- Please send as far and wide as possible.
Editor, The Konformist
Shafting, Not 'Supporting,' the Troops
By Bill Berkowitz, WorkingForChange.com
July 25, 2003
The Bush Administration is giving new meaning to the phrase "support
A few weeks back President Bush arguably placed the troops stationed
in Iraq in even greater harm's way by uttering his now
infamous "Bring them on!" comment when asked about the increasing
attacks and mounting US casualties. Shortly after his comment, Army
Times posed this question to its readers: "What do you think about
the 'bring them on' challenge President Bush issued July 2 from the
White House, referring to those who attack U.S. troops in Iraq?"
Nearly sixty percent agreed with the statement, "It was irresponsible
and unnecessarily placed the lives of U.S. troops in even greater
danger." Nearly 40 percent said that "It showed U.S. resolve and
confidence in troops to finish the job in Iraq." (Poll results as of
July 23, 2003)
On July 23rd, after experiencing a week of anger and criticism from
some of the troops in Iraq and their families at home, the Pentagon
finally announced a troop-rotation plan. The "long-awaited" plan is
aimed at relieving "the weary military personnel in Iraq with fresh
American and international troops in the coming months, with most
U.S. soldiers facing yearlong deployments," Reuters reported.
A new Army brigade (about 5,000 troops) "built around the high-
tech 'Stryker' armored vehicle" will be sent and the plan "also calls
for activating thousands more Army National Guard soldiers,"
according to Reuters. Acting Army Chief of Staff Gen. Jack Keane told
a Pentagon briefing that the replacements are likely to face one-year
Eight days before, thousands of soldiers from the 3rd Infantry
Division learned that they wouldn't be heading home anytime soon.
Stepped up attacks against occupation forces and the refusal by other
countries to send troops to the country caused division commander
Maj. Gen. Buford C. Blount III to revise his estimate as to when the
troops would be reunited with their families, AP reported. This
reversal by Maj. Gen. Blount happened just days after he said "he
hoped the division's 1st and 2nd Brigade Combat Teams of roughly
9,000 soldiers could return home to Fort Stewart within the next six
The 3rd Infantry Division - which spearheaded the attack on Baghdad -
sent 16,500 troops to Iraq and thus far has suffered some 36 deaths -
more than any other unit in Iraq. "The units have been ordered to
stay 'due to the uncertainty of the situation in Iraq and the recent
increase in attacks on the coalition forces,'" Blount informed the
families of the troops in an e-mail message that had been obtained by
The Associated Press.
The troops in Iraq are suffering "from low morale that has in some
cases hit 'rock bottom,'" the Christian Science Monitor recently
reported. And last week, several soldiers vented their frustration to
U.S. television news reporters. "If Donald Rumsfeld were here, I'd
ask him for his resignation," one disgruntled soldier told
ABC's "Good Morning America" show, Reuters reported. "It pretty much
makes me lose faith in the Army," Pfc. Jason Punyhotra of the 3rd
Infantry told ABC News in Fallujah, Iraq. "I don't really believe
anything they tell me. If they told me we were leaving next week, I
wouldn't believe them."
"I've got my own 'Most Wanted' list," a sergeant at the 2nd Battle
Combat Team Headquarters referring to the Administration deck of most
wanted Iraqis, told ABC News' Jeffrey Kofman. "The aces in my deck
are Paul Bremer, Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush and Paul Wolfowitz," he
Going public with these comments quickly became a story within a
story. In a classic attempt to kill the messenger, a White House
official allegedly passed along information to Matt Drudge, of the
very popular online Drudge Report, that reporter Kofman is not only
gay, but he is also a Canadian.
One officer later told the San Francisco Chronicle's Robert
Collier "It was the end of the world. It went all the way up to
President Bush and back down again on top of us. At least six of us
here will lose our careers."
While the dangerous and difficult conditions in Iraq, combined with
the unforeseen extension of their tour of duty fueled flagging
morale, a recent editorial in Army Times shed light on a series of
homeland developments that may add more fuel to that fire.
According to Army Times, proposals that would have added "various pay-
and-benefits incentives to the 2004 defense budget" are now
considered "wasteful and unnecessary" by the Republican-controlled
The June 30th Army Times editorial said the troops were getting
the "nickel-and-dime treatment" from the Republican-controlled
Congress. Some might call it getting the shaft.
According to Army Times, the GOP-controlled Congress has:
Canceled a "modest proposal" to increase the benefit from $6,000 to
$12,000 to families of soldiers who die on active duty;
"Roll[ed] back recent modest increases in monthly imminent-danger pay
(from $225 to $150) and family-separation allowance (from $250 to
$100) for troops getting shot at in combat zones";
Refused to consider "military tax relief... that would be a boon to
military homeowners, reservists who travel long distances for
training and parents deployed to combat zones, among others";
Passed pay raises for "some [higher] ranks," but "cap[ped] raises for
E-1s, E-2s and O-1s at 2 percent, well below the average raise of 4.1
Accepted a $1.5 billion cut in the military construction request for
2004: A proposal by Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., senior Democrat on the
House Appropriations Committee, to restore $1 billion of the $1.5
billion cut by "cover[ing] that cost by trimming recent tax cuts for
the roughly 200,000 Americans who earn more than $1 million a year...
[who would receive $83,500] instead of... $88,300," was defeated.
Army Times: "Taken piecemeal, all these corner-cutting moves might be
viewed as mere flesh wounds. But even flesh wounds are fatal if you
suffer enough of them. It adds up to a troubling pattern that
eventually will hurt morale - especially if the current breakneck
operations tempo also rolls on unchecked and the tense situations in
Iraq and Afghanistan do not ease."
The chickenhawks running the show at the White House should be
embarrassed by their support for these measures. The media needs to
ask why the troops are receiving this shabby treatment. And, with so
little financial support for their families, it's not surprising that
the death and destruction the soldiers experience on foreign soil
frequently follow them home. America's politicos are always at the
head of the pack when it comes to waving the flag, wearing the lapel
pins, putting up the yellow ribbons and mouthing empty slogans. As
Army Times pointed out: "Talk is cheap - and getting cheaper by the
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Welcome to the Big Darkness
By Hunter S. Thompson
Page 2 columnist
Hi, folks, my name is still Thompson, and I still drink gin with ER
Nurses at night -- but in one particular way, I am a New Man, a
different man, a more dangerous man than I was the last time we
talked. And that was a few weeks ago, eh?
Indeed, I can walk again, and I like it, because last month I felt an
acute spasmodic pain in my spine when I walked. There was nothing
cute about it, no socially redeeming factor. It just plain sucked.
But I have just returned from an extremely intense few weeks at the
world-renowned Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colo. (yes, the same
city where Kobe Bryant ...), where I had radical surgery to repair
what was beginning to give me some pain. Great pain on some days, and
I finally decided to get rid of it.
I am no stranger to organ replacement, and I always find it
refreshing, always a happy improvement over Pain.
I hate pain, despite my ability to tolerate it beyond all known
parameters, which is not necessarily a good thing. I once gouged
about two-thirds of my hip socket into mush for five consecutive
years, until I finally felt enough pain to have the bastard replaced.
And Titanium turned out to be far more comfortable and flexible than
the human spine anyway, especially mine. It is lighter, stronger and
far more adaptable, in every way, than bone or steel or anything else
in the human body -- and I am installing it in my own body as rapidly
as possible without doing anything stupid.
My alloy spine replacement is about 70 percent finished, and after
it's completed, I will take a break. And maybe have a look at this
weird and degrading Kobe Bryant story, which interests me. The more I
learn about this case, the more I understand that this is not about
Rape at all. It is about money, pure money and nothing else. Nobody
is going to jail in this case, but some people are going to Pay.
The downward spiral of Dumbness in America is about to hit a new low.
You thought O.J. was bad? Wait until we get a taste of the K.B.
scandal. It will be like a feeding frenzy and a long parade of
Kobe cheating on his wife? Rape allegations? It's only just begun,
When I went into the clinic last April 30, George Bush was about 50
points ahead of his closest Democratic opponent in next year's
Presidential Election. When I finally escaped from the horrible
place, less than three weeks late, Bush's job-approval ratings had
been cut in half -- and even down into single digits, in some states -
- and the Republican Party was panicked and on the run. It was a
staggering reversal in a very short time, even shorter than it took
for his equally crooked father to drop from 93 percent approval, down
to as low as 43 percent and even 41 percent in the last doomed days
of the first doomed Bush Administration. After that, he was Bill
Clinton's punching bag.
Richard Nixon could tell us a lot about peaking too early. He was a
master of it, because it beat him every time. He never learned and
neither did Bush the Elder.
But wow! This goofy child president we have on our hands now. He is
demonstrably a fool and a failure, and this is only the summer
of '03. By the summer of 2004, he might not even be living in the
White House. Gone, gone, like the snows of yesteryear.
The Rumsfield-Cheney axis has self-destructed right in front of our
eyes, along with the once-proud Perle-Wolfowitz bund that is turning
to wax. They somehow managed to blow it all, like a gang of kids on a
looting spree, between January and July, or even less. It is
genuinely incredible. The U.S. Treasury is empty, we are losing that
stupid, fraudulent chickencrap War in Iraq, and every country in the
world except a handful of Corrupt Brits despises us. We are losers,
and that is the one unforgiveable sin in America.
Beyond that, we have lost the respect of the world and lost two
disastrous wars in three years. Afghanistan is lost, Iraq is a
permanent war Zone, our national Economy is crashing all around us,
the Pentagon's "war strategy" has failed miserably, nobody has any
money to spend, and our once-mighty U.S. America is paralyzed by
Mutinies in Iraq and even Fort Bragg.
The American nation is in the worst condition I can remember in my
lifetime, and our prospects for the immediate future are even worse.
I am surprised and embarrassed to be a part of the first American
generation to leave the country in far worse shape than it was when
we first came into it. Our highway system is crumbling, our police
are dishonest, our children are poor, our vaunted Social Security,
once the envy of the world, has been looted and neglected and
destroyed by the same gang of ignorant greed-crazed bastards who
brought us Vietnam, Afghanistan, the disastrous Gaza Strip and
ignominious defeat all over the world.
The Stock Market will never come back, our Armies will never again be
No. 1, and our children will drink filthy water for the rest of our
The Bush family must be very proud of themselves today, but I am not.
Big Darkness, soon come. Take my word for it.
DR. THOMPSON IS BACK WITH US NOW, AND READY TO RUMBLE. HE IS FREE OF
THE HIDEOUS PAIN THAT HAS PLAGUED HIM AND HIS LOVED ONES SINCE TIME
IMMEMORIAL. BUT IT IS GONE NOW. THINGS HAVE CHANGED.
To be continued very soon.
Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was born and raised in Louisville, Ky. His
books include "Hell's Angels," "Fear and Loathing in Las
Vegas," "Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72," "The Great
Shark Hunt," "The Curse of Lono," "Generation of Swine," "Songs of
the Doomed," "Screwjack," "Better Than Sex," "The Proud
Highway," "The Rum Diary," and "Fear and Loathing in America." His
latest book, "Kingdom of Fear," has just been released. A regular
contributor to various national and international publications,
Thompson now lives in a fortified compound near Aspen, Colo. His
column, "Hey, Rube," appears regularly on Page 2.
WHY THE INTERNET IS LIKE A VAGINA
The more people use it the bigger it gets.
If you play with it too much you can go blind.
You wouldn't believe the things people put in there!
Some people think they know how to move around in it, but they really
In the long-distant past, its only purpose was to receive information
considered vital to the survival of the species.
Some people still think that's the only thing it should be used for,
but most folks today use it for fun most of the time.
It has no conscience and no memory.
It provides a way to interact with other people.
If you don't apply the appropriate protective measures, it can spread
It has no brain of its own. Instead, it uses yours. If you use it too
find it becomes more and more difficult to think coherently.
You think you're just playing around, but you can get involved in
something that takes 9 months to finish.
The part you see is actually just the front end of a very complicated
If you're not careful what you do with it, it can get you in big
It has its own agenda. Somehow, no matter how good your intentions,
it will warp your behavior. Later you may ask yourself "why on earth
did I do that?"
Some folks have it, some don't.
Those who have it think that those who don't have it are somehow
Those who don't have it may agree that it's a nifty toy, but think
it's not worth the fuss that those who do have it make about it.
Still, many of those who don't have it spend all their time trying to
Once you've started playing with it, it's hard to stop. Some people
would just play with it all day if they didn't have work to do.
Some people believe in security and avoiding penetration but others
believe it should be open to all comers.
Skolnick: Dr. Kelly Assassinated
LATEST MIDDLE-FINGER NEWS
The Middle-Finger News
Sticking It To The Poobahs
July 23, 2003
by Sherman H. Skolnick and Lenny Bloom
Royalty At War
Once again another body surfaces in the on-going battles between the
Royal Crowned Heads of Europe. Dr. David Kelly, a top microbiologist
of Irish descent, was snuffed out after he threatened to go public
with documents that would incriminate Queen Elizabeth II as a usurper
to the English Throne and expose her many skeletons in the closet.
She is a Hessian from the German House of Hanover and with her
husband assassinated the true heir to the English Throne namely
Princess Diana of Wales, Head of the House of Stuart.
Queen Elizabeth II, as actually the true head of the United States,
sent her P.M. Tony Blair to inform President Bush of the necessity to
wipe out Dr. Kelly, a top official of British MI-6 counter-
intelligence, for the survival of the fraudulent House of Windsor. No
longer trusting so-called secure telecommunications, Blair went to
Washington in person.
This time the royal battle consisted of three teams. One team was out
to steal Kelly's documents by knocking him out; but not to harm
him. They are the Grabbers, the French Rothschilds; on behalf of the
Crowned Emperor of the Vatican -The Pope, who has long desired
control over the Throne of England and like Caesar, the capture of
Jerusalem, thus nullifying the Arabs and the Jews.
Meanwhile the second team the Windsor?s arrived a few minutes later,
and surprised to find no expected documents, bumped off Dr. Kelly.
The pro-British House of Windsor press, dominating the media in
Europe and the United States, spread the big lie of Dr. Kelly?s
A third team for their own benefit, watching but not participating,
are scheming to swipe the smoking gun records or force the
Rothschilds to surrender them. They are the royal house of
Habsburgs, including Spain and Austro-Hungary, master blackmailers,
and experts on setting up the thieves and robbing from them, The
[NOTE: Skolnick's stories are posted also on www.rense.com CLICK on
MAIN PAGE, left-hand side of MAIN PAGE, "COLUMNISTS-Sherman
Skolnick". Stories are posted through that often sooner than
Skolnick's own website.]
House votes to block expanded FCC limits
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Alan Fram
July 23, 2003 | WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House voted Wednesday to
prevent federal regulators from letting individual broadcast
companies own television stations serving nearly half the national TV
market, ignoring the preferences of its own Republican leaders and a
Bush administration veto threat.
By a 400-21 vote, lawmakers approved a spending bill with language
blocking a Federal Communications Commission decision to let
companies own TV stations serving up to 45 percent of the country's
viewers. The current ceiling is 35 percent.
Despite GOP control of the White House, Congress and the FCC, the
House vote set the stage for what may ultimately be an unraveling of
a regulatory policy that the party strongly favors. The fight now
moves to the Senate, where several lawmakers of both parties want to
include a similar provision in their version of the bill.
Top Republicans are hoping that, with leverage from the threat of a
first-ever veto by President Bush, the final House-Senate compromise
bill later this year will drop the provision thwarting the FCC.
In a show of defiance, FCC Chairman Michael Powell issued a written
statement before the vote defending the commission's decision. The
five-member FCC approved the new rules on a 3-2 party-line vote on
"We are confident in our decision," Powell said. "We created
enforceable rules that reflect the realities of today's media
marketplace. The rules will benefit Americans by protecting localism,
competition and diversity."
A statement by NBC lobbyist Bob Okun praised the FCC decision as "a
positive and much needed step offering regulatory relief to free,
over-the-air television," and called the legislation "extremely
disappointing to us."
Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., chief sponsor of the provision that would
derail the liberalized FCC rules, acknowledged in an interview that a
tough fight lay ahead over keeping the language intact in the bill's
final version. But he declared victory, for now.
"It's extremely rare to be able to reverse a regulatory decision that
gives away the store to the big boys," Obey said.
With programming power and many billions of dollars at stake, the
battle has pitted the big broadcast networks against smaller station
owners and an array of groups, from the Christian Coalition to the
"We've been facing a total roadblock on doing anything in the House,"
said Gene Kimmelman, public policy director for the consumer union.
He said the House vote meant "that roadblock will be torn apart."
The biggest beneficiaries of the FCC ruling would be Viacom Inc.,
which owns the CBS and UPN networks, and News Corp., owner of Fox.
Due to mergers and acquisitions, both already exceed the 35 percent
Opponents of the FCC decision said it would give giant broadcast
corporations too much clout, at the expense of communities and a
diversity of voices.
Supporters of the FCC rule said the older, tighter limits ignore a
high-tech era in which cable and satellite TV, plus the Internet,
have intensified the competition they face. And they said that with
even the largest networks owning less than 3 percent of the nation's
1,300 broadcast stations, the clout of the networks was being
Even so, short of support and eager to prevent FCC opponents from
using a House roll call to show their strength, GOP leaders didn't
even try removing the language from the bill. Instead, they said they
would seek to kill it when House-Senate bargainers craft a compromise
bill later this year.
Hoping to increase their power, some Republicans were seeking House
members' signatures for a letter pledging to vote to sustain a veto,
GOP aides said. It would take 145 lawmakers, or one-third of the
House, to uphold a veto, which would be President Bush's first.
Some senators may try including similar language in the Senate
version of the bill, which may not be written until the fall.
The provision was included last week in a $37.9 billion measure
financing the departments of Commerce, State and Justice next year.
On Tuesday, a White House budget office statement said the new FCC
rules "more accurately reflect the changing media landscape and the
current state of network station ownership, while still guarding
against undue concentration in the marketplace."
The budget office threatened a veto if "this provision or a provision
like it with respect to any one of the other FCC rules" is sent to
On a different issue, lawmakers rejected another amendment by 273-152
that would bar the federal government from interfering with 10 states
that allow the medical use of marijuana.
On Tuesday, the House by 309-118 included another amendment blocking
the government from performing "sneak and peek" searches under the
USA Patriot Act. That law, enacted after the terrorist attacks of
Sept. 11, 2001, allowed such searches without the property owner's or
resident's knowledge with warrants that are delivered afterward.
The House bill affected only part of the FCC's decision.
By 254-174, the chamber rejected an amendment by Rep. Maurice
Hinchey, D-N.Y., to kill the entire FCC ruling, which he said would
impede local media control. The June 2 ruling also would make it
easier for companies to own newspapers and broadcast stations in the
same community, and to own more than one broadcast outlet in a