Friday, September 10, 2004
The publisher of a coming book by the filmmaker Michael Moore said yesterday that The New York Times had denied permission for Mr. Moore to include in his book a May article in which The Times reviewed shortcomings in its own reporting about the events leading up to the war in Iraq.
Publishing industry executives say that such denials are rare, and executives at Simon & Schuster, the publisher, said The Times was the only one of several publications it had approached to deny permission to reprint articles, photographs, cartoons or editorials in the book. ...
Early one Saturday afternoon in July 2003, I made a simple phone call to Margie Schoedinger, a Texas woman who filed a rape lawsuit against George W. Bush in December 2002. I expected to leave a message on a machine, so I was caught a little offguard when Schoedinger answered.
She, too, sounded somewhat surprised I had called, saying she hadn’t heard from many other reporters. But she talked to me for a few minutes about the legal action.
"I am still trying to prosecute [the lawsuit]," said Schoedinger, a 38-year-old African-American woman who lived in the Houston suburb of Missouri City. "I want to get this matter settled and go on with my life."
Well, Schoedinger hasn't gone on with her life. In fact, three months after I spoke to her, she died in an apparent suicide. And this matter remains unsettled.
When I asked her in July 2003 about the lack of media coverage, Schoedinger said she wasn't seeking publicity. She said she did not even know about a December 2002 article in the Fort Bend Star, the only U.S. mainstream media outlet that covered this story, to my knowledge. The Fort Bend reporter, LeaAnne Klentzman, said she even went to Schoedinger's home and talked to a man there, who said she could not come to door. While I reached and spoke to Schoedinger on my first attempt, maybe she wasn't ready to talk back in December.
Anyways, Schoedinger said she was surprised the case wasn't covered more because "it is true......People have to be accountable for what they do, and that's why I'm pursuing it."
To be sure, Schoedinger's accusations - which include being drugged and sexually assaulted numerous times by Bush and other men purporting to be FBI agents - are bizarre and hard for most people to believe. But her story fits in with those told by a growing number of people who say they were used as guinea pigs or whatever by members of the CIA or another U.S. agency who wanted to test out the latest mind-controlling drug or just have a strange form of release. And her death - let's just say government agents have made murders look like suicides before. ...
To read the late Margie Schoedinger's civil lawsuit against President George W. Bush click here, scroll down and click "civil suits," and then enter "Schoedinger" into search box and click.
"Land of Plenty," Wim Wenders' portrait of a post-9/11 America gripped by paranoia and poverty, filled screens at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday, just days before the third anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The German director's scathing film tells the story of a troubled Vietnam veteran obsessed with protecting the United States in the wake of the attacks and of a young religious missionary who works in the slums of Los Angeles.
Seen through the eyes of its two very different characters Paul and Lana, Wenders' desolate America is filled with the sounds of right-wing radio talk shows hailing President Bush and peopled by the homeless and marginalized.
"'Land of Plenty' is not in any way an anti-American film," Wenders wrote about his movie. "It is a film that tries to deal with a lot of confusion and pain and paranoia."
But when pressed about what the reaction would be in the States, Wenders told Corriere della Sera newspaper: "Well, what do you want? Bush has convinced everyone that those who don't agree with him are anti-American." ...
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have always used the president's father as a reverse lodestar. In 1992, the senior Bush wooed the voters with "Message: I care." So this week, Cheney wooed the voters with, Message: You die.
The terrible beauty of its simplicity grows on you. It is a sign of the dark, macho, paranoid vice president's restraint that he didn't really take it to its emotionally satisfying conclusion: Message: Vote for us or we'll kill you.
Without Senator Zell Miller around to out-crazy him, and unplugged after a convention that tried to "humanize" him with grandchildren, horses and wifely anecdotes about the Twist, Cheney is back as Terrifier in Chief.
He finally simply spit out what the Bush team has been more subtly trying to convey for months: A vote for John Kerry is a vote for the terrorists.
"Because if we make the wrong choice," Cheney said in Des Moines, Iowa, in that calm baritone, "then the danger is that we'll get hit again. That we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind-set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war."
These guys figure, hey, these scare tactics worked in building support for the Iraq war, maybe they can work in tearing down support for John Kerry. ...
Laugh of the day:
Under the Republicans, non-union truck drivers have mushroomed in the last 20 years. These scabs are hired by corner-cutting companies that don't give a damn about worker safety, whatsoever. In the Reagan era, deregulation reached fever pitch and the Interstate Commerce Commission was killed, allowing truck drivers to spend 12 or more hours behind the wheel. More recently, the NAFTA treaty has allowed unsafe Mexican trucks on U.S. highways for the first time.
But that's not the problem, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, there is a danger of terrorists on the nations highways; al-Qaida sleeper cells barreling down the Interstates. To solve this imminent national security threat, the Department of Homeland Security has spent $20 million to train truck drivers on how to spot terrorists.
Does the Post-Dispatch reporter and (more importantly) his editors actually believe this bullshit? Why is the story cast in such an uncritical manner and given prominence on the front page above the fold? Are they really that stupid? St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Truckers get rolling on spotting terrorism
by Shane Graber
The Department of Homeland Security has just the soldier to serve as a trusty line of defense against terrorism - the American trucker.
These professional drivers are already on the road, there are plenty of them, and they're supposed to keep their eyes peeled anyway, federal officials reason.
So the Department of Homeland Security recently spent nearly $20 million to get 400,000 professional drivers - including 10,000 from Missouri and 14,000 from Illinois - trained in the finer points of terrorism spotting.
"Today's House vote to stop the Bush overtime regulations was a huge victory for working Americans and underscores the bipartisan opposition to George Bush's war on overtime pay. George W. Bush has actually threatened to veto funding for critical education and health programs to perpetuate his wrong- headed scheme to deny overtime pay to 6 million Americans.
"This threat is the latest evidence of how dead wrong the Bush administration is when it comes to meeting the needs of America's struggling middle class. Overtime pay is the lifeline that allows millions of working families to keep their heads above water in an economy sinking under a rising tide of health care and energy costs."
In the Kerry corner there are two of the most powerful lawyers in Washington, Vernon E. Jordan Jr. and Robert B. Barnett, not to mention the sitting governors of Michigan and Arizona, Jennifer M. Granholm and Janet Napolitano.
In the Bush corner there is a former secretary of state, James A. Baker III, not to mention the hard-knuckled lobbyist turned governor of Mississippi who once headed the Republican Party, Haley Barbour, and one of the party's sharpest media personalities, Mary Matalin.
The campaigns of President Bush and Senator John Kerry are putting forward their most seasoned and formidable proxies to take part in the quadrennial face-off over establishing the particulars of the presidential and vice-presidential debates. Never have the presidential debate teams been this big or this prestigious, say officials at the bipartisan commission planning the debates, the first of which is scheduled for Sept. 30. ...
The big lie that has probably had the most impact, however, is that in the wake of 9/11 "everything has changed." In reality, nothing has changed. High-ranking officials, including the president, continue to lie. Poor kids from rural America are sent to die in foreign countries for no good reason. And half of the population in this country is still inclined to vote for the guy who created this mess in the first place. So far, the big lies are working.
by Eric Schmitt and Douglas Jehl
Army jailers in Iraq, acting at the Central Intelligence Agency's request, kept dozens of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and other detention facilities off official rosters to hide them from Red Cross inspectors, two senior Army generals said Thursday. The total is far more than had been previously reported.
An Army inquiry completed last month found eight documented cases of so-called ghost detainees, but two of the investigating generals said in testimony before two Congressional committees and in interviews on Thursday that depositions from military personnel who served at the prison indicated that the real total was many times higher.
"The number is in the dozens, to perhaps up to 100," Gen. Paul J. Kern, the senior officer who oversaw the Army inquiry, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. Another investigator, Maj. Gen. George R. Fay, put the figure at "two dozen or so," but both officers said they could not give a precise number because no records were kept on most of the C.I.A. detainees.
Under the Geneva Conventions, the temporary failure to disclose the identities of prisoners to the Red Cross is permitted under an exemption for military necessity. But the Army generals said they were certain that the practice used by the C.I.A. in Iraq went far beyond that. ...
Thursday, September 09, 2004
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
... As part of the Arkansas Project, Scaife retained a private investigator and former Mississippi state law enforcement officer named Rex Armistead to look into Clinton's alleged drug connections, according to documents and sources. Armistead is a former director of the criminal investigation section of the Mississippi Department of Safety.
The disbursements to Armistead and two law firms are detailed in financial records obtained by Salon, and the role of the private investigator was described by four sources.
Armistead supplied information about his Clinton drug investigation to the House Banking Committee, which conducted an exhaustive two-year probe of the charges, according to a committee spokesman. Federal investigators have found no evidence to support the allegations, which have been widely circulated by fierce conservative opponents of the president.
The investigative effort by Armistead was so secretive that funds that were paid by Scaife to Armistead were first funneled through two tax-exempt foundations, and then through two law firms before they finally reached Armistead.
Later, Armistead, while twice being interviewed by agents of the Drug Enforcement Agency, misled the federal agents about the true source of his investigation's funding, according to the confidential reports of those interviews obtained by Salon.
Armistead was hired by Scaife to investigate allegations that President Clinton, while governor of Arkansas, ordered state law enforcement officials to turn a blind eye to a cocaine smuggling ring operating out of the small airport of Mena, Ark., about 120 miles southwest of Little Rock.
Almost no expense was spared for Armistead's investigation of the Mena allegations: Armistead took trips to Europe and the Central American nation of Belize to pursue the charges. He also traveled extensively across the United States in the effort. ...
Cincinnati — John Kerry, at the site where President Bush described Iraq as a threat to the United States, was arguing the president left a trail of broken promises on the path to war and squandered money that could be put to better use at home.
"George W. Bush's wrong choices have led America in the wrong direction on Iraq and left America without the resources we need here at home," the Democratic presidential candidate said in remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday. "I would not have made the wrong choices that are forcing us to pay nearly the entire cost of this war more than $200 billion that we're not investing in education, health care and job creation here at home. ...
Monday, September 06, 2004
Medical tests have shown that a man being held in Iraqi custody is not former president Saddam Hussein's deputy, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, Interior Ministry spokesman Sabah Kadhim said Monday.
''The required tests to identify him showed he is not Izzat al-Douri,'' Kadhim told The Associated Press.
Kadhim said the man being held is related to al-Douri. ...
Baghdad — A massive car bomb exploded on the outskirts of Fallujah on Monday, killing seven U.S. marines and wounding several others, a U.S. military official said. ...