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Saturday, September 04, 2004

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story...

(Thanks to Debby Speer, who posted this on the ABC World News Now Discussion Group)

Arnold Schwarzenegger's Blunder at the Republican Convention:
The Nixon-Humphrey Presidential Debate Never Took Place
by Michel Chossudovsky

At the Republican Convention, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said he became a Republican after listening to a televised debate between Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon in 1968.

In his address, he described arriving in the United States from Austria and hearing Richard Nixon challenge Hubert Humphrey in a televised presidential debate:

"I finally arrived here in 1968.I had empty pockets, but I was full of dreams. The presidential campaign was in full swing. I remember watching the Nixon and Humphrey presidential race on TV. A friend who spoke German and English, translated for me. I heard Humphrey saying things that sounded like socialism which is what I had just left. But then I heard Nixon speak. He was talking about free enterprise, getting government off your back, lowering taxes, and strengthening the military. Listening to Nixon speak sounded more like a breath of fresh air.

I said to my friend, "What party is he?" My friend said, "He's a Republican." I said, "Then I am a Republican!" And I've been a Republican ever since!" (complete speech at http://www.2004nycgop.org/cgi-data/speeches/files/2jl158h8hr9cm5t7e4d379jp6o186680.shtml

The records on televised presidential debates are unequivocal. They started in 1960 with the famous Kennedy-Nixon debate. Nixon's performance in this debate was in part instrumental in his defeat and the election of John F. Kennedy to the White house in the November 1960. (for a review of presidential debates since 1858 see The Commission on Presidential Debates at: http://www.debates.org/pages/history.html )

In the 1968 presidential campaign, Hubert Humphrey and Ed Muskie ran against Richard Nixon and Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew. Richard Nixon did not want to repeat his 1960 experience with JFK. He refused to debate his Democratic opponent Hubert Humphrey. (See Providence Journal-Bulletin (Rhode Island), October 3, 2000)

Although Humphrey challenged Nixon to a debate, there was no debate between Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon in 1968. Arnold Scharzenegger could not have seen it on TV, because it never took place. In fact, there were no presidential debates between 1960 and 1976.

Deja vu

Arnold Scharzenegger's affirmation at the Republican Convention concerning the Nixon-Humphrey debate has a ring of deja vu. It was essentially a "say again" of a announcement he first made public in 1993, at a Press Conference in Beverly Hills, California , following the release of his adventure comedy, Last Action Hero:

"I realized then that this one guy (Humphrey) is closer to Austria and socialism, while this other guy (Nixon) represents the free market, free enterprise and the freedom of getting the government off your back," (The Toronto Star, June 18, 1993)

And since then, he has used these same catch sentences on Humphrey versus Nixon on numerous occasions, in press interviews as well as at political venues (including the 2000 Republican Convention and his 2003 campaign for the Governorship of California):

"For substance, try a dubious note with which Schwarzenegger brightened an address to his party's recent L.A. convention. The story goes over so well, he's taken to repeating it. He says his decision to become a Republican was prompted soon after he'd arrived from Austria in 1968, and watched a presidential debate between Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. A friend translated their words for him. Says Arnold:

"I heard Humphrey saying things that sounded like socialism, which I had just left, and Nixon talking about free enterprise, getting the government off our backs, and lower taxes. ..." (The San Diego Union-Tribune, September 24, 2003)

And the media applauds. Presented as a "compassionate libertarian," and "a Republican moderate", his "highlight" speech at Madison Square Gardens was described as most "effective". According to CNN: "Only one speaker managed to bring everyone together"

"The GOP's not-so-secret weapon wowed the crowd with a masterful speech that balanced macho conservatism with sweeping compassion". (Business Week, 2 September 2004)

While the media tacitly acknowledges that "the debate never took place", the matter is invariably dismissed. According to CNN Host Tucker Carlson in response to Larry King, it was an honest mistake because Arnie did not know English at the time:

LARRY KING: Tucker Carlson, there was one notable error tonight picked up by our vast production crew. Governor Schwarzenegger refers to coming to this country and hearing the debate between Humphrey and Nixon, Humphrey sounded socialistic and Nixon introduced him to capitalism. One little problem: They never debated.

TUCKER CARLSON, CNN HOST: Well, I don't think Schwarzenegger even spoke English at the time. So he could be, you know, forgiven for making that mistake it seems to me. (CNN, Larry King Live, 1 September 2004)

(Using that logic, you can excuse Tucker Carlson's neocon blatherings because his bowtie is too tight.)

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Friday, September 03, 2004

Well, this should be riveting television...

NEW YORK (AP) - "ER" is taking a note from "24" by doing a real-time episode, and is bringing actor Ray Liotta along for the ride.

The episode, to air Nov. 11, will follow every moment of guest star Liotta's hospital visit. He plays an alcoholic ex-con with cirrhosis of the liver and a host of other problems.

So... they're going to spend an hour having him answer inane insurance-related questions and reading year-old sports magazines in the waiting room?

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Quote of the day...

"Re: activists infiltrating the convention floor, September 2: What a joke; Bush and company are the only ones that can keep us safe from terrorists. Right, these guys couldn't even secure their own convention floor despite surrounding it with hundreds of armed guards."
--Marion Lewish
Los Angeles Times (September 3, 2004)
"Letters to the Times: Mixed Messages From GOP Convention"

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Just ask yourself...

Listening to the President talk about what he would do in a second term, I recalled that the Republicans have controlled the Presidency, the House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and, one could argue, the Supreme Court, for the past four years.

So, how's that been working for you?

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Thursday, September 02, 2004

Quote of the day

"I think John Kerry must have shot his dog."
Senator John McCain, commenting on Zell Miller's "unfortunate" keynote address at the Republican National Convention (on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart)

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Subtle humor

One of the songs The Weather Channel is using for local forecast background music is "Cast Your Fate to the Wind."

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Free and reasoned discourse...

Dignitude

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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Farewell to an icon

With Jimmy Doohan's final public appearance as Montogomery Scott, I thought I'd rerun some stuff from a May 1999 KGB Report...

Beaming In Scotty: NBC, the television network responsible for the popularization of color television in the 60s and 70s and stereo television in the 80s, introduced the first regularly-scheduled high definition television program last month, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Commercial viability of the digital format notwithstanding, the network and Leno deserve credit for launching the new service with an appearance by actor Jimmy Doohan, portraying his Star Trek character Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott. In an inspired bit during the opening monologue, Doohan's Scotty struggled with "overloaded high definition generators" in the bowels of NBC engineering, and solved the problem by "diverting power from one of the many NBC Datelines." We suspect there may be a closet Trekkie on Mr. Leno's staff- aside from the comedy angle, it's somehow appropriate and a little bit touching that Scotty would play a role in the first NBC HDTV broadcast. NBC, of course, originally aired Star Trek from 1966 to 1968. Doohan and the late Greg Morris, who played technical wizard Barney Collier on CBS' Mission: Impossible, are responsible for launching thousands of geekish techno-nerds into careers in computing. Imagine how much better we'd get along with technology today if Scotty and Barney ran Microsoft and Intel. Sigh.

My Scotty Story: I heard Doohan tell this at a convention. In gratitude to NASA for its assistance on the Trek movies, Paramount sends series stars to various space agency sites for publicity junkets. One problem with being Scotty, Doohan noted, is that real technicians think of him as the ultimate expert. During a tour of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, an engineer was showing the actor a radio receiver that processed data transmitted from a deep space probe. "We've noticed a frequency drift that seems to be induced by thermal variations on the antenna emitter circuit, and we haven't been able to devise a compensation schema. Do you think a dynamic beat frequency oscillator would be effective?" Aware that scores of technicians were breathlessly awaiting his diagnosis, and not wanting to embarrass the engineer who posed the question, Doohan smiled, cocked his head, and said in his lilting Scottish brogue, "Ah, laddie... sorry, but I dinna ken a thing aboot antiques."

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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Offshoring pays off...

...if you're a CEO, that is:

http://tinyurl.com/3uhvj

Chief executive officers at the companies shipping the most U.S. jobs overseas seem to be pocketing some of the savings, according to a new report.

The study, published by two groups concerned with economic inequality, found that average CEO compensation at the 50 firms outsourcing the most service jobs abroad increased by 46 percent in 2003. CEOs at the 365 large companies surveyed by Business Week only saw an average raise of 9 percent, according to the report from the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy.

CEOs at top offshore outsourcers earned an average of $10.4 million in 2003, while average CEO compensation hit $8.1 million, according to the report. From 2001 to 2003, the top 50 outsourcing CEOs earned $2.2 billion while sending an estimated 200,000 jobs overseas, the report said.

"These 50 CEOs seem to be personally benefiting from a trend that has already cost hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs and is projected to cost millions more over the next decade," the report said.

Offshore outsourcing, farming out tasks to lower-wage nations, has become a hot-button issue over the past year or so. Defenders of the practice--including President Bush's top economic advisor--say it ultimately assists the U.S. economy. But critics say it costs U.S. workers jobs and threatens the country's long-term tech leadership. The exact scale of the trend remains unclear.

The new report names a number of technology companies in its list of leading offshore outsourcers. IBM is among them. Big Blue has plans to shift about 2,000 U.S. jobs abroad this year, but it also is hiring thousands of employees in the United States. According to Tuesday's report, IBM CEO Sam Palmisano's pay reached $7.7 million in 2003, up 13 percent from 2002.

The report lists a more dramatic increase in pay for Stephen Bennett, CEO of Intuit, which makes personal-finance software. Bennett got a 425 percent pay increase in 2003 to $22.3 million while sending call center jobs to India, the study says.

Neither IBM nor Intuit immediately returned requests for comment.

The study also said the so-called CEO-to-worker wage gap is rising again, after two years of narrowing. The ratio of CEO pay to worker pay reached 301:1 in 2003, up from 282:1 in 2002. If the minimum wage had increased as quickly as CEO pay since 1990, it would be $15.76 per hour, rather than the current $5.15 per hour, according to the study.

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Only it's not funny...

Watching moderates like McCain, Giuliani and Schwarzenegger speak at the GOP convention reminds me of an episode of The Munsters. Sweet, charming Marilyn might answer the door, but you know that Grandpa is lurking in the vestibule with a mallet and a pot of boiling oil.
-Kevin G. Barkes

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Everything old is new again...

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."
-Herman Goering (at the Nuremberg Trials)

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Hey baby, nice rocks...

(Source)

by Nature Australia

...And if homosexual penguins weren't enough, how about penguins that prostitute themselves? Adelie Penguins on Ross Island have provided us with another first-the first time that a monogamous bird species has been caught having extramarital sex in return for material items. The currency, in this case, is stones.

Fiona Hunter from the University of Cambridge (UK) and Lloyd Davis (as in "fairy"-penguin fame; see above) witnessed paired females soliciting sex with unpaired males. Immediately after copulation, the female picked up one of his nest stones and carried it back to her own nest. Some females went through the courtship ritual, then up and left, with stone in beak, before the male had a chance to mount her. Some returned again and again, with one bird procuring a total of 62 stones within an hour.

But what's so special about stones? Adelie Penguins use them to form a raised platform on which they lay their two eggs. This way, when the ice melts in spring, the nest is not inundated.

And why are unpaired males so tolerant of these females' pebble-pinching ways, especially when they don't always get what they paid for? Hunter and Davis believe the males live in hope that they may eventually get to father an offspring, or, perhaps, that the female will return to settle down.

Hunter, F.M. & Davis, L.S., 1998. Female Adélie Penguins acquire nest material from extrapair males after engaging in extrapair copulations. The Auk 115(2): 526--528.

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Monday, August 30, 2004

Those shameful protestors...

Those who profess to favour freedom and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without ploughing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.
-Frederick Douglass

And as for the somewhat colorful language on the signs at Sunday's protest outside the RNC at Madison Square Garden in New York City... well, they didn't say anything the Vice President hasn't said on the floor of the Senate.

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So there.  
The kgb@kgb.com e-mail address is now something other than kgb@kgb.com saga.
kgbreport.com used to be kgb.com until December, 2007 when the domain name broker Trout Zimmer made an offer I couldn't refuse. Giving up kgb.com and adopting kgbreport.com created a significant problem, however. I had acquired the kgb.com domain name in 1993, and had since that time used kgb@kgb.com as my sole e-mail address. How to let people know that kgb@kgb.com was no longer kgb@kgb.com but rather kgbarkes@gmail.com which is longer than kgb@kgb.com and more letters to type than kgb@kgb.com and somehow less aesthetically pleasing than kgb@kgb.com but actually just as functional as kgb@kgb.com? I sent e-mails from the kgb@kgb.com address to just about everybody I knew who had used kgb@kgb.com in the past decade and a half but noticed that some people just didn't seem to get the word about the kgb@kgb.com change. So it occurred to me that if I were generate some literate, valid text in which kgb@kgb.com was repeated numerous times and posted it on a bunch of different pages- say, a blog indexed by Google- that someone looking for kgb@kgb.com would notice this paragraph repeated in hundreds of locations, would read it, and figure out that kgb@kgb.com no longer is the kgb@kgb.com they thought it was. That's the theory, anyway. kgb@kgb.com. Ok, I'm done. Move along. Nothing to see here...

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