Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Monday, 14 July 2008 at 9h 42m 38s|
Cash for access
In order to circumvent the law, GW Bush is using cash donations to his presidential library as a means test for access -- kind of
like what disgraced ex-Congress critter Texan Tom DeLay did with a non-profit Children's fund that got siphoned into various
Republican war chests.
A lobbyist with close ties to the White House is offering access to key figures in George W Bush’s administration in return for six-
figure donations to the private library being set up to commemorate Bush’s presidency.
Stephen Payne, who claims to have raised more than $1m for the president’s Republican party in recent years, said he would
arrange meetings with Dick Cheney, the vice-president, Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, and other senior officials in
return for a payment of $250,000 (£126,000) towards the library in Texas.
Payne, who has accompanied Bush and Cheney on several foreign trips, also said he would try to secure a meeting with the
Unlike campaign donations, there is no requirement to disclose the donors to the libraries, no limit on the amount that can be
pledged and no restrictions on foreigners contributing.
During an undercover investigation by The Sunday Times, Payne was asked to arrange meetings in Washington for an exiled
former central Asian president. He outlined the cost of facilitating such access.
“The exact budget I will come up with, but it will be somewhere between $600,000 and $750,000, with about a third of it going
directly to the Bush library,” said Payne, who sits on the US homeland security advisory council.
He said initially that the “family” of the Asian politician should make the donation. He later added that if all the money was paid
to him he would make the payment to the Bush library. Publicly, it would appear to have been made in the politician’s name
“unless he wants to be anonymous for some reason”.
Payne said the balance of the $750,000 would go to his own lobbying company, Worldwide Strategic Partners (WSP).
Asked by an undercover reporter who the politician would be able to meet for that price, Payne said: “Cheney’s possible,
definitely the national security adviser [Stephen Hadley], definitely either Dr Rice or . . . I think a meeting with Dr Rice or the
deputy secretary [John Negroponte] is possible . . .
[SOURCE: Daniel Foggo | London Times | 13 July 13
Okay then stupid people, do you now see how this game is played? What did you think "lobbyists" do? They are merely the
consiglieri go-betweens, the monetary bag persons for the corruption.
|Monday, 14 July 2008 at 10h 9m 12s|
Our Great Nation
As I was traveling up Interstate 5 to Seattle, somewhere in the Southern part of Washington State, I noticed a huge sign
one of the landowners. The sign: "We live in a great nation ... why change?"
Now I thought about that comment all the way on the drive to Seattle. I imagined going to the front door and speaking with that
landowner, asking him what he thought was going to change. If our country changed, would that imply that we would no longer
be great? Would he be opposed to all change, regardless of the need? Was he resentful of the Bill of Rights and all the
amendments and laws passed since the initial Constitution was written in 1787 ? Indeed, would he have preferred the Articles of
Confederation, since the Constitution itself was a "change" necessitated by the ineffectiveness of the original document of
I supposed that like most pithy aphorisms, this one is stated without reflection. It reflects a conservative mindset which wants
nothing to change, even when change and transitions are inescapable realities of life. The greatness that is our nation, is just a
misunderstood anachronism in the mind's eye. Making a mistake does not give reason for reflection, because the mistake is
admitted. The initial reasoning which justified the creation of the mistake are repeated endlessly. Events are interpreted in ways
construe a continuation of the mistake, rather than provide an impetus to reassess and modify, since change implies weakening
makes us great.
I doubt I will speak with this landowner. He (or she) represents a whole mass of well-intended persons who form their
philosophical positions by mixing fear and ignorance. More specifically, the fear of change commingles with a lack of knowledge
on how the change occurred. If you don't remember how you arrived, how will you know where to go next.
Instead, the flag is waved faster, and singing "God Bless America" defines patriotism in absentia. Myths of history form moral
carried on the backs of righteous leaders who mouth the words that appeal to self-interest, while these leaders chose sides with
elite economic forces that stab the masses in the back. And when the economic decay becomes painful, blame can misdirect
attention from the source of the trouble -- as when Japan and China are blamed when American financiers and CEO's downsized
and expatriated American jobs in the interests of more profit extraction for themselves.
|Friday, 11 July 2008 at 10h 44m 30s|
Why Bush is awful
Oh, gosh, I know if you criticize the worst president, then you are just a bush-basher.
here for the interview with the worst president in the history of the United States. This was an interview with President Bush
on Irish television that caused a bit of a storm in 2004. The interview conducted by the tenacious Carol Coleman of Radio
Television Ireland was not aired on American television, and Bush's press officers apparently complained vociferously about
the rigorous questioning.
In other words, media censorship in America is real. But we had to go through 4 more years of this disaster because of the
refusal by some to admit they made a mistake, and the denial by the media conglomerates to let Americans see all sides of the
Click here for the YouTube interview.
The interview took place almost four years ago, but is the perfect illustration of a man elected purely on name recognition, dirty
money, and no discernible talent. Four years ago, there were still enough Americans who believed Bush's infantile bluster was
charming and direct. Now, even Republicans do not waste their time with him, quietly wishing he would disappear and stop
embarrassing their party.
The interview with Coleman should go down on record as definitive proof of Bush's utter incompetence, a priceless picture of a
madman who had no business occupying the highest office of the land.
[SOURCE: Ben Cohen | Huffington Post | 10 July
|Friday, 11 July 2008 at 10h 32m 52s|
The media treats McCain with kid's gloves
here for an excellent
analysis of how the media lets McCain get away with craven political posturing and outright lying.
During this past week: McCain called the most import entitlement program in the U.S. a disgrace, his top economic adviser called
the American people whiners, McCain released an economic plan that no one thought was serious, he flip flopped on Iraq, joked
about the deaths of Iranian citizens, and denied making comments that he clearly made -- TWICE. All this and it is not even Friday!
Yet watching and reading the mainstream press you would think McCain was having a pretty decent political week, I mean at least
Jesse Jackson didn't say anything about him.
|Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 14h 53m 55s|
Voter fraud tactics
Today the New York Times reports about allegations of voter fraud with anecdotal evidence. Click here for the New York Times story by Adam Nossiter.
Click here for a summary of the history
of Republican voter fraud tactics over the last few years
Note first that the title to the NY Times story is "Officials Investigate 3 Alabama Counties in Voter Fraud Accusations".
Accusations are being investigated by Officials. This does not mean the accusations are true or even
have any validity. The story further calls a Republican political front group a "local citizens group", and says this "local" group
gathered affidavits, without saying how many affidavits, only saying that these affidavits "detailed several cases in which a
one Democratic party official paid citizens for their votes, or encouraged them to vote multiple times."
Three individuals are quoted in the article as attesting to the "payments". Only one of them signed an affidavit however, and this
man is a 23 year old unemployed man who said he had been paid by "local officials" (which local officials?). The other two
"sources" were not said to have signed affidavits, but were quoted as saying they have seen the selling of votes and that it is a
The Perry County district attorney, Michael W. Jackson (a Democrat) said he thought the volume of absentee ballots was odd,
stating that "When you get the absentee ballots, it’s a lot easier to pull that off, forge their names, vote for them".
The Republican Secretary of State Beth Chapman "raised questions" ... since
a quarter of the voters here, 1,114, cast absentee ballots, a percentage that is six times the state average and a figure that Ms.
Chapman called “astronomical.” In Jefferson County, which includes Birmingham and has 60 times Perry County’s population of
10,600, there were 365 absentee ballots.
However, the rate of absentee ballots is expected to increase in rural counties which long distances to polling places are more
common. So the reasoning used by Mrs. Chapman has very little merit.
The Republican Alabama Attorney General Troy King seized records in three Alabama counties. He commented about the
possible voting fraud tactics on Fox news, but declined to answer questions by the New York Times.
Mind you this is the same state which sent ex-Governor , Democrat Don Seigelman to jail on false accusations. It is also curious
that the New York Times was only able to mention one of the supposed "several" affidavits and all three accusations are
extremely vague. You'd think an affidavit would state a name, or be specific about precisely what was done and how. If we
assume that absentee ballots are causing problems, that means that 25% of 1,114 voters (about 270) mentioned by Mrs.
potentially fraudulent. Are all 270 absentee ballots fraudulent? Probably not.
The last time this happened in Missouri, after a 2 year investigation, the authorites were only able to find 2 incidences of actual
voter fraud -- a women who signed her daughter's ballot because she wouldn't be home in time, and another person who used
an address at one of his properties instead of his home address, but only voted once anyway. 2 years of investigating, and that
was all they ever found.
I'm skeptical, but I admit I really don't know. It is odd however that this surfaces now, don't you think.
|Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 8h 32m 38s|
The boring news media
CNN is unbelievable. The big story yesterday was the Jesse Jackson flap. Jackson made a remark off-camera that was
disparaging of Obama, and of course the news media went to town, making sure it went the rounds of multi-television coverage.
What was the remark? Obama is talking down on black people. Click here for a decent
perspective from Domenico Montanaro at MSNBC. (NOTE: I usually detest MSNBC, but in this case, the summary analysis is
adequate for the purpose of the uniformed reader.)
But why didn't the news media spend equal time covering McCain's pathetic joke about shipping cigarettes to Iran being a good
thing because "maybe that's a way of killing them." Click here for the Reuters story.
The google news articles list 219 for the McCain joke, and 1,184 for the Obama-Jackson flap.
Now ask yourself, which
political flap statement is more revealing of the 2 candidates running for election?
So CNN decides to run with the Jackson comment about Obama. On the Wolf Blitzer show, the segment of Jackson making his
aside remark is played, and then "in order to analyze" the event they bring up 2 pasty white expert "political analysts" to discuss
what one black man said about another. How ridiculous can this be?
Which got me thinking. Why the hell are these news analysts even there? Who cares what they have to say, or what their opinion
is? I mean, isn't the news just about giving the facts and the information, rather than a few selected stories followed by "analysis"
from generic, good looking media people who are getting paid 6 figure salaries to spin the information for the mindless public
that watches this crap. Personally, I find it annoying, especially when the so-called "political" consultants are really just mouth-
pieces for some agenda.
|Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 18h 37m 14s|
The problem with Health Insurance
Click here for a New
Times article on the topic.
The problem is that private health insurance really only benefits those who are healthy. Those who are not healthy, or who are
seen to have a pre-existing health condition, are effectively priced out of health insurance. Then when these people get sick,
they get very sick and have to go to a hospital that has to legally treat them, and then the astronomical health care bills put them
in the poor house for the rest of their life.
Even those with health insurance discover that their private health insurance company gets to decide what it doesn't want to pay
for, and also forces doctors not to do certain operations because the private health insurance companies are too busy worrying
about spending money. The result is that patients really don't get the health care they need unless they are either fortunate to
never have health problems, or they are wealthy.
Furthermore, those who get slammed by the enormous bills they can't pay, force the private hospital network to raise their rates.
cancer patients are dropped by their insurance companies, or force those who have insurance to pay some of the bills out of their
Then there are the bureaucratic games the insurance companies play in the hope that their patients will just give up trying to get
that $1500 bill paid, and just pay it themselves. If you don't get that form in by 15 days, they don't pay. Filling out forms and
unnecessary delays are part of the business model that
large corporate insurers use to pad their bottom line because they expect a certain percentage of their clients to just give up
rather than go through expensive legal proceedings in order to collect on a bill that can be a few thousand dollars.
Private firms are efficient about making money, but this efficiency comes at the expense of the health of the clients, who really
don't have much of a choice. The private insurance companies externalize as many costs as they can get away with, and people
who don't have an elastic budget get stuck with difficult decisions like whether they should buy food or cut back on their
When I busted my finger, I couldn't get my insurance company Kaiser-Permanente to do ligament repair work, because in their
mind, it was an expense they didn't feel like paying for. Since the injury isn't life-threatening, the surgery was deemed optional.
Was it worth taking them to court over a period of 2 to 4 years, paying legal fees that I can't afford? Maybe, but like most people
that didn't happen, so now I have a bum middle finger on my right hand.
And I have what is considered very good health insurance.
We are all paying for this atrocious health care system, one way or another, and we don't really get the quality health care
coverage because the system as it is now is just a profit-extraction machine for CEO's and share-holders. It's not about
health care at all.
It would be a whole lot cheaper if everyone was in the same insurance pool, and we taxed ourselves to pay the total bill. People
would get their minor health issues dealt with early before they become major (and expensive) health care issues years later.
Doctors could focus upon caring for their patients instead of worrying whether the insurance companies will pay or when they
will pay. The overhead of 25 to 35 percent profit margins would shrink to 5 percent.
The court system would also not be clogged with the endless legal maneuvers of insurance companies trying to avoid their
contractual obligations. The cost of malpractice insurance would come far down because the insurance companies would be
taken out of the equation. Medical decisions that need to get made are a lot easier to make when doctors and patients don't have
to concern themselves with who pays. Medical decisions would be a cooperative effort to heal the sick and improve the health of
the patient, rather than a cost that might get debated and second-guessed.
Malpractice is also more effectively handled by hospitals and county health commissioners. Hospitals should have to pay
the costs of malpractice suits rather than insurance companies anyway. It is the hospitals who hire bad doctors, or who force
doctors to skim on their health decisions to cut corners because of the stress on the system due to the uninsured patients they
have to treat. Doctors who are outside the hospital system nevertheless have to work with the hospitals, and are also themselves
subject to laws that should get enforced by the legal system, not by the astronomical cost of malpractice insurance.
At one time, it was illegal for hospitals to be run on a for-profit basis. My personal opinion is that health-care is a right, in
addition to being in the best interest of everyone. We only create an unhealthy social system when we ignore the many small
costs of an unhealthy population based on ability to pay. Non-diagnosed mental illnesses alone create a lot of people who
suddenly just blow-up and do crazy things that cause harm to a lot of innocent people, either due to violence, crime, or murder
-- especially when you consider drug-addiction an undiagnosed mental illness.
There isn't a market-based solution in which someone gets to make a lot of money for every aspect of society. However, if we
persist in trying to put this square peg in the circle, we create the dysfunctional, unhealthy society that we currently have.
|Friday, 4 July 2008 at 11h 30m 51s|
I must say that I am astonished at Obama's support for this FISA capitulation that he says is a workable compromise. I
however defer to another Constitutional lawyer.
Click here for
Glenn Greenwald's analysis.
Also, did you notice that the LA Times published an opinion From Torture-boy Alberto Gonzalez -- the man who resigned from
Attorney General in disgrace when he blatantly lied to Congress as they were investigating the arbitrary firings of Federal
Attorneys. This man produced memo's which called the torture techniques okay as long as someone didn't die, because the
Geneva Conventions are "quaint" . This is the man who permitted and abetted the creation of partisan hiring practices and
turned the department of justice into a partisan masquerade in which trials were pursued in order to eviscerate the political
opposition : the total lack of evidence or justifiable purpose was irrelevant. There is an overwhelming case that the
issue of voter fraud is miniscule (maybe a total of 5 cases, and less then 10 votes,) but the department of Civil Rights pursued
cases for over 2 years in an effort to foment partisan attacks and reduce the ability of people to vote who happened to be
Yet this man is allowed to publish an opinion in the Los Angeles Times about the importance of the Hispanic vote? Why is this
criminal given any credibility at all? He should be in jail.
Are the editors at the Los Angeles Times completely clueless? Mind you, these are college educated individuals who are
supposed to be professionally aware of contemporary history. And yet torture-boy gets to publish an opinion.
The corporate press is just a public relations arm of the elite agenda. They create issues and then hire corrupt assholes to
promote opinions that serve that agenda.
What other reason can there be?
|Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 9h 54m 46s|
Interrogation techniques from Chinese Communists
Did you know that Guantanamo soldiers were being trained to use torture techniques that were lifted verbatim from
manuals in 1957?
WASHINGTON — The military trainers who came to Guantánamo Bay in December 2002 based an entire interrogation class on a
chart showing the effects of “coercive management techniques” for possible use on prisoners, including “sleep deprivation,”
“prolonged constraint,” and “exposure.”
What the trainers did not say, and may not have known, was that their chart had been copied verbatim from a 1957 Air Force
of Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false, from American
The recycled chart is the latest and most vivid evidence of the way Communist interrogation methods that the United States long
described as torture became the basis for interrogations both by the military at the base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and by the
Central Intelligence Agency.
Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said after reviewing the 1957
article that “every American would be shocked” by the origin of the training document.
“What makes this document doubly stunning is that these were techniques to get false confessions,” Mr. Levin said. “People say
we need intelligence, and we do. But we don’t need false intelligence.”
Shane | New York Times | 2 July 2008]
Which is what I've been saying all along? Using torture is not meant to extract intelligence. Torture is used to intimidate and to
force the tortured individuals to say and do what you want them to say and do.
The whole point of the secret torture camps was to
create show trials and extract false confessions. It was never about extracting useful intelligence, because you only get useful
intelligence from assets that have infiltrated the groups and organizations from which you want information. How much useful
intelligence was extracted from American POW's? Exactly. But tortured American POW's were used in propaganda efforts, and
that's why we tortured these lower rung "enemy combatants," half of whom were not even members of Al Qaeda.
|Monday, 30 June 2008 at 10h 7m 6s|
Hold on tight, the worst is yet to come
The McCain corporatists are about to get upset about General Wesley Clark's statement on FACE THE NATION:
CLARK: He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee. And he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn't held
executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded — that wasn't a wartime squadron. He hasn't been
there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn't seen what it's like when diplomats come in and say, "I don't know whether we're
going to be able to get this point through or not, do you want to take the risk, what about your reputation, how do we handle this
publicly? He hasn't made those calls, Bob.
SCHIEFFER: Can I just interrupt you? I have to say, Barack Obama hasn't had any of these experiences either, nor has he ridden in
a fighter plane and gotten shot down.
CLARK: I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president.
Being in the military doesn't automatically qualify you to be president, especially when you participated in anti-American
propaganda as a result of torture by the North Koreans, and then divorced your first wife on return to the states so you could
marry a young rich pretty woman.
A lot of folks are getting mesmerized by the corporate media's urgent attempts to turn people sour on the Obama campaign.
However, this election will be different than the 1992 election that ushered in Clinton, not the least of which is that there is no
viable third party candidate like Ross Perot soaking up 16 to 20 percent of the vote. The Ron Paul "revolution" may be strong, but
(unlike anti-NAFTA Ross "giant-sucking-sound" Perot) Ron Paul is no longer actively running for President.
First: Obama will not be what you want or think he should be, and remember that anyone running for President has to
take a somewhat centrist position. Harry Truman and Franklin D. Roosevelt did not presage their Presidential results during their
campaigns. Roosevelt was an aristocrat in a wheelchair. Truman was a little known Missouri politician who made his name
investigating military contractor corruption, but who was himself seen as part of the Missouri political machine.
Second: the face of the supreme court will change if a Republican becomes president. It's really that simple people.
Quit your whining about what Obama says or does not say, hold your nose if you have to, and vote Democratic.
The Rethuglican Contract on America (which ushered in the Republican Congressional landslide of 1994) and the way the
insurance companies propagandized against the Health-care initiative really mangled anything Clinton might have intended to
do. Clinton did not have control of congress, nor did Clinton have 8 years of a Republican disaster as a historical background.
Oil prices and the economic disruptions in 1992 are nothing like they are today in 2008 where we are on the precipice not seen
This time it will be different, because the Democrats will sweep the Rethuglicans out of Congress ... and the control of media is
not as thorough as it was in 1992-2000 because of the blogosphere and the rise of citizen journalism on the internet. The
power of the corporate spin-merchants to manufacture fear and disinformation has shrunk enormously.
Witness the 2006 campaign, where the so-called experts got overwhelmed, because their models of measuring public opinion
didn't work. Polling companies are based upon 3 things: land-line phones, people being home, and willingness to answer the
phone or participate. In these days of cell-phones and evening working hours, a whole lot of people ages 21 -45 are getting
missed by the polls.
What these polls really measure is the effect of the corporate televisions reiteration on those who watch that reiteration. Notice
how little the "Reverend Wright" nonsense had even though the corporate media played it endlessly, and then produced polls
which were supposed to represent the American people.
Those polls however did not represent the American people.
Republicans do not represent the American people either, and notice the Ron Paul movement as a result. Ron Paul raised more
money than all the Republican presidential candidates (except Romney I think) and still the establishment media refused to invite
Mr. Ron Paul to various debates. Even still, the Ron Paul movement didn't go away.
Likewise, Obama is raising funds from small $100 internet donations. 2 million times $100 is 200 million. Unlike Clinton, Obama
doesn't need PAC, lobbyist, or largest elite donations in order to raise funds. This is another very signifigant difference from
So everyone just calm down, and ignore the insanity of the corporate media that will be trying very hard to make you cynical so
that you don't vote. If we all get out an vote, we will overwhelm them and their pitiful attempts to frame the election issues in
order to control the policy agenda of the American people.
GOTO THE NEXT 10 COLUMNS