The Original American Malcontent

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Challenging Empires

Here's a link to Challenging Empires - it's worth the read.

A committed but critical anthology of essays on the theory and practice of the Forum, with essays by wo/men from many parts of the world, with many different points of view. This online version is abbreviated from the printed original, published by Viveka, New Delhi. This is so that it might provide a taster for the print version (with its extensive Documents and Resources) rather than an alternative to it. Copyright rests first with the Editors and Authors. Further requests for information to Jai Sen, jai.sen@vsnl.com. For copies of the book itself, approach Viveka Foundation: 25-C DDA Flats, Shahpurjat, New Delhi 110 049, India, Tel: 91-11-2649 2473 / 2649 7586, india@vivekafoundation.org, viveka4@vsnl.com

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Alien and Sedition Acts


    In the summer of 1798, the Federalists, under John Adams, were in political control of the United States. Still, there remained many politically active Republicans, which the Federalist party considered a threat. So, in order to crush political dissent, the party's majority in Congress passed a group of bills known collectively as the Alien and Sedition Acts.

    http://www.usahistory.com/essays/essay009.htm
    These laws were eventually overturned because they violated the U.S. Constitution,  this should give us hope that eventually clarity and common sense will prevail and we will be able to undo the Patriot Act and the expanded powers of the Federal government, thereby returning to at least the illusion of Liberty.



Bush Still Sucks

Osama Made Me Do It
Harold Meyerson
So let’s try to get this straight. We invaded Iraq because Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, except he didn’t, and because he was tied in to the attacks of September 11, except he wasn’t. We’re staying in Iraq, President Bush said Tuesday night, because terrorists with the same ideology as those behind 9-11 have congregated there since we arrived.

15 Things Learned About Bush&Co.: An Impeachment List.

Bernard Weiner
Here's a list of just 15 of the Bush Administration's most egregious misbehaviors, misadventures, misdemeanors & high crimes -- many of which could be used for impeachment purposes. Read 'em and weep at what our country has come to.

Bush Says US Seeks to Eliminate Torture Worldwide

Reuters
In an Alice in Wonderland moment, George Bush claimed he is committed to the worldwide elimination of torture, and to the rule of law. As usual, Bush is in denial about the systematic torture carried out by his administration in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, and myriad secret CIA prisons around the world, in violation of both US and international law.

But then there’s this…

USA Reported to Have Confirmed Torture
Le Nouvel Observateur
According to a UN official, the United States has acknowledged cases of torture inflicted on prisoners in Afghanistan, in Iraq and at Guantánamo.

The Bush administration's environmental record

Open-Content project managed by League of Conservation Voters, Margie Roswell, Derek Mitchell
Her’s a nice little timeline of Bush’s environmental record put together by the Center for Cooperative research

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Talabani denies Iraq role in US talks with rebels

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani denied that Iraq had a role in US talks with insurgent leaders, insisting they were strictly a US affair despite Washington's claims it was acting only as a facilitator.

U.S. Has Plans to Again Make Own Plutonium

The Bush administration is planning the government's first production of plutonium 238 since the cold war, stirring debate over the risks and benefits of the deadly material. The substance, valued as a power source, is so radioactive that a speck can cause cancer.

In Italy, Anger at U.S. Tactics Colors Spy Case
The Italian warrants - requested by Milanese prosecutors after two years of investigations - accuse 13 people identified as American C.I.A. officers and operatives of illegally abducting Mr. Nasr from a Milan street and flying him to Egypt for questioning. The whereabouts of the 13 are unknown, but the charges are criminal. If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of 10 years and 8 months in prison.
Hmmm – we don’t have any clue where the 13 spooks are? Really? We can find a dingleberry on a rabbits ass with satellites and we don’t know where 13 operatives are – isn’t that a threat? What if they went rogue? Which they probably did – plausable deniability right? – too bad that never works in court – ignorance of the law I’m often told is not an excuse for breaking it.

Keeping it Simple, Stupid

Stephen Pizzo
Virtually all of George W.'s behavior in office can be explained by one single event: being saved. Complexity had driven George to drink. In simplicity he found peace, self-confidence and salvation.

Just Say Noruba

Arianna Huffington
Here are the number of news segments that mention these stories: (from a search of the main news networks' transcripts from May 1-June 20).
-- ABC News: "Downing Street Memo": 0 segments; "Natalee Holloway": 42 segments; "Michael Jackson": 121 segments.
-- CBS News: "Downing Street Memo": 0 segments; "Natalee Holloway": 70 segments; "Michael Jackson": 235 segments.
-- NBC News: "Downing Street Memo": 6 segments; "Natalee Holloway": 62 segments; "Michael Jackson": 109 segments.
-- CNN: "Downing Street Memo": 30 segments; "Natalee Holloway": 294 segments; "Michael Jackson": 633 segments.
-- Fox News: "Downing Street Memo": 10 segments; "Natalee Holloway": 148 segments; Michael Jackson": 286 segments.
MSNBC: "Downing Street Memo": 10 segments; "Natalee Holloway": 30 segments; "Michael Jackson": 106 segments

Bloggers Fighting Government Regulations
(AP) Bloggers who built their Internet followings with anti-establishment prose are now lobbying the establishment to protect their livelihoods from federal regulations.

The Scream
The Israeli Army has staretd using an allegedly non leathal weapon dubbed “The Scream” which emites an a loud unpleasant noise that causes dizziness and and nausea.
Lovely – I can’t wait until they use that on us here. What hasn’t been studied is the possible long term effects of this weapon – perhaps deafness, maybe nerve damage.I suppose I should be happy that it’s non-lethal, but you know I’m not very happy with anything designed to fuck with people and hamper their efforts to redress their grievances. Although the thought of pointing a dizzying vomit maker at the white house is appealing.

We Are All Insurgents

I keep hearing the word insurgent to describe the people fighting the US in Iraq - I thought it was strange - they aren't terrorists anymore, nor are they patriots, freedom fighters, rebels, guerillas, enemy combatants or even soldiers - (although they are sometimes called suicide bombers, but not martyrs willing to give their lives on a moments notice for the love of their god - as silly as that is.) So what does that mean?

Insurgent

1.Rising in revolt against an established authority, especially a government.
2.Rebelling against the leadership of a political party
3.One who is insurgent.

So by this definition, all of us who oppose the leadership of the Republican party are indeed insurgents and those who opposed Clinton when he was in office are also insurgents, those who oppose the Green party and the Socialists are also insurgents. Adams, Jefferson, Paine, Washington, Franklin - all insurgents.

Definition 1 gives me pause - Just exactly who is the established authority - the puppet regime that we cant trust to handle it's own military or intelligence community, or is it the United States?

Friday, June 24, 2005

Dear Mr. McAuley:
Thank you for writing me about the "Downing
Street" memo, which recently surfaced in Great Britain.
The document was written by British national security
aide Matthew Rycroft based on notes he took during a
July 2002 meeting of Mr. Blair and his advisers,
including Richard Dearlove, the head of Britain's MI-6
intelligence service who had recently met with Bush
administration officials.
Please know that the Senate vote on the resolution
to authorize the use of force in Iraq was difficult and
consequential based on hours of intelligence briefings
from Administration and intelligence officials, as well as
the classified and unclassified versions of an important
National Intelligence Estimate that comprehensively
assessed Iraq's WMD program. It was based on trust that
this intelligence was the best our Nation's intelligence
services could offer, untainted by bias, and fairly
presented. In this case it was not.
The bottom line is that Iraq did not possess
nuclear, chemical or biological weapons in 2003 when
the war began. Saddam Hussein did not have an active
nuclear, chemical or biological weapons program.
Considering the statements that were being made by the
Administration, and the intelligence that was presented to
Congress which said otherwise, this is quite disturbing
and points once again to failures in the analysis,
collection and use of intelligence.
In order to address these intelligence failures,
Congress passed the Intelligence Reform bill, which I
voted for. This law will make consequential changes to
the structure and organization of the 15 agencies which
make up our intelligence capabilities. As a member of the
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I will be sure to
continue to monitor this issue closely.
Again, thank you for writing. I hope you will
continue to keep me informed of your views and
concerns. If you should have any further questions or
comments, please do not hesitate to call my Washington,
D.C. staff at (202) 224-3841, or visit my website at
http://feinstein.senate.gov.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

BOTSWANA: Bushmen case enters second round

UN office for the coordination of human affairs
GABORONE, 9 May 2005 (IRIN) - An application by 243 San Bushmen to overturn the Botswana government's decision to resettle them outside the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), which they claim as their ancestral land, began its second round on Monday.

What the article fails to mention is the the Bushmen are being
removed from their ancestral lands to facilitate diamond prospecting by the diamond company the De Beers group, that has been exploiting the worlds diamond resources since 1888. The Botswanan government which has been described as having a relationship with the De Beers Group like that of Siamese Twins has stated that if diamond are found, they will be extracted regardless of whether or not they are on a national preserve.

This fight is extremely important as are others in the world, where indigeonous peoples are being removed from their lands and traditional lifestyles for the sake of profit. If self determination and sovereignity are to be valued as well as the concept of preserving traditional low impact lifestyles and cultures, something must be done to stop this virtual genocide. I call this genocide because for as long as the Bushmen have existed, they have lived where they are, near the graves of their ancestors, they have lived the same way for over 10 thousand years and now, without access to their lands and the abiltiy to hunt and forage in their traditional style, they have fallen into alcohol abuse out of boredom and the AIDS rate is rising. For a culture to survive for so long, simply to be decimated by the machinery of capitalism is a crime that cannot be excused. Like the original peoples of the United States, these original peoples are being raped of their culture, their dignity and their means of survival. Once their culture is gone, it will be gone forvever. Well maybe, the Botswanan government will eventually let them build some casinos.


The US Ambassador to Botswana can be reached at:
Ambassador Joseph HUGGINS embassy: address NA, Gaborone mailing address: Embassy Enclave, P. O. Box 90, Gaborone telephone: [267] 353982 FAX: [267] 312782

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Romney's Spy Center



Proof Of Deception, Not Intention

David Corn
I'm obsessed with the Downing Street memos. Now, I don't want to come across as a cranky lefty who waves these memos about and calls for the impeachment of George W. Bush. But I've recently appeared on several TV and radio shows and have encountered mainstream media people who dismiss the memos as nothing new. And this is getting me angry. I expect conservatives who back Bush and his war in Iraq to try to spin these documents away. They're merely following the deny-reality strategy that has worked so well for their man in the White House. It's the non-ideologues who say the memos are no big deal who get me riled.

EPA's Environmental Report Leaves Out Global Warming

The EPA's report on the state of the environment completely ignores the dangers of global warming. The Bush administration deleted passages identifying global warming as a threat to the environment and public health and put hazy language in place of the National Academy of Sciences study that shows that human activities are driving global warming.

Amnesty International refuses to retract torture charges against US

Barry Grey
In the face of denunciations and slanders from top Bush administration officials, Amnesty International has refused to back down on charges of US-sanctioned torture in its annual report for 2004, issued May 25.


How Walter Jones Grew a Conscience

Jan Frel
After some soul-searching about the war in Iraq, the North Carolina congressman made one of the most staggering political about-faces seen in Washington since George W. Bush took office.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Corporate Connections
The ties that bind the Bush’s cabinet and advisors

Bush Family Values Photo AlbumFor more than a half century, members of the Bush family have been setting policy and making decisions for all Americans. Let's look at the family that has had such an impact on the lives of human beings worldwide

Bush-Linked Company Handled Security for the WTC, Dulles and United
George W. Bush's brother was on the board of directors of a company providing electronic security for the World Trade Center, Dulles International Airport and United Airlines, according to public records. The company was backed by an investment firm, the Kuwait-American Corp., also linked for years to the Bush family.

Loose Change
Watch the documetary here. This is a very compelling must see documentary about some very serious questions pertaining to the 9/11 attack. I think this is a perfect follow up to Farenheit 9/11. This movie addresses issues not touched in Moore’s film. For instance in farenheit you will see an acknowledgement of Afghanistans involvement in the attack, while this one claims that 11 of the 19 highjackers are still alive. It also mentions the Marvin Bush involvement mentioned in the article above.

6/21/2005

Living Wage Debate

Geoff Aung
You've probably heard some of the Right's classic arguments against paying American workers a fair wage before - job loss this or free market that. Campus Progress is cutting through the Right's reductionist sound bites and rebutting their arguments, punch for punch, by dissecting some of the most common living wage criticisms.

Army's Rules for Blogging from the Battlezone

Paul Rieckhoff
The most stringent aspect of the policy is the registration requirement. Military bloggers in Iraq are required to register their sites with the chain of command. Anyone who writes for those sites is required to register as well. That means, in theory, there is a list somewhere of Soldiers’ websites and who contributes to them. I wonder if the rest of us can see that list… I’m always looking for some more raw news from the field.

June 2005: Phase II of the Anti-War Movement

Medea Benjamin
For the history books, mark down June 2005 as the moment the US movement against the occupation of Iraq got its second wind. In June, the US public became solidly anti-war, Bush's approval rating took a nosedive, and a significant number of Congresspeople started to call for an exit strategy. This marks a seismic shift from just one month ago, when Congress overwhelmingly passed another $82 billion for war-with only 44 members of the House and not one Senator dissenting.

Revolution in Bolivia

By Ryan Grim

The United States created the monster demonstrations by giving rise to their primary demand. At U.S. urging, Bolivia sold off majority control of its oil and gas company to Enron and Shell in December 1996 for $263.5 million, well less than 1 percent of what the gas alone is worth today. A decade later, indigenous Bolivians have the receipt and are demanding a refund.

Take the USA Patriot Pledge

The Yes Men

America is facing many serious challenges, both at home and abroad. Meeting these challenges will require Americans to make some new sacrifices over the coming four years. President George W. Bush is ready to lead us through these difficult times, but liberals don’t believe our citizens are ready to face hard choices. The political gridlock that results prevents the full realization of the goals of the Bush presidency.

Progressives to unveil 'core principles'

Josephine Hearn
A group of House Democrats will unveil a set of goals dubbed “The Progressive Promise” next week in an effort to put liberal priorities higher on the Democratic agenda and offer an alternative to conservatives’ vision of an “ownership society.”

Monday, June 20, 2005

All Things Downing

So, I've been posting a lot about the Downing Street Memos and I'm not going to stop until we have a resolution.

MSM was hoping this would go away, hell they tried to make it go away, but now that it's out and 122 congress members and over 600,000 citizens have signed a petition requesting, no demanding answers - real answers, not the usual hemming and hawing our politicos usually employ, and not the non-laguange GWB employs to try to confuse the public. (of course he's just lying, but he doesn't have a very good command of the language, so it just comes out confusing)

Perhaps once this all comes out we'll find connections to the Anthrax attacks, which have been forgotten - why - because the evidence led to one lab, to one scientist and the outcome of those findings meant one thing - U.S. complicity - so they dropped it.

Now we have questions about 9/11 - there's a documentary called LOOSE CHANGE which talks about demolitions of the WTC. Subsequent explosions etc., that Bushes Cousin was in charge of security for WTC and United airlines etc. All manner of faked facts - like 7 of the 8 black boxes on the flights were damaged beyond the ability to retrieve the information - c'mon those are nigh the most indestructable things we make. They are designed for it.

How about how 11 of the 19 alleged hijackers are still alive and well. I've only heard clips from this thing, but it's fairly compelling and merits further research.

So, we have crimes committed and in any court of law you have to prove the intent to commit a crime, or a motive if you will. The motive and intent to commit crimes is documented in the memos of several neo-conservative think tanks and backed up by internal memos of the British itelligence agency MI-6 and I'll just bet if we could subpoena all related documents from the white house we would find that the threat to National Security is an imbedded domestic threat.

Just like Pearl Harbor, the Government was responsible for all of this.

p.s. my tin-foil hat is firmly affixed.

Why George Went To War
The Downing Street memos have brought into focus an essential question: on what basis did President George W. Bush decide to invade Iraq? The memos are a government-level confirmation of what has been long believed by so many: that the administration was hell-bent on invading Iraq and was simply looking for justification, valid or not.
http://www.tompaine.com/articles/20050620/why_george_went_to_war.php

Why The Memo Matters
[On May 16th, the New York Review of Books put the original Downing Street memo in print in this country for the first time. Mark Danner wrote the accompanying analysis, "The Secret Way to War." In response to that piece, John Walcott of Knight Ridder news service wrote a brief letter and Danner, in answering, has now taken the opportunity to return to the significance of the Downing Street memo and the press coverage of it.]
http://www.tompaine.com/articles/20050620/why_the_memo_matters.php

Relatives of Some Troops Killed in Iraq Seek Hearings on Downing Street MemoWashington - Several parents of soldiers killed in Iraq visited Capitol Hill on Wednesday to ask for congressional hearings on the Downing Street memo, which one mother called President Bush's "Watergate."
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/061905D.shtml

Downing Street Memo a Growing Problem for Bush
House Democrats opposed to the Iraq war came together Thursday to draw more public attention to the so-called "Downing Street Memo," the British government document that advised Prime Minister Tony Blair that President Bush was determined to invade Iraq nearly a year before the war was launched.
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/061805G.shtml

6/17/2005: Events related to the Downing Street Memo controversy
.Several entries and categories have been added or updated that relate to issues raised by Downing Street Memo controversy. Categories: “Key events related to DSM,” “Decision to invade Iraq,” “Politicization of intelligence,” “Diversion of Resources to Iraq,” “Legal Justification,” “Planning for Postwar Iraq,” and “Public statements about the ‘decision to invade.’Justifying the Silence on Downing Street Memos Downing Street Memo Activists "Wing Nuts," "Paranoid" David Swanson on Downing Street Memo, Betsy Leondar-Wright on Class Reporting Network Viewers Still in the Dark on "Smoking Gun Memo" Karen Hansen-Kuhn on CAFTA, Ray McGovern on "Smoking Gun Memo" Smoking Gun Memo?

LONDON -- When Prime Minister Tony Blair's chief foreign policy adviser dined with Condoleezza Rice six months after Sept. 11, the U.S. national security adviser didn't want to discuss Osama bin Laden or al-Qaida. She wanted to talk about "regime change" in Iraq, setting the stage for the U.S.-led invasion more than a year later.
President Bush wanted Blair's support, but British officials worried the White House was rushing to war, according to a series of leaked secret Downing Street memos that have renewed questions and debate about Washington's motives for ousting Saddam Hussein.In one of the memos, British Foreign Office political director Peter Ricketts openly asks whether the Bush administration had a clear and compelling military reason for war."U.S. scrambling to establish a link between Iraq and al-Qaida is so far frankly unconvincing," Ricketts says in the memo. "For Iraq, 'regime change' does not stack up. It sounds like a grudge between Bush and Saddam."
http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-blair19.html

Thursday, June 16, 2005

OK, psuedo transcripts will have to do for now.

Since I can't find official transcripts yet, I'll do the second best thing and re-post from another blog. This info is courtesy of www.bradblog.com

Historic 'Downing Street' Hearings Adjourn!
Extraordinary Testimony Given...
BRAD BLOG Raw Notes Posted...Full Audio Now Posted as well...
As there are many who were unable to follow the hearings live and given the historic importance of them, I am making my raw notes -- essentially live blogged, but...
As there are many who were unable to follow the hearings live and given the historic importance of them, I am making my raw notes -- essentially live blogged, but not posted during the hearings -- available here right away...Please note that these are raw notes, not necessarily quotes even if some of them are in quotes. I did try and type as closely as I could to what was being said however.Hopefully this will give those of you unable to listen live, an idea of these EXTRAORDINARY hearings which were chaired by Congressman John Conyers' and just adjourned in the 15' by 30' room in the basement of the Capitol Building!...Simply extraordinary hearings...(The hearing will re-air on C-SPAN 2 tonight, Thursday, at 8pm ET, and late-night at 1:56am on C-SPAN 1 at 1:56am Friday "morning", And again on Friday at 8pm ET)...Complete Audio now posted, courtesy of BRAD BLOG secret weapon, David Edwards!- Streaming RealAudioWe will try to get the prepared testimony from the witnesses as soon as we can...Though the hearings were remarkable, we don't believe they were the cause for 4.9 earthquake we experienced here in Los Angeles during the hearings (we're fine, but the ground did shake)...PRESENT (Members joined throughout the hearings): Conyers, Maxine Waters (CA), Barney Frank (MA), Jim Moran, John Tierney (MA), Shiela Jackson Lee, McDermott, Maurice Hinchy (NY), Barbara Lee, Charles Rangel (NY), Zoe Lofgren (CA), Jerry Nadler (NY), Wexler (FL), Watson, Woolsley, Jay Ensley (WA), Jan Shackowski (IL), Markey, Kaplin (OH?), Corrine Brown (FL), Mccullam, Baldwin, Van Holland (MD), Don Paine, DiSolice, DiFazzio, George Miller, Gregory Meeks (NY)AMB. JOE WILSON (first to testify)
"The work I do is on behalf of America, not Republicans, not Democrsts, but Americans" (paraphrased)"My wife did not have anything to do with my being hired for this job" (paraphrased)"There is no reason to believe our departure from Iraq, or our departure five years from now will effect [the ongoing violence]"CINDY SHEEHAN (second to testify): NOTE: Ms. Sheehan will be a guest on this weekend's BRAD SHOW, Saturday 7p - 11p ET
Son killed in Saddar City, Baghdad, on 04/04/04(Just 11 Days after Bush's "No weapons under there" jokes, according to Ray McGovern later)"This aggression on Iraq was based on a lie of historic proportions."Quotes Mickey Hersowitz, Bush's original ghostwriter on his autobiography: "If I have a change to invade...political capital...""Seems my boy was given a death sentence before he even joined the Armed Services in May of 2000."Coming home in flag-draped coffins, images, as if they are ashamed of our children, that our leaders won't even let them see.Reads letter from a guy who's brother had hung himself with a garden hose after returning from Iraq."Casey (her son) and his buddies have been killed to line the pockets of already wealthy people"An investigation into the DSM is completely warranted...to hold someone accountable for the many deaths that have occurred...I don't care if it's Democrats or Republicans.The innocents being killed don't care what political party this is about.How many more families with members in Iraq will get visits from the grim reaper in military uniforms informing them their children have been killed?CALLED HER SON'S DEATH: "Pre-meditated Death""PLEASE hold someone accountable.""I hope this is the first step in bringing the lies to the light and bringing justice to those who can no longer speak for themselves."27-YEAR CIA ANALYST, RAY MCGOVERN (third to testify):NOTE: Mr. McGovern was a guest on last weekend's BRAD SHOW. Archives are available at that link.
Shows video of Powell and Rice prior to 9/11 saying that Saddam was "contained" and not a threat.Thanks the whistleblowers who released the Downing Street documents.The V.P. (?) said "We now know that Saddam has weapons...we have testimony including from Saddam's son-in-law."... This is a lie. You can read it in his testimony that he said "all WMD were destroyed."CONSTITUTIONAL ATTY, JOHN BONIFAZ: (last to testify)NOTE: Mr. Bonifaz was a guest on BRAD SHOW two weeks ago. The archives for part of that interview are available. Some of interview lost in archives due to a technical problem..
Bush Letter to congress just days after launch of war:"Military action against Iraq was necessary to protect U.S. against continuing threat against U.S. posed by Iraq...and to deal with attacks against U.S. on September 11th, 2001"That was not true."If the President of the United States has committed High Crimes, he must be held accountable. The Constitution demands no less."FROM THE Q&A SESSION:MCGOVERN: Attorneys said that "Regime change is not a legal basis for war"BONIFAZ: "The question is whether the President subverted the Constitution"MAXINE WATERS: "V.P. Cheney made visits to CIA and it appears that it was more than one visit. We have been watching a VP who has done any number of things...he's the former CEO of Halliburton...has had a hand in no bid contracts... Appears to not be concerned about what the American public thinks about this and these documents...There's been a manipulation of intelligence information...that they had to make the intelligence fit the conclusion that they were indeed going to invade Iraq. Is there anything else we should know about what the V.P. did?"MCGOVERN: "Many people have asked me about this. If it's unusual for a sitting Vice-Predident to make such visits to the CIA. It's not unusual, it's unprecedented!" I was there for 27 years, not once, even when George H.W. Bush was sitting President, did a sitting V.P. come on a working visit to CIA headquarters. He came at least 9 times...It's incredible that that should be happening."On Tenet being present when V.P. spoke to analyists: "this is the real outrage. The head of an agency needs to protect his people from this kind of pressure from outside influence...How can that be done when their boss is standing right over there shoulder?"here's your Director standing over your shoulder...if this doesn't have an effect ...The management of the CIA has been so corrupted, so politicized, there's a real question...In my mind on whether the agency can come up with anything reliable when it's already known what the Administration wants to hear."Sadly, the pressure worked. Most of the people have now left, and the type of people who would bend to this kind of politicization are left.BARNEY FRANK: "Some in the administration have said 'big deal, we already knew that'...Well if we knew that, why the hell didn't they do something about it?"BONIFAZ: "'Democracy' as a reason for war, was not submitted to Congress in the letter that Bush submitted" (Only after WMD began to not be found was 'Democracy' used as a reason for the invasion).MCGOVERN: By September 2002, hundreds of pounds of bombs had already been dropped. The war had already started.SHIELA JACKSON LEE: "This war has shown the highest number, percentage-wise, of suicides...Makes an "official apology to Sheehan"..."I want to apologize on behalf of the institutions of this nations, on behalf of the Senate and the House and if I can extend on behalf of the executive branch....to apologize for what happened...believes the nation owes you and the families of those who went to serve on the front lines an apology. BONIFAZ: "This idea of preemption has no basis in International Law...This was a problem that the British Lawyers had...You have to have an iminent threat and prove that somebody is about to attack you...[The war] is illegal and that's something the American people need to understand."WILSON: "Our obligation is to ensure we have not sent them over there to die under false pretenses in our name"BONIFAZ: "On preemptive war doctrine. The prez announced..and when he did so...By it's own terminology, the preemptive doctrine requires proof that there is something to preempt! Which is why the DSM documents are so important."JIM MORAN: "What do you think was the real reason for going to war?MAXINE WATERS: "OUT OF IRAQ" Congressional Caucus has now been established. Pelosi's Amendment to ask for an exit strategy by Bush being voted on RIGHT NOW.CHARLES RANGEL: Can't thank this panel enough. "I have sat through two impeachments...quite frankly, the evidence that appears to be building up on whether a Prez has deliberately mislead the congress...on the most important decisions a Prez can ever make...whether to place American lives in harms way...Having not heard all the testimony in these Historic Hearings...Has anyone testified whether the case is sufficient to start an official Inquiry into whether or not the proof was sufficient to go to war?"BONIFAZ: "Yes, we have at AfterDowningSTreet.org...All we're asking at this point is for answers to these questions. To know the truth whether or not the Prez. Engaged in a deliberate campaign to deceive...If that's all it was after an investigation, a failure of intelligence, then so be it...But if the memo from Richard Dearlove was accurate, then we all deserve to know the truth about whether the Prez deliberately lied...we owe it to the people of the united States to find out."MAURICE HINCHEY: All of us in the entire nation owes all of you a deep debt of gratitude...The idea that tht Prez lied to the American people in regard to war...What's being done today is incredibly important and I'm deeply indebted to you, Mr. Conyers for making it happen....The fact that we're in a tiny room dicussing this, indicates how irresponsible this Congress is...Congress has abrogated its responsibility completely to oversee this Administration...It's unfortunate but today in Washington we have a Monolithic government, we do not have the checks and balances required...Seems to me this policy has made us LESS secure...Despite Tenet saying "Yes, it's a slam dunk Mr. President, we'll get the information you're looking for"...Senate Intelligence committee said they were going to complete that report earlier this year...They haven'tMCGOVERN: State of Intelligence has never been more in shambles....When Tenet came back and said to his managers we have to do a National Intel. Estimate but it has to come out the way Cheney wants it...In my day, we all would have laughed and said "You're kidding"...or if he wasn't kidding, we all would have walked out...In this case, the worst Nat Intel Est. in the history of this nation...three weeks later came out. ... A thorough house cleaning is required, and I dare say, if Bolton is confirmed, the rest of the good people remaining will leave too...To answer your question, character does count and we didn't have it at the top of the Intel community...The Intel oversight committees have shown themselves incapable of doing anything about this, but perhaps you can raise the consciousness...WILSON: Sanctity of intel process needs to be maintained...and that has been sacrificed...There are any number of people who are afraid to come out of the woodwork...many are afraid to because of what happened to my wife...The message was "If you do what Wilson did, we'll do to you what we did to Wilson's wife."...Let me say once again that being married to my wife is not having a skeleton in my closet!JERROLD NADLER: Country now at unique moment. Five different crisis we're now facing simultaneously. 1) War 2) War wrecking our armed forces 3) Seem to be wrecking our Intel ability 4) Lack of hearings and oversight, and we can't get congress to hold real hearings 5) Credibility crisis concerning Prez who may have lied us into war...to a Congress who never would have authorized had they known...."Only question is was the President a fool or an aid?"... I remember during Viet Nam...We had a Dem prez and a Dem congress and that congress started hearings that forced...proved to hold the President's feet to the fire...We all remember particpating in Impeachment hearings against Prez Clinton in which basis was the Prez lied regarding a matter of Private conduct...Regardless of our conclusions of that, most of us thought that wasn't impeachable because it didn't subvert the structure of government...A Prez who deliberately lies to congress in order to induce it to support war CLEARLY would meet the bar for impeachment.BONIFAZ: [In re: validity of DSM] It's clear this was intended to be secret, was at Tony Blair's private residence, Dearlove's briefing (he is equivalent of our CIA Director), he reports that the President had decided to overthrow Saddam which would be "justified between conjunction of WMD and Terrorism"...some people would say this wasn't the intention...that's why we need an investigation...But it was a private meeting, so Dearlove would have no reason to exaggerate anything...Our view is there needs to be an investigation to discover this...JERROLD NADLER: Sen. Pat Roberts said there would be investigation after the Election and now he says "Forget about it".MCGOVERN: Richard Dearlove was just back from D.C. the whole purpose of the Downing Street briefing was to tell what he had just learned from Tenet and Rice and the officials in Washington....Dearlove says this is a major change from before...and Dearlove describes the change as inevitably leading to war.ZOE LOFGREN: Meeting in basement of Congress because rest of Congress are participating in coverup...there is no other way to say it...We are sitting here in the basement today HOPING that the press can get out the word of what the American people need to know....I sat on the Clinton Impeachment and it didn't meet the standards...But lying to Congress...we can't even get a room to meet in!...Ken Mehlman said on Meet the Press, "This report has been discredited...totally discredited by everyone's who looked at". Is the RNC Chairman correct? Has this report been discredited?MCGOVERN: The notion that the DSM have been discredited by investigations done months before the documents even came out is ludicrous.BARNEY FRANK: Some who are defending the prez argue that the memo is false, and others say they knew it all along. Which one is it?ZOE LOFGREN: People of the U.S. own the congress, not the lobbyist, not the special interests.BONIFAZ: The Downing Street documents are the equivalent to a taping system in the White House in the Nixon Administration...Imagine Congress saying we don't want those tapes! OF COURSE the congress wanted those tapes...and these DS Minutes should be investigated by congress in the same way!JOE WILSON: Niger Yellowcake was made up out of whole cloth.CINDY SHEEHAN: Every military family in here...We have not been told the truth...The DoD refuses to talk to us about it....We gave something that should have never been asked from us, our children, and they won't sit down with us and tell us the truth...If this admin. doesn't have anything to hide then they should be down here testifying today!NOT SURE WHO: Thank you Mr. Chairman for your 40 years of service to this congress, to this country...Mr. Wilson, we all should apologize for the way the CIA has treated you...SHAKOWSKY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This investigation could change the course of history. ...There is at least one hero in this room, and that is Cindy Sheehan...She has worked through her grief and turned that into a force to prevent other mothers from going through the same. SHEEHAN: We won't let it die...Everything seems to slide off this Administration...It took a colation of grass roots organizations to make this stick...To make the media pay attention to this.BONIFAZ: I recognize that the idea that the president may have participated in a conspiracy to decieve the Congress and the people of the United States of America may be hard to believe...but this memo is a smoking gun from the highest British offficials, and we owe to the American people to investigate and follow that investigation where ever it may lead.JAY INSLEE: We are not going away. They have hit the mattress on this, and their reply is "we don't need to respond". There is no greater need to respond when they are putting our armed forces through this and this assertion is made.CONYERS: There are going to be a number of "next hearings"...We could use a little subpeona power around here...Do any of you have any knowledge of any other primary source documents that supports the other side of this argument? That supports the president's letter to Congress? ...Did Congress abrogate it's responsibilities to be the final constitutional voice into whether this country goes to war?BONIFAZ: We know of no contemperaneous document that refutes the Downing Street Documents...To the second question, it was my view and the view of many that the President did not have the authority to wage this war in the first place. That's why we sued the President in the first place...I believe that Cong. did unlawfully transfer it's decision making power to the President...Some in Congress said "I trust the President, the President said the nation is facing an imiment threat...If he believes that the nation is facing an imminent threat, then I want to vote for this resolution and give him the final say."...Setting aside that the President doesn't have the final say (constitutionally)...those members of Congress must now face that they may have been duped, deceived, snookered into leading this country into war.CONYERS: A lot of people are waiting for us to get down to the Whitehouse...SHEILA JACKSON LEE: The people who lost today where those Americans that didn't get a proper hearing on these matters.CONYERS: We have a lot of work today as a result of this first panel...(Parents who had children killed stand up to give testimony unscheduled! American parents. And British parents alike).CONYERS: We're grateful to all of you who came...(Brother of man who was killed working on Iraq Survey Group thanks them for this hearing.)CONYERS: We're going to Lafayette Park across from White House where there are many people waiting for us. 560,000 Americans have already joined us...Asking the Prez to respond to a letter signed by now 122 members of Congress....Let us now continue the even more difficult part of sorting out the dozens of recommendations of high quality that have been made here, that it is now encumbant upon us to investigate....And unlike some chairman...I now ask for unanimous consent to adjourn this meeting.(This previous BRAD BLOG article gave hard numbers on Congressmen/women and Citizens signed on to Conyers' Letter)

Where's the Coverage?

Ok, so, I've just wasted two hours looking for transcripts from the hearing adn so far I can't find any. I've only found a few articles - well actually one article that has all the same quotes rehashed in several obscure Canadian papers and the Wichita Journal - you know I'm despreate If I have to look at the Wichita journal for breaking news - but the news is - it isn't - so I guess all of the major media outlets except fox were supposed to be there today, but I can't find doodly squat - go figure. Here's the one article I did find in several outlets - must be the AP or Rueters version - so since I haven't found anything different you'll either have to watch C-spans rebroadcast tommorow, listen to Democracy Now tommorow morning or wait for someone to post transcripts. Anyway, here it is.Some congressional Democrats are insisting that the White House provide more information about what led to the decision to go to war in Iraq, citing a British document known as the "Downing Street memo" as evidence intelligence was distorted. Rep. John Conyers and other Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee conducted a public forum Thursday prompted by documents that have surfaced from inside the British government about prewar planning. Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who advised the Bush administration in 2002 that Saddam Hussein had not tried to buy a certain kind of uranium from Africa, said Conyers' hearing was important. "We are having this discussion today because we failed to have it three years ago when we went to war," Wilson said. "It used to be said that democracies were difficult to mobilize for war precisely because of the debate required," and the lack of debate in this case allowed the war to happen, he said. Wilson wrote a 2003 newspaper opinion piece criticizing the Bush administration's claim that Iraq had sought uranium in Niger. After the piece appeared someone in the Bush administration leaked the identity of Wilson's wife as a CIA operative, exposing her cover. Wilson has said he believes the leak was retaliation for his critical comments. The Justice Department is investigating and two reporters are being threatened with jail time for refusing to divulge their sources on the issue. The Downing Street memo says the Bush administration believed that war was inevitable and was determined to use intelligence about weapons of mass destruction to justify the ouster of Saddam. The "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," says the memo, recounting a July 23, 2002, meeting of Prime Minister Tony Blair and his national security team. The meeting took place just after British officials returned from Washington. U.S. officials and Blair deny the assertion about intelligence and facts being "fixed," a comment that the memo attributes to the chief of British intelligence at the time. The meeting took place eight months before the invasion of Iraq. Conyers pointed to statements by Bush in the run-up to invasion that war would be a last resort. "The veracity of those statements has -- to put it mildly -- come into question," he said. The London Sunday Times disclosed the contents of the memo May 1. Bush should respond to questions raised by the Downing Street memo, says a letter signed by Conyers and over 90 other members of Congress, as well as a half-million Americans. White House press secretary Scott McClellan dismissed the memo on Thursday and indicated that no one in the White House plans to respond to the letter. "This is simply rehashing old debates that have already been discussed," he said. The Sunday Times also reported on an eight-page briefing paper prepared for Blair which concluded that the U.S. military had given "little thought" to the aftermath of a war in Iraq. The briefing paper of July 21, 2002, said a postwar occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise and that "as already made clear, the U.S. military plans are virtually silent on this point. Washington could look to us to share a disproportionate share of the burden."

Congressional Hearing

While the hearings on the Downing Street Memos and other evidence that suggests the Administration led us into an Illegal war continues, network coverage has ceased for the time being. Here are the transcripts of Rep. John Conyers opening statements. full transcripts will be posted as they become available.
Washington, DC; Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, delivered the following statement today at a Congressional forum examining media bias and the future of a free press:"There are few institutions in our nation today that are capable of operating as a check on the abuses of one party rule - one is the filibuster; another is an independent judiciary; a third is a free and unbiased press. All three of these institutions are under assault today.Last night the Republicans came within an inch of obliterating more than two centuries of precedent supporting the minority's right of debate. The triggering of the 'nuclear option' may have been delayed for the time being; but the message has been clearly delivered by the Majority - in the future, you exercise your rights at your own peril. Anyone who witnessed the shameful Terri Schiavo debate knows that the Judiciary is under attack in this country. With Tom DeLay threatening to 'hold judges accountable' and Senator Cornyn rationalizing violence against what he calls unaccountable judges, there can be little doubt the Congressional Majority can and will use their authority to discipline judges who stand in the way of their extreme right wing agenda.As for freedom of the press - the subject of today's forum - all you need to do is turn on the television, open up the paper, or listen to the radio to appreciate the extent our so-called fourth estate has fallen. The vast majority of the mainstream media is not only unwilling to accurately report on the failings of the Administration, but the few who do have fallen victim to scapegoating and retribution.We have turned from breaking stories like Watergate and the Iran-Contra scandal to celebrity journalism. As the Congressional Research Report I am releasing today proves, major events that shape our democracy and impact our lives routinely receive scant and belated coverage, while the most trivial matters that were once the last stories on Inside Edition or A Current Affair now dominate the airwaves.In the lead up to the Iraq war, every minor leak supporting the Administration's contention that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction was trumpeted on page one. Stories challenging these assertions and discussing the final reports of weapons inspectors concluding there were no such weapons, however, were banished to a few paragraphs in the middle of dailies. Such incidents have become the rule, not the exception, during the Bush Administration, particularly after 9/11 and in the face of a massive consolidation in media ownership.Can you imagine the media uproar ten years ago if the Clinton White House had given a fake journalist operating under a fake name unlimited access to the White House? Does anyone think for a minute that the Washington Times would have ignored stories about paid propaganda coming out of the Clinton Education Department, or if a Democratic Secretary of State had turned tens of thousands of Republicans away at the polls in a critical swing state? Would most of the major papers have buried stories detailing secret agreements to invade Iraq, billions of dollars in missing reconstruction funds, or fantasy war stories spun by the Defense Department if a Democrat were responsible? Consider what Bob Novak or Bill O'Reilly would have said if Mike McCurry had browbeaten them about their use of anonymous sources, or the Secretary of Defense had warned the press to 'be careful what you say' as Donald Rumsfeld had done. You know the answer as well as I do. There are a few alternative sources willing to speak truth to power. I first learned about the now infamous Downing Street Memo on Daily Kos. Bradblog, Raw Story and Air America have been at the forefront of our ongoing national election scandal. But these voices are too few and too diffuse to overcome the blatant biases of our cable channels and the negligence and neglect of our major newspapers.Thomas Jefferson wrote 'our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.' Let me remind those in the media, by failing to exercise your rights and duties to challenge authority, you risk losing not only your integrity, but the nation's trust and respect. And to those in the Administration who would blame the press for their misdeeds and the media for their failings, I would ask you to be careful what you say. You cannot preach democracy abroad if you don't respect the constitution and freedom of the press in our own country."

America Gone Wild

Has anyone noticed the veracity with which our current administration is attempting to obtain absolute control over every aspect of our lives? Traditionally Republicans, like Libertarians favor the idea of smaller governments, following the ideology that the best government is the government that governs least of all, but somewhere along the way all of that has changed, sort of.

It seems that the ideology of self determination only applies to corporations that fund the political machine, granting the executive officers of these swindling corporations a free pass, because to interfere with the production of capital is unacceptable in their eyes, however the average citizen is not granted such respect for their liberty.

Ever since this administration implemented it’s new Pearl Harbor plan, we have experienced more governmental influence in our daily lives than ever before. In a moment of orchestrated fear, we had the U.S. Patriot Act shoved down our throats, an act which doesn’t protect us from terrorism, but rather puts the intimate details of every Americans life in the hands of politicians and law enforcement agencies. The checks and balances to abuses of power have been removed, virtually enslaving the American people to the will of the government instead of the other way around.

Should we assume that the members this administration should be subjected to the same scrutiny by our new coalition of law enforcement that you and I are? Should we reasonably expect that the FBI might secretly check out what books Don Rumsfeld bought or perhaps that they could sneak into the Presidents home without a search warrant signed by a judge?

The President has reserved for himself and his cronies the executive privilege, a free pass to avoid all scrutiny by simply claiming that to divulge such information would be a threat to national security, even though we know that documents pertaining to the pre-meditated illegal war in Iraq and on American civil liberties has little to do with the nations security and everything to do with keeping his crimes against democracy and decency from public knowledge.

This week we are asking the president if he was involved in a conspiracy to fix the facts to fit the policy. The policy of course was regime change in Iraq, with the secondary policy goals of gaining Total Information Awareness of everyday citizens, controlling the propaganda spoon fed to the people through mainstream media, creating a Nazi style tip off program designed to pit neighbor against neighbor, parents against children, a program that could only lead to hostility and distrust.

We have seen the implementation of modern day gulags and the justification of torture, we have witnessed the attempt to destroy our social security, first to give a nice push to the stock market and secondly to destroy a program that was designed to give Americans more security than tax cuts for the rich ever did.

We have seen this administration back away from science and embrace the ideology of fairy tales, like the England some of our ancestors fled, we are having Christianity shoved down our collective throats in our schools, courthouses and public broadcast. George Bush believes he is on a mission from god, and history has shown that when megalomaniacal heads of state make that claim a lot of people are going to die. It’s hard for me to reconcile that the very same defense in court is not admissible and usually finds the inevitably convicted perpetrator in a nut house.

Why should we trust the sanity of a leader who pre-meditates the destruction of an entire civilization? Why should we trust a leader that uses coercion and terrorism to influence the public will and virtually force that same public into submission?

We have had the opportunity to watch the Republican party ignore the crimes of it’s own members while attempting to enforce the silencing of any dissent in Congress or the Senate. Democrat leaders are being bullied into subservience.

Only now five years into this repressive regime are starting to hear a few brave voices from the Democrats willing to try to stand up to the administration, but lo, the mighty administration forces us to hold unofficial hearings begging for the truth, while they hide in the sanctuary of privilege. Where are those checks and balances when the executive branch hold all the cards? Where is the accountability? Where is our recourse to right these terrible wrongs?
It’s time for Americans to look around a realize that America isn’t what it used to be, isn’t what it was supposed to be and if we keep the course, never will.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Ministry of Truth

"Some people say" the key to winning any war is to win over the hearts and minds of the people. The easiest way to bend the public will toward the agenda of the elite is to control the message. Yesterday we looked at media consolidation, and as we are all aware, the majority of all media is controlled by a very small group of billionaires who see to it that the message is consistant, that the truth is what they want you to believe and any deviation from that course is met with swift fury.

So, who creates the message? According to a 10 year ongoing
study on think tanks by Michael Dolney of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, in 1994 “Conservative or right-leaning think tanks garnered 50 percent of citations among the 25 most-cited think tanks, the same percentage as last year, and near their 10-year average of 51 percent of citations. Centrist think tanks declined slightly this year, garnering 33 percent of the citations, compared to 37 percent last year and 36 percent as their 10-year average. Progressive or left-leaning think tanks had the greatest percentage increase this year, receiving 16 percent of citations, up from last year’s 13 percent and their 10-year average of 14 percent.”

If we combine the right leaning and the conservative centrists (or right-lite) we get a whopping total of 84% of all media citations coming from the ideologies of the rich and powerful. With only 16% of quotations coming from the progressive left, we can see why so many of our fellow Americans believe that Iraq had something to do with the attack on the World Trade Center, or that George Bush actually won the last two elections, or why nobody seems to give a damn about the implications of the Downing Street Memos.

The top four quoted think tanks were
Brookings Institution with 4,724 citings, Heritage Foundation with 3,114 citings, Council on Foreign Relations with 2,902 citings and American Enterprise Institute with 2,265. In 1994 The CATO institute was in the top four, but dropped to number five after taking the view that invading Iraq was a bad idea. In contrast the top two progressive think tanks came in 9th and 14th, The Economic Policy Institute at 1,386 citiations and the Center for Public Integrity at mere 710. Over all we had a total of 25,313 citations for the status quo and only 4,984 citations from progressive think tanks.

Ever wonder why there is no public outcry for a progressive television station? I would suggest that if the majority of people are never even exposed to the idea, how are they going to mobilize in any way to do something about it? The thought of FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC or any of the others news outlets running a story slanted in favour of reducing the consolidation of media is just silly, it’s simply not in their interests, nor is it in the interests of those who desperately need to control the public opinion.

Do you think that perhaps this might have something to do with Powells attempt to make it easier for the media to be consolidated under the control of a select few? You betcha. Think this might have something to do with the attempted coup of the progressive Pacifica Radio network a few years ago? Damn right it does and when Donald Rumsfeld warns us that we need to be careful what we say, it carries the weight of an implied threat that reporters need to shut their mouths and say what they are told to say.


If we ever hope to move this country forward we are going to have to win the hearts and minds of the people and clearly the only way to do that is to get the truth out, to get equal representation in the media for progressive ideas. The media is the singal most powerful tool in the world for creating our reality, our world view and of course our destiny.


The leaders of our country were fed on the propaganda of yesteryear and stand by what they have always believed, what the newpapers and television always told them to believe and look where that mindset has taken us. What will our children be like when they become adults fed on the lies of today, believing that might is right, that conquest is justified and that the rule of law doesn’t appy to the American elite.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

FCC Now Willing To Listen To The People?

Cross-posted from Disenfranchised by the Left

I have to thank Amy for bringing this issue to my attention, this is a victory and it appears that those in the FCC are now more than willing to uphold the guidelines of the third circuits decision not to loosen restrictions on monopoly ownership, however we still need to tighten the belt and reduce the number of outlets currently owned.


Washington, DC -- Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin today responded to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to deny the requests to review the Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision on the FCC’s media ownership rules with the following statement:

“I am now looking forward to working with all of my colleagues as we reevaluate our media ownership rules consistent with the Third Circuit’s guidance and our statutory obligations.”

Here’s a site that has the current regulations broken down – you won’t find it on the FCC site, they transfer you to a very unweildly government code page – ick. http://www.democraticmedia.org/issues/mediaownership/chart.html

The Third Circuit Rulings:
The court rejected the FCC's rule changes which allowed for "cross-ownership" of newspapers and broadcast stations, and the concentration of broadcast ownership, in local markets. Together, these rules would have allowed one company to own three TV stations, 8 radio stations, and the monopoly newspaper in a single market.
The court took aim at the FCC's faulty methodology, including the so-called "diversity index", used by the agency to measure the influence of different kinds of media on local communities.
Critically, the court also rejected the FCC's claim that ownership limits should be removed unless evidence could be shown to warrant their staying in place. The court instead placed the burden of proof on the FCC, stating that unless sufficient evidence can be shown to warrant their removal, media ownership limits should be kept in place.

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps Comments
“The ball is clearly back in the Commission’s court. The FCC has a fresh opportunity now to come up with a set of rules to encourage localism, competition, and diversity in our media. If we work together, conduct outreach to engage the American people, and gather a more complete record, I am confident of our ability to craft rules that will withstand judicial scrutiny and the scrutiny of the American people. I am ready to roll up my sleeves and work with my colleagues to get the job done.”

FCC Commisioner Jonathan Adlesteins Comments

“This decision is a rare victory for the public over some of the most powerful corporations in America. The American public is concerned about concentration in the media, and our court system has rightly responded. The court’s decision puts the issue of media consolidation right back in the FCC’s hands and gives us an opportunity for a fresh start, so we better get it right this time. We need to be very careful because once we allow greater media concentration, we can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. We can’t let a handful of media giants dominate the discourse in any community.

Learning from the backlash against the rules last time, we now need to involve the public and Congress more fully in our deliberations. We need to hold public hearings across the country, and call for more studies from experts and academics. I look forward to working with Chairman Martin and all of my colleagues on a bipartisan basis to fix the rules so they comply with the court order. We need a comprehensive response that recognizes our media ownership rules work together to prevent a single owner from gaining too much control over what the American people see, hear and read.”
See, public outcry does work - keep bitching!

Lemming Hate Mail at the Democratic Underground

I highly suggest you check out the hate mail section
Democratic Underground has on their site. I have just as much fun bashing right wing Democrats as Republicans, the letters written here are
not only inarticulate, they are filled with the hilarious ramblings of the mullet sporting American intelligentsia.

This is a fine representation of thought processes of our fellow Americans that we shake our heads at in disbelief. The sad thing is that they are shaking their heads and guns at us. Now I know why the two major parties really don’t want to spend too much time or money on education, after all an enlightened and informed constituency would be the greatest threat to the status quo imaginable.
Democratic Underground has some other good stuff on their page, like

Equal Time with Bob Boudelang which I believe (I hope) is a tongue in cheek representation of the thought processes of a Republican pundit. With titles like “So What If Our Great President Plays With The Penis Of A Horse” You really can’t go wrong.

Ok, this is starting to sound like a commercial, so I’ll stop now. I don’t feel like dealing with anything too serious today and I absolutely refuse to even discuss the latest reality trial decision. I just wish half as much coverage was given to the
Downing Street Memos.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Corruption

Following is an except from a book I'm writing on corruption in American politics. If anyone has verifiable information, leads or advice pertaining to the scope of this project it would be greatly appreciated.

I intend to cover any relevant data that points to events, policies, backroom deals and personal agendas that have contributed to the current and now traditional practice of systemic corruption that has lead the United States away from it's original mission to achieve a more perfect union with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as the fundamental principles towards the realization of a far from perfect union where war is a perpetual event and the pursuit of profit holds more legal weight than the rights of individual citizens.

For as long as mankind has existed, corruption has been an integral part of society. Corruption seems to be an innate quality of humanity driven by personal ambition, greed and self preservation. Corruption shows it’s ugly head in every aspect of our lives from personal relationships to business and government. Some of the functions of corruption may be to advance personal agendas, to protect ourselves from incrimination and to achieve greater wealth and power, while some of the negative results are the perpetuation of untruths, the suppression of fundamental truths, oppression of the population and the undermining of democracy and self determination. In this chapter we will take a close look at how corruption in the government, corporations and the media serve to preserve the enrichment and power of the upper class and to prevent the necessary changes that are required by our society to provide for the commonwealth and happiness of the people.

Corruption can be found in every form of government whether it be capitalist, socialist, communist theocratic or monarchical, whatever the theoretical premise, as soon as people become the custodians of any system of governance, corruption is soon to follow, irrespective of whether that was the intent of the framers. In order stay within the framework of this book I will attempt to limit my focus to the institutionalized corruption that has been prevalent in the United States since it’s inception up until the present day.

In a paper entitled The Concept of Systematic Corruption in American History, author John Joseph Wallis takes an in depth look at how the leaders of the American Revolution sought to create a system of governance that would provide the necessary checks and balances against tyranny and corruption. Wallace identifies two forms of corruption in government, namely systemic and venal. Wallace notes that the forefathers acknowledged that venal corruption, or corruption for personal gain was an inherent part of human nature and therefore decided to focus their efforts on creating a system that would prevent systemic corruption. Wallace describes systemic corruption as

“both a concrete form of political behaviour and an idea. In polities plagued with systemic corruption, a group of politicians deliberately create rents by limiting entry into valuable economic activities through grants of monopoly, restrictive corporate charters, tariffs, quotas, regulations, and the like. These rents bind the interests of the recipients to the politicians who create the rents. The purpose is to build a coalition that can dominate the government.”

During the decade leading up to the American Revolutionary War, many American colonists were becoming increasingly dissatisfied with British rule and viewed it as a corrupt tyranny that had little regard for the commonwealth of the American colonies. Thomas Jefferson acknowledged that “long established governments should not be overthrown for trivial reasons, however repeated crimes and abuses require that the people revolt.” It is clear that the public perception of political corruption at this time must have been significant enough to inspire the thirteen original colonies to entirely break it’s ties with the British crown and create an independent government of their own. The list of grievances against the King of Great Britain enumerated in the Declaration of Independence is quite a lengthy litany of offenses that all lead back to the central idea of systemic corruption. The revolutionaries felt that by breaking all ties with Great Britain, that they would be able to establish an independent nation that would seek to secure individual liberty and prevent tyranny and corruption.

In 1776, a committee of five men were chosen to draft a document that would serve as a statement of intent to break all ties with Great Britain and to provide justification to the world for their secession. The five men chosen were Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston. Thomas Jefferson alone was chosen among the Committee of Five to create the draft of the declaration, however prior to submitting the document to congress, he sent rough drafts to Benjamin Franklin and John Adams for review. While the ideals of the framers of the Declaration, were high minded and far reaching, corruption even managed to find it’s way into the drafting of that most important piece of American history, the results of which were directly responsible for the diaspora of the African people and the continuation of slavery in America. The following excerpt is from the original draft presented by Thomas Jefferson that was later edited out by congress.

“ He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobium of INFIDEL Powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the LIBERTIES of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the LIVES of another.”

Jefferson commented about this omission with the following statement: "This passage was struck out in complaisance to South Carolina and Georgia, who had never attempted to restrain the importation of slaves, and who on the contrary wished to continue it. Our Northern brethern also I believe felt a little tender under those censures, for tho' their people have very few slaves themselves yet they had been pretty considerable carriers of them to others."

John Adams is also noted for commenting on slavery at this time. In this statement Adams clearly shows his support for ending slavery. “I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.”
The omission of this language that would have ended slavery in America well before the Civil War, was clearly due to the influence of slaveholders and merchants who directly profited from the slave trade and would find themselves less profitable or bankrupt were slavery to end. Through systemic corruption, an idea that would have benefited the commonwealth of mankind was silenced and the slave trade continued to provide personal gain for a handful of slaveholders at the expense of the life, liberty, and happiness of an entire segment of our population. Were this text to have been left in the Declaration of Independence, it would have remained consistent with the belief that all men are created equal, however in order to maintain profitability it became necessary to dehumanize and assign a lesser value to the African slaves and the indigenous natives in order to maintain the economic advantage and political power the landholders shared. In this case, systemic corruption abandoned the sound and rational principles of equality for economic gain.