Undernews For June 4, 2008
Undernews For June 4, 2008
THE PROGRESSIVE REVIEW
Washington's Most Unofficial Source
611 Pennsylvania Ave SE #381
Washington DC 20003
Editor: Sam Smith
4 JUNE 2008
Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock. - Ben Hecht
PAGE ONE MUST
A FEW REASONS FOR OBAMA NOT TO PUT HILLARY CLINTON ON THE TICKET
She is the first first lady to come under criminal investigation
She is the first first lady to almost be indicted according to one of the special prosecutors
At least five of her fund raisers have been convicted up, or pleaded no contest to, crimes.
In testifying to Congress, she said 250 times that she didn't remember, didn't know, or something similar.
Three of her top business partners ended up in prison. Her two partners in Whitewater were convicted of 24 counts of fraud and conspiracy. Hillary Clinton's partner and mentor at the Rose law firm, Webster Hubbell, pleaded guilty to federal mail fraud and tax evasion charges, including defrauding former clients and former partners out of more than $480,000. Hillary Clinton was mentioned 35 times in the indictment.
In the 1980s, Hillary Clinton made a $44,000 profit on a $2,000 investment in a cellular phone franchise deal took advantage of the FCC's preference for locals, minorities and women. The franchise was almost immediately flipped to the cellular giant, McCaw.
She and her husband set up a resort land scam known as Whitewater in which the unwitting bought third rate property 50 miles from the nearest grocery store and, thanks to the sleazy financing, about half the purchasers, many of them seniors, lost their property.
In 1993 Hillary Clinton and David Watkins moved to oust the White House travel office in favor of World Wide Travel, Clinton's source of $1 million in fly-now-pay-later campaign trips that essentially financed the last stages of the campaign without the bother of reporting a de facto contribution. The White House fired seven long-term employees for alleged mismanagement and kickbacks. The director, Billy Dale, charged with embezzlement, was acquitted in less than two hours by the jury.
HRC's 1994 health care plan, according to one account, included fines of up to $5,000 for refusing to join the government-mandated health plan, $5,000 for failing to pay premiums on time, 15 years to doctors who received "anything of value" in exchange for helping patients short-circuit the bureaucracy, $10,000 a day for faulty physician paperwork, $50,000 for unauthorized patient treatment, and $100,000 a day for drug companies that messed up federal filings.
Two months after commencing the Whitewater scheme, Hillary Clinton invested $1,000 in cattle futures. Within a few days she had a $5,000 profit. Before bailing out she earns nearly $100,000 on her investment. Many years later, several economists will calculate that the chances of earning such returns legally were one in 250 million.
In 1996, Hillary Clinton's Rose law firm billing records, sought for two years by congressional investigators and the special prosecutor, were found in the back room of the personal residence at the White House. Clinton said she had no idea how they got there.
Drug dealer Jorge Cabrera gave enough to the Democrats to have his picture taken with both Hillary Clinton and Al Gore. . . Cabrera was arrested in January 1996 inside a cigar warehouse near here in Dade County, where more than 500 pounds of cocaine had been hidden. He and several accomplices were charged with having smuggled 3,000 pounds of cocaine into the United States through the Keys
In 2000, Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign returned $22,000 in soft money to a businesswoman linked to a Democratic campaign contribution from a drug smuggler in Havana.
In August 2000, Hillary Clinton held a huge Hollywood fundraiser for her Senate campaign. It was very successful. The only problem was that, by a long shot, she didn't report all the money contributed: $800K by the US government's ultimate count in a settlement and $2 million according to the key contributor and convicted con Peter Paul. This is, in election law, the moral equivalent of not reporting a similar amount on your income tax. It is a form of fraud. Hillary Clinton's defense is that she didn't know about it
Hillary Clinton's participation in a Whitewater related land deal became suspicious enough to trigger an investigation by the Arkansas Supreme Court.
In 2007, a Pakistani immigrant who hosted fundraisers for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton became a target of the FBI allegations that he funneled illegal contributions to Clinton's political action committee and to Sen. Barbara Boxer's 2004 re-election campaign. Authorities say Northridge, Calif., businessman Abdul Rehman Jinnah, 56, fled the country shortly after being indicted on charges of engineering more than $50,000 in illegal donations to the Democratic committees.
Hillary Clinton supported the appointment of Rudy Giuliani's buddy, Bernie Kerick, to be Secretary of Homeland Security,. Kerick subsecquently withdrew and not long after was indicted.
Hillary Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as the Fellowship. According to Mother Jones, her "collaborations with right-wingers such as Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) grow in part from that connection. . . Clinton's prayer group was part of the Fellowship (or 'the Family'), a network of sex-segregated cells of political, business, and military leaders dedicated to "spiritual war" on behalf of Christ. . . [the leader's] friends include former Attorney General John Ashcroft, Reaganite Edwin Meese III, and ultraconservative Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.). The Fellowship's God-led men have also included General Suharto of Indonesia; Honduran general and death squad organizer Gustavo Alvarez Martinez; a Deutsche Bank official disgraced by financial ties to Hitler; and dictator Siad Barre of Somalia, plus a list of other generals and dictators. Clinton, says Schenck, has become a regular visitor to Coe's Arlington, Virginia, headquarters, a former convent where Coe provides members of Congress with sex-segregated housing and spiritual guidance.
Alcee Hastings, Clinton campaign co-chair, was charged in 1981 with accepting a $150,000 bribe in exchange for a lenient sentence and a return of seized assets for 21 counts of racketeering and of perjury in his testimony about the case. He was acquitted by a jury after his alleged co-conspirator, William Borders, refused to testify in court (resulting in a jail sentence for Borders).
According to Newsmax, "Since he left office in 2001, former president Bill Clinton has been paid by $3.3 million by Info USA, an Omaha, Nebraska company that has been identified as a key provider of specially designed databases that have been sold to criminals who use the detailed information to defraud the unsuspecting elderly. . . According to the New York Times, Info USA compiled and sold lists that disclosed the names of elderly men and women who would be likely to respond to unscrupulous scams. The lists left no doubt about the vulnerability of the elderly targets. The Times reported, for example, that Info USA advertised lists of 'Elderly Opportunity Seekers,' 3.3 million older people 'looking for ways to make money,' and 'Suffering Seniors,' 4.7 million people with cancer or Alzheimer's disease."
The NY Times reported, "When former President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton took a family vacation in January 2002 to Acapulco, Mexico, one of their longtime supporters, Vinod Gupta, provided his company's private jet to fly them there. The company, Info USA, one of the nation's largest brokers of information on consumers, paid $146,866 to ferry the Clintons, Mr. Gupta and others to Acapulco and back, court records show. During the next four years, Info USA paid Mr. Clinton more than $2 million for consulting services, and spent almost $900,000 to fly him around the world for his presidential foundation work and to fly Mrs. Clinton to campaign events. Those expenses are cited in a lawsuit filed late last year in a Delaware court by angry shareholders of Info USA, who assert that Mr. Gupta wasted the company's money trying "to ingratiate himself" with his high-profile guests"
WASHINGTON POST: NOT ENOUGH REPORTERS TO COVER GREEN PARTY
A Post reporter responds to a
Belfast, Maine: In the coming weeks there will be many days when there's little real political news about the Republicans or Democrats to report. Any chance that one of The Post's political staff might do a piece on what the Green Party, for example, is up to? . . .
Paul Kane: I'll happily answer this one, and I'll be brutally honest. We don't have enough resources to cover your party. it's that simple, and if that infuriates you, I'm sorry. But that's life. The Green Party and Nader got plenty of coverage in '00 when, at the least, he had the chance to play a decisive role in some states. So far, there's little indication that the Greens will have any major impact on the '08 election. Until you can demonstrate that there is some level of support for your party, our paper isn't going to spend precious resources reporting on whatever it is you're doing. I'm sorry, but we're a business, and lots of my colleagues are walking out the door under volunteer buyouts. We don't have the resources to cover you guys.
CAMPAIGN REALITY CHECK
JOHN PILGER NEW STATESMAN As their contest for the White House draws closer, watch how, regardless of the inevitable personal smears, Obama and McCain draw nearer to each other. They already concur on America's divine right to control all before it. "We lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good," said Obama. "We must lead by building a 21st-century military . . . to advance the security of all people [emphasis added]." McCain agrees. Obama says in pursuing "terrorists" he would attack Pakistan. McCain wouldn't quarrel.
Both candidates have paid ritual obeisance to the regime in Tel Aviv, unquestioning support for which defines all presidential ambition. In opposing a UN Security Council resolution implying criticism of Israel's starvation of the people of Gaza, Obama was ahead of both McCain and Hillary Clinton. In January, pressured by the Israel lobby, he massaged a statement that "nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people" to now read: "Nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people from the failure of the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel." Such is his concern for the victims of the longest, illegal military occupation of modern times. Like all the candidates, Obama has furthered Israeli/Bush fictions about Iran, whose regime, he says absurdly, "is a threat to all of us".
On the war in Iraq, Obama the dove and McCain the hawk are almost united. McCain now says he wants US troops to leave in five years (instead of "100 years", his earlier option). Obama has now "reserved the right" to change his pledge to get troops out next year. "I will listen to our commanders on the ground," he now says, echoing Bush. His adviser on Iraq, Colin Kahl, says the US should maintain up to 80,000 troops in Iraq until 2010. Like McCain, Obama has voted repeatedly in the Senate to support Bush's demands for funding of the occupation of Iraq; and he has called for more troops to be sent to Afghanistan. His senior advisers embrace McCain's proposal for an aggressive "league of democracies", led by the United States, to circumvent the United Nations.
Amusingly, both have denounced their "preachers" for speaking out. Whereas McCain's man of God praised Hitler, in the fashion of lunatic white holy-rollers, Obama's man, Jeremiah Wright, spoke an embarrassing truth. He said that the attacks of 11 September 2001 had taken place as a consequence of the violence of US power across the world. The media demanded that Obama disown Wright and swear an oath of loyalty to the Bush lie that "terrorists attacked America because they hate our freedoms". So he did. The conflict in the Middle East, said Obama, was rooted not "primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel", but in "the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam". Journalists applauded. Islamophobia is a liberal speciality.
The American media love both Obama and McCain. Reminiscent of mating calls by Guardian writers to Blair more than a decade ago, Jann Wenner, founder of the liberal Rolling Stone, wrote: "There is a sense of dignity, even majesty, about him, and underneath that ease lies a resolute discipline . . . Like Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama challenges America to rise up, to do what so many of us long to do: to summon 'the better angels of our nature'." At the liberal New Republic, Charles Lane confessed: "I know it shouldn't be happening, but it is. I'm falling for John McCain." His colleague Michael Lewis had gone further. His feelings for McCain, he wrote, were like "the war that must occur inside a 14-year-old boy who discovers he is more sexually attracted to boys than to girls".
The objects of these uncontrollable passions are as one in their support for America's true deity, its corporate oligarchs. Despite claiming that his campaign wealth comes from small individual donors, Obama is backed by the biggest Wall Street firms: Goldman Sachs, UBS AG, Lehman Brothers, J P Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, as well as the huge hedge fund Citadel Investment Group. "Seven of the Obama campaign's top 14 donors," wrote the investigator Pam Martens, "consisted of officers and employees of the same Wall Street firms charged time and again with looting the public and newly implicated in originating and/or bundling fraudulently made mortgages." A report by United for a Fair Economy, a non-profit group, estimates the total loss to poor Americans of color who took out sub-prime loans as being between $164bn and $213bn: the greatest loss of wealth ever recorded for people of color in the United States. "Washington lobbyists haven't funded my campaign," said Obama in January, "they won't run my White House and they will not drown out the voices of working Americans when I am president." According to files held by the Centre for Responsive Politics, the top five contributors to the Obama campaign are registered corporate lobbyists. . .
Moreover, none of the candidates represents so-called mainstream America. In poll after poll, voters make clear that they want the normal decencies of jobs, proper housing and health care. They want their troops out of Iraq and the Israelis to live in peace with their Palestinian neighbors. This is a remarkable testimony, given the daily brainwashing of ordinary Americans in almost everything they watch and read.
BUSH HAS SEIZED MORE POWER THAN ANY BRITISH OR AMERICAN LEADER SINCE 17TH CENTURY
The Bush administration has arrogated powers to itself that the British people even refused to grant King George III at the time of the Revolutionary War, a political scientist says. "No executive in the history of the Anglo-American world since the Civil War in England in the 17th century has laid claim to such broad power," said David Adler, a prolific author of articles on the U.S. Constitution. "George Bush has exceeded the claims of Oliver Cromwell who anointed himself Lord Protector of England."
Adler, a professor of political science at Idaho State University at Pocatello, is the author of some 100 scholarly articles in his field. Speaking at the Massachusetts School of Law, Adler said, Bush has "claimed the authority to suspend the Geneva Convention, to terminate treaties, to seize American citizens from the streets to detain them indefinitely without benefit of legal counseling, without benefit of judicial review. He has ordered a domestic surveillance program which violates the statutory law of the United States as well as the Fourth Amendment."
Adler said the authors of the U.S. Constitution wrote that the president "shall take care to faithfully execute the laws of the land" because "the king of England possessed a suspending power" to set aside laws with which he disagreed, "the very same kind of power that the Bush Administration has claimed."
Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, Adler said, repeatedly referred to the President's "override" authority, "which effectively meant that the Bush Administration was claiming on behalf of President Bush a power that the English people themselves had rejected by the time of the framing of the Constitution."
Adler said the Framers sought an "Administrator in Chief" that would execute the will of Congress and the Framers understood that the President, as Commander-in-Chief "was subordinate to Congress." The very C-in-C concept, the historian said, derived from the British, who conferred it on one of their battlefield commanders in a war on Scotland in 1639 and it "did not carry with it the power over war and peace" or "authority to conduct foreign policy or to formulate foreign policy."
That the C-in-C was subordinate to the will of Congress was demonstrated in the Revolutionary War when George Washington, granted that title by Congress, "was ordered punctually to respond to instructions and directions by Congress and the dutiful Washington did that," Adler said.
Adler said that John Yoo, formerly of the Office of Legal Counsel, wrote in 2003 that the President as C-in-C could authorize the CIA or other intelligence agencies to resort to torture to extract information from suspects based on his authority. However, Adler said, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1804 in Little vs. Barreme affirmed the President is duty-bound to obey statutory instructions and reaffirmed opinion two years later in United States vs. Smith.
"In these last eight years," Adler said, "we have seen presidential powers soar beyond the confines of the Constitution. We have understood that his presidency bears no resemblance to the Office created by the Framers… This is the time for us to demand a return to the constitutional presidency. If we don't, we will have only ourselves to blame as we go marching into the next war as we witness even greater claims of presidential power."
GLOBAL WAR ABOLITION MOVEMENTS MEETS IN JAPAN
ALICE SLATER, COMMON DREAMS After World War II, the victorious allied powers, implementing a transition to democracy in Japan, required Japan to forego any future aggressive military action by including a provision in their new Constitution to renounce war and the threat or use of force. But by 1950, following the outbreak of the Korean War, when US General MacArthur ordered the establishment of a 75,000-strong Japanese National Police Reserve equipped with US Army surplus materials, numerous assaults have been made on the integrity of Article 9. By 1990, Japan was ranked third in military spending after the US and the Soviet Union, until 1996 when it was outspent by China and dropped to fourth place. . .
The citizen activists of Japan are resisting the US led assault on their beloved peace constitution. This May in Tokyo, at the launch of a Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War, organized by the Japanese NGO Peaceboat, 15,000 people showed up for the first day's plenary and over 3,000 people had to be turned away from the filled-to-capacity convention center, causing the organizers to set up an impromptu program outdoors for the overflow crowd . . . More than 40 countries were represented at the various plenaries and workshops with over 200 international visitors, which examined opportunities to reinforce and expand Article 9 in a new 21st century context. Article 9 was promoted not only as a disarmament measure for all the nations of the world, but as a means of redistributing the world's treasure, now wasted at the rate of over one trillion dollars per year to feed the murderous war machine, using those funds to restore the health of the planet and end poverty on earth. . .
Although cruel wars have been common throughout human history, there has been nothing like the enormous speed up of destructive war, fueled by science and technology, suffered in this last century, starting with 20 million deaths after World War I and ending with well over 100 million deaths by the end of the 20th Century -- the horrors of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden, the Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda -- only a few of the tragic catastrophes rendered by the instruments of war. . .
CELL PHONE USE SUBJECT OF HEALTH DEBATE
NY TIMES - Last week, three prominent neurosurgeons told the CNN interviewer Larry King that they did not hold cell phones next to their ears. “I think the safe practice,” said Dr. Keith Black, a surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, “is to use an earpiece so you keep the microwave antenna away from your brain.”
Dr. Vini Khurana, an associate professor of neurosurgery at the Australian National University who is an outspoken critic of cell phones, said: “I use it on the speaker-phone mode. I do not hold it to my ear.” And CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon at Emory University Hospital, said that like Dr. Black he used an earpiece.
Along with Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s recent diagnosis of a glioma, a type of tumor that critics have long associated with cellphone use, the doctors’ remarks have helped reignite a long-simmering debate about cell phones and cancer.
That supposed link has been largely dismissed by many experts, including the American Cancer Society. The theory that cell phones cause brain tumors “defies credulity,” said Dr. Eugene Flamm, chairman of neurosurgery at Montefiore Medical Center.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, three large epidemiology studies since 2000 have shown no harmful effects. CTIA - the Wireless Association, the leading industry trade group, said in a statement, “The overwhelming majority of studies that have been published in scientific journals around the globe show that wireless phones do not pose a health risk.”
The F.D.A. notes, however, that the average period of phone use in the studies it cites was about three years, so the research doesn’t answer questions about long-term exposures. Critics say many studies are flawed for that reason, and also because they do not distinguish between casual and heavy use.
Cellphones emit non-ionizing radiation, waves of energy that are too weak to break chemical bonds or to set off the DNA damage known to cause cancer. There is no known biological mechanism to explain how non-ionizing radiation might lead to cancer.
But researchers who have raised concerns say that just because science can’t explain the mechanism doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist. Concerns have focused on the heat generated by cell phones and the fact that the radio frequencies are absorbed mostly by the head and neck. In recent studies that suggest a risk, the tumors tend to occur on the same side of the head where the patient typically holds the phone.
AMERICA'S HOUSE PRICES ARE FALLING EVEN FASTER THAN DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION
ECONOMIST As house prices in America continue their rapid descent, market-watchers are having to cast back ever further for gloomy comparisons. The latest S&P/Case-Shiller national house-price index, published this week, showed a slump of 14.1% in the year to the first quarter, the worst since the index began 20 years ago. Now Robert Shiller, an economist at Yale University and co-inventor of the index, has compiled a version that stretches back over a century. This shows that the latest fall in nominal prices is already much bigger than the 10.5% drop in 1932, the worst point of the Depression. And things are even worse than they look. In the deflationary 1930s house prices declined less in real terms. Today inflation is running at a brisk pace, so property prices have fallen by a staggering 18% in real terms over the past year.
AFGHANISTAN: THE OTHER WAR WE'RE LOSING
ULLRICH FICHTNER, SPIEGEL, GERMANY Forty nations are embroiled in an unwinnable war in Afghanistan. Anyone who travels through the country with Western troops soon realizes that NATO forces would have to be increased tenfold for peace to be even a remote possibility. . .
Good days are in short supply in Afghanistan, a country at war -- or involved in several wars, to be exact. There is constant fighting on many fronts, hard and soft. The newspapers, and there are many of them in Kabul now, serve up pages of chaotic images every day. Their reports are about bombs and drinking water, holy warriors and wheat prices, NATO air attacks and schoolbooks, kidnapped children, refugees and bandits.
Almost seven years have passed since the overthrow of the Taliban regime, and in those seven years half of the world has tried to bring a better future and, most of all, peace to this new country, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. As part of the NATO military operation known as the International Security Assistance Force, 40 nations have 60,000 soldiers deployed in the country. There are 26 United Nations organizations in Afghanistan, and hundreds of private and government agencies are pumping money, materials and know-how into the country's 34 provinces. But anyone seeking success stories or asking about failures will encounter reports that do not seem to be coming from the same country.
According to the speeches and statements Western military officials, diplomats and politicians are constantly churning out, the security situation has improved substantially, the military successes are obvious and the Taliban are as good as defeated. But peace and Afghanistan, say the Afghanis when speaking to a domestic audience, are still two incompatible words.
Last year, 1,469 bombs exploded along Afghan roads, a number almost five times as high as in 2004. There were 8,950 armed attacks on troops and civilian support personnel, 10 times more than only three years earlier. One hundred and thirty suicide bombers blew themselves up in 2007. There were three suicide bombings in 2004. .
There is no peace anywhere in Afghanistan, not even in the north . . . which officials repeatedly insist has been pacified. Anyone who travels the country -- making the obligatory rounds to its ministries, speaking with Western ambassadors, UN directors, ISAF commanders and provincial governors, and meeting with women's rights activists, narcotics officers and police chiefs -- is bound to return with many dark questions and an ominous feeling that this mission is not a task to be measured in years, but in decades, many decades.
POLL FINDS OBAMA'S JEWISH PROBLEM A MYTH
CBS NEWS According to exit polls conducted in 30 primary states, Jewish Democratic primary voters overall supported Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama - 53 percent chose Clinton compared to 45% who chose Obama. . . Although Jewish Democratic voters favored Clinton in the primaries, Jewish registered voters overall say they would support either Obama or Clinton in a November match-up with McCain. According to CBS News Polls conducted from February to May, both Obama and Clinton would win among Jewish voters nationally by a comfortable margin. If the candidates were Obama and McCain, the polls show Obama would get 65 percent of the vote of Jewish registered voters to 28 percent for McCain. If the candidates were Clinton and McCain, Clinton would get 68 percent to 26 percent for McCain.
PRIEST DENIES OBAMA SUPPORTER COMMUNION
EJ DIONNE, WASH POST Douglas Kmiec, a staunch Republican, firm foe of abortion and veteran of the Reagan Justice Department, had been denied Communion. His sin? Kmiec, a Catholic who can cite papal pronouncements with the facility of a theological scholar, shocked old friends and adversaries alike earlier this year by endorsing Barack Obama for president. For at least one priest, Kmiec's support for a pro-choice politician made him a willing participant in a grave moral evil.
Kmiec was denied Communion in April at a Mass for a group of Catholic business people he later addressed at dinner. The episode has not received wide attention outside the Catholic world, but it is the opening shot in an argument that could have a large impact on this year's presidential campaign: Is it legitimate for bishops and priests to deny Communion to those supporting candidates who favor abortion rights?. . .
US COURT OF APPEALS STRIPS CONSTITUTION FROM ANOTHER HIGH SCHOOLER
JACQUI CHENG, ARSTECHNICA Calling someone a douche bag on the Internet usually doesn't result in much in the way of major consequences. That is unless, of course, you're in high school and the douche bag in question is a school official. In the case of Lewis S. Mills High School senior Avery Doninger, the use of the d-word on her blog resulted in her losing her position as class . . . Unfortunately for the Doningers, the courts have thus far sided with the school's decision. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a lower court decision yesterday, saying that while it was sympathetic to Avery's plight, the school did not violate her constitutional rights. . .
Avery then made a post on her personal blog while at home, outside of school hours. In it, she used somewhat unladylike language to describe school officials, and called on other students to write or call in their complaints. . . . The blog post contained no threats and was fairly benign outside of her use of the word in question. Although the blog post is no longer online, it's excerpted in some of the court filings:
"jamfest is cancelled due to douchebags in central office. here is an email that we sent to a ton of people and asked them to forward to everyone in their address book to help get support for jamfest. basically, because we sent it out, Paula Schwartz is getting a TON of phone calls and emails and such. we have so much support and we really appriciate it. however, she got pissed off and decided to just cancel the whole thing all together. [...] And here is a letter my mom sent to Paula [Schwartz] and cc’d Karissa [Niehoff] to get an idea of what to write if you want to write something or call her to piss her off more. im down. .
The Court of Appeals noted that adults may have a constitutional right to use vulgar or offensive speech in order to make a point, but that it "may legitimately give rise to disciplinary action by a school" if a school is responsible for "teaching students the boundaries of socially appropriate behavior." Although Avery made her statements off school grounds and outside of school hours, they were related to school activities and ultimately caused some level of disruption within the school setting. The court also noted that if Avery had distributed her comments in the form of a flier on school grounds, offensive forms of expression "may be prohibited." Avery's position as secretary was also considered a "privilege" that could be rescinded at any point, the court said, especially since her actions apparently undermined the values of the student government as an extracurricular activity.
FORMER DRUG CZAR ADMITS WAR HAS FAILED 1.5 MILLION ADDICTS
bigger than Scott McClellan admitting he was wrong about
Iraq. McCaffrey was one of the biggest promoters of the drug
war during its long sordid history. Of course, most of the
mainstream media ignored the story
ST LOUIS TODAY American taxpayers would save more than $46 billion if drug addicts now in prison were instead treated, according to a study released Friday at a national convention of drug court professionals. Retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a former U.S. drug czar, and actress Melanie Griffith joined experts in calling on lawmakers to increase funding for such courts. "This is not a war on drugs," McCaffrey said. "This is a problem for our families in America. In order to turn drugs around in this country, we're going to have to treat those 1.5 million people who are addicted.". . .
The study from the Urban Institute in Washington found that about 3 percent of arrested addicts are referred to a drug court, which offers supervised treatment to nonviolent offenders whose records are expunged if they complete the program. "Most addicts need something more than being warehoused," said Judge Charles Simmons Jr., a drug court judge in Greenville, S.C. "Drug courts are putting families back together, and they are decreasing crime at a tremendous savings to taxpayers."
Housing an inmate in prison can cost up to $40,000 a year while drug court treatment costs up to $3,500 per offender a year, Simmons said. McCaffrey said 15 years of research has yielded definitive proof that drug courts significantly reduce crime by as much as 35 percent. He said legislators and the public may get behind the system once they understand its cost savings.
MCCAIN'S NEW STAFFER THINKS PRESIDENTS SHOULD HAVE 'NEAR DICTATORIAL' POWERS OVER FOREIGN POLICY
GLENN GREENWALD, SALON Bill Kristol proudly announces that one of his Weekly Standard staff members, Michael Goldfarb, was just named the Deputy Communications Director of the McCain campaign. Last April, this newest McCain official participated in a conference call with former Senator George Mitchell, during which Mitchell advocated a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. Afterwards, this is what Goldfarb wrote about what he thinks are the powers the President possesses in our country:
"Mitchell's less than persuasive answer [to whether withdrawal timetables 'somehow infringe on the president's powers as commander in chief?']: 'Congress is a coequal branch of government...the framers did not want to have one branch in charge of the government.'
"True enough, but they sought an energetic executive with near dictatorial power in pursuing foreign policy and war. So no, the Constitution does not put Congress on an equal footing with the executive in matters of national security."
As I noted at the time: "Until the Bill Kristols and John Yoos and other authoritarians of that strain entered the political mainstream, I never heard of prominent Americans who describe the power that they want to vest in our political leaders as '"near dictatorial.' Anyone with an even passing belief in American political values would consider the word 'dictatoria'" -- at least rhetorically, if not substantively -- to define that which we avoid at all costs, not something which we seek, embrace and celebrate.
"And the very idea that the Founders -- whose principal concern was how to avoid consolidated power in any one person -- sought to vest 'near dictatorial power' in the President is too perverse for words. But that's been the core 'principle' driving the destructive radicalism of the last seven years, and it's an extremist view that is obviously welcomed at the highest levels of the McCain campaign.
AP - New Time Warner Cable Internet subscribers in Beaumont, Texas, will have monthly allowances for the amount of data they upload and download. Those who go over will be charged $1 per gigabyte, a Time Warner Cable executive told the Associated Press. Metered billing is an attempt to deal fairly with Internet usage, which is very uneven among Time Warner Cable's subscribers, said Kevin Leddy, Time Warner Cable's executive vice president of advanced technology. Just 5 percent of the company's subscribers take up half of the capacity on local cable lines, Leddy said. Other cable Internet service providers report a similar distribution.
Metered usage is common overseas, and other U.S. cable providers are looking at ways to rein in heavy users. Most have download caps, but some keep the caps secret so as not to alarm the majority of users, who come nowhere close to the limits. Time Warner Cable appears to be the first major ISP to charge for going over the limit: Other companies warn, then suspend, those who go over.
Phone companies are less concerned about congestion and are unlikely to impose metered usage on DSL customers, because their networks are structured differently.
Time Warner Cable had said in January that it was planning to conduct the trial in Beaumont, but did not give any details. On Monday, Leddy said its tiers will range from $29.95 a month for relatively slow service at 768 kilobits per second and a 5-gigabyte monthly cap to $54.90 per month for fast downloads at 15 megabits per second and a 40-gigabyte cap. Those prices cover the Internet portion of subscription bundles that include video or phone services. Both downloads and uploads will count toward the monthly cap.
Those who mainly do Web surfing or e-mail have little reason to pay attention to the traffic caps: a gigabyte is about 3,000 Web pages, or 15,000 e-mails without attachments. But those who download movies or TV shows will want to pay attention. A standard-definition movie can take up 1.5 gigabytes, and a high-definition movie can be 6 to 8 gigabytes.
TROUBLE IN THE SEIU
STEVEN GREENHOUSE, NY TIMES As 2,000 convention delegates gather in Puerto Rico, the Service Employees International Union is about to jettison a time-honored union tradition - having members go to their union representatives with their questions and grievances. The delegates are expected to vote to have union members rely on call centers instead to handle their problems.
Union officials say these 24-hour centers would provide the union's members with faster and more expert service, usually in their own language, and would free up union representatives to focus on the union's No. 1 goal: organizing more workers.
But some union leaders and
members complain that the call centers would hurt the union
and its members.
"Sometimes you can't get through to these centers," said Eva Lozada, a home-care worker from Oakland, Calif. "It's like talking to an A.T.M. This will be bad for the union."
This is just one of the complaints that Andrew L. Stern, the union's president, faces as he seeks to transform the union, already the nation's fastest growing, to make it grow even faster. . .
"He's taking things in a bad direction because he's taking steps without involving any workers," said Sal Rosselli, president of United Healthcare Workers West, which represents 140,000 S.E.I.U. members in California. . .
In recent months, the union's top leaders have come under fire for accepting lower increases in wages and benefits in some hospital contracts in exchange for the hospital corporations' agreeing not to fight unionization drives at some of their hospitals. Moreover, the union's leaders have been criticized for negotiating secret deals with some employers that gave the service employees the green light to organize workers at certain locations designated by the employer, while the union made some concessions on pay or other areas.
Those moves have some members complaining that they have been left in the dark. But Mr. Stern's allies say those moves are innovative strategies to speed union growth.
GREAT MOMENTS IN THE CROSSOVER BAR
WALL ST JOURNAL - By day, Mike Roman is a criminal defense attorney in Chicago. At night, he fronts for a rock band called “Mike Roman and the Telstars.” According to this report in the Chicago Trib, on Friday Roman was kicked out of court during the child pornography trial of R. Kelly for trying to push his demo CD on Kelly during a break in the proceedings.
“No, thank you,” Kelly reportedly said. “I’m not allowed to take anything.”
Roman persisted, but Kelly continued to decline the CD.
“I’m not allowed to talk to anyone,” said the singer, reminding Roman of the gag order imposed on him by trial Judge Vincent Gaughan.
Roman offered to just leave the disc, but Kelly asked him not to.
“Please,” Kelly said quietly. “You have to leave me alone.”
Other attorneys in the courtroom noticed the conversation and called deputies to assist Kelly. Roman was briefly detained.
“I’m a lawyer and I’m musician,” Roman said. “What’s wrong with that?”
Roman eventually complied with an order to leave the courtroom, but not before trying to sell a copy of “Cha Cha Time” to one of Kelly’s defense attorneys for $15.
ONLY A THEORY
Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul
VIKING A staunch opponent to creationism, Brown University biology professor Kenneth R. Miller won acclaim in 2005 as the plaintiff's lead expert witness at the Kitzmiller vs. Dover trial in Pennsylvania, during which the plaintiff successfully argued that the teaching of "intelligent design" amounted to creationism-thereby violating the Constitution. In Only A Theory: Evolution and the Fight for America's Soul, Miller dissects the claims of the intelligent design movement in the same incisive style that marked his testimony in that landmark trial.
Only A Theory examines the arguments, passion, and motivations of Americans who reject "Darwinism," and finds them rooted in a struggle for value, meaning, and purpose in their lives. As Miller puts it, America's "scientific soul"-the unique merger of individualism and inventiveness that has made our country the world's greatest scientific nation-is now very much at risk because of the struggle between scientists and biblical fundamentalists. Unlike previous critics of the ID movement, Miller takes the claims of the creationists seriously and places them within the larger context of the development of twenty-first century American culture. Only A Theory explores central questions that scientists and anti-evolutionists alike must face: Is there a role for a divine creature in the evolutionary process? What is the true nature of the danger that ID poses for science and for America's role as scientific leader? What are the implications of using science for political or religious ends? Miller investigates these questions with cogent scientific arguments, ultimately offering the essential prescription: how to engender new appreciation for traditional scientific method and insights, and how to redeem America's scientific soul. ORDER
TWILIGHT OF THE MACHINES
Feral House - The mentor of the green anarchist and neo-primitive movements is back with his first book in six years, confronting civilization, mass society, and modernity and technoculture - both the history of its developing crisis and the possibilities for its human and humane solutions. s John Zerzan writes, "These dire times may yet reveal invigorating new vistas of thought and action. When everything is at stake, all must be confronted and superseded. At this moment, there is the distinct possibility of doing just that." n Oregonian with degrees from Stanford University and San Francisco State University, he is an editor of Green Anarchy magazine. ORDER
U.S. Marine helicopters will land at the old Eastgate Consumer Mall, Brookside Park and other Indianapolis locations when the city becomes a mock battlefield next week. About 2,300 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., will conduct urban warfare training from Wednesday through June 19 in and around Indianapolis. Most of the troops will be deployed at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and the Raytheon facility on Holt Road, said Debbi Fletcher of the Indianapolis/Marion County Emergency Management Agency. "We don't want anyone thinking that there's an invasion happening or that we declared martial law or something like that," Fletcher said. . . The unit's commander promised to try to keep noise to a minimum and give neighbors plenty of warning. "Our aim in Indianapolis is to expose our Marines to realistic scenarios and stresses posed by operating in an actual urban community, thereby increasing their proficiency in built-up areas," Col. Mark J. Desens, commander of the 26th MEU, said in a statement. "While some of the activity will take place around Camp Atterbury, residents in many areas can expect to see helicopters flying overhead, military vehicles on the roads and Marines patrolling on foot," Desens said. The Marines will practice firing weapons, conducting patrols, running vehicle checkpoints, reacting to ambushes and employing nonlethal weapons, according to a statement.
Sen. John McCain, the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, targeted Sen. Barack Obama again Monday over the Illinois senator’s approach to Iran and the Middle East. But a new poll released by Gallup suggests McCain may be out of step with the majority of Americans when it comes to U.S.-Iranian relations. Fifty-nine percent of Americans surveyed thought it was a good idea for the President of the United States to meet with the President of Iran. When Iran is taken out of the equation, an even higher percentage – 67 percent – responded that they thought it would be a good idea for the president to meet with leaders of countries considered enemies of the United States.
John McCain to AIPAC - The threats to Israel's security are large and growing, and America's commitment must grow as well. I strongly support the increase in military aid to Israel, scheduled to begin in October. I am committed to making certain Israel maintains its qualitative military edge.
Triple Pundit - Several cities around the globe have begun replacing their regular, sodium, streetlights by low energy lamps. This way they typically save 40-50% on [lighting costs]. In some cases streets get safer and maintenance is also lower. . . These are the findings of a recent study commissioned by the American Chamber of Commerce . . . The study examines the potential of refurbishing the streetlights in the greater Washington DC area and concludes that a 50 percent reduction in electricity would save 30.4 million kWh annually. That translates into dollar savings of $1,824,000 and a reduction in carbon footprint of 23,635 metric tons of CO2.
President Hugo Chavez has used his decree powers to carry out a major overhaul of this country's intelligence agencies, provoking a fierce backlash here from human rights groups and legal scholars who say the measures will force citizens to inform on one another to avoid prison terms. . . The new law requires people in the country to comply with requests to assist the agencies, secret police or community activist groups loyal to Chávez. Refusal can result in prison terms of two to four years for most people and four to six years for government employees. "We are before a set of measures that are a threat to all of us," said Blanca Rosa Mármol de Leon, a justice on Venezuela's top court, in a rare public judicial dissent. "I have an obligation to say this, as a citizen and a judge. This is a step toward the creation of a society of informers." Internatational Herald Tribune
William E. Odom, 75, a retired Army lieutenant general who was a senior military and intelligence official in the Carter and Reagan administrations and who, in recent years, became a forceful critic of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, died May 30 at his vacation home in Lincoln, Vt. An autopsy will be performed, but his wife said he had an apparent heart attack. . . He had a reputation as a military hard-liner who opposed any compromise with the Soviet Union, which made his vocal opposition to the current involvement in Iraq all the more cogent and surprising. . . Well before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, Gen. Odom warned that military action in Iraq would be foolhardy and futile. He outlined his positions in The Washington Post's Outlook section Feb. 11, 2007, in the essay "Victory Is Not an Option." . . . "The president's policy is based on illusions, not realities," he wrote. "There never has been any right way to invade and transform Iraq." Washington Post
FURTHERMORE. . .
It seems oranges are falling out of favor [in Britain] --because we're too busy to peel them. In the last 12 months, consumption of oranges has fallen by as much as 2 per cent, according to market researchers TNS. It is the third year in succession that the fruit has suffered a dip in popularity. Experts say that with the average worker spending only 15 minutes on their lunch break, they are shunning oranges because they are too time-consuming to peel and eat. By contrast the smaller citrus fruits such as clementines and tangerines, which are far more manageable, are enjoying a surge in popularity. 'They have grown by 3 to 4 per cent in the last year.' Daily Mail UK
A supervisor at Prosper, Inc., a
"self-help and motivational coaching" firm, waterboarded an
employee as an example to co-workers, Chad Hudgens claims in
Utah County Court. Hudgens says his boss, Joshua
Christopherson, ordered co-workers "to hold Hudgens by the
arms and legs . . . then slowly poured a gallon jug of water
over Hudgen's mouth and nostrils, thereby making it
impossible for Hudgens (to breathe) for a sustained period
of time. . . Christopherson (then) told the team that he
wanted them to work as hard on making sales as Chad had
worked to breathe while he was being waterboarded."
More than 300 American Indian languages flourished in North America at the time of Columbus, each carrying a unique way of understanding the world. And despite an often-brutal campaign to stamp them out, more than half of those languages have survived. . . Can they be saved? Last month, representatives from Indian groups around the country met with linguists and other academics in Philadelphia to see what they could accomplish. . . The situation in North America is part of a worldwide erosion of language diversity. At stake are not just words. For native communities, language embeds traditions, religion, medicine and geography, as well as a more general way of seeing the world. . . Some languages, for example, have no way to give directions using left and right, because their speakers navigate with a less self-centered view of the world than we do, said Leanne Hinton, a linguist at the University of California, Los Angeles. They think more in terms of local geography. . Languages seem to be going extinct just like species of plants and animals. That comparison holds up pretty well, except that languages can occasionally be brought back to life. Philadelphia Inquirer
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