Friday, September 17, 2004

From Baghdad, With Love 

Baghdad Burning, Sept. 15:

... Three years ago, Iraq wasn't a threat to America. Today it is. Since March 2003, over 1000 Americans have died inside of Iraq... and the number is rising. In twenty years time, upon looking back, how do Americans think Iraqis are going to remember this occupation?

I constantly wonder, three years after 9/11, do Americans feel safer? When it first happened, there was a sort of collective shock in Iraq. In 2002, there was a sort of pity and understanding- we’ve been through the same. Americans could hardly believe what had happened, but the American government brings this sort of grief upon nations annually… suddenly the war wasn’t thousands of kilometers away, it was home.

How do we feel about it this year? A little bit tired. ...

[read more]

Bush Is A Murdering, Lying Sack of Shit 

Oh, did I offend somebody? I wouldn't want to offend anybody. We must remain civil as this asshole drags us and the rest of the world into hell with him, mustn't we?

Talking Points Memo, Sept. 17:

by Josh Marshall

Bush on Iraq: Who you gonna believe? Me, or your lyin' eyes?

We're helping the Iraqi people build a new democracy.

Pessimists can say what they want. But that's what they said about the occupation of Germany and Japan.

We're safer with Saddam in prison; America is safer. The critics are pessimists.

These aren't quotations. But phrases like these are the stock phrases of the president and the rest of his campaign. They filled the recent Republican convention in New York. Actually, on Thursday President Bush was speaking in exactly this vein: "Freedom is on the march."

But as yesterday's piece in the Times made clear, that's exactly the opposite of what the government -- or rather the people in the government paid to analyze these things --- actually believes. A new and still highly classified National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq says that the best case scenario for the country over the next eighteen months is drift, along more or less the lines that it's at right now. The worst case scenario is all-out civil war. The middle ground is spiralling extremism and fragmentation -- basically a continuation of the evolution, or rather devolution, we've seen over the last year. ...

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Garbage In, Garbage Out 

Why the Gallup Poll Is Full of Shit

Left Coaster, via Kos, Sept. 17:

...the Gallup Poll, despite its reputation, assumes that this November 40% of those turning out to vote will be Republicans, and only 33% will be Democrat. You read that correctly. I asked Gallup, who have been very courteous to my requests, to send me this morning their sample breakdowns by party identification for both their likely and registered voter samples they use in these national and I suspect their state polls.

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Waxman on Bush Secrecy 

Rep. Henry A. Waxman has released a comprehensive examination of secrecy in the Bush Administration. The report analyzes how the Administration has implemented each of our nation’s major open government laws. It finds that there has been a consistent pattern in the Administration’s actions: laws that are designed to promote public access to information have been undermined, while laws that authorize the government to withhold information or to operate in secret have repeatedly been expanded. The cumulative result is an unprecedented assault on the principle of open government.

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Kerry Support Rebounds 

It's up to you, people. Do you really want a lying, chickshit as your president for another four years. Signs indicate that a majority of Americans have woken up to the fact that the country is in steep decline on all fronts under the non-leadership of George W. Bush.

Pew Research, Sept. 17:

Voter opinion in the presidential race has seesawed dramatically in the first two weeks of September. Following a successful nominating convention, George W. Bush broke open a deadlocked contest and jumped out to a big lead over John Kerry. However, polling this past week finds that Bush's edge over his Democratic rival has eroded. Reflecting this new volatility in the race, the size of the swing vote has increased slightly since the summer, rather than contracting as it typically does as the election approaches.

The latest national survey of 1,972 registered voters by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted in two waves over a seven-day period, finds that the president's large margin of support in the initial period (Sept. 8-10) dissipated in the polling conducted Sept. 11-14. Among all registered voters Bush initially led Kerry by 52%-40%. However, the second wave of interviewing shows the race even among registered voters, at 46%-46%. When the sample is narrowed to likely voters, Bush holds a statistically insignificant lead of 47%-46% in the second wave, down from a huge 54%-38% advantage he held in the first wave of interviews.

The shifting voter sentiment observed in this poll reflects a number of cross currents in public opinion. Hard-hitting attacks against the Democratic challenger throughout August and during the Republican convention took a heavy toll on Kerry's personal image. Kerry's positive support waned, fewer voters expressed confidence in him to deal with major issues, and perceptions of him as a 'flip-flopper' rose noticeably.

In contrast, Bush improved his personal image in early September and erased or reduced his rival's advantage on most issues. At the same time, however, Bush showed continued vulnerability on Iraq and the economy. A plurality of the public still disapproved of the president's stewardship of the economy. While opinion of his handling of Iraq has inched up since the early summer, nearly six-in-ten voters (58%) say it is not clear what Bush will do about Iraq if he is reelected. ...

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Profile of Kerry Campaign Manager 

Seattle Times, Sept. 17:

It's a day when the Bush bounce has hit Kerry supporters upside the head. The morning papers are full of polling reports that suggest the president is on a roll. The pundits are full of rumors about a Kerry campaign shake-up.

The party that came out of the Boston convention in single-file unity has returned to its default position: a circular firing squad with the campaign strategists in the middle. The partisans in the street are frantic that the Bush campaign will "do it again" and take the low road to victory.

At the center of this September anxiety attack, campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill seems as cool as the walls in her office and as collected as her clean desktop. Behind her, a muted TV screen is on 24/7 politics and there's a framed sentiment that you would not see in Karl Rove's office: "To be finally alive is to work for the common good."

Last November, when Cahill took over the campaign, Kerry was trailing Al Sharpton in South Carolina. By March, she was touted as a political Wonder Woman. Now Newsweek describes the "rap" on her as being "schoolmarmish," fretting about "going negative" and not nasty enough to lead the campaign.

If the white-haired Cahill is ruffled, it doesn't show. "This was sort of inevitable. Our numbers went down from the battering we took," she says, and adds, "there's a rhythm to these things."

The eldest of six children in an Irish-Catholic working-class family, Cahill began her career answering phones for Bob Drinan when the Boston priest was a congressman. She's run tough campaigns for candidates like Vermont's Patrick Leahy and is widely credited with charting a successful strategy for EMILY's List roster of women candidates.

The word that people use most often to describe her is "steady." ...

[read more]

More News of Kerry Surge 

This time the information comes from Australia.

Special Broadcasting System (Australia) Sept. 17:

The latest opinion polls on the US Presidential race reveal that the volatile contest between George W. Bush and John Kerry is back to a dead heat.

Surveys by the Pew Research Center and Harris Interactive show Senator Kerry has wiped out a solid lead enjoyed until now by Mr Bush.

The president's advantange had been forged with a month of attacks on his Democratic rival capped by the Republican national convention.

The Pew data showed the Massachusetts senator clawing his way back from a 12-point deficit among registered voters interviewed between September 8 and 10 to a 46-46 percent tie four days later.

A Harris poll of likely voters published in the Wall Street Journal had Senator Kerry up 48-47 percent. ...

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Kerry Rising 

Salon.com(by subscription), Sept. 17:

Kerry rising
Rumors of John Kerry's demise have been greatly exaggerated -- too often by doomsaying Dems themselves. A host of new polls suggest it's the president who should be trembling.

By Joe Conason

To listen to certain Democrats these days is to learn that the presidential election is all but over, apparently because John Kerry slipped behind George W. Bush in a few national polls last week. These sad doomsayers whine contantly that Kerry "isn't tough enough," when what they are really talking about are their own mental weaknesses. Much of the anger and determination displayed by liberals over the past year seems suddenly to have deflated into fear and resignation. ...

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Kerry Surges in Polls 

You can't trust the Internet. It's filled with the ranting of right-wing wackos, frome Drudge to Coulter, who are doing everything possible to skew the news to support the indefensible policies of George W. Bush.

So for a different view of the latest polling, I turn outside the country to the Ottawa Sun. Both the Harris poll, which the below article cites, and the poll conducted by the conservative Wall Street Journal show Kerry moving ahead of Bush. Bush's bounce after the Republican National Convention earlier this month has all but evaporated. Thank God.

Ottawa Sun, Sept 17:

by Michael Harris

According to the latest Harris Poll (No. 66), the much-ballyhooed bounce for the president out of the recent Republican convention in New York has vanished. Ahead of Democratic rival John Kerry by 10 points as recently as June, President Bush now finds himself a point behind in the race for the White House.

The main reason for the tightening of the race is this stark statistic: 51% of respondents do not believe that President Bush deserves to be re-elected, though 45% still believe that he does.

Republican prospects are shrivelling in the long, cold shadow of Iraq. As the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal slug it out for their chosen candidate, the objective information on the Iraq war has gone from bad to worse for the administration.

Yesterday, the National Intelligence Council, in a document approved by the National Intelligence Board chaired by the acting director of the CIA, John E. McLaughlin, gave its first formal assessment of the war in Iraq since October 2002. It was an ugly picture. Best case, Iraq will remain "tenuous" in political, economic, and security terms for the foreseeable future. Worst case, it will slide into a chaotic civil war in which the United States will become an active ally of one of the factions vying for power. In other words, the U.S. may have found its West Bank and Gaza. ...

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I Smell a Rove 

The flap over the authenticity of the National Guard records cited by CBS News is distracting the public from the fact that Bush paid off Ben Barnes to keep quiet about the issue of his preferenital treatment when Bush first ran for governor, according to previously published report by investigative reporter Gregg Palast.

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Johnny Ramone Dead 

CNN, Sept. 15:

Johnny Ramone, guitarist and co-founder of the seminal punk band The Ramones that influenced a generation of rockers, has died. He was 55. ...

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Deja Vu All Over Again 

In a recent appearance on the PBS News Hour, New York Times neo-con in residence opined that the debate over the presidential candidates' military service during the Vietnam era was irrelevant. After all, said Brooks, I was only 10 years old.

And therein lies the rub. Know-it-alls like Brooks have no memory of that time. They came of age during the Reagan era, unfortunately.

The memory of Vietnam for those of us remember that terrible chapter in American history is being replayed in Iraq. The records of the two candidates are clear and unwavering. While Bush sat out the war in Houston and elsewhere, using his name to be granted special dispensation, Kerry volunteered for combat. But his experiences led him to oppose the war when he returned.

At the same time that Brooks mutters his disapproval for the Vietnam debate, he also says he supports the Iraq war. If he supports it so much, I recommend that he join the military service and risk getting his ass blown away. Otherwise, as Bill O'Reilly is fond of saying, shut up!

How to Avoid the Coming Draft 

Get an obscene tatoo on your chest (which may no longer disqualify you nowadays) or flee to Canada.

[read more]

Request Form to Out a Snitch 

The web site is called Who's a Rat.

[read more]

How to Disappear by Abbie Hoffman 

How To Disappear and Live Underground

By Abbie Hoffman

1978 Eden Press, P.O. Box 8410, Fountain Valley, Calif. 92708


To “live underground” means to be able to control your own life and to avoid violence, or the threat of violence, by others. What you do and how you do it will almost always determine whether or not freedom will be yours. But you must take the responsibility for creating your own freedom. No one, especially the “government” will do it for you.

To “disappear” means to make it impossible for other people to invade your personal world of freedom and locate you. Since most of such invasion is by means of electronic data-gathering and
cross-referencing, you must be able to short-circuit these procedures effectively.

The most efficient method today is through the use of what we call “alternate identification.” If the new names and numbers you plug into the networks don’t match the old ones, you have not only “disappeared,” but have also been “reborn.” And being reborn means leaving your past records where they can no longer affect you and your lifestyle.

This “disappearing” of individuals is obviously discomforting to institutions and governments determined to control personal activities in the so-called Land of the Free. To them it appears downright seditious, since in reality their power depends directly on the number of people they can control – through computerized records, of course.

To those who actually “disappear,” however, the act is one of tremendous personal liberation. Free men owe very little to those who restrict opportunities on the basis of past records. An extreme example, which nevertheless applies to all of us, is this: When a person convicted of a felony has served his full sentence, is he then “free?” Hardly. What he will experience is really a life sentence of second-rate opportunity.

And what happens to the convict, in practice, happens to everyone who manages to have negative personal information placed in his “records.” When it comes to the point of a person’s having to live with a condemning past and ever-narrowing opportunities, it becomes easily understandable
why he should be willing and anxious to scuttle his labeled identity and take on another.

There are numerous intermediate tactics between total compliance and complete disappearance, such as refusing to give your Social Security number (or giving it incorrectly), avoiding taxes, obtaining several foreign citizenships and passports, setting up bank accounts in several other countries, and planning at least two routes of escape to other countries.

The object of this publication is to suggest ways an individual can, in practice, escape his past and secure a new future, on his own terms.

Individuals will vary greatly in how they carry out their disappearances, and it is my hope that the ideas I present here are useful towards those ends. I make no claims of completeness or of exhausting the subject, as that could be potentially dangerous were individuals to rely solely on this information.

I stress that everyone should think over his situation as carefully as possible, and then pick and choose which among my methods are best suited for his needs. Above all, he must begin using his head, trusting his hunches and instincts, and thinking of himself as separate, different,
and even superior to those stuck in the System. He will have to become a Lone Wolf. He must stand alone to be free.

Abbie Hoffman, January 1978


1. Don’t go to church. If you must, however, use an alias when attending, and make contributions in cash, never by check. If you are asked by inquisitive neighbors what church you attend, either name one of a different faith than theirs or deny interest completely. Give the minister totally false information about yourself, as these good folks are great gossips when approached by snoops.

2. Never tell neighbors where or for whom you work. Give them false information. This way, they won’t reveal it to snoops who are looking for you, because they won’t know it.

3. If you are paid by check, don’t deposit the check in any account with your name on it. The best idea is to go to the bank on which it is drawn and cash it there. If you make a regular practice of this, avoid becoming familiar with any tellers or other bank personnel. Vary the times and days for visiting the bank. Visit different branches of the bank, too. Also, avoid cashing checks at your favorite bar or tavern. FBI agents probably spend at least a third of their working hours hanging around such places, as they seem to attract the kinds of people they are looking for. Anytime there is a bank robbery, the first places the FBI check out are all the bars within the immediate vicinity of the robbery. Don’t laugh. It’s true because it works.

4. Be wary of answering “personal” ads in newspapers, as well as job offers too neatly tailored to the type of work you did before disappearing. If the ad calls for replying to a box number at the newspaper, disregard totally: it’s very likely to be a trap. Reply only to ads that can guarantee not having to give yourself away, such as offers for appointments at known companies. If phone numbers are provided in the ad, call only from a pay phone. There’s always a possibility you might be calling directly to a law enforcement agent, bill collector or private investigator who will give you enough patter to smoke you out.

5. On the job, avoid giving background information to fellow workers. If you’re planning to stay on the job only for a short while, however, make an effort to plant false and misleading information in the minds of the other workers, such as your favorite pastimes, places you’d like to travel to or live someday, and your plans for the future. Insulate your private self by keeping your personal interests and ideas to yourself alone. Share the spurious with the curious.

6. Don’t subscribe to any local newspapers delivered by carriers. Buy what you need at a news rack. These cute kids have sometimes been “helpful” sources of information about people’s habits at home.

7. Don’t be obvious in your living habits. Turn lights off at a decent hour, keep stereo music from annoying neighbors, don’t place empty pony kegs on the front porch, and don’t have pets that stray or annoy. Don’t do major engine overhauls in the driveway, either.

8. Be very careful about who comes to see you at your residence. Avoid anything unusual which might spark the interest of neighbors. If what you do or the people with whom you must deal are “interesting,” it might be best to arrange get-togethers elsewhere. Keep your nest clean – good “criminal” advice.

9. Avoid using banks except for actually cashing checks given you by other people. Try to conduct your affairs with cash and money orders. When using the latter, never write your name on the face or the line marked “payer.” Use fake names, account numbers, or business names. For most purposes money orders can be considered “untraceable,” since the issuing institutions (American Express, banks, U.S. Post Office) file the paid orders by number only, not by other criteria which might tend to give you away. People and businesses to whom you might remit money orders virtually never record this number, either. They are usually happy to be paid by money order and will consider it the same as cash. Individuals wanting to hide income and/or otherwise disguise their financial dealings find money orders most useful in shortchanging the bandits at IRS, too.

10. Don’t talk to undertakers. Undertakers are another source like ministers, in that they are good talkers. If you have to deal with one, be on your guard with what you tell him. If you are called on to provide information for a death certificate, give him only the data he actually needs. It should be easy to appear too grief-stricken to want to chat.

11. Use an alias and fake information with doctors. Whenever you need the services of a physician, dentist, hospital, etc., make it standard practice to use an alias and an address other than where you live. Pay in cash. Recite – don’t display – your “driver’s license” number and Social Security Number, making sure that they are totally fake. Other data requested, such as employer, birth date, etc., should also be misleading. Ignore the “warning” at the top of some hospital forms that federal law requires honest information. None’s ever heard of anyone getting busted for such a “crime” who also paid his bill. Fraud is fraud, but identity is your business. Medical records are very definitely not confidential. How else would life and health insurance companies be able to decide so imperiously who “deserves” their coverage, and at what rates? For most people, medical insurance itself is a fraud.
12. Don’t have milk or other items delivered to you. The fewer people seen calling at your residence, the safer you are. Neighbors will often notice home deliveries, which can prove to be fertile leads for future snoops.

13. Avoid membership in political groups or other civic organizations. As a rule these groups are filled with super sneaky, nosey individuals more willing than not to stab someone in the back if it suits their selfish purposes. Total snakes.

14. Arrange to have your mail sent to a P.O. box, mail drop, or mail forwarding service. This way the only mail to be left at your residence will be the “occupant” variety. Make it a rule never to sign for certified or registered mail. Tell the carrier that you are not the person named on the receipt, or that so-and-so moved months ago. Where? Austria . . . or was it Australia?

15. Never tell the mail carrier anything about yourself. Since the carrier will never know your identity by leaving only mail addressed “occupant,” you can safely tell him who you are not whoever is named on the piece of mail he is trying to deliver. Don’t be rude or arouse suspicion; simply help him do his job by telling him there is no such person at your address. If he asks who you are, he’s out of line. He will return the letter marked “Unable to Deliver at this Address,” “Unknown at this Address,” or “Not at this Address,” or something else to the same effect.

16. Don’t accept forwarded mail at your residence. Sometimes snoops will address mail to a fictitious person “care of” your last known name and address in the hopes it will be forwarded to you (somehow), and that you will have the stupidity to return it to them with your new address (provided by you). Any suspicious or unfamiliar mail with your new address should simply be marked “Unknown,” “Return to Sender,” etc., and deposited in a public mail box for return. (Not the mailbox nearest to your residence!) If the letter doesn’t come back to the sender because you kept it or chucked it, he may well try again with something more enticing, or even pay a personal visit. Tracing by mail is the cheapest route for snoopers, so be on the lookout for any mail you’re not expecting or that seems the slightest bit suspicious. This will be the opening salvo in any investigation to determine your whereabouts. Watch your mail!

17. Don’t provide any information other than return instructions to the mail carrier. Providing any information other that return instructions per above can invite disaster, too. Putting on a fake forwarding address, or even a “General Delivery” notice, will tell the sender, when the letter is returned, that someone at the address on the letter knows more than he does. The “Registered Letter,” physical surveillance, or a personal visit will be his next move. You can count on it.

18. Be especially watchful for any letters with an “attorney’s” return address. They deserve no more respect than any other letter. If you’re not expecting correspondence from your own attorney, it’s very likely a fake name used by an investigator. This gambit is many times used on third parties (close relatives of yours) in the hopes they know where you really are and that they have the “courtesy” to forward the letter to you. This is a good reason for you not to tell relatives where you can be reached. If they don’t know, they can’t tell.

19. Cover your return address if you have to forward mail. If you can trust a particular person to forward items to your P.O. box or mail forwarding service, at least instruct them to place the letter in another (cover) envelope so that no forwarding instructions are on the face of the original envelope. You can decide what to do with the mail when you get it. If you want it returned, do not drop it in a box in your area – the stamp of the main post office near you will likely be on the envelope, much to the glee of the sender. Either send it back to your friend in still another envelope for him to re-mail locally, or use a mail forwarding service in a distant city to re-mail per your instructions. Again, knowing how to deal with your mail is vital to disappearing. Think first before acting!

20. Avoid having arguments or run-ins with neighbors. An old, unresolved grudge might be just the spark that sends an investigator to your new location. “Getting even” is a passion few people can resist.

21. Don’t call anyone collect. If a snoop is trying to trace you by telephone he may invite you to call him person-to-person collect. Don’t do it! Ignore the request, no matter what the excuse is. You might be tempted with some pie-in-the-sky lie, but what he’s really after is your location. If you don’t give yourself away in the conversation, he will simply call the operator back for time and charges, and while she’s at it, the location of the telephone originating the call. She will be only too happy to help.

22. Be extra nice to hotel or apartment management and staff. If you have to live in a motel, hotel, or nosey apartment complex, always make it a point to be outwardly polite to any employees on the premises. Give them no reason to remember you other than as a normal person. In fact, try to be innocuous enough that they don’t really remember you at all. Freaky behavior is easily noticed and remembered by telephone operators, janitors, maids, superintendents, house detectives, and bell boys. Tips make them talk too.

23. Don’t have roommates. It’s safest not to take in roomers or boarders, even though they can help with expenses and provide companionship. The fact is, they can get “too close” to you by picking up all kinds of information tidbits which could come back to haunt you should certain kinds of third parties start pumping them. Even though you might feel you could trust them, it’s very easy for a friend to give you away innocently.

24. Change your buying habits and hang-outs. In changing to a new identity within the same general area, make it your policy to patronize none of the commercial establishments you did before your name change. This would include service-oriented businesses, too, such as shoe repairs, TV repairs, photographers, cleaners, poodle parlors and massage parlors. If you or a member of your family had been assisted by such charity organizations as the March of Dimes or Community Chest, make sure that future aid is obtained from some other organization.

25. Use a different pharmacy than you used to. If you need to have prescriptions filled often, do two things: (1) Have them filled by different pharmacies; don’t patronize the same one repeatedly, and, (2) Never give the pharmacist your correct address and/or telephone number. If you are in need of a continuing prescription, such as for certain heart conditions or diabetes, consider having it filled by mail from one of the large interstate mail-order pharmacies. These outfits usually offer greatly reduced prices as well, as they are willing to deal in generics, as opposed to strictly name-brand drugs. Check ‘em out.

26. Avoid all contact with law enforcement people. They are like sponges whenever they deal with the public: they take in endless quantities of information whether you are the victim or the perpetrator. When approached by investigators and spies, they just love to spill out all they know, and usually get in on the act themselves. Avoid trouble and avoid cops.

27. Don’t use credit. Credit bureaus and department stores will have credit files on you if you’ve used them in the past. It would be safest to avoid using credit in the future.

28. Avoid drawing attention to yourself. Don’t exhibit “socially unacceptable” behavior publicly. Cops are programmed to bust anyone who appears “suspicious” (different from them). Jails, psycho wards, and prisons aren’t exactly fun places. Your appearance, possessions and actions should always justify your presence on a legitimate (conventional) basis. This is the best way to avoid suspicion. If you are stopped and questioned, always be able to give a reasonable explanation of why you where there, where you are from, and where you are going. Smile and be “helpful.” A sullen or hostile attitude triggers the cops for a bust – your bust. So go ahead and “Kill the Pigs” – with kindness. You’ll win by keeping your freedom, dig?

29. Even perfectly legal behavior can arouse suspicion. Avoid such things as solitary walks late at night, or wearing clothing inappropriate for the weather. Store detectives love to follow shoppers wearing oversized clothing, too. The police find it easy, even entertaining, to pin stray raps on such “suspicious” characters. Days and weeks can go by before they decide they’ve made a “mistake.” Really!

30. Eliminate any “peculiar” habits. Examine your daily habits and eliminate any which might possibly be regarded as weird or unusual, especially if performed publicly. If it is known that you can never pass a museum or fishing pier without indulging yourself, you have an automatic lead to those who might want to go looking for you. Changing activities can be an excellent way of building your new identity. Not only will the old ways fade faster, but your new acquaintances will provide the support and interest in creating the new identity more rapidly and completely.

31. Live in a large city where you can have the protection of anonymity. Avoid small towns where the only sport is gossip – about you. Your business should be no one else’s.

32. Appear to be lower-middle class in your standard of living. Don’t attract the attention given the very poor or the obviously well-off. And if you appear to be living outside your means you’ll definitely attract attention or suspicion. Rent a house or apartment that appears “respectable,” but no more plush than the average cop can afford. If you like to live it up, do it somewhere other than around where you live and work. Try Las Vegas, New York, Jamaica, Tokyo, Fiji.

33. Dress conventionally. Adopt what you perceive as the broad community standard. Don’t be black or white as long as gray has so many shades. Blend in. Be clean and neat, never showy or gaudy. Conformity for guys means neat beard (if any), no long hair or freaky clothes. For the ladies, no sexy, convention-flaunting attire such as miniskirts or see-through blouses without underwear. The Man loves to drool over “liberated” lassies, and often does more than just drool.

34. Have conventional answers to common questions. Be able to answer things like where you are from, where you work, where your family lives, etc. Be vague, however. There’s less heat in telling plausible lies than in countering with self-righteous silence. The object is to avoid suspicion, so be a “reasonable” person. Lying is not illegal unless you are under oath or perpetrating a fraud.

35. Don’t talk to feds, you don’t have to. When confronted by federal agents or other law enforcement officers, you have no obligation to talk to them. If you do, however, make sure you don’t lie. Making false statements to federal officers is a bust! A good way to turn the “meeting” in your favor, is to inform the agent that he should take up the matter with your attorney, whose name and address you are willing to provide. If you don't have an attorney at present, tell him you are in the process of obtaining one, and that you will so notify him when you do. This will tell the agent-snoop that (1) you are a cool customer who knows how to take care of himself by knowing his rights, and (2) that for him to deal with your attorney will be tantamount to having to take you to court – something he’s obviously not (yet) ready to do. Your talking to the officer could very likely ensure you an earlier court date, if that’s what you want. It’s perfectly moral to lie to someone who asks about things which are none of his business. He is the one acting immorally. Don’t forget!

36. Don't throw wild parties. Far too many busts come courtesy of tender-ared, blue-haired, fink-ass neighbors.

37. Don't make speed, DMT, THC, acid, or nitro in your kitchen. Window sills aren’t the safest places to cultivate, either.

38. Hold your stereo down to “mood level” late at night. Not everyone mellows out with Led Zeppelin or the Stones.

39. Your neighbors are the most dangerous people you know. You can include relatives here, too. They will all snitch without compunction. “Calling the cops” is fair sport in towns of all sizes, so don’t antagonize. Be friendly, stay friendly – but on your terms. Be superficially “nice” to your neighbors, but have as little as possible to do with them. Ideally, you don’t want them to know anything about you.

40. You could still be harassed. Even if you observe all these precautions you might still be harassed by criminals, both private and public. Whatever you do, don’t blow your cover and thus lead them to suspect you. Keep your temper, be humble and polite, and refrain from shouting matches and/or slugfests. Remember you are a minority of one. “They” still have the guns and bars.

41. Avoid retaliation. If you’re not content, however, to let vengeance be the Lord’s, at least abide by this cardinal rule of guerrilla warfare: don’t let the enemy determine your tactics. Retaliate at a time and place with weapons of your choosing.

42. Use a pseudonym. Any activity which might attract unfavorable attention, such as writing, nude photography, erotic sculpture, etc., should be done under a nom de plume. Provide a separate address for any such names. P.O. boxes are fine.

43. Never express controversial opinions around home or at work. If you preach, do it in another town or state.

44. Avoid being fingerprinted. Don’t apply for civil service jobs. The FBI would like to have everyone fingerprinted so they could control individual lives, but so far they’ve been stopped. The thumbprint required on applications for drivers licenses in many states (like California) does not go to the FBI. It is kept with the applications “on file,” and its main purpose seems to be that of psychological deterrence. The states make no efforts to classify the thumbprints, and the FBI is not interested in helping. Applicants who want to make sure their thumbprints are absolutely worthless will press extra hard and make a slight twisting movement with their thumb as it is being printed. The result is a perfect smudge – worthless.

45. Stay out of the armed forces. Here again fingerprinting labels you forever with the only method of positive identification. Don't apply for security clearances or seek employment in firms which routinely fingerprint.

46. Don’t take part in demonstrations or dissident activities which might lead to arrest. Fingerprinting would surely follow.

47. Don’t have utilities in your name. Utility companies are the first watering hole for skip tracers, private investigators, feds, and other snoops.

48. Keep your name out of public records. Don’t have your real name or personal information on such things as business licenses, permits, tax accounts, etc. Operate under another name or use another person as a front. It’s very easy to file “fictitious firm name statements” using minimal ID.

49. Always subscribe to magazines and newspapers under alternate names. Pay by mail using money orders. Don’t have your name on the money order. Likewise, always order merchandise by mail under an alias. Again, pay with money orders without your name on them.

50. Don’t have your name on a lease or title. Own real estate or have a lease under either a cooperative relative’s name, or a fictitious one created especially for the purpose. Names of phony businesses work well here, as it is perfectly understandable and justified for a business to own real property. Since real estate transactions are almost always at “arms length,” it is quite simple to hide behind your agent or broker. In this area money talks more loudly than you do, so it's not too difficult to arrange things to suit yourself.

51. Whenever you rent a new place to live, insist on the right to change the locks. Refuse to give the landlord the new key, too. Many times people have arrived home to find a snoopy landlord (lady, too) going though personal belongings, papers, etc. Items and possessions which might tend to give someone the wrong ideas about your identity, activities, interests, etc., should be stored in locked boxes of sturdy construction. Misleading items can be placed innocently in the open. Be observant of items being rearranged or moved, too. Until you're secure in your new location, you might take the precaution of placing hairs on door jambs, threads across the threshold, matches on tops of doors, etc. When choosing locks and keys, select those not readily available in the area.

52. If you have to vote use your “legal” address. Just make sure you don’t live there. So-called “voter ID cards” are a snap to obtain, as no proof of identity is required. The only “security” for the registration process is your sworn statement.

53. Protect the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of your friends. Use a code of your own making to disguise the actual names and numbers, or try to memorize what you need to know. You’d be amazed at how much you can remember in this area if you make the effort. Try to avoid carrying this coded address book with you. Cops always flash on such items, and so-called “rings” are usually busted this way. A smart thing to do would be to carry a dummy book of names and numbers selected at random from the phone book. Keep your working book stashed in a safe place. This practice protects you, too, if suspicion is cast on you should some of your friends be busted and their names appear in your book.

54. Don’t request receipts unless the amount is large. Make them intelligible only to the parties involved. Remember that cash still has no names on it, which is why Big Brother can hardly wait for the day of the “cashless” society.

55. Don’t pay taxes if you can avoid it. Payment of taxes of all kinds should be largely a matter of personal convictions. The public debate on “tax protest” is endless, so only a few generally-observed practices will be mentioned here. The basic rule, in which even the IRS concurs, is pay only what you are liable for. This means taking advantage of any and all loopholes to the fullest with the ultimate aim of paying no tax whatsoever. Don’t forget, however, that most federal prisons have rather distinguished populations of tax-evading accountants, attorneys, businessmen, and politicians. If avoiding personal income tax, both state and federal, is your goal, by all means study well or seek competent advice. Texas and Nevada still have no state income taxes, in case you're thinking of relocating to beat some taxes. Sales and use taxes can often be avoided by buying consumer items through personal channels such as friends, bazaars, swap meets (some), classified want ads, bartering, and business exchanges. Out-of-state mail order purchases are exempt from local taxes, too. Sharp practices, such as claiming 10 or 12 exemptions to reduce the weekly bite of withholding, or making a deal with your employer to be paid in cash (which a great many do willingly) are ways of lessening, even eliminating your tax, but this can’t be recommended if you plan on remaining in the same job for over a year or so, or if you don’t wish to live with a solid alternate identity. A “compromise” is to maintain a minimal tax profile, but plan on earning the bulk of your income through non-recorded means, say, odd jobs for cash. Lead a “straight” life for the tax vultures, but live “underground” with another trade and/or name.

56. Don’t list negative job references. For the resulting “gaps” in your employment history, have already prepared the names and addresses of your former “employers.” They could be local or out-of-state, in which case they probably won’t be verified except by mail. Of course you will be prepared for this by listing a mail forwarding service’s address as that of your former “employer.” Merely pay the first month’s fee and notify the service of your code name – a company (“employer”). You will then be able to rewrite you own employment history. Gaps can also be covered by using attendance at school or travel abroad as alternatives to negative job references. For local job references, a good trick is to ask, or pay, a businessman’s secretary to give all the goody information right over the telephone. Provide the phone number on the application, naturally, but remember that the number may very well be verified first by a call to Information. When it checks out, your application will appear quite honest, won’t it?

57. Personal references are OK. They are virtually never verified. Provide them, of course, but feel no compunction whatever in lifting random names and assumed relationships right from the phone book. A locally known doctor or minister is a safe bet, too.

58. Never make handwritten notes or letters. Consider using a typewriter for all your correspondence, as it is not only more impersonal, but much harder to trace to you. Whereas handwriting can give you away, typewriting cannot. Only the machine itself can be shown to be the one used for a particular piece of correspondence. Electric machines are even more impersonal than manual in that the striking pressure is uniform for all letters. Manual typewriting can show that you have a weak “a” or a strong “k” or “c,” for example. Be careful, too, of allowing the keys to clog to the point that the enclosed portions of letters begin to fill in. When the “e” and the “o” look alike, it’s time to get out the gum cleaner. Typewriters using the newer carbon ribbons do not have this problem. As an added layer of protection for your correspondence, consider mailing a Xerox copy of the letter. There will be enough distortion in the copy to make tracing you mighty difficult. Should you begin using a typewriter regularly, you might plan to trade it in every six months or so for another model, different typeface, etc. They are rather cheap to rent, so this is a good possibility, too. Keep ‘em guessing.

[read more]

Bush Denies Problems Cited by His Own Intelligence Reports on Iraq 

New York Times, Sept. 15:

A classified National Intelligence Estimate prepared for President Bush in late July spells out a dark assessment of prospects for Iraq, government officials said Wednesday.

The estimate outlines three possibilities for Iraq through the end of 2005, with the worst case being developments that could lead to civil war, the officials said. The most favorable outcome described is an Iraq whose stability would remain tenuous in political, economic and security terms.

"There's a significant amount of pessimism," said one government official who has read the document, which runs about 50 pages. The officials declined to discuss the key judgments - concise, carefully written statements of intelligence analysts' conclusions - included in the document.

The intelligence estimate, the first on Iraq since October 2002, was prepared by the National Intelligence Council and was approved by the National Foreign Intelligence Board under John E. McLaughlin, the acting director of central intelligence. Such estimates can be requested by the White House or Congress, but this one was initiated by the intelligence council under George J. Tenet, who stepped down as director of central intelligence on July 9, the government officials said.

As described by the officials, the pessimistic tone of the new estimate stands in contrast to recent statements by Bush administration officials, including comments on Wednesday by Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, who asserted that progress was being made.

"You know, every step of the way in Iraq there have been pessimists and hand-wringers who said it can't be done," Mr. McClellan said at a news briefing. "And every step of the way, the Iraqi leadership and the Iraqi people have proven them wrong because they are determined to have a free and peaceful future."

President Bush, who was briefed on the new intelligence estimate, has not significantly changed the tenor of his public remarks on the war's course over the summer, consistently emphasizing progress while acknowledging the difficulties.

Mr. Bush's opponent, Senator John Kerry, criticized the administration's optimistic public position on Iraq on Wednesday and questioned whether it would be possible to hold elections there in January. ...

[read more]

So What Else Is New? Bush Lies, Again 

San Diego Union-Tribune, Sept. 17:
Las Vegas -- Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry told a National Guard organization yesterday that President Bush "failed to tell you the truth" about how the war in Iraq is deteriorating when he addressed the group here two days earlier.

Citing a newly publicized National Intelligence Estimate, Kerry faulted Bush for failing to acknowledge "the mission in Iraq is in serious trouble."

"You deserve a president who will not play politics with national security, who will not ignore his own intelligence while living in a fantasy world of spin and who will give the American people the truth about the challenge our brave men and women face on the front lines," the Massachusetts senator told a largely unresponsive crowd of about 3,000 members of the National Guard Association of the United States. ...

[read more]

Kofi Annan Declares Iraq War Illegal 

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sept. 17:

During the past 18 months, Secretary-General Kofi Annan of the United Nations has expressed many reservations about the war in Iraq.

He has asserted that it was not in "conformity" with the U.N. Charter. He has "raised questions about the legitimacy" of the action by the United States and Britain to go to war without specific authority from the Security Council.

But Annan's radio interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. Wednesday, in which he said for the first time that he believed the war was "illegal," set off a tempest of reaction and raised questions in a number of capitals about why he had chosen that moment to adopt more muscular language about the war.

Iraqi officials are irritated by the timing of Annan's remarks, diplomats said, as Iraq's interim government struggles desperately to organize its first elections in the face of a tenacious insurgency. Annan's statements will be taken as a signal of wavering international support, the diplomats said.

Annan also made clear that he had pointed reservations about elections.

"You cannot have credible elections if the security conditions continue as they are now," he said in the interview. ...

[read more]

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Carolyn Tuft Files Sexual Harassment Charge Against Andrew Schneider 

With all the egos, and backstabbing and office politics that goes on inside any newsroom, it's amazing that newspaper publish on a daily basis. But just because they manage to get the paper out the door each day, doesn't mean they're doing a good job. When editors feel compelled to spend most of their time putting out brush fires and covering their asses, the end product suffers.

Buried inside this month's issue of the St. Louis Journalism Review is an interesting tidbit of newsroom turmoil at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The story by retired Postie Roy Malone is slugged "Weil's departure signals end of era," and chronicles the forced retirment of editor Dick Weil. The story uses Weil's leavetaking as a launch pad to examine the decline of the once-great newspaper.

Perhaps the most newsworthy nugget in Malone's backgrounder begins in the seventh graf:

St. Louis Journalism Review, September 2004:

by Roy Malone

"... Carolyn Tuft, the investigative reporter Weil supervised, complained to Weil of sexual harassment. She blamed investigative reporter Andrew Schneider, Weil's deputy. Schneider had been hired by (editor Ellen) Soeteber along with Schneider's wife, Kathy Best, who became metro editor. ...

An internal investigation was made of Tuft's complaint and Schneider was given a letter of reprimand. It was expected that Schneider would be named projects editor, but after Tuft's complaint, he wasn't. Tuft also filed a complaint of harassment against Schneider with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. That's pending.

When asked about this Schneider, said, "Really?" Then: "I've got nothing to say. I don't talk about personal issues."

Tuft declined to comment for this article, as did Weil. His downgrading and departure made many staffers take stock of their own careers, office morale, where the paper has been and where it is going. ..."

Now You See It, Now You Don't: Human Radiation Experiments Archives Disappears 

During the early days of the Clinton administration, then-Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary released previously classified documents pertaining to human radiation experiments conducted by the Department of Engergy's predecessor, the Atomic Energy Commission and other federal agencies. O'Leary's decision to make the documents public was spurred by a series of articles by reporter Eileen Welsome, which were published in the Albuquerque Tribune. Welsome won the Pulitzer Prize for her work.

As recently as Sept. 27, 2000, some of the documents were still publicly available through Argonne National Laboratories web site, according to a story published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. But government doucments libararians, who have attempted to access the information online, have now found that the they are denied access.

To see how the Bush administration is currently covering up the government's involvement in human radiation experiments, click here and then click on "Search HREX Archives."

[read more]

Cards Owners Throw Millions at Bush 

Bush contributors mentioned in this wire service story include Robert Castellini, Mercer Reynolds, William DeWitt Jr., and "Kimmy Brauer, wife of Stephen Brauer, all St. Louis Cardinal owners.

These same wealthy individuals have been given a $45-million "loan" from St. Louis County to help pay for a new baseball stadium in downtown St. Louis.

Associated Press, Sept. 13:

Team Owners Play Ball for Bush

Baseball owners once passed up a chance to hire former colleague George W. Bush as the sport's commissioner, but now they're working hard to keep Bush at bat in the White House.

More than a dozen current and former owners and family members are among the president's top re-election fundraisers, an Associated Press review found. Seven are Bush "Rangers," each raising at least $200,000, and six are "Pioneers" who have brought in $100,000 or more.

The Bush campaign has also received direct contributions from owners and executives of more than half of the sport's 30 teams, the AP analysis of Federal Election Commission reports found.

Those include $2,000 contributions from owners George Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees, Fred Wilpon of the New York Mets, Carl Pohlad of the Minnesota Twins, Peter Magowan of the San Francisco Giants and Michael Ilitch of the Detroit Tigers.

Democratic nominee John Kerry, by contrast, has taken in money from only a handful of baseball interests.

Bush also has picked up contributions from players and coaches — including a manager he once fired. Bobby Valentine, axed by Bush as manager of the Texas Rangers in 1992, gave the president the maximum $4,000 this year. Valentine said he's not surprised Bush has support from baseball owners.

"People got to work with him side by side and saw his passion for the game and passion for his work," Valentine said in an interview from Japan, where he is manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines. "They saw that he really cared about baseball when he was in it, and not just the Rangers as a business entity."

Baseball is part of the Bush legacy. His father, former President George H.W. Bush, played first base for the Yale baseball team, and the younger Bush took up the game as a Little Leaguer in Midland, Texas. He also organized a stickball league at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass.

With the benefit of family connections, Bush helped put together a group of investors to buy the Texas Rangers and then became its managing general partner from 1989 to 1994. There was talk back then that he might succeed Fay Vincent as commissioner, but the job went to Milwaukee Brewers owner Bud Selig. Bush was a baseball traditionalist, opposing interleague play and the addition of a wild card playoff team.

His investment of just $600,000 turned into $15 million when he sold his share of the team while preparing to run for governor of Texas.

"The baseball platform was for him to springboard into politics," said Bruce Buchanan, a longtime Bush watcher and University of Texas government professor. "He was the face of the Texas Rangers, as well as a substantial partner in the economic side for some years, and that enabled him to become acquainted with all of these figures."

Three of Bush's former fellow investors in the Texas Rangers — Bill DeWitt, Marshall Payne and Craig Stapleton — are campaign Rangers. Stapleton's wife, Debbie Stapleton, who is Bush's cousin, is a Pioneer.

"George Bush knows a lot of people in baseball," said Craig Stapleton, a co-chairman of Bush's re-election campaign in Connecticut. "So we've tried to talk to people that know George Bush well through baseball. He gets a lot of support from baseball people — not only executives and owners but baseball players."

For example, FEC reports show, Bush received $2,000 from Baltimore Orioles slugger Rafael Palmeiro, who played for the Rangers when Bush was an owner.

Bush turned to another former Texas Rangers investor, Mercer Reynolds III, to be his campaign finance chairman.

"Having experience in baseball, Mr. Reynolds was able to reach out to many people to encourage them to get involved with the campaign," said Bush campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel. Reynolds, who was a Pioneer for Bush in 2000, declined an interview request.

Former Texas partner DeWitt is now owner and chairman of the St. Louis Cardinals, whose owners and executives have been among the most generous to Bush's re-election campaign. The team's ownership group includes two Rangers (DeWitt and Kimmy Brauer, wife of owner Steve Brauer) and one Pioneer (Robert Castellini).

A rare Democratic Cardinal is co-owner Michael E. Pulitzer, who gave $2,000 to Kerry. The Democratic nominee has also received $2,000 contributions from Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner and San Diego Padres owner John Moores.

Several Cardinals owners have made individual contributions to the Bush campaign. DeWitt said he didn't try to line up support for Bush among the Cardinals ownership.

"It turns out that Cardinal partners have been supporters of the president independent of my support of the president," he said.

The team's contributions to Bush extended to the front office and even to the bullpen: General Manager Walt Jocketty and pitcher Cal Eldred each gave $2,000 to Bush, FEC reports show. Bush threw out the first ball at the Cardinals' home opener this year.

The Cardinals' previous owner, August Busch III, chairman of beer giant Anheuser-Busch, is also a Ranger fund-raiser. He declined to be interviewed for this story.

Drayton McLane, owner of the Houston Astros, is on board as a Bush Pioneer. McLane said he got to know Bush well through baseball.

"When I considered buying the Houston Astros, I talked to him on several occasions and he was very encouraging," recalled McLane, who bought the team in 1992. "He loves baseball. When I have the occasion to see him, boy, he's ready to talk baseball."

[read more]

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

What War? 

Talking Point Memo, Sept. 12:

by Josh Marshall

There are many reasons President Bush has taken a narrow but perceptible lead in the polls. Some are tied to tactical decisions on both sides; others are products of accidental developments; still others emerge from more deeply-rooted trends that won't be clear for months or years.

But all of them amount to the same thing: the president's campaign has managed to take Iraq out of the election debate.

Iraq remains ever-present, but as a rhetorical fixture, not a reality. Who's tougher; who's been consistent; who likes Saddam Hussein more, and so forth -- that's all there. The increasingly tenuous claim that Saddam Hussein had any relationship to Islamic terrorism -- that's there too.

But the actual Iraq war is nowhere to be found. Sunday was a disastrous day in Iraq, both for the Iraqis and for the American enterprise in Iraq. ...

[read more]

Iraq: Out of Control 

CNN, Sept. 14:

BAGHDAD -- Assailants Tuesday launched two deadly assaults at Iraqi police targets -- killing 47 people in a car bombing at a police recruit line in Baghdad and 12 police officers in a drive-by shooting in Baquba.

An Islamist Web site Tuesday posted claims of responsibility for both attacks by a group affiliated with Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Claims of responsibility by the group -- Unification and Jihad -- cannot be confirmed independently by CNN. The group has claimed responsibility for kidnappings and other terrorist attacks. ...

[read more]

Confronting the Unthinkable: What If Bush Wins? 

Washington Monthly, September 2004:

by Kevin Drum

What do we have to look forward to if George W. Bush is elected to a second term? One word: scandal.

Don't believe me? Consider the highlight reel of reelected presidents over the past 50 years. Ike won a second term and watched in dismay as his chief of staff was forced to resign over a vicuña coat. Richard Nixon buried George McGovern in 1972 and then resigned a year and a half later when Watergate finally caught up to him. Ronald Reagan sweated out his second term wondering if he'd be impeached over Iran-Contra. Bill Clinton didn't have to wonder: Two years after his reelection, he was defending himself in the first impeachment trial in over a century.

Coincidence? Don't believe it. There are three good reasons to think that second terms naturally lend themselves to scandal, and George Bush is almost preternaturally vulnerable to every one of them. Let's count them off. ...

[read more]

Gore Attacks Bush Bund's Digital Brownshirts 

Associated Press (Asia News), Sept. 13:

Al Gore's stiff jokes are gone now, replaced by recount jokes. The cautious campaigner of 2000 is gone, too, replaced by a fire-breathing Bush basher.

When Gore delivered his latest-in-a-series slam at the Republicans last week, faulting Vice President Dick Cheney for "sleazy and despicable" criticism of the Democrats, a White House spokesman dismissively responded: "Consider the source."

Well, Gore used to be the vice president. And, as he likes to say, he used to be the next president of the United States.

Now, he is Al Gore, private citizen _ unleashed.

Speaking with a freedom and passion less frequently seen in his own political campaigns, Gore is happily making speeches, raking in money and generally raising hell for John Kerry and the Democratic Party these days. In his spare time, he's also teaching at three universities and raising money for himself through various business ventures.

In recent weeks and months, as an uncensored voice for the Democratic cause, Gore has skewered President Bush's team for moral cowardice, the "lowest sort of politics imaginable," aligning itself with "digital brownshirts" who intimidate the press, and political tactics as craven as those of Richard Nixon. Just to cite a few examples.

Sept. 13:

It's red meat for loyal Democrats, to whom Gore is the embodiment of what is at stake on Nov. 2.

"There's a lot of emotion that's wrapped up in the outcome of 2000, which I think he can use constructively in 2004," says Democratic consultant Michael Feldman, a former Gore adviser.

Just ask 76-year-old Jim McNeil, a retired steelworker who turned out to hear Gore speak at the United Steelworkers of America headquarters in downtown Pittsburgh last week.

"There stands the real president," said McNeil, who then made just the sought-after segue into support for Kerry on Election Day. ...

[read more]

Paris Underground Film Scene Exposed 

Guardian, Sept. 11:

There are, at most, 15 of them. Their ages range from 19 to 42, their professions from nurse to window dresser, mason to film director. And in a cave beneath the streets of Paris, they built a subterranean cinema whose discovery this week sent the city's police into a frenzy.
"They freaked out completely," Lazar, their spokesman, said happily. "They called in the bomb squad, the sniffer dogs, army security, the anti-terrorist squad, the serious crimes unit. They said it was skinheads or subversives. They got it on to national TV news. They hadn't a clue."

To be fair, until recently very few people did have a clue about La Mexicaine de la Perforation, a clandestine cell of "urban explorers" which claims its mission is to "reclaim and transform disused city spaces for the creation of zones of expression for free and independent art".

Huddled round a table in an anonymous Latin Quarter bar, the group's members - of whom only Lazar wanted to be named - relate past exploits: rock concerts for up to 4,000 people in old underground quarries; 2am projections in a locked film theatre; art and photo exhibitions in supposedly sealed-off subterranean galleries. ...

It's Worse Than You Think 

Newsweek, Sept. 12:

... Sixteen months after the war's supposed end, Iraq's insurgency is spreading. Each successful demand by kidnappers has spawned more hostage-takings—to make Philippine troops go home, to stop Turkish truckers from hauling supplies into Iraq, to extort fat ransom payments from Kuwaitis. The few relief groups that remain in Iraq are talking seriously about leaving. U.S. forces have effectively ceded entire cities to the insurgents, and much of the country elsewhere is a battleground. Last week the total number of U.S. war dead in Iraq passed the 1,000 mark, reaching 1,007 by the end of Saturday. ...

[read more]

Marine General Blast Fullujah Strategy 

Washington Post, Sept. 13:

The outgoing U.S. Marine Corps general in charge of western Iraq said Sunday he opposed a Marine assault on militants in the volatile city of Fallujah in April and the subsequent decision to withdraw from the city and turn over control to a security force of former Iraqi soldiers.

That security force, known as the Fallujah Brigade, was formally disbanded last week. Not only did the brigade fail to combat militants, it actively aided them, surrendering weapons, vehicles and radios to the insurgents, according to senior Marine officers. Some brigade members even participated in attacks on Marines ringing the city, the officers said.

The comments by Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, made shortly after he relinquished command of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force on Sunday, amounted to a stinging broadside against top U.S. military and civilian leaders who ordered the Fallujah invasion and withdrawal. His statements also provided the most detailed explanation -- and justification -- of Marine actions in Fallujah this spring, which have been widely criticized for increasing insurgent activity in the city and turning it into a "no-go" zone for U.S. troops.

[read more]

Palast Uncovers Bush Pay-Off in Texas 

Greg Palast, Aug. 28:

In 1968, former Congressman George Herbert Walker Bush of Texas, fresh from voting to send other men’s sons to Vietnam, enlisted his own son in a very special affirmative action program, the ‘champagne’ unit of the Texas Air National Guard. There, Top Gun fighter pilot George Dubya was assigned the dangerous job of protecting Houston from Vietcong air attack.

This week, former Lt. Governor Ben Barnes of Texas 'fessed up to pulling the strings to keep Little George out of the jungle. "I got a young man named George W. Bush into the Texas Air Guard - and I'm ashamed."


That’s far from the end of the story. In 1994, George W. Bush was elected governor of Texas by a whisker. By that time, Barnes had left office to become a big time corporate lobbyist. To an influence peddler like Barnes, having damning information on a sitting governor is worth its weight in gold – or, more precisely, there’s a value in keeping the info secret.

Barnes appears to have made lucrative use of his knowledge of our President’s slithering out of the draft as a lever to protect a multi-billion dollar contract for a client. That's the information in a confidential letter buried deep in the files of the US Justice Department that fell into my hands at BBC television.

Here's what happened. Just after Bush's election, Barnes' client GTech Corp., due to allegations of corruption, was about to lose its license to print money: its contract to run the Texas state lottery. Barnes, says the Justice Department document, made a call to the newly elected governor's office and saved GTech's state contract.

The letter said, "Governor Bush ... made a deal with Ben Barnes not to rebid [the GTech lottery contract] because Barnes could confirm that Bush had lied during the '94 campaign."

In that close race, Bush denied the fix was in to keep him out of 'Nam, and the US media stopped asking questions. What did the victorious Governor Bush's office do for Barnes? According to the tipster, "Barnes agreed never to confirm the story [of the draft dodging] and the governor talked to the chair of the lottery two days later and she then agreed to support letting GTech keep the contract without a bid."

And so it came to pass that the governor's commission reversed itself and gave GTech the billion dollar deal without a bid.

The happy client paid Barnes, the keeper of Governor Bush’s secret, a fee of over $23 million. Barnes, not surprisingly, denies that Bush took care of his client in return for Barnes’ silence. However, confronted with the evidence, the former Lt. Governor now admits to helping the young George stay out of Vietnam. ...

[read more]

Bush-Barnes Kickback/Blackmail Scheme Alleged 

Pandagon.com, Sept. 14:

Now, I don't know if Palast's reporting is true, but if it is, then that's it for George. Again, I can't confirm it so you should all go read it yourselves, but here's the outline:

• Barnes, as he now admits, pulled strings to get a young George W. Bush into the Guard.
• Barnes, a former Lt. Governor of Texas, was a corporate lobbyist when Bush ran for governor in 1994.
• Barnes' client, GTech, was accused of corruption (and were being investigated by the FBI for attempting to influence lawmakers) and about to lose its license to run the Texas state lottery.
• Barnes made a deal with Bush, under which he kept silent about Bush's Guard connections if Bush got Gtech the deal again.
• Bush spoke to the head of the lottery commission and the commission reversed itself, giving GTech a no-bid contract.
• Barnes got paid $23 million, Bush took the governor's mansion.

[read more]

Nader Allowed on Florida Ballot 

Reuters, Sept. 13:

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader's name can appear on Florida ballots for the election, despite a court order to the contrary, Florida's elections chief told officials on Monday in a move that could help President Bush in the key swing state.

The Florida Democratic Party reacted with outrage, calling the move "blatant partisan maneuvering" by Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's younger brother, and vowed to fight it.

In a memo to Florida's 67 county supervisors of elections, Division of Elections director Dawn Roberts said the uncertainty of Hurricane Ivan, which could hit parts of the state by week's end, forced her to act.

The action came in an ongoing legal battle over whether Nader should be allowed on the Florida ballot as the Reform Party candidate. ...

[read more]

Bush Agenda Would Cost $3 Trillion 

Washington Post, Sept. 14:

The expansive agenda President Bush laid out at the Republican National Convention was missing a price tag, but administration figures show the total is likely to be well in excess of $3 trillion over a decade.

A staple of Bush's stump speech is his claim that his Democratic challenger, John F. Kerry, has proposed $2 trillion in long-term spending, a figure the Massachusetts senator's campaign calls exaggerated. But the cost of the new tax breaks and spending outlined by Bush at the GOP convention far eclipses that of the Kerry plan. ...

[read more]

Lost A-Bomb Found 

CNN, Sept. 13:

Government experts are investigating a claim that an unarmed nuclear bomb, lost off the Georgia coast at the height of the Cold War, might have been found, an Air Force spokesman said Monday.

The hydrogen bomb was lost in the Atlantic Ocean in 1958 following a collision of a B-47 bomber and an F-86 fighter.

A group led by retired Air Force Lt. Col. Derek Duke of Statesboro, Georgia, said in July that it had found a large object underwater near Savannah that was emitting high levels of radioactivity, according to an Associated Press report.

The group said it used radiation and metal detection equipment to search an area in Wassaw Sound off Tybee Island where the bomb reportedly was dropped, the AP reported. ...

[read more]

Woman Fired Over Kerry Bumper Sticker 

Decatur (Ga.) Daily News,

Lynne Gobbell never imagined the cost of a John Kerry-John Edwards bumper sticker could run so high.

Lynne Gobbell said her boss fired her last week because of the Kerry-Edwards campaign sticker on the back of her car.
Gobbell of Moulton didn't pay a cent for the sticker that she proudly displays on the rear windshield of her Chevrolet Lumina, but said it cost her job at a local factory after it angered her boss, Phil Gaddis.

Gaddis, a Decatur bankruptcy attorney, owns Enviromate, a cellulose insulation company in Moulton.

Gaddis did not return phone calls from THE DAILY about the alleged Thursday firing.

Gobbell said she consulted a lawyer, but then changed her mind about going to see him. She said she has cried about the incident and must do without income for three weeks while the state unemployment commission decides if she is eligible for compensation.

Gobbell said she was averaging 50 to 60 hours a week on the plant's bagging machine.

"The lady there (at the unemployment commission) said that she has never heard of a firing like this before," Gobbell said.

Gobbell gave this account:

"We were going back to work from break, and my manager told me that Phil said to remove the sticker off my car or I was fired," she said. "I told him that Phil couldn't tell me who to vote for. He said, 'Go tell him.' "

She went to Gaddis' office, knocked on the door and entered on his orders.

"Phil and another man who works there were there," she said. "I asked him if he said to remove the sticker and he said, 'Yes, I did.' I told him he couldn't tell me who to vote for. When I told him that, he told me, 'I own this place.' I told him he still couldn't tell me who to vote for."

Gobbell said Gaddis told her to "get out of here."

"I asked him if I was fired and he told me he was thinking about it," she said. "I said, 'Well, am I fired?' He hollered and said, 'Get out of here and shut the door.' "

She said her manager was standing in another room and she asked him if that meant for her to go back to work or go home. The manager told her to go back to work, but he came back a few minutes later and said, " 'I reckon you're fired. You could either work for him or John Kerry,' " Gobbell said.

"I took off my gloves and threw them in the garbage and left," Gobbell said.

Though she is unemployed and uncertain if she will get her job back, Gobbell said, she doesn't regret her decision to keep the sticker on her windshield.

"I would like to find another job, but I would take that job back because I need to work," she said. "It upset me and made me mad that he could put a letter in my check expressing his (political) opinion, but I can't put something on my car expressing mine."

She was referring to a flier that she said Gaddis placed in employee envelopes to remind them of the positive impact that President Bush's policies have had on them. An employee at the plant who would not identify himself confirmed the contents of the letter. ...

[read more]

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Across the Pond: Rumors of War on the Far Left 

Bellaciao Collective (France), Sept. 6:

... Lost in the chatter about Larry Franklin is the fact the neocons and Sharon are itching to invade Iran, possibly before the election in November. “News of the investigation of Larry Franklin, a middle-level functionary working for the Wolfowitz-Feith-Luti-Shulsky clique in the Pentagon, indicates that we are now approaching a critical choice-point on the road to war with Iran, and towards a synthetic terrorism attack inside the US which would be used as an additional pretext to start such a war,” Webster Griffin Tarpley warns. “War with Iran means a military draft, just for starters. If Iran can close the Straits of Hormuz, it might mean rationing of food and fuel. ... [The] goal is now to establish a neocon fascist dictatorship in the United States, complete with martial law, special tribunals, press and media censorship, and the full pervasive apparatus of the modern police state.” For the Straussian neocons, it would be a dream come true.

[read more]

Gen. Tommy Franks Calls Douglas Feith "The Dumbest Fucking Guy on the Planet" 

Miami Herald, Sept. 12:

A particular target of his ire is Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, whom he denounces as the ''dumbest (expletive) guy on the planet'' and ''a theorist whose ideas were often impractical,'' without offering any examples. He adds, however, that ``Rumsfeld never allowed Feith to interfere in my business.'' ...

[read more]

Rumsfeld, Rice and Cheney Knew of Torture, Hersh Reports 

Seattle Times, Sept. 10:

Senior military and national security officials in the Bush administration were repeatedly warned by subordinates in 2002 and 2003 that prisoners in military custody were being abused, according to a new book by a prominent journalist.

Seymour Hersh, a writer for The New Yorker magazine who earlier this year was among the first to disclose details of the abuses of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, makes the charges in his book "Chain of Command: The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib" (HarperCollins), which is being released tomorrow.

Hersh asserts that a CIA analyst who visited the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in the late summer of 2002 filed a report of abuses there that drew the attention of Gen. John Gordon, the deputy to Condoleezza Rice, the White House national-security adviser. But when Gordon called the matter to her attention and she discussed it with other senior officials, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, no significant change resulted. ...

read the Pentagon's response

Powell Calls Bush Bund "Fucking Crazies" 

(London) Observer, Sept. 12:

A furious row has broken out over claims in a new book by BBC broadcaster James Naughtie that US Secretary of State Colin Powell described neo-conservatives in the Bush administration as 'fucking crazies' during the build-up to war in Iraq.
Powell's extraordinary outburst is alleged to have taken place during a telephone conversation with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. The two became close friends during the intense negotiations in the summer of 2002 to build an international coalition for intervention via the United Nations. The 'crazies' are said to be Vice-President Dick Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz.

Last week, the offices of Powell and Straw contacted Public Affairs, the US publishers of Naughtie's book, to say they would vigorously deny the claims if publication went ahead. But as no legal action was threatened, the US launch of the book, The Accidental American: Tony Blair and the Presidency, will proceed as planned this week. ...

[read more]

The Gospel According to W 

If Jesus Christ was running for president, how would the current president respond to his campaign platform? [Jesus Wept]

[read more]

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