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Surf-Worthy Sites:

Administration and Cost of Elections

Alaska Wilderness League

American Antitrust Institute

American Association of Retired Persons

American Federation of Government Employees

American Friends Service Committee

American Institute of Philanthropy

American Lands Alliance

American Library Asociation

American Peace

American Rivers

Americans for Computer Privacy

Americans for Democratic Action

Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Amnesty International

Anthrax Vaccine Network

Arms Control Association

Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now

Atomic Veterans of America


Behind the Label

Black Box Voting

Bread for the World

Brennan Center for Justice


Business and Human Rights Resource Center

Campaign Against Arms Trade

Campaign Against Depleted Uranium

Campaign Finance Institute

Campaign for America's Future

Campaign for Safe and Affordable Drinking Water

Campaign for the Abolition of Sweatshops and Child Labor

Campaign to Ban Genetically Engineered Foods

Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods

CEE BankWatch Network

Center for Constitutional Rights

Center for Defense Information

Center for Democracy and Citizenship

Center for Digital Democracy

Center for Economic and Policy Research

Center for Food Safety

Center for International Policy

Center for Justice and Accountability

Center for National Security Studies

Center for Nonproliferation Studies

Center for Public Integrity

Center for Science in the Public Interest

Center for Voting and Democracy

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Chemical Industry Archives

Chernobyl Children's Project

Child Labor Coalition

Child Protective Services Watch

Children's Defense Fund

Chilling Effects Clearinghouse

Christian Aid

Chronic IllNet

Chronology of Incorporation and Monopoly

Citizen Action Project

Citizen Works

Citizens Against Government Waste

Citizens for Tax Justice

Citizens Network on Essential Services

Clary-Meuser Research Network

Clean Clothes Campaign

Coalition for a Competitive Pharmaceutical Market

Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers

Commercial Alert

Common Cause

Common Dreams

Commonweal Institute

Community Rights Council

Concord Coalition


Consumer Federation of America

Consumer Project on Technology

Consumer Research

Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering

Corporate Crime Reporter

Corporate Europe Observatory

Corporate Responsibility Coalition

Corporate Sunshine Working Group

Corporate Welfare Information Center

Corporate Welfare Shame Page


Corps of Engineers Watch

Council for a Livable World

Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Cronus Connection: Election Fraud and Voting Machines

Death Penalty Information Center

Defense and the National Interest

Democracy 21


Depleted Uranium Education Project

Depleted Uranium Watch

DES Action


Disabled American Veterans

Discernment Ministry International



Earth Institute


EarthRights International

Economic Policy Institute

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Electronic Privacy Information Center

Electronic Voting

Endgame Research

Energy Future Coalition

Environmental Investigation Agency

Environmental Working Group

Facts About Olestra

Fair Taxes for All

Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting


Families of
September 11

Families USA: Voice for Health Care Consumers

Family Farm Alliance

Farm Credit Quagmire

FAS Project on Government Secrecy

FDA Review

Federation of American Scientists

Fellowship of Reconciliation

Fielding's DangerFinder

Fight Bad Faith Insurance Companies

Focus on the Corporation

Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights

Fourth Freedom Forum

Free Expression Policy Project

Friends of the Earth

Genocide Documentation Centre

Genocide in the 20th Century

Global Exchange


GRACE Factory Farm Project

Gulf War Veterans

Gush Shalom

Health Care Comparisons Worldwide

Health Privacy Project

Healthy Building Network

Heifer International

History House

Human Rights Watch

iAbolish: Anti-Slavery Web Portal


Independent Judiciary

Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton

Infact: Challenging Corporate Abuse

Initiative & Referendum Institute

Instant Runoff Voting

Institute for Energy and Environmental Research

Institute for Health Freedom

Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Institute for Policy Studies

Institute for Public Accuracy

Interfaith Alliance

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

International ANSWER

International Atomic Energy Agency

International Campaign to Ban Landmines

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions

International Federation for Alternative Trade

International Fellowship of Reconciliation

International Institute for Environment and Development

International Labor Rights Fund

International POPs Elimination Network

Jewish Unity for a Just Peace

Keep Antibiotics Working

Landmine Survivors Network

League of Conservation Voters

League of Women Voters

Let's Invest in Families Today

Liberals Like Christ

Local Harvest

Los Alamos Study Group

Low Level Radiation Campaign

Maquila Solidarity Network

March for Justice


Measles Initiative

Mines Advisory Group


Mothers for Peace

Moving Ideas

National Center for Children in Poverty

National Coalition Against Censorship

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans

National Committee for an Effective Congress

National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare

National Farmers Union

National Freedom of Information Coalition

National Freedom Scorecard

National Gulf War Resource Center

National Institute on Money in State Politics

National Labor Committee for Worker and Human Rights

National Organization for Rare Disorders

National Parks Conservation Association

National Priorities Project

National Vaccine Information Center

National Voting Rights Institute

Native American Rights Fund


Natural Resources Defense Council

Neturei Karta

New Rules Project


No Free Lunch: Just Say No to Drug Reps

No Spray Coalition

Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development

Nuclear Control Institute

Nuclear Threat Initiative

Office of Management & Budget Watch Money in Politics

Open Society Institute

Organic Consumers Association

Our Stolen Future

Oxfam International

Participatory Democracy

Pax Christi International

People for the American Way

Pesticide Action Network North America

Physicians for Human Rights

Polaris Institute

Political Money Line

Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy

Project Against the Present Danger

Project on Government Oversight

Project Underground

Project Vote Smart

Protection Project


Public Citizen

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibity

Rainforest Action Network


Reaching Critical Will

Reclaim Democracy

Reclaim the Media


Resource Center of the Americas

Responsible Wealth

Rethinking Schools

Right-To-Know Network

Safe Tables Our Priority: Food Safety and Food-Borne Illness


Save the Children

Secretive World of Voting Machines

Send a Cow

September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows

Shared Hope International

Small Business Survival Committee

Society for Animal Protective Legislation

Soft Money Laundromat

Sojourners: Christians for Justice and Peace

Soldiers for the Truth

Soy Online Service

Sprawl Busters


Stop Carnivore

Stop Disney Sweatshops

Stop Patient Abuse Now Coalition


Sweetwater Alliance

Swords to Plowshares

Talion: Voting Machines

Tax Foundation

Taxpayers for Common Sense

Ten Thousand Villages

Third World Traveler

Tort Reform Reader


Transparency International

Traprock Peace Center

Truth About Credit

20/20 Vision

UN Landmines Fact Sheet

UN Population Fund

Union of Concerned Scientists

United for a Fair Economy

United for Peace & Justice

Uranium Medical Research Centre

US Campaign to Ban Landmines

US Congregational Life Survey

US Public Interest Research Group

Veterans for Common Sense

Vital Voices Global Partnership

VoteWatch: Repository for Voter Complaints

Water Aid

Water Barons Government Accountability Project

Wilderness Society

WISE Uranium Project

Womens International League for Peace & Freedom

World Resources Institute

WorldWatch Institute

Worldwide Fund for Mothers Injured in Childbirth


Yucca Mountain Facts

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Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Stuck in My Head

Watched this flash music video by Eric Blumrich the other day--the chorus has such a catchy hook to it that I'm still humming the damned thing. It's driving me nuts.

dystopia 5:59 PM - [Link]

Poor People's March for Economic Human Rights

The march, organized by the Kensington Welfare Rights Union of Philadelphia, is underway, scheduled to arrive in Washington, DC, on August 23. In Washington they'll be setting up a tent city, called Bushville, with activities planned through August 29. Go read their updates from the road.

Some precedents from the past:

In December 2001, steelworkers called their tent city Camp Solidarity.

The Community for Creative Non-Violence called theirs Reaganville in 1983.

The Poor People's Campaign's March on Washington began June 1968; over 50,000 participated. Their tent city was called Resurrection City; the National Guard was called in and it was shut down.

In 1932, the Bonus Marchers camp was stormed by armed troops and burned.

Coxey's Army was driven from the Capitol lawn in 1893 before they could build a tent city.

dystopia 4:14 PM - [Link]

3 US Troops Died in Their Sleep

In less than a week. Have you been keeping up with Iraq II: Coalition Deaths? That's where I found this DefenseLink report:

Spc Levi B Kinchen, 21, of Tickfaw, La, died on Aug 9 in Baghdad, Iraq. A fellow soldier tried to wake Kinchen and noticed he was not breathing. Kinchen was assigned to 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Polk, La.

Pvt Matthew D Bush, 20, of East Alton, Ill, died on Aug 8 in Camp Caldwell, Iraq. A fellow soldier tried to wake Bush and noticed he was not breathing. Bush was assigned to F Troop, 1st Squadron, 10th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas.

And this release from CentCom:

A soldier attached to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment died while sleeping at a base camp in Ar Ramadi on Aug 12.

The soldier’s name is being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin.

The incident is under investigation.

dystopia 3:47 PM - [Link]

$20,000 Bonus to Official Who Agreed on Nuke Claim

According to WorldNetDaily:

Thomas Rider, as acting director of Energy's intelligence office, overruled senior intelligence officers on his staff in voting for the position at a National Foreign Intelligence Board meeting at CIA headquarters last September.

His officers argued at a pre-briefing at Energy headquarters that there was no hard evidence to support the alarming Iraq nuclear charge, and asked to join State Department's dissenting opinion, Energy officials say.

Rider ordered them to "shut up and sit down," according to sources familiar with the meeting.

DOE head Spencer Abraham was the one who showed him the money:

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham gave Rider a $13,000 performance bonus after the NIE report was released and just before the war, department sources say. He had received an additional $7,500 before the report.

"That's a hell of a lot of money for an intelligence director who had no experience or background in intelligence, and who'd only been running the office for nine months," said one source who requested nonymity. "Something's fishy."

dystopia 3:36 PM - [Link]

Iraq Safer than Saudi Arabia?

Saw this first, saying that British Airways suspended flights to Saudi Arabia due to a terrorist threat.

Then I saw this, saying British Airways will resume flights to Iraq now that we've taken out the toothless old lion.

I'm just shakin' my head.

dystopia 2:53 PM - [Link]

Bring Them Home Now

Just caught the very end of the press conference on C-Span2 with the parents of troops killed in Iraq. I forgot it was going to be on, so I sure hope they rerun it.

Be interesting to see if the mainstream media makes anything of this. Prob'ly try to ignore it entirely, but they can't, unless we let them--you know what to do.

Oh, cool! I just fiddled around with the C-Span search engine and found the link for on-demand replay. Now I'm listening to Nancy Lessin from Military Families Speak Out.

UPDATE: Starting 36:51, Tom McMahon asked the press, "How many Americans have been wounded in Iraq? Do you know?...That is a very simple question. There is a definite answer..."

They asked how many. He guessed 1,000-1,300, which I think is way too low, and said, "The very fact that I have to guess is an indictment."

You need to listen to this, and pass it on.

dystopia 1:31 PM - [Link]

Study of Bush's Psyche Touches a Nerve

Oh, mercy! I laughed so hard I've still got tears in my eyes. You gotta read this one, in the Guardian:

A study funded by the US government has concluded that conservatism can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in "fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity."

As if that was not enough to get Republican blood boiling, the report's four authors linked Hitler, Mussolini, Ronald Reagan and the rightwing talkshow host, Rush Limbaugh, arguing they all suffered from the same affliction.

All of them "preached a return to an idealised past and condoned inequality."


dystopia 1:09 PM - [Link]

Today in Dystopian History: August 13

1521: After a 3-month siege, Hernán Cortés captured Tenochtitlán, leveling the city and capturing Aztec emperor Cuauhtemoc.

1608: John Smith's A True Relation of Such Occurrences and Accidents of Note as Hath Hapned in Virginia, was submitted for publication.

1673: Rhode Island, founded by colonists fleeing religious persecution in Puritan Massachusetts, exempted religious pacifists from military duty.

1814: The British began the Seige of Fort Erie.

1841: The Independent Treasury Act was repealed; for the next 5 years the US had no federal banking system, so the Treasury Secretary deposited federal funds into state banks.

1876: The Reciprocity Treaty with Hawaii was ratified.

1881: Lt Henry Flipper was accused of embezzlement.

1881: Atlanta's Spelman College opened the first nursing school for black women.

1898: US troops captured Manila after the armistice was signed.

1925: HL Mencken was accused by the Baltimore Chamber of Commerce of damaging trade with the South because of his dispatches from the Scopes Trial.

1931: US Customs closed the border to keep US citizens from gambling in Mexico.

1931: The first community hospital in the US was dedicated in Elk City, OK.

1942: The Manhattan Project was created.

1945: The biggest air raid on Japan was launched; over 1,000 B-29s and other aircraft dropped 6,000 tons of bombs. Lt Saburo Sakai, the one-eyed Japanese ace, shot down a B-29 near Tokyo.

1948: On Black Friday, US and British planes airlifted a record amount of supplies into Berlin in dangerous weather.

1954: The US terminated its trust relationship with the Klamath tribe.

1955: Lamar Smith was killed on the courthouse lawn in Brookhaven, MS; 3 white men were charged but not prosecuted because no witnesses would testify.

1956: The Grande Ronde Indian reservation in Oregon was terminated.

1962: In his economic plan for 1963, President Kennedy promised an "across-the-board, top-to-bottom" cut in corporate and personal taxes.

1971: Attorney General John Mitchell decided there would be no grand jury investigation of the Kent State killings.

1980: Fugitive financier Robert Vesco was said to be the mastermind of a scheme to bribe US officials to obtain planes for Libya.

1981: The parents of 13-year-old Walter Polavchak returned to the USSR without their son after a bitter custody battle with the US.

1981: Former US Reps Michael Myers, John Murphy, Frank Thompson and Raymond Lederer were sentenced in the Abscam sting.

1986: Mexican police abducted DEA agent Victor Cortez, Jr, and an informant; the two were beaten and tortured to extract the names of DEA agents in Mexico.

2002: Widow Kristen Breitweiser appeared on Donahue to discuss her push for an investigation into the actions of US governmental agencies prior to 9/11.

dystopia 10:13 AM - [Link]

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Today We Face Another 'Watergate'

Collected a bunch of articles and editorials on NigerGate over the past several days, from, from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (...a cancer somewhere in the Bush administration...), from the St Petersburg Times, from Newsday, from the Telegraph, and from the Washington Post

Plus, a cute little flash cartoon from Mark Fiore.

This thing isn't quite over yet. I hope.

dystopia 5:08 PM - [Link]

Amputees Not "Seriously Injured"

Found this one in the Letters section of down or use Control+F to find "amputees":

My son-in-law is in Ward 57 at Walter Reed. Lost his right leg to an RPG attack--the press is ignoring the number of injuries--especially amputees.

Except for the Washington Post article they want to forget it. When I asked at Walter Reed why in my son-in-law's attack near Kirkuk on July 9 did the Army Public Affairs officer say no one was seriously hurt--I was told it would not be good for the President. My son-in-law was then in very serious condition in a field hospital in Kirkuk flown shortly later to Germany in very serious condition. Yet the public announcement was "no one seriously injured."

The other story is how the guys and gals in Ward 57 are being treated. Outside of Jessica Lynch. The nurses have to scramble and snag wound vacuums that work--some of them don't--canisters for the vacuums are in short supply. The nurses, most of them, try very hard. So does the infections doctor--a great guy. But the ortho surgeons--well, basically it is--do what is quick, get it over, get them out--so they have room for the next one...

You did catch this report in the Guardian the other day, didn't you?:

Hospital staff are working 70- or 80-hour weeks, and the Walter Reed army hospital in Washington is so full that it has taken over beds normally reserved for cancer patients to handle the influx, according to a report on CBS television...

"Since the war has started, I can't give you an exact number because that's classified information, but I can say to you over 4,000 have stayed here at Andrews, and that number doubles when you count the people that come here to Andrews and then we send them to other places like Walter Reed and Bethesda, which are in this area also," Col DeLane told National Public Radio.

He said 90% of injuries were directly war-related.

dystopia 4:43 PM - [Link]

Total Immunity?

According to Mother Jones:

President Bush was extremely supportive of Resolution 1483--especially that stipulation about legal immunity. Our man in the White House was so enthusiastic that he took it upon himself to write up an executive order that broadened the immunity stipulation. Where the UN Resolution ends immunity at the point of sale, Executive Order 13303 guarantees immunity from the ground to the pump--and covers any advertising or promotion involved therein...

The order defines 'persons' to include corporations, and covers 'any petroleum, petroleum products or natural gas originating in Iraq, including any Iraqi-origin oil inventories, wherever located.'"

That's right. It's a blanket immunity for US-based--and only US-based--corporations...

Just so you know.

dystopia 4:27 PM - [Link]

Thanks for the MREs

Did you read Krugman today? He's on a tear about the lack of logistical support for our troops and the increasing privatization of the military:

Other stories are far worse. Letters published in Stars and Stripes and e-mail published on the Web site of Col. David Hackworth (a decorated veteran and Pentagon critic) describe shortages of water. One writer reported that in his unit, "each soldier is limited to two 1.5-liter bottles a day," and that inadequate water rations were leading to "heat casualties." An American soldier died of heat stroke on Saturday; are poor supply and living conditions one reason why US troops in Iraq are suffering such a high rate of noncombat deaths?

The US military has always had superb logistics. What happened? The answer is a mix of penny-pinching and privatization--which makes our soldiers' discomfort a symptom of something more general.

Colonel Hackworth blames "dilettantes in the Pentagon" who "thought they could run a war and an occupation on the cheap." But the cheapness isn't restricted to Iraq. In general, the "support our troops" crowd draws the line when that support might actually cost something.

No kiddin'. How about explaining this one from to me? Oh, never mind--I get it:

With US taxpayers bearing most of the cost of occupying Iraq, the Bush administration continues to use American corporations to perform work that United Nations agencies and nonprofit aid groups can do more cheaply, a senior Bush administration official acknowledged...

The smaller jobs are all tasks that the United Nations and nonprofit groups have broad experience performing in Iraq and other nations recovering from wars. In fact, they are performing some of them, funded by the international community, alongside US contractors in Iraq...

"The private sector will always be capable of responding more rapidly" and offers "easier decision-making," said Schieck, whose agency has a leading role in rebuilding Iraq...

Yeah, sure--when and/or if they bother to show up.

dystopia 4:15 PM - [Link]

Bush Picks Utah Governor to Head EPA

Saw this yesterday at, but I'd never heard of the guy, so I went searching and found out that Leavitt already turned down the position once. The Salt Lake Tribune reported back in June:

If Gov. Mike Leavitt, no longer a candidate for the top job at the federal Environmental Protection Agency, ever stops to lament the road not taken, he can console himself by noting the apparent lack of clout, much less respect, that the post carries at the White House these days.

Leavitt has told Bush administration officials that he's not really interested in being nominated to replace another governor, New Jersey's Christine Todd Whitman, at EPA...

Anyone with less-than-perfect environmental credentials, such as Leavitt, is likely to be skewered by Democratic senators during the confirmation process. And anyone who cares at all about good government, such as Leavitt, is unlikely to draw satisfaction from running an agency that the administration would rather not have to deal with.

Interesting. Wonder what it took to change his mind? And why they still wanted him when he didn't want the job?

dystopia 3:46 PM - [Link]

A Private Windfall For Public Property

The FCC isn't finished selling us out just yet, per the Washington Post:

We're talking about the privatization of the airwaves, a public resource worth hundreds of billions of dollars in both market value and future federal revenue. The contemplated FCC action could result in the biggest special interest windfall at the expense of American taxpayers in history...

The blueprint for this privatization of the public airwaves is a pair of FCC staff reports released last November. In essence, the FCC's Spectrum Policy Task Force proposes that incumbent licensees be granted permanent, private-property-like rights in the frequencies they currently borrow. The task force proposes that future licenses grant firms "maximum possible autonomy" to decide what services to offer, what technical standards to adopt or whether instead to sell or sublease their frequency assignments to other firms. In the future, access to the airwaves would be a commodity traded on secondary markets and free of virtually all public interest obligations...

The commission's senior economists have added a proposal that these new and valuable rights to sell and sublease frequencies be given away to incumbent licensees at no charge. The proposal is dressed up as an "auction," but it is one in which any incumbent opting to sell its license would be entitled to keep 100 percent of the revenue--money that under current law would flow into the public treasury...

dystopia 3:19 PM - [Link]

Today in Dystopian History: August 12

1676: Wampanoag leader Metacom, aka King Philip, was shot; his body drawn and quartered, his head was displayed on a stake in Plymouth and his wife and child were sold to West Indian slave traders.

1769: Kumeyaay Indians fought the Spanish at the San Diego mission.

1805: Capt Lewis crossed the Continental Divide at Lemhi Pass in Montana.

1831: George Strother Gaines, a white man trusted by the Choctaws, was appointed Special Agent to supervise the removal of the Choctaws to west of the Mississippi River, to be turned over to the US Army.

1840: Raiding Comanches were defeated at the Battle of Plum Creek in Texas.

1869: Emperor Norton I issued an edict abolishing the Democratic and Republican parties.

1890: The Mississippi constitutional convention began the systematic exclusion of black citizens from politics.

1942: The first 292 Japanese-American inmates arrived at Heart Mountain in Wyoming.

1945: The USS Pennsylvania was hit by an aerial bomb off Okinawa, killing 20; the USS Thomas F Nickel and other ships were attacked by human torpedos.

1959: Little Rock, AR, bowed to a federal court order with the token integration of 2 public schools; only 6 black students were admitted.

1960: A fire in the engine room of the USS Exultant killed 5 crewmen.

1965: Iron Hand, a series of 76 missions to destroy North Vietnamese SAM sites, began.

1967: A USAF spokesman admitted that the US had been bombing Laos since May 1964.

1970: President Nixon signed the Postal Reorganization Act, creating an independent US Postal Service and ending government control of the US mail.

1978: 40 protesters were arrested at the Shoreham Nuclear Power Station on Long Island, NY.

1981: IBM introduced the first PC.

1981: Nerve gas bombs were moved from Colorado to the Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah.

1981: Vice President Bush defended the Reagan administration's deregulation plans in areas such as the environment and women's rights.

1982: 12 were arrested in a blockade of the first Trident nuclear submarine at Hood Canal, WA.

1990: The first US death in the Persian Gulf crisis was that of Air Force SSgt John Campisi, who was hit by a military truck.

1992: The US, Mexico and Canada agreed to form a free-trade zone, NAFTA.

1992: Managers from the Resolution Trust Corporation's legal division told a Senate committee that agency heads eased up on pursuing some former S&L officials, accepting ridiculously meager settlements from some and dropping other suits entirely, for political reasons.

1994: The DEA targeted Freeway Ricky Ross for a drug sting just before his release from prison; Ross and his Nicaraguan associates were responsible for rock cocaine distributed throughout Southern California.

1995: Tuskegee Airmen involved in the Freeman Field Mutiny were vindicated by the US Air Force.

2002: The Bush Administration filed a legal brief in a North Dakota suit defending the Roadless Rule.

dystopia 9:39 AM - [Link]

Monday, August 11, 2003

Iran-Contra, Amplified

Jim Lobe points out plenty of parallels, in the Asia Times:

A specter of the Iran-Contra affair is haunting Washington. Even some of the people and countries are the same. And the methods--particularly the pursuit by a network of well-placed individuals of a covert, parallel foreign policy that is at odds with official policy--are definitely the same...

As with Reagan, in this case, too, it is difficult to determine whether President George W Bush--or even his NSC director, Condoleezza Rice--fully understand, let alone approve, of what the hawks are doing...It was known early on, for example, that the Pentagon leadership, without notice to the State Department, the NSC, or the CIA, convened its advisory Defense Policy Board (DPB), headed by Richard Perle, to discuss attacking Iraq within days of the attacks.

The three agencies were also kept in the dark about a mission undertaken immediately afterward by former CIA director and DPB member James Woolsey to London to gather if the CIA or the Pentagon's own Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) could not be trusted.

Lots more...go read the item-by-item analysis.

dystopia 4:53 PM - [Link]

Drugs? What Drugs?

Contrast this bit, from TIME, with our War on Drugs in places like Colombia:

While searching for Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters, US special forces in Afghanistan routinely come across something they're not looking for: evidence of a thriving Afghan drug trade. But they're not doing anything about it...

Antinarcotics experts in Kabul say the US is making a mistake by ignoring the Afghan drug smugglers. Taking action against them would hurt the terrorists, they argue, since both use the same underground pipeline to move cash, guns and fugitives across borders...

Diplomats say many of the local commanders the US military relies on for intelligence on al-Qaeda and the Taliban and to provide hired guns are mixed up in the drug business. "Without money from drugs, our friendly warlords can't pay their militias," says a Kabul diplomat. "It's as simple as that."

Um, wasn't that what they said about all that cocaine being smuggled during the Iran-Contra thing?

dystopia 4:24 PM - [Link]

Jolted Over Electronic Voting

I do carry on endlessly about electronic voting machines, I know, but this news from the Washington Post is too good not to share:

Since being released two weeks ago, the Hopkins report has sent shock waves across the country. Some states have backed away from purchasing any kind of electronic voting machine, despite a new federal law that has created a gold rush by allocating billions to buy the machines and requiring all states, as well as the District of Columbia, to replace antiquated voting equipment by 2006.

"The rush to buy equipment this year or next year just doesn't make sense to us anymore," said Cory Fong, North Dakota's deputy secretary of state...

Doug Jones, a computer scientist in Iowa, said the testing is so secret that even he, as an insider who serves on the state board that certifies voting equipment, can't get information. Five years ago, he found the identical security flaws cited in the Hopkins report.

"They promised it would be fixed," Jones said. "The Hopkins group found clear evidence that it wasn't. Yet for five years, I had been under the impression that it was fixed"...

dystopia 3:40 PM - [Link]

Hatch Latest to Back Presidency Amendment

Both the Senate and the House have bills going on this, per South Coast Today:

US Sen Orrin G Hatch, R-Utah, introduced a proposed constitutional amendment this week that would allow foreign-born citizens to become president...

While the House's proposed constitutional amendment would require that someone born in another country be a naturalized US citizen for 35 years in order to run for president, the Senate version lowers the requirement to 20 years.

OK, Kissinger was naturalized in 1943. The article listed him and Madeline Albright. Has Rupert Murdoch been naturalized? Frum's a Canadian (that one made me giggle until I remembered the lame-o we have now). One of the state GOP heads, Lia Roberts, is from Romania--Katrina Leung might have been a possibility, too, before she was busted. Someone in the DOD? A Bush Pioneer? Then there's Schwarzenegger, of course--why didn't I think of him first? Arrrg! I can't think--who else? Who are they grooming? Elaine Chao, maybe?

Make no mistake--this is no warm-hearted altruistic move. These yahoos don't do anything without a plan. Maybe it's a campaign PR maneuver, throwing a bone to the minority vote in 2004--maybe.

The pros of keeping the natural-born requirement: the US political system has a measure of protection against the influence of foreign nations, and the President can make domestic and foreign policy decisions without any emotional or family ties to another country.

On the other hand, most of our naturalized citizens made a deliberate personal commitment to the US, and many have served this country proudly and with honor.

Alas, with the GOP, there's usually a devious plot afoot. Amending the Constitution is not a national priority right this minute. Unless it's to abolish the electoral college, but I can't give you good odds on that ever happening.

dystopia 2:57 PM - [Link]

Today in Dystopian History: August 11

1784: A royal commission, including Benjamin Franklin, submitted its report on mesmerism and "animal magnetism" to King Louis XVI, pronouncing them a fraud.

1802: Shawnee chief Tecumseh precisely predicted an earthquake, named the New Madrid quake when it occurred in 1811.

1828: The first labor party in the US was formed.

1834: A Protestant mob sacked and burned the Ursuline convent in Charlestown, MA.

1860: The first profitable silver mill in the US opened at Virginia City, NV.

1861: The NY Daily News' was suspended for 18 months and its postal privileges revoked due to its hostility to the Civil War.

1864: The POW population at Andersonville reached 33,000; deaths reached 100 per day.

1877: Mars' moons were discovered by US astronomer Asaph Hall, who named them Phobos and Deimos.

1900: An infant mortality rate of 80% was reported in one Seminole settlement in the Everglades.

1909: The Arapahoe was the first US ship to use the SOS distress call.

1934: The first federal prisoners arrived at Alcatraz.

1937: The ILWU received a CIO labor charter.

1945: Brig Gen Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project, said another atomic bombing would possible within a few days, but President Truman halted bombing until further notice. In Manila, Gen MacArthur said the atomic bomb was unnecessary since Japan would have surrendered anyway.

1952: Philip Morrison, a Cornell physics professor, expressed doubts about atomic warfare, and was called before a Congressional anti-communist committee.

1965: The Watts Riot begin in LA; 34 people were killed, 800 wounded, 3,000 arrested and $200 million worth of property was destroyed.

1967: US pilots were first authorized to bomb power, petroleum and transportation sites in the Hanoi-Haiphong area.

1980: Secretary of State Edmund Muskie was upset at not informed about the Carter administration's new nuclear strategy.

1981: Vice President Bush discussed President Reagan's new federalism at a national governors' conference.

1984: President Reagan joked during a test for a paid radio address that he had "signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in 5 minutes."

1991: American hostage Edward Tracy was released by Shiite kidnappers; he had been held since 1985.

1994: Major league baseball players went on strike.

1995: 5 major tobacco companies filed suit to block the FDA's rule-making procedure; 6 trade and advertising groups filed separate suits.

1995: A federal investigation began into the siege at Ruby Ridge, ID, in 1992, to find out if FBI officials had approved a "shoot on sight" order.

1997: President Clinton first used the line-item veto approved by Congress, rejecting 3 items in spending and tax bills.

1998: British Petroleum bought Amoco for $49 billion in the biggest foreign takeover of a US company.

dystopia 9:45 AM - [Link]

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Books Worth Reading (linked to reviews):

The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood (1986)

How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer, by Jimmy Breslin (1975)

Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco, by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar (1990)

Big Blues: The Unmaking of IBM, by Paul Carroll (1993)

Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson (1962)

The Road Ahead, by Bill Gates with Nathan Myhrvold and Peter Rinearson (1996)

Charismatic Chaos, by John F MacArthur, Jr (1992)

The American Way of Birth, by Jessica Mitford (1992)

Ethel: A Fictional Autobiography, by Tema Nason (1990)

Arrogant Capital: Washington, Wall Street, and the Frustration of American Politics, by Kevin Phillips (1994)

Flying High: The Story of Boeing and the Rise of the Jetliner Industry, by Eugene Rodgers (1996)

Clearing the Air, by Daniel Schorr (1977)

Trammell Crow, Master Builder: The Story of America's Largest Real Estate Empire, by Robert Sobel (1989)

The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed, by David Stockman (1986)

Oil Man: The Story of Frank Phillips and the Birth of Phillips Petroleum, by Michael Wallis (1995)

Marathon: The Pursuit of the Presidency 1972-1976, by Jules Witcover (1977)

Belly Up: The Collapse of the Penn Square Bank, by Philip L Zweig (1985)