American Samizdat

Monday, December 31, 2007. *
R.I.P. Dan Fogelberg - Same Old Lang Syne
And happy New Year AmSamers.

I've got a feeling we are going to need it. The well wishing, that is....
posted by Uncle $cam at 9:50 PM
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Sunday, December 30, 2007. *
US to integrage its missile system with Israel ?! House vote- 394-30


WTF - Israel to integrage its missile system with America's?

Our missile defense system isn't even integrated with NATO and we're going to integrate it with Israel?

This is effing obscene. Why not just save ourselves a lot of trouble, hand them the launch keys and directly subordinate our military to Tel Aviv?

Bill includes U.S.-Israel missile coordination

Published: 12/14/2007

Congress is set to approve a plan to integrate the U.S. and Israeli missile defense systems.

The proposal, authored by U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), is part of the Defense Authorization Act passed late Wednesday by the U.S. House of Representatives and due to be considered by the Senate before Christmas break. Under the proposal, the secretary of defense must within six months present a plan to Congress a plan "to improve the coordination, interoperability, and integration of the U.S. National Ballistic Missile Defense System with Israel’s missile defense architecture," a statement from Kirk's office said.

Such a plan will help defend Israel against reported plans by Iran to build missiles that can reach Israel, Kirk said. "Israel will be the first and only country to fully integrate with the American missile defense architecture," the statement said. "It is a symbol of our shared values and a safer 21st century.

Bill includes U.S.-Israel missile coordination

According to The Washington Report On Middle East Affairs Pro-Israel PAC Contributions to 2006 Congressional Candidates, U.S. Rep Mark Kirk (R-Ill) received $66,064 from the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee the 2005-2006 election cycle with a career total of $119,382

Kirk Proposal to Integrate U.S. National Missile Defense with Israel Carries Handily in House of Representatives

Washington, DC - A proposal to fully integrate Israel into the U.S. National Ballistic Missile Defense System engineered by U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) passed the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday by a bipartisan vote of 394-30.

The proposal, offered in a procedural amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, requires the Secretary of Defense to better integrate the ballistic missile defense system of the United States with the defenses of Israel and to provide "robust protection" against ballistic missile attacks from Iran.

"Democracies are strongest when they stick together," Congressman Kirk said. "Iranian President Ahmadinejad calls for Israel to be wiped off the map and talks of the Jewish people's annihilation.

Today America sends a message to the Iranian dictator-Israel will have the full weight of America's national missile defense system to defend herself."

In addition to Kirk's missile defense integration plan, an amendment offered by U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) authorized an additional $205 million for U.S.-Israel defense projects, including the Arrow missile program, the David's Sling short-range ballistic missile defense system and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) fire unit, a follow-on to the current American-Israel Arrow program.

"Today is an historic day for U.S.-Israel defense relations," Kirk said. "Israel will be the first and only country to fully integrate with the American missile defense architecture. It is a symbol of our shared values and a safer 21st century."
Excuse me DC criminals. I'd like a little more information on this...

From the comment section at PI:
Sure enough, as stated in that article there was nothing about integrating Israel into our system in the first version that was introduced to the House [*] nor in the 6th version.

In the final version, there it is, another fact on the ground, snuck and stuck in there as concretely as a settlement on a Palestinian olive orchard.
[*] Note:

There are 7 versions of Bill Number H.R.1585 for the 110th Congress

posted by Uncle $cam at 7:42 PM
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Police academy says, ‘Go out and cause’ PTSD
BOISE, Idaho - A state police academy leader has disavowed the slogan of the most recent graduating class urging one another to "go out and cause" post-traumatic stress disorder.

Each class at the Idaho Police Officer Standards and Training Academy is allowed to choose a slogan that is printed on its graduation programs, and the class of 43 graduates came up with "Don't suffer from PTSD, go out and cause it."

According to the Veterans Association, tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers suffer from PTSD, which causes nightmares, flashbacks and physical symptoms that make sufferers feel as if they are reliving trauma, even many years later. Crime, accidents and other trauma can cause it in civilians.


Black said the class president was ex-military, and that the slogan "slipped in." He declined to identify the graduate. Black said future slogans would be vetted by academy leaders.
posted by Uncle $cam at 6:06 PM
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Actual quote from Trevor "I Get My Definitions of Capitalism from the Sesame Street Dictionary" Blake:

Capitalism is based on private property. Acts of stealing are, by definition, anti-capitalist. What Blackwater did is just what socialists and thugs all over the world have always done - 'redistribute' the wealth. It isn't capitalism.

Capitalism is fair in that all it takes to get ahead is money and possessions, and everybody is allowed to get or have these through legal means. Capitalism is unfair in that we don't all start out in life with the same amount of money and possessions, and hard work alone can only get you so far through legal means if you start out with a bum deal.
There's so much wrong with that quote that it deserves a separate post in and of itself--

(one, since when do "socialist thugs" have listings on the nyse and nasdaq exchanges (?) two, blackwater guards aren't there to "redistribute" they're well paid...they're there to terrorize and murder the populace (usually intellectuals, college professors, and yes atheists get the gun), a salient trait from every core capitalist authoritarian regime from Nazi Germany to Chile in the70s to El Salvador in the 80s and most places where regime change has been orchestrated by the United States. Every fascist regime needs its SS.)

--but your textbook definition of capitalism is nicely deconstructed and its horrific implication nicely drawn out by the author of "The Story of Stuff". Uncle Scam has already posted part of it in the previous post but here's the whole thing from Google Video. By the way, if you or your friend Greg choose to rebut it could you watch it? Trust me it helps form the rebuttal.


posted by Philip Shropshire at 8:55 AM
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Planned and perceived obsolescence

Now we're being sold the idea of self-inflicted instant obsolescence.
posted by Uncle $cam at 6:54 AM
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Breaking: Bhutto's Killing Caught On Camera

New film has emerged showing the moment Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. It shows a gun emerging from the crowd and at least two shots fired - apparently contradicting President Musharraf's version of the cause of her death. Sky's Colin Brazier reports.

Musharraf a friend of Bush, a liar? No! say it ain't so!

Bhutto Assassin 'Captured On Film'

Also see, Bhutto's Husband And Son Take Charge
posted by Uncle $cam at 5:35 AM
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Saturday, December 29, 2007. *

For some reason our fine alt weekly paper the City Paper dropped the cartoon strip Tom the Dancing Bug, which can usually be found buried in their classifieds section. While it hasn't been absolutely hilariously funny as of late Ruben's worst is still funnier than Derf. And his best, especially his rare social and political commentary, is as good as it gets. Here he is talking about this wonderful new group known as the "science racists" ("Look, I hate you, but it's all scientific don't you see old boy..."), represented most ably by Gene Expression although it seems more moderate of late now that my old nemesis Godless Capitalist (Who rooted against the Ethan Hawke character in Gattaca...) no longer writes for them. I think white folks should participate in the experiment....

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posted by Philip Shropshire at 11:57 PM
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Two Peace Activists Denied Entry to Canada or "Now Youse Can't Leave"

Now Youse (or Yinz) Can't Leave.

(For background go see this Youtube clip from "A Bronx Tale".)

Let's say, for a moment, that you took a good look at the situation here in the US and you think its time to leave, kind of like Peter Drucker and other prescient Jews who left Germany in the 30s. You're on a no fly list and you're pretty sure you're being watched and you're absolutely certain that when the Blackwater death squads hit the street after the next natural or manufactured "shock" they'll be knocking on your door and it won't be to socialize. So you've thought about making a move to Canada. Seems like a nice place.

Well, think again. These guys don't want "youse" to leave. Nice guys.

Two peace activists were recently denied entry into Canada, now run by a conservative. Jim Hightower has the story. Yes, you should find this frightening. At a certain point, as Naomi Wolfe points out in one of her talks about the signs of fascism, Jews weren't allowed to leave. They weren't stopped from leaving because the Germans liked them. In fact, the Germans had other plans for the Jews as history has shown us. And more than likely there are similar Gitmo/concentration camp plans for dissenters. Not a good sign.


posted by Philip Shropshire at 11:55 PM
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Thursday, December 27, 2007. *
Let the mystery be

Iris Dement

Smart Lady...
posted by Uncle $cam at 3:33 AM
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Wednesday, December 26, 2007. *
Just as an aside question, is there a functional difference between the CIA, NSA, FBI, BATF, HS, DoD, Secret Service (initializing that one would be too revealing) and DARPA anymore? I'm losing track of the purview of the Praetorian predators these days. It looks to me like they're all announcing the same projects.

Oh, in case you missed it, Police Begin Fingerprinting on Traffic Stops.
posted by Uncle $cam at 9:50 PM
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Tuesday, December 25, 2007. *

And here's a special Greg Palast Christmas Story. You can see this story on Democracy Now this Thursday I believe. I highlighted the notable parts.

Good and Evil at the Center of the Earth:
A Quechua Christmas Carol
by Greg Palast

December 24th, 2007

[Quito] I don't know what the hell seized me. In the middle of an hour-long interview with the President of Ecuador, I asked him about his father.

I'm not Barbara Walters. It's not the kind of question I ask.

He hesitated. Then said, "My father was unemployed.”

He paused. Then added, "He took a little drugs to the States... This is called in Spanish a mula [mule]. He passed four years in the states- in a jail.”

He continued. "I'd never talked about my father before."

Apparently he hadn't. His staff stood stone silent, eyes widened.

Correa's dad took that frightening chance in the 1960s, a time when his family, like almost all families in Ecuador, was destitute. Ecuador was the original "banana republic" - and the price of bananas had hit the floor. A million desperate Ecuadorans, probably a tenth of the entire adult population, fled to the USA anyway they could.

"My mother told us he was working in the States."

His father, released from prison, was deported back to Ecuador. Humiliated, poor, broken, his father, I learned later, committed suicide.

At the end of our formal interview, through a doorway surrounded by paintings of the pale plutocrats who once ruled this difficult land, he took me into his own Oval Office. I asked him about an odd-looking framed note he had on the wall. It was, he said, from his daughter and her grade school class at Christmas time. He translated for me.

"We are writing to remind you that in Ecuador there are a lot of very poor children in the streets and we ask you please to help these children who are cold almost every night.”

It was kind of corny. And kind of sweet. A smart display for a politician.

Or maybe there was something else to it.

Correa is one of the first dark-skinned men to win election to this Quechua and mixed-race nation. Certainly, one of the first from the streets. He'd won a surprise victory over the richest man in Ecuador, the owner of the biggest banana plantation.

Doctor Correa, I should say, with a Ph.D in economics earned in Europe. Professor Correa as he is officially called - who, until not long ago, taught at the University of Illinois.

And Professor Doctor Correa is one tough character. He told George Bush to take the US military base and stick it where the equatorial sun don't shine. He told the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which held Ecuador's finances by the throat, to go to hell. He ripped up the "agreements" which his predecessors had signed at financial gun point. He told the Miami bond vultures that were charging Ecuador usurious interest, to eat their bonds. He said ‘We are not going to pay off this debt with the hunger of our people. ” Food first, interest later. Much later. And he meant it.

It was a stunning performance. I'd met two years ago with his predecessor, President Alfredo Palacio, a man of good heart, who told me, looking at the secret IMF agreements I showed him, "We cannot pay this level of debt. If we do, we are DEAD. And if we are dead, how can we pay?" Palacio told me that he would explain this to George Bush and Condoleezza Rice and the World Bank, then headed by Paul Wolfowitz. He was sure they would understand. They didn't. They cut off Ecuador at the knees.

But Ecuador didn't fall to the floor. Correa, then Economics Minister, secretly went to Hugo Chavez Venezuela's president and obtained emergency financing. Ecuador survived.

And thrived. But Correa was not done.

Elected President, one of his first acts was to establish a fund for the Ecuadoran refugees in America - to give them loans to return to Ecuador with a little cash and lot of dignity. And there were other dragons to slay. He and Palacio kicked US oil giant Occidental Petroleum out of the country.

Correa STILL wasn't done.

I'd returned from a very wet visit to the rainforest - by canoe to a Cofan Indian village in the Amazon where there was an epidemic of childhood cancers. The indigenous folk related this to the hundreds of open pits of oil sludge left to them by Texaco Oil, now part of Chevron, and its partners. I met the Cofan's chief. His three year old son swam in what appeared to be contaminated water then came out vomiting blood and died.

Correa had gone there too, to the rainforest, though probably in something sturdier than a canoe. And President Correa announced that the company that left these filthy pits would pay to clean them up.

But it's not just any company he was challenging. Chevron's largest oil tanker was named after a long-serving member of its Board of Directors, the Condoleezza. Our Secretary of State.

The Cofan have sued Condi's corporation, demanding the oil company clean up the crap it left in the jungle. The cost would be roughly $12 billion. Correa won't comment on the suit itself, a private legal action. But if there's a verdict in favor of Ecuador's citizens, Correa told me, he will make sure Chevron pays up.

Is he kidding? No one has ever made an oil company pay for their slop. Even in the USA, the Exxon Valdez case drags on to its 18th year. Correa is not deterred.

He told me he would create an international tribunal to collect, if necessary. In retaliation, he could hold up payments to US companies who sue Ecuador in US courts.

This is hard core. No one - NO ONE - has made such a threat to Bush and Big Oil and lived to carry it out.

And, in an office tower looking down on Quito, the lawyers for Chevron were not amused. I met with them.

"And it’s the only case of cancer in the world? How many cases of children with cancer do you have in the States?" Rodrigo Perez, Texaco's top lawyer in Ecuador was chuckling over the legal difficulties the Indians would have in proving their case that Chevron-Texaco caused their kids' deaths. "If there is somebody with cancer there, [the Cofan parents] must prove [the deaths were] caused by crude or by petroleum industry. And, second, they have to prove that it is OUR crude – which is absolutely impossible.” He laughed again. You have to see this on film to believe it.

The oil company lawyer added, "No one has ever proved scientifically the connection between cancer and crude oil." Really? You could swim in the stuff and you'd be just fine.

The Cofan had heard this before. When Chevron's Texaco unit came to their land the the oil men said they could rub the crude oil on their arms and it would cure their ailments. Now Condi's men had told me that crude oil doesn’t cause cancer. But maybe they are right. I'm no expert. So I called one. Robert F Kennedy Jr., professor of Environmental Law at Pace University, told me that elements of crude oil production - benzene, toluene, and xylene, "are well-known carcinogens." Kennedy told me he's seen Chevron-Texaco's ugly open pits in the Amazon and said that this toxic dumping would mean jail time in the USA.

But it wasn't as much what the Chevron-Texaco lawyers said that shook me. It was the way they said it. Childhood cancer answered with a chuckle. The Chevron lawyer, a wealthy guy, Jaime Varela, with a blond bouffant hairdo, in the kind of yellow chinos you'd see on country club links, was beside himself with delight at the impossibility of the legal hurdles the Cofan would face. Especially this one: Chevron had pulled all its assets out of Ecuador. The Indians could win, but they wouldn't get a dime. "What about the chairs in this office?" I asked. Couldn't the Cofan at least get those? "No," they laughed, the chairs were held in the name of the law firm.

Well, now they might not be laughing. Correa's threat to use the power of his Presidency to protect the Indians, should they win, is a shocker. No one could have expected that. And Correa, no fool, knows that confronting Chevron means confronting the full power of the Bush Administration. But to this President, it's all about justice, fairness. "You [Americans] wouldn't do this to your own people," he told me. Oh yes we would, I was thinking to myself, remembering Alaska's Natives.

Correa's not unique. He's the latest of a new breed in Latin America. Lula, President of Brazil, Evo Morales, the first Indian ever elected President of Bolivia, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. All "Leftists," as the press tells us. But all have something else in common: they are dark-skinned working-class or poor kids who found themselves leaders of nations of dark-skinned people who had forever been ruled by an elite of bouffant blonds.

When I was in Venezuela, the leaders of the old order liked to refer to Chavez as, "the monkey." Chavez told me proudly, "I am negro e indio" - Black and Indian, like most Venezuelans. Chavez, as a kid rising in the ranks of the blond-controlled armed forces, undoubtedly had to endure many jeers of "monkey." Now, all over Latin America, the "monkeys" are in charge.

And they are unlocking the economic cages.

Maybe the mood will drift north. Far above the equator, a nation is ruled by a blond oil company executive. He never made much in oil - but every time he lost his money or his investors' money, his daddy, another oil man, would give him another oil well. And when, as a rich young man out of Philips Andover Academy, the wayward youth tooted a little blow off the bar, daddy took care of that too. Maybe young George got his powder from some guy up from Ecuador.

I know this is an incredibly simple story. Indians in white hats with their dead kids and oil millionaires in black hats laughing at kiddy cancer and playing musical chairs with oil assets.

But maybe it's just that simple. Maybe in this world there really is Good and Evil.

Maybe Santa will sort it out for us, tell us who's been good and who's been bad. Maybe Lawyer Yellow Pants will wake up on Christmas Eve staring at the ghost of Christmas Future and promise to get the oil sludge out of the Cofan's drinking water.

Or maybe we'll have to figure it out ourselves. When I met Chief Emergildo, I was reminded of an evening years back, when I was way the hell in the middle of nowhere in the Prince William Sound, Alaska, in the Chugach Native village of Chenega. I was investigating the damage done by Exxon's oil. There was oil sludge all over Chenega's beaches. It was March 1991, and I was in the home of village elder Paul Kompkoff on the island's shore, watching CNN. We stared in silence as "smart" bombs exploded in Baghdad and Basra.

Then Paul said to me, in that slow, quiet way he had, "Well, I guess we're all Natives now."

Well, maybe we are. But we don't have to be, do we?

Maybe we can take some guidance from this tiny nation at the center of the earth. I listened back through my talk with President Correa. And I can assure his daughter that she didn't have to worry that her dad would forget about "the poor children who are cold" on the streets of Quito.

Because the Professor Doctor is still one of them.


Watch the Palast investigation, Rumble in the Jungle: Big Oil and Little Indians, on BBC Television Newsnight, now on-line via - and Thursday's US broadcast of Democracy Now.

For a copy of Palast's prior reports from Venezuela for BBC and Democracy Now, get "The Assassination of Hugo Chavez," on DVD, filmed by award-winning videographer Richard Rowley.

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posted by Philip Shropshire at 3:35 PM
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Video Showdown Special: Peanuts Theme with Christmas Lights versus South Park's Merry Fucking Christmas. And so it begins...


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posted by Philip Shropshire at 3:09 PM
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Monday, December 24, 2007. *
The "Qatif girl" won a reprieve last week. On Dec. 17, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah pardoned the young woman, who was sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in prison after she pressed charges against seven men who had raped her and a male acquaintance in 2006. Two weeks earlier, Sudan's president extended a similar reprieve to Gillian Gibbons, the British teacher convicted of insulting Islam because her 7-year-old students named a teddy bear Muhammad. Gibbons had been sentenced to prison, but government-organized street demonstrators were loudly demanding her execution. [...]

No international furor saved Aqsa Parvez, a Toronto teenager, whose father was charged on Dec. 11 with strangling her to death because she refused to wear a hijab. "She just wanted to look like everyone else," one of Aqsa's friends told the National Post, "and I guess her dad had a problem with that." No reprieve came for Banaz Mahmod, either. She was 20, a Kurdish immigrant to Britain, whose father and uncle had her killed last year after she left an abusive arranged marriage and fell in love with a man not from the family's village in Kurdistan. Banaz was choked to death with a bootlace, stuffed into a suitcase, and buried in a garden 70 miles away. More than 25 such "honor killings" have been confirmed in Britain's Muslim community in recent years. Many more are suspected. [...]

By Western standards, the subjugation of women by Muslim fanatics, and the sometimes pathological Islamist obsession with female sexuality, are unthinkable. Time and again they lead to shocking acts of violence and depravity: [...] In San Francisco, a young Muslim woman was shot dead after she uncovered her hair and put on makeup in order to be a maid of honor at a friend's wedding. [...]

All these are only examples - the tip of a dreadful iceberg that will never be demolished until Muslims by the millions rise up against it. As for the rest of us, we too have an obligation to raise our voices. It took a worldwide outcry to spare "Qatif girl" and Nazanin. But there are countless others like them, and our silence may seal their fate.

[Article continues at link. The West is largely a Christian culture, but a secular Christian culture. Christianity is still tied to the Bible and all its support for slavery, all its oppression of women, all its scientific nonsense. But secular Christianity can simply ignore these cruel and foolish practices, picking out the good stuff from the Bible and getting on with things. The Muslim world has so far rejected the secular and has no intention of getting rid of its support for slavery, all its oppression of women, all its scientific nonsense. I hope the Muslim world can get its act together, keep the good stuff and join the rest of us in the 21st Century (even joining the 19th would be an improvement), but there isn't much the West can peacefully do to make that happen. But we can do something about honor killings in the West. Prosecute the murderers and their murderous support system. Use the same techniques that were successful against the Ku Klux Klan and the Mafia - crushing taxation, relentless arrests and incarceration, and inescapable social opprobrium. No honor for honor killers, not one second of respect for their sacred traditions and ancient culture. - Trevor Blake]

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posted by Trevor at 7:27 AM
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Sunday, December 23, 2007. *

Your Sunday toon from the Free Press:

posted by Philip Shropshire at 3:49 PM
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John Perkins and a scene from the Corporation. This is how global capitalism works. It's not Adam Smith, but murderous coups and Blackwater stealing your oil and making sure you can barely afford your water...

and the Corporation on the attempt to privatize Bolivia's water:


posted by Philip Shropshire at 3:29 PM
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Related: Daniel Dennett at this year's Beyond Belief conference, which I'm waiting to see more of on Youtube. And go here for google roundtable featuring Dennett, Harris, Dawkins and Hitchins.


posted by Philip Shropshire at 3:27 PM
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posted by Philip Shropshire at 3:19 PM
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Wexler argues that if we're going to move on our issues like health care for all this term (instead of playing out the clock and hoping that the democratic congress did nothing to challenge mr 25 percent will be expanded (not a winning strategy as we'll probably discover)), we need impeachment as a lever. I'm quoting the whole thing here. Add your name to those calling for impeachment here.

I was serving in Congress and on the Judiciary Committee for the ridiculous and politically motivated impeachment hearings of President Clinton. During that witch hunt Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, and Ken Starr wasted a year and a half on investigations and hearings about President Clinton's personal relations. However, this attempted coup d'etat by Republicans against President Clinton was not and should not be the standard of impeachment that was enshrined by the Founders in our Constitution.

First, impeachment hearings are only proper when significant allegations exist that the President or Vice-President, or others civil officers, committed actions – within their official duties – that constitute 'High Crimes and Misdemeanors.' The allegations against Clinton – involving a personal affair - never reached this threshold. The serious charges against Cheney involve alleged crimes that are central to his duties of Vice-President; namely war and peace, the widespread violations of civil liberties, and the security of the United States and our covert agents.

Unlike the show trial put on by Republicans against President Clinton, a proper impeachment hearing would involve a fair and objective presentation of the facts without hyperbole or political gamesmanship. The hard evidence that is presented at the hearings will be judged fully both by Congress and the American people. The evidence alone will determine the outcome, and if it is determined that Vice President Cheney committed "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" he should be properly impeached and put on trial before the Senate.

After the Democratic Party regained control of Congress, many – myself included – thought that it might be possible to meet President Bush half-way on the large issues facing our nation. Unfortunately, Bush has been nothing more than an ideological obstacle. He has vetoed stem cell research. He has vetoed efforts to bring our troops home from Iraq. He vetoed children's health care. So, the idea that we are somehow inhibiting Congress from passing our agenda by holding impeachment hearings – unfortunately – is a false argument.

Instead, I believe that we can both live up to our Constitutional obligation by holding hearings and pass a Democratic agenda. If President Bush perceives that the Democratic Congress is weak and unwilling to aggressively push our agenda – he will continue to veto legislation, such as children's health care – that is supported by a majority of Americans. The only way to move a progressive Democratic agenda is by acting through strength and following through on our core principles. A Congress willing to stand up to the abuses of the Bush Administration through impeachment hearings will demonstrate a strength of will that will more likely convince Bush to accommodate on issues such as Iraq, health care, and energy and environmental issue


posted by Philip Shropshire at 3:10 PM
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Saturday, December 22, 2007. *
Thrill Kill Kult - Sex with

Haha...just having a little fun for the holidays, with an oldie but goodie; just got the new MLWTTKK album for x=mass, it's hot!

About The Album:

The Filthiest Show In Town (Explicit Content)

Since 2001 and the album The Reincarnation of Luna, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult have released a steady stream of ephemera. Expanded reissues, live albums, and remix collections, and even a lost album have kept the fans somewhat happy, but none of them were real reasons to check back in if you strayed away from this sleazy, sideshow attraction. Their 2007 album The Filthiest Show in Town is a great reason to check back in[*], since it's not only honest-to-gosh new material, it's the most thematically sound the group has been in quite some time. The album is presented as "the darker side of the nightlife scene" with "no strobe lights or disco balls" and "no mentions of drugs or devils." What this really means is that this is the Kult's nostalgic lounge album. It doesn't ape Dean Martin or Martin Denny and twist them for the goth set. It does, however, paint a very swank and '60s scene with rumpled tuxes being ground upon by the last stripper standing at 5:00 A.M. The imitation saxophones are woefully imitation, synths are extremely synthetic, and the sonic landscape is still a shade too anemic for some tastes, but inspiration is no longer an issue and the low-budget feel works better than before, since cheap is probably how one should feel after a full-night of Vegas strippers and prostitutes from outside the city limits. Since this is their lounge album, the beats are cool and slow, meaning there will be no dancing on this trip. Fans of the Kult's club tracks may be disappointed at first, but when they realize this was built for the sinister and slightly cheeseball after-party, they'll agree it puts this 20-year-old, campy goth institution back on track. ~ David Jeffries, All Music Guide

* I did, I like it! Of course, I'm a sucker for funky smokin horns. Here's a little taste...

posted by Uncle $cam at 1:28 PM
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Nietzsche's attack ad on Kant video


Beyond that, Happy Holidays AmSamers...
posted by Uncle $cam at 11:37 AM
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Friday, December 21, 2007. *
This link regarding the NSA and your e-mail comes from an anonymous source. There are several other links at John Young's Cryptome site purporting to detail NSA affiliated internet sites and servers, with a plethora of details. We needn't hold our breaths waiting for the NSA to confirm (or deny) the allegations.

Hushmail: now fully owned by private entity NSA affiliate; has had informal relationship with NSA for a number of years that effectively provided NSA with real time access to Hushmail's hosting servers.
posted by Uncle $cam at 12:37 AM
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When announcing Japan’s surrender in 1945, Emperor Hirohito famously explained his decision as follows: “The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage.”

There was a definite Hirohito feel to the explanation Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, gave this week for the Fed’s locking-the-barn-door-after-the-horse-is-gone decision to modestly strengthen regulation of the mortgage industry: “Market discipline has in some cases broken down, and the incentives to follow prudent lending procedures have, at times, eroded.”

That’s quite an understatement. In fact, the explosion of “innovative” home lending that took place in the middle years of this decade was an unmitigated disaster.

Wait, there's more...

Dear Paul, I don't find this puzzling at all.
posted by Uncle $cam at 12:33 AM
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Thursday, December 20, 2007. *

If you can find it, the new issue of World War III is outstanding. Here's a question: if you're doing a radical left wing comic and you probably lose money selling it for five bucks, why don't you just give it away, perhaps with google ads, on the Internet? I might email that question to the publishers.


posted by Philip Shropshire at 7:46 AM
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From Raw Story:

Perennial third-party presidential candidate Ralph Nader was asked by Hardball's Chris Matthews on Monday, "Is there anybody in this campaign you like the looks of that can win, so that you wouldn't have to run?"

"I do like Kucinich. But the frontrunners -- Edwards now has the most progressive message across a broad spectrum ... of any leading candidate I've seen in years," Nader replied. "The key phrase is when he says he doesn't want to replace a corporate Republican with a corporate Democrat. ... He raises the issue of the concentration of power and wealth in a few hands that are working against the interests of the vast majority of the American people."


posted by Philip Shropshire at 7:41 AM
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This is the battle that had to happen. And who is better? Who is better indeed.

If you look closely at the vid, you'll notice that me and Uncle Scam are with Sammie and Hef at the party...

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posted by Philip Shropshire at 7:20 AM
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Advocating violence against the calvinist Faux Gov't is deemed a terror Crime. However, wishing upon a star, that a Very LARGE Meteor would strike the Capitol Building during a joint session of the Whole congress, including POTUS & VoxPOTUS, is just about as likely as seeing Santa Claus hosing the Easter Bunny. Nevertheless, it COULD become a thing fervently wished for by a few of the last American patriots...........or NOT.
posted by Uncle $cam at 2:25 AM
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Thanks to all of you who sent me their Eid Greetings. They are much appreciated but please, don’t anymore.

I am not celebrating. I did not celebrate last year nor will I celebrate this year.

Some relatives called me to give me their good wishes. I said "thank you, same to you." End of conversation.
posted by Uncle $cam at 1:22 AM
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007. *

* Finally, someone I could get behind and support... that is if I were to vote my conscience. Love to see her team w/Kucinich with money bags Oprah Winfrey backing them.

Cynthia McKinney Announces Bid For The Presidency

Cynthia McKinney, a former six-term Congresswoman and an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq, today officially launched her campaign as a Green Party candidate for President.

In a video news release, McKinney says "the Republicans have deceived us; the Democrats have failed us. It is time for a new beginning: A time for hope to rise from the ashes of despair."

McKinney, a former Democrat from Georgia, was one of only three members of Congress to vote "yes" on a House Resolution in 2005 calling for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. One of her last acts in office was introducing Articles of Impeachment naming George Bush, Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice.

According to McKinney: "It is time to break the vicious cycle where the poor go to war and veterans come home wounded and ignored."

McKinney supports universal, single-payer health care; fair trade; and has been an unrelenting advocate for Hurricane Katrina survivors. No stranger to controversy and unafraid of speaking truth to power, McKinney has demanded that the Bush Administration tell the American people what the Administration knew about the events leading up to 9/11 and when they knew it.

She's got courage, integrity, tenacity, vision and style. Definitely one of the most honorable and honest politicos we have.

I'd vote for her, and proud to do so -- IF I decide not to boycott the whole charade.

Unfortunately, the Pentagon and PTB won't 'allow' someone like McKinney who challenges their power and the MIC status quo to actually win the popular vote. Even IF she were to win by some fluke, I'm sure the establishment Republocrats, militarists, globalists and globalist financiers would shut her out and isolate her politically. Especially the State Dept., Congress and Pentagon would resist cooperating with her if she tried to change (or even influence) long-established strategic, economic, foreign and domestic policy. She would have to have very powerful, established, well-connected and experienced politicos on her staff and in key positions of Congress and Federal agencies in order to wield any real authority and avoid being forced to wage constant legal and bureaucratic battles by those wanting to stonewall her.

The real 'test' of our democracy would be if someone like McKinney, whose anti-war, pro-peace-and-social-justice 'leftist' stance is regarded with distrust and suspicion by much of the public and those in government, were to be accorded the authority, dignity, respect, and honour of the President's office, cooperating completely and with the military fully complying with her lawful orders and directives as C-in-C. That would signal return to civilian control of the military and a legitimate public-directed self-Government of, by and for We the People.

But as it is, the popular, distributed self-interest of Defense Industries in several hundred Congressional districts constituting a huge defacto Corporate welfare boondoggle will be a huge disincentive to reducing the US's dependency on war as an essential part of America's economy -- because an institutionalized failure of courage and imagination doesn't realize the large range of alternatives to war that are far more lucrative and beneficial to everyone -- not just the elites. As well as the elite's self-interest in protecting their power and remaining immune from their serial crimes.

One can dream and blow sweet smelling smoke rings into the ether...signifying nothing.
*hehe..stole Philips
posted by Uncle $cam at 11:11 PM
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And thank you Chris Dodd, again. I would prefer that you were the majority leader though, and not president.

I still think that John Edwards is the best progressive choice--who actually has a shot at winning-- we can get for the presidency. Here's why I like him:

He also makes the case against Hillary:

Related: Atrios sort of endorses Edwards. Shorter candidates Quote here:

Shorter Candidates

Obama: The system sucks, but I'm so awesome that it'll melt away before me.

Edwards: The system sucks, and we're gonna have to fight like hell to destroy it.

Clinton: The system sucks, and I know how to work within it more than anyone.

Okay, who's best the melt guy or the insider? I'm going with two. I wish Atrios would endorse Edwards now as opposed to that Chuck Penn endorsement that he gave the day of the election that didn't do jack...


posted by Philip Shropshire at 10:24 PM
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Go sign the petition for Cheney's impeachment. Now. I think I was 105868. I wouldn't be surprised if that cracks a million within a week.


posted by Philip Shropshire at 8:43 PM
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Sunday, December 16, 2007. *
All this and more was published in OVO blog during the past month:
  • What Can God Do with 32 Virgins? "Numbers 31:40 states that God wanted thirty-two of the virgins reserved for Himself. What can God do with thirty-two virgins?"
  • Where are you NOW? NOW and Sharia: "Does the National Organization of Women refrain from commenting when women are sentenced to lashings? If so, this is a change from 2001 when they spoke out against it. Does NOW refrain from commenting about Muslim law (also known as sharia law)? If so, this is a change from 2002 when they spoke out against it. In the past NOW has spoken out against lashings and against Muslim law."
  • Mamie Manneh: "Mamie Manneh is an attempted murderer who illegally imported the remains of endangered species into the USA for the purpose of eating them. Handling and consuming this animal can lead to some of the most nightmarish diseases known to humanity. Only spongiform encephalopathy and religion can soften the mind enough to cause a person to hold Mamie's 'culture' or 'sincere beliefs' worthy of consideration in this regard."
  • The Get Out of Your Mind Free Card: "When is a movie theater not a movie theater?"
  • CAIR: "The Council on American-Islamic Relations has called for an end to rights violations against women and volunteered support for House Resolution 32."
  • Ulam's Spiral: "It was an act of idleness, not labor, that brought this curiosity forth. I place this discovery in the realm of dreams and not wakefulness."
  • Ten Thousand: "Ten thousand people have been killed by Muslims in the past six years. These men, women and children were not killed in self-defence, nor were they killed in the heat of the moment, nor were they killed for money, nor were they killed in war. Ten thousand people have been killed by Muslims in the past six years as human sacrifices, as part of the religion of Islam, as Muslims submitting to the invisible monster that lives in the sky."
  • Theo-genital Mutilation, Two Versions: "Perhaps tax dollars could be used for something more pressing than the unnecessary mutilation of men and women's genitals."
  • The War on (T)Error: "Two members of the religion of peace who bombed London on July 7, 2005 were able to do so only because the US government let them walk."
  • Sen. Charles Grassley: "Superstitious non-profit agencies are also tax exempt, but they are not accountable for how much money they take in nor are they accountable for what they spend the money on. Some superstitious non-profit agencies must surely do good work with every penny they can find. But others surely do not."
  • What Prevents Sexual Predation? "If there are two claimed ways to reduce sexual predation, one that seems to work and one that seems to not work, we can at least do some good with that real world information."
Visit OVO blog today!

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posted by Trevor at 8:45 AM
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Thursday, December 13, 2007. *

New graphic novel that I would hope Phantom of the Attic would carry, although I'm not sure I could afford it. Review:

Housmans, London's 62-year-old "premier radical bookshop," was warm and animated on a rainy Friday night for the launch of a new graphic novel entitled "Iraqi Oil for Beginners." Auspiciously, Hassan Jumaa, president of the Iraq Federation of Oil Unions, was in London to speak at a conference and made a quick appearance at the launch party. Jumaa also happens to be one of the only sympathetic characters in the book.

Written and illustrated by Jon Sack, a young London-based American artist and musician, the 31-page paperback comic book may feel light to the touch but is so densely packed with information that it is more like a historical pamphlet, albeit a droll and caustic one. "I wanted to sex up history a little," says Sack, whose interest in the history of oil in the region was piqued several years ago when he became involved in an organization called Corporate Pirates, which keeps tabs on major corporations - in this case Western firms in Iraq.

He also spent time with Platform, a UK-based social and environmental organization that carries out research on the oil industry. "I take myself as a case in point," says Sack. "I had no idea of the role played by oil companies in Mesopotamia and then Iraq." Funded by the human-rights group Voices in the Wilderness, Sack began his project by piecing together accounts of the British occupation of Iraq in the 1920s, which led to evident parallels with the situation today. ...

Sack's graphic novel begins, perhaps inevitably, with the attacks of September 11, 2001, but then it quickly moves back 90 years to 1911, when Britain's Royal Navy converted its warships from using coal to oil, a pivotal point and catalyst for a growing and ever-increasing hunger for crude.

At the time, Britain had control of one of the first oil refineries in the world in western Iran, then known as Persia. A few years later, in 1914, Britain invaded and occupied Basra in southern Iraq. Sack leads his readers through the complicated creation of oil companies, the British determination of Iraqi borders after World War I and the maneuvering of multinational oil companies to obtain concessions in Iraq. The remaining third of the comic book is dedicated to the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and the situation today, and in particular, the impending oil law.



posted by Philip Shropshire at 11:58 PM
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Remember: After he killed the President, John Horus asked for fair elections with paper ballots.
That would be nice but then again this is a work of fiction.

They're not dolls. They're action figures. You could even spring for the special blood spattered edition. Black Summer is a must read by the way.


posted by Philip Shropshire at 11:55 PM
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What should be a pop hit in a fair and loving world.

posted by Philip Shropshire at 11:54 PM
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Wednesday, December 12, 2007. *
Morgan Stanley has issued a full recession alert for the US economy, warning of a sharp slowdown in business investment and a "perfect storm" for consumers as the housing slump spreads.

Iran invasion cancelled by Bilderberger?

A wonderful interview on KPFA with Daniel Estulin in which he reveals that the Iran invasion was cancelled at the recent Bilderberger meeting in Ottawa, much to the displeasure of the American attendees. Daniel's 'reliability credentials' are quite in order for this kind of reporting. He even explains in the interview how he goes about gathering his intelligence on Bilderberger meetings.

Hope you have plenty of food and ammo, and a know how of gardening skills...because your money is about to become worthless..
posted by Uncle $cam at 1:22 PM
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Tuesday, December 11, 2007. *
Here's a form letter that you can send to your senator (if they're better than Arlen Specter and Bob Casey) about this proposed new sedition act. I'm thinking about adding a line that says "You know, if we were to stop murdering brown people for their stuff you wouldn't have to worry that much about justifiable insurrections. Just a crazy thought..."

From this site:

S 1959 ~ Letter to My Senators About The "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act"

Now is an essential time to let your Senators know (here are their contact forms) that they don't have to pass another frightening bill to seem tough on terror. If you haven't heard about the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, please see the links at the bottom of this post to understand how it could further curtail our freedoms and criminalize dissent. It's already passed in the House!

None of us wants to see more horrific acts of violence. On the other hand, we don't want to waste our time with redundant measures that likely won't prevent them, but will threaten the First Amendment.

I sent this to Sens. Tester and Baucus today. Adapt it as you wish!

Dear Senator Baucus,

I am gravely concerned about S 1959, the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act. I am troubled by the overly vague language and worried that in practice it will criminalize non-violent forms of dissent and stifle freedom of speech.

S 1959 has the potential to be used to target citizens who disagree with whichever administration is currently in power or who oppose powerful corporate interests. Most of the "home grown" terror we have seen has originated from white, Christian anti-abortionists. However, we know from the FOIA documents released so far that most of those targeted for surveillance by the current administration have been anti-war activists. Additionally, we have seen concerted efforts to label property destroying/anti-development extremists "terrorists" and tie mainstream environmental groups to them.

Surveillance is endemic in our society -- we have been labeled one of the world's top surveillance societies by Privacy International. Do we need to set up another commission to decide who to watch?

I look forward to hearing your position on this bill.

Thank you,

Kyeann Sayer

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posted by Philip Shropshire at 9:21 PM
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Winner: Yukimi Nagano, daughter of hippies.

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posted by Philip Shropshire at 9:03 PM
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Saturday, December 08, 2007. *
Sen. Whitehouse has had three opinions declassified that summed up say:

1. “I don’t have to follow my own rules, and I don’t have to tell you when I’m breaking them.”
2. “I get to determine what my own powers are.”
3. “The Department of Justice doesn’t tell me what the law is, I tell the Department of Justice what the law is.”

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse - part 1

senator sheldon whitehouse - part 2

Good theater here..
posted by Uncle $cam at 11:22 PM
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The NIE claims that ‘Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003’. This report now in circulation, and being repeated by every media outlet, and as importantly, by way of word of mouth, is giving credibility to the warmongers that Iran actually had a nuclear weapons program, with the idea that ‘repetition begets belief’. Drumming home a false message, the White House will get the justification it needs to impose further sanctions, with the idea of escalating into a war.

Yes, we have seen this show before, almost the same playbook as the Iraq performance. This is an attempt at a repeat performance – so far, we are still in Act One of this Iran script.
posted by Uncle $cam at 7:58 AM
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Scott Ritter, former U.S. Marine and UN weapons inspector and author of Target Iran: The Truth About the White House’s Plans for Regime Change, discusses the new Iran NIE, its confirmation of his long-held contention that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program, the lack of hard evidence that they ever did, the illogic of the administration’s demands that Iraq and now Iran prove a negative, the mysterious origin of the “smoking laptop,” his patriotism, the state of Iran’s compliance with the IAEA, the possibility that the timing of the NIE’s release was a preemptive action against Mohamed ElBaradei’s upcoming report on the last outstanding questions, the lies claiming Iran is backing enemies of the U.S. in Iraq, the necessity of withdrawal, his case that the total debacle of the Iraqi occupation is the result of abject incompetence, the danger to U.S. troops in Iraq in the event of war with Iran, his admiration for Ron Paul and the need of the American people to destroy the careers of their warmonger representatives.

The Meme is set. You really want to listen to this audio interview at the link.

Happy Coincidence Week. Just after the CIA releases the NIE, ready to go jail rather than fall for Bu$hCo's lies on Iran...lo & comes out that the CIA destroyed torture tapes. And "the President" knew nothing about it. Cries everywhere that CIA destroyed evidence - obstruction of justice 'cuz they knew they were breaking the law...unconscionable they thunder across Washington...Something is seriously wrong at the CIA...Even "Democrat" Congress is braying...

No worry. Anticipating this report was coming out neoFascist Wolfowitz was appointed to Chief of WMD Evidence Manufacture at State Dept. last week, and the Great Ship Mad Fascist will soon be righted..

I've wondered for some time what a US Government-sanctioned water boarding device looks like.

Is it a sleek and body-sculpted stainless steel body tray with remote-activated military grade brass worm gears and teflon coated axis components or just a piece of plywood slapped over the top of a metal folding chair like the ones they use in the WWF TV shows..

Of course all this will blow over by the end of the weekend, if the ptb have their way... or, you know, something else comes up...

Oh, and two things, while I very much respect Ritter, that doesn't mean I agree with him on his assessment of the incompetence meme. Nor do I agree with him pm Ron Paul. Finally, note he did not spacifically endorse him for president if you listen closely.

posted by Uncle $cam at 12:34 AM
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Friday, December 07, 2007. *
A Big Salute to my Granddad on this Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Attack

This man is still alive and living in Florida and I am very proud of him. This article doesn't mention it, but he was actually in Pearl Harbor when it was attacked 66 years ago today. Hope to see you soon, Granddad! [handwritten beneath this article not captured by scan: April 21, 1942 Lexingon Leader (KY)]

posted by Dr. Menlo at 10:29 AM
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Thursday, December 06, 2007. *
There has, for example, been little or no honest mainstream public debate on Iran, Iraq, the Palestinians, the other Arabs, and Israel, in the United States since the Israeli war of 1967 and the Iranian revolution of 1979.

The debate has been systematically distorted by considerations of American government desire (and to a considerably lesser extent, that of the American public) for revenge on Iran for the 1979 humiliation of the United States, taking American diplomats prisoner, and the fiasco of the failed American rescue operation a year later.

It is distorted by Israel’s identification of Iran as its most important enemy in the region, now that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq has been destroyed, producing global efforts to exaggerate Iran’s regional and international importance, its military potential, and its threat to its neighbors.

It is distorted by a counterproductive American policy to dominate oil production and commerce in the Middle East and Persian Gulf, and to exaggerate the true significance of nuclear proliferation, whose interest to a state like Iran, confronting major nuclear powers, is wholly deterrent. Nuclear weapons have no offensive value for a state like Iran; they simply limit the freedom of action of others.
It has all been bunkum, if not calculated lie. There was no Iraq mass destruction weapons threat. There is no Iranian nuclear threat. It was never a serious proposition that Islamic terrorists had to be fought in Iraq to stop them from attacking American cities. There has never been a serious intention in Washington or Jerusalem to allow a two-states settlement in Israel-Palestine. Allied countries nonetheless took all these lies seriously. So did the Palestinians. So, for that matter, did the Iraqis, and so – most of all – did Americans. As the great American carnival showman P.T. Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

Also see, The NIE is a Ruse

The Iran NIE starts with this (pdf):

We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program

The above sentence has two chunks of information. One, Iran has no current nuclear weapon program, was greated with great relief, including by me, as it makes an attack on Iran during Bush's remaining reign unlikely. That chunk, which we are happy about, induces us to trust the second chunk and the whole NIE. We want to believe in this.

But by swallowing that chunk we are pressed to also automatically swallow the other part: the assertion that Iran really had a nuclear weapons program up to 2003.

Does anybody believe anything they are told by liars? There is absolutely no reason to believe anything that 'America' says. As others have said, the Iran NIE is a Trojan Horse, and imho , to be used either now or later. In others words, if the current criminals do not attack Iran, it has now set the ground work for war profit at a later time, perhaps, under, (hold your breath) the democrats!

The show must will go on...

posted by Uncle $cam at 8:52 AM
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Tuesday, December 04, 2007. *
posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:13 PM
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It’s hard to get the average American to understand these things. Most everyone in this country has been mind-fucked since birth. For a very blatant example, you can look at the advertising industry and the way they have increased intensely their focus on the youth. It’s all about breeding impulsive emotionally driven consumers through repetition - over and over again - buy, buy, buy. You hear something enough and you internalize the message. It becomes something like the air you breathe, like gravity. It’s there, omnipresent, but you don’t realize it or consciously think about it. It becomes the spring from which your thoughts leap forth.

What it all boils down to is the exposure rate. You take a simple message and you repeat it over and over, such as mentioning Saddam and 9/11. You don’t have to say Saddam was involved in 9/11, because that is not true. You just have to mention Saddam and 9/11 in the same simple repetitive message thousands of times and people will support an attack on a country that didn’t have anything to do with 9/11 because they’ve been psychologically conditioned to link the two.

It’s psychological operations on a grand scale, mass psychology. The scientific art of manipulating public opinion is 100 years old now. PsyOps have evolved to the point, thanks to the all pervasive mass media, where we can make you believe, or at least passively accept, whatever we want you to. I secretly worked with the world’s most powerful media companies to get you to believe what “they” want you to believe. The media is the most efficient weapon of tyranny and oppression ever created. No need to physically control populations anymore when you can do it mentally - program it in, internalize the rules.

I definitely agree with the seven recommended steps at the end. Within two years?


posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:01 PM
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Academic recipients of the U.S. intelligence budget.

Over the last decade, U.S intelligence funding of academic research has taken on cavalier, even brazen qualities. This article reveals over 3,000 National Security Agency and over 100 Defense Intelligence Agency funded papers and draws attention to recent unreported revelations of CIA funding for torture research.
posted by Uncle $cam at 9:28 AM
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The Ossuary: Church of Bones kutna Hora

Award-winning animator Jan Svankmajer, was a guinea pig in military-sponsored LSD experiments in Czechoslovakia, see, this Guardian article entitled: Out of my head.

The Czech military also ran experiments with hallucinogenic BZ gas in war games. Jan Sejna is a defector who told about the mind control experiments, but his reliability in these matters is questionable.

A film of some of the LSD experiments is viewable here.
posted by Uncle $cam at 9:00 AM
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Sunday, December 02, 2007. *

From the Independent by Way of Mark Crispin Miller:

There is a real risk they could succeed. They are close to getting the number of signatures they need to secure a referendum in June. (The Los Angeles Downtown News claims to have witnessed signature-gatherers offering homeless people food in return for signing.) The turnout for the referendum is expected to be extremely low, because the state-wide primaries usually held on that date have been moved forward to February. So the Republicans only have to activate a small part of their base to push it through – and they have the cash to do it. California dreamin', on such a winter's day.

The Democrats in response shouldn't be trapped in the conservative position of defending the indefensible electoral college. There is an alternative way to reform it – one that would be fair to all parties. It used to be thought it was all but impossible to ditch the system because it would require a constitutional amendment, which needs the approval of two-thirds of both houses of Congress, plus three-quarters of state legislatures.

But then constitutional scholars realised there was another way. The Constitution only requires that each state must "appoint" its presidential electors "in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct". That leaves a glimmer of hope. The Campaign for a National Popular Vote is campaigning for every state simply to commit its delegates to the electoral college to vote 100 per cent for the candidate who wins the popular vote. This would render the electoral college a forgotten technicality. It's very revealing that when the California state senate voted to introduce this genuinely democratic system last year, the Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it, with the support of his party.

It shows that the Republicans' rhetoric of wanting "fairness" and "equal representation" in California is a honeyed lie. They want a system that retains their power, even if it subverts the will of the people. It risks becoming Florida Part II: just when you thought it was safe to go back into the polling booth... Fasten your seatbelts – it's going to be a bumpy election.

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posted by Philip Shropshire at 6:04 PM
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