Friday, April 30


NRDC: Natural Resources Defense Council

Mercury Rising
4/29/2004 12:24:00 AM
Christian Science Monitor

John Ament likes to go fishing, but these days he doesn't eat the bass he catches at Caddo Lake, his much-loved family retreat. Too much mercury in them, he says. Texas authorities agree.

That's why they have issued a mercury warning for fish caught in Caddo, the Lone Star State's largest natural lake and one of its most beautiful with ancient-looking cypress trees dripping Spanish moss.

Mr. Ament's lament is being felt nationwide. In 2002 at least 43 states issued mercury warnings for fish covering 12 million acres of lakes and 400,000 miles of rivers. In January, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warned that 1 in 6 women of childbearing age had mercury levels in her blood that could put a fetus's development at risk.

The reason for the rise in mercury contamination, many suspect, is the nation's heavy reliance on coal. Emissions from electric utility plants represent the single largest unregulated industrial source of mercury emissions in the US, according to the EPA. Some 500 power plants pump out 60 percent (45 tons) of the 75 tons of mercury released into the air by all industries that year, according to the EPA's 2001 Toxic Release Inventory.But environmentalists charge that plans to clamp down on the problem have been undermined by the White House, which says that it favors a more flexible market-oriented approach. (end exerpt, emphasis mine)

For the full article click on the above link. For the full story you'll have to ask the Bush Administration. You might be able to get him through one of his many energy sector cronies. For now check this: Salon Politics2000 | Bush's good ol' money boys
We at nomoreapples guarantee more on this. Much more.

LIFE IN 1969

Re the Ted Koppel/Nightline honoring-our-war-dead fracas, I am listening right now to Chris Matthews' Hardball where John Fund (opinionjournal) is asserting that the rationale for the episode tonight is a 1969 issue of Life magazine that featured the names and pictures of one week's [VietNam] war dead. Ted and ABC's motive for tonight's show MUST be an anti-war statement, John says, because they referred to the "impact" of the 1969 Life issue (the implication being that it was a pivotal moment changing the American attitude toward the VN War).

Oh God, I hope the comparison is superficial. It wasn't until 1973 that the VN War "ended." If it takes four years to get us out of Iraq, we're in deeper trouble than I imagined.

John Fund just said, "I think there's too much emotion on both sides." How can there be too much emotion about the life and death of more than 700 Americans and thousands of non-combatant Iraqis?

You know, I'm beginning to wonder (oh my, I'm such a naive idealist) about these pro-life Repugs -- they have so much emotion and passion to apply to the abortion issue (love for the unborn) but so little for lives in full swing--


MSNBC - Altercation

Note from Eric: I borrowed the letter below from H-Diplo:

From: Ellen Rafshoon

Re: Presidential candidates and the Vietnam War

Regarding the controversy over John Kerry's post-Vietnam protest activities, I recommend that readers of this list read The Autobiography of Lewis B. Puller, Jr. (1991)  Puller, Jr. was the the son of Korean War hero Lewis "Chesty" Puller, Sr. and wanted to emulate his father's military career.  But Puller's own experiences as a young platoon leader in Vietnam had tragic consequences.  He returned home after three months legless and missing most of his fingers.  (He also became an alcoholic and 3 years after winning the Pullitzer for his book, committed suicide.)  His autobiography traces his grueling rehabilitation and gradual realization that "I had given myself to a cause that, in addition to having robbed me of my of my youth and left me crippled and deformed, allowed me no pride for having been a participant."

Puller's book is worthwhile on many levels, but is particularly relevant now for his observations on fellow veterans who joined the anti-war movement.  Puller himself was ambivalent, but eventually found himself swayed by the protesting veterans.  He is unambiguous in his praise for John Kerry (1971).  "One articulate young combat veteran named John Kerry delivered a moving address before a special session of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that, for me, summed up the sense of betrayal and the disillusionment I felt toward the administration and the leadership that had directed the course of the war from the safety of its Washington power base."

As for Kerry's participation in protests where veterans symbollically discarded their medals, Puller says such acts helped strip him "of my remaining self-delusions" about what he concluded was a "wasted cause."


Having grown up during the Viet Nam War era (remember when the Johnson and Nixon administrations persisted in calling it a "conflict"?), I have been tortured for two years now with the foreboding and, in fact, the conviction that the USA would bitterly regret invading and occupying Iraq. I'm sick and tired of hearing, "Everybody got it wrong...everybody thought Saddam had stockpiles of WMD...everybody believed he was a threat..." It's simply not true. Millions of people worldwide marched in protest -- hordes of military experts, clergy, academics, foreign service personnel, ex-weapons inspectors, enlightened politicians, and even ordinary think-for-themselves Americans came to the conclusion that, as Colin Powell said pre-9/11, Saddam had been successfully contained, and if there was some speculation that, contrary to his government's denials, he might again be reconstituting weapons programs, well, the weapons inspectors were once again in-country (despite GWB's weird post-invasion assertions to the contrary) and should be given the chance to finish their work.

Now here we are and what a disaster it is. I cannot see how any rational person over the age of seven could believe that the same crowd that got us into this rapidly disintegrating situation can be trusted to get us out, but that appears to be an article of faith with about half of our electorate and a huge slice of the media at this point in time. John Kerry, they say, must come up with a better plan to "win the war" to have any credibility.

I say, poppycock. Even if Kerry devised a plan that seemed reasonable TODAY, the realities on the ground could change at any time and make it completely inoperable. Nixon may have had a plan to end the VN War when he opposed Humphrey for the presidency in 1968, but he sure didn't share it with the American public. But he won anyway. Nixon was smart enough to realize that any "plan" he revealed would be picked to death during the election process if it wasn't rendered useless by the realities on the ground, which the opposition alone could affect. So Nixon took the White House with a "secret" plan. Americans just didn't trust Lyndon Johnson's VP to reverse a disastrous course to which their administration showed total commitment.

I see much the same situation today and I wonder if it might not be a more effective political strategy for Kerry just to assert that he is developing a plan with the assistance of a top-notch, credible task force (preferably with some nod to bipartisanship) that he will not reveal prior to the election in order not to prejudice any ongoing military/diplomatic efforts. His primary message should be, "You can't trust the wrecking crew to rebuild the house" or some such. He should keep hammering on all the pre-invasion expectations and promises of the Bushies.

He should have his surrogates pick out and repeat not-quite-ad nauseum three or four of the most egregious examples of Bush's total sellout to crony capitalism -- ones that have an obvious impact upon not just Joe Six-Pack but the more moderate and informed independents -- such as the USA being forbidden by that $87 billion piece of legislation to do anything about fraud on the part of our contractors and the Medicare Prescription Benefit bill FORBIDDING states to negotiate for better drug pricing; and mercury in the water: "soccer moms" as well as NASCAR dads would care if they got ever HEARD about the issue -- nobody wants children and babies to be brain-damaged just to save Bush's donors a few bucks.

I disagree with the pundits insisting that Kerry needs all sorts of "plans." GWB has never had a plan beyond tax cuts for the super-rich and all war all the time. Plans can be picked at until the electorate has no idea what the plan was about. JFK II needs to develop his own talking points (points, I said, not speeches) and drive, drive, drive them home. Americans, for the most part, are already suffering from information overload, it is said. Fine then, the solution is to develop "the big truth" and see if endless repetition is as effective with it as with the big lie.


"Still, whatever happens to the Kerry candidacy, one important matter ought not to be lost from sight. Mr. Kerry's problems stem from the fact he is a fantasist. He has created illusions about himself and then believed his own illusions. He gets in trouble with reality because for him the only reality is his fantasy, the fantasy that he is a great man (emphasis mine) and — oh, yes — that European leaders have talked to him and told he they hope he wins in 2004. Remember that little fantasy?" Washington Times

If you're thinking that these freepers live in some kind of parallel universe, you're not the only one. Doo-doo-doo-doo, Doo-doo-doo-doo. You're traveling to another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound ...but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land, whose boundaries are only that of the're entering...the Twilight Zone.


Read this.

"Bill Maher, host of HBO's 'Real Time,' gave his take on the battle for the White House, the ethics of the media and the intelligence of the American media. In a Wednesday appearance with MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Hardball, took the media to task for paying too much attention to the controversy over the 1970s anti-war actions Democrat's likely presidential nominee, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.

"On the Kerry medal flap: 'Why are you covering this? Why are you taking this bait, seriously? Why are you even letting them bait you into covering this complete non-issue? This guy has medals. his guy has ribbons. The other guy didn‘t go. That‘s the whole story. The other guy is a draft dodger. They were both rich kids in the ‘60s. One of them went to where the bullets were flying and one of them found a way not to go and then he lied about that. Stop covering the medals.

'Look, one guy went into the National Guard, which back then was a way of getting out of it. On top of that, he had the nerve to say to Tim Russert, "You know, if my Guard unit had been called up, I would have gone." How very brave, Mr. President, considering ... only 8,700 Guard people were ever called up there, 0.03 percent. So there was no chance he would have been called up.

'That‘s George Bush for you: "Hold me back, hold me back."'

"On President Bush: 'I‘m not even talking about the decision to go into Iraq, which, you know, doesn‘t look so good nowadays. I‘m looking at this news about Fallujah, and I hear what President Bush is saying. Do you remember "Baghdad Bob," the guy we all laughed at because he was saying things that were completely crazy? Well, President Bush sounds like Washington Bob right now. He‘s saying, “It‘s only a few troublemakers. It‘s a few rotten eggs that we‘re fighting over there.” Are you kidding? Is he joking?

'He‘s getting the media to cover this nonsense about John Kerry‘s medals. So Joe public, as President Bush would call him, sits home and goes, "Well, gosh, there was a controversy with Bush‘s military history and now there‘s a controversy with John Kerry‘s military history. I don‘t know who to vote for." It‘s nonsense.

'One guy actually has honor and integrity, although I will admit that John Kerry certainly is not burdened with charisma, and the other guy only has the words "honor and integrity." He‘s never connected them to anything.

'The true axis of evil in America is the brilliance of our marketing combined with the stupidity of our people. George Bush has $180 million to spend. With that kind of money, he could convince Americans to drink paint, and he probably will.

'With enough money, you can convince people of anything. And that is what George Bush does. He is one of the most cynical presidents we‘ve ever had, I believe, because with that kind of money, he plays on people‘s fears, he plays on people‘s ignorance, and he plays on people‘s shortsightedness.'

"On John Kerry for president: 'John Kerry‘s campaign slogan should be "Do not resuscitate." He’s cold. I‘m sorry. But you know what? That‘s who he is. Why do people have to like the guy? I hear people say, "I don‘t know if I‘m comfortable with John Kerry." You know what? You don‘t have to go to bed with him. Just vote for him.

'We‘re such babies about this. In the days before television, people didn‘t judge presidents on whether he was sunny, warm, or likable. They judged on whether he was the best man for the job. I would like to bring that criteria back now that we‘re at war.'"


skippy the bush kangaroo

Heres a great post by Skippy on the Nightline story:
freedom of speech limits: you can't yell "dead american soldiers" in a crowded repubbb theater

in case you haven't heard, night line will be doing an amazing show tomorrow night. their program will consist entirely of the reading of names of the u.s. soldiers who have died in the iraq war.
in an email interview with al tompkins at poynter online, nightline exec. producer leroy sievers said:

"i hope that viewers will remember that behind the numbers of casualties, that each of the men and women who have been killed was an individual, with a name, a face, a family, and a life. it is too easy to not go beyond the numbers. ted and i were embedded with the 3rd i.d. and we got to know many of the soldiers as individuals. it is too easy to see the helmet, the flak vest, and the uniform, and forget that these are all individuals?
there is no political statement intended. this broadcast is intended to honor those who have been killed, period. ted addressed the casket issue last friday on 'nightline.' i think that is a separate issue. at his recent press conference, president bush talked about how important it is to honor the sacrifice that these men and women have made. that's all we're trying to do."

too bad over a quarter of the country will not be allowed to see it. the sinclair broadcast group, which owns affiliates in 39 markets, is ordering its stations not to run friday's episode of nightline. bloomberg:

"despite the denials by a spokeswoman for the show, the action appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the united states in iraq,'' the company said in a faxed statement. sinclair, which owns 62 u.s. television stations, said "abc is disguising political statements as news content."

apparently, according to the blogging of the president, the execs at sinclair broadcasting are big donors to awol and the rnc. what a surprise.

Thursday, April 29


Read "More from Abu Ghraib" at Body and Soul

You have to pity these poor shlubs. Sent to fight an elective and evil war by one of the top three most corrupt administrations in the history of our country. Ordered to break the Geneva conventions and bring shame to the same country they put their lives on the line defending. What choice did they have? Refuse and be thrown in the brig. Agree and be thrown in the brig. One cannot dismiss their wrongs. I think it most generally recognized that these poor bastards are going to get all that they have brought down upon themselves and then some. However, it would be lazy of us not to explore how this could happen. John Kerry has recently been forced to defend his patriotic record in the military. He is once again under fire, and it does involve Vietnam, but this time the tracers originate with the same chickenhawks he was wounded three times defending with his life. An issue has been made of his testimony given before Congress, when he returned home to once again fight for his country, though this time the fight was where it belonged: Washington D.C. He told the truth about the atrocities in Vietnam:

"I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command...."

Hmmmm....sounds relevant. I don't believe, for the time it takes a hummingbird to flap his wings, that this action was done other than at the direction of their superiors. Their officers. I wonder are we going to find out that these pictures were part of the humiliation process designed to "soften" the Iraqi prisoners for questioning by God knows who about the Lord only knows what. Not that anything so damning would ever see the light of day on this administration's watch. Officers set the tone, lead by example, and let it be known what is and is not acceptable. As always, however, the little guys take the rap, while the CEO's, Officers, or Policy-makers walk free as the day they turned 21. This, at the least, I am sure is a Bush administration policy.


Eric Alterman writes:

"The White House today announced it would be spending another $18 million of taxpayer money on television ads promoting its new Medicare bill.  As David Sirota points out, that puts the Administration on track to spend more Medicare money on television ads than would be necessary to create a safe system to import cheaper, FDA-approved prescription medicines from abroad.  The White House is so desperate to protect its drug industry backers, it has deployed federal agents to search and intimidate low-income seniors traveling to Canada in order to fill their prescriptions.  On top of that, Pfizer CEO Henry McKinnell - a top Bush fundraiser - 'vowed to continue efforts to cut off supplies' of medicines to Canada in an effort to starve U.S. and Canadian seniors of medicine until they stop their push for a re-importation bill."

I asked my regular pharmacist last week why I was being charged the full price for a prescription instead of my usual co-pay, and she started giving me the tired old line "Canadians don't have to subsidize the research costs of new drugs like we do." When I asked just why she thought Americans should foot the bill for everyone else she said, "Why, because they're American companies -- we get the benefit of their taxes and employment, the Canadians don't."

Dave Farber:

"These are called 'unrepatriated earnings' and they are increasingly commonplace. Just go into Free Edgar or some other SEC search engine (I like10K Wizard5) and plug in the term 'unremitted earnings' or 'undistributed earnings' and search 10-K forms to see how many annual statements come up. What you'll find is something like this from Pfizer.

''As of December 31, 2003, we have not made a U.S. tax provision on approximately $38 billion of unremitted earnings of our international subsidiaries. These earnings are expected, for the most part, to be reinvested overseas. It is not practical to compute the estimated deferred tax liability on these earnings.'

"Pfizer says it added 15,000 U.S. workers through its recent purchase of Pharmacia. STILL, ONLY 37% OF ITS WORK FORCE IS IN THE U.S. [emphasis mine] Note that the $38 billion total of unremitted earnings is cumulative over the years. In 2002, Pfizer had $29 billion, so the increase was $9 billion in the past year, helping the company substantially shave its tax bill."


Atriosnotes that Sinclair Broadcast Group has ordered its ABC-affiliated stations not to carry tomorrow's "Nightline," which will air the names and photos of soldiers who have been killed in combat in Iraq.
Sinclair General Counsel Barry Faber tells the site: "We find it to be contrary to the public interest." Here.

For a "fair and balanced" look at Sinclair. An excerpt:

"TV Barn's Mark Jeffries calls Sinclair the 'Clear Channel of local news,' a reference to the San Antonio, Texas, media giant that has grown from 40 to more than 1,200 stations today thanks to the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which relaxed radio ownership rules. But the parallels extend beyond their growth strategies. Jeffries describes Sinclair as having a 'fiercely right-wing approach that makes Fox News Channel look like a model of objectivity,' while Clear Channel is best known for sponsoring pro-war 'Rallies for America' during the Iraq conflict. And like Clear Channel's CEO L. Lowry Mays – a major Republican donor and onetime business associate of George W. Bush – the Sinclair family, board, and executives ply the GOP with big money. Since 1997, they have donated well over $200,000 to Republican candidates."

Wednesday, April 28


The recent cases brought before the Supreme Court on behalf of Padilla and Hamdi are begging the question, "Can we trust the POTUS with the power to throw an American citizen into prison and hold them without charge indefinitely?" Although thoroughly depressed that such a question can be considered without fear of a riot, I cannot be wholly surprised. September 11th and the "War on Terror" provoked, "How much of our liberty must we sacrifice in order to be safe from terrorists?" (As though we could afford to sacrifice any.) As though it were moral to sacrifice any. As though it were not treasonous to sacrifice any. Americans do not make compromises with tyranny that they may avoid attack or fear----no American I would be proud to call my countryman. Where are our memories? Know we no history? What does a person think the most powerful office in the world, POTUS, will do with unaccountable, unlimited power over any individual in America? Use it wisely? Use it humanely? Use it openly? How dumb can a dolt really be? Or millions of them in our country's unfortunate case. To answer the last question first, Benjamin Franklin said, "Those that are willing to sacrifice essential liberties in order to purchase a little, temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." I suppose good people can disagree about this, but I don't think a good person can disagree with this while staying true to what makes our country the greatest republic in the long march of history: Our freedom, though it wanes; Our bravery, though it declines; Our sacrifice, which has, like a river, run from the birth of our states unified through all our history to our time without change. Our country has never lacked for young patriots who loved their land more than their life. They step forward still. They have never failed us, but what of our duty to them? To them and to all Americans to protect liberty. They have kept us safe. Have we kept them free? No, we question. We forget. We diminish. We fools.
Presently the Supreme Court will rule on the power of our highest elected official to deprive American citizens of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness without due process. On his word. Nothing more. Oh well it is for Orwell that he died! So much more frightened by our present would he be. To close this matter for now, from my end, I would like to quote Noam Chomsky from his most excellent book, Hegemony or Survival, "President Bush is said to have on his desk a bust of Winston Churchill, a gift from his friend Tony Blair. Churchill had a few things to say on these topics:
'The power of the executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly todeny him the judgement of his peers, is in the highest degree odious, and the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.'" (the end of exerpt)

Wise old Winston probably did not in his most troubling nightmares imagine this power would be granted in a republic, least of all that Republic of Republics: The United States of America.


Ask yourself if when you imagine a drug dealer it's a black crack dealer. Because that's what the government has engineered in you. Manufactured in you to distract you from the truth that drug users and abusers, addicts and casuals are our brothers, our friends, our daughters, sisters, and parents. When we ask for a Drug Free America we ask for a Love Free America, because their is no known way under heaven to rid our nation of drugs unless we incarcerate and destroy our family and friends. This life is not getting any easier. The problems and pain that we must endure as part of the human experience will find no solution in this age, nor the next. And it follows that many of the people we love and treasure will be driven to drugs to cope with their private, and most often misunderstood trajedies. Drugs are with us as pain is with us and part of our nature. To deny one is to deny the other. And if we bear any love for our family, friends, and neighbors we will bend our small-mindedness, accept their frailty, and understand them so we may help them heal. For what reason is a war waged if not, ultimately, to protect the ones we love? A drug war they call it, when the war is on our own people, and the casualties are, in all the world, the closest to our hearts.

(Copyright 2004. All rights reserved)