Friday, August 19, 2005
Every once in a while, we like to honor minor stage players in the tragic farce of the Grand Hypocrisy Party. That is why this week we are honoring former GOP Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys.
You see Humphreys helped get one Charles Alfred Dreyling Jr. out on bail after he was caught trying to board an airplane with a bomb.
So, for Republicans, if you’re non-white and named Mohammed and you try to board an airplane with a bomb, you get rendered to Egypt or Syria where you summarily get tortured, right? But, apparently, if you come from red state Republican land, you are, according to Humphreys, absolved of any wrongdoing.
''He had a little explosive device," Humphreys said of Dreyling, "and boys like to see things go bang.... I have every confidence that they'll find out Charlie Dreyling is a fine young man and no terrorist."
According to the bomb-maker's affidavit, "Dreyling said he learned as a teenager how to build homemade explosives from Web sites like 'The Anarchist's Cook Book.' Dreyling said he has built and detonated several explosive devices for recreational purposes.”
So, now, thanks to the intervention of Oklahoma bigwig Republican Humphreys, Dreyling is back out on the streets once again making bombs just for the fun of it.
Uh, maybe BuzzFlash is mistaken, but wasn't Oklahoma City the place the Federal Building was blown up by white guy Timothy McVeigh, and scores of people, including children, were murdered?
Nah, it must be our imagination. After all, Humphreys was Mayor of Oklahoma City. Surely, he must know that white guys blow up people too, wouldn't he?
But such an admission would make him a hypocrite, right?
That's why Kirk Humphreys is the BuzzFlash GOP Hypocrite of the Week. Because like his leader, Mr. Bush, he puts Republican friendships first and the security of Americans a distant fifth.
Until next week, remember our motto at BuzzFlash.com: So many Republican hypocrites, so little time.
Catch up with you soon.
Register for Bush's Freedom Walk! You too can exploit the dead!
Washington march, concert are inappropriate for marking a tragic anniversary
2005 Houston Chronicle
The decision by Bush administration officials to sponsor a march from the site of the 9/11 airliner attack on the Pentagon to a free country music concert in the nation's capital at best exhibits poor taste. At worst, the plan attempts to use an occasion of national mourning to bolster the president's increasingly unpopular and completely unrelated Iraq war policy.
Despite statements by administration figures attempting to link the invasion of Iraq and 9/11, no evidence that Saddam Hussein had any connection to the plot has come to light. A planned march to commemorate 9/11 should in no way associate the al-Qaida airliner hijackings with the administration's invasion and continued occupation of Iraq. The former can no more justify the latter than can the nonexistent weapons of mass destruction.
According to Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Allison Barber, the Freedom Walk will begin at 10 a.m. on Sept. 11 at the Pentagon site where nearly 200 people died in 2001. Participants will march through Arlington National Cemetery and on to the National Mall for a concert by country music star Clint Black, who grew up in Katy. Barber denied the event was a political statement or support for Bush's policies, but critics focused on the choice of Black as the main act.
He is the singer/songwriter of Iraq and I roll, a pro-military anthem that includes these lyrics: "It might be a smart bomb / they find stupid people too / and if you stand with the likes of Saddam / one just might find you."
Freedom Walk participants are required to register with government event planners, giving name, address, phone number and e-mail. They will be given a receipt and registration number in order to enlist in the march and festivities and receive T-shirts emblazoned with the event logo. If the Pentagon had planned Woodstock, it might have come off like this.
After the Washington Post signed on as a Freedom Walk sponsor, outside critics and the guild representing editorial employees faulted the paper for endorsing an event linking Sept. 11 and Iraq. According to a newspaper spokesman, the Post management decided to withdraw its sponsorship, "as it appears this event could become politicized." Instead, the Post will make a contribution to the Pentagon Memorial Fund.
The victims of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., deserve remembrance across the nation next month unmarred by partisanship and the debate over the conduct of the war. The members of the U.S. armed forces deserve our support year-round. The government has no business staging an entertainment hoopla that wrongly associates 9/11 and the war in order to boost political support for its policies.
Bird flu: we're all going to die
Published Thursday 2nd June 2005 11:25 GMT
The theme of the person awaking from a deep sleep or coma to find a world utterly changed is a popular one in science fiction. From John Wyndham's book The Day of The Triffids through The Omega Man to the recent film 28 Days Later, the trope of the man arising from his hospital bed to find that nothing is as it was has become well-worn.
That's fine - as long as it remains just a story. But if - when - a flu pandemic comes, and millions of people die around the world over a period of months, the reality will be one of two alternatives. It's either going to be like those films, with videoconferencing suddenly all the rage, local farm produce making a big profit, empty supermarket shelves (you have to ship the oil, and distribute the fuel, but can the Armed Forces really do all that?), tumbleweed blowing in the streets, a medieval attitude to anyone not from "around here".
Or else governments will impose a police state that will make all the ID cards and airport checks look like a tea party. You'd not be allowed to move anywhere without showing off a vaccination certificate. (Sure, you'd get those on the black market, and they'd cost more than £300, but would you really want them? If you're not vaccinated would you really want to travel among people who might be carriers?) Or it might be both at once.
One more thing. You might well be one of those millions who die in such a pandemic. If you travel to work on public transport; if colleagues in your company travel by air to Asia; if you're travelling abroad through a busy airport. You'll probably touch someone or share air with someone who's infected. The premise of Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys will become reality.
You may think this is overblown. But discussion of the possibility of a flu pandemic has fallen out of the news. And as the security consultant Bruce Schneier says: "One of the things I routinely tell people is that if it's in the news, don't worry about it. By definition, 'news' means that it hardly ever happens. If a risk is in the news, then it's probably not worth worrying about. When something is no longer reported - automobile deaths, domestic violence - when it's so common that it's not news, then you should start worrying."
The risks posed by an outbreak of flu passed from chickens in the Far East, in coutries such as Vietnam and Thailand, burst into the news in February. But now they've passed out of the news. Since then we've had more important things, like the Crazy Frog ringtone, to concern us.
Time to worry. And the scientists are. In fact, they're edgier than I've seen them since the BSE outbreak was in its earliest days and people were wondering if it might pass to humans. Quite a few scientists stopped eating beef at that point. Oh, you didn't know?
Now, their reaction is to write papers and watch what's happening, very closely. If you read the scientific journals (we do, so you don't have to) the articles are piling up. Last week the journal Nature pulled together an entire online resource on the threat of avian flu.
That's the trouble with scientists. They get an idea into their heads - CFCs and ozone, carbon dioxide emissions and the greenhouse effect, the transmission of BSE to other species such as humans - and they worry away at it until they determine what the answer and the mechanism is.
Here's what's they're worrying about now. The First World War killed seven million people. But the strain of flu that followed it - incubated, experts reckon, in pigs that were kept near the front lines to help feed the troops - killed up to 100 million, helped by the movement of troops returning home from the war.
Pandemics come around, on average, about every 70 years or so. There were small ones in 1957 and 1968/9, when "Hong Kong flu" - strain H1N1 - spread around the world, and one million died. That was tiny by pandemic standards. The scientists reckon we're overdue for an infectious, fatal strain of flu, one which can pass from human to human by the usual methods - sneezing or contact.
There's already a deadly strain of flu around - "chicken flu", better known to the scientists by the strain of flu virus that causes it: H5N1. But it only passes from chickens to humans, not from from person to person. If it could do that, it would have the potential to turn pandemic.
But maybe it already can. There have already been a couple of cases of deaths from H5N1 where the only logical pathway is human-to-human. The UK government announced in February that it will buy in thousands of doses of Tamiflu as part of the UK Influenza Pandemic Contingency Plan.
Too bad - the latest results suggest that Tamiflu isn't effective against H5N1. And anyway, New Scientist reports, the UK's order for 14.6 million five-day courses of Tamiflu treatment will take its patent owners Roche two years to fulfil. The company is still trying to develop ways to synthesise it from scratch.
The consequences of a really big, fatal flu epidemic on modern society are hard to imagine, partly because they're so enormous. Air passengers would be the first vector of infection, followed by the people who travelled with them in the train or Underground train or coach from the airport, followed by the family and friends of those people. Give it a few days and people would be falling ill, then over the next weeks dying.
If the strain is new and unexpected, there wouldn't be time to produce enough vaccine to treat it. According to a New England Journal of Medicine article by Dr Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis - who is also director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy - titled "Preparing for the Next Pandemic", the 1950s-era methods of producing vaccines means we would need (ironically enough) one chicken egg per person to produce the vaccine, plus six months to culture it.
"The global economy would come to a halt, and since we could not expect appropriate vaccines to be available for many months and we have very limited stockpiles of antiviral drugs, we would be facing a 1918-like scenario," notes Dr Osterholm, who calculates that given current technology, we could vaccinate about 500 million people, tops - about 14 per cent of the world population.
Of course, most of those will be in the developed world. But are you sure you'd be one? Are you in the Armed Forces? Do you or your business count as an essential service? If you're not involved with the electricity, water, fuel distribution, phone or gas industries, then probably not. "And owing to our global 'just-in-time delivery' economy, we would have no surge capacity for health care, food supplies, and many other products and services," Dr Osterholm adds.
Let's have some more numbers from Dr Osterholm, just to encourage you. He writes: "It is sobering to realize that in 1968, when the most recent influenza pandemic occurred, the virus emerged in a China that had a human population of 790 million, a pig population of 5.2 million, and a poultry population of 12.3 million; today, these populations number 1.3 billion, 508 million, and 13 billion, respectively. Similar changes have occurred in the human and animal populations of other Asian countries, creating an incredible mixing vessel for viruses. Given this reality, as well as the exponential growth in foreign travel during the past 50 years, we must accept that a pandemic is coming - although whether it will be caused by H5N1 or by another novel strain remains to be seen."
All this has been noted by virologists and disease experts around the world. But what can we do? For one thing, listen to what they're saying, and put some pressure on the politicians who are ignoring this threat, in the hope it will go away. Climate change may be a greater threat than terrorism, but a flu pandemic is a more immediate threat than either.
Or, as Canada's deputy chief public health officer, Dr Paul Gully, put it to the Toronto Star "Frankly the crisis could for all we know have started last night in some village in Southeast Asia. We don't have any time to waste and even if we did have some time, the kinds of things we need to do will take years. Right now, the best we can do is try to survive it. We need a Manhattan Project yesterday."
Let's hope they got started. Now, where's the number of that forger for my vaccination certificate?
Thursday, August 18, 2005
lib·er·al Pronunciation: 'li-b(&-)r&l Function: adjective 1. Liberal -- Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry. 2. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
con·ser·va·tive Pronunciation: (kn-sûrv-tv) Function: adjective 1. Conservative -- Limited to or by established, traditonal, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; bigoted. 2. Opposing proposals for reform, uninterested in new ideas for progress, and intolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; small-minded.
Wed Aug 17th, 2005 at 11:47:32 PDT
Quotes from when Clinton committed troops to Bosnia:
"You can support the troops but not the president."
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)
"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years."
--Joe Scarborough (R-FL)
"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"
--Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99
"[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."
--Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)
"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy."
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)
"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy."
--Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of George W Bush
"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning . . I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."
--Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)
"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today"
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)
"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."
--Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)
Funny thing is, we won that war without a single killed in action.
Global economics explained by the power of cows
You have 2 cows and you give one to your neighbour.
You have 2 cows; the Government takes both and gives you some milk.
You have 2 cows; the Government takes both and sells you some milk.
You have 2 cows. The Government takes both and shoots you.
You have 2 cows; the Government takes both, shoots one, milks the
other and throws the milk away.
You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd
economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.
AN AMERICAN CORPORATION:
You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the
Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the Cow dropped dead.
A FRENCH CORPORATION:
You have two cows. You go on strike because you want three cows.
A JAPANESE CORPORATION:
You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of
ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create a
clever cow cartoon image called Cowkimon and market them World-Wide.
A GERMAN CORPORATION:
You have two cows. You reengineer them so they live for 100 years, eat
a month, and milk themselves.
AN ITALIAN CORPORATION:
You have two cows, but you don't know where they are. You break for
A RUSSIAN CORPORATION:
You have two cows. You count them and learn you have five cows. You
count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again And
learn you have 2 cows. You stop counting cows and open another bottle
A SWISS CORPORATION:
You have 5000 cows, none of which belong to you. You charge others for
A CHINESE CORPORATION:
You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You
claim full employment, high bovine productivity, and arrest the
newsman who reported the numbers.
AN INDIAN CORPORATION:
You have two cows. You worship them.
A BRITISH CORPORATION:
You have two cows. Both are mad.
Team America: World Police – Trey Parker and Matt Stone are Hypocrites.
I watched Team America World Police for the first (and only) time last night. I was expecting more. In the end it was a rah rah piece designed to show how those who are cheering America’s Global War on Terror may go overboard at times, but that’s o.k. because somebody has to do it.
I’ve read reviews about this movie and wondered why no one is specific about their criticism or their praise. The reason is because the central premise is an analogy that is impossible for mainstream press to discuss.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone seem to think the War on Terror (in all its variations) can be easily broken down into three types of people, those who support it, those who oppose it, and those who caused it. Dicks, Pussies and Assholes. Generally, these three can be broken down into Dicks (Conservatives) Pussies (Liberals) and Assholes (Terrorists.)
While Parker and Stone have identified competing ideologies, they fail at being able to understand them. Conservatives they portray as insensitive jackasses who bomb and kill without pity or compassion, which is understandable, and Parker and Stone get that right. But they also portray them as doing it for the right reason. Yes, sometimes they go too far, but they are fighting assholes who’s sole purpose is to “Shit on everything” so Stone and Parker give them a pass and portray them as the Heroes of the film.
Parker and Stone don’t even have the balls to portray any real persons as Dicks. The Dicks in the movie are just guys doing their job and as such there is no reference to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, Rove, or any of the architects of America’s World Police ideology. There is no reference to Bill O'Reilly, Joe Scarborough, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, David Horowitz, Pat Robertson, John Gibson, Larry Elder, Jon Silver, P.J. O’Rourke, Ben Stein, Phyllis Schlafly, Alice Cooper, William F. Buckley, Tony Danza, Charlton Heston, Stephen Baldwin, Bo Derek, Dorothy Hamill, Angie Harmon, Ricky Schroeder, Jason Sehorn, Lynn Swann, Travis Tritt, Rip Torn, Pat Boone, Ernest Borgnine, Bobby Bowden, Mike Ditka, Bill Gates, Kelsey Grammer, Chuck Norris, Maury Povich, George Steinbrenner, Ernie Banks, John Elway, Karl Malone, Dennis Miller, Jack Nicklaus, Nolan Ryan, Curt Shilling, Britney Spears, James Woods, Mel Gibson, Ted Nugent, Bruce Willis, or Michelle Malkin. Not one single real person is represented as a Dick.
Not so, for the Pussies. The Pussies are represented by Michael Moore, Alec Baldwin, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Robbins, Janeane Garofalo, Matt Damon, Helen Hunt, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Liv Tyler, and Martin Sheen. If you know anything about America’s War in Iraq in particular, you know that all of these actors and filmmakers have spoken out against the war. Trey Parker and Matt Stone save their most specific venom for them. Rather than portray them as appeasers, a la Neville Chamberlain, Parker and Stone portray them as helping the assholes (Terrorists) and even willing to fight alongside the Terrorists.
Michael Moore, a man who has pushed nothing but non-violence and critical thinking, is portrayed as a suicide bomber who walks into Team America headquarters and blows it up. Tim Robbins and Martin Sheen hold Team America members’ hostage in the Terrorist Stronghold and Torture them. In the end, all the Pussies take up weapons and fight for the Terrorists against Team America. And to the obvious glee of Parker and Stone, they all die horrific deaths, unlike the Terrorists who merely get shot or fall off a balcony onto the spiked helmet of the German Chancellor. Which is funny, but not horrific like when Jeneane Garafolo’s head gets blown off, or Samuel L. Jackson gets ripped apart by panthers, or Tim Robbins slowly burns to death.
It is in their attacks on Liberals where Trey Parker and Matt Stone are at their most hypocritical. Parker and Stone seem to feel that they alone are qualified to do social commentary on war, terrorism and global security in their film. They then use their fame and position to attack actors who speak out and comment (as is their right as American citizens) on issues of war, terrorism and global security. However, Parker and Stone only attack those who speak out against War, and give a pass to all the celebrities and actors who spoke out in support of Bush and the War.
The bottom line I took from this film is that Trey Parker and Matt Stone want Pussies, Liberals represented by famous actors, to shut up. Bill O’Reilly couldn’t have said it better.
Don’t waste your time with this movie…. Dear Trey and Matt: You jackasses owe me $3.99.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Webster's Dictionary defines propaganda as "information or ideas spread to promote or injure a cause, movement, etc." There's certainly nothing wrong that. This entire website is propaganda, as is any newspaper editorial or political campaign. But covert propaganda, or "grey propaganda", is the spreading of such information while concealing its source. If President Bush appears in an ad on television to promote his prescription drug plan, it is straightforward propaganda.
If instead the Bush Administration produces a video segment praising the plan which has all the appearances of a news report, and distributes it to television stations across the country with the intent for it to be played as real news, it is an attempt to convince people that the favorable report they're seeing on Bush's drug plan is not from the Bush Administration, but from an independent news organization. That particular example actually occurred and is a perfect example of covert propaganda.
While covert propaganda is a staple of foreign policy for any number of nations including the United States, the Bush Administration has racked up an impressive list of covert propaganda operations perpetrated domestically on the America people (and paid for with our tax money). The following examples are given in an effort to keep track of the covert propaganda operations that have been discovered to date. Some of the instances below may not be consistent with a strict definition of covert propaganda, but are listed because of their intent to spread information in a deceptive way.
Saving Private Lynch
Remember Jessica Lynch? She was the soldier who was captured when her convoy was ambushed by Iraqi soldiers early in the war. With U.S. military and Pentagon sources as their guide, the press told a made-for-Hollywood story of a young, attractive female soldier from Smalltown, USA who was ambushed by the enemy, shot, stabbed, who fired until her weapon was empty, endured sexual assault, was spirited away by dark forces to be interrogated, slapped around, and even tortured. And then, like guardian angels, in swoop special forces with guns blaring, blowing down doors, taking fire from the enemy, and stealing her away to safety.
Every single one of these reported events, after "ambushed by the enemy", happened to be pure fabrication. PFC Lynch would later acknowledge that she was used by the Pentagon for PR. And don't forget about the eerie Pentagon claim that Lynch had amnesia upon her return, when her memory was perfectly fine.
For more, see "Jessica Lynch: Media Myth-Making in the Iraq War," Journalism.org.
The Fall of Saddam (the Statue)
Remember when thousands of Iraqis took to the streets after the U.S. military occupied Baghdad in an impromptu celebration of freedom and razed one of Saddam's many statues - this one in Baghdad's Firdos Square?
That gathering of Iraqis wasn't exactly random. The people cheering at the statue's fall were a few dozen members of the Iraqi National Congress, an Iraqi opposition group slated by the Bush Administration to replace Saddam and flown in for the occasion. The square was populated far more by U.S. military personnel and reporters than Iraqis. The statue was not pulled down by newly freed citizens, but by a U.S. mechanized infantry vehicle. This particular statue of Saddam was conveniently located across the street from a hotel housing several journalists. And the square containing the statue was actually cordoned off by U.S. forces to keep the photo op under control.
Completely fake? Yes. But it sure looked good on CNN. Fox News Anchor David Asman said, "If you don't have goose bumps now, you will never have them in your life."
For more, see "Toppling the statue of Saddam Hussein," Center for Media and Democracy, and "How to Sell a War," In These Times.
"In Washington, I'm Karen Ryan Reporting"
Surely President Bush and the Republican Party commanded adequate credibility to sell their prescription drug benefit to senior citizens. Just in case they didn't, the Bush Administration produced fake news segments featuring actors posing as journalists, citizens, and a pharmacist describing Bush's plan as "a very good idea," and included footage of President Bush receiving a standing ovation when signing the law.
These so-called video news releases (VNRs) were distributed to television stations around the country to be played as real news stories without any indication of their source. And they were indeed. With the cost-cutting furor going on in our nation's newsrooms, a prepackaged news story is always welcome. Why spend money keeping the public informed, when the Bush Administration can do it for you?
For The Republican Dictionary, I'm Ian Watson reporting.
For more, see "Bush administration hired fake reporters to "report" on Medicare bill," New York Times.
"This is Mike Morris reporting"
Karen Ryan isn't the only fake reporter keeping the public informed. Similar to the video news releases lauding President Bush's prescription drug plan, segments produced by the Bush Administration's Office of National Drug Control Policy were distributed to television stations around the country to be played as real news without any indication of their source.
For more, see "Drug Control Office Faulted For Issuing Fake News Tapes," Washington Post.
From the Ministry of Truth, This is Big Brother Reporting
Karen Ryan and Mike Morris are just two fake reporters in an enormous initiative by the government to produce fake news. The Bush Administration has unapologetically produced hundreds of these video news releases that deal with dozens of government policies.
Whether praising Bush's airport security changes as "one of the most remarkable campaigns in aviation history," celebrating the liberation of women as a tangible benefit of the war in Afghanistan, or featuring Iraqi Americans saying "I love Bush, I love U.S.A.," these VNRs are perhaps the flagship of the Bush Administration's domestic covert propaganda operations, reaching millions of Americans who believe they are watching independent reports.
So, where does your television news come from? Are you sure?
For more, see "Under Bush, a New Age of Prepackaged Television News," New York Times, or watch the broadcast of this story on Democracy Now! (segment begins at 36:00).
When the Bush Administration wanted to boost public support for the No Child Left Behind Act, they paid $240,000 to TV and radio pundit Armstrong Williams to promote the law. The deal between Williams and the Bush Administration was never known to his audience.
Williams said that he didn't believe it was unethical because he would've happily done it for free. If true, then why was he paid? As a reward for being fair and balanced?
For more, see "Education Dept. paid commentator to promote law," USA Today.
National Review Online columnist Maggie Gallagher could always be counted on to support President Bush's initiative to encourage marriage, as it could "carry big payoffs down the road for taxpayers and children."
Speaking of big payoffs, Gallagher kept forgetting to inform her readers that she was under a $21,500 contract with the Bush Administration to promote the initiative - practically charity when you consider the cool quarter-million paid out to Armstrong Williams. If I were her, I would've held out for more. Gallagher later said that she didn't remember receiving the payment. This is credible - I probably wouldn't consider a twenty-thousand dollar boost in my checking account a big deal either.
For more, see "Writer Backing Bush Plan Had Gotten Federal Contract," Washington Post.
Ethics and Religion
Maggie Gallagher may have been getting peanuts compared to Armstrong Williams, but she was getting double what poor Michael McManus was being paid. McManus was the third journalist discovered to be receiving payments from a department of the Bush Administration while praising that department's activity. In this case, it was for the Department of Health and Human Services to promote Bush's marriage initiative for approximately $10,000.
McManus used his syndicated column "Ethics & Religion" to fulfill his contractual obligations while failing to inform his readers of the deal. I'm sure McManus' take on ethics is no less than riveting. I can only assume his wisdom on religion is equally enlightening.
For more, see "Third columnist caught with hand in the Bush till," Salon.
How does a man using a false name gain regular access to the White House? And how does a man with no journalistic experience become a fixture in the White House press room? And when someone within the White House exposes the identity of a covert CIA agent to nationally-known journalists to punish her husband for criticizing Bush, why do they call a little-known fake journalist as well?
Because James Guckert (aka Jeff Gannon) was no ordinary fake journalist. He was a fake journalist who could be counted on to ask favorably loaded questions to Press Secretary Scott McClellan and President Bush without fail, while working for an equally fake news site called Talon News. Talon News was run by Texas Republican organization GOPUSA, and issued reports that often bore an uncanny resemblance to White House press releases.
Yes, Gannon was a White House plant, inserted into the press corps to facilitate favorable sound bites and take heat off of McClellan and Bush. The embarrassing discovery that he also happened to be an "8+ cut!" gay prostitute with the alias "Bulldog" shows that President Bush has no prejudices whatsoever, including those against prostitutes, as long as they're prostituting themselves for the Bush Administration.
For more, see "The Jeff Gannon Experience," Truthout.org.
Cut! Take Two!
President Bush's "town hall" meetings are a necessity for Bush to deliver his candid and honest message directly to the American people in order to avoid the filter of the liberal media. Right?
So candid and honest in fact, that they require a script. President Bush is a talented young man, but even the greatest actors miss their cues every now and then.
MS. STONE: I would like to introduce my mom. This is my mother, Rhoda Stone. And she is grandmother of three, and originally from Helsinki, Finland, and has been here over 40 years.
THE PRESIDENT: Fantastic. Same age as my mother.
MS. STONE: Just turned 80.
Oops, President Bush knew how old her mother was before she told him.
From "President Participates in Conversation on Social Security Reform," White House Transcript.
The Show Must Go On, But Only With a Script
President Bush loves his town hall meetings so much that he decided to hold one in Germany. Y'know, to sit down and have a genuine conversation with real everyday Germans.
Unfortunately, when the German government refused to cooperate in a scripted event with all the questions approved in advance by Bush's team, the president all of a sudden didn't have time for it.
For more, see "With a Hush and a Whisper, Bush Drops Town Hall Meeting with Germans," Der Spiegel.
All the News That's Fit to Print
In the run up to war, the Bush Administration's golden boy Ahmed Chalabi fed lies to the media about his knowledge of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. These bogus claims found their way into the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other media outlets. The Bush Administration was then able to point to these supposedly independent reports as vindication of their claims of Saddam's weapons.
Chalabi was the Bush Administration's pick for ruling Iraq after the occupation. That is, until he was suspected of working for Iranian Intelligence to convince the Bush Administration to remove their enemy Saddam Hussein. As Chalabi was feeding Bush Administration lies to the media, he also may have been feeding Iranian Intelligence lies to the Bush Administration. I smell a movie.
For more, see "Chalabi, the Washington Post & the New York Times," Undernews.
So Was it a Wire, or Not?
This would not be propaganda if true, covert or otherwise. But Bush was wearing something under his jacket when debating John Kerry, and perhaps at other occasions as well. An explanation has never been given besides ludicrous statements that it was a poorly tailored jacket.
For more, see "Was Bush Wired? Sure Looks Like It," Mother Jones, or "NASA photo analyst: Bush wore a device during debate," Salon.
by Ian Watson at Republicandictionary.com an absolutely fantastic site!
Editors note: Just in....
August 17, 2005
A mystery woman of sorts appeared recently on Harball with Chris Matthews to act as a counterpoint to the protest headed up by Cindy Sheehan near Bush's ranch in Crawford, TX. May Hasan Lamotte claimed to be an Iraqi woman and expressed the opinion that Sheehan's son died for the noble cause of freedomtm in Iraq.
Something smelled fishy to a few bloggers, including Sharon Jumper at the venerable DailyKOS. Perhaps it was her makeup, tank-top, and Bush-style freedom-talk. Anyway, it turns out that Lamotte is married to American Greg Lamotte, who works for ... wait for it ... Voice of America. Voice of America, of course, is the famous propaganda organization charged with spreading a favorable image of the United States throughout the world.
At the very least, this is a blatant conflict of interest that requires a disclosure by MSNBC to its viewers. At most, it is yet another example of government covert propaganda perpetrated on the American people by the Bush Administration.
Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New 'Intelligent Falling' Theory
KANSAS CITY, KS—As the debate over the teaching of evolution in public schools continues, a new controversy over the science curriculum arose Monday in this embattled Midwestern state. Scientists from the Evangelical Center For Faith-Based Reasoning are now asserting that the long-held "theory of gravity" is flawed, and they have responded to it with a new theory of Intelligent Falling.
Rev. Gabriel Burdett (left) explains Intelligent Falling.
Things fall not because they are acted upon by some gravitational force, but because a higher intelligence, 'God' if you will, is pushing them down," said Gabriel Burdett, who holds degrees in education, applied Scripture, and physics from Oral Roberts University.
Burdett added: "Gravity—which is taught to our children as a law—is founded on great gaps in understanding. The laws predict the mutual force between all bodies of mass, but they cannot explain that force. Isaac Newton himself said, 'I suspect that my theories may all depend upon a force for which philosophers have searched all of nature in vain.' Of course, he is alluding to a higher power."
Founded in 1987, the ECFR is the world's leading institution of evangelical physics, a branch of physics based on literal interpretation of the Bible.
According to the ECFR paper published simultaneously this week in the International Journal Of Science and the adolescent magazine God's Word For Teens!, there are many phenomena that cannot be explained by secular gravity alone, including such mysteries as how angels fly, how Jesus ascended into Heaven, and how Satan fell when cast out of Paradise.
The ECFR, in conjunction with the Christian Coalition and other Christian conservative action groups, is calling for public-school curriculums to give equal time to the Intelligent Falling theory. They insist they are not asking that the theory of gravity be banned from schools, but only that students be offered both sides of the issue "so they can make an informed decision."
"We just want the best possible education for Kansas' kids," Burdett said.
Proponents of Intelligent Falling assert that the different theories used by secular physicists to explain gravity are not internally consistent. Even critics of Intelligent Falling admit that Einstein's ideas about gravity are mathematically irreconcilable with quantum mechanics. This fact, Intelligent Falling proponents say, proves that gravity is a theory in crisis.
"Let's take a look at the evidence," said ECFR senior fellow Gregory Lunsden."In Matthew 15:14, Jesus says, 'And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.' He says nothing about some gravity making them fall—just that they will fall. Then, in Job 5:7, we read, 'But mankind is born to trouble, as surely as sparks fly upwards.' If gravity is pulling everything down, why do the sparks fly upwards with great surety? This clearly indicates that a conscious intelligence governs all falling."
Critics of Intelligent Falling point out that gravity is a provable law based on empirical observations of natural phenomena. Evangelical physicists, however, insist that there is no conflict between Newton's mathematics and Holy Scripture.
"Closed-minded gravitists cannot find a way to make Einstein's general relativity match up with the subatomic quantum world," said Dr. Ellen Carson, a leading Intelligent Falling expert known for her work with the Kansan Youth Ministry. "They've been trying to do it for the better part of a century now, and despite all their empirical observation and carefully compiled data, they still don't know how."
"Traditional scientists admit that they cannot explain how gravitation is supposed to work," Carson said. "What the gravity-agenda scientists need to realize is that 'gravity waves' and 'gravitons' are just secular words for 'God can do whatever He wants.'"
Some evangelical physicists propose that Intelligent Falling provides an elegant solution to the central problem of modern physics.
"Anti-falling physicists have been theorizing for decades about the 'electromagnetic force,' the 'weak nuclear force,' the 'strong nuclear force,' and so-called 'force of gravity,'" Burdett said. "And they tilt their findings toward trying to unite them into one force. But readers of the Bible have already known for millennia what this one, unified force is: His name is Jesus."
Bush Supporter Desecrates Memorial to Fallen Soldiers
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Tuesday 16 August 2005
His name is Larry Northern, and he is a wretch.
The Arlington West cemetery has been growing for more than a year. Begun in California by activists seeking to honor those soldiers killed in Iraq, and also seeking to highlight in an unavoidably searing way the price we are paying for the invasion of Iraq, the cemetery is made up of small grave markers made of simple wood. There are crosses, and crescents, and stars of David. Each one represents a dead American soldier.
When word got out that the mother of a fallen soldier had camped herself out in front of the Bush "ranch" in Crawford with a demand to see the president, the Arlington West cemetery was packed up and sent to Texas. This was no small job, as there are now nearly 2,000 grave markers - each bearing a name - that make up the cemetery.
I was in Crawford last week when Arlington West arrived, and I watched as the demonstrators prepared it. The land available to the protesters in Crawford is essentially little more than a series of long, narrow, muddy ditches by the sides of the road. The grave markers were set up along the entire length of the road leading to the site.
This was no mean, haphazard setup. I watched family members of fallen soldiers take tape measures to carefully map out plots of land, making sure each cross was given its own respectful distance from the others. The assembly of Arlington West in Crawford took more than a full day, and was done under the glare of the hot Texas sun. By the end, the cemetery stretched the better part of a mile down the road, each marker bearing a name.
Some markers were surrounded by flowers and American flags. The flowers were placed there by loving relatives of that soldier, relatives who came to Crawford to stand in solidarity with Cindy Sheehan and the other military families, relatives who want to know why their loved ones were spent by the man who would not come out to speak with them.
Some time around 10:00 p.m. on Monday night, Larry Northern of Waco, Texas, drove his pickup truck down to the Crawford protest site. He got out, went around back to the tailgate, and attached a pipe and a chain to the rear of the truck. He got back in and proceeded to drive his truck through the Arlington West cemetery, grinding and smashing through the grave markers. Five hundred of them were knocked down, and 100 of them were totally destroyed.
The harassment of the activists in Crawford has been growing by the day. Last Thursday, I watched a guy on a motorcycle, wrapped from head to boot in black leather and helmet, with a Rebel flag handkerchief tied around his neck, roar into camp and yell something at the people setting up the grave markers before fleeing down the road. That morning, a caravan of Secret Service SUVs blasted through camp at high speed, leaning on their horns the whole way. One local guy in a pickup truck roared down the road and sideswiped a parked car, narrowly missing a couple of people. And then, of course, there was Larry Mattlage, who got sauced on Keystone beer before firing his shotgun into the air a few times near the demonstration.
One could say this is to be expected. Cindy Sheehan and the military families who have joined her have touched a raw nerve among the slowly dwindling ranks of Bush supporters. They are angry, and more than a little scared of the fact that one grieving mother has managed to throw a couple of torpedoes into the side of their battleship.
But the Arlington West cemetery is something else entirely. Truthout reporter Scott Galindez was on the scene after the attack. "Respect for this country's dead is not a partisan issue," he wrote afterwards. "Putting up memorials of our country's fallen is not a 'liberal' act. It is an American act. Even a group of counter-protestors from Dallas last week draped flags and flowers over many of the gravemarkers, and many were moved to tears at the sight of the long line of dead soldiers. It's too bad that someone else who disagrees with Cindy felt they needed to wipe out the memory of our fallen in such an obscene manner."
"Obscene" is the proper word. Among the comments from Bush supporters that have appeared on a variety of forums and blogs, many have taken the line that Casey Sheehan would be appalled at what his mother is doing to his memory. Leave aside for a moment the audacity of those who think they'd know the mind of a man more than his own mother, and focus on this bit about desecrating his memory: A Bush supporter drove a truck through a line of grave markers with the names of dead American soldiers inscribed on them. It is difficult to imagine a more profound desecration. Once upon a time, soldiers returning from Vietnam were spit on. Larry Northern spit on our soldiers when he did this thing. Period.
Mr. Northern was arrested and charged with criminal mischief. Ironically, he was apprehended because one of the crosses he destroyed punctured the tire on his truck. Some have argued in the aftermath of the attack that he should be charged with a hate crime. However that shakes out, it was hate that motivated him. His hate was so strong that it motivated him to destroy crosses and stars and crescents bearing the names of soldiers he almost certainly has said he "stands for."
A man who owns property near Bush's "ranch," and right across the street from his church, has offered the protesters an acre of his land for their campsite. This was welcome news, because the county commissioner was preparing to hold a vote on closing Prairie Chapel Road and evicting the demonstrators. "We can fit more people and we will be closer to the ranch," reported Cindy Sheehan after this offer was made. "Miracles, miracles."
They are out of the ditch now, and will shortly rebuild the Arlington West cemetery. They will do so with love and respect. The memorial will be safe from hatred and attack. The vigil goes on.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Bush & Republicans side with Big Business (Again) I'll give $100 to anyone who can name one time Bush sided against Big Business.*
by GARY RUSKIN & JULIET SCHOR
[from the August 29, 2005 issue of The Nation]
In recent months the major food companies have been trying hard to convince Americans that they feel the pain of our expanding waistlines, especially when it comes to kids. Kraft announced it would no longer market Oreos to younger children, McDonald's promoted itself as a salad producer and Coca-Cola said it won't advertise to kids under 12. But behind the scenes it's hardball as usual, with the junk food giants pushing the Bush Administration to defend their interests. The recent conflict over what America eats, and the way the government promotes food, is a disturbing example of how in Bush's America corporate interests trump public health, public opinion and plain old common sense.
The latest salvo in the war on added sugar and fat came July 14- 15, when the Federal Trade Commission held hearings on childhood obesity and food marketing. Despite the fanfare, industry had no cause for concern; FTC chair Deborah Majoras had declared beforehand that the commission will do absolutely nothing to stop the rising flood of junk food advertising to children. In June the Department of Agriculture denied a request from our group Commercial Alert to enforce existing rules forbidding mealtime sales in school cafeterias of "foods of minimal nutritional value"--i.e., junk foods and soda pop. The department admitted that it didn't know whether schools are complying with the rules, but, frankly, it doesn't give a damn. "At this time, we do not intend to undertake the activities or measures recommended in your petition," wrote Stanley Garnett, head of the USDA's Child Nutrition Division.
Conflict about junk food has intensified since late 2001, when a Surgeon General's report called obesity an "epidemic." Since that time, the White House has repeatedly weighed in on the side of Big Food. It worked hard to weaken the World Health Organization's global anti-obesity strategy and went so far as to question the scientific basis for "the linking of fruit and vegetable consumption to decreased risk of obesity and diabetes." Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson--then our nation's top public-health officer--even told members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association to "'go on the offensive' against critics blaming the food industry for obesity," according to a November 12, 2002, GMA news release.
Last year, during the reauthorization of the children's nutrition programs, Republican Senator Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois attempted to insulate the government's nutrition guidelines from the intense industry pressure that has warped the process to date. He proposed a modest amendment to move the guidelines from the USDA to the comparatively more independent Institute of Medicine. The food industry, alarmed about the switch, secured a number of meetings at the White House to get it to exert pressure on Fitzgerald. One irony of this fight was that the key industry lobbying came from the American Dietetic Association, described by one Congressional staffer as a "front for the food groups." Fitzgerald held firm but didn't succeed in enacting his amendment before he left Congress last year.
By that time the industry's lobbying effort had borne fruit, or perhaps more accurately, unhealthy alternatives to fruit. The new federal guidelines no longer contain a recommendation for sugar intake, although they do tell people to eat foods with few added sugars. The redesigned icon for the guidelines, created by a company that does extensive work for the junk food industry, shows no food, only a person climbing stairs.
Growing industry influence is also apparent at the President's Council on Physical Fitness. What companies has the government invited to be partners with the council's Challenge program? Coca-Cola, Burger King, General Mills, Pepsico and other blue chip members of the "obesity lobby." In January the council's chair, former NFL star Lynn Swann, took money to appear at a public relations event for the National Automatic Merchandising Association, a vending machine trade group activists have been battling on in-school sales of junk food.
Not a lot of subtlety is required to understand what's driving Administration policy. It's large infusions of cash. In 2004 "Rangers," who bundled at least $200,000 each to the Bush/Cheney campaign, included Barclay Resler, vice president for government and public affairs at Coca-Cola; Robert Leebern Jr., president of federal affairs at Troutman Sanders PAG, lobbyist for Coca-Cola; Richard Hohlt of Hohlt & Co., lobbyist for Altria, which owns about 85 percent of Kraft foods; and José "Pepe" Fanjul, president, vice chairman and COO of Florida Crystals Corp., one of the nation's major sugar producers. Hundred-thousand-dollar men include Kirk Blalock and Marc Lampkin, both Coke lobbyists, and Joe Weller, chairman and CEO, Nestle USA. Altria also gave $250,000 to Bush's inauguration this year, and Coke and Pepsi gave $100,000 each. These gifts are in addition to substantial sums given during the 2000 campaign.
For their money, the industry has been able to buy into a strategy on obesity and food marketing that mirrors the approach taken by Big Tobacco. That's hardly a surprise, given that some of the same companies and personnel are involved: Junk food giants Kraft and Nabisco are both majority-owned by tobacco producer Philip Morris, now renamed Altria. Similarity number one is the denial that the problem (obesity) is caused by the product (junk food). Instead, lack of exercise is fingered as the culprit, which is why McDonald's, Pepsi, Coke and others have been handing out pedometers, funding fitness centers and prodding kids to move around. When the childhood obesity issue first burst on the scene, HHS and the Centers for Disease Control funded a bizarre ad campaign called Verb, whose ostensible purpose was to get kids moving. This strategy has been evident in the halls of Congress as well. During child nutrition reauthorization hearings, the man some have called the Senator from Coca-Cola, Georgia's Zell Miller, parroted industry talking points when he claimed that children are "obese not because of what they eat at lunchrooms in schools but because, frankly, they sit around on their duffs watching Eminem on MTV and playing video games." And that, of course, is the fault not of food marketers but of parents. Miller's office shut down a Senate Agriculture Committee staff discussion of a ban on soda pop in high schools by refreshing their memories that Coke is based in Georgia.
A related ploy is to deny the nutritional status of individual food groups, claiming that there are no "good" or "bad" foods, and that all that matters is balance. So, for example, when the Administration attacked the WHO's global anti-obesity initiative, it criticized what it called the "unsubstantiated focus on 'good' and 'bad' foods." Of course, if fruits and vegetables aren't healthy, then Coke and chips aren't unhealthy. While such a strategy is so preposterous as to be laughable, it is already having real effects. Less than a month after Cadbury Schweppes, the candy and soda company, gave a multimillion-dollar grant to the American Diabetes Association, the association's chief medical and scientific officer claimed that sugar has nothing to do with diabetes, or with weight. Industry has also bankrolled front groups like the Center for Consumer Freedom, an increasingly influential Washington outfit that demonizes public-health advocates as the "food police" and promotes the industry point of view.
Meanwhile, public opinion is solidly behind more restrictions on junk food marketing aimed at children, especially in schools. A February Wall Street Journal poll found that 83 percent of American adults believe "public schools need to do a better job of limiting children's access to unhealthy foods like snack foods, sugary soft drinks and fast food." Two bills recently introduced in Congress, Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy's Prevention of Childhood Obesity Act and Iowa Senator Tom Harkin's Healthy Lifestyles and Prevention (HeLP) America Act, both place significant restrictions on the ability of junk food producers to market in schools.
Interestingly, this is a crossover issue between red and blue states. Concern about obesity and excessive junk food marketing to kids is shared by people across the political spectrum, and some conservatives, such as Texas Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs and the Eagle Forum's Phyllis Schlafly, as well as California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, have argued for restricting junk food marketing to children. This may be one of the reasons New York Senator Hillary Clinton has once again become vocal on the topic of marketing to children, although Senator Clinton has called not for government intervention but merely for industry self-regulation, requesting that the companies "be more responsible about the effect they are having"--exactly the policy the industry wants.
A vigorous government response would clearly garner the sympathy of the majority of Americans. The growing chasm between what the public wants and the Administration's protection of the profits of Big Food is a powerful example of the decline of democracy in this country. Let them eat chips!
*some restrictions apply, void where prohibited.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Caste System: Immigrant Women America's Untouchables
Invisible to Most, Immigrant Women Line Up for Day Labor
By NINA BERNSTEIN
The women are not noticed by the weekday morning crowds that rush past Eighth Avenue and 37th Street, in the heart of Manhattan's fashion district. They arrive in twos and threes after 8 a.m., shrinking against the buildings on both sides of the avenue, until scores of them are waiting, small, dark-haired Mexicans, Ecuadoreans, Hondurans.
By noon they have vanished. In swift, discreet sidewalk negotiations, perhaps half have been hired for a day's work at the minimum wage or less in some of the neighborhood's last struggling garment factories. The rest have given up until tomorrow.
A few miles away in Williamsburg, commuters on the busy Brooklyn-Queens Expressway are equally oblivious to the similar scene unfolding on an overpass above them. There, the work at stake is $8-an-hour housecleaning, and those vying for a day's scrubbing, mainly for Hasidic homemakers, stand in a crude ascending hierarchy of employer preference: Mexican and Central American women in their 30's at the back, Polish immigrant women in their 50's and 60's in the middle, and young Polish students with a command of English at the head of the line.
At a time when male day laborers have become the most public and contentious face of economic immigration to the United States, these two rare female shape-ups have doubled in size almost unobserved in recent years. Their growth reflects a larger overlooked reality: Women make up 44 percent of the nation's low-wage immigrant work force, and worldwide, studies show, more and more women are migrating for work.
Often invisible and undercounted, experts say, female economic migrants are an increasing presence, especially in big cities like New York, where the demand is not for men to pick lettuce or process poultry, but for women to pick up the scraps of a collapsed manufacturing sector, or to serve in the vast underground economy of domestic service.
Although more women across the country are showing up in day-labor hiring halls, often run by grass-roots labor groups, experts say that these two female shape-ups may well be the only significant ones of their kind in the nation - places where women are willing to put their personal safety in jeopardy for a few hours of work.
"What else is there to do if you have nothing to eat?" asked Rosario Jocha, 49, still standing on Eighth Avenue at 11 a.m. on a recent Wednesday. She said she had recently grabbed a day's work cutting threads from jackets even when the employer, a Chinese immigrant subcontractor, insisted he could not pay more than $5.75 an hour, 25 cents below the state minimum wage. "I've been here 11 years, and I still haven't found a stable, steady job."
At both locations, some of the women waiting for work had been in the country as little as a few months; others, like Ms. Jocha, a Queens resident from Ecuador, were old-timers who spoke of better jobs lost when small-business employers could not pay rising rent. On Eighth Avenue, merchants said that 100 to 150 women regularly sought work six mornings a week year round - double or triple the number when the intersection first emerged as an informal female hiring site about six years ago.
Yet May Chen, a vice president of Unite, the garment workers' union, whose headquarters is only a dozen blocks away, said she was unaware of the shape-up's existence until she was asked about it for this article. And Aaron Adams, a veteran garment center landlord who passes by every day, said he had assumed the women standing there "were just shooting the breeze."
Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, a sociologist who has written extensively about the feminization of migration, said she was not surprised. "The space that these women occupy, the public spaces in the city, are just like fleeting moments," she said. "They don't really have a place in the city that's visible, so it's easy to ignore them."
Even the discussion of legal guest worker proposals in Congress centers on male migrants, she said. But though nationally men account for about two-thirds of labor migration among illegal immigrants, primarily because of agricultural demand, she said, global patterns indicate that women are easily half the immigrant workers flowing to large metropolitan areas like New York.
Ms. Parreñas and other researchers find that women who migrate for work are likely to be single mothers supporting children in their native countries. Compared with their male counterparts, they earn less, despite higher levels of education, according to a 2002 study of the United States' low-wage immigrant work force by the Urban Institute, a research group in Washington, which estimated that two million foreign-born women made less than the minimum wage. Yet women are also more likely to remain in America, and they send home a higher proportion of their earnings.
Unvarnished lessons in global supply, demand and division play out at both New York hiring sites.
"We never talk to the Latinas - sometimes they agree to work for less," said Teresa, a 53-year-old Polish widow who, like many of the 60 women waiting for cleaning work near Marcy and Division Avenues in Williamsburg on a recent Friday morning, would give only her first name.
At the other end of the curved concrete abutment, Maria, 35, from Ecuador, gave a shrug. "They pay them more," she complained, as a woman in Hasidic dress passed by the Spanish-speaking group and selected a tall young Polish woman. "It's just that they're white."
Even among the Poles, immigration complicates the pecking order. Some older women won green cards after years as live-in maids for sponsors, and boast in broken English of children in college. Other women lack papers, or shuttle on temporary work visas between their struggling families in rural Poland and spartan, overpriced rooms in Brooklyn. And in summer, just when demand declines because of employer vacations, they now face growing numbers of young Polish women working illegally on tourist visas while living rent-free with Brooklyn relatives.
"They don't want babushkas," complained Zofia, a 50-year-old mother of five, as a young Hasidic man led Justyne, a 24-year-old Polish student, to his S.U.V.
Not all employers had the same preferences, however, and most, like Rifky Kohn, 28, a pregnant mother of four, were on foot. At midday, with the Sabbath approaching, she gladly hired a Polish woman in her late 60's.
"She looks more experienced," explained Mrs. Kohn.
Rosa Yumbla, who supports four children in Ecuador, recently skipped a day on the overpass to address a national conference of day labor organizers at New York University Law School. She spoke at the urging of the Latin American Workers Project, an advocacy group in Brooklyn.
"We suffer the changing weather throughout the year, the heat of the sun and cold in winter, because where we wait to be picked up is on the corner," Ms. Yumbla said in Spanish to an audience that included the mayor's commissioner for immigrant affairs. "Help us secure a space where we can be safer."
For now, the women depend on one another and their own instincts for safety. On a recent Wednesday, when a man on Eighth Avenue approached a young Mexican woman with a vague description of a part-time job in a store at the Port Authority, an older woman drew close and signaled disapproval. The man, who gave his name as Victor Miranda and his age as 55, then turned to Josefa Limas, 32, who arrived from Puebla, Mexico, only six months ago.
She, too, shook her head. "Sometimes they'll just end up taking you somewhere else," she said, describing another woman's close call the previous day. "An Indian man took her to an elevator and wouldn't let her out. He came over and tried to grab her. She pressed an emergency button and got away."
Still, the pressure to take chances can be strong. Nellie, 32, who shares a room in the Bronx, pulled out a picture of the three children she left four years ago with her sister in rural Ecuador, in an effort to earn money for the heart operation needed by her son, the youngest.
"The little I make here I send to him," she said. "Many times I just want to go to be with him, but I don't have the money to do so. It gives me a desperate feeling."
On this day she counted herself lucky: she had been called back for a second day's work at $6 an hour, she said. And leaving the line, she melted into the crowd.
Michelle Malkin has Sex With Animals
According to an "unconfirmed report", it has been revealed that Michelle Malkin, the right-wing pundit and author of "In Defense of Internment", regularly has sex with barnyard animals. Sources who wish to remain anonymous stated that "Michelle keeps a horse in the bedroom of her Manhattan apartment".
A farmer who wishes to remain anonymous confirmed that he regularly delivers "burros, horses, and bulls" to the back entrance of her brownstone".
Neighbors have been heard to say that the "little bitch is a total psycho", and that "the whole building now smells like hay and urine".
Local bookstore clerk, Stewie Henderson, said that she comes into his store regularly and "has an unhealthy obsessions with Catherine the Great", Empress of Russia (1729-1796).