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9-20-04: Site visitors can now trigger particular page updates and sponser particular pages on-site

The first two new products/services of the WebFLUX Store are here-- in BETA form anyway. They are:

Sponser your favorite page on-site!

Choose which site pages are updated!

The transaction process is hopefully pretty much the same as big online corporations use (all major credit cards accepted, so forth and so on). I have some much more creative items in the pipeline, but haven't yet got their models worked out to mesh suitably with existing internet technologies. But I'm working on it!

Newz&Viewz Contents

7-5-04: The new WebFLUX Store and Alerts log

The WebFLUX Store is in process of getting a MAJOR revamp, ala some of the latest lessons regarding low-end e-commerce which I cover in How small-time web sites can make it financially on the internet.

The revamp is only just beginning, so don't expect to see anything breath-taking yet. Later maybe, but not yet (ha, ha).

One way I'm livening up the store page is by spinning off a new web log there devoted to newsbriefs of sorts: just alerts to what I regard as particularly important, timely, or useful links or information, plus notifications of updates to my own site. These were both duties once handled here in Newz&Viewz, but N&V updates too often get bogged down for various reasons, thereby causing lengthy delays in all postings here-- including the briefs.

WebFLUX Alerts is the name of the new web log, which I'll do my damnedest to keep simple, brief, and to the point.

Newz&Viewz Contents

4-29-04: Through a fortuitous combination of American incompetence, corruption, and apathy, bin Laden is succeeding beyond his wildest dreams UPDATED

In response to the attacks of 9-11-01, the Bush Administration has worked diligently to nourish terrorism and strip innocent citizens worldwide of their civil rights-- including within America itself. Maybe they didn't do so purposely, but through sheer incompetence (to give them the benefit of a doubt). But still they did it, as in many ways even the Bush Administration itself has been admitting lately. Unfortunately, seeing hard evidence for themselves of the damage they're inflicting has only made them redouble their efforts without any change in course (What the hell? No, it doesn't make sense to me either).

-- US says terror attacks are increasing

-- Terrorism INCREASES under Bush

-- US admits terror attack decline claim was wrong

-- Terrorism up, not down: US. 11-06-2004. ABC News Online

-- Correcting data, US says terrorism incidents increased in '03

-- Powell: Terror up, not down

-- Terrorism up, not down in 2003: State Department

More links relating to this matter include:

| Yahoo! News - U.S. revises terror assessment, paints darker picture for 2003 | Corrected report shows '03 terror attacks the highest in 2 decades | State Department announces rise in terror incidents worldwide | U.S. Doubles Number of Terrorism Deaths in 2003 | US admits rise in terror attacks | U.S. announces rise in terror incidents and injuries worldwide | Global Terror Casualties More Than Doubled in 2003, U.S. Says | U.S. Count of Terrorism Deaths Off by Hundreds | U.S. Amends Report to Show Rise in Terror | the number of people wounded rose dramatically |

-- Rumsfeld fears U.S. losing long-term fight against terror

"Because of the Iraq war, the threat of terrorism is now 10 times worse than when Saddam was in power."

-- A top European Commission member, according to the Economist

-- World cooperation lost; The Charleston Gazette; June 02, 2004; wvgazette.com

-- The War is Lost

-- Playing Bin Laden's game: The west is losing the war on terror on a global scale

-- Al Qaeda winning the war against terrorism: analysts. 01-06-2004. ABC News Online

-- Islamic terrorist threats on the rise worldwide

"...America is losing and losing badly. Osama & Company are having a banner year. The reason is not any brilliance on their part, but gross buffoonery on ours"

-- Iraq’s WMD Factory By William S. Lind; On War #66; accessed online 6-21-04; d-n-i.net

-- British Think Tank Says Iraq Conflict Has Strengthened Al-Qaeda; rferl.org

-- Study: al-Qaida is 18,000 strong and growing; indystar.com

-- Occupation has boosted al-Qaida, says thinktank; guardian.co.uk

-- Occupation made world less safe, pro-war institute says; news.independent.co.uk

-- Bush's failed Mideast policy is creating more terrorism 05-06-04; charleston.net

-- Iraq Is a Hub for Terrorism, However You Define It; nytimes.com

-- Bush policies make terrorism a growth industry; fpif.org

More links related to this issue include:

| Book by C.I.A. Officer Says U.S. Is Losing Fight Against Terror | the Iraq war has greatly increased recruitment by al Qaeda and similar radical groups | The Wrong War How the war in Iraq has fueled Al Qaeda and ignited its dream of global jihad | We have created the greatest recruiting tool possible for bin Laden and his ilk |

-- Bush’s War On Terror Makes World More Dangerous To Live In: Amnesty

-- War On Terror Has Made World A More Dangerous Place, Says Amnesty

-- War on 'terror' backfires

"...the most sustained attack on human rights and international humanitarian law in 50 years"

-- Amenesty International

-- Report: 'US war on terror bankrupt' By Elizabeth Blunt; 26 May, 2004; news.bbc.co.uk

-- Amnesty: 'Bankrupt' war on terror is world's most damaging conflict in 50 years

-- The War on Terror Is Not Working’; msnbc.msn.com

-- US behind 'the worst attack on rights for 50 years'

More links relating to this include:

| Yahoo! News - Amnesty slams 'bankrupt' vision of US in damning human rights report | Amnesty International Warns Of Sustained Attack On Basic Values And International Humanitarian Law | Armed Groups, Governments Unleash Weapons of Terror | Amnesty International Blasts U.S. Over Rights Record | War on Terror Led to New Wave of Rights Abuses, Amnesty Says | Amnesty slams 'bankrupt' vision of the US | Human rights climate 'worst in 50 years' | Amnesty blasts Uncle Sam - The Times of India | Amnesty says human rights eroded by war on terror | Human rights under siege across globe, Amnesty says | War On TerrorismU.S. war on terror partly to blame for crisis in human rights Amnesty report | Amnesty slams unprincipled US global security agenda | Amnesty says US is bankrupt of vision | Amnesty slams 'bankrupt' vision of US in damning report - After Saddam - www.smh.com.au | War On Terror Called War On Rights May 26, 2004 100121 | Bush made world a dangerous place Amnesty | Amnesty Slams U.S.-Led War On Terror | U.S.-Led Terror War 'Bereft of Principle' -Amnesty | Group: Terror War Has Hurt Human Rights | War on Terror, War in Iraq Encouraged New Wave of Human Rights Abuse, Amnesty Report 2004 Says | U.S. dismisses report on human-rights abuses | Rights Eroded in War on Terrorism, Amnesty Says (washingtonpost.com) | Right report slams US war on terror | War on terror cited as eroding rights | Rights 'under strongest attack since UN began' | Amnesty report says US war on terror encourages global abuses | Amnesty attacks US 'abuses of rights in blind pursuit of security' | War on terror lawless Amnesty | The war on terror led by the US is behind a surge of human rights abuses around the world | Yahoo! News - Al-Qaeda boosted by Iraq war, warns think-tank | Qaeda Has 18,000 Militants for Raids - Think Tank | Human rights climate 'worst in 50 years' | Iraq War Helped Boost Al Qaeda Allowed Network to Recruit Experts |

Indeed, it turns out the Bush Administration has actually been rewarding and making official allies of some who helped Al-Qaeda wage the 9-11-01 attacks, while killing or invading those who opposed Al-Qaeda's 9-11-01 attacks (What the hell??? Did I type that correctly? Unfortunately, yes. Believe it or not). And, of course, according to Washington the Bush Administration was 'tricked' into some of these things by devilishly smart third-worlders.

-- Mole in Our Midst Finally, a grand unified theory that explains Bush's domestic and international policies. Little did we know By Matthew Yglesias; 06.02.04; prospect.org

Two countries Bush presently hails as allies (Pakistan and Saudi Arabia), plus one he indirectly took advice from to invade Iraq (Iran), all seem to have had more to do with the terrorist attacks of 9-11-01 than Iraq did. Also, the head of the Taliban in Afghanistan opposed bin Laden's 9-11-01 attacks.

So what does Bush do to punish or reward all these folks accordingly? He invades Afghanistan, throws out the Taliban, and puts a price on the head of the guy who opposed bin Laden's plan there. Bush also invades and conquers Iraq, arresting Saddam Hussein, who was one of the greatest opposing forces to bin Laden and Islamic religious extremism in the Middle East (even if he was also a murderous dictator). But don't take my word for it: read about it for yourself, below (I doubt you'll see much about this on Fox News):

-- Yahoo! News - White House Statements on Iraq, al-Qaida; story.news.yahoo.com

-- US intelligence fears Iran duped hawks into Iraq war by Julian Borger; May 25, 2004; guardian.co.uk

-- Iran Is in Strong Position to Steer Iraq's Political Future; nytimes.com

-- Pakistan helped Osama, Iraq didn't: 9/11 panel; JUNE 16, 2004; timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Mullah Omar, the Afghanistan Taliban regime chief, opposed bin Laden's plan to attack the US.

-- 9/11 Report: 10-Plane Attack Was Planned; The Associated Press; June 16, 2004; printerfriendly.abcnews.com

-- Bush makes Pakistan 'major non-NATO ally' AFP; 17 June 2004; channelnewsasia.com

-- Bush rewards Pak despite 9/11 link (possibly by CHIDANAND RAJGHATTA); timesofindia.indiatimes.com; JUNE 17, 2004

-- America is ready to do business with state sponsors of terrorism if the terms are right; seattlepi.nwsource.com

-- PAKISTAN FOR BUSH. July Surprise? by John B. Judis, Spencer Ackerman & Massoud Ansari; ; tnr.com; posted 07.29.04 | Issue date 07.19.04

-- U.S. Restores Libya Ties; nytimes.com

-- Panel Underscores White House Differences 9/11 Commission Chairman Says al-Qaida Had Much More Interaction With Iran, Pakistan Than Iraq The Associated Press; abcnews.go.com; June 20, 2004

-- Pakistan and Saudi Arabia helped set the stage for the Sept. 11 attacks by cutting deals with the Taliban and Osama bin Laden; story.news.yahoo.com

"Saudi Arabia and Pakistan let terrorists flourish before 9/11, apparently in return for protection from attacks by Al Qaeda"

-- 2 Allies Aided Bin Laden, Say Panel Members By Josh Meyer; fairuse.1accesshost.com; citing Los Angeles Times June 20, 2004

-- Yahoo! News - Report says no evidence of Iraq-al Qaeda cooperation on anti-US attacks; story.news.yahoo.com

-- Yahoo! News - 9-11 Panel Disputes Iraq Link to Attacks; story.news.yahoo.com

"no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States"

-- 9/11 panel: Al Qaeda planned to hijack 10 planes; cnn.com; June 17, 2004

-- No Link Between Al-Qaida and Saddam - 9/11 Commission; news.scotsman.com; 16 Jun 2004

-- 'No Saddam link to Sept 11'; itv.com

-- Panel Says No Signs of Iraq, Qaeda Link; reuters.com

-- The official inquiry into September 11 has found no credible evidence of a link with Iraq AFP; abc.net.au; June 17, 2004

-- 9/11 panel sees no link between Iraq, al-Qaida; msnbc.msn.com; June 16, 2004

-- Yahoo! News - Panel says Saddam didn't help al-Qaeda; story.news.yahoo.com

-- No Evidence Connecting Iraq to Al Qaeda, 9/11 Panel Says By Dan Eggen; June 16, 2004; washingtonpost.com

-- Yahoo! News - Group Bush's Foreign Policy 'Dangerous'

-- Yahoo! News - Retired Envoys, Commanders Assail Bush Team; story.news.yahoo.com

-- NATO Chief Says Iraq and Afghanistan Are Doomed Without World Cooperation; nytimes.com

-- World cooperation lost; The Charleston Gazette; June 02, 2004; wvgazette.com

Sure, bin Laden will almost certainly be caught or killed eventually, what with several $trillion worth of the most advanced technologies, intelligence agencies, and military forces on Earth combing the remotest regions of the world for him at the command of a US President desperately seeking re-election. It's probably safe to say the hunt for bin Laden is the biggest, most technologically advanced, and expensive such campaign in the history of the world. Especially when you consider too all the bribes in the forms of aid monies, weapons discounts and/or giveaways, and trade concessions bestowed by the Bush Administration to get leaders in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and elsewhere to help the pursuit.

But keep in mind bin Laden has apparently had a death wish for decades; I read somewhere that during the Afghan fight with the Soviets he frequently fought on the front lines and suffered injury; so being killed by the US might be a victory for him as well. Heck, he might even gain sacred martyr status among Moslems in such an event too, gaining an even greater measure of immortality in the history books than he already possesses.

Up to now bin Laden appears to have played Bush and Cheney like a violin-- or else they're in secret cahoots with him-- because I cannot imagine anything else Bush and Cheney could possibly do to further acquiesce to bin Laden's agenda than they already have since 9-11-01.

Like what you ask?

Bin Laden wanted the US to leave Saudi Arabia: So we are!

-- Most U.S. troops to leave Saudi Arabia in major shift of America's Gulf presence By Matt Kelley; ASSOCIATED PRESS; April 29, 2003; signonsandiego.com

-- Military to leave Saudi Arabia By Stephen J. Hedges; Chicago Tribune April 30, 2003; globalsecurity.org

-- Evacuation Is Ordered for Most U.S. Diplomats in Saudi Arabia By Robin Wright and Dana Priest; Washington Post; April 16, 2004; Page A17

-- US citizens urged to leave Saudi; 15 April, 2004; news.bbc.co.uk

-- Americans Told to Leave Saudi Arabia; nytimes.com

Bin Laden wanted to increase the level of hostility between Christianity and Islam. America has helped him there in almost every way we could, with the possible exception that the numbers of native American Arabs and Moslems we're shipping off to be tortured in foreign countries, or simply imprisoning for virtually no reason at all here in the USA still remains on the low side: But hey, we're making up for that big time in the killing, torturing, and imprisonment of such folk we're doing outside our own borders! And let us not forget the twin pieces de resistance of this pursuit so far: the occupation of Iraq and complicity in Israel's own most recent crimes against the Palestinians. I mention the Palestinians here not because I especially favor them over the Israelis, but because both sides seem equally wrong and excessively hostile towards the other-- only the Palestinians face heavy prejudice in the US and world press, as well as have no superpower Sugar Daddy like the USA to bankroll their military, economy, and general propaganda. I'd prefer to see both Israelis and Palestinians live and prosper in peace-- and truthfully see no way this will happen until and unless real justice and economic opportunity is served to both sides in equal measure.

Bin Laden wanted to isolate the USA from the rest of the world. And dang if we haven't done everything in our power to accomodate him! Hmmm. At the moment I can't think of anything else we could do towards this aim? Wait a minute! Maybe we can attack a third Arab and/or Moslem country after the 2004 elections! And even a fourth! And start a trade war with the EU or Asia! Or push the buttons of other countries worldwide in some other way...Yeah, that's the ticket!

Bin Laden would love to see the entire west-- but especially the US-- grow more economically impoverished and weaker, ASAP. So he sure couldn't have asked for a better US President than George W. Bush to fulfill those aims. Apparently no President in US history has ever squandered more tax payer money for less public gain (and in as short a period) as Bush #2. Bin Laden must be pleased when he reads the financial pages on America's worsening plight on virtually every level, from individual to national.

Lastly, I don't know if an Arab like bin Laden takes such things personally, but many other kinds of folks would often enjoy seeing their enemy humiliated and mocked by millions. So if bin Laden shares this trait, he surely must be getting pleasure from the widening perception of Bush world-wide as a bumbling power-mad fool-- as well as how that perception is also tarnishing America's reputation and credibility in general.

Yes, I wonder how Bush and Cheney (and the nation they command) will service bin Laden next? ACK!

"...it's starting to seem like al-Qaeda runs the White House as well."

-- Chaos in Washington By Tom Engelhardt; May 17, 2004; motherjones.com

"The Bush administration has given a gift to Al Qaeda's worldwide recruitment efforts."

-- The Military Archipelago; May 7, 2004; nytimes.com

"...Mr. Bush has given Osama bin Laden exactly what he wanted"

-- The Oil Crunch By PAUL KRUGMAN; May 7, 2004; nytimes.com

-- Uncle Sam's 'gift' to al-Qaida; 11 May 2004; english.aljazeera.net

Osama bin Laden has clearly succeeded at increasing the feelings of hostility between the world's western Judeo-Christians and the eastern Muslims.

-- War of Ideas, Part 2 By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN; January 11, 2004; nytimes.com

The Iraq war and occupation is "inspiring" more and more terrorist attacks and related threats all over the world, according to experts. Bush gave the terrorists practically a perfect motivational and training tool by attacking Iraq.

-- Yahoo! News - Iraq could become 'terrorist Disneyland', experts warn; AFP; Apr 8, 2004; story.news.yahoo.com

America's own CIA and State Department officials say the US Iraq invasion has helped the spread of anti-Americanism such as bin Laden touts, and worsened the danger to America.

-- Spread of Bin Laden Ideology Cited By Walter Pincus; Washington Post; April 4, 2004; Page A13; washingtonpost.com

Terrorists such as Osama bin Laden appear on the verge of a breathtaking and largely unexpected win in the sweepstakes of winning the hearts and minds of the international community away from America and its values and interests, for decades to come.

-- International Relations 101 By ROBERT M. GATES (director of US central intelligence from 1991 to 1993); March 31, 2004; nytimes.com

More links relating to this matter include:

| Bush is in Trouble; Will bin Laden Bail him Out? | Bush told he is playing into Bin Laden's hands Al-Qaida may 'reward' American president with strike aimed at keeping him in office, senior intelligence man says | I'm very sure they can't have a better administration for them than the one they have now | Anonymous believes Mr Bush is taking the US in exactly the direction Bin Laden wants | the administration did terrorist recruiters a very big favor | There is nothing that bin Laden could have hoped for more than the American invasion and occupation of Iraq | The most likely outcome is three mini-Afghanistans that will serve as havens for terrorist activities throughout the Middle East

For references regarding Bush possibly being the worst President in US history, CLICK HERE.

For LOTS more citations concerning the various kinds of damage being done to the US by Bush Administration policies, CLICK HERE FIRST to see the result of right-wing policies in general, and CLICK HERE SECOND to see some specifics of where the current policies of the Bush Administration appear to be taking America circa 2004.

Newz&Viewz Contents

4-27-04: Why the dire forecasts for America in the timeline? UPDATED

Lately I've seen online forum comments that some folks got very depressed reading about the future I expect for America. I don't blame them. It depresses me too. But the timeline isn't meant to evangelize the US and its policies: it's meant to offer a glimpse at what (in my opinion) may be highly likely events of future history, based on everything I know at the time of writing. I try to provide plenty of credible third party references for those opinions (from a variety of sources) on the same pages (which may be one reason the results look so depressing-- because they appear so plausible).

Could I be wrong about America's future? Of course! Indeed, I hope I am, in many respects-- especially the nearer term ones.

Perhaps some readers would like to know a few of the biggest assumptions on which my speculation about America's nearer term future is currently based.

One, I'm assuming G.W. Bush will win re-election-- or at least re-appointment to the Presidency, in a redux of his original entry into office with the help of the conservative-dominated Supreme Court.

-- Yahoo! News - Academics Use Formulas to Predict Bush Win

"Our legislators have reached the point of declaring that, when it comes to apportionment, 'We are in the business of rigging elections.'"

-- APRIL 2004: U.S. NO LONGER FREE, NOR A DEMOCRACY by Dave Pollard; April 30, 2004; blogs.salon.com/0002007/ citing the New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/29/opinion/29THU2.html?th

"History is replete with examples showing that the decline from liberal democracy to ruthless and tyrannical dictatorship can occur quickly...The rest of the world can only watch, and shudder, at how easily and quietly the fall of a once-great country is beginning."

-- APRIL 2004: U.S. NO LONGER FREE, NOR A DEMOCRACY by Dave Pollard; April 30, 2004; blogs.salon.com/0002007/

I'm also assuming that Republicans will retain their current dominance over the House of Representatives and Senate, as well as Supreme Court-- so all three branches of US government will continue to be controlled by Republicans after 2004.

"...the drift toward an engineered one-party Republican state has aroused little press scrutiny or widespread popular protest"

-- Watching the Numbers By Tom Engelhardt, tomdispatch.com, January 26, 2004; alternet.org

"Our legislators have reached the point of declaring that, when it comes to apportionment, 'We are in the business of rigging elections.'"

-- APRIL 2004: U.S. NO LONGER FREE, NOR A DEMOCRACY by Dave Pollard; April 30, 2004; blogs.salon.com/0002007/ citing the New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/29/opinion/29THU2.html?th

"History is replete with examples showing that the decline from liberal democracy to ruthless and tyrannical dictatorship can occur quickly...The rest of the world can only watch, and shudder, at how easily and quietly the fall of a once-great country is beginning."

-- APRIL 2004: U.S. NO LONGER FREE, NOR A DEMOCRACY by Dave Pollard; April 30, 2004; blogs.salon.com/0002007/

There's FOUR major reasons I expect this to happen: One, the rampant corruption throughout virtually all facets of American business, government, and politics today-- which especially includes campaign finance, which seems to have ruined both the Republican and Democratic parties, and now effectively prevents any new and untainted third parties from rising to power. Two, the obvious mega-corporate bias now favoring Republican candidates and issues via Fox News, and slowly expanding to include all other US news and opinion venues. This virtual lock on the media favoring Republican causes should make it very tough to dislodge them from power any time soon, barring some sort of miracle. Three, the present control of all three branches of US government that Republicans enjoy, thereby making the famous 'checks and balances' of the American system moot. For you'd need not one or a few, but LOTS of courageous (maybe foolhardy) politicians and whistleblowers of exemplary ethical standards to fix what's going on now in America-- but it just so happens our corrupt campaign financing system filters most of those kinds of folks out. And what few squeak by the filter can be silenced or terminated in other ways by the system. Four, around half of all American voters are useless for political decision-making, as they ignore or don't care about the issues, and simply vote a straight Republican or Democratic ticket no matter what. These folks would vote in Hitler as long as he stood before the proper party banner. The other half are always up for grabs by either party, but are often too busy to do anything but accept whichever party's propaganda can get to them in the biggest and most consistent quantities. For those straddling the fence, the parties first try to coax them down on the desired side by a mix of issue confusion and assurances. If a party gives up completely on a given demographic, then they simply try to 'turn them off' about voting entirely, in an effort to insure the other camp doesn't get them. So, my fellow Americans, it appears we are royally screwed.

-- Bush unscathed by investigations. Here's why Special counsels are now a thing of the past, and GOP-controlled Congress has stifled partisan inquiries By Susan Page; USA TODAY; found on or about 9-17-2003

-- Why Bush, GOP can block all inquiries By Susan Page, USA TODAY; 8/12/2003

Of the nine Justices currently serving on the Supreme Court, seven were selected by Republican administrations.

-- Yahoo! News - Politics in the Supreme Court; The Associated Press; 9-8-03

"For five decades....the biggest bargain around...[was]....political influence. For many a year, it was far cheaper than anything to be found in the stock market."

"[If real campaign finance reform is not undertaken in the US]....we are well on our way to ensuring that a government of the moneyed, by the moneyed, and for the moneyed shall not perish from the earth."

-- Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., 2000

-- The Billionaire's Buyout Plan By WARREN E. BUFFETT; September 10, 2000; The New York Times Company

-- The Short, Unhappy Life of Campaign Finance Reform

-- Media conglomerates manipulate our views By Nick Bayard; browndailyherald.com; February 10, 2003 vol. CXXXVIII, no. 14

Liberal publications appear to be far more objective and less partisan than their conservative peers in their coverage of various Presidential administrations and their policies.

-- Persuaders or Partisans? (washingtonpost.com) By Howard Kurtz; August 5, 2003

According to Republican Congressman Ron Paul, all Americans should be very worried by the mainstream US media's recent practice of mostly unquestioning support of present US foreign policy.

-- "Neo-conned"; Congressman Ron Paul (Republican) addresses the U.S. House of Representatives, July 10, 2003

"...the growing concentration of wealth has reshaped our political system: it is at the root both of a general shift to the right and of an extreme polarization of our politics"

-- Paul Krugman

-- Plutocracy by some other name; thoughts on the eve of the apocalypse; October 20, 2002; citing this New York Times article

Murdoch's News Corp, offering TV media like Fox News in the USA, is said by some to possess sufficient influence to affect elections and effectively pick and choose the governments of nations otherwise regarded as sovereign and developed democracies.

-- Yahoo! News - Media mogul Murdoch backs Bush in US election; Apr 7, 2004; AFP; story.news.yahoo.com

-- Rupert Murdoch's Digital Death Star By Jeffrey Chester, AlterNet; May 20, 2003; alternet.org

-- Yahoo! News - Mega Media Mergers: How Dangerous?; BusinessWeek Online; Feb 13, 2004

-- Turner: Murdoch Is World's 'Most Dangerous Man'; May 18, 2003; newsmax.com

If a single mega-corporation controlled all the news and entertainment media you ever experienced, wouldn't it effectively control you too?

-- The Five Sisters By WILLIAM SAFIRE; New York Times; February 16, 2004; nytimes.com

A study performed by the University of Michigan in 1971 had this conclusion: the more TV programming you viewed, the less knowledge you possessed.

-- Paranoid shift By Michael Hasty; Online Journal; January 10, 2004; onlinejournal.com

The Bush Administration and its neoconservative allies routinely brand virtually all dissent or opposition to their policies as unpatriotic and traitorous.

-- "Neo-conned"; Congressman Ron Paul (Republican) addresses the U.S. House of Representatives, July 10, 2003

-- Inevitably, The Politics Of Terror By E.J. Dionne Jr.; washingtonpost.com; May 25, 2003; Page B01

"...the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

-- Hermann Goering, Hitler's chosen successor for ruling Nazi Germany during World War II; quote from the Nuremberg Trials 1945-1946

The last time the legislative and executive branches of the US government were controlled by Republicans for more than a year or two at a time was during the decade preceding the Great Depression and WWII. I haven't researched which party controlled the Supreme Court during that period (sorry).

The Republican political party of USAmerica controlled both houses of Congress for the whole decade preceding the Great Depression of the 20th century. They also held the Presidency during these years. They pushed tariffs to an all time high, often looked the other way as big business commited violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and market competition within the USA waned, and made tax cuts which benefited the wealthy.

It was after all this that the Great Depression took place, lasting for many years.

-- Encyclopedia Americana: Republican Party possibly by George H. Mayer, University of South Florida, Grolier Incorporated

Corruption within the ruling Republican party of 1920s USA was rampant.

-- Welcome to the Machine by Nicholas Confessore; The Washington Monthly; July/August 2003

US President(s): Warren G. Harding, Republican, 1921-1923; Calvin Coolidge, Republican, 1923-1929; Herbert Hoover, Republican, 1929-1933

-- The Universal Almanac 1996, Andrews & McMeel, pages 70-91, and other sources

Senate: Republican majority (68th, 69th, 70th, 71st, 72nd Congresses)

-- U.S. Senate Statistics: Majority and Minority Parties and Senate Statistics Vice Presidents

House of Representatives: Republican majority, (68th, 69th, 70th, 71st, 72nd Houses)

-- Political Divisions of the House of Representatives (1789 to Present), Source: Committee on House Administration. Charlie Rose, Chairman. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1994. History of the United States House of Representatives, 1789-1994 Washington: 1994

Republicans controlled both the Senate and the House in Congress, as well as the Presidency, from 1921 to 1933. After the debacle of the Great Depression, they never again managed to control all three of these positions simultaneously for longer than a year or two at a time, at most (as of mid-2003).

-- The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2002, pages 92 and 545; World Almanac Books

If the Republicans somehow lost control of the House or Senate but retained the Presidency and Supreme Court, they'd still dominate US policies for years to come. Heck, even if a clean sweep of the electorate by some miracle turned the Presidency and both Congress and Senate over to the Democrats by wide margins, I doubt that America's path could be turned away from disaster in time. For large bodies like the US economy take a while to respond to most any reasonably circumspect changes by government. So even if a wildly liberal government gained control (and the US found its normal system of political checks and balances restored), the best we could hope for would be a reduction in the duration of pain and suffering to come-- for Bush and company have done major damage to the US in an astonishing measure of breadth and depth, in just one term, by way of truly radical changes. Of course, another important element here is that even 'liberal' Democrats aren't really that liberal these days. The reason is the rampant corruption involved in political campaign financing. Democrats over the last 40 years have steadily become more and more conservative just so they could rake in some of the same big bucks the Republicans routinely do-- and so afford to run for office at all.

[To see LOTS more supporting references for the statements immediately above, please refer to The enormous hidden costs to society of 'right-wing' political governance.]

If John Kerry is elected president, he's going to face a bitter and highly cohesive Republican Congress

So with both parties massively corrupted by the ongoing campaign finance scandal in America, there's very little chance that the next Administration, regardless of major political party affiliation, will be willing and able to prevent the USS America's coming collision with that iceberg ahead. A strongly Democratic Administration, Congress, and Senate would likely lessen the duration and depth of the disaster, but as it would likely take place on their watch (after the scoundrels truly responsible have left office), the Democrats may well get erroneously blamed for causing it, and then lose again in the very next elections, causing another gang of criminals to come in and finish off the country.

What do I mean by 'finish off the country'? Basically they'll turn the US into a weird new kind of nation which is basically a third world country in terms of civil rights, institutions, infrastructure, the mass media, and wealth inequality, but as the living standards for the majority start off reasonably high and only slowly and gradually drop over time, those in charge might be able to sufficiently dissolve the most vital elements of American justice, prosperity, freedom, and dynamism so as to cause the nation to break up in civil war, or be sold off piecemeal to the highest foreign bidder, in a reverse process of past historical events like the Louisiana and Alaska Purchases.

For citations concerning the various kinds of damage being done to the US by Bush Administration policies, CLICK HERE.

Much like how a frog slowly brought to a boil can be tricked into remaining in the pot until it dies, the American public may be successfully manipulated into denying there's anything profoundly wrong with US politics until it's too late for the nation as a whole. Yes, maybe some small portion of the USA will survive and prosper again afterwards, but the 50 state USA as we know it today (early 2004) likely won't exist decades from now. Due in no small measure to the current Bush Administration, and its astonishing levels of incompetence and corruption.

Want some details on what I expect a re-elected or re-appointed Bush Administration to do in its second term (and possibly beyond)? Here goes:

Go to war against at least one more country-- and that country could be anything from Saudi Arabia to North Korea, with states like Syria, Pakistan, and Iran in-between in the line up. Odds are though that we'll pick a nation that's practically defenseless military-wise-- like Saudi Arabia or Syria or Iran-- as well as possesses a good amount of treasure-- like Saudi Arabia or Iran. The US is likely to make aggressive moves something short of all out war on various other countries too, at the same time, like punishing economic sanctions, asset seizures, sabotage, and assassinations.

The book "An End to Evil" by Richard Perle and David Frum (Perle is a high profile neo-conservative who helped pave the way for the invasion of Iraq, while Frum was Bush's speech writer for his famous 'axis of evil' address) offers a vision of indefinite, everlasting, unprovoked war by the US to conquer Syria, North Korea, Iran, and perhaps China and other countries.

-- Giving money to rich people by Molly Ivins Creators Syndicate; 01.15.04; workingforchange.com

But maybe Perle and Frum are crazy, right? Well, not according to Vice President Cheney...

-- Cheney's grim vision: decades of war by James Sterngold; January 15, 2004; San Francisco Chronicle; sfgate.com

-- Yahoo! News - Cheney Unrelenting on War Policy

...or President Bush...

-- Iran 'Will Be Dealt With,' Bush Says By Mike Allen; Washington Post; April 22, 2004; Page A06; washingtonpost.com

-- Bush Imposes Sanctions on Syria, Citing Ties to Terrorism

-- Bush Imposes Export Ban Against Syria

-- Lawmaker: Bush Imposes Economic Sanctions on Syria

Bush's insistance on topping off the Strategic Pretroleum Reserves at all costs and ASAP seems a strong indication of impending war with someone.

-- Bush Says He Won't Tap Oil Reserve to Stem Price Rise (Update1) by Michael McKee; quote.bloomberg.com; May 20, 2004

-- Bush: Petroleum reserve won't be tapped to ease gas prices; mlive.com

Something like a military draft will be rolled out, even if it's different somehow from the Vietnam days. For instance, folks already enlisted might see their terms of duty suddenly or gradually lengthened against their will, or a new law might be passed requiring all young men to serve in the military for a while, as happens in Israel. Or maybe just people with certain types of talent, skills or training will be drafted. It's hard to tell, but some sort of draft will likely be necessary to support the increasing militarism of the US. And all those new prison camps and bases at home and abroad will need personnel to man them too. Alternatively, the Administration might turn to mercenaries or private security forces for some or all these demands-- but as with the occupation of Iraq I expect these future aggressions to include both traditional military and modern mercenary forces in the mix.

Social Security and Medicare for existing retirees is likely to be preserved or even expanded (such expansion may be smoke and mirrors or more hype than truth, like the recently enacted drug benefit which is mostly a giveaway of tax dollars to mega-corporations), but for many Baby Boomers like myself Social Security and Medicare may well be drastically scaled back, or even effectively abolished altogether. YIKES!

"There's no telling how many wars it will take to secure freedom in the homeland"

-- US President George W. Bush, 2002

-- White House unable to see beyond toppling Saddam by Marian Wilkinson; August 7 2002; smh.com.au

-- Cheney's grim vision: decades of war by James Sterngold; January 15, 2004; San Francisco Chronicle; sfgate.com

We're adding troops to Iraq, Afghanistan and other spots at such a pace we're already severely straining our military as of 2004.

-- Yahoo! News - U.S. force in Iraq to grow as Marine deployment pushed up

Part of the strain is due to casualties.

-- Yahoo! News - Guard, Reserve Death Toll Rising in Iraq

The strain is so severe we're already stretched in many ways as far as we were during the Korean War of the fifties.

-- Political 'battleground' feels fatigue of real war By Kathy Kiely, USA TODAY; Jun 15, 2004; story.news.yahoo.com

The strain's so bad we're forcing current troops to stay far longer than they signed up for or expected.

-- U.S. Army blocks retirements by JOHN J. LUMPKIN ASSOCIATED PRESS; thestar.com; Jun. 3, 2004

"It runs contrary to the whole notion of a volunteer military"

-- Capt. Andrew Exum, retired, former Army Ranger

-- Numbers Challenge U.S. Military Struggles to Maintain Adequate Troop Levels By Martha Raddatz; June 2, 2004; abcnews.go.com

-- Yahoo! News - Soldiers Facing Extended Tours; story.news.yahoo.com

-- Yahoo! News - Troops Told They Can't Leave Army By Esther Schrader; Top Stories - Los Angeles Times; story.news.yahoo.com; Jun 3, 2004

-- U.S. Army Temporarily Stops Retirements for Iraq-Bound Troops; quote.bloomberg.com; June 2, 2004

-- Army stops soldiers from leaving units designated for Iraq and Afghanistan (6-2-04) By Chris Strohm; govexec.com

-- Army plan aims to keep soldiers on duty By JOHN J. LUMPKIN; seattlepi.nwsource.com; June 3, 2004

-- Reservists See Recruiting Scam May 31, 2004 080037

The strain's so bad we're being forced to pull troops out of what were previously permanent pre-positioning in places like South Korea (where technically the Korean War of the fifties still isn't over), as well as Europe. Heck, we've even had to pull troops out of Saudi Arabia partly because of desperate needs elsewhere!

-- Yahoo! News - U.S. Plans to Cut Troops in S.Korea by a Third

-- U.S. Plans to Pull 12,500 Troops From South Korea

-- Yahoo! News - Pentagon May Withdraw Troops From Germany

-- Most U.S. troops to leave Saudi Arabia in major shift of America's Gulf presence By Matt Kelley; ASSOCIATED PRESS; April 29, 2003; signonsandiego.com

-- Military to leave Saudi Arabia By Stephen J. Hedges; Chicago Tribune April 30, 2003; globalsecurity.org

If we're to keep up our present offensives-- and even possibly invade still other countries, we're going to need to spend even more money and build up even more troops.

-- Senate Votes to Add 20,000 Soldiers to Army; nytimes.com

-- Bush Wants Steady Increases in Military Spending ; reuters.com

-- Bush seeks more money for defense; January 31, 2004; seattletimes.nwsource.com

-- Yahoo! News - Bush ramps up war spending in 2.4 trillion dollar budget; story.news.yahoo.com

So is it any surprise lots of folks are now considering re-institution of the draft?

-- Draft dilemma They are going to reintroduce the draft in the US. But it's such a vote loser, no one wants to mention it by John Sutherland; May 31, 2004; guardian.co.uk

-- New Draft Debate May 30, 2004 113020; cbsnews.com

-- The Return of the Draft, a Bipartisan Production; counterpunch.org

-- Pending Draft Legislation Targeted for Spring 2005; congress.org

-- U.S. eyes proposal to draft women; thestar.com; May 3, 2004; Hearst Newspapers

-- Selective Service eyes women's draft The proposal would also require registration of critical skillsBy ERIC ROSENBERG; SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER WASHINGTON BUREAU; May 1, 2004

-- Kids, parents prepare for the draft BY MICHAEL VENTURA; austinchronicle.com; May 14, 2004

-- Yahoo! News - Mercenaries fill U.S. void in Iraq

More links relating to all this include:

| Yahoo! News - Wars Put Strain On National Guard | Yahoo! News - Lawmakers: Troop call-ups pose 'alarm' | Yahoo! News - Lawmakers: Reserves Stretched to Limit | Yahoo! News - Are Troops Streched Too Thin in Iraq | Lawmaker: Reserves Near Breaking Point | Lawmaker: Pentagon taxing Reserve soldiers to breaking point | Army to call up former soldiers | US Recalls 6,000 Ex-Soldiers For Service In Iraq, Afghanistan | this is the first sizeable call-up of the kind since the 1991 Gulf War and critics say it amounts to backdoor conscription | U.S. sending ex-GIs to Iraq | U.S. DEPLOYMENT Ex-troops ordered back into service | Army Will Recall More Than 5,000 Veterans From 48 States (washingtonpost.com) | Pentagon forces 6,500 troops to return to army service | Critics denounce Army's involuntary troop call-up plan | Army to begin involuntary call-ups | Strains from Iraq and Afghanistan prompt Army to dip deeper into reserve pool | Army Expects Further Involuntary Troop Call-Up | Total of U.S. troops in Iraqi territory rises to 141,000 | Army announces emergency call-up of 5,600 former soldiers for Iraq duty | U.S. Readies for Draft | ABCNEWS.com Army to Call Up Retired, Discharged Troops | Army Recalling Thousands Who Left Service | Yahoo! News - Army Recalling Thousands Who Left Service | U.S. official talks of years in Iraq | Wolfowitz US Troops May Be in Iraq for Years |

"...it [President Bush's Medicare overhaul] is nothing more than a handout to prescription drug companies"

-- Wis. Governor Scolds Bush on Medicare By SIOBHAN McDONOUGH, Associated Press; Jan 10, 2004

Even as social programs in the US are curtailed, we'll be pouring the biggest sums into military, police, and intelligence forces the world has ever seen, so that we scare everyone, both home and elsewhere, even worse than we are now.

Those who like to see America as the biggest and baddest on the planet will be pretty happy for a while. But when the bills come due it won't be a pretty sight. And we'll have about as many friends and allies left by then as the Nazis did in the last days of WWII.

None of this bodes well for America's future fate. Hence, the scenario described in the timeline.

"There's no telling how many wars it will take to secure freedom in the homeland"

-- US President George W. Bush, 2002

-- White House unable to see beyond toppling Saddam by Marian Wilkinson; August 7 2002; smh.com.au

Jeffrey Record, of the Maxwell Air Force Base Air War College in Alabama, compares Bush's war on terror ambitions to "...Hitler's overreach in World War II...". He reminds us that the Germans suffered defeat in not one but two world wars basically because their resources were insufficient to match their goals.

-- Study Published by Army Criticizes War on Terror's Scope By Thomas E. Ricks; Washington Post; January 12, 2004; Page A12

I dearly hope I'm wrong. I have four young nephews and one young niece I definitely don't want on the front lines in Asia or wherever. Or serving as 21st century concentration camp guards in the US either. My niece asked me a deadly serious question the other day: Do girls have to sign up for the US draft too? I didn't know the answer. I'm afraid to look it up.

"There's no telling how many wars it will take to secure freedom in the homeland"

-- US President George W. Bush, 2002

-- White House unable to see beyond toppling Saddam by Marian Wilkinson; August 7 2002; smh.com.au

-- Bush Wants Steady Increases in Military Spending ; reuters.com

-- Bush seeks more money for defense; January 31, 2004; seattletimes.nwsource.com

-- Yahoo! News - Bush ramps up war spending in 2.4 trillion dollar budget; story.news.yahoo.com

-- Cheney's grim vision: decades of war by James Sterngold; January 15, 2004; San Francisco Chronicle; sfgate.com

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3-21-04: If the Bush Administration is trying to prove America would be just as well off with no government at all than its present one, I'd say they're doing a great job UPDATED

The purpose of modern government: to prevent or minimize anarchy among a given population; otherwise what's the point of having a government at all?

The above is paraphrased from a recent dialogue between myself and my young niece on the subject-- which helped inspire this log entry.

The purpose of modern government is supposed to be to organize and inspire its people in ways which help to insure survival, prosperity, and advancement or progress for their society in general over time-- both tangible and intangible (i.e., both secular and spiritual, etc.).

Where there is no government at all, you have the 'natural law' of figurative and literal tooth and claw-- which is the essence of anarchy: rule by the biggest, strongest, richest, and/or most ruthless among the population.

"The primary function of any civilization is to restrain human excess..."

-- The New Warrior Class by RALPH PETERS; Parameters, Summer 1994, pp. 16-26; Reviewed 26 February 1998

"...a doctrine that makes the United States a sort of elected dictatorship: a system in which the president, once in office, can do whatever he likes..."

-- A Vision of Power By PAUL KRUGMAN; April 27, 2004; nytimes.com

"This comes near saying that the president is above the law when acting as commander-in-chief in wartime. No other president has made such a claim."

-- Shameful revelations will haunt Bush; Jun 18th 2004; economist.com

Various related links include:

| A state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens | The very core of liberty...has been freedom from indefinite imprisonment at the will of the executive | The extreme reach of the administration's view that a war president is not subject to check by the other branches of government | | Bush 'claimed the right to use torture' on prisoners | Techniques 'amount to torture' | Bush claimed right to waive anti-torture laws | US approved use of dogs against prisoners - World - www.smh.com.au | Yahoo! News - Bush Claimed Right to Waive Torture Laws | Bush claimed right to waive anti-torture laws; Rumsfeld OK'd marathon questioning, prisoner threats | Report Says U.S. Has 'Secret' Detention Centers | The U.S. government is holding prisoners in a secret system of off-shore prisons beyond the reach of adequate supervision, accountability of law | Yahoo! News - Rights groups raise concerns over secret US-run prisons in Afghanistan |

"...If the government becomes a lawbreaker [or a hypocrite with double standards], it breeds contempt for the law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means...would bring terrible retribution. Against that pernicious doctrine this Court should resolutely set its face."

-- Justice Brandeis, Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 485. (1928)

-- Federal Courts and the IRS' own IRM Say the IRS is NOT RESPONSIBLE for Its Actions or its Words or For Following Its Own Written Procedures!; famguardian.org

-- World of Quotes - Louis D. Brandeis Quotes, worldofquotes.com, contained a portion of the above quote as of 6-21-04

Anarchy was the common state of humanity through most of its history: some recent examples of institutionalized anarchies include theocracies and the monarchies. Monarchies are states truly ruled by kings, queens, and so-called royal families. The reason for the anarchic classification is that the predecessors of those 'nobles' typically attained their power and wealth in most ignoble and anarchic ways, and tended to keep it in the same manner. They often did this while paying only so much attention to insuring the survival, prosperity, and advancement of their peoples necessary to keep their own power and wealth flowing, and protected from various anarchist competitors (rival kingdoms, etc.). Note that organizations too can play the anarchist game: religious organizations also vied to establish and maintain rule over the masses, through the centuries. Circa early 2004 Iran is a bonafide theocracy. That is, a state where those in power write the rules for everyone else based on their own (the leadership elite's) personal religious beliefs. YIKES!

The modern developed world threw off the notions of theocratic and monarchic rule (two flavors of historical anarchy) over the past few centuries, deciding that it seemed to be getting more and richer benefits for the population as a whole from democratic public participation, guided and supported by growing scientific, economic, and engineering knowledge. The benefits made themselves readily apparent when societies so organized competed economically or militarily against theocracies and monarchies.

So it appears the deeper purpose of modern government would best be to prevent or minimize breakouts of anarchy-- however it is cloaked or disguised-- within its borders and influence.

We discussed relatively old and passe versions of institutionalized anarchy above. But what of new and improved flavors? More subtle, more seductive anarchic offerings? Would we recognize them if we saw and experienced them? Apparently not, at least where many citizens of the modern world are concerned. Of course, it's not entirely their fault, as Alvin Toffler's notion of 'future shock' is impacting the population ever more heavily with each passing year, and the purveyors of anarchy have begun to very effectively use the knowledge and technology available today to make their anarchic case more persuasive to many voters among the democracies.

Of course, in making a case for a turn towards anarchy, it helps tremendously if you have no regard for truth or justice, and no empathy for your fellow man or woman.

After all, being a 21st century version of a king or queen or high priest is basically about self-gratification no matter the costs to others.

So what forms does early 21st century neoconservative Republican anarchy take? Dwindling accountability for those at and near the top of business and government, which allows wars to be initiated on a whim, and the retirement savings of thousands or even millions to be stolen, with little or no punishment for the thieves. Government policies which encourage and strengthen gargantuan companies at the expense of small business, the self-employed, and individual employees. Rampant corruption and incompetence in high places, with a thick blanket of secrecy, censorship, and coercion to protect it from being revealed to the public for as long as possible (in order that the criminals involved may make good their escape). Freeing the wealthiest individuals and corporations from as many social responsibilities and taxes and regulations as possible, while shifting such burdens to the little guy/middle-class/small business instead. A worsening environment slowly poisoning us all, and bringing about the next global mass extinction of species-- which could well take humanity with it, regardless of our technological prowess. Anti-terrorism policies which only breed more terrorism as they focus on the symptoms and not the causes and motivations for such acts. Increasingly militaristic and economic aggression, with booming budgets to match, that are bankrupting America itself and maybe setting up the whole world for a 21st century version of the Great Depression and WWII of the 20th (note the Republicans were in charge of America then, too).

-- Yahoo! News - Gov't Eludes 9-11 Accountability, Blame; story.news.yahoo.com

"George Bush promised to bring honor and integrity back to the White House. Instead, he got rid of accountability."

-- Where's the Apology? By PAUL KRUGMAN; January 30, 2004; nytimes.com

"...the United States will not tolerate any military rival globally or in any region of the world, and, second, we have the right to engage in pre-emptive military action"

-- Billionaire Foe of President Sees 3 Potential Democratic Victors By MICHAEL JANOFSKY; January 13, 2004; nytimes.com

"For them the law of the jungle is the best economic policy for America--not equal opportunity, not fairness, not the American dream."

"These latter day Social Darwinians clearly believe those who assemble great concentrations of wealth should be unfettered and permitted to dominate the nation's economic life, as much as they did in the late 19th century."

-- Senator Edward Kennedy, 2004

-- Kennedy's Other Speech; Editor's Cut by Katrina vanden Heuvel; 03/10/2004

-- Lawless US troops are killing and abusing Afghans, rights body says by Brian Whitaker; March 8, 2004; The Guardian; guardian.co.uk

"What we are watching today, I believe, is a culmination of 10 to 15 years of mounting barbarism of the American culture the world over...It is crowned by the achievements of science and technology as a major weapon of mass destruction."

-- Dr. Daniel Amit, an Israeli professor, University di Roma

-- SCRAPBOOK, from Unknown News; accessible online 4-28-04; unknownnews.net; citing interview published by Arab News May 12, 2003 at http://www.arabnews.com/ Article.asp? ID= 26097

One of the scariest things I've witnessed in my entire life is taking place right now: the USA, the sole superpower of the world, and acknowledged leader of the free world since WWII, has embarked on a course towards greater anarchy within its borders and worldwide, and naturally many other nations, organizations, and even individuals worldwide are following its lead.

The Iraq war and occupation is "inspiring" more and more terrorist attacks and related threats all over the world, according to experts. Bush gave the terrorists practically a perfect motivational and training tool by attacking Iraq.

-- Yahoo! News - Iraq could become 'terrorist Disneyland', experts warn; AFP; Apr 8, 2004; story.news.yahoo.com

-- The Apparat: George W. Bush's back-door political machine: It's anti-democratic, anti-Constitutional, and is working to create a one-party America by Jerry M. Landay; MARCH 18, 2004; mediatransparency.org

Anyone who opposes the Bush Administration's policies-- or even questions them-- is considered by Bush and his supporters to be siding with terrorists.

-- Taken for a Ride By PAUL KRUGMAN; March 19, 2004; nytimes.com

-- From the day it took office...the Bush administration dropped a shroud of secrecy over the federal government

"The people around Bush are deeply committed to dismantling the achievements of popular struggle through the past century no matter what the cost to the general population."

-- Chomsky backs 'Bush-lite' Kerry by Matthew Tempest; March 20, 2004; The Guardian; guardian.co.uk

"The presidential election, viewed as a symbol of American democracy, in reality is a money game played by the rich."

-- China Hits Back at U.S. Human Rights Record By Jonathan Ansfield; Reuters; Mar 01, 2004; story.news.yahoo.com (Feb 29, 9:59 PM was also stamped on this page when originally found).

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The article found at the above URL went through a substantial rewrite between the time I archived the original and then checked the online version again later. Just one of the changes was the quote above being removed. By Apr 29, 2004, the writer's name and quote were removed and the title changed to 'U.N. Rights Body Blocks Vote on China's Record'. I discuss such changing article content on the web further in First aid for broken links. END NOTE.

-- The US is Now in the Hands of a Group of Extremists by George Soros; April 29, 2004; citing the Guardian/UK, January 26, 2004

-- Dangerous Religion, George W. Bush's theology of empire by Jim Wallis; Sojourners Magazine-September-October 2003; sojo.net

"...an unprecedented 10-year program to eliminate virtually all taxes on businesses and investment income..."

-- The Nixon Recovery By CHARLES R. MORRIS; February 7, 2004; nytimes.com

-- The theocrats' stealth attack on the courts Posted by David Neiwert at February 23, 2004; reachm.com

"...the US can do what it likes - including making war on countries that have made no attack on it."

-- This war is not yet over by Jonathan Freedland; February 11, 2004; The Guardian; guardian.co.uk

-- Yahoo! News - Iraq may lay claim to Jordan, Kuwait in future: Hamid; story.news.yahoo.com

-- Yahoo! News - Stunned Kuwait demands clarification from Iraq over new land claims; story.news.yahoo.com

-- Iraqi women could lose rights they've had for decades, senators say by PAULINE JELINEK; Associated Press; February 2, 2004; sfgate.com

"...the vision of George Bush, which basically says it's every person for himself or herself, that we don't have to worry about the children, we don't have to worry about the poor, we don't have to worry about the old, we don't have to worry about working people. We're all going to go out and get it for ourselves, to hell with the environment, to hell with future generations, to hell with anybody else. That's Bush's vision."

-- We Are the Majority by Bernie Sanders; February 2004 issue; progressive.org

"The administration's actions display a perilous belief that, in the fight against terrorism, the executive is above the law"

-- Iraq War Not Humanitarian, Group Says By MICHAEL McDONOUGH, Associated Press; Jan 26, 2004; story.news.yahoo.com

-- Attacks by pirates on the rise; news.bbc.co.uk

-- Attacks by sea pirates rise 20% in a year; news.ft.com

-- Sea piracy hits record high - Jan. 28, 2004; cnn.com

-- Piracy and kidnapping soar on the high seas; reuters.com

-- Pirates getting more violent, maritime watchdog says; taipeitimes.com

-- Rise in incidence, ferocity, of pirate attacks alarms shipping industry; canadaeast.com

-- Piracy surges worldwide, as vanishing boats in Indonesia mystify sailors; chinapost.com.tw

There may be links between piracy on the high seas and global terrorism. As 80% of world trade travels the oceans, the global economy could actually be put into crisis by disruptions there.

-- Piracy and Terrorism; nytimes.com; April 10, 2004

-- A war against terror that went very wrong Fabricating terrorism to win U.S. approval - 7 innocents killed in Macedonian plot

If the Bush Administration is trying to prove America would be just as well off with no government at all than its present one, I'd say they're doing a great job!

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2-27-04: Little-known fact: Jesus Christ was an also-ran in the crucifixion pain and suffering department

How can I say this? Because possibly as many as hundreds of thousands of people, maybe even including children, were crucified over a period of hundreds of years, both before and after Jesus, apparently. So why is the crucifixion of Jesus the only one worth remembering for most people? I see no indication he likely suffered any worse than many of those thousands upon thousands of others. These were human beings too, people: not rodent pests to be slaughtered and forgotten.

So that's something to keep in mind as you consider Mel Gibson's film the Passion of the Christ, which seemingly glorifies one man's pain over everyone else's. Sure, there were other facets to Jesus the man which look to have been extraordinary. For instance, he seems to have had a great way with words. And he was extremely admirable in often showing and recommending compassion and mercy for others (traits many conservative Christian politicians and media pundits appear to ignore, I suppose because such benevolence smacks of 'liberalism'). But suffering crucifixion? That may have been one of the least unique things about the life of Jesus, compared to his contemporaries, and those who preceded and followed him through such agonies.

-- MEL GIBSON'S LETHAL WEAPON. The Worship of Blood by Leon Wieseltier; 02.26.04; Issue date 03.08.04; tnr.com

-- Cross purposes Jesus' crucifixion was one of many carried out for public and state reasons BY HELEN T. GRAY; The Kansas City Star; Feb. 22, 2004

-- Crucifixion in Antiquity by JOE ZIAS - The Jewish Roman World of Jesus - James Tabor; found on or about 2-27-04

-- Google Search how many people were crucified by the romans

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2-12-04: US mainstream media circa early 2004: Largely violent, blood-thirsty, greedy, manipulative, malevolent, boring, NON-informative, misleading, propagandistic, and hysterical UPDATED

Maintream US media's really gotten pitiful the last several years. So I wasn't surprised when recent reports said the major TV networks are losing even bigger chunks of their audience now than they were in previous years.

-- Yahoo! News - Nets' male delivery problem 03-28-2004; story.news.yahoo.com

-- Study Finds a Waning Appetite for News

-- Yahoo! News - Report Sees Bleak Trend in U.S. News Media; Mar 15, 2004; Reuters; story.news.yahoo.com

-- Is TV losing out to video games? - Mar 8, 2004

Sure, some of the abandonment of the mainstream media by consumers is due to the multiplying choices out there-- video games, rentable tapes and DVDs, the internet, home-made video, etc. And doubtless part of media's audience loss stems just from the ever shrinking free time of Americans in general, as the worsening economic environment forces most of us to run faster just to stay in the same place, as in Alice in Wonderland. More time spent working, and/or using elbow grease to substitute for things we might have paid others to do in better times, both leave less time for recreational or entertainment-related media consumption.

-- Is TV losing out to video games? - Mar 8, 2004; cnn.com

-- Yahoo! News - Poll Alternative News Gaining Influence; story.news.yahoo.com

-- Internet Said to Gain as Source for News; nytimes.com

But there's also another factor: the worsening quality fare available on mainstream media. Perhaps the biggest drop in quality pertains to the ever-shrinking fraction of actual programming we want to see versus the commercial advertising we don't want to. Nowadays it's often tough for me to sit through the commercial breaks embedded within even my favorite shows, due to their mind-numbing length. And for anything less favored, it's downright impossible.

Both the frequency and length of commercial breaks within TV shows seem to have been expanding steadily for years now.

And don't get me started on the censorship. In America now it seems even a french kiss will be excised from a film. Curse words originally in a film are virtually always replaced with what are perceived as less offensive substitutes-- often in voices not remotely like that of the actors whose words were removed. Worse still, the replacement words are often chosen so poorly as to be jarring in their incongruity for the audience, spoiling the entire experience. In regards to broadcast TV audiences, vast swaths of original material are left on the cutting room floor. Sometimes so much that the continuity of the film plot itself is ruined. But all this censorship mainly pertains just to flirting, intimacy, playful sexuality, or lovemaking. Often the most extreme cases of gruesome gore and violence will be allowed to pass the filter, while displays of love, attraction, and affection will be cut. Just last night I witnessed a scene of a man stumbling about in agony after about 40% of his head and face had been either shot off or eaten. Yes, it was fictional, but the special effects made it look real. And no, this was not something I was watching by choice. I saw this while flipping channels, which is why I don't know how he lost that portion of his head, or how much longer he pitched and swayed in the scene.

-- FCC chairman: Censor yourselves or the government will censor for you; infoshop.org

-- Alanis Morissette attacks US censorship; nzherald.co.nz

-- Pushed on Obscenity, Networks Turn to Delays, Even on Sports; nytimes.com

-- US TV watchdog banishes swearing; news.bbc.co.uk

-- No sex please, we're Americans; iol.co.za

Indeed, America is getting ever closer to the media standards of ultra-conservative theocracies like Iran, for gosh sakes(!)

-- They mean by this cinema that is clean of sex, even kisses...This is cinema with a veil--not on the head, but on the mind; story.news.yahoo.com

-- Seeing less sex on TV lately? Thank -- or blame -- the FCC; suntimes.com

-- Stewart Condemns Hollywood Violence; newsday.com

-- Patrick Stewart: Hollywood Complicit in Senationalist Depictions of Violence Against Women; trekweb.com

-- Yahoo! News - Broadcasters Say They're Cleaning Airwaves

-- Yahoo! News - Congress, FCC Focus on Pay Television Indecency

In America we're today censoring the most innocuous kids' cartoon re-runs from the sixties and seventies while at the same time broadcasting in realtime killings in our streets and giving R-ratings to XXX-level violence in films-- so long as those films profess to be religious in nature.

-- Censor 'Scooby-Doo'? Words fail

-- Can a crackdown at Nickelodeon be far behind? Actually, it's already here

-- F.C.C. Fines Broadcasters, Signaling Tough Indecency Stance

-- Yahoo! News - MTV Edits Fountains of Wayne Video

-- Yahoo! News - L.A. Officers Kill Suspect as Viewers Watch on TV

-- Yahoo! News - 'Passion' so bloody it's sadomasochism

But there's an important exception to the gore and violence rule: American media and government maintain strict bans these days against showing any violence done to Iraqi civilians by US troops and weapons (likewise we rarely show civilian Palestinian casualties caused by Israeli troops using US weapons and funding). US citizens also aren't normally allowed to see the coffins of dead US troops being returned home for burial, or possibly humiliating mutilations of US troops or citizens performed in countries we currently have under military occupation. For that would undermine the war effort, and public support for the massive military spending which is bankrupting America, don't you know?

-- U.S. TV avoids graphic Iraq images seen worldwide; gadsdentimes.com

-- Gruesome Iraq Images Could Shake U.S. Opinion By Alan Elsner; reuters.com; Apr 1, 2004

-- Yahoo! News - Grisly video could shake confidence By Susan Page, USA TODAY; Apr 29, 2004; story.news.yahoo.com

US television mostly avoided showing the images, saying they were "too graphic".

-- Newspapers Publish Graphic Iraq Images By CHERIE HENDERSON, Associated Press; Apr 01, 2004; story.news.yahoo.com

-- Yahoo! News - Media careful about what images to show By Peter Johnson, USA TODAY; Apr 29, 2004; story.news.yahoo.com

This warped practice of US censorship which prefers extreme violence and gore over intimacy or affection even extends to video rentals in many cases. Often DVDs/tapes have been censored in similar ways by some authority somewhere (I'm unsure who). I and others of middle-age have frequently been astonished to see the editing which has been done to recent copies of films which we saw the originals of a decade or more before.

And, of course, let us not forget Spielberg changing the guns in the hands of government agents to walkie talkies in his revised version of ET the Extraterrestrial for DVD. Big Brother is only benevolent, right?

In most mainstream TV fare America has already reverted to broadcast standards very similar to what existed in the fifties, when Lucy and Ricky on I Love Lucy weren't permitted to sleep in the same bed, or use certain bits of language practically all toddlers in the nation have heard in their own homes, both then and now. However, a modern remake of I Love Lucy could in theory allow one spouse or the other to chop up their mate and feed them to their child for breakfast-- and have a better chance of getting past the censors than fully clothed sexual intimacy between the two parents.

If a country's mainstream media is an accurate reflection of that nation's dominant mindset and direction, than perhaps we should all of us be immensely worried about America's future.

The censorship and media bias doesn't end there. It's also now affecting most TV newscasts. US TV news these days typically seems to cover only around four different stories indepth per month; these usually consist of celebrity antics/trivia/scandals or child abuse/neglect/abduction or some variation of how the liberals have done us wrong and why might is always right (so long as it's under conservative political control).

"Those who would manipulate the press and public appear to be gaining leverage over the journalists who cover them"

-- Eight Major Trends (in US journalism); The State of the News Media 2004; The Project for Excellence in Journalism; accessible online 4-28-04; stateofthenewsmedia.org

"Only 5 percent of stories on cable news contained new information, the report found. Most were simply rehashes of the same facts."

-- Yahoo! News - Report Sees Bleak Trend in U.S. News Media; Mar 15, 2004; Reuters; story.news.yahoo.com

"...today's media is more gossip and trash than news..."

News media kingpins like Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch have abandoned journalistic principles, according to one of the two original Watergate reporters, Carl Bernstein.

"Their interest in truth is secondary to their interest in huge profits"

-- Carl Bernstein

-- Ex-Watergate writer laments 'idiot culture' By BRADY DENNIS; March 19, 2004; sptimes.com

-- Yahoo! News - TV TRASH TALK: MOURNING IN AMERICA By Richard Reeves; Mar 23, 2004; story.news.yahoo.com

"Parents today should be a lot more worried about the monstrous debt being foisted on their children than Janet Jackson's burst bustier."

-- If You Think Janet's Breast Is a Worry... By Eric Wahlgren and Amey Stone; FEBRUARY 4, 2004; businessweek.com

-- Weapons-Gate is bigger than 'breast-gate' by Bill Berkowitz; workingforchange.com; 02.04.04

-- Lou Dobbs on the tabloidization of news(2-23-04); usnews.com

A study performed by the University of Michigan in 1971 had this conclusion: the more TV programming you viewed, the less knowledge you possessed.

-- Paranoid shift By Michael Hasty; Online Journal; January 10, 2004; onlinejournal.com

-- A quest for more sensation is killing journalism By Marvin Kalb; April 1 2004; news.ft.com

In light of the above is it any wonder Americans are losing interest in the daily mainstream media propaganda-- er, I mean news?

-- Study Finds a Waning Appetite for News; nytimes.com

Talk about Orwell's 1984(!)

Note that bashing liberals who often champion the interests of individual citizens against those of mega-corporations seems to get more and more prevalent in the US mainstream media as ownership of that media becomes more and more concentrated in the hands of ever fewer mega-corporations, and our national politics becomes ever more dependent upon the money and power of special interests (such as those, again, of mega-corporations and their wealthy owners).

"Those who would manipulate the press and public appear to be gaining leverage over the journalists who cover them"

-- Eight Major Trends (in US journalism); The State of the News Media 2004; The Project for Excellence in Journalism; accessible online 4-28-04; stateofthenewsmedia.org

-- Yahoo! News - TV TRASH TALK: MOURNING IN AMERICA By Richard Reeves; Mar 23, 2004; story.news.yahoo.com

Murdoch's News Corp, offering TV media like Fox News in the USA, is said by some to possess sufficient influence to affect elections and effectively pick and choose the governments of nations otherwise regarded as sovereign and developed democracies.

-- Yahoo! News - Media mogul Murdoch backs Bush in US election; Apr 7, 2004; AFP; story.news.yahoo.com

-- Rupert Murdoch's Digital Death Star By Jeffrey Chester, AlterNet; May 20, 2003; alternet.org

-- Yahoo! News - Mega Media Mergers: How Dangerous?; BusinessWeek Online; Feb 13, 2004

-- Turner: Murdoch Is World's 'Most Dangerous Man'; May 18, 2003; newsmax.com

If a single mega-corporation controlled all the news and entertainment media you ever experienced, wouldn't it effectively control you too?

-- The Five Sisters By WILLIAM SAFIRE; New York Times; February 16, 2004; nytimes.com

Of course, here at rural WebFLUX Central maybe we're not exactly viewing what everyone else is. We have cable, but only subscribe to the channel tier just above the very cheapest offering, which means we can access maybe 80 channels or so, but they don't include premium movie channels like HBO and Cinemax. We also don't do the pay-per-view thing here. To see the latest films released on DVD and tape, we rent. This combo seems the most practical of all those available locally, especially on our budget. Years back we tried the HBO/Cinemax route maybe two or more times. But found that for the extra money you mostly get your bang of desirable recent films and other new and interesting stuff in the first 30 days, after which the premium channel loses much of it extra incremental value over regular TV fare. Plus, last time we had the premium channels they seemed to be starting to show about as many commercials as regular TV, which also turned us off. So who needs them?

We'd probably be prime candidates to try the NetFlix DVD by mail order service, but we haven't yet.

Of the 80 or so channels we get now, maybe five to seven are at least part-time religious right or hard right politically oriented news/entertainment fodder, like the 700 Club, Fox News, etc. Another eight to fourteen are at minimum part-time celebrity trivia/scandals/PR or shows where celebrities heap awards onto other celebrities or else humiliate non-celebrities, or so-called 'reality' shows or gaming/sports-related shows, or obsessive trial watching.

My current favorite shows are Smallville, Stargate SG-1, The Dead Zone, Everybody Loves Raymond, Angel, and Monk in roughly that order. I occasionally like to see Gilmore Girls, though it's frequently tough to sit through an entire episode, and like other hit shows of the past (such as Friends), often as soon as a show becomes popular the production of new episodes is severely curtailed for various reasons, forcing incessant re-runs upon viewers. When this happened many years ago with a sudden hit show in Friends, I just stopped watching the series altogether. And I'm talking during the first or second season, I believe-- wayyy back. As for GG, in its defense, during 2003 and early 2004 Gilmore Girls on occasion offered the most entertaining comedic 3-5 minute dialogues to be found anywhere on mainstream television (these usually between mother and daughter characters).

Seventh Heaven was once in my top ten, but the last few seasons the show's writing has suffered quite a bit. Of course, it probably was pretty difficult to keep up the high level of quality writing the show enjoyed its first several years. Who knew how engrossing and uplifting a series about a preacher's large family could be? I no longer watch Seventh Heaven on a regular basis, since they curtailed the father's churchwork with a heart attack, cut back the mother's role in the family, and took the show in other directions entirely. Don't get me wrong: I appreciate all the pretty guest starring young women they've paraded onto the show the past few seasons as much as any fellow; but eye candy alone with no story doesn't get it in either TV or film; witness the awful debacle of George Lucas' Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones; I literally could not stand to watch the movie all the way through; yes, eye candy aplenty; no, no story at all, and horrendous dialogue to boot.

Alas, at last word Angel has been canceled. AGH! On the brighter side, I've seen exciting rumors of an Atlantis spin off of Stargate, and the Sci Fi Channel's Battlestar Galactica will be back for at least a few more episodes (yes, I liked the two part BG already presented-- but was disappointed it was ONLY a two parter). My favorite scene: Starbuck's ever more alarmed facial expression as she re-assures Apollo that she is not going to crash their two tangled-together Vipers into the Galactica during their emergency landing escaping from the Cylons.

4-4-04 UPDATE: Wonderfalls was a great new show on Fox. I say 'was' because Fox killed it before most folks even knew it was on-the-air. DOH! Maybe two or three episodes were shown before Fox yanked its life support. Like the other networks Fox is wondering why it's losing audience. Stuff like this is why. Decent shows don't even get enough time on the air for the audience to learn of their existence before they're killed. And what we get instead is yet another vomitous 'reality' show. END UPDATE.

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1-10-04: Stunning, horrifying information about Mad Cow Disease in America-- that's virtually unknown to Americans UPDATED

Reading all the articles below may well turn you into a vegetarian-- or a rabid across-the-board political anti-incumbent.

CAUTION: If you're prone to panic you'd best avoid reading the items linked below.

Could Mad Cow Disease Already be Killing Thousands of Americans Every Year? by Michael Greger, M.D.; January 7, 2004; CommonDreams.org

Mad Cow USA: The Nightmare Begins By John Stauber, AlterNet; December 30, 2003

Mad Cow USA: Could the Nightmare Happen Here? by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber

Mad Cow Disease Hundreds of Articles on Mad Cow Disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Mad Deer Disease, prions, BSE, vCJD, nvCJD

Muscle cuts are mad-cow safe? Bull! By Andy Ho; found on or about 12-31-03; straitstimes.asia1.com.sg

[Google cache URL as of 1-10-04]; If the first two URLs are broken by the time you read this, try this fresh Google search, as this may be one of the more important articles of this genre.

"...in a process that is largely unregulated, the entire cattle carcass — including high-risk organs and tissues — is routinely recycled into edible fats, flavorings and thickeners used in a wide range of common products..."

-- Yahoo! News - Mad Cow Case Casts Light on Beef Uses By Stephanie Simon; Los Angeles Times; Jan 4, 2004

Bush's Mad Cow Safeguards Not Enough, Critics Say By Charles Abbott and Randy Fabi; December 31, 2003; reuters.com

Critics: New Mad Cow Rules Inadequate; Dec. 31, 2003; cropdecisions.com

Yahoo! News - Steps in mad cow crisis stop short of world-class safety; USATODAY.com; Jan 7, 2004

In N.J., a link to mad cow? By Faye Flam; Jan. 07, 2004; philly.com

Innoculating yourself from the lies about Mad Cow Disease; unknownnews.net

Mad Cow Variant That Hits Humans Is a Puzzle (washingtonpost.com) By Rob Stein; January 3, 2004; Page A01

Yahoo! News - U.S. Mad Cow Link Questioned in Creutzfeldt-Jakob Cases By Jed Seltzer and Elinor Mills Abreu; Dec 26, 2003; Reuters

Medical procedures could spread mad cow disease, expert warns by Sharon Kirkey CanWest News Service; January 03, 2004

Probability, Luck and One Mad Cow; nytimes.com

Yahoo! News - Mad Cow Case Renews Feed Testing Debate By BEN FELLER, Associated Press; Dec 29, 2003

"...the United States should dramatically expand its testing program for mad cow disease...consumer groups and experts are urging..."

-- Disease puts cattle testing in U.S. under microscope By Judith Graham; Chicago Tribune; Dec 28, 2003

Yahoo! News - CORRECTED U.S. Sees No Need to Test All Cattle for Mad Cow By Charles Abbott and Randy Fabi; Reuters; Dec 31, 2003

More (and newer) mad cow links include:

[Be warned that Yahoo News links usually break within only days of being posted]

| New research supports theory that indirect transmission of chronic wasting disease | Don't trust USDA about mad cow | New study raises questions about the number of people in the UK who could be incubating vCJD | Tonsil tests suggest thousands harbour vCJD | Yahoo! News - Human Mad Cow Disease Could Be Wider-UK Scientists | More Mad Cow Mischief | USDA orders silence on mad cow in Texas | New Research Supports Theory that Indirect Transmission of Chronic Wasting Disease Possible in Mule Deer | CWD transmission test confirms gloomy view | Studies suggest prion disease transmitted through feces, bodily secretions |

| A Kansas beef producer just wants to sell safe cattle, but the feds won't let it | Yahoo! News - Beef firm faces perplexing resistance to mad cow tests | Mad cow case raises suspicions in elderly deaths | U.S. Won't Let Company Test All Its Cattle for Mad Cow

| Yahoo! News - USDA Won't Allow Independent Testing for Mad Cow | The Agriculture Department has rebuffed a meatpacker's plan to test every animal at its Kansas slaughterhouse for mad cow disease | Japan, the biggest market for U.S. beef, is demanding that the United States test all 35 million cattle that are slaughtered each year | More U.S. Cattle Likely To Have Mad Cow Disease (washingtonpost.com)

| Yahoo! News - Expert Panel Sees More U.S. Mad Cow | The USDA plans to boost mad cow tests to about 40,000 cattle this year, double the number tested last year | Yahoo! News - Feds Ending Search for Mad Cow Disease | Expert Panel Sees More U.S. Mad Cow Cases | Mad Cow Proposals Go Too Far-US Cattle Official

| the only practicable way for this country to contend with mad cow disease is to bring its handling of meat...up to internationally recognized standards | America lags well behind many other countries in such basic matters as...efforts to keep the riskiest materials...from contaminating human food | Man Who Killed the Mad Cow Has Questions of His Own | Is this the magic burger that's going to kill me? |

A beef producer in Kansas has proposed testing all its cattle for mad cow disease...but it is encountering resistance from the Agriculture Department and other beef producers | Dan Murphy...at the American Meat Industry, said American beef was so safe that widescale testing was unnecessary | New evidence hints mad cow not a downer | Nationwide, testing has plummeted after discovery of the mad-cow case near Yakima, announced Dec. 23 | USDA requested us to stop taking samples |

Consumer advocates say the geographical disparity and drop in testing are alarming | We just found a case of mad-cow in this country...We should be doing a lot of tests now | Ferguson said the testing program was never intended to keep mad-cow out of the human food chain | troubling flaws in the system It is voluntary, and plant operators generally select animals to be tested | mad-cow testing should be expanded to include apparently healthy animals |

Mad Cow Bombshell--New Strain May Be Infecting Many More Americans & Europeans | Is the beef safe? Who knows? | The minute the USDA found the contaminated cow, they stopped the brain stem collection and testing | New research indicates human form of mad cow more complex than first thought | U.S. balked at new mad cow safeguards | Calls for Labeling Grow After Meats Are Found in 'Veggie' Foods | Federal Panel Recommends More Testing for Mad Cow |

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12-10-03: My email response to a student's questions about the Atlantis myth

A high school student doing research into the Atlantis myth apparently ran across my own writing on the subject and decided to do a quasi-interview of me for a school project. They sent me a surprisingly good list of questions, hoping I'd respond. As usual, I'm not posting their email content or address for reasons of privacy and others. But below is my (edited) response:

That "lost" civilizations exist in humanity's past is a well-established fact. Evidence of new cultures and exotic ancient cities previously unrecorded in any known history books is being uncovered quite frequently these days.

Of course, the real romance of the main Atlantis myth is that at least one such 'lost' civilization possessed one or more technologies comparable to that of the 20th century-- or perhaps even more advanced.

Such 'lost' technologies have also been proven as fact-- though we don't necessarily have to look for lost civilizations to find them. We sometimes discover that dead civilizations already listed in our history books turned out to have invented surprisingly advanced technologies but then ignored or forgot them again, forcing them to be re-invented later by others. Concrete and steel-making appear to be a couple examples of this.

So is it possible we might happen upon a combination of 'lost' technologies within a 'lost' civilization that could reasonably match the central thrust of the Atlantis myth? In my opinion the answer is yes.

Human civilizations in general appear to be prone to emerging and disappearing, rising and falling, advancing and retreating, in terms of both complexity and technology, over time. So we might ultimately (over decades or centuries to come) discover not just one 'lost' civilization that fits the Atlantis myth, but several(!)

I offer up one possible Atlantis scenario at the URLs below:

The Atlantis that could have been: A lost civilization on the southeast asian peninsula, circa 25,125 BC- 13,875 BC?
What could have been: A lost civilization in southeast asia, 25,125 BC- 13,875 BC

Still another, far, FAR more speculative (and therefore unlikely) scenario is presented in the URLs below (involving NOT a human civilization, but much older culture of distantly related primates):

Dinosaurs, dragons, Loch Ness, and reptile people; Where does fact end and fiction begin?
A lost civilization on the Kerguelen continent, circa 21 million BC?

Though both scenarios include lots of real life (and sometimes scary) supporting references, the intent of the articles is to provide an exotic 'what if' mix of entertainment and education content for readers.

Antarctica looks to have been frozen for too long in the past to have played much of a possible 'Atlantis' role for humanity within the last 100,000 years. In that timeframe, the sea bottoms surrounding the southeast asian peninsula, exposed as dry land during the last Ice Age maximum, then drowned again as the ice melted, appear far more promising for such purposes, as discussed in the following URLs:

The Atlantis that could have been: A lost civilization on the southeast asian peninsula, circa 25,125 BC- 13,875 BC?
What could have been: A lost civilization in southeast asia, 25,125 BC- 13,875 BC

However, if our search for plausible 'lost civilizations' extends millions of years deeper into the past, and allows for the possibility of NON-human civilizations, then Antarctica becomes a much more reasonable contributor to such a scenario-- as I discuss in the following URLS:

Dinosaurs, dragons, Loch Ness, and reptile people; Where does fact end and fiction begin?
A lost civilization on the Kerguelen continent, circa 21 million BC?

Whew! There's quite a few 'popular' Atlantis theories floating around, and maybe dozens or even hundreds of more obscure or wilder ones. And new ones appear on a regular basis.

As for my own 'favorites'...I've basically sought out all the ideas relating to the Atlantis myth which seem most plausible to me personally-- and most well supported by existing hard evidence-- and integrated them into the existing articles on my own site, at:

The Atlantis that could have been: A lost civilization on the southeast asian peninsula, circa 25,125 BC- 13,875 BC?
What could have been: A lost civilization in southeast asia, 25,125 BC- 13,875 BC

Regarding inspiration and first encounters...two items spring to mind. One is a color movie about Atlantis perhaps made in the sixties which I saw when young (the title escapes me), and the other is one of the more famous and early books on the myth-- Atlantis, the Antediluvian World by Ignatius Donnelly-- which I read in high school I believe.

Plato's writings are the most widely known, and the earliest source of the 'Atlantis' monicker itself I believe. However, it seems that references to earlier advanced civilizations which disappeared for one reason or another are fairly common in the stories of many presently existing civilizations as well as the ancient ones which preceded them. For instance, the Judeo-Christian tale of Noah's Ark is basically about a previous large and sophistocated civilization being drowned by rising seas, and is shared in gist if not proper names by many diverse cultures around the world.

Anyone who digs very deep will discover enough material possibly relevant to an Atlantis-like myth present in the stories of many peoples and religions worldwide to keep them busy trying to make sense of for many lifetimes to come.

Some folks would say there is no mystery. Others would say there's nothing but. Archaeological discoveries of the past 100 years indicate there's plenty of potential surprises to come for years, maybe even centuries ahead.

The great erasure of many human works and civilizations by the rising seas of the melting Ice Age, which only ended around 3000 BC, means there could be vast amounts of stunning ancient works and information buried in sea bottoms around the world, which comprised the most likely regions of human development for maybe 10,000 years before the seas rose to cover them.

Study of these areas has only just begun as of 2003.

As it could take a while to 'solve' the mystery, we might not get the chance-- as our current civilization could well suffer the very fate described for the doomed Atlantis in some variations of the tale: self-destruction.

It may be that technological civilizations like ours face a very dangerous period between around 1900 AD and 2500 AD in our development, wherein we might well destroy ourselves by various means, including accidents, war, environmental devastation, economic collapse, or many other possibilities.

This dangerous period might be shared by all civilizations including aliens on other worlds-- and may be why our galaxy appears to have never been colonized: civilizations like ours may invariably destroy themselves or collapse for other reasons within their own equivalent of our 1900 AD-2500 AD.

I explain all this in depth at The rise and fall of star faring civilizations in our own galaxy

The Atlantis myth holds many of the same fascinating elements for people as folklore and religious texts like the bible. Warnings about excesses, doomsday, visions of utopias lost, etc.

I plainly post disclaimers on my pages: "[Caution: Extreme speculation ahead; this section mostly created for "What If?" entertainment value]"

But I also include lots of factual and credible references which could well support what I write about the subject. I also often revise my existing ideas to maintain plausibility if and when I run across a new item which indicates I should do so, based on new findings by reputable sources.

I do include a very few references from more sensationalistic, less credible sources, but try to keep those to a minimum, and also locate more credible sources to reinforce those sections independently, if possible.

Luckily I've been able to locate credible references for the vast majority of my Atlantis-related writings.

In general, the most romantic, intriguing, or exciting elements to anything like the present mainstream Atlantis mythos usually turns out to be false or strongly exxagerated in the end. But occasionally they turn out to be more true than anyone expects. For example, Heinrich Schliemann found the city of Troy from the ancient Greek tale truly existed, despite being widely believed by historians to be pure fantasy for perhaps centuries before the discovery.

The sphinx/ancient Egyptian society just might turn out to have had something to do with a real Atlantis of some sort, even if all they did was trade with them. If I recall correctly, Plato himself said the original source of his own information concerning Atlantis came from an Egyptian priest or scholar.

Some Atlantis seekers believe some islands near the Gibralter straits which were drowned by rising seas at the end of the Ice Age could be the location of Atlantis. And a literal reading of Plato's tale places Atlantis near there-- except describes a place as large as a continent or good chunk of one, rather than merely a few tiny islands.

However, it strikes me that those islands could well have been a Mediterranean trading outpost, staging area, and shipping hub for an Atlantis which was itself located much further away-- and this might explain some confusion in the myths, with the islands being the local major representative and/or colony of Atlantis proper, dealing directly with all the peoples of the Mediterranean. In this manner might the Mediterranean peoples have rightly regarded the nearby islands as the same as Atlantis itself, as Atlantis weilded its power through them, much as foreign embassies today are regarded as sovereign chunks of the nations they represent, or an island group far removed from any continent like Hawaii is still considered a piece of the United States for various reasons.

Lemuria, Mu, and other exotic tales like them may all just be variations on the main Atlantis myth-- or turn out to represent real life multiple Atlantis-type 'lost' civilizations. Time will tell. As I say elsewhere, any serious research into such matters can quickly get very complicated.

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11-24-03: Massive web site revamp underway: I apologize for any inconvenience

Just what I needed: more drudge work, which must be completed ASAP. I have no choice folks: the powers-that-be on the internet demand it, else my site shall be exiled from the net. For details check out my Low cost web site authoring log.

One byproduct of all this may be broken links and reduced web services, until I can get everything put into a new order. I'll also be unable to create much in the way of new content or updates while this is going on. Atop all this is the approaching Thanksgiving holiday which pretty much gobbles up every bit of my free time with family matters.

In somewhat related matters, I'm going to take some pages off-line permanently, mainly because I don't have the time needed to maintain them. This pertains mostly to the 'stream of consciousness' logs, which list URLs I collect during daily research efforts, plus what others email to me. It takes considerable time to reformat my Favorites lists into these pages on an almost biweekly basis-- time I just don't have. It'll be much easier for me just to save my Favorites lists as raw files and access them exclusively myself. Plus, I see no indication that my site visitors were making much use of them anyway.

I'm also taking down my short term predictions log, as I simply make such forecasts so rarely the content doesn't change there for years. Plus, again, I've seen little reader interest in the page. So it's gone (or soon, anyway).

Another item on my 'to-do' list is reference consolidation across-the-board. Being severely time-constrained the past year or so, while at the same time feeling compelled to create quite a bit of all new content regarding many topics, I often just posted a quickie web link to a reference source for that content without providing the usual citation information which should accompany it, such as author name, publication or organization, date, and sometimes even the title of the piece (substituting instead a quote or personal note of what I perceived the gist of the item to be). So long as the link continues to work, readers can always consult the source themselves to verify my own use of the item. Unfortunately, lots of such links break within only days or weeks of including them.

Fortunately I usually save an original copy of such items on my local disk, so I can examine them later at my leisure (Ha! Leisure! What an obsolete 20th century concept!). Unfortunately, the awful backup problems I've experienced lately with my personal computer wares means I could lose access to these original sources myself at any time, and thereafter have no practical means of comprehensively addressing the citation issue, other than simply deleting broken links. So whenever I can get a spare moment I'm going back and fleshing out these citations as I can, before it's too late.

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