Workers of the world, awaken!
Rise in all your splendid might
Take the wealth that you are making,
It belongs to you by right.
No one will for bread be crying
We'll have freedom, love and health,
When the grand red flag is flying
In the Workers' Commonwealth.
the half-empty glass
leaking rust-tinged memories
into the polished keyhole
of a closed door
streaks of manipulation
frozen beneath intense sunshine
your tender wounds
in inexperienced light
a soft lace
of magnolia blossoms
tinged with a
magical root stimulant
into untrodden soil
slowly but resolutely
nourishes lush lusty growth
and places on my mantle
FBI Investigated 3,501 People Without WarrantsI've often thought that there should be a special section in the Sunday paper, summarizing all the news released that the government makes on Friday.
Received Details From Banks, Credit Card, Telephone and Internet Companies
By MARK SHERMAN, AP
WASHINGTON (April 29) - The FBI secretly sought information last year on 3,501 U.S. citizens and legal residents from their banks and credit card, telephone and Internet companies without a court's approval, the Justice Department said Friday.
It was the first time the Bush administration has publicly disclosed how often it uses the administrative subpoena known as a National Security Letter, which allows the executive branch of government to obtain records about people in terrorism and espionage investigations without a judge's approval or a grand jury subpoena.
Friday's disclosure was mandated as part of the renewal of the Patriot Act, the administration's sweeping anti-terror law.
Why can't you truthfully tell us, Mr. President, the reasons you led America into war? Was it for the WMD, for regime change, for the oil, for grand neocon visions, to avenge your father, to win elections at home? What were your real intentions? Are you afraid to tell us? Or is the truth that, deep down, you never really knew?
Bush’s Washington still pays far too much heed to some of the wilder propagandists based in think tanks. Increasingly, bodies such as the AEI (for which I once wrote a scholarly volume on British political history) are less keen on sponsoring thinking and research. They are giving desk space and star roles to a breed of fast-talking practitioners of the television soundbite.We know that he has listened to the folks at the Hoover Institution, which generally advocates the preemptive use of force. From a recent Think Progress post:
This tidbit about President Bush’s schedule was buried in today’s [4/22/2006]Washington Post:So he has listened to one side of the issue, but has he heard, and does he understand, the other side? Has he even given careful consideration to the one side he has listened to?Bush traveled Friday night to Stanford University, where he met privately with members of the libertarian Hoover Institution to discuss the war. He concluded the day with a private dinner held by George P. Shultz, a Hoover fellow and former secretary of state.
Why is this significant? The Hoover Institution is a think tank that has been aggressively promoting the viability of a preemptive military strike in Iran. Here’s just a couple of recent examples —
Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at Hoover:[Europe] will be able to think of all sorts of nicer alternatives to taking out Iran’s nuclear development sites. They will be able to come up with all sorts of abstract arguments and moral equivalence, such as: Other countries have nuclear weapons. Why not Iran? Debating abstract questions is much easier than confronting concrete and often brutal alternatives. The big question is whether we are serious or suicidal. [Creators Syndicate, 1/3/06]
Tod Lindberg, a research fellow at Hoover:
Whatever it is that Saddam was going to perpetrate in his remaining years in power, whatever he intended to bequeath to his sons and whatever in turn they would do to follow up on his legacy, this we have prevented… Which takes us back to Iran…I don’t think it would be a good idea to wait around in the hope that we never arrive at the moment when we realize we should have done something. [Washington Times, 4/18/06]
George P. Schultz, who hosted the event, was an “early defender of the use of pre-emptive force to deal with Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq.”
Pre-emptive strategy involves an inherent dilemma: It is based on assumptions that cannot be proved when they are made. When the scope for action is greatest, knowledge is at a minimum. When knowledge is high, the scope for pre-emption has often disappeared. Had Churchill’s early warning been heeded, the Nazi plague could have been destroyed at relatively little cost. A decade later, tens of millions of dead paid the price for the quest for certainty of the statesmen of the 1930s.To get an idea of the chaos that could come from premature unilateral action, consider the possible outcomes that could occur if the US were to use nuclear weapons against Iran. There are two issue to consider. One issue is the direct effect of the use of a nuclear bunker-buster bomb. Another is the implication of the use of such a weapon with regard to international relations.
American policy needs to navigate this element of uncertainty. The key question becomes: How is the threat to be defined, and through what institutions can resistance to it be implemented? If each nation claims the right to define its pre-emptive rights for itself, the absence of any rules would spell international chaos, not international order.
The depth at which even a small nuclear weapon must be buried to ensure that it is "contained" —that is, that no radiation is released when it explodes—is much greater than the achievable penetration depth, so that it is impossible to prevent radioactive fallout from a nuclear EPW.They illustrate the point with an example:
For example, the new nuclear earth penetrator that the United States plans to research would use a 1.2-megaton weapon. According to a simulation using software developed for the Pentagon, if one of these weapons were used against the underground nuclear facility in Esfahan, Iran, 3 million people would be killed by radiation within 2 weeks of the explosion, and 35 million people in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India would be exposed to increased levels of cancer-causing radiation.The article containing these quotes is here. For those who don't have the patience to read a fairly technical article on the subject, the UCS has prepared a short animation (using Flash video) that covers the key points. The article also contains a discussion of the deleterious effect that the use of a nuclear weapon would have on international relations. They argue that our security situation would be worsened by the use of a nuclear weapon against Iran.
Instead, this new U.S. policy conveys a clear message to the 182 non-nuclear weapon states that the United States is moving strongly away from disarmament, and is in fact prepared to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear adversaries. It provides a strong incentive for countries to abandon the NPT and pursue nuclear weapons themselves and dramatically increases the risk of nuclear proliferation, and ultimately the risk that regional conflicts will explode into all-out nuclear war, with the potential to destroy our civilization.The rationale for the petition is described here, at Globalsecurity.org.
Starting April 28, fans can log onto Young's Web site, www.neilyoung.com, and listen to the 10-track collection in its entirety, free of charge, said Bill Bentley, a spokesman for Warner Music Group's Reprise Records. The album will first become commercially available as a digital download beginning May 2, "and we plan to get it into retail stores as soon after that as we can get them manufactured," Bentley said.
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 18, 2003
Dear Mr. Speaker:
Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that:
(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and
(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
GEORGE W. BUSH
George W Bush: We've increased funding for dealing with nuclear proliferation about 35% since I've been the president.
Secondly, we've set up what's called the - well, first of all, I agree with my opponent that the biggest threat facing this country is weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist network.
And that's why proliferation is one of the centrepieces of a multi-prong strategy to make the country safer.
In 1995 and 2000, the 187 countries in the NPT met in a series of major international conferences in New York to reaffirm their commitment to the treaty. At the time, the United States joined the rest of the "nuclear club" in promising, again, the "unequivocal undertaking" to eliminate its nuclear arsenal.
As soon as he was elected, George W. Bush renounced those commitments. We need the nukes because we're the good guys, went the rationale. The administration pulled out of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty at the same time (although a moratorium is in effect).
With a series of moves capped off by the deal with India, Bush has now renounced the central idea that "the proliferation of nuclear weapons" itself, as the NPT reads, "would seriously enhance the danger of nuclear war." The administration wants a new order where Washington decides -- without objective criteria -- which countries are worthy of nuclear technology and which ones are not. India's nuclear program -- which U.S. policy makers have condemned since the mid 1970s -- is fine. Pakistan's is fine. Israel's, no problem. Iran? No way.
That may not seem so bad on the surface, but it sends the worst possible message: All those years of complaints that the NPT was a discriminatory treaty set up by the powerful to keep the powerless from creating an even playing field have been proved right by George Bush. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., a nonproliferation vet -- told PBS's News Hour, that the deal "blows a hole through any attempts in the future that we could make to convince the Pakistanis, or the Iranians, or the North Koreans, or for that matter any other country in world that might interested in obtaining nuclear weapons, that there is a level playing field, that there is a real set of safeguards."
Will Press Put Out Fire on Iran?
The media dropped its guard in the run-up to the attack on Iraq. Will they redeem themselves if pressure builds for an air strike or war against Iran? There are some indications that some lessons may have been learned. [...]
Newspapers may be in the role of bullpen stopper right now, with the current Iran "semi-crisis." In baseball lingo, they should try to "put out the fire" there, after losing one for the home team in Iraq three years ago.
To those who would say that this inflates the power or even role of the press in America today, I would reply: You don't expect the Democrats to keep us out of war, do you? Just as they would not stand up to the president on Iraq for fear of appearing "weak on terror," they would likely be wary of appearing "weak on the Tehran Bomb." Let's face it: All the Democrats want to do right now is stagger through to November with an unpopular president in office, and hope that, maybe, they can re-take at least one house of Congress -- without having to stick their necks out.
So the media, usually only a middle-reliever or in a mop-up role on this playing field, might have to pitch with the game on the line.
That's from a column on the website for Editor and Publisher, written by Greg Mitchell. It is written perhaps more harshly that I might have written it, but the sentiment is the same.
Mitchell goes on to give a few example of the press starting to show some spirited opposition to the government's propaganda campaign. Unfortunately, for every example he gives, there are many examples of the press blithely parroting the Administration's efforts to prepare the minds of Americans for battle.
I hope he's right, but that is not how I see the media responding at this point. They are still the stenographers for the Project for a New American Century, as far as I am concerned.
As Robert W. McChesney & John Nichols put it, back in 2003:
At Bush's last prewar press conference, the White House press corps looked more like stenographers than journalists. Even some reporters were appalled; ABC News White House correspondent Terry Moran said the reporters looked "like zombies," while Copley News Service Washington correspondent George Condon Jr. told AJR that it "just became an article of faith among a lot of people: 'Look at this White House press corps; it's just abdicated all responsibility.'" Millions of Americans agreed. "I talked to people everywhere I went who said that if the media, especially the television media, had done its job, there wouldn't have been a war," says Representative Jim McDermott.
The revelation that Iran was the focal point of Plame's work raises new questions as to possible other motivating factors in the White House's decision to reveal the identity of a CIA officer working on tracking a WMD supply network to Iran, particularly when the very topic of Iran's possible WMD capability is of such concern to the Administration.
“White House apparently hoped that by the time anyone found out about the flooding of the market with dollars, they could stage an event, such as an air attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, that would distract the public entirely.”
A war with Iran started purposefully or by accident, will be a mess. What is happening now though is not just an administration prudently preparing for the unfortunate against an aggressive and crazed state, it is also aggressive and crazed, driven by groupthink and a closed circle of bears.
The public needs to know first, that this planning includes preemptive plans that the President could approve and implement with 12 hours notice. Congress should take notice of the fact that there is a real war plan -- CONPLAN 8022 -- and it could be implemented tomorrow.
Second, the public needs to know that the train has left the station on bigger war planning, that a ground war -- despite the Post claim yesterday that a land invasion "is not contemplated" -- is also being prepared. It is a real war plan; I've heard CONPLAN 1025.
"I don’t know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action."
...the brain functions differently when a person arrives at "Aha!" solutions, compared to methodical solutions. The current study reveals that the distinct patterns of brain activity leading to "Aha!" moments of insight begin much earlier than the time a problem is solved. The research suggests that people can mentally prepare to have an "Aha!" solution even before a problem is presented. Specifically, as people prepare for problems that they solve with insight, their pattern of brain activity suggests that they are focusing attention inwardly, are ready to switch to new trains of thought, and perhaps are actively silencing irrelevant thoughts. These findings are important because they show that people can mentally prepare to solve problems with different thinking styles and that these different forms of preparation can be identified with specific patterns of brain activity. This study may eventually lead to an understanding of how to put people in the optimal "frame of mind" to deal with particular types of problems.
...) it may be that how a person is thinking before problem solving begins is just as important as the kind of thinking involved in reaching the solution, and perhaps even determines whether the solution will be derived with a sudden insight.
Pam Sakuda, 58, is dying of cancer. Last year she took part in a controversial pilot project which uses psilocybin (pronounced sil-o-cybin), which comes from magic mushrooms, to help patients cope with the anxiety of being terminally ill.
...) It's far too early to say whether psychedelics do have a role in modern psychiatry. But Pam Sakuda is convinced her experience of psilocybin has helped her face death.
"It was a dramatic difference from the morning to the afternoon," she says. "I came to see that being so afraid and so negative about all the things I wouldn't be able to do was really limiting the time I do have left. I started to live fully and richly and intensely."
The United States, some $4 trillion in hock internationally, has become the world's leading debtor, increasingly nagged by worry that some nations will sell dollars in their reserves and switch their holdings to rival currencies. Washington prints bonds and dollar-green IOUs, which European and Asian bankers accumulate until for some reason they lose patience. This is the debt Achilles' heel, which stands alongside the oil Achilles' heel.
Unfortunately, more danger lurks in the responsiveness of the new GOP coalition to Christian evangelicals, fundamentalists and Pentecostals, who muster some 40 percent of the party electorate. Many millions believe that the Armageddon described in the Bible is coming soon. Chaos in the explosive Middle East, far from being a threat, actually heralds the second coming of Jesus Christ. Oil price spikes, murderous hurricanes, deadly tsunamis and melting polar ice caps lend further credence.