Saturday, January 17, 2004

State of the Union 

From the Ground, Maplewood, Mo.

Shop n Save, Saturday Night

Listening to Springsteen on the radio,
the rain is pouring down,
Staring at the oil-slicked, asphalt parking lot
wondering what became of my hometown. ...

The Mercantile Laundramat 

That which doesn't make the ad-crammed pages of the Post-Dispatch could fill volumes. And I intend to do just that

Pop Quiz

Q:Who was Guillermo Hernandez-Cartaya and what did he have to do with the price of cocaine?

A: Hernandez-Cartaya owned the World Finance Corp. (WFC) of Coral Gables, Fl. back in the 70s. He was an exile Cuban and Bay of Pigs vet, tight with the Company boys, if you catch my drift.

Q: So who cares? What's Hernandez-Cartaya got to do with St. Louis?

A: WFC laundered it's money through a series banks. When Houston Post reporter Pete Brewton started poking around, he found that Hernandez-Cartaya bought Jefferson Savings & Loan in McAllen, Texas from former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen father. You remember, Lloyd ran for VP with Mondale, lost to Bush I, and then was appointed Secretary of the Treasury, no less, by Clinton.

Q: So What?

A: So this CIA-connected dope dealer washed his money through Jefferson S&L and sent it up to St. Louis for further cleaning.

Q: Ho w do you know that?

A: Well, I called the bank examiner down in Texas, a guy named Art Leiser, Brewton's source. He told me, basically, the same thing he told Brewton: "... Leiser said he found out that `big bags of cash' were going out of Jeffer son Sav ings to a bank in St. Louis. Law enforcement sources said Hernandez-Cartaya was using the S&L to launder drug money. ..." Tbis is from page 186 of Brewton's book, The Mafia, CIA and George Bush. The book came out in 1992.

Q: What bank?

A: Well, I cou ld never pin Leiser down on that. I tried more than once. I couldn't get him on the record as saying it was Mercantile Bank. But a Senate investigation exhibit indicates it was Mercantile. The shematic showed WFC's laundering operation, circa 1977. It was republished in a book by investigative reporter Penny Lenroux. The book was entitled In Banks We Trust. The chart shows Hernandez-Cartaya's WFC controlled nine-percent of Mercantile stock.

Q: What does this mean?

A: It means there's been some really dirty shit going on in St. Louis for years and years and the Post has consistently turned a blind eye to it.

Truth in Government 

I remember the real Jeff Rainford, before he became the mayor's spokesman. He was a hired gun, political pr hack. One of earlier his gigs was running the phony citizens campaign to back the Page Avenue Extenstion boondoogle. Jeffey, baby, spin this! Come to think of it, there's not much difference between then and now.

Fellow Workers ... 

To Jay Swoboda, publisher of Whats Up magazine
The Two Bums

The bum on the rod is hunted down
as the enemy of mankind;
The other is driven around to his club
and feted, wined and dined.

And they who curse the bum on the rods
as the essence of all that is bad
will greet the other with a winning smile
and extend him the hand so glad.

The bum on the rods is a social flea
who gets an occasional bite;
The bum on the plush is a social leech,
blood-sucking day and night.

The bum on the rods is a load so light
that his weight we scarcely feel,
But it takes the labor of dozens of men
to furnish the other a meal.

As long as you sanction the bum on the plush
the other will always be there,
But rid yourself of the bum on the plush,
And the other will disappear.

Then make an intelligent, organized kick,
Get rid of the weights that crush;
Don't worry about the bum on the rods,
Get rid of the bum on the plush!

Heard it Through the Grapevine 

Sources tell Media Mayhem that the downtown community affairs cop wishes somebody would torch the New Life Evangelistic Center.

Gospel According to Larry  

Heard on the street, possibly attributed to sage D.J. Wilson: "Larry Rice is St. Louis' guilty conscience."

Chicken Fricassee 

President George W. Bush's youthful barnyard indiscretions have been wildy exaggerated. Media Mayhem cannot confirm the substance or verify the anonymous source that originated the salacious allegations. The president is an animal lover, but no perverse poultry affair can be fairly attributed to his sordid past.

Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless: The Ambassador Sends His Regrets
Cardinal owner Mercer Reynolds, the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland, regrets that his official duties kept him from attending today's groundbreaking ceremonies today for the new Cardinal's baseball stadium in downtown St. Louis. The ambassador, a fat-cat Republican from Cincinnati, helped bail out Dubah, when he was in the oil biz down in Texas years ago, setting him up with the Texas Rangers. Reynolds and his crony Billy DeWitt III also invested in Dubah's Arbusto Energy Co. along with folks like Saudi Sheik Khalid Bin Mahfouz of BCCI fame and Salem Bin Laden, Osama's half bro. With all that money over there in those private Swiss bank accounts, you'd think Ambassador Reynolds and the other Cardinal owners wouldn't have to go begging for hundreds of millions in public subsidies to help finance the building of the new stadium. Certainly, the U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland would be connected enough to find some private capital for his hobbies. If you can't shakedown the Sheik what about the Bin Laden clan or Billie Gammell of fair Scotland. Gamell, another Arbusto investor, is an old pal of Dubah. In 1998, Gammel's Cairn Energy partnered with Dick Cheney's Kellog, Brown & Root, a Haliburton subsidary, to build a gas pipline from Burma to the Orissa state in India. Don't any of these guys like baseball? Why can't they put up the money to build your private baseball stadium? What are they sissies or just UNAMERICAN?

My Dinner with Sherman
Back in 97, I went to Chicago for a Society of Professional Journalists conference. While I was there, I decided to call Sherman H. Skolnick, the father of conspiracy theory. We arranged to have dinner. I took th e train from downtown to the rendezvous point. It was a rainy night in Skokie. The dinner crowd at the River of Flame restaurant had left hours ago. The waitresses sat around looking tired and smoking cirarettes. But Sherman H. Skolnick was still holdi n g court. Beside him was his dutiful Sancho, a plumbing contractor and pretender to the throne of the House of Savoy. By this time, my tape recorder had ran out of tape and I was still scribbling feverishly in my notebook. Skolnick's narrative had taken another sharp turn and he was now talking about papal gold being buried under a condo development on the northside of Chicago.

Welcome to Skolnick's World. Though "serious" journalists may scoff at his wild allegations, those in the know, including Paul Krassner and myself, have long feared and respected his work. Skolnick's reports make Dr. Thompson's screeds look like pure dribble, child's play. In his latest Hotline News (773-731-1100) summary, for example, Skolnick reveals that George W. Bush is a ho mosexual and Red China is blackmailing him. Don't laugh too hard: Skolnick put John Paul Stevens on the road to becoming a U.S. Supreme Court Justice by forcing an investigation into corruption within the Illinois Supreme Court in 1969. And Stevens was th e only one to speak out against the high court appointing George W. Bush president. Today, Skolnick, who has been wheelchair bound since childhood, continues to operate his one-man Committee to Clean Up the Courts. Want to know why Saddam Hussein was r ea lly found in that hole? Here's an excerpt from Skolnick's Overthrow of the American Republic: Part 45:

"...As usual, the Liars and Whores of the Press promote the Big Lie as to the secret team that snatched Saddam Hussein.

Some claim the unit was not fully informed, other than they had a high
priority target. And there are contentions that the unit, part of the
American CIA, came within a few seconds of misguidedly hurling a
grenade down into the "spider hole" in which Saddam was kept as a
prisoner. Le ft unsaid by the oil-soaked, spy-riddled monopoly press is
that Saddam was being kept as a prisoner buried in a grave-like hole,
breathing air through a tube to the surface, rather than the media fairytale that he was simply hiding.


The reasons for having kept Saddam a prisoner under such
circumstances, and elsewhere kept for some time in captivity, revolve around his huge worldwide properties. ..." Makes sense to me. [read more]

Uncle Bucky and MK-ULTRA
George W. Bush's uncle -- William H.T. "Bucky" Bush -- lives here in St. Louis. He used to be the president of Boatmen's Bank. When Reagan was shot in March 1981, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat had reporter Rick Stoff do a story on "Bucky's" reaction to the assassination attempt. It remains one of my all-time favorite weird clips.

First, there's the headline: "Bush is devoted to Reagan; `it's got to be terrible for him,' brother says.

Then there's the cutline under Bucky's mugshot: "William H.T. "Bucky" Bush, president of Boatmen's Bank of St. Louis, said he was trying not to think about the posibility that his brother, George, could become president."

But the best part was tucked at the end of the story itself:

"... As an example of the unstable personalities responsible for assassination attempts, Bush offered a flier forwarded to him Monday after copies were left on cars during Saturday night's performance at the St. Louis Repertory (formerly Loretto-Hilton) Theatre in Webster Groves. Bush is a member of the theater's board of directors.

"The printed sheets, labeled `WARNING,' contained a man's rambling account of how he was a target of a `subliminal learning/mind control operation conducted by the U.S. government with the cooperation of `local law enforcement agencies, corporations, universtities, colleges and certain private citizens.'

"The sheet said the man had been a target of the operation since 1977 in attempts to turn him into a homosexual.

"He listed government officials and public institutions that have allegedly partcipated in attempts to control his mind, and concluded that a possiuble motive was the `assassination of the president,' from which St. Louis might profit because the next president would be George Bush, `whose brother heads a bank in St. Louis.'

"Bucky Bush said he had never heard of the man, who listed his name and address on the sheet, and referred to him as 'some three-dollar bill.'

"When a reporter asked for a copy of the sheet, Bush suggested he take the original. 'I don't want the damn thing.'"

Friday, January 16, 2004

Michael Lazaroff Scandal: The Devil Is in the Details 

Attorney Joe Jacobson told me about the Michael Lazaroff scandal prior to it becoming public knowledge. I immediately forwarded the infomation to my managing editor. We had a jump on the Post, but we blew it. It would take the Riverfront Times another 10 months to report anything substanitive on the case.

As you'll recall, in 1999, Lazaroff represented Station's Casino and he was caught illegally influencing Gaming Commission decisions. Years earlier, in 1992, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Station's founder, Frank Fertitta, was an associate of organized crime, according to a federal mob trial held in Kansas City in 1985. I provided this information to my editors and the reporter covering the Lazaroff case, too. But for some reason, Fertitta's mob connections didn't make it into the story.

When the RFT story finally ran, it relied heavily on the word of attorney David Helfrey, who represented Station's. The story dismissed Lazaroff's claim that Helfrey had made a vailed threat against Lazaroff's life.

Before becoming a criminal defense attorney, Helfrey was a federal prosecutor in Kansas City. In fact, he was the lead prosecutor in the mob trial in which Station's founder Frank Fertitta was revealed to be an associate of organized crime. Moreover, the lead investigator in the case was then-FBI agent Gary Hart, who is now Helfrey's law partner.

Caught Choking the Chicken
Is it true that Dubah, as a teen, was caught having carnal activity with a chicken? Stay tuned.

Say Cheese
Federal informant Richard Douglas Beck provided the following information to the FBI on May 5, 2000:

"...Beck advised that known "mob figure" John Vitali (sic) was Nondo (sic) Bartolotta's "sponsor," when Nondo (sic) was "initiated." Beck advised SA Bostrum to make sure to record the following information as it would "make a good 302."

Beck advised that Vitali (sic) initiated Nondo (sic) and Matthew Trupiano at the same time. The initiation ceremony took place at a St. Charles, Missouri pizzeria. ..."

Bush in 40 Seconds
The following political ad does not compare George W. Bush to Adolph Hitler [click here]

Get a flu shot today.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Road to Baghdad
Why can't the U.S. find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Well, maybe because it wouldn't be in the interest of the White House to find any. Everybody seems to forget that in the late 1980s, George W. Bush's father bankrolled Saddam's weapons program.

Remember Rep. Henry Gonzalez exposing the misdeeds to an empty House chamber on C-Span? Maybe not. It didn't get the play of Watergate or Iran-Contra, but it was definitely a major scandal. In a nutshell, the first B ush administrtion's Agriculture Department backed billions of dollars of loans to Iraq for dual-use technology; technology that could be used for either industrial or military purposes. The Iraqi regime used the funding to build its weapons program. The m oney was funneled through an Italian bank, Banco National del Lavoro (BNL). The BNL scandal rocked London, Rome, Washington and Atlanta. Atlanta? Yeah, Atlanta is where BNL's American branch was located. Who was one of the prosecutors involved in supposedly exposing the wrongdoing -- Robert Mueller, now FBI director. George I and then Secretary of State James Baker were both involved over their heads.

Here's an excerpt from the Spider's Web: The Secret History of How the White House Illegally Armed Iraq by Alan Friedman, 1993:

"...Thus had oil, money and political power been mixed into a Molotov cocktail of Western policy toward Baghdad. In Washington thoughout the decade, few policy makers had more pro-Iraqi views than Geroge Bush and James Baker. So c onvinced were they that American business interests would benefit from a close govermentment relationship with Iraq that they turned a blind eye to the perils of treating Saddam Hussein as a friend. They believed that neither the public nor Congress could be trusted with the truth of America's deepening involvement with Saddam. They were the ones who knew what was best for America, they understood the politics of oil, and they believed Saddam could in some way be turned around, sweetened, made into a more reasonable junuior partner. Bush and Baker were among the archietects of a series of secret policies that committed American taxpayer dollars to assisting Saddam and allowed the reckless export of U.S. technology to some of the Iraqi dictator's moste che rished and lethal weapons projects. ..."

James Baker, of course, is now the point man on restructuring Iraq's debt. It's like having the Houston mafia run the government. They're all crooks.

[note: the editor is taking a sick day.]

Timothy Leary is Dead
Dredged from the Harddrive: A 1992 Interview with the LSD Guru
by C.D. Stelzer

After your dismissal from Harvard in 1963, both a local television station and Washington University here in St. Louis canceled programs that were to have featured you and colleague Richard Alpert. Which do you believe the establishment feared more at that time, your actual experimentation with LSD or the ideas you espoused?

Timothy Leary: The basic theme I've ever done in public is to encourage and empower individuals -- think for yourself and question authority. I'm a dissident philosopher based on the socratic method. My trade union has been practicing this dangerous and risky profession for several thousand years. We have to have every establishment angry. If I'm not in trouble with the establishment, then I'm in trouble with my union card as a socratic philosopher.
It's not the drugs they were concerned about. It's much more subversive telling people `just say know -- K-N-O-W -- just think for yourself.'
When you think that the establishment was angry and upset back then about gentle little vegetables like marijuana and LSD and mushrooms, look what they've got now -- tons of cocaine on every street corner and every city in the United States.
It was not just the drugs. Deeper than that, it was our defense of humanism as opposed to religion and government. Individualism, dissidents, we were against the war. Stand up for yourself that was the message, it's always been controversial with Big Brother.

In 1969, you stated that drug dealing was "the noblest of all human professions." With that in mind, and in light of government and corporate opposition over the last decade, what is your attitude toward drug use today?

That was pulled out of context. What I was saying was throughout history, the chalice, which holds the sacraments, which illuminate and enlighten and allow people to face their own inner divinity. Dealing dope should be the most sacred, precious and conscientious profession. ... In that particular interview was I was denouncing the drug dealers that were doing it for profit or that were dealing drugs in a dishonest way.
What do you believe is the greatest achievement of the psychedelic revolution that you pioneered? Do you have any reservations about your involvement in disseminating LSD to the American culture?

Put it into historical context. The use of sacramental vegetables has gone back, back, back in history to shamans and the Hindu religion and Buddhist religion. They were using soma. It's an ancient human ritual that has usually been practiced in the context of religion or of worship or of tribal coming together.

I didn't pioneer anything. The use of psychedelics for spiritual purposes was started in the 50s by Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs.

What we did in the 60s, we just surfed a wave. In the 1960s, there was this sudden, new, enormous generation of young Americans brought up on television. Their parents had been told by Dr. Spock, `treat your children as individuals and let them become themselves.' When they hit college, here was this new movement.

The pioneering, the real work in spreading the word about psychedelic vegetables, (was done by) the rock n' rollers. Electronic amplification messages going around the world at the speed of light. Bob Dylan and John Lennon and the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. They spread the word around.

I'm not a leader, I'm a cheerleader, urging people to be careful and think for yourself.
You've met or tripped with Aldous Huxley, Allen Ginsberg, Ken Kesey and Jack Keroac among others. Who was the highest individual you have ever encountered?

I'm not talking about that, you can't count ...

You can't put it on a scale.

Yeah, everyone of those people are a human being and they had their flaws. They were dedicated humanists that's the key thing. Divinity is found not in the churches or the palaces of the powerful, divinity is found inside. That's the oldest message, and we all agreed on that, and we expressed it and sang it and chanted it in many different dialects.
Do you still experiment with drugs now?
I don't experiment. Yes, I use any vegetable or chemical that I feel is necessary at the time to further my life plan. Anytime I want to turn on my right brain, I use chemicals to do that. But I do it carefully, I do it cautiously. I know what I'm doing.

I've have been told that your appearance in St. Louis will include a hyper-video display. Could you describe what hyper-video is and how it differs from past multi-media productions?

I don't know what you mean by past. Yes, it's true that in the 60s we went down to Broadway and put on what we called the `Psychedelic Salvation.' We had 19 or 20 slide projectors, overloaded sound -- to produce a trance state, to produce a right brain experience, where you're open and vulnerable to learning new stuff.

Now we have a computer-generated stuff, an enormous empowerment of individuals, who have access now to computer programs CD rom programs and special effects. I can't do a real emersive trance state because its a bright room. But I will have videos to show how it works, and I'm going to try to get the lights to go on and off a little bit so we get some little flavor, to get a group of people who are sharing the same visionary or trance situation.

How is the youth movement of today different from the 1960s?

A lot has happened since the 1960s. In 1980, the American government was taken over by a military police-state or coup. In the last 12 years, you've seen an erosion of personal rights, personal freedom, and more power to the police and the military. ... The main thing that the Reagan-Bush administration does is they send guns all around the world and they ship out all of our jobs.

So the kids that have grown up today have grown up in a very different world than the 60s, when there was a tremendous feeling of innocence. ... And the different races were encouraged to express themselves, and women's liberation. It was a glorious moment of renaissance, but it was cracked, which often does happen, in 1980.

So the kids today, to answer your question, have to deal with a much more grim economic situation, a grim lifestyle situation. Young women of today are afraid today that they could be arrested if they control their own reproductive rights. The abortion police, these right-wing Republicans, sticking their noses into women's reproductive organs. Urinating in a bottle.

Kids growing up today are harassed and their is a sense of violence and conflict. So therefore, kids today are much tougher.

There is a youth movement developing now somewhat connected to raves, where young people get together to have celebratory dances. It's different, and I have a great deal of sympathy and admiration for young people growing up today.

In a recent interview, you said one of the greatest pranks you enjoyed was escaping from prison in 1970. You were convicted of marijuana possession, but why were you really in jail? Was your imprisonment analogous to society at large; are we all prisoners and guards in one big prison yard as Dylan says?

Well, that's a very philosophic statement. Your only in prison, if your mind tells you are. When I was in prison, behind bars, I was in freer than most people who came to visit me.

Richard Nixon called me `the most dangerous man alive.' That's not because I was found in a car where someone else had five dollars worth of marijuana. (It's) probably because I was the most eloquent and most influential voice encouraging young people to think for yourself and question authority, and don't follow leaders and watch your parking meters.

It was my ideas that were very dangerous. I found myself in 1970 facing between 20 and 30 years imprisonment for less than $10 of marijuana (found) in cars that were not my own.

I did four-and-a-half years in prison for less than $10 worth of marijuana at the same time cocaine gangsters from Peru were doing four or five years for a ton of cocaine. Everyone I think would agree that I was in prison for my ideas, and that's why I escaped from there.

Are computer hackers of the 1990s akin to the 60s outlaw drug dealers?

The thing about the computer situation is it changes so quickly. The concept of hacker -- the programmer who spends all night eating bad food and drinking Pepsi-Cola and getting pimples and cracking codes -- that's kind of over now. They were wonderful heros.
here is a strong growing counterculture in the computer culture, people who don't think that computers and electronic devices should be used just for Big Brother, the CIA and American Airlines, but to use these wonderful electronic powers to enrich yourself as an individual and to help you communicate.

The hot thing that is going on in electronic computer culture today is networking, communicating with one another on electronic bulletin boards. That's where the notion `cyberpunk' came as invented by William Gibson in the book Nueromancer.

The cyberpunk is someone who is very skillful and understands how to use technology, and can mix film, and edit their own audio-visual stuff, do your own MTV at home on your MacIntosh, or do it in school on your McIntosh. Cyberpunks are these individuals who use this intelligence not to make a lot of money for a big corporation, but to enrich human life and enrich human communication.

Instead of just talking on bulletin boards or typing in letters, within two or three years, we'll be sending incredible multi-media graphics. So instead of just talking, within two or three years, I'll be able to send you an MTV-type audio-visual stuff with some words.

Almost 20 years ago you foresaw that "language thought and custom were becoming electrically energized" through technology. At the time, you predicted "science ... cannot be controlled by a national leader or restrained by national boundaries. You stated that: "Those born into the electronic culture will soon learn how to govern themselves according to the laws of Energy. Do you believe this to be the case today? If so, how has it manifested itself in the world of 1992?

I think you can learn a lot about America by seeing what happened in the Soviet Union. The Republicans are saying Reagan had the Soviet Union in his gun sights and it was Bush who pulled the trigger to kill communism. Now that's a truck load of you know what.

The Soviet Union collapsed because million and millions of citizens, particularly young people, particularly college people and scientists, intellectuals -- and there were many of them there totally silent during Brezhnev -- began communicating electronically.

In East Berlin, for example, they had guards that would go around and make sure that satellite disks at apartment houses in communist Germany were not turned to the west. And you would get busted, if were picking up electronic signals from the West.

But you can't stop electrons. Electrons are not like tanks. You can't build a wall of bricks to keep out videotapes and MTV tapes and rock n' roll records.
After moving west to California in the late 60s, you became connected with a group called the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. In 1973, Nicholas Sand, a chemist for the Brotherhood, was arrested in St. Louis for operating two LSD laboratories. Indictments in California around the same time also named Ronald H. Stark, who allegedly operated a LSD lab in Belgium, In the book Acid Dreams, the authors name Stark as being a CIA informant. In retrospect do believe the CIA was involved in putting acid out on the street to pre-empt a possible political revolution?

I don't know about that. But it's a matter of fact that most of the LSD in America in the late 50s and early 60s was brought in by the CIA and given around to hospitals to find out these drugs could be used for brainwashing or for military purposes.

You talked about Nicholas Sand. The whole concept of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love is like a bogeyman invented by the narcs. The brotherhood was about eight surfer kids from Southern California, Laguna Beach, who took the LSD, and they practiced the religion of the worship of nature, and they'd go into the mountains. But they were not bigshots at all. None of them ever drove anything better than a VW bus. They were just kind of in it for the spiritual thrill.

Nick Sand was a very skillful chemist. He may have made LSD that the Brotherhood used. He was just a very talented chemist, who was out to make a lot of money for himself.

The guy Stark. I was accused of heading this ring. I never met Stark. Never knew he existed. I heard he's a European money launderer. But that was not relevant to what was going on out here.

What is relevant to your question is ... yes, the CIA did distribute LSD. As a matter of fact, the DEA (the Drug Enforcement Agency) is out there right now setting up phony busts, setting up people, selling dope. And it's well known that during the Reagan administration Ollie North was shipping up tons of cocaine to buy money to give to the Contras and the Iranians.

The CIA has always used drugs very cynically. They opium poppy plantations in the golden triangle of Thailand and Burma because it helps the anti communist group there.

The CIA doesn't care about drugs, they're just interested in playing there game of power and control, and in the old days, anti-communist provocation.
Wasn't the Human Ecology Fund, which financed LSD research at Harvard, also connected to the CIA?

Yeah, these are minor little details. The professor who led to Richard Albert and I getting fired from Harvard, it turned out later was getting money from the CIA.

When you ran for governor of California in 1970 against Ronald Reagan, how many votes did you receive?

I never ran, Reagan threw me in prison. They wouldn't give me bail for $5 worth of marijuana. Murderers, rapists were walking out with $100,000 bail. They did that to keep me from registering to keep me from running for governor.
What do you think of the presidential campaign thus far this year?

I think it's obvious the United Soviet States of America -- the federal government in Washington -- is finished. No one likes it, and its just like the Communist Party bureaucracy in Moscow. Now the strategy is learn from the Soviet Union. When Brezhnev was in charge, we were for Gorbachev. As soon as Gorbechev got in charge and tried to keep it going, we were for Yeltsin.

You always have got to vote for the person who is going to loosen up the central power. So obviously you've got to vote for Clinton and Gore because they're going to loosen things up and bring the incredible police state, totalitarian situation that Reagan and Bush got.

Yeah, I'm enthusiastically, passionately cheering for Gore and Clinton. (But) I really don't think anybody should be the president of the United States. You've got to break the central government down just as they did in the Soviet Union. Go back to the original states. That's the original American dream. We don;t want a federal monopolistic bureaucracy in Washington.
As a new millennium approaches, how do you perceive the future of post industrial America?

... I'm not really that interested in the politics, I'm interested in the psychology, the power of individuals to communicate with each other. So I have high hopes there will be a new breed in the 21st century.

There is a new breed popping up in Japan, popping up in London, popping up in Germany. These are a new generation of kids who don't want to go back to the old Cold War. They're not going to work on Mitsubishi and Toyotas farm no more.

They believe in individual freedom. They don't want to work, work, work for the company. They enjoy above all a global international movement. We're going to get what Marshall McCluan predicted thirty forty ago -- a global village -- which will be hooked up by electronic networks. ... Globalization will be the big thing of the future.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

A Royal Shafting
The Bank of England is being sued for billions for covering up its knowledge of wrongdoing by the scandal-ridden Bank of Credit and Commerce International in the 1990s. The bank laundered money for the CIA, the mafia and terrorist groups. It was founded by Pakistani financier Agha Hasan Abedi.[read more]

Searching for Spalding
The Associated Press reported today that actor-writer Spalding Gray has been reported missing in New York City. His brother, a prof at Wash U, is quoted as saying that Spalding seemed depressed, when he saw him at Christmas.

Fertitta? Forget About It 

On Oct. 14, 1992, former St. Louis Post-Dispatch staffer Phil Linsalata reported that the founder of Station's Casino, which was then applying to operate a gambling boat in St. Charles, had been linked to organized crime in a federal trial in 1985. Here's an excerpt from Linsalata's story:

" ... The trial in 1985 in Kansas City resulted in sentences for 12 organized crime associates from Kansas City, Las Vegas, Chicago, Cleveland and Milwaukee. They were charged in U.S. District Court with conspiring to skim more than $2 million from the Stardust and Fremont casinos in Las Vegas. Frank Fertitta Jr. was never charged. But he was identified as a participant in the skimming operation during testimony and in a secretly recorded conversation entered as evidence at the trial. Fertitta is the father of Frank Fertitta III, 30, who heads the corporation that wants to develop the riverboat casino in St. Charles. ... In the trial, the skimming operation was described as a way to repay organized crime figures for their role in influencing trustees of the Teamsters Union pension fund to lend about $64 million to the casinos. ..."

In 2000, attorney and gaming lobbyist Michael Lazaroff would be charged with attempting to illegally influence Missouri Gaming Commission decisions. Lazaroff was a partner with Thomas Eagleton at Thompson Coburn. The gambling lobbyist tried to kill himself once he was caught and claimed that his life was threatened by an attorney representing Station's. This was a huge and complex story, which I plan to write more about on this blog in the future.

The short version is that I laid Linsalata's story on my editor at the RFT and the reporter covering the case. But when the story finally ran on Lazaroff, not a word was mentioned about Fertitta's past criminal associations. Meanwhile, Station's continued to run full-page ads in the RFT up until the time it was booted out of the state.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Voted St. Louis' Number One Radical
In 1999, my then-editor Safir Ahmed of the Riverfront Times called me at home and told me hightail it out to an airport hotel for a press conference by NRA President Charleston Heston. I was
working on a story on Prop B, the proposed law which would have legalized carrying concealed weapons. Despite being sick with the flu, I went out to cover Heston's appearance.

I arrived to find the reception hall packed with gun lovers. I elbowed my way to the front of the room so that I could ask a question or two. But I soon found out that the event was more a pep rally for Prop B supporters than a press conference. A little girl came out on stage in a red, white and blue-rhinestone dress and sang the Star Spangled Banner -- off key. I was already sick and her rendition of the national anthem made me sicker. So I sat down on the floor. I'm sure the cops guarding the stage didn't like my unpatriotic gesture.

When Heston finally appeared, he mouthed a stump speech and didn't take any questions. So I followed him and his entourage as they exited out a side hallway. Once I caught up with him, I attempted to ask Heston a question. That's when I was assaulted by two men. One of them tried to rip my tape recorder out of my hand. The other goon, later identified as St. Louis Police Officer Merle McCain, got me in a headlock and tried to strangle me to death. McCain didn't release me from his death grip until after Heston drove away in his limo.

McCain was part of a security detail of off-duty cops provided by the St. Louis Police Officers Association. I was able to later identify him in a photo-lineup, when I filed a formal complaint with the police department's Internal Affairs Division. Nothing came of the complaint, of course. What happened next, however, was less anticipated.

I called Ray Hartmann, who was still writing commentaries for the RFT. My cover story on the gun issue was scheduled to run in a couple days. I suggested that Hartmann write an editorial on the police bruality I had encountered. He blew me off. Couldn't be bothered. After being assaulted by the cops while sick with the flu, I obviously wasn't thinking straight. I had forgotten that the general counsel for the
RFT, under Hartmann's ownership, was Andrew Leonard -- who also represented the St. Louis Police Officers Associaton. An attorney named Andrew Leonard also defended St. Louis mafioso Nando Bartolotta in 1983.

The cop union, the alternative newspaper and the mafia. That's quite a diverse clientele. But why dredge up ancient history?

P.S. In Michael Moore's latest documentary, he waltzed right into Heston's Beverly Hills mansion uninvited with a film crew. This only happens in the movies, folks. Believe me..

"Like a Blind Man in a Room of Deaf People"
That's the way that former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill describes Bush Bund cabinet meetings.

O'Neill has revealed that Bush had his mind set on invading Iraq as soon as he took office. The former Treasury Secretary is the primary source cited in The Price of Loyalty, a new book by former
Wall Street reporter Ron Suskind.

After CBS' 60 Minutes aired an segment on Sunday evening about O'Neill's revelations, the Bush Bund went on the attack. Within less than 24 yours, O'Neill had become the subject of a government investigation to determine whether classified information had divulged during the television program. During the show, a cover sheet of a document labeled secre t was shown.

The Bush Bund is finding it increasingly difficult to cover up the lies that it has told the American people. O'Neill's observations are the proverbial tip of the iceberg. As stupid as the unelected-president may appear, the question that re mains to be answered regarding 9/11 is what did George W. Bush know, and when did he did he know it.

Stay tuned.

Sub Plot
Why did then-Gov. Kit Bond refuse to extradite Donald Woolbright for the burglary of Howard Hughes’ Hollywood headquarters?

In 1974, the CIA launched Operation Jeniffer, a covert project that involved building a $350 million salvage vessel called the Glomar Explorer to raise a 4,000 ton Soviet submarine, which had sunk 750 miles northwest of Hawaii in 1968.

With the cooperation of Howard Hughes' Summa Corp., the intelligence agency covered up the ship's real purpose by claiming it had been built to mine minerals from the ocean floor. But a burglary on June 5, 1974 at Hughes' headquarters in Hollywood threatened the security of the operation.

This is where used car salesman Donald Woolbright, who had acriminal record in St. Louis County, enters the story.

By different accounts, the burglars were said to have taken between $60,000 to $300,000. But more important to the FBI and CIA, they purloined Howard Hughes' personal papers. The Hughes' memoranda contained scandalous information on consecutive presidential administrations, and their disappearance came only two months before Richard Nixon's regignation -- just as the Securities Exchange Commission and the Watergate Committee prepared to subpoena some of the documents.

At the time, federal authorities also feared the stolen files contained details of the Glomar Explorer's true mission.

Woolbright, who was then living in California, was charged with receiving stolen property and extortion, after he tried to ransom the Hughes papers for $1 million. Although the CIA was willing to meet the demands, the deal collapsed when Leo Gordon, Woolbright's accomplice, informed the police and later botched a sting operation. Gordon was an actor and screenwriter, but apparently Woolbright didn't fall for his story that Robert Mitchum was interested to buying the Hughes papers.

Before his arrest, Woolbright claimed he had acted on behalfof a St. Louisan he identified only as "Bennie." Bennie allegedly represented four other St. Louisans who had been commissioned to do the burglary. Interestingly, a Los Angeles police report said St. Louis mob lawyer Morris Shenker might be called upon to negotiate the return of the papers. Shenker denied involvement, but the Mafia, the CIA and Hughes himself were all suspects in the case.

Local authorities collared Woolbright in St. Louis County in March, 1975, but county magistrate Dennis J. Quillan freed him in June because then-Gov. Christopher "Kit" Bond failed to deliver the extradition papers within 90 days. Woolbright turned himself over to Los Angeles police three weeks after his unusual release in Missouri. A jury found Woolbright guilty in 1977, but his conviction was successfully appealed and a second trial ended in a hung jury.

Ironically, the missing spy-ship memo was never among those being ransomed. Ten months after the burglary, security guard Mark Davis confessed he found the top-secret information on the floor after the burglars made their escape. Wanting to avoid any further involvement in the case, Davis eventually gave the Glomar Explorer document the deep six. He flushed it down the tiolet.

Today's entry from the St. Louis edition of the Devil's Dictionary
Bush League 1 Affiliation of fat cat Republican supporters of George W. Bush who own the St. Louis Cardinals baseball club. 2 Members of the same elitist affiliation who previously owned the Texas Rangers. 3 Any cabal of professional sports team owners that usurps public money for private gain, named for President George W. Bush, unelected president of U.S., 2001-?

A Humbling Stat
According to figures released last October by Perseus Development Corporation, a company that designs software for online surveys, there are expected to be 10 million blogs by the end of 2004.

Texas Crude: The Mexican Connection

When President George W. Bush meets Latin American leaders in Monterrey, Mexico this week for the Americas summit, he will be revisiting a country that has long played a part in his family’s oil interests.

In 1960, the cur rent president’s father, George H.W. Bush, secretly orchestrated an illegal oil deal with a corrupt Mexican businessman. The deal involved Zapata Off-Shore Co., a Houston-based oil drilling concern founded by the elder Bush, and Permargo, a Mexican competitor with close ties to convicted felon Jorge Diaz Serrano.

After leaving Permargo, Diaz Serrano went on to head Pemex, the Mexican national oil monopoly. In 1983, Mexican prosecutors charged Bush’s former business associate with defrauding the gove r nm ent of $58 million by overpaying a Saudi-Arabian middleman for the purchase of two oil tankers. Diaz Serrano, who was once considered a likely candidate for the Mexican presidency, was ultimately convicted and served five years of a ten-year prison sentence.

By the time that Diaz Serrano was indicted, George H.W. Bush was serving as vice president in the Reagan administration. The elder Bush’s decision to run for president in 1988 prompted investigative journalist Jonathan Kwitny to write an article for Barron’s magazine about the earlier Zapata-Permargo deal. Unfortunately, Kwitny discovered that pertinent Security and Exchange Commission records on Zapata’s Mexican venture had been "inadvertently destroyed" during the early Reagan era. The missing files spanned from 1960 to 1966, the years when Bush was president and chief executive of Zapata Off-Shore operations.

Despite the missing data, Kwitny still managed to sketch an outline of Bush’s Mexican escapade based on Zapata’s annual reports and interviews with some principal players.

In a nutshell, Permargo was created as a front company so that Bush could take advantage of a lucrative off-shore drilling contract. Under Mexican law, foreigners were forbidden to have an interest in off-shore oil work. So Zapata enlisted Diaz Serrano and his Mexican cronies to camouflage its 50 percent interest in Permargo.

At the same time, Bush and his associates kept quiet about the deal here at home. Stockholders in Zapata, a publicly traded comp any on the American Stock Exchange, were never informed of the shadowy operation south of the border; and the few SEC records that haven’t been destroyed are mostly blank.

Permargo apparently was hatched at a meeting that took place in 1960 at the head quarters of Pemex, the Mexican national oil monopoly. Those participating in the talk were a high-ranking Pemex official, Diaz Serrano, and U.S. oilman Edwin Pauley, the owner of Pauley Pan American Petroleum Corp, which had an oil exploration agreement with the Mexican government.

Conveniently, Diaz Serrano was already a sales representative for Dresser Industries, a major U.S. oil equipment manufacturer. The late Prescott Bush, then-U.S. Senator from Connecticut, had previously been a board director for Dresser. Before founding Zapata, the senator’s son -- George H.W. Bush -- had worked for Dresser between 1948 and 1951, when he first moved to West Texas. Not surprisingly, when Diaz Serrano asked Dresser to assist Permargo, the company steered him to Bush.

Americans holding hidden interests in Permargo included oil executive Wayne H. Dean, a Zapata manager; and T.J. Falgout Sr., a major Zapata shareholder. Everybody involved in the secret deal treated each other as family, Diaz Serrano’s partner told Kwitny. According to Jorge Escalante, the family get-togethers often took place at the Houston Petroleum Club.

Texas Crude: The Politics of Oil and the New World Order
copyright 2004 by C.D. Stelzer

By the afternoon of 9/11, long lines had begun to form at local gas stations. The American public had immediately recognized a link between Saudis f lying airplanes into the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon and our oil supply. This book is an attempt to illuminate those shadwoy links, often ignored by the media; the connections between American politicians and oilmen both here and abroad.

In the wake of the Cold War, terrorism has replaced communism as the new bogeyman. Xenophobia reigns. The Bush administration has latched on to this undercurrent within the post-9-11 American psyche to gain domestic support for his foreign incursions both in Afghanistan and Iraq

Terrorists are the new Red menace. Terrorism is evil. Terrorism is ubiquitous. Terrorism is cataclysmic. When terrorism is personifed by the Bush administration it is identified as wearing the faces of despots.
Osama bin Laden. Sa ddam Hussein. Like George Orwell’s Big Brother, their faces have been etched into our collective consciousness.

The idea for this book has evolved over a period of years. In the spring of 2003, urged by my friend and collaborator Robert Allen, a sub edit or at the Times of London, I met with the publisher of Pluto Press. But discussions on the proposed book stalled after I returned to the U.S.

Having taken the requisite non-fiction book proposal workshop at the University of Iowa the preceding summer, I set about ignoring every piece of good advice offered by Professor Stephen Bloom. Self publishing unedited portions of my draft as blog entries may well be the next misstep in a long series.

The prospect of composing an opus such of this can by itself paralyze a writer. Spurred by desperation, I've decided to kick-start this project by writing online. Readers, if there are any, will find that the story line will unavoidably be presented out of sequence. Moreover, without an advance against royal ties to support this work, I must out of neccesity rely heavily on secondary source material. If and when financial backing is obtained, I will travel to Houston to do further research. Meanwhile, readers of
Media Mayhem may read the unpublished manuscript as it lurches along online.
Blog on,
C.D. Stelzer
St. Louis, January 2004

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Saints and Sinners
Pinnacle Entertainment, A Vegas gambling outfit that proposes building a casino next to the Notre Dame Convent in Lemay, was fined $2.26 million by the Indiana Gaming Commission in 2002 for providing prostitutes to some of its patrons.

Star Chamber
The Sunday St. Louis Post-Dispatch, story on the selection of a new casino licensee for the city and county didn't include the names of the committee members who will make the decisions. Only one unidentified selecti on committee member is even quoted in the story. Moreover, none of the investors that Pinnacle Entertainment says will pony up $116 million for additional developments at the proposed downtown casino are named. Who are these people? What kind of ancillary developments are they talking about building, high-class whorehouses? For a background on Pinnacle scroll down.

Hooking Hoosiers
In 2002, Pinnacle Entertainment Inc., one of the three gambling companies vying for new licenses in the St. Louis area, was fined more than $2 million by the Indiana Gaming Commission for providing prostitutes for some of its golfing guests.

Indianapolis Star, June 25, 2002
Former Belterra Resort and Casino Chairman R.D. Hubbard was fined $740,000 over allegations that the casino brought in more than a
half-dozen prostitutes from California to entertain 48 wealthy male guests during a weekend golf outing last summer. According to a lawsuit by two former female employees of the casino, which triggered the state investigation, the escorts fondled the male guests and allowed themselves to be fondled. The w omen who filed the suit said they were ordered to kiss and pat male gamblers and lure rich Arab men to the gambling facility.

Casino fined $2.26 million over allegations of prostitution
Las Vegas Sun, July 30, 2002
IN DIANAPOLIS, IN -- An Ohio River casino must pay a $2.26 million fine and close for more than two days over allegations it entertained guests with prostitutes and money for gambling during a golf outing last year.
According to commission documents, eight or more women, referred to several times as "hookers," were flown to the casino on a jet leased by Pinnacle to entertain guests at a golf outing in late June 2001. The guests, who were chosen by Pinnacle officials, attended the tournament by invitation. Th ey and the women also attended parties on two nights in the Celebrity Room, an area adjacent to a concert arena.

Bill Seeks Police Force For Casinos Indianapolis Star, March 10, 2003
State Police also are investigating an alleg ation that an off-duty trooper attended a Belterra Casino party in June 2001 at which Pinnacle Entertainment, the casino's operator, supplied prostitutes for high-rollers.

Belterra was fined $2.26 million by the Indiana Gaming Commission, the largest such sanction in state gaming history.

Casino owner accused of prostitution Associated Press, April 13, 2002
Pinnacle Entertainment, which owns two riverboat casinos in Louisiana and has a license for a third, is under investigation following a lawsuit that accuses the company of arranging for prostitutes to entertain wealthy gamblers at a casino in Indiana. The plaintiffs reasonably believed the escorts were prostitutes, the
suit said.

Jack Strohm, Belter ra's d irector of security, referred to the women as hookers, according to the suit. The escorts, one of whom removed her top, fondled the male guests and allowed the male guests to fondle
them while in the casino's Celebrity Room, the suit states. Strohm also told Perry to pick up rich Arab men and bring them to the casino, according to the suit.

Casino Gets $2.26M Fine In Girls-And-Golf Scandal
New York Post, August 6, 2002
Pinnacle Entertainment was fined $2.26 milli on by the Indiana Gaming Commission for supplying prostitutes and gambling money to attendees at a golf outing sponsored by its Belterra Casino Resort, in Vevay, Ind.

Casino denies that it supplied prostitutes
Associated Press, June 20, 2002
VEVAY, Ind. -- The lawsuit filed by Gwen Perry and Logananne Sabline of Madison claims Perry was demoted and Sabline was fired after they made sexual harassment complaints. In its response to the suit, the
company also denied Perry and Sabl ine's claims that Belterra security director Jack Strohm had urged them to use sex to entice more gambling.

Casino fined in prostitution inquiry Indianapolis Star July 26, 2002
The Indiana Gaming Commission imposed its l argest fine, $2.26 million, against Belterra Casino today as part of a settlement following an investigation that the casino brought in hookers to entertain gamblers. Two former casino workers filed a sexual harassment lawsuit claiming that eight to 12 prostitutes were brought in from California and Louisville to entertain 48 wealthy male guests who had participated in a golf tournament at Belterra.

Belterra officials has denied the allegation.

Belterra Casino will keep licen se despite sex outing
Post-Tribune, May 14, 2002
EAST CHICAGO, IL - Belterra Casino is not expected to lose its license though the state Gaming Commissio confirmed Monday the company founder brought prostitutes to a golf outing last June. From Jun e 26-29, 2001, Hubbard brought in prostitutes on his private plane from California for the Hubbard Golf Invitational at Belterra in southern Vevay, Gaming Commission Executive Director Jack Thar said. The women entertained wealthy clients who were gambling at the casinos.

Belterra will pay, but license will stay
Associated Press, May 15, 2002
VEVAY, Ind. - Belterra Casino and Resort could face more than $1 million in fines and possible probation after complaints that the Ohio R iver casino arranged for prostitutes to entertain wealthy gamblers. Jack Thar, commission executive director, said that a company official brought prostitutes from California on his private plane for a golf outing in June at Vevay, about 35 m iles southwes t of Cincinnati. The employees said in their suit that they were told by the casino's security chief to "use sex" to entice men into the casino.

Belerra fined $2.6M Cincinnati Enquirer,
July 26, 2002
FLORENCE, Ind. - Belterra Casino will pay millions in fines and be forced to close for 2 1/2 days in October to comply with a state commission disciplinary measure issued Monday. In its toughest sanction since Indiana gambling opened in 1995, the Indiana Gaming Commis sion fined the casino $2.6 million following allegation that it provided prostitutes to golf patrons last summer.

Gambling boats can stay docked
The Cincinnati Enquirer, June 24, 2002
VEVAY, Ind. — Indiana State Police ar e investigatin g the presence of an off-duty trooper at a Belterra casino party during which a lawsuit claims the casino supplied prostitutes for high rollers. The sexual harassment lawsuit says eight to 12 prostitutes were brought from California and Lou isville to entertain 48 wealthy male guests who had participated in a golf tournament at Belterra. The casino has denied that it arranged for any prostitutes and said representatives of the state gambling commission were at the party in Belterra's Celebrity Room.

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