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Paranoia Rules as FBI urges police to watch for people carrying almanacs
(AP, December 29, 2003)
The FBI is warning police nationwide to be alert for people carrying almanacs, cautioning that the popular reference books covering everything from abbreviations to weather trends could be used for terrorist planning. . . . In a bulletin sent Christmas Eve to about 18,000 police organizations, the FBI said terrorists may use almanacs "to assist with target selection and pre-operational planning." . . . It urged officers to watch during searches, traffic stops and other investigations for anyone carrying almanacs, especially if the books are annotated in suspicious ways. . . . The Associated Press obtained a copy of the bulletin this week and verified its authenticity. . . . "For local law enforcement, it's just to help give them one more piece of information to raise their suspicions," said David Heyman, a terrorism expert for the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. "It helps make sure one more bad guy doesn't get away from a traffic stop, maybe gives police a little bit more reason to follow up on this." . . . The FBI noted that use of almanacs or maps may be innocent, "the product of legitimate recreational or commercial activities." But it warned that when combined with suspicious behavior -- such as apparent surveillance -- a person with an almanac "may point to possible terrorist planning." . . . The FBI said information typically found in almanacs that could be useful for terrorists includes profiles of cities and states and information about waterways, bridges, dams, reservoirs, tunnels, buildings and landmarks. It said this information is often accompanied by photographs and maps. . . . The FBI urged police to report such discoveries to the local U.S. Joint Terrorism Task Force.
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 11:40 AM
The USA is in the Beginning Stages of a Police State
A police state exists when federal and state police mechanisms: 1) Serve the central government instead of serving the citizens; 2) Enforce the policies of the central government instead of responding primarily to criminal misdeeds; and 3) Spy on and intimidate citizens . . . All these conditions now exist in the United States! . . . Under the former 1989 Guidelines, the FBI first had to obtain evidence suggesting some kind of criminal activity before its agents could begin investigating. Under the FBI's new May 30, 2002 revised Guidelines, FBI agents are authorized to carry out "general topical research" and retain files on this research. Specifically, agents may conduct "online searches" and visit "online sites and forums as part of such research." . . . The new Guidelines warn against searching "for information by individuals' names or other individual identifiers," but it's okay to search by names to locate "names of authors who write on the topic" that the agent is researching. Of course every citizen of the United States is a possible "author" of e-mail messages on a variety of subjects, so all U.S. citizens are potential "terrorism suspects" under these new guidelines. . . . The new Guidelines now encourage the FBI to snoop around looking for people who might be suspicious, creating files on anyone who catches their fancy. Agents can now investigate people, organizations, websites, chat rooms and forums for any reason or for no reason at all. They can enter your home without a warrant and are not required to inform you that they have invaded your home if you are not present. . . . All the records they create in their investigations will be placed in national databases available to all agencies now under the new "Homeland Security" umbrella. Never in U.S. history has there been such a monolithic surveillance mechanism with the terrible power to destroy American citizens' lives. . . . Scores of U.S. cities are now using surveillance television camera systems to spy on citizens--shades of 1984. With video cameras perched atop buildings and poles, watching whatever American are doing, do you suppose there might be some potential for abuse in such systems? . . . "Under the heading of 'civil disturbance planning', the U.S. military is training troops and police to suppress democratic opposition in America. The master plan, Department of Defense Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2, is code-named, 'Operation Garden Plot'. Originated in 1968, the 'operational plan' has been updated over the last three decades, most recently in 1991, and was activated during the Los Angeles 'riots' of 1992, and more than likely during the recent anti-WTO 'Battle in Seattle.' . . . We know that the beginning stages of a police state exist in the United States when: a leader is brought into power through illegal means; a national catastrophe is used as the pretext to begin a war and institute extraordinary restrictions on constitutional liberties; citizen dissent is held to be treasonous; the constitutional separation of powers is abrogated by a power-mad executive branch which controls or intimidates the other two branches of government . . . The signs are unmistakable; the Bush regime is waging a "war against dissent," rapidly moving the United States to a total police state. . . . One of the most horrendous aspects of this incipient American police state is its portrayal as a benign patriotism. "We're going to make our nation safe from terrorists," Bush sneers. This is a part of the larger propaganda campaign to make Dubya appear a harmless dunce--someone who isn't smart enough to be a villain. . . . As we've seen in a previous essay the parallels between Nazi Germany and the Bush administration are striking. Bush's creeping police state is being ushered in through exactly the same means that Hitler used to overpower the German people. Along with the attacks of his brutal Gestapo thugs, Hitler achieved ultimate success when he got the people to spy and inform on one another. . . . So the Bush administration has recently given the new Neighborhood Watch Association and their new allies from the old AmeriCorp, $3.8 billion in government funds to create what Bill Berkowitz has termed AmeriSnitch. . . . This isn't a matter of if we decide to stop this police state in its infancy; we either stop it now or it will inevitably germinate into a full-blown monster. Whatever we do, we must make certain that Bush does not serve a second term!
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 7:58 PM
US Nobel Laureate Slams Bush Gov't as "Worst" in American History
(Der Spiegel, July 29, 2003)
American Nobel Prize laureate for Economics George A. Akerlof lashed out at the government of US President George W. Bush, calling it the "worst ever" in American history . . . "I think this is the worst government the US has ever had in its more than 200 years of history. It has engaged in extradordinarily irresponsible policies not only in foreign policy and economics but also in social and environmental policy," said the 2001 Nobel Prize laureate who teaches economics at the University of California in Berkeley. . . . "This is not normal government policy. Now is the time for (American) people to engage in civil disobedience. I think it's time to protest - as much as possible," the 61-year-old scholar added. . . . Akerlof has been recognized for his research that borrows from sociology, psychology, anthropology and other fields to determine economic influences and outcomes. . . . His areas of expertise include macro-economics, monetary policy and poverty. . . . Future generations and even people in ten years are going to face massive public deficits and huge government debt. Then we have a choice. We can be like a very poor country with problems of threatening bankruptcy. Or we're going to have to cut back seriously on Medicare and Social Security. So the money that is going overwhelmingly to the wealthy is going to be paid by cutting services for the elderly. And people depend on those. It's only among the richest 40 percent that you begin to get households who have sizeable fractions of their own retirement income. . . . A more likely effect of the deficits is this: If there's another recession, we won't be able to engage in stimulatory fiscal spending to maintain full employment. Until now, there's been a great deal of trust in the American government. Markets knew that, if there is a current deficit, it will be repaid. The government has wasted that resource.
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 3:58 PM
The secret world of corporate mercenaries
(David Isenberg, Asia Times, December 20, 2003)
Although the use of private sector firms involved in military affairs is not new, their role and impact is commanding increased attention and scrutiny . . . Currently, PMC (private military company) personnel are working, and dying, in places like Iraq, helping to provide security for its oil fields, provide training to the army's new Stryker brigade which has just been deployed there, and train Iraqi police and prison guards. They are recruited as operatives for the Central Intelligence Agency's paramilitary division. They are piloting drug fumigation planes in Colombia, where they have been killed and captured by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. They are training the Saudi National Guard, serving as bodyguards to interim President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, and providing security to US diplomats (where three of them, working for the firm Dyncorp, died in a bomb blast in October). They are recruited from big states like the US and Great Britain and microstates like Fiji. There are probably 10,000 to 20,000 private contractors working overseas just for the US Defense and State departments alone. . . . PMCs are no longer occupying just a small market niche out on the fringes of the developing world. They are now very big business and major corporations have sat up and taken notice. Firms like L-3 have acquired MPRI, ArmorGroup bought up Defense Systems Ltd, Computer Sciences Corporation bought DynCorp. . . . they "have become active on every continent but Antarctica, including in relative backwaters and key strategic zones where the superpowers once vied for influence". . . . Second, they are now indispensable to Washington. The US may be the world's only military superpower, but thanks to the wave of privatization and outsourcing, which has been sweeping the US for the past 20 years, the Pentagon finds itself in the somewhat disturbing position of not being able to deploy overseas without their assistance. Much like the American Express credit card motto, the Defense Department finds it can't leave home without them. Singer notes that from 1994 to 2002, the US Defense Department entered into more than 3,000 contracts with US based firms estimated at a contract value of more than US$300 billion. The areas being outsourced are not just minor ones but include a number of areas critical to the US military's core missions. . . . Singer worries that PMCs may engage in human rights abuses, for which they will not be held unaccountable. He cites secondhand reports about alleged napalm use by Executive Outcomes.
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 5:23 PM
E-Voting Undermined by Sloppiness: Arnold Won with Rigged Voting Machines
(Wired.com, December 17, 2003)
An audit of Diebold Election Systems voting machines in California has revealed that the company installed uncertified software in all 17 counties that use its electronic voting equipment. . . . California certification procedures require that voting systems be qualified by independent testing authorities at the federal level and certified by the National Association of State Election Directors before the state can certify them for use. . . . Diebold admitted wrongdoing Tuesday at a meeting of the state's Voting Systems Panel, or VSP . . . But Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, who made an unprecedented appearance before the VSP, said he was disturbed by the company's actions and would not rule out the possibility of decertifying the machines in California. . . . "The core of our American democracy is the right to vote," Shelley said. "Implicit in that right is the notion that that vote be private, that vote be secure, and that vote be counted as it was intended when it was cast by the voter. And I think what we're encountering is a pivotal moment in our democracy where all of that is being called into question." . . . The audit was ordered last month after the VSP learned Oct. 29 that the company installed uncertified software on systems in two California counties that use its touch-screen voting machines. The software was used in at least two elections, including the gubernatorial recall in October. . . . A source in the secretary of state's office said a Diebold employee provided the information. [COMMENT: Hurray for Whistleblowers. They may be our last hope to save this nation from the Fascist takeover that is now in full bloom.] . . . At least five counties were using versions of software or firmware that were different from what Diebold indicated they were using. . . . All counties were using uncertified software, but the most serious issues related to the tabulation software known as GEMS, or global election management system. GEMS sits on a server in each county election office, counting the votes and producing summary reports of totals. . . . Auditors couldn't examine eight machines in various counties because they failed to boot up when turned on. Another 12 machines were in the Diebold plant in McKinney, Texas, being "repaired."
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 11:44 AM
The Lord of the Right Wing
Click the above link for a great Flash animation urging voters to turn the right wing out of the West Wing. Bush, of course, plays Gollum.
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 11:44 AM
Threat Posed by New Computerized Voting Machines
[PLEASE CLICK THE ABOVE LINK to send a fax to your Representative urging him or her to support voting machines with a paper trail.]
A Message from Martin Sheen
As a member of TrueMajority I am concerned about the threat posed by new computerized voting machines. We start with a principle so obvious it seems strange even to write it: For a democracy to work, the people must believe that balloting is conducted fairly and votes are counted accurately. Americans feel justifiable pride that our nation has created a system to ensure this, including provisions for recounts.
New computerized voting machines register votes on a memory chip and then digitally transmit the results via telephone modem to election headquarters. We can only hope that neither glitches nor tampering will change or erase any of our votes. We all know that computers sometimes crash and lose data. Power cords get pulled out of the wall. And what better trophy for a hacker--or over zealous campaign worker--than to skew the outcome of the actual election?
There is a simple solution to these problems. The California Secretary of State has ordered that these new computerized voting machines print out a paper copy of your vote for your approval before the vote is registered. These printouts would then be saved in case the machines malfunction or there is any question as to whether or not they have been tampered with. Without them we would just have to trust the companies that make the machines--companies like Diebold whose CEO, Walden W. O'Dell, recently wrote in a fundraising letter for the Republicans, "I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President next year."
To send a fax to your Representative urging him or her to support voting machines with a paper trail across the country fill out the form that is available through the above link.
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 8:05 PM
This is an ACTUAL
These are photographs of an actual sign. They are NOT photo-manipulations.
The sign was put up on the corner of 9th Ave. and 5th Street in South West Calgary on Wednesday, November 13, 2002 and removed Thursday, November 21. [Click to see more pictures of this sign.]
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 10:53 AM
Karl Rove: Bush's Turd Blossom
(Wayne Masden, From the Wilderness, December 5, 2003)
This evil practitioner of political chicanery earned his stripes first as an apprentice of Richard Nixon's dirty trickster, Donald Segretti. Rove then went on to hone and refine his duplicitous craft under Republican National Committee chairmen George H. W. Bush, Lee Atwater, and, finally, George W. Bush (who affectionately and alternately calls Rove his "boy genius" and "turd blossom"). . . . After trashing the personal character of former Texas Democratic Governors Mark White and Ann Richards, Texas Democratic Representative Lloyd Doggett, and Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, Rove now uses his Felix the Cat-like bag of dirty tricks to assassinate the characters of noble and non-political men and women. It is clearly time to take action against Rove, and give this maniac a taste of his own bitter medicine. . . . Over the years, Rove has relied on the planting of bogus stories in the media, production of counterfeit documents, the theft of campaign materials and internal documents, production of false witnesses, electronic eavesdropping, misuse of government resources, unethical political polling techniques, intimidation of minority voters, and "whispering campaigns" to advance the sordid agenda of the neo-conservative, extreme right wing of the Republican Party. . . . Rove reached his outrage limit with me when Iraq war veteran and prisoner of war Private Jessica Lynch accused the Bush administration and the neo-con Pentagon of hyping her capture for blatant political purposes. . . . The despicable Rove character assassination machinery soon went into full gear. First, gargoyle-like neo-con commentators such as Charles Krauthammer began criticizing Lynch for selling her book rights and accused her of hypocrisy. Then came reports (unproved and largely dismissed) that Lynch had been sexually molested while being held captive. Then the Rove coup de grace: news that Larry Flynt's Hustler magazine had obtained topless photos of Lynch frolicking with two other male soldiers before deploying to Iraq in early 2001. The photos were reportedly taken deep in the heart of Rove's Texas at Fort Bliss. To his credit, Flynt realized that by publishing the photos he would be playing into Rove's hands, and he decided to secure them. Poor Jessica found out what it is like to go from America's wholesome young heroine to an accused tart. All this, merely for confronting the evil Karl Rove. . . . Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his CIA undercover operative wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, also discovered what it was like to be at the receiving end of a Rove dirty tricks campaign. Wilson, who challenged assertions that Iraq sought yellow cake uranium from Niger, was soon pilloried as a partisan political hack seeking the limelight. His wife, Valerie, saw her undercover CIA operation, Brewster Jennings Associates, exposed by Rove's other favorite media gargoyle, Bob Novak. It is almost certain that Rove or one of his deputies provided the classified information to Novak. Wilson later said nothing would make him happier than seeing Karl Rove "frog marched" out of the White House in handcuffs. . . . Independent-minded Pentagon flag rank officers, from retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni to Iraqi War commander General Tommy Franks, have also been on the receiving end of Rove's torrents of abuse and disinformation; Zinni for being outspoken against the war, and Franks for disagreeing with awarding to Silver Star to Lynch. Army Specialist Clinton Deitz of the 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division told ABC News, "If Donald Rumsfeld was here, I'd ask him for his resignation." Deitz and other soldiers opposed to the insane war were then threatened with court martial by the chickenhawks surrounding Rumsfeld, who were undoubtedly egged on by the demonic Rove. Another 2nd Brigade Sergeant was more pointed when he said, "I've got my own 'Most Wanted' list" of senior Bush administration officials." Sarge, it would not be a complete list without Rove's name on it. . . . It was from Rove's shop that a CD-ROM containing a White House PowerPoint campaign strategy miraculously was "found" in Lafayette Park across from the White House. Ken Mehlman, Rove's accomplice in the planted park CD scam, is now Bush's 2004 campaign manager. A strategy paper from the Senate Intelligence Committee's Democratic minority staff suddenly wound up in the hands of GOP radio demagogue Sean Hannity. A Republican staffer for the Senate Judiciary Committee was caught hacking into sensitive Democratic files. Also, consider the bogus intelligence documents pointing to Iraq trying to obtain uranium from Africa. During the 2000 presidential campaign, Rove accused the Democrats of secretly videotaping a Bush debate practice session. All smoke and mirrors designed by Rove to mask his special brand of political conniving. Rove's brand of subterfuge and chicanery is copied from his Teutonic cousins who practiced it so well in the 1920s, '30s, and '40s. . . . The late FBI counterterrorism agent John P. O'Neill had a briefcase containing some sensitive documents stolen from him as he was attending a retirement planning session in Tampa. The briefcase was later returned with nothing missing. But soon the news of the "stolen briefcase" was leaked to the press, and O'Neill faced his first FBI investigation in his 30-year career. The incident smells of Rove all over it. O'Neill, who was on to the Bush family relationship with Saudis who, in turn, backed Al Qaeda, ironically died at the World Trade Center on 9/11. . . . I have become aware of journalistic colleagues being mugged (without any theft involved) on the streets of Washington and London. Could these have been warnings to those who have written extensively about the misdeeds of the Bush cabal? Possibly. As the United States continues to sink into a Third World-style dictatorship, we can expect more harassment of journalists and political activists. . . . Unless, that is, Rove is deep-sixed as a matter of political necessity to shore up Bush's Christian Right base. Washington is awash with stories, including those from the normally pro-Bush conservative Washington Times group, of Rove's Hooveresque off-hours antics (as in J. Edgar Hoover). Gee, Karl, how are you going to square that with the good Reverends Robertson and Falwell?
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 12:15 PM
Bush Brother Involved in Security Cover-up at WTC
A company that provided security at the World Trade Center, Washington D.C.'s Dulles International Airport and United Airlines between 1995 and 2001 was backed by a private Kuwaiti-American investment firm whose records were not open to full public disclosure, with ties to the Bush family. . . . Marvin P. Bush, a younger brother of George W. Bush, was a principal in the company from 1993 to 2000, when most of the work on the big projects was done. But White House responses to 9/11 have not publicly disclosed the company's part in providing security to any of the named facilities. . . . According to its present CEO, Barry McDaniel, the company had an ongoing contract to handle security at the World Trade Center "up to the day the buildings fell down." Yet instead of being investigated, the company and companies involved with it have benefited from legislation pushed by the Bush White House and rubber-stamped by Congressional Republicans. Stratesec, its backer KuwAm, and their corporate officers stand to benefit from limitations on liability and national-security protections from investigation provided in bills since 9/11. . . . HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc., a reinsurance corporation on whose board Marvin Bush sat as director until November 2002, similarly benefits from terrorism insurance protections. . . . The company lists as government clients "the US Army, US Navy, US Air force, and the Department of Justice," in projects that "often require state-of-the-art security solutions for classified or high-risk government sites." In 2000, the US Army accounted for 29% of the company's earned revenues . . . When, following the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey began its multi-million-dollar, multiyear revamping of security in and around the Twin Towers and Buildings 4 and 5, Securacom was among numerous contractors hired in the upgrade. . . . The companies doing security jobs received due mention in print, in security industry publications and elsewhere. The board membership of a son of former President Bush went unnoticed, at least in print. . . . A key concept in security is "access control." In hindsight, as the security industry's reportage on the WTC precautions makes clear, further attacks would have to come from the air. Unfortunately, such detailed reports did not convey that message at home. Nobody thought outside the box enough to deduce that a jumbo jet could overcome even the extraordinary controls at the World Trade Center. With 20-20 hindsight, it is obvious that the intricate procedures in the building's lobbies and on its perimeters were like trying to stop a 767 with ID badges. . . . But the suggestion is inescapable that any investigation into security arrangements preceding 9/11, at some of the nation's most sensitive facilities, has been impeded to this day by narrowly political concerns in the White House. "Mayberry Machiavellis" strike again: Rather than face possible embarrassment at disclosing Bush family interests in the security industry, Team Bush has stonewalled any concession to the public interest, statesmanship or even common sense. Every public statement from the White House seems designed to direct public attention toward Middle Easterners and away from Americans doing business with them &endash;- at least if their name is Bush.
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 11:53 AM
The US Military Coup
(David Isenberg, Asia Times, December 5, 2003)
In 1992, a then little-known deputy staff judge advocate lieutenant-colonel by the name of Charles J Dunlap Jr published an article titled "The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012" in the US Army War College's military journal Parameters. In a plot that was a cross between Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon and the movie The Siege, he depicted an America in which a military coup had taken place in the year 2012, and General Thomas E T Brutus, commander-in-chief of the Unified Armed Forces of the United States, occupies the White House as permanent military plenipotentiary. A senior retired officer of the military is one of those arrested, having been convicted by court-martial for opposing the coup. Prior to his execution, he discusses the origins of the coup, arguing that it was the outgrowth of trends visible as far back as 1992. These trends were the massive diversion of military forces to civilian use, the monolithic unification of the armed forces, and the insularity of the military community. . . . a report in the November 23 Los Angeles Times by respected military affairs analyst William Arkin provides the latest evidence that the supposedly inviolate wall keeping the military out of traditional civilian activities is eroding, due the diversion of the military to civilian missions. . . . That wall is embodied in the US by the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, enacted to preclude federal troops from doing the bidding of local politicians in the occupied South following the Civil War. It prohibits the military from conducting domestic law enforcement operations. Congress wanted to make it crystal clear, as Richard Nixon might have said, that there is a great difference in a democracy between protecting our nation from foreign attack and policing our neighborhoods. But the law also allows Congress and the president to make exceptions, and over the years they have done so. . . . They did so notably in the 1980s in the Ronald Reagan era when the US military was dragged kicking and screaming into counter-drug operations. Ironically, then defense secretary Caspar Weinberger wrote in 1985, "Reliance on military forces to accomplish civilian tasks is detrimental to both military readiness and the democratic process." . . . On May 20, 1997, a Marine anti-drug squad stalked, shot and allowed to bleed to death Ezequiel Hernandez, an 18-year-old high school sophomore, while he was herding goats near his home in Redford Texas, near the Rio Grande River, the site of heavy military drug interdiction activity. Hernandez's death was the first fatal shooting of a US civilian since the military began anti-drug missions in the 1980s and is the first American killed by soldiers on US soil since the 1970 National Guard killings of four students at Kent State during anti-Vietnam War demonstrations. . . . In the future, the National Guard will be the lead organization that coordinates military and civilian responses to terrorist threats and attacks against some critical infrastructure, such as nuclear power plants, McHale said. . . . He also said the Pentagon reviewed the Posse Comitatus Act and determined that it would not be a violation to deploy the National Guard to protect critical infrastructure in some circumstances. He said he expects more presidential directives in the future to expand the military's homeland defense role. . . . But the same basic concerns about military involvement still remain relevant. From a civil liberties viewpoint, while members of the armed forces take an oath to uphold and defend the constitution, they are not trained, like the police, to uphold Americans' rights to privacy and due process. Civil libertarians' fears about due process have been heightened since September 11 by the indefinite detention of citizens and immigrants, and by proposals to try them before secret military tribunals.
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posted by Lorenzo 11:25 AM
Too true to be funny?
Washington, DC (Reuters)
August 27, 2005.
A tragic fire has destroyed the personal library of President George W. Bush.
Both of his books have been lost.
The President is reportedly devastated - apparently, he had not finished coloring the second one.
Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld has asked congress for a special fund managed by Haliburton Corp
in the amount of 6 billion dollars to rebuild the presidential library.
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 10:30 AM
Bush's Mother Threatens His Critics with Death!
(Sheila Samples, Axis of Logic, December 3, 2003)
"...don't criticize my children. . .or you're dead."
-- Barbara Bush, Larry King Live, CNN, Oct. 20, 2003
There are few things more bewildering than the possessive -- sometimes frightening -- love that mothers display for their sons. It appears to be unconditional. To a mother, there's no such thing as a bad boy, especially if that boy is hers. . . . former first lady Barbara Bush told CNN's Larry King on Oct. 20 when discussing her president-son, George (Dubya) -- "...mothers are allowed to be proud of their sons." . . . Always one to speak her mind, "Bar" then sneered at the current crop of Democrats hoping to unseat Dubya, calling them a "sorry lot" for daring to criticize him. She even threatened the lives of those who might be tempted to criticize any member of her family. To her, the Democrats are booing and hissing at nothing more important than Dubya's embarrassing performance in his grade-school play after he bullied his way into the lead and then muffed his lines. Bar was indignant as she told an unchallenging Larry King that the Democrats "are running around the country knocking my precious, courageous, brilliant son." . . . They're not running or knocking nearly hard and fast enough for some of us, and there are millions -- not just Democrats and not just in America -- who look at the performance of Bar's spawn on the world stage and see siblings whose parents have ensured they face no consequences for their actions; they never owe anybody an apology, and they are not only above -- but outside -- the law. Bush watchers, however, see nothing precious, courageous or brilliant about undisciplined, over-indulged serial liars who keep making mess after ghastly mess and then waltz breezily away, leaving devastation in their wake for others to clean up. They see bad boys. Very, very bad boys. . . . Which is what made the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) gang -- a cabal of criminally insane neoconservative interventionists -- . . . That left George, or Dubya, who was vacuous and disconnected from reality, but clearly the most dangerous of the Bush boys. Crude and brutish, Dubya ruled Texas politics with a mean-spirited, politically-driven crusade for retributive justice. Although Texas governor for only five years and eight months, Dubya revved up "Old Sparky," the Texas death machine, where 144 evil, cold-blooded killers were brought to justice under his merciless eye. It has been widely reported that he took no more than 15 minutes on a case before denying pleas for mercy. Texas justice, under Dubya, was little more than an extension of his favorite childhood game -- frogs and firecrackers... . . . Dubya was the perfect PNAC presidential puppet. A former drunk who wasted the first 40 years of his life in a drug and alcoholic stupor, Dubya traded one addiction for another when he was suddenly "born again" and catapulted full-blown atop Mount Hubris and onto a throne at the right hand of God. An added benefit was that he is completely devoid of intellectual curiosity; therefore, easily influenced and manipulated. They played upon the only sense Dubya appeared to have -- an overblown sense of his own worth. . . . Through Dubya, PNAC's goal of world dominion merged seamlessly with the goal of "dominionim" cherished by millions of religious fundamentalists who pant for the Second Coming and beckon to Dubya from their ringside seats at Armageddon. Convinced that 9-11 was an opportunity to be "seized to achieve great things," Dubya told Washington Post's Bob Woodward, "We will export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defense of this great nation..." . . . "Dominionism pictures the seizure of earthly (temporal) power by the 'people of God' as the only means through which the world can be rescued...It is the eschatology that Bush has imbibed...through which he has gradually (and easily) come to see himself as an agent of God who has been called by Him to 'restore the earth to God's control,' a 'chosen vessel,' so to speak, to bring in the Restoration of All Things." . . . Such delusions might perhaps explain the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive killing, the mountain of lies and deceit that created the bloody atrocity in the Gulf, his complete disregard for the destruction of innocent life . . . Those of us attempting to pull back from the brink of apocolypse know that Dubya is a tyrant who indiscriminately uses coercive measures such as fear, threats, violence and propaganda in an effort to force an entire nation to fall silent and accept its own demise. A leader is neither wise nor courageous when he demands that his people support murder -- even genocide. . . . I hate to be critical, but Barbara Bush's boy is not a good boy. . . . He's bad. Bad to the bone.
[COMMENT: No wonder Bush is a madman, look at his parents. They are as criminally insane as he is. It is hard to comprehend the extent of the peril the world is in when the mother of the man in the White House threatens death to anyone who critizices her son. This family is a menace to our species and is certainly evidence of the fact that some people just shouldn't breed.]
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posted by Lorenzo 5:56 PM
Petition to Stop Criminalization of Dissent
[PLEASE CLICK ON THE ABOVE LINK AND ADD YOUR NAME TO THIS PETITION, which reads in part as follows.]
am outraged that the FBI has been conducting coordinated, nationwide surveillance operations on the US antiwar movement under the cover of fighting "terrorism." I support the efforts of the antiwar movement to end the Bush administration's policies of illegal war and occupation. I support our right to engage in nonviolent dissent free of government surveillance and interference.
I call on you to take immediate action to stop the FBI and local police from spying on the anti-war movement and to begin an investigation into these spying activities.
Government surveillance of the anti-war movement weakens key freedoms and treat the rights of political opponents of the Bush administration with contempt in the name of 'fighting terrorism."
The legitimate, nonviolent dissent of the peace and justice movement is one thing, and the illegal, despicable acts of those brought down the World Trade Center are another, yet the FBI deliberately confuses the two in an attempt to criminalize and intimidate all those who question Bush's permanent war policies into silence. It is hypocritical to see the Bush administration claim that it is fighting for freedom in Iraq while undermining those freedoms at home. This surveillance represents a gross violation of our Constitutional rights to free speech and assembly and a return to a shameful history of domestic political surveillance.
I will not be intimidated or silenced by the FBI and the Bush administration. I am proud to participate in nonviolent political dissent, like the Global Day of Action Against War and Occupation on March 20, and I will continue to work for peace and justice.
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posted by Lorenzo 4:22 PM
Bush Caught in Another Lie!
(Daily Mislead Archive, December 4, 2003)
In the most famous picture from his trip to Baghdad, President Bush had himself artfully photographed to look like he was serving turkey to the troops. The image was emblazoned on front pages throughout the country - and now appears to be an entirely false depiction. . . . According to the Washington Post, Bush was actually holding "a decoration, not a serving plate." In other words, he was holding a prop, not real food, and thus only pretending for the cameras to be serving up the holiday meal. . . . The Post notes that "the foray has opened new credibility questions for a White House that has dealt with issues" like this in the past. In fact, the flap marks the second such distortion in as many days about his trip to Baghdad. Just yesterday it was revealed that the White House's tall tale of Air Force One crossing paths with a British Airways plane was entirely false. . . . The deceptive picture also harkens back to the controversy surrounding the President's "Mission Accomplished" banner. On May 1, he stood on the deck of the U.S.S. Lincoln in front of the giant sign and declared that "major combat operations have ended." Since that time, more troops have been killed or wounded than before he made that statement, prompting more questions about his photo-op. . . . When asked why he chose to stand in front of the "Mission Accomplished" banner at a press conference six months later, Bush "disavowed the background banner," saying the White House staff had nothing to do with producing it. But then Navy and administration officials admitted the President had been dishonest, saying that "the White House actually made it." White House spokesman Scott McClellan specifically said, "We took care of the production of it. We have people to do those things." . . . Of course, Bush's penchant for taking misleading and dishonest photos has not been confined to Iraq. In July of 2002, the President visited a low-income housing development in Atlanta to tout his commitment to funding it. He then proposed a budget that eliminated its funding. Similarly, the President visited a Boys and Girls Club in January of 2003 to tout the organization's efforts. He said the club "has got a grand history of helping children." Just four days after his photo-op, he proposed to cut 15% out of funding for the Boys and Girls Club.
[NOTE: Click on the link above for citations that document each statement made in this article.]
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posted by Lorenzo 4:06 PM
The Educational System Was Designed to Keep Us Uneducated and Docile
It's no secret that the US educational system doesn't do a very good job. Like clockwork, studies show that America's schoolkids lag behind their peers in pretty much every industrialized nation. We hear shocking statistics about the percentage of high-school seniors who can't find the US on an unmarked map of the world or who don't know who Abraham Lincoln was. . . . Fingers are pointed at various aspects of the schooling system�overcrowded classrooms, lack of funding, teachers who can't pass competency exams in their fields, etc. But these are just secondary problems. Even if they were cleared up, schools would still suck. Why? Because they were designed to. How can I make such a bold statement? How do I know why America's public school system was designed the way it was (age-segregated, six to eight 50-minute classes in a row announced by Pavlovian bells, emphasis on rote memorization, lorded over by unquestionable authority figures, etc.)? Because the men who designed, funded, and implemented America's formal educational system in the late 1800s and early 1900s wrote about what they were doing. In 1888, the Senate Committee on Education was getting jittery about the localized, non-standardized, non-mandatory form of education that was actually teaching children to read at advanced levels, to comprehend history, and, egads, to think for themselves. The committee's report stated, "We believe that education is one of the principal causes of discontent of late years manifesting itself among the laboring classes." . . . By the turn of the century, America's new educrats were pushing a new form of schooling with a new mission (and it wasn't to teach). The famous philosopher and educator John Dewey wrote in 1897: Every teacher should realize he is a social servant set apart for the maintenance of the proper social order and the securing of the right social growth. . . . In his 1905 dissertation for Columbia Teachers College, Elwood Cubberly�the future Dean of Education at Stanford�wrote that schools should be factories "in which raw products, children, are to be shaped and formed into finished products...manufactured like nails, and the specifications for manufacturing will come from government and industry." . . . The next year, the Rockefeller Education Board�which funded the creation of numerous public schools�issued a statement which read in part: In our dreams...people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present educational conventions [intellectual and character education] fade from our minds, and unhampered by tradition we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have ample supply. The task we set before ourselves is very simple...we will organize children...and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way. . . . Several years later, President Woodrow Wilson would echo these sentiments in a speech to businessmen: We want one class to have a liberal education. We want another class, a very much larger class of necessity, to forego the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks. . . . In other words, the captains of industry and government explicitly wanted an educational system that would maintain social order by teaching us just enough to get by but not enough so that we could think for ourselves, question the sociopolitical order, or communicate articulately. We were to become good worker-drones, with a razor-thin slice of the population�mainly the children of the captains of industry and government�to rise to the level where they could continue running things. . . . This was the openly admitted blueprint for the public schooling system, a blueprint which remains unchanged to this day. Although the true reasons behind it aren't often publicly expressed, they're apparently still known within education circles. Clinical psychologist Bruce E. Levine wrote in 2001: I once consulted with a teacher of an extremely bright eight-year-old boy labeled with oppositional defiant disorder. I suggested that perhaps the boy didn't have a disease, but was just bored. His teacher, a pleasant woman, agreed with me. However, she added, "They told us at the state conference that our job is to get them ready for the work world�that the children have to get used to not being stimulated all the time or they will lose their jobs in the real world."
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posted by Lorenzo 5:23 PM
The Kennedys, Physical Evidence, and 9/11
(Michael C. Ruppert, From the Wilderness, November 26, 2003)
There is a reason why I opened my video The Truth and Lies of 9/11 with a single segment from the Zapruder film, shot on November 22, 1963. It shows that with the fatal head shot, JFK's body was pushed backwards and not forwards. In the simplest laws of physics this means one thing and one thing only; the shot was fired from JFK's front and hence, not by Oswald. . . . Now go to Google and enter "World Trade Center Collapse". One finds 497,000 entries to read. Granted, not all of these discuss how the towers came down, but most of them do. No, I did not read each one of them. It took 40 years for the world to produce 10,000 entries on the magic bullet and just two years to produce 497,000 on the World Trade Center. If one enters "WTC Tower Collapse" -- a bit more specific -- one finds 22,900 entries in just two years; more than twice as many as for the magic bullet in one-twentieth the time. . . . The historical corollary to JFK's front-to-back motion is the collapse of WTC Building 7, which was not struck by an aircraft at all, and yet it collapsed faster than gravity would permit---and perfectly within its own footprint. Inside that building were choice bits of history and evidence. Its tenants included the Internal Revenue Service, the Secret Service, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Mayor's office of Emergency Management and the CIA's New York Station. . . . Nothing makes sense to explain the collapse of this building except controlled demolition. Yet go to Google again and enter WTC 7 and one finds more than 1,800 entries. In my opinion watching one film of the WTC 7 collapse says as much as JFK's front-to-back movement. Please see the hidden story of building 7. It is inconceivable that this building was brought down by planes that hit buildings approximately a hundred yards away. . . . What I believe is that on Septmeber 11th, many of the alleged hijackers were likely not even aboard the planes, and that it is possible that they were flown via (existing and well-documented) remote control technology. I believe that none of the alleged hijackers had acquired the proficiency required to perform the complicated maneuvers used. I do not accept the government's version of the collapses of the towers and WTC 7, and I believe that those collapses were caused by artificial means other than the aircraft collisions. The fact that there are credible mainstream reports showing that many of the 19 hijackers are still alive leads me to question the government's account further. But with the hijackers, one confronts what is called in the intelligence trade a "legend" of immense complexity that has not been definitively unraveled. I do believe that some of the 19 hijackers were aboard the four flights as tokens, and I am absolutely convinced that Flight 93 was shot down as some attacks were allowed to take place successfully, and others were prevented. . . . This brings me to an artificial "straw" argument that has evolved from the controversy over physical evidence: Let it happen on purpose (LIHOP) vs. Make it happen on purpose (MIHOP). Again, for the record, as I have stated clearly on many occasions, I am absolutely convinced that the US government was a deliberate facilitator of the attacks before they occurred. I believe that the US government and its intelligence agencies - in cooperation with other intelligence agencies, especially the Israeli Mossad, Pakistan's ISI and Britain's MI6 - actively protected some of the 19 hijackers before the attacks, and made sure that they were free and allowed to circulate unmolested in order to fulfill the requirements of the "legend". . . . I believe that in its desperation to secure an attack "on the order of Pearl Harbor" (that would, as Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote in 1997, cause the Amercian people to support "the imperial mobilization necessary" to control 60% of the world's known energy resources), controlling elements of the US government, using highly compartmentalized procedures, saw to it that the attacks were carried out. . . . I have always stated that the "independent" 9/11 commission would be a failure, and that it was intended to be a whitewash. But thanks to diligent efforts to slam the documentary (and unscientific) record in their faces by victim families, 9/11 Citizen's Watch and other groups and individuals, that commission has been forced to subpoena the FAA to find out why fighters were not scrambled on 9/11. . . . The 9/11 commission will ultimately seek to conceal the truth, as its Executive Director Philip Zelikow tries to hide his massive conflicts of interest with Condoleezza Rice and the National Security establishment, but it must operate to some degree in public, or else its charade is wasted. And each time it compromises, waffles or lies, there are those like investigative journalist Tom Flocco who are right in its face asking why. So are many of the victim families of 9/11, who apparently have learned something from past experience - especially that of the families of Vietnam-era POWs and MIAs. . . . We may not have the luxury of waiting forty years to see if the physical evidence advocates will have made a difference in the way the world works. Hell, we may not even have twenty. They are absolutely free to pusue any course of action they want and to listen - or not - to the people who have walked down that road before and found it unproductive. The fact is that the world is starting to run out of hydrocarbon energy, right now. Wars, famines, economic failure and plagues are upon us today. The children of the Bull Market are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. . . . The truth is that the real story - the only story -- is Peak Oil and Gas, and that 9/11 was its first visible manifestation.
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posted by Lorenzo 5:06 PM