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Archive for December 23rd, 2008

Exclusive: Cheney’s admissions to the CIA leak prosecutor and FBI

Vice President Dick Cheney, according to a still-highly confidential FBI report, admitted to federal investigators that he rewrote talking points for the press in July 2003 that made it much more likely that the role of then-covert CIA-officer Valerie Plame in sending her husband on a CIA-sponsored mission to Africa would come to light.

Cheney conceded during his interview with federal investigators that in drawing attention to Plame’s role in arranging her husband’s Africa trip reporters might also unmask her role as CIA officer.

Cheney denied to the investigators, however, that he had done anything on purpose that would lead to the outing of Plame as a covert CIA operative. But the investigators came away from their interview with Cheney believing that he had not given them a plausible explanation as to how he could focus attention on Plame’s role in arranging her husband’s trip without her CIA status also possibly publicly exposed. At the time, Plame was a covert CIA officer involved in preventing Iran from obtaining weapons of mass destruction, and Cheney’s office played a central role in exposing her and nullifying much of her work.

Cheney revised the talking points on July 8, 2003– the very same day that his then-chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, met with New York Times reporter Judith Miller and told Miller that Plame was a CIA officer and that Plame had also played a central role in sending her husband on his CIA sponsored trip to the African nation of Niger.

Both Cheney and Libby have acknowledged that Cheney directed him to meet with Miller, but claimed that the purpose of that meeting was to leak other sensitive intelligence to discredit allegations made by Plame’s husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, that the Bush administration misrepresented intelligence information to go to war with Iraq, rather than to leak Plame’s identity.

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Bing Crosby – Do You Hear What I Hear

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Madoff Victims May Have to Return Profits, Principal

Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) — Like some of Bernard Madoff’s clients, a Florida restaurant owner was lucky enough to withdraw part of his investment before the money manager allegedly confessed to a $50 billion Ponzi scheme. Now he’s worried he might be asked to give it back.

The 53-year-old investor, who asked not to be identified to protect his stake, took out about $600,000 this year from his $1.5 million account, using some of it to pay down a mortgage. He and other Madoff clients who withdrew funds as long as six years ago may be sued on behalf of other victims to return profits and even principal, securities and bankruptcy lawyers say.

“Right now there are Madoff winners and Madoff losers,” said Lynn LoPucki, who teaches bankruptcy law at Harvard University. “Before this is over there will be nothing but Madoff losers.”

(more…)

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The 10 Greediest People of 2008

By Sam Pizzigati, Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality. Posted December 23, 2008.

For obvious reasons, we probably couldn’t have picked a better year than 2008 to “honor” our most avaricious.

This time of year always seems to bring a never-ending barrage of “top ten” lists. The year’s top ten movies, the top ten books, the top ten news stories, and on and on. Here at Too Much we’ve decided to join in on the action — with our very own list of America’s top ten greediest.

We probably couldn’t have picked a better year than 2008 to so “honor” our most avaricious. This year’s stunning economic meltdown has fixed the attention of our entire nation — and world — on the grasping antics of those who yearn for ever more than they could rationally ever need.

But this year also presents enormous challenges for anyone bold enough to rank the greedy. With so much greed out there, how could we possibly limit our list to a mere ten?

The latest greed explosion to hit the headlines — the $50 billion Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme — illustrates just how difficult a task ranking the greedy can be.

To whom in this scandal should we award the most greed points? Bernie Madoff himself, the 70-year-old who scammed his wealthy friends and charities to keep up his credentials as a Wall Street investing “genius” — and maintain a $6 million pad in Manhattan, a waterfront mansion in Palm Beach, and a weekend getaway on Long Island?

Or should those greed points go instead to the ever-so-sophisticated hedge fund “middlemen” like Walter Noel, who built a five-manse fortune by steering clients to Madoff and charging them tens of millions in “due diligence” fees for the steering.

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Christmas Musical Scenes From Christmas Movies- Part 1

“Snow”
Written by Irving Berlin
Performed by Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen (dubbed by Trudy Stevens)
From the film “White Christmas”
Movie rights owned by Paramount

“It Came Upon a Midnight Clear’
Written By Edmund Sears
Performed by the Carolers
From the film “Destination Tokyo”
Movie rights owned by Warner Brothers

“The Wish I Wish Tonight”
Written by MK Jerome and Jack Scholl
Performed by Dennis Morgan
From the film “Christmas in Connecticut”
Movie Rights owned by Warner Brothers

“Happy Holidays”
Written by Irving Berlin
Performed by Bing Crosby, Marjorie Reynolds (dubbed by Martha Mears), and the Chorus
From the film “Holiday Inn”
Movie rights owned by Universal

“Merry Christmas”
Written by Fred Spielman and Janice Torre
Performed by Judy Garland
From the film “In the Good Old Summertime”
Movie rights owned by Warner Brothers

“White Christmas”
Written by Irving Berlin
Performed by the cast of “White Christmas”
From the film “White Christmas”
Movie rights owned by Paramount

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Christmas Musical Scenes From Christmas Movies- Part 2

“Silver Bells”
Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
Performed by Bob Hope, Marilyn Maxwell, William Frawley, and the chorus
From the film “The Lemon Drop Kid”
Movie Rigths owned by Paramount and Hope Enterprises

“Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas”
Written by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin
Performed by Judy Garland
From the film “Meet Me in St. Louis”
Movie rights owned by Warner Brothers

“Noel”
Written by Charles Gounod
Performed by The Boys Choir
From the film “The Bishop’s Wife”
Movie rights owned by MGM/United Artists

“Auld Lang Syne”
Written by Robert Burns
Performed by the cast of “It’s A Wonderful Life”
From the film “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Movie rights owned by Paramount and Republic Studios

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