Tag: ek Politics

Privatization

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Former Spy With Agenda Operates a Private C.I.A.

By MARK MAZZETTI, The New York Times

Published: January 22, 2011

Over the past two years, he has fielded operatives in the mountains of Pakistan and the desert badlands of Afghanistan. Since the United States military cut off his funding in May, he has relied on like-minded private donors to pay his agents to continue gathering information about militant fighters, Taliban leaders and the secrets of Kabul’s ruling class.

Hatching schemes that are something of a cross between a Graham Greene novel and Mad Magazine’s “Spy vs. Spy,” Mr. Clarridge has sought to discredit Ahmed Wali Karzai, the Kandahar power broker who has long been on the C.I.A. payroll, and planned to set spies on his half brother, the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, in hopes of collecting beard trimmings or other DNA samples that might prove Mr. Clarridge’s suspicions that the Afghan leader was a heroin addict, associates say.

Mr. Clarridge, 78, who was indicted on charges of lying to Congress in the Iran-contra scandal and later pardoned, is described by those who have worked with him as driven by the conviction that Washington is bloated with bureaucrats and lawyers who impede American troops in fighting adversaries and that leaders are overly reliant on mercurial allies.

His dispatches – an amalgam of fact, rumor, analysis and uncorroborated reports – have been sent to military officials who, until last spring at least, found some credible enough to be used in planning strikes against militants in Afghanistan. They are also fed to conservative commentators, including Oliver L. North, a compatriot from the Iran-contra days and now a Fox News analyst, and Brad Thor, an author of military thrillers and a frequent guest of Glenn Beck.

For all of the can-you-top-this qualities to Mr. Clarridge’s operation, it is a startling demonstration of how private citizens can exploit the chaos of combat zones and rivalries inside the American government to carry out their own agenda.

Making money in blogging.

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The latest rumor circulating about Keith (not that I’m star struck or anything, but he did in fact take the time to respond to a post of mine once, so it’s just professional courtesy) is that like Howard Fineman, Tucker Carlson, and others, he’s seeking his next fortune in the world of new media.

Did Keith Olbermann Bolt MSNBC to Create Media Empire?

By Dominic Patten & Sharon Waxman, TheWrap.com via HuffPo

Published: January 21, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

With two years left on his $7 million a year contract, Olbermann was seeking a full exit package but he really has his eye on creating his own media empire in the style of Huffington Post, according to the individual. That way, Olbermann would control his own brand and, in his view, potentially earn far more as an owner.

Umm…

Here’s a bit of free advice which, I’m afraid, is all I can afford.

I’ve heard that it’s possible to make money from blogging, but that’s certainly not my experience.

If you want to crosspost, you’re more than welcome to register.  I’d be grateful for your content.

Breaking! No more Keith!

Consider this a working thread.

My father, Richard, who is a devoted fan and TheMomCat have both informed me that Keith is fired.

Comcast coincidence?

I don’t have any more information.  Developments below.

Keith’s Sudden Farewell!

From Josh Marshall @ TPM, Keith’s first guest has left and arrived home to hear the news! He had no inkling of what was about to happen.

I was just on in the opening segment of Olbermann tonight. And I get home and get this press release from NBC saying this was the last episode of Countdown. At first I figured it had to be a spoof email because, jeez, I was on and I didn’t have any sense that any other than a regular Friday evening show was on. But sure enough I pulled up the recording and now I’m watching his final sign off.

MSNBC released the following statement on their new programming order:

Starting Monday, January 24, “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” will move to 8 p.m. ET/PT and “The Ed Show,” hosted by Ed Schultz, will move to 10 p.m. ET/PT on MSNBC. The announcement was made today by Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC. “The Rachel Maddow Show” will continue to air live at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

   Also starting Monday, Cenk Uygur, MSNBC contributor and host of the popular web show “The Young Turks,” will be filling in as host of the 6 p.m ET hour.

The New York Times

9:24 p.m. | Updated Keith Olbermann, the highest-rated host on MSNBC, announced abruptly on the air Friday night that he is leaving “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” immediately.

The host, who has had a stormy relationship with the management of the network for some time, especially since he was suspended for two days last November, came to an agreement with NBC’s corporate management late this week to settle his contract and step down.

In a closing statement on his show, Mr. Olbermann said simply that it would be the last edition of the program. He offered no explanation other than on occasion, the show had become too much for him.

Mr. Olbermann thanked his viewers for their enthusiastic support of a show that had “gradually established its position as anti-establishment.”

John Arivosis at AMERICAblog has a petition

I Stand with Keith

BFFs

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

High-profile Dem lawyer flacking for African strongman

Lanny Davis is now Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo’s man in Washington, as violence engulfs the African country

By Justin Elliott, Salon.com

Tuesday, Dec 21, 2010 10:54 ET

You’re the leader of a small African country facing an international outcry after reversing the results of a presidential election and dispatching your forces to suppress and kill opposition protesters. What do you do to turn the tide and keep your grip on power?

Call Lanny Davis.

The columnist and former special counsel to Bill Clinton specializes in lobbying for controversial corporate and foreign clients, particularly those seeking Democratic representation in Washington. But even for Davis, taking on Ivory Coast leader and flagrant human rights violator Laurent Gbagbo as a client, as he did this week, seems to cross some kind of line.

D.C. law firm to aid Ivory Coast opposition leader

THE INFLUENCE INDUSTRY

By Dan Eggen, Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, January 20, 2011

One of Washington’s top law firms has signed on to represent Alassane Ouattara, an Ivory Coast opposition leader who has been recognized as the winner of a disputed presidential election in that country.

In papers scheduled to be filed with the Justice Department on Thursday, Covington & Burling said it will “provide advice on international legal and policy matters” to Ouattara as he continues to try to take over from the ousted president, Laurent Gbagbo. The work will be done free of charge as part of the firm’s pro bono services, officials said.

The decision follows controversy late last year over former Clinton administration counsel Lanny Davis, who registered to become Gbagbo’s lobbyist in Washington after the disputed election Nov. 28. Davis, whose firm collected $300,000 in fees, said last month that he was severing the agreement with Gbagbo.

Lanny Davis’ African human rights disaster

When Davis was hired by Equatorial Guinea, the lobbyist said things would change there. They haven’t

By Justin Elliott, Salon.com

Wednesday, Jan 5, 2011 11:01 ET

Last April, when Democratic lobbyist Lanny Davis was hired by the government of Equatorial Guinea, he declared himself the “reform counsel” for the longtime dictator of the small, oil-rich African nation. Davis’ fee was $1 million per year plus expenses, and he and his client, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, promised widespread reforms and a new respect for human rights.

But today, human rights advocates who track Equatorial Guinea tell Salon that nothing has changed there and that Davis appears to be engaged in little more than a whitewashing exercise designed to rehabilitate the image of the Obiang regime on the international stage. And despite a direct promise by Davis to a reporter in June that political prisoners in Equatorial Guinea would be released, that has not happened.

Joe Lieberman – The Model Purple Senator

Lanny Davis, The Huffington Post

Posted: January 19, 2011 04:28 PM

In 1970, I was in the bathroom with a towel over my ears. In the living room, surrounded by my parents and friends, there you were — the sandek at the bris — holding my 8-day-old son Seth for the 3,000-year-old Jewish ceremony while the rabbi made the magic cut. I awarded you the title of godfather for doing me (and Seth) that great favor.

In 2000, you stood at the podium as the vice presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, the first Jew to be so honored, and I sat next to your mother, both of us crying, as you began your acceptance speech, in genuine wonder and awe: “Is this a great country, or what?”

In 2006, you lost a Democratic primary in Connecticut because your liberal base wouldn’t forgive you because you genuinely believed a democratic Iraq without Saddam Hussein was worth going to war over. I disagreed with you on that position. But I also knew that you were and always would be a progressive Democrat — that you had voted over 90 percent of the time with your fellow Democratic senators.

On primary night, when you had lost, I stood heartbroken in your hotel suite in Hartford, Conn. My son and your godson, Seth, now 36 years since the magic cut, arrived.

“So sorry, Godfather,” Seth said.



There is something especially sad that you, an important symbol of decency in politics, should pick this week to announce your retirement — the week after the murderous violence in Tucson, Ariz., left so many people in America frightened of the atmosphere of violence and polarization that has become the hallmark of our politics in too many places.

You will be missed, Sen. Lieberman — just at the time where the role of a “bridge-builder” between Democrats and Republicans, between liberals and conservatives, is needed more than ever.

You showed it is possible to be a genuine liberal Democrat on the major issues — but still able to work with Republicans, with conservatives, and be trusted by them. You were the model “purple” politician.

Bradley Manning Petition

Oliver North’s Pre-Trial Conditions for UCMJ Violations Dramatically Different than Bradley Manning’s

By: Jane Hamsher, Firedog Lake

Thursday January 20, 2011 9:35 am

David House is the only person aside from Bradley’s lawyer who visits him regularly. He recently wrote about Bradley’s conditions here at FDL, which include severe restrictions on his ability to exercise, communicate or even sleep. Manning has not been convicted of any crime, nor is there a date for any court hearing. The New York Times recently reported that these techniques are being used to induce Manning to flip on Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

I don’t recall Oliver North being subjected to anything like that while he was awaiting trial.

Over 30,000 people have signed the petition. We’d like to get it up to 50,000 by the time David delivers them. I promise to be a faithful videographer and bring back video of David’s experience with the petitions, to the extent that it is allowed on the base.

A Proper Snow

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

“For the first time I can remember…”

But it’s not the first time I can remember because it’s a benefit of Stars Hollow that I could grow up as a kid with snow banks high enough to construct a proper waist high fort with plenty of reserve ammunition, a life size snow person (I dunno, isn’t three balls how we all look?), and a highly dangerous block long sled run through multiple yards and hedges.

Keep your arms inside the car and stop or bail out before you hit one.  Not that there’s much traffic, but you could have an evil look out.

When I was in upstate New York it snowed all the time and I plowed home with positrac more than once which was quite a contrast from the tropical confines of the heated pools where I worked.  One day I walked over 2 miles in sub zero temperatures because the Blue Shark (my car at the time) wouldn’t start.

My friends would cross country ski through the park across the street which I tried a couple of times but found the uphill parts fatiguing and the downhill parts terrifying so I soon gave that up (they were good losers at Flash Bowling though).

Other amusements were Pitch (also called Set Back) which we played at work whenever we had a break, and Wednesday night Season Pass to the local mountain to shiver on a lift and not sweat your way up a slope.  Quite the sight to see all those skis rusting at the side of the pool.

Then there was the year I snooted the last six pack of Knickerbocker (that vile) at the Universal Market which happened to be right next to my dorm.

The point is that while I can remember what I consider “normal” snow I haven’t seen it much recently.  It’s reminded me of the early springs when I used to crunch through patches of dirt frost on my way to the library and imagined I was on a terraformed Mars.  This is the warmest year ever.

The world our children will inherit will be deeper, steeper, warmer, and wetter (not in a good way) than ours.

Does Money Make You Stupid?

Crossposted in part from The Stars Hollow Gazette

I can of course only speculate (unless you want to give me some), but returning to the theme of last week’s Gold diaries, including 2 by TranslatorPopular Culture and Pique the question always is can you eat it?

Gold is easily digestible, since it is non reactive, but it has no nutritional value.  It’s eating dirt, like the Haitians.

Oil is more dirt eating, only it goes up in the air to kill us and is quickly disappearing.  A real economist would expect the value of Gold v. Oil to decline due to supply and demand, but what do I know?

The real utility of Money is not as a store of value, but as a medium of exchange.  By turning over the ability to create money to private enterprises with little regulation through leverage we’ve encouraged a series of financial inflations in the speculative value of assets that will never be realized in a free market.

Even the most Randian will admit there will be winners and losers, their problem is that compared to their exposure to loss there is literally not enough money in the world to cover their bets.

Eventually it’s this shadow economy that’s going to have to take a hair cut and a devaluation.

Why?

Because that’s where the money is.

If you are leveraging 30 : 1 (that is, betting 30 for every 1 you actually have) where is the bigger number?

I suspect that it’s all part of a Communist plot.

What could possibly go wrong?

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

BP Forms Partnership To Explore In Russia

By JULIA WERDIGIER, The New York Times

Published: January 14, 2011

The British oil giant BP agreed on Friday to a partnership with Rosneft, a Russian company, forming an alliance to explore the Russian Arctic.



The two companies would explore three license blocks on the Russian Arctic continental shelf that were awarded to Rosneft last year and span about 50,000 square miles.



“This acquisition will almost certainly complicate the politics of levying and collecting damages from BP following their Gulf of Mexico oil spill,” Mr. Markey said.

As part of the agreement, Rosneft and BP will set up an Arctic technology center in Russia “to develop technologies and engineering practices for the safe extraction of hydrocarbon resources from the Arctic shelf,” the companies said in a joint statement.

Presidential Oil Spill Commission Final Report

Presidential Oil Spill Commission Final Report

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Tuesday the Presidential Oil Spill Commission released it’s final report.  Some reactions from Google News.

Oil spill panel calls for tighter federal rules, new fees for drilling

By Juliet Eilperin and David S. Hilzenrath, Washington Post Staff Writers

Tuesday, January 11, 2011; 9:16 PM

The presidential oil spill commission said Tuesday that the federal government should require tougher regulation, stiffer fines and a new industry-run safety organization, recommendations that face an uncertain future in the new Congress.

Former senator Bob Graham (D-Fla.), one of the commission’s co-chairmen, said that the Deepwater Horizon accident was “both foreseeable and preventable,” and that Congress and the administration needed to enact reforms in order to prevent a repeat of the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

“I am sad to say that part of the answer is the fact that our government helped let it happen,” Graham said. “Our regulators were consistently outmatched.”

Oil spill panel calls for reforms, fees

By Juliet Eilperin and David S. Hilzenrath, Washington Post Staff Writers

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Environmental groups immediately protested that the recommendations do not go far enough, and industry groups argued that the government should stop standing in the way of offshore drilling and production.

While calling for tougher government regulation, the commission also called for the oil and gas industry to establish a “self-policing” organization that would set and enforce safety standards. In addition, it endorsed a system used in the North Sea that calls on drilling companies to assess the risks involved in a particular well and tailor their operations accordingly.

University of Maryland law professor Rena Steinzor, president of the Center for Progressive Reform, said such deference to the companies would be “tragedy compounded,” adding, “If there ever was an industry that didn’t deserve to write its own plans, it’s this one.”

The Next Oil Spill: Five Needed Mandates to Head it Off

Marianne Lavelle, National Geographic News

Published January 11, 2011

As the oil industry forges deeper into riskier waters and other frontiers, both companies and government overseers need to radically overhaul their approach to safety, concluded the U.S. commission appointed by President Obama to examine the causes of BP’s disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The seven-member commission agreed unanimously that the spill was not caused by the actions of one rogue player, but by a systemic failure born of years of complacency.

“In the past 20 years, exploration moved into deeper and deeper and riskier and riskier areas of the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in abundant revenues for private companies and the federal Treasury,” said former Florida Senator Bob Graham, co-chairman of the panel.

Slave is a job description

Something else to worry about

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Bumble Bees In U.S. Suffer Sharp Decline, Joining Countless Other Species Disappearing Worldwide

Travis Walter Donovan, The Huffington Post

1/4/11, 01:26 PM

Honey bees have long been known to be in decline, suffering from the enigmatic colony collapse disorder, and the latest research on U.S. bumble bees only exacerbates concerns over future food production, as bees are responsible for pollinating 90 percent of the world’s commercial plants, from fruits and vegetables to coffee and cotton.



Unfortunately, insects aren’t the only creatures suffering drastic losses to their populations. Tigers could be extinct in 12 years if efforts to protect their habitats and prevent poaching aren’t increased. A recent study across three continents showed snakes to be in rapid decline due to climate change. Overfishing and changing weather patterns have left 12 of the world’s 17 species of penguins experiencing steep losses in numbers. A recent World Wildlife Fund report found that all animals in the tropics have declined by 60 percent since 1970, with everything from gorillas to fish thinning out.

Honey laundering: The sour side of nature’s golden sweetener

JESSICA LEEDER – Global Food Reporter, Globe and Mail

Jan. 06, 2011 2:07PM EST

What consumers don’t know is that honey doesn’t usually come straight – or pure – from the hive. Giant steel drums of honey bound for grocery store shelves and the food processors that crank out your cereal are in constant flow through the global market. Most honey comes from China, where beekeepers are notorious for keeping their bees healthy with antibiotics banned in North America because they seep into honey and contaminate it; packers there learn to mask the acrid notes of poor quality product by mixing in sugar or corn-based syrups to fake good taste.

None of this is on the label. Rarely will a jar of honey say “Made in China.” Instead, Chinese honey sold in North America is more likely to be stamped as Indonesian, Malaysian or Taiwanese, due to a growing multimillion dollar laundering system designed to keep the endless supply of cheap and often contaminated Chinese honey moving into the U.S., where tariffs have been implemented to staunch the flow and protect its own struggling industry.



While many of the executives are still at large, U.S. investigators arrested four honey brokers in the U.S. who are Chinese or Taiwanese nationals with connections to ALW. All have plead guilty; three have been sentenced to a range of jail terms and deportation proceedings are continuing. The fourth is scheduled for sentencing in Seattle this week.



Mr. Adee, the beekeeper, said he’s been attending talks in Washington to convey who the targets of honey laundering probes should really be.

“It’s kind of like they’re running a car-stealing ring,” he said. “You catch the guy stealing the car and put him out of business. But the guy that’s laundering, the chop shop or the packer, he just finds another supplier,” he said, adding: “I think it’s going to keep getting worse until we catch a couple of big ones, give them a little jail time.”

Load more