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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 08/28/2011 - 09/04/2011
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"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
- Noam Chomsky
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Obama "needs to start doing business in a different way in a hurry"...? Puhl-e-e-eze...

there's a fundamental flaw to the reasoning here... think you can spot it...?
I keep thinking back lately to that candidate and team I watched in 2008. The candidate really had his finger on something. The team almost never made a serious mistake. When a mistake did happen, they did a respectable job of digging their way out of it. They had some fight in them. Well, I’ve learned something new from these folks: Up until now, I’ve thought that running a strong presidential campaign is a sign that one can probably govern fairly well too. But there appears to be little correlation between the two.

One wonders if there is concern now in the party’s higher echelons about the White House’s methods. Of course there must be. But what, for example, do seasoned Democratic senators say to one another when they chat in private? What about the party’s big money people? All of them must be dismayed. But which of them can reach Obama? Who can pierce the armor of his inner circle and tell him he needs to start doing business in a different way in a hurry?

there's an implied assumption that obama the candidate really had any intention of doing anything different than he has done since he took the oath of office...

speaking for myself, i was so unbelievably discouraged after the eight disastrous years of george w. bush that i completely neglected my due diligence on candidate obama, leaving myself to become enraptured instead with obama's eloquence and populist rhetoric, rather than looking seriously at his record... at least i can console myself with the fact that i was hardly the only one...

but, at this point, with the 32 months of obama's record as president staring us in the face, i don't see how anyone can think for a minute that 1) anybody can "pierce the armor" or that 2), even if the armor is "pierced," that the man has the slightest intention of "doing business in a different way"... he is what he is and god help us all...

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Friday, September 02, 2011

Air quality: Obama gives away the store - yet AGAIN...!

why doesn't obama just make it official and switch to the republican party... at least i wouldn't have to constantly deal with such massive cognitive dissonance...

note the highlighted item in the first paragraph...

Obama Pulls Back Proposal to Tighten Clean Air Rules

The Obama administration is abandoning its plan to immediately tighten air quality rules nationwide to cut reduce emissions of smog-causing chemicals after an intense lobbying campaign by industry, which said the new rule would cost billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs, officials said Friday.

The Environmental Protection Agency, following the recommendation of its scientific advisers, had proposed lowering the so-called ozone standard from that set by the Bush administration to a new stricter standard that would have thrown hundreds of American counties out of compliance with the Clean Air Act. It would have required a major effort by state and local officials, as well as new emissions controls by industries and agriculture across the country.

The more lenient Bush administration standard from 2006 will remain in place until a scheduled reconsideration of acceptable pollution limits in 2013, officials indicated Friday.

ya gotta give the man credit... the balls-less wonder knows which side his bread is buttered on...

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Suing the banks - about freakin' time...!

more like this...
U.S. Is Set to Sue a Dozen Big Banks Over Mortgages

The federal agency that oversees the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is set to file suits against more than a dozen big banks, accusing them of misrepresenting the quality of mortgage securities they assembled and sold at the height of the housing bubble, and seeking billions of dollars in compensation.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency suits, which are expected to be filed in the coming days in federal court, are aimed at Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, among others, according to three individuals briefed on the matter.

The suits stem from subpoenas the finance agency issued to banks a year ago. If the case is not filed Friday, they said, it will come Tuesday, shortly before a deadline expires for the housing agency to file claims.

it's 1:45 a.m... i fell asleep around 6 p.m. with my clothes on and am just now getting up to go back to bed... still recovering from jet-lag, i guess...


doing a late-night email check, i ran across the above, guaranteed to put a smile on my face... how sad that even the slightest evidence of any accountability whatsoever can make my heart flutter...

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Thursday, September 01, 2011

The U.S. doesn't give a crap for democracy, only for its "national interests"

via information clearing house...

Noam Chomsky : Hegemonic Powers Show Extreme Contempt For Democracy

and what would those "national interests" be...? hmmmmmmmmm...?

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Forced relocations for terrorism "suspects" in the UK

UN-frickingly-believable... and, mind you, no due process, rules of evidence, indictment or conviction anywhere in sight...

note the highlighted last paragraph...

from the guardian...

The government is planning emergency powers to forcibly relocate terror suspects, months after pledging to scrap the existing measure.

Launching the terrorism prevention and investigation measures (Tpim) bill in May, the Home Office said "relocation to another part of the country without consent will be scrapped". But it has now brought back the powers, reserving them for "exceptional circumstances".

The emergency legislation would enable the home secretary to specify more stringent restrictions on suspected terrorists in exceptional circumstances, the Home Office said.

These would include the power to relocate the individual without their consent to a different part of the country and tighter restrictions on association and communications, it said.

The enhanced Tpim bill will be put before parliament should exceptional circumstances arise. Under the measures, the home secretary "may impose restrictions on the individual leaving a specified area or travelling outside that area", the draft bill said. A suspect under such an order may also be forced to hand in their passport.

The home secretary could also impose restrictions on the individual's possession or use of electronic communication devices, including both computers and telephones. Further restrictions could also be imposed to limit who the suspect communicates or associates with, where the suspect works or what he or she studies. The restrictions imposed under the Tpim were an "imperfect but necessary step", the Home Office said.

It also rejected a recommendation from the joint committee on human rights that an alternative system of restrictions linked to an ongoing criminal investigation, such as that proposed by the former director of public prosecutions Lord Macdonald, was appropriate.

"Tpim notices, like the control orders they will replace, are intended to be used in such cases – where there is no realistic prospect of a prosecution, and there is no imminent prospect that further investigation will yield evidence that could be used to prosecute," the Home Office said.

as convinced as i am that the united states is out of its collective mind with the ever-growing and completely fear-based national security and surveillance state, this latest development in the uk is so over the top as to leave me speechless...

so, what's next...? repeat after me... d.e.t.e.n.t.i.o.n. c.e.n.t.e.r.s., known in an earlier era as "war relocation camps" (japanese internment camps) in the u.s. and by another, much more emotionally loaded term in germany (which i don't need to mention here)...

p.s. don't think for one minute that this diabolical plan isn't on the drawing board right here in the u.s...

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Why should corporations pay taxes and invest in the common good...? Their CEOs are the ones who deserve the money... Right...?

is this a great country or what...?
Twenty-five major US firms paid more to their chief executives than to federal tax collectors in 2010, with most of the companies receiving tax refunds, a liberal-leaning think tank said Wednesday.

The study by the Institute for Policy Studies comes ahead of another expected round of fierce partisan bickering over whether the debt-laden United States should raise taxes on the wealthy and close loopholes to boost revenues.

The 25 CEOs -- many from well-known companies like General Electric, Verizon, Boeing and eBay -- were among the 100 highest paid chief executives in the United States, with 2010 pay averaging $16.7 million, the report said.

And 22 of the 25 had received pay increases that year.

The 25 firms reported average global profits of $1.9 billion, and 18 of them operated subsidiaries in offshore tax havens, the report said.

"Corporations don't dodge taxes. The people who run corporations do. And these people -- America's CEOs -- are reaping awesomely lavish rewards for the tax dodging they have their corporations do," the institute said.

greed... it's what's for breakfast, lunch AND dinner...

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Don't worry about that clicking on your phone

courtesy of firedoglake...


Amidst the inevitable 9-11 retrospectives, I feel like only the Los Angeles Times is putting the past ten years in the proper perspective. Because the longest-lasting legacy of the 9-11 attacks is clearly the terror industry it spawned. Over the weekend the LAT looked at the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent on absurd “security” projects, filling the pockets of contractors, and for little benefit:

“The number of people worldwide who are killed by Muslim-type terrorists, Al Qaeda wannabes, is maybe a few hundred outside of war zones. It’s basically the same number of people who die drowning in the bathtub each year,” said John Mueller, an Ohio State University professor who has written extensively about the balance between threat and expenditures in fighting terrorism.

Today’s entry from the LAT is even better, and something I feel we pay too little attention to. In the decade since 9-11, this has become a surveillance state, and the government collects enormous amounts of data on every man, woman and child in America, in all likelihood too much to process. We all know about this, but it’s important to see all that surveillance together in one package:

…the secret domestic intelligence gathering [...] is one of the most significant legacies of Sept. 11. U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies now collect, store and analyze vast quantities of digital data produced by law-abiding Americans. The data mining receives limited congressional oversight, rare judicial review and almost no public scrutiny.

Thanks to new laws and technologies, authorities track and eavesdrop on Americans as they never could before, hauling in billions of bank records, travel receipts and other information. In several cases, they have wiretapped conversations between lawyers and defendants, challenging the legal principle that attorney-client communication is inviolate.

We had one moment where this was subject to any debate at all, during the fight over the FISA amnesty legislation. But that was really about a small portion of the total data collection. Most of the surveillance remains a secret. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall tried to tease out a little more this summer, when they tried to get the intelligence community to admit to how they were misinterpreting the Patriot Act to allow for more data collection. But that never went anywhere. From NSA surveillance to national security letters to the AT&T room on Folsom Street in San Francisco, what bits and pieces we do know about point to a giant network Hoovering up every piece of information you let out into the world digitally.

I appreciate the LA Times highlighting this legacy. Nobody really questions why we’ve deprived American civil liberties to this degree, to protect the homeland from a threat that mirrors the threat posed by full bathtubs. Read the whole story for yourself. This has been an inexorable slide downward for ten years, and it shows no sign whatsoever of letting up.

i've said repeatedly for years, anyone who uses any digital network, no matter what it is, from swiping a supermarket discount card to making an atm withdrawal to using email to making a credit card purchase, can safely assume that all those transactions are being swept up in the national surveillance dragnet to be sniffed and ultimately filed for possible later use... anybody who thinks otherwise is simply living in a dream world...

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I’d be willing to testify, I’d be willing to take any punishment... This is a book written out of fear - that one day someone will "Pinochet" Cheney

col. wilkerson simply won't go away, god bless 'im...

from democracy now via alternet...

AMY GOODMAN: Colonel Wilkerson, we also have Glenn Greenwald on the line with us from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is a constitutional law attorney, political and legal blogger for His recent article on Cheney’s book is called "The Fruits of Elite Immunity." Glenn, explain.

GLENN GREENWALD: One of the most significant aspects of the rollout of Dick Cheney’s book is that he’s basically being treated as though he’s just an elder statesman who has some controversial, partisan political views. And yet, the evidence is overwhelming, including most of what Colonel Wilkerson just said and has been saying for quite some time, and lots of other people, as well, including, for example, General Antonio Taguba, that Dick Cheney is not just a political figure with controversial views, but is an actual criminal, that he was centrally involved in a whole variety not just of war crimes in Iraq, but of domestic crimes, as well, including the authorization of warrantless eavesdropping on American citizens in violation of FISA, which says that you go to jail for five years for each offense, as well as the authorization and implementation of a worldwide torture regime that, according to General Barry McCaffrey, resulted in the murder—his word—of dozens of detainees, far beyond just the three or four cases of waterboarding that media figures typically ask Cheney about.

And yet, what we have is a government, a successor administration, the Obama administration, that announced that there will be no criminal investigations, no, let alone, prosecutions of any Bush officials for any of these multiple crimes. And that has taken these actions outside of the criminal realm and turned them into just garden-variety political disputes. And it’s normalized the behavior. And as a result, Dick Cheney goes around the country profiting off of this, you know, sleazy, sensationalistic, self-serving book, basically profiting from his crimes, and at the same time normalizing the idea that these kind of policies, though maybe in the view of some wrongheaded, are perfectly legitimate political choices to make. And I think that’s the really damaging legacy from all of this.

AMY GOODMAN: Colonel Wilkerson, do you think the Bush administration officials should be held accountable in the way that Glenn Greenwald is talking about?

COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON: I certainly do. And I’d be willing to testify, and I’d be willing to take any punishment I’m due. And I have to say, I agree with almost everything he just said. And I think that explains the aggressiveness, to a large extent, of the Cheney attack and of the words like "exploding heads all over Washington." This is a book written out of fear, fear that one day someone will "Pinochet" Dick Cheney.

you GO, colonel...!

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