Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Saturday, 9 February 2008 at 16h 41m 45s|
Outsourcing torture and detention camps
The CIA's secret interrogation program has made extensive use of outside contractors, whose role likely included the
waterboarding of terrorist suspects, according to testimony yesterday from the CIA director and two other people familiar with
Many of the contractors involved aren't large corporate entities but rather individuals who are often former agency or military
officers. However, large corporations also are involved, current and former officials said. Their identities couldn't be learned.
According to two current and former intelligence officials, the use of contracting at the CIA's secret sites increased quickly in the
wake of the 9/11 attacks, in part because the CIA had little experience in detentions and interrogation. Using nongovernment
employees also helped maintain a low profile, they said.
[SOURCE: Digby | digbysblog | 8 February 2008]
How come the "liberal media" isn't all over this revelation that came out of a Congressional hearing this week? "Using
nongovernment employees also helped maintain a low profile" ... yea, I bet.
When are American's going to realize that rogue elements are operating independent of the government. Cliques of political
elites are enabling decisions with winks and nods that are out of their control. Is this really to help better fight the "terrorists" ?
Consider how the contracting process has already corrupted the military operations in Iraq. Consider the history of rogue
intelligence operations since the growth of the Intelligence establishment since World War Two. In almost every single case, the
secretive actions back-fire and force government policy-makers to deal with the resulting mess.
Here's a brief list:
- Bay of Pigs
- Secret missions into Laos and Burma during Vietnam
- assassination of Panamanian Trujillo leads way to oligarchy and puppet dictator Noriega
- creation of the Shah of Iran leds to Iranian revolution
- support of bin Laden in early 80's in Afghanistan
In all of the above cases, secretive actions by rogue elements in the national security/defense establishment created the
groundwork for the eventual blowback which occurred. This is why open democratic processes are necessary. Because the
short-sighted, group think of insiders will only perceive their own limited self-interests, colored by human biases that can only
be exposed when done in the open. The policy of promoting corrupted elements in foreign nations involves unsavory methods
like murder and propaganda that do not attract the love and admiration of the very foreigners the policy is supposed to be
helping. Were the Iranians supposed to be happy when the United States funded and supported the torture-driven police state of
Iran for over 20 years when the Shah was in charge?
|Saturday, 9 February 2008 at 16h 11m 14s|
So much for funding corporate bailouts
The credit squeeze, which seemed brutally bad only a few months ago, is getting worse.
Consider Solutia, a chemical company that filed for bankruptcy back in 2003, and got bankruptcy court approval for an exit plan
just three months ago. That plan was based in part on a financing commitment for $2 billion from Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and
That commitment was signed in late October, but now the banks say the market has gotten worse and they will not make the
loans. Solutia sued the banks this week, trying to force them to fork over the money even if they cannot sell the loan to others, as
they had intended to do. Citigroup says the suit is without merit.
Regardless of how that suit turns out, it is an indication of how much harder it has become to get financing for highly leveraged
companies. In recent years, companies that ran into problems could almost always get loans to rescue them. Now they can’t. And
that is before a recession hits most industries.
The number of corporate bankruptcies filed by leveraged borrowers so far this year is greater than the total filed in all of 2006
and 2007, Standard & Poor’s Leveraged Commentary and Data reports.
Norris | New York Times | 8 February 2008]
|Tuesday, 5 February 2008 at 0h 36m 42s|
The politics of hope
“Hope is what led a band of colonists to rise up against an empire; what led the greatest of
generations to free a continent and heal a nation; what led young women and young men to sit at
lunch counters and brave fire hoses and march through Selma and Montgomery for freedom's cause.
Hope-hope-is what led me here today - with a father from Kenya; a mother from Kansas; and a story
that could only happen in the United States of America. Hope is the bedrock of this nation; the
belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us; by all those men and women who are
not content to settle for the world as it is; who have the courage to remake the world as it should
Barack Obama after winning the Iowa caucus in January 2008
|Saturday, 2 February 2008 at 17h 10m 45s|
Bill Clinton on the NCLB fiasco
"The President made a deal with Senator Kennedy and neither one of them meant to mess it up," Bill Clinton told a crowd of about
400 teachers and students in Texarkana.
"The deal was supposed to be, we will give the schools more money and get rid of two programs that Bill Clinton actually started --
hiring more teachers in the early grades which actually does help performance and help schools with construction needs if they are
overcrowded," he said.
"And we will not put anymore money in the after school programs, which does help, and we will raise school performance by telling
people their money depends on how their kids do on tests and we are going to give five tests five years in a row, and we will cut the
states a check based on how they are doing. And then the law kind of winks at the state of Arkansas and says, 'don't worry about it
too much because you get to pick the test and the passing score.' Now think about that you get the worst of all worlds," Clinton
[SOURCE: | ABC News blog | 1 February 2008]
|Saturday, 2 February 2008 at 17h 1m 48s|
Here's Lincoln Chafee, ex-Republican congressman from Rhode Island who did not support the invasion of Iraq. Mr.
is one of the few Republicans who have a conscience that isn't intimately connected with Karl Rove's asshole. He recently
published a book where he decries the inability to form government policy over the last 8 years.
"The top Democrats were at their weakest when trying to show how tough they were," writes Chafee. "They were afraid that
Republicans would label them soft in the post-September 11 world, and when they acted in political self-interest, they helped
the president send thousands of Americans and uncounted innocent Iraqis to their doom.
"Instead of talking tough or meekly raising one's hand to support the tough talk, it is far more muscular, I think, to find out what
is really happening in the world and have a debate about what we really need to accomplish," writes Chafee. "That is the hard
work of governing, but it was swept aside once the fear, the war rhetoric and the political conniving took over."
Chafee writes of his surprise at "how quickly key Democrats crumbled." Democratic senators, Chafee writes, "went down to the
meetings at the White House and the Pentagon and came back to the chamber ready to salute. With wrinkled brows they gravely
intoned that Saddam Hussein must be stopped. Stopped from what? They had no conviction or evidence of their own. They were
just parroting the administration's nonsense. They knew it could go terribly wrong; they also knew it could go terribly right. Which
did they fear more?"
[SOURCE: Dan Froomkin | Washington Post | 1 February
Everyone had access to the same information in 2002. We knew that Iraq was not a threat and did not have weapons of mass
destruction. But the fear of looking weak in the corporate controlled media dominated the minds of the weak-kneed politico's
who voted for this god damn war -- or for the Patriot Act, or the Military Commissions Act of 2006, or the Medicare
"Modernization" Act of 2003/4, or the Bankruptcy "Reform" Act of 2005, or ....
They voted for these despicable measures because they were afraid of being called weak by the corporate media. Now all of
these measures are going to have to be changed in the next 4 to 8 years. Except now the fight against the false framing of the
issues by the corporate media will be that much more difficult.
If I were President, the first act I would make would be to cancel every single piece of legislation passed by the Republicans
during the reign of Dubya Bush. I don't care how unprecidented or politically infeasible that would be. The laws are horrible
extensions of oligarchical authoritarianism and should be repealed.
|Saturday, 2 February 2008 at 3h 46m 31s|
Who do I want for President
The more I listen to him, the more I trust that Obama truly has an understanding of the entire
problem that is Washington. As much as I love Hillary, the ability of Obama to make his point with
clarity and reason puts him one step over.
I admit that I do have reservations about Obama's views on Health Care. I realize that the Health
Insurance industry is ruthless, and that it would be unwise to say that you will pursue National
Health Care. However an intelligent individual cannot escape the savings of efficiency inherent to
a nationalized payment system. The costs would drop 60% because cost would no longer inhibit
people to get preventative health care, the overhead of hundreds of insurance bureaucracy would be
removed. Hospitals would no longer have to carry the burdens of the malignant health insurance
payment system. I believe Obama gets this, and says as much when he talks about cost efficiency.
He will also be the unequivocal bring the troops home now candidate, and be smart with how we use
our military power, which is exactly what we need to defeat Saint McCain.
God help us if the Republicans appoint another Supreme Court judge. That's how important this
election really is.
|Saturday, 26 January 2008 at 20h 19m 2s|
The banks need for capital to cover losses
Here's what Peter Hahn, renowned economics professor gura in London (Cass Business
say about the current economic conditions in light of the recent French bank Societe Generale which
lost 7 billion, and is on the verge of bankrupcy unless they raise 50 billion in new capital.
"Si cela peut arriver à une banque innovatrice et bien gérée comme cette institution, il est clair
que les banques sont amenées aujourd'hui à prendre trop de risques. L'augmentation de capital pour
se prémunir contre les mauvaises surprises de ce type est plus que jamais à l'ordre du jour."
Roche | Le Monde | 25 January 2008]
My translation: If this happens to a bank as innovative and well managed as this [the Societe
Generale] institution, it is clear that the banks are being lead today to take too much risk. The
accumulation of capital to prepare against future bad investments of this type is more than ever
the order of the day
|Saturday, 26 January 2008 at 19h 53m 43s|
The Huckster and false admiration
Last night Republican Presidential candidate, ex-Arkansas Governor,
talked about how he initially supported the invasion of Iraq, then stated "so did many of the
Democrats" and then mentioned that George Bush had the courage to invade Iraq to make sure that the
next 9-11 terrorist attack didn't come from Iraq. He compared the not having Weapons of Mass
Destruction to Easter Eggs. "Just because you don't find any Easter eggs, doesn't mean they
This rationale is horseshit. Rogue operators with a private agenda took it upon themselves to
engineer a full scale propaganda campaign. False ex-patriots were trained to lie to reporters who
printed stories based upon the interviews. The normal intelligence channels were hijacked and
turned into an office overseen by the Vice President. Forged documents were used to foment
yellowcake sales so that Saddam would appear to have a nuclear operation. All of the neighboring
countries -- including Turkey, Eqypt, India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia -- were not in agreement with
the need for the invasion.
Then when the invasion happens, chaos was permitted to reign. Vast looting destroyed plenty of
what was left, including the ancient museum of Baghdad which was utterly destroyed. The only
building that was protected by American forces was the Ministry of Oil. The Nuclear Ministry was
not protected. The Electric grid and the water pumps were not protected. The Army was disbanded
immediately and 40 something billion dollars of Iraqi reserves disappears. Contractors get cost-
plus contracts, most without bidding. The general in charge of reconstruction (Jay Garner, who in
the Iraq of 1991 did the same thing) was fired, and long-time corporate Lawyer Paul
Bremer was brought despite having no experience in the region. Bremer promulgates a new
constitution and sells off pieces of Iraq to non-Iraqi corporations. Young idealistic Republicans
without experience were recruited to do important reconstruction tasks. The contractors perform
badly, waste resources, perform shoddy work, and are not under the military chain of command.
Meanwhile, millions of Iraqis are displaced from their homes, hundreds of thousands are killed,
orphans and widows abound, and the left-over residue of depleted Uranium is leaving parts of Iraq
as a toxic haven.
The invasion of Iraq was not only a complete fraud, it is also a complete disaster. The only
effective way to fight terrorism is to coordiate law enforcement activity with regional forces.
Our ability to track terrorists cannot be improved by creating enmity and sowing hatred of the
United States. Instead we are bankrupting our future and giving the middle east to Russia and
China, who stood away from this fiasco. China owns about 40% of the United States debt. And
wasn't Russia public enemy number one 50 years ago?
Oh, the precious weapons of mass destruction? They were never there, and the neo-con administration
knew they were never there. Most of the rest of world knew they weren't there. They were
destroyed after the first Gulf War. They didn't go to Jordan. They were'nt secreted out in the
night to the Becca Valley in Syria. They weren't there in 2003. They wern't there in 1995
either. The intelligence services knew this too. The real threat of loose nukes on the open market
comes from the leftover piles of Russian nukes, but nothing is being done to safeguard these
assets. There are reports that rich Russians can buy their own personal nukes, and of a recent
find in Slovakia of a jar of yellowcake said to come from Russian sources.
It wasn't that everyone "got it wrong" or that there was "faulty intelligence". The intelligence
was there. The professionals in the CIA and State department were always correct. What the
administration did was far from "courageous," because what they did was lie, and orchestrate a
vast insidious propaganda campaign to convince American Citizens that falsehoods were true, and
that scoundrels were saintly patriots.
The need for the Invasion was to pursue the private policy agendas of the Bush family and it's
minions. Meanwhile how many people are dead or suffering from the actions of these perfumed
live in limosines and private palaces?
It disgusts me to hear Huckabee stand there and say he thinks George Bush courageous. The man is
nothing but an
impish spoiled brat, who has done more harm to this country with his appointments and complete lack
of oversight. Bush ignored all the warning in the 9 months prior to 9-11, and the Huckster wants
to praise him for having "courage" to invade Iraq? What the fuck !? The man lied. The man
knowingly used forged documents. The man handled everything incompetently and has used sinister
secretive means to take power for the Presidency, knowing the current Supreme Court is stacked in
his favor -- you know, the court that handed Bush the presidency.
|Friday, 25 January 2008 at 2h 29m 8s|
Detentions of citizens on false charges
FLORENCE, Ariz. — Thomas Warziniack was born in Minnesota and grew up in Georgia, but immigration
authorities pronounced him an illegal immigrant from Russia.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement has held Warziniack for weeks in an Arizona detention facility
with the aim of deporting him to a country he's never seen. His jailers shrugged off Warziniack's
claims that he was an American citizen, even though they could have retrieved his Minnesota birth
certificate in minutes and even though a Colorado court had concluded that he was a U.S. citizen a
year before it shipped him to Arizona
...U.S. citizens who are mistakenly jailed by immigration authorities can get caught up in a
nightmarish bureaucratic tangle in which they're simply not believed.
An unpublished study by the Vera Institute of Justice, a New York nonprofit organization, in 2006
identified 125 people in immigration detention centers across the nation who immigration lawyers
believed had valid U.S. citizenship claims.
Vera initially focused on six facilities where most of the cases surfaced. The organization later
broadened its analysis to 12 sites and plans to track the outcome of all cases involving citizens.
Nina Siulc, the lead researcher, said she thinks that many more American citizens probably are
being erroneously detained or deported every year because her assessment looked at only a small
number of those in custody. Each year, about 280,000 people are held on immigration violations at
15 federal detention centers and more than 400 state and local contract facilities nationwide.
[SOURCE: Marisa Taylor | McClatchy News
Service | 24 January 2008]
280,000 people a year? That's more than 1 million people every 4 years, or 750 people a day. And
if you apply the ratio of 125 per 12 from the 2006 study to the total of 415 sites mentioned in the
last sentence, there are potentially 4000 persons being held by mistake (For the record, 415
divided by 12 times 125 = 4322 exactly).
we really deporting that many people? Who are those who get deported, where do they go, and how to
they get there? There has to be oversight of this entire process. Right?
This is yet another reason why we have habeus corpus. Because "if" the government makes a mistake,
you don't have to wait for two years in a detention center before you are released.
|Friday, 25 January 2008 at 0h 40m 28s|
A toll road through a State Park in Southern California
A toll road will cross through the upper right of the picture and meet the
right, piercing the land with automobile noise and smog residues.
The gubernator came out in support of the private toll road project. Here is how he explained his
position, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Backing away from his neutral stance, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday urged the California
Coastal Commission to approve a controversial tollway in Orange County that would pass through San
Onofre State Beach, one of California's most popular parks.
"I have concluded that this project is essential to protect our environment and the quality of life
for everyone in California," Schwarzenegger said in a letter to Patrick Kruer, chairman of the
"The project can be built in a manner that will enhance and foster use of the coast and protect
...Schwarzenegger noted that the Foothill South project was a public-private partnership that would
rely on private capital, not state and federal funds, for construction.
He also mentioned that the TCA had offered $100 million to reduce the effect of the road on the
park and provide improvements to San Onofre, San Clemente State Park and Crystal Cove State Park.
"The State Route 241 project gives us a chance to protect our parks and our coastline and reduce
one of the most damaging environmental problems that plagues our state: traffic gridlock,"
Schwarzenegger said in his endorsement letter.
[SOURCE: David Reyes & Dan
Weikel | Los Angeles Times | ]
Hmmm, so we protect our parks and coastline by tossing a sacrificial lamb to the slaughter. How do
you reduce environmental problems by adding a private toll road through a large state park? Note
the tense of that verb in the 5th paragraph. He also mentioned that the TCA HAD offered $100
million . This is not a guarantee, nor is the $100 million offered part of a contractual
obligion. What is this man talking about? What a lot of crap this governor is.
Here's what Robin Everett of the the California Coastal Commission thinks.
Last week, Governor Schwarzenegger voiced his approval of plans to destroy a state park for a toll
road stating that “this project is essential to protect our environment and the quality of life for
everyone in Southern California.” Since when does destroying a state park improve our environment
and quality of life?
[SOURCE: Robin Everett | California Coastal
Commission | ]
The California State Parks commission hates the
idea too. So do a majority of Orange County voters according to a poll (see the link).
“The survey indicated that while a majority of Orange County voters support toll roads in general
(53%), a large majority (70%) oppose a toll road through a state park and more than half of all
surveyed (52%) strongly oppose toll roads through a state park.
GOTO THE NEXT 10 COLUMNS