Consensus Reality
Friday, August 29, 2003
 
US Republican Party outsources fund raising to India

By Adamson Rust: Wednesday 27 August 2003, 08:49

We do hope and trust here at the INQUIRER that the irony of underpaid people in Harayana helping robots to call possibly out of work Americans because of a widespread policy of corporate outsourcing is not lost on our readers.

http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=11219


 
Bush’s party to raise funds via Noida, Gurgaon
Bipin Chandran in New Delhi, Business Standard, January 31, 2003

The US Republican Party now has a band of young and enthusiastic fund-raisers in Noida and Gurgaon.

HCL eServe, the business process outsourcing arm of the Shiv Nadar-promoted HCL Technologies, has bagged a project to undertake a fund-raising campaign for the US Republican Party over the telephone.

http://www.business-standard.com/archives/2003/jan/50310103.016.asp


 
Regulation-Haters Spreading More Lies
by Joe Conason

While Kenneth (Kenny Boy) Lay may no longer be in a position to raise money and conceive policy for George W. Bush and Tom DeLay, other influential executives remain eager to fulfill his role. Among them was Anthony J. Alexander of Ohio’s First Energy Corp., the firm whose failing transmission lines near Lake Erie seems to have kicked off the blackout. As a deregulation enthusiast and loyal Republican, Mr. Alexander raised more than $100,000 for the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2000, thus earning distinction as a "Bush Pioneer."
...
Freed from lots of dreary old regulations, First Energy has been on an expansion spree, buying up other companies in an attempt to seize control of electricity markets in the Northeast. More basic corporate responsibilities got less attention, and the neglect appears to have nearly caused a serious radiation leak from the company’s Davis-Besse nuclear-power plant in Ohio. For the company that bought up General Public Utilities, the former owner of the notorious Three Mile Island, the failure to properly maintain another nuclear plant is an egregious mistake, to say the least.

Financial analysts are as unimpressed with First Energy’s performance as environmentalists and consumers (who got the first taste of a blackout over the July 4 weekend). "Having come less than an inch from potential radiation leakage from Davis-Besse, they’ve now succeeded in blacking out eastern North America, a much more impressive feat," remarked Credit Sights, a bond-analysis firm, in a report quoted by The New York Times.

http://www2.observer.com/observer/pages/conason.asp


Thursday, August 28, 2003
 
High Resolution Images of Mars Online Begining 27 August

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST) will make observations of the planet Mars on Aug. 26-27, when Earth and Mars will be closer together than they have been in the last 60,000 years. As soon as Hubble's high-resolution images of the Red Planet are received at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) and are digitally processed by the Mars observing team, they will be released to the public and news media via the Internet.

High-resolution files for downloading will available on HubbleSite News Center at
http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/2003/22
, beginning at 6 a.m. EDT Aug. 27.

 
Halliburton's Deals Greater Than Thought

By Michael Dobbs, Washington Post Staff Writer,Thursday, August 28, 2003; Page A01

Halliburton, the company formerly headed by Vice President Cheney, has won contracts worth more than $1.7 billion under Operation Iraqi Freedom and stands to make hundreds of millions more dollars under a no-bid contract awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to newly available documents.

The size and scope of the government contracts awarded to Halliburton in connection with the war in Iraq are significantly greater than was previously disclosed and demonstrate the U.S. military's increasing reliance on for-profit corporations to run its logistical operations. Independent experts estimate that as much as one-third of the monthly $3.9 billion cost of keeping U.S. troops in Iraq is going to independent contractors.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A56429-2003Aug27.html
 

British utility owns failed power grid


By Michael Harrison, Business Editor
16 August 2003

The New York power grid, which collapsed, plunging millions of Americans into darkness, is owned by the British utility National Grid Transco.
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=434095




 
Power cut causes chaos, BBC

Some Tube stations were evacuated
A rush-hour power cut has caused major disruption on rail and Tube services in London and the South East.

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said at least 250,000 people were affected and said the situation showed the need for a serious look at the National Grid and why power went down for so long.

"We've never had this catastrophic failure before and we clearly can't have it again," he said
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/3189755.stm

 
Clinton and Lieberman ask Bush to Explain Incomplete Information from EPA
By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer,Wednesday, August 27, 2003; Page A23


WashPost reports: "In a sharply worded letter to Resident Bush, Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.) yesterday demanded to know why New Yorkers were given incomplete information about the potential dangers from the polluted air caused by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center. Clinton and Lieberman also asked Bush to take immediate action to ensure that the air in Lower Manhattan is safe to breathe. 'If the allegations contained in the Inspector General's report are true, as they appear to be, then the conduct of this White House with regard to this issue was galling and beyond comprehension,' the Clinton-Lieberman letter said. 'For the EPA to have provided anything but their best professional advice . . . is inexcusable; for the White House to have edited out that advice -- including information regarding the heightened risks that the air pollution might pose for young children -- is nothing but malfeasance.'"
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A50397-2003Aug26.html

 
Speakout: Selling out air safety to lowest bidder
By Robert Florian, Special to the News - rocky mountain news
August 22, 2003

Bush's Decision to Privatize Air Traffic Control is 'Beyond Comprehension'
"This decision was a direct repudiation to large bipartisan votes in both the House and Senate for legislation that would permanently prohibit privatization of air traffic control.... And it defies common sense. Just last year, Congress and the administration mandated that all baggage screeners must be federal employees. After the catastrophic failure of private contractors on Sept. 11, 2001, it was determined that checking passengers' bags as they board aircraft was too important to be left to the private sector. And here we are, a year later, deciding that the infinitely more complex and critical job of air traffic control can be contracted out to companies more concerned with cutting corners than protecting the safety of our skies. The United States has the safest, most efficient air traffic control system in the world. It is truly the gold standard of aviation safety.... Why the White House would want to risk this high standard of safety is beyond comprehension."

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/opinion/article/0,1299,DRMN_38_2200378,00.html

Wednesday, August 27, 2003
 

Chronicle shut out of 2 more Enron [R] hearings
Fastow transcript still denied release
By MARY FLOOD
Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle

-A federal judge held two more closed hearings in the criminal case against Andrew Fastow and two other former Enron executives on Tuesday and refused to unseal the transcript of a July 28 hearing he also held in secret.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt said he might continue to close hearings if he thinks it necessary.

"There are matters that do not need to be discussed in public in ways that embarrasses or humiliates the government or the defense and particularly the court," he said.

Hoyt denied a motion by the Houston Chronicle to make public the record of the closed hearing in July and the two on Tuesday.

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/business/2068057


 
Faith based Reasoning

Al Gore has recently commented on the "Rule of Reason".

"Americans have always believed that we the people have a right to
know the truth and that the truth will set us free. The very idea
of self-government depends upon honest and open debate as the preferred
method for pursuing the truth -- and a shared respect for the
Rule of Reason as the best way to establish the truth."

"The Bush Administration routinely shows disrespect for that whole basic
process, and I think it's partly because they feel as if they already
know the truth and aren't very curious to learn about any facts that
might contradict it. They and the members of groups that belong to their
ideological coalition are true believers in each other's agendas."

Al Gore,New York University, 8-7-3003,
http://www.moveon.org/gore-speech.html



Kent Southard writes about this in "Bush Watch" :

"Notice how Bush always answers every troublesome question put to him,
to the extent he bothers at all, with the phrase 'it's my firm belief.........'?
This serves as a guidepoint to his faithful that the matter at hand is
a matter of 'belief,' in other words a point of contention in the
culture wars between the supposed heathen secularists who oppose him,
and his devoted true 'believers' - believers in the literal truth of
the Bible for starters, from which starting point there can be literally
no latitude for, or intrusion of, inconvenient truths or facts,
because the 'truth' has already been revealed. In fact, it seems Bush
only ever addresses any issue when it's felt the time has come to cast
that issue as a matter of 'belief,' and so claim it back from the
world of facts."


Kent Southard, Bush Watch,"Bush Says You're All Sinners,You're Lazy,
And You Have No Rights" http://www.bushwatch.com/kent.htm



Professor R has recently done an objective survey to help explain why more people
have not complained about the disrespect for the Rule of Reason exhibited by
the latest administration.

By Swinton R.

Sent: Saturday, August 23, 2003 8:34 PM

Subject: Objective News Reporting


After pondering about cases of reporters telling news stories that were outright
fabrications, I decided to do an impromptu survey of what guys in the shop thought
objectivity was. I only asked two people before I went tilt and ended the survey.
The question as "What do you think it means for a news reporter to be objective?"

answer1: JW (75 yr old conservative) , "I think it means... pause.... positive...
or maybe particular"

answer2: Paul (58 yr old independant), "It means influencing the story."

I was taken back by this answer so I added, "Well, what would it mean if the
reporter was not objective?"

answer: "He would be lying"

My next question was, "So if he's not objective he's lying, and if he is objective,
he's influencing the sory?"

answer: "yes"

question: "So no-one ever tells the truth?"

answer: "No, everyone whittles away the corners."

question: "and that doesn't bother you?"

answer: "you need to develop a sense of humor"

Some people are definitely not bothered by apparent contradictions!
---------------
Swinton
 
Heatwave Kills 12,000
By Kim Housego, The Age

Sunday 24 August 2003

Europe's relentless heatwave has officially killed 2000 people in countries outside France but in France, the record temperatures are thought to have killed about 10,000 people, officials say.

Italy, which previously refused to release figures, has now agreed to investigate its toll, bowing to a public outcry over increased deaths.

The Associated Press compiled death tolls and estimates in 18 countries. The highest official estimates come from Portugal, with 1300 deaths, and the Netherlands, with 500 to 1000.

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/08/23/1061529376711.html

US 'censored' green report, BBC


US environmental policies have caused worldwide anger
The White House has removed sections of a report by the US Government's own environmental agency to water down references to global warming, say senior Democrats.
The major report on the state of the environment is due for release from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) next week.

Democrat senators have accused the White House of "doctoring" the report so that it does not challenge President George W Bush's view that global warming is of minor environmental importance.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3006448.stm



Tuesday, August 26, 2003
 
Cheney Stifled Energy Probe, GAO Investigators Say
Mon Aug 25, 9:15 PM ET Add U.S. National - Reuters to My Yahoo!

By Peter Kaplan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congressional investigators said on Monday that Vice President Dick Cheney[R] had stymied their investigation into his energy task force by refusing to turn over key documents.


The General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said it was impossible to tell how much energy companies or industry groups may have influenced the task force's 2001 report because the administration withheld important records.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20030826/us_nm/energy_cheney_dc_3

 
Bush Says You're All Sinners,
You're Lazy, And You Have No Rights

Kent Southard, Bush Watch
...
Notice how Bush always answers every troublesome question put to him, to the extent he bothers at all, with the phrase 'it's my firm belief.........'? This serves as a guidepoint to his faithful that the matter at hand is a matter of 'belief,' in other words a point of contention in the culture wars between the supposed heathen secularists who oppose him, and his devoted true 'believers' - believers in the literal truth of the Bible for starters, from which starting point there can be literally no latitude for, or intrusion of, inconvenient truths or facts, because the 'truth' has already been revealed. In fact, it seems Bush only ever addresses any issue when it's felt the time has come to cast that issue as a matter of 'belief,' and so claim it back from the world of facts.

But whether the remnants of the middle class, hanging on to a middle class standard of living at what has become professional class costs of living - hanging on through the traditional middle class value on education - whether they will accept Bush's attack on them within their own narrative, I think very well may not happen.

But perhaps the most significant change that the Bush administration has brought to the country, or perhaps has simply revealed, is that the middle class narrative is no longer the dominant narrative of the country - it's no longer our story. When our largest company is WalMart, and our largest employer Manpower Temps, it's an indication that the nation's demographic center of gravity has fallen drastically.
...
http://www.bushwatch.com/kent.htm

Monday, August 25, 2003
 
Conservative Backlash
Baltimore Sun | Editorial

Friday 22 August 2003

JOHN ASHCROFT must be sweating bullets.

A grass-roots drive to resist the attorney general's broad expansion of police powers in the name of fighting terrorism has picked up so much support in the American heartland it threatens not only repeal of the legislation but political damage to President Bush as well.

Try as he might, Mr. Ashcroft can no longer dismiss opponents of the USA Patriot Act as a small but whiny band of liberals. Some of the nation's top conservative groups as well as a huge majority of the Republican-led House of Representatives -- in other words, the Bush base -- are now leading the drive to eliminate portions of the law that allow secret spying on anyone.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/082503J.shtml
 
Question: Why is Arnold a Republican?

Answer:

 
Schwarzenegger's Father a Nazi Storm Trooper

An entry in a document stored at the Austrian State Archives shows that Gustav Schwarzenegger,
Arnold's father, was a volunteer member of the SA - the notorious Nazi storm troopers
also known as brownshirts.

http://cnn.netscape.cnn.com/ns/news/us.jsp

 
LEGO Metropolis: Surveillance Truck (7034)
LEGO Systems, Inc
...Price: $29.99


http://www.buy-everything-online.com/toys/PID/ldxjdvzbys/LEGO_Metropolis__Surveillance_Truck__7034_/
 
Poll: Most See U.S. Bogged Down in Iraq
AP, Sun Aug 24, 8:08 AM ET


WASHINGTON - With public confidence declining in President Bush (news - web sites)'s handling of the war in Iraq (news - web sites), nearly 70 percent of Americans feel the United States will be bogged down in the country for years without achieving its goals, a poll finds.
...
for the first time in a Newsweek poll, the percentage of registered voters who would not like to see Bush re-elected as president outnumbered those who supported a second term (49 percent to 44 percent).

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=540&ncid=703&e=3&u=/ap/20030824/ap_on_re_mi_ea/us_iraq_poll

From "The Situation Room"

The flag-waving and the high-tech spectacle are distant memories now. When you sell war to people like it's reality TV, expect them to be as loyal as a TV audience, i.e., not at all.

Smart Hollywood execs make changes when the ratings go south. But Bush, Rumsfeld, and co. won't do either of the two things that could turn the story arc around: allow a bigger UN role, and send enough troops to truly secure the country. By November of next year, a lot of folks will be more than happy to change the channel.

http://subintsoc.net/situationroom/

 
Information only flows one way in the current regime:

From: What's New [mailto:opa@aps.org]
Sent: Friday, August 22, 2003 3:45 PM

The Minority Staff of the Senate Government Affairs Committee, under
Ranking Member Joe Lieberman, issued a 46 page report alleging
the Administration has failed to inform state and local officials
about terrorist threats, watch lists, and investigations in their
jurisdictions.

http://www.aps.org/WN/


Friday, August 22, 2003
 
Utility Officers Gave to Bush
By Mike Allen
The Washington Post

Tuesday 19 August 2003

The top two executives of FirstEnergy Corp., the Ohio-based utility that is a focus of investigations into last week's cascading blackouts, are key financial supporters of President Bush, according to campaign records.

H. Peter Burg, chairman and chief executive, was one of three hosts of a $600,000 fundraiser for Bush's reelection campaign in Akron, Ohio, on June 30. Vice President Cheney was the featured speaker.

Anthony J. Alexander, FirstEnergy's president and chief operating officer, was a "Pioneer" for Bush's last campaign, meaning he raised at least $100,000. Alexander also contributed $100,000 to Bush's inaugural committee.

The Energy Department has dispatched teams of investigators to the Midwest and Northeast. Democrats have questioned whether Bush's administration coddled electric companies because of his long personal ties to the energy industry. FirstEnergy's ties could increase Capitol Hill scrutiny of the White House handling of the blackout aftermath.

Bush's campaign had no comment.

Records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics show that FirstEnergy executives contributed about $50,000 to Bush's last campaign. Energy and natural resource interests gave the campaign more than $3.6 million, according to the group's figures.

When Bush was Texas governor, employees of the now-collapsed Enron Corp., the energy-trading company, were his most generous career patrons.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/082003I.shtml
 
A Savage Lie
By John Cory
t r u t h o u t | Perspective, Friday 22 August 2003


Iraq is becoming the new Vietnam for American imperialism. US troops cannot guard the borders, search and destroy the resistance, shuffle through their deck of most-wanted cards, train militia and police, provide security for humanitarian organizations and keep the Bush priority of securing the oil industry infrastructure. Oh yes, and staying alive so they can return to their families. Even Karl Rove admits the military is stretched thin according to an interview with The News Herald on Aug 13th and reported by Associated Press titled: Karl Rove[R] Says Florida Will Be 'ground Zero' in 2004 Election.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/082203B.shtml
Thursday, August 21, 2003
 
25 Things We Now Know

By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers
THE IRAQ WAR

1. We know that a cabal of ideologically-motivated Bush officials, on the rightwing fringe of the Republican Party, were calling for a military takeover of Iraq as early as 1991.

2. We know that Bush and his highest officials -- notably Rice, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, and, to a lesser extent, Powell -- lied outrageously about Iraq's weapons capabilities in order to get their war plans endorsed by the Congress and the American people.

3. We know that Rumsfeld wanted to move on Iraq just a few hours after 9/11, even though he was quickly informed that it was an al-Qaida operation and that there was no evidence of Iraqi involvement.

4. We know that Bush and his highest officials, their lies having been exposed by their own contradictory words, as usual first decided to blame others: The patsy this time was the CIA, and Tenet fell on his sword, sort of, in accepting the blame. (Angry elements in the CIA then began leaking damning information about Bush&Co. involvement in other WMD lies.)


5. We know that Bush and Blair felt compelled to "sex up" their justification for going to war against Iraq by focusing on the WMD issue because the real reason -- to bomb and take over a weak nation in that area of the world as a demonstration warning to other Middle East, oil-rich countries that they'd better come on board or face the same consequence...

6. We know that although the U.S. promised that there would be a swift turnover of civil rule to the Iraqis, that promise has been revoked.

7. We know that the PNAC cabal, which relied on Iraqi exile fantasies, believed that the citizens of that invaded country would welcome the American & British forces with kisses and flowers. Instead, major factions of the country are engaged in nightly guerrilla warfare against their "liberators" and have killed and wounded more U.S. soldiers after Bush declared the end of major hostilities than were killed in the invasion battles.

8. We know that elements of the PNAC/Bush cabal appear anxious to move on to another country, though it's still unclear whether the next target for control (and perhaps "regime change") will be Syria or Iran -- with North Korea becoming more and more bellicose off to the side.

9. We know that two high officials of the Bush Administration leaked to a conservative newspaper columnist the name of a covert CIA agent -- which is a felony. The agent is the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson, the man sent by Cheney to Niger last year to see if there was anything to the story that Iraq supposedly was trying to buy "yellowcake" uranium; Wilson reported back saying that the story was "highly unlikely." After the Bush Administration continued to use this lie in various public speeches -- even though they knew the documents were forgeries --

10. We know that just prior to the launch of the Iraq war, the U.S. announced its "road map" for Middle East peace in order to lower the possibility of upheavals in the Arab world. Since the U.S. refuses to fully and energetically engage in the peace process -- to do so would mean leaning heavily on Israel to make major concessions and remove its permanent settlements on Palestinian land -- there is not likely to be genuine and lasting peace in that tortured area of the world.

THE 9/11 COVERUP

11. We know that the inner national-security circles of the White House knew an attack was coming from al-Qaida, with planes used as weapons, aimed at American icon targets.

12. We know that Bush and Cheney, early on, approached the leaders of the House and Senate and urged them not to investigate the pre-9/11 activities of the Administration.

13. We know that, to this day, the Bush Administration has stonewalled and delayed turning over essential information to both the Congressional committee and to the blue-ribbon independent panel investigating the pre-9/11 period.

14. We know that the coverup continues today, from the first days after 9/11, when Condeleeza Rice claimed that the Administration had no idea that planes could be used as weapons against buildings, to the blaming of the FBI for "not connecting the dots." The incoming Bush Administration, including Rice, had been warned by the outgoing Clinton Administration that the #1 national-security threat was al-Qaida terrorism; other Islamic terrorists had tried to use planes as weapons previously, and the chief defendant in the 1993 WTC bombing had admitted that al-Qaida wanted to bomb key buildings, including the Pentagon and the Congress, in future attacks.

DOMESTIC ATROCITIES

15. We know that the Bush Administration paid off its backers (and itself) by giving humongous tax breaks, for 10 years out, to the already wealthy and to large corporations.

16. We know that the HardRight conservatives who control Bush policy want to decimate and eviserate popular social programs from the New Deal/Great Society eras, including, most visibly, Head Start, Social Security, and Medicare ...

17. We know that those with a vested interest in energy policy (the Kenny Lays of America) had major impact in writing that policy, with no consumer-group input; this basically gave these energy cartels carte blanche to rob the states and the public blind.

18. We know that Bush environmental policy -- dealing with air and water pollution, national park systems, and so on -- is an unmitigated disaster, more or less giving free rein to corporations whose bottom line does better when they don't have to pay attention to the public interest.

19. We know that in general, the public interest plays little role in the formulation of policy inside the Bush Administration.

20. We know that there seems to be a "faith-based" view of reality. For example, when there was public clamor for policy to deal with the effects of global warming, the Administration said that was a "controversial" issue that would need more study; it appointed a scientific panel to review the situation. When that panel reported that global warming was real and needed to be dealt with on an urgent basis, Bush denounced the scientists that he himself had appointed as little more than "bureaucrats" and dismissed their conclusions; he also deleted the section on global warming from the annual EPA report.

21. We know that the Patriot Act -- which was rushed through Congress in the days right after 9/11, with few legislators having had a chance to read the final draft -- has generated a huge groundswell of public opposition. More than 130 towns and cities have passed resolutions opposing it in part or in whole. The main objections center around the removal of all sorts of constitutional guarantees of due process of law, such as lawyer-client confidentiality and the sanctity of home privacy, and which authorizes wiretapping and snooping into personal computer files without you ever knowing about it.

22. We know that more and more, the permanent-war policy abroad and police-state tactics at home -- with the shredding of Constititutional rights designed to protect citizens from a potential repressive government -- are taking us into a kind of American fascism domestically and an imperial foreign policy overseas.

23. We know that the response to the 2000 Florida election debacle -- going to touch-screen computer voting machines -- may turn out to be even worse.

24. We know that the Bush Administration continues to nominate ideologically-minded conservative judges, especially for the all-important appellate courts.

25. We know that after a long, quiescent snooze, where the ostensible opposition party, the Democrats, played obedient lap dog to Bush&Co., things are starting to shift. Many Democrats have suddenly discovered their spines and are opposing HardRight initiatives...
-----
more:

America Two Years After 9/11:
25 Things We Now Know

By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers
http://www.bushwatch.com/weiner.htm
 
IBM lays off 15,000, HP 1300

By Andrew Orlowski in San Francisco

Veteran IBM-watchers know how testing it is to read one of the company's financial statements. In the early days of the cold war, Churchill described the Soviet Union as "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma". But compared to earnings releases from companies such as Apple and Sun - who provide terse and lucid declarations - you can be forgiven for thinking of IBM's announcements as a cloud wrapped in a fog containing a temporary heat-haze.

However, this much is clear: IBM has shed 15,000 jobs in the past quarter: 1400 from the microelectronics division and a staggering "14,213 Global Services personnel" in response to "the recent decline in corporate spending on technology-related services". To balance the books, IBM also bunged its recent acquisition, PwC, almost $400 million.

In an SEC filing posted last week, IBM maintained that demand was strong. So strong, it had to conduct a private pogrom in its own services division. Clearly, something doesn't add up - even by IBM's own admission.

Perhaps an email from a soon-to-be redundant HP employee to The Register sheds some light on the situation. HP announced earnings this week that fell below expectations and added that it would make 1,300 "unexpected" human sacrifices to cover the shortfall. In contrast to previous "sheddings" of fluff in the "labor market", the middle class now feels the pain.


http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/7/32445.html




 
Paul Newman Is Still HUD
By PAUL NEWMAN, New York Times


he Fox News Network is suing Al Franken, the political satirist, for using the phrase "fair and balanced" in the title of his new book. In claiming trademark violation, Fox sets a noble example for standing firm against whatever.

Unreliable sources report that the Fox suit has inspired Paul Newman, the actor, to file a similar suit in federal court against the Department of Housing and Urban Development, commonly called HUD. Mr. Newman claims piracy of personality and copycat infringement.

In the 1963 film "HUD," for which Mr. Newman was nominated for an Academy Award, the ad campaign was based on the slogan, "Paul Newman is HUD." Mr. Newman claims that the Department of Housing and Urban Development, called HUD, is a fair and balanced institution and that some of its decency and respectability has unfairly rubbed off on his movie character, diluting the rotten, self-important, free-trade, corrupt conservative image that Mr. Newman worked so hard to project in the film. His suit claims that this "innocence by association" has hurt his feelings plus residuals.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/19/opinion/19NEWM.html?ex=1062263836&ei=1&en=f468bce9353873ef

 
The Danger of American Fascism
By Henry A. Wallace
The New York Times
From Henry A. Wallace, Democracy Reborn (New York, 1944), edited by Russell Lord, p. 259.

Sunday 09 April 1944

On returning from my trip to the West in February, I received a request from The New York Times to write a piece answering the following questions:

What is a fascist?
How many fascists have we?
How dangerous are they?

A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends. The supreme god of a fascist, to which his ends are directed, may be money or power; may be a race or a class; may be a military, clique or an economic group; or may be a culture, religion, or a political party.

The perfect type of fascist throughout recent centuries has been the Prussian Junker, who developed such hatred for other races and such allegiance to a military clique as to make him willing at all times to engage in any degree of deceit and violence necessary to place his culture and race astride the world. In every big nation of the world are at least a few people who have the fascist temperament. Every Jew-baiter, every Catholic hater, is a fascist at heart. The hoodlums who have been desecrating churches, cathedrals and synagogues in some of our larger cities are ripe material for fascist leadership.

The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others. Dangerous as these people may be, they are not so significant as thousands of other people who have never been mentioned. The really dangerous American fascists are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.

If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. Most American fascists are enthusiastically supporting the war effort. They are doing this even in those cases where they hope to have profitable connections with German chemical firms after the war ends. They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead.

American fascism will not be really dangerous until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists, the deliberate poisoners of public information, and those who stand for the K.K.K. type of demagoguery.


http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/082103F.shtml

 
Speech by Governor of California About the Recall Election
The New York Times

Wednesday 20 August 2003

...

This recall is bigger than California. What's happening here is part of an ongoing national effort to steal elections
Republicans cannot win. It started with the impeachment of President Clinton when the Republicans could not beat him in 1996. It continued in Florida where they stopped the vote count, depriving thousands of Americans of the right to vote. This year they're trying to steal additional Congressional seats in Colorado and Texas, overturning legal redistricting plans.

Here in California the Republicans lost the governor's race last November. Now they're trying to use this recall to seize control of California just before the next presidential election. They spent $3 million to put this recall on the ballot. But you're going to have to spend $65 million of your hard-earned tax dollars to conduct that election. I'm sure you'll agree with me that money would be better spent educating our children.

Call me old fashioned — and I am — call me old fashioned, but I believe when an election is over the people have spoken and it's time to get to work and do the public's business.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/082103D.shtm
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
 
Schwarzenegger still won’t respond to questions about why he was at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills two years ago where he, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and junk bond king Michael Milken, met secretly with former Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay who was touting a plan for solving the state’s energy crisis. Other luminaries who were invited but didn’t attend the May 24, 2001 meeting included former Los Angeles Laker Earvin “Magic� Johnson and supermarket magnate Ron Burkle.

While Schwarzenegger, Riordan and Milken listened to Lay’s pitch, Gov. Davis pleaded with President George Bush to enact much needed price controls on electricity sold in the state, which skyrocketed to more than $200 per megawatt-hour. Davis said that Texas-based energy companies were manipulating California’s power market, charging obscene prices for power and holding consumers hostage. Bush agreed to meet with Davis at the Century Plaza Hotel in West Los Angeles on May 29, 2001, five days after Lay met with Schwarzenegger, to discuss the California power crisis.

At the meeting, Davis asked Bush for federal assistance, such as imposing federally mandated price caps, to rein in soaring energy prices. But Bush refused saying California legislators designed an electricity market that left too many regulatory restrictions in place and that’s what caused electricity prices in the state to skyrocket. It was up to the governor to fix the problem, Bush said. However, Bush’s response appears to be part of a coordinated effort launched by Lay to have Davis shoulder the blame for the crisis. It worked. ...



What’s unknown to many of the voters who will decide Davis’s fate on Oct. 7, the day of the recall election, is that while Cheney dismissed Davis’s accusations that power companies were withholding electricity supplies from the state, one company engaged in exactly the type of behavior that Davis described. But Davis would never be told about the manipulative tactics the energy company engaged.

In a confidential settlement with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, whose chairman was appointed by Bush a year earlier, Tulsa, Okla., based-Williams Companies agreed to refund California $8 million in profits it reaped by deliberately shutting down one of its power plants in the state in the spring of 2000 to drive up the wholesale price of electricity in California.

The evidence, a transcript of a tape-recorded telephone conversation between an employee at Williams and an employee at a Southern California power plant operated by Williams, shows how the two conspired to jack up power prices and create an artificial electricity shortage by keeping the power plant out of service for two weeks.

Details of the settlement had been under seal by FERC for more than a year and were released in November after the Wall Street Journal sued the commission to obtain the full copy of its report. Similarly, FERC also found that Reliant Energy engaged in identical behavior around the same time as Williams and in February the commission ordered Reliant to pay California a $13.8 million settlement.

...

Fearing that Davis would take steps to re-regulate California’s power market that Lay spent years lobbying California lawmakers to open up to competition, Lay recruited Schwarzenegger, Riordan, Milken, and other powerful business leaders like Bruce Karatz, chief executive of home builder Kaufman & Broad; Ray Irani, chief executive of Occidental Petroleum; and Kevin Sharer, chief executive of biotech giant Amgen.

The 90-minute secret meeting Lay convened took place inside a conference room at the Peninsula Hotel. Lay, and other Enron representatives at the meeting, handed out a four-page document to Schwarzenegger, Riordan and Milken titled “Comprehensive Solution for California,� which called for an end to federal and state investigations into Enron’s role in the California energy crisis and said consumers should pay for the state’s disastrous experiment with deregulation through multibillion rate increases. Another bullet point in the four-page document said “Get deregulation right this time -- California needs a real electricity market, not government takeovers.�

...
Lay asked the participants to support his plan and lobby the state Legislature to make it a law. It’s unclear whether Schwarzenegger held a stake in Enron at the time or if he followed through on Lay’s request. His spokesman, Rob Stutzman, hasn’t returned numerous calls for comment about the meeting. For Schwarzenegger and the others who attended the meeting, associating with Enron, particularly Ken Lay, the disgraced chairman of the high-flying energy company, during the peak of California’s power crisis in May 2001 could be compared to meeting with Osama bin Laden after 9-11 to understand why terrorism isn’t necessarily such a heinous act.

...

It wasn’t until Enron collapsed in October 2001 and evidence of the company’s manipulative trading tactics emerged that FERC began to take a look at the company’s role in California’s electricity crisis. Since then, memos written by former Enron traders were uncovered, with colorful names like “Fat Boy� and “Death Star,� that contained the blueprint for ripping off California.

Enron’s top trader on the West Coast, Timothy Belden, the mastermind behind the scheme, pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and has agreed to cooperate with federal investigators who are still trying to get to the bottom of the crisis.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/081903G.shtml



 
Bush Ignored The Terrorist Threat
BUZZFLASH SPECIAL GUEST COMMENTARY
by Sidney Blumenthal, author of "The Clinton Wars"

This week, BuzzFlash.com, is pleased to post two excerpts of Sidney Blumenthal's 822-page book on "The Clinton Wars." The first excerpt can be found here:

http://www.buzzflash.com/contributors/03/08/18_blumenthal.html

the second they are reproducing (beginning on page 795 of the book) finds Blumenthal reflecting on Bush's White House stature before and after 9/11. It includes information on how the Bush team was fully briefed by Clinton staffers about the imminent threat posed by terrorism. Blumenthal reveals shockingly how the Bush national security team ignored an explicit warning about al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden before 9/11 from within the National Security Council itself -- and how the official who gave them that red alert was isolated as a result.

http://www.buzzflash.com/contributors/03/08/20_blumenthal.html
Monday, August 18, 2003
 
This week, BuzzFlash.com, is pleased to post two excerpts of Sidney Blumenthal's 822-page book on "The Clinton Wars."

With permission of the author and his publisher (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux), BuzzFlash is first offering a section (beginning on page 656 of the book) that details how the Republican Congress and former FBI Director Louis Freeh (who allied himself with the anti-Clinton forces) undercut Clinton's efforts to fight terrorism. The excerpt also touches upon how after the impeachment trial, pseudo-scandal mongering by the media -- including the New York Times -- helped deflect public attention from President Clinton's struggle with terrorism.

http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/03/05/23_blumenthal.html
 
"This is the most radical, reactionary administration we've ever had in Washington.
President Bush may not be on our list of America's best presidents,
but he should be on anyone's list of America's best magicians.
The budget surplus - then you saw it, now you won't.
Good jobs - then we had them, now we don't...
George Bush's disappearing act is getting a little old to me."
--Hillary Clinton
http://www.bartcop.com/
Friday, August 15, 2003
 
Animated Catherine Harris story:
http://www.ericblumrich.com/gta.html

 
Energy Secretary Overseas During Blackout


WASHINGTON (AP) - It's the worst blackout in U.S. history. So where is Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham?

It turns out Abraham was on a work-related trip in London. Energy Department spokeswoman Jeanne Lopatto said Abraham was scheduled to return to Washington by Friday afternoon.

In a statement released Friday morning, Abraham urged consumers in the affected areas to conserve energy and unplug major appliances until stable power is restored.

...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,1282,-3031766,00.html





 
POWER OUTAGE TRACED TO DIM BULB IN WHITE HOUSE ---
The Tale of The Brits Who Swiped 800 Jobs From New York, Carted Off $90 Million, Then Tonight, Turned Off Our Lights
ZNet, Friday, August 15, 2003, by Greg Palast



Is tonight's black-out a surprise? Heck, no, not to us in the field who've watched Bush's buddies flick the switches across the globe. In Brazil, Houston Industries seized ownership of Rio de Janeiro's electric company. The Texans (aided by their French partners) fired workers, raised prices, cut maintenance expenditures and, CLICK! the juice went out so often the locals now call it, "Rio Dark."

So too the free-market British buckaroos controlling Niagara Mohawk raised prices, slashed staff, cut maintenance and CLICK! -- New York joins Brazil in the Dark Ages.

Californians have found the solution to the deregulation disaster: re-call the only governor in the nation with the cojones to stand up to the electricity price fixers. And unlike Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gov. Gray Davis stood alone against the bad guys without using a body double. Davis called Reliant Corp of Houston a pack of "pirates" --and now he'll walk the plank for daring to stand up to the Texas marauders.

http://www.gregpalast.com/detail.cfm?artid=257&row=0
 
CLAIM

"We'll have time to look at it and determine whether or not our grid needs to be modernized. I happen to think it does, and have said so all along."
- George Bush, 8/14/03 [LINK]

SAN DIEGO - President Bush said he will order a review of why so many states were hit by a massive power blackout Thursday and said he suspects the nation's electrical grid will have to be modernized. [LINK]

FACT

In June of 2001, Bush opposed and the congressional GOP voted down legislation to provide $350 million worth of loans to modernize the nation's power grid because of known weaknesses in reliability and capacity. Supporters of the amendment pointed to studies by the Energy Department showing that the grid was in desperate need of upgrades as proof that their legislation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) should pass.

Unfortunately, the Bush Administration lobbied against it and the Republicans voted it down three separate times: First, on a straight party line in the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, then on a straight party line the U.S. House Rules Committee, and finally on a party line on the floor of the full House [Roll Call Vote #169, 6/20/01].

http://www.buzzflash.com/analysis/03/08/15_blackout.html
 
Investigating the Bush Administration's Promotion of Idiology Over Science
..House Comitte on Government Reform

Like the CDC, the State Department’s Agency for International Development (USAID) has censored its web site to remove information on the effectiveness of condoms. As recently as February 2003, USAID’s web site included two detailed documents on condom effectiveness. The document The Effectiveness of Condoms in Preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections stated: “Latex condoms are highly effective in prevention of HIV/AIDS” and “Public and government support for latex condoms is essential for disease prevention.”[5] The document USAID: HIV/AIDS and Condoms also stated that condoms are “highly effective for preventing HIV infection.” It called condom distribution a “cornerstone of USAID’s HIV prevention strategy.”[6]

USAID then substantially altered its web site. The document The Effectiveness of Condoms in Preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections is no longer available. The document USAID: HIV/AIDS and Condoms states only that “condom use can reduce the risk of HIV infection” and “[w]hile no barrier method is 100 percent effective, correct and consistent use of latex condoms can reduce the risk of transmission of HIV and some other STIs.”[7]

International Negotiations
The Bush Administration has also promoted unscientific positions on condom use internationally.


http://www.house.gov/reform/min/politicsandscience/example_condoms.htm

 
Who are the mystery men behind the recall push?
By Max Blumenthal
The American Prospect .. Wednesday 13 August 2003

"...former Enron pollster and Republican tactician Frank Luntz, ... devised a strategy for the recall campaign centering around negative character attacks and avoidance of policy discussion. "

http://www.prospect.org/webfeatures/2003/08/blumenthal-m-08-13.html


 
-One of the first tasks ahead in the new Iraq is writing a new constitution, to which Attorney General John Ashcroft said, "constitution? What's that?" -
--Jay Leno, August 1, 2003

http://www.adabyron.net/


 
New Constitution for Iraq:

"As you may have heard, the US is putting together a constitution for Iraq.
Why don't we just give them ours? Think about it — it was written by very smart people,
it's served us well for over two hundred years, and besides, we're not using it anymore."
...Jay Leno, August 4, 2003

http://www.adabyron.net/



 
With Eyes Wide Shut
By George Monbiot
The Guardian

Tuesday 12 August 2003

Climate Change Threatens the Future of Humanity, but we Refuse to Respond Rationally



Of course, we cannot say that the remarkable temperatures in Europe this week are the result of global warming. What
we can say is that they correspond to the predictions made by climate scientists. As the met office reported on Sunday, "all our models have suggested that this type of event will happen more frequently." In December it predicted that, as a result of climate change, 2003 would be the warmest year on record. Two weeks ago its research center reported that the temperature rises on every continent matched the predicted effects of climate change caused by human activities, and showed that natural impacts, such as sunspots or volcanic activity, could not account for them. Last month the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that "the increase in temperature in the 20th century is likely to have been the largest in any century during the past 1,000 years", while "the trend since 1976 is roughly three times that for the whole period". Climate change, the WMO suggests, provides an explanation not only for record temperatures in Europe and India but also for the frequency of tornadoes in the United States and the severity of the recent floods in Sri Lanka.

There are, of course, still those who deny that any warming is taking place, or who maintain that it can be explained by natural phenomena. But few of them are climatologists, fewer still are climatologists who do not receive funding from the fossil fuel industry. Their credibility among professionals is now little higher than that of the people who claim that there is no link between smoking and cancer. Yet the prominence the media give them reflects not only the demands of the car advertisers. We want to believe them, because we wish to reconcile our reason with our dreaming.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/081503I.shtml

 
The Bush Deceit
By Peter D. Zimmerman
The Washington Post

Thursday 14 August 2003


The current President Bush was not the first leader to take the United States to war with Iraq using phony intelligence.

In September 1990 his father's administration claimed that Iraq had hundreds of tanks and 300,000 troops in Kuwait massed on the Saudi border. But independent analysis by me and a colleague, using extremely sharp Soviet satellite photos, showed no evidence whatever of a significant Iraqi force in Kuwait. Nonetheless, in 1990 the American people were told that an attack on Saudi Arabia was imminent.

Postwar analysis showed that the independent analysis published in this country in the St. Petersburg Times was dead accurate: There were not 300,000 but fewer than 100,000 Iraqi troops and only a few Iraqi tanks in Kuwait.

George W. Bush's backing and filling, his staff's confused explanations, revised explanations and new explanations, plus the immutable fact that most of his arguments for war in Iraq were misleading, have seriously damaged his credibility abroad and are eroding it at home.

When an American president needs to take the nation to war, Americans must be able to trust him and must believe that the case for conflict is sound. The next time Bush wants to use armed force to preempt or prevent an attack on this country, he will have to prove his case far more completely than before. Two presidents of the United States have forfeited the benefit of the doubt.

-------

Peter D. Zimmerman, a physicist, was chief scientist of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and science adviser for arms control at the State Department during the Clinton administration.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A55860-2003Aug13.html

Wednesday, August 13, 2003
 
A textbook case: Study of Bush's psyche touches a nerve
Posted on Wednesday, August 13 @ 09:53:42

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By Julian Borger in Washington, The Guardian

A study funded by the US government has concluded that conservatism can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in "fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity".

As if that was not enough to get Republican blood boiling, the report's four authors linked Hitler, Mussolini, Ronald Reagan and the rightwing talkshow host, Rush Limbaugh, arguing they all suffered from the same affliction.

All of them "preached a return to an idealised past and condoned inequality".

Republicans are demanding to know why the psychologists behind the report, Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition, received $1.2m in public funds for their research from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

The authors also peer into the psyche of President George Bush, who turns out to be a textbook case. The telltale signs are his preference for moral certainty and frequently expressed dislike of nuance.
...

One of the psychologists behind the study, Jack Glaser, said the aversion to shades of grey and the need for "closure" could explain the fact that the Bush administration ignored intelligence that contradicted its beliefs about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
....
Another author, Arie Kruglanski, of the University of Maryland, said he had received hate mail since the article was published, but he insisted that the study "is not critical of conservatives at all". "The variables we talk about are general human dimensions," he said. "These are the same dimensions that contribute to loyalty and commitment to the group. Liberals might be less intolerant of ambiguity, but they may be less decisive, less committed, less loyal."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1017546,00.html


 
Franken Makes Light of Fox Slogan Lawsuit
Tue Aug 12, 8:34 PM ET

By HILLEL ITALIE, AP National Writer

NEW YORK - Al Franken, the humorist being sued by Fox News Channel for use of the phrase "fair and balanced," said Tuesday he doesn't mind the legal action.



But he does wish it hadn't happened during his vacation.


Fox sued the former "Saturday Night Live (news - Y! TV)" performer and his publisher, the Penguin Group, to stop them from including "fair and balanced" in the title of his upcoming book.

Fox News registered "Fair & Balanced" as a trademark in 1995, the lawsuit said.


Franken also thanked Fox "for all the publicity." As of Tuesday night, "Lies" had reached No. 4 on the bestseller list of Amazon.com, one ranking ahead of the latest Harry Potter book.


Fox alleged that Franken was "either intoxicated or deranged" when he attacked the network and conservative host Bill O'Reilly at an April press correspondents dinner. The lawsuit also says that Franken has been described as "increasingly unfunny."


"As far as the personal attacks go," Franken responded, "when I read `intoxicated or deranged' and `shrill and unstable' in their complaint, I thought for a moment I was a Fox commentator.


"And by the way, a few months ago, I trademarked the word `funny.' So when Fox calls me `unfunny,' they're violating my trademark. I am seriously considering a countersuit."

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030813/ap_on_en_tv/publishing_franken_lawsuit_6





 
Iraq War Protesters Face Fines
'Human Shields' Violated U.S. Sanctions, Treasury Says
By Jonathan Weisman
The Washington Post

Tuesday 12 August 2003

They failed to get the attention of the invading U.S. military, but the civilians who traveled to Iraq as "human shields" to stop the war last winter have since attracted the attention of the Bush administration's Treasury Department.

Over the past several weeks, Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control has been contacting an undisclosed number of protesters who placed themselves in harm's way before the war, warning them that they face $10,000 fines for violating U.S. sanctions that forbade most travel to Iraq and commerce with Saddam Hussein's regime. If they don't pay, the human shields face up to 10 years in prison. Treasury spokesman Taylor Griffin said yesterday that the effort to enforce prewar sanctions is "absolutely not" politically motivated.


...

Faith Fippinger, a 62-year-old retired schoolteacher from Sarasota, Fla., was on ABC's "Good Morning America" and National Public Radio and appeared in the Daily Telegraph of Sydney, Australia; the San Francisco Chronicle; the Irish Times; and the Times of London before being featured in a profile in The Washington Post.




Now, she's getting a second 15 minutes of fame. On Friday, she told the Associated Press she was refusing to pay Treasury the fine she found waiting for her when she returned home in May. By yesterday, she was back on television, declaring on CNN, "I will not contribute any money to the continual buildup of America's weapons of mass destruction, which, as far as I know, far exceed the weapons of all other nations combined, and, in fact, have escalated the buildup of weapons everywhere."

Faced with a new round of media inquiries, Tom Andrews, national director of the antiwar group Win Without War, quipped, "Let things roll."


http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/081303I.shtml
 
Thanks for the M.R.E.'s
By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

Tuesday 12 August 2003

A few days ago I talked to a soldier just back from Iraq. He'd been in a relatively calm area; his main complaint was about food. Four months after the fall of Baghdad, his unit was still eating the dreaded M.R.E.'s: meals ready to eat. When Italian troops moved into the area, their food was "way more realistic" - and American troops were soon trading whatever they could for some of that Italian food.

Other stories are far worse. Letters published in Stars and Stripes and e-mail published on the Web site of Col. David Hackworth (a decorated veteran and Pentagon critic) describe shortages of water.

....
The U.S. military has always had superb logistics. What happened? The answer is a mix of penny-pinching and privatization - which makes our soldiers' discomfort a symptom of something more general.

Colonel Hackworth blames "dilettantes in the Pentagon" who "thought they could run a war and an occupation on the cheap." But the cheapness isn't restricted to Iraq. In general, the "support our troops" crowd draws the line when that support might actually cost something.

The usually conservative Army Times has run blistering editorials on this subject. Its June 30 blast, titled "Nothing but Lip Service," begins: "In recent months, President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress have missed no opportunity to heap richly deserved praise on the military. But talk is cheap - and getting cheaper by the day, judging from the
nickel-and-dime treatment the troops are getting lately." The article goes on to detail a series of promises broken and benefits cut.

Military corner-cutting is part of a broader picture of penny-wise-pound-foolish government. When it comes to tax cuts or subsidies to powerful interest groups, money is no object. But elsewhere, including homeland security, small-government ideology reigns. The Bush administration has been unwilling to spend enough on any aspect of homeland security, whether it's providing firefighters and police officers with radios or protecting the nation's ports. The decision to pull air marshals off some flights to save on hotel bills - reversed when the public heard about it - was simply a sound-bite-worthy example. (Air marshals have told MSNBC.com that a "witch hunt" is now under way at the Transportation Security Administration, and that those who reveal cost-cutting measures to the media are being threatened with the Patriot Act.)

[entire article]

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/12/opinion/12KRUG.html
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
 
I was driving down Front Street in Memphis this Saturday.

Vella and I had gone to the Riverwalk to view the river traffic.

A convertible in front of us had a "John Kerry for President" sticker,
so I rolled down my window at the stoplight and spoke to the
young lady driving the car.

I said: "I saw your Kerry sticker."

She said; " I work for him."

I said "I met Kerry 30 years ago."

She said: "Did you like him?"

I answered "Yes", and the light changed.

http://www.blog.johnkerry.com/blog/

 
Fox Sues Humorist Al Franken Over Slogan

The Associated Press
Monday, August 11, 2003; 5:15 PM


NEW YORK - Fox News Channel has sued liberal humorist Al Franken and the Penguin Group to stop them from using the phrase "fair and balanced" in the title of his upcoming book.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A45293-2003Aug11?language=printer
 
Security Bulletin
August 12, 2003

The following is describes a virus being distributed and is spreading rapidly throughout the country.


The virus “W32.Blaster.Worm” is a virus that exploits the DCOM RPC vulnerability (described in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS03-026) using TCP port 135. This worm attempts to download and run the Msblast.exe file.

Block access to TCP port 4444 at the firewall level, and then block the following ports, if they do not use the applications listed:
· TCP Port 135, "DCOM RPC"
· UDP Port 69, "TFTP"

The worm also attempts to perform a Denial of Service (DoS) on Windows Update. This is an attempt to prevent you from applying a patch on your computer against the DCOM RPC vulnerability.


Description of virus here
http://www.sarc.com/avcenter/venc/data/w32.blaster.worm.html

MS security bulletin here
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/security/bulletin/MS03-026.asp


 
Dubya Jeopardy!

by Maureen Farrell

Last week, I wrote about a Vietnam veteran's depiction of President Bush as a razzle-dazzle game show host, noting, in the end, that this administration has driven us into a never-ending game of Jeopardy. Taking the conceit even further, what would a game of Dubya Jeopardy look like?

The categories would be endless, for starters. Incompetence; Bullying; Disinformation; Rigged Elections; Dry Drunks; Going AWOL; Messianic Complexes; Dubious Associations; Impeachable Offenses -- you name it. Can I have Quagmires for $200, Alex? I'll take War Profiteering for $1000!

"Final Jeopardy" questions could pertain to everything from Armageddon agendas to End of Days star Arnold Schwarzenegger's run for governor. And given that we've been in perpetual Double Jeopardy since Nov. 2000 anyway, categories and questions would bubble to the surface in a veritable scum pond of possibilities. Here's but a sample:

http://www.buzzflash.com/farrell/03/08/12.html
Monday, August 11, 2003
 
Aug. 11, 2003 | Arnold's secret meeting with Kenny Boy, Salon.com

If you're compiling a list of public figures even less popular in California than Gray Davis, one name is likely to top it: former Enron chairman Kenneth "Kenny Boy" Lay. Voters in the Golden State are behaving like sheep these days, but even the dimmest of them can probably remember how Enron and the other corporate vultures descended on them during the electricity "crisis" of 2001.

What California voters may no longer remember, however, is that after the third wave of rolling blackouts hit their state, Kenny Boy quietly summoned a select group to the Beverly Hills Hotel on May 11, 2001. And they may also have forgotten that one of the prominent Republicans who showed up at Lay's request was Arnold Schwarzenegger.


http://salon.com/opinion/conason/2003/08/11/enron/index.html
 
Family shot dead by panicking US troops
Firing blindly during a power cut, soldiers kill a father and three children in their car
By Justin Huggler in Baghdad

Sunday 10 August 2003

The abd al-Kerim family didn't have a chance. American soldiers opened fire on their car with no warning and at close quarters. They killed the father and three of the children, one of them only eight years old. Now only the mother, Anwar, and a 13-year-old daughter are alive to tell how the bullets tore through the windscreen and how they screamed for the Americans to stop.

"We never did anything to the Americans and they just killed us," the heavily pregnant Ms abd al-Kerim said. "We were calling out to them 'Stop, stop, we are a family', but they kept on shooting."

The story of how Adel abd al-Kerim and three of his children were killed emerged yesterday, exactly 100 days after President George Bush declared the war in Iraq was over. In Washington yesterday, Mr Bush declared in a radio address: "Life is returning to normal for the Iraqi people ... All Americans can be proud of what our military and provisional authorities have achieved in Iraq."

But in this city Iraqi civilians still die needlessly almost every day at the hands of nervous, trigger-happy American soldiers.

Doctors said the father and his two daughters would have survived if they had received treatment quicker. Instead, they were left to bleed to death because the Americans refused to allow anyone to take them to hospital.


http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=432202
 
White House Sway Is Seen in E.P.A. Response to 9/11
By JENNIFER 8. LEE, New York Times


ASHINGTON, Aug. 8 — An investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency's inspector general into official statements about air quality after the collapse of the World Trade Center has found that White House officials instructed the agency to be less alarming and more reassuring to the public in the first few days after the attack.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/09/nyregion/09AIR.html
 
WHAT'S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 8 Aug 03 Washington, DC

(The American Pysical Society magazine)

1. POLITICAL SCIENCE: IS THE ADMINISTRATION DISTORTING SCIENCE?
The short answer is, "every administration does." But a report
by the minority staff of the House Government Reform Committee,
released yesterday, says it's gotten worse. To the surprise of
no one, White House spokesman Scott McClellan dismissed the
report as political, which of course it is. However, the NY
Times quotes McClellan in an incredibly revealing description of
administration policy: "The administration looks at the facts,
and reviews the best available science based on what's right for
the American people." That final clause, "what's right for the
American people," is chilling.

2. POLITICAL CLIMATE: WHAT'S RIGHT FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE?
One of the purported abuses cited in the minority staff report
involved the insertion into an EPA report of a reference to a
paper by Soon and Baliunas that denies globl warming (WN 1 Aug
03). To appreciate its significance, we need to go back to March
of 1998. We all got a petition card in the mail urging the
government to reject the Kyoto accord(WN 13 Mar 98). The cover
letter was signed by "Frederick Seitz, Past President, National
Academy of Sciences." Enclosed was what seemed to be a reprint
of a journal article, in the style and font of Proceedings of the
NAS. But it had not been published in PNAS, or anywhere else. The
reprint was a fake. Two of the four authors of this non-article
were Soon and Baliunas. The other authors, both named Robinson,
were from the tiny Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine in
Cave Junction, OR. The article claimed that the environmental
effects of increased CO2 are all beneficial. There was also a
copy of Wall Street Journal op-ed by the Robinsons (father and
son) that described increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere as
"a wonderful and unexpected gift of the industrial revolution."
There was no indication of who had paid for the mailing. It was
a dark episode in the annals of scientific discourse.

http://www.aps.org/WN/
 
Bush Misuses Science, Report Says
Democrats Say Data Are Distorted to Boost Conservative Policies

By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 8, 2003; Page A15


The Bush administration has repeatedly mischaracterized scientific facts to bolster its political agenda in areas ranging from abstinence education and condom use to missile defense, according to a detailed report released yesterday by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.).

The White House quickly dismissed the report as partisan sniping.

The 40-page document, "Politics and Science in the Bush Administration," was compiled by the minority staff of the House Government Reform Committee's special investigations division. It marks the launch of a new effort by Waxman and others in Congress to highlight simmering anger among scientists and others who believe that President Bush -- much more than his predecessors -- has been spiking science with politics to justify conservative policies in areas such as reproductive rights, embryo research, energy policy and environmental health.

"The Administration's political interference with science has led to misleading statements by the President, inaccurate responses to Congress, altered web sites, suppressed agency reports, erroneous international communications, and the gagging of scientists," according to the report, posted yesterday at www.politicsandscience.org. "The subjects involved span a broad range, but they share a common attribute: the beneficiaries of the scientific distortions are important supporters of the President, including social conservatives and powerful industry groups."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A31318-2003Aug7.html


Friday, August 08, 2003
 
BRING THEM HOME NOW! is a coordinating committee of military families, veterans, active duty personnel, reservists and others opposed to the ongoing war in Iraq and galvanized to action by George W. Bush's inane and reckless challenge to armed Iraqis resisting occupation to "Bring 'em on."

http://www.bringthemhomenow.org/

 
Iran/Contra AGAIN?
Newsday.com has a story, Secret Talks With Iranian, that has the SAME CROWD from the first Iran/Contra affair doing it AGAIN!

Bush hired the very people behind the first Iran/Contra affair, and here they are again, working outside of the government, trying to work a secret foreign policy. Bush hired them, some of them convicted criminals, so he can't claim ignorance. But this time we have a Republican congress that refuses to look into any crimes by the White House, no matter how serious, and a media that refuses to investigate anything Republican.

[from Seetheforest]
http://seetheforest.blogspot.com/


Secret Talks With Iranian -Newsday
Sources: Meetings 'unauthorized'


By Knut Royce and Timothy M. Phelps
WASHINGTON BUREAU; Staff writer Craig Gordon contributed to this story.

August 8, 2003


Washington - Pentagon hardliners pressing for regime change in Iran have held secret and unauthorized meetings in Paris with a controversial arms dealer who was a major figure in the Iran-contra scandal, according to administration officials.

The officials said at least two Pentagon officials working for Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith have held "several" meetings with Manucher Ghorbanifar, the Iranian middleman in U.S. arms-for-hostage shipments to Iran in the mid-1980s.
http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-usiran083405946aug08,0,779634.story?coll=ny-nationalnews-headlines


 
Gore at NYU
[from the subintsoc.net review]
Here's Al on foreign policy:

...[W]hat we now know to have been false impressions include the following:

(1) Saddam Hussein was partly responsible for the attack against us on September 11th, 2001....

(2) Saddam was working closely with Osama Bin Laden and was actively supporting members of the Al Qaeda terrorist group....

(3) Saddam was about to give the terrorists poison gas and deadly germs that he had made into weapons....

(4) Saddam was on the verge of building nuclear bombs and giving them to the terrorists....

(5) Our GI's would be welcomed with open arms by cheering Iraqis who would help them quickly establish public safety, free markets and representative democracy, so there wouldn't be that much risk that US soldiers would get bogged down in a guerrilla war.

(6) Even though the rest of the world was mostly opposed to the war, they would quickly fall in line after we won and then contribute lots of money and soldiers to help out, so there wouldn't be that much risk that US taxpayers would get stuck with a huge bill.

Now, of course, everybody knows that every single one of these impressions was just dead wrong.

http://subintsoc.net/situationroom/
 
War Critics Zero In on Pentagon Office
By Jim Lobe
Inter Press Service News Agency

Tuesday 05 August 2003
...

According to Kwiatkowski, the same operation that allegedly cooked the intelligence also was responsible for the administration's failure to anticipate the problems that now dog the U.S. occupation in Iraq, or, in her more colourful words, that have placed 150,000 U.S. troops in "the world's nastiest rat's nest, without a nation-building plan, without significant international support and without an exit plan".

Kwiatkowski's comments echo the worst fears of some lawmakers, who have begun looking into the OSP's role in the administration's mistaken assumptions in Iraq. Some are even comparing it to the off-the-books operation run from the National Security Council (NSC) during Reagan administration that later resulted in the "Iran-Contra" scandal.

"That office was charged with collecting, vetting, disseminating intelligence completely outside the normal intelligence apparatus," Rep. David Obey, a senior Democrat in the House of Representatives, said last month.

"In fact, it appears that the information collected by this office was in some instances not even shared with the established intelligence agencies and in numerous instances was passed on to the National Security Council and the president without having been vetted with anyone other than (the secretary of defence)".

Actually, little is known about OSP, which was originally created by Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and his top deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, to investigate possible links between Hussein and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist group.
...
http://www.ipsnews.net/interna.asp?idnews=19542


Thursday, August 07, 2003
 
The Rule of Reason

Al Gore.
New York University, 8-7-3003

"The very idea of self-government depends upon honest and open debate as the preferred method for pursuing the truth -- and a shared respect for the Rule of Reason as the best way to establish the truth."

"The Bush Administration routinely shows disrespect for that whole basic process..."
[excerpt of speech follows:]
...
I remembered all that last month when everybody was looking for who ought to be held responsible for the false statements in the President's State of the Union Address. And I've just about concluded that the real problem may be the President himself and that next year we ought to fire him and get a new one.

But whether you agree with that conclusion or not, whether you're a Democrat or a Republican -- or an Independent, a Libertarian, a Green or a Mugwump -- you've got a big stake in making sure that Representative Democracy works the way it is supposed to. And today, it just isn't working very well. We all need to figure out how to fix it because we simply cannot keep on making such bad decisions on the basis of false impressions and mistaken assumptions.

Earlier, I mentioned the feeling many have that something basic has gone wrong. Whatever it is, I think it has a lot to do with the way we seek the truth and try in good faith to use facts as the basis for debates about our future -- allowing for the unavoidable tendency we all have to get swept up in our enthusiasms.

That last point is worth highlighting. Robust debate in a democracy will almost always involve occasional rhetorical excesses and leaps of faith, and we're all used to that. I've even been guilty of it myself on occasion. But there is a big difference between that and a systematic effort to manipulate facts in service to a totalistic ideology that is felt to be more important than the mandates of basic honesty.

Unfortunately, I think it is no longer possible to avoid the conclusion that what the country is dealing with in the Bush Presidency is the latter. That is really the nub of the problem -- the common source for most of the false impressions that have been frustrating the normal and healthy workings of our democracy.

Americans have always believed that we the people have a right to know the truth and that the truth will set us free. The very idea of self-government depends upon honest and open debate as the preferred method for pursuing the truth -- and a shared respect for the Rule of Reason as the best way to establish the truth.

The Bush Administration routinely shows disrespect for that whole basic process, and I think it's partly because they feel as if they already know the truth and aren't very curious to learn about any facts that might contradict it. They and the members of groups that belong to their ideological coalition are true believers in each other's agendas.

There are at least a couple of problems with this approach:

First, powerful and wealthy groups and individuals who work their way into the inner circle -- with political support or large campaign contributions -- are able to add their own narrow special interests to the list of favored goals without having them weighed against the public interest or subjected to the rule of reason. And the greater the conflict between what they want and what's good for the rest of us, the greater incentive they have to bypass the normal procedures and keep it secret.

That's what happened, for example, when Vice President Cheney invited all of those oil and gas industry executives to meet in secret sessions with him and his staff to put their wish lists into the administration's legislative package in early 2001.

That group wanted to get rid of the Kyoto Treaty on Global Warming, of course, and the Administration pulled out of it first thing. The list of people who helped write our nation's new environmental and energy policies is still secret, and the Vice President won't say whether or not his former company, Halliburton, was included. But of course, as practically everybody in the world knows, Halliburton was given a huge open-ended contract to take over and run the Iraqi oil fields-- without having to bid against any other companies.

Secondly, when leaders make up their minds on a policy without ever having to answer hard questions about whether or not it's good or bad for the American people as a whole, they can pretty quickly get into situations where it's really uncomfortable for them to defend what they've done with simple and truthful explanations. That's when they're tempted to fuzz up the facts and create false impressions. And when other facts start to come out that undermine the impression they're trying to maintain, they have a big incentive to try to keep the truth bottled up if -- they can -- or distort it.

For example, a couple of weeks ago, the White House ordered its own EPA to strip important scientific information about the dangers of global warming out of a public report. Instead, the White House substituted information that was partly paid for by the American Petroleum Institute. This week, analysts at the Treasury Department told a reporter that they're now being routinely ordered to change their best analysis of what the consequences of the Bush tax laws are likely to be for the average person.

Here is the pattern that I see: the President's mishandling of and selective use of the best evidence available on the threat posed by Iraq is pretty much the same as the way he intentionally distorted the best available evidence on climate change, and rejected the best available evidence on the threat posed to America's economy by his tax and budget proposals.
...
entire speech:
http://www.moveon.org/gore-speech.html


Wednesday, August 06, 2003
 
President admits he meant to attack Saudi Arabia, not Iraq

July 29, 2003

“That’s my bad,” President Bush said.

WASHINGTON — Questions raised by the release of the 9/11 congressional report forced the President to retract his attack of Iraq and admit to the world that he meant to attack Saudi Arabia instead. A White House official said that growing pressure from a public seeking answers from the President on his ability to protect the country led to the statement.

Though much of the 9/11 report remains classified by the White House, Saudi Arabia appears to be the primary country involved in nurturing, financially supporting, and providing the leadership for Al-Qaeda.

“America must be committed to fighting the war against Al-Qaeda and similar terrorist groups, since they clearly represent the most intense threat against our security,” President Bush said. “The American people should know now that Saudi Arabia was the primary supporter of Al-Qaeda in the months leading up to the September 11 attacks.”

“Therefore, I must now apologize to the American people for putting their lives at risk by attacking a completely different country than the one that could have any real effect on protecting Americans from future Al-Qaeda attacks,” the President said.

http://www.gwbush04.com/archives/000129.php
 
Defense Department funding brain-machine work
BY GARETH COOK
The Boston Globe
Even by Washington scandal standards, the "terrorism futures" scandal was strange and dramatic.

It started when two senators discovered an obscure military program designed to gauge the chances of various geopolitical developments, including terrorist attacks, by asking people to bet money on them. Within 48 hours -- or, more precisely, two news cycles -- the program was canceled and the man behind it, John Poindexter of Iran-contra fame, had tendered his resignation.

What most people don't know is that the Department of Defense is already funding a research program with far creepier implications.

The $24 million enterprise called Brain Machine Interfaces is developing technology that promises to directly read thoughts from a living brain -- and even instill thoughts as well.

http://www.charleston.net/stories/080503/wor_05darpa.shtml
 
Vella's comment on the death of Sam Phillips
8-4-2003

I said; "You know, Sam Phillips was aware that he was
doing 'social engineering" and siad so. He started an
all women's radio station, a record company, and a recording
studio to 'integrate the radio waves'. He influenced the
civil rights movement and the other movements of the time."

Vella said; "Before rock and roll there were only a few things that
young people could do. If you were a young man, you could turn
over outdoor toilets and mailboxes, or join the Army. If you
were a young woman, you could get married or stay at home.
After Rock and roll came along, there were a lot of things you
could do!"
 
DOD: Poor people are security risk.

Government Considers Lockheed Martin Janitor a Security Risk Because of His Financial Struggle
By Michael Rubinkam Associated Press Writer , the Tampa Tribune
Published: Aug 6, 2003

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - In 19 years of using his security clearance to sweep floors at a plant owned by defense contractor Lockheed Martin, janitor Michael Lynch has done nothing to arouse suspicion.
Co-workers and bosses speak glowingly of Lynch, a brain-tumor survivor who's active in his church, building homes for poor people in Maine and West Virginia.

But because he and his family have struggled financially, the government now sees him as a threat to national security. Defense Department officials believe the janitor may be tempted to sell government secrets to get out of debt.

Last month, they asked a judge to revoke Lynch's security clearance.

http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGA51QQC1JD.htm
 
Pentagon makes moves to contain complaints from US troops in Iraq

...Written by Douglas Quenqua, PR Week, Published on August 04 2003

WASHINGTON: After several troops made some highly publicized negative comments to the media about the war effort in Iraq, the Pentagon has taken steps to keep the frustrations of both soldiers and their families out of reports.

According to a story in the July 25 edition of Stars and Stripes, the military appears to be curtailing its much-touted embedded-journalist program, which has allowed reporters almost unfettered access to military units throughout the war and occupation.

The 3rd Infantry Division, from where many complaints have arisen, has expelled many of its embedded reporters, and its troops are no longer allowed to talk to the media outside of pre-approved news features.

http://www.prweek.com/news/news_story.cfm?ID=186846&site=3
 
Everything Is Political
By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

Tuesday 05 August 2003

The agency's analysts find that they are no longer helping to formulate policy; instead, their job is to rationalize decisions that have already been made. And more and more, they find that they are expected to play up evidence, however weak, that seems to support the administration's case, while suppressing evidence that doesn't.

Am I describing the C.I.A.? The E.P.A.? The National Institutes of Health? Actually, I'm talking about the Treasury Department, but the ambiguity is no coincidence. Across the board, the Bush administration has politicized policy analysis. Whether the subject is stem cells or global warming, budget deficits or weapons of mass destruction, government agencies are under intense pressure to say what the White House wants to hear. And the long-term consequences are likely to be dire.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/05/opinion/05KRUG.html



Tuesday, August 05, 2003
 
New Google Operator
From Google Spokesperson, Nate Tyler:

Today, Google introduced a new advanced search feature that enables
users to search not only for a particular keyword, but also for its
synonyms. This is accomplished by placing a ~ character directly
in front of the keyword in the search box.

For example, to search for browser help as well as browser guides
and tutorials users can search for browser ~help. The ~ character
was chosen because it's shorthand for approximate and a good way
for users to express their wish to expand searches to include synonyms.
More information about this feature is available.

http://google.blogspace.com/archives/001018



 
Ebay bans Dawson artist's controversial (anti-Bush deck of) 'cards'


http://North.cbc.ca/regional/servlet/View?filename=aug5steins-cards08052003

WHITEHORSE - A Yukon artist has been censored by eBay for making fun of the Bush administration.

Dawson City artist John Steins has been ordered off the popular auction Web site for mocking Bush and other U.S. leaders in a series of hand-painted drawings.

Steins' art project is a parody of the "most wanted" deck of playing cards issued in the Iraqi war.

... Ebay apparently banned the cards after receiving complaints from pro-Bush Americans.

Steins says he's also gotten plenty of angry emails from people who back U.S. foreign policy in Iraq.

[from democratsunderground.com]
Sunday, August 03, 2003
 
Hurricane Elvis

Power has been restored to the computer center for Metaphysics Anonymous
after the el Derecho (called Hurricane Elvis by the locals) came through.


Vella the Psychic says: "I told them not to put the pyramid there!"

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