Monday, December 27, 2010

UNDER THE RUG: What Project Censored Missed and MSM Didn't Want You to Know in 2010

There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.
Harry S. Truman

The past is never dead. It's not even past.
William Faulkner

This is the second consecutive year that I've highlighted stories that our mainstream media (MSM) outlets seemed to be oblivious of. For the last 35 years, this is a task that Project Censored has done a fantastic job of doing with their annual list of Top 25 Censored Stories. But sometimes, even with their great track record of illuminating "the most important underreported stories" of the year, some stories slip through the cracks. Last year, I highlighted two such stories, this year I have four to report. In retrospect, I should have reported three stories last year, there was an important story I neglected which I will reference when I report the final story.

STORY #1: Key Evidence From Russian Report Corroborating Allegations of Ronald Reagan's Presidential Campaign Interference in 1980 "October Surprise" Hidden From the American Public in 1993

This revelation was reported by George Polk Award winning investigative reporter Robert Parry on May 6, 2010. I wrote about this report in a blog post commemorating the 30th anniversary of the October Surprise. Here's an excerpt from that report:

Key October Surprise Evidence Hidden

By Robert Parry (A Special Report)
May 6, 2010

A Russian government report, which corroborated allegations that Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign interfered with President Jimmy Carter’s Iran-hostage negotiations in 1980, was apparently kept from the Democratic chairman of a congressional task force that investigated the charges a dozen years later.
Lee Hamilton, then a congressman from Indiana in charge of the task force, told me in a recent interview, “I don’t recall seeing it,” although he was the one who had requested Moscow’s cooperation in the first place and the extraordinary Russian report was addressed to him.
The Russian report, which was dropped off at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow on Jan. 11, 1993, contradicted the task force’s findings – which were released two days later – of “no credible evidence” showing that Republicans contacted Iranian intermediaries behind President Carter’s back regarding 52 American hostages held by Iran’s Islamic revolutionary government, the so-called October Surprise case.
I was surprised by Hamilton’s unfamiliarity with the Russian report, so I e-mailed him a PDF copy. I then contacted the task force’s former chief counsel, attorney Lawrence Barcella, who acknowledged in an e-mail that he doesn’t “recall whether I showed [Hamilton] the Russian report or not.”
In other words, the Russian report – possibly representing Moscow’s first post-Cold War collaboration with the United States on an intelligence mystery – was not only kept from the American public but apparently from the chairman of the task force responsible for the investigation.
There was a follow-up article that Robert Parry wrote in June 2010 that I neglected to mention in my October blog post. Here is an excerpt of that article:


The Tricky October Surprise Report

by Robert Parry
Originally published in yesterday, 17 June 2010

A congressional report on a turning point of modern U.S. political history – whether candidate Ronald Reagan struck a treacherous deal with Iranian radicals to help win the White House in 1980 – was written haphazardly and deceptively, including an apparently false claim that Reagan’s innocence was approved unanimously by a House task force.
A recent reexamination of the task force’s work also reveals that evidence implicating Reagan’s campaign in a pre-election deal to delay the release of 52 Americans then held hostage in Iran was kept from the U.S. public and even from members of the task force; that senior staff investigators shelved late-arriving evidence of Republican guilt; and that dissent within the task force was suppressed.
Recently, one task force member, retired Rep. Mervyn Dymally, D-California, while working on his personal memoirs, noticed that the cover letter accompanying the task force report claimed that there had been a unanimous vote on Dec. 10, 1992, exonerating Reagan. Dymally told me that he knew of no such vote on that date nor at any other time.
When I contacted former task force chairman Lee Hamilton, he told me that he would not have claimed there was a unanimous vote if there hadn’t been one.
However, when I checked with the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I was told that no record could be found of a roll call of the task force vote. “From the records we have there is no evidence of a recorded vote,” said committee spokesman David Barnes in an e-mail. (In the mid-1990s, when I searched through the task force’s unpublished files, I also found no record of a roll call.)

In addition to the new revelation that task force member Dymally did not approve of the findings of the investigation, Parry's article does a wonderful job of providing a context for what these revelations really mean in the world today. The election of 1980 was truly a cultural crossroads where America faced two distinct choices. To quote Parry, "The significance of Reagan’s victory on modern American history can hardly be overstated. For instance, while Carter wanted to use his second term to press for U.S. energy independence and to secure a lasting Middle East peace, Reagan had little use for such policies and instead pushed through an anti-government agenda of tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation of corporations." While the anti-government agenda, which Parry mentions, is a distinct aspect of the Tea Party mentality that fueled the House GOP takeover this November, another aspect that remains entrenched since 1980 is the lack of accountability that allows such criminal behavior to flourish. Though the October Surprise was a prequel involving many of the same players in the Iran-Contra scandal, it was the last chapter in the official cover-up by our government.

STORY #2: Fired AIPAC Employee Steve Rosen Threatens to Expose Massive Spy Ring, Files $20 Million Lawsuit Alleging Passing Classified Info is Common Practice

This story has an explosive potential on many levels. As I detailed in my November blog post, exposing the AIPAC Spy Scandal could open a Pandora's Box that Sibel Edmonds detailed revolving around multi-billion dollar drug smuggling and black market nuclear sales to terrorists such as what Valerie Plame's cover company, Brewster Jennings & Associates, was tracking prior to being exposed in the media. If that wasn't explosive enough to interest MSM, there is also the tawdry sexual aspects of this case:

Ex-AIPAC official threatens to uncover mass spying at Israel lobby

By Daniel Tencer
Sunday, November 21st, 2010 -- 11:41 am

 Ex AIPAC official threatens to uncover mass spying at Israel lobby
Top AIPAC officials visited prostitutes, regularly watched porn at work: claim
Is US's most influential advocate for Israel about to implode?
Steve Rosen, who was in charge of foreign policy issues at AIPAC until 2005, is suing his former employer for $20 million, alleging that AIPAC defamed him when they fired him. Rosen and colleague Keith Weissman were charged in 2004 with espionage for allegedly pressuring a Washington Post reporter into running classified US government information they had obtained about Iran. The charges were dropped last year, evidently due to lack of evidence.
Rosen says his actions were common practice at the organization. He said his next move is to show that AIPAC, Washington’s major pro-Israeli lobbying group by far, regularly traffics in sensitive U.S. government information, especially material related to the Middle East.
"Unfortunately for AIPAC, Rosen has 180 documents which could prove that Howard Kohr, AIPAC's executive director, and probably the AIPAC board as well, knew exactly what Rosen was doing," reports M.J. Rosenberg at Al-Jazeera.
He suggests that Rosen's threat to reveal AIPAC trafficking of data is meant to intimidate the lobby group into settling out of court. Making the lawsuit go away "will not be easy - even if Steve Rosen ultimately accepts a payoff from the organization and refrains from telling what he knows," Rosenberg writes.

One month later, this story is still alive and MSM still refuses to touch it:

FRIDAY UPDATE: AIPAC Bill Passage Shows AIPAC Weakness, Plus Rosen Follies, & The GOP Rabbi's Chutzpah Lands Him With 20 Years

AIPAC scandal finally shows on Hill. My earlier piece indicated that the AIPAC/Berman bill's quick passage showed that the status quo lobby is as strong as ever. This fine analysis by Josh Ruebner after the bill's passage indicates otherwise!
The Forward reports on some new filings on the AIPAC espionage/sex/blackmail case. (And here is JTA on same)
Steve Rosen, pushing with all his might for a $20 million payoff, asserts that there are other occasions (other than the one for which he was indicted) in which AIPAC trafficked in government secrets. He is the worst enemy the lobby ever had. (Irony. When I worked there, I always told my friend, then executive director, Tom Dine, to fire that spook before he destroyed the organization. I'm glad he ignored me).
The Forward thinks that AIPAC will ultimately settle. Of course it will. It cannot allow AIPAC to be exposed for what it is.
But, so what. The payoff itself will send a clear message that AIPAC cannot allow the truth to come out. Remember that memo Steve Rosen sent to me in 1982: "A lobby is a nightflower. It thrives in the dark and withers in the sun."
I believe Mr. Rosenberg's analysis of the story may prove to be correct. AIPAC will not allow the truth to come out. The deeper underlying truth is that the AIPAC Spy Scandal is bigger than AIPAC, it's bigger than Israel. This is a common misunderstanding; when I originally posted my blog post of this story at Democratic Underground, my original post in the General Discussion forum received 186 recommendations. However, one of the moderators moved my post to the Israel/Palestine forum, apparently not comprehending that the broader context and real focus of this scandal is not AIPAC or Israel: it's the neo-cons!
The commonplace espionage exhibited in this scandal appears to be part of a broader set of FBI and Pentagon investigations of close collaboration between prominent U.S. neo-conservatives and foreign officials going back 40 years. Apparently, this informal right-wing network began in 1970 led by Democratic Senator Scoop Jackson, whose staffers included Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Elliott Abrams and Paul Wolfowitz. In October 1970, an FBI wiretap at the Israeli Embassy records Richard Perle discussing classified information with an Israeli official. In 1978, Paul Wolfowitz was investigated for allegedly passing a classified document on proposed US weapons sales to Israel through AIPAC. Elliott Abrams, of course, was indicted for deceiving Congress on the Iran-Contra scandal and Douglas Feith was questioned in 2004 about passing classified information to an Iraqi politician or a U.S. lobbying group allied with Israel.
But the habit of neo-cons passing classified info extends beyond the original circle of Jackson staffers and beyond just Israel and AIPAC. As detailed in my UNDER THE RUG post last year, Marc Grossman and Dick Armitage exposed Valerie Plame's classified cover company in June 2001 to Turkish clients connected with the American Turkish Council. In 1989, Doug Feith registered International Advisors Inc. (IAI) as a foreign agent representing the government of Turkey, earning $60,000 a year for doing so from 1989-1994. And then there is Michael Ledeen. Ledeen served as the go-between for Oliver North in the early stages of the Iran/Contra scandal, working with Israeli spy David Kimche to gain the release of US hostages in Beirut through an Iranian arms dealer, Manucher Ghorbanifar. He also received $120,000 in 1980 or 1981 from Italian intelligence agency SISMI and was reputed by the CIA station in Rome to also be an agent of influence of Israel.
These are all questionable associations, some which may or may not be connected with the threats that Rosen made in 2010 regarding his lawsuit. A thorough investigation might resolve some of these questions. But considering the lack of attention MSM is shining on this case, that possibility seems remote.

STORY #3: Mumbai Plotter Worked for DEA While Training With Terrorists
This is a story I had written about when it was originally reported in October:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mumbai Attacks Update: The DEA Connection

Almost two years ago, there were a series of coordinated terror attacks on multiple targets in Mumbai, India that killed 166 people, including six Americans. At the time, I wrote a blog post about it titled Who's really responsible for Mumbai? Dick Cheney doesn't want you to know. It explored how the primary suspects in the terror attacks, Dawood Ibrahim and the terror group Lashkar-e-Toiba, were connected with Dick Cheney through their mutual financial profiteering via the A.Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network. There was also reports cited that the attackers might not have all been Arab or Pakistani; the possibility of a Chechen connection was explored because of tactical similarities and eyewitness accounts of "foreign looking, fair skinned" men with "blonde hair" and "a punkish hairstyle".

Since then, there has been minimal exposure in American mainstream media (MSM) regarding investigations into the Mumbai attacks. But recently, there has been a bombshell revelation:

Feds Confirm Mumbai Plotter Trained With Terrorists While Working for DEA

by Sebastian Rotella
ProPublica, Oct. 16, 2010, 11:04 p.m.


Feds Confirm Mumbai Plotter Trained With Terrorists While Working for DEA [1]

U.S. Embassy Didn’t Pass Along Tip About Headley’s Ties to Terrorists [2]
Federal officials acknowledged Saturday that David Coleman Headley, the U.S. businessman who confessed to being a terrorist scout in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, was working as a DEA informant while he was training with terrorists in Pakistan.
Federal officials, who spoke only only on background because of the sensitivity of the Headley case, also said they suspect a link between Headley and the al Qaeda figures whose activities have sparked recent terror threats against Europe.
Courtroom drawing of David Coleman Headley, left. Dec. 9, 2009. (Verna Sadock/AP Photo)
Courtroom drawing of David Coleman Headley, left. Dec. 9, 2009. (Verna Sadock/AP Photo)
The revelations came after a report Friday [3] by ProPublica and the Washington Post that the FBI had been warned about Headley’s terrorist ties three years before the Mumbai attacks. Headley wasn’t arrested until 11 months after the attack.
After Headley was arrested in a 2005 domestic dispute in New York City, his wife told federal investigators about his long involvement with the terrorist group Lashkar-i-Taiba and his extensive training in its Pakistani camps. She also told them he had bragged about being a paid U.S. informant while undergoing terrorist training.


Quite an astounding revelation! Yet except for reporter Sebastian Rotella having his article reprinted in the Washington Post and a related story in the New York Times, MSM has been strangely silent on this story. Perhaps this is excusable to the predominate focus on the upcoming election in November. But still, an American confessing to involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks turns out to be a DEA informant, turns out the FBI was warned of his terrorist links three years prior to the attacks, yet this story doesn't merit nationwide front page headlines? No morning talk or evening cable news interviews with the ex-wife, or with the DEA or FBI? A more likely reason for MSM muting of this story is Deep Politics. As long as the links between government, intelligence, drugs and terrorism are not officially acknowledged, how are we to know they exist?

There have been no further updates regarding Headley's connection with the DEA. But there was an interesting development courtesy of a Wikileaks cable:
WikiLeaks: Headley Wasn't Acting Alone, Said Chidambaram
2010-12-18 17:20:00

New Delhi/London, Dec 18 (IANS) Home Minister P. Chidambaram had insisted on having access to Pakistani-American Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative David Coleman Headley, who scouted for targets for the 26/11 terror attack. 'I have a feeling in my bones that Headley was not acting alone,' the minister is quoted as saying in a fresh WikiLeaks US cable.
A 'secret' US cable of Feb 26 this year, put out by the whistleblower website and reported by Guardian, said that in a Feb 23 meeting in 2010, FBI Director Robert Mueller and Chidambaram discussed the case of Headley, who is in US custody.
The cable said: 'Chidambaram insisted that the GOI (Government of India) have access to Headley: 'we must be able to say we had access, even if Headley did not speak'. He also requested access to Headley's spouse, Shaiza, who he said is in Chicago so GOI investigators can question her on the meaning of her alleged message to Headley that she `saw your graduation'.'
During the meeting, Chidambaram confided that 'I have a feeling in my bones that Headley was not acting alone' in India and expressed frustration over what he characterised as Headley's false claim that he had no accomplices in India, the daily reported.

Before I report STORY #4, I want to preface my report with a story that I should have highlighted on last year's list, but neglected to. Every year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) publishes their World Energy Outlook, a forecast of trends in global oil production and energy consumption for the next 25 years. While their goal is to exist as an independent agency providing unbiased and accurate projections for the 28 national governments that support the agency, that isn't always the case. In 2009, even as the IEA's chief economist Dr. Fatih Barol said that global production is likely to peak in about 10 years, there were whistleblowers claiming that the IEA's pretense at independence was not all it appeared to be:

Key oil figures were distorted by US pressure, says whistleblower

Exclusive: Watchdog's estimates of reserves inflated says top official

The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, according to a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency who claims it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying.
Now the "peak oil" theory is gaining support at the heart of the global energy establishment. "The IEA in 2005 was predicting oil supplies could rise as high as 120m barrels a day by 2030 although it was forced to reduce this gradually to 116m and then 105m last year," said the IEA source, who was unwilling to be identified for fear of reprisals inside the industry. "The 120m figure always was nonsense but even today's number is much higher than can be justified and the IEA knows this.
"Many inside the organisation believe that maintaining oil supplies at even 90m to 95m barrels a day would be impossible but there are fears that panic could spread on the financial markets if the figures were brought down further. And the Americans fear the end of oil supremacy because it would threaten their power over access to oil resources," he added.
A second senior IEA source, who has now left but was also unwilling to give his name, said a key rule at the organisation was that it was "imperative not to anger the Americans" but the fact was that there was not as much oil in the world as had been admitted. "We have [already] entered the 'peak oil' zone. I think that the situation is really bad," he added.

Though The Guardian is a mainstream British publication, this story was ignored by American MSM last year. So what does the IEA have to say this year?

STORY #4: IEA Confirms Global Production of Conventional Oil Peaked in 2006
This should have been the biggest story of the year. On November 9, the 2010 IEA World Energy Outlook became available. On page 6 of the executive summary, the IEA tucked this nugget of data within an otherwise innocuous sentence:
"Crude oil output reaches an undulating plateau of around 68-69 mb/d by 2020, but never regains its all-time peak of 70 mb/d reached in 2006, while production of natural gas liquids (NGLs) and uncoventional oil grows strongly."
The IEA did not emphasize that part of the sentence, I did. Perhaps the whistleblowers were correct that US pressure to underplay a looming shortage has had an effect on the IEA. That might also explain the MSM silence on the revelation:

IEA acknowledges peak oil

by Stuart Staniford
Average: 3.5 (2 votes)
Please Log in or register to rate this article.

If you go to the executive summary of the 2009 International Energy Agency World Energy Outlook, and search for "peak oil", your browser will come up empty. The whole subject was so beneath the dignity of a serious energy agency that they didn't even bother mentioning it.
However, yesterday, the 2010 IEA World Energy Outlook became available. And if you repeat the exercise in that executive summary, you will come upon a section titled:

Will peak oil be a guest or the spectre at the feast?

Followed by an explicit discussion of the whole question. The IEA's position is summarized in the graph above - conventional crude oil production has already peaked in 2006! Suddenly, the subject of impending peak has gone from not worthy of discussion to in the past already!


Alas, if you rely on the New York Times, you'd still be in the dark. The piece on the report doesn't make a peep about peak oil (being focussed entirely on the China demand growth aspect of the report, which is admittedly interesting and important).


What does this mean in layman's terms? Remember back in the late 90's when you would drive into a gas station, see a sign that said Regular Unleaded - $1.20 and think, "That Clinton! If he didn't 'wag the dog' in the Middle East, gas would be so cheap!" Well, those were the good ol' days, and those days are never coming back. Conventional oil generally refers to light sweet crude, the kind of oil that in the past was the easiest to find and is always the cheapest to refine. Naturally, this is the type of oil that is the highest in demand by consumers in civilized countries. We will never be able to produce as much as we did in 2006, no matter how high demand gets! So to make up the difference and hopefully avoid the lines at the gas station prevalent in 1973 and 1979 there will be an increase in the production of uncoventional oil, which to their credit the IEA mentioned in their report. What they did not mention was how much more expensive it is to refine Venezuelan heavy oil or Canadian tar sands and how much more the consumer would have to pay.

But the economic ramifications of Peak Oil are much deeper than just paying more at the pump. There are many websites that provide detailed descriptions, but here is a succinct explanation of why:

What does peak oil mean for our societies?

Our industrial societies and our financial systems were built on the assumption of continual growth – growth based on ever more readily available cheap fossil fuels. Oil in particular is the most convenient and multi-purposed of these fossil fuels. Oil currently accounts for about 43% of the world's total fuel consumption [PDF], and 95% of global energy used for transportation [PDF]. Oil and gas are feedstocks for plastics, paints, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, electronic components, tyres and much more. Oil is so important that the peak will have vast implications across the realms of war and geopolitics, medicine, culture, transport and trade, economic stability and food production. Significantly, for every one joule of food consumed in the United States, around 10 joules of fossil fuel energy have been used to produce it.

When the full ramifications of Peak Oil become too severe to ignore, I believe that there will be a tremendous outcry similar to the one we experienced during the economic meltdown in the autumn of 2008 with the same plaintive question, "Why didn't anyone see this coming?!" When that happens, I hope that Richard Heinberg will be around to say, "I told you so!" Another prophet-turned-historian, Kenneth Deffeyes will hopefully do the same. I agree with his analysis of the IEA's current predicament, that they are trying to say, “look, oil production peaked five years ago and nothing catastrophic happened” – that is if you ignore the worst global recession in 80 years which certainly was helped along by the $147 a barrel oil we had two years ago. But there is one no longer around who first piqued my curiousity in the 2004 documentary The End of Suburbia. At an Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) seminar in May 2003, when asked when he thought Peak Oil would occur, Dr. Ali Samsam Bakhtiari, Corporate Planning Directorate of the National Iranian Oil Company stated, "I think it's between 2005 and 2007. That's what my model shows".
No wonder Michael Ruppert called him "The Prophet Ali" on page 562 of his book, Crossing the Rubicon. Every Peak Oil researcher, starting with M. King Hubbert in 1949 on to many others not mentioned here working today, should be accorded such praise for efforts and their prescient voices.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Krampus of the Year: Newt Gingrich

This is officially the second annual Krampus of the Year award, an American Judas exclusive. For an explanation of who Krampus is and why I gave the award to Joe Lieberman a year ago, please read this link.

This year, it was a much tougher choice. I thought I might bestow this honor on one of the loudest complainers in what has become a perennial "War on Christmas" that those to the right of Father Coughlin seem to think is not only real but is a real threat to America, or even Christian civilization itself! Where it got too humorous to seriously consider giving an award to these social baboons was how certain people in Congress expressed this concern. I'll let Andrea Stone explain:

It began when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that senators might have to work through the Christmas break if that's what it takes to get through a spending bill, a nuclear arms treaty, the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" and other pressing legislation.

That prompted Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona to accuse the Democrat of Grinch-like behavior, saying it was not possible to stay in session "without disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians."
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., walks near the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010.
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., shown near the floor of the Senate in Washington on Wednesday, called plans for the Senate to work through the Christmas break "sacrilegious."

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint soon piled on. He told Politico the schedule was "sacrilegious," suggesting Reid, a Mormon, was acting in a most un-Christian fashion. "What's going on here is just wrong. This is the most sacred holiday for Christians," he said.

Reid would have none of that. He took to the Senate floor to blame Republican filibusters all year long for keeping lawmakers at work.


Sorry Senators Kyl and DeMint, you came close but no cigar. You just had to pick on a Mormon, didn't you? You just had to imply that the Church of Latter Day Saints doesn't consider the day of Christ's birth to be holy? What, Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck weren't around to chastise you? I was all set to give those bloviators, as well as Congressman Mike Pence the award, but a latecomer from out of the blue yesterday blew those pretenders to the throne out of the water.

And the winner of the American Judas 2010 Krampus of the Year Award is...

Newt Gingrich!

How did he come to deserve the honor of being considered an honorary Bad Cop of Christmas? Check out what Laura Bassett reported that he had to say yesterday:

Newt Gingrich Blames Nation's Problems On Unemployed People

First Posted: 12-20-10 05:48 PM | Updated: 12-20-10 05:56 PM


Newt Gingrich, who is currently mulling a presidential bid in 2012, said at a political event in South Carolina on Thursday that most of America's problems can be blamed on the "leftist news media," Hollywood, tenured academics, overpaid federal workers, and unemployed people.
"I'm opposed to giving people money for doing nothing," he told the crowd of 250 cheering GOP activists in a state with a 10.6 percent unemployment rate.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
Comparing unemployment benefits to welfare, a system he worked with former President Clinton to overhaul in the mid-1990s, Gingrich asserts that the country spent $134 billion last year on unemployment compensation "and got nothing for it." Instead of wasting money "paying people to do nothing for 99 weeks," he would make job training mandatory for anyone getting an unemployment check.
There are five jobless people for everyone one job opening right now, making it difficult for even the most industrious job hunters to find work, yet Gingrich's comments echo the sentiments of a number of GOP Congressman who believe unemployment benefits make people lazy. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), for instance, said jobless benefits mean people are "encouraged not to go look for work," and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) told South Carolina's News 13: "We can't just keep paying people to stay at home."

That headline is from the Huffington Post, not The Onion. The Huffington Post may host some humorous columns, but the one above was not intended for humor. But how can you not read the headline "Newt Gingrich Blames Nation's Problems on Unemployed People" without your jaw hitting the floor? So Gingrich wins the award in a breakaway final sprint, with Sen. Jim DeMint a close second since he had the misfortune of being quoted in the same article. What fine Christian men!
But wait, perhaps I'm being too hard on him and rushing to judgment! After all, this potential presidential nominee claims he has a solution to this problem. He wants to make job training mandatory for anyone getting an unemployment check. Way to put the cart in front of the horse, Newt! Since Newt didn't mention that his prospective mandatory job training would be 100% faith-based, I think I'm safe in assuming that Newt is proposing that our tax dollars go to fund a secular-socialist program! Which I think is great, I have no problem with such a blatantly hypocritical 360 degree reversal if the program actually created jobs in America for Americans. But see, that's the problem: it doesn't. Training people for jobs that don't exist would be a real waste of taxpayer money. At least when unemployed people spend their unemployment checks (which by the way Newt, is a government program that unemployed people payed into when they were employed, which technically makes it their money that they're receiving!) that money gets spent on food, clothing, rent, electricity - you know, buying things that actually help the economy grow, Newt!
But when unemployed CEOs get their golden parachutes, do they spend that money creating jobs? No, they spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to convince the same people whose jobs they outsourced to China, India and Bangalore among other countries that they should be given job titles like Governor and Senator where this time, they'll do the job right, by gum! So it seems to me that the only fiscally responsible way for Newt Gingrich to employ (no pun intended) his plan for training the unemployed would be to force them upon graduating from this mandatory job training program to empty out their savings account or their closest relative's savings account and buy them a plane ticket so they can fly (after a full cavity search courtesy of TSA, of course!) to the nearest or farthest foreign country where the golden parachuted CEOs outsourced all our jobs!
Would Newt Gingrich consider such an austere solution? Why else would I name him Krampus of the Year? To quote a fictional 19th century Krampus, “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hey Interpol! Why Don't You Issue an Alert For This Criminal?

It seems to me the lesson of the Wikileaks revelations and the international manhunt for it's activist founder, Julian Assange, is that if you threaten to expose corporate crime, you are a target. If you commit corporate crime, people conveniently look the other way. Otherwise, why wouldn't Interpol arrest this man?:

Halliburton may pay $500 million to keep Cheney out of prison: report

By Daniel Tencer
Thursday, December 9th, 2010 -- 10:52 pm

 Halliburton may pay $500 million to keep Cheney out of prison: report

Oilfield services company Halliburton is in negotiations with the Nigerian government to keep its former CEO, Dick Cheney, out of prison, according to a news report.
Sources inside Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission told GlobalPost this week that a settlement keeping the charges against Cheney out of court could cost as much as $500 million.
Nigeria filed charges against Cheney this week in an investigation of alleged bribery estimated at $180 million. Prosecutors named both Halliburton and KBR in the charges, as well as three European oil and engineering companies -- Technip SA, EniSpa, and Saipem Construction.
The charges allege that engineering contractor KBR, until 2007 a subsidiary of Halliburton, was among companies that paid bribes to secure a $6 billion contract for a natural gas plant. KBR pleaded guilty to the same bribes in a US court in 2009, and agreed to pay a $382 million fine. The Nigerian charges appear to stem from the US case -- though, in that trial, Cheney was never directly charged.

Anyone care to issue a citizen's arrest?!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winnebago Man

Prior to viewing the documentary Winnebago Man, I had never heard of the Winnebago Man. Somehow this pop culture phenomenon had slipped under my radar. But as the story unfolded, there were elements of the tale that had a ring of familiarity to it. The Winnebago Man, also known as "The Angriest Man in the World", is Jack Rebney, a pitchman who shot an industrial promotional film for Winnebago in 1989. During the shoot, his inability to remember his own dialogue resulted in a series of outbursts colored with so much cursing, the editors of the film cut the outtakes together and passed around VHS copies of Rebney's meltdown to share the hilarity. During the 90's, long before there was a youtube, the Winnebago Man became a viral video courtesy of fans copying the video on VHS and giving it to friends who made even more copies. When opened in 2005, the Winnebago Man became an internet sensation.

But what had become of the real Jack Rebney? That is the question the director of Winnebago Man, Ben Steinbauer, is intent on answering. At first, it seems as though he has completely fallen off the map. The only clue to the whereabouts of Rebney is an an advertisement he placed the purchase a sailboat. Is Jack deliberately trying to avoid being found? Steinbauer explores the 21st century phenomenon of cyber-bullying, how the subjects of viral videos are often the targets of intentional humiliation. His own feelings toward Rebney are sympathetic; often he has felt similar frustrations on film shoots and at the end of the day would pop in a copy of Rebney's ranting as a stress reliever. Many fans expressed similar identification. Was Jack aware of his popularity?

Ultimately, Steinbauer hires a private investigator to track Rebney down. After a few weeks, his search is successful as Rebney returns his call and leaves a message welcoming Steinbauer to visit him. Rebney lives by himself in a Shasta County mountain cabin in Manton, California. Steinbauer is surprised to find such a warm, articulate and relatively calm individual, saying that it's as though Rebney has spent the time since his days on the Winnebago shoot "doing yoga". While he claims he was notified of his notoriety on the internet by a friend, his general attitude toward it is described by Steinbauer as a "minor anecdote" in the grand scheme of Rebney's life. Rebney bids him farewell and Steinbauer returns home, disappointed and wondering if he has made too much of the whole Winnebago Man phenomenon.

But then a week later, Rebney calls him back. And he keeps calling him. Apparently, the sweet docile old man behavior was just an act. As he relates how he really feels about his notoriety, which he has been aware of since the collection of outtakes was passed around on VHS, the bitterness comes out with the same cursing cantakerousness we are familiar with from the viral video. It seems he has changed his mind about the impression he tried to convey when Steinbauer initially visited him. He is still upset, but now the primary focus of his anger is the political direction the country is heading toward and he wants to voice his opinions. He invites Steinbauer out for a second visit, but before that visit happens, Regney's glaucoma causes him to go blind.

Sound dramatic? Actually, this is one of the funniest documentaries I've ever seen. Even after his blindness, Regney is constantly cutting loose with the funniest foul-mouthed observations. From the interaction with his faithful dog and his best friend, to the way he drags out the word "Waaaal-Mart" as he rants in front of one in Redding, Regney is a constant source of laughter. What really surprised me is how the movie ended. I won't print a spoiler, but it was amazingly sweet and touching. If I have one critique of the movie, it's that I wish Steinbauer had quit trying to rein Regney in. If Regney wants to shoot a video where he castigates Dick Cheney for destroying the economy a full year and a half (March 2007) before the stock market actually collapsed (September 2008), then for f@#$% sake, let the man say whatever he g$%@#%* feels like! S#$%!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The 100 Year Old Bankster Conspiracy

In November of 1910, Senator Nelson W. Aldrich (R) of Rhode Island, chair of the National Monetary Commission formed in the wake of the Panic of 1907 to review banking policies in the United States, invited a small group of men out to Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia for a "duck hunt". That was what people were led to believe at the time, anyway. But this was no ordinary group of amateur outdoor sportsmen. In addition to the Senator and his personal secretary Arthur Shelton, the Jekyll Island group gathering for the "duck hunt" was comprised of Dr. A. Piatt Andrew, a former Harvard University assistant Professor of Economics and as of 1910, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Henry P. Davidson, partner at J.P. Morgan and Co., Frank A. Vanderlip, President of the Rockefeller-owned National City Bank and Paul M. Warburg, representing US interests as a partner of Kuhn, Loeb and Co. and extensive international interests as a member of the Warburg banking family.

How many ducks they actually bagged on that trip is inconsequential; it was subterfuge for the real purpose: the most powerful monied interests in the world secretly redesigning the way money works in America. The plan hatched on this trip was the basis for what would eventually become the Federal Reserve. Though Aldrich's initial legislation upon return from this trip would be rejected by Congress, it did approve a similar proposal complete with a central banking system in 1913, which President Wilson signed into law called the Federal Reserve Act. This law, which forever altered the structure of the US economy, would never have been conceived if these most powerful monied interests (Morgan, Rockefeller, Warburg) had not secretly conspired to make it so.

One hundred years later, the world looks very different on the outside, but business still gets done pretty much the same way it did back then. Even in the 21st century, we still see that a "duck hunt" can be used as a ruse by powerful interests to get business done. That's how I would define the word conspiracy as it relates to economic and political power: how business gets done. Why is the subject of conspiracy not given a more open and honest examination within the context of US historical analysis? I leave it to the late, great comedian George Carlin to explain:

"The limits of debate in this country are established before the debate even begins.

And everyone else is marginalized and made to seem either to be communists, or some sort of a disloyal person; or 'kook' - there's a word - and now its 'conspiracy', see.

They've made that something that should not be even entertained for a minute! That powerful people might get together and have a plan! 'Doesn't happen! You're a kook! You're a conspiracy buff'!"

If you think this 100 year old conspiracy is a joke, I would counter by saying not only do the powers that profit the most from this arrangement think the joke is on you, they are still rubbing that joke in our faces. Consider recent events from earlier this month:

Fed has starring role in 'Return to Jekyll Island'

By Neil Irwin

(Photo Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)
By Neil Irwin
JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. -- After making their most significant monetary policy decision in quite a long time earlier this week, top officials of the Federal Reserve are now set to turn their attention to some big-picture questions about their institution: Where has it been? How did it get here? And where is it going?
They are gathering this weekend at the very resort on the Georgia coast where 100 years ago a group of bankers and finance experts met to craft what would eventually become the Federal Reserve System.
Indeed, the 1910 Jekyll Island gathering has long been viewed by conspiracy theorists as the root of what they consider to be the central bank's shadowy, elitist ways. There is even a Fed-bashing book called "The Creature from Jekyll Island."
Now, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is hosting a conference titled "Return to Jekyll Island." It may sound like the sequel to a bad horror movie, but it is in fact a meeting that aims to examine the full scope of the Fed's history (see the agenda here).

As Neil Irwin points out, unlike the original meeting 100 years that was deliberately shrouded in secrecy, there were plenty of journalists on hand to record what happened this November. Here is a recording of one moment that stood out in particular:

Is it time yet for America to force these banks into receivership?
To force prosecution for these frauds..... these crimes?
And to hold accountable the regulators.... including The Fed..... who intentionally ignored these frauds and crimes?
How many Americans have to lose their homes?
How many jobs have to go to China?
How much devaluation of our currency - undertaken to prop up these scams - will you tolerate?
How much higher does gasoline and food have to go in price, while your wages remain stagnant or you lose your job - and you're evicted from your house - before you demand it stop and the scammers go to prison?


While I have gone on record many times in the past with my condemnation of the astro-turf front known as the Tea Party, I have no problem citing the likes of Karl Denninger, especially since he has seen what he had thought was the original intent of the organization be usurped by the likes of Sarah Palin & Newt Gingrich focusing on "Guns, gays, God," instead of "enforcement of the law against those who have robbed, financially ****d and pillaged the nation." I would hope that all people of good conscience, regardless of their ideological preference, would stand in unity against this assault from the Elite. There can be no real justice or real democracy in this country until there is economic justice and economic democracy. While there may not be a consensus on how to get there, the first step is to recognize that the banksters are not a realistic part of that solution, only the continuation of a very debilatating problem.

Monday, November 22, 2010

PLAME/EDMONDS/AIPACGATE UPDATE: Rosen Threatens to Open Pandora's Box

Essentially, there is only one investigation – a very big one, an all-inclusive one. Completely by chance, I, a lowly translator, stumbled over one piece of it. But I can tell you there are a lot of people involved, a lot of ranking officials, and a lot of illegal activities that include multi-billion-dollar drug-smuggling operations, black-market nuclear sales to terrorists and unsavory regimes, you name it. And of course a lot of people from abroad are involved. It's massive. So to do this investigation, to really do it, they will have to look into everything… That's the beauty of it. You can start from the AIPAC angle. You can start from the Plame case. You can start from my case. They all end up going to the same place, and they revolve around the same nucleus of people. There may be a lot of them, but it is one group. And they are very dangerous for all of us.

-Sibel Edmonds

About a year ago, I had reached the acceptance stage of my grief over the fact that justice would not be served and the perpetrators behind the outing of Valerie Plame, the corruption that Sibel Edmonds witnessed before the FBI fired her and the espionage at AIPAC would never pay for their crimes. The cover-up of these crimes by both the justice system and the mainstream media (MSM) put me in a depression that for six months made writing a blog seem like a waste of time. But by November of 2009, I had moved on to documenting other aspects of deep politics in the midst of a global scenario of permanently declining resources. The prospect of finding justice in a labyrinthian conspiracy I had spent the past five years documenting was not even worth entertaining anymore.

One year later, that possibility is still facing astronomical odds. But there is a faint glimmer of hope; the slightest shred of a chance. This is why:

Ex-AIPAC official threatens to uncover mass spying at Israel lobby

By Daniel Tencer
Sunday, November 21st, 2010 -- 11:41 am

 Ex AIPAC official threatens to uncover mass spying at Israel lobby
Top AIPAC officials visited prostitutes, regularly watched porn at work: claim
Is US's most influential advocate for Israel about to implode?
Steve Rosen, who was in charge of foreign policy issues at AIPAC until 2005, is suing his former employer for $20 million, alleging that AIPAC defamed him when they fired him. Rosen and colleague Keith Weissman were charged in 2004 with espionage for allegedly pressuring a Washington Post reporter into running classified US government information they had obtained about Iran. The charges were dropped last year, evidently due to lack of evidence.
Rosen says his actions were common practice at the organization. He said his next move is to show that AIPAC, Washington’s major pro-Israeli lobbying group by far, regularly traffics in sensitive U.S. government information, especially material related to the Middle East.
"Unfortunately for AIPAC, Rosen has 180 documents which could prove that Howard Kohr, AIPAC's executive director, and probably the AIPAC board as well, knew exactly what Rosen was doing," reports M.J. Rosenberg at Al-Jazeera.
He suggests that Rosen's threat to reveal AIPAC trafficking of data is meant to intimidate the lobby group into settling out of court. Making the lawsuit go away "will not be easy - even if Steve Rosen ultimately accepts a payoff from the organization and refrains from telling what he knows," Rosenberg writes.

As the story notes, there is still the strong possibility the truth will remain covered up through an out of court settlement. But if that doesn't happen, the revelations Rosen possesses could be the equivalent of what James McCord revealed to Judge Sirica in a letter dated March 19, 1973. That letter, which stated that perjury had occurred and the Watergate burglars had plead guilty under pressure from John Dean and former Attorney General John Mitchell. As wikipedia summarizes, "His letter set off the Watergate scandal in earnest by implicating many higher-ups in the Richard Nixon administration for covering up the conspiracy that led to the burglary." I noted the potential for a similar Pandora's Box opening existed within the AIPAC spy scandal in the second edition of American Judas three years ago:

On January 20, 2006, Judge T.S. Ellis, III sentenced Franklin to 12 years and 7 months in prison sentence and a $10,000 fine for passing classified information to a pro-Israel lobby group and an Israeli diplomat. In August, he denied Weissman and Rosen's motion to dismiss their indictment on the grounds that the government could still prosecute and punish those who retransmitted classified information regardless of whether they had a security clearance or not, an interpretation of the Espionage Act that could have wide-reaching implications if it were allowed to become legal precedent. This was done in spite of the efforts of defense lawyers, who tried to excuse their clients actions by claiming that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice leaked national defense information to a pro-Israel lobbyist in the same manner that Franklin did. While the defense’s attempt to highlight this as an example of backchannel exchanges that are part and parcel of how Washington works failed to persuade Judge Ellis to dismiss the case, in light of Ledeen’s implication that Rice approved of Hadley authorizing the December 2001 Rome meeting between Franklin and Ghorbanifar, this might turn out to be a Pandora’s Box if the defense chooses to open it when Weissman and Rosen’s trial occurs later this year. Steven J. Rosen AIPAC
I believe Rosen's documentation could be just as explosive if allowed to publicly see the light of day. If anyone could do it, it seems the most likely bet that it would come through a powerful disgruntled former employee with an axe to grind and a sex scandal tied in to boot. The biggest impediment, even if Rosen does have his day in court, is MSM. When will they awake from their collective slumber and report the deep dark truth? This timeline doesn't give any indication that they ever will:

DC Press Corps Ignoring AIPAC’s Tawdry Civil War, the Biggest Story in Washington?

This post is by Paul Woodward and originally appeared on War in Context.
The story so far:
November 8: the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) files a 260-page motion [large pdf -- don't attempt to download without broadband] in the District of Columbia Superior Court, in which AIPAC is attempting to fend off a $20 million defamation suit from former employee Steven J Rosen who claims he was wrongfully dismissed. AIPAC ditched him and his colleague Keith Weissman in 2005 when the pro-Israel lobby feared investigation by the FBI.
November 15: Grant Smith highlights much of the politically damaging content of the motion in an Antiwar article, AIPAC Bares All to Quash Lawsuit.
November 16: the story is picked up by MJ Rosenberg, The Forward and others.
November 17: the story is gathering steam in the Jewish press, with items in the JTA and Haaretz.
As for the Washington Post, the New York Times and the rest of the US mainstream media, well as of noon Wednesday, it’s apparently still nap time — or, a figurative bloodbath at that obscure and uninfluential lobbying organization really isn’t news — or, there’s no such thing as the Israel lobby and so why should the press pay any attention — or, a bunch of spineless editors, worried about embarrassing their friends at AIPAC, are looking over their shoulders waiting to see which of their competitors is going to break loose first and force them to report on this unseemly turn of events.

So it looks to me as if the only way the truth will be revealed is through slow, incremental pieces in little tucked-away corners of the blogosphere like this:

AIPAC On The Brink: And Not One Word In MSM

AIPAC is in big trouble and the media is ignoring it. If this was, say, the National Rifle Association or NARAL, this story would be on page one.
But it's AIPAC, and few want to mess with it. ( Clay Swisher's does here. ). And here is Nathan Guttman at the Forward.
The story was broken in a piece but is carried in the court filings by AIPAC and its ex-employee Steve Rosen who was fired by the lobby after being indicted under the Espionage Act (the case never went to trial).
Beyond the smut, the most shocking revelation in the court documents is when Rosen reveals that immediately upon being told by the FBI that he was in serious trouble, and being warned by AIPAC's counsel to come immediately to his office and talk to no one in advance, he immediately ran to meet with the #2 at the Israeli embassy!

As I've indicated before, I'm not holding my breath for any tectonic plate shift. But I will remain vigilant and keep my eyes and ears open.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dr. Strangecorp or: How the ACLU Learned to Stop Worrying and Enable the US Chamber of China

What I wrote in my last blog entry about a "sham election" wasn't an attempt at prophecy. It's just that the writing on the wall was very clear to me in the weeks leading up to the House takeover by the GOP on November 2. That writing on the wall came courtesy of in a number of articles they published on a number of meetings and financial dealings between various dark actors that borders on, dare I say, a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. Much thanks to Octafish and kpete at for bringing these stories to my attention:

What Role Have Scalia And Thomas Played In The Koch Money Machine?

Earlier today, ThinkProgress’ Lee Fang revealed several documents outlining the details of one of right-wing billionaire Charles Koch’s secret convenings of corporate political donors. As Koch revealed to the Wall Street Journal in 2006, the purpose of these meetings is to recruit “captains of industry” to fund the conservative infrastructure of front groups, political campaigns, think tanks and media outlets. Buried in this document, however, is a surprising revelation about the role two supposedly impartial jurists have played in these extended fundraising solicitations: “Past meetings have featured such notable leaders as Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.”
A Supreme Court justice lending a hand to a political fundraising event would be a clear violation of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, if it wasn’t for the fact that the nine justices have exempted themselves from much of the ethical rules governing all other federal judges. Nevertheless, a spokesperson for the Supreme Court tells ThinkProgress that “[t]he Justices look to the Code of Conduct for guidance” in determining when they may participate in fundraising activities. Under that Code:
Fund Raising. A judge may assist nonprofit law-related, civic, charitable, educational, religious, or social organizations in planning fund-raising activities and may be listed as an officer, director, or trustee. A judge may solicit funds for such an organization from judges over whom the judge does not exercise supervisory or appellate authority and from members of the judge’s family. Otherwise, a judge should not personally participate in fund-raising activities, solicit funds for any organization, or use or permit the use of the prestige of judicial office for that purpose. A judge should not personally participate in membership solicitation if the solicitation might reasonably be perceived as coercive or is essentially a fund-raising mechanism.

The article referred to in the first paragraph by Lee Fang is very important. Before I go into those details however, I'd like to point out that Scalia and Thomas are not the only current Supreme Court Justices heavily involved in right-wing fundraising. Lee Fang has a new article out today on another Justice on who the concept of impartiality is completely lost:

Exclusive: Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito Dismisses His Profligate Right-Wing Fundraising As ‘Not Important’

Last night, the American Spectator — a right-wing magazine known for its role in the “Arkansas Project,” a well-funded effort to invent stories with the goal of eventually impeaching President Clinton — held its annual gala fundraising event. The Spectator is more than merely an ideological outlet. Spectator publisher Al Regnery helps lead a secretive group of conservatives called the “Conservative Action Project,” formed after President Obama’s election, to help lobby for conservative legislative priorities, elect Republicans (the Conservative Action Project helped campaign against Democrat Bill Owens in NY-23), and block President Obama’s judicial appointments. The Spectator’s gala last night, with ticket prices/sponsorship levels ranging from $250 to $25,000, featured prominent Republicans like RNC chairman Michael Steele, hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer (a major donor to Republican campaign committees and attack ad groups), and U.S. Chamber of Commerce board member and former Allied Capital CEO William Walton. Among the attendees toasting Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the keynote speaker for the event, was Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito.
It’s not the first time Alito has attended the Spectator dinner. In 2008, Alito headlined the Spectator’s annual gala, helping to raise tens of thousands of dollars for the political magazine. According to Jay Homnick, a conservative who attended the 2008 Spectator gala, Alito spent much of his speech ripping then Vice President-elect Joe Biden as a serial plagiarizer.
As Alito entered the event last night, I approached the Justice and asked him why he thought it appropriate to attend a highly political fundraiser with the chairman of the Republican Party, given Alito’s position on the court. Alito appeared baffled, and replied, “it’s not important that I’m here.” “But,” I said, “you also helped headline this same event two years ago, obviously helping to raise political money as the keynote.” Alito replied curtly, “it’s not important,” before walking away from me.

But the shady fundraising from Koch-aligned groups goes beyond these activist judges. Back to the Lee Fang article from October 20:

MEMO: Health Insurance, Banking, Oil Industries Met With Koch, Chamber, Glenn Beck To Plot 2010 Election

In 2006, Koch Industries owner Charles Koch revealed to the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore that he coordinates the funding of the conservative infrastructure of front groups, political campaigns, think tanks, media outlets and other anti-government efforts through a twice annual meeting of wealthy right-wing donors. He also confided to Moore, who is funded through several of Koch’s ventures, that his true goal is to strengthen the “culture of prosperity” by eliminating “90%” of all laws and government regulations. Although it is difficult to quantify the exact amount Koch alone has funneled to right-wing fronts, some studies have pointed toward $50 million he has given alone to anti-environmental groups. Recently, fronts funded by Charles and his brother David have received scrutiny because they have played a pivotal role in the organizing of the anti-Obama Tea Parties and the promotion of virulent far right lawmakers like Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). (David Koch praised DeMint and gave him a “Washington Award” shortly after the senator promised to “break” Obama by making health reform his “Waterloo.”)
While the Koch brothers — each worth over $21.5 billion — have certainly underwritten much of the right, their hidden coordination with other big business money has gone largely unnoticed. ThinkProgress has obtained a memo outlining the details of the last Koch gathering held in June of this year. The memo, along with an attendee list of about 210 people, shows the titans of industry — from health insurance companies, oil executives, Wall Street investors, and real estate tycoons — working together with conservative journalists and Republican operatives to plan the 2010 election, as well as ongoing conservative efforts through 2012. According to the memo, David Chavern, the number two at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Fox News hate-talker Glenn Beck also met with these representatives of the corporate elite. In an election season with the most undisclosed secret corporate giving since the Watergate-era, the memo sheds light on the symbiotic relationship between extremely profitable, multi-billion dollar corporations and much of the conservative infrastructure. The memo describes the prospective corporate donors as “investors,” and it makes clear that many of the Republican operatives managing shadowy, undisclosed fronts running attack ads against Democrats were involved in the Koch’s election-planning event:
Participants collaborated with infamous consultants who specialize in generating fake grassroots movements, as well as experts on how corporations should take advantage of Citizens United. One session, about how to “mobilize citizens for November,” involved a discussion with Republican strategists Tim Phillips and Sean Noble, anti-union leader Mark Mix, and longtime Koch operative Karl Crow. Phillips — a veteran astroturf lobbyist who previously managed a deceptive grassroots lobbying campaign to help the Hong Kong-based Tan family maintain their forced abortion sweatshops in the Mariana Islands — now leads the day-to-day operations of Americans for Prosperity, the group ThinkProgress first reported to have helped organize many of the initial Tea Party rallies against Obama. Americans for Prosperity, founded and financed by David Koch, has a field team of over 80 campaign staffers spread out around the country, and additionally plans to spend $45 million dollars worth of attack ads against Democrats. Shortly before the planning meeting, Crow authored a campaign finance memo explaining that because of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, he advised specifically that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 501(c)(6) and Americans for Prosperity’s 501(c)(4) can “now use general treasury funds to produce communications materials opposing or supporting specific candidates” and corporations can aggressively pressure their employees to vote a certain way.
After ThinkProgess published its exclusive investigation of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce revealing that the Chamber has been actively fundraising from foreign corporations for its 501(c)(6) account used to run a $75 million attack ad campaign, Chamber lobbyists found common cause with Beck and many of the conservative talking heads. Shortly after our investigation, Beck hosted an on-air fundraiser, asking his audience to give to the Chamber. Casual observers might have been surprised by the Chamber’s swift alliance with Beck (Chamber executives appeared on the Beck radio program and sung Beck’s praises on the Chamber blog), who has compared Obama to Adolf Hitler and called the President a “racist” who has a “deep-seated hatred for white people.” By telling his listeners to give money to the Chamber, Beck, who owns a media company worth more than $32 million dollars and an experimental Mercedes Benz, essentially told his working class viewers to give their wages back to their employers. However, Beck never disclosed his long working history of discussing political strategy with America’s largest corporations. The Koch memo clearly shows that Beck has been collaborating with the Chamber, as well as other titans of industry, for years. In his latest appeal for support to the Chamber’s foreign-funded trade association, which already counts JP Morgan and ExxonMobil as dues-paying members, Beck yesterday told his audience that the Chamber simply “defends the little guy.”

I have detailed in many previous blog entries the machinations of the Koch brothers, Glenn Beck, the real "activists" on the Supreme Court and evil corporate powers. But I have yet to document the machinations of the US Chamber of Commerce. Prior to the 2010 election season, I had not even heard of this organization. This fall, they seemed omnipresent in political TV ads castigating Democratic politicians and propagandizing in favor of corporate-friendly state initiatives. Every time their ads came on TV, I kept wondering, "Who are these guys?" Now, thanks to, we know.
Through their investigative reporting, which President Obama cited while campaigning for Democratic Congressional candidates, we know that the US Chamber of Commerce is fueled by foreign oil and is funded by top offshoring companies working to send American jobs overseas. What did the US Chamber of Commerce do with this funding? They spent $75 million in the attack ad campaign we witnessed this fall. But that's not the worst part of the story. The worst part is that the US Chamber of Commerce raises money from foreign-owned businesses for its 501(c)(6) entity, the same account that finances its unprecedented $75 million dollar partisan attack ad campaign. Only $885,000 from 80 foreign companies have been documented in disclosed donations. The US Chamber of Commerce response to this investigation is that "we have a system in place" to prevent foreign funding for the Chamber's "political activities." Unfortunately, most donations are undisclosed, so there is no way to verify this claim. But they did not deny that they rely heavily on fundraising from firms all over the world, including foreign companies controlled by foreign governments, like China.
Think about that. The US Chamber of Commerce is financed by China. It astounds me how so many of these reich-wing, Teahadist-loving corporatists who normally red-bait at the drop of a hat where it concerns President Kenyan Marxist Obama can turn a blind eye to having their favorite candidates and causes funded by Red China. Oh wait, sorry, they have a "system in place" to prevent that. Is that system called Don't Ask Don't Tell? I call bullshit, and unless they can prove otherwise, I'll throw their red-baiting back in their face by referring to them as the US Chamber of China from now on. If they can't walk the walk, they shouldn't talk the talk.
Yeah, that's the ticket. What if name-calling solved all our problems? Unfortunately, the situation is much graver than that. It would be so convenient if I could just slap the label "American Judas" on a person or organization that deserved it and just neatly separate the right from the left. But it's not that simple. If there is a person or organization that has been characterized as or embraced by the left that is complicit in selling this country out, then I have a moral obligation to slap the label "American Judas" on them too. Not because I enjoy name-calling, but because when diagnosing what is ailing this country and why, then I have to name who is responsible for those problems, regardless of ideological preference.
This is where the story of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who has had the reputation of being a left-wing organization, enabling the US Chamber of China to saturate the media with propaganda that essentially bought the Congressional Class of 2010 comes into play. I've already cited how the US Chamber of China took advantage of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling when a longtime Koch brothers operative, Karl Crow (What a Dickensian name! Like Karl Rove and Jim Crow had a love child!), advised them they could “now use general treasury funds to produce communications materials opposing or supporting specific candidates”. Who fought for these corporations so that five Supreme Court justices (including Scalia, Thomas and Alito mentioned above for their heavy involvement in right-wing fundraising) could give them these "rights"? That would be the ACLU. The ACLU filed a brief in the Citizens United case on behalf of the side that ultimately won.
I have searched the internet and have yet to find any apologies, regrets or action to rectify this enabling of corporatism, i.e. fascism, on behalf of the ACLU. The New York Sun reported on January 24 that the ACLU board was debating whether or not to reverse their position and endorse government limits on corporate campaign spending. The Atlantic noted on February 5 that: "In the meantime, however, the ACLU is apparently laying low, keeping its opposition to campaign finance restrictions officially in place, and at the same time, keeping quiet about it". One person who did not lay low was Ira Glasser, retired Executive Director of the ACLU. On The Huffington Post, he defended the ACLU's action as "a huge victory... for freedom of speech and against government censorship. Yes, censorship." There were more examples of condescending sanctimony in his defense of Citizens United and his attack against "liberals", but it basically boiled down to this question that he posed: "Do we want the government--the government??!!-- to be deciding which corporations can speak and which not?"
With that rhetorical question, Glasser revealed the truth about what the ACLU really stands for. They are not left-wing at all. Despite being reviled on the right and embraced by the left for being "liberal", the correct designation would be to say that they are libertarians with a pretense at social consciousness. That pretense is up front and center on most social issues, yet evaporates completely on the most important issue of all: economic justice. Money talks and bullshit walks. And in the case of Citizens United v. FEC, money literally talked and the ACLU walked out on justice. Glasser and everyone at the ACLU who thinks, talks and acts like him, will never get the problem with his question. Otherwise, they might have seen the answer one week earlier on January 27 from Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman at AlterNet:
We respectfully -- but vehemently -- disagree. Simply put: money is not speech, corporations are not people.
Given the immense sums of cash these corporations have to spend, the Citizen's United decision is the equivalent not of guaranteeing individual Nazis the freedom to march, but instead of granting the Party itself the right to drive tanks down the street, guns ablazing.
It's not the same as giving individual Klan members the right to hold a rally, but rather for the organization to do public lynchings as part of a terror campaign aimed at taking tangible power.
Nowhere in the Constitution do the Founders mention the word corporation. There were six of them at the time of ratification, all strictly limited by state charter to where and what kind of business they could do. They bear scant resemblance to the multi-national behemoths we confront today. Those who wrote and ratified the First Amendment would be horrified by their very existence.

That analysis cuts right to the heart of the real problem: until we compel our government to recognize the inherent truth that a corporation is not a person, then the 1st Amendment rights we're supposed to have as individuals will continue to be debased as we descend down the corporatist staircase until those rights are meaningless. Unless we have a Constitutional Amendment to End Corporate Personhood, we will continue to see our elections bought in proxy by the biggest corporations willing to sell us out to whoever will provide them with the quickest path to maximum profits, especially the corporate libertarians that James Howard Kunstler refers to as corn-pone Nazis: the Tea Party. Of course, by the next election cycle, TP may have been replaced by something far more hateful, far more racist and far more violent willing to serve their corporate masters in the name of "freedom". Our struggle to overcome this cannot begin too soon.