We were discussing our department — manpower-wise –and promotion-wise —

‘Villains honoring villains’

“Bluntly stated,” Silver’s first e-mail read, “the Delaware North Companies — with $1.6 Billion in annual revenues — is quickly taking control of America’s National Parks, and The Yosemite Fund is perhaps the best example where private philanthropy is used as a substitute for Federal funding so as to help advance a larger privatization agenda.” When you combine these things, “you get the Yosemite Fund conferring upon Delaware North its “Corporate Protector of the Year” Award.”

On reading George Orwell’s 1984 some may get the impression that it’s too out there, too strange, but in many ways its here and the story about Delaware North Companies is a fairly good example.

“Through its GreenPath initiative, Delaware North has eliminated toxic chemicals, and instituted a phenomenal recycling program that reduces waste and preserves the environment and its resources,” Hansen said.

On the same day, a US Forest Service news release announced the issuing of a 158-page concessionaire prospectus entitled “A Prospectus for the Delivery of Visitor Services, Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.”

The document noted that “Offered opportunities include food service, retail sales, educational book sales, and optional museum and theater operation at Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center; retail sales, educational book sales, and optional mobile food and sundries vending at Johnston Ridge Observatory; and options to provide mobile food and sundries vending at other locations along SR504, and to develop rustic lodging and/or RV camping facilities … Applicants whose proposals provide the Required Services specified for a complex will also be offered the opportunity to provide outfitter and guide services within the MSHNVM, including motorized and non-motorized winter activities, hiking tours, climbing tours, mountain biking tours and helicopter tours.”

Ironic that I found this today courtesy of Ezra Klein, Quote of the Day 2: Small Government Conservative Edition

From Bush’s interview with the WSJ again:

We’re spending over a billion now on technology, and I’m going to remind the American people that the way to achieve a national objective, which is less dependency on foreign oil, and improve the quality of our environment, is for the government to encourage research and development and new technologies that have got marketplace applications.

People that are turning our national parks and forests into theme parks are not good stewarts of the environment. When Bush says that domestic spying is some kind of terrorists surveillance program, that too is Orwellian. Has the phrase “rule of law” lost its meaning…

This president and his administration, however, don’t seem to care if their denials are plausible; they just keep disputing that which is undeniably obvious. And on top of their often dubious and duplicitous positions, they say they intend to keep doing whatever it is they’ve done in the past, attributing to their actions rights and privileges that have never been heard of before, and are not derived from any constitutionally-designated powers,nor do they comport with any legislative imperatives.
The president contends, for example, that he has the right to wiretaps that may involve oversight of domestic sources without first going to the FISA Court for permission. He asserts he has the inherent power through the Constitution to pursue such warrant-less surveillance and backs up that shaky premise with the notion that it follows seamlessly from the moment Congress granted him the use of force should it become necessary in dealing with Iraq. Both assertions stand on weak ground, and putting Attorney General Gonzales front and center to support the president’s actions is not the least bit reassuring, given the fact that he has proven to be less of a legal star than an administration flunky.
It is often said that it is the president’s job to protect the nation as stipulated in the Oath of Office. But the “preserve and protect” section of the oath refers to the Constitution; that’s the core problem when special powers are claimed by the executive. The Constitution assigns powers to the three branches of government, and the language is quite clear. There are no extra-curricular powers the president may assume at his whim.

And you would think that after Mike Brown and Katrina, after the no bid Halliburton contracts, the bungled and corrupt rebuilding efforts in Iraq, the largest deficit spending spree in American history, the Abramhoff scandal, that the current administration or gang of scoundrels, would ease up the cronyism and general malfeasance. That the Bush gang would have a little humility after sending off over 2000 Americans to die for WMD that didn’t exists without the proper body armor for over two years. You would be mistaken. Cronies, chums and Bush surrogates get government posts

On Wednesday, January 4, while the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal continued to unwind, sending shockwaves through the nation’s capital, the Bush Administration announced a handful of recess appointments. Included on the list of appointees — who do not have to face confirmation by the Senate — was a host of Bush cronies who don’t appear ready for primetime.

Julie L. Myers, a niece of former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Richard B. Myers and the wife of the chief of staff to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, was appointed to head the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau at the Department of Homeland Security. Critics from both parties maintained that Meyers “lacked experience in immigration matters,” the Washington Post’s Thomas B. Edsall reported.

Tracy A. Henke was appointed executive director of the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness. The Washington Post noted that Henke “had been accused in her politically appointed post at the Justice Department of demanding that information about racial disparities in police treatment of blacks in traffic cases be deleted from a news release.”

In a 2002 speech Kirsanow said that affirmative action had “metastasized into a racial spoils system consisting of preferences, quotas and set-asides.”

Former Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate (twice defeated) Ellen R. Sauerbrey — an outspoken opponent of abortion rights and family planning — whose nomination had been bottled up in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was named assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration. On Thursday, January 5, the New York Times pointed out that Sauerbrey “has zero experience in emergency management and refugee resettlement.”

Chilling dissent

Recently National Public Radio’s show Living on Earth broadcast a segment called “Big Brother,” that explored the FBI’s program that spies on environmental activists. “Living on Earth” regularly focuses on a broad array of environmental issues, and guest host Jeff Young, sitting in for the regular host Steve Curwood, setup the segment by noting that the passage of the U.S. Patriot Act “expand[ed] the government’s power to monitor U.S. citizens in its fight against terrorism.”

According to FOIA documents obtained by the ACLU, “those expanded powers are being used to monitor environmental and animal rights groups,” Young pointed out.

Young and his guest, Ann Beeson, the associate legal director of the ACLU, talked about how right wing think tanks are providing grist for FBI investigations:

YOUNG: You know, another thing I noticed is in the pages that I would call general background-type information on groups like Greenpeace, the FBI seemed to rely pretty heavily on research done by a couple of think tanks that are very conservative, pro-business, anti-regulation in their mindset and their mission. There’s the Capital Research Center (profile, grants) … and a couple of others who generated a lot of that information that the FBI apparently relied on. What do you make of that connection there?

Whenever I hear of some group, regardless of ideology, claiming that the government is spying on them my first reaction is one of doubt. There’s just so much paranoia in the world that I tend to wait for some kind of proof of those claims. In the current controversy over Bush’s domestic spying program there have been accusations of using those powers against certain political or social groups for example, which I was a little dubious of. It turns out that in some regards its true.
Whats atonishing about this is that the FBI is taking its leads from so-called think tanks with a clear political agenda. While there have been some despicable acts committed by a hand full of environmental extremists, for the most part environmentalists as a group are peaceful hard working citizens; they are in fact our friends and neighbors. via The Christian Science Monitor, ACLU accuses FBI of ‘spying’ on activists

“Since when did feeding the homeless become a terrorist activity?” asked ACLU Associate Legal Director Ann Beeson. “When the FBI and local law enforcement target groups like [Colorado-based] Food Not Bombs under the guise of fighting terrorism, many Americans who oppose government policies will be discouraged from speaking out and exercising their rights.”

Artcyclopedia: The Fine Art Search Engine

Do-It-Yourself Deity

KIRKEBY
Sure, sure. Look, kid — I put in
a good word for you with Sheldrake,
in Personnel.

BUD
(perking up)
Mr. Sheldrake?

KIRKEBY
That’s right. We were discussing
our department — manpower-wise —
and promotion-wise —
(finds the galoshes
behind a chair)
— and I told him what a bright boy
you were. They’re always on the
lookout for young executives.
BUD
Thank you, Mr. Kirkeby.

KIRKEBY
(starting toward door)
You’re on your way up, Buddy-boy.
And you’re practically out of liquor.

from the screenplay THE APARTMENT by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond