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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 09/12/2010 - 09/19/2010
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Elizabeth Warren on Rachel Maddow

my fellow liberals, ever alert for even a photon of hope coming from the obama administration, are waxing ecstatic over the appointment of elizabeth warren... rather than being a dyed-in-the-wool cynic and curmudgeon (i'm actually both), i thought i might give at least a nod to something positive...

however, i ain't holding my breath...

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Glenn goes nuclear on Obama

yes, it tends to really piss a person off when condescension and outright dissing are the means used to fend off criticism...

Last night, Barack Obama spoke at a $30,000 per plate DNC fundraising event at the "home of Richard and Ellen Richman, who live in the exclusive Conyers Farm development in Greenwich [Connecticut]'s famed 'back country' neighborhood," and said the following about liberal critics of his presidency:

Democrats, just congenitally, tend to get -- to see the glass as half empty. (Laughter.) If we get an historic health care bill passed -- oh, well, the public option wasn't there. If you get the financial reform bill passed -- then, well, I don't know about this particular derivatives rule, I'm not sure that I'm satisfied with that. And gosh, we haven't yet brought about world peace and -- (laughter.) I thought that was going to happen quicker. (Laughter.) You know who you are. (Laughter.) We have had the most productive, progressive legislative session in at least a generation.

So, just as Robert Gibbs before him explained (albeit more harshly), if you're one of those people dissatisfied with large parts of the Obama presidency, that's only because you have something wrong with the way you think (you need drug testing/you "congenitally see the glass as half empty"), and because you are saddled with extremely unrealistic, child-like expectations (you're angry that the Pentagon hasn't closed yet/bitter that Obama "hasn't yet brought about world peace: 'I thought that was going to happen quicker' (Laughter.)"). In other words, you're just a petulant, unreasonable, unrealistic, fringe child who doesn't appreciate the greatness and generosity he's given you (h/t Jane Hamsher).

delivering the solid piece he is known for, glenn backs it all up with solid citations...
Expert Consensus: Obama Mimics Bush on State Secrets

Talking Points Memo, April 9, 2009

In Warrantless Wiretapping Case, Obama DOJ's New Arguments are Worse Than Bush's

Electronic Frontier Foundation, April 7, 2009

Obama Upholds Detainee Policy in Afghanistan

Charlie Savage, New York Times, February 21, 2009

Who Are We?

Policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong now that Barack Obama is in the White House.

Bob Herbert, New York Times, June 22, 2009

ACLU chief 'disgusted' with Obama

Politico, June 9, 2010

Obama's Home Affordable "HAMP" Program A Failure; Another Huge Wave Of Foreclosures Coming

Business Insider, June 22, 2010

Feingold sees similarities between Bush and Obama on intelligence sharing

The Hill, October 13, 2009

NY Times Reporter Confirms Obama Made Deal to Kill Public Option

Huffington Post, April 6, 2010

U.S. Approves Targeted Killing of American Cleric

New York Times, April 6, 2010

US used cluster bombs on Yemen civilians: Amnesty

AFP, June 6, 2010

Obama Signs Law Authorizing Suppression of Torture Photos

Washington Independent, October 29, 2009

Axelrod: President remains opposed to same-sex marriage

The Hill, August 5, 2010

Barack Obama orders 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan

BBC, December 2, 2009

so, tell me again just how much we should appreciate all the accomplishments of the obama administration...

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More poor people but more millionaires too

what's wrong with this picture (besides everything)...?
The level of poverty in the US is the highest since 1994 and “the number of people in poverty in 2009 is the largest number in the 51 years for which poverty estimates are available.”

The bureau defines poverty as any family of four living on less than 21,954 USD a year.

The bureau's report, Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the US: 2009, covers President Barack Obama's first year in office. It indicates Americans of Asian origin are the richest, while black people are the poorest.


While millions are unemployed and living in poverty, the number of millionaires is rising again. “After downsizing in number through the market turmoil of mid-year 2007 to mid-year 2009, Wealth Market households rebounded at mid-year 2010,” Phonex Marketing said in a report.

“Recording an 8% growth rate from 2009 from the strength of increases in the equity markets, Wealth households now number nearly 5.6 million in the U.S.”

As for all affluent families - that covers those with at least 250,000 USD in invest able or liquid assets or 150,000 USD in household income - Phoenix noted that “despite enormous volatility in the economy and stock markets, the broad affluent market in the U.S. has managed to register small gains in numbers over the past five years, and now number nearly 25 million households.”

besides what the article says about where things are headed in my country, it's also particularly embarrassing that it's a headline article in a news service i subscribe to, mercopress, that covers news from the south atlantic...

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Dark humor, kinda pathetic actually

does anyone else besides me see the tasteless, morbid irony captured in this picture...?

Pope Benedict XVI kisses the head
of a boy, as he arrives for a celebration
of Catholic education at St Mary's
University College, Twickenham,
London Friday Sept. 17, 2010. Pope
Benedict XVI is on a four-day visit,
the first-ever state visit by a Pope
to Britain.

otoh, i've always been both a fan and a practitioner of dark humor...

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

C'mon, let's get the economic and social collapse over with already...

thanks to kevin at cryptogon...

from the uk telegraph...
America and Europe face the worst jobs crisis since the 1930s and risk “an explosion of social unrest” unless they tread carefully, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

“The labour market is in dire straits. The Great Recession has left behind a waste land of unemployment,” said Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF’s chief, at an Oslo jobs summit with the International Labour Federation (ILO).

He said a double-dip recession remains unlikely but stressed that the world has not yet escaped a deeper social crisis. He called it a grave error to think the West was safe again after teetering so close to the abyss last year. “We are not safe,” he said.

how much longer can this slo-mo train wreck continue...?

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Naomi Klein

talking about how to build a strong left... (and that's making the very large assumption that it would make the slightest bit of difference...)
"We have to build that independent left. It has to be so strong and so radical and so militant and so powerful that it becomes irresistible."

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A failure of leadership and authority without precedent in the American story

james howard kunstler...
The most striking feature of the current scene is the absence of a coherent vision of our multiple related predicaments and how they add up to a valid picture of reality. To be precise, I mean our predicaments of 1.) energy resources, 2.) vanishing capital, and 3.) ecocide. This inability to decode the clear and present dangers to civilized life is a failure of leadership and authority without precedent in the American story.


Today, no one present in the political arena appears to have a clue and, lacking clues, any ability to articulate the terms of what we face. Both major parties are hostage to a peculiar nostalgia, a wish to return to the time when America could dream up any kind of machine or breakfast cereal or techtronic brassiere, and sell the manufactured surplus from our own happily oversold markets to the rest of the clamoring world - even lending them the cash (at interest) to buy the stuff. America makes and the world takes, was the theme song then. That earnest, upward-striving society of Eisenhower simplicity, of well-paid factory workers dreaming of a little summer place at the lake, and the Main Streets bustling in the cheerful early twilight of Christmas Eve, and the Beach Boys crooning about "fun, fun, fun," and purloined German physicists stashed in comfortably aire-kooled rooms, turning a few tossed-off equations into moon-shots, and Bob Hope cracking wise before a nationwide audience of car-dealers and self-satisfied Rotarians -- well that America has imploded like a weevil-infested hubbard squash in a back pantry. And all the prayers to Moloch by the Jesus boomers in and out of congress won't make it whole again.

and again the question... so what the hell do we do...?

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Monday, September 13, 2010

What IS it with this guy Obama anyway...?

if he had a soul to begin with, he must have sold it immediately following the election in order to get elected...

a SIXTY BILLION DOLLAR arms deal with saudis...?

US President Barack Obama's administration will soon notify Congress of plans to offer advanced military aircraft to Saudi Arabia in a deal worth up to 60 billion dollars, congressional sources said Monday.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the transaction has not yet been formally announced, confirmed a Wall Street Journal report about the deal but warned that key US lawmakers would block the move.

"You can fully expect that a hold will be placed on this deal," thought to be the largest ever arms sale of its kind, said a senior congressional source.

"There is serious concern about some sensitive material which is expected to be included in the deal," said another source, who told AFP that Obama aides would brief congressional staff on the deal on Monday.

A "hold" would come from the chair or ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee or Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which typically must sign off on arms transfers, and could change what is in the package.

The Journal, which cited unnamed officials, said the administration was also in talks with the kingdom about potential naval and missile-defense upgrades that could be worth tens of billions of dollars more.

The administration sees the sale as part of a broader policy aimed at shoring up Arab allies against Iran, the report said.

fuck me... there's gotta be a lot o' celebratin' goin' on in the defense industry...

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There are no longer any major institutions ... which can be considered democratic

hard words from chris hedges... hard to hear and hard to accept but shot through and through with unmistakable truth...
There are no longer any major institutions in American society, including the press, the educational system, the financial sector, labor unions, the arts, religious institutions and our dysfunctional political parties, which can be considered democratic. The intent, design and function of these institutions, controlled by corporate money, are to bolster the hierarchical and anti-democratic power of the corporate state. These institutions, often mouthing liberal values, abet and perpetuate mounting inequality. They operate increasingly in secrecy. They ignore suffering or sacrifice human lives for profit. They control and manipulate all levers of power and mass communication. They have muzzled the voices and concerns of citizens. They use entertainment, celebrity gossip and emotionally laden public-relations lies to seduce us into believing in a Disneyworld fantasy of democracy.

The menace we face does not come from the insane wing of the Republican Party, which may make huge inroads in the coming elections, but the institutions tasked with protecting democratic participation. Do not fear Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin. Do not fear the tea party movement, the birthers, the legions of conspiracy theorists or the militias. Fear the underlying corporate power structure, which no one, from Barack Obama to the right-wing nut cases who pollute the airwaves, can alter. If the hegemony of the corporate state is not soon broken we will descend into a technologically enhanced age of barbarism.

Investing emotional and intellectual energy in electoral politics is a waste of time. Resistance means a radical break with the formal structures of American society. We must cut as many ties with consumer society and corporations as possible. We must build a new political and economic consciousness centered on the tangible issues of sustainable agriculture, self-sufficiency and radical environmental reform. The democratic system, and the liberal institutions that once made piecemeal reform possible, is dead. It exists only in name. It is no longer a viable mechanism for change. And the longer we play our scripted and absurd role in this charade the worse it will get. Do not pity Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. They will get what they deserve. They sold the citizens out for cash and power. They lied. They manipulated and deceived the public, from the bailouts to the abandonment of universal health care, to serve corporate interests. They refused to halt the wanton corporate destruction of the ecosystem on which all life depends. They betrayed the most basic ideals of democracy. And they, as much as the Republicans, are the problem.

and, as always, the question is, "so, what do we do...?" i've always taught, preached and, insofar as i've been able, practiced empowerment because i believe mankind has been duped for thousands of years into abdicating the power we've all been granted as a birthright, abdicated it to those who either take it from us by force or, as has been the case in the united states, those who claim they are acting in our "best interests" have convinced us to willingly cede it them... HA...!

hedges, in what i consider to be a B.G.O. (blinding glimpse of the obvious), offers a solution, one that has been in front of my nose all of my life, but didn't firmly click into place until just now...

“It is like being in a pit,” Ralph Nader told me when we spoke on Saturday. “If you are four feet in the pit you have a chance to grab the top and hoist yourself up. If you are 30 feet in the pit you have to start on a different scale.”

All resistance will take place outside the arena of electoral politics. The more we expand community credit unions, community health clinics and food cooperatives and build alternative energy systems, the more empowered we will become.

“To the extent that these organizations expand and get into communities where they do not exist, we will weaken the multinational goliath, from the banks to the agribusinesses to the HMO giants and hospital chains,” Nader said.

hedges also makes the most articulate expression of what i have been thinking for quite some time...
Liberals, who betrayed the working class, have no credibility. This is one of the principle reasons the anti-war movement cannot attract the families whose sons and daughters are fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. And liberal hypocrisy has opened the door for a virulent right wing. If we are to reconnect with the working class we will have to begin from zero. We will have to rebuild the ties with the poor and the working class which the liberal establishment severed. We will have to condemn the liberal class as vociferously as we condemn the right wing. And we will have to remain true to the moral imperative to foster the common good and the tangible needs of housing, health care, jobs, education and food.

i've been toying with the idea of closing two of my three bank accounts, one with wells fargo and the other with hsbc and consolidating them in my long-term credit union account... reading this has turned a notion into a decision... yes, it may be a small thing in the larger scheme of things but, hey...! it's still a step...

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Back in the surveillance state

just finished making it through immigration and customs in san fran without incident... that's twice now that i've entered the u.s. via san fran since 1 jun 2007, the date when i had all my electronic equipment confiscated without cause and not returned for three weeks... the first time was last december when i experienced major twinges in my stomach just prior to landing... this time, i hardly gave it a thought... time heals, eh...?

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