Thursday, March 31, 2005

In honor of April 1...

Here are my current favorite amusements to be found on the internet:

1. Dick and the angels. I recently discovered that this image was produced by latter-day members of the I AM Religious Activity, which had its origins in the American fascist movement of the 1930s. They have a whole website filled with sublime images of Bush and Cheney in celestial surroundings. Alas, I lost track of the URL.

2. The Jewish homosexual mind control conspiracy. As narrated by one of the South Park kids. (Scroll down to the tale of Kay Griggs -- "Desperate wives.")

3. The story of "Blind Man's Penis."Right now, you can acquire this classic article only via Google cache. Read it now before it disappears altogether.

4. A UPI bigwig and Moon follower on Hitler: "By his extreme evil, Hitler not only consigned himself to hell but became a constipating cork in the colon of spiritual upward mobility."

5. Signs. A Schiavo "happening."

6. Giant penis for Bush.

7. The W stands for wood. Okay, so I put this montage together. I'm still rather proud of it. And the photos are all real.

8. Harry Potter. There are many similar web pages, but I particularly enjoyed this one.

9. Getting back at Nigerian scamsters. Long, but worth it. You know, for some reason receives two or three of these letters each day.

10. Review of Eisenman's "James, Brother of Jesus." Scroll down to Jesse Clark's response. A note-perfect parody of everything that is wrong with scholarly writing.

11. Family Circus. Some genius has been posting wonderful reviews of just about every Family Circus cartoon book, here seen as examples of post-modernist gay and lesbian pornography.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

More on the so-called "American Center for Voting Rights" (and other front groups): IMPORTANT UPDATE

Brad Friedman has been doing his usual excellent job covering the American Center for Voting Rights, or ACVR. (How should we pronounce that acronym? I propose "Ass-seever.") If you haven't yet heard of this organization, don't worry: You soon will. They have been positioning themselves for a "Swift Boat" style media impact.

The only known members of this allegedly non-partisan group -- which spews GOP spin points while pooh-poohing genuine concerns over computerized vote fraud -- are Republican party movers-n-shakers, such as "Thor" Hearne and Jim Dyke. Their source of funds remains unknown. Their only address is a mail drop in a UPS store in Texas -- even though the only known leaders of the group operate elsewhere. (What kind of legitimate group uses a mail drop?)

The Republican National Committee is already citing the report of this newborn group to buttress its claim that Democrats, not Republicans, intimidate voters. An RNC flyer instructs us to "check out the documented Democratic intimidation tactics at"

Non-partisanship at its finest!

(Anyone else out there recall how the Christic Institute had its 501(c)3 status revoked for allegedly partisan behavior? A lot of folks on the left and right disliked that organization, and I don't want to revive the controversy. Suffice it to say that most of its members, both in private and in public, evinced no faith in either major party.)

This highly-slanted piece on the right-wing Cybercast News Service alleges that ACVR came into being in February. So far, no independent evidence indicates that this group came into existence before March 17; four days later, they testified before Congress, as if ACVR were the acknowledged experts in this field.

You like irony? Consider this: The CNS piece accuses Brad of being "partisan" -- even though he is not a Democrat and not (so far as I know) an official activist for any party. By comparison, Hearne was the General Counsel for Bush/Cheney 2004 -- yet CNS would have you believe that Hearne has no partisan bias.

ACVR is, in short, an obvious front group -- just like "Talon News." Can we say something similar about CNS...?

In its defense of "Jeff Gannon," Cybercast News Service proudly proclaims GOPUSA a "client": As you will recall, Talon was a front for GOPUSA, itself something of a Potemkin village populated largely by propagandists with ties to Reverend Moon. (See here.)

Fortunately, other media voices are taking note of this odd tale. The Lone Star Iconoclast of Texas offers this fine account of ACVR's miraculous conception, while the fine "Watching the Watchers" website has also targeted this issue.

The last-mentioned site connects ACVR to the Blue-Ribbon election-reform commission co-chaired by Jimmy Carter and James Baker. Baker, of course, is a long-time Bush family consigliere and co-conspirator in the election theft that occurred in the year 2000 -- a shady history which has led to calls for his resignation.

A side note: I'm not particularly wild about the stance Carter has taken so far. Frankly, I'm not sure if he understands the real issues involved:

Carter said his group will address "issues of inclusion" in federal elections and make recommendations on how to improve it.
The phrase "issues of inclusion" covers only a part of the problem.

Most vote fraud activists focus on the companies which manufacture all-too-hackable computerized voting machines -- companies run by Republicans and largely funded by the theocratically-minded Howard Ahmanson. More to the point: We now know that the exit poll disparity offers irrefutable evidence that fraud did occur in 2004. Not "may have occurred": DID occur.

If Carter has not yet made the transistion (based on evidence already available to all who care to read it) from "may have occurred" to "did occur," then his efforts will be just as valueless as Baker's.

Back to the American Center for Voting Rights:

Brad believes that the Carter/Baker commission may be the real reason for the creation of the ACVR. He notes that Hearne had knowledge of this commission's creation before any other group or news service. Since the ACVR has money and lawyers and paid staff, they possess a voice likely to catch the commission's ear, while grass-roots groups shout from outside the walls.

We may be able to buttress Brad's scenario once we learn just who is the power behind that mailbox in Texas.

A poster to his blog maintains that the strange mailbox "home" of the ACVR is within the same retail complex where T. Boone Pickens (a major funder of the Swift Boat crusaders against Kerry) maintains offices for British Petroleum Capitol LLC.

Some may file that possible link under "coincidence." But I doubt that anyone can fairly apply that label to the following connection:

The same UPS store -- and the very same mail box -- is (was?) also used by another group called "Todd's Fund." This is a charity established in the name of Christopher Todd Pitman, a victim of the 9/11 attack.

According to this page originally published on the Todd's Fund web site (now available only via Google's cache function), Todd's Fund owes its existence to "the pro-bono work of Baker Botts, a law firm in Dallas, Texas."

Baker Botts is James Baker's law firm, of course.

Again: Baker is now co-chairing the election reform commission. Again: ACVR learned of this commission's existence before any other group or news service. Again: ACVR and Todd's Fund use the same mailbox.

Curious, eh wot?

GOP politician: "Freedom is dangerous"

(I tried to post this and other material yesterday, but Blogger had other ideas. Sorry!)

We've already noted this shocking story from Jeb Bush's Florida, about right-wing efforts to allow students to sue professors who express an opinion -- or tell a truth -- that the student does not like. I would like to offer further discussion of a few outrageous observations from the bill's sponsor, one Dennis Baxley.

To buttress his censorship efforts, he offers this astonishing quote:

"Freedom is a dangerous thing, and you might be exposed to things you don't want to hear."
It gets worse:

"...if students are being persecuted and ridiculed for their beliefs, I think they should be given standing to sue."
Persecuted? Ridiculed? What paranoia!

In over 40 years, I have never witnessed or heard of a single instance in which any student in any legitimate public institution was "persecuted" or "ridiculed" by the staff for any privately-held belief. However, I know for a fact that behavior control methods in parochial schools often include tactics which many would categorize as "persecution."

What, then, constitutes "persecution" in Baxley's world?

"Some professors say, 'Evolution is a fact. I don't want to hear about Intelligent Design (a creationist theory), and if you don't like it, there's the door,'" Baxley said, citing one example when he thought a student should sue.
There you have it. A student is "persecuted" if he is asked to excuse himself quietly rather than waste class time with discussions of anti-scientific bullshit.

Too many people believe that the Puritans came to this country to escape persecution. In fact, the Old World rejected the Puritan insistence on persecuting others.

Today's Fundamentalists also pretend to be the underdog, revelling in sick hallucinations of martyrdom. In fact, Fundamentalism -- in all of its forms, in every country and culture in which the disease appears -- is always abusive, to both the believer and non-believer, to both the individual and the culture. We normal people simply hope to go about our lives without having this mad-dog insanity foisted upon us.

Let the theocrats stay confined to the bedlam of the American rural south. If they cannot behave themselves in a university setting, let them leave the room quietly while rational people discuss science, philosophy, art and truth in academic peace. Let the fanatics stay mired in the Dark Ages while the rest of us seek the goals of the Renaissance.

In that light, you'll also want to read this important column by Pual Krugman. An excerpt:

The religious right is already having a big impact on education: 31 percent of teachers surveyed by the National Science Teachers Association feel pressured to present creationism-related material in the classroom.

The closest parallel I can think of to current American politics is Israel. There was a time, not that long ago, when moderate Israelis downplayed the rise of religious extremists. But no more: extremists have already killed one prime minister, and everyone realizes that Ariel Sharon is at risk.

America isn't yet a place where liberal politicians, and even conservatives who aren't sufficiently hard-line, fear assassination. But unless moderates take a stand against the growing power of domestic extremists, it can happen here.
I second that warning -- in fact, I’ll issue it as a prediction.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Brief notes

First: I hope readers will scroll down to my Easter message (the tale of John Dark). And then I hope you'll peek further down to the important story of Bush family links to a child-abusing cultist -- and I don't mean Moon.

Thanks, Dubya! How bad is the state of our economy? Read the text of this speech by David M. Walker, Comptroller General of the United States. A couple of numbers put the deficit into scale: The Federal Government owes or is committed to pay $43 trillion, while the net worth of all Americans is $47 trillion.

Greg Palast reports on the TWO secret plans for Iraq's oil (the real reason for the war, of course). You can read about it in the latest Harpers, and you can see his video report here.

Giuliana Sgrena: You think you know why she was shot? You think you know the circumstances? Doesn't matter whether you're on the left or right -- the fact is, everything you know is wrong. Check out this important Democracy Now interview.

Brad Friedman: I privately warned him to think twice about appearing on Dr. Stanley Monteith's radio show -- Monteith is (or should I say "was"?) a rightist with what some consider extremist tendencies. But we owe "Dr. Stan" a round of applause for providing Brad with a friendly forum in which to discuss vote fraud. A great show -- check it out!

The exit polls in 2004 were weighted in favor in Bush, not Kerry. We've noted this under-appreciated fact before, but here's further discussion.

Ralph Nader has joined the "save Terri" movement!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

An Easter confession

(Note: The post below this one -- on Bush links to the Melvin Sembler, a child abuser -- represents a truly new area of investigation. But few read blogs on Easter Sunday. So I'll repost that report -- perhaps with additional info -- on Monday or Tuesday. For now, in light of the sacred nature of the day, I'd like to offer the following.)

I have a confession. Despite my jibes at the expense of "Jeff Gannon," and despite a personal vow always to write under the name that appears on my driver's license, I once used a pseudonym.

I am John Dark.

And who is John Dark? Therein lieth a tale...

Before Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" came out, you couldn't call up the Drudge Report without encountering a pop-up "poll" from NewsMax, which gave the impression that Hollywood was trying to ban Gibson's film. (Fundamentalists love to see themselves as victims of a "Hollywood" conspiracy.) The poll asked whether Gibson's take on the Easter story deserved public exposure; the results, we were told, would be personally handed over to the President himself -- as though King Dubya had the power to determine the film's fate.

Of course, this "poll" was just part of the film's canny marketing campaign. As usual, the Christians involved with this effort evinced a rather broad interpretation of the commandment against bearing false witness.

I didn't know if the film would have legs, but Mel Gibson sure did, and they needed pulling. Thus was born "John Dark" -- staunch defender of all things Mel. Dark took his crusade to usenet, and to points beyond -- even, as we shall see, to Gibson's production house itself.

Here is his first announcement:

I'm sure you've heard about Mel Gibson's upcoming movie "The Passion," which tells the story of Jesus Christ in the original jewish.

According to Newsmax, America's most trusted news source, Mel's in trouble. He's made some ivory tower Hollywood Big Shots angry, and now they want to burn all prints of this fine film about our Lord.

In other words, it looks like Barbra Streisand is at it again! First she writes and directs that smear-job against Reagan, and now this!

You may think that the people complaining about Mel's movie are just a few loudmouths expressing an opinion. Well, you're wrong.

According to Newsmax, these people have a "hidden agenda." In other words, IT'S A CONSPIRACY!!!

Poor Mel! He needs our help! And pronto!

If we all get together and raise some money, maybe we can buy back "The Passion" from the money grubbers and save it from being burned. I say church groups across the land should have bake sales and give the proceeds to Mel Gibson!

We can also have book sales. I can donate copies of "See, I Told You So" and "The Late, Great Planet Earth" along with some Tom Clancy stuff. I also have a copy of Ann Coulter's "Treason" which I spilled coffee on but I bet we can still get $3.

We can't expect Mel to carry the burden alone. He's done so much for us and it's time we did something for him.

Like me, you're probably "mad as hell" because Hollywood liberal marxists have FORCED you to pay for movies containing sex, drugs and filthy words. Seems the only thing they want to censor is our Lord. We can't let them get away with it this time!

Right now, here are three things you can do:

1. Send whatever you can to Icon Productions (Mel's outfit), 5555 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038. Every little bit helps!

2. And while you're at it, send a message to Barbra Streisand, c/o Martin Erlichman Associates, Inc., 5670 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 2400, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Tell her "Mel is swell! Leave our Mel alone!"

3. If you go to the Drudge Report, the Newsmax "Passion" pole will pop up. Newsmax is going to make sure that George Bush and Congress will all see their pole. Climb aboard! Mel really needs a pole like this behind him.

If you have any further ideas, send them to me or to Icon. And pass this message along to your friends. Let's do it for Mel.

Yours in Christ,

John Dark
A surprising number of people took this post seriously. Many informed me, privately and in public, that the film was in Aramaic, not "Jewish."

But John had only begun his mission. On Dec. 6, he wrote an open letter (shared with the usenet community) to Gibson and to NewsMax:

Dear Mel:

I'm your biggest fan, and I'm furious about Barbra Streisand's ruthless drive to burn all prints of "The Passion," your upcoming movie about Jesus in the original amaraic. Newsmax says this is a huge conspiracy, maybe the worst conspiracy since Hillary murdered Vince Foster.

I've been trying to come up with ways to fund a counter-offensive. My first suggestion was, of course, a church bake sale, with all proceeds going to Mel Gibson. But there's more we can do.

1. I see that the Newsmax "Passion" pole has gone down. Please try to get it back up, because it was a wonderful, dignified way to draw attention to this movie. Newsmax promised to show the results to our president. I wish I could see it when Bush receives this pole.

2. Newsmax also sells Ronald Reagan mugs and Ann Coulter talking dolls. Why not action figures from Mel Gibson's "The Passion"? I'd like to see a full-sized posable Jesus, like the old G.I. Joe. Maybe you could press a button and He will say things like "What would I do?" in amaraic.

3. Mary Magdalene really needs her own pole. Americans like beauty contests, and one of the big assets of this film is your casting of Monica Bellucci in this role. In my opinion, she is easily the most spirit-film Mary Magdalene ever to appear in a Jesus movie. She should get far more votes than that heretical hussy in "Last Temptation" and the Hawaiian chick in "Superstar." Granted, "Greatest Story" had a pretty cute Magdalene, but she acted like she was on Thorazine.

4. All of which brings me to the best idea yet: Donors to the cause can WIN A DATE WITH MONICA BELLUCCI! Of course, this would not be a lust-centered date like the ones I'm always seeing on the Jillian Barberie show. Instead, it would be devoted to healthy Christian activities such as bowling or NASCAR.

With strategies like these, we can beat Barbra and her fellow DEMONcRATS.

Yours in Christ,

John Dark
On usenet, a reader questioned whether Barbra Streisand was the true bar sinister leading the "attack" on poor Mel. John responded:

The real question is: Is there any horror this woman is NOT capable of committing? After the illegal and financially disastrous election of Grey Davis, the horrendous forest fires, and the continued presence of socialist measures (e.g., workman's comp, welfare for Arab terrorists) in our civil code, I can only wonder how much more Streisand this state can tolerate.

Her hatred of Mel Gibson's Christian message is a widely known fact in Hollywood. And make no mistake: She is astonishingly powerful. That's why the media is running hundreds of stories every day praising and glorifying her.

I do hope you are not in her employ. If so, I shall be praying for you.

Yours in Christ,

John Dark
Finally, in February, Brother John offered this final message:

I just thought everyone would want to know that if you go to the Drudge website you can once again climb aboard the Passion pole which the fine folks at Newsmax put together to support Mel Gibson. Everyone should take Mel's pole!

I think this is a terrific and very dignified way to make sure everyone knows about this epic film about our Lord, which is in the original jewish or arabaic or whatever.

I also want to say hat's off to Matt Drudge, the man who proved to the world that John Kerry was having ungodly sex with an intern. Once again, Drudge has proven himself to be one of the finest soldiers in Christ's army. And take note, ladies: I hear he's not married!
I've considered a resurrection of Dark in the months since, but this blog has taken up too much of my time.

You may be interested to learn of Icon's reaction to all this. Bottom line: They took Dark seriously, and tried to ameliorate his concerns -- although they neither confirmed nor denied the allegation that Barbra Streisand led the anti-Mel conspiracy. However, they did tell Brother John how he could involve himself and his church in the opening day festivities.

In fact, I did see the film on opening day, making sure to switch theaters after paying for some other movie. Later, a friend gave me the DVD as a gag gift. Needless to say, I didn't much care for Gibson's piety-drenched answer to the works of Herschell Gordon Lewis.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Republican child abusers

George W. Bush's ambassador to Italy, Melvin Sembler -- an old friend of the Bush family -- ran the finances of Dubya's 2000 campaign. But the 75-year-old Sembler has an ugly little secret: He ran a cult-like "behavior control" clinic which abused the underaged.

Sembler's "therapies" were so outrageous that the program was shut down during the early Clinton years.

Sembler and his wife Betty called their program STRAIGHT. Supposedly, the purpose was to rehabilitate young drug addicts. Of course, the notorious Synanon cult of the 1970s (regularly invited to speak at my high school, even after the exposes began to appear) had the same claimed objective, until the press revealed the founder's penchant for violence and attempted murder.

STRAIGHT has a history so troubling as to make Synanon's rattlesnake-in-the-mailbox hijinx seem like mere pranksterism. Jeff Gorenfeld offers this report about Sembler:

There were major problems, though. He modeled STRAIGHT after another program, creepily named "The Seed," shut down after the U.S. Congress literally issued a report in 1974 comparing it to "the highly refined 'brainwashing' techniques employed by the North Koreans." Sembler's imitation wasn't shut down until 1993 for illegal child abuse: beatings and sexual humiliation. Kids were thrown against walls. Or forced to sit in their own menstrual blood. Unless, of course, they were ready to cooperate, confess, and chant "I'm at STRAIGHT, feeling great" with the others. In that case they got to be the enforcers. Dozens of lawsuits exposed a similar picture in 12 clinics across America.
STRAIGHT did not truly end in 1993: Under a new name, the Drug-Free America Foundation, the group metamorphosed into a drug policy pressure group.

Another site,, is devoted to uncovering child abuse networks masquerading as therapeutic systems. They reveal that STRAIGHT "alumni" have reported terrifying beatings and other forms of torture and humiliation, inflicted on them during enforced isolation from all family members.

Here is the story of one child forced to undergo Sembler's tender mercies:

One girl pulled her up and down by the hair until her head was numb. She kept telling them she had to go to the bathroom, but they wouldn't let her go. When they finally did, they kept trying to pull her off the commode as she was using it. When she had finished, she stated, a girl started twisting her arm until another girl told her to stop or she would break it. They made her use a paper towel to scoop her own feces out of the toilet. After three hours of this she was forcefully taken to stand before the GROUP of 600 Straight kids where kids would stand up and say she was no good. One old comer yelled for the GROUP to leave her alone when Straight's national clinical director, Reverend Doctor V. Miller Newton went over and started screaming at the girl. Two girls came up and put their hands over Leigh's mouth so she couldn't breathe. Dr Newton, who was an ordained minister, in front of 600 kids, grabbed Ms. Bright by her hair and threw her to the floor stating, "I want this girl the fuck out of my GROUP." She was taken into the intake room where Dr Newton told the old comers to keep her awake until Monday night. Since this occurred on a Saturday, Ms Bright was kept awoke for 80 hours, during which time girls would push her and make her stand for 12 hours at a time all the while calling her a whore.
A surprising number of STRAIGHT horror stories indicate the staff's sick obsession with toilet habits. Here's the account of another victim, named Donald:

There were an immense number of times where I was forced to urinate and defecate on myself because they basically took my bathroom privilege away. I wasn't allowed to go to the bathroom. And I witnessed a lot of other people in there ending up urinating and defecating on themselves because being in a restraint. They told you were too dangerous to get up and go to the bathroom, those who asked. If you asked to go to the bathroom, you were afraid because if you did ask, then you'd be afraid to end up getting your tooth through your lip and I had it done many times.
As you read the above, always keep in mind: This house of horrors was assembled by Melvin Sembler, a man long close to the Bush family. Sembler now represents you in Italy.

Imagine the conservative press reaction if a Clinton ally had a similar history!

Wes Fager has put together a remarkable page on the numerous connections between the Republican party and the Semblers' cult.

A side note: Some of you may hope to learn more about Sembler's henchman, the afore-mentioned "Reverend Doctor V. Miller Newton," described by a number of lawsuits as a sadistic child abuser. Now calling himself Father Cassian Newton of the "Orthodox Catholic Church" (one of several groups going by that name; none are affiliated with the Roman Catholic church), he and his wife went on to found their own STRAIGHT offshoot, KIDS of North Jersey.

He eventually had to settle 254 fraudulent insurance claims. But that's only the beginning: Six years ago, Newton settled with an abused former "client" named Rebecca Ehrlich for 4.5 million dollars. I have yet to discover where he obtains the funds to pay these settlements, which, taken together, now total over $11,000,000.

Even more mysterious are the linkages between these STRAIGHT men and the G.O.P. Of Newton's nefarious and widely-reported abuses in New Jersey, we learn that:

...nothing was ever done. In fact for 10 years Republican Governor Christie Whitman ignored Judge Klinger, Judge DelBaglivo, the newspaper and television reports. For 10 years Len Fisher, Governor Whitman's Commissioner of Health and Human Services, granted Dr. Newton a special certificate to operate.
Newton even received a videotaped commendation from Nancy Reagan herself, who was a frequent visitor to STRAIGHT clinics. (She called the toilet-obsessive STRAIGHT program "the best drug abuse treatment program I have ever seen.) Even though the ACLU sued STRAIGHT for abuse and kidnapping as early as 1982, Nancy continued to ally herself with the group and with the sadistic "Reverend" Newton.

This page shows GHWB attending a STRAIGHT conference. The parents of our current president would stay at the Sembler home during campaign stops in Florida. The same page offers a link to a video of GHWB offering Sembler's program an official endorsement -- well after the horror stories began to emerge.

More recently, Barbara Bush has made a film endorsing the DFAF, the current incarnation of STRAIGHT. She has done so despite the many reports by survivors that the Sembler cult tortures children.

The pattern is unmistakable. In previous posts, we have discussed the Bush family's enthusiasm for the Moon cult and for the child-abusing Children of God. Now we have the current White House honoring the toilet-obsessive, child-abusing cult leader Melvin Sembler.

Just why do the Bushies forge these links?

New Gannon/Guckert oddities: Pilate's question

I've said it before and I'll say it again: In George W. Bush's America, Pilate's question is the only question.

The recent forged documents "proving" that journalist William Arkin was a Saddam spy joins a long list of similar deceptions to emerge from this administration and its operatives. Now we learn that the Jeff Gannon/Jim Guckert affair has taken on a new layer of fraudulence.

Not only was "Gannon" a fake journalist using a fake name while working for a fake news organization. Not only were we given fake rationales to explain his ongoing White House access.

Now we learn that -- contrary to his many claims -- he's not even a real Marine!

He has claimed to be a Marine with the rank "E4 Corporal," "Inactive Reserve/Guard not drilling." (So far, everyone seems to have avoided the obvious pun arising from the words "not drilling.") No available records prove that he has ever served in the United States military.

Apparently, the military "thing" was just part of his hooker persona -- sort of like a porn star dressing up like a cheerleader.

I know that a man falsely claiming to be a corporal cannot be tried for "impersonating an officer" -- but still, I wish that some sort of law covered a pose of this sort.

Now let's take another look at Gannon's involvement with Plame affair. Granted the opportunity to interview Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, "Gannon" posed this loaded question:

"An internal government memo prepared by U.S. intelligence personnel details a meeting in early 2002 where your wife, a member of the agency for clandestine service working on Iraqi weapons issues, suggested that you could be sent to investigate the reports. Do you dispute that?"
The wording indicates, but does not specify, that Gannon/Guckert has access to this classified document; he now claims that he did not. Most observers who have looked into this incident have let the matter rest with Guckert's latter-day disclaimers. They do so prematurely.

That "internal government memo" turns out to be yet another forgery -- just like the one that targeted William Arkin:

Sources said the CIA is angry about the circulation of a still-classified document to conservative news outlets suggesting Plame had a role in arranging her husband's trip to Africa for the CIA. The document, written by a State Department official who works for its Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), describes a meeting at the CIA where the Niger trip by Wilson was discussed, said a senior administration official who has seen it.

CIA officials have challenged the accuracy of the INR document, the official said, because the agency officer identified as talking about Plame's alleged role in arranging Wilson's trip could not have attended the meeting.
(My emphasis added.)

The only "news organization" (if it can be so labeled) to question Wilson on the basis of this fake was Gannon/Guckert's Talon news.

Too many people operate under the misapprehension that forgeries make themselves -- that faked documents "just happen." In fact, a bogus memo of this nature could only have been sewn together by a skilled operative with inside knowledge -- in short, by a covert agent who hopes to accomplish a political goal.

The question thus becomes: Why was this particular bit of buncombe foisted on the public by way of "Jeff Gannon"?

One obvious answer suggests itself. The fake document was created for the precise purpose of handing Gannon/Guckert a cudgel with which to bludgeon Joseph Wilson. If the bogus text had rattled him sufficiently, Wilson's response to Guckert might well have provided the conservative propagandists (who live to twist words) with ammunition.

And what if Wilson offered a smooth denial -- as, in fact, he did? The conservative press was then free to repeat the forged memo's accusations ad nauseum while dismissing Wilson's response as evasive.

The politics of unreality allow for marvelous new techniques of character assassination. And we are left, once again, with Pilate's question.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

New bill would allow students to sue non-rightist professors

Unbelievable. Check out this story from Florida.

My girlfriend is going to college, and she reports that her conservative prof teaching 20th Century American History felt free to regale the students with endless opinions, most of which veered right. I'm not bothered by his actions -- his views, I'm told, were somewhat eclectic and unpredictable, and he gave my lady the A she deserved. I was, however, a tad annoyed to learn that he wasted so much class time elaborating his personal weltanschauung that he had to squeeze the last 50 years of the 20th Century into roughly one week.

I also gather that my ladyfriend's more left-leaning professors feel constrained to keep their anti-Bush opinions hidden. They don't discuss their beliefs except when they know they are among friends.

The right-wing attack on academia is pure propaganda. During my own academic career (which occurred in a past more distant than I care to reveal) I encountered exactly one professor who made his hard-left views known. I'm sure that today's academics are even more thoroughly cowed.

The ACVR story deepens....

As we have noted earlier, the American Center For Voting Rights, an allegedly "non-partisan" group operating as a 501(c)3, is operating very much like a G.O.P. front organization. Brad Friedman compared it to Jeff Gannon's Talon News, which was a front for Bobby Eberle's GOPUSA, which (I have argued) may in turn be a front for Reverend Moon.

Now the Why Are We Back in Iraq blog has uncovered a possible further indicator that ACVR and GOPUSA are two peas in a pod. (Scroll down until you see the words "Separated at Birth?")

Brad Friedman has fastened onto this tale like a bulldog worrying a bone. I strongly advise you to read his interview with ACVR honcho Jim Dyke, who cannot begin to disguise the partisan nature of his work. Dyke blithely ignores or tosses aside all of the legitimate worries about the 2004 election: Paper-less computerized voting, voting machine companies run by men with ties to the Republican Party, the damning exit poll disparity, the Conyers report, Blackwell's proven criminality, Secretaries of State who also function as G.O.P. state campaign heads, long lines in minority districts, the thousands of reports of "machine errors" which register false votes for Bush but never for Kerry, and so forth.

Dyke claims that long lines in Ohio occurred "everywhere" -- a lie.

Instead, ACVR emphasizes one incessant Republican spin point: The alleged "problem" of false registration forms. Of course, anyone can send in a registration form for a corpse; this tactic provides a afe and effective way for Republicans to frame the Democrats for a crime they never committed.

As I've mentioned previously, manufacturing a "scandal" along these lines will help the Republicans harass poor voters in the next election. The goal, I am convinced, is to make voting a privilege available only to those who can provide two forms of identification. Just like holding a bank account.

Brad noted an oddity about ACVR's origins: Dyke says that the organization has its home in Charleston, South Carolina, but the Internic info lists for AVCR -- which, as you know, sprang into existence just recently, like Venus from the head of Zeus -- lists an address in Texas. To be specific: 8409 Pickwick Lane, #299, in Dallas. This happens to be the address of a Mail boxes, Etc.

Curious. Perhaps even shady. Refresh my memory -- isn't domain name registration information supposed to include an actual street address, not just a drop box?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

How DARE he?

Bush's "mystery bulge" came up, in a roundabout way, on the Daily Howler site yesterday. Bob Somerby had a good -- but not good enough -- response to a bit of inanity offered by Dana Milbank of the Washington Post.

Milbank plays the misleading game of pretending that we cannot denounce the sins of the right without mentioning an equivalent "leftist" sin -- even when such "equivalence" requires a seriously strained argument. (Writers for the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times often fall into this same trap.)


In Sunday's Outlook section, Milbank confesses to what his headline calls a "bias for mainstream news." The scribe's worry? "Partisans on the left and right have formed cottage industries devoted to discrediting what they dismissively call the 'mainstream media,'" he writes....
Somerby then offers this quote from Milbank (March 20):

Consider a poll two weeks before the 2004 election by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes: The survey found that 72 percent of President Bush's supporters believed that, at the time of the U.S. invasion, Iraq had stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction or at least major illegal weapons programs. It also found that 75 percent of Bush voters believed that Iraq either gave al Qaeda "substantial support" or was directly involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Further, majorities of Bush supporters believed that U.S. weapons inspector Charles Duelfer and the 9/11 commission backed them up on these points.
So far, so good. Numerous progressives have made similar observations. But then, as Somerby points out, the rules of the mainstream game now force Milbank to seek out an "equivalent" left-wing delusion or two.


This is not to pick on Bush followers. Many on the left harbor their own fantasies that they consider fact -- about how Bush knew of 9/11 in advance, or how he was coached during one of the presidential debates via a transmitter between his shoulder blades.
Y'see how it works? The commentary about "bulge-gate" found on this humble blog (and on a number of others web sites, some of which are listed to your left) offer a sort of balance to the mass hallucination that Saddam had WMDs.

If radio rightists convinced the American people to buy into a phony tale about WMDs -- well, hell, that's all right. Because, y'see, during the campaign there was this gol-durned librul blogger named Joseph Cannon, and he and his librul pals were saying some mighty weird stuff about Bush's back. So, you know, it all evens out.

At least, that's what Dana Milbank wants his readers to believe.

Somerby responds thus to this suggestion:

But how many people "on the left" believe that Bush "knew of 9/11 in advance?" Is it anything like 75 percent, the number Milbank has just cited in discussing those disinformed Bush supporters? And how many people "on the left" actually believe, as a matter of fact, that Bush was coached during that debate? In these cases, Milbank cites no polling data, because there is no poll on the face of the earth which would produce anything like the type of equivalence he so slavishly seeks here. Could liberals be as factually deluded, one fine day, as conservatives currently are? Of course they could, but that day hasn't come.
Fair enough. But I'd like to add another very basic point.

We know that Saddam Hussein did not have Weapons of Mass Desruction because hordes of inspectors combed Iraq, both before and after the invasion. And they did not find a thing.

How many inspectors (other than John Kerry, at the end of the second debate) got a chance to feel Bush's back?

I do not know how many liberals, or non-liberals, share my view that George W. Bush received prompting via a transmitter/receiver. But I do know this:

1. No evidence (other than Karl Rove's silly blandishments) disproves the "prompergate" scenario.

2. By comparison, we have a ton of evidence disproving the claim that Iraq housed nukes and CB weaponry.

3. A NASA scientist has confirmed that Bush was wearing something decidedly odd on his back. And his work is hardly the only evidence in favor of "bulge-gate."

4. Even if that NASA expert is mistaken, and even if all my scribblings on the bulge are one day proven wrong, nobody has died as a result of anything I've written. By comparison, many thousands of people have died because Americans were suckered into accepting falsehoods about Iraqi WMDs.

You want to know the consequence of the lies told by Rush, Rove, Dubya and company? Look at this.


How DARE Milbank suggest that anything I've written is equivalent to the WMD lie?

As for Bush foreknowledge of 9/11: Is Milbank trying to convince us that the infamous Presidential Daily Briefing of August 6 was imaginary? W may not have known the precise details as to where and when, but he damn well should have known that we were about to be hit.

The propaganda doesn't stop

Nice to know that I can still occasionally sneak ahead of Brad Friedman. I mentioned the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) a day before he did (though not by name, for some odd reason) -- although he was the first to note the eerie similarities between this allegedly "non-partisan" voting rights organization and Talon News.

Even though it had been in existence for less than a week, the ACVR was invited to testify before Congress on voter fraud. Odd. Why do left-wing groups have such a hard time getting into such forums? Did the ACVR make headway because the folks running this "non-partisan" organization all seem to have strong ties to the G.O.P.?

(That odor in the air may be the stench of the Reverend Moon's noisome lucre...)

Naturally, the ACVR doesn't want people to talk about such topics as paperless computerized voting . They sure as hell don't want to discuss the exit poll disparities -- which, as we now know, provide damning evidence of vote fraud. (See here to understand why we can use the word "damning" with confidence.)

Instead, the good folks at ACVR focus on an alleged epidemic of false registrations. As long-time readers will know, this topic has long been the G.O.P.'s preferred battlefield. Why? Because if the nation becomes sufficiently upset about registration issues, the Republicans will feel justified in harassing black voters at the polls with demands for two forms of identification.

Nowadays, if you don't have a credit card, you can't cash a check at a bank. Soon, you won't be able to vote.

This issue provides right-wing operatives with an excellent opportunity to embroil the Democrats in a classic frame-up: As I've noted before, anyone can sign up a corpse as a Democrat. By "uncovering" crimes secretly committed by co-conspirators, the ACVR can stir up a phony scandal.

The goals: Tarnish the progressives, make voting by poor people more onerous, and divert the nation from the truth about vote fraud.

We've heard a lot of talk lately about the G.O.P.'s use of front groups for purposes of agit-prop. Let's make sure everyone understands just what sort of operation the ACVR is running.

"Oh my god! They raped Kenny! Then they brainwashed him! Then they made him a bird colonel!"

I'm going to do something bizarre today. I'm going to ask you to listen to a piece of anti-Semitic propaganda, which you can find here. (Scroll down and click on the "Desperate Wives" files, on the left-hand side.)

The propaganda takes the form of an interview with an alleged military wife named Kay Griggs, who does not make her true agenda apparent at first. The ostensible topic of this interview is homosexuality and brainwashing within the top ranks of the military and the Republican party. Griggs (who seems to be the new Milton William Cooper) supposedly learned these shocking truths from her husband, an officer in the Marines.

As the talk progresses, many of the familiar clues start to intrude: You'll hear references to Michael Collins that a secret group "manipulated" the army into the attack on Dresden during WWII...dark hints that Eisenhower was a conscious agent of the conspiracy...and on and on. While the documentarians omit some of the more familiar code-words (we hear no references to "international bankers," "cosmopolitans" or "culture distorters"), the purpose of this exercise remains clear enough. By the end of her sermon, Kay slips into some outright Jew-bashing.

What we have here is a clever attempt by racist paranoids to capitalize on the Gannon imbroglio. The result is a preposterous update of the old "Protocols of Zion" hoax.

So why am I recommending that you sit through all 35 minutes of this tripe?

Because it's the funniest damn thing I've seen in ages.

Much of the humor derives from the fact that the narrator sounds just like a character on South Park. When I heard that voice deliver a nonstop string of inanities about "homosexual mind control," I literally -- literally -- fell off my chair laughing. Yes, it's that hilarious. At times, Kay and co. achieve orbit.

On a certain level, of course, it's not funny; racism is serious business. Beyond that, I've noted other signs that "disguised" neo-Nazis are positioning their forces for an upcoming large-scale propaganda assault: They know that our economy is in a parlous state, and they want to take advantage of the upcoming season of discontent.

But that's a worry for another day. For now -- listen and laugh.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

They're lying to you about the exit polls. Here's the proof.

(Note: I consider this post the most important one I've written on vote fraud in quite a while -- you'll see why by the end. I'll be grateful to readers and fellow bloggers who help spread this news around.)

I may owe you folks an apology.

Yesterday, I directed your attention to this report, by an entity called the Social Science Research Council, on the exit poll discrepancies -- a report I had not actually read at the time I linked to it. Turns out the damn thing is a politely-worded whitewash based on the presumption that the exits, not the "actuals," must have been flawed.

Indeed, the biggest "flaws," according to the SSRC, were the leaks of early exit poll results -- even though no-one has presented one particle of evidence indicating that information published on various blogs on election day affected anyone's vote. (Are that many Iowa farmers really die-hard fans of Daily Kos?)

However, we do know from other sources that, as the night progressed, the exit polls were conformed to match incoming "actual" data. Thus, only the early exit polls offer any sort of objective indication as to whether the vote was honest.

In the Ukraine, only the exit polls -- and nothing else -- indicated the problems with that nation's election. If, in the future, the unconformed polling data remains hidden, as the SSRC insists it must, then we will never learn whether an exit/actual discrepancy exits.

So why, in the eyes of the SSRC, did the exit polls show a Kerry win?

The SSRC researchers believe that there was a demonstrable Democratic bias in the data, and they repeat the National Election Poll line that "differential response" is to blame. This amounts to an endorsement of what I call the "chatty Dem" theory: "Kerry voters were more likely to agree to be interviewed while Bush voters were less likely."

Both the NEP and the SSRC place this explantion in the "subjective" file -- which means they have no proof. One could, with as much evidence, decree that the exit poll numbers were changed by a wave of Professor Dumbledore's wand.

Fortunately, we now have concrete evidence that the "chatty Dem" explanation is wrong, wrong, wrong.

The evidence can be found in this Democratic Underground forum, which derives from an analysis by "Truth Is All," who has done a great deal of fine work in this area. (Even so, I do wish progressives would choose less embarrassing pseudonyms!)

The exit pollsters, as we all should know, did not merely ask folks whether they pulled the lever for Bush or Kerry in 2004. The polls included a number of other questions. Specifically, respondents were asked to divulge the recipient of their vote in the year 2000.

In a preliminary exit poll released on CNN at 12:22 a.m., the results for the query about 2000 were 41% Bush, 38% Gore.

Two hours later, the final exit poll was released. At that time, the respondents said that they had voted in 2000 in a ratio of 43% Bush, 37% Gore.

Have you found the oddity yet? Feel free to re-read the last two paragraphs. And when you do, ponder this little factoid:

Al Gore WON the popular vote in 2000!!!

How, prithee, can the NEP and the SSRC (not to mention Dick Morris and innumerable other GOP propagandists) ask us to believe that the exit polls were skewed in favor of John Kerry? If such weighting existed, then the question about the 2000 race would have resulted in a demonstrable preference for Al Gore.

If you scroll further down in the DU forum, you will note that one reader suggested that 2004 respondents may have lied about who they voted for in the year 2000. But this "explanation" explains exactly nothing. If, as alleged, the exit polls were weighted in favor of the Democrats, why would Kerry supporters make false claims about having voted for George W. Bush in the previous cycle? Logic and experience tell us that people are usually reticent to mention that they once voted for a candidate who has since left them feeling disenchanted and ill-used.

But once we allow ourselves to consider the possibility that the exit polling was actually weighted in favor of Bush -- well. Much is explained.

Obviously, any party attempting to rig the election would also have to think seriously about ways to shade the exit polls.

"Truth Is All" further points out that if the 43% "I voted for W in 2000" figure is correct, then we can extrapolate that number into a figure of some 52.5 million voters. In fact, Bush received 50.5 ballots in the year 2000 -- and a number of those voters must have died or switched parties. Here we have a further indicator that that the NEP results were indeed manipulated -- against Kerry, not for him.

So: According to Warren Mitofsky and those wacky folks at the SSRC, the exit polls were marred by an over-abundant supply of "chatty Dems" who -- for God knows what reason -- bragged about voting for Dubya. And this, we are told, is why we must weight the 2008 exit polls more heavily favor of the G.O.P.

These people are not only rationalizing the 2004 vote theft, they are laying the groundwork for an even grander heist in the future.

Schiavo hypocrisy watch

Brad Friedman has noted a truly glorious moment for hypocrisy fans. On CBS News Radio,

a spokesman from the Schiavo camp was quoted as saying something along the lines "We're so pleased that the broad majority of the American people have really pulled together to get behind the case for Terry Schiavo to save her life."

There was no alternate view presented in the story. Which is odd, given how we've been repeatedly told by the wingnuts what a bunch of leftie, pinko, commie, Bush-haters CBS News is.
Odder still: A Reuters poll indicates that a substantial majority of the American people strongly disapproves of congressional intervention in the Schiavo case.

Brad seems surprised that "left-wing" CBS should offer such a misleading appraisal of American opinion. But that network has done this sort of thing before.

I can recall one instance, about twelve years ago, when Dan Rather announced that "some people" thought that there was a conspiracy behind the JFK assassination. Not many days later, a poll emerged indicating that the number of Americans who believed in a conspiracy had reached the 90% mark. You can't get 90% of our citizens to agree that the earth is spherical, but the JFK controversy had attained that formidable level of agreement.

Of course, polls do not determine reality. (According to one survey, the majority of the American populace also believes that the Moon landings were faked.) But, as I think we must all agree, the figure of 90% made Rather's phrasing -- "some people" -- seem downright ludicrous. Worse than ludicrous: Intentionally deceptive.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Last word from Moby

Singer Moby is no dick. Here's an excerpt from a recent interview (translated from the German):

"The corruption with electronic voting machines is terrible. I don´t want to exaggerate - but since the year 2000 the United States are not a democratic country anymore. In the year 2000 Al Gore won with 800´000 votes ahead. Bush took place in the office. It was a coup. And we all watched. Europe ought to march into the States to bring back democracy."
In that light, you may want to check out the commentary here.

Our revolting vote

I still haven't quite recovered from feeling burnt-out on the vote fraud issue. But there are a few links you should know about. In brief:

Rigged aggregators: This is one of the most promising areas of investigation. From Democratic Underground:

In auditing the tabulators, it is absolutely crucial we expose the rigged aggregator code. Spread the message to every blog you can find....

This happened in every single precinct it seems there is which had record turnout registration, leaving only two explanations that could EVER account for this result

A) In every single PRECINCT, of every state in the USA, specifically the swing states, at every local level race, the exit poll takers polled the WRONG VOTER AREAS across the entire board. The result of this happening whether it be 50, 100, or 200 precincts across the U.S.A and regardless of denomination, is in the odds of less than .000000001 percent, it has the possibility of happening if lightning strikes the same place TWICE in the same exact minute.

B) The exit poll results have been cooked, and voters purged. The probability of this is more than 45%, over 1000 times higher than the previous explanation.
Also see here -- an important new blog on this very subject.

Blackwell wants to depose Kerry and Edwards! Remember how Ohio's flagrantly corrupt elections chieftain Ken Blackwell refused to be deposed by the Conyers committee? Well, now Blackwell says that -- pursuant to the ongoing Ohio recount case -- he will need to depose John Kerry and John Edwards!

"Mr. Blackwell's contention that he needs to depose Senators Kerry and Edwards is a laughable and blatantly political move. Mr. Blackwell has refused to be deposed himself about the Ohio election, has refused to appear before Congress and has refused to answer questions from members of the House Judiciary Committee who have been investigating allegations of election fraud. To suggest that Kerry and Edwards should be deposed to address a legal technicality while Mr. Blackwell continues to avoid any public scrutiny of his own misconduct in the Ohio election is the height of hypocrisy," said Blair Bobier, Media Director for the 2004 Cobb-LaMarche campaign.
Sailing, sailing, the high hypocri-seas...!

How's this for a deal: Can we have a forum in which John Kerry and Ken Blackwell are allowed to depose each other? If not, why not?

The exit polls: Here's the latest overview of the controversies surrounding the exit polls. I haven't had time to read this one yet...

Maryland's miserable machines: Do state elections boards lie to the public? You bet. Maryland's officials tried to convince the good citizens of that state that computerized voting equipment performed admirably in the 2004 vote. In fact, these machines compiled a horrendous record, with an astounding number of misfires and lost votes:

"Election Day was anything but smooth. Votes were lost, computer cards storing votes were unreadable, thousands of error messages were reported, machines froze in mid-voting and machines refused to boot up. The problems with the machines were so widespread and serious that efforts to hide the problems have failed," said Linda Schade, director of "It is not sufficient for Diebold and the SBE to investigate themselves. They have misled the public about this problem and an independent investigation is needed. Further, these problems indicate that the Diebold machines should be decertified as required by Maryland law and as provided for in the Diebold contract..."
See also here. A big problem was screen lock-up, occurring just as a vote was cast. Would a vote cast under such a circumstance be counted or not? Even the experts don't know. (It's a hit-or-miss affair -- sort of like trying to get a post onto Blogger in recent days.)

"Malfunctions" in key districts can, of course, grant a win to the wrong candidate.

FOX News guarding the henhouse: A "non-partisan" voting rights group just sprang up out of nowhere. Needless to say, they are well-funded and boast among their leaders one Jim Dyke, "the RNC Communications Director during the 2004 election and...currently a 'Republican Strategist' for FOX News." (Those last five words seem odder and odder the more I re-read them.)

From what I can tell, they are trying to switch the subject away from the all-too-hackable compu-vote machines inflicted on us by Howard Ahmanson and his fellow theocrats. Instead, they hope to convince the country that the real problem is fraudulent registration. This has been the RNC spin for months now.

Schiavo hypocrites

The Schiavo case has me torn. On one hand, I certainly believe the parents, not the husband, should make the ultimate decision in this case. On the other hand, the Republicans have used this controversy disingenuously, turning a state matter into a federal matter (despite their constant bleatings about state's rights) and constructing law around a single instance, always a recipe for bad legislation.

And they've gone to these lengths for to placate the religious right, not out of concern for the patient. In short, this is all about politics:

ABC News obtained talking points circulated among Senate Republicans explaining why they should vote to intervene in the Schiavo case. Among them, that it is an important moral issue and the "pro-life base will be excited," and that it is a "great political issue — this is a tough issue for Democrats."
If you read Daily Kos, you've already seen the most astounding revelation to come out of this controversy. In 1999, the governor of Texas -- a fella named Bush -- signed legislation containing this language:

If the patient or the person responsible for the health care decisions of the patient is requesting life-sustaining treatment that the attending physician has decided and the review process has affirmed is inappropriate treatment, the patient shall be given available life-sustaining treatment pending transfer under Subsection (d). The patient is responsible for any costs incurred in transferring the patient to another facility. The physician and the health care facility are not obligated to provide life-sustaining treatment after the 10th day after the written decision required under Subsection (b) is provided to the patient or the person responsible for the health care decisions of the patient...
(My emphasis added.)

Asked about this embarrassment from the past, Scott McClellan said that the 1999 legislation was signed to make sure that "actions were being taken that were in accordance with the wishes of the patient or the patient's family." In fact, the wording makes clear that the law was intended to have precisely the opposite effect.

The six-month-old baby of a woman named Wanda Hudson was killed by doctors, against the wishes of the mother, as a direct result of the law Bush signed.

Of course, nothing we can say here will ever force Bush's fundamentalist supporters to see the reality of the situation. They will believe whatever they prefer to believe -- even if doing so requires ignoring the actual text of the 1999 law while accepting McClellan's re-write of history.


I haven't much time to post right now, but I wanted to direct your attention to a few must-see items:

The Revolution gains momentum: Brad Friedman's Velvet Revolution has gained the support of some 23 members of Congress. Check it out!

Curveball: You remember the flap over yellowcake from Niger? That wasn't even a tenth of it. Alas, few people have paid attention to the still-emergent truth about the falsehoods fed to American intelligence by a Iraqi "defector" to German Intelligence, code-named "Curveball." About a year ago, stories circulated pinpointing his many lies -- but even within the progressive community, few have accorded these investigations sufficient attention.

All that crap Colin Powell tried to peddle about Saddam's putative "mobile germ warfare trucks" came from this hoaxer, who apparently is an alcoholic. We still don't know his real name, but he seems to be another Anatoly Golitsyn. No, it's worse -- Golitsyn never managed to start a shooting war.

For a good radio presentation of the evidence, go here. (Click on 502, a and b.) I disagree with the host's main contention that the Germans tried to pull one over on us; we have just as much evidence that German intelligence tried to warn us not to trust the man they were running. (After all, Germany did not support our drive toward war.) Israeli intelligence, however, seems to have played an odd role in all this.

More forgeries: I'm sure you've heard, by now, about the attempt to frame journalist William Arkin as a Saddam spy. (Arkin has written material disliked by fervent Bushites.) The con depended on yet another set of forged documents -- the latest were allegedly produced by the DIA. The accusatory news accounts were first broken by -- but of course! -- Reverend Moon's Washington Times.

Wasn't it just a couple of weeks ago when Moon's UPI pushed a fake story about the capture of Saddam Hussein? Readers will also recall the links between GOPUSA -- and Jim Guckert/Jeff Gannon -- and Moon's various enterprises; I have theorized the GOPUSA was, in essence, a Moon front.

Isn't it about time America woke up to the harm this man is doing? Moon's minions are attempting nothing less than a massive re-write of reality itself.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Figure 1: If Atrios can show pictures of his cats, I can offer you this picture of my dog. We found her as a stray during a miserable rainstorm a few years ago. We have little idea what her breed might be. (Any suggestions? For a while, I thought she might be a Coton de Tulear...) We named her Belladonna (Bella for short) to make her seem intimidating.

Figure 2: This is an overhead shot of the doghouse I'm building for her. (If you're confused, see here.)
 Posted by Hello

Interesting Throat clue

A reader drew my attention to this site, which offers a fascinating new clue to the Deep Throat mystery.

Ben Bradlee once said that we could figure out who Throat is if we checked who was in the DC area on the dates specificed in Woodward's book. As it turns out, the McGovern campaign -- which was, of course, travelling all over the country -- was in the area on the days in question.

So the question is: Who inside the Democratic campaign would have inside knowledge of doings in the Nixon White House?

There's a package for you

Those following the Mann Coulter meme now have a new piece of photographic evidence to contemplate. What's that beneath her skirt?

Really, I feel that this whole irresponsible line of discussion has gone far enough. We need to move on -- but we can't do it without her help. We must write to Ann Coulter and tell her that, for the good of the nation, she must offer a public denial that she was born a man.

Friday, March 18, 2005

A pattern?

Dealing with Blogger has been almost impossible recently -- the comments don't work, and many of my posts haven't shown up. Those posts which do appear require six or seven time-consuming attempts at publication.

I shouldn't complain. After all, Blogger is a terrific service which allows folks like me to communicate with thousands of people for free.

But...I note a pattern....

Remember a few days ago, when I went to the Democratic Underground site only to discover that a (very temporary) hijack had led me to a page filled with jolly obscenities? So far as I know, I'm the only one who caught sight of that oddity and went on to mention it in public.

However, a more serious attempted hijacking happened recently to the Daily Kos site.

The Kossacks blame the hijack attempt on the Freepers, not on the Bush administration. Of course, those who delved deeply into Gannongate know that the dividing line between Rove and the Free Republic is not nearly so wide as some believe.

Blogger, of course, also serves right-wingers and a great many non-political bloggers. Even so (and please note that I'm operating in speculative mode here), I've begun to wonder: What if the recent problems constitute a coordinated warm-up exercise?

Let us posit that a new terrorist event is planned for our future. And let us further posit that the powers-the-be do not want "uncontrolled" commentators to offer their views on said event, at least not for the first day or so. Finally, let us posit that those same powers-that-be are now testing a contingency plan...

Paranoid? Yeah, sure. But am I wrong?


Well, Blogger has been acting ornery lately. Here's hoping this post actually makes it through the cyberspatial roadblocks...

New articles about economic doom are posted hourly. Trouble is, no matter how many times you send the message to John and Mary Six-Pack, they just won't open the envelope. You've probably heard the same stories I've been hearing first-hand: First these poor ninnies max out their credit cards. Then they refi the homestead (often not at fixed rates) in order to pay down the debts. Then they head out a-charging once more. Then they vote for Republicans who pass laws making bankruptcy more difficult for all the John and Mary Six-Packs out there.

And that's the way things are breaking for the ever-shrinking number of people lucky enough to hold down good jobs. God help those of us lower down on the totem pole.

How do we get our warning through to these people? I see no alternative: We have to repeat the message with an insistence that would make even Steve Reich scream for mercy.

So here's the latest news about Economic Apocalypse:

Paul Craig Roberts, an Assistant Secretary for the Treasury under Reagan, has written an amazing piece for Counterpunch. You've probably heard that our economy is propped up by Asian investment in our t-bills, but this is the first time I've seen these figures:

The Asia Times reported (March 12) that Asian central banks have been reducing their dollar holdings in favor of regional currencies for the past three years. A study by the Bank of International Settlements concluded that the ratio of dollar reserves held in Asia declined from 81% in the third quarter of 2001 to 67% in September 2004. India reduced its dollar holdings from 68% of total reserves to 43%. China reduced its dollar holdings from 83% to 68%.

The US dollar will not be able to maintain its role as world reserve currency when it is being abandoned by that area of the world that is rapidly becoming the manufacturing, engineering and innovation powerhouse.
So it's not a matter of "what will happen if...?" It's already happening. Slowly.

Roberts was, as noted, a Reaganite. (Yet he's now writing for Counterpunch! That says something about how far this country has swung to the right...) Another conservative who scries Apocalypse Soon -- very soon, as in later this year -- is William Engdahl, whose works were directed to my attention by Xymphora. I strongly recommend his piece outlining his prediction for a 2005 collapse. After reminding us that no previous recovery was marked by rising debt, he forces the reader to consider the ramifications of a red ink tsunami:

All this economic consumption has created the illusion of a recovering economy. Behind the surface, a huge debt burden has built up. Since 1997, the total of home mortgage debt for Americans has risen 94% to a colossal $7.4 trillion, a debt of some $120,000 for a family of four. Bank loans for real estate purchases have risen since 1997 by 200%, to $2.4 trillion. Average US home prices have risen by 50% in the period since 1998. In 2003 alone a record total of $1 trillion in new mortgage loans were made. In 1997 mortgages totaled $202 billion.

In many parts of the US, home price inflation has become alarming. An apartment in Manhattan is now above $1 million. Home prices in Boston have risen by 64% in five years. California real estate prices are soaring. On average US home prices have risen 50% in six years, an unprecedented rise, driven by Greenspan's easy credit. In seven years to 2004, prices of US homes had risen on paper by $7 trillion to a total of $15 trillion, the highest in US history. The problem is so obviously dangerous, that Greenspan recently was forced to deny existence of any real estate "bubble," much as he denied a stock bubble in 2000.
Much home lending has gone to risky families who haven't put down a penny of their own -- after all, the federal government backs even the most ludicrous mortgage contracts.

Engdahl goes on to discuss other forms of debt. Looks like I'm not the only fellow to note the growing number of folks who owe $7 thou on cars whose resale value is maybe half that amount.

When the loans go bad (and they will), the banks will reel and bellyflop. Uncle Sam will have to step in -- but with what reserves of cash? The Asians will stampede over to the euro in fast-motion, like Keystone Kops chasing Chaplin. Masses of homeless people will demand aid which will never come, because all revenue will be earmarked for paying interest on the money borrowed by Republicans.

Of course, people who earn over $200,000 a year are paying less in taxes than ever before (well, not ever, but let's not look all the way back to the gilded age). That revenue won't be tapped. Even as working class Americans starve in the streets, the dying dolts will still believe the propaganda that their problems are caused by high taxes on the wealthy.

Of course, the ever-rising price of oil means the price of everything goes up. (Never mind whether or not Peak Oil theorists are correct: The price is going up.) Despite the rising oil prices, the stocks in oil companies are falling, which shows just how little faith savvy investors have in the American market.

Morgan Stanley's economist, Steve Roach, last week announced that we have only a ten percent chance of avoiding 'economic Armageddon' (his words!). For more on Roach, see this blog, "Shining Light in Dark Corners":

His first point is the interest rates are artificially low given the falling dollar worldwide. The Fed has been supporting these artificially low interest rates, the results have lead to a more volatile investment climate with stable investments showing flat returns, investors venture into riskier territory.

His second point is that the demand factor in the US that produces trade imbalance is not stable. If demand were to fall stateside, the apparently permanently high priced energy and commodities may just collapse when Chinese production drops in response. He thinks the assumption of permanently higher oil and other commodity prices needs to be stress tested.

All in all, it appears the world economy is in fragile condition. The rapid growth in China and India may just be an artifact of the artificially lower interest rates. When the balance is corrected by the Fed or a crashing dollar, the world could see a recession.
Warren Buffet, in a letter to shareholders, also rails at our horrifyingly imbalanced trade, in terms that an old-fashioned mercantilist would easily comprehend. Buffet says that we are "force-feeding" foreign nations our wealth to the tune of 1.8 billion each and every day. That's what happens when we purchase $618 billion dollars worth of goods produced in other nations, without reciprocation.

When writers for the L.A. Times write a story about our miserable trade balance, they usually note that at least foreigners still like our movies. If I recall correctly, the non-domestic take for American films last year was something on the order of $13 billion. Kind of puts matters into scale, huh? $13 billion versus $618 billion: Don't expect Hollywood to come to the rescue.

So what will happen?

Asian investors fund our debt because they don't know what else to do with their cash, and because they want us to keep buying their crap at WalMart. If Asian economies collapse, no-one will buy our treasury notes. Some forecasters have posited a world where even the Asian-produced goods at WalMart rise in price so drastically as to seem like luxury items. Maybe -- but I suspect that if China undergoes truly hard times, they will pump out goods at ever-lower prices.

The solution? More protectionist trade policies, and a return to Eisenhower-era soak-the-wealthy tax schemes. Shut down any corporate attempts to hide assets overseas. The government should be particularly aggressive in making sure that non-manufacturing corporations find fewer tax loopholes. Use tax policy to force investment in manufacturing and technology, and to punish companies relian on outsourcing.

Will this scenario happen?

No. Not as long as the insidious engines of propaganda and ideology keep shredding reason.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Vote notes

Brad Friedman offers a couple of pieces of good news today: His "Velvet Revolution" for clean elections has received some support in Congress -- specifically from Maxine Waters and John Conyers. Green candidate David Cobb also supports the VR plan, which is called Divestiture for Democracy.

The basic idea: Boycott all companies that won't allow for transparent election machinery.

Ahmanson: I propose taking things a step further. Boycott any firm connected with the Ahmanson family. Howard Ahmanson is the "Mr. Big" running the machines that tabulate so much of our vote. And Ahmanson (as I never tire of pointing out) is on record as favoring theocracy over democracy.

Incidentally, word has it that Ahmanson was the secret power who engineered the Grey Davis recall in California, which led to the Schwarzenegger reign, which led to the persecution and political assassination of Kevin Shelley, staunch foe of the compu-vote.

There is no reason in the world why any Democrat should have any association with Ahmanson-owned Home Savings. If you have money in that institution, pull it out pronto!

L.A. shennanigans: L.A. county elections head Connie McCormack, who led the Shelley lynch mob, is doing her damnedest to inflict paper-free voting on my home.

What is the strange appeal of Diebold and related companies? As I've mentioned on a few earlier occasions, and as Daniel Hopsicker and others have outlined, these companies have a long and outrageous history of palm-greasing.

Just a coincidence. There were at least 57,000 official complaints to Congress about election problems, and most of those problems occurred on electronic machines. And George W. Bush benefited from nearly every "malfunction."

Billion Dollar Bounty! Someone out there (aside from Clint Curtis) must be willing to spill the beans about vote fraud. And maybe that bean-spillage will occur if the reward is sufficient. This site is trying to put together a billion-dollar bounty to anyone who can offer the straight skinny.

Count the ballots: Lynn Landes offers one of the best new pieces on vote fraud. She patiently explains a niggling little fact to which I've made glancing reference in the past: A paper trail is no panacea. That paper will remain unseen unless someone demands a recount. If the e-vote tabulators spit out a margin of victory large enough to bypass an automatic recount, then no-one will ever examine the evidence.

What we need are three things:

1. A full paper trail.

2. Foolproof safeguards for the evidence. I see no reason why we can't have 24/7 camera surveillance.

3. An automatic count of the paper evidence, even if the margin of victory is quite wide.

We could offer many more recommendations, of course -- above all, I would like to see an international organization regulate elections in all industrial nations.

Promptergate: Proof?

The marvellous Bob Fertik believes that Dubya used an earpiece throughout his recent press conferences.

But how can we prove that Bush was lipsynching?

First, we need a videoblogger (like the fabulous to assemble all the tell-tale clips in one place.

Second, we need professionals from several disciplines -- public speaking coaches, psychologists, linguists, etc. -- to analyze the evidence together.

Finally, we need one member of the White House Press Corps to ask Scott McClellan two simple questions:

Has Bush ever been fed answers through an earpiece? Was he fed answers during his press conference on March 16?
Expecting honesty from McClellan is rather naive. Still, a question of that sort might throw the administration flacks off their game for a minute or two -- always a pleasant spectacle. Expert testimony from public speaking coaches and linguists will not persuade the hard-core Bush fans, although everyone else will find their analyses interesting.

Oil: Three theories

When I first began blogging, the only people discussing the Peak Oil theory were fringe types, such as Michael Ruppert. The idea that the world was running out of oil neatly explained why Bush would engineer a country-by-country invasion of the Middle East: We went to war in order to place dwindling resources under U.S. control.

For obvious reasons, the administration did not want the American people to discuss a weltanschauung that would explain the Iraq adventure as a straightforward oil grab. Ann Coulter might have no problem with this, but most others would prefer that we go to war for reasons nobler than mere theft. But now that so many people (including Bill Maher, who seems to be pulling a Dennis Miller on us) have bought into the ludicrous belief that Bush invaded Iraq in order to "export democracy," Peak Oil has become a permissable, even fashionable, topic.

See, for example, this discussion in Congress. See also the SAIC report, described here. See also Julian Jackson's polemic here. I presume that you already have read Salon's report, "Running on Empty."

What are political mavericks to do, now that an "outsider" theory has gained respectability? Obviously, they have no choice but take the opposing stance. Thus, alternative writers now go out of their way to attack the Peak Oil theory; see, for example, this discussion of the abiotic theory, which denies the basic assumption that oil is produced by dead dinosaurs. Oil, according to the non-organic theory, exists at very deep levels where no fossils have ever been found.

Then there are those who do not necessarily embrace the abiotic stance, but who nevertheless argue that we have oil aplenty for centuries to come. Aficionados of this scenario offer dark hints that the Peak Oil theorists themselves have covert ties to the oil industry. Peak Oil may thus be a ruse to jack up the price -- or worse, to reap political benefits from an oil shortage.

This monograph offers what appears to be a detached, scientific rebuttal to "alarmist" Peak Oil prognostications. The author argues that the amount of retreivable oil in the earth fluctuates according to technological developments: "oil resources are under no strain, but increasing faster than consumption!"

We thus have arrayed before us three basic Theories of Oil:

1. Peak Oil. Oil originates from organic material, and we are running out of dead dinos. There is no hope. Forget solar, wind power, nuclear, hydrogen: There is NO hope.

2. Abiotic. Oil is a non-organic, endlessly renewable resource. Want some more? Just dig deeper. Go ahead. Use all you want. Plenty more where that came from.

3. Techno-Oil. Oil is organic, but there's still a lot of the stuff out there; we just need to develop new retrieval technology. There are ways to separate the shale from the dead dinosaur sauce.

These three competing notions remind me of the three characters in No Exit, exquisitely trapped in a state of perpetual tension. Proponents of each of the three scenarios presume bad faith on the part of those wedded to other ideas. Peakers believe that non-Peakers are trying to hide the real reason for the Iraq misadventure. Non-Peakers think that Peakers are aiding the oil companies in another '70s-style scam. The abiotic boys think it's all a scam to hide the truth about how common oil really is. It's oil theorist against oil theorist and all against all!

Is there a fourth theory? Being a true maverick, I'm looking for some new, hipper-than-hip, unconventional ways to look at this problem. The three scenarios outlined above are like, so five minutes ago.

Brief updates

Seems my last post evaporated into the cyberbnetic ether. Blogger has been problematic of late, as many of my readers have reminded me. Well, I'll try to recreate what I wrote. Most of it was relatively unimportant...

Gabe Caggiano: Remember him? He's the Fox reporter who scored a number of interviews with "Jeff Gannon." Critics viewed these as softball interviews with a softball-tossing "journalist." Caggiano also has a rep, in some circles, as a "TV terrorist." Weirdly, he also looks a lot like Gannon/Guckert. (See the photo comparison below.) Indeed, the resemblance is so striking that a few wags have wondered if Caggiano and Gannon are one and the same.

I received a rather nice note from Caggiano, who insists that he isn't as bad as all that, and that a number of people in the broadcast news business respect his work. His acting career, it seems, was just a brief lark.

Incidentally, he says he was on the set of "The Crow" when Brandon Lee was shot -- a factoid that a truly hard-core conspiracy theorist might twist into a scenario worthy of Chris Carter.

The Gannon story leads down many a strange byway -- but right now, I'm convinced that the Caggiano path isn't all that interesting. Although the resemblance is kind of freaky.

Mann Coulter: The Ann's-a-man meme continues to thrive -- for proof, all you need to do is fire up Google and type in the phrases "Ann Coulter" and "Adam's apple." For a wickedly funny take on the controversy, check out the Strap-On Veterans for Truth, who claim that Ann Coulter was born Jeremy Levinsohn.

You can even order a "Bring me the Adam's apple of Ann Coulter" refrigerator magnet.

Readers should understand that I find this entire argument unpersuasive. In order to put these irresponsible accusations to rest once and for all, I propose that we do everything we can to make sure that Ann Coulter issues a denial. The world will be a better place if she directly states that she is not, in fact, a man.

(On a related note: You may want to check out this contest devoted to naming Coulter's next book. The entry I like best is "Propaganda: Nice People Swallow.")

On a cinematic note: I recently viewed Woody Allen's Bananas and Monty Python's Life of Brian for the first time in many years. Surprisingly, the two film (which hold up very well) share the exact same plot: An apolitical nebbish joins a revolutionary group in order to impress a girl. After accidentally becoming the group's leading figure, he is captured by the empire and subjected to an unfair trial, only to receive an unlikely pardon.

Even so, I don't think Allen will be suing Cleese and co. any time soon...

Noreen Gosch: A fellow blogger has been attempting to function as a go-between in order to arrange an interview with the mother of Johnny Gosch. However, now that the Gosch-to-Guckert-to-Gannon rumor has been scotched once and for all (thanks to the discovery of Guckert's high school yearbook photos), there may not be a pressing need for such an interview. I've received a couple of private emails which reminded me of why I do not want to get anywhere near the ritual abuse controversy in this blog. Even so, I wish Ms. Gosch all the best, and I hope one day she discovers the full truth at the heart of her family tragedy.

Friday, March 11, 2005

What to do about vote fraud: Boycott the empire to save the republic

I ask the reader to note two stories which seem, at first, to have no link.

The first is from a Canadian named Murray MacAdam, who argues in favor of a boycott of American products:

From now on, I’m going to boycott U.S. products as much as possible and will not travel there, until they show they are a civilized nation.

Twenty years ago South Africa was a pariah state, boycotted by all people of conscience for its brutal treatment of the black majority. The international boycott of South African products was a powerful weapon in forcing the apartheid regime to change. It gave citizens around the world a practical way of making a difference.
What this writer does not understand is that all the ills of the Bush regime derive from a single evil: Vote fraud.

Which brings us to the second story: Tereza Heinz Kerry, bless her heart, has addressed the unreliability of our all-too-hackable voting machines:

"Two brothers own 80 percent of the [voting] machines used in the United States," Teresa Heinz Kerry told a group of Seattle guests at a March 7, 2005 lunch for Representative Adam Smith, according to reporter Joel Connelly in an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Connelly noted Heinz Kerry added that it is "very easy to hack into the mother machines."
The phrase "mother machines" refers to the central tabulators. Of course, I wish that Heinz Kerry has made reference to the fact that Howard Ahmanson, who owns most of voting machine manufacturer ES&S, prefers theocracy to democracy.

Put these two stories together, and what do we have? A recipe for action.

Americans cannot save themselves; we need help from the outside world. Those citizens of other nations who feel outraged by Republican policies must understand that vote fraud is a reality -- the foundation sin that has made all the other evils possible.

Once the world understands that basic fact, international organizations can draw up guidelines for clean elections.

The next step should be a boycott. It should last until the American government agrees to organize elections according to internationally recognized standards. The boycott should extend to investment in U.S. treasury bills.

Economic pressure can force a return to democracy. The restoration of democracy will diminish all other problems.

Mann Coulter

Do we dare discuss the assertion that Ann Coulter is really a man?

Most progressives will find the claim as low and mean-spirited as Ann's own rhetoric. The idea seems to have been born on usenet -- where, for at least two years, commentators have made snarky remarks about Coulter's adam's apple, boyish frame, and alleged five o'clock shadow.

Now we have the following from the TRBNews website's "Voice of Washington" -- an alleged insider referenced previously by this blog:

There is a rumor going the rounds of the Press Corps that in real life Ann Coulter is a man. He/she was once Arthur Coltrane from Pickens County, Georgia, who went to Denmark when he/she was a teenager for a sex-change operation to become a woman, the operation being paid for by his/her wealthy and doting mother, Darlene Coltrane, heiress to a hog-farming fortune. The consensus about "Ms." Coulter/Coltrane in the Press Room is that ONLY a gay man could have such a vicious mouth on him/her. People are saying that his/her stunning blond locks are really a wig, which he/she got in a Copenhagen sex-toys and drag-queen supply shop, when his/her own hair fell out after the hormone shots took effect.

Having seen what makeup could do for drag queen Ru Paul, who in real life is a VERY plain-looking black man, everyone finds it not surprising that "Ms." Ann Coulter/Coltrane would have shunned his/her family hog-farming business for the brighter lights of the big city, since we have heard that without all that Danish foundation cream, he/she might easily have been mistaken for one of the livestock.
Of course, I've yet to see proof that this Voice of Washington is who he says he is. Some consider TRBNews an outgrowth of the Liberty Lobby; I have no idea if that allegation is true, but I wouldn't be utterly shocked to discover that it is. (Note, though, that TRBNews has scored the anti-Semitism of GOPUSA.)

Googling indicates the the TRBNews site was the first to link the names "Arthur Coltrane" and "Ann Coulter."

Is it indeed the case that this allegation has made the rounds in DC? Or did VOW make this claim merely to initiate such a rumor?

Rumor it is, methinks.

And I'll grin very widely if Ann is forced to deny it.