Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cunningham Scandal; A White House Link?

From my "Capital Games" colum at www.thenation.com....

It's a cliche: what a difference a Democratic congressional majority makes. The US attorney scandal, Walter Reed, the suppression of global warming data, the FBI's misuse of national security letters--Democratic legislators have been demanding documents, testimony and answers. Given that they now hold the purse strings and can shoot out subpoenas, the Democrats can no longer be ignored by the White House, executive agencies, and the media. Representative Henry Waxman, the relentless Democratic chairman of the government oversight and reform committee, has been leading the pack in investigating allegations of administration wrongdoing. (See my 2005 profile of Waxman here.) There's a lot for Waxman to cover, and he's being thorough. Consider the letter he sent the White House on Monday.

In that note to Joshua Bolten, President Bush's chief of staff, Waxman requested information about a $140,000 contract the White House awarded in July 2002 to MZM, Inc. This was Mitchell Wade's company. He's the (now former-) military contractor who paid more than $1 million in bribes to Republican Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who's in jail for having accepted these and other bribes in return for steering federal contracts to Wade and Brent Wilkes, another defense contractor. (Wade pleaded guilty; Wilkes has not.) What's intriguing about the contract Wade received from the White House is that its amount equals the price Wade paid in August 2002 to buy the Duke-Stir, the yacht Cunningham lived (and partied) on in Washington. According to the sentencing recommendation memo in Cunningham's case, Cunningham himself negotiated the $140,000 purchase price of the boat in the summer of 2002. This raises the intriguing possibility that Wade that summer needed money to buy Cunningham the yacht and--presto--a White House contract materialized.

And there's more: this contract was Wade's first prime contract with the federal government. The firm had been incorporated in 1993 but had pulled in no revenue through 2001. So Cunningham scandal watchers have wondered, did a White House contract help launch Wade on his felonious ways, and was this contract legitimate?

The modest contract reportedly covered supplying computers and office furniture to Vice President Dick Cheney's office. By the time it was signed, MZM, which had become an approved federal contractor only two months earlier, was already bribing Cunningham, a member of the influential defense appropriations subcommittee. Two months later, in September 2002, MZM hit it big, scoring a $250 million, five-year contract with the General Services Administration. Look at the timeline, one congressional investigator notes: May, MZM was listed as a federal supplier; July, it won a White House contract for $140,000; September, it obtained a $250 million contract. A not-too-suspicious mind could wonder if something--or someone--was juicing the process.

A look at that first contract--and how it had come to be--would seem a no-brainer for investigators. Plenty of MZM's subsequent doings have been probed. But as Waxman notes, "To date, however, there has been no examination of the circumstances surrounding MZM's initial federal contract and the role that White House officials played in the award and execution of the contract."

Months ago, I tried to obtain information about this contract. According to federal procurement records, the contract was for "ADP systems development services" and "custom computer programming services." What did MZM do for the White House under these terms? I contacted the Interior Department. Why Interior? It's home to an interagency contracting office that handles procurement for the White House. This office was established during the Clinton administration as a good-government measure aimed at consolidating contracting efforts. But this procurement reform has become subject to abuse. A recent Senate armed services committee hearing examined how this change in the procurement system has allowed agencies to escape effective oversight. A 2005 Government Accountability Office report slammed the Interior Department's interagency contracting office for "significant problems" in handling Pentagon contracts granted to CACI International for interrogation and "other intelligence-related services" in Iraq.

I asked the Interior Department if I could obtain a copy of the MZM contract under the Freedom of Information Act. The answer: you can submit a FOIA request, but you won't get anything. "It's national security," an Interior official told me, reciting various exemptions. The release of this information, he said, was restricted not by the Interior Department but by the Executive Office of the President because it "includes techniques and procedures used by the Secret Service for law enforcement investigations" and because its disclosure "could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law." He added, "There is no way to get any details."

A committee chairman with access to subpoenas might have better luck. Waxman has asked for all MZM contracts related to the White House and other materials, such as any communications between Wade, Wilkes, MZM officials and White House employees. Waxman's request also covers communications between the White House and Interior relating to MZM--for the obvious reason.

It could be that MZM in the summer of 2002 managed to snag a small White House contract in legitimate fashion, even as Wade was plotting a quick, bribery-greased rise to the top. But given that the Cunningham/MZM tale is one of sleaze and crime--I haven't even mentioned the prostitutes Cunningham received as bribes--Wade's first contract with the Bush administration deserves scrutiny. Republican legislators--no surprise--expressed no interest in this when they ran Congress. And, coincidentally or not, the US attorney in charge of the Cunningham case, Carol Lam, is one of the prosecutors who was fired by the Bush administration. But here comes Waxman, and the Case of MZM's First Contract is alive and open.

Posted by David Corn at March 27, 2007 04:18 PM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

Lest we forget MZM was the money behind the magic for Katherine Harris (FLA).

If I'm not mistaken MZM was Harris' largest money donor, could it be that closely related, could it be more circular than linear?

Thanks for all of your work!


Saladin said...

Mr. Benson, somehow I don't seem to be getting my question across clearly. The dollar cost is not the issue, I already know they use far less electricity in a light socket. I know the manufacturing and recycling costs are also included, which explains the significantly higher price. What I want to know is the overall ENERGY consumption for manufacturing and recycling, not how much money it costs. Watt for watt are we actually saving energy by using those bulbs when the power and fuel required to mine the extra materials, produce the bulb and then recycle it are included? If they succeed in banning traditional bulbs will we really be ahead of the game? And, if they DO ban incandescents, what is to stop manufacturers from producing a much inferior product from what they have now if the consumer is left with no choice? They will have no incentive to keep the quality high, unless, of course, the govt. decides to legislate that too. GE and the rest will not stand for that.

David B. Benson said...

Saladin --- The usual measure is $$. The energy consumption in manufacturing/recycling must be a rather small portion of the costs, just as it is for most products.

The exceptions are in the chemical industries, including petrochemical and cement manufacture, also mining and especially in producing pure energy, electricity, via burning fossil fuels.

As for inferior products, there are several competing manufacturers. I won't lose sleep over this possibilty...

David B. Benson said...

Statedd another way, the Aussies think the net savings in energy by everybody in Australia using CFLs is equivalent to 8 coal-fired electrical power plants.

How many Aussies are there?

Robert S said...

Er, and how many Aussie's would it take to screw in the light bulbs....sorry.

capt said...

"How many Aussies. . ."

Does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Sorry I couldn't resist.

Re: CFL's

I started using CFL's because I had a couple of sockets that burned up (burned out?) incandescent bulbs in less than a month.

I bought the 8 year bulbs for the sake of not changing so often. The power savings was just a bonus.

You can run an "Easy-Bake" oven with the radiant heat from a 60 watt incandescent bulb - that heat is wasted energy.

GE is one of the manufacturers and recyclers of CFL's (www.GELighting.com) so they do have an incentive to retain market share - If market forces work the quality will be nominal.


David B. Benson said...

Robert S & capt --- I guessed I asked for that.

The answer is none. They use CCFLs and the lights last forever.

Besides, Aussies are like Bill Gates when it comes to screwing in light bulbs...


capt said...

Questions on firings shorten Gonzales news conference

Gonzales said he made the decision on the firings, and that he looks forward to working with Congress on the matter, and that he had directed the release of documents on the matter.

He said he also directed Justice Department employees to testify about the situation. He was then asked about the decision by a top aide to invoke her 5th Amendment protection.

"I'm not going to comment on the decision by an employee of the department to exercise her constitutional rights," he said.

After saying he had made the decision on the firings in the fall, he left without taking further questions. That included any question about U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald receiving a mediocre rating in an internal review by the Justice Department.

Gonzales was in Chicago as part of his efforts to tout the "Project Safe Childhood" campaign.

At a discussion earlier in the day, Gonzales said children in particular need to know how to protect themselves on the Internet. And he said parents need to better understand how the Internet works and what sites their children are visiting.


*****end of clip*****

" parents need to better understand how the Internet works and what sites their children are visiting."

What business is it of the government whether or what parents understand?

No wonder a 15 minute press conference was ended in three.


capt said...

9/11 and the Evidence

Professor David Ray Griffin is the nemesis of the official 9/11 conspiracy theory. In his latest book, Debunking 9/11 Debunking, Griffin destroys the credibility of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Popular Mechanics reports, annihilates his critics, and proves himself to be a better scientist and engineer than the defenders of the official story.

Griffin’s book is 385 pages divided into four chapters and containing 1,209 footnotes. Without question, the book is the most thorough presentation and examination of all known facts about the 9/11 attacks. Griffin is a person who is sensitive to evidence, logic, and scientific reasoning. There is no counterpart on the official side of the story who is as fully informed on all aspects of the attacks as Griffin.

At the outset, Griffin points out that the reader’s choice is between two conspiracy theories: One is that Muslim fanatics, who were not qualified to fly airplanes, defeated the security apparatus of the US and succeeded in three out of four attacks using passenger jets as weapons. The other is that security failed across the board, not merely partially but totally, because of complicity of some part of the US government.

Griffin points out that there has been no independent investigation of 9/11. What we have are a report by a political commission headed by Bush administration factotum Philip Zelikow, a NIST report produced by the Bush administration’s Department of Commerce, and a journalistic account produced by Popular Mechanics. Various scientists who work for the federal government or are dependent on government grants have issued speculative statements in behalf of the official conspiracy theory, but have not produced meaningful evidence in its behalf.


*****end of clip*****

A must read (as is the book).


Saladin said...

I guess the question is unanswerable, somehow I am not reassured.

Now, for a funny view of common tools.

Subject: Understanding Tools

DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat
metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest
and flings your beer across the room, splattering it against that
freshly stained heirloom piece you were drying.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere
under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints
and hard-earned guitar calluses from fingers in about the time it
takes you to say, "Yeou shoot...."

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning pop rivets in their
holes until you die of old age.

SKIL SAW: A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.

PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation
of blood-blisters.

BELT SANDER: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor
touch up jobs into major refinishing jobs.

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board
principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable
motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more
dismal your future becomes.

VISE-GRIPS: Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt
heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer
intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

WELDING GLOVES: Heavy duty leather gloves used to prolong the
conduction of intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various
flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the
grease inside the wheel hub you want the bearing race out of.

WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British cars and
motorcycles, they are now used mainly for impersonating that 9/16 or
?? socket you've bee n searching for the last 45 minutes.

TABLE SAW: A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood
projectiles for testing wall integrity.

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground
after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack
handle firmly under the bumper.

EIGHT-FOOT LONG YELLOW PINE 2X4: Used for levering an automobile
upward off of a trapped hydraulic jack handle.

TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters and wire wheel wires.

E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool ten times harder than any
known drill bit that snaps neatly off in bolt holes thereby ending any
possible future use.

RADIAL ARM SAW: A large stationary power saw primarily used by most
shops to scare neophytes into choosing another line of work.

TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST: A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength
of everything you forgot to disconnect.

CRAFTSMAN 1/ 2 x 24-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A very large pry bar that
inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end
opposite the handle.


TROUBLE LIGHT: The home mechanic's own tanning booth. Sometimes called
a drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, "the sunshine
vitamin," which is not otherwise found under cars at night. Health
benefits aside, its main purpose is to consume 40-watt light bulbs at
about the same rate that 105mm howitzer shells might be used during,
say, the first few hours of the Battle of the Bulge. More often dark
than light, its name is somewhat misleading.

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under
lids and for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing
oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip
out Phillips screw heads.

STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER: A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to
convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws.

AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning
power plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that
travels by hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty
bolts which were last over tightened 30 years ago by someone at Ford,
and instantly rounds off their heads. Also used to quickly snap off
lug nuts.

PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or
bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.

HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to make hoses too short.

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is
used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts
adjacent the object we are trying to hit. Experienced home handy folks
primarily use it to make gaping holes in walls when hanging pictures.

MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of
cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly
well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic
bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic
parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in

DAMNIT TOOL: Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage
while yelling "DAMN IT" at the top of your lungs. It is also, most
often, the next tool that you will need.

Saladin said...

PS Mr. Benson, there are also many competing gas stations, that doesn't seem to work in the consumers favor re: price!

capt said...

James Madison - "Impeach Bush Over Purgegate!"

According to James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution," if a President were to order or allow the "wanton removal of meritorious officers" such as US attorneys, such an action "would subject the President to impeachment and removal from his own high trust."

The issue of the firing of people within the Executive branch for political purposes came up during a debate in 1789 about how to create agencies within the Executive branch that would be consistent with Article II, Section 2 of the US Constitution, which says that the President can appoint people (like US Attorneys/prosecutors), but they couldn’t take office unless the Senate votes to confirm each individual appointment:

He [the President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

But if the President can nominate, and the Senate confirm somebody like a federal prosecutor, who can fire one? And what if they’re fired for politcal purposes?

Madison’s logic was straightforward, and came about in one of his first major speeches before the House of Representatives, on 17 June 1789, just a few months into his first term as a Congressman (he would later become Secretary of State and President). A bill was put forward to create what is today known as the State Department in a more formal fashion than had existed when George Washington had become the new nation’s first President just three months before and appointed Thomas Jefferson as his Secretary of State Affairs.

As with other agencies brought into law by Congress, this new Department of Foreign Affairs being debated would have to exist under the oversight and supervision of the Executive Branch of government, led by the President. And, as such, how, Congress wanted to know, could they make sure that no President would ever allow good members of his various departments ("meritorious officers") to be fired for purely political purposes ("wanton removal")?


*****end of clip*****

Thom Hartman is on AAR and is a very knowledgeable fellow.


capt said...

Getting Serious About the "I" Word

Former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough had me on his MSNBC show tonight to talk about impeachment.

It was smart, civil discussion that treated the prospect of impeaching the president as a serious matter.

Scarborough took the lead in suggesting that Bush's biggest problem might be that Republicans in the House and Senate who -- fearful of the threat Bush poses to their political survival -- do not appear to be rallying 'round the president. The host's sentiments were echoed by two other guests, columnist Mike Barnicle and Salon's Joan Walsh.

The impetus for the show was Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel's ongoing discussion of the impeachment prospect -- Hagel's not quite a supporter of sanctioning Bush, more a speculator about the prospect -- and a new column by Robert Novak that suggests Bush has dwindling support within the congressional wing of the GOP.

Speaking about impeachment on ABC's "This Week," Hagel said, "Any president who says 'I don't care' or 'I will not respond to what the people of this country are saying about Iraq or anything else' or 'I don't care what the Congress does, I am going to proceed' -- if a president really believes that, then there (are) ways to deal with that."


*****end of clip*****

Time is wasting away - we can't impeach Bush if we just talk about it - time to draw up some articles (just to have handy in case).


David B. Benson said...

Emmm, peach!

capt said...

No Special Rights

Nonbinding this and that, deadline lah-di-dah, Bush/Cheney are going to ignore the mandate of the midterm elections and every pressure from Congress on Iraq, because Bush/Cheney know their opponents’ bark has no bite. And that’s because those opponents have yet to renounce the Bush/Cheney vision of US supremacy in the world. In fact, mostly, they share it.

William Pfaff writes about US Manifest Destiny in the New York Review of Books: "It is something like heresy to suggest that the US does not have a unique moral status and role to play in the history of nations," he writes. Bush/Cheney tap into a belief that’s as old as the state itself. (Pfaff quotes Paine: "The case and circumstances of America present themselves as in the beginning of the world… We are as if we we had lived in the beginning of time.")

Belief in US "exceptionalism" is the hop-skip-jump that led to US intervention in Korea, Vietnam, Iran, Central America–and now Iraq. It’s the "exception" that okays the breaking of global rules, from the Geneva Convention, to the conventions against torture to the chucking-out of Habeas Corpus. Like Dirty Harry, Bush knows Americans believe "good" cops can break the rules if they’re on a mission to save the world from terror, evil, tyranny.

Neo-cons came up with the chilling phrase "The New American Century," but even their critics accept the concept. In his testimony to Congress on global warming, Al Gore referred not once but a handful of times to the US "unique" role to save the planet.

At the risk of being burnt at the stake I’d like to suggest that this month provides a special chance to review all this stuff about specialness. March 25 marked the 200th anniversary of the British Parliament’s abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. (A US law took effect in 1808.) To take a second look at the foundations of the country is to be reminded of the reality behind the rhetoric.

The New World wasn’t so new. Ask the people who lived here. Slavery wasn’t a new beginning. It was ancient. The first place to throw off slavery was Haiti in 1801, sixty-three years ahead of the United States. That makes Haiti special. Does it give Haiti a unique role in the world, to invade other countries and pursue a Project for a New Haitian Century?

*****end of clip*****

Laura Flanders ROCKS! As does her show on AAR.


capt said...

Torture Her!

So Monica Goodling doesn’t want to answer questions on Capitol Hill, eh?

This top official in the Justice Department, who serves as its liaison to the White House, is now refusing to answer any congressional questions about the US attorneys scandal. You know, the one in which George and Dick and Karl and Alberto have been hiring and firing federal prosecutors based on their willingness to politicize the legal system. That scandal (it’s so hard to keep track of them these days).

Her lawyer says that Goodling doesn’t actually have anything to hide, but rather that – just like the judicial travesty that recently took down Scooter Libby – a "hostile and questionable environment" has surrounded the case. As opposed to the good kind of investigations, you see, where the White House doesn’t bother to answer the friendly questions that Congress and the press don’t bother to ask. You know, like the last six years or so.

So Goodling’s lawyer has just announced that his client will be invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination – even though, mind you, she didn’t do anything wrong! – rather than testifying to Congress.

Fifth Amendment? Fifth Amendment? You mean like, the Bill of Rights? That Fifth Amendment?

Doesn’t she know that the Fifth Amendment has been suspended?

Doesn’t she know that all those amendments have been suspended?

Doesn’t she know that the president considers that whole document that these amendments amend to be "just a goddamed piece of paper"?


Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

And now for something completely different:

I've been enjoying some "300" spoofs on YouTube, which made me think--I wish the Pythons were all still alive and well to give "300" the full "Holy Grail' treatment...

"The thousand monks of the Spanish Inquisition descend upon you! Our comfy chairs will blot out the sun!"
"Then we will nudge-nudge and wink-wink in the shade, say no more!"

"Go and boil your bottom, son of a silly Persian! We do not fear you, Xerxes King and your silly Persian kuh-nih-gets! Iiii fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!"

"The Great King asks only a modest tribute--earth and water."
"Well, we have:
Earth and water,
Earth, water, and Spam,
Earth, spam, water, spam and spam,
Earth, spam, water, spam, to-MAH-to and spam..."
["Hey, tomatoes are an American plant! What are the Spartans doing with them?"]
"Don't interrupt. Earth, spam, spam, spam, water, spam, spam, a fried egg on top, and spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam,


"Young Prince Leonidas killed a wolf!"
"No, no, it's not dead, it's just resting. Norwegian Blue wolves do that a lot."

"Anyone can kill Persians with a long spear! A true soldier can kill a Persian with a banana!"

"This is madness!"

From huge---tracts of land in the swamps of Arkansas, IBW

capt said...

The foulest damage to our political life comes not from the 'secrets' which they hide from us, but from the little bits of half-truth and disinformation
which they do tell us. These are already pre-digested, and then are sicked up as little gobbits of authorised spew. The columns of defence correspondents in the establishment sheets serve as the spittoons.: E.P. Thompson, British historian

"The liberties of none are safe unless the liberties of all are protected." : William O. Douglas

"Occupants of public offices love power and are prone to abuse it.": George Washington , Farewell Address

"No man is prejudiced in favor of a thing, knowing it to be wrong. He is attached to it on the belief of its being right; and when he sees it is not so, the prejudice will be gone." : Tom Paine


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

Saladin said...

Contact: Victoria Ashley, STJ911 committee member

Independent Investigators Release Suppressed Blueprints of Destroyed World Trade Center Tower
Scans of original drawings of the North Tower of the World Trade Center have been published online by a coalition of independent 9/11 researchers and journalists.

Berkeley, CA (PRWEB) March 27, 2007 -- A coalition of independent 9/11 investigators and journalists today announced the online publication of a set of original blueprints of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The set is composed of over 200 never-before-published drawings, including plans, elevations, and details, given to physicist Dr. Steven E. Jones by an individual interested in a more complete analysis. Groups presenting the plans include Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice, 9-11 Research, and Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. A multi-resolution drawing viewer for the blueprints is located at 9-11 Research (911research.wtc7.net).

Richard Gage, AIA, Architect, the founder of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, said, "We cannot truly understand what happened in these historical structural failure events when we are not allowed access to the construction documents." Gage believes that, given the profound differences in the official collapse theories, the need for more investigation is clear. "First they come up with the "pancake theory", then they changed it to the "column failure theory". We don't believe that either of those theories are supported by the available evidence."

Since the 9/11 attacks, numerous groups and individuals have challenged the official explanation that the Twin Towers experienced total structural collapse due to a combination of aircraft impact and fire damage. Challengers assert that the WTC Towers were destroyed by pre-planted explosives, rather than fires and impact damage.

"The only theory that is supported by the evidence is controlled demolition with explosives," Gage says. "You could never get a collapse event of that speed through 80 floors of intact steel structure. The laws of physics simply don't allow it."

The most recent version of the official explanation has been supplied by the three-year multi-million-dollar study of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which abandoned the earlier truss-failure-based "pancake" theory proposed by FEMA's 2002 Building Performance Study in favor of a theory of "global collapse" induced by a chain of events including impact column damage, dislodging of fireproofing, floor sagging, and "column instability".

Although NIST's 2005 Final Report did not explain how collapse initiation led to global collapse, in 2006 it responded to some aspects of the demolition theory in a Frequently Asked Questions sheet. NIST blamed the speeds of the failures on the momentum of the falling top portions of the buildings, stating that "the momentum . . . so greatly exceeded the strength capacity of the structure below, that it was unable to stop or even to slow the falling mass. The downward momentum felt by each successive lower floor was even larger due to the increasing mass."

Dr. Steven Jones, Kevin Ryan, Jim Hoffman, and others responded to the FAQ on websites and via emails, but received no more communication from NIST.

Another expert at the hearings, Glenn Corbett, a fire science expert from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, stated, "The lack of significant amounts of steel for examination will make it difficult, if not impossible, to make a definitive statement as to the specific cause and chronology of the collapse." Investigators at the time stated that they did not have the authority to preserve the wreckage as evidence.

Public access to blueprints of the three destroyed skyscrapers - the Twin Towers and WTC Building 7 - has been a long-standing goal of the 9/11 research community. The inability to access data on the structural design of the buildings has been an impediment to further investigation of the theory, these researchers say. One goal they have is to remodel the collapses and see if NIST's findings can be replicated.

Groups releasing the plans cite support for the demolition theory in their organizations and elsewhere by a variety of professionals including structural and civil engineers, architects, and physicists. Supporters point to several features which they say cannot be explained by a gravity-driven collapse, including the speed, symmetry, explosiveness, thoroughness of pulverization, and totality of these events, and numerous reports of molten metal pools in the debris piles.
First remove the evidence ASAP, second, pay some govt. hacks to lie about the construction and third smear the skeptics. Too bad the people aren't falling for it. Well, most of them anyway.

Saladin said...

"Politicians are rarely so fortunate as when a great tragedy (that can be blamed on foreigners) occurs, since all that is required of them, apparently, is that they not publicly wet their pants."

- Ryan McMaken
And if a great tragedy isn't forthcoming, they simply create one, it works every time.

Robert S said...

newspaper archaic noun
- 1. used to spread rumor about adversaries.
- 2. used to line birdcages and wrap fishes.

Saladin said...

Robert, a third use is to start fires! And we know what can happen when they start a fire.

Saladin said...

Check out this 3 minute video, all I can say is EEEEWWWWW!!

Cordyceps Fungus - Natures Scariest Secret is an alien from outer space!

Robert S said...

Noose tightens around embattled US attorney general
Published: Tuesday March 27, 2007

The noose tightened Tuesday around beleaguered US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, after a top aide, fearing criminal prosecution, refused to testify in a scandal over the dismissals of eight federal prosecutors.

Questions about what role Gonzales might have played in the affair intensified, after senior aide Monica Goodling invoked her Fifth Amendment rights to avoid potential self-incrimination and declined to answer lawmakers' questions about the firings.

"The hostile and questionable environment in the present congressional proceedings is at best ambiguous," her lawyer John Dowd said in a statement.

"More accurately, the environment can be described as legally perilous."


But the overriding question remains what role might have been played by Gonzales, who, in a television interview broadcast late Monday, gave the first indication that he is weighing whether he should leave his high-power post, in light of the scandal.

"Every cabinet official has to ask themselves every day, 'Is it still appropriate for me to lead a cabinet department?' It's something that I've been asking myself more lately than perhaps others," he said.

"At the end of the day, it's not about Alberto Gonzales. It's about this great Department of Justice that does so many wonderful things for the American people," he said.

Gonzales who said he would ride out the controversy "as long as I have the confidence of the president," said nevertheless that it "pained" him.

"The attacks on my credibility ... really have pained me and my family," he told NBC television.

"I grew up with nothing but my integrity. And someday, when I leave this office, I am confident that I will leave with my integrity," he said.

Full AFP Article.


Dum dee dum, 5th amendment, dee dum dah, criminal liability, tah dah.

Mr. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, you lost your integrity when you were reviewing death clemency applications in Texas, long ago. You further eroded it in claiming "In my judgment, this new paradigm [post 9/11, rs] renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions." Then if you still had any integrity left to lose, you squandered it with illegal NSA wiretaps, domestic spying by the FBI using National Security letters illegally, lying to Congress, and so on.

As head of the Department of Justice, you are a joke, a tragic farce hoisted upon a grieving nation.

You and yours have called the tune for far too long, Mr. Attorney General, sir. And the Piper is calling his due.

Robert S said...

Impeachment, Like Spring, is in the Air
by Dave Lindorff | Mar 28 2007

It’s time for impeachment to come out of the deep freeze.

For a year now, Democratic leaders like Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), Rep. Nancy Pelosi D-CA), Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and DNC head Howard Dean have been working to tamp down the pressures to hold the president accountable for his crimes and abuses of power by way of impeachment.

House Speaker Pelosi for her part made it clear after the Democrats won the House that she would tolerate no talk of impeachment, even reportedly threatening one-time impeachment advocate Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) with the denial of his cherished position as chair of the House Judiciary Committee if he pushed ahead with or accepted bills of impeachment from other House members.

House leaders and Democratic Party leaders also worked behind the scenes to kill off grassroots attempts to follow Thomas Jefferson’s alternative route to impeachment by getting state legislatures to pass bicameral impeachment resolutions. They strong-armed legislative leaders in the senates of both Washington State and New Mexico to block efforts to put such resolutions to a floor debate and vote in those two states, and have been working mightily to block a similar grassroots campaign in Vermont.

But the Democratic Party’s efforts to tamp down impeachment efforts are coming unraveled, courtesy of the ongoing criminality of the Bush administration, which seems hell-bent on aggrandizing as much executive power as it possibly can before the clock runs out on Bush’s second term of office.

Democratic state committees, the top party organizations at the state level, in both Oregon and Vermont, have overwhelmingly passed resolutions calling on the House of Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings. In Vermont, 38 towns--roughly a third of those holding annual town meetings this past month--voted impeachment resolutions (only six were rejected), and an effort continues to move forward in both houses of that state’s legislature to introduce and pass a Jeffersonian impeachment resolution to send to the House in Washington. Other efforts are underway in New Jersey and Maine.

Republican Senator and presidential dark horse Chuck Hagel of Nebraska has publicly stated that impeachment is a possibility, given the president’s arrogant rejection of public or congressional accountability with regard to the war in Iraq and other issues.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has openly talked of submitting a bill of impeachment.

What’s missing in all this has been media attention. In fact, until lately, the media have pretty much only reported about impeachment in the negative, running stories when an impeachment resolution gets blocked by a state legislature, but not when it gets backed by a legislative committee, or by a Democratic state party organization.

There has not been a scientific poll asking about impeachment sentiment since last October, when Newsweek Magazine published a poll showing that an astonishing 51 percent of Americans favored impeachment--half of those people even saying it should be a priority for Congress. Now things may be starting to change. Sen. Hagel’s comments on the possibility of impeachment, first made in a Vanity Fair magazine profile, were reported on ABC, and impeachment advocate John Nichols was interviewed about impeachment and Hagel’s comment on MSNBC. CNN also ran a story.

That’s not much, but it’s an indication that the ground is shifting.


Robert S said...

Pelosi to Bush: 'Take a deep breath' and 'calm down'
David Edwards and Ron Brynaert
Published: Wednesday March 28, 2007


Bush spoke forcefully against the timetables, and accused Democrats of "making political statements" which could put US troops in peril.

"Funding for our forces in Iraq will begin to run out in mid-April," Bush said. "Members of Congress need to stop making political statements and start providing vital funds for our troops. Need to get that bill to my desk so I can sign it into law."

The president said that he wasn't going to be forced by Congress how to fight the war.

"Now, some of them believe that by delaying funding for our troops, they can force me to accept restrictions on our commanders that I believe would make withdrawal and defeat more likely," Bush said. "That's not going to happen. If Congress fails to pass a bill to fund our troops on the front lines, the American people will know who to hold responsible."

In contrast to Bush, Pelosi's speech was more conciliatory.

"On this very important matter, I would extend a hand of friendship to the president just to say to him 'Calm down with the threats, there's a new Congress in town," Pelosi said. "We respect your constitutional role, we want you to respect ours."

Pelosi continued, "This war must end. The American people have lost faith in the president's conduct of the war. Let's see how we can work together."

"So I just wish the president would take a deep breath, recognize again that we each have our constitutional role, and we should respect that in terms of each other," Pelosi added.



Earth to Pelosi, stop making friends with murderers, thieves, torturers, war profiteers, and those who would pervert our entire non-partisan Department of Justice.

Your Constitutional Role, Ms. Pelosi, is to reign in the Unconstitutional Excesses that the Executive Branch has engaged in.

Stop the Murder. Stop the Torture. Stop the Funding. Impeachment Now!

capt said...

Very busy off-blog today but I had to chime in with my two cents worth:

"Earth to Pelosi, stop making friends with murderers, thieves, torturers, war profiteers, and those who would pervert our entire non-partisan Department of Justice.

Your Constitutional Role, Ms. Pelosi, is to reign in the Unconstitutional Excesses that the Executive Branch has engaged in.

Stop the Murder. Stop the Torture. Stop the Funding. Impeachment Now!

Not my words but EXACTLY spot on!

Thanks RS!


Robert S said...

The other day Mr. Corn wrote a piece on journalists being jailed and harassed in Cuba. I have always believed in freedom of the press, and of freedom of speech in general and don't presume to defend the practices of the Castro Government in this regard.

On the other hand, and there is always another hand it seems, the use of a paid press has been a documented way that the CIA and other US agencies, such as USAID seek to undermine left of center governments, historically. To leave that out of the discussion is to paint a picture that is less than complete.

From the BBC:

The Cuban government has long alleged that journalists writing on US-Cuban politics were in the pay of the US government.

In July a row erupted in Argentina between Cuban President Fidel Castro and Juan Manuel Cao, a reporter for Miami's Spanish-language Channel 41.

Mr Cao put Mr Castro on the spot and the president replied by asking if anyone was paying him to ask that question.

Mr Cao has now admitted being paid by the US government, the Herald reports.

And, this cannot be seen to be in a vacuum. It also can be documented in Venezuela. And I've told the John Burns story previously, where he spoke with Tommy Franks and 41...

Carey said...

Excellent point Capt, about MZM money being behind Katherine Harris.

Mr. David Corn,

Let me just say once again, this is mighty fine digging you've done on MZM. KUDOS to you!

Pealing back those layers and layers of filthy, oozing pustules of corruption must be extrememly taxing. If the administration is competent in one thing, it's corruption.

Carey said...


Those tool definitions are hilarious. And so true.

Robert S,

I saw that Nancy Pelosi press appearance. I was impressed with her and the content of what she had to say, especially urging Bush to calm down. It worked for me.

capt said...

New Thread!