American Samizdat

Monday, February 27, 2006. *
Bye-Bye Balls -- Bill Frist Humor
I just can't stop writing humorous verse about the Dubai seaport deal. My latest is Bye-Bye Balls.
posted by Mad Kane at 10:02 PM
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The Dubai Ports World deal is waking Americans up to a painful reality: So-called "conservatives" and "flat world" globalists have bankrupted our nation for their own bag of silver, and in the process are selling off America.

Through a combination of the "Fast Track" authority pushed for by Reagan and GHW Bush, sweetheart trade deals involving "most favored nation status" for dictatorships like China, and Clinton pushing us into NAFTA and the WTO (via GATT), we've abandoned the principles of tariff-based trade that built American industry and kept us strong for over 200 years.

The old concept was that if there was a dollar's worth of labor in a pair of shoes made in the USA, and somebody wanted to import shoes from China where there may only be ten cents worth of labor in those shoes, we'd level the playing field for labor by putting a 90-cent import tariff on each pair of shoes. Companies could choose to make their products here or overseas, but the ultimate cost of labor would be the same.

Then came the flat-worlders, led by misguided true believers and promoted by multinational corporations. Do away with those tariffs, they said, because they "restrain trade." Let everything in, and tax nothing. The result has been an explosion of cheap goods coming into our nation, and the loss of millions of good manufacturing jobs and thousands of manufacturing companies. Entire industry sectors have been wiped out.

These policies have kneecapped the American middle class.

He goes on to list by sector the percentage of many industries that are foreign owned...wire yr. jaw...

· Sound recording industries - 97%
· Commodity contracts dealing and brokerage - 79%
· Motion picture and sound recording industries - 75%
· Metal ore mining - 65%
· Motion picture and video industries - 64%
· Wineries and distilleries - 64%
· Database, directory, and other publishers - 63%
· Book publishers - 63%
· Cement, concrete, lime, and gypsum product - 62%
· Engine, turbine and power transmission equipment - 57%
· Rubber product - 53%
· Nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing - 53%

And so forth, through a quite exhaustive & horrifying list. And I dedicate this post to our all American boy, troll scott.
posted by Uncle $cam at 9:43 PM
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Back in the days when newspapers and magazines were printed on paper once something was committed to ink that was pretty much it, you had to live with it. And while I do look quite fetching in my tin foil hat I generally like to save it for special occasions, but there's something unexplained and a little disturbing going on with internet news scrubbing.

We've seen quite a few instances of it recently and it usually has to do with explosive comments that are unfavorable to the narrative being disseminated by the administration (and quite often the Vice President)

via WRH

Don't miss the comments, there are many more examples there too...
posted by Uncle $cam at 8:18 PM
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A word processor accused of stealing damaging documents about electronic voting machine manufacturer Diebold Election Systems was arraigned Tuesday on three felony counts. Stephen Heller was charged in Los Angeles Superior Court with felony access to computer data, commercial burglary and receiving stolen property. He pleaded not guilty.

"It's a devastating allegation for a whistle-blower," said Blair Berk, Heller's attorney. "Certainly, someone who saw those documents could have reasonably believed that thousands of voters were going to be potentially disenfranchised in upcoming elections." The charges arise from Heller's alleged disclosure two years ago of legal papers from the Los Angeles office of international law firm Jones Day, which represented Diebold at the time. Heller was under contract as a word processor at Jones Day.

[Article continues at link.]
posted by Trevor Blake at 8:46 AM
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Gen. Geoffrey Miller has requested early retirement.
After his refusal to testify during the court martial of the dog handlers last month, it's not surprising. Using Article 31 tends to shorten one's military career, or so I've been told.

Next time we hear from him, I hope it's at The Hague for war crimes before The International Criminal Court (ICC).

Finally, see:

New Yorker Exposes the Efforts Instituting Abuse and Torture
The New Yorker in its February 27th, 2006 magazine has published an article by Jane Mayer which is the most complete behind the scenes presentation of how and who within the Bush Administration derailed an internal effort to stop the abuse and torture of detainees and prisoners. The connections between The Pentagon operatives and the office of the Vice President are detailed to an extent I have not seen before. There was clear and concerted effort to institute the policies that produced torture.

"From the sleep of reason"...and all that.
posted by Uncle $cam at 3:53 AM
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The next battlefield in massive election fraud is California.
Diebold law firm whistleblower convicted for exposing California Dieblold machines as using uncertified software. Diebold was warned, they did it anyway, and now this guy is going to jail for spilling the beans on them.
posted by Uncle $cam at 3:27 AM
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The wording is so bland and buried so deep within a 324-page budget document that almost no one would notice that a multibillion-dollar scam is going on. Not the members of Congress voting for it and certainly not the taxpayers who will get fleeced by it. And that is exactly the idea. (...)

.. a select group of investors and companies will walk away with billions of dollars in tax subsidies, not from oil but from the marketing of a dubious concoction of synthetic fuel produced from coal and dependent on government tax credits tied to the price of oil. (...)

The stealth amendment would roll back the calendar. (Sort of like your missing the deadline for your mortgage payment, then backdating your check to avoid a late charge. But much more lucrative. (...)

...the provision originated as an amendment from Sen. [Rick] Santorum... When contacted by TIME, Santorum's staff had no comment...

"Sit down my son. We [members] don't actually read most of the bills we vote on. ...-Representative John Conyers
posted by Uncle $cam at 3:21 AM
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A disturbing story from the Washington Post notes that President Bush has used national security as an excuse to change laws that would have declassified his Presidential papers after he had been out of office for 12 years. From the story:
in 2001 President Bush used post-Sept. 11 security measures as a reason to issue an executive order that turns the law on its head. Bush's decree allows former presidents and their heirs to bar the release of documents for almost any reason. It flies in the face of congressional intent and forces our nation's leading historians to take legal action if they want to gain access to documents.

See, Bush Doesn't Want You to Know for more...
posted by Uncle $cam at 2:26 AM
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Saturday, February 25, 2006. *
The Pentagon is aiming for “full spectrum dominance” of the Internet. Their objective is to manipulate public perceptions, quash competing points of view, and perpetuate a narrative of American generosity and good-will.
The War Department is planning to insert itself into every area of the Internet from blogs to chat rooms, from leftist web sites to editorial commentary. Their rapid response team will be on hair-trigger alert to dispute any tidbit of information that challenges the official storyline.

Also see, The Battle for the Control of the Press
A comprehensive new report augmented by the Yurica Report reveals a devastating attack on our free press by the Bush administration.

A host of recent developments have made it clear that the Bush White House is doing battle against the journalistic standards and practices that underpin our democracy. With its unprecedented campaign to undermine and stifle independent journalism, Bush & Co. have demonstrated a brazen contempt for the Constitution and considerable fear of an informed public
posted by Uncle $cam at 8:39 PM
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let 'em all go down and good riddance...
The Smirking Chimp
posted by Douglas at 5:03 PM
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The internal logs of at least 40 Sequoia touch-screen voting machines reveal that votes were time and date-stamped as cast two weeks before the election, sometimes in the middle of the night. Black Box Voting successfully sued former Palm Beach County (FL) Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore to get the audit records for the 2004 presidential election.

After investing over $7,000 and waiting nine months for the records, Black Box Voting discovered that the voting machine logs contained approximately 100,000 errors. According to voting machine assignment logs, Palm Beach County used 4,313 machines in the Nov. 2004 election. During election day, 1,475 voting system calibrations were performed while the polls were open, providing documentation to substantiate reports from citizens indicating the wrong candidate was selected when they tried to vote. Another disturbing find was several dozen voting machines with votes for the Nov. 2, 2004 election cast on dates like Oct. 16, 15, 19, 13, 25, 28 2004 and one tape dated in 2010. These machines did not contain any votes date-stamped on Nov. 2, 2004.
posted by Trevor Blake at 3:50 PM
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WASHINGTON: A deal that allows an Arab-owned company in Dubai to manage six
[er, 21] major US ports was scrutinized for security risks by an obscure intelligence agency that has existed for only four months, American officials said yesterday.

UAE port deal vetted by the office of John (Death squad) Negroponte? Well, that's a queer turn of events...

Also see, Incest Timeline: Dubai Ports World, Carlyle, Bush [crime] Family
posted by Uncle $cam at 5:13 AM
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I say this as the child of a German Jewish-born father who escaped in time. His mother did not. I say it as a half-Jewish German child chased around a British playground in the second world war and taunted with "he's not just a German, he's a Jew". A double insult. But I say this too as a Christian priest who shares the historic guilt of all the churches. All Christians share a bloody inheritance. — Paul Oestreicher, The Guardian, Monday 20th February 2006 (Paul Oestreicher is a chaplain at the University of Sussex.)

Stopping Bush and Blair in Iraq, stopping those warmongers from proceeding to Iran and Syria, is necessary. If history shapes the future, we need to liberate our perspective of the past; rather than arresting revisionists, we need many more of them. We must let go; we must re-arrange the 20th century.

Gilad Atzmon (born June 20, 1963) is an Israeli jazz musician, author and leftwing anti-zionist activist.

Atzmon plays soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones. He also plays clarinet, sol, zurna and flute. His musical training was at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem.

Atzmon has also caused controversy with the political statements on his website, criticised by some as anti-Semitic. He has written, in his article entitled On Anti-Semitism: "... we must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously. ... American Jews (in fact Zionist) do try to control the world, by proxy."

His performance at the Socialist Workers Party (UK) summerschool 'Marxism 2005' in July 2005 led to criticism from other left groups, such as the Alliance for Workers' Liberty, which picketed the meeting. The SWP, however, defended their invitation of Atzmon and published a statement from him stating he was neither a Holocaust denier nor racist.

In addition to being a jazz musician and a philosopher Gilad Atzmon is also a novelist. His Guide to the Perplexed was published in 2001 and his My One and Only Love in 2005. Both novels explore Jewish and Zionist psychology.

Also see:
The Orthodox Jewish response to the criticism of the Iranian President
Orthodox Jews the world over, are saddened by the hysteria which has greeted the recent stated desire of the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to see a world free of Zionism. This desire is nothing more than a yearning for a better, more peaceful world. It is a hope that with the elimination of Zionism, Jews and Muslims will live in harmony as they have throughout the ages, in Palestine and throughout the world.

It is a dangerous distortion, to see the President’s words, as indicative of anti-Jewish sentiments. The President was simply re-stating the beliefs and statements of Ayatollah Khomeini, who always emphasized and practiced the respect and protection of Jews and Judaism. The political ideology of Zionism alone was rejected. President Ahmadinejad stressed this distinction by referring only to Zionism, not Judaism or the Jewish people, regardless of whether they reside in Palestine or else were.

more at the link..
posted by Uncle $cam at 5:04 AM
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Friday, February 24, 2006. *
Dubai Port Deal Humor and Verse
The Dubai port brouhaha inspired me to write a poem and a limerick. It's Surely Snowing In Hell begins:

It's Surely Snowing In Hell
By Madeleine Begun Kane

"I never thought I'd see the day
That I'd agree with Tom DeLay..."

My poem continues here.

And my limerick begins:

A State-Run Firm Based In Dubai
By Madeleine Begun Kane

"A state-run firm based in Dubai,
Is well known for its terrorist tie..."

My limerick continues here.
posted by Mad Kane at 4:04 PM
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Tuesday, February 21, 2006. *
Redrum, redrum, redrum, opps, I meant, Rummy, rummy , rummy Inc.
posted by Uncle $cam at 3:07 PM
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Washington, D.C., February 21, 2006 - Beginning in the fall of 1999, and continuing unabated for the past seven years, at least six government agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Defense Department, the military services, and the Department of Justice, have been secretly engaged in a wide-ranging historical document reclassification program at the principal National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) research facility at College Park, Maryland, as well as at the Presidential Libraries run by NARA.

Since the reclassification program began, some 9,500 formerly declassified and publicly-available documents totaling more than 55,500 pages have been withdrawn from the open shelves at College Park and reclassified because, according to the U.S. government agencies, they had been improperly and/or inadvertently released.


Archivist's Resignation Questioned

Speaking of control and secrecy, how many here are aware that it was none other than Alberto R. (Geneva Convention) Gonzales among others who were central to the heated dispute of the private vs. public control of Whitehouse records. While the quaint Mr. Gonzales may have recused himself from CIA Leak Inquires, he was the consigliere/enforcer whom called US Archivist, John W. Carlin by telephone to fire him and replace him with a very controversial Bush Cheney appointee /stand-up guy, Allen Weinstein. Democrat, (DINO?) historian Allen Weinstein, was on Reagan's transition team in the eighties, and was rumored to be the compare/leaker whom gave the tip off to Nixons lawyer that the US National Archives & Records Administration (NARA) intended to release everything.Once installed Weinstein first major act in his new post, was to make a deal with John H. Taylor, the director of the Richard M. Nixon Library that made public most of Nixon's papers and tapes.

According to informed sources, the administration wanted to (and did) short-circuit the normal confirmation process to see Weinstein confirmed through an "expedited" process, even though he had no experince as a head archivist; a process that had never been done before. Their goal -- was to place Weinstein in the position prior to the then November election."

The NCH (National Coalition for History) reported that the hurried action was linked to forthcoming scheduled opening by NARA of records from the George H. W. Bush administration and the transfer of 9/11 commission records to the Archives. I found most of this stuff out while search gov docs on campus, but much of it can be confirmed online too. Finally,Gonzales never gave a reason as to why Carlin was to be replaced which was very much out of the norm. During the hearings when asked for the reason none was forth coming. Disclosure of the odd circumstances surrounding Carlin being asked to step down was never settled.Democrats on the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee said it amounted to a forced removal, and Bush should be required to give his reasons for it. The White House had no immediate comment when asked why the president wanted to replace Carlin. White House spokeswoman Erin Healey said only that "Mr. Carlin has submitted a letter stating his intention to resign, and Mr. Bush has a responsibility to appoint someone to fill that position." He never got a reason.
posted by Uncle $cam at 1:35 PM
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U.S. intelligence agencies have been secretly removing from public access at the National Archives thousands of historical documents that were available for years...

What's Classified and What's Not
It is important to understand that there is no rigorous, consensual definition of what constitutes classified information. Instead, in a practical sense, classified information is whatever the executive branch says it is.
posted by Mike at 5:52 AM
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Monday, February 20, 2006. *
Two Dick Cheney Song Parodies
I've written two song parodies about Dick Cheney's shooting a fellow hunter: "Don't Hunt With Dick Cheney" and "Faking Contrition." "Don't Hunt With Dick Cheney" begins:

Don't Hunt With Dick Cheney Song Parody (Sing to "On Top Of Old Smokey")
By Madeleine Begun Kane

"Don't hunt with Dick Cheney.
You might end up dead.
He'll aim for your torso,
Or even your head.

He'll claim it's a quail shoot,
But that's just a front..."

The rest of my Don't Hunt With Dick Cheney is here, and you can hear me sing it here.

My "Faking Contrition" song parody begins:
Faking Contrition Song Parody (Sing to "Waltzing Matilda")
By Madeleine Begun Kane

"Faking contrition.
Faking contrition.
Cheney feels bad that he shot his good friend.
If you don't buy his story, you're a lib'ral Democrat.
Leave him alone. This harassment must end.

Watch those right-wing pundits shouting on the TV tube,
Claiming that Cheney didn't do nothing wrong..."

The rest of my Faking Contrition song parody is here, and you can hear me sing Faking Contrition here.
posted by Mad Kane at 1:23 PM
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posted by riley dog at 10:46 AM
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A long, long time ago, in a land far, far away...

A preacher, a hegemonic ruler, and his inappropriate use of nails threatened the tenuous balance of power in a remote outpost of the Empire. These 'troubles', which have since grown to plague the entire planet, are documented by the chronicle - Making the Empire Cross.
posted by riley dog at 10:41 AM
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Sunday, February 19, 2006. *
Live webcast

Presidents Day morning, February 20, 2006, at 11:00 a.m. EST, the American Civil Liberties Union is holding a National Town Hall, via live streaming webcast, on the timely subject of Freedom at Risk: Spying, Secrecy and Presidential Power.

This event will be held at George Washington University, Jack Morton Auditorium, 805 21st St., NW, Washington, D.C., before a live audience, and will feature an impressive panel and be moderated by journalist Marvin Kalb. The panel will include:

Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director;
John W. Dean, former White House counsel;
Laurence H. Tribe, Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard University;
Jim Harper, Cato Institute; and
Mary DeRosa, Center for Strategic and International Studies.

attydave writes, This should obviously be a hard-hitting and substantive forum on the illegal and unconstitutional NSA spying program and a powerful push-back at BushCo's pack of lies in attempting to justify it.

We'll see or not...
as Blake said, "One law for the Lion and different one for the Ox is Tyranny."
posted by Uncle $cam at 11:53 PM
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In Rewriting the Soul, Ian Hacking suggests a third point from which to triangulate the knowledge of power, which he calls a memoro-politics ... a politics of the human soul, an moral idea that invokes character, reflective choice, and self-understanding. For Hacking, the development of the sciences of memory towards the end of the nineteenth century "wrested the soul from religion and turned it over to science." (pp 213-214)

Personality and the Sciences of Memory, sounds,like Wilhelm Reich's sex-economic hypothesis...

People living deeply have no fear of death.
~Anais Nin
posted by Uncle $cam at 10:32 PM
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Do check out, Beneath the Valley of the Fever Swamps....

In a hermetically sealed bunker restroom, 10,000 feet below a cliff-face located 374.76 km north of Butte Montana in the newly annexed Albertalands, Big Time is standing in front of a gleaming urinal, fly wide open, waiting.....always waiting.

Enter the off-the-books, ultra-secret, internets-savvy, super-sweeper from the local NSA office, who stands beside his supreme Commander and - opens up.

The Sweeper: Commander, we've picked up a piece, purportedly from the Oakland Tribune, belittling the incident.

Big Time: So, f*@king what? A million bloody papers have written about that. Jesus H. Christ!

The Sweeper: Yes, but this time, they brought up the money, sir.

Big Time: Bastards! Who owns that piece of crap?

The Sweeper: Those people in Denver, the ones that made the deal with Gannett.

Big Time: Gannett? Aren't they the ones that raised all that 'inconsistency' garbage in their national ass-wipe organ last week?

The Sweeper has finished doing his own business and has zipped up. He does not move, however, because Big Time is still waiting.....

The Sweeper: Yes, sir.

Big Time: We will screw them; we will screw them and all the screwheads that ever worked for them! No more mergers for them and they will never get another story from the WHIG again. Never, ever!

The Sweeper: Well, we are trying to get a fix on one particularly shadowy figure that may have started all of this sir, but it has been extremely difficult to pin-down the individual involved. They seem to be operating outside of all the usual commercial and political boundaries.

Big Time tries flushing the urinal, thinking that maybe, just maybe, the sound of the splashing might start the flow. It does not.....

Big Time: Are you talking about one of those scumbagged two-bit, tin-plated wordsmiths that are hiding out in the deepest reaches of the fever swamps? The ones we haven't been able to reach out and crush yet?

The Sweeper: Yes sir. And there is one other problem, sir. It's an old one that we haven't been able to kill.

Big Time: An old one?

The Sweeper: Yes sir. And it has echos all the way back to the days when a former Tribune editor had the gall to bring in that Hillbilly from Louisville on......(and here The Sweeper's voice lowers to a whisper).....on......Iran/Contra.

Big Time groans. He can feel a deep tightening down there and he now knows that it will be hours before he can let go of his lunchtime sack of beers....

BigTime: You're talking about that a-hole Burgin, aren't you?

The Sweeper: It's worse than that, sir.

BigTime: How can it possibly be worse than that? We took care of all that. That scum-sucking cretin Thompson is dead, right?

The Sweeper has kept his eyes down the entire time but now his gaze nervously drifts from his own shoes towards the too-tight oxfords of the commander standing next to him. He can't help but notice the flecks of glistening spittle spattered all over the toes....

The Sweeper: Well, yes of course, sir. At least the flesh and blood is gone.

Big Time: What the hell are you talking about, you stupid, worthless techno-dope?

The Sweeper: Well, sir, we're starting to pick up.....uh......Doppler Echos.

Big Time: Doppler Echos? Christ almighty!

The Sweeper: Exactly, sir. The info waves have already started to compress and crest; our latest algorithms predict a trillion terabyte convergence that will hit the MSM in approximately 13.4 newscycles.

Big Time: Call our Network you fool! Get Roger to clear the godddamn decks. We'll go 36 hours, non-stop, with that pansy-boy Britt Ecklund immediately. We can even resurrect Morton The Downer Jr. and first abduct, then cgi in, that traitor Cronkite if we have to. We must cut this s&#t-hammer off at the knees.

The Sweeper (making strangled, gurgling noises in his throat before he finally blurts out): But it's not possible, sir.

Big Time: Not possible! Shut the hell up you stupid weasel!

Big Time begins to rhythmically pound both fists down on the top of the urinal. In an instant, the SS minders jump The Sweeper and smash his head against the wall. As he is led, bleeding, from the gleaming room, The Sweeper has one last thing to say....

The Sweeper: It can't be stopped sir. There is no focal point; it's coming from everywhere and the fever swamps are now expanding exponentially.

BigTime begins to hyperventilate. He is still pounding his fists on the urinal and his face is going purple as he starts to scream....

BigTime: Shut them down! Shut them all down!!!!!

........Fade To Black and Birdshot Blue......

posted by Uncle $cam at 9:19 PM
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major-general andrew jackson to his soldiers: "It is indeed lamentable, that the path to peace should lead through blood, and over the bodies of the slain: but it is a dispensation of Providence, to inflict partial evils that good may be produced."
letter from an american officer who had served in the philippines: "There is no use mincing words...If we decide to stay, we must bury all qualms and scruples about Weylerian cruelty, the consent of the governed, etc., and stay. We exterminated the American Indians, and I guess most of us are proud of it, or, at least, believe the end justified the means; and we must have no scruples about exterminating this other race standing in the way of progress and enlightenment, if it is necessary."

tocqueville: "It is impossible to destroy more men with more respect to the laws of humanity."
posted by Uncle $cam at 7:08 AM
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The Hau de no sau nee Address to the Western World
Geneva, Switzerland, Autumn 1977

What is presented here is nothing less audacious than a cosmogony of the Industrialized World presented by the most politically powerful and independent non-Western political body surviving in North America. It is, in a way, the modern world through Pleistocene eyes. ....The Non-governmental Organizations had called for papers which describe the conditions of oppression suffered by Native people under three subject headings, with supportive oral statements to be given to the commissions. The Hau de no sau nee, the traditional Six nations council at Onondaga, sent forth three papers which constitute an abbreviated analysis of Western history, and which call for a consciousness of the Sacred Web of Life in the Universe."

"Life begins on the other side of despair," - Sartre
posted by Uncle $cam at 6:56 AM
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On the heels of Tim's fine post below, on how "HPD may add video cameras to its ranks citizens homes..."

As I write this here in Chicago, most stores, restaurants, and other places of business have surveillance cameras. The city offers every business three options.

Option 1: Hook up a camera and have it connected to the Police Department, so every time a customer walks in, the Police can see what they are doing. In what is probably the World's largest reality TV program, right now Mayor Daley and members of the Chicago Police Department come to command headquarters and watch on the monitors as thousands maybe more Chicagoans shop while under surveillance.

Option 2: If a business doesn't want to participate in hooking a camera up to police headquarters they can hook the camera up to the back of the store. The store's security people watch a tape of everyone who comes in and if a crime is committed the tape is forwarded to the Police

Option 3: If for Civil Liberties reasons or because they feel it creates an impersonal atmosphere a business owner doesn't want to hook up a surveillance camera, they can choose not to since it's there property.

So while every store near my home in Chicago has surveillance cameras, some places in other parts of the city chose not to and some of the cameras don't go directly to Police headquarters. The Chicago Police Department also has set up hidden cameras throughout the city, so citizens walking on sidewalks or driving at intersections can be routinely watched. So we are a pretty well protected city.

Despite that fact, an aldermen proposed and Mayor Daley has voiced his strong support of a new law mandating that every business in the city install a camera and hook it up to command headquarters. If any business would prefer not to have a camera or have a camera that goes to the back of the store instead,if this law passes they could have their business shut down by the city for failure to comply.

Consequences of the Panopticon

as Foucault puts it:

the major effect of the Panopticon: to induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power. So to arrange things that the surveillance is permanent in its effects, even if it is discontinuous in its action; that the perfection of power should tend to render its actual exercise unnecessary; that this architectural apparatus should be a machine for creating and sustaining a power relation independent of the person who exercises it

Of course, this is what they have always wanted, the kind of power todays technology affords them. The Grim Meathook Future is they want:

the metaphorical illustration of a police officer hailing a man in the street-yelling out “You, there!” into the crowd of pedestrians. The man who turns - who recognizes the hail as meant for him - immediately admits his guilt and takes on himself the identity of the criminal (note that it is not necessary for the police officer to know anything about the hailed man’s guilt - it is the act of recognition which makes him guilty, rather than any previous knowledge on the part of the officer). In this sense he becomes subject to the domination of the legal apparatus.*

from “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” by Marxist philosopher Louis Pierre Althusser. Althusser is concerned with the way a State (in his conception, Western States, despite the fact that he describes Stalinist Communism almost to the letter…) creates appropriate subjects. On the one hand, he notes, there are Repressive State Apparatuses, such as the military, the police, mental institutions, and so on, which serve to impose certain behaviours and exclude others. The use of such apparatuses is costly, however, both in resources and in the potential threat of resistance. Ideally, then, domination is achieved through the creation of self-regulated subjects, accomplished though the Ideological Apparatuses of education, vocation, religion, and so on. The goal is the production of subjects who “recognize” themselves in terms of the state ideology.

Also see:
The Panopticon Singularity
posted by Uncle $cam at 3:30 AM
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The Mess [we're in]*
...Much of the Iraq fiasco can be directly attributed to Bush's shortcomings as a leader. Having decided to invade Iraq, he failed to make sure there was adequate planning for the postwar period. He never settled bitter policy disputes among his principal aides over how postwar Iraq would be governed; and he allowed competing elements of his administration to pursue diametrically opposed policies at nearly the same time. He used jobs in the Coalition Provisional Authority to reward political loyalists who lacked professional competence, regional expertise, language skills, and, in some cases, common sense. Most serious of all, he conducted his Iraq policy with an arrogance not matched by political will or military power.

These shortcomings have led directly to the current dilemmas of the US both in Iraq and with Iran. Unless the President and his team—abetted by some oversight from Congress— are capable of examining the causes of failure in Iraq, it is hard to believe he will be able to manage the far more serious problem with Iran.

With apologies to Polly Jean Harvey*
posted by Uncle $cam at 3:08 AM
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Saturday, February 18, 2006. *

See also: Zappa on Crossfire.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 1:32 AM
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The Church of England is being accused of jeopardising relations with Britain's Jewish community by the stand it's taking over Israel.

Last week the church's General Synod voted to review its investment in companies whose products are used by Israel in the occupied territories - particularly Caterpillar, whose bulldozers are used to demolish Palestinian homes.

About Goddamn time, what took em so long? More like this please; maybe they'll all "self-destruct"...
P.s. Don't forget to watch the report...
posted by Uncle $cam at 1:06 AM
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Friday, February 17, 2006. *
The issue isn't on NSA, 'to spy or not to spy', it's the revelations that will come out of any investigation, that the NSA has been spying for years already, and data mining to our enemies.

They already knew about the attacks on the WTO
through this data-mining, and they turned away,
just like they knew about Katrina, but went shoe shopping and bar hopping, instead of responding.

Full-spectrum surveillance, conveyed information search and integration, and data mining results
just the tip of an iceberg on the event-horizon.

Jonathan Pollard
Enhanced PROMIS
Intelligent Software Agents
Down the Rabbit Hole

Oh, wait! American Idol's on! Change the channel!
posted by Uncle $cam at 10:46 PM
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Gore er, uh, the Greens speak:
Green Party leaders called on Congress to reject a House bill that combines public funding of congressional campaigns with a scheme to ban third party and independents from such races.
posted by Uncle $cam at 10:41 PM
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Alberto Korda's 1960 photograph of Che Guevara is claimed to be the most widely reproduced image in the history of photography. The portrait has shed many of the details of its subject and maker in its endless reproduction on posters, T-shirts, and kitsch objects, but has remained remarkably durable as a symbol of revolution and youthful rebellion.
posted by riley dog at 7:32 AM
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I can't really add anything to this, just read the story, scary as it is.
posted by tim at 6:54 AM
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Break the law? That's okay, we'll just change it!
posted by Uncle $cam at 6:01 AM
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Thursday, February 16, 2006. *

posted by Trevor Blake at 6:24 PM
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CounterPunch's Ari Paul makes a passionate case for why the 700 Club's Pat Robertson and other Evangelical Christians endanger the United States and Israel. Paul notes that the difficulties of an Evangelical alliance with Jewish Zionists includes 'over-prioritization of Israel', End Times apocalyptics and anti-Semitic memes by some Christians.
posted by Uncle $cam at 2:26 PM
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Wednesday, February 15, 2006. *
"Ultimately, I'm the guy who swung the hatchet that chopped the cherry tree down."
posted by The Continental Op at 8:45 PM
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Take one down pass it around...
Dateline Transcript:

Abu Ghraib - The Sequel
With the response to those Danish cartoons and the British Army beatings in Iraq, still running red-hot in the Islamic world, tonight, even uglier images from Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

Back in 2004 when the first shocking pictures were originally leaked, the world recoiled in horror, but since then the Bush Administration has fought tooth and nail to prevent the American public from seeing any new images of the treatment of Iraqi detainees, but tonight Dateline reporter Olivia Rousset reveals new photos and videos. Despite the currently overheated international climate, we are showing them because they show the extent of the horror that occurred at Abu Ghraib. A serious warning though - some of the images you're about to see are pretty confronting and may offend some of you.
posted by Uncle $cam at 4:44 PM
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How not to turn down a job
One of my students sent me the following exchange of emails between a recent law school graduate and a prospective employer. Normally, I would presume that something like this was apocryphal. But some fact-checking reveals that the parties involved are real: William A. Korman is a criminal defense attorney in Boston; David Breen is a professor at Boston University School of Law; and D----- A-----1 passed the February 2005 Massachusetts bar examination (I was unable to verify which law school she attended). Consequently, I believe that the correspondence is genuine.

-----Original Message-----
From: D----- A----- [mailto: ]
Sent: Friday, February 03, 2006 9:23 PM
Subject: Thank you

Dear Attorney Korman,

At this time, I am writing to inform you that I will not be accepting your offer.

After careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that the pay you are offering would neither fulfill me nor support the lifestyle I am living in light of the work I would be doing for you. I have decided instead to work for myself, and reap 100% of the benefits that I sew.

Thank you for the interviews.

D----- L. A-----, Esq.

----- Original Message -----
From: William A. Korman
To: 'D----- A----- '
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 12:15 PM
Subject: RE: Thank you

D----- -

Given that you had two interviews, were offered and accepted the job (indeed, you had a definite start date), I am surprised that you chose an e-mail and a 9:30 PM voicemail message to convey this information to me. It smacks of immaturity and is quite unprofessional. Indeed, I did rely upon your acceptance by ordering stationery and business cards with your name, reformatting a computer and setting up both internal and external e-mails for you here at the office. While I do not quarrel with your reasoning, I am extremely disappointed in the way this played out. I sincerely wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

- Will Korman

-----Original Message-----
From: D----- A----- [mailto: ]
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 4:01 PM
To: William A. Korman
Subject: Re: Thank you

A real lawyer would have put the contract into writing and not exercised any such reliance until he did so.

Again, thank you.

----- Original Message -----

From: William A. Korman
To: 'D----- A-----'
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 4:18 PM
Subject: RE: Thank you

Thank you for the refresher course on contracts. This is not a bar exam question. You need to realize that this is a very small legal community, especially the criminal defense bar. Do you really want to start pissing off more experienced lawyers at this early stage of your career?

-----Original Message-----
From: D----- A----- [mailto: ]
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 4:29 PM
To: William A. Korman
Subject: Re: Thank you

bla bla bla

-----Original Message-----
From: William A. Korman [mailto:]
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 7:59 AM
To: 'David Breen'
Subject: FW: Thank you

Did I already forward this to you?

-----Original Message-----
From: David Breen [mailto:]
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 9:47 AM
To: 'William A. Korman'
Subject: RE: Thank you


Where to begin?

First of all, how unprofessional, and secondly, it is "reap what you 'sow,'" now "sew". If she is going to use a cliche, couldn't she at least spell it right? And WTF is with her "blab la bla"? Does she not read your e-mail about it being a small community?! So, finally, can I forward this along to some folks? I am sure they would love to see how the up-and-coming lawyers are comporting themselves! (Clearly she did not go to BU!!!)


-----Original Message-----
From: William A. Korman [mailto:]
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 9:55 AM
To: 'David Breen'
Subject: RE: Thank you

You can e-mail this to whomever you want.

1Because I have no desire to embarass this young woman personally (and because I fear, from the tenor of her messages, that she may be a litigious type), I have redacted her name. I have left Mr. Korman's and Professor Breen's names, both for the sake of verisimilitude and because they appear to consent to the circulation of this correspondence. However, I have redacted their email addresses to avoid spam. I have reversed the order of the messages, so that the thread reads from top to bottom. The text is otherwise unedited.
posted by The Continental Op at 2:31 PM
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posted by Trevor Blake at 7:40 AM
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This broke me tonight...
posted by Uncle $cam at 1:17 AM
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Tuesday, February 14, 2006. *
In case you missed it w/ all the Cheney news

House Subcmte. hearing on "National Security Whistleblowers in the post-9/11 Era: Lost in a Labyrinth and Facing Retaliation by Security Clearance Revocation"

Also see: National security whistle-blowers allege retaliation If the link does not work is your friend
posted by Uncle $cam at 11:47 PM
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"All depictions of Muhammad -- or so we hear daily -- are now and have always been forbidden in Islam. Art's history disputes this. True, that strict taboo today is honored now by almost all Muslims, but old paintings of the prophet -- finely brushed expensive ones, made carefully and piously by Muslims and for them -- are well known to most curators of Islamic art.

There are numerous examples in public institutions in Istanbul, Vienna, Edinburgh, London, Dublin, Los Angeles and New York."

Ascent of the Prophet to Heaven, ca. 1550, Persian
posted by riley dog at 8:40 PM
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Cheney Misfires Big Time! & Other Political Verse
I've posted some new limericks and other political verse here, including Cheney Misfires Big Time.

Cheney Misfires -- Big Time!
By Madeleine Begun Kane

A fellow named Whittington, Harry,
In the future will likely be wary
Of hunting with Dick who
Mistook him for quail stew.
The VEEP with a shotgun's quite scary.

That limerick and some other new poems are here. And my Dick Cheney humor is collected here.
posted by Mad Kane at 4:34 PM
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Democratic Leaders Force Democrat Who Actually Talks Like a Democrat to Quit Race Due to Lack of Deference and Decorum Toward the Dear Leader and Insufficient Sucking Up to Corporate Elites.

(What they do!)
(They smile in your face) All the time they want to take your place
The back stabbers (back stabbers)
; With apologies to the O'jays...
posted by Uncle $cam at 3:16 PM
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If one were to read the title ("Cheney's Shot Was Not the First") and not the article, one would get the impression that Cheney had exchanged shots with the other hunter. In fact, it was this odd suggestion of a twist on the story which inspired me to read the article.

As the article progresses, the more bizarre and irrelevant it becomes.
Vice President Dick Cheney can add his name to a list of politicians who have misfired mistakenly, or not, on another person.
What an odd contortion of language--"misfired mistakenly, or not"--a double-negative followed by a possible triple-negative. Actually, "misfire" doesn't mean shooting the wrong thing. It refers to a failure of a firearm to fire at all. Alternately, it can mean to a failure to follow through on one's intentions. Thus, to "misfire...on another person" is a construction which has little sense to it. I'm assuming what the author meant by "misfired" was "accidently fired." If this is the case, "misfired mistakenly" either means he really intended to shoot the man ("I meant to do it on purpose, but I accidently did it by accident"), or it's simply redundant.

Or not.

The author could simply have written--
Vice President Dick Cheney can add his name to a list of politicians who have shot, mistakenly or not, another person.
Straightforward, it gets to the point and doesn't pass judgement on the incident. I think this is the most charitable interpretation of the sentence. But apparently the author was falling all over himself not to offend the sensibilities of the administration or any of its supporters which might come across the article--which seems to me to be the whole point for which this article was written. "Hey, look over here! Look at how much we're not rocking the boat!"

The rest of the article offers up anecdotes which are meant to illustrate to the reader, "See, Cheney isn't the first politician to shoot anybody." But none of them involve hunting accidents where a politician shoots another man. In the first, a politician shoots another politician in a duel. In the second, a 12-year-old child who one day went on to become a politician shoots and kills another child. In the third, a politician's gun goes off while he cleans it in his office, the bullet hitting a bulletproof vest which no one is wearing.

In nonfiction writing, it is traditional to consider three examples of one's thesis to be constitutive of a pattern. And damn it all if they aren't trying to convince us of something, except for the fact that none of the three examples illustrates the thesis.

The concluding paragraph points us to a page at Political Graveyard which contains a list of politicians who have died in hunting accidents. As if to underscore the fact that there's no case to be made by the ABC News piece, the list of 15 accidents include only four accidental shootings, one of which involves a man shooting himself in the foot.

The overall sense is that this article was thrown together hastily based on a quick Google search of the keywords accidental, shooting, and politician.

Historical trivia isn't news. It isn't even context. So why was this article written? To reassure people that it is normal for Dick Cheney to shoot people.
posted by Anonymous at 11:29 AM
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On February 1, congressional Democrats, led by Rep. Obey of Wisconsin, introduced a bill, H.R. 4694, that would end viable, third-party competition in races for the U.S. House of Representatives.
H.R. 4694 is yet another attempt by our politicians in office to shut down Libertarian Party candidates and other competitive third-party and independent campaigns."The Republican and Democratic parties exist to maintain power for their own benefit. The Libertarian Party exists to grasp power for the benefit of the nation," stated Shane Cory, chief of staff for the Libertarian Party. "American voters are waking up to this reality, and as they do, the two parties are trying everything within their power to shut us down."
So,essentially the democrats will not only not help you, they will go out of their way to stop you from seeking an opposition.
posted by Uncle $cam at 10:46 AM
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In late September of last year, I came upon a post by Cernig (An Argument for a Coalition of the Left) in which he argues for some an American political movement, using Poland's Solidarity Union as a template. Over the next several days, he further fleshed out the concept (Dinosaur Democrats; American Solidarity - Time To Stand Up). Suffice it to say, I rather liked the idea (and expanded on some of my initial thoughts near the end of the first week of October). Other bloggers around the same time really dug the idea: Comments from Left Field, Shakespeare's Sister, P!, etc. We have an American Solidarity blogroll that weighs in at about a dozen bloggers from that initial spark. Not exactly huge, but memes take time to spread.

Well, it turns out that over in another corner of blogtopia, another bunch of bloggers have been discussing the Solidarity idea. A blog called I Cite has recently published a series of articles on the Solidarity idea: In Search of Solidarity -- In These Times; What the Hell is Wrong With Solidarity? (or "we are all of the rabble"); and Solidarity and the phenomenology of the picket line. Before the Law has also been riffing on the concept here and here. Long Sunday provides a Solidarity roundup of bloggers who've been discussing the concept:
And the beat goes on...
And by author...
Some interesting stuff to check out. Hopefully we can get a cross-pollination of ideas going.
posted by Don Durito at 9:39 AM
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Vice-President Dick Cheney's office sent a $US7 ($9.50) cheque to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on Monday after it emerged he was hunting illegally when he accidentally shot a fellow hunter.
posted by Anonymous at 9:12 AM
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The Pentagon has developed a comprehensive strategy for taking over the internet and controlling the free flow of information. The plan appears in a recently declassified document, “The Information Operations Roadmap”, which was provided under the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) and revealed in an article by the BBC.
posted by Uncle $cam at 8:46 AM
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Monday, February 13, 2006. *
Congressman Henry A. Waxman, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congressmen George Miller and Elijah E. Cummings, and other senior Democrats released a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report today finding that the Bush Administration spent more than $1.6 billion in public relations and media contracts in a two and a half year span.

"The government is spending over a billion dollars per year on PR and advertising," said Congressman Waxman. "Careful oversight of this spending is essential given the track record of the Bush Administration, which has used taxpayer dollars to fund covert propaganda within the United States."
. . .
Democrats requested that GAO conduct the study after evidence emerged last year that the Bush Administration had commissioned "covert propaganda" from public relations firms.
. . .
To conduct its study, GAO obtained information from seven federal departments on all public relations, advertising, and media contracts during 2003, 2004, and the first two quarters of 2005. GAO found that during that time:

* The Administration spent $1.6 billion on contracts with advertising agencies ($1.4 billion), public relations firms ($197 million), and media organizations and individual members of the media ($15 million).

* The Department of Defense spent the most on media contracts, with contracts worth $1.1 billion. The Department of Health and Human Services spent more than $300 million on these contracts, the Department of Treasury spent $152 million, and the Department of Homeland Security spent $24 million during this period.
. . .
GAO's accounting of the Bush Administration's public relations and advertising contracts is limited. GAO surveyed only seven of the 15 cabinet-level departments, relied on self-reported information from the agencies, and did not include subcontracts, task orders on existing contracts, or public relations work done by government employees.

Uh, that's 'your tax money' as the saying goes.
posted by Uncle $cam at 8:25 PM
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Sunday, February 12, 2006. *
Jesusland or a Legal Presumption of Atheism?
Myrlene Severe was arrested recently for importing a severed human head into the United States. She claimed the head was part of her religion (voodoo). Meanwhile, exactly no people have ever been arrested for importing Catholic hosts or wine even though Catholics believe that these are in a literal sense the flesh and blood of their messiah, which they intend to eat.

There are two ways to interpret this apparent discrepancy in the law. One way is to say that the United States is a Christian nation. This means that eating human flesh is okay as long as it is done in the name of Jesus, but the heathen religions are to be put down. This interpretation is consistent with the Bible, which says we should sacrifice humans, eat human flesh and kill people of other religions.

The other way to interpret this discrepancy is to say that United States law has a legal presumption of atheism; that what people believe (host = flesh) and what is true (human head = human head) are not necessarily the same thing, and that religious belief is insufficient in itself to make an untrue thing true. In this interpretation, the United States doesn't care if people believe things that are untrue because it is not the role of government to determine what is true; that is the role of individuals using science, ethics, philosophy and the like. It is (possibly) the role of government to keep hazardous substances and possible murderers out of the country, which would mean saying no-no to importing severed human heads. So if people want to make believe that their host is flesh and then eat it, that's fine - but if people want to dismember each other it should be illegal whether or not it is a religious dismembering.

Which interpretation do you prefer?
posted by Trevor Blake at 4:15 PM
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As I have stated before, I am not a fan of dkos, however, some of the diaries are outstanding.
Homeland Security completed its "Cyber Storm" wargame to test how our government "would respond to devastating attacks over the Internet from anti-globalization activists, underground hackers and bloggers." Given that homeland security ran the "wargame," one may infer that the nature of the attacks by bloggers must be national security related. And, given that the major national security fear of our government is terrorists, then it looks like bloggers have made our government's hit list of potential terrorists. But, what is the nature of this "terrorist crime" that was the subject of these wargames?

Also see, this excellent and insightful analytical piece.
'Netwar'[flooding the channel] (pdf) .

The modern incarnation of CoIntelPro activities within the perfect anonymity of Blogs ? 'Net CoIntelPro, where agents would be assigned multiple topics/blogs to track and monitor and 'engage/influence/disrupt/misinform' with a series of defined almost schizophrenic, yet relatively consistent, individual 'persona's', no small task though ... shades of 'Rendon'. ? ... You know Rendon, the same propaganda group along w/ Hill and Knowlton whom staged the the lie about the murder of Kuwaiti babies after Iraq's invasion of the oil-rich emirate in 1990...
posted by Uncle $cam at 10:54 AM
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Saturday, February 11, 2006. *
posted by Dr. Menlo at 6:58 PM
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Outsourcing Our National Security

UAE Co. Poised to Oversee Six U.S. Ports By TED BRIDIS (Associated Press Writer) From Associated Press February 11, 2006 9:41 AM EST

WASHINGTON - A company in the United Arab Emirates is poised to take over significant operations at six American ports as part of a corporate sale, leaving a country with ties to the Sept. 11 hijackers with influence over a maritime industry considered vulnerable to terrorism.
posted by Uncle $cam at 6:45 PM
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The hearing on National Security Whistleblowers by the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats & International Relations (Chairman: Christopher Shays) is set to go. The list of witnesses on three panels includes: Professor William Weaver (NSWBC), POGO, GAP, Mark Zaid (WB Attorney); DOJ-IG, DOD-IG, DOE-IG; Russ Tice (NSWBC member, NSA), Tony Shaffer (DIA), Mike German (FBI), and Major Provance (Army).

We are working on getting coverage by C-SPAN...

Also, Just in case you serfs try to get uppity,

Congress Attempts to Kill the "Third-Party Threat"

On February 1, congressional Democrats, led by Rep. Obey of Wisconsin, introduced a bill, H.R. 4694, that would end viable, third-party competition in races for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Brought to you once again by WRH blog
posted by Uncle $cam at 6:01 PM
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John Dorhauer's series may be the first high profile ongoing public conversation on a campaign which has done considerable damage to the left by tying down Protestant denominations once infused with social justice concerns and weakening them from within through stealth tactics.

This is no small talem, no minor battle : it is an effort central to the rise of the Christian right that must be stopped.
posted by Uncle $cam at 3:39 PM
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We bomb the world
We wring our hands

We kill the poor
We hold a vigil

We hate Death Row
We love Abortion

We talk of change
We vote for pigs

There is nothing left
of good in us
posted by riley dog at 11:40 AM
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posted by riley dog at 11:36 AM
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There are many reports and comments on Israel's proposed building of a Museum of Tolerance on Muslim graves in Jerusalem. Donald MacIntyre reports on it in the Independent here and Meron Benvenisti comments in Ha'aretz thus:
The initiators of the white elephant called the Museum of Tolerance declared that they do not deal with Holocaust-related issues and will not deal with issues relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The first statement was meant to ensure Yad Vashem's monopoly on Holocaust issues. The meaning of the second statement is now transpiring: The tolerance preachers couldn't care less that they are building on a foundation of generations of Muslim skeletons. After all, they promised not to deal with the local conflict. Let Moria, the company owned by the reunited city of Jerusalem, deal with skeleton matters. After almost 40 years of sanctimoniousness and double standards, City Hall should know how to cover up the hypocrisy of building a museum of tolerance on - of all places - a desecrated Muslim cemetery.
So what are the racist war criminals of the State of Israel calling on us to tolerate?
posted by levi9909 at 2:50 AM
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Friday, February 10, 2006. *
Profiles in shamelessness
Oh, for fuck's sake.

(Thanks to anti-[everything] for the tip.)
posted by The Continental Op at 10:24 PM
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Thursday, February 09, 2006. *
posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:28 PM
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Deja vu all over again
On my way home from work today, I passed a car with one of these:

posted by The Continental Op at 4:36 PM
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AS WE REACH THE 90-DAY mark since Katrina hit, it's time we ended our national state of denial. Turns out House Speaker Dennis Hastert had it right all along, though his reasons were flawed. We should call it quits in New Orleans not because the city can't be made relatively safe from hurricanes. It can be. And not because to do so is more trouble than it's worth. It's not. But because the Bush Administration has already given New Orleans a quiet kiss of death now that the story has run its news cycle.
via woods lot

Also see: New Orleans Will Seek Aid From Other Nations.
posted by Uncle $cam at 8:36 AM
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Delay has been put on the committee in charge of overseeeing the Justice Department, while he himself is being investigated by that very department in the Abramoff prosecution

And you thought the Privatizing social security crisis was over? Think again:
Privatizing Social Security: It's Back...

Also see, Bush buried Social Security privatization in budget proposal .
posted by Uncle $cam at 2:25 AM
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Wednesday, February 08, 2006. *
Flemming Rose and the clash of civilizations
The publication of 12 cartoons in Jyllands-Posten, a Danish right-wing newspaper, that caricatured the prophet Muhammad was clearly a provocation – and it has had its intended effect. The editor responsible claims the genesis of the cartoons was the alleged reluctance of artists to illustrate an upcoming children's biography of Muhammad: they are supposedly too afraid to step forward, fearing violent retaliation. All this before anyone had so much as raised their voices over the matter: now, of course, the subject dominates headlines throughout much of Europe and the Middle East.

.. and Justin's concluding paragraph is worth careful reading -- given that we are all grown-ups here and we know this shit has been going on since at least 1898.

The publication of the 12 cartoons, and the reaction on both sides, is a classic case of how propaganda of the crudest sort is utilized to mold mass attitudes and whip up entire populations into a state of hysteria. Hate and fear are created out of thin air by the most skillful means, and stereotypes take the place of reality as the world prepares for war. That's what this is all about: the hate propaganda emanating from certain quarters in Europe and the U.S. amounts to preparations for war just as much as the manufacture of arms and the mobilization of armies at the border. We are being psychologically prepared for another world war, and the first shots are being fired from the pages of Jyllands-Posten. I have the sinking feeling that they won't be the last…

Addendum: One of my fav commenters over at Moon of alabama blog -amid the most intriguing discussions found anywhere in the blogsphere- brings up the following:

While we are discussing tasteless cartoons and doggedly going in circles about abstractions such as "freedom vs license" (and the Freepers and fundies are going on about how this justifies their prejudices against Muslims), we are no longer discussing the escalating situation with Iran, the FISA hearings, or a million other pending bits of nastiness. Think of this as a highbrow version of the O.J. Simpson trials; it keeps us, but not our leadership, occupied.
posted by Uncle $cam at 11:58 PM
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"In recent days, crowds of thousands have gathered throughout the Muslim world—burning European embassies, issuing threats, and even taking hostages—in protest over 12 cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad that were published in a Danish newspaper. The problem is not merely that the cartoons were mildly derogatory. The furor primarily erupted over the fact that the Prophet had been depicted at all. Muslims consider any physical rendering of Muhammad to be an act of idolatry. And idolatry is punishable by death. Criticism of Muhammad or his teaching—which was also implicit in the cartoons—is considered blasphemy. As luck would have it, blasphemy is also punishable by death. Pious Muslims, therefore, have two reasons to “not accept less than a severing of the heads of those responsible,” as was elucidated by a preacher at the Al Omari mosque in Gaza.

"Let us take stock of the moral intuitions now on display in the House of Islam: on Aug. 17, 2005, an Iraqi insurgent helped collect the injured survivors of a car bombing, rushed them to a hospital, and then detonated his own bomb, murdering those who were already mortally wounded as well as the doctors and nurses struggling to save their lives. Where were the cries of outrage from the Muslim world? Religious sociopaths murder innocents by the hundreds in the capitols of Europe, blow up the offices of the U.N. and the Red Cross, purposefully annihilate crowds of children gathered to collect candy from U.S. soldiers on the streets of Baghdad, kidnap journalists, behead them, and the videos of their butchery become the most popular form of pornography in the Muslim world, and no one utters a word of protest because these atrocities have been perpetrated “in defense of Islam.” But draw a picture of the Prophet, and pious mobs convulse with pious rage. One could hardly ask for a better demonstration of the manner in which religious dogmatism and its pseudo-morality eclipses basic, human goodness. This behavior would be impossible without religious belief. It is time we realized that the endgame for civilization is not political correctness. It is not respect for the abject religious certainties of the mob. It is reason."
posted by Trevor Blake at 6:34 PM
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Tuesday, February 07, 2006. *
"The Power of Nightmares" is back online
Available here: part I, part II, and part III.

Further background on the film is available via Wikipedia.
posted by Bill at 9:38 PM
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Four or More People Are Dead Because of These Drawings

What does it mean to 'respect' religion? It means to knuckle under to any made-up nonsense that a person cares to spit out. People should be free to make up nonsense: I do every day. But I don't kill myself or other people for telling me I'm making up nonsense, or for making up their own nonsense. When you think an invisible monster that lives in the sky is condoning your nonsense as the best, and that you will somehow live again after you are dead (kind of like saying 'you will have your cake that you don't have,' isn't it?), then by gum you can do anything you want. It isn't about Islamofascists, and it isn't about Islamists, and it isn't about Islamic extremists, and it isn't about Islamic fundamentalists. It's about Islam. And it's about Christianity. And it's about Judaism. And yes it's about Buddhism too. It's about religion, a self-induced mental illness that humanity can no longer afford to 'respect.'

Keep the nice art, architecture and music. Crazy folk tales and history? Sure, keep them around too. But move all that stuff into the category of 'myths our ancestors believed' and out of 'that which influences law.' Definitely not a second of 'respect' for people who kill themselves and others over drawings. Quarantine is a better solution. Leave them to crawl around with the finest insights the world had to offer a few thousand years ago. Soon they'll be lucky to live to the old age of 25, and they'll either all die off or beg to be allowed to rejoin the world of science and medicine and technology that they currently hate so much.

Shame on the US media for shying away from printing these images.
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:13 PM
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Snip:Hundreds of postal workers from across Belfast marched with local residents up the Shankill and down the Falls today showing the kind of unity that socialists have been dreaming of for years.
Snip:Over 800 postal workers are now out on unofficial strike across Belfast and Mallusk, and they have been out for 7 days in what is becoming the longest and biggest strike we have seen in years.

TIOCFAIDH AR LA (Irish for"Our Day Will Come")
And you think they will ever show that here? With Merica's press corpse?
posted by Uncle $cam at 1:53 PM
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'The Biggest Secret' The author comes up with this interesting idea:
[F]ar from saving "thousands of lives," as claimed by Vice President Dick Cheney in December 2005, the NSA program never led investigators to a genuine terrorist not already under suspicion, nor did it help them to expose any dangerous plots. So why did the administration continue this lumbering effort for three years? Outsiders sometimes find it tempting to dismiss such wheel-spinning as bureaucratic silliness, but I believe that the Judiciary Committee will find, if it is willing to persist, that within the large pointless program there exists a small, sharply focused program that delivers something the White House really wants. This it will never confess willingly.

The reports Bolton and others did get on intercepted calls and for which they requested the names of the U.S. call partner to be revieled are pointing in this direction.

A travelling circus that is a smuggling gang, a big "terrarist" spying program that hides spying on very distinct domestic people.
posted by Uncle $cam at 1:45 PM
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Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that first published the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that have caused a storm of protest throughout the Islamic world, refused to run drawings lampooning Jesus Christ, it has emerged today.

The Danish daily turned down the cartoons of Christ three years ago, on the grounds that they could be offensive to readers and were not funny.
posted by Bill at 12:30 PM
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Hits From the Stovepipe
Is gay anti-gay activist Jeff Gannon, as Scooter Libby would say, returning to work...and to life?

Yesterday, Jeff Wells wrote at Rigorous Intuition:
[The] Republican prostitute Jeff Gannon [is] getting back his press pass, this time for "Pajama Media."
He links to a thread at Democratic Underground, where FreedomAngel82 gives a bit more information.
It looks like Jeff Gannon is back

I was watching the two video's from Canofun and it's Jeff Gannon. You can see him at the end of the video of the Gonzalez protestor video. He tries to hide himself from the camera but it's him. Than when he's questioning Durbin when Durbin asks him where he's from he at first says "Talon N--" and than corrects himself and says "Pajama Media." What in the world is "Pajama Media"?? How do they get press passes? And did the Jenny girl of Randi Rhodes' show ever get her White House press pass? I remember when all this first started they were going to try to get her a pass but I never heard if she got one.
I am currently not able to view the Durbin video at CanOFun, but here's the link.

As others in the forum post later comment, the man thought to be Gannon does not say he is with Talon News but with Powerline. Neither Jeff Wells nor FreedomAngel seem to know what either of these media outlets are, and yet they are two of the larger conservative news blogs on the internet. Powerline was, last year, voted "blog of the year" by Time Magazine, and Pajamas Media (formerly Open Source News, formerly Pajamas Media when it was pointed out that "Open Source News" was already taken and the blog was neither Open Source nor concerned with Open Source). The latter pools the "talents" of many conservative bloggers, including grandstanding peabrains Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit and Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs.

If Gannon is working for these fellows, it's an indication the administration is extending its media manipulation into the blogosphere--not a surprizing event in itself. What is even more interesting is the level to which the fledgeling conservative internet media is foregiving, nay encouraging, of dirty tricks and is actually willing to join in.
posted by Anonymous at 11:24 AM
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The Guardians Middle East correspondent Chris McGreal has a two part series comparing the South African apartheid regime and Israel. He has lived in South Africa for 10 years and for 4 years in Jerusalem. The view is knowledgeable and the facts are from the ground. I recommend to read both parts.Part one, Worlds Apart, looks at the inner working of the 'grey racism' in Israel.

Though the motives in both countries cases may be different, the methods applied and the outcome seem equivalent.

The specific apartheid language and openly displayed racism is much less developed in Israel, than it has been in South Africa, but the methods of legalized theft of property based on race are essentially the same. Allocation of state money for education, health care and infrastructure is all but proportional. Like in South Africa this leads to underdeveloped ghettos, reinforcing the basic us-better-than-them meme within the Jewish population.

McGreal cites many overwhelming facts to underpin the above, especially with regards to the Palestinians living within Israeli boarders. The second part, Brothers in arms - Israel's secret pact with Pretoria is a history of relations between apartheid South Africa and Israel. While some Jews took part in the ANC's fight against apartheid, the official collaboration was ever extended up to the cooperation to develop nuclear weapons.

There is no agreement if contemporary Israel is really comparable to South African apartheid.

The motives for the Israeli behavior are a different mix than they have been in South Africa. But as the effective results are quite similar, the fall of the South African apartheid regime, may also show a possible development in Israel. But, as ordinary Israelis discovered, such a system cannot survive unchallenged. Apartheid collapsed in part because South African society was exhausted by its demands and the myth of victimhood among whites fell away. Israel has not got there yet. Many Israelis still think they are the primary victims of the occupation.

For Seidemann, the crucial issue is not how the apartheid system worked but how it began to disintegrate. "It unravelled because it couldn't be done. Apartheid drained so much energy from South African society that this was one of the compelling reasons beyond the economic sanctions and pressures that convinced De Klerk that this was not sustainable. This is what is coming to Israel."
Unfortunately, the situation in Israel might get even worse before it will become better.

International sanctions and boycotts may further a solution. Therefore I personally avoid to buy Israeli products when possible.

But a more effective way may be to continuously unveil the facts on the ground. Thorough information could generate shame. Shame, which may go a long way to change the opinion and behavior of the Jewish population of Israel and its international supporters.

In this, McGreal's piece is a good start.
posted by Uncle $cam at 6:49 AM
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“Few major news outlets have covered the fact -- first reported by the New York Daily News -- that in a letter to I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's defense attorneys, special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald said that numerous emails from 2003 are missing from the White House computer archives.”

via follow me here blog
posted by Uncle $cam at 6:05 AM
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Monday, February 06, 2006. *
[...] George Deutsch, a presidential appointee in NASA headquarters, told a Web designer working for the agency to add the word "theory" after every mention of the Big Bang, according to an e-mail message from Mr. Deutsch that another NASA employee forwarded to The [New York] Times.

[...] In October 2005, Mr. Deutsch sent an e-mail message to Flint Wild, a NASA contractor working on a set of Web presentations about Einstein for middle-school students. The message said the word "theory" needed to be added after every mention of the Big Bang.

The Big Bang is "not proven fact; it is opinion," Mr. Deutsch wrote, adding, "It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator."

It continued: "This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA. That would mean we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most."
posted by Trevor Blake at 10:21 PM
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It's time to get very serious, folks. I humbly submit the following. I encourage you to send it to anyone and everyone you can think of, friend or foe alike. You may distribute it at will. You may turn it into a petition, if you like. You may, if you wish, "sign" it here by leaving a comment. Suggestions for additions or amendments are gratefully accepted.

Be at peace.

I/we, the undersigned, pledge to support in any and all public elections, only candidates who pledge to hold unwaiveringly to the following positions if elected:

  • the United States government shall immediately withdraw all troops from the sovereign State of Iraq and shall transfer its military bases and assets to the Iraqi people;

  • the United States government shall renounce any and all present and future military actions in and/or against all foreign countries, especially including Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and Bolivia;

  • the United States government will transfer all prisoners currently held in military or military-affiliated captivity to criminal courts either in their own countries or in the United States, to be tried in fair and open trials with adequate defense;

  • the United States government will renounce forever the use of nuclear weapons and/or other weapons of mass destruction, unilaterally destroying any and all such weapons in its possession and/or under its influence;

  • the United States government and other state and local governments in the United States, will legally protect the rights of all persons to autonomy and self-determination with respect to reproduction and sexual/social partnership;

  • the United States government and state and local governments shall implement immediately and continuously methods and programs to redistribute wealth among its citizens, so that there shall be no more than a 10% gap between its wealthiest and poorest citizens. These methods and programs must include full, free access to quality health care, public education, and social welfare programs;

  • the United States government, foremost the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives, will prohibit any and all financial contributions by both private and public entities to the campaigns, offices, or persons of any candidates for public office, while providing equal financial support to all candidates for the office of the President, Senate, or House through public taxes. No candidate shall be allowed to use personal funds in a campaign for any elected office. All candidates must be afforded absolutely equal time and resources to present their views on national, regional, and local media;

  • the United States government, specifically the Executive branch, will create a Department of Peace and Reconciliation at the Cabinet level, which shall work to establish effective, non-violent, non-military avenues to world peace;

  • the United States government and state and local governments will make laws to significantly restrict the personal ownership of all firearms; these goverments will also make laws to prohibit the creation and existence of private military/security entities operating either within the domestic borders or in foreign countries;

  • the United States government will significantly open itself to the critical scrutiny of all of its citizens, curtailing the use of its secrecy apparati and submitting all planned domestic and foreign policies and actions to public scrutiny.
posted by total at 7:13 AM
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