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Leaked document exposes pro-Israel lobby's manipulation of US public
The document, entitled "Wexner Analysis: Israeli Communication Priorities 2003," counsels pro-Israel advocates to keep invoking the name of Saddam Hussein, and to stress that Israel "was always behind American efforts to rid the world of this ruthless dictator and liberate their people." Despite his solid support for Israel and Ariel Sharon, the document warns pro-Israel advocates not to compliment or praise President Bush. At the same time it acknowledges that Yasser Arafat has been a great asset to Israel because "he looks the part" of a "terrorist." . . . The document was commissioned by the Wexner Foundation, a private foundation that funds, among other pro-Israel initiatives, "Birthright Israel," a program that pays for young American Jews to take free trips to Israel. The Israel Project is an initiative of pro-Israel organizations, political consultants and businesspeople. The Luntz Research Companies is a leading public relations and opinion research firm. . . . Here is some of the key advice the document provides to Israel and its advocates: . . . "Iraq colors all. Saddam is your best defense, even if he is dead. The worldview [of] Americans is entirely dominated by developments in Iraq. This is a unique opportunity for Israelis to deliver a message of support and unity at a time of great international anxiety and opposition from some of our European "allies." For a year - a SOLID YEAR - you should be invoking the name of Saddam Hussein and how Israel was always behind American efforts to rid the world of this ruthless dictator and liberate their people." . . . as the military conflict comes to a close, it is now time for Israel to lay out its own "road map" for the future which includes unqualified support for America and unqualified commitment to an ongoing war against terrorism." . . . "It DOES NOT HELP when you compliment President Bush. When you want to identify with and align yourself with America, just say it. Don't use George Bush as a synonym for the United States. Even with the destruction of the Hussein regime and all the positive reactions from the Iraqi people, there still remains about 20% of America that opposes the Iraqi war, and they are overwhelmingly Democrat. That leaves about half the Democrats who support the war even if they don't support George Bush. You antagonize the latter half unnecessarily every time you compliment the President. Don't do it." . . . ""SECURITY" sells. Security has become the key fundamental principle for all Americans. Security is the context by which you should explain Israeli need for loan guarantees and military aid, as well as why Israel can't just give up land. The settlements are our Achilles heel, and the best response (which is still quite weak) is the need for security that this buffer creates."

[NOTE: The complete document is available through the page linked to above.]
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 5:44 PM

EPIC Establishes Privacy Threat Index
The Electronic Privacy Information Center announced today that it was establishing a new Privacy Threat Index to track the growing threat to privacy resulting from the expansion of government surveillance. Based on developments during the past year, EPIC assessed the current level as Yellow. Update: Homeland Security index reduced, EPIC Privacy Threat Index remains unchanged. (Apr. 16)
. . . Read more!

posted by An Old Curmudgeon 8:46 AM

Bush: It's Not Just His Doctrine That's Wrong
by Howard Dean
When Congress approved the President�s authorization to go to war in Iraq � no matter how well-intentioned � it was giving the green light to the President to set his Doctrine of preemptive war in motion. It now appears that Iraq was just the first step. . . . Too much is at stake. We have taken decades of consensus on the conduct of foreign policy � bipartisan consensus in the United States and consensus among our allies in the world community � and turned it on its head. It could well take decades to repair the damage this President and his cohort of right-wing ideological advisors have done to our standing in the international community. . . . The President who campaigned on a platform of a humble foreign policy has instead begun implementing a foreign policy characterized by dominance, arrogance and intimidation. . . . The next president will need to undo the work of this band of radicals currently controlling our foreign policy � who view the Middle East as a laboratory for their experiments in democracy-building, where no such traditions exist. Their approach will drastically change the view that the world has had of the United States. . . . The people of this country must understand that this Administration has a far different concept of the role of America in the world. This concept involves imposing our will on sovereign nations. This concept involves dismantling the multilateral institutions that we have spent decades building. And this concept involves distorting the rule of law to suit their narrow purposes. . . . This President shamelessly divides us from one another. He divides us by race � as he did when he claimed that the University of Michigan uses quotas in its law school admissions. He divides us by class by rewarding his campaign donors with enormous tax cuts while the rest of us are deprived of affordable health care, prescription drugs for our seniors, and good schools for our kids. He divides us by gender by seeking to restrict reproductive choice for women. He divides us by sexual orientation by appointing reactionary judges to the bench, and as he did in Texas by refusing to sign the Hate Crimes bill if it included gay or lesbian Americans as potential victims. . . . I believe that the Democratic Party needs to stand for something if we want people to vote for us. And by standing against the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war and domestic division, we may yet rediscover the soul of our Party.
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posted by Lorenzo 7:34 PM

The Real War--On American Democracy
(Thom Hartmann, AlterNet, April 18, 2003)
In the midst of news of foreign wars, Americans are beginning to wake up to the real war being waged here at home. It is, however, a confused awakening. . . . juicy deals for Bush administration insiders are just a by-product of the real and deeper war against democracy. The neoconservatives are perfectly happy for us to think they're just opportunists skirting the edges of legality and morality, but this is far more dangerous than simple government corruption. . . . Without a larger view, the issues of domestic spending, oil, neo-conservative power plays in both major parties, the loss of liberties, anti-government rhetoric, and war in the Middle East all seem like separate and unconnected events. They're not. . . . The "new conservatives" who've seized the Republican Party and, through the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) are nipping at the heels of the Democratic Party, are not our parents' conservatives. . . . In past times those promoting what is now called the neo-conservative agenda went by different names. . . . What we are seeing now in the neoconservative agenda is nothing less than an attempt to overthrow republican democracy and replace it with a worldwide feudal state. . . . it raised its head again in the 20th Century, revived by Franco, Hitler, and Mussolini. The Italian dictator even used the word "corporatism" to describe it, and then later renamed it as "fascism" - a word that was defined in American dictionaries such as The American Heritage Dictionary (Houghton Mifflin Company) in 1983 as "fas-cism (fash'iz'em) n. A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism." . . . Thus, the war on Iraq was just one front in the larger feudal war against democracy itself. (And a particularly useful one - it gave the corporate feudal lords access to oil wealth, and was so effective at distracting the populace from Bush's outrageous domestic agenda that we can expect to see another war, somewhere, in November of 2004.) . . . Facing the power of The East India Company's corporate feudalism in 1773, the Founders of our nation, unable to get their voices heard in the halls of the British government or even in many of the newspapers of the day, turned to two nonviolent and very effective methods to spread the new meme of democracy. . . . The first was pamphleteering - and the internet is today's pamphlet. Millions are using email and pointing to websites to awaken people and promote democratic change. . . . The second was creating "committees of correspondence," also used extensively by the Women's Suffrage movement. These were groups organized to write letters to the editors of newspapers. . . . People across American have already begun letter writing, faxing, and email campaigns, and you can see the results on the editorial pages of our newspapers and in the reactions of some of our politicians. Other correspondents are blogging or calling in to talk shows, modern variations on this theme. . . . A correspondent in York, New York, who is pamphleteering in email and encouraging committees of correspondence to write letters to newspaper editors against the new feudalism's wars on America and overseas, shared the following quote from Emerson: "One of the illusions [of life] is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive hour." . . . Yet this is the critical and decisive hour, and we are not without voices or tools.
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posted by Lorenzo 8:48 PM

Franklin Graham conducts services at Pentagon - Apr. 18, 2003
(CNN.com, April 18, 2003)
Christian minister Franklin Graham delivered a Good Friday message at the Pentagon over objections from some Muslim employees who complained about his earlier description of Islam as "a very evil and wicked religion." . . . Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, thanked God for "the principles on which this nation was built and what it stands for" and "for our president and all those who are in authority over us." He made no mention of Muslims. . . . The Pentagon's chaplain office invited Graham to conduct the services and refused to rescind the invitation after hearing the concerns of three Muslim employees, a Pentagon source told CNN. . . . He said he is not against Islam, pointing out that his relief group has supplied goods to Islamic countries. "But as a minister, not a politician, I believe it is my responsibility to speak out against the terrible deeds that are committed as a result of Islamic teaching," he said. . . . "We're not attacking Islam but Islam has attacked us," NBC News quoted Graham saying at the dedication of a North Carolina chapel in October. "The God of Islam is not the same God. He's not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It's a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion." . . . When NBC asked him to clarify his statements, he said, "It wasn't Methodists flying into those buildings, it wasn't Lutherans. It was an attack on this country by people of the Islamic faith." . . . Muslims also have accused Graham and other Christian groups of hoping to convert Muslims in Iraq under the guise of doing humanitarian work there.
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posted by Lorenzo 2:26 PM


Call your local radio station and ask how come they ain't bumping these tunes?

'PEACE NOT WAR' [www.peace-not-war.org] [double cd compilation]
'Reports From the Opposition' WAR TIMES [Bay Area Compilation]
'World Destruction' AFRIKA BAMBAATAA
'George Bush Is A Gangsta' AZEEM
'In A World Gone Mad' BEASTY BOYS
'Twisted Sense of God' CHUCK D & FINE ARTS MILITIA
'Twisted Sense of God pt 2' CHUCK D & FINE ARTS MILITIA
'We Gotta Have Peace' CONSOLIDATED
'Hoeing For George' CRACK EMCEE
'Red, White & Blue' CRACK EMCEE
'Know Your Enemy' DEAD PREZ
'Revolution' DEAD PREZ
'Occident & Emergency' DJ DISORIENTALIST
'Fly or Burn' DJ SPINNA
'Pacifist' DJ VADIM
'Ghetto Rebel' DJ VADIM
'Rape [Tactic of War]' FUNDAMENTAL
'Red, White and Blue'[War Times LP] GOAPELE
'Soldierman'[War Times LP] HANNIFAH WALIDAH
'Neva The Same' JAHI
'Satisfied' J-LIVE
'Freedom' JURASSIC 5
'Heaven Only Knows' KOS
'World Peace' KRS-ONE
'Stop The Violence' KRS-ONE
'World War III' MELE-MEL
'We Can Bomb The World to Pieces' MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD
'Home of the Brave' MR LIF
'Peace Not War' MUD FAMILY
'God Bless America' NO THE PIPER
'What Would You Do?' PARIS
'Son of a Bush' PUBLIC ENEMY
'Black Steel In the Hour of Chaos' PUBLIC ENEMY
'The Evil That Men Do' QUEEN LATIFAH
'United We Stand' RED GUARD [War Times LP]
'Anti-War Freestyle' SAUL WILLIAMS
'Masters of War' SAMANTHA LIAPES [War Times LP]
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posted by Lorenzo 4:27 PM

Handy Facts "Our Boys and Girls" Should Know As They Defend Democracy

What percentage of the world's population does the U.S. have? 6%

What percentage of the world's wealth does the U.S. have? 50%

Which country has the largest oil reserves? Saudi Arabia

Which country has the second largest oil reserves? Iraq

How much is spent annually on military budgets worldwide? $900+ billion

How much of this is spent by the U.S.? 50%

What percent of US military spending would ensure the essentials of life to everyone in the world, according to the UN? 10% (about $40 billion)

How many people have died in wars since World War II? 86 million

How many people did Saddam kill using gas in Halabja in 1988? 5,000

How many western countries condemned this action at the time? 0

How many gallons of agent Orange did America use in Vietnam? 17million

Are any links proven between Iraq and the 9/11 terrorist attack? No

What's the estimated number of civilian casualties in Gulf War 1? 35,000

How many casualties did Iraq inflict on western forces in Gulf War 1? 0

How many retreating Iraqi soldiers were bombed, shot in the back, and/or buried alive by U.S. tanks with ploughs mounted on the front? 6,000

How many tons of depleted uranium did that war leave in Iraq/Kuwait? 40

How much of Iraq's military capacity did the U.S. claim it destroyed? 80%

What was the increase in cancer rates in Iraq between 1991 and 1994? 700%

Does Iraq present more of a threat to world peace now than 10 years ago? No

How many civilian deaths has the Pentagon predicted for an attack on Iraq? 10,000

What percentage of these will be children? Over 50%

How many years has the U.S. engaged in air strikes on Iraq? 11

Were the U.S and UK at war with Iraq in those 11 years? No
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posted by Lorenzo 4:26 PM

Congress Exceeds Its Credit Limit
by Rep. Ron Paul, MD - LewRockwell.com
The term �national debt� really is a misnomer. It�s not the nation�s debt, but rather the federal government�s debt. The American people didn�t spend the money, but they will have to pay it back. And if Congress has its way, our nation�s Treasury will have twice as much debt ten years from now as it does today. Congress needs to stop this terrible spending spree before it bankrupts American taxpayers. All of the talk about tax cuts and budgets is just a smokescreen obscuring the real problem of uncontrolled spending. Unless the American people force Congress to change its spendthrift ways, newborn Americans may soon come into the world owing $44,000 instead of $22,000.
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 9:14 AM

Will bin Laden Win The War?
By Michael Gaddy -The Sierra Times
For years there has existed the theory that the USSR was defeated because of the Missile Defense System, better known as Star Wars. As the theory goes, the threat of that system immediately made a great majority of the weapons systems of the Russians obsolete and they did not possess the resources to recover. Although I am sure there would be debate on the subject, it is certainly a matter of fact that the demise of the USSR as a superpower was one of economic origin. Is it possible that Osama bin Laden and his allies have fallen on the plan that will lead to our financial ruin? We are currently on a path to fight all the countries in the Middle East with the exception of Israel. And of course the neocons at PNAC tell us that when finished there, we must conquer North Korea and China. Although all this warmongering is taking the attention of the nation off our economic woes, it is not making them go away. Just exactly where are the resources for this monumental task going to come from? Sure, ole man Greenspan is sitting down there with his trusty printing press, running off trillions, but with each one he prints it makes the ones we now have worth less and less because there is nothing of value to back them up. That is why a fine home that cost $50,000 several years ago, now costs a quarter million. It is also why the common working family can no longer afford one.

Not only the direct cost, but also the indirect costs of war, are making the prosecution of this type of government lunacy one that is taxing many entities to the point of bankruptcy. Homeland Security will rapidly lead to the financial destruction of most of our cities and states. "The effort to secure the homeland is being carried out and financed increasingly by levels of government least able to pay for it: states, now facing their worst fiscal crises since World War II, and cities, which rely heavily on states for aid." said a recent article in the Washington Post.

We may soon cease to exist as a super power simply because we are spending ourselves to death on preemptive (read aggressive) wars and false security while all those billions Greenspan is printing are worth exactly what the paper costs they are printed on.

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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 7:25 AM

Bush went AWOL: While the media have sat on this explosive story for months, it's well documented that George W. Bush never showed up for National Guard duty for a period of approximately one year, possibly more, in 1972-1973. He didn't report to his guard unit for an extended period -- 17 months, by one account. It wasn't considered that serious an offense at the time, and if circumstances were different now I'd be inclined to write it off as youthful irresponsibility. However, given the none-too-subtle suggestion by the Bush administration that opponents of our Iraqi excursion lack martial valor, I have to say: You guys should talk. Mother Jones Magazine, Jan./Feb. 2003: We were Soldiers Once? The Bush War Record
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posted by Hal 9:18 PM

New U.S. Ad Campaign Takes on Corporate Tax Scheme
commondreams.org WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A new U.S. television ad campaign will target companies that move their headquarters offshore, at least on paper, in an effort to trim their U.S. tax bills.

The ads cut between images of soldiers fighting in Iraq, CEOs using cash to light cigars and pictures of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. At the end, the announcer on the 30-second spot intones: "We're doing our part to support our brave men and women overseas. Why don't they?"

The ads, to be broadcast in three markets over the next week, are aimed at jump-starting legislative efforts to crack down on such companies.
. . . Read more!

posted by West 10:26 PM

U.S. Foreign Policy Shaped by Energy Supply
WASHINGTON, DC, April 8, 2003 (ENS) - The U.S. government must ensure that the United States can pursue its foreign policy and national security interests unconstrained by energy concerns, a senior State Department official says.

Undersecretary of State Alan Larson said the Bush administration plans to achieve this objective by promoting energy supply diversification, coordinating internationally an effective response to oil supply disruptions and encouraging major oil producing countries to maintain responsible production policies.
. . . Read more!

posted by West 12:02 PM

Police Open Fire At Anti-War Protesters ...Welcome to the American Gulag
(Martha Mendoza, Associated Press, 7 April 2003)
Click the above link for pictures
Not only was he shot three times with these weapons, but he was shot in the back three times. This means, in short, that he was running away from the police. This means he was no threat whatsoever to armored cops. He was heading away from them when they fired those slugs into his retreating back. . . . Along with the protesters, a number of longshoremen working the docks were hit by errant shots coming from the Oakland Police. "I was standing as far back as I could," said longshoremen Kevin Wilson in the story below. "It was very scary. All of that force wasn't necessary." Trent Willis, a business agent for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, said, "They shot my guys. The cops had no reason to open up on them." . . . Police opened fire Monday morning with wooden dowels, "sting balls" and other non-lethal weapons at anti-war protesters outside the Port of Oakland, injuring at least a dozen demonstrators and six longshoremen standing nearby. . . . The port protest was one of several anti-war demonstrations Monday in the San Francisco Bay area. Twelve people were arrested at the Concord Naval Weapons Station, and seven were arrested after temporarily blocking an off-ramp from Interstate 280 in San Francisco. . . . About 50 medical students, doctors and teachers demonstrated for two hours in front of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office in San Francisco. In Sunnyvale, demonstrators planned to present a letter to Lockheed Martin opposing the use of that company's products in the war. . . . "They should not have been using the wooden bullets," Bruner said. "Given what's happening in the world today, we're going to be seeing more of this. And we should be prepared to handle it." . . . Demonstrators said it was the first time they had been fired upon since anti-war protests started in the San Francisco Bay area more than two weeks ago. . . . The police did not move to arrest anyone, they just started shooting.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 3:16 PM

Librarians Use Shredder to Show Opposition to New F.B.I. Powers
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - The humming noise from a back room of the central library here today was the sound of Barbara Gail Snider, a librarian, at work. Her hands stuffed with wads of paper, Ms. Snider was feeding a small shredding machine mounted on a plastic wastebasket.

First to be sliced by the electronic teeth were several pink sheets with handwritten requests to the reference desk. One asked for the origin of the expression "to cost an arm and a leg." Another sought the address of a collection agency.

Next to go were the logs of people who had signed up to use the library's Internet computer stations. Bill L., Mike B., Rolando, Steve and Patrick were all shredded into white paper spaghetti.

"It used to be a librarian would be pictured with a book," said Ms. Snider, the branch manager, slightly exasperated as she hunched over the wastebasket. "Now it is a librarian with a shredder."

Actually, the shredder here is not new, but the rush to use it is. In the old days, staff members in the nine-branch Santa Cruz Public Library System would destroy discarded paperwork as time allowed, typically once a week.

But at a meeting of library officials last week, it was decided the materials should be shredded daily.

"The basic strategy now is to keep as little historical information as possible," said Anne M. Turner, director of the library system.

The move was part of a campaign by the Santa Cruz libraries to demonstrate their opposition to the Patriot Act, the law passed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks that broadened the federal authorities' powers in fighting terrorism.
. . . Read more!

posted by West 9:43 PM

Old News but Still Relevant...
July 9, 2001 | WASHINGTON --In a report published Monday, the Lovenstein Institute of Scranton, Pennsylvania detailed its findings of a four month study of the intelligence quotient of President George W. Bush. Since 1973, the Lovenstein Institute has published its research to the education community on each new president, which includes the famous "IQ" report among others. According to statements in the report, there have been twelve presidents over the past 50 years, from F. D. Roosevelt to G. W. Bush who were all rated based on scholarly achievements, writings that they alone produced without aid of staff, their ability to speak with clarity, and several other psychological factors which were then scored in the Swanson/Crain system of intelligence ranking. The study determined the following IQs of each president as accurate to within five percentage points:

147 Franklin D. Roosevelt (D)
132 Harry Truman (D)
122 Dwight D. Eisenhower (R)
174 John F. Kennedy (D)
126 Lyndon B. Johnson (D)
155 Richard M. Nixon (R)
121 Gerald Ford (R)
175 James E. Carter (D)
105 Ronald Reagan (R)
98 George H. W. Bush (R)
182 William J. Clinton (D)
91 George W. Bush (R)

The six Republican presidents of the past 50 years had an average IQ of 115.5, with President Nixon having the highest IQ, at 155. President G. W. Bush was rated the lowest of all the Republicans with an IQ of 91.

The six Democrat presidents had IQs with an average of 156, with President Clinton having the highest IQ, at 182. President Lyndon B. Johnson was rated the lowest of all the Democrats with an IQ of 126.

No president other than Carter (D) has released his actual IQ, 176. Among comments made concerning the specific testing of President GW Bush, his low ratings were due to his apparent difficulty to command the English language in public statements, his limited use of vocabulary (6,500 words for Bush versus an average of 11,000 words for other presidents), his lack of scholarly achievements other than a basic MBA, and an absence of any body of work which could be studied on an intellectual basis.

The complete report documents the methods and procedures used to arrive at these ratings, including depth of sentence structure and voice stress confidence analysis. "All the Presidents prior to George W. Bush had a least one book under their belt, and most had written several white papers during their education or early careers.. Not so with President Bush," Dr. Lovenstein said. "He has no published works or writings, so in many ways that made it more difficult to arrive at an assessment. We had to rely more heavily on transcripts of his unscripted public speaking." The Lovenstein Institute of Scranton Pennsylvania think tank includes high caliber historians, psychiatrists, sociologists, scientists in human behavior, and psychologists. Among their ranks are Dr. Werner R. Lovenstein, world-renowned sociologist, and Professor Patricia F. Dilliams, a world-respected psychiatrist. This study was commissioned on February 13, 2001, and released on July 9, 2001, to subscribing member universities and organizations within the education community.

*****Now, think about it - what would cause a thinking public to put into office someone with a less than average IQ and the charisma of a slug? Well, I am making a very large assumption, I guess...***** but, that's just this old curmudgeon's opinion...
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 7:48 AM

KGB General Yevgeni Primakov hired by the US Department of Homeland Security
(Al Martin, Impeach-Bush-Now.org, March 17, 2003)
You will be happy to learn that the former head of the KGB (the secret police of the former Soviet Union), General Yevgeni Primakov, has been hired as a consultant by the US Department of Homeland Security. Do you think he will share his expertise in "security" to prepare US citizens for domestic internal passports under the pretense of fighting the never-ending "War on Terrorism"? . . . The way it [CAPPS II] works is you give them your credit card and they slide it thorough like you would in a store and then they hit a button and the monitor reads: CAPPS II, SS CTF. The SS CTF evidently stands for State Security Citizen Threat File. But it has nothing to do with the Department of Transportation. It goes directly to a division, which has been established between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the CIA and several other federal agencies. This is a new division, referred to as the Office of Internal Security, which is coordinating the effort to establish citizen threat files on every US citizen. . . . No announcement will be made to the public about what information exactly is being accessed or exactly how much information or what type of information is going to be included in each citizen's security threat file. . . . Primakov said that this is one of the steps now being employed along with NICA and new identity upgrade features which are coming to your driver's license. It is being used to get the people used to new types of documentation and carrying new types of identity cards pursuant to the United States instituting a formal policy of internal passports.And he actually used the words "internal passports." . . . the White House will have more control over the American people than the Kremlin had over the Russian people when Stalin was alive. He said that and then he laughed. . . . What Primakov finds funny are what he calls these "right wing flag wavers" that were so anti-communist and now they're supporting a state policy of internal passports. . . . Primakov continued by saying that he had been hired as a consultant and he was consulting on other "security" matters, an ongoing policy in various agencies of government (some of these offices haven't even been created yet) to consistently narrow the rights of the American people and to expand the power of government. . . . You could call this the "Sovietization of America." Primakov said he can't wait to get on the payroll (he called it the "pay corps," referring to the Heritage Foundation, the PNAC and all the other right wing foundations in the United States).
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 1:59 PM

An excerpt from Margaret Atwood's "A Letter To America"

Let's talk, then, not about what you're doing to other people, but about what you're doing to yourselves.

You're gutting the Constitution. Already your home can be entered without your knowledge or permission, you can be snatched away and incarcerated without cause, your mail can be spied on, your private records searched. Why isn't this a recipe for widespread business theft, political intimidation, and fraud? I know you've been told all this is for your own safety and protection, but think about it for a minute. Anyway, when did you get so scared? You didn't used to be easily frightened.

You're running up a record level of debt. Keep spending at this rate and pretty soon you won't be able to afford any big military adventures. Either that or you'll go the way of the USSR: lots of tanks, but no air conditioning. That will make folks very cross. They'll be even crosser when
they can't take a shower because your short-sighted bulldozing of environmental protections has dirtied most of the water and dried up the rest. Then things will get hot and dirty indeed.

You're torching the American economy. How soon before the answer to that will be, not to produce anything yourselves, but to grab stuff other people produce, at gunboat-diplomacy prices? Is the world going to consist of a few megarich King Midases, with the rest being serfs, both inside and outside your country? Will the biggest business sector in the United States be the prison system? Let's hope not.

If you proceed much further down the slippery slope, people around the world will stop admiring the good things about you. They'll decide that your city upon the hill is a slum and your democracy is a sham, and therefore you have no business trying to impose your sullied vision on them. They'll think you've abandoned the rule of law. They'll think you've fouled your own nest.

The British used to have a myth about King Arthur. He wasn't dead, but sleeping in a cave, it was said; in the country's hour of greatest peril, he would return. You, too, have great spirits of the past you may call upon: men and women of courage, of conscience, of prescience. Summon them now, to stand with you, to inspire you, to defend the best in you. You need them.
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posted by Lorenzo 7:03 PM

How To Take Back America ... by Thom Hartmann
Marching in the streets is important work, but wouldn't we have greater success if we also took control of the United States government? . . . And how are progressives - most standing on the outside of government, looking in - to deal with oil wars, endemic corporate cronyism, slashed environmental regulations, corporate-controlled voting machines, the devastation of America's natural areas, the fouling of our air and waters, and an administration that daily gives the pharma, HMO, banking, and insurance industries whatever they want regardless of how many people are harmed? . . . Archconservative neo-Christians who argue the Bible should replace the Constitution even funded the startup of a corporation to manufacture computer-controlled voting machines, which are now installed across the nation. . . . Thus, many progressives are suggesting that it's time for concerned Americans to reclaim Thomas Jefferson's Democratic Party. It may, in fact, be our only short-term hope to avoid a final total fascistic takeover of America and a third world war. . . . Similarly, being a Green doesn't mean you can't also be a Democrat. . . . This is not a popular truth. . . . the American constitution was written in a way that only allows for two political parties. Whenever a third party emerges, it's guaranteed to harm the party most closely aligned to it. . . . The Republicans well understand - and carefully use - the fact that in the American electoral system a third-party candidate will always harm the major-party candidate with whom s/he is most closely aligned. . . . The Australians solved this problem in the last decade by instituting nationwide instant run-off voting (IRV), a system that is making inroads in communities across the United States. . . . Thus, the best immediate solution to advance the progressive agenda is for progressives to join and take back the Democratic Party, in the same way conservatives seized control of the Republican Party. . . . The nation I love is confronting a crisis no smaller than those faced by Roosevelt, Lincoln, and Washington: a crisis that will determine if American democracy survives to the next generation. . . . Unlike most other modern democracies, our American electoral system only allows for two political parties, at least at the national level. So, given that the rich, the polluters, the paranoid, and the zealot war-mongers got to the Republicans first, we have no choice but to take back the Democratic Party, reinvigorate it, reorient it, and lead it to success in 2004. We may not be able to stop Bush now, but we sure as hell can throw him out of office next year at the ballot box. . . . only a political party as large and resourceful as the Democrats could have the power to re-institute exit polling, and catch scams like the voter-list purges Jeb Bush used to steal the 2000 and 2002 elections for himself and his brother. . . . And the Democratic Party can only do it if we, in massive numbers, join it, embrace it, and ultimately gain a powerful and decisive voice in its policy-making and selection of candidates.
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posted by Lorenzo 7:00 PM

The government begins sifting databases to find clues to terrorism in the making
By Dana Hawkins - 4/7/03 - USNews.com
Annoyed at having to remove your shoes at airport security? Just wait. This month, the Transportation Security Administration began testing a screening program on some Delta Air Lines flights that would subject passengers to a whole new level of scrutiny. Here's the plan: Book a seat, and a computer data-sifting process matches your name, address, birth date, and ticket-purchasing information against financial and commercial databases and government watch lists. The goal is to verify your identity and look for any hint of a security risk. "Our system today is not as precise as it ought to be," says TSA spokesman Robert Johnson. "We don't want to waste more time focusing on grandmas."

The Department of Defense's Total Information Awareness (TIA) program, a five- year effort, has committed $260 million so far to develop tools for large-scale data mining. But it ran into a public-relations fiasco after Vice Adm. John Poindexter of Iran-contra fame was named to lead the project. Its Orwellian name and a logo (since dropped) showing an all-seeing eye atop a pyramid didn't help. Congress recently voted to require the Pentagon to justify the program and seek approval before monitoring citizens. Yet politics and privacy fears have not halted the quest: TIA research is going strong, and smaller operations like TSA's are getting underway.

*****I bet you thought this was a dead issue...That's what dotted lines on org charts are for*****

A short related article: usnews.com

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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 5:24 AM

US wages divide is wider than ever
guardian.co.uk - The gap between the earnings of America's chief executives and its average workers was wider than ever last year. This was despite a fall in profits and share prices and the cautionary tales of excess which have brought down some of the biggest names in business.

Chief executives in the top 100 US companies earned an average of $1,017 an hour, compared with $16.23 for the average worker, according to a survey published in USA Today.

The average compensation package was $33.4m, but nearly one-third banked more than $50m in salaries, bonuses and shares. Salaries and bonuses for executives were 15% higher in 2002, while workers received pay rises of 3.2%.
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posted by West 8:25 PM

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