Friday, October 19, 2007

Meet the New Boss/Who's a Celebrity in DC?

During the second day of his confirmation hearings, Michael Mukasey, George W. Bush's pick to be attorney general, defended some of Bush administration's more controversial moves, such as using so-called "enhanced" interrogation techniques for terrorism suspects (a.k.a. torture) and eavesdropping without a warrant. Regarding the controversial warrantless eavesdropping program, Mukasey said that Bush might have acted within his constitutional powers when he authorized warrantless surveillance even though federal law required a warrant. In making this argument, Mukasey testified,

The president is not putting somebody above the law; the president is putting somebody within the law. The president doesn't stand above the law. But the law emphatically includes the Constitution.

Can you understand this? It's hard to follow, but it seems that Mukasey is back to the ol' Nixon standard that Gonzales was pushing for Bush: if the president does it, it's legal.

For another sharp look at some of what Mukasey said, check out my friend Marty Lederman's observations. He whacks Mukasey for being unable--or is that unwilling?--to say that waterboarding is torture. As Lederman notes,

But really,did we have reason to expect any better -- to think that Judge Mukasey would opine that his new boss has been violating the law?

Perhaps the bottom line is that anyone willing to be Bush's A.G. is suspect.

WHAT'S SO FUNNY? On Wednesday night, I was a candidate in the Funniest Celebrity in Washington Contest, held at the Improv comedy club. I didn't win, but today's Reliable Source column in The Washington Post has a write-up on the show--which was a benefit for music education programs--and I'm featured in it:

What's there to laugh about in Washington? Seems everyone was trying to figure it out Wednesday night.

At the Funniest Celebrity in Washington Contest, the first to raise the obvious question was contestant David Corn . "Washington must be in hard times if I'm a celebrity," the Mother Jones editor riffed during his stand-up routine. "What, was Harriet Miers busy?" pundit Ana Marie Cox wondered why Rick Santorum wasn't competing in the charity fundraiser. "Then I realized by 'funniest' they didn't mean unintentionally funny. And by 'celebrity,' they didn't mean anything at all." Cox took third place, while Sen. Arlen Specter won second for deftly deadpanning every terrible joke you've ever heard. ( Please, no, not the paraplegic-rings-the-doorbell one!) As it turned out, the Funniest Celebrity in Washington...was neither: Joseph Randazzo , assistant editor of the Onion. Who lives in N.Y.C. Funny, though. (Full disclosure: We helped judge.)

One of my gags from the night:

In recent days, Laura Bush has been a forceful advocate for human rights in Burma. In fact, she has vowed that Burma will soon be a functioning democracy.

In related news, millions of Iraqis...have moved to Burma.

Ba-da-boom. You had to be there.

Posted by David Corn at October 19, 2007 07:43 AM


Anonymous said...


Wow…what a difference a democrat makes in the bigger picture. I can’t wait to have a choice between another twisted Bush protégé’ or a Bush-lite in the ‘08 elections…because you know that is what we are going to get. As long as our elections are based on how much money a candidate can raise to pay to run for office we are going to have corporate candidates….whether they are running for the White House or Congress….you gotta pay to play!!!


Here’s what you and I can do NOW….

1. Call, email, fax your member of Congress (regardless of which party) every week and tell them how you want them to vote on the issue of the week (or more issues)!

2. When your member of Congress is at home in their district office….visit often as you can. Bring a friend and sit in the office or send a press release to your local media and let them know you are going to sit in their office all day if necessary to get the message (whatever message you want to convey that they currently oppose)…you don’t have to get arrested. Just keep showing up until the Congressperson sees you and your allies.

3. Get involved in a local group and work on issues to get practice on how to lobby your issues to your elected officials. DO SOMETHING that turns the tide to make progressive change REAL and productive. Don’t wait till Nov. to “hope” that some flunkie will do what they “promise” to do!!!

I am sick of waiting and tired of being lied to….. hope you are too!!!



capt said...

We should throw a party for the party, eh?

capt said...

Russ Feingold just released this statement:

As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, I have been working and will continue to work every step of the way to try to fix the badly flawed FISA bill. I was pleased that in the Intelligence Committee markup yesterday Senator Wyden and I were able to make some improvements to the bill, including requiring FISA court orders for wiretapping U.S. citizens overseas and more meaningful oversight by Congress and the Inspector General of the new authorities. But we still have a long way to go before this bill adequately protects the privacy of law-abiding Americans. The bill still cedes far too much power to the executive branch, which has time and again shown it will only abuse it. And I am deeply disappointed that it included retroactive immunity for anyone alleged to have cooperated with the Administration's illegal warrantless wiretapping program. I hope the bill will be further improved in the Judiciary Committee before it reaches the full Senate. If the bill that ultimately reaches the Senate floor includes immunity and does not adequately protect the privacy of Americans, I will fight it vigorously with every tool at my disposal.

Gerald said...

Hitler Bush is talking of WW III. He is looking at the big picture. He is playing to his base - the Nazi evangelicals and the Nazi fundamentalists. Just around the corner is the end time and the rupture!!! Happy days are here again.

capt said...

Hillary's Bush Connection

Bush's mystery money man becomes Hillary's

Published in conjunction with The Nation

In the Clintons' pursuit of power, there is no such thing as a strange bedfellow. One recently exposed inamorata was Norman Hsu, the mysterious businessman from Hong Kong who brought in $850,000 to Hillary Clinton's campaign before being unmasked as a fugitive. Her campaign dismissed Hsu as someone who'd slipped through the cracks of an otherwise unimpeachable system for vetting donors, and perhaps he was. The same cannot be said for the notorious financier Alan Quasha, whose involvement with Clinton is at least as substantial--and still under wraps.

Political junkies will recall Quasha as the controversial figure who bailed out George W. Bush's failing oil company in 1986, folding Bush into his company, Harken Energy, thus setting him on the path to a lucrative and high-profile position as an owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, and the presidency. The persistently unprofitable Harken--many of whose board members, connected to powerful foreign interests and the intelligence community, nevertheless profited enormously--faced intense scrutiny in the early 1990s and again during Bush's first term.

Now Quasha is back--on the other side of the aisle. Operating below the radar, he entered Hillary Clinton's circle even before she declared her candidacy by quietly arranging for the hire of Clinton confidant and longtime Democratic Party money man Terry McAuliffe at one of his companies. During the interregnum between McAuliffe's chairmanship of the Democratic Party and the time he officially joined Clinton's campaign, Quasha's firm set McAuliffe up with a salary and opened a Washington office for him.

Just a few years earlier, McAuliffe had publicly criticized Bush for his financial dealings with Harken, disparaging the company's Enron-like accounting. Yet in 2005 McAuliffe accepted this cushy perch with Quasha's newly acquired investment firm, Carret Asset Management, and even brought along former Clinton White House business liaison Peter O'Keefe, who had been his senior aide at the Democratic National Committee. McAuliffe remained with the company until he became national chair of Hillary's presidential bid, and O'Keefe never left. McAuliffe's connection to Quasha has, until now, never been noted.

Another strong link between Quasha and Clinton is Quasha's business partner, Hassan Nemazee, a top Hillary fundraiser who was trotted out to defend her during the Hsu episode--in which the clothing manufacturer was unmasked as a swindler who seemingly funneled illegal contributions through "donors" of modest means.

In June, by liquidating a blind trust, the Clintons sought to distance themselves from any financial entanglements that might embarrass the campaign. Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson argued that the couple had gone "above and beyond" what was legally required "in order to avoid even the hint of a conflict of interest." But throughout their political careers, Bill and Hillary Clinton have repeatedly associated with people whose objectives seemed a million miles from "a place called Hope." Among these Alan Quasha and his menagerie--including Saudi frontmen, a foreign dictator, figures with intelligence ties and a maze of companies and offshore funds--stand out.

"That Hillary Clinton's campaign is involved with this particular cast of characters should give people pause," says John Moscow, a former Manhattan prosecutor. In the late 1980s and early '90s he led the investigation of the corrupt Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) global financial empire--a bank whose prominent shareholders included members of the Harken board. "Too many of the same names from earlier troubling circumstances suggests a lack of control over who she is dealing with," says Moscow, "or a policy of dealing with anyone who can pay."

Ideology does not seem to be the principal issue driving either Quasha or Nemazee. Nemazee backed the likes of archconservative Republican senators Jesse Helms, Sam Brownback and Al D'Amato before moving aggressively into the Democratic camp. Quasha, frequently identified as a Republican fundraiser, gave to both Bush and Al Gore in 2000 and so far in the 2008 race has given to Republicans Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani as well as Democrats Barack Obama and Chris Dodd, in addition to Hillary Clinton. But Quasha's concerted efforts to get into Clinton's inner circle are reminiscent of his relationship with a pre-Governor Bush.

A student at Harvard's business school at the same time as Bush, Quasha was a little-known New York lawyer when he took over the small Abilene-based Harken Oil in 1983, using millions from offshore accounts held in the name of family members. Quasha's now-deceased father, Manila-based attorney William Quasha, was known for his close friendship with Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his ties to US intelligence; he was also a member of the "Eagles Club" of major GOP contributors.

In 1986 Alan Quasha embraced a struggling George W. Bush, rescuing his failing Spectrum 7 oil company, folding it into Harken Energy and providing Bush with a directorship, more than $600,000 in stock and options and a consulting contract initially valued at $80,000 a year (which was raised in 1989 to $120,000). The financial setup allowed Bush to devote most of his time to the presidential campaign of his father, a former CIA director who as Vice President was the Reagan Administration's overseer of a massive outsourcing of covert intelligence operations, and who had his own warm relationship with Marcos.

Harken's financials were famously complicated. Reporters from top publications like the Wall Street Journal, Time and Fortune went at Harken with zest, but they ultimately failed to unravel all its labyrinthine activities. In 2003 Harken was described in the trade publication Platts Energy Economist as "a toxic waste dump for bad deals, with a strong odor of US intelligence spookery and chicanery about it." Indeed, the company was kept afloat by an all-star cast of financiers with ties to BCCI, Saudi intelligence, the South African apartheid regime, Marcos and the Shah of Iran. The company perennially lost money for ordinary investors while benefiting insiders like Bush, Quasha and Nemazee. Indeed, Harken has lost money nearly every year since Bush's days there, piling up cumulative losses in the hundreds of millions.

Nevertheless, in 1990, when the Dallas Times Herald ranked Harken fifth on its list of worst-performing local firms, the tiny oil refiner beat out the giant exploration company Amoco for an offshore drilling contract in Bahrain that was potentially worth billions. As George W. Bush biographer Bill Minutaglio wrote, "Oil analysts were stunned that bottom-feeding Harken...could hook such a meaty international contract...not only hadn't Harken drilled overseas, it had never drilled in water. Speculation immediately surged that it was because Bahrain wanted to do business with the son of the U.S. president."

Bush appeared to benefit from insider trading when he sold two-thirds of his stock in Harken at a peak price after the Bahrain deal--and just before news emerged that the company had failed to find oil and its share price plummeted. He also failed to report his sale of company stock on time, leading many to believe that he had something to hide. Immediately after a 1991 Wall Street Journal article detailing Bush's involvement with Harken, the SEC launched an investigation, but unsurprisingly, with George H.W. Bush in the White House, it came to nothing. The Journal article speculated that there was more to the picture:

What does emerge is a complex pattern of personal and financial relationships behind Harken's sudden good fortune in the Middle East, raising the question of whether Bahrainis or others in the Middle East may have hoped to ingratiate themselves with the White House. Even more intriguing, there are numerous links among Harken, Bahrain and individuals close to the discredited Bank of Credit & Commerce International, a banking empire that used Mideast oil money to seek ties to political leaders in several countries.

Thanks to his income from Harken, Bush was able to become managing partner of the Texas Rangers--a glamorous and highly visible sinecure that would eventually earn him nearly $15 million and make him a credible front-runner for the Texas governorship. This rescue and makeover of a ne'er-do-well son was a key step in W.'s path to political power.

Quasha's Clinton play began in 2003, when he bought Carret Asset Management, a once-revered private equity investment firm that manages nearly $2 billion in assets. Its founder, Philip Carret, a Wall Street legend and hero of Warren Buffett, died in 1998; the firm was sold twice

before Quasha bought it for a song. Some were troubled when they learned the identity of the new owner. "I was horrified that he was going to hide behind my family's name," says Renee Carret, a longtime executive at the firm whose grandfather started the company in 1963. When Quasha took over, she resigned. "I just personally didn't want to be affiliated with him. There were too many questions that were left unanswered."

As his co-chair in the private firm, Quasha chose his old friend Nemazee, a fellow Harken investor. By the time of the Carret acquisition, Nemazee, a founding member of the Iranian-American Political Action Committee whose family was close with the late Shah of Iran, had become a significant fundraiser for the Clintons and the Democratic Party. In 1995 he raised money for the DNC. In 1998, in the midst of the Lewinsky affair, Nemazee collected $60,000 for Bill Clinton's legal defense fund in $10,000 increments from relatives and friends. Clinton subsequently nominated Nemazee as ambassador to Argentina but withdrew the nomination after an article in Forbes raised questions about Nemazee's business dealings in the 1980s and '90s--which noted that the American-born Nemazee magically became "Hispanic" by acquiring Venezuelan citizenship because of a requirement that certain California public pension funds be run by minorities.

Failure to be named ambassador did not, however, hamper Nemazee's rise within the Democratic Party. By 2004 he was New York finance chair for John Kerry's campaign, and in 2006 he served under Senator Chuck Schumer as the national finance chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC)--a period during which the committee raised about $25 million more than its Republican counterpart. This past March Nemazee, at the behest of McAuliffe, threw a dinner for Hillary at Manhattan's swank Cipriani restaurant, which featured Bill Clinton and raised more than $500,000.

The exact nature of McAuliffe's duties at Carret is unclear, and Quasha, Carret and McAuliffe all declined to answer The Nation's questions on this matter. But McAuliffe seems to have served, at least occasionally, as a good will ambassador for Quasha's business operations. He brought Wang Tianyi, head of a formerly state-owned Chinese firm and a business associate of Quasha's, to meet with Bill Clinton. And Quasha has visited the ex-President at his Harlem office over the past several years, according to Joe Wozny, former president of a Carret affiliate. Wozny recalls that Quasha "was up there quite a few times, meeting with Bill Clinton." As for that Washington office, the Carret website says only that it specialized in providing "information regarding products and services for institutions."

But the office seems to have benefited McAuliffe--and Hillary Clinton. When McAuliffe stepped down as DNC chair in February 2005, he said he planned to hit the lecture circuit and spend more time with his family. He may have done both, but he did so as vice chair of Carret from the new company office on the seventh floor of the venerable McPherson Building, once the home of the John Kerry campaign and just off K Street's lobbyist gulch. Simon Rosenberg's New Democrat Network, where Mark Penn, chief pollster and strategist for Hillary's campaign, has served as a fellow, was housed next door to McAuliffe and O'Keefe.

While there, McAuliffe found time to pen his memoir, What a Party!, his paean to the Clintons and his role in raising record amounts of money for them and the party. Yet the memoir itself, for which he earned a seven-figure advance, makes no mention of Carret or his role as its vice chair.

Three people working in nearby suites said they remembered McAuliffe and O'Keefe working out of the office, but none of them remembered the Carret name. Nor did any of them have any idea what McAuliffe was doing as Quasha's vice chair. One person who visited McAuliffe in the suite recalled that he was working on his book but said he was unaware of the official function of the office. "Terry holds his cards pretty close on his business activities," he said.

According to another visitor, McAuliffe was using his time to lay the groundwork for Hillary's long-anticipated presidential bid. With McAuliffe leading Clinton's ravenous fundraising operation, the possibility that Carret's Washington office was opened up, at least in part, to serve just such a function is bolstered by the fact that Carret opened the office only after hiring McAuliffe--and closed it down once he left. During that period, though no Clinton campaign committee yet existed, there were signs that he was already operating on her behalf. In 2005 he appeared on CNN's Crossfire, where the former Democratic chief did not bother to feign neutrality in the primaries: "Personally, I hope she runs," he said. "We would be lucky if she did run, I'll tell you that." In 2006 he kept one foot in Clintondom as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, an organization whose membership is primarily by invitation to elite business leaders. Wang, whose China International Industry and Commerce partnered with Carret soon after McAuliffe joined the company, was also named to the initiative in 2006.

Meanwhile, during McAuliffe's employment at Carret, Quasha himself donated large sums to the DSCC. He gave $26,700 in June 2006 and $25,000 that October and also personally contributed $4,600, the maximum allowed, to the Hillary Clinton presidential exploratory committee.

Since his start as a young fundraiser on Carter's 1980 re-election campaign, McAuliffe has consistently melded politics, policy and private enterprise. By the time he was 30, he had launched a dozen companies, his own law firm and numerous venture capital companies. Perhaps his most controversial association was with the telecommunications company Global Crossing, where McAuliffe managed to turn a $100,000 personal investment into an $18 million windfall. After McAuliffe sold his shares and got out, the company collapsed; nearly 10,000 employees lost their jobs, and investors lost $54 billion. McAuliffe defended the firm's top executives, who were close with both the Bushes and Clintons, but went on to attack President Bush for similar patterns at Harken.

At a DNC meeting in Las Vegas in 2002, McAuliffe spoke about the recent collapse of Enron and questioned whether Bush could "restore confidence to Wall Street when he has engaged in the same practices he condemns today," a reference to Bush's Harken profiteering. That same year, associates of McAuliffe, fronted by a fake grassroots organization, released an aggressive ad campaign seeking to highlight the Harken-Bush connection.

It is not surprising, then, to learn that neither McAuliffe's connection to Carret nor Quasha's role in the firm have been widely publicized. Carret employees said they were surprised that when Quasha acquired the prestigious firm he did not choose to publicize his coup, instead keeping it quiet. In fact, the company's website does not reveal his role as chair--or much of anything about the firm. The company's chief financial officer, Marco Vega, said he was unable to provide details on Quasha's role in the company, or even to confirm his current title.

The silence is deafening. Repeated requests for interviews on this topic were ignored or rebuffed by the offices of Hillary Clinton's campaign, Bill Clinton, Alan Quasha, Hassan Nemazee, Terry McAuliffe and Peter O'Keefe. McAuliffe's spokeswoman, Tracy Sefl, who works for the Clinton-connected communications firm the Glover Park Group but represents McAuliffe informally, said that McAuliffe would not grant an interview or respond to detailed e-mailed questions on these matters. Sefl minimized McAuliffe's involvement with the company, claiming he was only "an adviser to Carret--as he was to many other companies."

But a vice chair is much more than just an adviser, and Carret's opening an office off K Street was not a casual gesture. Notably, though the DC office was closed after McAuliffe left for Hillary's campaign, McAuliffe protégé O'Keefe has stayed on as Carret's managing director for marketing--providing Quasha with an ongoing pipeline to the Clinton operation.

With an international man of mystery like Quasha, it's nigh impossible to definitively identify his endgame. But one thing he seems to have a stake in is free rein for hedge funds--and preservation of the low rate at which their profits are taxed.

In 2005, while McAuliffe was on his payroll, Quasha traveled to Bermuda to speak at the MARHedge World Wealth Summit, which addressed the topic "Hedge Fund Management in a Perilous Investment Climate." McAuliffe, too, weighed in on the well-being of hedge funds as the featured speaker at a 2006 investors' conference of the Carret unit Brean Murray, Carret & Co., where, according to advance publicity material, he planned to address the "current political debate in Washington, DC and its impact on Wall Street and the status of potential further hedge fund regulation." Also indicative of an interest in influencing hedge fund policy is the presence on Carret's International Advisory Board of Philippa Malmgren, who served as George W. Bush's liaison to the financial markets, and who often speaks and writes on politics and policy related to hedge funds.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Hillary Clinton, whose daughter, Chelsea, works for a hedge fund run by a prominent Democratic donor--came in second only to Joe Lieberman in cash raised from hedge fund managers during the 2006 election cycle. She has belatedly and reluctantly joined other presidential candidates in calling for a change in the law so that fund managers would pay taxes at the same rate as everybody else. Clearly, her supporters among hedge fund figures have much to gain by electing a President who feels Wall Street's pain.

Whatever Carret's overall objectives, the company is on the march. "We've taken the Brean Murray and the Carret platforms and expanded them into China, India, Eastern Europe and Russia, and we will be doing so in Latin America as well," Nemazee said in a 2006 interview with Leaders magazine.

While Quasha & Co. keep an eye on hedge fund regulation, they also appear to be helping the repressive Chinese government keep an eye on its own people. Brean Murray, Carret recently acted as the sole placement agent in an $8 million deal with the Shenzhen-based China Security and Surveillance Technology. China Security won a contract last year from the quasi-governmental Shenzhen Cyber Café Association to install video monitoring systems for more than 1,000 local Internet cafes, popular outlets for criticism of the regime. A Brean Murray, Carret press release celebrates its cooperation with the clampdown: "the estimated 2.19 million registered entertainment halls in China must purchase video-monitoring systems covering entrances, exits and main corridors. The Company is actively pursuing similar opportunities within the other provinces of China."

Is there cause for concern over Alan Quasha's apparent efforts to gain influence with a potential President of the United States? Amazingly, to reassure the public on the integrity of its operation, the Clinton camp has rolled out none other than Quasha's business partner Hassan Nemazee. In an interview with the New York Times on the implications of the Hsu affair, Nemazee, who describes himself as an economic policy adviser to Hillary but was identified by the Times as a "fundraising bundler for Mrs. Clinton, as Mr. Hsu had been," declared, "The Clinton campaign has done as much if not more than any campaign to protect itself from situations such as this, and none of the other campaigns, other than hypocritically, can point a finger at the Clinton campaign on fundraising problems."


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

Any questions?


David B. Benson said...

Bush is not the only White House occupant with a weak grip on reality:

Bush climate adviser says temperature change won't 'affect people's lives, not linked to events"

capt said...

The global warming deniers reamind me of the big tobacco guys logic about how cigarette smoking does not cause cancer.

Their evidence is that some non-smokers contract lung cancer and some smokers do not - so the two are not connected.


capt said...

Clinton bucks the trend and rakes in cash from the US weapons industry

The US arms industry is backing Hillary Clinton for President and has all but abandoned its traditional allies in the Republican party. Mrs Clinton has also emerged as Wall Street's favourite. Investment bankers have opened their wallets in unprecedented numbers for the New York senator over the past three months and, in the process, dumped their earlier favourite, Barack Obama.

Mrs Clinton's wooing of the defence industry is all the more remarkable given the frosty relations between Bill Clinton and the military during his presidency. An analysis of campaign contributions shows senior defence industry employees are pouring money into her war chest in the belief that their generosity will be repaid many times over with future defence contracts.

Employees of the top five US arms manufacturers – Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop-Grumman, General Dynamics and Raytheon – gave Democratic presidential candidates $103,900, with only $86,800 going to the Republicans. "The contributions clearly suggest the arms industry has reached the conclusion that Democratic prospects for 2008 are very good indeed," said Thomas Edsall, an academic at Columbia University in New York.


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Any questions?


capt said...

Dollar index drops to fresh low after DJ report

capt said...

Lab suspends DNA pioneer Watson

The Nobel Prize-winning DNA pioneer James Watson has been suspended by his research institution in the US.
Dr Watson has drawn severe criticism over remarks he made in a British newspaper at the weekend.

In the interview, he was quoted as saying Africans were less intelligent than Europeans.

The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory had already distanced itself from the scientist's comments but its trustee board has now suspended him.

A statement from the Long Island, New York, institution said the action was being taken "pending further deliberation by the board".

Unreserved apology

Dr Watson was due to give a lecture at the Science Museum in London on Friday as part of a book tour. But the museum cancelled the event, saying the scientist had gone beyond the point of acceptable debate.

The Bristol Festival of Ideas has also cancelled an appearance by Dr Watson.

And further critical comment of Dr Watson's views has come from Dr Craig Venter, the scientist/businessman who led the private effort to decode the human genome, and who, by coincidence, is also visiting the UK to promote a book.

"Skin colour as a surrogate for race is a social concept not a scientific one," Dr Venter said. "There is no basis in scientific fact or in the human genetic code for the notion that skin colour will be predictive of intelligence."


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I think people that agree with me are the smartest no matter what color their skin, eyes, etc.


capt said...

NASA: Ozone Hole Shrinks Back to Average Size

The Antarctic ozone hole is back to an average size, shrinking about 16 percent from last year's record high, NASA said Friday. But it's still the size of North America.

The ozone hole in mid-September reached a maximum size of 9.7 million square miles, down from its peak of 11.5 million square miles last year, said NASA atmospheric scientist Paul Newman.

Human produced gases, containing chlorine and bromine, damage the Earth's protective ozone layer, forming a hole over the South Pole and into the Southern hemisphere. Because the ozone layer protects life on Earth by blocking ultraviolet rays, countries across the world 20 years ago agreed to ban many compounds such as spray-can propellants.

The ozone hole was first discovered in 1985, is not natural, and at the current rate should be closed up by 2070, Newman said. Nearly 80 percent of the ozone-depleting chemicals in the atmosphere are man-made.

But those compounds stay in the atmosphere 40 to 100 years and the total amount of chlorine compounds in the air is only down 3.1 percent since 2001, Newman said. For the past 15 years or so, the ozone hole has been about the same size, going up slightly and down slightly, mostly based on the weather, he said. It appears from July to October.

Warmer weather and more storms this year are the reason the hole is slightly smaller, Newman said.

"There's no way we could say we're seeing real improvement, but it's smaller because of the weather situation,'' Newman said.


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

More good news about warm weather.


Gerald said...

Who Restarted the Cold War

Gerald said...

We blew it.

We moved NATO onto Russia's front porch, ignored her valid interests and concerns, and, with our "indispensable-nation" arrogance, treated her as a defeated power, as France treated Weimar Germany after Versailles.

Who restarted the Cold War? Bush and the braying hegemonists he brought with him to power. Great empires and tiny minds go ill together.

Gerald said...

The most successful war seldom pays for its losses.
– Thomas Jefferson

Gerald said...


Gerald said...

During the campaign, many activists highlighted the link between gender inequalities and poverty because women constitute the majority of the world’s poor, largely as a result of their unequal opportunities and access to resources, discriminatory laws, and unequal distribution of household resources.

capt said...

"The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding. On the whole, men are more good than bad; that, however, isn't the real point. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is that we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance which fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill." Albert Campus: The Plague, Modern Library Edition, p. 120

War creates peace like hate creates love: David L. Wilson

During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism: Howard Thurman


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Blackwater attempted to take Iraqi military aircraft out of Iraq

WASHINGTON - Blackwater USA tried to take at least two Iraqi military aircraft out of Iraq two years ago and refused to give the planes back when Iraqi officials sought to reclaim them, according to a congressional committee investigating the private security contractor.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wants the company to provide all documents related to the attempted shipment and to explain where the aircraft are now.

In a letter sent Friday to Erik Prince, Blackwater's top executive, Waxman said he learned of the 2005 attempt from a military official who contacted the committee. That official is not identified in the letter, nor is the type of aircraft.

Waxman also is seeking a sweeping amount of information about Blackwater's business, including its contracts with the federal government, profits made since the company was founded a decade ago, Prince's personal earnings since 2001, and details about the payments to the families of Iraqis killed by Blackwater personnel.

Blackwater, based in Moyock, N.C, did not respond immediately to a request for comment on Waxman's letter.

When Prince testified before the oversight committee on Oct. 2, he was asked to disclose financial data but declined to do so in an open setting, noting it would give his competitors an unfair edge.

"We're a private company and there's a key word there _ private," Prince said.

In addition to his seven-page letter to Prince, Waxman also sent letters Friday to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice seeking more information on Blackwater and its overseas operations.

Blackwater and two other security contractors share a $571 million annual contract to protect diplomats and others in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and other countries. The Iraq share of the contract accounts for about $520 million and the bulk of that total goes to Blackwater.

Waxman wants Rice to supply the oversight committee with particulars about a 2004 contract Blackwater received from State on a noncompetitive basis in 2004. He also wants investigative reports and any other documents related to the discharge of weapons and improper or unprofessional behavior by Blackwater personnel.

From Gates, Waxman wants records and individuals with specifics about a Sept. 16 shooting in Baghdad involving Blackwater guards that left 17 Iraqis dead and a Dec. 24, 2006, incident in which a Blackwater guard killed an Iraqi security worker.

The guard, Andrew Moonen, was subsequently flown out of Iraq and fired by Blackwater. The Justice Department is continuing to investigate the case.

In all three letters, Waxman wants the information provided by Nov. 2.


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Go Waxman!


capt said...

Corn to lecture at Hamilton

CLINTON - David Corn - Washington editor for The Nation, a Fox News Channel contributor and best-selling author - will lecture at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Hamilton College Chapel, College Hill Road.

Corn is the new Washington editor for Mother Jones.

His book, “The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception” (Crown, 2003), was a New York Times best seller.

Corn’s most recent book, “Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War,” which he co-authored with Michael Isikoff, was published in 2006. He also wrote “Deep Background,” a 1999 political thriller, and “Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA’s Crusades” in 1994.

He writes a Web column for The Nation called “Capital Games.” He has a blog at that is part of the Pajamas Media network.

The event is free.


capt said...

Comcast blocks some Internet traffic

Tests confirm data discrimination by number 2 U.S. service provider

NEW YORK - Comcast Corp. actively interferes with attempts by some of its high-speed Internet subscribers to share files online, a move that runs counter to the tradition of treating all types of Net traffic equally.

The interference, which The Associated Press confirmed through nationwide tests, is the most drastic example yet of data discrimination by a U.S. Internet service provider. It involves company computers masquerading as those of its users.

If widely applied by other ISPs, the technology Comcast is using would be a crippling blow to the BitTorrent, eDonkey and Gnutella file-sharing networks. While these are mainly known as sources of copyright music, software and movies, BitTorrent in particular is emerging as a legitimate tool for quickly disseminating legal content.


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

Here in the ABQ Comcast was expensive and the service was spotty so we quit them over a decade ago. Never looked back.


capt said...

The Week's Best Late-Night Jokes

"Vice President Dick Cheney's wife, Lynne Cheney, said that Barack Obama and Dick Cheney are related. She said they are actually eighth cousins. Isn't that amazing? Dick Cheney now has more blacks and gays in his own family than in the entire Republican Party." --Jay Leno

"Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani says he's going to try to follow Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment that a Republican should never attack another Republican. Let's hope he has better luck with the 11th commandment than he did with the 7th commandment." --Jay Leno

"The Dalai Lama had a private meeting with President Bush. Believe it or not, they actually have a lot in common. One of the goals of Zen Buddhism is to completely empty your mind. The president did that years ago." --Jimmy Kimmel

"According to an exclusive interview, Senator Larry Craig said that because of his sex scandal, he's now in 'the toughest fight of his life.' Then Craig added, 'Unless you count that trucker who played hard to get.'" --Conan O'Brien

"A White House spokesman said President Bush is very happy Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize. Not Dick Cheney. Oh, no. Dick Cheney said today now he wants to bomb Norway." --Jay Leno

"Yesterday, Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the environment. Then, in a stunning reversal, the Supreme Court awarded it to George Bush." --Amy Poehler"

I think I know why you're happy tonight ... 'cause Al Gore won the Nobel prize. Al Gore won the Nobel prize. Or, as President Bush announced it, 'Sweden is with the terrorists.' No, the president did not say that. What he said was, 'The Nobel Prize is just a theory. It needs more study.'" --Bill Maher

"Earlier this year, Al Gore won an Emmy and an Oscar. Now that he's won a Nobel Peace Prize, some people say he may run for president. Gore says he's not even thinking about the presidency 'cause he's totally focused on winning the Heisman." --Conan O'Brien

"Presidential candidate Barack Obama ... went door to door in Iowa over the weekend to talk about his opposition to the war and gain votes. Hillary Clinton also went door to door -- not looking for votes, trying to find her husband." --Jay Leno

"America's favorite professional restroom enthusiast, Idaho Senator Larry Craig, has agreed to be interviewed by 'Today Show''s Matt Lauer tomorrow night on NBC. Craig said he wanted to make this his first interview because he feels NBC -- and we're very flattered -- is a well respected news organization that deals fairly with their subjects. He also finds Matt Lauer dreamy. ... At Senator Craig's request, all questions will be scribbled on a piece of toilet paper and discreetly passed to him." --Jay Leno"

This past weekend, Senator Craig was inducted into the Idaho Hall of Fame. See, I don't know how these things work. Is he a pitcher or a catcher?" --Jay Leno

"China is outraged at the United States for honoring the Dalai Lama at the White House. They're pretty mad. I hope they don't try to get back at us, you know, like maybe putting lead in our toys or anti-freeze in our toothpaste." --Jay Leno

"In a recent interview, President Bush's daughter, Jenna, said she believes there's a ghost in the White House. Then President Bush told her, 'No sweetheart, that's just your grandmother.'" --Conan O'Brien

"We're learning more and more information about that Republican debate the other night. Apparently, the Republicans were really paranoid about security at the debate. Security was very, very high. To make sure there were no embarrassing incidents, I understand they had three security guards posted at every bathroom stall." --Jay Leno

"Hillary Clinton's name was mentioned 12 times the other night. 12 times! Of course, Hillary was stunned. She's not used to guys yelling out her name." --Jay Leno


capt said...

Report says buildup in Iraq gained little

U.S. military, civilian officials warn progress will require years of work

WASHINGTON - Despite hopes that the U.S. military "surge" in Iraq would encourage economic and political headway and sap the strength of the insurgency, very little lasting progress has been achieved, according to a new U.S. report.

The study, based on the assessments of dozens of U.S. military and civilian officials working at local levels across Iraq, runs counter to the optimistic forecasts by the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. It said that with the exception of Anbar province, there has been "little progress" toward political reconciliation, a key U.S. goal in Iraq.

Withdrawal of U.S. troops would produce "open battlegrounds of ethnic cleansing" in some Baghdad neighborhoods and elsewhere in Iraq, the report said.

In high-profile congressional hearings last month, Petraeus and Crocker testified that the addition of 28,000 American troops in Iraq, ordered last winter by President Bush, was reducing violence and providing opportunity for economic projects, government reform and political reconciliation.

The troop "surge" is temporary, with the first of the reinforcement units scheduled to leave Iraq before Christmas.

But instead of charting progress, the new report, by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, warns that Iraq "will require years of steady engagement" before there is significant progress in providing Iraqis with power and clean water, jobs, health resources and government that works.

"Iraq's complex and overlapping sectarian, political, and ethnic conflicts, as well as the difficult security situation, continue to hinder progress in promoting economic development, rule of law, and political reconciliation," the report cautioned.

With a $44 billion investment by American taxpayers in rebuilding Iraq, there are some visible improvements, the report said. But it warned that local and provincial governments "have little ability to manage and maintain" new health clinics, water treatment plants, power-generating facilities and other projects.

One U.S. official in Iraq, quoted anonymously in the report, said he foresaw a "train wreck" ahead as costly U.S. projects in Iraq grind to a halt for lack of manpower or maintenance.

The report's grim conclusions parallel previous U.S. assessments, including a major national intelligence estimate in August that said there had been little economic improvement. That report forecast that sectarian violence would continue displacing Iraqis from their own neighborhoods and that Iraq's government would "become more precarious" over the next six to 12 months.

Nevertheless, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates dismissed the report's conclusion, which he said "doesn't square" with what he is hearing from senior U.S. military officers in Iraq.

The office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, created by Congress three years ago to probe U.S. spending in Iraq, is headed by Stuart W. Bowen, a lawyer who previously worked for then-Gov. Bush in Texas and served on Bush's White House staff in Washington.

His report, released yesterday, is based on assessments from 32 provincial reconstruction teams made up of U.S. military and civilian experts in local government.

Despite the arduous and often dangerous conditions these teams work under, they have achieved some "incremental" success, the report said. But it went on to document continuing problems that run deep and wide through Iraq.

The judicial system is not functioning because of police corruption and judges who are subject to intimidation by sectarian violence. To boost employment, U.S. military commanders are spending millions of dollars on short-term reconstruction projects that employ Iraqis, but these projects often are not coordinated with local governments and rarely provide long-term job opportunities, the report said.

The report documented "a growing public frustration" of Iraqis with their government. As a result, there has been "little progress" toward political reconciliation, which it said was being undermined by jockeying for power among rival Shiite groups and a "sense of alienation" on the part of the minority Sunnis.

Asked yesterday about the report, Gates said he had not read it and does not believe its assessment.

"The information that we're getting from the commanders and from the ambassador doesn't square with that," Gates said at a Pentagon news briefing. "Our sense is that, in fact, there is progress in these areas - more than we would have expected."

Adm. Mike Mullen, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also said the report's assessments differ from what he saw on a recent trip to Iraq.

As evidence of a growing economy, Mullen cited a butcher at a local market just outside Baghdad who until recently was selling a sheep every week. Now, the butcher is selling a sheep every day, Mullen said.

"I don't want to overly state it ... but it's starting to happen," he said.


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

The warmongers don’t think the report squares with their fantasy? Wow - big surprise. I guess we have to keep sending our troops into the meat-grinder until we change the leadership here in congress, the senate and the presidency?


capt said...

Oceans are 'soaking up less CO2'

The amount of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the world's oceans has reduced, scientists have said.
University of East Anglia researchers gauged CO2 absorption through more than 90,000 measurements from merchant ships equipped with automatic instruments.

Results of their 10-year study in the North Atlantic show CO2 uptake halved between the mid-90s and 2000 to 2005.

Scientists believe global warming might get worse if the oceans soak up less of the greenhouse gas.

Researchers said the findings, published in a paper for the Journal of Geophysical Research, were surprising and worrying because there were grounds for believing that, in time, the ocean might become saturated with our emissions.

'Saturated' ocean

BBC environment analyst Roger Harrabin said: "The researchers don't know if the change is due to climate change or to natural variations.

"But they say it is a tremendous surprise and very worrying because there were grounds for believing that in time the ocean might become 'saturated' with our emissions - unable to soak up any more."

He said that would "leave all our emissions to warm the atmosphere".

Of all the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere, only half of it stays there; the rest goes into carbon sinks.

There are two major natural carbon sinks: the oceans and the land "biosphere". They are equivalent in size, each absorbing a quarter of all CO2 emissions.


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

I wonder if they checked Al Gore’s electric bill and factored that in?


capt said...

Chain of errors blamed for nuclear arms going undetected

An Air Force inquiry says weapons officers failed five times to check missiles before they were flown across the country to another base.

WASHINGTON -- Air Force weapons officers assigned to secure nuclear warheads failed on five occasions to examine a bundle of cruise missiles headed to a B-52 bomber in North Dakota, leading the plane's crew to unknowingly fly six nuclear-armed missiles across the country.

That August flight, the first known incident in which the military lost track of its nuclear weapons since the dawn of the atomic age, lasted nearly three hours, until the bomber landed at Barksdale Air Force Base in northern Louisiana.

But according to an Air Force investigation presented to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Friday, the nuclear weapons sat on a plane on the runway at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota for nearly 24 hours without ground crews noticing the warheads had been moved out of a secured shelter.

"This was an unacceptable mistake," said Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne at a Pentagon news conference. "We would really like to ensure it never happens again."

For decades, it has been military policy to never discuss the movement or deployment of the nuclear arsenal. But Wynne said the accident was so serious that he ordered an exception so the mistakes could be made public.

On Aug. 29, North Dakota crew members were supposed to load 12 unarmed cruise missiles in two bundles under the B-52's wings to be taken to Louisiana to be decommissioned. But in what the Air Force has ruled were five separate mistakes, six missiles contained nuclear warheads.

According to the investigation, the chain of errors began the day before the flight when Air Force officers failed to inspect five bundles of cruise missiles inside a secure nuclear weapons hangar at Minot. Some missiles in the hangar have nuclear warheads, some have dummy warheads, and others have neither, officials said.

An inspection would have revealed that one of the bundles contained six missiles with nuclear warheads, investigators said.

"They grabbed the wrong ones," said Maj. Gen. Richard Newton, the Air Force's deputy chief of staff in charge of operations.

After that, four other checks built into procedures for checking the weapons were overlooked, allowing the plane to take off Aug. 30 with crew members unaware that they were carrying enough destructive power to wipe out several cities.

Newton said that even though the nuclear missiles were hanging on the B-52's wings overnight without anyone knowing they were missing, the investigation found that the Minot's tarmac was secure enough that the military was never at risk of losing control of the warheads.

The cruise missiles were supposed to be transported to Barksdale without warheads as part of a treaty that requires the missiles to be mothballed. Newton said the warheads are normally removed in the Minot hangar before the missiles are assigned to a B-52 for transport.

The Air Force did not realize the warheads had been moved until airmen began taking them off the plane at Barksdale. The B-52 had been sitting on the runway there for more than nine hours, however, before they were offloaded.

Newton did not say what explanation the Minot airmen gave investigators for their repeated failure to check the warheads once they left the secured hangar, saying only that there was inattention and "an erosion of adherence to weapons-handling standards."

Air Force officials who were briefed on the findings said investigators found that personnel lacked neither the time nor the resources to perform the inspections, indicating that the weapons officers had become lackadaisical in their duties.

One official noted that until the Air Force was given the task of decommissioning the cruise missiles this year, it had not handled airborne nuclear weapons for more than a decade, implying that most of the airmen lacked experience with the procedures.

The Air Force has fired four colonels who oversaw aircraft and weapons operations at Minot and Barksdale, and some junior personnel have also been disciplined, Newton said. The case has been handed to a three-star general who will review the findings and determine whether anyone involved should face court-martial proceedings.

Despite the series of failures, Newton said, the investigation found that human error, rather than inadequate procedures, were at fault. Gates has ordered an outside panel headed by retired Gen. Larry D. Welch, a former Air Force chief of staff, to review the Pentagon's handling of nuclear weapons.


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

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.

~ Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

I wonder if the rest of the world will understand if a simple “chain of errors” ended up taking out a city?


capt said...

Maybe later, the news is too depressing.

capt said...


This Week: "Showdown With Iran" (60 minutes),
Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 9pm on PBS (check local listings)
Live Discussion: Chat with producer Greg Barker, Wed., Oct. 24, at 11 am ET

Will there be another war in the Middle East -- a war between the U.S. and Iran?

This Tuesday FRONTLINE traces the complex relationship between the two countries since 9/1l. From cooperation during the war in Afghanistan to confrontation today in Iraq, there appear to be hawks and doves in both nations striving to control policy. However, Iran's determination to continue with its nuclear program and its support of Shia militias who are attacking U.S. forces in Iraq are the factors that could cause President Bush to order military action.

Says former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, "I don't know what the president will do between now and the end of the administration. He has said repeatedly that it is unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons, and if he means unacceptable, then I assume he would take military action if he had to."

Such analysis doesn't seem to frighten the Iranians. Their Supreme Leader has said, "The U.S. can't do a damn thing to us." And the deputy head of Iran's National Security Council, Mohammad Jafari, tells FRONTLINE in his first-ever television interview:

"You will not find a single instance in which a country has inflicted harm on us and we have left it without a response. So if the United States makes such a mistake, they should know that we will definitely respond. And we don't make idle threats."

Jafari is senior commander of the Quds Force, the elite foreign operations branch of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, and a man the U.S. almost caught with other Iranian operatives inside Iraq earlier this year. Iranian hardliners are rarely seen on American television. But FRONTLINE producer Greg Barker and co-producer Claudia Rizzi, were able to convince some of the most senior players in Iran's power structure to speak with them.

The Iranians display a profound distrust of the U.S., especially its actions in Iraq. While welcoming the demise of their arch-enemy, Saddam Hussein, they say the U.S. should now get out. Iran has great influence with the Shia government in Iraq that the U.S. helped bring to power. One expert in the program notes the irony: the U.S. action in Iraq has inadvertently helped pave the way for a revival of Iran's historic ambition to be the key power in the region.

To understand the context for the current U.S.-Iran stand-off, we invite you to join us Tuesday night. And if you miss the program, it's available for viewing on our Web site, along with the interviews with key Iranian officials, more analysis of the issues, and a report by Barker on the making of this film. And, we invite you to join in the discussion.

Louis Wiley, Jr.
Executive Editor

capt said...

"What no one seemed to notice was the ever widening gap between the government and the people. And it became always wider.....the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting, it provided an excuse not to think....for people who did not want to think anyway gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about.....and kept us so busy with continuous changes and 'crises' and so the machinations of the 'national enemies,' without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us.....

"Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, 'regretted,' that unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these 'little measures'.....must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing.....Each act is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next.

"You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow. You don't want to act, or even talk, don't want to 'go out of your way to make trouble.' But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes.

"That's the difficulty. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves, when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed.

"You have accepted things you would not have accepted five years ago, a year ago, things your father.....could never have imagined."

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



The following quote was incorrectly attributed to "Albert Campus" in our last newsletter.

"The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding. On the whole, men are more good than bad; that, however, isn't the real point. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is that we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance which fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill."

It should have been Albert Camus: The Plague, Modern Library Edition, p. 120


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

U.S. air strikes in Baghdad kill toddlers

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. air strikes in a Shi'ite stronghold of Baghdad on Sunday killed at least two toddlers, Reuters television footage showed.

Police said a total of 13 people were killed in the strikes and more than 50 were wounded.

In the morgue of Imam Ali hospital in the district of Sadr city the bodies of two toddlers, one wearing a nappy, lay on blankets while doctors tended to wounded men and boys, the video footage showed.

In the house where one of the toddlers lived, a man who said he was a cousin, pointed to bloodstained mattresses and blood-splattered pillows, choking back tears as he held up a photo showing one of the dead children.

"We were waking in the morning and all of a sudden rockets landed in the house and the children were screaming," said a woman outside the house.

The U.S. military confirmed it had conducted early morning operations in Sadr city "targeting criminals believed to be responsible for the kidnapping of coalition soldiers in November 2006 and May 2007".


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

No small wonder we are not popular in Iraq. I'm sure some will say the toddlers were really terrorists by birth.


capt said...

Real world markets act differently

The reality-based community got a little boost recently with the announcement of the 2007 Nobel Prize in economics.

Three Americans, Eric Maskin, Roger Myerson and Leonid Hurwicz, shared the honor for their work in mechanism design theory, which studies under what conditions markets work well or don’t. Sneak preview: They do better with private than with public goods.

The very idea that markets are imperfect at some things may come as a shock — or even sacrilege —to true believers in the cult of the market god.

According to this cult, the market is like an all-wise and all-good but jealous god which becomes exceedingly wrathful when interfered with by things like coal mine or workplace safety laws, minimum wage protections, or taxes that pay for health, education or other services. Its ways are not our ways, nor are its thoughts our thoughts. And if it demands an occasional human sacrifice, we just have to deal with it.

In the real world, however, markets work better for some things than others. They are at their best when they distribute private goods in a situation which isn’t dominated by any one or few industries and where sellers and buyers have adequate information. They have problems in cases of monopolies or oligopolies, imperfectly informed consumers, or where exchanges create public costs and social problems.

As the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences put it, “Adam Smith’s classical metaphor of the invisible hand refers to how the market, under ideal conditions, ensures an efficient allocation of scarce resources. But in practice conditions are usually not ideal; for example, competition is not completely free, consumers are not perfectly informed and privately desirable production and consumption may generate social costs and benefits.”

Many transactions, according to the Academy, don’t take place in open markets but occur within firms, under special arrangements, or under the influence of political or other powerful interest groups. Think Halliburton or Blackwater.

Maskin, Hurwicz, and Myerson’s mechanism design theory studies what kinds of arrangements make for an optimal allocation of resources. Here’s the short version of a key finding: Markets work well with what economists call private goods, like refrigerators or cars, but not for public goods, such as a clean environment or public health.

According to Maskin in an article in, “There are some things we want that are never going to be attainable by markets,” he said in a telephone interview. “If we are going to get them at all we have to find alternative ways of delivering them. That’s where mechanism design comes in.”

A Reuters report on the prize noted, “Societies should not rely on market forces to protect the environment or provide quality health care for all citizens ...”

In such cases, public investments and policies should promote and protect public goods.

None of this would have come as a surprise to Adam Smith, who wrote in 1776 that there was a need of government support for “public institutions and those public works, which, though they may be in the highest degree advantageous to a great society, are, however, of such a nature that the profit could never repay the expense to any individual or small number of individuals, and which it therefore cannot be expected that any individual or small number of individuals should erect or maintain.”

If some people want to worship the market god, that’s fine with me, as long as they don’t try to make it the state religion.

In reality, markets are goods, not gods. What we need to do is figure out how to let them do what they do well, while also protecting the very important things they don’t.

Wilson is director of the American Friends Service Committee WV Economic Justice Project and publishes The Goat Rope, a daily public affairs blog:


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

Excellent observations and I think the point is exact.


capt said...

Pentagon's record contract: a recording error

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Defense Department said on Thursday it was awarding what might have been its richest-ever single contract at $24 billion, but it erred by a factor of 1,000.

The supposedly huge deal, listed in the Pentagon's daily contract digest, was said to have gone to Boeing Co for engineering support of the Air Force's KC-135 refueling fleet.

"No one at Boeing knows of a contract of anything of this magnitude," said Forrest Gossett, a company spokesman in St. Louis.

The Air Force referred callers to Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, where the contract was handled. A base spokesman, Ralph Monson, said the real deal was for $24 million -- a difference of more than $23.9 billion.

"The correct figure was $24 million," he told Reuters, adding three extra zeros had been tacked on by mistake.

"No clue how," he said after checking with the base's bean counters. "Thanks for bringing it to our attention."


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

I think we are all numb to the numbers. Extra zeroes? No big dealio - I guess.


capt said...

NYC Woman Finds Python in the Toilet

NEW YORK (AP) — There was no Halloween bogeyman in the closet for one Brooklyn woman — just a 7-foot-long python in her toilet. Nadege Brunacci was washing her hands in her bathroom before dawn Monday when she glanced back and saw the slithering serpent peeking out from her toilet, most of its body hidden in the pipes.

"I turned on the light and screamed,'' Brunacci, 38, told the New York Daily News. "It still makes my heart race.''

Brunacci slammed down the lid, put a heavy box on top of the toilet and began calling for help, which came from her landlord and firefighters. Plumbers had to tear apart the downstairs neighbor's pipes to capture the snake, she said.

It's unclear how the snake made its way into the pipes.

Brunacci, a restaurateur, says she gave the snake to a friend who keeps it as a pet and named it after her.

Brunacci says she started using her daughter's training toilet after the scare in her third-floor apartment. And when she brushes her teeth, she said, "I'm looking over my shoulder.''


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

Maybe the “alligators in the sewer” is an urban legend but the snakes are real?


capt said...

Judge to Hear 'DC Madam' Selective Prosecution Argument --Memo from Monica Goodling 'to detail politicization of the Department of Justice'

CLG exclusive: Citizens for Legitimate Government (CLG) has learned that a US Judge will hear a selective prosecution argument made by the so-called DC Madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, on Monday.

Last week, US District Judge Gladys Kessler entered an order permitting Attorney Montgomery Blair Sibley to substitute for Preston Burton as Jeane's counsel in the criminal matter and set a status conference for Monday, October 22, 2007 at 10:00 a.m., in Courtroom 26A of the federal courthouse in Washington D.C.

Subsequently, Judge Kessler entered an order indicating that she would take up Ms. Palfrey's selective prosecution argument. In essence, according to Mr. Sibley, Ms. Palfrey is arguing that 'as the only one of some eighty-three (83) escort agencies operating in the metro-DC area, the government's decision to prosecute her was based upon political considerations arising before the November 2006 elections.'

According to Mr. Sibley, to support this contention, Ms. Palfrey "will be offering a composite exhibit of statements, news articles and a memo from Monica Goodling which collectively detail the politicization of the Department of Justice in a manner which lends credence to Jeane's argument of selective prosecution. At the conclusion of the argument, Jeane will be asking the Court to issue subpoenas and conduct an evidentiary hearing into these allegations."


capt said...

Americans Keep Dying

Soldier From Arkansas Killed by Roadside Bomb After Just 2 Weeks in Iraq

Wife and Mom (FL) With Ties to Oklahoma Dies a Hero in Iraq

Ohio Reservist Killed in Rocket Attack on Base Near Baghdad Airport

Decorated Green Beret From Krum (TX) Killed in Iraq

9/11 Propelled Soldier (CA) Who Died in Vehicle Rollover in Baghdad

Outsize Outpouring of Grief for Marine (TX) Who Died in Iraq

'Everyone's Soldier' Buried in Oxnard (CA)

One End to Soldier's Two Lives (CT)

Father: 'I Have to Believe in What He Believed In' (MA)

Michigan Soldier's Character Bred Respect

Soldier With Woodlands (TX) Ties Killed in Iraq Action

Friends, Family, Fellow Servicemen Remember Ohio Soldier

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

OFF TOPIC, BUT IMPORTANT--A pair of nasty intruders took up brief residence on my PC, namely the Backdoor HuPigeon trojan and the Delf ERE worm. My XoftSpy found and killed them.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Letterman told a joke about the snake in the toilet: "Usually, when you feel something slithering around your legs in a toilet, it's Senator Larry Craig." :)

capt said...

San Mateo County Presidential Straw Poll 2008

JOHN EDWARDS 221 29.0%
BARACK OBAMA 171 22.5%
AL GORE (Write-In) 23 3.0%
Other Write-ins 1 0.1%


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

I think the San Mateo Democrats are NOT following the MSM - “HRC is the candidate” - BS narrative.


capt said...

Commentator, author David Corn to lecture

CLINTON - David Corn, Washington editor for The Nation, a Fox News Channel contributor and best-selling author, will lecture at 7:30 p.m. today in the Hamilton College Chapel, College Hill Road.

Corn is the newly hired Washington editor for Mother Jones.

His book, “The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception” (Crown, 2003) was a New York Times bestseller.

Corn’s most recent book, “Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War,” which he co-authored with Michael Isikoff, was published in 2006. He also wrote “Deep Background,” a 1999 political thriller, and “Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA’s Crusades” in 1994.

He writes a Web column for The Nation called “Capital Games.” He has a blog at that is part of the Pajamas Media network.

The event is free.

carey said...

The city and county are shut down. Major arteries and highways closed. Mucho, mucho evacuations. I may loose my electricity. It's very bad. We're all shut in and glued to the sets or radios. Brandon's on his way home from school which will be closed as of today.

The situation is dire.

capt said...


Get and be safe.

Drop me a line if there is anything I can do.


capt said...

"Apathy is the glove into which evil slips its hand" : Bodie Thoene

"By far the most dangerous foe we have to fight is apathy - indifference from whatever cause, not from a lack of knowledge, but from carelessness, from absorption in other pursuits, from a contempt bred of self satisfaction" : William Osler (Canadian Physician, 1849-1919)

"My generation's apathy. I'm disgusted with it. I'm disgusted with my own apathy too, for being spineless and not always standing up against racism, sexism and all those other -isms the counterculture has been whinning about for years." : Kurt Cobain (American Musician and Singer of the grunge rock band Nirvana. 1967-1994)

There is suffering in life, and there are defeats. No one can avoid them. But it's better to lose some of the battles in the struggles for your dreams than to be defeated without ever knowing what you're fighting for: Paulo Coelho

...when we finally know we are dying, and all other sentient beings are dying with us, we start to have a burning, almost heartbreaking sense of the fragility and preciousness of each moment and each being, and from this can grow a deep, clear, limitless compassion for all being.: Sogyal Rinpoche

"Our job this day is to become part of the answer to the world's immense and protracted suffering rather than continuing our ancient task of being part of the difficulty.": Hugh Prather - Author, minister


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

Anonymous said...

This blog is too negative. I read often and I am always put into a downer mood.

Why can't you post anything nice and happy?

David B. Benson said...

Nony Mous --- This is the twenty-first century.

capt said...

On the October 22 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, host Glenn Beck stated, “I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today.”


This guy (Beck) and others should be shunned and driven from the tribe.

Just because being outrageous and offensive helps ratings there is a point (long past) where such things are beyond the pale.

Why do these idiots (like Beck and Coulter and others) get airtime?


capt said...

Did Nancy Pelosi Commit a Crime?

Consider the following: Nancy Pelosi has in fact admitted to having knowledge of the Bush-Cheney program of illegal warrantless eavesdropping initiated by Bush immediately after assuming office. She apparently learned of this soon after Bush initiated it. She therefore has quite possibly known about it since before 9/11. By not reporting criminal actions by Bush, Pelosi has made herself blatantly guilty of a serious crime.

The crime I speak of is known as 'misprision of felony'. According to the prestigious 'Black's Law Dictionary', it is defined thusly:

'Misprision of felony: Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, is guilty of the federal crime of misprision of felony.' 18 U.S.C.A. & 4.'

Pelosi has brazenly admitted to having concealed ongoing illegal acts by members of the Bush administration for several years. She defends this by claiming she was simply following proper protocol in not revealing criminal actions that the president had told her he was committing. The president, after all, had told her of his illegal acts while she was a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Pelosi claims she therefore could not properly reveal this to law enforcement or to her colleagues in the House. Her sense of etiquette in this case might be in some twisted way correct, but her sensitivity to the laws of the United States and provisos of the US Constitution is egregiously lacking.

The fact that she deemed it a matter of honor to conspire with the president to keep his illegal acts secret is a form of blatant sophistry. Her concealment of a crime is itself a crime. Consider that Mafiosos also consider it a matter of honor to never rat on their associates. They may call their silence a matter of honor, but that does not make their silence legal or honorable by normal societal standards.

Since Bush and Pelosi have been de facto partners in crime, it is crystal clear why Pelosi dictatorially removed impeachment of Bush and Cheney from any consideration by the Democratic controlled House. She never has offered a coherent or believable reason for her obstinacy in this matter. I believe we now know the reason.

I suggest we all write letters to our local FBI branches asking them if they plan to initiate an investigation of Pelosi's admitted misprision of felony. If not, then why not? The FBI has a huge file of form letters used to reply to citizen's questions; however, I guarantee you they won't have an appropriate reply for this question.

We should also take note of the fact that the victims of warrantless, illegal spying by Bush and associates have had their civil rights seriously violated; so we can only hope the ACLU also will have something to say about Pelosi's de facto silent collaboration in those violations.


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

Criminal politicians? Go figure.


capt said...

Dalai Lama Becomes Emory Professor

The Dalai Lama was formally installed as a professor at Emory University on Monday as Tibetan monks wearing moon-shaped yellow hats chanted and played cymbals, gongs and horns.

The exiled Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, whose face is recognized around the world, now is the bearer of a faculty ID card.

"I suspect you will not need to carry this with you for identification, but in any case, we wanted you to know you are welcome," student Emily Allen said as she handed him the card, a present from the students.

In his first speech as a faculty member, the Dalai Lama encouraged his audience of thousands of people to look beyond money and fame for happiness and to use their education for the greater good.

"As a professor of this university, I think you should listen to me," the 72-year-old monk and Nobel Peace Prize laureate said with a laugh.

Later, in an address to a crowd of thousands at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta, the Dalai Lama called the U.S. the world's "greatest, most powerful" democracy and said it should send more members of the Peace Corps, instead of soldiers, to other countries to spread democracy peacefully.

"The concept of war is outdated," he said. "Through war, through violence, you cannot achieve what you want."

During the weekend, he delivered a lecture on the basics of Buddhism to thousands and participated in a conference on depression. He also joined with spiritual leaders from the world's major religions — including Rajmohan Gandhi, a grandson of India's Mohandas Gandhi — to discuss peaceful resolution of military conflicts.

As Presidential Distinguished Professor, the Dalai Lama will provide private teaching sessions with students and faculty during Emory's study-abroad program in Dharamsala, India, and will periodically visit Emory.

The Dalai Lama fled the Himalayan region in 1959 during a failed uprising against Chinese rule. He remains highly popular among Tibetans and is lauded in much of the world as a figure of moral authority, but China reviles him as a Tibetan separatist.

Chinese officials lashed out angrily at the United States after he received Congress' highest civilian honor last week. The Dalai Lama brushed aside the furious reaction, saying he supports "genuine autonomy," not independence for Tibet.


On the Net:

Emory-Tibet Partnership:

Dalai Lama's visit:

capt said...

Republican Sex Scandals Dwarf Those of Democrats

The sexual antics of President Bill Clinton have been a dangerous tool in the Republican campaign arsenal, used to the fullest possible extent, but what have they been up to all these years?

(SALEM, Ore.) - "He who lives in a glass house should not throw stones." It seems that old adage may be lost on the confused mass that we call modern society. The Grand Old Party, once known for controversial abolitionists, has become the moral party of today, or so their elected leaders will tell you.

As we evolve as a nation, too many people seem to be clinging to ideologies that make little sense, fighting against a woman's right to abortion while demanding that schools not teach children sex education or instruct them in the deadly virus, AIDS. It creates a vicious circle when we fight ourselves, and deny education to those who need it most.

Our nation spent more tax money conducting Ken Starr's investigation of President Bill Clinton's affair with intern Monica Lewinsky, than they did in the investigation of the September 11th 2001 attacks on the United States. Many Americans fail to see the logic behind this.

Now Oregon's Governor stands at risk, as a right wing radio pundit named Lars Larson levels an accusation against Kulongoski that could mean he could not be a lawyer in Oregon again. Larson says that Kulongoski had the goods on Goldschmidt years ago. Sources are reporting that he could have known about what has become known as the Goldschmidt scandal, as early as 1994.

Kulongoski walked angrily out of a press conference Tuesday, after a TV reporter asked him about the former governor's involvement with the teenage babysitter.

Perhaps the Governor is guilty of having known something he didn't tell. He stated that he is not, but if he is, he may lose his right to have a license to practice law. That would be a real burn if you were Ted Kulongoski, and quite a feather in the cap of Lars Larson, no doubt about it.

As Lars Larson is totally political in his pursuits and ambitions, we thought it would be interesting to offer perspective by determining just how many Republican lawmakers and officials have endured similar scrutiny in recent years for sexual perversions, extramarital affairs, etc. It is a hard number to pinpoint, it just depends on the number of years you account for.

As a subject, it was important enough to see an impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, so fair seems fair.

Then we ran into a problem with the idea of naming these scandals and their Republican perpetrators; there are so many they would hardly fit on the page. Using data from "Moral Values," these citations are otherwise attributed to the original agencies. Here is a partial list of names of serious problems related to GOP movers and shakers.

Randal David Ankeney is the Republican activist who was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault on a child with force. He was charged with six counts related to getting a 13-year-old girl stoned on pot and then having sex with her. Ankeny has also been accused of sexually assaulting another girl. Source: Denver ABC Article

Jim Bakker is the infamous televangelist who worked with Pat Robertson at Robertson's Christian Broadcasting network. Sources at the time, and then later Jim himself, confirmed that he committed adultery with Jessica Hahn, and then used charitable donations to pay her hush money. Fellow televangelists have stated in the past that they believe he's gay. Bakker was indicted on 23 federal charges of fraud, tax evasion, and racketeering.

Bob Barr is the Republican Congressman from Georgia who sponsored the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, saying "The flames of hedonism, the flames of narcissism, the flames of self-centered morality are licking at the very foundation of our society, the family unit." He was married three times, and paid for his second wife's abortion (she also suspected he was cheating on her). he failed to pay child support to the children of his first two wives and while married to his third and present wife and was photographed licking whipped cream off of strippers at his inaugural party.

Parker J. Bena was a Republican activist and a key player in the campaign to elect George W. Bush as President. Bena was charged and later pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and lying to the FBI. Bena reportedly told the feds that he had received an unsolicited e-mail containing pictures of children (some as young as three years old) performing various sexual acts, but agents learned that he had in fact voluntarily entered a number of child pornography websites and downloaded the images himself. This is said to have involved acts with children as young as 3 years old, on his home computer. Parker J. Bena was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and fined $18,000. Source:

Louis Beres is a past chairman of the Christian Coalition of Oregon. Three of his family members accuse him of molesting them as children, when they were pre-teens. In an Editor and Publisher article, in August 2006, Beres confessed to the accusations facing him. The Portland Mercury

John Bolton , President George W. Bush's highly contested appointee ambassador to United Nations is suspected of forcing his former wife to be involved in unsavory group sex acts. Corroborated allegations that Mr. Bolton's first wife, Christina Bolton, was forced to engage in group sex have not been refuted by the State Department despite inquires posed by Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt concerning the allegations. Mr. Flynt has obtained information from numerous sources that Mr. Bolton participated in paid visits to Plato's Retreat, the popular swingers club that operated in New York City in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Jim Bunn Congressman of Oregon: Many attribute the success Jim Bunn experienced in great part to support from the Christian Coalition. Congressman Jim Bunn won his congressional seat, and then sources say that he immediately ditched his wife, the mother of his five children, and married a staffer. Jim Bunn is said to have put his new wife on the state payroll for the unheard-of salary of $97,500, thereby becoming one of the biggest waste and spend conservatives from the state of Oregon. Source: Conservative Babylon

President of the United States George W. Bush , was accused in a criminal complaint and lawsuit of raping Margie Schoedinger, who later died in a questionable case of suicide. Bush was also accused by Tammy Phillips, a former stripper, who was quoted in the National Enquirer in 2000 saying she had an affair with Bush that had ended in 1999. Another serious question involves statements from the wife of Red Blount, whom Bush campaigned for, while possibly A.W.O.L from the Air National Guard at age 26. She stated that he was "all over their 14 year old daughter." Multiple Sources

Neil Bush , brother or G. W. Bush, in a March 2003 divorce deposition, admitted repeatedly having sex with strange women who just showed up at his room while on an Asian business trip. Overshadowing the sex scandal at the time was a business scandal. Neal Bush keeps a low profile and is not seen in public very often. He also has questionable ties to the security of the World Trade Towers in the September 11th 2001 attacks on the United States. Source: Washington Post article

Ken Calvert, Congressman (R-California), has been called the champion of the Christian Coalition and its "family values." But in reality, Ken Calvert was sued as an alimony "deadbeat dad" by his ex-wife who said, "We can't forgive what occurred between the President and Lewinsky." In 1993, Calvert was caught by police officers receiving oral sex from a prostitute. He attempted to flee the scene but apparently couldn't move fast enough to get away from police, and was arrested.

Helen Chenoweth , Congresswoman (R-Id.). In 1995, Chenoweth had denied having an affair when asked about it by The Spokane Spokesman-Review. In 1998 she called (in a campaign ad) for Bill Clinton's resignation saying, "I believe that personal conduct and integrity do matter". Days later she admitted to a six-year adulterous affair with a married associate, but now she claims a pardon from a higher authority: "I've asked for God's forgiveness, and I've received it," she revealed.

Mark Foley , Republican Representative, Florida Sixteenth Congressional District. Resigned after trying to solicit sex from male congressional pages via an instant messenger program. The conversations included his asking a sixteen-year-old "stud" whether his penis was erect and requesting that he take out and measure his penis. The cover-up involved Republican House Majority Leader John Boehner, Ohio Eighth Congressional District and Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Illinois Fourteenth District.

Newt Gingrich , well established crusader against legislation that assists women and the poor, has married three times while spouting Christian values the entire time. Newt Gingrich's campaign worker Anne Manning, admitted that she gave Newt oral sex while he was still married to his first wife, essentially placing Newt in the exact same position President Clinton had to endure when Gingrich and his cronies maintained their pressure over the Lewinski incident. Gingrish informed one wife he was filing for divorce while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer treatments. Salon article

Philip Giordano , the former Republican mayor of Waterbury, Connecticut was sentenced by a state court to serve 37 years for forcing two little girls to perform acts of oral sex on him in his Waterbury City Hall office. While investigating municipal corruption, the FBI discovered phone records and pictures of Giordano with a prostitute named Guitana Jones, as well as with her 10-year-old niece and her 8-year-old daughter. 37-years is a very long prison sentence, many said at the time that it still wasn't enough. Source: NBC Article/Newsday Article

Rudy Giuliani , New York Mayor and Republican Presidential Candidate, is reported as having had an adulterous affair that failed to stay out of the public light. Groups also cite Giuliani for pocketing an $80,000 fee for speaking at a charity benefit for tsunami aid which raised only $60,000 for the victims themselves. Critics of Giuliani say there will be more revelations about his character and past as his presidential aspirations gain momentum.

Matthew Glavin , president and CEO of the Southeastern Legal Foundation, was a big player in the Clinton Impeachment proceedings, and he has spearheaded a good number of anti-homosexual jihads. He has been arrested multiple times for public indecency, sources report, one time it was for fondling the crotch of the police officer who was arresting him at a national park. Opponents say his actions were treated "with kid gloves" and therefore inadequate.

Neal Horsley is a political figure of the far right, and the author of a website devoted to his advocacy of militant pro-life, secessionist, and anti-gay views. He has called for the arrest of all homosexuals. He admitted on the Fox News Radio's The Alan Colmes Show, that he's had sex with mules. He put photographs on his Web site of naked men engaging in homosexual acts and a nude woman engaging in bestiality amid shots of grotesquely maimed fetuses. Drug dealer convicted of possession of hashish with intent to sell. He calls for "the establishment of a new government, one that can obey God's plan for government."

Lewis "Scooter" Libby is the former Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney who was convicted but recently exempted from having to serve his sentence by the President. In 1996, "Scooter" Libby published a novel containing bizarre sexual content, including bestiality and pedophilia. Other high level White House officials were said to have been involved in the book that Libby published.

Rush Limbaugh is the infamous talk show pundit and advocate of moral values who has been divorced three times. A staunch anti-drug crusader, Limbaugh is in reality, a 30-pill a day drug addict. He also takes questionable trips to locations where many western men travel to buy sex under shady circumstances. It was a return from one of those possibly sordid journeys when one of his drug arrests occurred. Limbaugh was returning from the Dominican Republic. The Rush Limbaugh sex tourism story could seriously lead to his downfall if any of the allegations were founded. "Turnabout is most certainly fair play," is how one news agency worded it. Then there is the report of Rush’s use of Viagra while he was single. Sources: Smoking

Jeff Miller , (R-Cleveland), Senate Republican Caucus Chairman in Tennessee and the sponsor of Tennessee’s Marriage Protection act. He was divorced in April 2005 because of an affair he was having with an office aid. Miller described the Tennessee Marriage Protection Act as a means of preserving the sanctity of marriage. He opposed an amendment, however, which stated that “Adultery is deemed to be a threat to the institution of marriage and contrary to public policy in Tennessee.”

Joseph M. McDade , 75, was issued a summons on a charge of exposure of his sexual organs, a misdemeanor that carries up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The longtime Pennsylvania Republican congressman who served for 36 years in the House and now works for a Washington lobbying firm, has been accused of exposing his private parts to two women at a beach resort on Sanibel Island. Source: DKOS diary

Bill O'Reilly is the highly controversial right-wing conservative talk show host on Fox News known for the "O'Reilly factor" and the "no spin zone." O'Reilly is highly contested over his ability to polarize people along political lines. Bill O'Reilly has been sued for sexual harassment by his producer. The female Fox News producer named Andrea Mackris filed a lawsuit claiming that he subjected her to repeated instances of sexual harassment and spoke often, and explicitly, to her about phone sex, vibrators, threesomes, masturbation, the loss of his virginity, and sexual fantasies. He settled with the producer for an undisclosed amount of money.

Bob Packwood , Senator (R-Ore.) resigned in 1995 under a threat of public senate hearings related to 10 female ex-staffers accusing him of sexual harassment. A pro-choice Republican who often rallied for women's rights, Packwood let down generations of supporters, and is a good example of the complexity of human nature, since he supported legislation to protect women’s rights during his 25 years in office while simultaneously making unwanted sexual advances toward many different women. In the end, 19 women testified to outrageous behavior which was mostly carried out when Packwood was drunk. The most damaging was the charge of a former staff woman who was only 17 years old at the time. Packwood might still have survived the challenge had he responded with his former talent for compromise, but he was defiant and confrontational, trying to bully his way through the situation and alienating even his friends, it is reported.

George Roche III , carried on a 19 year affair with his son's wife, while serving as president of Hillsdale College, which "emphasizes the importance of the common moral truths that bind all Americans, while recognizing the importance of religion for the maintenance of a free society." The scandal broke out in 1999 when the wife of George Roche IV, Lissa Jackson Roche, claimed to have had an affair spanning 19 years with her husband's father. Shortly after, she was found dead in the college's arboretum with a handgun, and the death was ruled a suicide. Following his resignation in November 1999, Roche left public life and moved to Colorado.

Joe Scarborough , former Republican Congressman, is currently a conservative talk show host. He resigned his congressional seat abruptly to spend more time with his family, amidst allegations of an affair. His intern, Lori Klausutis, was soon after found dead in his office. The medical examiner, who had his license revoked in Missouri for falsifying information in an autopsy report, and suspended in Florida for six years, ruled the case an accident, after giving conflicting information about her injuries. He said he lied about them because "The last thing we wanted was 40 questions about a head injury."

Ed Schrock was a two-term Republican Congressman, with a 92% approval rating from the Christian Coalition. Co-sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment, consistently opposed gay rights. Married, with wife and kids, he withdrew his candidacy for a third term after tapes of him soliciting gay sex were circulated. The Virginia Pilot reported in October 2000 that Schrock favored ending the Clinton administration's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military, BlogActive noted. "He supports asking enlistees whether they have had homosexual experiences in an effort to try to keep gays from serving. 'You're in the showers with them, you're in the bunk room with them, you're in staterooms with them,' Schrock said."

Dr. Laura Schlessinger , right wing conservative radio host, is known for promoting family values. She is estranged from her mother, opposes birth control, has had her tubes tied. She espouses saving oneself for marriage, and admits to having had sex before she was married. She opposes adultery, but has committed adultery while she was married, and has slept with a married man. She opposes divorce, but she is divorced and remarried, and has posed for nude photos which are available online.

Arnold Schwarzenegger , the hit Hollywood movie actor turned politician and California Republican governor, has admitted during a Oui interview, having sex with a 16-year old when he was 28. Today men who commit similar acts in Oregon are branded sex offenders and placed in correctional facilities. At the time of the Oui story, Schwarzenegger, then 29, was appearing in "Pumping Iron," a documentary on the bodybuilding circuit. In the Q&A with Manso from Oui Magazine, today's California Governor spoke about his sex life then, his drug usage, and his belief that men "shouldn't feel like fags just because they want to have nice-looking bodies." Source: Oui

Jean Schmidt is a Republican legislator from Ohio. Though not herself implicated, she employed a campaign manager named Joe Brauns in her 2005 election who once wrote an article condemning gay men for running sex ad profiles, and who was then accused of running his own sex profile on Collarme, an S&M sex site. The profile called for "submissives" to wear only a collar and handcuffs and to have hot wax dripped on them. Source: DKOS Diary

Jimmy Swaggart , televangelist, exposed in 1986 fellow Assemblies of God minister Marvin Gorman, who was having an affair with one of his parishioners. The following year, Swaggart then exposed Jim Bakker's sexual indiscretions and soon after appeared on the Larry King Show stating that Bakker was a "cancer in the body of Christ." As a retaliatory move, Marvin Gorman hired a private-detective to follow Swaggart. During his investigation, the detective found Swaggart in a Jefferson Parish, Louisiana motel on Airline Highway with prostitute Debra Murphree and took pictures as proof of the tryst.Source: Wikipedia

Randall Terry , Right to Life activist, founder of Operation Rescue, was involved in the Terri Schiavo protests. He was once imprisoned for sending former President Bill Clinton an aborted fetus. His son Jamiel is gay; his daughter Tila had sex outside of marriage, became pregnant, had a miscarriage - she is no longer welcome in his home; his daughter Ebony had 2 children outside of wedlock and became Muslim. He has campaigned against infidelity and birth control, gays and unwed mothers. Terry himself was censured by his church after committing adultery.

Strom Thurmond was an outspoken southern republican senator and racist. According to information revealed toward the end of his life, he had as a younger man raped and impregnanted a 15-year old African American maid. Throughout his adult life, as a politician and U.S. Senator, Thurmond quietly contributed to the family of the young African-American mother of his child. In contrast to, say, George "I Was Wrong" Wallace, Thurmond had always been an ornery redemption project. He did not repent. Even so, his illegitimate daughter further complicated the moral picture. Source: Article

Jim West , Spokane Mayor, supported a bill which failed, would have barred gays and lesbians from working in schools, day-care centers and some state agencies. He voted to bar the state from distributing pamphlets telling people how to protect themselves from AIDS. He proposed that “any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person” among teens be criminalized. He ended up having a sexual affair with an 18-year old boy. Source: Spokesman review

Larry Flynt taking John Bolton to task? Political leaders funded by the Christian Coalition watching their lives and political ambitions end in disgrace? I know people won't change their views over this article, that would be too much to expect, but I have a feeling some of this information, much of which is not discussed in many circles, is important to share. Major hangups over sex do not seem to get people very far, at least in the end, and it is obvious that many of the stated motivations of these individuals are the exact opposite of what lurks in their hearts.

The Democrats have no shortage of serious problems when it comes to extramarital activity, some of it illegal, all of it wrong. But that will take another story, it would not be quite as long of a list, but long enough.

The case of former Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt came to light on May 6th 2004 in the Willamette Week newspaper. Goldschmidt publicly announced that he had engaged in a sexual relationship with a 14-year old girl for an extended period during his first term as Mayor of Portland. Their relations constituted third degree rape under Oregon law, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. In this case, the statute of limitations had expired, making Goldschmidt immune from any prosecution over the matter.


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

A rogues gallery no doubt. A list to keep.


capt said...

New Thread