In the Other Press

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News :: Media

Gambling Revenues in Las Vegas

Fascist Bush's Republican friends rake in millions by exploiting the working poor in Las Vegas

Casino revenue in Nevada increased by an astounding 8.4 percent during July from the same time period last year, the state Gaming Control Board said this week.

The revenue, known as gaming win, rose to $1.04 billion from $958.5 million a year earlier, according to the state. The government collected $65.5 million in percentage fees in August, up 1.1 percent from a year earlier.

In Las Vegas, the heart of Nevada's casino industry, gaming win increased nearly 10 percent to $531.7 million from a year earlier, the Gaming Control Board, the state's gambling regulator indicated.

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News :: Crime and Police : Right-wing politics

Terrorist Posada, House of Death informant are stark reminders of the Big Pretense

The U.S. Justice system is truly a twisted knot of hypocrisy at times.

As proof, take a look at the handling of two cases now pending before U.S. immigration courts.

In one case, we have Guillermo Eduardo Ramírez Peyro, an informant who, according to DEA sources, was involved in up to a dozen brutal murders in Ciudád Juárez, Mexico, while working under the supervision of officials with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.

Then there is the case of accused anti-Castro terrorist Luis Posada Carriles.

If you recall, Posada Carriles was arrested in Miami in mid-May 2005 after allegedly entering the United States illegally via the Texas/Mexico border. He then claims to have taken a bus from Texas to Miami.

So what does this tells us about U.S. justice?

It seems to tell us, on a very dark note, that U.S. government-sanctioned terror and murder are just deeds, assuming you don’t expose the people who sanctioned those deeds.

At a minimum, it is yet more evidence that the so-called war on terrorism, like the war on drugs, is a big pretense.

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Commentary :: Civil and Human Rights : Right-wing politics : Surveillance/censorship

Raise the bar for state secrets privilege

WASHINGTON – Suppose the US government is right now conducting a warrantless surveillance program that not only listens to international calls but to domestic calls, too - in clear violation of the law. Pretend that the press finds out but the administration refuses to acknowledge its existence. In that case, plaintiffs who went to court to argue its illegality wouldn't get very far.

Why not? The government would simply assert the state secrets privilege, which claims that litigation would disclose information damaging to national security. The courts - as they almost always do - would defer to that argument and dismiss the case. The government program would continue, legally unchecked.

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News :: Legislation : Right-wing politics

Horse Slaughtering: The New Terrorism?

With all the other problems piling up — soaring energy costs, the war in Iraq, tens of millions of Americans with no health-care insurance, skyrocketing federal debt — Republicans were bound to get a kick in the rear when the only bill they considered this week on the House floor was one to look out for the welfare of horses. Democrats stampeded to complain. "I'm concerned about horses, but I'm much much more concerned about the American people," snapped House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. Others threatened to vote "ney" just to get in a pun.

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News :: General

US has still not disbursed the millions of dollars in int'l assistance sent after katrina

Money for Nothing

The United States received hundreds of millions in foreign aid last year, after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. But what happened to the money? One year later, the fate of international disaster assistance has turned into a tale of inept bureaucracy, diplomatic bungling, and unspent cash.

When France and dozens of other countries pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in cash and supplies to the relief effort, their donations should have helped ease the crisis. Instead, one year after Katrina battered the Gulf Coast, none of the money given to the federal government has made its way to evacuees. With debris still choking New Orleans streets, a levee system still in need of basic upgrades (even as another hurricane season is upon us), and tens of thousands of Gulf residents still living in FEMA trailers or scattered around the country, the U.S. government has barely touched the funds donated by foreign governments. Instead, the government has handled the largest influx of foreign aid in memory with foot-dragging, clumsy bureaucracy, and money gone unspent.

When shocking scenes of devastation unfolded on television screens last August, the world was incredulous that the sole superpower could get its own crisis so very wrong. Relief offers poured in from abroad. China chipped in $5 million. Tiny Brunei gave $1 million. Even countries with little to give dug deep. Bangladesh sent $1 million, Rwanda wired $100,000, and Afghanistan coughed up $99,800. The United Arab Emirates was the biggest donor, doling out more than $99 million. By year’s end, the U.S. State Department had received $126 million from 36 countries and international organizations. (Other countries, such as Canada, India, Kuwait, and Turkey chose to donate directly to the American Red Cross or the Bush-Clinton Hurricane Katrina Fund.)

And it wasn’t just cash that poured in. Other countries sent planeloads of tents, blankets, and Meals Ready to Eat, but the United States was ill-prepared to handle the largesse while residents were still trying to evacuate. Some offers were declined. But oftentimes the government accepted supplies like bandages, food, and cots and then allowed them to sit for months in Arkansas warehouses. According to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released in April, FEMA and the State Department paid tens of thousands of dollars in warehouse storage fees in the months after Katrina to house unused supplies from foreign countries.

The donated cash met a different fate. By late October, the State Department had allocated $66 million of the $126 million in international assistance to FEMA, which then granted it to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the nonprofit aid arm of the United Methodist Church. With the funds, UMCOR established Katrina Aid Today, a consortium of nine national aid agencies dedicated to case-management work for Katrina evacuees. But to date, only $13 million has actually been disbursed, and it has been allocated almost exclusively to salaries and training for case workers, not to evacuees.

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Commentary :: Civil and Human Rights : Right-wing politics

Refuse to be Terrorised

On Aug. 16, two men were escorted off a plane headed for Manchester, England, because some passengers thought they looked either Asian or Middle Eastern, might have been talking Arabic, wore leather jackets, and looked at their watches — and the passengers refused to fly with them on board.

The men were questioned for several hours and then released.

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Interview :: Electoral politics : Right-wing politics

Katherine Harris: Separation of church and state 'a lie'

In a lengthy interview with Florida Baptist Witness, struggling U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris asserts, among other things, that the separation of church and state is a fallacy.

"We have to have the faithful in government and over time," the Witness quotes Harris as saying, "that lie we have been told, the separation of church and state, people have internalized, thinking that they needed to avoid politics and that is so wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers."

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News :: Civil and Human Rights : Protests and Vigils

Arrest, Death Threat, for Farmer with Upside Down Flag

Dale Klyn raises beef cows in Corydon, Iowa.

For the past six years, he has been flying an American flag on his property.

But since May 21, that flag has been upside down.

He gives two reasons.

First, he’s angry at a judge for allowing a debtor of his to declare bankruptcy. The debtor, who had bought a business from Klyn on a contract and still owed him $282,000, now only has to “pay me six cents on the dollar,” says Klyn. “The judge approved that on the 18th of May. I was pretty upset about that.”

Second, he wants to show solidarity for Terri Jones.

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An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war.
-- Mark Twain
Source: "Glances at History" (suppressed)

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