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01/12/04: Ex-Treasury Sect'y says Iraq War planned pre-9/11
Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill told CBS's 60 Minutes that regime change in Iraq was the main topic at the very first meeting of Bush's National Security Council - a full eight months before 9/11/01. O'Neill said, "It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it.The president saying 'Go find me a way to do this'... From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go."

O'Neill, who, as Bush's top economic official, was a permanent member of the National Security Council, was asked to resign in 2002 after threatening to publically oppose Bush's second round of major tax cuts. In the book, O'Neill says that the president did not make decisions in a methodical way: there was no free-flow of ideas or open debate. At cabinet meetings, he says the president was "like a blind man in a roomful of deaf people," a major difference from O'Neill's experiences in the Nixon and Ford Administrations.

Read the coverage on the 60 Minutes website here!


01/05/04: Tell Taco Bell That Slavery Tastes Terrible!
Three events organized by Florida's Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) in Southern California will kick off the 3rd year of the Boycott The Bell campaign!

The fruits and vegetables we eat are produced, almost without exception, in a world virtually unknown to US consumers. It is a world hidden from our view by the bright neon logos of the fast-food giants and the shining rows of neatly stacked produce lining the aisles of WalMart supercenters from Miami to LA.It is also a world of extreme exploitation and human rights violations.

In 2001, the CIW called for a national boycott of Taco Bell, demanding that the multi-billion dollar corporation recognize its role in the exploitation of farmworkers who pick its produce and take steps to clean up human rights violations in its supply chain. With public attention to the modern-day slavery and sweatshop conditions in Florida's fields at an all-time high, this year's action promises to be the most powerful yet in this growing, grassroots campaign. The highlight of the 2004 Tour will be a three-day march, from East LA to Irvine. From March 2-4, Immokalee workers will be joined by allies from across the country on the 40-mile march, taking the boycott to millions of consumers on Southern California streets. The march will culminate in a huge, day-long rally on March 5th -- a political, musical, cultural festival that will shake the foundations of a fast-food industry built on the exploitation of workers and consumers alike.


12/31/03: FCC allows "Fuck" on TV, conservatives pissed!
Reacting to an October Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling, Reverend Wildmon's far right American Family Association is mobilizing its grassroots activists. They had complained that the televised Golden Globe Awards included U2 singer Bono saying `this is really, really, fucking brilliant,'' or ``this is fucking great.'' The FCC ruled that Bono's comments were not indecent or obscene- they were free speech.

From the FCC decision:

"Indecency findings involve.. two fundamental determinations. First, the material alleged to be indecent... must describe or depict sexual or excretory organs or activities. Second, the broadcast must be patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards... The material aired during the ``Golden Globe Awards'' program does not describe or depict sexual and excretory activities and organs. The word ``fucking'' may be crude and offensive, but, in the context presented here, did not describe sexual or excretory organs or activities. Rather, the performer used the word ``fucking'' as an adjective or expletive to emphasize an exclamation... The use of specific words, including expletives or other ``four letter words'' does not render material obscene."


12/31/03: Big Mother: Cell phones tell parents their teens location
From Yahoo: "Parents wishing to keep track of their kids without having to call their cellular phones can subscribe to ChildLocate, a mobile location-based service.

The service, which was launched last month, is available in the U.K. It is among the first to use handset identification capabilities of GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) technology for locating children's phones within cell-based networks... Parents with computers can go to the ChildLocate portal where, after entering their password, they can tap in the phone number of their child's phone and view a map showing the child's location within 25 seconds."

Government agencies are already tracking people through cell phone technology. After all, the Global Positioning System (GPS) within cell phones is used for "911"/emergency calls. The question is, do the law enforcement agencies in your country also use the GPS or GSM for illegal or unjustified surveillance?


12/24/03: Shopper Trampled at Wal Mart Survives!
"11/30/03- A 41-year-old woman was knocked unconscious and then trampled by a mob of shoppers who continued to step over her as she suffered a seizure during a Friday sale at Wal-Mart in Orange City, Fla. Authorities said that Patricia Van Lester arrived at Wal-Mart at 3 a.m. for an early sale on a DVD player for her mother. When the store's doors opened at 6 a.m., Van Lester grabbed the DVD player but was quickly overcome by hundreds of shoppers rushing into the store. The woman was knocked to the ground, slammed her head on the ground and suffered at least one seizure... When Orange City and EVAC paramedics got to the store they found Van Lester lying on her left side on top of the DVD player, surrounded by shoppers seemingly oblivious to the unconscious woman." (From local6.com)


12/24/03: Lenny Bruce finally pardoned in a win for free speech
"Lenny Bruce, the provocative and profane satirist who revolutionized the art of stand-up comedy, on Tuesday received a posthumous pardon from Gov. George E. Pataki for a controversial 1964 obscenity conviction. The pardon, the first for a deceased person in state history, represented "a declaration of New York's commitment to upholding the 1st Amendment," Pataki said in a statement, adding: "I hope this pardon serves as a reminder of the precious freedoms we are fighting to preserve as we continue to wage the war on terror."

Bruce was charged after reportedly using 100 obscene words during a freewheeling set at Cafe Au Go Go, a Greenwich Village nightclub that was staked out by an army of plainclothes police officers... Bruce was known for his lacerating, often brilliant comedic attacks on a host of sacred cows, ranging from the pope and organized religion to Eleanor Roosevelt and Jacqueline Kennedy. He didn't seem to care whom he offended, and his comedy routines were liberally sprinkled with four-letter words. Long before late-night comics stretched the bounds of taste and decency, he spoke bluntly about sex, racism and other taboo topics. " (Los Angeles Times)


12/22/03: KFJC Sets Wesley Willis Radio Record

Los Altos Hils based college radio station KFJC set the world record this past weekend by broadcasting Wesley Willis music, interviews, and related content non-stop for 24 hours.

The show, which started Saturday night December 20, 2003 at 9pm and ended Sunday December 21st at 9pm was put together by Dominic Trix and Trinity from the station with help from former AT General Manager Uli Elser. The show was a celebration of Wesley Willis' life, who passed away this past August at the age of 40 of complications from leukemia. The day-long affair featured music from over 50 Wesley Willis CDs, most of which are not in circulation, as well as a few cover-versions of his songs. It also featured interviews with Wesley's brother Michael, Jello Biafra and numerous other friends of Wesleys'.




12/15/03: Brand new Noam Chomsky interview on Guerilla News Network!
Brand new interview with Noam Chomsky on the Guerrilla News Network! GNN is an underground news organization with headquarters in New York City and production facilities in Berkeley, California. Their mission is to expose people to important global issues through guerrilla programming on the web and on television. http://www.guerrillanews.com/human_rights/doc3566.html


12/01/03: Bush's Drinking Daughter Goes 'Pansy' (Division)
lifted from www.365gay.com

Bush's daughter Barbara was spotted recently having a gay old time at a concert by all-gay punk band Pansy Division. Barbara and friends cozied up in the back room drinking, while out front the band screamed their queer hearts out. The band reportedly dedicated their rabid anti-Bush song, Political Asshole, to the first daughter during the show. Daddy's just got to love that.




11/03/03: CNN covers PunkVoter.Com!
Punk Voter Dot Com, the political advocacy group started by Fat Mike/NOFX and joined by, among a host of others, Jello Biafra and Alternative Tentacles Records, has made the web version of CNN:

"'Punkvoter' founder aims to unify youth vote", Sasha Johnson, CNN Political Unit, Monday, November 3, 2003

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Would a plea from the lead singer of Anti-Flag, Bouncing Souls, Frenzal Rhomb or Sick Of It All get you to turn out and vote in the 2004 presidential election?

Probably not if you're a mainstream music fan downloading the latest tune from Britney Spears. But, if you're an avid young punk music lover, it just might do the trick.

At least that's what NOFX lead singer and founder of "Punkvoter" Mike Burkett is hoping. Burkett or "Fat Mike" as he's known to his legion of fans, is teaming up with roughly 50 punk bands and a dozen record labels to form Punkvoter, a group designed to register, educate and push 500,000 18-24 year-olds to the polls next year.

You can read the entire article here: http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/11/03/elec04.punkvoter/index.html


10/27/03: Fleshies & Phantom Limbs Nab Local Awards

Congrats to Fleshies and Phantom Limbs for winning the 2003 SF Weekly Music Awards !!!!

We are all amazed that 2 of our bands won considering that there are thousands of local bands in the Bay Area - many of which that are in the same category that our band's won in Punk (Fleshies) and Rock / Indie Rock (Phantom Limbs).

Phantom Limbs just returned from their US tour in support of their new album Displacement and Fleshies are on a hiatus after releasing their latest album The Sicilian in April and touring for 4 months (!) in support of that.

Congratulations!!!!!




10/14/03: U.S. Soldiers Sending Form Letters on Iraq War ?
LEDYARD KING GANNETT NEWS SERVICE
The Olympian Online
From : http://www.theolympian.com/home/news/20031011/frontpage/121390.shtml

WASHINGTON -- Letters from hometown soldiers describing their successes rebuilding Iraq have been appearing in newspapers across the country as U.S. public opinion on the mission sours.

And all the letters are the same.

A Gannett News Service search found identical letters from different soldiers with the 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment, also known as "The Rock," in 11 newspapers, including Snohomish, Wash.

The Olympian received two identical letters signed by different hometown soldiers: Spc. Joshua Ackler and Spc. Alex Marois, who is now a sergeant. The paper declined to run either because of a policy not to publish form letters.

The five-paragraph letter talks about the soldiers' efforts to re-establish police and fire departments, and build water and sewer plants in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, where the unit is based.

"The quality of life and security for the citizens has been largely restored, and we are a large part of why that has happened," the letter reads.

It describes people waving at passing troops and children running up to shake their hands and say thank you.

It's not clear who wrote the letter or organized sending it to soldiers' hometown papers.

Six soldiers reached by GNS directly or through their families said they agreed with the letter's thrust. But none of the soldiers said he wrote it, and one said he didn't even sign it.

Marois, 23, told his family he signed the letter, said Moya Marois, his stepmother. But she said he was puzzled why it was sent to the newspaper in Olympia. He attended high school in Olympia but no longer considers the city home, she said. Moya Marois and Alex's father, Les, now live near Kooskia, Idaho.

A seventh soldier didn't know about the letter until his father congratulated him for getting it published in the local newspaper in Beckley, W.Va.

"When I told him he wrote such a good letter, he said: 'What letter?' " Timothy Deaconson said Friday, recalling the phone conversation he had with his son, Nick. "This is just not his (writing) style."

He spoke to his son, Pfc. Nick Deaconson, at a hospital where he was recovering from a grenade explosion that left shrapnel in both his legs.

Sgt. Christopher Shelton, who signed a letter that ran in the Snohomish Herald, said Friday that his platoon sergeant had distributed the letter and asked soldiers for the names of their hometown newspapers. Soldiers were asked to sign the letter if they agreed with it, said Shelton, whose shoulder was wounded during an ambush earlier this year.

"Everything it said is dead accurate. We've done a really good job," he said by phone from Italy, where he was preparing to return to Iraq.

Sgt. Todd Oliver, a spokesman for the 173rd Airborne Brigade, which counts the 503rd as one of its units, said he was told a soldier wrote the letter, but he didn't know who. He said the brigade's public affairs unit was not involved.

"When he asked other soldiers in his unit to sign it, they did," Oliver explained in an e-mail response to a GNS inquiry. "Someone, somewhere along the way, took it upon themselves to mail it to the various editors of newspapers across the country."

Lt. Col. Bill MacDonald, a spokesman for the 4th infantry Division that is heading operations in north-central Iraq, said he had not heard about the letter-writing campaign.

Neither had Lt. Cmdr. Nick Balice, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla.

A recent poll suggests that Americans are increasingly skeptical of America's prolonged involvement in Iraq. A USA Today-CNN-Gallup Poll released Sept. 23 found 50 percent believe that the situation in Iraq was worth going to war over, down from 73 percent in April.

For the rest of the article see:
http://www.theolympian.com/home/news/20031011/frontpage/121390.shtml




10/14/03: D.O.A. Celebrate 25th Anniversary

D.O.A., Canada's most influential punk rock band, is beginning the celebration of their 25th Anniversary. Having influenced a couple of generations of punks and musicians and made a big impact on underground "people power" politics, D.O.A.will mark the occasion in a couple of special ways. Sudden Death Records (Canada's punk godfather Joey Shithead Keithley's own record label) will release the definitive D.O.A. album "War and Peace" a 26 track compilation of D.O.A.'s greatest recorded moments. War and Peace starts at the roots with "Disco Sucks", "The Enemy" and "Liar For Hire" right through to their modern blitzkrieg sound of "Dead Men Tell No Tales" and "Just Say No To The WTO".

D.O.A. will blast through live shows with their new rock solid lineup of Joey, The Great Baldini on drums and new bassist Damned Dan Yaremko (Econoline Crush, Bif Naked). This fall, Shithead's first book "I, Shithead, a life in punk" will be out on Arsenal Pulp Press. It is a definitive and raunchy look at punk and the spread of counter culture throughout western society. Sudden Death Records will also release this fall "Let's Start The Action" an electronic tribute to D.O.A. performed by 20 different artists from around the world and inspired by the anti-globalization movement. As well, Sudden Death has recently re-released D.O.A.'s first two albums "Something Better Change" and "Hardcore 81", recently picked as two of the top five Canadian punk rock albums of all time, by AMP Magazine. A full length documentary on D.O.A. "Talk-Action=0" is being developed by film maker Marcus Rogers (The Widower).

D.O.A. has travelled a long, tough road, that has taken them around the world and the raw energy continues. The band has never been more active, having recently released their second DVD, D.O.A.'s "Greatest Shits" and a split album with metal legend Thor ("Are U Ready"). Recently Mayor Larry Campbell of Vancouver declared December 21st to be " D.O.A. Day" in Vancouver. The band has also been featured in punk and political books published around the world. Come join in the power and non compromise that is D.O.A.

(see tour dates on our Tour Dates page - thanks)


10/11/03: Georgia To Name Mountain 'Schwarzenegger'?
Story filed: 13:57 Friday 10th October 2003

Authorities in the former Soviet state of Georgia want to nam e a peak in the Caucasus Mountains after Arnold Schwarzenegger. But there's a catch - California's governor-elect apparently must visit the small former Soviet republic if the honour is to be bestowed.

Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze's representative in the western Imertia region said that the regional administration is sending Schwarzenegger a letter congratulating him on his political victory.

The representative, Temur Shashiashvili, said authorities had invited the actor to visit three years ago and planned to name a mountain after him then.

He said Schwarzenegger had said he would come, but was unable to make it at the time.

"Now, congratulating him on his win, we are again inviting him to visit us. And we hope we hope that it will happen," Mr Shashiashvili said. "We want to establish close contacts with California."

He said that if the plan comes to fruition, the ceremony naming a peak after Schwarzenegger will be "a colourful show in which the leading role will be played by the renowned actor."




10/08/03: California Lay'd By Arnold
from Greg Palast's website (www.gregpalast.com)

According to a series of memoranda our office obtained today, Arnold Schwarzenegger's dalliance with boys in a hotel room just two years ago is every bit as scandalous as his manhandling of women during his career as celebrity he-man.

The wannabe governor has yet to deny that on May 17, 2001, at the Peninsula Hotel in Los Angeles, he had consensual political intercourse with Enron chieftain Kenneth Lay.  Also frolicking with Arnold and Ken was convicted stock swindler Mike Milken.

Now, thirty-four pages of internal Enron memoranda have just come through this reporter's fax machine tell all about the tryst between Maria's husband and the corporate con men.  It turns out that Schwarzenegger knowingly joined the hush-hush encounter as part of a campaign to sabotage a Davis-Bustamante plan to make Enron and other power pirates then ravaging California pay back the $9 billion in illicit profits they carried off.

Here's the story Arnold doesn't want you to hear.  The biggest single threat to Ken Lay and the electricity lords is a private lawsuit filed last year under California's unique Civil Code provision 17200, the "Unfair Business Practices Act."  This litigation, heading to trial now in Los Angeles, would make the power companies return the $9 billion they filched from California electricity and gas customers.

It takes real cojones to bring such a suit.  Who's the plaintiff taking on the bad guys?  Cruz Bustamante, Lieutenant Governor and reluctant leading candidate against Schwarzenegger.

Now follow the action.  One month after Cruz brings suit, Enron's Lay calls an emergency secret meeting in L.A. of his political buck-buddies, including Arnold.  Their plan, to undercut Davis (according to Enron memos) and "solve" the energy crisis -- that is, make the Bustamante legal threat go away.

How can that be done?  Follow the trail with me.

While Bustamante's kicking Enron butt in court, the Davis Administration is simultaneously demanding that George Bush's energy regulators order the $9 billion refund.   Don't hold your breath:  Bush's Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is headed by a guy proposed by … Ken Lay.

But Bush's boys on the commission have a problem.  The evidence against the electricity barons is rock solid:  fraudulent reporting of sales transactions, megawatt "laundering," fake power delivery scheduling and straight out conspiracy (including meetings in hotel rooms).

So the Bush commissioners cook up a terrific scheme:  charge the companies with conspiracy but offer them, behind closed doors, deals in which they have to pay only two cents on each dollar they filched.

Problem:  the slap-on-the-wrist refunds won't sail if the Governor of California won't play along.  Solution:  Re-call the Governor.

New Problem:  the guy most likely to replace Davis is not Mr. Musclehead, but Cruz Bustamante,  even a bigger threat to the power companies than Davis.  Solution:  smear Cruz  because -- heaven forbid! -- he took donations from Injuns (instead of Ken Lay).

The pay-off?  Once Arnold is Governor, he blesses the sweetheart settlements with the power companies.  When that happens, Bustamante's court cases are probably lost.  There aren't many judges who will let a case go to trial to protect a state if that a governor has already allowed the matter to be "settled" by a regulatory agency.

So think about this.  The state of California is in the hole by $8 billion for the coming year.  That's chump change next to the $8 TRILLION in deficits and surplus losses planned and incurred by George Bush.  Nevertheless, the $8 billion deficit is the hanging rope California's right wing is using to lynch Governor Davis.

Yet only Davis and Bustamante are taking direct action to get back the $9 billion that was vacuumed out of the state by Enron, Reliant, Dynegy, Williams Company and the other Texas bandits who squeezed the state by the bulbs.

But if Arnold is selected, it's 'hasta la vista' to the $9 billion.  When the electricity emperors whistle, Arnold comes -- to the Peninsula Hotel or the Governor's mansion.  The he-man turns pussycat and curls up in their lap.

I asked Mr. Muscle's PR people to comment on the new Enron memos -- and his strange silence on Bustamante's suit or Davis' petition.  But Arnold was too busy shaving off his Hitlerian mustache to respond.

The Enron memos were discovered by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, Los Angeles, www.ConsumerWatchdog.org

Greg Palast is author of the New York Times bestseller, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" as well as "Regulation and Democracy" (with Theo MacGregor and Jerrold Oppenheim), the United Nations guide to utility deregulation. Read Palast's commentaries at www.GregPalast.com. Reprints permitted. Contact: media@gregpalast.com.




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