Wednesday, February 16, 2005

July 1988


Pentagon suspends $1b in contracts

The CP party conf USSR calls for limiting terms, inc Gorbachev’s, to 10 yrs (2X 5). It wa sa very open congress, w/Yeltsin talking, attacks on Gromyko, on old Brezhnev officials. Stephen Cohen (Princeton) says it legitimizes politics as conflict

China relaxing the one-child policy to the extent of allowing a 2nd child if the 1st is ♀, to prevent infanticide.

“Life has more imagination than we have,” -- “The Woman Next Door” (Truffaut)


Wyoming the last state to raise drinking age to 21

AMA says drs. should breach privacy & worn sex partners of AIDS victims

Alexander Cockburn in 6/18/88 Nation talks about USSR letting US, despite Geneva accords, get away w/giving aid to Afghan rebels until/unless USSR stops aiding Afghan gov. Problem is this allows a symmetricity that can be used between rebels & govs in Nicaragua, Angola, Mozambique (it’s being tried now in Angola). Perhaps next Cambodia.


SA in balance of payments deficit for 1st time in 4 yrs. From sanctions?

US shoots down an Iranian aircraft, 290 dead. RR defends the decision to fire missiles. US’s advanced equipment couldn’t tell the difference between an airliner & a jet fighter. 57 children & 9 babies. Soviet tv reported it w/out comment. What reserve! Came in context of fighting. Iranian ships also sunk. Dukakis says US forces have right to defend themselves when attacked. Jackson rhymed about it. Chief of staff says it shouldn’t have been there.

Dukakis, asked about John Glenn’s image--“Dull and boring--I kind of like that.”

Iraq acknowledged use of poison gas--says Iran started 1st.

SA to enforce more strictly residential segregation


RR says it was an “understandable accident.” Fr, India, Ch, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, USSR condemned. Shamir said it could happen to any other country. Said there was no comparison w/KAL 007 because we reacted to a radar blip while USSR fighters went up to look at KAL.

FBI, in report on library surveillance, concluded: “The FBI must logically pursue any contact between a Soviet national and an American citizen, regardless of where the contact occurs or the profession of the person contacted, and that would include libraries as the circumstances might require.”


US claims the Iranian plane was signaling in a military mode.

Bush argues that it was not internal concerns that forces Gorbachev’s policies but US pressure (arms race).

Bush says on Pentagon scandals that the answer is not increased regulation. “The answer is to reduce, cut and simplify, including staff and executive overhead.” That’s what caused the problem in the 1st place.

Claiming with no real evidence that the ind counsel’s report exonerates him, Meese resigns. Hadn’t actually read the report.

House to add actual enforcement to the 1869 Fair Housing Act.


State Dept divided on whether to change refugee procedures so Soviet Jews forced to go to Israel will be able to resettle w/out losing refugee status.


Comecon met to create a unified mkt, but Romania refuses to join

The CP conf USSR votes for memorial to victims of Stalin, right of public info, that “everything is allowed that is not banned by law.”

Iran says the plane was broadcasting--in English--for 20 minutes. And if it was 4-5 mi. outside its air corridor, as US contends, this is common. Actually, its normal path would have been even closer
-Soviets point out that KAL was at night, while 655 in day. Pentagon claims 655 could not be found in list of scheduled flights. This is nonsense.
-RR: “Although US forces will remain prepared to take additional defensive action to protect our units and military personnel, we regard this incident as closed.”
-Pentagon changed position, says 655 was in its air corridor
-Ship may have attributed a distant military signal to 655
-Sidebar: the F-14, which we thought 655 was, is American, sold to Iran 1970s.
-RR has given Congress the report required under War Powers Act. No one is seriously talking about invoking it, highlighting difference w/sinking of our Stark.

Rioting resumes Armenia

Meese says the ind counsel’s report vindicates him, but intends to prepare a reply to it.

Bush promised a Hispanic in Cabinet.


Mexican elections Wed. Gov not releasing results, citing computer problems, meaning the vote is not a complete landslide. PRI claims Mexico moving beyond one-party rule.

Meese says he intends to be reimbursed by gov for legal fees from lack of prosecution--100s of $1,000s

US embassy to stop issuing visas to Soviets until Oct. 1--cite financial constraints. Mostly Armenians affected.

USSR launches craft to Phobos.

Soviet Union to pull troops out of Hungary.

Prosecutor’s report partly out. Meese gave investigators differing recollections of his knowledge about plans for Iraqi pipeline, 1st saying he did know of funds for Israeli Labor. Did find Meese instrumental in persuading army to use Wedtech. Says pipeline investigation difficult because of witnesses’ non-cooperation, inc Shimon Peres. Meese changed his mind to investigators on whether he had offered Robert Wallach a job in Justice.


Thatcher proposing a narrower version of Official Secrets Act. Preserves rule of confidentiality to civil servs. Prior publication or public interest will not be defense. But budget secrets can now be leaked.

The Nation this week says Bush may have worked for CIA 1963, when in oil & travelled in Caribbean

Nicaragua ejects US ambassador

Capt. of the Vincennes did not know of flight instructions between 655 & control.

Meese says, contrary to the McKay report, that his job offer to Wedtech did not remain open after latter was investigated.


Dukakis announces Sen. Lloyd Bentsen as VP. He has the advantage of having once (1970) beaten Bush for Senate. He’s looking for 1960 parallels. Bentsen has voted for Contras. Coincidentally, ha ha, Jackson said yesterday he would take the job if offered.

Congress declined to ban film colorization, will require warnings on some films. French courts have stopped colorized films showing in Fr

RR selects Dick Thornburgh, ex-Gov PA, for atty gen. Announcement rushes as RR leaked it by saying, “You’ve probably heard of him.” before anyone was announced.

US will compensate families of those on 655.

Sihanouk resigns again as head of guerilla coalition, with peace talks planned for this mo. Why?

US expels Nicaraguan ambassador & 7 “comrades” (RR)

Nicaragua closes Radio Catolica (again). And used tear gas for 1st time on anti-gov demo. And La Prensa closed.

Pentagon resumes payments to contractors after Carlucci’s little shut dog. 10 days. Like wow.

Bentsen can still run for Sen. reelection


2 Ulsterites are using the Irish equivalent of Israeli law of return to bring a case in Irish High Court to try to invalidate the 1985 Anglo-Irish agreement because it recognizes Br control of NI, violating the 1937 Irish const.

Duke & Bentsen’s 1st speech is before NAACP. Subtle, huh?

The expelled ambassador to Nicaragua says aid to Contras needed. Brother of Calero of contras indicted in US under Neutrality Act, w/others. Nic. says its ambassador can’t be expelled as he is also delegate to OAS.

Bush will defend US in UN over 665. Nothing political, says Fitzwater.

Deputy & acting sec state John Whitehead says Nicaraguan embassy aides’ participation in demonstration was justified contact. Claimed 1st that the ambassador from Nic. +7 being expelled purely tit for tat. Then claimed he had done things (unnameable, of course) incompatible etc. Said want to maintain relations purely in terms of maintaining contacts, listening posts. He might as well have said we need dipl cover for CIA


Nagorno-Karabakh legislated votes to join Armenia.

Bentsen is for supply-side economics, voted for Contras, MX, mandatory prayer, restrictions on busing, balanced budget by timetable, against fed funding abortion, against gun control. For notice of plant closing, trade retaliation, catastrophic protection. 67, law degree U. Texas. Judge at 25, youngest member of House 1948-54. Quit for insurance business. 1970 Senate. In primary, painted opponent Yarbrough as radical, spender, supporter of student demos. Called Muskie an “ultraliberal” outsider. 1975-6 tried to get prez nomination as a Harry Truman D. For mandatory AIDS testing. Supported ERA. Personal worth $1.4-2m
-Jackson says he is not angry. “I’m too controlled. I’m too calm. I’m too mature to be angry.” Meanwhile cut off negotiations w/Duke on platform to show his newfound maturity. He sounded quite upset, like he really expected nomination, or a veto.

US navy in Persian Gulf still doesn’t monitor civilian air traffic. Not admitting we did anything wrong means not doing anything to prevent it happening again.

NYT’s Kinzer reports expulsion of Ambassador Molton, lumped w/action against La Prensa’s 15-day suppression, closing Radio Catolica as if all were actions against opponents, thus dismissing any need to check the gov’s charges.

Jackson asks Carter to mediate w/Dukakis

State on Nicaragua embargo: “The rationale for sending replacements is to show the internal opposition that we cannot be chased out that easily. The people we send would have experience in dealing with the opposition in Nicaragua or other oppressor societies.” If Nic. refuses to take them, more retaliation could follow.

Bentsen’s voting record lousy on civil rights until 10 yrs ago. Opposed giving teeth to EEOC or requiring banks to disclose mortgages by neighborhood. But voted to override RR veto of Civil Rights Restoration Act, on SA sanctions, against Bork.

Meese will join Heritage Foundation.

Charlie Haas writes that Jesse interprets the ideals of Dr. King through the intellectual outlook of Dr Seuss & that Dukakis looks like e.e. cummings. He doesn’t rhyme, doesn’t scan.

Energy Dept estimates that cost of cleaning up pollution from plants to produce bombs will be $110b. Congress says it will cost $175b or more. And areas could not be re-used. Disposing of waste & decontaminating old plants will be another $4.5b. Annual budget for this in Energy is $1b

Bentsen supports UNITA. Duke doesn’t.


Bentsen will use money from his Senate campaign, which has no limits, to break the limits on prez campaigns--in Texas. Bentsen is known as a fundraiser & takes PAC money where Duke doesn’t. It is being suggested that they intend to buy Texas’ 29 electoral votes.

655 was climbing when shot down, not descending threateningly, as US claimed

SA thinking of adhering to nuclear non-proliferation treaty, allowing inspection.

Bentsen for SDI, MX, B-1

Siegan rejected by Senate cmte for Court of Appeal. Loonier than Bork


McKay report on Meese says he did break laws, but didn’t warrant prosecution. Says he used undue inf, falsified tax returns & paid late. No venality, probably no effect from Meese’s interventions, so no prosecution. Meese says McKay shouldn’t have said that a crime was committed & that his pet prosecutors say no crime. Meese still says the report vindicates him, while saying it is a smear campaign.

Ann Richards on Bush: “He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”

SA court overrules blanket ban on celebration of Mandela’s 70th birthday

Gorbachev offered cut of air force if US did not redeploy F-16s from Sp to It. 1991

Iran will accept cease-fire.

It seems that F-14s don’t even carry anti-ship weapons.

Atlanta is barring demonstrations outside convention for reasons of traffic problems.

If the Meese prosecutor’s report is flawed, how can he use it to vindicate himself? M. says McKay should have confined himself to Wedtech, not expand into Iraqi pipeline (McKay dec himself dissatisfied & that with no help from Israel, can’t proceed there).


US again giving visas to Armenians, with priv funds


Jackson says that if blacks were better organized, could have outpolled Dukakis’s 9m votes. (assumes blacks should vote for him)

From Oct. 1, military hospitals won’t provide abortions--even for $--unless mother in danger

Cal. gave Dukakis the margin of convention, followed by the playing of the Monty Python theme music.

Sen. votes to force DC to weaken prohibition on discrim against homosexuals, even by church schools.

The Beeld calls for Mandela’s release. “At the moment, the Gov. of SA is suffering more under this man’s imprisonment than either he or his followers. The white man, particularly, is heavily burdened by his imprisonment.”


Rejected were the platforms on fair taxes, no 1st use, Palestinians. Defeated on “party” vote. D platform is 5,000 words, shortest in 50 yrs

Gorbachev rejects annexation of Ngorno-Karabakh by Armenia, appealing to perestroika. Opponents thereof are supposed to be stirring up nationalist sentiments to retain power

Indian state of Maharashta (inc Bombay) banning fetus sex-testing.

US fed appeals court said that a Nicaraguan comp they nationalized w/out compensation, the comp’s assets in US would be sent to its orig shareholders, not gov.

USSR offered to dismantle the disputed Krasnoyarsk radar facility if US resolves differences w/USSR on ABM treaty. US says they shouldn’t be making conditions.

CIA claims the Bush mentioned in the 1963 memo was someone else. This one left for DIA in 1964 & current whereabouts unknown. Would they release his name w/out knowing where he is?

ACLU says Iran-Contra indictments (inc North’s) should be quashed, as would use immunized testimony

Dukakis: “This election is not about ideology, it’s about competence.”

It seems Bush’s much-vaunted business career was in offshore drilling.

The USS Vincennes, like the Stark, was operating elsewhere than where it was designed for, which is in open ocean. In a large task force, shouldn’t have to decide whehter a plane is civilian or military, but deal w/whatever got past 1st line of defense (F-14s)

Richard Pipes criticized the CPSU conf because it was staged & no Stalinist anti-perestroikists stood up. What the hell does he want? One must notice that even if perestroika is simply Gorby’s way of consolidating power as Insight suggests, it is still significant that such a “platform” is required.


Bush says he doesn’t mind the polls because he likes coming from behind. No one asked Barbara Bush about this.

Other than that, Bush had nice things to say about Bentsen, suggesting that he might moderate Dukakis’s dangerous radicalism.

Contras had their own election & put Col. Enrique Bermudez in 7-man directorate. He is military commander. 7 field commanders quit because he is a Somosista. There is more fuss about mixing of civilians & military than is deserved.

Fiji is losing its Indian pop. 8,000 have left inc drs., ½ the lawyers, accountants, teachers. Rabuka says God told him to take power. The new const will not only exclude Inds but dec Fiji a Christian nation. Rabuka is a fundamentalist, wants conversion of Inds. Sunday is now enforced day of rest. All land owned by ethnic Fijians or the state; Inds may lose land when leases expire. Inds produce sugar, Fijians subsistence.

Shultz to postpone action on Soviet Jews.

Iraq is being bitchy about ceasefire. Wants dir talks on everything before a truce.

1950 Bentsen said on House floor that Truman should threaten to nuke NK

Mexican elections clearly stolen. Prez (now) Salinas had said he wanted a “believable” majority, meaning too many votes shouldn’t be stolen. They weren’t--the reported turnout was low. It is said PRI won 50% (1982 was 68%). The real challenge this time is Cardenas on the left, for a change, got 31%. He is claiming victory. A one-week delay makes any claim look credible. Cardenas probably won Mex. City. This may not be over with.

The fundamentalists are offering to buy Scorcese’s Last Temptation of Christ for $10m & burn it


US bans 8 Russians as inspectors under INF treaty, claiming they’re spies.

Bulgaria ousts a perestroika supporter from Politburo.

An Israeli comp won a $100m contract for drone planes, after Sec Lehman put it on fast track bypassing normal procedures & forcing out all competitors. 12 of the 36 delivered (late) so far have crashed. Refused delays to US bidders; specifications highly specific to fit Israeli drones.

Goebbels, not Churchill, invented the phrase “Iron Curtain” in 1942.

Bush says the election is about ideology, not competence.


Iraq pushing offensive in name of the cease-fire. Wants large # of prisoners.


Pakistan has been claiming that USSR not pulling troops out of Afghanistan on schedule when there is in fact no schedule, just withdrawal by Feb. 15

Of the 1st 1.5m pages of Nixon presidency documents, activists blocked 6%. Carter 0.5%, Ford 2.3%. Nixon had another 150,000 blocked.

FDA will allow unapproved AIDS drugs to be imported by indivs

NYT editorial on theory that SA will liberalize only with econ growth. Says that in high-growth 1960s were passed the Terrorism Act & other pillars of the police state. Black-owned business = 1% GDP, blacks own <2% capital stock. Justice Blackmun complained about bloc voting by RR’s appointments on appeals courts Edw Heath attacks Thatcher for ousting her senior commissioner to the EC “out of sheer spite.” & replacing him w/Leon Birttan, who resigned 1986 for misleading the Commons. Partly this is a sign of Thatcher’s dislike of Europe. Bush proposes tax refund of $1,000 for child care. For families in which a parent worked & children under 4. 7/26/88

Meese said yesterday that if former Dep Atty Gen Arnold Burns & Asst Atty Gen Wm Weld had done proper investigation of him, there’d have been no need of ind prosecutor. Said he & Wallach had not been questioned. Claimed that McKay was wrong about one witness, on the Iraqi pipeline not having cooperated--Meese is wrong, he didn’t. Trying to discredit Burns & Weld before their testimony before Congress today. They said that 1 yr ago, they told RR that Meese could be indicted.

SA to require journalists to register, with gov having power to revoke w/no legal recourse (aimed at freelancers), but many agencies exempted

<32% of unemp receive benefits, lowest level in 53 yrs of the program. Since 1980, 700 of the 2,600 unemp offices have been closed. States have been bidding down the unemp tax to attract businesses. The benefit is now taxes. In states where unions are strong, most eligible got unemp pay. Bentsen worked to weaken toxic Superfund, to gut clean water laws. Supports death penalty. 7/28/88

SA press plan suspended

Fed appeals court SF said that at-large elections in Watsonville violate rights of Hispanic voters. 400 of CA’s 445 cities have citywide elections.

Bentsen says he supports ERA, but he can’t spell it.

In Fiji, the emigration of Indian teachers is being replaced by US Peace Corps


SA gov overruled its censors & banned film Cry Freedom. Some theaters were bombed

Some weeks ago I wrote of huge expected cost of nuke-production waste disposal. Today McNeil-Lehrer talking about a project to dump it in salt beds 10,000 yrs. But salt may have brine & then not be fully solid. The facility is exempt from NRC & state of NM, because it is military & from EPA because it’s supposed to be temp (10,000 yrs?). Scheduled to open October.

Bush said he’d appoint an ethics officer. Dukakis said he would do that himself.

The guy appointed to 2nd spot in Justice is before the Sen. He doesn’t know & has not tried to find out why his predecessor resigned. His home deed in Utah has a white-Christian clause, of which he says was not aware.

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