The Original American Malcontent

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Congressman John Conyers has introduced three new pieces of legislation aimed at censuring President Bush and Vice President Cheney, and at creating a fact-finding committee that could be a first step toward impeachment.
Ask your Congress Member to support these efforts!
For more information on these bills, visit
That link will take you to a newly revised After Downing Street site, where you'll find at the top an extensive new report produced by the House Judiciary Committee and titled "The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Cover-ups in the Iraq War."
The Censure Bush campaign will provide a new focus for town hall meetings about Iraq, approximately 60 of which are scheduled all over the country on January 7th. See:

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Bush Admitted to an 'Impeachable Offense'

Well well well... So finally a Senator dares to invoke the concept of impeachment for President Bush, It's about mother lovin time, as if lying to congress and the use of banned weapons, authorizing and defending torture, embarking on an illegal war weren't enough - no it only took something as simple as giving law enforcement the right to listen to our phone calls without a warrant - like they weren't already!
Well I'm not going to complain about the Dems being a day late and a dollar short, instead I'll relish the idea of Bush being dragged out of office kicking and screaming. Poetic justice would have his ass extraordinarily rendered to Burma, but I guess that's just a little too hopeful.

Boxer Asks Presidential Scholars About Former White House Counsel's Statement that Bush Admitted to an 'Impeachable Offense'
December 19, 2005
Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today asked four presidential scholars for their opinion on former White House Counsel John Dean's statement that President Bush admitted to an "impeachable offense" when he said he authorized the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without getting a warrant from a judge.
Boxer said, "I take very seriously Mr. Dean's comments, as I view him to be an expert on Presidential abuse of power. I am expecting a full airing of this matter by the Senate in the very near future."
Boxer's letter is as follows:
On December 16, along with the rest of America, I learned that President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without getting a warrant from a judge. President Bush underscored his support for this action in his press conference today.
On Sunday, December 18, former White House Counsel John Dean and I participated in a public discussion that covered many issues, including this surveillance. Mr. Dean, who was President Nixon's counsel at the time of Watergate, said that President Bush is "the first President to admit to an impeachable offense." Today, Mr. Dean confirmed his statement.
This startling assertion by Mr. Dean is especially poignant because he experienced first hand the executive abuse of power and a presidential scandal arising from the surveillance of American citizens.
Given your constitutional expertise, particularly in the area of presidential impeachment, I am writing to ask for your comments and thoughts on Mr. Dean's statement.
Unchecked surveillance of American citizens is troubling to both me and many of my constituents. I would appreciate your thoughts on this matter as soon as possible.
Barbara Boxer United States Senator

Monday, December 19, 2005

Excerpt from Harold Pinters Speech

As every single person here knows, the justification for the invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein possessed a highly dangerous body of weapons of mass destruction, some of which could be fired in 45 minutes, bringing about appalling devastation. We were assured that was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq had a relationship with Al Quaeda and shared responsibility for the atrocity in New York of September 11th 2001. We were assured that this was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq threatened the security of the world. We were assured it was true. It was not true.
The truth is something entirely different. The truth is to do with how the United States understands its role in the world and how it chooses to embody it.
But before I come back to the present I would like to look at the recent past, by which I mean United States foreign policy since the end of the Second World War. I believe it is obligatory upon us to subject this period to at least some kind of even limited scrutiny, which is all that time will allow here.
Everyone knows what happened in the Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe during the post-war period: the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought. All this has been fully documented and verified.
But my contention here is that the US crimes in the same period have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognised as crimes at all. I believe this must be addressed and that the truth has considerable bearing on where the world stands now. Although constrained, to a certain extent, by the existence of the Soviet Union, the United States' actions throughout the world made it clear that it had concluded it had carte blanche to do what it liked.
Direct invasion of a sovereign state has never in fact been America's favoured method. In the main, it has preferred what it has described as 'low intensity conflict'. Low intensity conflict means that thousands of people die but slower than if you dropped a bomb on them in one fell swoop. It means that you infect the heart of the country, that you establish a malignant growth and watch the gangrene bloom. When the populace has been subdued - or beaten to death - the same thing - and your own friends, the military and the great corporations, sit comfortably in power, you go before the camera and say that democracy has prevailed. This was a commonplace in US foreign policy in the years to which I refer.
The tragedy of Nicaragua was a highly significant case. I choose to offer it here as a potent example of America's view of its role in the world, both then and now.
I was present at a meeting at the US embassy in London in the late 1980s.
The United States Congress was about to decide whether to give more money to the Contras in their campaign against the state of Nicaragua. I was a member of a delegation speaking on behalf of Nicaragua but the most important member of this delegation was a Father John Metcalf. The leader of the US body was Raymond Seitz (then number two to the ambassador, later ambassador himself). Father Metcalf said: 'Sir, I am in charge of a parish in the north of Nicaragua. My parishioners built a school, a health centre, a cultural centre. We have lived in peace. A few months ago a Contra force attacked the parish. They destroyed everything: the school, the health centre, the cultural centre. They raped nurses and teachers, slaughtered doctors, in the most brutal manner. They behaved like savages. Please demand that the US government withdraw its support from this shocking terrorist activity.'
Raymond Seitz had a very good reputation as a rational, responsible and highly sophisticated man. He was greatly respected in diplomatic circles. He listened, paused and then spoke with some gravity. 'Father,' he said, 'let me tell you something. In war, innocent people always suffer.' There was a frozen silence. We stared at him. He did not flinch.
Innocent people, indeed, always suffer.
Finally somebody said: 'But in this case "innocent people" were the victims of a gruesome atrocity subsidised by your government, one among many. If Congress allows the Contras more money further atrocities of this kind will take place. Is this not the case? Is your government not therefore guilty of supporting acts of murder and destruction upon the citizens of a sovereign state?'
Seitz was imperturbable. 'I don't agree that the facts as presented support your assertions,' he said.
As we were leaving the Embassy a US aide told me that he enjoyed my plays. I did not reply.
I should remind you that at the time President Reagan made the following statement: 'The Contras are the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers.'
The United States supported the brutal Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua for over 40 years. The Nicaraguan people, led by the Sandinistas, overthrew this regime in 1979, a breathtaking popular revolution.
The Sandinistas weren't perfect. They possessed their fair share of arrogance and their political philosophy contained a number of contradictory elements. But they were intelligent, rational and civilised. They set out to establish a stable, decent, pluralistic society. The death penalty was abolished. Hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken peasants were brought back from the dead. Over 100,000 families were given title to land. Two thousand schools were built. A quite remarkable literacy campaign reduced illiteracy in the country to less than one seventh. Free education was established and a free health service. Infant mortality was reduced by a third. Polio was eradicated.
The United States denounced these achievements as Marxist/Leninist subversion. In the view of the US government, a dangerous example was being set. If Nicaragua was allowed to establish basic norms of social and economic justice, if it was allowed to raise the standards of health care and education and achieve social unity and national self respect, neighbouring countries would ask the same questions and do the same things. There was of course at the time fierce resistance to the status quo in El Salvador.
I spoke earlier about 'a tapestry of lies' which surrounds us. President Reagan commonly described Nicaragua as a 'totalitarian dungeon'. This was taken generally by the media, and certainly by the British government, as accurate and fair comment. But there was in fact no record of death squads under the Sandinista government. There was no record of torture. There was no record of systematic or official military brutality. No priests were ever murdered in Nicaragua. There were in fact three priests in the government, two Jesuits and a Maryknoll missionary. The totalitarian dungeons were actually next door, in El Salvador and Guatemala. The United States had brought down the democratically elected government of Guatemala in 1954 and it is estimated that over 200,000 people had been victims of successive military dictatorships.
Six of the most distinguished Jesuits in the world were viciously murdered at the Central American University in San Salvador in 1989 by a battalion of the Alcatl regiment trained at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA. That extremely brave man Archbishop Romero was assassinated while saying mass. It is estimated that 75,000 people died. Why were they killed? They were killed because they believed a better life was possible and should be achieved. That belief immediately qualified them as communists. They died because they dared to question the status quo, the endless plateau of poverty, disease, degradation and oppression, which had been their birthright.
The United States finally brought down the Sandinista government. It took some years and considerable resistance but relentless economic persecution and 30,000 dead finally undermined the spirit of the Nicaraguan people. They were exhausted and poverty stricken once again. The casinos moved back into the country. Free health and free education were over. Big business returned with a vengeance. 'Democracy' had prevailed.
But this 'policy' was by no means restricted to Central America. It was conducted throughout the world. It was never-ending. And it is as if it never happened.
The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. The horror the United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can never be forgiven.
Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn't know it.
It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.
I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It's a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, 'the American people', as in the sentence, 'I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people.'
It's a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words 'the American people' provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don't need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it's very comfortable. This does not apply of course to the 40 million people living below the poverty line and the 2 million men and women imprisoned in the vast gulag of prisons, which extends across the US.
The United States no longer bothers about low intensity conflict. It no longer sees any point in being reticent or even devious. It puts its cards on the table without fear or favour. It quite simply doesn't give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent, which it regards as impotent and irrelevant. It also has its own bleating little lamb tagging behind it on a lead, the pathetic and supine Great Britain.
What has happened to our moral sensibility? Did we ever have any? What do these words mean? Do they refer to a term very rarely employed these days - conscience? A conscience to do not only with our own acts but to do with our shared responsibility in the acts of others? Is all this dead? Look at Guantanamo Bay. Hundreds of people detained without charge for over three years, with no legal representation or due process, technically detained forever. This totally illegitimate structure is maintained in defiance of the Geneva Convention. It is not only tolerated but hardly thought about by what's called the 'international community'. This criminal outrage is being committed by a country, which declares itself to be 'the leader of the free world'. Do we think about the inhabitants of Guantanamo Bay? What does the media say about them? They pop up occasionally - a small item on page six. They have been consigned to a no man's land from which indeed they may never return. At present many are on hunger strike, being force-fed, including British residents. No niceties in these force-feeding procedures. No sedative or anaesthetic. Just a tube stuck up your nose and into your throat. You vomit blood. This is torture. What has the British Foreign Secretary said about this? Nothing. What has the British Prime Minister said about this? Nothing. Why not? Because the United States has said: to criticise our conduct in Guantanamo Bay constitutes an unfriendly act. You're either with us or against us. So Blair shuts up.
The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading - as a last resort - all other justifications having failed to justify themselves - as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people.
We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it 'bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East'.
How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice. But Bush has been clever. He has not ratified the International Criminal Court of Justice. Therefore if any American soldier or for that matter politician finds himself in the dock Bush has warned that he will send in the marines. But Tony Blair has ratified the Court and is therefore available for prosecution. We can let the Court have his address if they're interested. It is Number 10, Downing Street, London.
Death in this context is irrelevant. Both Bush and Blair place death well away on the back burner. At least 100,000 Iraqis were killed by American bombs and missiles before the Iraq insurgency began. These people are of no moment. Their deaths don't exist. They are blank. They are not even recorded as being dead. 'We don't do body counts,' said the American general Tommy Franks.
Early in the invasion there was a photograph published on the front page of British newspapers of Tony Blair kissing the cheek of a little Iraqi boy. 'A grateful child,' said the caption. A few days later there was a story and photograph, on an inside page, of another four-year-old boy with no arms. His family had been blown up by a missile. He was the only survivor. 'When do I get my arms back?' he asked. The story was dropped. Well, Tony Blair wasn't holding him in his arms, nor the body of any other mutilated child, nor the body of any bloody corpse. Blood is dirty. It dirties your shirt and tie when you're making a sincere speech on television.
The 2,000 American dead are an embarrassment. They are transported to their graves in the dark. Funerals are unobtrusive, out of harm's way. The mutilated rot in their beds, some for the rest of their lives. So the dead and the mutilated both rot, in different kinds of graves.
Here is an extract from a poem by Pablo Neruda, 'I'm Explaining a Few Things':
And one morning all that was burning, one morning the bonfiresleapt out of the earthdevouring human beingsand from then on fire, gunpowder from then on, and from then on blood. Bandits with planes and Moors, bandits with finger-rings and duchesses, bandits with black friars spattering blessingscame through the sky to kill childrenand the blood of children ran through the streetswithout fuss, like children's blood.
Jackals that the jackals would despisestones that the dry thistle would bite on and spit out, vipers that the vipers would abominate.
Face to face with you I have seen the bloodof Spain tower like a tideto drown you in one waveof pride and knives.
Treacherousgenerals: see my dead house, look at broken Spain: from every house burning metal flowsinstead of flowersfrom every socket of SpainSpain emergesand from every dead child a rifle with eyesand from every crime bullets are bornwhich will one day findthe bull's eye of your hearts.
And you will ask: why doesn't his poetryspeak of dreams and leavesand the great volcanoes of his native land.
Come and see the blood in the streets. Come and seethe blood in the streets. Come and see the bloodin the streets! *
Let me make it quite clear that in quoting from Neruda's poem I am in no way comparing Republican Spain to Saddam Hussein's Iraq. I quote Neruda because nowhere in contemporary poetry have I read such a powerful visceral description of the bombing of civilians.
I have said earlier that the United States is now totally frank about putting its cards on the table. That is the case. Its official declared policy is now defined as 'full spectrum dominance'. That is not my term, it is theirs. 'Full spectrum dominance' means control of land, sea, air and space and all attendant resources.
The United States now occupies 702 military installations throughout the world in 132 countries, with the honourable exception of Sweden, of course. We don't quite know how they got there but they are there all right.
The United States possesses 8,000 active and operational nuclear warheads. Two thousand are on hair trigger alert, ready to be launched with 15 minutes warning. It is developing new systems of nuclear force, known as bunker busters. The British, ever cooperative, are intending to replace their own nuclear missile, Trident. Who, I wonder, are they aiming at? Osama bin Laden? You? Me? Joe Dokes? China? Paris? Who knows? What we do know is that this infantile insanity - the possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons - is at the heart of present American political philosophy. We must remind ourselves that the United States is on a permanent military footing and shows no sign of relaxing it.
Many thousands, if not millions, of people in the United States itself are demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government's actions, but as things stand they are not a coherent political force - yet. But the anxiety, uncertainty and fear which we can see growing daily in the United States is unlikely to diminish.
I know that President Bush has many extremely competent speech writers but I would like to volunteer for the job myself. I propose the following short address which he can make on television to the nation. I see him grave, hair carefully combed, serious, winning, sincere, often beguiling, sometimes employing a wry smile, curiously attractive, a man's man.
'God is good. God is great. God is good. My God is good. Bin Laden's God is bad. His is a bad God. Saddam's God was bad, except he didn't have one. He was a barbarian. We are not barbarians. We don't chop people's heads off. We believe in freedom. So does God. I am not a barbarian. I am the democratically elected leader of a freedom-loving democracy. We are a compassionate society. We give compassionate electrocution and compassionate lethal injection. We are a great nation. I am not a dictator. He is. I am not a barbarian. He is. And he is. They all are. I possess moral authority. You see this fist? This is my moral authority. And don't you forget it.'
A writer's life is a highly vulnerable, almost naked activity. We don't have to weep about that. The writer makes his choice and is stuck with it. But it is true to say that you are open to all the winds, some of them icy indeed. You are out on your own, out on a limb. You find no shelter, no protection - unless you lie - in which case of course you have constructed your own protection and, it could be argued, become a politician.
I have referred to death quite a few times this evening. I shall now quote a poem of my own called 'Death'.
Where was the dead body found?Who found the dead body? Was the dead body dead when found? How was the dead body found?
Who was the dead body?
Who was the father or daughter or brotherOr uncle or sister or mother or sonOf the dead and abandoned body?
Was the body dead when abandoned? Was the body abandoned? By whom had it been abandoned?
Was the dead body naked or dressed for a journey?
What made you declare the dead body dead? Did you declare the dead body dead? How well did you know the dead body? How did you know the dead body was dead?
Did you wash the dead bodyDid you close both its eyesDid you bury the bodyDid you leave it abandonedDid you kiss the dead body
When we look into a mirror we think the image that confronts us is accurate. But move a millimetre and the image changes. We are actually looking at a never-ending range of reflections. But sometimes a writer has to smash the mirror - for it is on the other side of that mirror that the truth stares at us.
I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory.
If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us - the dignity of man.
* Extract from "I'm Explaining a Few Things" translated by Nathaniel Tarn, from Pablo Neruda: Selected Poems, published by Jonathan Cape, London 1970. Used by permission of The Random House Group Limited.
© The Nobel Foundation 2005

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Straight from the National Security Archives

Declassified Documents
Washington, D.C., 1 December 2005 - The largest U.S. intelligence agency, the National Security Agency, today declassified over 140 formerly top secret documents -- histories, chronologies, signals intelligence [SIGINT] reports, and oral history interviews -- on the August 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident. Included in the release is a controversial article by Agency historian Robert J. Hanyok on SIGINT and the Tonkin Gulf which confirms what historians have long argued: that there was no second attack on U.S. ships in Tonkin on August 4, 1964. According to National Security Archive research fellow John Prados, "the American people have long deserved to know the full truth about the Gulf of Tonkin incident. The National Security Agency is to be commended for releasing this piece of the puzzle. The parallels between the faulty intelligence on Tonkin Gulf and the manipulated intelligence used to justify the Iraq War make it all the more worthwhile to re-examine the events of August 1964 in light of new evidence." Last year, Prados edited a National Security Archive briefing book which published for the first time some of the key intercepts from the Gulf of Tonkin crisis.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Spoils of War

In my last post I listed everyone who was awarded contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan; here I take it a step further and compare those contracts with campaign contributions.

Not everyone that made political contributions were awarded contracts, but an overwhelming amount did. For the others, indeed for each of these contractors you will definitly find direct ties to government officials or agencies - for instance one guy has a company that he and his wife used to co-own - even though it was described as a woman owned company - she now works for the Pentagon and the company is in now soley his name - now to think that his family isn't profitting from that relationship is just silly, even if she doesn't have a personal conflict of interest. Ah semantics.

Interestingly enough some corporations didn't quite get the hang of it; Dell for instance contributed more than it received in contributions - I guess they are banking on futures.

All in all these contractors made close to a 39 billion dollar return on their investment in political campaigns. He'll the politicians are undercharging. My next task will be more daunting - I'm going to have to compare the individual stock portfolios of damn near every member of Congress, the Senate and the administration to see where they line up.

Contract Amount
Campaign Contribution
Return on their Investment
Kellogg, Brown & Root (Halliburton)
Parsons Corp.
Fluor Corp.
Washington Group International
Bechtel Group Inc.
Perini Corporation
Contrack International Inc.
Tetra Tech Inc.
USA Environmental Inc.
Zapata Engineering
International American Products Inc.
Research Triangle Institute
Louis Berger Group
BearingPoint Inc.
Creative Associates International Inc.
Readiness Management Support LC (Johnson Controls Inc.)
Chemonics International Inc.
Science Applications International Corp.
DynCorp (Computer Sciences Corp.)
Raytheon Aerospace LLC
EOD Technology Inc.
Development Alternatives Inc.
Vinnell Corporation (Northrop Grumman)
Abt Associates Inc.
International Resources Group
Ronco Consulting Corporation
World Fuel Services Corp.
Stevedoring Services of America
General Electric Company
Liberty Shipping Group Ltd.
TECO Ocean Shipping Co.
University of Nebraska at Omaha
PAE Government Services Inc.
Anteon International Corporation
American President Lines Ltd.
Ocean Bulkships Inc.
United Defense Industries, L.P.
Sealift Inc.
MZM Inc.
Camp Dresser & McKee Inc.
Red River Computer Company
DHS Logistics Company
Dell Marketing L.P.
Unisys Corporation
Sodexho Inc.
Force 3
EGL Eagle Global Logistics
John S. Connor Inc.
Logenix International L.L.C.
Landstar Express America Inc.
Mediterranean Shipping Company

Total Contracts $38,957,751,904.00
Total Contributions $48,706,356.00
Total Return $38,909,045,548.00

Who profits from war?

Ever wonder exactly who profits from war? Your leadership will tell you that war is not about making profits, but the numbers tell the lie. Here's a list of Government contracts for Afghanistan and Iraq in 2002. Just think what these contracts did for these corporations stocks.
If this isn't enough incentive to continue our practice of perpetual war, I don't know what is. Wouldn't every single one of these corporations lose their collective ass's in the market if we finally did achieve a lasting peace?
General Electric Company
Vinnell Corporation (Northrop Grumman)
Science Applications International Corp.
DynCorp (Computer Sciences Corp.)
Bechtel Group Inc.
Unisys Corporation
Fluor Corp.
United Defense Industries, L.P.
Kellogg, Brown & Root (Halliburton)
Dell Marketing L.P.
Raytheon Aerospace LLC
Readiness Management Support LC (Johnson Controls Inc.)
Washington Group International
Tetra Tech Inc.
Parsons Corp.
Research Triangle Institute
Anteon International Corporation
Abt Associates Inc.
American President Lines Ltd.
BearingPoint Inc.
Perini Corporation
Contrack International Inc.
Chemonics International Inc.
Force 3
Development Alternatives Inc.
Sealift Inc.
Kroll Inc.
World Fuel Services Corp.
Ronco Consulting Corporation
Dataline Inc.
Louis Berger Group
International Resources Group
TECO Ocean Shipping Co.
PAE Government Services Inc.
Creative Associates International Inc.
Stevedoring Services of America
Management Systems International
J & B Truck Repair Service
EOD Technology Inc.
Red River Computer Company
Camp Dresser & McKee Inc.
Military Professional Resources Inc.
International American Products Inc.
University of Nebraska at Omaha
Sodexho Inc.
Liberty Shipping Group Ltd.
Intelligent Enterprise Solutions
Zapata Engineering
USA Environmental Inc.
Global Container Lines Ltd.
Ocean Bulkships Inc.
Diplomat Freight Services Inc.
Landstar Express America Inc.
Native American Industrial Distributors Inc.
SkyLink Air and Logistic Support (USA) Inc.
Transfair North America International
DHS Logistics Company
John S. Connor Inc.
Nuttall, James S.
MZM Inc.
EGL Eagle Global Logistics
Logenix International L.L.C.
Mediterranean Shipping Company
Young, Brian

Focus: Center for Public Integrity

Although the majority of “think tanks” out there tend to be conservative or ultra-conservative in nature, there are a few that actually do good work. The majority of think tanks qouted in mainstream are from the right, in fact, according to a study by F.A.I.R. – 50% of quotations came from the right, 33% from the center and only 13% from the center left. From that perspective, it’s easy to see where the media’s bias lies, and it’s definitly not what you would call liberal. So in the interest of shining the light on some of these other underepresented groups and their viewpoints, I’ll make sure to give them a mention here. For my first choice I’ve chosen the Center for Public Integrity. This group offers research in several areas where corruption has tainted out body politic and even has some research tools to help you on your own investigations, like perhaps you were wondering where your state lawmakers assets are tied up? Check this link. Or check out the MediaTracker and InfluenceTracker. This is a really great site if you like the idea of doing your own research. My favorite resource offered by this site is handy little tool that will tell you exactly who has made contributions to your lawmakers campaigns – after all they say you can always judge a person by the friends they keep.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Donald Rumsfeld Profits from the Avian Flu

Just when we were getting used to Dick Cheney and his connection to Haliburton we find out that Donald Rumsfeld was the Chairman of the Board and a major stockholder in Gilead, the research facility that created the Avian Flu cure Tami-Flu. Donald was the CoB of Gilead from 1997 to 2001 when he joined the Bush Administration - interestingly enough the forst reported outbreak of Avian flu in humans was also in 1997 - coincidence - perhaps.

Fast forward to the present day hysteria - new laws have been passed based on the fear fomented around a potential Avian Flu outbreak, the new laws go hand in hand with Rummy's desire to create a more police like state. These laws allow the federal government to impose martial law and to use the national Guard to enforce a quarentine on any area determined to have an outbreak of Avian Flu - let's not forget that these guys like to give shoot to kill orders to stop people who violate curfews.

So Rummy gets a tyranical law passed and he has made huge profits from the increased sale of Tami-Flu. This years estimated profits from the sale of Tami-Flu is expected to be around 1 billion dollars in comparisson to 248 million in 2004. Coincidence - perhaps not.

We need new laws to insure the checks and balances of power in this country. When corporatists become politicians they tend to bring along the interests of their former employers, it assures them that their stocks will be profitable and also insures that when their time in office is done, plenty of people will owe them favors -i.e. consulting or lobbying positions.

Corporations are not only profitting from their monitary contributions but also from close personal ties - the next best thing to nepotism; of course they do that to, just observe the Bush and Kennedy families to name a few. Not only do the rich get richer while the poor get poorer but the powerful remain powerful and we reamain powerless against their attacks against humanity.

Remember Anthax? Made in the U.S.A - released on the U.S.A
Terrorism? Many terrorists were trained, funded and put in power by the U.S.A. and now were fighting them.
Bird Flu - create a vaccine and if the epidemic doesn't come on it's own...

It begs the question: Are we creating problems so that we can profit from fixing them.
Like the glass repairman that was arrested for shooting out peoples windows - yeah just like that.

Invest in Peace and Make War Unprofitable

Last night in a conversation with some friends, the issue of increasing the tax on tobacco products was brought up. The argument was that by increasing the cost of tobacco it would become cost prohibitive to indulge the nicotine addiction, thereby forcing countless citizens to quit smoking. Well, I thought that was kind of unfair, since the people who smoke are addicted to the substance, and meanwhile the companies that make the product still continue to profit.

Well then it struck me that the idea of creating taxes to restrain bad habits might not be so bad after all, but I thought we should take it a step further; what if we created a tax that made profiteering from war and the sale of the implements of war so cost prohibitive that it would actually become unprofitable to go to war? Would that possibly help to wean our nation off it’s addiction to mayhem? I think it would. What if every corporation that made weapons or were assigned no-bid contracts to rebuild what we destroyed had to do it pro bono, or at least reinvest all profit into social programs or the betterment of our infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals, public transportation, renewable energy etc. with a zero return to investors – let’s make war non-profit.

A windfall tax has been proposed for oil companies that profit from price gouging and the exploitation of natural disasters and regional instability in the Middle East. Here is an argument against the tax from the right: (
…economists who argue against a special windfall profits tax point out that these profits can be used to finance further exploration and production of oil. That is correct. But even if the companies gave every last penny of their windfall in dividends to stockholders, the profits would still serve as an incentive to find and produce more oil. The reason is that oil companies will see the government's action on this issue as a signal of future government actions. If the government taxes or otherwise discourages windfall profits by, for example, muscling them to donate some of these windfalls to charity, as Senator McCain has proposed, oil companies will anticipate similar government actions in the future. Knowing that they will be taxed or face intense pressure to give some of their wealth away, they will see a reduced revenue stream from producing and finding oil. Result: less oil than otherwise.

So what if we extended that tax to weapons manufacturers, infrastructure rebuilding corporations like Halliburton and Bechtel; would the results be less war and less weapons being created and sold to foreign governments? Could this possibly be a deterrent to our addiction to war. In a market economy profitability is everything, if it’s not profitable, it just doesn’t happen. When it comes to war, that would mean that the only wars we would ever get involved in would be those that have consequences that outweigh the profitability factor, like say an invasion on our soil.

Some would argue that if we don’t do someone else will, well as the leading arms supplier in the world, that probably wouldn’t be so bad, since we are the ones producing the lions share of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, not to mention fighter planes, blackhawk helicopters and stealth weapons. When it comes to war, the world would be a lot better off with stone age technology than our indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction.

Right now with the anti-war movement at it’s peak would be a great time to introduce this kind of legislation. There will be a big fight about it, some of the arguments would be that corporations that trade in death would be put out of business, that hundreds of thousands of jobs would be lost and that our economy would suffer. My first inclination is to say “so what”, but then I thought; what if we offered corporations tax benefits for doing work that fostered peace, equity and well-being for all. Instead of building missiles, tanks and stealth aircraft we focused on things like building more and better schools, medical equipment, hospitals – corporation like Halliburton that rebuild infrastructures we’ve destroyed could be redeployed to rebuild our infrastructure in an environmentally responsible way? With this plan we could achieve several victories for humanity. Less warfare worldwide, less pain, suffering and death, less corruption, a cleaner environment, a better educated populace and the list could go on. Investing in the principles of peace and preservation could replace war and destruction as the driving force of this nation.
In my mind, that’s a win-win situation for everyone.