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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 03/06/2011 - 03/13/2011
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The US government itself and its regulatory agencies ... are being privatized as the "final stage" of neoliberal economic doctrine

we're headed there with the speed of a bullet train...
The Plan to Steal Everything and Sell the People into Slavery
Wisconsin Death Trip


Economics textbooks, along with Fox News and shout radio commentators, spread the myth that fortunes are gained productively by investing in capital equipment and employing labor to produce goods and services that people want to buy. This may be how economies prosper, but it is not how fortunes are most easily made. One need only to turn to the 19th-century novelists such as Balzac to be reminded that behind every family fortune lies a great theft, often long-forgotten or even undiscovered.

But who is one to steal from? Most wealth in history has been acquired either by armed conquest of the land, or by political insider dealing, such as the great US railroad land giveaways of the mid 19th century. The great American fortunes have been founded by prying land, public enterprises and monopoly rights from the public domain, because that's where the assets are to take.

Throughout history the world's most successful economies have been those that have kept this kind of primitive accumulation in check. The US economy today is faltering largely because its past barriers against rent-seeking are being breached.

Nowhere is this more disturbingly on display than in Wisconsin. Today, Milwaukee – Wisconsin's largest city, and once the richest in America – is ranked among the four poorest large cities in the United States. Wisconsin is just the most recent case in this great heist. The US government itself and its regulatory agencies effectively are being privatized as the "final stage" of neoliberal economic doctrine.

and it must be stopped...

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Reactor explosion in Japan

worst case scenario comes to pass...
Japan's fears mount with nuclear plant blast

The Fukushima power plant's cooling system failed after Friday's massive earthquake. Residents flee the area. Nationwide, the death toll from the quake and tsunami could top 1,600.

the earthquake was bad, the tsunami was worse, but this is incomprehensible...

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ain't buyin' it...
Obama Defends Detention Conditions for Soldier Accused in WikiLeaks Case

President Obama has defended conditions in a Marine Corps jail for Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, who is accused of leaking classified government documents to WikiLeaks. The president said Friday that he had been assured that such measures as forcing Private Manning to sleep without clothing were justified and for his own safety.

European Pressphoto Agency

“With respect to Private Manning, I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference. “They assure me that they are.”

“I can’t go into details about some of their concerns,” he added, “but some of this has to do with Private Manning’s safety as well.” He appeared to be referring to fears that Private Manning might harm himself, though the private, his friends and his lawyer have all denied that he is suicidal.

why doesn't obama motorcade his ass down to quantico and see for himself...?

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Marcy's takedown of the Consumer Advisory Council report on wrongful foreclosures

how much time, energy and money is spent by our super-rich elites and their puppets in government proving that they are totally blameless for any of the ills that bombard we, the peasants, in a daily rain of gooey turds...?

marcy wheeler...

The folks at the Fed who run our economy apparently believe in the Easter Bunny. And Casper the Friendly Ghost. And Santa Claus.

I mean, I can only conclude the folks over there are completely unhinged from reality given their claim that no people–not a single homeowner–was wrongly foreclosed.

A months-long investigation into abusive mortgage practices by the Federal Reserve found no wrongful foreclosures, members of the Fed’s Consumer Advisory Council said Thursday.

Jason Grodensky, who paid cash for his house yet lost it to Bank of America in “foreclosure” nevertheless. The Fed says there were no wrongful foreclosures.

Christopher Marconi, who got foreclosed by Wells Fargo on a house he didn’t own and had never seen. The Fed says there were no wrongful foreclosures.

Jonathan Rowles, who never missed a payment, who got foreclosed by Chase while he was away in Iraq, in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. The Fed says there were no wrongful foreclosures.

Granted, they came to this conclusion, in part, by defining wrongful foreclosure in a way that totally ignores title problems, failure to serve homeowners, and tack-on charges servicers have used to force people into default so they can foreclose.

During a public meeting attended by Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and other regulators, consumer advocates on the panel criticized federal bank regulators for narrowly defining what constitutes a “wrongful foreclosure.”


Kirsten Keefe, a member of the Fed consumer panel and an attorney at the Empire Justice Center in Albany, New York, said the Fed’s report defined “wrongful foreclosures” as repossessions of borrowers’ homes who were not significantly behind on their payments.

And they’re not releasing the report–they’re keeping it totally secret! I can only presume that the logic and data (based on just 500 loan files) behind it is so laughable that releasing it would be more damaging than simply issuing this claim with no proof.

Nevertheless, as my list above makes clear, it is simply impossible to state that there have been no wrongful foreclosures and still claim to have even a shred of grasp on reality.

Which I guess, given the smoke and mirrors that has constituted our economy in recent years, is about what we ought to expect from the Fed.

smoke and mirrors... that's what it's all about, for sure...

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Manning's request for less harsh treatment denied; Amnesty Int'l calls for protests

glenn details the latest developments in the treatment of bradley manning at the marine corps facility in quantico, virginia...
Yesterday, the Quantico base commander denied Manning's formal request for less harsh treatment -- including an end to his forced nudity and 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement. That request -- which is really a formal complaint of mistreatment -- will now be forwarded to the Secretary of Navy, and if he also rejects it, then Manning's lawyer will file a Writ of Habeas Corpus with the Army Court of Criminal Appeals. Manning's counsel today released his rebuttal to the Commander's decision and it supplies much more detailed information about just how harsh and punitive is Manning's treatment; Marcy Wheeler documents how similar in language and content is this treatment to many of the core methods of degradation popularized during the Bush administration. But as we well know, caring about what Amnesty thinks is -- just like concerns over detainee abuse and indefinite detention -- so very 2005.

he also summarizes the call for protests being led by amnesty international...
Amnesty said that "the conditions inflicted on Bradley Manning . . . amount to inhumane treatment by the US authorities" and "appear to breach the USA’s human rights obligations." As a result, the group is encouraging as many Americans as possible to demand an end to these conditions (independent of Amnesty, there is a planned protest outside the Quantico brig on March 20, expected to be fairly large in size, with others being planned at military detention facilities around the country for later dates).

how can the united states, with a straight face, lecture gadhafi about his treatment of his fellow citizens when we are doing the very same thing...?

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The fate of democracy is at stake in Madison, Wis., no less than it is in Tahrir Square

money = power = money = power...

noam chomsky...

Concentration of income confers political power, which in turn leads to legislation that further enhances the privilege of the super-rich: tax policies, deregulation, rules of corporate governance and much else.

Alongside this vicious cycle, costs of campaigning sharply increased, driving both political parties to cater to the corporate sector – the Republicans reflexively, and the Democrats (now pretty much equivalent to the moderate Republicans of earlier years) following not far behind.


Popular anger must be diverted from the agents of the financial crisis, who are profiting from it; for example, Goldman Sachs, “on track to pay out $17.5 billion in compensation for last year,” the business press reports, with CEO Lloyd Blankfein receiving a $12.6 million bonus while his base salary more than triples to $2 million.

Instead, propaganda must blame teachers and other public-sector workers with their fat salaries and exorbitant pensions – all a fabrication, on a model that is all too familiar. To Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker, to other Republicans and many Democrats, the slogan is that austerity must be shared – with some notable exceptions.

The propaganda has been fairly effective. Walker can count on at least a large minority to support his brazen effort to destroy the unions. Invoking the deficit as an excuse is pure farce.

In different ways, the fate of democracy is at stake in Madison, Wis., no less than it is in Tahrir Square.

for those of us who pay attention, chomsky's point has been abundantly clear for years... little to no daylight exists between republicans and democrats... both parties seek to be in power and getting that power, at least in our society as it's presently constructed, can only be accomplished with vast sums of money... where is the money...? concentrated in the hands of our super-rich elites... and there ya have it...

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

8.8 earthquake in Japan and a possible tsunami wave of 32 ft. [UPDATE: 8.9]

from the usgs...
Location38.322°N, 142.369°E
Depth24.4 km (15.2 miles) set by location program
Distances130 km (80 miles) E of Sendai, Honshu, Japan
178 km (110 miles) E of Yamagata, Honshu, Japan
178 km (110 miles) ENE of Fukushima, Honshu, Japan
373 km (231 miles) NE of TOKYO, Japan
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 13.5 km (8.4 miles); depth fixed by location program
ParametersNST=350, Nph=351, Dmin=416.3 km, Rmss=1.46 sec, Gp= 29°,
M-type="moment" magnitude from initial P wave (tsuboi method) (Mi/Mwp), Version=A
Tsunami Messages for All Regions (Past 30 days)

Image last created on Fri, 11 Mar 2011 06:35:27 UTC.

i just watched a clip on sky news showing the tsunami rushing overland and wiping out everything in its path...

from the huffpo...

Japan was struck by a magnitude-8.9 earthquake off its northeastern coast Friday, triggering a 13-foot (4-meter) tsunami that washed away cars and tore away buildings along the coast near the epicenter.

In various locations along Japan's coast, TV footage showed severe flooding, with dozens of cars, boats and even buildings being carried along by waters. A large ship swept away by the tsunami rammed directly into a breakwater in Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture, according to footage on public broadcaster NHK.

Officials were trying to assess possible damage from the quake but had no immediate details.

The quake that struck 2:46 p.m. was followed by a series of aftershocks, including a 7.4-magnitude one about 30 minutes later. The U.S. Geological Survey upgraded the strength of the first quake to a magnitude 8.9.

The meteorological agency issued a tsunami warning for the entire Pacific coast of Japan. National broadcaster NHK was warning those near the coast to get to safer ground.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said a tsunami warning was in effect for Japan, Russia, Marcus Island and the Northern Marianas. A tsunami watch has been issued for Guam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia and the U.S. state of Hawaii.

an 8.9 magnitude earthquake is almost beyond comprehension...

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Rachel Maddow | Michael Moore: The Rich and the GOP Are Destroying America's Working Class

via truthout...

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

yep, that's what it's all about...

john nichols adds his thoughts...

Wisconsin State Representative Mark Pocan, the former co-chair of the legislature's powerful Joint Finance Committee, says he is starting to feel as if he lives in a “third world junta.”
The crowd inside the State Capitol after
protesters stormed the building on Wednesday

(MIKE DEVRIES — The Capital Times )

Wisconsin State Senator Bob Jauch, a senior Democrat, says that what he is witnessing feels like “a coup.”

Marty Beil, the head of the AFSCME Council 24, the state’s largest public employee union, said Wisconsin had been turned into “a banana republic.”

And thousands of Wisconsinites, men and women, adults and their children, public employees and private-sector workers, have poured into the state Capitol in Madison, shouting: “Shame! Shame! Shame!”

There were 7,000 people outside the Capitol at some points during night, and thousands inside.

At the close of one of the most remarkable days in American political history, a state once regarded as among the most enlightened and progressive in the nation finds itself ruled by rogue Republican operatives whose disregard for rules – and the popular will – is so extreme that the longest serving legislator in the nation, Wisconsin State Senator Fred Risser, a Madison Democrat, says: “They have not just bent the law. They have broken it.”

Risser is right. After weeks of intense debate inside and outside the Capitol, and at a point when most Wisconsinites thought a compromise was in the offering, Republican legislative leaders suddenly announced that they would pass the most draconian components of Governor Scott Walker’s budget repair bill – including a move to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights.

yes... shame, shame, shame...

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Just one of those SSDD days...

ennui catches up with me every now and then... guess it's just an occupational hazard when i spend as much time as i do keeping up with the state of the world...

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Using the economic crisis the super-rich elites created to further enrich and empower the super-rich elites

among other tactics, the possibility of privatizing municipalities by fiat...

from democracy now...

As a wave of anti-union bills are introduced across the country in the wake of Wall Street financial crisis, many analysts are picking up on the theory that award-winning journalist and author Naomi Klein first argued in her 2007 best-selling book, "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism." In the book, she reveals how those in power use times of crisis to push through undemocratic and extreme free market economic policies. Democracy Now! interviews Naomi Klein to discuss how the shock doctrine is being used by politicians pushing drastic cuts and reforms as a response to the financial crisis.

Naomi Klein on Anti-Union & Budget "Crisis" Bills and Shock Doctrine American-Style, Part 1

Naomi Klein on Anti-Union & Budget "Crisis" Bills and Shock Doctrine American-Style, Part 2

klein's point is very well-taken... this coup d'etat cannot be fought on a partisan basis... both the dems and the repubs are in cahoots here and it's clear that aligning with a party is only enabling the rape and pillage to continue...

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Here's a headline that is false on its face

ya gotta get a little perspective here... what if the headline read "hearings on 'catholics' in america will be fair," or "hearings on 'japanese' in america will be fair," or "hearings on 'italians' in america will be fair" or "hearings on 'jews' in america will be fair"... don't you think that might rub a few people the wrong way...?
King: Hearings on Muslims in America will be fair

The Republican congressman who has organized controversial hearings into radical Islam called Muslims "part of the mosaic" of America Wednesday and said they shouldn't feel threatened or intimidated by his inquiry.

"If there is going to be animosity, I would blame it on my opponents," Rep. Peter King said in a nationally broadcast interview.

having a "hearing" on any minority group and characterizing it as "fair" is almost a contradiction in terms...

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Tunisia now freer than the U.S...? Arguably, yes...

as juan cole points out in the headline of his blog post...

It’s Official: Tunisia Now Freer than the U.S.

Posted on 03/08/2011 by Juan

Tunisian Prime Minister Béji Caïd Essebsi announced on Monday the dissolution of the country’s secret police arm. This step toward democracy is the most important taken by any Arab country for decades.

Tunisia’s interim government also abolished the ‘Ministry of Information,’ which had been in charge of censorship, allowing a free press to flourish. Of course censorship, especially habits of self–censorship, does not actually disappear with the stroke of a pen. Employees of state t.v. have struck recently to protest what they consider government censorship of their news reports.

An Arab country with neither secret police nor censorship is unprecedented in recent decades. Tunisia is inspiring similar demands in Egypt and Jordan. When skeptics wonder if the Revolutions of 2011 would really change anything essential in the region, they would be wise to keep an eye on these two developments in Tunisia, which, if consolidated, would represent an epochal transformation of culture and politics.


Arguably, Tunisians are now freer than Americans. The US government thinks our private emails are actually public. The FBI and NSA routinely read our email and they and other branches of the US government issue security letters in the place of warrants allowing them to tap phones and monitor whom we call, and even to call up our library records and conduct searches of our homes without telling us about it. Millions of telephone records were turned over to George W. Bush by our weaselly telecom companies. Courts allow government agents to sneak onto our property and put GPS tracking devices under our automobiles without so much as a warrant or even probable cause. Mr. Obama thinks this way of proceeding is a dandy idea.

The Fourth Amendment is on the verge of vanishing, and this attack on the Constitution is being abetted by pusillanimous and corrupt judges and fascistic elements in our national security apparatus. Freedom of peaceable assembly is also being whittled away in the United States of America via devices such as ‘free speech zones;’ the founding generation intended that the whole of the United States be a free speech zone. Many of the protests in the Middle East being cheered on by Americans would be illegal in this country.

Tunisian secret police dismantled

we've been watching our supposedly constitutionally-guaranteed civil liberties being eroded for quite some time...

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Meanwhile, Egyptians are busy documenting their fallen government's use of torture

do you think we in the u.s. could take a lesson here...?
With Mubarak out of power, Egyptians turned today on the brutal State Security Services he used to cement his reign. Thousands of protestors stormed the agency's main headquarters in Cairo, ransacking offices and searching for evidence of Mubarak's wrongdoing among classified documents. This is basically like if Americans were given free reign at the FBI's HQ.

The State Security Services were responsible for some of the worst human rights abuses during Mubrarak's 30-year rule, according to the AP. "We all suffered and saw horrible torture at the hands of this agency," one protestor said. And many of those who raided the agency's offices today were victims of abuse.

not only did they raid the headquarters of the state security services, they also documented everything they found, posting it on social networking sites... NOW, it's getting really REAL...!

again, scott horton...

This weekend tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators in Egypt [flooded] the Internet with pictures of the cells and torture devices used there. Leaders of the effort said their raid was undertaken to preserve evidence of the mistreatment of prisoners so that appropriate measures could be taken for accountability in the future. Around the world, the outcry against this regime of torture and terror is rising and fueling massive public uprisings–as we see today in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen.

here's a photo gallery... like scott says, what if the american people could do the same at fbi headquarters...

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Why is Bradley Manning being subjected to abuse

scott horton at harpers via information clearing house...
Department of Defense spokesmen have insisted that Manning is “being treated just like every other detainee in the brig.” They have responded to questions about the enforced nudity regime by stating that “the circumstances required that his clothing be removed as a precaution to ensure that he didn’t harm himself.” But Manning’s treatment bears no comparison with that of other prisoners at Quantico, and the idea that enforced nudity is appropriate as a special suicide regime for a prisoner classified by the camp psychiatrist as non-suicidal is equally suspect.

Manning’s special regime raises concerns that abusive techniques adopted by the Bush Administration for use on alleged terrorists are being applied to a U.S. citizen and soldier. Classified Defense Department documents furnish an alternative explanation for the use of enforced nudity: “In addition to degradation of the detainee, stripping can be used to demonstrate the omnipotence of the captor or to debilitate the detainee.” Other documents detail how enforced nudity and the isolation techniques being applied to Manning can be used to prepare the prisoner to be more submissive to interrogators in connection with questioning.

Department of Defense General Counsel Jeh Johnson, speaking to the New York City Bar Association last week, acknowledged the concerns raised about Manning’s detention and stated that he had personally traveled to Quantico to conduct an investigation. However, Johnson was remarkably unforthcoming about what he discovered and what conclusions he drew from his visit. Hopefully Johnson is giving careful thought to the gravity of the deviation from accepted U.S. practices that the Manning case presents. Under established rules of international humanitarian law, the detention practices that a state adopts for its own soldiers are acceptable standards for use by a foreign power detaining that state’s soldiers in wartime. So by creating a “special regime” for Bradley Manning, the Department of Defense is also authorizing all the bizarre practices to which he is being subject to be applied to American soldiers, sailors, and airmen taken prisoner in future conflicts. This casual disregard for the rights of American service personnel could have terrible ramifications in the future. The recent dismissal and replacement of the Quantico brig commander may well reflect a critical attitude within the Pentagon towards the special regime for Manning, but more recent developments, including the regime of enforced nudity, offset that.

i continue to be appalled by the stunning disregard our government displays for basic human rights... how can we dare preach human rights to the rest of the world when we simply refuse to walk our talk...?

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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Glenn: Obama's Executive Order only reinforces what he's done from the start of his Presidency

what with the time zone difference, i didn't get to see glenn's response to the new obama executive order on military tribunals and guantánamo until this morning but it's pretty much as i expected...
Obama -- for reasons having nothing to do with Congress -- worked from the start to preserve the crux of the Bush/Cheney detention regime. Even with these new added levels of detention review (all inside the Executive Branch), this new Executive Order is little more than a by-product of that core commitment, and those blaming it on Congress either have little idea what they're talking about or are simply fabricating excuses in order to justify yet another instance where Obama dutifully "bolsters" the Bush War on Terror template. Indefinite detention and military commissions are continuing because Obama worked from the start for that goal -- not because Congress forced him to do so.

As as happened over and over, while progressives and civil libertarians are furious about the new Order, former Bush officials and right-wing Warriors are ecstatic. The anti-Muslim McCarthyite Rep. Peter King (R-NY) issued a statement this morning, as quoted by The Post, which lavished Obama with praise: "I commend the Obama Administration for issuing this Executive Order. The bottom line is that it affirms the Bush Administration policy that our government has the right to detain dangerous terrorists until the cessation of hostilities." That perfectly captures the legacy of Barack Obama on civil liberties.

somewhere in a corner of my heart, i keep wanting to believe in obama but my conscious, rational mind has long since despaired of him take action on making things right, things that so desperately need to be made right...

i guess i share matt damon's disillusionment...

Matt Damon: Obama Has 'Rolled Over To Wall Street Completely'


"I think he's rolled over to Wall Street completely. The economy has huge problems. We still have all these banks that are too big to fail. They're bigger and making more money than ever," Damon said in an interview with the U.K.'s Independent.

Damon also zeroed in on the Bush tax Cuts that Obama recently extended, a move which has been met with significant criticism.

yes, rolling over to wall street is a huge issue but the disregard for the constitution and civil liberties is flouting the essence of who we are as a nation...

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Seeing Islam in a different light - FINALLY...!

The Disappearance of the Nightmare Arab
How a Revolution of Hope Is Changing the Way Americans Look at Islam

Perhaps the two biggest surprises of all here: out of a culture that has notoriously disempowered women has sprung a protest movement rife with female leadership, while a religion regarded as inherently incompatible with democratic ideals has been the context from which comes an unprecedented outbreak of democratic hope. And make no mistake: the Muslim religion is essential to what has been happening across the Middle East, even without Islamic “fanatics” chanting hate-filled slogans.

Without such fanatics, who in the West knows what this religion actually looks like?

In fact, its clearest image has been there on our television screens again and again. In this period of transformation, every week has been punctuated with the poignant formality of Friday prayers, including broadcast scenes of masses of Muslims prostrate in orderly rows across vast squares in every contested Arab capital. Young and old, illiterate and tech savvy, those in flowing robes and those in tight blue jeans have been alike in such observances. From mosque pulpits have come fiery denunciations of despotism and corruption, but no blood-thirst and none of the malicious Imams who so haunt the nightmares of Europeans and Americans.

Yet sacrosanct Fridays have consistently seen decisive social action, with resistant regimes typically getting the picture on subsequent weekends. (The Tunisian prime minister, a holdover from the toppled regime of autocrat Zine Ben Ali, for example, resigned on the last Sunday in February.) These outcomes have been sparked not only by preaching, but by the mosque-inspired cohesion of a collectivity that finds no contradiction between piety and political purpose; religion, that is, has been a source of resolve.

It’s an irony, then, that Western journalists, always so quick to tie bad Muslim behavior to religion, have rushed to term this good Muslim behavior “secular.” In a word wielded by the New York Times, Islam is now considered little but an “afterthought” to the revolution. In this, the media is simply wrong. The protests, demonstrations, and uprisings that have swept across the Middle East have visibly built their foundations on the irreducible sense of self-worth that, for believers, comes from a felt closeness to God, who is as near to each person -- as the Qu’ran says -- as his or her own jugular vein. The call to prayer is a five-times-daily reminder of that infinite individual dignity.

it's about time somebody pointed out a few fundamental facts... islam is NOT a religion of fanaticism... the qu'ran's basic message is respect, compassion and service to your fellow man, all conducted from a peaceful mindset... the demonization of muslims and the religion of islam in general is a particularly vile and narrow point of view... it's absolutely equivalent to painting all christians with the same brush because of the extremist, violent actions of an abortion clinic bomber...

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Statement from The Constitution Project on resuming Guantánamo tribunals [UPDATE]

the obama administration sinks ever lower...
White House Says Military Tribunals Can Resume at Guantánamo

President Barack Obama issued an order on Monday approving
the resumption of military trials for detainees at Guantánamo
Bay, Cuba, The Associated Press reported.

The order ends a two-year ban on new cases. President Obama
took office promising to close the detention center and
prosecute suspects held there in domestic civilian courts,
but the plan was blocked by controversies over where to hold
the suspects and try them.

the constitution project responds...
The Constitution Project (TCP) issued a statement in reaction to the release of an executive order that would establish a regular review process for Guantánamo detainees who will not be released or tried, and an order to Secretary Gates to refer new charges to the military commissions system.

According to TCP Policy Counsel Mason C. Clutter, "Continuing to arbitrarily hold the detainees without charge for an indefinite period of time is inconsistent with our Constitution and the rule of law. While creating a system of periodic review for the Guantánamo detainees whose habeas petitions have been denied is a welcome improvement over current circumstances, the remaining detainees must be held in a manner consistent with the law of war, brought before a court to face criminal charges, or released. These are the only options available to us that are consistent with our constitutional obligations."

Ms. Clutter further observed, "TCP is pleased that President Obama remains committed to using Article III courts, but is very disappointed that he has decided to give new life to the military commissions without proceeding with parallel prosecutions in our proven civilian criminal justice system. Our civilian criminal justice system remains the most effective tool in America's fight against terrorism, with a track record of handling more than 400 terrorism related cases compared to only 6 cases completed in the military commissions. We urge the President and Congress to work together to repeal current legislation and prevent future legislation that would prohibit the administration from using civilian criminal courts."

In 2009, TCP released Beyond Guantánamo: A Bipartisan Declaration advocating for the use of our traditional federal criminal courts to try the remaining Guantánamo detainees and opposing a system of indefinite detention without charge. The bipartisan Declaration was signed by nearly 140 prominent experts, including former federal judges, prosecutors, diplomats, military and intelligence leaders, and 9/11 victim family members.

i'm sure glenn will weigh in soon and, when he does, i will post an update...


while we're waiting for glenn, here's marcy's take...

If detaining someone indefinitely is “necessary to protect against a significant threat to the security of the United States,” Obama says, he can do it.

So I say, fine! Let’s indefinitely detain the banksters that crashed our entire economy. They fairly routinely hold the workers and taxpayers of this country hostage these days, just like terrorists do. And when you account for the number of people they’ve left homeless and hungry, the damage they have done may well surpass that of the attack on 9/11. Clearly, the banksters are a “significant threat to the security of the United States”–they’re the biggest threat to the security of the US. And the genius of Obama’s EO is it doesn’t even require the detainees, themselves, represent a threat. Rather, if their detention is necessitated by the security threat, we can detain them. We don’t have to trouble with sorting the good banksters, like Jamie Dimon, from the bad banksters, like Dick Fuld. We can detain them all, just to make sure we don’t accidentally miss any. (Sorry Bill, we can’t take any risks, so this includes you too!)

Simple as that. Our biggest security threat solved!

indefinitely detain the banksters...?!?!? wow...! i LIKE it...!

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More public protests that don't seem to be "newsworthy" enough to merit national coverage

people are crying out for accountability while our traditional news media look the other way...
A coalition of watchdogs and activists released a new report revealing how the wealthiest bailed-out banks have caused the current economic crisis by dodging taxes, and hundreds of demonstrators rallied in Washington, DC, to demand the attorneys general of all 50 states file criminal charges against banks that are suspected of committing foreclosure fraud during the nation's housing crisis.

At least 600 demonstrators gathered outside the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) spring meeting to demand tough settlements on foreclosure fraud cases resulting from a NAAG investigation into several banks' practice of signing foreclosure documents without checking for accuracy - a practice the NAAG calls "robo-signing."

The demonstrators - many of them homeowners - also occupied and successfully shut down a Bank of America branch before occupying the offices of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

National Peoples Action Shuts Down
Bank Of America Branch

little by little, the country is awakening from a very long slumber...

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Monday, March 07, 2011

War crimes and whistleblowers

yeah... medea benjamin and charles davis make an excellent point: god help anyone who dares to speak out about the horrors and outrages being perpetrated by our esteemed leaders... but if you're one of the ones who have committed those horrors and and outrages, feel free to cash in...
[Bradley Manning] allegedly leaked tens of thousands of State Department cables to the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks. These cables show U.S. officials covering up everything from U.S. tax dollars funding child rape in Afghanistan to illegal, unauthorized bombings in Yemen. Manning is also accused of leaking video evidence of U.S. pilots gunning down more than a dozen Iraqis in Baghdad, including two journalists for Reuters, and then killing a father of two who stopped to help them. The father's two young children were also severely wounded.

“Well, it's their fault for bringing kids into a battle,” a not-terribly-remorseful U.S. pilot can be heard remarking in the July 2007 “Collateral Murder” video.

None of the soldiers who carried out that war crime have been punished, nor have any of the high-ranking officials who authorized it. Indeed, committing war crimes is more likely to get a solider a medal than a prison term. And authorizing them? Well, that'll get you a book deal and a six-digit speaking fee. Just ask George W. Bush. Or Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld or Condoleezza Rice. Or the inexplicably “respectable” Colin Powell.

so sad...

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Sunday, March 06, 2011

Michael Moore's view of Madison

looks like michael moore has a lot more three-dimensional, human perspective on what's taking place in wisconsin than we're getting via our esteemed news media...

first, his speech...

now, the background...
How I Got to Madison, Wisconsin ...a letter from Michael Moore

Sunday, March 6th, 2011


Early yesterday morning, around 1:00 AM, I had finished work for the day on my current "project" (top secret for now -- sorry, no spoiler alerts!). Someone had sent me a link to a discussion Bill O'Reilly had had with Sarah Palin a few hours earlier about my belief that the money the 21st Century rich have absconded with really isn't theirs -- and that a vast chunk of it should be taken away from them.

They were referring to comments I had made earlier in the week on a small cable show called GRITtv (Part 1 and Part 2). I honestly didn't know this was going to air that night (I had been asked to stop by and say a few words of support for a nurses union video), but I spoke from my heart about the millions of our fellow Americans who have had their homes and jobs stolen from them by a criminal class of millionaires and billionaires. It was the morning after the Oscars, at which the winner of Best Documentary for "Inside Job" stood at the microphone and declared, "I must start by pointing out that three years after our horrific financial crisis caused by financial fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail. And that's wrong." And he was applauded for saying this. (When did they stop booing Oscar speeches? Damn!)

So GRITtv ran my comments -- and all week the right wingopoly has been upset over what I said: That the money that the rich have stolen (or not paid taxes on) belongs to the American people. Drudge/Limbaugh/Beck and even Donald Trump went nuts, calling me names and suggesting I move to Cuba.

So in the wee hours of yesterday morning I sat down to write an answer to them. By 3:00 AM, it had turned into more of a manifesto of class war -- or, I should say, a manifesto against the class war the rich have been conducting on the American people for the past 30 years. I read it aloud to myself to see how it sounded (trying not to wake anyone else in the apartment) and then -- and this is why no one should be up at 3:00 AM -- the crazy kicked in: I needed to get in the car and drive to Madison and give this speech.

I went online to get directions and saw that there was no official big rally planned like the one they had last Saturday and will have again next Saturday. Just the normal ongoing demonstration and occupation of the State Capitol that's been in process since February 12th (the day after Mubarak was overthrown in Egypt) to protest the Republican governor's move to kill the state's public unions.

So, it's three in the morning and I'm a thousand miles from Madison and I see that the open microphone for speakers starts at noon. Hmm. No time to drive from New York. I was off to the airport. I left a note on the kitchen table saying I'd be back at 9:00 PM. Called a friend and asked him if he wanted to meet me at the Delta counter. Called the guy who manages my website, woke him up, and asked him to track down the coordinators in Madison and tell them I'm on my way and would like to say a few words if possible -- "but tell them if they've got other plans or no room for me, I'll be happy just to stand there holding a sign and singing Solidarity Forever."

So I just showed up. The firefighters, hearing I'm there, ask me to lead their protest parade through downtown Madison. I march with them, along with John Nichols (who lives in Madison and writes for the Nation). Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin and the great singer Michelle Shocked have also decided to show up.

The scene in Madison is nothing like what they are showing you on TV or in the newspaper. First, you notice that the whole town is behind this. Yard signs and signs in store windows are everywhere supporting public workers. There are thousands of people out just randomly lining the streets for the six blocks leading to the Capitol building carrying signs, shouting and cheering and cajoling. Then there are stages and friendly competing demos on all sides of the building (yesterday's total estimate of people was 50,000-70,000, the smallest one yet)! A big semi truck has been sent by James Hoffa of the Teamsters and is parked like a don't-even-think-of-effing-with-us Sherman tank on the street in front of the Capitol. There is a long line -- separate from these other demonstrations -- of 4,000 people, waiting their turn to get through the only open door to the Capitol so they can join the occupation inside.

And inside the Rotunda is ... well, it will bring tears to your eyes if you go there. It's like a shrine to working people -- to what America is and should be about -- packed with families and kids and so many senior citizens that it made me happy for science and its impact on life expectancy over the past century. There were grandmas and great-grandpas who remember FDR and Wisconsin's La Follette and the long view of this struggle. Standing in that Rotunda was like a religious experience. There had been nothing like it, for me, in decades.

And so it was in this setting, out of doors now on the steps of the Capitol, with so many people in front of me that I couldn't see where they ended, that I just "showed up" and gave a speech that felt unlike any other I had ever given. As I had just written it and had no time to memorize it, I read from the pages I brought with me. I wanted to make sure that the words I had chosen were clear and exact. I knew they had the potential to drive the haters into a rabid state (not a pretty sight) but I also feared that the Right's wealthy patrons would see a need to retaliate should these words be met with citizen action across the land. I was, after all, putting them on notice: We are coming after you, we are stopping you and we are going to return the money/jobs/homes you stole from the people. You have gone too far. It's too bad you couldn't have been satisfied with making millions, you had to have billions -- and now you want to strip us of our ability to talk and bargain and provide. This is your tipping point, Wall Street; your come-to-Jesus moment, Corporate America. And I'm glad I'm going to be able to be a witness to it.

You can find the written version of my speech on my website. Please read it and pass it around far and wide. You can also watch a video of me giving the spoken version from the Capitol steps by clicking here. I will be sending you a second email shortly with just the speech so you can forward a clean version of it without the above story of how I abandoned my family in the middle of the night to go to Wisconsin for the day.

I can't express enough the level of admiration I have for the people of Wisconsin who, for three weeks, have braved the brutal winter cold and taken over their state Capitol. All told, literally hundreds of thousands of people have made their way to Madison to make their voices heard. It all began with high school students cutting class and marching on the building (you can read their reports on my High School Newspaper site). Then their parents joined them. Then 14 brave Democratic state senators left the state so the governor wouldn't have his quorum.

And all this while the White House was trying to stop this movement (read this)!

But it didn't matter. The People's train had left the station. And now protests were springing up in all 50 states.

The media has done a poor job covering this (imagine a takeover of the government HQ in any other country, free or totalitarian -- our media would be all over it). But this one scares them and their masters -- as it should. The organizers told me this morning that my showing up got them more coverage yesterday than they would have had, "a shot in the arm that we needed to keep momentum going." Well, I'm glad I could help. But they need a lot more than just me -- and they need you doing similar things in your own states and towns.

How 'bout it? I know you know this: This is our moment. Let's seize it. Everyone can do something.

Michael Moore

P.S. This local Madison paper/blog captured best what happened yesterday, and got what I'm really up to. Someone please send this to O'Reilly and Palin so there's no mistaking my true intentions.

P.P.S. Full disclosure: I am a proud union member of four unions: the Directors Guild, the Writers Guild, the Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA (the last two have passed resolutions supporting the workers in Wisconsin). My production company has signed union contracts with five unions (and soon to be a 6th). All my full-time employees have full medical and dental insurance with NO DEDUCTIBLE. So, yes, I'm biased.

yes, EVERYONE can do something...

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Yeah, boomers (like me) aren't going to sit still for Social Security and Medicare rape and pillage

Madison a Foretaste of Things to Come: the Next Big Occupation Could be Boomers Taking Over the Capitol Buildingra

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South Africa Sunday photo and YouTube blogging: the Hadada Ibis right off my terrace

i had heard the squawking call of what i had presumed to be a species of crow or raven several times yesterday but had never caught sight of the source... yesterday afternoon, i was kicking back with the terrace door wide open and was startled by the same call, only this time very close... i grabbed the camera and carefully made my way out on the terrace to find this interesting bird systematically hunting grubs and worms in the grass...

Hadada Ibis

i had never seen a bird like it and was fascinated watching it go about its business... i noticed that any movement i made caught its eye prompting it to once again make its distinctive screech... i was able to catch it on this youtube clip...

this morning, i resolved to find out what kind of bird it was and came across this wikipedia entry and photo...


The Hadada is a large (about 76 cm long), dark brown ibis with a white "moustache", glossy greenish purple wings, a large black bill with a red stripe on the upper mandible, and blackish legs. It has a distinctively loud and recognisable haa-haa-haa-de-dah call that is often heard when the birds are flying or are startled, hence the name. The Hadada Ibis is found throughout open grasslands, savanna and wetlands of Sudan, Ethiopia, Senegal, Uganda, Tanzania, Gabon, Zaire, Cameroon, Gambia, Kenya, Somalia and South Africa. It can also be seen in urban parks and large gardens.

lots of new things for me to see if i keep my eyes open...

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