Wednesday, October 11, 2006
And Liverpool, and Manchester. This year's EPL Tour begins Saturday at Anfield. (Stevie G., baby!) Posting will be rare for the rest of the month. Pray for sun.
Daily posting will resume the first week of November.
WaPo: Study Claims Iraq's 'Excess' Death Toll Has Reached 655,000
A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred.
The estimate, produced by interviewing residents during a random sampling of households throughout the country, is far higher than ones produced by other groups, including Iraq's government.
It is more than 20 times the estimate of 30,000 civilian deaths that President Bush gave in a speech in December. It is more than 10 times the estimate of roughly 50,000 civilian deaths made by the British-based Iraq Body Count research group.
I've thought this every time I heard Healey's ad attacking Patrick for defending a cop-killer, and Charles Pierce deconstructs what's wrong with her misleading ad:
ONE WHAT? As much as I hate to risk the wrath of the Tapped Grammarians again, I have to point out that this advertisement, which is causing a stir in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race, is an even cheaper shot than it would appear at first glance -- and, at first glance, incumbent Lieutenant Governor Kerry Murphy Cuchulain Tir na Nog Healey ought to be thoroughly ashamed of it.
However, pay close attention to the last two lines, which say: "While lawyers have a right to defend admitted copkillers, do we really want one as our governor?"
That "do we really want one" business is the problem. It's a rancid enough business to imply that a defense attorney who does his job too well is disqualified prima facie from being governor, but look a little deeper. That sentence also can be reasonably read as calling Deval Patrick a "copkiller," whom we don't want as our governor. Taken in at the lickety-split pace of television advertising, it certainly can be heard that way. (By the way, no arguments based on the premise, "No voter would be stupid enough to..." have been valid since 2004, so keep them to yourself.) I don't think it's an accidental double-entendre. I think some smug little ad boy was being clever here. I think he ought to be fired, too.
--Charles P. Pierce
I saw this on Suburban Guerrilla.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Between being governor of Virginia and his current position, the Senator from Virginia, George Allen, tried to make money by trading on the business relationships he had cultivated while governor. He was appointed to the boards of directors of several public companies. One of them was a Virginia high-tech company called Commonwealth Biotechnologies Inc. This company gave him options to buy 15,000 shares of stock. Allen disclosed the options in 2001 but never reported them again. His attorney apparently took the position that since the current stock price is less than the option price, they are worthless; but they're still an asset and should certainly have been disclosed. What if he was voting on some bill that would benefit Commonwealth Biotechnologies? The voters have a right to know if he has personal interests at stake.
Allen was also on the board of directors of another Virginia company called Xybernaut, which made wearable computers. Xybernaut seems to have been little more than an elaborate stock fraud. The company formally declared bankruptcy in July of 2005 (despite the fact that it in fact had $40,000,000, or 40 million dollars, in assets; in the modern world of bankruptcy, even huge thriving companies can declare bankruptcy to screw their unsecured creditors [see, asbestos examples]). Allen has never disclosed his stock options in Xybernaut, despite the fact that they were at one time worth $1.1 million dollars, and even went to so far as to advocate for the company with the Army while he was Senator.
Here's how AP summarizes Allen's sleazy shenanigans:
An Associated Press review of Allen's financial dealings from that era found that the senator:
- Did not have to look far to find corporate suitors, joining three Virginia high-tech companies he assisted as governor. Allen served on boards of directors for Xybernaut and Commonwealth Biotechnologies and advised a third company called Com-Net Ericsson, all government contractors.
- Twice failed to promptly alert the Securities and Exchange Commission of insider stock transactions as a Xybernaut and Commonwealth director. The SEC requires timely notification and can fine those who file late.
- Kept stock options provided to him for serving as a director of Xybernaut and Commonwealth, but steered other compensation from his board service to his law firm.
And that AP article made me realize something. George Allen is an attorney. He raised his hand and swore to uphold and protect the US Constitution. He swore to conduct himself in an ethical manner at all times. Doesn't Virginia police their attorneys? I can't believe someone hasn't filed a complaint with the Virginia bar about these several ethical violations.
Great comment on the Huffington Post article, by 'Kenosha Marge':
Let's see, racist, bully, and now a crook. What makes him different than any other Republican?
Trey Ellis, HuffPo: Sen. Allen's Shameless Stock Fraud
Bloomberg: Allen's Undisclosed Stock Options Were Worth Up to $1.1 Million
WaPo: Xybernaut Hid Gathering Storm In Bright Forecasts
SiliconInvestor.com: XYBERNAUT ROUGES GALLERY
WaPo Editorial: Mr. Allen's Ethics
A new report raises questions.
WaPo: Stock Options Held by Allen Not Disclosed to Congress
Senator Requests Opinion From Ethics Committee
AP: Allen didn't disclose stock options
Here's how a real military man would respond to the North Korean nuclear explosion:
1) Reconvene. President Bush should call an emergency session of Congress tonight to respond to this crisis. Last year, during the Schiavo family medical tragedy in Florida, the Congress reconvened in emergency session to pass a law that had nothing to do with national security, nothing to do with making America safer, nothing to do with the public welfare. Instead, they passed and signed a law in midnight session that purported to intervene in the private medical decisions of a family in crisis. If this Administration and its allies in Congress truly value life, truly value the security of this nation, then they ought to be able to give the same consideration to national defense.
2) Refocus. The obsessive focus on Iraq that has characterized the Bush Administration's approach to the world has left us willfully ignorant of ever changing political dynamics across the globe--particularly in East Asia. It is no longer sufficient to reduce the world to slogans and Axes of Evil--we must fundamentally refocus our efforts on a global level.
3) Redeploy. Over time, our military has been gradually withdrawn from bases in South Korea and repositioned to support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This has had the dual effect of suggesting to the North Koreans that we are not committed to the defense of South Korea and of dramatically reducing our ability to exert force in that part of the world. In addition to redeploying our military, we must also redeploy the other facets of our international power--trade, diplomacy, and economic aid. The flow of resources in this government has been focused for too long upon a misguided and counterproductive war in Iraq to the detriment of our interests worldwide.
4) Re-energize. We must now seek to understand the motives and machinations of our adversaries even as we seek to reach out to our traditional allies in that region: Japan, Australia, and South Korea. Using these relationships, and employing skillful diplomacy instead of a reckless cowboy approach, we may be able to leverage our power, and that of China, to force North Korea to disarm.
He was on the Ed Schultz Show yesterday. Here's the audio.
Or read his diary on dailykos.
Check out his website.
Donate to him here on my ActBluepage.
And if you live in his district, vote for him in November! We need more voices of reason like Eric Massa in Congress.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Sad news. He was so young. My heart goes out to his family. What a shock.
Goal.com: USA's Myernick Taken Off Life Support
American football is mourning today after respected coach Glenn "Mooch" Myernick was taken of life support early Monday morning.
USSoccerplayers.com: US Mourns the Loss of Glenn "Mooch" Myernick
Foxsports: Myernick loses fight after heart attack
I am a proud Deaniac. Oh, I swallowed my doubts and supported John Kerry after he got the nomination, but I was on the Dean train before he got cow-catchered off the tracks by the corporate media's playing fast and loose with his speech in Iowa. Because Dean was smart and knew what was really going on. Glenn Greenwald has an excellent post reminding us what Howard Dean had to say about North Korea and Iraq before Bush's ill-fated adventure began.
Unclaimed Territory: Invading Iraq and the North Korean threat -- a historical reminder
Contrary to the propaganda campaign enabled by the passive, mindless 2003 media, most anti-war advocates (such as Howard Dean) did not oppose the war in Iraq because war itself is wrong or even because preemptive war in response to a truly imminent threat is wrong. They opposed it because the evidence that Iraq posed an imminent threat was so shady and unconvincing and that the case that no other options short of war existed was so unconvincing (anyone with doubts about that should just go read Dean's speech -- "Secretary Powell's recent presentation at the UN showed the extent to which we have Iraq under an audio and visual microscope. Given that, I was impressed not by the vastness of evidence presented by the Secretary, but rather by its sketchiness").
More importantly, Dean pointed out that there were far greater threats to U.S. security than Saddam Hussein -- and he particularly emphasized the threats posed by North Korea and Al Qaeda, which would be neglected -- if not outright ignored and worsened -- by the mammoth, unpredictable and highly dangerous project of invading Iraq and attempting to re-build it into a stable democracy (see e.g. the resurgent Taliban, the uncaptured Osama bin Laden, the takeover of much of Iraq by Al Qaeda and Iran, and yesterday's North Korean nuclear test). The only way to see the Bush movement as "serious, weighty, tough" foreign policy thinkers, and the only way to see Democrats like Dean as "frivolous and weak on defense," is to completely ignore (or distort) history and to operate from the premise that being terribly wrong is a sign of seriousness and wisdom and being completely right is a sign of frivolity and weakness.
The US gave North Korea $95,000,000 dollars (95 million) in 2002 to build nuclear reactors, but waived a requirement that those nuclear reactors be open to inspectors. And yesterday North Korea exploded a nuclear weapon. The incompetence, it burns, it burns, arggggggggggggh.
firedoglake: Why Did Bush Drop Ball On Inspectors in N. Korea?
...I'd like some answers as to why the Bush Administration failed to require any inspectors in North Korea before we handed over a big, fat chunk of our money. And why we failed to initiate any real diplomacy in the four years since we handed over that big chunk of American fundage. And why it seems like we are always on a reactionary footing in our foreign policy under the Bush Administration, instead of taking a pro-active, problem solving approach? And I hope to hell someone asks Tony Snow about this today, since the President scuttled out of the room without taking questions after his speech this morning.
Heckuva job, Bushie.
BBC, April 3, 2002: US grants N Korea nuclear funds
The US Government has announced that it will release $95m to North Korea as part of an agreement to replace the Stalinist country's own nuclear programme, which the US suspected was being misused.
Under the 1994 Agreed Framework an international consortium is building two proliferation-proof nuclear reactors and providing fuel oil for North Korea while the reactors are being built.
In releasing the funding, President George W Bush waived the Framework's requirement that North Korea allow inspectors to ensure it has not hidden away any weapons-grade plutonium from the original reactors.
President Bush argued that the decision was "vital to the national security interests of the United States".
The head of the Non-proliferation Policy Education Centre in Washington, a critic of the Agreed Framework, has warned that even when the new reactors are completed they may not be tamper-proof.
"These reactors are like all reactors, They have the potential to make weapons. So you might end up supplying the worst nuclear violator with the means to acquire the very weapons we're trying to prevent it acquiring," Henry Sokolski told the Far Eastern Economic Review.
The Oneonta Daily Star talked to a nursing supervisor at the hospital where Mooch Myernick is being treated, and he is still in critical condition. Mooch is a legend in Oneonta, where he starred for Hartwick College in the mid-1970s. He won the Hermann Trophy as the nation's top college player in 1976. We're pulling for you, Mooch.
Oneonta Daily Star: Myernick in critical condition
Former Hartwick College men's soccer standout Glenn "Mooch" Myernick was in critical condition Sunday in a Colorado-based hospital, a nursing supervisor said Sunday night.
North Suburban Medical Center confirmed Sunday that Myernick remained in its intensive-care unit, but said he was in critical condition. Hartwick assistant sports information director April Raynovich said Sunday that Myernick was on life support and has not come out of the coma.
Welcome to the United States of America. We have these standards for the conduct of public officials. They're called 'ethics' and 'disclosure rules'. You might want to familiarize yourself with them. Or get a lawyer. Fast.
WaPo: AP: Allen Failed to Report Stock Options
North Korea has exploded a nuclear weapon, or in the passive voice used by the media, 'conducted an underground nuclear test'.
Talking Points Memo
For the US this is a strategic failure of the first order.
The origins of the failure are ones anyone familiar with the last six years in this country will readily recognize: chest-thumping followed by failure followed by cover-up and denial. The same story as Iraq. Even the same story as Foley.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
More shit hits the proverbial fan on the front page of tomorrow's Washington Post. Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.), the only openly gay Republican* member of the House*, saw sexually explicit messages from Rep. Mark Foley (R-NAMBLA) to a young page in the year 2000 and confronted Foley about the emails.
Reading between the lines of the rest of the article, it seems that WaPo is pointing to Kolbe as another member of Congress with an 'unusually close' relationship to the underage pages:
In interviews with The Post last week, multiple pages identified Kolbe as a close friend and personal confidante who was one of the only members of Congress to take any interest in them. A former page himself, Kolbe offered to mentor pages and kept in touch with some of them after they left the program, according to the interviews.
Kolbe once invited four former pages to make use of his Washington home while he was out of town, according to an instant message between Foley and another former page, Jordan Edmund, in January 2002. The pages planned to attend a first-year reunion of their page class. But because of a snowstorm, they did not take Kolbe up on his offer, according to one of the four pages.
Hastert's spokesman's statement also seems to portend the later throwing of Kolbe under the GOP megabus:
In addressing the revelation about Kolbe, Bonjean said, "This allegation reiterates why the speaker has also called for a full review of the House page program to ensure that it is as safe and secure as possible."
Lawmaker Saw Foley Messages In 2000
Page Shared Exchanges With GOP Rep. Kolbe
*Edited 10/9/06; at first I said only openly gay member of the Senate. There are no openly gay members of the Senate (cough, cough, Lindsey Graham, cough, cough). After I demoted Kolbe to the Senate, I realized that there are a few openly gay Democrats. Whew. Discuss amongst yourselves.
Hastert and his chief of staff, Palmer, say they don't remember being told about Foley being a predator. Newsweek has an article up saying that the meeting with Palmer was called because Foley had showed up drunk as a skunk at the page's dorm in 2002 or 2003.
Having a Congressman show up drunk at the residence of a bunch of high school students is pretty memorable, no?
Newsweek: A Secret Life
Mark Foley's explicit e-mails could bring down the GOP. His story, and the fallout.
Daily Progress: Never say 'never'
In the 27 years that I’ve known him, I can say I have not heard him utter the n-word, but I cannot automatically dismiss or ignore the three current and former Charlottesville residents who swear to me that they heard him use it often.
One is a doctor, one is a nurse and one is retired and a former classmate of mine at the University of Virginia during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Only the former classmate does not wish to be named because a close relative works at a high level in the Bush administration.
To put their recollections in some context, the alleged usage was in the 1972-1975 period when Allen was a UVa quarterback and then a UVa law student.
Yes, that’s more than 30 years ago, but never is a longer time.
The nurse who said she heard Allen’s use of the n-word, who agreed to be identified by a maiden name of Leah Deason, lived then in a house on Route 20 near the Key West subdivision. She and her housemates, including a UVa jock or two, often hosted poker games.
“He just threw it around so casually, it’s like he didn’t know any better,” she said. In poker games, “whenever he’d get a black card that he didn’t like, he would refer to it as a ‘nig--- card’ he needed to get rid of,” said Deason, a registered nurse and widow of a UVa faculty member. “Allen was in law school at the time,” she said.
Why would she bring up such a thing now and notify a reporter? “What infuriated me was the way he got up there and flat out lied about it,” she said.
The former classmate attended the same poker parties and recalled the same language from the then-law student. “It was part of his everyday speech,” he said. “It just rolled off his tongue. He’d get a black card he didn’t like and he’d toss it back and say, ‘I don’t need that nig--- ten.’”
He's my guy in 2008. He even rides a white horse!
NYTimes Magazine: The Big-Sky Dem
Schweitzer veers right on many economic and social issues: he opposes gun control, favors the death penalty and preaches about lowering taxes and balancing budgets. At the same time, he leans left on some issues that matter to progressives: championing energy conservation and environmental regulation, opposing governmental restrictions on abortion and criticizing free-trade deals. “He’s as much a prairie centrist as he is a prairie populist,” Bruce Reed of the Democratic Leadership Council told me. Schweitzer has the ability to reduce a complicated issue to a few sharp lines, reframing it with themes of patriotism and underdog know-how. “I was a critic of Nafta, I was a critic of Cafta and I’ll be a critic of Shafta,” he says of free-trade agreements, long the hobgoblin of even the most articulate liberal politicians. “Why is it that America supposedly creates the best businessmen in the world, but when we go to the table with the third world, we come away losers?”
RJ Eskow, HuffPo: The Real Difference Between "Foley and Studds" in 9 Statements (Plus 3 About "Ethics" And 2 About Clinton)
1. As far as we know Studds was not forcing his unwelcome attentions on a series of pages, one after the other.
2. No page went to the Democratic leadership asking for protection from Studds, only to be rebuffed and ignored.
3. The Democratic Party did not run on a platform of "righteousness" and anti-homosexuality, while behaving hypocritically in private.
4. The Democratic Speaker of the House did not make statements about the incident that were immediately revealed to be outright lies ... by fellow Democrats.
5. The Democrats did not then begin an orchestrated media campaign to blame the entire problem on ... the Republicans (or the young man, for that matter).
6. Democrats did not take to the airwaves with talking points that were transparent lies.
7. Pro-Democratic writers (there weren't any bloggers then, remember?) didn't violate the privacy of the young man involved and give his name out to the press. They didn't call the young man a "beast" or blame him for Studds' behavior, either. (Have you heard any Republican leaders criticize the bloggers who gave out the young victims' names?)
8. How many times does this need to be said? It's the cover-up, stupid.
9. The Democratic leadership did not protect a predator, conceal his wrongdoing, and allow him to continue his activities in secret.. The Republicans did.
Let me repeat that last point, because it's getting overlooked:
The Democratic leadership did not protect a predator, conceal his wrongdoing, or allow him to continue his activities in secret. The Republicans did.
The Los Angeles Times reports today that Foley had sex with one of the pages he pursued after he left the page program. The fact of Foley's predatory behavior was well known in the page program, as "The Times found the former page after others identified him as someone whose contacts with Foley went beyond graphic messages." The page served during Foley's first term in Congress, so we know this went on for the entire decade plus Foley trolled for young boys in Congress.
A soldier in Iraq has been subpoaened as a witness in the Foley investion.
Tom Reynolds, the NRCC Committee Chair who was one of several Republican leaders who failed to stop Foley, has gone from a safe Republican seat to fighting for his political life; the Buffalo News reports today that he is now trailing his opponent 48 to 33 percent.
Sounds like the voters won't distinguish between the predators and the Congressmen that harbor them, either.