Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Treason at the NYT - Not So Much

Curious Al Qaeda operatives didn't have to wait for the New York Times to reveal that the US was using SWIFT to track financial transactions. They could have downloaded this PDF back in December of 2002. Third report of the Monitoring Group established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1363 (2001) and extended by resolution 1390 (2002)
31. The settlement of international transactions is usually handled through correspondent banking relationships or large-value message and payment systems, such as the SWIFT, Fedwire or CHIPS systems in the United States of America. Such international clearance centres are critical to processing international banking transactions and are rich with payment information. The United States has begun to apply new monitoring techniques to spot and verify suspicious transactions. The Group recommends the adoption of similar mechanisms by other countries.
Update- Apparently you can only access docs if you go thru the "front door" and a search page and get a cookie.
Go to
and click "welcome." This takes you to a search page. Do an advanced search for-

Third report of the Monitoring Group established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1363 (2001) and extended by resolution 1390 (2002)
That will get you to the document.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Evil Document Casts Spell on Judges

Conservatives are always whining about how Supreme Court justices move to the left under the corrupting influence of - uh - I don't know, hanging out with Supreme Court justices, I guess. Here's a typical rant from David Frum at National Review Online -

There have just been too many instances of seeming conservatives being sent to the high Court, only to succumb to the prevailing vapors up there: O'Connor, Kennedy, Souter. Given that record, it is simply reckless for any conservative president to take a hazard on anything other than a known quantity of the highest intellectual and personal excellence.

The pressures on a Supreme Court justice to shift leftward are intense. There is the negative pressure of the vicious, hostile press that legal conservatives must endure. And there are the sweet little inducements--the flattery, the invitations to conferences in Austria and Italy, the lectureships at Yale and Harvard--that come to judges who soften and crumble. Harriet Miers is a taut, nervous, anxious personality. It is hard for me to imagine that she can endure the anger and abuse--or resist the blandishments--that transformed, say, Anthony Kennedy into the judge he is today.

Yeah, "vapors". That's it. Or perhaps the Supreme Court building is possessed by demons.

I have an alternative explanation - Supreme Court justices fall under the evil influence of the Constitution. Supreme Court justices are supposed to rule on the basis of constitutional law, even if it conflicts with their personal beliefs. Decisions are based on interpreting the Constitution, not by twisting the law to fit what one believes in one's heart.

Maybe they drift to the left because it's right.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Portrait of the Idiot as a Young Man

My friend, Tim Clark, has an interesting article on his site - Dysfunctional Management Education and Damaged Capitalism in America (168k PDF) by Yoshi Tsurumi, who was one of Dubya's teachers in the MBA program at Harvard Business school. While the bulk of the piece is about how the crap they teach in MBA programs these days produces the unethical monsters that run modern American corporations into the ground, it starts off with this remembrance of the young G.W. Bush.

Thirty-one years ago, George W. Bush was my student at Harvard Business School. In my class, he called President Franklin D. Roosevelt a "socialist," and opposed Social Security and the Securities and Exchange Commission, unemployment insurance, and other New Deal innovations, because he thought they were "bad for business." In reality, the New Deal innovations and the federal government's positive role in managing the economy bailed the U.S. out of the Great Depression, won World War II, produced the Golden Age of the post-World War II era, and repaired American democracy and capitalism.

In those days, however, Bush belonged to a minority of MBA students who were seriously disconnected from accepting the moral and social responsibility for their actions. Today, he would fit in comfortably with an overwhelming majority of business students and teachers. President George W. Bush epitomizes the dysfunctional aspects of MBA mindset - anti-intellectualism, flawed integrity, greed, and lack of compassion for the unfortunate. At present, to privatize Social Security - his dream since his MBA days - President Bush is falsely claiming that Social Security is insolvent and inefficient.

President Bush has modeled his presidency on the Gilded Age of the McKinley Presidency of 1897-1901. President McKinley saw to it that Washington was ruled by big business. Corrupt crony capitalism and rampant Wall Street's money games finally brought about the Great Depression. Under the Bush Administration, Wall Street's money games are dominating the economy, and the jobless economic recovery is hurting the global competitiveness of the U.S. economy. As it was during the McKinley-Gilded Age, America is beset by a widening income gap between the haves and have-nots and by mounting foreign debts and is rapidly resembling a divisive, undemocratic Latin American country.

George W. Bush really is the CEO President - an unethical and unconcerned President. The horrifying thing is that our economy is being destroyed by people just like him.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Bush Visits Nola...

...leads impromptu singalong.

Monday, August 29, 2005

New CAFE Standards Attempt End Run Around State Emissions Laws

While environmentalists are focused on the fuel economy aspects of the Bush administration's proposed new CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards, what is little noticed is an attempt to prevent states from setting tailpipe emission standards that are tougher than federal standards.

Norm Mineta unveiled a White House plan requiring higher mileage standards for cars and light trucks at a Los Angeles service station - in the state that leads the way on reducing automotive emissions of harmful greenhouse gases. But Bush's proposed reform of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards includes a provision directly conflicting with California's law, embraced so far by seven Northeastern states and, tentatively, by Washington. The new rules would prohibit states from setting higher emission standards than the federal government's. Automotive manufacturers sued over California's higher standards - litigation the Bush administration supports.

The California standards attempt to improve air quality by curbing emissions of greenhouse gases, beginning with the 2009 model year. Northeastern states - including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont - have embraced them.

Since the seventies, California has had tougher emissions standards than the rest of the country. As California is too large a market to ignore, automakers were forced to develop the technology to reduce emissions sooner than they would have if California hadn't forced them to. Other states benefited as well, since as national emission standards were tightened, the necessary R&D and gearing up for more advanced pollution control devices had already been done - effectively subsidized by the slightly higher prices paid by Californians for their vehicles. (That's OK, you can thank us later.)

But California is not going to take this lying down.

California Air Resources Board (ARB) Chair Cindy Tuck responded to statements made by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which assert that states do not have the authority to adopt motor vehicle standards that limit greenhouse gas emissions.

"NHTSA's preamble statement is not binding on ARB and is simply wrong. Congress gave California broad authority to adopt emission standards for motor vehicles when it passed the original Clean Air Act (CAA) in 1970 and it continued that authorization in the 1990 amendments. It has been understood for years that air quality regulations adopted by California might indirectly affect fuel economy, but the authority was granted nonetheless," said Cindy Tuck, ARB Chair.

The CAA gives the state clear authority to adopt motor vehicle standards that limit tailpipe emissions, with the understanding that those standards would likely differ from those adopted nationally. The state has stood firm on its assertion that California's greenhouse gas regulation is not a Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard but a pollution control standard that limits ozone-forming nitrogen dioxides and hydroflourocarbons (HFCs) as well as carbon dioxide. In addition to being primary building blocks of ozone, nitrogen oxides are major contributors to California's particulate matter and acid deposition problems.

"Our Greenhouse Gas regulation is the centerpiece of Governor Schwarzenegger's work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," Tuck said. "We will vigorously defend this regulation against unwarranted and misguided attacks."


So as usual, when they're waving their right hand around, you'd better keep an eye on what's going on with their left.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Melanie Morgan, Super Mom

Reading about the spontaneous grassroots "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy" tour organized by the spontaneous grassroots Move America Forward organization which was set up by the spontaneous grassroots Republican PR firm of Russo, Marsh and Rogers got me to thinking about Melanie Morgan, MAF's co-chairman.

I used to listen to Melanie when she was a reporter at KGO Radio in San Francisco. She was a good reporter with solid broadcasting skills and a pleasant demeanor. Then she left, and several years later came back to the Bay Area at right-wing talker KSFO. Something had changed; she was now a hate-spewing wingnut.

What the hell happened to her?

A lot, apparently, none of it good.

"I was in a terrible environment, [a] smoke-filled room, hardly taking care of myself. I was gambling right up until an hour before I gave birth."

After their baby son, CJ, was born, Morgan, who is now 42, swore that she would quit. "I think Morgan really believed that the arrival of our child was going to change everything," her husband Jack says.

It didn't. Two weeks after giving birth, she started gambling again. She brought CJ with her to the clubs. "He would sleep, and I would play," she recalls. "Then, when he would wake up and cry. That was the worst part because people around you don't particularly appreciate a crying child," she says.

The cocktail waitresses and the other gamblers helped take care of him. Her husband insisted that she stop bringing CJ to card games. So Morgan ordered her stepson Greg to babysit. Greg says that this was almost a daily occurrence.

By this time, Morgan was hiding from her husband. He put the baby in a car seat and drove around until he spotted his wife's car. One night, her husband confronted Morgan with her son. "I put the baby in the car seat in the center of the round poker table on the green felt with the chips and the cards and everything surrounding my son," he says. "And I looked at Morgan, and the other players were a little astonished. They're not used to seeing babies on the green felt," he says.

Sometimes he would bring the baby inside the card room and announce loudly, "Time to come home. Time to come home and be a mom and be my wife." It was, he says, "out of control."

One day, when Greg was looking after CJ, the baby wouldn't stop crying. He called her and asked her to come home. She refused. Greg ended up slapping CJ hard in the face, leaving a large bruise. A family doctor reported the bruise to child protective services, which ordered the couple to obtain family therapy. Morgan was told to quit gambling, or risk losing her baby.

Happily, Melanie got help for her gambling addiction and turned her life around. She is now a successful talk show co-host and a lie and hate spewing talking head on cable TV. But you have to wonder if her experience with no-good, meddling, liberal social workers might not have left her a tad bitter. Ya think?

And who would you rather have for your Mom - Melanie Morgan or Cindy Sheehan?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Smearing Cindy Sheehan: The Evolution of a Lie

One of the popular stories circulating in Wingnut World is that Cindy Sheehan has said that "America is not worth dying for." The only problem is, she didn't say that.
Our dear right-wing friends at DiscoverTheNetwork were kind enough to post a transcript of Cindy's talk at San Francisco State University on April 27, 2005. Amazingly, it appears to be accurate. Here's the relevant portion -
"I take responsibility partly for my son's death, too. I was raised in a country by a public school system that taught us that America was good, that America was just. America has been killing people, like my sister over here says, since we first stepped on this continent, we have been responsible for death and destruction. I passed on that bullshit to my son and my son enlisted. I'm going all over the country telling moms: "This country is not worth dying for. If we're attacked, we would all go out. We'd all take whatever we had. I'd take my rolling pin and I'd beat the attackers over the head with it. But we were not attacked by Iraq. "
Obviously, "this country" refers to Iraq.
When the story appeared on DiscoverTheNetwork's sister site, FrontpageMag, these words were combined with other parts of the speech and magically transformed into this -
"George Bush and his neo-conservatives killed my son," she said tearing up a bit. "America has been killing people on this continent since it was started. This country is not worth dying for."
Also, in the FrontPageMag article, by failing to begin a new paragraph with the quote, it is made to appear that it was perhaps part of a TV interview conducted before the speech which is referred to earlier in the same paragraph. But from the way it flows into the rest of the story (conveniently interrupted by a picture), it is clear that this is not the case. In addition, the pieces from which the quote is constructed appear verbatim in the fourth and fifth paragraphs of the transcript.
Finally, on Sunday I was accidentally watching Fox News and was surprised to see a video clip from the speech, and then Cindy was quoted as saying, "America is not worth dying for." Tellingly, there was no clip of this. Fortunately, this was caught by News Hounds.
So, apparently, spin is not enough for these people. They need to tweak the truth; in other words, they just lie.