Monday, October 31, 2005.
When smart people start overhauling the American educational system (created to make excellent factory workers, and which has gone downhill from there), or go around it completely (and create a completely alternate system perhaps available online only), here's one class I recommend every kid has to take: Pattern Recognition.
Naturally, this beautiful book would have to be included in the syllabus.
Juan Williams is going to kick his ass, right?
"The idea was to use the game to transfer knowledge about nonviolent action," said Marovic. "The game can help more than movies and books because activists can simulate different situations and try different strategies before they try them in real life."
If this is PC-only, I'm going to have to buy a PC.
Watch what you say, what you do, and what you wear!
"Stop Snitching" T-shirts are one of Milwaukee's hottest fashion trends. [...] The shirts' message - interpreted with slightly varying twists - essentially urges people to stop talking to and cooperating with police. [...] But the shirts are fueling more than fashion, police and prosecutors say. They send a dangerous message to others that, if followed, has the potential to "destabilize the whole criminal justice system," according to John Chisholm, Milwaukee County assistant district attorney.
La Repubblica has published the first of a new series of articles of U.S.-Italian collaboration in preparing for the war in Iraq.
The Italian "stop" of the mighty Wurlitzer has once
Who is Francis Brooke you may ask... he is the chief assistant in Washington to Ahmed Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress. Brooke also was principal founder and director of the Iraq Liberation Action Committee, which favored Hussein's ouster.
Let eat cake, er uh, I mean shit!
Sunday, October 30, 2005.
The story of a man who infiltrated Bush's speech in Norfolk on Friday:
...a man stood up in Chrysler Hall, yanked open his shirt to expose his "Dump Bush" T-shirt in full view of shocked members of Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network seated nearby and cried, "War is terrorism! Torture is terrorism!" before he was hustled out by security people.
A Patriot Crashes the Party (Common Dreams).
(via Robot Wisdom)
- The Creative Activist.
Good news for the week of Oct. 24th
McCain rejects White House plea to exempt CIA from torture ban.
Senator withdraws bill due to pressure from human rights groups.
New bladder cancer test .
Coffee may prevent colon cancer.
Game teaches players the strategy of nonviolent conflict.
Media ignore pentagon requests to be silent on 2,000 fatality milestone.
- Rose Colored News.
Transsexuals are permitted to have sex-change operations in Iran by the decree of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini himself. The founder of the Islamic republic passed a fatwa allowing one transsexual woman to have the operation because sexual ambiguity made it impossible for her to carry out her religious duties properly. Iran now has dozens of people who have had a sex change.
Time called the past seven days "The Week from Hell" for Bush, the worst week in his nearly five years as president, and has left him somewhat estranged from key members of his team.
And a blast from the Past RollingStone.com:The Curse of Dick Cheney
This pattern of misplaced confidence in Cheney, followed by disastrous results, runs throughout his life -- from his days as a dropout at Yale to the geopolitical chaos he has helped create in Baghdad. Once you get to know his history, the cycle becomes clear: First, Cheney impresses someone rich or powerful, who causes unearned wealth and power to be conferred on him. Then, when things go wrong, he blames others and moves on to a new situation even more advantageous to himself.
There is a quote: "Cut off the Head, and the Body will die." You know that one, right? Well the converse is true. Cut off the Body and the Head will die.
I am feeling, what is that word?...oh yeah, schadenfreude.
Congressional Pay Rises While Minimum Stays Same
Helen Thomas, Hearst White House columnist kicking butt and taking names!
via whatreallyhappened blog
Saturday, October 29, 2005.
A federal appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit by a group of African-American postal workers who were forced to work inside a metal cage over a period of four days while co-workers threw peanuts and bananas at them, shouted racial epithets, and displayed racist signs. In Allen v. Potter, No. 04-31179 (5th Cir., Oct. 26, 2005), the court ruled that the plaintiffs could not prove that management knew or should have known of the harassment and failed promptly to stop it, despite the allegation that at least two supervisors had walked past and laughed.
While 4.4 million Americans went hungry and 38.4 million people experienced food insecurity last year.
House committee passes $844 million food stamp cut.
They have given themselves seven raises since 2000 totaling 28k.
Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill the poor!
Jello Biafra sang it 20 years ago and it's even more apt today.
I go back and think through all those old Dead Kennedys lyrics and they really saw the GOP for what they were - bastards committed to making the world a nastier place in the name of commerce.
I think it's time to storm the Whitehouse!
Friday, October 28, 2005.
All US passports will be implanted with remotely readable computer chips starting in October 2006, the Bush administration has announced.
Sweeping new State Department regulations issued on Tuesday say passports issued after that time will have tiny RFID chips that can transmit personal information including the name, nationality, sex, date of birth, place of birth and digitised photograph of the passport holder. Eventually, the government contemplates adding additional digitised data such as "fingerprints or iris scans".
Happy Fitzmas: Libby indicted and resigns, no decision on Rove
The purge begins...
Is this the begining?: ( A poster at kos asks the big one, the one we all think about)
I just came from midtown east and something smelled sweet acrid and burning. I got home to the upper west side and it still smelled. I just got off the 313 phone in number for issues in New York and they said they were getting calls from all over Manhattan and that the enviromental protection people are out testing.The smell is getting stronger.
Welcome to the Matrix.
Thursday, October 27, 2005.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Vice President Dick Cheney and his chief of staff withheld documents from a Senate committee looking into intelligence on Iraq, the National Journal reported.
- snip -
The committee also sought information from the president's daily briefing in the period before the invasion. A former senior administration official told the National Journal the decision to withhold the documents was at least partly political.
"Nobody wants something like this dissected or coming out in an election year," the former official said.
Iran may be only six months from having the necessary means to make an atomic bomb, Israeli Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom said today, urging quick international action on Tehran's nuclear program.
Remember when Israel was saying the same thing about Iraq?
"Hey Mom it’s me." Something my son always said every time he called, but this time his voice sounded unusual. He had a really serious tone in his voice and the automatic gunfire in the background was loud and more constant than usual. My heart began to race and I took a deep breath.
"Hey, I'm trapped on a rooftop and I don't think we are going to make it out of here, so I just called to tell you that I loved you and that I am thinking of all of you." The gunfire in the background was so loud that he had to pause, and then he continued. "We were out on patrol and were just getting ready to return to base and a bunch of our guys got overrun and so we went to help them, but when we got close we got overrun as well and had to retreat to this rooftop."
I could hear yelling in the background and then big explosions. The phone then seemed to be put on the ground and there was more yelling and automatic gunfire, but this time it was my son who was doing the shooting. My son picked up the phone and in an out of breath voice said, "I really don't think we are going to make it out of here alive.
Looks like another religious fundamentalist will join Mr Bush in bringing the world to non-stop incendiary conflict. The President of Iran is also saber rattling and spewing hate:
George Bush, Karl Rove and cabal must be overjoyed; fear of another war will overshadow their lies and treason as their spree of misrule becomes common knowledge in mainstream America. Or will it?
Nationalism, Fundamentalism and hate are the time honored tools of governance for authoritarians...Look how well it works here in "the land of the free..
Background to Betrayal:Behind the CIA leak investigation by Justin Raimondo connects the dots between the players in the outing of under cover CIA officer Valerie Plame and the front company that afforded her and her colleagues the ability to work clandestinely on nuclear, biologocal and chemical weapon proliferation issues throughout the world. The article offers a view of the larger picture of how the US got into the war on Iraq. Read it and decide where the loyalties of Mr Bush's neoconservative pals lie.
There are quite a few links to explore in this piece I recommend, but we are looking at complexities behind a simple issue; a web of deceit that when waded through offers a startling and undeniable overview, a perspective that you will not gain from a 45 second evening news segment- a perspective that the NY Times will not illustrate or admit. Please take the time to read the article, follow down links and gain the context for understanding.
Will Fitzgerald indict the bastards? Will the house of cards shudder, to fall? Or will it be business as usual?
USS Cole "Mystery" Solved - Atta & USS Cole Traced Back to Rahman & Al Farouq Mosque CIA Network in Brooklyn
At first, it was a mystery as to why Clinton would throw the USS Cole into that sea of sharks in that Yemen port and leave them there like a sitting duck. Then we found out about a strategic prize called Socotra.
[Note: Able Danger found the Mohammed Atta connection through the Al-Farooq Mosque in Brooklyn]
Wednesday, October 26, 2005.
As a legal noose appears to be tightening around the Bush/Cheney/Rove inner circle, a shocking government report shows the floor under the legitimacy of their alleged election to the White House is crumbling.
Report Shows FBI Violated Internal Surveillance Guidelines: ACLU Says Disclosure Highlights Need for Patriot Act Reforms
Mericas need to be very cautious about how they let the media redefine this moment.
I fully appreciate that we prefer 'truth' to spin but we also must acknowledge that there are sometimes that the reality becomes what everyone believes rather than what actually occurred. Scowcroft's attempt to claim credit for the demise of the neocons needs to be seen for what it is.
It isn't a well timed final blow to a few hotheads who lost their way.
It is an attempt by the right to hold onto power even though the people of the US have successfully shown the repug machine to be corrupt, inefficient and self serving.
Poppa Bush and co haven't been driving this fitzgerald agenda. Amerikans pissed at the betrayal of their ideals have driven this.
If Bush is allowed to continue albeit by replacing the new guard assholes with the old guard ones it won't matter in 2006 mid terms whether it was Billmon and the rest of left blogistan; or Scowcroft and Pops' well timed stiletto in the back which actually brought the BushCo machine down. Because 'the reality' will be that it was the Pops crew.
The Lou Dobbs transcript got me madder than a cut snake because revisionism is happening while people have their eyes off the ball patting themselves on the back.
There was the obvious expected stuff that the blogsphere has highlighted:
"Should the president's top political adviser, Karl Rove, or the vice president's chief of staff, Scooter Libby, be indicted, insiders say it is widely assumed they will resign immediately, and trusted aides will move in to fill the void. The president will make a brief statement citing the legal process that is ongoing. And the White House and its friends will make a dramatic pivot to change the subject and move forward.
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: The administration has to reassure the country that the president can still govern, that he's still running things.
MALVEAUX: The U.S. mission in Iraq being a primary focus on this day, when the American death toll reached 2,000. BUSH: We will not rest or tire until the war on terror is won.
MALVEAUX: Wednesday, Mr. Bush will turn his attention to the economy, in a speech calling for fiscal discipline. Thursday, he'll travel to Florida to comfort victims of Hurricane Wilma. And Friday, on to Southern Virginia, to give a pep talk on the war on terror."
But there is also an attempt to distract Amerikans with a few bits of the usual jingoism:
"DOBBS: ... and production. But it's easy for people to lose sight of it. One time when we saw these prices rise like this, that money was going into the coffers of U.S. oil companies. That's no longer the case.
ROMANS: You're absolutely right. That money that's coming out of the American pockets, as one of the gentlemen in our piece said, that's going in great part to companies that are based overseas now. There's a great foreign -- foreign presence in our refining capacity and in our distribution networks.
A new study suggests that churchgoers may reap their rewards in this world:
Attending religious services may enrich the soul, but it also fattens the wallet, according to research released on Tuesday.
Gruber explains his finding by suggesting that, "[t]hose with more faith may be less 'stressed out' about daily problems that impede success in the labor market and the marriage market, and therefore are more successful". Another likely explanation is that churchgoers are embedded in social networks that facilitate economic opportunity. Of course, the faithful (particularly those of a Calvinist bent) might attribute the wealth-enhancing effect of churchgoing to divine intervention. But that hypothesis is unlikely to find much empirical support.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005.
The End User License Agreement. You probably have grown accustomed to clicking through on these when installing new software, so accustomed that you don't even read them anymore. Well, we have and here are some of our favourites. We also present them with simultaneous plain English translations.
TG Daily has a great piece collecting and mocking abusive clauses in end user license agreements (EULAs). The Slashdot discussion of the piece is also really good -- lots of humorous examples of egregious offenders, salted with a good discussion of what a contract is and isn't.
Some EULA clauses allow software manufacturers to monitor your machine at will - DRM being a good example - and send data back and forth at will. They can even download new content onto your machine without having to notify you - anything from an innocuous patch to full blown spyware.
For example take Section 6 of the Pinnacle Studio 9 movie-making EULA:
You acknowledge and agree that in order to protect the integrity of certain third party content, Pinnacle and/or its licensors may provide for Software security related updates that will be automatically downloaded and installed on your computer. Such security related updates may impair the Software (and any other software on your computer which specifically depends on the Software) including disabling your ability to copy and/or play 'secure' content, i.e. content protected by digital rights management.
Another PSA from, Uncle.
Israel redraws the roadmap
There hasn't been too much attention focused on Israel/Palestine since the Gaza withdrawal. How are things going?
Chris McGreal of the Guardian filed this report from Jerusalem last week:
As foreign leaders, including Tony Blair, praised Mr Sharon for his "courage" in pulling out of Gaza last month, Israel was accelerating construction of the West Bank barrier, expropriating more land in the West Bank than it was surrendering in Gaza, and building thousands of new homes in Jewish settlements.Nice to know that the formaldehyde is working its charm.
Monday, October 24, 2005.
Larry Wilkerson Erases Any Doubts About Cheney-Rumsfeld Cabal in Tomorrow Morning's Los Angeles Times
Larry Wilkerson Erases Any Doubts About Cheney-Rumsfeld Cabal in Tomorrow Morning's Los Angeles Times
I have just been tipped off that the Los Angeles Times plans to run a rip-the-veneer-off the White House cabal op-ed by Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former State Department Chief of Staff, in the morning.
I have read it...It's 998 words of honest patriotism that Americans need to hear -- and 998 tons of dynamite on the Executive Office of the President.
Here is a short teaser, but you must read the entire article in the Los Angeles Times that I will link as soon as it us up:
Meanwhile, wrap your pumpkin around this:
Juan Cole has an advantageous, and interesting take on the implosion of the NYTimes:
The extraordinary exchanges between New York Times editor Bill Keller and reporter Judith Miller over her role in the Plame scandal and reporting on non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq have suggested to me a wider context of the entire matter.
The wider context is that Rupert Murdoch, and Richard Mellon Scaife, and other far rightwing billionaires have deeply corrupted our information environment. They are in part responsible for what happened at the NYT.
Miller attempts to excuse her shoddy reporting on Iraq's imaginary weapons of mass destruction by saying that "everyone" got that story wrong. But the State Department Intelligence and Research Division did not get it wrong. The Department of Energy analysts were correct that the aluminum tubes couldn't be used to construct centrifuges. Elbaradei of the International Atomic Energy Commission was not wrong. Imad Khadduri, former Iraqi nuclear scientist, was not wrong. "Everybody" got it wrong only in the sense that "everybody" had been brainwashed by Rupert Murdoch.
The entire article is a must-read and I'd say when everything is added together, one could make a damned good case that Clinton's "Deregulation Act" of 1996 along with Reagan crushing The Fairness Doctrine deliberately made this horseshit possible.
Unfortunately, the chances of us getting a Democratic presidential candidate that could win by vowing to repeal the latter and reapply the former are directly purportional to the chances of the fleas of a 1000 reindeer taking up permanent residence inside Brit Hume's genitals.
R.I.P. Rosa Parks ;-(
Something to think about: "The Myth of the Tired Rosa Parks" (PDF)
this might be important also:
Leak of Agent's Name Causes Exposure of CIA Front Firm
By Walter Pincus and Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, October 4, 2003; Page A03
The leak of a CIA operative's name has also exposed the identity of a CIA front company, potentially expanding the damage caused by the original disclosure, Bush administration officials said yesterday.
The company's identity, Brewster-Jennings & Associates, became public because it appeared in Federal Election Commission records on a form filled out in 1999 by Valerie Plame, the case officer at the center of the controversy, when she contributed $1,000 to Al Gore's presidential primary campaign.
After the name of the company was broadcast yesterday, administration officials confirmed that it was a CIA front. They said the obscure and possibly defunct firm was listed as Plame's employer on her W-2 tax forms in 1999 when she was working undercover for the CIA.
The Justice Department began a formal criminal investigation of the leak Sept. 26.
Look at that third paragraph. It's amazing.
The name of Brewster Jennings was not leaked until October 3.
That's one week AFTER "the Justice Department began a formal criminal investigation of the leak Sept. 26. "
And who the hell was in such a hurry to confirm the name and make damn sure the network and the people within it were destroyed?
Who were these "Bush administration officials" who CONFIRMED that Plame was working undercover for the CIA in 1999 to Pincus and Allen?
Who were these Bush administration officials who CONFIRMED the name of Brewster-Jennings to Pincus and Allen?
We've heard very little from or about Walter Pincus.
I would suggest that THIS is Fitzgerald's case.
And there is NO DOUBT THIS IS A BREACH OF THE ESPIONAGE ACT BY TWO PERSONS CONSPIRING.
I wonder who they are?
Note the parallels with the outing of David Kelly.
They put so many clues out there that they are bound to be found.
Then they confirm it when someone finds the clue (and I have to wonder who it was who found the clue?)
Congressman Bernie Sanders, just disembowels Alan Greenspan during yesterday's hearing in the Financial Services Committee. I heard it on the radio, in order to gewt the full brunt of it it should be heard, I'll look for it and post and update if I find it.
Like so many of you, I'm anxiously awaiting indictments from Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury and hoping for a very merry Fitzmas. So naturally, I've written a poem, which begins:
By Madeleine Begun Kane
I keep scanning the Net
For some news from Pat Fitz.
If he don't indict soon,
I may go on the fritz.
I can't bear the suspense.
I can't stand the delay...
You can find the entire Fitzmas Madness poem here. And you can find my audio / podcast version here.
Nice rant: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cenk-uygur/if-youre-a-christian-mu_b_9349.html
We live in a twisted world, where right is wrong and wrong reigns supreme. It is a chilling fact that most of the world's leaders believe in nonsensical fairytales about the nature of reality. They believe in Gods that do not exist, and religions that could not possibly be true. We are driven to war after war, violence on top of violence to appease madmen who believe in gory mythologies.
Sunday, October 23, 2005.
Thinking in terms of a continuum , if the above is w/in the micro-level, what are the implications for these type things on a macro-level?
In anticipation of the Republican defense that these guys are likely to be indicted on perjury, rather than the original focus of the investigation, it will be fruitful to use their own words against them. Here are a few fine Republicans at the Clinton impeachment trial.
The federal government, vastly extending the reach of an 11-year-old law, is requiring hundreds of universities, online communications companies and cities to overhaul their Internet computer networks to make it easier for law enforcement authorities to monitor e-mail and other online communications.
NYT OpEd, why the US should keep control over the Internet's Domain Name Service:
Web of the Free
Internationalizing control of a medium now regulated with a loose hand by a nation committed to maximizing freedom would inevitably create more of an opening for countries like China - a strong proponent of imposing some international supervision of Icann - to exert more pressure on internet service providers. More broadly, international regulation could enable like-minded governments to work in concert to deem certain thoughts impermissible online. It is all too possible that minority political or religious expressions would be widely repressed under a doctrine of the greater good imposed by a collective of governments claiming to know what's best, limiting what may be expressed online to whatever, say, the United Nations General Assembly, the European Union, or the Arab League, might deem reasonable.
You really wonder why some countries are concerned about US control?
According to this website: Congress set to pass law eliminating liability for vaccine injuries (Action alert), congress was set to Pass Law Eliminating Liability For Vaccine Injuries 19 Oct 2005 does anybody have any info on this?
The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) is calling the "Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2005" (S. 1873), of the U.S. Senate.
The Model State Emergency Health Powers Act: An Assault on Civil Liberties in the Name of Homeland Security
Saturday, October 22, 2005.
Your government, on the basis of outrageous lies, is waging a murderous and utterly illegitimate war in Iraq, with other countries in their sights. Your government is openly torturing people, and justifying it. Your government puts people in jail on the merest suspicion, refusing them lawyers, and either holding them indefinitely or deporting them in the dead of night.
Your government is moving each day closer to a theocracy, where a narrow and hateful brand of Christian fundamentalism will rule.
Your government suppresses the science that doesn't fit its religious, political and economic agenda, forcing present and future generations to pay a terrible price.
Your government is moving to deny women here, and all over the world, the right to birth control and abortion.
Your government enforces a culture of greed, bigotry, intolerance and ignorance.
People look at all this and think of Hitler — and they are right to do so. The Bush regime is setting out to radically remake society very quickly, in a fascist way, and for generations to come. We must act now; the future is in the balance.
Millions and millions are deeply disturbed and outraged by this. They recognize the need for a vehicle to express this outrage, yet they cannot find it; politics as usual cannot meet the enormity of the challenge, and people sense this.
There is not going to be some magical "pendulum swing." People who steal elections and believe they're on a "mission from God" will not go without a fight.
There is not going to be some savior from the Democratic Party. This whole idea of putting our hopes and energies into "leaders" who tell us to seek common ground with fascists and religious fanatics is proving every day to be a disaster, and actually serves to demobilize people.
They're calling for a Nov. 2 Mobilization. AfterDowningStreet & Cindy Sheehan have signed on.
Friday, October 21, 2005.
Fitzgerald isn't the Great White Hope, and I don't expect him to reveal all. But if he can knock the cabal out -- or at least punch the crap out of it -- with the modern equivalent of Al Capone's tax evasion conviction, I'll take it. Capone, after all, emerged from prison a broken man, his mind rotted away by syphilis. We could do worse.
Check this out if you haven't already. It's a very concise and tight discussion of how the US openly embraced torture as policy after 9/11.
The Army Times thinks there's something funny
about FNU LNU . If this case drops down the memory hole we'll have a better idea of this Brooklynite's real allegiance.
Here's a link to more detail on the 'infiltrated translator' For me, the money quote comes in a footnote on page 4 of this New York Federal Court Document which is a deposition by John Long, the FBI agent in charge of the case
Because the purpose of this affidavit is to set forth only those facts necessary to establish probable cause, I have not described all of the relevant facts and circumstance of which I am aware.
Maybe its "much ado about nothing" but I'd like to hear what Sibel Edmonds might have to say on the matter.
Now why would a prosecuter launch a website ten days before the Grand Jury runs out !?!?
Is it to deal with the international media deluge when one is merely a prosecutor w/out a huge press office? One can only guess.
Thursday, October 20, 2005.
The FBI was listening as Franklin and Gilon discussed closely held national security secrets. The question is: Do the Feds have the two of them on tape gossiping about that troublesome gal over at the CIA's anti-nuclear-proliferation unit whose husband could potentially cause the War Party an awful lot of trouble?
Inquiring minds want to know. And I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one taking an interest in what transpired at the POAC that day.
What leads me to suspect something of the sort is that Rosen's and Weissman's lawyers are demanding access to all the extensive tapes and other materials recording the surveillance of their clients, but the government, in an unusual move, is refusing, much to the judge's consternation.
"I am having a hard time," said Judge T. S. Ellis to prosecutor Kevin DiGregori, "getting over the fact that the defendants can't hear their own statements, and whether that is so fundamental that if it doesn't happen, this case will have to be dismissed."
On or about June 3, 2003, Franklin met with FO-3 at the POAC, and the discussion settled on a specific person, not in the United States government, and her thoughts concerning the nuclear program of the Middle Eastern country and, separately, certain charity efforts in Foreign Nation A.
This guy thinks so.
It has come to my attention hat the DOJ is asking questions about the links between Michael Maloof and Judith Miller of the New York Times. Maloof is a shadowy character who worked at the pentagon for the Cabal.
Chalabi was the Pentagon/neocon choice to rule Iraq and Miller's source. Can Fitz connect the OSP (where Franklin worked) in the Pentagon to WHIG and AIPAC? This aspen grove is huge. Too much to ask, but I'd love to see Fitz burn it all.
"Dominionism is an influential form of fundamentalist religion that believes that in order to fulfill biblical prophecy, "godly Christians" must take control of the levers of political and judicial power in America in the near future....The goal of this seminar is to examine the power and influence of a religious and political movement that questions the separation of church and state, and that aims to establish a biblical society governed by biblical laws." NYC's CUNY Open Center holds the 2nd ever conference of Domionism this weekend, Friday Oct. 21 through Saturday Oct. 22. Be there or be, well, dominated !
Theocratic Dominionism Gains Influence
Contract given to pig who paid shit.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005.
Today's show is about the topic of propaganda. Our guest will be Orville Schell, Dean of the Berkeley School of Journalism. The episode will focus on the nature of propaganda, on what precisely is wrong with it, on the difference between the production and dissemination of propaganda in democratic and totalitarian societies and on what we can do to combat it.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005.
The town of Springhill, Tennessee is practicing religious tolerance. They are banning construction work on Sunday as dictated by an invisible monster that lives in the sky, and they are considering how to honor those who worship a different invisible monster that lives in the sky who wants to ban work on Saturday. If you worship something that bans work on other days (even better, every day!) then move to Springhill so you can be forbidden by law from working.
Because nothing triviallizes the rule of law like religion, let's get rid of religion today.
Conservative defenders of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby have settled on their No. 1 talking point: the grand jury investigation into the CIA leak scandal represents the “criminalization of politics.”
Since when is treason 'politics'?
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said his department aims without exception to expel all those who enter the United States illegally.
"Our goal at DHS (Homeland Security) is to completely eliminate the 'catch and release' enforcement problem, and return every single illegal entrant, no exceptions.
"It should be possible to achieve significant and measurable progress to this end in less than a year," Chertoff told a Senate hearing.
Thousands of "Mexicans who are caught entering the United States illegally are returned immediately to Mexico. But other parts of the system have nearly collapsed under the weight of numbers. The problem is especially severe for non-Mexicans apprehended at the southwest border," Chertoff explained.
"Today, a non-Mexican illegal immigrant caught trying to enter the United States across the southwest border has an 80 percent chance of being released immediately because we lack the holding facilities," he added.
"Through a comprehensive approach, we are moving to end this 'catch and release' style of border enforcement by reengineering our detention and removal process."
Chertoff's remarks in favor of returning "every illegal entrant, no exceptions" appeared to conflict directly with the US policy toward illegal Cuban migrants.
Though Cubans picked up at sea are returned to their country, those who reach US soil by air, sea or ground are allowed to stay and work -- a fact Cuba says encourages dangerous illegal emigration attempts.
Monday, October 17, 2005.
If you haven't seen Good Night and Good Luck, you must. It's an impeccable film about about the life and work of legendary CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow. More broadly, though, it explores the responsibilities of journalists -- and the nature of courage, a quality not defined so much by the absence of fear as the willingness to act in spite of it.
* The movie begins and ends with a famous speech delivered by Murrow at the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) in 1958. It's worth reading in entirety, and you can do that here
. Much of it seems just as relevant now, half a century after it was written:
much more goodness at boing boing..
The reason they never found tularemia there before is -- they never looked for it.
The Judy Miller Quartet (of Limericks)
I've finished reading the two Judy Miller epics: Miller's incomplete and implausible My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room and the New York Times' only slightly more satisfying The Miller Case: A Notebook, a Cause, a Jail Cell and a Deal. And after wading through both, my opinion of Judy Miller and the New York Times has sunk even lower. So naturally, I've written Miller some limericks. Here's one of them:
Ms. Miller Has Written Her Tale
By Madeleine Begun Kane
Ms. Miller has written her tale,
And as tales go, it's rather a whale.
Her memory's convenient,
On Libby she's lenient.
What a shame that she got out of jail!
You'll find all four of my Judy Miller limericks here.
And the audio version is here.
Sunday, October 16, 2005.
Reporter, Times Are Criticized for Missteps <---(note, what the fuck is up w/that title?) if someone hadn't pointed out the sub-title: (Media Analysts Question Decisions by Miller, Newspaper's Editors Regarding leak) I would have never read this:
Craig Pyes, a former contract writer for the Times who teamed up with Miller for a series on al Qaeda, complained about her in a December 2000 memo to Times editors and asked that his byline not appear on one piece.
Note:A prime example of editorial offuscation, I wonder how many joe sixpacks wouldn't even bother to look at that story w/that bullshit title, and how much imformation is disreguarded by opaque ass titles such as this, by editors of the government media arm. Fuck you WAPO, AND NYT's.
The doomsday shower can sanitize 800 people an hour
With fears of a biochemical attack on the rise, many biotechnology firms have waded into the uncertain science of prevention and detection of biological and chemical agents. But a Maryland manufacturer has discovered a less-crowded market in homeland security: decontamination.
Call today about market shares ! Stocks sure to go up soon! Have that gated community dream home you always wanted!
TVI Corporation, Decontamination, Decon, Hazmat, and Tactical Shelters
Before Cheneyco is though, you'll be glad you did!
Another PSA from your Uncle.
Saturday, October 15, 2005.
Many are saying this is the big one! This may be the only warning you get before the the levee breaks and ALL HELL COMES POURING IN. Read this and tell your family and friends. Put on your fidora tin-foil, but I can't help but wonder if this , wasn't a trial run for this . E§pecially, w/the F!tz-bâng! coming.
Does our government respect human life the way it claims to do?
Hardly. And being a soldier is no deterrent.
Ignore for a moment the lies surrounding 9-11, TWA 800, the USS Iowa, and the Gulf of Tonkin, [Downing Street Memo], and step back into horrid history with me.
PUBLIC LAW 95-79 [P.L. 95-79]
TITLE 50, CHAPTER 32, SECTION 1520
"CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WARFARE PROGRAM"
"The use of human subjects will be allowed for the testing of chemical and biological agents by the U.S. Department of Defense, accounting to Congressional committees with respect to the experiments and studies."
"The Secretary of Defense [may] conduct tests and experiments involving the use of chemical and biological [warfare] agents on civilian populations [within the United States]."
Public Law 95-79, Title VIII, Sec. 808, July 30, 1977, 91 Stat. 334. In U.S. Statutes-at-Large, Vol. 91, page 334, you will find Public Law 95-79. Public Law 97-375, title II, Sec. 203(a)(1), Dec. 21, 1982, 96 Stat. 1882. In U.S. Statutes-at-Large, Vol. 96, page 1882, you will find Public Law 97-375.
A SHORT HISTORY OF US GOVERNMENT RESPECT FOR HUMAN LIFE
fin d'empire? Welcome my friend, to the machine.
Friday, October 14, 2005.
Mired in Harriet Miers & Harriet's Song
The odd relationship between George Bush and Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, specifically the schoolgirlish notes she's sent to Bush over the years, inspired me to write a new song parody:
Harriet's Song: Bush Is the Sunshine Of Her Life.
And my podcast version of Harriet's Song is here.
Also, Harriet Miers has inspired/provoked me to write three poems in honor of her nomination. Here's one of them:
Bush Named The Unqualified Miers
By Madeleine Begun Kane
Bush named the unqualified Miers
To the Court when O'Connor retires.
Her only credential?
She's Dub reverential.
And that should raise Democrats' ires.
All three of my Harriet Miers poems are here.
And my audio / podcast version is here.
Thursday, October 13, 2005.
The BBC reports: "Catholic Church records in Los Angeles show that for decades priests accused of child sex abuse were moved to new assignments or given counselling. The Los Angeles area has 126 clergymen accused of sexual misconduct in cases which have yet to come to trial. [...] The personnel records of the clergymen accused have just been released as part of settlement talks with lawyers in the case. They show that for more than 70 years, the Church provided therapy to clergymen accused of abusing children, believing that they could be rehabilitated."
[This BBC report links to a timeline of the "US Catholic sex scandal." But this BBC report does not link to this BBC report, which demonstrates that moving abusive clergy to new parishes and silencing those involved under threat of excommunication was a top-down directive of the Pope since 1962. I guess the years before the official order (note "more than 70 years" above) were just a gimmie, just for fun. The fact that the leader of the sovereign nation of the Vatican Holy See directed decades of child molestation is being under-discussed, and it sure looks like they will get away with it.]
The 56-page investigation was assembled by USAF Colonel (Ret.) Sam Gardiner. "Truth from These Podia: Summary of a Study of Strategic Influence, Perception Management, Strategic Information Warfare and Strategic Psychological Operations in Gulf II" identifies more than 50 stories about the Iraq war that were faked by government propaganda artists in a covert campaign to "market" the military invasion of Iraq.
In Strauss' view, liberal democracies such as the Weimar Republic are not viable in the long term, since they do not offer their citizens any religious and moral footings. The practical consequence of this philosophy is fatal. According to its tenets, the elites have the right and even the obligation to manipulate the truth. Just as Plato recommends, they can take refuge in "pious lies" and in selective use of the truth.
whig* knew exactly what they were doing IMHO
*The White House Iraq Group
The White House Iraq Group operated virtually unknown until January 2004, when Fitzgerald subpoenaed for notes, email and attendance records. Bush Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. created the group in August of 2002.
i'd say they operated in secrecy. if you have access to any paper trail i'm sure we would all like to see it. maybe they haven't guarded their meeting w/as much secrecy as cheney's energy meetings but this administration is known for its lack of transparency
a prior conviction that Iraq was a problem for a variety of reasons, and needed to be dealt with
what about iraq's many assets? what about the opportunities for financial gain thru all those no bid contracts? what about the lifting of the sanctions,OPEC and sadams future use of the euro. iraq may have been a problem but not the one the american public was focused on after 9/11.
Forced Labor in America? In the 'New America', in the New, 'New Orleans' Justice System no doubt.
of course what we are seeing is the across the board The goal IS to reduce the standard of living for every caste.
New York Times reporter Judith Miller testified for a second time in the CIA leak case yesterday, providing new details about a previously undisclosed conversation she had with Vice President Cheney's chief of staff about the diplomat at the center of the 22-month investigation.
The June 23 conversation would be significant if Miller and Libby discussed Plame, the lawyers in the case said. If they did, it could help Fitzgerald establish that Libby was involved in an administration effort to unmask Plame weeks before she was publicly outed by conservative columnist Robert D. Novak in the middle of July.
As early as May of that year, Cheney's office was actively seeking information about Wilson from the CIA, according to former senior administration officials. Libby was aware of the diplomat and his mission by the time he talked with a Washington Post reporter in early June. By then -- one month before Plame was unmasked -- the State Department had prepared a memo on the Niger mission that contained information in a section marked "(S)" for secret. Colin L. Powell, then secretary of state, brought the memo on a trip to Africa by President Bush in the days before Novak's column was published.
Note: David Kelly was also outed at the same time. The first 2 weeks of July 2003 will be picked over by historians for decades.
The reporter is Jim VandeHei and I bet he does have his sources straight (Powell and who?).
Wednesday, October 12, 2005.
Geez, if Meirs made them mad, now Ron Paul is saying the administration is after their guns.
Congressman Ron Paul has accused the Bush administration of attempting to set in motion a militarized police state in America by enacting gun confiscation martial law provisions in the event of an avian flu pandemic...
Paul responded to President Bush's announcement last week that he would order the use of military assets to police America in the event of an avian flu outbreak.
"To me it's so strange that the President can make these proposals and it's even plausible. When he talks about martial law dealing with some epidemic that might come later on and having forced quarantines, doing away with Posse Comitatus in order to deal with natural disasters, and hardly anybody says anything. People must be scared to death."
Paul, himself a medical doctor, agreed that the bird flu threat was empty fearmongering.
"I believe it is the President hyping this and Rumsfeld, but it has to be in combination with the people being fearful enough that they will accept the man on the white horse. My first reaction going from my political and medical background is that it's way overly hyped and to think that they have gone this far with it, without a single case in the whole country and they're willing to change the law and turn it into a military state? That is unbelievable! They're determined to have martial law."
Paul opined that the martial law provisions now being promoted by the Bush administration were a direct response to people's unwillingness to relinquish their firearms, as was seen in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
"I think they're concerned about the remnant, the remnant of those individuals who don't buy into stuff and think that they should take care of themselves on their own, that they should have their own guns and their own provisions and they don't want to depend on the government at all and I think that is a threat to those who want to hold power. They don't want any resistance to their authoritarian rule."
Paul opined that the government was on a delusional power trip that threatened the country.
Paul expressed his hope that finally some conservatives are waking up to the fact that the Bush administration is a trojan horse...
I'm not a big Alex Jones fan, but Ron Paul is a conservative like Robert Craig Parry who never drank the kool-aid. This ought to scare the right wing whackos.
Interesting stuff, by poster on Americablog.
There's an insurrection @the Mossad.
JERUSALEM:Israel’s spy agency, Mossad, has been rocked to the core by an internal crisis provoking an avalanche of resignations since Meir Dagan was appointed its chief in 2002, a newspaper reported yesterday.
“Earthquake at heart of Mossad,” ran a headline on the front page of the Yediot Aharonot, detailing a “wave” of unprecedented departures from staff accusing their boss of driving the elite agency into a “dead end”.........
The latest report comes just over a year after Israel’s private Channel 2 television claimed in November that more than 200 agents, including seven department heads, had resigned over the policies of its controversial boss.......
When Dagan took over in October 2002, Mossad switched its sights on international ‘terrorism’ with a renewed focus on overseas commando
For those who think this is an academic question, over the Strong Objections of the CIA, the Mossad was given the Green light by this Admin. to operate in America for first time ever. (google Mossad Richard Sale) Sale is a very highly respected long-time reporter on the "intel" beat. I heard a radio interview w/him on this. He clearly spoke w/a lot of CIA guys who wanted to get the word out.
During all those Cold War years, when Americans lived under the shadow of superpower "mutual assured destruction" or MAD (as the madly accurate acronym of that moment had it), seeing no way out, psychic numbing took its toll. What historians often call the "national security state" has actually been a national insecurity state, based on the sort of numbing fear that was bound to make Americans more conservative, more fearful of change.
The idea of a whole society working together to imagine a better world, and then turning imagination into reality, has been off the American radar screen for some six decades now (except for a brief ray of light in the 1960s). When it seems safer to allow no significant change at all, politics naturally becomes an exercise in circling the wagons and hunkering down for an endless siege. The September 11 attack and the Bush-orchestrated response ensured that the United States would continue to be a hunkered-down national insecurity state (and now a homeland insecurity state) well into the 21st century.
All of us, supporters and critics alike, have absorbed this lesson. When we criticize Bush because he has failed to keep us safe, we score valuable political points. But we pay a price for those points, because we reinforce the basic premises of the national insecurity state - that danger is everywhere and can never be eliminated; that all systemic change is dangerous; and that our best hope lies in a government strong enough and pugnacious enough to prevent significant change and so protect us from fear's worst effects.
"the Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any major significance in the major
-CIA director William Colby
Killing the Political Animal:
CIA Psychological Operations and Us
PSYOP quote: "Established citizens ... will be recruited initially as 'Social Crusaders' in typically 'innocuous' movements in the area of operations. When their 'involvement' with the clandestine organization is revealed to them, this supplies the psychological pressure to use them as 'inside cadres' in groups to which they already belong or of which they can be members."
PSYOP quote: "Bring about uprisings or shootings, which will cause the death of one or more persons, who would become the martyrs ... in order to create greater conflicts."
A CIA instruction manual entitled "Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare" provides some clues. Written in the early 1980s (coincidentally, soon after Bush Sr. headed the Agency)
Tuesday, October 11, 2005.
They had little in common, other than having served in Iraq with the 10th Special Forces Group based at Fort Carson, Colo. They did not know each other, and they had vastly different duties.
From Lewis Lapham in this month's Harper's:
It does no good to ask the weakling's pointless question, "Is America a fascist state?" We must ask instead, in a major rather than a minor key, "Can we make America the best damned fascist state the world has ever seen," an authoritarian paradise deserving the admiration of the international capital markets, worthy of "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind"? I wish to be the first to say we can. We're Americans; we have the money and the know-how to succeed where Hitler failed, and history has favored us with advantages not given to the early pioneers.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraq has issued arrest warrants against the defense minister and 27 other officials from the U.S.-backed government of former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi over the alleged disappearance or misappropriation of $1 billion in military procurement funds, officials said Monday.
Because nothing says, "We have everything under control" like the friends of your Hand Picked Leader scooting off with the money.
Aparently text-only porn is now illegal... article on BoingBoing
Monday, October 10, 2005.
The break off factions (mainly the SEIU) of the labor movement are offering a contest for Good Ideas. The winner gets 100000 thousand and I believe the runner ups get 50 grand apiece. I offered this idea that you wouldn't need congress for:
Right now, almost half of the country is either uninsured or underinsured.
Hats off to historian David Noble of York University in Toronto, Canada. Noting the arbitrary nature of recognizing some religious holidays and not others (by way of mandatory school closings), Noble has said he will close his class for any 'religious' holiday that his students request. So if his students request every Monday, Wednesday and Friday off for Hu Hu the Spider Deer, every Thursday off for the Flying Spaghetti Monster and half-days on Thursdays for J. R. "Bob" Dobbs, well, that's what freedom of religion is all about. The freedom to trivialize any secular activity for everyone around you so that you can have room to talk to an invisible monster that lives in the sky.
Like the saying goes: I don't think in your church, please don't worship in my school.
A federal judge in Kentucky has ruled that the Holy See is a foreign state that enjoys certain immunity protections, placing restrictions on a lawsuit by three men who allege the Vatican covered up the sexual abuse of children by priests. According to a ruling obtained Friday by The Associated Press, Judge John G. Heyburn II of the U.S. District Court in Louisville rejected the victims' argument that the Holy See is an international religious organization and ruled that it is a foreign state subject to provisions of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
[Like nearly every article on the subject, this USA Today story fails to mention the direct hand of the Vatican since the 1960s in (a) silencing reports of clergy child abuse and (b) moving abusive clergy to new parishes. This article also fails to bring up the question as to where the line between the Holy See as a foreign state and the Roman Catholic Church as a religion might be found. Because one wonders if 'diplomats' from other foreign states also get tax exempt status in the USA, or if organized networks of child molesters from other foreign states would be treated so kindly.]
For GOP, Election Anxiety Mounts: "Republican politicians in multiple states have recently decided not to run for Senate next year, stirring anxiety among Washington operatives about the effectiveness of the party's recruiting efforts and whether this signals a broader decline in GOP congressional prospects.
For better mental and cultural health, it's time we classified religious fundamentalism as a psychological disorder
Culture is not self aware. Irrational fundamentalists should be treated as we treat others suffering from psychological ailments and offered immediate help. We should see them as suffering from a disease and help them to accept a more moderate religious stance and develop a more balanced life.
Hopefully, this will return to them free will, rationality and self-respect. In my opinion, these are the elements that give human lives meaning and purpose.
[via woods lot]
Sunday, October 09, 2005.
Saturday, October 08, 2005.
51 are corporations and 49 are countries (2000)
Economics is a fiction. It's the emergent result of a class of human interactions, and it's all based on faith, and circumstance, and what a lot of individuals are carrying around in their heads.
Kinda like government...
So even if Bush once said that God told him to go to war, let's not get too excited. There are so many more horrendous things Bush has said and done that deserve our harsh criticism. There are so many more ways he has used religious beliefs and religious language to justify immoral policies. Let's put our critical energy there, and not on one isolated statement that he'll go on denying he ever said.
A National Security Agency report labels Holocaust deniers as "scholars and researchers" - causing some to demand the report be recalled
[via whatreallyhappened blog]
LAKELAND - It wasn't the gruesome photos on Chris Wilson's web site that got him into trouble with the law. It was explicit sexual images and videos, Polk County authorities say.
A Washington Post editorial lashed out at the Bush administration for threatening the veto; 'Let's be clear; Mr. Bush is proposing to use the first veto of his presidency on a defence bill needed to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan so that he can preserve the prerogative to subject detainees to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. In effect, he threatens to declare to the world his administration's moral bankruptcy.' and went on to say; 'The White House is leaning on Republican House members to kill or water down the McCain amendment.'
R-O-C-K in the USA-A-A. Rockin in the USA!
Thursday, October 06, 2005.
Drum roll please,
"A senior Defense Department analyst has admitted that he shared secret military information with two pro-Israeli lobbyists and an Israeli official in an effort to create a back channel to the Bush administration on Middle East policy."
"Franklin said in court that he believed that the lobbyists had access and influence at the National Security Council, which coordinates policy issues for the president and was deeply involved in setting the administration's course on Iran. He said he hoped the lobbyists could help influence policy by passing on information that he knew was classified."
A grand jury that investigated the Philadelphia archdiocese for more than three years has concluded that two former archbishops orchestrated a systematic cover-up spanning four decades that managed to successfully shield from prosecution 63 priests who had sexually abused hundreds of children. The Philadelphia grand jury used blunt language to describe the sex abuse uncovered during the investigation, which they said was often recorded by the archdiocese in more than 45,000 pages of documents from secret archdiocese archives with such "delicate euphemisms" as "inappropriate touching." "We mean rape," the grand jury report said. "Boys who were raped orally, boys who were raped anally, girls who were raped vaginally." [...] "The evidence before us established that archdiocese officials at the highest levels received reports of abuse," the report said. The diocese, according to report, "chose not to conduct any meaningful investigation of those reports" and "left dangerous priests in place or transferred them to different parishes as a means of concealment. ... They chose to protect themselves from scandal and liability rather than protect children from the priests’ crimes."
The grand jury said that because of the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania, the investigation would not result in indictments of priests for crimes such as rape, sexual assault and corruption of minors. And because of the way the archdiocese is set up legally, as an unincorporated association rather than a corporation, its officials also could not be prosecuted for crimes such as endangering the welfare of children, intimidation of victims and witnesses, and obstruction of justice. "As a result, these priests and officials will necessarily escape criminal prosecution," the report said. "We surely would have charged them if we could have done so."
[This article from the National Catholic Reporter goes much further than most in detailing what the offending priests did and how the Church covered it up; if you've skipped all previous reports on this story, read this one. Or read the report itself. This article, however, fails to mention that the order to silence reports of child rape and transfer clergy child rapists to new parishes came from the Pope. This wasn't an anomaly, this was policy. Because when an invisible monster that lives in the sky tells you that raping children is okay, it's okay - you not only can do it, you can get away with it.]
According to a documentary that is to air on the BBC, George W. Bush told Palestinian officials that he invaded Afghanistan and Iraq in response to divine commandments:
President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq Â?" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'Of course, Bush wouldn't be the first serial killer to claim that the Lord made him do it.
Regenesis is not coincidence, it's prop-agenda.
The Sunshine Project
9 October 2003
Lethal Virus from 1918 Genetically Reconstructed
US Army scientists create "Spanish Flu" virus in laboratory - medical benefit questionable
America, why is it that you let lords of hate steal the body of the Prince of Peace? Who would Jesus bomb today? America America - we talk of all the rights of man why is it the right to life doesn't belong to the Iraqi child who was blown to bits today?
America, when did you all become Maoists and believe that power grows out of the barrel of a gun?
America, when did Stalin become our common ally against Charles Darwin?
"Jarvis had assigned her senior civics and economics class “to take photographs to illustrate their rights in the Bill of Rights,” she says.
The Pentagon would be granted new powers to conduct undercover intelligence gathering inside the United States—and then withhold any information about it from the public—under a series of little noticed provisions now winding their way through Congress.
Citing in part the need for “greater latitude” in the war on terror, the Senate Intelligence Committee recently approved broad-ranging legislation that gives the Defense Department a long sought and potentially crucial waiver: it would permit its intelligence agents, such as those working for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), to covertly approach and cultivate “U.S. persons” and even recruit them as informants—without disclosing they are doing so on behalf of the U.S. government. The Senate committee’s action comes as President George W. Bush has talked of expanding military involvement in civil affairs, such as efforts to control pandemic disease outbreaks.
At the same time, the Senate intelligence panel also included in the bill two other potentially controversial amendments—one that would allow the Pentagon and other U.S. intelligence agencies greater access to federal government databases on U.S. citizens, and another granting the DIA new exemptions from disclosing any “operational files” under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). “What they are doing is expanding the Defense Department’s domestic intelligence activities in secret—with no public discussion,” said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, a civil-liberties group that is often critical of government actions in the fight against terrorism.
Wanna see what that looks like? Sure you do:
meet your future
A Prosecutor Explains
On firedoglake, a former prosecutor is taking the time to give everyone a primer in how this stuff works, and in plain language. It's good to know this stuff. Now I can finally explain why phrases like "prosecutorial overreach" and "a prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich" are just so much BS (short answer: the prosecutor isn't king).
Grand Juries 101
How prosecutors come up with indictment charges.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005.
The Salvation Army
I don't mind that when I worked for the Salvation Army they disallowed same-sex couples to go to the homeless teenager prom. I don't mind that a federal court in New York has ruled that the Salvation Army may hire and fire employees according to their religious beliefs [link], or that the Salvation Army refused aid to a victim of September 11th because she wasn't straight [link]. I don't think charity is something anyone should be forced to provide - that kind of makes it not charity, doesn't it?
What I do mind, greatly, is that the Salvation Army uses tax dollars to discriminate. If they want to raise private funds and spend them as they see fit, more power to them. If they want to use federal funds, they need to follow federal law. Taxes are taken from everyone, so everyone should benefit from them.
My solution: either (a) I get to stop paying taxes or (b) the Salvation Army stops getting federal funds or (c) the Salvation Army keeps getting funds but follows anti-discrimination legislation. My expectation: (d) if you say an invisible monster that lives in the sky told you to do something you can get away with anything, no matter who pays or who suffers. To them it's religious discrimination to forbid religious people to discriminate (with federal funds). To me it's theistic pigs at the public troft.
Breeding Out Atheism
Southern Voice Online reports: "Sen. Patricia Miller (R-Indianapolis) said state law does not have regulations on assisted reproduction and should have similar requirements to adoption in Indiana. [...] A doctor cannot begin an assisted reproduction technology procedure that may result in a child being born until the intended parents have received a certificate of satisfactory completion of an assessment required under the bill. The assessment is similar to what is required for infant adoption and would be conducted by a licensed child placing agency in Indiana. The required information includes the fertility history of the parents, education and employment information, personality descriptions, verification of marital status, child care plans and criminal history checks. Description of the family lifestyle of the intended parents also is required, including participation in faith-based or church activities." [emphasis added]
[So atheists are not fit to breed in Indiana? Is that the proper function of government?]
The idea of a whole society working together to imagine a better world, and then turning imagination into reality, has been off the American radar screen for some six decades now (except for a brief ray of light in the 1960s). When it seems safer to allow no significant change at all, politics naturally becomes an exercise in circling the wagons and hunkering down for an endless siege. The 9/11 attack and the Bush-orchestrated response insured that the United States would continue to be a hunkered-down national insecurity state (and now a homeland insecurity state) well into the 21st century.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005.
The letter that follows takes us on a darkly imagined excursion into the future. A military coup has taken place in the United States--the year is 2012--and General Thomas E. T. Brutus, Commander-in-Chief of the Unified Armed Forces of the United States, now occupies the White House as permanent Military Plenipotentiary. His position has been ratified by a national referendum, though scattered disorders still prevail and arrests for acts of sedition are underway.
A senior retired officer of the Unified Armed Forces, known here simply as Prisoner 222305759, is one of those arrested, having been convicted by court-martial for opposing the coup. Prior to his execution, he is able to smuggle out of prison a letter to an old War College classmate discussing the "Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012." In it, he argues that the coup was the outgrowth of trends visible as far back as 1992. These trends were the massive diversion of military forces to civilian uses , the monolithic unification of the armed forces, and the insularity of the military community. His letter survives and is here presented verbatim.
It goes without saying (I hope) that the coup scenario above is purely a literary device intended to dramatize my concern over certain contemporary developments affecting the armed forces, and is emphatically not a prediction. -- The Author
Also related: Exposed: Operation Blessed Placebo .
EWM - (Nov. 7, 2004) Federal health officials will announce this week that they have averted a pandemic by finding enough flu vaccine to inoculate the entire U.S. population. However, documents obtained exclusively by EWM show that half of the shots will actually contain Holy Water.
"Operation Blessed Placebo," is the brainchild of a special task force made up of officials from the FDA and the President's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. The plan calls for placing flu vaccine labels on millions of vials of Holy Water and distributing them to the unsuspecting public.
The Bush Administration believes that the healing powers of the Holy Water will magnify the placebo effect of the shots and get the country through the crisis by Divine Intervention. Meanwhile, the public will be told that the vaccine shortage never existed and was the result of "fuzzy math."
A call for a coalition of the left on the lines of Poland's famed Solidarity Movement is making the rounds in blogtopia. This seems to be in reaction to a number of folks who are increasingly unsatisfied by the lack of a real opposition party in America. This dissatisfaction has been brewing for a long time in lefty circles, but seems to be more at the forefront as what passes for Democratic leadership has proven woefully inadequate in a number of crucial battleground issues.
Chernus isn't telling us anything we don't already know, but it was grounding for me to hear "butter not bombs" said so well. If only our elected officials could acknowledge the wisdom of his words.
Pigs at the Troft
Here is a list of funding opportunities for Head Start that include 'faith based organizations.' That's your tax dollars going to organizations that are allowed by law to discriminate against hiring women, gays, blacks or anybody else that the invisible monster that lives in the sky told them not to hire. Any other organization receiving federal funds has to at least pretend to hire by skill and not by discrimination. But say that an invisible monster that lives in the sky insists that only straight white men are fit for the job and laugh all the way to the bank, with somebody else's money. Yours. Mine.
Religion trivializes law and politics.
(For Trevor Blake)
In the days after World War II, a convenient story was told of church leaders and ordinary Christians that defied the Nazis from the beginning. Recent research has uncovered a very different story. Rather than resisting, the greater part of the German church saw Hitler's rise in 1933 as an act of God's blessing, a new chapter in the story of God among the German people.
via whatreallyhappened blog
President George W. Bush suggested using the military to contain any epidemic of avian influenza on Tuesday, saying Congress needs to consider the possibility.
He said the military, perhaps the National Guard, might be needed to enforce quarantines if the feared H5N1 bird flu virus changes enough to cause widespread human infection.
"If we had an outbreak somewhere in the United States, do we not then quarantine that part of the country? And how do you, then, enforce a quarantine?" Bush asked at a news conference.
"It's one thing to shut down airplanes. It's another thing to prevent people from coming in to get exposed to the avian flu. And who best to be able to effect a quarantine?" Bush added.
Interesting wording: To quarantine is to keep the disease within a cirtaion area or group. "It's another thing to prevent people from coming in to get exposed to the avian flu. Who would want to come in to get exposed?
"One option is the use of a military that's able to plan and move. So that's why I put it on the table. I think it's an important debate for Congress to have."
Bush said he was concerned and involved in planning for an influenza pandemic, which experts say will definitely come, although they cannot predict when or whether it will be H5N1 or some other virus.
"And I think the president ought to have all options on the table to understand what the consequences are -- all assets on the table, not options -- assets on the table to be able to deal with something this significant," he said.
Hmmm - Bush is involved in planning for an influenza pandemic. Like involved in planning for a war on Iraq?
What do we make of the Saturday, October 1 Washington Post headline Poison Found in Air During Anti-War Protest ?
Washington D.C. Public Health Director Greg A. Pane posed the right question in the Post article, Why that day? That's what is not explained. Pane pointed that it was just this 24-hour period and none since.
With New Orleans I find myself confronting overwhelming evidence that CheneyCo are not dumb, incompetent, or corrupt (in the usual sense that they can simply be bought off). After the anguish, after the anger, after the frustration; my conclusion at this point is that they are completely amoral, extremely clever, and absolutely unshakeable from their goal of simply endlessly increasing their power.
This does make them [extremely] dangerous to me and mine, and all of us who are not willing to become part of the apparatus.
Note: the above could very well be psyops Think for yourself smuck.
Having said that, on a different front:
The Corruption Never Stops
Federal auditors said today that the Bush administration had violated the law by purchasing favorable news coverage of President Bush's education policies, by making payments to the conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and by hiring a public relations company to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party. In a blistering report, the investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said the administration had disseminated "covert propaganda" inside the United States, in violation of a longstanding, explicit statutory ban....read on"
Monday, October 03, 2005.
An American Solidarity Movement?
A call for a coalition of the left on the lines of Poland's famed Solidarity Movement is making the rounds in blogtopia. This seems to be in reaction to a number of folks who are increasingly unsatisfied by the lack of a real opposition party in America. This dissatisfaction has been brewing for a long time in lefty circles, but seems to be more at the forefront as what passes for Democratic leadership has proven woefully inadequate in a number of crucial battleground issues. Recent columns and blog posts such as those by Dave Lindorff, Rana at Shakespeare's Sister, Freiheit und Wissen, Meteor Blades, Madman in the Marketplace, Fester, Shamanic at Simian's Brain, yours truly (on a number of occasions recently and in the past), and somewhat unexpectedly even Ollie Willis have voiced dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs with the Dems. If you're committed to a progressive or populist approach to government and public service, if you're an ethnic minority (especially Black or Hispanic), or are a woman concerned with her reproductive rights (which are increasingly under attack), the Democrats have been more than happy to take you for granted. There's a serious problem when the party not only takes its base for granted, but openly entertains selling various members of its base up the river (as the Dems have done increasingly on the issue of privacy rights - and by extension reproductive rights). There is no serious opposition to the GOP, currently. As I said, that's a problem if you want to see any sort of meaningful social change based on core values such as the right to privacy, equality for all, justice for all, protecting the environment, fiscal responsibility, and so on. A possible solution as Cernig of NewsHog notes:
But if no leftwing party at present is strong enough, then what? Remember the old Polish "Solidarity" movement? A coalition of the progressive left that effected real change against an entrenched system. that should be the model. Sure, there would be fueds and differences over concepts - but the small groupings on the real Left are far more used to using a system of consensus and laisse-faire historically in any case. They are used to a system where prominent leaders are delegates as well as representatives. Any union body, any Green party local branch, is used to the give-and-take an American Solidarity would require. It could be done.
How would it work? Back to Cernig:
So where to start? Well, what the Greens and the Unions and the Laborites should do is get together for talks about establishing exactly that kind of grassroots up structure for a coalition movement on the Left - a true American Solidarity. I will even suggest a slogan; "we won't be Left unheard". There are even some bigger names who are currently in the Democratic camp who could be enticed, perhaps, into becoming the faces of the American Solidarity movement. I am thinking of people like bernie Sanders, John Conyers and even Chuck Pennaccio of PA. They should be approached with offers of support and funding. The Democratic Party should be approached as a possible ally, with a level of co-operation in caucus negotiated and a deal to not run against each other where demographics say it would be counter-productive.
Cernig has further fleshed the concept out recently in a post called, appropriately enough Dinousaur Democrats. In other words, this is a clarion call for a genuine 21st century American populist movement. The clock is ticking.