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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 08/22/2010 - 08/29/2010
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Glenn: " How can an administration ... which ... sustains itself with Wall Street funding ... possibly maintain any pretense of populist support...?"

It can't.

i was talking with (ok, ok... more like i was expounding to) my macedonian friend earlier today while waiting for the bus to prishtina about how i have grave fears for my country, fears i thought would disappear like a bad dream once obama got elected but instead are even more dire than they were in the depths of the bush era... then i met three particularly nice folks on the bus - a swede, an austrian and a german - and got wound up all over again... (i don't know why it is but non-u.s. people seem to be able to understand what's really going on in the world so much better than my fellow countrymen...)

glenn, as is so often the case, captures my feelings precisely...

There are few more bitter ironies than watching the Republican Party -- controlled at its core by the very business interests responsible for the country's vast and growing inequality; responsible for massive transfers of wealth to the richest; and which presided over and enabled the economic collapse -- now become the beneficiaries of middle-class and lower-middle-class economic insecurity. But the Democratic Party's failure/refusal/inability to be anything other than the Party of Tim Geithner -- continuing America's endless, draining Wars while plotting to cut Social Security, one of the few remaining guarantors of a humane standard of living -- renders them unable to offer answers to angry, anxious, resentful Americans. As has happened countless times in countless places, those answers are now being provided instead by a group of self-serving, hateful extremist leaders eager to exploit that anger for their own twisted financial and political ends. And it seems to be working.

It is indeed difficult to believe that the country will so quickly return to power the same Republican Party -- in an even more warped and primitive form -- that virtually destroyed the U.S. over the last decade through a mix of extreme corruption, recklessness and lawlessness. But nothing is more foolish than underestimating the dangers that come from this potent mix of economic oppression and the aggressive fanning of racial and ethnic resentments.

i see nothing good down the road and am deeply dreading the november elections...

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Wall Street government

i'm glad to see that the incredible and still on-going theft of the resources of the u.s. and - let's face it, the entire world - is garnering increasing attention from those in a position to potentially reach non mainstream audiences...

this is the trailer for a documentary entitled, "inside job"... it posits what i at least believe to be the entirely credible proposition that what has taken place over the past few years is a deliberate scam - a well-planned heist - a scam that continues to this day...

thanks to badabing at daily kos and, even though daily kos is a site that eschews "conspiracy theories," i respectfully suggest markos and his colleagues ought to wake up and smell the coffee...

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A new version of Time Magazine designed specifically for adults

i love it...

TIME Announces New Version Of Magazine Aimed At Adults

thanks to glenn greenwald...

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When people are smiling, all languages sound beautiful

courtesy of a friend of mine's husband as we were enjoying a lovely greek dinner seaside last night under a full moon... words to take into your heart, for sure...

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Here's a case of real courage, the kind we should all aspire to

it's when ordinary people fearlessly and creatively take matters into their own hands that really good things can happen... when it's israelis reaching out to palestinians, it's extraordinary...
Israelis risk jail to smuggle Palestinians

Jonathan Cook

The National

August 24. 2010

NAZARETH, ISRAEL // Nearly 600 Israelis have signed up for a campaign of civil disobedience, vowing to risk jail to smuggle Palestinian women and children into Israel for a brief taste of life outside the occupied West Bank.

The Israelis say they have been inspired by the example of Ilana Hammerman, a writer who is threatened with prosecution after publishing an article in which she admitted breaking the law to bring three Palestinian teenagers into Israel for a day out.

Ms Hammerman said she wanted to give the young women, who had never left the West Bank, “some fun” and a chance to see the Mediterranean for the first time.

Her story has shocked many Israelis and led to a police investigation after right-wing groups called for her to be tried for security offences.

It is illegal to transport Palestinians through checkpoints into Israel without a permit, which few can obtain. If tried and found guilty, Ms Hammerman could be fined and face up to two years in jail.

But Israelis joining the campaign say they will not be put off by threats of imprisonment.

Last month, a group of 11 Israeli women joined Ms Hammerman in repeating her act of civil disobedience, driving a dozen Palestinian women and four children, including a baby, through a checkpoint into Israel.

The Israeli women say they are planning mass “smugglings” of Palestinians into Israel over the coming weeks.

“The Palestinians who join us are mainly looking to have a good time after years of confinement under the occupation, but for us what is most important is our act of defiance,” said Ofra Lyth, who helped establish an online forum of supporters after attending a speech by Ms Hammerman.

“We want to overturn this immoral law that gives rights to Jews to move freely around while keeping Palestinians imprisoned in their towns and villages,” she said, referring to regulations that bar most Palestinians in the occupied territories from entering Israel, and Israelis from assisting them. Exceptions are made for Palestinians with permits, sometimes issued for a medical emergency or to some labourers with security clearances.

For the Palestinian women, though, it is not about making a statement or defying an unjust law, according to Ms Lyth.

“The Palestinian women tell us: ‘Go ahead and make your political point, but for us we’re breaking the law so that we can enjoy ourselves and remember how life was before the checkpoints and the wall.’ One woman told me: ‘I just want to be able to breathe again’.”

For Palestinians in the West Bank, it is not often easy to breathe. The territory is home to a growing population of 300,000 Jews in more than 100 settlements. The settlers are able to drive into Israel on roads that the army oversees with checkpoints.

It was through one such settler crossing, near Beitar Ilit, south of Jerusalem, that Ms Hammerman took the three Palestinian teenagers this year.

For their protection, she has not identified the young women or the West Bank village where they live. She refers to the women as Aya, Lin and Yasmin. They, too, could face jail for breaking the law.

In Ms Hammerman’s article, published in Haaretz newspaper in May, she admitted that she was aware her actions were illegal.

She told the women, who were 18 and 19, to take off their hijabs for the day and dress in western-style clothes to avoid attracting attention from soldiers at the checkpoint. She also taught them an easy Hebrew phrase – Hakull beseder, or “Everything is okay” – in case a soldier spoke to them.

She then took them on a tour of Tel Aviv, visiting the city’s university, a museum, a shopping mall and the beach, which she noted none of them had ever seen even though it is only about 40km from their village.

Ms Hammerman wrote that the only dangerous moment during the trip was when a plain-clothes policeman stopped them and asked for the women’s identity cards. Ms Hammerman lied to the officer, telling him that the women were Palestinians from East Jerusalem and therefore entitled to enter Israel.

In June, Yehuda Weinstein, the attorney general, was reported to have approved a police investigation of Ms Hammerman after a settler organisation, the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, complained.

The ranks of Ms Hammerman’s supporters have swollen since the group placed an advertisement, titled “We refuse to obey”, in Haaretz this month. The ad said the group was “acting in the spirit of Martin Luther King”, the US civil rights leader, and demanded that Palestinians be treated as “human beings, not terrorists”.

Over the past week, the online forum has attracted more than 590 Israelis signing up to repeat Ms Hammerman’s act of civil disobedience.

“That has really surprised and encouraged me,” she said. “I did not realise there were so many other Israelis who have had enough of this outrageous law.”

Still, the coverage of Ms Hammerman and her supporters in the Israeli media has been largely hostile. During a television interview last week, she was accused of endangering Israelis with her trips. The show’s host, Yaron London, asked whether she had inspected the Palestinian women’s underclothes for explosives before allowing them into her car.

She will will not be deterred, though. She said the group had discussed future trips for Palestinians, including taking them to pray at al-Aqsa, the mosque in Jerusalem that has been inaccessible to most Palestinians for at least a decade, and visits to Palestinian relatives they cannot see in Jerusalem and Israel.

“We need to get Israelis meeting Palestinians again, having fun with them and seeing that they are human beings with the same rights as us.”

She said her immediate goal was to kick-start a discussion among Israelis about the legality and morality of Israel’s laws and challenge the public’s “blind obedience” to authority.

Ms Lyth added that the Palestinian women “who have gone on our trips are the heroes of their village. They and their families know they are taking a big risk in breaking the law, but harassment is part of their daily lives anyway”.

“We need to get Israelis meeting Palestinians again, having fun with them and seeing that they are human beings with the same rights as us.”

now, THERE's a concept...!

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Screw current events - I'm in GREECE

i'd forgotten - actually,i'm not sure i ever really KNEW - what REAL vacations were like... i've been here in siviri, halkidiki peninsula, greece, since last tuesday... every day has been a slow start, up at 8, breakfast, shower, to the beach by 10:30-11... back to the room by 1:30-2... a nap... back to the beach at 5... then a little dinner followed by more sittin' around, takin' it easy, and then bed by 10... vacations in the u.s. seem to be characterized by "what are we going to do next?"... not here... the flow is slow, slow, slow, and, once you get used to it, it's just terrific...

needless to say, my interest in keeping up with current events is somewhat less than normal...

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jump, you fuckers...! (A song for Wall Street)

thanks to kevin at cryptogon...

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No, small investors aren't "losing their appetite for risk," they finally get that they've been fleeced

and we're not going to hand over our money to the wall street casino quite so freely any more... fool me once, twice, three times, hey...! maybe i'll start getting a clue, particularly when those i put in office to supposedly look after MY interests hand trillions of my dollars over to the wall street crooks who just finished squandering everything i'd put in to THEIR hands in the foolish belief THEY had my interests at heart... HA...!
Investors withdrew a staggering $33.12 billion from domestic stock market mutual funds in the first seven months of this year, according to the Investment Company Institute, the mutual fund industry trade group. Now many are choosing investments they deem safer, like bonds.

If that pace continues, more money will be pulled out of these mutual funds in 2010 than in any year since the 1980s, with the exception of 2008, when the global financial crisis peaked.

Small investors are “losing their appetite for risk,” a Credit Suisse analyst, Doug Cliggott, said in a report to investors on Friday.

screw 'em... they can all go rot in hell...

p.s. atrios has a slightly different take...

It isn't about uncertainty or appetite for risk, it's about not having any fucking income.

yeah, that too, but my hunch is that, even if they did, they'd be goddam leery of putting it back in the hands of crooks...

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