Blog Flux Directory Subscribe in NewsGator Online Subscribe with Bloglines Blog directory
And, yes, I DO take it personally: 03/20/2011 - 03/27/2011
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!
"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
- Noam Chomsky
Send tips and other comments to:

And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, March 26, 2011

More than 250,000 march in London "to let them know this is wrong"

this is what the "will of the people" looks like...

Commander Bob Broadhurst of the Metropolitan Police confirmed that more than 250,000 people had marched peacefully...


Britain is facing 80 billion pounds ($130 billion) of public spending cuts from Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition government as it struggles to get the country's large budget deficit under control. The government has already raised sales tax, but Britons are bracing for big cuts to public spending.

After the country spent billions bailing out indebted banks, and suffered a squeeze on tax revenue and an increase in welfare bills, Treasury chief George Osborne has staked the coalition government's future on tough economic remedies. [emphasis added]

As many as half a million public sector jobs will be lost, about 18 billion ($28.5 billion) axed from welfare payments and the pension age raised to 66 by 2020, earlier than previously planned.

The TUC, the main umbrella body for British unions, says it believes the cuts will threaten the country's economic recovery, and has urged the government to create new taxes for banks and to close loopholes that allow some companies to pay less tax — an argument that chimes with many of the protesters.

"They shouldn't be taking money from public services. What have we done to deserve this?" said Alison Foster, a 53-year-old school teacher. "Yes, they are making vicious cuts. That's why I'm marching, to let them know this is wrong."

it IS wrong... it's wrong in the uk, it's wrong in greece and it's wrong here in the u.s... our super-rich elites are sucking up power and money in staggering amounts, governments throw even more money at them so they don't have to live with the consequences of their own excesses, and us poor miserable slobs are the ones who have to pay...? fuck, no...! screw 'em...!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

This is just plain disgusting and completely uncalled for


Top Bush-era GITMO and Abu Ghraib psychologist is WH's newest appointment

what in the freakin' hell is obama thinking...? oh, never mind... he's has long since lost whatever scraps of confidence in him i might have been desperately clinging to...

p.s. in an update, glenn offers this...

"Dr. James has not been appointed to serve in any capacity with the White House."

maybe dr. james is a legend in his own mind...?

Labels: , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Saturday videoblogging: celestial beauty

not mine but wish it was... one of my lifelong dreams is to see the aurora borealis as vividly as this... i've seen it only a couple of times, once faintly in the skies above the twin cities and once fairly clearly from the window of an airplane flying from dallas to minneapolis... just imagine seeing it like this...

The Aurora from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

it's stunning natural beauty like this that reminds me of what's really important in life and helps me transcend the human-generated bullshit that rains down continuously...

Labels: ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 1 comments

Juan Cole has a run-down on the escalating events in the Middle East

All Hell Breaks Loose in the Middle East

Labels: , , , ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Yep, we're totally off the rails

sometimes, despite thinking that i'm staying on top of what's going on in the world, i suddenly discover that a huge fact has entirely escaped my attention... for instance, i didn't know that bob herbert was leaving the nyt...
This is my last column for The New York Times after an exhilarating, nearly 18-year run. I’m off to write a book and expand my efforts on behalf of working people, the poor and others who are struggling in our society. My thanks to all the readers who have been so kind to me over the years. I can be reached going forward at

while i haven't been a regular reader of his column, i have most certainly been aware that, in contrast to most of his media colleagues who merely serve as mouthpieces for our super-rich elites, bob herbert has consistently spoken out for the huddling masses, us poor slobs who have to work for a living, and all those who struggle to put a roof over the heads of their families, clothes on their backs and food on the table... his voice will be sorely missed at a newspaper that badly needs it...

at least he went out with a bang so, in clear violation of fair use and with the conscious intent of sticking my admittedly very impotent finger in the eye of the nyt and its new and - hopefully - epically disastrous firewall, here's the whole column...

Welcome to America in the second decade of the 21st century. An army of long-term unemployed workers is spread across the land, the human fallout from the Great Recession and long years of misguided economic policies. Optimism is in short supply. The few jobs now being created too often pay a pittance, not nearly enough to pry open the doors to a middle-class standard of living.

Arthur Miller, echoing the poet Archibald MacLeish, liked to say that the essence of America was its promises. That was a long time ago. Limitless greed, unrestrained corporate power and a ferocious addiction to foreign oil have led us to an era of perpetual war and economic decline. Young people today are staring at a future in which they will be less well off than their elders, a reversal of fortune that should send a shudder through everyone.

The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely.

Nearly 14 million Americans are jobless and the outlook for many of them is grim. Since there is just one job available for every five individuals looking for work, four of the five are out of luck. Instead of a land of opportunity, the U.S. is increasingly becoming a place of limited expectations. A college professor in Washington told me this week that graduates from his program were finding jobs, but they were not making very much money, certainly not enough to think about raising a family.

There is plenty of economic activity in the U.S., and plenty of wealth. But like greedy children, the folks at the top are seizing virtually all the marbles. Income and wealth inequality in the U.S. have reached stages that would make the third world blush. As the Economic Policy Institute has reported, the richest 10 percent of Americans received an unconscionable 100 percent of the average income growth in the years 2000 to 2007, the most recent extended period of economic expansion.

Americans behave as if this is somehow normal or acceptable. It shouldn’t be, and didn’t used to be. Through much of the post-World War II era, income distribution was far more equitable, with the top 10 percent of families accounting for just a third of average income growth, and the bottom 90 percent receiving two-thirds. That seems like ancient history now.

The current maldistribution of wealth is also scandalous. In 2009, the richest 5 percent claimed 63.5 percent of the nation’s wealth. The overwhelming majority, the bottom 80 percent, collectively held just 12.8 percent.

This inequality, in which an enormous segment of the population struggles while the fortunate few ride the gravy train, is a world-class recipe for social unrest. Downward mobility is an ever-shortening fuse leading to profound consequences.

A stark example of the fundamental unfairness that is now so widespread was in The New York Times on Friday under the headline: “G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether.” Despite profits of $14.2 billion — $5.1 billion from its operations in the United States — General Electric did not have to pay any U.S. taxes last year.

As The Times’s David Kocieniewski reported, “Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore.”

G.E. is the nation’s largest corporation. Its chief executive, Jeffrey Immelt, is the leader of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. You can understand how ordinary workers might look at this cozy corporate-government arrangement and conclude that it is not fully committed to the best interests of working people.

Overwhelming imbalances in wealth and income inevitably result in enormous imbalances of political power. So the corporations and the very wealthy continue to do well. The employment crisis never gets addressed. The wars never end. And nation-building never gets a foothold here at home.

New ideas and new leadership have seldom been more urgently needed.

yeah, ok... i chickened out... i left off the first paragraph... HAHAHAHAHA...!

god bless you, bob herbert...

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ennui - I can't seem to get away from it

too much shit and a severe lack of anything resembling good news...

Labels: , , ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Thursday, March 24, 2011

With a "stroke of the pen," the right to be Mirandized disappears (if you're a domestic terrorism suspect)

the obama administration is out of control...


Today, the Obama DOJ unveiled the latest -- and one of the most significant -- examples of its eagerness to assault the very legal values Obama vowed to protect. The Wall Street Journal reports that "new rules allow investigators to hold domestic-terror suspects longer than others without giving them a Miranda warning, significantly expanding exceptions to the instructions that have governed the handling of criminal suspects for more than four decades." The only previous exception to the 45-year-old Miranda requirement that someone in custody be apprised of their rights occurred in 1984, when the Rehnquist-led right-wing faction of the Supreme Court allowed delay "only in cases of an imminent safety threat," but these new rules promulgated by the Obama DOJ "give interrogators more latitude and flexibility to define what counts as an appropriate circumstance to waive Miranda rights."

For that reason, the WSJ is surely correct when it calls these new guidelines "one of the Obama administration's most significant revisions to rules governing the investigation of terror suspects in the U.S." Note that, in 7 years of prosecuting the War on Terror after 9/11, the Bush administration never tried to dilute Miranda guidelines (though doing so for them was irrelevant because they simply imprisoned even American citizens (such as Jose Padilla) without any charges or due process of any kind).


Although the DOJ memo is not public -- the WSJ saw a copy of it -- this presumably means that the dilution of Miranda applies to non-citizens and U.S. citizens alike, including those captured on American soil. In other words, with the sweep of a unilateral pen, Miranda simply no longer compels the government to read you your rights if you are accused of involvement in Terrorism and FBI agents unilaterally decide that it shouldn't.

every day, another pillar of our cherished constitutional rights falls...

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Helen Thomas on Al Jazeera [UPDATE & BUMPED]

[originally posted on 3/21/11]

i'm watching riz khan interviewing helen thomas right now on al jazeera english... it's very good... you can watch here... i will post the youtube video as soon as it's put up...


i've been looking and looking for the al jazeera youtube clip and i can't come up with it... what i did manage to find is this clip from the real news in which she says pretty much what i saw her say on al jazeera... i'll keep looking for the al jazeera clip...

Labels: , , ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 1 comments

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A humanitarian military intervention in Libya...? Glenn: "Please."

glenn has the same visceral reaction to glaring hypocrisy that i do...
[W]hat I cannot understand at all is how people are willing to believe that the U.S. Government is deploying its military and fighting this war because, out of abundant humanitarianism, it simply cannot abide internal repression, tyranny and violence against one's own citizens. This is the same government that enthusiastically supports and props up regimes around the world that do exactly that, and that have done exactly that for decades.

By all accounts, one of the prime administration advocates for this war was Hillary Clinton; she's the same person who, just two years ago, said this about the torture-loving Egyptian dictator: "I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family." They're the same people overseeing multiple wars that routinely result in all sorts of atrocities. They are winking and nodding to their Yemeni, Bahraini and Saudi friends who are doing very similar things to what Gadaffi is doing, albeit (for now) on a smaller scale. They just all suddenly woke up one day and decided to wage war in an oil-rich Muslim nation because they just can't stand idly by and tolerate internal repression and violence against civilians? Please.

yep... where's our "humanitarian intervention" in gaza...? ivory coast...? equatorial guinea...? nothing like displaying our true colors for all the world to see and, believe me, they see them... here in the u.s., we may allow ourselves to be deluded by the constant barrage of media and government propaganda, but most of the rest of the world gets it and stands by in amazement that we don't - or won't...

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 2 comments

Yes, it's more than "merely" torture, it's full-bore exploitation

a special report from truthout reveals the full extent of the CIA/DoD torture program...

retired air force capt. michael kearns was party to the hiring of dr. john bruce jessen, the psychologist who was under contract to the CIA and credited as being one of the architects of the government's top-secret torture program... kearns is interviewed in this truthout investigative report...

The CIA/DoD torture program appears to have the same goals as the terrorist organizations or enemy governments for which SV-91 and other SERE courses were created to defend against: the full exploitation of the prisoner in his intelligence, propaganda, or other needs held by the detaining power, such as the recruitment of informers and double agents. Those aspects of the US detainee program have not generally been discussed as part of the torture story in the American press.

jessen describes his techniques...
"From the moment you are detained (if some kind of exploitation is your Detainer's goal) everything your Detainer does will be contrived to bring about these factors: CONTROL, DEPENDENCY, COMPLIANCE AND COOPERATION," Jessen wrote. "Your detainer will work to take away your sense of control. This will be done mostly by removing external control (i.e., sleep, food, communication, personal routines etc. )…Your detainer wants you to feel 'EVERYTHING' is dependent on him, from the smallest detail, (food, sleep, human interaction), to your release or your very life … Your detainer wants you to comply with everything he wishes. He will attempt to make everything from personal comfort to your release unavoidably connected to compliance in your mind."

Jessen wrote that cooperation is the "end goal" of the detainer, who wants the detainee "to see that [the detainer] has 'total' control of you because you are completely dependent on him, and thus you must comply with his wishes. Therefore, it is absolutely inevitable that you must cooperate with him in some way (propaganda, special favors, confession, etc.)."

Jessen described the kinds of pressures that would be exerted on the prisoner to achieve this goal, including "fear of the unknown, loss of control, dehumanization, isolation," and use of sensory deprivation and sensory "flooding." He also included "physical" deprivations in his list of detainer "pressures."

"Unlike everyday experiences, however, as a detainee we could be subjected to stressors/coercive pressures which we cannot completely control," he wrote. "If these stressors are manipulated and increased against us, the cumulative effect can push us out of the optimum range of functioning. This is what the detainer wants, to get us 'off balance.'"

"The Detainer wants us to experience a loss of composure in hopes we can be manipulated into some kind of collaboration..." Jessen wrote. "This is where you are most vulnerable to exploitation. This is where you are most likely to make mistakes, show emotions, act impulsively, become discouraged, etc. You are still close enough to being intact that you would appear convincing and your behavior would appear 'uncoerced.'"

kearns calls this horrific, tyrannical and wrong... how can we not agree...? it's enough to make me vomit as kearns said he did upon full realization of what took place here...

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Watching from outside the U.S. or looking on from the inside, insanity is still insanity

the criminal banksters go scot-free, government leaders current and former who shred the constitution with impunity are not held to account, yet another unapproved, illegitimate war is underway, our super-rich elites continue to amass ever more power and money thanks to the bought-and-paid for help of the media and their completely subservient elected officials, but what's important right now in this country to those elected officials...? un-fuckingly-believable...
1) Curtailing Abortion Rights

2) Defunding Planned Parenthood

3) Defunding NPR

5) Declaring English As America's Official Language

6) Reaffirming The "In God We Trust" Motto

man, i just don't fucking get it... the barn door is open, all the horses are gone, the structure is engulfed in flames, and they're cutting funding for the fire department and telling people if they're hungry, go lasso a horse and eat it... i don't know what planet i'm living on... i don't know if i'm crazy or if everybody else is... and there doesn't seem to be any end to it...

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Monday, March 21, 2011

The "Kill Team" photos are not unusual and are not the work of "rogue" U.S. soldiers

yes, i know that spiegel is trying to soften the story by blaming it on "rogue" individuals but that's simply not the case... photos are routinely taken by soldiers commemorating their work just as miscellaneous body parts - fingers, toes, etc. - and other "memorabilia" are taken from individuals killed "in the line of duty"...

i personally stood behind a soldier at the post office in a base near kabul who was asking the clerk if it was ok to mail body parts home... i was stunned to say the least... the clerk didn't appear surprised by the question but responded with a clear "no"... when i returned to the u.s., i told the story to my son and daughter-in-law who both work for the va hospital here... they asked around and were told by a va counselor that "harvesting" such "trophies" was fairly common...

i'm not saying that everybody does it or that there aren't a majority who would not only not consider such behavior but would find it morally and ethically repellent... however, it's certainly not the rare occurrence our leaders and the media would have us believe... and, despite the fact that this story was broken by a german publication about u.s. troops, you can be sure there are german soldiers in afghanistan who are doing exactly the same thing...

i am posting the photos that accompanied the spiegel article because i believe they need to be seen and we absolutely need to feel the full impact of what is happening in our collective names...

This image shows the body of Gul Mudin, the son of a farmer, who was killed on Jan. 15, 2010. A member of the "kill team" is posing behind him. SPIEGEL published just three photos out of the some 4,000 images and videos it has seen. Court martial proceedings against the soldiers involved in the killings are to begin soon.

In this image, a different soldier poses with the same corpse. The US Army on Monday apologized for the behavior of the soldiers involved in the "kill team."

Court martial proceedings are currently being prepared against 12 suspects. This image of two "kill team" victims comes from the collection of one of the suspects.
The United States and NATO are concerned that reactions could be intense to the publication of images documenting killings committed by US soldiers in Afghanistan. The images appeared in the most recent edition of SPIEGEL, which hit the newsstands on Monday.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has already telephoned with her Afghan counterpart to discuss the situation. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon has likewise made contact with officials in Kabul. The case threatens to strain already fragile US-Afghan relations at a time when the two countries are negotiating over the establishment of permanent US military bases in Afghanistan.

In a statement released by Colonel Thomas Collins, the US Army, which is currently preparing a court martial to try a total of 12 suspects in connection with the killings, apologized for the suffering the photos have caused. The actions depicted in the photos, the statement read, are "repugnant to us as human beings and contrary to the standards and values of the United States."

The suspected perpetrators are part of a group of US soldiers accused of several killings. Their court martials are expected to start soon. The photos, the army statement said, stand "in stark contrast to the discipline, professionalism and respect that have characterized our soldiers' performance during nearly 10 years of sustained operations."

saying that these photos and the behavior connected with them "stand in stark contrast" is denial, pure and simple... yes, i understand that's what the military would LIKE to have us believe, but it's simply not true...

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 1 comments