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White House Blocking 9/11 Investigation
(New York Times Editorial, 29 October 2003)
The commission investigating the government's failures before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is in danger of becoming a study in recalcitrance by the Bush administration. The independent commission's mandate is to supply a definitive account of the government's handling of the terrorist plot that killed almost 3,000 people. But the White House continues to fence with requests for classified documents crucial to the inquiry. . . . The commission chairman, former Gov. Thomas Kean of New Jersey, a Republican, is threatening to subpoena the administration for documents that officials should forthrightly turn over. Among the key questions is the nature of an intelligence report to President Bush a month before the attacks � only sketchily confirmed thus far by the White House � that Al Qaeda might try to hijack passenger airplanes. . . . The commission is up to the task of scrutinizing the failures of intelligence and other government agencies, and classified secrets can be adequately safeguarded. Congress should prepare to extend the commission's 18-month timetable beyond next May, the deadline. . . . How can an unstinting investigation of the truth of Sept. 11 not be of paramount concern to any official sworn to protect the public? The approaching presidential election makes the administration's evasions even more suspect. Failure to document and face the truth will only feed conspiracy theories and undermine the nation's chances of weathering future threats.
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 8:14 PM
Pentagon Whistle Blower: " George Bush Isn't in Control"
(Ritt Goldstein, Sydney Morning Herald, 30 October 2003)
A former Pentagon officer turned whistleblower says a group of hawks in the Bush Administration, including the Vice-President, Dick Cheney, is running a shadow foreign policy, contravening Washington's official line. . . . "What these people are doing now makes Iran-Contra [a Reagan administration national security scandal] look like amateur hour. . . it's worse than Iran-Contra, worse than what happened in Vietnam," said Karen Kwiatkowski, a former air force lieutenant-colonel. . . . "[President] George Bush isn't in control . . . the country's been hijacked," she said, describing how "key [governmental] areas of neoconservative concern were politically staffed". . . . She described "a subversion of constitutional limits on executive power and a co-optation through deceit of a large segment of the Congress", adding that "in order to take that first step - Iraq - lies had to be told to Congress to bring them on board". . . . Ms Kwiatkowski said the pursuit of national security decisions often bypassed "civil service and active-duty military professionals", and was handled instead by political appointees who shared common ideological ties. . . . There was speculation earlier this year that such an ideologue group had emerged, and that it was behind the US attack on an Iraqi convoy in Syria in June. . . . The New York Times quoted Patrick Lang, a former senior Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) official, as saying that many in the Government believed the incursion was an effort by ideologues to disrupt co-operation between the US and Syria. . . . Ms Kwiatkowski said there was an extra-governmental network operating outside normal structures and practices, "a network of political appointees in key positions who felt they needed to take some action, to make things happen in a foreign affairs, national security way". She said Pentagon personnel and the DIA were pressured to favourably alter assessments and reports. . . . In a separate interview, Chalmers Johnson, an authority on US policy, said that the Administration's neo-conservatives had in effect seized power from Mr Bush. . . . Dr Johnson said the neo-conservatives had pursued an agenda outlined in the controversial 1992 Defence Planning Guidance. That document, drawn up at the direction of Mr Cheney when he was defence secretary, said the world's only superpower should not be cautious about asserting its power.
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 8:50 PM
Electronic voting machine executive admits he is working for Bush
(Julie Carr Smyth, Plain Dealer, September 16, 2003)
[NOTE: This story is posted on Diebold's own Web site ... pretty brazen, huh?]
Walden O'Dell, chief executive of North Canton-based Diebold Inc., confirmed in an interview with Plain Dealer editors that he has been a top fund-raiser for the Republican president . . . In an invitation to a Republican fund-raiser at his suburban Columbus mansion, O'Dell said he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes for the president next year." . . . The letter closely followed a visit by O'Dell to a fund-raising powwow at Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch for six-figure fund-raisers known as "Pioneers and Rangers." . . . Because the fund-raising revelations fell closely on the heels of security questions raised about Diebold's machines in a later-questioned Johns Hopkins University study, O'Dell's critics began to suggest that Diebold should not be allowed to be involved in elections. . . . O'Dell was quick to point out that he has done nothing illegal. He also said he has no daily involvement with Diebold's election-systems division, which is based in Texas . . . O'Dell said he will not stop supporting Bush's campaign. He said he went to Bush's fund-raising event at the invitation of the campaign. . . . "They had an event for Pioneers and Rangers, and I am one - and proud of it," O'Dell said."
[COMMENT: I guess it can't hurt the Cheney-Bush junta to have the voting machine companies on their side ... particularly since this means we will no longer have a paper trail to see how they are stealing the elections.]
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 2:24 PM
Links to the Diebold files revealing flaws in their electronic voting machines
NOTE: The links to the Diebold files may change as activists continue to move the files around the Net. The above link will take you to a page with the latest listing of current links. Here is the current listing:
Univ. of Southern California http://www-scf.usc.edu/~kanawi/lists.tgz
Massachusetts Institute of Technology http://web.mit.edu/pdox/www/diebold/lists.tgz
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (cease-desist sent)
Purdue University http://expert.cc.purdue.edu/~petersen/diebold/lists.tgz
Univ. of Texas - Pan American http://www.asl.cs.panam.edu/~babbitt/diebold/lists.tgz
Amherst College (cease-desist sent)
Hampshire College http://stout.hampshire.edu/~pks03/list.tar.bz2
Rochester Institute of Technology http://www.cs.rit.edu/~cmm5533/diebold/lists.tgz
Univ. of Evansville http://csserver.evansville.edu/~sc87/diebold/
Boston University http://cs-people.bu.edu/chrisn1/diebold-memos.tgz
Carnegie Mellon University http://andrew.cmu.edu/~apapadop/lists.tgz
Univ. of Missouri - Rolla (cease-desist sent)
Indiana University http://www.cs.indiana.edu/~zselliot/lists.tgz
Harvard University http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~slater/lists.tgz
Univ. of California - Berkeley http://sims.berkeley.edu/~jhall/nqb/archives/lists.tgz
Univ. of California - Berkeley http://sims.berkeley.edu/~parkert/misc/lists.tgz
Duke University http://www.cs.duke.edu/~justin/archive/diebold.html
Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill http://www.unc.edu/~cjp2/lists.tgz
North Carolina State University http://www4.ncsu.edu/~jgkimbro/diebold.html
U Penn www.seas.upenn.edu/~dmargoli/lists.tgz
Grinnell College http://www.math.grinnell.edu/~laiu/lists.tgz
Grinnell College http://web.grinnell.edu/individuals/laiu/lists.tgz
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 1:38 PM
Students Fight E-Vote Firm
(Wired News, October 21, 2003)
A group of students at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania has launched an "electronic civil disobedience" campaign against voting machine maker Diebold Election Systems. . . . The students are protesting efforts by Diebold to prevent them and other website owners from linking to some 15,000 internal company memos that reveal the company was aware of security flaws in its e-voting software for years but sold the faulty systems to states anyway. The memos were leaked to voting activists and journalists by a hacker who broke into an insecure Diebold FTP server in March. . . . Bev Harris, owner of the Black Box Voting site and author of a book on the electronic voting industry, was one of the first people to post the memos before a letter from Diebold threatened her with litigation. . . . Half a dozen other people hosting the memos in the United States, Canada, Italy and New Zealand also have received letters forcing them to take the material down. . . . Why War?, a nonprofit student organization at Swarthmore, and the Swarthmore Coalition for the Digital Commons, also composed of Swarthmore students, announced plans to defy Diebold and their college ISP. . . . The college notified the student, who wishes to remain anonymous, that it would disconnect his Internet service if he didn't remove the memos. But Luke Smith, a sophomore, said students are planning to bypass that threat by hosting the memos on different machines. Each time one machine is shut down by Diebold, they will move the memos to another machine, passing them from student to student. . . . "They're using copyright law as a means of suppressing information that needs to be public," Smith said. "It's a great example of how copyright law can be against the public good rather than for it, as it was originally intended." . . . He added, "It's not like people are reading these memos in order to steal Diebold's election system. (The company is) trying to use this law, and specifically the mandatory take-down section, to conceal flaws that directly affect the validity of election results. This is a threat to our democracy." . . . Doherty and the EFF launched their own resistance campaign last week after a news site, the Independent Media Center, and its Internet provider, the Online Policy Group, received a cease-and-desist letter from Diebold. In addition to his position at EFF, Doherty is executive director of the Online Policy Group, a nonprofit organization that focuses on digital privacy and rights issues. . . . "These documents indicate the potential for widespread election fraud in the U.S. or wherever else Diebold voting machines are being used," he said. . . . The Diebold memos contain a trove of information about the internal workings of the electronic voting machine manufacturer, which has been criticized for poor programming practices. . . . Among the revelations in the memos was news that the Microsoft Access database used by the Diebold system to count votes was not protected by a password. This means anyone could alter votes by entering the database through an insecure backdoor, via physical access to the machine or remotely, via the phone system. . . . The memos also reveal that the audit log, which records any activity in the Access database, could be easily altered so that an intruder could erase a record of the intrusion. . . . These security flaws were pointed out to Diebold in 2001 in memos from a firm that was being paid to audit and certify the software. A Diebold engineer responded by saying the company preferred not to password-protect the database because it was easier for them (presumably Diebold employees) to go into the software and do "end-runs" in the system -- a term that describes when someone changes software to fix or work around coding problems. . . . "If I were Diebold I wouldn't claim copyright protection; I'd claim I hadn't written the memos," he said. "They knowingly created a system that doesn't even have a semblance of security. And then they pass it off on the American public in the name of modernization." . . . Smith said his group plans to launch a campaign this week to recruit more students to participate in the revolt. . . . "We're advocating freedom of information and open-source standards," he said. "If there's anything the public has an inherent right to look in on, it's voting technology. That's why we're pushing this."
Updated links to the Diabold secret files
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 1:34 PM
How does the [Republican] War Party get away with it?
(Robert Higgs, Online Journal, October 15, 2003)
The death, destruction, and misery that the war has caused cannot be erased. On the contrary, for many of the victims, that misery will only fester, despoiling the other lives it touches, just as it did in the aftermath of earlier, similarly mistaken wars. Think of all the former soldiers with parts of their bodies missing, or parts of their minds gone askew. In this country, veterans' institutions brim with these enduring casualties, and big-city alleys harbor no small number of them. In Iraq the innocent victims of this year's war are counted in the tens of thousands, and their number continues to mount. . . . While the architects of war, the Cheneys, Rumsfelds, and Wolfowitzs who sleep every night between clean sheets, deem these terrible costs to be worth bearing�as well they might, because they personally bear not an ounce of them . . . When the president and his coterie of top advisers decide to go to war, they just go, and nobody can stop them. The "intelligence" agencies, the diplomatic corps, and the armed forces do as they are told. Members of Congress cower and speak in mealy-mouthed phrases framed to ensure that no matter how the war turns out, they can share any credit and deny any blame. No one has effective capacity to block the president, and few officials care to do so in any event, even if they object. Rarely does anyone display the minimal decency of resigning his military commission or his appointment in the bureaucracy. In short, in our system the president has come to hold the power of war and peace exclusively in his hands, notwithstanding anything to the contrary written in the Constitution or the laws. He might as well be Caesar. . . . Presidents decide to go to war in the context of a favorably disposed mass culture. Painful as it is for members of the Peace Party to admit, many Americans take pleasure in "kicking ass," and they do not much care whose ass is being kicked or why. So long as Americans are dishing out death and destruction to a plausible foreign enemy, the red-white-and-blue jingos are happy. . . . An eagerness to spill blood and guts extends, however, well beyond the rednecks. Highly literate, albeit sophistic, expressions of this proclivity appear nearly every day on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, a Likud Party megaphone whose motto might well be "all wars all the time." Establishment think thanks, most notably the American Enterprise Institute, trot out well-spoken intellectuals in squads to trumpet the necessity of wreaking global death and destruction. . . . No one should be surprised by the cultural proclivity for violence, of course, because Americans have always been a violent people in a violent land. . . . Public ignorance compounds the inclinations fostered by the mass culture. Study after study and poll after poll have confirmed that most Americans know next to nothing about public affairs. Of course, the intricacies of foreign policy are as alien to them as the dark side of the moon, but their ignorance runs much deeper. They can't explain the simplest elements of the political system; they don't know what the Constitution says or means; and they can't identify their political representatives or what those persons ostensibly stand for. They know scarcely anything about history, and what they think they know is usually incorrect. People so densely ignorant that they have no inkling of how their forebears were bamboozled and sacrificed on the altar of Mars the last time around are easily bamboozled and readily sacrificed the next time around. . . . So long as war is something that happens "out there" somewhere, most likely in a place that few Americans have ever visited and most can't even locate on a map, and not too many body bags are delivered with sons and husbands inside, then the masses tend to find sufficient bliss in their ignorance and childlike trust in their rulers. Flag-waving and other symbolic displays bring them a cheap solidary identification with the great nation-state, but few have any immediate contact with events in the empire. As an issue, war remains foreign to them in the literal sense�always somebody else's problem. . . . Cooperative news media help the rulers to market their warmaking. The big media, enjoying entrenched positions in the established order, are reluctant to challenge the government's foreign aggressiveness. At the working level, reporters do not want to be cut off from privileged access to inside sources of information. At the upper level, owners and producers do not wish to seem unpatriotic, as the government might label them if pushed too hard. Of course, in any event, profit-seeking media are bound to tailor their product to the sort of readers, listeners, or viewers to whom they cater. Thus, among the bottom feeders, Fox News quite rationally aims to entertain the bloodthirsty yahoos; and in the upper reaches, the New York Times knows better than to offend strong supporters of the state of Israel. . . . Finally, we must recognize that for many persons and institutions, war is a good deal. Hence, each foreign adventure provides a splendid opportunity for many to gain personal, political, or economic profit. The so-called war on terror has been a godsend for everybody who purports to be in the security business, from data-management specialists to security-personnel-training firms to the manufacturers of surveillance machinery, not to mention all those new hires at the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. At Oracle, a company with roots in service to the CIA, Larry Ellison is gunning to equip the government with software that will allow the authorities to track your every move . . . For all those associated with the Bushies and their cronies in the military-industrial complex and other pet industries and professions, these are happy days indeed. . . . To cover their tracks, the leaders of the War Party are relying on Machiavelli's wisdom, which tells them: "It is necessary . . . to be a great pretender and dissembler; and men are so simple, and so subject to present necessities, that he who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived."
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 1:17 PM
By William Stone, III - The Sierra Times, 10/27/2003
"When will it end? How can we return to a time when there are no terror alerts, no Department of Homeland Security?"
One of the Republican talk-show whores uttered this question this week. As is increasingly the case, the host's conclusions were 100% wrong.
This question has troubled me far more than it has the Republican whores. The difference between our conclusions is the difference between being a friend of individual liberty and a whore for the right-wing socialists in the Republican Party.
The short answer to the question is, simply: NEVER.
. . . Read more!
posted by An Old Curmudgeon 7:44 AM
With U. S. Troops Still in the Mideast, Private Firms Must Guard Military Bases at Home
(Daily Mislead Archive, October 22, 2003) [Click the above link to view the footnoted references.]
One of George Bush Jr.'s campaign promises was to "rebuild the military power of the United States,"1 which Dick Cheney, his vice-presidential candidate, claimed had lapsed because of "multiplying missions and unclear goals."2 However, Bush's multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan have overtaxed the military even more and now have led to hiring more civilian contractors for such basic duties as guarding U.S. military bases.
Private security firms have taken over what traditionally was a sole province of the military.3 In a typical contract, Akal Security has been awarded $70 million to guard eight stateside Army bases.4
In Iraq, almost a third of the $4 billion monthly costs are going to private contractors. One foreign policy expert estimates the current Bush Administration has five times as many civilian contractors in Iraq as his father's administration did during the first Gulf War in 1991. 5
The privatization practice, first explored when Cheney was Secretary of Defense for the senior Bush, led to an $8.9 million logistics contract for Brown and Root, a company Cheney later oversaw as head of Halliburton after he left government. Of approximately 3,000 civilian contracts awarded by the Pentagon since 1994, about 2,700 have gone to Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root and one other firm.6
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 5:35 PM
AND SAVE THE WORLD
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 8:09 PM
White House Bans Media Coverage of Killed U.S. Soldiers ... Bush Avoids Wounded Vets, Won't Attend Memorials
(Dana Milbank, New York Times, 21 October 2003)
Since the end of the Vietnam War, presidents have worried that their military actions would lose support once the public glimpsed the remains of U.S. soldiers arriving at air bases in flag-draped caskets. . . . To this problem, the Bush administration has found a simple solution: It has ended the public dissemination of such images by banning news coverage and photography of dead soldiers' homecomings on all military bases. . . . a directive arrived from the Pentagon at U.S. military bases. "There will be no arrival ceremonies for, or media coverage of, deceased military personnel returning to or departing from Ramstein [Germany] airbase or Dover [Del.] base, to include interim stops," . . . A White House spokesman said Bush has not attended any memorials or funerals for soldiers killed in action during his presidency as his predecessors had done . . . The Pentagon has previously acknowledged the effect on public opinion of the grim tableau of caskets being carried from transport planes to hangars or hearses. . . . The photos of coffins continued for the first two years of the current Bush administration, from Ramstein and other bases. Then, on the eve of the Iraq invasion, word came from the Pentagon that other bases were to adopt Dover's policy of making the arrival ceremonies off limits.
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 7:43 PM
President's Spending for Ex-Soldiers Falls Short of Promise to Give Them "Priority" Treatment
(The Daily Mis-Lead) [Click the above link to view the footnoted references.]
Two years ago, President Bush said, "Veterans are a priority for this administration... and that priority is reflected in my budget."1 But, a year ago, when he had a chance to approve an emergency funding bill that included $275 million for medical care of veterans, he said, "We'll spend none of it."2
Now the President's 2004 budget request for the Veterans Administration will effectively cut spending for its already-stretched health care system. Because of increased medical costs at an above-inflation rate of 4.7% and increased enrollment of 8%, the American Legion calculates that Bush's 2004 request "comes $1.9 billion short of maintaining an inadequate status quo."3
A task force commissioned by Bush himself has reported that federal funding to handle the ailments of former soldiers continues to be considerably less than their needs. In the past ten years the spending per patient dropped from almost $15,000 to less than $5,000.4
More than 235,000 veterans are currently waiting six months or more for an initial appointment.5
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 10:07 AM
Since 1997, More Than 22,000 People Have Deserted the US Army
(The Memory Hole)
The official numbers:
FY 1997: 2,218
FY 1998: 2,520
FY 1999: 2,966
FY 2000: 3,949
FY 2001: 4,597
FY 2002: 4,021
FY 2003 (to May 2003): 2,096
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 7:37 PM
Since January 2000, More Than 10,600 Sailors Have Deserted the US Navy
(The Memory Hole)
Under the Freedom of Information Act, [the Memory Hole] requested the number of people who had deserted the United States Navy over the past few years. [They] received the chart below, showing month-by-month totals from January 2000 to July 2003.
In the letter accompanying this chart, the Navy Personnel Command wrote: "More than 91% of those personnel have since returned to military control."
The official numbers by year:
2003 (through end of July): 1,281
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 7:36 PM
Mirror of a Now-Unavailable Defense Department Website
(The Memory Hole)
The above link will take you to a mirror of a Defense Department Website that was recently removed from public view. It contains hundreds of directives governing the Defense Department. Although these directives are unclassified, the DOD�in keeping with the post-9/11 tendency to take government secrecy to new heights�decided that the site will now be available only to authorized military and governmental users. The Memory Hole captured this mirror on 11 June 2003 and posted it on 13 Oct 2003.
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 7:25 PM
See what your state would receive in funding from Washington if Congress authorized $87 billion to rebuild America
If President Bush and the slim Republican majority in Congress prioritized jobs and investment in America as they have for Iraq, what would that mean for your state? New reports and op-eds by the Institute for America�s Future and AFSCME can help you lead the public debate in your community.
Another $87 billion to pay for Iraq means teacher layoffs and deficits for American kids. The Bush economic plan and the Bush Iraq plan are now proven failures � and paycheck-earning Americans are being asked to pay the price. Meanwhile, the average millionaire gets a tax break of $93,000.
Our new reports [click the link above] show how much money your state would receive if Congress matched the president�s new $87 billion Iraq request with aid to our states for key priorities, which could easily be paid for by rolling back the Bush tax breaks for the rich. The reports also show how much money your state would receive if legislation now being considered by Congress, the American Parity Act, sponsored by Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), were passed, investing $20.3 billion in American infrastructure to match funds the president wants to spend on rebuilding Iraq.
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 2:20 PM
Senators denounce Bush's performance as war president
(William C. McMann, Associated Press, October 12, 2003)
President Bush has lost control of Iraq policy because of infighting among administration officials, the leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Sunday. . . . The administration also came under criticism from Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry for being unwilling to create a real international coalition and alienating governments everywhere. "This is haphazard, shotgun, shoot-from-the-hip diplomacy," the Massachusetts senator said. . . . Added the committee's top Democrat, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware: "There's no clear articulation within this administration of what the goals, what the message is, what the plan is. You have this significant division within the administration between the Powells and the Rumsfelds." . . . Since early in the administration, Secretary of State Colin Powell has counseled a generally more moderate line than Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Even before the Iraq war in the spring, tales of tension and turf battles between their departments were widespread. . . . Lugar also predicted American forces might have to be in Iraq in some capacity for eight years or more. Both he and Biden said the country's recovery would cost at least $50 billion more than the $87 billion, including more than $20 billion for the recovery, that Bush has requested and is pending in Congress. . . . Kerry, appearing on ABC's "This Week," said Bush and Cheney should apologize to Americans "for having misled America, for not having kept his promises of working adequately within the international community, not having built a legitimate international coalition, not having exhausted the process of the inspections. . . . "And, most importantly, not having gone to war as a matter of last resort, which is what he promised to America." . . . The senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, also accused Bush of misleading the country about the war. . . . "We did not go to war to bring democracy and prosperity and peace to Iraq," Rockefeller told "Fox News Sunday." . . . "It was all about weapons of mass destruction and the imminent threat of America getting attacked. And what's ironic is that, in spite of the incredible job that our soldiers and Guard and the Reserve have done, we really are in more peril today than we were at the end of the formal part of the war."
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 4:40 PM
Beginning Of The End Of Democracy In America
(William Douglas, Rense.com, October 3, 2002)
A man in some country was recently taken, handcuffed, down into a subterranean interrogation room in the bowels of a police station and asked by a police investigator, "When I look into your writings, will I find anything subversive?" This sounds like something one might have heard coming out of the former Soviet Union. However, it wasn't. . . . The country was America, the man was me, and the interrogation room was in the basement of the massive and imposing Kansas City Jail on 12th street (Tuesday, Sept 16th, 2003). . . . There I was fingerprinted and my mug shot was taken, but then something very strange occurred. The sign I brought with me to the protest was given a mug shot as well. I, along with many other Americans, have been working for some time to support the efforts of 9-11 victims families who have bizarrely had to fight their own President Bush for nearly two years to get a full open investigation of what went wrong on and before 9-11 . . . My sign read, "What is Bush hiding about 9-11? Stop the 9-11 cover-up!" . . . Ask yourself this, "Why was my sign given a mugshot to record it's message?" Was I under arrest for a legal violation? If so, what did a free speech message I was carrying that had no bearing whatsoever on the reason for my arrest have to do with this situation? Who was this photograph taken for, and for what purpose? . . . Once in "the system" you immediately realize that you are completely isolated, and completely powerless. You depend on the basic foundations of democratic society . . . it is your only hope. In the "new Bush America" with the advent of the Patriot Act, that foundation no longer exists. The effect this has on society is it creates "a very shaken belief in one's right to do the things absolutely necessary to sustain a free and open society" . . that being to speak the truth as you see it even when the truth disagrees with your government. Without complete confidence that you have the right to do this without repressive consequences to be visited upon you . . . the free society we all love, cherish, and too often take for granted simply cannot exist. . . . In a way, I'm glad this happened to me, because it pushed my face into the corner so that I had to look at the dangers we are unleashing on our national consciousness with the "Patriot Act." Now, I can share my experience with you, and who knows, perhaps it will awaken in you a desire to bring our nation back to the guaranteed liberty we all hold dear. . . . I implore citizens across this nation ! to reject the ideas put forth in the "patriot act," that encourage citizens to spy on one another, or to allow law enforcement to peek at what we check out at the library, or what we buy at the bookstore, or what we email to one another . . . because our democratic system is at stake. The dangers of the Patriot Act don't lie as much in the actual indefinite internment of those Ashcroft deems to confine, but the danger lies in the "uncertainty" it places in the mind of every patriotic American who loves his/her country enough to correct it (which is our duty).
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 1:44 PM
Dick Cheney Gone Wild
(Bart Whiteman, The Chattanoogan.com, October 11, 2003)
Vice President Dick Cheney rolled out the heavy artillery to try to squash any and all opposition to the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Powell War in Iraq. It�s always interesting how �Darth� Cheney always appears from his appointed task of running the shadow government somewhere to don his cape and quell discussion and debate over whatever questionable administration policy has seized the moment. He always adds the �adult� voice to the chorus after all the �young un�s� like Condoleeza Rice have flailed away fruitlessly attempting to sway public opinion in the administration�s favor. The implied message to us all is: �Hush up now. Daddy�s home. Mind your manners.� . . . Cheney warned us all about the big, bad, boogie day of doom that awaits us all if we don�t toe the line. He tried very hard to frighten as many people as he could with his portrayal of the horrors that are in store if we don�t let these administration cowboys continue to round up and dispose of the terrorist herd at will. . . . Oh, and anyone who disagrees with him is a wimp. . . . Cheney also re-wrote the justification for the war yet again and has made it so vague this time that it would pretty hard for anyone to try to paraphrase just what it was. Needless to say, we are fighting it for some fluid reason, and we are there in the middle of it now. Everyone should probably just give up trying to justify or un-justify it. That discussion is going nowhere. We are fighting it because the Cubs haven�t won the World Series since 1908. How�s that? . . . It�s pretty clear that nothing short of electoral defeat or impeachment will stop the war from the administration�s perspective, and since Congress is in the hands of the Republicans, they�ll just go keep going along for the merry ride. Heck, the Democrats are doing the same thing. . . . Since we now have an all volunteer military, there will be little protest from the youth of America like there was during the Vietnam era, when that war loomed as everyone�s graduation present. . . . think we should respond to Cheney by saying: �All right, Darth, you�ve got what you wanted. The war is yours, now please win it. You have all the money. You have all the soldiers. Don�t expect international assistance or domestic accord over it. You started it without it. So, finish it without it. The major media have soft-peddled and glorified the whole thing because they are along for the corporate ride, too. They see fatter paychecks, too. They have leveraged the war for better ratings and better advertising revenues. They have invested in your party. They have supplied champagne to celebrate whenever there is something to celebrate. There may be a few lunatics left out there questioning the whole operation, and the Iraqi people may be suffering through your trial by p.r., but they don�t really matter, do they? What matters is proving your point, so prove it. No one is stopping you. Why all the fuss? If things get a little sticky down the road, just pull out the fear factor again, and again. Nothing works better than a little irrational fear to get people to stick their heads in the sand. . . . The American public has submitted. You don�t need to justify the unjustifiable. You already did it. You started your war, and no one said �boo.� You divided the world into the good (us) and the evil (them). Your action is the justification. The results are the justification. If you get your way, then what does it matter what anyone else thinks? Stop trying the sell the war. Wage the war. Shut down the p.r. machine. It�s not working. No one believes you any more, at least not your words, which change with every shift of the breeze. Go about your business. Go back to shadow land.
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posted by Lorenzo 9:20 PM
What Liberals Can Learn from the War
by Harry Browne - October 11, 2003
War involves the use of force to impose one's way upon others. It brings with it collateral damages that hurt the innocent as much or more than the guilty. . . .
� Innocent people die, are maimed, lose their property, or lose their loved ones.
� Innocent Americans are deprived of freedoms supposedly guaranteed in the Bill of Rights � in the name of some goal, such as "world peace" or "national security," that is never reached.
� Innocent people are taxed to pay for an enterprise that they may oppose intensely, but that satisfies the desires of politicians.
� Innocent Americans lose the right to make their own choices.
Liberals naturally oppose these oppressions � and speak out against them.
We can easily see similar harmful effects of using force in some other government programs � such as the insane War on Drugs:
� Innocent people die...
� Innocent Americans are deprived of freedoms...
� Innocent people are taxed to pay...
� Americans lose the right to make their own choices...
Force Is the Defining Factor
But liberals need to understand that such collateral damages exist in all government programs, because force is the defining factor in every government program. People are forced to do what they don't want to do, or are forcibly prevented from doing what they do want to do, or are forced to pay for things they don't want to pay for.
If you think some government program, law, regulation, or tax doesn't involve force, try disobeying it � don't pay the Social Security tax, ignore an environmental regulation, or fail to register your gun � and see what happens.
Every government program employs force to overrule life and liberty . . .
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posted by Hal 1:11 PM
Arnold Schwarzenegger Involved in Back Room Meeting with Enron's Ken Lay
(Greg Palast, October 3, 2003)
The wannabe governor has yet to deny that on May 17, 2001, at the Peninsula Hotel in Los Angeles, he had consensual political intercourse with Enron chieftain Kenneth Lay. Also frolicking with Arnold and Ken was convicted stock swindler Mike Milken. . . . It turns out that Schwarzenegger knowingly joined the hush-hush encounter as part of a campaign to sabotage a Davis-Bustamante plan to make Enron and other power pirates then ravaging California pay back the $9 billion in illicit profits they carried off. . . . Here's the story Arnold doesn't want you to hear. The biggest single threat to Ken Lay and the electricity lords is a private lawsuit filed last year under California's unique Civil Code provision 17200, the "Unfair Business Practices Act." This litigation, heading to trial now in Los Angeles, would make the power companies return the $9 billion they filched from California electricity and gas customers. . . . Now follow the action. One month after Cruz brings suit, Enron's Lay calls an emergency secret meeting in L.A. of his political buck-buddies, including Arnold. Their plan, to undercut Davis (according to Enron memos) and "solve" the energy crisis -- that is, make the Bustamante legal threat go away. . . . New Problem: the guy most likely to replace Davis is not Mr. Musclehead, but Cruz Bustamante, even a bigger threat to the power companies than Davis. Solution: smear Cruz because -- heaven forbid! -- he took donations from Injuns (instead of Ken Lay). . . . The pay-off? Once Arnold is Governor, he blesses the sweetheart settlements with the power companies. When that happens, Bustamante's court cases are probably lost. There aren't many judges who will let a case go to trial to protect a state if that a governor has already allowed the matter to be "settled" by a regulatory agency. . . . So think about this. The state of California is in the hole by $8 billion for the coming year. That's chump change next to the $8 TRILLION in deficits and surplus losses planned and incurred by George Bush. Nevertheless, the $8 billion deficit is the hanging rope California's right wing is using to lynch Governor Davis. . . . Yet only Davis and Bustamante are taking direct action to get back the $9 billion that was vacuumed out of the state by Enron, Reliant, Dynegy, Williams Company and the other Texas bandits who squeezed the state by the bulbs. . . . But if Arnold is selected, it's 'hasta la vista' to the $9 billion. When the electricity emperors whistle, Arnold comes -- to the Peninsula Hotel or the Governor's mansion. The he-man turns pussycat and curls up in their lap.
Also see: Arnold Schwarzenegger's Racial Bias in His Films
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posted by Lorenzo 6:30 PM
Schwarzenegger’s First Role As Governor-Elect of California: Deregulate Electricity
One of Schwarzenegger’s first political moves as the state’s chief executive will be an effort to push the state’s electricity market closer toward deregulation, a move halted by Gov. Gray Davis two years ago in the wake of California’s energy crisis. Schwarzenegger, while on the campaign trail, blamed Davis for his handling of the energy crisis. . . . Schwarzennegger drafted a comprehensive energy policy, which can be found at http://www.joinarnold.com/en/agenda/#C1, that went unnoticed for much of his campaign during the recall election. He said he wants to eliminate public oversight on future power supply contracts the state signs with energy companies and adopt a design plan for deregulating California’s electricity market . . . That could be Schwarzenegger’s first disastrous move as governor and it may cost him dearly. Here’s why. . . .
In August, the General Accounting Office issued a report criticizing FERC, the nation’s top watchdog for electricity and natural gas markets, because the agency doesn’t have the power to protect consumers from the side effects of deregulation, such as soaring electricity and natural gas prices, which ended up costing California more than $70 billion and bankrupted the state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. . . Under California's ill-conceived deregulation plan, investor-owned utilities sold most of their power plants and then bought most of their electricity from independent generators and other sellers. But while the prices were subject to fluctuations in supply and demand, federal law said prices had to be "just and reasonable" -- a vague term that FERC, the state and the sellers have spent the past three years debating, the Sacramento Bee reported in September. . . . But Schwarzenegger is unmoved by the GAO report. He still believes that competition will bring lower electricity prices to consumers in California. . . . Schwarzenegger said he will fire dozens of energy advisors appointed by Davis to various posts in favor of his own energy team, one that ‘respects free-market economics.’ . . . Schwarzenegger will also dismantle the California Consumer Power and Conservation Financing Authority, the public power agency created by the state Senate in August 2001 that financed small publicly owned power plants in California to eliminate the possibility of future energy shortages. . . . One of Schwarzenegger’s boldest moves, however, will be to enter into quick settlements with about a dozen energy companies accused of manipulating the state’s electricity market during the height of the state’s energy crisis two years ago, aides to Schwarzenegger said Wednesday.
[COMMENT: Be sure to read the story above about Arnol's connection to Enron.]
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posted by Lorenzo 6:20 PM
Alan Dershowitz Cast In New Role of Plagiarist And Fraudster
(Gordon Thomas, Globe-Intel.net, October 9, 2003)
Professor Alan Dershowitz, the darling of the Anti-Defamation League, the defender of OJ Simpson, Jonathan Pollard and Ariel Sharon, who often speaks like he is the personal representative on earth of Moses, and is a vicious attacker of anyone who dares reproach Israel for the smallest infraction of human rights, is now revealed as a crude plagiarist and a fraudster. . . . In a devastating onslaught on Dershowitz on MSNBC�s prestigious Scarborough Country, Finkelstein slammed the Harvard professor of law for �falsifying information, plagiarising, and lifting from other books� and violating the most basic canons of historical scholarship�. . . . A transcript of the recording shows Dershowitz at his blustering best. . . . Dershowitz is the man whose every word is slavishly recorded by his powerful media contacts. He is the authentic voice of Right Wing Judaism � some would say extremism � in America. . . . To challenge him, it has been said, it is best to carry a cross and a piece of garlic for ever after. . . . The New York Times, the pillar of the Jewish establishment in the United States, has lavished his new book with the kind of unstinted praise it once gave to Jason Blair, the archetypical fraudster who stoked his reporting ego and fooled his readers for many years. . . . Finkelstein has traduced Dershowitz with the kind of language the Harvard professor usually reserves for anyone who dares challenge him. . . . �There�s only one conclusion one can reach having read the book. Mr Dershowitz has concocted a fraud, which amazingly in large parts he plagiarised from another fraud. I found that pretty shocking, coming from a Harvard professor. I found it shocking coming from any professor�, Finkelstein told the MSNBC�s Amy Goldman and her radio audience. . . . Throwing his own words back at Dershowitz live on air, Finkelstein slammed the holder of the Felix Frankfurter Chair of Jurisprudence at Harvard Law School: �There was no extensive historical research. Instead, there was the fraudulent manufacturing of historical anti-history. It was the kind of deception for which professors are rightly fired � not because their views are controversial, but because they are violating the most basic canons of historical scholarship�. . . . with the remorseless piling of fact upon fact, Finkelstein set about destroying the credibility of Alan Dershowitz.
[Interesting side-note . . . the above article came to me from a friend who added the following historical information about what is going on here.
OK people, there is something I need to explain here before you read this rather amusing if odd piece.
This talks about an incident on Amy Goodman's Radio show where Alain Dershowitz, Harvard professor of Law and one of OJ's lawyers, made most famous by his successful defense of Claus Von Bulow, where Dershowitz reversed Bulow's guilty verdict for attempted murder of his wife, the heiress Sunny Bulow, at an appeals hearing (later very well depicted in the movie "Reversal of Fortunes" with Glenn Close and Jeremy Irons as Bulow) was accused by Prof Norman Finkelstein, author of "The Holocaust Industry" of Plagiarism.
The accusation comes due to the fact that Dershowitz, a right wing Zionist, has produced a book called "The Case for Israel". In it he makes a passing reference to another famous right wing Zionist book, the most famous one actually, called 'From Time Immemorial" written by a certain Joan Peters. Peters' book was the classic "A land without a people for a people without a land" type of book with every lie and clich� thrown in. When it came out it got the usual hoopla from the New York Times, and when it got discredited as a fraud, it was simply tucked away under a convenient carpet.
Still with me? OK, now the complication comes in when I identify the person who denounced "From Time Immemorial" as a fraud, none other than Norman Finkelstein.
Finkelstein was a PhD student at Princeton University when he decided to do his thesis on Zionism. To cut a long story short, he studied Peters' "From Time Immemorial" religiously and to his amazement was able to prove that it is a fraud (cross referencing endlessly between text and footnotes, things start to not add up and fall apart). Eureka! you would think, not quite. By blowing the whistle on Zionism's official book, he got the establishment on his back when still at college and not yet a secure Professor at a University somewhere with a nice tenure to protect him (i.e: Edward Said and Noam Chomsky). That is why so far Finkelstein has paid the biggest price of all non-Zionists.
Anyway, Dershowitz, although claiming in his book that he did not use Peters' "From Time Immemorial" as basis for his own argument, is proven here by Finkelstein to have not only used the book extensively, but to have simply plagiarized whole passages. SO we have someone plagiarizing a fraud! Work it out for yourselves!
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posted by Lorenzo 8:19 PM
The Identifying Characteristics Of Fascism
(Dr. Lawrence Britt, Free Inquiry Magazine, Spring 2003)
[Click on the above link to see explanations of the following characteristics:
The 14 Characteristics of Fascism are:
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
4. Supremacy of the Military
5. Rampant Sexism (Arnold Schwarzenegger comes to mind here.)
6. Controlled Mass Media
7. Obsession with National Security
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined.
9. Corporate Power is Protected
10. Labor Power is Suppressed
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
14. Fraudulent Elections
It seems to me that the good old USofA fits all 14.
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posted by Lorenzo 2:44 PM
California conservatives appoint a Nazi-admiring sexual predator to terminate democracy
In a replay of the 2000 presidential election, the Republican party again circumvented democracy by ousting (in a bloodless coup) the candidate who received the largest number of votes with a figurehead of their own. Although the final vote count is not yet in, it is obvious that Gray Davis, while failing to stop the recall, still polled a significantly larger number of votes than did the Republican candidate. Democracy has failed in California. Things are about to get really interesting. The gloves are off. There are no more rules. Anarchy slouches toward Sacramento.
So what do the people who voted for Arnold believe in? One can only assume that they hold to the beliefs of their new leader, which may be summarized as follows:
Arnold on Hitler: "I admired Hitler, for instance, because he came from being a little man with almost no formal education, up to power. I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for what he did with it." Of course, this just runs in the family. Arnold's father, Gustav Schwarzenegger, joined Hitler's notorious storm troopers six months after they helped launch Kristallnacht.
Arnold refuses to repudiate his close friend Kurt Waldheim, who is Europe's leading neo-Nazi. In fact, he even invited Waldheim to his wedding.
Arnold admits to being a sexual predator as recently as 2001. (His supporters seem to believe that there is nothing wrong with these criminal acts since they all took place before the campaign ... interesting morality there, I'd say.)
Arnold met with Enron pirate Kenneth Lay in a hush-hush encounter as part of a campaign to sabotage a Davis-Bustamante plan to make Enron and other power pirates then ravaging California pay back the $9 billion in illicit profits they carried off.
Arnold has accepted large sums of money from special interests to promote the rights of corporations over the rights of the people.
Arnold supported the anti-immigrant Prop. 187 despite his claim of having a uniquely empathetic understanding of issues facing immigrants. Welcome to the "I got mine, screw the rest of you" school of politics.
Arnold is a bigot, for example: In 1996, he said: "I used steroids. It was a risky thing to do, but I have no regrets. It was what I had to do to compete." This guy was in charge of Bush Sr.'s President's Council on Physical Fitness? What a great role model for kids who want to really pump up!
I could go on, but you get the picture. Those who voted for Arnold, whether they realize it or not, are now partners in the above consciousness. I feel sorry for them, but they are perfect examples of the shallowness of American politics and of the voters in the US. Sound bites from an ego-maniac who is supported by some very dark forces can win anywhere in the US right now. Elections can be nullified by any rich conservative who didn't get a big enough share of the pie. Democracy is finished in the no-longer-United States of America. Let the revolution begin!
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posted by Lorenzo 9:08 AM
2004 Election Already Rigged for Bush
(Chris Floyd, Information Clearing House, September 22, 2003)
It's a sinkhole, where mobbed-up operators, paid-off public servants, crazed Christian fascists, CIA shadow-jobbers, war-pimping arms dealers -- and presidential family members -- lie down together in the slime. It's a hacker's dream, with pork-funded, half-finished, secretly programmed computer systems installed without basic security standards by politically partisan private firms, and protected by law from public scrutiny. It's how the United States, the "world's greatest democracy," casts its votes. And it's why George W. Bush will almost certainly be the next president of the United States -- no matter what the people of the United States might want. . . . The American vote-count is controlled by three major corporate players -- Diebold, ES&S, and Sequoia -- with a fourth, Science Applications International Corporation, coming on strong. These companies -- all of them hardwired into the Bushist Party power grid -- have been given billions of dollars by the Bush Regime to complete a sweeping computerization of voting machines nationwide by the 2004 election. These glitch-riddled systems -- many using "touch-screen" technology that leaves no paper trail at all -- are almost laughably open to manipulation, according to corporate whistleblowers and computer scientists at Stanford, Johns Hopkins and other universities. . . . Who's behind these private companies? It's hard to tell: The corporate lines -- even the bloodlines -- of these "competitors" are so intricately mixed. For example, at Diebold -- whose corporate chief, Wally O'Dell, a top Bush fundraiser, has publicly committed himself to "delivering" his home state's votes to Bush next year -- the election division is run by Bob Urosevich. Bob's brother, Todd, is a top executive at "rival" ES&S. The brothers were originally staked in the vote-count business by Howard Ahmanson, a member of the Council for National Policy, a right-wing "steering group" stacked with Bushist faithful. . . . Ahmanson is also one of the bagmen behind the extremist "Christian Reconstructionist" movement, which openly advocates a theocratic takeover of American democracy, placing the entire society under the "dominion" of "Christ the King." This "dominion" includes the death penalty for homosexuals, exclusion of citizenship for non-Christians, stoning of sinners and -- we kid you not -- slavery, "one of the most beneficent of Biblical laws." . . . Ahmanson also has major holdings in ES&S, whose former CEO is Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. When Hagel ran for office, his own company counted the votes; needless to say, his initial victory was reported as "an amazing upset." Hagel still has a million-dollar stake in the parent company of ES&S. In Florida, Jeb Bush's first choice for a running mate in his 1998 gubernatorial race was ES&S lobbyist Sandra Mortham, who made a mint installing the machines that counted Jeb's votes. . . . Sequoia also has a colorful history, most recently in Louisiana, where it was the center of a massive corruption case that sent top state officials to jail for bribery, most of it funneled through Mob-connected front firms. Sequoia executives were also indicted, but escaped trial after giving immunized testimony against state officials. The British-owned company's corporate parent is private equity firm Madison Dearborn -- a partner of the Carlyle Group, where George Bush I makes millions trolling the world for war pork, privatizations and sweetheart deals with government insiders. . . . The mad rush to install unverifiable computer voting is driven by the Help America Vote Act, signed by Bush last year. The chief lobbying group pushing for the act was a consortium of arms dealers -- those disinterested corporate citizens -- including Northop-Grumman and Lockheed-Martin. The bill also mandates that all states adopt the computerized "ineligible voter purge" system that Jeb used to eliminate 91,000 eligible black voters from the Florida rolls in 2000. The Republican-run private company that accomplished this electoral miracle, ChoicePoint, is bagging the lion's share of the new Bush-ordered purge contracts. . . . The unelected Bush Regime now controls the government, the military, the judiciary -- and the machinery of democracy itself. Absent some unlikely great awakening by the co-opted dullards of the corporate media, next November the last shreds of a genuine American republic will disappear -- at the push of a button.
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posted by Lorenzo 8:49 PM