SECTION ELEVEN

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COLUMN NINETY-SIX, SEPTEMBER 1, 2003
(Copyright 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)

1.  Revenge 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 O'Connor.

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 Independence Mall.

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 injuries....

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 fathers.

A Constitution Center spokeswoman said officials were trying to determine what went wrong.

---New York Times   July 5, 2003 ##

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2.  Tough Guy

"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.  ##

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3.  Thoughts 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  ##  

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4.  Tough 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  ##

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5.  Life Imitates Art

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.

---lastmarx1@worldnet.att.net  ##

* * *

6.  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

---lnp3@panix.com  ##

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7.  John 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

"4. Where's Bobby?"

pgoselin@yahoo.com  ##

* * * 

8.  The 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 Ndibe 

fafunwas@ccsu.edu  ##

* * *

9.  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.

---Independent (London) 22 June 2003

papadop@peak.org  ##

* * *

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 ripped apart.

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 capital:

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, 2003  ##

* * *

11.  War Criminals I

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 government.

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  ##

* * *

12.  War Criminals II  

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 here said.

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 Iraq.

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.  ##

* * *

13.  Tools for Peace

Which Path to a Safer World?

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

$40,000---1 Hellfire missile or Associate Degree training for 29 RNs

$145,600---1 Bunker-buster guided bomb or Rent subsidies for 1,000 families

$586,000---1,000 M-16 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

$413 million---Amphibious 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 teachers

$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 diseases

$38 billion is 1 month U.S. current military spending

---wrl@warresisters.org

* * * 

14.  A 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 system.

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!"

---kolodzey@pobox.upenn.edu  ##

* * *

15.  The 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 family archive. 

You can view the manuscript of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists at : http://www.unionhistory.info/ragged/ragged.php

From: Christine Coates c.coates@londonmet.ac.uk  ##

* * *

16.  The Pastry  Intifada

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, 2003

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 scholarship award.

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 company.

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.  

Signed,
DSM-BBB Infantry Division No. 515 (The Angry Marmalades)
Press Department

bbb@bioticbakingbrigade.org  ##

* * *

MIKE ALEWITZ 

Department of Art
Central Connecticut State University
1615 Stanley Street
New Britain, Connecticut 06050

Office: 860.832.2359/ Mobile: 860.518.4046  ##  

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