••can ye pass the acid test?••

ye who enter here be afraid, but do what ye must -- to defeat your fear ye must defy it.

& defeat it ye must, for only then can we begin to realize liberty & justice for all.

time bomb tick tock? nervous tic talk? war on war?

or just a blog crying in the wilderness, trying to make sense of it all, terror-fried by hate radio and FOX, the number of whose name is 666??? (coincidence?)

Showing posts with label corruption. Show all posts
Showing posts with label corruption. Show all posts

Monday, June 18, 2012

here's a poem i wrote the day the cops that beat rodney king got acquitted and the riots started:

if you make a tool
& it does the job
& you use it
long as you can
till it gets old
& starts to fall apart
& doesn't work well
& even makes you risk
getting hurt
if you use it
what do you do?
you take a good look
& see if you can fix it
& if you can
you fix it
& if you can't
you throw it away
& make a new tool

in simi valley in april 1992, 3 LA cops were found not guilty and the jury failed to reach a verdict for the fourth. the riots that followed caused 53 deaths and 2000 injuries and destroyed 600 buildings.

regarding the march 1991 incident, wikipedia says:

King was taken to Pacifica Hospital immediately after his arrest. He suffered a fractured facial bone, a broken right ankle, and numerous bruises and lacerations. In a negligence claim filed with the city, King alleged he had suffered "11 skull fractures, permanent brain damage, broken [bones and teeth], kidney damage [and] emotional and physical trauma." Blood and urine samples taken from King five hours after his arrest showed that he could be presumed intoxicated under California law. The tests also showed traces of marijuana (26 ng/ml), but no indication of PCP or any other illegal drug. At Pacifica Hospital, where King was taken for initial treatment, nurses reported that the officers who accompanied King (including Wind) openly joked and bragged about the number of times King had been hit. King sued the city over the beating, settling for $3.8 million.
his book, just published in april to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the trial, will undoubtedly and ironically be a bestseller.

‎"Can we all just get along?"


Saturday, March 24, 2012

unholy alliance?

Some 50,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since 2006 and the Church has been accused of failing to speak out over the fighting.
"The Church has had an ambivalent response to the drug war and the incredible amount of violence going on in the country," says John Ackerman, Professor of Law at the Autonomous University in Mexico City.

Since the Christian Democrats came to power in 2000, the constitutionally separate relationship between the Catholic Church and the government has been progressively narrowing.
He says Pope Benedict will find in Mexico a clergy deeply divided over its position on the fighting.

"The general impression is that those Church leaders who have spoken out against violence and in favour of a change in policy have all been relatively low-level leaders. The one exception is Bishop Raul Vera," says Professor Ackerman.

Bishop Vera is a silver-haired, balding priest who is quick to laughter, but equally quick to criticise.
"The president's war against drug trafficking seems to us to be more of a war against the people than a war against the cartels," he says, stabbing his finger in the air.

"The cartels have multiplied, the number of dead has risen exponentially, corruption is deeper every day - we see it. So when we hear the president of the Republic saying his strategy is working, we think he's either in an ivory tower and has no idea what's actually going on, or basically he's a liar. I'm going with the latter!"

But his anger is not just reserved for the state. He is equally critical of some of his colleagues in the Catholic Church.

One of the most serious charges against the Church is that there are some parishes that have actually profited from the drug violence in the form of donations from drug barons or cartels.

"We have to be very careful about who we accept donations from, particularly to fund structures of the Church. Very careful indeed," says Bishop Vera.

It is alleged that drug money has swelled the coffers in parishes where the drug lords exert control.

"There was once a rather embarrassing bishop who said something absurd," remembers Bishop Vera. "He said that money from drug trafficking was purified when it entered the Church. Of course it's not! The money from drugs is intrinsically stained with blood and we can't use it. We mustn't." [more]

Monday, January 30, 2012


Freddie Mac, a taxpayer-owned mortgage company, is supposed to make homeownership easier. One thing that makes owning a home more affordable is getting a cheaper mortgage.

But Freddie Mac has invested billions of dollars betting that U.S. homeowners won't be able to refinance their mortgages at today's lower rates, according to an investigation by NPR and ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom.

These investments, while legal, raise concerns about a conflict of interest within Freddie Mac. [more]

Thursday, January 19, 2012

corbett cuts frack impact wildlife study 70%

oil and gas industry got gov they paid for in 2010 election

Sunday, July 24, 2011

starve which beast?

everybody knows tom delay and jack abramoff got arrested, but how come we've seen no legal action against ralph reed and grover norquist?

Monday, July 18, 2011


i am not comforted when i read
And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast.
— rev 13
the old fox from down under does indeed appear to have a fatal wound. if he recovers, many will wonder how. it remains to be seen how many will keep following him.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

By Ian Millhiser on Jun 30, 2011

Last week, the New York Times reported that Justice Clarence Thomas received a series of lavish gifts and other favors from a leading Republican donor, including $500,000 to allow Thomas’s wife to start a Tea Party group and a $19,000 Bible that belonged to Frederick Douglass. Additionally, Thomas received a gift worth $15,000 from the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank that often files briefs in Justice Thomas’ Court. Justice Thomas did not recuse himself from at least three cases where AEI filed a brief.

Rather than acknowledge this ethical scandal — a scandal which is striking similar to the gifting scandal that forced Justice Abe Fortas to resign from the Court in 1969 — the GOP has decided to throw up a smokescreen. In a transparent attempt to distract from the very serious allegations against Justice Thomas, forty-nine GOP lawmakers signed a letter to the House Judiciary Committee leadership seeking an probe into utterly frivolous ethical allegations against Justice Elena Kagan:

Forty-nine Republican members of Congress on Thursday asked the House Judiciary Committee to "promptly investigate" Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's role in preparing a legal defense for President Obama's health care law, saying her prior work in the Obama administration should disqualify her from considering any challenge to the law before the high court....

According to the law, they said, a justice should recuse in cases “where he has served in government employment and in such capacity participated as counsel, adviser or material witness concerning the proceedings or expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy.

First of all, there is absolutely, positively no case whatsoever supporting Kagan’s recusal from the Affordable Care Act cases. To have “participated” in a “particular case in controversy,” a judge must have been a lawyer, adviser or witness in the exact same lawsuit that is now before their court. Because none of the health care cases currently pending in federal court had been appealed before Kagan was confirmed to the Supreme Court, Kagan would not have done any work on those specific cases. Normally, the Solicitor General first becomes involved in federal litigation at the appellate level, if at all.

Second, the letter effectively accuses a sitting Supreme Court justice of perjury despite no evidence supporting that allegation. Kagan testified under oath during her confirmation hearing that she had no involvement whatsoever in the health care litigation. If the GOP actually has evidence that Justice Kagan is a felon, then they should produce it. Otherwise they should avoid making libelous accusations without proof.

Third, a hearing on Kagan wouldn’t even be the first time right-wing activists launched an unsuccessful witch hunt on this very issue. Earlier this year, a conservative news outlet filed a FOIA request seeking documents relating to Kagan’s involvement in the health care litigation. After examining the documents, National Review writer Carrie Severino, a former law clerk to Justice Thomas, was forced to conclude that the documents contain no evidence requiring Justice Kagan’s recusal.

Here’s what’s actually going on here: last week, Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) circulated a draft letter to his colleagues seeking an hearing on the many ethics scandals surrounding Justice Thomas and two of his conservative colleagues. The next day, he pointed out that Republicans won’t speak out against Thomas because “he’s doing their bidding on the Supreme Court today, and they don’t want to do anything that compromises his ability to enforce a political agenda in the United States judicial system.”

The GOP’s silence on Thomas is as unfortunate as it is predictable, but their baseless attacks on Kagan are particularly underhanded. Forty-nine Members of Congress just suggested that a Supreme Court justice committed a serious felony, and they appear to have made this accusation solely to distract from the massive ethics scandal plaguing one of their allies on the Supreme Court.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

can't say i enjoyed all of these, but...

Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance by Alexander Zaitchik
Over the Cliff: How Obama's Election Drove the American Right Insane by John Amato
Toxic Talk: How the Radical Right Has Poisoned America's Airwaves by Bill Press
Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America by Dana Milbank
Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternate Version of American History Vol. 1 by Chris Rodda
Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free by Charles P. Pierce
How to Win a Fight with a Conservative by Daniel Kurtzman
Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America by John Avlon
The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right by David Neiwert
The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion by Matt Taibbi
True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society by Farhad Manjoo
The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule by Thomas Frank
Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party by Max Blumenthal
American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America by Chris Hedges
Killer Politics: How Big Money and Bad Politics Are Destroying the Great American Middle Class by Ed Schultz
Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics by Glenn Greenwald
God and His Demons by Michael Parenti
How the Republicans Stole Religion: Why the Religious Right is Wrong about Faith & Politics and What We Can Do to Make it Right by Bill Press
Conservatives Without Conscience by John W. Dean
Fighting Words: A Toolkit for Combating the Religious Right by Robin Morgan
A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency by Glenn Greenwald
The Promise: President Obama, Year One by Jonathan Alter
Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches by John W. Dean
The Man Who Sold the World: Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street America by William Kleinknecht
The Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity by Robert Kuttner
The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama by Will Bunch
A Presidency in Peril: The Inside Story of Obama's Promise, Wall Street's Power, and the Struggle to Control our Economic Future by Robert Kuttner
The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be by Michael Lux
Trainwreck: The End of the Conservative Revolution (and Not a Moment Too Soon) by Bill Press
Glenn Beck: The Redemptive Story of America's Favorite Political Commentator by Xander Cricket
Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter
God Hates You, Hate Him Back: Making Sense of The Bible by CJ Werleman
What Liberals Believe: Thousands of Quotes on Why America Needs to Be Rescued from Greedy Corporations, Homophobes, Racists, Imperialists, Xenophobes, and Religious Extremists by William Martin
Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream by Barbara Ehrenreich
Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?: How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life by Thomas Geoghegan
The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby
Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War by Andrew Bacevich
Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love by Dave Zirin
The Evolution of Everything: How Selection Shapes Culture, Commerce, and Nature by Mark Sumner
Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism by Sheldon S. Wolin
The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails by John W. Loftus
Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges
Washington by Meg Greenfield
The Rise of the Fourth Reich: The Secret Societies That Threaten to Take Over America by Jim Marrs
Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism by Michelle Goldberg
Does God Get Diarrhea?: Flushing 4,000 Years Of Lies, Myths, And Fairy Tales Down The Toilet by Odin Zeus McGaffer
Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became "People" - And How You Can Fight Back by Thom Hartmann
Smells Like Dead Elephants: Dispatches from a Rotting Empire by Matt Taibbi
The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy by David Brock
What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America by Thomas Frank
The Real America: Messages from the Heart and Heartland by Glenn Beck
Hopes and Prospects by Noam Chomsky
Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby
Truth and Consequences: Special Comments on the Bush Administration's War on American Values by Keith Olbermann
A New American Tea Party: The Counterrevolution Against Bailouts, Handouts, Reckless Spending, and More Taxes by John M. O'Hara
Dismantling the Empire: America's Last Best Hope by Chalmers Johnson
The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer by Dean Baker
An Inconvenient Book: Real Solutions to the World's Biggest Problems by Glenn Beck
Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus by Rick Perlstein
The Bitter Pill of Truth: A Cure for Judeo-Christianity by J M Ladd
Fables for Our Time and Famous Poems Illustrated by James Thurber
The Atheist's Introduction to the New Testament: How the Bible Undermines the Basic Teachings of Christianity by Mike Davis
Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back by Frank Schaeffer
Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot by Al Franken
50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God by Guy P. Harrison
The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power by Jeff Sharlet
Revolutionaries: A New History of the Invention of America by Jack Rakove
Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent
Jesus: Neither God Nor Man - The Case for a Mythical Jesus by Earl Doherty
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr
Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama by Bill O'reilly
The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama by David Remnick
Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk by Massimo Pigliucci
Hitch-22: A Memoir by Christopher Hitchens
Helluva Town: The Story of New York City During World War II by Richard Goldstein
Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't by Stephen Prothero
Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy by Joseph E. Stiglitz
The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Richard Wilkinson
Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1 by Mark Twain
The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro
American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon by Stephen Prothero
A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Karen Armstrong
Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years by Russ Baker
Pandora's Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization by Spencer Wells
Scout, Atticus, and Boo: A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird by Mary McDonagh Murphy
The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception by H. Keith Melton
Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine by Glenn Beck
Star Island by Carl Hiaasen
Thurber: Writings and Drawings by James Thurber
Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan Barker
WAR by Sebastian Junger
Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work by Paul Babiak
The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter
Living in the End Times by Slavoj Zizek
Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Role Models by John Waters
Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz
Arguing with Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government by Glenn Beck
How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like by Paul Bloom
Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime by John Heilemann
13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown by Simon Johnson & James Kwak
Anatomy of Fascism by Robert O. Paxton

Monday, August 06, 2007

the above link goes to an opinion piece by "darlin' arlen," not a news item.

The Pentagon has lost track of about 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, according to a new government report, raising fears that some of those weapons have fallen into the hands of insurgents fighting US forces in Iraq.

i guess you could say the connection between these items is that we can't track 190k weapons—more than half of what we've given them—so how can we be expected to track millions of people?

Monday, January 30, 2006

lies, damn lies, stats

There are 3 kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

—Benjamin Disraeli, quoted in Mark Twain's Autobiography

in yesterday's washington times, oliver north wrote that the economy grew at a 4.1% rate in the last quarter of 2005, that unemployment is down to 4.9%, and that our casualty rates in iraq have fallen since a year ago. in other words, bush is doing great.

unfortunately, the official version of GDP growth is actually 1.1%, not 4.1. unemployment is indeed down compared to bush's high but up compared to when he took office. (4.0% at the end of 2000.) the number wounded may be down, but by some weird coincidence 2005's deaths almost exactly matched 2004.

my question is, does ollie really believe what he says, or is he intentionally misleading his readers, because this looks suspiciously like the kind of disinformation that keeps folk ignorant and ripe for exploitation, and ollie north is just the kind of guy who could come up with it.

i don't want to make this into an ad hominem, but you recall ollie, right?

here's a compilation of iran-contra events i got from my ragged 1997 world almanac [in brackets] and relatively pristine 2002 time almanac:

• world court rules US broke international law in mining nicaraguan waters(jun 27)

• [press reports nov 6 broke first news of iran-contra scandal, involving secret US sale of arms to iran]

• secret initiative to send arms to iran revealed (nov 6 et seq)

• reagan denies exchanging arms for hostages and halts arms sales (nov 19)

• diversion of funds from arms sales to nicaraguan contras revealed (nov 25)

• [public hearings by senate and house committees investigating iran-contra affair held may-aug. lt col oliver north said he had believed all his activities were authorized by his superiors. pres reagan, aug 12, denied knowing of funds' diversion to contras.]

• oliver north jr tells congressional inquiry higher officials approved his secret iran-contra operations (jul 7-10)

• adm john m poindexter, former national security adviser, testifies he authorized use of iran arms sale profits to aid contras (jul 15-22)

• sec of state george p shultz testifies he was deceived repeatedly on iran-contra affair (jul 23-24)

• defense sec caspar w weinberger tells inquiry of official deception and intrigue (jul 31, aug 3)

• reagan says iran arms-contra policy went astray and accepts responsibility (aug 12)

• robert c mcfarlane, former national security adviser, pleads guilty in iran-contra case (mar 11)

• [former national security council staff member oliver north became first person, may 4, convicted in a jury trial in connection with iran-contra scandal]

• US jury convicts north in iran-contra affair (may 4)

• US appeals court overturns north's conviction (jul 20)

• [iran-contra case against oliver north "terminated," with all charges dropped, sep 16]

• caspar w weinberger indicted in iran-contra affair (jun 16)

• bush pardons former reagan administration officials involved in iran-contra affair (dec 24)

near the start reagan called north a hero. somewhere along the line i believe they publicly called each other liars.

ollie later said he'd been "exonerated," which startled some folk who knew the conviction had merely been thrown out on a technicality.

see, before ollie went before congress, he negotiated a highly sophisticated immunity agreement that shielded him against use of his testimony to prosecute him. then, when he testified, he made sure he slipped in a lot of stuff that wasn't relevant to the questions he got asked. his appeal lawyers were able to show some important evidence used in his trial was inadmissible under the immunity pact. the justice dept at first meant to retry the case but eventually decided so much evidence was tainted that pursuing retrial was likely to be a waste of taxpayers' money.

so, strictly speaking, both exonerate and absolve are accurate, but neither exculpate nor vindicate would be, if you get my drift.

and ollie north, media star, seems to be living on the flip side of "no good deed goes unpunished."

Friday, November 04, 2005

buy parties & chip

it is truly awe-inspiring to listen on c-span to the senate indian affairs committee as it meticulously details the byzantine money trails to, from, and around jack abramoff and michael scanlon, who funneled indian tribe payments thru a variety of companies and associations to support the bush agenda and ralph reed's christian coalition while enriching themselves and concealing the politically explosive fact that the ultimate source of the funds was casino revenues.

the elephant in the room so politely but pointedly ignored by john mccain (r-az), byron dorgan (d-nd), &c, is the connection of abramoff and scanlon to house hammer tom delay (r-tx), already under texas indictment on unrelated(?) charges of political money laundering and conspiracy.