981

quoting :

“Material which can be interpreted as expressing interest in, soliciting, or encouraging illegal activity places LiveJournal at considerable legal risk. When journals that contain such material are reported to us, we must suspend them. Because LiveJournal’s interests list serves as a search function, and because listing an interest enables other people also interested in a similar topic to gather and/or congregate, we have been advised that listing an interest in an illegal activity must be viewed as using LiveJournal to solicit that illegal activity.”

does that mean that listing anything having to do with marijuana puts your journal at risk, or am i just being paranoid?

WOD FAM CHOCK SOD!

The Political Economy of the War on Drugs

An early twentieth century writer by the name of Randolph Bourne remarked that “War is the health of the state”. The American founders recognized that government has a tendency to grow and expand over time. Nothing does as much to speed up the growth rate of as war. Throughout American history the greatest expansions of government have occurred during war times. The American Civil War of 1861-1865 consolidated the power of the federal regime over the previously sovereign states. The entry of the United States into the First World War took place at the same time as the enactment of the federal income tax, the implementation of alcohol prohibition, the creation of the FBI and other drastic expansions of federal power. The advent of the Second World War consolidated the welfare state of the New Deal, the cartelization of industry and labor under Roosevelt’s National Recovery Administration (modeled after Italian fascism), the subordination of the domestic economy under war production, the interment of Japanese-Americans in concentration camps and many other ills. The Cold War era brought about the permanent entrenchment of the military-industrial complex, the creation of the CIA in 1947, permanent peacetime conscription (not ended until 1971), the creation of the United Nations and a foreign policy of world wide military interventionism. The war in Vietnam took place along side the advent of the Great Society expansion of the welfare state, the elimination of the gold standard in monetary policy and the COINTELPRO program of repression against domestic dissidents. The acceleration of the arms race during the 1980s coincided with the quadrupling of the national debt. The evidence is overwhelming that war is indeed a great boon to the state. War provides the state with opportunities to raise taxes, eradicate civil liberties, consolidate central power, subsidize elite economic interests, acquire new territory, expand the power of officials, rally the public behind the state and many other benefits.

Historically, states seeking to increase their power have frequently looked for excuses to go to war or hold up the threat of war. The decaying Roman Empire sought the support of its citizens by proclaiming its desire to save them from an alleged threat of invasion by the Germanic tribes of the north. “The barbarians are at the gates” became their rallying cry. States can also claim to be saving society from some ominous threat by waging a war on an alleged “enemy within”, that is, some group within the society that is villified by officials and attacked as a grave danger to “ordinary” citizens. This is what the Nazis did with the Jews, of course. The Nazi German regime denounced Jews as carriers of disease, criminals, purveyors of perversions and decadence, unpatriotic, responsible for the spread of communism, engaging in unscrupulous and ruinous banking and business practices and many other things. The Nazi regime demanded and obtained extraordinary powers in order to combat the alleged Jewish menace. The American regime of today is pursuing an path identitical to that followed by Germany during the 1930s. However, the “enemy within” that is under attack is not the Jewish people but the users and sellers of those particular psychoactive substances commonly referred to as “drugs”.

What is a drug? What is a “drug user”? What is a “drug dealer”? How are these objects/persons portrayed in the rhetoric of government officials and in the media? How consistent is this portrayal with actual fact? A “drug” is simply a psychoactive substance legally prohibited by the state such as heroin, cocaine, marijuana, MDMA (“ecstasy”) or LSD. Using this terminological criteria, other psycho- active, addictive and potentially deadly substances such as alcohol, tobacco and valium are not considered “drugs”. However, medical research shows that tobacco (nicotine) is at least as addictive as heroin and cocaine. Four hundred thousand people die from tobacco use annually in the United States. The addictive intoxicant alcohol is the strongest of any psychoactive substance and indeed is the only one from which withdrawal is potentially fatal. On the other hand, there has never been a documented case of death from marijuana use alone. Also, numerous studies have shown that marijuana use does not severely impair driving while alcohol abuse is responsible for many, many traffic fatalities.

Drug users are typically depicted as thieves, criminals, negligent parents, derilects, degenerates, disruptive neighbors and chronically unemployed bums. Former “first lady” Nancy Reagan even claimed that drug users are accomplices to murder. Former Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates once remarked that casual marijuana smokers should be executed for treason and stated later on that he wasn’t being facetious. However, included in the ranks of drug users are many high school and college students, blue-collar workers, businesspeople, housewives, lawyers, physicians, athletes, entertainers, judges and, of course, politicians. Are all of these people predatory criminals, accomplices to murder and seditious traitors to their country? William F. Buckley has noted that reliable estimates indicate that as many as half of the soldiers fighting in Vietnam were using drugs such as heroin, opium, hashish or marijuana at the time. Were all these folks who were risking their lives in the name of their country criminals and subversives? What is a “drug dealer”? Simply put, a drug dealer is a person who sells a drug to another person who desires to purchase it just as a grocer is a “food dealer” or a bartender is a “liquor dealer” or a tobacco farmer is a “nicotine dealer”. “Drug dealers” are often portrayed as predators preying on the “misery” of their customers. But the vast array of breweries, distilleries, liquor stores, convenience stores, bars, nightclubs, dance halls, restaurants, fraternities and countless other enterprenuers and establishments are not denounced for preying upon the “misery” of alcoholics and problem drinkers. Grocers are not blamed for the woes of anorectics, bulimics and obese persons. Interestingly, when “drug dealers” are prosecuted they are attacked for preying upon and allegedly victimizing drug users. However, when drug users are prosecuted they are denounced for creating the market for drug dealers and perpetrating the illicit drug trade. Hence, the drug user becomes the victim and the criminal simultaneously.

Of course, most people who use drugs are not drug addicts in the clinical sense just as most people who drink are not alcoholics. Even most addicts are not derilects just as most alcoholics are not skid row bums. In fact, most people are drug users of some sort. Rare is the person who completely abstains from alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, valium, prozac, ritalin, marijuana, heroin, cocaine, hallucinogens and other psychoactives all at once. The differentiation between legal and illegal drugs is cultural and historical rather than medical, scientific or ethical. The same is true of the differentiation between illegal drug use and other potentially risky but legal activities such as skiing, skydiving, automobile racing, boxing, football, rockclimbing, bungee-jumping, overeating, motorcycling and cayaking.

Why are some drugs illegal while others are not? The earliest American drug laws begin with attempts to prohibit opium smoking in the nineteenth century. At the time, America was experiencing a wave of Chinese immigration. Opium was their drug of choice. Powerful labor unions such as the American Federation of Labor feared competition from Chinese laborers who were quite hardworking and generally willing to work for lower wages. Labor leaders villified the Chinese as opium-crazed fiends who preyed sexually upon young white girls. Similarly, blacks and Mexicans used marijuana because it could be grown locally and was cheaper than alcohol so marijuana became a target as well. The United States was really the first nation to enact modern drug prohibition and began to use its growing international power to pressure other nations in the same direction. The first federal drug laws began with the passage of the Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914. Not coincidentally, the federal income tax had begun the year before. Drug prohibition has continued in the United States since that time with varying degrees of intensity. Following the repeal of alcohol prohibition in 1933, the Bureau of Prohibition, set up to enforce alcohol prohibition, began to target marijuana instead. The Bureau of Prohibition is now called the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF). Drug enforcement also intensified in the early 1970s. President Nixon realized that substantial political mileage could be gained from the scapegoating of drug users even though his own commission on drug policy recommended the decriminalization of marijuana use. It was the era of the Vietnam-related culture wars and marijuana users were portrayed as dirty, anti-American hippies and communist sympathizers. However, the current version of the drug war, the most intense in American history, began in the 1980s. Like Nixon before them, officials in the Reagan administration understood that a lot of political mileage could be gained from whipping up hysteria against drug users among more “conservative” sectors of the population. As the Cold War began to wind down in the late 1980s, the American government needed a new enemy that it could claim to be protecting the people from and “drugs” provided an easy and obvious target. Public concern regarding drug abuse had been rising because of the advent of the new and highly addictive drug crack, violence related to the new and highly competitive inner-city crack trade and the death of prominent college basketball star Len Bias from an alleged cocaine overdose. The “War on Drugs” in its present form began. A new government agency, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, was created and originally headed up by the neo- fascist demagogue William J. Bennett. The ONDCP became an outlet for anti-drug propaganda generated by the government. Drastic increases in government spending in areas related to drug policy took place. Draconian penalties for the tiniest of drug infractions were implemented.

To fully understand what the drug war is about it is necessary to examine some important and relevant historical precendents. Traditionally, when governments have sought to increase their power by attacking an internal population group the usual targets have been religious and ethnic minorities. This was true of the Romans who attacked Christians, a predominately lower class religious movement at the time. This was true of medieval theocratic states which attacked, alternately, Catholics, Protestants, heretics, witches, Jews, pagans, Muslims, etc. Indeed, we might say that just as medieval states maintained and promoted an official state religion (usually Catholicism) and persecuted and prohibited others (Protestants, Jews, dissident Catholics) so does the current American government maintain official, socially approved and even government subsidized and sold drugs (alcohol, tobacco, ritalin) and prohibits others (marijuana, heroin and cocaine) and persecutes those who use and sell them. The Nazi regime targeted Jews, Gypsies, Communists, homosexuals and other groups and, historically, many American politicians have sought to advance themselves by attacking and scapegoating blacks, immigrants and other minorities.

In contemporary America, it is not socially acceptable to openly engage in the villification of racial and religious minorities as it was in past cultures. This would be in conflict with the prevailing ethos of religious toleration originating from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the minority civil rights revolution of the 1960s. Therefore, other cultural groups not considered to be a part of mainstream or “respectable” society, such as “drug users”, are targeted instead. The historian Richard Lawrence Miller has conducted an enlightening study of the parallels between the Nazi war on Jews and the American war on drug users. Miller is more than qualified to comment on these matters. He is the son of an investigator for the prosecution during the Nuremburg trials of Nazi leaders for war crimes. Miller is also the author of several books on both drug policy and Nazi law and jurisprudence. His evidence and conclusions are meticulously researched and documented. No doubt most Americans would find comparisons between the drug war and Nazi persecution to be the result of mere fanaticism. Americans ignore evidence legitimizing such a comparison at their peril. Americans do not want to believe that their country, supposedly the “land of free” who fought and defeated fascism, could have gotten so far off track as to be pursuing a path identical to that of the Nazis. However, the evidence is overwhelming that this is indeed the case. The Nazis blamed the Jews for crime, the spread of disease, urban blight, the terrible conditions in slums and many other ills. The current American regime blames drug users for all of these things. Even the language and terminology employed by leading drug war officials and Nazi leaders is identical. Hans Frank, the Nazi commissioner of occupied Poland, remarked that “Jews are the carriers of diseases and germs”. Likewise, the original American drug “czar”, William Bennett, proclaimed, “The casual adult drug user is in some ways the most dangerous person because that person is a carrier…a non-addict’s drug use, in other words, is highly contagious”. Miller notes that “a person having the status of Jew was forbidden to do things permitted to other persons…they were forbidden to engage in activities inherent to normal life, from driving a car to holding a job”. Similarly, William Bennett announced: “Drug users who maintain a job and a steady income should face stiff fines…These are the users who should have their names published in local papers. They should be subject to drivers’ license suspension, employer notification, overnight or weekend detention, eviction from public housing or forfeiture of the cars they drive while purchasing drugs”. In other words, drug users should be rendered uemployed, homeless and immobile even when it is clear that their drug use has harmed no one and that they are functional and self-sufficient. Nazi leaders even went so far as to claim that Jews represented a type of supernatural evil. The Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher, later hanged for war crimes, remarked, “The Jews are not human beings but children of the devil and the spawns of crime…This satanic race has no right to exist”. Interestingly, the drug war criminal William Bennett told a group of Baptists that “drug users are the product of the devil” and later remarked on television that no trial should be necessarily required before the summary execution of accused drug sellers because “they deserve to die”. Instructively, even the Nazi regime found it impossible to suppress the illegal trade in cocaine and opiates in Germany. Miller analyzes the five steps through which the Germans systematically accelerated their attacks upon the Jews and shows how an identical program has been implemented in the war on drugs. The five steps are identification, ostracism, confiscation, concentration and annihlation. The process is well under way. Consider:

  1. Identification- an undesired class of persons is held up to be different from and inferior to others. Nazis denounced Jews as criminals, social parasites, degenerates and other slurs. Drug users are treated in a similar manner. What is the truth here? Just as German Jews were ordinary German citizens in every important sense, the distinguished narcotics expert Jerome Jaffe remarks:

    “The addict who is able to obtain an adequate supply of drugs through legitimate channels and has adequate funds usually dresses properly, maintains his nutrition, and is able to discharge his social and occupational obligations with reasonable efficiency. He usually remains in good health, suffers little inconvenience, and is, in general, difficult to distinguish from other person.”

  2. Ostracism-the target group is subjected to institutionalized discrimination because of their social status. German Jews were forbidden to drive cars, hold certain jobs, serve in the military, intermarry with ethnic Germans and many other activities. Likewise, American drug users can have their drivers’ licenses revoked, their children taken away, their employment terminated and many other similar sanctions. Under American drug law, drug users may be denied student loans and welfare but no similar sanctions exist concerning convicted murderers and rapists.
  3. Confiscation-the property of the target group is systematically seized by the state. The businesses and homes of German Jews were often seized and forfeited to the Gestapo and other Nazi agents. The homes, businesses, automobiles, bank accounts and personal possessions of American drug users are being taken from them in a similar manner and frequently kept by the police. Even the property of persons never convicted of any drug “crime” is frequently seized.
  4. Concentration-the target group is restricted to certain geographical locations and barred from entering others. German Jews were initially confined to ghettos and then placed in concentration camps. American drug users are placed in jails and prisons, mental hospitals, pseudo-military “boot camps” (a practice also utilized by the Nazis) and forced to undergo experimental and unscientific “substance abuse treatment” programs in violation of standards of medical ethics.

    At this point some of the stereotypes hurled at drug users by drug warriors become self-fulfilling. A favorite tactic of the Nazis was to concentrate Jews into segregated ghettos and then remove sewage, electricity and other sanitation and utility services. The predictable result would be an increase in the spread of tuberculosis and dysentary, lice, rodents, squalor and decay. Jews forced to live in these conditions would then begin to resemble the stereotype of the depraved, derilect Jew depicted in Nazi propaganda. The Nazis would then use these conditions as a justification for their racial views and an increase in the persecution. Similar tactics are used against drug users. Prohibition forces addicts to buy their drugs on the black market. Heroin and cocaine are both worth about two dollars per gram at standard market value. But the black market price can often be fifty times greater. Consequently, many addicts, particularly from the poorer classes, have no options but theft or prostitution as a means of obtaining their drugs. When there was a serious shortage of tobacco in Europe following the Second World War, many tobacco addicts began to steal to finance their habits as prices soared and many tobacco-addicted women resorted to prostitution in order to obtain money for cigarettes. The situation that poor addicts face would be akin to one where food were declared illegal and a sandwhich or a hot dog suddenly cost $200 on the black market. What would most people do in such a situation? Drug policy is designed to all but guarantee that addicts become impoverished, homeless, unemployed, unable to care for children and other dependents and intertwined with the criminal underworld. Likewise, drug prohibition guarantees that a disproportionate number of sociopaths and routine criminals enter the drug business and susequently engage in violence as a means of market discipline and the elimination of competitors. This only serves to bolster the bigoted stereotypes purveyed by drug war propaganda. The fifth and final step in the crusade against German Jews and American drug users is the obvious one:

  5. Annihlation-the target group is systematically exterminated. German Jews were killed by means of poison gas, firing squads, deliberate starvation, incineration, intentional denial of medical care and prolonged exposure to harsh conditions. The mass extermination of American drug users has not, at the time this essay is being written (early 2001), became a full-scale endeavor. Rather, the killing of drug users is most often a side effect of the general persecution program. Cancer and AIDS patients who might benefit from the medicinal use of marijuana are denied treatment. This seems to have been the central factor in the death of the late author Peter McWilliams. Some people have suggested that overdose victims be denied medical care altogether (most overdoses are the result of adulterated black market drugs). Others, such as New York radio talk show host Bob Grant, have suggested that authorities deliberately place poisoned drug supplies on the street for the purpose of intentionally killing addicts. Officials ranging from former drug czar William Bennett to former Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrinch have called for the execution of drug “offenders”. Drug users, and even bystanders uninvolved with drugs, are sometimes killed as a result of terrorist activities by thuggish police SWAT teams and narcotics and vice agents. William Bennett has praised the murder of drug users and sellers by private vigilante groups.

The apparatus necessary for a full-scale genocide has already been constructed. A target group has been subjected to every form of threat, harassment, persecution, confiscation and incarceration. Those who view drug users as subhumans deserving mass incarceration are unlikely to be particularly troubled by mass extermination. A vast army of special interest groups has evolved that has a powerful incentive to keep the drug war rolling to its “final solution”. These include:

  • police for whom the drug war is a means of employment, career advancement, funding for law enforcement agencies, power, glory, adventure and prestige.
  • bureaucrats heading up and employed by a myriad of agencies involved in the drug war ranging from public housing authorities who evict drug using tenants to regulatory agencies who shut down the legal businesses of drug users or dealers to towing companies with contracts to impound the cars of suspected drug buyers.
  • lawyers, both defense attorneys and prosecutors, for whom drug cases are a major source of business, prestige and career advancement
  • the organized alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical lobby who regard illegal drugs as unwanted competition to their own products. Much of the funding for the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, a drug war propaganda group consisting mostly of a coalition of advertising agencies, comes from these elements.
  • politicians building their careers on drug war demagoguery and inflammatory rhetoric
  • journalists and media outlets for whom the drug war is a source of sensationalistic and therefore ratings-gathering and career-enhancing news.
  • construction companies and service industries with lucrative government contracts to build and supply more and more prisons
  • corrections officials and prison guards’ unions for whom mass imprisonment of drug users is a source of job security. The prison guards’ union is the second largest campaign donor in California state elections.
  • state-subsidized academics deriving prestige from developing drug war policy, gathering statistics and research, and creating an ideological smokescreen for the drug war
  • corrupt informants, often criminals themselves, paid to “snitch” on others
  • judges (no explanation needed)
  • “moral enteprenuers”, that is, persons deriving recognition from pushing the drug war as a righteous moral crusade ranging from Jesse Jackson to televangelists to radio talk-show hosts
  • owners and employees of “drug treatment” facilities whose clients are often persons coerced into such programs
  • corrupt public officials personally involved in the drug trade and deriving enormous profits from the black market pricing system
  • military officials who see the use of the military in both foreign and domestic drug war efforts as means of obtaining job security, power and prestige
  • organized physicians and pharmacists who see drug decriminalization as potential threat to the monopolistic prescription system of which they are the main beneficiaries
  • foreign policy elites who see the drug war as an excuse for military intervention in other countries (such as Columbia) for other political purposes
  • corrupt bankers who profit from drug money laundered by their banks
  • parents groups afraid that an end to the drug war will result in the increase in the number of youngsters who use drugs
  • neigborhood groups concerned about the effects of the war on drugs in their community who mistakenly blame drugs for the effects of drug prohibition
  • religious factions for whom drug use is a strong taboo

Of course, many more elements could be added to this list. At this point, it needs to be pointed out that the drug war is, in a broader sense, a war against traditional American democracy and civil and constitutional rights of every kind. How is this being done? The drug war is being used to attack the First Amendment provisions for freedom of religion, speech and the press. American Indians and Rastafarians for whom peyote and marijuana have sacramental meaning are not allowed to practice their religion. A case of this type went before the Supreme Court in 1989. The Court rejected the claim that Indian groups had any right to use peyote for religious purposes with Justice Antonin Scalia remarking that freedom of religion was “a luxury we can’t afford” if it got in the way of the drug war. This sets a precedent whereby religious liberty may be arbitrarily denied when it is in conflict with state policy of the moment. Similarly, when the late Peter McWilliams was working on a book arguing in favor of the medical use of marijuana the federal Drug Enforcement Administration got word of his project and went to his home and confiscated the computer containing the files for his manuscript. William F. Buckley remarked at the time that it was akin to the DEA going to the headquarters of the New York Times and confiscating their printing presses. The DEA has also pressured newspapers to refrain from carrying columns by Buckley criticizing the DEA.

The Second Amendment protection of the right to bear arms is also under attack because of the drug war. Violent turf wars conducted by drug dealing street gangs and the alleged threat to police by armed victims of drug war raids have led to a call for stricter guns laws, even outright gun confiscation in some quarters. All other constitutional rights-freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, due process, property rights, privacy rights, states’ rights, exemption from excessive punishment, the provision against double jeopardy-are being undermined and assaulted in the name of the drug war. The United States has five percent of the world’s population and twenty-five percent of the world’s prisoners. The drug war has contributed to a drastic deterioration in the realm of race relations. Even though most drug users are white, blacks and other minorities are arrested, prosecuted and incarcerated for drug “offenses” at a grossly disproportional rate. Forty percent of all black youth in their twenties are either in prison, on probation or on parole. One and a half million children now have one or both parents in prison. Large sections of cities have become virtually uninhabitable because of violence generated by the drug war.

One last thought needs to be considered. As mentioned, the apparatus necessary for a full-scale genocide has already been created. The Nazis managed to exterminate millions of Jews and other groups. The only active armed resistance occurred in the Warsaw ghetto. Originally containing three hundred thousand Jews, the gradual Nazi deportation program eventually reduced the population to forty thousand. It was at this point that an armed resistance movement, armed with homemade weapons and led by courageous youth in their twenties, began. They succeeded in warding off the Gestapo for a month before finally being crushed. So far the only public official courageous enough to advocate genuine resistance to what is being done to America today has been former New Hampshire state representative Tom Alciere. Let’s not make the same mistake as the Europeans of sixty years ago.


978

Cheney Attempting to Constrain Bush’s Choices on Iran Conflict: Staff Engaged in Insubordination Against President Bush
May 24, 2007
By Steve Clemons

There is a race currently underway between different flanks of the administration to determine the future course of US-Iran policy.

On one flank are the diplomats, and on the other is Vice President Cheney’s team and acolytes — who populate quite a wide swath throughout the American national security bureaucracy.

The Pentagon and the intelligence establishment are providing support to add muscle and nuance to the diplomatic effort led by Condi Rice, her deputy John Negroponte, Under Secretary of State R. Nicholas Burns, and Legal Adviser John Bellinger. The support that Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and CIA Director Michael Hayden are providing Rice’s efforts are a complete, 180 degree contrast to the dysfunction that characterized relations between these institutions before the recent reshuffle of top personnel.

However, the Department of Defense and national intelligence sector are also preparing for hot conflict. They believe that they need to in order to convince Iran’s various power centers that the military option does exist.

But this is worrisome. The person in the Bush administration who most wants a hot conflict with Iran is Vice President Cheney. The person in Iran who most wants a conflict is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Quds Force would be big winners in a conflict as well — as the political support that both have inside Iran has been flagging.

Multiple sources have reported that a senior aide on Vice President Cheney’s national security team has been meeting with policy hands of the American Enterprise Institute, one other think tank, and more than one national security consulting house and explicitly stating that Vice President Cheney does not support President Bush’s tack towards Condoleezza Rice’s diplomatic efforts and fears that the President is taking diplomacy with Iran too seriously.

This White House official has stated to several Washington insiders that Cheney is planning to deploy an “end run strategy” around the President if he and his team lose the policy argument.

The thinking on Cheney’s team is to collude with Israel, nudging Israel at some key moment in the ongoing standoff between Iran’s nuclear activities and international frustration over this to mount a small-scale conventional strike against Natanz using cruise missiles (i.e., not ballistic missiles).

This strategy would sidestep controversies over bomber aircraft and overflight rights over other Middle East nations and could be expected to trigger a sufficient Iranian counter-strike against US forces in the Gulf — which just became significantly larger — as to compel Bush to forgo the diplomatic track that the administration realists are advocating and engage in another war.

There are many other components of the complex game plan that this Cheney official has been kicking around Washington. The official has offered this commentary to senior staff at AEI and in lunch and dinner gatherings which were to be considered strictly off-the-record, but there can be little doubt that the official actually hopes that hawkish conservatives and neoconservatives share this information and then rally to this point of view. This official is beating the brush and doing what Joshua Muravchik has previously suggested — which is to help establish the policy and political pathway to bombing Iran.

The zinger of this information is the admission by this Cheney aide that Cheney himself is frustrated with President Bush and believes, much like Richard Perle, that Bush is making a disastrous mistake by aligning himself with the policy course that Condoleezza Rice, Bob Gates, Michael Hayden and McConnell have sculpted.

According to this official, Cheney believes that Bush can not be counted on to make the “right decision” when it comes to dealing with Iran and thus Cheney believes that he must tie the President’s hands.

On Tuesday evening, i spoke with a former top national intelligence official in this Bush administration who told me that what I was investigating and planned to report on regarding Cheney and the commentary of his aide was “potentially criminal insubordination” against the President. I don’t believe that the White House would take official action against Cheney for this agenda-mongering around Washington — but I do believe that the White House must either shut Cheney and his team down and give them all garden view offices so that they can spend their days staring out their windows with not much to do or expect some to begin to think that Bush has no control over his Vice President.

It is not that Cheney wants to bomb Iran and Bush doesn’t, it is that Cheney is saying that Bush is making a mistake and thus needs to have the choices before him narrowed.


US anti-war mother ends protest
Cindy Sheehan, the bereaved mother who became a figurehead for the US anti-war movement, is abandoning her fight after growing disenchanted with the campaign.
29 May 2007

She has camped outside President Bush’s ranch since 2005, demanding a meeting over the death of her son in Iraq.

But announcing the end of her campaign, she also hit out at Democrats and anti-war campaigners who put “personal egos above peace and human life”.

She said she had sacrificed her health, her marriage and her finances.

In a letter on the Daily Kos website titled Good Riddance Attention Whore – a reference to the abuse she says she has suffered, Ms Sheehan said: “I am going to take whatever I have left and go home.

“I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost.”

‘War machine’
Cindy Sheehan became a “postergirl” for the US anti-war movement after she set up her protest camp outside the president’s ranch in Crawford, Texas in August 2005.

She said she has spent all the money from the survivor’s benefits paid for her son’s death and everything she earned from speaking and book fees and that she owed large hospital bills.

“I have been called every despicable name that small minds can think of and have had my life threatened many times.”

She said her son Casey, who died in Baghdad in April 2004, was “killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think.

Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives.

“It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most.”

Ms Sheehan criticised the US anti-war movement for often putting “personal egos” first.

“It is hard to work for peace when the very movement that is named after it has so many divisions.”

She said that one-time allies among the Democratic Party had turned on her when she no longer limited her protests over the Iraq war to the Republican Party.

The US will rapidly descend into “a fascist corporate wasteland,” she said, if “alternatives to this corrupt ‘two’ party system” are not found.

Ms Sheehan said she was resigning as the “face” of the US anti-war movement.

She said she would “never give up trying to help people in the world who are harmed by the empire of the good old US of A, but I am finished working in, or outside of this system.”


A Call for Direct Action
If America’s true patriots aren’t willing to organize on a massive scale, then we had better get used to business as usual.
May 25, 2007
By Sean Gonsalves

Nonviolence is a universal principle and its operation is not limited by a hostile environment. Indeed, its efficacy can be tested only when it acts in the midst of and in spite of opposition. Our nonviolence would be a hollow thing and worth nothing, if it depended for its success on the goodwill of the authorities. — Gandhi

The GOP front runners gunning for the White House in ’08 were trying to one-up each other on torture at a “debate” two weeks ago.

Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said interrogators should use “any method they can think of,” while former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney not only supported “enhanced interrogation techniques” — the contemporary euphemism for torture — he proposed doubling the size of the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay.

McCain’s support for prolonging the illegitimate occupation of Iraq aside, he’s the one torture hold out.

“When I was in Vietnam, one of the things that sustained us as we … underwent torture ourselves, is the knowledge that if we had our positions reversed and we were the captors, we would not impose that kind of treatment on them. It’s not about the terrorists; it’s about us. It’s about what kind of country we are.”

I suppose we should give McCain a little credit for his anti-torture stance, but, given his support for the “surge,” which flies in the face of all the historical evidence that tells us there’s NO military solution to guerrilla insurgencies, short of genocide, he’s a far cry from USMC Maj. Smedley Butler who warned us in 1935 that “War Is a Racket.” Butler wrote about his 33 years of active military service, spending “most of (his) time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”

High class muscle is what made Mexico “safe” for American oil interests in 1914. It made Haiti and Cuba “a decent place” for National City Bank to do business. “I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street,” Butler continued.

“I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.” You won’t get that kind of candor in American politics today, including the Dems, save Kucinich.

A Democrat-controlled Congress “compromises” with no troop withdrawal and more money for an immoral and illegal occupation!

As I was saying last week, you can’t expect a chicken to produce a duck egg, which is why massive civil disobedience seems to be the only way to send the message the political ruling class should have got from the mid-term elections.

The nonviolent tactical question I raised was “fill the jails” — gum up the gears of the system to the point of gridlock.

I got tons of response from across the political spectrum and the responses affirmed two things:

1) Many, many people think our democratic system is broke and 2), we need an education curriculum that includes the long and successful history of nonviolent direct action because the ignorance of the basic philosophy, as preached and practiced by people most Americans either worship (Jesus) or say they admire (Thoreau, Tolstoy, Gandhi, and King), is astounding.

(Of course, I received a few unoriginal smart-ass responses suggesting I go to jail first, by myself. That would be cool and all except that it misses the point of massive direct action).

“Fill the jails” wouldn’t work, I’m told, because the government, in partnership with the private prison industry, would just build more jails and do horrible things to those arrested.

I raised the prospect of filling the jails, not the prisons. Two completely different things. That said, a crack down on nonviolent direct action is pretty much the point. Nonviolent direct action usually does provoke the powers-that-be to respond with repression. You think those on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement were having a tea party? “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win,” is how Gandhi put it.

While repression is the predictable response of authorities, that’s not an argument for why “fill the jails” would not be effective. It’s an argument for why more courage is needed and a call for more than mere letter-writing, vigils and symbolic protests. That’s what Gandhi was talking about when he said “nonviolence and cowardice go ill together. I can imagine a fully armed man to be at heart a coward. Possession of arms implies an element of fear, if not cowardice. But true nonviolence is an impossibility without the possession of unadulterated fearlessness.”

If America’s true patriots aren’t willing to organize on a massive scale, then we had better get used to business as usual.

Let’s suppose a million-plus people — including women, children and the elderly — show up in the nation’s capital or New York City and shut the entire place down with the stated intention of not leaving until the U.S. occupation of Iraq comes to an end. While those brave folks necks would be on the line, think about the network of relationships (friends, family and acquaintances) tied to those million-plus demonstrators who WILL NOT just let their loved ones slip into some “enemy combatant” black hole.

The powers-that-be are forced to make a decision: either we capitulate to the demands or we go Tiananmen Square on our own countrymen and women and completely destroy whatever remaining moral legitimacy this government may have.

“Fill the jails” may not be the right tactic but nothing short of that level of commitment will make a difference.

If America’s true patriots aren’t willing to organize on a massive scale, then we had better get used to business as usual.


Media Coverage of Muslims Bombs
A Pew poll on Muslims in America painted a positive picture. So why was the coverage so negative?
May 24, 2007
By Lorraine Ali

According to a Pew Research Center poll released earlier this week, Muslim-Americans are “largely assimilated, happy with their lives, and moderate with respect to many of the issues that have divided Muslims and Westerners around the world.” The poll showed the majority surveyed have close non-Muslim friends, believe in a strong American work ethic and feel there is little conflict between being a devout Muslim and living in a modern society. Overall, an encouraging picture, right?

Not according to a cavalcade of major media outlets. On Tuesday and Wednesday, coverage of the poll was downright foreboding. “Supporting Terror?” read the CNN crawl at the bottom of the screen as John Roberts interviewed a group of young moderate Muslims about the poll. On CBS News online, the headline incorrectly stated that 26% OF YOUNG U.S. MUSLIMS OK BOMBS. And in USA Today, more misinformation and scare tactics: POLL: 1 IN 4 YOUNGER U.S. MUSLIMS SUPPORT SUICIDE BOMBINGS.

The fear-inducing reports were based on the responses to a couple of questions in the Pew survey: is suicide bombing justified? The outcome: “Very few Muslim Americans—just 1%—say that suicide bombings against civilian targets are often justified to defend Islam; an additional 7% say suicide bombings are sometimes justified in these circumstances,” according to the Pew poll. As for U.S. Muslims under 30, Pew reported that 15 percent believe suicide bombings can be often or sometimes justified. The numbers were tucked inside a 108-page report that also found a large majority of U.S. Muslims rejected the idea of violence against civilians, had very unfavorable views of Al Qaeda and were concerned about the rise of Muslim extremism in the United States.

So why, amid all the other encouraging data, would such a large number of media outlets mine the poll for evidence that Muslims—even the ones next door—are dangerous? Hussein Ibish, executive director of the Foundation for Arab American Leadership, says the answer is as disturbing as it is predictable. “It suggests there is an appetite for negativity about U.S. Muslims in the American media,” he says. “There’s two templates post-9/11 for coverage about American Muslims. One is they are scary—be very afraid. The other template is the sorry, poor pathetic victims of hate crimes. It’s villain or victim—a ridiculous set of choices—and coverage of this poll has fallen into the villain category. It’s irrational, because if you read the poll, it is actually quite positive.”

Yasmin Hamidi, 26, was one of the three young Muslim-Americans interviewed on CNN last Tuesday. “I didn’t see the graphics on the screen until I watched it online,” she says. “I thought, ‘Are you kidding me?’ It was so irresponsible that they put “Supporting Terror?” on the bottom while we’re speaking. Two Columbia Ph.D. students and someone who works full time at an interreligious-understanding NGO—I mean, come on! It’s not surprising, but it’s still upsetting to see.”

Since the 9/11 attacks, U.S. Muslims like Hamidi have become accustomed to gritting their teeth while watching pundits on cable news or reading the paper. The 2001 attacks, the war in Iraq and the babblings of warped political figures like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have come to stand for Islam and its followers in the most negative terms. For many Americans, coverage of these issues is the only exposure to the Muslim world they get. Yet surely the media has a responsibility to present the whole picture—the good and the bad—rather than just the titillating, scary bits that help drive higher ratings.

Still, despite the fact that U.S. Muslims are far more assimilated than those in Europe, many large media outlets never let us forget that American Muslims are still a potentially dangerous group. The Pew poll is simply our latest reminder. “There’s absolutely no basis in the poll for concluding it’s a radicalized community,” says Ibish. “I can almost guarantee that the overwhelming majority who were asked the suicide-bombing question were thinking about Palestine—not Iraq or America. They’re not willing to say it’s never OK because they think Palestinians have no other options. They’re wrong, but that’s what they think. It’s exactly the same kind of statistic you’d get if you asked young Israelis about torture, demolition of villages, assassinations—they’d say yes because they know the Israelis have done it but loathe to say it’s wrong. I’m sure, knowing the Muslim community, that if you resolved the occupation in Palestine, that number would go very close to zero.”

Some media outlets also focused on the unusually high percentage of American Muslims (28 percent) who still don’t believe that the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks were Arabs—a result that I, too, find baffling. Still, the overall coverage of the Pew poll was way out of whack. It’s no wonder that when the pollsters asked U.S. Muslims how they felt about American news coverage of their faith and its followers, 57 percent said they felt is was unfair. It’s unlikely that number will make headlines anytime soon.


977

tired. folklife festival happened, mostly without difficulty. although i had to make two trips to load everything in, i didn’t have to make two trips to load everything out because i gave eddie a ride home, and he helped me carry stuff. also, i was able to find a free parking place between the opera house and the KCTS building. it was still on the opposite side of the fairgrounds from where i was performing, but i didn’t have to pay for it. sez she saw me, but i didn’t see her… which isn’t surprising, since i don’t know her and i saw literally thousands of people yesterday… although i did see a guy named jas linford, who went to RVTI in 2000, and is now a dealer for kelly mouthpieces, which are really cool, and because of the fact that i do musical instrument repair, i can also become a dealer and get them for half price…

976

folklife. i perform twice tomorrow, from 12:00 noon until 4:00 pm with la banda gozona and from 4:00 until 5:00 with the ballard sedentary sousa band. fortunately, both performances are at the mural amphitheater, so i don’t have a lot of moving around to do, but i’ve got a lot of loading in to do. i will leave around 8:00 am so that i can get there, find a relatively close place to park, which is probably going to be on the other side of the center grounds from where we will be performing, get my artist button, and make two runs to and from the car in order to get everything more or less in one place (hopefully) before i have to start performing.

we’ve got 4 hours scheduled with la banda gozona, but we’re not going to be playing for all that time. we’re sharing the stage with los flacos and about 60 dancers who will be taking up most of the stage. we’re only playing 16 tunes, but, being oaxacan, they’re all tunes that take around 10 to 20 minutes to perform in their entirety. then i get to finish the afternoon off with an hour or so of sousa marches. i’ve been playing a lot recently, so i’ll probably be okay, and there’s quite a bit of difference between the sousaphone embrochure and the trombone embrochure, but it’s still gonna be a lot of playing. it’ll all be over by 5:00, though, so even with the prospect of making 2 runs to the car and driving home, i should be able to relax by 7:00 or so.

also, i did some rearranging on a new piece, Troll March, for the fremont philharmonic, and started copying out parts. i got completely through the trumpet part and about halfway through the clarinet part, but it’s probably going to be at least monday or tuesday before i get the whole thing finished.

975

blurdge

Cat grows wings

A Chinese woman claims her cat has grown wings.

Granny Feng’s tom cat has sprouted two hairy 4ins long wings, reports the Huashang News.

“At first, they were just two bumps, but they started to grow quickly, and after a month there were two wings,” she said.

Feng, of Xianyang city, Shaanxi province, says the wings, which contain bones, make her pet look like a ‘cat angel’.

Her explanation is that the cat sprouted the wings after being sexually harassed.

“A month ago, many female cats in heat came to harass him, and then the wings started to grow,” she said.

However, experts say the phenomenon is more likely down to a gene mutation, and say it shouldn’t prevent the cat living a normal life.


The Magnetic Brain Stimulator Will See You Now
22 May, 2007
By Marty Graham

SAN DIEGO — The next time you visit a psychiatrist, don’t be put off by the helmet-shaped device crawling with electrodes in the corner of the office. It’s there to help.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, a technique for treating clinical depression, uses a device placed on a patient’s head that delivers a pulse to the gray matter. Psychiatrists at the American Psychiatric Association meeting here are unabashedly optimistic about its potential for treating tough cases. It’s in the final stages of FDA review, and could come to market as soon as the end of the year.

“It’s much less invasive — patients can go home or go back to work afterwards,” says Shirlene Sampson, an assistant professor at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. “And patients aren’t exposed to social risk with their insurance companies and employers.”

TMS works by creating an electromagnetic pulse that doesn’t disturb the skull or scalp, but can reach two to three centimeters into the brain to stimulate the prefrontal cortex and paralimbic blood flow, increasing the serotonin output and the dopamine and norepinephrine functions.

“We have to be sure to get really good contact with the scalp so we reach the most effective areas of the brain,” says Sampson. “In older patients where the brain has shrunk, we have to be very careful to get any results.”

TMS can be done in an office setting and doesn’t require anesthesia, which is needed for traditional ECT (“Electro-Convulsive Therapy” popularly known as “Shock Treatments”). Side effects include post-application headaches, muscle twitches and pain at the application site. The risk of seizure remains, but researchers worked very hard to avoid them, and they occurred very rarely.

Ten companies — including five based in Europe, two American companies and two in Korea — are now lined up to produce TMS headgear, which ranges in appearance from something like an ultrasound sensor mounted on a dental-drill arm to a cap resembling a beauty-parlor hair dryer.

Depression is increasingly recognized as a destructive, disabling, chronic illness with treatments that often fail patients. Studies yield conflicting results — patients can respond well to placebos and exercise, while drugs can fail some and succeed for others. And short-term results often don’t translate into long-term results as patients bolt from treatment because of side effects or lack of effect.

One of big problems in treating depression, where a bout is likely to lead to other bouts, is getting patients to stay on their therapy, studies show. And, while combinations of therapies initially seem to help the 30 percent and 40 percent of patients whose depression resists drug treatment, remission rates remain low and cures are elusive.

The downside is that it takes 20 to 30 sessions of 40 minutes each for at least six weeks to get a good result. But patients stick with TMS treatment better than with medication or electroshock, researchers say. It’s also being tested for treating migraines.


974

i just got done meeting with a woman named asma (ozma) who wants me to design and maintain a web site for her, which will mean a bit more money than has been happening in the past, but at this point i’m not sure how much. i’m supposed to call her on 4th june to make an appointment to take pictures of all the stuff in her shop, and then put together a web site where she can sell her stuff… except that she doesn’t currently have a computer at all, so i would be doing it all locally and then uploading it to whatever host service she decides to go with. r4l is the place where i intend to register her domain, and they’ve got a “5mb for free” hosting solution that will probably be the one i go with, unless she’s got a ton of pictures, which i don’t think she has. also she wants paypal on her web site, but since she doesn’t have a computer, that may be somewhat difficult. i suppose, as the web designer, i’ve got to come up with a solution for her, but all the solutions i can think of start with her buying a computer and getting email so that she can open a paypal account. i’m perfectly willing to be her web designer and web master, but i’m drawing the line at being the person responsible for printing out the orders she gets and giving them to her because she doesn’t have a computer, or being the person to relay all of the flack that’s stirred up when she doesn’t get around to filling somebody’s order as fast as they want her to… 8/

973

73 Percent Of Americans Unable To Believe This Shit
October 7, 1998

PRINCETON, NJ–According to the latest Gallup Poll, conducted Monday and Tuesday of this week, nearly three out of four Americans can no longer believe this shit.

In addition to the 73 percent of poll respondents who described this shit as “beyond belief,” 9 percent said they could “hardly” believe this shit, with another 5 percent “just barely” believing it. An additional 13 percent said they “couldn’t give a flying fuck about the whole goddamn thing.”

The poll also found that the National Shit-Credulity Index (NSCI) has hit an all-time low, with only 2 percent of Americans describing themselves as “fully confident of [their] capacity to believe this shit.”

“The American people have had to deal with this kind of shit for years,” Gallup Organization president Lee Sanderson said, “but now, for the first time, it appears that the vast majority of them just can’t fucking believe it anymore.”

“In all honesty, who can blame them?” Sanderson added. “Regardless of one’s political affiliation, socioeconomic status, religion or just about any other viewpoint, you’ve got to admit, the shit that’s been going on lately is way out of hand.”

In the wake of the poll, many activists are calling upon America’s leaders to get their shit in gear.

“The American people have had it up to here with this shitheap,” said James Schuerholz, president of the D.C.-based Heritage Foundation. “There is a public mandate for our leaders to cut this shit out, and it’s high time they finally did.”

Despite Americans’ incredulity over this shit, historians note that this sort of shit has been going on for years and is unlikely to end anytime soon.

“Contrary to popular belief, this type of shit is hardly anything new,” Harvard University American history professor Lawrence Coombs said. “The same shit was going down 50, 100 and 150 years ago. The only difference was, back then, you never read about that shit in the newspapers.”

Calling the American people’s enormous shit-belief capacity “one of the cornerstones of our democracy,” U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) stressed that it is the patriotic duty of all citizens to grant our leaders the benefit of the doubt with regard to their shit.

“If the American people are no longer willing to believe this shit, who will?” Kerry said. “Somebody’s got to take this shit at face value. Otherwise, why are we even doing all this shit in the first place? I am truly saddened by the lack of faith that the citizens of this country are willing to put in my shit, as well as that of my esteemed colleagues. We must repair our society’s fraying trust in the shit of our elected officials, or you would not believe the kind of hardcore, heavy-duty shit that will come down.”

“America,” conservative author and social critic Patricia Stouffer said, “is seriously losing its shit. But we’ve got to somehow hold our shit in place until all this passes. We’ve got to learn to believe in shit again. After this latest shitstorm, it may take years to accomplish, but we must somehow find the strength to put our trust back into the nation’s shit.”

Despite such impassioned calls for faith in the U.S. political system and all the shit that comes with it, if the Gallup Poll is any indication, the majority of Americans are no longer willing to put up with the shit.

“Fuck that shit,” said Evansville, IN, day-care provider Helen Reiderer. “I’m tired of hearing about it. Do they actually expect us to still believe that load of shit?”

“If you ask me, the shit is about to hit the fan,” said Reiderer’s husband Frank. “As far as I’m concerned, all that shit is just too much to be believed.”

Another disgruntled citizen, Wenatchee, WA, tractor salesman Tom Huard, summed up the sentiments of most Americans when, holding up the front page of the local newspaper to friend Benjamin Pritchard, he said, “Jesus, Ben, can you believe this?”

“Shit, no,” Pritchard replied.


The entire government has failed us on Iraq
For the president, and the majority leaders and candidates and rank-and-file Congressmen and Senators of either party—there is only blame for this shameful, and bi-partisan, betrayal
May 24, 2007
By Keith Olbermann

This is, in fact, a comment about… betrayal.

Few men or women elected in our history—whether executive or legislative, state or national—have been sent into office with a mandate more obvious, nor instructions more clear:

Get us out of Iraq.

Yet after six months of preparation and execution—half a year gathering the strands of public support; translating into action, the collective will of the nearly 70 percent of Americans who reject this War of Lies, the Democrats have managed only this:

  • The Democratic leadership has surrendered to a president—if not the worst president, then easily the most selfish, in our history—who happily blackmails his own people, and uses his own military personnel as hostages to his asinine demand, that the Democrats “give the troops their money”;
  • The Democratic leadership has agreed to finance the deaths of Americans in a war that has only reduced the security of Americans;
  • The Democratic leadership has given Mr. Bush all that he wanted, with the only caveat being, not merely meaningless symbolism about benchmarks for the Iraqi government, but optional meaningless symbolism about benchmarks for the Iraqi government.
  • The Democratic leadership has, in sum, claimed a compromise with the Administration, in which the only things truly compromised, are the trust of the voters, the ethics of the Democrats, and the lives of our brave, and doomed, friends, and family, in Iraq.

You, the men and women elected with the simplest of directions—Stop The War—have traded your strength, your bargaining position, and the uniform support of those who elected you… for a handful of magic beans.

You may trot out every political cliché from the soft-soap, inside-the-beltway dictionary of boilerplate sound bites, about how this is the “beginning of the end” of Mr. Bush’s “carte blanche” in Iraq, about how this is a “first step.”

Well, Senator Reid, the only end at its beginning… is our collective hope that you and your colleagues would do what is right, what is essential, what you were each elected and re-elected to do.

Because this “first step”… is a step right off a cliff.

And this President!

How shameful it would be to watch an adult… hold his breath, and threaten to continue to do so, until he turned blue.

But how horrifying it is… to watch a President hold his breath and threaten to continue to do so, until innocent and patriotic Americans in harm’s way, are bled white.

You lead this country, sir?

You claim to defend it?

And yet when faced with the prospect of someone calling you on your stubbornness—your stubbornness which has cost 3,431 Americans their lives and thousands more their limbs—you, Mr. Bush, imply that if the Democrats don’t give you the money and give it to you entirely on your terms, the troops in Iraq will be stranded, or forced to serve longer, or have to throw bullets at the enemy with their bare hands.

How transcendentally, how historically, pathetic.

Any other president from any other moment in the panorama of our history would have, at the outset of this tawdry game of political chicken, declared that no matter what the other political side did, he would insure personally—first, last and always—that the troops would not suffer.

A President, Mr. Bush, uses the carte blanche he has already, not to manipulate an overlap of arriving and departing Brigades into a ‘second surge,’ but to say in unequivocal terms that if it takes every last dime of the monies already allocated, if it takes reneging on government contracts with Halliburton, he will make sure the troops are safe—even if the only safety to be found, is in getting them the hell out of there.

Well, any true President would have done that, Sir.

You instead, used our troops as political pawns, then blamed the Democrats when you did so.

Not that these Democrats, who had this country’s support and sympathy up until 48 hours ago, have not since earned all the blame they can carry home.

“We seem to be very near the bleak choice between war and shame,” Winston Churchill wrote to Lord Moyne in the days after the British signed the Munich accords with Germany in 1938. “My feeling is that we shall choose shame, and then have war thrown in, a little later…”

That’s what this is for the Democrats, isn’t it?

Their “Neville Chamberlain moment” before the Second World War.

All that’s missing is the landing at the airport, with the blinkered leader waving a piece of paper which he naively thought would guarantee “peace in our time,” but which his opponent would ignore with deceit.

The Democrats have merely streamlined the process. Their piece of paper already says Mr. Bush can ignore it, with impugnity.

And where are the Democratic presidential hopefuls this evening? See they not, that to which the Senate and House leadership has blinded itself?

Judging these candidates based on how they voted on the original Iraq authorization, or waiting for apologies for those votes, is ancient history now.

The Democratic nomination is likely to be decided… tomorrow.

The talk of practical politics, the buying into of the President’s dishonest construction “fund-the-troops-or-they-will-be-in-jeopardy,” the promise of tougher action in September, is falling not on deaf ears, but rather falling on Americans who already told you what to do, and now perceive your ears as closed to practical politics.

Those who seek the Democratic nomination need to—for their own political futures and, with a thousand times more solemnity and importance, for the individual futures of our troops—denounce this betrayal, vote against it, and, if need be, unseat Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi if they continue down this path of guilty, fatal acquiescence to the tragically misguided will of a monomaniacal president.

For, ultimately, at this hour, the entire government has failed us.

  • Mr. Reid, Mr. Hoyer, and the other Democrats… have failed us. They negotiated away that which they did not own, but had only been entrusted by us to protect: our collective will as the citizens of this country, that this brazen War of Lies be ended as rapidly and safely as possible.
  • Mr. Bush and his government… have failed us. They have behaved venomously and without dignity—of course. That is all at which Mr. Bush is gifted. We are the ones providing any element of surprise or shock here.

With the exception of Senator Dodd and Senator Edwards, the Democratic presidential candidates have (so far at least) failed us.

They must now speak, and make plain how they view what has been given away to Mr. Bush, and what is yet to be given away tomorrow, and in the thousand tomorrows to come.

Because for the next fourteen months, the Democratic nominating process—indeed the whole of our political discourse until further notice—has, with the stroke of a cursed pen, become about one thing, and one thing alone.

The electorate figured this out, six months ago.
The President and the Republicans have not—doubtless will not.

The Democrats will figure it out, during the Memorial Day recess, when they go home and many of those who elected them will politely suggest they stay there—and permanently.

Because, on the subject of Iraq…

The people have been ahead of the media….

Ahead of the government…

Ahead of the politicians…

For the last year, or two years, or maybe three.

Our politics… is now about the answer to one briefly-worded question.

Mr. Bush has failed.

Mr. Warner has failed.

Mr. Reid has failed.

So.

Who among us will stop this war—this War of Lies? To he or she, fall the figurative keys to the nation.

To all the others—presidents and majority leaders and candidates and rank-and-file Congressmen and Senators of either party—there is only blame… for this shameful, and bi-partisan, betrayal.


The Visible Man: An FBI Target Puts His Whole Life Online
May 22, 2007
By Clive Thompson

Hasan Elahi whips out his Samsung Pocket PC phone and shows me how he’s keeping himself out of Guantanamo. He swivels the camera lens around and snaps a picture of the Manhattan Starbucks where we’re drinking coffee. Then he squints and pecks at the phone’s touchscreen. “OK! It’s uploading now,” says the cheery, 35-year-old artist and Rutgers professor, whose bleached-blond hair complements his fluorescent-green pants. “It’ll go public in a few seconds.” Sure enough, a moment later the shot appears on the front page of his Web site, TrackingTransience.net.

There are already tons of pictures there. Elahi will post about a hundred today — the rooms he sat in, the food he ate, the coffees he ordered. Poke around his site and you’ll find more than 20,000 images stretching back three years. Elahi has documented nearly every waking hour of his life during that time. He posts copies of every debit card transaction, so you can see what he bought, where, and when. A GPS device in his pocket reports his real-time physical location on a map.

Elahi’s site is the perfect alibi. Or an audacious art project. Or both. The Bangladeshi-born American says the US government mistakenly listed him on its terrorist watch list — and once you’re on, it’s hard to get off. To convince the Feds of his innocence, Elahi has made his life an open book. Whenever they want, officials can go to his site and see where he is and what he’s doing. Indeed, his server logs show hits from the Pentagon, the Secretary of Defense, and the Executive Office of the President, among others.

The globe-hopping prof says his overexposed life began in 2002, when he stepped off a flight from the Netherlands and was detained at the Detroit airport. He says FBI agents later told him they’d been tipped off that he was hoarding explosives in a Florida storage unit; subsequent lie detector tests convinced them he wasn’t their man. But with his frequent travel — Elahi logs more than 70,000 air miles a year exhibiting his art work and attending conferences — he figured it was only a matter of time before he got hauled in again. He might even be shipped off to Gitmo before anyone realized their mistake. The FBI agents had given him their phone number, so he decided to call before each trip; that way, they could alert the field offices. He hasn’t been detained since.

So it dawned on him: If being candid about his flights could clear his name, why not be open about everything? “I’ve discovered that the best way to protect your privacy is to give it away,” he says, grinning as he sips his venti Black Eye. Elahi relishes upending the received wisdom about surveillance. The government monitors your movements, but it gets things wrong. You can monitor yourself much more accurately. Plus, no ambitious agent is going to score a big intelligence triumph by snooping into your movements when there’s a Web page broadcasting the Big Mac you ate four minutes ago in Boise, Idaho. “It’s economics,” he says. “I flood the market.”

Elahi says his students get it immediately. They’ve grown up spilling their guts online — posting Flickr photo sets and confessing secrets on MySpace. He figures the day is coming when so many people shove so much personal data online that it will put Big Brother out of business.

For now, though, Big Brother is still on the case. At least according to Elahi’s server logs. “It’s really weird watching the government watch me,” he says. But it sure beats Guantanamo.


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Aussies go crazy for cat poo coffee
May 16, 2007

CANBERRA – Cafe-crazy Australians in the last decade have embraced coffee in all its forms, but they’ve saved the most expensive — and excremental — for last.

Kopi Luwak, made in neighboring Indonesia from coffee beans excreted by native civet cats, is reputedly the world’s rarest and most expensive coffee, painstakingly extracted by hand from the animals’ forest droppings.

When roasted, the resulting beans sell for around $1,000 a kilogram ($450 a pound) and brew into a earthy, syrupy, coffee acknowledged by connoisseurs as one of the world’s finest.

Despite the closeness of the coffee’s home on the islands of Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi, Australia’s first civet cat brew has only just gone on sale in Queensland state, selling for A$50 a cup at the Heritage Tea Rooms, west of Townsville.

“Everyone calls it cat poo coffee,” cafe owner Michelle Sharpe told the Australian Associated Press.

“People who willingly pay the $50 are uplifted by the thrill of the experience,” her husband Allan Sharpe said.

Civet cats, considered a delicacy in China, are linked to the SARS respiratory virus that emerged in the south of that country in 2002 and spread globally.

Kopi Luwak joins a booming coffee scene in Australia, which has seen consumption grow from 300 grams per person in 1939, to 2.4 kilograms a head, or 1.26 billion cups a year worth A$3 billion ($2.5 billion) in sales.

Around a dozen people a month try out the exotic brew, with reactions so far 99 per cent favorable.

“It’s as good as my private life is bad. This is the kind of coffee you renounce your religion and sell your child for,” one taster quoted by AAP said.


i have to ask, is it possible that this is just further evidence of a plot to take over the world by toxoplasma gondii?

JEEZIS?!?!

Mom blames Satan for burning baby in microwave
May 20, 2007

GALVESTON — A woman blames the devil and not her husband for severely burning their infant daughter after the 2-month-old was put in a microwave, a Houston television station reported.

Eva Marie Mauldin said Satan compelled her 19-year-old husband, Joshua Royce Mauldin, to microwave their daughter May 10 because the devil disapproved of Joshua’s efforts to become a preacher.

“Satan saw my husband as a threat. Satan attacked him because he saw (Joshua) as a threat,” Eva Mauldin told Houston television station KHOU-TV.

A Galveston County grand jury indicted Joshua Mauldin last week on child injury charges after hearing evidence that he placed his daughter in a motel microwave for 10 to 20 seconds.

The infant, Ana Marie, remains hospitalized. She suffered burns on the left side of her face and to her left hand, police said.

Eva Marie Mauldin, the girl’s 20-year-old mother, told the television station that her husband is “not the monster people are making him out to be.”

“That was not my husband; my husband is a wonderful father,” she said. “Satan was working through his weaknesses.”

Eva Maudlin described those weaknesses as an undisclosed mental disability, and that her efforts to get help for him have failed.

Police said Joshua Mauldin told them he put Ana Marie in the microwave because he was under stress. The family had arrived in Galveston the day before.

Eva Maudlin, who met her husband in an Arkansas church, denied those claims by police.

“He would never do anything to hurt her. He loves her,” she said. “When she cries he is the one who comforts her. When she is sick, he is the one that takes her to the doctor.”

Joshua Mauldin, of Warren, Ark., came to Galveston with his wife and mother because he was called to be a preacher, his wife said. While Joshua Mauldin’s mother has returned to Arkansas, Eva Mauldin remains in Galveston.

She is hoping to be reunited with her daughter, but Child Protective Services is working to have her and Joshua Mauldin’s parental rights severed. A custody hearing for the infant is scheduled for later this week in a Galveston district court.

Joshua Mauldin faces a charge of injury to a child causing serious bodily harm, which carries a possible prison term of five to 99 years, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.

Eva Mauldin has set up a MySpace page, “Joshua Mauldin is not a Monster,” in hopes of defending her husband and making pleas for people to help her.


Heliocentrism is an Atheist Doctrine
May 18, 2007

What’s even worse than the debate raging in American schools about the teaching of the soulless doctrine of evolution, is the non-debate over an issue that rational Americans have foolishly conceded to the secular among us: the issue of Heliocentrism, or the idea that the Earth revolves around the Sun.

Now, it has to be granted that there may be some mathematical evidence going either way; mathematically speaking, Copernicus may be on ground nearly as firm as that of Tycho Brahe. Right-thinking people know the correct doctrine, however:

Heliocentrism is the view that the sun is at the center of the universe. It was proposed by some ancient Greeks,[1] and became the dominant view in the 1700s and 1800s. It was abandoned in the 20th century.

Since the advent of relativity theory in the early 1900s, the laws of physics have been written in covariant equations, meaning that they are equally valid in any frame. Heliocentric and geocentric theories are both used today, depending on which allows more convenient calculations

It seems clear that it may occasionally be convenient to assume that the calculations of Copernicus and Kepler were mathematically sound. However, for both moral and theological reasons, we should always bear in mind that the Earth does not move. If it moved, we would feel it moving. That’s called empiricism, the experience of the senses. Don’t take my word for it, or the evidence of your own senses, Copernicans. There’s also the Word of the Lord:

“He has fixed the earth firm, immovable.” (1 Chronicles 16:30)

“Thou hast fixed the earth immovable and firm …” (Psalm 93:1)

“Thou didst fix the earth on its foundation so that it never can be shaken.” (Psalm 104:5)

“…who made the earth and fashioned it, and himself fixed it fast…” (Isaiah 45:18)

“The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.” (Ecclesiastes 1:5)

“Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.” (Joshua 10, 12-13)

Moreover, as Answers in Genesis points out,

…[S]omething well known to high-school physics students, but apparently not to bibliosceptics—that it’s valid to describe motion from any reference frame, although an inertial one usually makes the mathematics simpler. But there are many times when the Earth is a convenient reference frame; i.e. at some point we all use the geocentric model in one sense. For instance, a planetarium is a geocentric model. Calculation of rising, transiting, and setting of various celestial objects is calculated geocentrically. There are numerous other examples. Since modern astronomers often use an Earth-centred reference frame, it’s unfair and anti-scientific to criticise the Bible for doing the same.

The premier website for those wishing an absolute debunking of the Biblically unsound, empirically fraudulent, historically heretical doctrine of Heliocentrism is http://www.fixedearth.com/. The website contains numerous links to essays and analyses proving that the embrace of Copernicus is almost as foolish as the embrace of Darwinism. To quote from just one of these astounding essays:

Copernicanism, in short, is a concept that is protected in a bunker under a 50 foot thick ceiling of solid “scientific” concrete. It is meant to be impregnable. It is a concept that has become ensconced in men’s minds as the indestructible cornerstone of enlightened modern man’s knowledge. Virtually all people everywhere have been taught to believe–and do believe–that this concept is based on objective science and dispassionate secular reasoning, now long since freed from religious superstitions based on the Bible.

Indeed, it was this Copernican heliocentricity concept that gradually broke the back of Bible credibility as the source of Absolute Truth in Christendom. Once the Copernican Revolution had conquered the physical sciences of Astronomy and Physics and put down deep roots in Universities and lower schools everywhere, it was only a matter of time until the Biological sciences launched the Darwinian Revolution.

This embrace of Darwinism then quite predictably emboldened increasingly secular-minded mankind to further reject Biblical Absolutism and replace its teachings with yet more new “truths” in areas of learning having to do with economics and government. Thus was unsuccessful and floundering Marxism given new life. Marx openly tried to dedicate his own books to Darwin, exulting: “You have given me the basis for my system”. Thus, the “Social Science” disciplines were born and began to make their contributions to the destruction of Bible credibility…

Darwin, of course, only popularized evolutionism with his book in 1859, giving it a supposed mechanism thru natural selection and mutations, both since demonstrated to be utter nonsense. The actual roots of the evolutionary concept can be traced back to antiquity…as indeed can the roots of Copernican heliocentricism. Certainly the neo-heliocentrists, i.e., the early Copernicans such as Kepler were evolutionists. Galileo, like Kepler his friend, a neo-heliocentrist, was probably an evolutionist. Newton gave Copernicanism its biggest boost with his book in 1687, but I’ve seen no overt evidence that he was an evolutionist. (If you know of such evidence, I’d like to see it….)

Thanks, however, to Newton’s invented math and the excesses of his gravitational hypotheses (HERE), Copernicanism dug in its heels in the universities in the 1700’s, and by the last quarter of that century had produced a large crop of hard core heliocentrists, not a few of whom were advocating ape-man theories (amongst them, Darwin’s grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, Voltaire’s disciples in France, etc.). This was the age of “The Enlightenment” which produced Thomas Paine, the celebrated pamphleteer of the American Revolution, whom George Washington referred to as “that filthy little atheist”. Thomas Jefferson’s and Ben Franklin’s Deism was commonplace in Europe as well as amongst the rebellious American colonies. During the French Revolution of the 1790’s the Bible was actually outlawed.

These developments were sixty to a hundred years and more before Darwin, but the damage to Bible credibility done by the Copernican Revolution by that time was making an ever-widening open door for Evolutionism to take root. By 1830–even before Darwin (with his Degree in Theology, not Biology) went to the Galapagos Islands and began to formulate his mythology, Charles Lyell (with his degree in Law, not Geology) had advanced his idea of a “geologic column” with great ages attached to alleged descending layers of the earth. Though such a column has never, ever been confirmed, and though there are mountainous examples of the theoretically old layers being on top of the supposedly more recent ones, and though the Cambrian layer shows a sudden profusion of highly developed life forms with no antecedents, Darwin picked up on Lyell’s fantasy and it is still taught as a proof of an ancient earth and macro-evolutionism.

If that, alone, isn’t enough to convince you of the folly of embracing a soulless, atheistic pseudoscience like Heliocentrism, perhaps this will soften your stony head:

God, thru His Word, teaches a non-moving and immovable earth just as surely as he teaches a six-day Creation 6000 years ago and a universal Flood some 1600 years later. All attempts to twist and even boldly reverse geocentric Scriptures by claiming that God just used a “language of appearance” are extremely reckless for the Christian devoted to the inerrancy of Scripture. After all, the same argument has been employed with near devastating effect upon the Creationist Movement by Theistic Evolutionists, has it not?

Attacking vulnerable Copernicanism is a strategy that outflanks the entire secular science establishment (overrunning the Theistic Evolutionist’s position in the process!)

In addition to all that, being men and women of sound mind (II Tim. 1:7), Creationists should be eager to learn that:

1) No one–not Copernicus, not Kepler, not Galileo, not Newton, not Einstein–absolutely no one has proven the earth to be moving.

2) The earth moves only thru abstract, abstruse, and esoteric mathematics invented to make it move.

3) Over 200 truly scientific experiments using real mathematics have shown no earth movement, and these had the science establishment in a panic from the 1880’s until Einstein came to the rescue in 1905 with his “relativity” hypothesis.

4) Relativity is pure claptrap and there isn’t a person reading this who can’t know that fact.

5) Foucault’s Pendulum, the Coriolis Effect, and geostationary satellites do not prove a moving earth.

6) Anyone can see that the results of the Michelson-Morley experiments–especially the light fringe results–prove a stationary earth; and other facts about eclipses, satellite re-positionings, alleged blinding earth speeds, gravitational hooey, etc., add to the proof. Moreover, the Big Bang Baloney, the growing awareness of the effect of Dark Matter on galactic speeds, parallax factors (HERE) which shrink the cosmos, the evidence for speed-of-light retardation, the behavior of reflections and their capabilities for producing phenomena regarding size and depth, etc., all combine to corroborate the certitude of a greatly sanforized universe (one no more than one light day thick: Start HERE), a universe put in diurnal rotation around the spiritual and physical center of God’s Creation, just exactly as it appears to be day in and day out.

7) The Bible not only flatly states scores of times (HERE) and in several ways (HERE) that the earth does not move, it actually has a built-in geocentric assumption–sun rise, sun set–from beginning to end. (One scholar, a geocentrist and mathematician, is cataloguing some 2000 (!) of these.)

In the beginning, the Bible makes clear, the earth was the center of our “solar” system, with no sun for it to go around until the 4th day of creation (Gen.1:14-19; HERE). At the End we read of a New Earth (HERE) replacing in the same location this old one (Rev. 20:11; 21:1,2). This New Earth which occupies the same location in the cosmos as the old one which has “fled away” is the place where God the Father and Jesus will dwell with the redeemed forever (Rev. 21:3).

Given that unpreached but clear teaching, do you think that God the Father and Jesus the Son will eternally be somewhere out on the edge of Their NEW Universe in the boonies…or at the center?

If you ask me, that settles the question right there. I support the Bible, and I don’t want my children learning about Heliocentrism in school. I think this doctrine encourages atheism, Darwinism, and anti-Americanism. I don’t want my tax dollars going to finance this kind of false science. It’s complete rot, and I hope that those of us who come to realize this can ultimately prevail against its propogation amongst OUR children with the money from OUR salaries.

I can’t wait to hear from the moonbats and the Darwinists and the other rubes on this one, though. Go on, witch doctors. Preach to me how the planet hurtles through the ether, Scriptural and physical evidence to the contrary! Your false doctrines will be cast down on the day when America rediscovers its Christian roots. That is a promise.


and, once again, taking a 180° turn into bizarre-sex-land…

A woman robbed of her fertility
22 May 2007
By Jo Meek

Elaine Riddick is a petite woman in her early fifties with a warm smile.

Today she lives in a comfortable home on the outskirts of Atlanta, but this wasn’t how she spent her childhood.

She grew up in North Carolina with a violent father and an alcoholic mother.

She believes that the state used her chaotic childhood as a justification to sterilise her.

“When I was 13, I was raped. I had my beautiful son and when they cut me open, I had a caesarean, they sterilised me at the same time,” she said.

“I didn’t know anything about it until I was 19. I got married and tried to have a child. The doctor told me I had been butchered.”

Eugenics movement
It sounds like a story from the dark ages but this happened less than 40 years ago. And it happened in the US.

Whilst the feminist movement was gaining ground on both sides of the Atlantic, across poor America their ‘sisters’ were victims of sterilisation laws, which had their foundations in the eugenics movement.

This year marks the centenary of the first eugenics laws passed in the United States.

Policies were drawn up in over 30 states in the US to sterilise women, men and children who were considered to be physically, mentally or morally ‘defective’.

But in reality the majority of those who were sterilized were simply poor women.

Few have ever spoken about what happened because of embarrassment and shame.

Speaking out
But with her only son, Tony, by her side, Elaine Riddick has chosen to speak out about what happened to her.

“I think they saw it as a way to control me. They saw my parents were not available, so the state of North Carolina decided that they were going to sterilise me. I did nothing wrong.

“Now I’m healing a little bit I can talk about this. I can look you in the eye. I am not feeble minded. That’s the reason they gave for doing that to me.”

Between 1929 and 1974, across the state of North Carolina, more than 7600 men, women and children were sterilised.

Documents from the state’s eugenics board reveal how for nearly 50 years this unelected body authorised 90% of all sterilisation cases brought before it.

Social workers used gossip in their reports for the Eugenics Board.

Promiscuity
Elaine Riddick’s form refers to “community reports that she was ‘running around’ late at night” and her “promisicuity” and her “inability to control herself” constituted grounds for sterilisation.

By the late 1960s, ironically as the Civil Rights movement grew, North Carolina began to target its Black population.

More than 60% of those sterilized were black women and girls like Elaine Riddick.

Records show that in North Carolina out of the 7,000 sterilisations less than 500 took place with the clear consent of the patient. The vast majority were much more complicated.

State records, seen by Winston Salem Journal reporter John Railey, reveal cases where parents who were abusing their children would then agree to their sterilization.

“You have a sick cycle. The father was committing incest and was given the right of consent for her sterilisation.

“The state is victimising the children who have already been victimised by their parents.”

State records conservatively estimate that between 1943 and 1963, over 63,000 people were sterilized under the eugenics laws in America.

Apologies
Whilst five states, including North Carolina, have issued apologies for the sterilisations carried out under eugenics laws, the federal government has never acknowledged that any sterilisation abuses have ever taken place.

Paul Lombardo is professor of Law at Georgia State University and he has devoted himself to this issue for the past 27 years.

He believes that it is a shameful history, and one that needs to be openly recognised.

But at the moment that doesn’t seem likely.

“I hear from time to time from women who have been sterilised against their will, the difficulty is documentation,” he said.

“Even when there are records, when you ask them to come forward, being sterilised isn’t something that people want to broadcast, so they stay hidden.”

But until there is recognition that this happened, Elaine Riddick says today there is still no reason for other women to tell their stories.

“I can understand why they won’t come forward, because they don’t want their next door neighbour to know this happened. I felt same way. I have resentment – I will always have it for my Government.

“That’s just how I feel. Angry. You took something away from me and you can never give it back.”


Gay flamingos pick up chick
May 21, 2007

LONDON – A pair of gay flamingos have adopted an abandoned chick, becoming parents after being together for six years, a British conservation organisation said Monday.

Carlos and Fernando had been desperate to start a family, even chasing other flamingos from their nests to take over their eggs at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) in Slimbridge near Bristol.

But their egg-sitting prowess made them the top choice for taking an unhatched egg under their wings when one of the Greater Flamingo nests was abandoned.

The couple, together for six years, can feed chicks by producing milk in their throats.

“Fernando and Carlos are a same sex couple who have been known to steal other flamingos’ eggs by chasing them off their nest because they wanted to rear them themselves,” said WWT spokeswoman Jane Waghorn.

“They were rather good at sitting on eggs and hatching them so last week, when a nest was abandoned, it seemed like a good idea to make them surrogate parents.”

Gay flamingos are not uncommon, she added.

“If there aren’t enough females or they don’t hit it off with them, they will pair off with other males,” she said.


that settles it… if God created everything, and two same-sex flamingos are allowed to live together, then God must have created gay marriage. period.

damn!

somebody wrote to me within the last 30 minutes, asking for details about my sindarian font. instead of hitting “reply” i accidentally hit “delete” so i can’t respond. if you write to me again, i promise i won’t delete your message, and i’ll respond instead.

this has gotten to be so much of an issue with me that i have actually removed the “delete” button from the toolbar and replaced it with a “move message to trash” button, so i can catch it if i accidentally hit the wrong button in the future… 8/

968

National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive
May 9, 2007

NATIONAL SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/NSPD 51

HOMELAND SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/HSPD-20

Subject: National Continuity Policy

Purpose

(1) This directive establishes a comprehensive national policy on the continuity of Federal Government structures and operations and a single National Continuity Coordinator responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of Federal continuity policies. This policy establishes “National Essential Functions,” prescribes continuity requirements for all executive departments and agencies, and provides guidance for State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector organizations in order to ensure a comprehensive and integrated national continuity program that will enhance the credibility of our national security posture and enable a more rapid and effective response to and recovery from a national emergency.

Definitions

(2) In this directive:

(a) “Category” refers to the categories of executive departments and agencies listed in Annex A to this directive;

(b) “Catastrophic Emergency” means any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions;

(c) “Continuity of Government,” or “COG,” means a coordinated effort within the Federal Government’s executive branch to ensure that National Essential Functions continue to be performed during a Catastrophic Emergency;

(d) “Continuity of Operations,” or “COOP,” means an effort within individual executive departments and agencies to ensure that Primary Mission-Essential Functions continue to be performed during a wide range of emergencies, including localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies;

(e) “Enduring Constitutional Government,” or “ECG,” means a cooperative effort among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government, coordinated by the President, as a matter of comity with respect to the legislative and judicial branches and with proper respect for the constitutional separation of powers among the branches, to preserve the constitutional framework under which the Nation is governed and the capability of all three branches of government to execute constitutional responsibilities and provide for orderly succession, appropriate transition of leadership, and interoperability and support of the National Essential Functions during a catastrophic emergency;

(f) “Executive Departments and Agencies” means the executive departments enumerated in 5 U.S.C. 101, independent establishments as defined by 5 U.S.C. 104(1), Government corporations as defined by 5 U.S.C. 103(1), and the United States Postal Service;

(g) “Government Functions” means the collective functions of the heads of executive departments and agencies as defined by statute, regulation, presidential direction, or other legal authority, and the functions of the legislative and judicial branches;

(h) “National Essential Functions,” or “NEFs,” means that subset of Government Functions that are necessary to lead and sustain the Nation during a catastrophic emergency and that, therefore, must be supported through COOP and COG capabilities; and

(i) “Primary Mission Essential Functions,” or “PMEFs,” means those Government Functions that must be performed in order to support or implement the performance of NEFs before, during, and in the aftermath of an emergency.

Policy

(3) It is the policy of the United States to maintain a comprehensive and effective continuity capability composed of Continuity of Operations and Continuity of Government programs in order to ensure the preservation of our form of government under the Constitution and the continuing performance of National Essential Functions under all conditions.

Implementation Actions

(4) Continuity requirements shall be incorporated into daily operations of all executive departments and agencies. As a result of the asymmetric threat environment, adequate warning of potential emergencies that could pose a significant risk to the homeland might not be available, and therefore all continuity planning shall be based on the assumption that no such warning will be received. Emphasis will be placed upon geographic dispersion of leadership, staff, and infrastructure in order to increase survivability and maintain uninterrupted Government Functions. Risk management principles shall be applied to ensure that appropriate operational readiness decisions are based on the probability of an attack or other incident and its consequences.

(5) The following NEFs are the foundation for all continuity programs and capabilities and represent the overarching responsibilities of the Federal Government to lead and sustain the Nation during a crisis, and therefore sustaining the following NEFs shall be the primary focus of

the Federal Government leadership during and in the aftermath of an emergency that adversely affects the performance of Government Functions:

(a) Ensuring the continued functioning of our form of government under the Constitution, including the functioning of the three separate branches of government;

(b) Providing leadership visible to the Nation and the world and maintaining the trust and confidence of the American people;

(c) Defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and preventing or interdicting attacks against the United States or its people, property, or interests;

(d) Maintaining and fostering effective relationships with foreign nations;

(e) Protecting against threats to the homeland and bringing to justice perpetrators of crimes or attacks against the United States or its people, property, or interests;

(f) Providing rapid and effective response to and recovery from the domestic consequences of an attack or other incident;

(g) Protecting and stabilizing the Nation’s economy and ensuring public confidence in its financial systems; and

(h) Providing for critical Federal Government services that address the national health, safety, and welfare needs of the United States.

(6) The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government. In order to advise and assist the President in that function, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (APHS/CT) is hereby designated as the National Continuity Coordinator. The National Continuity Coordinator, in coordination with the Assistant to the President for National

Security Affairs (APNSA), without exercising directive authority, shall coordinate the development and implementation of continuity policy for executive departments and agencies. The Continuity Policy Coordination Committee (CPCC), chaired by a Senior Director from the Homeland Security Council staff, designated by the National Continuity Coordinator, shall be the main day-to-day forum for such policy coordination.

(7) For continuity purposes, each executive department and agency is assigned to a category in accordance with the nature and characteristics of its national security roles and

responsibilities in support of the Federal Government’s ability to sustain the NEFs. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall serve as the President’s lead agent for coordinating overall

continuity operations and activities of executive departments and agencies, and in such role shall perform the responsibilities set forth for the Secretary in sections 10 and 16 of this directive.

(8) The National Continuity Coordinator, in consultation with the heads of appropriate executive departments and agencies, will lead the development of a National Continuity Implementation Plan (Plan), which shall include prioritized goals and objectives, a concept of operations, performance metrics by which to measure continuity readiness, procedures for continuity and incident management activities, and clear direction to executive department and agency continuity coordinators, as well as guidance to promote interoperability of Federal Government continuity programs and procedures with State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate. The Plan shall be submitted to the President for approval not later than 90 days after the date of this directive.

(9) Recognizing that each branch of the Federal Government is responsible for its own continuity programs, an official designated by the Chief of Staff to the President shall ensure that the executive branch’s COOP and COG policies in support of ECG efforts are appropriately coordinated with those of

the legislative and judicial branches in order to ensure interoperability and allocate national assets efficiently to maintain a functioning Federal Government.

(10) Federal Government COOP, COG, and ECG plans and operations shall be appropriately integrated with the emergency plans and capabilities of State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to promote interoperability and to prevent redundancies and conflicting lines of authority. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall coordinate the integration of Federal continuity plans and operations with State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to provide for the delivery of essential services during an emergency.

(11) Continuity requirements for the Executive Office of the President (EOP) and executive departments and agencies shall include the following:

(a) The continuation of the performance of PMEFs during any emergency must be for a period up to 30 days or until normal operations can be resumed, and the capability to be fully operational at alternate sites as soon as possible after the occurrence of an emergency, but not later than 12 hours after COOP activation;

(b) Succession orders and pre-planned devolution of authorities that ensure the emergency delegation of authority must be planned and documented in advance in accordance with applicable law;

(c) Vital resources, facilities, and records must be safeguarded, and official access to them must be provided;

(d) Provision must be made for the acquisition of the resources necessary for continuity operations on an emergency basis;

(e) Provision must be made for the availability and redundancy of critical communications capabilities at alternate sites in order to support connectivity between

and among key government leadership, internal elements, other executive departments and agencies, critical partners, and the public;

(f) Provision must be made for reconstitution capabilities that allow for recovery from a catastrophic emergency and resumption of normal operations; and

(g) Provision must be made for the identification, training, and preparedness of personnel capable of relocating to alternate facilities to support the continuation of the performance of PMEFs.

(12) In order to provide a coordinated response to escalating threat levels or actual emergencies, the Continuity of Government Readiness Conditions (COGCON) system establishes executive branch continuity program readiness levels, focusing

on possible threats to the National Capital Region. The President will determine and issue the COGCON Level. Executive departments and agencies shall comply with the requirements and

assigned responsibilities under the COGCON program. During COOP activation, executive departments and agencies shall report their readiness status to the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Secretary’s designee.

(13) The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall:

(a) Conduct an annual assessment of executive department and agency continuity funding requests and performance data that are submitted by executive departments and agencies as part of the annual budget request process, in order to monitor progress in the implementation of the Plan and the execution of continuity budgets;

(b) In coordination with the National Continuity Coordinator, issue annual continuity planning guidance for the development of continuity budget requests; and

(c) Ensure that heads of executive departments and agencies prioritize budget resources for continuity capabilities, consistent with this directive.

(14) The Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy shall:

(a) Define and issue minimum requirements for continuity communications for executive departments and agencies, in consultation with the APHS/CT, the APNSA, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the Chief of Staff to the President;

(b) Establish requirements for, and monitor the development, implementation, and maintenance of, a comprehensive communications architecture to integrate continuity components, in consultation with the APHS/CT, the APNSA, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the Chief of Staff to the President; and

(c) Review quarterly and annual assessments of continuity communications capabilities, as prepared pursuant to section 16(d) of this directive or otherwise, and report the results and recommended remedial actions to the National Continuity Coordinator.

(15) An official designated by the Chief of Staff to the President shall:

(a) Advise the President, the Chief of Staff to the President, the APHS/CT, and the APNSA on COGCON operational execution options; and

(b) Consult with the Secretary of Homeland Security in order to ensure synchronization and integration of continuity activities among the four categories of executive departments and agencies.

(16) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall:

(a) Coordinate the implementation, execution, and assessment of continuity operations and activities;

(b) Develop and promulgate Federal Continuity Directives in order to establish continuity planning requirements for executive departments and agencies;

(c) Conduct biennial assessments of individual department and agency continuity capabilities as prescribed by the Plan and report the results to the President through the APHS/CT;

(d) Conduct quarterly and annual assessments of continuity communications capabilities in consultation with an official designated by the Chief of Staff to the President;

(e) Develop, lead, and conduct a Federal continuity training and exercise program, which shall be incorporated into the National Exercise Program developed pursuant to Homeland Security Presidential Directive-8 of December 17, 2003 (“National Preparedness”), in consultation with an

official designated by the Chief of Staff to the President;

(f) Develop and promulgate continuity planning guidance to State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector critical infrastructure owners and operators;

(g) Make available continuity planning and exercise funding, in the form of grants as provided by law, to State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector critical infrastructure owners and operators; and

(h) As Executive Agent of the National Communications System, develop, implement, and maintain a comprehensive continuity communications architecture.

(17) The Director of National Intelligence, in coordination with the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall produce a biennial assessment of the foreign and domestic threats to the Nation’s continuity of government.

(18) The Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall provide secure, integrated, Continuity of Government communications to the President, the Vice President, and, at a minimum, Category I executive departments and agencies.

(19) Heads of executive departments and agencies shall execute their respective department or agency COOP plans in response to a localized emergency and shall:

(a) Appoint a senior accountable official, at the Assistant Secretary level, as the Continuity Coordinator for the department or agency;

(b) Identify and submit to the National Continuity Coordinator the list of PMEFs for the department or agency and develop continuity plans in support of the NEFs and the continuation of essential functions under all conditions;

(c) Plan, program, and budget for continuity capabilities consistent with this directive;

(d) Plan, conduct, and support annual tests and training, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, in order to evaluate program readiness and ensure adequacy and viability of continuity plans and communications systems; and

(e) Support other continuity requirements, as assigned by category, in accordance with the nature and characteristics of its national security roles and responsibilities

General Provisions

(20) This directive shall be implemented in a manner that is consistent with, and facilitates effective implementation of, provisions of the Constitution concerning succession to the Presidency or the exercise of its powers, and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 (3 U.S.C. 19), with consultation of the Vice President and, as appropriate, others involved. Heads of executive departments and agencies shall ensure that appropriate

support is available to the Vice President and others involved as necessary to be prepared at all times to implement those provisions.

(21) This directive:

(a) Shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and the authorities of agencies, or heads of agencies, vested by law, and subject to the availability of appropriations;

(b) Shall not be construed to impair or otherwise affect (i) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budget, administrative, and legislative proposals, or (ii) the authority of the Secretary of Defense over the Department of Defense, including the chain of command for military forces from the President, to the Secretary of Defense, to the commander of military forces, or military command and control procedures; and

(c) Is not intended to, and does not, create any rights or benefits, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by a party against the United States, its

agencies, instrumentalities, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

(22) Revocation. Presidential Decision Directive 67 of October 21, 1998 (“Enduring Constitutional Government and Continuity of Government Operations”), including all Annexes thereto, is hereby revoked.

(23) Annex A and the classified Continuity Annexes, attached hereto, are hereby incorporated into and made a part of this directive.

(24) Security. This directive and the information contained herein shall be protected from unauthorized disclosure, provided that, except for Annex A, the Annexes attached to this directive are classified and shall be accorded appropriate handling, consistent with applicable Executive Orders.

GEORGE W. BUSH


in short, if some sort of "catastrophe" strikes our country, george "catastrophe" bush will become dictator

967

In an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way,
in its own perfect time, for the highest good of all,
I intend $1,000,000 to come into my life
and into the lives of everyone who holds this intention.

$120 – today
$1001.84 – TOTAL

966

nelson sings nilsson is now, for all intents and purposes, history. the two shows went very well indeed, but for this performance, that’s not much of a surprise. i have never worked with what is essentially a “pickup” band of more than 20 musicians who was more “together” as a group than this one. we sit down to “rehearse” and we play one song, and then we play it again and it’s exactly the same – the notes, the pitches, the inflections… EVERYTHING is exactly the same from one playing to the next. i’ve never played with another group of musicians who had that quality before. of course, there was a marimba last night, that we didn’t have the last time, and the trombone player that was there last time wasn’t there this time, but it went extremely well in spite of those things. the CD still isn’t released, but it’s done, and it’s just a matter of time before it gets released by someone.

964

City Police Spied Broadly Before G.O.P. Convention
March 25, 2007
By JIM DWYER

Correction Appended

For at least a year before the 2004 Republican National Convention, teams of undercover New York City police officers traveled to cities across the country, Canada and Europe to conduct covert observations of people who planned to protest at the convention, according to police records and interviews.

From Albuquerque to Montreal, San Francisco to Miami, undercover New York police officers attended meetings of political groups, posing as sympathizers or fellow activists, the records show.

They made friends, shared meals, swapped e-mail messages and then filed daily reports with the department’s Intelligence Division. Other investigators mined Internet sites and chat rooms.

From these operations, run by the department’s “R.N.C. Intelligence Squad,” the police identified a handful of groups and individuals who expressed interest in creating havoc during the convention, as well as some who used Web sites to urge or predict violence.

But potential troublemakers were hardly the only ones to end up in the files. In hundreds of reports stamped “N.Y.P.D. Secret,” the Intelligence Division chronicled the views and plans of people who had no apparent intention of breaking the law, the records show.

These included members of street theater companies, church groups and antiwar organizations, as well as environmentalists and people opposed to the death penalty, globalization and other government policies. Three New York City elected officials were cited in the reports.

In at least some cases, intelligence on what appeared to be lawful activity was shared with police departments in other cities. A police report on an organization of artists called Bands Against Bush noted that the group was planning concerts on Oct. 11, 2003, in New York, Washington, Seattle, San Francisco and Boston. Between musical sets, the report said, there would be political speeches and videos.

“Activists are showing a well-organized network made up of anti-Bush sentiment; the mixing of music and political rhetoric indicates sophisticated organizing skills with a specific agenda,” said the report, dated Oct. 9, 2003. “Police departments in above listed areas have been contacted regarding this event.”

Police records indicate that in addition to sharing information with other police departments, New York undercover officers were active themselves in at least 15 places outside New York — including California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montreal, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, D.C. — and in Europe.

The operation was mounted in 2003 after the Police Department, invoking the fresh horrors of the World Trade Center attack and the prospect of future terrorism, won greater authority from a federal judge to investigate political organizations for criminal activity.

To date, as the boundaries of the department’s expanded powers continue to be debated, police officials have provided only glimpses of its intelligence-gathering.

Now, the broad outlines of the pre-convention operations are emerging from records in federal lawsuits that were brought over mass arrests made during the convention, and in greater detail from still-secret reports reviewed by The New York Times. These include a sample of raw intelligence documents and of summary digests of observations from both the field and the department’s cyberintelligence unit.

Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the Police Department, confirmed that the operation had been wide-ranging, and said it had been an essential part of the preparations for the huge crowds that came to the city during the convention.

“Detectives collected information both in-state and out-of-state to learn in advance what was coming our way,” Mr. Browne said. When the detectives went out of town, he said, the department usually alerted the local authorities by telephone or in person.

Under a United States Supreme Court ruling, undercover surveillance of political groups is generally legal, but the police in New York — like those in many other big cities — have operated under special limits as a result of class-action lawsuits filed over police monitoring of civil rights and antiwar groups during the 1960s. The limits in New York are known as the Handschu guidelines, after the lead plaintiff, Barbara Handschu.

“All our activities were legal and were subject in advance to Handschu review,” Mr. Browne said.

Before monitoring political activity, the police must have “some indication of unlawful activity on the part of the individual or organization to be investigated,” United States District Court Judge Charles S. Haight Jr. said in a ruling last month.

Christopher Dunn, the associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which represents seven of the 1,806 people arrested during the convention, said the Police Department stepped beyond the law in its covert surveillance program.

“The police have no authority to spy on lawful political activity, and this wide-ranging N.Y.P.D. program was wrong and illegal,” Mr. Dunn said. “In the coming weeks, the city will be required to disclose to us many more details about its preconvention surveillance of groups and activists, and many will be shocked by the breadth of the Police Department’s political surveillance operation.”

The Police Department said those complaints were overblown.

On Wednesday, lawyers for the plaintiffs in the convention lawsuits are scheduled to begin depositions of David Cohen, the deputy police commissioner for intelligence. Mr. Cohen, a former senior official at the Central Intelligence Agency, was “central to the N.Y.P.D.’s efforts to collect intelligence information prior to the R.N.C.,” Gerald C. Smith, an assistant corporation counsel with the city Law Department, said in a federal court filing.

Balancing Safety and Surveillance

For nearly four decades, the city, civil liberties lawyers and the Police Department have fought in federal court over how to balance public safety, free speech and the penetrating but potentially disruptive force of police surveillance.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, Raymond W. Kelly, who became police commissioner in January 2002, “took the position that the N.Y.P.D. could no longer rely on the federal government alone, and that the department had to build an intelligence capacity worthy of the name,” Mr. Browne said.

Mr. Cohen contended that surveillance of domestic political activities was essential to fighting terrorism. “Given the range of activities that may be engaged in by the members of a sleeper cell in the long period of preparation for an act of terror, the entire resources of the N.Y.P.D. must be available to conduct investigations into political activity and intelligence-related issues,” Mr. Cohen wrote in an affidavit dated Sept. 12, 2002.

In February 2003, the Police Department, with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s support, was given broad new authority by Judge Haight to conduct such monitoring. However, a senior police official must still determine that there is some indication of illegal activity before an inquiry is begun.

An investigation by the Intelligence Division led to the arrest — coincidentally, three days before the convention — of a man who spoke about bombing the Herald Square subway station. In another initiative, detectives were stationed in Europe and the Middle East to quickly funnel information back to New York.

When the city was designated in February 2003 as the site of the 2004 Republican National Convention, the department had security worries — in particular about the possibility of a truck bomb attack near Madison Square Garden, where events would be held — and logistical concerns about managing huge crowds, Mr. Browne said.

“We also prepared to contend with a relatively small group of self-described anarchists who vowed to prevent delegates from participating in the convention or otherwise disrupt the convention by various means, including vandalism,” Mr. Browne said. “Our goal was to safeguard delegates, demonstrators and the general public alike.”

In its preparations, the department applied the intelligence resources that had just been strengthened for fighting terrorism to an entirely different task: collecting information on people participating in political protests.

In the records reviewed by The Times, some of the police intelligence concerned people and groups bent on causing trouble, but the bulk of the reports covered the plans and views of people with no obvious intention of breaking the law.

By searching the Internet, investigators identified groups that were making plans for demonstrations. Files were created on their political causes, the criminal records, if any, of the people involved and any plans for civil disobedience or disruptive tactics.

From the field, undercover officers filed daily accounts of their observations on forms known as DD5s that called for descriptions of the gatherings, the leaders and participants, and the groups’ plans.

Inside the police Intelligence Division, daily reports from both the field and the Web were summarized in bullet format. These digests — marked “Secret” — were circulated weekly under the heading “Key Findings.”

Perceived Threats

On Jan. 6, 2004, the intelligence digest noted that an antigentrification group in Montreal claimed responsibility for hoax bombs that had been planted at construction sites of luxury condominiums, stating that the purpose was to draw attention to the homeless. The group was linked to a band of anarchist-communists whose leader had visited New York, according to the report.

Other digests noted a planned campaign of “electronic civil disobedience” to jam fax machines and hack into Web sites. Participants at a conference were said to have discussed getting inside delegates’ hotels by making hair salon appointments or dinner reservations. At the same conference, people were reported to have discussed disabling charter buses and trying to confuse delegates by switching subway directional signs, or by sealing off stations with crime-scene tape.

A Syracuse peace group intended to block intersections, a report stated. Other reports mentioned past demonstrations where various groups used nails and ball bearings as weapons and threw balloons filled with urine or other foul liquids.

The police also kept track of Richard Picariello, a man who had been convicted in 1978 of politically motivated bombings in Massachusetts, Mr. Browne said.

At the other end of the threat spectrum was Joshua Kinberg, a graduate student at Parsons School of Design and the subject of four pages of intelligence reports, including two pictures. For his master’s thesis project, Mr. Kinberg devised a “wireless bicycle” equipped with cellphone, laptop and spray tubes that could squirt messages received over the Internet onto the sidewalk or street.

The messages were printed in water-soluble chalk, a tactic meant to avoid a criminal mischief charge for using paint, an intelligence report noted. Mr. Kinberg’s bicycle was “capable of transferring activist-based messages on streets and sidewalks,” according to a report on July 22, 2004.

“This bicycle, having been built for the sole purpose of protesting during the R.N.C., is capable of spraying anti-R.N.C.-type messages on surrounding streets and sidewalks, also supplying the rider with a quick vehicle of escape,” the report said. Mr. Kinberg, then 25, was arrested during a television interview with Ron Reagan for MSNBC’s “Hardball” program during the convention. He was released a day later, but his equipment was held for more than a year.

Mr. Kinberg said Friday that after his arrest, detectives with the terrorism task force asked if he knew of any plans for violence. “I’m an artist,” he said. “I know other artists, who make T-shirts and signs.”

He added: “There’s no reason I should have been placed on any kind of surveillance status. It affected me, my ability to exercise free speech, and the ability of thousands of people who were sending in messages for the bike, to exercise their free speech.”

New Faces in Their Midst

A vast majority of several hundred reports reviewed by The Times, including field reports and the digests, described groups that gave no obvious sign of wrongdoing. The intelligence noted that one group, the “Man- and Woman-in-Black Bloc,” planned to protest outside a party at Sotheby’s for Tennessee’s Republican delegates with Johnny Cash’s career as its theme.

The satirical performance troupe Billionaires for Bush, which specializes in lampooning the Bush administration by dressing in tuxedos and flapper gowns, was described in an intelligence digest on Jan. 23, 2004.

“Billionaires for Bush is an activist group forged as a mockery of the current president and political policies,” the report said. “Preliminary intelligence indicates that this group is raising funds for expansion and support of anti-R.N.C. activist organizations.”

Marco Ceglie, who performs as Monet Oliver dePlace in Billionaires for Bush, said he had suspected that the group was under surveillance by federal agents — not necessarily police officers — during weekly meetings in a downtown loft and at events around the country in the summer of 2004.

“It was a running joke that some of the new faces were 25- to 32-year-old males asking, ‘First name, last name?’ ” Mr. Ceglie said. “Some people didn’t care; it bothered me and a couple of other leaders, but we didn’t want to make a big stink because we didn’t want to look paranoid. We applied to the F.B.I. under the Freedom of Information Act to see if there’s a file, but the answer came back that ‘we cannot confirm or deny.’ ”

The Billionaires try to avoid provoking arrests, Mr. Ceglie said.

Others — who openly planned civil disobedience, with the expectation of being arrested — said they assumed they were under surveillance, but had nothing to hide. “Some of the groups were very concerned about infiltration,” said Ed Hedemann of the War Resisters League, a pacifist organization founded in 1923. “We weren’t. We had open meetings.”

The war resisters publicly announced plans for a “die-in” at Madison Square Garden. They were arrested two minutes after they began a silent march from the World Trade Center site. The charges were dismissed.

The sponsors of an event planned for Jan. 15, 2004, in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday were listed in one of the reports, which noted that it was a protest against “the R.N.C., the war in Iraq and the Bush administration.” It mentioned that three members of the City Council at the time, Charles Barron, Bill Perkins and Larry B. Seabrook, “have endorsed this event.”

Others supporting it, the report said, were the New York City AIDS Housing Network, the Arab Muslim American Foundation, Activists for the Liberation of Palestine, Queers for Peace and Justice and the 1199 Bread and Roses Cultural Project.

Many of the 1,806 people arrested during the convention were held for up to two days on minor offenses normally handled with a summons; the city Law Department said the preconvention intelligence justified detaining them all for fingerprinting.

Mr. Browne said that 18 months of preparation by the police had allowed hundreds of thousands of people to demonstrate while also ensuring that the Republican delegates were able to hold their convention with relatively few disruptions.

“We attributed the successful policing of the convention to a host of N.Y.P.D. activities leading up to the R.N.C., including 18 months of intensive planning,” he said. “It was a great success, and despite provocations, such as demonstrators throwing faux feces in the faces of police officers, the N.Y.P.D. showed professionalism and restraint.”

Correction: March 26, 2007:
A picture caption yesterday with the continuation of a front-page article about broad spying by the New York City police on people expected to protest in the city during the 2004 Republican National Convention referred incorrectly in some copies to the disposition of the property of one protester, Joshua Kinberg, who devised a bicycle equipped with cellphone, laptop and tubes that could spray the ground with messages in chalk. The spraying apparatus — not the bicycle — was held for more than a year before being returned; Mr. Kinberg says the authorities have still not returned his bicycle.


"Web site" baffles Internet terrorism trial judge
May 17, 2007
By Mark Trevelyan

LONDON (Reuters) – A British judge admitted on Wednesday he was struggling to cope with basic terms like “Web site” in the trial of three men accused of inciting terrorism via the Internet.

Judge Peter Openshaw broke into the questioning of a witness about a Web forum used by alleged Islamist radicals.

“The trouble is I don’t understand the language. I don’t really understand what a Web site is,” he told a London court during the trial of three men charged under anti-terrorism laws.

Prosecutor Mark Ellison briefly set aside his questioning to explain the terms “Web site” and “forum.” An exchange followed in which the 59-year-old judge acknowledged: “I haven’t quite grasped the concepts.”

Violent Islamist material posted on the Internet, including beheadings of Western hostages, is central to the case.

Concluding Wednesday’s session and looking ahead to testimony Thursday by a computer expert, the judge told Ellison: “Will you ask him to keep it simple, we’ve got to start from basics.”

Younes Tsouli, 23, Waseem Mughal, 24, and Tariq al-Daour, 21, deny a range of charges under Britain’s Terrorism Act, including inciting another person to commit an act of terrorism “wholly or partly” outside Britain.

Tsouli and Mughal also deny conspiracy to murder. Al-Daour has pleaded not guilty to conspiring with others to defraud banks, credit card and charge card companies.

Prosecutors have told the jury at Woolwich Crown Court, east London, that the defendants kept car-bomb-making manuals and videos of how to wire suicide vests as part of a campaign to promote global jihad, or holy war.


Vet Prosecuted for Protesting Military Recruitment in Library
A veteran and his wife started putting up 3×5 cards on the window of the room used by recruiters in a library. Then the police came.
May 17, 2007
By Matthew Rothschild

Tim Coli served in the first Gulf War and now suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

On March 12, he and his wife, Yvette, went to the Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library in Ohio. At 37, she is a student at Kent State and needed to study for a biology test. Tim, 40, was reading some books.

Then they noticed two military recruiters trying to enlist someone in a nearby room, with a large glass window.

She decided to take action.

She took out some 3×5 cards and wrote messages to the man being recruited and then put them up on the window sill.

“Don’t fall for it! Military recruiters lie,” said one.

“It’s not honorable to fight for a lying President,” said another.

She says she cleared it all first.

“Before I put those cards up, I went to a volunteer and I asked her if it was OK if I put those cards up in the window, and she said she didn’t have a problem with that but talk to someone who works there,” Yvette says. “The next person said it was fine so long as there is no confrontation. And she said, ‘Between you and I, I wish they weren’t here, either.’ ”

The recruiters were none too happy with the cards.

One of them came out and asked Coil who put them up.

When she admitted she had, he asked for her name, which she didn’t give him.

He told her that she and her husband couldn’t put the cards up.

“My husband asked him if he was trying to keep us from using our freedom of speech,” Coil says.

He didn’t answer that, she says, but he did tell her again to stop.

He took the cards and went to find the library director.

In the meantime, Coil put some more card on the sill:

“Don’t do it.”

“My husband is a Gulf War Veteran. He can tell you the truth”

“To the military, you are cannon fodder.”

“Recruiters: You’re fighting for my freedom of speech, too!”

The library director, Doug Dotterer, told them that if they put up one more card, he was going to ask them to leave, Coil says. He told them they couldn’t display things that were disturbing other people in the library. She told him that the Army had its brochures out on a nearby table, and they were disturbing her, she says.

“My husband said that the library was a public place and we are allowed our freedom of speech,” Coil says. “The director said it was his library, and so we would have to follow his rules.”

When he left, they knocked on the window and urged the man being recruited not to join up.

Soon the police arrived.

They asked the Coils to leave the building.

“We said, ‘Gladly,’ ” Yvette recalls.

But on his way out, Tim called the director a name.

“One more word from you and I’ll arrest you,” the police officer told Tim.

Then Tim shouted, “Don’t let the military recruit people in the library.”

Whereupon the police arrested him and took him to the station and booked him for disorderly conduct. A little while later, Yvette came and picked him up.

The district attorney did not return phone calls for comment.

Library Director Dotterer would not talk except to say: “I contacted my board president, who is an attorney, and he indicated that because this is an ongoing case we’re not going to comment. What I would refer you to are the official police reports.”

The police report says Coil was arrested for “causing a disturbance within a library.”

At an April 30 pretrial meeting, Coil was asked if he wanted to make a plea and settle the whole thing.

“No, I’m not guilty,” he said, according to his wife.

She explains: “We’re Mennonite. To lie about that would be wrong. I don’t want him to go to jail. Neither does he. He doesn’t need that. But I believe that God’s going to take care of it. We’re OK with whatever happens. The point is if we don’t stand for these freedoms and we don’t allow ourselves to be put on the line for those things, there won’t be an option anymore.”

Attorney William Whitaker is representing the Coils.

“If a statute punishes this conduct, then that statute is unconstitutional since it sweeps protected speech within its orbit,” he says. “They were engaged in protected First Amendment speech. It’s legitimate to use the public library in the same way that the recruiters were using it.”

On May 10, Yvette Coil says that her lawyer was advised that the state would drop charges if they would pay $100 in court fees.

“Tim said he should not have to pay for being harassed,” says Yvette. “No one has the right to take your freedoms away.”

The case is scheduled for June 5.


963

Microsoft declares war on free software – are they just learning about it now, or what? this just seems to be the latest in a long string of events like this that microsnot has engaged in, over at least ten years i can think of, to bring linux in line with the microsnot business model… and from the way it’s starting out, i would guess that it’s going to be as successful as the last thing they tried.

Liberty University Student Affairs: Reprimands and Consequences – this will be my last word on jerry falwell, ever: i’m glad this wasn’t in force at my college, because i would have been expelled even before taking up residence. can they really get away with shit like this at a private university? i mean, doesn’t the bill of rights exist for liberty university students?