People & Power - The Koch Brothers
Al Jazeera may be perceived as having bias issues with some of the nuances on reporting intra-Arab stories but even there, Al Jazeera is one of my standard sources for in-depth reading of the players in the game.
But they recently have picked up on the powerful place of the Kochs in a generation of influence buying and selling in the government of these United States. I think this is a nice review of the current issues, including interviews with the Americans for Prosperity players, such as Tim Phillips.
"Yes, we've put substantial money into Wisconsin, I won't detail numbers but it's substantial."
New Financial Disclosure Form Raises More Troubling Questions
For Immediate Release
Contact: Naomi Seligman, 310.617.4577
Washington, DC— In light of new financial disclosures provided Justice Clarence Thomas, ProtectOurElections.org today sent a letter to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Public Integrity Section and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) urging that they investigate information recently revealed in Thomas’ 2010 Financial Disclosure Form.
ProtectOurElections.org has previously sent several letters to the FBI and DOJ alleging improper conduct by Clarence Thomas and his wife, Virginia. Those allegations are:
First, Justice Thomas falsified 20 years of judicial financial disclosure forms by denying that his wife had income sources; second, he engaged in judicial corruption by receiving $100,000 in support from Citizens United during his nomination and then ruling in favor of Citizens United in 2010 without disclosing that fact or disqualifying himself; and third, he apparently conspired with his wife in a form of "judicial insider trading" by providing her with information about the result of the Court's decision in Citizens United prior to its issuance, which she then used to launch a new company to take financial advantage of that decision to benefit her and her husband.
Welcome to Wednesday, 23 March 2011. Traditionally called "Hump Day" in some parts due to its location and identification as the "mid-week" milestone, here is a selection of some of the stories currently catching the most attention at sites like McClatchy and Al Jazeera (English):
Mary Sanchez: The outrageous suggestion that illegal immigrants could be dealt with like feral hogs flew out of Kansas state Rep. Virgil Peck’s mouth and across the Internet. The fact that it slipped out of his mouth so readily indicates that the tenor of the debate over illegal immigration may be reaching dangerous levels.
The U.S. program to spend billions of dollars on Afghanistan's facilities is failing. Corruption, nepotism and mismanagement hobble the reconstruction.
Medill and McClatchy assess the impact of the Obama administration's economic stimulus package. Its benefits have been uneven across the country.
Scientists studying water contamination at Camp Lejeune have learned of another source of leaking fuel near a drinking well that served thousands of Marines and their families.
What's news in your neck of the woods? Let us know in the comments below. And as we begin our descent toward the end of the work week and long slow slide into the weekend, please keep your hands, feet and any miscellaneous appendages inside the vehicle...
Use this as an Open Thread.
As recently presented, there is global respect for and use of the classic and brilliant work by Gene Sharp “From Dictatorship to Democracy.” It is credited for empowering many actions around the world to overthrow dictatorships, including recent actions in the Mideast. My thesis is that his ideas, strategies and tactics, a handbook for revolution, can and should be applied to the US where there is a form of corporate dictatorship operating. Make the jump»
And brain bleach to remove that image in my future:
A hidden computer database recently discovered in the course of a racial profiling investigation shows Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio misspent up to $80 million in funds intended for jail operations, according to Maricopa County supervisors and budget officials.
Anything, preferably non-brain bleach related, Open Thread worthy pass through your mind lately?Make the jump»
I think Darrell Issa forgets the true nature of modern Republicanism and its heart of crooked gold.
Man, this could be a 'blast', so to speak, when Issa lines the crooks up with subcommittee chair appointments!
Maybe journalism can revive itself if the ducks are going to line themselves up like that. Especially in a context of "Oversight and Reform", the hypocrisy amplifier effect will never be so large again!! Make the jump»
By Michael Collins Part II of III (Part I) WASHINGTON - Placed in office through legalized bribery, supported by public funding for their every need, protected against the laws that we're expected to obey, Congress represents the epitome of lawlessness; lawmakers who have no regard for the law. (Image)
Members of Congress are different. They get to retire at age 62 with lifetime pensions and health benefits. To qualify, they need just five years of service. They get free phone, mail, and other communications plus paid domestic and foreign travel. Supposedly, they're not allowed to take gifts but the list of exceptions offers plenty of room for luxurious appreciation.
The biggest gift of all - a six to seven figure job with a major corporation or lobbying firm right after retirement - is still fair game for any member. The revolving door never stops. Make the jump»
Four days before Connecticut's Nora Dannehy was appointed to investigate the Bush administration's U.S. attorney firing scandal, a team of lawyers she led was found to have illegally suppressed evidence in a major political corruption case.
This previously unreported fact from Dannehy's past calls into question her entire national investigation. The revelation similarly compromises the pending investigation by her Connecticut colleague, John Durham, who since 2008 has been the nation's special prosecutor for DOJ and CIA decision-making involving torture.
Here's the story, which the Justice Integrity Project I lead just broke in Nieman Watchdog:
In September 2008, the Bush Justice Department appointed Connecticut career federal prosecutor Nora Dannehy to investigate allegations that Bush officials in 2006 illegally fired nine U.S. attorneys who wouldn't politicize official corruption investigations.
But just four days before her appointment, a federal appeals court had ruled that a team of prosecutors led by Dannehy illegally suppressed evidence in a major political corruption case in Connecticut. The prosecutors' misconduct was so serious that the court vacated seven of the eight convictions in the case. Make the jump»
The vote was 60 to 38, with just three centrist Republicans from the Northeast joining with the Democrats in voting to advance the legislation. One Democrat, Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, voted against the bill, saying it was still not tough enough. Senator Michael D. Crapo, Republican of Idaho, did not vote, and one seat — which was held by Senator Robert C. Byrd, who died last month — is vacant.
With the Senate poised to send the bill to President Obama for his signature, the White House was already planning a ceremony — sometime next week — to mark completion of another landmark piece of legislation, following the enactment of the historic health care bill in March and last year’s major economic stimulus program.
What it means financial wise and politically below.
Beyond the title and the link:
I mean, the only way it could it get any worse than the title implies is if the Florida GOP party could not figure out what Greer was doing on their own: Make the jump»
Because the thought of that never crossed your mind. Right?
Never crossed my mind, either...
In an alternate universe, of course.
From TPM, we get this little tidbit of news concerning Blackwater, a corporation so tarnished with corruption, gun running, muder, prostitution and rape of minors and other legal issues that they changed their name to Xe to try and dump the image they had built for themselves and other mercenary groups:
A lawsuit filed by two former employees of Blackwater charges that
the controversial security contractor defrauded the U.S. government,
including charging it for strippers and prostitutes, the New York Times reports.
Perhaps the most explosive charge in the lawsuit -- filed by a
married couple, Brad and Melan Davis, is that the company put a
Filipino prostitute in Afghanistan on its payroll under the "Morale
Welfare Recreation" category, then billed the government for her salary
and plane tickets.
I think TPM gets this story mostly right... But it seems that Blackwater/Xe may have actually been double billing for the prostitues' flights, as well as pretty much anyone else they could book on their privatized fraudulent err farce:Make the jump»
Originally posted on January 10, but it got stuck in the spam filter. So now, without further delay... -- GH
Preface: This note was originally a post in response to a fed-up independent expressing her distaste for any political propaganda, even if apparently evidence-based as Rachel Maddow recently blogged. My connection to the writer is through our recently shared understanding that the time is overripe for Nader's thinking, that he'd be a perfect opponent to lobbyist-in-residence Senator Joe Lieberman..
Nader's one of the few who speaks to the corporatist agenda that is evident behind the scenes of most American politics and in exactly the right terms. It's clearly the dominant driver of our collective political agenda.
And it's been the belief that I understand that problem which led me to finally understand and to rationalize (what people have called) his spoiler effect as serving to hasten the_only_thing_that_can_fix_the_problem_with_our_political_system.
I figured Nader knew that the system will only (--actually NEVER--) fix itself when it becomes utterly broken and completely unable to function.
Make the jump»
[Possibly more precisely what I mean is that I believe the political system no longer works.]
In response to a dailykos diary by Michael Stark "I blame you for this "
The front page tells the story: MA-Sen: PPP Has Brown (R) Up One Point.
Need I remind you that this is Ted Kennedy's seat?
The Republican leads the race and has the momentum. And I blame y'all.
Alright, not everyone of you... but the Obama fan club that's been so willing to shout down anyone that expected something different... you know... those of us that expected (and yearned for) change.
another kossack answered with a comment I've reproduced here and taken liberty to use its title as my own (it's important to remember that a key mission of dailykos is to elect more Democrats). I've done so because it echoes a recent comment concerning my rising hope of the last couple years.
I've concluded that we may be near what I consider is an inevitable political pivot. The destruction wreaked upon this country (...this world) particularly in this last of a couple decades of corrupt bipartisan politics is immense.
I think it's evidence of what Ralph Nader has always known, what will happen to an exclusionary bipolar political system that progressively 'reforms' American government into a process that 'democratically elects corporate representatives to govern us'.
The process is a form of suicide, that's like designing an ecosystem that will end up containing only carnivores because it's designed with increasingly fewer natural limits and they're nearly done eating the rest of us, the herbivores.
NBBooks' comment has been surprisingly well received on dailykos. I may excerpt and repost my own later.
----------Make the jump»
My anger has morphed into sadness, heartbreak actually. As the decade of zeros ends I see nothing but a tragic, historic and deadening American Disappointment, a terrible replacement for a once noble American Dream. The Great Recession was merely one symptom of the nation’s slide into slime, a quicksand created by the two-party plutocracy. Make the jump»