boistering

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Ignorance Wins

It seems frightening to most that the Republican watchdogs who have been reminding us ad nauseum that they are defending our security are also the very same people responsible for the inept failure that has prolonged this nation's battle with Muslim extremists like Osama Bin Laden. How Republicans can point to Bin Laden's latest video as proof we need another four years of George W. Bush is mystifying at best. The Bush Administration failed to find Bin Laden then declared war on a country that had nothing to do with the horror of September 11. That this last statement is still debatable to some points to the greater problem that may put Bush right back in the White House. No one anywhere is relying on facts to make the decisions that threaten all our lives. The Bush coterie based their decisions on faulty intelligence (remember Colin Powell holding up satellite images when he spoke before the UN?), the American people are picking and choosing information without bothering to do the research necessary to making an informed decision, and Muslim extremist leaders are spewing their own skewed mantras of hate in an attempt to gain the future following that will perpetuate their war against the West. Nowhere is rational discourse to be found and few are interested in any information that doesn't support their preconceived notions. In fact most seem to harbor a real fear of discovering the truth and therefore make a conscious effort to avoid it. The bipartisan unity that resulted from the attack on the WTC has long disappeared and has been replaced by pathetic trickery and deception.

November 2 will be the day America decides whether democracy is worthwhile. Ignorance wins.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Irate Savant

I'm not a communist. I am a patagonian, a citizen of the world. World citizen. Perhaps the first. To discuss the nature and meaning of obscenity is almost as difficult as to talk about god. Until I began delving into the subject I never realized what a morass I was wading into. If one begins with etymology one is immediately aware that lexicographers are bamboozlers, every bit as much as jurists, moralists, and politicians. A new America, one never before conceived, must be invented. Somewhere a bum is walking a train track happy as a dragonfly. D.H. Lawrence was probably right when he said "nobody knows what the word obscene means". As for Theodore Schroeder, who has devoted his whole life to fighting for freedom of speech his opinion is "obscenity does not exist in any book or picture, but is wholly a quality of the mind." What did he mean, Joyce, when on the eve of Ulysses he said he wanted to "forge in the smithy of his soul the uncreated conscience of his race"? Like the sun itself which, in the course of a day, rises from the sea and disappears again, so Ulysses takes its cosmic stance [like an Ornette Coleman solo] , rising with a curse and falling with a sigh. Communists don't exist. Marx was a humorless cretin. But the Absolute was in his blood. And if in the end Freud happens to find himself enmeshed in his own creative lie is there any denying the fact that thousands of individuals, believing implicitly in the efficacy of his therapy, have found greater enjoyment in life? Coke adds death. There is a dark joke played on the human race. Like Mohammed, Buddha, Christ, Tamerlane, do we want art to become more communicative, living art, latitude and longitude. Plagiarism is necessary. History is continously becoming, repeating. E=mc2 Facts live eternally. Men and women die.

By that I mean.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Voter Intimidation Rampant

MIAMI (AP) - Pre-election tension mounted Thursday in Florida amid claims of voter intimidation, promises absentee ballots will reach the Broward County citizens who are missing them and concerns Republicans will question the authenticity of thousands of votes on election day.

Workers at Broward's elections office prepared 1,000 absentee ballots for overnight shipment to Floridians in other states and expected to send up to 14,000 ballots by Friday to residents who requested them weeks ago.

Meanwhile, state Republican leaders said they are protecting "the integrity of the process" by compiling a list of voters who they said are improperly registered and should not be allowed to cast ballots Tuesday.

"I presume they will use it as a basis for challenges," said Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Florida.

"And when they're using a list that's very likely inaccurate for challenges, I think we're in for hand-to-hand combat at the precincts."

Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie said he was "disconcerted" by claims supporters of Democratic challenger John Kerry are clogging early voting locations and attempting to dissuade backers of President George W. Bush from voting.

"Some folks have been intimidated to the point where they turned away from the lines," Gillespie alleged.

Democrats dismissed Gillespie's accusation and said Republicans are the ones trying to keep Tuesday's turnout low. They pointed to a series of announcements in recent weeks by the Republican National Committee, calling them "empty fraud allegations" designed to suppress voting.

"Yet again, we're hearing that the Republican party is crying fraud," Kerry campaign spokeswoman Christine Anderson said.

"This is a very clear strategy on their part to lay the groundwork for election day challenges. We have clearly stated that we do not plan to challenge voters on election day and that's a promise they simply can't make."

Republican officials acknowledged names of voters who may be improperly registered have been forwarded to county officials. The list will not be used for challenges, said state Republican adviser Mindy Tucker Fletcher, who added the list is of addresses where the state Republican party sent mail, only to have it returned as undeliverable.

The Broward County absentee ballot issue was murkier than ever.

About 58,000 ballots were mailed Oct. 7 and 8, said county officials, who added many either did not arrive at residents' homes or didn't arrive in a timely way.

Broward County elections supervisor Brenda Snipes said Thursday her office has sent out some 128,000 absentee ballots this year, that 72,000 completed ballots have already been returned and she expects 40,000 more by Tuesday.

Residents who requested ballots but haven't received them are being told to call the election office for replacements by overnight mail. There are concerns, however, the mailing glitch could create confusion with individuals having two ballots or being forced to file provisional ballots on election day.

"I think it was more of a delay than ballots being lost...The extent of the problem is not going to be as great as it may appear," Snipes said.

In Palm Beach County, meanwhile, hundreds of members of the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans said they haven't received their absentee ballots.

Scaring America into Submission

On August 11, John Kerry criticized the Bush Administration for blocking a bipartisan plan to give seniors access to lower-priced prescription drugs from Canada. With almost 80 percent of Medicare recipients supporting Kerry's position, the Bush campaign was faced with the prospect of defending a politically unpopular position.

That same day, in an interview with the Associated Press, FDA Acting Commissioner Lester Crawford said terrorist "cues from chatter" led him to believe Al Qaeda may try to attack Americans by contaminating imported prescription drugs. Crawford refused to provide any details to substantiate his claims.

Asked about Crawford's comments, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security was forced to concede, "We have no specific information now about any Al Qaeda threats to our food or drug supply." The Bush Administration used Americans' justifiable fears of a future terrorist attack to fight off a routine criticism of its own policies.

How did it come to this?

Crawford's comments were the latest iteration of a political strategy--hatched in the days after 9/11--that has spiraled out of control. What started as an effort to leverage early support for the President on national security issues has expanded into the politicization of our country's safety and security infrastructure. That process has damaged the credibility of the federal government and made all Americans less secure.

Revving the Engines

In the weeks following 9/11, President Bush's popularity--which was languishing at around 50 percent in August 2001--soared to 90 percent. By mid-October 2001, support for Republicans in Congress--which was at just 37 percent in August--had shot up thirty points. After Republicans lost most major 2001 gubernatorial races to Democrats, GOP strategists realized that the key to electoral success was tapping into the post-9/11 fear of terrorism and focusing on security issues.

On January 19, 2002--just nineteen weeks after the 9/11 attacks--Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, told a high-level gathering at the Republican National Committee to "go to the country" and tell the American people they can "trust the Republican Party to do a better job of...protecting America." Soon afterward, Bush authorized the Republican Party to sell photographs of himself aboard Air Force One, looking concerned and talking on a red telephone to the Vice President on 9/11.

As the 2002 midterm elections neared, White House political director Ken Mehlman developed a secret PowerPoint presentation--which was made public after being dropped in a park--urging Republican candidates to highlight fears of future terrorist attacks. In the most outrageous example, Georgia Senate candidate Saxby Chambliss, who had avoided service in Vietnam, ran campaign commercials drawing parallels between triple amputee Vietnam War veteran Max Cleland and Osama bin Laden.

President Bush reinforced these tactics by barnstorming the country--he made seventeen appearances in the last week of the campaign alone--emphasizing the threat posed by Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein and impugning the security credentials of Democrats. Campaigning in New Jersey in late September, Bush claimed Democrats in the Senate were "not interested in the security of the American people."


Civilian Death Toll in Iraq Exceeds 100,000

from NewScientist.com news service

The invasion of Iraq in March 2003 by coalition forces has lead to the death of at least 100,000 civilians, reveals the first scientific study to examine the issue.

The majority of these deaths, which are in addition those normally expected from natural causes, illness and accidents, have been among women and children, finds the study, released early by The Lancet on Thursday.

The most common cause of death is as a direct result of violence, mostly caused by coalition air strikes, reveals the study of almost 1000 households scattered across Iraq. And the risk of violent death just after the invasion was 58 times greater than before the war. The overall risk of death was 1.5 times more after the invasion than before.

The figure of 100,000 is based on "conservative assumptions", notes Les Roberts at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, US, who led the study.

That estimate excludes Falluja, a hotspot for violence. If the data from this town is included, the study points to about 200,000 excess deaths since the outbreak of war.

“These findings raise questions for those far removed from Iraq - in the governments of the countries responsible for launching a pre-emptive war,” writes Richard Horton, the editor of The Lancet in a commentary accompanying the paper.

“In planning this war, the coalition forces - especially those of the US and UK - must have considered the likely effects of their actions for civilians,” he writes.

He argues that, from a public health perspective, whatever “planning did take place was grievously in error”.
“The invasion of Iraq, the displacement of a cruel dictator, and the attempt to impose a liberal democracy by force have, by themselves, been insufficient to bring peace and security to the civilian population. Democratic imperialism has led to more deaths, not fewer,” he asserts.

He also praises the “courageous team of scientists” for their efforts, and notes the study’s limitations.
GPS sampling

The team of US and Iraqi scientists recorded mortality during the 15 months before the invasion and the 18 months afterwards. They carried out the survey of 988 Iraqi households in 33 different areas across Iraq in September 2004.

Using a GPS (global positioning system) unit, the interviewers randomly selected towns within governates. They then visited the nearest 30 houses to the GPS point randomly selected.

Families living under one roof were asked about deaths in their household before and after the war. “Confirmation was sought to ensure that a large fraction of the reported deaths were not fabrications,” write the team. The interviewers did ask for death certificates, but only in two cases for each cluster of houses. This was because of concerns that implying the families were lying could trigger violence.

But the team believes that lying about deaths is unlikely and, if anything, “it is possible that deaths were not reported” because families might want to conceal them.

Doctors implicated in abuse of Iraqi prisoners 20 August 2004

Bush Deceives Americans About Global Warming

The Bush administration is trying to stifle scientific evidence of the dangers of global warming in an effort to keep the public uninformed, a NASA scientist said Tuesday night.

"In my more than three decades in government, I have never seen anything approaching the degree to which information flow from scientists to the public has been screened and controlled as it is now," James E. Hansen told a University of Iowa audience.

Hansen is director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York and has twice briefed a task force headed by Vice President Dick Cheney on global warming.

Hansen said the administration wants to hear only scientific results that "fit predetermined, inflexible positions." Evidence that would raise concerns about the dangers of climate change is often dismissed as not being of sufficient interest to the public.

"This, I believe, is a recipe for environmental disaster."
Hansen said the scientific community generally agrees that temperatures on Earth are rising because of the greenhouse effect — emissions of carbon dioxide and other materials into the atmosphere that trap heat.
These rising temperatures, scientists believe, could cause sea levels to rise and trigger severe environmental consequences, he said.

Hansen said such warnings are consistently suppressed, while studies that cast doubt on such interpretations receive favorable treatment from the administration.

He also said reports that outline potential dangers of global warming are edited to make the problem appear less serious. "This process is in direct opposition to the most fundamental precepts of science," he said.
White House science adviser John H. Marburger III has denied charges that the administration refuses to accept the reality of climate change, noting that President Bush pointed out in a 2001 speech that greenhouse gases have increased substantially in the past 200 years.

Last December, the administration said it was planning a five-year program to research global warming and climate change.

Hansen said he was speaking as a private citizen, not as a government employee, and paid his own way for the Iowa appearance. He described himself as moderately conservative.

Bush Plans to Enforce Mandatory "Mental Tests"

Among the things the second term of the Bush junta will bring is the
New Freedom Initiative. This is a proposal, barely reported in the
press, to give all Americans- beginning with school children- a
standardized test for mental illness. Those who flunk the test will
be issued medication, and those who do not want to take their
medication will be urged to have it implanted under their skin.
Needless to say, the New Freedom commission, appointed by
the President, is composed almost entirely of executives, lawyers,
and lobbyists for pharmaceutical corporations.

The question is: Will anyone pass the test? Half of America is
clearly deranged, and it has driven the other half mad.

The President openly declares that God speaks through him.
The Republicans are making television advertisements featuring
the actor who played Jesus in Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the
Christ," while sending out pamphlets that warn that if Kerry is
elected he will ban the Bible. Catholic bishops have decreed that
voting for Kerry is a sin (mortal or venial?) that must be confessed
before one can take communion. The one piece of scientific
research actively promoted by the government is investigating
whether having others pray for you can cure cancer. (The National
Institute of Health has explained that this is "imperative" because
poor people have limited access to normal health care.) At the
official gift shop in Grand Canyon National Park, they sell a book that
states that this so-called natural wonder sprang fully formed in the six
days of Creation. We already know that the current United States
government does not believe in global warming or the hazards of
pollution; now we know it doesn't believe in erosion either.

The polls are evidence that the country is suffering a collective
head injury. On any given issue-- the economy, the war in Iraq,
health care-- the majority perceive that the situation is bad and
the President has handled it badly. Yet these same people, in
these same polls, also say they'll be voting for Bush. Like a
battered wife-- realizing yet denying what is happening, still
making excuses for their man-- the voters are ruled by fear and
intimidation and the threat of worse to come. They've been
beaten up by the phantom of terrorism.

Every few weeks we're bludgeoned by warnings that terrorists
may strike in a matter of days. Incited by the Department of
Homeland Security, millions have bought duct tape and plastic
sheeting to protect their homes from biological and chemical attack,
and have amassed caches of canned food and bottled water. To
ensure that everyone everywhere stays afraid, 10,000 FBI agents
have been sent to small towns to talk to local police chiefs about what
they can do to fight terrorism. After the massacre at Beslan, school
principals received letters from the Department of Education instructing
them to beware of strangers.The Vice President intones that if Kerry is
elected, terrorists will be exploding nuclear bombs in the cities. (And,
to anticipate all possibilities, also warns that terrorists may set off
bombs before the election to influence the vote. . . but we're not
going to let them tell Americans who to vote for, are we?)

Fear has infected even the most common transactions of daily life.
It is not only visitors to the US who are treated as criminals, with
fingerprints and photographs and retinal scans. Anyone entering any
anonymous office building must now go through security clearances
worthy of an audience with Donald Rumsfeld. At the airports, fear of
flying has been replaced by fear of checking-in. Nearly every day there
are stories of people arrested or detained for innocuous activities, like
snapping a photo of a friend in the subway or wearing an antiwar
button while shopping in the mall. Worst of all, the whole country
has acquiesced to the myth of terrorist omnipotence. Even those who
laugh at the color-coded Alerts and other excesses of the anti-terror
apparatus do not question the need for the apparatus itself. The
Department of Homeland Security, after all, was a Democratic
proposal first rejected by Bush.


Common sense has retreated to the monasteries of a few websites. It is
considered delusional to suggest that international terrorism is nothing
more than a criminal activity performed by a handful of people, that
Al-Qaeda and similar groups are the Weather Underground, the Brigato
Rosso, the Baader-Meinhof Gang, with more sophisticated techniques
and more powerful weapons, operating in the age of hysterical 24-hour
television news. They are not an army. They are not waging a war.
They are tiny groups perpetrating isolated acts of violence.

There's no question they are dangerous individuals, but- without
demeaning the indelible trauma of 9/11 or the Madrid bombings- the
danger they pose must be seen with some kind of dispassionate
perspective. A terrorist attack is a rare and sudden disaster, the
man-made equivalent of an earthquake or flood. More people die
in the U.S. every year from choking on food than died in the Twin
Towers. About 35,000 die annually from gunshot wounds. (While
Bush lifts the ban on assault weapons, and both Bush and Kerry
promote gun ownership, a captured al-Qaeda manual recommends
traveling to the U.S. to buy weapons.) About 45,000 die in car
crashes-- while the Bush administration lowers automobile safety
standards to increase the profits of the auto industry, major
donors to his campaign. Millions, of course, die from diseases,
and one can only imagine if the billions spent on useless
elephantine bureaucracies like the Department of Homeland
Security had gone to hospitals and research. If the goal were
genuinely to protect lives, fighting terrorism would be a serious
matter for police and intelligence agencies, and a small project of a
nation's well-being.

Compare, for a moment, Spain. After the Madrid bombings, the
police, in a few days, arrested those responsible. (After 9/11, the U.S.
rounded up more than 5,000 people- many of whom still in jail and not
a single one of whom has been proven to have any connection to any
form of terrorist activity.) They did not carpet-bomb Morocco. They
are quietly increasing police surveillance without Terror Alert national
panics and with little or no interruption of daily life. And,
geographically, demographically, and historically (the
fundamentalist dream of recuperating al-Andalus), there is a
much greater possibility of another terrorist attack in Spain
than in the U.S.

But of course the current "war on terrorism" is not about saving
lives at all; it's about keeping power in the hands of a tiny cell of
ideologues. In the manner of all totalitarian societies, the Bush junta,
with a happily compliant mass media, has wildly exaggerated the
power of the Enemy. This has allowed them to wage a war in Iraq
they began planning long before 9/11 and to plot further invasions,
to suspend Constitutional rights and disdain international law, to
enrich their friends and ignore the opinions of most of the world.
Many Americans who dislike Bush will still vote for him in November
because the marketing campaign has made him appear the resolute
"wartime" Commander-in-Chief who will keep the nation "safe." It
has become futile to try to argue that this war on terror doesn't exist,
that the actual war in Iraq has nothing to do with the safety of
Americans at home, and that abroad it has killed or maimed
more Americans than 9/11. It remains to be seen what price
the country, and the world, will pay for this fantasy.


An unnamed "senior adviser" to Bush recently told the journalist Ron
Suskind that people like Suskind were members of "what we call the
reality-based community": those who "believe that solutions emerge
from [the] judicious study of discernible reality." However, he
explained, "That's not the way the world really works anymore.
We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.
And while you're studying that reality... we'll act again, creating
other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how
things will sort out. We're history's actors, and you, all of you,
will be left to just study what we do."

This may well be the clearest expression yet of the Bush Doctrine. To
become enraged by particulars-- the daily slaughter in Iraq, the prison
torture, the worst economy since the Great Depression, the banana
republic tricks and slanders of the electoral campaign-- is to miss
the point. We are no longer in "discernible reality." In the second
term, the only choice will be to line up for your medication and enjoy
the New Freedom. As Bush now says in every speech, "freedom is
on the march."

--Eliot Weinberger

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Are YOU Ready for the Complete Dismantling of Democracy

The persistent theme of these policies and actions, domestic and international, is to acquire power--to seize it, to increase it and to keep it for good. A systemic crisis--a threat to the Constitution of the United States--has taken shape. At the end of this road is an implied vision of a different system: a world run by the United States and a United States run permanently by the Republican Party, which is to say imperial rule abroad, one-party rule at home. Somewhere along that road lies a point of no return. It is in the nature of warnings in general that you cannot know whether the danger in question will come, or be averted by timely action, or perhaps never present itself at all. But it's also in the nature of warnings that one must act on them before it is too late, and this is especially true in the case of threats to democracy. That is why the danger to democracy takes primacy over other perils that are in themselves greater, including nuclear war and irreversible damage to the ecosphere through global warming. (It is notable that none of these three perils has been more than glancingly mentioned in the election debates that have just ended.)

No one can know when or how the decisive test of democracy might arrive. It could come quickly, perhaps in a crackdown following another terrorist attack on American soil, this time conceivably on a far greater scale than September 11, or it could come slowly, in a protraction of the process, already well under way, of gradual strangulation of independent institutions, amounting to a coup in slow-motion--a hardening of an informal monopoly of power into a formal monopoly--leaving the institutions of democracy technically intact but corrupted and hollowed out from within, helpless to resist a central authority that has drawn all real power into its own hands.

--The Nation, 10/28

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Terrorist Threat Level May Be Raised to Keep Voters Away from Polls November 2

Bill Clinton made a sharp and perhaps surprising attack on George W. Bush this week, saying in a speech Monday in Philadelphia that the president may be using the war on terror to scare voters away from the polls.

In doing so, Clinton didn't just put the right-wing Republicans on notice that there's going to be a major battle over the right to vote. He went further, suggesting that Bush's electioneering may be a means to manipulate the vote. "I've been at home watching TV," said Clinton, who spent the last few weeks recovering from heart surgery. "Bush is trying to scare undecided voters away from Kerry, and trying to scare decided voters away from the polls because it worked so well in Florida."

Let's say John and Jane Doe are driving home from work in Cleveland, ready to stop off and vote. But then they hear on the car radio a mention by administration officials of possible terrorist attacks on polling places. John and Jane Doe go home—then become a federal case. After all, if a sheriff's roadblock near a largely black polling place can be considered voter obstruction, then can't other scare tactics, including a crafty use of code red, be considered the same?

If the election actually unfolds along these lines, then there is indeed a real possibility there will be no winner November 2.

Addressing a sea of supporters at the midday rally, Clinton looked thinner but nonetheless chipper as he went to bat for John Kerry. Clinton and Kerry, who spoke afterward, faced a crowd of at least 4,000 that overflowed Love Park, in the center of the city. Thousands more stretched back as far as five blocks. Organizers said the crowds were as large as those when the pope said mass in Philadelphia several years ago.

There were seemingly hundreds of people in wheelchairs, people sporting Clinton-Gore buttons, and thousands of African Americans. Latinos were a heavy presence as well. At least two speakers addressed the crowd in Spanish.

With Kerry inching ahead in Pennsylvania, Clinton's appearance here, where there is a large black electorate, should propel him further ahead. The key to a Kerry victory in Pennsylvania is to capture the southeastern part of the state, including the Philly suburbs and counties radiating down to the Delaware border, by a strong margin. Among black voters, pollsters and other pros report that ordinary people fail to respond to Kerry, although black officialdom likes him.

Among southeastern voters, who on paper are likely to be Republican, the cutting issues this year are the economy and especially health care, which Kerry has stumped on repeatedly. Social issues in these exurban centers may not carry the impact they do elsewhere. Such topics as same-sex marriage, stem cell research, and abortion rights have been submerged in debate over the economy.

--Village Voice

Republicans Use Racist Intimidation to Scare Florida African Americans Away from Polls Says BBC


By Greg Palast
Reporting for BBC's Newsnight


A secret document obtained from inside Bush campaign headquarters in Florida suggests a plan - possibly in violation of US law - to disrupt voting in the state's African-American voting districts, a BBC Newsnight investigation reveals.

Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign's national research director in Washington DC, contain a 15-page so-called "caging list".

It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida.

An elections supervisor in Tallahassee, when shown the list, told Newsnight: "The only possible reason why they would keep such a thing is to challenge voters on election day."

Ion Sancho, a Democrat, noted that Florida law allows political party operatives inside polling stations to stop voters from obtaining a ballot.

They may then only vote "provisionally" after signing an affidavit attesting to their legal voting status.

Mass challenges have never occurred in Florida. Indeed, says Mr Sancho, not one challenge has been made to a voter "in the 16 years I've been supervisor of elections."

"Quite frankly, this process can be used to slow down the voting process and cause chaos on election day; and discourage voters from voting."

Sancho calls it "intimidation." And it may be illegal.

A Republican spokeswoman did not deny that voters would be challenged at polling stations

In Washington, well-known civil rights attorney, Ralph Neas, noted that US federal law prohibits targeting challenges to voters, even if there is a basis for the challenge, if race is a factor in targeting the voters.

The list of Jacksonville voters covers an area with a majority of black residents.

When asked by Newsnight for an explanation of the list, Republican spokespersons claim the list merely records returned mail from either fundraising solicitations or returned letters sent to newly registered voters to verify their addresses for purposes of mailing campaign literature.

Republican state campaign spokeswoman Mindy Tucker Fletcher stated the list was not put together "in order to create" a challenge list, but refused to say it would not be used in that manner.

Rather, she did acknowledge that the party's poll workers will be instructed to challenge voters, "Where it's stated in the law."

There was no explanation as to why such clerical matters would be sent to top officials of the Bush campaign in Florida and Washington.

In Jacksonville, to determine if Republicans were using the lists or other means of intimidating voters, we filmed a private detective filming every "early voter" - the majority of whom are black - from behind a vehicle with blacked-out windows.

The private detective claimed not to know who was paying for his all-day services.

On the scene, Democratic Congresswoman Corinne Brown said the surveillance operation was part of a campaign of intimidation tactics used by the Republican Party to intimate and scare off African American voters, almost all of whom are registered Democrats.

Cheney Profits on America's Loss

"The Bush administration intends to seek about $70 billion in emergency funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan early next year, pushing total war costs close to $225 billion since the invasion of Iraq early last year, Pentagon and congressional officials said yesterday." -MSNBC 10/26

Since only a little over $1 million dollars has actually been spent on rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure, it's safe to assume that most of the monies previously allocated to fund the Iraq war have been used to pay Halliburton -- a corporation with direct ties to the Bush administration. Even despite evidence that Halliburton has overcharged the US government (i.e., the American taxpayer) untold millions for their services, nothing has been done about it and all indications are that the bill will be paid in full for fear of upsetting Halliburton CEOs and interrupting the service they provide--which would also hinder the fighting ability of US troops stationed in Iraq. It is quite obvious that this circle of extortion has its start and end points in the hands of vice president Dick Cheney, the man really running the US federal government. Ask who or what entity has benefitted directly from the invasion of Iraq and what has been gained.

This is the large-scope question that the corporate media dare not ask.

Monday, October 25, 2004

380 Tons of Explosives Missing in Iraq


The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives -- used to demolish buildings, produce missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons -- are missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations.

The huge facility, called al-Qaqaa, was supposed to be under U.S. military control but is now a no-man's land, still picked over by looters as recently as yesterday. U.N. weapons inspectors had monitored the explosives for many years, but White House and Pentagon officials acknowledge that the explosives vanished after the U.S. invasion last year.

The White House said President Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, was informed within the past month that the explosives were missing. It is unclear whether Bush was informed.

U.S. officials have never publicly announced the disappearance, but beginning last week they answered questions about it posed by The New York Times and the CBS News program 60 Minutes.

Administration officials said yesterday that the Iraq Survey Group, the CIA task force that searched for unconventional weapons, has been ordered to investigate the disappearance of the explosives.

U.S. weapons experts say their immediate concern is that the explosives could be used in major bombing attacks against U.S. or Iraqi forces: The explosives, mainly HMX and RDX, could be used to produce bombs strong enough to shatter airplanes or tear apart buildings.

The bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 used less than a pound of the material of the type stolen from Qaqaa.

Oligarchy

Prepare for further proof we live in an oligarchy. The president and CEO of Diebold, the company that manufactures the electronic voting machine with which many Ohio voters will cast their ballots this November 2, has already promised the RNC that Ohio will cast its electoral votes for George W. Bush this election. This, not a surprising gaffe given that the commander in chief commits far worse blunders on a daily basis, comment was brought to light weeks ago in the form of a memo from Diebold executives to Republican leaders. All objectivity has been discarded long ago and the die is cast. The population of the United States thought perhaps that the last 4 years were spent "fixing" the voting system to prevent the debacle that was the 2000 election, what has indeed happened is quite different. The last 4 years have been spent putting safeguards in place to ensure that George W. Bush is reelected. In case of a toss-up electoral delegates could still buck the system however by casting "blank" ballots. See today's (10/25) Wall Street Journal for further details.

Also, this past weekend president Bush stated that he believed it's a "toss-up" whether the war on terror is actually winnable. This from the man whose entire platform all along has been that his challenger is incapable of just that.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Polarized Americans

A University of Maryland poll found President Bush's supporters "are far less knowledgeable about the president's foreign policy positions and are more likely to be mistaken about factual issues in world affairs than voters who back" Sen. John Kerry, the Boston Globe reports.
The results "showed that Americans are so polarized two weeks before the election that many lack even a common understanding of the facts."

Friday, October 22, 2004

Florida Voters Set to 'Take to the Streets'

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - Edward Bitet fought in World War II, built affordable housing for veterans and taught sixth grade. When the Long Island native retired to Florida, he fulfilled another civic duty by becoming a poll worker. But Bitet, 77, isn't volunteering this year — he says he doesn't trust Palm Beach County's electronic voting machines. He walked out of a county demonstration of touch-screen terminals convinced that software bugs could wreak havoc on Nov. 2.

"We lost an election four years ago because they fooled around with the paper ballots and couldn't recount them," said Bitet, a Democrat. "Now we're moving to a system without paper, and they won't even have the ballots to recount. I can't be a part of this." With polls showing nearly equal numbers of Florida voters for President Bush and Sen. John Kerry, the election's outcome may again hinge on a Florida recount.
And the more that Floridians learn about how voting machines work, the more they question whether the 15 counties with paperless voting systems can accurately count and recount votes.

Problems in those counties — home to just over half the registered voters in the crucial swing state — could delay the results for days or weeks, and even force the courts to step in again and choose the next president.
Given Florida's botched election in 2000, when the Supreme Court halted a recount after 36 days and handed a 537-vote victory to Bush, political tension is palpable in the Sunshine State. Election officials are hoping for a landslide so big that even thousands of deleted or misrecorded ballots won't change the outcome.
But if this proves to be another ultra-close vote, many critics of electronic balloting — including the many Democrats who believe the 2000 election was stolen — say they'll take to the streets.

"I was angry last time. This time it'd be quadruple the anger," said Francois Jean, 27, whose ramshackle ranch house in Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood is festooned with Kerry placards. "The system we were supposed to believe in failed us — like we didn't even vote, like we were aliens from outer space who didn't count."
David Niven, a political science professor at Florida Atlantic University, expects massive demonstrations if exit polling is close and lawsuits and technical problems overshadow a clear victory.

"I don't know if there will be rioting in the streets with pitch forks and torches — after all, many of these people are 75 years old," Niven said. "But it's fair to say that their level of anger will grow exponentially from four years ago."

This time, the outrage wouldn't be over dimpled, pregnant and hanging chads; the state banned the maligned punch cards after 2000. Instead, it would almost certainly be directed at those who decided on the touch-screen machines.

Computer scientists, practically as a profession, don't trust them — not without a range of safeguards that aren't in place for this election. They say the touch screens now in use could alter or delete votes — and that without paper copies, voters will never know if their votes counted.



Election Fraud Underway in Florida, Again

With 11 days to go before the November 2 presidential election, officials in the battleground state of Florida are looking into complaints of widespread voter fraud, the state's Department of Law Enforcement said.
Over the last several weeks, the department has received numerous complaints from elections supervisors, the secretary of state's office and citizens alleging "sometimes organized efforts" to commit fraud in voter registrations, party affiliation forms and absentee ballots, the department said in a statement. Investigations are under way throughout the state.

Some people who thought they were signing petitions apparently "later found out that their signatures or possible forged signatures were used to complete a fraudulent voter registration," the department said. There were also reports of problems involving workers hired to obtain legitimate voter registrations.

Some allegedly "filled in the information on the registration forms that should have been completed by the registrants," and in several cases workers "appear to have signed multiple voter registrations themselves using information obtained during the registration drive," the department said.

"In many of the situations complained about, the workers were being paid on the basis of each registration form submitted."

Most cases of voter fraud are third-degree felonies in Florida, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine for each charge, the department said.

Florida became the central battleground of the 2000 presidential race after Election Day, when the tally proved extremely close and questions were raised about voter intimidation, people being refused the right to vote and problems with the state's electoral process.

After weeks of legal battles, the U.S. Supreme Court determined the matter.
State officials have vowed to avoid a repeat of such problems.

Florida -- where the governor is President Bush's brother Jeb -- is one of the most hotly contested states in this year's election. President Bush and Sen. John Kerry have teams of lawyers in the state.
The Department of Law Enforcement said regional task forces are addressing voter safety issues and looking into groups that may be involved in voter fraud.

The task forces communicate directly with local law enforcement, state attorney's offices, the FBI and elections supervisors, the department's statement said.

"While we conduct this investigation, we are mindful that our No. 1 priority will be to protect the rights of those individuals that are eligible to vote and allow them the opportunity to do so," department Commissioner Guy Tunnell said in a written statement. "Our agents will do nothing that will impede or hinder that process."

The department encouraged voters to check with local elections supervisors to ensure their registration information is accurate and report any irregularities or suspected fraud.

Jim Gustafson

You can be a dancing brontosaurus
in the Glimmer Twins chorus,
a terrorist, a therapist,
an expert on the clitoris,
go back to barter,
protect Jimmy Carter,
write rubber rain checks,
run an obnoxious discotheque,
sell meat thermometers,
metric odometers,
snowmobiles to Eskimos,
leave marks that don't show!

You can preach self-reliance,
form an East-West alliance,
force strict compliance,
cure Herpes Simplex,
be a stooge for the complex,
get an MBA and an MFA
take some MDA and be MIA in the USA!
You can be a security advisor,
a market analyzer,
a human breathalyzer,
some sweet thang's protector,
a short arms inspector,
a radiation leak detector,
a Soviet defector!
You can forewarn of the apocalypse,
make burgers out of beeflips,
do talk shows, trade quips,
one, two, shape those hips!
Be a military advisor to El Salvador,
believe in a winable nuclear war,
collect empties in the Cass Corridor!
You can join the CIA,
get on MTV,
tell the little Gs and Bs how it's got to be!
Get rich in the struggle,
find something new to smuggle,
be a liar, a conniver,
a Tupelo truckdriver,
get real behind a laser,
locate a real and present danger,
be a major deal arranger!
oh, it gets stranger and stranger!
But I gotta tell you Honey,
don't let it break your heart,
but there ain't no money, Honey!
No Money in Art!

Bush Increases Deficit Today by $136 Billion

AP-With no fanfare, President Bush on Friday (10/22) signed the most sweeping rewrite of corporate tax law in nearly two decades, showering $136 billion in new tax breaks on businesses, farmers, and other groups.

Intended to end a bitter trade war with Europe, the election-year measure was described by supporters as critically necessary to aid beleaguered manufacturers who have suffered 2.7 million lost jobs over the past four years.

The tax package is a massive giveaway that will add to the complexity of the tax system and end up rewarding multinational companies that move jobs overseas. It also will swell the nation's huge budget deficit.

9/11 Cover-Up Goes to the Top

The Bush administration is suppressing a CIA report on 9/11 until after the election, and this one names names. Although the report by the inspector general's office of the CIA was completed in June, it has not been made available to the Congressional intelligence committees that mandated the study almost two years ago.

"It is infuriating that a report which shows that high-level people were not doing their jobs in a satisfactory manner before 9/11 is being suppressed," an intelligence official who has read the report told me, adding that "the report is potentially very embarrassing for the administration, because it makes it look like they weren't interested in terrorism before 9/11, or in holding people in the government responsible afterward."
When I asked about the report, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, said she and committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) sent a letter 14 days ago asking for it to be delivered. "We believe that the CIA has been told not to distribute the report," she said. "We are very concerned."

According to the intelligence official, who spoke to me on condition of anonymity, release of the report, which represents an exhaustive 17- month investigation by an 11-member team within the agency, has been "stalled." First by acting CIA Director John McLaughlin and now by Porter J. Goss, the former Republican House member (and chairman of the Intelligence Committee) who recently was appointed CIA chief by President Bush.

The official stressed that the report was more blunt and more specific than the earlier bipartisan reports produced by the Bush-appointed Sept. 11 commission and Congress.

"What all the other reports on 9/11 did not do is point the finger at individuals, and give the how and what of their responsibility. This report does that," said the intelligence official. "The report found very senior-level officials responsible."

By law, the only legitimate reason the CIA director has for holding back such a report is national security. Yet neither Goss nor McLaughlin has invoked national security as an explanation for not delivering the report to Congress.

"It surely does not involve issues of national security," said the intelligence official.
"The agency directorate is basically sitting on the report until after the election," the official continued. "No previous director of CIA has ever tried to stop the inspector general from releasing a report to the Congress, in this case a report requested by Congress."

None of this should surprise us given the Bush administration's great determination since 9/11 to resist any serious investigation into how the security of this nation was so easily breached. In Bush's much ballyhooed war on terror, ignorance has been bliss.

The president fought against the creation of the Sept. 11 commission, for example, agreeing only after enormous political pressure was applied by a grassroots movement led by the families of those slain.
And then Bush refused to testify to the commission under oath, or on the record. Instead he deigned only to chat with the commission members, with Vice President Dick Cheney present, in a White House meeting in which commission members were not allowed to take notes. All in all, strange behavior for a man who seeks re-election to the top office in the land based on his handling of the so-called war on terror.

In September, the New York Times reported that several family members met with Goss privately to demand the release of the CIA inspector general's report. "Three thousand people were killed on 9/11, and no one has been held accountable," 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser told the paper.

The failure to furnish the report to Congress, said Harman, "fuels the perception that no one is being held accountable. It is unacceptable that we don't have [the report]; it not only disrespects Congress but it disrespects the American people."

The stonewalling by the Bush administration and the failure of Congress to gain release of the report have, said the intelligence source, "led the management of the CIA to believe it can engage in a cover-up with impunity. Unless the public demands an accounting, the administration and CIA's leadership will have won and the nation will have lost."

Thursday, October 21, 2004

WWF: Ecological Debt Growing

GENEVA - Humanity's reliance on fossil fuels, the spread of cities, the destruction of natural habitats for farmland and over-exploitation of the oceans are destroying Earth's ability to sustain life, the environmental group WWF warned in a new report Thursday.

The biggest consumers of nonrenewable natural resources are the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Kuwait, Australia and Sweden, who leave the biggest "ecological footprint," the World Wildlife Fund said in its regular Living Planet Report.

Humans currently consume 20 percent more natural resources than the Earth can produce, the report said.

"We are spending nature's capital faster than it can regenerate," said WWF chief Claude Martin, releasing the 40-page study. "We are running up an ecological debt which we won't be able to pay off unless governments restore the balance between our consumption of natural resources and the Earth's ability to renew them."

Use of fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil increased by almost 700 percent between 1961 and 2001, the study said.

Burning fossil fuels — in power plants and automobiles, for example — releases carbon dioxide, which experts say contributes to global warming. The planet is unable to keep pace and absorb the emissions, WWF said.

Populations of land, freshwater and marine species fell on average by 40 percent between 1970 and 2000. The report cited urbanization, forest clearance, pollution, overfishing and the introduction by humans of nonnative animals, such as cats and rats, which often drive out indigenous species.

"The question is how the world's entire population can live with the resources of one planet," said Jonathan Loh, one of the report's authors.

The study, WWF's fifth since 1998, examined the "ecological footprint" of the planet's entire population.

Most of a person's footprint is caused by the space needed to absorb the waste from energy consumption, including carbon dioxide. WWF also measured the total area of cities, roads and other infrastructure and the space required to produce food and fiber — for clothing, for example.

"We don't just live on local resources," so the footprint is not confined to the country where consumers live, said Mathis Wackernagel, head of the Global Footprint Network, which includes WWF.

For example, Western demand for Asia's palm oil and South America's soybeans has wrecked natural habitats in those regions, so the destruction is considered part of the footprint of importing nations. The same applies to Arab oil consumed in the United States.

The findings are similar to those in WWF's 2002 report, which covered the period up to 1999. But the latest study contains more detailed data stretching to 2001. It shows the situation has changed little in most countries and is now more worrying in fast-growing China and India.

The world's 6.1 billion people leave a collective footprint of 33.36 billion acres, 5.44 acres per person. To allow the Earth to regenerate, the average should be no more than 4.45 acres, said WWF.

The impact of an average North American is double that of a European, but seven times that of the average Asian or African.

Residents of the United Arab Emirates, who use air conditioning extensively, leave a 24.46-acre footprint, two-thirds caused by fossil fuel use. The average U.S. resident leaves a 23.47-acre footprint, also largely from fuel.

Swedes leave a 17.3-acre footprint, but most is caused by land use and the impact on other countries of its imports of food and clothing. Like its Nordic neighbors, the country has won praise from campaigners for cutting fossil fuel use.

The study also warned of increasing pressure on the planet's resources amid spiraling consumption in Asia.

Loh said governments, businesses and consumers should switch to energy-efficient technology, such as solar power.

"We can consume energy in a way that's harmful or in a way that's sustainable," he said. "The technologies are available to enable the world's population to live within the capacity of one planet."

High oil prices may help focus their minds.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Deep Martini

Castaways on an hors d'oeuvre
in the middle of foreign country
Quietly he considered that literature was
Reft at the light I thought I heard
San Francisco looming like a giant eyeball
Toupee against toupee the bald face-off
Unless you up the check we’re washing dishes
Just vote for the best dick for the job
Why not cup your hands for catching sound
Xylophones purring, not the sound of helicopters
your diploma reads ‘Master of One’
zealous to pinochle another ambassador
Don’t forget to bring yourself
Entirely up to you whether you breathe
Fortunately we have a little more time
circling above us on television
Helping or hurting friend
all a part of the biosphere
Isosceles was the word he could spell and then
Jostled off the stage among losers
Keep your damn hands off my
Look you’re only here to get laid
Voodoo particulars make you right for the job
Maui isn’t the only island [the blockhead shrugged]
Northwest of no particulars deep in martini
Oreos were the death of him she said, buried
Potpourri or little pile of shit


Shelley to His Cell Phone

I've met no one yet who can blow
more than clouds upon an Astor's bloom
when not taught what every bastard knows
that life is a slow stuttering towards doom
and that their crypt only holds a kingly dust
as whores of wisdom train thighs of rust.
To move beyond fitful sleep, and drone
among bee-pestered poets of a past age
to sharpen night and to scrape and hone
the blood of anger to fill an unholy page
with the trials of men who found no god
while looking for the glories of life
knee-deep in their philosophy, feet shod
with excuses and with regrets rife

Muslim Americans: Bush Must Go

NEW YORK — George W. Bush may have received overwhelming support from the Muslim American community in the 2000 presidential election against Al Gore, but it looks like he has lost a lot of ground within the community this year.

"The shift by American Muslims away from the president — and the Republicans — is dramatic, and the truest example of a backlash we've seen. This is virtually unprecedented," John Zogby, president of Zogby International, said Tuesday.

Zogby International and Georgetown University's Project MAPS on Tuesday released a survey that showed, despite the fact that a plurality of Muslims supported Bush in 2000, 76 percent now support Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and only 7 percent support the incumbent.

"The results of this survey are truly astonishing. For American Muslims, there has been a sea-change in political alignment and outlook since Sept. 11," said Zahid Bukhari, director of Project MAPS. "The political realignment in the Muslim community is unprecedented in all of American history."

Gallup: Karl Rove's Best Friend

"Gallup and other pollsters who refuse to weight their samples for party identification say that weighting samples to reflect demographic and census data is more reliable than using party ID as a factor. Yet after looking closely at the demographic breakdown of the sample that Gallup used to reach their conclusions, it becomes clear that Gallup has become the in-house pollster for Karl Rove and the GOP's view of how the American voting populace should look. Why?

Because according to Gallup's poll this week, they expect the electorate to be 85% white, 41% conservative while only 19% liberal, and a third to make over $75,000 per year."

Don't let the roving pollsters affect your mood. The huge understated votes of the 18-25 crowd, Hispanic voters, and African Americans
are the landslide--a true "silent" majority. These people are going to swamp the vote November 2 and Bush and Co. are cowering right now--trust me.

US Troops Struggling to Retain Readiness

The top U.S. commander in Iraq complained to the Pentagon last winter that his supply situation was so poor that it threatened Army troops' ability to fight, according to an official document that has surfaced only now.

The lack of key spare parts for gear vital to combat operations, such as tanks and helicopters, was causing problems so severe, Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez wrote in a letter to top Army officials, that "I cannot continue to support sustained combat operations with rates this low."

Senior Army officials said that most of Sanchez's concerns have been addressed in recent months but that they continue to keep a close eye on the problems he identified.

Sanchez, who was the senior commander on the ground in Iraq from the summer of 2003 until the summer of 2004, said in his letter that Army units in Iraq were "struggling just to maintain . . . relatively low readiness rates" on key combat systems, such as M-1 Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, anti-mortar radars and Black Hawk helicopters.

He also said units were waiting an average of 40 days for critical spare parts, which he noted was almost three times the Army's average. In some Army supply depots in Iraq, 40 percent of critical parts were at "zero balance," meaning they were absent from depot shelves, he said.

He also protested in his letter, sent Dec. 4 to the number two officer in the Army, with copies to other senior officials, that his soldiers still needed protective inserts to upgrade 36,000 sets of body armor but that their delivery had been postponed twice in the month before he was writing. There were 131,000 U.S. troops in Iraq at the time.

In what appears to be a plea to top officials to spur the bureaucracy to respond more quickly, Sanchez concluded, "I cannot sustain readiness without Army-level intervention."

Sanchez, who since has moved back to his permanent base in Germany, did not respond to telephone and e-mail messages seeking comment.

His letter of concern has surfaced after repeated statements by President Bush that he is determined to ensure that U.S. troops fighting in Iraq have all that they need to execute their missions. "I have pledged, as has the secretary of defense, to give our troops everything that is necessary to complete their mission with the utmost safety," he said in May. Earlier this month in Manchester, N.H., he said, "When America puts our troops in combat, I believe they deserve the best training, the best equipment, the full support of our government."

Ongoing

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi officials said Tuesday more than 100 Iraqis were killed and wounded when a mortar attack hit an Iraqi National Guard headquarters north of Baghdad.

Six mortar rounds fell on National Guard offices in an early morning attack in Mashahidan, 25 miles north of Baghdad, said Iraqi police and National Guard officers under condition of anonymity.

There was no breakdown on the number of those killed and injured. U.S. Blackhawk helicopters evacuated all the injured, police said. No further information was immediately available.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Election Result Delay Expected

MIAMI (Reuters) - Democrat John Kerry sounded a warning to Americans on Social Security as he headed to Florida on Sunday, a critical battleground state where early voting was set to begin under heavy scrutiny because of the recount controversy four years ago.

The Massachusetts senator began the day in a black church in Columbus, Ohio, while his running mate, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards scheduled a second full day of campaigning in Florida, where early balloting begins on Monday.

With just over two weeks to go until Election Day, President Bush had the day off in Washington. Bush was in Florida on Saturday. The state's 27 electoral votes likely will be key to who wins the Nov. 2 election.

New polls over the weekend showed the race between Kerry and Bush to be very close, though Bush appeared to have a slight edge among likely voters. In key battleground states, however, the surveys suggested Kerry had a significant lead. A new Washington Post poll found Kerry held a 53 percent to 43 percent advantage among likely voters in 13 such states.

"I think those have been breaking for us over the last few weeks since the start of the first debate. So we feel good where we are," Kerry campaign adviser Joe Lockhart said on "Fox News Sunday."

But in Florida, the state won by Bush by 537 votes in 2000 after a bitter ballot recount dispute, the Post poll released on Saturday showed Kerry and Bush tied among likely voters, with 48 percent each and independent Ralph Nader at 1 percent. Nader's statewide percentage was slightly less than what he received four years ago, probably costing Democrat Al Gore the state.

Though Gore won the popular vote in the country, a 36-day recount effort in Florida was halted by the U.S. Supreme Court, awarding the electoral college votes and the election to Bush.

This year, Florida already has had legal skirmishes, with challenges lodged about the purging of a high percentage of black felons from voter lists, requests for a paper confirmation of touch-screen voting, and whether voters who show up at the wrong polling place will receive a ballot.

Bush's brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, said the state had made changes.

"We have done everything we can to make sure that people have access to register to vote and that we've made it easy for people to vote. Starting Monday, people will have the chance to vote early," Jeb Bush said on ABC's "This Week."

Addressing a rally in Pembroke Pines, Florida, Kerry referred to the recount fiasco four years ago. "You go vote," he said. "We're going to make sure your vote is counted."

He pledged, "I will never privatize Social Security, I will never cut benefits, and I will never raise the retirement age." Florida is home to a large community of retirees who rely heavily on Social Security.

Speaking earlier in Columbus, Ohio, Kerry said Bush had a "big January surprise" for the government retirement plan, one that could reduce benefits by $500 a month for many Americans.

"We just learned yesterday that the president told his biggest and wealthiest donors about his big 'January surprise,"' Kerry told a black congregation, seizing on remarks by Bush reported in The New York Times Magazine that if re-elected, he would "come out strong after my swearing in with fundamental tax reform, tort reform, privatizing of Social Security."

A new Kerry campaign ad claimed it would cost $2 trillion and mean a 45 percent cut in benefits.

Bush campaign chairman Marc Racicot said, "That's absolutely preposterous. What the president is talking about and has talked about from the moment he ran in 2000 is allowing younger people, younger workers to own a portion of their Social Security and invest it and make decisions."

A spate of newspapers announced endorsements on Sunday, with The New York Times supporting Kerry, citing his wide knowledge and clear thinking. The Chicago Tribune backed Bush, noting what it called his resoluteness in fighting the war on terror.

Nader told CNN's "Late Edition" he had no plans to withdraw from the race.



Experts Expecting Election Night Chaos

More than two weeks before the presidential election, Democrats and Republicans in key states are trading accusations of fraud and voter intimidation, foreshadowing an Election Day on which lawyers may be almost as important as voters.

Complaints from both parties, routine in election years, have reached a fever pitch earlier and in more places than usual. From Oregon to Florida, shenanigans with voter registration forms are being alleged, and authorities are looking into the charges.

"The more people realize that a tiny number of votes can have a huge impact, the more aggressively they are going to fight," says Doug Chapin, director of Electionline.org, which monitors voting practices. "The closer we get to the election, the more we're going to hear about this." For example:

• In Nevada, a company hired by the Republican Party to register voters was accused by a former employee of throwing Democrats' registration forms into the trash. The company, Sproul & Associates, denied that it was registering only Republicans, as the employee charged in a report on KLAS-TV in Las Vegas. The company also has been registering voters in Oregon, West Virginia, Minnesota and other battleground states.

• In Florida, scene of the 36-day recount in 2000, the state's Southern Christian Leadership Conference asked the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to investigate activities "designed to cause confusion and suppress the African-American vote" in the Tallahassee area. Labor and voting-rights groups also sued this week to prevent the disqualification of more than 10,000 incomplete registration forms. They said such disqualifications would disadvantage minority voters.

• Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a local co-chairman of Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites)'s campaign, wants the county to print 938,000 ballots, far more than the usual number, to accommodate a flood of new voters. But County Executive Scott Walker, a local co-chairman of President Bush (news - web sites)'s re-election campaign, is giving the city 679,000 ballots - 10,000 more than were printed for the last presidential election. He says having a large number of excess ballots would be an opportunity for fraud. Local District Attorney Mike McCann plans to deploy more than 30 lawyers on Nov. 2 to mediate polling-place disputes. He says "malevolent challenges" by partisans could interfere with voting.

• Republicans circulated excerpts of a national Democratic Party election manual urging recruitment of local minority leaders to launch pre-emptive strikes against voter intimidation, even if there's no evidence it's going on. Democratic spokesman Jano Cabrera said the material was taken out of context. He released a fuller excerpt that stated, "The best way to combat minority intimidation tactics is to prevent them."

• In Denver, an estimated 165,000 new voter sign-ups brought warnings of potential vote fraud. State officials have sent several hundred registrations to the attorney general for review, and the Denver district attorney is investigating 200 more. Both parties have enlisted hundreds of lawyers for Election Day challenges and for post-election fights over disputed ballots.

Rep. Pat Tiberi, an Ohio Republican, noted that four counties in his state have voter registration numbers that exceed the number of voting-age residents in the counties in the last Census. "When you have an election so close, and every vote makes a difference, these things get argued about, and probably lawsuits will decide them," Tiberi said.



Saturday, October 16, 2004

Prophetic Blender

bitter dates grown in California are expansive a sieve makes more sense than pollen politicians god is the big bee that visits nightly, you mail order a new conscience and build origami mind your coloring and swing when you’re told to, shove when brains slack in your head and not so much risible as supposed. But who did do it: the sand you say, I don’t listen anymore to well-intentioned vampire stories of "as bad as it gets." Who? You hot assumption on a stick, you next of story who to tell and what Pushkin didn’t do, yo, we invest in coffin architecture. Chintzy barking swans among metal lunches then? and bicycles groom afternoon beaches whereupon little girls pirouette in bluey summer, this moon is a forgery and without our sheets did I suppress the magical innuendoes and preserve the unshared bed? lends itself to tragedy but melodrama is a foolish promise on a park bench an ordinary ole Walt heart among sprouting spring bombs-- skyscrapers aren’t tall enough anymore in this listen world croissandwich was the word she chewed and I specialists say too much data could be the culprit we dissect cocktails and grow fins. Once I remember telling someone of a cartoon cat I owned. Wed your mate already, that Joe is the best you can get--Benjamins don't get easier tax shelter ambush the Elbe and forests of the Rhine in AD 9--(stop reading) I don't listen anymore to the racist technology waiting by the backdoorwither and sob along with the rest of the pack and petty slavish icetrays await you at the end of another lacklustre day aren't Vietnaam there any Kraftwerk songs you could download for your ringer I go out under the night sky looming up someone follows me (go outside) their footsteps clacking along like a not-so-silent movie-- I didn’t do it. Pushkin didn’t do it. The Rosetta beeper vampire rose with the sun and closed without it but what matter to the dollop of catsup assumption if the dead sand gets in your eye, a young boy of dilated scorn not so much risible as bad for it. Well then who did do it, the boy, communist pizza washing his face mornings water cold as it gets in the East valley of youth hills of an old-age


--Gene Tanta/Larry Sawyer

Bush Will Protect Us

DAYTONA BEACH, United States (AFP) - US President George W. Bush surprised his listeners at a campaign rally by seeming to oppose, then favor, then oppose replacing the all-volunteer US military with a draft.

Aides had alerted reporters to expect "new language" in Bush's routine rejection of Democratic rival John Kerry warnings that the Iraq war has so strained the US armed forces that compulsory military service may be around the corner.

"Our all-volunteer army will remain an all-volunteer army," Bush began, to cheers from supporters here in Florida, the richest prize among the dozen or so states up for grabs in the November 2 election.

"My opponent seems to be willing to say almost anything he thinks will benefit him politically," he said. "After standing on the stage, after the debates, I made it very plain we will not have an all-volunteer army."

"And yet this week..." he continued, before suddenly realizing the gaffe and shouting: "We will have an all-volunteer army."

"Let me restate that: We will not have a draft. No matter what my opponent tries to tell people and scare them, we will have an all-volunteer army," promised the president, who is known for frequent verbal stumbles.

"The only person talking about a draft is my opponent. The only politicians that supported a draft are democrats, and the best way to avoid a draft is to vote for me," he said.

___________________________________________

Could it be possible to be any more concerned about this administration? The mental couch one keeps sitting on is upholstered with the fact that for all his good-ole-boy charm, Bush is just one of a tight team of like-minded individuals who have the grand design of stripping the American people of their civil liberties with glee. Has there ever existed a group of elected US officials so bent on destroying our civil rights and dismantling the basic tenets of the Constitution? Bush would like to amend the Constitution to legalize discrimination against gays and lesbians. He routinely has failed to meet with African American leaders to discuss genuine social ills and has turned his back on any attempt at diplomacy at a time in world history when diplomacy is needed most.



Thursday, October 14, 2004

Is Rock Dead?

RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie is demanding that the Rock the Vote people "cease and desist" all ads that use any mention of a possible coming draft. Here is Rock the Vote's recent letter to Gillespie.


*

Dear Chairman Gillespie,

The letter I received from you yesterday was quite a surprise. It struck us as just the sort of "malicious political deception" that is likely to increase voter cynicism and decrease the youth vote. In fact, it is a textbook case of attempted censorship, very much in line with those that triggered our organization's founding some fifteen years ago.

I am stunned that you would say that the issue of the military draft is an "urban myth"that has been "thoroughly debunked by no less than the President of the United States."

I have some news for you. Just because President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Secretary Rumsfeld, and for that matter Senator Kerry, say that there is not going to be a draft does not make it so. Just because Congress holds a transparently phony vote against the draft does not mean there isn't going to be one. Anyone who thinks that the youth of America are going to take a politician's word on this topic is living on another planet.

By your logic, there should be no debate about anything that you disagree with. There's a place for that kind of sentiment (and your threats), but its not here in our country.

There are questions that the politicians are running away from. How long can we keep 138,000 U.S. troops or more on the ground in Iraq? What if full-scale civil war erupts there, as the CIA has warned is a realistic possibility? Would the next President be faced with a choice of pulling out of Iraq rather than institute a draft? Would women be drafted? What exactly would the draft-age be?

According to the Pentagon's own internal assessment, there are "inadequate total numbers" of troops to meet U.S. security interests. The current issue of Time magazine reports that, "General John Keane, who retired last year as the Army's No. 2 officer, says the continued success of the all-volunteer military is not guaranteed" Keane has told Congress that adding more than 50,000 troops to the Army would require thinking about a return to the draft."

But you want young people to believe that the draft is just an "urban myth." I was expecting that you were going to present some facts to back up your assertion. But, instead, you have demanded that we stop talking about it.

Culture of Death

The NRA is practically the most powerful force in America. Their money is about to hand select the next United States president, who will in turn hand select the justices that will make up the US Supreme Court. Republican president, Republican Congress, Republican Supreme Court...does this sound to you like a bloodless coup? If this doesn't give you a sinking feeling you are on the other side, my friend. The new underground is just on the horizon.

"The NRA plans to spend about $20 million in all, focused on 10 to 15 targeted states, with efforts including radio, television and newspaper ads, phone banks, door-to-door voter contacts, up to 10 million pieces of direct mail and election messages in magazines that go to the group's 4 million members."

--CNN, Oct. 14. '04

America AD

The third, and final, debate was information packed to be sure, but no "new" information seeped through the candidates' platitudes. Of course, Kerry's rationale seems more logical, as Bush relies on his seemingly heartfelt good-ole-boy hucksterism to try to win over voters who are as yet undecided. That this nebulous group of undecideds even exists defies all logic, because Bush's record is unmistakably horrendous. Many a comment I've heard remarks upon the fact that Bush has "at least done something." Proof that this nation is not making an intellectual decision resides in the fact that the apathetic multitudes celebrate that "someone" has merely done "something." That the US President must make incredibly difficult decisions that fence in policy makers so that in fact all options are equally evil is called "realpolitik". No matter then that we are the nation that armed and funded not only Saddam Hussein but also the Taliban--thus the US created the enemies that we are now so bent on destroying. Our borders with Mexico and Canada are wide open, the current administration fails to keep assault weapons off the street, and now today news arrives that Iraq's nuclear weapons labs were systematically plundered after the invasion by US troops. One would think that it would be priority number one to secure those weapons sites. Inspectors found that heavy equipment was used to dismantle the buildings after the looting of the nuclear labs, yet this is not front page news. I found it interesting that the president who promises to protect the nation's security, and in fact repeats these promises like a mantra, fails on so many levels to provide even our basic security. How many days have passed since September 11, and still merely 5% of all cargo that reaches our seaports are searched?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Crossing

I've crossed the sea after truth.
Knowledge, that snare, must be defied.
Here and there I've worn out heaps of sandals.
Now--moonlit water in the clear abyss.

--Kakua

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Cover-Up: Bush Wire Provides His "Answers"

This story copped this morning 11/12/04:

"This morning my mood is swinging from agony to ecstasy as more informed investigative scrutiny is been being brought to bear upon a potentially huge embarrassment to the White House--which the corporate media have covered up until today-- concerning the probability that George Bush cheated during his first debate with John Kerry and was secretly wired to offstage handlers, because the presidential dunce is too dense to successfully accommodate extemporaneous questions or debate without assistance.

Why is Bush so hermetically-sealed from the press and the public? Mike Allen in today's Washington Post reports that "Although all presidents are kept somewhat removed from reality because of security concerns and their staffs' impulse for burnishing their image, Bush's campaign has taken unprecedented steps to shield him from dissenters and even from curious, undecided voters."

And have you wondered why reporters don't just shout questions at the president, if he won't talk to them otherwise? Allen observes: "The tradition of the White House news corps shouting questions at the president has largely faded during this term because Bush reacts testily and does not answer, and his staff typically sets up events so he does not have to walk near reporters."

Dave Lindorff in salon.com Oct. 8 and counterpunch.org Oct. 5: Bush's mystery bulge. The rumor is flying around the globe. Was the president wired during the first debate? Was President Bush literally channeling Karl Rove in his first debate with John Kerry? That's the latest rumor flooding the Internet, unleashed last week in the wake of an image caught by a television camera during the Miami debate. The image shows a large solid object between Bush's shoulder blades as he leans over the lectern and faces moderator Jim Lehrer.
The president is not known to wear a back brace, and it's safe to say he wasn't packing. So was the bulge under his well-tailored jacket a hidden receiver, picking up transmissions from someone offstage feeding the president answers through a hidden earpiece? Did the device explain why the normally ramrod-straight president seemed hunched over during much of the debate?...The theory is that Karl Rove and his minions gave their incoherent and intellectually-challenged candidate a secret little earplug connected to a wireless receiver, so that he could be provided with answers and clever punch lines when he heard a question and came up empty.

Remember the peculiar interjection "Now let me finish!" which Bush blurted out angrily during the debate in Miami? It attracted the attention of commentators and observers, because no one had interrupted him. No one we could hear, that is...a hidden wire connected to Karl Rove or some flunky transmitting for Rove would also explain Bush's...frequent expressions of annoyance, as well as the uncomfortably long silences at odd points in his statements which looked just as if he were listening carefully to some instructions.

...a debate is supposed to be a test of wits between two candidates, not between one candidate and another candidate's staff. If publicity about a possible wire on the president frightens the White House into pulling the plug on this alleged scheme, it could also make for a fun time at the next two debates, when he'll have to operate solo, which could also make for interesting reality TV.

From isbushwired.com: Some of the comments being posted about the Bush earpiece on other sites are clearly planted by Bush supporters who hope the story won't make it out, because when people start thinking about it, it's obvious that Bush's been doing this for at least four years in plain view. And there goes the election for the Republicans: the president is not only a miserable flub, but a cheat.

That's why Drudge et al. are puffing up silly stories about Kerry's pen. The point of the Bush wire wasn't to voice entire answers for him. It was to slip him critical information and phrases and cues and prompts. Bush can talk perfectly well for the limited kinds of things he wants to say. He can be folksy and funny. Dyslexic, yes, but he can talk. What he can't and won't do is apply himself (you know, "hard work") to learning things, or considering issues carefully, formulating arguments, assimilating facts. He's lazy. He hates thinking. And he's always cheated when he could. He believes in cheating and dirty fighting...

I suspect that it's been a slippery slope for Bush and Rove...First they gave him an audio prompter, so he wouldn't have to read speeches and stumble on words. Nothing wrong with that -- it's like a teleprompter for a dyslexic. They should have 'fessed up to it, though. When he started using a human cue card in his ear for press conferences, that's when it became very wrong.

Reporters should have looked into this long ago. But for the past four years through Bush's first debate last week with John Kerry -- and even in the days after the debate -- the press has ignored the evidence of its eyes and ears, and failed to ask whether the president secretly relies on unseen handlers for some public events, including press conferences. If Bush wore a hidden earpiece to cheat in this way during his first debate with John Kerry (however unsuccessfully), it is urgent that the fraud be exposed before the election.

"Sure, Bush uses an earpiece sometimes," a top Washington editor for Reuters said to me last spring. "State of the Union -- he had an earpiece for that. Everybody knows it," he said, "or assumes it."

"But everybody doesn't know it," I said. "Why hadn't Reuters investigated?" The editor shrugged and said it wasn't so different from using a teleprompter. Except that a teleprompter isn't a secret. And Americans have the right to know if the president can't or won't speak in public without covert assistance.

The agreement set by the debate commission barred shots of the candidates from the rear of the stage. (It also specified only hardwired podium microphones for the first debate, i.e. no lapel mics.) The networks refused to comply with the camera angle rules, broadcasting occasional shots of the candidates from behind...Many viewers thus saw a squarish bulge the size of a large battery pack under the back of Bush's suit jacket, with an S-shaped cord appearing to snake up the right side of his back. Several blogs have carried speculation that it was an audio receiver. A poster to NYCIndymedia says, "Think 'passive transducer' earpiece. The bulges under his jacket are likely receiver/repeaters that pick up the transmitter (and encrypted?) signals from his handlers and transmit them, at very low power, to the earpiece."

Television hosts and news anchors wear earpieces, called IFBs (for internal foldback, or feedback), which fit in the ear canal and are almost invisibly small, to receive cues from their producers. (Language scientists say that "shadowing," repeating the words someone else is speaking, is not at all difficult, but it is difficult not to move your eyes when listening.) Television journalists would be likely to spot the use of an IFB or at least to suspect it. So, why haven't they raised the question? I suspect it's untouchable in part because asking the question now points up all the years they let go by without asking it.

But these are the questions that must be asked now, by the Commission on Presidential Debates, and journalists: Does the president use an earpiece in his meetings with the public and with journalists? Did he wear one in last week's debate? How can members of the public who suspect he wore an earpiece be assured that he will not do so in the next debate? What was the object underneath his jacket? (End quote)

The suspicions of online blogger "Veritas" were aroused by a moment in a Bush news conference from last December:
Question to Bush at his December 15, 2003 press conference: "I know you said there will be a time for politics. But you've also said you wanted to change the tone in Washington. Howard Dean recently seemed to muse aloud whether you had advance knowledge of 9/11. Do you agree or disagree with the RNC that this kind of rhetoric borders on political hate speech?"

The President: "There's time for politics. There's time for politics, and I -- it's an absurd ansinuation (sic)."
A funny thing happened at the December 15th presidential press conference. Asked to comment on an earlier statement by Howard Dean regarding his alleged foreknowledge of 9/11, Bush stumbles about the stage, clearly caught off guard by the question, then delivers the line: "It's an absurd asinuation." It could not be more clear that Bush was provided the words with which to answer. At first, Bush stumbles about, repeating his previous line that "there's a time for politics."

During this time, he's avoiding eye contact, shrugging, and delaying. Then, the answer is given to him, presumably through a wireless ear piece. Bush then suddenly delivers his line that "it's an absurd asinuation." The suddenness of his reply, after having been speechless, the smile in his eyes when he's given the correct answer, and his incorrect pronunciation of the word "insinuation" all lead to [the] conclusion that he was prompted to provide this answer. (End quote from "Vertias").

In reaction to the news that Pres. Bush has postponed his physical exam until after the election, Dr. Joseph Price writes:
Consider, in contrast, the present: "the informal Q&As he has tried to avoid," "Bush's recent faltering performances," "his unfortunate puzzled-chimp expression when trying to answer questions," "his stalling, defensive pose when put on the spot," "speaking more slowly and less gracefully." ...Bush's problem cannot be "a learning disability, a reading problem, [or] dyslexia," because patients with those problems have always had them. Slowly developing cognitive deficits, as demonstrated so clearly by the President, can represent only one diagnosis, and that is "presenile dementia"!

Presenile dementia is best described to nonmedical persons as a fairly typical Alzheimer's situation that develops significantly earlier in life, well before what is usually considered old age. It runs about the same course as typical senile dementias, such as classical Alzheimer's -- to incapacitation and, eventually, death, as with President Ronald Reagan, but at a relatively earlier age. President Bush's "mangled" words are a demonstration of what physicians call "confabulation," and are almost specific to the diagnosis of a true dementia. Bush should immediately be given the advantage of a considered professional diagnosis, and started on drugs that offer the possibility of retarding the slow but inexorable course of the disease. --Joseph M. Price, M.D. Carsonville, Michigan (End quote)

The media are slowly being forced --by Internet activists or an ROTM faction of the Cryptocracy itself -- to reluctantly deal with this scandal. As of this writing, the Los Angeles Times has mentioned it only to scorn it, while in today's Washington Post, columnist Dan Froomkin is publicizing links to relevant Internet sites, such as Dave Lindorff's.

Joseph Cannon, who first broke the story (cannonfire.blogspot.com) prognosticates on the possible aftermath: "I have reason to believe that a 'respectable' publication will soon do some in-depth work on this story. When that happens, the official Republican harrumphers will enter stage right and do their act. Expect to hear many oh-so-clever references to black helicopters, tinfoil hats and Oliver Stone. Those jokes never get old, do they? Alas, they won't make the evidence go away."

As the multi-million dollar-funded establishment media hacks slouch their snail-like way toward this electrifying story of the entanglement of the President of the United States in brazen, public, on-air cheating (a function of self-destructive neo-con chutzpagh?), let us recall the most telling datum in this entire tale of the tape: "The suspicion that George Bush was literally channeling Karl Rove during the debate last week was first raised by blogger Joseph Cannon's girlfriend, who, during a video replay of the debate, noticed what looked like a wire running down the back of Bush's jacket."

It took some blogger's girlfriend to bring this story to the attention of the world?

Meanwhile our vaunted "free media," from Reuters on down, knew of it but did not regard it as newsworthy. Is this not the same media that presumes to instruct Iraqis and Al-Jazeera concerning how to establish an "open and democratic society" and "responsible" journalism?

What we have here is textbook ROTM (Revelation of the Method); there are at least four possible scenarios for its denouement: 1. Orwellian option: Shoved down the memory hole. 2. Masquerader's Jest option: Shock and tension defused through trivialization and comic relief. 3. Truth Serum option: Massively publicized and investigated with the result that on election eve, the American people are alerted to the fact that Bush is a cheat and a skulldugger, not a Christian statesman. 4. The Terror Option: Distract attention with a spectacular act of "Arab terror" or the capture of bin Laden/Mullah Omar et al."



Sunday, October 10, 2004

On the Death of Jacques Derrida

On the death
on the death of him
on the Jacques of him
on the Derrida derriere
Jacques got it
death got him there
of your leavetaking of your rest
not evident
of your absent breath of your solace
of your storm
here begins the voyage
how terrifying at night
to have dust as a friend at the end
of the longest pier imaginable there
beats a heart floating almost submerged
unreal meaningless.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Who Needs Enemies?

...once again we see John Kerry is prepared to defend America, balance the budget, and fix the healthcare system while George W. Bush flounders and rationalizes. Everything is not okay and in fact getting worse, but one cannot tell by viewing conservative media. In Afghanistan they are holding their first-ever democratic elections that is true. It is also true that Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of opium. This opium produces heroin that is sold worldwide resulting in thousands of gruesome deaths, ruining thousands of lives, and costing millions of dollars in law enforcement. In Iraq, the security situation is complete chaos. Because of the incompetence of the Bush administration, whole regions of Iraq are controlled by terrorists. These are terrorists who came to Iraq because of George W. Bush--they weren't there before. As we find out that there were in fact no WMDs, which was the justification for the deaths of our American soldiers, one has to wonder why America has started this pre-emptive war. It has become all too clear that this war is simply about financial gain. War profiteers (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice, Powell) have lied to the world, ruined America's reputation, and made our security situation even worse than it was before 9/11. With the leadership we have in the White House right now, who needs enemies?

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Rexroth

bicycling through your
Californian voice I can
hear the peacocks
clearer than the cry
of peacocks all the war
dead all the
dead in the fallen afternoon
cry November night
with one voice
twisted music of
that wreckage--
understanding