Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Giuliani Blasted by Rolling Stone's Taibbi

Oh, wow - just wow. Read this Rolling Stone piece by Matt Taibbi about Rudy Giuliani titled "Giuliani: Worse Than Bush". Giuliani - the GOP candidate I call "The Bumper Sticker King" because of his sickening fear-mongering exploitation of 9/11 is worse, when it comes to good character and trustworthy attention to healthy democracy, than even I would have suspected. If what Matt Taibbi's saying has any truth to it, Giuliani's the pits beneath the pits when it comes to character. Look how Taibbi frames him:

.....In his years as mayor -- and his subsequent career as a lobbyist -- Rudy jumped into bed with anyone who could afford a rubber. Saudi Arabia, Rupert Murdoch, tobacco interests, pharmaceutical companies, private prisons, Bechtel, ChevronTexaco -- Giuliani took money from them all. You could change Rudy's mind literally in the time it took to write a check. [..]


.....As mayor, Rudy had a history of asking financially interested parties to help shape important government policies. [..]


.....there's no question that Giuliani has made the continuation of Swift-Boating politics a linchpin of his candidacy. His political hires speak deeply to that tendency. [..]


....Rudy tried to use the tragedy to shred election rules, pushing to postpone the inauguration of his successor so he could hog the limelight for a few more months. Then, with the dust from the World Trade Center barely settled, he went on the road as the Man With the Bullhorn, pocketing as much as $200,000 for a single speaking engagement. In 2002 he reported $8 million in speaking income; this past year it was more than $11 million. He's traveled in style, at one stop last year requesting a $47,000 flight on a private jet, five hotel rooms and a private suite with a balcony view and a king-size bed.

While the mayor himself flew out of New York on a magic carpet, thousands of cash-strapped cops, firemen and city workers involved with the cleanup at the World Trade Center were developing cancers and infections and mysterious respiratory ailments like the "WTC cough." This is the dirty little secret lurking underneath Rudy's 9/11 hero image -- the most egregious example of his willingness to shape public policy to suit his donors. [..]


......"The likelihood is that more people will eventually die from the cleanup than from the original accident," says David Worby, an attorney representing thousands of cleanup workers in a class-action lawsuit against the city. "Giuliani wears 9/11 like a badge of honor, but he screwed up so badly."

When I first spoke to Worby, he was on his way home from the funeral of a cop. "One thing about Giuliani," he told me. "He's never been to a funeral of a cleanup worker."

Indeed, Rudy has had little at all to say about the issue. About the only move he's made to address the problem was to write a letter urging Congress to pass a law capping the city's liability at $350 million.

Did Giuliani know the air at the World Trade Center was poison? Who knows -- but we do know he took over the cleanup, refusing to let more experienced federal agencies run the show. He stood on a few brick piles on the day of the bombing, then spent the next ten months making damn sure everyone worked the night shift on-site while he bonked his mistress and negotiated his gazillion-dollar move to the private sector. Meanwhile, the people who actually cleaned up the rubble got used to checking their stool for blood every morning. [..]

Don't miss this beauty from Josh Marshall. It seem sthat the Bumper Sticker King Rudy got booted off a Congressionally mandated blue-ribbon panel because "he couldn't bother to show up for the meetings." Why? Because he was too busy making his millions making his for-pay hero speeches.

Stick a fork in Rudy. He's done.

Monday, June 18, 2007

John Denver Remembered at Daily Kos

I appreciated "feduphoosier's" diary [link] about John Denver today at the Daily Kos blog, as did many more bloggers at the website. Neil Genzlinger of the New York Times may have panned a theatre production about the 70s-singer called "Almost Heaven", but while employing a tone that was decidedly elitist and condescending toward them, he didn't omit the fact that Denver had many, many fans. As a young girl, John Denver increased my awareness of the good and gracious green of the earth....not the kind of "dollar-green" that is at the center of the intense ideological focus on capitalism that has brought our environment to such dire straits. Seeing what he believed was too much of an apathetic generation of young people, John Denver believed in and worked creatively - in his time and timelessly - to promote the idea that each of us can (and should) participate as individuals to work toward the common goal of a sustainable future, appreciating and safeguarding a healthy environemnt.

"No one person has to do it all but if each one of us follow our heart and our own inclinations we will find the small things that we can do to create a sustainable future and a healthy environment."

John Denver

Libby:Pardon or not? Lose-Lose for Bush

If Bush pardons Scooter Libby, it will be as if to say, "Thank you, Scooter, for doing my administration's bidding in covering up the circumstances of our outing of Valerie Plame, a CIA agent who was working out there on America's side. I am not on America's side by pardoning you for participating in outright lies about the CIA agent outing. Instead I'm showing that I'm on the extreme partisans' side."

If Bush fails to pardon Libby, it will anger and alienate the 20-something percent of that new brand of Republicans who prize loyalty and protection of a President who embraces their divisive and extreme ideology over punishing those who participate in what what looks like treason or something dangerously bordering upon treason.

To a typical American, whether Republican or Democrat, who believes that intelligent patriotism still fosters a spirit that supports a healthy democracy, truth, and respect and reasonable protection for all Americans who do dangerous and important work on behalf of our national security while under cover, it looks like Bush loses.

Abu Ghraib:Father,Son Made To Do Sex-Acts Together

".....a father and his son forced to do acts together..."
On Fathers Day, I read this [Raw Story link] disgusting truth about what we did in the name of America at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

General Antonio Taguba, who was appointed to lead the inquiry into Abu Ghraib abuses in January 2004, has accused senior army commanders of involvement in the torture methods that shocked Americans and the world. He says that was convinced that former defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld lied under oath to a Congressional committee about when and how much he knew of the scandal. The White House knew, although they deny it to our astonished faces.

I honored my father yesterday, and I cried for the day America lost her honor and moral superiority. I bemoaned the existence of men in the highest ranks of our government who covered up the fact that it was happening.

I witnessed the attempt to impeach a sitting President for lying about sex.

I've now witnessed an attempt, at a level within our government yet to be determined but going higher up as we learn more, to cover up lies about military, with the U.S. government's silent approval, forcing fathers and sons to "do" sex-acts (and worse things to others) in a war-prison miles from our sight.

Marcus Aurelius wrote, in The Meditations, that from his grandfather he learned good morals and, from the reputation and remembrance of his own father, modesty and a manly character. From his mother, piety and beneficence and abstinence not from only evil deeds, but even from evil thoughts.

Our government has failed Marcus Aurelius' test of morality. They've failed the test of temperance, of justice, and of rationally decent humanity. Perhaps Mr. Bush's government believes that this material breach of human rights will disappear in the substance of the overall nature of the whole - we're told, arguably, that we're a nation at war for the very existence of our way of life.

Will the memory of our nation's military representatives forcing a young man and his father to do sex acts disappear into the universal reason?

Only if it leaves our collective consciousness anytime soon.

Americans tend to have a very short attention span. Their moral education is diluted by hundreds of thousands of images coming at them each day.

We need leaders who will not allow such a murder of America's good reputation in the hopes and wagers that Americans will forget the great harm we've done.

We need to punish those highest in the halls of U.S. government who looked the other way or worse, who presided over a policy that would have allowed such things to happen.