal media snow job on these poor girls.

Osama Warning Document Part 1
Osama Warning Document Part 2
This so called "official document" suggests that Bush was asleep at wheel before 9-11. Get real.

Monkey see no evil, hear no evil = Monkey speak Pro-Bush/Cheney '04.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 5:07 PM
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