Friday, June 06, 2008

What Else Is New? Beloved Leader Gives Money To Corrupt Saudi BFF

The US military has awarded an $80 million contract to a prominent Saudi financier who has been indicted by the US Justice Department. The contract to supply jet fuel to American bases in Afghanistan was awarded to the Attock Refinery Ltd, a Pakistani-based refinery owned by Gaith Pharaon. Pharaon is wanted in connection with his alleged role at the failed Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), and the CenTrust savings and loan scandal, which cost US tax payers $1.7 billion.

The Saudi businessman was also named in a 2002 French parliamentary report as having links to informal money transfer networks called hawala, known to be used by traders and terrorists, including Al Qaeda.

Interestingly, Pharaon was also an investor in President George W. Bush's first business venture, Arbusto Energy.

A spokesman for the FBI said Pharaon was not wanted in connection with the French report, but confirmed he was still sought by the US Justice Department.

"Ghaith Pharaon is an FBI fugitive indicted in both the BCCI and CENTRUST case," said Richard Kolko, a spokesman for the FBI. "If anyone has information on his location, they are requested to contact the FBI or the US Embassy."

The US military purchases jet fuel from Attock through the contractor Supreme Fuels, according to a US government website. The $80 million contract for 2008 was posted this week on a US government website . Attock supplied the US military more than $40 million in jet fuel in 2007, according to another spreadsheet posted on the site.

An official at Attock, who did not wish to be named, confirmed the refinery was supplying thousands of tons of jet fuel to the US base at Bagram Air Base every month.

Suspicious Quote Of The Day

I mean, you think maybe he's not asking how to get away with tampering? You know, simply, What should I not do? What should I be careful about?
"I am one of the Republican Party Precinct Chairs in Harris County, Texas. Since in 2006 Republican Rick Perry won the Governor's race in my precinct I will be the head election judge at my polling station this November. (My Democratic counterpart will be assistant election judge.) I have read with interest the stories about voting machine hacking, and I want advice from those of you who are experts on what to watch for to make sure there is no fraudulant activity at my precinct during the election. What activities should I look for? Keep in mind my restrictions" I will be at a table in the front of the room with the voter rolls signing people in, I can only approach the voting machines if a voter asks a question or if I have strong reason to believe there is fraudulant activity, the last thing I need is for someone to say the Republicans are trying to keep people from voting! And finally, although each station and voter will be visible from my seat each machine has 'blinders' around it so I will most likely not be able to see the hands of each voter while they are at the station. Thank you in advance for all suggestions."

What Else Is New? Two GOP US Attorneys Under Investigation For Abusing Their Offices For Partisan Acts

Just in case you need to know....

Thursday, June 05, 2008

How My Mind Sort Of Works

What you may not have realized is that perceiving sarcasm, the smirking put-down that buries its barb by stating the opposite, requires a nifty mental trick that lies at the heart of social relations: figuring out what others are thinking. Those who lose the ability, whether through a head injury or the frontotemporal dementias afflicting the patients in Dr. Rankin’s study, just do not get it when someone says during a hurricane, “Nice weather we’re having.”

“A lot of the social cognition we take for granted and learn through childhood, the ability to appreciate that someone else is being ironic or sarcastic or angry — the so-called theory of mind that allows us to get inside someone else’s head — is characteristically lost very early in the course of frontotemporal dementia,” said Dr. Bradley F. Boeve, a behavioral neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

“It’s very disturbing for family members, but neurologists haven’t had good tools for measuring it,” he went on. “That’s why I found this study by Kate Rankin and her group so fascinating.”

Dr. Rankin, a neuropsychologist and assistant professor in the Memory and Aging Center at the University of California, San Francisco, used an innovative test developed in 2002, the Awareness of Social Inference Test, or Tasit. It incorporates videotaped examples of exchanges in which a person’s words seem straightforward enough on paper, but are delivered in a sarcastic style so ridiculously obvious to the able-brained that they seem lifted from a sitcom.

“I was testing people’s ability to detect sarcasm based entirely on paralinguistic cues, the manner of expression,” Dr. Rankin said.

In one videotaped exchange, a man walks into the room of a colleague named Ruth to tell her that he cannot take a class of hers that he had previously promised to take. “Don’t be silly, you shouldn’t feel bad about it,” she replies, hitting the kind of high and low registers of a voice usually reserved for talking to toddlers. “I know you’re busy — it probably wasn’t fair to expect you to squeeze it in,” she says, her lips curled in derision.

Although people with mild Alzheimer’s disease perceived the sarcasm as well as anyone, it went over the heads of many of those with semantic dementia, a progressive brain disease in which people forget words and their meanings.

“You would think that because they lose language, they would pay close attention to the paralinguistic elements of the communication,” Dr. Rankin said.

To her surprise, though, the magnetic resonance scans revealed that the part of the brain lost among those who failed to perceive sarcasm was not in the left hemisphere of the brain, which specializes in language and social interactions, but in a part of the right hemisphere previously identified as important only to detecting contextual background changes in visual tests.

“The right parahippocampal gyrus must be involved in detecting more than just visual context — it perceives social context as well,” Dr. Rankin said.

The discovery fits with an increasingly nuanced view of the right hemisphere’s role, said Dr. Anjan Chatterjee, an associate professor in the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania.

“The left hemisphere does language in the narrow sense, understanding of individual words and sentences,” Dr. Chatterjee said. “But it’s now thought that the appreciation of humor and language that is not literal, puns and jokes, requires the right hemisphere.”

Dr. Boeve, at the Mayo Clinic, said that beyond the curiosity factor of mapping the cognitive tasks of the brain’s ridges and furrows, the study offered hope that a test like Tasit could help in the diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia.

“These people normally do perfectly well on traditional neuropsychological tests early in the course of their disease,” he said. “The family will say the person has changed dramatically, but even neurologists will often just shrug them off as having a midlife crisis.”

Freedom To Vote Without It Necessarily Counting In New Jersey

Today is primary election day in New Jersey, for all races except U.S. President. (The presidential primary was Feb. 5.) Here’s a roundup of the voting-machine-related issues.

First, Union County found that Sequoia voting machines had difficulty reporting results for a candidate named Carlos CedeƱo, reportedly because it couldn’t handle the n-with-tilde character in his last name. According to the Star-Ledger, Sequoia says that election results will be correct but there will be some kind of omission on the result tape printed by the voting machine.

Second, the voting machines in my polling place are fitted with a clear-plastic shield over the operator panel, which only allows certain buttons on the panel to be pressed. Recall that some Sequoia machines reported discrepancies in the presidential primary on Feb. 5, and Sequoia said that these happened when poll workers accidentally pressed buttons on the operator panel that were supposed to be unused. This could only have been caused by a design problem in the machines, which probably was in the software. To my knowledge, Sequoia hasn’t fixed the design problem (nor have they offered an explanation that is consistent with all of the evidence — but that’s another story), so there was likely an ongoing risk of trouble in today’s election. The plastic shield looks like a kludgy but probably workable temporary fix.

Third, voting machines were left unguarded all over Princeton, as usual. On Sunday and Monday evenings, I visited six polling places in Princeton and found unguarded voting machines in all of them — 18 machines in all. The machines were sitting in school cafeteria/gyms, entry hallways, and even in a loading dock area. In no case were there any locks or barriers stopping people from entering and walking right up to the machines. In no case did I see any other people. (This was in the evening, roughly between 8:00 and 9:00 PM). There were even handy signs posted on the street pointing the way to the polling place, showing which door to enter, and so on.
Link and photos.

*Sigh* Or Is This The Viddie Of The Day??

Or Is This The Viddie Of The Day?? - Watch more free videos

(Better version here.)

Or Is This Today's Viddie Of The Day?

Viddie Of The Day?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The New President's Advisers

Beyond the rhetoric, disturbing news emerging over the weekend about substance of McCain‘s approach to foreign policy and whether it might actually benefit those who wish harm to us and to Israel. At the heart of it, McCain‘s top economic adviser, former Texas Senator Phil Gramm. As we revealed here on COUNTDOWN last week, Gramm on the payroll of the giant Swiss bank UBS, helping to defeat US legislation that would give relief to Americans facing foreclosure and at the same time writing McCain‘s economic policies.

Now, “Newsweek Magazine” reporting that Gramm‘s bank is under investigation for alleged use of overseas tax havens to hide assets of the wealthy from U.S. authorities. On September 20th, 2001, the “New York Times” reported that a single senator had blocked legislation that would have helped the U.S. investigators track Osama bin Laden‘s financial network before 9/11. It was Phil Gramm, who still defended these tax havens after 9/11, whose bank was still lobbying Congress on behalf of tax havens as recently as last year, including lobbying done by this man, UBS senior lobbyist John Savercool, formerly a legislative assistant to Senator Phil Gramm.

Before She Was A Terrorist, She Talked Smut....


Look, look, look!!!

Viddie Of The Day?

President McCain Is His Own Man, Will Set His Own Policy, Will Not Follow Beloved Leader

If elected president, Senator John McCain would reserve the right to run his own warrantless wiretapping program against Americans, based on the theory that the president's wartime powers trump federal criminal statutes and court oversight, according to a statement released by his campaign Monday.

[N]either the Administration nor the telecoms need apologize for actions that most people, except for the ACLU and the trial lawyers, understand were Constitutional and appropriate in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001. [...]

We do not know what lies ahead in our nation’s fight against radical Islamic extremists, but John McCain will do everything he can to protect Americans from such threats, including asking the telecoms for appropriate assistance to collect intelligence against foreign threats to the United States as authorized by Article II of the Constitution.

McCain's new position plainly contradicts statements he made in a December 20, 2007 interview with the Boston Globe where he implicitly criticized Bush's five-year secret end-run around the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

"I think that presidents have the obligation to obey and enforce laws that are passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, no matter what the situation is," McCain said.

The Globe's Charlie Savage pushed further, asking , "So is that a no, in other words, federal statute trumps inherent power in that case, warrantless surveillance?" To which McCain answered, "I don't think the president has the right to disobey any law."

McCain's embrace of extrajudicial domestic wiretapping is effectively a bounce-back from Fish's comments, made at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference in Connecticut last month. When liberal blogs picked up the story that McCain had moved to the left on wiretapping, the McCain campaign issued a letter insisting that he still supported unconditional immunity, as well as new rules that would expand the nation's spy powers.

The campaign's response was consistent with McCain's past positions and votes. But it riled Andrew McCarthy at the conservative National Review Online, who read the campaign's position as a disavowal of Bush's warrantless wiretapping program, and a wimpy surrender of executive power to Congress.

"What does it mean when he says Sen. McCain does not want the telecoms put into this position again?" McCarthy asked. "Is he saying that in a time of national crisis, the president should not be permitted to ask the telecoms for assistance that is arguably beyond what is prescribed in a statute?"

That's when the campaign issued the letter explaining McCain's new views of executive power, and revealing that McCain would, in certain future circumstances, rely on the same theory of executive power in wartime.

Let's Get Down....

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

See It Now! Young Hilary

The Wisdom Of President McCain's BFF

Today's Read


Video Of The Day: The First Great, Important Demo

This is history....

Rant Du Jour

I liked this.
Super-star NYT Op-Ed columnist Billy Kristol shot one off today that outslimed even his own epic levels of sliminess.

The doughty Vietnam non-vet took Senator Obama to task for giving a commencement address at Wesleyan this weekend in which he didn't remind his "elite" audience that military service was one kind of public service they might consider.

Just as back in 1970 young Billy, then a draftable little chickadee of 18 summers, fresh from elite Collegiate School in Manhattan, considered military service in the only war he could have qualified for. And said to his heroic inner man...hellllll nooooo. I'm serving my country at...Harvard.

Just like er, well, er, Obama.

Except there wasn't a war on when Obama was 18.

But pointing out a trivial omission in a list of public service choices wasn't Billy's true intent. He was actually parroting in that inimitably intellectual and slimy way, the current troglo-right theme that Obama can't be trusted with the world's largest military. Why? Because Obama didn't fight in one of the wars he could have qualified for. Like say, our glorious 3-day victory over Grenada in 1983, when he was 22. Code-named as you may proudly recall Operation Urgent Fury.

Of course Billy phrased his smear, with his trademark brilliance, so that it could refer either to Obama's omission in his commencement address or to his omitting to put himself in harms way:

"It can't be that the possibility of military service as an admirable form of public service didn't occur to Obama."

But...nor did military service occur apparently to any of the other late lamented candidates for the Presidency to whit: John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich or even our brave Iranocidal Boadicea, Hillary Clinton; nor, more to the point to: Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback or Tom Tancredo (who received his get-out-of- Vietnam-free card for "stress-related anxiety")

So why did one of the nation's pre-eminent draft-dodgers pick Obama as the one candidate to slime? Could it be the reflexive racism that drives all neo-conservatives; it's because Obama is, you know, African-American? And 'military service as an admirable form of public service' ought to occur to all African-Americans, male or female, before any other career choice?

Dammit, why the hell didn't Michelle volunteer for Operation Urgent Fury? She was 19 -- the perfect age to earn her spurs blowing away a shovel-wielding Cuban construction worker. Why didn't she volunteer for our glorious victory over Panama in 1989 when she was a mere 25? Firebomb a few pesky Canal-thieves? Why didn't Obama? He was only 28. What's wrong with these people? How could any patriotic African-American not be stirred to his or her very core by a war codenamed Operation Just Cause?

Billy was. To his very core. His fat little yellow belly used to go all fluttery with butterflies at the thought of hunky Marines locking and loading. And not just black Marines -- any Marines. And the wonderful thing is, that lovely vision of vicarious violence never stales. Not for Billy nor for any his fellow cowards too craven to have ever put themselves in harms way.

Which is why we're in Iraq.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Why The RIAA Is Wrong

Well, partly wrong....
On June 1, 1908, 100 years ago today, the US Supreme Court decided Bobbs-Merrill v. Straus, a case that established what would become known as the “first sale doctrine”. This doctrine, now codified as part of the US Copyright Act, says that in general the owners of books or other copyrighted works have the right to dispose of them as they see fit (such as by reselling them, giving them away, or lending them out). The copyright holder can still control the right to make copies, make public performances, or other derivative works. But once a reader has bought a book, they can pass it along as they see fit. (Or keep it, or fold it into little origami shapes for their own amusement. They own it, after all.)

This right exists even in the presence of notices to the buyer that claim to conditionally license the work, rather than sell it. Indeed, those kinds of licenses, familiar now to most computer users, were also at issue in the Bobbs-Merrill case. (For historical background, including some examples of old-time “end user license agreements”, see a post of mine from a few months ago, “The right to read, circa 1906.”)

Despite attempts by many software, music, and ebook publishers to extend control over their products to their buyers, the first sale doctrine is still salient today. Just last month, for example, a federal judge cited the first sale doctrine to uphold the right of an eBay merchant to resell used software. An article in Ars Technica has a link to the decision, and an excellent explanation of the case and the importance of the principles it upholds. Ultimately, as the article points out, the first sale doctrine is what “makes libraries and used book stores possible” without needing the permission of publishers to exist or carry out their missions.

The free access to literature that libraries provide, and the freedom to provide access to literature that the first sale doctrine provides, promote the literacy and education of all our citizens. So this is an anniversary well worth remembering for its contribution to society. Happy First Sale Day!

A Milestone In Narcissism And Self-Absorption

Guy obsesses with his own life, and from it extrapolates for the masses... but I dunno, he can be on to something....

Sunday, June 01, 2008

President McCain's Scummy Supporters

How President McCain Will Get Elected

John Dean says, and I agree fully: Appeals to the heart beat appeals to the mind.

Today's Flip-Flop

John McCain supports the Climate Security Act. He just isn't going to vote on it.

Just Example Of Big Media Journalism Making Itself Ever More Irrelevant

I can't even begin to summarize this crap... but, you know, in an anti-intellectual, toadying environment, Big Media's not going to work very hard to actually, you know, report accurately. And, more likely than not, the money lost by audience loss and erosion is less than what is at risk by failing to suck up to Our leaders. So there's your answer to crap like this....
What happens when someone lobs a missile at the credibility of NBC Nightly News? The program tries to ignore it.

Yesterday, White House counselor and longtime Republican hit man Ed Gillespie fired off a furious letter to NBC News president Steve Capus, alleging that the president's interview with chief NBC foreign correspondent Richard Engel about his speech before the Israeli Knesset was "deceptively edited."

Last night, NBC anchor Brian Williams reported the existence of the letter—but he gave no hint about the substance of the charges from the White House. He also offered no defense against them. Instead, he merely directed viewers to an unedited version of the interview on the Web, a suggestion that many members of Nightly's aging audience probably found completely unhelpful.

Williams' approach was unfortunate, and not just because it was so uninformative. The truth is, Engel's interview was appropriately (and refreshingly) tough, and the White House attack on him was completely unfounded. But anyone relying on Nightly News for their information would have no way of knowing that.

Engel said to the president, "You said that negotiating with Iran is pointless, and then you went further. You said that it was appeasement. Were you referring to Senator Barack Obama?" Here is the disputed paragraph from the president's response, with the parts NBC left out in italics:

"You know, my policies haven't changed, but evidently the political calendar has. People need to read the speech. You didn't get it exactly right, either. What I said was is that we need to take the words of people seriously. And when, you know, a leader of Iran says that they want to destroy Israel, you've got to take those words seriously. And if you don't take them seriously, then it hearkens back to a day when we didn't take other words seriously. It was fitting that I talked about not taking the words of Adolph Hitler seriously on the floor of the Knesset. But I also talked about the need to defend Israel, the need to not negotiate with the likes of al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas. And the need to make sure Iran doesn't get a nuclear weapon."

Abbreviated, to be sure, but I don't see any harm done to the truth by NBC's editing. Gillespie disagreed, partly because he believed that the full version of the quote "corrects the inaccurate premise of Engel's question by putting the 'appeasement' line in the proper context of taking the words of leaders seriously, not 'negotiating with Iran.'"

In other words, even though John McCain immediately inserted Barack Obama's name into the empty space in Bush's speech, the White House was now pretending that Obama had never been his target.

Last night, Keith Olbermann explained the problem with that assertion: "As to his promise that, quote, my policies haven't changed, but evidently the political calendar has, and its implicit denial that his appeasement comment at the Knesset was directed at Senator Obama, the president has yet to explain why, if he was not referring to Senator Obama, his White House aides were busy telling the media that his Knesset speech would raise eyebrows and make news, as there was certainly nothing else in it that was out of the ordinary." Other reporters agreed that White House aides had made it clear, off the record, that Obama was the president's target.

THE INTERVIEW IN QUESTION Engel chats with President Bush

Immediately after Gillespie's attack, NBC issued this statement: "Richard Engel's interview with President Bush has been available, unedited, in its entirety, for the past day, on our website. Our reporting accurately reflects the interview. Just as the White House does not participate in the editorial process at the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, or USA Today, NBC News, as part of a free press in a free society, makes its own editorial decisions."

And yesterday, in a letter responding to the White House, NBC News president Steve Capus said, "Let me assure you, there was no effort to be 'deceptive,' as you suggest. Furthermore, the notion this was 'deceitful editing to further a media-manufactured storyline' is a gross misrepresentation of the facts." But again, as of this afternoon, none of Nightly's viewers had heard that. Perhaps Williams will correct the record in tonight's broadcast.

Another complaint from Gillespie concerned NBC's characterization of Iraq as a civil war: "Please allow me to take this opportunity to ask if your network has reconsidered its position that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war, especially in light of the fact that the unity government in Baghdad recently rooted out illegal, extremist groups in Basra and reclaimed the port there for the people of Iraq, among other significant signs of progress."

That's a lovely insight into the way the non-reality-based White House continues to view the war, but NBC News president Capus refused to comment on that at all. "I think it wise to discuss those matters in a more appropriate forum," Capus wrote.

This was the second time in a month that Nightly News has come under attack, and Williams tried to ignore it. The first time was the New York Times story describing a huge Pentagon propaganda scandal, in which retired military officers alternated between spouting the Bush administration line on all of the major TV networks and collecting inside information for the military contractors who employed them so they could get more contracts connected to the war. The nightly newscasts of NBC, CBS, and ABC all ignored that attack, although, after some prodding, Williams eventually gave an unsatisfactory reply in his own blog.

Yesterday, Williams and a NBC News spokesman both refused to comment about any of this to Full Court Press, and Williams was apparently dodging other press inquiries as well.

Vets' Suicides: A New High

The US Army on Thursday said suicides among active duty troops in 2007 had reached the highest level on record, due partly to the stress caused by deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Army announced that 115 soldiers, including 22 National Guard and Army Reserve troops, killed themselves last year. That marked a 12.7 percent rise from the 102 suicides recorded in 2006. There were 85 Army suicides in 2005.

President McCain: Class Act Or What?

Beloved Leader Explains Why He Does What He Does

Unbelievable: This guy "lead" us for eight years....

This Is So Beautiful....

Meet President McCain's Whacko Economics Advisor

John McCain's go-to economics adviser isn't holding up very well under close scrutiny.

Phil Gramm, the former Texas senator and economist, is taking a lot of heat after reports that up until April 18 he was a registered lobbyist for UBS, the Swiss bank that is the world's largest manager of private wealth.

A former economics professor at Texas A&M, Gramm has long advocated for tax cuts, supply-side economics and less government regulation. But as David Corn over at Mother Jones reports in "Foreclosure Phil?" Gramm also played an integral role in the financial scandal commonly known as the "subprime meltdown."

Gramm took to the Senate floor on Dec. 15, 2000 -- just two days after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Bush v. Gore decision -- and inserted a 262-page measure into a massive budget bill.
The act, he declared, would ensure that neither the [SEC] nor the Commodity Futures Trading Commission [CFTC] got into the business of regulating newfangled financial products called swaps--and would thus "protect financial institutions from overregulation" and "position our financial services industries to be world leaders into the new century."
If your eyes tend to glaze over at the details of complex financial markets, Corn spells out the mechanics in simple terms.

Bottom line is the free-for-all in credit-default swaps during the past seven years added greatly to the financial markets' instability, as investment banks began laying out cash like, Corn says, "bookies trading bets."

Gramm remains the vice chairman of the UBS investment arm, and he appears to have benefited from his close ties to the financial industry since leaving the Senate a few years ago.
Whether or not Gramm had bothered to ponder the potential downsides of his commodities legislation, having helped set off an industry free-for-all, he reaped the rewards. In 2003, he left the Senate to take a highly lucrative job at [UBS], Switzerland's largest bank, which had been able to acquire investment house PaineWebber due to his banking deregulation bill. He would soon be lobbying Congress, the Fed, and the Treasury Department for [UBS] on banking and mortgage matters.
Corn spells out how long and intimate Gramm's relationship with McCain has been:
Gramm's record as a reckless deregulator has not affected his rating as a Republican economic expert. Sen. John McCain has relied on him for policy advice, especially, according to the campaign, on housing matters. The two have been buddies ever since they served together in the House in the 1980s; in 1996, McCain chaired Gramm's flop of a presidential campaign. (Gramm spent $21 million and earned only 10 delegates during the GOP primaries.) In 2005, McCain told a Wall Street Journal columnist that Gramm was his economic guru. Two years later, Gramm wrote a piece for the Journal extolling McCain as a modern-day Abraham Lincoln, and he's hailed McCain's love of tax cuts and free trade. Media accounts have identified Gramm as a contender for the top slot at the Treasury Department if McCain reaches the White House. "If McCain gets in," frets Lynn Turner, a former chief SEC accountant, "we'll have more of the same deregulatory mess. I like John McCain, but given what I know about Phil Gramm, I wouldn't vote for McCain."
Gramm recently told a reporter "I don't have a scarlet 'L' burned onto my chest," referring to the dread lobbyists McCain has been trying to rid his campaign of.

About The Michigan And Florida Delegates

If you care, this is just about the best piece I read.

Apparently, a lot of voters see this as some sort of disenfranchisement issue.

I don't think so. They knew the rules, they knowingly broke them and for better or worse they were penalized. Doing a do over is not an option, nor is there any fair way to replicate any fabricated yet fair distribution of the delegates.

Ditto for Hilary: When the other candidates passed on these two primaries, she was only too glad to take advantage.

Where Homeland Security $$$ Go

There is nothing to add to this. It is so typical of the corruption of Our Leaders.
Colorado Springs-based Ramblin Express, which shuttles gamblers to mountain-town casinos, including Cripple Creek, has received $382,000 in anti-terrorism grants.

Instant Nostalgia: The Whacko Who Would Be President Except He Was Just About The Only One Who Did

Pathetic End to A Mediocre Career

And here's how it started....

Scott McClennan's Greatest Lies

It is kind of hard to get the two pieces to fit: Lie like a bitch in heat (or something like that) and then to write what he wrote....

Idiocy Of The Day

See for yourself

Actually, double idiocy: Spewing this crap and being on O'Reilly....

Another Triumph Of The Whacko Wingnuts

They were right and here's the proof!!


The full story is here... actually maybe more than you need to know....

And this may be the last word....

The Corporatist State Is Noticed....

If only this actually leads to anything good....
There is a fundamental problem these days with economic policy - US corporations have run amok. No longer do they act in the national interest or even give a pretense of being good national corporate citizens. It's all about profits, maximizing profits. In fact, we are told that is a corporation's only responsibility. But is that really the case or have we been spun a lie so long and often we believe it to be true without question? How does the United States align it's Corporations to the interests of the nation?

In a recent House Science Subcommittee hearing, American Decline or Renewal? – Globalizing Jobs and Technology, some these fundamental questions of corporate governance were addressed.
it has gradually become clear to me that much of a nation’s economic strategy is embedded in the institutions through which that particular nation is governed, and that the existence of institutions imply a certain strategy
- Dr. Bruce R. Scott, testimony before the Investigations and Oversight House Science Subcommittee.

From Dr. Margaret Blair, a law professor and economist, opening statement:
I want to speak to you today on a question about the fiduciary obligations that corporate directors have, by law, in this country. In particular, I want to address a claim often made in the financial press, and by members of what a Delaware Court judge has recently called the “corporate governance industry.” This is the claim that corporate directors have a legal duty to maximize share value.
What I hope you will take from my testimony today is that this claim is, at best, a misleading overstatement. At worst, this claim is simply false, but is often asserted as a weapon to try to persuade corporate managers and directors that they should take actions that benefit particular shareholders of a given corporation, regardless of whether those actions may impose high costs on creditors, employees, the communities where corporations have their operations, or other stakeholders, or sometimes even on the long run ability of the corporation itself to compete effectively for market share, or to develop the next technology
Dr. Margaret M. Blair even wrote a book about it, Ownership and Control: Rethinking Corporate Governance for the Twenty-First Century .

So, is everyone getting that? In order to sustain the United States as a Democracy versus a haven for multinational corporations akin to the No Man's Land of Oklahoma where outlaws were under no jurisdiction, had no consequence, we must make corporate entities accountable to the citizenry of the United States. We must realize not only can we do precisely that, we must do precisely that. We must hold and make these US based corporations responsible and responsive to the United States national interest.

Ralph Gomory said:
We need to realize that the interests of the American global corporation, whose interest is profit, and the interests of most Americans, who want a higher standard of living, have been diverging.
In other words, globalization is putting America at greater and greater risk by the very corporations it spawned.

So maybe this is a little hard to digest. Why are they bothering with such esoteric concepts? Well, after some pondering, it dawned on me that to enact dramatic, strategic trade and economic policy change, one must directly confront this false assumption that corporations must be like glorified Ferengi.

In order to convince lawmakers to pass legislation and enact policy we desperately need and also to console legislators, to assure such new legislation and policy would not be overturned in the courts, we must address these fundamental definitions of corporate history and governance.

Bruce Scott (read his entire testimony, watch the video) noted:
Today’s global economy is much like the US in the later 19 century
In today’s economy, nations and states charter firms to compete in a global common, but no chartering authority exists that wields the political power to impose rules on these global markets. While there are rules for trade, the chartering of financial firms in particular invites a race to the bottom to escape taxes as well as regulations. At the same time, some countries are imposing conditions on foreign firms as a condition for doing business in their countries. This issue is particularly important in the case of a few very large countries, notably China.
These countries, with priorities that favor rapid growth, are using national power to partner with US firms on the condition that the latter move some of their activities to China. These countries are behaving much the way New Jersey did in an earlier era, taking advantage of an inadequately regulated common
Dr. Scott is pointing out today we are living in a corporate bandit outlaw haven. We're in No Man's Land with the multinational globalization corporate cartel, running amok, thumbing their nose at what is actually good for America.

And the kicker, Dr. Scott recommends:
you consider reopening the question of a federal charter or license for US firms as a way to specify certain requirements for behavior

Prof. Scott's prepared testimony is here.

A Threat From The East

From this piece, it looks like China is trying to hack American systems like 24/7. It reminds me when we were in Shanghai Summer 2007. We were taken on a tour of an elite public elementary school. And what was a class of first graders (IIRC) doing? Programming. I mean simple games, but it does set one wondering why, and What were the older kids doing in class? Hacking the Pentagon, I wondered. And maybe I was right....

More Progress In Iraq

Jews were once a wealthy and politically active part of the spectrum of Iraq. In a fading red volume of the Iraq Directory of 1936, the “Israelite community,” then numbering about 120,000, is listed along with Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Muslims, Christians, Yazidis and Sabeans. Rescued from a Baghdad library, this book lists Hebrew among the six languages of Iraq and describes a country in which “the mosque stands beside the church and the synagogue.”

However, the directory predates decades of trauma: the 1941 Farhud pogrom in which more than 130 Jews were killed during the Feast of Shavuot, World War II, the Holocaust, the anti-Zionism of Saddam Hussein and the post-2003 rise of Islamic militants.
[more] (Emphasis added.)