The Daily Brew

Saturday, June 08, 2002:


Common Sense // 7:56 PM

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Below, Kelly Kramer makes a pretty compelling case that Ms. Liberto of Salon was actually stalking, as opposed to writing about, Media Whores OnLine. If nothing else, that goes a long way towards explaining why MWO would want to maintain their annonimity.

I find the whole thing simply hysterical. Liberto's whole premise is that we need to know the identity of the people behind MWO, because otherwise we can't possibly fathom its agenda. What sort of idiocy is this? Is there anyone out there who can't figure out where MWO is coming from? MWO magnanimously tells people to continue to subscribe to Salon. I have to ask, why would anyone continue to pay for such idiotic crap? You can get all the idiotic crap you could ever want, right here, free of charge.

In all seriousness, MWO is the best site on the web, IMNSHO, and like most of DC, I read it everyday. The only reason I would want to know who owns it would be to confirm that they are either getting paid to write it, or they were already rich, because if they are holding down a full time job and putting out that kind of volume of quality stuff on the side, well, I am even more ashamed of my crappy little blog than before. On second thought, maybe I DONT want to know.

Unless it is David Brock.

Then I definitely want to know.

As for Salon, all I can say is that anyone who ever thought Salon was going to find a way to make a buck without going whore just isn't paying attention. The progressive movement has NEVER found a way to sustainably fund itself, and it never will. At the same time, since it is by definition looking out for the interests of the vast majority of the population, the progressive movement will never go away, and it will always be able to use the truth as the cornerstone for its policy arguements. On the other side, the wealthy will ALWAYS be able to turn a buck spewing their propoganda, and they will ALWAYS have to lie to try and make the case for why people should support policies that screw them. If, in the course of listening to their propoganda, you find yourself pulling your hair out, remember the Serenity Prayer from Saint Francis of Assisi:

“Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Common Sense // 7:51 PM

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Kelley Kramer"
To:
brew
Sent: Saturday, June 08, 2002 4:23 PM
Subject: My Open Letter to Salon on MWO article

What's In A Name
by Kelley Kramer

I just read the Salon piece 'Rabid Watchdog' about the media accountability website Mediawhoresonline.com.

I read it assuming the article was about the website.. what they do and why they do it, and maybe some insight on how they hold the media accountable. Or possibly a review of the accuracy of the website. The article did start out that way, maybe a little bit, by relaying the experience a CNN reporter had when the MWO website advised their readers to contact him. The Salon article reprinted quotes from two 'of the worst emails' sent to the CNN reporter.

But after a few short examples of what the MWO website says or does, Salon writer Jennifer Liberto then decides there is no way of knowing what the website does unless you have the name or 'true identity' of the person who owns the website.

The Salon writer then reports her quest to find the identity of the owner of the website. After extensively researching this she is unable to determine the 'true identity' of the owner. The author then goes on a research binge to prove that if a website doesn't reveal the owner then there is no way to know what the website is doing, or what the motives are of the website.

Ms. Liberto spends the last half of the four page Salon article attempting to prove this point. And it appears the author spent a LOT of time and effort to research this issue.

After contacting numerous Washington 'insiders' who all denied having any connection to the owner of MWO, the author then contacts every MWO contributor she can find, and questions them about who owns the website. After an exhaustive search, Ms. Liberto is unable to find any MWO contributors who share her extreme concern of 'who owns the MWO website' and is left with this quote from a contributor: "You definitely get the impression that she's [MWO owner] just an angry citizen, like the rest of us," .

The Salon author then goes on a detective research project to find the name of the website owner from .com registration records and anything related to purchasing a website.

After this detective work fails, Ms. Liberto then researches the 'legality' of someone owning a website anonymously. She contacts an intellectual property attorney at the New York law firm of Gibney Anthony and Flaherty for advice on why it is wrong to be an anonymous owner of a website.

Again, Ms. Liberto is left with this quote from the expert attorney: "Any person can publish anything anonymously any time in any medium," and "That is a very fundamental corollary to freedom of the press."

Unhappy with that response, Ms. Liberto then queries her legal source about a possible lawsuit to force the owner of MWO to be revealed, and gets this reply: "You've got to do more than merely file a lawsuit and use it as a fishing expedition,"

Still unhappy with here findings the author obviously checked with more sources on filing a lawsuit when she states: "Besides, as several experts also pointed out, a miffed journalist would have a hard time proving that being labeled a "media whore" constitutes defamation."

Hmmm, go figure.

Undaunted, the author continues here research quest to get the answer she desires. Ms. Liberto then contacts Verisign, who handles .com registration on the Internet, and inquires about the legality or a possible 'false identity' lawsuit against the MWO owner. But the Verisign spokesman tells her "the requirement is in effect voluntary".

Still unhappy with the response of yet another source, Ms. Liberto then contacts Chris Hoofnagle, legislative counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington. Who tells her: "Many, many people provide false information to the registry, even those who are not publishing anonymous Web sites, simply to avoid spam".

But this sources next comment does, finally, provide a slim ray of light for Ms. Liberto .. "Verisign hasn't the time or the energy to verify a few million sites, Burns said, so false domain contacts are usually only examined upon inquiry by a third party, often an attorney."

Having finally found a source who reveals a longshot chance at a lawsuit, Ms. Liberto runs off to research this and comes up with proposed legislation that would make false .com registration a criminal offense. But after looking into this bill she unfortunately finds that "Passage, however, appears unlikely."

Ms. Liberto then decides to drop the 'legal' angle and adopts an 'ethical' angle against owning a .com anonymously. She contacts Aly Colón, on the ethics faculty of the Poynter Institute, who tells her "I think every citizen should feel free to hold the media accountable; it's better for the media."

I have to tell you, Ms. Liberto starts to sound like someone who is uncontrollably obsessed, I wouldn't go as far as using the word 'stalker' but it does give you a little bit of a creepy feeling after reading the lengths this person is willing to go, just to satisfy her curiosity.

But the thing that bothers me the most, is the authors original idea that you have to know the exact identity of the owner in order to know what the website is up to or its 'agenda'.

I wish Ms. Liberto would have contacted me during her research frenzy, I probably could have saved her a lot of time... If you want to know what a websites agenda is, why not just READ the website? Its not a 'secret' website in any way, actually it's available from any phonejack on the entire planet earth, literally!

This may come as a huge surprise to Ms. Liberto, but I read my local newspaper all the time and I have no idea who owns it. And I don't have to know the Social Security number of the writers to know what their 'agenda' is either, all I have to do is READ what they write.

I do it all the time and haven't spent one dime on attorney fees.

Ms. Liberto should try that sometime, if nothing else, it might save her from weeks of legal research.
Common Sense // 6:57 PM

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Common Sense // 4:57 PM

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More on the Daniel Pearl video. I'll give Atrios his point that "once the media reports on the video it is silly for them to protect us from it" provided he will compare and contrast how this principle would apply in the case of the R. Kelly teenage sex video. I also must take issue with his contention that "an American reporter, Jewish or not, being kidnapped and killed really has nothing to do with the Israel/Palestine situation." Oh really? Had Daniel Pearl been a devout Muslim, is there any doubt he would be alive today? I would submit that the attitudes and actions of both homicidal anti-semetic Muslims, and expansionist, right wing Israeli politicians, are the core, the veritable essence if you will, of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. I would also submit that the conventional wisdom, at least on this point, is right, and that from Syria to Saudi Arabia, dictators throughout the Arab world forment the conflict because it is useful to them to hide their own corruption and ineptitude.

Lest anyone accuse me of displaying that horrible left wing tendency to attack only our own, I have long since given up on wasting my time disputing the intransically factually challenged corporate media or the GOP's propoganda arm at the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, AM radio, or the Faux News Network. If I take issue with Atrios, it is only because Atrios at least has a solid comprehension of economics and policy, and he keeps his facts straight. In other words, he is worth arguing with. The rest of them are a waste of time.
Common Sense // 4:56 PM

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Friday, June 07, 2002:


Common Sense // 3:56 PM

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Wow. This site is an eye-opener. "The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) explores the Middle East through the region's media. MEMRI bridges the language gap which exists between the West and the Middle East, providing timely translations of Arabic, Farsi, and Hebrew media, as well as original analysis of political, ideological, intellectual, social, cultural, and religious trends in the Middle East."

Here are a few choice clips from some of the articles:

excerpts from an article in the Saudi daily 'Al-Riyadh' by Abdallah Al-Ka'id, titled "The Culture of Hatred"

Our Hatred is Rooted in Our Souls'
"I am in no way preaching hatred or praising it as a way of human behavior. But the hated individual or society must examine itself so as to understand why it is this way, since no society or individual can be hated in such a way for no reason…"

"I will give a good example of how hatred for the Zionist entity takes root in the souls of the Arabs… I once attended an international conference on road accidents in the military, held in Paris. With me was my colleague, one of the enthusiastic young officers, whose mood changed when he was informed that a man who had stood next to us in a side conversation between meetings was a transportation officer in the detested Zionist entity."

"My colleague raged, swearing that he would not stand next to this criminal, talk with him, or enter the hall in which he was sitting… He didn't calm down until I swore to him that I hadn't known what citizenship that man held, because he was in the company of officers from all over the world, and that I myself was incapable of standing next to someone whose hands were dripping with the blood of innocent Arabs."

"These are our enemies, and our hatred towards them is rooted in our souls, and the only thing that can remove it is their departure from our lands and the purification of their defilement of our holy places!!!"

Ahmad Al-Rab'i, a columnist for the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, recently apologized to his readers for reporting the Palestinian Authority's (PA) version of the Karine A weapons ship affair. Al-Rab'i called on his readers not to believe the PA's declarations any longer.[1] Following are excerpts:

"When Israel announced that it had seized the [Karine A] weapons ship, I doubted the Israeli account and espoused the PA'sclaim – that the whole thing was a fabrication. I did this out of a sense of obligation to support our Palestinian brothers, and outof trust in the veracity of their account. But it seems that the [Palestinian] leadership deceived us with its account, and we, inturn, unintentionally deceived our readers."

"I remember when my colleague Abd al Rahman Al-Rashed, editor [of Al-Sharq Al-Awsat] criticized the Palestinianversion [of the incident]. All the conspiracy theory 'bulldozers' rose up against him; they charged him with 'serving' theenemy…"

"Now, not only is Arafat confessing to the [Israeli] account, but he goes further still, and has sent [a letter] to the Americansecretary of state [from] which it can be interpreted that he takes responsibility for this incident."

"Therefore, I take responsibility before my readers; I and my readers were victims of our obligation to and trust in thePalestinian leadership. I assure the readers that since Arafat has confessed his responsibility to Colin Powell, I will no longertake the Palestinian leadership's declarations seriously."

"A journalist in our Arab world is confused, [caught] between his respect for himself and his readers and the Arab attitudetowards the news. Fearing that he will be denied, the journalist misses the opportunity to analyze important news.

If hewrites about it [anyway], he... is stricken with anxiety, lest his commentary be published in the same issue that carries the denialof what he reports."

"The [guiding] principle [in the Arab world] is not to treat the public with candor and transparency, but to concealinformation [from it], such that if [the news] is picked up by the foreign press, we can deny it. Sometimes we are forced toconfirm an item after we have denied it, because it has turned out to be a proven fact."

"When we defended the [Palestinian] National Authority in the weapons ship incident, we faced two problems:

"First, some commentators and Palestinian leaders denied the story, claiming that it was a fabrication, a show, and anattempt to divert public opinion from the peace issue."

"Second, smuggling weapons in this way is [in itself] a naive act attesting to ignorance – primarily because these weaponswill not shift the military balance in favor of the Palestinians. Likewise, smuggling weapons on a route controlled by the Israelinavy is an escapade no reasonable person would attempt."

"[However,] what matters here is that the PA 'bestowed' upon us lies, and we, on our part, pressed our readers to supportthe PA. We, and our readers, were victims of our commitment [to the Palestinians] and of the trust we placed in it – which isnow lost."
Common Sense // 3:48 PM

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Ripped from the New Republic, more evidence the Greens are the suicide bombers of American politics.

You'd think if there was at least one Democrat the Green Party could get behind, it would be Minnesota's Paul Wellstone. Wellstone is the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate; and Greens are always insisting that their problem with the Democratic Party is that, in the words of Ralph Nader, "the party has been seized by its conservative, reactionary, pro-corporate wing." But Wellstone evidently isn't liberal enough for Minnesota Greens. Although the senator is engaged in a tight race with former Saint Paul Mayor Norm Coleman--a candidate strongly backed by President George W. Bush--and the outcome of that race could easily determine control of the Senate, the Minnesota Greens last week ignored calls to forego fielding a Senate candidate and nominated Ed "Eagle Man" McGaa to run against Wellstone. The reason, Minnesota Green Party Spokesperson Holle Brian told The Progressive's Ruth Conniff, is that Wellstone has been too supportive of Bush's war on terrorism. "We want to give people in Minnesota the opportunity to vote their conscience," Brian explained, "[i]f they're opposed to military actions in the Middle East, the Patriot Act, the sanctions on Iraq." But it turns out the man the Greens have nominated--McGaa, a former Marine who fought in Korea and Vietnam--is no pacifist. He told Conniff that he disagrees with the Greens' platform plank opposing the war on terrorism and thinks the United States was justified in its military response to the September 11 terrorist attacks. As for whether he will siphon off votes from Wellstone and throw the election--and perhaps the Senate--to the GOP, McGaa told Conniff, "I'm an American Indian. We're not as analytical as you folks are." Fine. But what's the excuse for the rest of the Minnesota Greens?

Common Sense // 3:05 PM

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Common Sense // 3:02 PM

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While contemplating Bush's new cabinet department for domestic defense that would combine 22 federal agencies into a single one intended to prevent attacks against the United States, a thought occurred.

Seems like it was only a few weeks (days?) ago that Bush and Cheney were streneously arguing that the investigation into the events that led to 9/11 should be limited, lest they interfere with the ongoing war on terror.

Well now, if the entire government terrorist fighting apparatus can be upended to satisfy Bush's corporate need for reorganization, it would seem to me that either:

a) the terror fighters have plenty of extra time on their hands, and could easily accomodate a comprehensive, thorough investigation into the pre-9/11 events, or

b) the terror fighters don't have plenty of time on their hands, and Bush's massive reorganization is going to seriously degrade their effectiveness in preventing the future terrorist attacks Cheney has assured us are inevitable.

Which is it, George?

Common Sense // 2:29 PM

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Common Sense // 11:24 AM

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From the AP:
With their sales practices under fire, Wall Street stock brokerages have found an ally in CBS-TV.

The network won't show a Charles Schwab commercial poking fun at an industry sore spot -- allegations that commission-driven brokers sometimes recommend stocks known to be poor investments. Analysts said CBS's decision illustrates the power of Wall Street's financial clout at a time when revenue-starved media outlets are reluctant to alienate major advertisers.

The Schwab commercial, which other TV networks are airing, features an executive urging brokers at an unidentified firm to tell customers that a stock is "red hot" even though the fundamentals "stink."

After promising to reward whoever sells the most stock, the executive encourages the brokers to "put some lipstick on this pig."
more

The really brutal part of this is the ad is essentially telling the truth. So CBS won't even tell the truth if it is PAID TO. How do you suppose this might effect their news coverage?
Common Sense // 11:22 AM

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Common Sense // 11:11 AM

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Last night's forced reflection on my own rhetoric concerning Israel and the Palestinians was something of an epiphany for me. Actually, epiphany is the wrong word. Seeing the death and destruction wrought day after day by suicide bombers, I had allowed my mind to be lulled into a lazy state, where my emotional revulsion over what I was seeing was feeding my prejudice. I know better than that, and it is not an epiphany to catch myself, even if I didn't catch myself until my face was rubbed in it by my friend Marion. Still, better focus is, well, better. Let's see if I can't use today's news to make my point.

The Boston Phoenix posted the video of Daniel Pearl being murdered. I haven't linked it, and I will get to my reasons in a minute. On the one hand, my good friend
Barry Crimmins commented thusly:

NO JOKE

Shame on the Boston Phoenix for what it did. If the paper wants to show brutality, then show it all. Run some pictures of Israeli bulldozers destroying homes with people inside them. Show photographs of maimed and massacred civilians in Afghanistan -- victims of the supposed good guys in the Purported War on Terror. Actually, those photos would be more newsworthy because we really don't learn about the stories they would tell from our corporate media. Pearl's death was described in terms we all believed, there was no need to traumatize the family with this graphic evidence. Pearl's murderers released that footage because they wanted the world to see it. This was a bad decision by a good newspaper.

And that's no joke.

On the other hand, my other good friend Atrios had this to say:

I don't get the big flap about the Boston Phoenix linking to the Pearl Video. I have no desire to see it, but I really hate the paternalistic press -- many of whom have seen the videos and decided the rest of us shouldn't.

I am going to disagree with both of them. First, Barry is right. Shame on the Boston Phoenix for showing the video. But Barry is dead wrong in calling for more death and destruction on the tube. He correctly notes that Pearl's death was described in terms we all believed, but traumatizing the family with this graphic evidence is only a tiny peice of the real damage of the video. More significant is the effect on lazy minds, such as mine, to such graphic horror. It simply teaches us to hate.

This might be "paternalistic," and therefore offend Atrios' sensibilities, but it seems to me that showing dead Israeli's night after night in the US and Israel, and abused Palestinians night after night on al Jezera, makes the problem infinitely worse. Does anyone need to see the bloody dead body of an infant to understand what it means to say "a suicide bomber killed an 18 month old baby in Israel today"? Does anyone need to see the dead body of a child to understand what it means to say "Isreali troops shot and killed an eleven year old Palestinian boy in the Occupied Territories today"? Other than ratings, what does it add to our understanding?

But it does add something. Something important. It adds to our rage. It adds to our hatred. It inflames our passions, and clouds our judgement. Even if some among us are capable of rationally and dispationately looking at the gruesome horror of burnt and dismembered human flesh, most are not. So these visceral images add to our own death, bit by bit, as they trigger primal responses embedded deep within us, and we begin to think and act at a level that can only make the problems worse.

Israel will never stop abusing Palestinians as long as Israels with the power to do so hate Palestinians. Palestinians will never stop murdering Jews as long as Palestinians with the ability to do so hate Jews. Does showing these images make them hate each other more or less? Does it make the problem better or worse?

It seems to me that the only way these images could have any value at all is if they are shown exclusively to the side doing the killing. For as long as the media continues to sell cars and soap by showing them to the victims, they only insure that the media will have more images to use in the future to sell more cars and soap.
Common Sense // 11:05 AM

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An online friend of mine, who I respect and trust, has called me on the carpet for making racist generalizations about Palestinians. After thinking it over, I decided he was right, and I was wrong. Not about the whole issue of Isreal and Palestine, but about my making a racist generalization, that I would now like to admit was wrong. I would also like to apologise for having made it. In a final paeon to my friend, I would also offer this link which I think presents a perspective that ought to be included in any discussion of the issue.
Common Sense // 12:27 AM

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Thursday, June 06, 2002:

Speaking of my good freind Atrios, he pointed out yesterday that "the new immigration regulations don't apply to Saudi citizens.

How many of the hijackers were Saudis?

just askin'..."

See the kind of things an ivy league Phd will notice that slip right by us mere mortals?
Common Sense // 10:07 PM

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If any of you are visiting from my good friend Atrios' page, send me an email and say hi. He hasn't given me a permenant link yet, but he did give me a bump on his blog. I plan on giving him (and others) a link, just as soon as someone sends me a message telling me how to do it.
Common Sense // 9:58 PM

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Common Sense // 12:57 PM

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Does Ralph Nader read the Brew?

"Ralph Nader wants the NBA to review Game 6 of the Western Conference finals, saying the nation's confidence has been shaken enough lately by business headlines," the AP reports.

"The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Sacramento Kings 106-102 in the game. But Nader, a consumer advocate and former Green Party presidential candidate, and the League of Fans, a sports-industry watchdog group, sent a letter to NBA Commissioner David Stern on Tuesday asking for a review, the San Francisco Chronicle reported yesterday."

If Ralph stays true to form, Smirk will wind up winning the Championship.

Common Sense // 12:56 PM

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Common Sense // 12:48 PM

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"I cannot think of a time when business over all has been held in less repute." -HENRY M. PAULSON JR., CEO of Goldman Sachs.

"We're going to run the country like a corporation." - George W. Bush, Court-appointed President of the United States

R & B artist R. Kelly has been indicted on child pornography charges because he allegedly videotaped a sexual assault of a 14 year-old girl. Kelly could not be reached for comment but his lawyer says he's now found God and is considering studying for the priesthood.

If "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh is convicted for what he knew prior to 9-11, won't that be an interesting precedent?

~my good friend
Barry Crimmons
Common Sense // 12:47 PM

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Common Sense // 12:38 PM

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Joanna has taken the time to put this back on track. See below.
Common Sense // 12:30 PM

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----- Original Message -----
From: Joanna Freund
To: mailto:brew@thedailybrew.com
Sent: Thursday, June 06, 2002 12:26 PM

The premise of John J. Lotus is eye-opening, but I do disagree on at least one point. Clinton reversed his NSC advisory in 1999 and went after al-Queda in Afghanistan. He put investigators in high gear to focus on terrorist activities once he saw the link. In 2000, Reno issued over 1000 FISA warrants. So even if Clinton officials were involved in backroom deals over the pipeline, Clinton was not willing to give any slack to the terrorists and instead kept the heat on them. He warned the incoming Bush administration about the magnitude of this responsibility.

So in comes Bush/Cheney and their Enron/Carlyle inner circle. They put their cronies in high places who put into action policies (i.e. blocking FISA warrants, bungling if not obstructing terrorist investigations, laying off bin-Laden and al-Queda, etc.) which created a huge black hole for terrorism to seep, no gush through.

Bush and Cheney it is well known have much closer ties to Enron, Carlyle, the bin Laden family construction firm, Saudi Arabia, etc., and might have stood to amass huge wealth through the pipeline deal, not to mention an economic edge in the new world order if the information presented by Loftus proves true.

It is unarguable that the halting of FISA warrants and the obstruction of terrorists investigations had an impact on 9/11. These were actions occurring under the Bush administration not Clinton's. It is also worth at least mentioning that the pipeline deal was falling apart and Enron was already sliding. So whether or not Bush/Cheney purposely looked the other way on 9/11 thinking a terrorist attack was just what the doctor ordered to get Americans to support an invasion of Afghanistan, as some conspiracy theorists propose, or whether they were just busy trying to cover their own secret negotiations that they really did miss all of the signals, or of course none of the above, remains to be seen. It is unlikely we will never know the whole story.

I am certain every effort will be made by the usual suspects to blame Clinton, but his role seems less implicating to me, at least as far as missed signals goes. Considering the rash of FISA warrants under Reno and the cessation of such under this administration combined with the August briefing, the Phoenix and Massaoui memos, Ashcroft's refusal to fly on commercial aircraft, etc., it would seem the actions of this administration are more concerning. I think, considering the role Clinton/Reno took, one would have to assume that given the same clues (and the additional ones they might have had through their own more extensive intelligence gathering) they would have been able to stop 9/11, and would have done so.

Foreknown or not, Bush and Cheney certainly benefited in numerous ways from 9/11 through their popularity and the advancing of their agenda. Now the taxpayers will most likely pay for the pipeline as part of "rebuilding Afghanistan" (while being "poked and prodded" and spied on by their government) and the coffers of defense corporations will be bloated with new defense spending at great cost to education, environmental protection, health care, social security, infrastructure, etc. And now Ashcroft wants to turn our local police into pseudo federal marshals. And of course corporate welfare will balloon, the rich will get richer, and the working classes will be left to pay for the "clean up" while biting the bullet.

Common Sense // 12:29 PM

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Wednesday, June 05, 2002:


Common Sense // 9:52 AM

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----- Original Message -----
From: Joanna Freund
To: brew@thedailybrew.com
Sent: Wednesday, June 05, 2002 12:00 AM

You guys haven't posted anything for a few days. Hope all is well in the land of free speech.


I would love it if the tip jar kept me alive, unfortunately, I occasionally have to do other things to pay the bills. Yesterday, I was off making ends meet.

Would love to hear you comment on the air force guy in Monterey. When I first heard the story, some of our left wing patriots saw it as a harbinger of the possibility of military whistle blowers coming out like the FBI agents and shaking things up. I suspected that there would be a law prohibiting military personnel from in any way disparaging higher ups, including the commander in chief. Turns out I was right. The guy is facing court marshal. The law apparently makes no distinction EVEN IF the statements prove true. It was a topic of discussion on Washington Journal this morning. Of course this prohibits any damaging testimony from the air force pilots who, it has been implied, may have been ordered to "stand down" on 9/11.


Joann - Giving up a portion of your right to free speech is part of the deal when you join our military, since military law prohibits ``contemptuous words'' against the president and other political leaders. Frankly, I don't see how you could run the force otherwise, so I supported the policy when it was applied to officers who publically bitched about Clinton, and I support it now.

At the same time, were military personel called to testify, either in court or before Congress, I don't think it would prohibit testimony. I also think Lt. Col. Steve Butler (the guy who was suspended for stating that ``He [Bush] did nothing to warn the American people because he needed this war on terrorism,'' ``His daddy had Saddam and he needed Osama. His presidency was going nowhere. ... This guy is a joke.'') could easily have made the same points without running afoul of the law. All he had to do was leave Bush's name out of it, and phrase it as a question.







Common Sense // 9:48 AM
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Common Sense // 9:33 AM

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More from Atty. John J. Loftus. Interestingly, he implicates senior Clinton administration officials based on Baer's book. Has anybody read it who can tell me if Loftus is reporting accurately? Also, he claims Enron has "huge tracts" of land in Afghanistan that "are still on their books." Has anybody seen this reported elsewhere? Anyway, here is what John J. Loftus has to say:

A highly reliable confidential client source who wishes to remain anonymous has promised to send me an FBI copy of a high-level Al Qaida report dating back to the embassy bombings in Africa several years ago. The email report was captured in Africa from the computer file of a senior aid to Osama Bin Laden. My client has obtained this document through lawful means,

The email report, written by Al Qaida's head of military operations, Mohammd Atef, describes Al Qaida's view of ongoing secret pipeline negotiations between the US oil companies and the Taliban to build a pipeline through Afghanistan.

This Atef report was almost certainly reviewed by the late John O'Neill at the time of the Embassy bombing, shortly after the Al Qaida report was written. At the time, O'Neill was the FBI agent in charge of the Embassy bombing investigation. The shocking pipeline information may explain why O'Neill became fixated about the Saudi-Taliban-Al Qaida relationship for the few remaining years of his life.

After O'Neill's investigations were repeatedly shut down by his superiors, O'Neill allegedly began making discreet inquiries to French intelligence using two reporters as cut-outs. Both reporters were known consultants for French intelligence and are specialists on both the oil industry and terrorism.

It is plausible that the French Government was upset at being shut out of the Caspian Basin deal, and may have been helping O'Neill behind the backs of his superior's in Washington. It does seem that the more that O'Neill learned, the less he was alowed to do with it.

The last straw was Cheney's refusal to follow up on O'Neill's request to pursue the leads in the Phoenix memo in April 2001. After resigning from the FBI in disgust, John O'Neil spoke candidly to several people, including the two French authors, whom he met again in July.

They have now written about the pipeline deal in "The Forbidden Truth." The book, not yet translated into English, quotes O'Neill as saying that his Al Qaida investigations were blocked to protect the Saudis. The Caspian Basin pipeline issue is discussed at length as the motive for the coverup.

I do not think that the French authors have the Atef document or they would have released it in their book. The Atef memo may indeed be a smoking gun, but I need to see the exact text to be sure before I release it to Congress.

This Al Qaida document may be the first hard evidence to break the Enron pipeline cover-up apart. I need your advice and confidential assistance in making a discreet collection of all Afghan pipeline research for a memo to present to Congress.

Here is my investigative hypothesis which needs to be greatly fleshed out and footnoted before I go to Congress. I have presented my thoughts by topic, rather than in chronological order.

Back in the 1970's and 80's, Saudi intelligence (not the CIA as has been reported) funded the early Taliban faction and later Al Qaida as part of the insurgency to throw the Russians out of Afghanistan. A few years afterwards, US energy companies (Enron, as the Afghan pipeline consultant for UNOCAL) used the Saudi intelligence connection to the Taliban to begin negotiations for a pipeline across Afghanistan.

Prince Turki, chief of Saudi inteligence, has publicly admitted making several trips into Afghanistan to negotiate a peace mission with the Taliban. My sources say he was the pipeline mediator for Enron. Prince Turki was fired as head of Saudi intelligence immediately after the pipeline discussions collapsed in August 2001.

Prince Turki is allegedly close to the Bin Laden family which was allegedly promised the construction contract in return for a percentage to the Saudi Royal family. This is a common business practice initiated by the Carlyle Group's contracts in Saudi Arabia.

As the Republican IPO magazine, Red Herring, confirms, President Bush' father was business partners in the Carlyle Group with the Bin Laden family during this period . This company is a Who's Who of former Democratic and Republican intelligence and political officials, whose specialty is acting as super-lobbysists at the highest levels of government. They are also suspected of arranging construction kickbacks to the Saudi royal family in return for discount oil sales.

Red Herring alleges that during a visit to Kennebunkport, Bush senior lectured his son on placating the Saudis, especially with regard to Israel, and even called the Saudis in his son's presence to reassure them that he had told his son their point of view.

Apparently, the deeply angered President Bush mentioned the private meeting with his father to a close friend, who leaked it to Red Herring. Shortly afterward, another Republican newspaper, the Boston Herald, ran a scathing expose on the number of White House officials with investments in Saudi oil, calling it an "obscene conflict of interest."

It should be noted that President Bush at first semed to reject his father's advice about Israel quite strongly, and secrtely ordered all American troops to begin a total withdrawl from Saudi Arabia. White House sources began a steady drumbeat of leaks about Saudi involvement with terrorism, and even authorized long-delayed raids on the Saudi charities in Virginia that served as a money laundry for terrorist operations against Israel.

Suddenly, President Bush made a sudden and startling switch to adopt a more pro-Saudi view. The documents seized in the Virginia raids are barely being translated, let alone investigated.

Nevertheless, the Israelis have been privately informed that criminal cases against the Saudi-financed terrorists in the US like Sami Al Arian, are being dropped for "lack of evidence" before the evidence has even been collated.

The State Department's recent report on Global Terrorism is being denounced as a blatant white-wash by Republicans and Democrats alike.

A plausible explanation for the dramatic policy reversal is that someone (allegedly Cheney) told President Bush to call off the dogs at CIA and FBI, because if the Saudis went down, they would take his father down with them. I think our President has a good heart, but is completely boxed in and does not know how to get out from under his father's legacy.

The Israeli government is angered and bewildered over the sudden switch, and has begun to release documents showing prior US knowledge of Al Qaida operations as well as Saudi support for terrorism. As Crown Prince Abdullah's visit to both Bushes in Texas showed, a modus vivendi has been reached.

The simplest explanantion is that both Crown Prince Abdullah and President Bush can blackmail each other over the Taliban pipeline. Both sides have agreed to pretend that they have always been allies in the war against terrorism, and that Iraq is the real enemy.

Mutual blackmail makes a bit of sense. The Saudi intelligence connection was the key to get the Taliban pipeline negotiations going without the CIA or FBI finding out. The Enron political connection to the Bush and Clinton administrations was key to keeping the CIA and FBI off of the Saudis' backs while the negotiations were underway. Messy little details about terrorism were swept under the rug for the sake of the big picture.

The truth is already starting to leak out. It has just been discovered that Enron had purchased huge tracts of land in the Caspian basin, especialy in Turkmenistan, which property is allegedly still on their books. The acerage is enormous, and worthless.

But, if the Taliban pipeline had been built, Enron might have owned some of the most valuable oil exploration sites in the world, and rescued itself from insolvency. Any White House insider who helped Enron would have gotten rich, filthy rich.

When Bush's son came into office, Enron allegedly approached Cheney in late January and told him veguely about the secret Saudi-Taliban pipeline negotiations, and how important it was to America's energy policy for generations to come.

Like an idiot, Cheney agreed to keep the lid on any Saudi-Taliban investigations for a while. For the sake of the Caspian Basin pipeline, Cheney passed the word inside the beltway not to allow anyone in the Government to connect the dots.

All across America, ongoing Saudi-Taliban investigations were hindered, obstructed, or closed down, just as the Clinton administration had done before them.

What no one did was check Enron's accounting. The pipeline deal made little economic sense in view of Russian cooperation. To Enron's horror, the pipeline deal collapsed in August. Then came 9/11. Then came the Enron collapse. Then came the Cheney coverup.

Cheney's biggest problem is the two fairly senior intelligence officalls who rebelled and became whistleblowers: Robert Baer of CIA and John O'Neill of FBI. The rest of the FBI and CIA higher ups have kept their mouths shut, although a lot of lower level people are now coming forward to question their superior's strange behavior. The two rebels, Baer of CIA and O'Neill of FBI, were of course, driven into retirement.

Much of the Saudi information was blacked out of Baer's book by CIA censors, but enough remains to thoroughly document the brazen avarice of senior Clinton NSC officials for a Caspian Basin pipeline.

Baer names a few names, but he was driven into retirement before he could learn too much. Still, he learned that both Republican and Democratic officials were involved with the pipeline coverup to the great detriment of American intelligence.

The worst condemnation ever written of the financial corruption in the Clinton administration can be found in the last chapters of Robert Baer's recent book, "See No Evil", where he blames the pipeline coverup for substantially contributing to 9/11.

Baer's book makes a strong case, as do O'Neills friends in France with their book. The explanation is raw and blunt. No partisan politics, just greed. A crooked handful of high level officials in the Clinton and Bush administration were clearly obsessed with the Caspian pipeline plan.

Cheney was not the first to block the investigations, but he is probably the last to be involved with the coverup. That could explain why he is resisting Congress on both the Enron and pre-9/11 intelligence documents. If Congress ever connects the two investigations, the whole house of cards will collapse.

Most of my sources say that Bush and Rice may have been deliberately kept out of the loop by Cheney. For example, it was Cheney, not Rice, who saw the Phoenix memo before 9/11. It is, however, theoretically possible that the President may have known about the pipeline deal from his own sources.

President Bush's father was the leading lobbbyist for the Saudis and may have been told everything by his Carlyle Group partners, the Bin Laden family, who were supposedly in line to get the Taliban pipelne construction contract. But it is doubtful we will ever know what Bush senior told his son while the pipeline negotiations were underway.

In terms of the upcoming Congressional investigation, the Al Qaida document is the first direct written evidence to confirm the existence of secret pipeline negotations with the Taliban. Moreover, it confirms that Al Qaida was informed of these negotiations from the earliest stages.

This raises an interesting question. The Al Qaida author, Mohammed Atef, must have known that his report had fallen into American hands when his operative's computer was captured by the FBI. Atef may have been surprised that his pipeline report was never made public to embarrass the Taliban.

Atef may have suspected merely from the surprising silence that the CIA and FBI were not being allowed to pursue or reveal their Afghanistan investigations while the pipeline negotiations were under way. The Saudis could certainly have tipped off the Taliban that the fix was in. It is hard to believe that the Bin Laden construction company did not learn anything from their Carlyle group partners about the pipeline.

Whatever the source, the early date of the Atef report shows that the highest levels of Al Qaida certainly knew about the pipeline secret from the beginning. The pipeline coverup could have convinced Atef that Al Qaida could expoit the lack of coordinated intelligence against them.

In addition to the usual inter-agency bungling, the Enron cover-up was the real reason for the black hole in US intell about events in Afghanistan, and plausibly explains why no US agency was allowed to connect the dots. Moreover it explains why honest officials like Baer and O'Neill were driven into retirement.

Bottom line: Baer and O'Neill were right. There was a pipeline coverup and it very likely contributed to 9/11. The Atef report raises the founded suspiscion, based on specific articulable facts, that AL Qaida might have piggy-backed on the Enron secrecy blackout to launch their surprise attack, confident in their knowledge that US intelligence had been deliberately blinded by Enron's cronies in Washington.

Common Sense // 9:31 AM

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Common Sense // 9:18 AM

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Found this in my inbox. (thanks Martin) I think Mr. Loftus is getting the big picture basically right, but he is making some mistakes on a few of the details.

May 31, 2002 For Immediate Release
By Atty. John J. Loftus
3560 Coquina Key Drive SE
St. Petersburg, FL 33705
Ph: 727-821-5227
Fx: 727-894-1801

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About the author: As a former federal prosecutor, John Loftus had an insider’s knowledge of high level intelligence operations, including obstruction of Congressional investigations. Loftus resigned from the Justice Department in 1981 to expose how the intelligence community had recruited Nazi war criminals and then concealed the files from Congressional subpoena. After appearing on an Emmy Award winning segment of 60 Minutes, Loftus has spent the next two decades writing histories of intelligence cover-ups, and serving as an unpaid lawyer helping other whistleblowers inside US intelligence.
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A captured Al Qaida document reveals that US energy companies were secretly negotiating with the Taliban to build a pipeline. The document was obtained by the FBI but was not allowed to be shared with other agencies in order to protect Enron. Multiple sources confirm that American law enforcement agencies were deliberately kept in the dark and systematically prevented from connecting the dots before 9/11 in order to aid Enron’s secret and immoral Taliban negotiations.

The suppressed Al Qaida document tends to support recent claims of a cover-up made by several mid-level intelligence and law enforcement figures. Their ongoing terrorist investigations appear to have been hindered during the same sensitive time period while the Enron Corporation was still negotiating with the Taliban. An inadvertent result of the Taliban pipeline cover-up was that the Taliban’s friends in Al Qaida were able to complete their last eight months of preparations for 9/11 while the Enron secrecy block was still in force.

Although the latest order to block investigations allegedly resulted from Enron’s January 2002 appeal to Vice President Dick Cheney, it appears that there were at least three previous block orders, each building upon the other, stretching back for decades and involving both Republican and Democratic administrations.

The first block came in the 1970’s, as a result of Congressional reaction to domestic espionage against the anti-Vietnam war movement. In a case of blatant over-reaction, the FBI placed all houses of worship and religious charities off-limits for any surveillance whatsoever unless there was independent probable cause. This meant that all Mosques and other Muslim meeting places for terrorist groups were effectively off limits until after a crime had been committed. The block order was not lifted until last week by Atty. General Ashcroft.

The second block order, in force since the 1980’s, was against any investigation that would embarrass the Saudi Royal family. Originally, it was designed to conceal Saudi support for Muslim extremists fighting against the Soviets in Afghanistan and Chechnya, but it went too far. Oliver North noted in his autobiography, that every time he tried to do something about terrorism links in the Middle East, he was told to stop because it might embarrass the Saudis. This block remains in place.

As the combined result of these two blocks, the Saudis were able to fund middle eastern terrorists in complete secrecy during the 1990’s through a network of Muslim charities in Virginia, Tampa and Florida. The Saudi funding network was targeted at the destruction of the State of Israel and the obstruction of the Palestinian peace process.

The Saudi funding conduit has now been exposed and shut down by means of a private lawsuit, Loftus vs. Sami Al Arian, which is currently pending in Hillsborough County, Florida. The lawsuit, filed on March 20, 2002, influenced the government into raiding the Saudi charities in Herndon, Virginia, a few hours later.

After filing the Al-Arian lawsuit, Attorney Loftus began to receive very detailed documents and information about a third block: a prohibition on investigations concerning the Taliban. In the early 1990’s, a consortium of American oil companies (lead by Unocal) had hired Enron to determine the profitability of building an oil and gas pipeline across Afghanistan so that America could have access to the Caspian Sea Basin, holding 1/8th of the worlds energy supplies.

There is no doubt that these secret negotiations existed, and that they were known to Al Qaida. Loftus recently received an FBI translation of a highly classified and encrypted Al Qaida document, circa 1997-1998, which was retrieved and decrypted from a computer laptop following the Embassy bombing in Africa. The document was written by Osama Bin Laden’s military commander, Mohammed Atef, under his nom de guerre, Abu Haf, and reveals extensive knowledge of the supposedly secret pipeline negotiations, and their potential economic worth to the Taliban, Pakistan and the U.S.

Former Afghanistan CIA agent Robert Baer has recently published a book charging that the cover-up of the 1990’s pipeline negotiations revealed extensive financial corruption inside the Clinton administration, and contributed to the lack of intelligence before 9/11. The Taliban negotiations temporarily collapsed in 1999 after Clinton reversed his NSC advisor’s policy, and ordered a missile strike against terrorists in Afghanistan.

However, in January 2001, Vice President Cheney allegedly reinstated the intelligence block and expanded it to effectively preclude any investigations whatsoever of Saudi-Taliban-Afghan oil connections. Former FBI counter-terrorism chief John O’Neil resigned from the FBI in disgust, stating that he was ordered not to investigate Saudi-Al Qaida connections because of the Enron pipeline deal. Loftus has confirmed that it was O’Neill who originally discovered the AL Qaida pipeline memo after the Embassy bombings in Africa.

O’Neill gave an overview of the Enron block to two French authors who will soon be publishing in the United States. The FBI is currently investigating Loftus’ links to John O’Neill, and is also refusing FBI agent Robert Wright permission to publish his own findings about the Enron block.

Loftus asserts that the Enron block, which remained in force from January 2002 until August when the pipeline deal collapsed, is the reason that none of FBI agent Rowley’s requests for investigations were ever approved. As numerous British and French authors have concluded, the information provided by European intelligence sources prior to 9/11 was so extensive, that it is no longer possible for either CIA or the FBI to assert a defense of incompetence.

It is time for Congress to face the truth: In order to give Enron one last desperate chance to complete the Taliban pipeline and save itself from bankruptcy, senior levels of US intelligence were ordered to keep their eyes shut and their subordinates ignorant.

The Enron cover-up confirms that 9/11 was not an intelligence failure or a law enforcement failure (at least not entirely). Instead, it was a foreign policy failure of the highest order. If Congress ever combines its Enron investigation with 9/11, Cheney’s whole house of cards will collapse.

Common Sense // 9:16 AM

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Ahh, air travel. Poked and prodded, searched and seized, I have returned.
Common Sense // 9:11 AM

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Monday, June 03, 2002:

I quick word in praise of librarians. Since the State of Texas is now prosecuting a student fo heckling Bush, I think it is clear that our first amendment rights are under assault as they never have been before. The librarians are on the front lines of this battle, and they had a big win in the US Supreme Court last week. If you care about civil liberties in this country, you can thank a librarian for standing up for your rights.

I would also like to personally thank a very special librarian who recently put a nice tip in my jar. Thanks a million, Kathleen.





Common Sense // 11:50 AM
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Common Sense // 11:43 AM

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I took my own advice and called both my Senators. I urged them to support a blue ribbon commission to look into 9/11. I also asked that the commission specifically look into the administration's activities with respect to the oil pipeline pre-9/11. It only took me about 15 minutes. I urge you to do the same.
Common Sense // 11:38 AM

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I've come to the conclusion that it is impossible to keep up with all of the Bush scandals. Take just the Halliburton company. With Cheney at the helm, they essentially pulled an Enron. Now employees of Brown & Root, a subsidiary Halliburton, are set to arrive at the Bagram airbase in southern Afghanistan in late April or early May 2002 (the exact date is classified) to take over the support services a Force Provider camp. They are also scheduled to arrive at the Khanabad airbase in Uzbekistan, one of the main military support stations for the pipeline through Afghanistan, to run three AirForce Harvest Eagle camps (an earlier version of Force Provider) for the 1,500 U.S troops based there. more (thanks to Ampol for bringing that bit of news to my attention.) These aren't some penny-ante 20 year old land deal, these are serious issues. We could spend a lifetime investigating them, and they are only a tiny fraction of the Bush administration's activities that need thorough investigation.
Common Sense // 11:35 AM

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It isn't just the 9/11 terrorists, the Saudi Royal Family, Osama bin Laden, and Mullah Omar who have slipped through the Bush Administration's incompetance. Lets not forget the anthrax attacks that exclusively targeted Democratic leadership and the media. The FBI has done no better in solving this case, even though, as Nicholas Kristoff pointed out in this article, experts have narrowed down the suspect list to one guy.

"These experts point, for example, to one middle-aged American who has worked for the United States military bio-defense program and had access to the labs at Fort Detrick, Md. His anthrax vaccinations are up to date, he unquestionably had the ability to make first-rate anthrax, and he was upset at the United States government in the period preceding the anthrax attack."more

Seriously, shouldn't Bush be getting some flack for not trying harder to find the guy who tried to KILL the majority leader and the chair of the Senate Judiciary committee?
Common Sense // 11:26 AM

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Common Sense // 11:17 AM

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I'm getting some email flak for being an Isreal hawk, so let me make my position clear:

The reason I tend to side with Isreal is because the Palestinians are murderers, and the Isrealis are not.

Sure, the Palestinians claim the Isrealis are murderers, but the evidence never holds up. The best example of that is Jenin. I think Dan Gordon summarizes it best in
this article:

The circus of Palestinian victimhood has struck its tent temporarily in Jenin, and gone to church instead in Bethlehem. The Jenin story has petered out because the world, in general, now knows that there was no massacre in Jenin. The world now knows that of the two estimates of the death toll in the fighting which took place in the Jenin refugee camp, one was true and one was false. The Palestinians originally claimed that 500 to 1,000 people had been massacred by the Zionist entity. The Israel Defense Forces estimate was that the death toll was in the dozens, not in the hundreds, and that the majority of those killed in the fighting were gunmen, who had booby-trapped a civilian neighborhood in the hopes of killing as many Israeli soldiers as possible. Today even Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, two organizations that can certainly not be said to be part of a pro-Israel cabal, have both now come to the conclusion that no evidence exists that any massacre took place. The total number of bodies recovered thus far is 56 by one account and 52 by another, the overwhelming majority of which, they acknowledge, appear to be combatants. Don¹t bother looking for an apology for that blood libel. None will be forthcoming. more

Had the Palestinians adopted the tactics of Ghani or Martin Luther King, they would have had a state decades ago. Instead, they routinely kill mothers and babies. Do these lying murderers deserve statehood? Hardly.
Common Sense // 11:16 AM

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Sunday, June 02, 2002:


Common Sense // 11:36 PM

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drip, drip, drip.

I don't see how the team Smirk is going to stave off an independent commission with revelations like the one below one hitting the news cycle once per week. But so far, they are managing. You do realize that the White House is STILL refusing to turn over documents to Congress, don't you? Maybe you ought to give your congressperson a call, and let them know that as far as you are concerned, the Bush Administration has lost any right it ever had to withhold information from the American public. It is long past time we started taking matters into our own hands, and the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Calls are better than letters, and emails are essentially worthless. If you can't get your Congressperson on the line, ask for the Chief of Staff. Get angry. Get involved. This is outrageous.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Months before the Sept. 11 attacks, the CIA (news - web sites) knew two of the hijackers were in the United States and that they were connected to the al Qaeda organization, Newsweek reported on Sunday.

According to the report that will hit newsstands on Monday, the intelligence was never passed along to the FBI, which now asserts that if it had known, agents could have uncovered the terrorist plot.

Newsweek said the CIA became aware of one of the terrorists, Nawaf Alhazmi, a few days after he attended a secret planning meeting of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda in Malaysia in January 2000.

Agents also discovered that another of the men, Khalid Almihdhar, had already obtained a multiple-entry visa that allowed him to enter and leave the United States at will.

The magazine said the CIA did nothing with the information, neither notifying the FBI, which could have tracked the two men, or the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which could have turned them away at the border.

Instead, Newsweek said that for a year and nine months after the CIA identified them as terrorists, Alhazmi and Almihdhar lived openly in the United States, using their real names, obtaining driver's licenses, opening bank accounts and enrolling in flight schools. On the morning of Sept. 11, they boarded one of the four hijacked airliners, American Airlines Flight 77, and crashed it into the Pentagon.
more


Common Sense // 11:33 PM

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Common Sense // 11:08 PM

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JERUSALEM (AP) - Yasser Arafat has offered Cabinet posts to Hamas and other militant groups involved in suicide attacks against Israelis as part of a government reshuffle he plans to announce in coming days, Palestinians said Sunday. While three other radical groups have turned down the Palestinian leader's offer, saying they don't want to belong to a government that's willing to negotiate with Israel, Hamas is still weighing the proposal, the group said. more

I am torn on this one, frankly. The right wing will obviously squeel mightily that Arafat is giving recognition, and therefore legitimacy, to murderers. And they will be correct. On the other hand, until and unless these elements of Palestinian society are incorporated into the Palestinian government, as we have learned in the past, there is no effective way to hold either Arafat or them accountable when they commit murder.

I am going to take the counter-intuitive position and say that this is the only way that Arafat can gain control over these elements. This gives Arafat the benefit of a doubt that he doesn't deserve, but if we assume that Arafat is going to make an earnest effort to actually stop the suicide bombings, it seems to me that he has to offer these elements a pathway toward influencing the government. Otherwise, he risks losing power to them, a scenario that even Isreali hardliners do not want, as evidenced by Arafat's very existence
Common Sense // 11:02 PM

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I didn't watch the "game", but I did check the box score. Surprise, surprise. The Laker's won. Let's see. O'Neal played for 51 minutes and was called for 3 fouls, while the King's big men were called for 15 fouls. Vlade Divac played only 27 minutes and fouled out. That means instead of the tiny market of Sacramento, and Mike Bibby and Chris Weber, two guys the NBA has spent zero marketing, the finals will feature the second largest market, Los Angeles, and Kobe and Shak, the most promoted players in the league. Funny how that worked out, isn't it?

Don't kid yourself, pro-hoop fans. What you are watching is no different than pro-wresting. The "game" is fixed, plain and simple.

Common Sense // 10:51 PM

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