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...... "Too many good docs are getting out of the business.

......Too many OB/GYN's aren't able to practice their...their love with women all across the country."�GEORGE BUSH

Sept. 6, 2004, Poplar Bluff, Mo.


Mr. "BRING IT ON" Man, got his ass kicked by his own bicycle!

Scientific experiment to PROVE the economy is "ON FIRE" and there are lots of
high paying jobs being created. Heck, you can't even turn around without being offered a six figure CEO position, right? LOLOLOL...MORE of "THE BIG LIE"!
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CodeWarriorz Thoughts: Sunday, May 29, 2005 CodeWarriorZ BlueZ

CodeWarriorz Thoughts

Day to day musings of free speech activist CodeWarrior.


Sunday, May 29, 2005


Scotsman.com News - Latest News - Bush 'Groucho' Posters Spark School Uproar

Fri 27 May 2005

printer friendly
1:37pm (UK)
Bush 'Groucho' Posters Spark School Uproar


Posters that depicted President George Bush with a Groucho Marx-style moustache and cigar were ordered to be taken down at a high school in Los Angeles after a student complained.

Theatre students, who had created the posters to advertise a satirical play, countered with new posters with a First Amendment message.

Principal Kenny Lee ordered 100 posters removed from the campus of El Camino Real High School in the Woodland Hills area of the city last week on grounds they promoted smoking and “endorsing one ideology over another.”

“That’s our take on the student speech and conduct,” Lee said.

The school-funded posters advertised the students’ play, The Complete History of America (Abridged), which satirises US history.

A senior student who supports the president wrote a complaint letter to the administration, teachers and students said.

“We had one student who was very upset,” Lee said. “If something is bothering a student on campus, we’re going to address it.”

The poster ban infuriated some students.

“It taught us that the First Amendment certainly does not guarantee the right of free speech,” said Jes Shah, 16, a junior in the school drama programme.

The principal asked the drama students to come up with new posters. The new designs all feature a silhouette of Bush and a burning cigar, along with inscriptions such as “Free Expression for All (unless you are in high school)” and “What First Amendment?”.

“They’re good,” Lee said. “I like the follow-ups.”


George W. Bush or Chimpanzee?






AlterNet: The Armageddon Man

AlterNet: The Armageddon Man: "no such thing"

Enemy of the U.N.

Bolton has long dismissed the legitimacy of the United Nations, a multilateral organization dedicated to "collective security that the United States played a key role in creating. A longtime activist with the Federalist Society, Bolton has used this right-wing association of lawyers, judges, and legal experts as a forum to lash out against the United Nations. In a 1994 speech at the liberal World Federalist Association, Bolton declared that "there is no such thing as the United Nations." To underscore his point, Bolton said. "If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost ten stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference."

Bolton has also made his stand with those who believe the U.S. government should stop its payments to the United Nations. "Many Republicans in Congress — and perhaps a majority not only do not care about losing the General Assembly vote but actually see it as a 'make-my-day' outcome," Bolton said before joining the George W. Bush administration, "Indeed once the vote is lost ... this will simply provide further evidence to many why nothing should be paid to the U.N. system."

In a 1999 article in the Weekly Standard article titled "Kofi Annan's Power Grab," Bolton laid out the neoconservative position on U.S. military supremacy with respect to what the neocons regarded as the outdated U.N. Charter. Bolton took issue with Annan's description of the United Nations as "the sole source of legitimacy on the use of force." According to Bolton, "If the United States allows that claim to go unchallenged, its discretion in using force to advance its national interests is likely to be inhibited in the future." In mounting the challenge to Annan and the United Nations, Bolton also criticized President Clinton for "his implicit endorsement of the Annan doctrine" during his speech opening the General Assembly session that year.

In Bolton's view, Annan had put his own legitimacy at risk by expressing his concerns about the NATO bombing campaign over the former Yugoslavia. When visiting the war zone, Annan said: "Unless the Security Council is restored to its preeminent position as the sole source of legitimacy on the use of force, we are on a dangerous path to anarchy." Subsequently, in the secretary general's annual report to the UN membership, Annan wrote that "enforcement actions without Security Council authorization threaten the very core of the international security system. ... Only the [UN] Charter provides a universally legal basis for the use of force." Bolton wrote that these were "sweeping — indeed, breathtaking —assertions," although from a post-Iraq invasion perspective Annan's statements could be described as prophetic.

According to Bolton, "The implicit premise of the Annan doctrine — that force is unimportant while 'international law' is practically everything — is widely held in Europe, but is also popular here, particularly in the Clinton administration." Bolton warned that "if the Annan doctrine is left unanswered, we will soon hear about 'emerging new international norms' that will make it harder and harder for the United States to act independently in its own legitimate national interest. And we will wait in vain for our adversaries to follow those 'norms.'"

After the UN voted not to authorize the administration's planned invasion of Iraq, Bolton said the decision was "further evidence to many why nothing should be paid to the UN system." In the run up to the war, he ordered an intelligence probe of U.N. arms inspector Hans Blix, who headed the UNMOVIC inspection mission in Iraq, and Mohamed El Baradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Not pleased with El Baradei's lack of a strong stance against Iran, Bolton led a unsuccessful campaign to remove him from his post at the conclusion of his second term.

Bolton described his theory about the legitimacy of U.S. military actions in his 2003 speech to the Federalist Society. According to Bolton, if the U.S. follows its own constitutional procedures then there is no question about the legitimacy of any resulting U.S. actions abroad. In Bolton's view, "There's a fundamental problem of democratic theory for those who contend, implicitly or otherwise, that the proper operation of America's institutions of representative government are not able to confer legitimacy for the use of force."

"Make no mistake," said Bolton, "Not asserting that our constitutional procedures themselves confer legitimacy will result over time in the atrophying of our ability to act independently."


CNN.com - Bush�nominates Bolton as U.N. ambassador - Mar 7, 2005

CNN.com - Bush�nominates Bolton as U.N. ambassador - Mar 7, 2005

"If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference," he said.

Bolton drew fire from Democrats in 1994 when he said at a Federalist Society forum that "there is no such thing as the United Nations."



Bushy wants Bolton. Condi wants Bolton. They say he is the right man for the job. I say, OK...
let's let them have their choice, and sit back and watch the fun begin.

Bolton has a reputation as a bully, a hothead, and once said that the United Nations did not exist, as well as saying that elimination of the top ten floors of the UN would have no effect.

Bolton is a giant embarassment ready to happen, and when it happens, it will be an embarassment for the administration. It will point out that they are nominating people for political cronyism reasons, and NOT
because they are the right person for the job...

So...I say...give 'em enough rope....let 'em have John Bolton for the UN...and let the humiliation begin~!


MercuryNews.com | 05/27/2005 | Bush suffers setback on Bolton

MercuryNews.com | 05/27/2005 | Bush suffers setback on Bolton

Bush suffers setback on Bolton


By Jonathan S. Landay and James Kuhnhenn

Knight Ridder

WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked a confirmation vote on John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, souring the bipartisan atmosphere set by an agreement earlier this week on judicial nominees.

The vote to advance Bolton's nomination to an immediate confirmation vote was 56-42 -- four short of the 60 votes that Bolton's Republican backers needed.

Democratic aides said that despite the vote, Bolton's nomination did not appear to be in jeopardy.

Democrats insisted they are trying to compel the administration to release additional documents about Bolton, an outspoken critic of the world body and a past proponent of go-it-alone U.S. foreign policy.

``I implore the administration to provide the information,'' said Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. ``We are willing to vote 10 minutes after we get back in session if in fact they provided the information.''

A final vote on Bolton will not take place until at least June, after the Senate returns from a Memorial Day recess.

The vote came a day after the Senate overcame four years of Democratic delaying tactics to confirm Priscilla Owen of Texas as an appellate court judge. Owen was the first beneficiary of a new bipartisan agreement designed to limit the number of times Democrats used extended debate, or filibusters, to block judicial nominees.

The Bolton nomination was not part of that deal, but its timing made it a symbolic test of the week's bipartisan good will.

``The very first issue we turned to, we got what to me looks like a filibuster,'' said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn. ``It certainly sounds like a filibuster. . . . It quacks like a filibuster. . . . What America has just seen is an engagement of another period of obstruction by the other side.''

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the administration was pleased that Republicans would revisit the vote after the recess and criticized Democrats for the newest delay.

Overall, 57 senators voted to end the debate. But the official vote was 56-42 because Frist switched sides at the end so he could move to have it reconsidered when the Senate returns June 7.

``I think it was a very important day for the Senate because we need information on this nominee that we've been asking for for a very long time. We haven't gotten it yet,'' said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

The material Democrats have sought for weeks involves Bolton's use of government intelligence on Syria, and instances in which he asked for names of fellow U.S. officials whose communications were secretly picked up by a spy agency.

A deal to turn over part of the information fell through earlier Thursday. Biden rejected an offer to see edited versions of the classified communications picked up by the National Security Agency that would not reveal the names of the U.S. officials.

Also at issue are Bolton's temper and management style, charges that he wanted intelligence analysts punished for disputing his views, his disparagement of the United Nations and his close identification with the Bush administration on a go-it-alone foreign policy.

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said the charges against Bolton amounted to ``character assassination'' and a ``smoke screen'' by critics seeking an excuse to attack Bush's foreign policy.

He said Bolton's achievements, experience and blunt manner made him the right person to represent the United States and champion reforms at the scandal-scarred United Nations.

Bolton is the only Bush choice for a senior position whose name has been sent by a Senate committee to a floor vote without recommendation, the result of surprisingly strong objections to Bolton voiced not only by Democrats during Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings but also by Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio.

Opposition to Bolton stemmed in part from statements he made in 1994 that the United Nations functioned only when there was U.S. leadership and that it would not matter if the top 10 floors of its 39-story headquarters in New York were cut off.

But Bolton's biggest hurdles were charges that he tried to have a State Department intelligence analyst and a member of the National Intelligence Council, which produces intelligence assessments for the president, punished in 2002 for disputing his views on Cuba's biological warfare capabilities.


Stop the Tape: I Made Voinovich Cry Over Bolton

Stop the Tape: I Made Voinovich Cry Over BoltonBEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I tell you what, I made George Voinovich cry yesterday. This is not ego speaking. I'm simply reading to you from an AP dispatch by the lovely and gracious Anne Gearan. "Voinovich has been the subject of an intense White House lobbying campaign since he broke ranks on Bolton. He has also been roughed up in television advertisements and by conservative commentators. The strain was evident in Voinovich's voice as his Senate speech drew to a close Wednesday." Conservative commentators are making a senator cry. Boy, that's going to really look good.


RUSH: All right, let's go to the audio sound bites. We have three sound bites here. This is Senator Voinovich from Ohio weighing in on the nomination and the ultimate vote of John Bolton to be the US Ambassador to the United Nations.

VOINOVICH: (shaky voice) Too many of my colleagues are not going to understand (trembling) that this appointment is very, very important to our country. At a strategic time (blubber) when we need friends all over the world, (whimper) we need somebody up there that's going to be able to get the job done.

RUSH: (Making crying sounds.) Can you believe this? I'm embarrassed. I'll tell you. (interruption) Well, I can't take total credit, Mr. Snerdley, for making him cry. The story says conservative commentators. "He's also been roughed up in television advertisements and by conservative commentators. The strain was evident in Voinovich's voice as his speech drew to a close on Wednesday." You know, I am just stunned. Here you've got a US senator on the brink, on the verge of tears, and rather than people be embarrassed by this, you've got a media sympathetic, because he's been criticized by conservative commentators. Meanwhile, Tom DeLay's reputation and all these judges routinely trashed and destroyed every day and the media licks its chops and asks for more and begins to pile on. For crying out loud, what are we running here, folks? Here's more from what Voinovich said yesterday, weighing in on the Bolton nomination.

VOINOVICH: I ask myself, "Mr. President, what message are we sending to the world community?"

RUSH: Stop the tape. With you crying on the floor of the US Senate, what do you think the message is? We're a bunch of wimps! Good grief almighty!

VOINOVICH: In the same breath we are considering a nominee for ambassador to the United Nations who's been accused of being arrogant, of not listening to his friends, of acting unilaterally, and of bullying those who do not have ability to properly defend themselves. These are the very characteristics that we're trying to dispel in the court of world opinion.

RUSH: And there you have what's exactly wrong with this. This is not a time, folks, where we're going to go out and make the world safer and make ourselves safer by asking yourselves, "Why don't they like us?" and then trying to make them like us. What's going on? How old is this man? What has he not learned in his life? I may make him cry again by asking these questions. For crying out loud, how many people tried to be nice to Hitler? What was the guy's name, Chamberlain? How many people tried to be nice to Hitler? "Hey, Adolf? Take Poland. Just stop there. Just take Poland." Fine. "Hey, Al-Qaeda, what are we doing to make you dislike us? What is it?" So he's upset here that we're going to send a nominee whose accused of being arrogant, of not listening to his friends. Can I define that for you, "arrogant, not listening to his friends"? He knows what he wants! He doesn't need to go out and ask the opinions of others, Senator Voinovich, to make up his mind. We're getting a little insight here into how things work in the Senate. "So if I say this, will you like me?" and, "If I do this, will you like me?" We're looking at the feminization here of the male population of the US Senate, for crying out loud. What in the world is this? I told you, one of the problems these guys have with Bolton is he's a man. He's a throwback. He's a man. He makes up his own mind. He knows what's right. He knows what's wrong. He knows what he needs to do, and they think that's arrogant. He's too sure of himself. "Nobody should be that sure of themselves. This is going to rub people the wrong way." This is a bully? Somebody that knows what he knows, somebody that believes what he believes, somebody who's not afraid to say what he thinks, this is the new definition of a bully? Bullying those who do not have ability to properly defend themselves. We're back to that, and now we're back to the fact that Voinovich did not accept incompetence among his staff. Yes, we're supposed to do that, folks. We're supposed to accept incompetence because that's being nice and considerate and we're supposed to be fair. Want to hear one more bite? Even if you don't, here it comes.

VOINOVICH: Frankly, I'm concerned that Mr. Bolton would make it more difficult for us to achieve the badly needed reforms to this outdated institution. I believe there could be even more obstacles to reform if Mr. Bolton is sent to the UN than if it were another candidate. Those in the international community who do not want to see the UN reformed will act as a roadblock and I fear that Mr. Bolton's reputation will make it easier --

RUSH: Stop this! Stop this. Stop this. So the way I understand this is, the UN needs to be reformed. Voinovich admits it's in bad shape. So we're going to send somebody up there who -- the international community doesn't want to see the UN reformed anyway, right? So we're going to send somebody up there, if Voinovich gets his way, we want to send somebody up there who says, "Okay, now, we know you don't want the UN reformed but we do, and we really need the UN reformed, and I think if I'm just nice to you and I provide no threat, and I present no bullying personality to you, that you will go along with my idea of reform." This is not how the world works, and the UN is in such a mess, to go up and run it here like a sandbox and just to continue running it the way it always has been -- you know, Madeleine Albright's had her turn at this. The Madeleine Albright, Clinton people had their way. They had their turn with this, and they didn't fix it at all. We don't need more people like that.


RUSH: Can I give you an idea just how off his game Voinovich has to be? Here he's worried about Bolton being a bully at the UN. By the way, these are just accusations and that's another thing. Some of these Democrats say, "We can't send somebody up there with these kinds of allegations," because to them the allegations will be perceived as true by the bad guys. It's amazing how they want to pander to bullies themselves. What is the UN but a bunch of dumb bullies? It's a bunch of thugs and tyrants and anti-Semites. I mean, the UN is the Star Wars bar scene, folks, it's nothing but a bunch of aliens up there -- and most of them are dictators and thugs and tyrants who exist for one reason, that's to oppress their own people and to steal money from our back pocket under any premise they can come up with, such as Kyoto. Yet here's Voinovich all worried about the bullies at the UN. What about the bully that is Barbara Boxer? What about the bully that is Harry Reid? What about the bullies in the Democratic Party and what they're saying about our president, and what about the impact that's having with our enemies and so-called friends at the UN around the world? I think Senator Voinovich ought to turn his fear of bullies to his own chamber and start asking himself and the Democrats just what their words and actions are doing to the US image around the world and how that's not helping at all, particularly when the Senate minority leader refers to the president as a loser to a bunch of school kids while the president is over in the former Soviet Bloc. "Oh, no we can't talk about that!" We must have comity in the Senate but we don't have to have comity with John Bolton. We can set out to destroy him and we can go to the Senate floor and we can cry about it. What about the message that sends to these people who are our enemies, Senator Voinovich? Talk about useful? The term useful idiot apply here? I mean, who's doing more damage to our foreign relations, Voinovich or the nomination of Bolton? Who's doing more damage to our foreign policy than the Democrats in the Senate constantly ripping this country, ripping this president in the midst of demonstrable foreign policy successes? I think these guys are looking at the wrong place. They're always looking at our enemies as our friends, except the Democrats -- there we must have comity, comity in the Senate. Tom in Dayton, Ohio. Hi, we'll go to the phones early today. Welcome to the program, sir.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. My point on the fine senator that represents us is that he's not crying because he's getting a couple of comments made or getting a couple of shots thrown at him. He's crying because there are people like myself that have sent e-mails to the senator telling him, "Hey, thanks for what you've done, but you know what? You just crossed the line here and you don't understand what conservatives are looking for out of Bolton, and we are no longer going to tolerate it out of our senators here in Ohio," and I pretty much sent him an e-mail telling him, "Thanks but I cannot vote for you no more." And my other concern with the senator is that he thinks we're going to send Bolton there, and the UN is going to resist him and not work with him. Well, what are the Democrats doing right now in the Senate? Is he afraid they're going to act like Democratic senators to him --

RUSH: Right.

CALLER: -- and resist everything --

RUSH: Exactly. Exactly.

CALLER: -- that we are trying to accomplish?

RUSH: And what's happening with the UN now? We don't have anybody up there right now and supposedly they're not working with us then, either.

CALLER: I would like to know what was being done that was so good by previous people we sent to the UN that worked, because we've got --

RUSH: There's nothing -- you can't say under previous, you know, Madeleine Albright, there goes the oil-for-food scandal right under her nose. Those people have had their chance. Sir, I take exception with you on only one thing, and I realize everybody wants to get in on the act here. You think you made Voinovich cry, but I got the AP story here, doesn't say anything about you and your e-mail, only says conservative commentators. I made Voinovich cry. If you want to take partial credit, make you feel better, go ahead, but your e-mail is not mentioned in this story.

CALLER: You know what? I'm going to send whoever wrote that article a little e-mail myself because, you know what? As much as I appreciate you, Rush, what it is, it comes down to the people in the states, like myself, who do vote the conservative way, not because... Well, I guess I'll say this, because of one reason: We want to better our country; we want to have the chance to make sure that our children and our grandchildren have the right to vote and have the right --

RUSH: You know something? It's interesting you say that because that's part of the reason Voinovich said he opposes Bolton. He's worried about his children and grandchildren getting nuked if we send somebody that's too tough up there. He didn't say nuked but he's worried about war breaking out, terrible times and we don't need a bully up there that's just going to make it worse, that's what he thinks.

CALLER: I don't understand.

RUSH: I guess he's never seen a John Wayne movie he liked. He probably hates Dirty Harry, the Clinton Eastwood character. He hates people that get it down in law-and-order situations. Just despises them.

CALLER: To be honest with you, I look back and I see how important the state of Ohio was to getting President Bush reelected and then I see what my two senators doing now, acting more as... I can't even call them moderates. I have to actually say that they are becoming more of a Democratic way of voting, and I'm kind of ashamed and embarrassed that I voted for two conservatives that represent the state of the fine state of Ohio.

RUSH: Ah look, nobody is going to hold it against you, sir. You're not the total reason here. You were bamboozled like a lot of people. I mean, nobody before all this started thought that Voinovich or DeWine were going to be problems. They just got plucked from obscurity here to be made famous by joining the McCain 14 or what have you. We got more stories on that, by the way, too, as the program unfolds but, Tom, I gotta move on. Thanks much. (interruption) What? Can I make McCain cry? I don't know. No, McCain's not going to cry.


RUSH: On this Bolton business, the Democrats said that they will try to filibuster John Bolton if the Bush administration doesn't turn over two final sets of documents. This is Christopher Dodd from Connecticut. "'If the administration doesn't give us this information then I want a sixty vote requirement here so that senators can express their views on this issue of the documentation that we need.' Mr. Dodd said he actually supports an up-or-down vote on Bolton, but is being forced into a filibuster as a protest against the administration. Biden said, 'Did Bolton attempt to badger or change the views of intelligence officers relating to whether or not Syria had weapons of mass destruction at a critical juncture when you were all writing and we were asking, is Syria next?'" So filibustering Bolton.

Meanwhile, Bill Frist has made it plain what his strategery is. He said, "'We cannot stop with this single step of Priscilla Owen. We must give fair up-or-down votes to other previously blocked nominees.' The Senate's top Republican said that he would press for votes on the nominations of William Myers and Henry Saad, two of the president's selections who were not guaranteed final votes in the centrist deal." And about this, Lindsey Graham said no, no, no, no, I can't say that I would vote for the nuclear option, and those two, they weren't part of our original deal. Republican officials also said they expected Frist to push for votes on Brett Kavanaugh and William Haynes, so appears that Frist is going to bring everybody up, even those outside the so-called deal.



ONN. Ohio News Now: Voinovich Gives Impassioned Speech

ONN. Ohio News Now: Voinovich Gives Impassioned SpeechVoinovich Gives Impassioned Speech
May 26, 2005, 08:36 AM Email to a Friend Printer Friendly Version

John Bolton

Ohio Republican George Voinovich came close to tears as he implored fellow senators Wednesday to think hard before voting to approve John Bolton as UN ambassador.

Voinovich has been the subject of an intense White House lobbying campaign since he broke ranks on Bolton. He has also been roughed up in television advertisements and by conservative commentators. The strain was evident in Voinovich's voice as his Senate speech drew to a close Wednesday.

Voinovich said Bolton would set back the United States' goal of reforming the United Nations and he would go into the job hobbled by his own reputation as a bully.

Voinovich said the issue will become the messenger, not the message.

Nevertheless, Senate Republicans believe they have the votes to confirm Bolton, possibly Thursday


Survey shows most musicians oppose RIAA's lawsuits---The UW Daily Online

The UW Daily OnlineSurvey shows most musicians oppose RIAA's lawsuits

Print This Article E-mail This Article

Recent related articles
• Motion Picture Association follows record industry lead, plans to sue file swappers
• FBI probes file sharing; UW has limits in place

By Taj Campbell / Contributing writer
May 11, 2004

Though the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been tackling copyright infringement by slapping lawsuits on online peer-to-peer file sharers, recent research shows musicians are not convinced it is in their best interest.

New research from the Pew Internet Project claims that most musicians do not believe the RIAA's lawsuits will benefit artists.

Pew Internet is an initiative of the Pew Research Center, an independent opinion research group based in Philadelphia, that studies attitudes toward the press, politics and public-policy issues.

During a one-month period between March and April, 2,775 musicians and songwriters responded to a Web-based survey with questions relating to copyright and music file sharing on the Internet.

According to the study, 60 percent of those surveyed do not believe the RIAA's efforts to halt file sharing through lawsuits will benefit musicians and songwriters.

Additionally, 35 percent believe free downloading has helped their careers, 37 percent believe it has not had any effect and only 5 percent believe it has exclusively hurt their careers. Of those interviewed, 83 percent have provided free samples of their music online.

Musicians at the UW also use the Internet to their advantage, such as, freshman Ben Althouse.

"Without the Internet and free downloading, my music would not have the reach it currently has," said Althouse. "If anything, the RIAA's efforts have hindered the promotion of independent musicians and the proliferation of their music."

Althouse looks at online file sharing as an inevitable part of life.

"It's just going to keep getting bigger. For me, that's a good thing," Althouse said.

Another finding of the survey is that 67 percent of musicians and songwriters believe they should have complete control of their copyrighted work.

The RIAA's membership consists of the record labels. At the same time, the RIAA mission is to fight for the intellectual property rights and First Amendment rights of artists.

It's been nearly two weeks since the RIAA's most recent wave of lawsuits. On April 28, the RIAA targeted 477 illegal file sharers, including 69 individuals using university networks at 14 universities across the nation.


Sci-Tech Today - Computing - P2P United Informs Users of P2P Risks

Sci-Tech Today - Computing - P2P United Informs Users of P2P Risks

P2P United , the U.S.-based trade association representing some of the leading peer-to-peer networks, has announced a new cyber-safety initiative, informing users of the risks associated with peer-to-peer programs.
The move comes after an investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) refuted record and film industry allegations that P2P United members committed "false and deceptive practices" by installing spyware and viruses with their products.

However, the FTC added that peer-to-peer providers should be doing more to notify users of the potential risks that might occur from using peer-to-peer software.

Under the initiative, warnings will be displayed on peer-to-peer Web sites, software installation screens and on the user interfaces of peer-to-peer software.

They will explain the dangers of viruses, spyware, pornography and copyright infringement liability.

Adam Eisgrau, executive director for P2P United, said the organisation had been working with the FTC to "debunk the outrageous claims" made by the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America about the dangers of peer-to-peer programs.

He said, "Peer-to-peer is neither more nor less risky than using the Internet. We will continue to work with government on these issues."


RedState.org ||

RedState.org ||That being said, I am looking for an answer as to why those who do believe life begins at conception, and who equate embryos with human life and abortion even at the embryonic level, why they do not vigorously oppose IVF? I am not trying to divert what is a very important dialogue on abortion, nor am I laying mines or pursuing red herrings or canards. I just want to know, in good faith, why the self-described "culture of life" does not oppose IVF as vigorously as research on embryonic stem cells...


Mom, apple pie and malevolent leaders---Blogger News Network

Blogger News Network
How The Mighty Are Falling

Editorial by Jason Miller

Mom, apple pie and malevolent leaders

Somebody tell Karl Rove to drop the applause sign. The minions he manipulates are cheering for an America that does not exist. That abstract concept of America, and its embodiment of liberties and human rights, is a fiction. Norman Rockwell's portrayal of America was an idealistic perversion of a landscape, which for many, has been littered with oppression, bigotry, greed, torture and even murder. Goya's brutal painting "Duel with Cudgels" comes closer to capturing the essence of the underlying mean-spiritedness of that is very much a component of this nation. Bush, his Neocons, and the obscenely wealthy Oligarchs, who finance Republicans and Democrats alike, embody the face of America which is seldom portrayed by our flag-waving mainstream media. Yes, there is a dark, brutish aspect to this self-proclaimed beacon of freedom and liberty, and I am going to delve into it. Read on if you dare to take an introspective look at the darker aspects of our national identity.

Evil heritage

As early as 1661, American colonists began engaging in the slave trade. With the advent of the birth of our nation in the late 18th Century, even our hallowed Constitution legally endorsed the evil institution of slavery. Abolitionists who rose to oppose slavery, like John Brown, were executed as terrorists. Even an incredibly bloody Civil War and three Amendments to the Constitution were not enough to end American oppression of the black race. The specter of Jim Crow arose in the south in the 1890's. Its power did not dwindle until courageous leaders like Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King, Jr. arose in the mid Twentieth Century. Their tireless efforts forced the federal government to enforce human rights for the black race. Fear of the growing power of a minority led to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., a peaceful proponent of civil rights. One can make a strong case that the US government facilitated the assassination to stem the spread of King's "radical ideas". In today's America, racism hides behind a veil of "political correctness", and those who practice bigotry do so covertly, in a cowardly attempt to avoid legal consequences.

The Native Americans have not fared so well in America either, at least not since the Western Europeans invaded their continent. In 1830, the US Congress passed the "Indian Removal Act". This measure eventually enabled the federal government to resolve the problem of a growing population in the state of Georgia by moving the Cherokee Nation to the state of Oklahoma. In 1838, on the forced 1,000 mile march, 4,000 Cherokee men, women and children died in what is now known as "The Trail of Tears".

Tecumseh, a Shawnee leader who organized opposition to forced Native American colonization, showed his insight into the ugly aspect of America when he spoke to the Osage tribe in 1812. In his speech, he said, "Brothers, the white people are like poisonous serpents: when chilled, they are feeble and harmless; but invigorate them with warmth, and they sting their benefactors to death."

Thanks to Howard Zinn in Voices of a People's History of the United States for uncovering a telling quote from the Saturday Pioneer, a newspaper in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Ironically, L. Frank Baum, who also wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (an "American literary classic"), was the paper's editor in 1890, when the quote appeared. Shortly after the massacre at Wounded Knee, and the subsequent murder of Sitting Bull, Baum's paper wrote, "The Whites, by law of conquest, by justice of civilization, are masters of the American continent....and the best safety of the frontier settlers will be secured by the total annihilation of the few remaining Indians." The Saturday Pioneer had just defined the concept of "Manifest Destiny", the belief that America had the divine right and destiny to expand its borders across the North American continent and beyond.

We take what we want

Driven by a psychotic hubris, our leaders were convinced that America had the right and the duty to "civilize" the rest of our continent with our "superior" Democratic and Protestant ideals. Sound familiar? America began unleashing its imperialistic impulses on sovereign nations in 1846. President James Polk annexed Texas, and sent American troops to help this future state gain its independence from Mexico. Two years and 38,000 dead combatants later, America brought Mexico to its knees, and proudly included Texas, New Mexico, and California in its borders. Robbing the Native Americans of their land was not enough to satiate the appetites of our imperialist leaders for "White" conquest.

William McKinley came to office in 1896 to preside over a country that still had a ravenous appetite for expansion. Under McKinley, the US waged war against Spain in Cuba. America drove the Spaniards out, leaving a power vacuum that was quickly filled by greedy US corporations. 500,000 Filipinos were killed as America wrested the Philippine Islands away from Spain. Our government justified their deaths by proclaiming that the American victory would enable the US to civilize the savages in the Philippines. McKinley also arranged for the annexation of Hawaii and Puerto Rico during his unprecedented advance of the cause of Manifest Destiny.

The price of avarice

In the early Twentieth Century, Upton Sinclair and his fellow muckrakers cast bright lights into the shadowy corners of corporate America. There they exposed ruthless, avarice-driven exploitation and victimization of American workers and consumers. Sinclair's expose' of the corrupt and dangerous practices of the meat-packing industry, The Jungle, led to the passage of The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. Prior to the efforts of Populists and Socialists like Sinclair, America's system of unbridled capitalism, enabled by laisez-faire economic policy by the federal government, allowed ruthless corporations to treat their workers like cattle. Greedy profiteers were also able to market their products to consumers with virtual disregard for quality and safety. Millions of Americans sustained injuries, worked in perilous, inhuman conditions, received grossly inadequate wages, or died as a result of corporate lust for profits. During the so-called Gilded Age, corporations reigned with an appalling disregard for humanity. However, pressure from muckrakers, Socialists, unions, and Populists eventually curtailed the power of the Oligarchs.

All is fair in love and war.....

Woodrow Wilson continued to justify American imperialism under his foreign policy of Wilsonian Democracy. Refining the notion of Manifest Destiny, Wilson asserted the necessity of America to employ any means necessary, including force, to install democracies in nations around the world. In large part, his doctrine rested on Kant's notion that democracies are less likely to be war-like than dictatorships or monarchies. Wilsonian Democracy propelled the US into World War I. How ironic that America, the self-proclaimed model for democracy, engaged in yet another war. Is this an indication that Kant's notion was inaccurate, or can one conclude that the US is not truly as democratic as the state-sponsored propaganda would have the masses believe? During the war, Eugene Debs, Emma Goldman, and other war protestors who violated the Sedition Act sacrificed their freedom for exercising their First Amendment rights. As they sat in prison for standing up to our imperialist leaders, over 100,000 Americans died in the "war to end all wars". Our government employed flag-waving propaganda and mandatory conscription to thrust millions of young men into the horror of war, yet those who protested in the "land of the free" were imprisoned.

Ask the Japanese citizens during World War II for their perspective on the "American Dream". After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the federal government employed curfews as a means to marshal control of the "enemy within". Bowing to pressure from business interests who wanted to eliminate Japanese-American competitors, the US government eventually made the decision to move 110,000 people of Japanese descent into ten relocation centers throughout the United States. Stripped of their homes, businesses, and possessions, they were interned behind barbed wire for over two years. Their alleged crime was disloyalty to America. Over 2/3 of them were American citizens born on American soil. Disgracefully, our government imprisoned them without a trial and without charging them with a crime. Guantanamo Bay is not without precedent. It is frightening that in a "free nation" like the United States that such a history could repeat itself without widespread public outcry.

Appetite for destruction

American leadership is still drunk with power, arrogance, and an insatiable appetite for the accumulation of wealth. Based on a statement of principles drafted in 1997, and a think-tank created to formulate ways to implement the principles, The Project for the New American Century paved the way for George Bush and his pack of Neocons to launch the unprovoked and unsubstantiated invasion of Iraq. Several of the war hungry Neocons, like Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney, signed the statement of principles. The events of 9/11 gave them the rationale they needed to initiate their aggression. Their imperial intentions are clearly outlined at http://www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.htm. Their concluding paragraph states:

"Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next."

What is perhaps equally disturbing is that a vast majority of the Democrats have made little tangible effort to challenge the illegal actions of Bush and the Neocons, making them complicit partners. Short of a few exceptions, like Bill Moyers, the mainstream media has forsaken their duty as the Fourth Estate. Rather than informing the American people of the truth about our corrupt and malevolent government, they bow to the pressure of their corporate masters and feed us versions of the truth that withhold details and present criminal act by our government in a benign manner. A British Member of Parliament recently showed the guts to openly challenge several of our venal Senators (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4556113.stm). When will our own elected representatives and members of the press show that kind of spine? Perchance most of them have simply sold out and become party to the "Dark Side" of our national identity.

The Bush administration has demonstrated its commitment to making the Twenty First Century the "American Century". However, the reality is that the invasion of a small country like Iraq has stretched our military to its limits. After two years of US military occupation, Iraq is still in a state of chaos, and many Iraqis want our military to withdraw. The sun is setting on the "American Empire" as Bush and his people desperately struggle to fan the dying embers and rekindle the flames. There are multiple countries with nuclear capabilities. China wields a great deal of economic power over the United States as it continues to parlay its colossal trade surplus into an opportunity to finance a large portion of the US debt. Terrorist acts, over-dependence on credit, and weaker nations with nuclear capabilities are proving to be the David to our Goliath. Redefining the term "debtor nation" with a $7.5 trillion national debt, America is bleeding red ink. The failing effort in Iraq is costing billions of dollars that this country does not have. America's dominance is rapidly diminishing.

Bush has launched a war with no end in sight against the "evil terrorists", an elusive, shadow target which cannot be definitively beaten. Perpetual fear and hatred of the "terrorists" motivate many Americans to support a seemingly endless war, and enable Karl Rove to manipulate the masses. The Neocons are free to pursue their policy of military proliferation of American interests to their hearts' content. However, the waning strength of this nation, coupled with the rising strength of nations like China, make this model unsustainable. Americans have been duped into following a ruinous course.

Hypocrisy and hubris....when do they end?

In 1997, with the advent of The Project for the New American Century, America laid out a publicly available plan for global domination. Historically, Americans have pursued a policy of aggressive global expansionism under the guise of altruism, the "right of manifest destiny", or under the pretext of protecting its regional interests. The United States flaunts its lofty Constitution and Bill of Rights, yet with each passing day continues to deny basic civil rights to homosexuals (5% of the US population). It defies the UN and Geneva Convention with alarming regularity. Americans earn an annual per capita income of $34,000.00 compared to the world per capita of $7,000.00. We consume 25% of the world's fossil fuels while 2 billion people in the world have no access to electricity. In 2000, the Bush regime installed itself to rule our Executive branch by manipulating the voting process. Had Jeb Bush not been the governor of Florida, Al Gore would be our president. Grossly abusing their ill-gotten power, Bush and his Neocons have engaged in a consistent pattern of false propaganda to manipulate public opinion. Their unilateral decision-making almost never shows regard for relationships with allies or the United Nations. Bush has consistently rewarded incompetents, war criminals, and deceitful individuals with promotions in his regime. America has some serious house-cleaning to do before we forcefully export our value systems to our neighbors.

In the spirit of advancing the cause of Protestant superiority, our Senate is now considering a bill heavily promoted by America's own religious radicals, the Religious Right. The Constitution Restoration Act would, for the purposes of judicial review, recognize "God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government." And Bush really expects critical thinking people to swallow his Newspeak about "spreading freedom and liberty" around the world? With the virtually silent consent of the Democratic minority in Congress, Bush and the Neocons continue to pursue an evolved version of Manifest Destiny as they attempt to brutally force America's "Christian" and "Democratic" ways upon the American people, and upon the rest of the world.

Sweet little lies.... and crimes against humanity

Why were Americans surprised at the attack of 9/11? The Neocons have convinced many Americans that our nation was an innocent victim of attacks of "evil terrorists". How naive can a person be? America, in its supreme arrogance and imperialistic endeavors, has been enraging people in foreign nations for years. If the terrorists did actually carry out these attacks autonomously, America was far from innocent. Was it tragic? Yes. Do the perpetrators deserve to be punished severely? Yes. However, America has been provoking people and nations for many years. Those who died in the World Trade Center that day were certainly innocent victims, but America as a nation was not.

In saying "if the terrorists did actually carry out" 9/11, I intentionally left the culpability ambiguous. While there is little doubt that Bush, the Neocons, and other members of the obscenely wealthy Oligarchy (see http://www.dissidentvoice.org/May05/Miller0517.htm) knew that the strikes were going to occur and chose to allow them to happen, there is also compelling evidence that they actually orchestrated and perpetrated 9/11. David Ray Griffin advances that theory with clarity in 9/11 and the American Empire at http://www.newtopiamagazine.net/articles/47. The deaths of 3,000 American civilians in an attack that appeared to be carried out by terrorist representatives of the Middle East (with its coveted oil reserves) provided the Neocons and Oligarchs with a golden opportunity to mobilize the American people to engage in the invasion of Iraq, yet another scapegoat in this sick scenario. Given much of the world's justifiable hatred of America, it is unlikely that the terrorists needed much prompting by our leadership to carry out the attacks. Careful scrutiny of the evidence presented by Griffin, including the actions of our government before and after the strike, the nature of the strike on the Pentagon, and the collapse of the WTC towers, lends significant credibility to the idea that the Neocons and the Oligarchs were directly involved in the perpetration of the WTC tragedy.

Whether one believes the terrorists acted autonomously, or that the Neocons and Oligarchs sponsored the attacks, Bush, the Neocons and our other Oligarch leaders bear the responsibility for the deaths of the 3,000 Americans in the World Trade Center. Foreknowledge of the attacks and subsequent failure to defend our nation are crimes against the American people. Direct responsibility for the attacks represents an even more substantial crime. Both are grounds for impeachment, removal from office, and criminal prosecution.

Hope on the horizon

I still believe in the inherent decency of many of the people in the United States. Our Constitution is an unparalleled contract between citizens and government upon which to build a republic that fosters individual rights and freedom. A capitalistic economic system which includes government restraints and social welfare programs for the poor has proven to be beneficial to a majority of the American population in the past. Despite the ugly stains on our history, Americans made great evolutionary strides in the 20th Century toward realizing our tremendous potential for economic and social justice. However, under the Neocons, the Religious Right, and the Oligarchs, much of that progress is eroding. America is a nation comprised of millions of people and dynamics, and to expect it to live up to the idealized notions of truth, justice, and the American way would be unrealistic. Yet, the fact that the ideal is unattainable does not give us license to abandon the principles of our Constitution to the extent that we have. Americans have a choice. If enough people are willing to take an introspective look into the soul of our nation, and into our own souls, it is not too late to peaceably end the reign of the corrupt and restore America to a place of sanity, and dignity. People of conscience and critical thought need to stand up and say "enough" to the Oligarchs and Neocons. Together we can reclaim our nation and make it a true beacon of liberty!


SignOnSanDiego.com > News > Business -- New York regulators sue AIG, nation's largest insurance company

SignOnSanDiego.com > News > Business -- New York regulators sue AIG, nation's largest insurance company
2:01 a.m. May 27, 2005

ALBANY, N.Y. – New York regulators have sued American International Group Inc., accusing the nation's largest insurance company and two former top executives of orchestrating an accounting scheme to boost the company's stock price.
The civil lawsuit, filed Thursday, accuses AIG's former chief executive and chairman, Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, and chief financial officer, Howard I. Smith, of using "deception and fraud" to make the company's financial picture appear brighter than it was, misleading both investors and state regulators.


"The irony of this case is that AIG was a well-run and profitable company that didn't need to cheat," said New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who filed the lawsuit. "And yet, the former top management routinely and persistently resorted to deception and fraud in an apparent effort to improve the company's financial results."

Greenberg, 80, resigned in March, ending nearly 40 years at the helm of the insurance company. Smith was fired about a week later for failing to cooperate with investigators.

Greenberg's attorney, David Boies, didn't immediately respond to a request from comment and Smith couldn't be reached for comment.

The 37-page suit accuses AIG of employing a variety of questionable accounting devices. The suit said, for example, that AIG "engaged in at least two sham insurance transactions" to give the impression its reserves were higher than they were.

It said Greenberg "personally proposed and negotiated" the deals with General Reinsurance Corp., a unit of billionaire investor Warren Buffett's holding company Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Buffett has said he was not directly involved in the transaction, and the suit says the deal was worked out between Greenberg and Gen Re's former chief executive.

The suit also alleges AIG concealed losses from insurance underwriting through offshore shell companies; mischaracterized income from the purchase of life insurance policies; and repeatedly lied to state insurance regulators about its ties to offshore companies.

The suit suggests Greenberg and Smith manipulated the stock for their own financial benefit.

"Greenberg and Smith ... both held hundreds of thousands of shares of AIG stock. For example, the value of Greenberg's holdings increased or decreased approximately $65 million for every dollar AIG stock moved," the civil suit claimed.

Greenberg was replaced as CEO by Martin J. Sullivan, 50, who had served as vice chairman and co-chief operating officer. When named in mid-March to the post, he became just the third man to hold the post since AIG's founding in 1919.

Sullivan and his new management team have been working to prepare the company's annual report for 2004 and make previously announced accounting adjustments that will cut AIG's value by some $2.7 billion. The report is expected to be released Tuesday.



The Economist Rails on Flawed BSA Piracy Study: Corante > Copyfight >

The Economist Rails on Flawed BSA Piracy Study: Corante > Copyfight >: "The Economist Rails on Flawed BSA Piracy Study"May 25, 2005
The Economist Rails on Flawed BSA Piracy Study
Posted by Jason Schultz
If you have a subscription to The Economist, make sure to check out their great critique of the BSA's latest software piracy numbers (BSA or just BS?; Software piracy):

IT SOUNDS too bad to be true; but, then, it might not be true. Up to 35% of all PC software installed in 2004 was pirated, resulting in a staggering $33 billion loss to the industry, according to an annual study released this week by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), a trade association and lobby group.
Such jaw-dropping figures are regularly cited in government documents and used to justify new laws and tough penalties for pirates-this month in Britain, for example, two people convicted of piracy got lengthy prison sentences, even though they had not sought to earn money. The BSA provided its data. The judge chose to describe the effects of piracy as nothing less than "catastrophic".

But while the losses due to software copyright violations are large and serious, the crime is certainly not as costly as the BSA portrays. The association's figures rely on sample data that may not be representative, assumptions about the average amount of software on PCs and, for some countries, guesses rather than hard data. Moreover, the figures are presented in an exaggerated way by the BSA and International Data Corporation (IDC), a research firm that conducts the study. They dubiously presume that each piece of software pirated equals a direct loss of revenue to software firms.

To derive its piracy rate, IDC estimates the average amount of software that is installed on a PC per country, using data from surveys, interviews and other studies. That figure is then reduced by the known quantity of software sold per country-a calculation in which IDC specialises. The result: a (supposed) amount of piracy per country. Multiplying that figure by the revenue from legitimate sales thus yields the retail value of the unpaid-for software. This, IDC and BSA claim, equals the amount of lost revenue.


US wants to be able to access Britons' ID cards

US wants to be able to access Britons' ID cardsUS wants to be able to access Britons' ID cards

London Independent | May 27, 2005

The United States wants Britain's proposed identity cards to have the same microchip and technology as the ones used on American documents.

The aim of getting the same microchip is to ensure compatability in screening terrorist suspects. But it will also mean that information contained in the British cards can be accessed across the Atlantic.

Michael Chertoff, the newly appointed US Secretary for Homeland Security, has already had talks with the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, and the Transport Secretary, Alistair Darling, to discuss the matter.

Mr Chertoff said yesterday that it was vital to seek compatibility, holding up the example of the "video war" of 25 years ago, when VHS and Betamax were in fierce competition to win the status of industry standard for video recording systems.

"I certainly hope we have the same chip... It would be very bad if we all invested huge amounts of money in biometric systems and they didn't work with each other.Hopefully, we are not going to do VHS and Betamax with our chips. I was one of the ones who bought Betamax, and that's now in the garbage," he said.

Mr Chertoff also proposed that British citizens wishing to visit the US should consider entering a "Trusted Traveller" scheme. Under this, they would forward their details to the US embassy to be vetted. If successful, they would receive a document allowing "fast- tracking" through the US immigration system.

A pilot scheme will start within a few months between the US and the Netherlands, allowing Dutch visitors to use a Trusted Traveller card to enter the US without being subjected to further questioning or screening.

Britain is one of 27 countries whose citizens do not need visas to enter the US if they intend to stay less than 90 days. The American government has said it wants 27 to issue new passports by 26 October this year containing a computer chip and a digital photograph.

Mr Chertoff said compatability and the checking system was intended purely to track down "terrorists and criminals" and the main aim was to provide a "fair and reasonable system".

US diplomatic sources stated later that Washington did not wish to interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries.

"When we screen based on names, we're screening on the most primitive and least technological basis of identification - it's the most susceptible to misspelling, or people changing their identity, or fraud," he said.

The scheme will also, say diplomats, ease confusion over who exactly constitutes a suspect. The most high-profile case was that of Yusuf Islam, the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, who was barred from entering the US because his activities "could be potentially linked to terrorism". The British government is insistent that Mr Islam had no such links.

However, this is the latest controversy to surround Britain's proposed combined identity card and passport due to be introduced in three years' time. Rising costs have pushed the cost up to £93 each after the overall estimated 10-year cost of the project grew from £3.1bn to £ 5.8 bn.

There have also been problems over the effectiveness of the biometric technology which is supposed to safeguard the security of the cards. There were also verification problems with 30 per cent of those whose fingerprint was taken during an enrolment trial of 10,000 volunteers


Man arrested for wearing Grinch mask

Man arrested for wearing Grinch maskMan arrested for wearing Grinch mask

Associated Press | May 27, 2005

Our police can wear black ski masks, visors and cover their badge numbers, but we can't so much as wear a scarf without ending up in jail.

WHEELING, W.Va. - A man is in trouble with the law for wearing a Grinch mask in public.

Norman Gray, who was stopped by police on Tuesday, was told to take the mask off and not put it on again.

Police say Gray took the mask off and asked why he couldn't wear it. After officers told him that wearing masks in public is illegal, he reportedly put the mask back on and said he didn't believe it.

Gray was then arrested and the mask confiscated.

Wearing a mask or hood in public is a misdemeanor under West Virginia law, punishable by a fine of up to $500, up to a year in jail, or both. Prosecutors say masks can hinder efforts by law enforcement officials to identify criminal suspects.

Children are allowed to wear masks. There are also exceptions for safety gear, theatrical productions and Halloween.


FBI wants more powers

FBI wants more powers: "FBI wants more powers
FBI wants more powers
25/05/2005 07:54 - (SA)

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Washington - The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation has formally asked Congress to expand its search and surveillance powers in counterterrorism probes, prompting an outcry among civil libertarians concerned that individual rights may be trampled.

Valerie Caproni, general counsel to the FBI, delivered the request at a hearing at the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday as it began considering legislation that will not only renew the bureau's post-September 11 investigative powers but add some new ones.

Most of the special powers used by US law enforcement agencies in the war on terror have been spelled out in the USA Patriot Act enacted barely six weeks after the September 11 2001, terrorist attack on New York and Washington.

But mindful that in the rush to block the terrorist threat some key constitutional rights could have been negatively impacted, lawmakers attached to 16 key provisions to the act - the so-called "sunset" features, making sure that, unless renewed, they will automatically expire at the end of 2005.

Now the FBI wants all of these powers made permanent - and expanded.

A top demand is the "administrative subpoena" authority that would allow the FBI to write its own requests for private records and seek them from hospitals, doctors' offices, libraries, banks, hotels or any other business without first getting approval from a judge.

"This type of subpoena authority would allow investigators to obtain relevant information quickly in terrorism investigations, where time is often of the essence," Caproni told lawmakers.

In addition, the bureau wants unhindered access to people's mail, to read the covers of envelopes and open postcards in the hope to find out if a suspect, as the FBI official put it, "has been in contact by mail with other persons who are known to be involved in international terrorism."

The bureau also would like to extend the duration of special counterintelligence warrants it uses for secret searches and surveillance of suspects.

While Caproni described the requests as fully constitutional, some members of Congress and civic organisations voiced concerns about the FBI's expanding reach.

Twenty-five of these groups, including the American Library Association, Gun Owners of America, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, sent a letter to leaders of the Senate intelligence committee, arguing the new provisions "would represent a new, unchecked power."

The petitioners insisted that "there is no justification for going even further down the path of unchecked authority."

Senator Dianne Feinstein pointed out that while administrative subpoenas are broadly used by other government agencies, the secrecy surrounding an intelligence operation can lead to seizures of personal records that may never be linked to criminal activity.

"It's carte blanche for a fishing expedition," warned the California Democrat.

Related Articles
US policy 'worries' N Korea

Washington - The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation has formally asked Congress to expand its search and surveillance powers in counterterrorism probes, prompting an outcry among civil libertarians concerned that individual rights may be trampled.
Valerie Caproni, general counsel to the FBI, delivered the request at a hearing at the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday as it began considering legislation that will not only renew the bureau's post-September 11 investigative powers but add some new ones.
Most of the special powers used by US law enforcement agencies in the war on terror have been spelled out in the USA Patriot Act enacted barely six weeks after the September 11 2001, terrorist attack on New York and Washington.
But mindful that in the rush to block the terrorist threat some key constitutional rights could have been negatively impacted, lawmakers attached to 16 key provisions to the act - the so-called 'sunset' features, making sure that, unless renewed, they will automatically expire at the end of 2005.
Now the FBI wants all of these powers made permanent - and expanded.
A top demand is the 'administrative subpoena' authority that would allow the FBI to write its own requests for private records and seek them from hospitals, doctors' offices, libraries, banks, hotels or any other business without first getting approval from a judge.
'This type of subpoena authority would allow investigators to obtain relevant information quickly in terrorism investigations, where time is often of the essence,' Caproni told lawmakers.
In addition"


American Civil Liberties Union : Senate Intelligence Committee Considers Patriot Act Expansion Bill in Secret; ACLU Calls for Open and Public Dialogue

Senate Intelligence Committee Considers Patriot Act Expansion Bill in Secret; ACLU Calls for Open and Public Dialogue

May 26, 2005

Contact: Media@dcaclu.org

WASHINGTON - The American Civil Liberties Union denounced today’s closed-door votes by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence of legislation designed to reauthorize - and expand - the Patriot Act. Included in the committee’s deliberations are proposals to make the Patriot Act’s most controversial provisions permanent, and to expand it by allowing FBI agents issue their own search orders with no advance court approval.

"These are proposals that demand a full, vigorous and public debate and vote, not secret meetings," said Lisa Graves, ACLU Senior Counsel for Legislative Strategy. "If adopted, these broad new powers would sidestep time-honored checks and balances. Lawmakers should reject this reckless disregard for the Fourth Amendment."

The bill would grant so-called "administrative subpoena" authority to the FBI, letting the bureau write and approve its own search orders, without judicial approval in advance, for any tangible thing it deems relevant to an intelligence investigation. This power would let agents seize personal records from medical facilities, libraries, hotels, gun dealers, banks and any other businesses, without having to appear before a judge, and without any evidence that the people whose records are swept in are involved in any criminal activity. Such a move would grossly undermine the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Proponents of that power claim that this would give the FBI the same power used by government agencies administering federal programs, like Medicare. But these agencies also do not have at their disposal, as does the FBI, other search tools like grand jury subpoenas or Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act search orders. The ACLU noted that this has been a long sought for power by the FBI - one that Congress has continuously denied for good reasons.

The proposal would also give the FBI broad new powers to track people’s mail in intelligence inquiries. It would force postal workers to disclose the name, address and other information appearing on envelopes delivered to or from people designated by the FBI, without any meaningful protections.

In a recent New York Times article, Zoe Strickland, the chief privacy officer for the Postal Service, said that, "From a privacy perspective, you want to make sure that the right balance is struck between protecting people's mail and aiding law enforcement, and this legislation could impact that balance negatively… I worry quite a bit about the balance being struck here, and we're quite mystified as to how this got put in the legislation."

In addition, the bill would permit secret FISA searches and surveillance for the sole purpose of criminal prosecution for certain crimes, such as terrorism and espionage, allowing searches to proceed without following the requirements of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. FISA searches were designed to be used a tool in intelligence gathering investigations, so they are held to lower evidentiary standards than criminal investigations.

The proposed legislation creates the very real possibility that FISA will now be used to conduct searches and seizures in criminal investigations without probable cause that a crime has been committed, the ACLU said. In other words, it will let law enforcement do an end run around the Constitution. Breaking down the wall on communication between intelligence and criminal investigators does not require breaking the Fourth Amendment.

The ACLU also noted that the proposed legislation would remove one of the few safeguards in place for intelligence investigations. Currently, business records of an American cannot be demanded "solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution." The proposed legislation would delete this restriction and allow records sought based on constitutionally protected activity as long as the investigation as a whole is not based solely on constitutionally protected activity.

Nationwide, there has been growing discontent with the Patriot Act. Seven state legislatures and nearly 400 communities have passed resolutions calling on Congress to bring the Patriot Act in line with the Constitution.

"Now is the time for meaningful reform - not expansion - of the Patriot Act," Graves said. "The chorus of concerned voices spans the country and political ideologies. Congress should respect this widespread call to restore meaningful checks and balances and should reject this effort to grab more power at the expense of our fundamental freedoms."


Coalition draws up health care insurance proposals for all

Coalition draws up health care insurance proposals for allCoalition draws up health care insurance proposals for all
Posted on : Sun, 29 May 2005 13:02:00 GMT | Author : Peter Goodyear
News Category : Health

The National Coalition of Health Care (NCHC), a group of top executives from the health care industry, unions and corporations, as also those from conservative and liberal groups, has, after several months of discussions, drafted proposals for providing health insurance coverage to an increasing number of Americans who go without it.

The NCHC, which boasts of memberships from top executives from the AFL-CIO, the AARP, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the National Governors Association, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and the Service Employees International Union, enjoys support of over 90 organizations with employee base of 150 million.

Headed by former Department of Health and Human Services economist and Emory University’s Health Policy and Management Department chairman Kenneth Thorpe, the coalition released a report that calculated the projected savings for the government, individuals and companies if comprehensive reforms were brought about in the present medical insurance hospital system.

The report, titled The National Coalition on Health Care Specifications for Reform: Impacts on Health Care Spending and Federal Costs, based the calculations on certain principles – health care coverage for all, cost management, improvement of health care quality and safety, equitable financing, and simplified administration – and applied them to four scenarios.

The first scenario was the existing system whereby the employer finances the scheme, and the individuals insure themselves as well. The second focused on the expansion of Medicaid, Medicare, and other public insurance schemes. A new scheme was included in the third scenario, which made provisions for a number of insurance options built around the present federal employees’ health benefits plan. The fourth scenario was modeled on the schemes similar to those in countries like Canada and UK – a single-payer, government-financed scheme.

The projected figures calculated showed savings between US$ 320 billion and US$ 1.1 trillion in the first decade, without excluding any American or compromising on the quality of insurance. The cost of including the 45 million Americans who as of now don’t enjoy health insurance came to about US$ 75 billion annually. However, even after deducting the above amount from the total, in the 10th year, the net savings were found to be between US$ 125 billion and US$ 182 billion annually.

“People are uninsured for different reasons. No one solution will work for everyone. We need different solutions for different groups of the uninsured,” said Dr Mary E Frank, president, the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Hailing the effort, Kate Sullivan Hare of United States Chamber of Commerce, said, “This effort holds as much promise as any I’ve participated in over the last decade, probably more.”
According to Census Bureau estimates, 45 million American went without health insurance in 2003, up by 1.4 million from 2002 and by 5.2 million from 2000. The National Academy of Sciences estimates that lack of insurance causes the death of around 18,000 adult Americans annually.

If no changes or reforms were enforced, by 2015, the US would have around 54 million uninsured, 20 per cent more than present day. The country would be spending 19 per cent of its GDP on health care, compared with the 15.6 per cent it spends today.


HoustonChronicle.com - Texas bans all Medicaid claims for impotence drugs

HoustonChronicle.com - Texas bans all Medicaid claims for impotence drugsAUSTIN — Texas is banning all Medicaid claims for impotence drugs following reports that hundreds of convicted sex offenders in more than a dozen states got subsidized prescriptions for them.

escalates the state's response to an investigation by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott that found 191 registered sex offenders from 60 counties obtained sex-enhancing drugs through Medicaid since 1999.

"We want our Medicaid program to make the very best use of limited taxpayer dollars, and Texas taxpayers should not have to pay for these types of drugs," Health and Human Services Commissioner Albert Hawkins said in a Friday statement.

New York, acting on a tip, was the first to uncover that Medicaid had paid for Viagra prescriptions for sex offenders. Its report prompted the federal government, which provides states with funds for Medicaid, to order states to take steps to stop the coverage for these felons.

In Texas, the drugs only will be available for patients diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, a rare aggressive vascular disease primarily found in women, Hawkins said. He said he plans to ask the federal government to allow Texas to make the restrictions permanent.

On Tuesday, Hawkins ordered his agency to develop a system to regularly compare its database of Medicaid clients with a state database of convicted sex offenders to prevent them from receiving the impotence drugs.

Despite the blanket ban, Hawkins said his agency will continue to develop that system.


Taipei Times - archives

Taipei Times - archivesYahoo launches new 300-picture e-mail service

Saturday, May 28, 2005,Page 1

Advertising Yahoo, owner of the Internet's most popular free e-mail service, is adding features such as the capacity to send 300 photos in a message, seeking to attract users and advertisers in its battle with Google and Microsoft Corp.
Yahoo's picture mail service will be tested in the version of Yahoo Mail that was introduced to customers on Thursday, said Andy Spillane, vice president of Yahoo Mail. The program also adds security features.

Yahoo is trying to attract e-mail customers as it competes with Google's Gmail service, which offers more capacity to store messages. The service is free and is paid for by advertising.

Users of free e-mail tend to visit other parts of Yahoo's site, including news and search, boosting ad revenue, said Martin Pyykkonen, an analyst at Janco Partners.

"Its like that Hotel California song where `once you're in you can never leave.' Yahoo wants people to have a Yahoo mail account because it gets them to do other things on the site," Pyykkonen said.

"The bigger challenge is Gmail, and given that that's free and has a lot of storage, they have to try to be competitive," he said.

Picture mail works by placing small thumbnail versions of the photos in the actual e-mail rather than attaching entire photos to the message, so customers can include more pictures without running into limits that govern how big an e-mail file can be. The full pictures can be viewed by clicking on the thumbnails.

Yahoo also will begin offering its e-mail service in Poland, Turkey, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, Spillane said.

A new security feature alerts customers when Yahoo can't verify that an e-mail has come from the address that appears in the message. Hackers try to entice customers to give up information such as bank account numbers and passwords by pretending the e-mail comes from a customer's bank or credit-card company.


68 Walk-In Offices Under IRS Budget Knife

68 Walk-In Offices Under IRS Budget Knife68 Walk-In Offices Under IRS Budget Knife

By Stephen Barr

Sunday, May 29, 2005; Page C02

Like many parts of the government, the Internal Revenue Service is all about balance: How to balance programs that provide taxpayer services against those that crack down on tax cheats; how to hold down costs but still bring in revenue.

On Friday, the IRS announced that it would close 68 offices, including four in Maryland and two in Virginia, where taxpayers can walk in for face-to-face help with their tax returns and questions. The plan will put 434 employees at risk of losing their jobs, including 43 in Maryland and Virginia.

"We're being asked to create efficiencies and be responsible with taxpayers' dollars," said Mark W. Everson , IRS commissioner. The office closings, he said, will have "the least impact on good service."

Colleen M. Kelley , president of the National Treasury Employees Union, offered a different view: "The result of this unwise plan will be not only a sharp reduction in customer service but also a decline in taxpayer compliance with the tax laws."

As in many years, budget pressures are helping shape IRS decisions. The agency faces a 1 percent cut in funds for taxpayer services in fiscal 2006 and also needs to find the money to cover a pay raise for its 93,000 employees, higher rents and inflation. That means the IRS has to scramble to cut costs by $130 million to $150 million.

The plan to close the 68 Taxpayer Assistance Centers by Sept. 30 will create savings of about $45 million, perhaps a third of what the agency needs, Everson estimated.

The walk-in offices -- about 400 in all -- are the costliest customer service provided by the IRS. Everson pointed out that many taxpayer questions can be answered more accurately on the agency's toll-free telephone lines, he said. In addition, the IRS Web site ( http://www.irs.gov ) and volunteer assistance programs offer ways for people to obtain tax information, Everson said.

In a news release, the IRS said that walk-in contacts at the taxpayer centers declined by 19 percent between fiscal 2002 and 2004. Meanwhile, the number of toll-free calls answered increased by 7 percent, and the number of visits to its Internet site jumped by 128 percent.

The IRS also is paring back hours at 26 call sites, going to a 12-hour day, covering a period when 93 percent of calls come in. Phone centers in Boston, Chicago and Houston will close, placing 183 jobs at risk, Kelley said.

The IRS has worked for almost seven years on improving taxpayer services, and the agency hopes that selected cuts in that area will give it more flexibility to continue strengthening tax enforcement and management of its "business systems modernization," a multibillion-dollar technology project.

"I don't think there is a pendulum swing taking place here," Everson said in an interview. "It is more of a releveling of this. What you had before was a great effort to improve services and no effort to improve enforcement, and over time, enforcement deteriorated."

But Kelley said IRS budget projections suggest more cuts are coming in taxpayer services this year. The closing of walk-in centers will harm senior citizens, lower-income Americans, people with limited proficiency in English and those who are not familiar enough with tax requirements to navigate the Internet to find answers, she said


Further Abuse

Further Abuse

Sunday, May 29, 2005; Page B06

THE LATEST FBI documents detailing allegations of prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay are, like previous FBI documents, highly disturbing. They contain prisoners' descriptions of beatings, strippings and abuse of the Koran. Detainees variously claim the Muslim holy book has been thrown on the floor, thrown against a wall and, yes, flushed in a toilet. There are also references to these kinds of events having led to an "altercation" between detainees and guards.

But the status of these documents is nearly as disturbing as their content. They can be found, again like previous FBI documents, only on the Web site of the American Civil Liberties Union, which obtained them by suing the government under the Freedom of Information Act. They did not, in other words, appear in the context of a government or military investigation. After the ACLU released the documents Wednesday, Pentagon spokesman Lawrence T. Di Rita implied that such an investigation would be unnecessary, since these "fantastic charges about our guys doing something willfully heinous to a Koran for the purposes of rattling detainees are not credible on their face." But then, on Thursday, the commander of the Guantanamo facility, Brig. Gen. Jay W. Hood, acknowledged that incidents "broadly defined as mishandling of a Koran" had in fact taken place. Brig. Gen. Hood made this announcement following an investigation that he said had begun 12 days earlier -- which points to the deeper problem.

For the fact remains that although one has been promised, no independent military, Pentagon or other body has yet published an extensive investigation into the multiple accounts of prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay. There have been verbal descriptions of investigations and summaries of investigations, but no documents. One consequence is that much of the world believes the misbehavior has been worse, and more extensive, than what has been documented, and people know little or nothing of the corrective action that has been taken. In the case of the Koran, for example, most or all of the offenses appear to have occurred before January 2003, when the Pentagon responded to prisoner protests by issuing strict guidelines for handling the Koran.

If the administration really wanted to prevent the spread of unfounded rumors, and to convince people in this country and abroad that abuses no longer take place, then a public, written report should have been published months ago. The American public has a right to know what mistakes are being made in its name, as well as what improved procedures have been instituted in response.


DeHavilland: political news feed, public and current affairs, news information service:dehavilland

DeHavilland: political news feed, public and current affairs, news information service:dehavilland

Oliver Stone arrested on drink and drug charges

Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone was arrested for drink driving and possession of drugs on Friday night.

The 58-year-old film-maker was arrested at a police checkpoint on Sunset Boulevard, in Beverly Hills, California after drugs were found during a search of his Mercedes.

Police have not specified what type of drugs were found in Mr Stone's possession.

Spokesman for Beverly Hills police department, Sergeant John Edmundson confirmed that the director was released on $15,000 (£8,200) bail on Saturday morning.

Detectives said Mr Stone was one of nine people arrested at the checkpoint as part of a state-wide clampdown on drink driving in California during the Memorial Day weekend.

Stone, who won best director Oscars for his films, Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July, has previously been in trouble with the authorities over drink and drugs charges.

The Vietnam veteran was ordered to undertake a rehabilitation programme by a local court after a 1999 arrest for drugs possession and driving while intoxicated.


� Intel Pentium D might become the next big thing :: TechWhack News :: Tech Food for Geeks

� Intel Pentium D might become the next big thing :: TechWhack News :: Tech Food for Geeks

Intel Pentium D might become the next big thing

We are all used to getting ourselves computers powered by Intel’s Pentium series of processors. Of course, there would be people around who prefer to get themselves AMDs. But, ask any new PC user and he is most likely to have a Pentium inside his computer. The company has come a long way since unveiling their first Pentium Processors many years ago and since then we have seen regular upgrades with the current series being Pentium 4.

However, with the advancement in technologies and the processors going dual-core, the company initially targeted the high-end market of gamers and graphic designers with their first dual-core processors. The bigger market is however of the domestic users and the workstations. And for these, the company has just launched their latest series of Pentium processors codenamed Pentium D.

This latest development is not only expected to give the company an edge against their prime competitor AMD, but also bring around a revolution in the world of personal computing. This just might be the first dual core processors of their kind, which would be affordable and targeted at the common computer user. Analysts predicted that 2006 would be the year where the consumer takes to the dual core processors in a big way, however with Intel’s plan to sell millions of units this year itself; we might see that happening a lot sooner.

The three models launched: Pentium D 820 at 2.8GHz, Pentium D 830 at 3.0GHz and Pentium D 840 at 3.2GHz will have prices of 241, 316, and 530 dollars in shipments of 1000 units. In comparison, AMD processors are priced almost double these processors. Intel’s complete package also comes with hardware for surround sound, high-definition video and improved graphics performances, which further make the deal more lucrative.

What the market would be looking for is a rebound by the AMD. They would have to take drastic steps to stay alive in the market. Now with Intel taking the price advantage, there are few options available for them. They however have normally excelled at providing excellent speeds at economical packages. If they can price their Dual Core processors cheaper than Pentium D, it would be a win-win situation for the end consumer! The company is expected to launch their desktop range of Dual Core processors quite soon.


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