Flashback to 1990: consumer confidence plummets. The lesson for 2002? Like father, like son.
War, terrorism, corporate malfeasance, destruction of the financial markets, loss of trust in public institutions, lack of intelligence and law enforcement credibility, rising crime rates, family alliances with despotic monarchs, ill-advised grudge matches, the usurpation of civil liberties, unparalleled media concentration, lobbyist dictators, oil-driven policy, an unprecedented quantum leap above the routine level of political hypocrisy, timid cowering behind the NRA while snipers circle the Beltway, anthrax assassination attempts on Democrats in Congress, and imperial designs on the rest of the world. How much damage will voters allow?
In its lawsuit, self-described government watchdog group Judicial Watch accused Halliburton of using a change in accounting practices to overstate revenue by $445 million from 1999 through 2001. Cheney was chairman and chief executive of the oil field and construction company from 1995 to mid-2000.
Hmm... Let's compare this with other manipulative white collar crimes:
Overstated revenue by Halliburton Republicans:
Stock options exercised by Enron senior management in the 2 years before collapse:
Value of Martha Stewart's ImClone insider trade:
Look at the scale: If we index Democrat Martha's wrongdoing at a value of $1, then Republican Cheney/Halliburton's would be almost $2,000, and Republican Enron senior management's would be about $5,300.
But there's more to MWO than the front page. As one of its many public services, MWO also publishes extensive Annals of Enron, a sea of information exposing the dozens of connections between Junior's administration, the Republican elite, and the disgraced thieving liars that Enron used to call senior management.
Ferlinghetti read poems about Allen Ginsburg dying, about dogs and bag ladies, about fireflies. One poem was written yesterday morning. Everything he read was infused with the poet's special talent for the deepest forms of humanism, and never mawkish, even when versifying about September 11. Then he signed the audience's books, some more than fifty years old, until there were no more takers. An enchanting and inspiring evening.
A bunch of greedy idiots play around with off-balance sheet assets and finance the political campaigns of yet another idiot, and thousands of Enron shareholders have their pockets emptied while employees lose their life savings. A handful of idiots in a Texas office of Arthur Andersen misbehave, and more than 80,000 people lose their jobs.
An idiotic dictator plays around with Kuwait in 1990, and ordinary Iraqi citizens get a rain of bombs on their heads. An idiotic president does a half-ass job of proving to himself he's not a wimp, and leaves it to his idiot son and his idiotic advisers a decade later to screw Junior's "Crusade" up to the point where words like Armageddon become part of the basic vocabulary.
There are plenty of other examples too: Worldcom, Tyco, Ashcroft, Falwell, Robertson, bin Laden, the Vatican...
They're all variations on the same theme: so-called business, government and religious "leaders" who are undeserving of the word, let alone the position.
ImClone's Waksal pleads guilty but what about Enron's Lay and Skilling? Right, their case doesn't involve celebrity Democrat Martha Stewart. Enron only involves Junior's gubernatorial and presidential campaigns and crypto-policymaker Cheney. The more we focus on Martha's 4,000 shares of ImClone, the less we'll remember Tom White's dozens of calls to Enron.
Junior is not taking the two weeks leading up to November 5 to raise funds for Enron's rank-and-file 401(k) participants, who lost everything when they were lied to by their management and government. They genuinely need Junior's help, but he's too busy spending his time sewing up Congress (and creating a sniper-friendly environment in Washington).
A parade of corporate criminals, war on the citizenry, fraudulent linkages, mind-chilling stupidity, outright lies, and a basic disrespect for human beings — it's all part of Junior's White House.
Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., and Rep. Robert Andrews, D-N.J., are among those in Congress trying to pass legislation to create a national system [of ballistic fingerprinting]. The National Rifle Association and other gun-rights lobbyists oppose such a system, fearing it is one step down a path to a national database of gun owners.
How about a database of van owners? Oh, we already have that. Vans don't kill people, van drivers with unidentifiable guns kill people.
Bush, too, is resistant [to ballistic fingerprinting] as long as he has questions, Fleischer said.
As long as he has questions? I picture the inside of Junior's brain as a soup of bobbing question marks. Ballistic fingerprinting answers more questions than he could ever construct.
Meanwhile, while we wait for Junior to clear up his questions, nearly one person per day is dying....
So much of this article makes me choke. Excerpt: "Bush starts every day on his knees in prayer. He reads the Bible each morning and studies a Bible lesson daily." I'm not sure which is worse — that it might be true, in which case he's another "Republican" theocrat, or that it most likely is a total fabrication, in which case naked cynicism and an obscene manipulation of Americans' spiritual instincts is taking place. My vote: the latter. Oh, that's right, I forgot — we don't need to vote any more.
There's that word again. Actors. They're not real Mafiosi. In fact, you could make a very good argument that it's not even really a Mafia show. The Sopranos may be just an excuse for good writing, interesting character development, a satirical undertone, and typical but well-done soap opera plotting. The lifestyle and setting were perhaps sensationalized to get it on the air. In many ways it reminds me of The West Wing in its examination of the constant jockeying for power and advantage.
Italian-Americans who get upset with Italian-American artists, at least in this case, forget that the real culprits are not David Chase and his Sopranos or the Scorceses or the Coppollas — they are the Gottis and the Castellanos and the Gambinos. As far as I know, Bloomberg invited none of them.
And there's also that annoying pest, the First Amendment, which manages to get in the way whenever anyone doesn’t want to hear or see something that pinches their misguided ethnic pride. The Sopranos is not hate speech, it's simply a nicely produced entertainment show. I like it. I don't love it. If you can't perceive its artistry and tongue-in-cheek qualities, then you are welcome to whatever sitcom gruel the networks are dishing out. If the parade passes you by and fictional Dr. Melfi waves from a convertible — how unbelievably offensive! — please just close your gentle eyes for a few moments.
What I always say to Italian-American opponents of The Sopranos is this: if you don't like it, make a better show. You can choose from a gazillion Italian accomplishments and "positive" blah-blah-blah: the Renaissance, opera, da Vinci, Galileo, aqueducts, and, of course, the cuisine.
Even Shakespeare understood that sex and violence were time-tested ways to attract audiences long enough to enjoy the subtler aspects of his art. Though he's no Shakespeare, Sopranos creator David Chase understands this artistic axiom and so does his presenter, HBO.
Full disclosure: I am Italian-American. And I'm quite proud of it, too, but I really like the First Amendment.
Any reasonable citizen might ask himself: why would our vice president want to obscure the truth? Says the article:
Cheney strongly opposes the idea of any independent body’s poking into the White House’s conduct.
So? Millions of people opposed so-called independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr's poking into Monica Lewinsky's closet during a Whitewater investigation — as if it were even peripherally relevant. At least the 9/11 commission has a strict focus. (Or is political blowback the larger fear? Why, yes, Watson, I believe we're onto something!)
But White House officials say this would allow congressional Democrats—who will control half the appointees—to "politicize" the commission.
Politicization of the White House's own behavior in response to the terrorist attacks is precisely what is driving this movement toward an independent inquiry. The actions of the Bush administration — proposing Alaskan oil drilling in the week following 9/11/01 (odd timing), the secret 2001 Ken Lay/Enron energy policy meetings (odd timing), the Afghani pipeline connection, Cheney's own speech to the Cato Institute in 1998 depicting Central Asia as the fulcrum of American energy policy, the fraudulent linkage of 9/11 to Iraq — aroused the suspicions that only an independent investigation could allay.
FYI Dick: If you're guilty of some malfeasance or obfuscation or outright fraud (like so many of your Enron and Halliburton friends), then it's conceivable you would want to oppose such an investigation. On the other hand, an independent investigation would be the perfect way to demonstrate the purity and high-mindedness of your intentions as well as your innocence.
Now that the knock-kneed Senate has given Junior the unlimited powers of war he and his cabal craved, all that stands in his way between him and Total Domination of Everything Everywhere is the rest of Congress, since he already owns the same Supreme Court that overturned the 2000 election of Al Gore.
This is not funny.
A midterm election may never have been quite so important in our lifetimes. It is especially crucial for first-time and occasional voters to get to the polls this year, and throw the GOP out of Congress onto their greasy fat asses.
You're either with us, or you're with the criminal CEOs and warmongers.
Over the summer political rivals made capital of a 1991 insider dealing investigation into the future president by the SEC. Mr Bush sold 212,140 shares for $849,000 two months before the company reported a $23.2m quarterly loss but the SEC closed the case without taking action.
Picture very clouded... Vision blurry... Can't seem to remember... Whose father was president in 1991?
Philip E. Agre, an associate professor of information studies at the University of California at Los Angeles, [says,] "Everyone can watch the common people, but that has nothing to do with the political question of who can watch the powerful."
Or, as Johnny Cochran put it in his perverse but effective defense of OJ Simpson, "Who polices the police? You police the police."
Some citizens wonder, "After 11 years of living with this problem, why do we need to confront it now?"
And there's a reason. We have experienced the horror of September the 11th. We have seen that those who hate America are willing to crash airplanes into buildings full of innocent people.
Connecting al Qaeda and Hussein is of course a fraudulent linkage, but he never even answers his own question (even including the lengthy paragraphs that follow in the full speech).
Why now? If the Iraqi threat is so overwhelming and so imminent, why did Bush spend the month of August relaxing at his Texas ranch? True, he did leave the ranch periodically for Republican fundraising at record-breaking levels. But if the Iraqi menace is bearing down upon us, why wasn't he in the Situation Room with deputy rancher Cheney, protecting our thirst for oil from his Axis of Evil?
The man who knew. Last night Frontline broadcast a 90-minute documentary about John O'Neill, the FBI counterterrorism expert who had already connected most of the dots leading to the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks last year. For six years he obsessed about bin Laden's network, tracing the line that led from the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, through the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, through the plans to stage a terrorist millenium explosion at LAX on the eve of 2000, through the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000, to the summer of 2001 when the intelligence world again became aware that something big and awful was in the works.
But the US government would not let O'Neill do his job. O'Neill was known throughout the FBI as the go-to guy on bin Laden, but he was not made aware of the Arizona flight school FBI memos or the custody of the alleged "20th hijacker" Zacharias Moussaoui. Barbara K. Bodine, US ambassador to Yemen, denied his visa to return to investigate the Cole bombing. Tom Pickard, at one point interim director for the FBI, did everything in his power to silence and frustrate O'Neill. The compartmentalized bureaucrats simply could not tolerate a maverick investigator whose only motivation was protecting the country from terrorism. He was forced out of the FBI in the late summer of 2001.
In the ultimate tragic irony, O'Neill was killed in the World Trade Center a week after taking a new job as head of security -- of the World Trade Center.
Frontline does a good job of covering all the angles, including such details as the relevance of two of the hijackers who flew into the Pentagon on Flight 77. Their names were on O'Neill's short list of potential threats.
The headline refers to the $50,000 behemoth's tight turning radius and "serious" traction.
But it also accurately characterizes the absurd machinery of the Bush administration and its willingness to expend our national resources and reputation to secure the fuel that powers this preposterous vehicle.
The ad copy concludes, fittingly, with: "It doesn't just get you out of tight spots. It gets you into them." No kidding.