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Interest Group Politics

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This is to introduce a concept that is defined and studied, and relevant to the assassinations, and in understanding the ideas one can use the terminology knowing that others will also know what one means. Interest groups can distort 'reality' and create group atmospheres wherein individuals act according to a dynamic that only makes sense within that grouping. However, in the case of an assassination such as this, the results are wide.

Here's a summary of a a longer article here:


The Independent Review

Volume 7 Number 4

Spring 2003

Title: Special Interest Politics Author: Gene M. Grossman and Elhanan Helpman Published: Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2001. Price: $48.00 (hardcover), $21.36 (paperback) Pages: Pp. xv, 364.

Reviewer: Michael C. Munger Affiliation: Duke University

"Group theory properly ought to be a branch of democratic theory and deal with the problem of distortions caused by 'special' interests. The concept of distortion, however, requires a comparison of outcomes: What does the world of special interests look like, and how does it differ from a (possibly nonexistent) world in which special-interest groups play no role in politics?

An organization is something we can look for, and an identifiable group is a collection of individuals who resemble one another in some important respect, not just a collection of people with enough shared beliefs to have the potential to share goals and act on them.

The notion of an 'interest' group dates from Thrasymachus's claim in Plato's Republic that 'justice is nothing else than the interest of the stronger.' Throughout much of this dialogue, Socrates and Thrasymachus debate the idea of interest. They find interest difficult to define because it would appear that each person may have both a self-interest and a collective interest, which might conflict.

For Grossman and Helpman.....Members of a group are those people whose preferences are taken into account by the leader(s) of the group. So the main question they raise is: How do SIGs change the policymaking process? Do lobbyists improve or distort the process by providing information? The largest question is also the most difficult: How and why does money affect the policy process? What form of regulation of campaign finance, if any, would constitute an improvement over the present system?

Bentley argued that a group is simply a distinct portion of society, and he recognized that any one person may be a 'member' of many different groups. Further, as he famously claims in chapter 7: 'There is no group without its interest. . . . The group and the interest are not separate.' Finally, in the same chapter, he claims that 'There is no political process that is not a balancing of quantity against quantity. There is not a law that is passed that is not the expression of force and force in tension.'

First, SIGs can distort the process, sometimes dramatically, compared to what happens in a full-information world. Because that world is not the world of modern politics, however, it is not clear that this 'distortion' should be a focus for policy.

Second, the effects of lobbying may be counterintuitive. If two well-organized groups contest a policy, the information provided by lobbyists may result in a 'distortion' that actually improves policy by moving it closer to the full-information ideal, in contrast to what happens in a world in which lobbying is outlawed. Further, lobbying organizations themselves may be made worse off by the availability of a lobbying strategy. More precisely, if members of interest groups must pay the lobbying costs and the net result is worse for them, they might well prefer an equilibrium where lobbying was outlawed. Something close to an 'invisible hand' result may be lurking here: lobbyists pay to provide information that improves the quality of legislative debate and choice because competition forces them to participate to avoid an even worse outcome.

Some of the other interesting discussions involve 'access fees' for legislators, the information content of lobbyists whose bias is known, and the value of grassroots lobbying of voters by interest groups (through direct contact).


Edited by John Dolva
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  • 2 weeks later...

"U.S. begins dirty war on Venezuela in the UN"

This can be taken as a study in Interest Group Politics. This is happening today and the results can be followed over the coming period:


"CARACAS — Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said on October 15 that the United States “has activated a whole dirty war operation” against his country to prevent it from obtaining a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security council in the vote scheduled for today, October 16.

“Right at this moment, the United States has activated a full-blown dirty war operation against Venezuela. (French Ambassador) Arias Cárdenas told me that the combat has already become a hand-to-hand one,” Chávez said during a speech to inaugurate a railway line outside of Caracas.

"The U.S. delegates are going through the hallways (of the UN headquarters). If Arias speaks with one ambassador, another five from the United States come right on top of him,” Chávez exclaimed.

Venezuela is disputing with Guatemala for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council, and today the General Assembly will vote to decide who occupies that seat. To win that place, the country must receive 128 votes in favor, equivalent to two-thirds of General Assembly members.

To date, Venezuela has the votes of members of MERCOSUR, the Caribbean Community, the Arab League, the African Union, China and Russia. (AFP)"

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yahoo news, 17 October

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - Venezuela and Guatemala were deadlocked in their bid for a UN Security Council seat, with the United States pushing hard to keep Caracas's Hugo Chavez from securing a new platform.

After 21 rounds of voting, US-backed Guatemala had won 20 rounds against rival Venezuela but had failed to attract the necessary two-thirds majority to secure a non-permanent seat on the United Nations' most powerful decision-making body.

The deadlock came despite heavy lobbying in the General Assembly, with Venezuela's ambassador Francisco Arias Cardenas and US ambassador John Bolton trying to win over wavering members and scrape together the required majority.

The United States is desperate to avoid the seat going to Venezuela...

Washington is concerned that if Venezuela won the seat, the Chavez government would use it to be disruptive, routinely oppose US measures and openly attack the United States..."

"Bolton, who has been working hard behind the scenes to obtain much-needed votes for Guatemala, said the United States was prepared to stick it out.

"Normally what happens in these circumstances is the country that's so far behind withdraws. We'll see if that's what happens here, but this is only 16 ballots. The record's 154. We're prepared to continue," he said. He shrugged off comments by the Venezuelan ambassador, Arias Cardenas, who said he would accept a consensus candidate if Bolton admitted the United States had been strong-arming countries on how to vote."

" "Countries are making up their own minds," Bolton insisted."

Edited by John Dolva
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  • 4 months later...

This topic is about 'Interest Group Politics' as a recognised tool used to further particular interests with a secondary,tertiary,minimal regard for truth.

The following article highlights a particualarly high level effort. (There is a 'genealogy' of the 'protagonists' that lead to prominent think tank elements of the Kennedy years.)

From "Granma International"


Bush government censoring scientists

THE U.S. government has been resorting to reprehensible methods to deceive citizens about a subject that involves humanity as a whole: climate changes that are leading to increased global warming. Hundreds of scientists who were asked admitted to having suffered some type of pressure or interference in their studies on the subject.

Excesses were committed with them, such as demanding that they purge from their statements and documents anything that could give an idea of the events caused by human beings that are affecting our habitat, above all the use of terms that imply long-term effects. Some report that their communiqués were changed, or that the warnings stemming from their research were minimized.

This was not a small thing, given that it led to hearings by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, where several of those experts were questioned. One of them, Dr. Drew Shindell, said:

“In the fall of 2004, a team I led at NASA published a paper providing an explanation of how ozone depletion over Antarctica and increasing greenhouse gases could together account for this observed cooling of Antarctica. The study was the first to look at how these two factors work together to influence Antarctic temperatures. It not only helped to explain the observed cooling, but also predicted a warmer future for Antarctica based on projections of continued increases in greenhouse gases. This has clear implications both for the debate on global warming and for potential sea-level rise, as Antarctica contains an enormous reservoir of water in its ice sheets.”

After making these observations, Shindell took the findings to the NASA press corps to issue a press release. While previous press releases had been published immediately, this one was repeatedly delayed and “watered down,” he said.

“When we at GISS [Goddard Institute of Space Studies] enquired of those higher up the NASA chain what was going on, we were told in the fall of 2004 [inaudible] that releases were being delayed because two political appointees and the White House were now reviewing all climate-related press releases.”

Likewise, it was established that a NASA press officer had to be present during all interviews, whether in person or by telephone, related to climate research, “a measure most of us felt was unbefitting of a democratic society.” He noted that “scientists provide information to policymakers and the public on issues affecting society. Climate change is clearly such an issue...” and for that reason, should not be kept secret.

The incident is related to the publication in Paris of the conclusions reached by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN group that included participation by 2,500 scientists from 131 countries, who said that increased carbon dioxide levels stemming from uncontrolled consumption of fossil fuels are heating up the Earth, a situation that is leading to a melting of the polar icecaps, the subsequent rise in ocean levels and, with that, the flooding of large coastal areas, among a number of other disasters.

The Bush government’s efforts to distort the outcome of serious investigations responds to very local interests that feed into the president’s own family finances, as well as those of close collaborators and patrons.

One of the many opinions on the subject is that of Zbigniew Jaworowski, of the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection in Warsaw, and an advisor to the U.S. government itself, who says that Washington is using the climate issue as a psychological weapon in both cases, both global warming and cooling, given they are convenient excuses for its military to demand more money for defending the “sweet land of liberty” from all kinds of evils.

When Bush took power, one of the first things he did was to reject the Kyoto Protocol, which many considered insufficient, and which Clinton had signed at the last minute. Later, aside from aforementioned pressures, he also used malleable individuals to deny evidence about climate change. The goal is to retain the status quo with respect to existing models of production and consumption, so that big business does not need to spend money on ways of attenuating harm to the environment.

Meanwhile, diverse projects to control the climate have continued to prosper, but not with the purpose of preventing misfortunes such as those caused by large hurricanes which, like Katrina, affected areas in Bush’s own country; rather, they are aimed at negatively influencing other countries.

To date, climate engineering – intentional manipulation – has above all, war-related purposes. During wars on Vietnam and Cambodia, the CIA implemented experiments for causing heavy and long-lasting rain, with the goal of destroying roads or crops. These and other experiments are well known, and so much so that they led to the creation of a UN convention that forbids the utilization of environmental modification techniques for military or other hostile purposes. The United States sometimes signs it and sometimes no, but always does whatever it wants afterward, continuing its projects in this field and continuing to make efforts to adulterate warning calls and programs for attenuating problems stemming from climate change.

Bush is receiving assistance from others interested in the issue. Exxon Mobil is offering $10,000, along with travel expenses and other benefits to those who can help cast doubt over the recent report made public in the French capital.

According to information from the British newspaper The Guardian, that transnational oil corporation founded the American Enterprise Institute, which houses — or oversees — several think tanks willing to emphasize — or if necessary invent — defects in the report produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

As a basic summary of something that has a lot of twists and turns and quite a few dark areas, there is the fact that the country that claims to be the most open, free and democratic, is gagging its scientists or censoring them. It is distorting reality and evidence not because it has valid opinions or other theses, but for its own sordid reasons. This could be considered additional evidence. (Elsa Claro)"

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  • 2 weeks later...

The way the media treated Hugo Chavez's speech to the United Nations is another example. The focus in the mainstream media was on calling Bush 'the devil'. Meanwhile, while this part of the speech was highlighted.

The essential parts were left out.

Basically, as I see it Chavez is calling for a renewal of the UN to one more like the one Kennedy was interested in.

Published on Wednesday, September 20, 2006 by CommonDreams.org

Chavez Address to the United Nations

by Hugo Chavez

Address to the UN

New York

September 20, 2006

Representatives of the governments of the world, good morning to all of you. First of all, I would like to invite you, very respectfully, to those who have not read this book, to read it. Noam Chomsky, one of the most prestigious American and world intellectuals, Noam Chomsky, and this is one of his most recent books, 'Hegemony or Survival: The Imperialist Strategy of the United States.'" [Holds up book, waves it in front of General Assembly.] "It's an excellent book to help us understand what has been happening in the world throughout the 20th century, and what's happening now, and the greatest threat looming over our planet. The hegemonic pretensions of the American empire are placing at risk the very survival of the human species. We continue to warn you about this danger and we appeal to the people of the United States and the world to halt this threat, which is like a sword hanging over our heads. I had considered reading from this book, but, for the sake of time," [flips through the pages, which are numerous] "I will just leave it as a recommendation. It reads easily, it is a very good book, I'm sure Madame [President] you are familiar with it. It appears in English, in Russian, in Arabic, in German. I think that the first people who should read this book are our brothers and sisters in the United States, because their threat is right in their own house.

The devil is right at home. The devil, the devil himself, is right in the house. "And the devil came here yesterday. Yesterday the devil came here. Right here." [crosses himself] "And it smells of sulfur still today. Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world. I think we could call a psychiatrist to analyze yesterday's statement made by the president of the United States. As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums, to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world. An Alfred Hitchcock movie could use it as a scenario. I would even propose a title: "The Devil's Recipe."

As Chomsky says here, clearly and in depth, the American empire is doing all it can to consolidate its system of domination. And we cannot allow them to do that. We cannot allow world dictatorship to be consolidated.

The world parent's statement -- cynical, hypocritical, full of this imperial hypocrisy from the need they have to control everything.

They say they want to impose a democratic model. But that's their democratic model. It's the false democracy of elites, and, I would say, a very original democracy that's imposed by weapons and bombs and firing weapons.

What a strange democracy. Aristotle might not recognize it or others who are at the root of democracy.

What type of democracy do you impose with marines and bombs?

The president of the United States, yesterday, said to us, right here, in this room, and I'm quoting, "Anywhere you look, you hear extremists telling you can escape from poverty and recover your dignity through violence, terror and martyrdom."

Wherever he looks, he sees extremists. And you, my brother -- he looks at your color, and he says, oh, there's an extremist. Evo Morales, the worthy president of Bolivia, looks like an extremist to him.

The imperialists see extremists everywhere. It's not that we are extremists. It's that the world is waking up. It's waking up all over. And people are standing up.

I have the feeling, dear world dictator, that you are going to live the rest of your days as a nightmare because the rest of us are standing up, all those who are rising up against American imperialism, who are shouting for equality, for respect, for the sovereignty of nations.

Yes, you can call us extremists, but we are rising up against the empire, against the model of domination.

The president then -- and this he said himself, he said: "I have come to speak directly to the populations in the Middle East, to tell them that my country wants peace."

That's true. If we walk in the streets of the Bronx, if we walk around New York, Washington, San Diego, in any city, San Antonio, San Francisco, and we ask individuals, the citizens of the United States, what does this country want? Does it want peace? They'll say yes.

But the government doesn't want peace. The government of the United States doesn't want peace. It wants to exploit its system of exploitation, of pillage, of hegemony through war.

It wants peace. But what's happening in Iraq? What happened in Lebanon? In Palestine? What's happening? What's happened over the last 100 years in Latin America and in the world? And now threatening Venezuela -- new threats against Venezuela, against Iran?

He spoke to the people of Lebanon. Many of you, he said, have seen how your homes and communities were caught in the crossfire. How cynical can you get? What a capacity to lie shamefacedly. The bombs in Beirut with millimetric precision?

This is crossfire? He's thinking of a western, when people would shoot from the hip and somebody would be caught in the crossfire.

This is imperialist, fascist, assassin, genocidal, the empire and Israel firing on the people of Palestine and Lebanon. That is what happened. And now we hear, "We're suffering because we see homes destroyed.'

The president of the United States came to talk to the peoples -- to the peoples of the world. He came to say -- I brought some documents with me, because this morning I was reading some statements, and I see that he talked to the people of Afghanistan, the people of Lebanon, the people of Iran. And he addressed all these peoples directly.

And you can wonder, just as the president of the United States addresses those peoples of the world, what would those peoples of the world tell him if they were given the floor? What would they have to say?

And I think I have some inkling of what the peoples of the south, the oppressed people think. They would say, "Yankee imperialist, go home." I think that is what those people would say if they were given the microphone and if they could speak with one voice to the American imperialists.

And that is why, Madam President, my colleagues, my friends, last year we came here to this same hall as we have been doing for the past eight years, and we said something that has now been confirmed -- fully, fully confirmed.

I don't think anybody in this room could defend the system. Let's accept -- let's be honest. The U.N. system, born after the Second World War, collapsed. It's worthless.

Oh, yes, it's good to bring us together once a year, see each other, make statements and prepare all kinds of long documents, and listen to good speeches, like Abel's yesterday, or President Mullah's . Yes, it's good for that.

And there are a lot of speeches, and we've heard lots from the president of Sri Lanka, for instance, and the president of Chile.

But we, the assembly, have been turned into a merely deliberative organ. We have no power, no power to make any impact on the terrible situation in the world. And that is why Venezuela once again proposes, here, today, 20 September, that we re-establish the United Nations.

Last year, Madam, we made four modest proposals that we felt to be crucially important. We have to assume the responsibility our heads of state, our ambassadors, our representatives, and we have to discuss it.

The first is expansion, and Mullah talked about this yesterday right here. The Security Council, both as it has permanent and non-permanent categories, (inaudible) developing countries and LDCs must be given access as new permanent members. That's step one.

Second, effective methods to address and resolve world conflicts, transparent decisions.

Point three, the immediate suppression -- and that is something everyone's calling for -- of the anti-democratic mechanism known as the veto, the veto on decisions of the Security Council.

Let me give you a recent example. The immoral veto of the United States allowed the Israelis, with impunity, to destroy Lebanon. Right in front of all of us as we stood there watching, a resolution in the council was prevented.

Fourthly, we have to strengthen, as we've always said, the role and the powers of the secretary general of the United Nations.

Yesterday, the secretary general practically gave us his speech of farewell. And he recognized that over the last 10 years, things have just gotten more complicated; hunger, poverty, violence, human rights violations have just worsened. That is the tremendous consequence of the collapse of the United Nations system and American hegemonistic pretensions.

Madam, Venezuela a few years ago decided to wage this battle within the United Nations by recognizing the United Nations, as members of it that we are, and lending it our voice, our thinking.

Our voice is an independent voice to represent the dignity and the search for peace and the reformulation of the international system; to denounce persecution and aggression of hegemonistic forces on the planet.

This is how Venezuela has presented itself. Bolivar's home has sought a nonpermanent seat on the Security Council.

Let's see. Well, there's been an open attack by the U.S. government, an immoral attack, to try and prevent Venezuela from being freely elected to a post in the Security Council.

The imperium is afraid of truth, is afraid of independent voices. It calls us extremists, but they are the extremists.

And I would like to thank all the countries that have kindly announced their support for Venezuela, even though the ballot is a secret one and there's no need to announce things.

But since the imperium has attacked, openly, they strengthened the convictions of many countries. And their support strengthens us.

Mercosur, as a bloc, has expressed its support, our brothers in Mercosur. Venezuela, with Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, is a full member of Mercosur.

And many other Latin American countries, CARICOM, Bolivia have expressed their support for Venezuela. The Arab League, the full Arab League has voiced its support. And I am immensely grateful to the Arab world, to our Arab brothers, our Caribbean brothers, the African Union. Almost all of Africa has expressed its support for Venezuela and countries such as Russia or China and many others.

I thank you all warmly on behalf of Venezuela, on behalf of our people, and on behalf of the truth, because Venezuela, with a seat on the Security Council, will be expressing not only Venezuela's thoughts, but it will also be the voice of all the peoples of the world, and we will defend dignity and truth.

Over and above all of this, Madam President, I think there are reasons to be optimistic. A poet would have said "helplessly optimistic," because over and above the wars and the bombs and the aggressive and the preventive war and the destruction of entire peoples, one can see that a new era is dawning.

As Silvio Rodriguez says, the era is giving birth to a heart. There are alternative ways of thinking. There are young people who think differently. And this has already been seen within the space of a mere decade. It was shown that the end of history was a totally false assumption, and the same was shown about Pax Americana and the establishment of the capitalist neo-liberal world. It has been shown, this system, to generate mere poverty. Who believes in it now?

What we now have to do is define the future of the world. Dawn is breaking out all over. You can see it in Africa and Europe and Latin America and Oceanea. I want to emphasize that optimistic vision.

We have to strengthen ourselves, our will to do battle, our awareness. We have to build a new and better world.

Venezuela joins that struggle, and that's why we are threatened. The U.S. has already planned, financed and set in motion a coup in Venezuela, and it continues to support coup attempts in Venezuela and elsewhere.

President Michelle Bachelet reminded us just a moment ago of the horrendous assassination of the former foreign minister, Orlando Letelier.

And I would just add one thing: Those who perpetrated this crime are free. And that other event where an American citizen also died were American themselves. They were CIA killers, terrorists.

And we must recall in this room that in just a few days there will be another anniversary. Thirty years will have passed from this other horrendous terrorist attack on the Cuban plane, where 73 innocents died, a Cubana de Aviacion airliner.

And where is the biggest terrorist of this continent who took the responsibility for blowing up the plane? He spent a few years in jail in Venezuela. Thanks to CIA and then government officials, he was allowed to escape, and he lives here in this country, protected by the government.

And he was convicted. He has confessed to his crime. But the U.S. government has double standards. It protects terrorism when it wants to.

And this is to say that Venezuela is fully committed to combating terrorism and violence. And we are one of the people who are fighting for peace.

Luis Posada Carriles is the name of that terrorist who is protected here. And other tremendously corrupt people who escaped from Venezuela are also living here under protection: a group that bombed various embassies, that assassinated people during the coup. They kidnapped me and they were going to kill me, but I think God reached down and our people came out into the streets and the army was too, and so I'm here today.

But these people who led that coup are here today in this country protected by the American government. And I accuse the American government of protecting terrorists and of having a completely cynical discourse.

We mentioned Cuba. Yes, we were just there a few days ago. We just came from there happily.

And there you see another era born. The Summit of the 15, the Summit of the Nonaligned, adopted a historic resolution. This is the outcome document. Don't worry, I'm not going to read it.

But you have a whole set of resolutions here that were adopted after open debate in a transparent matter -- more than 50 heads of state. Havana was the capital of the south for a few weeks, and we have now launched, once again, the group of the nonaligned with new momentum.

And if there is anything I could ask all of you here, my companions, my brothers and sisters, it is to please lend your good will to lend momentum to the Nonaligned Movement for the birth of the new era, to prevent hegemony and prevent further advances of imperialism.

And as you know, Fidel Castro is the president of the nonaligned for the next three years, and we can trust him to lead the charge very efficiently.

Unfortunately they thought, "Oh, Fidel was going to die." But they're going to be disappointed because he didn't. And he's not only alive, he's back in his green fatigues, and he's now presiding the nonaligned.

So, my dear colleagues, Madam President, a new, strong movement has been born, a movement of the south. We are men and women of the south.

With this document, with these ideas, with these criticisms, I'm now closing my file. I'm taking the book with me. And, don't forget, I'm recommending it very warmly and very humbly to all of you.

We want ideas to save our planet, to save the planet from the imperialist threat. And hopefully in this very century, in not too long a time, we will see this, we will see this new era, and for our children and our grandchildren a world of peace based on the fundamental principles of the United Nations, but a renewed United Nations.

And maybe we have to change location. Maybe we have to put the United Nations somewhere else; maybe a city of the south. We've proposed Venezuela.

You know that my personal doctor had to stay in the plane. The chief of security had to be left in a locked plane. Neither of these gentlemen was allowed to arrive and attend the U.N. meeting. This is another abuse and another abuse of power on the part of the Devil. It smells of sulfur here, but God is with us and I embrace you all.

May God bless us all. Good day to you."

Edited by John Dolva
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Because Chavez has the courage to call it as he sees it,

the following article from GRANMA international


is significant

"Chávez reveals assassination plans of Posada Carriles’ buddies

CARACAS, March 4 — Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez warned today that that plans to assassinate him “have become weightier” and he accused associates of Cuban-born terrorist Luis Posada Carriles of being involved, PL reported.

In an interview without journalist and former Vice President José Vicente Rangel, Chávez said that the plans to kill him include a car bomb and a missile attack against the presidential jet.

The president noted that the idea of assassination was gaining space in both national and international media, given the unlikelihood of removing him via a coup d’état or a popular uprising.

In that respect, he noted that John Negroponte, “a professional assassin,” was recently sworn in as a U.S. assistant secretary of State and that Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) units had been activated.

He said that “they have assigned to me special CIA units and real assassins, who are not only here in Venezuela: they are also in South America and Central America.”

“Recently, reports came from Central America, for example. Posada Carriles’ people are very active in Central America and looking for contacts in Venezuela. Among other things, they are looking for large quantities of explosives,” he stated."

By representing the new leadership of the new world emerging in spite of Bush's and his cronies in the media and elsewhere as lunatics, the casual reader is prepped for such things.

"Busines as Usual"

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  • 1 month later...

News posted an hour ago:


Supreme Court revisits restriction on campaign ads

By Michael Doyle

McClatchy Newspapers

"WASHINGTON — A newly recast and clearly divided Supreme Court took a fresh look at an overhaul of campaign-finance law Wednesday, in a case that will curtail political speech or open the floodgates to more of it.

With two new conservative justices on board, the court has changed since a narrowly decided 2003 ruling upheld an ambitious campaign-reform law. Sharp questions Wednesday revealed that some of the restrictions on pre-election ads could now be on shaky ground.

"This is the First Amendment," Justice Antonin Scalia said during the oral argument. "We don't make people guess when their speech is going to be allowed by Big Brother or not."

The campaign law bans corporations and unions from financing campaign ads directly during blackout periods before primaries and general elections. The court's 2003 ruling said this ban, on its face, didn't infringe on free-speech rights.

The court now is considering for the first time specific examples of how the pre-election ad ban has been applied. This could lead to different results.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who wasn't on the court in 2003, shared Scalia's skepticism about the restrictions. At one point, Roberts spoke derisively of regulations that "censor the speech" of citizens.

The court's other new justice, Samuel Alito, didn't explicitly tip his hand.

With Justices Stephen Breyer and David Souter speaking up on behalf of the ad restrictions, the stage is set for another close decision with serious consequences.

"This goes right to the heart of the participation of the public in the political process," said James Bopp, an attorney for Wisconsin Right to Life.

Much is at stake. One respected survey found 130 interest groups spent $500 million on campaign-year ads in 2000. It also has created strange alliances."

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  • 4 weeks later...

"...strange alliances."

The CIA and the Cultural Cold War Revisited

by James Petras - Noveber 1999

"...the ideological gatekeeper..." - http://www.monthlyreview.org/1199petr.htm

"What was particularly bizarre about this collection of CIA-funded intellectuals was not only their political partisanship, but their pretense that they were disinterested seekers of truth, iconoclastic humanists, freespirited intellectuals, or artists for art's sake, who counterposed themselves to the corrupted "committed" house "hacks" of the Stalinist apparatus"

"Saunders refutes the claims (made by Hook, Kristol, and Lasky) that the CIA and its friendly foundations provided aid with no strings attached. She demonstrates that "the individuals and institutions subsidized by the CIA were expected to perform as part ... of a propaganda war." The most effective propaganda was defined by the CIA as the kind where "the subject moves in the direction you desire for reasons which he believes to be his own." "

"One of the most important and fascinating discussions in Saunders' book is about the fact that CIA and its allies in the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) poured vast sums of money into promoting Abstract Expressionist (AE) painting and painters as an antidote to art with a social content. In promoting AE, the CIA fought off the right-wing in Congress. What the CIA saw in AE was an "anti-Communist ideology, the ideology of freedom, of free enterprise. Non-figurative and politically silent it was the very antithesis of socialist realism" (254). They viewed AE as the true expression of the national will. To bypass right-wing criticism, the CIA turned to the private sector (namely MOMA and its co-founder, Nelson Rockefeller, who referred to AE as "free enterprise painting.")"

In the context of the assassination research 'Gate Keeper', the above article is well worth reading in full.

An awareness of such witting or unwitting actions diminish their influence. By sticking to the topic at hand, the gate keepers stick out like sore thumbs. (this is after all a public forum read by many who are not members or posters yet in various ways have influence and opinions.)

Edited by John Dolva
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