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The Buying of the President 2004: Who's Really Bankrolling Bush and His Democratic Challengers -- and What They Expect in Return

The Buying of the President 2004: Who's Really Bankrolling Bush and His Democratic Challengers -- and What They Expect in Return

Arrogant Capital

Arrogant Capital

Great American Political Repair Manual

Sam Smith's Great American Political Repair Manual: How to Rebuild Our Country So the Politics Aren't Broken and Politicians Aren't Fixed

American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush

American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush

Death in the Air: Globalism, Terrorism & Toxic Warfare

Death in the Air: Globalism, Terrorism & Toxic Warfare

The Velvet Coup: The Constitution, the Supreme Court and the Decline of American Democracy

The Velvet Coup: The Constitution, the Supreme Court and the Decline of American Democracy

into the buzzsaw

Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of the Free Press

Amazon Light

Stop Policeware

Campaign for Audiovisual Freedom

Just consider what current events will sound like two thousand years from now -- the greatest nation on Earth bombing some of the smallest and weakest for no clear reasons, people starving in parts of the world while farmers are paid not to plant crops in others, technophiles sitting at home playing electronic golf rahter than the real thing, and police forces ordered to arrest people who simply desire to ingest a psychoactive weed. People of that era will also likely laugh it all off as fantastic myths...

It is time for those who desire true freedom to exert themselves -- to fight back against the forces who desire domination through fear and disunity.

This does not have to involve violence. It can be done in small, simple ways, like not financing that new Sport Utility Vehicle, cutting up all but one credit card, not opting for a second mortgage, turning off that TV sitcom for a good book, asking questions and speaking out in church or synagogue, attending school board and city council meetings, voting for the candidate who has the least money, learning about the Fully Informed Jury movement and using it when called -- in general, taking responsibility for one's own actions. Despite the omnipresent advertising for the Lotto -- legalized government gambling -- there is no free lunch. Giving up one's individual power for the hope of comfort and security has proven to lead only to tyranny.

from Rule by Secrecy by Jim Marrs

You had to take those pieces of paper with you when you went shopping, though by the time I was nine or ten most people used plastic cards. . .It seems so primitive, totemistic even, like cowry shells. I must have used that kind of money myself, a little, before everything went on the Compubank.

I guess that's how they were able to do it, in the way they did, all at once, without anyone knowing beforehand. If there had still been portable money, it would have been more difficult.

It was after the catastrophe, when they shot the president and machine-gunned the Congress and the army declared a state of emergency. They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics, at the time.

Keep calm, they said on television. Everything is under control.

I was stunned. Everyone was, I know that. It was hard to believe. The entire government, gone like that. How did they get in, how did it happen?

That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn't even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn't even an enemy you could put your finger on.

. . . Things continued on in that state of suspended animation for weeks, although some things did happen. Newspapers were censored and some were closed down, for security reasons they said. The roadblocks began to appear, and Identipasses. Everyone approved of that, since it was obvious you couldn't be too careful. They said that new elections would be held, but that it would take some time to prepare for them. The thing to do, they said, was to continue on as usual.

from The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

By the time Oscar reached the outskirts of Washington, DC, The Louisiana air base had benn placed under siege.

The base's electrical power supply had long since been cut off for lack of payment. The aircraft had no fuel. The desperate federal troops were bartering stolen equipment for food and booze. Desertion was rampant. The air base commander had released a sobbing video confession and had shot himself.

Green Huey had lost patience with the long-festering scandal. He was moving in for the kill. Attacking and seizing an federal air base with his loyal state militia would have been entirely too blatant and straightforward. Instead the rogue Governor employed proxy guerrillas.

Huey had won the favor of nomad prole groups by providing them with safe havens. He allowed them to squat in Louisiana's many federally declared contamination zones. These forgotten landscapes were tainted with petrochemical effluent and hormone-warping pesticides, and were hence officially unfit for human settlement. The prole hordes had different opinions on that subject.

Proles cheerfully grouped in any locale where conventional authority had grown weak. Whenever the net-based proles were not constantly harassed by the authorities, they coalesced and grew ambitious. Though easily scattered by focused crackdowns, they regrouped as swiftly as a horde of gnats. With their reaping machines and bio-breweries, they could live off the land at the very base of the food chain. They had no stake in the established order, and they cherished a canny street-level knowledge of society's infrastructural weaknesses. They made expensive enemies. . .

Louisiana's ecologically blighted areas were ideal for proles. The disaster zones were also impromptu wildlife sanctuaries, since wild animals found chemical fouling much easier to survive than the presence of human beings. After decades of wild subtropical growth, Louisiana's toxic dumps were as impenetrable as Sherwood Forest.

from Distraction by Bruce Sterling


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Saturday, January 10, 2004

Art not dead enough for Americans yet file:

Foreign artists harassed and delayed by Homeland Security

11:41 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

The 9/11 Visibility Project

11:31 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

War is A Racket

General Smedley Butler's concise and devastating 1935 indictment of war and the greed that is always the reason for it has been reissued by Feral House, with 2 other essays and pics from the anti-war photo classic The Horror of It

This should be required reading for every student in the world.

And everyone else too.

It's also reproduced here.
Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few -- the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

And what is this bill?

This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.

For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it.

11:05 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

UK cops have "grave doubts" about ID of Diana driver's blood sample

10:54 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

John O'Neill -- never the most diplomatic of shrubco cabinet members -- rips lizardboy a new one in new book

Don't know if this will change anyone's mind either way, but it's interesting nonetheless.

10:51 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Top government scientist in UK says "climate change far worse danger than terrorism"

10:48 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Minnesota absinence-only program for middle-schoolers fails completely as sexual activity doubles last year's totals [u]

11:35 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

"All we know . . . is that one of the world's most broad-minded and open cities is now in the hands of a picknose control freak"

Chris Hitchens recovers a modicum of credibility by slamming anal-retentive NYC mayor

11:28 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Undernews noted on Tuesday that if you include the part-time workers who would rather be working full-time and people who want a job but didn't look for one last month, the jobless total is more like 9.7%; add those active in the military because of the "War on Terror" and those incarcerated for no-harm-to-others crimes, and you're easily over that one in ten threshold

11:21 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

American Lives

Here's a site that offers day-by-day links to the lives and events of Americans throughout US history, "specializing in lesser-known stories of real people coping with life under extraordinary circumstances, often in their own words"

9:46 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

From Global Beat:

Saddam to be tried in secret in Iraq to prevent any unfortunate details of his former association with the US from being revealed.

Aggressive suppression of journalists' reports now routine in Iraq.

Good discussion of the influence of Christian apocalyptic doctrine on US foreign policy.
The problem is not religion, evangelicalism, or fundamentalism but rather dualism and demonization by any belief system--spiritual or secular--wielded in order to cast one's opponents as wholly evil while declaring one's own group as wholly good. Employing such dualism, a bully can justify aggressive action and disguise self-serving motives behind the cloak of greater good, Manifest Destiny, or God's will. If we as a nation wish to steer our political leaders away from generating a global apocalypse of the violent confrontational variety, then we need to ensure that a vigorous policy debate about the politico-religious juncture becomes a priority.

9:28 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Surprise surprise file:

Halliburton price-gouging no problem, forced anthrax vaccines for military back on track

1:26 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

You connect the dots

This morning someone at Kirtland AFB found my site searching for the phrase "ufo alien "gas shortage""

You heard it here first.

1:15 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Brazil Judge Orders U.S. Citizens Fingerprinted [u]
"I consider the [American] act absolutely brutal, threatening human rights, violating human dignity, xenophobic and worthy of the worst horrors committed by the Nazis," said Federal Judge Julier Sebastiao da Silva in the court order released on Tuesday.

11:32 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Robert Dreyfuss on the sinister echoes of the CIA's notorious Phoenix Program in Vietnam in Iraq [u]
"They're clearly cooking up joint teams to do Phoenix-like things, like they did in Vietnam," says Vincent Cannistraro, former CIA chief of counterterrorism. Ironically, he says, the U.S. forces in Iraq are working with key members of Saddam Hussein's now-defunct intelligence agency to set the program in motion. "They're setting up little teams of Seals and Special Forces with teams of Iraqis, working with people who were former senior Iraqi intelligence people, to do these things," Cannistraro says.


But the bulk of the covert money will support U.S. efforts to create a lethal, and revenge-minded, Iraqi security force. "The big money would be for standing up an Iraqi secret police to liquidate the resistance," says Pike. "And it has to be politically loyal to the United States."

Unable to quell the resistance to the U.S. occupation, the Pentagon is revamping its intelligence and special-operations task force in Iraq, a classified unit commanded by an Air Force brigadier general. It's also pouring money into the creation of an Iraqi secret police staffed mainly by gunmen associated with members of the puppet Iraqi Governing Council. Those militiamen are linked to Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (inc), the Kurdish peshmerga ("facing death") forces and Shiite paramilitary units, especially those of the Iran-backed Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Technically illegal, these armed forces have been tolerated, even encouraged, by the Pentagon. Some of these militias openly patrol Baghdad and other cities, and in the south of Iraq, scores of Islamic-oriented paramilitary parties, with names like Revenge of God, are mobilized.

11:26 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Judge rules '99 WTO protest arrests in Seattle "had no probable cause", opening door to multiple lawsuits [u]

11:18 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Undernews wonders whether mad cow disease really is caused by a germ ... or pesticides

Specifically, high concentrations of manganese which a Cambridge researcher has linked to malformed prions.

11:11 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Monday, January 05, 2004

Guppies successfully fighting malaria in India

11:17 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

John le Carré talks about his new war-on-terror novel, the "medieval stupidity" of the Bush administration's misuse of intelligence, and why he wound up marching against the war in Iraq

And his new book about the Iraq War and War on Terror, Absolute Friends.

From the Booklist review:
There has been a linear evolution in the mind-set of le Carre's spies over the years--from agonizing over the moral ambiguity of the craft set against a firm belief in its necessity (the Smiley novels), through opting to place individual values over national ones (A Perfect Spy and Russia House), to recognizing that bureaucracy has poisoned the intelligence business from within (the post-cold war novels). Now, driven by recent world events, that evolution takes an even more radical step--to the realization that ideology is irrelevant, that powerful governments are an evil unto themselves, forever the enemy of individual life.
Which is why he's much more interesting to me now. Never caught his style before, though.

4:22 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Almanac readers now terrorist suspects [u]

3:55 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Army forced to invoke stop-loss orders to stop mass exodus of soldiers from military [u]
Staff Sgt. Peter G. Costas, an interrogator in an intelligence unit, joined the Army Reserve in 1991, extended his enlistment in 1999 and then re-upped for three years in 2000. Costas, a U.S. Border Patrol officer in Texas, was due to retire from the reserves in last May.

According to their contracts, expectations and desires, all three soldiers should have been civilians by now. But Fontaine and Costas are currently serving in Iraq, and Eagle has just been deployed. On their Army paychecks, the expiration date of their military service is now listed sometime after 2030 -- the payroll computer's way of saying, "Who knows?"

The three are among thousands of soldiers forbidden to leave military service under the Army's "stop-loss" orders, intended to stanch the seepage of troops, through retirement and discharge, from a military stretched thin by its burgeoning overseas missions.

"It reflects the fact that the military is too small, which nobody wants to admit," said Charles Moskos of Northwestern University, a leading military sociologist.

To the Pentagon, stop-loss orders are a finger in the dike -- a tool to halt the hemorrhage of personnel, and maximize cohesion and experience, for units in the field in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Through a series of stop-loss orders, the Army alone has blocked the possible retirements and departures of more than 40,000 soldiers, about 16,000 of them National Guard and reserve members who were eligible to leave the service this year. Hundreds more in the Air Force, Navy and Marines were briefly blocked from retiring or departing the military at some point this year.

By prohibiting soldiers and officers from leaving the service at retirement or the expiration of their contracts, military leaders have breached the Army's manpower limit of 480,000 troops, a ceiling set by Congress. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee last month, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, disclosed that the number of active-duty soldiers has crept over the congressionally authorized maximum by 20,000 and now registered 500,000 as a result of stop-loss orders. Several lawmakers questioned the legality of exceeding the limit by so much.

3:49 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Monsanto wins right to force dairy company to print plug for artificial hormones on milk cartons [u]

3:29 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Character assassination a la 2004

I'm not real interested in the '04 campaign, but the way the press is spinning Dean to be a "loser", a "pessimist" (!) etc. is being followed well at Undernews, if you're interested

See also here.

3:26 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Dutch invention improves vehicle energy efficiency at leasst 50% [u]

3:19 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Iran may move national capital after Bam quake reminds how susceptible cities are

Tehran is on a major faultline and plans have been floated since '89 due to quakes and overcrowding, pollution.

NOTE: Site was down for a few days due to tech stuff.

3:15 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


from Sassafrass (9/23/02)
"Unconventional viewpoints at 'charging the canvas'

Opinions that will ruffle feathers, from someone who clearly knows their way around information and the blogosphere."

Blog of the Day


In the eyes of posterity it will inevitably seem that, in safeguarding our freedom, we destroyed it; that the vast clandestine apparatus we built up to probe our enemies' resources and intentions only served in the end to confuse our own purposes; that the practice of deceiving others for the good of the state led infallibly to our deceiving ourselves; and that the vast army of intelligence personnel built up to execute these purposes were soon caught up in the web of their own sick fantasies, with disastrous consequences to them and us.

-- Malcolm Muggeridge

Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.

-- Mark Twain

(link to list against Iraq War)


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[Get Opera!]


They were past the motels now, condos on both sides. The nicer ones, on the left, had soothing pluraled nature-names carved on hanging wooden signs, The Coves, The Glades, The Meadowlands. The cheaper condos, on the right, were smaller and closer to the road, and had names like roaring powerboats, Seaspray, Barracuda's, and Beachcomber III.

Jackie sneezed, a snippy poodle kind of sneeze, God-blessed herself, and said, "I bet it's on the left, Raymond. You better slow down."

Raymond Rios, the driver and young science teacher to the bright and gifted, didn't nod or really hear. He was thinking of the motels they had passed and the problem with the signs, No Vacancy. This message bothered him, he couldn't decide why. Then Jackie sneezed and it came to him, the motels said no vacancy because they were closed for the season (or off-season or not-season) and were, therefore, totally vacant, as vacant as they ever got, and so the sign, No Vacancy, was maximum-inaccurate, yet he understood exactly what it meant. This thought or chain of thoughts made him feel vacant and relaxed, done with a problem, a pleasant empty feeling driving by the beaches in the wind.

from Big If by Mark Costello

*       *       *       *

Bailey was having trouble with his bagel. Warming to my subject, I kept on talking while cutting the bagel into smaller pieces, wiping a dob of cream from his collar, giving him a fresh napkin. "There's a pretense at democracy. Blather about consensus and empowering employees with opinion surveys and minority networks. But it's a sop. Bogus as costume jewelry. The decisions have already been made. Everything's hush-hush, on a need-to-know-only basis. Compartmentalized. Paper shredders, e-mail monitoring, taping phone conversations, dossiers. Misinformation, disinformation. Rewriting history. The apparatus of fascism. It's the kind of environment that can only foster extreme caution. Only breed base behavior. You know, if I had one word to describe corporate life, it would be 'craven.' Unhappy word."

Bailey's attention was elsewhere, on a terrier tied to a parking meter, a cheeky fellow with a grizzled coat. Dogs mesmerized Bailey. He sized them up the way they sized each other up. I plowed on. "Corporations are like fortressed city-states. Or occupied territories. Remember The Sorrow and the Pity? Nazi-occupied France, the Vichy government. Remember the way people rationalized their behavior, cheering Pétain at the beginning and then cheering de Gaulle at the end? In corporations, there are out-and-out collaborators. Opportunists. Born that way. But most of the employees are like the French in the forties. Fearful. Attentiste. Waiting to see what happens. Hunkering down. Turning a blind eye.

from Moral Hazard by Kate Jennings

*       *       *       *


When the sashaying of gentlemen
Gives you grievance now and then
What's needed are some memories of planing lakes
Those planing lakes will surely calm you down

Nothing frightens me more
Than religion at my door
I never answer panic knocking
Falling down the stairs upon the law
What Law?

There's a law for everything
And for elephants that sing to feed
The cows that Agriculture won't allow

Hanky Panky Nohow
Hanky Panky Nohow
Hanky Panky Nohow

-- John Cale

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