Saturday, October 28, 2006

Mr. Curtis goes to Washington, Part 2

The Democratic Headquarters of Brevard County is located in a low rent strip plaza on the downside of Cocoa, about an half hour north of Melbourne and an hour south of Daytona. The Clint Curtis Campaign (henceforth CCC) rents a table and computer access from the Dems. CCC is run by Marty W., an instantly likable ball of energy who was so impressed by the CC story that she dropped her plans to relocate to Annapolis, MD and became the full time field campaign manager for the CCC pro bono. At first, I feared that we well-intentioned interlopers from south Florida would be more of a hindrance to Marty than a help - with characteristic aplomb she replied to my concern with a "So did I at first - but don't worry, we'll put you to work." And work we did. Mailing out DVDs of "Truth in the Booth: the Clint Curtis Story," re-writing radio spots, doing whatever we could. This particular strip mall was a congregating spot for some of the areas's homeless people (there was a cheap place to eat at the far end). Throughout the day, some of these folks would drift in and ask if they could help out. And we so we put them to work. They never asked for money for their labor (but we gave them a few bucks for lunch anyway). I was struck how these people realize what is at stake in America on November 7, 2006, while far too many of the shrinking middle class remain mired in denial.

That night we travelled with Marty and the independent film-maker Dorothy Fadiman to Altamonte Springs where there would be a screening of a rough cut of Dorothy's important film "Stealing America, Vo
te-by-Vote" along with "Truth in the Booth."

Dorothy's film is must-see cinema (even tough it is not yet finished). It is the most cogent, plain-as-day account of how our electoral system has been hijacked. I will never forget one of the closing scenes in which an African-American women in Ohio, who spent weeks registering and convincing black Ohioans that their vote mattered, plaintively asks the camera as tears run down her cheeks, "What do I say to these people now?"

After the films, I had the chance to chat with Clint. It is clear that Mr. Curtis has little ego invested in the race for Congress. Oh, don't get me wrong. He WANTS to win
, but for all the right reasons. Clint Curtis is all about doing what is right in the face of everything that has gone wrong.

This is the face of what has gone wrong in our nation since 2000. Rather, one of them. Take a good look at Tom Feeney, Clint's Republican opponent. What do you see? What I see is every thick-necked bully that has ever stalked the schoolyards, ballfields, and corporate offices of America. This is man who swore that Florida's electoral votes would go to George W. Bush in 2000 no matter the cost. Twice now, Feeney has sent out two pieces of mail that boomeranged back against his campaign - that made him look like a fool. The CCC couldn't have done a better job for Clint than Feeney himself. He has tried to make Clint appear deranged. He has tried to paint Clint as a delusional conspiracy nut. But where Clint Curtis has taken and passed a lie detector test concerning his allegations against Feeney and Yang Enterprises, Feeney will not. And so one of the favorite campaign slogans of the CCC is "TAKE THE TEST, TOM!"
So
, Clint and I chatted, and I told him, "Clint, I think you're gonna win." He took a deep breath, pursed his lips, and tentatively replied, "I'm finally starting to think so, too."

All indications are that the shoest
ring CCC is giving Feeney a run for the money, despite his war chest of millions.

That night we were hosted by a retired couple from Michigan who live in Daytona. Ed and Maggie are the type of Dems I remember from growing up in blue collar NYC. Ed would be joining us the next m
orning for a canvas operation in Port Orange to the south. Our target neighborhood was a development of modest-sized homes. You got the feeling that most of the residents were either first-time buyers or else had stepped up from condos or townhouses when Florida's real estate market went insane and rates were low. Predominantly white and Christian (I joked, "I get the feeling that I am the only Jew in a 10 mile radius"), these are the people who are really getting sucker-punched by the Bushite regime, but who have either become saturated with fear disease or been brainwashed by the Fox hatemongers. We didn't engage them unless they happened to be in their garages or frontyards, just looped a two-sided "palmcard" outlining Clint's platform over their doorknobs. The people with whom I did directly speak appeared, with a few hostile exceptions, receptive to our message. Let's hope so. Gayle and I managed to cover about 400 homes before beginning the long drive south.

So, why do this? Why journey 4 hours up the coast to work for 2 days for a dark horse candidate when there were were plenty of races closer to home that could use the support? In my opinion, these are precisely the types of candidates that deserve our support: courageous individuals with a finely honed sense of what is right and what is wrong. Clint Curtis is one such individual. And I find his story inspirational.

Buy "Truth in the Booth, the Clint Curtis Story" today!

Shut up and sing

NBC is refusing to run the trailer for the Dixie Chicks documentary, Shut Up and Sing, because: 'it won't accept the spots... disparaging of President Bush."

Harvey Weinstein, said in a statement that: "The idea that anyone should be penalized for criticizing the president is profoundly un-American."

Watch it here:

Big Brothers' data bases

In case you didn't know ...



Oh, right. You don't have anything to hide...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Mr. Curtis goes to Washington, Part 1

The 24th Congressional District of Florida is spans a broad swathe of eastern-central part of the peninsula, including portions of Brevard, Orange, Seminole, and Volusia Counties. It includes Kennedy Space Center and all of its attendent industries, as well as Daytona Beach, always a biker mecca and now a secondary locale for collegiate spring break revels. It is also one of the more conservative areas of the state, traditionally voting Republican, and, of late, attracting migrants from elsewhere in the nation who find it (relatively) reasonable cost of living and white, Christian homogeneity comforting.

Last weekend, I journeyed up to the red zone to lend 2 days to the dark horse campaign of Clint Curtis for the 24th Congressional District seat on Capitol Hill. He is running on the Democratic ticket against Republican incumbent Tom Feeney.

Clint Curtis is a computer programmer who once worked for Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI), a computer consulting firm in Oviedo, Florida. On December 6th, 2004, the Brad Blog published a sworn affidavit by the soft-spoken Curtis. In his affidavit and later videotaped sworn testimony presented before members of the U.S. House Judiciary committee, Curtis claims to have been asked by Feeney to design a "vote-rigging software prototype". This request took place in October 2000 during a meeting at Yang.

At the time of the alleged meeting, Feeney was the incoming Speaker of the Florida House, and also a registered lobbyist and the general corporate counsel for YEI. Previously, he had been the running mate of Jeb Bush during his 1994 unsuccessful first bid for Florida Governor. He eventually ascended to the U.S. Congress and today sits on the House Judiciary Committee.

Curtis, a life-long Republican up until then, had been a programmer at YEI, which had several top-secret clearance contracts with the state, NASA and other government agencies. Curtis' understanding at the time was that the prototype he was being asked to create (built to the very precise specifications of Feeney) was to address Feeney's concerns that the Democrats might attempt to electronically rig the election and Feeney wanted to know what to look out for in that event. After informing YEI CEO Mrs. Li-Woan Yang that he would not be able to hide the vote-flipping routines in the software source-code as Feeney had requested, Curtis testified that Mrs. Yang informed him that the program was needed to "rig the vote in South Florida."

Curtis also reported in his affidavit and to the Florida State Inspector General that YEI was employing an illegal Chinese alien by the name of Hai Lin "Henry" Nee who was inserting "wire-tapping modules" into sensitive database programs which YEI had built for NASA and other companies.

Tom Feeney has categorically denied all charges made by Curtis and has refused to comment on the record about any of the allegations beyond telling MSNBC that "Curtis has defamed a lot of people. . .

After many months and many requests and many challenges from both critics and Mainstream Media types, The St. Petersburg Times reports that Clint Curtis took a polygraph test on March 3rd, 2005...and passed.

The lie-detector test, administered by Tim Robinson, the retired chief polygraph operator for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, found that Curtis was indeed found to be truthful in all of his responses.

On February 13th, 2006, Clint Curtis declared his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives in Florida's 24th District.

Mr. Feeney, BTW, refuses to take a lie detector test himself ...

Full index of Brad Blog posts about Clint here.

TO BE CONTINUED

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

1st base

The politics of denial


Bush: 'We're Winning in Iraq'

Bush: Iraq 'essential' to U.S. security

Read another and far more riveting perspective here, from Kevin Tillman, a vet who served and lost something in Mr. Bush's "winning" game that the architects seem to have no moral capacity to comprehend.

As he has repeatedly, Bush predicted that Republicans would hold control of the House and Senate in two weeks' time, despite widespread predictions to the contrary. He jabbed at Democrats who he said are "dancing in the end zone" or measuring the drapes for new offices.

"The American people will decide," who wins, he said.

Will we? Or will it be decided for us?

Report Warns of Potential Voting Problems in 10 States

Recipe For A Cooked Election

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

More mischief in Ohio?

From (all places) the National Review:

Blackwell to disqualify Strickland?

"Voters in Ohio can be forgiven if they feel they have been beamed out of the Midwest and dropped into a third-world autocracy. The latest news from the state's governor's race is that the Republican nominee, Kenneth Blackwell, who is also the Ohio secretary of state, could rule that his opponent is ineligible to run because of a technicality. We'd like to think that his office would not ultimately do that, or that if it did, such a ruling would not be allowed to stand. But the mere fact that an elected official and political candidate has the authority to toss his opponent out of a race is further evidence of a serious flaw in our democracy.

"Ted Strickland, the Democratic nominee, is leading Mr. Blackwell by as much as 28 points, according to one recent poll. In their panic, some Blackwell supporters have hit on the idea of trying to prevent the election from occurring. One of them filed a complaint alleging that Mr. Strickland, who is a member of Congress, does not live in the apartment where he is registered to vote. Mr. Strickland owns a condominium in another part of Ohio, and the complaint alleges that he actually lives there. If Mr. Strickland was not a qualified voter, he would be prohibited from running for governor."

More here.

Greg Pollowitz is a political junkie who lives in New York City and is the founder of iQ Venture Partners, Inc., a private equity investment bank that specializes in early stage companies.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Media reform news

Media Reform Daily

Bill Moyers will tackle Net Neutrality, community broadband, media ownership and the digital divide in the final installment of his "Moyers on America" series of specials on PBS -- Then go online for a debate between Mike McCurry of Hands Off the Internet and Ben Scott of SavetheInternet.com Tune in to The Net at Risk tomorrow night.

AT&T Makes Some Net Neutrality Concessions
AT&T is willing to adhere to the FCC Net Neutrality principles for only 30 months after the official closing of its proposed merger with BellSouth.
Roy Mark, Internet News

AT&T Suggests Possible Merger Conditions
The concessions AT&T are offering in their merger with BellSouth are certainly a step in the right direction, but they come with a few caveats: They have their own definition of broadband, and many of consumer-friendly provisions expire after 30 months.
Nate Anderson, ars technica

AT&T, BellSouth Shares Fall After FCC Delay on Deal
AT&T and BellSouth shares fell after the FCC announced a delay on their merger approval. Although the telcos are confident the deal with go through, some analysts say that a further delay may cause problems for the merger.
Jeremy Pelofsky, Reuters

AT&T's '30-Month' Net Neutrality Merger Trade-in Offer: What a Joke!
AT&T's offer underscores why permanent network neutrality safeguards are worth fighting for. The very companies who will provide the vast majority of broadband service, such as AT&T, really don't want the public to have it.
Jeffrey Chester, Digital Destiny

Oops: AT&T-BellSouth Forgets Net Neutrality
AT&T-BellSouth has filed a new version of its proposed merger conditions with the FCC. It corrects a "typo" that omitted from the Net Neutrality condition, that they would only adhere to Net Neutrality rules for 30 months.
John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable

AT&T's Promises to FCC Are Full of Holes
Memos bouncing around between AT&T and the FCC appear to have AT&T pledging that if the FCC breaks its 2-2 deadlock and approves the acquisition of BellSouth, then AT&T will be good. But the language is so generalized that it is full of holes.
Russell Shaw, ZDNet

Don't Let Ma Bell Monopolize the Internet

Save the Internet

Against An Imperial Internet
The monopolists tell us not to worry: They will take care of us, and see to it that the public interest is honored and democracy served by this most remarkable of technologies. Will future historians speak of an Internet Golden Age that ended when the 21st century began?
Bill Moyers & Scott Fogdall, TomPaine.com

No Room for Neutrality on Net Neutrality
The public discourse on Net Neutrality has been polluted by the telecom industry to needlessly problematizing issues that are already settled in the scientific community, and propping up positions that would be discredited in any objective analysis.
Victor Pickard & Sascha D. Meinrath, Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center

Oregon Senator Addresses the Internet at Risk
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) will speak about Net Neutrality and the fight in Congress over the future of the Internet at a press conference tomorrow in Portland.
Glendale Oregon News

Joe Lieberman Sells Out the Internet
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) says that he supports the principle of Net Neutrality, but he will vote for the telecom industry's bill which was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee without any Net Neutrality provision.
David Isenberg, Isen Blog

Lieberman Opts for Net Neutrality Sell-Out
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) has announced that, while he suppports Net Neutrality, he is going to vote for the telecom industry's bill.
Mitch Ratcliffe, ZDNet
Tell Your Senators to Save the Internet

Journalism and Beyond

As Talk Radio Wavers, Bush Moves to Firm Up Support
An influential group of conservative radio hosts were at the Oval Office for an unannounced, private audience with the president as part of an intensive Republican Party campaign to reclaim and re-energize a crucial army of supporters.
Jim Rutenberg, New York Times

152nd Journalist Killed in Iraq
The weekend killing of an Iraqi radio correspondent and producer has brought the number of journalists killed since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to 152.
United Press International

Jailed Journalist: Sami's Shame, and Ours
There is no public evidence that Sami al-Hajj committed any crime other than journalism for a television network the Bush administration doesn't like.
Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times

Pentagon Defends Detention of AP Photographer in Iraq
The Pentagon has brushed off a request from a journalist organization seeking more information and a decision on Bilal Hussein, an Associated Press photographer held for six months in Iraq without formal charges.
Associated Press

Blogger Stays in Prison, Defying Grand Jury Order
Blogger and anarchist Josh Wolf, spending his 57th day in federal prison today for refusing to surrender video he shot of a violent San Francisco protest, is well on his way to becoming the longest-jailed journalist in U.S. history.
Demian Bulwa, San Francisco Chronicle

Publisher and Top Editor of Toronto Star Resign
The Toronto Star, Canada's largest newspaper, said on Monday that its publisher, Michael Goldbloom, and its editor-in-chief, Giles Gherson, had both resigned.
Ian Austen, New York Times

Senate Debate in Hartford: Not Live, and No Local Media Allowed
WFSB-TV in Hartford, Conn. is sponsoring the only debate of all five candidates in Connecticut's Senate race, but it has banned representatives of the news media -- other than its own -- and will show a 1-hour canned version after a 27-hour news blackout
Jon Lender, Hartford Courant

Twelve ways Bush is now stealing the Ohio vote

by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/810

The Republican "November Surprise" to steal the 2004 election is in full force here in Ohio. With polls showing a dead heat, the GOP is staging an all-out attack on a fair vote count in the Buckeye State.

Here are a dozen ways they're doing it:

* Under an archaic Ohio law, both the Republican and Democratic Parties, or any slate of five candidates, may embed official election challengers inside polling places. The New York Times reported on Oct. 23 that the Republican Party intends to place thousands of lawyers and other GOP faithfuls inside the polls to challenge voters. Republican insiders confide here that the key goal is to jam lines and frustrate new voters. The GOP apparently figures many voters in key Democratic precincts won't wait in line more than 15 minutes to vote. This is certain to be a major tactic in Cleveland's Cuyahoga County and other Democratic strongholds. The GOP is not planning to challenge voters in Republican districts.

* The Republican party has sent letters challenging thousands of Franklin County students who are registered to vote absentee. Franklin County is home to Columbus, the state's largest city and its capitol. Though it is also home to Ohio State University, thousands of local students go to schools outside the county or state. The GOP apparently does not want their votes counted. This unprecedented mass challenge has prompted the Franklin County Board of Elections, whose director is a conservative Republican, to reserve the large Veterans Memorial Auditorium downtown to process the challenges this Thursday, as John Kerry comes to town with Bruce Springsteen. The County has told thousands of students that if they don't appear in Columbus to answer the GOP challenges, they may lose their right to vote.

* The Franklin County Board of Elections has called or written an undetermined number of voters who obtained absentee ballots, challenging their addresses. In at least one case, after a series of angry phone calls, the Board admitted there was nothing wrong with the address in question and re-instated voting rights. The voter in question was a registered Democrat. His wife, an independent at the same address, was not challenged. It is unclear how many others have been wrongly knocked out.

* Even if they are counted, Franklin County's absentee ballot forms are rigged in ways strikingly reminiscent of those in Florida 2000. On many absentee forms, Kerry is listed third on the list of presidential candidates. But the actual number you punch for Kerry is "4." If you punch "3" you've just voted for Bush. Sound familiar?

* Franklin County's right wing Elections Director is insisting on e-voting machines which have malfunctioned in at least two Congressional elections, and which have no paper trail. The November issues of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics Magazines ran the following headlines on their covers, respectively: "E-vote emergency: And you thought dimpled chads were bad'" and "Could hackers tilt the election?" Vigorous protests against the paperless machines have been staged here, but many will be used, rendering a meaningful recount impossible.

* In four other Ohio counties, the notorious Diebold company, whose CEO Wally O'Dell has pledged to deliver Ohio's votes to Bush, will provide the e-voting machines to count votes without any paper trail while using proprietary "secret" software. O'Dell lives in the wealthy Columbus suburb of Upper Arlington and is a major Bush donor.

* Twenty GOP-dominated Ohio counties have given wrong information to former felons about their voter eligibility. In Hamilton County, home of Cincinnati and the Republican Taft family, officials told numerous former felons that a judge had to sign off before they could vote, which is blatantly false.

* Franklin County, which normally cancels 2-300 registered voters a year for felony convictions, has sent at least 3500 cancellation letters to both current felons and ex-felons whose convictions date back to 1998. The list includes numerous citizens who were charged with felonies but convicted only of misdemeanors.

* Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell has reversed a long-standing Ohio practice and is barring voters from casting provisional ballots within their county if they are registered to vote but there's been a mistake about where they are expected to cast their ballot. In this year's spring primaries, Blackwell allowed voters to cast provisional ballots by county, even if they were in the wrong precinct. But this fall, such voters will have to leave the wrong precinct and find their way to the right one. Blackwell hopes to succeed Republican Bob Taft as governor, and has labored hard to install e-voting machines with no paper trail, to give the statewide contract to Diebold, and to take a long series of steps apparently designed to help hand Ohio to George W. Bush. Blackwell is being widely compared to the infamous Katherine Harris, who handed Florida to George W. Bush in 2000 and was rewarded with a safe Congressional seat.

* The Columbus Dispatch (which has endorsed Bush) and WVKO Radio have both documented phone calls from people impersonating Board of Elections workers and directing registered voters to different and incorrect polling sites. One individual was falsely told not to vote at the polling station across the street from his house, but at a "new" site, four miles away. Under Blackwell's new rules, such a vote would not be counted.

* In Cincinnati, some 150,000 voters were moved from active to inactive status within the last four years for not voting in the last two federal elections. This is not required under Ohio law, but is an option allowed and exercised by the Republican-dominated Hamilton County Board of Elections.

* Secretary of State Blackwell ruled that any voter registration form on other than 80-pound weight bond paper would not be accepted. This is an old law left over from pre-scanning days. Many voters who had registered on lighter paper, had their registration returned, even though the forms had been officially sanctioned by local election boards.

No Republican has ever won the presidency without carrying Ohio. This year the GOP seems determined to win it, no matter what they have do to the electoral process.


------------------------
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of GEORGE W. BUSH VERSUS THE SUPERPOWER OF PEACE and IMPRISON GEORGE BUSH, from www.freepress.org

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hummer Nation

Or maybe I should say "Hummer State." Florida, to be exact. My state. The southeast corner to be specific. Everyday I see more of them, those huge squared off Tonka toys on steroids, looming in the rearview mirror of my Civic like some toothy, grinning Thomas the Tank Engine gone amok. They come in designer colors now, and (I'm sure) with built-in DVD players and talking GPS units. The only thing I can't figure out is this: why does anyone 1) need and 2) want to drive one?

So, I took the questions to that great ever-expanding Internet antichrist Google, and asked.

Here's some of what I got, mostly as comments to various blog posts:


Um...the new hummers ARE chick cars. All the hummer ads feature women.

You're confused. It's not a chick car. A Hummer is for guys whose "gear" is so diminutive, you need a magnifying glass to tell them from chicks.

The Hummer is for morons.
H1 was designed for all terrain use, retrofitted and polished up but maintained much of its off road capabilities. Fucking uncomfortable, loud and seriously a waste of money if its being used on paved roads. Not even that fun off road, slow and tank like where is the challenge...much more fun can be had in an old pos Toyota/Ford/etc with a roll bar. H2 and H3 - poor off road abilities but made more comfortable and luxurious for soccer moms and kids. Still terrible gas mileage but who cares if you are buying one you are getting ripped off but are too stupid to care.

a hummer is an attempt to make a humvee wimpy enough for soccer moms to use. too bad most people who buy hummers are too inexperienced at driving large vehicles to safely drive them.

Five great reasons to buy a Hummer:

  1. You’ve been wanting to buy much wider groceries (but have been stymied by the timid width of your Escalade).
  2. You and your make-believe wife were thinking of having 11 or 12 imaginary kids.
  3. You’re sick of always being the environment’s goddamned bitch.
  4. You could totally put a keg back there and just drive around and shit.
  5. They were all out of penises.
Buy a Hummer - Overcompensation at Its Best

But it was only after visiting
here that I finally truly understood.


























But if the Hummer is just too much of a "chick car" for you, South Florida; if it just doesn't make enough of an "I've arrived" statement, we have the solution for you. Soccer moms and Saturday warriors, meet the $200,000 Gurka!

And how many more?

More than 650,000 people have died in Iraq since the U.S. led invasion of the country began in March of 2003. This is according to a new study published in the scientific journal, The Lancet. The study was conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. Researchers based their findings on interviews with a random sampling of households taken in clusters across Iraq. The study is an update to a prior one compiled by many of the same researchers. That study estimated that around 100,000 Iraqis died in the first 18 months after the invasion.

Listen to an interview
from Democracy Now with the lead researcher:
Listen to Segment || Download Show mp3
Watch 128k stream Watch 256k stream Read Transcript
Help Printer-friendly version Email to a friend Purchase Video/CD

Why has the American press been silent on the report of 655,000 Iraqi deaths?

And our incredible President? He says:

"… it’s not credible."

The devil's in the details

"Congressional investigators digging into the [corruption scandals of the Bush administration and Republican majority in Congress] cannot ignore the possibility of impeachment proceedings against Vice President Cheney, who figures prominently in almost every one of the scandals engulfing the administration. It was Cheney who ran the government's response to the 9/11 attacks without constitutional authority, at one point ordering shoot-downs of commercial planes and what would turn out to be a medevac helicopter; who led the secret meetings of administration officials and oilmen to set energy policy; who allowed Ahmed Chalabi to play the U.S. government like a violin; who very well may be the origin of the whisper campaign that culminated in the Plame leak; and, of course, it was Cheney's former employer (and source of continuing deferred compensation paychecks) that benefited enormously from no-bid contracts in Iraq. Judicial Watch, the conservative legal outfit in Washington, has unearthed an email dated March 5, 2003, sent by an Army Corps of Engineers official whose name had been blacked out, that said of a pending deal under which Halliburton would rebuild the Iraqi oil industry, 'We anticipate no issue since the action has been coordinated w VP's office.' There's plenty more where that came from; whether any of Cheney's actions constitute 'high crimes and misdemeanors' is for Congress, and the nation, to debate. "
--
James Ridgeway, Mother Jones, from "Five Scandals that Could Put Republicans in Jail."

American Fascism Is on the rise

By Stan Goff, Truthdig. Posted October 14, 2006.

This essay is the most disturbing opinion piece that I have read in a very very long time.


"The precursors of fascism -- militarization of culture, vigilantism, masculine fear of female power, xenophobia and economic destabilization -- are ascendant in America today."

"In American society right now, with the immigration hysteria fueled by faux populists like CNN’s execrable
Lou Dobbs, there is a growing wave of xenophobia that has begun to legitimate vigilantism, like that of the Arizona Minutemen (supported even by the governor of California); and vigilantism is always a feature of fascism in periods before it decisively achieves state power. The lines between the comic-opera militias parked along the Arizona border, the “libertarian” militias in the Midwest and the Aryan militias in the Idaho foothills are not terribly clear. Timothy McVeigh could have easily related to all of them.


"
The Bush administration never tires of telling us how war is necessary to protect 'us' from disorder.

"We need to ask ourselves, however, what sowing the winds of war abroad will reap at home. They are not Arabs who are painting Aryan Nations graffiti on the shattered walls of Baghdad."

Read the full essay here or here.

Stan Goff is a retired veteran of the U.S. Army Special Forces. During an active-duty career that spanned 1970 to 1996, he served with the elite Delta Force and Rangers, and in Vietnam, Guatemala, Grenada, El Salvador, Colombia, Peru, Somalia and Haiti.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

HOW GEORGE BUSH GAVE KRAZY KIM THE BOMB

From the never restful pen of Greg Palast:

"How did a berserker like North Korea’s Kim John Il get the bomb in the first place? Answer: He bought it from the Dr. Strangelove of Pakistan in 2001 — while all our President’s men ordered our intelligence agents to keep their eyes shut tight.


"On November 9, 2001, BBC Television Centre in London received a call from a phone booth just outside Washington. The call to our Newsnight team was part of a complex prearranged dance coordinated with the National Security News Service, a conduit for unhappy spooks at the CIA and FBI to unburden themselves of disturbing information and documents. The top-level U.S. intelligence agent on the line had much to be unhappy and disturbed about: a 'back-off' directive.

[CLICK HERE FOR AUDIO OF PALAST AND AMY GOODMAN READING ‘THE BACK-OFF’ DIRECTIVE FROM ARMED MADHOUSE]

"This call to BBC came two months after the attack on the Pentagon and World Trade Towers. His fellow agents, he said, were now released to hunt bad guys. That was good news. The bad news was that, before September 11, in those weeks just after George W. Bush took office, CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) personnel were told to 'back off' certain targets of investigations begun by Bill Clinton. He said there were particular investigations that were effectively killed.

"Which particular investigations? The agent was willing to risk his job to get this story out, but we had to press repeatedly for specifics on the directive to 'back off.' The order, he said reluctantly, spiked at least one fateful operation. As he talked, I wrote in my notebook, 'Killed off Conn. Labs investigation.' Connecticut Laboratories? I was clueless until my producer Meirion Jones, a weapons expert, gave me that 'you idiot' look and said, 'Khan Labs! Pakistan. The bomb.'

"Dr. A. Q. Khan is known as the 'Father' of Pakistan’s atomic bomb.
He’s not, however, the ideal parent. To raise the cash for Pakistan’s program (and to pocket a tidy sum for himself), Khan sold off copies of his baby, his bomb, to Libya and North Korea—blueprints, material and all the fixings to blow this planet to Kingdom Come.

"From another source inside the lab itself, we learned that Dr. Khan was persuading Pakistan to test his bomb—on India. Why would Team Bush pull back our agents from nabbing North Korea’s bomb connection? The answer in two words: Saudi Arabia ..."

Find out why here!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

When is a terrorist not a terrorist?

When he's an anti-Castro Cuban exile.

Luis Posada Carriles -- AKA Bambi, Comisario Basilio and Ramon Medina -- has spent a career notching up anti-Castro violence to a new art, culminating with his masterminding the in-flight bombing of Cubana Flight 455 in 1976, on which 73 people lost their lives. In 1985 he escaped from a Venezuelan prison. That nation has formally sought his extradition since he turned up in the U.S. in 2005, finding happy refuge among Miami's right-wing Cuban-American community. He was arrested for illegal entry into the U.S. in May 2005 and jailed, while the Bush administration sought ANY nearby nation save Cuba or Venezuela to take him in. At least 7 have replied, "No thanks." If the U.S. forthrightly denies Venezuela's petition for extradition, we are obligated to put Carriles on trial for the same charges by dint of the 1973 Montreal Convention. Here is yet another example of the hypocrisy that the Bushites have made policy. While faceless, nameless detainees are held in secret or not-so-secret prisons on vague suspicions of "terrorism," a man who has spent the better part of his life indulging in violence and criminality is shielded from due process. To quote the sister of a 19-year-old Guyanese medical student who was killed on that ill-fated Cubana flight, "If Luis Posada Carriles does not meet the definition of a terrorist," she wrote in a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, "it is hard to imagine who does."

As they say in Little Havana, "Viva Bush."

(With an assist from Peter Kornbluh's commentary in the October 16th Nation.)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mark Foley switches party before resigning


I guess it's the October Surprise!

From the Brad Blog:

INCREDIBLE! FOX 'NEWS' LABELS FOLEY AS DEM DURING O'REILLY FACTOR!
Three Different Video Cutaways, 15 Seconds or More Each, Credit Disgraced REPUBLICAN Congressman as Being a Florida DEMOCRAT!
UPDATED: NOW WITH VIDEO! LATER UPDATE: 'Erroneous' Caption Scrubbed from Late-night O'Reilly Rebroadcasts Without Explanation!

Just amazing. Fox's O'Reilly Factor just covered the Mark Foley (R-FL) issue in two different segments, one of them with a page who says he received communications from Foley, and another with Ann Coulter.

Never mind the content of either segment for now. Incredibly, during a total of three different cutaways to video footage of Foley, he was labelled at the bottom of the screen eachtime as "(D-FL)" !

Three different times. In two different segements. Each cutaway about 15 seconds or more. Showing Foley as a DEMOCRAT. Amazing.