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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 04/03/2011 - 04/10/2011
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Very light posting

i've been so damn busy that i haven't had time to post... i'm following the news, of course, from the kabuki theater of the threatened u.s. government shutdown to the libyan farce to the news blackout on bahrain to the even more ominous virtually complete absence of news on julian assange, where the most recent news item is dated 24 february...

what i can't seem to escape is the feeling that the walls are crumbling, but FROM what TO what, i don't have a clue... complicating matters is that i'm seeing all of this from the perspective of kabul, afghanistan, where i'm in the thick of the insane intersection of the u.s. and afghanistan governments... thank god i've got a good sense of humor...!

p.s. oops... i take it back... i just found an article on assange from yesterday's guardian reporting on his recent appearance at a public debate...

The WikiLeaks founder, who is currently appealing against his extradition to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault, told the audience at a packed debate organised by the New Statesman and the Frontline Club that whistleblowing was essential in a democracy because "the only way we can know whether information is legitimately kept secret is when it is revealed".

good... at least he hasn't been "disappeared"...

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Friday, April 08, 2011

The government shutdown

william rivers pitt...
The impact of a shutdown on the populace will be dynamic, e if you're waiting for the IRS to send you a tax refund. Ain't happening. Social Security checks won't be delayed, at least not at first, but if a shutdown lingers for too long, those checks won't be coming, either. Some 800,000 people will be put out of work, and private sector jobs that rely on federal funding will likewise be left twisting in the wind.

US troops serving overseas will only get half their pay, if that. As the New York Times reported, "If the government shuts down from Friday for a week, troops would receive half their pay in the checks received on the 15th of the month. If the government were to stay shut down until April 30, (Defense Secretary Robert) Gates said, troops would miss a whole check. Troops are paid on the 15th and last day of each month."

The list goes on, and the hits will keep on coming.

Center stage in this theater of the absurd is the brain-damaged frontal assault the GOP appears to be waging on senior citizens, who provided a great portion of the margin of victory Republicans enjoyed in the 2010 midterms. The proposed elimination of Medicare being batted around on Capitol Hill, combined with a potential disruption of Social Security benefits, is not going to sit well with that sector of the electorate, and those people are willing to walk through fire to get to a voting booth.

joshua holland...
The Republicans' imminent threat to shut down the government, the right's assault on public workers, its spending- and tax-cap proposals, the successful campaign to shut down ACORN and attempts now underway to defund Planned Parenthood and NPR and, most prominently, Paul Ryan's plan to dismantle Medicare all have one thing in common: they're about entrenching conservative ideological preferences in the law in ways that future legislators will have a hard time undoing.

All of these efforts are ultimately about subverting democracy, which is, for the right, they're non-negotiable.

what kind of shit is this...? have we totally and completely lost it...? never mind... silly me... of COURSE we have...

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"We are worse than old Europe"

again, none of this is news, but it certainly bears repeating...

joseph stiglitz

The point is that there has been this growing inequality, not only in income, but actually the inequality of wealth is even much greater. There’s a shrinking of opportunity. It’s not just that the people at the top are getting richer. If they were getting richer because they were contributing more to our society and everybody else was doing well, that would be one thing. But actually, they’re gaining, and everybody else is decreasing. In fact, right now, it’s not just the bottom, but even the middle, the middle, the median income—half above, half below—are poorer today than they were more than a decade ago. So, all the growth that has occurred in our country over the last decade or more has gone to the upper one, two percent.

At the same time, there’s really shrinking opportunity. You know, we used to think of the United States as the land of opportunity—Horatio Alger, anybody could make it. And we used to think of ourselves as different from old Europe, as we used to call it. But the statistics show otherwise. Now, yes, we have some dramatic examples of people making it from the bottom to the top, middle to the top. But the statistics look at what happens on average: what is the chance of somebody at the bottom making it to the middle or the middle making it to the top? And right now, we are worse than old Europe. This is something dramatic that has happened over the last 30, 40 years.

yeah... and i'm sitting here in kabul, afghanistan, watching all this from the perspective of the incredible mess we've created for these good people...

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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Why would any self-respecting progressive, liberal or even a loyal Democrat consider re-electing Barack Obama...?

not me... burn me once, etc., etc...


One thing is for certain: right now, the Democratic Party is absolutely correct in its assessment that kicking its base is good politics. Why is that? Because they know that they have inculcated their base with sufficient levels of fear and hatred of the GOP, so that no matter how often the Party kicks its base, no matter how often Party leaders break their promises and betray their ostensible values, the base will loyally and dutifully support the Party and its leaders (at least in presidential elections...

i have never been particularly inclined toward self-immolation and neither am i a masochist... at this point, i cannot, under any imaginable circumstances, see myself casting a vote for a second term for barack obama... so what does that mean...? sadly, i doubt very much if i will be casting a vote for president in the next election...

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Dylan Ratigan: Banksters & Government Exposed in Biggest Con & Cover-Up in US History; Madoff: Ponzi Scheme

you want the truth...? can you handle the truth...?

dylan ratigan...

MSNBC - Banksters & Government Exposed FINALLY by Mainstream News!

bernie madoff...

Madoff Says Entire U.S. Government a `Ponzi Scheme'

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Monday, April 04, 2011

Looks to me like Obama has taken a 180-degree turn on virtually everything we thought we were electing him for

bipartisanship = pandering...?

the story...

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to Be Tried by Military Commission at Guantánamo, in Reversal

In a major reversal, the Obama administration has decided to
try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed for his role in the attacks of
Sept. 11 before a military commission at Guantánamo Bay,
Cuba, and not in a civilian courtroom.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is expected to announce
on Monday afternoon that Mr. Mohammed, the self-described
mastermind of the attacks, and four other accused
conspirators will face charges before a panel of military
officers, a law enforcement official said. The Justice
Department has scheduled a press conference for 2 p.m.
Eastern time.

Mr. Holder, who had wanted to prosecute Mr. Mohammed before a
regular civilian court in New York City, changed his mind
after Congress imposed a series of restrictions barring the
transfer of Guantánamo detainees into the United States,
making such a trial impossible for now, the official said.

the editorial...
Cowardice Blocks the 9/11 Trial

Last year, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. described a federal court trial for the self-professed mastermind of Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, as “the defining event of my time as attorney general.” On Monday, Mr. Holder’s dream for demonstrating the power of the American court system crumbled when he announced that the trial would take place not in New York City or anywhere in the United States but before a military commission at the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, prison camp.

That retreat was a victory for Congressional pandering and an embarrassment for the Obama administration, which failed to stand up to it.

The wound inflicted on New York City from Mr. Mohammed’s plot nearly a decade ago will not heal for many lifetimes, yet the city, while still grieving, has thrived. How fitting it would have been to put the plot’s architect on trial a few blocks from the site of the World Trade Center, to force him to submit to the justice of a dozen chosen New Yorkers, to demonstrate to the world that we will not allow fear of terrorism to alter our rule of law.

i never thought i was casting a vote for an utter weenie...

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Chris Hedges: Civil Disobedience is the only tool we have left

sure looks that way...

chris hedges

The phrase consent of the governed has been turned into a cruel joke. There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs. Civil disobedience is the only tool we have left.

We will not halt the laying off of teachers and other public employees, the slashing of unemployment benefits, the closing of public libraries, the reduction of student loans, the foreclosures, the gutting of public education and early childhood programs or the dismantling of basic social services such as heating assistance for the elderly until we start to carry out sustained acts of civil disobedience against the financial institutions responsible for our debacle. The banks and Wall Street, which have erected the corporate state to serve their interests at our expense, caused the financial crisis. The bankers and their lobbyists crafted tax havens that account for up to $1 trillion in tax revenue lost every decade. They rewrote tax laws so the nation’s most profitable corporations, including Bank of America, could avoid paying any federal taxes. They engaged in massive fraud and deception that wiped out an estimated $40 trillion in global wealth. The banks are the ones that should be made to pay for the financial collapse. Not us.

sitting here in kabul and looking out on the havoc we continue to wreak on this poor country, it's hard not to feel a rush of intense anger at all those sitting there in their mansions who continue to profit from war and destruction...

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In Kabul

i arrived here yesterday afternoon and have spent most of the day today in meetings... this morning was a glorious spring morning... this afternoon...? well, see for yourself...

Current conditions as of 4:20 PM AFT

Widespread Dust

Current Temperature: 54 °F
Barometer: 30.03 in and steady
Humidity: 18 %
Visibility: 2.17 mi
High: 61° Low: 40°

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