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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 02/13/2011 - 02/20/2011
Mandy: Great blog!
Mark: Thanks to all the contributors on this blog. When I want to get information on the events that really matter, I come here.
Penny: I'm glad I found your blog (from a comment on Think Progress), it's comprehensive and very insightful.
Eric: Nice site....I enjoyed it and will be back.
nora kelly: I enjoy your site. Keep it up! I particularly like your insights on Latin America.
Alison: Loquacious as ever with a touch of elegance -- & right on target as usual!
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Immunizing our leaders past and present from any accountability for observing the rule of law

glenn waxes sadly righteous on a saturday...
After the U.S. Government implemented a worldwide regime of torture, lawless detention, and other abuses, the doors of the American justice system have been slammed shut in the face of any and all victims seeking to have their rights vindicated or even their claims heard. If an American citizen can't even sue political officials who lawlessly imprison and torture him in his own country -- if political leaders are vested with immunity from a claim of this type -- what rational person can argue that the rule of law or the Constitution binds our government officials?

what's wrong with my country...?


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Democracy by Leonard Cohen


"I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can't stand the scene.
And I'm neither left or right
I'm just staying home tonight,
getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
that Time cannot decay,
I'm junk but I'm still holding up
this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A."

- Leonard Cohen



(thanks to information clearing house...)

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Is Wisconsin the United States' Egypt...?

ya know, that would be infinitely cool if it was... god knows, we're long over due...

katrina vanden heuvel...

A friend e-mailed me this morning, "Do you think events taking place in Wisconsin might be as important as what's happening in Cairo, if the media really got the word out? Might it be the spark to halt the Tea Party Express?" Another friend e-mailed, "It's possible that this labor strike in Wisconsin could become our Uncut." (In response to Britain's draconian public spending cuts, citizens there formed UK Uncut, a Twitter-organized movement, to protest wealthy tax evaders. If the rich paid for their fair share of taxes, the movement argues, the pressure on the state budget would diminish or disappear.)

Wisconsin's Republican governor and Republican-dominated legislature are moving to destroy organized labor, moving to abolish democratic rights that were the essence of the New Deal, and treating working-class Americans as though they were meaningless in our country's mosaic. Meanwhile, those who are responsible for the catastrophic financial crisis are riding high--and in the name of deficits they largely caused, they insist that those who worked a lifetime to build and own their homes, to send their children to public schools, to have security in their retirement years, to have decent medical care--that those citizens should pay the price for budgetary crises in honor, dignity and decency.

john nichols...

David Vines, a University of Wisconsin student joined the mass protests against Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to strip public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights on Monday. The political science student marched on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. He slept overnight in the Capital to make sure that the legislature did not approve Walker’s plan without a fight.

Why? “This is what the founders intended,” says Vines.

And he is right.

 THUNDERDOME.  on Twitpic

When Democratic members of the Wisconsin State Senate walked out on Capital on Thursday – denying the Republican majority quorum that was necessary to pass the legislation -- they were attacked by Walker and his cronies. The governor called the boycott a “stunt” and claimed the Democrats were disrepecting democracy.

After all, Walker’s backers noted, the governor and his Republican allies won an election last November.

That is true.

But Wisconsin’s greatest governor, Robert M. La Follette, declared: “"We have long rested comfortably in this country upon the assumption that because our form of government was democratic, it was therefore automatically producing democratic results. Now, there is nothing mysteriously potent about the forms and names of democratic institutions that should make them self-operative. Tyranny and oppression are just as possible under democratic forms as under any other. We are slow to realize that democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle. It is only as those of every generation who love democracy resist with all their might the encroachments of its enemies that the ideals of representative government can even be nearly approximated."

La Follette’s point, apparently lost on Walker, is that democracy does not end on Election Day. That’s when it begins. Citizens do not elect officials to rule them from one election to the next. Citizens elect officials to represent them, to respond to the will of the people as it evolves.

i'm at the airport, headed off for southern africa and won't be back until the end of may... however, you can be absolutely sure i will be following developments closely... i can't think of anything i'd like better than to see my fellow countrymen rise up to reclaim the power that has consistently been grabbed, wheedled, poached and stolen... and when i say "reclaim," i'm totally serious... every human being is born with that power but, through on-going manipulation and deception down through the ages, many of us have come to believe that power is something that belongs to other people... it's the phenomenon and the myth of learned helplessness and it's way past time to drive a stake through the heart of that sucker...

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Russ Feingold talks to Rachel Maddow about what's happening in Wisconsin

empowering u.s. workers...! wow...! what a concept...!!

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

NOW, we're TALKING'...

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nobody goes to jail ... because the entire system set up to monitor and regulate Wall Street is fucked up

yeah... something finally grabbed me...

matt taibbi in rolling stone...

Nobody goes to jail. This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world's wealth — and nobody went to jail. Nobody, that is, except Bernie Madoff, a flamboyant and pathological celebrity con artist, whose victims happened to be other rich and famous people.


To understand the significance of this, one has to think carefully about the efficacy of fines as a punishment for a defendant pool that includes the richest people on earth — people who simply get their companies to pay their fines for them. Conversely, one has to consider the powerful deterrent to further wrongdoing that the state is missing by not introducing this particular class of people to the experience of incarceration. "You put Lloyd Blankfein in pound-me-in-the-ass prison for one six-month term, and all this bullshit would stop, all over Wall Street," says a former congressional aide. "That's all it would take. Just once."

But that hasn't happened. Because the entire system set up to monitor and regulate Wall Street is fucked up.

and there ya have it...

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Ennui sometimes just catches up with me

reading today's news, i'm once again in that familiar head space where i just want to dig a hole, climb in and never come out... i'll leave open the possibility that something might trigger my righteousness or, at minimum, pique my interest later today...

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

For 30 years, your nation financed & supported me, politely overlooking corruption and repression all the while

tom tomorrow strikes again...

Click image for larger version

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Odds & ends, Tuesday, 15 February - read 'em and weep...

yeah, i know, i talk a good story but i sometimes don't follow through... back in early january, i said i was going to "post links to things i've come across in my day's reading that i think might be worthwhile to share with others but don't quite grab me enough to bother putting up a dedicated post"... yeah, well... < cough, cough > i think i managed to put up two or three posts along those lines and then i sorta drifted away...

well, today, as i'm getting ready to depart for africa on friday, and given the increasing number of stories that are pointing to the imminent dissolution of the country i've known and lived in all my life, i am wondering just what i will find when i come back at the end of may... it's looking really grim, i gotta tell ya...

GOP Sending Women Back to the Back Alley

South Dakota Wants to Legalize Murdering Abortion Providers

Missouri GOP Wants to Repeal Child Labor Laws

Tuscon Minuteman Found Guilty of Murdering 9-Year-Old Mexican-American Girl

Wisconsin Governor Launches Attack on Public Sector Employees and Unions; Threatens to Deploy National Guard to Quell Labor Protests

President Obama to award George H.W. Bush the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Obama's Budget Betrayal

what THE FUCK, he asked, is going on here...? oh, never mind... we're all being hung out to dry... silly me...!

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Argentina seizes US cargo plane - the United States has "more interests than friends"

without a doubt, there's a lot more to this than meets the eye...

just sayin'...

US Air Force C17 Globemaster
in Buenos Aires

Argentina to protest US Air Force cargo incident

Argentina said it will lodge a formal protest with Washington after seizing what it said were undeclared weapons and drugs on a US military aircraft last week.

The US Air Force C-17 transport plane was searched and its cargo seized by customs officials on Thursday at Ezeiza international airport after arriving with experts and material for a hostage rescue training exercise, Argentine officials said.

In a statement late Sunday, President Cristina Kirchner's government said it would lodge a protest with Washington and ask it to cooperate in a probe into the air force's attempt "to violate Argentine laws by bringing in camouflaged material in an official shipment."

Argentina has said it seized "sensitive material" that had not been declared in a manifest submitted by the US embassy.

"Among the material seized, which the State Department makes no reference to, are from weapons to different drugs, including various doses of morphine," the foreign ministry said in Sunday's statement. [emphasis added]

Assistant US Secretary of State Arturo Valenzuela called Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman on Saturday, but "refused to explain why they tried to pass this material," the ministry statement said.

The incident follows US President Barack Obama's decision to exclude Argentina from his first scheduled trip in March to Latin America. Obama will travel to El Salvador, Brazil and Chile but not to the latter two's South American neighbor, Argentina.

Timerman reacted to this decision by saying that the United States has "more interests than friends." He said Obama would not visit Argentina because "it won't buy arms or even sign a defense agreement."

here's additional perspective on the matter from mercopress...
In the protest note Argentine Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman urged the US government to assist local authorities in the investigation, called for an official apology and warned that the seized material would not be handed back.

“For the sake of Argentine security, they owe us a response” he stated and indicated that “this was not the first incident of such nature.”


In the protest note Argentine Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman urged the US government to assist local authorities in the investigation, called for an official apology and warned that the seized material would not be handed back.

“For the sake of Argentine security, they owe us a response” he stated and indicated that “this was not the first incident of such nature.”


Regarding the local government’s seizing of sensitive material, the State Department assured that they were taken after an “unusual and unannounced search of the aircraft’s cargo.”

“The actions taken by Argentine officials involved in this incident are puzzling and disturbing,” the State Department’s spokesperson said, adding that the material was inappropriately seized for which they are seeking explanations from the local government.

an "unusual and unannounced search of the aircraft’s cargo"... sounds to me like the argentine customs officials were doing their job, a move that obviously is not common where the "interests" of the sole remaining global super-power is concerned... leads me to wonder just how much interesting cargo gets transported around the world unchallenged... my hunch...? more than we can possibly imagine...

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Factory farming - a complete disregard for life

our super-rich elites have no respect for anything except themselves... human life, plant life, animal life, the health of our planet - none of it matters... it's all there just to be exploited... this video captures just one slice of it...

(thanks to my dear friend in macedonia...)

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Glenn doesn't think the story of this scandal should die

and neither do i...

as an intended victim of a vicious and illegal smear campaign (other intended victims include think progress and brad friedman), greenwald's considered opinion of just how vulnerable people are who speak out against our super-rich elites and their government puppets has - unfortunately - been thoroughly validated... he's concerned that, as happens all too often where the rich and powerful are concerned, this too will be swept under the rug... while my blog is certainly among the very least of the resources that can help keep it visible, i am willing to do what i can...

if you haven't been keeping up on the smear campaigns directed at wikileaks supporters, you can catch up at the following links...

from glenn in ascending chronological order...

The leaked campaign to attack WikiLeaks and its supporters

New information emerges on anti-WikiLeaks plot

More facts emerge about the leaked smear campaigns

marcy - emptywheel - wheeler, again in ascending chronological order...
Security Firms Pitching Bank of America on WikiLeaks Response Proposed Targeting Glenn Greenwald

The Disinformation Campaign Bank of America Considered

Hacked Documents Show Chamber Engaged HBGary to Spy on Unions

From the ChamberPot: A Carefully Worded Nondenial Denial

Palantir Tries to Preserve Their Government Contracts

HBGary Fees: “Dam It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta”

From the ChamberPot: Number Two

The HBGary Scandal: Using Counterterrorism Tactics on Citizen Activism

and here's brad's rundown...
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Thugs Used 'Terror Tools' for Disinfo Scheme Targeting Me, My Family, Other Progressive U.S. Citizens, Groups
And why they are likely to get away with it...

let's keep this visible... it embodies all the ugliness we knew was out there and simply should NOT be allowed to fade away...

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Monday, February 14, 2011

from truthout...

"Austerity" Comes to America

Richard Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and currently a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University in New York. He has a PhD in Economics from Yale University as well as degrees from Harvard University (history BA) and Stanford University (economics MA). Wolff has authored or co-authored 10 books and over 50 scholarly articles and 75 popular articles. His recent work has concentrated on analyzing the causes and alternative solutions to the current global economic crisis.

His documentary film on that crisis, Capitalism Hits the Fan, can be previewed at He also published a book of essays on the current crisis in 2010 entitled Capitalism Hits the Fan: the Global Economic meltdown and What to Do About it. Detailed information on and copies of his many writings, audios and videos of his media interviews, lectures, and classes, and his speaking schedule are all available at his website:

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Egyptian military shows good faith

i may be wrong (cuz, lord knows, i am the LAST person you would want to be attempting to deliver a credible prediction on anything about egypt - or any other country for that matter), but i think the egyptian military is going to pull off this transition and pull it off well... they've managed to keep the trust of the egyptian people despite 30 years of strongman rule and i don't think they're of a mind to squander it now... besides, they've never been under this kind of a global spotlight and they know that every move they make is being closely watched... on top of all that, how they handle the situation will set the template for every other populist movement in the region...
Egyptian military dissolves parliament

Egypt's new military authorities say they are dissolving parliament and suspending the constitution.

In a statement on state TV, the higher military council said it would stay in power six months, or until elections.

in effect, they've set the timeframe for elections at six months, coinciding with the time period mubarak originally set for stepping down...

p.s. yes, i have been keeping up with the revelations about the egyptian military's role in torture and human rights violations... all i have to say about that is i think such behavior is the sad norm for a powerful military, regardless of the country... and, yes, uncle sam, i'm looking at YOU...!

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A passive-aggressive jerk complements highly verbal asses on the Supreme Court

what is this guy's problem...?
A week from Tuesday, when the Supreme Court returns from its midwinter break and hears arguments in two criminal cases, it will have been five years since Justice Clarence Thomas has spoken during a court argument.

If he is true to form, Justice Thomas will spend the arguments as he always does: leaning back in his chair, staring at the ceiling, rubbing his eyes, whispering to Justice Stephen G. Breyer, consulting papers and looking a little irritated and a little bored. He will ask no questions.

as opposed to these other guys' problem, which is clearly diarrhea of the mouth...
Justice Thomas has also complained about the difficulty of getting a word in edgewise. The current court is a sort of verbal firing squad, with the justices peppering lawyers with questions almost as soon as they begin their presentations.

In the 20 years that ended in 2008, the justices asked an average of 133 questions per hourlong argument, up from about 100 in the 15 years before that.

“The post-Scalia court, from 1986 onward, has become a much more talkative bench,” Professor Johnson said. Justice Antonin Scalia alone accounted for almost a fifth of the questions in the last 20 years.

overall, i guess i'd opt for more words in favor of irritation, boredom and other such passive aggressive behavior...

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