Media Revolution

Friday, May 30, 2003


Mad Cow likely to have infected U.S. cattle

"If Canadian cattle are infected, it is likely that the disease is also present in the US," New Scientist says.

"The US and Canada test so few animals that low levels of BSE infection would not be detected...Other countries have found many more cases after increasing testing when the first infected cattle were reported."

Scientists working for the European Commission concluded in 2000 that BSE could be circulating in North America, but at low levels, the article says.

Doctors paid tens of thousands of dollars to promote unapproved uses of drugs


5th Amendment Gets Sideswiped, torture okay if you don't use it as evidence in court
Financial Times: Bush Admin hid report that forcasts deficits of $44 TRILLION

The study asserts that sharp tax increases, massive spending cuts or a painful mix of both are unavoidable if the US is to meet benefit promises to future generations. It estimates that closing the gap would require the equivalent of an immediate and permanent 66 per cent across-the-board income tax increase.

Wolfowitz admits WMD was a sham (nothing more than a "bureaucratic reason" for war)

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." --Dick Cheney, Aug. 26, 2002. A great list of such lies is here.

Blair getting roasted over WMD.
A senior intelligence official also told the BBC that Downing Street had wanted the Government dossier outlining Saddam's capability "sexed up" and that Downing Street included information against security service advice.


Krugman: Waggy Dog Stories

Wednesday, May 28, 2003


Strikes, State of Emergency in Peru
Peru's Indymedia has photos and Reuter story


Amnesty International: War on Terror Making the World Worse
What if there's no such thing as al Qaeda?
From BushWars (via ThisModernWorld):

Rightly or wrongly, my notion about al-Qaeda from the start has been that the American media and (so far as we can say from public signs) American intelligence has completely and willfully misunderstood the nature of the so-called network. They have approached it as though it's a single entity with a command/control structure analogous to the sort we're most familiar with--the top-down hierarchy of US corporations and the American military.

It always struck me as more ad hoc and opportunistic than that. I've always suspected that what we call "al-Qaeda" is really just the most prominent node in an emerging, loosely confederated network of insurgent anti-imperialist/anti-US cells the world over. If you want a more American frame of reference, say that they are one venture capital firm in a growing industry, rather than a company.

[...]

I bring this up now because of a very interesting and little-noted interview with Syrian President Bashar Assad that appeared the other day at the GOPUSA site. Assad had this to say on the subject of al-Qaeda:

"Is there really an entity called al Qaeda? It was in Afghanistan, but is it there anymore?" Assad asked....

"We blame everything on al Qaeda but what happened is more dangerous than bin Laden or al Qaeda. We're talking about a certain ideological bloc. The issue is ideology, it's not an issue of organizations," Assad said regarding the recent terror attacks in Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

"Such an ideology cannot live without a certain social base. It has to convince people and strengthen its presence. Dealing with this issue should be through a social approach not through security," he added. [Rest of this interview] [Full BushWars post]


Iraqi military casualties

Tuesday, May 27, 2003


The importance of the GMO issue
I wrote a little discourse on why Genetically Modified foods are related to the anti-war movement in a broad sense, or at least related to the neo-conservative agenda for greater global power. It was in response to an email conversation within the Reno Anti War Coalition.

The primary push for GM foods has little to do with "progress" and is instead another push for privatization. If you can patent it, you can own it and charge people for it. Monsanto has sued farmers who weren't using GMO crops but whose corn was polluted by neighboring fields. Other companies have patented basmati rice (it's been around for centuries and is the collective product of thousands of Indian farmers, and suddenly a company says "you've gotta pay for it" because they have the lawyers and scientists to file a patent!). This isn't progress, this is abuse of economic power.

Bush&Co use the "you guys are keeping people starving in Africa" argument to hammer at GMO opponents, but then they refuse requests by Zamiba (I think it was) to mill GMO corn so that it wouldn't be planted (thereby risking their access to the European markets). It was either take the seeds and become a GMO country or get no food aid from the U.S.

Yes, there is this crazy trade war between Europe and the U.S., and as usual, third world countries are caught in the middle.

So, my biggest concern with GMO is not that there will be an ecological catastrophe. No, the biggest concern is that it is being used to monopolize yet another resource, putting the minority into power. It's been happening since they privatized the commons in Britain in the 1800s and forced poorer people onto small parcels of land, or into the factories.

[...]

My #1 scientific concern:

Do you know HOW transgenes are put into plants? They are inserted using viral DNA. The Cauliflower Mosaic Virus (CaMV) is used. Why? Two reasons. 1) CaMV is able to cut into host DNA. 2) Once your genes of choice are inserted, CaMV makes them be expressed more strongly (the trait you want is amplified).

Why is this scary? The genetic sequence that lets CaMV cut DNA *stays* in the organism. Could it cause shuffling on the DNA? WE DON'T KNOW. WE ARE ONLY JUST LEARNING ABOUT THE MOLECULAR MECHANISMS BY WHICH THE CaMV RECOMBINATION HOTSPOT WORKS, AND THUS HOW GENES ACTUALLY ARE INSERTED. Maybe it's okay. But it's silly to go spewing this stuff into our genetic heritage without looking into it. Because once it gets into our population of food crops, you can't get it out. [More here]


Black box voting
How many poisons in your body? (via ProRev)
In a study led by Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, in collaboration with the Environmental Working Group and Commonweal, researchers at two major laboratories found an average of 91 industrial compounds, pollutants, and other chemicals in the blood and urine of nine volunteers, with a total of 167 chemicals found in the group. Like most of us, the people tested do not work with chemicals on the job and do not live near an industrial facility.

Scientists refer to this contamination as a person’s body burden. Of the 167 chemicals found, 76 cause cancer in humans or animals, 94 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 79 cause birth defects or abnormal development. The dangers of exposure to these chemicals in combination has never been studied.


THREE TRAIN WRECKS ALL AT ONCE


1) It's the Media, Stupid! (Save Democracy. Stop the FCC from letting media giants get bigger, go here!)


2) A Must Read Krugman Reality Check About the Tax Cuts
"The lunatics are now in charge of the asylum." So wrote the normally staid Financial Times, traditionally the voice of solid British business opinion, when surveying last week's tax bill. Indeed, the legislation is doubly absurd: the gimmicks used to make an $800-billion-plus tax cut carry an official price tag of only $320 billion are a joke, yet the cost without the gimmicks is so large that the nation can't possibly afford it while keeping its other promises.

But then maybe that's the point. The Financial Times suggests that "more extreme Republicans" actually want a fiscal train wreck. [More]


3) Bush on the 'Brink of Catastrophe' in Iraq, says Senior Republican
THE most senior Republican authority on foreign relations in Congress has warned President Bush that the United States is on the brink of catastrophe in Iraq.
Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that Washington was in danger of creating “an incubator for terrorist cells and activity” unless it increased the scope and cost of its reconstruction efforts. He said that more troops, billions more dollars and a longer commitment were needed if the US were not to throw away the peace.

Mr Lugar’s warning came as it emerged that the CIA has launched a review of its pre-war intelligence on Iraq to check if the US exaggerated the threats posed by Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. The review is intended to determine if the Pentagon manipulated the assessment of intelligence material for political ends.


Republican attack on the rules
Fascism Alert? Youth trust our military.

Monday, May 26, 2003


Old 1950's flick on Social Class in America
Just found this and wanted it bookmarked. It's a 15 minute Social Studies film. Note the absence of non-whites. Part of a fascinating Prelinger Archive and the internet archive.

Check this one out, too: The War We Are In, Part Two: Communism vs. Capitalism. Listen to this guy talk about the Soviet Union's notion that Peace = War. Compare it to our nation's current policy.

Then look at this 1958 propaganda film by Amoco about their operations in Saudi Arabia. I wrote a review, which you can read at that link. I transcribed part of the script:

Now that the risks have been taken. Now that the pioneering has been done, the way is open for other American companies to come into the Middle East and join in developing its resources for the benefit of its people and for the world. A guiding principle in our Amoco's venture has been the belief that foreign capital cannot justify its presence in any land unless it operates in the interests of that land. Fully vindicating that principle has been the mutual trust and goodwill that has grown up between the American oilman and the Saudi Arab Government.

Compare that glorious optimism with an unemployment rate that is around 30% right now. Then read this slice of a book by Eliyahu Kanovsky, published in 1997:

"A report in The Financial Times [Financial Times (11 July 1996).] states that the annual allocation from the treasury to five thousand Saudi princes is $8 billion, absorbing about one fifth of Saudi Arabia's annual oil export revenues. In other words, the extended royal family, and others close to the royal family, continue to enjoy very high incomes, while many or most Saudis are suffering from declining living standards. [Remember that trust between the oilmen and the Saudi Arabian government? --NG] The report quotes an unnamed ‘senior government official’ to the effect that ‘most of the extremists... now come from poor families.’ Presumably they are recruited by organizations opposing the regime, including those responsible for the bombing of the American bases in Saudi Arabia in November 1995 and in June 1996."


Friday, May 23, 2003


I'm joining the Ring of conscience. I will put a permanent link up when I revamp this page.


<< < Conscience > >>


Mad Cow Disease in North America
A friend of mine works in a San Francisco lab studying Mad Cow Disease. She said that it's really scary what a low percentage of our cattle are tested for it. Howard Lyman, ex-cowboy who turned vegan crusader, talks about the cows that die suddenly and then get processed without autopsy. I thought he was something of a looney until I read his book--not so looney.


Fox News would rather that you risk death than let the food industry incur loss of profits -- My report about this article from Steven Milloy

Milloy's claim, published in Fox News: Because a link between Mad Cow in Britain hasn't been completely, mechanistically tied to the outbreak of human wasting disease that occured there, there should't be "even the slightest concern about the safety of Canadian beef."

This is wrong.

Within science, there is always a need for skepticism, even of conclusions that scientists are fairly certain are correct . However, when it comes to policy, it is fitting to follow a course guided by a combination of a) the best conclusions or guesses we can draw now and b) precautions against serious and devastating results. There is a very strong circumstantial case to be made that Mad Cow in England was tied to the outbreak of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans in that country. I have read articles which make the case for interspecies communicability of these wasting diseases.

So, skepticism is a necessary and integral part of science. It's everywhere within science--just because scientists are still questioning the validity of current conclusions is by no means an indication that those conclusions are baseless. Often, they have a strong basis, but by questioning them, conclusions and future studies can be made to be even stronger and rule out less doubts and uncertainty.


But there are growing efforts to distort this healthy skepticism. Industry hacks use it to create a vicious rhetoric of denial. I've
Notice the language here: "Venters challenged the biological plausibility of BSE causing nvCJD since there is no direct evidence that the vehicle of BSE infection -- a special protein called a prion -- is infectious to humans."

Venters is probably a reasonable scientist who is pushing other scientists not to be lazy--he is challanging their conclusions. Or maybe he's on the payroll of the beef industry. Either way, it's probably legitimate science. But the interpretation by Fox News here is bullshit: they imply that "lack of direct evidence" is indicates implausbility. Here's a nearly equivalent construction: "I lack direct evidence that people are having sex in China right now. Therefore I challenge the plausibility that anyone is."

Indirect evidence can be damning. Look here for circumstantial evidence that venison caused wasting disease in hunters. Three men from the same group got wasting brain diseases. Two had Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) and the third "was believed to have died of Pick's disease, a somewhat more common neurological disorder that can be diagnosed in error when the true culprit is CJD." The overall incidence of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is about 1 in a million. The article states that, "as many as 100 men may have taken part in the wild game feeds at the Brule River cabin." If one of the hunters had the disease, the chance that another one of them would get it is about 1 in 10,000. If the third guy also had CJD, the chances of that are about 1 in 100 million. There are similar articles making the connection between eating squirrel brains and getting CJD.

But this isn't the only kind of evidence that Fox's commentator denies. Check out this press release from the University of California San Francisco entitled "Data establishes link between "mad cow" disease, human brain disorder". This article conclusively shows that prions can transmit brain-wasting disease across species (from cows to mice and from humans to mice). It gives further evidence that the prion causing Mad Cow Disease and CJD are one and the same (the course of illness of mice affected by prions of both species is the same). In completely dismiss this evidence, is Milloy saying that the only way to acceptably show a link between Mad Cow Disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in humans is to inject humans with prions from an affected cow and see if they get sick? This would provide the "direct evidence" that Milloy and Fox News are looking for. Perhaps Mr. Milloy would volunteer?

Looking further at Milloy's article:



Check out these three paragraphs in full:

Venters challenged the biological plausibility of BSE causing nvCJD since there is no direct evidence that the vehicle of BSE infection -- a special protein called a prion -- is infectious to humans. Nor is there direct evidence that BSE prions survive cooking, digestion and the human immune system.

Venters points out that the clinical features and pathology of nvCJD are similar to kuru, a prion disease found in Papua New Guinea and spread by cannibalism. The differences in pathology between kuru and nvCJD, says Venters, may be more of degree than kind since nvCJD patients tend to live longer because they get better medical care.

If nvCJD is not a novel disease, then it can’t be tied back to BSE-infected meat from the 1986 mad cow epidemic.

Logical error #1: Claim that lack of direct evidence equals implausibility (discussed above).


Complete lie: Take the statement, "If nvCJD is not a novel disease, then it can’t be tied back to BSE-infected meat from the 1986 mad cow epidemic." This is entirely wrong. nvCJD could be the same disease with just a new mechanism of transmission--from cow to human.


Fittingly enough, Milloy, who is affiliated with the Cato Institute, is also the author of JunkScience.com He is, of course, refering to the targets of his criticism, but the name more aptly applies to his own work, as he surely knows.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Monday, May 19, 2003

Sunday, May 18, 2003


Howard Dean -- in Seattle's Stranger

Howard Dean is the ultimate muscular Democrat. He's not afraid to take on George W. Bush, and in the process Dean is reminding Dems what it feels like to have a spine. But can he win?

Blowback in Riyadh

BBC on secret Bilderberg meeting

Friday, May 16, 2003


The FCC's Big Power Grab:


Making Media Monopoly Part of the Constitution --Robert McChesney


The Federal Communications Commission is poised to vote on June 2 to relax several longstanding media ownership rules. By nearly all accounts it will lead to a wave of media mergers and market consolidation that is unprecedented in U.S. history. In my view, such moves would be a disaster for our society.

[...]

The best way to grasp how the communications law was passed is to imagine the classic scene from The Godfather II, when Hyman Roth, Michael Corleone and several other American gangsters meet on a rooftop in Havana to divide up the island between them in pre-Castro Cuba. They do so by ceremoniously each taking a slice of a cake with the outline of Cuba on it, and while they are doing this, Hyman Roth intones, "Isn't it great to be in a country with a government that believes in a partnership with private enterprise." The 1996 Telecom Act was drafted on that proverbial rooftop, only instead of mob families there were trade associations like the National Association of Broadcasters and corporations like News Corporation and Viacom. The public played no role in the Telecom Act, and it received virtually no news media coverage, except in the business and trade press where it was covered as an issue of importance to owners and investors, not citizens in a democracy. The powerful lobbies--much like Roth and Corleone--were duking it out with each other for the largest slice of the cake, but they all agreed that the public had no right to participate in the process. It was their cake.

[...]

What has happened in radio is about to be visited on the balance of the media system. We know what many of you are thinking -- "hey, the media system sucks, it can't get any worse." But one look at radio should tell you otherwise. It can get worse, much worse. And it will, unless we stop the FCC. Moreover, the political power these ever larger media firms will accrue, will make any prospective media reform down the road that much more difficult. [Full article here]


ACT NOW TO STOP MEDIA CONSOLIDATION! CLICK HERE!!


Don't let the FCC's rule changes go through!


The public--to the extent they know about these changes--is against them. (Fewer than one percent of public comments received by the FCC support loosening media ownership restrictions. Speakers at a public hearing in S.F. unanimouslyopposed the changes)

Academics are against them,

Musicians are against them, and empirical evidence why,

Small Businesses are against them,

Consumer Reports is against them, [40 page .PDF] and here

Republican and Democratic Senators are concerned about the FCC's process and the lack of public awareness and involvement.

Even the guy who launched the Fox Network says the television industry needs "more regulation, not less" (!!!)


More articles:


Some Lawmakers balking

Senator Dorgan asked Frank Blethen, publisher of The Seattle Times, what he thought would happen if the expected deregulation of ownership rules went through.

"I think we will see the beginning of the end of democracy," Blethen replied. “It’s going to be a sad day for America if that happens.”


New York Indymedia: Media Ownership Rules in Serious Jeopardy

ESPmagazine: Media For Sale

Independent Newsdesk: Coverage of the S.F. public hearings (No networks showed up to cover the event!)
The public hearing, sponsored by San Francisco advocacy group Media Alliance, the University of San Francisco, Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley, drew a passionate, over-capacity audience that expressed anger over the prospect of media-industry deregulation.

AUDIO: Testemony at S.F. hearing from 1) a radio employee and 2) Yours truly

The Guardian: One US, one market, one media mogul


"The Internet is dying"

Lessig is mobilizing against the FCC's relaxation of media controls which will leave most of the United States' professional media outlets in the hands of a tiny number of owners.

"When the content layer, the logical layer, and the physical layer are all effectively owned by a handful of companies, free of any requirements of neutrality or openness, what will you ask then?"


Friedman: A horrible epidemic that I've never heard about which affects women of poor countries

Krugman: Bush's failure to make us safer

What is Bilderberg?


Add it to the list of meetings where the rich and powerful make decisions behind closed doors. More here.

A letter from a Bilderberg attendee (organizer?):
Thank you very much for your recent letter. This year's Bilderberg Meeting is being held at Versailles in France, but I am afraid it is not open to the public. The whole point of the meetings is that they are informal and relaxed exchanges of views between politicians and businessmen, who can talk to each other without being on the record or reported publicly.

A comment about Bilderberg:
The lower echelons of the ruling class are being told right now that the world is facing total financial meltdown. The only way to save their hard earned investments, they are told, is to throw their weight behind this global crisis centred around the Middle East to replace the time-expired East-West cold war crisis.

Iraqis have no Second Amendment: turn in your guns or be arrested

Iraqi POWs 'tortured by British and Americans'

George W. Bush's resume

Getting back at telemarketers.

Faking Jessica Lynch's "rescue": The BBC on some SERIOUS DOG-WAGGING (via PropagandaMatrix)
"It was like a Hollywood film. They cried 'go, go, go', with guns and blanks without bullets, blanks and the sound of explosions. They made a show for the American attack on the hospital - action movies like Sylvester Stallone or Jackie Chan."

There was one more twist. Two days before the snatch squad arrived, Harith had arranged to deliver Jessica to the Americans in an ambulance.

But as the ambulance, with Private Lynch inside, approached a checkpoint American troops opened fire, forcing it to flee back to the hospital. The Americans had almost killed their prize catch.

So you don't think they would, like, fake finding WMD or anything like that, would you?
UPDATE:Now Ari Fleischer implies that the BBC is a tabloid.

UPDATE #2: A contrary view from Instapundit, and another [neither of which address the claims that Lynch was never shot or stabbed, contrary to earlier reporting.] This one says that those injuries were later retracted by news agencies. I don't know... wasn't watching her story particularly closely. Here is the CNNPentagon line.


National Security Archive may get exemptions from Freedom of Information Act requests in sneaky amendment

Salam Pax is back! -- Iraqi perspective from Baghdad.



Wednesday, May 14, 2003


Some of the FCC proposed changes have gotten out to media


The proposed plan has not been made public by the agency, although large parts of it have been reported by the news media and industry analysts. [Not really true. It's 200 pages long and was released to the commissioners just a day or days ago.--N.]

One change would permit the same company to own both a broadcast station and a newspaper in all but the smallest markets. A second would enable a company to own as many as three television stations in the largest markets; the current limit is two. And a third change would increase the television ownership cap to 45 percent of the nation's viewers from 35 percent. Because the commission will preserve the formula that discounts the way it counts viewers of UHF stations, the change will effectively permit a network to own stations that reach up to 90 percent of the nation's viewers. [N.Y. Times]

N.Y. Post: TWO FCC DEMS SEEK DELAY IN VOTE ON OWNERSHIP CAPS


N.Y. Times: F.C.C. Vote on Media Ownership Unlikely to Be Delayed


Send Comment to the FCC NOW at www.fcc.gov/ownership


Learn why this is one of the most important issues we are facing as a democracy, and to make comments to your senators, go to:
http://www.mediareform.net/



Thanks!


Security chiefs worry about police state

Chief security officers (CSOs) and senior security executives are worried that the United States could be on its way to becoming a police state, according to a poll released Monday by CSO magazine.

When considering the impacts of Patriot Acts I and II, nearly a third of respondents (31 percent) say the United States is in jeopardy of becoming a police state.

Pax Romana v. Pax Americana

Plan to allow CIA/military to spy on Americans almost sneaks in under the radar


These links brought to you by the site of the day: .,-=/PROPAGANDA MATRIX\=-,.


NYTimes: "They are going to start shooting a few looters so that the word gets around"--official attending meeting with Bremer.

United States military forces in Iraq will have the authority to shoot looters on sight under a tough new security setup that will include hiring more police officers and banning ranking members of the Baath Party from public service, American officials said today.

Why, oh, why, does my country go to extremes? Imagine how it feels to be one of the U.S. soldiers given that order. You've been watching people steal shit for weeks. Everybody is doing it. Now you're supposed to just start shooting at people, "so the word gets around." Law and order in an occupied country. Way to build positive relations.

Not the only mass graves
Gnarly, gnarly stuff. I think about the families that are trying to find some identifying token amongst all of the dead bodies. It reminds me of the graves in Guatemala. Pain that's never been really dealt with.


It's important to remember that we were complicit in these deaths. Bush #1 encouraged these people to rebel against Saddam Hussein and then left them to be slaughtered.


And think, too, of the thousands of nameless Iraqi soldiers who were bulldozed into the sand in 1991. There was a Guardian article about the tanks with bulldozer attachments that were used to roll right over enemy positions. Who was buried alive?

Tuesday, May 13, 2003


Congress moves to back tactical nukes

"We have tried for 50-plus years to make these weapons unthinkable, and now we're talking about giving them a tactical application - it's a dangerous departure." --Democratic Senator Jack Reed


What Bin Laden Wants
Agreeing With Bin Laden, By Paul Recher

Though I am utterly opposed to his methodology, I am in total support of Bin Laden’s three demands on the U$A.

One is to end the bombing of Iraq. For eleven years, Britain and the U$A, without UN mandate, have been bombing Iraq. This deliberate, continued bombing of water and sewerage infrastructure has resulted in the needless death of over 500,000 Iraqi children (UNICEF). In 1990, there were zero cases of cholera per 100,000. Today the figure is more than 1400 people getting cholera per 100,000 and that’s only the cholera.

Two is for the U$A to take a more even-handed approach in the Israeli / Palestinian crisis. A good starting point would be getting behind UN resolution 241 which Israel blatantly disregards. UN resolution 241 calls upon Israel to get their collective ass out of the occupied ‘territories’. Instead, Israel continues to usurp land from the Palestinians imprisoning them in their own homes.

If the U$A and her coalition of the willing, can invade Iraq for defying a UN resolution without UN support, then isn’t it logical, consistent and fair for a coalition of Russia, Libya, France to invade Israel, remove Sharon, and replace him with someone more willing?

Three is for the infidels to leave the Holy Land meaning get the U$A military out of Saudi Arabia. It is anathema to orthodox Moslems that infidels are on holy soil.

Bin laden is not pro-active. He is reactive. Based on his own statements that if the U$A adhered to the three reasonable demands above, the Al-Qaeda threat would go away. On 12/11/02 he is reported saying, "The road to safety begins by ending the aggression. Reciprocal treatment is part of justice. The incidents that have taken place ... are only reactions and reciprocal actions. "

The news media misrepresented the above. The AOL headline was "Bin Laden vows to attack." Not exactly a neutral, truthful interpretation of his words.

Bin Laden gets treated as if he is an unyielding recalcitrant. In fact, what he says has always been couched in conditional terminology. To whit, all the media outlets reported this Binny statement 12/10/02: "By God, the youths of God are preparing for you things that would fill your hearts with terror and target your economic lifeline, until you stop your oppression and aggression against Muslims."

They all omitted the last line: "So let America increase the pace of this conflict or decrease it, and we will respond in kind." [More]

Reasonable demands. I don't think it was just limited to that list. But what if we actively looked toward the reasons why people wanted to die just to kill us? There are reasons. Not just nonsensical ones, either. As Ani Difranco said, we've got this punk frat boy leading us down a path of perpetual retribution. Are we going to stand for this? Here's Mr. Cheney's path to world peace, from today's nytimes:
The only way to deal with this threat ultimately is to destroy it. There's no treaty can solve this problem. There's no peace agreement, no policy of containment or deterrence that works to deal with this threat. We have to go find the terrorists.



The Christian Science Monitor's Reponse to the Latest Terrorist Attacks

Americans are stuck in the middle of what is essentially a civil war - a monarchy vs. Mr. bin Laden's drive for an Islamic state - because of their dependency on the largest oil reserves in the world.

[...]

[D]espite its oil wealth, [Saudi Arabia is] unable to create enough desirable jobs for a population that has doubled to 23 million during the past two decades.


al-Qaeda's warnings

MoveOn's Television Ad Criticizing Tax Cuts is Censored

U.S. Censors Iraqi TV


"...I think we violated the Geneva Convention." -- U.S. Soldier
Arab News: Horrors of War Haunt US Soldiers in Iraq

“I’ve seen some terrible things — tanks rolling over bodies, corpses of civilians... Even if I’m one of the only ones who thinks it, I think we violated the Geneva Convention,” said one Third Infantry soldier with a maintenance unit who asked not to be named, referring to the internationally accepted rules of war.


Krugman: Horsetrading between the Media and the Government

But we do have a system in which the major media companies have strong incentives to present the news in a way that pleases the party in power, and no incentive not to.

Monday, May 12, 2003

Sunday, May 11, 2003


Frustrated, U.S. Arms Team to Leave Iraq


Task Force Unable To Find Any Weapons -- Washington Post


The group directing all known U.S. search efforts for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is winding down operations without finding proof that President Saddam Hussein kept clandestine stocks of outlawed arms, according to participants.

The 75th Exploitation Task Force, as the group is formally known, has been described from the start as the principal component of the U.S. plan to discover and display forbidden Iraqi weapons. The group's departure, expected next month, marks a milestone in frustration for a major declared objective of the war.

UPDATE: WMD Found -- Near Baltimore
US Army Patents Biological Weapons Delivery System,
Violates Bioweapons Convention


Chaos and Violence Still Reign in Baghdad --The Daily Telegraph


More than a month after the fall of Baghdad, the city still has no authority - no mayor and practically no police on the streets - while looters continue to pillage government buildings and honest folk keep their daughters at home for fear they will be abducted by armed thugs.

Chaos on the streets, cholera in the city and killings in broad daylight --The Independent (mirrored here by CommonDreams)
Looters searching for construction materials have been shovelling away at the ground at Abu Ghraib prison alongside relatives digging for the bodies of those hanged by Saddam's executioners. Armed gangs compete for bounty, shooting and stabbing their rivals. Gunfire has become as much a feature of occupied Baghdad as the piles of rotting rubbish that now cover the entire city.


Meet the new proconsul, Bremer


Totalitarianism in the U.S.A. Wolin in The Nation earlier this month

In ceasing to be a genuine opposition party the Democrats have smoothed the road to power of a party more than eager to use it to promote empire abroad and corporate power at home. Bear in mind that a ruthless, ideologically driven party with a mass base was a crucial element in all of the twentieth-century regimes seeking total power.


U.S. Dept. of Energy shells out hush money to silence critics of Yucca Mountain safety
Yucca Mountain Project contractors have paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle actions brought by fired employees who were concerned about quality assurance at the proposed nuclear waste burial site.

One of the settlements was for nearly $300,000, according to documents obtained through a Review-Journal Freedom of Information Act request. The other, made in February, was for an undisclosed amount of money.

But a lead auditor for a contractor on the project estimated the total amount of money spent in the cases to be "millions." Documents indicate a large portion would have come from the coffers of the Department of Energy, which wants to entomb 77,000 tons of high level nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Bill passes targeting rave scene -- Could it affect Burning Man? Info page here, Salon article here
The bill broadens the scope of an existing federal law, known as the Crack House Act, which gives the federal government authority to criminally prosecute owners of properties in which drug use and distribution occurs. The new legislation authorizes federal prosecution of organizers or promoters of one-time events, such as circuit parties or rave events, in which alleged drug use or distribution occurs. The bill also allows federal authorities to file civil charges against event promoters who allegedly allow drug activity at their events.

Critics have said the civil offense clause in the bill could be used to bankrupt promoters because they could be ordered to pay a $250,000 fine for each charge filed against them. Civil charges require a lower threshold of evidence than criminal charges, making it easier for prosecutors to obtain a conviction.


Wednesday, May 07, 2003


Outbreak of Cholera in Iraq


"An outbreak of cholera, affecting probably several hundreds of people, is occurring,'' said WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib.

This is about Basra. They say nothing about the cases feared in Baghdad. Doctors there said they suspected hundreds of cases, but had no lab equipment for testing, according to this AP article (about a week old).

UPDATE: in a May 9 article from the U.N. News Center, the WHO said, "Due to the current security situation and difficulties experienced in restoring safe water supplies to the population, a larger cholera epidemic is predicted."

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Monday, May 05, 2003


Public must tune into potential media changes --Oakland Tribune


Did you know that in just one month the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to make major changes in the rules governing media ownership? Were you aware that if the changes go through it would lead to further consolidation of media outlets and the reduction of the diversity of voices?
If you didn't, you aren't alone. According to a poll conducted in late February, 72 percent of those surveyed had ``heard nothing at all'' about the proposed changes. Those results reflect a stunning lack of public awareness of an issue of tremendous public importance.

The changes would relax the limits on ownership of multiple radio stations, allow two major television networks to merge, allow a company to merge a television station, radio station and newspaper in the same market and allow one company to own a television station and newspaper or a television and radio station in the same market.


Friday, May 02, 2003


UPI: Pentagon: Tribunals to include gag rule

The Pentagon plans to impose a permanent gag order on attorneys who defend alleged terrorists or "enemy combatants" before any U.S. military tribunals, senior defense officials said Friday. All statements and information about the trials will be made through the Pentagon spokesman's office.
Reuters article on subject.

How male or female is your brain?

Thursday, May 01, 2003

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