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Archive for the ‘BushCo malfeasance’ Category

The real truth is worse than a massive conspiracy/updated

Posted by Charles II on June 20, 2012

Our leaders are incompetent, venal, whose only skill is blaming others for their blunders.

And our media, including people who call themselves “liberal” or “lefties” are complicit in silencing those who demanded that the blunders be exposed.

Jordan Michael Smith, Salon, via Ritholtz:

Over 120 CIA documents concerning 9/11, Osama bin Laden and counterterrorism were published today for the first time, having been newly declassified and released to the National Security Archive.

Perhaps most damning are the documents showing that the CIA had bin Laden in its cross hairs a full year before 9/11 — but didn’t get the funding from the Bush administration White House to take him out or even continue monitoring him. The CIA materials directly contradict the many claims of Bush officials that it was aggressively pursuing al-Qaida prior to 9/11, and that nobody could have predicted the attacks.

Many of the documents publicize for the first time what was first made clear in the 9/11 Commission: The White House received a truly remarkable amount of warnings that al-Qaida was trying to attack the United States. From June to September 2001, a full seven CIA Senior Intelligence Briefs detailed that attacks were imminent, an incredible amount of information from one intelligence agency.

So, sure, maybe the PNAC planned it all and the CIA planted explosive charges everywhere. Or maybe instead of having competent, evil leaders, we have incompetent, morally-rotten leaders. Stupid or evil, you decide.
_________
Update: Here’s the National Security Archive link. One fascinating quote:

According to a January 2000 Top Secret briefing to the Director of Central Intelligence, disruption operations against the Millennium plot “bought time… weeks… months… but no more than one year” before al-Qaeda would strike.

In fact, the Millennium plot disruption bought 20 months of time. Had Al Gore assumed the office of President…well, I guess we’ll never know.

Posted in Bush, BushCo malfeasance, World Trade Center | 14 Comments »

Read it and weep

Posted by Charles II on July 26, 2011

Bruce Bartlett does the math (based on CBO; via Ritholtz):

Posted in BushCo malfeasance, deficit | Comments Off

Support the Fourth Amendment

Posted by Charles II on April 28, 2011

From Cornell Law:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Thomas Tamm, who acted to defend the Fourth Amendment, had his home invaded with agents with drawn weapons, had his phone tapped and his e-mail read, and was subjected to investigation for four years, at which time the government concluded that he had behaved entirely legally in telling the New York Times of criminal–i.e., illegal– wiretaps by the Bush Administration. The Holder Justice Department, rather than drop the harassment promptly and with an apology–and recompense– waited over a year and has issued neither an apology nor helped Tamm with his enormous legal bills.

Support the Fourth Amendment. Help Thomas Tamm:

[Edit, 5/2/11Thomas Tamm Legal Defense Fund
Bank of Georgetown
5236 44th Street
Washington, DC 20015

I understand that this account has been closed. I am seeking updated information].

Posted in BushCo malfeasance, Department of Injustice, heroes, NSA eavesdropping | 2 Comments »

You’re crooks. And besides, you’re not paying us enough.

Posted by Charles II on April 18, 2011

That would probably be the Culture of Truth distillation of a news story involving Tenet Healthcare and Community Healthcare, had he come across it. Don Jeffrey of Bloomberg:

Tenet Healthcare Corp. (THC), after rejecting Community Health Systems Inc. (CYH)’s unsolicited buyout offer, said it sued that company for allegedly overbilling Medicare in admitting patients to its hospitals. Community Health Systems shares plunged.

Tenet seeks to compel Community Health Systems to disclose how it admits patients to hospitals for “financial rather than clinical purposes,” according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing today in which Tenet said it filed the lawsuit in federal court in Texas.

Community Health, the largest publicly traded hospital company in the U.S., bid $6 a share in cash and stock, or $7.3 billion, in November to acquire Tenet. Tenet rejected the offer in December, saying it wasn’t “remotely fair.”

As Jonathan Weil, also on Bloomberg says, this is like Snooki of Jersey Shore calling someone else on the cast a trashy boozer:

Grand acts of self-immolation aside, what makes this lawsuit comical is Tenet’s own history of ripping off the government, as well as its own shareholders.

Here’s a company that paid more than $900 million as part of a 2006 settlement with the Justice Department, after the government accused Tenet of fraudulently overbilling the nation’s Medicare and Medicaid programs. (The settlement was structured so there would be no formal finding that Tenet had engaged in illegal behavior.)

Tenet paid a $10 million fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2007 to settle accounting fraud claims. That was about a year after the company agreed to a $216.5 million class-action settlement with Tenet investors.

[...]

And yet Tenet, the third-largest publicly traded U.S. hospital operator, has the audacity to accuse the second-largest chain of running a crooked outfit.

Tenet Healthcare’s board includes that paragon of virtue, Jeb Bush (and, as if to show that the corruption is bipartisan, former Sen. Bob Kerrey). The crooks at Community Health Systems are less well known.

(note: I edited out of Weil’s otherwise reasonable rant a comment that attempted to characterize the euthanasia of patients in New Orleans during Katrina as an example of Tenet corporate culture. The medical staff acted in what they believed was the best interest of the patients. That is precisely not the kind of attitude that Tenet’s corporate culture represents)

Posted in Bush Family Evil Empire, BushCo malfeasance, corruption, health care | 2 Comments »

New growth industry: lying for corporations

Posted by Charles II on March 4, 2011

As appalled as I have been by the increased willingness of politicians to outright lie, more concerning are five recent stories on how lying has started to permeate our entire nation… and two on how truthtelling, when it does not serve corporations, is punished. It’s those stories on truthtelling that deserve the most attention, because those show how much we have as a nation come to hate truth and embrace lies.

The first story, below, has to do with Astroturf phone calls to radio shows. The second is the lie that President Obama told regarding Raymond Davis, a CIA agent who was arrested for murder after the deaths of several Pakistanis–which the New York Times helped to cover up.

The third story has to do a recent George Monbiot column (also via Avedon) on how corporations are paying people to post comments in forums to support a corporate point of view:

After I wrote about online astroturfing in December, I was contacted by a whistleblower. He was part of a commercial team employed to infest internet forums and comment threads on behalf of corporate clients, promoting their causes and arguing with anyone who opposed them.

Like the other members of the team, he posed as a disinterested member of the public. Or, to be more accurate, as a crowd of disinterested members of the public: he used 70 personas, both to avoid detection and to create the impression there was widespread support for his pro-corporate arguments. I’ll reveal more about what he told me when I’ve finished the investigation I’m working on.

It now seems that these operations are more widespread, more sophisticated and more automated than most of us had guessed. Emails obtained by political hackers from a US cyber-security firm called HBGary Federal suggest that a remarkable technological armoury is being deployed to drown out the voices of real people.

The fourth story, not strictly about corporations still fits the post because the line between the military and corporations has frayed to the point of non-existence, is that the US military used a psy-ops team to convince US Senators that the nation should pour more blood into Afghan soil:

MICHAEL HASTINGS: Sure. Psychological operations and information operations are essentially just ways to influence the population. Now, the key is, is that for IO and psy-ops you’re only supposed to do those on foreign populations, on the enemy. Now, there’s another branch, public affairs, which is—which you’re allowed to then use your information on the American population. The key difference is, is that in information operations and in psy-ops you’re allowed to lie, you’re allowed to mislead, where in public affairs, in theory, at least, you’re not supposed to do that. And by using information operations with—who know how to conduct psychological operations, in the process that would traditionally be held for public affairs, you’re corrupting the entire process. And, you know, one of the interesting things has been to see the reaction from the military.

Of course, I commend General Petraeus for launching an investigation, but what we also know from a series of anonymous leaks is that the military doesn’t think they’ve done anything wrong here. And that, to me, is truly disturbing and what the actual bigger story is: this very aggressive effort that called what has been at the forefront from to tear down the wall between information and propaganda between public affairs and information operations, to say it’s one giant playing field now and to allow the Pentagon and the military to be able to target not just foreign populations with their propaganda, but target the U.S. populations, whether it’s on Facebook, on social networking sites, or visiting congressmen.

The fifth story is about how political appointees at the EPA–under Reagan, both Bushes, Clinton, and Obama– have endangered and continue to endanger the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans by suppressing evidence showing that dangerous levels of toxic radionuclides are being poured into city water systems due to illegal dumping of wastewater from natural gas “fracking”:

WALTER HANG: Well, the most important thing is that the natural gas industry has said all along that there’s never been a confirmed problem with horizontal hydrofracking in Marcellus Shale. They’ve said this practice has been used for decades, it’s safe, it’s not problematic. The first installment of the New York Times series basically brought to light that in the autumn of 2008, there was so much natural gas drilling wastewater being dumped into municipal treatment plants along the Monongahela River near Pittsburgh, and these plants were not designed, constructed or maintained in any way to take out the very high salt content, the toxic chemicals associated with petroleum, or the radioactive nucleotides. And so, this contamination was going into the river in such incredible volumes that essentially it impacted a 70-mile stretch of the river, and 850,000 people didn’t have any drinking water. Subsequent studies show that actually the water became brackish. They started to find salt-loving diatoms flourishing in the water.

And so, this is when basically the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tried to recommend to the state of New York, don’t go forward with horizontal hydrofracking in New York, where there’s been a de facto moratorium against that practice for two-and-a-half years, until you deal with the wastewater hazards, until you safeguard New York City’s drinking water. And that’s when the recommendation came: no drilling in the watershed. And amazingly, they actually proposed to allow the drilling in the rest of upstate New York, so that the Department of Environmental Conservation could essentially get experience regulating this practice. But then none of those recommendations made it into the final document submitted to the Department of Environmental Conservation. So this is an incredible revelation about how the EPA knew about these problems, didn’t tell New York, and that’s why we’re calling for these regulations to be withdrawn, the scope revised, so that, for the first time, this kind of practice can be adequately safeguarded.

See here, here, and here for the NYT on this issue.

As for the two whistleblowers, Bradley Manning is being held under conditions reminiscent of Abu Ghraib. Tim Christopher was just convicted for presenting bids on an illegal land auction of wilderness in an attempt to prevent the despoilation of these lands, even though he later raised the money to pay for his purchases.

We had hoped that when Barack Obama won office that not only would the bad policy of the Bush Administration end, but that the lying and abuse of truthtellers would cease.

It has not.

God spare America from this most deadly sin, the sin of hating the truth.

Posted in anti-truth, astroturf, Barack Obama, BushCo malfeasance, corporatists, corruption, energy, liars, military, propaganda | 2 Comments »

Who Ended the Cold War? Russia and East Germany. (Sorry, Reagan Fetishists.)

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 6, 2011

The Politico, one of the many vectors for creating and maintaining conservative dominance of the media and cultural conversations in the US, has its obligatory puff piece on Mister Death Squadder this morning:

Bently Elliott, Reagan’s top speechwriter in his first term, recalled an interview his old boss gave at the end of his time in the White House.

“He didn’t say he wanted to be remembered as the president who turned around the economy or the president who brought down the Evil Empire,” Elliott recalled. “He said he wanted to be remembered as ‘the president who made the American people believe in themselves again.’”

Except he did neither.

Contrary to conservative myth, Ronald Reagan didn’t do jack to bring down Russia or East Germany; they were falling apart all by themselves. Even the aid given to the mujahideen in Afghanistan — aid that helped sustain them during the long war of attrition that sapped Russia’s strength and was the final blow to the régime — was not essential to the mujahideen’s success; the Saudis, conservative Sunnis similar to the mujahideen, were already funding them quite extensively, as were Pakistan, China, and various other nations and entities, and would have given them even more aid had we not done so.

In fact, not only did Reagan not bring down Russia, it is a well-documented fact that neither he nor his CIA knew what was going to happen until it was already happening. Just as the CIA of today was caught totally off-guard by the lightning-fast spreading of revolutionary fervor in various Middle Eastern dictatorships, they were caught totally off guard by the equally-rapid collapse of the Soviet bloc, as former CIA official Mel Goodman relates:

The collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union created an entirely new international setting and totally surprised U.S. policymakers, the Central Intelligence Agency providing no strategic warning. President George Bush stated that he had no idea that the Berlin Wall was coming down and was surprised by the coup attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev in
1991.[1] His national security adviser, Brent Scowcroft, could not recall receiving any CIA warning about the Soviet demise. President Ronald Reagan’s last national security adviser and Bush’s chairman of the joint chiefs, General Colin Powell, recorded in his memoirs that CIA specialists “could no longer anticipate events much better than a
layman watching television.”[2].

Former CIA Director Admiral Stansfield Turner recorded that the agency’s “corporate view missed by a mile” and that it “should not gloss over the enormity of the failure to forcecast the magnitude of the Soviet crisis.”[3]

The memoirs of former Secretary of State George Shultz offer the best evidence of CIA’s failure to track the Soviet decline and the revolutionary impact of Gorbachev’s leadership. Shultz believed that “CIA analysis was distorted by strong views about
policy” and accused CIA director William Casey with providing “bum dope” to the president. He told national security adviser Frank Carlucci in 1987 that, even “when it became evident that the Soviet Union was in fact changing”, the CIA line was
that the changes wouldn’t really make a difference. [4]

Shultz had “no confidence” in the CIA and warned the White House that the agency was “unable to perceive that change was coming in the Soviet Union.”[5].

He accused acting CIA director Robert Gates with trying to “manipulate me” and reminded him that the CIA was “usually wrong” about Moscow and had dismissed Gorbachev as “just talk, just another Soviet attempt to deceive us.”[6]. Shultz,
Turmoil and Triumph, p. p. 864.

CIA’s failure to recognize the weakness of the Soviet Union and the importance of Gorbachev had serious implications for U.S. interests. The Reagan administration unnecessarily increased defense spending, dragged its feet on arms control, and missed opportunities to resolve regional confrontations. The tab for CIA funding and support for Islamic militants in order to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan now includes the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York and attacks on U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia.

Oh, yes: The brave mujahideen the CIA helped fund? Osama bin Laden was one of them, as were the persons who would go on to become the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan. Ironically enough, Condoleeza Rice, as an alleged specialist on the subject of Soviet Russia, has tried to engage in some classic neocon revisionism by claiming that she and her PNAC buddies knew all along that the Soviet involvement in Afghanistan was what would weaken and eventually bring down the USSR, all the while not recognizing that Osama bin Laden was and is using that very same game plan against us by keeping us bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. (As Mel Goodman points out, she too was totally taken by surprise by the 9/11 attacks, attacks even the CIA saw coming and about which they had tried in vain to warn Bush and his neocon friends.) And make no mistake, we’re still in deep up to our hips in Iraq, except it’s through the use of “private security firms” (aka privateers or mercenaries) like Blackwater (now Xe), whose troop levels are harder to ascertain than those of the Army, Marines, Air Force or Navy.

Bin Laden knew he could easily provoke the Reagan-Bush PNAC crowd into an armed response to a terrorist attack (as opposed to the far more sensible and effective response by Bill Clinton to an earlier attack on the World Trade Center, a response that actually collared the perpetrators and didn’t inflame the Middle East against us). He knew he could easily lure them into a ruinous two-front war even as Bush’s tax cuts for the rich were wrecking America’s ability to sustain the expense of these wars. It’s almost as if PNAC and the George W. Bush administration were run by Al Qaeda sleeper cell agents, so closely did they follow bin Laden’s plans for their behavior.

(Crossposted at Renaissance Post.

Posted in Bush, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, Condolezza Rice, September 11, Silly Republicans, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Breaking News: Water Is Wet

Posted by MEC on January 25, 2011

The Bush regime routinely broke the law* by treating the West Wing as Republican campaign headquarters. They also routinely designated travel by senior officials as official government business when the purpose of the trips was political, to stick the taxpayers with the cost.

I am so surprised.

Actually, I will be surprised if there are any consequences for this report, even just making the RNC reimburse the taxpayers for the travel costs.

(* I know, I could have ended the sentence there.)

(Hat tip to Oliver Willis, via supergee in LiveJournal)

Posted in BushCo malfeasance | 5 Comments »

Gulf War I all for Bush I re-election?

Posted by Charles II on January 2, 2011

Aftenposten, a Norwegian newspaper, is issuing Wikileak cables other sources aren't

(from BoingBoing)

The Wikileaked cables start to provide the framework to understand why Saddam Hussein made the decision to invade Kuwait in the first Gulf War. From Ambassador April Glaspie, in which she said the “US takes no position” on Arab boundary disputes, 7/25/1990. Glaspie fails to register or discuss Saddam Hussein’s complaint that the Kuwaitis are stealing oil, as indicated on this timeline, an allegation that the US should have at least been aware of, and she does not in any way address Saddam Hussein’s primary complaint, i.e., that due to the costs of the proxy war against Iran that Iraq fought with US encouragement, Iraq is broke, unable to pay its basic obligations because the price of oil is so low. The Bush Administration, of course, wishes to keep the price of oil low to end the recession and help George Herbert’s re-election chances:

¶4. SADDAM, WHOSE MANNER WAS CORDIAL, REASONABLE AND EVEN WARM THROUGHOUT THE ENSUING TWO HOURS, SAID HE WISHED THE AMBASSADOR TO CONVEY A MESSAGE TO PRESIDENT BUSH. SADDAM THEN RECALLED IN DETAIL THE HISTORY OF IRAQ’S DECISION TO REESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS AND ITS POSTPONING IMPLEMENTATION OF THAT DECISION AT THE BEGINNING OF THE WAR, RATHER THAN BE THOUGHT WEAK AND NEEDY. HE THEN SPOKE ABOUT THE MANY “BLOWS” OUR RELATIONS HAVE BEEN SUBJECTED TO SINCE 1984, CHIEF AMONG THEM IRANGATE. IT WAS AFTER THE FAW VICTORY, SADDAM SAID, THAT IRAQI MISAPPREHENSIONS ABOUT USG PURPOSES BEGAN TO SURFACE AGAIN, I.E., SUSPICIONS THAT THE U.S. WAS NOT HAPPY TO SEE THE WAR END.

¶5. PICKING HIS WORDS WITH CARE, SADDAM SAID THAT THERE ARE “SOME CIRCLES” IN THE USG,
INCLUDING IN CIA AND THE STATE DEPARTMENT, BUT EMPHATICALLY EXCLUDING THE PRESIDENT AND
SECRETARY BAKER, WHO ARE NOT FRIENDLY TOWARD IRAQ-U.S. RELATIONS. HE THEN LISTED WHAT HE
SEEMED TO REGARD AS FACTS TO SUPPORT THIS CONCLUSION: “SOME CIRCLES ARE GATHERING
INFORMATION ON WHO MIGHT BE SADDAM HUSAYN’S SUCCESSOR;” THEY KEPT UP CONTACTS IN THE GULF
WARNING AGAINST IRAQ; THEY WORKED TO ENSURE NO HELP WOULD GO TO IRAQ (READ EXIM AND CCC).

Continues below the fold
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Bush, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, history, Iraq war | 7 Comments »

How Bush lost bin Laden and opened the door to the Afghan insurgency

Posted by Charles II on September 12, 2010

National Security Archive Update, September 13, 2010

“No-Go” Tribal Areas Became Basis for Afghan Insurgency Documents Show

U.S. had “Absolutely No Inclination” to Negotiate with Taliban September 2001; Pakistan Disagreed, Claimed “Real Victory” Only Through Talks

Washington’s Immediate 9/11 Demands to Islamabad

For more information contact:
Barbara Elias – (202) 994-7000 / belias@gwu.edu

http://www.nsarchive.org

Washington, DC, September 13, 2010 – Pakistani tribal areas where Osama bin Laden found refuge were momentarily open to the Pakistani Army when “the tribes were overawed by U.S. firepower” after 9/11, but quickly again became “no-go areas” where the Taliban could reorganize and plan their resurgence in Afghanistan, according to previously secret U.S. documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the National Security Archive and posted today at http://www.nsarchive.org.

According to U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ronald E. Neumann, the 2005 Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan was a direct product of the “four years that the Taliban has had to reorganize and think about their approach in a sanctuary beyond the reach of either government.” This had exponentially increased casualties as the Taliban adopted insurgency tactics successful in Iraq, including suicide bombings and the use of IEDs. Ambassador Neumann warned Washington that if the sanctuary in Pakistan were not addressed it would “lead to the re-emergence of the same strategic threat to the United States that prompted our OEF [Operation Enduring Freedom] intervention” in 2001.

As current U.S. strategy increasingly pursues policies to reconcile or “flip” the Taliban, the document collection released today reveals Washington’s refusal to negotiate with Taliban leadership directly after 9/11. On September 13, 2001, U.S. Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin “bluntly” told Pakistani President Musharraf that there was “absolutely no inclination in Washington to enter into a dialogue with the Taliban. The time for dialog was finished as of September 11.” Pakistan, as the Taliban’s primary sponsor, disagreed. Pakistani Intelligence (ISI) Chief Mahmoud told the ambassador “not to act in anger. Real victory will come in negotiations… If the Taliban are eliminated… Afghanistan will revert to warlordism.”

The new materials also illustrate the importance of the bilateral alliance to leaders in both Islamabad and Washington. One cable described seven demands delivered to Pakistani Intelligence (ISI) Director Mahmoud by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage two days after the attack, while another reported Pakistani President Musharraf’s acceptance of those requests “without conditions” the next day. However, the documents also reveal fundamental disagreements and distrust. While Pakistan denied that it was a safe haven for anti-American forces, a State Department Issue Paper for the Vice President claimed “some Taliban leaders operate with relative impunity in some Pakistani cities, and may still enjoy support from the lower echelons of Pakistan’s ISI.”

Posted in Afghanistan, BushCo malfeasance, Osama bin Laden, Pakistan | Comments Off

Shorter RW Media: George W. Bush, You Will Be Avenged!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 4, 2010

The Usual Suspects over at FOX News and elsewhere are trying to start up a myth that the BP Horizon oil spill is to Obama as the 2005 disaster known as Hurricane Katrina is to Bush.

Over at Emptywheel’s wheelhouse in FDL, Bmaz — who is not an Obama fan — neatly explodes that nonsense even as he points out the dangers of Obama’s hewing to Bush policy on far too many things.

For my part, I believe that much as the Republicans and Cons wanted revenge for Nixon’s downfall — a thirst for vengeance that among other things led to the wipeout of the once-strong Rockefeller Republican contingent, the replacement of principled Republican Lowell Weicker by neocon Fox Democrat Joe Lieberman, and the ten-year-plus campaign to destroy the Clintons — they are looking to avenge George W. Bush and the Republicans being rightly blamed for the Katrina mess, which is why they are doing their best to make sure the word “Obama” replaces “Bush” as being next to “Katrina”.

Let’s look at a few of the reasons why Bush and the GOP own Katrina and will always own Katrina:

— There’s Bush’s and the Republican Congress’ refusing to replace the Delta wetlands that once served as speed bumps to slow down and weaken oncoming hurricanes.

– There’s rejecting millions of dollars’ worth of post-Katrina aid from foreign countries.

– There’s Bush’s FEMA providing toxic trailers for Katrina refugees.

– There’s the sharp contrast between how FEMA operated under Clinton and James Lee Witt with how it operated under Bush and Michael “Heckuva Job, Brownie” Brown.

Feel free to suggest others.

Posted in Bush, BushCo malfeasance, GOP/Media Complex, Hurricane Katrina, Obama Administration, Oil, Uncategorized | Comments Off

 
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