Saturday, May 07, 2005
At Labour conf, party commits itself to a system where PM doesn’t control timing of elections
VN to permit forcible repatriation of boat people
Senate votes to elevate EPA to Cabinet level. Bush gets his price — allowed to fill all top positions w/pol appointees.
-Interior Sec to convene the God Committee to decide fate of Northern Spotted Owl
Georgian SSR to try chairman (ex-) of Ossetia for inciting ethnic hatred. This from a Georgian president whose slogan is “Georgia for the Georgians” & wants to discourage mixed marriages & restrict citizenship to those proving residence prior to 1801 & property rights ltd to those who voted for ind
Stanford gets fed court ruling that gov may not censor research it funds
CA passes 4-mo. unpaid family leave firms 50+. US Congress trying again too
Congress agrees to postpone loan guarantee to Israel
Gen. Cedras, now in power in Haiti, claims the coup actually began in rank & file & that army commanders intervened to save Aristide’s life. Also says Aristide actually resigned. And claims Aristide had Lafontant, ex-head of Tontons Macoute & last coup leader, killed. Well, he does seem definitely to be dead
House Banking Subcmte voted to put S&L bailout on the budget on pay-as-you-go basis
Bill Clinton to run for president
Serbia, Montenegro, Vojvodina, Kosovo claim to have taken over Parl
CA’s (vetoed) gay rights bill, only 4 of 46 Repubs in the 2 houses voted for it
Labour Party Conf voted to reduce defense spending to Eur level, Kinnock dismissed the vote before it ever occurred.
-2 more (Trotskyist) Militant tendency members thrown out, w/out being heard
Several days after Salvadoran cease-fire, Salvador’s military launches air & artillery bombing of Guazapo volcano. Coup coming? Part of deal w/rebels is for their integration (as indivs only) into police. Some military leaders & Arena said no way
OAS votes to isolate Haiti. The atmosphere on this is different than previous coups. Aristide, not in retirement in Fr, but actively pushing for help
And House members owe $300,000 in unpaid House restaurant bills. The House bank to be closed.
Bush telecast to schools a “pitch for his education program” (NYT). Production cost: $26,750. NYT doesn’t question another obvious expense: a letter to all (110,000) schools to get them to watch. All out of Ed. budget. And they don’t promise not to use it in his presidential campaign
Nadine Gordimer wins Nobel Prize. DeKlerk says this “is also an honor to SA”. Like Hell taking credit for Dante. Fortunately for him her work now appears there.
Admin insists financing of presidential campaigns not inc money from ‘92 tax returns. Of $127m available, most for conventions & fall election, leaving $16m for primaries — too little, and Bush, despite no opposition, likely to get most of it. Wants to prevent Congress making the ‘92 check-off money available.
Confirmed CIA intercepted priv communication from 6 Congresscritters w/Nicaraguan leaders — inc Jim Wright, David Bonior, Michael Barnes
Indian tribal courts (w/jurisdiction over 2m) have no money, so judges & juries often unpaid & defendants do not get lawyers. In Northwest intertribal court system, 20% prosecutions handled by lay people & no defending lawyer 60-70%. In small tribes, no impartial jury possible. Bill of Rights only (basically) extended 1968, but w/out funding, which they may get now.
536 of US’s 3,135 counties have abortion services, 7% of rural, having halved in 15 yrs.
-Romania’s maternal mortality rate has halved since abortion legalized w/Ceausescu’s fall
Info-bits from Gates hearings: 1985 CIA passed intelligence to Iraq to persuade it to do...? 1987 broke law by operating w/in 20 mi. of Nicaragua. There are 2,000 analysis. Casey spent time trying to get businesses to provide cover. And while mentioned nothing about what it knew of BCCI to proper authorities, does pass on names of actual or potential child abusers
Soviets offer to scrap all their short-range weapons. And to cut strategic below START levels. And a 1-yr freeze on nuke tests. Will drop strategic missiles to 5,000 instead of 6,000. And cut troops 700,000 (of 3.7m) — the Baltic contingent? Beyond Bush, wants to eliminate all naval tactical nukes
Noriega trial in fed courts, witness lists supposed to be secret, but defense’s list actually given, with his subpoena to Lewis Tambs, which gave it to State which gave it to Justice. One more ground for mistrial.
Italy to allow Yugoslav troops & tanks to retreat from Slovenia through It. This is illegal
Of the 600 community mental health centers under contract w/fed gov to provide basic services, for which they got construction money, 249 don’t
Tom Wicker comments on the mediocrity of current Sup Court. The highest status achieved was deputy atty gen (Byron White) — no senators, governors, presidents or nominees, diplomats, cabinet officers
Eugene McCarthy to run for president
Israel sentences peace campaigner to 1½ yrs for meeting Arafat
US suddenly talking about rights abuses by Aristide, suggesting there are more conditions for return of the elected (67%) president. 1st time admin has seen fit to mention any rights abuses (by mobs). The coup leaders have not formalized a new gov but shoved it off on parl to do so.
Elliott Abrams pleads guilty in Iran-Contra for w/holding info form Congress & asking for money from Brunei. I didn’t even know he was up for anything.
Michigan ends welfare to able-bodied adults, 80,000 Maryland to follow — 24,000
A former assistance of Clarence Thomas now a law professor, says he sexually harassed her, described details of porno films, inc sex with animals & rape. The one problem w/her — well 2, she didn’t come forward before — she followed him from Ed. to EEOC. Bush trying to smear her. White House said FBI found her allegation “w/out foundation” but in fact they just said it was unprovable. White House trying to say she was disappointed he didn’t show sexual interest in her (although Thomas admits to having asked her for a date). Sen. knew about this 2 weeks ago, but dealt w/it in private — meaning didn’t deal with it.
Haitian Parl votes to replace Aristide, their minds concentrated wonderfully by firing on their building. Essentially a 2nd coup. meanwhile, Bush admin backing further from Aristide, suggesting support for democracy can somehow be severed from support for the democratically-elected president.
Kurds execute 60 Iraqi POWs
The 3-month delay of ind Croatia & Slovenia agree to 3 mos ago expires. Yug. sends 2 rockets into Croatian presidential palace.
Thomas confirmation postponed. Anita Hill has mentioned this to people before. The incompetence of Senate is incredible. Sen. Specter, a former prosecutor who should have known better, said no sexual harassment took place because no touching. This is not the way the crime is defined — or EEOC rules
Soviet Jews in Israel are not allowed passports until have repaid the aid given them by Jewish Agency
Bush on Kuwaiti justice (July 1): “The war wasn’t fought about democracy in Kuwait... I think we’re expecting a little much if we’re asking the people in Kuwait to take kindly to those that had spied on their countrymen that were left there, that had brutalized families there and things of that nature.”
Israel flying spy missions over Iraq — crossing Jordan & Syria.
-Israeli police questioned 2 Palestinian negotiators about to meet Baker
Colin Powell says US will keep tactical nukes on planes, despite Soviet offers on this
Sen. Specter still saying Thomas says he never asked Anita Hill out, though he admitted it to FBI.
-1980 Thomas recommended EEOC limit employer liability for sexual harassment
US Air Force admits Soviet not modernizing air defenses — eliminating another rationale for B-2 Stealth Bombers
CA Sup Court upholds term limits for Legislature
Another ex-employee of EEOC says she was harassed by Clarence Thomas, who asked her her bra size
Syria will not participate in part of Peace Conf on regional issues. Wants commitment by Israel to return Golan 1st
Canada to end ban on gays in military
Bush vetoed unemployment benefit extensions, taking advantage of media concentration on Thomas soap opera
DC Law continues the confirmation of Clarence “Long Dong Silver” Thomas being quite a national event, or disgrace as Thomas has it a “high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves.” The problem that Anita Hill followed Thomas to EEOC resolved in that she might not have cont. have a job in Ed., or so Thomas told her, and Dept Ed. itself might have been abolished
-A later person in EEOC made similar charges
Turks attacking Kurds in Iraq
U Wisconsin’s hate speech code dec unconst
ANC attacking SA gov over new VAT tax
Exxon’s new deal w/Alaska will cost it less, as it is structured to be more tax-deductible
Thomas talking about the charges being based on racial stereotypes. Nice try. Catharine McKinnon says his behaviour shows effects of pornography. Thomas says he did not tell FBI he had asked Hill for dates.
Yugoslavia is covering its war budget by printing money
Anita Hill has (privately) taken & passed a polygraph
CNN: did Anita Hill keep up contacts w/Thomas to keep “a leg up” on her career
“Actors are so fortunate. They can choose whether they will appear in a tragedy or in a comedy, whether they will suffer or make merry, laugh or shed tears. But in real life it is different. Most men and women are forced to perform parts for which they have no qualifications. The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.” — Oscar Wilde
Sen. Simpson has been quoting derogatory letters on Anita Hill which he refuses to release. One person says he mischaracterized her. Simpson also using coded suggestions that she’s lesbian.
-Over weekend, 4 people said Hill told them about this yrs ago.
-Specter accused her of “perjury” on a minor pt, just to get the word out.
Castro says Cuba the most democratic nation in the world
Thomas said he’d rather die than withdraw. Probably intended to prevent Bush’s people being able to force him to w/draw
Bosnia-Herz. parl votes for ind. Serb members stormed out. They are forming autonomous regions in the republic
Baker: “We are not negotiating with the PLO. It is not our objective to bring or get Israel into a dialogue with the PLO.”
Nobel Peace Prize to a Burmese opposition leader under arrest since 1989.
Sen. Simpson has been loudest press critic re Clarence Thomas & no one has even mentioned his saying to Hussein that the press was too tough on Iraq, his last notable press criticism.
-Thomas claimed not to have watched Hill’s testimony, so he couldn’t respond. As believable as his never having thought about Roe v Wade
-NYT says benefit of doubt only for a judicial giant & judge, you’re no Brandeis.
-Thomas confirmed 52-48, by lowest # ever to gain a justiceship
-Thomas tried to focus on his poor origins & ignore all his recent development, an interesting variation
US refuses to renounce 1st strike
Wilson vetoes ability of Fair Employment & Housing Commission to award damages to victims of harassment or discrim
China warns it “will not sit idly by” if ind mvmt cont. in Taiwan
Jan91 Ger fired or tried to fire everyone in 5 depts of Humboldt U. Also, 2m gov employees given a have-you-now-or-ever-been questionnaire that inc all relations & any sort of contact (sports, technical, etc etc)
May90 when nationalist Franjo Tudjman elected president Croatia, offered VP to the Serb leader who refused & withdrew Serb MPs
Senate fails (65-35) to override veto of unemp benefit extension
Feminists say Thomas won a more-victimized-than-thou fight. Simpson talked of “this sexual harassment crap.”
-Hatch said of a Kennedy comment, “Anybody who believes that, I know a bridge in Massachusetts that I’ll be happy to sell them.” Later said he meant to say Brooklyn. He didn’t.
Sup Court 6-2 turned back to a court a decision on whether a prisoner had right to smoke-free environment, to be reconsidered in light of decision that jail conditions not considered under 8th Amend.
Lithuania suspends rehabilitation of convicted war criminals. 35,000 have been so far
Yeltsin wants local elections scheduled for December postponed
Bulgarian elections have opposition & ex-CP tied at c.34%, balance held by Turks
House 213-206 added more fed death penalties, up to 52 from current 2 — inc murder during drug felony, attempted murder of drug-case witnesses, treason, terrorism, assassination, sexual abuse resulting in death on fed land, kidnapping or child abuse leading to death. And intent not necessary, just reckless disregard.
-Failed to ban assault rifles, a day after a massacre of 23
-Bush says you can’t legislate behaviour. Thus he supports death penalty instead. House voted 247-177
Bush quietly nominates Wm Barr, conservative bureaucrat, to tty Gen. Barr was in CIA 1973-7. Supports current effort to get fed court Witchita out of abortion-blockade case
Bush says sexual harassment charge re Thomas should have been heard behind closed doors
China vetoes UN warning to Khmer Rouge to stop forcing refugees back into Cambodia to force them to vote
Ukraine to stay out of econ agreement — afraid of central control
In Algeria’s 1st multi-party elections December, unless it is overturned by court, husbands may vote for their wives
Jimmy Swaggart, caught w/another prostitute, decides not to resign his ministry after God tells him not to. And doesn’t talk about the incident: “The Lord told me it’s flat none of your business.”
Commonwealth lifts cult. & travel but not investment bans on SA. Too ltd for Br’s taste
The elected gov of Burma still not able to take power, call for econ boycott of Burma by US
Melvin Paisley, asst Navy Sec under RR & Navy Sec Webb, sentenced to 4 yrs for taking bribes, and fined
Mid E Conf to be Oct. 30. USSR & Israel restore relations
Iraq arming Turkey’s Kurdish rebels
Seymour Hersh’s new book “The Samson Option” says Israel has 300 nukes.
-Israel went to full alert 3X, twice 1973, once 1991.
-Targeting of USSR through US satellite photos, some obtained illegally
-Says U-2 used over Israel 1958, that Kennedy got inspections but Israel built a false control room & other fake sites, that LBJ hung up on Clark Clifford when latter tried to tell him about it & Nixon did nothing.
-Says 1973 Israel threatened to go nuclear if US did not supply weapons
-Carter gave KH-11 photos at 1st, only w/in 100 mi., but expanded — used in targeting Iraqi nuclear reactor 1981, of which raid Reagan said, “Boys will be boys.”
-Says, like the Cockburns, that Pollard spied more & longer than US admitted, that his stolen data used in targeting USSR & some passed on to USSR — approved by Shamir. Israel has nuclear artillery shells, landmines in Golan, low-yield neutron bombs
US to pull nukes from S Korea, meeting NK precondition for inspection
Latvia having to ration gas, getting none from Russia & Byelorussia — call it a covert blockade
Fed Appeals Court dismisses charges against the Mexican dr. seized there, as violating extradition treaty
-Atty-Gen nominee Barr wrote opinion supporting this
-Barr called D’s “pro-criminal” for disagreeing w/him on preserving right of appeal & discrim in death penalty
Ollie North has new book claiming RR knew about everything.
David Duke, ex of KKK, 2nd in Louisiana open primaries for governor, beating Gov Buddy Roemer w/32%. Will face run-off
A week before Polish elections, bishops have all Masses read a thing for them to vote only for Cath & anti-abortion parties
US gov trying to patent genetic codes that haven’t been deciphered
Inslaw-gate, the comp Justice Dept defrauded of a computer program, 1987 got a bankruptcy judge to find Justice used “trickery, fraud & deceit” — he was not reappointed, but a Justice lawyer involved in Inslaw case was appointed. Mrs Meese invested in a comp headed by an old RR & Meese crony that tried to buy Inslaw & use the software
Fed appeals court ignores Roe v Wade to uphold Penn.’s abortion law in parental consent & requiring 24-wait & anti-abortion counseling. Says Roe has in effect been overturned
Sup Court 5-3 says judges immune for anything they order from the bench (in this case having a pub defender dragged to his court). Even bad faith or malice doesn’t overcome immunity
Ukraine Parl authorized est of a 400,000-person army. And says it is taking control of nukes. What happened to nuclear free? This all a day after Gorby said ind armies unconst
Canada: New Demo Party wins Br Columbia, Saskatchewan
Seymour Hersh also says Robert Maxwell & Daily Mirror have links to Mossad, and its editor told Mossad where to find Vanunu
Shamir to head delegation to peace conf himself; everyone else will be repres by foreign ministers. Evidently, Shamir’s isn’t far enough right-wing. Will bring a rep of settlers as well
-The fun part will be seeing who stalks out of the conf 1st. And whether Bush will get any blame for putting such faith in a device so patently useless
Armenia to name as American as foreign minister
After US to pull nukes from S Korea, NK adds new conditions for inspections: SK to renounce protection of US nukes, US not to fly over Korea or call at SK ports w/ships or plans w/nukes
Serbia has formally decided to go for a rump Yugoslavia, aka Greater Serbia, and talked of referendum of all Yug. peoples, presumably region by region
-Troops meanwhile attacking Dubrovnik for no obvious reason
-In Bosnia-Herz., Serbs from the Parl have decided to set up their own assembly, which announced a plebiscite of Bosnian Serbs
Bush proposals for “reform” of confirmation process: limit it to 6 weeks. FBI reports to be read in person only, and by Senators only, not their staff
The bit in crime bill about “reckless endangerment” could mean death sentence for running over a mailman
New cabinet Hong Kong contains no members of United Democratic Front, which won 12 of 18 contested seats. Would not promise to abide by rules on secrecy, collective responsibility
Ukraine gives up claim to control nukes on its soil, but wants veto over their use
Bush compromised on Danforth’s compromise on civil rights bill. He says D’s gave way, and this is a “non-quota bill,” but in fact Bush gave in on most or all points, perhaps trying to distance himself from David Duke. The bill will restore burden of proof on job requirements w/disparate impact to employers (reverses Wards Cove). Overturns Patterson, which said discrimination on job not covered by 1866 law. And overturns Martin v. Wilks, so suits can’t be endlessly overturned by those who had notice of the decree & had opportunity to object or were adequately represented.
-And Bush failed to limit damages under 1964 Civil Rights Act to $150,,000, but rather $50,000 for employers of 16-100, $100,000 for 101-200, $200,000 for 201-500, $300,000 over. 0 under 16? And decided by jury, and covering all discriminatory practices. This is in addition to back pay, past out-of-pocket damages & is for mental pain, punitive, etc.
-Still caps damages for sex but not for racial discrim
CIA admits not telling Fed about BCCI involvement in money-laundering, terrorism, taking over bank
Turkmenistan referendum leads to dec ind. 2 to go — Russia & Kazakhstan.
Polish elections: only 40% turnout & result is highly fragmented. Mazowiecki, ex of Solidarity’s Democratic Union, got c.13%, the highest, followed by ex-CP, also 12% or so. Strong bishop push got for the 2 Cath parties up to 12%
Israel prevents 3 advisers to Middle E Conf on Arab side from leaving Israel
Bush waives legally mandatory sanctions on Israel for proliferating missing technology (to SA) in exchange for a promise never to do it again. The SA comp (Armscor) did get sanctioned.
Br comes to agreement w/VN about sending back up to 50,000 VN in Hong Kong
Yeltsin to lift price controls by yrs’ end
-And intends to take total control & blame by also being PM. Says regional elections would be a “luxury” while also carrying out econ change
-His econ plans to force a free mkt are w/out reference to Soviet Union
-Again threatens to stop funding central ministries, from Nov. 1
Israel thwarted in plot to get tanks from Ger secret service — ex-DDR stuff similar to what Arabs have
Poland yes has 25 parties in Parl, no party w/more than 12%. Now Walesa, who never thinks he has enough power, wants to be his own PM
Sen. Foreign Relations Cmte authorizes a full $600,000 to investigate October Surprise
Senate to extend anti-discrim protections to their employers, inc access to Fed court, so the law is bound to be struck down. Unions still illegal
Peace Conf going nicely. Syria says Israel must give up lands if it wants legitimacy recognized. Israel says no one can bring this up. So whole basis of conf rejected.
-Rumors say PLO recognizes Israel — within 1967 borders
-Ariel Sharon says Arab nations preparing for war
-Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister accused Arabs of complicity w/Hitler et al in planning the Holocaust