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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, November 15, 2003

Daniel Day Lewis's poet father Cecil was spied on by MI5
MI5 noted: "Like his close associates Stephen Spender and WH Auden, Day Lewis is an intellectual communist, but of the three he is definitely the most convinced and practical party man, the others, as you know, being communists of a highly idealistic and literary brand."

MI5 learned that by 1943 Day Lewis had become disillusioned with the Communist party, partly for its "anti-cultural line". He had joined the film division of the Ministry of Information, with MI5 telling his employer he was "probably actuated by his hatred of social inequality rather than by revolutionary desires".

2:56 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Texas woman who accused Bush of rape last year found dead of a gunshot wound to the head

Damned if I can find my post on this from December.

2:54 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Buddhist monks oppose Tamil independence on Sri Lanka

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

"We are heading downhill towards near-catastrophe. If nothing happens and we go on living by the sword, we will continue to wallow in the mud and destroy ourselves"

Former security chiefs warn Sharon govt on Palestinian policy

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

Friday, November 14, 2003

Surprise surprise file:

9/11 commission runs from shrubco with its tail between its legs
A Democrat on the panel who has criticized the accord, former Representative Timothy J. Roemer of Indiana, said in an interview that he believed that the panel had agreed to terms that would let the White House edit the reports to remove the contexts in which the intelligence was presented and to hide any "smoking guns."

"The President's Daily Brief can run 9 to 12 pages long," Mr. Roemer said. "But under this agreement, the commission will be allowed to see only specific articles or paragraphs within the P.D.B.'s. Our members may see only two or three paragraphs out of a nine-page report."

He said the commission should have insisted on access to the full reports, because "you need the context of how the P.D.B. was presented to the president in order to determine whether or not there were smoking guns."

The other Democratic critic on the panel, former Senator Max Cleland of Georgia, has described the agreement as unconscionable.
And from Kyle Hence of 9/11 CitizensWatch:
In all likelihood based on leaks discussed for months now, there are details hidden in these presidential papers that indeed there were in fact somewhat or very detailed warnings about a threat from Osama bin Laden to the Continental US; a threat that could involve hijackings. Warnings which the Administration said in the immediate aftermath that they didn't recieve. Clearly they fear this story might emerge undeniably in black and white if full access was granted. Given this understanding it comes to no surprise that they would go to such lengths to so seriously restrict access to the Commissioners, all of whom have security clearances making them legally bound not to relate to the public the contents of classified material.

And what's particularly interesting about the whole bruhaha over these documents is that there is absolutely no mention of the details of the even more important National Security Counsel meeting called by Counterterrorism Director Richard Clarke and held in July 2001. This song and dance is a smokescreen. The report circulated and discussed at that time referred to an imminent attack that would occur without warning and would inflict mass casualties or something to that effect. Word is that this meeting led the President to request a more detailed briefing on the Al-Qeada threat which he recieved later in the form of a PDB on August 6th. [from newsletter email]

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Ford stocks almost "junk"

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

Thus, in many ways, America over the past two decades was an accident waiting for September 11 to happen. All the pieces were in place - an increasingly powerful military; a corrupt and leaderless Congress; the disappearance of civics from school curricula; the slow acculturation to unconstitutional behavior by police, military and prosecutors; a media more interested in the power to which it aspired than in the readers and viewers it was meant to serve; the concentration of formerly devolved power inside of Washington, and the concentration of Washington power inside of the White House.

True, contempt for the citizenry has long been part of the character of the capital. For example, in 1963 J. William Fulbright, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a capital favorite, said, "The case for government by elites is irrefutable...government by the people is possible but highly improbable."

What has changed is the impunity with which those in power can act as though they believe something different. Washington has become the capital of great pretenders, where the powerful talk as democrats but walk as tyrants and where television and advanced agitprop have made it perfectly possible to create a dictatorship that the people still regard as a democracy. This is the same coalition of the shilling that now purports to export its sordid distortion of democracy to Baghdad... ["The Coalition of the Shilling", Sam Smith, May 2003]

12:59 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

In case you're interested in an insider's report on "fair and balanced" FoxNews.... [u]
The fact is, daily life at FNC is all about management politics. I say this having served six years there - as producer of the media criticism show, News Watch, as a writer/producer of specials and (for the last year of my stay) as a newsroom copy editor. Not once in the 20+ years I had worked in broadcast journalism prior to Fox - including lengthy stays at The Associated Press, CBS Radio and ABC/Good Morning America - did I feel any pressure to toe a management line. But at Fox, if my boss wasn't warning me to "be careful" how I handled the writing of a special about Ronald Reagan ("You know how Roger [Fox News Chairman Ailes] feels about him."), he was telling me how the environmental special I was to produce should lean ("You can give both sides, but make sure the pro-environmentalists don't get the last word.")


But the roots of FNC's day-to-day on-air bias are actual and direct. They come in the form of an executive memo distributed electronically each morning, addressing what stories will be covered and, often, suggesting how they should be covered. To the newsroom personnel responsible for the channel's daytime programming, The Memo is the bible. If, on any given day, you notice that the Fox anchors seem to be trying to drive a particular point home, you can bet The Memo is behind it.
[letter will be on a different page by tomorrow, probably, since it's part of the Letters page; look for ""The Memo" is the bible at Fox News
10/29/2003 4:46:23 PM" by Charlie Reina]

12:35 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

CIA admits "security situation" throughout Iraq will only get worse, as pro-consul Bremer is rushed to Washington for "routine talks"

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

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

The Lok Thye Lau case

Evidence has surfaced recently that the FBI has been spying on foreign nations for years
if Lau's spy story is true, then that wall may have never existed to begin with, and Ashcroft's PATRIOT Act argument was based on a false premise. And an even bigger issue looms, one that may offer a hint as to why the Justice Department wants to "shut down" the press coverage of Lau's case.

If the FBI was operating spies in foreign countries prior to 9/11?and with Lau, it would seem that was the case dating back to the mid-1980s?what happened to that intelligence information? Could it have been helpful in preventing 9/11? Who in our government knew or sanctioned such spying activity?

Such questions reach into the very nerve center of power in this country, and they are questions that undoubtedly unnerve those in power?which may be why there is now an effort on the part of the Justice Department to seal previously public records and to intimidate anyone who might try to shed further light on this case.

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

How US policy will make sure there are lots more veterans
The Iraq war has dangerously lowered the threshold for conflict in several ways:

First, with regard to what constitutes sufficient reason to go to war;

Second, with regard to proportionality between a war's objectives and the transgression it is meant to correct;

Third, with regard to what constitutes sufficient evidence of a transgression; and,

Finally, with regard to the need for international institutional legitimation.

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

Fake drugs are everywhere I tell you, everywhere, so make sure you keep selling the furniture or going without food to buy the Real Ones

I'm sure this is a problem, but it also wouldn't surprise me to find BigPharma (buried deeply) behind such operations. They have the bucks and the most to gain.

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

Iraq "faces severe health crisis"
Acute malnutrition has doubled and there has been an increase in diseases like cholera and measles.

It estimates that up to 55,000 people - mainly Iraqi soldiers and civilians - died as a direct result of the war.

12:43 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Congress shows evidence of cognition [drudge]

12:20 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Some states bagging primaries because of tight budgets or because they limit the field too early

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

Monday, November 10, 2003

Interview with a vaccine developer
Q: Are some vaccines more dangerous than others?

A: Yes. The DPT shot, for example. The MMR. But some lots of a vaccine are more dangerous than other lots of the same vaccine. As far as I'm concerned, all vaccines are dangerous.

Q: Why?

A: Several reasons. They involve the human immune system in a process that tends to compromise immunity. They can actually cause the disease they are supposed to prevent.

Q: Why are we quoted statistics which seem to prove that vaccines have been tremendously successful at wiping out diseases?

A: Why? To give the illusion that these vaccines are useful. If a vaccine suppresses visible symptoms of a disease like measles, everyone assumes that the vaccine is a success. But, under the surface, the vaccine can harm the immune system itself. And if it causes other diseases -- say, meningitis -- that fact is masked, because no one believes that the vaccine can do that. The connection is overlooked.

Q: It is said that the smallpox vaccine wiped out smallpox in England.

A: Yes. But when you study the available statistics, you get another picture.

Q: Which is?

A: There were cities in England where people who were not vaccinated did not get smallpox. There were places where people who were vaccinated experienced smallpox epidemics. And smallpox was already on the decline before the vaccine was introduced.

Q: So you're saying that we have been treated to a false history.

A: Yes. That's exactly what I'm saying. This is a history that has been cooked up to convince people that vaccines are invariably safe and effective.

1:17 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Khodorkovsky's oil shares were sold to Jacob Rothschild before his widely-publicized arrest

1:14 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Deployments of US warplanes in Scotland may presage another US invasion in the MidEast

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

Sunday, November 09, 2003

War on the ground

Benjamin Schwarz says Paul Fussell's The Boys' Crusade: The American Infantry in Northwestern Europe, 1944-1945 provides the antidote to
...the sanctimonious "military romanticism" of Messrs. Ambrose, Brokaw, and Spielberg, "which, if not implying that war is really good for you, does suggest that it contains desirable elements -- pride, companionship, and the consciousness of virtue enforced by deadly weapons."

In fact, Fussell says, "there is nothing in infantry warfare to raise the spirits at all, and anyone who imagines a military 'victory' gratifying is mistaken."


Sardonic, with a sharp eye for the absurd, Fussell elucidates both strategy (he's especially insightful on the thorny relationship between the British and American high commands) and the perceptions, behavior, and experience of the troops. His viewpoint -- that combat, even combat that defeats Nazi Germany, is without uplift, without virtue, and without purpose -- will antagonize some readers and offend the moral narcissism of others. But his book is the best -- the smartest, most concise, and most briskly written -- introduction to its subject. It would make an excellent high school text (and Father's Day gift). Those readers wishing to explore the topic in more detail should -- please -- eschew Ambrose and Brokaw and turn instead to three unusually clear-eyed, and hence overlooked, accounts: The Sharp End: The Fighting Man in World War II and Brute Force: Allied Strategy and Tactics in the Second World War, both by John Ellis, and the often terrifying The Crash of Ruin: American Combat Soldiers in Europe During World War II, by Peter Schrijvers, which is a masterpiece.

9:43 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Which Side Are You On?

PBS's Reporting America at War 2-parter continues tonight I mean Wednesday (sorry)

Missed the first part, but it looks good.

1:54 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Labour unrest in South Korea also tied to troop deployment to Iraq

Mainly about union leaders being liable for lost production during strikes.

1:14 PM - [Link] - Comments ()


from Sassafrass (9/23/02)
"Unconventional viewpoints at 'charging the canvas'

Opinions that will ruffle feathers, from someone who clearly knows their way around information and the blogosphere."

Blog of the Day


In the eyes of posterity it will inevitably seem that, in safeguarding our freedom, we destroyed it; that the vast clandestine apparatus we built up to probe our enemies' resources and intentions only served in the end to confuse our own purposes; that the practice of deceiving others for the good of the state led infallibly to our deceiving ourselves; and that the vast army of intelligence personnel built up to execute these purposes were soon caught up in the web of their own sick fantasies, with disastrous consequences to them and us.

-- Malcolm Muggeridge

Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.

-- Mark Twain

(link to list against Iraq War)


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[Get Opera!]


They were past the motels now, condos on both sides. The nicer ones, on the left, had soothing pluraled nature-names carved on hanging wooden signs, The Coves, The Glades, The Meadowlands. The cheaper condos, on the right, were smaller and closer to the road, and had names like roaring powerboats, Seaspray, Barracuda's, and Beachcomber III.

Jackie sneezed, a snippy poodle kind of sneeze, God-blessed herself, and said, "I bet it's on the left, Raymond. You better slow down."

Raymond Rios, the driver and young science teacher to the bright and gifted, didn't nod or really hear. He was thinking of the motels they had passed and the problem with the signs, No Vacancy. This message bothered him, he couldn't decide why. Then Jackie sneezed and it came to him, the motels said no vacancy because they were closed for the season (or off-season or not-season) and were, therefore, totally vacant, as vacant as they ever got, and so the sign, No Vacancy, was maximum-inaccurate, yet he understood exactly what it meant. This thought or chain of thoughts made him feel vacant and relaxed, done with a problem, a pleasant empty feeling driving by the beaches in the wind.

from Big If by Mark Costello

*       *       *       *

Bailey was having trouble with his bagel. Warming to my subject, I kept on talking while cutting the bagel into smaller pieces, wiping a dob of cream from his collar, giving him a fresh napkin. "There's a pretense at democracy. Blather about consensus and empowering employees with opinion surveys and minority networks. But it's a sop. Bogus as costume jewelry. The decisions have already been made. Everything's hush-hush, on a need-to-know-only basis. Compartmentalized. Paper shredders, e-mail monitoring, taping phone conversations, dossiers. Misinformation, disinformation. Rewriting history. The apparatus of fascism. It's the kind of environment that can only foster extreme caution. Only breed base behavior. You know, if I had one word to describe corporate life, it would be 'craven.' Unhappy word."

Bailey's attention was elsewhere, on a terrier tied to a parking meter, a cheeky fellow with a grizzled coat. Dogs mesmerized Bailey. He sized them up the way they sized each other up. I plowed on. "Corporations are like fortressed city-states. Or occupied territories. Remember The Sorrow and the Pity? Nazi-occupied France, the Vichy government. Remember the way people rationalized their behavior, cheering Pétain at the beginning and then cheering de Gaulle at the end? In corporations, there are out-and-out collaborators. Opportunists. Born that way. But most of the employees are like the French in the forties. Fearful. Attentiste. Waiting to see what happens. Hunkering down. Turning a blind eye.

from Moral Hazard by Kate Jennings

*       *       *       *


When the sashaying of gentlemen
Gives you grievance now and then
What's needed are some memories of planing lakes
Those planing lakes will surely calm you down

Nothing frightens me more
Than religion at my door
I never answer panic knocking
Falling down the stairs upon the law
What Law?

There's a law for everything
And for elephants that sing to feed
The cows that Agriculture won't allow

Hanky Panky Nohow
Hanky Panky Nohow
Hanky Panky Nohow

-- John Cale

© me