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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 10/03/2010 - 10/10/2010
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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

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Taking to the streets to protest against helping the poor?

the pathetic irony is that most of those who are making the most noise about socialism and the welfare state are also bible-brandishing, self-proclaimed christians who, imho, have never bothered to read the compassionate, do-unto-others message of jesus in the gospels or, if they have, don't care to take it to heart...

chris floyd...

[T]he news has been filled with stories of mass protests across the United States for months on end, with angry citizens taking to the streets -- and the ballot boxes -- to register their stern displeasure.

And what has displeased them so, what has moved them from the quiet simmering of discontent to explosions of public protest? Is it those trillions spent on pointless wars? Is it the coddling of the super-rich? Is it the degradation of their daily lives, and the darkening of their children's future by endless war and lost opportunities in a system skewed sharply -- and punitively -- toward the needs and greeds of powerful elites? Is it the runaway encroachment of civil liberties? Is it mass unemployment, and the relentless rollback of public services essential to a dignified and civilized life?

No, it is none of these. While the Europeans protest for jobs and dignity, Americans pour out into the streets in angry demonstrations against the very idea of helping the poor and the economically devastated, or putting the slightest restraint on the rapacious super-rich. The Europeans protest actual policies, while our American "dissidents" froth and rant about a fantasy world of "socialist" programs that only benefit shiftless darkies and sneaky, border-crossing 'Messicans -- and, of course, the devil-worshiping Muslims, who are plotting every hour to poison the precious bodily fluids of real Americans and take over the country from within.

once again, i'm stunned at what's happening in my country...

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The "hidden" history of Afghanistan

this is some of the stuff i share with my audiences in my public presentations on afghanistan... i didn't know squat about the recent history of the country until i started going there... this is the first time i've seen what i consider to be a very important piece of afghanistan context offered in the u.s. news media...

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If my passport didn't say I was a U.S. citizen, I'm not sure I'd know otherwise

cuz the country i thought was my own would never have supposedly intelligent, former senior government officials spewing this kind of bullshit...

former bush administration attorney general jack goldsmith in today's nyt...

THE Obama administration wants to show that federal courts can handle trials of Guantánamo Bay detainees, and had therefore placed high hopes in the prosecution of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, accused in the 1998 bombings of American embassies in East Africa. On Wednesday a federal judge, Lewis Kaplan of the United States District Court in Manhattan, made the government’s case much harder when he excluded the testimony of the government’s central witness because the government learned about the witness through interrogating Mr. Ghailani at a secret overseas prison run by the C.I.A.

Some, mostly liberals and civil libertarians, applauded the ruling, saying it showed that the rule of law is being restored. But many conservatives denounced it as proof that high-level terrorists cannot reliably be prosecuted in civilian courts and should instead be tried by military commissions.

The real lesson of the ruling, however, is that prosecution in either criminal court or a tribunal is the wrong approach. The administration should instead embrace what has been the main mechanism for terrorist incapacitation since 9/11: military detention without charge or trial.


[W]hile it is more difficult than ever to keep someone like Mr. Ghailani in military detention, it is far easier to detain him than to convict him in a civilian trial or a military commission. Military detention proceedings have relatively forgiving evidence rules and aren’t constrained by constitutional trial rules like the right to a jury and to confront witnesses. There is little doubt that Mr. Ghailani could be held in military detention until the conflict with Al Qaeda ends.

gosh, it all sounds so REASONABLE doesn't it...? until, of course, you read that last sentence and it suddenly dawns on you that plans don't call for the conflict with terrorism to EVER END... everything we read, everything we're told, says that we're in a forever war*, a war that cannot be won and will not end...

oh, yeah... don't forget that other little niggling bit goldsmith didn't bother to address... is mr. ghailani actually a terrorist...? after all, if the aumf put us at "war" with terrorism and if mr. ghailani is - presumably - a terrorist, how was that determined...?

if we're in an endless war and terrorism is the declared "enemy," then pow's have nothing to look forward to except a lifetime of detention... their lives are essentially over...

is the u.s. a great country or what...?

* [I]n November 2002, retired U.S. Army Gen. William Odom appeared on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" program and told viewers: "Terrorism is not an enemy. It cannot be defeated. It's a tactic. It's about as sensible to say we declare war on night attacks and expect we're going to win that war. We're not going to win the war on terrorism."

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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Job opening of the day...? Week...? Month...? Year...?

wouldn't have believed it if i hadn't seen it with my own two eyes...

(i'm not identifying the organization because 1), it happens to be one i actually respect and 2), they don't deserve the ridicule... (or maybe they do...)

Celebrity Relationship Manager

[Organization X] is developing a celebrity engagement program to raise our profile and boost fundraising efforts, primarily in the US and UK. This program aims to build donor loyalty, attract new donors, increase unrestricted donations, and build an understanding of [Organization X's] unique work and brand. The celebrity engagement program will reside in the agency’s Resource Development department, which is responsible for private fundraising, marketing and communications.


The Celebrity Relationship Manager (CRM) implements [Organization X's] celebrity engagement strategy to raise the agency’s profile and boost fundraising efforts. This work will include developing and nurturing a small group of celebrity “ambassadors” who are engaged on specific campaigns or issues, coordinating celebrity participation in a diverse Board of Advisors, and ultimately overseeing celebrity involvement in corporate cause marketing relationships. The CRM will work across RD teams – including communications, internet marketing, marketing, and major and mid-level gifts – to most productively leverage celebrity relationships. The CRM will report to the ... director of communications.

great jumping jeebus... they've even hatched an acronym - CRM - to describe the position... i developed a headache just WRITING this post...


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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

What happens when we shit on Mother Nature

mother nature shits back...

Aerial photo taken shows ruptured wall

Villager checks his yard flooded by toxic mud

Rescue workers clear up toxic sludge

An aerial photo taken, Oct. 5, 2010 shows the ruptured wall of a red sludge reservoir of the Ajkai Timfoldgyar aluminum plant in Kolontar, Hungary. The sludge, a waste product in aluminum production, contains heavy metals and is toxic if ingested. A third person has died in flooding caused by the rupture. Six people were missing and 120 injured in what officials said was an ecological disaster. The government declared a state of emergency in three counties affected by the flooding.

truly horrifying and, if not contained or dealt with rapidly and effectively, could mean an even broader environmental catastrophe...
In Brussels, the European Union said it feared the toxic flood could turn into an ecological disaster for half a dozen European nations — those downriver from Hungary along the mighty Danube — and said it stood ready to offer help.

"This is a serious environmental problem," EU spokesman Joe Hennon told The Associated Press. "We are concerned, not just for the environment in Hungary, but this could potentially cross borders."

it's time we realized that our callous disregard for the planet we all share has consequences...

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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Dismantling the permanent war economy and the corporate state

the first step is admitting that we have a problem...

tom engelhardt...

[T]he present Pentagon and military cast of characters can’t stop themselves. They really can’t. The thought that in Afghanistan or anywhere else they might have to go on a diet, as sooner or later they will, is deeply unnerving. Forever war is in their blood, so much so that they’re ready to face down the commander-in-chief, if necessary, to make it continue. This is really the definition of an addiction -- not to victory, but to the state of war itself. Don’t expect them to discipline themselves. They won’t.

personally, i think the pentagon, as guilty as our military leaders are of desiring - and fomenting - permanent war, is only a small part of the problem... behind those people is a quiet, nearly invisible group of super-rich elites who have hard-wired themselves into accruing as much power and latching on to as much money as possible and are quite clear that endless war is a great way of fulfilling both of those goals...

chris hedges, as usual, spells things out pretty well...

The forces assaulting the remnants of American democracy will not be cowed or discredited with rallies, such as the one in Washington on Saturday. We will blunt these rising anti-democratic forces only when we organize outside conventional systems of power. It means dismantling the permanent war economy and the corporate state. It means an end to foreclosures and bank repossessions. It means a functional health care system for all Americans. It means taking care of our poor and unemployed. And it means a system of government that is freed from corporate interests.

we - and when i say "we" i am not just referring to the people in the u.s. - are in shit up to our necks... speaking for myself, the more i understand of exactly how things are coming down in this latter half of the year 2010, the more i am convinced that our - and, again, when i say "our", i am not just referring to the u.s. - system is seriously off the rails... the reality is that it didn't start with the bush era and it's not going to be solved by obama or anyone else that we would like to anoint as our savior...
again, chris hedges...
This has left traditional political parties, which once represented differing class interests, with nothing to offer the public beyond fringe issues such as abortion or gay marriage. Those in the liberal class who cling to the corpse of the Democratic Party do so not because they believe in the policies of the party—it does not differ in any significant way from the Republican Party—but because they hope against hope that the party will somehow restore itself to its former position as a defender of liberal values and the working class interests.


No rally, no positive message, no effort to expose the idiocies of those arrayed against us will work until we restore to the political process mechanisms by which ordinary citizens can be heard.

i am writing this in the san francisco airport... i took a taxi to the reno airport very early this morning and had an interesting chat with the driver... he's about the same age as my oldest son - 40 - and grew up in the area... as i've found with so many taxi drivers around the world, he's reasonably savvy about current events... he exhibited a healthy curiosity about my work and my travels and was particularly interested in afghanistan... it was clear from listening to him talk, however, that he considers himself largely disenfranchised with little to no possibility of making an impact on his country or the world...

we're supposed to be living in a citizen democracy, government "by the people, for the people," blah, blah, blah... nobody really wants to admit that our system is a failure but, deep down inside, i think everybody knows it... it's definitely time for step one...

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Monday, October 04, 2010

Heading back to the southern hemisphere

it's been unusually hot with equally unusual calm winds and positively gorgeous for the past two weeks here in the high desert, but saturday put a stop to all that... it's been raining off and on since then and considerably cooler... all in all, more seasonable... a good time to head back south to an argentine springtime...! i can't wait to see the jacaranda in bloom...! i'll try to get it together to post some good photos...

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Sunday, October 03, 2010

More on our police state

paul craig roberts interviewed on russia today...
The FBI raided the homes of a number of anti-war activists in Chicago and Minneapolis. The Activists are planning demonstrations against the FBI. Is this a sign of a growing American police state? Former Reagan official Paul Craig Roberts argued that the US government is establishing in the mind of the public that anyone who criticizes the War on Terror is aligned with terrorists. He further argued that under the rubric of terror the government has stripped American's of their civil liberties.

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Our handlers seem particularly determined to keep us cowering under our sheets

be afwaid, be vewy afwaid...
The U.S. State Department issued an alert on Sunday urging Americans traveling to Europe to be vigilant about possible terrorist attacks in a statement that specifically cites the potential involvement of Al Qaida. The British government, meanwhile, raised the threat of terrorism to "high" from "general" for Britons in France and Germany.


The U.S. travel alert urges extra caution and does not discourage Americans from visiting Europe. An American official who confirmed the warning on Saturday, who did not want to be identified speaking about internal government deliberations, said a stronger “travel warning” that might advise Americans not to visit Europe was not under consideration. European officials have been concerned about the impact on tourism and student travel from any official guidance to American travelers.

i'm starting to get that old feeling left over from the bush years that i should constantly be checking under my bed for terrorists...

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Will the bankster, super-rich, elite rape and plunder of the U.S. never cease...?

more on how the banksters are feathering their nests at the expense of homeowners...
With foreclosure looming and powerless to do little else, troubled homeowners trying to hang onto their home are being advised to just stay in their homes despite foreclosure proceedings.

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