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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, December 27, 2003

The cut-and-run officially begins
The United States has backed away from several of its more ambitious initiatives to transform Iraq's economy, political system and security forces as attacks on U.S. troops have escalated and the timetable for ending the civil occupation has accelerated.

Plans to privatize state-owned businesses -- a key part of a larger Bush administration goal to replace the socialist economy of deposed president Saddam Hussein with a free-market system -- have been dropped over the past few months. So too has a demand that Iraqis write a constitution before a transfer of sovereignty.

With the administration's plans tempered by time and threat, the U.S. administrator of Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, and his deputies are now focused on forging compromises with Iraqi leaders and combating a persistent insurgency in order to meet a July 1 deadline to transfer sovereignty to a provisional government.

11:10 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Friday, December 26, 2003

Jackson Lears' review of James Morone's Hellfire Nation: Morality in American Politics is an interesting rumination on how the American view of "sin" has influenced political views and movements
Manichaean tendencies re-surfaced from time to time, as in the Pequot War and the Salem witch trials, but what is surprising is how long Augustinian ideas continued to check tendencies toward self-righteousness among the Puritans and their successors. Well into the early nineteenth century, as the historian Karen Halttunen has discovered, ministers characterized condemned murderers as common sinners, whose evil deeds were simply a particularly vile example of the vileness in all human beings. It was only with the spread of the Enlightenment faith in human goodness that the murderer began to be seen as a monster, "a fiend in human form." If human nature was inherently benign, then sin might be the result of inhuman monstrosity or (later in the nineteenth century) racial inferiority -- unless one took the reformist view, which traced even radical evil to a poor environment or a weak character, which could be strengthened or improved. In this way the waning of belief in original sin paved the way for the demonization -- but also the reform -- of the other. Moral crusades against sin depended on the peculiarly modern assumption that sin could be eradicated. This was a far cry from Augustine.

Augustinian ideas continued to deepen American Protestant thought, as Christopher Lasch and Andrew Delbanco have reminded us by illuminating the philosophical lineage from Jonathan Edwards to Martin Luther King Jr. But among more pedestrian thinkers, a new and easier conception of virtue emerged. Protestant theology gave way to Protestant ethics, which in turn became barely distinguishable from bourgeois conformity and respectability -- a self-satisfied moralism that has shaped our public discourse down to the present, though it would have appalled Augustine. Occasionally it has even appalled American moralists themselves, who have periodically demanded that attention be paid to slaves, child laborers, destitute families, and other victims of the vagaries of fortune.

Yet such humanitarian sympathies could be only fitfully sustained in a society given over to the pursuit of private gain. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the spread of market-based individualism had sanitized self-interest, transforming it from a source of sin to a seat of virtue. In the emerging utilitarian moral climate, sin was less a complex mental state than a set of nasty habits, all of which involved straying from the hard path of self-control into the swamps of sensual self-indulgence.

And now "worldly wise" and "sophisticated" liberals were dismissing [Clinton's] peccadilloes, denying our American moral heritage, and threatening to turn us "European." The contrast between American virtue and European vice has been a key notion in the American rhetoric of national self-congratulation since the days of the early republic. It reveals the Manichaean tendency at work in international affairs, creating an exceptionalist myth of American innocence amid a corrupt world.

5:39 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Thursday, December 25, 2003

13 members of elite Israeli commando unit which have refused to serve in Palestinian areas for ethical reasons threatened with courtmartial [u]

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

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Urban Survival has links on beef situation, including corporate beef vs local family beef

Plus: elves laid off in Finland.

11:16 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

After decades of Food Gangsters advertising junk food and drink to kids, now gubmint says they're too fat and they have to raise taxes to cover health costs

How about subsidizing these programs through grants from Beatrice and Nestle & co.?

11:05 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

FDA/drug gangsters bemoan quality of perfectly fine Canadian drugs, while your local MD may be hawking black market flu vaccine

Or maybe this is their way of "proving their point"?

10:58 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Cali "not falling into the ocean" but mountains a foot higher near quake epicenter

10:50 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

When nations grow old, the arts grow cold and commerce settles on every
tree. -William Blake
[A Word a Day]

1:29 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

The European Enron

9:28 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Long piece from an unpublished manuscript on the shadow haunting the USA [u]
...our marketplace of ideas far from guarantees that truth prevails. The woman stands at a great disadvantage compared to the fast food chain, which can spend millions of dollars publicising its side of the story through advertising and public relations. The woman can distribute pamphlets at various restaurants every day after work for fifteen years, but her efforts will not weigh much in the balance. News companies will likely not publicise her story for fear of losing advertising deals with the fast food chain. Thanks to public television, the woman would stand a better chance of publicising her story in England. In this respect, the English system does a better job of promoting the truth.


A ruler who looks after the rich may help them with secondary needs like acquiring condos at the mountain, but a ruler who looks after the poor can help them with basic needs like food and housing, so the poor should have the most reason to vote. When they don't, we cannot just take easy shots at their education, we must look for deeper reasons.

One reason lies in the position low earners occupy in our culture. Status proceeds mostly from wealth: Low earners have no wealth and no status. From our youngest age, we learn that we must look out for ourselves, that we must focus on 'getting ahead', so we train our attention on the rich. If a middle class boy ever thinks of poverty, he probably views it as another place to board the American dream's mighty train, and he forgets about it at once. From reading magazines and watching television, a low earner in America could conclude she exists only as a derogatory epithet like 'white trash', or as a crime statistic if she has black skin. She feels not like a valued member of society, but more like a broken machine that contributes nothing to the economy, like a dispensable piece of humanity to be thrown in jail, fed to the army, or left to fester in her juices. The national debate bypasses her, so she feels like a foreigner in her own land. Foreigners do not vote: Why should she?

1:40 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Though the earth's temperature is rising, the amount of sunlight reaching the surface has been dropping drasticaly for decades [u]

No one knows what this means yet.

1:30 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Michigan attempt to drug-test welfare recipients dropped [u]

1:25 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Makes you feel like you're living in a foreign country run by gangsters and their protection rackets file:

Maine Demo who broke shrub drunk-driving incident
suffered physical abuse and psy ops [u]
Twice in the days following the election, while the recount in Florida dragged on, Connolly was physically assaulted. Once, he said, a man got out of a pickup truck on Congress Street, knocked him to the ground, got back in the pickup and drove away. Then, one evening in a supermarket, another man rammed Connolly from behind with a shopping cart and whacked him on the back of the head.


It gets worse. As Bush prepared, at long last, for Inauguration Day, Connolly began getting nasty notices from motor vehicle bureaus in three states: New Jersey, Georgia and Louisiana. Each informed him that his license to drive had been suspended in that state because he had failed to show proof of insurance following an alleged accident there.


Finally, there's the mail.

In what began as a trickle and eventually turned torrential, Connolly received daily bundles of magazines and newspapers to which he had never subscribed.

1:19 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Monday, December 22, 2003

Chavez challenges Church mojo in Venezuela

11:14 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Judge Blocks Forced Military Anthrax Shots

11:09 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Iraqis threatened with 3 to 10 years in jail for buying black market gas instead of waiting 6 hours on line

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

"We have not seen a change in the threat after the capture of Saddam Hussein"

I'm kind of curious why the US hired a South African military contractor to guard the northern oil pipeline in Iraq which doesn't seem to be making it safe enough, and nothing is being said about it
The United States has contracted Erinys International, a South African-based company, to provide security for Iraqi oil infrastructure, including refineries and the export pipeline.

The company has been hiring hundreds of Iraqi guards, equipping them with assault rifles and paying them an average of $150 a month for 12-hour shifts.

[Local oil company head Adel] Kazzaz said Erinys has not taken enough measures to protect the pipeline. Erinys officials were unavailable for comment.
You know shrubco wants that oil to flow, even if there's less of it than they originally thought.


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

White House sanitizing government sites of inconvenient quotes and uncomforatble facts [drudge]

Old but important story delayed because of attack on my blogging client.

2:08 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Kurds captured & drugged Saddam for tribal revenge over son's rape, left him for US troops [drudge]

Makes sense. It seemed a little too easy the way it was portrayed.

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

Campaign to demilitarize the NYC police ahead of the GOP convention next year [u]

12:07 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

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