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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, May 03, 2003

Building an alternative economy the hard way file

Porn, pot and illegal labor account for 10% of US economy

9:53 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Lesson for shrubco's occupation of Iraq: Israel in Lebanon [Global Beat]
As Eli Fastman and other Israeli soldiers rolled into southern Lebanon in 1982, Shiite Muslim villagers showered them with rice and roses in gratitude for driving out the Palestine Liberation Organization, which had effectively controlled the area.

As the Israelis continued onto Beirut, the Shiites appeared to them to be one of the more innocuous groups in a convulsed country of armed factions.

But it took almost no time for that appraisal to change. With the P.L.O. gone, the Shiites had no use for Israeli troops. Within months, Shiites went from greeting the soldiers with candy to ambushing them with bombs.

"The attitudes changed very quickly," said Mr. Fastman, who now manages the Fox News bureau in Jerusalem. "The simple presence of the military vehicles and the checkpoints contributed greatly to the hostility."

9:13 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Building an alternative economy the hard way file:

Percentage of Americans working or looking for work drops to 66%; last two years largest percentage drop in 40 years

8:51 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Rolling back the 20th century file:

Shrubco disguises reversal of 40 hour workweek as "family-friendly" bill

8:37 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Los Alamos lab may be defunct due to corruption and fraud [u]
It began with a seemingly small mess -- a series of financial shenanigans in which employees used government money to buy personal goods. But, like most great government scandals, the cover-up quickly eclipsed the crime. The investigators hired to look into these problems were fired after they told Energy Department officials what they knew.

Within 45 days, top officials at Los Alamos, including lab director John Browne, were either forced to resign or were stripped of their responsibilities. The damage didn't end there. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce began holding a series of hearings -- the last of which is scheduled for today -- and the Energy Department started a slew of new investigations.

These efforts produced an assortment of disturbing vignettes: The lab couldn't keep track of its guns, for example. It didn't know where thousands of computers had gone -- including ones loaded with classified information.

8:28 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Whitewash of Iraq invasion begins with US refusal to state Iraqi casualties [u]
According to the military brass, the US no longer does "body counts," a reference to the often-inflated battlefield reports that contributed to galvanizing international and domestic opposition to the Vietnam War. In line with its efforts to sanitize the image of the US military, the Pentagon and the US news media have decided to conceal from the world and the American public the extent of the massacre that has occurred in Iraq.


Captain Frank Thorp of the Navy, the chief spokesman at Central Command, said commanders had not been asked to keep track because it was "too time consuming" and "risky" to count corpses on the battlefield. "Out there in the combat environment," he said, "the commander on the ground is focused on the present, the future and how his troops are doing. We are not going to ask him to make specific reports on enemy casualties."

This attitude, reminiscent of the genocidal policy toward the American Indians and the haughty barbarism of European colonialists in Africa and Asia, has been directly encouraged by President Bush, who declared on several occasions that the US would not stop at "half measures" in its war of conquest against Iraq.

8:16 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Ashcroft and the End of Civil Rights in America file:

Lawyer who defended '93 WTC bombing mastermind Sheikh Abdel-Rahman arrested for defending a terrorist
Stewart's case, now winding its way through pre-trial motions toward a scheduled January 2004 trial, stands as a critical test for the Bush Administration's newly reserved right to violate lawyer-client confidentiality in order to wage the War on Terror. It also has a significant First Amendment freedom of speech component. Stewart's indictment charges her with discussing Abdel-Rahman's case with a Reuters reporter--even though no gag order barred her from doing so; with talking while an interpreter was speaking with her client during a consultation in his prison cell, thereby preventing the Justice Department from taping the two's Arabic talk; and that she allowed them to speak, in Arabic, about non-legal matters. If convicted, she faces 40 years in prison.

8:11 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

US companies inflate profits, then ask IRS for a refund when they're found out

7:37 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

"Virtue" czar Bill Bennett has $200,000 credit at Vegas & AC casinos, while publicly opposing "the extension of casino gambling in the states" [drudge]

7:34 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Friday, May 02, 2003

UK photojournalist killed by Israeli tank in Gaza

11:40 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Today's US court of appeals ruling would gut the campaign reform act if upheld by the Supreme Court

11:38 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

William Greider on shrubco and the Right's plan to roll back the 20th century [u]
Many opponents and critics (myself included) have found the right's historic vision so improbable that we tend to guffaw and misjudge the political potency of what it has put together. We might ask ourselves: If these ideas are so self-evidently cockeyed and reactionary, why do they keep advancing? The right's unifying idea--get the government out of our lives--has broad popular appeal, at least on a sentimental level, because it represents an authentic core value in the American experience ("Don't tread on me" was a slogan in the Revolution). But the true source of its strength is the movement's fluid architecture and durability over time, not the passing personalities of Reagan-Gingrich-Bush or even the big money from business. The movement has a substantial base that believes in its ideological vision--people alarmed by cultural change or injured in some way by government intrusions, coupled with economic interests that have very strong reasons to get government off their backs--and the right has created the political mechanics that allow these disparate elements to pull together. Cosmopolitan corporate executives hold their noses and go along with Christian activists trying to stamp out "decadent" liberal culture. Fed-up working-class conservatives support business's assaults on their common enemy, liberal government, even though they may be personally injured when business objectives triumph.

The right's power also feeds off the general decay in the political system--the widely shared and often justifiable resentments felt toward big government, which no longer seems to address the common concerns of ordinary citizens.
An excellent article, unsurprisingly.

Picking apart the ideas one agrees with from the reactionary cant is difficult and yet I'm finding that to define my politics now demands it.

IMO -- The revolution the Right is advancing will bring change they can't foresee and would probably find very distasteful. Creating an expectation that radical change is a good thing could well serve interests anathemical to their agenda.

Big government in the 60s and 70s was assumed to be the liberal/progressive bulwark against parochial and reactionary local government/opinion.

Now I have nearly as dim a view of those neo-liberal platitudes as I do of the Right's agenda.

What has to happen is involvement and oversight by citizens of government and corporate activity the likes of which has never been seen.

The more power the Right controls, the less amenable it is to decentralizing that power. Witness the debacle in Florida in Election 2000. They are trying to create their own version of the Big Neoliberal Fed of that earlier period.

A truly democratic America -- past the shocked-passive Daddy-Knows-Best post-9/11 Weimarish fog -- is not in the interests of either the neocons or the neoliberals.

But with the irresistible connectivity soon to be available to everyone -- coupled with the underfunding and increasing irrelevance of the old institutions and the rapidly shrinking mandate of the Washington Power Complex -- it's going to happen anyway -- when citizens decide they've had enough, and the dazed vision of some recovered Lost Victorian/fundie Patriarchal Valhalla is revealed to be the Police State the Right so obviously yearns for.

Big questions here. I'll stop rambling now.

7:12 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

"US regime change" playing cards [u]

6:44 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Small world file:

The bin Laden family is a "substantial investor" in Bechtel, one of the contractors with a huge contract to rebuild Iraq
[Unknown News]

4:02 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

War status
I think it's suddenly not having a lot of enemies to hate anymore. Maybe it's because for four years now we've been focussing our mind little peanut.

The Win-the-War Peanut.

That was all: get it over with. Eat that Peanut.

All at once -- no peanut!

Now we start lookin' at each other again. We don't know what's suppposed to happen. We're used to fightin' but we don't know what to fight. You can feel the tension in the air. A whole lot of fight and hate that doesn't know where to go.
from the Edward Dmytryk movie Crossfire (1947), written by John Paxton, based on Richard Brooks' novel.

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

Granting of police state powers to CIA/Pentagon averted in Congress
The proposal, which was beaten back, would have given the C.I.A. and the military the authority to issue administrative subpoenas -- known as "national security letters" -- requiring Internet providers, credit card companies, libraries and a range of other organizations to produce materials like phone records, bank transactions and e-mail logs. That authority now rests largely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the subpoenas do not require court approval.

The surprise proposal was tucked into a broader intelligence authorization bill now pending before Congress. It set off fierce debate today in a closed-door meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee, officials said. Democrats on the panel said they were stunned by the proposal because it appeared to expand significantly the role of the C.I.A. and the Pentagon in conducting domestic operations, despite a long history of tight restrictions, officials said.

After raising objections, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California and other Democrats succeeded in getting the provision pulled from the authorization bill, at least temporarily, Congressional officials said.

11:30 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

I'm a bit late on this I guess, but here's the petition to free imprisoned Iranian blogger Sina Motallebi
Reporters without Borders recently called Iran, "the biggest jail for journalists in the Middle East."

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

Fallujah is flashpoint in tension betweeen US soldiers and Iraqis
When they arrived, the Americans brought irritants petty and large. Their speeding patrols and convoys make thoroughfares dangerous. Their checkpoints delay and invade privacy. Iraqis claim GIs they encounter mock their clothing and customs.

The greatest sensitivity involves women. Iraqis resent soldiers looking at their women, almost all of whom are draped while in public in head-to-toe abayas, and believe they're exchanging crude remarks as women pass by.

The most unusual complaint is that GIs' binoculars, goggles, or night-vision scopes are being used to look into houses, or even through curtains or clothing.

American officers contend only a minority of Fallujah's people feel this animosity toward their troops, and Baathists are fomenting clashes. But reporters found a universal desire for the Americans to at least withdraw to the city's outskirts.

2:20 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

shrub speaks, America yawns
Bush, wearing a bright red tie, white shirt and blue suit, stood on a sunny deck surrounded by sailors. The sea and blue sky enveloped him.

Rather called it a "production." NBC's Tom Brokaw, after showing tape of the president landing on the aircraft carrier deck in a fighter jet, said White House aides "openly acknowledge this photo is likely to show up again as the president campaigns for re-election."

"There is some criticism coming that this is one big photo opportunity," CNN's Paula Zahn said.

Even Fox News Channel, with the most vociferous war supporters, noted the political symbolism.

"The president has put together one of the all-time great photo opportunities and convinced the television networks to give him a prime-time" stage, said Fox's Wendell Goler.

2:10 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Thursday, May 01, 2003

2 official letters from a decisive majority of US Congresspeople pay their usual simpering obeisance to Sharon and his thugs on the "Roadmap" issue

Even though the game is already in the bag.
The American administration, ever mindful of a do-or-die election next year, wants no part of being embarrassed by Abu Mazen's PA, as previous administrations were embarassed by Arafat's, Eldar says. Washington also has little trust that Abu Mazen has the strength to deliver on the issues that count, just as the White House has scant interest in demanding that Israel make concessions like wholesale troop pullbacks, only to be hit by fresh waves of suicide bombings.

In sum, Sharon is betting on Abu Mazen to fail.

What's in it for Sharon? Eldar believes that the Israeli leader quietly but genuinely believes what Israeli ultra-hawks like Likud cabinet minister Uzi Landau and American neocons like Richard Perle are pleased to say out loud: that everything connected with Oslo must go - up to and including the whole of the Palestinian Authority.


For his part, Bush, ever mindful of the Jewish vote, can also discreetly bet on Abu Mazen to lose. If the scenario plays out as neocons hope, he can appear to have a peace process going, but will have no need to pressure Israel into concessions.

"Then Bush can turn around and tell the Europeans, the Egyptians and the Saudis, 'I did my job. I've accepted the road map, I've turned my back on the Israeli demands for revisions to the plan, now it's up to you to deliver your Palestinian friends.'"

In any case, Eldar says, "someone will always provide him with a terrorist attack, so he can say, 'What do you expect me to do now?'"

9:59 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

shrub flies!
Utterly pathetic file:

The Drudge caption for this photo is "Yes, I flew it!" -- like this is some weird affirmation of shrub's ... I don't even know what

What's next -- a Spiderman costume for press conferences?

News Flash George: nobody gives a rat's ass if you flew it.

9:33 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Congress ready to bust $6.4tril debt cap, as tax cuts are pushed and Rumsfeld waves his uh big gun at Syria, North Korea, etc.

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

shrubco continues to backtrack fiercely on WMD evidence in Iraq [a]

9:49 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Stalinist secrecy seems shrubco's hallmark

shrubco blocks release of Congressional 9/11 Intel Report
The report was completed last December; only a bare-bones list of "findings" with virtually no details was made public. But nearly six months later, a "working group" of Bush administration intelligence officials assigned to review the document has taken a hard line against further public disclosure. By refusing to declassify many of its most significant conclusions, the administration has essentially thwarted congressional plans to release the report by the end of this month, congressional and administration sources tell NEWSWEEK. In some cases, these sources say, the administration has even sought to "reclassify" some material that was already discussed in public testimony -- a move one Senate staffer described as "ludicrous."


 Some sources who have read the still-secret congressional report say some sections would not play quite so neatly into White House plans [to use 9/11 as '04 campaign kickoff]. One portion deals extensively with the stream of U.S. intelligence-agency reports in the summer of 2001 suggesting that Al Qaeda was planning an upcoming attack against the United States?and implicitly raises questions about how Bush and his top aides responded. One such CIA briefing, in July 2001, was particularly chilling and prophetic. It predicted that Osama bin Laden was about to launch a terrorist strike "in the coming weeks," the congressional investigators found. The intelligence briefing went on to say: "The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against U.S. facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning."

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

Abbas and Dahlan: the Israelis'/shrubco's choices to replace Arafat (also the Israelis' choice back in the day) and sell Palestine [u]
Under the guise of "reforming" the Palestinian Authority for the sake of "peace," we are witnessing Rabin's formula being resurrected with only the names changed. The vague promises of the Oslo accords have been replaced with the vague promises of the "Road Map." Abbas is being promoted not because he represents the future for the Palestinians, but precisely because he represents a past in which private profit and privilege were secretly traded for fundamental rights and interests of the Palestinian people.

1:20 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

US Navy finally leaves Vieques, but residents question future testing range land use as wildlife refuge

12:13 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Mainstream doubtcreep, suggestion of biowar origins
Researchers in Germany then infected monkeys with this virus and found they developed all the symptoms of Sars, which satisfied the World Health Organization that the virus caused the condition.

But now Canadian doctors says only 40% of Sars patients seem to be infected with coronavirus and some people are infected but do not have Sars.


An American researcher has suggested a different possible origin for Sars: military biological weapons programmes.

Richard Fisher, a senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington-based think tank, said the theory shouldn't be ruled out.
No mention of which country's biowar program might be the source.

Had to look up the Jamestown Foundation, natch, and it stresses the word "freedom" in its PR, which bodes ill. Nothing unusual, typical corporate/academic board.

Had this little graf on the cost of police bribes in Russia, from 70¢ for "'pardoning' the absence of registration by a rural police department" to half a mil or more for the "illegal releasing of an imprisoned criminal by the Federal Interior Ministry."


12:02 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

shrubco's Corporate Christian Death Cult vs the Vatican: revival of an old feud?
John Dee, the son of one of Henry VIII's court officials, grew up surrounded by this controversy and the mystical currents concerning the notion of British Empire. The latter involved a spiritual as well as a geopolitical aspect: the British were to inherit the earth, and in the process foster the spread of True Christianity. That is, not Catholicism.

According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, the kings of Britain were descended from Brut, of Trojan origin. King Arthur, one of Brut's descendants, was considered the chief exemplar of sacred British Imperial Christianity. John Dee identified with this Arthurian notion of Empire, as he believed himself to be descended from the ancient kings of Britain, and was thus himself a distant cousin of the Tudor Queen Elisabeth I.

The Tudor monarchy of Dee's time was glorified as the culmination of the Arthurian tradition, because Henry VIII's break with the Vatican had eliminated the Pope and made the British Monarch supreme in both church and state. [second link]

* * *

Bush's self-proclaimed adherence to Christianity (during one of the presidential debates he said Jesus Christ was his favorite "philosopher") and his constant reference to a new international structure bypassing the United Nations system and long-standing international treaties are worrying the top leadership of the Roman Catholic Church. Well-informed sources close to the Vatican report that Pope John Paul II is growing increasingly concerned about Bush's ultimate intentions. The Pope has had experience with Bush's death fetish. Bush ignored the Pope's plea to spare the life of Karla Faye Tucker. To show that he was similarly ignorant of the world's mainstream religions, Bush also rejected an appeal to spare Tucker from the World Council of Churches - an organization that represents over 350 of the world's Protestant and Orthodox Churches. It did not matter that Bush's own Methodist Church and his parents' Episcopal Church are members of the World Council.

Bush's blood lust, his repeated commitment to Christian beliefs, and his constant references to "evil doers," in the eyes of many devout Catholic leaders, bear all the hallmarks of the one warned about in the Book of Revelations - the anti-Christ. . . [first link]
So if the Templars really were/are a front for Islam -- or an Islamic/Catholic rapproachment, and shrub represents the Satanic Majesties in England, where does that leave us?

Question, questions. . .

4:42 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Economic austerity measures in Israel prompt general strike

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

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Intellectual quarantine of US

University of Rome professor boycotts American academe for moral reasons
Science cannot stay neutral, especially after it has been so cynically used in the hands of the inspectors to disarm a country and prepare it for decimation by laser guided cluster bombs. No, science of the American variety has no recourse. I, personally, cannot see myself anymore sharing a common human community with American science. Unfortunately, I also belong to a culture of a similar spiritual deviation (Israel), and which seems to be equally incorrigible.

In desperation I cannot but turn my attention to other tragic periods in which major societies, some with claims to fundamental contributions to culture and science, have deviated so far as to be relegated to ostracism and quarantine. At this point I think American society should be considered in this category.

5:06 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Liberation file:

13 killed and 75 wounded in Baghdad as US soldiers claim they were fired upon by protesters

Some Iraqis claimed no one fired on the troops.

4:04 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

US to remove all troops from Saudi Arabia

A good idea for sure.

But it's interesting that this was a major concession bin Laden asked for, and now shrubco is complying, and guess who's "still at large"?

Of course there'll be US troops in Iraq for the foreseeable future, and the US is obviously planning to make permanent bases there if it can at all get away with it.

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

Speaking of Luntz, here's excerpts of a memo to the pro-Israeli lobby (pdf link at bottom) [Cassiopaea]
"SECURITY" sells. Security has become the key fundamental principle for all Americans. Security is the context by which you should explain Israeli need for loan guarantees and military aid, as well as why Israel can't just give up land. The settlements are our Achilles heel, and the best response (which is still quite weak) is the need for security that this buffer creates.

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

Security is shrubco byword in post-9/11 age -- as long as their corporate buddies aren't involved
The agency [USAID] awarding Iraq reconstruction contracts deleted its requirement for a security clearance after realizing it awarded a project to a company that lacked one, an internal report says.

The U.S. Agency for International Development justified the change by deciding the situation in Iraq made the clearance unnecessary for seaport rebuilding work.


Stevedoring Services [see post] is the largest marine terminal operator in the United States. Between 1999 and 2002, the company and its employees made nearly $24,000 in political contributions - about 80 percent to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

1:18 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

"I feel bad for those naive investors who assume that sell-side analysts are objective!"

Stock market rotten to the core
E-mail excerpts included in lawsuits filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission portray an industry-wide pattern of abuses, financial incentives and pressures that sometimes led analysts to publish falsely optimistic reports. None of the analysts were named.


The Lehman analyst replied that while ratings and price targets were "fairly meaningless ... the 'little guy' who isn't smart about the nuances may get misled, such is the nature of my business."

In another case, an analyst attempted to lower his estimates on RSL Communications Inc. but was persuaded by a Lehman banker not to do so because the company was a banking client. "Enough is enough," the analyst complained in a message to his supervisor. "It's hard enough to be right about stocks, it's even harder to build customer relationships when all your companies blow up, you knew they were going to, and you couldn't say anything."

1:13 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Sherman Skolnick on secret evidence the French have on the Bushes, Flight 800 and the JFK assassination

12:45 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Monday, April 28, 2003

Tom Tomorrow on "Bechtel, the Republicans and Iraq" [salon blah blah blah]

8:22 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Cali city wants to ban parolees [salon pass for access]

Lancaster wants to ban parolees from its "roughest neighborhood" -- but what if this catches on?

And there's that pesky Constitution . . .

8:19 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Charles V Peña of the Cato Institute on lesseing the threat of terrorism in the Mideast
The truth is -- much like Iraq -- that Syria's weapons of mass destruction and support for terrorism do not represent a direct threat to the United States. And rather than trying to beat Syria into submission and increasing the U.S. military presence in the region, the administration needs to develop an exit strategy to remove U.S. troops from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. That will do more to lessen the threat of terrorism against America than regime change in Damascus.

7:58 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Israel's nuclear arsenal

7:54 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Brief shrubco-Christian/Zionist Iraqi team cv

7:46 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

FDA/BigPharma doing sneak attack on health supplement industry? [STARE]
CGMP would ensure not only a rollback of complex products, but also hinder or halt the development of new products, thus severely diminishing the spirit of creativity that characterizes our industry and makes us the envy of the world.

However, batch evaluation is but one small part of the onus of CGMP. Whole divisions of "qualified" and "certified" personnel, the red tape of endless protocols, functional codes such as an "adequate" number of lavatories, and mounds and mounds of paperwork would cleave the bottom line from all but the largest companies. There can be little doubt that the proposed rule would level most small businesses (which comprise most of the industry), like a daisy-cutter can level a city. Far fewer companies would survive, and these would tend to be the largest and most conservative, resulting in significantly less competition and far less innovation.

Worst of all, the FDA would have the right to conduct unrestricted inspections of nutritional companies at their discretion and could, for subjective reasons (a substantial portion of the proposed code is difficult to quantify -- the word "adequate" is used 111 times in the proposal), shut down companies that are in their political beacon.

7:01 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

California shaking map

Due to potential quakes.

Interesting that on the little "dollar damage" map, New York and Tennessee are more prone than Arizona (where I live).

11:40 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Some background on a couple guys shrubco is considering for the job of running the Iraqi oil industry [u]
Both Fluor and Shell have aroused controversy in the past. Fluor is all over the energy world, with pipeline deals in Alaska, oil in Kazakhstan, gas and petrochemicals in Saudi Arabia, and so on. It is a Fortune 500 company with a backlog of contracts, as of last year, of $10.6 billion. Along with two other companies, Fluor has contracts for as much as $100 million from the Army Corps of Engineers for work in Afghanistan.

The company also currently faces a lawsuit by South African black workers claiming, according to activists, that Fluor "exploited and brutalized them during the apartheid era." Among other things, the claimants say Fluor security men dressed up as Ku Klux Klan members in white robes and attacked unarmed workers. Fluor denies all the allegations.

Before working at Fluor, [candidate Phillip] Carroll ran operations for U.S. Shell during a period when the parent Royal Dutch Shell was under attack for its handling of protests against its operations on the Ogoni tribal lands in Nigeria. Activists were attacked by a private police force allegedly run by the company. Nigeria arrested opposition figures, including the leader, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and hanged them.

8:43 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Nevada AG "sharply rebukes" federal Drug Czar John Walters' "intervening" in the state's marijuana initiative last fall [u]
In his opinion, dated April 21, Sandoval wrote, "It is unfortunate that a representative of the federal government substantially intervened in a matter that was clearly a State of Nevada issue. The excessive federal intervention that was exhibited in this instance is particularly disturbing because it sought to influence the outcome of a Nevada election." Nevertheless, citing an 1890 case called In re Neagle, Sandoval concluded that a court would "likely" find Walters to be immune from state campaign finance laws.

6:28 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Decoding Republican cant: Luntzspeak

5:53 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

School voucher scam in Florida [u]

9:36 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Civil rights advocates sue the Feds over politically-motivated no-fly list [u]
Since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the F.B.I. and federal transportation officials have generated secret lists of people suspected of having terrorist ties who should be stopped and questioned if they try to board an airplane.

Law enforcement officials say the policy is a necessary safeguard to prevent the type of security lapses that allowed two of the Sept. 11 hijackers to board a plane even though intelligence officials had reason to suspect they were terrorists.

But the so-called no-fly lists have generated criticism. Many people have been mistakenly stopped, while others assert they were on the list in part because of their strong liberal politics.

In a well-publicized incident last year, some two dozen members of a group called Peace Action of Wisconsin, including a priest, a nun and high school and college students, were detained in Milwaukee en route to a "teach-in" and missed their flight.

9:23 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Violence and memory in the US [u]
Only a democratic society accustomed to war -- and predisposed to the use of war and violence -- would accept war so quickly, without asking any questions or demanding any answers from its leaders about the war.

And only the opposition of the French, Germans, Russians, and Chinese finally forced some Americans to raise questions about what was actually being planned. This, coupled with the anti-war demonstrations on February 15th, 2003 by millions of people in 350 cities around the globe, delayed President Bush from actually launching this war against Iraq by mid-February 2003.


American historians have avidly studied war, especially the Civil War and World War II, but their focus has almost always been on war causation, battles, generalship, battlefield tactics and strategy, and so on. Overlooked, for the most part, are the general and specific effects of war upon American cultural life; the possible connections between war and civilian violence is still largely unexplored territory. Has war directly or indirectly encouraged an American predisposition toward aggressiveness and the use of violence or was it the reverse?

This question has never been satisfactorily investigated by American historians or other scholars. Yet, the overwhelming majority of historians have always known that America was -- and is -- a violent country. But they have said very little about it, depriving the population of a realistic understanding about this important aspect of their national culture. This omission is most clearly observable in U.S. history textbooks used in high schools, colleges and universities, on the one hand, and popular histories derived from these texts, on the other, which have never devoted serious attention to the topic of the violence in America, let alone sought to explain it.

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

"A new report documents that in just the past five years the government has taken or threatened to take by force more than 10,000 homes, businesses, churches and private land not for a "public use" -- such as a police station or post office -- but for private economic development." [u]
Among many examples, the report found that in the past five years, governments have:

Condemned a family's home so that the manager of a planned new golf course could live in it;

Evicted four elderly siblings from their home of the last 60 years for a private industrial park;

Removed a woman in her 80s from her home of 55 years to expand a sewer plant, but actually gave her home to an auto dealership;

Public Power, Private Gain is the first nationwide report ever to document how often government takes private property only to hand it over to private developers.
This is the kind of thing that -- 10 years ago -- would only have been noticed by libertarian, right-wing folks. Especially before the Net became a source of info.

A good example of how the federal government -- given free rein since WWII by folks worried about local parochialism and reaction -- has coopted democracy to favor the rich.

9:07 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Nando Times ending website May 27th

Nando registration no longer needed, according to the email they sent to subscribers, so I've deleted the info at left

They sent a nice note saying the customer data wouldn't be sold or shared after the shutdown. Which -- if true -- is pretty classy compared to many other sites.

They'll still be a news service serving affiliates.

8:55 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Education officials in Illinois fail to notify schools of ammonia-tainted food
State education officials have said they assumed a plan to treat the food had worked, but documents showed the state Board of Education knew in early 2002 that ammonia-laden food was still showing up in schools, the Tribune reports in Sunday editions.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector was present at the time of the leak but the agency did not notify schools or other agencies, and the department later allowed food to be shipped out of the Gateway warehouse despite a quarantine, the newspaper said.

Nearly a year after the leak, 42 children at Laraway Elementary School in Joliet were rushed to a hospital after eating chicken tenders from the warehouse that state health officials said contained up to 133 times the accepted level of ammonia.

8:35 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Peace in Iraq more lethal than war
More civilians are being injured or killed in northern Iraq now than during the war, largely due to the breakdown of law and order and the dangers of abandoned caches of Iraqi arms, a human rights group said Sunday.

8:33 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Ruling class disconnect file:

Bonuses and "bankruptcy-proof pension plan" offered to American execs nearly sink the company when workers expected to weather paycuts and layoffs find out

8:26 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