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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 10/07/2007 - 10/14/2007
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, October 13, 2007

More From Uncle Ralph

Ralph Nader is still on the job. You should read this entire article at Counterpunch.
Yes, it is a great site.
Nader's article is an excellent example of how our gov't elite blatantly and defiantly ignore the will of the people, in this case, right to their faces.
None of the people who infest our gov't deserve our respect anymore.

With three fourths of reports completed Cong. Olver, who voted against the war, raised his hand and said, "Spare me, I know full well the overwhelming majority of my constituency is in favor of impeachment." He then told them he would not sign on to any impeachment resolution whether against Bush or against Cheney (H.Res. 333 introduced by Cong. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)). He was quite adamant.
The Democratic Party line on impeachment is that Bush and Cheney are the most impeachable White House duo in American history (they believe this privately). The Democrats do not want to distract attention from their legislative agenda, and need Republican votes for passage.
The last question to Cong. Olver was from a young veteran back from Iraq and Afghanistan. "What could we possibly do to bring you around to our way of thinking," he asked?

Cong. Olver's response, after several seconds of silence, was "You have to prove to me that impeachment will not be counterproductive."
This guy Olver is a arrogant scumbag, and a traitor to the Constitution. How can he support impeachment? He would have to start by impeaching himself.
I hope the folks he is supposed to represent give this clown the boot in his next election.
The only thing he represents is the prevailing attitude among his fellow Congressmen that the American people are to be told, not listened to, in the New World Order.

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The budget graph

an information-loaded, interactive visual entitled, death and taxes, that displays in great detail just where the federal government is spending our money...

(thanks to miss laura at daily kos...)

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The free market isn't free "for anybody but the contractors" who use the government as "an ATM machine"

more from naomi klein, talking about her book, shock doctrine, on bill maher...

from raw story...

"In New Orleans,it's the privatization of the school system, the public housing. After September 11th, it was the launching of a new economy in privatized homeland security, and in Iraq it's the Blackwater economy--The worse things get in Iraq, the more privatized--and profitable--this war becomes.

"So it's not about the corporations taking advantage; we expect corporations to do that. It's about the politicians who think the government should be an ATM machine and just transfer wealth to their friends in exchange for a deposit in the form of campaign contributions.


"You could call it crony capitalism, you could call it corporatism; but it certainly not the free market.

"And, the irony is,it's the free market ideology that gets used to propel this vision forward which has absolutely nothing to do with--it's not free for anybody but the contractors..."

i think most of us of are pretty well aware of what a tremendously profitable thing war is (for the right people, of course), but ms. klein delivers a valuable new way to understand the overall mechanism of HOW it's as profitable as it is... i've always claimed that the chaos and breakdown created by war offer unbounded opportunity to those whose aim is to profit from them... ms. klein not only shows how that works but also expands the concept to natural disasters, an arena that previously served to pull people together and make communities stronger, but are now being used to tear them apart so that the profiteering vultures can rush in to fill the gaps...

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fresh Nader

Thanks to CounterPunch, where this video was featured as a Web Site of the Day. There is much great reading at CounterPunch, 'cuz they have really fine writers there.

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"Maybe in my lifetime or later...?"

dick durbin on bloomberg talking about the fisa revision bill in which bush is pushing for telecom immunity...
I’m not for blanket immunity until we understand what the program has been about. The day will come, maybe in my lifetime or later, when we’ll finally figure out what the Bush administration has been up to these years with this secret program.

dick... listen carefully... "maybe in YOUR lifetime" is NOT ACCEPTABLE... how about tomorrow...? better yet, THIS AFTERNOON...

(thanks to think progress...)

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The WaPo finds the nut - domestic spying underway BEFORE 9/11

i've been waiting for a major news outlet, ANY news outlet, to put 2 and 2 together and come up with the oh-so-obvious conclusion that the bush administration, no doubt like the clinton administration before it, has been spying on u.s. citizens for a very long time, and that 9/11 was a very useful event for ratcheting it all up several notches and convincing us that being under constant surveillance was only for our own good...

the wapo highlights this "well-duh" insight in paragraph 6 of a page 1 story in today's edition...

Nacchio's [Joseph P. Nacchio, former CEO of Qwest Communications International] account, which places the NSA proposal at a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, suggests that the Bush administration was seeking to enlist telecommunications firms in programs without court oversight before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The Sept. 11 attacks have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its warrantless surveillance efforts.

so...? where's the outcry...? where's the outrage...? where are the calls for resignation or impeachment...? where's congress...? oh, wait... congress is deliberating about whether to give telecom companies retroactive immunity to prosecution for anything illegal they might have done by allowing the government to spy on u.s. citizens... nice to know SOMEBODY'S out there looking out for our civil liberties and the united states constitution...

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Friday, October 12, 2007

more Telcom outrage

Where John Kerry issued a perfunctory "I was out of the loop"-like disclaimer, (over the Taser incident of the young university student reporter that actually had asked Kerry some extremely relevant and hard-hitting questions), a better response might be for Kerry to grant the young man, Andrew Meyer, 21-years-old, a 1: 1 interview.

A perusal of John Kerry's Senate Web site, in search of information about his role in his telecommunications oversight capacity, reveals much indicia suggesting Kerry's very pro all-things-police tilt.

No doubt we would learn an astonishingly great deal about John Kerry that has not yet come to light, (despite his very public campaign for the White House last presidential election), with just such an interview. We might gain some insights into Kerry's strategy for serving the Telcoms' interests in future legislation.

Two marvelous fresh posts about some of the past, current and upcoming Telcom scandals include this one at FDL, pointed to by C&L and this one at DU Journals.

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The general who authorized enhanced interrogation techniques for Iraq and perjured himself in 2004, now calls Iraq a "nightmare"

robert parry reports on general ricardo sanchez' october 12 speech...
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who commanded U.S. forces in Iraq for the first year of the occupation, blamed “incompetence” by President George W. Bush’s national security team for creating a “nightmare” that could last far into the future.

Sanchez, who led coalition forces from June 2003 to June 2004, used an Oct. 12 speech to a conference of Military Reporters and Editors in Arlington, Virginia, to castigate nearly everyone connected to the Iraq War, including the U.S. news media, Congress, the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon.

“There has been a glaring, unfortunate display of incompetence in strategic leadership among our national leaders,” Sanchez said. “They have unquestionably been derelict in the performance of their duty. In my profession, these types of leaders would be immediately relieved or court-martialed.”

general, i do believe the penalty for perjuring yourself in front of the senate armed services committee is a somewhat stiffer penalty than a mere court martial...

first of all, general, here's the memorandum authorizing "enhanced" interrogation techniques that you wrote in iraq in 2003...

and here are the torture techniques that you authorized...
The use of techniques A-CC are subject to the general safeguards as provided below as well as specific implementation guidelines to be provided by the 205th MI BDE Commander. Specific implementation guidance with respect to techniques A-CC is provided in U.S. Army Field Manual 34-52. Further implementation guidance will be developed by the 205th MI BDE Commander.

Of the techniques set forth below, the policy aspects of certain techniques should be considered to the extent they reflect the views of other Coalition contributing nations. The description of the technique is annotated to include some policy issues that should be considered before application of the technique.

A. Direct: Asking straightforward questions.
*B. Incentive/Removal of Incentive: Providing a reward or removing a privilege above and beyond those that are required by the Geneva Convention from detainees. [Caution: Other nations that believe detainees are entitled to EPW protections may consider that provision and retention of religious items (e.g. the Koran) are protected under international law (see Geneva III, Article 34).]
C. Emotional Love: Playing on the love a detainee has for an individual or group.
D. Emotional Hate: Playing on the hatred a detainee has for an individual or group.
E. Fear Up Harsh: Significantly increasing the fear level in a detainee.
F. Fear Up Mild: Moderately increasing the fear level in a detainee.
G. Reduced Fear: Reducing the fear level in a detainee.
H. Pride and Ego Up: Boosting the ego of a detainee.
*I. Pride and Ego Down: Attacking or insulting the ego of a detainee not beyond the limits that would apply to an EPW. [Caution: Article 17 of Geneva III provides "Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind." Other nations that believe detainees are entitled to EPW protections may consider this technique inconsistent with the provisions of Geneva.]
J. Futility: Invoking the feeling of futility of a detainee.
K. We Know All: Convincing the detainee that the interrogator already knows the answers to questions he asks the detainee.
L. Establish Your Identity: Convincing the detainee that the interrogator has mistaken the detainee for someone else.
M. Repetition: Continuously repeating the same question to the detainee within interrogaton periods of normal duration.
N. File and Dossier: Convincing detainee that the interrogator has a damning and inaccurate file which must be fixed.
*O. Mutt and Jeff: A team consisting of a friendly and harsh interrogator. The harsh interrogator might employ the Pride and Ego Down technique. [Caution: Other nations that believe that EPW protections apply to detainees may view this technique as inconsistent with Geneva III, Article 13 which provides that EPW's must be protected against acts of intimidation. Consideration should be given to these views prior to application of the technique.]
P. Rapid Fire: Questioning in rapid succession without allowing detainees to answer.
Q. Silence: Staring at the detainee to encourage discomfort.
R. Change of Scenery Up: Removing the detainee from the standard interrogaton setting (generally to a location more pleasant but no worse).
S. Change of Scenery Down: Removing the detainee from the standard interrogation setting and placing him in a setting that may be less comfortable; would not constitute a substantial change in environmental quality.
T. Dietary Manipulation: Changing the diet of a detainee; no intended deprivation of food or water; no adverse medical or cultural effect and without intent to deprive subject of food or water, e.g., hot rations to MREs.
*U. Environmental Manipulation: Allowing the environment to create moderate discomfort (e.g. adjusting temperatures or introducing an unpleasant smell). Conditions may not be such that they injure the detainee. Detainee is accompanied by interrogator at all times. [Caution: Based on court cases in other countries, some nations may view application of this technique in certain circumstances to be inhumane. Consideration of these views should be given prior to use of this technique.]
V. Sleep Adjustment: Adjustment of the sleeping times of the detainee (e.g. reversing sleep cycles from night to day). This technique is NOT sleep deprivation.
W. False Flag: Convincing the detainee that individuals from a country other than the United States are interrogating him.
*X. Isolation: Isolating the detainee from other detainees while still complying with basic standards of treatment. [Caution: the use of isolation as an interrogation technique requires detailed implementation instructions including specific guidelines regarding the length of isolation, medical and psychological review, and approval for extensions of the length of isolation by the 205th MI BDE Commander. Use of this technique for more than 30 days, whether continuous or not, must be briefed to 205th MI BDE Commander prior to implementation.]
Y. Presence of Military Working Dog: Exploits Arab fear of dogs while maintaining security during interrogations. Dogs will be muzzled and under control of MWD handler at all times to prevent contact with detainee.
Z. Sleep Management: Detainee provided minimum 4 hours of sleep per 24 hour period not to exceed 72 continuous hours.
AA. Yelling, Loud Music, and Light Control: Used to create fear, disorient detainee and prolong capture shock. Volume controlled to prevent injury.
BB. Deception: Use of falsified representations including documents and reports.
*CC. Stress Positions: Use of physical postures (sitting, standing, kneeling, prone, etc.) for no more than 1 hour per use. Use of technique(s) will not exceed 4 hours and adequate rest between use of each position will be provided.

[Note: Red asterisks - * - indicate techniques which, as noted, may either be excessive or violate the Geneva Convention.

The above interrogation techniques were transcribed from the original documents obtained by the ACLU and maintained in their archives which can be accessed here.]

so, general, i will point out YET AGAIN (here, here and here) that you perjured yourself before the senate armed services committee in testimony you provided on 19 may 2004...
On May 19, 2004, General Ricardo Sanchez testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on Iraq Prison Abuse.
U.S. SENATOR JACK REED (D-RI): General Sanchez, today's USA Today, sir, reported that you ordered or approved the use of sleep deprivation, intimidation by guard dogs, excessive noise and inducing fear as an interrogation method for a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison.

REED: Is that correct?

LIEUTENANT GENERAL RICARDO SANCHEZ, COMMANDER, MULTINATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ : Sir, that may be correct that it's in a news article, but I never approved any of those measures to be used within CJTF-7 at any time in the last year.

general, you may be able to create an effective smokescreen for some people, but it ain't workin' with me...

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breaking up [monopolies] is hard to do

After Downing Street reports: Pelosi Asks for Impeachable Offenses:

[I]n an October 10th interview with Ed Schultz, [Speaker Pelosi] said 'if anyone knows of impeachable offenses that can pass the Congress, then please let me know'.

Ok, lets start here:

Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony"
-- from the Sherman Antitrust Act

The very nature of the 5th Estate, that marriage of corporations with the Intelligence Community, (or more generally, with government), is antitrust.

We have seen unrelenting and perpetual consolidations going on under this scheme. We have seen outrageous no bid contracts that continually favor Administration cronies. The entire Department of Defense cannot give an accurate accounting of its money spent. Private Armies are now said to outnumber our government forces. There is little secret that the auspices of the newly created Office of the Director of National Intelligence has been pushing for privatization of the Internet by the telcoms, et al., through the machinations of "immunities" and by packet sniffing.

A recent cover for further expansion of ubiquitous packet sniffing might be this little reported undertaking, under the moniker of "super V-chip". This is likely a cover for not really even a single chip at all, but rather, total spying everywhere.

This just in: AT&T may be getting a windfall. VoIP had threatened their Market Power.

Societies are able to work as well as they do on the planet precisely because of the Internet. Journals that used to take 30 days to circulate amongst professionals in a given field, are available immediately. Responses are available within minutes to new discoveries. Unfettered political ideas now currently generally abound.

Once the Internet becomes privatized, it will be used as simply another technology of political control, and its usefulness to everyday people will be limited. There will surely be a collapse of society as we know it on that day.

Update: fresh comments by Cindy Sheehan re Nanci Pelosi at CounterPunch:

No matter how many times Ms. Pelosi and George Bush share tea and giggles and no matter how often she 'prays' for him, George is not the Decider and she is only the Leader of the House of Representatives not the people. We are the sovereigns in this country and I tried to demonstrate this when I demanded a meeting with another haughty public servant: George Bush"

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Tony Blair, middle east peace emissary

remember when that was such a big deal back in july...?
The United Arab Emirates said on Wednesday it was high time for serious efforts toward Middle East peace, as former British prime minister Tony Blair arrived in the Gulf state on his first visit to the region as an emissary for the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators.

"It is high time to find real mechanism to achieve peace...all efforts should be exerted towards just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East so that the Palestinian people achieve their legitimate rights," UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan told Blair.

and now...?

< crickets chirping >

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"The Leftist doctrine called 'law' " and supporting the Constitution as a subversive activity

one more step along the path to viewing support for the united states constitution and the rule of law as a subversive activity...

glenn greenwald in today's salon...

As our Congress works heroically to make permanent the vast new warrantless eavesdropping powers it vested in the President two months ago and to protect the corporations which allowed warrantless surveillance in violation of the Leftist doctrine called "law," it is clearly understood in the Beltway that only the fringe Leftists -- the shrill partisan "activists" -- actually subscribe to this radical new agenda of "warrants," as well as the accompanying extremist doctrines such as the "rule of law"; "lawyers" for those we imprison permanently; and prohibitions on freezing people and keeping them cold and naked and chained to the floor.

So for now, the Republic is safe from this Far Leftist agenda, thanks to the joint efforts of our media elite and responsible Congressional sheperds. But vigilance is always required. Far Leftist leaders like John Edwards are openly agitating for "no coerced interrogation, civilian lawyers in courts for captured overseas terrorists and no phone surveillance without a specific warrant." If they have their way, America will be set back decades, even centuries, to that dark and shameful period when the above-quoted roster of Far Leftist radicals ran amok.


[I]f you believe that the Government should have to get warrants before eavesdropping on the conversations and reading the emails of Americans, then you are -- for that reason alone -- a radical, shrill, obstreperous fringe partisan interfering with the Serious, responsible policy-makers in the Beltway.

< sigh > another in an endless string of wake-up calls...

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The richest one percent of Americans earned a postwar record of 21.2 percent of all income in 2005, up from 19 percent a year earlier

folks, let's be clear... this is exactly the kind of income disparity that you see in many lesser-developed countries, where the moneyed elites occupy a very thin slice of the population at the very top and call the shots for all the rest of us... we're headed there damn quick...
The richest one percent of Americans earned a postwar record of 21.2 percent of all income in 2005, up from 19 percent a year earlier, reflecting a widening income disparity among different classes in the nation, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing new Internal Revenue Service data.

The data showed that the fortunes of the bottom 50 percent of Americans are worsening, with that group earning 12.8 percent of all income in 2005, down from 13.4 percent the year before, the paper said.

stop for a moment and really think about those percentages... they're staggering... ONE PERCENT of the population earns TWENTY-ONE POINT TWO PERCENT of the income... FIFTY PERCENT earns THIRTEEN POINT EIGHT PERCENT... phew... now THAT'S come income gap...

i had the opportunity to get to know and observe one or two of the moneyed elites in mexico several years ago... among them, they literally own the entire country - retail businesses, apartment buildings, hotels, resorts, food production and distribution, transportation, banks - and control the politicians, government officials, the military and law enforcement from the sidelines... (stop me if any of this sounds familiar...) i can remember talking to a gentleman while we were sitting on the beach one day... he and his companion traveled the world, going from one delightful resort to another, all places where they owned large chunks of real estate, and staying in their own villas or condos... once or twice a day, he would call his office for the sole purpose of seeing if his money was busy and working hard for him from dawn to dusk... what a life, eh...?

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“Why won’t you submit to the personal unpleasantness of another presidential campaign so you can lead the fight to save the planet?”

the post title is a question posed by robert parry yesterday on his news site, consortium news, a question rendered even more poignant by this...

Former vice president Al Gore and a United Nations panel that monitors climate change were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today for their work educating the world about global warming and advocating for political action to control it.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee characterized Gore as "the single individual who has done most" to convince world governments and leaders that climate change is real, is caused by human activity and poses a grave threat. Gore has focused on the issue through books, promotional events and his Academy Award-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."

parry continues...
Gore would seem to have both a practical incentive – and a moral imperative – to enter the Democratic presidential campaign. At minimum, he could force the global-warming issue to the forefront of the debate.

Plus, if he were to win the nomination, he could make Election 2008 a referendum on whether the United States will confront real dangers to the nation’s future – from global warming to the Bush-era assault on reason – or continue to fret about exaggerated threats from al-Qaeda and to accept the erosion of constitutional liberties.

On a moral level, a Gore candidacy would be putting his body where his mouth is. Metaphorically at least, he would be throwing himself in front of the bulldozers. He would be taking the personal risks that he wants the young people to take. He would be providing real leadership, not just words.

Al Gore may have plenty of excuses for not running for President again. But he must recognize that he has some very compelling reasons to do so.

i am not al gore's biggest fan... but, that said, on the overall scale of relativity, i am closer to being an al gore fan than i am to being a fan of any other potential presidential candidate... and, i do agree with parry, i believe gore should either put up or shut up... besides, he's got some redemption to do, both for himself and for his fellow citizens, for not more forcefully challenging the criminality that deprived us of a principled man instead of an outlaw for a president...

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Right brain, left brain

this is nothing short of amazing...

THE Right Brain vs Left Brain test ... do you see the dancer turning clockwise or anti-clockwise?

If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice versa.

Most of us would see the dancer turning anti-clockwise though you can try to focus and change the direction; see if you can do it.

uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies

uses feeling
"big picture" oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
risk taking

my preference is right brain, but i can make it switch...

(thanks to markos...)


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"Stop thinking that the issues of the day are political"

Stop marching, stop calling your representatives, stop writing checks to the people who keep all your activism resources tied up doing things what will have no impact, and stop thinking that the issues of the day are political. The issues are criminal and should be treated as such. We have serous problems and “moving on” just leaves the criminals in place or sometimes just replaces the criminals.

news that ain't news (at least to me)...

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For the Clintons (and for all the powerful political elites), follow the money

salon does a great service by showing us some of the details of who is giving how much to who and for what... you can be sure this same picture could be painted for george h.w. bush and, to a lesser extent, for rudy giuliani... when we talk about money and politics in the united states, this is just a small part of the whole...
Donors to the Clinton Foundation

1Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, WA$12,429,835
2Alphawood Foundation$4,250,000
3Wasserman Foundation$3,350,000
4Walton Family Foundation$2,000,000
5The Alix Foundation$1,075,000
6Peninsula Community Foundation$1,002,500
7Sidney E. Frank Foundation, NY$1,000,000
7The Annenberg Foundation$1,000,000
7Walmart Foundation$1,000,000
10Roy and Christine Sturgis Charitable and Educational Trust$950,000
11Bernard & Irene Schwartz Foundation$700,000
12The Rockefeller Foundation$600,000
13Monterey Fund, Inc.$517,800
14Citi Foundation$500,000
14Marin County Foundation$500,000
16The New York Community Trust$407,335
17Anheuser-Busch Foundation$400,000
18Lewis B. & Dorothy Cullman Foundation$265,000
19Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation$250,000
19Ford Motor Company Fund, MI$250,000
19NoVo Foundation$250,000
19The Bank of America Charitable Foundation$250,000
19The Jon S. Corzine Foundation$250,000
19The Winnick Family Foundation$250,000
25Cumming Foundation$200,000
25The Engelberg Foundation, FL$200,000
25The Wedge Foundation$200,000
28The Berry Gordy Family Foundation$150,000
28Trinity Foundation$150,000
30Jonathan M. Tisch Foundation$114,000
31AT &T Foundation$100,000
31Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation$100,000
31Katz Foundation$100,000
31Regions Foundation$100,000
31The Dyson Foundation$100,000
31The Philip D. and Tammy S. Murphy Foundation$100,000
31Walter H. and Phyllis J. Shorenstein Foundation$100,000
38Charles Stewart Mott Foundation$65,579
39Altman/Kazickas Foundation$50,000
39Craig and Kathryn Hall Foundation$50,000
39Harman Family Foundation$50,000
39The David S. and Sylvia Steiner Charitable Trust$50,000
39Wood-Rill Foundation$50,000
44Waitt Family Foundation$35,932
45Riggs Benevolent Fund$33,500
46The William M. & A. Cafaro Family Foundation$28,000
47May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation$25,000
47Sandler Capital Management Charitable Foundation$25,000
49Lockheed Martin Corporation Foundation$20,000
49The Seattle Foundation$20,000
51The Tommy E. Short Charitable Foundation$17,500
52John S. and James L. Knight Foundation$15,000
52Willametta K. Day Foundation$15,000
54The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation$14,000
55Hassenfeld Foundation$10,000
55John M. O'Quinn Foundation$10,000
55The Floyd & Delores Jones Foundation$10,000
55The Semel Charitable Foundation$10,000
59Lone Pine Foundation, Inc.$9,100
60Boston Foundation$5,000
60JEHT Foundation$5,000
60The Gill Foundation$5,000
60The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation$5,000
60The Heyday Foundation$5,000
65Alan B. Slifka Foundation$2,750
66Community Foundation of Greater Memphis$2,200
67Sandel Family Foundation$1,000
67The Community Foundation for the National Capital$1,000
69Arkansas Community Foundation, Inc.$700
70Moss Foundation$500
71The Bert & Sandra Wasserman Foundation$180

TOTAL................................................................. $35,808,411

Bill Clinton Speaking Fees

A&E Television $125,000
Adam Smith Conferences $125,000
Ahmet San Productions bh of TUSIAD $250,000
America Israel Chamber of Commerce $125,000
American Academy of Achievement (2 events) $300,000
American Assn of Nurse Anesthetists $150,000
American Chamber of Commerce in Spain $250,000
American Friends of the Rabin Medical Center $125,000
America's Health Insurance Plans $150,000
AMR Research $150,000
Antwerp Diamond High Council $200,000
Ardee's Festival $150,000
Aripaeva Kirjastus $150,000
Asian American Hotel Owners Association $125,000
Association of Southern California Defense Counsel $125,000
Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China $300,000
Australian Information Industry Association $250,000
Aventis $125,000
Aventura-Turnberry Jewish Center $150,000
Banco de Mexico $150,000
Baugur Group $250,000
Beth El Synagogue $125,000
Biotechnology industry Organization $150,000
Blex S.L. $350,000
BMW Group on New Zealand $137,500
Borsen Executive Club $150,000
British Broadcasting Coporation $75,000
Canadian Society for Yad Vashem $125,000
Caribbean Council for Global Studies $125,000
Carnegie Abbey Club $150,000
Celebriti Forum II (2 events) $200,000
CiscoSystems (2 events) $300,000
Citigroup (3 events) $550,000
CLSA Ltd. (4 events) $700,000
Colonial Life Ins Co. $200,000
Comitato per il Congresso Nazionale della Pubblicita $350,000
Compuware Corporation $125,000
Congregation Beth-El Zedeck $150,000
Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers $125,000
Credit Suisse First Boston $125,000
Decision Makers InterAction $150,000
Dentsu Inc on behalf of Aichi Gakuin $250,000
Deutsche Bank (2 events) $300,000
Diario de Noticias $250,000
Dinamo Norge $150,000
dnmStrategies (2 events) $400,000
EchoStar Satellite Corporation $100,000
Economic Club of Southwest Michigan $125,000
Educatinal Institute of AHLA $125,000
El Paso Holocaust Museum $125,000
EPC International on behalf of Workshop Ischgl-Club of the Alps $245,000
European Travel Commission $125,000
Fatasma $125,000
Financial Innovations, Inc. $100,000
Fool Proof $125,000
Fortune Magazine Forum (2 events) $700,000
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center $150,000
Fundacao Armando Alvares Penteado $250,000
Fundacion Rafael Del Pino $250,000
Future Generation Foundation $175,000
Galeries Lafayette-Monoprix $250,000
GBD Group $250,000
General Motors $200,000
Global Artists (4 events) $580,000
Global Business Enterprises $300,000
Global Strategic Ventures $150,000
Gold Service International (4 events) $800,000
Golden Tree Asset Management $150,000
Goldman Sachs (4 events) $650,000
Greater Washington Society of Association Executives (2 events) $250,000
Greenwood House $125,000
Griwa Consulting GMBH $250,000
Group Vivendi Universal $150,000
Gruner & Jahr Publishing USA on behalf of American Jewish Committee $125,000
Hearst Magazines $125,000
Hebrew Home and Hospital Inc $125,000
HMS Italia $125,000
Hon Frank McKenna's Business Networking Event (2 events) $200,000
HSM America (2 events) $300,000
Hubert Burda Media GmbH $300,000
Hunter College Foundation $35,000
Huron Consulting Services $150,000
IBM $200,000
IFE Institut Fuer Eventmanagement GmbH $300,000
Independent News and Media $150,000
infoUSA, Inc $200,000
Institute for International Sports $150,000
International Centre for Business Info $125,000
International Council of Shopping Centers $150,000
International Dairy-deli Bakery $150,000
International Health Racquet $150,000
International Profit Associates $125,000
J.T. Campbell & Co. $150,000
Jewish Federation Council of LA $125,000
Jewish Federation of Chicago (2 events) $300,000
Jewish National Fund (4 events) $550,000
Jiannanchun Group Co $250,000
Jim Pattison Group $150,000
KMD $250,000
Kushner Companies $125,000
Lancaster Chamber of Commerce $150,000
Latin American Institute of Education Communicaton $300,000
Leading Minds (3 events) $375,000
Lehman Bros. $150,000
LIMRA International $150,000
Listin Diario $250,000
London Drugs $125,000
London School of Economics and Political Science $28,100
Long Island Association Inc $125,000
Macklowe Properties on behalf of State of Israel Bonds Development Corp. $250,000
Markson Sparks! (10 events) $1,675,000
Maruri Communications Group $200,000
Mass Torts Made Perfect $150,000
McCreath Communications (2 events) $275,000
MDM Investments Ltd $125,000
Media Control GmbH (2 events) $350,000
MiKI Corporation (3 events) $450,000
Mito City Political Research Group $400,000
Morgan Firestone Foundation $125,000
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Co. $125,000
Mortgage Banker Assn $150,000
MPSF (3 events) $300,000
National Apartment Association $150,000
National Assn of Realtors $125,000
National Mlti-Housing Council $150,000
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children $100,000
Ness Technologies $150,000
Nordstrom International Aps on behalf of World Celebrity Golf $300,000
Old York Road Temple Beth Am $125,000
One Family $125,000
Oracle Corporation $125,000
ORT Montreal $125,000
Paris Golf and Country Club $150,000
PeopleSoft Inc $125,000
Personal Dynamics on behalf of $125,000
Pinpoint Knowledge Management, The Portables $125,000
Protocol Resouorce and Operation Services $200,000
Puls Biznesu, Bonnier Business $183,333
Radio and Records $125,000
RDM Group $125,000
Renaissance Calgary $125,000
Salem State College Foundation $125,000
Savage/Rothenberg Productions (4 events) $550,000
Scherer Consulting Group and Jorg Lohr Training $150,000
Seeliger Y Conde $200,000
Seoul Broadcasting $250,000
Serono International $150,000
SFX Sports Group on behalf of Magna International $125,000
St. James Place $175,000
Standard Bank of America $150,000
Stree-Global Investments in Women $125,000
Success Events International (2 events) $250,000
Success Resources Pte Ltd. $250,000
Temple Beth Avodah $125,000
The Abraham Fund $125,000
The American University in Dubai $150,000
The Dabbagh Group (2 events) $600,000
The German Union of Small and Medium-Sized Companies $100,000
The McCarthy Group $200,000
The Power Within (8 events) $1,870,000
The Star Forum $125,000
The Sunday Times Hay Festival $150,000
The Talar Forum $183,333
The Varsavsky Foundation $175,000
tinePublic Inc (5 events) $650,000
TJ Martell Foundation $75,000
Toranto Hadassah-WIZO $125,000
Tufts University $125,000
United Israel Appeal of Geneva $150,000
University of California, Davis $100,000
University of Judaism $125,000
Urban Land Institute $125,000
Valor Economico S.A. $150,000
Value Grupo Financiero $175,000
Verinvest S.C. on behalf of Mexico Business Summit $150,000
VNU Business Media on behalf of Online Learning 2001 Conf. $125,000
Warburg Pincus $125,000
Wirtscafafts Blatt $183,333
WIZO $125,000
World Celebrity Events (5 events) $1,340,000
World Leader's Forum $150,000
Yorkshire International Business Convention $200,000
Young President's Organization $150,000
YPO Windy City Chapter $100,000


positively breathtaking...

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"On October 17, 2006, the U.S. Constitution was bound, gagged, and detained indefinitely"

amnesty international is requesting help to place this ad, commemorating the shameful passage of the military commissions act nearly a year ago, in as many media outlets as possible...

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"Now when I see the eagle of freedom, I see an eagle of fascism"

from an interview conducted by Nina Berman with Christopher Morris "who has been covering George Bush as TIME Magazine's White House photographer for the last seven years, and has recently published My America, a book of photographs that affords us a complex and quietly creepy look inside the Bush bubble"... this excerpt was included with a photo slide show in a post on alternet...

Christopher Morris: This is my America. An America with Homeland Security, a Patriot Act. An America with paranoia. An America with hatred and ignorance. An America that wraps itself in its President and its flag. This is my America.

Now when I see the eagle of freedom, I see an eagle of fascism. Now when I see the American flag, I'm afraid for my America. We have become an ugly nation. A nation that has wrapped its eyes so tightly in red, white and blue that it has gone blind. Blinded by nationalism. This is my America. And this is why they hate us, and its not because we love freedom. They hate us because we think like that.

and then there's this revealing exchange...
Nina Berman: [H]ow does the Bush bubble differ from the Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or Rudy Giuliani bubble, or is there any palpable difference?

Christopher Morris: The only difference are the crowds. Republicans are drastically different than Democrats. You can see it in their fashion. I can pretty easily tell what type of crowd I am in. As for the three candidates that you mention, all three are very controlling of the media with the way they want to be portrayed. The most difficult candidates for access are Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, both, ironically, the front-runners.

i find it strangely comforting as well as profoundly disturbing that an individual who has spent seven years traveling with george bush, and is as close to being a true insider as anyone can be while still being an outsider, sees the same ugliness i am seeing...

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Boo-hoo-hoo... Collection agencies want email addys and cell phone #'s

what a load of hooey... the advantage has always been with the debt collectors, particularly in a society that lives on credit... so they can't collect some of their money... so what... the damning info will STILL go on the credit report and the folks who don't ante up will STILL find themselves screwed in perpetuity... besides, tell me that it won't still be possible to evade the collection agencies simply by screening with caller id and/or tagging unsolicited email as spam...
The debt collection industry urged the U.S. government on Wednesday to lift a decades old ban against using e-mail accounts or cellphone numbers to contact consumers who have fallen behind in their payments.

As more Americans drop home telephone land lines and rely on cellphones, debt collectors are finding it harder to reach delinquent account holders and the industry potentially faces higher losses, industry executives said at a forum sponsored by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

"If we can't contact somebody, that's a big problem," said Robert DiGennaro, chief executive officer of Austin, Texas- based debt collection company Collins Financial Services Inc.

screw 'em... too damn much of our personal info is floating around out there as it is...

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Jimmy Carter has this extremely annoying propensity for telling the truth

and god bless him for it...
Former president Jimmy Carter isn't just suspicious that the US is using torture to extract intelligence from detainees -- he's absolutely convinced.

Asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer if, by Carter's definition of the word, the United States had used torture during the Bush administration, the Nobel Peace Prize winner was adamant:

"I don't think it, I know it," he said. "Certainly."

Pressed by Blitzer on whether that meant that President Bush was lying, Carter was equally clear.

"The president is self-defining what we have done and authorized in the torture of prisoners," said Carter."Yes."

Earlier in the interview, Carter said Bush's denial this week that the US did not in fact torture detainees was "not an accurate statement if you use the international norms of torture as has always been honored in the last 60 years, since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was promulgated."

"But you can make your own definition of human rights and say we don't violate them," he added, "and you can make your own defintion of torture and say we don't violate them."

he also doesn't hold back on his opinion of darth cheney, but you can go read it for yourself at raw story...

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Black mood

not a good day...

no news on any of five different pending work possibilities means no immediate prospect of income... day before yesterday, the better part of an upper crown fell out, leaving a gaping hole, and, since i don't have dental insurance and i get my dental work done outside the country to avoid the obscene dental fees in the u.s., i am going to have to wait to get it fixed... i was stopped for a warning ticket while driving through the university area...(the university cops are considered a major university source of revenue so getting off with just a WARNING is something of a miracle...) then, of course, lurking behind everything else, something we're all too well aware of, our country is still going to hell in a handbasket...

apologies for the extended whine...


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What if the U.S. was invaded?

i only just heard of this movie, altho' it looks like it's not brand new on the scene... 'course, i don't suppose we could expect a golden award winner from the 2007 al jazeera international documentary film festival to break big in u.s. media, now could we...?

check out the trailer...

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Electronic Warrantless Seizures-The Founders Would Shudder

Most of this reading is a cure for insomnia. Most gov't documents are, but that may be by design. It discourages research.
I come pre-discouraged (and pre-deranged), so this doesn't have any effect on me. I read every word.
Courtesy of, well, our tax dollars, or the US Cybercrime Division.

Searching and Seizing Computers and Obtaining Electronic Evidence in Criminal Investigations
Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section
Criminal Division
United States Department of Justice
July 2002

The first of many empty paragraphs referring to Congressional review. I'm sure it met the Al Gonzales giggle test.
Many of the provisions of the PATRIOT Act relevant here would, unless reenacted into law, sunset on December 31, 2005. Accordingly, prosecutors and agents are urged to inform the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS), at 202-514-1026, whenever use of the new authorities proves helpful in a criminal case. This information will help ensure that Congress is fully informed when deciding whether to reenact these provision.

Wanna have fun, call that number.
I bet ten bucks Mettle is the first with balls enough to try it.

To answer the old Lady in the Wendy's commercial, "Here's the beef."


A. Introduction
The Fourth Amendment limits the ability of government agents to search for evidence without a warrant. This chapter explains the constitutional limits of warrantless searches in cases involving computers.

The Fourth Amendment states:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I'm surprised they bothered with this reference to the amendment.
According to the Supreme Court, a warrantless search does not violate the Fourth Amendment if one of two conditions is satisfied. First, if the government's conduct does not violate a person's "reasonable expectation of privacy," then formally it does not constitute a Fourth Amendment "search" and no warrant is required. See Illinois v. Andreas, 463 U.S. 765, 771 (1983). Second, a warrantless search that violates a person's reasonable expectation of privacy will nonetheless be "reasonable" (and therefore constitutional) if it falls within an established exception to the warrant requirement. See Illinois v. Rodriguez, 497 U.S. 177, 185 (1990). Accordingly, investigators must consider two issues when asking whether a government search of a computer requires a warrant.(emphasis added) First, does the search violate a reasonable expectation of privacy? And if so, is the search nonetheless reasonable because it falls within an exception to the warrant requirement?

The last to conditions have been removed from consideration via more recent legislation, executive order, and trial precedent. Basically, once an agent decides to seize your computer without a warrant, he does it.
Maybe you gave his kid a bad grade in math class. Maybe his boss just tells him to do it. Maybe he thinks the local used book shop owner is a pervert. Maybe his pastor says no stone should be unturned when fighting sin.
Point is, since '02, they could take your computer and enter all of it's files without a warrant and the investigating agent or agency could make the call as to whether or not it is legal.
The Founding Fathers would go to Boston Harbor, board a container ship from China, and dump all the PCs and Laptops overboard.
"The Great Boston PC Party"? Sorry.
As ProfMarcus recently posted, many of us have used our computers as the filing cabinets of all our personal and professional information. Losing it would be devastating to many of us.
New 4th Amendment, July 2002
The right of the people to be insecure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated by any oversight, and no Warrants shall be issued, regardless of probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation of the investigating officer, and not particularly describing the place to be searched, or the persons or things to be seized.

I feel

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Robot bug spies: the camera follows you home

damn... what did i read that had robot bug surveillance...? i'm sure it was in some science-fiction novel... can anyone out there help me out...? jim...? mettle...? stu...?

Dragonfly Spy

you can damn well be sure that, if there's an article about them in the washington post, the military and the cia have been using them for years and the technology is vastly more advanced than what is described here...
Vanessa Alarcon saw them while working at an antiwar rally in Lafayette Square last month.

"I heard someone say, 'Oh my god, look at those,' " the college senior from New York recalled. "I look up and I'm like, 'What the hell is that?' They looked kind of like dragonflies or little helicopters. But I mean, those are not insects."

Out in the crowd, Bernard Crane saw them, too.

"I'd never seen anything like it in my life," the Washington lawyer said. "They were large for dragonflies. I thought, 'Is that mechanical, or is that alive?' "

That is just one of the questions hovering over a handful of similar sightings at political events in Washington and New York. Some suspect the insectlike drones are high-tech surveillance tools, perhaps deployed by the Department of Homeland Security.

NOW you don't just have to keep your eye on the pole-mounted surveillance camera, you have to think about the camera following you home...
No agency admits to having deployed insect-size spy drones. But a number of U.S. government and private entities acknowledge they are trying. Some federally funded teams are even growing live insects with computer chips in them, with the goal of mounting spyware on their bodies and controlling their flight muscles remotely.

The robobugs could follow suspects, guide missiles to targets or navigate the crannies of collapsed buildings to find survivors.

shit, i really don't want to have to pay attention to the flies sitting on my window screen when i'm sitting at the computer...

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Supreme Court terminates el-Masri's suit

in my post yesterday, i concluded with this...
will accountability carry the day...?

evidently not... more props for bushco's continued defiance of the rule of law and any measure of legal redress...

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The Spin is Dead, Long Live the Spin

And so finally, the Prince of Spin Tony Bliar.. I'm sorry.. Blair, departed Number 10 after his Rada-esque tears and quivering lips at both Party Conference and PM Question Time, allowing a no frills, no-nonsense, 'no spin' Chancellor to bring in a new era of conviction politics...and if you believe that, then you deserve what you get - and that is spin,spin,spin,lies, deceit,spin,spin,spin...
Gordon Brown was embroiled in another row about "spin" last night after telling MPs he may pull all of Britain's troops out of Iraq before he calls an election.

The Prime Minister said he was planning to reduce the total number of troops from 5,500 to 2,500 by next spring and held out the possibility of a total pull-out of British troops by the end of 2008. That would enable him to fight the next general election – now expected to be held in 2009 – with no troops in Iraq, neutralising the damage done to the Government by Tony Blair's decision to go to war.

He said the decision about more troop withdrawals would be taken in spring next year as Britain switched to an "over-watch" role with Iraqi forces, and it would depend on the advice of the military chiefs. But his claims were greeted with scepticism.

Mr Brown was accused of cynical media manipulation last week when he used a trip to Basra during the Conservative Party conference to imply that 1,000 British troops would be brought home by Christmas after the transfer of more tasks to Iraqi forces. It later emerged that the total included the withdrawal of 500 troops which had been previously announced.

This is a tiny HINT of what is to come. Already he threatened to call an early general election for this autumn, then seemed to change his mind at the last minute following a surprising post-Conference surge in the polls for Cameron's Tories. He will not have the quivering lips and solemn teary-eyed gazes of his thespian predecessor, but he will deceive and manipulate by different means, precisely because he appears to be lacking in histrionics. Those who are hoping for better from Brown - you have been warned!

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Iranian tv news correspondent seized and beaten by U.S. forces in Afghanistan

a report from an iranian english-language television news outlet states that one of their free-lance afghan correspondents was seized and beaten by u.s. forces in afghanistan last night...
Press TV correspondent in Afghanistan, Fayez Khurshid has said that he was tortured by US forces after his illegal detention last night.

According to Khurshid, foreign soldiers stopped him on the way home, grabbed him by the collar and asked if he was a member of the IRGC (The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) and worked for the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Afghan journalist was rendered unconscious by a taser and taken to a US base where the officers in charge of interrogating him, forced him to watch all the reports he had made for Press TV, while "shocking him on an electric chair and beating him on the head".

He was threatened that if he continued to work for Press TV, his family would also suffer the consequences. Fayez repeatedly told his interrogators that he was a freelance journalist with no political ties to any foreign country.

PRESS TV is the first international Iran-based news network to broadcast in English on a round-the-clock schedule.

Our Tehran-based headquarters is staffed by media professionals from around the world. PRESS TV has an extensive network of bureaus located in the world’s most strategic places.

probably not a story that's going to be picked up by our u.s. media, eh...?

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Gore Vidal: "This is the worst phase in our history"

a superb interview of gore vidal from canadian broadcasting... it's a 10 min. video clip, and up to the 2:41 remaining time marker, vidal offers his views on the current situation in the u.s., including his support for al gore as president in 2008.. from that point to the end, he shares personal reflections as he moves through the last years of his life...

gore vidal is truly a national treasure...

(thanks to casey at openyourmindseye...)

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The view from Germany: corporate-funded politics

yesiree, THIS is just a little snapshot of what we look like to the rest of the world... it's all about

The American presidential candidates are so busy drumming up campaign contributions and grabbing at opportunities to fly around on corporate jets that they have little time left for the people. Fundraising costs run into the millions, which helps explain why half the candidates in the race are already broke.

check out the subtitle that leads the following paragraphs...
Groveling to Get Big

The task of drumming up contributions from potential small donors is probably the least of the candidates' concerns. Big Business is a different story. Soliciting campaign contributions from the senior executives and owners of major corporations is a far more challenging task, one that requires candidates and their staffs to hone and apply the fine art of wooing and cajoling. The road to the White House leads through the living rooms of Hollywood executives, Wall Street financiers, defense industry lobbyists, oil magnates and corporate strategists of every stripe and color. Indeed, groveling is practically a prerequisite for hitting the big time: the country's highest office.


These major donors, known as "fat cats" in the jargon of campaign managers, hold so much clout that they can sometimes make or break a candidate's political career. Indeed, the bank accounts of the country's economic kingpins contain the raw materials needed to turn politicians into presidents.

The ordinary people are second in line when it comes to being graced by the candidates' presence. But even that isn't always free anymore. Obama, who has raised the most money so far in this year's presidential race, is now charging $25 for tickets to his appearances. But he does offer student discounts.

Political fundraising is now the dominant campaign issue for the public. Who is raising the most money? Who is ahead of whom? What are the candidates' fundraising strategies? It's almost as if the Americans were gearing up to elect the chairman of a nonprofit organization, not a new president.

here's the question that's always asked but never answered...
[W]hy is it that such a wealthy country seems incapable of introducing a clean, public campaign finance system untainted by the odor of corruption?

anyone care to venture a response...? ok... i will... plain and simple, the elites don't want one...

finally, the concluding (and very sad) perspective...

President George W. Bush's 2004 campaign against Democratic candidate John Kerry cost $881 million, which is equal to 0.008 percent of the US national product or 0.04 percent of the government's total budget. Based on these numbers, public campaign financing would weigh in at a cost of $3 per US citizen, once every few years.

By comparison, US per capita spending on pet food amounts to $47 -- a year.

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The infected, encrusted boil of social darwinism on Mark Steyn's ass

i've been following the latest National Distraction From Everything That's Really Important, namely the vicious firestorm set off by 1) the dems using a 12 year-old boy endorsing schip as the centerpiece for their recent sunday radio address, and 2) the crazed attack on the credibility of the boy and his family by the quasi-religious/ideological cult that seems to make up what's left of bush's supporters (see here, here, here, and here, among many others)... like most of these endless distractions, i prefer not to post on them and wasn't going to put up anything on this one either until i read this from mark steyn...
A more basic point is made very robustly by Kathy Shaidle: Advanced western democracies have delivered the most prosperous societies in human history. There simply are no longer genuinely "poor" people in sufficient numbers. As Miss Shaidle points out, if you're poor today, it's almost always for behavioral reasons - behavior which the state chooses not to discourage but to reward. Nonetheless, progressive types persist in deluding themselves that there are vast masses of the "needy" out there that only the government can rescue.

and there you have it, the ugly little nugget of the social darwinian creed:


are some people poor through their own doing...? absolutely... but, i can tell you this... there are a lot more decent, hardworking, long-suffering poor who are forced to remain that way for systemic reasons than there are people who "behaved" themselves into poverty... we have a system that is geared to reward those who already "have", those who have connections with those who already "have", and those who are willing to go to any lengths to "get", integrity and principles be damned... and, according to the rules of this game - rules written by the "haves" of course - money is how you keep score...

in the deluded minds of the social darwinians, if you "have", it is because you worked hard and deserve it... are there "haves" who have worked hard and deserve it...? absolutely... but i can tell you this... there are a tremendous number of "haves" who are there through absolutely no effort of their own... there are a large number of "haves" who have gotten there through massive exploitation of the "have-nots"... and there are a large number of "haves" who have gotten there because the system as it's presently structured gives them enormous leverage and, frequently, direct assistance...

the assertion that there "are no longer genuinely 'poor' people in sufficient numbers" tells me that mr. steyn lives in a bubble of his own creation... one of the sad things about the u.s. (and most of the first world, as opposed to a number of other countries) is that we keep the poor out of sight because they're an affront to the image of our country as the land of opportunity... but they're there, all right, you just have to go poking around in the places most folks like mr. steyn never go...

now, let's take a peek at the point that mr. steyn says that ms. shaidle makes so "robustly"...

I don't care about the poor. They're no more real than Bigfoot. Those we and these lefty Christians call "poor" are "poor" because they've made a series of stupid choices; spend all their (actually, my) money on lottery tickets, beer, tattoos and manicures; are suffering from undiagnosed but easily treated mental illnesses; had too many kids too young; smoked behind the gym while I spent recess in the library, etc etc etc.

I grew up with them. They were jerks and losers. (Believe me, innocent Lefty Christians: you haven't met real "racists" and "sexists" and "homephobes" [sic] until you've spent time with the "poor.")

Jesus said "the poor will always be with you" and all the crooked exegesis on earth can't make that line read "you are ordered by Me to eliminate poverty forever using dubious economic theories and your own stubborn yet puny human will power."

Jesus told us to love the poor because he realized it was so damn hard to do. And the poor in His day were REALLY poor. They had no choices, no upward mobility, no capitalism, no education. The Western poor haven't been in that situation for a long time. This isn't Dickensian England.

ms. shaidle, a canadian, publishes a weblog entitled, "Five Feet of Fury", which carries this endorsement by mr. steyn...
"Kathy Shaidle
writes like a dream."
-- Mark Steyn

i'm encouraged to see that ms. shaidle espouses such compassionate christian principles and that mr. steyn is such an avid follower...

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Monday, October 08, 2007

A lesson from Chile on how democracy, accountability and the rule of law is DONE

nothing like being severely shown up by a latin american country that the bush administration barely acknowledges exists...
Early on the morning of Thursday 4 October 2007, Chileans awoke to the stunning news that the investigative judge Carlos Cerda had delivered a damning resolution on the case of the embezzlement of public funds by the late dictator Augusto Pinochet and his cohorts. A week after the Chilean supreme court had authorised the reopening of Cerda's enquiry, he issued twenty-four arrest warrants for members of Pinochet's immediate family and associates.

Cerda's investigation has built on the United States Senate enquiry of 2004 that unearthed multi-million-dollar accounts in Pinochet's name in the Riggs bank in Miami. The final report shows how, over thirty-one years, Pinochet and his henchmen systematically siphoned off millions from Chilean army reserve funds; used false passports to open foreign bank accounts; earned huge kickbacks in international arms deals; set up ghost companies and purchased a string of luxury properties. It concluded that after the family fortune was totalled up, there was $20,199,753.03 that couldn't be "reasonably accounted for".

By mid-afternoon, the entire Pinochet family, six retired generals, two serving colonels, the ex-dictator's lawyer and eight other members of his inner circle were in police custody. Predictably, the general's 83-year-old widow, Lucia Hiriart, had an attack of hypertension and was whisked to the secretive military hospital where her late husband so often took sanctuary.

Then came the indignation. "This is indescribable political persecution", Pinochet's daughter-in-law, Maria Soledad Olave, screamed at reporters. "Don Augusto is dead; let's leave the hate and vengeance behind." Meanwhile Lucia Hiriart's lawyer denounced "an illegal abusive resolution that violates the most essential of a person's fundamental rights".

But unlike political detainees during Pinochet's 1973-90 reign of terror, those accused of crime in Chile today do have rights; within twenty-four hours Judge Cerda had unexpectedly granted bail to all his prisoners. "Everyone has a right to liberty during their trail", he explained, adding that no reason existed to keep them in preventative custody and as "I shall shortly be leaving the country, I have decided to give them their liberty myself".

folks, THIS is how a REAL democracy operates, with REAL accountability, REAL justice, REAL rights for the accused, and REAL compassion...

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The nuclear weapons oops: "We are not talking about paintball cartridges or pellet gun ammo"

remember this...?
Last month, six W80-1 nuclear-armed AGM-129 advanced cruise missiles were flown from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana and sat on the tarmac for 10 hours undetected.

Press reports initially cited the Air Force mistake of flying nuclear weapons over the United States in violation of Air Force standing orders and international treaties, while completely missing the more important major issues, such as how six nuclear cruise missiles got loose to begin with.

well, check this...

from the ft. worth star-telegram via raw story...

Robert Stormer of Chicago is a retired lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserve, serving with the Navy's Supervisor of Salvage, and was a specialist in weapons retrieval. He is a marine engineer and marine salvage specialist.

lt. commander stormer has some very important questions...
1 Why, and for what ostensible purpose, were these nuclear weapons taken to Barksdale?

2 How long was it before the error was discovered?

3 How many mistakes and errors were made, and how many needed to be made, for this to happen?

4 How many and which security protocols were overlooked?

5 How many and which safety procedures were bypassed or ignored?

6 How many other nuclear command and control non-observations of procedure have there been?

7 What is Congress going to do to better oversee U.S. nuclear command and control?

8 How does this incident relate to concern for reliability of control over nuclear weapons and nuclear materials in Russia, Pakistan and elsewhere?

9 Does the Bush administration, as some news reports suggest, have plans to attack Iran with nuclear weapons?

10 If this was an accident, have we degraded our military to a point where we are now making critical mistakes with our nuclear arsenal? If so, how do we correct this?

he concludes with these thoughts...
Yes, heads must roll and careers will end. But let's make sure that this includes the ranks from general officers to noncommissioned ones.

Or is this to be the Air Force version of the Abu Ghraib investigation?

from the moment this story broke, i've felt that it may well be THE smoking gun that brings the house of cards tumbling down... yes, i've said that before about other things and have been wrong, not necessarily wrong about the seriousness or the criminality of the issues in question, just wrong about if or how soon they would blow up in bushco's face... you gotta admit, there's SOMETHING really rotten lurking under this one...

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Bush administration officials who claim the U.S. doesn't torture "should have to undergo those same techniques. Personally. Repeatedly."

all those in favor, say "aye"...

from raw story...

[The Washington Post Associate Editor] Eugene Robinson says Bush should endure the same detainee treatment he authorized, which "international conventions deem torture."

"My proposal on torture is serious," Robinson wrote on a discussion board Sunday. "Let me know if you agree: Bush administration officials who claim the "harsh" interrogation techniques being used on terrorism suspects are not torture should have to undergo those same techniques. Personally. Repeatedly."


"Clearly, he is using a narrow definition of torture: If we haven't actually put anybody on the rack or pulled out his fingernails, we haven't committed torture," Robinson writes. "Until George W. Bush can say, 'Hey, I've been waterboarded, and it wasn't so bad,' or Alberto Gonzales can say, 'To tell the truth, spending those three days naked in a freezing-cold cell wasn't painful or anything,' then I'll continue to believe that history will condemn this administration for a shocking lapse of moral judgment. Bush will be remembered as the president who tried to justify torture."

you bet yer ass...

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Interrogating WWII German war criminals. (Hint: They didn't waterboard.)

the interrogators recently reconvened and discussed their methods, in stark contrast to what our criminal presidential administration has been up to... it's rather dramatic stuff and really ought to be front-page, headline, lead-story news around the country... at least the wapo put it on page one...

some of the eye-openers...

[The interrogators] and their commanders wrestled with the morality of bugging prisoners' cells with listening devices. They felt bad about censoring letters. They took prisoners out for steak dinners to soften them up. They played games with them.

"We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture," said Henry Kolm, 90, an MIT physicist who had been assigned to play chess in Germany with Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess.

no shit... but wait, there's more...
"We did it with a certain amount of respect and justice," said John Gunther Dean, 81, who became a career Foreign Service officer and ambassador to Denmark.

The interrogators had standards that remain a source of pride and honor.

"During the many interrogations, I never laid hands on anyone," said George Frenkel, 87, of Kensington. "We extracted information in a battle of the wits. I'm proud to say I never compromised my humanity."

so, what do they think of bushco's methods...?
[W]hen the time came for them to accept honors from the Army's Freedom Team Salute, one veteran refused, citing his opposition to the war in Iraq and procedures that have been used at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

"I feel like the military is using us to say, 'We did spooky stuff then, so it's okay to do it now,' " said Arno Mayer, 81, a professor of European history at Princeton University.

When Peter Weiss, 82, went up to receive his award, he commandeered the microphone and gave his piece.

"I am deeply honored to be here, but I want to make it clear that my presence here is not in support of the current war," said Weiss, chairman of the Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy and a human rights and trademark lawyer in New York City.

how very, very interesting... timely, too...

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Khaled el-Masri's case moves to the Supreme Court. Will accountability carry the day?

Khaled el-Masri

i've been kinda sorta following el-masri's case (here and here) for a number of reasons... one, el-masri was abducted and subjected to rendition in macedonia in early 2004, during a short window of time between my first and my second (out of a total of 6) engagements there, so his story hits a bit close to home, as it were... two, germany, following italy's example (italy is trying the cia agents involved in abu omar's abduction in absentia), issued arrest warrants last june for the cia agents involved in his abduction... third, el-masri was released without ever being charged, and fourth, he is a german citizen... it would seem to me that if anyone is entitled to legal redress, it would be el-masri... last march, the u.s. court of appeals in richmond, va, ruled that el-masri was not entitled to redress because his lawsuit would expose state secrets... i was hoping the case would make it to the supreme court and it looks like that's happening this week...
The Supreme Court is set to decide as early as Tuesday whether the government can invoke the doctrine of "state secrets" to quash a legal claim that CIA bungling resulted in a man being abducted, imprisoned and tortured.

After five months of such treatment, CIA agents apparently realized that the man in custody, Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent, was not the wanted terrorist Khalid al-Masri.

The case has attracted wide public attention in Europe, but El-Masri has been unable to gain a court hearing in the United States because the government has so far successfully invoked the argument that it cannot be taken to court when doing so might expose state secrets.

For his appeal to get an airing in the Supreme Court, four of the nine justices will have to agree to hear it. The justices have been closely split in cases that challenge the administration's handling of the war on terrorism.

That El-Masri is the victim of a case of mistaken identity does not seem to be in doubt.

the last paragraph in the following is particularly noteworthy...
Though the Supreme Court has not directly ruled on the state-secrets privilege in more than 50 years, the rule has been invoked regularly in the lower courts. The Bush administration has used it to block suits involving whistle-blowers, wiretapping and the firing of CIA agents.

Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union are urging the high court to take up El-Masri's case. They say the privilege has been transformed from a limited protection for military secrets to a broad shield for the government to hide behind when confronted with allegations of "grave executive misconduct."

It is particularly strange, they say, to allow the Bush administration to "invoke state secrets to protect the nation against the disclosure of information that the entire world already knows."

will accountability carry the day...? color me skeptical...

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With your host, RICH-A-R-R-RD PERLE!

ya just gotta love tom tomorrow...

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Columbus Day 2007

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

"Dirty Tricks"

Bill Moyers' September 28, 2007 interview of John Bogle was quite telling. America has gone from about 7.5% of the economy being represented by money managers, to nearly 10 times that at almost 75% of our economy today. These money men chase the cheapest labor on earth, which is called outsourcing America's jobs, to places where human rights are routinely ignored, and the rest of us live large on that exploitation.

But it cannot last. Without sufficient numbers of manufacturing and/or production jobs in the US, our economy cannot sustain our population with just service industry jobs. The rich and powerful will dispose of the surplus population the way they always do.

The movie, "Blood Diamond", reveals the paradigm for the exploitation of all riches. Those in this country still content to act as apologists for the totalitarians need to realize, the small gain they achieve, comes at high cost to many others. A similar scenario is bound to play out here as the 5th Estate continues to crush free speech and other rights like the ability to eek out a living.

Slashdot reports:

Despite a congressional request for that probe, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin quashed the inquiry based on comments from National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell. 'At issue are reports last year that some big telephone companies allowed the U.S. government access to millions of telephone records for an anti terrorism program. The reports have prompted scrutiny by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Democratic Rep. Edward Markey, the chairman of a key Energy and Commerce subcommittee, asked Martin to investigate. Markey, of Massachusetts, said McConnell's stance was "unsurprising given that this administration has continually thwarted efforts by Congress to shed more light on the surveillance program."

In reports of hearings being held on telcom issues, two names seem prominent: Edward Markey and John Kerry. Edward Markey had previously pushed the V-chip. Some of us were concerned that he had joined America's demagogue campaign of hysteria to marginalize children. These days Representative Markey seems more a voice of reason. He won't be cheap for the totalitarians to buy or kill. His wife made both Rear Admiral and served as Assistant Surgeon General of the United States.

John Kerry on the other hand, is a police state advocate. He is one of the current demagogue forces behind the "Sexual Predator" laws that aim to replace the arguably waning war on Global Terrorism.

John Kerry appears to be in favor of massive police surveillance. The recent incident of a brave young neophyte reporter asking him solid questions and paying for that by being tortured by Kerry's police with a Taser, now seems typically Kerry.

Government's enforcers make it clear: They isolate and disrupt their targets. This didn't start recently. It has roots back in COINTELPRO:

They used secret and systematic methods of fraud and force, far beyond mere surveillance, to sabotage constitutionally protected political activity. The purpose of the program was, in FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's own words, to 'expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit and otherwise neutralize' specific groups and individuals."

Now add to that the use of terror and torture by our own government.

Want to complain? Well that's why they want to detect and fight you with packet shaping (sniffing).

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