American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, March 20, 2004

You're not going to believe what happened to this voter from SanDiego!

I signed in, cast my vote and gave them the card back. Before taking off to work, I asked the woman how safe this new voting system was. She said "Oh it's REALLY safe! Your vote goes into a microchip and is stored with all the other votes and then at the end of the day, we bring all the microchips to the sheriffs department and they gather them and bring them to the Registrar in San Diego". "But what about a paper trail? Is there a hard copy somewhere?" Said I. "Oh Yes!" She said, "There's a printer inside each machine that records the vote of each and every person on a strip of paper!" I guess I looked a bit skeptical because she said "Here! Let me show you!"

We walked over to one of the machines and she opened a little door in the front and there was the printer.... with NO PAPER." "GASP!" she says and then quickly moves to the next machine... no paper in the printer.

This is INCREDIBLE! As minimal an audit as these printers provide, it is the only hardcopy audit that these eVote machines provide. As such, these machines should be programmed to not even work without a functional printer with paper! [Yes, it is not only possible to program these machines to do this, it is a trivial couple of lines of code.]

O.K., but what does all this mean? Well, I downloaded the election procedures manual for San Diego County [133 pages, 12 MB, .PDF], and the "zero-sum" check (making sure that the PCM card that stores the votes is set to zero) required prior to the openning of polls can be done on the eVote screen itself. This differs from the Maryland procedure reported by Avi Rubin, where the zero-sum check is actually checked on the print-out from each terminal. Per the SanDiego elections manual, this screen check is sufficient, and clearly, this is why these San Diego poll workers were not aware that their machines did not in fact have any paper loaded in them.

But (and this is critical), according to San Diego's shut-down procedures (page 82 of the .PDF):

It is critical that three items are available for you to hand directly to the Collection Center staff:
  1. The sealed Official Ballot Pouch which contains the Zero & Summary Reports, the Ballot Memory Cards, Certification of Votes, & the Supervisor Cards.
In other words, for at least two eVote terminals from this precinct in San Diego, there was no zero-sum report produced, and what little audit that report provides was simply not available.

It is of course important to note that this voter only saw two eVote terminals, both without paper. But one must wonder: How many of the eVote terminals in San Diego did not have paper in their printers? It's almost rediculous to suggest that that this voter who witnessed only two saw the only two that did not have it.

What this all means of course is that even the most minimal audit checks in the San Diego primary vote were not performed. That this was not reported reaks of cover-up.

Look, I understand that no voting supervisor wants a spotlight on them like Teresa LaPore had back in 2000. But to gloss over eVote failures such as this merely to avoid that is a violation of the public trust.

This was a mistake, and nothing more than that. But it is important that all election officials around the country are aware of this problem. This is nothing that procedures cannot handle, and nothing that a sinple coding change cannot prevent. But our election officials need to be honest about the problems they have individually had so that all of them can mutually benefit from each of their own individual experiences. This cover-up is a disgrace to that.

This article originally appeared on Black Box Notes.

The American public deserved — and deserves — to know more about the meaning and the effect of the president co-opting 9/11 and co-opting the patriotic, broad-based interest in responding to those terrorists through a War on Terror.

The reason Americans haven't understood the politically-motivated agenda has a lot to do with how they get their news. Public ignorance of what lies inside Bush’s Trojan Horse — his War on Terror — has a lot to do with how the U.S. media cover the presidency.
One Year Later, We Are All Victims of Bu$hCo's Groupthink
To set the stage, read this editorial, published in Sept. 2002, just months before the ill-fated war began.

Janis listed these as basic groupthink symptoms:

a.. illusions of invulnerability leading to the taking of extreme risks;

b.. collective efforts to rationalize, leading decision-makers to discount warnings that might otherwise force them to reconsider;

c.. stereotyped views of enemy leaders as too evil to warrant genuine attempts to negotiate, and as too weak or stupid to counter an attack against them, leading to miscalculations;

d.. an unquestioned belief in the group's inherent morality, inclining group members to ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions;

e.. advocates of the consensus view, putting pressure on those who express strong arguments against any of the group's commitments, making clear that dissent is contrary to what is expected of all loyal members;

f.. self-appointed mind guards emerging to protect the group from advice, information and views that might shatter the shared complacency about the effectiveness or morality of their decisions;

g.. self-censorship by people with views deviating from the apparent group consensus, creating an illusion of unanimity within the group.

After reading Suskind's book on Paul O'Niell's tenure as Treasury Secretary, The Price of Loyalty, I've become more convinced than ever that these groupthink symptoms characterize the Bu$hCo inner-circle, and very much characterized their approach to Iraq. Like O'Niell, I tend to view the process used in complex decision-making to be integral to the ultimate outcome. While a poor process may not guarantee disaster, it sure makes disaster (or short of that, a less-than-optimal outcome) more likely. One key to making sound decisions is to have as much relevant information as possible, and to include enough people representing a variety of perspectives to hash out that information and that information's implications. While that process may be a bit more time-consuming, and a bit more uncomfortable for all players involved (debate challenging one's pet assumptions can have that tendency), the resulting decision will be one that is empirically-driven as opposed to ideologically-driven. To me that distinction is critical. The former type of decision is likely to be one in which the players on the group have compromised and in which they have charted out a careful, cautious course of action. The latter type of decision, driven by ideology, is likely to be more extreme and more risky. The players are likely to be more confident in their outcome, although their confidence is likely more delusional.

So what happened a year ago? We saw an ideologically-driven decision put into play. The closest thing that Bu$hCo had to a genuine dissident, Colin Powell, probably engaged in a great deal of self-censorship (which has hurt his credibility in the war's aftermath), the group's mind guards (Cheney? Rove? Rumsfield?) have filtered out information contradictory to their pre-ordained conclusions, in which they have framed themselves as the forces of "good" and Hussein as "evil, stupid, and corrupt", in which they were extremely confident in the end result of their plan (the Iraqis would throw flowers to US soldiers; we'd be in and out in 60 days; ad nauseum), and in which dissidents were portrayed as disloyal, and in which the group discounted the warning signs that their plan would not go as planned.

What happened? Over 570 dead troops and thousands of injured troops along with the countless Iraqi civilians who've been killed and injured later, there's nothing tangible to show for the war and occupation. The WMDs are not to be found, and what we've read and heard from the intelligence community indicates that the scope of any WMD programs or actual WMDs was actually quite in doubt. Not only that, but any link between Hussein and terrorist groups has proven to be quite spurious (again as I understand it, that's something that the intelligence types were aware of, and which was roundly discounted by BU$hCo). The situation in Iraq is far from stable, contrary to last spring's hype. Certainly there have been some improvements, although much of those improvements have been limited to a small extremely affluent sub-set of Iraqis. Dissidents - both within the US and among the international community - rather than eat crow have instead been vindicated. The fall-out continues. Bu$hCo allies in Germany, Spain, and South Korea have been dealt set-backs and dissenters have seen their political fortunes rise. The US has become increasingly isolated in the international community. We're even seeing cracks in the once unified front at Bu$hCo, as the miserable failure in Iraq has become increasingly obvious, and those left trying to toe the line become self-parodies.

Those who marched on the streets of major cities worldwide, who voiced our dissent with our bodies, words, prayers, and so forth, can take some cold comfort in knowing that we were indeed right to call on Bush and Blair to stop the madness and let the UN weapons inspectors complete their work. I say cold comfort because the loss of life, limb and treasure has been entirely unacceptable.

The Iraq war will go down in history among other groupthink policy disasters: The Bay of Pigs (Kennedy), the escalation of the Vietnam War in the mid-1960s (Johnson), along with failures to read correctly the intelligence data regarding Japan (FDR) and potential Chinese involvement in the Korean war (Truman).

I'll have more to say on how to handle complex decisions, such as the ones comprising foreign policy, later. Suffice it to say, the short answer is this: look at the process used by Bu$hCo, and do the opposite.
Friday, March 19, 2004
The official merchandise Web site for President George W. Bush's re-election campaign has sold clothing made in Burma, whose goods were banned by Bush from the U.S. last year to punish its military dictatorship. [more]
What are blogs good for?
tobias has a great post up about blogging. I don't take issue with the thesis of the post, but there's something there that I've been thinking about:

Blogs tend to not express or reflect on political action, taken or organised by the blogger; rather, the act of writing the blog is considered to be political and active in itself. Blogs are not reports. This is not a new position--it is the turf of the political writer (Voltaire, Rousseau, etc.).

This does indeed seem to be the position taken by many, probably most, political bloggers. However, I doubt that blogging is a particularly effective political act.

What has changed since the times of pamphlets is not just the speed of publication, but also the amount of information. I don't really see the web as a very effective tool for propaganda and persuasion, except for perhaps the very most popular of web sites.

I don't think indy Media or American Samizdat are going to win a lot of people over to progressive causes. Nor do I think Little Green Footballs is going to lure a lot of people over to neo-conservative views. But, what American Samizdat can do is serve as a medium for communication between "the converted." It's a great place to share information. The blogosphere in general serves as a way to share ideas and discuss them, but is limited to a fairly small audience. The real work of activism must come from other activities, and blogging is not an effective political act, and shouldn't kid ourselves about it. That doesn't make it any less worthwhile.

Did the Dean blog or Meetup really serve as ways to recruit new people to the Dean campaign? Maybe a few, but I think the real recruitment happened in the streets and in the big media. What meetup and the blogs did was organize, solidify, and inform the group. That is what blogs and the web in general are good for.
Off the hook
Why do we label people who hate homosexuals "homophobic"? Doesn't that let them off the hook a little? Implying they don't hate homosexuals, they're just afraid of them. I can understand people being a little afraid of people who are different from them, who they don't understand. Being afraid implies ignorance. Hate is something else entirely. Maybe haters are phobes also, but not all people who are afraid hate. So what should be the proper nomenclature for people who hate homosexuals?
Question authority says who?
This is a post in reference to this post and this article.

Although Vice has come out and said that the "hipster conservative movement" was a hoax, there are plenty of other examples of this trend. For instance, look at the Suicide Girls blog.

I went to Evergreen State College, one of the most left-wing schools in the nation, and also incidentally, the highest rated school in the Hipster Handbook. Before I went there, I spent 5 years living in Wyoming, one of the most conservative states in the nation. I was right out of high school and full of rebellion. Naturally, living in Wyoming I took on a left-anarchist way of thinking. But when I got out to Evergreen, and was surrounded by liberals, I couldn?t help but notice that a lot of these people were un-thinking liberals in the same way I?d been exposed to so many unthinking right-wingers. So I began to lean more to the right, though I tended more to the libertarian right than the neo-conservative right.

But eventually, with enough reading and enough travel back and forth between Olympia and Wyoming, settled into a progressive/social democratic way of thinking. And while I'm constantly interested in challenging my own views and thinking about different approaches to achieving liberal political goals, I definently identify as liberal.

Anyway, in my last year at Evergreen I definitely noticed some of the younger students falling into the same way of thinking I did when I first came out there: feeling that there was a lot of intellectually lazy leftists out there, and sort of rebelling against the same tendency. In McInnes's essay he says:

More than ever, there were young people responding with favor to a predominantly right-wing discussion. . . These were a new group of kids sick of how "intellectually lazy" (to quote the Hipublicans) the Left had become. They weren?t necessarily for invading Iraq. They just wanted to discuss the pros and cons in a rational and calm forum, without the liberal hyperbole of their peers. I felt like Dr. Frankenstein?"It's alive! IT'S ALIVE!"

Now McInnes is claiming all this to be a hoax, but it wouldn't surprise me much to see a large conservative movement within the youth culture, especially in areas like New York City and the Bay Area where progressive ideology reigns supreme. And I've thought for a while that right-wing libertarianism would become the dominate youth-culture politics. Essentially it's an anti-authoritarian political philosophy that still let's kids consume all they want and not feel bad about it. It's the market at work, right?

Of course I don't believe that libertarianism is about shunning responsibility. Quite the opposite. But it could very easily be interpreted that way, and it could very easily be used as an excuse by the young as a means to justify their every materialistic whim. And another disclaimer: I don't think that there's any reason why we should expect rebelious youth to become liberals instead of libertarians in the first place. I don't mean to suggest that everyone one thinks things through will end up being a social democrat or anything.

(more coming sometime about the racism aspect of all this)
... led by fundamentalist sons of two financially linked elitist clans.Chris Floyd:
Now [the British Guantanimo detainees are] free, as the Regime flushes the most embarrassing cases out of the system before the Supreme Court rules on the "legality" of the Bush gulag this summer. The treatment of these three innocent men, chained and beaten for two years, is not just a crime, but also -- like that other crime, the invasion of Iraq -- an enormous waste of time and resources in the "war on terrorism." We saw the grim fruit of this waste in Madrid last week.

But of course, the Pentagon Archipelago wasn't designed to fight terrorism; it's designed to advance terrorism -- state terrorism. Its purpose is to establish the principle of arbitrary rule -- in the name of "military necessity" -- above the rule of law, in America and around the world. It's part of an overarching system of terror -- aggressive war, assassination, indefinite detention, torture -- employed to achieve the Regime's openly stated ideological goal: "full-spectrum dominance" of global politics and resources, particularly energy resources. Al-Qaida has the same goal, and uses the same methods, albeit on a smaller, "asymmetrical" scale.

Now we are all at the mercy of these entwined terrorist factions -- both led by fundamentalist sons of two financially linked elitist clans. We will see more Guananamos, more Madrids, before this long, dark night is over.
Thursday, March 18, 2004
The American apparat of the far right can be viewed as a variant of the Soviet model - amorphous in overlapping functions at the top but monolithic in its aims. It is an external government that guides the federal government. In a stunning sense, it is counter-revolutionary and anti-Constitutional. [more]

About 6,000 interviews were carried out in total, half in Autumn last year and half this Spring, in a project run by Oxford Research International.

Seventy per cent of people said that things were going well or quite well in their lives, while only 29% felt things were bad.

And 56% said that things were better now than they were before the war.
"Where are the leaders of our country?"
The Courage to Do What's Right for America
This is an awesome video (11:40, streamed) from the Kerry campaign. Sure, it's a "best light" video, but if he can carry this type of stuff through to the election, BushCo will have to steal it again.

Windows MediaReal Player
WARSAW (AFP) - Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski said that his country had been "taken for a ride" about the alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

"That they deceived us about the weapons of mass destruction, that's true. We were taken for a ride," Kawsniewski said Thursday.

He argued however that it made no sense to pull US-led coalition troops out of Iraq.

Poland heads up a 9,000-strong multinational force patrolling a swathe of Iraq south of Baghdad.

Examples of Baghdad Graffitti

And underneath is written:



And underneath is written:

And underneath is written:

So didn't Kerry recently challenge Bush to monthly debates? And hasn't Bush, so far as I know, refused said debates like a cowardly dog? So would Bush acting like the cowardly dog that he is . . . would that also be a 'taste of the Bush campaign'?
April 1, 2004:
Are you embarrassed by the arrogance, greed, shortsightedness, selfishness, and outright lies told by George W. Bush?

Join tens of thousands of others across the country and world and wear a brown armband or ribbon to symbolize all the BS coming out of the White House.

From the web resource "Iraq On The Record: The Bush Administration's Public Statements On Iraq", presented By Rep. Henry Waxman:
The Iraq on the Record Report, prepared at the request of Rep. Henry A. Waxman, is a comprehensive examination of the statements made by the five Administration officials most responsible for providing public information and shaping public opinion on Iraq: President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

This database identifies 237 specific misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq made by these five officials in 125 public appearances in the time leading up to and after the commencement of hostilities in Iraq. The search options on the left can be used to find statements by any combination of speaker, subject, keyword, or date.
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Mr Bush knew that the Medicare bill strongarmed through Congress would cost more than the GOP sponsors let on, more than a billion dollars more than the 395 billion dollar price tag it was touted as costing. He was aware that 14 conservative Republicans would vote against the bill if it cost over 400 billion dollars over the next 10 years. So he lied to his own party as well as the rest of Americans. The bill passed 220 to 215 amid allegations of Republican vote buying, 54 to 44 in the Senate.

The Whitehouse threatened to fire it's own Medicare actuary, Richard Foster, if he told the truth that his figures showed the program to cost 551 billion. documents this all this underhandedness.

On January 30th Scott McCllelan, in light of what we know now, lied about what the President knew, and when.
Q Scott, to follow on that, are you telling us, on the day the President signed it and presented it to the American people, made it law, he either thought it was going to cost $400 billion over 10 years, or he didn't know how much it was going to cost and he didn't care?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, the President -- in fact, you just heard from the President -- we've been going through our budget process; the budget will be released on Monday. The President was briefed just, I believe it was two weeks ago today when he was briefed on this aspect of the budget and was informed about the new -- or I guess this was the first estimate -- that we put forward the estimate that the HHS actuaries came up with in that budget process.
emphasis mine

The fellow that Richard Foster said threatened to fire him, Tom Scully, left his position a week after the Medicare bill he helped craft was passed; to join the healthcare lobbying firm Alston and Bird. HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson supplied Scully with a code of ethics waiver (askance Federal regulations and Health and Human Services code) in May 2003 to negotiate with healthcare related firms, firms with "substantial interests in matters pending" concerning Scully's post as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Federal agencies have been ordered to stop issueing ethics waivers in light of this case. Now only the White House can approve such waivers.

Representitive Billy Tauzin, who wrote the Medicare bill reportedly recieved a 2 million dollar job offer from PhRMA the lobbying giant for the pharmaceutical industry.

In the 2000 election cycle Republicans gleaned 69 percent of pharmaceutical industry connected giving totaling 26,707,861 dollars. 2002's election cycle saw 29,366,851 dollars contributed, 74 percent to Republicans. So far in 2004 $6,246,964 dollars have been contributed, 67percent to Republicans.


But it gets worse. The Federal Government supplied news outlets with tapes purporting to show reporters Karen Ryan
and in the spanish language version Alberto Garcia heaping praise on the new Medicare law. The trouble is, they are paid actors reading government scripts, not journalists. A couple of the videos end with a woman's saying "In Washington, I'm Karen Ryan reporting."

Kevin Keane, HHS assistant secretary for public affairs says that Ryan is a freelance journalist, not merely an actor.
It seems clear that if the woman is reading a prepared script she is an actor. She was paid with taxpayer money- to deceive taxpayers.

The Bush administration plans to spend 80 million dollars on advertising the Medicare plan "$12.6 million for advertising this winter..."

Your tax dollars at work.
Truce with Spain, but . . .
Al Qaeda Endorses Bush !
I kid you not. If you haven't heard, a letter claiming to be from Al Qeada has promised to stop all actions against Spain while it waits to determine if Spain's promise to withdraw from Iraq is genuine. But if you'll read down, there's also this:
The statement said it supported President Bush in his reelection campaign, and would prefer him to win in November rather than the Democratic candidate John Kerry, as it was not possible to find a leader "more foolish than you (Bush), who deals with matters by force rather than with wisdom."

In comments addressed to Bush, the group said:

"Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilization."

"Because of this we desire you (Bush) to be elected."

The group said its cells were ready for another attack and time was running out for allies of the United States.

"Whose turn is it next? Will it be Japan or America, or Italy, Britain or Oslo or Australia?" the statement said, adding Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were also targets.

And I thought Kerry got all of the foreign endorsements. Silly me.
Karen Kwiatkowski:
Election Year Predictions
"You cannot step twice into the same river."
Some election watchers remember past vicious presidential campaigns and look for signs. Others wonder about third-party effects, or targeted mini-campaigns for a small number of electoral votes in single-issue districts. Still others read the tea leaves of national economic and battlefield woes to determine whether an incumbent will be asked to stay on. Some may wonder how another terrorist attack on us, or another US attack on a third country might affect the election outcome.

But as Heraclitus observed, you can’t step into the same river twice. The next major terrorist attack on the US, at home or abroad, will not be 9-11. Even if every aspect of it were identical, it will be a different attack, against a wiser nation, a changed President, and by an evolved group of attackers. This means that the national political reaction to 9-11 won’t be duplicated after the next attack, if there is a next attack.

In the same way, any retaliatory attack on another country by the Bush Administration will be seen in the light of the discoveries by average Americans, soldiers and marines, and the U.S. Congress of what Bush’s last attacks were all about, or not about, as the case may have been.

The World STILL Says No to War!
The World STILL Says No to War!
Global Day of Action Against War and Occupation
Saturday, March 20

United for Peace and Justice is asking us to sandwich this important event day by scheduling a meeting with our Congressperson on March 19 (during Senate Recess, they should be in home districts) to advocate sensible Iraq policy , followed up by a call in day on Wednesday, March 24 to further impact our legislators in DC.

Help get the word out.
I don't know about you, but I can only take so much abuse of the word "appeasement" following the Spanish elections from the pro-war right. We haven't seen this much of a concerted propaganda push from actors in the media and blogs since Saddam Hussein's December capture and the announcement of Libya's abandonment of its WMD program.

Micah Holmquist pretty much nails it when he says that this is convenient politics with no grounding in reality. The claims that the Spanish have capitulated to Bin Laden are repugnant, entirely selective, and wholly unserious. They are meant to metaphorically beat people into a corner so any resistance to Bush policy is deemed to be "supporting the terrorists."

This, writes Holmquist, "is the only conclusion one can reach after looking at the lack of outrage from the usual suspects over the planned pull-out of U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia."

The presence of these troops in Saudi Arabia is one of Osama bin Laden's grievances against the United States — perhaps the one that provides real motivation — so how could pulling troops out be anything other than "appeasement"? The answer is that "appeasement" is, in the hawkish parlance of this day, nothing more than an epithet to be used against actions or policies that are disliked. Hence, in a column, Barbara J. Stock can say Spain is responsible for future terrorist attacks because of that country's "appeasement" (the disliked set of policies and positions) without mentioning or even considering that the United States was to blame for last week's bombing in Spain due to its "appeasement." Similarly, U.S. military aid to the government of Egypt, which treats gay men in a manner that al Qaeda would surely approve of, is not "appeasement" because most of these jingos, to use another epithet, don't care about this one way or another because it has not been raised as an issue.

Along the same lines, nobody accuses the United States of appeasing Iran in 1980 by electing Ronald Reagan. Nonetheless it is obvious that the Iranian Revolution was really an attempt on the part of Ayatollah Khomeini to register disapproval of the Jimmy Carter Administration. When that didn't work, Khomeini attempted to make Carter look weak via the Iranian Hostage Crisis and the public took the bait, electing Reagan and appeasing our enemies in Iran. Just think of the evil that could have been prevented if Carter had been reelected. Iraq may have been able to defeat Iran more decisively, the Contras might not have had to sell drugs and it is even possible that the Soviet Union wouldn't have hung around for more than an additional decade.

The above paragraph is obviously absurd, but no more so than many of the statements that are being made about "appeasement." I suspect the only reason the idea that Reagan's election equaled appeasement isn't touted countlessly by every person who knows that Franco was once in charge of Spain is that, for obvious reasons, it doesn't serve to support any goal of the Bush Administration. Team Bush's friends in the media have therefore not repeated it without end. [more]
Sound familiar?

"You're either with us, or you're against us!"
Nine out of John Kerry's 20 top donors also contributed to the Bush campaign, actually contributing more to the current White House resident.
Explore these sites to relax and refresh the next time you consider, remote in hand, wading through the however many channels of mostly crap your "electronic hearth" has to offer. Feel radio engage your mind.

Hearing Voices
Sound Portraits
Third Coast Audio
This American Life

The links will open in a new window. Enjoy.
On Benedict@Large:
Gutting Marbury v. Madison
Republicans seek power to reverse Supreme Court
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) has some choice words for the White House.

Note: Above link is Windows Media. This is the Real Player link.

[ Via Kicking Ass.]

It wasn't the bombs; it was the lies
In an atmosphere of horror and anger, Spanish voters managed to sort through their emotions over the weekend to deliver a surprisingly clear message to their government. Perhaps we should listen in the United States.

Governments that lie and cover up on matters not only central to national security but also to the commitment of armed forces abroad are inviting rejection.

And not only did Spain's government lie to their citizens about the bombings, Washington covered for them on this side of the Atlantic.

Of course, this is all right up the alley of the Neocons and their "noble lie" philosophy. Yet there is a lesson in the election results from Spain for the Neocons, although one that they will likely miss: That their noble lie philosophy depends on being able to fool all of the people all of the time. And that assuming that is in the end a fool's bet.

But what I want to know is this: If Karl Rove is effectively Bush's full-time
campaign strategist, why in hell are we paying him $151,000 per year?
Rachel Corrie's death...has become the subject of the most intensely defensive and vicious attacks by Israel's most vociferous apologists, including a recent editorial in the right-wing Jerusalem Post. These attacks, in effect, mirror the outpouring of sympathy and support for Rachel and her actions around the world, and most significantly, in Palestine, where she has been embraced and memorialized in posters and youth centers.

Israeli apologists have excoriated Rachel as a tragically misguided young idealist or worse; a stooge of terrorists and perhaps their willing accomplice. Many have disgracefully applauded her death, even in correspondences to her parents.

As we approach the one-year anniversary of her death, it is necessary to review and debunk several of the most frequent propaganda claims about Rachel that continue to circulate. [more]
Today is, in fact, the anniversary. It should be both a day of remembrance and a day of action.
Monday, March 15, 2004
The Power of Prophesy:
Fire Paul Wolfowitz
This is from Jude Wanniski, whom I've featured here on a number of occasions. The date on this article is four weeks to the day after 9/11. Jude's claim is that Wolfowitz has taken over the Department of Defense.

How very prophetic.

Jude's also got his "Invasion Anniversary" post just up, "Anniversary of an Unnecessary War". As always, worth while.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
John Pilger Interview
This is Pilger unleashed and something you'd never see on American TV. Pilger proposes that the Iraqi resistance should be an expected outcome of the invasion, that its terroristic methods of targeting both military and civilian populations are completely consisent historically with other occupations, and that much of the world, while not endorsing the resistance, is none the less counting on that resistance to stop or at least bog down the American juggernaut.
Washington, D.C. - In light of new television advertisements critical of President Bush's leadership from the Log Cabin Republicans, the College Republican National Committee today reaffirmed its strong support for the President and his efforts to protect marriage.

"President Bush is exactly right when he says there is a consensus among Americans to protect the institution of marriage. Activist judges are creating confusion that requires clarification," said Eric Hoplin, chairman of the College Republican National Committee. "We applaud President Bush's leadership on an issue that is so important to the next generation."

"While I appreciate the work of the Log Cabin Republicans to elect members of our party, their efforts to stab the President in the back, to the tune of a million dollars, shows that they seek to advance a single issue agenda, even if it means working to defeat our commander-in-chief," Hoplin said. "If the Log Cabin Republicans are the loyal Republicans they claim to be, they should spend their millions on electing Republicans, not defeating them."

Gasp ! Have they no shame?
Here are a couple of headlines for those who haven't had the time to study both economics and history:

1. There is no such thing as a "free market."

2. The "middle class" is the creation of government intervention in the marketplace, and won't exist without it (as millions of Americans and Europeans are discovering).

The conservative belief in "free markets" is a bit like the Catholic Church's insistence that the Earth was at the center of the Solar System in the Twelfth Century. It's widely believed by those in power, those who challenge it are branded heretics and ridiculed, and it is wrong.

In actual fact, there is no such thing as a "free market." Markets are the creation of government.

The "middle class" is not the natural result of freeing business to do whatever it wants, of "free and open markets," or of "free trade." The "middle class" is not a normal result of "free markets." Those policies will produce a small but powerful wealthy class, a small "middle" mercantilist class, and a huge and terrified worker class which have traditionally been called "serfs."

The middle class is a new invention of liberal democracies, the direct result of governments defining the rules of the game of business. It is, quite simply, an artifact of government regulation of markets and tax laws.

When government sets the rules of the game of business in such a way that working people must receive a living wage, labor has the power to organize into unions just as capital can organize into corporations, and domestic industries are protected from overseas competition, a middle class will emerge. When government gives up these functions, the middle class vanishes and we return to the Dickens-era "normal" form of totally free market conservative economics where the rich get richer while the working poor are kept in a constant state of fear and anxiety so the cost of their labor will always be cheap.

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Sunday, March 14, 2004

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