HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Octafish » Journal
Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 Next »


Profile Information

Gender: Male
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 55,745

Journal Archives

Heh heh heh.

Well, Bandar, money trumps peace cuz it's better'n a gun for controlling peons.

Corruption Institutionalized

George W Bush wanted to make Rudy Giuliani's party apartment buddy the boss of der Heimatschutz:

Know your BFEE: Homeland Czar & Petro-Turd Bernie Kerik

Small world. Full of crooks and coincidences.

Thank you, IDemo! I will correct and try to remember on future postings.

The Frank Church story is one of the most important parts of US history missing from the tee vee and Texas school books. I don't know why, but it seems my original source confused FC's Senate colleague with the Senate challenger. That's what happens when human beings can do something. They can do it wrong. "Alot." Thus when I grab an old post with a mistake, I am repeat it.

Regarding the secret state and Sen. Church: Poppy's team did all they could to derail Frank Church, smearing him and the committee by blaming the assassination of the CIA station chief in Athens on them. The smear proved useful in generating rightwing hatred for liberals in general and stopping Congressional efforts to rein in CIA covert action specifically.

Back to Church

The American Prospect, Dec. 19, 2001

Hawkish conservatives today must secretly reserve a special affection for the late Idaho Democrat Frank Church; after all, he provided them with the cudgel they've since used to batter liberal critics of the U.S. intelligence community. As chair of the Senate's 1975 intelligence investigation, Church famously characterized the Central Intelligence Agency as a "rogue elephant rampaging out of control." He was struggling to describe the lack of any clear presidential authorization for the agency's bungled assassination attempts against Fidel Castro and other foreign leaders. But to Church's critics, the "rogue elephant" comment came to epitomize the barnstorming liberal senator's hopelessly naive approach to intelligence. What president, they asked, would leave behind a written assassination order? Who was Church kidding? And how dare the senator--gearing up to run for president--grandstand at the expense of national security?


The truth is that Church stuck to his promise to Colby that there would be "no dismantling and no exposing of agents to danger. No sources will be compromised." The committee made sure that it received no names of active agents, so that none could be revealed. Colby's successor as CIA director, George H.W. Bush, fully admitted that Welch's death had nothing to do with the investigation. In fact, Welch had been warned not to live in the Athens home that his CIA predecessors had occupied, because it was "notorious." And the Greek media had identified him as a CIA officer. [font color="red"]Yet when Church ran for re-election in 1980, Republican Senator Jim McClure of Idaho publicly blamed him for Welch's death. Church lost by just over 4,000 votes.[/font color]

The chief legacies of the Church committee--besides President Ford's executive order banning political assassinations, a key policy change resulting from the 1975 CIA probes--were the standing House and Senate intelligence committees formed after the investigation. How such oversight could have hamstrung the CIA is not clear. If anything, the committees were too lax with William Casey, the Reagan-era CIA director who easily misled them about the agency's dangerous mining of harbors in Nicaragua.

"There were not a great many things that Church took off the table," explains Frederick Hitz, director of the Project on International Intelligence at Princeton's Center for International Studies, who was inspector general of the CIA during the elder Bush's administration. Even if Church's investigation led to a "down period" for CIA activities, Hitz observes, "remember the Reagan period, in which Bill Casey came in and, if you will, sort of turned the spigots on again." The CIA saw a 50 percent increase in appropriations in the first three Reagan budgets. And the Church-inspired congressional oversight structure was obviously not sufficient to head off the Iran-contra affair.



The above is a great read, with import from 1975 through September 11, 2001 to the present day. I'd bet my source grabbed the McClure sentiment and "assumed" he was Church's opponent, not Senate colleague from Idaho.

PS: Thank you, IDemo! Really appreciate your patience.

Walter Mondale warned us, too.

For some reason, it didn't get much press attention at the time or since.

State of Deception

Why won’t the President rein in the intelligence community?

The New Yorker, Dec. 16, 2013


The Church committee recommended not only sweeping reform of the laws governing the intelligence community but also a new system of oversight. Senator Walter Mondale, a member of the committee, said he worried about “another day and another President, another perceived risk and someone breathing hot down the neck of the military leader then in charge of the N.S.A.” Under those circumstances, he feared, the N.S.A. “could be used by President ‘A’ in the future to spy upon the American people.” He urged Congress to “very carefully define the law.” In 1978, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, which forbade the intelligence agencies to spy on anyone in the U.S. unless they had probable cause to believe that the person was a “foreign power or the agent of a foreign power.” The law set up the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and, in 1976, Congress created the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The N.S.A. and other spy agencies are instructed to keep the committee, as well as a similar one in the House, “fully and currently informed.”



Nice history. If we can get it.

Frank Church warned us about secret government...

“That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capability that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”

-- Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) FDR New Deal, Liberal, Progressive, World War II combat veteran. A brave man, the NSA was turned on him. Coincidentally, he narrowly lost re-election a few years later.

And what happened to Church, for his trouble to preserve Democracy:

In 1980, Church will lose re-election to the Senate in part because of accusations of his committee’s responsibility for Welch’s death by his Republican opponent, Jim McClure.

SOURCE: http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=frank_church_1

From GWU's National Security Archives:

"Disreputable if Not Outright Illegal": The National Security Agency versus Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali, Art Buchwald, Frank Church, et al.

Newly Declassified History Divulges Names of Prominent Americans Targeted by NSA during Vietnam Era

Declassification Decision by Interagency Panel Releases New Information on the Berlin Crisis, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Panama Canal Negotiations

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 441
Posted – September 25, 2013
Originally Posted - November 14, 2008
Edited by Matthew M. Aid and William Burr

Washington, D.C., September 25, 2013 – During the height of the Vietnam War protest movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the National Security Agency tapped the overseas communications of selected prominent Americans, most of whom were critics of the war, according to a recently declassified NSA history. For years those names on the NSA's watch list were secret, but thanks to the decision of an interagency panel, in response to an appeal by the National Security Archive, the NSA has released them for the first time. The names of the NSA's targets are eye-popping. Civil rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King and Whitney Young were on the watch list, as were the boxer Muhammad Ali, New York Times journalist Tom Wicker, and veteran Washington Post humor columnist Art Buchwald. Also startling is that the NSA was tasked with monitoring the overseas telephone calls and cable traffic of two prominent members of Congress, Senators Frank Church (D-Idaho) and Howard Baker (R-Tennessee).


Another NSA target was Senator Frank Church, who started out as a moderate Vietnam War critic. A member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee even before the Tonkin Gulf incident, Church worried about U.S. intervention in a "political war" that was militarily unwinnable. While Church voted for the Tonkin Gulf resolution, he later saw his vote as a grave error. In 1965, as Lyndon Johnson made decisions to escalate the war, Church argued that the United States was doing "too much," criticisms that one White House official said were "irresponsible." Church had been one of Johnson's Senate allies but the President was angry with Church and other Senate critics and later suggested that they were under Moscow's influence because of their meetings with Soviet diplomats. In the fall of 1967, Johnson declared that "the major threat we have is from the doves" and ordered FBI security checks on "individuals who wrote letters and telegrams critical of a speech he had recently delivered." In that political climate, it is not surprising that some government officials eventually nominated Church for the watch list.[10]

SOURCE: http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB441/

I wonder if the late Sen. Richard Schweiker (R-PA) also got the treatment from Poppy, Cheney, Rummy and their cronies in secret government?

“I think that the report, to those who have studied it closely, has collapsed like a house of cards, and I think the people who read it in the long run future will see that. I frankly believe that we have shown that the [investigation of the] John F. Kennedy assassination was snuffed out before it even began, and that the fatal mistake the Warren Commission made was not to use its own investigators, but instead to rely on the CIA and FBI personnel, which played directly into the hands of senior intelligence officials who directed the cover-up.” — Senator Richard Schweiker on “Face the Nation” in 1976.

Lost to History NOT

It's like the Doomsday Machine on Star Trek, a Police State with Supercomputers destroys Democracy.

Borders the Mother and Father of Legal Twilight Zones

Frank G golfing with the President for Life of Natgasistan.


That's why I source my information.

That makes it easy to point out where it's wrong. Seeing how you don't, COLGATE4, shows you can't.

Another example of corruption unpunished:

Greg Palast explains how Barrick Gold became one of Poppy Bush's favorite charities. Of course, for pointing it out, Poppy wold make certain to give the big shaft to The Guardian and Greg Palast.

Poppy Strikes Gold

Sunday, April 27, 2008
Originally Posted July 9, 2003
By Greg Palast


And while the Bush family steadfastly believes that ex-felons should not have the right to vote for president, they have no objection to ex-cons putting presidents on their payroll. In 1996, despite pleas by U.S. church leaders, Poppy Bush gave several speeches (he charges $100,000 per talk) sponsored by organizations run by Rev. Sun Myung Moon, cult leader, tax cheat—and formerly the guest of the U.S. federal prison system. Some of the loot for the Republican effort in the 1997–2000 election cycles came from an outfit called Barrick Corporation.

The sum, while over $100,000, is comparatively small change for the GOP, yet it seemed quite a gesture for a corporation based in Canada. Technically, the funds came from those associated with the Canadian's U.S. unit, Barrick Gold Strike.

They could well afford it. [font color="green"]In the final days of the Bush (Senior) administration, the Interior Department made an extraordinary but little noticed change in procedures under the 1872 Mining Law, the gold rush–era act that permitted those whiskered small-time prospectors with their tin pans and mules to stake claims on their tiny plots. The department initiated an expedited procedure for mining companies that allowed Barrick to swiftly lay claim to the largest gold find in America. In the terminology of the law, Barrick could "perfect its patent" on the estimated $10 billion in ore—for which Barrick paid the U.S. Treasury a little under $10,000. Eureka![/font color]

Barrick, of course, had to put up cash for the initial property rights and the cost of digging out the booty (and the cost of donations, in smaller amounts, to support Nevada's Democratic senator, Harry Reid). Still, the shift in rules paid off big time: According to experts at the Mineral Policy Center of Washington, DC, Barrick saved—and the U.S. taxpayer lost—a cool billion or so. Upon taking office, Bill Clinton's new interior secretary, Bruce Babbitt, called Barrick's claim the "biggest gold heist since the days of Butch Cassidy." Nevertheless, because the company followed the fast-track process laid out for them under Bush, this corporate Goldfinger had Babbitt by the legal nuggets. Clinton had no choice but to give them the gold mine while the public got the shaft.

Barrick says it had no contact whatsoever with the president at the time of the rules change.(1) There was always a place in Barrick's heart for the older Bush—and a place on its payroll. In 1995, Barrick hired the former president as Honorary Senior Advisor to the Toronto company's International Advisory Board. Bush joined at the suggestion of former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, who, like Bush, had been ignominiously booted from office. I was a bit surprised that the president had signed on. When Bush was voted out of the White House, he vowed never to lobby or join a corporate board. The chairman of Barrick openly boasts that granting the title "Senior Advisor" was a sly maneuver to help Bush tiptoe around this promise.



The guy really gave rise to compassionate conservative, as in helping the rich and their corporations.

The story continues, in which Mr. Palast details how said gold mining company employed pure fascist tactics to take over the mine, a plan which involved bulldozing the miners' homes and mines, some with the miners and their families still inside.

Let that, uh, sink in for a moment. For his trouble in reporting the story, Barrick threatened to sue.

The Truth Buried Alive

—By Greg Palast, From The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (Penguin/Plume, 2003)

Source: UTNE Reader
April 2003 Issue


Bad news. In July 2001, in the middle of trying to get out the word of the theft of the election in Florida, [font color="red"]I was about to become the guinea pig, the test case, for an attempt by a multinational corporation to suppress free speech in the USA using British libel law. I have a U.S.-based Web site for Americans who can’t otherwise read my columns or view my BBC television reports. The gold-mining company held my English newspaper liable for aggravated damages for my publishing the story in the USA. If I did not pull the Bush-Barrick story off my U.S. Web site, my paper would face a ruinously costly fight.(1)[/font color]

Panicked, the Guardian legal department begged me to delete not just the English versions of the story but also my Spanish translation, printed in Bolivia. (Caramba!)

The Goldfingers didn’t stop there. [font color="green"]Barrick’s lawyers told our papers that I personally would be sued in the United Kingdom over Web publications of my story in America, because the Web could be accessed in Britain. The success of this legal strategy would effectively annul the U.S. Bill of Rights.[/font color] Speak freely in the USA, but if your words are carried on a U.S. Web site, you may be sued in Britain. The Declaration of Independence would be null and void, at least for libel law. Suddenly, instead of the Internet becoming a means of spreading press freedom, the means to break through censorship, it would become the electronic highway for delivering repression.

And repression was winning. InterPress Services (IPS) of Washington, DC, sent a reporter to Tanzania with Lissu. They received a note from Barrick that said if the wire service ran a story that repeated the allegations, the company would sue. IPS did not run the story.

I was worried about Lissu. On July 19, 2001, a group of Tanzanian police interest lawyers wrote the nation’s president asking for an investigation–instead, Lissu’s law partner in Dar es Salaam was arrested. The police were hunting for Lissu. They broke into his home and office and turned them upside down looking for the names of Lissu’s sources, his whereabouts and the evidence he gathered on the mine site clearance. This was more than a legal skirmish. Over the next months, demonstrations by vicims’ families were broken up by police thugs. A member of Parliament joining protesters was beaten and hospitalized. I had to raise cash quick to get Lissu out, and with him, his copies of police files with more evidence of the killings. I called Maude Barlow, the “Ralph Nader of Canada”, head of the Council of Canadians. Without hesitation, she teamed up with Friends of the Earth in Holland, raised funds and prepared a press conference–and in August tipped the story to the Globe & Mail, Canada’s national paper.



So. Greg Palast did something very, very bad from the insider's perspective: He told the truth, including the bits about the buried alive gold miners, as it happens. So, the Big Corporation sued and sued and sued. With their deep pockets, they can buy justice, judges, prime ministers and whoever and whatever else they need to turn a buck, even presidents, their dim sons, cronies, assorted toadies, paid shills and amateur apologists.

Financial Industry Lobbying To Shape Puerto Rico Bankruptcy Bill

Haven't seen this discussed much on DU, much to my shame.

Financial Industry Lobbying To Shape Puerto Rico Bankruptcy Bill

by Clark Mindock and David Sirota
International Business Times, 04/13/16


Over the last few years, hedge funds and mutual funds have bought up large tranches of Puerto Rico’s bonds at cut-rate prices, hoping the island will pay back its debts in full, thereby giving those financial interests a big payout. That gamble, however, has relied in part on the bet that the island will make draconian cuts to social services and worker pensions and use the savings to pay back 100 cents on the dollar to its Wall Street creditors — a bet, in other words, that Congress will prevent the island from simply erasing some of its debt through the kind of bankruptcy protections that are afforded U.S. cities.

To that end, federal lobbying records show that major banks, bond insurers and hedge funds spent millions last year to try to shape bankruptcy proposals for the island. Two so-called dark money groups linked to the billionaire Koch brothers and Republican strategist Karl Rove are also working to influence the debate over Puerto Rico’s debt.

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) spent a combined $130,000 in 2015 to lobby the federal government on issues including Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy proposal. CAGW receives funding from Koch-backed dark money organizations — nonprofits that conceal their donor network.

Several people identified as donors to the Koch network could lose money should the island territory’s government obtain bankruptcy rights. If Puerto Rico is allowed to retroactively change the rules of their bond obligations, its bondholders — like any creditors after a bankruptcy — could get back only part of the money they were owed.

That includes billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin, whose investment firm Citadel has owned as much as 5.6 percent of the parent company of Puerto Rican bank Banco Popular — one of many institutions that could be thrust into financial turmoil with debt restructuring — according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Joining Griffin is the co-CEO of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, Robert Mercer, whose firm had just over $2 million invested in Banco Popular’s parent company last year when CAGW lobbied on debt, but sold its stake in the company in September, according to Thomson Reuters data. Also among Koch network donors that have held a stake in the bonds themselves is Dick Weiss, of investment firm Wells Capital Management, which is ranked as the seventh-biggest mutual fund owner of Puerto Rican bonds.

The other dark-money-backed group lobbying on the issue is the Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF), which spent $39,000 lobbying the federal government in 2015. That organization has received $5 million from Crossroads GPS — the political nonprofit founded by Rove, who served as deputy White House chief of staff to former President George W. Bush — according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. So far, CFIF has spent at least $200,000 on ads opposing a Puerto Rico debt restructuring, which it called a bailout, according to the Sunlight Foundation. One other dark money donor to the group is the American Action Network, which frequently funds anti-Democrat ad campaigns.

Mercer, one of the Koch network donors, is known to have contributed at least $1 million to Crossroads GPS during the 2012 presidential election cycle. Other donors to the group include Griffin and Daniel Loeb, the founder of Third Point LLC, which has held Puerto Rican bonds.


Many other big financial institutions have lobbied lawmakers on the Puerto Rican debt issue. That includes:

- Investment banking and financial services corporation Citigroup, which spent $120,000 on lobbying efforts that included employing three former House officials.

- The Investment Company Institute, a trade association for the mutual fund industry, which has invested in Puerto Rican debt and which focused part of its $5.1 million congressional lobbying effort on the issue last year. Among the Investment Company Institute’s board members is the chairman of OppenheimerFunds, which has been a particularly aggressive investor in the island’s bonds.

- The Mass Mutual Life Insurance Company, whose assets include subsidiary OppenheimerFunds, which has been one of the largest holders of Puerto Rican debt, focused part of an over $3 million lobby effort last year on the issue.

- Insurance group Assured Guaranty spent $385,000 lobbying on the issue, according to lobbying reports that mention the bankruptcy. The company has provided insurance to roughly $13 billion worth of the bonds — and would have to pay out those insurance policies if Puerto Rico erased its debt through bankruptcy.

- BlueMountain Capital, which has held more than $400 million in bonds from the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, registered to lobby the issue but did not file any actual spending. It is one of at least 36 hedge funds that have purchased Puerto Rican bonds, according to Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism.

- Investment firm Vanguard — which has held roughly $200 million worth of Puerto Rican bonds — said it was lobbying on “issues surrounding the fiscal situation with Puerto Rico and its impact on municipal bonds” in federal reports documenting $3.4 million worth of lobbying in 2014 and 2013.



$5 Billion in Political Contributions Bought Wall Street Freedom from Regulation, Restraint

The Republic, Justice and Democracy depend on Truth. Something you should know about the effects of money thereupon:


Steps to Financial Cataclysm Paved with Industry Dollars

March 4 - The financial sector invested more than $5 billion in political influence purchasing in Washington over the past decade, with as many as 3,000 lobbyists winning deregulation and other policy decisions that led directly to the current financial collapse, according to a 231-page report issued today by Essential Information and the Consumer Education Foundation.

The report, "Sold Out: How Wall Street and Washington Betrayed America," shows that, from 1998-2008, Wall Street investment firms, commercial banks, hedge funds, real estate companies and insurance conglomerates made $1.725 billion in political contributions and spent another $3.4 billion on lobbyists, a financial juggernaut aimed at undercutting federal regulation. Nearly 3,000 officially registered federal lobbyists worked for the industry in 2007 alone. The report documents a dozen distinct deregulatory moves that, together, led to the financial meltdown. These include prohibitions on regulating financial derivatives; the repeal of regulatory barriers between commercial banks and investment banks; a voluntary regulation scheme for big investment banks; and federal refusal to act to stop predatory subprime lending.

"The report details, step-by-step, how Washington systematically sold out to Wall Street," says Harvey Rosenfield, president of the Consumer Education Foundation, a California-based non-profit organization. "Depression-era programs that would have prevented the financial meltdown that began last year were dismantled, and the warnings of those who foresaw disaster were drowned in an ocean of political money. Americans were betrayed, and we are paying a high price -- trillions of dollars -- for that betrayal."

"Congress and the Executive Branch," says Robert Weissman of Essential Information and the lead author of the report, "responded to the legal bribes from the financial sector, rolling back common-sense standards, barring honest regulators from issuing rules to address emerging problems and trashing enforcement efforts. The progressive erosion of regulatory restraining walls led to a flood of bad loans, and a tsunami of bad bets based on those bad loans. Now, there is wreckage across the financial landscape."

12 Key Policy Decisions Led to Cataclysm

Financial deregulation led directly to the current economic meltdown. For the last three decades, government regulators, Congress and the executive branch, on a bipartisan basis, steadily eroded the regulatory system that restrained the financial sector from acting on its own worst tendencies. "Sold Out" details a dozen key steps to financial meltdown, revealing how industry pressure led to these deregulatory moves and their consequences:

1. In 1999, Congress repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, which had prohibited the merger of commercial banking and investment banking.

2. Regulatory rules permitted off-balance sheet accounting -- tricks that enabled banks to hide their liabilities.

3. The Clinton administration blocked the Commodity Futures Trading Commission from regulating financial derivatives -- which became the basis for massive speculation.

4. Congress in 2000 prohibited regulation of financial derivatives when it passed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act.

5. The Securities and Exchange Commission in 2004 adopted a voluntary regulation scheme for investment banks that enabled them to incur much higher levels of debt.

6. Rules adopted by global regulators at the behest of the financial industry would enable commercial banks to determine their own capital reserve requirements, based on their internal "risk-assessment models."

7. Federal regulators refused to block widespread predatory lending practices earlier in this decade, failing to either issue appropriate regulations or even enforce existing ones.

8. Federal bank regulators claimed the power to supersede state consumer protection laws that could have diminished predatory lending and other abusive practices.

9. Federal rules prevent victims of abusive loans from suing firms that bought their loans from the banks that issued the original loan.

10. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac expanded beyond their traditional scope of business and entered the subprime market, ultimately costing taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.

11. The abandonment of antitrust and related regulatory principles enabled the creation of too-big-to-fail megabanks, which engaged in much riskier practices than smaller banks.

12. Beset by conflicts of interest, private credit rating companies incorrectly assessed the quality of mortgage-backed securities; a 2006 law handcuffed the SEC from properly regulating the firms.

Financial Sector Political Money and 3000 Lobbyists Dictated Washington Policy

During the period 1998-2008:

* Commercial banks spent more than $154 million on campaign contributions, while investing $363 million in officially registered lobbying:

* Accounting firms spent $68 million on campaign contributions and $115 million on lobbying;

* Insurance companies donated more than $218 million and spent more than $1.1 billion on lobbying;

* Securities firms invested more than $504 million in campaign contributions, and an additional $576 million in lobbying. Included in this total: private equity firms contributed $56 million to federal candidates and spent $33 million on lobbying; and hedge funds spent $32 million on campaign contributions (about half in the 2008 election cycle).

The betrayal was bipartisan: about 55 percent of the political donations went to Republicans and 45 percent to Democrats, primarily reflecting the balance of power over the decade. Democrats took just more than half of the financial sector's 2008 election cycle contributions.

The financial sector buttressed its political strength by placing Wall Street expatriates in top regulatory positions, including the post of Treasury Secretary held by two former Goldman Sachs chairs, Robert Rubin and Henry Paulson.

Financial firms employed a legion of lobbyists, maintaining nearly 3,000 separate lobbyists in 2007 alone.

These companies drew heavily from government in choosing their lobbyists. Surveying 20 leading financial firms, "Sold Out" finds 142 of the lobbyists they employed from 1998-2008 were previously high-ranking officials or employees in the Executive Branch or Congress.

* * *
Essential Information is a Washington, D.C. nonprofit that seeks to curb excessive corporate power. The Consumer Education Foundation is a California-based nonprofit that supports measures to prevent losses to consumers.

SOURCE: http://www.wallstreetwatch.org/soldoutreport.htm

The laws getting made to benefit what used to be crooks is a problem we used to call lobbying. Now the crooks are too big to jail. That's why I support Bernie Sanders.

Instead of freedom from prosecution for the Banksters, he wants to put them behind bars. Ask Bill Black.

DU2. Why to keep fighting the Good Fight.

If you notice, all the talk up thread above on equal rights for ALL is what we -- all who believe in Democracy -- were talking about back then.

The thing you are talking about in the OP: A new type of government.

Very few talked about the change in US Government then or since or now. Someone who saw where it was all heading was Bertram Gross. The professor served FDR and the New Deal Democrats and is remembered today for his work to reduce poverty. Among his accomplishments, he helped author the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act. Later he taught at CUNY and Wayne State University in Detroit, where he founded the Center for Urban Studies and where I learned about his work in journalism school.

Friendly Fascism

The New Face of Power in America

by Bertram Gross
South End Press, 1980, paper


Friendly fascism portrays two conflicting trends in the United States and other countries of the so-called "free world."

The first is a slow and powerful drift toward greater concentration of power and wealth in a repressive Big Business-Big Government partnership. This drift leads down the road toward a new and subtly manipulative form of corporatist serfdom. The phrase "friendly fascism" helps distinguish this possible future from the patently vicious corporatism of classic fascism in the past of Germany, Italy and Japan. It also contrasts with the friendly present of the dependent fascisms propped up by the U.S. government in El Salvador, Haiti, Argentina, Chile, South Korea, the Philippines and elsewhere.

The other is a slower and less powerful tendency for individuals and groups to seek greater participation in decisions affecting themselves and others. This trend goes beyond mere reaction to authoritarianism. It transcends the activities of progressive groups or movements and their use of formal democratic machinery. It is nourished by establishment promises-too often rendered false-of more human rights, civil rights and civil liberties. It is embodied in larger values of community, sharing, cooperation, service to others and basic morality as contrasted with crass materialism and dog-eat-dog competition. It affects power relations in the household, workplace, community, school, church, synagogue, and even the labyrinths of private and public bureaucracies. It could lead toward a truer democracy-and for this reason is bitterly fought...

These contradictory trends are woven fine into the fabric of highly industrialized capitalism. The unfolding logic of friendly fascist corporatism is rooted in "capitalist society's transnational growth and the groping responses to mounting crises in a dwindling capitalist world". Mind management and sophisticated repression become more attractive to would-be oligarchs when too many people try to convert democratic promises into reality. On the other hand, the alternative logic of true democracy is rooted in "humankind's long history of resistance to unjustified privilege" and in spontaneous or organized "reaction (other than fright or apathy) to concentrated power...and inequality, injustice or coercion".

A few years ago too many people closed their eyes to the indicators of the first tendency.

But events soon began to change perceptions.

The Ku Klux Klan and American Nazis crept out of the woodwork. An immoral minority of demagogues took to the airwaves. "Let me tell you something about the character of God," orated Jim Robison at a televised meeting personally endorsed by candidate Ronald Reagan. "If necessary, God would raise up a tyrant, a man who may not have the best ethics, to protect the freedom interests of the ethical and the godly." To protect Western oil companies, candidate Jimmy Carter proclaimed presidential willingness to send American troops into the Persian Gulf. Rosalyn Carter went further by telling an lowa campaign audience: "Jimmy is not afraid to declare war." Carter then proved himself unafraid to expand unemployment, presumably as an inflation cure, thereby reneging on his party's past full employment declarations.



The good professor painted an accurate picture of what was to come.

James Madison


Despite the sharp differences from classic fascism, there are also some basic similarities. In each, a powerful oligarchy operates outside of, as well as through, the state. Each subverts constitutional government. Each suppresses rising demands for wider participation in decision making, the enforcement and enlargement of human rights, and genuine democracy. Each uses informational control and ideological flimflam to get lower and middle-class support for plans to expand the capital and power of the oligarchy and provide suitable rewards for political, professional, scientific, and cultural supporters.

A major difference is that under friendly fascism Big Government would do less pillaging of, and more pillaging for, Big Business. With much more integration than ever before among transnational corporations, Big Business would run less risk of control by any one state and enjoy more subservience by many states. In turn, stronger government support of transnational corporations, such as the large group of American companies with major holdings in South Africa, requires the active fostering of all latent conflicts among those segments of the American population that may object to this kind of foreign venture. It requires an Establishment with lower levels so extensive that few people or groups can attain significant power outside it, so flexible that many (perhaps most) dissenters and would-be revolutionaries can be incorporated within it. Above all, friendly fascism in any First World country today would use sophisticated control technologies far beyond the ken of the classic fascists.

Although American hegemony can scarcely return in its Truman-Eisenhower-Kennedy-Johnson form, this does not necessarily signify the end of the American Century. Nor does communist and socialist advance on some fronts mark American and capitalist retreat on all fronts. There are unmistakable tendencies toward a rather thoroughgoing reconstruction of the entire "Free World." Robert Osgood sees a transitional period of "limited readjustment" and "retrenchment without disengagement," after which America could establish a "more enduring rationale of global influence." Looking at foreign policy under the Nixon administration, Robert W. Tucker sees no intention to "dismantle the empire" but rather a continued commitment to the view that "America must still remain the principal guarantor of a global order now openly and without equivocation identified with the status quo." He describes America as a "settled imperial power shorn of much of the former exuberance." George Liska looks forward to a future in which Americans, having become more mature in the handling of global affairs, will at last be the leaders of a true empire.



If you can't afford to play unless your rich, it isn't democracy.

For instance, from his association with a former president, Frank got a great deal in Kazakhstan:

After Mining Deal, Financier Donated to Clinton

The New York Times, JAN. 31, 2008


Upon landing on the first stop of a three-country philanthropic tour, the two men were whisked off to share a sumptuous midnight banquet with Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, whose 19-year stranglehold on the country has all but quashed political dissent.

Mr. Nazarbayev walked away from the table with a propaganda coup, after Mr. Clinton expressed enthusiastic support for the Kazakh leader’s bid to head an international organization that monitors elections and supports democracy. Mr. Clinton’s public declaration undercut both American foreign policy and sharp criticism of Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record by, among others, Mr. Clinton’s wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

Within two days, corporate records show that Mr. Giustra also came up a winner when his company signed preliminary agreements giving it the right to buy into three uranium projects controlled by Kazakhstan’s state-owned uranium agency, Kazatomprom.

The monster deal stunned the mining industry, turning an unknown shell company into one of the world’s largest uranium producers in a transaction ultimately worth tens of millions of dollars to Mr. Giustra, analysts said.


Mr. Giustra foresaw a bull market in gold and began investing in mines in Argentina, Australia and Mexico. He turned a $20 million shell company into a powerhouse that, after a $2.4 billion merger with Goldcorp Inc., became Canada’s second-largest gold company.



From his association with a future president, young failure and drunk George W got a great deal in Bahrain.

Harken Energy And Insider Trading

by Stephen Pizzo
Mother Jones, September / October 1992


Harken Energy was formed in l973 by two oilmen who would benefit from a successful covert effort to destabilize Australia's Labor Party government (which had attempted to shut out foreign oil exploration). A decade later, Harken was sold to a new investment group headed by New York attorney Alan G. Quasha, a partner in the firm of Quasha, Wessely & Schneider. Quasha's father, a powerful attorney in the Philippines, had been a staunch supporter of then-president Ferdinand Marcos. William Quasha had also given legal advice to two top officials of the notorious Nugan Hand Bank in Australia, a CIA operation.

After the sale of Harken Energy in 1983, Alan Quasha became a director and chairman of the board. Under Quasha, Harken suddenly absorbed Junior's struggling Spectrum 7 in 1986. The merger immediately opened a financial horn of plenty and reversed Junior's fortunes. But like his brother Jeb, Junior seemed unconcerned about the characters who were becoming his benefactors. Harken's $25 million stock offering in 1987, for example, was underwritten by a Little Rock, Arkansas, brokerage house, Stephens, Inc., which placed the Harken stock offering with the London subsidiary of Union Bank -- a bank that had surfaced in the scandal that resulted in the downfall of the Australian Labor government in 1976 and, later, in the Nugan Hand Bank scandal. (It was also Union Bank, according to congressional hearings on international money laundering, that helped the now-notorious Bank of Credit and Commerce International skirt Panamanian money-laundering laws by flying cash out of the country in private jets, and that was used by Ferdinand Marcos to stash 325 tons of Philippine gold around the world.)


Suddenly, in January 1990, Harken Energy became the talk of the Texas oil industry. The company with no offshore-oil-drilling experience beat out a more-established international conglomerate, Amoco, in bagging the exclusive contract to drill in a promising new offshore oil field for the Persian Gulf nation of Bahrain. The deal had been arranged for Harken by two former Stephens, Inc., brokers. A company insider claims the president's son did not initiate the deal -- but feels that his presence in the firm helped with the Bahrainis. "Hell, that's why he's on the damn board," the insider says. "...You say, 'By the way, the president's son sits on our board.' You use that. There's nothing wrong with that."

Junior has told acquaintances conflicting stories about his own involvement in the deal. He first claimed that he had "recused" himself from the deal; "George said he left the room when Bahrain was being discussed 'because we can't even have the appearance of having anything to do with the government.' He was into a big rant about how unfair it was to be the president's son. He said, 'I was so scrupulous I was never in the room when it was discussed.'"

Junior alternately claimed, to reporters for the Wall Street Journal and D Magazine, that he had opposed the arrangement. But the company insider says, to the contrary, that Junior was excited about the Bahrain deal. "Like any member of the board, he was thrilled," the associate says. "His attitude was, 'Holy shit, what a great deal!'"



That's why keeping Wall Street and private business out of Washington and the public's business matters to Democracy. Those without money today also are without Democratic representation. What a coincidence.

Go to Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 Next »