Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Tuesday, 7 June 2005 at 18h 3m 28s|
Don't look now, more corruption is on the way
Quick, find another news item that we can blast all week long.
From the Washington Post [LINK]. The report "provides an extraordinary glimpse of how
the Air Force worked hand-in-glove with one of its chief contractors -- the
financially ailing Boeing -- to help it try to obtain the most costly
government lease ever."
For the past three years, the Air Force has described its $30 billion proposal
to convert passenger planes into military refueling tankers and lease them from
Boeing Co. as an efficient way to obtain aircraft the military urgently needs.
But a very different account of the deal is shown in an August 2002 internal e-
mail exchange among four senior Pentagon officials.
"We all know that this is a bailout for Boeing," Ronald G. Garant, an official
of the Pentagon comptroller's office, said in a message to two others in his
office and then-Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Wayne A. Schroeder
Besides documenting precisely who was responsible, the new report details the
Air Force's vigorous efforts on Boeing's behalf. It also shows how Air Force
leaders and Boeing officials jointly manipulated legislation to authorize the
deal and later sought to suppress dissenting opinion throughout the Pentagon.
The report also connects Rumsfeld to policymaking on the lease, recounting a
statement by former Air Force secretary James G. Roche that Rumsfeld had called
him in Newport, R.I., in July 2003 to say "he did not want me to budge on the
tanker lease proposal," despite criticism.
In the copy of the report obtained by The Washington Post, 45 sections were
deleted by the White House counsel's office to obscure what several sources
described as references to White House involvement in the lease negotiations
and its interaction with Boeing. The Pentagon separately blacked out 64 names
and many e-mails. It also omitted the names of members of Congress, including
some who pressured the Pentagon to back the deal.
The report is nonetheless the most damning of the three reviews of the tanker
deal completed by the inspector general since early 2004. It includes, for
example, a statement from an unnamed cost analyst that "numbers were contorted
a lot of different ways to sell the program."
It also suggests that the foundation of the Air Force's tanker lease -- that KC-
135 planes were experiencing unexpected corrosion and needed urgent
replacement -- was a house of cards.
The report says that Marvin R. Sambur, then the top Air Force acquisition
official, knew that this urgency "did not exist" but claimed otherwise and
ordered data unflattering to the deal removed from a key document. His office
made what a critic of the lease elsewhere in the Pentagon interpreted as
a "thinly veiled threat" to manipulate other Air Force contracts if the dissent
did not cease, the report shows.
The inspector general's report makes it clear that the Air Force's aggressive
pursuit of the lease over a three-year period was actually a team effort,
Of course, that's how these people work.
You can read the Inspector Generals report here. It's a 270 page PDF report.
|Tuesday, 7 June 2005 at 17h 47m 16s|
Bush quotes about Iraq
This is from Thinkprogress.org. [LINK]
The Downing Street Memo reported that in a July 23, 2002 meeting
between Prime Minister Blair and his war cabinet, attendees of the meeting
discussed the fact that President Bush had already made up his mind to attack
Iraq. According to the minutes of the meeting:
“There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as
inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action.”
Yet, as the record below proves, President Bush claimed over and over after
July 23rd until the war began that he had not made up his mind.
Bush: “Of course, I haven’t made up my mind we’re going to war with
Bush: “Hopefully, we can do this peacefully – don’t get me wrong. And if
world were to collectively come together to do so, and to put pressure on
Saddam Hussein and convince him to disarm, there’s a chance he may decide to do
that. And war is not my first choice, don’t – it’s my last choice.” [11/7/02]
Bush: “This is our attempt to work with the world community to create
And the best way for peace is for Mr. Saddam Hussein to disarm. It’s up to him
to make his decision.” [12/4/02]
Bush: “You said we’re headed to war in Iraq – I don’t know why you say
hope we’re not headed to war in Iraq. I’m the person who gets to decide, not
you. I hope this can be done peacefully.” [12/31/02]
Bush: “First of all, you know, I’m hopeful we won’t have to go war, and
leave it at that.” [1/2/03]
Bush: “But Saddam Hussein is – he’s treated the demands of the world as
up to now, and it was his choice to make. He’s the person who gets to decide
war and peace.” [2/7/03]
Bush: “I’ve not made up our mind about military action. Hopefully, this
done peacefully.” [3/6/03]
Bush: “I want to remind you that it’s his choice to make as to whether
we go to war. It’s Saddam’s choice. He’s the person that can make the choice of
war and peace.” [3/6/03]
Bush: “We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if
Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force.” [3/8/03]
Bush: “Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people
that every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken
to win it.” [3/17/03]
|Monday, 6 June 2005 at 21h 18m 56s|
Sean Hannity's racist neo-nazi roots
I suspected this all along. You can't be so consistently
deliberately deceptive, and intellectually dishonest for years without having a
morbid root causation. Keep in mind this is the king of the doctored video
clip, the sentence and phrase taken out of context, and the attack-mode of
Below is only a small part. You must read the source. This vile, venomous man needs to go down. This
factual honest expose by Max Blumenthal at the Nation will do just that.
Who is who?(Hint: Hal Turner is on the right)
This year a man named Hal Turner sat before his computer at his suburban home
in North Bergen, New Jersey, posting bomb-making tips on his website, hailing
the firebombing of an apartment containing "Savage Negroes" and calling for the
murder of immigrants. "When enough illegal aliens get killed they will stop
coming to the country!" Turner wrote.
Turner was once a prominent activist in New Jersey's Republican Party. To area
conservatives, he was best known by his moniker for call-ins to the Sean
Hannity Show, "Hal from North Bergen." For years, Hannity offered his top-rated
radio show as a regular forum for Turner's occasionally racist, always over-the-
top rants. Hannity also chatted with him off-air, allegedly offering
encouragement to Turner as he struggled to overcome a cocaine habit and
homosexual leanings. Turner has boasted that Hannity once invited Turner and
his son on to the set of Fox News's Hannity and Colmes. Today, Turner lurks on
the fringes of the far right, spouting hate-laced tirades on his webcast radio
show. Hannity, meanwhile, remains mum about his former alliance with the neo-
Nazi, homing in instead on the supposed racism of black and Latino Democrats.
A former moving company manager and real estate agent, Turner cut his teeth as
the Northern New Jersey coordinator for Pat Buchanan's quixotic 1992
presidential campaign. He was an aggressive self-promoter who found a platform
for his views on the radio show of Bob Grant, which was broadcast by ABC's
flagship station, New York City's WABC. Grant was a pioneer of right-wing radio
and, incidentally, a hysterical racist. In March 1995, according to the media
watchdog FAIR, Grant entertained the call of a promoter for the neo-Nazi group
National Alliance who billed his mission as the "support of European males." "I
don't have a problem with the National Alliance!" Grant twice declared. Less
than one month later, the Oklahoma City Federal Building was blown up by a
white supremacist who said he was influenced by the plot of National Alliance
founder William Pierce's pulp novel, The Turner Diaries. Grant insisted on his
show for days afterward that Arabs were responsible for the bombing.
WABC came under enormous pressure from the NAACP and other civil rights groups
to dump Grant. He had called Haitian refugees "subhuman infiltrators"; remarked
that the United States contained "millions of subhumanoids, savages who really
would feel more at home careening along the sands of the Kalahari or the dry
deserts of eastern Kenya"; and often promoted "The Bob Grant Mandatory
Sterilization Program" for minorities. In 1994, after a group of African-
American clergy members issued a plea for sponsors to boycott Grant's show,
Turner, at the time a frequent voice as a caller on Grant's show, organized a
pro-Grant rally in Trenton, which was attended by numerous members of the white
supremacist Nationalist Movement. Two years later, WABC finally gave Grant the
WABC tapped Sean Hannity to fill Grant's seat in the broadcast booth. For
Hannity, who had spent his career in the wilderness of the right-wing radio
circuit, the gig was like a dream. "I'd grown up listening to Bob
Grant...one of the most entertaining hosts I'd ever heard," Hannity wrote in
his 2002 book, Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty Over Liberalism.
Hannity started out as a broadcaster at the liberal University of Santa
Barbara. "But it didn't last long.... The left-wing management had a zero-
tolerance policy for conservative points of view. And I was promptly fired,"
Hannity wrote. "They didn't like the comments one guest made on the show," he
added, without specifying what those comments were.
Neil Boortz aka, Karl Rove clone
From there, Hannity was hired by the right-wing WVNN in Huntsville, Alabama,
and then by WGST in Atlanta, where he filled in for his friend,
the "libertarian" broadcaster Neil Boortz. By the time WABC brought him on
board, he was already co-hosting Fox News's newly minted Hannity and Colmes,
which, as of May, was America's second-rated cable news show, with 1.3 million
households viewing each night.
On WABC Hannity inherited Grant's fan base of angry white males, who listened
to his show in the New York City area. Hannity recognized his audience's thirst
for red meat, racist rhetoric. However, he knew that if he wanted to avoid
Grant's fate, he needed an air of deniability. When "Hal from North Bergen"
began calling his show, Hannity found he could avoid the dangers of direct race-
baiting by simply outsourcing it to Turner.
Don't they all resemble good ole boyz?
|Monday, 6 June 2005 at 19h 29m 10s|
Bush and the Ohio Noe bag man
President Bush will not keep campaign contributions from someone who likely
engaged in criminal conduct:[LINK -- from the Dallas Fort-Worth Star-Telegram.
President Bush is returning $4,000 in campaign contributions from Tom Noe,
the Ohio coin dealer under investigation for his handling of $55 million the
Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation gave to him to invest in rare coins.
Sounds good and honorable, doesn't it.
If the alleged criminal, however, collects big checks from all his friends and
presents them to President Bush in a big bundle, well, that’s another matter:
Bush has no immediate plans to return more than $100,000 Noe raised for the
Bush-Cheney campaign last year.
“Those are from other individuals,” McClellan said.
This is how they intend to distance themselves from the gradual unravelling of
the Ohio Coingate scandal. Tom Noe is a Bush Pioneer. Which means he
personally delivered more than $100,000 in checks -- not just the little $4,000
Bush is very ostensibly returning. Without Noe, the other $100,000 in
political veins would not have been possible. All the contributors understood
they were connecting to the network that Noe provided, and Bush certainly knows
that Noe is head of the political gang in Ohio.
Those "other individuals" are neither independent of nor disconnected from the
head bagman of the clan.
Isn't it sickeningly artful how the Bush-mafia spin this abject corruption?
|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."
GOTO THE NEXT 10 COLUMNS