The Ultimate Insult

March 29, 2002 at 11:50 am
Contributed by:

Hello all,

Not much commentary today, but there’s
a couple of things here you just
gotta know about:

Bush Tapped Solar
Energy Funds to Print Energy Plan

state of things in the Mideast, in a single photo

Study Takes Ominous Look at Drug and Drug Policy Web Sites

then! Is there anything going on out there that doesn’t consist of
contempt for what’s democratic, right, and just?

“Don’t let your heart
get broken by this world.” –Dan Bern


The Top 5 Lies of this Administration, and other things…

March 21, 2002 at 10:28 am
Contributed by: Chris

Hey all you lovers of truth, justice, and the American Way,

In this issue of Poli-spam:

– My personal “Top 5 Lies of this Administration” list

– A select list of President Bush’s accomplishments in office so far, with my attempt to verify it attached.

Links to sites dealing with drug policy

– A little humor, after you’re all bummed out. The Wgirls and Dubyaman!


It\’s all about our energy policy

March 16, 2002 at 11:26 am
Contributed by:

Hi all,

I didn’t intend to follow up on yesterday’s
massive missive so soon; but I
was really struck by the A section of this
last Sunday’s SF Chronicle and
wanted to share this observation with

If I have any “regular readers” on this list, they are by now
familiar with
my drumbeat about energy policy. I think it’s at the heart of
most of our
major national dilemmas right now.

Take a look at this set
of headlines, all from the 20-page A section:

–> This is a great
article. Very encouraging, and very much in line with
the concepts I’ve been
reading lately in Paul Hawken’s (and Amory Lovins’,
of the Rocky Mountain
Institute) latest book, Natural Capitalism, which I
“Danes’ great green machine”

accident, I just now came across this publication, also by the Rocky
Institute. “California’s Electricity Supply Myths” I haven’t read
it yet, but
it looks very interesting!

“Threat of drought looms across U.S.” (unfortunately the Chron does
republish this online, as it’s AP copy.)

– “Executives not likely
to be punished (The Enron Collapse)”. Also not
republished by the Chron; it’s
by Kurt Eichenwald of the NYT

– “4000 laid-off employees feel scandal’s
stigma (The Enron Collapse)”. Also
not republished by the Chron; it’s by Jim
Yardley of the NYT

– [and several other articles about terrorists in the
Mid East…where all
the oil is.]

I though…wow, it’s ALL about
energy. If the U.S. decided to push forward,
boldly, and deploy renewable
energy generation on a vast scale today (which,
by the way, is now both
technologically feasible AND economically
sound…it’s just not politically
popular), how much of the above would be
in the news?

Think I’m nuts?
Well, give me your thoughts.


Military Promises \’Huge Numbers\’ For Gulf War II The Vengeance

March 14, 2002 at 3:00 pm
Contributed by:

God bless The Onion!

Military Promises ‘Huge Numbers’ For Gulf War II The Vengeance

Compiled articles, sites, and opinion about oil and the \"War on Terror\"

March 5, 2002 at 11:11 am
Contributed by:



been awhile since I sent one of these missives out, but not for a lack of
reportable news. More because I have been trying to form a coherent picture of
what’s happening.


is some worthwhile reading for you. It’s pretty depressing but I think it’s
vitally important that we all stay as informed as possible. And hopefully, get
outraged enough to start writing our Congressmen. (For what it’s worth.) 
There is a lot of information to digest here. Take your time with it, print it
out and read it in the bathroom or whatever.


  1. This story, linked from
    the latest Red Rock Eater, is the best
    summary yet of the
    Enron/Bush/Oil/Terror connection. I’d call this a Must-Read:

  2. If
    you’re still looking for details about the political contributions made by
    Enron to the GOP, check out this site:

  3. See “You Don’t Care About Enron” below. “Call
    it the New American Ennui, caused by one part disingenuous warmongering, one
    part fervent oil-grubbing, one part residual Clinton-era moral slimeballing,
    and one huge part Bush WASP mafia election-rigging and pro-corporate
    anti-everything-else reshuffling. Makes you all numb inside.” Tell it like it
    is, baby!

  4. Here’s one place where the War on Drugs (WoD) and the War
    on Terror (WoT) come together. Remember the Iran-Contra affair? Remember how
    we trafficked cocaine through the CIA, to raise money for the contras, under
    the leadership of George H. Bush et. al.? According to the White House
    Spokesman Ari Fleischer, John Poindexter is now an “outstanding American” and
    “The president thinks that Adm. Poindexter has served our nation very well.”
    I’ll bet. The American people may have seen a scandal in Iran-Contra, and even
    tried to punish those involved, but the powers in the administration protected
    them and the good ol’ boys in the GOP have never failed in their support of
    Poindexter, North, and all the rest of ’em. Now they’ve got new political
    careers and lots of power all over again, and basically puts Poindexter in the
    Big Brother seat:,5673,651975,00.html

  5. You can tell the truth, but will anyone listen? Allow me
    to plagiarize a letter written by one amanda morrison

    Over the past year, we have witnessed the
    behaviour of the current Presidential Administration go from bad, to worse
    than we could have ever imagined. Since September 11, the mere utterance of
    anything critical, let alone derogatory about the President or his
    administration was risky. There has been little criticism in the mainstream
    media and until now, none from any member of Congress. Fortunately, this
    fear-induced silence is coming to an end. Finally, a brave member of Congress
    has spoken up with both candor and criticism. United States Congressman Dennis
    J. Kucinich (D-Ohio) recently made a very daring speech, highlighting the
    injustices happening en masse, right before our very eyes.

    Please take a moment to read the
    words that have been a long time coming. 

  6. Speaking of the utter lack of criticism of our administration, and the
    dangers of speaking against it in a time when our civil liberties and freedom
    of speech have been cast aside and called a luxury, have you noticed the
    similarities between Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft’s admonishments and those of
    Sen. Joe McCarthy? Think you can tell the difference? Bet you can’t! (I only
    scored 71% myself)

  7. If you’ve read this far, you deserve a humor break. See “French Intellectuals
    to be Deployed in Afghanistan…” below.

  8. “What do you
    think, Chris?” Well, I’ll tell ya.

    Our country is substantially under
    the control of the corporations that form the military-industrial complex,
    just as Eisenhower warned. They buy all the influence there is, from the
    bottom to the top of our government. They own our administration and our
    Congress. They are as anxious to seize total control of our government as GW
    is to run the country like a business. Good rhetoric, but what does it mean?

    These companies want a couple of

    1. The continued massive
    consumption of oil, because that’s where their dollars come from, or that’s
    what their products and services
    depend upon. This is the source of
    the money that gives them their power, and control over the rest of the world.

    2. Continued government subsidy of
    their businesses, be it in the form of new contracts, or continued production
    of armaments, or Superfund cleanup dollars, or subsidies to NOT plant stuff
    like hemp and soy that could provide an alternative source of fuel, and the
    many of the other forms such subsidies take.

    3. Increased control over public
    opinion about their activities.

    4. No end in sight to any of the

    Therefore, the best way for them to
    ensure they get these things is to get us, as a nation, into two unwinnable,
    vaguely defined “wars”, with no clear objectives or defined ends, under which
    auspices they can control the spin in the media, suspend citizens’ rights,
    push through MASSIVE spending bills that nobody will ever read or understand,
    get huge new investment in their businesses, obtain a huge advantage over
    competitors in the global markets, get the help of foreign governments in
    dominanting their markets, obtain intelligence about anyone they please, and
    overwhelm the popular consciousness (easily done) with their activities, so
    that people don’t want to know what’s happening, or fight about it, they just
    want to get sedated and watch “Friends.”

    And now we have them: The War on
    Terror and the War on Drugs. Neither of them makes any sense at all. Neither
    is defined, winnable, or even scoped–that is,
    they are both designed to continue into perpetuity
    And both can be used to justify the suspension of our
    Constitutionally assured rights, at any time, because such actions are
    “necessary to fight terror” or “necessary to fight drug operations”.
    Each consumes billions of public money. In both cases, the
    administration and its puppet pundits seek to portray “the enemy” in the most
    extreme terms, in terms of “evil” and
    without any attempt at, or need for, any justification,
    evidence, or anything. We never have to account for the fact that we are
    simultaneously one of the largest operations in the world in fighting drugs,
    and also one of the largest distributors and suppliers of drugs. (Because
    after all, it’s not REALLY about drugs, it’s about money and power going into
    hands that we do not control, and we can’t have that.) If we lose our main
    target in one war (bin Laden) we can pick the next one on the list (Saddam)
    and keep going in our “war” without breaking stride. The public will never
    notice that this has occurred, because they’re busy soaking up human interest
    stories, like who gets how much from the Sept 11 fund, or the reopening of a
    movie house in Afghanistan. We never have to justify anything we do in either
    “war,” to anybody. And they can go on indefinitely. Pay no attention to the
    men behind the curtain. We are the great and powerful Oz.

    It really is 1984. We are
    at “war” with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eurasia. Eurasia is the
    Axis of Evil. We must fight them because we are Good, and they are EvilOnce you have lost your freedom of speech,
    ny criticism of our policy or actions
    is treachery and traitorous.

  9. Oh sure, there are
    plenty more articles to read. See the list at the end of this

Until next time,


Don’t Care About Enron
In Bush’s America, it just doesn’t pay to give a damn
about flagrant political corruption

Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist  
February 13, 2002

course you know they did it.

You know the whole pod of shivery Enron
execs are all guilty as sin. You can see it in the folds of their chins, the
beady black voids of their eyes, the way their horns twitch when they take the

You can see it in the way Kenny Boy slumps in the chair looking
like a deflated blow-up doll,
mouth slightly agape, stunned and goosey, wondering how he let it all get away,
as the congressmen tsk-tsk him and shake their heads and call him names.

There they all are, except for the one who committed suicide and gosh isn’t
that just the slightest bit telling, hiding and equivocating and lying at the
Senate hearings like the Big Tobacco execs of yore, who stood up and raised
their taloned fingers and swore before God that they really, really don’t
believe nicotine is in any way deadly except for the heart disease and the
cancer and the rampant toxic death.

You know it’s all true, mountains of
incriminating shredded documentation and roughly $500 million hidden away in
magic “fuzzy math” debt, hundreds of millions more shuffled off to non-existent
“Star Wars” companies, gutted retirement accounts and ruined employees and Gucci
suppositories in the executive washrooms and blatant gouging of California during the
energy crisis. Just for starters.

Political back-scratching and
toe-sucking and wallet-padding galore, the vast majority (but no, not all) of
the scandal landing like a giant elephant-dropping on the Republican side of the
aisle and do you hear that? That frantic shredding sound coming from Dick
Cheney’s office? That ain’t Lynne’s Gunslinger
vibrator, people.

Indeed, this one goes all the way to the
top. The Bush administration is so clearly
embroiled in Enron’s gleeful depravity it would be embarrassing and
even downright comical to watch, say, Cheney’s outward refusal to reveal all the
political inbreeding and cigar-chompin’ back-slapping that went on during the
energy policy discussions, were it not so insulting and wrong.

Sure you
probably feel some pity for all the disgruntled Enron employees whose financial
futures are now ruined, the countless gullible stockholders sucked into the
vortex and spit out like easy marks at a sidewalk shell-game, the American
economy hobbled and wobbly and so clearly at the disposal of corrupt
power-mongering CEOs it makes your soul wince.

Over 50 percent of
Americans think the Enron debacle is very
important to the country, more than double that of Whitewater, and
yet it seems to be common knowledge that Ken Lay will get off with barely a
scratch, he and his squad of flying monkeys will get nothing but a spanking and
maybe a month in Michael Milken minimum-security prison, where the punishment
consists of slightly restricted cellphone privileges and less dipping sauce for
the kitten-kabobs and forced viewings of Lynne Cheney in a bikini (which
actually is fairly brutal, come to think of it).

You know all this and
yet you’re not the slightest bit shocked anymore, maybe because you realize this
is how corporate politics has always worked, this is the capitalist system’s
most hypocritical slap to any notion of fairness or justice you may harbor,
people going to prison for years for selling small amounts of pot or for having
underage gay sex but when multimillionaire Bush-buddy execs get busted with
their entire bodies in the cookie jar, well, it’s nothing a few high?priced
lawyers can’t quickly snuff out while helping to broker a six-figure book deal.

You may even sense how it’s all connected, the
war-that’s-not-really-a-war and our rabid oil dependency and the 17 pro-Enron
provisions in Cheney’s Energy Policy and all those former Enron execs now
cruising in high-level posts in the Bush administration. Unworkable
multibillion-dollar missile defense plans and
National Sanctity of Life Day and
PretzelGate. See the thread? Of course you do.

Call it the New American
Ennui, caused by one part disingenuous warmongering, one part fervent
oil-grubbing, one part residual Clinton-era moral slimeballing, and one huge
part Bush WASP mafia election-rigging and pro-corporate anti-everything-else
reshuffling. Makes you all numb inside.

Of course Bush will not be
impeached for his obvious puppeteering role. Of course Cheney is hunkering down
in the bunker, shredding as fast as possible, denying everything. Of course
there will be no sweeping reforms or serious restrictions placed on corporate
funding of political candidates.

Nor will there be limits set on how
many execs an undeserving president can appoint from one company, no limits on
how much corporate backstabbing one country should endure. Remember the S&L
scandal? The one that cost taxpayers billions and that we’re still paying for
and will be for years to come? That’s OK. No one else does either.

will be harsh words and furrowed brows and maybe a few laws passed. There will
be wrists slapped and apologies made and big dopey shrugs from the Shrubster as
he leverages his baffling and war-drunk positive approval rating to dodge the
scandal like a slippery hog in a Texas pen.

You don’t care about the
Enron debacle because if you did, you’d just be disappointed again, hurt and
betrayed as justice is thwarted and snuffed out like a candle, leaving you with
the urge, yet again, to yank all your money out of the bank and take off for the
woods with a case of Grey Goose and some really good kalamata olives and a
Leatherman tool and a tent and Auden’s collected poems and not come back for a

But that just wouldn’t be very patriotic at all.

for the author? Email him.

Mark Morford’s Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and
Friday on SF Gate, just like a special magic bunny of love. He also writes the
Morning Fix, a deeply skewed daily email column and newsletter. Subscribe at



French Intellectuals to be Deployed in
Afghanistan To
Convince Taliban of Non-Existence of A


The ground war in Afghanistan hotted up
when the Allies revealed plans to airdrop a platoon of crack
existentialist philosophers into the country to destroy the morale
Taliban zealots by proving the non-existence of the


Elements from the feared Jean-Paul Sartre
or ‘Black Berets’, will be parachuted into the combat zones to
doubt, despondency and existential anomie among the enemy.
by numerous intellectual battles fought during their long occupation
Paris’s Left Bank, the Berets first action will be to establish a
pavement cafes at strategic points near the front


There they will drink coffee and talk animatedly
about the absurd nature
life and man’s lonely isolation in the
universe. They will be
by a number of heartbreakingly
beautiful girlfriends who will further
the enemy by sticking their
tongues in the philosophers’ ears every five
minutes and looking remote and
unattainable to everyone else.


Their leader, Colonel Marc-Ange Belmondo, spoke
yesterday of
confidence in the success of their mission. Sorbonne
graduate Belmondo,
very intense and unshaven young man in a black
pullover, gesticulated
wildly and said, “The Taliban are caught in a logical
fallacy of the
ridiculous. There is no deity and I will prove it.
Take your tongue out
my ear, Juliet, I am


Marc-Ange plans to deliver an impassioned thesis on atheism,
man’s freedom of action, with special reference to the work
and the films of Alfred Hitch*censored*.


However, humanitarian agencies have been quick to condemn the
operation as
inhumane, pointing out that the effects of secondhand smoke
from the
Frenchmens’ endless Gitanes could wreak a terrible toll on


Here are some
more URL’s.  Thanks to everyone who contributed.

RRE home page:


US Backing Helps Warlord Solidify Power

Bin Laden’s No 2 “Captured in Iran”
(who knows),1284,652071,00.html

conservatives gung-ho for war with Iraq

the seriously creepy return of John Poindexter,5673,651975,00.html

Pentagon Readies Efforts to Sway Sentiment Abroad

leading politician gives major war speech — press writes about his beard

refugees dying in Afghanistan

New York Debates Competing Visions for Rebuilding Devastated Downtown

civil liberties and security

Where the Bodies Are Buried in Peru
(if anyone has URL’s for documents
relating to the commission, do send)

French Decision Prompts Questions About Free Speech and Cyberspace

Canadian Media Spat: Profit vs. Free Speech

extensive censorship of biology research

The USA PATRIOT Act and Patron Privacy on Library Internet Terminals

Justice Department Hiding Secret Weekly Reports to the Attorney General

“smart” biometric ID cards in Hong Kong

Center for Identification Technology Research

Larry Smarr’s talks on future Internet architecture and applications

(some of which involve pervasive sensor networks with privacy implications)

BMW’s iDrive May Herald New Era

impressive “This American Life” show about the mob mentality
(listen and
think about campus confrontationalists or talk radio ranters)

Scientists Recount US Biodefense Labs’ Security Lapses

Airlines Fended Off Security Upgrades


Bush in Verbal Japan Deflation-Devaluation Debacle
(war suits him because
the concepts are simple)

Defense Department Cannot Account for 25% of Funds —  $2.3 Trillion,1597,325985-412,00.shtml

Records: Bush Smoothed Path for Enron

Bush 2000 Adviser Offered to Use Clout to Help Enron

Army Secretary’s Enron Role Probed

Controversial US Army Secretary, Ex-Enron Exec, Building Home in Naples

The Potemkin Populism of the Republicans’ Chief Enron Investigator

Acting CEO Plans Legal Assault Amid Effort to Salvage Enron

Enron Had More Than One Way to Disguise Rapid Rise in Debt

“documents show Enron hid a disastrous bookkeeping error from investors”

Firms Reverting to by-the-Books Balance Sheets

Congress to Investigate Wall Street’s Ties With Enron

Enron Moved Accounts Offshore, Harder to Track

Cayman Islands Open to US Requests for Assistance on Enron Investigation

Enron Case Shapes Up as Tough Legal Fight
(the difference between rich
and poor is that the crimes of the rich are legal)

Enron Is Not Yet a Political Scandal, But It Will Become One

intellectual property

article about the woes of the music industry
(under the guise of an
article about boomer come-back bands)

Record Labels Answer to Napster Still Has Artists Feeling Bypassed

Entertainment Industry’s Copyright Fight Puts Consumers in Cross Hairs

scaling up Gnutella

Developing User-Friendly Digital Rights Management

“defensive publishing” to prevent others from patenting your idea
should organize “prior art parties” to brainstorm ideas to prevent patents)

Intellectual-Property Ecology

Searchable Intellectual Property Databases

news from Planet Microsoft

Ashcroft Queried Over Microsoft Campaign Contributions

Microsoft’s Lobbying Efforts Eclipse Enron

Microsoft Must Give States Windows Code, Says Judge

New Microsoft Bug Problems Blamed on Globalization

everything else

An Open Grid Services Architecture for Distributed Systems Integration

Bio IT World, Boston, 12-14 March 2002

ArsDigita Shut Down
(they tried to organize an independent computer
science undergraduate program)

Design Research News

German Experience in the Construction of Virtual Town Halls and Market Places

Software Engineering for Large-Scale Multi-Agent Systems, Orlando, 19 May
(I don’t know about this as science, but it’s sure interesting as

Digital Resources for Information Research

Search Engine Guide

Information for Social Change

Spam and Web-Visible E-Mail Addresses: Bait a Spammer and See the Results

special report on the crisis on the cell phone industry


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