American Samizdat Guernica
Monday, June 21, 2004

. . . is the new url for American Samizdat!

A belated big thanks to new Harbingers! Thank you: Sauceruney of Memetic Invasion, Mr. Spock of the LGF Quiz and The LGF Quiz Blog, Alec Kinnear of la vie viennoise and Susan of Easy Bake Coven!

Attn Harbingers: any one of you who doesn't have your own domain is welcome to a permanent address at amsam.org! Would you or anyone you know be interested in becoming a harbinger here? Let me know! (drmenlo@well.com) We'd love to have ya! Let's keep building this progressive coalition and ramp up our collective efforts to help unseat Bush this fall!

Please update your links and bookmarks! And thanks for reading!

. . . another great anti-Bush art site. I plan to compile a new category of links to anti-Bush art sites to put up on all my blogs--any recommendations? What are your favorites?

. . . this kid, here. He don't take orders alla time--he got attitude.

Aisle 5.


The kid looks, stops: "Conformity Camp! Fuck!" Within seconds he is marching . . .
Sunday, June 20, 2004
"To improve the ability of intelligence personnel of the Department of Defense to recruit sources, it is necessary for Defense intelligence personnel, without having to divulge their affiliation with the Department or the U.S. Government, to approach potential sources and collect personal information from them to determine their suitability and willingness to become intelligence sources."


"The Pentagon has long had the authority to conduct intelligence within the United States to protect its military personnel or bases against an attack, according to experts. But, during the Vietnam War, a scandal broke out when it was revealed that military agents had spied on civilians as well as soldiers for their political beliefs instead of their threat to the Defense Department's security.

"Following the 1970 revelations of Christopher Pyle, then a graduate student at Columbia University, that the Pentagon spied against antiwar groups in the 1960s, Congress held hearings that resulted in recommendations that the Defense Department be barred from conducting domestic intelligence. But no new laws were created specifically prohibiting the practice.

"'The Pentagon gave [Congress] strong assurances they would not return to domestic spying on civilian political activity,' Pyle, now a professor at Mount Holyoke College, said by telephone Tuesday.

"In 1974, the Privacy Act (PL 93-579) was signed into law, requiring representatives from most government agencies -- including the Defense Department -- to identify themselves when they collect information on U.S. citizens and legal resident aliens, and to identify the purpose of their information collection.

"But language inserted in the Senate version of the intelligence authorization bill would exempt the Defense Department from those provisions, opening the door to an expanded authority to surreptitiously collect information on U.S. residents."
Saturday, June 19, 2004
Faithful Citizenship?
Politicians Face Censure From Bishops on Abortion Rights
 
This really pisses me off! Now the Fundies seem to have buffooned the Catholic bishops into a de facto endorsement of Too Stupid To Be President. "Politicians Face Censure From Bishops on Abortion Rights". The actual text (generically named "Catholics in Political Life") is here. The question here is why, when the Catholic Church's position on abortion has been fully clear for years, these bishops suddenly felt the need to issue a statement like this in the middle of an election campaign. Are Catholics now supposed to vote for Idiot Boy on the basis of a single political stance? The same dry drunk who actual paid for a girlfriend's abortion when it was still illegal. Or has God forgiven that "evil"?

How about a similar statement regarding the ethical considerations involved in blowing up little children with cluster bombs in an illegal war of choice? (Oooh. There's that "choice" word again.) Or maybe a statement about what Jesus would have to say about a "Christian nation" that failed to provide adequate healthcare for all of that nation's sick and injured? Or maybe something about Christian congressmen who chop the legs from under the social safety net as they simultaneously trumpet the need for more costly and effective killing machines? Or funding cuts for education that disproportionately punish those children whose only mistake was that of being born to impoverished parents? What about some statements on these?

Faithful citizenship, my ass. This is nothing more than blatant religio-political hypocricy! And they wonder why I left the Church?


Friday, June 18, 2004
"It is [in regard to] the stopping of the machine that we seem to falter. For some reason, we have not understood clearly what the blueprint was when we recall and think about what happened in the Civil Rights Movement and the Labor Movement and the Women's Movement in [their] early manifestations. The one thing that all those movements had in common was that they stopped the machine.

"And until we stop the machine, and the way in which they hungrily pursue profit; until we tell them you will not turn another moment of profit until you deal with our spiritual bankruptcy as a nation; until you find a new code of honor in which to deal with the world, we will not tolerate any longer your banks, your institutions. We'll no longer tolerate your military interventions and your military impositions. And we are ready to put our bodies and our lives on the line to do that."

Harry Belafonte, who spoke at the 2004 Human Rights Awards Ceremony in San Francisco on June 10.
The United States is holding suspects in the war on terrorism in more than two dozen detention centres around the world, at least half of which operate in total secrecy, a human rights group charged on Thursday.

In a report called "Ending Secret Detentions," Human Rights First said that secrecy surrounding the detention centres makes "inappropriate detention and abuse not only likely, but inevitable".
9/11 tapes and closed-door testimony
Despite all the high secrecy surrounding the briefing, a half-dozen different [9/11] family members were so horrified by voice evidence of the airlines' disregard for the fate of their pilots, crew and passengers that they found ways to reveal some of what they heard on those tapes, and also what they felt. To them, the tapes appeared to show that the first instinct of American and United Airlines, as management learned of the gathering horror aboard their passenger planes on Sept. 11, was to cover up.

The response of American's management on duty, as revealed on the tape produced at the meeting, was recalled by persons in attendance:

"Don't spread this around. Keep it close."

"Keep it quiet."

"Let's keep this among ourselves. What else can we find out from our own sources about what's going on?"

"It was disgusting," said the parent of one of the victims, herself a veteran flight attendant for United Airlines. "The very first response was cover-up, when they should have been broadcasting this information all over the place."


There's also a little more about Sibel Edmonds, who's now teamed up with Daniel Ellsberg:

"The whistleblower pair were protesting yet another delay by Judge Reggie Walton of the District Court of Columbia in determining whether Edmonds' closed session testimony to Congressional inquiries can be declared state secrets by U.S. Attorney General, John Ashcroft.

"In a statement, Edmonds called Ashcroft's legal moves anti-freedom of speech and anti-due process.

"Ellsberg's common cause with Edmonds is founded on his own battle to make public a top secret study of US decision-making in Vietnam, known as the Pentagon Papers."
I know, I know: this sounds very much like a call for class war. But the class war was declared a generation ago, in a powerful paperback polemic by William Simon, who was soon to be Secretary of the Treasury. He called on the financial and business class, in effect, to take back the power and privileges they had lost in the depression and new deal. They got the message, and soon they began a stealthy class war against the rest of society and the principles of our democracy. They set out to trash the social contract, to cut their workforces and wages, to scour the globe in search of cheap labor, and to shred the social safety net that was supposed to protect people from hardships beyond their control. Business Week put it bluntly at the time: "Some people will obviously have to do with less....it will be a bitter pill for many Americans to swallow the idea of doing with less so that big business can have more."

The middle class and working poor are told that what's happening to them is the consequence of Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand." This is a lie. What's happening to them is the direct consequence of corporate activism, intellectual propaganda, the rise of a religious orthodoxy that in its hunger for government subsidies has made an idol of power, and a string of political decisions favoring the powerful and the privileged who bought the political system right out from under us. [more]

Thursday, June 17, 2004
George Orwell, meet Franz Kafka.
"For 1984, his classic novel of totalitarianism, George Orwell created 'Room 101,' an interrogation room where a prisoner's deepest fears were to be realized and applied. Tier 1 in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, as the now-infamous photos indicate, was the Bush administration's Room 101 for the 'Arab mind,' and so the crown jewel of its global interrogation facilities; just as Guantanamo was the 'crown jewel' of the prison camps in its global Bermuda Triangle of injustice; just as the new appointed 'interim government' hidden within the ever-more fortified Green Zone in Baghdad and led by a prime minister and former CIA asset whose exile organization, we learned this week, once set off car bombs in downtown Baghdad, is now the crown jewel of "freedom and democracy" in the Middle East. This is our 'war against terrorism.' Talk about an Orwellian world."

from TomDispatch
New to Boston and coming soon to a city near you: random ID checks on commuter trains. Sounds more like Nazi Germany than 21st Century America. Are the two as different as we once thought?
Dubya Seeks A Little Help From His Pope
As Pen-Elayne points out, religion's been in the news lately. Not only do you have your basic Baptist secession, but you have Bush seeking political favors from the Vatican. The latter inspired this poem:

Dubya's Plea
By Madeleine Begun Kane
Our Bishops need to do much more
To safeguard all that's good,
Said Dubya to the Pope when Dub
Was in the neighborhood.

The rest of Dubya's Plea is here and here.
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Matthews:† According to the papers this week, there's three guys in the running right now.† They're all men.† They're all white guys, because it seems to be the list we go from anyway.†

Franken:† OK, white men.† So you're talking Edwards, Gephardt and Vilsack?††

Matthews:† No, Edwards, Gephardt and Clark still.

Franken:† Oh, Clark.

Matthews:† Clark is back in.† Vilsack seems to be out.

Franken:† Oh, I don't follow these as closely as you do.

Matthews:† Which of those three do you think is the most likely to be picked by the next convention?†

Franken:† I'd say Edwards is.† They have to make a sort of threshold choice, Edwards or not.† So I think that's a 50-50 on Edwards.†

Matthews:† That's very shrewd.† That's exactly where I think it is.† No, I really do think that's what he thinks, too.

Franken:† Thank you.† (LAUGHTER)

Matthews:† Fifty-fifty on Edwards.† Which way would youčif you were putting together the ticket, where would you go?

Franken:† I would go with Edwards.† †I'll tell you why:† The job of the running mate is to make the case for the guy at the top of the ticket.† Well, who would you like to make the case for you other than one of the great trial lawyers in our country?†

Matthews:† So he's the up-up man.† He's the guy who's going to say, ≥I give you John Kerry. ≥ I think he complements more than supports.† I think he would be the regular guy, humble upbringing, son of a factory worker, a father who lost his job, a good thing to take that case to Ohio, places like that.

Franken:† Yes, absolutely. The two Americas. [more]
"I'm not bothered [by the danger] - nothing bothers me," said Mr Menefee, grinning. "The chances of something happening are the same here. I could step out of the door and get hit by a bus."

Wait... didn't I just read this "Well, I could die right here at home, so why not go where people are inclined to shoot me" rationaliztion?

"The only thing I'm really scared of is if I can't do it, can't get through basic [training]," Ms. Jordan said. "I guess I didn't want to be a small-town girl who figures she's not going to amount to much. I may not have my name in the stars, but I'll be part of something.

"You could get shot," she added, "going to the gas station."

Yes, in that restive ghetto that is Lyndon, Kansas...
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Dump Bush Song Parody
Here's my Dump Bush Song Parody, to be sung to "Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush," It's perfect for Bush's next appearance in an elementary school classroom, don't you think?

Dump Bush Song
By Madeleine Begun Kane

We must defeat George W. Bush,
George W. Bush, George W. Bush.
We must defeat George W. Bush.
Vote Kerry this November.

Cheney and Bush are our nation's foes,
Our nation's foes, our nation's foes.
Cheney and Bush are our nation's foes.
Vote Kerry this November. ...

The rest of my Dump Bush Song Parody is here and also here.
Israel stealing land? The sun coming up in the morning?

How about a little, "Mr. Sharon, tear down this wall!"--?
Tim Elliott, a Chicago attorney who recently challenged the revision in a Texas federal courtroom on behalf of a bankrupt food distributor, said defining French fries as fresh vegetables defied common sense.

"I find it pretty outrageous, really," said Elliott, who argued that the Batter-Coating Rule is so vague that chocolate-covered cherries, packed in a candy box, would qualify as fresh fruit. [more]
"It turns out to be a really brilliant piece of work, and a film that members of all political parties should see without fail."

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