Friday, February 27


After the blackout of the summer of '03, Mr. Bush used the crisis as an opportunity to end public control over electricity and utility companies - "by repealing the Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA) and providing increased rates of return on new transmission investments."

In the next several weeks, the Bush-Cheney energy bill will come to the floor of the Senate for a vote, which Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn) says will pass easily.

The Bush-Cheney energy bill includes a provision that would repeal the Public Utility Holding Company Act.

In 1935, Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote "A Recommendation for the Regulation of Public Utility Holding Companies" to members of Congress, in which he warned, "Through the device of these pyramided holding companies, small groups of men with a disproportionately small investment were able to dominate and to manage solely in their own interest tremendous capital investments of other people's money."

The major networks and cable news shows have been largely silent on the energy bill; perhaps they've been too busy informing the American public of the latest in the Martha Stewart trial or the trouble in Haiti. If they do report on it, they say that the energy bill's been delayed "over a partisan debate on MTBE", a gasoline additive widely believed to be toxic and environmentally hazardous.

Earlier this week on Feb. 24, power groups were in Washington, DC attacking PUHCA in hearings on the reliability of the electric grid.

Jimmy Glotfelty, director of the Office of Electric Transmission and Distribution in the Department of Energy said, "I just spent two days meeting with investment bankers ... and time and time again we heard that repeal of PUHCA was necessary for more investment."

Phillip G. Harris, president and chief executive of PJM Interconnection, and James P. Torgerson, president and chief executive of Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator Inc., told Energy Chairman Pete Domenici, R-N.M.that eliminating PUHCA "would boost industry investment".

In 1938, Roosevelt was writing to Congress again about the corporate abuses of power and said, "The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism... ownership of government by an individual, for a group, or any controlling private power."

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Bush Decides Blowing Up Children Is Worthy Pursuit 

Bush reversed course for the nation today, deciding that instead of phasing out land mines by 2006 he would instead extend their use and create new land mines well into the future.

"Bush's decision drew expressions of outrage and surprise from representatives of humanitarian organizations that have pressed for a more comprehensive U.S. ban on land mines. They say the danger to civilians and allied soldiers during and after a war outweighs the benefits of such weapons. They also dispute the contention that unexploded smart mines are safe, saying there isn't enough evidence to know.

'We expected we wouldn't be pleased by the president's decision, but we hadn't expected a complete rejection of what has been U.S. policy for the past 10 years,' said Steve Goose, who heads the arms division of Human Rights Watch.

'It looks like a victory for those in the Pentagon who want to cling to outmoded weapons, and a failure of political leadership on the part of the White House. And it is stunningly at odds with what's happening in the rest of the world, where governments and armies are giving up these weapons.' "

You would think that a plan to increase the liklihood of children being blown to bits would be a bad thing, but not so. We need this technology. If we don't have it and don't use it, someone else will. What are you, a pansy? Want us to be run by terrorists? Why do you hate America so much?

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Bush Creates Jobs 

According to the AP, Bush had this brilliant observation in Kentucky as he spoke of his astounding success in pushing the economy into a startling recovery, wiping all unemployment concerns away:

"'Thirty jobs here, 30 jobs there - all around the country, small businesses are expanding because there's a sense of optimism about the future of this country,' Bush interjected. 'Look at what we've overcome.'"

Yeah, look what we overcame! 300,000 people lose jobs each month, but we're going to fix this by creating 30 jobs here and 30 jobs there.

And you thought we didn't have a plan.

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Hmmm, Could GM Crops Be Detrimental To Human Health?  

There is lots of debate about the safety of GM crops to the end user, i.e., the eater of the GM food, and there's plenty of evidence that GM crops have environmental effects on things like insects and other similar plant crops. But up to now, I hadn't heard that there was any effect on people living around GM farms. Unfortunately for Monsanto (who is refuting this claim), there are now sick villagers in the Philippines and scientists there think the GM corn is to blame.

"Scientists investigating a spate of illnesses among people living close to GM maize fields in the Philippines believe that the crop may have triggered fevers, respiratory illnesses and skin reactions.

If preliminary results are confirmed, it would be one of the first recorded cases of serious health problems associated with GM crops, and could damage the reputation of the biotech agriculture industry, which is rapidly expanding in developing countries.

The scientists' findings were immediately challenged by Monsanto, the world's leading GM company, and by the Philippine government.

The concern surrounds an unnamed village in northern Mindanao, where 39 people living near a field of Bt maize - which contains a pesticide in the gene - started suffering last autumn when the crop was producing pollen.

Doctors thought they had an infectious disease, but when four families left the village and recovered, and then showed the same symptoms on return, an environmental cause was suspected.

Terje Traavik, scientific director of the Norwegian Institute of Gene Ecology, was asked to investigate. Blood tests showed the villagers had developed antibodies to the maize's inbuilt pesticide. "

Read the rest here: Scientists suspect health threat from GM maize

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Richard Perle has resigned from his seat on the Defense Policy Board, a Pentagon advisory panel for the last time.

Perle is one of the neo-conservatives who insisted President Clinton invade Iraq in the '90s. In 2001, he got his wish.

The following was posted to my suspended blog at frankonion.blogspot.com on July 9, 2003.

On March 28th, 2003, Richard Perle, a leading advocate of the war in Iraq, resigned as chairman of the Pentagon Defense Policy Board. The advisory board (created in 1985 during the Reagan era) included a number of directors of major companies that advise the President on the country's strategic defense policies. Some of the current members of the Defense Policy Board include Ray Lee Hunt, Director of Halliburton and a Dallas oil producer with interests in the Middle East and Latin America, Ret. Marine General John J. Sheehan, Senior VP, Bechtel International, and Ret. Admiral David E. Jeremiah, Director, Wackenhut Corp., as well as an advisory board member of defense contractors Texas Instruments, ManTech Intl., and Northrop Grumman.

The 'official story' from the Pentagon was that Mr. Perle had resigned because of a controversy over his dealings with telecom company Global Crossing Ltd. Perle said in a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that he was stepping down at the height of the Iraq war because he "would not wish to cause even a moment's distraction from that challenge." What a patriot!

The news wires ran the above story even though there was absolutely nothing about it that should have been cause for Perle's resignation. Of course, Mr. Perle still gets to hang out in Washington.

The Scottish newspaper The Glasgow Herald reported Perle had become involved in a controversy after an article in the New Yorker said he had lunch in January with Mr. Adnan Khashoggi, billionaire Saudi broker. Harb Saleh Zuhair, the industrialist, was interested at the time in investing in a venture capital firm, Trireme Partners, of which Mr. Perle is a managing partner. According to the story, "Nothing ever came of the lunch in Marseilles and no investment was made, but the New Yorker story suggested Mr. Perle, a longtime critic of the Saudi regime, was inappropriately mixing business and politics."

The Associated Press also mentioned the Khashoggi connection and noted that Perle called the New Yorker story ["Why Was Richard Perle Meeting With Adnan Khashoggi?", March 17, 2003, New Yorker Magazine] preposterous and "monstrous."

During the Reagan Administration, Khashoggi was one of the middlemen between Oliver North, in the White House, and the Iranians. The Iran-Contra scandal almost landed the Saudi-born businessman in jail. President George Herbert Walker Bush later pardoned Khashoggi for any wrong-doing in the Iran-Contra affair.

The New Yorker article, written by Seymour Hersh, appeared March 17, on the day of the President's televised announcement that evening on his decision to go to war in Iraq. The article described Perle's Trireme company as "dealing in technology, goods, and services that are of value to homeland security and defense." Trireme had sent a two-page letter to Adnan Khashoggi arguing that the fear of terrorism "would increase the demand for such products in Europe and in countries like Saudi Arabia and Singapore", the article reported.

Mr. Perle was furious and threatened to sue Mr. Hersh. Even before the news hit the stands, Perle launched his counterattack Sunday on CNN's "Late Edition," declaring that Hersh is "the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist."

Perle must have known that his days as Chairman of the Defense Policy Board were now numbered.

Several days after Perle's resignation, on March 31, the New York Times reported Khashoggi as expressing caution on investment in Iraq, "There is so much hunger to go to Iraq," he said. "But are the Americans really going to take over Baghdad and get rid of Saddam? Or is Saddam going to drive them crazy? Even the Americans don't know!"

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Thursday, February 26

It Wasn't Spying 

We were just listening in with our British pals to the activities of the head of the UN without permission. No big deal.

"British spies conducted surveillance on United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan's office during the intense diplomatic struggle over whether to invade Iraq, a former cabinet minister alleged on Thursday.

Clare Short, who resigned in protest after the invasion, said she had seen transcripts of Annans conversations in the weeks before the war, which was launched last March.

'The U.K. in this time was also getting spies on Kofi Annan's office and getting reports from him about what was going on,' Short told BBC radio. 'These things are done, and in the case of Kofi's office it was being done for some time.'

Asked about Britain's role in the eavesdropping, she replied; 'Well I know - I've seen transcripts of Kofi Annan's conversations.'

She added: 'In fact, I have had conversations with Kofi in the run-up to the war thinking, 'oh dear, there will be a transcript of this and people will see what he and I are saying'.' "

See, if we don't know what they are saying, we can't manipulate them. How are we supposed to win if we don't have a sneaky, under-the-table, advantage? We've spent 40 plus years devising ways to not play fair, becuase we lose when we play fair.

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Wednesday, February 25

In Britain, No Maximum Wage Law, yet 

Phew! That was close. Jolly ol' England almost passed legislation, gasp, limiting executive pay. Good thing no one in the U.S. is passing this story around:

"The government today decided against imposing legislation to curb executive pay, even when companies underperform.

The trade and industry secretary, Patricia Hewitt, said that recent examples of increased activity by institutional investors, and the promotion of best practice, had the potential to resolve the 'rewards for failure' row.

'I have considered very carefully the question of whether to introduce further legislation in this area, and have concluded that this is not necessary at this stage,' she said in a statement."

Thanks you, Hewitt.

People might get ideas and institute a "Maximum Wage" to go along with the "Minimum Wage" here. People might get the idea to say no one can earn more than $1,000 an hour. Geez, that sounds so high, people would vote for it. That would be awful. All that money freed up and spread around for , gasp, anyone to use? Never!

Most of my pals make more like $20,000 a minute, so this would be viewed by the 1,000 or so of them as really extreme.

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Tuesday, February 24

Abrupt Climate Change 

You can read the entire Pentagon Report by Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall here.

From a press release sent out this morning from the organization BushGreenwatch.org, "The report's authors believe that climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a U.S. national security concern.' The report was commissioned by Andrew Marshall, a strategist and futurist who has advised the Pentagon for 30 years."

It goes on to state that "The Pentagon's climate change report has been ignored so far by American media, with the notable exception being an article in the February 9 issue of Fortune magazine. Fortune describes several disturbing trends that support the theory of rapid climate change, including the recent break-up of the Arctic's largest ice shelf, and increasing signs of a weakened ocean current which brings warmer water from the tropics north to the eastern U.S. and northern Europe."

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Monday, February 23

Climate Wars, Anyone? the Pentagon thinks so... 

You may be interested to know that a suppressed (but now leaked) Pentagon report on global warming predicts dire consequences for our world as soon as 2020. Even more dire than the most dire environmental global warming freak you've ever heard. Check this out:
A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.'

What was that thing about bending over, putting your head between your legs, and kissing your ass goodbye? Read the rest here: Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us

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New York Times Reports Al Gore Wins 

Note to Tim Russert (Meet the Press), The Nation, Liberals, the Democratic National Party Chair, and all Democrats:

Stop blaming it on Ralph Nader. Al Gore Won. The New York Times reports three years after Greg Palast first broke the news that, in fact, Al Gore would have won Florida if Florida Lt. Governor Katherine Harris and Gov. Jeb Bush had not purged the voter registration list of thousands of Democratic voters.

Warmest Regards...

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Without Dean, Democratic Primaries Turn Synthetic 

Joe Klein writes in this week's Time magazine ("Beware Flannel-Mouth Disease", Mar. 1, 2004) that now that Dean has bowed out, don't look for Edwards to offer any passion. The North Carolina millionaire Senator, formerly a trial lawyer, is too slick and too earnest, sort of like a cross between Robin the "Boy Wonder" and Pepe le Pieu. His responses are bewilderingly plain and lack the sharp rebuttal and directness of a Howard Dean. He has defined himself as Mister Sunshine (Mister Vice President I suspect) and during this week's debate is expected to don a white suit and a top hat and waltz around the stage singing "Here Comes Mister Fluffy."

Heinz Kerry, on the other hand, is the picture of an Internationalist. He went to a fancy Swiss private school, speaks fluent French, ordered Swiss cheese for his Philly cheesesteak, and "wears pastel Hermès ties - pink one at his Wisconsin victory celebration". Some claim Kerry even looks French. My ancestry is French, and John Kerry does not look the least bit French. I lived in the Czech Republic for seven years so I'm qualified to say that Kerry looks Czech, aging Czech male, with a little Austrian blood mixed in.

Meanwhile, Howard Dean, who's been resting peacefully in his ranch house in Vermont, came out to denounce Ralph Nader's announcement yesterday that he's running for the White House. Dean said he hoped Nader would "withdraw his candidacy in the best interests of the country we hope to become" but failed to mention what he thought Washington Democrats' best interests were.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) claimed that Americans had been fooled once by Mr. Nader and would not be fooled twice. After being fooled by the Democrats the past three years, who have supported the Republicans and the President and offerred no fight and opposition beyond questioning the appointment of judges to the supreme court, I fail to see Mr. Leahy's point.

The Democrats seem to have fallen back into their spineless ways.

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Bush Executes His Dog 

No Pardon for Spot:

"President Bush's dog Spot, the 15-year-old English springer spaniel who had remained eager to please despite increasing health troubles, has died.

Bush and his wife, Laura, went along with a veterinarian's recommendation to put Spotty - as the longtime Bush family pet was known - to sleep on Saturday, according to White House spokesman Allen Abney. She had suffered a series of strokes recently, including one this week, he said.


Mrs. Bush has often said that - especially with Bushes' two daughters off at college - talking about and playing with the dogs and the family's much more reclusive cat, Willy, make up a significant portion of the First Couple's entertainment."

Playing with his Willy is the President's main entertainment? Stop the presses!

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