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  1. Neocon architect says: 'Pull it down' ALEX MASSIE IN WASHINGTON NEOCONSERVATISM has failed the United States and needs to be replaced by a more realistic foreign policy agenda, according to one of its prime architects. Francis Fukuyama, who wrote the best-selling book The End of History and was a member of the neoconservative project, now says that, both as a political symbol and a body of thought, it has "evolved into something I can no longer support". He says it should be discarded on to history's pile of discredited ideologies. In an extract from his forthcoming book, America at the Crossroads, Mr Fukuyama declares that the doctrine "is now in shambles" and that its failure has demonstrated "the danger of good intentions carried to extremes". In its narrowest form, neoconservatism advocates the use of military force, unilaterally if necessary, to replace autocratic regimes with democratic ones. Mr Fukuyama once supported regime change in Iraq and was a signatory to a 1998 letter sent by the Project for a New American Century to the then president, Bill Clinton, urging the US to step up its efforts to remove Saddam Hussein from power. It was also signed by neoconservative intellectuals, such as Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, and political figures Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and the current defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. However, Mr Fukuyama now thinks the war in Iraq is the wrong sort of war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. "The most basic misjudgment was an overestimation of the threat facing the United States from radical Islamism," he argues. "Although the new and ominous possibility of undeterrable terrorists armed with weapons of mass destruction did indeed present itself, advocates of the war wrongly conflated this with the threat presented by Iraq and with the rogue state/proliferation problem more generally." Mr Fukuyama, one of the US's most influential public intellectuals, concludes that "it seems very unlikely that history will judge either the intervention [in Iraq] itself or the ideas animating it kindly". Going further, he says the movements' advocates are Leninists who "believed that history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will. Leninism was a tragedy in its Bolshevik version, and it has returned as farce when practised by the United States". Although Mr Fukuyama still supports the idea of democratic reform - complete with establishing the institutions of liberal modernity - in the Middle East, he warns that this process alone will not immediately reduce the threats and dangers the US faces. "Radical Islamism is a by-product of modernisation itself, arising from the loss of identity that accompanies the transition to a modern, pluralist society. More democracy will mean more alienation, radicalisation and - yes, unfortunately - terrorism," he says. "By definition, outsiders can't 'impose' democracy on a country that doesn't want it; demand for democracy and reform must be domestic. Democracy promotion is therefore a long-term and opportunistic process that has to await the gradual ripening of political and economic conditions to be effective." This article: http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=266122006
  2. http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/13506583.htm My waking thought on Christmas Day was that George Orwell's vision of Big Brother was no longer a hypothetical possibility but an actual near-term threat. That realization was synthesized from two news events, one here and one in Britain. In Britain, the government recently decided to deploy global positioning system (GPS) technology to track every vehicle in the U.K. every minute of the day. Just as GPS sensors are mandated for use in every cell phone in the near future in the United States (for our safety, of course), Britain will mandate the use of a GPS sensor in every car. ``Has Reginald White arrived at the grocery store yet?'' will become a question answerable by the security division of Britain's DMV. The British government promises safeguards to prevent spying on ordinary citizens, but who will follow up on those promises? In the United States, President Bush is acting under apparently self-granted powers to ``authorize'' the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on Americans -- of course, only on Americans threatening terrorist acts. In an act of high integrity, one of the judges of the secret court that grants Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act search warrants resigned, citing the fact that Bush was now bypassing even that minimal civil rights guarantee by directly authorizing NSA spying on U.S. citizens. One can only imagine that this troublesome judge will be replaced with one more friendly to the administration. With only the need to combine two real-world technologies for spying and tracking, the vision of 1984 -- once just a dark philosophical concept -- becomes an engineering project. The president and those to whom he delegates his authority can now authorize government spooks to listen to us in our homes and on our cell phones. When we are not home, they can track us in our automobiles. The system could be airtight and could be used to control our actions. It's simple enough for most Silicon Valley companies to create a chip to detect a valid GPS signal and disable an automobile's ignition system to prevent citizens from the ``unauthorized use'' of their own vehicles. The final move into the totality of 1984 requires only a bit of philosophical drift, as exemplified by J. Edgar Hoover's directive to spy on the Rev. Martin Luther King because he was a subversive. If Bush's latest acts are left unchallenged, the government will become bolder at spying on whomever it wants and secretly jailing those it deems a threat to national security -- all with no troublesome warrants or messy public trials. In this environment, acts other than terrorism will certainly be put on the subversive activities list, all in the name of protecting our freedom. Why should law-abiding citizens fear these trends? Because the government cannot be trusted. I don't trust President Bush to honor my rights, nor did I trust President Clinton, who was caught with secret FBI files on his political enemies. It's not that I'm unpatriotic. The founders of our country did not trust any government -- either that of George III or an uncontrolled democracy. That's why we have the Bill of Rights to protect American citizens from their own government -- by demanding, for example, that ``Congress shall make no law abridging the right of free speech.'' Our property is also protected from illegal search and seizure, and we are not to be put in jail without knowing the charges against us or having the right to confront our accusers in a public trial. Secret courts are inconsistent with the Bill of Rights, the defining document of American freedom. What's the worst thing that Al-Qaida can do to America? We have probably already seen it. Of course, the government can talk about bigger things, like the use of weapons of mass destruction, to justify its use of totalitarian tactics. I would much rather live as a free man under the highly improbable threat of another significant Al-Qaida attack than I would as a serf, spied on by an oppressive government that can jail me secretly, without charges. If the Patriot Act defines the term ``patriot,'' then I am certainly not one. By far, our own government is a bigger threat to our freedom than any possible menace posed by Al-Qaida. is the CEO of Cypress Semiconductor in San Jose. He wrote this article for the Mercury News.
  3. Harry Reid seems to have a penchant for offering Bill Frist really sweet deals that he knows Frist won
  4. PERSONAL POLITICS BECOME OFFICE POLITICS How Your Vote Can Get You Fired NEW YORK--You arrive at work early, work hard and leave late. You're quiet, respectful and well liked. You keep your nose clean: when someone brings up politics, you're smart enough to shut up or walk away. You wouldn't want to say anything that might annoy one of your coworkers. Once you get home, though, you get to be yourself: a committed political activist. You work the phone bank at Republocratic headquarters, update your blog with scathing takedowns of opposing politicians and chat up your neighbors to urge them to vote for your favorite candidates. But when you clock back in, you leave it at the door. You're cool. One morning, your boss calls you into her office. "It has come our attention that you're a Republocrat," she says. "We don't want your type working here. Gather your things and get out. You're fired." Can she do that? Are your political opinions your employer's business? It depends on the state. My friend's employer recently gave "Jackie" (not her real name) a choice: give up her political blog or be fired. She lives in Florida, where labor laws prohibit discrimination based on sex or affliction with sickle-cell anemia--but not political expression. Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, head of the Miami chapter of the ACLU says: "The [Florida] law is pretty clear that a private employer can fire someone based on their political speech even when that political speech does not affect the terms and conditions of employment." If Jackie lived in California or New York, she could sue her boss merely for even threatening her with dismissal. Unless you're spending your free time working for the violent overthrow of the government, those states protect a worker's right to political speech outside the workplace. (Companies may ban some workers, such as store clerks, from wearing political buttons or campaigning during work hours.) But only five states have laws protecting workers' offsite political speech. Residents of the other 45 states get no help from federal law. "Do not think you're protected by the First Amendment," says Lewis Maltby of the National Workrights Institute. "It doesn't apply to private employment." Only five states, he says, ban political firings. Even contractors that earn income from the government are exempt, as are private offices, shops, restaurants and factory floors--where 85 percent of Americans work. Last year's presidential election campaign first exposed the problem. Lynne Gobbell's boss fired her from her job after she refused his demand that she remove the Kerry-Edwards bumpersticker from her car. "I would like to find another job, but I would take that job back because I need to work," she told the Decatur paper. "It upset me and made me mad that he could put a letter in my check expressing his (political) opinion, but I can't put something on my car expressing mine." Coworkers confirm that the company attached a pro-Bush letter to paychecks. He has that right under Tennessee law. On the other side of the left-right divide, Playgirl magazine fired editor Michele Zipp after she wrote an article "admitting" that she was a Republican. "I wouldn't have hired you if I knew you were a Republican," Zipp quoted a Playgirl executive. As a New Yorker, she can sue for damages. Liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, every American is entitled to his or her political opinions. But unless you're so wealthy that you can afford not to work, what good is the right to free speech if your employer can fire you for using it--even after working hours? Our hodgepodge of conflicting state labor laws highlights the absurdity of the situation. Why can the leftover "W '04" sticker on your car get you canned in Florida but not in California? How can the United States bring democracy to the Middle East while allowing American citizens to be fired for how they vote? Extending national protection to outside-the-workplace political expression is something that even Democrats and Republicans in this highly partisan Congress ought to be able to agree upon. Neither party wants its supporters to lose their jobs. The obvious remedy is to add the protection of political speech to the list of activities and identifiers already covered under current federal labor laws: whistle blowing, race, color, national origin, religion, age, gender, etc. Only then will we truly be a nation that values and protects free speech. Jackie, by the way, has ended her blog. In the town where she lives, jobs are hard to find.
  5. http://blackboxvoting.org TUESDAY NOV 16 2004: Volusia County on lockdown County election records just got put on lockdown Dueling lawyers, election officials gnashing teeth, Votergate.tv film crew catching it all. Here's what happened so far: Friday Black Box Voting investigators Andy Stephenson and Kathleen Wynne popped in to ask for some records. They were rebuffed by an elections official named Denise. Bev Harris called on the cell phone from investigations in downstate Florida, and told Volusia County Elections Supervisor Deanie Lowe that Black Box Voting would be in to pick up the Nov. 2 Freedom of Information request, or would file for a hand recount. "No, Bev, please don't do that!" Lowe exclaimed. But this is the way it has to be, folks. Black Box Voting didn't back down. Monday Bev, Andy and Kathleen came in with a film crew and asked for the FOIA request. Deanie Lowe gave it over with a smile, but Harris noticed that one item, the polling place tapes, were not copies of the real ones, but instead were new printouts, done on Nov. 15, and not signed by anyone. Harris asked to see the real ones, and they said for "privacy" reasons they can't make copies of the signed ones. She insisted on at least viewing them (although refusing to give copies of the signatures is not legally defensible, according to Berkeley elections attorney, Lowell Finley). They said the real ones were in the County Elections warehouse. It was quittin' time and an arrangment was made to come back this morning to review them. Lana Hires, a Volusia County employee who gained some notoriety in an election 2000 Diebold memo, where she asked for an explanation of minus 16,022 votes for Gore, so she wouldn't have to stand there "looking dumb" when the auditor came in, was particularly unhappy about seeing the Black Box Voting investigators in the office. She vigorously shook her head when Deanie Lowe suggested going to the warehouse. Kathleen Wynne and Bev Harris showed up at the warehouse at 8:15 Tuesday morning, Nov. 16. There was Lana Hires looking especially gruff, yet surprised. She ordered them out. Well, they couldn't see why because there she was, with a couple other people, handling the original poll tapes. You know, the ones with the signatures on them. Harris and Wynne stepped out and Volusia County officials promptly shut the door. There was a trash bag on the porch outside the door. Harris looked into it and what do you know, but there were poll tapes in there. They came out and glared at Harris and Wynne, who drove away a small bit, and then videotaped the license plates of the two vehicles marked 'City Council' member. Others came out to glare and soon all doors were slammed. So, Harris and Wynne went and parked behind a bus to see what they would do next. They pulled out some large pylons, which blocked the door. Harris decided to go look at the garbage some more while Wynne videotaped. A man who identified himself as "Pete" came out and Harris immediately wrote a public records request for the contents of the garbage bag, which also contained ballots -- real ones, but not filled out. A brief tug of war occurred, tearing the garbage bag open. Harris and Wynne then looked through it, as Pete looked on. He was quite friendly. Black Box Voting collected various poll tapes and other information and asked if they could copy it, for the public records request. "You won't be going anywhere," said Pete. "The deputy is on his way." Yes, not one but two police cars came up and then two county elections officials, and everyone stood around discussing the merits of the "black bag" public records request. The police finally let Harris and Wynne go, about the time the Votergate.tv film crew arrived, and everyone trooped off to the elections office. There, the plot thickened. Black Box Voting began to compare the special printouts given in the FOIA request with the signed polling tapes from election night. Lo and behold, some were missing. By this time, Black Box Voting investigator Andy Stephenson had joined the group at Volusia County. Some polling place tapes didn't match. In fact, in one location, precinct 215, an African-American precinct, the votes were off by hundreds, in favor of George W. Bush and other Republicans. Hmm. Which was right? The polling tape Volusia gave to Black Box Voting, specially printed on Nov. 15, without signatures, or the ones with signatures, printed on Nov. 2, with up to 8 signatures per tape? Well, then it became even more interesting. A Volusia employee boxed up some items from an office containing Lana Hires' desk, which appeared to contain -- you guessed it -- polling place tapes. The employee took them to the back of the building and disappeared. Then, Ellen B., a voting integrity advocate from Broward County, Florida, and Susan, from Volusia, decided now would be a good time to go through the trash at the elections office. Lo and behold, they found all kinds of memos and some polling place tapes, fresh from Volusia elections office. So, Black Box Voting compared these with the Nov. 2 signed ones and the "special' ones from Nov. 15 given, unsigned, finding several of the MISSING poll tapes. There they were: In the garbage. So, Wynne went to the car and got the polling place tapes she had pulled from the warehouse garbage. My my my. There were not only discrepancies, but a polling place tape that was signed by six officials. This was a bit disturbing, since the employees there had said that bag was destined for the shredder. By now, a county lawyer had appeared on the scene, suddenly threatening to charge Black Box Voting extra for the time spent looking at the real stuff Volusia had withheld earlier. Other lawyers appeared, phoned, people had meetings, Lana glowered at everyone, and someone shut the door in the office holding the GEMS server. Black Box Voting investigator Andy Stephenson then went to get the Diebold "GEMS" central server locked down. He also got the memory cards locked down and secured, much to the dismay of Lana. They were scattered around unsecured in any way before that. Everyone agreed to convene tomorrow morning, to further audit, discuss the hand count that Black Box Voting will require of Volusia County, and of course, it is time to talk about contesting the election in Volusia.
  6. For me, John Kerry's voice has already started to acquire that special fingernails-on-the-blackboard effect that Bush's induces in me. The thought of listening to him daily for the next four years makes me feel better about the possible onset of rock 'n' roll deafness. His morose Eyeore visage has become a vista almost as tiresome as Bush's simian smirk. His patrician demeanor reminds one why George Bush has gone to such pains to disguise himself as an illiterate West Texas hick rather than the Yalie he also is. Worse, Kerry's transparently theatrical efforts to out-macho the Republicans make him seem, as a friend recently put it, all dick and no balls. Bush's problem, to hear Kerry tell it, is that he's *not tough enough,* despite his being demonstrably willing to bomb civilians in a country that neither attacked us nor expressed any desire to do so. That's pretty gosh-darned tough, if you ask me. Kerry's failure to capitalize on the failures of the worst administration in my lifetime is unfathomable. The systematic ineptitude of his campaign organization so far fills me with grave concerns about his ability to form an administration that wouldn't make us nostalgic for Gerald Ford's. Generally speaking, it would have been better for the future of the Republic if, upon eliminating Howard Dean, Kerry had been stashed in a location as undisclosed as the one where they usually keep Dick Cheney. Then he could have let Bush defeat himself through policies and actions that no sane electorate could have ratified. But no. He insisted on campaigning, apparently under the misapprehension that to know him - or at least to know that virtual version of him his marketing wizards had wrapped around him - was to love him. This, unfortunately, has not been the general effect. Gradually, I have watched the steam go out of the Anybody-But-Bush crowd as we realized that anybody, in this instance, was the increasingly irksome John Kerry. People who, several months ago, were ready to go door-to-door in Ohio in order to defeat Bush are unwilling to even campaign among their friends to elect John Kerry. And I have become, I must admit, one of these. Being an actual Kerry *supporter* just seems, well, un-cool. For the last month or so, the election seemed reminiscent to me of ads for the film "Alien vs. Predator, " the tag line of which goes, "Whoever wins, we lose." (Further, it has seemed right to me that one of these characters is and alien and the other a predator.) The first debate, which I watched over the Internet in Berlin, did nothing to alter my feelings about the candidates. Though many American pundits seemed to think that Kerry "won" that Battle of the Teledroids, it looked like they both lost to me, with their stammering repetitions and hollow phrases. Lincoln vs. Douglas it was not. Is it any wonder that so many people are playing political possum again? As ordinary folks go back to pretending to be asleep, the true believers, more fervent than ever, prepare to re-elect George Bush. But is Kerry really as personally lame as he appears? Well, in fact, no. I had dinner with Kerry at one point last year, and, while I found his views that evening to be a bit too tightly congruent with those of the real money at the table, I found the actual John Kerry to be a great deal more likeable than his manufactured simulacrum. I remember thinking he might be an entertaining guy to spend a day skiing with. But even if Kerry himself were as off-putting as the guy I see on TV, should we allow his personality deficiencies or cultural idiosyncrasies to dissuade us from supporting him? I would say not, especially when we consider what's at stake here. Right here, right now, somewhere over the Atlantic, I'm having a moment of clarity. I realize the obvious. I realize that, along with a lot of other people, I have fallen prey to the peculiar American frailty which has given us so many bad presidents. I refer to our national tendency to treat presidential elections as though we were all high-schoolers choosing a Prom King. Thus, when it comes to qualifying for the American Presidency, a grating accent can be a bigger political liability than a record of homicidally misguided policies. Being inconsistent is a greater personal failing than being consistently, doggedly, disastrously wrong. Being dorky is more damning than being dictatorial. We all need to get a grip and quickly. Whatever it has been traditionally, this Presidential race should not be a personality contest. I say this as much to myself to myself as I do to you. I have to snap out of it and remember we are not electing our new best friend here. We were electing a set of ideologies, cultural predispositions, policies, practices, and beliefs - many of them religious - that may literally affect the fate of life on earth. And one thing I will say for George Bush, he has disabused me of my old belief that it doesn't really matter who's President. That's because George Bush was and is a package deal. Along with the man himself, whatever his personality traits, we got a large cast of characters who, in aggregate, have been vastly more important than the hands-off President himself. We got Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Condoleeza Rice. We got Ashcroft to a fare-the-well. We got Wolfowitz, Feith, and Perle. And, boy, did we ever get Karl Rove. We got a legion of too-smart-by-half Stepford husbands with flags on their lapels, fire in their eyes, and God on their side. We got pharmaceutical companies designing our health care systems, the prison-industrial complex designing our sentencing schedules, Exxon and Enron designing energy policy, Halliburton and the Carlyle Group and the Center for the New American Century designing foreign policy, Louisiana-Pacific designing forestry policy, and Con-Agra designing agricultural policy. We got the super-rich and multinationals designing tax policy to their personal benefit, creationists designing school curricula, fundamentalists designing scientific research agenda. However one feels about the shapes of either John Kerry's jawline or his vowels, what matters most is the shape of what he would bring with him to the White House. His masters, his servants, and his fundamental beliefs will all be very different, whatever his marketing wizards (all of whom study Rove) are telling him to say now. More to the point, terrible things have happened during the last four years that should not be rewarded no matter how we feel about John Kerry. The war in Iraq alone is unforgivable. While it would be a wonderful thing to have a beacon of democracy in the Middle East, it is criminally misguided to think that we could bomb such a thing into existence. And while it has become a mandatory cliche to say that the world is safer without Saddam Hussein in charge of Iraq, I wouldn't even say this appears true at present. Between his ill-conceived military adventures and the billions his tax cuts have diverted into the pockets of his friends, Bush has created a deficit that may ultimately bring down the world's economy. He has started the United States on a path towards oligarchy that, unchecked, could turn America into a country that makes Mexico look like Sweden. He is responding to the foreseeable exhaustion of the world's oil reserves with policies that burn them faster. And as nearly unprecedented hurricanes whip out of the warming Caribbean, he has continued to be the primary obstacle to a collective human response to galloping carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere. He has taken a good shot at gutting the Bill of Rights, and, with regard to Moslems, he has largely succeeded. I won't attempt to repeat the list of his catastrophes here. It's far too long, and much of it has been enumerated on the Internet already. We all know it, and yet we continue to occupy ourselves with such airy trivialities as which candidate looks most "presidential." And against this backdrop of Bush-driven national emergencies, I've been allowing John Kerry's accent to diminish my sense of commitment to his election, I can't do this any more. Neither can the rest of us who have any regard for the well-being of our descendents. Yeah, John Kerry makes a lousy candidate for Prom King. But that isn't what he's running for. http://www.eff.org/~barlow/ _________________________________________________________________ ___ This was taken off skypilotclub.com -- An "affiliate" of the Merry Pranksters. The Pranksters are generally credited with initiating the "Psychedilic Movement" back in the '60's. Y'know, the "Tune in, turn on, and drop out" school of thought advanced by Timothy Leary. Anyway, have yourselves a blast.
  7. Presidental Debate #3

    Surprised nobody brought this up. The moderator (forget who he was) asked Kerry this question with some minor revisions: Q Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that? Also, can you tell the American people if you have any more information, if you know if he is dead or alive? Final part -- deep in your heart, don't you truly believe that until you find out if he is dead or alive, you won't really eliminate the threat of -- Kerry responded by attacking the Bush's response to the very same question. The question was posed to Bush back in May 0f '02 (I think). Here was Bush's response back then: Q Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that? Also, can you tell the American people if you have any more information, if you know if he is dead or alive? Final part -- deep in your heart, don't you truly believe that until you find out if he is dead or alive, you won't really eliminate the threat of -- THE PRESIDENT: Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run, if he's alive at all. Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not; we haven't heard from him in a long time. And the idea of focusing on one person is -- really indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission. Terror is bigger than one person. And he's just -- he's a person who's now been marginalized. His network, his host government has been destroyed. He's the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match. He is -- as I mentioned in my speech, I do mention the fact that this is a fellow who is willing to commit youngsters to their death and he, himself, tries to hide -- if, in fact, he's hiding at all. So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you. I'm more worried about making sure that our soldiers are well-supplied; that the strategy is clear; that the coalition is strong; that when we find enemy bunched up like we did in Shahikot Mountains, that the military has all the support it needs to go in and do the job, which they did. And there will be other battles in Afghanistan. There's going to be other struggles like Shahikot, and I'm just as confident about the outcome of those future battles as I was about Shahikot, where our soldiers are performing brilliantly. We're tough, we're strong, they're well-equipped. We have a good strategy. We are showing the world we know how to fight a guerrilla war with conventional means. When it was Bush's turn for rebuttal, Bush dismissed Kerry's attack on him (JK: I'll tell you what I *wouldn't* say, and that's 'I don't care about OBL.'), Bush called it an "Extreme Exaggeration." I would classify that as 2 lies Bush has been caught on. Why haven't the left on this board brought this up? What is the right's response?
  8. Somewhere out there today, a writer isn
  9. BTW, the City of Arcata drafted up a resolution against the War in Iraq. Opinions: Week of June 28, 2004 Mike McLaren: Bringing lifestyles to the crossroads I took a hiatus from writing this column because the words that kept slipping from my fingers sounded angry and mean, rang with tinges of emotions and inflections unacceptable for a public forum. Over the past four months, the things that have happened across the globe - because of the U.S. - and some things that have happened just across the border in Oregon, and things that still continue in our little town caught me a bit off-guard, left me unprepared to participate in soir