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planing lakes



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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 17, 2004

US losing credibility with Europeans on terror issues because of gangster attitude based on politics more than facts

8:36 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Coming to a town near you? file:

How massive unemployment is mutating Argentinian society
It is a jarring transformation in a country that for most of the 20th century was safe, prosperous and solidly middle class. The unprecedented jobless and poverty rates, following the collapse of local industries in the 1990s, have plunged the country into a crisis that has introduced this overwhelmingly white country to the kind of social pathogens that have poisoned poor black and Latino ghettos in the United States.

In the concrete shantytowns known as villas miserias or misery villages, clots of young men gather on street corners in hooded sweatshirts and skullcaps, downing bottles of beer and smoking marijuana. Unwed mothers complain that it is difficult to collect child support payments. The jobless gripe that employers discriminate against job applicants from the slums. Unmarried women are accused by their neighbors of bearing children merely to collect public assistance. And crime has gotten so out of hand that thousands of women took to the streets on a Friday evening two months ago banging pots and pans in deafening protest.

8:34 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Felt bogus from the beginning file:

Christmas "Orange Alert" was based on fabricated intel discounted as "not making sense" by French intel on Dec 23
[Mike Ruppert]

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

Drug War Clock [u]

12:39 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Shameful US media send Americans elsewhere for news

New poll finds Americans are turning to the Internet and shows like The Daily Show for news about the 2004 campaign (as well as other issues I'm sure) instead of "the News Networks"

12:30 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Board game "Monopoly" originally socialist teaching tool [u]
...Anspach uncovered a series of long-buried facts. to begin with, the Monopoly game, in its original form, was called "The Landlord's Game." It was invented and patented in 1903 by Lizzie J. Magie, a follower of Henry George and his single-tax theory, as a means of teaching the evils of exploitation by landlords and the capitalist business system prevalent in America.

Over the years a number of socialists such as Scott Nearing, known as the "father of environmentalism," changed the name of the game to "Monopoly." They drew up their own game boards, using street and utility names from their cities and towns. By the eary 1930s a group of Quakers in Atlantic City were playing the game on homemade boards containing the same names as on the commercial Monopoly board: Boardwalk, Park Place, Mediterranean Avenue, Baltic Avenue, etc.

One evening in 1932 an unemployed salesman, Clarence B. Darrow, joined the Atlantic City Quakers for a Monopoly game session. Recognizing the commerical potential of the game, and unsympathetic to the Quakers' view that it was not meant to be used for profit-making, Darrow copied the board and presented it to the president of Parker Brothers, Robert Barton, as his (Darrow's) own invention.

12:25 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Parabens -- preservatives "commonly used in under-arm sprays, make-up and foods" -- have been found in cancer tumors [u]

12:18 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Leakage, or the transformation of the US economy into a third world backwater

Negative job growth will haunt new bubble economy according to Morgan Stanley analyst
The Great American Job Machine has long powered the US business cycle. It drives the income growth that fuels personal consumption. That internally generated fuel is all but absent in the current upturn. The US economy is mired in a jobless recovery the likes of which it has never seen. This has profound implications for the economic outlook, the political climate, trade policies, and the global business cycle.

Contrary to popular spin, the US labor market is not on the mend. In the final five months of 2003, a total of only 278,000 new jobs were added by nonfarm businesses -- a gain that is easily matched in a single month of a typical hiring-led recovery. Moreover, literally all of the job growth that has occurred over this period has been concentrated in three industry segments -- temporary staffing, education, and healthcare -- which collectively added 286,000 positions in the final five months of last year. The "animal spirits" of a broad-based hiring-led revival by US businesses are all but absent. Jobs may be rising in America's low-cost contingent workforce (temps) and in high-cost-areas that are shielded from international competition (health and education), but positions continue to be eliminated in manufacturing, retail trade, and financial and information services.


There can be no mistaking the important implications of this jobless recovery. Lacking in job creation as never before, it follows that there is equally profound shortfall of wage income generation. Normally, at this juncture in a US business cycle expansion, private wage and salary disbursements -- fully 45% of total personal income and easily the largest component of household purchasing power -- are up by 8% (in real terms). Yet 24 months into the current expansion, this key slice of income is actually down nearly 1% -- the functional equivalent of about a $350 billion shortfall in real consumer purchasing power.

Lacking in such internally generated income, saving-short American consumers have had to draw support from secondary sources of purchasing power -- namely massive tax cuts, an outsized build-up of debt, and the extraction of cash from over-valued assets such as homes. This is a tenuous foundation of support for any economy. It has led to subpar national saving, a record current-account gap, and sharply elevated household debt service burdens -- a steep price to pay in order to fund the insatiable appetite of the American consumer. A persistence of this jobless recovery will only up the ante on these imbalances -- raising serious questions about the ultimate sustainability of the current upturn, in my view.


In the end, America's protracted shortfall of jobs and internally generated income has created a new and powerful leakage in the system -- a leakage that ultimately renders traditional multiplier effects all but inoperative. Not only does that draw into serious question the case for a cumulative and self-sustaining recovery in the US economy, but it could well elicit dangerous policy responses from Washington. Jobless recoveries unmask the false foundations of a cyclical upturn. That's precisely the risk financial markets are missing.

12:05 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Friday, January 16, 2004

Driver in DC stopped by police for "being radioactive" after having an x-ray [u]

11:47 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

2 members of 9/11 "truth" commission give evidence on own inquiry
The panel set up to investigate why the United States failed to prevent the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, faced angry questions Thursday after revelations that two of its own senior officials were so closely involved in the events under investigation that they have been interviewed as part of the inquiry.

Philip Zelikow, the commission's executive director, worked on the Bush-Cheney transition team as the new administration took power, advising his longtime associate and former boss, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, on the incoming National Security Council.

"He came forward (to answer questions) in case he might have useful information," said Al Felzenberg, the commission spokesman.

The news was greeted with dismay by many of the relatives of the victims who campaigned for the commission to be set up.

"This is beginning to look like a whitewash," Kristen Breitweizer, who lost her husband Ron in tower two of the World Trade Center, told United Press International.

10:03 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Playing the HAARP file?:

Hole in uniform layer of cloud in Alabama puzzles scientists
[Subtle Energies]

9:55 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

OilPanic file:

US edges into Mauritania

9:24 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Survey of Sharon's scandals [newsmakingnews]

9:52 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

WalMart's own audit three years ago "pointed to extensive violations of child-labor laws and state regulations requiring time for breaks and meals" [drudge]

1:49 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Monday, January 12, 2004

Reuters files formal complaint against Pentagon for army brutalization of journos
The US military initially claimed that the Reuters journalists were "enemy personnel" who had opened fire on US troops and refused to release them for 72 hours.

Although Reuters has not commented publicly, it is understood that the journalists were "brutalised and intimidated" by US soldiers, who put bags over their heads, told them they would be sent to Guantanamo Bay, and whispered: "Let's have sex."

At one point during the interrogation, according to the family of one of the staff members, a US soldier shoved a shoe into the mouth one of the Iraqis.

The US troops, from the 82nd Airborne Division, based in Falluja, also made the blindfolded journalists stand for hours with their arms raised and their palms pressed against the cell wall.

"They were brutalised, terrified and humiliated for three days," one source said. "It was pretty grim stuff. There was mental and physical abuse."

He added: "It makes you wonder what happens to ordinary Iraqis."

11:43 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Sam Smith launches a blog for alt journos, which already looks pretty good

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

The phenomenon
Years before Howard Dean's use of the Internet dazzled analysts and propelled him to the front of the 2004 Democratic presidential field, MoveOn paved the way, evolving in six short years from something of a cybergeek forum to arguably the largest and most forceful voice in digital-era politics.


With six paid staffers and Boyd and Blades serving as full-time volunteers, MoveOn has applied some of the same Silicon Valley strategies that turned eBay and Google into powerhouses.

The site is organized in ways traditional political consultants might not stomach. Any member can propose priorities and strategies to which others can respond, and the most-supported ideas rise to the top.

That means ceding control over much of the content to motivated online participants, producing interactivity that adds grass-roots credibility.

10:29 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Army War College Study Blasts U.S. War on Terrorism
The Iraq invasion was "an unnecessary preventive war of choice" that has robbed resources and attention from the more critical fight against al Qaeda in a hopeless U.S. quest for absolute security, according to a study recently published by the U.S. Army War College.
About wraps it up.

10:25 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Privacy = terrorism file:

Defying airline and public opposition, shrubco goes ahead with plan to scan backgrounds of all passengers

12:57 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Collapse of the Israeli state file:

Over 100,000 protest settlement evacuation plans

12:29 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Parmalat scandal rooted in local family/town culture (unlike wild blue yonder firms like Enron and WorldCom) yet implicating global financial concerns like Citibank and Standard & Poor's in web of deceit

12:24 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Sunday, January 11, 2004

American Medical Association Recommends Warning Tattoos for Children
The most recent edition of the American Medical Association's Guide to Pediatric Health published Wednesday recommends that all children under the age of eight receive a series of reactive, low half-life tattoos containing essential preventative health information.


The recommended tattoos, including the admonition "Not to be Put in Eye" to be inscribed on the thumb and index finger of each hand, are based upon detailed actuarial analyses of the 1,200 most commonly reported childhood injuries and disorders.
Only a joke . . . so far.

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

shrubco visa proposal "nightmare to administer"
Six and a half years after Maria Padron de Osornio applied for permanent residency in the United States, the Mexican immigrant living in Glendale is still waiting to receive her green card.

Her lawyer has told Padron it may be five more years before her application is approved and processed. By then, Padron will have waited 11 years for her green card, a wait immigration experts say is not only typical but getting longer as the backlog of applications grows.

The wait immigrants already face points out the monumental challenge of administering the temporary-worker program President Bush outlined last week.

Bush's plan would allow undocumented immigrants and foreigners overseas to seek temporary visas to work in the United States.

Supporters and opponents agree any temporary-worker program could add millions of new applications to the nation's already overburdened immigration system. It also could cost billions of dollars to administer and require hiring and training thousands of new immigration workers to process the applications. It also could take years to implement, experts say.

"I've already been waiting so long already," said Padron, 30, who is eligible for a green card because she is married to a Mexican immigrant who already has his green card. She holds a visa to stay in the United States. "The system doesn't work very fast."
Personal note: I'm waiting for a replacement for a stolen green card and even that will take at least 18 months from when I applied in July.

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

Amnesty UK calls for immediate closure of Gitmo detention center

5:45 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Surprise surprise file:

Pentagon auditors fudge figures
Pentagon auditors spent 1,139 hours altering their own files in order to pass an internal review, say investigators who found that the accounting sleuths engaged in just the kind of wasteful activity they are supposed to expose.

When the auditors in the New York City office learned well in advance which files a review team would check, they spent the equivalent of more than 47 days doctoring the papers and updating records from several audits, the Defense Department's inspector general concluded. Administrative staff, audit supervisors and other employees also participated in the scheme.

The fabrication at the Defense Contract Audit Agency "certainly violates the spirit and intent" of government auditing standards and rules on ethical conduct, according to the inspector general's report obtained by The Associated Press.

The fabrication was discovered in 2001, but the report on it was not disclosed until Tuesday.

5:32 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

© me