American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, March 13, 2004
The Justice Department wants to significantly expand the government's ability to monitor online traffic, proposing that providers of high-speed Internet service should be forced to grant easier access for FBI wiretaps and other electronic surveillance, according to documents and government officials.

A petition filed this week with the Federal Communications Commission also suggests that consumers should be required to foot the bill.

Wonderful !    But can't they at least pay for it?
From the "No Kidding" Department:
Ever wonder why President Bush says "nuculer" when he means "nuclear" or "subliminate" when he means "subliminal?" Or why he mixes up perseverance and preservation? Why does he mangle the English language often enough for Slate Editor Jacob Weisberg to produce three books of Bushisms such as "I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family."
. . .

"SUBTLE DISORDER." To some learning-disability experts, the signs are clear: Bush might want to pay them a visit. These experts haven't tested the President, so they caution that they can't be certain of the diagnosis. Yet, ample signs indicate that something unusual is going on in the left side of his brain, where language and hearing are processed.

Hey, I'd didn't write it. Business Week did.
Organized Opposition Is Small, but Some See It as Historic
Marianne Brown of South Haven, Mich., holds photos of her son, Army National Guard Pvt. Robert Brown, left, who was honorably discharged, and her stepson, Army Reserve Pvt. Michael Shepard, who is stationed near Baghdad.
The number of military families that oppose Operation Iraqi Freedom, though never measured, is probably small. But a nascent antiwar movement has begun to find a toehold among parents, spouses and other relatives of active-duty, reserve and National Guard troops.

A group called Military Families Speak Out -- which will figure prominently in marches and vigils at Dover Air Force Base, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the White House next week -- says more than 1,000 families have signed up online and notes that new members join daily. Other outspoken family members -- Dvorin, for example -- have never heard of the group but, for a variety of reasons, share its founders' conviction that the war is a "reckless military misadventure."

Most frequently cited, when military families explain their antiwar sentiments, is the absence to date of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. "They'd have these inspections and they'd find nothing," says Jenifer Moss, 29, of Lawton, Okla. Her husband, Army Sgt. Keelan L. Moss, died in November when a missile downed his Chinook helicopter, leaving her with three children and the belief that "he was sent out there on a pretense."

They are also angry at the Bush administration's insistence that its policies are nonetheless justified. Cherice Johnson's husband, Navy Corpsman Michael Vann Johnson Jr., was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade last March. "I'd love to say I back [the president] 100 percent, but I can't," she says, weeping during a telephone interview. "How many more people are going to die because he can't say, 'I'm sorry, I made a terrible mistake'?"

A small group? The Washington Post didn't seem to have much trouble locating enough of them for a 3-page article. My sense is that there's a lot of people like this out there, some just not organized, and others still afraid to actually come out publicly. And it's not only military people:

Republicans for Kerry

Conservatives for Kerry

Republicans Against George W. Bush
(Free Republic)

Republicans Against BushConservatives Against Bush
Friday, March 12, 2004

"What Can 30 Million Evangelicals Do For America?
Anything We Want."

~ Brochure, National Association of Evangelicals

COLORADO SPRINGS, March 11 -- In a speech expressing his solidarity with the National Association of Evangelicals at its annual convention here, President Bush on Thursday forcefully restated his call for passage of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage to enthusiastic rounds of applause. ...

Mr. Bush said (the New Life Church) was founded "with the highest of callings, to proclaim the word of God." He added, "You are doing God's work with conviction and kindness and on behalf of our country I thank you."

Several prominent evangelical Protestants in Washington have told the White House that backing the constitutional amendment is vital to getting evangelical voters to turn out on Election Day. And the convention organizers were aware of their clout. A slogan on the back of the convention program reads: "What Can 30 Million Evangelicals Do For America? Anything We Want."

Krugman looks at the debate about unemployment numbers and finds the more optimistic numbers to be a mere attempt to hide reality. Worse, Bush, he claims, has no idea what to do about it.
In 2001 the administration rammed through long-term tax cuts, heavily tilted toward the affluent. But employment didn't turn around, and by late 2002 many economists ? including supporters of the original tax cut ? were urging it to try something different. My own piece, "My Economic Plan," was fairly typical: I called for extended unemployment benefits, temporary aid to state and local governments, and rebates for low- and middle-income workers.

Maybe this more or less textbook response to a depressed economy wouldn't have worked. But we'll never know, because the administration rejected all such proposals. Instead, it went for a clone of the 2001 tax cut ? another big break mainly for those at the top. And once again this failed to deliver the promised jobs.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bush has mortgaged the nation's future. If all of his tax cuts are made permanent, they'll reduce revenue by at least three times the amount that would be needed to secure Social Security benefits at current levels for the next 75 years.

No sensible person blames Mr. Bush for the onset of the recession in 2001. But he does deserve blame for the fact that all he has to show for three years of supposed job-creation policies is a mountain of debt.

 
... no tiny band of cranks meeting in some basement in Alabama.Chris Floyd:
We in the enlightened West smile at such theocratic quibbling, of course: Imagine, national leaders insisting that a modern state be governed solely by divine authority! Governments guaranteeing the right of religious extremists to impose their views on society! What next -- debates about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Oh, those poor, ignorant barbarians in Babylon!

Well, wipe that smile off your face. For even now, the ignorant barbarians in Washington are pushing a law through Congress that would "acknowledge God as the sovereign source of law, liberty [and] government" in the United States. What's more, it would forbid all legal challenges to government officials who use the power of the state to enforce their own view of "God's sovereign authority." Any judge who dared even hear such a challenge could be removed from office.

The "Constitution Restoration Act of 2004" is no joke; it was introduced last month by some of the Bush Regime's most powerful Congressional sycophants. If enacted, it will effectively transform the American republic into a theocracy, where the arbitrary dictates of a "higher power" -- as interpreted by a judge, policeman, bureaucrat or president -- can override the rule of law.

Put this juggernaut at the service of democracy-hating extremists with no legal restraints on their enforcement of "God's sovereign authority" -- plus a proven track record of subverting the law to gain political power -- and what would you have? A mullah state? A military theocracy?

Or should we just call it "a second term"?

What kind of person making $6 an hour would cheer
  as George Bush spoke of his tax cuts for the rich?
"No speak English," said the first worker, smiling apologetically.

"No speak English," said the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth workers way-laid in the crowd.

But you think the tax cuts should be made permanent, as he says?

"Sorry, no English," said another.

Thursday, March 11, 2004
Mad Kane Hires An Ombudsman

For years I've been flooded with emails challenging the accuracy of MadKane.com. At first I did what most publications do -- I ignored them. But as time went by, I realized that something had to be done. So in keeping with recent trends and in the interest of sound journalism, I've appointed an ombudsman who'd like to be known only as "Bud." Here's part of Bud's first report:



  • The poem entitled Dubya's Poetic Injustice states that during George W. Bush's Election 2000 campaign, Bush promised to be a "compassionate conservative" and to have a "humble foreign policy." After this poem was published, we learned that Bush was "crossing his fingers" whenever he made those promises, so "they didn't really count." We regret this error.

  • According to a State of Disunion crossword puzzle clue, President Bush believes that raising twins is even harder than waging war. While Bush did in fact make that statement, he has since changed his mind and now acknowledges that waging war is "an itsy-bitsy bit harder than raising twins." We are sorry for failing to keep up to date on this issue.

  • In Dubya's Don't Blame Me Song the lyricist itemizes several things as not being George W. Bush's fault, including the jobless rate, 9/11, the mission accomplished banner, and the lack of WMD's. We have since learned that many more things weren't the President's fault and we regret our lack of comprehensiveness.

The rest of
Ombudsman Bud's first report is here.
The Censoring of Howard Stern
 
First it was ABC and Bill Maher. Then it was the New York Times and Ted Rall. Then it was Clear Channel and Howard Stern. Free speech is under attack by the New McCarthyites and Ted Rall has lots to say about it.

*   *   *
So does  .  .  .
Air America Radio
Liberal Talk Radio Network to Start Up in Three Cities
The creators of a fledgling liberal talk radio network who hope to challenge the dominance of conservative voices on the nation's airwaves said yesterday that its programming would make its debut on March 31 on low-rated stations in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The network, known as Air America Radio, said its hosts would include Al Franken, the comedian and political satirist, whose program will be broadcast from noon to 3 p.m.; Janeane Garofalo, an actress whose program will be on from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Chuck D, a hip-hop artist, who will be a co-anchor of a morning program; and Martin Kaplan, a media analyst who has previously appeared on National Public Radio.

That's all well and good, and Franken ("The O'Franken Factor", Al?) and Garofalo have the "name brand" appeal to attrack some attention, but neither of them are "radio people", and that could cause some early problems. Not everyone can do it, and there's a lot to learn.

On the other hand, not mentioned in the New York Times article is South Florida's own Randi Rhodes, who'll be doing the 3-7 P.M. weekday spot. Randi's a "Take No Prisoners" New Yawker with 20 years in radio, and she's never gone up against competition that she didn't crush. So who's she going up against in her Air America Radio time slot? Among others, the one wingnut who needs crushing more than Pig-Boy: Mike Savage.

One other thing the Times article failed to mention: Even if you're not in one of those initial markets, you'll still be able to hear Air America Radio over streaming Internet.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Seattle Weekly:
Black Box Backlash
Bev Harris of Renton created a firestorm with her national Internet
campaign against electronic voting. Now she's trying to persuade
people in the real world that their democracy is on the line.
 
Bev Harris
Bev Harris at home in Renton: "I've never seen such a clueless bunch of people," she says of election officials.

Big Media Bev scores a major article
this time in the Seattle Weekly.
Since September 2002, Harris has battled a U.S. senator, large corporations, and election officials across the country in her effort to ensure our votes are counted fairly and accurately. At first, she focused on the problems with computer voting. Since then, the name of her Web site (www.blackboxvoting.com) and her book devoted to the subject—Black Box Voting—have become shorthand for concerns about computers and elections. Moreover, her astounding discoveries on the subject have resulted in damning research by distinguished computer-science professors and numerous articles in major newspapers across the country. Secretaries of state, including Republican Sam Reed of Washington and Democrat Kevin Shelley of California, have responded by proposing key changes in how we will cast our ballots in the future.

Harris has become a media darling. A major profile is due in Vanity Fair, and her cell phone rings constantly with requests for interviews and documentation, from TV stations and newspapers around the country. Democratic presidential candidates John Edwards, Howard Dean, and Dennis Kucinich all mentioned concerns about electronic voting during this year's campaign. Former first lady and current U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., are sponsoring national legislation responding to the issues raised by Harris and her allies.

AND
Allen's technical expertise proved to be vitally important. He urged Harris to get a copy of a technical manual for an electronic voting machine. Harris started surfing the Web. On Jan. 23, 2003, she hit the mother lode. On an unprotected Web site, she found 40,000 files of Diebold Election Systems' source code—the guts of software to run touch-screen voting machines. At first, Harris wasn't sure what all the weird files were, so she called Allen and directed him to the site. What are we looking at? she asked. "Incredible stupidity," he replied.
Go read!
Like antsy dogs before an earthquake, some Republicans sensed trouble. They were barking about the deficit, chasing their tails over the immigration proposal. A number had even begun baying about Vice President Dick Cheney. But when the tremor struck Monday (on the evening news) and the strong aftershocks continued Tuesday (in the morning newspapers), the party seemed astonished at the real cause of their prescient unease: President Bush.

The White House and Republicans came face-to-face with a pair of new national surveys that not only show Democrat John Kerry leading the president in the horse-race question (For whom would you vote if the election were held today?) but also find Bush trailing even more distantly in other key measures of voters' underlying sentiments. Taken together, the surveys are much more dire news than the White House had been predicting and for which it has been struggling to steel the faithful.

The Chron takes a look at Bush's most recent polls, and finds a lot of trouble. Me? I'm only curious about the one where half of the people said that Bush is a uniter. Where have those people been for the last three years?
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Duval counties to be monitored
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Reuters) - An international group that usually monitors elections in developing democracies said Monday it would take up posts at Florida precincts in November in hopes of averting another debacle when voters pick the next U.S. president.

Four years after Florida became the object of international ridicule, officials for the Catholic group Pax Christi USA will place monitors from 30 countries at polls in four Florida counties that were at the center of the 2000 U.S. presidential election dispute.

The Washington-based group will ask its international organization to send monitors to Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Duval counties, where voting irregularities kept the outcome of the 2000 presidential race in doubt for more than month.

The national coordinator for Pax Christi USA, Dave Robinson, said Florida's 2000 election woes were symbolic of errors across the United States that disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of voters.

"Normally, Americans go to developing nations to ensure fair, transparent and free elections," Robinson said.

"We felt it was necessary to bring our friends from other parts of the world to the United States to bear witness in order that we might have a fair transparent and free elections."

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said equating Florida's election system with that of a Third World country was insulting. He also said Florida had put in place machinery and voter education programs that made it a model for the nation.

"This is all part of some politically motivated thing that tries to scare people to somehow think their vote is not going to count," Bush said. "That's hogwash, hogwash."

Sure, Jeb. Maybe they'll ask to watch you scrub the voter lists too.
Monday, March 08, 2004
Look! A farm system for far right ideologues!
 
About half a million families around the country home-school their children, and about two-thirds of these identify themselves as evangelical Christians. The four-year old Patrick Henry College was founded by Michael Farris of the founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association specifically to provide a college education to this latter group. About two-thirds of it's students major in government, and the school has been very successful in placing interns in both the White House and Congress.
That is an alarming prospect to some on the left.

"Mike Farris is trying to train young people to get on a very right-wing political agenda," said Nancy Keenan, the education policy director at People for the American Way, a liberal advocacy group, and a former Montana state superintendent of public education. The number of Patrick Henry interns in the White House "scares me to death," she said. "It tells us a little bit more about the White House than it does about the kids."

Didn't Hitler do something like this?
Yoshi Tsurumi remembers George Bush
At Harvard Business School, thirty years ago, George Bush was a student of mine. I still vividly remember him. In my class, he declared that "people are poor because they are lazy." He was opposed to labor unions, social security, environmental protection, Medicare, and public schools. To him, the antitrust watch dog, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Securities Exchange Commission were unnecessary hindrances to "free market competition." To him, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was "socialism." Recently, President Bush's Federal Appeals Court Nominee, California's Supreme Court Justice Janice Brown, repeated the same broadside at her Senate hearing. She knew that her pronouncement would please President Bush and Karl Rove and their Senators. President Bush and his brain, Karl Rove, are leading a radical revolution of destroying all the democratic political, social, judiciary, and economic institutions that both Democrats and moderate Republicans had built together since Roosevelt's New Deal.
In other words, a spoiled rich kid.
A long and wide-ranging article from the Middle East's freest press, Ha'aretz. Here are some highlights...

There's no limit to the imagination of the settlers and their helpers. To reduce the living space of the Palestinian farmers, they opened a "tea house" at the foot of the antiquities site at Susiya. The next day, the entire area was declared "off-limits" to Arabs. The daily routines in the area include swimming with dogs in the drinking water wells of Tuwany village, spraying the fields with poison and demonstrative visits to the homes of collaborators for whom the Israeli authorities built large homes in the centers of the villages of the vicinity.

One of the favorite pastimes of the thugs is to chase shepherds and steal newborn lambs. Last Wednesday, we reached the area just as the police investigators were collecting the bullet shells that the settlers had fired at the villagers of Tuwany a little while earlier. Three suspects waited by the police jeep. They did not look particularly worried.

The next day, 10 settlers were brought to the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court. Staff Sergeant Amitai Amosi told Judge Rafael Yaacobi that the suspects chased some Palestinian shepherds, used slingshots to stone them and fired in the air. On the way they encountered a Palestinian vehicle, threw stones at it and drove off their passengers. Amosi did not ask for the suspects to be arrested or remanded. When Arabs do the same things, there's no need to take them to court. Administrative detention works just as well. But in this case, Amosi asked that the gang be ordered to keep away from the area for three months. Judge Yaacobi turned him down. The Judea and Samaria district police and the officers in the central command were not surprised. Senior officers say that the settlers know that the law does not apply to them.
The U.S. military will launch its own news service in Iraq and Afghanistan to send military video, text and photos directly to the Internet or news outlets.

The $6.3 million project, expected to begin operating in April, is one of the largest military public affairs projects in recent memory, and is intended to allow small media outlets in the United States and elsewhere to bypass what the Pentagon views as an increasingly combative press corps. [more]
Sunday, March 07, 2004
Howard Stern on the Bush ads
  [4:18, MP3, 3 MB]
Howard's not too happy with George Bush these days.

In his first campaign commercial,
George Bush reached down and molested the dead.
 
Jimmy Breslin on Bush, Giuliani, and their shameless profiteering on 9/11 imagry. Jimmy's not too happy either.
The ad is nothing more than another George W. Bush fraud. First, arriving at the trade center, he was led by a flunkey to a retired fire fighter, Bob Beckwith, who had come down three days after the attack to take a look. Bush's flacks had Beckwith stand on a destroyed fire engine and Bush came up next to him and Bush put an arm around him and, two heroes, Bush called out "we're tough" to the television cameras.

He had all he wanted out of the place. A picture.

The American People. You hear an awful lot about them. Politicans, especially, are experts: they know what we want, need, feel, think, deserve, demand. So we thought we’d start keeping track of who’s claiming to speak for us, the American People. Who speaks for you?

Quotes are automatically selected from all election-related wire service stories available through Yahoo.

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