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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 11/07/2010 - 11/14/2010
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Friday, November 12, 2010

Paul Krugman and Marcy Wheeler on the continued upward transfer of wealth to the already-rich

i didn't post on either of these subjects yesterday as i found them just too damn depressing...

krugman on the catfood commission proposal...

The Hijacked Commission


It will take time to crunch the numbers here, but this proposal clearly represents a major transfer of income upward, from the middle class to a small minority of wealthy Americans. And what does any of this have to do with deficit reduction?


It’s no mystery what has happened on the deficit commission: as so often happens in modern Washington, a process meant to deal with real problems has been hijacked on behalf of an ideological agenda. Under the guise of facing our fiscal problems, Mr. Bowles and Mr. Simpson are trying to smuggle in the same old, same old — tax cuts for the rich and erosion of the social safety net.

marcy expostulates...
David Axelrod’s Quaint Idea of Middle Class “Security”

There’s a lot to despise about David Axelrod’s announcement of Obama’s capitulation to the oligarchs on tax cuts, not least that he made this announcement on the same day Obama’s Catfood Commission Chairs started the process of stealing from seniors to “fix” our deficit.

Let yesterday be marked as the day when a nominally Democratic President began to dismantle Democrats’ signature policy achievement, social security, so he could shovel $700 billion to the very rich.


[T] worst thing that could happen to this economy may well be passing legislation that continues to hollow out of the middle class and with it increasing the massive income inequality that continues to subject the American people to the craven demands of a few very rich people. That is, precisely what Axe and Obama have now agreed to do.

These men either don’t know or don’t give a damn about the security of the middle class.

oh, they KNOW, all right... they also KNOW all too well which side their bread is buttered on...

but wait, marcy isn't quite finished...

You know, it is not just that the arrogant and cluelessly detached President Pangloss is steaming toward a one and done Presidency, it is that he is literally destroying the Democratic Party and liberal ideology in the process and leaving them in his wake.

UPDATE: I guess Obama couldn’t even sell crack free trade to Charlie Sheen the Koreans.

see what i mean about too depressing...?

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Bush family and how it has held us by the short hairs for years

if the heavens continue to smile on me, i will never again see the smirking chimp's visage on tv... it's hard enough seeing it appear in all sorts of news articles trumpeting bush's new book...
Investigative journalist Russ Baker provides the stunning counter-story to what’s in George W. Bush’s new book.

russ baker's book: Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Past Fifty Years...

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010


get yer definitions right here...

Us: Hard-working, underpaid, put upon, thoughtful, freedom-loving, disenfranchised, ordinary people

Them: Reactionary, stupid, overpaid, greedy, shortsighted, exploitative, power-mad, abusive politicians and corporate executives

pretty much...

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Accountability...? What's that...? An emptywheel rant...

this is a follow-on to the previous post and this one...

marcy is righteously indignant over the unbelievable cover-up of our country's worst excesses and the apparent lack of any accountability whatsoever...

Of course no one will be charged for destroying the evidence of torture! Our country has spun so far beyond holding the criminals who run our country accountable that even the notion of accountability for torture was becoming quaint and musty while we waited and screamed for some kind of acknowledgment that Durham had let the statute of limitations on the torture tape destruction expire.


I think it’s clear. We cannot say we live under the rule of law.

lord help me, i am SO-O-O-O-O-OOO sick of posting about a lack of accountability...

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Sometimes, reading the news is just a flat-out bummer

'specially when all it does is show that there's absolutely no accountability ANYWHERE for ANYTHING that matters... now, if somebody falls a month or two behind in house payments, well, gee, that's an ENTIRELY different story...
No Charges Over Destruction of Interrogation Tapes, Justice Dept. Says

A federal prosecutor will not bring criminal charges against any of the Central Intelligence Agency officers involved in destroying videotapes depicting the brutal interrogation of Al Qaeda detainees, Justice Department officials said on Tuesday.

After an investigation spanning nearly three years, John H. Durham, the special prosecutor assigned to the case, has decided to clear the C.I.A. undercover officers and top lawyers at the agency for their roles in the destruction of the tapes.

Jose A. Rodriguez, the former head of the agency’s clandestine service, ordered his staff in 2005 to destroy tapes of the interrogations of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. The tapes had been kept in a safe in the agency’s station in Thailand, where the interrogations were conducted in 2002.

Mr. Rodriguez took responsibility for the destruction of the tapes, according to current and former government officials, and said that C.I.A. lawyers had authorized his order. The agency withheld the fact that the tapes had been destroyed from Congressional oversight committees, federal courts and the Sept. 11 Commission, which had asked the agency for records of the interrogations.

The announcement that there will be no charges in the destruction of the tapes leaves unanswered whether Mr. Durham will bring other charges related to the death or mistreatment of detainees in the hands of the agency, or to any false statements made by officials to investigators about harsh interrogations. The anti-torture act has an eight-year statute of limitations, and there is no time limit for murder charges.

Documents released earlier this year in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the American Civil Liberties Union showed that the C.I.A. destroyed the tapes on the morning of Nov. 9, 2005. The five-year statute of limitations for filing charges of obstruction of justice related to their destruction expired on Tuesday.

Robert S. Bennett, Mr. Rodriguez’s attorney, said in an interview that he was pleased that the Justice Department “did the right thing.”

Mr. Rodriguez is “a hero and a patriot, who simply wanted to protect his people and his country,” Mr. Bennett said.

In August 2008, when Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. expanded Mr. Durham’s mandate to include looking into whether crimes were committed in the interrogation program, he also stressed that the Justice Department would “not prosecute anyone who acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees.”

"a hero and a patriot...?" fuck me...

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Is the World Bank's Zoellick sending us a signal when he's talking about returning to the gold standard?

i guess it remains to be seen, eh...?
World Bank president calls for debate on global gold standard

Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, shook up the world of international finance and central banking on Monday when he called for consideration of tying currency values to the global trade of gold, in hopes of producing more stable economies.

Basically, he called for the G20 to discuss establishing a global gold standard as part of an ongoing refashioning of financial markets -- and his remarks sent prices of the shiny metal soaring.

Gold, he wrote in an editorial published by The Financial Times, could be "employed as an international reference point of market expectations about inflation, deflation and future currency values. Although textbooks may view gold as the old money, markets are using gold as an alternative monetary asset today."

Zoellick said the modified gold standard could play a key role in the third reformatting of the global monetary systems since World War II and the Bretton Woods Agreement.

to say that zoellick "shook up the world of international finance" is probably a massive understatement... guys in zoellick's position don't go around dropping this kind of bombshell without a great deal of preparation and clearance from the "bigs" behind the scenes...

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A headline to make you weep

that such a headline could ever be written about the united states is a true abomination...

a joint statement from the aclu and the center for constitutional rights...

Obama Administration Claims Unchecked Authority to Kill Americans Outside Combat Zones

The Obama administration today argued before a federal court that it should have unreviewable authority to kill Americans the executive branch has unilaterally determined to pose a threat. Government lawyers made that claim in response to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) charging that the administration's asserted targeted killing authority violates the Constitution and international law. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia heard arguments from both sides today.

"Not only does the administration claim to have sweeping power to target and kill U.S. citizens anywhere in the world, but it makes the extraordinary claim that the court has no role in reviewing that power or the legal standards that apply," said CCR Staff Attorney Pardiss Kebriaei, who presented arguments in the case. "The Supreme Court has repeatedly rejected the government's claim to an unchecked system of global detention, and the district court should similarly reject the administration's claim here to an unchecked system of global targeted killing."


"If the Constitution means anything, it surely means that the president does not have unreviewable authority to summarily execute any American whom he concludes is an enemy of the state," said Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU, who presented arguments in the case. "It's the government's responsibility to protect the nation from terrorist attacks, but the courts have a crucial role to play in ensuring that counterterrorism policies are consistent with the Constitution."

The government filed a brief in the case in September, claiming that the executive's targeted killing authority is a "political question" that should not be subject to judicial review. The government also asserted the "state secrets" privilege, contending that the case should be dismissed to avoid the disclosure of sensitive information.

i cry for my country...

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Monday, November 08, 2010

All social and cultural values are now sacrificed before the altar of the marketplace

chris hedges...
Commerce cannot be the sole guide of human behavior. This utopian fantasy, embraced by the tea party as well as the liberal elite, defies 3,000 years of economic history. It is a chimera. This ideology has been used to justify the disempowerment of the working class, destroy our manufacturing capacity, and ruthlessly gut social programs that once protected and educated the working and middle class. It has obliterated the traditional liberal notion that societies should be configured around the common good. All social and cultural values are now sacrificed before the altar of the marketplace.


Our social and political ethic can be summed up in the mantra let the market decide. Greed is good.

in the documentary, the corporation, a film i use in my mba class, often to the displeasure of my students, has a segment in it where a so-called "authority" not only predicts but actively espouses the privatization of EVERYTHING, every square inch of earth, air and water, out of the belief that "ownership" equates to "stewardship," a belief that has been repeatedly shown to be profoundly misplaced...

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The big bankers would have been beaten as a political force

james galbraith obviously will win no points with our handlers by telling the truth...
Up to a point, one can defend the decisions taken in September-October 2008 under the stress of a rapidly collapsing financial system. The Bush administration was, by that time, nearly defunct. Panic was in the air, as was political blackmail -- with the threat that the October through January months might be irreparably brutal. Stopgaps were needed, they were concocted, and they held the line.

But one cannot defend the actions of Team Obama on taking office. Law, policy and politics all pointed in one direction: turn the systemically dangerous banks over to Sheila Bair and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Insure the depositors, replace the management, fire the lobbyists, audit the books, prosecute the frauds, and restructure and downsize the institutions. The financial system would have been cleaned up. And the big bankers would have been beaten as a political force.


[I]n a crisis, you need new people. You must be able to attack past administrations, and override old decisions, without directly crossing those who made them.

President Obama didn’t see this. Or perhaps, he didn’t want to see it. His presidential campaign was, after all, from the beginning financed from Wall Street. He chose his team, knowing exactly who they were. And this tells us what we need to know, about who he really is.

gosh... seems like decapitating the bankers would have been one of the most valuable things obama could have possibly done and what a wonderful opportunity he had - and blew it...!

here's a noteworthy galbraith quote...

Today, the signature of modern American capitalism is neither benign competition, nor class struggle, nor an inclusive middle-class utopia. Instead, predation has become the dominant feature — a system wherein the rich have come to feast on decaying systems built for the middle class. The predatory class is not the whole of the wealthy; it may be opposed by many others of similar wealth. But it is the defining feature, the leading force. And its agents are in full control of the government under which we live.

the defining feature...? yep... the leading force...? yep... in full control...? yep, yep and yep...

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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Democrats "are perceived as -- and are -- beholden to Wall Street, special interests, and the corporations they vowed to confront"

i'm back in the saddle, in a manner of speaking... after a very long friday night and all day yesterday spent traveling, a full 10+ hours of which were spent in layover (which in itself can be very tiring), i've now re-charged with 10+ hours of sleep and two cups of brazilian segafredo coffee, all backed by jazz from the public radio station in sacramento (ain't the internet grand?)...

besides a good night's sleep and coffee, there's nothing like reading glenn greenwald to bring me back to earth big-time...

[T]he Democratic Party now reaps what it has sown. Its message and identity are profoundly muddled, incoherent, unclear, uninspiring, and self-negating. Worse, its policies are mishmashes of inept half-measures that, with a handful of exceptions, produce little good for anyone (other than Wall Street, the Pentagon and other corporate interests). They are perceived as -- and are -- beholden to Wall Street, special interests, and the corporations they vowed to confront. They are without any ability to confront the massive unemployment crisis and financial decline the country faces. And as a result of all of that, they lay in shambles. Anyone who can survey all of that and cheer for the strategy which Democrats have been pursuing -- let's build our majorities by relying on GOP-replicating corporatist Blue Dogs -- or who thinks that this election loss happened because "Democrats are too liberal," resides in a world that has very little to do with reality. And that's true no matter how many times they repeat the simplistic snippets of exit polls to which they've obsessively attached themselves.

just more justification - as if we needed any - as to why our country is so broken... we have a two-party system completely and totally allied with the super-rich elites, elites who are intent on doing nothing but enhancing their power to monopolize the world's resources for their own benefit and to hell with anybody who gets in their way...

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