Friday, December 30, 2005

January 1995


US commitment to Ukraine (now I believe 4th largest recipient of foreign aid) shown by treatment of its one success, wool coats. We slapped quota on them, over & above the 21.5% quota

White House drops plans to rejoin UNESCO

NYT on Ch’s expanding naval powers says it’s to ensure a future diet of fish


Of 4m illegal immigrants, 2m 1st arrived as visitors & over-stayed. These are a diverse group, w/most enforcement aimed at Latinos

Sup Court 6-3 fails to stay execution of an innocent man scheduled for Wed. The man originally confessed, then recanted, & blamed his sister. The state agreed & put her on trial 7 mos after his conviction. The same prosecutor told jury he had been wrong 1st time, used the guy’s new story to convict her

Russia says it has captured Chechen prez palace. It hasn’t

Israel halts the new settlement but allows the same on another hill, a compromise w/out a distinction


The Crime Bill docks communities up to 10% if don’t adopt community notification of sex offenders

Israelis shoot dead 3 Palestinian cops on territory Israel supposed to have withdrawn from. Palestine arrests 12 people they say are Israeli secret police

Polish Pres. Lech Walesa says new tax rate unconst & he personally won’t pay it

Repubs decide cost-cutting should only go so far. Sure, fire 1/3 of aides, but keep the 2 full-time chaplains & assistants ($289,000/yr)

R’s will pass bill they previously blocked to subject Congress to (some) labor laws, how to be decided by a Cong. office, & Congress could disapprove any regs, and patronage by ideology still allowed. Judgments would be paid by the taxpayer, no Congresscritter personally liable


Fed judge exempts a prisoner from the NJ notification to communities of sex offender law, saying it’s an ex post facto punishment. Other courts have done same, but uphold registry of sex offenders

Russia strafes & bombs main highway from Grozny, clogged w/refugees

Henry Hyde says abortion clinics should hire guards like banks, as part of cost of doing business, rather than expect feds to protect them

Yeltsin (again) says he’s ending attacks on civilians, bombing of Grozny. In interim, they use cluster bombs

And what rough beast, it’s hour come at last... the R’s take office. Gosh, it seems like Newt’s been speaker for decades. His 1st word as Speaker of the House is evidently “bitch,” which his mother reveals he called Hillary. Clinton is off duck-hunting, his version of looking presidential. House pushes through rule changes on the gag rule they attacked in opposition
-Dole intro bills to lift arms embargo on Bosnia, give Congress control over UN peacekeeping operations, inc charging UN for equipments & services & limiting US share of budget to 25%, eliminate most of War Powers Act. Dole threatens econ aid to N Korea
-One congressman is attacking Socks, the First Cat, because White House answers his fan mail


Ger to pay off debts from Interwar. Evidently in 1953 it was said they could wait until unification, w/out interest. Will get Ger gov bonds, 3%, maturing 2010

Sen. kills Dem. plans to end filibusters more easily (!) & ban gifts by lobbyists. House rules now require 3/5 majority to raise income or corp income taxes. Term limits for cmte chairmen, cmte meetings opened to pub & tv. Delegates from DC, PR & territories prohibited from voting

Malawi puts Banda under house arrest, will try him for killing 4 rivals 1983

UN since 1982 pays about $85,000 to families of peacekeeping soldiers killed in action if from rich countries, $19,000 from poor


US starts forcibly returning Haitians from Guantanamo, giving them $15, toothpaste & soap. Legally, this is interesting because Guantanamo is Cuba under internat law

Yeltsin says he is surprised that Grozny still being bombed, as is he. After tv ran his order to stop bombing under pictures of Grozny in flames, Y. fired head of Russian state tv. Izvestia: “In such a war even the victors should be on trial.” As Ger, Fr, etc complaining to Russia, Clinton finally sends a letter asking for halt to attacks on civilians while saying it’s an internal affair

Joe Slovo dies


Gingrich’s new idea: tax credits for PCs for the poor


Serbs put new conditions on cease-fire, not lifting blockade of Sarajevo unless Bosnian Army w/draws from Mount Igman, reversing success of gov offensive


Commander of Russian Interior forces in Chechnya is killed by mortar

Polish gov strikes back at Walesa (1/3/95), PM nominating a CP for Defense Min. Walesa will veto. PM Pawlak forced Walesa ally foreign min to resign but Walesa won’t accept it

Israel holding 2 dead Hamas bodies captive until Hamas says where it buried an Israeli soldier 1989

The flagship of capitalism in Ch, the Tiananmen Sq McDonald’s evicted despite 20-yr lease, because someone got a bigger bribe

Gingrich fires House historian in favor of a friend & tody who sided w/him when GA Board of Regents barred his teaching an Amer. civ course at Kenshaw 1993 paid for by his PAC. Then fires her again because she 1986 helped deny Fed financing to an ed. program about the Holocaust because it did not present the views of Nazis & KKK. She compared it to the re-education methods of Chairman Mao. She says she was chosen by the RR Ed. Dept in order to oppose the program, which Phyllis Schlafly disliked; she new nothing about the Holocaust but was from a conserv Alabama U

It is illegal to interfere w/hunting in every state but Hawaii

½ Labour MEPs sign resolution for retention of Clause 4

Ch. jails a reporter for 6 yrs for publishing that the People’s Congress operates as rubber stamp for CP

Similarly, Singapore tries an Amer. professor (who has fled the country) & Internat Herald Tribune, for criticizing unnamed intolerant regimes in Asia which use compliant judiciary to bankrupt opposition leaders. Atty Gen said reference to a “compliant judiciary” clearly referred to Singapore...

Now I know why Tories suspended the 8/9 rebels Nov94. Cost them, nominally, their majority, but prevented those from whom the whips removed. Signing demand for leadership elections. 33 needed.


1st air traffic controllers fired by RR are rehired

Sec HHS, Donna Shalala says Admin would support taking children from parents who repeatedly refuse to work while getting welfare. R’s get her to say this might inc orphanages

Iran’s head ayatollah bans drinking Coke & Pepsi (Coke never left the country)

Yeltsin’s 48-hr cease-fire in Chechnya lasts 2 hrs

Prince Charles’s girlfriend Camilla Parke Bowles, to get divorced

Gingrich’s pet historian’s asst says he knew of her Holocaust thing


Ind prosecutor on RR & Samuel Pierce’s HUD amazingly decides not to prosecute Pierce, although Pierce admits allowing aides to steer Fed aid to friends, lied to Congress

Dept Veterans Affairs hospital beds are 23% unfilled, while they are building new ones. 21 surgeons performed no surgery in a recent yr, but none were laid off or transferred

NY transfers a prisoner back to OK for execution. He killed people in both states & OK illegally tried to keep him, though NY had 1st claim. Cuomo is gone...

Yeltsin to take dir control of armed forces. Or perhaps not

Croatia tells UN to get out by March 31, tired of it protecting Krajina Serbs

In vote for continuing control of Parl cmtes, Tories win back 5 of the 9 rebels


Malcolm X’s daughter arrested for trying to hire hit man to kill Louis Farrakhan. And the damned FBI arrested her before...

2 police officers sentenced to 108 yrs in 1991 for murders & kidnappings of ETA people mid-1980s. Say it was ordered high up. Judge released them & jailed ex-Sec State for Security & asst to another. The cops say the 1st paid them $1.5m in bribes to stay silent from gov slush funds. PM Gonzales threatens & brings libel suit, but really come on. The death squads may bring him down, but massive bribery didn’t

Br to end army daytime patrols in Belfast


Gingrich met Rupert Murdoch late Nov, before the $4.5m book deal, but they just “passed the time to day,” certainly didn’t discuss communications leg

There will be a nat referendum in It. over limiting commercials during tv broadcasts of films to 1. Would undercut Berlusconi’s finances.
-A possibly-caretaker It. PM, nonpartisan treasury minister, banker, to form gov of technocrats

SA opens all schools to everyone until classes full (33). White schools tried to partly opt out 1991, w/state paying teachers, fees for everything else. Some schools this week intro AIDS tests, but mostly quite peaceful, compared to, say, Little Rock

Clinton calls for end to onslaught on Chechnya but won’t cut aid. Shouldn’t over-react to “ups & downs,” like genocide


Tom Carson is not esp worried by the R. sweep. Try saying “This would never have happened if Tom Foley were still here!” or “Man, could we use Rostenkowski now.” Blames Cong. D’s for treating Carter & Clinton as interlopers, preferring to be players under R. presidents to followers under D’s. Not too worried by the R cmte line-up: this is the Senate, where the sleep of reason brings forth Munsters. Says the Christian right may now be marginalized as much as blacks in D’s, their leverage being in GOP’s minority status – won’t need true believers if they think they now have a broad electoral base


Tony Blair forces Ed. Shadow Sec. to rescind statement that Labour would put VAT on priv school fees

92 shells fell near Bihac today as the case-fire cont. to fail. NATO refused to give flight plans to UN for fear that Gen Sir Michael Rose, fortunately due to leave Bosnia, would pass them on to Serbs

In Haiti outside Port-au-Prince, US military often collaborates w/Fraph (Macoutes under current name). Oct. 15 they gave refuse & then let go soldiers who killed a 15-yr old at a street celebration in Jérémie (where NY story set), late Oct. helped police arrest 4 Aristide supporters w/out a warrant & late Nov. a Cath priest arrested by Haitian police & Australian monitors on a Fraph warrant. Spokesperson for US military says Fraph is “a recognized political organization,” likening differences to those between R’s & D’s


Last yr, a Boston veterans’ St Patrick’s Day parade cancelled rather than follow court decision to inc gays. This yr they’ll be allowed to exclude gays because it won’t be a parade, it will be a protest... of the court decision that they have to allow in gays

Congress 390-0 to extend workplace laws to itself

Exec Order to make secrets releaseable after 25 yrs w/out line-by-line review. Agencies have until 2000 to decide what is sensitive.

The big new R. issue since the election has been “unfunded mandates” – obligations on state & local govs, not corps or people, and they are trying to get bills passed on it v. quickly


When Gingrich met Rupert Murdoch, they did discuss Rupe’s regulatory problems, contrary to the earlier denial. W/in a week, HarperCollins talking book deals w/him. Gingrich spokesman says he didn’t mention the presence of a lobbyist because no one asked

Penn. Superior Court upholds right of business to fire an employee for homosexuality & sue him for opening a competing business. This was all in his contract

No one wanted to work w/Helms on Foreign Relations Cmte. Dole had to force 4 freshmen to join

Bosnia tells UN to open Tuzla airport by Feb 1 or remove its soldiers. UN deployed (smuggled in) a Serb liaison officer for no good reason.
-Serbs violating no-fly zone with impunity as well as the truce, using helicopters UN failed to destroy when airfield but not planes were attacked Nov94

Texas, on some sort of a roll, executes a man w/IQ of 65, evidence of which was not allowed to be heard in 1984, under statute since overturned, & appellate courts refused to hear evidence on it because jury couldn’t

During Gulf War, Polish agents smuggled 6 Amer. spies out of Iraq. In return, Bush would urge other govs to forgive $16.5b of Polish foreign debt

At least 1,200 Russians dead so far Chechnya. They admit to 500. (The 1,200 figure is from the morgue). 13,000 were killed in Afghanistan. Russians trying to bypass Pres. Dudayev & negotiate w/local commanders, threatening to bomb the home of one


As R’s issue their preferred version of balanced budget amend, w/ 3/5 for new tax increases, reverses himself (?) to admit he can’t be explicit about how to do it

In Mexican states where gov admitted fraudulent elections & promised new ones, local PRI’s in rebellion, taking over tv & radio, blocking highways etc

Peruvian pres. Fujimori’s wife hunger-striking against law prohibiting her running for prez. Next up: memoirs. Fujimori also cut fed funds to Lima when its mayor announced candidacy. (Follow-up: hunger strike lasted 4 dys)

1984-94 CA prison guards shot 27 inmates fatally, compared to 8 in all other state & fed prisons. Fed judge says use of force at Pelican Bay, inc routinely shooting at unarmed inmates in fist fights, is unconst

Yeltsin dec the Chechen war over, a tad prematurely, presumably because they’ve captured the wreckage of the presidential palace. Yeltsin fires 3 depy defense ministers, transfers another to reserves for criticizing the war. His attempt a few weeks ago to fire head of Russian tv seems to have failed

Sec State Christopher tells Bosnia we will ignore UN Sec Council resolutions & have dir talks w/Bosnian Serbs. Evidently the (failed) cease-fire is an “opportunity to renew the negotiations”

Gingrich says his enemies are out to destroy him, and the Newtoids have an attack on his book deal expunged from Congressional record

US desperately propping up the Mexican peso, even as devaluation, combined w/NAFTA, will screw US economy


The 9 Tory rebels rebelled on fisheries (Eur commission to let Sp boats in) – gov only saved by Ulster Unionists. The rebels pub a manifesto, essentially for w/drawal from EU

Russia’s domestic KGB says the Peace Corps, Ford Foundation & Carnegie Endowment are spying for US rather than providing technical aid

Kobe, Japan destroyed by a 7.2 earthquake last week. 5,000 dead & the gov strangely incompetent about rescue & relief – esp compared to the Yakuza

A suicide bomber in Israel kills 19. President Weizman calls on gov to suspend negotiations


ITN says the Russian blockade of Chechnya before the invasion was a joke. Policy didn’t change until BP came to a deal w/Azerbaijan on oil. Russia demands a share, which it can get only if its pipelines used – pipelines which go through Chechnya

SA’s apartheid gov, when on its way out, granted indemnities from prosecution to 3,500 cops. Just found out. Gov says it was not properly done & they’ll have to ask individually and name their crimes

Clinton gov claims not to find evidence that Bush gov secretly armed Iraq & tried to cover it up in Banco Nazionale de Lavoro, signing on to the improbable theory that the Atlanta branch made these loans w/out anyone higher up knowing about it

Sup Court 9-0 says employees fired discriminatively are entitled to back pay even if employers later find misconduct that would have justified dismissal, found only because of law suit. Employers have been getting away w/using retroactive excuses for what even they admit were discriminatory acts. But back pay only from dismissal until date the new info discovered. And reinstatement is out

R’s going after Commerce Sec Brown for profiting from a comp that defaulted on a fed loan

US finally sues CA, Ill., Penn for failing to comply w/Motor Voter registration. Gov Wilson vetoed compliance leg. Ditto SC, but is not sued

Sup Court 5-4 says death penalty can be appealed if they are innocent *and* lack of that evidence was from a const violation. This case was a Missouri one, a murder in prison, where video shows him at the front of cafeteria lunch line right after

Turkmenistan’s elections Dec. 11 for new 50-seat Parl, for which 50 people ran, conveniently enough. 99.8% turnout. They did have right to cross names off. They didn’t. No opposition party managed to be registered, other candidates all disqualified

W/Jacques Delors not running for Fr president – evidently having newly discovered that he is 70 – Michel Rocard has given up, Bernard Tapie is a bankrupt & hence barred from pub office for 5 yrs. So who on left? Jack Lang pulls out


Congressional Black Caucus pissed that chair of House Rules Cmte restores an old portrait of Howard W. Smith, racist extraordinaire

Willie Brown reelected Assembly Speaker, after a party-line vote expels the man elected to both houses. Is giving up some of the job’s powers

Israel talking about a giant wall w/W Bank. “Separation” the new watchword

A Br soldier gets life for shooting at a car at a Belfast checkpt, killing a 17-yr old. Everyone is outraged at the conviction. Only 1 other soldier ever convicted for NI: 1984, served 26 mos. & rejoined his unit. The soldier today convicted w/out jury

Clinton’s 82 min. State of Union Address, the longest ever. Only a couple dozen Congresscritters walked out. Some hissed. He wants increase in min wage, just not to any particular amount. R rebuttalist, Gov Christine Whitman, says she won’t ask for equal time. All she needed to do was say “tax cuts” 14 times. Clinton says we don’t need a law for everything, they should just say no to lobbyists


Mat Coward’s New Yr’s Dishonour’s List:
-Barnet’s Tory local council (not gone) hd the money-saving idea of asking council workers to win cash prizes by coming up w/money-saving ideas. Prize of £25 for: “Ask the public to come up with some money-saving ideas.”
-Queen Mum put £19m into trust funds for great-grandsons, avoiding death duties
-Labour’s commitment to PR in using preference voting for deputy leadership election in which only 2 candidates

26 House D’s say they would cooperate w/R’s to repeal ban on assault rifles. To celebrate, a sniper w/a semi takes out 2 people at Chapel Hill

Bob Dornan expelled from House for a day for bitching about the Medal of Honor winner sitting next to Hillary at State of Union, since Clinton “gave aid & comfort to the enemy” during VN War

31% of the 900,000 felony convictions in state courts 1992 were for drugs

Israel approves 2,200 new apts in W Bank


On Clinton’s call to abstain from lobby money, Dole asks whether his legal defense fund does so. Uh, it does now.

Commerce Sec Brown failed to disclose $135,000 from a partnership 1993

House 300-132 passes balanced budget amend, w/out provision for 3/5 super-majority to raise taxes, which R’s will intro as another amend. Budget must be balanced by 2002 or 2 yrs after ratification. Could run deficit sometimes with 3/5 or if war dec. D’s failed in amend to exempt SSI

Mexico’s currency collapse & need for US to cosign a $40b loan, Congress thinks it’s time to demand policies on drugs, immigrants, Cuba, etc etc. Remember: Israel gets “loan guarantees,” Mexico gets “bail-outs”.


House majority leader Dick Armey referred to Barney Frank as Barney Fag, then blamed media for reporting the “mispronunciation.” This from a man named Dick.

Quebec PM asks Fr to recognize it as a country if referendum this yr goes that way

Sonny Bono, in House Judiciary Cmte, annoyed about lawyers quibbling over details of const protection of police searches

Sen. approves unfunded-mandates law 86-10. Actually doesn’t ban them, but must vote separately if they’re not funding them

At Rose Kennedy’s funeral (104!), Ted was given communion. Evidently, his 1st marriage may have been annulled. There are 50,000 Cath annulments/yr, inc for “lack of due discretion,” meaning people lacked knowledge or maturity to understand Cath teaching on marriage. And Cath Church USA fails to deny communion to divorced Caths


And Ron Brown was forgiven a $78,000 loan late 1993


Is Yeltsin losing it? He said a Norwegian rocket to study the Northern Lights, that landed nowhere near Russia, was a W. mission to test Russia’s air defense. Izvestia says a secret intelligence agency set up to compile reports & create a priv army

Neb. bans gay foster parents

There are 511,039 elected officials in US, mostly local

US plan for Croatia would give Serbs complete autonomy in 1/3 of Croatia, w/own president, flag, currency, police, schools, etc. They’d have to give up some seized territories
-Serbs refuse even to look at it. With UN being effected (?) in 2 mos, the Croatian civil war looks likely to resume

Los Alamos says neutrinos have mass

Simpsonian caves in to veterans & emasculates Enola Gay exhibit, removing all analytical content

US to cont. nuclear testing ban through Sep96 & abandoned demand the test ban treaty be binding only for 10 yrs

Jack Kemp will not run


AIDS now leading cause of death in US age 25-44

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