Jury: KBR Caused Troops' Cancer; KBR: Pay Up, America!

A guest post from your comrade "Glasspusher."

Remember when liberals had Dick Cheney's Halliburton to be OUTRAGED about, like common wingnuts have a black president? Well, jump in your time machine and set it for "2002," because Halliburton and its subsidiary, KBR, are whispering your name from across space and time!

Yes, now we find out through HuffPo that KBR had an operation in Iraq where they knowingly exposed US troops to sodium dichromate, a known carcinogen, and the troops died -- and a jury nailed them on it! You are perhaps going to have a spot of mild annoyance over what came next.

WASHINGTON -- Sodium dichromate is an orange-yellowish substance containing hexavalent chromium, an anti-corrosion chemical. To Lt. Col. James Gentry of the Indiana National Guard, who was stationed at the Qarmat Ali water treatment center in Iraq just after the 2003 U.S. invasion, it was “just different-colored sand.” In their first few months at the base, soldiers were told by KBR contractors running the facility the substance was no worse than a mild irritant. Gentry was one of approximately 830 service members, including active-duty soldiers and members of the National Guard and reserve units from Indiana, South Carolina, West Virginia and Oregon, assigned to secure the water treatment plant, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Sodium dichromate is not a mild irritant. It is an extreme carcinogen. In November 2009, at age 52, Gentry died of cancer. The VA affirmed two months later that his death was service-related.

Well, that's just great. Different. Colored. Sand. This stuff is Day-Glo orange. Chemistry types know this stuff got phased out in labs for all but the most necessary uses in the '80s because it's such a bad boy, right? Hexavalent chromium, where have we heard of that bad boy before?

OK, bad stuff, KBR fucked up, lied, then tried to cover up, government prosecutes, jury zings the bastards for $85 million for both knowing about it and covering it up, justice is served? We wish! Turns out that KBR is whining that they have an indemnity clause in their contract with the government, which means we, the taxpayers, have to shell out for the troops' damages. Their indemnity clause is classified, but we feel like we heard about this or something like it at the time and were outraged then, so, fine, whatever, who cayuhs. Except, oh, get this: KBR says the government must pay not only the damages, but KBR's legal expenses as well. (Add 15 million clams, do not pass go.)

Pretty sure Bill Clinton calls that "brass." We call it "muuuuuurderrrrrr."


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'Bella" by Wonkette Operative 'IdiokraticSubpoenaKommissar'

Sunday already, which means a substantial portion of US America is preparing to be astonished/heartbroken/outraged by the series finale of that show with the dragons, while another portion is just going to stay off Twitter for three days because nothing will make any sense. Yr Dok Zoom tends to come very late to trendy things, so get ready for our own thoughts on the gamy thrones show sometime in about 2023, or never. But we'd be glad to tell you just how much we enjoy the brilliance and humanity of the Cartoon Network series "Steven Universe," which debuted in 2013 and we started bingeing on the Hulu last month, late again.

Hell, we still want to talk about that one Mrs Landingham episode of "The West Wing," which we first watched years after it aired (We finally bought our new used car yesterday, and know one thing: don't drive over to the White House to show it off to President Bartlet). We might even get around to reading Infinite Jest someday. We hear it has something to do with a superhero team and a guy named Thanos. So hey, let's talk about culture and missing out and patching together some knowledge of what's happening anyway.

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Get Me Roger Stone

Roger Stone, his wife would like you to know, is broke. And he is not dealing with it well. Once in khaki suits, gee, he looked swell, full of that yankee-doodle-dee-dum, but now no one calls him Al anymore and he has to stand on a street corner singing "Brother Can You Spare A Dime?"

Yesterday, the conservative but also kind of Never Trumper site The Bulwark revealed the details of a grifty "fundraising" plea sent out by Stone's wife Nydia, begging supporters to give money to the Stones in order to help them keep up the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.

It was titled "I am embarrassed to write this."

"Dear Friend," begins the missive. "My husband and I have an urgent new problem and we need your help. I told my husband I was going to write you, one of his most valued supporters. I am embarrassed to write this, but I must."

"Mrs. Roger Stone" tells a tale of woe: FBI agents swooping in on them at the crack of dawn to arrest her husband, a subsequent "fake news" feeding frenzy causing friends and fans to abandon the Stones.

"He laid off all our consultants, contractors and employees, and we have 'pulled in our belts' like so many Americans in 'tight times,'" she wrote, sounding for all the world like a plucky working-class patriot, not the wife of a man who made and lost his fortune lying in the service of power.

She should have been more embarrassed.

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