Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Am Not My Brother's Keeper, says Buzzy's Bro, Howard Krongard...

Rep. Cummings: “This is a September 5th email that Eric Prince sent to your brother. It says, quote: ‘Welcome and thank you for accepting the invitation to be a member of the board.’ My question is this: did you know that your brother, Buzzy Krongard, was on Blackwater’s advisory board?”
Krongard: “Sir, I dispute that, as far as I know that is not correct. This is, you asked me to comment on this letter. Sir, my brother served honorably as a captain in the United States Marine Corps. He served as the Executive Director of the CIA. He has been involved in a lot of activities involving security. So it’s no surprise that someone like Erik Prince would invite him to continue to support ’security, peace, and freedom.’ There is nothing in here that suggests that my brohter accepted this July 26th invitation, what you have now shown me is an email form Erik Prince to a large number of people that I assume were all people who received this. I don’t see anything in here that suggests my brother accepted or attended, and as far as I know he did neither.”
Rep. Cummings: “Well let me go on, then, because I do think the letter indicates that he did accept. But Mr. Krongard, this is one of the most high profile issues facing the State Department, and your testimony today is that you didn’t know your own brother is on the Blackwater board. I find that very difficult to believe - let me ask you this, Mr. Krongard, did you know where your brother is this week, do you know?”
Krongard: “No sir, I don’t.”
Rep. Cummings: “According to this email, Mr. Prince invited your brother to be at a board meeting to discuss strategic planning. And this meeting is taking place right now, in Williamsburg, Virginia, this week as we speak. Staff contacted the hotel to speak to your brother and the hotel confirmed that he was scheduled to be there. Did you know that?”
Krongard: “No sir, I did not.”
Rep. Cummings: “And so, if your brother is a board member, which you said he’s not, but if he is - since I know you’re sensitive to conflict - would you agree that you should recuse yourself of anything dealing with Blackwater investigations?”
Krongard: “Yes, sir. And that was why - first of all, by the nature of my brother’s work, you should understand that we have never discussed his work or my work, so I had no reason to even think that he had any involvement with Blackwater. But, when these things surfaced, I called him and I asked him directly, he has told me he does have any involvement, he does not have any financial interest. If you’re telling me he does absolutely I would recuse myself.”
Rep. Cummings: “You will recuse yourself?”
Krongard: “Absolutely.”
Rep. Cummings: “Immediately?”
Krongard: “Absolutely.”


Buzzy Krongard was the director of the bank that placed “puts” on airline stock shortly before 9/11. This was reported by the San Francisco Gate Newspaper. His protoge, Charles Schattuck, left the same bank and became CEO of Constellation energy on September 12, 2001. Constellation Energy had a seat at the Cheney task force and was able to “fasttrack” re-licensing of a fleet of aging nuclear power plants on the east coast?

Heck of Job Brownie is put in charge of a fleet of aging nukes? Keeps me up late at night.

The bank they both worked at was Brown Brothers Harriman which Prescott Bush was a part owner along with the usual cast of Good Shepherds, Bonesmen from Yale....check this information out to know for sure what is going on here.

Blackwater fact-finders threatened?
By Warren P. Strobel - McClatchy Washington Bureau
Published 12:00 am PDT Saturday, September 29, 2007

Aides to State Department Inspector General Howard Krongard threatened two investigators with retaliation this week if they cooperate with a congressional probe into Krongard's office, the chairman of a House of Representatives panel and other U.S. officials said Friday.

The allegations are the latest in a growing uproar surrounding Krongard. Current and former officials in his office charge that he impeded investigations into alleged arms smuggling by employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA and into faulty construction of the new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Krongard has denied the charges and is due to appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee next month. In a statement e-mailed to reporters Friday, his office said it was cooperating with investigators.

"The Office of the Inspector General has cooperated with and will continue to cooperate with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's investigation," the statement said. "Furthermore, the OIG will continue to make any OIG employee available to speak with the committee, if they choose."

Officials at the State Department and other agencies said support for Krongard appeared to be slipping and it remained uncertain if he could keep his job. They spoke on condition of anonymity, because Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hasn't made a final decision in the matter.

The probe into Krongard's office is being led by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, who chairs the House oversight committee.

The two investigators said they were threatened with retaliation -- perhaps including losing their jobs -- if they cooperated, Waxman said in a letter to Krongard.

According to the letter, Krongard's congressional liaison told one of the two, Special Agent Ronald A. Militana, "Howard can fire you. It would affect your ability to get another job."

In a telephone interview, Militana confirmed that he has filed a complaint with Waxman's panel and said the congressman's letter quoted him accurately. He declined to comment further.

"I am appalled by these reports," Waxman wrote to Krongard. "Your office is supposed to be an example of how to protect whistle-blowers, not an example of how to persecute them."

Militana and the other investigator, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Brian Rubendall, were among those pressing for an investigation into whether employees of Blackwater were illegally shipping automatic weapons and other military goods to Iraq without a license. Rubendall couldn't be reached for comment.

McClatchy Newspapers reported last week that two Blackwater employees have pleaded guilty in Greenville, N.C., to weapons charges and are cooperating with federal officials.

Blackwater, which has received roughly $835 million in State Department contracts, mostly to guard U.S. civilians in Iraq, is under intense scrutiny after a series of violent incidents involving its contractors. In the most recent, Blackwater teams were involved in a shooting at a busy Baghdad traffic circle Sept. 16 that killed 11 Iraqis.

According to an e-mail obtained by Waxman's committee, Krongard intervened when federal prosecutors asked for help from his office in investigating the Blackwater arms-smuggling allegations.

The investigations division of the inspector general's office "is directed to stop IMMEDIATELY any work on these contracts until I receive a briefing from the (assistant U.S. attorney) regarding the details of this investigation. SA Militana, ASAIC Rubendall and any others involved are to be directed by you not to proceed in any manner until the briefing takes place," Krongard wrote to a subordinate July 11.

Krongard denied those allegations on Sept. 18 and said he had made "one of my best investigators" available to help the Justice Department.

That investigator, Waxman wrote Friday, was Militana.

Several current and former State Department officials have sought whistle-blower protection after complaining about how Krongard conducted the inspector general's office, according to a U.S. official who requested anonymity.

In another development, Blackwater USA apparently has stopped its expansion projects, a likely result of fallout from the multiple investigations, the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer reported today.

On Wednesday, the North Carolina-based contractor canceled a $5.5 million deal to buy 1,800 acres of farmland near Fort Bragg, where it was going to set up a training ground for soldiers and corporate executives.

The fallout from the Baghdad shooting, combined with Tuesday's scheduled testimony before Congress by Blackwater Chairman Erik Prince, prompted Blackwater to put all new projects on hold, said the president of the firm that had agreed to sell the land to Blackwater.

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Just Another Homophobic Bush Hack, Soon To Be Surgeon General...

Homophobic Surgeon General Nominee Reveals Bush's Plan to Recess Appoint Him
By Amanda Terkel, Think Progress
Posted on November 14, 2007, Printed on November 14, 2007
This post, written by Amanda Terkel, originally appeared on Think Progress

President Bush's controversial Surgeon General nominee, Dr. James Holsinger, has resigned from the board of trustees of the Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY. From a seminary e-mail:

From: Communication Office [at Asbury Seminary]

To: ATS Info, Staff News, Faculty News

Subject: Announcement from the Board of Trustees

November 12, 2007 3:53PM

The Asbury Theological Seminary Board of Trustees met on November 12, 2007. The board discussed the resignation letters submitted by Dr. James Holsinger and Mr. Phillip Connolly. Following this discussion and prayer, the board voted unanimously to receive these resignation letters with regret.

We realize from time to time board members resign before the end of a their term, however we have a deep appreciation for the many years of service, dedication and commitment of Dr. Holsinger and Mr. Connolly. The board of trustees wishes them both all the best in their future endeavors.

The Board of Trustees

Holsinger is resigning before the end of his term. A source in Wilmore tells Bible Belt Blogger that Holsinger is resigning because he expects to be recess appointed as Surgeon General:

Holsinger's nomination, opposed by several leading Democrats, has stalled in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. But Holsinger is telling people the president plans to appoint him to the post anyway once the Congress goes into its holiday recess.

Holsinger has come under intense criticism for his long history of prejudice toward gays and lesbians. He founded a church that "ministers to people who no longer wish to be gay or lesbian" and "opposed a decision to allow a practicing lesbian to be an associate pastor" in the United Methodist Church. In 1991, he also authored a graphic document arguing that gay sex is "intuitively" unnatural and can lead to "lacerations, perforations and deaths."

Last month, ThinkProgress noted that three months after his July hearing, Holsinger has still not responded to a Senate health committee follow-up questionnaire. Without his answers, the committee has not scheduled a vote on his nomination. Looks like the committee might never receive a response from Holsinger now.

Amanda Terkel is Deputy Research Director at the Center for American Progress and serves as Deputy Editor for The Progress Report and at the Center for American Progress.

© 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
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CEOS Loving LIfe, Hating Writers


Can't We Throw Some Water on Bush and Make Him Melt Away?....This sure isn't Kansas anymore, is it, Toto?

Outrage fatigue? Get over it
Are you sick of being sick? Suffering way too much Bush-induced nausea? Well, tough
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I know how it is. You've had it up to here. There are only so many stories about blood and death and pain you can take, only so many times you can hear about random shootings and corporate malfeasance and how BushCo's squad of scabrous flying monkeys have, say, supported torture or endorsed wiretapping or gouged the nation for another $200 billion to pay for a failed war. Your nerves are raw and your heart is tired and the media will just not shut the hell up already about the sadness and the war and the mayhem and the Cheney and the doom doom doom.

It is outrage fatigue, and it is epidemic. It's that feeling that we are being hammered unlike any time in recent history with so many appalling and disgusting and violently un-American incidents and scandals and manipulations that our b.s.-detectors are smoking like an old V-8 engine on a hot summer's day and it's all we can do to get up every day without screaming.

What's more, it's not the mere quantity of moral insults, either. It's the bizarre absurdity of the subject matter, the things we are being forced to consider, or reconsider, that seem to make it all so horrific.

Torture? Are you kidding? Allegedly the most civilized, the most morally aware nation on the planet and we are still debating, in the highest courts and government offices in the land, about whether the United States should strap human beings to gnarled metal benches in rancid foreign bunkers and inflict such inexplicable terror and fear upon them that they confess to things they didn't even do just to get us to stop? Is this the Middle Ages? Are we regressing back to the goddamn cave?

Oh my, yes, plethoric are the reasons you should be outraged indeed, and torture just might be one of the most incendiary reasons in the past few years. If nothing else, its disgusting return to U.S. political dialogue certainly means it's no time to be laying down arms in exhaustion, no matter how tempting it might be.

Take this fine example: Keith Olbermann, as is his wont, executed another pitch-perfect bout of outrage recently on his excellent MSNBC show, taking BushCo to task on the issue of waterboarding like you never hear in major on-air media anymore.

Olbermann only barely held on to his trademark fierce hyper-articulation against the sheer disgust he/we have to endure at the idea that a sitting American president obviously thinks medieval torture is a gul-dang swell idea, no matter what psychologists, military experts, ethicists, the United Nations, the Geneva Convention and Jesus himself all say.

It was wonderful, powerful stuff, a razor-sharp, highly informed media pundit who dares to presume an unusually high level of intelligence among his viewers, speaking truth to power in a way most liberal media-haters complain never really happens anymore. And of course, his subject was one of the most deserving of our moral outrage in recent history.

But then I read some of the reaction to Olbermann's diatribe on various political blogs and on some news-aggregate sites, with many saying, gosh Keith, lighten up already, who cares, enough with all the outrage and the spittle, wow I'm so sick of all this ranting and raving and gosh I'm tired of these smarty media people telling me how to think and hey maybe torture is good let's kill us some more, haw haw haw snort.

On the one hand, it is, you can argue, generally the way of the meaner-than-thou blogosphere, with all but the most professional and intelligent and positive-minded of outposts seeming to suffer an undue percentage of reactionary chyme in their comment areas, hordes of Net-drunk twentysomethings and extremists and shut-ins who have way too much free time and merely chime in to see their sneers "published" and to prove how much more jaded and apathetic they are than the next person, while adding zero to the conversation.

But maybe it's worse than that. Because this is where it can happen, where you can get sucked into the vortex of whining and bitterness and where you might feel part of yourself wanting to wallow too, desiring to avoid doing the actual moral and spiritual work of dissecting and researching and analysing something as politically messy and morally ugly as torture for yourself, opting instead for the easy path, for closing your eyes and sticking your fingers in your ears and going, nyah nyah nyah shut up shut up SHUT UP! Hey, it sure beats thinking.

Or maybe we can flip it around. Maybe, with the right intent, the exact reverse can happen, and you see this ocean of nasty ennui, this pile of oft-misspelled, poorly punctuated reactionary effluvia as, in and of itself, something to be a bit livid about.

Maybe, in other words, you can enjoy, as one blogger put it, a big dose of "fatigue outrage," the feeling of disgust you get when faced with all those people who think mental lethargy and laziness is, like, way funny, dude.

In other words, enough with the childish, frat-boy-grade complaints about media overload and too many rants and outrage fatigue. You have to earn that sort of thing. If you never give a crap about engaging the world, if you never want to think deeply about complex issues and care about ramifications and see what truly resonates with your own informed spirit and then stand up for what you believe, this pretty much eliminates your right to sneer at others who do.

It is, for me, all about modulation. It is about remembering that outrage does not necessarily equal misery. Outrage does not mean you must wallow in fear and fatalism and yank out your hair and wake up every morning hating the world and hating yourself and hating humanity for being so stupid/numb/blind and wondering how the hell you can escape it all.

Outrage is rich with humanistic understanding. It is not some evangelical Christian parent "outraged" that her kid saw a woman's nipple on TV. It is not some right-wing Family Council "outraged" that someone put S&M outfits on Barbie, or that some art gallery is displaying Jesus as a woman, or that scientists dared to say that stem cell research does not equal abortion, or that the mayor isn't taking care of all the potholes and stray kitties. That's not outrage, that's reactionary whining.

True outrage, like Olbermann's, like (occasionally, hopefully) this column's, like what you should ideally be experiencing on a daily basis while Bush is in office, is honed and sharp and poignant. It contains a powerful sense of deeply informed decency, and therefore has a true feel for when that sense has been violated. Outrage has meat and substance and intellectual nourishment. It is actually healthy.

Smart, informed outrage engages you and fires your heart, your mind. It is fuel. It is the reason you claim you enjoy being an American, to question malevolent government actions and take a stand and demand accountability where there has, for the past seven years, been none. Bottom line: We simply cannot let them convince us, by way of an all-out assault on science, sex, love, et al, that the good fight just ain't worth fighting.

After all, the flying monkeys are far from done raiding the closet and stealing your babies and making a mockery of everything wise and calm and open-hearted people hold dear. And baby, if you ain't outraged about that, something is very wrong indeed.

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