Thursday, March 29, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Eleven million gallons of North Slope crude oil began pouring out of the Exxon Valdez oil tanker into the pristine waters of Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Hundreds of thousands of fish, seabirds, bald eagles, otters, seals and whales were maimed and killed. The native communities whose lives depended on those waters for commercial and subsistence fishing were, and still are, devastated.
In 1994, ExxonMobil was found “reckless” by judge and jury and ordered to pay $5 billion in punitive damages to the 34,000 victims of the spill. ExxonMobil argues it should pay only $25 million. The company has appealed every verdict since, dragging the victims through thirteen years of litigation. Some 6,000 plaintiffs have died awaiting compensation. In 2006, the damages were lowered to $2.5 billion based on a recent Supreme Court ruling that lowers punitive damage awards. ExxonMobil has asked the court to reconsider.
After eighteen years and countless false promises, ExxonMobil has still not paid the billions of dollars in punitive damages that the courts have determined it owes the spill victims--this despite the fact that the company posted the most profitable year in 2006 of any corporation in history. In 1994, a federal court in Anchorage, Alaska, awarded $5 billion in punitive damages to fishermen, Native Alaskans, and other plaintiffs in a class action suit against the oil giant. But rather than accepting its obligations Exxon has been fighting the verdict, employing hundreds of lawyers, filing countless appeals and effectively buying science that supports its claims.
This has added injury to injury as more than 30,000 people whose lives and livelihood were disrupted by the spill have now been dragged through years of litigation. During this time, according to the advocacy group ExposeExxon whose excellent mailing prompted this column, 6,000 plaintiffs have died waiting for compensation.
If there is grounds for the death penalty to be inflicted upon an individual, there is grounds for a corporate death penalty: Death To Exxon!
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
In yet another example of the government-industry revolving door, "Peabody Energy, the world's largest private sector coal company, has hired Dick Gephardt's firm to spearhead its drive to defeat efforts by Democrats to put caps on carbon emissions in a bid to combat global warming," reports O'Dwyer's. (Source: http://www.odwyerpr.com/members/0323gephardt_carbon.htm
Gephardt, a Democrat and the former U.S. House Majority Leader, will advocate for increased public funding of "clean coal technologies."
Peabody's coal generators produce 10 percent of U.S. electricity. The company says "clean coal" research will help achieve the "ultimate goal of near-zero emissions from coal." Peabody's corporate social responsibility report calls mandatory caps on emissions "irresponsible, contributing to adverse health impacts and economic harm through the loss of affordable electricity."
Friday, March 23, 2007
"Rove is a proven liar who cannot be trusted to tell the truth even when he is under oath, unless and until he is directly threatened with the prospect of prison time. OrImpeach...
has everyone suddenly forgotten his exceedingly narrow escape from criminal
indictment for perjury and false statements in the Valerie Plame Wilson investigation? Only after four visits to the grand jury convened by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, and a stark warning from Fitzgerald to defense counsel of a possible indictment, did Rove suddenly remember his role in the exposure of Plame as a CIA agent."
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
Iraq and the Media: A Critical Timeline (FAIR)
It's hardly controversial to suggest that the mainstream media's performance in the lead-up to the Iraq War was a disaster. In retrospect, many journalists and pundits wish they had been more skeptical of the White House's claims about Iraq, particularly its allegations about weapons of mass destruction. At the same time, though, media apologists suggest that the press could not have done much better, since "everyone" was in agreement on the intelligence regarding Iraq's weapons threat. This was never the case. Critical journalists and analysts raised serious questions at the time about what the White House was saying. Often, however, their warnings were ignored by the bulk of the corporate press.
This timeline is an attempt to recall some of the worst moments in journalism, from the fall of 2002 and into the early weeks of the Iraq War. It is not an exhaustive catalog, but a useful reference point for understanding the media's performance. The timeline also points to missed opportunities, when courageous journalists—working inside the mainstream and the alternative media—uncovered stories that should have made the front pages of daily newspapers, or provided fodder for TV talk shows. By reading mainstream media critically and tuning into the alternative press, citizens can see that the notion that "everyone" was wrong about Iraq was—and is—just another deception.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Acting, as Jeremy Scahill has written, as the Bush Administration's Praetorian Guard for the "global war on terror," Blackwater has been busy fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, establishing military bases in Iran, and patrolling the hurricane-ravaged streets of New Orleans. The problem, as Scahill points out, is that such power in the hands of one company embodies the "military-industrial complex" President Eisenhower warned against in 1961. Scahill is the author of the new book Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army
Personally, I shed no tears over the death or injury of mercenaries. Mercs sell their claim to human compassion when they take their blood-money.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
My Pop was almost pathologically in love with his wife, my mother. She was beautiful--people compared her to Gene Tierney--and intelligent and funny, accomplished and well-bred. Privately, he called her his 'lassie.'
Mother had been a skilled equestrienne in her youth in both jumping and dressage. But a horse fell on her when she was just into puberty, I believe, and the physical complications of that event echoed throughout their married life. They had five children--four who lived; and one which was fatally damaged by rubella in utero--and each one of us was extremely difficult for her. She had kids because, as a Catholic, that's what Mother believed one did. Mother did "what one did," through her whole life pretty much.
Anyway she was ill, in one way or another, for almost the whole time they were married: she was on (and probably became addicted to) prednisone for nearly 40 years, from the late '50s onward almost until her death.
These factors combined to make her extremely uncomfortable with intimacy. I sometimes wonder whether they had sex more than a dozen times in 57 years of marriage, as much as she held him off, berated and belittled him.
As an example: they both happened to have health crises around X-mas, '99, that landed both of them in the same hospital. The nurses thought it would be 'nice' if they brought them together in their individual hospital beds for X-Mas eve. But when they appeared at the door of her room with Dad in his bed, she shrieked "Get him out of here!", and demanded they return him to his own room. She was unrelenting. It might have been funny, except that it wasn't.
Mother had been fanatically frugal (but also astonishingly profligate in strange ways, too: at her death she had 20, identical Brooks Brothers' khaki skirts). After she was gone, Pop decided to throw over the traces a little, and replace his old, slow computer with a newer, fancier machine. But the residual weight of a life-time of frugality persuaded him to scrimp on it, even though there was no longer any reason to be cautious. So I went to town and brought him back his new machine, the lower-priced of the new IMac machines of the period. He tried it, and was not happy, so he sent me to return the cheaper machine and bring him the more expensive one, which I did.
Wwhen I brought it home and set up the new machine for him, he actually seemed excited, for the first time in the several weeks since mother had died. Upon making his careful way to the desk, he turned on his new box. And just as it booted up, virtually in that very instant, the lights all over northern New Mexico went out.
Though we didn't know it at the time, a truck had hit a power pole and had taken out a crucial transmission line up in wilds of the Navajo country. Then, in the sudden, pitch dark, I heard Pop chuckling; I asked him he source of is amusement.
He said that, although there was probably a perfectly good explanation for it, he himself knew that the cause of the outage was Joan's (his recently deceased wife's) "chindi" --the Dineh word for 'spirit"--making him regret his extravagance. "She's out there, and she's howling," he said. When the power came back up the next day, we kept the newer, better machine anyway.
He was, as far as anyone knew or said, completely faithful to her for the entire duration of their marriage--they wed in '43 as he was on his way to the Pacific; she died in '00. He lived another year. And he loved her til he died.
Friday, March 09, 2007
NOBODY in the ShiteHouse wanted that to happen. Though it stretches credulity almost to the b reaking point to think so, possibly even Cheney might have balked at actually lying under oath.
So the Busheviks made a deal with the Libby defense: you leave Cheney alone and, if there's a conviction, we'll look after Scooter: support or the family, donations for the appeals fund, and a pardon if all else fails.
Yup...The fuckin' fix was well and truly in...
PS: Much as I respect the integrity of my barrister friends and acquaintances, and there are no small number of them, it beggars the imagination that they would believe that, somehow, Wells & Co. wouldn't throw the defense of Libby, if they had a sotto voce deal with the Busheviks by which Scooter'd take the fall for obstruction, and in doing so would deflect attention from Cheney's and Bush's criminal acts, but wouldd also in fact obstruct the Fed's investigations. There is a price for everything, all the more so in the exalted halls and seats of REAL power. Guys like Wells live and breathe money; it is the sole metric by which they measure their success, not their conviction or acquittal ratio. And the Busheviks are not strapped for resources they could designate to Libby's silence. If they wanted to buy off Libby, Wells, and the whole French Navy, they could do so without breaking a fucking sweat.
A poster on the Eschaton crack den today--nymed "mer," iirc--floated the not at all bizarre (to me) idea that the reason for outing Valerie Plame in the first place was not revenge, but rather was to actually put the brass-plate firm for which she "worked" out of the international WMD-monitoring business--which was her business--because the Busheviks were going to use extra-governmental channels to plant WMD in Iraq to bolster their excuses for goint to war in the first place, and Plame and her cohorts were positioned to notice and publicize it.
Another poster opined that the brass-plate intellegence outfit that covered Plame was in a position to further deflect or even ultimately to deter the long-planned Bushevik war with Iran The Busheviks had long hungered for revenge against Iran for at least two reasons: first to repay those "sand-niggah's" temerity for embarrassing the USer over the hostages, and second to prevent Iran from assuming its rightful place as a regional leader; there's a third reason, of course: the defense of Israel-qua State, in which the US has invested unimagineable amounts of blood and treasure already, and which also represents the best USer military toe-hold in the region.)
I am sure to be accused of having the tin-fopil wrapped too tight; but please: Knowing what is already widely known about the Bushe regime's practices, and its "ethics," which of those scenarios is REALLY all that improbable?
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
And even if he does, he'll spend it polishing his golf swing at some Club Fed, somewhere.
If part of the deal was the Scooter falls on his sword to save Darth Cheney, will the Chimp pardon him to fulfill that part of the deal?
What Appeals Court where's the ineviatble appeal? The DC Circuit is reliably GOPuke/Bushevik, innit?
By the time appeals have been exhausted, it'll be Dec, 08, and the blue "pardon" phone will be ringing for Libby, Cunningham, Ney, and all the rest of the fascist malefactors inadvertantly caught by the (replaced) US Attys.
And Libby gets a seat on the Carlisle Board?
That's my guess, anyway...
A former colleague of Darth "Big Dick" Cheney, that's who.
And guess what?
There's been (or at least there should have been) an on-going investigation of this mis-and mal-feasance since 2004.
Friday, March 02, 2007
I wrote and circulated the subsequent text to the "reply to" addressees:
Nice work, here but I feel like I've missed something.
Cuz I don't see our smilin' bubba--the artist--wearing fatigues...has he enlisted? Or has he, like so many other advocates and apologists for the war, signed on with the 82nd Chairborne?
Hey, folks: you support the war? you go fight that bad boy...
Bubba's talents for propaganda are the equal of his graphic ability. There are so many things wrong with they images on that rock, I am at a loss. Does Bubba watch anything but Fox News?Not least of the falsehoods he reproduces is the connection between the unnecessary deaths in Iraq and the deaths resulting from the IXXI attacks.
Does Bubba not know, or just not care that there has NEVER been established ANY connection between Iraq, or Iraqis, or Saddam Hussein, or anyone else there and the attacks of 9/11. That, of course, is just another pervasive lie, ginned up and drummed in the collective psyche (efficaciously, as witness the sincere, and probably honest icons like this rock) to rationalize the neo-con/fascist/imperialist/militarist wet-dream of establishing a 'free-market" state on the bones of the Iraqi people.
I support the troops--I support bringin' 'em home...tomorrow...
And I support prosecuting the goddam fascist regime --The Chimperor, Darth Cheney, FeldMarshall vonRumsfeldt, Wolfowitz, Feith, Abrams, Rice, Powell: the whole feculent cabal that put'em there, in the full and complete knowledge that they were LYING IN THEIR TEETH-- for war crimes, for the murders of (so far) over 3100 US citizens, as well as every Iraqi who has been killed in the turmoil the illegal invasion prompted, began, and perpetuates.
We need no more brave quotations from cowards who never served, who had better things to do, who went awol to avoid drug tests. The names and presidencies of Jefferson and Kennedy are besmirched by their association with that of the lying, dishonest, idiotic, drooling siock-puppet, boooosh.
Nothing any of those miserable low-lifes have to say about war is worth a minute of anyone's attention. They lied and our citizens died--relatives, friends, strangers, even (gasp!) immigrants. We do not need to celebrate their courage, but to mourn their tragic, wasteful, useless loss; and seek justice for them on those who suffered them to die for--not a mere mistake--a calculated falsehood...
Yrs truly(WoodyG'sGuitar), Sergeant (E-4) , USAF, 1964-1968
And if y'all are offended by my words, to quote a phrase current during my enlistment:
The Older I Get, The Better I Usta Be...