- Please send as far and wide as possible.
Editor, The Konformist
Favorite New Phrase That Isn't As Dirty As It Sounds...
Pulling a Dixie Chick
I've just received a reliable tip from an intelligence operative.
They've intercepted the internal communications between Saddam's
bodyguards and his eight doubles. They've informed them of what they
view as the good news: Saddam is indeed alive, so they're still
employed. The bad news: he's lost a leg...
From Robert Scheer's Webmaster:
Dear readers of Bob Scheer's weekly column,
For several weeks, cable TV star Bill O'Reilly has been energetically
leading a campaign demanding that Bob's home paper, the Los Angeles
Times, stop running his "traitorous" columns and in general become
more pro-war in its news coverage. Many thousands of emails have been
sent to the Times echoing O'Reilly's denunciations verbatim.
Whether or not you agree with everything Bob argues in his columns,
as subscribers to his newsletter I assume many of you appreciate
hearing his contrarian voice in these unsettled times. If so, it
wouldn't hurt to tell the Times!
To send an email letter to the Times for possible publication, you
must use your full name and send to: letters@...
We also encourage you to send this email on to others who may be
Cold Fusion Saddles Up
The Heavy Water-Gate story (March 23, 1997) should be updated.
May I call your attention to a web site ( http://lenr-canr.org ) put
together by quite a growing number of dedicated and reputable
scientists worldwide. We are collecting a large body of work on Low
Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR). The popular name "Cold Fusion" has
been given a very inaccurate name, a name that now causes rejection
and ridicule. This ridicule comes from people who rushed to a
premature conclusion on this new phenomenon, when in fact it has
taken quite a few years to to understand the breadth of the
phenomenon reported. But this is typical of science
(superconductivity, semiconductors, etc) as any science historian
will tell you. Today, a wide range of LENR phenomenon are being
reported including transmutations, neutron generation, x-ray, gamma
rays and yes, even tritium in sufficient quantities to "set off
alarms" so to speak.
What we need from your Web Site readers are ideas on how to make good
things with this new nuclear phenomenon as the future unfolds !!
Vince .F. Golubic
(an old cowhand from the Rio Grande)
Robalini's Note: Yes, The Boston Globe is doing a great national
service by looking into the charges that, while a single man, John
Kerry may have been dating (and even worse, presumably having sex)
with a woman.
Clearly, this is a much more important than Harken Oil.
APRIL 16, 2003
OPEN SECRETS OF THE HILL
By Bill Thomas
Sen. Kerry under microscope of Boston Globe reporters
Presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) will be the subject
of a multipart investigative series soon to appear in The Boston
Globe. Several months ago, the paper assigned "a team of reporters to
dig through Kerry's legislative, political and personal lives," said
a Globe source.
The Globe reported earlier this year that Kerry's grandparents were
Jewish and not Irish Catholic, as many assumed they were.
That news was uncovered by the paper's special team and deemed "too
hot to hold."
One story being examined for the upcoming series involves Kerry's
brief fling in the 1980s with a young British journalist working in
Washington. Dates planned around his tight schedule often began late
at night, after political functions where the bachelor lawmaker
eagerly seeking gravitas couldn't afford to be seen in the company of
an attractive 25-year-old reporter.
The woman soon tired of the arrangement and dumped Kerry for a member
of Pink Floyd.
Michael Kelly and the Conspiracy Fusion
by Kenn Thomas
Michael Kelly made a final distinction on his vitae: he became the
first US journalist killed in the Iraq war. Prior to that, his career
spanned the gamut of opinion magazines, starting with the New
Republic (holding the same job once held by Michael Straight, a now
confessed spy who had a hand in the persecution of Wilhelm Reich),
including the New Yorker and National Journal, a regular column for
the Washington Post, and winding up with Atlantic Monthly, where he
served as editor in chief before becoming "embedded" with the third
infantry in Iraq. He died there on April 4.
"Embedding" with the military was only the latest, most egregious
example of the press whoring to the Pentagon, and Kelly's
contribution was hardly distinguished in that sense. Previously, Rob
Sterling's Konformist listed Kelly as a co-recipient of its Beast of
the Month award to note "his hack work ensuring the swindling of the
presidency" -- for Kelly's anti-Clinton writing -- and noted that
that to his credit Kelly died in a war he helped promote. No one yet
has placed Kelly on the mysterious Clinton-related deaths list, but
some mystery still surrounds the circumstances of his passing.
Reports suggested it resulted from a Humvee accident that happened in
an attempt to avoid enemy fire, but in other reports military
officials concluded it had not been combat related.
One quote appearing in the news stories about it reflected the irony
of Kelly's under-abundant paranoia about the chaos and injustice of
war: "There is some element of danger, but you are surrounded by an
Army, literally, who is going to try very hard to keep you out of
danger." It is precisely that effort that led to many friendly-fire
deaths in this conflict.
Kelly and I spoke once about the Clinton death list. He interviewed
me, in fact, for an article that appeared in the June 19, 1995 issue
of The New Yorker entitled "The Road To Paranoia". It focused on
Robert Fletcher of the Militia of Montana. Rather than the wild-eyed
caricature of such people very common in the media at the time,
Fletcher was a grandfatherly type, well versed in conspiracy
literature and articulate, who believed that ideologies of the left
and right "must converge to fight their common enemy--the governing
Kelly coined the phrase "fusion paranoia" to describe Fletcher's
idea, specifically as it related to the alternative media, for which,
I provided him a list. According to Kelly, such "fusion"
paranoids "meet in Paranoia, the magazine. They also meet in such
publications as Flatland, Spotlight, The New Federalist, NEWSPEAK,
Kattazzzine, Steamshovel Press, Nexus, Crash Collusion, Behind the
Barriers, Conspiracy Update, The Probe, The Eye, Incite Information,
EXTRAPHILE, Flashpoint, Trajectories; in publishing houses such as
IllumiNet Press, III Publishing, Victoria House, SPI Books, Aries
Rising Press, Feral House; in the bookstores-by-mail of America West,
Flatland Books, and the Ruling Class/Conspiracy Research Resource
Center; in computer databases such as CIABASE and NameBase; on the
Internet in the news-groups alt.CIA and alt.conspiracy." If it was
good for nothing else, at least Kelly's writing provided a snapshot
of a heady period, eight years ago, when reading in this area was
abundant. Jim Keith and I took this idea of "fusion paranoia" (which
was later utterly eschewed by Konformist Rob), and made it the basis
of a radio discussion that Steamshovel now makes available on CD ($6,
post paid, from POB 210553, St. Louis, MO 63121 --checks payable, as
always, to "Kenn Thomas" not "Steamshovel Press").
(In the eerie coincidence department, another journalist casualty of
the Iraq war, NBC's David Bloom, died of a pulmonary embolism that
may have resulted from a knee thrombosis due to the cramped
conditions of his "Bloom mobile" reporter's vehicle. Officially, Jim
Keith died that way as well, of a knee injury that led to an
Kelly's conclusions at the time were relatively generous, especially
in light on the caustic conservative he later became. Of the fusion
paranoids, he remarked: "They question everything, and believe
nothing but what is proven to their own satisfaction, until they have
refigured the world. In this way, truth lies. Unfortunately, so does
madness." People like Fletcher, Kelly determined, "are undone by an
excess of expectation and a dearth of imagination, by the failure of
their country to live up to itself, and by their own failure to
explain how this can have happened." Strange how those words might
apply to Kelly himself now.
Two pieces from Davesweb
Bill O'Liery continues to serve as Fox News' official statistician,
as near as I can tell. On Monday, April 7, Bill provided some up-to-
date casualty figures for Fox viewers. In case you've forgotten,
O'Liery's tally as of March 28 was: US - 9, Iraq - 25,000-35,000. The
new figures are:
U.S.: 54 troops killed
Iraq: 50,000-100,000 troops killed
As you can see, we are continuing to kick some serious ass. And
continuing to gloat over it too, I might add. And there is, it should
be noted, something seriously wrong in the psychological make-up of a
man who openly celebrates the slaughter of tens of thousands,
regardless of whether the alleged slaughter actually occurred.
I'm not a fan of the comics pages, so I haven't got a clue what the
strip "The Boondocks" is about. I've never read it and don't know
what, if any, political commentary the strip's creator throws in the
mix. But I do know that after catching his appearance on Bill Maher's
new HBO show, I have considerable respect for Aaron McGruder.
For those who haven't seen Maher's show, it is
essentially "Politically Incorrect" with a new name, a new set, and
one less guest on the panel. Joining McGruder on the panel were born-
again `progressive' Arianna Huffington, pretending not to be a rabid
right-winger, and Redneck Nation author Michael Graham, who is proud
to be a rabid right-winger. Moderating was, of course, Maher, who
continues to promote a decidedly fascistic agenda, while occasionally
taking a position that is progressive enough, by media standards, to
Suffice it to say that, facing this trio, McGruder was deep in
hostile territory, without supply or support, and he was greatly
outnumbered. He was, therefore, fairly cautious in the initial phases
of the engagement, sending out quick probes to gauge the enemy's
defenses and then quickly withdrawing.
As his confidence grew, McGruder directly engaged the enemy, openly
calling for "regime change" here at home. At first, Huffington
feigned support for this idea, while carefully explaining that the
use of the term `regime change' in conjunction with the Bush team was
certainly not intended to equate the Bush administration with the
Maher immediately began spraying small-arms fire at the two,
insisting that the use of the term "regime change" did indeed equate
the two regimes and was therefore entirely unacceptable. McGruder,
however, held his position and returned fire, pointing out that
neither Bush nor Hussein was popularly elected, and that therefore
the two administrations could in fact be equated.
This triggered a furious counterattack, with both Maher and
Huffington (who had quickly switched sides) lobbing heavy artillery
and spraying machine-gun fire while the Redneck guy provided 'close
cover' air support. Still, in the face of this massive show of force,
McGruder continued to hold his position and inflict casualties on the
When Maher began one of his patronizing speeches about the absurdity
of comparing George Bush's America to Hussein's "totalitarian police
state," McGruder quickly fired back that he had read the draft of
Patriot Act II and that it looked to him like America was "well on
its way" to becoming a police state.
Maher continued to protest, though he was clearly dazed and appeared
to be confused by the fact that someone snuck on his show who isn't
afraid to tell the truth. With the enemy reeling, McGruder delivered
a final, devastating attack by calmly explaining to the panel how it
is "absolutely necessary" to keep the people in a state of constant
fear if you want to strip away their civil rights.
Maher's studio audience, by the way, registered its support for
McGruder throughout the exchange.
Honor the Troops?
US Soldiers' Wives Fight Bitter Battle Of Their Own
(AFP) -- As US troops battle remnants of Iraq's fallen regime, their
wives are locked in a bitter struggle against money woes that have
forced some to resort to charity handouts to survive.
Low military salaries and the high cost of living in parts of the
United States means that families of many of the lower ranking US
troops fighting in Iraq live a hand to mouth existence.
"I know several wives of Marines with small children who line up at
churches for grocery handouts which are the only way they can survive
the month and feed and cloth the baby," said military wife, Natalie
"Military salaries are so low that they are almost impossible for a
family to live on, leaving some women desperate, especially now when
we also have the emotional turmoil of worrying if our men are safe in
Iraq," she said.
Like many of her friends, the mother of a seven-month-old boy, relies
on an American Red Cross program to supply her with crucial baby
formula and on additional help from the military community.
Castro, the wife of a 21-year old Marine private, is one of around
130,000 residents of Oceanside, which is dominated by Marines from
the nearby Camp Pendleton base and lies near the upscale Californian
city of San Diego.
Much like other US military towns, Oceanside's main street is
festooned with US flags, patriotic messages for the troops in Iraq
and miles of yellow ribbons symbolising the town's vigil for loved
ones who are fighting abroad.
Like much of California, the sun drenched seaside town boasts an
idyllic beach and a resort town atmosphere. But it also comes with
the higher rental and retail prices that go with life on the
glistening Pacific coast.
The main street is lined with scores of loan agencies that lend cash
strapped soldiers up to $US250 ($A413) dollars on their next salaries
in return for a post-dated cheque and a hefty $US44 ($A72) dollar
charge on the transaction.
Low ranking privates and corporals - they make up 60 per cent of the
US Marine Corps - take home only around $US800 ($A1,323) dollars a
month after tax, or $US9,600 ($A15,881) dollars annually.
The US Census Bureau classifies a family of three as poor if its cash
income is less than $US14,128 ($A23,371) dollars a year, or $US11,569
($A19,138) dollars for a married couple.
"We get a lot of young Marines' wives who need things like eggs,
bread, vegetables and such items to get through the month," said
Manny Garza who helps hand out food to the needy at Oceanside's St
"It's tough for them because they are so proud of what their husbands
are doing, especially now that we are at war, yet they're battling at
home," he said adding that many families did not like to talk of
their financial woes.
Even a combat pay boost awarded to troops in Iraq has not ended the
monthly cash crunch that families of low ranking soldiers feel.
"I've heard of women who are on welfare or use food stamps to go
shopping, which adds to anxiety that wives with loved ones in Iraq
are feeling," said Michelle Kester, the wife of a Marine recruiting
The Military Outreach Ministry gives boxes of essential monthly
groceries, including baby nappies, to around 400 families of
personnel at Camp Pendleton and San Diego's naval station.
But it reaches up to 10,000 people a month who need additional
handouts of items ranging from furniture to baby formula to medical
assistance to household repairs.
"Sometimes we have families which can just afford to move into a home
off- base, but who then can't afford to furnish it, not even with a
bed," said the ministry's Aline Bradley.
"It is difficult, but the military does have programs, including
ours, that provide a major safety belt for service families in
trouble - they just have to know how to get that help."
To help families manage their money, the military even provides
courses on household budgeting and balancing chequebooks to soldiers'
But even with help from the military community and other groups,
times are tough for young military families trying to live the
American Dream in sunny California.
"After tax and after paying for the car and its insurance and medical
bills for the baby, there's nothing left," Castro said.
"My husband and most of his friends all have second jobs or work
whenever they can just to survive, which seems really wrong to me
given the job they're doing for is Iraq."
Lookout by Naomi Klein
Privatization in Disguise
[from the April 28, 2003 issue]
On April 6, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz spelled it out:
There will be no role for the United Nations in setting up an interim
government in Iraq. The US-run regime will last at least six
months, "probably...longer than that."
And by the time the Iraqi people have a say in choosing a government,
the key economic decisions about their country's future will have
been made by their occupiers. "There has got to be an effective
administration from day one," Wolfowitz said. "People need water and
food and medicine, and the sewers have to work, the electricity has
to work. And that's a coalition responsibility."
The process of getting all this infrastructure to work is usually
called "reconstruction." But American plans for Iraq's future economy
go well beyond that. Rather, the country is being treated as a blank
slate on which the most ideological Washington neoliberals can design
their dream economy: fully privatized, foreign-owned and open for
Some highlights: The $4.8 million management contract for the port in
Umm Qasr has already gone to a US company, Stevedoring Services of
America, and the airports are on the auction block. The US Agency for
International Development has invited US multinationals to bid on
everything from rebuilding roads and bridges to printing textbooks.
Most of these contracts are for about a year, but some have options
that extend up to four. How long before they meld into long-term
contracts for privatized water services, transit systems, roads,
schools and phones? When does reconstruction turn into privatization
California Republican Congressman Darrel Issa has introduced a bill
that would require the Defense Department to build a CDMA cell-phone
system in postwar Iraq in order to benefit "US patent holders." As
Farhad Manjoo noted in Salon, CDMA is the system used in the United
States, not Europe, and was developed by Qualcomm, one of Issa's most
And then there's oil. The Bush Administration knows it can't talk
openly about selling off Iraq's oil resources to ExxonMobil and
Shell. It leaves that to Fadhil Chalabi, a former Iraq petroleum
ministry official. "We need to have a huge amount of money coming
into the country," Chalabi says. "The only way is to partially
privatize the industry."
He is part of a group of Iraqi exiles who have been advising the
State Department on how to implement that privatization in such a way
that it isn't seen to be coming from the United States. Helpfully,
the group held a conference on April 4-5 in London, where it called
on Iraq to open itself up to oil multinationals after the war. The
Administration has shown its gratitude by promising there will be
plenty of posts for Iraqi exiles in the interim government.
Some argue that it's too simplistic to say this war is about oil.
They're right. It's about oil, water, roads, trains, phones, ports
and drugs. And if this process isn't halted, "free Iraq" will be the
most sold country on earth.
It's no surprise that so many multinationals are lunging for Iraq's
untapped market. It's not just that the reconstruction will be worth
as much as $100 billion; it's also that "free trade" by less violent
means hasn't been going that well lately. More and more developing
countries are rejecting privatization, while the Free Trade Area of
the Americas, Bush's top trade priority, is wildly unpopular across
Latin America. World Trade Organization talks on intellectual
property, agriculture and services have all bogged down amid
accusations that America and Europe have yet to make good on past
So what is a recessionary, growth-addicted superpower to do? How
about upgrading Free Trade Lite, which wrestles market access through
backroom bullying, to Free Trade Supercharged, which seizes new
markets on the battlefields of pre-emptive wars? After all,
negotiations with sovereign nations can be hard. Far easier to just
tear up the country, occupy it, then rebuild it the way you want.
Bush hasn't abandoned free trade, as some have claimed, he just has a
new doctrine: "Bomb before you buy."
It goes further than one unlucky country. Investors are openly
predicting that once privatization of Iraq takes root, Iran, Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait will be forced to compete by privatizing their
oil. "In Iran, it would just catch like wildfire," S. Rob Sobhani, an
energy consultant, told the Wall Street Journal. Soon, America may
have bombed its way into a whole new free-trade zone.
So far, the press debate over the reconstruction of Iraq has focused
on fair play: It is "exceptionally maladroit," in the words of the
European Union's Commissioner for External Relations, Chris Patten,
for the United States to keep all the juicy contracts for itself. It
has to learn to share: ExxonMobil should invite France's TotalFinaElf
to the most lucrative oilfields; Bechtel should give Britain's Thames
Water a shot at the sewer contracts.
But while Patten may find US unilateralism galling and Tony Blair may
be calling for UN oversight, on this matter it's beside the point.
Who cares which multinationals get the best deals in Iraq's post-
Saddam, pre-democracy liquidation sale? What does it matter if the
privatizing is done unilaterally by Washington or multilaterally by
the United States, Europe, Russia and China?
Entirely absent from this debate are the Iraqi people, who might--who
knows?--want to hold on to a few of their assets. Iraq will be owed
massive reparations after the bombing stops, but without any real
democratic process, what is being planned is not reparations,
reconstruction or rehabilitation. It is robbery: mass theft disguised
as charity; privatization without representation.
A people, starved and sickened by sanctions, then pulverized by war,
is going to emerge from this trauma to find that their country has
been sold out from under them. They will also discover that their
newfound "freedom"--for which so many of their loved ones perished--
comes pre-shackled with irreversible economic decisions that were
made in boardrooms while the bombs were still falling.
They will then be told to vote for their new leaders, and welcomed to
the wonderful world of democracy.