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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 18, 2003

Surprise Surprise File:

Farm subsidies in wealthy countries go to the rich
The OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development], a Paris-based body that provides strategic thinking for government decision-making and has long opposed trade-distorting subsidies of any kind, said one of the most cited reasons for agricultural support is to improve the income of farm households. Yet because subsidies are granted across the board, rather than being targeted on the families that need them, "the greater share of that money ends up in the pockets of others," it said.

Indeed, subsidies have the perverse effect of making many poor families poorer, or driving them out of farming altogether, by pushing up the price of land beyond what they can afford, the organization said. This is consistent with other studies, including a report by the conservative Heritage Foundation last year that said the bulk of U.S. farm subsidies went to corporations and big farmers, and helped them buy out small farmers.

9:27 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

shrubco blocks humanitarian aid to Iraqis

9:17 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Antiwar protesters surging past old demographic lines -- even the military [a]
In preparation for Saturday's antiwar rally in Washington, Barbara Beaman went out on Wednesday and bought yarn.

The kindergarten teacher plans to knit on the bus that will take her from Boston to the nation's capital to march with the tens of thousands of protesters who are expected to show up to oppose using military action against Iraq.

Her desire to "stand up and be counted," as she puts it, came late in life. She's been a teacher since she graduated from college in 1959, but an antiwar activist for only about a year. "I've never been a highly political person," she says, "But this feels different. This whole Middle East business has implications for the rest of the world forever."


Jeff McKenzie, another member of Military Families Speak Out, is an anti-war activist from New York state. His son, Jeremy, is an Army captain who flies medical evacuation helicopters and is currently being deployed to the Gulf.

He said he encountered sympathy with his views among some of the soldiers when he visited his son in Fort Benning, Georgia, especially those who were nearing the end of their tours of duty.

His own anti-war views were forged after the events of 11 September, and he took part in anti-nuclear marches.

He says the war in Iraq is about settling old scores and controlling oil, and it would not be in America's interest.

9:11 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Confused Pakistanis flee to Canada and 50-50 chance of staying

8:53 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Desperate shrubco scare tactic moves forward: first smallpox vaccines ship
"We need to do what we need to do, which is to get this show on the road," said Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a telephone press briefing with reporters.


Lorraine Thiebaud, vice president of Local 790 of the Service Employees International Union, which represents nurses at the city's public hospital, said attitudes among the staff there are firming against the vaccinations. "We're probably less willing to go ahead and do this," she said.

Aside from safety concerns, employees sense the decision to vaccinate is not driven by medical concerns. "This is purely a political thing, tied to the war (against Iraq)," she said.

8:41 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Some Referrals
diapers adult nasa
i had sex
www.desensitizing cream new york store
ileana douglas pics
waco murder victim, horns on skull, found in mine area
Phil donahue harassed by Bill Clinton
colleen rowley timing russia
paxil and security clearance problems
"pixel plasticity"
paint japan OR china "one stroke"
pics of troops sent to the Philippines during the Spanish-american war
2003 contact email address of all the business women selling fish in Arab
a big picture of louisiana's state seal
south american weapons blowgun
Unmarried Joint Credit Card Removing One
pics and procedure recycled things from nature catamaran club
cross border valium 2003
pooh and/or tigger playing golf pics
soldiers from gimli manitoba

8:05 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Friday, January 17, 2003

Fine Joan Didion piece on the spell [The Crisis Papers]
There was much about this return to New York [after a post-9/11 book tour] that I had not expected. I had expected to find the annihilating economy of the event -- the way in which it had concentrated the complicated arrangements and misarrangements of the last century into a single irreducible image -- being explored, made legible. On the contrary, I found that what had happened was being processed, obscured, systematically leached of history and so of meaning, finally rendered less readable than it had seemed on the morning it happened. As if overnight, the irreconcilable event had been made manageable, reduced to the sentimental, to protective talismans, totems, garlands of garlic, repeated pieties that would come to seem in some ways as destructive as the event itself. We now had "the loved ones," we had "the families," we had "the heroes."

In fact it was in the reflexive repetition of the word "hero" that we began to hear what would become in the year that followed an entrenched preference for ignoring the meaning of the event in favor of an impenetrably flattening celebration of its victims, and a troublingly belligerent idealization of historical ignorance. "Taste" and "sensitivity," it was repeatedly suggested, demanded that we not examine what happened. Images of the intact towers were already being removed from advertising, as if we might conveniently forget they had been there.


Inquiry into the nature of the enemy we faced, in other words, was to be interpreted as sympathy for that enemy. The final allowable word on those who attacked us was to be that they were "evildoers," or "wrongdoers," peculiar constructions which served to suggest that those who used them were transmitting messages from some ultimate authority. This was a year in which it would come to seem as if we had been plunged at one fell stroke into a pre-modern world. The possibilities of the Enlightenment vanished. We had suddenly been asked to accept -- and were in fact accepting -- a kind of reasoning so extremely fragile that it might have been based on the promised return of the cargo gods.

10:35 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

L.A. Weekly on baby greens
CAMERON RAFT'S LONG, WAVY BROWN HAIR FALLS into his eyes as he adjusts a messenger bag slung across his shoulder. Locals call out as he makes his way down the Venice boardwalk on this crisp, clear Sunday afternoon.

"Most people down here are either tourists or live on the beach, which means they are broke," he says, passing a man promoting alien-conspiracy theories and a pair of breakdancers. "A lot of the tourists are for Bush. It's fun to argue. I get yelled at a lot. I get called 'traitor.' It doesn't really bother me. It's almost rewarding."

The young provocateur hawks his anti-George W. Bush T-shirts here on weekends. He's wearing one of his own designs, a shirt that shows an image of President Bush dressed as Abe Lincoln and reads: "I WANT YOUR sons, daughters, husbands, wives, and sweethearts TO FIGHT MY WAR and make my rich friends richer." Cameron muses that he will most likely stop selling his shirts if the United States goes into a full-blown attack against Iraq, because, he explains, "It's just not funny."

9:50 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Free-speech "beacon" UC-Berkeley censors "a fund-raising appeal for the Emma Goldman Papers Project to be mailed because it quoted Goldman on the subjects of suppression of free speech and her opposition to war" [u]
"I feel this is not the way the university either should or wants to operate," said Robert H. Hirst, general editor of the Mark Twain Project, another documentary editing project at Berkeley. "We just got through creating the Free Speech Cafe on campus, and we have a free speech archive. How many times does this have to happen at Berkeley before they learn?"

3:40 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Spiritual cleansing ritual at Greenland state building vexes both Lutheran ethnic Danes and native Inuit; government disbands [u]

The Danish press had a field day with this, I imagine like the New York Times would with a story about smake-handling Pentecostals at the Tennessee State House - though I could be wrong, I don't read Danish. 15 years ago, something similar might have happened if a bank in New York had hired a feng shui expert to scout a new construction site. Now I doubt it would be a big deal, since feng shui has become part of affluent American culture to some extent.

For my own part, I think the more spiritual cleansing, the better. But the Greenlander politician who hired the "witch" seems to have been less than canny about the cultural tolerance of his colleagues.

There's pertinent commentary at Kieran Healy's blog.

Of course there's the church/state issue too. We have no such qualms here in forthright and progressive America, natch, since we are comfortable enough in our acceptance of the diversity of beliefs not interfering with the governing and law-making process. And no religious organizations have the power to affect that process with their behavior-restricting agendas or apocalyptic world-view.

Clearly, Judge Scalia would have no objections to a little "spiritual intervention" in the courtroom. . .

Nope. No brittle delicate vase, this democracy. We have a strong sense of our place in history and how the world views us and why, a sense of humor about ourselves, even in the face of terrorist attacks (whether of questionable provenance or not). Our native good sense and resilience are such that the basic civil rights we've fought for and enjoyed for centuries could never be usurped. Particularly in a cynical attempt to use a "spiritually inspired" (not to say racially motivated) mandate to line the pockets of a corrupt and venal plutocracy by sacrificing lives, the economic well-being of the nation and our role as the world model of a tolerant, non-interventionist, treaty-abiding democracy which uses the latest technologies to end our dependence on a fast-disappearing energy source, as well as alleviate poverty, pollution and ignorance wherever we see them.

"Ah, backward little Greenland," we paternally sigh, patting it on the head.

Someday you'll grow up and be like us.
And on a very distant star, slimy creatures scan the skies.
They've got plates for hands. And telescopes for eyes. And they say: Look! Down
They say: Watch it move. Watch it shake. Watch it turn. And shake.
Watashiwa sokoni. Watashiwa asobu. Kumowaku yamano.
Watashino sakebi. Watashino koewo. Mewotoji. Mewotoji.
I am there. Lost. Mountains with clouds.
A cry. A shout. My eyes are shut. Shut.
And we say: Watch us move. Watch us shake. We're so pretty.
We're so pretty. We say: Watch us move now. Watch us shake.
We're so pretty. Shake our hands. Shake our heads. We shake our feet.
We're so fine. The way we move. The way we shake.
We're so nice.

-- "Kokoku" Laurie Anderson

2:06 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Fluoride, Teeth and the Atomic Bomb [stratiawire]
"Information was buried," concludes Dr. Phyllis Mullenix, former head of toxicology at Forsyth Dental Center in Boston, and now a critic of fluoridation. Animal studies Mullenix and co-workers conducted at Forsyth in the early 1990's indicated that fluoride was a powerful central nervous system (CNS) toxin, and might adversely affect human brain functioning, even at low doses. (New epidemiological evidence from China adds support, showing a correlation between low-dose fluoride exposure and diminished I.Q. in children.) Mullenix's results were published in 1995, in a reputable peer-reviewed scientific journal.

During her investigation, Mullenix was astonished to discover there had been virtually no previous U.S. studies of fluoride's effects on the human brain. Then, her application for a grant to continue her CNS research was turned down by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), where an NIH panel, she says, flatly told her that "fluoride does not have central nervous system effects."

Declassified documents of the U.S. atomic-bomb program indicate otherwise. An April 29, 1944 Manhattan Project memo reports: "Clinical evidence suggests that uranium hexafluoride may have a rather marked central nervous system effect.... It seems most likely that the F [code for fluoride] component rather than the T [code for uranium] is the causative factor.

6:03 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

But you're not a guinea pig . . .

The FDA receives "by direct report" less than 1% of serious adverse reactions to drugs

5:41 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Surprise Surprise file

NYT reporter's book vetted/censored by the CIA

Geez, and I thought the Times had an in-house spook editor. Guess the CIA is a little short-handed lately. . .

The article wryly notes that one of the shameless mouthpiece of the Washington elite Paper of Record's sportswriters couldn't collaborate on a book with Shaq due to "conflict-of-interest."

4:16 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Agriculture scientists gangstered by farmers, commodity groups & US Dept of Agriculture [sassafrass]
"It's rampant," said JoAnn Burkholder, an acclaimed aquatic botanist trained at Iowa State University who received death threats after warning North Carolina parents not to let their children wade in a manure-polluted stream.

Scientists in Iowa and other states say that the USDA kills controversial research by forcing it through an extended approval process. The agency also keeps researchers from publicizing sensitive findings in scientific journals and at public meetings and cooperates with industry groups to suppress research results that don't meet the groups' satisfaction, they charge.


Bosses told James Zahn, a former federal swine researcher in Ames, that he couldn't publish his findings that air emissions from hog confinements contained potentially health-threatening antibiotic-resistant bacteria. They wouldn't let him speak to citizens groups about the study after pork producers questioned the appearances. The work, they said, didn't fit the lab's mission.

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

xymphora on how the support of the Venezuelan military for Chavez is related to the Venezuelan Anglo elite being so corrupt, the uh less enterprising sons are too lazy and party-lovin' to follow the general trend of joining the military

Underlining again how the V-situation is race-related.

3:45 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Drug chains scamming bogus prescription fees

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

shrubco's shifting of anti-terror and other costs to states offsets federal economic growth plans [u]
It is setting up an unwitting collision over fiscal policy between Washington and the states that will help determine the future of the economy and the fortunes of Main Street.

Already, the relationship between governors and Mr. Bush has been strained by the administration's demand that they pick up more of the tab for homeland security and federal programs like Medicaid and education reform. Now, to some degree, Bush finds the success of his plan in their hands.

"Anything states do to balance their budgets is not going to help the economy," says Nicholas Jenny of the Rockefeller Institute in Albany, N.Y. And if state and local authorities have to raise taxes significantly, he adds, "that can actually have a much bigger impact on how people run their finances" than Bush's tax cuts.

In many ways, this is a normal pattern for any downturn: States must by law balance their budgets, while the federal government is free to spend itself into deficit to spur an economic recovery. What's different this time, experts say, is the magnitude of the problem in statehouses from Connecticut to California.

3:17 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Apartment building in mid-Manhattan requiring fingerprint-entry for tenants [u]
Management at the Manhattan Plaza -- three blocks west of Times Square -- plans to begin fingerprinting tenants within six months, and requiring them to submit their index fingers to a computer scan as they stroll through the lobby. The apartment complex would become the first in New York to use the high-tech security system to weed out the (very) problem tenant, a task delegated elsewhere to surly supers, fish-eyed managing agents and snooty co-op boards.

"The potential for terrorism in an apartment building is a very legitimate concern of the New York Police Department and the FBI," said Bruce Harrison, the complex's managing agent. "I'm not saying that terrorism is the only reason here, but NYPD has told landlords to be aware who comes in and out of the building."


Freeman, the 43-year-old jazz vibist, nodded. "You would become a guest in your own house. What's next for tests -- our blood?"

Not all tenants share these sentiments. Outside, a few spoke of fears that a terrorist might worm his way into a one-bedroom with a view. That possibility doesn't set McDonagh, the theatrical agent, to tossing at night.

"We have a waiting list," she said. "Osama bin Laden will have to wait 10 years to get in, just like everyone else."

2:43 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Oil politics and the Moroccan intervention in Western Sahara
Formerly known as Spanish Sahara and invaded by Morocco in 1975 (the same year Henry Kissinger acquiesced to Indonesia's invasion and annexation of East Timor and India's annexation of the Himalayan Kigdom of Sikkim), Western Sahara's occupation by Morocco has neither been recognized by the United Nations nor the Organization of African Unity. The latter actually recognizes the independence of Western Sahara's exiled Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which is headquartered in remote and squalid desert refugee camps on the Algerian side of the Western Sahara-Algeria border.

In the New World Order of the Bush family, the Western Saharans have little future. That is because the lifeblood of what it means to be a Bush -- oil -- has been discovered off the coast of Western Sahara. Although Morocco is the illegal occupier of Western Sahara, that did not stop the Oklahoma City-based Kerr-McGee Corporation (the company infamously portrayed in the movie "Silkwood") from signing an off-shore exploration deal with Morocco on September 25, 2001, just days after the terrorist attacks on the United States. The timing for Kerr-McGee could not have been better.

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

Russian xenophobia resurges, though more a political reflex on the state's part than the result of popular opinion, I think

I can't find the post right now, but I found a poll a while back that claimed 60% of Russians liked or supported the US, as opposed to a number of other allies.

Then again, things may have changed.

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

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

"National security" used to block unionizing of airport screeners [u]

6:26 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

British rail workers refuse to transport Iraq-bound munitions [u]

6:22 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Mossad OK'd to kill in your backyard

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

New edition of Global Beat has some good stuff

Rangel shakes up the Chickenhawks.

A warning that torture always leads to more torture.

Possible costs of the Iraq War: $75/barrel oil; 1.6 million jobs lost; third world boycotting of US goods; $100 billion for the invasion.

A prediction that the "missile defense system" will cost way more than shrubco is saying -- like as much as $1.2trillion over 30 years, once maintenance and long-term operating costs are factored in. If you still believe it'll work to begin with -- or that there's any point to it.

The site takes a while to load.

6:12 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Tart Boondocks today

1:09 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Le Carre on the Iraq thingie
The imminent war was planned years before bin Laden struck, but it was he who made it possible. Without bin Laden, the Bush junta would still be trying to explain such tricky matters as how it came to be elected in the first place; Enron; its shameless favouring of the already-too-rich; its reckless disregard for the world's poor, the ecology and a raft of unilaterally abrogated international treaties. They might also have to be telling us why they support Israel in its continuing disregard for UN resolutions.

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

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Spying for Queen Elizabeth [plep via skimble]

The First, that is.

No mention of John Dee though. Too bad he didn't keep a record of his non-occult explloits as detailed as his occult ones.

This book has been on my list for a while. Just the books on intelligence I want to read are growing to a daunting number.

4:03 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Health care 15% of GNP and growing

Nurses on strike to retain health care benefits in retirement

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

List of K Marts to be closed; 30,000-35,000 jobs to be cut

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

Only 26% of investors think new legislation will reduce corporate fraud

It'll be a couple years before the NYSE's own reform plan is fully implemented -- that's after it's been adopted, which hasn't happened yet. It was introduced in June.

Why should anyone think this will work? The system itself encourages corruption.

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

GE employee who worked on the co-pay agreement claims the cost increase isn't really that much -- though the AP article on the strike says it's gone up $2350/year on average per employee in 3 years

The bottom line is that health care is going to be too expensive for over half the country very soon.

1:32 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Go to my other site for some news on copyright protection and online phone service that works

Some posts could go on either site, and the price-fixing settlement I wanted to spread the word on so I posted it both places.

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

Make sure you sign up for the price-fixing settlement refund

If you bought music between '95 and '00, you're eligible. Probable refund is between $5 - $20, though if enough people sign up and the refund is less than $5, the money goes to "music-related programs" or whatever.

At least you'll be telling the MusicMobsters you're watching them.

I don't feel this is near enough, but they'll probably be bankrupt soon enough anyway.

The deadline is March 3rd, and few have signed up so far.

12:42 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Monday, January 13, 2003

I get hits from military/government servers a couple to 3 times a week. Here are the search referral hits so far:
mazar-i-sharif wil s. hylton
"a russian owned" and "new york"
"sibel edmonds"
aircraft carrier g. h. w. bush
military arrest drugs pics
Proactive Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG)
rudi bakhtiar pics
"wayne lowery" fbi [gao]
"intelligence support activity" army 2003
global crossing charges ashcroft bush gary winnick christmas
So if Rudi Bakhtiar interviewed Sibel Edmonds, I guess they'd be tuned in.

The last one was just this AM by the most common visitor, the DoD Network Information Center. Only 10 results, topped by #1 hit Unknown News, the originators of the webring I belong to (see bottom of page).

9:50 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Looks like Roll Call is subscriber only for full articles now

Too bad. This was a good source of info.

Unless you're a Congressional staffer, US CoC member or a print subscriber, it's $199 a year (That's the introductory offer.).

I see at the bottom of the page that they're owned by The Economist, so no surprise there, for anyone who's looked at their sub rates.

Any staffers or Chamber of Commerce members out there willing to share the wealth (username and password would be fine)?

9:29 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Interesting Time poll on which country is the greatest threat to world peace [Mike Ruppert]

You can still vote.

When I posted this, the US had 74.6% of the vote.

9:20 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Heard about Tehelka -- the wildly successful Indian website that exposed the pervasive corruption on Indian politicians -- a while back; Kafka had nothing on this story [u]
His reporters, posing as arms salesmen, had bribed their way into the home of the defence minister, George Fernandes, and handed over £3,000 to one of the minister's colleagues. The journalists found many other people prepared to take money - senior army officers, bureaucrats, even the president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata party, who was filmed shovelling the cash into his desk.


In the aftermath of the scandal, the Hindu nationalist-led government "unleashed" the inland revenue, the enforcement directorate and the intelligence bureau, India's answer to MI5, on Tehelka's office in suburban south Delhi.

They did not find anything. Frustrated, the officials started tearing apart the website's investors. Tehelka's financial backer, Shanker Sharma, was thrown in jail without charge.

Detectives also held Aniruddha Bahal, the reporter who carried out the exposé, and a colleague, Kumar Badal. Badal is still in prison.

12:21 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Chilling psychological profile of Ol' Frog Blaster [u]
Miller told Whyte, ""When he tries to talk about what this country stands for, or about democracy, he can't do it."

"This, then, is why he's so closely watched by his handlers, Miller says not because he'll say something stupid, but because he'll overindulge in the language of violence and punishment at which he excels," Whyte wrote.

"He's a very angry guy, a hostile guy. He's much like Nixon. So they're very, very careful to choreograph every move he makes. They don't want him anywhere near protestors, because he would lose his temper," Miller said.


"He has no trouble speaking off the cuff when he's speaking punitively, when he's talking about violence, when he's talking about revenge," Miller told Whyte. "When he struts and thumps his chest, his syntax and grammar are fine. It's only when he leaps into the wild blue yonder of compassion, or idealism, or altruism, that he makes these hilarious mistakes."

12:03 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Sunday, January 12, 2003

Read this

Lowdown on Korean situation
[sassafrass again]

Basics: shrubco turned off the heat the Clinton administration promised, just as winter was setting in. This was the only part of the 8 year-old agreement the US has been faithful to.

And the US has been subverting South Korea's attempts to reconcile with the North. (The post should be read in its entirety.)

But why do they hate us?

3:01 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

"Cracker chic" is now hip among Florida's affluent [sassafrass]
Ms. Coslik's home features 1,000 square feet of screened-in porch. The screen door is made of mahogany and fitted with hinges that mute the slam into a sort of soft thud that one WaterColor marketing executive describes as "the sound of growing up in the South." The cost of the door, including handle, is $700.

Ms. Coslik, 36, isn't using her porch to escape the heat as the early settlers once did. She has air conditioning for that. For her, the porch is a place to meditate and practice Yoga. "When I think cracker," she says, "I think of getting back to the essence and away from material aspects of life."
skimble looks like a pretty good blog.

2:42 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Finnish prisons [sassafrass]
Thirty years ago, Finland had a rigid model, inherited from neighboring Russia, and one of the highest rates of imprisonment in Europe. But then academics provoked a thoroughgoing rethinking of penal policy, with their argument that it ought to reflect the region's liberal theories of social organization.

"Finnish criminal policy is exceptionally expert-oriented," said Tapio Lappi-Seppala, director of the National Research Institute of Legal Policy. "We believe in the moral-creating and value-shaping effect of punishment instead of punishment as retribution."

He asserted that over the last two decades, more than 40,000 Finns had been spared prison, $20 million in costs had been saved, and the crime rate had gone down to relatively low Scandinavian levels.

Mr. Salminen, the prison service director, pulled out a piece of paper and drew three horizontal lines. "This first level is self- control, the second is social control and the third is officer control. In Finland," he explained, "we try to intervene at this first level so people won't get to the other two."


Finland, a relatively classless culture with a Scandinavian belief in the benevolence of the state and a trust in its civic institutions, is something of a laboratory for gentle justice. The kinds of economic and social disparities that can produce violence don't exist in Finland's welfare state society, street crime is low, and law enforcement officials can count on support from an uncynical public.

Look in on Finland's penal institutions, whether those the system categorizes as "open" or "closed," and it is hard to tell when you've entered the world of custody. "This is a closed prison," Esko Aaltonen, warden of the Hameenlinna penitentiary, said in welcoming a visitor. "But you may have noticed you just drove in, and there was no gate blocking you."

2:29 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

skippy the bush kangaroo wonders why there was basically no BigMedia mention of the L.A. antiwar protest Friday I mean Saturday (sorry, I've been cold-smacked for a few days)) [me-zine]

11:13 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Nagging questions about the WTC collapse, the anthrax event and the media's uni-spew of the government line [og]

1:37 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Well, land sakes!

The Washington Post shakes its furry lil' head and realizes (gasp!) the situation in Venezuela is not what the US media and the curiously reticent White House have said it was
Walking around Caracas late last month during Venezuela's ongoing protests, I was surprised by what I saw. My expectations had been shaped by persistent U.S. media coverage of the nationwide strike called by the opposition, which seeks President Hugo Chavez's ouster. Yet in most of the city, where poor and working-class people live, there were few signs of the strike. Streets were crowded with holiday shoppers, metro trains and buses were running normally, and shops were open for business. Only in the eastern, wealthier neighborhoods of the capital were businesses mostly closed.

This is clearly an oil strike, not a "general strike," as it is often described. At the state-owned oil company, PDVSA, which controls the industry, management is leading the strike because it is at odds with the Chavez government. And while Venezuela depends on oil for 80 percent of its export earnings and half its national budget, the industry's workers represent a tiny fraction of the labor force. Outside the oil industry, it is hard to find workers who are actually on strike. Some have been locked out from their jobs, as business owners -- including big foreign corporations such as McDonald's and FedEx -- have closed their doors in support of the opposition.

Most Americans seem to believe that the Chavez government is a dictatorship, and one of the most repressive governments in Latin America. But these impressions are false.

Not only was Chavez democratically elected, his government is probably one of the least repressive in Latin America. This, too, is easy to see in Caracas. While army troops are deployed to protect Miraflores (the presidential compound), there is little military or police presence in most of the capital, which is particularly striking in such a tense and volatile political situation. No one seems the least bit afraid of the national government, and despite the seriousness of this latest effort to topple it, no one has been arrested for political activities.
Ho ho ho. So where have they been? Reading the NY Times or the L.A. Times, or just AP? CNN? Oh I see -- Reuters.

Unbelievable. This has been obvious to people on the streets since well before the abortive coup last April. . .

Mr Weisbrot must have missed his session in Dick Cheney's Boom Basement . . . make sure those electrodes are stuck on real good there . . .

1:03 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Rest easy, English readers

"Tony Blair is no Poodle" assures Colon Powell, quickly stuffing a coupon for a trim at a Washington grooming parlor back in his pocket

12:46 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)


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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