Saturday, October 30, 2004

More On Market Manipulation for Political Purposes

Dan Gifford, a reader with significant experience in the news business, tells me that he saw these interesting items, as accurately quoted as could manage while watching TV. One was Alan Murray MSNBC reporter on October 29, 2004 at about 8:05 AM Pacific Time, on CNBC's "Morning Call":
The George Bush futures contracts have fallen tremendously today meaning that people believe Bush is losing ground in the election against John Kerry.
The next is from Donald Luskin, Trend Macro's Chief Investment Officer, October 29, 2004 at about 8:50 AM Pacific Time, also on on CNBC's "Morning Call":
The George Bush futures contracts are being manipulated. On several different occasions I have seen massive selling of the Bush futures come in that could not possibly have been for the purpose of making money. I think the person doing it or behind it is George Soros who has spent around 20 million that we know of so far to defeat Bush. [Soros' office told CNBC it is not responsible, according to CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera] .... Fair enough. Then if it is not Soros, then it is surrogate or at least someone who has read his book. Soros calls attacks of this sort the theory of reflexivity, which means that if you influence the perceptions of people by manipulating the theoretical reality within the financial markets, you influence the reality of real world events. In this case, the purpose would be to negatively affect the public perception that George Bush will win the presidency which may, in turn, adversely influence those planning to vote for Bush. This is exactly the tactic Soros has used in past to attack the Bank of England and other institutions and national currencies in order to change government policy.
Another reader points me to this article about Soros in FrontPage magazine:
Democrats looking to George Soros as a moral compass may want to check to see which direction the needle is pointing. The billionaire might actually be able to help them out on that count: In the mid-1990s he posited that there was “something both phony and pompous about a financial speculator inveighing against the moral crisis of our age.”


On September 16, 1992, Soros made his fund a cool billion dollars in a single day betting against the British sterling, helping to usher in what the Brits refer to as Black Wednesday. On that day, British citizens saw their currency lose 20 percent of its value. Trying to stave off the challenge to its currency, the British government had borrowed heavily before finally accepting defeat and allowing the devaluation of the pound. Soros was dubbed the Man Who Broke the Bank of England, a designation in which he seemed to take perverse pride.

Perhaps what is most interesting about the episode, considering Soros’ recent professions of moral outrage at the Bush economic plan, is his blasé attitude toward social mores in business. “If I abstain from certain actions because of moral scruples then I cease to be an effective speculator,” Soros told the London Guardian shortly after the incident. “I have not even a shadow of remorse for making a profit out of the devaluation of the pound.” Pushed further, Soros gave an example. “Let’s suppose speculation went on to push the franc,” he said. “That would be wrong and bad. But it wouldn’t stop me.”

Later on 60 Minutes, when asked whether he felt any complicity in the financial collapses in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan or Russia, Soros was similarly blunt. “I think I have been blamed for everything,” he said. “I am basically there to make money. I cannot and do not look at the social consequences of what I do.” A few minutes later, he reiterated the point in even stronger language. “I don’t feel guilty because I am engaged in an amoral activity which is not meant to have anything to do with guilt,” he said. Worse was Soros’ contention that, despite the fact that a single letter from him to the Financial Times recommending a 25 percent devaluation of the country’s currency sent Russia into an economic tailspin, “I am actually trying to do the right thing.”


Soros weeks later remained unrepentant about the havoc he’d wreaked, going so far as to explain how the “instability” he’d caused worked to his advantage:

“The net effect is a breakdown of the system, instability, and a negative effect on the economy, the size of which we don’t know, but it could be very, very serious. I mean, Europe is going to go into a very serve recession. Business is practically collapsing in Germany, also very bad in France. … Instability is always bad. It may be bad – it may be good for a few people like me who are instability analysts, but it’s really bad for the economy.” And when the economy suffers, society suffers too. How, then, does this sit with his claim of working to better the situation of each individual and the greater, “open” society.

More recently Soros has been very publicly betting against the dollar. In an interview with CNBC last May, Soros explained, “I now have a short position against the dollar … we continue to sell the U.S. dollar against the euro, the Canadian dollar, the New Zealand dollar and gold.” A real patriot, hell-bent on making cash off yet another market crash – ours. Could this be a part of the Democrats’ 2004 strategy? Journalist Richard Poe believes it could be:

“In view of the catastrophes Mr. Soros has inflicted on so many foreign lands, his sudden rise to prominence in U.S. politics deserves closer inspection,” Poe writes. “Bellicose charges of vote-rigging and calls for UN intervention such as we have heard lately from high-ranking Democrats fall strangely on American ears. Yet, for George Soros, such overheated rhetoric constitutes business as usual. The Democrat strategy taking shape in America this year strongly resembles a ‘velvet revolution’ in the making. Every piece of the puzzle has fallen into place. Only the exact time and nature of the final provocation – the signal for action – remains unknown.”

From a purely cold-hearted perspective, this all might be kosher. But now that Soros is a billionaire, his sudden pangs of conscience over the role of capitalism in the U.S. seem a bit too convenient and contrived to help foster the hero image he is so obviously attempting to create for himself. “I am not so optimistic about capitalism,“ he told Charlie Rose. “It is built on false foundations.” Then where, one wonders, did all of Soros’ cash come from? He claims he is no “neo-Marxist,” but his writings throughout the 1990s have certainly had that flavor. He has declared himself, for example, “at odds with the latter-day apostles of laissez faire” and, further, doubts the markets’ ability to allocate goods properly.


At one point in The Bubble of American Supremacy, Soros laments that “international income distribution is practically nonexistent.” Haughty words from a man with a bank account larger than the GNP of some Third World countries. If the rich getting richer pains Soros so, why not go ahead and stop accumulating massive amounts of money by raiding the treasuries of entire nations and making them poor?

“It is exactly because I have been successful in the marketplace that I can afford to advocate these values,” Soros said candidly in Soros on Soros. “I am the classic limousine liberal.”

Nevertheless, Soros blames capitalism for the coarsening of American culture. He apparently is the only one able to handle wealth properly. The rest of us savages couldn’t be trusted with his fortune:

“Unsure of what they stand for, people increasingly rely on money as the criterion of value,” Soros writes in The Capitalist Threat. “What is more expensive is considered better. The value of a work of art can be judged by the price it fetches. People deserve respect and admiration because they are rich. [Why does Soros think people respect him???] What used to be a medium of exchange has usurped the place of fundamental values, reversing the relationship postulated by economic theory. What used to be professions have turned into businesses. The cult of success has replaced a belief in principles. Society has lost its anchor.”

Tough talk for the man who also has boasted, “I cannot and do not look at the social consequences of what I do.” The word hypocrite doesn’t even begin to describe what Soros is involved in here. Schizophrenia may come closer.
Does anyone find it at all worrisome that this guy has the billions and the financial connections to manipulate commodity markets, and has expressed a willingness to spend it all to defeat George Bush--and now oil prices are at incomprehensible prices, having damaged the economy just before the election?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Is It Humor? Or Just Plain Weird?

It's from Swift Geese Veterans For Truth. It's a parody of John Kerry's testimony before Congress, and I suppose if animal rights activists were a significant chunk of the population, it wouldn't be parody, but a devastating argument for not voting for John Kerry. Instead, it's just disturbingly weird.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Why Are Oil Prices So High?

I've heard some of the explanations, and they make some sense: the hurricanes shut down production in the Gulf of Mexico for a while. There has been unrest in Angola. But the Iraq situation shouldn't matter much; they haven't shipped that much oil since Gulf War I. Dan Gifford, a long-time journalist, tells me about the following interesting items that he has heard recently. From financial journalist Jim Cramer (no relation) on CNBC's "Kudlow and Cramer" show:
I don't want to sound too conspiratorial here, but there's something about this oil market that just doesn't smell right. Do you think certain big hedge funds could be buying oil contracts to drive the market up in order to make our current leader [George W. Bush] look bad?
From Jon Burnham, Burnham Financial Group, October 12, 2004, CNBC-TV, "Closing Bell" 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM ET:
The price of oil is high because it's being pushed up by speculators and money from the big hedge funds. The important thing that gets lost in all that is that there is no shortage of crude oil in relation to current demand.
And from Adel al-Jubeir, Advisor to the Saudi Crown Prince September 28, 2004 at about 1:40 PM Pacific time, CNBC interview with Maria Bartaromo:
We believe the price of oil should be between $22 and $28 per barrel. $25 is a good reasonable price. There is no extra demand accompanying today's very high price for oil. We are seeing no extra customers lined up and there is no shortage of supply. The high prices we are seeing are due to speculation in the oil markets.
Then we have this interesting item from the New Yorker (of all places):
On August 6th, a week after the Democratic Convention, a clandestine summit meeting took place at the Aspen Institute, in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. The participants, all Democrats, were sworn to secrecy, and few of them will discuss the event. One thing that is certain, however, is that the guests formed a tableau that not many people would associate with the Democratic Party of the past. Five billionaires joined half a dozen liberal leaders in a lengthy conversation about the future of progressive politics in America. The billionaires were not especially close socially, nor were they in complete agreement about politics or strategy. Yet they shared a common goal: to use their fortunes to engineer the defeat of President George W. Bush in the 2004 election.

“No one was supposed to know about this,” an assistant to one participant told me, declining to be named. “We don’t want people thinking it’s a cabal, or some sort of Masonic plot!” His concern was understandable: the prospect of rich men concentrating their wealth in order to sway an American election was an inflammatory one, particularly given the Democratic Party’s populist rhetoric....

The meeting’s organizer was Peter B. Lewis, the seventy-year-old reclusive chairman of the Progressive Corporation, an insurance company based in Cleveland, Ohio. He has spent much of 2004 discreetly directing millions of dollars to liberal groups allied with the Democratic Party, such as America Coming Together and, while cruising the Mediterranean Sea on his two-hundred-and-fifty-foot yacht, Lone Ranger. The yacht has communications equipment that allows Lewis to monitor political developments in America while sunbathing off the coast of Italy.


Flying in from Arizona was John Sperling, an octogenarian businessman who in 1976 created the for-profit University of Phoenix....

Herb and Marion Sandler, a California couple in their seventies, came to Aspen looking for ways to give back to a country that had allowed them to prosper. The founders of Golden West Financial Corporation, a savings-and-loan company worth seventeen billion dollars, the Sandlers are devoted to the idea of preserving progressive income taxes and inheritance taxes.

The wealthiest participant at this meeting of hard-core partisans—and the one whose presence was the most surprising—was George Soros, the seventy-four-year-old Wall Street speculator turned philanthropist.


Sperling proposed a potential new project for the group: unionizing Wal-Mart workers. Soros, however, had no interest in union drives. He wanted to stay focussed on the main objective—ousting Bush. Yet he also warned the group against the idea of combatting right-wing propaganda with leftist demagoguery. “I do not have an interest in replacing one extremist movement with another,” he said.

Andrew Stern, the president of the Service Employees International Union, a holdover from the traditional working-class base of the Democratic Party, was also at the summit. In an interview not long ago, he conceded that consorting with billionaires had become a strange but increasingly common part of his job. “I have to admit, I used to think I was doing well when I met millionaires,” he said. “I’m glad we’ve got the billionaires with us. But it did feel a bit odd.”


The Quantum fund, a pool for hugely wealthy investors that profited by anticipating and exploiting price swings in foreign currencies, is famously iconoclastic. Soros recently passed much of the fund’s management to his two grown sons, Robert and Jonathan, but under his direction it rejected the prevailing orthodoxy about the rationality of the market in favor of the notion that markets were prone to chaos and distortions stemming from human error.
Now, the Quantum Fund is no stranger to oil trading. But what is interesting is another remark in the New Yorker article. After explaining that Soros has contributed $18.5 million to defeat George Bush:
Critics of Soros see his donations as brazenly hypocritical, considering that, until recently, he was a leading crusader for campaign-finance reform in America. Starting in the late nineteen-nineties, he donated eighteen million dollars to groups that supported the cause, and he is credited with having contributed significantly to the passage of the McCain-Feingold law. When Soros was asked about this reversal, he said, “This is the most important election of my lifetime. These aren’t normal times. The ends justify every legal means possible.”
Now, Soros has said in the past that he would give away all his billions if he could be guaranteed of defeating Bush--and you wonder, since Soros has been a big player in currency markets in the past, if he could be manipulating oil prices right now.

Remember this: until oil prices started skyrocketing in early summer, the economy seemed to be flying upwards. What would it cost for Soros, Lewis, and some of the other billionaires to manipulate oil markets? It doesn't have to last for long--just long enough to derail the economy into October. You don't need to actually buy hundreds of billions of dollars worth of oil. You can buy and sell oil future delivery contracts for a fraction of the final delivery price. (This highly leveraged nature of futures contracts is why you can make--or lose--an enormous amount of money in commodities trading.) Once you start playing with the price of a commodity, and causing panic buying, you can jerk the price up--or down--quite impressively.

I don't know for sure, but I would guess that people at Soros's level can probably spend two or three billion dollars to adjust future prices of 50 or 100 times that much oil--at least for a few months. The Quantum Fund was, back in the 1990s, what is called a "global macro fund", described this way:
By borrowing money to buy and sell futures contracts—themselves a powerful form of leverage—macro funds possessed the capability to move indexes like Japan's Nikkei or to influence significantly the value of important international currencies.
Now, supposedly the Quantum Fund isn't that powerful anymore. But is it powerful enough? Soros also returned to an active role in the Quantum Fund in 2002--after 9/11, when it became apparent that Soros was going to have to do something to bring down George Bush.

Large scale commodities market manipulation can't continue indefinitely, and you can lose your shirt on this sort of thing--but Soros has already said that he was willing to lose it all to defeat Bush. On the other hand, with a little care, he might actually make money. This article reports:
Soros, the founder of Quantum Endowment Fund, one of the world's largest hedge funds, was dubbed "The Man who broke the Bank of England" for his role in betting heavily that the pound would fall in 1992. As a result, Britain suffered a humiliating exit from Europe's exchange rate mechanism -- the precursor to Europe's 12-nation currency. It was rumored that Soros earned $1 billion in a day with his bet against the British pound.
Of course, I doubt that an oil play like this could be kept secret indefinitely--but certainly, President Kerry's Justice Department isn't going to prosecute George Soros for winning him the election. If we suddenly see oil prices drop down again after the election, I certainly hope the Bush Administration will take a serious look at possible market manipulation. But if Bush loses, there won't be investigation at all.
Imagine If This Guy Were A Christian...

And his guidelines for writing a paper included:
Subjects to Avoid

Topics on which there is, in my opinion, no other side apart from left-wing delusions and pseudo-science (for example, God's Creation, homosexuality and other perversions, so-called "separation of church and state").
Do you suppose that California State University Long Beach wouldn't fire him, immediately?

So explain why Dr. Clifton Snider gets away with this? He explains that there are certain topics that are not acceptable:
4. Topics on which there is, in my opinion, no other side apart from chauvinistic, religious, or bigoted opinions and pseudo-science (for example, female circumcision, prayer in public schools, same-sex marriage, the so-called faith-based initiative, abortion, hate crime laws, the existence of the Holocaust, and so-called creationism). For example, see Terrence McNally's "Just a Love Story," Los Angeles Times, 13 February 2004: B15. McNally correctly concludes that those who oppose same-sex marriage do so for one reason: homophobia. "Homophobia," as Robert Goss points out, "is the socialized state of fear, threat, aversion, prejudice, and irrational hatred of the feelings of same-sex attraction" (Jesus Acted Up: A Gay and Lesbian Manifesto, New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993: 1). In other words, homophobia is to gays and lesbians what racism is to people of color. Neither homophobia nor racism can be tolerated in civilized, rational debate; therefore, I will not accept either as arguments, however disguised, in your papers.
His guidelines for a research paper just take my breath away, because in each and every case, when there is a political nature to a suggested topic, he presents one and only one possible perspective as the basis for a paper:
2. "Recreational" Drugs (legalization of, medicinal use of; you must know the current legal status of these issues at both the state and federal levels). For marijuana, probably the best approach is to narrow your topic to medicinal use. See Eric Bailey's "Key Court Victories Boost Medical Marijuana Movement," Los Angeles Times, 23 December 2003: B1+. Even the usually conservative Press-Telegram is calling for a "carefully regulated system of legalization and high taxation" of drugs (editorial, "Gangs and Prohibitions," 3 October 2004: A20).

3. Energy (nuclear, solar, fossil, synthetic fuels, etc.). A related topic is Dick Cheney's secret conference on energy policy. Why hasn't the administration revealed who participated and should it reveal this information? Also important is the fact that, as Kevin Phillips writes, "four generations of the [Bush] dynasty have chased [oil] profits through cozy ties with Mideast leaders, spinning webs of conflicts of interest" (Los Angeles Times, 11 January 2004: M1+).


8. The Economy (tax cuts, the military budget, education, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment, etc.). Under President Clinton, the Federal Government had a handle on the national debt. Now the Bush administration is passing that debt on to the post-baby-boom generation. See Ronald Brownstein's column, "Our Children Will Pay the Bill for Bush's Budget," Los Angeles Times, 10 February 2003: A10.


12. Capital Punishment (pro or con; one way to limit the topic would be to argue whether or not there should be a moratorium on executions until they can be proved to be fair to all concerned, if that's possible). See the bipartisan web site: The Constitution Project on this issue. See also Henry Weinstein's article, "Death Penalty Study Suggests Errors," in the Los Angeles Times (11 February 2002: A13, and Eric Slater's "Illinois Governor Commutes All Death Row Cases," in the Los Angeles Times (12 January 2003: A1+; in the same edition of the Times, see Henry Weinstein's "Move Will Intensify Debate on Executions": A1+ and Eric Slater's "Unlikely Candidate for Death Penalty Reformer": A28). According to Amnesty International, in 2002 the United States had the third highest rate of executions after China and Iran ("China Tops World List of Executions," Los Angeles Times, 13 April 2003: A33).


17. The Environment (insecticides, off-shore drilling, protecting the forests, clean-air laws, protecting pristine land in Alaska from oil drilling). See Elizabeth Shogren's, "States, White House at Odds on Environment," Los Angeles Times, 29 December 2002, A23. And see Kenneth R. Weiss's "Seas Being Stripped of Big Fish, Study Finds," Los Angeles Times, 15 May 2003: A1+. This would be a good research paper topic as well.


21. Affirmative Action. Be sure to define the term and be aware of its current status in California. See the cover stories for Newsweek, 27 January 2003, the Los Angeles Times, "State Finds Itself Hemmed In," 24 June 2003 (A1+), by Stuart Silverstein, Peter Hong, and Rebecca Trounson, and "Court Affirms Use of Race in University Admissions," by David G. Savage, in the same issue of the Times.


27. Gun control (should a license, including a card with a picture similar to a driver's license, be required of gun owners? should handguns be banned? These are only two narrowed gun control topics; "gun control" itself is far too broad as a topic). See Aparna Kumar's "More Guns in Citizens' Hands Can Worsen Crime, Study Says" (Los Angeles Times, 23 January 2003: A15). Also, for an especially good opinion column (backed by facts), read Jennifer Price's "Gun Lobby's Perfect Aim," Los Angeles Times (9 February 2003: M1+). A third topic is ballistic fingerprinting: see Jonathan Alter's "Pull the Trigger On Fingerprints," Newsweek (28 October 2002: 41).


34. Birth Control: Should the so-called "morning-after" contraceptive pills (pills that prevent fertilized eggs from implantation) be more readily available to all, whether they can afford them or not and regardless of age? Of course, in your paper you would need to state your position and support it while acknowledging the opposing position. (You cannot argue that such pills amount to an abortion; I do not accept abortion as a topic. See below.)


52. What evidence do we have that Mr. Bush and his cronies lied to the American people and the world in promoting the war with Iraq? Do you agree that America has lost its "moral authority" in the world because of this immoral war? See "Another Casualty of War: American Moral Authority," by Rami G. Khouri, in the Los Angeles Times, 9 October 2003: B17. See also, "Iraq War Questions Gain Momentum," by Janet Hook, Los Angeles Times, 30 January 2004: A1+, and John Barry and Mark Hosenball's "What Went Wrong," the cover story for Newsweek, 9 February 2004: 24-31. Another article from the Los Angeles Times, Bob Drogin and Greg Miller's "CIA Chief Saw No Imminent Threat in Iraq" (6 February 2004: A6+), might be useful. Other articles worth reading are Peter Singer's "Bush's Meandering Moral Compass," Los Angeles Times, 26 March 2004: B13 and Bob Drogin and Greg Miller's "Iraq's Illicit Weapons Gone Since Early '90s, CIA Says," Los Angeles Times, 7 October 2004: A1+.
In a very few cases, Dr. Snider presents politically charged questions in a form that is neutral (often because it is so brief):
23. Hiroshima: Was Dropping the Bomb Immoral?

24. Term Limits for Public Office (do they work?)
But it is just astonishing that so many of his topics are so obviously biased to the left, both in how the question is asked, and how the sources he suggests are biased in that direction. As an example, the gun control topic could have suggested a couple of articles by Dr. John Lott as well--but that would involve admitting that there is more than one side.

Just to add to the fascist tendencies of Dr. Snider, when Mike Adams took Dr. Snider to task for this narrow-mindededness, Dr. Snider insisted that Adams was violating his copyright by reproducing parts of it. You can see the nasty letter from Dr. Snider here, and Mike Adams' response:
Being exposed as an ideological bigot isn’t much fun, is it? It is especially disheartening when you have been bullying helpless college students and finally encounter an opponent that you cannot control. That would be me.
What's really funny is how Dr. Snider has updated his guidelines:
Notice to my students: someone has published illegally in what purports to be an "article" material from my web site, that is, portions of my assignments. The article, among many misrepresentations, implies I require that you write about certain topics.
Gee, Dr. Snider tells his students that certain topics are unacceptable, because if you disagree with Dr. Snider, you are expressing "chauvinistic, religious, or bigoted opinions and pseudo-science...." Dr. Snider certainly has the right to assign topics for a class. The question is: should tax dollars be used to pay for political indoctrination?

UPDATE: I see that one of Dr. Snider's students has filed a complaint:
A Long Beach student has filed a complaint against Snider for using an hour and a half of his English class instructional time to talk about his disapproval of George W. Bush and the war in Iraq.
I can't claim to be surprised, really. My wife and I both had professors who believed that the primary purpose of a university classroom was to engage in political indoctrination, often without even a pretense of relevance to the subject in question. Examples: a "Music of the World" class in which the professor ranted about how whites trashed the environment, unlike the Indians, who lived in harmony with nature. (If you don't recognize that as factually challenged polemic, you have some reading to do.) A "Critical Thinking" class where the professor used most of the lecture time to attack President Bush Sr. for the Gulf War. A "Womens Studies" class where the professor became incensed because my wife actually did what she was supposed to do: critically evaluate a paper about White Privilege and Male Privilege. Thereafter, for the remainder of the semester, when my wife would raise her hand, the professor would say, "No questions? Okay."

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Humor About Philadelphia

I've had some less than positive things to say about Philadelphia, but overall, it was just ugly and a little scary. (If I hadn't been armed just about the whole time I was there, it might have been a lot scarier.) A reader contributes this:
My wife, who had the misfortune of working in Philadelphia for her first few jobs out of law school always thought that Philly should change its tourism slogan to

"Philadelphia, The City That Hates You Back"

Her tales of aggressive pan handlers, shocking poverty, rudeness from pretty much everyone, rampant public urination & defacation (including on the commuter trains) was best summed up when she told me that "Philadelphia just assaults you with its urbanness."

Like David Brenner jokes, "In New York, you ask somebody for the time, they'll ignore you. In Philly, they answer you with, 'What's the matter? You can buy a *&$&^% watch!' "

Monday, October 11, 2004


Click here for a funny bumper sticker about Kerry and Edwards.

Notice the clever beanie crown at the top of this blogger's page--don't know where it came from, but it's funny!

Thursday, October 7, 2004

More Humor

I don't know the original source of this, but Dan Gifford sent it:
How CBS, ABC, and NBC would have reported the events of D-Day, the 6th

of June, 1944, if they happened today:

June 6, 1944. -NORMANDY-

Three hundred French civilians were killed and thousands more wounded today in the first hours of America's invasion of continental Europe. Casualties were heaviest among women and children.

Most of the French casualties were the result of artillery fire from American ships attempting to knock out German fortifications prior to the landing of hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops. Reports from a makeshift hospital in the French town of St. Mere Eglise said the carnage was far worse than the French had anticipated and reaction against the American invasion was running high.

"We are dying for no reason," said a Frenchman speaking on condition of anonymity. "Americans can't even shoot straight. I never thought I'd say this, but life was better under Adolph Hitler."

The invasion also caused severe environmental damage. American troops, tanks, trucks and machinery destroyed miles of pristine shoreline and thousands of acres of ecologically sensitive wetlands. It was believed that the habitat of the spineless French crab was completely wiped out, threatening the species with extinction.

A representative of Greenpeace said his organization, which had tried to stall the invasion for over a year, was appalled at the destruction, but not surprised.

"This is just another example of how the military destroys the environment without a second thought, " said Christine Moanmore. "And it's all about corporate greed."

Contacted at his Manhattan condo, a member of the French government-in-exile who abandoned Paris when Hitler invaded said the invasion was based solely on American financial interests. "Everyone knows the President Roosevelt has ties to big beer," said Pierre LeWimp. "Once the German beer industry is conquered, Roosevelt's beer cronies will control the world market and make a fortune."

Administration supporters said America's aggressive actions were based in part on the assertions of controversial scientist Albert Einstein, who sent a letter to Roosevelt speculating that the Germans were developing a secret weapon, a so-called "atomic bomb." Such a weapon could produce casualties on a scale never seen before and cause environmental damage that could last for thousands of years.

Hitler has denied having such a weapon and international inspectors were unable to locate such weapons even after spending two long weekends in Germany.

Shortly after the invasion began, reports surfaced that German prisoners had been abused by Americans. Mistreatment of Jews by Germans at so-called "concentration camps" has been rumored but so far, remains unproven.

Several thousand Americans died during the first hours of the invasion and French officials are concerned that uncollected corpses pose a public health risk. "The Americans should have planned for this in advance," they said. "It's their mess and we don't intend to clean it up."
Bad Editing, Or An Attempt At Humor?

JPL's recent press release mentions the evidence that the area the Rovers are exploring was not only wet once, but wet twice--which might explain why the press release is a bit repetitive:
About six months ago, Opportunity established that its exploration area was wet a long time ago. The area was wet before it dried and eroded into a wide plain. The team's new findings suggest some rocks there may have gotten wet a second time, after an impact excavated a stadium sized crater.

By six months ago, Opportunity had established that the area it is exploring was soaking wet long ago, before it dried and eroded into a wide plain. New findings raise the possibility that some rocks there may also have gotten wet a second time, after an impact excavated a stadium-sized crater in the plain.
Or are they worried that many people need to be told the news twice, to make sure it sinks in?