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Archive for May 8th, 2007

Rudy Guiliani in Dirty Deal for Yankee World Series Rings

Posted in H.L. News, Main Blog (All Posts) on May 8th, 2007 5:22 pm by HL

The Yankees’ Clean-Up Man

The Village Voice
Rudy went to bat for the Yanks, and look what he scored.
Excerpt:
Rudy Guiliani takes a bath in Yankee Stadium It is only now, however, as Giuliani campaigns for President, that we are beginning to learn that this relationship went even deeper. Giuliani has been seen on the campaign trail wearing a World Series ring, a valuable prize we never knew he had. Indeed, the Yankees have told the Voice that he has four rings, one for every world championship the Yankees won while he was mayor. Voice calls to other cities whose teams won the Series in the past decade have determined that Giuliani is the only mayor with a ring, much less four. If it sounds innocent, wait for the price tag. These are certainly no Canal Street cubic zirconia knockoffs.

With Giuliani’s name inscribed in the 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000 diamond-and-gold rings, memorabilia and baseball experts say they are collectively worth a minimum of $200,000. The Yankees say that Giuliani did pay for his rings—but only $16,000, and years after he had left office. Anyone paying for the rings is as unusual as a mayor getting one, since neither the Yankees nor any other recent champion have sold rings to virtually anyone. The meager payment, however, is less than half of the replacement value of the rings, and that’s a fraction of the market price, especially with the added value of Giuliani’s name.

What’s more troubling is that Giuliani’s receipt of the rings may be a serious breach of the law, and one that could still be prosecuted. New York officials are barred from taking a gift of greater than $50 value from anyone doing business with the city, and under Giuliani, that statute was enforced aggressively against others. His administration forced a fire department chief, for example, to retire, forfeit $93,105 in salary, and pay a $6,000 fine for taking Broadway tickets to two shows and a free week in a ski condo from a city vendor. The city’s Conflicts of Interest Board (COIB) has applied the gift rule to discounts as well, unless the cheaper rate “is available generally to all government employees.” When a buildings department deputy commissioner was indicted in 2000 for taking Mets and Rangers tickets, as well as a family trip to Florida, from a vendor, an outraged Giuliani denounced his conduct as “reprehensible,” particularly “at high levels in city agencies,” and said that such officials had to be “singled out” and “used as examples.”

HL’s Take
George M. Steinbrenner lll is a convicted Felon. He was convicted of giving illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon in the early ’70s. Is he now doing the same thing for Rudy? This is a long article about some of the crooked stuff Guiliani was involved in when he was Mayor of New York. This guy could out-bush Bush if he is elected. Lets make sure that doesn’t happen.


Wolfie On His Way Out

Posted in H.L. News, Main Blog (All Posts) on May 8th, 2007 8:01 am by HL

Aide Decamps; Wolfie’s Next

The Village Voice
by Harkavy
Wolfowitz Saudi Girlfriend Shaha Ali Riza
Paul Wolfowitz's Girlfriend Riza

Paul Wolfowitz‘s move from the Pentagon to the World Bank in April 2005 was accompanied by music, a parade of marching soldiers, plenty of photographs, and flowery speeches — and even a guest appearance by his estranged wife and their daughter.

(See my May 1, 2005 item, “Wolfowitz Leaves Pentagon Without Causing Further Casualties.”)

His impending exit from the World Bank will be quieter. Likely his security guards will usher him out the back door.

Photo opportunities are unlikely, especially now that his personal photographer, Kevin Kellems, has left the building ahead of him. Kellems, the former aide to Dick Cheney whom Wolfie brought to the bank as a $240,000-a-year publicist (he shot the photos of Wolfie with Bono and Bob Geldof back in ’05), has quit the bank.

Kellems will always be remembered from his bit part in Fahrenheit 9/11 as the “keeper of the comb” for Wolfie.

But good grooming does not a war architect make…..

The only question remaining is who will leave the bank next: Wolfie or his aide Robin Cleveland, the former Boeing-scandal figure who Wolfie brought to the bank from the White House budget office and who signed off on Riza’s move.

HLs Take
Very Interesting reading…Check out this passage from the writers 2005 scoop about Wolfie getting Riza the job (Click through and read the whole thing very illuminating….

liz-cheney-annenberg-debate.jpgIn the world of political appointees, however, no one takes a back seat to Liz Cheney (left). She’s now Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, and her bureau has taken over the issuance of the Weekly Status Report, which charts the Bush regime’s “progress” in Iraq and is notable for its extreme fudging of statistics about how many Iraqi cops and soldiers are ready to take over their chaotic country. But Liz Cheney has been a player, by virtue of her daddy, for a few years now. He’s simply returning the favor. As Slate‘s Timothy Noah pointed out last year, Dick Cheney probably owed his Vietnam War draft deferment to the birth of daughter Liz.

Now that she’s fully grown, she’s a key architect of our muddled foreign policies in the Middle East — or at least that’s the job her name earned her. Keep reading, and I’ll give you an example of her crucial role in the disastrous Iraq occupation.

Back in the summer of 2003, when it was already apparent that the Bush regime hadn’t adequately planned for the aftermath of its unjustified invasion of Iraq, the Washington Post’s Peter Slevin and Dana Priest wrote a piece called “Wolfowitz Concedes Iraq Errors,” tracing back that disastrous fumbling. The July 24, 2003, story noted:

    The U.S. occupation, now costing $4 billion a month, has no clear end. And an assessment by outside experts commissioned by the Pentagon warned last week that the window of opportunity for postwar success is closing.

Now the occupation costs closer to $6 billion a month, and any “window of opportunity” in Baghdead has probably been shattered by the nonstop explosions these days.

Throughout 2002, as the invasion was being planned, British officials warned that the Pentagon wasn’t planning for the aftermath, as the Downing Street Memo and other documents now have confirmed. Of course, Hurricane Katrina shows that the Bush regime isn’t too sharp when it comes to any aftermath.

In the case of Katrina, we’re paying the cost of unjustified inaction before a crisis. In the case of Iraq, we’re paying the cost of unjustified action that caused a crisis.

We’ve known for quite a while that in 2002, the top officials of the Bush regime ignored State and Pentagon careerists when it came to planning a post-war occupation. Here’s a passage from the Post story that elaborates on this:

    Officials critical of the occupation planning said some problems could have been predicted — or were, to no avail, by experts inside and outside the Pentagon.

    Before the invasion, for example, U.S. intelligence agencies were persistent and unified in warning the Defense Department that Iraqis would resort to “armed opposition” after the war was over. The Army’s chief of staff warned that a larger stability force would be needed.

    Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and his team disagreed, confident that Iraqi military and police units would help secure a welcoming nation.


Bush’s War Keeps National Guard From Doing Its Job…Helping Americans

Posted in H.L. News, Main Blog (All Posts) on May 8th, 2007 7:36 am by HL

Kansas tornado disaster highlights lack of National Guard readiness due to Iraq

Raw Story
Excerpt:
Kansas’ Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius said Monday that the effort to recover from the damage caused by tornadoes that hit six Kansas counties over the weekend is being hampered by the war in Iraq.

According to Sebelius there is a shortage of trucks, helicopters and other equipment necessary for the disaster clean up effort due to the Iraq war.

“There is no doubt at all that this will slow down and hamper the recovery,” she told Reuters.

In a television interview with CNN on Sunday, Sebelius outlined the problem in more detail.

“Well, states all over the country are not only missing personnel, National Guard troops are — about 40 percent of the troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan — but we’re missing the equipment. When the troops get deployed, the equipment goes with them,” she told CNN.

“So, here in Kansas, about 50 percent of our trucks are gone. We need trucks. We’re missing Humvees, we’re missing all kinds of equipment that can help us respond to this kind of emergency.”

She said that because the National Guard doesn’t have the equipment it needs, the disaster relief efforts are proceeding at a much slower pace than they otherwise could.

Sebelius’ concerns highlight a wider issue of National Guard readiness, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who said in email today that the “war in Iraq has had a serious impact on the National Guard and its ability to protect and assist Americans in times of disaster here at home.”

“The warnings about National Guard readiness have been clear,” wrote Pelosi. “States are not as ready as they should be to respond to natural disasters and other emergencies.”

The war spending bill that President Bush vetoed on May 1st included $2 billion for a Strategic Reserve Readiness Fund, including $1 billion Army National Guard equipment shortfalls, according to Pelosi.

A January 2007 Government Accounting Office report on America’s reserve forces highlighted National Guard equipment shortfalls, saying, “The high use of the National Guard for federal overseas missions has reduced equipment available for its state-led domestic missions, at the same time it faces an expanded array of threats at home.”

HLs Take
Just one more way we all pay for Bush’s Death hard on. The Army can’t sign people up to go fight for the Monkey, so he uses the
National Guard, which is supposed to be used for domestic emergencies (like Hurricane Katrina for instance) But Bush has to have his wars so he sends the Guard over there to do the fighting. People are not only dying for Bush in Iraq, they are dying for him here at home as well. Check out this video by someone who is on the scene in Kansas


Bill Clinton: Hero To People Around The World

Posted in H.L. News, Main Blog (All Posts) on May 8th, 2007 6:19 am by HL

Bill Clinton announces AIDS drug deals

AP
Excerpt:
Bill Clinton American HeroNEW YORK – Former President
Bill Clinton announced agreements with drug companies Tuesday to lower the price in the developing world of
AIDS drugs resistant to initial treatments and to make a once-a-day AIDS pill available for less than $1 a day.

The drugs to battle so-called “second-line” anti-retrovirals are needed by patients who develop a resistance to first-line treatment and currently cost 10 times as much, Clinton said. Nearly half a million patients will require these drugs by 2010.

Clinton’s foundation negotiated agreements with generic drug makers Cipla Ltd. and Matrix Laboratories Ltd. that he said would generate an average savings of 25 percent in low-income countries and 50 percent in middle-income countries.

HL’s Take
Now that’s a real President. Actually trying to help people instead of kill them. The Republicans are going to be pissed at this. “How dare he try to help people, especially THOSE People. When Bill Clinton travels everywhere he goes people rush out to see him, to say hello, and shake his hand. They tell him how much they miss him and they love him. What will it be like for Bush after he is out of office when he goes out. Oh yeah that won’t happen because he will be sequestered in the middle of a 98,000 acre ranch in Paraguay.

Meanwhile the Republicans are doing just the opposite and trying to stop people from getting help via cheaper prescription drugs. The big Pharmaceutical industry are big contributors after all.

Drug import effort blocked

Seattle Times
Excerpt:
WASHINGTON — The Senate, clearing the way for action on a major overhaul of the government’s troubled drug safety system, on Monday sidetracked an amendment that would have let Americans buy medicines from foreign suppliers but threatened to stall action on the larger bill.

The drug import measure, which was tacked onto the FDA overhaul, could have saved consumers billions of dollars, its sponsors said. But the pharmaceutical industry has argued that pharmacies risk being flooded with counterfeit drugs. And the White House, which also opposes importation, had threatened a veto of the drug safety bill if it eased restrictions.

That put the Senate’s Democratic majority in a bind: Many favor direct drug importation, but the amendment threatened to stymie a reform of the Food and Drug Administration that is considered must-pass legislation.

So some Democrats straddled the issue by voting for the amendment but also for a proviso requiring the government to certify that imports are safe — a step the Bush administration is unlikely to take.

The 49-40 vote to approve the proviso, offered by Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., was seen as a major victory for the pharmaceutical industry.

Cochran’s caveat “is clearly a poison pill,” said Sen. Bernard Sanders, a Vermont Independent and a strong supporter of allowing imports.

Washington’s Democratic Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray voted yes.

“Today is a day of lost opportunity,” said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., author of the import proposal. If it became law, U.S. pharmacies would be allowed to import prescription drugs produced in FDA-licensed facilities in other developed countries.

Dorgan accused the drug industry of wanting to dictate prices to American consumers. “Yes, we have price controls in America,” he said. “Not government price controls, but price controls by the pharmaceutical industry