Thursday, June 01, 2006

Other Items (Mark Crispin Miller on KPFA's The Morning Show today)

American soldiers involved in a vehicle crash here on Monday that set off rioting then fired into the crowd of protesters and killed four people, according to the chief of the highway police in Kabul, Gen. Amanullah Gozar, who saw the accident.
Three people died in the crash caused by a runaway United States Army truck, and four people died of gunfire from the last vehicle in the convoy as the American forces extricated themselves from an increasingly hostile crowd, General Gozar said in an interview on Wednesday.
He dismissed rumors that had spread through the city that the American soldiers deliberately rammed vehicles, even including his own car. "I can say clearly it was an accident," he said.
The United States military initially said in a statement that the truck had a mechanical failure and called the incident "a tragic accident." It said there were "indications" that "warning shots over the crowd" had been fired from at least one military vehicle. General Gozar's account is the first declaration from a senior Afghan official that American soldiers directed lethal fire on the crowd.

The above is from Carlotta Gall's Abdul Waheed Wafa's "Americans Fired Into Crowd, Afghan Says" in this morning's New York Times. Will Carlotta Gall be teaching reporting to those collecting pay checks from the Times this summer? No, it's just a nasty rumor (started by me). (See previous entry on Burnsie to grasp why a workshop appears sorely needed.) This item could have fit in the last entry (and it was noted by Jonah) but I was done with that entry, having spent over an hour on it. So we'll lead with it here.

Kelly notes Robert Scheer's "Kenny Boy's Connections" (The Nation):

The Bush Family consistently acted to put Enron and its longtime CEO Ken Lay into a position to rip off investors and taxpayers. Why is the mass media ignoring that fact now that Lay has been convicted in arguably the most egregious example of white-collar fraud in US history?
Until he hooked up with the Bushes, Lay was just another mid-level energy trader complaining endlessly about being hemmed in by onerous government regulations and those terrible consumer lawyers who prevent free market hustlers from doing their thing. But after he and his company became top supporters of the Bushes--eventually giving $3 million combined to various Bush electoral campaigns and the Republican Party--doors opened for them in a big way. In particular, once Bush the father got rid of key energy industry regulations, Lay was a made man and Enron's fortunes soared. This program of corporate welfare led Lay to dub the first President Bush "the energy president" in a column supporting his re-election because "just six months after George Bush became President, he directed...the development of a new energy strategy," which, in effect, compelled local utility companies to carry Enron electricity on their wires. It was, Lay crowed, "the most ambitious and sweeping energy plan ever proposed."
Another huge gift from the first Bush regime came in the form of a ruling by Wendy Gramm, head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, that permitted Enron to trade in energy derivatives, making possible the company's exponential growth. Five weeks after that ruling, Gramm resigned and joined the Enron board of directors, serving on its subsequently much-criticized audit committee. Six years later, Gramm's husband, US Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, further enabled Enron greed by pushing through additional anti-regulation legislation.

Kelly's highlight gives us the opportunity to note several things. First off, Bully Boy raised over a million dollars in Maryland as noted on KPFA's Evening News yesterday. Fundraising is the topic of Martha's highlight, the Associated Press' "Fundraiser Admits Illegal Bush Donations" (Washington Post):

A coin dealer and prominent GOP fundraiser at the center of an Ohio political scandal pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges that he illegally funneled about $45,000 to President Bush's reelection campaign.
Tom Noe, who also raised money for Ohio Republicans, also is charged with embezzlement in an ill-fated $50 million coin investment that he managed for the state workers' compensation fund.

And pair that with this item from Democracy Now! yesterday:

GOP Official Involved in Phone-Jamming Scandal Released From Jail
In New Hampshire, the former executive director of the state Republican Party has been released from jail after serving seven months for his role in an Election Day phone-jamming scandal. In November 2002, the official -- Charles McGee -- helped jam the phones of Democrats and labor groups making get-out-the-vote calls. Now McGee is back at his old job and next weekend he will be speaking at a two-day event to teach Republicans how to run for office at a so-called GOP campaign school. The state's Democratic party has criticized the Republican party for continuing to associate with McGee.

And note that Mark Cripin Miller is scheduled to be one of the guests on KPFA's The Morning Show this morning. Remember to listen, watch or read Democracy Now!

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