Saturday, March 31, 2007
Two weeks earlier a similarly exaggerated confession was paraded around by the Bush administration. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed admitted planning virtually every heinous terrorist act committed up until his capture. The mastermind confessed to 31 attacks and plots.
Why should the public believe British soldiers would lie from heavy handed treatment from their captors after weeks in captivity and terrorists wouldn’t do likewise after years of rigorous intelligence wringing? Khalid was captured in March of 2003. Even his Pentagon transcript indicates a statement that the prisoner was tortured by the CIA.
So why should the American public discount one confession but not the other?
The question is which e-mail accounts to scour? The news revealed Bush’s team uses nongovernmental e-mail addresses for communication. Will either White House or Republican National Committee e-mail correspondence show Josh’s stamp on IAP Worldwide Services $120 million deal to maintain and operate Walter Reed facilities?
Many have pointed out several IAP chiefs are ex-Halliburton executives. Even better is IAP is partially owned by an investment company with past Treasury Chief John Snow President of the board. John is known for selling CSX’s shipping lines to The Carlyle Group for a song prior to his Treasury appointment.
In looking over Josh’s e-mails be sure to check for any transportation department privatization. Mary Peters’ appointment as Transportation Chief came at the right time for Carlyle as they’d just formed an infrastructure division, to specialize in such privatization.
Of course Republicans will stress the need to keep what happens in boardrooms private...
Friday, March 30, 2007
1. Alberto Gonzales saying he's still "searching for the truth" in the firing of eight attorney generals. Is it because he hasn't spoken it yet?
2. The Bush team wanting Alberto to stay to lead the "investigation" of himself. This is reminiscent of the White House Lessons Learned report from Hurricane Katrina and the Pat Tillman death investigation. And who can forget the CIA agent name leak investigation that produced not even a report, but warranted a conviction. The latest self investigation involves "Reading First" contractor, RMC Research Corp conducting an audit of its performance under a federal contract. Never mind, the already cited problems in the company's execution (see #6 below).
3. A general warned the Pentagon to tell the White House to tread very carefully around Pat Tillman's death as it likely was caused by friendly fire. Bush had the opportunity to be warned a week after the death while the family had to root out the cause of their son's passing after a month's time.
4. The transparent White House uses Republican National Committee e-mail addresses for official government correspondence. This bypasses federal records keeping requirements. Why would someone who claims to run a transparent administration allow such a thing?
5. The White House spokesman in response to Pat Tillman's death said "a review of the records" turned up no indication the President had seen the Pentagon's warning. Yet two days after the memo had been sent Bush made no mention of how the former NFL star died. Had the general snet his message via RNC e-mail, thus escaping the record review?
6. The President's signature reading program for K-3 failed to follow required conflict of interest measures. This allowed contractors and consultants with ties to varies corporate reading programs. Last fall an OIG report cited federal staffers playing favorites with vendors. The deja vu includes McGraw-Hill whose board is stacked with Bush buddies.
7. The Bush torture program for "the worst of the worst" in Guantanamo Bay got an Australian captive a 9 month sentence. In return for the light jail time, the prisoner stipulated he'd "never been illegally treated by a person or persons while in the custody of the U.S. government." The deal prohibits him from suing the government as a result of his incarceration and imposes a gag order for a full year.
8. George W. apologized to soldiers at Walter Reed Army Hospital for deplorable conditions in an outpatient clinic and living area. He blamed the problems on "bureaucratic and administrative failures". In an eerie Katrina like echo, Bush said "the system failed you and it failed our troops, and we're going to fix it." When one looks a little deeper this is another case of sending government business to his friends. In Bush's mind the bureaucrats held up his corporate charge.
What will the President do given this latest list of Bush team gaffes? Will his first step be to put Alberto Gonzales in charge of the investigation? Or will he go to his stalwart, Frances Townsend the crafter of the dafty Katrina Lessons Learned report? She put on a good coat of whitewash before, I trust she can do it again. She even avoided having her name stamped on the Abu Ghraib prison torture cases when she visited the prison on behalf of her boss.
Who will the President ask for help in clearing up his usual messes? Hhhhmmmmm? I think Alberto will be too busy to do any of these situations justice....
"Look over there. Doctors are accepting money from drug companies." The crowd turns their gaze as Bush snickers. 'Never mind those are the same companies that helped my man Tom Scully write the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug benefit back in 2003'.
As Bush gets his teal blue Speedo around knee height, the crowd turns back to their leader booing the bad doctors. Thinking quickly the President offers another diversion. "Look at those Democrats politicizing the firing of 8 attorney generals who serve at my pleasure." As the throng turned Bush thought about another sadistic pleasure, but didn't want to exit the pool with a woody.
The partisan crowd quickly booed the Democrats. The President's manhood still rested outside his trunks. Another deception would be needed to get his dong inside his thong. "Look at the handful of bad CEO's taking extra compensation by backdating stock options." The onlookers turned away from the President's shining ass to find his Uncle Bucky pocketing hundreds of thousands in unearned compensation from corporate cheating.
Bush did not want the American public to know that 30% of publicly traded companies cheated on their "pay for performance" programs for leaders (with some 10% cheating at the Board or governance level). He couldn't let the people see how corruption was endemic in corporate America or how his political party and family of origin mined such company "assets".
The President yanked down his Speedo while yelling at the crowd. They turned to see his shriveled manhood on full display, which gave Uncle Bucky time to get away. When he noted his Uncle's identity safe, Bush pulled up his drawers. "That folks was a glitch. Now that y'all got a peek, I'm off to find that sniveling snitch who keeps uncovering my private parts. Anyone got the address for Lantern Sodden?"
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
The former President and Chief Operating Officer acknowledged his role in the scheme. He’s expected to get preferential treatment for serving as the prosecutions star witness. This same COO settled with the company for his role in the matter to the tune of $28.7 million. This includes the crime of back dating stock options according the company’s March 18th press release.
The new CEO is the former head of Chiquita Brands International which just settled with the Justice Department for paying millions to Colombian terrorist groups. Chiquita paid a $25 million fine.
The company formerly known as Hollinger is the Sun-Times Media Group. Conrad Black is the swindling CEO, David Radler the COO and Cyrus Freidheim the brand new chief executive.
Who sat on the board while the corporate coffers were raided? Former Assistant U.S. Defense Secretary Richard Perle got skewered for his role in the swindling. An ex-SEC chief’s investigation termed Perle “a faithless fiduciary”. However, the report found Henry Kissinger acted reasonably in his role as an independent board member.
Richard Perle came to the forefront not long ago criticizing the Bush administration’s execution of the war in Iraq. As a member of the Project of the New American Century, Richard believed strongly in the mission. He cited the prosecution of the war as problematic and in one case he termed it illegal.
Vanity Fair had this to say about Richard Perle after their interview. “According to Perle, who left the Defense Policy Board in 2004, this unfolding catastrophe has a central cause: devastating dysfunction within the administration of President George W. Bush. Perle says, “The decisions did not get made that should have been. They didn’t get made in a timely fashion, and the differences were argued out endlessly.… At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible.… I don’t think he realized the extent of the opposition within his own administration, and the disloyalty.”
What other PNAC adviser booted their fiduciary role as a board member? Richard Armitage’s adviser Kenneth Duberstein sat idly by as Fannie Mae melted down.
Should Autonomy , Tapestry Pharmaceuticals, Vital Spring Technologies, and the Morgan Crucible Company shareholders be concerned given Mr. Perle’s past bungling in a fiscal oversight role?
It appears more than Hollinger/Sun Times Media Group has questionable activity. Given Autonomy’s Meaning Based Computing, I suspect they’ve already put this information together. But it doesn’t do to have Electronic Discovery on one of their board members….
Both the Justice and Treasury Departments expressed concern about the “independence” of this Halliburton subsidiary, Dubai based Halliburton Products and Services Limited. The 60 Minutes story indicated mail sent to the Cayman Islands was forwarded to Halliburton headquarters in Houston. Treasury officials seemed concerned that the Cayman registered but Dubai based subsidiary had offices in the same building as Kellogg, Brown and Root, another Halliburton sub. This resulted in a formal Justice Department criminal investigation.
Current U.S. law allows independent foreign subsidiaries to conduct business in Iran, but not in Cuba or North Korea. One Congressman has worked for years to close this loophole, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). The move of Halliburton Chair and CEO to Dubai raised an odor the Senator wishes to investigate. Frank formally asked the Treasury Department to look into the matter.
In announcing the move, Halliburton CEO Dave Lesar said “My office will be in Dubai, and I will run our entire worldwide operations from that office, Dubai is a great business center.” How will his move impact that independent subsidiary based in Dubai doing business with Iran?
Lesar also said “At this point in time we clearly see there are greater opportunities in the eastern hemisphere than the western hemisphere.” Driving that point home is the company’s announced spin off of Kellogg, Brown and Root, the huge Pentagon contractor. Just a month ago Halliburton announced its plans to selling their 81% stake in KBR. They’re currently offering shareholders the opportunity to exchange shares.
Money is driving the move to Dubai according to legal experts. Corporate litigation specialists said Halliburton would still be subject to such laws as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Sarbanes-Oxley as a company traded on U.S. stock exchanges and run by U.S. citizens.
"The bottom line seems to be that the only change in status is in respect to tax consequences," said Gregory Craig, an attorney with Williams and Connolly. Foreign income paid to a company based abroad would not be subject to U.S. taxes, according to Craig.
At first the company would not comment on any tax changes. After the firestorm of questions Halliburton said that it anticipated "absolutely no tax benefits" from moving its headquarters to Dubai, which has a zero tax rate. It noted Houston would remain the company's principal executive office.
But tax expert Martin Sullivan said Halliburton's move would change its tax situation "significantly" even with the company still registered in the US. Mr. Sullivan stated by basing its Chairman and Chief Executive in Dubai, Halliburton would be able to argue that some portion of its profits should be attributed to the no-tax jurisdiction.
The director of the Center for Corporate Policy, Charlie Cray said his primary concern was that the move would further reduce Halliburton's overall accountability. "They have proven very adept at circumventing American policy and restrictions by using offshore subsidiaries.”
While it remains to be seen if the average American loses in this deal from a tax perspective, Halliburton’s latest press release provides some insight as the company announced a new plant in Monterrey, Mexico. The facility will manufacture oilfield equipment for upstream customers. Do you know of any U.S. towns that could use the jobs?
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
"I'm still worn out from the last one! Do you know what it takes to land 8 attorney generals. Heck, their combined weight is 1,550 pounds. Lifting them with those huge hooks in their mouths, well that ain't easy. He, he, he! Plus, my fishing worm nicknamed Al Gonzales is too squirmy at the moment to hook. You gotta love my pet names for people, right Wanna Do Time?"
In the President's formal RSVP Bush said ""We will not go along with a partisan fishing expedition aimed at honorable public servants." I guess as the Decider Bush gets to put that label on people. How did the 8 dimissed attorney generals get the label of dishonorable when their performance evaluations were outstanding? One partisan fishing expedition down, how many more to go?
The Associated Press article stated the Bushehr plant is “not part of Iran's dispute with the U.N. Security Council and the reactor itself has no potential military use.” A little research turned up a different view on the almost complete Bushehr facility from the Center for Nonproliferation Studies.
Bushehr is not currently a major concern as long as it is open to intrusive IAEA inspections and the spent fuel is returned to Russia, but this arrangement may change in the future. Iran has stated that in the long term, it intends to produce its own fuel for Bushehr. Without consistent intrusive inspections and verifications, there is a potential proliferation problem if spent fuel rods from Bushehr can be diverted to secret undisclosed facilities for plutonium production. Once enough plutonium has been produced, Iran could build nuclear weapons in a short time.
The Bushehr plant stands a legitimate target for the U.S. or Israel, should either wish to conduct a pre-emptive strike. Why would the Associated Press state otherwise? And why did the Russian experts leave with the facility almost complete? They don’t want an international reputation of bailing on the job, unless it’s to live to build another day…
Both studies hammered BP’s poor management, cost cutting and inadequate safety practices. However the CSHIB cited OSHA’s failure to do its job of protecting workers. Ironically it gave the Bush administration a free pass on its gutting of OSHA regulations over the last 6 years. Despite numerous accidents resulting in death, the Texas City refinery only had one comprehensive process management inspection the last 30 years, in 1998. The report cited OSHA’s inspection orientation toward businesses with multiple accidents and high injury rates as ignoring those with infrequent but catastrophic potential.
Left out of the report is the Bush administrations role in changing OSHA’s focus. The Washington Post did a piece “Bush Forces a Shift in Regulatory Thurst: OSHA Made More Business Friendly”.
A relatively small part of the department for three decades, OSHA has the large mission of sifting through research on potential hazards to workers and deciding when the government should step in. It writes federal standards, conducts inspections to determine whether employers follow them and metes out punishment when they do not.
Bush offered the job of running OSHA to a career-long industrial hygienist from St. Louis who was a virtual stranger to Washington.
John L. Henshaw had worked for two decades at Monsanto Co., a giant manufacturer of agricultural chemicals. Most recently, he had been the director of environment, safety and health at Astaris LLC, another chemical company.
Even though he had come from industry, Henshaw was viewed by the administration's critics as a more palatable choice than they had expected. "He's a competent, well-regarded safety and health professional," Peg Seminario, the longtime occupational safety and health director of the AFL-CIO, the umbrella labor organization, said at the time.
During his first days in Washington, Henshaw made it clear that he would carry out a directive from Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao instructing the entire department to comb through the regulatory work Clinton's aides had left unfinished and find items to eliminate.
"In the past, the business community worked to develop regulations that were acceptable," said Patrick R. Tyson, an Atlanta lawyer representing corporations in occupational safety matters who held senior positions at OSHA in the 1970s and '80s. "But now the game has changed, and the business community feels like they can kill any regulation they want."
The overall number of inspections has increased under Bush, but the typical inspection takes less time, and fewer are in response to accidents or complaints. OSHA officials say they are more trusting now of industries with good safety records, while putting greater emphasis on those -- such as construction -- where workers are most prone to injury. Union leaders said that inflates an appearance of vigilance, because OSHA counts each subcontractor at a construction site as a separate inspection.
With its current staff, Henshaw said, OSHA can visit about 2 percent of the nation's workplaces each year. Given those limits, he said, it has made sense to strengthen the agency's relationships with businesses, encouraging voluntary compliance.
To do so, OSHA has created a new kind of voluntary program, intended to foster "trusting, cooperative relationships" between the government and groups of industries and professional societies, according to an agency fact sheet. These new alliances, as they are known, depart from a central tradition throughout the agency's history: They are allowed to exclude labor unions.
As for the new alliances, one OSHA administrator, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that some employers might be too uncomfortable to participate if unions were there.
There has been a huge ground shift in OSHA under the Bush administration. What role did this play in the CSIHB’s findings? Would voluntary compliance with worker safety rules ever have changed BP’s sorry practices? No, it took a huge accident and two investigations to result in change. The independent panel focused on how BP would change to do better safety wise in the future while the government one pointed its fingers at a sister organization.
Someone wants the private sector to look good and the halls of government to look like a dufus. Yet, in both cases it goes back to leadership. BP got a horrific accident for its poor leadership and OSHA’s performance is a direct reflection of the Bush administration’s inept management practices.
In a series of conferences last week, industry titans and even Treasury Department officials pressed the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission to rewrite costly regulations and make it more difficult for investors to sue gatekeepers such as banks and accounting firms.
A Georgetown University law professor called it a “very big victory for business.” Shareholders or the owners of the company have limited legal recourse for the criminal behavior of executives and investment banks complicit in their schemes.
How long will it take for new Enron’s to be created given the widespread executive cheating under stock option plans? A study indicated almost 30% of publicly traded firms manipulated stock option grants to top executives at some point between 1996 and 2005. Yet, given the widespread practice of backdating only 100 to 200 firms are under investigation by the SEC.
Between the Enron implosion and widespread corporate stock option cheating, why does the Treasury Department wants the SEC to do even less to keep corporations’ activities above board and in the public eye? How do Treasury Chief Hank Paulson’s friends at Goldman Sachs feel about all this? Likely, they are tickled pink or should I say giggling green? Is Hank helping keep his old company’s record earnings streak going?
This regulatory relaxation should disabuse anyone of the notion that the Bush administration wants to hold big businesses accountable. Chiquita Banana just paid a $25 million dollar fine for funding at least two Colombian terrorist groups. Despite the war on terror, Chiquita executives were not spirited off to Guantanamo Bay nor locked up next to domestic terrorist Jose Padilla. However, the Colombian government might want the executives extradited to their country for trial. They have a much better idea of how those Chiquita millions cost the lives of innocent civilians.
Funding the wrong people is a familiar refrain, especially those familiar with the President’s heavy handed international policy. Sleeping with the wrong party got us Osama bin Laden. It appears we have strange bed fellows once again in the Middle East, more Sunni extremists. I hope some news organization is keeping track of their names so 15 years from now we can track it back to President Bush. His legacy should be quite clear by then. Will we be paying $50 a barrel for Paraguayan water by then?
P.S. On April 3rd, 2007 Brian Williams reported of one such CIA assisted Sunni jihadist operating from Pakistan. His target is Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
Monday, March 19, 2007
"And it is true that Barack Obama is on the move. I don't know if it's true that President Bush called [Pakistani President Pervez] Musharraf and said, `Why can't we catch this guy?'"
Besides trying to equate Senator Obama with the world's most notorious terrorist, Roger made President George W. Bush look like a buffoon for not knowing the difference. Reminding the populace that Osama bin Laden remains on the run could be another dig on "Dead or Alive" Bush. From here Bush looks less alive everyday. His ability to lead long gone, his political chest heaves in belabored fashion. Does he have enough good air to laugh at Roger's joke or will it ellicit a four letter word tirade after he ponders "the joke"?
Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, CSFB, Lehman Brothers, Bank of America, JP Morgan and Canadian Imperial Bank.
Individual investors, like the University of California can continue their lawsuits. The Appeals court decided class action status could coerce a settlement even if unwarranted. However numerous state attorney generals support shareholders' rights to sue as a class.
The list included attorneys general from Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia.
Might this issue end up at the Supreme Court? Doubtful as Republicans want this to go away ASAP. Recall that four Merrill Lynch executives convicted in their role of fraudulently buying three floating power plants so Enron could meet their earnings target? Their convictions have been set aside.
The Bush administration has deep tolerance for corporate malfeasance in contrast to our President's zero tolerance for people taking food, water, and shoes in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane.
Sec. Rice even told the Sunday morning news shows when asked to share what the administration could have done better in Iraq, “I don’t know. When we look back over time we will know the answer to that question.”
Meanwhile National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley claimed Democrats would assure failure in Iraq and waste the sacrifice of U.S. soldiers with their plans to remove troops.
What do the customers of U.S. intervention in their country have to say? Among the findings of a survey, the third since 2004 by ABC News, USA Today, the BBC and ARD German TV:
The number of Iraqis who say their own life is going well has dipped from 71 percent in November 2005 to 39 percent now.
- About three-fourths of Iraqis report feelings of anger, depression and difficulty concentrating.
- More than half of Iraqis have curtailed activities like going out of their homes, going to markets or other crowded places and traveling through police checkpoints.
- Only 18 percent of Iraqis have confidence in U.S. and coalition troops, and 86 percent are concerned that someone in their household will be a victim of violence.
- Slightly more than half of Iraqis _ 51 percent _ now say that violence against U.S. forces is acceptable _ up from 17 percent who felt that way in early 2004. More than nine in 10 Sunni Arabs in Iraq now feel this way.
- While 63 percent said they felt very safe in their neighborhoods in late 2005, only 26 percent feel that way now.
It appears President Bush asks the wrong people for patience. Condi could use this data to assess the American led coalition’s work to date. And for Stephen Hadley, this is the stamp of Republican success? The U.S. just agreed to arm a Sunni militia with more than 9 in 10 Sunnis feel it OK to harm U.S. soldiers?
When the customers in a democracy are unhappy, expect major changes. That is if democracy really is “of the people, by the people and for the people”?
Sister Mary Elephant, the leader of the liberal movement cited the group’s frustration with the recent affirmation of long standing doctrine that withholds the redemptive Eucharist from divorced but later remarried Catholics. “I can’t believe Jesus would give his followers only one shot at happiness. That just doesn’t sound like him.”
The liberal arm wants to go back to teachings of the early church. “As in Paul’s time the church had a common pot, we thought it important to have a Pope from a country that is concerned about income differentials between the rich and the poor. At least in China it’s been identified as a problem vs. the West's celbrating the gap as evidence of prosperity.”
While the Pope wants to bring back Latin, Sister Mary’s group wants to go even further. “We want to conduct services in Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Conducting services in Latin honors who, the Roman guy that co-opted the church for political purposes? We can do better than that. Jesus taught in Aramaic, so we should celebrate him in his own tongue.”
When the Vatican learned of this group’s plans, a spokesman shared his reactions under the condition of anonymity. “Let them go. This is the reason the Pope did his exhortation. He wanted to lay down ‘you’re either with us, or against us’. Those who don’t want to follow our teachings should go elsewhere.”
The Vatican spokesperson went on to reveal several other benefits. “This will help with our priest shortage if enough followers leave. We won’t have to redistribute our priestly resources more equitably to liberal congregations. Let them listen to the liturgy in Chinese! Also, this greases the skids for that Catholic-Anglican merger. The Anglican Ugandan Bishop would be most welcome in our fold. He will need to commit to the inestimable benefit of celibacy. Given his good conservative beliefs, this should be no problem.”
When asked about the loss of China to the liberal group the anonymous priest said “we were getting ready to divest ourselves of that asset anyway. The Carlyle Group gave us a good offer but we didn’t want to seem too mercenary, so the sale to the modern day moneychangers fell through. Liberals taking this unwanted division off our hands truly is a blessing from the big guy. He works in mysterious ways!”
P.S. This post is complete fiction. It’s intended for humorous purposes as the children of God divide over their paltry images the divine.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Second, divorced people who have remarried are not to receive communion. Apparently God told the Pope that people only deserve one shot at marital bliss. The spouse conned by the physical abuser or child molester wasted their only attempt at a lifetime of happiness in Jesus’ eyes. The courage it took to walk out under the threat of violence or to keep their children safe and protected needs to endure. That same courage will be needed when the remarried Catholic walks up to receive communion. Does the priest dismiss them with a wave or offer a blessing instead of the body and blood of our savior?
Third, despite a priest shortage and the obvious barrier of lifelong celibacy to recruitment, the Pope reiterated the joys of this mandatory requirement. “Priestly celibacy lived with maturity, joy and dedication is an immense blessing for the Church and for society itself.” So how does the Pope plan to deal with the priest shortage as gay candidates remain intrinsically disordered?
In “No Child Left Behind” language, Benedict said “on no account” should admission standards be lowered to fill vacant seminary slots. Are these the same standards that gave the church “No Children’s Behinds Left Unmolested”? The Pope wants to more equitably distribute priests given the shortage. Is this moving the Priestly chairs around on the Titanic or the rationing of PopeStation3 video games for the rabid throng?
While conservatives have firm hold on the Catholic Church, they have clear aims on the Episcopal Church. Many conservative congregations left American supervision in favor of Uganda’s Anglican Church. Might such a divide be forthcoming in the Catholic Church? Likely no if the progressive faithful heed a Boston College theologian’s advice. In reference to the politician getting communion at the discretion of the Bishop, Lisa Sowle Cahill said liberals might be "grateful he's not more aggressively insisting that pastoral flexibility be curtailed"
Why should people be grateful for the little hammer’s ability to impose penalties vs. the big hammer? Either way it adds up to being controlled by religious dogma. Anyone wonder why we now heal on Sundays? Someone challenged that a long time ago…
Friday, March 16, 2007
If not, the mismanagement in the White House has reached Spanish flu like epidemic proporations. Recall that Vice President Cheney cannot do a plan with timelines and Sec. of State Condi Rice failed her quiz on root cause. President Bush not only booted a Hurricane response when he said that was his top priority, his crackerjack team flailed with its laughable Katrina Lessons Learned report. Add Attorney General Gonzales’ defense that he actually knows and does nothing as the head of the Justice Department and we have a weekend long Stooge-a-thon.
So why the current haze? Who lit up inside the White House? What are they smoking? How many are around the circle taking turns adding to the haze? Is that why Tony can’t find the appropriate documents to shed light on this political machination? Surely they pulled some out before Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified before Congress that the firings occurred for performance reasons. Can they not find them through the smoky fog? Do they not know "when there's smoke, there's fire?"
My guess is it would take less time to find all files, e-mails and communication on this topic than it did to make up the strategy “hazy memories”. That surely took most of an evening around the tatered couch in the White House basement as they jammed to music.
P.S. Tell Tony he's starting to look a bit like his predecessor, Scotty McClellan. Soon Tony too will be a wooden boy ordered around by Georgepetto. Recall what happens when the little wooden boy lies!
As for the Environmental Defense endorsement, their board chair makes money hand over fist as an investor, even if green oriented. He sits on the Council of Foreign Relations, the group that finds ways to export American business opportunities around the globe.
Both Environmental Defense and National Resources Defense Council Boards have numerous attorneys, corporate CEO's, and investor representatives. (The Carlyle Group even has a rep on the ED board.) That they picked up the phone to talk with their KKR counterparts doesn't seem like a big stretch despite the lavish praise for this collaboration.
Just like conservatives infiltrated churches to change their doctrine (via Institue for Religion and Democracy), might they be going after environmental groups?
Or are the green organizations interested in a different kind of green (as in the color of money)? Bill Clinton started a $1 billion dollar green investment fund when he already worked for an investment house. Recall the interview with Ron Burkle, billionaire holding an LA fundraiser for Bill? Of course they are connected. President Clinton seems to play the money game quite well.
Things are morphing from both ends, into a distasteful mix of money inspired activity. At least that's my humble opinion.
Did I mention those setting the rules get a free pass? Yes, widespread corruption and illegal behavior by business or governmental leaders results in little more than a hand slap. The Hewlett Packard spying case went from major felonies to misdemeanors, even no charges whatsoever for the Board President. Will an investigation occur for the politically connected firm that sold defective pumps to the Army Corps of Engineers to save New Orleans from a future drowning? The Carlyle Group's LifeCare Hospitals got a free pass in the White House Lessons Learned report despite having the highest patient death total post Katrina.
This leads to the second major specter, the pursuit of rewards at any cost. America worships free markets and profit, well, the more the better. Wall Street investment firms continue to rake in record earnings, big oil not far behind. Money from the modern day robber barons flows to elected officials who in turn, enact policy or legislation favorable to their donors. One only need watch the timing of the AIPAC policy meeting and Congress' dropping any constraints to President Bush's unleashing the dogs of war on Iran.
Of course the two nightmares haunt America simulataneously...
Thursday, March 15, 2007
1. Sunni Saudi Arabia brokers internal peace in the Palestinian Territories. Hamas and Fatah agree to work together to govern on behalf of their people. The U.S. and Israel indicate their unwillingness to recognize such a pact.
2. Sunni Jordanian King Abdullah speaks to a joint session of Congress on the critical need for Palestinian peace. This gets virtually no media coverage.
3. Hamas turns away from other sources of support with $3 billion a year in Saudi funding for the new unity government.
4. Israel unequivocally states it will not recognize the new Palestinian government.
5. The Israeli Security Chief cites Hamas fighters are being trained in Iran. He stated dozens have been trained with hundreds more ready to go. Would their new found Saudi benefactors find this agreeable? And what about this chance of violent disagreement between Hamas and Fatah prior to March 23rd? Might Israeli security forces prompt it through “black ops”?
6. The Israeli lobby in America, AIPAC held their annual policy meeting attended by Vice President Dick Cheney, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican Leader John Boehner. Rising star Israel Foreign Minister Tzip Livni attended in person while Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke via satellite.
7. Prime Minister Olmert personally invited every AIPAC attendee to visit Israel soon, to enjoy spring in Jerusalem. Might Israel gain tourists from previously popular Lebanon, bombed back 25 years by its neighbor to the south last summer?
8. Several news items boosted the President’s hard nosed strategy in the war on al Qaeda, the confession of Guantanamo terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the conversion of several Sunni tribal leaders from loyalty to the terrorist group.
9. Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to a litany of terrorist acts including the beheading of American reporter Daniel Pearl. This confirms the “worst of the worst” are being held in Guantanamo Bay thus nullifying world requests to shutter the facility. (Be sure to forget about those “non-enemy combatants” Chinese Uighers still being held.)
10. Sunni tribal leaders convert from Al Qaeda warlords to supporters of Iraq’s official government. This puts a positive shine on the President’s escalation strategy. (However it involves equipping of the tribal leaders’ private army, not local police or Iraqi government troops. Recall the Mahdi Army? Especially as their aim in driving out al Qaeda is then the Americans can leave. Who decided to arm this bunch?)
11. Congressional Democrats dropped their efforts to limit President Bush’s ability to attack Iran. Is it a coincidence this happened March 11th while the AIPAC Policy Conference ran from March 11-13? The Fox News report indicated Nancy Pelosi and other leaders dropped the restriction based on the wishes of “conservative Democrats” concerned about Israel.
The situation could be described as fluid as the various parties try to realign. America and Israel will continue to hold hands. From the reception Jordanian King Abdullah got from last week’s visit, the Sunni Alliance is second fiddle. Coming in last is Iran and Co. All signs point to Israel conducting a unilateral raid against Iranian nuclear facilities with the U.S. in place to contain any blowback.
Troops moved northeast of Baghdad in the direction of, yes the Iranian border! General Petraeus said it is “very likely there will be additional forces going to Diyala.” The clock ticks down….
Monday, March 12, 2007
Did anyone note the timing of this move in light of the new Iraqi Oil Law that provides numerous opportunities for Western Oil Companies in key governmental “advisory roles”?
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Video from her act hit the web. Watching it creeped me out. Has American politics turned into the Crips vs. the Bloods? Is it Red vs. Blue in an anything goes competition?
I submerged myself in the political muck for nearly the last two years, exploring the machinations of our political system. Stories raised questions, which after further investigation revealed disturbing answers. Both the Reds and Blues are dirty. Both sell out the average voter to high dollar special interests. Why else would they fight so hard for their seat at the campaign money trough?
Even the campaign finance reformer, John McCain said he would avoid the public financing system if his competitor did likewise. As of today, I’ve had enough. It’s time to stop interviewing the coaches on the sidelines, to quit filming the plays for later examination, to no longer climb to the top of the stadium for the highest view. It’s time to leave the whole spectacle altogether. So I close with a poem, inspired by Dr. Zeuss.
“Politics” by a Dr. Seuss Wantabe
One fist, Two fist, Red fist, Blue Fist
Old Scar, New Break, Big Bruises, Black Eyes
Mean words, False words, Bold Lies, Fake Cries,
Mine’s fair, You’re Low, Please Leave, Don’t Go
What’s a fight without an enemy?
Stay and watch the show.
Better yet, get involved. Swing yourself a punch of two.
But you must choose a side, red or blue? Which are you?
What color fist should you toss? Need help, at a loss?
Well, Red is red unless it’s blue
And blue is blue unless it’s red
Anyone confused and want to hide under their bed?
Red and blue look remarkably similar behind the curtain
As they accept yachtloads of cash from donors, that’s for certain
Pushing bills, holding hearings, red & blue try to endear
Themselves to their funders, that is clear.
The race in ’08 will be a costly one
Over $1 billion, that is quite the sum
One fist, two fist, red fist, blue fist….
Corporate America selected a company’s stock price as the measure, granting stock options to executives as an incentive to improve performance. Its twelve year history reveals widespread cheating to maximize already generous compensation packages. Some 30% or nearly 2,000 publicly traded companies cheated by backdating those option grants to the date of the lowest stock price of the grant period.
In education President Bush believes “you need to measure and I know you need to set high standards.” Test results are education’s equivalent of stock prices. Schools that show improvement in scores get a bonus. Those that underperform receive “consequences”.
How long will it take for 30% of teachers to lie, cheat or steal like their CEO counterpart?
Saturday, March 03, 2007
However, Hugo made a huge error in nationalizing key industries in his country. Direct corporate lines lead to the Pentagon and new Defense Chief Robert Gates. While a war isn’t likely, CIA/DIA tampering is.
Bush heads south to draw lines in the sand similar to his Middle East efforts. Will Hugo redraw them as the Saudis and Jordan’s King Abdullah have? Ironically the Jordanian King visits this coming week, having dinner at the White House Tuesday evening!
Will President Bush share his South American “with us or against us” map? And where will Sunni Syria fall on the Jordanian King’s map? He’s already asked Israel if it wants to live in peace with its neighbors or be a fortress. Will he ask the Joint Meeting of Congress the same question on March 7th?
A closer look at the news article reveals several clues. A board member stepped down to avoid the appearance of impropriety given their background with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This seems odd given the appointment of James A. Baker as advisory chairman and the planned addition of two other ex-government board members. One is a prior EPA chief, the other a former Secretary of Commerce. Why does one give the appearance of a conflict of interest while the other three are “solid board appointments”?
On most boards, conflicts are declared and that person abstains from both discussion and voting on that issue. Was the retiring board member the insider trader? They happen to have another board position in the United Kingdom. Coincidence or a lead? Only the SEC is in a position to know for sure as it currently calls the insider trader “unknown”.
Already rich Wall Street deal makers are known for passing information on to their friends for profiteering. The SEC brought charges against 13 people this week for such scheming. The director of the SEC's enforcement division, said in a statement:
"What is so alarming about the conduct alleged in the SEC's case isn't just the scope of the scheme ... but, sadly, who is at the center of it. Besides the lawyers, defendants including registered representatives, compliance personnel and hedge fund managers, improperly relied on hundreds of tips during five years of illegal trading. And this conduct ... [occurred] at what are commonly considered 'top tier' Wall Street firms."
Board members also have been known to drop hints to their friends. While working for HCA a friend got advice from Tommy Frist that now would be a very good time to buy his company’s stock. This occurred before HCA’s first time to go private in the late 80’s.
This deal is all about money. Investment houses take companies private for operations improvement and later resale. Guess who pays in these tranactions? The customer does.
As an electricity purchasing Texan, TXU’s $2.5 billion in 2006 profits have me angry. The legislature’s promise of deregulation turned into much higher than average energy prices (despite the more widespread use of cheaper fuels like coal in our state).
It appears TXU tried to make the headlines about their buyout vs. their obscene profit increase on the backs of Texas energy customers. Their rush to get off the public reporting exchanges may be held up by the Texas legislature which fortunately is in session. Will they represent the people or their high dollar corporate contributors?
Friday, March 02, 2007
“I’m not sure I can tell you, I may crack up yet again. But since you’re not Wolf Blitzer asking about James Dobson’s reaction to my lesbian daughter’s baby, I’ll try. I planned on shaming the Democrats with their wimpy nonbinding resolution on Iraq. The plan was to act like they wasted weeks of precious legislative time, but then Bill Frist and the 109th do nothing Congress came to mind. They wasted a whole year! For that I got 5 seconds of joyous laughter!”
“Where did the other 5 seconds come from?” asked the reporter.
“Well my mind, sharp as a tack quickly returned to exhorting Congress to pass a binding resolution. Then I realized given the President’s use of signing statements, nothing is binding! Thus the second round of Coke flew out my nose and the belly laugh racked by tired heart silly. It is fun being the Vice President! Feel free to tell your friends these jokes. No charge…”
In the midst of his long career as a Manufacturing Trade Association exec, Micheal Baroody took a year to work as President of the Republican oriented National Policy Forum. His strong Republican credentials dot his work history.
Yet, their description of Micheal reveals he worked hard on a pro-growth, pro-worker policy agenda. I scanned the website for the pro-worker information and couldn’t find anything with that heading. I did find the Prosperity Project and clicked on that thinking a pro-worker policy could lead to greater employee prosperity. What do you think I found?
The National Association of Manufacturers’ Prosperity Project encourages telling employees to vote and which candidates are pro-business! The Oklahoma Project partnered with Chambers of Commerce. While they claim to be “non-partisan”, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is unabashedly pro-Republican.
Obviously, Mr. Baroody’s good Republican soldiership got him the appointment. It’s a shame Rebublicans can’t admit it and have to wrap this person in “impartial” consumer protection garb. He doesn’t wear it well…
The problem is Mr. Cohen’s pedigree comes straight from the cabal that produced the Iraq war, has us saber rattling in Iran and developing our own brand spanking new nuclear weapon as we tell the world “no, no, hand’s off our goodies”. That’s right, Mr. Cohen is a founder of the Project for the New American Century.
Recognize any other names? John Bolton, Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Lewis Libby, Zalmay Khalilzad, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz amongst many more.
The most recent PNAC document Mr. Cohen signed requested a much larger military. Might this help him in his new State Department role? If you are going to negotiate, it helps to carry a big stick.
What happened to honest, ethical, straight forward leaders? There is nothing strategically new, unique or different about Mr. Cohen. His ability to recognize and call out incompetence will soon evaporate given his insider appointment. So we have another monotonously conforming PNAC bobblehead…
Clearly they are all a waste, especially when swords could be beaten into plowshares and people train in ways of war no more…
So what’s really going on? Is the President’s Review Panel a knee jerk investigation in response to bad PR? Were the reports of outstanding VA performance untrue months ago? Time may tell, but then again it may not.
After Hurricane Katrina, Bush sacked FEMA Chief Michael Chertoff but his White House Lessons Learned report compounded disaster upon disaster. In the VA case a general has been sacrificed. However, with the Bush administration, one can almost be assured they won’t offer the true story…
Meanwhile legions of angry Americans are worried the President can’t deliver on his promises of rebuilding New Orleans and other communities in the region. In August of 2005 the White House failed to deliver life saving measures in a timely manner after Hurricane Katrina. The Bush team followed this up with an amazingly inept report on their sorry response, blaming it on unprecedented events and failures. I have yet to find a critical analysis of the White House Lessons Learned report in any mainstream media.
How can a report be credible if it doesn’t identify who was responsible for the evacuation of patients from dead hospitals, much less how well that task had been performed? Video shows President Bush asking FEMA chief about hospital patients in the recent aftermath of the storm.
White House Head of the Homeland Security Council, Frances Townsend said, "I reject outright any suggestion that President Bush was anything less than fully involved."
I wouldn’t brag on George’s full involvement as hospital patients stewed on high heat as long as 5 days in toxic gumbo. Would Frances cite his full involvement in conducting the Lessons Learned report? If so, was the President responsible for the complete omission of the hospital with the largest number of patient deaths? LifeCare Hospitals lost 24 patients after Katrina made landfall.
My guess is LifeCare’s owners, The Carlyle Group of Pennsylvania Avenue fame, are most appreciate of the faux pas. It helps them defend those civil wrongful death lawsuits coming down the pike.
Meanwhile V.P. Cheney scours the world crying of the dangers of terrorists. For thousands along the Gulf Coast who suffered, even died after Hurricane Katrina, the lack of attention and concern must be frightening.
The lengths this current administration will go to sweep its incompetencies under the rug and protect its friends, makes my knees quiver. Does the fact that no mainstream media outlet reported such a huge gaffe bother anyone else?
Some 18 months after the storm and a full year after its post mortem, will anyone pick it up? Nah, they might have to knock Anna Nicole Smith off the wires to make room. What a loss that would be!
"If our coalition withdrew before Iraqis could defend themselves, radical factions would battle for dominance. The violence would likely spread throughout the country and be very difficult to contain. Having tasted victory in Iraq, the (militants) would look for new missions. Many would head for Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban"
I hate to tell you Dickie, but radical factions are already battling for dominance in Iraq. The middle class evaporated within two years of Bush’s folly with millions evacuating to Jordan and Syria. Most elected officials no longer live in Iraq but in nearby countries or Europe. Here’s my take on what the V.P meant by his words.
“If our coalition withdrew before Iraqis pass the new oil law, western oil companies would miss their chance at a huge bonanza. As they are my benefactors, I owe them the chance to make ginormous profits off oil that "belongs to the Iraqi people". Having sucked Iraq dry of oil, these same companies will want the U.S. military to clear the tabletop for future drilling in other countries. Who nearby has lots of oil? Iran! Did you know that country loves freedom? We will be their ally just as America sided with Japan in World War II.”
I suggest we unleash one crazy into Iraq. Dick, here’s your one way ticket…
Thursday, March 01, 2007
The angry re-made creature lashed out at competitors Rudy Guliani and fellow specimen John McCain. Crying out “No Amnesty”, monster Mitt took swings at his imagined foes for the “Live Free or Die” state Republican primary.
While Mitt pawed at the air, Senator McCain completed his transformation for the world to watch on Late Night with David Letterman. Should Mr. Romney loose the Republican nomination he can always fall back on his venture capital skills. Investment houses probably value someone tough enough to execute “takeovers” in today’s world.
The burden of the illegal invasion “is having a negative effect on Americans, their communities, and their resources” according to a spokesperson for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
For the native population in the Sooner state, it must seem like a huge déjà vu. They say what goes around, comes around. Now they arrive in old beat up station wagons…