American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, November 08, 2003
There's a risky dimension to shifting federal environmental policy - even in the name of "balance" - that leaves the administration open to criticism. In a memo to Republican leaders earlier this year, GOP pollster Frank Luntz warned that "the environment is probably the single issue on which Republicans in general - and President Bush in particular - are most vulnerable."

One indicator: Last week, 13 states and 20 cities sued the Bush administration for its plan to adjust Clean Air Act regulations in a way critics say will increase the emission of harmful pollutants. EPA officials this week acknowledged that investigations of several dozen power plants thought to be in violation of the Clean Air Act will be dropped, confirming suspicions for critics of the administration plan allowing power plants to upgrade without reducing emissions.

While Democrats are more likely to be considered "green" than Republicans, much of the support for increased environmental protection is bipartisan. [more]
McDonald's says it deserves a break from the unflattering way the latest Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary depicts its job opportunities. Among some 10,000 new additions to an updated version released in June was the term "McJob," defined as "low paying and dead-end work."

In an open letter to Merriam-Webster, McDonald's CEO Jim Cantalupo said the term is "an inaccurate description of restaurant employment" and "a slap in the face to the 12 million men and women" who work in the restaurant industry. [more]

Was it Douglas Coupland who coined that? Or did he just bring it to a wider audience by including a definition of the word in Generation X?
Angry about a leaked Democratic memo, the Republican leadership of the Senate yesterday took the unusual step of canceling all business of the committee investigating prewar intelligence on Iraq.

Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) called on the author of the memo -- which laid out a possible Democratic strategy to extend the investigation to include the White House and executive branch -- to "identify himself or herself . . . disavow this partisan attack in its entirety" and deliver "a personal apology" to Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence. [more]
Mostly rural school systems in at least 10 other states have made the switch to save money: Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Arkansas, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming, according to a 2002 survey by the National School Boards Association.

"It's the easiest way to cut to get a quick result fast, to get more money," said Linda Embrey, a spokeswoman for the association. [more]

As we all know (and was mentioned recently here on the Samizdat as well, but I couldn't find the link just now), the neocons want to completely gut all social services--the Department of Education included. Wait a minute, does "gut" imply that there would be something left? Correction, then: they want to get rid of social services in America altogether--Dept. of Education included. Not only does disappearing the latter ensure an even more ill-informed populace which they can keep more easily in line with their Color-Coded Chart o' Terror among other devices, but of course, that's more money to funnel into their pockets through the military/industrial complex. Of course, they are reaching their goal of the destruction of all social services in America by creating the biggest deficit the country has ever seen.

In addition, they are using the Diebold voting machines to rig elections to their favor, using a wide plethora of media companies to spread their message (Clear Channel, Fox, etc.) and leaning on the media companies they don't control outright to alter something they don't like (CBS with the Reagans), in addition to the many ways they censor any information being released to the public they don't like (from not allowing coverage of the body bags coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan to sending Helen Thomas to the back of the line because she rightfully called Bush the "worst president in American history" at a press conference which is pre-scripted to begin with, and on and on) to being the most secretive administration in US history by not only refusing to release information the public of a democracy deserves to know (who did Cheney meet with re: energy policy, all FOIA requests, who leaked the actual duties that Valerie Plame performs for our country [KARL ROVE]), and on and on and on.

And yet if you DARE say that this administration is a "dictatorship in the making" (cue Valis with the quote by Bush: "Things would be much easier if this was a dictatorship and I was the dictator." [pp]) then you are being a "knee-jerk reactionary" working from a script somebody gave to you.

A "dictatorship in the making" is the best way I know of to describe the Bush administration in as little words as I know how. I believe that the facts support this description. There are only two things to make you reluctant to believe this: an ignorance of the full events of the last three years and a general unwillingness to believe that things could really be that bad.

I measure my words fully when I say that things are that bad, and if the Diebold machines are used as they are now in the next election then yet another presidential election will be stolen and America as you know it will be utterly and completely lost.

In the days before his death, Jewish Defense League head Irv Rubin had second thoughts about his radical philosophy, according to one of his fellow prison inmates.

In a letter obtained by the Forward, the inmate claims that through conversations with Muslim and Palestinian prisoners, Rubin had grown almost repentant for his Israel-for-Jews-only stance.

"I introduced him to a number of the Palestinians with us on the floor, and he spoke to them a lot about the Middle East conflict," read the letter. "It appeared to me that this was the first and only time that he had ever sat to hear quietly the Palestinians and to hear the other side, the travail that they are undergoing.... He would strike his right hand with his fist in the area of his heart as if he were reciting the confessional prayer: 'I have sinned, I've gone astray.'"
Surveillance video from Stratford High School in Goose Creek shows 14 officers, some with guns drawn, ordering students to lie the ground as police searched for marijuana. Students who didn't comply with the orders quickly enough were reportedly handcuffed.

Police didn't find any criminals in the armed sweep, but they say search dogs smelled drugs on a dozen backpacks.

[ . . . ]

"I was just upset knowing they had guns put to their head and a canine was barking at them and about to bite somebody," said Latonia Simmons, the parent of one student. "It was awful." [more]
Black Box Notes
On Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century
 


Kudos to Jim March:
 
When I first heard that California had halted the certification of Diebold voting machines, I wondered if Jim had heard. For any who doesn't know, Jim's a California boy and was one of the original crew that worked over the Diebold software that Bev Harris found unguarded on an FTP site.
 
As it turns out, Jim knew a lot about California's Diebold decision. He was the one who made it happen. Pick up PDF copies of his correspondence to and from the California election people that brought all of this about as well as his very own "take down" notice from Diebold. Good job, Jim!
 
And for anyone who's interested in trying out the Diebold software themselves, you can also get copies of it along with detailed test procedures from Jim's website.



Election 2003 Results á la Diebold:
 
Kentucky, who elected Republican Ernie Fletcher as governor by a 10-point margin, uses Diebold election machines (including touch pads) only in Jefferson County (~17% of total state population). Jefferson County however gave a 51.3%/48.6% edge to Democrat A.B. Chandler.
 
Mississippi, who elected Republican Haley Barbour as governor by an 8-point margin over incumbent Democrat Ronnie Musgrove, uses Diebold election machines (but not touch pads) state-wide.
 
A third Southern governor's race goes before the voters in Louisiana on Nov. 15. Louisiana does not use Diebold voting machines. (But see "Louisiana May Toss ES&S Touch Pads" below.)
 
New Jersey gave the Democrats control of the state Senate with gains in both houses of the legislature. New Jersey does not use Diebold election machines.
 
In major mayoral contests: Philadelphia re-elected Democrat John Street as mayor. In Houston, Republican Orlando Sanchez and Democrat Bill White are headed for a runoff. In San Francisco, Democrat Gavin Newsom and Green Party candidate Matt Gonzalez are also headed for a runoff. None of these cities use Diebold election machines.



GOP Cries Foul Over Virginia Touch Pads:
 
The Washington Post reports that Republican officials have filed a legal challenge to election results from Fairfax County, Virginia based on numerous problems with their touch pad voting machines during the election there Tuesday. Problems included machines that were repaired and returned to service (effectively de-certifying them), results that had to be called in or hand delivered due to server overload, and a handful of precincts even resorting to paper ballots. Regarding the repaired machines, Christopher T. Craig, attorney for the Republicans, acknowledged that the number of votes, estimated in the hundreds, "may not make any difference, but that is not the point. It's about voter integrity."
 
Well said, BUT: Of the 61 co-signers of the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003, none are Republicans.
 
Fairfax County uses Advanced Voting Solutions' WINvote touch pads (See "Who Is Advanced Voting Solutions?" below) and has approximately 550,000 registered voters. Arlington County, Virginia also uses these same machines and experienced no such problems, suggesting that the problems experienced in Fairfax were the result of human error(s). Fairfax used the WINvote equipment during the 2002 election (though Arlington did not), and had few problems with them at that time.



Louisiana May Toss ES&S Touch Pads:
 
The Shreveport Times is reporting that Louisiana will likely get rid of 900 new Election Systems and Software (ES&S) touch pad voting machines after approximately two-thirds of them malfunctioned, overheating and shutting down, apparently during testing. ES&S replaced the malfunctioning units, but significant problems remained with trying to tie them in with other state election equipment.
 
Louisiana paid $3 million for the machines which were used in two parishes in the state, and will continue to use them through the November 15th gubernatorial election there. Afterwards, the state will likely standardize voting machinery across the state, and while touch pads remain an option, the use of ES&S machines is doubtful.



 
Advanced Voting Solutions (AVS, formerly known as Shoup Voting Solutions) sells a line of touch pad and elections support systems and software known as WINvote. The "WIN" in WINvote stands for Wireless Information Network, which is the "technology baseline on which all components of the AVS voting system function."  AVS claims that the WIN technology "dramatically simplifies polling place procedures and enhances the security and integrity of the process." While wireless technology should theoretically simplify procedures, the Fairfax County experience indicates that it can also add complications. As for enhancing security  and integrity, WINvote technology is implemented using cellular communications. Cellular communications are quite trivial to intercept and/or divert, and the WINvote implementation of cellular requires that it be in an "always available" mode. Not only does this allow real time monitoring of election results (illegal), but also allows a reasonably sophisticated operator to alter voting results during transmission. But according to Bryan Finney, government relations coordinator for AVS, "There really is no way a hacker could break into this during the few minutes that this is up. That's a virtual impossibility." Mr. Finney clearly doesn't know how cellular technology works.
 
AVS is located in Frisco, Texas, and is led by President and CEO Howard T. Van Pelt, assuming these responsibilities in June, 2001. Van Pelt previously co-founded Global Election Systems (GEMS). Joining him at AVS are former GEMS manager Larry Ensminger, former GEMS field service manager Ingrid Giordano and former GEMS regional project manager Tyler Lincks. Together the three of them make up 4 of the 5 names cited on the AVS website, with the fifth being a Shoup family member. AVS apparently is GEMS reincarnated. (Note however that none of the four is on records as having made any political contributions from the 2000 election cycle forward.)
 
In addition to being certified in Virginia, AVS voting machines are also certified for use in California, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania. AVS is currently soliciting Arkansas. A list of all established vendors of computerized vote tabulation systems (as of 2/20/2003) can be found here.




From the archives: Chris Floyd publishes a weekly editorial column in the Moscow Times called "Global Eye". About a month back, he published an editorial on the American voting system called "Last Rights".
"It's dangerously naive to believe that such a gang, coming to power in such a fashion, will allow a legitimate electoral contest to take place next year. They have too much to lose. They haven't expended so much effort -- and so many thousands of innocent lives -- to build this vast engine of repression and profit only to turn it over to Howard Dean or John Kerry, just because the stupid American people say so."
It's definitely worth a read.




Imagine having to register for a permit to live in your own home, to travel out of your village...
To better understand what is going on in Palestine/Israel I offer you a link to the work of Eyal Weizman.
I would recommend to you "Ariel Sharon and the Geometry of Occupation..."(You will have to register with Open Democracy to view the piece) The politics of the wall/separation barrier that is being built are complex, and not to be understood from simplistic media accounts, which tend to sensationalize and obsfucate rational analysis.
Gush Shalom offers a clear map of the wall/barrier that allows one to judge for oneself how it will effect Peace negotiations as well as what little it has to do with "The Green Line", Israel's UN mandated 1967 borders.
The World Bank: The separation Fence Will Hurt Palestinians Immensely.
Referred to in the Weizman piece linked above THE KEY TO PEACE: DISMANTLING THE MATRIX OF CONTROL By Jeff Halper offers much needed insight on Palestine/Israel.
Jewish Voice for Peace is another resource for learning about the wall/separation barrier.
Read , consider and judge for yourself. It is a "hot topic", share what you learn.
On November 9 there will be an International Day Against the Wall .

I owe a thank you to GC for initially bringing the Weizman link to my attention, and to BC for The International Day Against the Wall link..
Friday, November 07, 2003
The Bush White House, irritated by pesky questions from congressional Democrats about how the administration is using taxpayer money, has developed an efficient solution: It will not entertain any more questions from opposition lawmakers.

The decision -- one that Democrats and scholars said is highly unusual -- was announced in an e-mail sent Wednesday to the staff of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. House committee Democrats had just asked for information about how much the White House spent making and installing the "Mission Accomplished" banner for President Bush's May 1 speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. [more]

As many of us have noted from the beginning, the Bush administration is a dictatorship in the making. If they are allowed to use the Diebold machines without a receipt-system in the 2004 election, there will not even be the possibility for democracy in America for a long, long time.
Left I on the News has been skeptical, to put it mildly, about the "Jessica Lynch was raped" story. Today, the view from Iraq from an actual reporter trying to get the actual facts (you remember how that used to happen, don't you?):
"Dr. Mahdi Khafazji [previously named in the press as "Khafaji"; correct spelling unknown], an orthopedic surgeon at Nasiriyah's main hospital performed surgery on Lynch to repair a fractured femur and said he found no signs that she was raped or sodomized.

"Khafazji, speaking at his private clinic in Nasiriyah, said he examined her extensively and would have detected signs of sexual assault. He said the examination turned up no trace of semen.

"[Dr. Jamal al-Saeidi, a brigadier general and head of the orthopedic department at the now disbanded Military Hospital] said Lynch was fully clothed with her field jacket buttoned up. 'Her clothes were not torn, buttons had not come off, her pants were zipped up,' al-Saeidi said.

"Al-Saeidi said he found no signs of rape during an examination although he acknowledged he was not looking for signs of sexual assault."
Kudos to Politics in the Zeros for finding this story, which is most definitely not all over the place as of this writing.

Followup: A tidbit from a review of the docudrama about Lynch:

"Private Lynch is shown mostly in flashbacks in her hometown, Palestine, W.Va., where she explains to friends that she cannot find even a part-time job at the local Wal-Mart and is joining the military so that she can someday become a teacher."
From Left I on the News
A federal judge has canceled seven grazing permits on taxpayers' land in Arizona and New Mexico, effectively removing about 1,425 cows from the properties, after it emerged that the Forest Service had failed to do its job of examining the livestock's impact on endangered species.

Many U.S. citizens remain unaware that over 300 million acres of the land their taxes pay to protect is leased at substantially reduced rates to livestock producers for grazing. Nor are most aware of the extent of devestation this can and does wreak on ecosystems throughout the Western U.S. Most BLM and Forest Service land is grazed, so this week's ruling may set an interesting precedent.
Baghdad Holiday
The Plan

It's November Fourth, major combat ended months ago; the mission has been accomplished. It has been a long flight, twelve hours from New York, my donations to the Republican Party have finally paid off. This is the reward. You see, I'm a Stalwart Republican, and contrary to what that pinko left-wing liberal media is saying; things in Iraq have never been better. Schools are open, commerce is thriving, people are going about their business, and those American companies that made the supreme sacrifice have been justly rewarded for the risks they took during the early days of the war. We, the few, the proud, the party faithful, were asked if we'd like to spend our vacation in Iraq this year, all expenses paid. We all quickly agreed. The President's bud Wolfie, has agreed to be our guide. Cool.

The Arrival

Flight Attendant: We are on our final approach to Baghdad International Airport please fasten your seat belts as we begin our final descent.

In the cockpit, the pilot is making final preparations for the landing.

Pilot: Baghdad Tower this is flight 911 "We're Not Scared Airlines" requesting landing instructions.

Tower: Roger that "Not Scared," come left 90 degrees and descend 500 feet to 9500 feet. Good yes that's very good. You are currently on the preferred flight path. Now come right 90 degrees and descend to 9000 feet.

Pilot: Roger that Baghdad coming right 90 degrees.

Tower: "Not Scared", turn left 90 degrees and descend 500.

Pilot: Roger

Tower: Now right 90 another 500.

Pilot: Why the hell do you keep changing my direction. This is confusing I liked it better when it was all lefts, 360 degrees descending 1000 another 360 descending another 1000. This left right shit is fucking me up.

Co-pilot: Not me, I felt screwed every time we came in that other way. I liked it better when we just descended to 200 feet as we cleared Kuwaiti air space, and then just throttled back and set her down when the surface to air missile cleared our tail.

Pilot: Yes, those were the days.

Tower: Okay come left 90 degrees.

Pilot: Did he say left.

Tower: Roger that, left 90 degrees

Pilot: Did he say to descend?

Co-pilot: I don't think so.

Pilot: Fuck were going to...

Tower: "Not Scared" descend 500 ft right 90 degrees.

Pilot: Roger

Tower: "Not Scared" Could you just do it seven more times and let me know when you're finished.

Co-pilot: Did he say finished? Shit!

Pilot: Okay just calm down I've got it under control, You put your left wing down, you put your right wing down, you put your left wing down, and you do the hokey...

Co-pilot: Knock off the horsing around and pay attention to your flying.

Pilot: Yes, well okay, tower are you there tower?

Tower: Yes this is the tower, I'm thinking, why don't you just do a visual landing. You can see us can't you? The runway is the smooth strip of pavement between the craters. God damn that Halliburton they were supposed to have those filled months ago.

Pilot: Roger that tower, the smooth spot.

The Ride From the Airport to Baghdad.

Stalwart Republican: We entered the terminal building, hell of a name that, and over the loudspeaker heard: Welcome to Baghdad International Airport, please enjoy your stay. We walked a few hundred yards to our bus and boarded for the scenic ride into the city. I thought we'd get Hummers for the trip in, oh well maybe we'll get those at the hotel.

Stalwart Republican: What the hell was that, it sounded like an explosion.

Wolfie: Not to worry it was just a road bump. They put them there to slow down the speeders.

Stalwart Republican: Then what the fuck is that, looks like a bus, just like ours, a smoking shell by the side of the road.

Wolfie: Well, as you know the Iraqi civil authorities are taking more and more responsibility for enforcing local ordinances. We have them working on traffic.

Stalwart Republican: That vehicle we just passed, the smoking one.

Wolfie: Which one?

Stalwart Republican: The smoking one.

Wolfie: Oh yes, I think that one was pulled over for speeding.

Stalwart Republican: Speeding?!

Wolfie: Yes we take law and order seriously here in the new Iraq.

Stalwart Republican: I can't wait to get to the hotel, I'm feeling a little sick to my stomach after that landing.

Wolfie: Only a few more Checkpoints, I mean er a few more minutes. There it is now.


Stalwart Republican: That's the hotel, you've got to be shitting me. Take me back to the airport.

Wolfie: Hmm, it looked better the last time I was here.


Stalwart Republican: I think I'll be spending my vacation in France this year.

The Lesson

Wolfie: Shhhh! I'd be careful what you say. The last guy that said that was ... Remember Stalwart, you're either with us or you're against us.

Stalwart Republican: Oh yes, right, I forget there for a minute, sorry. I guess this means no Hummers.

The End
A discussion thread in Metafilter talks about inroads the Bush administration is making in its quest to take abortions out of the clinics and hospitals and return them to the to back alleys and kitchen tables. This week, with tears in his eyes and a pat on the back from a cabal of old white guy zealots, Bush signed a bill that makes it illegal for physicians to perform emergency late-term medical abortions that might preserve the life or health of endangered women. There several links about the issue in the MetaFilter discussion thread, and Meddling With Medicine is an excellent overview, courtesy of Eliot Gelwan and his most excellent blog.

"Proponents of the ban succeeded in focusing the debate on the admittedly gruesome details of certain abortions, thus diverting attention from the threat the bill poses to earlier pre-viable abortions. The public - not realizing it affected early second-term abortions - tuned out this debate as irrelevant to them or to their daughters, sisters and wives. They still seem unaware of the potentially sweeping impact of the ban. "

Whether you are a woman yourself, or if there are women in your life that you love, be afraid, be very afraid.
Ted Rall pipes in again. It's this this bit among a certain segment of the New Right where they where they want to control spending (i.e., eliminate Social Security, Medicare, and all forms of welfare) by literally backrupting the federal government.

Now I've seen this all, and I'd gotten to a point of thinking that poetic justice would be served if Bush actually won re-election. Let him take the fall for the crap he has done. At least that way, his ideology would be garbage-canned for decades. Of course, we'd all be up Hell's Hole by then, but at least we could begin to rebuild without interferance from the "me only" nasties of the New Right.

Ted has a different idea: He thinks that the Democrats should simply stop coming into office with the idea that they had to clean up the Republican messes. Leave them for the next Rebulican administration, he suggests.

His idea is pretty wild, but I like it.

Forget Paul Krugman (just kidding). The best left-wing writer against the Bush juggernaught is Chris Floyd of the Moscow Times. In this week's Global Eye editorial, Chris takes up the Bush claim that "(t)he more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers will react. The more progress we make on the ground, ... the more desperate these killers become." Chris finds in fact that this claim has been made many times before, and he cites examples.

General George Custer, anyone?

Unconfirmed Report
My friend Dr. Omed sent me the following in an email a couple of days ago, which was sent to him as email from scnd@banthebomb.org earlier last week:

HAS ANYONE ELSE HEARD ANYTHING ON THIS?

From: the Peacewatchers at USAFs Fairford and Welford bases in the UK

Since Saturday, people in the Highlands of Scotland have been witnessing large movements of US warplanes overhead. Experienced observers say the large numbers are reminiscent of those that preceded the bombing of Iraq in1998 and military strikes on Libya in the 1980's as well as the first Gulf War.

At the weekend warplanes were flying over at a rate of roughly one every 15 minutes. As well as watching them from the ground the plane spotters have also been able to overhear pilots talking by listening to their radio frequencies.

At this rate some 288 warplanes would have passed over Scotland in three days.

It is thought that the planes have flown on a route from the US over the north pole to bases in Europe and the Mediterranean. The size and scale of the movement suggests that the US may be preparing to strike at a country in the Middle East in the next week to ten days.

The US may be planning to use the pretext of "foreign" terrorist attacks on US personnel in Iraq to attack Iran or Syria.

We both found this same information at the link below, but could not find any other information about it anywhere, including the www.banthebomb.org site itself:

http://english.pravda.ru/world/20/91/365/11220_pentagon.html

Yesterday, Dr. Omed emailed the source of the first email at scnd@banthebomb.org and received this response and sent to me to post:

Thanks to everyone who has been responding to the newsflash from local people about aircraft movements over the Scottish Highlands between Saturday 25th - Tuesday 28th October. We've had a lot of response and general information from activists in the US, as well as elsewhere, adding to the picture.

Some more of the detail that has come from the Highlands tells us that the aircraft involved were probably C5 Galaxy Transporters. These are enormous transport aircraft, which can be used in the large-scale movement of troops and/or equipment. We are continuing to investigate and monitor and all information is welcome.

Scottish CND, 15 Barrland Street Glasgow G41 1QH

Tel: 0141 423 1222
www.banthebomb.org
scnd@banthebomb.org

It would be interesting at this point to see if anyone else has received this information or knows anything further about it.
Black Box Notes
On Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century
 


This just in from Wired News: California Halts E-Vote Certification ~ California Assistant Secretary of State Marc Carrel said that California was halting the certification process for new voting machines manufactured by (Guess who?) Diebold Election Systems after his office received "disconcerting information" that Diebold may have installed uncertified software on its touch-screen machines used in Alameda County. [The install must have gone like the one in Georgia!]
 
Also, two students from Swarthmore Coalition for the Digital Commons and the Online Policy Group have filed suit against Diebold Elections Systems to prevent
abusive copyright claims from silencing public debate about electronic voting machines. You can read their press release here. Note that this press release also contains some links to substantial link archives of information related to the lawsuit. You can also go to the home page of the Electronic Frontier Foundation home page to find links to stories of their recent efforts to assist in this effort. [They're providing the legal talent.]



 
Some of the stuff below you may have run into, but it's listed for those who might not have:
  1. If you want to know if your voting district uses Diebold voting machines, BlackBoxVoting.org (thanks, Bev) has published a list of such locations [890 KB PDF, approx. 3 minutes download on dial-up] covering both the US and Canada. This is a two-part list, the top covering locations that use any type of Diebold equipment, and the bottom covering locations using their touch pad equipment.

    [A couple of notes on this. First, while the Diebold touch pad equipment contains security vulnerabilities, their centralized vote tallying software and hardware is far more vulnerable, especially in terms deliberate wholesale tampering. Second, just because your district does not use Diebold voting machines doesn't mean that you are not exposed to similar vulnerabilities; simply that there isn't sufficient info out about these other systems to know for sure. There is sufficient information out to suspect that other manufacturers machines are vulnerable in similar fashions.]

  2. Maryland's Campaign for Verifiable Voting is a great example of what local citizen activists can do on-line when they get behind an issue like this. Lots of articles of both local and national interest.

The State of Maryland, by the way, did a serious computer systems vulnerability audit of the Diebold machines before implementation, certainly in some part due to the efforts of this group. You can get that report here [1.3 MB PDF, approx. 4 minutes download on dial-up]. Some notes on it from my review of this report:

  • The report is heavily redacted, with only 69 of the full 200 pages viewable in this download. I went through it in detail noting exactly where the redactions occurred and what would be in those sections. I have a high level of confidence that all redactions in it were made solely to protect the integrity of Maryland's implementation of the Diebold equipment.
  • This report is exactly the type of effort that needs to be made by every state/county/district implementing any voting machinery. If anything annoys me about the State of Maryland report, it is that a lot of this stuff should not have to be done by Maryland staffers; it should be in the Diebold product when sold.
As to what cannot be implemented within these machines for security vulnerabilities (they are always there in any system), the purchased system should always include a statement of the manufacturer's own understanding of his system's vulnerability along with suggested strategies for resolving them. This would be mostly an out-of-the-box document, modified here and there as appropriate for unique needs of the purchaser.
 
As to this last point, we're really facing two problems here. The first is the inherent system vulnerabilities in any system, and the certain need to minimize in every way the vulnerabilities to which our voting systems are exposed.
 
The second is the human environment in which these systems are purchased and will operate. These two aspects of this environment are critical:
  • First, most of the people involved in the purchase of these systems are simply not qualified to purchase computer systems involving high security requirements. To be truthful, most of these people cannot even envision the threats that are out there, even if they can understand the incredible security needs involved in the voting process. This leaves a gap between user expectations and the provider's ability to satisfy these. Now Maryland indeed recognized these, and took substantial action to close this gap. Maryland, if not perfect, did well. Contrast that with the Georgia implementation (Chapter 9 of the book "Black Box Voting", 120KB, PDF), and the difference is obvious. Maryland "got it" and Georgia did not. (Hail, Zell Miller.)
  • Second is the uniqueness of the voting environment itself. Most of the staffers on election day are not full time staffers, and so have little if any experience in the technology presented before them. They are "temps" with no prior experience in computer security. They are honestly trained to do what they are hired to do, and they mostly and honestly try hard, but computers have exceptions of wildly different kinds. When such exceptions occur, these people will inevitably defer to anyone who simply claims a solution to the problem. This does not necessarily have to be a person with ill motives (though it may be), but at this moment, all security of the vote is lost.



 
House Rep Rush Holt has introduced the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003. Among this bills provisions are requirements that all voting machines to produce a paper ballot to be used as an audit trail and for manual recounts and random audits in 0.5% of voting jurisdictions. You can go
to Thomas (H.R.2239) and find the details of this bill and its current 61 co-sponsors.
 
This bill, while reasonably good and obviously a necessary minimum response to electronic voting machine vulnerabilities, is hardly a shoe-in. Resistance to it includes many voting supervisors and the League of Women Voters. If you would like to add your voice in support of this bill, you can sign VerifedVoting.org's Resolution on Electronic Voting.



 
Finally a reminder that vote tampering comes in many forms. Walter Cronkite writes Rigging Elections, a look at the recent Texas redistricting fight.




Giant corporations govern, even though they are mentioned nowhere in our Constitution or Bill of Rights. So when corporations govern, democracy is nowhere to be found. There is something else: when people live in a culture defined by corporate values, common sense evaporates. We stop trusting our own eyes, ears, and feelings. Our minds become colonized.
-- Program On Corporations, Law & Democracy


You might not know it, but Corporate inroads to governance have been challenged successfully by people like you and me. Take a look at how folks in conservative western Pennsylvania stood up to the big monied interests that threatened the life (literally) of their rural communities. Read "Consent of the Governed: The reign of corporations and the fight for democracy" by Jeffrey Kaplan as abstracted here from the current issue of Orion Magazine.
There is a movement gaining momentum to challenge the illegitimate "fact" of corporate "personhood". This welcome phenomena rated a number 13 spot on Project Censored's list of under covered news stories. Thom Hartmann has penned an informative article detailing this fiction in his piece "Now Corporations Claim The "Right To Lie""; next they will want the Supreme Court to select them as President.
Addressing the issue of Corporate Governance offers an opportunity to highlight a myriad of wrongs in our present system while offering concrete ways to address the problems.
Share all you learn...

Some Resources:
Richard Grossman, co-founder of POCLAD ( linked above) and long time activist on this issue "Ending Corporate Governance"as well as "Taking Care of Business: Citizenship and the Charter of Corporations as found at the Ratical.Org Ending Corporate governance page.
The Santa Clara Blues: Corporate Personhood versus Democracy by William Meyers (here in .pdf)
WILPF US Abolish Corporate Personhood Organizing Packet Downloadable tools for learning and sharing about this issue. Organize!
Reclaim Democracy
Thursday, November 06, 2003
Two of Nevada's lawmakers blasted the FBI for employing the act in the Galardi probe, saying the agency overstepped its bounds.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Congress intended the Patriot Act to help federal authorities root out threats from terrorists and spies after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"The law was intended for activities related to terrorism and not to naked women," said Reid, who as minority whip is the second most powerful Democrat in the Senate.

"Let me say, with Galardi and his whole gang, I don't condone, appreciate or support all their nakedness. But having said that, I haven't heard anyone say at any time he was involved with terrorism."

[Found it at librarian.net]
A short item in the San Jose Mercury News today provides some startling news: "Jessica Lynch biography reveals rape by Iraqis." Wow, you say, I thought Jessica Lynch had amnesia and doesn't remember a thing about what happened to her. Right you are - "Lynch has no memory of the rape"; the author of her "authorized biography" makes this claim based on "the scars on Lynch's battered body and the medical records [which] indicate she was raped."

Now I have no idea of Jessica Lynch was raped; maybe she was, maybe she wasn't. Considering that she was severely injured in a vehicle accident, however, I find it very hard to believe that any scars on her body prove or even suggest that she was raped, and I find it even harder to believe that Iraqi doctors swabbed her vagina for semen, found positive traces, verified that it wasn't from any of the men in Lynch's platoon, and put that fact in her medical records. Given all these obvious facts, and even if it were likely that Lynch was raped, wouldn't the appropriate headline be "Jessica Lynch biography alleges rape by Iraqis"? You don't "reveal" lies, you "reveal" facts, so by using that word, the Mercury News lends its imprimateur to the author's allegations.

As I said, I have no idea if Jessica Lynch was raped or not, but the value of the author's allegations can be inferred from his additional sensationalized claims: "The records do not tell whether her captors assaulted her almost-lifeless, broken body after she was lifted from the wreckage, or if they assaulted her and then broke her bones into splinters until she was almost dead." They "broke her bones into splinters" after assaulting her? I'm surprised the author doesn't have the Iraqis frying up her brains and dining on Chianti. No doubt if he did, the American press would have no trouble printing that nonsense either. When it comes to standard of proof for allegations made against "our enemies," no standard is too minimal for the American media.

What we know is that Jessica Lynch was cared for in an Iraqi hospital in extraordinary fashion, given food and attention above and beyond that of other patients, and that her allegedly "almost-lifeless body" was nursed back to health by Iraqi medical personnel. As for the sensational charges made by author Rick Bragg, rest assured that despite their highly improbable nature, you'll be hearing about them ad nauseum on your cable TV news channel.

Followup: MSNBC reports this story as "Lynch reveals that she was raped by her Iraqi captors," an even more outrageous rendering of the story.

More followup: On "fair and balanced" Fox News, anchor Shepard Smith and his guest simply report the story as "the truth" that Lynch was raped, no question about it. No surprise there. What was curious was the guest, Mike Paul, the president of MGP & Associates PR, a public relations company. As far as I could tell he had no special knowledge about this issue whatsoever. Don't PR companies specialize is not being "balanced," but in simply presenting one side of a story?

From Left I on the News

This coming Sunday, Nov. 9, has been declared International Day Against the Wall. For those who are still confused by constant statements in American media about how "Israel refers to this as a fence," perhaps this picture will clarify:


And for those who can't imagine that Israel would actually be forcing another people into ghettos, you might read this article, from which this small excerpt is taken:

Qalqiliya, a city of 45,000, has been surrounded by a concrete wall and only those who are granted permits by the Civil Administration can enter and exit the city's single gate.
For previous Left I on the News coverage of the wall, see here, here, here, here, and here.

From Left I on the News

It’s stories like this one, coupled with an announcement of another major call-up of reserves for next year, that spell the beginning of the end for George W. Bush...
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
In the constant search for connections in the news one can get a bit "crisp"; although the world seems as though it is going to hell in a bucket from 20 different directions we are told the news is cheery because hey, "the GDP is going up" ( what does that mean?). Check out Ad Whore. You gotta laugh. Remember, these are actual ads...
Could the people these ads appeal to be the folks hoodwinked by the Bush administration again and again and again? "How To Sell a War: The Rendon Group deploys ‘perception management’ in the war on Iraq" By Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber will give you the nuts and bolts of the PR/Advertising industry inroads that worked to suffocate Democracy concerning the Attack on Iraq.


Could consumer despair be behind the maxing out of America's credit cards?
"She had never admitted this to anyone before but she said that she spends to help her feel better."

Rhode said that when his company has surveyed the general public, about 30 percent of respondents have said that they spend for the same reason.

It almost seems that the Republican Right works to up our fear and anxiety levels. These seem to be anxious times. Could it be a manner of subtle psychological control?
Compulsive shopping is related to anxiety rather than depression


Don't believe the hype.

Celebrate Life, celebrate Buy Nothing Day, Nov 28th 03
If history is to serve mankind in any positive way, we must collectively endeavor to learn from it, especially from past mistakes in socio-political behavior. There is a dangerous development within this countries political landscape concerning the convergence of interests between many in the Christian right and the Bush government, specifically with Bush's cabal of Israel first fanatics described as neocons or main stream conservatives. This unholy alliance between Christian evangelical dispensationalists, charismatics and the liberals in drag of the Republican Party can be best described as an apostasy for the church and the whoring of its fundamental principles. This vile degenerative union can find in history a familiar parallel of what will be the inevitable maturation and outcome when God's Kingdom which at present is spiritual and not of this world is converged with human government. We need not look further then Germany in the 1920's and early 1930's to find a similar dimensional parallel.
Black Box Notes
On Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century


Much to offer today. We are getting a lot of coverage and folks are starting to notice. First, two personal stories from Palm Beach County:


  1. One of my local TV stations carried a very good segment on touch screen voting machines on their Sunday 11 P.M. News program. This ran approximately 8 minutes (very long segment for them) and was surprisingly good. Both sides were presented fairly (Rebecca Mercuri was cited several times), but the segment opened and closed with an older woman very afraid of her vote, and so the impression was definitely left that there might be a serious problem.


  2. On the subject of older women, my mother (who lives in a retirement community of about 20,000) had a visit from a neighbor this weekend. There was some chatting about voting which led this woman into asking my mother if she would be willing to use an absentee ballot in the coming elections. So we clearly we are starting to have an impact among our seniors, and this is certainly good news.

On to news from the internet:


  1. The New York Times is out with a major (5 page) article on the Diebold memos controversy: File Sharing Pits Copyright Against Free Speech. Lots of good stuff here of course.


  2. The Diebold memos controversy coverage continues at Why War with weekend updates. While Diebold continues with its "take down" requests, there are now over 40 active mirrors on campuses around the country with estimated copies of the data base from some of the earlier mirrors running over 30,000.


  3. Along with this, the Online Policy Group (a non-profit internet provider) has also received a take down request but has decided to defy it. You can read their Diebold take down request here and their own response to it here. This is a lot more than just a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo. between the two memos, you'll get a very good framing of the copyright vs. free speech argument.


One more very significant item to report: Wired News now reports (E-Vote
Software Leaked Online
) that the voting machine software for Sequoia Voting Systems was left on an unprotected FTP server during the recent California recall election and copies of it were obtained from there. I have no idea who has these copies as yet, so if anyone knows how to get them, please let me know.
The Pentagon is quietly moving to fill draft board vacancies nationwide. While officials say there's no cause to worry, some experts aren't so sure.
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
This month, the United Nations' Development Program published a report focusing on the Arab knowledge society, or rather the failure of that society.

The list of figures presented in the report on the status of knowledge in Arab countries should arouse more than a little anxiety not only in the Arab countries, but also in the developed countries.

The figures indicate that only about 0.2 percent of the gross domestic product of Arab countries is dedicated to R&D, unlike 3 percent in Japan and 2.2 percent in Israel.

One of the implications of this figure is that the technology that is parachuted in from the West to Arab countries does not undergo an assimilation process, and there is no incentive for developing local science and technology.

In effect, the report continues, the Arab countries have no national and governmental infrastructure for the systematic promotion of science and research. The authors provide a few impressive statistics. The average level of computerization in the Arab countries is 18 computers per 1,000 persons, compared to a world average of about 78 computers per 1,000 persons; only 1.6 percent of the population of Arab countries is hooked to the Internet, compared to 35-40 percent in developed countries, and the number of telephone lines is only about a fifth of the accepted figure even in developing countries.


In short, I believe the true explanation for the American government's planned second war with Iraq is the same as for its wars in the Balkans in 1999 and in Afghanistan in 2001-2002 – the inexorable pressures of imperialism and militarism. I agree with Jay Bookman, an editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, when he asks, "Why does the administration seem unconcerned about an exit strategy from Iraq once Saddam is toppled? Because we won't be leaving. Having conquered Iraq, the United States will create permanent military bases in that country from which to dominate the Middle East, including neighboring Iran

"The mainstream media continues to cooperate with the Bush Administration's policy of giving short shrift to the Muslim psyche, and especially the Iraqi sense of place.
In the West -- where the expressions 'family, national pride, and friend' are tossed about like so much salad -- we are less likely to recognize the importance of diverse cultural perspectives, above all when they are linked to unassailable and even unwise fidelity.


So sayeth not the irresponsible and sometimes non-curious American news media, where nowhere have we heard a word about stunning Arab loyalties, even between those of contradictory opinion, that might be our 'enlightenment' answering the question concerning why exactly Saddam Hussein has not been 'discovered' -- and may never be.


It is the Arab term 'Dakhil' which provides the underpinning for the arrangement in which the hunters, namely the US Military, and the hunted, namely former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti, now find themselves." — Jeff Koopersmith, —American Political Journal

I asked the other day about the senseless illogic of surrounding an Iraqi town with razor wire because of Saddam Hussein's supposed role in planning the ongoing insurgency against the American occupying forces. Koopersmith knows why it will not succeed. "Tribal vigor is on the rise in Iraq. Make no mistake about that fact -- and, therefore, their ability and propensity to protect and hide their own increases each day...One need only think of a mother and child to come close to understanding this fealty." I also wrote about mistrusting the academic objections to the similarities drawn between Iraq and Vietnam, that this is a matter "too important to be left to the academics." The role that American ignorance of the cultural underpinnings of the indigenous struggles of these two peoples will play in our failure is one of those generalities worth paying attention to instead of drawing scholarly distinctions. (As Koopersmith concludes, "It is their, our, and our leaders' almost complete failure to understand the Iraqi ethos that is indefensible, and that which may come to consume us, far more than today." Substitute Vietnamese for Iraqi in that sentence, and it reads as true.)
"A former Pentagon officer turned whistleblower says a group of hawks in the Bush Administration, including the Vice-President, Dick Cheney, is running a shadow foreign policy, contravening Washington's official line.


'What these people are doing now makes Iran-Contra [a Reagan administration national security scandal] look like amateur hour. . . it's worse than Iran-Contra, worse than what happened in Vietnam,' said Karen Kwiatkowski, a former air force lieutenant-colonel.


'[President] George Bush isn't in control . . . the country's been hijacked,' she said, describing how 'key [governmental] areas of neoconservative concern were politically staffed'." —Sydney Morning Herald



The essential point of this accusation is that foreign policy analysis is now routinely bypassing civil service and military professionals and routed instead through ideologically-chosen political appointees. This neatly fits with Seymour Hersh's profoundly important examination of the breakdown in cooperation between the CIA and the executive branch around the uraniumgate lies in his recent article for the New Yorker, "The Stovepipe", which I summarized at 'Follow Me Here...' several weeks ago. Although one might question the evidence for Kwiatkowski's assertion that Bush is not in control and that the foreign-policy machinery has been hijacked out from under him, that he is not willingly collaborating or at least acquiescing to this process, I do not doubt it. Readers of FmH know that I have felt since his dysadministration took power (and, let us not mince words, I do mean "took") that he has largely been a puppet of his senior appointees. The evidence becomes clearer and clearer both on the basis of the ever-mounting indicators of his intellectual dullness, for those who needed convincing, and his track record in office. Discerning observers are fools to hide behind pat confidence that 'it can't happen here'; historians will cite numerous precedents for regimes with puppet rulers where the actual authority was vested covertly in their more ruthless and controlling ministers. A courageous press, and a united Democratic opposition, would focus heavily on this between now and the 2004 elections. Those cynical progressives who are fond of dismissing partisan politics with generalizations about how the two parties are no different (I know, I've largely been one of them... until the Bush people seized power) would be well-advised to pay more attention to the extraordinary nature of the palace coup these Republican ideologues have pulled off in a manner we would have never seen under President Gore.
He says Iraqi forces will fill the gapWashington Post.
[Image 'http://www.americanpolitics.com/MOPAULmediafilter100.jpg' cannot be displayed]
Really. The rush to remobilize the Iraqi army we disbanded when we invaded is a rush to use the 'hajjis' (recall: our expletive for all Muslims) as cannonfodder as soon as possible and to extricate ourselves as fast as we can, before mounting American casualties lose Bush the election. Oops, too late, Dubya. A majority of Americans polled now disapprove of the dysadministration's handling of the Iraqi quagmire, a majority feel the death toll is unacceptable, and a majority would vote for an unnamed Democratic adversary to Bush (any) in the next election if it were held now. By the way, memo to American public: it's about time. (Don't get me started on the idiocy of Congressional calls to send more U.S. troops to Baghdad; if there is anything more out of touch with sane alternatives than the Bush cabal, it appears to be Congress. How about calling for extrication?)



Let's see, the deadliest day ever in the U.S. occupation (although I would venture to say it will not be the deadliest to come, as all the evidence says the resistance is well-armed, increasingly organized, sophisticated, accurate, more and more assertive, more and more deadly... and more and more cheered by the Iraqi population) is the six-month anniversary of our action figure hero's photo-op under the "Mission Accomplished" banner (which he now denies was his people's responsibility... and he is right, it wasn't their responsibility, it was their fault). Didn't the smirking chimp say, at one point, "Bring 'em on", enraging our troops' families back home by seeming to invite the slaughter we are now seeing? Now we're several weeks into a dysadministration public relations offensive accusing the media of underplaying the progress in Iraq in favor of reporting on the insurgency (which someone commented is like saying a thunderstorm obscures the sunny day behind it). Oh, and there's that line about how the attacks on American troops are evidence of our success. What would indicate our failure? Total pacification and jubilant acceptance of occupation by the entire Iraqi populace? The Washington Post article notes that "during a southern swing on Saturday, Bush largely ignored the death toll in Iraq, referring specifically to Iraq only once in four speeches totaling 72 minutes." Let's face it, Dubya — there is nothing you can say; you're a liar and you're inept. You keep on lying, they keep on dying.



Related: The Brown Paste on Bush's Shoes
"...first whiff...of the collapse of the Bush maladministration's credibility and with it its operatives' dreams of a Thousand Year Right...":

"Surely, as my numerous detractors on the right-hand end of the speculum will point out, it is wrong to make mock of a president struggling so manfully against such dire evils as are abroad in the world? Surely we, the American people, should get behind him and support our troops? There's a silly frigging idea. Bush is surrounded by concrete barriers and electric razor wire in Washington, DC. Our troops are sucking dirt in some hellhole on the other side of the world, overworked, underpaid, and going swiftly insane slaughtering the locals. You want to support our troops, get Bush in front of them. They'll be home on the first transport out of Kuwait. Bush has had all the support he could ever ask for, and six trillion times more support than he ever deserved (I'm rounding the number to the nearest trillion for ease of reading). I for one am well pleased that the noisome brown paste is finally clinging to his shoes and ankles, and Rumsfeld's, and Condi's pumps, and on down the line of them, the whole vile, varicose, villainous gang of them embrindled with poo at last. O schadenfreude, O schadenfreude, Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!


The ruination of Bush's utterly spurious credibility has been a long, slow process, entirely unaided by such old fallbacks as the free press and Congress, two entities that (in the good old days when a bottle of pop cost a nickel and you could purchase cocaine over the counter to alleviate toothache) Americans used to rely upon to moderate the behavior of even the most madcap Executive troupe. For two years no action by the Bush junta, be it ever so perfidious, got the slightest rise out of any of the traditional watchdogs. They were sunk in some kind of narcoleptic trance. Trample the Bill of Rights! Destroy our common weal! Wage unprovoked wars on the wrong moustache! Throw firecrackers at our fission-capable enemies! Capering like maniacs across the national and world stages, not an eyelid could the Bush operatives cause to bat, watchdog-wise. But Bush, or properly the Buffalo Bob types operating the monofilaments attached to his limbs, have finally started to get results. Through constant diligence, Bush and his gaggle of suck-buttock familiars have managed to force the slumbering Chihuahuas to react, however slightly. And it looks like there's more to come." — Ben Tripp, —CounterPunch [via wood s lot]

Monday, November 03, 2003
Individual Arabs may perhaps be bought off but this hardly means that all the Arabs in Eretz Israel are willing to sell a patriotism that not even Papuans will trade. Every indigenous people will resist alien settlers as long as they see any hope of ridding themselves of the danger of foreign settlement.

That is what the Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of “Palestine” into the “Land of Israel”.


...they are not a rabble but a nation, perhaps somewhat tattered, but still living. A living people makes such enormous concessions on such fateful questions only when there is no hope left. Only when not a single breach is visible in the iron wall, only then do extreme groups lose their sway, and influence transfers to moderate groups. Only then would these moderate groups come to us with proposals for mutual concessions. And only then will moderates offer suggestions for compromise on practical questions like a guarantee against expulsion, or equality and national autonomy.
--The Iron Wall by Vladimir Jabotinski, 1923

Ruthless.
The above quotation is taken from the work "The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir" by Lenni Brenner (1984) which is available in its entirety here.
The ongoing construction of cement and iron wall that enforces a continued immoral apartheid, 86 years after the Balfour Declaration behooves one to read what Jabotinski knew to be true in 1923.
Please take the time to read the history offered. For the peoples of the US and Israel as well as the beleaguered, occupied Palestinians. Learn the reality, so justice will be served. It is not a "Left or Right" issue. It concerns truth and human decency...
Share what you learn.
Last week, the Israeli Ministry of Defence finally published its planned route for the "separation barrier" being built along the West Bank. According to Ed O'Loughlin of the Sydney Morning Herald, the final wall will make "a number of deep intrusions into the West Bank to loop around Jewish settlements, leaving about 70,000 Palestinians and up to 10 per cent of West Bank territory on the 'Israeli' side."

To make things worse, Palestinians living near the barrier have been ordered by the IDF to obtain special permits to live in their own homes. As of now this decree affects 12,000 people, with another 40,000 likely to come once the wall is completed.

These are just a few of the injustices which illustrate why you should join in the international day of protest against the wall on November 9th and fight against the further annexation of Palestinian land.
100,000 call for peace at Rabin memorial rally.
Shimon Peres spoke out about Peace at the largest peace oriented gathering since Ariel Sharon came into power.
He spoke from behind bulletproof glass.
Next on the decay derby is Tyco under CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski, presently the defendant in a criminal trial. He held a $2 million 40th birthday party for his wife in faraway Sardinia that featured a shrunken model of Michelangelo's David with vodka streaming from its penis into crystal glasses. Videotapes also showed an exploding birthday cake with a replica of a woman's breast. Government prosecutors charge that Tyco paid for much of this party as a deductible business entertainment expense.

Parents cannot deduct their children's college tuition as educational expenses. Yet corporations can and do deduct liquor, lurid entertainment and expensive, luxurious gifts as "ordinary and necessary" business expenses. They thereby reduce the revenues going to the U.S. Treasury which could have been used to provide grants and loans to America's deserving students. Call this the decay of inverted priorities.
I'm guessing you are not familiar with this headline:
SUSPICIOUS "MIDDLE EASTERNERS" CHEER TERROR ATTACK FROM MOVING VAN

At least not in context. Does the headline bring Israeli folks to mind?
This link shows this and other news accounts talk about some Israeli citizens who were witnessed jumping up and down and cheering as the Twin Towers burned. They were at their vantage point at Liberty State Park before the first plane hurtled into the tower; they were later found to have boxcutters as well as to have taken smiling pictures posed in front of the burning buildings.
Could these Israeli's be linked to Mossad, the Israeli equivalent to our CIA?
Why do we hear so little about such an important subject here in the US, while Ha'aretz covers the controversy?
Here on the radio show Counterspin we have an realaudio file of John Sugg talking about the Israeli Art Student Spies that receive little media attention here while their stories appear very news worthy.
Antiwar.com has a body of writing and links dealing with the Israeli Art Student Spies as well as any 9/11 connection.
A Salon article on the Art Student Spies by Christopher Ketcham collected at Newsmine, which features related links.
These Spies were deemed important enough to be the subject of a little talked about Drug Enforcement Administration report (scroll down).
Fox News did a 4 part report on these spies which is no longer available from the Fox website. Fortunately What Really Happened has saved the pages ( click"related story" links to see all 4 parts), Cryptome also offers some analysis as well as the transcripts themselves. scroll down.
This is a significant detail from the Clinton Lewisky scandal:
...all readers will be reminded of the telephone tapping story that emerged from Monica Lewinsky?s testimony to U.S. government investigators. She told them that President Clinton had warned her that he believed a foreign embassy was tapping their steamy telephone conversations.

Read this transcript of a no longer available article from Insight Magazine on the compromised state of our governments telecommunications system.
What if a "foreign embassy" had the dirt on the present regime here in the US? Say that a foreign power knew everything about the stealing of the Presidency, private calls documenting the denial of democracy the Corporate Right engineered in 2000? What if the same foreign power had access to Bush and companies backdoor and back channel communications? A scary amount of influence on an administration that already exhibits a blatant disregard for life and the good of our nation...
A timeline of Art Student Spy Activity.( Scroll down to orange section)
Gleaned the Sunday Herald link that inspired this from notes on the eve of the apocalypse
Sunday, November 02, 2003
Increasingly, this proclivity on the part of President Bush to avoid the normal duty of a commander-in-chief to honor dead soldiers is causing rising irritation among some veterans and their families who have noticed what appears to be a historically anomalous slight.

"This country has a lot of history where commanders visit wounded soldiers and commanders talked to families of deceased soldiers and commanders attend funerals. It's just one of these understood traditions," says Seth Pollack, an 8-year veteran who served in the First Armored Division in both the first Gulf War and the Bosnia operation. "At the company level, the division level ... the general tradition is to honor the soldier, and the way you honor these soldiers is to have high-ranking officials attend the funeral. For the President not to have attended any is simply disrespectful."

Repeated questions on the matter posed to the White House over the past week earned only a series of "We'll call you back" and "Let me get back to you on that" comments from press officer Jimmy Orr. [more]
President George W. Bush stood before a cheering crowd at a Dallas Christian youth centre last week, and told them about being 'born again' as a Christian.

[ . . . ]

Behind Bush were two banners. 'King of Kings', proclaimed one. 'Lord of Lords', said the other. [more]

Bush and his banners, man. Musta been those guys on the Navy ship again.
Expatriate Israelis, and Americans sympathetic to the Israeli cause, complain about the U.S. media's "anti-Israeli bias." Indeed, upon arriving from Israel last year, the image of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict portrayed by U.S. media appeared to me so distorted as to be almost unrecognizable. But the direction of the distortion was rather surprising.

This is the image I keep receiving here: On one side is a democracy stuck in an impossible region and trying to make the best of it. On the other is a demonic entity called the Palestinian Authority, whose heads seem bent on continuing to terrorize Israel's defenseless civilians. Everything Israel's army does is clearly out of self-defense, and as long as there's terror, there's justification to do even more.

How odd, I tell myself. This is exactly the worldview I've been spoon-fed by my establishment and education system from the day I remember myself.

The only true part in this image is that my compatriots in Israel are at risk of terror attacks. All the rest is blatantly false. For starters, the Palestinian Authority is a powerless, almost meaningless body, whose leaders cannot cross the street in Ramallah without permission from an Israeli soldier. Even at its heyday, the authority's power relative to Israel's was akin to that of the King County Council compared with the U.S. government. This little piece of knowledge alone collapses the entire image. It also raises serious suspicions as to who has been shaping the current reality.

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