Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Monday, 26 December 2005 at 7h 25m 32s|
President spoiled rotten
Steve Chapman over at the Chicago Tribune, has
Beyond the imperial presidency
Published December 25, 2005
President Bush is a bundle of paradoxes. He thinks the scope of the federal
government should be limited but the powers of the president should not. He
wants judges to interpret the Constitution as the framers did, but doesn't
think he should be constrained by their intentions.
He attacked Al Gore for trusting government instead of the people, but he
insists anyone who wants to defeat terrorism must put absolute faith in the man
at the helm of government.
His conservative allies say Bush is acting to uphold the essential prerogatives
of his office. Vice President Cheney says the administration's secret
eavesdropping program is justified because "I believe in a strong, robust
executive authority, and I think that the world we live in demands it."
But the theory boils down to a consistent and self-serving formula: What's good
for George W. Bush is good for America, and anything that weakens his power
weakens the nation. To call this an imperial presidency is unfair to emperors.
Even people who should be on Bush's side are getting queasy. David Keene,
chairman of the American Conservative Union, says in his efforts to enlarge
executive authority, Bush "has gone too far."
He's not the only one who feels that way. Consider the case of Jose Padilla, a
U.S. citizen arrested in 2002 on suspicion of plotting to set off a "dirty
bomb." For three years, the administration said he posed such a grave threat
that it had the right to detain him without trial as an enemy combatant. In
September, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit agreed.
But then, rather than risk a review of its policy by the Supreme Court, the
administration abandoned its hard-won victory and indicted Padilla on
comparatively minor criminal charges. When it asked the 4th Circuit Court for
permission to transfer him from military custody to jail, though, the once-
cooperative court flatly refused.
In a decision last week, the judges expressed amazement that the administration
suddenly would decide Padilla could be treated like a common purse snatcher--a
reversal that, they said, comes "at substantial cost to the government's
credibility." The court's meaning was plain: Either you were lying to us then,
or you are lying to us now.
If that's not enough to embarrass the president, the opinion was written by
conservative darling J. Michael Luttig--who just a couple of months ago was on
Bush's short list for the Supreme Court. For Luttig to question Bush's use of
executive power is like Bill O'Reilly announcing that there's too much Christ
This is hardly the only example of the president demanding powers he doesn't
need. When American-born Saudi Yasser Hamdi was captured in Afghanistan, the
administration also detained him as an enemy combatant rather than entrust him
to the criminal justice system.
But when the Supreme Court said he was entitled to a hearing where he could
present evidence on his behalf, the administration decided that was way too
much trouble. It freed him and put him on a plane back to Saudi Arabia, where
he may plot jihad to his heart's content. Try to follow this logic: Hamdi was
too dangerous to put on trial but not too dangerous to release.
The disclosure that the president authorized secret and probably illegal
monitoring of communications between people in the United States and people
overseas again raises the question: Why?
The government easily could have gotten search warrants to conduct electronic
surveillance of anyone with the slightest possible connection to terrorists.
The court that handles such requests hardly ever refuses. But Bush bridles at
the notion that the president should ever have to ask permission of anyone.
He claims he can ignore the law because Congress granted permission when it
authorized him to use force against Al Qaeda. But we know that can't be true.
Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales says the administration didn't ask for a revision
of the law to give the president explicit power to order such wiretaps because
Congress--a Republican Congress, mind you--wouldn't have agreed. So the
administration decided: Who needs Congress?
What we have now is not a robust executive but a reckless one. At times like
this, it's apparent that Cheney and Bush want more power not because they need
it to protect the nation, but because they want more power. Another paradox: In
their conduct of the war on terror, they expect our trust, but they can't be
bothered to earn it.
Herr Bush is an alcoholic degenerate spoiled-rotten brat. He is also mean and
vindictive. And he is also the President.
|Monday, 26 December 2005 at 17h 25m 1s|
Ho ho ho ...
Yea, I know ... it's one day late.
|Monday, 12 December 2005 at 19h 28m 13s|
An appointed mobster
More on the Randy Cunningham defense contractor scandal. You
According to the LA Times, Schwasti-boy seems to be involved ( that's
Schwartzeneger for those of you for whom my belligerent sarcasm is not
immediately recognized .) According to Dan Morain, LA Times Staff
A businessman tied to the bribery scandal involving former Rep. Randy "Duke"
Cunningham donated more than $70,000 to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign
committees and received two gubernatorial appointments.
At Schwarzenegger's behest, Brent Wilkes, founder of the government contractor
ADCS Inc., resigned Nov. 29 from the Del Mar Fair Board and from another panel
that oversees the leasing of state land for racetracks, said Margita Thompson,
the governor's press secretary.
Schwarzenegger appointed Wilkes to the Del Mar board in April 2004 and to the
State Race Track Leasing Commission last April. A seat on the Del Mar board is
a sought-after post given the panel's association with the Del Mar racetrack,
among the most successful tracks in the nation.
...Wilkes' company, ADCS, which is based in Poway, has received millions in
Keep your eye on the ball folks. The news will be pounding on the $80,000
donations. What is important here are the appointed positions, not the money.
Look what this manipulator of federal contract laws gets appointed to,the
Del Mar Fair Board and a panel that oversees the leasing of state
land for racetracks.
Can you say, money laundering?
Why do you think the mob was always heavily involved in the development of
gambling institutions, because you could shuffle a lot of cash and make them
appear as winnings. I recall reading about how a certain mob racket out of
Miami operated by hiring professional gamblers to sit around and "win" while
they were really shuffling the money through. They would get a "cut" of the
winnings but those "winnings" would be re-deposited elsewhere.
Of course you do realize that this is all uninformed speculation on my part,
but I still hear an implosion.
|Monday, 5 December 2005 at 22h 4m 14s|
More Corruption from San Diego
Thanks to Kevin Drum [SOURCE]
...Last week Duke Cunningham pled guilty to accepting $2.4 million in bribes
and evading more than $1 million in taxes. Government documents in the case
also referred to a "co-conspirator No. 1," later identified as a military
contractor named Brent Wilkes. But acording to the San Diego Union-
Tribune, Cunningham wasn't the only guy Wilkes was associated with:
"Wilkes befriended other legislators, too. He ran a hospitality suite, with
several bedrooms, in Washington — first in the Watergate Hotel and then in the
Westin Grand near Capitol Hill."
When will the Chronicle discuss or investigate this?
Instead, here are today's front-page stories.
ON THE BORDER
Civilian border patrols across the country have helped polarize political
debate over immigration reform. As part of an occasional series, The Chronicle
spends an evening on patrol with small group in California.
- Tyche Hendricks
-- This is the next distraction from the real issues of health care,
and movement of capital to low cost labor regions of the world (ie, China!!!).
Blame everything on the Mexicans.
Quake survivors in a race with time
As winter arrives, many ill-prepared for harsh conditions
- Declan Walsh
-- Reminder to San Fran : be afraid, man-made disaster looms
THE LINE OF FIRE
Some citizens fear for safety if courts uphold S.F.'s voter-approved ban on
- Cecilia M. Vega
-- the voters approve and "some" citizens get to have a story on the front
Hey, can "some" of us other citizens get to have special stories like this
too. Was it another slow news day today?
How about Cunningham scandal may link other legislators ?
DeLay's money laundering charges upheld
See what I mean. Note that it's not whether the 3 chosen stories were valid
stories, but whether they were so important as to be on the front page. Why
does the Pakistani earthquake victim story trump the Tom Delay money laundering
At least the quake story is more valid than a day two discussion on whether or
not Schwastikaniger can attract
moderates with an appointment of Governor Davis's ex-cabinet member -- as if
merely his appointment of a stereotype is worth more than the substance of his
But instead, what we read is the 2nd hand version of the real conversation.
It's all about the show and the costumes, or the chosen morality drama, NOT
about honesty, integrity, and the truth.
|Monday, 5 December 2005 at 20h 50m 49s|
Fair and balanced my ass
Mendacious and Biased
A manufactured "War" on Christmas has a "Victory" ?
If Liberals do ... What?
Look at the pompous, over-blown kinship of those who call themselves news
analysts and news anchors on the Fox news network. Hired propaganda agents?
Zealots for the cause of 6 to 7 figure salaries? You be the judge,
but "mendacious and biased" to the extreme is certainly what the Fox network is
really all about. History has already deposited the relics of truth.
|Thursday, 1 December 2005 at 20h 22m 1s|
Watch this very carefully
Another installment in an ongoing
This was on page one, for the second day in a row.
Governor's hire riles GOP conservatives
ANALYSIS: A move to attract moderates
- - Carla Marinucci
We get the reaction to yesterday's story and the "analysis" on the front
Was it a slow news day?
Notice how the "ANALYSIS" is just the cliff notes for the dupes
called "moderates." With these two loaded sentences probably not even chosen
by writer Carla Marinucci (the executive editors usually create headlines) we
learn that Schwastikaniger is trying to re-package his "image." The "fact"
that he's "riling" conservatives would certainly make him "attractive" to those
on the fence "moderates" that really do want to vote for Scwasti-baby but are
just too worried that the Gubernator is lock step with his "conservative"
Analysis is another word for "spin." They are dressing this proto-fascist up
in "moderates" clothes so that they can re-install those "buggy" computer
voting machines and make-believe that it was moderates to "attracted" the new
Schwastikaniger who voted for him in 2006. These people don't play. Do. Not.
So I go read the
article. It is
filled with ambiguous words that are
apparently the norm of political "analysis" and is chock-a-block with quotes
from politicos and policy analysts.
After a more fleshy 2 paragraphs which beef out the headlines, The first quote
comes from Steve Frank, longtime political activist and publisher of the
California Political News and Views, an influential conservative blog,
who says "He can't run as a Republican, because his administration has hired
some of the key people we recalled with Gray Davis in the first place."
Then we get Michael Spence, who heads the California Republican Assembly, a
conservative grassroots organization, (astro-turf??) who "said that
within hours of the news of Kennedy's appointment, the buzz from the right
included talk of finding alternatives to the GOP governor who has "betrayed the
loyalty of people who worked for him in the special election."
Next up, unnamed "political insiders in California -- still a year from the
2006 election for governor -- said no one should be writing Schwarzenegger's
political obituary, despite the devastating defeat of all his measures in the
Nov. 8 special election. "
Yet when Mrs. Marinucci makes her point
that "Many Democrats agree," she chooses to quote one person alone in support
of her plural form : Phil Trounstine (who??), the head
of the San Jose State Survey and Policy Research Institute and former
communications director for Davis who worked closely with Kennedy in the
Democratic governor's inner circle. In other words, she asks ex-governor
Davis's press manager
who now works as top gun at an institute that "surveys" opinions and produces
white papers rationalizing policy based on the surveys.
Okay, yea, and he's the only "Democrat" she quotes. Couldn't she try to get a
quote from State Senate Majority leader Peralta, or oft-quoted Burton, or
someone higher up in the Democratic food chain. Or at least someone else, I
mean if Democrats agree, than certainly she could have found any number who
could have been quoted. But hey, since he "worked closely" with
the woman, I suppose that makes his quotes worth twice as much.
I'm onto you Madame Marinucci. You are the hand-maiden of Judith Miller,
The piece ends with the establishment Republican voice, ex-Governor Pete
Wilson. In fact, ex-Governor Wilson's quoting takes a full 33% of this "front
page article." But hey, since "Democrats agree," why give 10% from Pete to get
more than one source from the labeled Democratic side?
So what is this piece anyway, an outsourcing of 3 politicos and some
unknown "Democrat" on the front page, calling itself "analysis" ?
This is what the Chronicle does? It puts this kind of speculative,
inconsequetial political gossip borderline persuasion on the front page
in lieu of actual factual based news. The story should not be on the front
page, because there is not one smidgeon of analysis, just a bunch of
presumptions and opinions by a few selected persons. There were no numbers to
support the contentions of "the analysis," only hearsay and voices from people
who have a very good reason to be biased.
It's political gossip, not analysis.
|Wednesday, 30 November 2005 at 19h 54m 18s|
Paul Waldman is cool
Paul Waldman writes a regular blog at the online blog-a-zine
President Bush gave the umpteenth version of his Iraq speech today, and as
always we were told that this speech would really turn things around because
Bush would define the issue and explain to people why
In fact, the speech included no fewer than fifteen repetitions of the
word "victory." So this is my question:
Just what, exactly, is "victory" in Iraq?
After all, we won't have the insurgents signing an armistice. There are no
generals to surrender. Zarqawi could be captured tomorrow and the insurgency
would continue unabated. So how will we know when we've won? Bush keeps telling
us that in order to honor the sacrifices of the brave men and women who have
died there, we have to keep our soldiers there to keep dying, to finish the
job, to achieve that glorious victory. So what is this victory supposed to
consist of? And just as important, is there a single person in the
administration who has a clue what the answer to that question is?
Copyright © Paul Waldman.
|Wednesday, 30 November 2005 at 17h 59m 59s|
Winning the hearts and minds
Thanks to Atrios on the scoop.
Times. [ SOURCE ]
WASHINGTON -- As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is
secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops
in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.
The articles, written by U.S. military "information operations" troops, are
translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a
defense contractor, according to U.S. military officials and documents obtained
by the Los Angeles Times.
Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts
written and reported by independent journalists. . The stories trumpet the work
of U.S. and Iraqi troops, denounce insurgents, and tout U.S.-led efforts to
rebuild the country.
While the articles are basically truthful, they present only one side of events
and omit information that might reflect poorly on the U.S. or Iraqi
governments, officials said. Records and interviews indicate that the U.S. has
paid Iraqi newspapers to run dozens of such articles -- with headlines such
as "Iraqis Insist on Living Despite Terrorism" -- since the effort began this
The military's effort to disseminate propaganda in the Iraqi media is taking
place even as U.S. officials are pledging to promote democratic principles,
political transparency and freedom of speech in a country emerging from decades
of dictatorship and corruption.
The storyboards, several of which were obtained by The Times, read more like
press releases than news stories. They often contain anonymous quotes from U.S.
military officials; it is unclear whether the quotes are authentic.
"Absolute truth was not an essential element of these stories," said the senior
military official who spent this year in Iraq.
Surprise, surprise. This is what corporate news does here too. In fact,if it
is on the front page, chances are that you are either reading something
sensationalistically inconsequential or you are reading some "political-
analyst" spinning the real news.
For instance, ex-San Diego Congressperson Randall Duke Cunningham has just been
..receiving $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors and evading more
than $1 million in taxes.
Bribery charges involving a sitting member of Congress are relatively rare.
The money involved makes Cunningham's the largest such case since several
members of Congress were convicted of bribery in the early 1980s.
( -- Tony Perry, Los
Angeles Times --SOURCE)
Makes you think this was front page news. Nope, the Chronicle put this story
from the LA Times on page A-5. What was on the front page? Black hoodlums
breaking into one
Oakland liquor store, new attacks by insurgents in Iraq, and the new fishing
season in the bay area. Cunningham got a close-up pic with just his hand over
face no background, but the story was on A-5. Adjacent to Cunningham was a
picture of bad ole
Saddam yelling at the court that is trying him in Iraq -- you get it, don't
you, the bad guys are going to court. But the Iraqi court has been
largely appointed by and orchestrated behind the scenes by U.S. Officials.
And today :
FRONT PAGE STORIES
A quiet move in House to split the 9th Circuit
Uh,oh -- politics in the court-room
Black Muslims arrested in store attacks
2 suspects surrender -- Oakland police urge 4 others to turn themselves in
Citizens alert, the bad guys are close to getting caught
Fighting over the soul of Oakland waterfront
Vast housing plan raises issues of affordability, access
The soul of what? Oh, do you mean that soul-ful Shopping Mall at Jack
Governor taps ex-Davis aide as chief of staff
First move in a shakeup
See, the governor can get his act together after all. Returning
from China so he can look gubernatorial, the boss is out kicking butt. OOOOO-
weeee. He looked so cute smiling on the front page with his anorexic wife last
Stem cell program wins key court ruling, poised to issue grants
Hey, hey, money is in the pipeline.
And todays paper breathes not one more word. Will there be a follow up story?
Mind you that
According to documents filed in federal court, Cunningham began receiving
bribes in 2000 as his seniority gave him political power to influence the
awarding of defense contracts.
--[ SOURCE ]
Remember when Secretary of State Kevin Shelley was on the front page of the San
Francisco Chronicle for nearly 2 straight months over a "scandal" in which a
few $10,000 contribution checks came from owners of properties that were
probably illegally benefiting from tax breaks. Rumor was the "deal" was quid
pro quo. Shelley eventually resigned, but he was oddly never indited. The
auditing board found minor discrepancies but nothing for which Shelley could be
By the way, it is the Secretary of State who has power over the contracts of
voting machines and who is the final authority on all issues relating to
voting. Shelley cancelled Diebold contracts after the 2003 recall farce when
Diebold refused to answer legitimate questions over numerous "irregularities"
and refused to allow the software to be inspected.
Shelley was also going around giving talks to various groups about banning the
use of the machines. Go here
That's why Shelley was taken out, so they can put those corrupt machines in.
That's why Shelley was a front-page reminder for damn near 2 months.
But Randall Cunningham,a sitting Congressional representative of San Diego
indited for consistent bribery that aggregated into the millions gets
one little bitty day on page 5.
Why wasn't this pic on the front page?
This happens all the time, week after week.
Can. It. Be. Any. More. Obvious.
Someone tell me the San Francisco
Chronicle is not a front for the spin machine of the financial giants because
I'm having a very difficult time believing otherwise.
|Tuesday, 29 November 2005 at 21h 52m 4s|
An honorable soldier
I cannot support a mission that leads to corruption, human rights abuse, and
I am sullied.
I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored.
From a suicide note left by Colonel van Heusen after he shot himself at the
Iraqi airport. His mission was to oversee the private contractors training of
Iraqi troops that has been negligent at best due to the priority of private
subcontracts making money at the expense of responsibility.
Mr. Orrin Hatch, and various troglodytes in the Republican party have all
stated that we can't bring the troops home until we finish the job.
What exactly is the job? To spend eight times the money so government
contractors can make a bundle without doing "the job" they are supposed to be
finishing. Most of the reconstruction funding has been eaten up by the high
profit margins and sub-sub contracting processes of skimming funds -- Company A
sub-contracts at 10% to company B who subcontracts at 10% to company C, which
increases the cost by 1+.10 to the 3rd power ... an overall 33% increase just
because C signed a paper that was routed through B and A.
This is not about government waste. This is about private firms being
permitted to exploit the government by cronies and Bush administration
officials AT THE EXPENSE OF THE INTEGRITY AND PURPOSE OF THE MISSION that was
purported to be the reason for invading Iraq.
So for all you damn morons with concrete keeping your eyes closed, we were not
invited by an Iraqi resistance movement to come save them from Saddam. The WMD
reason was bullshit from the start. The
damage created by our bombing alone nullifies whatever moral authority presumed
by the United States because we were not invited nor attacked -- nor were we or
anyone else threatened. So who was being intimidated by our big and bad "shock
and awe" ferociousness? Women and children? Electric power plants and sewage
treatment plants that have still not been rebuilt ?
I hear all those incredibly self-flattering talking points you
offer, but how do you create a stable economy when the privatization process is
importing workers and performing shabby service at high price? How do you
create a stable democracy when the political
process is completely corrupted by American bribery and intimidated by
What a very different history our own nation would have had, if Spain had
invaded the Colonies in lieu of "saving" us from the evil designs of King
George? Recall that Spain owned Mexico during the 1760s. Would we call the
rebels who formed roving bands "insurgents" ? Would we respect the
constitution had it been written by a court appointed Spaniard who wrote
various favorable codes into the document that favored Spanish merchants? Or if
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had been on Spain's payroll -- like
Chalabi and Allawi. What
if Spain started importing Italians for labor instead of hiring colonists, or
if colonial businesses had to compete with the large resource of invading
We have found the enemy. And the enemy is us.
It completely amazes me how arrogant and out-right presumptuous the idea that
it was "our job" to invade Iraq in the name of freedom. Look at
the history of the United States and the history of global military in
general. How many times was there an unprovoked invasion which resulted in
freedom? The United States "invaded" the Phillipines, Cuba, and Nicaragua in
the early 20th Century, and all were followed by dictatorships and repressive
regimes because of the priority of economic profit over the jargon of "liberty"
that was uttered. We keep using the grand ole moral fervor of World War Two
and D-Day as the prism through which all else is seen, but that was a reaction
to the dangerous expansion of Japan and Germany.
This time it is us who is posturing before the world with militarist expansion.
(The UN telling us what to do? HA! Phooey! "I don't care what you say. I'm
gonna do it my way.") But the sad fact is we can't afford it, and yet there are
some fools still trying proudly to justify themselves with chivalric episodes
at the mighty expense of reality.
|Friday, 25 November 2005 at 11h 19m 0s|
About spiraling down to the lowest denominator
I keep wanting to add to my post 2-posts ago, but at some point you have to
leave what was said behind and move on. I will edit and further elaborate on
a post within at most a four hour time-frame, and then move on, unless there is
a typographical error, a grammatical error, or a factual error.
Here is the statement upon which I desire to elaborate.
Only that is not how it works, nor how this happens. Corporations play state
governments off each other, just like they do globally with nations. Whoever
offers them the best deal gets the new factory, but that factory is still going
to get built incentive or not.
Let me first clarify, when I use the concatenated word "state/nation" I am
referring to both the 51 states in the US, the provinces of Canada and Mexico
and other countries of the world, and also the various nations of the world as
well. Each of these organizational units do occur at different levels, but
each exist as an economic unit that is separate from others. The stores and
factories exist within in the state of Ohio, the province of British Columbia
in Canada, and the nation of Vietnam all equally, albeit at larger forms of
permissible organization and economic activity.
Corporations play state, provincial, and national governments off each other to
get the best deal because global power has shifted to corporate forms of
financial accumulation and capital ownership. Power has shifted many times
over the last 5,000 years of human history. From tribal chieftans, to
religious patriarchy, to lords and the chain of feudal aristocracy, and then
slowly towards the diversified owners and participants of economic activity
that began sometime during the Medieval period circa 1,000 A.D. during the
flowering of chinese "mercantilism" and East Asian markets (Chinese trading
posts existed as far as modern day Mozambique on the coast of South-East
So this year state/nation A offers the cheapest labor and the most "incentives"
in the name of tax reductions, next year state/nation B offers even better, and
so on and so forth until you reach the lowest level of deal that any one
state/nation can go. Those state/nation's which don't get the new plant (ie.,
new corporate capital investment) lose out and don't get a source of jobs and a
revenue stream (money that flows within the state/nation, some of which gets
spent their, some of which gets taxed, etc...)
In this sense, there are winners and there are losers. The losers have less
money and control over resource allocation; the winners have more money and are
able to decide how to allocate resources. But the losers can also negotiate
cheaper sources of labor and more incentives, because something is better than
nothing when you have nothing. Meanwhile, those who were winning begin to
start losing jobs and control over how economies affect society.
The old-winners and old-losers swap places, but the ideology of "winning" does
not get replaced. In order to understand the ongoing transitions, the
descriptors of the winning ideology try to grapple with the need to describe
the losing that is occuring. People are portrayed as "lazy" when they don't do
all they can to make money. People who are homeless or poor are described
as "losers" or some pejorative phrase like "bums". Since "winning" take the
forms of making money and property ownership, those persons who appear absent
these foundations of the ideology must be on the opposite end of the value
system. The subtle parade of the value system embeds itself in all forms of
the culture, merely to reassure those most endeared to the value system of the
old "winning" ideology, which are quite often the same persons as the
plutocracy that isn't losing.
When this happens previously in history, and ideological shift occurs and the
human reaction is a rise to some understanding "nationalism," a sense that
humans should dictate how jobs and resources get distributed, not ephemeral or
arbitrary forces inside and out of the state/nation. Citizens get angry and
fustrated with their leaders or governing representatives and the urge to "take
control" of the "nation" grows past the critical point. The need to exert some
control over their lives and their history, the rise of "nationalism" is an
ancient human response.
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