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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, June 14, 2003

Senators publicly deplore FBI harassment of whistleblowers [a]

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

Belgians stick by war crimes law despite gangster threat by WarLord Rumsfeld [a]

8:20 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Lord Ashcorft "blithely dismisses" report from his own department on rights abuses post-9/11 [a]

8:17 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Macedonian bombings blamed on KLA/Albanian insurgents [a]

8:14 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

shrubco knee deep and over its head? [a]

8:10 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Labor unrest in Cambodia

8:01 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Friday, June 13, 2003

Medical device subsidiary of Guidant Corp "faces $92.4 million in penalties after covering up malfunctions that may have led to 12 deaths during aneurysm treatments"

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

Gray Davis recall rumble in Cali presages coming political chaos as post-9/11 fog lifts [u]
If the recall reaches the ballot -- and that could become clear by next month -- few of the usual rules of elections here would apply. Voters could be asked as early as this fall to decide Davis's fate in a special election. On that same ballot, voters then would be asked to choose his replacement. Potential candidates of both parties would need only a small number of signatures to be listed on the special ballot. There would be no primaries to whittle the field of candidates and the winner -- who would take office immediately -- would need only a plurality of votes, not a majority.

And that's only the beginning of the political intrigue emerging in the Golden State. Leaders in both parties say a recall could create a political free-for-all that California's 15 million voters have never seen.

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

Another example of how corporate decisions and preferences lord it over sensible policy, with predictably repressive results: a proposal to tax mileage in Britain [u]
Satellites and computers would track motorists in order to bill them for the specific route they take, Minister of Transport Alistair Darling said to the British weekly.

Commuters, school-run parents and motorway users would bear the brunt of a variable system, where charges would be highest for rush-hour travel and for using the most congested roads. Use of motorways in Britain is currently gratis.

2:48 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Dr Benway says: "Avoid Seroxat"

Another anti-depressant linked to suicide
The move comes after reports that GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of what is Britain's most widely prescribed antidepressant, withheld nine studies showing that it could provoke suicidal tendencies and other symptoms in people under 18 years of age.

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

Famine-related cannibalism still prevalent in North Korea [u]

2:39 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

"As long as Hillary Clinton remains the best idea that Democrats have for a president, both the party and the country will remain in critical danger."

-- from Sam Smith's diatribe on why the Clintons are still news

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

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Big, Left, Outside

Al Giordano of Narco News has his own blog now, reporting on the US instead of South America

11:24 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

"In Texas, prairie dogs are varmints..."

I knew all those smallpox vaccinations health officials and citizens have refused to take could be used for something -- just good business

10:20 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

"Amplifying Officials, Squelching Dissent" -- FAIR summary of pathetic mainstream Iraq War coverage
As noted in earlier FAIR studies, over-reliance on official sources leaves little room for independent policy critics or grassroots voices. At a time when dissent was quite visible in U.S. society, with large anti-war demonstrations across the country and 27 percent of the public telling pollsters they opposed the war (Bulletin's Frontrunner, 4/7/03), the networks largely ignored anti-war opinion in the U.S.

The FAIR study found just 3 percent of U.S. sources represented or expressed opposition to the war. With more than one in four U.S. citizens opposing the war and much higher rates of opposition in most countries where opinion was polled, none of the networks offered anything resembling proportionate coverage of anti-war voices. The anti-war percentages ranged from 4 percent at NBC, 3 percent at CNN, ABC, PBS and FOX, and less than 1 percent--one out of 205 U.S. sources--at CBS.

While the percentage of Americans opposing the war was about 10 times higher in the real world as they were on the nightly news (27 percent versus 3 percent), their proportion of the guestlist may still overstate the degree to which they were able to present their views on U.S. television. Guests with anti-war viewpoints were almost universally allowed one-sentence soundbites taken from interviews conducted on the street. Not a single show in the study conducted a sit-down interview with a person identified as being against the war.

7:05 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

"Sloppy or inaccurate reporting" at The Times dates back before Jayson Blair
When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was briefly ousted in a coup, the Times declined to use the word "coup," instead reporting (4/13/02) that "military officers forced him to resign." In an editorial that day, the paper declared that Chavez's "resignation" meant that "Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator." The Times explained that Chavez "stepped down after the military intervened and handed power to a respected business leader." Days later, once Chavez had been restored to power, the Times was contrite over its enthusiasm: "Forcibly unseating a democratically elected leader, no matter how badly he has performed, is never something to cheer" (4/16/02). No evidence has ever emerged that Chavez agreed to resign, even while under the control of rebellious officers.

6:58 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Republicans think less intelligence better for the country -- at least where "Iraqi WMD" concerned [drudge]

Perhaps I should say less manipulation of intelligence, since the intel community is not the real offender here.

6:38 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Rockefeller wants end to term limits for Senate Intel Committee

The current limit is 8 years.

I can see the argument that there's a lot to know to understand what the bloated, internecine and -- particularly under shrubco -- often politically muzzled intel bureaucracy is doing at any point in time, but this still feels creepy.

3:25 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

If the fix was in long ago to give Halliburton or whoever billions to get the oil fields pumping again in Iraq, why is security so lax that the wells are "in ruins" from looting?

I know I'm missing something here, but this seems significant enough to post anyway.

10:38 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Housing market suddenly shaky

Freddie Mac prez fired for "recalcitrance" in accounting audit

12:52 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

shrubco's nuclear itch

Senate bill would funnel subsidies to an industry that doesn't need the money -- and should be phased out for the public good anyway

These idiots astound me. Politicians should have to take a sanity test every year if this is the sort of shit they're going to come up with.

12:49 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Monday, June 09, 2003

Aussie Intel owns up [News Insider]
Australia's premier intelligence analysis agency told the Federal Government that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction threat was not the prime motive for the United States going to war against Iraq, a former intelligence officer said yesterday.

It was regarded as a "secondary issue", less important than regime change and reshaping the Middle East by putting in place a pro-US government in an oil-rich country and introducing democracy to the region.

10:38 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

An international trade union watchdog group says globalization is "leading to a major loss and repression of labour rights" around the world

Colombia is the worst country for trade unionists, followed by Cuba, Belarus, Zimbabwe and China (no specific order).

10:30 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

I've wanted to read the Webster Tarpley/Anton Chaitkin bio of George the 1st, but its only around at stupid prices; fortunately, I stumbled upon Tarpley's site that has the etext, by chapter or a 1.1MB zip of the whole shebang [Money Files]

This study was commissioned by Larouche's coven of pleasurephobic technocrats, but their research can be excellent.

The Money Files site has many links on the economy and a decent book list.

Here's another good book list if you're into um "deep politics". Many of the descriptions are from Name Base.

2:00 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Sunday, June 08, 2003

Good pic on Antiwar of sign made by frustrated National Guardsman (22% of Indiana Guardsmen in Iraq indefinitely)

Also from Antiwar:

Operation Rockingham was initiated in '91 by UK army intel to "'cherry-pick' intelligence proving an active Iraqi WMD programme and to ignore and quash intelligence which indicated that Saddam's stockpiles had been destroyed or wound down."

3:19 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

More than just desperation in the face of obvious duplicity on the WMD claim, the Labour Party's claims of sabotage by spooks are rooted in decades-old enmity between the party and UK intel

3:06 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Former FBI agents "discuss" but don't hire PR agency to consult on "polishing image" of beleaguered agency [cicentre]

2:58 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Diarrhea endemic among Iraqi children before the war; the collapsed infrastructure since the war has made things much worse

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

More unrest in North Africa

Military coup in Mauritania

2:48 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

In case you use proxy servers, make sure they're not government-run, since that will kind of defeat the anonymity thing

2:32 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Majority of drought deaths in India due to caste prejudice [Undernews feedback]
THOMAS C. MOUNTAIN, AMBEDKAR JOURNAL - In the story on the deaths due to heat in India you should mention that the majority of deaths are Dalits or "untouchables," who are barred from the wells used by the "high castes." Most are forced to use what do double duty as cesspools for their water, and as these dry up, left with no water at all. 60 Minutes did a story a few years ago on this, showing the reality in India's 650,000 villages for India's indigenous people, the "bahujans" or majority "low caste" folk. There is water, Dalits just aren't allowed to use it. This is the oldest, largest most barbaric inhumane system of oppression in the world, affecting hundreds of millions, yet it gets next to no coverage or attention from the west.

12:23 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

The State of the Israeli Democracy [u]
The picture emerging from the various indicators shows that Israel is mainly a formal democracy that has not yet acquired the characteristics of a substantive democracy. It also suffers from great instability in comparison with other democratic countries.


* The Stability and Social Cohesion Aspect

Here Israel ranks at the bottom of the list in all indicators. The turnover in governments is more frequent than in other democracies, and only India ranks lower in social tensions and rifts between the various segments of society.

If we look at developments in Israel over the last decade, we note deterioration in many indicators of Israeli democracy while in others there has been no improvement. For example, there has been a decrease in participation in elections, corruption has increased, freedom of the press is on the decline, the number of prisoners has gone up, and the inequality in wages is worsening. Despite this, there are some indicators showing advances in Israeli democracy. For example, participation in politics is more open to competition, and there is greater equality between men and women, and there is less political conflict in society.

12:19 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Sam Smith has a survey of articles on Hillary Clinton's credibility

12:06 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

IRS opens campaign funding loophole closed in 90s

11:39 AM - [Link] - Comments () under constant attack by anti-gov spammers -- and addresses around the world are sent "official" embassy communiques which aren't
In the latest ploy by elements in Venezuela's rabid opposition, millions of computer-virus carrying emails have been sent scurrying across the face of the planet purporting to be from Venezuelan embassies and institutions in electronics guerrilla warfare labeled "background chatter" by foreign intelligence agencies.

In a curious parallel with an Iraqi pre-invasion scenario, the emails ... which mostly trace back to servers in Caracas and/or exile Cubans in Miami ... appear on the surface to come from Venezuelan embassies, consulates or other related institutions with partial messages where full context would be contained in attachment. But beware! If your firewall or virus protection software is not up-to-date, clicking on the attachment could introduce a computer-virus which will wipe out your system in minutes if not seconds.

During the month of May 2003, Venezuela itself detected 14,405 attempted hacker intrusions of our website ... 10,216 of them were "high-rated" (meaning they were able to penetrate 20% through our firewall but not more than 40%) 33 were "priority" (meaning they penetrated further than 40% but not more than 55%). In just 24 hours last week we recorded more than 200 attempts to introduce computer viruses through email attachments [from email newsletter]

10:08 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

New Robert Baer (See No Evil) book on "claims that high-ranking members of the Saudi royal family have been involved in political assassination plots and the training of Chechen rebels with apparent ties to Al Qaeda" contains info which is steaming the CIA [og]

But Baer isn't budging.

According to the Publishers' Weekly review on amazon (first link above leads to it), it advocates invading Saudi Arabia to save the Good Guys Up North ("the industrial West"). The neocons will love that.

The history of the relations (secret especially) between the US and Saudi Arabia will undoubtedly be a core requirement for students of 20th and 21st century American history someday, though. And the Bush dynasty will loom large.

The Gerard Colby/Charlotte Dennett book The Kingdom and the Power: Saudi Oil, The Holocaust, and American Intelligence at the Dawn of the Middle East Crisis (which won't be published til next year) will trace some of this history back to the fall of the Ottoman Empire and how Britain's oil grab set up the Middle East as the focal point for geopolitics ever since.

If you can find them (they're both OOP, despite great reviews; see here and here), Colby's Du Pont Dynasty: Behind the Nylon Curtain and Colby/Dennett's Thy Will Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon - Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism the Age of Oil (which I haven't read yet but touches on some of this) are essential reading.

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

Cheney applied the screws to the CIA to fall in line leading up to Iraq War [og]

12:47 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