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PRT Is a Joke
Is A Joke v.2!

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Posted December 22, 2005
Reflections on The Power Of Nightmares

An interesting section of The Power Of Nightmares, the 3-hour BBC documentary series, concerns the story of how the neocons set out to 'get' Henry Kissinger. H the K was a foreign policy pragmatist who wanted to negotiate with the Soviets to create global stability, whereas the neocon raison d'etre was using The Soviet Threat to generate fear, in order to acquire and maintain power. Watergate conveniently reduced Kissinger's influence by felling Nixon and elevating Jerry Ford, who reshuffled the Cabinet and removed Kissinger from the NSC.

The Power Of Nightmares documents how many of the neocons in power Then are the same neocons in power Now. Suddenly, I saw in a new light the actions of a key player in the exposure of Watergate, who is now an apologist for Bush II. Early in All The President's Men, Bob Woodward's autobiographical sketch described his political affiliation as Republican. Back then it seemed to show that Woodward had no political axe to grind. Knowing what we know today (such as his protection of Mark Felt, who authorized FBI agents to do—quelle coincidencewarrantless surveillance), Woodward's actions during Watergate start to look like a dirty tricks operation.

Blarchive: Two sides of the same coin

'So we went ahead and did what we wanted to do':

"...we consulted with leaders in the congress about the feasibility of legislation to allow this type of surveillance. We were advised that it would be virtually impossible to obtain legislation of this type without compromising the program." Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

Overheard...

...at The University Bookstore
    Mom: No, that's not the book you want, that's not "Judy Moon."
    Girl: But I want it, it's good!
    Mom: No, that's a boy's book.

...on Capitol Hill
    Woman: I don't drink too much during the week heavily.

...at Madison Market
    Clerk: Do you have a co-op card?
    Guy: It's under [spells last name]
    Clerk: How do you spell that?

And finally...

The Dredge Riposte

EXCLUSIVE * EXCLUSIVE * MUST CREDIT DREDGE RIPOSTE

WAR ON CHRISTMAS: Jewish private schools refuse to worship our Jesus, not taking this week off! O'Reilly Factor investigating Virginia synagogue. Developing...

PEACE ON EARTH, GOODWILL TO MEN in Iraq possible, if we don't cut and run. Women get "We Held An Election & All I Got Was A Shii Theocracy & This Lousy Burqa" burqas.

U.S. PLANS TROOP REDUCTIONS: Some forces in Iraq may come home in 2006, will be reported to FEC as in-kind contribution to Republican congressional campaign committee.

THREAT TO TEN COMMANDMENTS MONUMENTS: Liberals campaign for Bill of Rights monument. Absolutely True...

GWEN STEFANI SHOPS AT TARGET, pharmacist refuses to serve expectant songstress, "because you never know."

REVEALED: BILL GATES POSSESSES TIME MACHINE TECHNOLOGY. Upside: Seattle Mariners re-signed Randy Johnson; Big Unit led team to 120 wins in 2001, three World Series titles. Downside: Windows "Vista" accidentally introduced in 1998.

WORST JOB NEXT YEAR: Seattle Public Utilities "Garbage Judge," decides if your trash is illegal (more than 10% recyclables).

That's all for this year, see you in 2006!

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Posted December 21, 2005
Discovery Institute is off the island

"Intelligent Design is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism and not a scientific theory" Hon. John E. Jones III

I've been tolerant of Discovery Institute in the past, taking their conservative activities as a grain of salt in what I considered otherwise-welcome involvement in local community issues.

But no more. No longer is Discovery quietly pursuing Creationism as mere 'scholarship.' Now they are out in front politically, issuing press releases hammering US District Court Judge John E. Jones III (Bush II no less), who yesterday ruled against their warmed-over Because God Did It philosophy. And, revealing the intellectual level of their arguments, the criticisms issued by Discovery 'senior fellow' John West attack Jones, not the elements of Jones's decision.

Discovery is now being described online as a "Christian think tank".

So I issue this challenge to all local agencies, and centrist, progressive, or even apolitical NGOs working with Discovery, to reconsider those ties and sever them. Kick Discovery off your teams. I'm afraid this includes groups taking part in the Cascadia Project, Discovery's urban planning/economics entity. If Discovery is going to mess with the public school curricula by promoting religion as science, they can do it without the rest of us.

Victory for evolution in Dover
Judge blasts ID and wingnut school board; DI blasts judge

Blarchive: Hey, you got your Church on my Science (5/17)

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Posted December 20, 2005 | 0545 GMT
Two sides of the same coin

If you haven't seen The Power of Nightmares, the BBC's 3-part documentary from last January, you need to. It's all about how today's West vs. Mid East battle came to be, starting with two ideological extremists in Middle America of the 1950s. One was a Chicago professor who indoctrinated a generation of students into the use of religion and fear of the USSR to take power in the US—the neoconservative movement (Iraqi WMD was not the first time facts were fixed around a policy, not by a long shot). The other was an Egyptian visitor to Colorado who came to see American materialism as an infection that would spread throughout the Arab world (his ideas spawned radical Islam and Islamic Jihad, and inspired Ayman al Zawahiri). Two opposing forces (one largely illusory) but with much in common, including disregard for those who do not adhere to their extremist agendas.

Read about Power of Nightmares at the BBC
Watch it at Archive.org


Posted 1145 PST
The suspicious kittens were Persian

FBI Targeting Environmental, Animal Rights Groups as Domestic Terrorism

(12/20/05)
According to new documents released today by the American Civil Liberties Union, the FBI is using counterterrorism resources to monitor and infiltrate domestic political organizations that criticize business interests and government policies.

The ACLU said that the documents released today on Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) show the FBI expanding the definition of "domestic terrorism" to include citizens and groups that participate in lawful protests or civil disobedience.

The documents were obtained by the ACLU under the Freedom of Information Act to discover whether the FBI's partnerships with local law enforcement in Joint Terrorism Task Forces has resulted in increased surveillance of political and religious activity.

Multiple documents indicate ongoing surveillance of PETA-related meetings and activities, including a "Vegan Community Project" event at the University of Indiana during which the group distributed vegetarian starter kits to students and faculty, an animal rights conference in Washington, DC that was open to the public, and a planned protest of Cindy Crawford's decision to become a llama fur spokesperson.

One file released by the FBI in response to a request for American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's records included a contact list for students and peace activists who participated in a 2002 conference at Stanford University, which focused on ending U.S. sanctions against Iraq.

The ACLU said that some of the documents suggest infiltration by undercover "sources" at animal rights meetings and conferences. One highly redacted "Domestic Terrorism Operations Unit" document suggests that the FBI is using PETA's interns for surveillance, while others describe attempts to locate and interview "several former disgruntled PETA employees." Similarly, one cryptic e-mail kept in a Greenpeace file describes a source who "offers a unique opportunity to gain intelligence on activists who show a clear predisposition to violate the law."

At times, the documents show aggressive attempts by the FBI to link PETA, Greenpeace and other mainstream organizations to activists associated with the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) or Earth Liberation Front (ELF), said the ACLU. PETA, in particular, is repeatedly and falsely singled out as a "front" for militant organizations although in at least one document released today the FBI appears to acknowledge that it has no evidence to back up such assertions.

In an e-mail to the counterterrorism unit, an unidentified official wrote, "the Catholic Workers [Group] advocated peace with a Christian and semi-communistic ideology." In another document, an agent writes, "Based on the author's interpretation of comments made by various CWG protestors, CWG also advocates a communist distribution of resources."

Earlier this month, the ACLU of Colorado revealed that the FBI had tracked the names, license plate numbers and vehicle registration information of participants at a peaceful protest of the North American Wholesale Lumber Association in Colorado Springs in June 2002. Source

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Posted December 19, 2005
Time for the Trust Game

President Bush said yesterday that he secretly ordered the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans... and targets only those people with "a clear link to these terrorist networks." Source

Oh I get it now. Bush has been going around the country speaking only to military academies, pre-screened partisans, and Beltway insiders. The problem is that he hasn't gotten out among the rest of us, the great unscreened unwashed. He doesn't know us, therefore he can't trust us.

Bush trusted Vladimir Putin to pursue democracy and free markets. He believed Rafael Palmeiro, when the former Ranger said he didn't use steroids. And I know why: because he has met them. He hasn't met the rest of us. No chance to shake each of our hands, to Look Into each of our Hearts.

Fourth Amendment!? That's so September 10th. There's so much we could be hiding. I sure haven't signed a loyalty oath—have you? For god sake, we've left the poor man with no choice. How's he supposed to know who has a link to terrorists unless he spies on us first??? Duh?!!!

Someone has to make the first move, so the first baby step may as well be mine. Mister Prez'dint, it starts with me: it's the Holidays, call it Christmas if you want, feel free to drop by and say Hi. Come to dinner; you can look into my heart over roast beef and a glass of sparkling water (or something stronger—I can keep a secret).

The supermarket 2 blocks away has a big parking lot you can use as a helipad. You're welcome any time, no warrant necessary.

James Bamford on the Bush-NSA scandal:

"I didn't hear him specify any legal right, except his right as President, which in a democracy doesn't make much sense", Mr Bamford said yesterday in reaction to Mr Bush's comments. "Today, what Bush said is he went around the law, which is a violation of the law - which is illegal." Source

Bamford & Garbus on "DNow" this morning:
No inherent power of the President [under FISA] to conduct electronic surveillance (video stream @19:00)
Someone monitoring interlibrary loan requests (video stream @24:00)
White House is switching the argument, trying to expand Article II powers (video stream @26:00)
Also: "...we only do it on Tuesdays"
GOP oversight? Yes please.

I suppose this means they weren't particularly good WMD scientists:

US sets Saddam's scientists free

Eight former aides to Saddam Hussein - including two women accused of making biological weapons - have been released from US custody in Iraq.

The freed detainees no longer pose a security threat, a US spokesman said.
...
The British-educated Dr [Rihab "Dr. Germ"] Taha and US-educated Mrs [Huda Salih Mahdi "Mrs. Anthrax"] Ammash had both been accused by the Bush administration of involvement in Saddam Hussein's banned weapons programme.

Neutralising the threat posed by the former leader's chemical and biological weapons was cited by the US as its prime motive for invading Iraq in 2003.

No such weapons have been found since the invasion. Source
     

Of course they'll all be looking for work now. Sure, there's academia, but the big money for biologists and chemists is in Big Pharma. Can't wait to see the new list of contraindicators for the newest antidepressants, weight-loss aids and ED pills:

Use of this product may cause skin to have flat red lesions, usually on the face, arms, or legs which may become pustular & crusted after seven days. May experience loss of consciousness, convulsions, paralysis, respiratory failure and shock...


Also today: Good riddance. Say bubbeye to MSIE for Mac

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Posted December 16, 2005
Now I feel safe  (Friday roundup)

Here's who they've hired at the Department of Homeland Security:

Bellevue (WA) settles deadly force case

The city of Bellevue has reached a $75,000 settlement with the family of a Guatemalan immigrant shot and killed by a police officer in 2001.
...
The suit, which arose from legal claims against the city totaling $6 million, alleged that [Police Chief Jim] Montgomery failed to see that [former officer Michael] Hetle received adequate training or discipline before Hetle shot [Nelson] Martinez-Mendez outside an East Bellevue apartment complex.
...
...Martinez-Mendez's mother agreed to drop all legal claims in the case.

Maria Cleofe Mendez is in ill health and lives in a remote mountain village in Guatemala, said her attorney, Glenn Carpenter Jr. of Kent. She hadn't paid any attorney fees, pending a settlement or court victory, and did not want to deal with the strain of a trial.
...
Hetle had responded to a domestic-violence call at the apartment building and confronted Martinez-Mendez outside. He told officers he fired his gun when Martinez-Mendez reached for something in his waistband. Police found only a wallet tucked into Martinez-Mendez's pants.
...
Hetle resigned from the department in 2003 as part of a deal to settle a harassment complaint he lodged against the city before the shooting. The city paid him $30,000.

He now works for the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, D.C. Source

I think we found the head of the Skymarshal program.

Federal suit filed (8/10/2004)
Hetle claimed City harrassment, settled
(12/6/2003) 2000 incident involved immigrant

What is the single most popular morning-drive radio format in the country? I have no idea either. But a really popular one is "Wisecracking Co-hosts+Scripted Comedy Pieces." So what does Air America do? They dump the show that is a quintessential example of the format.

I have to say that in the past year AA's "Morning Sedition" has really grown on me. Marc Maron: awkward and self-loathing. Mark Riley: the Tony Roberts to Maron's Woody Allen. Throw in a few sidekicks (notably Jim Earl) doing a range of characters. But Morning Sedition rose above the usual, hackneyed "morning zoo" shows because its humor—Cardinal Milfington, Planet Bush, the Dream Diaries, the Wi-Fi Headline Translator, Pendejo The Revolutionary—was clearly based on the writing, not sound effects.

Catch up on Morning Sedition's comedy at The Snot Green Sea archive.

Also today: Bush secretly ordered warrantless domestic spying
Specter promises probe
Domestic spying a "sea change" for NSA
Condi denies illegal spying
Condi defends illegal spying
Using NSA bypasses FISA Court


Also also today: Bradblog: 2000 e-vote hacked in Florida
Bush comments on ongoing investigation
Dems criticize

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Posted December 15, 2005
Calm down

" ' W-W '? They muzt like me twicely as much!"

What's all the excitement about? Bush didn't take responsibility for the war yesterday: he acted his role in the current Cover Story. Whatever that is at the moment. Give the wheel a spin— click- click- click- click- click- click- click- click- click- click- "Spread Democracy/Oil For Food."

The "intelligence turned out to be wrong"? I got two words for that: Joe Wilson. Why'd your boys try to neutralize him, hmmm Mr. Hard Work?

Sit, Tamestream Media®, sit! Good Tamestream Media®!

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Posted December 13, 2005
The Terminator

Today—at roughly 12:15 am—is the day that Governor Ah-nold Schwarzenpfefferincorporated had been hoping for. Finally—no longer to be treated like a buffoon, a hater of nurses, a provoker of first responders, with not enough coattails to pass even one ballot referendum.

Unfortunately for him, though, the new patina* of seriousness is not gravitas, or even legitimacy.  No, what Ah-nold is now wearing is the black hood of the executioner. For this morning he allowed the execution of Stanley Williams to go forward.

It's odd. The Resmuglicans demand the death penalty as the ultimate payment for one's crimes, as well as society's ultimate form of vengeance. And Williams has now paid his debt to society. But that seems too, well, easy.

Williams put his time on death row to the best use, writing and speaking against the violence that led him to the crimes for which he was convicted. He was nominated for Nobel Peace Prizes. But he chose to do those things. He didn't have to. He could have just sat there watching TV, or exercising, or running the Crips by remote control.

Williams proved that people can change.

If Williams was repaying a debt to society all those years, he really repaid plus interest. But with capital punishment there's what a financial planner would call a defined contribution—all you have to do is die. The punishment stops. But if Ah-nold had commuted his sentence, Williams would continue to pay for his crime, plus "interest," for the rest of his life. And really, isn't that a more appropriate punishment for homicide?

I have a feeling Ah-nold is the one who will be punished, after a fashion. Formerly the actor who shouted "it's NOT a tu-mah!" to huge laughs, can you really see him being cast in anymore comedies? Who could laugh at his antics now? Now that he really is the terminator. With saggy manboobs.

* hold on—can you have a new patina?

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Posted December 9, 2005
Dear Leader
by Kim Jong Il

Dear Leader,
It's me again. I am on an exciting speaking tour of military bases and pre-screened rallies. But my media has lost interest. Then the other day the Council on Foreign Relations totally ignored all my best applause lines. What can I do to put some excitement back into my relationships?
Signed, Son of a Bush.


Dear SOB:
You need to glitz things up. Some of my guilty pleasures on your decadent Western television are the preshows that precede the cult-of-personality award ceremonies. My favorite award show is the Tonys, but the Oscars have a better preshow. So you show up at the red carpet and get out of the limo with Cate Blanchett and Naomi Watts. Do the thing with Nicholson where you point your finger, wink and make that "tch tch" sound. Joan Rivers can ask you who you're wearing. Smile and wave for the cameras. Before you know it you're on the front page of the Daily Worker and the lead story on State TV. It works for me every time.

Blarchives: Dear Leader

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Posted December 8, 2005
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmannukawanza

Where's the Right's holiday spirit? It's the season for wishing others peace and joy, but for the Right it only applies to those on your side of the aisle. And to everyone else out there, it's sleaze-as-usual. And worse.

There's 69-year-old John McCain, stopping just short of calling John Murtha senile. There's "War Cabinet" prospect Joe Liebublican, calling for Democrats to get with the blind obedience to The Leader already (Lowell Weicker, are you there? Do you need help covering the filing fee? Call me). And there's the Cro Magnon wing (I suppose God had to have made them too) of the Intelligent Design movement, conducting a survival-of-the-fittest experiment on the head, shoulders and back (presumably with primitive tools made of bone and stone) of Prof. Paul Mirecki.

Guys. Relax. Drink hot cocoa. Go play in the snow if you've got some. Go watch Bing and Bowie sing Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy (MTV still plays music videos, right?).

I mean, look to The Leader as an example: he just took time out from his busy warmongering schedule to honor the year's Kennedy Center winners, and enjoy a performance of the sugarplumb fairy portion of The Nutcracker (who knew they let Jeff Gannon back into the White House? *rimshot*)

Is my neighbor turning up the volume on FOX News, or does the They Hate Our Christmas bleating seem louder this year? Certainly Bill O'Reilly is making the most of it again. I suppose it's the liberal media's fault, as usual.

But Bill should drink the cocoa too. Because if there were really a liberal media conspiracy, what would be on TV starting the day after Thanksgiving would be movies like The Rainmaker, Apocalypse Now, Parallax View, Seven Days in May and Three Days of the Condor. Manchurian Candidate (either version). And Inherit The Wind; if there was a liberal media you wouldn't be able to turn on the Teevee without seeing Clarence Darrow kicking William Jennings Bryan's ass all over Tennessee. No, they aren't holiday-themed (although Condor ends at Christmas time)—but the liberal media wouldn't care.

And instead of just showing It's a Wonderful Life once, there would be an entire channel dedicated to it. And there would be a second channel showing only the parts where Potter squeezes the Building & Loan, forcing a run on the deposits; and the very end when everybody makes George Bailey the richest man in town.

Hee haw!

One more thing: Joel Dyer of the Dyerama blog has moved to Seattle! Give him a click.

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Posted December 5, 2005
Cleanup on Aisle John 3:16

Over in my Links section I've been featuring two URLs regarding the decision by Target Stores to allow their pharmacists to refuse to dispense any medicines that conflict with their personal "moral" beliefs.

Since the controversy broke I have been featuring these URLs with the straightforward message Boycott Target, and now I am pleased to offer three more contributions to the effort.

(1) From now on, when I mention Target it will be spelled with a cross in place of the Capital T, as in "arget". Once again, Mr_Blog is on the forefront of blog innovation.

(2) Striking a blow against doublespeak, I am going to start calling a spade a fundamentalist: in future when writing about arget pharmacists' "moral" beliefs, I will instead use the more accurate fundamentalist religious beliefs.

(3) The arget boycott needs a beneficiary. I urge progressives to start shopping at Walgreen:

Walgreen Co., the nation's largest drugstore chain by revenue, said it has put four Illinois pharmacists in the St. Louis area on unpaid leave for refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception in violation of a state rule.

The four cited religious or moral objections to filling prescriptions for the morning-after pill... "...in Illinois that is not an option," Walgreen spokeswoman Tiffani Bruce said.
...
At least six other pharmacists have sued over the rule... Many of those lawsuits were filed by Americans United for Life, the Chicago public interest law firm Source: AP, 11/30/2005

Do you buy a lot of nail clippers, passport photos, beachballs, or $5 t-shirts? Next time, it's Walgreen!

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