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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 05/03/2009 - 05/10/2009
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, May 09, 2009

My god, there's simply no accountability to be had anywhere

if you google up the stories on w.r. grace and libby, montana, you'll get over 29,000 hits and find a horrifying history of corporate arrogance and outright malfeasance... it's stunning to me that, given the trail of destruction wreaked on the workers at grace and the residents of libby, it would come to this...
A federal jury on Friday acquitted W.R. Grace & Co. and three of its former officials of charges that they knowingly exposed residents of Libby, Mont., to asbestos poisoning associated with a mining operation and conspired to hide it.

The verdict brings to an ignominious end one of the most significant criminal prosecutions the government had ever filed against a corporate polluter. The acquittals raise new questions about prosecutorial failings in the Justice Department, which already was reeling from the dismissal of its corruption case against former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

In Libby, where an estimated 1,200 residents have died or developed cancer or lung disease, the judgment dashed hopes that someone would be held accountable for decades of suffering.

"We never expected restitution on this," said Libby resident Gayla Benefield, who has seen dozens of family members become sick from asbestos exposure. "How can you give someone restitution when you've taken their life? This was about closure, to finally say, 'Yes, this company did this to us, and we can finally get on with our lives.' But that didn't happen, did it?"

toss this right in there with the lack of accountability and the failure of the rule of law in bringing to justice those public officials who provided the bogus legal justification and those top elected officials who authorized the use of torture... but, we know, don't we, that if you or i stepped just an inch or two over the line, the full force of the law would be all over us like flies on shit...

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Meanwhile, back in Afghanistan


sigh, sigh, sigh...

from al jazeera...

The Afghan president is in Washington DC for high level talks, but back in Afghanistan a deadly airstrike has once again killed scores of civilians.

The local governor of a small community in Western Afghanistan claims that more than 100 civilians have been killed in a US led airstrike.

The Red Cross confirmed the attack, saying its representatives have seen dozens of bodies.

in some ways, being back here in argentina, i feel like i'm a million miles away from the intensity of being in afghanistan... even though being there rapidly devolves into a day-to-day routine just like everywhere else, the background intensity is always there... when i go to sleep at night, i can hear the guards below my window clearing their rifles, and that's also the first thing i hear when i wake up in the morning... it's also a bit more immediate when i think that things like this are going on not very far away... however, now that i'm back in buenos aires and read of this kind of atrocity, the distance doesn't seem like much of a buffer...

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Watch the Senate shrug off and laugh at those who came to the hearing to support a single-payer health plan

it's pathetic how casually our leaders can totally ignore the people to whom they are supposedly answerable...

from the real news network...

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Argentina is often its own worst enemy


i don't think i've talked to a single argentino who doesn't believe that another economic collapse is inevitable... so, what you see people doing is engaging in an orgy of grabbing-it-while-you-can, charging ever higher prices, hitting the already-struggling poor even harder, and virtually guaranteeing that there will be, in a perfect demonstration of a self-fulfilling prophecy, an eventual collapse...

the prudent folks take their money and either park it outside the country as the snippet below describes, or they plow it into tangible assets like home improvement or other forms of real estate... during the day, my neighborhood in buenos aires, like so many others, is a cacophony of hammering, sawing, and trucks delivering building materials...

now, there's also the impact of the global economic freefall...

An estimated 34 billion US dollars have fled from Argentina

The Argentine Central Bank must ensure that the flight of capital does not erode the “wealth of the country”, warned a former head of the bank, who revealed that since the beginning of the crisis 34 billion US dollars had fled from South America’s second largest economy.

“The capital flight process begun when institutional mistrust and legal insecurity took roots in the last quarter of 2007”, pointed out economist Rodolfo Rossi.

He added that Argentina at that time “lost 8.8 billion US dollars; 23.1 billion in 2008 and 5.7 billion so far this year”.

Rossi said that the Argentine Central Bank under its current president Martin Redrado has acted “with prudence”, but his job is not only “to preserve the Argentine peso stability but also impede the country’s wealth from fleeing”.

He estimated much of those funds are in security coffers of overseas accounts, mainly neighbouring Uruguay.

Rossi said that President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner conflict with the farmers was the milestone which triggered the flight to a “general mistrust” which was emphasized when the private pensions fund scheme was nationalized.

“This was further distorted by the naming of political appointees in the private pensions fund board of directors and disposing funds with certain degree of discretionarily plus the intention of nationalizing all deposits”, pointed out Rossi.

but wait, there's more... here's a sample of this week's headlines...

Argentina April car production and sales down 32% and 29%

Argentina’s 2008/09 crop exports forecasted to drop 56%

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Stress test results

Nation's Largest Banks Need $75 Billion, Federal Stress Tests Find
The nation's largest banks collectively need another $75 billion in equity to ride out potential losses due to the recession, according to long awaited government stress tests released today. Nine of the 19 banks do not need any new capital at all, including J.P Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs.

pardon the crudity, but fuck goldman sachs...

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GMAC needs to raise $13.1B in capital but there's something in the story I don't get

ok, here's the snippet with the part i don't get in bold...
The Federal Reserve has ordered the financing arm of General Motors to raise $13.1 billion in new capital to ensure the firm's stability in the face of heavy losses in mortgage and auto lending and costs related to taking over new loans for Chrysler dealers and customers, said sources familiar with talks between government and industry officials.

The sum is among the biggest required for any U.S. financial institution, and could prove difficult for GMAC to raise because of the limited nature of its business and poor quality of its loans. The firm has struggled in the past to raise money from private investors and has already received $5 billion in federal assistance. It is likely that the federal government would end up providing much, if not all, of the needed capital, but it remained unclear where that money would come from.

how does that square with the bofa story from yesterday (see earlier post) that said bofa needed $34B in capital... i'm not a math whiz but it seems to me $34B is a significantly larger sum than $13.1B... am i wrong...?

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Sibel Edmonds keeps on talking... Is anybody listening...?

to openly steal from atrios' "simple answers to simple questions"... uh, that would a a "no"...

still worth reading, if for nothing else than to keep your frustration and disgust factor, if not your blood pressure, high...

Those who have been elected to represent the people and their interests cannot pursue their own greed and ambitions by engaging in criminal or unethical activities against the interests of the same people they've sworn to represent, and then be given a pass.


[O]ur system is rotten at it's core; that in many cases we have been trying to deal with the symptoms rather than the cause.

I, like many others, believed that changing the Congressional majority in 2006 was going to bring about some of the needed changes; the pursuit of accountability being one. We were proven wrong. In 2008, many genuinely bought in to the promise of change, and thus far, they've been let down.

These experiences are disheartening, surely, but they are also eye-opening. I do see many vigilant activists who continue the fight. As long as that's the case, there is hope. More people realize that real change will require not replacing one or two or three, but many more. More people are coming to understand that the road to achieving government of the people passes through a Congress, but not the one currently occupied by the many crusty charlatans who represent only self-interest --- achieved by representing the interests of the few, rather than the majority of the people of this nation.

sigh... and now, over 100 days into the obama administration, what can we point to as real change...? nothing, i'm afraid, but happy talk and cosmetics... once again, we've been taken in by the old bait-and-switch...

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Need for an additional $34B in capital doesn't sound to ME like BofA passed the "stress test"

but, hey...! just crank those printing presses back up and toss 'em another $34B... no sweat... it's just chump change, really...
Bank of America Corp has been deemed to need as much as $34 billion in additional capital, according to the results of a government stress test, a source familiar with the results told Reuters late on Tuesday.

Bank of America spokesman Scott Silvestri declined comment.

A possible $34 billion capital shortfall is certain to increase pressure on CEO Kenneth Lewis, who was last week ousted by shareholders as chairman of the biggest U.S. bank.

That ouster could lay the groundwork for Lewis's eventual departure from the company he worked at for 40 years, including the last eight as chief executive.

It may also unnerve investors who had hoped the results of the stress tests on Bank of America and 18 other banks might show the industry was in less dire condition than had been feared. Shares of major U.S. banks have nearly doubled since bottoming out in early March.

when is somebody going to step in and declare all those bouncing dead cats really DEAD...?

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Crap, crap, and more crap

still lookin' for good news...


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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Go-ll-e-e-e-eee... ANOTHER suicide that I somehow don't believe is one...

there's an awful lot o'suicidin' goin' on...

jonathan turley...

There is some more bad news for the D.C. bar this afternoon. Legal Times is reporting that Mark Levy, a well-known lawyer who headed the Supreme Court and Appellate Practice section of Kilpatrick Stockton has killed himself in his office — reportedly by a gunshot of a .38 calibre handgun to the head. The firm had told Levy that he was about to be laid off with a number of other lawyers due to the economy.

yeah, well, whatever... maybe so, maybe no... i'm inclined to doubt almost any and every story of current and former top officials committing 'suicide'... it's just too easy a way to get 'em to STFU...


Based on detectives' interviews, police learned that Levy had been told he was among those being let go, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the case. Kilpatrick Stockton's Web site says Levy was head of the firm's Supreme Court and Appellate Advocacy Practice. He argued 16 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court during his career, it says.

Another source familiar with the case, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is not complete, said that yesterday would have been Levy's last day at work and that he was given four months of severance pay.

see anything wrong with this picture...? hmmmmm...? how likely is it that a major law firm in washington d.c. would lay off a former deputy assistant attorney general and the HEAD of its supreme court practice...? hmmmmmm...?? bloody UNLIKELY, i say...

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