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The Mad Prophet is C Bryan Lavigne: writer, artist, musician and dedicated Anarcho-Syndicalist. He has written articles for YellowTimes.org and Open Source Politics, which can also be found in various other publications.

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Friday, August 08, 2003

Looks Like Gee-Dubya Needs Himself Another War.

'Cause his re-election numbers just hit 43% according to the Pew Research Center.

Thanks to Blah3 for the tip.

11 Aid Workers Killed In Congo.

The Congolese nationals worked in South Kivu province, bordering Burundi, for the British Christian agency Tearfund and were slain July 24 by their captors, William Lacy Swing, U.N. special representative to Congo, said in a statement.

Their abductors are believed to have been Rwandan and Burundian rebels allied with pro-Congo government tribal fighters in the region, Swing said.


WMD Aren't The Only Thing Shrub and Co. Lie About.

Via Jordan at Confined Space we learn that Congressman Henry Waman has released a report detailing Shrub and Co.'s lies on a number of subjects not related to Iraq including: Food Safety, Missile Defense, Workplace Safety, Global Warming, ANWR, Stem Cells, Abstinence-Only Education, Condoms, Substance Abuse, and Drinking Water, among other things.

Jordan also has an update on the Bush [mis]Administration's continuing failure to secure chemical plants here in the United States. Their lack of action in these matters is downright criminal:

[...] despite the Bush administration's public promises and alarms, the White House has taken almost no action to improve security at any of the nation's 15,000 facilities—including chemical manufacturing plants, petroleum tank farms, and pesticide companies—that contain large quantities of potentially deadly chemicals. For that matter, the administration has done virtually nothing even to assess those facilities' vulnerability, even though the dangers are far from theoretical [...]


How can Republican's get away with calling themselves "the party of national security"?

Open Letter from ILWU Local 10 President Henry Graham Urging Support for the Committee to Defend ILWU Local 10 Business Agent Jack Heyman.

Defend ILWU Business Agent

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

I write you regarding an urgent matter, a threat to both organized labor and civil liberties. In a chilling measure the government has moved file charges against one of our Local 10 business agents, Jack Heyman, and against 25 protesters in the April 7th antiwar demonstration in the port of Oakland.

TV coverage clearly shows that it was a peaceful protest until police opened fire with so-called "less than lethal" weapons. The New York Times called it the most violent suppression of antiwar dissent during the Iraq war. Numerous demonstrators and nine longshoremen were hit with this fire, sending five of our men to the hospital.

When business agent Heyman attempted to warn longshore workers at an adjacent terminal gate who were waiting to go to work that police were firing on our brothers and sisters, they dragged him out of his car and arrested him. If a union official can't tell his members to get out of harm's way, then what rights do we have? Safety is a fundamental right of all workers. And the right to protest for the demonstrators is indelibly etched in the Bill of Rights. When some 2,400 people were arrested in San Francisco earlier this year for protesting Bush's illegal Iraq war (now occupation), I sent a letter to District Attorney Hallinan. As president of ILWU Local 10, I implored, "The ILWU has a proud legacy of opposing unjust wars, racism and oppression. On behalf of my members Š I am requesting the immediate release of all protesters and that charges against them be dropped." I'm happy to say that in the end justice prevailed in San Francisco.

Now it is we, in Local 10, who are under attack in Oakland. Local 10's record speaks for itself: Our rank and file initiated dock action against the racist apartheid regime in South Africa, against the bloody military dictatorship of Pinochet in Chile and in support of the Liverpool dockers in England who dared to challenge international shipowners. Three years ago our union sent longshoremen to join a picket line with our brothers in Charleston, South Carolina, protesting a non-union stevedoring operation. Days earlier they'd faced 600 riot-clad state police acting to stop the union protest. Together we succeeded in rallying the entire AFL-CIO and dockworkers internationally behind their struggle.

What's at stake in Oakland is the right to protest on the docks, a right maritime workers and others have historically exercised but is now threatened since the 9/11 terrorist attack. Under the guise of fighting a "war on terror," Bush is attempting to declare the waterfront a "national security" zone where we are no longer free to exercise workers' rights or the Bill of Rights.

Picket lines have always "interfered with business" when workers didn't get justice, whether on the docks or on the streets. These phony misdemeanor charges are a classic case of blaming the victims for the crime. Oakland police commit the crime, as they did in the notorious, racist "Riders" case and then pin it on the taxpayers of Oakland to subsidize their continuing acts of police brutality. As the ILWU Local 10 Longshore Bulletin of July 17, 2003, stated: "A press conference was held at the office of civil rights attorney John Burris to officially announce the lawsuit (of longshoremen shot by police) on June 19, 2003. It is not surprising that immediately after the press conference the City decided to press forward with these bogus charges against our Business Agent along with demonstrators."

If we don't stop this miscarriage of justice, it will spread from a scratch to gangrene.

That's why I'm asking all labor unions and civil rights advocates to do two things:

1) Send faxes to Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown (510-238-4731) and Alameda County District Attorney Thomas Orloff (510-208-3965) protesting the phony charges against Local 10 business agent Jack Heyman and the antiwar demonstrators and demand the charges be dismissed.

2) Fax a message of solidarity to Local 10 (415-441-0610) and send a donation to the Committee to Defend ILWU Local 10 Business Agent Jack Heyman (c/o Local 10; 400 North Point Street; San Francisco, CA 94133) to help defray Local 10's legal expenses and build a defense campaign.

If we take to heart ILWU's slogan, "An injury to one is an injury to all," then we can defeat this attack and achieve a victory for all working people. Thanks in advance for your support.

Fraternally, Henry Graham, President, ILWU Local 10

Thursday, August 07, 2003


Fuck. One of my friends was arrested. Fuck. One of my good friends. Fuck. For something big.

This just turned into a shitty fucking day. It's the kinda thing that happens down here at the bottom, where people get desperate, but it always hits hard. I hope he didn't actually do it, but it don't look good.

I feel sick. I think I need to vomit.

More On BISHOP Robinson.

The wonderful Rev. Brill at The Right Christians has an exceptionally wonderful post on the opposition to the good Bishop's confirmation. He brings some interesting facts to the table, explaining the history of the Episcopal Church, specifically the inclusion of both women and divorced men in the church hierarchy. I suggest you head on over and give it a read if you haven't already.

Maher Hawash Pleads Guilty.

I was just reminded of this by Emma at Notes on the Atrocities, who is already starting on the defensive:

Of course, no one knew whether Hawash was guilty or not. We'll be hearing a constant flood of "I-told-you-sos" from the conservative lock-em-up right. So let's all keep our heads about us: none of the Portland protesters ever said he was innocent. We protested the fact that he was locked up for 80-odd days without being charged. We protested because the US government felt it was necessary to suspend his Constitutional rights to build a case against him.

Which is perfectly true as far as it goes, but do I need to point out that a guilty plea does not mean that the person doing the pleaing is actually guilty? Now, I don't know all of the details about this case, so I'm not saying that Hawash isn't guilty, but prosecutors do some dirty shit to get guilty pleas outta suspects so that they don't actually have to go to court and win on the "merits" of their case. And in this particular instance they have some extra tools to use in the intimidation of suspects, mainly the threat of Camp X-Ray.

I'm just saying, don't be surprised if later investigations prove Hawash's innocence and show prosecutorial misconduct in this case. Or don't be surprised if later investigations prove Hawash's guilt and show prosecutorial misconduct in this case, which is just as bad.

Be All That You Can Be.

And then watch 'em fuck ya over:

"I do know there are people living in areas with running water and A.C. That, of course, is not us... although my COL lives like that. I do believe he was shielded from the reality by his staff for a while. As we crammed 50 soldiers in to two medium frame tents near a pond of dead fish which was also infested with mosquitos and there was absolutely no field sanitation support for miles, he was living in his own room inside an air conditioned building, had his own king size bed, his own bathroom, his own refrigerator, and his cappuccino machine. It was two weeks before he came down to see where the soldiers were living and that was only after the S4 and CSM kept blowing me off... so, I had to get the Corps Surgeon involved for sanitation reasons.

I do believe the COL is entitled to a higher standard of living, however, the inequality was astounding and even more was the fact that he tried to hide it, by posting guards at the entrance to the hallway and didn't say more than two words to any of the soldiers until two weeks after our arrival in Baghdad. We just needed to hear that he understood our situation and was doing everything he could to improve it."


Thanks to skippy.

E. Coli And The USDA.

MMW at Bad Things found this report (PDF) on the USDA's "Don't Ask, Don't Know" beef inspection policy. The key findings of the report include:
  • The American public's exposure to E. coli o157:H7 began at least two years before ConAgra's tainted meat recall in June of 2002.

  • The USDA's records system is fundamentally flawed and is designed to avoid knowing the source of tainted beef.

  • ConAgra slickly took advantage of the government's noninterference policy of "Don't Look, Don't Tell."

  • The USDA engages in persistent, ugly retaliation against anyone who attempted to expose its dereliction of duty: To inform the public of tainted meat coming into the stream of commerce. The USDA aided and abetted ConAgra in blaming its problems on a small, family-owned meat processor in Montana.

  • A regulatory double standard has comprised the integrity of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) food safety program. HACCP was designed as an early warning system on finding deadly contaminants in food. The USDA used HACCP to protect ConAgra, not the consumer.

  • The facts demonstrating ConAgra's strong-arm tactics against a small producer perpetuate a longstanding USDA pattern where the messenger is blamed and chosen as the fall guy.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Score One For Equality!

I was happy to learn just now that the Rev. V. Gene Robinson is now Bishop Robinson, having survived an attempted Right-Wing smear campaign. (I say "attempted" because that was just the most pathetic attempt at character assassination I have ever seen in my life.) Three cheers for the Episcopal Church for having the strength and dignity to take a righteous stand on this issue.

I haven't blogged about this until now; I try to stay away from religion as much as possible. It's just not my thing (though I do enjoy Rev. Brill's Blog, The Right Christians.) I'd just like to make one observation:

The Right-Wing Christian Fundies like to say that homosexuality is forbidden it the Bible, thus it is an appropriate, moral reason to dismiss gay religious leaders. I'd like to point out that the Bible also says that all men are sinners, even priests and bishops and popes. It also says that those who repent are saved and that it is up to God to judge people, yada yada yada. Why does it matter what a person's particular sins are or if they are open about them?

And that's all I've got to say about that.

Thanks to Sisyphus Shrugged for the link.

AFL-CIO Presidential Forum - Final Thoughts.

Edwards was way to "first in my family to go to college" for me. Not that his roots aren't solid, but it has nothing to do with what he is now. UPDATE! - I should rephrase that: It's not what he is now. I'm sure his upbringing did have some impact on his political life, but now he's a politician who happens to be worth nearly $13 million. He is removed from the problems of working people.)

Dean was okay. Good closing remarks, got cheers from the audience.

Lieberman was a stale fucking cracker. A cold fish. A dead dog (which, I guess, might be better than Awol.)

Gephardt was stronger than I thought he would be, I can see why he's got support from some workers. He seems a bit polished to me though, like it's a fucking pitch. I like emotion.

Sharpton was pretty good too. I like him, he's fiery. And his closing speech got cheers too.

Kerry's another cold one, almost somber really.

Carol Moseley Braun was quite solid. Dignified. She reminds me of a teacher I had in high school.

Kucinich got a cheer even before he gave his closing remarks. His closing speech got cut off, which sucks because it was his best one in the show. (Conspiracy maybe?) He took a few too many shots at the other candidates, which left a bad taste in my mouth. It's okay to bash them, but he should have used his time to outline what he'd do if elected. A C-SPAN Forum is not the place to bash, it's a place to get your message out to people who don't know who the fuck you are.

George Bush, as noted at the beggining of the program, turned down an invitation to join the debate. I guess he's already written off the Union vote in 2004.

The Winner? Uh... Blah.

AFL-CIO Presidential Forum - Free Trade.

None of the candidates were all that strong on the Free Trade issue, in my opinion. Kucinich said he would repeal NAFTA and the WTO, but he didn't go into why he should. Trade Liberalization is bad. Why? Because it sends American jobs overseas. Why? Because corporations can make more money that way. Why? Because workers in the "third world" don't have the protections and benefits that we in the US fought and bleed and died for! We're not losing jobs to Britain, we're losing jobs to China, because British workers have won protections, Chinese workers have not. (This applies to environmental protections too.)

Sharpton was actually pretty strong though. And Gephardt was surprisingly good, like he's been practicing his speech in a mirror for the last week.

Lieberman bashed Bush's economy and then towed the Republican Party Line about "taking down barriers to Free Trade!" What an Ass!

Wait A Fucking Minute,

I just heard on the Daily Show that Gray Davis has asked the California Supreme Court to allow his name to be added to the list of possible replacements if the recall goes through. So, he could be recalled only to be elected again, technically.

This struck me as rather odd for a different reason though, because shouldn't his name be on the ballot to begin with? Think about it: the recall gets 51%, and so the voters have to chose who replaces Davis, what happens to the 49% of the population who thinks Davis should remain in office? Their opinion is automatically voided because their candidate isn't on the ballot because he's already in the office they gave him!

Given the number of candidates running, the recall wouldn't even have to be that close for the "No" votes -- that is, the people who want Davis to stay in office -- to be the majority*. If Davis isn't on the ballot, those people's votes become meaningless. Hoo-ray for "Democracy."

*That is, an American majority, which means "the most votes in a winner take all election."

Murdering In Colombia.

Via Genfoods we learn that Colon Powell has recommended resuming drug interdiction flights over Colombia that were brought to a halt 2 years ago.

The actions were stopped 2 years ago because a Peruvian fighter jet, with the help and direction of a US surveillance aircraft, shot down a small plane carrying 5 American missionaries, killing Veronica Bowers and her infant daughter. They thought the plane was being used by drug trafficers, so I guess it would have been alright to fire on a small, unarmed aircraft if it had been.

Fucking murderers. How can anyone condone these kinds of immoral, illegal practices? Because I like cocaine? That's a good reason to kill people? That's a good reason to terrorize people?

Just A Reminder

The AFL-CIO Presidential Forum is on C-SPAN tonight at 8pm EDT. Candidates will be answering questions from the people who matter the most, working men and women.

If you can't make it (or have already missed it, if you're reading this later,) you can check out how the candidates answered the AFL-CIO questionaire here.

So, You Think You're Free?

Think again:

LOS ANGELES (AP)--A federal judge sentenced a man to a year in prison Monday for creating an anarchist Web site with links to sites on how to build bombs.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson sentenced Sherman Austin to more than the prosecutor had recommended under a plea bargain.


Austin must also pay a $2,000 fine and is barred for three years from using a computer without approval. Wilson said he also may not associate with anyone from a group that "espouses physical force as a means of change."


Austin said he took a plea bargain because he feared his case was eligible for a terrorism enhancement, which could have added 20 years to his sentence. The plea deal had called for him to serve four months.

First Amendment rights aside: He's not allowed to associate with any group that "espouses physical force as a means of change"? Well, I guess that means he's not allowed to talk to anyone who supported the fucking war in Iraq. Or for that matter, anyone who actually thinks the Revolutionary War was a Good Thing! Fuck!!! Do these fucking people realize how goddamn hypocritical they are?

UPDATE! - Oops, here's the link (via Infoshop.)

TalkLeft is also onto this, and apparently, this case is so surreal that Miss Merritt -- a criminal defense attorney -- felt the need to point out that it really happened.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Am I Just Really Stoned Right Now...

Or is this the funniest thing you've read today too. (Note: I have two catagories for awarding no-prizes in humor. "The funniest thing I've [seen, read, heard] all day" is the more prestigious of the duo. The other one, "That's the funniest fucking thing I've ever [seen, read, heard] in my life!" is reserved for penis jokes, money shots and when my friends make complete asses of themselves due to drugs and/or alcohol.)

You Should Be Reading Factivism On A Daily Basis.

Yossarian just happens to be one of the best:

Reporters Without Borders criticizes the US for the worsening treatment of journalists by the United States.

The complete shutdown of an Iraqi newspaper. (Whatever happened to Freedom of the Press?)

Saddam may have withheld evidence that he had destroyed his WMD in order to prevent a US invasion. (Obviously didn't work, eh?)

Gold seized by US Troops turned out to be Brass. (Haha.)

Oh, and Iran is closing in on The Bomb.

Republican Moron Of The Day.

Tom Delay is having a little trouble recognizing what is a good way to fight the war on "terra." In a speech to a group of Young Republiklansmen, the reality-challenged Rep made this comment about how "out of touch" the Democrats are on the war on terror:

"To try to gauge just how out of touch the Democratic leadership is on the 'war on terror,' just close your eyes and try to imagine Ted Kennedy landing that Navy jet on the deck of that aircraft carrier. I don't know about you, I certainly don't want to see Teddy Kennedy in a Navy flight suit anytime soon."


I'm not real good at math, so let me just type this out:

Landing on an aircraft carrier = Fighting Terrorism

That... Does not... Make any... Fucking... Sense! Argh!

Come on! We all know how this administration fights terrorism and protects the homeland, so how can Mister DeLay get away with this bullshit? What is fucking wrong with people today?!?!?!? I know they were all Rupugs in that room, but couldn't one of the little fuckwads show some balls and say, "hey, um, you know, that thing you just said... It was bullshit. Everyone knows it was bullshit. You can say it Mr. DeLay: The Lincohn stunt was pure fucking propoganda."

Oh, yeah, and Morons.org points out the absurdity of chickenhawk Delay mocking military veteran Kennedy in reference to a political stunt perpetrated by AWOL Bush. Ironic? Maybe a little.

We No Like Al-Jazeera No More.

From Counterpunch:

Only a day after US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz claimed that the Arabic Al-Jazeera television channel was "inciting violence" and "endangering the lives of American troops" in Iraq, the station's Baghdad bureau chief has written a scathing reply to the American administration, complaining that in the past month the station's offices and staff in Iraq "have been subject to strafing by gunfire, death threats, confiscation of news material, and multiple detentions and arrests, all carried out by US soldiers..."

The unprecedented dispute between an Anglo-American occupation authority supposedly dedicated to "democracy" in Iraq and an Arab station once praised by Washington for its services to free speech in the Arab world comes at a time when the US administration appears to be laying the ground work to close down Al-Jazeera's operations in Iraq --along with those of the Arabia channel --for alleged "incitement to violence".

America's senior occupation proconsul in Iraq, Paul Bremer, has officially stated that he would close down newspapers or television stations guilty of "incitement to violence" --without, of course, explaining exactly what this phrase means.

Yup, we're all for Democracy in Iraq.... Except for that little thing about freedom of speech.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Why I'm Pissed Off About Gigli.

I haven't seen it yet, but the new Jen&Ben(TM) flick has really pissed me off. Not because it looks like a giant turd, but because it came out before Kevin Smith's new movie Jersey Girl, which also happens to star the mismatched couple.

I love Kevin Smith movies. I like to see them do well. But now JG is going to be "just another Jen&Ben(TM) movie," which will turn off most non-Kevin Smith fans.

Taking Over The Workplace.

Here's a good article about the Argentinian Co-Opereatives. If you haven't heard about the actions taken by unemployed Argentinians, I suggest you check it out.

How To Dodge Fuel-Efficiency Standards.

Build More Ethanol Cars!

Automakers are planning to nearly double the number of "flexible-fuel" cars on the roads next year, from the current number of 2 million to 3.8 million. "Flexible-fuel" cars can run on either regular gasoline or E85, which is 15% gas and 85% Ethanol. The problem is, only 150 of the nations 176,000 gas stations provide E85. So, why build them? Well...

From the Washington Post (via Factivism):

Auto manufacturers get credits toward meeting federal fuel-efficiency standards for every ethanol-friendly car or truck they build, regardless of whether the vehicle's owner actually uses the alternative fuel. The government requires automakers to sell cars that get an average of 27.5 miles per gallon and light trucks that average 20.7 mpg, and the flexible-fuel credit allows manufacturers to fall short of those numbers by as much as 1.2 mpg.

That means motorists could wind up using 20 million to 56 million more barrels of oil each year because of the credits for the unused ethanol, according to figures from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.


The policy is slated to expire next year, but the energy bill now being debated in the Senate -- where a vote this week shot down an attempt to raise fuel-efficiency standards -- would extend the alternative-fuel credit for four years.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded in 2001 that extending the credit without boosting the availability of ethanol "will increase petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas emissions." Another government study in March 2002 supported those findings.

Yeah. Fucked up, innit?

Ha Ha. Funny Funny.

This is fucking hilarious. Preppy love gone awry.

Thanks to Angry Bear for the tip.