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Octafish's Journal
Octafish's Journal
July 28, 2012

Chicken Shack

Stops other chickens cold in their tracks.


From today's Detroit Free Press, coincidentally:

Berkley founders of Chicken Shack share chain with kids, grandkids


July 28, 2012

Yes, Zorra-san. I hope to generate discussion as Corporate McPravda won't...

REPORT: Media Prioritize Animal Attacks, Tom Cruise Over Huge Bank Scandal

July 19, 2012 1:44 PM EDT ››› BEN DIMIERO & ROB SAVILLO

Instead of covering one of the largest banking scandals in history, American television news outlets have focused on the divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, shark sightings, and a chimpanzee attack.

Last week, we documented how television news outlets are practically ignoring an emerging controversy over whether major financial institutions have been manipulating the LIBOR, a key interest rate banks use to borrow money from each other that is "used as a benchmark to set payments on about $800 trillion worth of financial instruments." MIT professor of finance Andrew Lo told CNN Money that the LIBOR-manipulation story "dwarfs by orders of magnitude any financial scams in the history of markets."



PS: Thanks for grokking, Hermano. Rhetorically, it is major.

July 27, 2012

BAIN, Romney, Spooks and Death Squads

Seems Mitt's investors made a killing.

Remains of a child, El Mozote. Joseph Cannon via Dave Emory provides the briefing:

Bain, Romney, spooks and death squads

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Vanity Fair and The Nation have published some new and disturbing information about Bain and Romney's hidden financial assets. I also strongly advise you to read this piece at Skydancing.

Josh Marshall describes the new information as "Kryptonite."

I’ll just say it: I don’t think the political pundit class understands just how toxic the Swiss/Caymans/Bermuda accounts issue is for Romney. Not that they don’t know it’s a liability at all. But I don’t think they realize the extent of it.
Ironically, Marshall himself probably will not get at the full truth, although he may well print more of it than others will. A writer in his position can go only so far.

The question before us is a simple one: What is Bain? This post won't offer a definitive answer, but it will offer a starting point to anyone who wants to research a startling possibility: Bain began life as a money laundry for the CIA.

Romney's hidden loot. First, let's summarize the summary offered by Ben Adler of The Nation:

What is in Romney’s offshore accounts? He has sheltered much of his wealth in tax havens such as Bermuda, but he has not disclosed anything about those investments.

The man has hidden his money from the tax collector very assiduously, and may well be even more affluent than most now believe. (His wealth is currently estimated to be $250 million.)

Why is Romney still being paid by Bain Capital? He left the firm more than ten years ago. Given its varied investments, could the fact that he is still being paid by them create a conflict of interest in office? Shaxson writes, “Though he left the firm in 1999, Romney has continued to receive large payments from it—in early June he revealed more than $2 million in new Bain income.

The money is coming from offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands.

Why has Romney opened foreign bank accounts, such as a Swiss account with $3 million that appeared on his 2010 returns but not his 2011 returns?

Romney has a $102 million Individual Retirement Account. No-one has any clear idea as to how someone could amass that kind of IRA. Wikipedia confirms that, during the years Mitt was with Bain,

...the Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA)...raised the maximum annual contribution to $2,000 and allowed participants to contribute $250 on behalf of a nonworking spouse.

The limit is up to $5000 now. Sorry, but $102 million just seems out of the question.



So what if the secret Swiss bank accounts of Bain clientele hold loot gathered for the masters of death squads? Time to move on, people. Besides, people want to know what else is new, besides the Kinder Gentler Reverse Robin Hood Machine Gun Hand.
July 24, 2012

The Terrifying Background of a Man who Ran a CIA Assassination Unit

Who says there's a hiring freeze in Washington?

The Terrifying Background of the Man Who Ran a CIA Assassination Unit

Conor Friedersdorf
The Atlantic, Jul 18, 2012

A federal investigation alleged Enrique Prado's involvement in seven murders, yet he was in charge when America outsourced covert killing to a private company.

It was one of the biggest secrets of the post-9/11 era: soon after the attacks, President Bush gave the CIA permission to create a top secret assassination unit to find and kill Al Qaeda operatives. The program was kept from Congress for seven years. And when Leon Panetta told legislators about it in 2009, he revealed that the CIA had hired the private security firm Blackwater to help run it. "The move was historic," says Evan Wright, the two-time National Magazine Award-winning journalist who wrote Generation Kill. "It seems to have marked the first time the U.S. government outsourced a covert assassination service to private enterprise."

The quote is from his e-book How to Get Away With Murder in America, which goes on to note that "in the past, the CIA was subject to oversight, however tenuous, from the president and Congress," but that "President Bush's 2001 executive order severed this line by transferring to the CIA his unique authority to approve assassinations. By removing himself from the decision-making cycle, the president shielded himself -- and all elected authority -- from responsibility should a mission go wrong or be found illegal. When the CIA transferred the assassination unit to Blackwater, it continued the trend. CIA officers would no longer participate in the agency's most violent operations, or witness them. If it practiced any oversight at all, the CIA would rely on Blackwater's self-reporting about missions it conducted. Running operations through Blackwater gave the CIA the power to have people abducted, or killed, with no one in the government being exactly responsible." None of this is new information, though I imagine that many people reading this item are hearing about it for the first time.

Isn't that bizarre?

The bulk of Wright's e-book (full disclosure: I help edit the website of Byliner, publisher of the e-book) tells the story of Enrique Prado, a high-ranking CIA-officer-turned-Blackwater-employee who oversaw assassination units for both the CIA and the contractor. To whom was this awesome responsibility entrusted? According to Wright's investigation, a federal organized crime squad run out of the Miami-Dade Police Department produced an investigation allegedly tying Prado to seven murders carried out while he worked as a bodyguard for a narco crime boss. At the time, the CIA declared him unavailable for questioning; the investigation was shut down before he was arrested or tried.



Secret government is un-American.
July 22, 2012

The NRA Brags That They'll Work Out Of President GW Bush's Oval Office

We didn't learn the lesson from Colorado from before Selection 2000:

The NRA Brags That They'll Work Out Of President GW Bush's Oval Office

by John Mintz
Washington Post, Thursday, May 4, 2000

The National Rifle Association's second-ranking officer boasted at a closed meeting of NRA members earlier this year that if Republican nominee George W. Bush wins in November, "we'll have . . . a president where we work out of their office."

First Vice President Kayne Robinson, who is in line to succeed NRA President Charlton Heston, added that the NRA enjoys "unbelievably friendly relations" with the Texas governor. Robinson, who is also chairman of the Iowa Republican Party, made the comments Feb. 17 before 300 members in Los Angeles. He also described 2000 as "a critical election" in which Bush's success would ensure "a Supreme Court that will back us to the hilt."


Gun control groups say Bush has rarely strayed from NRA orthodoxy and for years has aggressively promoted its political platform. The NRA said it is proud of its ties to Bush.


At the Los Angeles meeting, LaPierre expressed confidence that the GOP-led Congress will do what the NRA wants--even though the group briefly stumbled last year. [font color="green"]In the aftermath of last year's Columbine High School massacre, in which 12 students and a teacher were shot dead, the Senate humbled the NRA by voting to close a loophole under which firearms purchases at gun shows are exempt from background checks. Gore cast the crucial 51st vote, and gun control forces were exultant[/font color].



Then, the NRA's champion takes the Oval Office by a vote of 5-4, thanks to the GOP's partisan SCOTUS appointments.

The guy's kid and his veep know how to handle service revolvers, too.
July 21, 2012

Assassination Nation

In going with the "Ends Justify the Means" mentality, the USA became NAZI-like.

Fifty Years of US Targeted ‘Kill Lists’: From the Phoenix Program to Predator Drones

Assassination Nation

July 19, 2012

“A broad-gauged program of targeted assassination has now displaced counterinsurgency as the prevailing expression of the American way of war.” –Andrew Bacevich (1)

This spring the US drone killing program has come out of the closet. Attorney General Eric Holder publicly defended the drone killing of an American citizen (2), while Obama’s counter terrorism czar John Brennan publicly explained and justified the target killing program (3). And a New York Times article by Jo Becker and Scott Shane chronicled Obama’s personal role in vetting a secret “Kill List.” (4)


Two key architects of the current Phoenix-style global counterinsurgency efforts by the US are David Kilcullen and Michael Vickers. David Kilcullen has been counterinsurgency advisor to two former Middle East commanders, General Stanley McChrystal (formerly head of Special Operations) and General David Petraeus, now CIA Director. Michael G. Vickers, made famous in the book and film Charlie Wilson’s War about the CIA’s anti-Soviet Afghan campaign of the 1980s, is currently Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, wielding such vast authority over the US war on terror that, according to a Washington Post profile, Pentagon colleagues refer to as his “take-over-the-world-plan.” (43)

Kilcullen wrote in a much-quoted 2004 paper entitled “Countering Global Insurgency” that “Counterinsurgency campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq have reawakened official and analytical interest in the Phoenix Program.” He proposed that “a global Phoenix program … would provide a useful start point” for “a new strategic approach to the Global War on Terrorism,” one which would focus on “interdicting links … between jihad theatres, denying sanctuary areas, … isolating Islamists from local populations and … disrupting inputs” from others. (44)


Pentagon colleagues have said of Vickers, “he tends to think like a gangster.” (48) Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell revealed that getting Bin Laden in Pakistan was Vicker’s “baby,” and “more than anyone else in the department, he drove the issue.” (49) 2011 New York Times Vickers summarizes his strategy this: “You make a deal with the devil to defeat another devil.”(50) “I just want to kill those guys.” (51) A 2011 Such is the megalomaniacal mission underlying the US global war on terror, its kill lists and worldwide program of targeted assassination.



Which is, something else we both know, MrMickeysMom.

PS: Alexander Cockburn passed away today. While I disagreed with him regarding the Warren Commission, I will always give thanks for CounterPunch.

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