Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Monday, 16 October 2006 at 19h 55m 12s|
Saving the elephant
Thanks to bartcop.com
|Monday, 16 October 2006 at 17h 50m 46s|
Paul Krugman today
I was just blogging about this event, and lo and behold, Paul Krugman mentions
it too in his op-ed column today.
The current Congress has shown no inclination to investigate the Bush
administration. Last year The Boston Globe offered an illuminating comparison:
when Bill Clinton was president, the House took 140 hours of sworn testimony
into whether Mr. Clinton had used the White House Christmas list to identify
possible Democratic donors. But in 2004 and 2005, a House committee took only
12 hours of testimony on the abuses at Abu Ghraib.
|Monday, 16 October 2006 at 17h 46m 44s|
Hypocrites and conflicts of interest
Click here for the full story in the Houston Chronicle
WASHINGTON — Former FDA chief Lester Crawford has agreed to plead guilty to
charges of failing to disclose a financial interest in PepsiCo Inc. and other
firms regulated by his agency, his lawyer said Monday.
The Justice Department accused the former head of the Food and Drug
Administration in court papers of falsely reporting that he had sold stock in
companies when he continued holding shares in the firms governed by FDA rules.
Conflict of Interest is nothing new to the Rethuglicans. Louisiana Republican
Billy Tauzin, left Congress and was hired for 7 figures as a lobbyist for a big
Pharma medical lobby group -- just after he orchestrated the Medicare --cough
cough -- Reform Act of 2004. Don't you think he got "pay back" ?
It's called the Government to Industry revolving door. After doing
favorable things or making favorable interpretations of the law, one goes from
being a congress person or government employee to getting hired at top dollar
to be a consultant or lobbyist for the corporations and their lobby agencies.
Vice President Dick Cheney is the perfect example, where Cheney goes back and
forth from private industry to government a number of times in 30 plus years
time. It began in, of all places, the Nixon administration, continued as a
consultant for the oil industry, then he was a congressman from Wyoming, then
defense minister, then top CEO of Halliburton, and then finally Vice President.
Granted this is a vast over-simplified timeline, but it works for the point I'm
clarifying. If you want more info, you need to read.
Click here for a Mother Jones article that details some of
the long sordid history of Cheney's travels through the revolving door. Click here for a list of various sources for more articles
about Dick Cheney
Click here for plenty more
Just like Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito both refused
to recuse themselves before court cases even though they had blatant conflicts
of interest. In Alito's case, he had investments with Liberty Financial at the
same time the company was being litigated in his Massachusetts court. Scalia's
Eugene Scalia ) was appointed to direct a bureau of the
labor department so he could gut worker safety rights after the 2000 election.
The son Eugene "has said that employees should pay for their own safety
equipment, when the equipment is required by law" ( source ). The father Antonin Scalia, spent the weekend
hunting ducks with Dick Cheney one month before Scalia was to oversee the
Cheney Energy Documents legal battle. Incidentally the case took an interesting
turn. Click here to read the excellently written findlaw.com
summary of events by John W. Dean.
Ask yourself, is it proper for the judge to spend a close personal bonding
event hunting over the weekend with the defendent one month before the trial,
and then attempt to exonerate that defendent? Scalia went ballistic when a
him this question, angrily defending his right to be impartial and having
security take the reporter's camera away because Scalia didn't want digital
This is the man who is chief justice of the supreme court.
Now I remember when the Rethuglican's stromed the bastille when it was rumored
that Lobbyists were buying access to the Christmas card list of the Clinton's
White House (later proven untrue) or when the White House Travel Office was
seen as "graft ridden" or (according to Wikipedia )
The White House Travel Office is in the residential section of the White House,
and as such, staffers serve strictly at the pleasure of the president.
Historically, a change of administrations usually resulted in a brand new
Travel Office staff. Despite the established presidential privilege of
replacing staffers at will, Congressional Republicans alleged that friends of
President Bill Clinton, including his cousin Catherine Cornelius, had
engineered the firings in order to get the business for themselves. The
House Government Reform and Oversight Committee eventually launched an
investigation into the White House Travel Office firings. After a three-year
investigation, the Chair of the committee, Pennsylvania Republican William
Clinger, accused the Clinton administration of having obstructed the
committee's efforts to investigate the Travelgate scandal.  Clinger also
challenged the White House access to Billy Dale's FBI records in the Filegate
affair.  Ultimately, a president's right to staff his residential
quarters with persons of his choosing prevailed and no grounds for legal action
could be established.
Bill Clinton later described the allegations and investigation as "a fraud".
Now these false accusations got splashed across the front-page of the corporate
newspapers, but buried the eventual proof that there were no grounds for legal
action in the back pages -- if ever mentioned at all. How can this be ? Don't
we have a "free" press?
Sure we do, and a large multinational holding company that owns hundreds of
media companies is free to do and print what it wants. It's just that ignorant
people may be what the huge financial interests want. Right now, news media
companies like newspapers and local television and radio are getting bought up
and downsized so the mother holding company can suck more money and make more
profits. If this diminishes the quality of news, so what. The monopoly on ad
space still ensures lucrative ad sales, even if the circulation and audience
shrinks. Excessive profits are more important than journalism.
A book I suggest to everyone about this rise of corporate consolidation in the
news media is written by two 35 plus year veteran's of the Washington Post.
It's called the News About the News. Get yourself a copy.
As for the recent wave of corruption due to conflicts of interest, how come
these same Rethuglican's can't seem to apply the same vociferous indignation
when it comes to actual illegal action by their own. Republican Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma actually says he's "outraged about
the outrage" ?
Isn't that despicable?
|Sunday, 15 October 2006 at 14h 58m 27s|
John Murtha, shoots from the hip
John Murtha has op-ed in the Washington Post this weekend. Click
Here is the last 30% of his heartfelt piece.
The United States is about to begin its fifth year of occupation and fighting
in Iraq. That makes this war longer than U.S. participation in World Wars I and
II, and longer than the Korean War and our own Civil War. With every year of
occupation, our efforts to fight global terrorism and our military's readiness
to fight future wars have further deteriorated, along with our standing in the
world. Meanwhile, the radical Islamic cause wins more and more recruits.
Despite the presence of more than 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, 23,000 Americans
injured or killed, tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths and the expenditure of
nearly a half a trillion dollars, here are the dismal results:
In September, 776 U.S troops were
wounded in Iraq, the highest monthly toll
in more than two years.
Over the past year, the number of
attacks against U.S. personnel has doubled,
rising from 400 to more than 800 per week.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S.
ambassador to Iraq, recently acknowledged that
sectarian violence has replaced the insurgency as the single biggest threat to
In the past two months, 6,000
Iraqis died, more than in the first year of the
Last week, electricity output
averaged 2.4 hours per day in Baghdad and 10.4
hours nationwide -- 7 percent less than in the same period in 2005.
A Sept. 27 World Public Opinion
poll indicated that 91 percent of Iraqi
Sunnis and 74 percent of Iraqi Shiites want the Iraqi government to ask U.S.-
led forces to withdraw within a year. Ninety-seven percent of Sunnis and 82
percent of Shiites said that the U.S. military presence is "provoking more
conflict than it is preventing." And Iraqi support for attacks against U.S.-led
forces has increased sharply over the past few months, from 47 percent to 61
Now, Karl Rove may call me a defeatist, but can anyone living in the real world
deny that these statistics are heading in the wrong direction? Yet despite this
bleak record of performance, the president continues to stand by his team of
failed architects, preferring to prop them up instead of demanding
Democrats are fighting a war on two fronts: One is combating the spin and
intimidation that defines this administration. The other is fighting to change
course, to do things better, to substitute smart, disciplined strategy for
dogma and denial in Iraq.
That's not defeatism. That's our duty.
|Sunday, 15 October 2006 at 6h 26m 18s|
Links to Republican sex scandals
some wonderful part-time journalist has composed a list of Republican sex
click me baby
|Friday, 13 October 2006 at 19h 58m 8s|
The generational thing
This is a quote from Pulp Fiction (1994) that Samuel L. Jackson would utter
before he shot people dead ( you'd have to see the movie ) . For a long time a
lot of people started thinking this was a real passage in the Book of Ezekiel
in the Bible. Some ( myself included ) thought the quote was the original
passage that was mistranslated by the Catholic church from the original Hebrew,
but nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, this quote is just the
leftover ingenious comments from Quentin Tarantino -- who is in my opinion, one of the all
time great in the film medium of artistic expression. Tarentino is in the 0.1%
of worthy film producers to which I (uber-lord of subjective testimony that I
Anyway, I digress, ... here's the quote.
The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of
the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of
charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for
he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will
strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would
attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the
Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.
|Friday, 13 October 2006 at 18h 25m 53s|
Today's Real news story
The British government is currently considering charging the US
war crimes because of an apparently deliberate killing of a British
journalist. The coroner and witnesses on the ground say it was deliberate.
The US military investigation disagrees, and provided a video of which
there is 15 minutes editted from the tape during the time the shooting
The London Guardian story
Here's the first paragraph of the London Guardian story by Leigh Holmwood :
ITN reporter Terry Lloyd was shot in the head by American troops as he was
being driven to hospital, the inquest into his death was told today.
Here is a story in the Melbourne Sun.
This isn't the first time reporters have been found killed under suspicious
circumstances. When an Italian Journalist Giuliana Sgrena
was nearly killed while investigating where the fake yellowcake Uranium
documents came from, the Italian Prime Minister publically denounced the
actions of the US Military.
|Friday, 13 October 2006 at 17h 14m 20s|
"What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless,
whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the
holy name of liberty and democracy?"
|Monday, 9 October 2006 at 16h 6m 3s|
At least Foley didn't actually have sex with the pages...
oopsie. Not according to a former page who
From French Agency Press (AFP), as posted on yahoo.
The former page said he began receiving messages from Foley while in college.
He told the daily he is uncertain how Foley knew his college instant-message
name, but assumed the lawmaker had access to a directory listing former
The told the Times that some of the explicit e-mails from the ex-congressman
assessed the sexual orientation and physical attributes of underage pages, but
made clear he had decided to wait before making advances.
"I always knew you were a player, but I don't fool around with pages," declared
one instant message from Maf54, a screen name Foley used in numerous exchanges
with former pages.
The young man told the LA Times that he and his fellow pages were surprised
that it took so long for Foley "to get caught," he said.
Click here for the
original LA Times story by staff writer Walter F. Roche, Jr. Here is the lead
paragraph of that story.
A former House page says he had sex with then-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) after
receiving explicit e-mails in which the congressman described assessing the
sexual orientation and physical attributes of underage pages but waiting until
later to make direct advances.
Here's a timeline from Talkingpointsmemo
So now I wonder, how did Foley get a hold of all these instant message names?
that's a lot of pages over the years. Do you
think the pages freely give up that data to the government? How could Foley
possibly know those IM usernames?
Could he have given General Michael Hayden a call at NSA? How else could a
Congressman get this information?
|Monday, 9 October 2006 at 12h 38m 31s|
the front page of the french press
on the front page of Le Figaro is
this story in french. Here is the first paragraph, translated by me.
"The Afghan population could be retaken by the Taliban if the conditions of
life don't change in the next 6 months", warns the ISAF chief of forces
[British General David Richards.]
"Afghanistan is on the edge of a razor."
... [and later] "The Afghani's don't want the Taliban but prefer to live an
austere and disagreeable life than 5 more years of war."
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