More Power for the CIA?, Forget Exxon: Lets Ask the CIA to Open Its Books, Alls Well that Ends AOL, Millionaires Amongst Us, SUV It Up Your Tailpipe!, Hold Bushs Feet to the Fire
August 2, 2002
More Power for the CIA? Thats a Spooky Proposition
Freudian imagery? The Earth vanishes beneath an enveloping US flag only to be eclipsed by the implacable seal of the CIA. Credit: CIA
Some people still cant accept the unsettling fact that our CIA has a long and sordid history of pushing hard drugs. As former LA cop and CIA watchdog Mike Ruppert points out [www.copvcia.org], you dont have to take our word for it, just read the CIAs own report.
The CIA Inspector Generals report, Allegations of Connections between CIA and the Contras in Cocaine Trafficking to the United States (96-0143-IG). Volume II: The Contra Story. October 8, 1998, is a matter of public record. [www.cia.gov/publications/cocaine/index.html]
Note: Rupperts website has been the target of several sophisticated computer hacks and denial of service attacks. It your search engine fails to link to his site or if your computer suddenly freezes (both common occurrences), try reaching the site through www.fromthewilderness.com.
Forget Exxon. Lets Ask the CIA to Open Its Books
The Federation of American Scientists indefatigable activist hero Steven Aftergood has a new crusade. He has filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act to compel the Central Intelligence Agency to come clean. [www.fas.org]
All Aftergood has asked for is a single number. The number of taxpayer dollars given to the CIA to run its operations. The CIA has always insisted that its operating budget is an official state secret. It is believed that the CIAs budget is roughly $3.5 billion. Since September 11, it is believed that the CIAs budget has been boosted to $5 billion a year.
The idea that this is somehow sensitive is ludicrous, Aftergood marvels. Budget disclosure is the most rudimentary form of government accountability. It is the one category of information where disclosure is required by the Constitution.
Screw the Constitution, huffs CIA spokesperson Paul Nowack, insisting that there are very legitimate, well-founded national security reasons for not publicly releasing this classified budget figure.
Aftergood is also after the goods for the CIAs formative budget years in 1947 and 1948. The CIA has also refused to release these 55-year-old figures. The entire classified Black Budget for US intelligence operations is now believed to exceed $30 billion.
Alls Well that Ends AOL
America Onlines latest mailings of unsolicited AOL CD disks have gone over the top, rails Act for Change, the online activist site hosted by Working Assets. AOLs latest $3.8 billion ad campaign involves metal mailing these obnoxious disks in aluminum boxes.
Aluminum production consumes more energy than is needed to produce steel, glass, paper or plastic, Act for Change notes. It also relies on bauxite mining, which destroys more of Earths surface area than any other type of mining. To make matters worse, the discarded junk mail is filling up our landfills.
Act for Change has a few blunt suggestions for AOL Chief Steve Case: Stop mailing unsolicited CDs packaged in metal and plastic boxes and, instead, use only 100% post-consumer recycled, processed chlorine-free paper or other environmentally preferable products. Better yet, just stop mailing those unsolicited CDs.
You can send a ready-made rant to AOL through Working Assets great reb-page [http://actforchange.com] or you can contact AOL directly [www.aol.com].
And He Was Probably a Member of the NRA
The Mole is asking that Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge to come to the defense of a Virginia man who opened fire on an executive helicopter that swooped low over Williamsburg en route to pick up a wealthy CEO.
Construction worker John Chwaszczewski told police that, given the heightened state of alert in the US, it was a natural reaction to pick up his trusty AR-15 assault rifle and open fire on the chopper. Neither the business executive nor the pilot was injured but the pilot now faces a month in jail for reckless flying.
Chwaszczewski is looking at up to eight years in the slammer and $10,000 in fines. In his defense, Chwaszczewski admitted, Maybe I overreacted, but I did feel this was terrorism at its utmost. But what if it HAD been Osama bin Laden at the controls? Isnt this just the kind of proactive vigilance that the Bush administration has called for? Free Chwaszczewski!
Mole Kiss: Judicial Division
To three US Court of Appeals judges who ruled that US Capitol Police regulations that ban protesters from the entrances to the House and Senate buildings violate the First Amendment rights of free speech and the right to assembly that are a centerpiece of our democracy.
Judge David Tatels opinion was co-signed by Judge Harry Edwards and Senior Judge Laurence Silberman. The ruling overturns a 30-year-old policy that has restricted protestors legal terrain to portions of the center steps of the Capitols East Front, the lower West Terrace, two grassy patches on the north and south sides of the east Capitol grounds, the west lawn and some adjacent parks.
The decision was prompted by a lawsuit filed by New York activist Robert Lederman who was arrested for attempting to exercise is First Amendment rights at the entrance to the US Senate in 1997. Given the current obsession with terrorism, Lederman said, this is a tremendous affirmation of the First Amendment principle. If you can protest on the sidewalk of the Capitol, then you should be able to protest at government buildings around the country.
The Capitol Polices hammerlock on the right to free assembly first began to slip in 1972 when the US Supreme Court ruled that the capitol grounds (all 60 acres) met the legal definition of a public forum.
Mole Kiss: Animal Rights Division
On April 21, the Mayor of Sanguinetto, Italy announced in the pages of LArena di Verona that he was halting all future bullfights with or without blood. According to Maria Lopes, coordinator of the Movimento Anti-Touradas de Portugal, the mayors decision came after thousands of letters and emails protesting the citys bullfights poured in from everywhere in the world!
Millionaires Amongst Us
As Congress' only billionaire (yes, with a "b"), Amo Houghton is not exactly representative of the average citizen.
Any idea what percentage of your states citizens are millionaires? Whatever the figure, it cant compare with the US Senate where millionaires constitute a whopping 40 percent of the population. Twenty-three GOP and 17 Democrat senators are worth more than a million. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Bill Frist (R-TN) command the financial summit with reported holdings between $5 and $50 million in blind trusts (Senators are not required to reveal their actual wealth, only a range). The lesser millionaires include John Kerry (D-MA), John Corzine (D-NJ), John D. Rockefeller (DE-WV), Lincoln Chaffee (R-RI), John McCain (R-AZ), John Edwards (D-NC), Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)
The House of Representatives boasts fewer millionaires but it does lay claim to Congress solitary billionaire, Rep. Amo Houghton (R-NY).
Senators and representatives are now proposing to grant themselves a raise the fourth self-imposed salary hike in four years. With four out of ten of these elected politicians ranked as millionaires, it might be difficult for the citizenry to sympathize with the call for a salary increase. Especially when the Dow is down and retirement funds have gone from fluid to vapor.
Maybe the solons could call their salary-hike legislation the Tim Hutchinson Relief Bill. Hutchinson (R-AR) is the poorest man in the senate (R-AR). He lists only $2,000 in reserves and $15,000 in liabilities. (Hutchinson is either the only honest man in the Senate or the most financially incompetent politician in Washington.)
SUV It Up Your Tailpipe!
Former New York Times Detroit Bureau Chief Keith Bradsher has finished work on a book that has the Auto Lobby checking their roadmaps for a quick escape. High and Mighty: SUVs the Worlds Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way will be published in September.
Bradsher managed to get his hands on secret SUV crash tests that reveal the auto industry was criminally aware that its supersized fuel-hogs were uniquely dangerous to other motorists, inflicting head, chest and leg injuries up to eight times as severe as those caused by other passenger vehicles.
Another shocker discovered by Bradsher was that the industry intentionally designed and advertised SUVs to appeal to the baser instincts of aggressive drivers. (On second thought, maybe its not so shocking.)
Hold Bushs Feet to the Fire: PSRs Got the Matches
Ten years ago, President George Bush thought he could brush-off attending the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, an event that hosted the greatest gathering of world leaders in history. Bush I was shamed into attending by the pressure of environmental groups and the public. Now Bush II, intends to skip out on Earth Summit II, the World Summit on Sustainability in Johannesburg in late August.
Once again, the public needs to put the White House on notice. Physicians for Social Responsibility [PSR, 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20009, www.psr.org] is leading a letter-writing campaign calling on Bush II not only to attend, but to first pass some critical pro-environment legislation so that he can attend the summit with his head held high.
PSR wants Bush to honor the wishes of the 81 percent of the American public that wants to see stronger environmental laws and stricter enforcement. PSR suggests three actions. (1) Support the mandatory controls of industrys global warming gases as spelled out in Jim Jeffords Senate Bill 556, (2) Promote Senate ratification and congressional enforcement of the Stockholm Convention for the elimination of persistent organic pollutants and, (3) Increase financial and diplomatic support for stronger international environmental laws and institutions.
If George II attends the World Summit with his current environmental record, PSR warns, he would risk being seen as the skunk at the tea party.
Is Pakistan Ready for Democracy? Apparently Not.
Why is it that the War Against Terrorism requires us to conspire with dictators? In mid-July, our stalwart ally Pervez Musharraf, military strongman of Pakistan, quashed hopes for a return to the kind of parliamentary democracy that the US is attempting to bolster in neighboring Afghanistan.
Musharraf declared that his armed forces would continue to be a major player in his government. Then he went further, announcing plans to rewrite the countrys constitution to further undermine civilian institutions. Musharraf would create a National Security Council (which he would head) that would be able to fire any elected officials including the prime minister, Cabinet ministers and the entire National Assembly.
True democracy never worked in Pakistan, Musharraf argued. Otherwise, I would not be sitting here before you. You cant argue with logic like that.
Would You Like Your Burger Rapped?
The Duke of the Grill lays down the rap on burger-burnishing while the singing Patties get cooking in the background. Credit: Wendy's International via The Wave
The Moles at The Wave, a cheeky San Francisco bimonthly, managed to acquire a bootlegged copy of an old training video from the Wendys burger chain. Grill Skill (look for it on the Web) aims to teach novice fry cooks proper burger-roasting skills.
The instructor is Duke of the Grill, a large, muscular Grill Sergeant tricked out in dark glasses and attitude. The Duke explains the intricacies of grilling backed by a trio of singing female hamburger patties! Heres a sample from the Burger Rapper himself:
Now workin the grill ville it aint sooooo tough,
but first of all you gotta check yo stuff.
Like a grill thats set at two-five-oh
And the meat and the cheese are ready to go!
From front to back, lay it down!
Place it evenly, not scattered all around!
When things start to sizzle, youre ready to go.
Gently turn the meat, but dont be slow.
And when those red juices no longer rise,
You can serve that patty, Itll win a prize.
It takes just about four minutes to cook
But, just to make sure, you can take a look.
Use you tool to double check.
It should be gray and moist to be correct.
When an orders placed, youre ready to go.
Just drain the meat, just like so.
Then when all the drainins done,
You can place that patty squarely on the heel of the bun.
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