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Atlantic Free Press News

Fri

27

Oct

2006

“Every Honest Politician” Sebastian Mallaby’s Distortions
Friday, 27 October 2006 13:31

by Seth Sandronsky,

As U.S. midterm elections near, the topic of political honesty draws some pundits like moths to light.  Take Sebastian Mallaby in the Washington Post of October 23.

“Every honest politician knows that entitlement spending on retirees is going to bust the budget,” Mallaby writes.  “But since the failure of Bush's proposed Social Security overhaul last year, nobody is doing anything about it.”

Presumably, these honest politicians are aghast at rising costs for Medicare, which provides health care to Americans age 65 and up, plus some disabled recipients of Social Security.  We turn to the Medicare prescription drug benefit bill, known as Medicare Part D.

 

Thu

26

Oct

2006

U.S. Service Academy Graduates Unite Against Illegal Iraq War
Thursday, 26 October 2006 07:40

Atlantic Free Press Netherlands – (October 26, 2006) – The overwhelming response by alumni of United States service academies to the anti-war efforts of West Point Graduates Against the War (http://www.westpointgradsagains tthewar.org) has resulted in a combined arms organization of former and current land, sea, and air officers united against the war in Iraq. The new organization, Service Academy Graduates Against the War (http://www.sagaw.org), was established by three West Pointers, William Cross, James Ryan, and Joseph Wojcik, all 1962 USMA graduates and cofounders of the former organization. They were joined in the new endeavor by Dud Hendrick, a 1963 United States Naval Academy graduate and Terry Symens-Bucher, an alumnus of the United States Air Force Academy, class of 1975.

 

The new grassroots organization calls on graduates of all service academies to speak out against the destruction of the honor of the United States and the dissipation of its military caused by the deceitful policies of the present administration. It also calls for the impeachment of the president of the United States for high crimes and misdemeanors.

 

 

Wed

25

Oct

2006

Blood and Gravy II: The Jackal's Feast Goes On
Wednesday, 25 October 2006 10:02

By Chris Floyd

 

The picture below (from the New York Times) speaks most eloquently on the essence of the Bush Regime's brutal, grubby Babylonian Conquest: fat mercenaries guarding the construction of yet another prison.


The picture comes from a story on the "overhead costs" of reconstruction projects, based on a report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, who found astonishing amounts of waste and cost overruns by the crony contractors who came to feast on the carcass that Bush killed for them. Two main points emerge from the report.

First, that the IG's catalogue of gouging, feather-bedding and other profitable forms of war-profiteering is by no means complete, because "the United States has not properly tracked how much such expenses have taken from the $18.4 billion of taxpayer-financed reconstruction approved by Congress two years ago." In fact, the IG's office was only able to examine only $1.3 billion of the contracts. 

In other words, as oft reported here (and here and here), much of that money has simply disappeared -- into corporate coffers, into copious baksheesh for the Bush-backed Iraqi government, into kickbacks for Congressional vultures, and doubtless into slush funds both for covert ops (including perhaps the Bushists' deliberate formenting of terrorism and arming of militias) and domestic politics. We are most likely seeing the fruits of some of this blood money wash up on American screens at this very moment, as the GOP's last-ditch "Smear and Fear" campaign goes into hyperdrive.


 

Mon

23

Oct

2006

Gorilla Radio for October 23, 2006
Monday, 23 October 2006 02:35

PEJ News - C. L. Cook - This week on GR: Andrew Barry of Students Against the War, mobilizing Canadians for peace; Donna Morton and finally economics in the service of our higher natures; and Janine Bandcroft bringing us up to speed with all that's good to do in and around Victoria in the coming week.
 

Fri

20

Oct

2006

Three West Point Grads to be Honored for Antiwar Activity
Friday, 20 October 2006 10:01

ATLANTICFP Netherlands – In a tribute to honor and country, the Peace Action of Central New York will present Peacemaker Awards to Dr. William Cross, James Ryan, and Joseph Wojcik, the three founders of West Point Graduates Against the War on Veterans Day weekend in Syracuse.

These anti-Iraq war advocates will be honored at the annual Peace Awards Dinner in Syracuse on November 12, 2006 where Dr. Cross will deliver the keynote address, entitled “Loyalty to Whom?”

 

The three founders launched the grassroots organization, West Point Graduates Against The War, in the spring of 2006 to convert the disgrace of governmental misinformation and evasions about the assault on Iraq into a force to redeem the honor of the United States.

 

The organization’s mission is to encourage, empower, and support all graduates of U.S. service academies to speak out against the policies of the current administration. These policies have disastrously undermined and damaged the reputation of the United States and its military throughout the world. To this end, the organization has recently called for the impeachment of George W. Bush for his deceitful and illegal actions that insult the founding principles of America and have so endangered the interests of the American public, its military, the Iraqi people, and the world.

 Membership is open to all alumni of the United States Military Academy, and widows, widowers, parents, and children of deceased graduates. Enrollment has grown steadily and includes retired and active duty graduates.

 

Wed

18

Oct

2006

Bush's Middle East Strategy, and Presidency, Lie in Ruins as Republicans Scurry Away
Wednesday, 18 October 2006 12:36

by Dave Lindorff

Well, so much for Iraqi “sovereignty.” So much too for "staying the course" and for "fighting the terrorists there so we won’t have to fight them here." And while we're at it, so much for all the young Americans who've tragically given their lives or their bodies and health in the interest of advancing President Bush’s criminal political agenda.

We saw the true nature of Iraqi "sovereignty" when it was disclosed that a worried Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki earlier this week made an anxious phone call to Bush to ask whether rumors he had been hearing were true that Bush was planning on replacing him. The call made it clear that Maliki knows he serves in his role solely at the pleasure of the American president. In saner, more honest times, the media would refer to such a situation as colonial, but our lapdog media just plays the game and talks about Iraq as if it were a sovereign nation.

Maliki also asked the president if it was true that the U.S. was planning on pulling the plug on the Iraq occupation. The president reportedly reassured his worried puppet that he was not going to undercut him, and was not about to withdraw US troops, but if I were Maliki, I'd heed the lesson of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, who was assured of US backing even as the CIA was making arrangements to have him assassinated and replaced by another thug.

 

 

Wed

18

Oct

2006

Sentimental Education: Academia Signs Up for Tracking Down Dissent
Wednesday, 18 October 2006 11:05

by Chris Floyd

 

This is my latest piece for Truthout.org.

I.
Why is the United States government spending millions of dollars to track down critics of George W. Bush in the press? And why have major American universities agreed to put this technology of tyranny into the state's hands?

At the most basic level, of course, both questions are easily answered: 1) Power. 2) Money. The Bush administration wants to be able to root out - and counteract - any dissenting noises that might put a crimp in its ongoing crusade for "full spectrum dominance" of global affairs, while the august institutions of higher learning involved - the universities of Cornell, Pittsburgh and Utah - crave the federal green that keeps them in clover.

But beyond these grubby realities, there are many other disturbing aspects of this new program - which is itself only part of a much broader penetration of American academia by the Department of Homeland Security.

As with so many of the Bush measures that have quietly stripped away America's liberties, this one too is beginning with a whimper, not a bang: a modest $2.4 Department of Homeland Security million grant to develop "sentiment analysis" software that will allow the government's "security organs" to sift millions of articles for "negative opinions of the United States or its leaders in newspapers and other publications overseas," as the New York Times reported earlier this month. Such negative opinions must be caught and catalogued because they could pose "potential threats to the nation," security apparatchiks told the Times.

This hydra-headed snooping program is based on "information extraction," which, as a chipper PR piece from Cornell tells us, is a process by which "computers scan text to find meaning in natural language," rather than the rigid literalism ordinarily demanded by silicon cogitators. Under the gentle tutelage of Homeland Security, the universities "will use machine-learning algorithms to give computers examples of text expressing both fact and opinion and teach them to tell the difference," says the Cornell blurb.

At this point, the ancient and ever-pertinent question of Pontius Pilate comes to mind: "What is truth?" Of course, Pilate, being a devotee of what George W. Bush likes to call "the path of action," gave the answer to his philosophical inquiry in brute physical form: truth is whatever the empire says it is - so take this Galilean rabble-rouser out and crucify him already. In like manner, it will certainly be the government "security organs" who ultimately determine the criteria for what is fact and what is opinion - and whether the latter is positive or negative, perhaps even a candidate for the Bush-Pilate "path."

The academics will be trying out the Sentiment Analysis program (let's call it SAP, for short) on four main clusters of articles from 2001-2002, the Times reports. These include: Bush's famous declaration of an "axis of evil" threatening the world; the treatment of his Terror War captives in Guantanamo Bay; global warming; and the failed Bush-backed bid to topple Venezuela's Hugo Chavez in a coup - all of them issues on which the Bush administration was at odds with much of the world, and large swathes of American opinion as well. Obviously, such issues are fertile fields for terrorist thought-crimes to be snagged and tagged by SAP.

For those with concerns about civil liberties, Cornell assures us that SAP will be limited strictly to foreign publications. Oh, really? Hands up out there, everyone who believes that this technology will not be used to ferret out "potential threats to the nation" arising in the Homeland press as well. After all, the Unitary Executive Decider-in-Chief has already decided that the nation's iron-clad laws against warrantless surveillance of American citizens can be swept aside by his "inherent powers" if he decides it's necessary. Why should he bother with any petty restrictions on a press-monitoring program? And wouldn't dissension within the ranks of the volk itself actually be more threatening to government policy than the grumbling of malcontents overseas?


 

Wed

18

Oct

2006

Stewart in Leg-irons; the latest victory in the war on terror
Wednesday, 18 October 2006 10:54

By Mike Whitney

“She has represented the poor, the disadvantaged and the unpopular….It is no exaggeration to say that Ms. Stewart performed a public service not only to her clients but her nation.” Judge John G. Koeltl; Federal District Court, Manhattan, NY
So far, Bush’s only triumph in his muddled war on terror has been locking up the two Stewart Sisters, Lynne and Martha. (They’re not really sisters) Neither posed any threat to national security, but that’s beside the point. Their arrest sends a chilling message to “home-decoration mavens” and 67 year old cancer patients that they’d better “watch their step” or they’ll find themselves in prison-pinstripes.

Do Americans really see how crazy this is or have we been so subsumed in “terror-hysteria” that we’ve lost our sense of humor altogether?

Consider this: while attorney Stewart is tottering off to prison for defending a “blind Sheik”, a tan and rested Bin Laden is somewhere in the Pakistan-outback working on golf swing and his memoirs?

Does that make any sense?

Only if the real objective is to intimidate lawyers who defend unpopular clients rather than nailing terrorists.
 
 

Tue

10

Oct

2006

Red October: Killing the Truth in Moscow
Tuesday, 10 October 2006 16:05

I.


Early October can be dismal in Moscow. The short, harsh summer is over, the brief and beautiful refreshment of September has passed, yet the snow – in which the city has its deepest life – has not yet come. Instead there is often miasma: gray days pocked with rain or fog, vague and ragged days, neither autumn nor winter but suspended in a limbo state.

 They say last Saturday was just such a day in Moscow: tepid, damp, fog through the morning, clouds all afternoon, a limp breeze pushing at the torpor. The muffled sunlight would have just begun draining toward night when a young man – dressed in black, carrying a 9mm Makarov pistol – approached the non-descript apartment building at 18/13 Lesnaya Street. His target was in sight: a woman, early middle age, laden with groceries, walking toward the door. A few stray lines of the setting sun might have split the clouds as he moved toward her – or perhaps it stayed dim, miasmic. He wouldn't have noticed in any case: the door was open, they were inside, the pistol was out, he fired – a few shots to the body, one to the head; the woman fell. Her life was gone; the job was done. He dropped the pistol, as he'd been taught to do, and left the scene. It was, they say, about 4:30 in the afternoon.

That's how Russia's leading journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, came to die last week. Many details of the death are still unclear – and as the Russian authorities launch their usual "thorough investigation" of yet another reporter's murder, no doubt the details will grow more and more muddled, more vague and ragged, until the chain of accountability leading back to the real culprits, the instigators of the hit, is lost in the murk. All we will be left with is this stark, basic fact: one of the world's most fearless voices for truth and human decency has been silenced forever.

 

Tue

10

Oct

2006

BREAKING NEWS: Eisenhower Carrier Group Sails for Iran Theater
Tuesday, 10 October 2006 10:37

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Eisenhower and its accompanying strike force of cruiser, destroyer and attack submarine slipped their moorings and headed off for the Persian Gulf region on Oct. 2, as I had predicted in a piece in The Nation magazine a few weeks back.

The Eisenhower strike force, according to my sources, is scheduled to arrive in the vicinity of Iran around October 21, at the same time as a second flotilla of minesweepers and other ships.

This build-up of naval power around the coast of Iran, according to some military sources, is in preparation for an air attack on Iran that would target not just Iran's nuclear enrichment facilities, but its entire military command and control system.

 

Mon

09

Oct

2006

Sex, Lies, and Family Values
Monday, 09 October 2006 01:21

The parents of a 16-year-old Congressional page contacted their congressman, Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-La.).

Alexander says he contacted both Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.), chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, and Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) who oversees the page program.

Reps. Shimkus, Reynolds, and House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) admit they knew about it in 2005.


Kirk Fordham, Reynolds’ former chief of staff, told the Associated Press that three years ago, he had “more than one conversation with senior staff at the highest level of the House of Representatives to intervene.”

Reynolds and Boehner say they told Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), speaker of the house.

Hastert says Reynolds may have told him about it, but he doesn’t remember.

 

Mon

02

Oct

2006

A Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy?
Monday, 02 October 2006 04:07
When Hillary Clinton said that her husband Bill was the target of “a vast right-wing conspiracy”, her critics just laughed at her. No one is laughing now.

Next week, President Bush will sign the “Military Commissions Act of 2006” into law. The new legislation will repeal the central tenets of the U.S. Constitution which require the state to charge a man with a crime before putting him in jail, as well as the 8th amendment’s prohibition of “cruel and inhuman” punishment. The law will allow Bush to imprison anyone he chooses and abuse them as he sees fit. It places Bush above the law, our first American monarch.
 
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