Did Seth Rich Leak to WikiLeaks?

assange.jpg

Julian Assange plays coy on Dutch TV

There’s a simple answer to the question posed in the title to this post. Either he did or he didn’t. The question was raised directly to Julian Assange last summer by a Dutch TV interviewer, and it has become “relevant” (as far as relevancy goes these days) again because of a sputtering non-story that broke on Fox News this week that nevertheless lit a fire under conspiracy theorists on left and right.  Continue reading

Rolling Stone Has a Right to Put Whoever They Want On Their Cover

RS Tsarnaev cover

Big, stinking heap of phony outrage story of the day: Rolling Stone is printing a cover story about Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzokhar Tsarnaev and they have the nerve and lack of good taste (which is always the very first phrase we think of when we think American media, isn’t it?) to put a photo of the subject of that cover story on their cover. Shame, shame, Rolling Stone, now every body knows your name (which was probably the point to begin with, wasn’t it?).

Obvious point millions of “concerned” media members and other nervous nellies are blithely missing while falling all over themselves to feel outrage on behalf of poor, weak, innocent, defenseless, little Boston (Shame on you, Dropkick Murphys!): Rolling Stone has the same right to put on their cover whoever or whatever they want to put on their cover as all of those magazines that chose to give Osama bin Laden his celebrity treatment in the aftermath of September 11th did. What part of First Amendment right do you hypocrites not understand?

(Hey, Boston Herald, why don’t you show Rolling Stone the way and just say no to using the Tsarnaevs’ mugs to sell your cheap rag, huh?)

Grow up, America. The world is a hard place. The news media have a right (and responsibility) to make that unpleasant fact known to us.m

No use spending any more time on this ridiculous waste of a non-story. But if you want to defend the “defenders of decency” and attack Rolling Stone‘s “poor taste” and “bad judgment” in the comments, I will be more than happy to kick your ass down there.

#OWS: The Status Quo Strikes Back

I went with my wife and daughter to Times Square on Saturday evening, October 15, to add our numbers to the #occupationWallStreet demonstration that ended up there, climaxing a day of global protest. It was invigorating to know people were there, like us,  specifically for the shared purpose of declaring to the world that this is a movement–or a revolution, I like to think– only just beginning. And on top of that, to witness the tourists and ordinary denizens of the shops, hotels, restaurants and street corners near America’s Crossroads seeming to get that they were observing history being made around them, like the diners pressed against the windows on the second story of  T.G.I.Friday’s staring down at the throng-choked sidewalk below.  It was difficult to tell how many in the crowd were existing in the gray area between tourist just happening to be on the spot and protester in the making. (Truth be told, probably not many. But among the workers, that’s another matter.)

When we got home, my wife read aloud a report from Reuters called “Wall Street protests go global, riots in Rome,” that stunned me–actually depressed me, to be more precise. The story, by Philip Pullella from Rome with additional reporting by Ray Sanchez and Ed McAllister in New York (among others elsewhere), gave the distinct impression that, besides the Roman riots, the news service’s reporters were unimpressed with the subject. Continue reading

Fox News is Afraid of Ron Paul

As much as I criticize Dr. Libertarian from Texas, I do find Fox’s GOP-sanctioned fear of him, as pointed out by Cenk Uygur of the The Young Turks in the video below, to be utterly pathetic.

As davejoe75 says in the comments to the YouTube video: “Cenk nailed it with that last comment…O’Reilly wants the Ron Paul bump!”

Republicans on Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Leaked Documents to Lobbyists

FCIC Chairman Phil Angelides (D) and VIce-Chairman Bill Thomas (R)

I wonder if ethics for some Republicans is so markedly different from everyone else’s such that, when charged with investigating the actions of Wall Street banks that might have led to that little catastrophe of 2008, they feel absolutely no moral qualms about sharing information about their inquiries with a lobbyist for those banks. Do they view that “heads up” to their supposed quarry as an act of heroism, even?  Or do they just not have a nose for what most people would probably view as corruption in the halls of power?

After the jump, a portion of a report to Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings of the House Committee on  Oversight and Government Reform, An Examination of Attacks on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. This document concerns several charges against Republicans on this Commission, which was established in 2009 to investigate the causes of the financial crisis. Some of the charges concern the Republican Commissioners’ partisanship while on the panel,  i.e., using their position to try to aid House Republicans’ efforts to kill the Dodd-Frank Act, or “parroting” an American Enterprise Institute “theory” about the role Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae played in causing the crisis, which became a major right-wing talking point in Congress and the media. But perhaps the most damning charges concern Vice-Chairman Bill Thomas, who the report alleges, shared information about the ongoing investigation with a friend and colleague who happened to be chief lobbyist for Citibank among other financial players: Continue reading

Writing Sample: Political Analysis

First Amendment Perversion
October 3, 2003
By Burt Worm

“The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. . . . The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people.” – Justice Hugo Black, New York Times Co. v. United States, concurring opinion.

The Wilson/Plame betrayal story gets more complicated by the hour as the White House and syndicated columnist Robert Novak work swiftly to cover their respective tracks with the dust kicked up from their frantic spinning. On CNN on Monday, Novak denied that he had been told that Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s wife Valerie Plame worked in covert operations by someone in the administration, a fact he reported in his July 14 column in these words:

“Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson’s wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him. “I will not answer any question about my wife,’ Wilson told me.”

Strangely enough, Novak also denied on Monday that he knew Plame was an “operative,” claiming now that he thought she was merely an “analyst” – i.e., an intelligence worker not covered by the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, the federal law the CIA alleges may have been violated by the outing of Plame.

It is, of course, possible that Novak is telling the truth that he learned about Plame from a source other than the White House. Possibly it’s common knowledge among Washington’s ruling class and their spokespersons in the elite press corps that Valerie Plame is a CIA agent. Possibly Novak learned this from someone in the CIA while he was researching his story on Wilson’s trip to Niger to investigate the fraudulent documents alleging Saddam’s intention to purchase yellow cake uranium for his nuclear weapons program. But why would someone in the CIA be so careless about the identity of an operative working in a field as sensitive as weapons of mass destruction? Continue reading