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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 11, 2003

Norwalk virus strikes 700 students at Houston high school

This is the virus that has plagued the cruise industry lately.

I find it very odd that more isn't being said and heard about this. Though I can think of a few reasons . . .

6:16 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

"The (White Man's) Burden"?

Michael Ignatieff in the NY Times:
"Those who want America to remain a republic rather than become an empire imagine rightly, but they have not factored in what tyranny or chaos can do to vital American interests. The case for empire is that it has become, in a place like Iraq, the last hope for democracy and stability alike."
As the protagonist in one of my favorite books, Zelazny's Lord of Light, said, "So that's what they're playing on their fascist banjos now, eh?"

1:54 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

FDA approves use of Prozac for children starting at age seven [stratiawire]

1:41 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Pentagon experimenting with "zapping" pilots' brains with electro-magnetic energy to keep them awake [u]

1:33 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Perchlorate (from rocket fuel) has contaminated precious aquifers in SoCal, Texas and elsewhere

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

Denver P.D. Intel Unit told in '98 "that they could either shred old, inactive 'spy files' or just take them home" [cicentre]

12:56 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Imperialist wet dreams

You get the impression what shrubco would love most of all is: Saddam just goes away and the Iraqis welcome US occupation of those precious wells, waving American flags and cheering like the French after Germany's surrender

Like Anglo-American foreign policy since WWI and destablizing black ops and a rapacious corporatocracy mostly associated with the US just didn't happen (even if many Americans seem oblivious to these facts).

You also wonder exactly what they're promising their "allies" so they don't resist the juggernaut. The fine points of diplomacy have never seemed so beyond the capabilities of an administration, at a time when their complexity has never been so daunting.

What will the price be for this little Kiplingesque fantasy tranposed to the 21st century?

10:34 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

shrubco threatens to sue EU for "immoral" and "Luddite" resistance to GM foods

Looking for a reason "why they hate us?"

9:57 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Conflicting reports in the UK media on the Sharon broadcast Thursday night

It's kind of confusing, as the law which was used to end the broadcast is opposed by the head of the Labour Party in Israel, yet it sounds in the Guardian report like Sharon was drifting into a rambling, defensive, Nixonian poutpuddle.

So one wonders what's going on behind the scenes, of course, since so much of what Sharon has done or said has been more deserving and inflammatory than this corruption scandal of using foreign funds for the election.

The Lebanese Daily Star gives a better assessment of the seemingly sudden Lottesque plunge in Sharon's political credibility.

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

9/11 loose ends file: Sibel Edmonds

I hadn't heard anything about fired FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds' case since the announcement that the DoJ had killed it in October. . .

Trying to dig something up about this deeply buried case, I realized I had seen this report later in October, detailing surprisingly lax recruiting practices at the FBI and the revelation that the Edmonds associate connected to a
"Mid Eastern country" was in fact a Turkish agent, not Mossad as I had heard.

Now I see the judge handling her FOIA inquiry is unimpressed with the stonewalling of the FBI, who had refused her expediting request on the grounds that "the documents that she seeks have nothing to do with any wider concerns of the American public."

One can see why the FBI wants this hushed up, since it reveals incompetence and dangerous secruity lapses at a time when the intel agencies are volleying for position and funds in the New Dumbland Insecurity scheme of things.

But is there a trail leading from this to intentional suppression of information relating to the 9/11 attack? Which could lead higher than the FBI. . . This is the kind of thing the White House is letting dangle because of its insistence on Imperial Immunity from any inquiries.

2:41 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Friday, January 10, 2003

4 Illinois death row inmates tortured into confessions by police were pardoned by the governor today; 3 will be released as well

7:16 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Greg Palast is going to continue his US tour this year, promoting a new greatly expanded (40%) American edition of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (out Feb 25) and the Counting on Democracy film; he's looking for progressive sponsors to host -- email him here

6:42 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

The American media have virtually ignored the brutality and criminal behavior of the police at the Genoa summit last July
Police in Genoa, Italy have admitted to fabricating evidence against globalization activists in an attempt to justify police brutality during protests at the July 2001 G8 Summit. In searches of the Nexis database, FAIR has been unable to find a single mention of this development in any major U.S. newspapers or magazines, national television news shows or wire service stories.

According to reports from the BBC and the German wire service Deutsche Presse-Agentur (1/7/03, 1/8/03), a senior Genoa police officer, Pietro Troiani, has admitted that police planted two Molotov cocktails in a school that was serving as a dormitory for activists from the Genoa Social Forum. The bombs were apparently planted in order to justify the police force's brutal July 22 raid on the school. According to the BBC, the bombs had in fact been found elsewhere in the city, and Troijani now says planting them at the school was a "silly" thing to do.

The BBC and DPA also report that another senior officer has admitted to faking the stabbing of a police officer in order to frame protesters. These revelations have emerged over the course of a parliamentary inquiry into police conduct that was initiated by the Italian government under pressure from "domestic and international outrage over the blood-soaked G8 summit in Genoa" (London Guardian, 7/31/01). Three police chiefs have been transferred and at least 77 officers have been investigated on brutality charges.

5:51 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

US and "Friends of Venezuela" to try to impose unelected puppet regime "help find a solution" to Venezuela's corporatocracy coup attempt crisis; World Bank freezes loans to oil industry

There are rumors of a $100mil price on Chavez's head and that he gave $1mil to al Qaeda after 9/11. Neither of these are likely true, IMO, but the political PR war is obviously heating up as a prelude for extra-national intervention to undermine democracy for the benefit of corporate oligarchs.

Check these sites for um alternative information on the situation:
VHeadline (see registration info at left)

2:25 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Yes, TV can get worse

"[A] contemporary, hip Ed Sullivan show" on WB to erase line between ads and content
The show is already drawing wide attention in the television industry. The idea has been given credibility because Mr. Davies, a native of Britain, produced ABC's landmark "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," the program that started the reality television craze in the United States and changed the face of prime time.

The working title has been "Live From Tomorrow," but that is expected to change, perhaps to "Live From Right Now."

While the move is billed as a forward-looking response to a technological threat to the business, it actually harks back to television's earliest days, when a single sponsor bought a time period and presented a show, like the "Kraft Television Theater" or "The Philco Television Playhouse," and featured only its own products in its commercials. The roots go even deeper, all the way back to the beginning of soap operas, a genre that owes its name to the laundry detergents that began sponsoring them on radio. Early soap operas incorporated scenes that had characters do the washing while praising the product.


"Viewers hate it when they think you are trying to be deceptive with them, sneaking advertising into scenes," Mr. Davies said. "We're going to be completely open about it on our show and hopefully completely creative."

Among the possibilities he cited was a permanent Pepsi display behind every music performance on the show. He said the producers had also come up with suggestions like having some rap artists, like Method Man and Redman, go to the Nokia headquarters in Finland to take part in their internship program. "We could make a little three-minute funny film out of that," Mr. Davies said.
Paging Mr Hicks...Satan is back...

1:53 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

shrubco to shrink pensions [u]
Under a traditional pension plan a worker's benefit is usually based on a percentage of yearly earnings multiplied by the number of years employed. Yearly earnings are often calculated based on an average of the three final years, typically the highest-pay years.

Under a cash balance plan the employer creates an "account" for each worker, which is credited a certain amount of money for each year worked plus interest. At retirement the worker can take the accumulated money as a lump sum or turn it into an annuity.

Traditional pensions usually provide higher benefits, especially if the worker stays with one employer until retirement, since the benefit is calculated on the highest paid years, not average pay over the length of his or her employment. A changeover to a cash balance plan can rob workers nearing retirement of thousands of dollars in expected pension benefits.

1:23 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

From Undernews: remote control slowburn coup
HECTOR MONDRAGON - The real strength of the strike in Venezuela has been in the computers that control the giant and highly automated petroleum industry. Even though the PDV is nominally state-owned and run, the computer system is in the hands of the 'mixed' (public-private) enterprise Intesa. The party with the technical skill in the partnership is the Science Applications International Corporation - a transnational computing company. Among its directors: ex-US Secretaries of Defense William Perry and Melvin Laird; ex-directors of the CIA John Deutsch, Robert Gates; Admiral Bobby Ray Inman (ex-director of the National Security Agency); other retired military staff including Wayne Downing (former commander in chief of US Special Forces) and Jasper Welch(ex-coordinator of the National Security Council). The hold-up of the oil-tankers was directed from these computing centers. . . The hold-up was welcomed by various captains, but the tankers were forced to shore in any case: nothing moves without direction from the computers, which also stopped key operations in the refineries and the entry of vital gas for the iron and steel industries of eastern Venezuela.

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

Louisiana Senator wants everyone to have health insurance -- by making it mandatory like car insurance [u]

1:07 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Sam Smith cites a Robert Fisk piece reminding us that Saddam Hussein suddenly became a dire threat to the world again right about the time the Enron scandal dominated the headlines

12:58 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Thursday, January 09, 2003

Navy washing machine manuals a threat to National Security?

The .pdf links are dead now, this is a few weeks old.

Great example of how ridiculous the US Security Regime has already been. And it's about to get much, much worse unless people and Congress demand otherwise.

10:04 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

#2 hospital chain sued for Medicare fraud

I'm sure new Senate Leader Bill Frist will be right on top of hearings into this, since he has so much experience in the area of medical fraud.

8:47 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Sharon & Likud in tailspin
An Israeli judge pulled the plug on his prime minister Ariel Sharon mid-way through an angry and rambling television address last night which was meant to deny corruption allegations and win back voters who are fleeing his party in droves.

With opinion polls showing a rapid collapse in public trust and his rightwing bloc perilously close to losing its majority in this month's general election, Mr Sharon was forced to make a public statement about $1.5m given to his family last year by a British businessman.

Before the address, commentators agreed that Mr Sharon is "no longer the Teflon prime minister" and that he needed a masterful performance to regain public trust.

But after about 20 minutes of avoiding specifics in favour of vitriolic denunciations of his opponents whom he accused of "despicable slander... with one purpose, to bring down the government of Israel", he was abruptly taken off the air for violating another law.

Israel's election commission obtained a court order because Mr Sharon's speech amounted to "electioneering" which is illegal on television. Mr Sharon failed to explain convincingly the circumstances of the $1.5m (£934,000) loan.
Looks like Netanyahu supporters are licking their lips -- like he's pure as driven snow . . . or roadside slush for that matter.

NOTE: I've got a cold and posting may be infrequent for a day or so.

8:27 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Poultry disease causes 6 county emergency in California

3:22 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Anti-depressant Dutonin/Serazone pulled in Europe, blamed for liver failure, deaths

Bristol-Myers claims "low sales" the reason.

Drug still available in the US.

3:20 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Mercury-laced Thimerosol preservative linked to autism

Parents rally at the Capitol against vaccine protection measure

Just "good policy," claims GOP-booster PharmaGiant Eli Lilly.

3:16 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Danish scientists skeptical of the "Skeptical Environmentalist"
The ruling has sparked a media storm in Denmark, with the credibility both of Lomborg's institute and of the government being called into question. Most Members of Parliament want an inquiry into all the work carried out by the IMV since it was set up a year ago, it is being reported.

Lomborg was unbowed yesterday, arguing that the scientific committee had failed to document any examples of bias. Neither had it taken a position on accusations of bias levelled by others. The decision was therefore "inexplicable," he said.


"The Skeptical Environmentalist" challenges beliefs that the global environment is progressively getting worse. Lomborg maintains that the global environment has actually improved and criticizes environmental organizations that make "selective and misleading use of scientific data to influence decisions about the allocation of limited resources."

3:10 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Russia freezing too: -34°F in Moscow

2:49 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Likud support appears to be waning in the wake of a corruption scandal

Not sure what this means, whether parties to the right of Likud will gain enough power to balance this.

2:44 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

UN probes reports Congo rebels eat Pygmies [drudge]

2:35 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

youthful under canvas gay
"bound and gagged" helmets troops
sexy film inquisition torture
grannies in diapers
anderson "yodel ay hee hoo"
gtc accounting crack
David Bowie dead man walking princess mononoke
casablanca cliff notes
Viggo Mortensen topless pictures
Lomax Oregon mortgage
haarp, depression, paxil
receding doors organizers furniture
special forces bandannas
email guess book for executive directors head offices in solomon island
john hutchison + necrophilia
morticians having sex with the dead
ringwraiths costume
phalanx pics roman
topless women guerillas
What if Nazi JFK alternate history timeline
earthling nigeria limited
"iq of 126" -bush -lorber
pics of smuggling ecstasy
Email guest book of fish farmers for 2003 in kuwait

2:27 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Qwest lines were down this AM, had no access for at least 5 hours

2:26 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

As many have expected, the cost of jailing people is catching up to the states
"State departments of corrections are being asked by their governors to streamline budgets to meet cost limitations," Weedon said. "Many states, including Pennsylvania, have elected to delay the opening of facilities as a way of meeting those budgetary obligations."

Weedon could not say how many states have chosen to delay opening new prisons, but corrections officials from several states confirmed that prisons have not been opened or have been closed for budgetary reasons.

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

Corporatocracy eats itself

A dissection of Enron's "unprecedented access to officials in all branches of government, both in Washington and in states."
The fallen energy giant lobbied on diverse interests that ranged from gas marketing and regulation of the broadband communications network to rules on the use of corporate planes and the gift ban (which limits the value of gifts congressional and executive branch officials can accept). The long list of issues where it tried to shape or alter public policy includes the federal budget, environmental law including efforts to address global warming, the privatization of utilities at military bases, product liability reform, the Investment Company Act of 1940, and health care reform, to name a few.

To achieve its legislative goals, Enron employed multi-pronged strategies that included doling out campaign contributions to influential politicians, employing a nationwide network of lobbyists and building grassroots support for policy changes by bankrolling think tanks and other organizations that advocated those changes. On many issues, it either allied with other companies and trade associations or was part of umbrella coalitions.

3:20 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

A survivor of the Larouche cult speaks
It begins for many with indoctrination "retreats", where students go out to cabins for a "weekend of intellectual discussion", where new recruits are worked on from the minute they walk in to join the organization. For a weekend they are bombarded with classes which challenge their identity, culture, past training, and are given an apocalyptic view of the near future. Very frequently "freak-outs" occur; crying, violent outbursts, or complete inhibition -- which is exactly the necessary response, for the weakened mind state makes an individual ripe to be implanted with ideas. Those who then begin working with Larouche will immediately see very little sleep, physical exhaustion (Larouchies work 7 days, 90-100 hours a week), a large number of classes (in the beginning indoctrination), strong encouragement to break ties with family and friends, mental fatigue, fellow organizers reporting to the leadership any deviations in thought, a groupthink atmosphere, vicious attacks from the leadership, group confessions, and "struggle meetings".
I've found some penetrating insights in Larouche research material, but I surely don't condone this stuff. I'm finding you have to get your info where you can if it feels correct, without necessarily subscribing to the beliefs of the writer.

The line between corporation and cult seems to be getting thinner all the time anyway.

2:51 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Mutualist Anarchism
Because of our fondness for free markets, mutualists sometimes fall afoul of those who have an aesthetic affinity for collectivism, or those for whom "petty bourgeois" is a swear word. But it is our petty bourgeois tendencies that put us in the mainstream of the American populist/radical tradition, and make us relevant to the needs of average working Americans. Most people distrust the bureaucratic organizations that control their communities and working lives, and want more control over the decisions that affect them. They are open to the possibility of decentralist, bottom-up alternatives to the present system. But they do not want an America remade in the image of orthodox, CNT-style syndicalism.

1:51 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Another list of celebrities against the Iraq War [u]

1:44 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

One list of the Top Ten Worst Multinationals [u]

"Ten" feeling like a particularly small number this year.
Here Come the Feds
This has been a bad year for the maker of Claritin and other allergy drugs, anticancer drugs and Dr. Schollís foot products.

Let us count the ways.

First, in August, the Justice Department opened an investigation of both Schering Plough and Wyeth to see whether they had engaged in price fixing by, on the same day, reducing fees to their pharmaceutical brokers.

Second, Schering is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation by federal prosecutors in Boston. They are looking at whether the company is ripping off Medicaid by repacking drugs at higher prices. A 1990 law requires companies to report to Medicaid the best price it offers its private customers.

In conjunction with this investigation, prosecutors in Boston in November issued two more subpoenas to the company requesting information on the companyís honoraria and other payments to doctors, insurers and educational institutions.

Third, in June, federal prosecutors in New Jersey began investigating whether or not the company imported ingredients that had not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States. Schering denies these allegations.

Fourth, in May, the New York Times reported that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had initiated a criminal probe into two Puerto Rican plants that make Scheringís Nasonex nasal spray and Celestone, a corticosteroid.

After news of the criminal investigation leaked out, Schering announced that it will pay $500 million to settle charges of repeated failure over recent years to fix problems in manufacturing dozens of drugs at four of its facilities in New Jersey and Puerto Rico.

The $500 million settlement shatters the previous FDA record settlement amount of $100 million.

1:35 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Post-9/11 honeymoon with NYC firemen is over, while the loss of so many firefighters remains and the threat of cutbacks lowers morale

1:27 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

A group of Israelis calling themselves "Forum of Holocaust survivors and descendants to halt the deterioration of Israeli humanism" is circulating a petition against Palestinian teroor and Israeli brutality [u]

1:01 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Apparently Ret. General Wesley Clark is considering a run for the presidency [u]
From The Guardian, Tuesday August 3, 1999:

No sooner are we told by Britain's top generals that the Russians played a crucial role in ending the west's war against Yugoslavia than we learn that if Nato's supreme commander, the American General Wesley Clark, had had his way, British paratroopers would have stormed Pristina airport threatening to unleash the most frightening crisis with Moscow since the end of the cold war.

"I'm not going to start the third world war for you," General Sir Mike Jackson, commander of the international K-For peacekeeping force, is reported to have told Gen Clark when he refused to accept an order to send assault troops to prevent Russian troops from taking over the airfield of Kosovo's provincial capital.
On the Democratic ticket, no less.

But then "everything changed on 9/11," right? So now Alexander Haig would be considered middle-of-the-road. . .

1:05 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Paroled NJ man arrested for advocating changes in pot laws, which authorities claimed was a parole violation [u]

Ed Forchion had served time for possession, and when released made several PSAs on pot reform. They never aired.

A federal judge ordered the state to show why he was imprisoned on Jan 21st.

12:54 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Corporate chiseling on the increase

Look for new hidden fees and surcharges on utility and hotel bills and elsewhere
One company has gone so far as to make a game out of encouraging its employees to collect fees whenever possible. At Alaska Airlines, employees spent July and August competing for the greatest percentage increase in collecting fees for excess baggage or oversized luggage. The problem was that too many employees were waiving the fees for harried passengers. The carrier said that was not fair, that passengers were complaining about inconsistent prices.

To fix that, the company contest promised $1,000 to the winning team and individual prizes to five customer-service agents. Alaska Airlines said at the time that it wanted to raise fee collections by 25 percent, to $25 million in 2002 from $19.5 million in 2001.

Other companies are passing on the cost of processing and mailing statements and even bills. MetroPCS, which offers wireless service in a handful of cities, and Primus, the telecommunications provider, each started charging customers $2 a month this year for mailed bills. Ameritrade and TD Waterhouse last year began charging $2 for mailed trade confirmations. In April 2001, NetBank, an Internet bank that has no branches, began charging $3 for paper statements. These companies say that they need to cut billing costs to remain competitive and that their customers often prefer the paperless route after trying it.

In many cases, the latest fees signal a move toward less human interaction with customers and, many consumers complain, inferior service. Intuit, for one, is charging $14.95 for phone time with customer service representatives who handle its Turbotax software; the company says its Web site can answer all reasonable questions. Intuit could not be reached for comment. Other companies have said that a small fraction of consumers accounts for the bulk of service calls, and so those consumers should pay for those calls.

12:43 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

xymphora on the Zapatista leader's attempt to focus attention on their marginalization by the Fox regime

11:59 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Top Ten Conspiracy Theories of 2002
5. Hijacker Oddities II.

Another theory about the hijackers' real identities takes as its departure an utterly bizarre and largely overlooked story on, which says that some of the hijackers may have trained at U.S. Army bases. Yes, you read that right. Strange as it may seem, providing terrorists-slash-"freedom fighters" with lethal skills is a tradition in certain specialized arms of the American military and U.S. intelligence. The infamous School of the Americas, for example, helped to train the death squads that claimed so many innocent lives in Central America. Even so, the idea that the government might aid Osama's minions is completely beyond the pale, right? Perhaps. But remember the CIA and the military's record-breaking aid program to the Afghan Mujahedin movement, as outlined, for example, in John Cooley's Unholy Wars. Questions about hijacker links to U.S. intelligence got more complicated when the spook watchdog magazine CovertAction Quarterly claimed that many of the hijackers got into the country using CIA "snitch" visas. (This article can be found in CovertAction Quarterly's Winter 2001, 41-44; the BBC conducted an interview with the author, Michael Springmann). As with many issues involving The Agency, this promises to be shrouded in mystery for a long time.

12:44 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Shocked, shocked file

FBI's 5 swarthy "infiltrators" a hoax

12:11 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Monday, January 06, 2003

What's up with these guys?

Computer Sciences, which bought shadowy corporate merc giant Dyncorp last month, has now landed a $300mil contract with the NSA

4:21 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

DARPA wants to smell you for freedom [FAS]

3:16 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Army patents anthrax vaccine

1:24 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

How White House/Pentagon gangstered Poland into buying fighter jets
- In one meeting in late September 2002 between deputy foreign minister and two subordinates and two Lockheed officials (US Ambassador present for a portion of the meeting), the Polish official revealed that it accepted the conditions for the loans on the "telecom arrangement" (unknown details) and that he would press in favor of Lockheed to ensure that the telecom deal would happen. The US side made it clear that the loans were contingent on the selection of the F-16;


- As early as August 2001, at a meeting at the US Embassy, two Polish foreign ministry consultants confirmed that the temporary Warsaw offices of Dassault and the Gripen consortium representatives would be subjected to electronic eavesdropping "by spring [2002]" (it appears from the statements that the surveillance of Dassault would be a joint US and Polish Ministry of Defense endeavor);

1:21 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

The CIA trying to stash surveillance planes with the Forest Service was a major factor in the airtanker crash last summer
"We know some aircraft that were part of the aircraft exchange act ended up flying overseas. I don't know for what agency. If he says CIA, he might be right," Tony Kern, national aviation officer, said of Petterson's remarks.

"We also are aware there are gaps in the records of these aircraft, not just for that period of time, but records that never were transferred across from the military," he said. "If you don't know the flight hours, that's a big problem."

The aircraft exchanges were halted under the Clinton administration, but most of the planes remain in the hands of the private contractors.

The transfers were portrayed at the time as necessary to bolster the Forest Service's depleted firefighting fleet. But Gary Eitel, a former Vietnam War combat pilot who filed a lawsuit to try to force the return of the planes to the government in the mid-1990s, testified before Congress that the CIA used the Forest Service to cover up its use of the aircraft for secret missions.


Last month, the Forest Service came under fire for having been repeatedly told the aging aircraft never should have been released from the Air Force "boneyard" at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in 1988. A blue-ribbon panel investigating the matter at the request of the Forest Service recommended enhanced safety standards in planes used for fighting fires.

Petterson said the Air Force modified many of its C-130As with new wing parts in the early-to-mid-1980s, though he can't tell whether the crashed plane was one of them.

"The modifications were being done because they were having problems with the airplanes' wings cracking," Petterson said. The NTSB investigator has identified fatigue cracks - one more than a foot long - in the wings of the plane that crashed in June and he suspects the same structural failure caused a 1994 airtanker crash that killed three crew members north of Los Angeles.

3:27 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Interview with Marc Herold (documenter of civilian casualties of the Afghan War) on Afghanistan now [xymphora]
Economically, Karzai and a bunch of second, third and fourth level World Bank-types preside over Kabul and not much else. There [are] a number of things that are really embarrassing: assassination attempts on Karzai and other leaders, the attack and killing of 4 to 6 students at Kabul University, a number of cases of Karzai's intelligence and police agencies abducting people suspected of associating with some of the warlords, scattered reports of persons tortured by Karzai's police, unsolved bombings, assassinations of senior Karzai ministers, and the grotesque though revealing spectacle of a Western beauty school to be opened soon on the premises of the Afghan Ministry of Women's Affairs, among others. The only vibrant economic activity is the huge informal market where people hawk their wares and sell imported items.

One serious and developing situation involves the hundreds of thousands of refugees who had returned to Afghanistan and are now returning to Pakistan's refugee camps having discovered that life in 'liberated' Kabul is unbearable. There may be a few wonderful restaurants popping up around Kabul like B's Place and the Mustafa Hotel's balcony, and a proposal from two companies, including the Hyatt Corp., to put up luxury hotels -- but for the poor things remain pretty hopeless.

3:09 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Sunday, January 05, 2003

Dr Tom Mack on the truth about smallpox and vaccinations [Stratiawire]
-- There would most likely be only a small number of people infected because "airborne spread would be relatively inefficient."

-- Adult fatality would be 10-15%, not 30% as is often quoted.

-- There would be a one to three week interval between generations, so people could be identified (picture posters with explicit photos of smallpox lesions would be important -- they're pretty easy to identify) and isolated -- the key to controlling the spread of infection. Human resources are essential for surveillance, not control.

-- Putting infected people in hospitals and mass-vaccinating hospital personmel is NOT a good idea. Selected personnel who are in charge of "implementing control" and those known to have been exposed should be vaccinated. Those who may be exposed in work situations and the general public are better off NOT being vaccinated. "The informed consent that you would have to prepare to vaccinate somebody in the public, if it's honest, would have to say that the dangers would exceed the benefits."

See here also on alternatives to vaccines.
Homeopathy, for example, had an especially impressive track record during the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918 in the United States. The case-fatality rates within conventional medicine were running 28%-30% as opposed to 1%-2% for homeopathic treatments. Homeopathic prophylaxis for smallpox during a smallpox outbreak in Corpus Christy, Texas had similar outcomes. Conventional treatments (typical vaccinations) had 20% mortality versus no fatalities and no smallpox with homeopathic prophylaxis preparations. Vitamin C has been proven in hundreds of studies to be effective in protecting the body from viral infections including smallpox.

6:53 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Supersizing fast food kills more people than cigarettes. But it's just good business. [u]

Smaller portions!?! What are you, some kind of pinko A-rab terrorist?

12:34 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

"Corporate credibility" seminars hosted by...the same spinmasters who got them into trouble in the first place [u]

12:26 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

The Battle over who will pay for skyrocketing medical costs in a shaky economy may come to a head when GE's 40% increase in co-payments takes effect this June [u]

No strikes at GE in 30 years. Bet on one this year.

12:10 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Kuwaitis like shrubco less than Saddam [u]
"When the Americans liberated Kuwait my wife used to make drawings for them and I used to give them art as presents. But now things are clearer. We know why they are here. It is not for the sake of the beautiful eyes of Kuwaitis," said Khalifa Ikhrafi, a municipal council member.

11:52 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Julian Sanchez on shrubco "getting the war numbers right" [u]

11:49 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Fish farms' failure and success [u]
"They're like floating pig farms," said Daniel Pauly, professor of fisheries at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. "They consume a tremendous amount of highly concentrated protein pellets and they make a terrific mess."

Fish wastes and uneaten feed smother the sea floor beneath these farms, generating bacteria that consume oxygen vital to shellfish and other bottom-dwelling sea creatures.

Disease and parasites, which would normally exist in relatively low levels in fish scattered around the oceans, can run rampant in densely packed fish farms.

Pesticides fed to the fish and toxic copper sulfate used to keep nets free of algae are building up in sea-floor sediments. Antibiotics have created resistant strains of disease that infect both wild and domesticated fish.

Clouds of sea lice, incubated by captive fish on farms, swarm wild salmon as they swim past on their migration to the ocean.

Of all the concerns, the biggest turns out to be a problem fish farms were supposed to help alleviate: the depletion of marine life from overfishing.


Protests notwithstanding, the industry is expected to get a lot bigger. Demand for seafood is rising and will double by 2040, according to the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization. Nearly half the world's wild fisheries are exhausted from overfishing, thus much of the supply will likely come from farmed seafood.

11:29 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

So -- they're even hassling Phyllis Schlafly's minions at airport security now [a]

This Intervention Magazine looks like a diverting read.

Paging Mr Orwell, Mr Orwell please come to the Disinformation Desk in the Corridor of Masonic Distemper, between the Rubber Hose Lounge and Twilight Time kiosk. . .

11:04 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Daddy would never do that

I was shocked, shocked mind you, to find wild, seditious -- nay, actionably treasonous -- insinuations at World Net Daily that shrubco might be manipulating terror alerts for political effect

Now where would they get an idea like that?

Some people.
"Unfortunately, we haven't made a lot of progress against al-Qaida or the war on terrorism," one FBI agent familiar with terrorism operations told [Capitol Hill Blue]. "We've been spinning our wheels for several weeks now."

Other sources within the bureau and the Central Intelligence Agency said the administration is pressuring intelligence agencies to develop "something, anything" to support an array of non-specific terrorism alerts issued by the White House and the Department of Homeland Security.

"Most of the time, we have little to go on, only unconfirmed snippets of information," a second FBI agent, who also was not named in the report, said. "Most alerts are issued without any concrete data to back up the assumptions."

Indeed, the most recent terrorism alerts have been issued absent specific threat information. Each of the accompanying warnings comes without any shift in the nation's new color-coded alert system; the current warning level of yellow, or "elevated," has been in place since late September.

Even recent reports regarding five Arab men who may have slipped into the country via Canada using phony identification could be politically motivated, one expert said.

10:49 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Water War West

Feds cut the pumps to California/Nevada

Cali, Nevada loses battle. AZ wins. No effect for a couple years, but this is a big deal involving the Salton Sea as wildlife refuge and much more.

Poor planning on Cali's part is a big reason this is happening.

9:44 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

J Orlin Grabbe linked to this page on the Der Spiegel site and it appears to discuss a plan to have Putin escort Saddam into exile

I tried the translator engines and something like that is mentioned. In September Rumsfeld broadly hinted (with his usual gangsterish aplomb) that the US would accept such a solution -- with subsequent US control of the country, natch.

Anyone read German out there?

1:57 AM - [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)


Philip K. Dick


PR Watch

The Link Section


The Global Beat
Progressive Review's Undernews
Guerrilla News Network
newshub top 25
Narco News
BBC World
L.A. Times
Christian Science Monitor
Unknown News
The UK Guardian
Int'l Herald Tribune
The Smirking Chimp
Spin of the Day
USGS Earthquake update
Nando NewsWatch
Unknown Country
Project Censored

questions, questions...
Serendipity WTC page
xymphora (also Mid East)
Mike Ruppert
Matt McVeagh's summary of theories
Propaganda Matrix


Namebase (Public Information Research)
FAS Intel Index
CIA Pubs
J Ransom Clark US Intel Bibliography
Carnicom Chemtrails
ARAP TWA 800 page
Gnostic Liberation Front
Freedom Portal
Philidelphia Experiment/Montauk Project
Freemason Watch
Military Intelligence by John Patrick Finnegan


Aron's Israel Peace Weblog
The Unbound Writer's Online Journal
Temple Furnace
The Mink Dimension
Hari Kunzru
The Asylum Eclectica
Witold Riedel


Schizm Matrix
boing boing
J. Orlin Grabbe Sassafrass
the null device
new world disorder
Invisible Jet
a dam site
This Modern World (the blog)
moon farmer
a bright cold day in april
bifurcated rivets
wood s lot
Ethel the Blog
rebecca's pocket
follow me here
robot wisdom
Orwell Today


Pod Designs


Watch It! (site update notifier)
Ask Now (24/7 reference help)
The Virtual Acquisition Shelf & News Desk
Chilling Effects (online rights)
EIA Environment Consumer Education Initiative (Computer recycling)
stock market
The Center for Justice and Accountability


Earth Alchemy
Astrodienst (free charts)
Morgan's Tarot
Paranormal News
Institute of Noetic Sciences


The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
Fully Informed Jury Association
Why War?
Commercial Alert
Privacy Rights Now
Peaceful Tomorrows
Contacting the Congress
Amer. Booksellers Found. Free Expression
Critical Resistance (prisons)
Working for Change
Contract with the Planet
Unmarried America
Physicians for a National Health Program


insound (music and mags) (books & music cheap)
Web Source Sales (ink carts cheap)

Invisible Web search


[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

© me