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MinM's Journal
MinM's Journal
October 23, 2015

Governor Snyder: how to get away with murder

Here's a thread from DUer russ1943 ..

US Austerity Politics: One State's Attempt to Destroy Democracy and the Environment.
Something is rotten in the state of Michigan.


Minnesota seems to be taking a different and more successful direction.


That piece was written before the deadly level of lead in the Flint water supply was confirmed and finally acknowledged by Snyder ..
Lessons From A Fight To Fix Flint's Water Supply

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha talks to NPR's Michel Martin about her fight to get politicians to fix the water supply in Flint, Mich., after kids started testing positive for higher levels of lead exposure.

MARTIN: How did you find out that the people of Flint were having problems with their water? What set you off on looking at this?

HANNA-ATTISHA: Well, it all started at a dinner party. So I was having a glass of wine with a high school friend who happens to be a water expert. And this is was at the end of August, and she's like, Mona, I'm hearing all these reports about corrosion in the Flint water and the possibility of lead in the water. And when people pediatricians hear about the possibility of lead exposure, we freak out because lead is a neurotoxin. It has a bazillion consequences. So that's kind of what started me on a crusade to look at the blood lead levels of children.

MARTIN: And what did you find?

HANNA-ATTISHA: Well, we compared the blood lead levels of children before the City of Flint switched their water source to the Flint River to after the switch. And we noticed a significant increase in the percentage of children with elevated blood lead levels.

MARTIN: Now, I understand that it's not always easy to make the link, as a just heard about from Pennsylvania, between elevated lead levels of children and specific environmental factors. And I have to note that state officials initially dismissed your findings.

HANNA-ATTISHA: Yeah, yeah.

MARTIN: Although they later came around. Is it really that hard to link lead levels in the blood to a specific factor like the water?

HANNA-ATTISHA: Yeah, it is difficult. So our research study proved correlation, so we noticed an increase in lead levels. We can't say it's from the water, but nothing else happened in this community. There is no large soil excavation project. Every kid in Flint didn't start becoming a stained glass lead enthusiast. So there was not another source of lead exposure. And nationally, because of great public health efforts, lead levels in children have been going down for the last 30 years because getting the lead out of gasoline, getting the lead out of paint. So when you see an increase - or even if it stays the same - that has to alert you to something going on in the environment.

MARTIN: Yeah, I know that you focused on Flint, but lead levels, as we are finding out, are higher than is optimal in a lot of cities around the U.S., despite these laws that you just told us about - laws that mandate disclosures about potential lead problems in homes. Do you have any sense of why this is still a problem in the United States?

HANNA-ATTISHA: Well, the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, which is run by the CDC, has lost quite a bit of funding. Through efforts of the American Academy of Pediatrics and others, it went back up to 15 million, but it's still half of what it used to be. So there's not as much money going into the tracking of these children. I think it's shocking that in 2015 - and also, very ironically, in the middle the Great Lakes - that we have lead contamination in our drinking water supply. So I think a lot of regulations need to be strengthened. Other prevention efforts need to be supported that have been cut significantly.

MARTIN: So this past week, Michigan committed to spending more than $9 million to fix this problem. What it was that money going to do, and will this prevent long-term health problems for the kids who've already been exposed?

HANNA-ATTISHA: [font color=darkred]The damage is done[/font]. Lead is a irreversible neurotoxin, so once you are exposed, you're exposed. It crosses the blood-brain barrier. It impacts cognition and behavior and mental health and lifetime, you know, potential, so the damage is done.
So the other thing - our research entirely underestimates the risk because lead in water disproportionally affects infants on formula. So imagine that mom - that single mom in the middle of the night. Baby wakes up. Baby wants warm formula, so she opens the warm tap water, mixes it with the powder formula and gives it to the baby. And that is what the baby for the six months of life.

And we don't even screen for lead at that age. That baby's lead level could have peaked at three month or six months, at nine months, so this research completely underestimates the risk because it's an entirely different vulnerable population than what we're used to screening. So we're looking - Corboyle (ph) now says we're looking at markers for brain injury. We're going to repeat the study in a year. We're going to be tracking the milestones and the development of these children. It's all - this - it's a lot of long-term follow-up that needs to happen...


More here and here.
October 22, 2015

Lt. Bob Woodward presided over the Chief of Naval Operations' code-room ..

Woodward presided over the CNO's code-room, reading every communication that went in and out, while acting, also, as a briefer and a courier. This, he tells us, is how he met Deep Throat, while cooling his heels outside the Situation Room in the White House. It was 1970 and, according to Woodward, Mark Felt was sitting in the next chair.

The Moorer-Radford affair is not usually considered a part of the Watergate story, though it deserves to be. The Nixon Administration learned of the Pentagon spy-ring in late 1971, but the affair did not become public until almost three years later. By then, the Watergate story was almost played out.

While president, Nixon was determined to keep the affair secret, telling Kissinger aide David Young, "If you love your country, you'll never mention it." But the Pentagon's chief investigator, W. Donald Stewart, was more forthcoming. Asked how seriously the affair should have been taken, Stewart replied with a rhetorical question: "Did you see that film, Seven Days in May? That's what we were dealing with..."

read more: http://www.counterpunch.org/2005/06/08/strange-bedfellows/

The truth is Woodward has always been a tool. A rather spooky one at that.
October 19, 2015

Bush asks Daschle to limit Sept. 11 probes

With 9/11 front and center in the GOP debates and the bogus benghazi hearings dragging on .. Here's a blast from the past that compares and contrasts the handling of each ..

January 29, 2002 Posted: 9:26 PM EST (0226 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush personally asked Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle Tuesday to limit the congressional investigation into the events of September 11, congressional and White House sources told CNN.

The request was made at a private meeting with congressional leaders Tuesday morning. Sources said Bush initiated the conversation.

He asked that only the House and Senate intelligence committees look into the potential breakdowns among federal agencies that could have allowed the terrorist attacks to occur, rather than a broader inquiry that some lawmakers have proposed, the sources said

Tuesday's discussion followed a rare call to Daschle from Vice President Dick Cheney last Friday to make the same request.

"The vice president expressed the concern that a review of what happened on September 11 would take resources and personnel away from the effort in the war on terrorism," Daschle told reporters...


Of course we now know the delaying tactic worked. Later that same year Paul Wellstone died, Democrats lost control of the Senate, and Bush-Cheney never faced any serious investigation into their handling of 9/11.
October 16, 2015

salon: Horatio Sanz warned us about #SNL's "conservative bullsh*t"

@Salon: Long before Lorne Michaels invited Trump to host, Horatio Sanz warned us about #SNL's "conservative bullsh*t" http://slnm.us/pLmnIW3

Horatio Sanz’s brutal “SNL” takedown: The show has too much “conservative bullsh*t” — and might have helped George W. Bush win the presidency

The "SNL" comedian speaks candidly about how the show has lost its way politically

After parting ways with “SNL” in 2006, comedian Horatio Sanz is ready to speak candidly about some of the show’s deep political flaws. (This time, without the risk of showrunner Lorne Michaels sending him to time-out.)

In “SNL’s” unaffiliated tell-all book “Live From New York” from 2014, Sanz did just that. And again, in a recent interview with ESPN’s Bill Simmons, he opened up about how the show has lost its way in its quest to be “popular.” The comedian told Simmons that, “the message of the show has become less about these leftist politics and more about being popular.” ...

Sanz also singled out one particular “SNL” sketch — Kristen Wiig’s cold opening as Nancy Pelosi — which he felt epitomized the show’s weak political commentary. Referring to veteran writer Jim Downey’s (“the Karl Rove of SNL”) choice to include two men in S&M outfits (because — you know! — San Fran), Sanz said: “That’s what you get out of that story? That everyone in San Francisco is so weird that they’re wearing fucking leather and whipping each other.” ...


October 15, 2015

JFK v Allen W Dulles part ii

DUer Jim DiEugenio further destroys the argument that JFK's differences with hardliners were mostly tactical...

Oh really Mr. Brinkley.

You mean like in the Congo, where Ike and Dulles decided to kill Lumumba. Whereas JFK was going to completely reverse American policy there and back him?

Or do you mean like in Indonesia? Where Dulles and Ike attempted to overthrow Sukarno. When JFK asked his intrepid CIA director for the report on this, Dulles gave him a redacted copy. But Kennedy still understood what happened and again he reversed policy and invited Sukarno to Washington for a state visit.

Doug, maybe you mean with Egypt? Where the Dulles brothers decided to freeze out Nasser because he would not join the Baghdad Pact, and then reneged on Aswan. Which made Nasser go to the USSR for the funds for the Aswan Dam. So Kennedy decided to rebuild that relationship by backing Nasser's importation of troops into Yemen in order to defeat the Saudi influence there. And the Saudis were the ones Dulles now backed in the Middle East after Nasser was abandoned.

This is tactical? What BS, these are reversals, plain and simple...

BTW, Brinkley is also the official biographer of Dean Acheson, who again, JFK had clashes within the White House over foreign policy.

And, in fact, Acheson criticized young Kennedy over his great Algeria speech back in 1957. It was so bad that when Jackie saw him waiting for a train at Penn station, she started yelling at him in public.

Nice source eh?


October 14, 2015

Consistent with Talbot’s claims JFK’s policies did pose a dire threat to “deep power” interests

The arguments in James Warren's piece bear little resemblance to reality. John Newman, author of JFK and Vietnam, can debunk a couple of Warren's assertions ..

1) JFK’s “differences with the hardliners … were mostly tactical not strategic.” Newman's JFK and Vietnam thoroughly debunks that line of thinking.


...that President Johnson appointed former DCI Allen Dulles to the Warren Commission “at the recommendation of then Attorney General Robert Kennedy.” I will hold back here on commenting about this fabrication because David Talbot’s new book, The Devil’s Chessboard, (to be released next week) so thoroughly (pp. 572-574) demolishes it ...


That said NPR probably had the best piece debunking the revisionist history that frequently gets projected onto JFK's policies...
On The Media: Missile Crisis Memories (August 27, 2010)

Journalism has been called the first draft of history, but what if that first draft is never corrected or if the mistakes persist, despite many subsequent drafts? President Bush harkened back to the peril we faced during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962 and how we were saved by the uncompromising resolve of an earlier leader, in order to justify our need to take preemptive action in Iraq. He was drawing on the first draft of history, the one that said John F. Kennedy went eyeball to eyeball with Nikita Khrushchev over Russian missiles in Cuba and that Khrushchev blinked and withdrew.

[CLIP]: JOHN F. KENNEDY: We will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the course of worldwide nuclear war in which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth. But neither will we shrink from that risk at any time it must be faced. [END CLIP]

BOB GARFIELD: Major players in the Cuban Missile Crisis, including then presidential speech writer Ted Sorensen and former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, have tried in recent years to correct the record of those events, but the national myth seems pretty much unshakable. Fred Kaplan, Slate columnist and, incidentally, Brooke’s husband, has examined all the declassified material related to that crisis as it’s emerged over the years. We asked him to take us through the various drafts of the Cuba showdown.

FRED KAPLAN: The basic scenario came from an article published shortly after the crisis by Stewart Alsop who was a very establishment columnist of the day who got the information from aides to Kennedy in the White House who were authorized by Kennedy to give him this account. Eyeball to eyeball with the Russians, crazy generals, on one hand, wanting us to bomb the missiles right away, lunatic doves like Stevenson, on the other, wanting to negotiate their way out of it from the beginning and, you know, smart guys like Kennedy and McNamara and Bundy navigating a, a cool and calm course through the thickets and ending us up safe to shore.

BOB GARFIELD: That's a heroic and reassuring recounting of the events, and it's certainly not the first nor the last time that a journalist has run with leaked information, but do you think Alsop had any way to know that the story he was writing did not, in fact, reflect the events as we now know them?

FRED KAPLAN: No, I don't think he had any way of knowing that. This is what people told him and he certainly wasn't privy to any of the inside stuff going on. And, in fact, this was confirmed in the second draft of history, the memoirs written by two of what could be called the palace historians, Arthur Schlesinger and Ted Sorensen, Sorensen being Kennedy's speechwriter at the time who was present at all of the — what they called the ex-con meetings, the meetings of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council which got together for the 13 Days and deliberated what to do. And this basically told the same story, though with more detail.

BOB GARFIELD: These memoirs by the "palace guard," when did they appear?

FRED KAPLAN: That was in the mid-60s. This was Sorensen's book called Kennedy and Schlesinger's A Thousand Days.

BOB GARFIELD: Okay, so what's the third rough draft? When did that happen, what form did it take?

FRED KAPLAN: The third draft was mainly by revisionists, by people like Gary Wills who in 1971 wrote a book called Kennedy Agonistes. Now, it had been revealed early on that Khrushchev had made an offer toward the end of the crisis basically saying look, I'll take my missiles out of Cuba if you take your missiles out of Turkey. At the time the United States had 15 nuclear missiles in Turkey, which were similar in range and power to the missiles that the Soviets put in Cuba. Ted Sorensen in his book dismissed that Khrushchev offer as total propaganda and that Khrushchev dropped in the end. Well, Gary Wills and the revisionists picked up on this and they said look, this guy Kennedy was a maniac. He was soaking in machismo. He'd led the United States and the world on the brink of World War III because he wouldn't take this sensible offer to do the missile trade.

BOB GARFIELD: Machismo was certainly part of the popular image of JFK back then. Here's a clip from a 1970s TV docudrama Missiles of October, starring a very young William Devane.

[CLIP]: WILLIAM DEVANE/JOHN F. KENNEDY: Now we must convey an uncompromising message. This government is prepared to negotiate, but not until those missiles are removed from Cuba. We will not be deterred. We will not be shaken. We'll bomb, if we must. We'll invade if we must. [END CLIP]

FRED KAPLAN: Yeah, that, that clip is just hilarious, diametrically opposed to the way John Kennedy was acting at any of those sessions. In fact, this does lead us to the fourth draft of history, tapes that Kennedy had secretly been making. Long before Nixon and before Johnson, Kennedy was taping a lot of things that happened in the Oval Office and in the Cabinet Room, where the ex-con meetings took place. And we hear very clearly in those meetings that Kennedy took Khrushchev's offer of the missile trade very, very seriously. In fact, on the third day of the crisis, Kennedy is already musing that well, you know, Khrushchev, he's made a miscalculation. He's obviously done this for bargaining leverage, and we're going to have to help him find a way to save face. Maybe if we trade those missiles in Turkey for the missiles in Cuba, that might be the answer. Nobody even takes him up on it. So on the last day of the crisis, when Khrushchev does bring it up, he's very eager to take it. And, in fact, he is the only one in the room who's willing to take it. You know, there's been this, this model from the first draft of history on, that the room was divided into hawks and doves and centrists. But, in fact, on the last couple of days of the crisis, the room was divided between John Kennedy and everybody else. Everybody else in that room wanted to bomb the missiles in Cuba, and only John Kennedy wanted to take the trade.

BOB GARFIELD: Now, unaccustomed as we are to having presidential tapes reveal the president in a positive light [LAUGHS] —


BOB GARFIELD: — Nixon certainly was ensnared by his own voice on tape — it must have had an astonishing effect. When were the tapes released, and how long did it take before this real version of history informed our public understanding of the crisis? ...

FRED KAPLAN: [font color=blue]I have to say, both among journalists and historians, this chapter of the Cuban missile crisis has not yet been fully incorporated into the dominant narrative[/font], as academics might call it today, and to the degree that people do know there was a trade, [font color=darkred]it is as yet not generally well accepted how alone Kennedy was[/font]...

October 14, 2015

Hatfield-Rather: Dirty Tricks with different spins on the same theme ..

There are definite parallels between the Dan Rather-Dubya National Guard story and the reason that Karl Rove gave JH Hatfield the Dubya cocaine scoop. Rove in both cases was able to defuse potentially explosive revelations ..

Dan Rather -- legitimate documents were doctored in order to discredit the whole Dubya National Guard story.

JH Hatfield -- the evidence of Dubya's cocaine use was 'leaked' to a convicted felon for use in his book with the purpose of short-circuiting yet one more Bush bombshell. Which it effectively did.

October 14, 2015

Karl Rove and his team successfully refocused attention away from Bush and his AWOL...

The fact that Karl has such intimate knowledge of these documents fits in with this piece written 10-years ago:

October 1, 2005 (onlinejournal.com)—Former CBS News anchor Rather says CBS wouldn't allow him to do a follow-up story on Bush's Texas Air National Guard (TANG) files.

Speaking at the National Press Club on September 26, Dan Rather responded to a question posed by moderator Marvin Kalb concerning the controversial TANG files of George W. Bush. Kalb asked Rather why he did not return to the story and investigate those who created the guard files, passed them off to a former TANG officer and hence to CBS's 60 Minutes, and tipped off right-wing bloggers before the airing of the pre-2004 election exposé by 60 Minutes. Rather responded, "You'll have to ask CBS that question."

Rather stated it was his desire to continue to delve into the story and the set-up. [font color=blue]According to CBS insiders, the original TANG files were scanned by GOP dirty tricks operatives using a sophisticated text scanner that changed the original IBM typewriter Courier font to a Times Roman font, automatically created a "th" superscript for date numbers, and created margins and pagination.[/font] An independent panel commissioned by CBS and headed by former GOP Attorney General Richard Thornburgh never concluded the documents were bogus.

In fact, the [font color=darkred]GOP operatives had to be very careful in their dirty tricks operation:[/font] forging or counterfeiting official government documents is a felony. However, scanning original documents technically does not fall under the category of counterfeiting. Nevertheless, the [font color=blue]GOP quickly tipped off right-wing bloggers, including Free Republic.com, that the CBS documents were forgeries. In doing so, Karl Rove and his team successfully refocused attention away from Bush and his AWOL status in the Guard and on to Dan Rather and 60 Minutes.[/font] [font color=red]People like Karl Rove and, as reported by The New York Post, long time GOP dirty tricks operative Roger Stone, got away with the entire caper, thus eliminating Bush's phony military record as a campaign issue[/font]...

October 8, 2015

Group: IRS should probe shadowy pro-Schuette spending

Washington group says Schuette-supporting Michigan Advocacy Trust skirted law, files complaint with IRS

WASHINGTON — A national watchdog group is calling for an investigation into a tax-exempt Michigan political organization, saying it has spent millions on TV ads featuring Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, targeting his opponents, but failing to disclose any of its donors as required by law.

In a complaint sent Wednesday to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) claims the Michigan Advocacy Trust has violated federal law by not telling the IRS or the Michigan Secretary of State how much it has spent on political ads or who its contributors are.

“(Groups) that spend most of their time and money on politics must disclose their activities and donors,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder wrote in the complaint, which was shared exclusively with the Free Press. “(Michigan Advocacy Trust) is trying to elude the law’s disclosure requirements.” ...

As an independent group, MAT has no direct ties to Schuette or any other candidate, and Schuette declined to comment on its activities. Little is known of its structure. But MAT, which spent at least $3.7 million on TV ads in 2010 and 2014 favorably portraying Schuette and criticizing his opponents, is part of what critics say is a surge in “dark money” seeking to influence elections anonymously across the U.S. ...


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