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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 31, 2003

Alex Cockburn on the roadmap [xymphora]
"The recipe is unvarying. The Palestinians are required to pledge that they will instantly abandon all vestiges of resistance to Israel's onslaughts on their persons, children, houses, land, crops, water, trees, livestock, roads, schools, universities, graveyards and public buildings.

In return Israel agrees that a few years down the road the government of Israel will begin to ponder the outlines of a dim possibility of formal ratification as a Palestinian statelet of whatever tiny sliver of territory they haven't already appropriated.

Amid choruses of approbation for its courage from Israel's vast lobby of politicians and opinion makers in the United States, Israel gouges a couple of extra billion out of Uncle Sam and gets on with the day-to-day business of making life hell for Palestinians. Anytime Israel wants to suspend whatever 'peace' charade is in progress, it acts with more than its habitual savagery, elicits a terror bomb or two, and then says the Palestinians have not abandoned terror and can't be dealt with."

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

9/11 crackdown fallout

DoJ Inspector General's report due Monday; officials advised to retain counsel

No mention of Ashcroft, but we can be patient.

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

Friday, May 30, 2003

BigPharma player Schering-Plough -- already under grand jury probe for misbranding medicines, submitting false pricing data and doctor payola -- has now been accused of illegally destroying documents related to the inquiry [drudge]

6:27 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

2000 interview with Ramsey Clark on Pax Americana
...Sadly, I think most Americans don't have an opinion about our foreign policy. Worse than that, when they do think about it, it's in terms of the demonization of enemies and the exaltation of our capacity for violence.


Jensen: How many times has the United States invaded Latin America in the last two hundred years?

Clark: It depends on who's doing the counting, but in the twentieth century alone, it was undoubtedly almost once per year. Off the top of my head, I could count probably seventy instances.


It's very difficult to debate military spending in this country today -- which is unbelievable, because our military spending is absolutely, certifiably insane. Just to provide one example: We still have twenty-two commissioned Trident nuclear submarines, which are first-strike weapons. Any one of those submarines can launch twenty-four missiles simultaneously. Each of those missiles can contain as many as seventeen independently targeted, and fully maneuverable nuclear warheads. And each of those warheads can travel seven thousand nautical miles and supposedly hit within three hundred feet of its predetermined target. If we fire them in opposite directions, we can span fourteen thousand nautical miles: halfway around the world at the equator. This means we can take out 408 centers of human population, hitting each with a nuclear warhead ten times as powerful as the bomb that incinerated Nagasaki.

Jensen: This is all from one submarine?

Clark: One submarine. And we have twenty-two of them...

12:40 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

"...everybody is covering for everybody else in the government"

FBI science expert known to be perjuror allowed to continue giving testimony for 3 years
Internal FBI memos obtained by AP show that FBI lab colleague William Tobin informed his superiors in 1989 ? three years before the Bragdon case ? that he had reviewed Mr. Malone's testimony during the 1980s bribery case against then-federal judge Alcee Hastings and found widespread problems.

Mr. Tobin wrote that Mr. Malone had provided "scientifically unfounded, unqualified and biased testimony" in Mr. Hastings's trial and questioned whether the information had been withheld from Congress when it impeached him as a judge. Mr. Hastings has since revived his career and won a seat in Congress.

Mr. Tobin wrote at the time that he was bringing the information to the attention of FBI superiors because the problems might cause "serious conflict and substantial embarrassment to the bureau."


Despite the 1989 memo to FBI superiors, and a subsequent 1997 internal investigation that recommended discipline against Malone, the FBI permitted him to retire in December, 1999, with a pension and no discipline.

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

Showtime to screen shrub campaign infomercial as "cable drama" [a]
Written and produced by a White House insider with the close co-operation of Mr. Bush and his top officials, the movie The Big Dance represents an unusually close merger of Washington's ambitions with the Hollywood entertainment machinery.

A copy of the script obtained by The Globe and Mail reveals a prime-time drama starring a nearly infallible, heroic president with little or no dissension in his ranks and a penchant for delivering articulate, stirring, off-the-cuff addresses to colleagues.

That the whole thing was filmed in Canada and is eligible for financial aid from Canadian taxpayers, and that its loyal Republican writer-producer is a Canadian citizen best known for his adaptation of The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, are ironies that will be lost on most of its American viewers when it airs on the Showtime network this fall.

12:01 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Bill Introduced to Counter Voting Machine Fraud [u]

9:21 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Jessica Lynch's parents gagged by shrubco

9:18 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Renewed claims that the 1976 Mars Viking Explorer mission did find evidence of life bring up issue of scientists' expectations and beliefs affecting what's "real"

9:12 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Memory Hole page of docs from Douglas Valentine's The Phoenix Program, his book on the CIA's "pacification" program during the Vietnam War during which tens of thousands of Vietnamese were tortured and/or maimed and killed
Created by the CIA in Saigon in 1967, Phoenix was a program aimed at "neutralizing"?through assassination, kidnapping, and systematic torture?the civilian infrastructure that supported the Viet Cong insurgency in South Vietnam. It was a terrifying "final solution" that violated the Geneva Conventions and traditional American ideas of human morality.

While researching the Phoenix Program for my book on the subject, I conducted over a hundred interviews and collected boxes full of documents from individuals, as well as from the State Department and Department of Defense. The most important documents provided by any one individual came from retired CIA officer Nelson Brickham, the man most responsibile for the creation of the Phoenix Program.

Luckily for history, Brickham kept copies of the documents he wrote while with the CIA; otherwise, there would be no documentary evidence of how Phoenix was actually created. During the evacuation of Saigon in April 1975, the CIA destroyed most of the documents it had about its assassination program, and none of what it kept at Langley headquarters can be obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests. This is no accident, for Phoenix is the model for the equally terrifying US homeland security aparatus. [my emphasis]

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

Your chemical cocktail, sir [u]
In a study led by Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, in collaboration with the Environmental Working Group and Commonweal, researchers at two major laboratories found an average of 91 industrial compounds, pollutants, and other chemicals in the blood and urine of nine volunteers, with a total of 167 chemicals found in the group. Like most of us, the people tested do not work with chemicals on the job and do not live near an industrial facility.

Scientists refer to this contamination as a person?s body burden. Of the 167 chemicals found, 76 cause cancer in humans or animals, 94 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 79 cause birth defects or abnormal development. The dangers of exposure to these chemicals in combination has never been studied.

1:12 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

On homeschooling [u]
"Homeschooling can be called the most important American folk movement ... of the last 20 years, but the process seems to be little understood in Europe. Most non-American observers worry that the children will be too sheltered or isolated. In fact, survey after survey shows homeschooled students to be -- on average -- more involved in group activities than their counterparts in state schools. And the educational results are impressive. In grades one through four, according to a University of Maryland study, median test scores for homeschooled children are a full grade above those of public and private school students...

"The more important traits of homeschooling may be the social and familial. Over 97 percent of homeschool students have parents who are married, compared to a 72 percent figure nationwide. Sixty-two percent of homeschooling families have three or more children, compared to only 20 percent of the nationwide sample. A full third (33.5) percent of homeschooling families actually have four or more children, compared to but 6 percent nationwide."

-- Allan Carlson, in a Feb. 19 presentation to the Swedish Parliament, reprinted in the April issue of the Family in America

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

Diplomat sees "a type of genocide going on here"

The complex multinational conflict in the Congo is killing 2500 a day
Uganda and Rwanda started off as allies, but turned on each other. Their armies have clashed several times in Congo and the two countries support opposing factions battling for control of the country's enormous riches.

Dubbed "Africa's First World War," the conflict has polarized the region, pitting Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and various rival rebel groups against the government and allies Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

Unfinished civil wars in Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Angola have played out on Congo's soil, while local feuds and tribal enmities fuel ethnic violence in the northeast.

A 1999 peace deal froze the armies in place but failed to stop the fighting or the looting of Congo's wealth of natural resources, including gold, diamonds, timber and coltan, a mineral used in laptops, cellphones and stealth bombers.

Most foreign troops have pulled out, but leaders from all sides in Congo's war are still accused by the United Nations of plundering resources while the population suffers.

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

Undernews had an item a few days ago on corporate arbitration clauses and how they deny consumers the right to a jury; here's the Public Citizen page on the subject, since I can't track down the source article
Today most Americans are bound by at least one mandatory, pre-dispute arbitration clause. Buried in the fine print of a billing insert, employee handbook, health insurance plan, or dealership or franchise agreement, these clauses waive one's right to access the courts, diverting cases to a costly private legal system that favors defendants. Arbitration clauses are achieving their intended purpose - undermining consumer protection, civil rights, and other laws that level the playing field between big businesses and individuals. The individual is left with no choice but to waive these rights, because arbitration clauses are presented on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.

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

Iraqi Intifada to start July 27?
This is the crux of an intelligence report received by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and confirmed by a number of sources in the Middle East to the website Free Arab Voice. According to sensitive, formerly secret information, Saddam's new leadership-in-hiding - where the number 2 is former defense minister Sultan Hashim Ahmad - is getting ready to launch what had been largely advertised before the Iraqi invasion, by once deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz and minister of information Mohammed al-Sahaf, among others: a guerrilla war supposed to bog down the US in a replay of Vietnam. For this undertaking, Saddam can count on an army of 40,000.

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

As in Iraq, the Indonesian military's attempt to eliminate the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) is tied to resources; also Jakarta doesn't want another East Timor

Aceh provides 11% to 15% of Jakarta's exports in oil, timber and gas.

GAM appears to have widespread popular support.
On the part of Aceh, the excesses of the Indonesian army are clearly too bitter to swallow. Up to 12,000 civilians have perished. Human Rights Watch in 1999 catalogued no fewer than 7,000 cases of serious human-rights violations by the Indonesian military in Aceh since anti-separatist operations were launched in 1979. Such excesses engendered increased support for GAM and its violent separatist agenda, which has included plenty of human-rights violations of its own.

If anything, despite the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998, the reputation of the Indonesian army as a trigger-happy force remains entrenched in Banda Aceh and other surrounding areas.

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

A short history of Iran's democratic movement
Although the majority of Iranians support normal relations with the United States, they do not desire to help build an American puppet regime. For those who are not convinced, the Iranians overthrew such a system in 1979. As a result, the desired ties as stated by the Iranians are those based on equality of the two sides and their recognition of each other's interests, like the ones they have with two other nuclear powers, Russia and France. The American hoped-for puppet regime, like that of the Shah, cannot be established in Iran - with or without B-52s.

12:15 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

US to redeploy Asian-based troops from Korea and Japan to Australia, Singapore, "off Vietnam"

11:45 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Good Doonesbury yesterday

11:34 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

shrubco buries Treasury report forecasting chronic budget deficits [drudge]

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

Organized criminals in the Balkans (the real winners in the "War for Kosovo"?) are the go-to guys for illicit Russian nuke materials [a]

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

International Rights Groups Decry Increased Harassment of Monitors in Israel
On May 21, Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom said that "most human rights offices in the West Bank and Gaza strip provide shelter for Palestinian terrorists."

This comment has no basis in fact and constitutes a further threat to the work of independent human rights organizations and workers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. "We fear that such unsupported allegations are intended to intimidate local and international human rights defenders, and to prevent them from carrying out their daily work," the organizations said.

9:37 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History by 60 Minutes' George Crile looks like essential reading [a]
Even a lengthy TV program couldn't do justice to a character such as Charlie Wilson, an outsized, swaggering East Texas Congressman-a "virtual public outlaw" initially convinced by a charismatic, right-wing Houston socialite nicknamed "Buckets" of the chance to deter Communism in Afghanistan. Wilson managed, through back-room machinations Crile traces with neat agility, to facilitate funding that would eventually amount to over $1 billion annually to support the U.S.'s covert operations in Afghanistan, a campaign that eventually contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
You get the feeling from the amazon page that Wilson is a hero for neocon types. Of course the fact that what he did led to the arming and training of future al Qaeda -- as well as superceding the checks and balances of Congress -- is not stressed. The Reagan/Bush The First administration was the seeding ground for the Wild West/gangster mentality of shrubco -- witness Iran/contra as well.

Why does this story remind me of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind?

This potent myth of the Swashbuckling, Hard-Lovin' & Drinkin', yet Kiplingesque Great White Hero that informs so much of America's covert ops since WWII deserves a place in the epitaph of the American Empire, for sure.

9:34 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Bioweapons Fort Detrick [a]
The sanitation crews were shocked to find vials containing live bacteria. As well as the vaccine form of anthrax, the discarded biological agents included Brucella melitensis, which causes the virulent flu-like disease brucellosis, and klebsiella, a cause of pneumonia.

8:56 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Sanctions list compiled to "encourage" Israel's participation in peace process [a]

Only mention of details in non-subscriber edit is investigation of "an examination of the use of U.S. weapons in the West Bank and Gaza Strip," but I'll bet there's some interesting dish there.

And what does Israel have on the US, I wonder?

8:48 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Combination hormone therapy now linked to dementia as well as heart attack, breast cancer

8:42 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Toledo declares martial law in Peru as labor unrest surges

On Peru and demonstrations over the past year: here and here.

8:39 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Descendants of ancient Sumerians in Iraq's marshlands had their homeland drained by a spiteful Saddam; now some organizations are investigating restoring at least one of the marshes

But issues of water scarcity across national borders and lack of funds as well as a dearth of environmental records are daunting obstacles.

2:23 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Nanotech is already in everyday products like tennis rackets, sunscreen and water filtration systems -- but little research has been done on the possible long-term effects on humans or the environment

1:56 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Good overview of the issue of immigrants in a March issue of CSM

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

Tortured Iranian Kurd Abas Amini has been refused asylum in Britain, and responded by sewing shut his eyes mouth and ears

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

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

UK vets support group anticipates wave of sickened vets due to "vaccine overload"

10:01 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

North Carolina may be the next state to suspend the death penalty

1:38 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Monday, May 26, 2003

Public Citizen's list of Questionable Doctors
Questionable Doctors is the only comprehensive, publicly available databank that contains information on doctors who have been disciplined by state medical boards and federal agencies in the past ten years. It contains data on disciplinary actions taken for medical incompetence, misprescribing drugs, sexual misconduct, criminal convictions, ethical lapses and other offenses. Questionable Doctors, unlike other online databanks, allows you to search for a doctor's name before you pay, and includes information on multiple states. Our online edition Questionable Doctors, unlike previous print versions, will provide you with more timely updates of disciplinary information as it becomes available.
You have to give an email address to access the list. 31 states are listed, and to get individual reports you have to sign up for $10, which in this case I would recommend, if possible.

8:25 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

From the speech Chris Hedges was booed for at Rockford College [u]
Killing, or at least the worst of it, is over in Iraq. Although blood will continue to spill -- theirs and ours -- be prepared for this. For we are embarking on an occupation that, if history is any guide, will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige, power, and security. But this will come later as our empire expands and in all this we become pariahs, tyrants to others weaker than ourselves. Isolation always impairs judgment and we are very isolated now.

We have forfeited the good will, the empathy the world felt for us after 9-11. We have folded in on ourselves, we have severely weakened the delicate international coalitions and alliances that are vital in maintaining and promoting peace and we are part now of a dubious troika in the war against terror with Vladimir Putin and Ariel Sharon, two leaders who do not shrink in Palestine or Chechnya from carrying out acts of gratuitous and senseless acts of violence. We have become the company we keep.

8:02 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

New Errol Morris doc The Fog of War reveals:

Robert McNamara admits "acting like a war criminal" when he and Curtis LeMay planned the firebombing of 67 Japanese cities during WWII

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

Covering their little fascist footprints file:

Texas DPS ordered to destroy files of search for missing Demos
One day before Democrats ended their boycott of the Texas House last week, the Texas Department of Public Safety ordered the destruction of all records and photos gathered in the search for them, documents obtained Tuesday show.

A one-sentence order sent by e-mail on the morning of May 14 was apparently carried out, a DPS spokesman said Tuesday. The revelation comes as federal authorities are investigating how a division of the federal Homeland Security Department was dragged into the hunt for the missing Democrats -- at the request of the state police agency.

Addressed to "Captains," the order said: "Any notes, correspondence, photos, etc. that were obtained pursuant to the absconded House of Representative members shall be destroyed immediately. No copies are to be kept. Any questions please contact me."

It was signed by the commander of the DPS Special Crimes Service, L.C. "Tony" Marshall.


"I'm appalled. It would appear as though there is something to hide," [Rep Kevin] Bailey [(D)] said. "And based on some information we've been told inside DPS, it just concerns me more that there were some overzealous people inside the agency. The question is who was driving them so hard. I really am shocked that they would be destroying any internal information."

Bailey said the destruction of records "probably is a crime."

7:48 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Quiz yourself on which press spinner said which quote -- Ari Fleischer or "Baghdad Bob" Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf [u]

7:44 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Military liaison and "guidance counselor" at New Mexico high school gets teacher fired for reading antiwar poem [u]

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

shrubco moves to suppress democracy with drug bill

A House bill would allow the drug czar to use federal funds to target ballot initiatives
Tim Lynch, director of the Cato Institute's Project on Criminal Justice, agrees. "That ONDCP is trying to deprive voters and taxpayers of knowledge of what they're doing is bizarre and disturbing," he said. "Now the federal government will put its finger on the scale of a political question. And they're trying to hide that because if the public becomes aware, it'll cause a real backlash."

Along with freeing the White House's hand, the reauthorization would add a couple of cards to its current hand, since the reauthorization boosts FY 2004's spending to $195 million, up from FY 2003's $150 million. That's followed by another $195 in FY 2005, and $210 million slated for each of the following three years. The program's projected five year cost now totals $1.02 billion, a nifty increase over the program's initial five-year funding of $930 million.

That means ONDCP could run hundreds of millions of dollars of stealth advertising to swing elections, using taxpayer-funded messages to sway the votes of those who pay for them. "These new provisions are a blatant attempt to... put the entire media campaign in [Walter's] arsenal against the drug-reform movement," says Steve Fox, director of government relations at the Marijuana Policy Project, the sponsor of the Nevada marijuana legalization initiative.

7:30 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Summary of Katrina Leung case
Leung was more than just a spy and counterspy. She appears to have been a fixer in China as well for individuals and companies seeking guanxi with Chinese leaders...On her trips to China, she associated with the very top of the Chinese government.


The New York Times reported in April that the Leung case "is part of a much broader institutional problem that has led to the disciplining of several hundred agents in recent years for improper dealings with informants". This allegedly included working out schemes to rip off tens of thousands of dollars by padding expenses paid to the informants, the Times reported.


Interestingly enough, neither she nor Smith is charged with espionage, which carries the death penalty. She is instead charged with unauthorized possession of documents relating to national defense and two counts of copying documents connected with the US national defense with reason to believe that they would be used to the benefit of another country. "We are still investigating," said a spokesman for the US Attorney's office in Los Angeles.

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

Summary executions become routine in Aceh as Jakarta's generals break their promises [a]
It was not supposed to be this way. When Indonesia launched an offensive against separatist guerrillas in the remote province of Aceh, it insisted it had learnt from past mistakes. There would be none of the military abuses witnessed in East Timor, in restive Papua province or in Aceh itself. The welfare of the civilian population would be given the highest priority. Excesses would not be tolerated.

One week later, it is clear that little has changed. Summary executions of men - and, in some cases, boys as young as 12 - have become routine as the military (TNI) moves from village to village, searching for members of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).

In Jakarta, political rulers appear not to care, secure in the knowledge that their dirty little war can be conducted with virtual impunity.

The international community has already given its blessing to the crackdown, with the United States, Japan, Australia and the European Union all declaring that Indonesia's territorial integrity is paramount. Their fear is that if Aceh breaks away, Papua and other regions may follow - and the world's largest Muslim country could collapse like a house of cards.
More here.

9:58 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

"Homeland Security" buys near-ghost town in southern New Mexico from Phelps-Dodge for training center [a]

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

US to turn Gitmo into death camp [a]

9:41 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

shrubcop is trying to prevent human rights abuse victims from suing corporations [Global Beat]
On May 8, Attorney General John Ashcroft filed an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief for the defense in a civil case alleging that the oil company Unocal was complicit in forced labor and other abuses committed by the Burmese military during the construction of the Yadana gas pipeline. The case, John Doe I, et al. v. Unocal Corporation, et al., was originally filed in 1996 and is currently being reheard by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Justice Department brief went well beyond the scope of the Unocal case, however, and argued for a radical reinterpretation of the 1789 Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA). For over 20 years, courts have held that the ATCA permits victims of serious violations of international law abroad to seek civil damages in U.S. courts against their alleged abusers who are found in the United States. The Justice Department would deny victims the right to sue under the ATCA for abuses committed abroad.

This is a craven attempt to protect human-rights abusers at the expense of victims. The Bush administration is trying to overturn a longstanding judicial precedent that has been very important in the protection of human rights.

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

Why the US is demanding the disarming of Iraqis [Global Beat]
Since the American takeover, Baghdad has turned into an Arab version of the Watts riots. Burning buildings dot the city skyline. Armed looters terrorize the population, tearing into homes and emptying them of their possessions. Petty crime has become rampant on the streets, virtually no one feels secure, and homes are never left unguarded at night.

The really scary part, however, may be yet to come. Thus far violence in Baghdad has been limited to unorganized gangs of looters carrying Kalashnikovs. But Iraqi security experts and other sources in the capital say that, under the nose of the American forces, Iraq's nascent political groups are forming armed militias and storing weapons as they prepare for a potential civil war for control of the country. In fact, The New Republic has learned, several Iraqis say even Hezbollah has formed a branch in Baghdad. Ultimately, if Baghdad's power vacuum is not filled soon, the rise of organized armed factions could turn Iraq's capital into a twenty-first-century version of 1980s Beirut.

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

Shiites and US do the dance of diplomacy [Global Beat]
Military analysts say the Shiite leadership in Najaf may have adopted a strategy of "good cop, bad cop," in which one local cleric is permitted to cooperate with the Americans while others are permitted to attack their credibility to undercut US popularity.

Indeed, among some within the Shiite leadership, there is deep distrust that US forces will not leave Iraq and that the US will use its influence to undercut political efforts by the clergy to establish an Islamic government, analysts say.

At the same time, these analysts say, the Shiite leadership understands that if it doesn't cooperate in some way with the US, the clerics risk being marginalized by those who step forward and receive what is likely to become a flood of aid.

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

Sunday, May 25, 2003

shrubco diplomacy and humanitarianism at work file:

Red Cross denied access to PoWs
The United States is illegally holding thousands of Iraqi prisoners of war and other captives without access to human rights officials at compounds close to Baghdad airport, The Observer has learnt.

There have also been reports of a mutiny last week by prisoners at an airport compound, in protest against conditions. The uprising was 'dealt with' by the Americans, according to a US military source.

The International Committee of the Red Cross so far has been denied access to what the organisation believes could be as many as 3,000 prisoners held in searing heat. All other requests to inspect conditions under which prisoners are being held have been met with silence or been turned down.

10:33 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

The California Anti-Terrorism Information Center (CATIC) admits to blurring the lines between dissent and terrorism [u]
Days before firing wooden slugs at anti-war protesters, Oakland police were warned of potential violence at the Port of Oakland by California's anti-terrorism intelligence center, which admits blurring the line between terrorism and political dissent.

The April 2 bulletin from the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center (CATIC) arguably offered more innuendo than actual evidence of protesters' intent to "shut down" the port and possibly act violently.

CATIC spokesman Mike Van Winkle said such evidence wasn't needed to issue warnings on war protesters.

"You can make an easy kind of a link that, if you have a protest group protesting a war where the cause that's being fought against is international terrorism, you might have terrorism at that (protest)," said Van Winkle, of the state Justice Department. "You can almost argue that a protest against that is a terrorist act."

3:13 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

How the grand jury has been twisted from its original purpose as a way to limit prosecutorial power to a weapon of prosecutors [u]
Like its more famous relative, the trial jury, the grand jury consists of laypeople who are summoned to the courthouse to fulfill a civic duty. However, the work of the grand jury takes place well before any trial. The primary function of the grand jury is to inquire into the commission of crimes within its jurisdiction and then determine whether an indictment should issue against any particular person. But, in sharp contrast to the trial setting, the jurors hear only one side of the story and there is no judge overseeing the process. With no judge or opposing counsel in the room, grand jurors naturally defer to the prosecutor since he is the most knowledgeable official on the scene. Indeed, the single most important fact to appreciate about the grand jury system is that it is the prosecutor who calls the shots and dominates the entire process. The grand jurors have become little more than window dressing.

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

Vote GOP for Graft Recession and War
Bush bumper stickers

Please keep in mind that any Demo candidate with a chance in '04 might as well work for the GOP anyway.

2:52 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

An Undernews reader on real market value when the dollar is devalued
The dollar has lost up to 30% of its value over the last 6 months, as measured against other major world currencies, especially the Euro. The stock market has been steady to slowly rising, hovering near 8000-8500, plus or minus a few hundred points. Most Americans look to the DJIA as a measure of prosperity, without considering the value of the dollar. If we factor in the reduced value of the dollar on the market, there is a very big drop in the real value of the DJIA. Suppose an investor sold off his US stocks today, at the same price as 6 months ago, for say $8,500. Factoring in the reduced value of the dollar today, the $8,500 has only about 70% of its buying power remaining, or $8,500 x .7 = $5,950. This amounts to a silent market crash of considerable proportions: today's DJIA market value, adjusted for inflation, is really about 5600-5950 as compared to the value it had 6 months ago. The plunge protection team can play this game forever, keeping the market around 8000-8500, by intentionally devaluing the dollar to make the market appear steady, when it is, in fact, crashing at a considerable rate.
More here.

11:06 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

A & E ran a surprisingly good history of street gangs in America yesterday; it's not scheduled to repeat, but this appears to be the same show, though it's called "Time Machine: Street Gangs: A Secret History" instead of "American Gangs"

If you get a chance, see it. The part on Chicago's Vice Lords in the 60s is particularly interesting, but it's a well-informed show in general, with commentary by former gang members and cultural history tidbits like the place of the zoot suit in gang history.

11:02 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

On the embedded journos
The Americans scattered 600 journalists around Iraq. The viewer felt he received exclusive reports from the field, but what did we get in practice? Did we see battle scenes? Definitely not. The embedding idea is a stroke of genius. And I don't dare say that. It was one huge deception. They took a journalist and let him broadcast, but in fact he didn't have a clue about what was happening.

-- IDF Spokesperson, Brigadier General Ruth Yaron

10:45 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

"...radioactive releases up to 1989 have caused, or will eventually cause, the death of 65 million people worldwide" [In These Times] [u]

10:39 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

"Speaker disrupts RC graduation"

Local story on reporter booed for not being a good Nazi at Maryland graduation actually used that headline

Sieg hiel.

10:31 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Wow. The Supremes actually voted against BigPharma and shrubco in the Maine drug discount suit [u]

10:26 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Sam Smith on John Kerry
Democrats used to do things for people. Now, increasingly, they seem to prefer telling people what to do. Part of this is because they think the best way to win is to act like the Taliban wing of the GOP and partly because it's what happens when you are around too much Washington power too long. A case in point is John Kerry who has declared that "The real question we face is not what America can offer to us but what each of us owe to America."

In an era when the stock market is doing its worst since the 1929 crash, deflation may be around the corner, numerous heroes of free market capitalism have turned out to be bankrupt crooks, and other icons ranging from Arthur Anderson to the Roman Catholic Church and the New York Times are hanging their heads in shame, I can think of a number of other questions that need answers first. One would be to rephrase Kerry's query with the words "our leaders" where he said "us."
On the other hand, if the powerheads in DC keep haranguing the citizens while stealing from them, maybe people will figure out they'd be better off without them and set up their own government.

Kind of like in 1776.

10:22 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Doonesbury on the latest in secure family motoring [May 25]

10:15 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