Archive for the Politics Category

Politicians and oil – the slime never stops

Posted in Politics on April 27, 2011 by lylede

Following the money leads to scary, unpleasant truths.

In 2007 ExxonMobil recorded $40.6 billion in profits, the highest amount of money ever brought in by any company. So it is utterly pathetic and obscene that oil companies are receiving “multibillion-dollar tax subsidies” (see Obama reissues call to cut U.S. oil tax breaks,, 4-26-11) from our government.

While Obama “has urged congressional leaders to take steps to repeal oil industry tax breaks,” (see above-referenced article) he’s also taken thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Big Oil. So it will be interesting to see if Obama follows through on this or simply makes a few more meaningless comments.

According to in 2008 candidate Obama took in well over $200,000 “from individuals who work for companies in the oil and gas industry and their spouses.” It gets worse. Obama accepted, during his time in the Senate and as a presidential candidate, $77,051 from Big Oil pariah BP. He’s also “the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years, according to financial disclosure records.” (See Politico’s Obama Biggest Recipient of BP Cash, 5-5-10, and they also cite the highly regarded Center for Responsive Politics in this article.)

Unfortunately I can’t figure out which is worst: claiming to want to help people at the pump when really not doing anything about it or flat-out siding with Big Oil like George W. Bush did.

W (the biggest whore ever for Big Oil), when faced with then-record prices at the pump during his presidency, had to deal with lawmakers who wanted to force oil traders to report every trade they made in an attempt to curb price fixing and other shenanigans that would benefit Big Oil.

W refused to support this and had the gall (actually Karl Rove probably wrote the lines) to say that would be price controls. He was lying through his teeth and forcing commodities traders to report the trades they make doesn’t even come close to price controls. And W neglected to mention that every other trader of every other commodity has to report every trade they make. But not Big Oil.

Follow the money – but only on an empty stomach.


Remember Iraq?

Posted in Iraq, Politics on October 24, 2010 by lylede

Dylan T. Reid, 24, of Springfield, MO, died on October 16 in Amarah, Iraq. He was a Private First Class in the Army’s Fourth Infantry Division. He unfortunately joins 55 other US soldiers who have also died in Iraq this year (see

It’s been seven years since two draft dodgers named George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, along with the misguided and grossly incompetent members of the 107th Congress, started the completely unnecessary war in Iraq.

Al-Qaeda, the real enemy previously based in Afghanistan, must have celebrated wildly when they heard Bush was invading Iraq. Al-Qaeda had no presence in Iraq prior to the war. Al-Qaeda also knew if we invaded Iraq a large part of our military would be used there and not against them. And that is exactly what happened. In 2008, Bush’s last year in office, we had 150,000 troops in Iraq. As for Afghanistan, bin Laden’s (remember him?) former sanctuary and the country where he plotted and launched the 9-11 attacks, we had 22,000 soldiers.

Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with 9-11. And for the 29 years Saddam Hussein was in power he never attacked America once. But he was sitting on millions of barrels of oil, which was more important to Bush, Cheney and the US government than capturing or killing the real bastards behind 9-11.

For further evidence of why we should have never invaded Iraq consider what George Tenet, CIA chief during 9-11, told 60 Minutes (see Tenet interview.) He said he was “astonished” that on September 12, 2001 the administration was talking about invading Iraq. He also says he knew Iraq was not involved with 9-11.

So now, seven long years after the completely unnecessary “shock and awe” campaign, a 24-year old kid from Missouri and 55 other US soldiers (along with over 4,400 total) are dead. I wonder if, while Bush and Cheney are most likely reaping the benefits of backroom Big Oil and military-industrial-complex deals regarding Iraq, they’re even remotely aware they are still murdering US soldiers in Iraq.

92 Degrees – in April!

Posted in Politics on April 8, 2010 by lylede

Yesterday was April 7, 2010. It was sunny and warm and reached 92 degrees here in New York City. That’s right, 92 in the beginning of April!

I hope the air conditioners break in all the cars and homes of every corrupt politician down in Washington, DC who just a few months ago claimed global warming doesn’t exist because the southeast got a lot of snow this past winter.

It’s so sad that they’re so corrupt and do the bidding of their campaign contributors (big oil, big coal, etc.) instead of what is right for the average citizen, America and the world.

And a quick science lesson would also show them how global warming is a bit of a misnomer and can actually cause MORE precipitation and snowfall (granted politicians don’t care about facts – the truth can’t give them campaign contributions!)

Just in case they do want to be enlightened, as the sun warms the planet’s oceans, rivers and lakes the water evaporates. That evaporated water (which you can’t see or feel) rises into the atmosphere and is absorbed by clouds. When the clouds get full they release the evaporated water back down onto earth in the form of precipitation. With our planet warming, and more heat trapped in our atmosphere, more water will evaporate and cause more precipitation.

If only the environment could give some money to the campaign contribution whores in Washington, DC we might see some sensible behavior from our government.

Alaska Melts While Its Senator Collects Energy Company Money

Posted in Politics on January 20, 2010 by lylede

It’s no great secret the state of Alaska is shrinking due to global warming. Large swaths of coastline and tundra are disappearing. The ocean keeps encroaching and entire communities watch as their way of life also slips away.

You’d think Alaskan Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski would want to do something about it. Actually she is – if you work for an energy company.

According to Ms. Murkowski’s Mischief, NY Times Editorial, 1-19-10 she wants to “block for one year any effort by the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. This would prevent the administration from finalizing its new and much-needed standards for cars and light trucks and prevent it from regulating greenhouse gases from stationary sources.”

The editorial also notes she’s considering a “ ‘resolution of disapproval’ that would ask the Senate to overturn the E.P.A.’s recent ‘endangerment finding’ that carbon dioxide and other global warming gases threaten human health and the environment. This finding flowed from a 2007 Supreme Court decision and is an essential precondition to any regulation governing greenhouse gases. Rescinding the finding would repudiate years of work by America’s scientists and public health experts.”

If you look at whom Senator Murkowski’s top five campaign contributors are during the past five years you’ll see she’s disregarding the health and safety of her state to simply please her financial backers (and it sure would have been nice if the NY Times pointed this out.)

According to The Center for Responsive Politics she’s awash in money from energy and energy-related companies. Just click on the link above and check it out (and it’s shocking to see Exxon Mobil coming in at number five!)

It is imperative we get public and corporate money out of politics to save what’s left of our democracy (for more on this see Ban Political Advertising To Restore Our Democracy.) Senator Murkowski is par for the course and stuffed inside the pockets of her campaign contributors along with every other politician. And I don’t think you’ll find the words “campaign contribution” in our Constitution.

The NY Times editorial closes by noting how Democrats want to add some energy-related measures to the approved cap-and-trade plan to try and garner more support for the bill.

Senator Murkowski is ready with a plan of her own to try and derail it. “Knowing that the bill is not ripe, Ms. Murkowski may bring it up for a vote anyway as an amendment to the debt bill. Why? To shoot it down. The tactic would give us a “barometric reading” of where the Senate stands on cap-and-trade, one Murkowski staffer said recently. What it really gives us is a reading on how little the senator — or for that matter, her party — has to offer.”

And I can hear the pens in the hands of the energy company executives scrawling across their checkbooks as they pay off more politicians – while Alaska melts.

Arrogance Beyond Galling

Posted in Politics on January 20, 2010 by lylede

To get an idea of just how arrogant today’s titans of Wall Street are read Bankers Without a Clue, NY Times Op-Ed, 1-15-10.

The writer, Paul Krugman, points out two moments that “stood out” during the first day of testimony on Wednesday when investment banking big shots were questioned before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

“One was when Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase declared that a financial crisis is something that “happens every five to seven years. We shouldn’t be surprised.” In short, stuff happens, and that’s just part of life.”

Regarding this pathetic statement Krugman notes: “But the truth is that the United States managed to avoid major financial crises for half a century after the Pecora hearings were held (in the wake of the Great Depression) and Congress enacted major banking reforms. It was only after we forgot those lessons, and dismantled effective regulation, that our financial system went back to being dangerously unstable.”

And here’s the second gem: “Still, Mr. Dimon’s cluelessness paled beside that of Goldman Sachs’s Lloyd Blankfein, who compared the financial crisis to a hurricane nobody could have predicted. Phil Angelides, the commission’s chairman, was not amused: The financial crisis, he declared, wasn’t an act of God; it resulted from “acts of men and women.”

Was Mr. Blankfein just inarticulate? No. He used the same metaphor in his prepared testimony in which he urged Congress not to push too hard for financial reform: “We should resist a response … that is solely designed around protecting us from the 100-year storm.” So this giant financial crisis was just a rare accident, a freak of nature, and we shouldn’t overreact.”

Krugman then points out how starting in the late 1970s deregulation and the greed is good ethos started to doom our economy. “There were ever-greater rewards — bonuses beyond the dreams of avarice — for bankers who could generate big short-term profits. And the way to raise those profits was to pile up ever more debt, both by pushing loans on the public and by taking on ever-higher leverage within the financial industry.”

I urge you to read Bankers Without a Clue. Just do it on an empty stomach.

The Environment and War on Terror: Eight Long, Lost Years

Posted in Politics on January 13, 2010 by lylede

I get more nauseous as I learn more information about the heinous Bush era. According to No More ‘Candy Store,’ NY Times 1-11-10, an editorial about energy development and protecting public land, “In the Bush years, it was all about the drilling. The administration aggressively leased out millions of acres of public land and issued more than 50,000 drilling permits, in many cases risking wildlife habitat and ignoring legally mandated environmental reviews.”

Please note that pathetically high number: 50,000.

We’ve known for decades we need to get off of oil and stop burning fossil fuels. Yet we let two whores for the oil industry named Bush and Cheney run the country for eight years and do absolutely nothing about advancing clean energy sources. On the contrary they set us back at least 50,000 times, and more.

It’s impossible to separate Bush and Cheney from big oil. Remember Cheney’s infamous closed-door, secret Energy Task Force meetings? The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) points out how “the records reveal that industry lobbyists not only played a pivotal role in developing the administration’s national energy strategy, they wrote much of it themselves. The administration sought the advice of polluting corporations early and often and then incorporated their recommendations into its policy, sometimes verbatim.” 

Click here to see some of the task force documents (courtesy of the NRDC.) This one shows how an executive with the American Petroleum Institute (API) suggested wording “for a presidential order giving special consideration to oil companies. In May 2001, President Bush indeed issued an executive order much like API’s proposal.”

If you don’t trust the NRDC read Smog and Mirrors: The Cheney Energy Task Force and Higher Prices at the Pump – A Report by Congressman George Miller, Co-Chair, Democratic Policy Committee, April 26, 2004. This is truly stomach-churning stuff.

The NY Times’ No More ‘Candy Store’ also sadly notes: “The bureau, (Interior Secretary Ken Salazar) declared bluntly, would no longer be a “candy store” for an oil and gas industry that (mixing his metaphors) had been allowed to act like “kings of the world” during the Bush years.”

Lovely. What could be worse? A politician glowing in adoration before a huge crowd chanting “drill baby, drill?” Oh wait, that actually happened at the last Republican National Convention!

As for the War on Terror we lost seven years in the aftermath of 9-11 while Bush and Cheney were busy profiting off of Iraqi oil and military-industrial-complex contracts instead of hunting down and killing the bastards who attacked us.

It’s absolutely criminal we haven’t captured or killed Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri and former Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

And to pay for the unnecessary invasion of Iraq Bush and our idiotic government bankrupted America by borrowing trillions of dollars from China.

Today plenty of people are rightfully angry over the Wall Street bailouts but it will truly be a miracle if our Iraq war debt to China is paid off in 50 years.

We were also recently rattled by the Christmas Day airliner-bombing attempt and if America is attacked again during the next three years many people will blame President Obama. Just keep in mind 2002 through 2008 were years won by al-Qaeda as they regrouped and recruited while Bush and Cheney were busy doling out Iraq war contracts to friends like Halliburton and Blackwater.

Ben Bernanke – Bubble Buster?

Posted in Politics on January 7, 2010 by lylede

I’m not too encouraged by statements from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke when it comes to fixing our economy and ensuring speculative bubbles don’t wreak havoc like they recently did.

In Fed Missed This Bubble. Will it See a New One? NY Times, 1-5-10, Bernanke is quoted from 2005, when he was a Bush administration official, as saying a housing bubble was “a pretty unlikely possibility.” Two years later, after becoming the Fed chairman, the Times article notes he said that Fed officials “do not expect significant spillovers from the subprime market to the rest of the economy.”

And this guy is running the Federal Reserve?

The Times piece points out how houses had become overvalued. Of course they did. With the sensible Glass-Steagall law no longer on the books investment banks were allowed to treat mortgages like any other security. Wall Street bet on these new mortgage-backed securities big-time, with disastrous results.

In some areas, according to the Times article, “buyers were spending twice as much on their monthly mortgage payment as they would have spent renting a similar house, without even considering the down payment.”

Plenty of people, including journalists, government officials and economists, knew about this problem. Yet the government did nothing, until it was too late. And to get a better understanding of how speculative bubbles are created, and who benefits from them, see Inside The Great American Bubble Machine by Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, 7-2-09.

In Bernanke warns about creating new bubbles,, 1-4-10, “Bernanke said the lesson learned from the crisis isn’t that regulation is ineffective but that regulation “must be better and smarter.”

Note to Washington, DC: put Glass-Steagall back on the books! Passed in the wake of the Great Depression this Act forced banks to separate their commercial and consumer activities.

For an excellent account of why this law was needed see The Value of ‘Other People’s Money’ NY Times 2-6-09. This Op-Ed piece, written by Melvin I. Urofsky, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and the author of Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, notes how Progressive-era reformer and Supreme Court Judge Brandeis “described a dangerous combination of avarice, lack of accountability and poor oversight in (his book) ‘Other People’s Money, and How the Bankers Use It,’ one of the best-known exposés of the Progressive era.”

The book was published in 1914. Professor Urofsky writes that Brandeis “believed that it was one thing for an individual to put up capital in risky ventures, playing to win but prepared for failure. But he saw the bankers of his time dodging failure by manipulating the marketplace at the expense of smaller entrepreneurs and consumers.”

Sound familiar? According to some great radio reporting from NPR (go to This American Life and listen to The Giant Pool of Money) stockbrokers were calling up mortgage brokers and saying, “do you have any more fixed rate?” meaning do you have any more fixed rate mortgages we can buy from you. The mortgage brokers, who were getting a second commission on this sale to Wall Street, were happy to oblige.

The lending banks certainly didn’t care about this transaction because they no longer held on to the loan for the duration of its term. They held on to it for a few months before it was sold to Wall Street.

None of this was allowed during the 66 years Glass-Steagall was on the books. And America certainly didn’t become a socialist country because of this law. On the contrary, we thrived.

Regarding regulation and going back to the lessons of 1914 Professor Urofsky points out “For Brandeis, regulation was not supposed to be a restraint on innovation or the entrepreneurial spirit, but rather a check on unbridled greed. He believed in a free market, but one in which the government enforced rules of fair competition so that the most talented could succeed. Clear rules would help ensure that business was conducted fairly and openly.”

We certainly need clear, strong rules if we’re going to fix our economy. As for Glass-Steagall’s fate, Wall Street didn’t like it so the financial industry spent $350 million on a bribery (oops, I mean “lobbying”) campaign to get it repealed (for more on this see How $350 Million Destroyed Our Economy,, 2-23-09.)

Congress tossed out Glass-Steagall in 1999. If our legislators had any guts and want to do something for the good of the country, as opposed to for only their campaign contributors, a new Glass-Steagall should be enacted immediately.

Tax the 107th Congress, Bush Supporters and Halliburton to pay for the War on Terror

Posted in Iraq, Politics on December 4, 2009 by lylede

In his Afghanistan war speech the other night President Obama said the 30,000 additional troops he was sending to that violence-plagued country would cost about $30 billion. He also pledged to work with Congress “openly and honestly” to figure out how to pay for this costly deployment.

That was an extremely lame comment. The President and Congress know they have two options when it comes to paying for the war on terror: borrow more money (and dramatically increase our already massive deficit) or raise taxes.

I favor the tax option, but a selective one. To pay for the war on terror we should raise taxes on three entities:

  1. Every idiotic member of the 107th Congress who voted for the Iraq war
  2. Every citizen who voted for and supported Bush in 2004, along with every corporate campaign contributor
  3. Every politically-connected company that received a fat, Iraq war-related contract from the Bush administration

1. We should first quadruple the taxes of every idiot of the 107th Congress who voted to invade Iraq. Keep in mind Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 and Saddam Hussein was in power for 29 years and never attacked America once. Congress, Bush and Cheney knew all of this on September 12, 2001. 

Remember the infamous report titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S.” Condoleezza Rice had the nerve to call an “historical document?” Our government and then-President Bush had that report in the summer of 2001, before the 9-11 attacks. And the report doesn’t mention Iraq as being a threat to America.

To pay for the Iraq war our government bankrupted the country and borrowed trillions of dollars from China, which now firmly owns America. It would be a miracle if our debt to China is paid off in fifty years. And if you think Bush and Cheney kept America safe by invading Iraq and borrowing all that cash from China think again. China owns us and that does not bode well at all for our future.

2. I would then triple the taxes of every American citizen who voted for or gave campaign contributions to George W. Bush in 2004, along with all of Bush’s corporate contributors. No offense but if you couldn’t tell what a corrupt, inept and arrogant moron Bush is by the end of his first term then tough, you lose.

The scariest thing about Bush is how well he hides his past. Bush and his disgusting, heinous father conducted business with the Saudi Royal Family for decades. The Saudi Royal Family is Islamic radicals who have supported terrorism for decades, including the Saudi-born Osama bin Laden. The Saudi Royal Family was also one of only three countries on the entire planet who officially recognized the Taliban as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan when those Islamic radicals took over that country in the late 1990s.

George H.W. Bush worked as a lobbyist for the Saudis, flew around the globe and told governments everywhere what wonderful people the Saudis were and they should do business with them. His equally corrupt, power-hungry son allowed three planeloads of Saudi citizens to flee the country two days after 9-11, when most flights were still grounded, so W. wouldn’t be embarrassed by his ties to these radical, bloodthirsty animals (15 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudi citizens.)

W. and his father have both constantly called the Saudi Royal Family our “friends and allies.” With friends like the Saudis we don’t need enemies. For an excellent account of the Bush-Saudi relationship see the book House of Bush House of Saud by Craig Unger. The photograph on the cover, of George W. Bush holding hands with a member of the Saudi Royal Family, should be enough to make you lose your lunch.

If you voted for or supported W. in 2004 you should be paying extra for the war on terror. W. invaded Iraq for all the wrong reasons. W. and his friends made billions off the invasion of Iraq while the real enemies, the Taliban and al-Qaeda, escaped our military and set up shop in Pakistan. And again, and it’s so sad, W. knew along with our government that Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11.

We lost eight long years in the war on terror because W. and Cheney were more interested in profiting off of Iraqi oil than going after the real bastards who attacked us. Bush also ignored Afghanistan so much that in January of 2008, when his last year in office began, there were only 27,000 American soldiers in the country that harbored bin Laden and launched the 9-11 attacks (see The Afghanistan Speech, NY Times editorial, 12-2-09.)

It is absolutely criminal and disgusting we haven’t captured or killed Osama bin Laden by now. And most Americans don’t even know who two of the other real bastards are (who were also ignored by W. and Cheney because they weren’t sitting on billions of barrels of oil), al-Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri and former Taliban leader Mullah Omar, who we also haven’t captured or killed yet.

3. Quadruple the taxes on every politically-connected company that received a fat, Iraq war contract. The Iraq war is the most outsourced war ever fought by America. It marks the epitome of how our government, intelligence agencies and military-industrial-complex manipulate people, events and information to profit from war. Watch the trailer for the great documentary Why We Fight and listen to what an ex-CIA agent says about war profiteering.

Prior to becoming vice president Dick Cheney ran the world’s biggest oil services company, Halliburton. As vice president he gave his friends at Halliburton a $10 billion no-bid contract to provide several services to both our military and the Iraqi oil fields. It was also a massive conflict of interest. To see just how heinous (and what a chicken-hawk) he is read Why Dick Cheney Should be put on a Spaceship and Launched Into Outer Space. Here’s a guy who is so pathetic that when he ran Halliburton he not only did business with the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, but actually lobbied Congress to lift sanctions on that country so his company could do more business with the corrupt, religious extremists who run Iran.

But raising taxes on Halliburton is going to be tough, given how good the company is at not paying them in the first place. See: Top Iraq Contractor Skirts US Taxes Offshore, The Boston Globe, 3-6-08 or Halliburton’s Tax Haven Explained, Halliburton Watch, or Washington Watch; Halliburton’s Libyan Taxes, NY Times, 5-5-86 or – I think you get the picture.

Halliburton could also contribute better financially to the war on terror if it stopped overcharging the government (really us taxpayers) on everything from importing gasoline into Iraq (see High Payments to Halliburton for fuel in Iraq, NY Times, 12-10-03) to meals for our troops (see Halliburton Will Repay U.S. Excess Charges for Troops’ Meals, NY Times, 2-3-04).

Unfortunately there are far too many other Iraq war contractors who also avoided paying taxes and overcharged for their “patriotic” services.

Let’s finally make them pay for the war on terror, too.

How Bush and the National Intelligence Estimate got so much wrong – while Iran builds the bomb

Posted in Politics on November 27, 2009 by lylede

It will truly be a miracle if America ever recovers from the heinous corruption and ineptitude of the Bush era. Forget the fact that the regulated businesses on Wall Street became their own regulators – if you could even call it that. And forget the fact that Bush and Cheney bankrupted America by borrowing trillions of dollars from China to pay for the unnecessary war in Iraq.

The scariest negligence by Bush though is by far the way he got off the hook when it came to dealing with Iran’s nuclear weapons program. It’s no great secret the religious fanatics who run Iran want the bomb. So I was shocked two years ago when the National Intelligence Estimate’s (NIE) report Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities (November 2007) stated “We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons.”

The NIE was created in 1973. Its reports “are the Intelligence Community’s most authoritative written judgments on national security issues and designed to help US civilian and military leaders develop policies to protect US national security interests.”

The report is full of contradictions and pathetically states: “Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005 (that year the NIE assessed “with high confidence that Iran currently is determined to develop nuclear weapons despite its international obligations and international pressure, but we do not assess that Iran is immovable.”)

But according to the 2007 report: “Our assessment that the program probably was halted primarily in response to international pressure suggests Iran may be more vulnerable to influence on the issue than we judged previously.” 

Incredulously the report also claims: “We assess with moderate confidence that Iran probably would use covert facilities—rather than its declared nuclear sites—for the production of highly enriched uranium for a weapon.  A growing amount of intelligence indicates Iran was engaged in covert uranium conversion and uranium enrichment activity, but we judge that these efforts probably were halted in response to the fall 2003 halt, and that these efforts probably had not been restarted through at least mid-2007.”

We are now frighteningly aware of the inaccuracy of this report. As reported by the Associated Press in Diplomats question purpose of Iran nuke plant,, 11-12-09, “Iran’s recently revealed uranium enrichment hall is a highly fortified underground space that appears too small to house a civilian nuclear program, but large enough to serve for military activities, diplomats told The Associated Press on Thursday.”

U.S., British and French leaders denounced Tehran for hiding this facility, located 20 miles outside of the holy city of Qom, the AP reported, and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei is quoted as saying Tehran was “outside the law” and should have told the IAEA about it.

The article also says Iran began building the facility seven years ago and, according to a senior European diplomat “the enrichment hall is too small to house the tens of thousands of centrifuges needed for peaceful industrial nuclear enrichment, but is the right size to contain the few thousand advanced machines that could generate the amount of weapons-grade uranium needed to make nuclear warheads.”

More ominously ElBaradei recently said (see IAEA Chief: Iran Nuclear Inquiry at “dead end,”, 11-26-09) the IAEA’s probe of Tehran’s nuclear program is at “a dead end” and the article notes “ElBaradei cannot confirm that Tehran’s nuclear program is exclusively geared toward peaceful uses, and expressed “serious concern” that Iranian stonewalling of an IAEA probe means “the possibility of military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program” cannot be excluded.”

Oh really Mr. ElBaradei? And whom did you previously work for, the NIE?

And getting back to that now-infamous NIE report Valerie Lincy, editor of and Gary Milhollin, director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control rightfully trashed it shortly after it was released with a NY Times Op-Ed piece they wrote: In Iran We Trust? 12-6-07.

“We should be suspicious of any document that suddenly gives the Bush administration a pass on a big national security problem it won’t solve during its remaining year in office. Is the administration just washing its hands of the intractable Iranian nuclear issue by saying, “If we can’t fix it, it ain’t broke”?

They point out the NIE report “contains the same sorts of flaws that we have learned to expect from our intelligence agency offerings. It, like the report in 2002 that set up the invasion of Iraq, is both misleading and dangerous.”

Lincy and Milhollin go on to detail Tehran’s nuclear activities, including the centrifuge work at Natanz and a heavy water reactor at Iran’s research center at Arak “ideal for producing plutonium for nuclear bombs, but is of little use in an energy program like Iran’s, which does not use plutonium for reactor fuel… And why, by the way, does Iran even want a nuclear energy program, when it is sitting on an enormous pool of oil that is now skyrocketing in value? And why is Iran developing long-range Shahab missiles, which make no military sense without nuclear warheads to put on them?”

They note for several years these costly projects were seen as proof of Iran’s nuclear weapons program and ask, “Why aren’t they still?”

As for international pressure on Iran, Lincy and Milhollin write: “The new report has also upended our sanctions policy, which was just beginning to produce results. Banks and energy companies were pulling back from Iran. The United Nations Security Council had frozen the assets of dozens of Iranian companies. That policy now seems dead. If Iran is not going for the bomb, why punish it?”

I urge you to read their article. It’s scary stuff – just like the eventual showdown with Iran will be.

Make the Thieves on Wall Street Pay for Healthcare Reform

Posted in Politics on November 5, 2009 by lylede

It churns my stomach when politicians claim to be fiscally responsible. In The Defining Moment, NY Times Op-ED, 10-30-09, good old I’m a Democrat, no wait I just lost the primary so now I’m an Independent, oh wait I’m such a schmuck I’m going to get into bed with the Republicans on Iraq, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman was quoted as saying “I want to be able to vote for a health bill, but my top concern is the deficit.”

Oh really Mr. I’m flopping around more than a fish out of water? If you’re so concerned about the deficit and its related problems how come you never did anything about health insurance reform for the 21 years you’ve been pretending to serve the public as a Senator? And if you’re so fiscally responsible how come you and the rest of the idiots in the 107th Congress who voted for the Bush/Cheney Iraq war bankrupted America by borrowing trillions from China to pay for that completely unnecessary invasion? Great job, Joe.

Getting back to health insurance reform, the recent bill under House consideration would levy higher taxes on couples who make over $1 million and individuals who earn $500,000 per year to pay for the legislation. This I find unfair, and not because I fall into one of these categories (I don’t – by a long shot.) People who have worked hard and legally and amassed wealth shouldn’t be punished for something our government should have figured out decades ago.

Instead I have a better idea for coming up with revenue to pay for health insurance reform. Why don’t we make the thieves on Wall Street, who lavished themselves with pathetically huge bonuses, obscene salaries and financial shenanigans, pay to fix our healthcare mess. The government, which is in the pocket of these thieves (a $350 million lobbying/political contribution bribing campaign by Wall Street got the Glass-Steagall Act, a smart, six-decades old law, repealed), isn’t going after these bastards but instead is actually BAILING THEM OUT!

And our government is so connected to these investment banks the bankers, who are receiving billions in taxpayer funds, don’t even have to tell the feds how they’re spending our money. Are you still keeping your eye on that deficit, Joe?

I mean, if the government wants to punish rich people to pay for its shortcomings it should go after the crooks who aren’t being prosecuted for bringing down America’s and the world’s economy. It makes no sense to go after law-abiding people just because they have money.

But when you’ve “carted off up to $12.7 trillion – almost the size of the entire gross domestic product” like the thieves on Wall Street did (see No Justice. We’ve Bailed Out the Banks. When Do We Go After the Crooks Behind Our Financial Collapse? – The Village Voice, 10/28 – 11/3 2009) you bet your ass you should be punished!

Keep in mind politicians live and die by campaign contributions. They’re total whores for campaign money. The great conservative icon Ronald Reagan took a $10 million campaign contribution/bribe from one of the 20th centuries’ most despotic rulers, Ferdinand Marcos, to look the other way when it came to Marcos’ blatant graft and human rights abuses in the Philippines. If you don’t believe me see Reagan’s former campaign manager’s book, Bare Knuckles and Back Rooms: My Life in American Politics, by GOP heavy-hitter Ed Rollins. He openly discusses this bribe.

And when the politicians take campaign contributions they have to pay back their contributors once in office. So since the government isn’t going after its campaign contributors on the Street and Wall Street is back to its old tricks – “expanding its use of new and exceedingly complex derivatives” – according to The Village Voice article and executives are lavishing themselves once again with huge bonuses and exorbitant salaries lets at least make these bastards pay for healthcare reform!


Please read No Justice. We’ve Bailed Out the Banks. When Do We Go After the Crooks Behind Our Financial Collapse? – The Village Voice, 10/28 – 11/3 2009 to get a better understanding of why our government isn’t going after the criminals on Wall Street. The article points out how after Attorney General Eric Holder left the Clinton administration he “made a lucrative living by conducting internal probes for companies and negotiating outstanding results for white-collar clients.” He even wrote a 2002 Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, “Don’t Indict WorldCom,” that “argued on behalf of the corporate perpetrator of one of the sleaziest frauds of the past decade.”

Attorney General Holder has also appointed his former law partner, Lanny Breuer, to head the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division. And, surprise surprise, Breuer has also represented white-collar scum along with the likes of Halliburton, Freddie Mac, Exxon Mobil and big pharmaceutical companies.

Another great Village Voice article, What Cooked the World’s Economy? It Wasn’t Your Overdue Mortgage, 1-27-09, rightfully questions Attorney General Eric Holder’s “will to tackle the widest fraud in American history,” noting that as a private lawyer Holder represented Big Tobacco and in another case Chiquita Brands where the food company paid a massive $25 million fine for employing terrorists as security in Columbia. The Voice article states: “Holder fits well within the gaggle of elite D.C. lawyers who move back and forth between government and defending corporate criminals. He doesn’t exactly have the sort of résumé that startles robber barons.”