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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 01/31/2010 - 02/07/2010
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"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
- Noam Chomsky
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Friday, February 05, 2010

The really sad thing about Ted Nugent

ordinarily, i just dismiss this certifiable moron with a shake of the head and a shrug of the shoulders... i don't believe in giving his kind of idiocy any more bandwidth than it deserves, which is zero, zip, nada...

i'm breaking my own rule with this one, however, because as i was reading it, i had the sad, if somewhat obvious, realization that nugent is merely saying out loud what a lot of people in the united states say on a routine basis... the only difference between those people and ted nugent is that ted nugent has a megaphone to broadcast his hate... and, make no mistake... nugent's hate is of the same variety as that of rush limbaugh, just less prettified... in fact, you can find the same thing coming from the likes of bill kristol, lou dobbs, and congressmen such as steve king and eric cantor... being congressmen, of course, they would NEVER resort to such crudities as nugent, but the mindset is the same...

On President Obama, the southern rocker said he believes "Mao Tse Tung" had arrived, "and his name is Barack Hussein Obama."

"I wanna throw up," Nugent said.

He started off the interview by jabbing supporters of animal rights, claiming he wants to kill 100 more of something every time he hears the two words together in a paragraph.

"I'm not just killing them I’m fucking slaughtering them and I’m going to gut them and skin them, quarter them and butcher them and feed them to the soup kitchen and homeless shelters of America," Nugent said. "Not because I need to, because it will cause Bill Maher to shit blood. That’s my goal in life."

Oddly, while he boasts about wanting to feed the poor and hungry masses, Nugent's words for his fellow Americans who depend on food assistance are quite vulgar and surprising.

"Welfare isn’t supposed to be used for hairdos," he said. "If you need food stamps, eat the fucking pet!"

what i'd like to do with this guy and others of his ilk is to put them on a plane to afghanistan, not to fight or be killed, but to have to live and work on a daily basis with afghans in an organization like the international rescue committee or the aga khan foundation... yes, he'd have to be dragged there, kicking and screaming, but getting exposed to some of the brutal realities of extreme poverty and despair and having to live with it in your face every day might give assholes like this a different perspective... otoh, maybe not... assholes of nugent's age are pretty impermeable to letting go of their bullshit...

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Yesmen strike again

adm - archer daniels midland - one of the biggest of the BIG FOOD corporate giants, has repeatedly tried to quash a scathing satirical video put up by the seriously funny guerrilla group, the yesmen, in conjunction with the recent davos meeting of the world economic forum...

ADM Tries to Take Down Funny Video; Big Business Has No Solutions; Now What?

A legal complaint from agribusiness giant ADM has resulted in the removal from Youtube of a fake video of ADM's CEO making over-honest pronouncements. (The video is still available here, here, and, for download and reposting, here.)

Last week, the filmmaking team behind The End of Poverty? partnered with the Yes Men to create a parallel, imaginary World Economic Forum in which world leaders came up with real solutions to poverty. The leaders seemed, in a < href="http://www.we-forum.org/en/events/AnnualMeeting2010/index.shtml">series of videos, to be supporting a set of initiatives based on 10 Solutions to End Poverty, a petition for which the filmmakers are trying to get ten million signatures by the end of 2010.

Each of those initiatives pages has links to organizations that are fighting hard for change on these issues.

In contrast, the actual World Economic Forum ended Sunday with a profound lack of results, some seemingly satirical but all-too-real headlines (like Goldman Sachs's Lloyd Blankfein's rumoured $100 million bonus), and one fruitless complaint to Youtube.

"If we can bail out bankers to the tune of trillions of dollars, surely we can solve poverty, which will just take a few structural changes, plus a whole lot less money," said Beth Portello, the producer of The End of Poverty?

"All the crises we're facing are rooted in massive inequality and poverty," says Philippe Diaz, the film's director. "If these leaders really wanted to make a difference, they would work towards ending poverty, however uncomfortable that might be for business."

"It's easier to remove funny videos from Youtube," added Portello.


here's the video...

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Finally, some action against bank malfeasance

imho, this should have happened quite some time ago and, yes, i know the wheels of justice turn slowly, but...
New York AG filing civil charges against BofA

The New York Attorney General's office is filing civil charges against Bank of America and its former CEO Ken Lewis, saying the bank misled investors about Merrill Lynch when it acquired the Wall Street bank in late 2008.

Civil charges were also being filed against Joe Price, the bank's former chief financial officer.

Lewis stepped down from Bank of America on Dec. 31 after almost a year of strife that followed the bank's purchase of Merrill Lynch.

Bank of America has been accused of failing to properly disclose losses at Merrill and bonuses paid to investment bank employees before the deal closed.

the banksters and our super-rich elites have had to face virtually NO accountability for the havoc they've created... quite the contrary, in fact... they've been systematically REWARDED for it at every turn... their greed has left the u.s. middle class in shambles and taken an even more horrific toll on the most vulnerable world economies, yet perps like ken lewis waltzes on out with his pockets lined with millions and millions of dollars... we simply can't continue to tolerate this kind of shit and kudos to the ny attorney general for having the cojones to step up to the plate... maybe he's picking up where spitzer left off...

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Using fear-mongering to generate support for more "enhanced" detention and interrogation techniques

ya gotta love the euphemism they use - "flexible"... what does "flexible" tell you...? i don't know about you, but "flexible" says to me they want to be able to "bend"... "bend" what, you may ask...? "bend" what's already in place would be my response and what's already in place has been shown time and again to circumvent due process, constitutional rights and the u.n. convention against torture... the next question would be HOW "flexible"...? what exactly is the "flexibility" they're asking for...? i'm not sure i want to know... oh, hell... of COURSE i want to know... we - all of us - NEED to know...
Intelligence officials say al-Qaeda will try to attack U.S. in next 6 months

The Obama administration's top intelligence officials on Tuesday described it as "certain" that al-Qaeda or its allies will try to attack the United States in the next six months, and they called for new flexibility in how U.S. officials detain and question terrorist suspects.

needless to say, in the typical context-free, head-in-the-sand journalism we've come to expect from our news media, the rest of the wapo article completely ignores the flashing red light sitting on top of the call for "new flexibility in how U.S. officials detain and question terrorist suspects"...

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Bullshit from Booz & Company

i'm on the email list for booz & company's strategy+business newsletter... most of the time i just delete it because i find the endless cheerleading for the corporatocracy nauseating... i spent many years in the corporate world and i've lost all patience with the pap that's used to justify bottomless greed and predatory behavior... reading this article offers a perfect example of what makes my gorge rise...
The New Golden Age
by Mark Stahlman

The history of investment and technology suggests that the global economy is poised to enter a new phase of robust, dependable growth. Such phases occur roughly every 60 years, and they last for a decade or more, part of a long cycle of technological change and financial activity. The current cycle, which began around 1970, is based on silicon: the integrated circuit, the digital computer, global telecommunications, and the Internet. It may feel like this technology has run its course, but the cycle is really only at its midpoint, and a new silicon-based global elite will lead the way to economic recovery.

how mr. stahlman can look himself in the mirror in the morning after penning this crap is beyond me... the entire financial house of cards has collapsed and fallen on everybody but those who are responsible for creating the goddam mess in the first friggin' place... there's misery, hunger, unemployment, hunger and dire poverty everywhere and this turd is waxing about a "new golden age"... asshole, along with those who think stuff like this merits a serious read...

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$100M worth of bonuses to be paid out tomorrow by AIG

the good news just never stops...
American International Group plans Wednesday to pay another round of employee bonuses worth about $100 million, said several people familiar with the matter, a year after similar payments at the bailed-out insurance giant infuriated many Americans and inflamed Washington.

This week's payments will go only to employees at the company's Financial Products division who agreed recently to accept between 10 and 20 percent less money than AIG had initially promised them years ago. In return, they are receiving their payments more than a month ahead of schedule.

The company is still scheduled to pay out tens of millions of dollars more in March, mostly to former employees who did not agree to the concessions.

but i'm sure they deserve them...

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The economic "recovery" continues...? Ya, right...!

if you belong to the super-rich elites, maybe... for the rest of us...
Study: Hunger in America jumps unprecedented 46 percent

70 percent of emergency food centers face threats to their survival

If there is any indicator of the toll that the Great Recession has taken on the public, it would be the statistics beginning to emerge about hunger in the US.

According to a study from the nation's largest food bank operator, the number of Americans in need of food aid has jumped 46 percent in three years, including a 50 percent jump in the number of children needing food assistance, and a 64 percent increase in hunger in senior citizens' homes.

The study, Hunger in America 2010, found that 37 million people, or roughly one in eight US residents, received food aid in 2009. That's a 46 percent jump from a similar survey carried out in 2006.

how 'BOUT that recovery...?

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Glenn Greenwald - I agree completely with Marcy Wheeler

marcy notes that she rarely puts up a post that is entirely devoted to seconding someone else's post but is making an exception for glenn greenwald's put up yesterday in salon...
As has been voluminously documented here, one of the most notable aspects of the first year of the Obama presidency has been how many previously controversial Bush/Cheney policies in the terrorism and civil liberties realms have been embraced. Even Obama's most loyal defenders often acknowledge that, as Michael Tomasky recently put it, "the civil liberties area has been [Obama's] worst. This is the one area in which the president's actions don't remotely match the candidate's promises." From indefinite detention and renditions to denial of habeas rights, from military commissions and secrecy obsessions to state secrets abuses, many of the defining Bush/Cheney policies continue unabated under its successor administration.

Despite all that, there is substantial political pressure from all directions for Obama to reverse the very few decisions where he actually deviated from Bush/Cheney radicalism in these areas.

i spent the better part of 8 years decrying the bush administration's full-blown attack on civil liberties and the u.s. constitution and have been aghast to see bush policies affirmed and even extended by obama... it's bad enough that obama has recommitted the united states to endless war, has presided over the in-your-face looting of u.s. taxpayers by the super-rich elites, is allowing millions to remain jobless, and is carrying on with the destruction of the social compact by freezing the majority of domestic spending, but sanctioning continuing brazen assaults on our constitution and civil liberties is disturbing at a far deeper level...

the most interesting thing that greenwald has to say, as marcy rightly points out, is that the canonized saint of today's hang-'em-high crowd, ronald reagan, was solidly opposed to sacrificing our constitution and rule of law to combat "terrorism"... (yes, "terrorism" is in quotes because i'm not at all sure it isn't a fabrication created entirely to keep us peasants under our masters' thumbs...) in fact, reagan administration policy, carefully quoted by greenwald, stated that it was only by affirming our civil liberties, due process and the rule of law that we could remain whole as a nation...

[W]hat was once the most basic and defining American principle -- the State must charge someone with a crime and give them a fair trial in order to imprison them -- has been magically transformed into Leftist extremism.

To see how radical our establishment consensus in this area has become, just consider two facts. First, look at the Terrorism policies of what had previously been the most right-wing administration in America's history: the Reagan administration. In this post yesterday, Larry Johnson does quite a good job of documenting how Terrorism by Islamic radicals had been a greater problem in the 1980s than it is now. There was the 1983 bombing of our Marine barracks in Lebanon, a 1982 and 1984 bombing of Jewish sites in Argentina, numerous plane hijackings, the blowing up of a Pan Am jet, the Achille Lauro seizure, and what the State Department called "a host of spectacular, publicity-grabbing events that ultimately ended in coldblooded murder" (many masterminded by Abu Nidal).

Despite that, read the official policy of the Reagan Administration when it came to treating Terrorists, as articulated by the top Reagan State Department official in charge of Terrorism policies, L. Paul Bremer, in a speech he entitled "Counter-Terrorism: Strategies and Tactics:"

Another important measure we have developed in our overall strategy is applying the rule of law to terrorists. Terrorists are criminals. They commit criminal actions like murder, kidnapping, and arson, and countries have laws to punish criminals. So a major element of our strategy has been to delegitimize terrorists, to get society to see them for what they are -- criminals -- and to use democracy’s most potent tool, the rule of law against them.

It was also Ronald Reagan who signed the Convention Against Torture in 1988 -- after many years of countless, horrific Terrorist attacks -- which not only declared that there are "no exceptional circumstances whatsoever" justifying torture, but also required all signatory countries to "ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law" and -- and Reagan put it -- "either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution."

yes, it's stunning is it not...? ronald reagan is now a "leftist extremist" for advocating the rule of law and the protections embodied in our constitution... beam me up, scotty...

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

A small step... Peru throws Doe Run out of Peruvian mining association...

i've posted on this corporate atrocity of pollution and greed a number of times (see here) going back to 2006... i see they've finally been called out in peru, not that the damage is going to stop, of course...
Peru's mining, oil and energy association (SNMPE) said Saturday it has expelled US mining company Doe Run from its roster for not cleaning up its pollution problems, which environmentalists say are among the worst in the world.

"It has not shown... any willingness to comply with its environmental commitments and its obligations to the country, its workers, the La Oroya population and its creditors," SNMPE said in a statement.

Doe Run in 1997 took over La Oroya mining complex and the Cobriza copper mine in Peru's central Andean mountain region, where it mines for lead, copper, zinc, silver, gold and a series of byproducts including sulfuric acid.

The US company's La Oroya mining operation was listed in 2007 by the international environmental group Blacksmith Institute as the sixth worst polluted site in the world.

doe run and its twice-removed parent company exemplify all that's bad about big corporations, particularly among the extractive industries, working in the developing world... they feel they can operate with impunity and are frequently able to get away with it not only because governments often times don't have the means to do anything but also because the local people are desperate for jobs and income even if it means that both they and their kids risk death in the bargain... it's bad, totally unethical and should be stopped... we're way, way past due for accountability and respect for human life and human dignity in almost every area of human existence...

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When anxiety strikes, go for the status quo - sell more weapons and ditch accountability for the guilty

an addict's first response to anxiety is to turn to the substance(s) of choice... in the case of the leaders of our dear country, the substances high up on the preferred list have always been 1) selling more arms and defense systems to ensure that the bottomless cravings of the super-rich elites who profit from our policy of endless war continue to be fed and 2) that those who supported those elites by aiding and abetting criminal and unconstitutional actions remain unaccountable...

so, on this sunday morning, the last day of the first month of the year 2010, i wake to find a two-fer...

U.S. steps up arms sales to Persian Gulf allies

The Obama administration is quietly working with Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf allies to speed up arms sales and rapidly upgrade defenses for oil terminals and other key infrastructure in a bid to thwart future military attacks by Iran, according to former and current U.S. and Middle Eastern government officials.

The initiatives, including a U.S.-backed plan to triple the size of a 10,000-man protection force in Saudi Arabia, are part of a broader push that includes unprecedented coordination of air defenses and expanded joint exercises between the U.S. and Arab militaries, the officials said. All appear to be aimed at increasing pressure on Tehran.

The efforts build on commitments by the George W. Bush administration to sell warplanes and antimissile systems to friendly Arab states to counter Iran's growing conventional arsenal. The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are leading a regionwide military buildup that has resulted in more than $25 billion in U.S. arms purchases in the past two years alone.

cool, eh...? now, let's have the double shot...
No sanctions for Bush lawyers who approved waterboarding, report will say

Bush administration lawyers who paved the way for sleep deprivation and waterboarding of terrorism suspects exercised poor judgment but will not be referred to authorities for possible sanctions, according to a forthcoming ethics report, a legal source confirmed.

The work of John C. Yoo and Jay S. Bybee, officials in the Bush Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, provided the basis for controversial interrogation strategies that critics likened to torture in the years after al-Qaeda's 2001 terrorist strikes on American soil. The men and their OLC colleague, Steven G. Bradbury, became focal points of anger from Senate Democrats and civil liberties groups because their memos essentially insulated CIA interrogators and contractors from legal consequences for their roles in harsh questioning.

The reasoning, set out in a series of secret memos only months after Sept. 11, 2001, prompted a multi-year investigation by the department's Office of Professional Responsibility, which reviews the ethics of Justice lawyers. The legal source was not authorized to discuss the report's conclusions and described them on the condition of anonymity.

ya know, sometimes i just hate reading the news...

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