And, yes, I DO take it personally: 12/06/2009 - 12/13/2009
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"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
- Noam Chomsky
If I read one more pundit blaming incompetence as the reason for our mess, I'm gonna puke
there's absolutely nothing incompetent about the way we've been sheared like sheep by our super-rich elites... they know EXACTLY what they're doing and it's nothing but the purest form of denial to think otherwise...
The United States has more than 15 million people unemployed. This is not their fault. It is the fault of really bad policy decisions by people who get paid more than almost all of the unemployed ever did or ever will. The failure of economic policymakers to recognize and attack an $8 trillion housing bubble led to the downturn. The continuing failure of economic policymakers to think creatively is why 15 million people remain unemployed.
get a damn clue, buddy... there's been no failure to "think creatively"... to perpetuate the myth that these bastards have the common good of the people at heart and, if they weren't such bungling idiots, everything would be ok, is just bullshit, plain and simple... they DO have the common good at heart... THEIR common good, not ours, and they're damn good at making sure their interests are taken care of...
Graphically, why the situation in Afghanistan is so dire
if this doesn't tell the story, i don't know what does...
USAID and Department of Defense Overall Spending in Afghanistan
you wanna talk about an imbalance...? this visual representation of u.s. development vs. defense spending in afghanistan, to me at least, makes it staggeringly clear why afghanistan is such a goddam mess... of all the money that goes for defense in that country, you can be 100% sure that virtually none of it ends up in the pockets of those in most desperate need... it goes primarily to the u.s., afghanistan and third-country defense contractors whose lips are firmly attached to the u.s. money tit... meanwhile, the "just folks" afghans continue to scramble for even the tiniest crust of bread and soiled rags to feed and clothe their families...
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, during last week's marathon set of hearings on President Obama's new strategy in that war, gave two examples of forthrightness that are worth further examination: a discussion of trouble with expanding the workforce of the U.S. Agency for International Development in Afghanistan, and a tough look at how U.S. aid money is being slipped into the hands of the Taliban.
yes, hillary, i'm well aware that even the pathetically small amount that gets spent on development often doesn't go where it's most needed either, but you can bet that if more were spent on development and less on defense, it would increase the odds that at least SOME of it would get where it needs to go...
Barack Obama’s faux populism is beginning to grate, and when yet another one of those “we the people” e-mails from the president landed on my screen as I was fishing around for a column subject, I came unglued. It is one thing to rob us blind by rewarding the power elite that created our problems but quite another to sugarcoat it in the rhetoric of a David taking on those Goliaths.
In each of the three most important areas of policy with which he has dealt, Obama speaks in the voice of the little people’s champion, but his actions cater fully to the demands of the most powerful economic interests.
With his escalation of the war in Afghanistan, he has given the military-industrial complex an excuse for the United States to carry on in spending more on defense than the rest of the world combined, without a credible military adversary in sight. His response to the banking meltdown was to continue George W. Bush’s massive giveaway of taxpayer dollars to Wall Street, and his health care reform has all the earmarks of a boondoggle for the medical industry profiteers.
generally speaking, faux populism aside, obama started to grate on me quite some time ago... yes, the sell-out to wall street, the health care providers, big pharma and the corporate military industrial government complex is disappointing enough but when added to the dogged insistence on perpetuating virtually all of bush-era torture, detention, and surveillance policies it becomes positively galling...
Something interesting in the WTF is THAT department
Jan Petter Jørgensen/Rex Features
A mysterious giant spiral of light that dominated the sky over Norway [yesterday] morning has stunned experts — who believe the space spectacle is an entirely new astral phenomenon.
Thousands of awe-struck Norwegians bombarded the Meteorological Institute to ask what the incredible light — that could be seen in the pre-dawn sky for hundreds of miles — could possibly be.
Witnesses across Norway, who first glimpsed the space show at 8.45am, all described seeing a spinning 'Catherine wheel-style' spiral of white light, centred around a bright moon-like star.
A blue "streaming tail" appeared to anchor the spiral to earth, before the light "exploded" into a rotating ring of white fire.
The spiral spectacle — which lasted for two minutes — was seen by vast swathes of the Scandinavian country's almost five million population, with sightings as far north as Finnmark to Trondelag in the south.
Totto Eriksen, from Tromso, in northern Norway, was one of the thousands who bombarded Norwegian newspapers with sightings — after nearly crashing his car on spotting the spiral overhead.
He said: "I was driving my daughter to school when this light spun and exploded in the sky.
"We saw it from the Inner Harbour in Tromso. It looked like a rocket that spun around and around - and then went diagonally across the heavens.
"It looked like the moon was coming over the mountain - but then turned into something totally different.
"People just stopped and stared on the pier - it was like something from a Hollywood movie."
With a resurgent Goldman set to award billions of dollars in bonuses — a trove that could rival the record payouts of the bubble years — the bank said that its 30 most-senior executives would be paid in the form of a special stock, rather than in cash. Goldman said that it would also let its shareholders vote on its executives’ pay, although the decision would be nonbinding.
hold me up and fan me quick... like this is going to "quell the uproar"...? those at the pinnacle of the pyramid, that tiny, elite, super-rich group of flabby-ass white guys who basically set the agenda for the entire planet are worried about "quelling an uproar"...? i think they ought to be worried for their sorry skins...
and he even has the gall to promote american exceptionalism...
He said that others more deserved the award, noting his “accomplishments are slight,” but he accepted the prize by endorsing a strong view of American exceptionalism.
“Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this,” Mr. Obama said. “The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms.”
and afghans wonder why obama is being given a peace medal...
The Nobel Committee awarded the 2009 Peace Prize to the very person who dropped the most bombs and killed the most poor people on the planet during that year. The same guy who started a new war in Pakistan, beefed up the ongoing war in Afghanistan, and continues to threaten Iran with attack unless Iran cops to phony US-Israeli charges of secret nuclear weapons facilities. It's weapons of mass destruction all over again.
[H]ere are the things Obama can do to redeem his prize.
1. Get out of Iraq on schedule. We can't stop their low-intensity conflicts, and they are more likely to compromise with each other if we are not there.
2. Resist calls for Iran to be bombed. Such a raid would guarantee that Iran would start a crash program to develop a nuclear weapon, and there would be no way to stop it short of full-scale war.
3. Stop allowing the CIA to operate drones with which to assassinate people. It is illegal and shameful. The US military must be in charge of defending the country by force or we are a police state.
4. Get the Palestinians a state by the end of 2011, even if by unilateral recognition. Palestinian statelessness is the biggest human rights scandal in the world, since citizenship is the right to have rights. This step alone would solve the bulk of US problems in the Arab world and would deal a deadlier blow to al-Qaeda than capturing Bin Laden.
5. Stick to the plan of beginning a US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in summer 2011. Karzai and the generals will attempt to embroil us in a decades-long quagmire. No one will remember his Nobel peace prize if President Obama lets that happen.
i'd like to add a sixth... fix afghanistan... bring in all the expert resources that can be rounded up and focus on building the infrastructure, the economy and creating jobs just as fast as humanly possible... forget about the bombing, forget about the troops, forget about the damn military solution... these people need shelter, clothes, food, income, and the means to provide for their families on an on-going basis... jesus h. christ...! why is that so hard to grasp...?
kinda says it all doesn't it...? 127 die and over 500 are wounded in baghdad bombings and that's the reaction on the street in d.c...
juan cole comments on our "nationalist" media where "news" is what the corporatocracy defines as news...
Aljazeera notes that some US media outlets did not bother to cover these attacks in Iraq, and wonders if the story will return. I think the answer depends on the journalistic integrity of the outlet. For many, the answer will be no. Many US media are nationalist media, and cover stories having to do with US national projects. Americans have already decided that Iraq was a mistake, and they know the US military is leaving, and so what happens there is not "news" as much of the corporate media defines it (i.e. a story that generates profits because of wide public interest in it).
Every time I come back from abroad around the holidays
i don't know quite what to make of it... this is the third time i've come back to the u.s. just before the holidays only to face heavy snow in the high desert... we woke up this morning to 8 inches and i was out shoveling the driveway shortly after 5 and just finished doing it again for the second time today... the snow seems to have tapered off for now, but the f'cast is calling for the possibility of more this evening followed by two more storms coming in from the pacific yet this week...
1 p.m. 7 December 2009 High desert, Nevada
on the flip side, most of the time i was in kosovo and the entire time i was in macedonia, there was sunshine... prior to my arrival it had been nothing but rain and the rain started right up again after i left... ah, well...