COLUMN NINETY-SIX, SEPTEMBER 1, 2003
(Copyright © 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)
of the Constitution
PHILADELPHIA, July 4 (AP) -
The opening of the National Constitution Center, a museum devoted to the United
States Constitution, was marred today when a huge wood and steel frame
collapsed, injuring several people and narrowly missing Justice Sandra Day
The frame, which was at
least 15 feet high, slowly toppled as the guests of honor at the ceremony pulled
red, white and blue streamers that were supposed to trigger the drop of a screen
at the museum's front entrance on
Instead, the streamers
pulled down the frame, which fell on Mayor John F. Street of Philadelphia,
Senator Arlen Specter and other officials.
The crowd of 4,000 gasped
as the frame came down around Justice O'Connor, who had counted down from three
to start the ceremony.
Mr. Street and Mr. Specter
were struck on the arms as they tried to fend off the falling structure. Joseph
Torsella, president of the National Constitution Center, was hit in the head and
knocked to his knees.
Mr. Torsella was woozy, but
walked to an ambulance. He was treated at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
and released. Mayor Street and a government worker were also treated for minor
Organizers said that when
the guests pulled on the ribbons, a screen bearing a reproduction of the signing
of the Constitution was to have dropped, revealing a newer painting underneath,
with some of the celebrity guests standing in the places of the founding
A Constitution Center
spokeswoman said officials were trying to determine what went wrong.
* * *
"There are some who
feel like that conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is
bring them on. We have the force necessary to deal with the situation."
--- George W. Bush, who
advocated war, then ran away and hid during the Vietnam conflict.
* * *
on Tough Guy
Yesterday, when I read that
US Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush, in a moment of blustering arm-chair
machismo, sent a message to the "non-existent? Iraqi guerrillas to
"bring 'em on," the first image in my mind was a 20-year-old soldier
in an ever-more-fragile marriage, who'd been away from home for 8 months. He
participated in the initial invasion, and was told he'd be home for the 4th of
July. He has a newfound familiarity with corpses, and everything he thought he
knew last year is now under revision. He is sent out into the streets of
Fallujah (or some other city), where he has already been shot at once or twice
with automatic weapons or an RPG, and his nerves are raw. He is wearing Kevlar
and ceramic body armor, a Kevlar helmet, a load carrying harness with
ammunition, grenades, flex-cuffs, first-aid gear, water, and assorted other
paraphernalia. His weapon weighs seven pounds, ten with a double magazine. His
boots are bloused, and his long-sleeve shirt is buttoned at the wrist. It is
between 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit at midday. He's been eating MRE's three times
a day, when he has an appetite in this heat, and even his urine is beginning to
smell like preservatives. Mosquitoes and sand flies plague him in the evenings,
and he probably pulls a guard shift every night, never sleeping straight
through. He and his comrades are beginning to get on each others' nerves. The
rumors of 'going-home, not-going-home' are keeping him on an emotional roller
coaster. Directives from on high are contradictory, confusing, and often stupid.
The whole population seems hostile to him and he is developing a deep animosity
for Iraq and all its people--as well as for official narratives.
This is the lad who will
hear from someone that George W. Bush, dressed in a suit with a belly full of
rich food, just hurled a manly taunt from a 72-degree studio at the
'non-existent' Iraqi resistance.
---Excerpt from STAN GOFF
Former Special Forces Soldier
Counterpunch, July 3, 2003 ##
* * *
Guy Is Messenger of God
"God told me to strike
at al-Qaida and I struck them, and then He instructed me to strike at Saddam,
which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If
you help me, I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to
focus on them."
---Quoted by Israeli
Newspaper Haaretz ##
* * *
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S.
troops psyched up on a bizarre musical reprise from Vietnam War film Apocalypse
Now before crashing into Iraqi homes to hunt gunmen on Saturday, as Shi'ite
Muslims rallied against the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
With Wagner's Ride of
the Valkyries still ringing in their ears and the clatter of helicopters
overhead, soldiers rammed vehicles into metal gates and hundreds of troops
raided houses in the western city of Ramadi after sunrise as part of a drive to
quell a spate of attacks on U.S. forces.
* * *
Dog Bites Man
Very Richest's Share of
Income Grew Even Bigger, Data Shows
The 400 wealthiest
taxpayers accounted for more than 1 percent of all the income in the United
States in the year 2000, more than double their share just eight years earlier,
according to new data from the Internal Revenue Service. But their tax burden
plummeted over the period.
The data, in a report that
the I.R.S. released last night, shows that the average income of the 400
wealthiest taxpayers was almost $174 million in 2000. That was nearly quadruple
the $46.8million average in 1992. The minimum income to qualify for the list was
$86.8 million in 2000, more than triple the minimum income of $24.4 million of
the 400 wealthiest taxpayers in 1992.
--- NY Times, June 26, 2003
* * *
Ashcroft Goes to School
Attorney General John
Ashcroft is visiting an elementary school. After the typical civics presentation
he says, "Alright, boys and girls, you can ask me questions now."
A young boy named Bobby
raises his hand and says, "I have two questions:
"1. How did Bush win
the election with fewer votes than Gore? And
"2. Why are you using
the USA Patriot Act to limit Americans' civil liberties?"
Just then the bell sounds
and all the kids run out to the playground.
Fifteen minutes later, the
kids come back to class and Ashcroft says, "I'm sorry we were interrupted
by the bell. Now, you can all ask me questions."
A young girl raises her
hand and says, "I have four questions:
"1. How did Bush win
the election with fewer votes than Gore?
"2. Why are you using
the USA Patriot Act to limit Americans' civil liberties?
"3. Why did the bell
go off 20 minutes early? And
* * *
Coat of Fear
The Coat of Fear
Welcome to the coat of fear
Many undocumented workers linger here
No jobs to take
Less money to make
Who they are is even fake
Five hundred undocumented workers very low-paid
Under the rubble, in sleep, they've laid
Thousands more lost their work
Bartenders and waiters and many a clerk
Forty percent of New York's population
Now consists of people not born in this nation
Many of these workers are now being paid
To clean up the rubble where lost ones are laid
---by 11-year-old Chibu
* * *
The Blessings of Capital
Afghanistan regains its
title as world's biggest heroin dealer
Afghanistan is still the
source of almost all of the heroin sold in London, even though Britain has
poured millions into trying to stamp out the war-wrecked country's resurgent
drugs production business.
Opium poppies are springing
up from the plains to the mountains of Afghanistan in far higher quantities than
in the final year of the Taliban, which the US and Britain overthrew, while
vowing to end the region's narcotics trade. Opium---from which heroin is
extracted---is produced on farms only a few dozen miles from the capital city of
Kabul, headquarters to the international effort to end the heroin trade and
rebuild the country.
Local Afghans say that bags
of heroin are used in lieu of currency in some parts of the lawless countryside
where---more than two years after the Taliban was toppled---the US-backed
interim government of Hamid Karzai has failed to establish control.
After the war, Britain
assumed responsibility for co-ordinating the international effort to crush
Afghanistan's opium trade. It is spending "70m over three years on a project to
eradicate poppy production by providing Afghan farmers with another livelihood
and by training the fledgling and badly undermanned police force. But this bleak
picture suggests that its efforts have so far failed to turn the tide.
HM Customs and Excise,
which is running a programme in Kabul, has admitted that 95 per cent of the
heroin sold on London's streets is still of Afghan origin. This has prompted
George Osborne, a Tory MP who sits on the Public Accounts Committee, to call for
an investigation into what has been happening to the money.
Mr Osborne, who fears that
much of it may have been pocketed by regional warlords, wants an investigation
by the National Audit Office, which supervises public spending.
Figures released by the
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime show Afghanistan now grows more than
nine times as many opium poppies as during the final year of the Taliban. The
roaring opium trade runs counter to one of the main aims declared by Britain for
joining the US in the war on Afghanistan.
(London) 22 June 2003
* * *
10. Let Bygones Be Bygones
US turns to the Taliban
KARACHI - Such is the
deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, compounded by the return to the
country of a large number of former Afghan communist refugees, that United
States and Pakistani intelligence officials have met with Taliban leaders in an
effort to devise a political solution to prevent the country from being further
According to a Pakistani
jihadi leader who played a role in setting up the communication, the meeting
took place recently between representatives of Pakistan's Inter-Services
Intelligence (ISI), the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and Taliban leaders
at the Pakistan Air Force base of Samungli, near Quetta.
The source told Asia Times
Online that four conditions were put to the Taliban before any form of
reconciliation can take place that could potentially lead to them having a role
in the Kabul government, whose present authority is in essence limited to the
Mullah Omar must be removed
as supreme leader of the Taliban. All Pakistani, Arab and other foreign fighters
currently engaged in operations against international troops in Afghanistan must
be thrown out of the country. Any US or allied soldiers held captive must be
released. Afghans currently living abroad, notably in the United States and
England, must be given a part in the government---through being allowed to
contest elections---even though many do not even speak their mother tongue, such
as Dari or Pashtu.
Apparently, the Taliban
refused the first condition point blank, but showed some flexibility on the
other terms. As such, this first preliminary contact made little headway. It is
not known whether there will be further meetings, but given the fact that the
reason for staging the talks in the first place remains unchanged, more contact
can be expected.
---Asia Times, June 13,
* * *
Tony Blair and his cabinet
were branded "war criminals" yesterday as an organisation that gave
birth to the Labour party faced expulsion in an historic split with the
The RMT rail union voted to
support the far left Scottish Socialists, Plaid Cymru, Greens, Ken Livingstone
in London and even suspended Labour MP George Galloway in direct defiance of the
Labour leadership. It also halved its annual affiliation fees from 25,000 to
12,500. A year ago it paid more than 100,000.
Bob Crow, hard left general
secretary of the RMT, predicted the union would disaffiliate from Labour after
he accused the prime minister of "putting the boot" into workers in
Britain and abroad, including the invasion of Iraq.
The Guardian, July
2, 2003 ##
* * *
BRUSSELS (AFP) - US
President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have been accused
of war crimes in Iraq under a fiercely contested Belgian law, the government
But the justice ministry
said the Belgian cabinet had referred the cases against Bush, Blair and six
other high-ranking officials to the US and British governments, making any
trials highly unlikely.
Nevertheless the lawsuits,
brought under Belgium's "universal competence law", could well deepen
tensions between Washington and Brussels, which bitterly opposed the war in
The 10-year-old law gives
Belgium's courts the right to judge anyone accused of war crimes, crimes against
humanity or genocide, regardless of where the crime took place.
Apart from Bush and Blair,
the officials named in the suits were US Secretary of State Colin Powell,
Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Rumsfeld's deputy Paul Wolfowitz, Attorney
General John Ashcroft, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and General
Tommy Franks, who led US forces in Iraq. ##
* * *
Which Path to a Safer
TOOLS FOR PEACE/
TOOLS FOR WAR
$4,000---1 rocket launcher
or Enroll 2 children in Head Start
$14,000---1 cluster bomb or
2 home health aides for disabled elderly
missile or Associate Degree training for 29 RNs
guided bomb or Rent subsidies for 1,000 families
Rifles or Annual salary/benefits for 15 RNs
$763,000---1 minute war on
Iraq or Improve, repair, modernize 20 schools
$46 million---1 hour war on
Iraq or WIC program nutrition for 200,000 families
$130 million---7 unmanned
Predator drones or Eradicate polio worldwide
$275 million---3 tests of
missile defense system or Best vaccinations for 10 million children worldwide
$350 million---6 Trident II
missiles or Childcare for 68,000 needy children
Warfare Landing Ship Program or 7,000 units of affordable housing
$494 million---1 year
military aid to Colombia or Prevent cuts to education programs (FY2003)
$1.1 billion---1 day of war
on Iraq or Minimum support to save Amtrak train service
$1.2 billion---2 months
U.S. war force in Afghanistan or Annual salary/benefits for 38,000 elementary
$2.1 billion---1 Stealth
bomber or Double federal funding for mass transit
$12 billion---1 year cost
of war in Afghanistan (2001/2002) or Healthcare coverage for 7 million children
$16 billion---1 year
nuclear weapons program or Save 11 million lives worldwide fighting infectious
$38 billion is 1 month U.S.
current military spending
* * *
Man Walks Into a Pet Store
A man goes into a pet shop
to buy a parrot. The shop owner points to three identical looking parrots on a
perch and says, "the parrot on the left costs $500."
"Why does the parrot
cost so much?" asks the man. The shop owner says, "well, the parrot
knows how to use a computer."
The man then asks about the
next parrot to be told that this one costs $1,000 because it can do everything
the other parrot can do plus it knows how to use the Linux operating
Naturally, the increasingly
startled man asks about the third parrot to be told that it costs $2,000.
Needless to say this provokes the question, "What can it do?"
To which the shop owner
replies, "to be honest I have never seen it do a thing, but the other two
call him boss!"
* * *
Ragged Trousered Philanthropists
The TUC Library Collections
at London Metropolitan University launch the second phase of their website
today---the full original manuscript of the novel The Ragged Trousered
Philanthropists by Robert Tressell.
Voted one of the nation's
100 best-loved books in the BBC's recent Big Read event, The Ragged Trousered
Philanthropists is an influential classic of working class literature. This
unique resource, numbering 1,700 fragile pages, has previously only been
accessible to researchers who had to make the trip to London. Now, thanks to a
grant from the New Opportunities Fund, readers around the world can access the
manuscript online and read the book as the author intended, both with and
without the publishers' amendments.
Accompanying the online
manuscript are photographs, documents and other ephemera from the Tressell
You can view the manuscript
of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists at :
From: Christine Coates firstname.lastname@example.org
* * *
Note: this is the second
time Phelps' cult has been attacked with pies, the first incident happened in
San Francisco in a joint effort between Act Up SF and the BBB known as
Operation: Second Phelping. Details at http://bioticbakingbrigade.org/communique032699.html
Communiqu? from the [Anti
Authoritarian Ed.] Biotic Baking Brigade (BBB) - Des Moines, IA Cell, May 31,
We, the recently spawned
cell of Des Moines Biotic Baking Brigade claim all responsibility for the pie
attack launched in the faces of the Fred Phelps goon squad.
Our "pie-rect action" is an expression of our disgust with the
social-fascist tendencies of the "God Hates Fags" mob squad and their
petty "Westboro Baptist Church."
We believe that there are no possibilities for collaboration between us
and them and that all attempts and resources for resolution have been exhausted,
which is why we put ourselves on the front lines of this new pastry intifada.
The fascist tendencies of
the Phelps cult include a wide array of disturbing and cruel tactics targeted at
homosexuals nationwide. Particularly, the picketing of Mathew Shepard's funeral,
the 21 year-old University of Wyoming student who was brutally beaten, tied down
to a split-rail fence and left to die, all because he was a homosexual.
Today, Phelps and his homophobic goonies attempted to wage their foul war
against an innocent gay high school graduate receiving the Mathew Shepard
Fred Phelps describes why
he opposes the young graduate in his official press release for his protest,
"God hates Des Moines Public Schools & Lincoln Public High where the
administrators & faculty are Satan's Pied Pipers leading kids to fag sin,
death & Hell." But, we
know now that the only "Pied" pipers today are Fred Phelps and
In solidarity we stand with
Gays, Lesbians, Bi-Sexuals and Transsexuals everywhere.
With our heads held high and our baked goods in hand, we are the cream
topping on the pie tin of gay liberation and we unite under the motto,
"There will be no peace, as long as there is pie and there will be pie as
long as there are fascists." Fascist gay-bashers everywhere be warned...
the pies are in the oven.
DSM-BBB Infantry Division No. 515 (The Angry Marmalades)
* * *
Department of Art
Central Connecticut State University
1615 Stanley Street
New Britain, Connecticut 06050
Mobile: 860.518.4046 ##
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