Friday, December 31, 2004

George Monbiot and Critical Analysis

I believe I first read him taking the counterpoint in the argument regarding the U.S. falling into fascism. The pro side has the evidence of an unprincipled political party allied with the media, business leaders, and religious leaders and playing upon an angry and scared middle and lower class and scapegoating liberals and non-Christians. Monbiot argued no, Bush is turning to Puritanism for his support.
The enrichment of the elite and impoverishment of the lower classes requires a justifying ideology if it is to be sustained. In the United States this ideology has to be a religious one. Bush’s government is forced back to the doctrines of Puritanism as an historical necessity. If we are to understand what it’s up to, we must look not to the 1930s, but to the 1630s.
My brother sent me another essay by him where Monbiot argues that Bush is following a pattern of self-destruction, America is at war with itself in foreign policy and global environmental policy. Bush is seeking to destroy America by creating enemies where none existed.
The US has just spent millions of dollars in Buenos Aires undermining its own peace and prosperity. Of course we know that its delegation was representing the interests of the corporations, not the people, and that what’s bad for America is good for Exxon. But this does not detract from the sheer, self-immolating stupidity of its position.

The United States has every right to beat itself up. But unfortunately, while chasing itself around the world, it tramples everyone else. I know that appealing to George Bush’s intelligence isn’t likely to take us very far, but surely there’s someone in that administration who can see what a monkey he’s making of America.
My own opinion is this argument, like the first, is too sophisticated. While generally true it is is amusing to a liberal elitist or anti-Bushist in a masturbatory way. While liberals get off on this it doesn't do anything but paint mental images they already agree with and know.

I have been pondering if blogging is itself mostly a talking to yourself and those who agree with you useless activity. How much of blogging is now news? We know that Bush and the modern GOP is bad in an almost impossible to imagine comprehensiveness. And we know that the opposition to Bush lost to his 51% supporters. It seems to be time for direct actions to either convince more non-voters to vote or peal off some more of the GOPs support. Talking to ourselves should probably be more limited to showing elected officials we are watching and supporting actions that benefit people and not the GOP and its contributors. There may need to be more block walking, joining active groups, or emailing people who disagree with you to find out which arguments persuade. It might be time to get local and prevent the dominance of conservative churches, at least in Texas' case, in local elections. The Texas Democratic party is a good place to start as nearly all the Confederate Democrats have fled to the GOP. Geting involved is now more important than being informed. You have seen the GOP in action, you can pretty much count on the future actions to be similar. For your church going friends start planting the idea that JC is a Democrat.

Thanks for the (False) Memories: the 2004 Falsies Awards

Center for Media and Democracy has started the first annual awards for fake news and bad publicity campaigns. Number One is the Bush PR campaign paid for by taxpayer dollars using video news releases and scripts that local stations pass off as their own. Karan Ryan got to report on the so-called "good news" about Medicare Reform and the No Child Left Behind Program. Many stations carried these propaganda segments as straight news by a reporter when they were million dollar publicity campaigns. Number two is anothe taxpayer funded campaign conducted by our favorite convicted fraud artist Ahmed Chalabi who sold the Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction myth to the New York Times and others.
"The former Iraqi exile group that gave the Bush administration exaggerated and fabricated intelligence on Iraq also fed much of the same information to newspapers, news agencies and magazines in the United States, Britain and Australia," Knight Ridder reported in March 2004. "A June 26, 2002, letter from the Iraqi National Congress to the Senate Appropriations Committee listed 108 articles based on information provided by the Iraqi National Congress's Information Collection Program, a U.S.-funded effort to collect intelligence in Iraq. The Information Collection Program was financed out of the at least $18 million that the U.S. Congress approved for the Iraqi National Congress, led by Ahmed Chalabi from 1999 to 2003."
Chalabi is now working with Iran to become the new leader of Iraq.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Friday, December 24, 2004

White Christmas in Houston

For the second time since I moved here in 1972 Houston has a White Christmas. Snow is a rare event mainly noted for the many accidents on bridges and overpasses by drivers who may go for years without seeing ice and snow.

All Christmas Eve there had been scattered light snow flurries that did not stay on the ground in our area. Finally as members of my family prepared to leave after 9:00 PM we had a steady real snowfall. By 10:30 there was more than an inch of snow on the ground and everyone still left went outside to see. Snowball fights betweeen the teenagers broke out.

There was little talk of politics, what little bit there was was a universal condemnation of Bush for Iraq and silence on the part of one member who voted for him. The teenage Christian supporter wasn't here then.

May the next years be better for all of us, me, my family, my state, the nation and the world.

Peace. - Light snow falls in Houston area

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Clearing Links From My Desktop - And News

Social Insecurity and more

Give the gift of Salon

Losing Under the Bush Plan
In its primary plan, President Bush's commission on Social Security proposed to slash the guaranteed portion of Social Security by 16% for people who retire in 2022 and who had previously opted for private accounts; the cuts would increase to 40% for those who retired in 2042 and by 62% for those in 2075. To sell those deep cuts, the commission touted the benefits of private accounts, which would require the federal government to borrow several trillion dollars over the next three or four decades. (The additional borrowing would stop once benefit reductions exceeded the new funds going into private accounts.)

Even with the commission's overly optimistic projections of returns on private accounts, future retirees would lose big under the commission's plan. The combined income from guaranteed benefits and these new private accounts would fall 7%, 12%, and 23% short of the benefits scheduled under current law for 2022, 2042, and 2075, respectively. By their own admission, the commission's privatization proposal would cut benefits significantly
Olbermann and Conyers

Values Talk Hurting GOP

Has Bev Harris Lost It?

IHT - Torture Reconsidered.

Kerry Files for Ohio Recount, First reported here on DK.

Arrianna - Will the GOP Nuke the Constitution?

Lesson from how Democrats Win in Washington - Get Tough!

Powerpoint - Election Fraud 2004

Strict Father or Authoritarian?

Lakoff Frames - this started the year and is more important than ever.

I like Lakoff except there is a bit of a problem using "strict father" vs. "nurturing parents."

The natural opposite of "strict father" is "weak mother" which is what some people think when you start talking about Republicans having "strict father" values. Their response is everyone knows the Democrats are "weak mothers!"

I am sorry he doesn't use the phrase "authoritarian families." The word authoritarian or authoritarianism has a long history and a lot of political, sociological and psychological studies behind it and means really the same thing. It also emphasizes some dangers that "strict father" doesn't. Mainly that in times of trouble and war politicians move to more authoritarian messages and that most Americans are more willing than most of us like to acknowledge to follow authority figures.

Perhaps Aurthoritarian is too hi-faluting college level but the opposite of authoritarian is Democratic or Nurturing or Liberal or Permissive. Synonyms of authoritarian are autocratic, despotic, tyrannical, dictatorial, oppressive, moralistic, domineering, etc.

I really like Lakoff's ideas but as others have also noted he sometimes has a bit of problem with placing the right names or right examples on his reframing.

Happy Festivus

A Festivus for the rest of us' starts catching on

Gather around the Festivus pole and listen to a tale about a real holiday made fictional and then real again, a tale that touches on philosophy, King Lear, the pool at the Chateau Marmont hotel, a paper bag with a clock inside and, oh yes, a television show about nothing.
The first surprise is that all over the country, many real people are holding parties celebrating Festivus, a holiday most believe was invented on an episode of "Seinfeld" first broadcast the week before Christmas in 1997.

Festivus shares space with nativity scene in Florida.

When a church group put a nativity scene on public property, officials warned it might open the door to other religious - and not-so-religious - displays. They were right.
Since the nativity was erected in Polk County, displays have gone up honoring Zoroastrianism and the fake holiday Festivus, featured on the TV show "Seinfeld."

Citizens Against Government Waste Adopts Festivus

CAGW will now tell politicians all the ways they have disappointed taxpayers over the past year. Festivus is not considered over until the head of the family has been pinned by another participant in the Feats of Strength. Likewise, CAGW will end Festivus by recognizing the times taxpayers triumphed over Washington's big spenders.

Sad Seasonal News

Thom Hartman - National Victimhood Myths

Ohio GOP Courts Throwing out Recounts - with comments

Minn. PR Audio - How Democrats can regain power using Economic Populism

Predictions - Real News might become popular again after this year. What is happening at MSNBC? What Happened to Olberman?

What does Time really think? US Time Person of the Year - Bush, Canadian TIME Newsmaker of the Year - Iraqi Victim.

I am feeling something positive.

Ohio Election Company Gave 'Cheat Sheets' For Recount

Why is this not the lead story in America today? Instead you can't find it offline. Triad admits to telling counties to ignore results and use a cheat sheet to avoid a full recount.

Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued a stinging letter to the president of Triad Election Systems Thursday, remarking that he had "more questions and concerns than ever" after viewing a tape of Triad's visit to the Hocking County Board of Elections Dec. 20.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Iraq Fakes

The Right's favorite Saddam victim turns out to be fake. Just a ho that wandered into the Green Zone and found how much it paid to tell the Right what they wanted to hear.

Just after I questioned how much Iraq the Model was CIA funded here and on discussion boards, one of the brothers quits the blog and announces "it's the act of some Americans that made me feel I'm on the wrong side here. I will expose these people in public very soon."

A true funny account of another CIA agent who comes clean.

Both Presidents Bush Support Group Tearing Down Crosses

This wintry season, as the faithful continue to receive alarming reports from the news that Republicans are all that stand between them and the outlawing of Christmas itself by hordes of secular humanists, the two presidents Bush have endorsed a powerful conservative interest group specializing in removing the cross -- not from schools or courthouses, but from churches.

Rather than the traditional egg hunt, this group, calling itself the American Clergy Leadership Conference, sponsored a nationwide "Tear Down The Cross" day for Easter, 2003. Last week, leaders in this radical cause presided over a Washington prayer breakfast featuring messages of thanks from the presidents. Former Senator Bob Dole came in person.

Speaking of messiahs, make a quick stop at the web site of the ACLC, and it's clear there's more to it than the “rapidly growing movement of clergy committed to the endeavor of making this nation the best that it can be," as the ACLC described itself in a December 8 Washington Times op-ed. It's actually a vehicle for Sun Myung Moon, the billionaire conservative donor who calls himself the True Father.

Though the breakfast boasted two other "co-sponsors," both are easily identifiable as projects of the self-declared Messiah: the International and Interreligious Federation of World Peace and the American Family Coalition, which Moon founded in 1984.

As Moon got a pastor to say: "The fact that the cross is a symbol of division, shame, suffering and bloodshed prove that it is not of God but Satan. On this 18th day of April 2003, we are beginning a new history. Pastors, please, help me to bring the cross down, because it is not of God but the devil."

Breaking News - Conyers has a Senator to Challenge

It's reported that Conyers will say today he has a Senator to support a challenge of the electors in the House. Best bets are Boxer or Byrd.

From Daily Kos mostly

Edited: Man, it's bad enough that Bush won the election. But it makes me angrier that he won the election when people don't even like the guy.

Not even two months after the election, Bush is poised to be the most unpopular president at his inaugaration.

Meanwhile, a majority of Americans now believe the Iraq War was a mistake (which should only worsen as news of the 22 dead in the Mosul attack makes the rounds).

What to make of these numbers? First of all, Karl Rove got screwed by Time Magazine. He deserved that Man of the Year award after selling this lemon to the American people.

But what makes me angry was Kerry and his gang's inability to take advantage of the situation. I may regret saying this later, but fuck it -- they should be lined up and shot. There's no reason they should've lost to this joker.

"I voted for the $87 billion, then I voted against it." That wasn't nuance. That was idiocy. And with a primary campaign that consisted entirely of "I'm the most electable", Kerry entered the general without a core philosophy or articulated vision for the job.

I could deal with losing to a popular incumbent. But it's tough to deal with the most unpopular incumbent to win reelection.

Of course, there's a silver lining to all of this. A Kerry presidency would've been an unmitigated disaster, with a hostile congress, budget woes, the mess in Iraq, etc. Not a good time to be in charge. Those Supreme Court seats would've been nice (whoever we would've been able to push through a hostile Senate), but we've got an opportunity for long-term gain.

The left is already working to build it's own version of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy -- the $300 million annual machine that developes the conservative message (think tanks), disseminates it to the public (Fox News, Rush), and trains their leaders in how to wield it.
- Daily Kos

In the Diaries check out Electors of the Electorial College are getting Feisty!

I'll add another roundup from Pacific Views' natasha - Outraged Yet?

Natasha's Roundups

On the Social Security debacle in the making.

Touring blogs she finds Bad News (be sure to catch her link to why why Zach Exley is an idiot.)

She has an account of a demonstration about the Washington recount where she talks to both sides.

Eye on the Right - Intelligent Design

The well-organized and well-funded plot to desecularize science education in public schools. From the newsletter of the Commonweal Institute this article about the mounting attacks on teaching evolution in public schools:

With rightists now dominant in all three branches of the federal government, the conservative movement is well poised to extend its ideology more deeply into the capillaries of local jurisdictions. Near the center of that ideology is a determination to see a greater role for Christianity in public life, and right at the top of the agenda -- next to anti-gay and anti-family-planning efforts -- is a campaign to get state and local educational boards to include the religious theory of "intelligent design" in public school classrooms.

From Pennsylvania to Kansas, and from Wisconsin to Missouri, organizations opposed to the teaching of evolution are pushing this repackaged version of creationism, which the Supreme Court has forbidden from being taught in the public schools. Lawsuits are now pending in several states, as are proposed revisions to the curricular guidelines to which science teachers are expected to adhere. In some respects, this is a familiar issue, and so far creationism has not made serious inroads into the schools, but the climate is shifting.

What distinguishes intelligent design (or ID) from traditional creationism is that its advocates sell it as a scientifically respectable alternative to evolutionary theory, one that addresses the shortcomings of the Darwinist paradigm while embracing the empirical ideal. Seeking to avoid the charge of backwardness that has plagued Biblical creationists, they represent themselves as the advocates of free inquiry and open-mindedness, while painting evolutionists as dogmatic zealots trying to stifle debate.

The basic idea behind intelligent design is that "neo-Darwinism," to use their phrase, cannot account for the emergence of highly complex organismal structures, given its theoretical reliance on the principle of chance in the system of natural selection. Therefore, the argument goes, we can only conclude that some power above and beyond nature must be responsible for the appearance of these structures. The theistic orientation of this philosophy aligns it with the various forms of pre-Darwinist evolutionary science, all of which maintained that the processes of speciation and biological transformation were actuated, sustained, and guided by the divine mind, and that they fulfilled some larger purpose. Darwin's decisive contribution was to remove this teleological assumption from his model of evolution, and despite refinements to his theory, its core insights remain unchallenged by the scientific establishment.

A number of ID advocates have doctoral degrees in relevant fields, and some of them are undoubtedly intelligent people. But we need to be very clear that this debate, or struggle, is not about scientists disagreeing with other scientists. It's about the promotion of an ideological agenda, and should be understood in the context of four major, ongoing, and related conservative efforts: 1) to advance the social goals of a particular version of Christianity; 2) to erode the division between church and state; 3) to undermine the public educational system by casting its science curriculum as anti-American; and 4) to "take back" the universities from professors and administrators who do not think that creationism should be taught in science classes.

Lest this all sound like a liberal rant, consider the "Wedge Strategy," a long-term plan developed by the Center for Science and Culture, an arm of the Discovery Institute, a leading creationist organization. In its own words, the CSC "seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies" and "explores how new developments in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature." It proposes a three-phase plan for advancing its philosophy in the public sphere -- a plan that is striking for how shamelessly it puts politics before science:
Phase I. Scientific Research, Writing & Publication
Individual Research
Fellowship Program
Paleontology Research program (Dr. Paul Chien et al.)
Molecular Biology Research Program (Dr. Douglas Axe et al.)

Phase II. Publicity & Opinion-making
Book Publicity
Apologetics Seminars
Teacher Training Program
PBS (or other TV) Co-production
Publicity Materials /

Phase III. Cultural Confrontation & Renewal
Academic and Scientific Challenge Conferences
Potential Legal Action for
Teacher Training
Research Fellowship Program: shift to social sciences and
As Edward Lankford has noted, "What is troublesome about the document (and CRSC in general) is that it focuses on overthrowing evolution, not from within scientific establishments, but through convincing the public that its theory is the morally acceptable one." (Read Lankford's full critique).

Yet increasingly, ID proponents are trying to insinuate themselves and their ideas into both the scientific and educational establishments. Their efforts in the former case have, thankfully, met with little success. Indeed, the brouhaha that greeted the publication of a peer-reviewed ID article by Stephen Meyer titled "The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories" (in the Aug. 04, 2004, issue of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, a relatively obscure journal) only points up the glaring lack of anti-evolutionary work in the professional literature.

(Meyer, incidentally, is the Republican director of CSC, and the author of such articles as "Why Clinton Crime Bill Doesn't Pay" (World, April 17, 1995) and "What's the Difference? If George W. Bush Would Spell It Out He Has a Fighting Chance" (Insight, Oct. 21, 2000). The then managing editor of the Proceedings, Richard Sternberg, who in his own words "took direct editorial responsibility for the paper" (, has of course denied any bias. Sternberg is now listed, however, as a Fellow for the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID), along with a number of regulars on the closed ID circuit, including Michael J. Behe, John Angus Campbell, William Lane Craig, William A. Dembski, Paul Nelson, and Alvin Plantinga. The ISCID has now launched what appears to be a vanity journal (or soapbox) dedicated to pet ID topics: "(1) computer simulations of Darwinian evolution, (2) irreducible complexity and (3) the application of intelligent design.")

Again, however, the issue is only superficially about science, and the scientific establishment can surely take care of itself. The deeper issue is religious, and the institutions that are more vulnerable to ID are the public schools and, to a lesser extent, the universities.

Seeking to duplicate their success at mobilizing law and business students, conservative groups are supporting student organizations advancing intelligent design. The Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center (IDEA), for example, distributes start-up packets for "IDEA Clubs" on high school and college campuses, where -- in typically a priori fashion -- "students can promote scientific evidence that supports intelligent design."

Aww, it's just a student club, right? Big deal. Well…it's not just a student club. One of IDEA's "administration team" is a fellow by the name of Tristan Abbey, who in July 2004 started something called the Intelligent Design Undergraduate Research Center, whose parent organization is the creationist Access Research Network, whose Board of Directors -- lo and behold -- is composed of four of the usual ID suspects: Stephen Meyer, Paul Nelson, Mark Hartwig, and Dennis Wagner. The point is that, just as the theory of intelligent design did not emerge from honest scientific investigation, these student organizations did not emerge spontaneously from the wholesome desire of young people for better scientific knowledge.

Meanwhile, government entities face increasing pressure to endorse intelligent design. At this writing, the Kansas Department of Education is considering proposed revisions to its Science Standards Draft 2004, which if approved will set the curricular guidelines for the state's public schools. In 1999, you may remember, Kansas excised evolution from its science curriculum, a move that was reversed in 2001 -- but the creationists are now back in their ID guise. Among the agitators is a group called the Intelligent Design Network, whose proposed revisions to the state guidelines are a study in conceptual infiltration. For instance, it recommends adding language stating that 12th graders should understand, and presumably shudder at the thought, that "biological evolution postulates an unpredictable and unguided natural process that has no discernable direction or goal." To take a more insidious example, the IDN proposes changing the phrase "biologists use evolution theory to explain the earth's present day biodiversity" to "evolution theory is used to explain the earth's present day biodiversity" -- in order, evidently, to make that "use" seem less professional. (Read their full proposals).

The challenge in fighting back against the intelligent design movement is that, when the argument is waged over the actual science, it quickly becomes a swamp that most people have trouble wading through. ID proponents seem to have mastered the art of the slippery and misleading claim that takes hours to refute. They also seize upon the incompleteness of evolutionary theory (an inevitable incompleteness characteristic of every scientific paradigm, and which the scientists themselves will be the first to acknowledge) as somehow evidence of the theory's profound erroneousness. What all this leads to is a terrible blurring of the scientific issues, and a tendency for people to see both sides as equally meritorious disputants in a very complicated scientific debate. Even though it's a no-brainer for serious scientists, the ID people want the debate to be fought over science, because that helps to validate them in the public mind.

The response, therefore, must be political rather than scientific. Americans committed to the separation of church and state (who should include both religious and secular people, and those of all faiths and denominations) need to talk about intelligent design in these terms. The conflict here is not between faith and atheism, and it's not a conflict between different kinds of science. It's a conflict between modernity and fundamentalism, between those who believe the schools should be protected from the incursions of the Religious Right, and those who would pervert science for religious ends.

We would do well to remember the words of Clarence Darrow, the defense attorney at the Scopes trial, arguing in favor of the teaching of evolution:
Ignorance and fanaticism is ever busy and needs feeding. Always it is feeding and gloating for more. Today it is the public school teachers, tomorrow the private. The next day the preachers and the lectures, the magazines, the books, the newspapers. After while, your honor, it is the setting of man against man and creed against creed until with flying banners and beating drums we are marching backward to the glorious ages of the sixteenth century when bigots lighted fagots to burn the men who dared to bring any intelligence and enlightenment and culture to the human mind.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

So-Called Liberal Media Pimps Bush SS Plan

Shameful, Inaccurate LA-Times gives the corpse a kick

Recently, Webb was interviewed for a book profiling 18 journalists who found themselves discredited or censored. Let his own words be a more fitting epitaph than the hack-job L.A. Times obituary:

"If we had met five years ago, you wouldn’t have found a more staunch defender of the newspaper industry than me . . . I was winning awards, getting raises, lecturing college classes, appearing on TV shows, and judging journalism contests . . .

"And then I wrote some stories that made me realize how sadly misplaced my bliss had been. The reason I’d enjoyed such smooth sailing for so long hadn’t been, as I’d assumed, because I was careful and diligent and good at my job . . . The truth was that, in all those years, I hadn’t written anything important enough to suppress."

Rich giddy Christmas shopping, Working Class tightening their belts

It's a Charles Dickens/John Edwards Christmas -- a Tale of Two Economies.

Now and Then

The Sunday before Christmas two years ago. I wrote: This may be a new feature of history, the President of the United States as de facto Emperor of the World. The consolidation of internal political power may go along with that. However, this administration likes and seeks power, secrecy and no dissent. Other administrations could be different.

Exactly one year ago I wrote: One example of their coverage is the criticism of Newsweek for a biased, right-wing anti-lawyer propaganda issue. (el - They don't mention that it seems to be Newsweek policy to swing left and right in alternating issues.) I also noted: At the end of October, 2003 I was back to 215 and really off the diet - not eating well, too much fatty foods, too many sugars and starches. I had not been feeling well for a couple months.

Today we know we will still have this power mad, secretic, and intolerant adminstration. I am back up to 213 after moving in with my sister where this is not is not a high fiber, plenty of fish and veggies, low starch and sugars food plan. Newsweek still attempts to make supporters and dissidents of this administration happy. This doesn't work.

Today Liberals have ineffectual but interesting rallies and protests. Protests don't work in America, they don't convert people to your side.

Today we are debating the future of the Democratic Party.

Today the most important news doesn't make our So-Called Liberal Media.

Today the U.S. stand alone in questioning that greenhouse gasses are behind global warming (to protect GOP contributors).

Today more companies are cutting employee health care benefits.

Today there are hints the military knows we are in an unwinnable war -like the Iraeli occupation of Lebanon

Saturday, December 18, 2004


Republican Congressman Tom Feeney of Oviedo asked a computer programmer in September 2000, prior to that year's contested presidential vote in Florida, to write software that could alter vote totals on touch-screen voting machines, the programmer said.

Former computer programmer Clint Curtis made the claim Monday in sworn testimony to Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee investigating allegations of voter fraud in the 2004 presidential election involving touch-screen voting in Ohio.









Keep up to date with
Raw Story, Brad Blog Too, BuzzFlash and Easter Lemming Liberal News. UPDATE: Although it still appears slower Brad Blog is replacing the temporary Brad Blog Too.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Rep. John Conyers on Ohio Vote Inquiry

Amy Goodman'S rapidly growing 'Democracy Now' program had Conyer on.

We speak with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), who is leading the charge to review voting irregularities in Ohio. Conyers is now planning to ask the FBI and an Ohio county prosecutor to explore election tampering in at least one and possibly several Ohio counties. [includes rush transcript] also available is audio or video feed

AMY GOODMAN: Do you believe John Kerry might have won Ohio?

JOHN CONYERS: Well, I can't tell you that. There are enough discrepancies, if they all played out in favor of the challenger, there is that possibility.

Election Challenges and Social Security and other Links

Berkeley City Council First Known City To Call For National Election Investigation
Cites Curtis Sworn Testimony Of Creating Fraud Software For GOP Official

Krugman On Social Security Systems
Based on other countries privatization neither saves money nor protects the elderly from poverty

Kerry Campaign Finally Demands Ohio Investigation

More developing stories at Raw Story

74% of Bush voters favor gay marriage or civil unions
68% of liberals cite faith and morals as important in deciding their vote, more than moderates

Conservatives Bilk Public on Medicare, Cash In With Drug Industry

DLC: Democrats Loving Corporations
The Democratic Leadership Council's addiction to contributions from Philip Morris, Texaco, and Merck is proof enough that its "centrism" is really a naked corporate agenda.

Molly Ivins - The Reality-Based Environment
Bush denying global warming is another of his delusions.

"I see fear in his eyes"
Some in GOP see DeLay leaving soon

Tom "The Hammer" DeLay as the most corrupt politician in Washington.

Chomsky: My guess is that the Bush administration planners will not call for a draft.

Young Democrats Want Control
Those who no longer believe in the Democrats as the Reform Party must cede control to new blood is the part I believe in. A lot of quotes from the weak New Democrat Lieberman wing.

Swift Boat Liars to Continue
Swift Boat Veterans for Truth raised $27.2 million, Franke said, most of it
in a three-month period starting in July. Texas home builder Robert Perry, a
longtime GOP contributor, gave the group $4 million.

In one measure of success, a poll in 12 battleground states taken on
election night by a Republican polling firm found that the swift boat veterans'
ads were far more recognizable and had more impact than ads of pro-Kerry groups.

A sign of things to come? Thune Campaign paid two Anti-Daschle bloggers

Comsky on the Election:
I don’t think that the Kerry campaign even tried to include the opinions of most of the population, including those who voted for Kerry. People will vote their class interests when they see some credible political force that might represent those interests. That’s not Kerry or the DLC.

Breaking News - CIA's secret prison within a prison at Gitmo

Brad Blog Too stays on top of the Ohio and Florida vote problems He has the same problems I have with blogspot sometimes swallowing posts.

Electors pass resolution demanding national vote investigation Buried in last paragraph.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Does this seem odd to you?

CIA irritant Gary Webb committed suicide with 'two' gunshots to the head.

Vote Tempering Alleged In Court

Clifford Arnebeck filed an emergency motion with the Ohio Supreme Court for an expedited emergency hearing and to prevent voting companies and Ohio officials from further tampering with voting machines in the state during the recount, RAW STORY has reported.

Arnebeck, of the Massachusetts-based Alliance for Democracy, has joined with Rev. Jesse Jackson and asked the state Supreme Court to reconsider the election results in their initial suit, accusing Bush's campaign of "high-tech vote stealing."

Included in Arnebeck's motion is a two-page testimony taken in the presence of a court reporter where alleged witness Catherine Buchanan says she was told Diebold reprogrammed voting machines while present at her local Board of Elections. Also included is a letter from an Ohio county election official who stated that test tabulator decks were "discarded" in violation of Ohio law. RAW STORY has acquired these documents and will be posting them shortly linked from our main page.

The New York Times Ignores the Voting Problems, it has not even taking notice of the congressional hearings underway.

Cobb, Kerry add vote tampering to Ohio suit

Ohio Electors May Be Challenged
The ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee told us tonight on Countdown that he and others in Congress are considering formally challenging the slate of electors who cast Ohio’s votes, when those votes are opened and counted before a joint session of Congress on January 6th.

“We’re prepared to do that,” Conyers said. “And we understand the law as well as you.” After the on-air interview ended, the Michigan representative added that he and his colleagues had not yet decided whether or not to take the extraordinary constitutional step, and he had not sought the support of a Senator who would have to co-sign the challenge.

Conyers: "Maintenance" violates state and federal laws

Almost makes it to the New York Times with this pathetic little story.

Washington Post: "How is that good for democracy?"

Cliff Arnebeck discusses Ohio voting problems on Hannity and colmes WITH VIDEO. Some in-depth questioning - "You're just a sore loser."

US Supported Venezuela Coup

No surprise but more documents - if Iraq had not come up I predicted we would now have troops in Columbia or Venezuela. There are a lot of old Reaganites and spy guys in this administration that want the old right dictator governments in Latin America back. Cuba is very high on their list too. The NED has taken over some old CIA functions.
Washington's efforts to oust Venezuela's democratic government did not begin or end with the April 2002 coup. The U.S. State Department noted in its internal investigation of Washington's role in the coup that "the [State] Department, and DOD [US Department of Defense] provided training, institution building, and other support under programs totaling about $3.3 million to Venezuelan organizations and individuals, some of whom are understood to have been involved in the events of April 12-14 [the coup]."

The same is true for National Endowment for Democracy, which is funded by the U.S. Congress. After the coup failed, the NED continued to fund opposition groups—-including some led by supporters of the coup—as they tried to recall President Chavez in a referendum on August 15 of this year. The recall effort failed by a margin of 59 to 41 percent—the third overwhelming electoral victory for Chavez.

As a result of Congressman Serrano's efforts, the NED will have to explain to the Congress how U.S. taxpayers' dollars ended up funding coup leaders, as well as other efforts contrary to its mission of "promoting democracy."

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Bush preparing for war on Social Security

Molly Ivins: This debate is landmined with Phony Fun Facts. One notorious scare tactic is to note that when Social Security began, there were 42 workers for each retiree. Now, there are three workers per retiree. And in 25 years, there will be only two. Ergo, we're doomed. Actually, at the "frightening" current rate of three workers per retiree, the system is producing a surplus and being skimmed to finance the rest of the federal budget. Alas, Al Gore's famous "lockbox" got lost along with a lot of hanging chads in Florida.

Q: Can we at least agree that we have a problem? A: No.

The argument in favor of "no" has two parts. One involves the incredible shrinking doom date. As Kevin Drum of Washington Monthly points out, the Social Security trustees, always operating on a properly gloomy forecast, have been predicting disaster for the system for years, but the projected point at which it will go bust keeps moving.

In 1994, the system was supposed to go bust in 2029, a mere 35 years from the date of prediction. Now, it's supposed to go bust in 2042, 38 years down the road.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, using a more realistic model, the trust fund will run out in 2052, and even then it will cover 81 percent of the promised benefits. To fully fund this shortfall would require additional revenue of 0.54 percent of GDP, less than we are currently spending in Iraq. Or, as Paul Krugman noted in The New York Times, about one quarter of the revenue lost each year by President Bush's tax cuts, "roughly equal to the fraction of those cuts that goes to people with incomes of $500,000 a year."

Next week, the White House will launch a giant public relations campaign, just as it did with the campaign to sell us on the Iraq war, with a lot of phony information to convince us all this lunacy is good for us. Social Security is of particular concern to women, since we live longer and have fewer earnings to rely on in retirement.

It's kind of hard not to be stunned by the irresponsibility of this scheme. To just blithely borrow the money to destroy a successful social program is, well, loony, bizarre and irresponsible.

Krugman - Since the politics of privatization depend on convincing the public that there is a Social Security crisis, the privatizers have done their best to invent one.

My favorite example of their three-card-monte logic goes like this: First, they insist that the Social Security system’s current surplus and the trust fund it has been accumulating with that surplus are meaningless. Social Security, they say, isn’t really an independent entity — it’s just part of the federal government.

If the trust fund is meaningless, by the way, that Greenspan-sponsored tax increase in the 1980s was nothing but an exercise in class warfare: Taxes on working-class Americans went up, taxes on the affluent went down, and the workers have nothing to show for their sacrifice.

But never mind: The same people who claim that Social Security isn’t an independent entity when it runs surpluses also insist that late next decade, when the benefit payments start to exceed the payroll tax receipts, this will represent a crisis — you see, Social Security has its own dedicated financing, and therefore must stand on its own.

There’s no honest way anyone can hold both these positions, but very little about the privatizers’ position is honest. They come to bury Social Security, not to save it. They aren’t sincerely concerned about the possibility that the system will someday fail; they’re disturbed by the system’s historic success.

For Social Security is a government program that works, a demonstration that a modest amount of taxing and spending can make people’s lives better and more secure. And that’s why the right wants to destroy it.

Josh Marshall has the plan for how the Democrats win this one.

Of course, the big story from Josh is that the Kerik nanny story is totally bogus. She never existed and the White House either fell for it or helped make it up. In any reality based world this is the least important story but this will get the publicity if the SCLM picks it up to shove down the right-wing media who has made it the big story. The Right Wurlitzer has been pushing the GOP talking point that Kerik really only resigned over a silly nanny problem which the right-wing could understand and also poh-pah the Political Correctness that forced him to turn down the head of Homeland Security post.

News Roundup - Dec 15 Ho, Ho, Ho

Hispanic Leaders Angry At DNC - The Hill reports. Angry Latino congressional leaders demanded diplomatic language be removed in very critical letter regarding 2004 election.

Jim Swanson Examines Good and Evil, Hitler and Terrorism, Art and Politics -- in Stamp Art

Atrios points us to Texas Christian Anti-Abortionist Flys to China to have himself injected with millions of aborted baby cells to thwart God's will.
Van Golden, a Christian, anti-abortion Texan who has sold his house so that he can travel to communist, atheist China and have Huang inject a million cells from the nasal area of a fetus into his spine. According to Golden's doctors, his spine was damaged beyond repair in a car crash last Christmas. The damage to his nervous system was so bad that he has been in a wheelchair and racked by spasms ever since. But Golden refused to give up, even if it meant having to compromise his values. "This is the only place that offered us any hope," he says. "Everyone else offered only to help make me sufficient in that chair. But the chair is not my destiny. It is not ordained."

IBM sells PC business to China

Mainstream press (Washington Post) acknowledges problems with election but downplays results. You know it's true becuase it made Drudge Report.

A New Democrat on lessons learned.

Iraqi Bloggers U.S. visit raise questions regarding propaganda-driven “blog trolling”
EL - There is no doubt that the Iraq the Model bloggers are real people.

The question has been raised and never answered in this long series is how much assistance and guidance and payments are they receiving from the very large American Intel contingent in Baghdad. One of the duties of the intel contingent in Baghdad is to recruit local talent that can be used for political and propaganda purposes.

Iraq the model has never deviated and posted something that a CIA operative would not want to see his stringers post.

Perhaps they are the just local Iraq version of the GOP booster club. But they are in exactly the right area, writing exactly the right things, making the right American contacts, and even getting involved in Iraq national politics in the same way that the CIA pays foreign nationals to do.

The United States has over 500 Intel operatives in Iraq and cultivating people like the ITM brothers is in their job description.
David Neiwert - The Rise of Pseudo Fascism in America
Part 1: The Morphing of the Conservative Movement
Part 2: The Architecture of Fascism
Part 3: The Pseudo-Fascist Campaign
Part 4: The Apocalyptic One-Party State
Part 5: Warfare By Other Means
Part 6: Breaking Down the Barriers
Part 7 [Conclusion]: It Can Happen Here

In 2000, Five Supremes Wanted Their Man in and then Searched For Reasons

Vanity Fair had a good review of the Supreme Court lack of deliberations in 2000, but only in their print edition. BuzzFlash has published long excerpts from it to bring it online.

The media was quiet then and aided the GOP. They are quiet about this election now. When corporate America wants something and a majority of richer white men agree you will not hear a peep out of the American media.

The Democratic Pro-Life Position

MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to the issue of abortion. The Newsweek reports that John Kerry went to a Democratic meeting to thank his supporters, and they asked him what he had learned from the past campaign. And he said, "We have to find a different way to deal with the issue of abortion in terms of explaining the Democratic position, and we have to find a way to bring in right-to-life Democrats back into the Democratic Party." Could you conceive of a way the Democratic Party could say to mainstream ethnic voters, "We're a different Democratic Party. We may look at perhaps the whole idea of parental notification in terms of abortion. We may look at banning it in the third trimester." Is there a way the Democrats could change their vocabulary on abortion?

DR. DEAN: We can change our vocabulary, but I don't think we ought to change our principles. The way I think about this is--and it gets into the gay marriage stuff, too. We're not the party of gay marriage. We're the party of equal rights for all Americans. You know, I signed the first civil unions bill in America, and four years later the most conservative president the United States has seen in my lifetime is now embracing what I signed. We've come a long way. We're not the party of abortion. We're the party of allowing people to make up their own minds about medical treatment. It's just a different way of phrasing it. We have to start framing these issues, not letting them frame the issues.

I have long believed that we ought to make a home for pro-life Democrats. The Democrats that have stuck with us, who are pro-life, through their long period of conviction, are people who are the kind of pro-life people that we ought to have deep respect for. Not only are they pro-life, which, I think, is a moral judgment--I happen to be strongly pro-choice, as a physician--but they are pro-life for moral reasons. They also, if they're in the Democratic Party, are real pro-life. That is, they're pro-life not just for unborn children. They're pro-life for investing in children's programs. They're pro-life for helping small children and young families. They're pro-life in making sure adequate medical care happens to children. That's what you so often lack on the Republican side. They beat the drums about being pro-life but they forget about life after birth. And so I do embrace pro-life Democrats. I think we want them in our party. We can have a respectful dialogue, and we have to stop demagoguing this issue.

MR. RUSSERT: And if you became chairman of the party, you would actively reach out to pro-life Democrats?

DR. DEAN: In my campaign, supposedly this liberal campaign, we had a number of pro-life people. Our campaign really is a reform campaign. Now, there were a lot of progressive people, and I believe in progressive issues, but what we're trying to do is reform America. We're trying to have health-care reform, we're trying to have election reform, campaign finance reform. We're certainly trying to reform the borrow-and-spend habits of this administration, which is the most spendthrift administration in my lifetime in America. This supposedly conservative administration can't hold on to a dollar, let alone a taxpayer dollar. So we want real reform and I want the Democratic Party to stand for reform.

More Dean

Let me tell you what my plan for this Party is:

We're going to win in Mississippi
...and Alabama
...and Idaho
...and South Carolina.

Four years ago, the President won 49 percent of the vote. The Republican Party treated it like it was a mandate, and we let them get away with it.

Fifty one percent is not a mandate either. And this time we're not going to let them get away with it.

Our challenge today is not to re-hash what has happened, but to look forward, to make the Democratic Party a 50-state party again, and, most importantly, to win.

To win the White House and a majority in Congress, yes. But also to do the real work that will make these victories possible -- to put Democratic ideas and Democratic candidates in every office -- whether it be Secretary of State, supervisor of elections, county commissioner or school board member.

Here in Washington, it seems that after every losing election, there's a consensus reached among decision-makers in the Democratic Party is that the way to win is to be more like Republicans.

I suppose you could call that philosophy: if you didn't beat 'em, join them.

I'm not one for making predictions -- but if we accept that philosophy this time around, another Democrat will be standing here in four years giving this same speech. We cannot win by being "Republican-lite." We've tried it; it doesn't work.

The question is not whether we move left or right. It's not about our direction. What we need to start focusing on... is the destination.

And Still More Dean:

The pundits have said that this election was decided on the issue of moral
values. I don't believe that. It is a moral value to provide health care. It is
a moral value to educate our young people. The sense of community that comes
from full participation in our Democracy is a moral value. It is a moral value
to make sure that we do not leave our own debts to be paid by the next
generation. Honesty is a moral value.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Recounts and Fraud Continued

High Court rejects WA Democrats' request to reconsider disqualified ballots but this almost guarantees a Dem Victory in Washington.

Party call for violent action to protect election - it is the GOP of course.

Wired News - More Questions for Florida

More on Triad GSI, "The Election Systems PEOPLE!" They have been accused of tampering with their machines for the Ohio recount.

Cursor Media Patrol has many good stories worthy of an entry.

Unlikely Vote Rigging Program was used. No progress likely on story unless someone else comes forward..


It has been estimated that 80 per cent of the oil illegally smuggled out of Iraq under "oil for food" ended up in the United States. Scott Ritter points out the oil-for-food fraud was set up by the US to funnel money or oil to favored groups or countries and this is a cynical scandal by the perps.

Moyers - Why the GOP wants war with Islam and other disasters like the environment are explained by the Rapture voters.

DNC Chair race leaders - Dean, Webb, Kirk, Rosenberg, and Fowler.

Cultivate Peace - Feed The Hungry

FDR - We have nothing to fear but fear itself. W - Let me scare you more.
The Price of Fear Is Paid in Lost Freedom

A coalition of liberal political groups is launching a nationwide protest against Sinclair Broadcast Group, charging that the 62-station TV broadcaster, which was also the target of intense criticism during the presidential campaign, is misusing public airwaves with partisan news programming. Take Action Here.

Editorial: The Sinclair Propaganda Machine

"Democrats moving to the middle is a double disaster that alienates the party's progressive base while simultaneously sending a message to swing voters that the other side is where the good ideas are." It unconsciously locks in the notion that the other side's positions are worth moving toward, while your side's positions are the ones to move away from. - Arianna and Lakoff

Jaw Dropping Testimony of Vote-Rigging in FL and OH

Brad's Blog Too reports on the sworn testimony of the programmer asked to develop vote-rigging software at the Judiciary Committee Democrats meeting.

From an email:

Curtis stood at the front of room with arnebeck seated behind him. Curtis was about five to ten feet from the members of congress. At the front of the room, he placed his hand on a bible and was sworn. To my knowledge, he was the only witness sworn.

Arnebeck began a direct examination of curtis with basic questions, name, residence....

Then got to his qualifications.

Then, he asked curtis something like whether voting machines could be hacked. He said yes. Arnebeck asked him on what he based that opinion. He said because I wrote a program that could do it. Arnebeck asked when that happened. Curtis said feeney had asked him to design such a program at yang enterprises.

Jaws dropped. Tubbs jones and waters looked shocked.

Tubbs jones, waters and nadler asked questions. Waters asked him to repeat who asked him to do it. Congressman feeney, he said. Nadler asked him some questions, as did tubbs jones and a state senator.

Curtis was asked what he would conclude if there was such a substantial deviation btwn exit polls and actual results. He said he would conclude the election had been hacked. Gasps. Could have heard a pin drop.

In the end, curtis was very very convincing to everyone in attendance. He was a show stopper, a stunner. It was a really amazing moment.

It also has reports to the committee that the election machine companies in Ohio are apparently tampering with the machines and trying to rig the recount.
The [Green Presidential candidate] Cobb testimony concerned an eyewitness account from an Elections Official about election machine tampering by a worker from Triad Governmental Systems, Inc. as late as last Friday!

There are a number of other developments covered by the blog.

Breaking News has more on the story.
The House Judiciary Cmte., meeting in Columbus, Ohio to investigate presidential election vote irregularities in the state, has heard evidence that preparations to conduct a fraudulent recount are underway statewide.

Axis of Logic: Ohio Vote Fraud Battle Heats Up
Today Congressman John Conyers, Ranking Member, Committee on the Judiciary and Dean, Congressional Black Caucus, will hold a congressional forum in Columbus, Ohio concerning new evidence of election irregularities and fraud in Ohio.

The Congressional forum will discuss the moral issue of Ohio electors meeting while recounts and litigation are pending. They will raise the question, “How can any group of electors in good conscience meet and decide the outcome of the election before the votes are counted?” This is a moral issue. And the Rev. Jesse Jackson will be at the Columbus forum to call America back to its roots and to the sanctity of the right to vote and to the necessity to have one’s vote counted accurately.

At the same time John Conyer’s forum meets and examines new evidence, John Bonifaz, General Counsel for the National Voting Rights Institute is said to be filing a complaint before the Ohio State Supreme Court, requesting the Court to declare John Kerry the winner of the election in Ohio, based upon new evidence that fraud has indeed occurred.

Dr. Phillips, a PhD well versed in standard techniques of statistical analysis, testifies that in his professional opinion, “John Kerry’s margins of victory were wrongly reduced by 22,000 votes in Cleveland, by 17,000 votes in Columbus, and by as many as 7,000 votes in Toledo. It is my further professional opinion, that John Kerry’s margins of defeat in Warren, Butler, and Clermont counties were inflated by as many as 37,000 votes in the aggregate…”

Op Ed News - Smoking Gun of Election Fraud is in Ken Blackwell’s Hand

Ohio electors urged to delay balloting until after recount - Boston Globe

Ohio Validates Election; Recount Set to Begin - GOP View

SCOOP NZ - Rep. Conyers Alarmed at Efforts to Obstruct Ohio Recount Effort,
Calls Witness to Monday Hearing to Detail Such Efforts

Close Recount In Washington Swinging Democratic

AP Report - San Diego: King County Elections Director Dean Logan said an error had "prevented valid ballots from being counted" in the heavily Democratic county that includes Seattle. Gregoire won about 58 percent of the vote there.

Logan said workers did not count 561 absentee ballots because the signatures on them did not match computerized voter registration records. But he discovered Sunday that the signatures simply were not on file in the county's computer system.

Meanwhile, in response to a state Democratic Party lawsuit, the state Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether county officials will have to reconsider all of Washington's previously rejected ballots, including those thrown out because of voter errors such as failing to sign the ballot or missing a deadline to verify a signature.
The high court heard arguments Monday in Olympia and a decision is expected in the next few days.
"Washington will show the nation it is committed to counting every vote," David Burman, attorney for the Democrats, told the court. Burman estimated about 3,000 ballots were wrongly rejected and should be included in the hand recount. Two-thirds are in King County.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Most attractive Buffy star?

When they are all 10s it is hard to decide but this is a good argument for Willow. Photo comes from the UK cool breeze gallery. The enhanced Charisma Carpenter seems to get more work. Sarah Michelle Gellar also has a more profitable career. More Buffy actors and actresses here.

A quick link to Joss Whedon's Serenity movie site. This is the movie based on Firefly, the short-lived SF space western series, that is coming to theaters next year. I see the release date seems pushed way back from April to September. Joss has a talent for picking talented and attractive actors and actresses.

Not a Buffy or Joss Whedon star but a good actress Hillary Swank who made her reputation playing a boy masquerading as a girl unfortunately couldn't do that anymore.

The Real Major News Today

Can be found at the Progress Report, Cursor, or Raw Story.

Overview of election problems from Common Cause at Mother Jones.

From Cursor: King of Zembla rounds up coverage of the death of legendary investigative journalist Gary Webb, who described himself as "a reporter [who] went after the CIA and lost his job over it," an affair chronicled in Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair's book, "Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press." ... Earlier, Cory Zurowski analyzed the disparity in coverage of Webb's investigations between the alternative vs. the mainstream press. Plus: Uh oh, another "suicide."

Michael Moore: People's Choice Awards Nominates "Fahrenheit 9/11" as "Favorite Film of the Year" and it's time for Democrats to stop being hit.

Go to to vote for "Fahrenheit 9/11".

Victim of CIA Smear Campaign Dies

In 1996 Pulitzer prize winning reporter Gary Webb thought he had the biggest story of his career. He started investigating the origins of the sudden Crack cocaine epidemic in American cities in the 1980's. What he found shocked him and he began one of the biggest stories in the last twenty years. He had sources that could prove that the crack cocaine epidemic at least in Los Angeles was started by Reagan's freedom fighters the contras to finance their war and they had the active aid and protection of U.S. officials. Under Reagan the intelligence establishment had destroyed black urban Americans to finance an illegal war.

For his brave reporting at the San Jose Mercury News, Webb paid a high price. Under the direction of the CIA, Webb was attacked by, among others, The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. Under this pressure, his editor Jerry Ceppos sold out the story and demoted Webb, causing him to quit the Mercury News. Even Webb?s marriage broke up. The story had gained a large readership because the San Jose Mercury News had placed everything, even more than they printed, online.

On Friday, Dec. 10, Gary Webb, 49, died of an apparent suicide, a gunshot wound to the head.

Robert Parry attacks the media for carrying out this campaign to attack Webb and cover up the story but does not go into how this was a massive disinformation campaign lead by the top of the CIA to cover up their involvement. To this day the mass media and the leading American newspapers have refused to look at the story they attacked. They specifically did not cover the CIA's own later investigation under different leadership which found even more government involvement than Webb had uncovered:
In Volume Two, published Oct. 8, 1998, CIA Inspector General Hitz identified more than 50 contras and contra-related entities implicated in the drug trade. He also detailed how the Reagan-Bush administration had protected these drug operations and frustrated federal investigations, which had threatened to expose the crimes in the mid-1980s. Hitz even published evidence that drug trafficking and money laundering tracked into Reagan?s National Security Council where Oliver North oversaw the contra operations.

Hitz revealed, too, that the CIA placed an admitted drug money launderer in charge of the Southern Front contras in Costa Rica. Also, according to Hitz?s evidence, the second-in-command of contra forces on the Northern Front in Honduras had escaped from a Colombian prison where he was serving time for drug trafficking

In Volume Two, the CIA?s defense against Webb?s series had shrunk to a tiny fig leaf: that the CIA did not conspire with the contras to raise money through cocaine trafficking. But Hitz made clear that the contra war took precedence over law enforcement and that the CIA withheld evidence of contra crimes from the Justice Department, the Congress and even the CIA?s own analytical division.

Hitz found in CIA files evidence that the spy agency knew from the first days of the contra war that its new clients were involved in the cocaine trade. According to a September 1981 cable to CIA headquarters, one of the early contra groups, known as ADREN, had decided to use drug trafficking as a financing mechanism. Two ADREN members made the first delivery of drugs to Miami in July 1981, the CIA cable reported.
At the time of the story FAIR was one of the few watchdog organizations which noted that all the attacks on Webb's story were misleading and relied on high-level CIA sources for their story.
Although the Washington Post in particular took issue with the Mercury News for referring to the Nicaraguan contras as "the CIA's army," the FAIR report describes use of the phrase as "solid journalism" that highlights a relationship "fundamentally relevant to the story. The army was formed at the instigation of the CIA, its leaders were selected by and received salaries from the agency, and CIA officers controlled day-to-day battlefield strategies." The report criticizes what it calls a "newsroom culture of denial" that dodged such historical realities.
Another radical for truth Michael C. Ruppert wrote:
What Gary Webb handed, on a silver platter, to all who are serious about this and who know the story well, was absolute documented and undeniable evidence that: CIA knew of Ricky Ross' and Danillo Blandon's activities from the earliest days and protected those activities from the start, even at the local level; that CIA, through Ron Lister, actively supported the distribution of automatic weapons to the gangs in South Central; that as investigative heat mounted against Ross and Blandon, CIA efforts to protect them increased measure for measure; and that, as the crack epidemic spread from city to city, the CIA allowed and encouraged that contagion.

This is like the point I make about one entry in Oliver North's diary that "$14 million to buy arms for the Contras came from drugs." What more proof does a logical mind need?

Gary Webb HAS provided evidence of a racist conspiracy. It?s right there in his book. It is some of the most amazing reporting I have ever read. And it is detailed and eloquent. He writes, "Pretending that crack was something that had appeared out of nowhere was, politically, much safer than admitting the truth - that the Federal government had been warned about it very specifically many years earlier and hadn't lifted a finger to stop it, effectively surrendering the inner cities to an oncoming plague. If that information became too widely known, the public might start asking prickly questions, such as: Why weren't we told?

"And how could a question like that be answered? Because we didn't believe it? Because we didn't care? Because we thought it might encourage people to try it? Or was it because the drug problem looked as if it would be confined to lower income neighborhoods, ghettos as it had been in South America, Jamaica, and the Bahamas?"
Gary Webb was well aware what was being run against him as he discusses in this informative interview:
RW: In talking about all the different inds of attacks that have come down on you and others who have been involved in this series, you used the term "disinformation campaign." Can you explain that a little more?

GW: There was an effort in the '80s, that is fairly well documented, that was called Perception Management. This was a program that was set up inside the State Department by CIA propaganda experts to either (A) badger and bash reporters who were questioning the Contra war and raising issues about Contra cocaine trafficking, and (B) to frighten editors and frighten other reporters into not pursuing the story.

And it's very similar if you look at the results they achieved back in the '80s, to see what's going on here. It's the same sort of thing. Stories are planted about you. They have people, you can identify these people, the people with Accuracy In Media, Reed Irvine's organization, the same people
pop up now saying there's nothing to this CIA story, it's all phony, it's all baloney. The same people popped up during the 1980s claiming that there was no massacre at El Mozote down in El Salvador, that it was made up, that Raymond Bonner for the Times was a communist sympathizer. Same people.

And one of the things you learn when you write about intelligence agencies is you learn pattern recognition. Because it may not be the same people all the time, but it's the same pattern. It's the same pattern as the Perception Management efforts of the 1980s. And you gotta hand it to them, it's worked. It has worked. The mainstream press is now convinced that there was nothing to this. Even though there hasn't been a single factual error found in any of those stories.

RW: So, in light of all these attacks on you and the series, why have you decided to stick to your guns, to take the risks. To tell the story and stick to it?

GW: Because it's true. And the bottom line is: it's true. And you get into journalism specifically for this reason. And if I thought the stories were wrong or I'd made a mistake, I would say yes, I was wrong. But I wasn't wrong. And this is a story that people need to know--(A) not only to understand what happened, but (B) I mean somebody needs to be held accountable for this.
These were crimes that were committed. People get sent to jail for cocaine conspiracies all the time. And this was a conspiracy that brought in thousands and thousands and thousands of kilos of cocaine into the United States. Into the inner cities. And nobody has paid a price for it yet, except the people who are living in those neighborhoods.
It should be noted that the present head of the CIA, former congressmen Goss, is also former CIA special agent Goss and was implicated in the CIA-Contra-Crack Cocaine connection cover-up.

I have read Gary Webb's Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion and it is straight-forward, well-written and persuasive with massive amounts of evidence.

Democracy Now has more on Gary Webb with audio and links.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Sex, Me and Universists

Online dating services falling to earth. People, surprise, aren't always honest on the internet. "There's a burnout factor that's almost inevitable in the online dating world," said Mr. Zollman of Classified Intelligence. In other words, either you find lasting love or you grow sick of surfing for it.

Frank Rich - The Plot Against Sex in America

Kinsey was an anti-Soviet, anti-New Deal conservative, but that didn't matter in an America racked by fear. He lost the principal sponsor of his research, the Rockefeller Foundation, and soon found himself being hounded, in part for his sympathetic view of homosexuality, by the ambiguously gay homophobes J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson. Based on what we've seen in just the six weeks since Election Day, the parallels between that war over sex and our own may have only just begun.


Since around 1983, the pig is no longer the only animal whose orgasms can last up to thirty minutes. With the techniques for Extended Sexual Orgasm, presented by Dr. Bauer in his book "ESO : How You and Your Lover Can Give Each Other Hours of Sexual Orgasm", we humans can seriously outdo pigs. With some practice virtually everyone, male and female, can experience not only multiple orgasms but also orgasms lasting thirty minutes and more.

Why Christian Americans are Democrats
While the Democratic Party was responding to the needs of all of the poor, the weak, the oppressed, and the ordinary working men and women of America just the way the Bible says that we should, more often than not, the Republican Party opposed those very efforts. And very often the conservative Democrats or "Dixiecrats" of the so-called "Bible Belt" sided with the Republican Party. Indeed, ever since the G.O.P. has become the outright champions of native born, English-speaking, male, white, upper class privilege, most of those former Dixiecrats have been switching their allegiance to the new and revised Republican (or should that be "Confederate") Party.
Advocating United Universism The future of free thought movements. (Actually I am a Universalist of the UU variety. But I might become a Dentonist as John Horton has become a Hortonist. I agree with "It's not what you believe, it's how you believe it!"

Me - new profile on blogger. Blogger has gone months since updating the posts and counts. This does add my movies and books and stuff.

Fundamentalism in the United States The truth about the supposed banning of the Declaration of Independence. Never banned - a right-wing fanactical fundamentalist publicity campaign.

Orcinus: I have heard a lot of people say that, after the 2004 election, "gays are the new Jews." That struck me as a bit of hyperbole at first. But maybe not

He also has a long post with many comments from others on the bad TNR advice - A Fighting Faith. Liberals have not been supporting Bush's war on terror because Bush&Co. have been going about it all wrong. There is a better liberal war on terror.

Friday, December 10, 2004

U.S. Media hiding bad news about Iraq

An article from Canada points out what the media and pundits here miss - far from only reporting bad news about Iraq the U.S. media is going out of its way to hide bad news.

A lot of this is due to the opposition they get from the GOP and conservatives on critical stories and more is from the damning silence from the national Democratic Party. How many of the general public heard of the leaked Army report that shows the terrorists winning and warned that the US has zero credibility among Arabs? A classified cable sent by the Central Intelligence Agency's station chief in Baghdad also warned that the situation in Iraq is deteriorating and may not rebound any time soon. These are the reports analysts send even after knowing they must send reports Rove likes, or else.

A story you won't see in US media: a Turkish Press story accompanied by a grisly photo reveals a new mission for U.S. marines in Fallujah: hunting down and killing "stray animals grown fat on the flesh from corpses and who could harbor rabies."

So who are the better US papers? Infrequently the NYT, the back pages of the Washington Post, and the Knight-Ridder syndicate. By better I mean you occasionally see a story from ground level, not what the PR flacks and GOP leaders want.

But another example of the much more typical case would be the so-called liberal CBS News interviewing a paid operative from GOP conservative think tanks as your typical American.

"I'm going out telling the story that I think is the biggest story of our time," says Bill Moyers, "how the right-wing media has become a partisan propaganda arm of the Republican National Committee." It's almost easier to read right-wing nut publications to get the real stories just slanted in the opposite direction.

How many know Fallujah is Iraq's Tet Offensive? This is where we clearly lost the war despite our officials proclaiming a great victory. Before the war Fallujah had a population of over 250,000 (about twice the size of Pasadena to put it in local perspective). A report out after the offensive had an Army official thinking there might be a hundred or so families left. (I can't find that link, here is a recent report from Here is also one family's story.

Winning Democrats and their messages - It's no Da Vinci Code. Economic populism presented in American values form seems the common thread.
Because, as red-region progressives show, having the guts to stand up for middle America -- even when it draws the ire of corporate America -- is as powerful a statement about morality and authenticity as any of the GOP?s demagoguery on "guns, God, and gays."

All the Democratic Party has to do is look at the election map: The proof is right there in red and blue.
This is the counter to the other argument taking place - Democrats should seek 'A Fighting Faith' by aggressively promoting an aggressive foreign policy. There is a strong suggestion to purge anti-war activists from the party from the formerly leftist DINO neo-con organization. A reasonable response to Beinart is at Talking Point's Memo.

I set up this blog to get the news out to progressives and Libertarians and Greens on stories you couldn't find in the America media. They were even difficult to track down online. As I said before Powell went to the UN, there are no WMDs in Iraq - all the evidence is slanted and twisted exaggerations. You still can't find the real stories in the American mass media but they are all over online now. Go to Cursor or Raw Story or some other independent source and become informed and tell your friends who might not be getting the real news that you now can get online.

To my nephew in Iraq see 'WAR IS A RACKET.' The classic book by the Marine general who told the people why America really goes to war.
Originally printed in 1935, War Is a Racket is General Smedley Butler's frank speech describing his role as a soldier as nothing more than serving as a puppet for big-business interests... The introduction discusses why General Butler went against the corporate war machine and how he exposed a fascist coup d'etat plot against President Franklin Roosevelt. Widely appreciated and referenced by left- and right-wingers alike, this is an extraordinary argument against war - more relevant now than ever.
Another more modern look at how the military industrial intelligence finance complex works is 'Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.' John Perkins walked around the 9/11 site and realized he had contributed to it by helping US companies and policies that lead to it. The World Trade Center attack was the ultimate blowback from the CIA intervention in Iran and Afghanistan.