Saturday, November 01, 2003

11 out of 15 

Yesterday was the deadline for the State Department to hand files over to the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding the intelligence used in the build up to the war in Iraq. No major American Newspaper has reported it in this morning's issue, but, with only 11 out 15 requested reports delivered by the due date, the BBC has "Senate receives Iraq Reports," and Al Jazeera reports "White House Fails to Meet Dossier Deadline."

Friday, October 31, 2003

The Second Rape 

A tabloid has posted a picture of the woman Kobe Bryant has allegedly raped. Her name is supposed to be protected under the law for rape cases, but Bryant's lawyer "accidentally" revealed it four times in court, and then made the claim that she had had sex with "three different men" the night before the rape was alleged to have taken place. Now, a picture of the girl taken at her prom has been published, face and all, alongside her name. The picture shows the girl revealing a garter belt she had on, and next to it, the headline is, "Did She Really Say No?"

"I think it's one thing to show a face, and we can all debate that for a really long time," said Lucky editor in chief Kim France... "Personally I'm against it, but I think it's a valid debate. But taking a photograph of a girl at her prom, having fun with her femininity, at a moment when everybody's allowed to feel free and sexual, and using it with the headline 'Did she really say no?' in the context of a rape case? I think that's horrifying." (From Salon)

I have to admit, I don't know if mentioning the Kobe Bryant case is something I want to do, because any attention that gets brought to this case is too much attention. On the one hand, there is the victims privacy, and on the other hand, there is the outrage over the violation of that privacy. Unfortunately, it's all connected to the same stupid, tragic body of power and domination. Because what if we believe what Kobe's defenders (and Bill O'Reilly) seem to imply- that this woman lied and is suing Kobe simply because "she wants the money"? If that were the case- and I am not saying it is- what is accomplished by a smear campaign? If the message is that women reporting these crimes are going to be publicly humiliated and attacked- before their innocence or guilt is established- then isn't it an attempt at pre-emptive coercion and control over women? The same barbarism is at work now that a court in Colorado has ruled that "third party consent" is acceptable when it comes to raping unconscious girls. In other words, if you rape a girl who is unconscious, but you can prove that someone else told you she said she would have sex with you, you are not guilty of rape. Interestingly enough, this is also in a sports context- football recruits at the University of Colorado in a gang rape case.

Ronald Reagan + 7.2% 

Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie sent a letter to CBS President Les Moonves about an upcoming miniseries that is critical of Ronald Reagan. "I respectfully request that you allow a team of historians to review the program for historical accuracy, and a panel of people who actually know the Reagans personally to review it for accuracy in its portrayal of them as individuals before it is aired."

I think this is good practice. It ought to work like this: We have historians review the accuracy of the Reagan Movie, and in exchange, we have independant historians review the historical accuracy of the Fox News Channel, addressing corrections when appropriate in a crawl at the bottom of the screen? It would have come in handy during the GW September 11th movie, as well as the Jessica Lynch miniseries. Honestly, Gillespie is offering a pretty sweet deal to dirty, honesty-hating, nation-destroying liberals like myself.


Everyone knows how exciting economics statistics are, so let's get to it! The Bush Administration is excited about the 7.2% increase in the gross domestic product. This is good enough to start the expansion of jobs in the economy. Bush is not taking credit, however, for the 8.6% increase in Americans that went "hungry last year to the point where someone in the household skipped meals because they couldn't afford them" according to the US Agricultural Department. I would like to note that Bill Clinton created 20 Million Jobs between 1993 and 1999- and managed to maintain a budget surplus. Not to mention, Mr. GW also makes the claim that "Two-and-a-half years ago, we inherited an economy in recession," which is, as that article points out, completely false. Unless there are new economic measures that factor in the occurance of extramarital oral sex as a hit to the GNP? Because god knows that Republicans steered our ship out of that storm.

Dean Kidnapped 

This is funny stuff.

All The President's Money 

Through google searches on each of the companies listed as donors for Bush via Opensecrets.

Here's who those people are:

1. Merril Lynch ($364,300)
From thier website: "The year 2002, most would agree, was the most difficult year in decades for our clients and our company. Geopolitical uncertainty, economic weakness and the loss of investor confidence converged to form a volatile market environment. The people of Merrill Lynch responded." Responded by sending some money to the Economist In Chief! Good job, boys!

2. UBS Americas ($260,990)
This company made a huge profit last year. Guess what they do? They're "the world's leading wealth management buisiness." They provide "...sophisticated services through consultative relationships with affluent and high net worth clients." Glad to see someone helping out the whole trickle-down thing. No doubt thier profits came from those huge income tax reductions I got last year as a middle class citizen- a whole $14.83!

3. PriceWaterhouseCoopers ($209,800)
This company, which monitors worker standards for Nike and the Gap, was at the heart of the "Move Your Company To Bermuda" concept that everyone says is costing this country billions in tax dollars. "Both Merrill Lynch and Price Waterhouse Coopers were fined last year by the IRS for their role in promoting improper tax shelters." (Miami Herald, 9/17/03).

Just to reiterate: Profits made by taking money from the people in this country, with goods shipped to and from people on roads paid for by tax payers, made by people with educations paid for by tax payers, are sending their profits offshore so they don't have to give anything back. Its good to see real "Patriots" stepping up to bat.

4. Credit Suisse First Boston ($203,050)
Ever heard of a "Swiss Bank Account?" These are the guys you go to with when you want one for your $14.83 cent tax return that the President gives you. But better than that, the American branch, CSFB, was run by Frank Quattrone, who is- surprise! - out of court October 24th based on a mistrial in a case concerning his actions after investigations into fraud claims were launched. The case "centered on an e-mail written by a subordinate and forwarded by Quattrone to his staff on Dec. 5, 2000, that encouraged employees to "catch up on file cleanup" by destroying some documents. Quattrone added a brief endorsement to the e-mail that concluded: "I strongly advise you to follow these procedures." (CBS News Website, Oct 24th, 2003)

5. Goldman Sachs ($196,850)
Yet another wealth management service. And yet another fraud investigation! From the explanation of the class action lawsuit: "Stock analysts, it seemed, encouraged customers to purchase and keep failing stocks; the result of Goldman Sachs stock fraud tactics was that the investment bankers were able to continue turning a profit on these companies. Goldman Sachs stock fraud guaranteed the client companies continued investment funds from shareholders, while selling the shareholder bad stocks. Goldman Sachs stock fraud investigations also found that Goldman Sachs manipulated several companies initial public offerings of stock (IPOs). Goldman Sachs stock fraud in IPOs includes inappropriate gifts of IPO stock to executive clients, such as Ford. The Goldman Sachs stock frauds also allegedly inflated stock prices as soon as the IPO hit the market. The various Goldman Sachs stock fraud tactics resulted in the loss of millions of dollars by investors-victims of Goldman Sachs stock fraud include both individuals and client companies." According to the Washington Post, "NYSE officials, who police the exchange on behalf of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said they plan disciplinary action against the five firms on charges that they violated "fundamental" exchange rules by making trades that enriched themselves at investors' expense." (Washington Post, October 17, 2003; Page E01) Spear Leeds, one of the five traders being investigated, is owned by Goldman Sachs.

6. MBNA Corp ($196,600)
These guys are the largest credit card issuer in the world. That's not hyperbole. When you don't have money for groceries at the end of the month, you get to pay 9.6% more on the plastic to these guys. They clearly want Americans to have good jobs because they really want to go out of business. Doesn't every company? MBNA was a major contributor to a huge bankruptcy reform legislation making it harder for people to get out of debt. "..their debts will have to be repaid under a plan that makes payment of credit card bills to wealthy corporations equal to paying child support or alimony." (Pitt News, Pittsburgh, March 26th 2001) The article goes on to quote then-Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota: "The big guys are going to win and the little people are going to get smashed ... no question about it. [The bill] is a wish list for the credit card industry and a nightmare for vulnerable families and vulnerable citizens."

7. Blank Rome LLP ($193,900)
One of the things this group of lawyers does is give advice to companies on how to win government contracts. This is from their website: "Blank Rome's Government Relations team maintains close working relationships with key policy makers in the Executive office of the President, and regularly consults with leadership at the Department of Energy, the EPA, and relevant Congressional Committees on behalf of our clients." In other words, they help set environmental policy. "We also represent businesses and financial institutions before the United States Congress on corporate tax and estate matters (e.g. repeal of the "death tax") pending before the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees, where we have successfully influenced public policy and achieved significant results for our clients."

8. Lehman Brothers ($191,500)
Part 1: "Lehman Brothers, an innovator in global finance, serves the financial needs of corporations, governments and municipalities, institutional clients, and high-net-worth individuals worldwide." (From their website)

Part 2: "In 2002, Lehman Brothers had its third best revenue year in another very difficult market environment. Although the economy and financial markets were weak, the Firm was strong."

Funny, when the economy was weak, the bank that caters to "high net worth" individuals had its third best revenue year since 1844. They are for sure looking out for the little guy, just like GW and Bill O'Reilly.

9. Bear Stearns ($163,200)
Subpoenaed! On Oct 16th 2003. We'll see how that turns out.

10. Union Pacific Corp ($157,250)
My favorite Bush Donor! A rail transportation and trucking company. According to Forbes: "For the 9 months ended 9/30/03, revenues rose 3% to $8.59B. [.] Revenues reflect increased shipments of military equipment and ammunition and ethanol."

Overview, Hello. 

"In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile-and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: Not necessarily to Win, but mainly to keep from Losing Completely. We owe that to ourselves and our crippled self-image as something better than a nation of panicked sheep, but we owe it especially to our children, who will have to live with our loss and all its long-term consequences." - Hunter S. Thompson

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