Tuesday, January 31, 2006

When corporations rule the world


"Exxon Mobil, aided by strong energy prices, disclosed Monday that it had set a record for profits among American companies, reporting $36 billion in annual income. But while most companies would be proud to trumpet record profits, Exxon Mobil did everything it could to play down the news.

"For Exxon Mobil, which also handily widened its lead over Wal-Mart as the company with the largest revenues in the nation, the report was an embarrassment of riches. Anxious about criticism of the results, executives began laying the groundwork months ago to try to prevent a political reaction against the company and the energy industry."
-- "Exxon Mobil Corp. urged a federal appeals court Friday to erase a jury's $5 billion judgment against the oil giant for the 1989 Valdez oil spill, one of the country's worst environmental disasters.

"Exxon attorney Walter Dellinger told a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the company should be liable for no more than $25 million in punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to deter and punish misconduct."
--
David Kravets, Associated Press, full article here.

Exxon Valdez disaster- 15 years of lies

Exxon Mobil's pseudo science web site

"To see full recovery is just going to take a lot longer, I think, than anyone had ever anticipated. We don't even know if there will be complete recovery achieved in the next 10 years."

-- Molly McCammon, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council (in 1999, 7 years ago)

The official website of the Exxon Valdez victims.

They thought they were free

"What no one seemed to notice ... was the ever widening gap... between the government and the people.

"The dictatorship, and the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting... . It provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway ... and kept us so busy with continuous changes and 'crises' and so fascinated, yes, fascinated, by the machinations of the 'national enemies,' without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us...

"Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, “regretted,” that ... one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.

"Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. . . . You wait for the one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow...

"But the one great shocking occasion ... never comes... That’s the difficulty."

-- Milton Mayer,
They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1938-45 University of Chicago Press, 1955.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Richard Pombo faces a green avalanche


"Environmental groups nationwide are pooling their funds for a campaign to unseat one of the worst environmental offenders in Congress.

"As Adam Werbach, former president of the Sierra Club, puts it, 'Investing in Pombo's defeat would be as effective as owning the o's in Google.'
"In the more than 12 years he's been in Congress, Pombo's district has become home to some of the most horrendous stretches of strip malls and cultureless housing tracts in California. According to the East Bay Express, Pombo's father and uncles have made tens of millions of dollars selling farm and ranch land to developers. And on Pombo's watch, his district also has come to have some of the worst air quality and drinking water in the country." -- Jan Frel, Alternet. Full article here.

Read the California League of Conservation Voters report on Pombo here.

Why Google helps China to censor online searches (and why you should care)

"A few years ago, I walked into an Internet room in Tibet's capital, Lhasa. There were no Chinese soldiers in the room, and no visible government censors nearby. A sign on the wall, however, reminded Web users that even after entering the stateless world of the Web, China's all-seeing eye had not disappeared. 'Do not use Internet,'' the warning instructed crassly, `for any political or other unintelligent purposes.'

"Since then, China's ruling regime has perfected the science of controlling what the Chinese can read or write on the Internet to such a degree that it has become the envy of tyrants and dictators the world over. We might have expected that from a regime that has proven it will do whatever it takes to stay in power. What we never expected was to see Google, the company whose guiding motto reads, 'Don't be evil,' helping in the effort."

-- Frida Ghitis, Miami Herald. Read the rest here.

Who's drinking the kool aid?

"Fantasy may be in fashion. Reality may have been shoved into the shadows on Mr. Bush's watch. The truth is that he is the worst president in memory, and one of the worst of all time. "
-- Bob Herbert, NY Times. Full article here.

BYU professor's group accuses U.S. officials of lying about 9/11

"Last fall, Brigham Young University physics professor Steven E. Jones made headlines when he charged that the World Trade Center collapsed because of 'pre-positioned explosives.' Now, along with a group that calls itself 'Scholars for 9/11 Truth,' he's upping the ante.

" 'We believe that senior government officials have covered up crucial facts about what really happened on 9/11,' the group says in a statement released Friday announcing its formation. 'We believe these events may have been orchestrated by the administration in order to manipulate the American people into supporting policies at home and abroad.'

"Headed by Jones and Jim Fetzer, University of Minnesota Duluth distinguished McKnight professor of philosophy, the group is made up of 50 academicians and others. They include Robert M. Bowman, former director of the U.S. "Star Wars" space defense program, and Morgan Reynolds, former chief economist for the Department of Labor in President George W. Bush's first term. Most of the members are less well-known.

"The group's Web site (www.ST911.org) includes an updated version of Jones's paper about the collapse of the Twin Towers and a paper by Fetzer that looks at conspiracy theories. The government's version of the events of 9/11 — that the plane's hijackers were tied to Osama bin Laden — is its own conspiracy theory, says Fetzer, who has studied the John F. Kennedy assassination since 1992."
-- Elaine Jarvik, Deseret Morning News, full article here.

Catastrophe Looms

"America has become a rogue nation, flying blind, guided only by ignorance and hubris. A terrible catastrophe awaits."

Paul Craig Roberts hits the nail on the head once again.
In case you are a first time visitor, Roberts is a long-standing conservative, a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, a former contributing editor for National Review, and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury (during the Reagan administration).


"Two recent polls, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll and a New York Times/CBS News poll, indicate why Bush is getting away with impeachable offenses. Half of the US population is incapable of acquiring, processing and understanding information.

"Much of the problem is the media itself, which serves as a disinformation agency for the Bush administration. Fox "News" and right-wing talk radio are the worst, but with propagandistic outlets setting the standard for truth and patriotism, all of the media is affected to some degree.

"Despite the media’s failure, about half the population has managed to discern that the US invasion of Iraq has not made them safer and that the Bush administration’s assault on civil liberties is not a necessary component of the war on terror. The problem, thus, lies with the absence of due diligence on the part of the other half of the population."

Full article here.

Faith

Personally, I could never accept a Jesus who didn't have a finely-honed sense of humor. What about you? Enjoy the video (you'll need the Quicktime plugin for your browser).

Monday, January 23, 2006

We did get fooled again

I no longer doubt that the second term of George W. Bush, de facto President of the United States, was obtained via larceny. The evidence is just too over-whelming that the results of the 2004 election were manipulated to give the Republican candidate the slim majority that he clearly did not have in 2000 (I mean, 2 elections in a row settled by the Supreme Court? We couldn't let that happen!). Sadly, a large minority of the citizenry in this country were content to allow this coup d'etat another 4 years of reshaping the world in its narrow vision of corporate ownership and profit through war, seasoned with a healthy dose of fundamentalist Christianity, as long as they can fill their living rooms with 52" plasma TV's and their garages with SUVs.

So why do I bring this up yet again? Because it appears that Mark Crispin Miller's book "Fooled Again," despite having been in Amazon's 292nd place for sales the other day, hasn't received much media exposure or reviews. Read about it here. And then just write me off as another paranoid lefty who hates America while you watch "American Idol" on that bigscreen box.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Right wing scumbag of the week


Y'know, there's so damned many of 'em, we could really do this on a daily basis.


And the winner is:

Glenn Beck, radio talk show host and new CNN talking head.

The ever-smirking Mr. Beck famously referred to Cindy Sheehan as "a pretty big prostitute."

Hmmm, and what do you all a self-professed "Mormon whose politics lean toward libertarian but also promotes traditional family values" who shills lies and excuses for an obscenely corrupt and venal presidential administration?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Sometimes you need a roadmap

Click on image for larger view.
Flowchart courtesy of Skimble.

Abramoff redux. It's THEIR scandal

The spineless media are allowing the right's army of talking heads to spin the "Jackoff" scandals as equal opportunity for the Dems as well as the GOP. Anyone who takes the time to investigate just a little bit will very quickly find out that IT JUST AIN'T SO! Tom Ball of Political Cortex spells out it all out beautifully here, so even the most febrile-brained Bushite can undertand it.

Now, when are we gonna learn about those White House meetings with the Jackster, eh, Georgie?

Loot the Vote

And from Chris Floyd of Empire Burlesque, this disquieting footnote to my previous post:

"Despite the scandals, the indictments, the mounting death count in Iraq, and the ever-deepening unpopularity of Bush and his minions, the Faction's tools for "manufacturing consent" – so ably exposed by Miller – are greased and ready, unchallenged by the clueless, spineless Democrats and the dollar-dazzled media. So look for more "astonishing upsets" and poll-confounding "surprises" in the coming national elections, as brute power rapes reality once again."

Full article here.

One smart conservative


I've earlier lauded Mark Crispin Miller's "Fooled Again" his immensely readable account of chicanery on Election Day, 2004, but when a man of impeccable conservative credentials such as Paul Craig Roberts trumpets a liberal tome, maybe, just maybe its time for centrist America to stop swallowing the dung that spirals out of one party rule in America. Robert has seen through the nonsense of the Neocon dreadnaught and has more to say in these columns:

The Brownshirting of America
The Coming End of the American Superpower
Bush is Cooking Up Two More Wars

Browse Mr. Roberts' archives.

Right for the wrong reasons


Our favorite ethically-challenged pudgy pud of the Neocon death cult, Karl Rove, after playing the invisible man for a while, has come crawling out from under his treasonous rock to announce that "national security" would be the focus of the 2006 Republican campaign. "The United States faces a ruthless enemy, and we need a commander in chief and a Congress who understand the nature of the threat and the gravity of the moment America finds itself in...," spake the senior weasel. I have to agree with Mr. Rove on this one. But it is the Bush administration that is the ruthless enemy, and the only Congress that can "understand the nature of the threat and the gravity of the moment America finds itself in" is one with a Republican minority. This clown needs to be sent to Pluto at 47,000 mph.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Hmmm, sound like anyone we know?


According to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (IVth edition: DSM-IV), narcissism in extremis involves a self-centeredness that makes one oblivious to the emotional existence of others. The DSM-IV defines its pathological extreme (narcissistic personality disorder) as: "A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy."

The DSM-IV further diagnoses a narcissitic personality by the following characteristics:

"Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

"Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

"Believes that he or she is "'special"' and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

"Requires excessive admiration

"Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

"Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

"Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

"Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

"Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes"

From "Narcissism, the Public, and the President" by Stephen Soldz

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Why we will get fooled again

So, after passing the I-dunno-how-many-at-this-point huge black Hummer with a bulemic soccer mom behind the wheel on my way home from work (this is a very ubiquitous phenomenon in my neck of the woods), I Googled "Are Americans stupid," and thought I'd share some of the best fruits of my labors:
Why Americans Are So Stupid
Not All American Are Stupid
Stupid Evil Bastard
Are Americans Stupid (Or Does It Just Seem That Way?)
Are Americans Stupid?
Americans Stupid? Media to Blame?
Most Americans Are Stupid
Why Europeans Find Americans Stupid
Americans Are Dumb
Are Americans Afraid, Stupid or Preoccupied?
Incredibly Ignorant Americans Caught On Tape This one is my personal favorite!
59 Million Stupid Americans
Americans: Stupid And Militant

Alito's America

Just because he's smart.
Just because he's charming.
Just because he can speak with an even-tempered voice and smile warmly.
Just because.

Remember, the devil's in the details.

If you think the Imperial Presidency is going to save you from the amorphous threat of terrorism, remember that tyrants have consistently used fear to win the hearts and minds of the people that they subjugate.

Educate yourself. Start here.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

For your consideration

Hey, remember anthrax?

You know, that toxin laced bacterial powder that turned up in letters addressed to a handful of politicians and journalists?

No perpetrator has ever been caught.

And now, if only for nostalgia's sake (the next section is from Free From Terror),

CONSIDER THESE “COINCIDENCES”

· The anthrax attacks were concurrent with the debate of Bush’s Patriot Act by Congress and the media.

· The Senators who received anthrax letters were trying to amend the Patriot Act to protect civil liberties and the innocent.

· Two Senate democratic leaders received anthrax letters mailed the same day that Senator Feingold blocked an attempt to rush the bill through without discussion or amendments.

· Senator Leahy received an anthrax threat after he expressed reservations about the Bill. As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, he managed the debate on the Bill.

· Senate Majority Leader Daschle received the first Senate anthrax letter as he led the opposition to the original version of the Bill.

· After receiving the anthrax letter, Daschle switched from supporting a 2 year limit on the Bill, later defending a 4-year sunset clause as the “appropriate balance.”

· No Republican received an anthrax letter.

· The House and Senate buildings were closed and not reopened until after the Patriot Act was passed.

· The Supreme Court was shut down with an anthrax scare the day after the constitutionally-challenged Patriot Act was signed by President Bush.

· All the contaminated letters contained the Ames strain of anthrax, the DNA of which is traced to the original batch preserved in a university lab in Ames, Iowa. This strain was “weaponized” in Utah into a potent powder with an elaborate secret technique developed at Fort Detrick, Md.[1]

· The FBI failed to interview Ft. Detrick anthrax experts for two months into their investigation, doing it only after the experts complained to the press of gross incompetence on the part of the FBI.

· The FBI allowed the Iowa state lab to destroy the original batch of the Ames strain, making tracing the anthrax type more difficult.

· The FBI overruled local homicide detectives who think that an anthrax expert was murdered, possibly because he knew too much.

There's lots more. Visit the site or just Google "Anthrax conspiracy."

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The constant gardener

No tricks, just stupid humans

Last night, on "Late Night," David Letterman told guest Bill O'Reilly that he thought that "60% of what you say is crap."

Way to go, Dave, but you're off by about 40%.

We should have had him

From former CIA agent and cogent Bush administration critic Larry Johnson:

"The book the CIA didn't want you to read, JAWBREAKER by Gary Berntsen, is out and it kills. I've sent Gary a nasty note because his story kept me up till 4 am today. Just couldn't put it down. Gary spent most of this year battling CIA censors, who were refusing to release the book. They insisted on excising parts of the story that have already appeared in other books about CIA operations in Afghanistan written by Steve Coll and another CIA veteran, Gary Schroen.

"Gary Berntsen was the second CIA officer sent to Afghanistan and put in charge of directing the destruction of Al Qaeda and the hunt for Bin Laden. He arrived in the fall of 2001, replacing veteran officer Gary Schroen, who had led the first CIA element into Afghanistan in the immediate aftermath of the 9-11 attacks. Gary 2, i.e., Berntsen, built on Schroen's foundation and played a critical role in directing the offensive that broke the back of the Taliban and scattered Al Qaeda.

"The key news from Gary's book is that we had Bin Laden in our sights but Tommy Franks and JSOC Commander, Dell Dailey, dilly dallied and did not deploy U.S. troops requested by Berntsen to the battle at Tora Bora. We could of had him; we should of had him; but we let Bin Laden get away. "
-- Larry Johnson, No Quarter, full article here.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Murtha's words or Ed Schultz, you are just plain wrong

Ed Schultz, one of the few progressive talk show hosts not affiliated with Air America, was railing this afternoon about Congressman John Murtha's comments concerning whether he would serve in the military today (Murtha said "no."). Murtha, remember, is a 37 year Marine Corps veteran who served with distinction in Vietnam and retired a Colonel. Ed, who has never served in the military, seemed to be stuck in a groove, and couldn't even see the reason in the words of military veterans calling in who argued that, in addition to being honest, Murtha was saying that you cannot separate the mission from the missionary anymore. Bad policy, no service. Ed feels that Murtha went too far, but couldn't seem to articulate a succinct reason why without getting shrill and defensive. I have to sadly agree with one caller who suggested that the right wing media pundits are going to have a field day with Schultz's obstinate denunciation of Murtha's comment. Ultimately, Ed will have done as much to damage the progressive cause as he accuses Murtha of doing.

Ed, you're an upstanding guy and I love your show, but can't you see what the man was really saying? He is saying that to sign up now is to volunteer to be cannon fodder for a failed policy tainted by myriad illegalities and promulgated by a dimwit alcoholic with a Napoleon complex. O.K., well, I'm saying that - but I think that this is the sentiment behind Murtha the Warrior's words. Murtha has earned the right to call it as he sees it, and as caller Ralph (also a vet) tried to tell you yesterday, try and rise above your kneejerk reaction and understand what the Congressman from Pennsylvania was REALLY saying.

We know

Sometimes you just have to laugh

So go ahead and enjoy the latest from JibJab: http://www.jibjab.com/swf/JibJab_205YearEnd.swf, then get productively angry again.