KN4M Happy Turkey Day
- Please send as far and wide as possible.
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.
AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW: RUSS KICK
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
YOU ARE STILL BEING LIED TO:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.