(en)PROGRESSIVE REVIEW ON-LINE REPORT #57

Lyn and Shawn (linjin@tao.ca)
Thu, 26 Jun 1997 17:06:55 pst


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--------- Begin forwarded message ---------- From: Progressive Review <ssmith@igc.org> To: 72067.1525@compuserve.com Subject: Progressiver Review On Line #57 Date: Wed, 25 Jun 1997 12:33:53 -0700 (PDT) Message-ID: <2.2.16.19970625150311.2a9f2966@pop.igc.org>

PROGRESSIVE REVIEW ON-LINE REPORT #57 Jun 25, 1997

WASHINGTON'S MOST UNOFFICIAL SOURCE

A service of the Progressive Review: 1739 Conn. Ave. NW Washington DC 20009 202-232-5544 Fax: 202-234-6222. E-mail: ssmith@igc.org Editor: Sam Smith.

The Progressive Review On-Line Report and Review Archives are found on the Web at:

http://emporium.turnpike.net/P/ProRev/

=================================================== SAM SMITH'S GREAT AMERICAN POLITICAL REPAIR MANUAL Rebuilding our country so the politics aren't broken and politicians aren't fixed.

NOTE TO DC AREA READERS: You're invited to a book party at Politics & Prose: July 23 6-9 pm. See you there. ===================================================

GLOBAL GODFATHER GATHERING

For the first time in 40 years, the annual meeting of global godfathers known as the Bilderberg Group met on US soil. Even that didn't help the news coverage much (AP was one exception) because it is one of the unwritten rules of journalism that when the people who really run the place get together secretly they're entitled to a little peace and quiet. After all, if they had something to say they'd hold a news conference.

Thus Americans hear little about the Bilderberg conference or the Bohemian Grove recreation center for over-empowered leaders, and similar covert gatherings of the world's mighty, rich, and famous. In fact, merely mentioning Bilderberg is enough to have one declared to be among the permanently paranoid. This time, the 120 dignitaries from the US and Europe gathered surreptitiously outside of Atlanta. It was explained that those attending had taken an oath of silence and that no news conference would be held at the end of the meeting. Bill Clinton wasn't there but had been when it counted -- back in 1991 when as governor of a massively insignificant state he somehow made the cut. This year he sent Hillary along with George Stephanopoulos and Samuel Berger.

According to a wire report, "The group is meeting behind several layers of security. Yet Georgia police confessed to having only a vague idea of the get- together, held on a state-owned island in Lake Lanier, 55 miles northeast of Atlanta. 'We recently became aware of this meeting,' spokesman John Bankhead of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said." Right-wing groups have long attacked the Bilderberg conference as planning sessions for a "new world order" and in fact the meetings have served (along with sessions of the Trilateral Commission) as precursors of a growing non-participatory globalism run by corporations, financial institutions in cooperation with friendly governments. If the media had been a little less dismissive and a little more diligent about reporting these events, we might have been better prepared to deal with such phenomena as the third-worlding of America, GATT and the current blithe transfer of critical technology to China.

SMOKE AND MIRRORS

What GATT is to foreign affairs the tobacco agreement is to domestic policy -- an end run by lawyers and technocrats around American constitutional government. A bunch of suits have worked out a back-room deal they believe they can force down the throats of Congress and the White House, a deal in which public health is just another bargaining chip. While some of the lawyers were theoretically on the public's side, lawyers are lawyers -- especially when they stand to earn billions of dollars in fees -- and are often more than willing to jettison critical principles in order to make a deal . . . Newt Gingrich put it well: "The Constitution does not make any provision for Congress to delegate to private groups in secret meetings the power to write law." . . . . Other critics of the deal got sent to jump page purgatory. Only at the end of stories did you find the opposition of the American Lung, Association, the director of the American Public Health Association and non- participating state attorneys general. . . In doing away with punitive damages, the proposed measure would greatly reduce the attractiveness of tobacco law suits to trial lawyers. . . . And those $380 billion in penalties will be considered "ordinary and necessary business expenses." That's a $380 billion tax deduction for the tobacco industry. You lose again.

RACE CARD

The trouble with Bill Clinton is that he apologizes for things he had nothing to do with and spends millions in lawyers' fees to avoid taking responsibility for those he did. Worse, he's taught the trick to Tony Blair, who recently apologized for the Irish potato famine apparently after White House spin coaching . . . Meanwhile the social status of blacks and other minorities in America is slipping badly, in no small part because of Clinton-supported policies such as the drug war, his attacks on the Constitution, and a virulent meanness of rhetoric on such issues as welfare.

SLEEPER DECISION

The Supreme Court has ruled that an American citizen may be incarcerated based on what that citizen might do. In its extraordinary decision, the court said that potentially violent sex offenders may be confined indefinitely in mental hospitals after completing their prison sentences even if such incarceration does not meet normal standards for civil commitment. The Kansas law that was upheld didn't even guarantee treatment for the mental hospital inmates. The practice of locking people up on a doctor's say-so has been one of the more appalling hallmarks of totalitarian countries such as the Soviet Union. As a Kansas ACLU official put it, "Anticipating crimes before they've been committed and penalizing them before they happen is a precedent that should frighten every American." Says Fred Berlin, founder of the Sexual Disorders Clinic at John Hopkins: "This is a dramatic shift in policy. . . .[No longer will] individuals be held to account only for acts they have actually committed, but now also for acts that someone else says they are going to commit."

LAND OF THE FREE

America is moving towards what one criminologist calls a "gulag state." A recent article in Utne Reader notes that while crime rates have remained essentially stable over the past twenty years the number of persons behind bars has tripled. And an increasing number of these prisoners were being sent to private lockups in which the media shows little interest and over which the government exercises little control . . . Incidentally, these prisons seek to maintain a 90- 95% capacity rate and thus tend to be harsher on inmates that state run facilities . . . One bright spot: the Supremes have just ruled that private prison guards -- unlike government ones -- are not immune from inmate lawsuits.

DETAILS

The gurney to which Timothy McVeigh will be strapped prior to being slain by the government is in the shape of a cross. . . .Thieves who broke into Democratic Party headquarters in Phoenix made off with a signed picture of Mo Udall but left the one of Bruce Babbitt . . . The team of Democratic hotshots (including James Carville, David Wilhelm and Anne Richards) that recently dialed for DNC dollars only raised $48,000 their first night on the job.

DRUG BUSTS

Barney Frank has introduced a medical marijuana bill. (202-225-5931) . . .The Florida Medical Association has endorsed limited access to medical marijuana and urges unimpeded federal research on the therapeutic potential of the drug . . . El Pais reports a study at the University of Geneva that finds controlled distribution of heroin improves the health conditions of drug addicts. The distribution also assists in reestablishing human relationships and reducing criminality. Problems: operator prejudice and high cost of the drug.

UNSOLVED MYSTERIES

Oklahoma is one of the few places in which citizens can convene a grand jury simply by getting enough names on a petition. This happened in the wake of the OKC bombing and now a district judge has ordered that a jury be selected on June 30. At issue: did the feds have advance warning of the bombing?

THE MEDIACRATS

Out of Work, a documentary about gays and lesbians at work was turned down by PBS despite the network's news director calling it "compelling television responsibly done on a significant issue of our times." So what was wrong? "PBS's guidelines prohibit funding that might lead to an assumption that individual underwriters might have exercised editorial control over program content -- even it, as is clear in this case, those underwriters did not." About a quarter of the film's funding came from sources PBS consider "problematical" including the ASTRAEA National Lesbian Action Foundation. What's amazing about this story is that PBS has been a chronic consumer of corporate underwriting for its news programs, most notably the nightly one featuring Jim Lehrer which is heavily backed by the arch-conservative Archer-Daniels- Midland. . . . On the other hand, the National Association of Broadcasters has decided to join with the Department of Health and Human Services and a anti-marijuana propaganda mill, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, in a nationwide TV campaign against pot use. So much for journalistic objectivity.. . . NAB may pattern its campaign on ABC's agitprop flop, "March on Drugs." ABC used the Omnicon ad agency for the campaign. Omnicon handles the Anheuser-Busch account which spends $156 million a year promoting a drug called beer.

FINAL DAYS II

Those friends trying to look after Web Hubbell in the days following his notorious departure from the Justice Department may not have been watching close enough. LA controller Rick Tuttle now says Hubbell defrauded the city after leaving Justice by submitting consulting bills that were "materially false" and which "greatly exaggerates the services provided." Tuttle thinks Hubbell should face criminal prosecution. The LA contract -- dreamed up by some Clintonistas -- was just one of at least a dozen or so sweetheart deals provided Hubbell to help him wile away the time before going to jail and also perhaps to remember fondly his friends in high places when talking to prosecutors. It is believed that these deals amounted to more than a million dollars and perhaps as much as $3.5 million.

Gary Martin has rescued this interesting snip from Sidney Blumenthal's 1993 New Yorker piece on Foster qua innocent victim of Washington: "Foster sought perspective through a number of conversations with Walter Pincus, a reporter for the Washington Post, whose wife is from Little Rock. 'He couldn't understand why the press was the way it was,' Pincus said. 'It was a sense that the people would print something that was wrong, and that other people would repeat it. I'd say, 'You can't let the press get your goat; you have to go on. This is how the game is played.; He'd say, 'Fine.'" Pincus' name is often on stories related to the CIA and intelligence that are, shall we say, interestingly well informed. Blumenthal was recently hired as a flack for the Clintons . . . Looking ahead, one WW Irregular wonders whether Bill Clinton will get Secret Service protection if he goes to jail.

Don't forget the investigation being conducted by independent counsel Don Smaltz. Even as Kenneth Starr's investigation is heating up, Tyson Foods Inc. reports that it has been formally designated a target in Smaltz's probe. Watch this space. . . .China has unveiled a new super-computer capable of 13 billion calculations per second. Such computers can be used to test nuclear weapons, build missiles or break codes. One estimate is that the US has sold China 46 super- computers, mostly during the Clinton administration. . . . Meanwhile, largely ignored by the major media, the administration is still supporting plans to lease an old Navy base in Long Beach CA to a Chinese firm called Cosco. The White House insists there is no evidence the firm is a threat to national security despite the fact that Cosco were involved in introducing 2,000 automatic weapons into California and shipping a container to Vancouver in which was found 87 pounds of heroin.

Spilling some of the beans on her "close friend" Ron Brown, Nolanda Hill told Prime Time Live that Brown used drugs while Commerce Secretary and considered taking a big payoff from Vietnam to get trade restrictions lifted but dropped the idea when he got a tip that FBI was on the case. Hill also said that she had paid Brown hundreds of thousands of dollars for his interest in her businesses for which he had paid nothing to aquire and that Brown thought it was Hillary who placed John Huang in a Commerce Department job. Brown's lawyer says it's all "preposterous." . . . You may remember perhaps that Clinton's ballyhooed race speech was made at a campus-wide commencement at UC-San Diego. Well, even if you don't, university officials do. You see, the university doesn't have a campus-wide commencement. They had two and a half weeks to concoct one just for Clinton's benefit. According to Rob Morse of the SF Examiner many profs normally wear casual clothes and flip-flops for the normal mini-graduations at the UC-San Diego's eight colleges and graduate schools, but for the First Fraud were given free use of academic gowns.

LOOSE CHANGE

This from a study of the Quadrennial Defense Review by Pentagon analyst Franklin C. Spinney: "On July 26, 1996, the Defense Department's Inspector General released a report saying it could not audit the $80+ billion Defense Business Operations Fund because its 'financial systems continue to lack a sound internal control structure.' On June 11, 1996, the General Accounting Office updated its November 1995 audit, reporting against that the Defense Department's bookkeeping system can not link between $20 and $30 billion in actual expenditures to the items that money purchased. Ten months later, on April 30, 1997, in a second update, the GAO said problem disbursements increased to $43 billion. The Defense Department Comptroller objected, saying the problem disbursements amounted to only $18 billion."

CITY DESK

San Franciscans are losing about 90,000 hours a day sitting in traffic jams. According to a recent study by the Institute of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of California at Berkeley, "If tends continue unabated, virtually ever major artery will be operating within ten years at levels of service rated intolerable by state traffic engineers."

ECO NOTES

Nuclear couriers are folks who carry nuclear waste and devices from one place to another, perhaps even through your city or neighborhood. They drive around in unmarked trucks. The trucks are loaded and unloaded by highly trained professionals wearing moon suits. The drivers, on the other hand, are ordinary blokes in T-shirts and jeans. This has led some to suspect that the serious illnesses they are suffering might be related to their occupation. Pending legal action may blow the cover off this astounding story. One official at a facility involved in the nuclear transport says radiation readings can be picked up on the trucks as far as a quarter mile away.

JUST POLITICS

Les Verts, the French Greens, are the fifth European Green Party to take part in a current government. Eighteen parties have members elected to national parliaments and nearly all have some representation at the local level . . . MORNING LINE: Pataki beats Cuomo, Bragmann, McCall.. . .Al Gore neck and neck with either Lamar Alexander or Fred Thompson in a Tennessee presidential match-up.

QUOTE UNQUOTE

Asking a working writer what he feels about critics is like asking a lamp post what it feels about dogs -- John Osborne

Freedom is the right to tell people what they don't want to hear -- George Orwell

Television is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome -- T. S. Eliot

Journalism consists largely in saying "Lord Jones died" to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive. -- G. K. Chesterton

OUR LISTS

JUST SOME OF THOSE WHO ATTENDED THE 45TH ANNUAL BILDERBERG CONFERENCE Hillary Clinton o Henry Kissinger o Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands o Colin Powell o David Rockefeller o IBM Chair Louis Gerstner o Fiat Honorary Chair Giovanni Agnelli o Xerox Chair Paul Allaire o Bodil Nyboe Andersen Governor, Central Bank of Denmark o Michael H. Armacost President, The Brookings Institution o Robert Bartley, Editor Wall Street Journal o Former Treasury Secretary Lloyd M. Bentsen o Presidential assistant Samuel Berger o Maarten van Bergh, Managing Director Royal Dutch/Shell o Richard Bernstein, Book Critic, New York Times o Lajos Bokros, Senior Advisor, World Bank o John Browne, Group Chief Executive, British Petroleum Company o Jon Corzine, Chair & CEO, Goldman Sachs & Co. o David Frum, conservative journalist o Rep. Lee Hamilton o Andre- Francois Villeneuve, Executive Director, Reuters Group Holdings o Paul Volker, former Federal Reserve Board chair o James Wolfensohn, President, World Bank o Richard Holbrooke, former Assistant Secretary of State o Vernon Jordan, Clinton deep insider o William McDonough, President, Federal Reserve Bank of New York o Sam Nunn, former Senator o Sharon Percey Rockefeller, President and CEO WETA-TV and FM o Lesley Stahl, CBS o George Stephanopoulos, Clintonista capo

PRODUCTS THAT COME FROM FIRMS OWNED BY THE CHINESE PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY o At Sports Authority: gloves from Glove Source o At Nordstroms, Macy's and Marshall's: pants from Kizan International o At toy stores: toys from LTD Commodities o From Bloomingdale's Wal-Mart and Kmart: cotton fabrics from Hamco Apparel[AFL-CIO]

THINGS TO SAY TO TELEMARKETERS o "First you have to tell me what kind of underwear you've wearing."

o "I'm sorry, but I'm really busy right now. Give me your home number and I'll call you back later tonight."

o "I'm having an existential crisis at the moment. Let me explain. . ."

o Or just dial 6545 666; 555; 666; 6545666; 655654 [Anti-Telemarketer Source & New York Times]

INTERESTING GLOBAL FACTS IN RECENTLY PUBLISHED 1997 EDITION OF VITAL SIGNS FROM THE WORLDWATCH INSTITUTEI

o In Bangkok the typical motorist spends 44 days a year just sitting in traffic jams. o The world only added 80 million people in 1996. This is down from a peak of 87 million added in 1990. o The amount of land per capita harvested in grain has declined by almost 50% since 1950. o Carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels has almost quadrupled since 1950. o Global temperatures have increased almost half a degree since 1950. o Economic loss due to weather-related causes has increased 40 fold since 1980. o World refugee population has increased 18-fold since 1961. o Some 200 million people participate in urban farming including in Hartford CT where the value of urban farm production is estimated to be $4-10 million annually.

AND THE GEORGE ORWELL AWARD GOES TO. . .

The Washington Post for a headline that read: WHITE HOUSE OPPOSES CENSORSHIP OF INTERNET: But Support of '96 Decency Act is Unchanged

OLD NEWS

Several readers noted a familiar front page story in the Washington Post about paramilitary police SWAT teams. We were glad to see it but worry we may be slowing down. We usually like to scoop the Post by at least five years. . . . Incidentally (as we've already mentioned to our DC readers), a Post reporter recently volunteered to us that Mark Plotkin, the politics editor of the local NPR station, had been banned from mention in the paper. When we remarked that we suspected TPR and its editor were also banned, the reporter replied in a matter-of-fact manner, "I suppose you are." . . . No matter, we still have friends in high places. Marion Barry told us the other day that he had downloaded "all fifteen hundred pages" of our web site and is working his way through them.

UNDERCOVER WORK

"Spotting CIA operatives in Bonn was ridiculously easy. Quite unlike my own insistence on careful preparation and slow, almost imperceptible approaches to a potential recruit, they always set off on a frantic round of making contacts. Targets we had planted often complained of the [CIA] agent's poor level of knowledge of the economic problems of the East, which made it hard to know what line to spin them. . . . .The quality of the American agents was so poor and their work so haphazard that our masters began to ask fearfully whether Washington had stopped taking East Germany seriously." -- East German spymaster Markus Wolf in Man Without a Face

WE KNEW THERE WAS SOMETHING ABOUT THE 1980S WE MISSED

[Cary] Nelson, along with colleague Larry Grossberg, organized the most important political gathering of the eighties. "Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture" took place in Urbana, Illinois, and brought together for one month, all expenses paid, twenty-five junior faculty members (I was one), three Marxist superstars (Gayatri Spivak, Fredric Jameson and Stuart Hall) and in the final three-day burst, Marxist scholars from all over the world. -- H. Aram Veeser in the Nation

ROAD SIGNS

Blacks as a percent of all drivers stopped on the Florida Turnpike near Orlando by the local sheriff's drug squad: 16%. Blacks as a percentage of all stopped drivers subjected to searches by drug sniffing dogs: 70% [Reuters]

Percent of convenience stores in East Austin TX that sell milk: 50%. Percent that sell alcohol: 100% [Public Voice for Food and Health Policy]

Number of packs of unfiltered cigarettes you would have to smoke daily to simulate the air pollution of Beijing: 3 [Los Angeles Times]

Percent of 16-24 year olds who, if on a desert island, would want most to have music : 24%/ Computers: 21%. Their parents: 29%. Percent of 16-24 year olds who would prefer to listen to any CD than to President Clinton: 65%. [BMG Entertainment]

FIELD NOTES

Wall Street by Doug Henwood, editor of the invaluable Left Business Observer, in a dazzling display of financial myth-busting that should be read by everyone who needs to understand financial markets -- or thinks they already do. [Verso Publishers]

GreenPages is the new publication of the Association of State Green Parties. It will come out three times a year. Subscriptions: $20 from Green Pages, POB 5631, Santa Monica CA 90409.

Citizenship and Democracy: A case for Proportional Representation by Nick Loenen has been published by the Dondurn Press of Toronto.

Democracy Unbound: Progressive Challenges to the Two- Party System by David Reynolds analyses third party efforts and discusses the potential of proportional representation. [South End Press]

The 8th Annual Freedom Festival in support of cannabis and hemp will be held Sept. 20 on the Boston Common. Sponsored by MASS CANN and NORML [617-944-CANN]

....................

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Copyright 1997, The Progressive Review. Matter not independently copyrighted may be reprinted provided you pay TPR your normal reprint fees, if any, and give proper credit.

The Progressive Review Washington's Most Unofficial Source 1739 Connecticut Ave NW Washington DC 20009 202-232-5544 Fax: 202-234-6222 ssmith@igc.org http://emporium.turnpike.net/P/ProRev/

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