Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Monday, 6 June 2005 at 19h 12m 33s|
What did Bolton say?
This is from Thinkprogress [LINK]
Revelations about John Bolton’s unlawful orchestration of the firing of Jose
Bustani, head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, are
not entirely new. In fact, the firing of Bustani caught the attention of many
individuals who had become wary that the Bush administration was intent on
military action against Iraq. In an April 16, 2002, column published by the
British newspaper the Guardian, George Monbiot asserted:
On Monday, the U.S. government forced the departure of Jose Bustani, director-
general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.… These
recent attempts to undermine international treaties are being pursued with an
eye to the impending war with Iraq.… The U.S. justification for war is that
Saddam Hussein may possess weapons of mass destruction. So the two foremost
obstacles to war were Blix and Bustani, who have proposed nonviolent methods of
getting rid of these weapons.
The ousting of Bustani was typical of the smoke and mirror games that the
administration played during the run-up to the Iraq war: present a false claim
and push ahead before anyone can ask questions. One of the principal
justifications for getting rid of Bustani was that the organization had hit
financial problems under his reign. However, according to Bustani, “the
organization had hit financial problems because its three biggest funders – the
US, Germany, and Japan – failed to make their payments on time.”
[Press Association, 5/14/02]
As if the treatment of Bustani wasn’t enough, the further emasculation of the
entire Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was equally as
shameful. According to the 7/1/02 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:
The U.S. ambassador to the OPCW told the staff it would be difficult to find a
replacement for Bustani, because no one wants ‘to be associated with a dying
organization.’ After remarking that the United States also wanted no more Latin
American directors because of their ‘sheer incompetence,’ the ambassador then
added, ‘If any of this gets out of this room, I’ll kill the person
Yep, that's what he said alright.
They knew what they were doing. They've been planning this for a long time.
|Monday, 6 June 2005 at 17h 33m 53s|
The strain of a paranoid neurotic
Please get me the names of the Jews. You know, the big Jewish contributors
of the Democrats. Could we please investigate some of those c---suckers?
--Richard. M. Nixon, from the Nixon Tapes.
|Monday, 6 June 2005 at 17h 8m 43s|
It does happen here
This is a story from the New York Times [LINK] written by Steven Greenhouse. It was brought
to my attention by Nathan Newman's blog.
For many workers in Bushwick, Brooklyn, the possibility of receiving the
legally required time and a half for overtime, even when they work 80-hour
weeks, seems as likely as winning the lottery.
"They always told us work faster, faster, and the money was really bad," said
Deisi Cortes, who worked as a stocker at Super Star 99 until April when she was
fired, she said, for being pregnant. "We'd ask for a raise, and all they'd say
is, 'Maybe later on.' "
'It's pretty stunning the extent to which stores here break wage and hour
laws," said Deborah Axt, a lawyer with Make the Road by Walking, an immigrant
advocacy group in Bushwick. "The violations seem epidemic."
Why should this be a surprise? Farm laborers have been experiencing wage
manipulation for at least as long as sharecropping. Sharecroppers got the right
to work a plot of the landowner for a small portion of the revenue, only to
fall into debt by the need to borrow before the sale of the harvest. Illegal
immigrant laborers were often allowed to work the fields, only to be turned in
when the 6 week labor was over and it was time for the employer to pay --
sometimes with a financial kickback to local legal authorities. Racism no
doubt justified(-ies) this greed.
Have you ever noticed that hate and selfishness have to have a scapegoat and an
excuse, whereas love and consideration need no justification at all.
For those with little to no experience or education, the vulnerability in the
labor market is very real. Intimidation is a constant factor, as common as
overbearing and mind-game playing mid-level managers, where the employee is
essential interchangeable with someone else who can do the same job.
And in a large market with plenty looking for work, there's no reason for any
employer to keep on an employee at higher cost unless experience matters, or
the employer is an individual who values devotion more than profit.
|Sunday, 5 June 2005 at 14h 34m 35s|
Tax rates and super wealth
The new york times had a story today [LINK] by David Kay Johnston -- one of my
favorite journalists. The story: the tax rate for the super wealthy is
signifigantly less than the moderately wealthy.
Specifically, the effective tax rate for those who make $100,000 to $10 million
is a higher portion of their income than those who earn more than 10
Those who earn $50,000 to $75,000 pay 17.4% of their income. The top 400 tax
payers pay 17.5% of their income.
Here is a helpful graphic.
Interestingly enough, the top tax rate during the 1950s was 90% for all income
over 1 million. If you made 10 million dollars, the first 1 million was taxed
at the lower rate. The remaining 9 million dollars was taxed at 90% -- 8.1
Extreme wealth does not necessarily get invested in ways that are beneficial to
the nation and the national well-being. This money goes abroad, gets
uselessly wasted on conspicuous consumption, or gets spent aggregating more
revenue sources -- not necessarily of benefit to the consumer or nation. Using
economic resources to accrue monopolistic control or external profit sources
(outside the U.S. -- like Walmart inporting Chinese manufactured goods) is
usually not in the long-term interest of the nation, although a small
assortment of wealthy individuals might make a lot of money.
Thus, the whole point of the extra taxation of extreme wealth ensures that this
money is invested in ways that are beneficial to the nation. In the 1950s,
that surplus tax money was invested in education and the interstate highway
The assumption of noblesse oblige by the wealthy is not credible.
Donations to charity and non-profits are not equivalent because they are too
narrow and diffused to have the desired effect. The history of the last 100
years shows this to be true.
The problem is not taxation. The problem is unfair taxation and wasteful
spending by the government. There are a plethora of potent government
investments. Such as ....
1.) Reduced class size for
all classes to 20 students per teacher, thereby employing more teachers, and
increasing the ability of each teacher to reach each student more effectively.
2.) subsidizing College
tuition expenses based upon income instead of student loans, or at least very
low (2 percent) interest-rate loans
3.) Metro rail systems for
urban areas of more than a million, reduces traffic congestion, and energy
4.) investment in solar
energy and wind stations across the country.
5.) pension fund for all
workers high and low, instead of burdening business with the costs of providing
pensions. No exceptions
6.) Month long paid
vacations for all workers, thereby increasing the number of possible employed.
7.) Government subsidized
minimum wage and cost-of-living supports for all workers who are at the
bottom. That way business is not the first front for maintaining a living wage
for all workers.
8.) One single insurance
plan for all citizens, and a central regulations board which oversees all state
regulations boards for doctors and hospitals. Multiple insurance companies are
the main source of cost overrun.
Would this be infinitely better than a presumption that our super-wealthy
individuals will invest in these large-scale benefits to society?
Discussion of what is in the national interest has been captured by multi-
national corporations, which are only the legal forms of the super-wealthy.
Not that this is entirely bad. Philosophical perspectives are not a function
of wealth or lack thereof. Enlightened ideas are not lacking from those with
large financial resources. However, only through diversity has the resemblance
of democracy and freedom been maintained. With each decrease in this
diversity, and with each concomitant increase in concentration of economic
power into smaller hands, the resemblance to democracy and freedom diminishes
|Sunday, 5 June 2005 at 12h 47m 18s|
In case you missed it ... Ohio coingate is really smelly.
This is from Americablog who discusses and article from the newspaper
Toledo Blade. A link for the story is provided below.
"Noe fallout taints early candidates to succeed Taft; Democrats take aim at
The main article in the Toledo Blade [LINK] gives the overview of
the scandal and how the GOP leaders are involved.
Here is a portion of the Blade article.
Tom Noe has outraged and angered the governor of Ohio, caused the President to
return his campaign contributions, and his $50 million state-coin funds are in
But the Maumee coin dealer's biggest political victims might be Attorney
General Jim Petro, Auditor Betty Montgomery, and Secretary of State J. Kenneth
Blackwell - who are competing to become Ohio's next governor.
The three Republican officeholders running for governor have all received
campaign cash from Mr. Noe and have been criticized for their slow reaction to
the growing coin scandal.
Now they find themselves on the defensive, quickly distancing themselves from
the prominent Republican campaign fund-raiser, who is facing multiple
investigations, including a probe into whether Mr. Noe violated campaign-
finance laws by laundering money into the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. All
of the candidates say they have known Mr. Noe for years and they returned
thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from him and his wife,
Bernadette, last week.
That piece alone was a good read...but it gets better. In separate articles,
The Blade examines each of the three GOP candidates for Governor (Blackwell,
Montgomery and Petro) and their relationship to Noe and the scandal.
Secretary of State Ken Blackwell
Blackwell had few concerns at first:
In fact, Mr. Blackwell told The Blade on April 5 that "most people" wouldn't
find it "unreasonable" that the state had invested in rare coins with Tom Noe,
who has said through his attorneys that at least $10 million of the state's
assets are missing.
"When you run a fund the size of $18 billion and you're looking at $50 million,
beyond what one's disposition might be, is that an irresponsible amount of
risk? Most people would say no," Mr. Blackwell said on April 5 - two days after
The Blade's initial report on the coin investment.
State Auditor Betty Montgomery
Montgomery insists she didn't delay action on audit:
it took 43 days after The Blade's first story for Ms. Montgomery to announce
that her office would do a special audit of the rare-coin investment.
Democrats have charged that Ms. Montgomery, a former Wood County prosecutor and
state senator, didn't act sooner because she has known Mr. Noe for several
years and has received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from him
and his wife, Bernadette. She relinquished $8,150 in contributions last week.
Attorney General Jim Petro
Petro saw no 'sense of illegality' at first in coin scandal:
Attorney General Jim Petro waited more than a month to begin taking legal
action after learning that two state-owned coins worth $300,000 were reportedly
stolen from the suburban Denver office of Tom Noe's rare-coin venture with the
Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
But Mr. Petro, who first read about the bureau's $50 million investment with
Mr. Noe in The Blade on April 3, is adamant he took appropriate measures to
protect the bureau's assets as soon as there were questions of wrongdoing.
"The first story simply said he was an influential guy in the Republican Party
and he had a contract with BWC," Mr. Petro told The Blade last week. "I might
have looked at it that it's not the world's greatest investment from my
perspective, but that's not a cause of action."
A "breach" of contract, "possible misappropriation," or "misdeed" - would be
necessary to begin legal proceedings, but there "was not any sense of
illegality at that point," he said.
What a great way to spend a Sunday...reading about squirming, nasty Ohio
Republicans wrapped up in the biggest scandal to hit that state in decades.
And, they are all involved.
|Saturday, 4 June 2005 at 13h 27m 44s|
I couldn't have said it better myself
"We deal in illusions, man. None of it is true. But you
after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds. We're all you know.
You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning
to think that the tube is reality and that your own lives are unreal. You do
whatever the tube tells you. You dress like the tube. You eat like the tube.
You even think like the tube. In God's name, you people are the real thing, WE
are the illusion."
|Friday, 3 June 2005 at 13h 38m 4s|
What did he say?
"In my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over
and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the
"Effective propaganda must limit its points of a few and these points must
repeated until the audience understands what is meant by them."
|Friday, 3 June 2005 at 13h 33m 43s|
Remember Pat Tillman
They will even lie about those who consider themselves patriotic. The spin
must not reveal the ugly truth.
From the NewYork Times [LINK]
Pat Tillman, for example, was a popular N.F.L. player who, in a burst of
patriotism after Sept. 11, gave up a $3.6 million contract with the Arizona
Cardinals to join the Army Rangers. He was sent first to Iraq, and then to
Afghanistan, where he was shot to death by members of his own unit who mistook
him for the enemy.
Instead of disclosing that Corporal Tillman had died tragically in a friendly
fire incident, the Army spun a phony tale of heroism for his family and the
nation. According to the Army, Corporal Tillman had been killed by enemy fire
as he stormed a hill. Soldiers who knew the truth were ordered to keep quiet
about the matter. Corporal Tillman's family was not told how he really died
until after a nationally televised memorial service that recruiters viewed as a
public relations bonanza.
Mary Tillman, Corporal Tillman's mother, told The Washington Post:
"The military let him down. The administration let him down. It was a sign of
disrespect. The fact that he was the ultimate team player and he watched his
own men kill him is absolutely heartbreaking and tragic. The fact that they
lied about it afterward is disgusting."
If the administration treats our patriots this way, how can we trust them on
|Thursday, 19 May 2005 at 20h 44m 7s|
No way, not us, we are innocent
|Thursday, 19 May 2005 at 20h 24m 23s|
Thanks to bartcop and E Boyd
A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude
a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, "Excuse me, can you help me? I
friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."
The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're 30 feet above sea
level. You are at
31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west
She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be a Democrat."
"I am," replied the man. "How did you know?"
"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically
correct, but I have no idea
what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not
been much help to me."
The man smiled and responded, "You must be a Republican."
"I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?"
"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you're going.
You've risen to where
you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise that you have
no idea how to keep,
then you expect me to solve your problem. You're in exactly the same position
you were in before
we met but, somehow, now it's my fault."
GOTO THE NEXT 10 COLUMNS