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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 06/20/2010 - 06/27/2010
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Glenn: "The administration has substantial leverage ... on those issues ... actually important to them"

glenn greenwald has been engaged in a lengthy online and highly public debate with other so-called liberals and progressives (i would call them obama "apologists") who insist that obama isn't or can't fulfill much of his promised agenda because he is crippled by the essential powerlessness of the presidency... i happen to be in complete agreement with glenn... talkin' the talk without walkin' the walk is bad enough but when you're doing neither, it's inexcusable...

from time immemorial, people have been able to deduce one's real intentions and motivations from the behavior the person displays... as glenn so rightly points out, what are we hearing about closing guantánamo, about a genuine effort to restore human rights to detainees, about accountability for 4th amendment constitutional violations, about REAL - as opposed to cosmetic - financial reform, about the serious development of alternative energy resources, about a dedicated effort to get our country back from the corporations...? damn little... and what does that tell you...? it can only be one thing... the obama administration has chosen not to exert any effort in those directions whether or not they could be successful in influencing them...

The administration has substantial leverage to influence what Congress does, but they use it only on those issues that are actually important to them. And in those White House actions, one finds their actual priorities. The White House applied vast pressure on Congress to get what it wanted by having a war-funding bill enacted without conditions, demanding progressive provisions be stripped out of the financial reform bill, preventing drug re-importation from being enacted in order to please the pharmaceutical industry, negotiating the public option away with industry interests, and (to their credit) blocking funding for obsolete fighter jets. They exerted great influence over Congress because those were important priorities for Obama. By contrast, they do nothing on a whole slew of issues which they claim they support and which were at heart of the Obama campaign -- such as closing Guantanamo -- thus conveying to Democrats in Congress that they do not really care about such measures (or even oppose them) despite their public assurances to their base that they continue to support them.

at this point, as far as i'm concerned, there is no defense anyone can mount on behalf of the obama administration... actions have always spoken louder than words... much, MUCH louder, in fact, and i've re-learned a lesson i've re-learned so many times in my life as to be downright embarrassing: only pay attention to what a person says when and if it's backed up by congruent action...

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Adrian Salbuchi: 12 "triggers" to usher in world government

worth considering...

Salbuchi - 2010 Forecast - Status Report at 15 June 2010 - Part 1 of 2

Salbuchi - 2010 Forecast - Status Report at 15 June 2010 - Part 2 of 2

Salbuchi - 2010 Forecast: Transition from Globalization to World Government -3 of 3

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Don't tell me this wasn't the plan all along

the plan was to break the union and this will effectively accomplish that end...
BA To Hire Lower-Paid Cabin Crew Amid Dispute

British Airways said it planned to recruit over one thousand new cabin crew on lower wages than current staff as it faces possible further strikes by existing flight attendants in August.

The Unite union, which represents 90 percent of BA's 12,000 cabin staff, criticized the move which would do nothing to end a bitter dispute which has resulted in a series of walkouts.

BA will recruit 1,250 new crew members this year and forecast that in 10 years, staff on the new terms will make up 40 percent of cabin staff.

The airline said it was making the move in light of the losses it has posted over the past two years.

"We have suffered back-to-back record financial losses and need to continue making permanent changes to our cost base to ensure our long-term survival," BA said on Thursday.

Existing cabin crew on short-haul flights from Heathrow earn an annual salary of GBP£25,700 (USD$38,490) while crew on long-haul flights from Heathrow earn GBP£35,000 on average. Those on short-haul routes out of Gatwick earn GBP£18,300.

A BA spokesman said the new recruits would work on both short- and long-haul flights and earn a salary "similar to current Gatwick crew."

an annual salary of USD$35-40K doesn't go very far in the uk, particularly if you're based in london, one of the world's most expensive cities... it wouldn't go very far in the u.s. either, for that matter... yes, there will be many who will blame this on the recalcitrance of the union and use it as an example of how unions can destroy a business... to those people i say, the adversarial, greed-driven, social-darwinian, capitalist profit model is destroying the very fabric of our society, forcing people into positions where they feel they have to fight to protect everything that means anything in their lives... that this isn't the way it should be is probably the understatement of the century...

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Monday, June 21, 2010

"We keep expecting the politicians and the mainstream press to do the right thing. That is profoundly naive."

every once in a while, in the midst of the mindless democratic cheerleading, someone on a liberal/progressive blog makes sense...

from cenk uygur's diary, currently on the recommended list at daily kos...

We keep expecting the politicians and the mainstream press to do the right thing. That is profoundly naive. Why is a television anchor making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year going to look to change the system? He loves the system. The system pays the bills.

That's even truer of our politicians. The status quo got them elected. The status quo will get them - and their staffers - great salaries when they retire and become lobbyists. They'd have to be crazy to change the system that put them up on top.

That's why change must come from outside the system. We keep waiting for the Obama administration to bring us the change they promised. What are we, children? The current system got Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, Tim Geithner, etc. where they are. They have gotten to the pinnacle of power by playing within that system. They've made millions in that system. That's why they have no intention of actually upending it. They just want to tweak it and do exactly what Obama said he wouldn't do if he got elected - play the Washington game just a little better.

This doesn't mean you give up all hope. There are some good guys in DC. I recently talked to a House staffer who said that Senator Franken's staff is excellent. The staff is so important because they are the ones who actually write the bills. I asked him why Franken's staff was better than the others. And he had a simple answer - they don't plan to work as lobbyists in DC when they're done serving in his office.

It's not just the honest senators that should give you hope. What should give you the most hope is that the motivations of people are actually quite simple. So, we can change the results by changing the incentives.

For example, if we pay the campaign expenses of politicians instead of letting the lobbyists pay them, then the politicians might actually work for us. If we ban the politicians and their staff from working as lobbyists, they might not have as much incentive to sell us out.

I know the people inside DC think that last proposal is absolute heresy. How would they get rich if they can't work as lobbyists? And that's precisely what the problem is. They're getting rich at our expense. We're crazy to allow this system to continue.

The nobles will never change it. This is how they got to where they are. This is how they maintain their power and salaries. We have to make them change it.

what cenk doesn't touch on is one of those topics that continues to remain "undiscussable," particularly on sites like daily kos where electing "more and better democrats" is a rigidly enforced mantra... i am now at the point where i no longer believe that it's possible to elect a "better" politician of any party... the system, as it's presently constructed, means that, to get someone pure and holy enough to weather the constant blandishments designed to buy unconditional support for the well-heeled donors, we'd have to elect a canonized saint and, in case you haven't noticed, saints are in remarkably short supply these days...

so, how do we "make them change it?"... take to the streets...? try to out the bastards by sitting in our pajamas and putting up posts on our blogs...? electing "more and better democrats"...? i think we're way beyond that... those things haven't worked in the past and they won't work now... so, what then...? personally, i don't have a friggin' clue... do you...?

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Naomi Klein: BP cannot plug the hole in the earth that it made

a very sobering reflection on what surely must be the most horrific environmental disaster in history...
If Katrina pulled back the curtain on the reality of racism in America, the BP disaster pulls back the curtain on something far more hidden: how little control even the most ingenious among us have over the awesome, intricately interconnected natural forces with which we so casually meddle. BP cannot plug the hole in the Earth that it made. Obama cannot order fish species to survive, or brown pelicans not to go extinct (no matter whose ass he kicks). No amount of money – not BP's recently pledged $20bn (£13.5bn), not $100bn – can replace a culture that has lost its roots. And while our politicians and corporate leaders have yet to come to terms with these humbling truths, the people whose air, water and livelihoods have been contaminated are losing their illusions fast.

"Everything is dying," a woman said as the town hall meeting was finally coming to a close. "How can you honestly tell us that our Gulf is resilient and will bounce back? Because not one of you up here has a hint as to what is going to happen to our Gulf. You sit up here with a straight face and act like you know when you don't know."

This Gulf coast crisis is about many things – corruption, deregulation, the addiction to fossil fuels. But underneath it all, it's about this: our culture's excruciatingly dangerous claim to have such complete understanding and command over nature that we can radically manipulate and re-engineer it with minimal risk to the natural systems that sustain us. But as the BP disaster has revealed, nature is always more unpredictable than the most sophisticated mathematical and geological models imagine. During Thursday's congressional testimony, Hayward said: "The best minds and the deepest expertise are being brought to bear" on the crisis, and that, "with the possible exception of the space programme in the 1960s, it is difficult to imagine the gathering of a larger, more technically proficient team in one place in peacetime." And yet, in the face of what the geologist Jill Schneiderman has described as "Pandora's well", they are like the men at the front of that gymnasium: they act like they know, but they don't know.

and al jazeera also offers a good overview...
In the two months since the Deepwater Horizon explosion, millions of litres of oil have gushed out of BP's well into the water each day, slowly encroaching on the coastline. Fault Lines' Avi Lewis travels to the drill zone, and learns about the erosion in the wetlands from industry canals and pipelines, the health problems blamed on contaminated air and water from petrochemical refineries.

i can't express my sadness...

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Something hopeful for a Father's Day

as a father and a grandfather, i feel a special pull toward bequeathing a legacy to our future generations, something we've been failing at spectacularly, particularly in the course of my lifetime... here's something to give us a little hope, not obama-style hope, but REAL hope...
A short film looking at the success of organic urban agriculture in Havana, Cuba. An example for cities around the world.

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