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  • Robert Sterling
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com Disinformation News Special Bulletin:
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 27, 2008
      Please send as far and wide as possible.

      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist

      Disinformation News Special Bulletin:

      Disinformation Editor Russ Kick has been named one of Utne
      Reader's "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World":

      Russ Kick – Architect of Memory:

      "I don't foresee a day when there is true government transparency,"
      says Russ Kick, editor of TheMemoryHole.org. "It's just not in the
      nature of government." So, in lieu of the end of secrecy, Kick
      tenaciously ticks off small victories, such as finding an IRS guide
      to prosecuting money laundering, buried in the Federal Depository
      Library, and using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to unearth
      photographs of U.S. military prisons.

      Since 2002, Kick has preserved hundreds of cultural artifacts,
      including that five-minute clip of President Bush reading to
      schoolchildren on 9/11 after an aide whispered to him that the
      nation was under siege. Kick edits a series of anthologies for
      Disinformation, a radical media organization. [This year] look for
      an updated edition of 2001's You Are Being Lied To, called
      (appropriately) You Are STILL Being Lied To.

      The best you hope for, Kick says, is that an inspired citizen files
      an FOIA request of his or her own.


      Russ Kick is the author of 50 Things You're Not Supposed To Know,
      Volumes 1 and 2, and The Disinformation Book of Lists. He is the
      editor of Everything You Know Is Wrong, Abuse Your Illusions,
      Everything You Know About Sex Is Wrong, and Everything You Know
      About God Is Wrong. His next anthology You Are STILL Being Lied To
      will be available in December 2008.

      Russ Kick assembles an unprecedented group of researchers —
      investigative reporters, political dissidents, academics, media
      watchdogs, scientist-philosophers, social critics, and rogue
      scholars — to paint a picture of a world where crucial stories are
      ignored or actively suppressed and the official version of events
      has more holes in it than Swiss cheese.

      Featuring essays from Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Howard Bloom,
      Sydney Schanberg, Michael Parenti, Riane Eisler, Jim Marrs, and many

      The NEW Disinformation Guide to Media Distortion, Historical
      Whitewashes and Cultural Myths

      Edited by Russ Kick
      Published by The Disinformation Company Ltd.
      December 2008 * ISBN: 978-1934708-07-1
      Oversized Softcover * US$24.95 * 448 pages

      About The Disinformation Company Ltd:

      The Disinformation Company was founded in 1997 on the strength of
      the ever-popular Disinformation website (www.disinfo.com). The
      company is active in television and film production, book
      publishing, theatrical releasing, home entertainment, and is
      currently developing its first video game.



      Obama and the Great Depression
      By Mickey Z.
      Online Journal Contributing Writer
      Nov 20, 2008

      No, I don't mean that Great Depression. I'm talking about the
      inevitable moment -- maybe next week, maybe next year -- when the
      Kool Aid wears off and the Obamatrons wake up to realize their hero
      offers nothing even approximating hope or change.

      The carefully calculated speeches -- which have always been filled
      with empty, hollow phrases -- will no longer soothe a battered and
      desperate populace and the Obamabots will suddenly recognize that
      the Pope of Hope has never been anything more than a human marketing
      strategy, a product. This year's iPhone.

      "Yes we can"? Merely the first three words of a longer phrase: "Yes
      we can continue to work, consume, and obey authority without

      A great depression, so to speak, will set in. According to
      Depression.com, some people say this condition feels "like a black
      curtain of despair . . . Many people feel like they have no energy
      and can't concentrate. Others feel irritable all the time." Other
      common symptoms include "empty" feelings and a sense of hopelessness.

      Hopelessness: how frighteningly appropriate for the inescapable post-
      Obama comedown. Change we can bereave in.

      Yes, a great and unpreventable depression will set in . . . but, you
      betcha, the damage is already done.

      As for that other Great Depression looming on the horizon, well,
      here's my short-term economic recovery plan:

      Cut the military budget by 75 percent

      Eliminate corporate welfare

      Return the corporate tax rate back to where it was in the 1950s

      Hey, what can I say? I'm a maverick . . .

      Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at www.mickeyz.net.


      All this talk of economic collapse is exhausting. Here's something
      to cheer up your day...


      G'day! Hugh Jackman is new Sexiest Man Alive
      A romantic in a hard body, the Aussie star leaves women saying `Oh
      Wed., Nov. 19, 2008
      He's a triple threat: a star who can sing, dance and wield a weapon.

      At 6-foot-2, all scruff and biceps, Hugh Jackman looms large in the
      epic "Australia," which he says kept him "dirty 95 percent of the
      time" and left people stammering, "Oh ... my ... God," according to
      costar Nicole Kidman, who adds, "Women's jaws drop when Hugh walks
      into a room."

      Jackman's wife of 12 years, Deborra-Lee Furness, calls his perfect
      form "the Body of Doom — but I like what's inside": a romantic who
      sings ballads at home and makes pancakes for Oscar, 8, and Ava, 3. A
      hard body with a soft center — 2008's Sexiest Man Alive sat down
      with PEOPLE to reveal most of his secrets.

      "You turned 40 Oct. 12 and now you're the Sexiest Man Alive. What
      was your wife's response?"

      God bless her, she said, "I could've told them that years ago!" And
      then she said, "Obviously, Brad wasn't available this year." And I
      said, "That was a joke, right?"

      "Your marriage is a success story."

      In my early 20s, I didn't have a regular girlfriend. I was single
      and really happy about it. And then when I was 26, I met Deb on (the
      Australian TV show) "Correlli." She was my leading lady. It was just
      undeniable. I started planning to propose to her at about three
      months. We are happy. Deb and my kids have been the best things that
      have ever happened to me, without a doubt.

      "How do you keep the passion alive?"

      It's easy with my wife. She loves the idea of me coming home in
      costume because it makes her feel like she's having an affair in a
      good way. When we met, I was cast as a prisoner with tattoos and
      she'd say, "Don't take your tattoos off tonight!" and I'd be
      like, "All right!" But what works best with her is the stockbroker
      look. She also says, "Do your sexy dance for me," (an '80s-like, hip-
      swiveling number) and that works for me.

      "Are you self-conscious about any body part?"

      When I was younger, I had chicken legs. My nickname was Sticks.

      "What part do people like best?"

      My smile. Lately my pecs. I'm being honest!

      "What do you wear to bed?"

      I didn't wear anything until my daughter was born and we had a night
      nanny because I was working. I walked out stark naked, and she was
      reading a book. Now I like boxer briefs.

      For more of Hugh's interview, pick up PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive
      issue, on stands Friday.



      Consumer prices drop record 1 percent in October
      Wednesday November 19, 2008
      By Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer
      Consumer prices drop by largest amount in past 61 years as energy
      prices see record plunge

      WASHINGTON (AP) -- Consumer prices plunged by the largest amount in
      the past 61 years in October as gasoline pump prices dropped by a
      record amount.

      The Labor Department said Wednesday that consumer prices fell by 1
      percent last month, the biggest one-month decline on records that go
      back to February 1947. The drop was twice as large as the 0.5
      percent decline analysts expected.

      In other economic news, the Commerce Department reported that
      construction of new homes and apartments fell by 4.5 percent in
      October to an annual rate of 791,000 units. That was the slowest
      construction pace on records going back to 1959 and underscored that
      housing remains caught in a severe slump.

      The big drop in inflation reflected not only a huge fall in gasoline
      and other energy costs, but widespread declines in other areas. Core
      consumer prices, which exclude food and energy, fell by 0.1 percent
      last month, the first drop in core prices in more than a quarter-

      There were price declines for clothing, new and used cars, and
      airline fares. Analysts predicted further declines in the months
      ahead as retailers struggle to attract consumers who are being
      battered by rising unemployment and the weak economy.

      "This report clearly reflects the crunch in discretionary consumers'
      spending which is likely to persist for the foreseeable future,"
      said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency

      The big retreat in consumer prices represented a remarkable
      turnaround from just a few months ago when a relentless surge in
      energy prices raised concerns that inflation could get out of

      Since that time, the economy has been jolted by the most serious
      financial crisis in seven decades with all the turbulence expected
      to push the country into a severe and prolonged recession.

      The U.S. troubles have quickly spread overseas, depressing growth
      around the world and cutting into demand for oil and other products,
      a development that has resulted in sharp declines in the price of
      crude oil and other commodities.

      While some are worried that the price retreat could raise the
      prospect of a deflation, a prolonged bout of falling prices, most
      economists believe that current conditions are not likely to set the
      stage for such a development, which last occurred in the U.S. during
      the Great Depression.

      Over the past 12 months, consumer prices have risen by 3.7 percent.
      That is substantially below the 17-year high of a 12-month price
      increase of 5.6 percent set this summer. Core prices are up 2.2
      percent over the past 12 months.

      This price moderation is giving the Federal Reserve the room it
      needs to cut interest rates to battle the economic slump. The
      central bank is expected to cut the federal funds rate, the interest
      that banks charge each other, down to 0.5 percent at its December
      meeting, even lower than the 1 percent where the funds rate stands
      currently. The 1 percent funds rate ties the record low for the past
      half century.

      For October, energy prices fell by a record 8.6 percent, led by a
      record 14.2 percent drop in gasoline prices. Since prices at the
      pump have continued to fall this month, analysts are looking for a
      big decline in energy costs in November as well.

      The nationwide average for regular gasoline now stands at $2.07,
      down 33 cents since the start of the month, according to the Energy
      Information Agency, and well below record-highs above $4 per gallon
      this summer.

      Food costs rose 0.3 percent in October, just half the increase of
      September, as dairy products and fruit showed declines. Food prices
      are still 6.1 percent above where they were a year ago, reflecting
      big increases in past months as grocery stores hiked costs to
      reflect the higher cost of transportation.

      Excluding food and energy, consumer prices fell by 0.1 percent, the
      first decline in core prices since a similar drop in December 1982
      as the country was battling the effects of a severe recession.

      Many analysts believe the current downturn will be the worst
      recession since the 1981-82 slump.

      The big drop in inflation meant workers got a break in their
      discretionary incomes although average weekly earnings, after
      adjusting for inflation, were still down by 0.9 percent from a year
      ago. However, that was smaller than the 2.5 percent decrease seen in
      the prior two months.



      Charts Predict: Dow 6,400 in Less than a Month
      CNBC.com | 19 Nov 2008

      The Dow Jones Industrial Average is set to sink to 6,400 within the
      next few weeks, Nicole Elliott, technical analyst at Mizuho
      Corporate Bank told CNBC.

      "Any moment now I think we're going to break lower," Elliott
      told "Europe Tonight."

      "I expect this to be possibly before the end of November or very
      early December, I mean we're almost on our way now and it's just a
      question of how far down do we go," she said.

      The Dow managed to close above its October low of 8,175.77 on
      Tuesday, but slipped below that level during the trading session.
      Market watchers are divided on whether the recent lows mark a base
      from which to rally, or a pit stop on the way lower.

      "This is not a base at all, we're nowhere near bottom yet," Elliott

      After the initial sharp slump the index could fall further, but in a
      more gradual decline, according to Elliott.



      Chinese Want To Buy the Big 3 Automakers
      Jane Hamsher
      Huffington Post
      Thursday, Nov 20, 2008

      It appears that the Chinese car makers SAIC and Dongfeng have plans
      to acquire the Big 3:

      A take-over of a large overseas auto maker would fit perfectly into
      China's plans. As reported before, China has realized that its
      export chances are slim without unfettered access to foreign
      technology. The brand cachet of Chinese cars abroad is, shall we
      say, challenged. The Chinese could easily export Made-in-China VWs,
      Toyotas, Buicks. If their joint venture partner would let them. The
      solution: Buy the joint venture partner. Especially, when he's in
      deep trouble.

      At current market valuations (GM is worth less than Mattel) the
      Chinese government can afford to buy GM with petty cash. Even a
      hundred billion $ would barely dent China's more than $2t in
      currency reserves. For nobody in the world would buying GM and
      (while they are at it) Chrysler make more sense than for the
      Chinese. Overlap? What overlap? They would gain instant access to
      the world's markets with accepted brands, and proven technology.

      All the Shock Doctrine fanatics cheering to drive the the Big 3 into
      bankruptcy "restructuring" (like Mitt Romney, who can kiss future
      hopes of electoral victory in Michigan goodbye) might want to think
      about the implications of this.

      Of course the same legislators clamouring for bankruptcy could block
      the sale. (This assumes they have the fortitude to stare down the
      Chinese, who currently hold a whopping portion of US debt, and deny
      them something they really want). But in doing so, and at the same
      time refusing a bridge loan to the automakers, they are basically
      legislating the destruction of the Big 3. They will be forcing them
      to stiff all their creditors and stockholders and tear up their
      union contracts by refusing to let the "free market" they love to
      bang on about step in and assume the company's legitimate debts. Or
      were all those insufferable lectures about "personal responsibility"
      when the bankruptcy bill was going through just so much claptrap?

      Because selling the company would be far preferable to the Big 3 and
      those who are dependent on them than Chapter 7. But long-term it
      would not be without peril for the US. As one FDL commener noted:

      With no big three making cars what to stop Toyota and Honda from
      moving the plants to Mexico where costs are really low. Its only the
      threat of being shut out of the American market that keeps the
      Japanese building cars here. If we no longer have cars made in
      America by American companies we will have no choice but to buy
      their cars no matter where they are made.
      I know long-term thinking isn't his forte. But as Richard Shelby is
      salivating at the prospect of yet another BMW SUV plant in his right-
      to-work state, it might be something for him to consider.



      Demand jitters push crude below $50
      By Esther Bintliff and Javier Blas
      November 20 2008

      Oil sank below $50 a barrel, reaching its lowest point since May
      2005 amid fears over the outlook for demand in the face of a global

      The drop in oil prices led a broader retreat in raw materials, with
      the Reuters-Jefferies CRB commodity index, a global benchmark,
      falling to a five-year low.

      January WTI traded $4.68 lower at $49.42 a barrel. ICE January Brent
      dropped $3.64 to $48.08.

      "Oil prices are searching for an elusive bottom," said Antoine Halff
      of Newedge brokerage in New York. "Demand destruction today rivals
      that caused by the oil shocks of the 1970s."

      The options market is pricing in a growing likelihood that oil
      prices could sink as low as $40-$45 a barrel before the end of the
      year, with the cost of insuring against such an event jumping more
      than 90 per cent overnight.

      In a further sign of the problems being suffered across the oil
      industry by falling demand, StatoilHydro of Norway announced on
      Thursday that it would shut oil products trading operations in
      Singapore, the world's third largest energy hub.

      Oil trading volumes in Singapore have declined in the past three
      months as concerns over counterparty risk have pummelled the over-
      the-counter market. Trading volumes fell about 44 per cent in

      Jan Karlsen, a senior vice-president at StatoilHydro, said product
      trading would now be concentrated around its European refining

      "The decision will not affect any of our trading activities in crude
      or gas liquids, the key trading areas for StatoilHydro," Mr Karlsen

      Gold was a rare bright spot as investors sought its safe haven
      status. It rose 2.1 per cent to $748 an ounce.

      Base metals extended their retreat, with copper breaking the $3,500
      level to touch a three-year low of $3,430 a tonne, before recovering
      to $3,467 a tonne, down 3.6 per cent on the day.

      Rising copper inventories at London Metal Exchange warehouses put
      pressure on prices, with stocks climbing 1,575 tonnes to 281,625
      tonnes, the highest level since February 2004.

      Meanwhile, Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, cut its
      surcharge on sales to China by 32 per cent, in a bid to lure buyers
      into long-term contracts even as demand and prices slide.

      One analyst at Antaike, the Chinese state-run information provider,
      said that fewer long-term contracts were expected from China next
      year, as consumers would look to the spot market for supplies, given
      the high levels of price volatility.

      The price of copper has fallen 60 per cent since its all-time high
      of $8,940 a tonne set in July.

      Aluminium shed 4.7 per cent to $1,78 a tonne, under pressure from a
      surge in LME stocks, up 20,850 tonnes.

      Lead dropped 3.5 per cent to $1,187 a tonne. One of China's lead
      producers, Xinling Refining Company, said it was mothballing 60 per
      cent of its 100,000 tonne capacity.

      Zinc was 0.4 per cent lower at $1,175 a tonne and nickel lost 4.3
      per cent to $10,000 a tonne.

      Agricultural commodities also fell on the day, with CBOT December
      corn down 3.7 per cent to $3.64¾ a bushel. Wheat and soyabean prices



      South Texas county indicts Cheney, Gonzales
      By Alex Lantier
      20 November 2008

      A grand jury in southern Texas' Willacy County has indicted US Vice
      President Dick Cheney and former US attorney general Alberto
      Gonzales on state charges of misconduct involving private prisons.
      The indictment, brought by District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra, also
      names several local officials.

      The indictment alleges conflict of interest stemming from an $85
      million investment by Cheney in the Vanguard Group, a company that
      holds shares in private companies running federal detention centers,
      noting that Cheney had influence over the federal contracts awarded
      to the prison companies held by the Vanguard Group. The indictment
      also names Cheney as responsible for "at least misdemeanor assaults"
      at these prisons. The indictment accuses Gonzales of intervening, as
      US Attorney General in 2006, to stop an investigation into abuses at
      private prisons.

      As of this writing, the presiding judge has declined to sign the
      indictment, halting any further action on the case.

      Willacy County hosts a series of federal, state and county prisons,
      some of which are outsourced to private prison companies such as MTC
      and the GEO Group (formerly Wackenhut). These prisons have a long
      history of corruption and misconduct. In 2005 Guerra obtained guilty
      pleas from three former county commissioners while investigating
      bribery charges related to MTC's federal prison contracts.

      In 2006, a Willacy County jury ordered GEO Group to pay a $47.5
      million fine in a civil judgment on a 2001 case, when Wackenhut
      guards allowed other inmates to beat inmate Gregorio de la Rosa Jr.
      to death with padlocks stuffed into socks.

      Guerra told the Associated Press the current indictment is
      a "national issue" and that experts from around the country had
      testified before the grand jury. The indictment reportedly refers to
      the de la Rosa case.

      The indicted officials brushed off the charges. Agence France-Presse
      wrote, "Cheney's spokeswoman [Megan Mitchell] declined to comment
      because his office had not yet received a copy of the indictment."
      Mitchell arrogantly added, "Let's wait and see if we even receive

      Gonzales' attorney George Terwilliger III said, "This is obviously a
      bogus charge on its face, as any good prosecutor can recognize,"
      adding that he hoped Texas authorities would stop "this abuse of the
      criminal justice system."

      Michael Cowen--the attorney for State Senator Eddie Lucio, who is
      also named in the indictment--issued a statement declaring, "It is a
      shame that Guerra has chosen to dedicate his energy to fighting with
      his fellow public servants, rather than actually prosecuting
      criminals." In a revealing comment, Cowen added that Guerra
      dismissed so many cases that local officials disparagingly called
      him "The Great Emancipator"--a common name of respect for President
      Abraham Lincoln, whose Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves
      after the US Civil War. Cowen added that his office was planning to
      file a motion to quash the indictment.

      The pose of incredulity and aggrieved innocence struck by Cheney and
      Gonzales reeks of hypocrisy and bad faith. Far from clearing them,
      their record as members of the Bush administration suggests that
      accusations of misconduct directed against them deserve due

      Cheney is hated in the US and around the world for framing and
      executing the Bush administration's policy of aggressive war, most
      notably in Iraq, in flagrant violation of international law. His
      longstanding policy is to shield himself from public oversight,
      notably evading Congressional attempts to obtain records of his 2001
      Energy Task Force meetings on Iraq with the grotesque claim that his
      office is not part of the executive branch.

      As for Gonzales, he resigned as Attorney General in disgrace last
      year, after refusing to answer Congressional inquiries into the
      Department of Justice's improper firings of US attorneys. As White
      House counsel during the first Bush administration, he played a key
      role in promoting the National Security Agency's warrantless
      wiretapping program and helped draft legal memoranda arguing that
      the Geneva Convention's provisions were "quaint" and need not be
      applied to Taliban and al-Qaeda prisoners. Gonzales also requested
      the "torture memo" that defined torture so narrowly as to permit US
      forces to use abusive interrogation methods banned by US and
      international law.

      District Attorney Guerra, on the other hand, has been the continuing
      target of a campaign of official harassment, facing bogus charges of
      extorting money from a bail bond company and using his office for
      personal business.

      In March 2007 Guerra was jailed during a grand jury investigation of
      these charges. Two special prosecutors were appointed in the
      investigation: former US attorney Mervyn Mosbacker and Gus Garza,
      who ran against and lost to Guerra for the position of District
      Attorney in 1992. Since 1996, notes the Harlingen, Texas Valley
      Morning Star, "Guerra has won three elections, largely drawing
      support from working-class residents." However, Guerra lost the 2008
      Democratic primary elections.

      An appeals court later ruled that the special prosecutors were
      improperly appointed to investigate Guerra, and last month Judge
      Manuel Banales dismissed the indictments altogether.
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