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Reply #196: ALL FOLKS YOU USED TO RESPECT-Do you think you might be missing something? [View All]

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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 04:40 PM
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196. ALL FOLKS YOU USED TO RESPECT-Do you think you might be missing something?
Edited on Sat Mar-08-08 04:43 PM by mod mom

Here is a portion of activist/mother, Terri Swearingen's acceptance speech for the Goldman Environmental Prize, given April 14, 1997:

I am not a scientist or a Ph.D. I am a nurse and a housewife, but my most important credential is that I am a mother. In 1982, I was pregnant with our one and only child. That's when I first learned of plans to build one of the world's largest toxic waste incinerators in my community. When they began site preparation to begin building the incinerator in 1990, my life changed forever. I'd like to share with you some of the lessons I have learned from my experiences over the past seven years.

One of the main lessons I have learned from the WTI experience is that we are losing our democracy. How have I come to this sad realization? Democracy is defined by Merriam Webster as "government by the people, especially rule of the majority," and "the common people constituting the source of political authority." The definition of democracy no longer fits with the reality of what is happening in East Liverpool, Ohio. For one thing, it is on the record that the majority of people in the Ohio Valley do not want the WTI hazardous waste incinerator in their area, and they have been opposed to the project from its inception. Some of our elected officials have tried to help us, but the forces arrayed against us have been stronger than we or they had imagined. Public concerns and protests have been smothered with meaningless public hearings, voodoo risk assessment and slick legal maneuvering.

Government agencies that were set up to protect public health and the environment only do their job if it does not conflict with corporate interests. Our current reality is that we live in a "wealthocracy" big money simply gets what it wants. In this wealthocracy, we see three dynamics at play: corporations versus the planet, the government versus the people, and corporate consultants or "experts" versus common sense. In the case of WTI, we have seen all three.

The second lesson I have learned ties directly to the first, and that is that corporations can control the highest office in the land. When Bill Clinton and Al Gore came to the Ohio Valley, they called the siting of the WTI hazardous waste incinerator next door to a 400 student elementary school, in the middle of an impoverished Appalachian neighborhood, immediately on the bank of the Ohio River in a flood plain an "UNBELIEVABLE IDEA." They said we ought to have control over where these things are located. They even went so far as to say they would stop it. But then they didn't! What has been revealed in all this is that there are forces running this country that are far more powerful than the President and the Vice President. This country trumpets to the world how democratic it is, but it's funny that I come from a community that our President dare not visit because he cannot witness first hand the injustice which he has allowed in the interest of a multinational corporation, Von Roll of Switzerland. And the Union Bank of Switzerland. And Jackson Stephens, a private investment banker from Arkansas. These forces are far more relevant to our little town than the President of the United States! And he is the one who made it that way. He has chosen that path. We didn't choose it for him. We begged him to come to East Liverpool, but he refused. We begged the head of EPA to come, but she refused. She hides behind the clever maneuvering of lawyers and consultants who obscure the dangers of the reckless siting of this facility with theoretical risk assessments.


Ask Hillary About This Tonight. I Dare You.
by Zwoof

Thu Jan 31, 2008 at 03:40:46 AM PST


While I was writing the original piece on the history of this foul project, a new ruling from the Ohio EPA allowed this incinerator, located 1,100 feet from an elementary school, to accept even more hazardous waste (anthrax, radioactive waste, infectious medical waste and mixed hazardous waste from Hurricane Katrina) than the original permit that was shrouded in corruption and approved by the Clinton Administration

Clinton and Al Gore promised the residents of East Liverpool, Ohio that they would not allow this incinerator originally approved by Bush '41 to operate. However, a Clinton EPA appointee, recommended by his classmate Hillary Clinton, approved the permit.

This is a tangled tale of corporatism, broken promises and an environmental disaster waiting to happen.

There has always been something incongruous about Stephens Inc. Despite the Little rock firm's attempts to portray itself as a small- city operation that closes for the duck season and got fabulously lucky on a couple of down-home deals like Wal-Mart, it was, at the incinerator's inception, the ninth-largest investment bank in the country. Since it is not headquartered in New York, its dealings are local news, little noticed by the national press, even when they have national implications. And, as a source close to the company once remarked, "The farther you get from Arkansas, the better it looks."

Stephens Inc. was founded by Witt Stephens, a state legislator's son who parlayed a Depression-era belt-buckle, Bible, and municipal-bond business into an immense personal fortune. After his retirement in 1973, the company was run by his shy younger brother, Jackson (a classmate of Jimmy Carter's at the Naval Academy). Witt Stephens and Stephens Inc. did much to create the economic paradox that is modern Arkansas: a desperately poor state with a scant 2.3 million inhabitants that is nonetheless home to a number of wealthy companies. Without the financial assistance of the Stephens brothers, Sam Walton might have ended his days as the most innovative merchant in Bentonville. Stephens money was also important to the fortunes of enterprises as various as Tyson Foods and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, the television producer and reigning First Friend. Stephens Inc. is an important client of the Rose law firm, whose chairman, C. Joseph Giroir, made Hillary Rodham Clinton a partner. And back in 1977, Stephens assisted BCCI's infiltration of the American banking system by brokering the latter's purchase of National Bank of Georgia stock held by Bert Lance, former President Jimmy Carter's friend and disgraced budget director.

Jackson Stephens (who turned over the reins to his son, Warren, in the late eighties) and his firm were both substantial contributors to the campaigns of Presidents Reagan and Bush (to the tune of at least $100,000 in 1980 and 1989), but they have been closer still to Bill Clinton (whom Witt Stephens had been known to call "that boy").

On two occasions, once when Clinton was running for reelection in Arkansas in 1990 and again in March 1992, when his battered presidential campaign was broke, the Stephens family saved Clinton's bacon with an infusion of money. Indeed, it may not be too much to say that their Worthen Bank's emergency $3.5 million line of credit saved the presidential campaign from extinction. --L.J.D.


Who is the octopussy that might be lurking in the Ohio River Valley? Perhaps we should start by asking shy Arkansas billionaire Jackson T. Stephens. After all, Stephens introduced BCCI from Pakistan to the United States and the WTI waste incinerator to East Liverpool, Ohio. Stephens would be a good sketch artist because he's seen some monstrous scandals in his day. Stephens' family firm is the largest privately owned investment bank outside Wall Street. In September 1977, President Jimmy Carter's Budget Director Burt Lance was forced to resign amid allegations about his bank dealings with Stephens (Stephens and Carter were classmates at the Naval Academy). In 1978, Stephens, Lance and BCCI were charged with violating U.S. security laws. The charges were dropped after the defendants promised not to violate security laws in the future, even though they admitted no guilt.

The New York Post reported in February 1992 that it was Stephens who enabled BCCI to gain a foothold in the U.S. and helped the fraud-plagued bank secretly acquire U.S. banks. In Peter Truell and Larry Gurwin's book, False Profits, perhaps the best account of the BCCI scandal, the authors outlined how opium revenue from Afghanistan Mujahedin fighting the Soviets ended up in the accounts of BCCI, founded by Agha Hasan Abedi. The Post reported that Stephens allegedly introduced Abedi to Lance shortly after Lance resigned.

In 1991, Lance testified that he urged Abedi to acquire a Washington bank holding company, but he denied any knowledge of BCCI's subsequent secret ownership of First American Bankshares. The Post reported that Securities and Exchange Commission documents from 1977 substantiate that the idea originated with Stephens.

During Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential run, Stephens and his son Warren boasted of raising more than $100,000 for the campaign. The Stephens family also owned a 38 percent share in Worthen National Bank that extended a crucial $2 million line of credit to Clinton in January 1992.


Waste Technologies Industry, Inc. (WTI)

WTI has also gained significant political support, as one of the original partners in the corporation was Jackson Stephens. Stephens, an Arkansas investor, was known as a significant contributor to Reagan, Bush, and Clinton campaigns.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA has been accused of having bias in favor of WTI and carrying out decision-making activities without required public participation. The agency also violated rules established in RCRA during the WTI permit application process. EPA admitted such wrong-doing at a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee's subcommitteeon Administrative Law and Government Relations, as well as the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Washington, D.C. - The League of Conservation Voters (LCV), the self-described political arm of the environmental movement, has given President Clinton a middling grade of "C-plus" overall for "not working up to potential" during his first year in office.

In particular, the League criticized the Clinton Administration for failing to halt Waste Technologies Industries' controversial hazardous waste incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio.

-snip /

After Mining Deal, Financier Donated to Clinton

Published: January 31, 2008
Late on Sept. 6, 2005, a private plane carrying the Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra touched down in Almaty, a ruggedly picturesque city in southeast Kazakhstan. Several hundred miles to the west a fortune awaited: highly coveted deposits of uranium that could fuel nuclear reactors around the world. And Mr. Giustra was in hot pursuit of an exclusive deal to tap them.

Unlike more established competitors, Mr. Giustra was a newcomer to uranium mining in Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic. But what his fledgling company lacked in experience, it made up for in connections. Accompanying Mr. Giustra on his luxuriously appointed MD-87 jet that day was a former president of the United States, Bill Clinton.


"Kazakhstans 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 leaders bid to head an international organization that monitors elections and supports democracy."


Just months after the Kazakh pact was finalized, Mr. Clintons charitable foundation received its own windfall: a $31.3 million donation from Mr. Giustra that had remained a secret until he acknowledged it last month. The gift, combined with Mr. Giustras more recent and public pledge to give the William J. Clinton Foundation an additional $100 million, secured Mr. Giustra a place in Mr. Clintons inner circle, an exclusive club of wealthy entrepreneurs in which friendship with the former president has its privileges.


With Friends Like These ...
by Marin Cogan, Melanie Mason, and Barron YoungSmith
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Clintons' shadiest donors.
Post Date Monday, February 04, 2008

It's not that we expect politicians to have squeaky-clean donor lists. You try running for office without, at one point or another, taking money from someone you probably shouldn't. Even Barack Obama, Mr. Clean, has Tony Rezko. But the Frank Giustra-Kazakhstan-Uranium affair, blown open by The New York Times last week, serves as a reminder that the relationship between the Clintons and money has not always been lily-white. Here, a guide to the unsavory characters who have been associated with Bill and Hillary Clinton.

White House Had Ended System of Checking Foreign Guests

Published: February 3, 1997

Ten years ago the Reagan White House adopted a rule about foreign businessmen, lobbyists and consultants who wanted to get in to see the President without the blessing of their embassies: they shouldn't.

But President Clinton's aides did not follow that rule. In their eagerness to raise campaign money, they invited friends of the President's fund-raisers -- including China's biggest arms merchant, favor-seeking Indonesian businessmen, a reputed Russian mobster and other dubiously credentialed dealmakers -- to meet with Mr. Clinton. Nor did the White House check the suitability of Americans invited by the Democratic National Committee to meet the President, allowing, among others, a twice-convicted felon to sip coffee with Mr. Clinton.


And that is why nobody on the White House political team saw fit to ask the National Security Council staff a year ago about a man named Wang Jun, who showed up on a guest list for a White House coffee with the President. The question of exactly how Mr. Wang got into the White House has a simple answer: ''Nobody ever asked anybody,'' a National Security Council official said.

So, at the behest of a tireless political fund-raiser from Arkansas, Charlie Yah Lin Trie, Mr. Clinton wound up sipping coffee with Mr. Wang, who runs the Chinese Government's weapons manufacturing and procuring agency, which is involved in secret arms deals around the world. These coffees for fund-raisers and donors began as a way to raise morale among party loyalists after the Democrats' disastrous showing in the 1994 election. By 1995, they became a way to reward big donors and prospect for new ones, according to Democratic fund-raisers.


New York Times, May 17, 1998

How Chinese Won Rights to Launch Satellites for U.S.

On Oct. 9, 1995, Secretary of State Warren Christopher ended a lengthy debate within the Clinton Administration by initialing a classified order that preserved the State Department's sharp limits on China's ability to launch American-made satellites aboard Chinese rockets.

Both American industry and state-owned Chinese companies had been lobbying for years to get the satellites off what is known as the `munitions list,' the inventory of America's most sensitive military and intelligence-gathering technology. But Mr. Christopher sided with the Defense Department, the intelligence agencies and some of his own advisers, who noted that commercial satellites held technological secrets that could jeopardize `significant military and intelligence interests.'

There was one more reason not to ease the controls, they wrote in a classified memorandum. Doing so would `raise suspicions that we are trying to evade China sanctions' imposed when the country was caught shipping weapons technology abroad--which is what happened in 1991 and 1993 for missile sales to Pakistan.


Other powerful Chinese state enterprises also had multibillion-dollar stakes in getting access to American satellites. Among them was the China International Trade and Investment Corporation, whose chairman, Wang Jun, gained unwanted attention in the United States last year when it was revealed that he attended one of Mr. Clinton's campaign coffee meetings in the White House. The day of Mr. Wang's visit, Mr. Clinton, in what Mr. Rubin said was a coincidence, signed waivers allowing the Chinese to launch four American satellites--though they were unrelated to the business interests of China International Trade.

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