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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 11/20/2011 - 11/27/2011
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Mark: Thanks to all the contributors on this blog. When I want to get information on the events that really matter, I come here.
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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: profmarcus2010@yahoo.com

And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The UC Davis pepper-spray cop goes viral

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Burlington, Vermont
Thanksgiving Day 2011

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How can our overlords keep the underclass bickering while they continue to rob us blind?

i'm sure there's nothing more terrifying to our super-rich, elite overlords than watching the global awakening that's taking place...
Much like Anonymous, OWS is a new wave of protest, a direct and significant challenge to the elite who are unaccustomed to such confrontation.

And the one percent find such evolved protest—this kind of global awakening—absolutely bone-chillingly terrifying. If the elites can no longer exploit xenophobia, red state–blue state civil war, racism, sexism or homophobia, how will they keep the underclass bickering while they run off with the country’s wealth?

what i find particularly heartening is the sense of global solidarity that not only embraces the spirit of occupy movements across the country but sees the very real common ground shared by the protesters in tahrir square...
The Occupy protesters talk about Tahrir and Egypt’s youth not like they’re some foreign, abstract concept, but rather comrades in a common struggle. They express genuine love and solidarity for people who live 5,000 miles away from them, whom they’ll never meet, but with whom they recognize they have more in common with than Bank of America’s CEO.

and what's the next evolution for occupy...?
[T]here has been some indications that in the coming cold winter months, the occupations will move indoors to condemned buildings and foreclosed homes. Such a maneuver would again place Occupy at the forefront of creative protest.

[...]

If ever there was a protest group equipped to attempt such a feat, it’s Occupy.

i'm heading down to a general assembly later this morning... let's see what they're talking about as next steps...

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Friday, November 25, 2011

More on Black Friday: legal - insane greed; illegal - speaking out about it

i don't know how the insanity of my country could be captured any better than this...

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courtesy of twest young via kevin at firedoglake...

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The banksters, the traders, the brokers, the analysts - they're all terrorists and they gotta go

max keiser...

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Next steps for Occupy

from democracy now...



highlights:

Michael Moore:

This is one of the most remarkable movements that I’ve seen in my lifetime, precisely because it really isn’t a movement in the traditional sense. And I think that it has succeeded because it hasn’t followed the old motifs that we’re used to, in terms of organizing.

[...]

It has been the most uplifting, heartening thing to see: so many Americans of all stripes deciding that they’re just going to occupy. And they don’t have to call in to central command for permission. There are no dues to pay. There’s no leader to get permission from. There’s no meetings, subcommittee meetings, you know, all these things you have to go through.

Patrick Bruner:

This isn’t a protest. This is a way of making a new space. We have taken Liberty Square. We have renamed it, and we have rebuilt it into something that we believe is a better model. Maybe it’s not perfect. Maybe it’s not what we’ll come out of this with. But it’s a way to at least start a discussion, a real discussion, about all of the things that ail us on a daily basis, the things that are never really discussed.

Rinku Sen:

I think that the Occupy movement has—needs to have some autonomy. It does. And I really think it was very, very smart not to have demands, you know, right out the gate. It’s not a campaign. So, organizations do campaigns, and movements do something else. They shift the public will. And so, the Occupy movement has to retain its ability to do its primary job, as I understand it, which is to keep shifting the public will and making that psychic break happen and supporting that psychic break.

William Greider:

[W]e know it’s a high-risk enterprise to try to build an authentic social movement. Many arise and fail, or get crushed. And the ideas are literally pushed back out of the public square. But they go back—they continue somehow and maybe come back a generation or two generations later. So we have to—I think we have to take that sort of long view of what we’re doing.

Naomi Klein:

[W]hat I find exciting is the idea that the solutions to the ecological crisis can be the solutions to the economic crisis, and that we stop seeing these as two problems to be pitted against each other by savvy politicians, but that we see them as a single, single crisis, born of a single root, which is unrestrained corporate greed that can never have enough, and that is that mentality that trashes people and that trashes the planet, and that would shatter the bedrock of the continent to get out the last—the last drops of fuel and natural gas. It’s the same mentality that would shatter the bedrock of societies to maximize profits. And that’s what’s being protested.

i hope we're all awake and paying attention...

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An inspiration for us all

palestinian students in the west bank...

from spiegel...

With the help of world-renowned aerial artist John Quigley, Palestinian students form the shape of the so-called "Peace Dove" popularized by Pablo Picasso outside of the West Bank city of Jericho on Nov. 25.

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all the people of the world deserve peace but i can't think of a people that deserves it more than palestinians... well, ok, there's also the afghans and a ton more too now that i stop to think about it...

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The horror that is Black Friday



i was sitting for the grandsons last evening after my son and his wife left around 7 to go get into line for a 9 p.m. store opening... i received numerous text messages from them reporting on the length of the lines and how far they extended... while there's a rather massive distance between them and me on the matter of black friday, they are clearly free to choose how they spend their time over the thanksgiving holiday and just because i find such an orgiastic display of materialism to be truly horrifying doesn't mean they have to share my thinking...

however...

the entire notion of thousands of people rushing to stores across the country to stand in massive lines for the chance to snatch up more stuff at bargain prices is perhaps the clearest demonstration imaginable of just how far off the rails things are in my country...

moreover, if people are going to get pepper-sprayed, it at least ought to be happening while they're protesting economic and social injustice, not for trying to grab discounted merchandise...

Early-bird Black Friday turns ugly with 'shopping rage' incident

Ten minutes after the Wal-Mart in Porter Ranch [Los Angeles] opened, a female customer used pepper spray on other shoppers at the Black Friday sale, injuring at least seven people and forcing employees to evacuate a portion of the store, police said.

"This was customer-versus-customer 'shopping rage,'" said Los Angeles Police Lt. Abel Parga. He said one shopper was taken to a hospital after complaining of difficulty breathing.

Police officers, he said, were seeking a female suspect following the attack. Fire officials said they were treating about 20 people suffering minor injuries at the store, which is located on Rinaldi Street near Corbin Avenue.

Meanwhile, in Torrance, shoppers poured into a Toys R Us store, 50 at a time, when the doors opened Thursday night. Manager Ryan Smith said he figures there were 2,000 people on hand waiting to browse through the sprawling store. Within minutes, shopping carts began to fill up with Transformer action figures, Barbie dolls and video games.

South Bay-area resident Natalie Vyce, 36, was fourth in line with her son Jordan, 15, and they came prepared. "We have it all mapped out. You go in for what you need and you get out. You don't browse." She said she'll be out all night. Her next stop was Kohl's, and she planned to be back at Toys R Us at 5 a.m. when new items go on sale.

"The stores are all opening so early now that it's throwing off my strategy," she said, laughing.

"throwing off her strategy"... patético...

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Anonymous issues a call to all those who want a better world

i, for one, am grateful that there are people out there ready and willing to issue such a call...

Anonymous: Message To The Freedom Fighters Of The World …

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Glenn articulates the rules of journalistic "objectivity"

this bob schieffer interview of ron paul on the cbs program face the nation triggers glenn's examination...



the interview prompts these points from glenn...
(1) The overarching rule of “journalistic objectivity” is that a journalist must never resolve any part of a dispute between the Democratic and the Republican Parties, even when one side is blatantly lying. They must instead confine themselves only to mindlessly describing what each side claims and leave it at that.

[...]

(2) When it comes to views not shared by the leadership of the two parties, as in the above excerpt from the Paul interview, everything changes. Views that reside outside of the dogma of the leadership of either party are inherently illegitimate. Such views are generally ignored, but in those rare instances where they find their way into the discourse — such as this Paul interview — it is the duty of “objective” reporters like Schieffer to mock, scorn and attack them.

[...]

(3) There is another standard media bias at play in this Schieffer interview which I’ve written about before: most establishment media figures, by definition, are hard-core nationalists who scorn any ideas that suggest their country is at fault for anything. The very suggestion that the United States of America might have done anything to provoke rational hatred against it and thus helped cause 9/11 is like poison in Schieffer’s soul. Similarly, the very suggestion that the U.S. is the aggressor when it comes to Iran — rather than the other way around — is heresy to him (the idea that the U.S. seeks war with Iran will be slanderous to Schieffer up until the minute the first U.S. fighter jet drops a bomb, at which point the war will instantly become necessary and just).

i'm reminded of a book i read many years ago by morris berman - Coming to Our Senses: Body and Spirit in the Hidden History of the West...

my biggest takeaway from that book was berman's definition of heresy as traced over 2000 years of western history... berman found that what qualifies as heresy during that two-millennium epoch is nothing more or less than a refusal by an individual or group to cede personal power and authority to an external authority, that external authority being, no surprise, the reigning power of the time...

in the era leading up to and through the middle ages, the power to define "heresy" was wielded by the catholic church... in post-renaissance times, it has been wielded most often by the scientific establishment... what i see glenn is saying here - and it's something with which i would agree - is that the power to define modern-day "heresy" rests with our super-rich elites who control our corporations, our government and our media...

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It's Thanksgiving Day in Amerika

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in all seriousness, there is a great deal we all have to be thankful for, not the least of which is the inner peace and serenity that comes from the very feeling of being grateful... i spend a lot of my time - probably too much - feeling deeply frustrated over what's going on in our world and i lose sight of just how much i've been privileged to learn, grow and experience over my 64 years... if nothing else, thanksgiving should be a time for all of us to take a deep breath and acknowledge the fundamental goodness all around us...

HAPPY THANKSGIVING...!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Cairo prostesters in Tahrir Square have no intention of being bamboozled again

following the egyptian situation definitely gives a different perspective to my worry that the occupy movement may be fading... those egyptians are a real inspiration...!

from democracy now...

Egyptian protesters continue to fill Cairo’s central Tahrir Square over the ruling military council’s refusal to immediately transfer power to a civilian government. In a televised address on Tuesday, the head of Egypt’s military council, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, said he has accepted the prime minister’s resignation and that the military is ready to relinquish power if Egyptians call for that in a referendum. But protests only intensified after Tantawi’s speech and security forces unleashed a barrage of tear gas. Over the past five days at least 38 people have been killed, thousands injured, and at least 15 journalists attacked as Egypt has witnessed the largest protests since the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

fool me once...

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The size of the IMF resources are absolutely not sufficient to bailout Europe which is a slow-motion train wreck





nouriel roubini blog...
Roubini said that the IMF does not have enough resources to save Europe and that now the contagion is spreading to the rest of Europe , the size of the IMF resources are absolutely not sufficient to bailout Europe , Italy and Spain alone are in 3 trillion euro public debt problem equivalent to 4 trillion US Dollars .... money alone is not going to resolve the problems in Europe Roubini explains , Europe is a slow motion train wreck he added ... "The contagion has now gone viral, cross Atlantic and global." Roubini says.

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Mike Gravel is embarrassed by his country; what the U.S. is doing is immoral

and, i would have to say, rightly so...

from rt...




courtesy of information clearing house...
The US is like a drunkard who charges to war with anyone who might pose a threat, ex-Senator and former US presidential candidate Mike Gravel says.

­“I like the US. But at the same time I think my country is an imperial country that is going downhill, and our leadership does not even acknowledge the problem,” confesses Gravel.

somewhere along the line, this guy had an epiphany... i'd be really interested in hearing him talk about that...

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Yemeni president resigns in Saudi Arabia and heads straight to the U.S.

hey...! y'all come on over, y'hear...!
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed a Gulf initiative on Wednesday to hand over power to his deputy as part of a proposal to end months of protests that have pushed the Arab country to the brink of civil war.

Saudi state television broadcast live images of Saleh signing the accord in the presence of Saudi King Abdullah and Crown Prince Nayef. Yemeni opposition officials signed the accord after Saleh.

The deal was signed in the Saudi capital Riyadh and King Abdullah hailed it as marking a "new page" in Yemen's history.

Meanwhile, Saleh has told UN chief Ban Ki-moon he will go to New York for medical treatment immediately after signing the deal, Ban said.

so, is handing over power to his deputy any better than handing egypt over to the military after mubarak's ouster...? somehow, i seriously doubt it... it'll be interesting to see how the protesters respond...

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Let's make Black Friday "Buy Nothing Day"

from adbusters...

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adbusters founder kalle lasn in the uk independent...
[A]ll our media and information delivery systems are infiltrated by pro-consumption messages, and that basically every aspect of our lives is controlled to some degree by this consumer machine. Consumption patterns in America have increased by 300 per cent since the Second World War, and the average American now consumes three times more than they did 50 years ago.

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even better, adbusters is leading the charge to occupy christmas...!
#OCCUPYXMAS kicks off Nov 25/26

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The dynamics of endless wars

glenn walks us through the fear-mongering and specious rationalizations behind our national dedication to endless wars...
What Endless War looks like

The key trick of Endless War is to permanently maintain two contradictory official premises: (1) we’re on the verge of Victory!; and (2) the threat is grave and we cannot let up. Without both of those premises, the citizenry will wonder why endless war is necessary or wise. That’s been the dual-track propaganda that has sustained the Drug War for four decades and counting (yes, we’ve been waging this war for 40 years, but we’re making real progress, but the threat is still so severe that the war must continue into the foreseeable future), and it has been and continues to be the core propaganda that fuels the Terror War. Hence, (1) we have made Al Qaeda “operationally ineffective” and (2) they “will remain a major security threat for years.”

so, here we are, throwing multi-trillions of dollars at the profiteers who are the ones who reap whatever "benefits" arise from these never-ending battles while our country goes to hell in a hand-basket...

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cairo, Tahrir Square: November 19 - 22

a round-up of the last four days of the egyptian revolution... a very important compilation of key events...



this certainly puts our occupy efforts in stark perspective, doesn't it...? the egyptians have no delusions that their super-rich elites and the military that empower them have no intention of going quietly into that good night... we here in the u.s. are just starting to wake up to that fact... god forbid that we have to deal with their level of violence and repression but seeing what has been taking place in places like uc davis et al, i'm not so sure it isn't coming quicker than we might think...

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WOO-HOO...!! MF Global missing money now up to $1.7 BILLION...!!

holy shit...!
$1.7 Billion Customers' Money Missing From MF Global

The amounts of customer funds missing from MF Global have multiplied from $633 million to $1.2 billion yesterday– and now $1.7 billion today, according to Vincent (Trace) Schmeltz III , the attorney for the 80 member Commodity Customers Coalition. Schmeltz is a member of the Barnes & Thornburg law firm in Chicago

This new figure is the result of the inability by the Trustee and the CME (the Chicago Mercantile Exchange) to find more than $3.7 billion in customers funds rather than the $5.4 billion projected just after MF Global filed for bankruptcy on October 31.

Apparently, on October 31, the CME reported segregated funds totalled $5.4 billion. The next day– on November 1st, the CME suggested that $633 million was lost and unaccounted for. But, by yesterday, November 21, the Trustee reported that he could find only $3.7 billion in assets. Neither Schmeltz nor Koutoulas can understand why the CME declared only $1.2 billion missing yesterday– because if only $3.7 billion has been found of the original $5.4 billion segregated accounts– this suggests that the missing amount of segregated funds now totals $1.7 billion.

i'm getting the feeling that there's still another shoe to drop... maybe even an entire freakin' shoe STORE...

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Occupy UC Davis General Strike Nov. 28

if i'm not doing anything else, i might just drive over the hill and check it out...
Occupy UC Davis Calls Nov. 28 General Strike to Shut Down CA Campuses, Block Regents' Austerity Vote

In response to the intolerable effects privatization and austerity and the horrific repression of student dissent that has occurred throughout the last month, the GA, as a governing body of all concerned UC Davis students, will prevent the Board of Regents from continuing its unbridled assault upon higher education in the state of California.

This will entail total campus participation in shutting down the operations of the university on the 28th, including teaching, working, learning, and transportation, as we will collectively divert our efforts to blocking their vote[s]. In doing so students, faculty and workers assert the power—and the will—to effectively represent and manage ourselves.

as one occupy sign puts it, when you arrest one of us, two more appear...

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The vision and goals of Occupy Wall Street

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We Envision:

[1] a truly free, democratic, and just society;

[2] where we, the people, come together and solve our problems by consensus;

[3] where people are encouraged to take personal and collective responsibility and participate in decision making;

[4] where we learn to live in harmony and embrace principles of toleration and respect for diversity and the differing views of others;

[5] where we secure the civil and human rights of all from violation by tyrannical forces and unjust governments;

[6] where political and economic institutions work to benefit all, not just the privileged few;

[7] where we provide full and free education to everyone, not merely to get jobs but to grow and flourish as human beings;

[8] where we value human needs over monetary gain, to ensure decent standards of living without which effective democracy is impossible;

[9] where we work together to protect the global environment to ensure that future generations will have safe and clean air, water and food supplies, and will be able to enjoy the beauty and bounty of nature that past generations have enjoyed.

works for me...

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You may be watching us, but by God and sonny Jesus, we are watching you

it's been readily apparent to me for quite a few years, actually well before 9/11 and the exponential increase in domestic surveillance, that literally everything we do via any electronic network - from atm withdrawals to sending emails to cellphone calls to credit card transactions, even to swiping our supermarket affinity cards - is being at least "sniffed" and most likely recorded...

that already unacceptable and constitutionally illegal level of surveillance is now rapidly expanding to include tracking vehicle movements via the recording of license plates with surveillance cameras mounted on traffic lights and on roadsides, and even tracking us as pedestrians courtesy of cameras located in building lobbies and literally everywhere else a "case" can be made for needing heightened "security"... the spreading use of facial recognition software means that, if someone decides we're a "person of interest," we can be tracked anywhere, inside or outside the country...

william rivers pitt...

The basic idea behind setting up this incredibly invasive system, if you listen to its advocates, is that security is paramount in the aftermath of 9/11. There were plenty of people, after the Towers came down, who were very happy to surrender their liberties in the name of security, despite Benjamin Franklin's warning about deserving neither and losing both.

[...]

The advent of the Occupy movement, the length of time that movement has been able to hang fire, and the vast number of cities in which it is taking place, has led to an astonishingly violent reaction from the very state we are supposedly trusting to watch over our every move. There have been a dozen incidents of gruesome official violence against peaceful, non-violent protesters, including the near-murder of an Iraq war veteran by police in Oakland...violence the likes of which has not been seen in America since the dogs and firehoses days of Birmingham, Alabama.

Last Friday, students at UC Davis in California were subjected to an attack by police that beggars likeness.

[...]

Memo to the police and the surveillance state you represent: you are not working in the dark anymore. You may have your own system of surveillance, but We The People are watching you just as closely, and we have our own system of surveillance. It's called exposing your vicious, anti-American and thoroughly unnecessary strong-arm tactics for all to see.

[...]

You may be watching us, but by God and sonny Jesus, we are watching you.

smartphone video, cellphone cams, the internet and social networking all offer us the unparalleled opportunity to beat back the surveillance state by capturing and reporting on events as they happen and, consequently, driving a stake through the heart of the twisted media propaganda spin that would otherwise be our only way to "know" what's going on...

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A year ago, no one imagined an Arab Spring, and no one imagined this American Fall

rebecca solnit...
When civil society sleeps, we’re just a bunch of individuals absorbed in our private lives. When we awaken, on campgrounds or elsewhere, when we come together in public and find our power, the authorities are terrified. They often reveal their ugly side, their penchant for violence and for hypocrisy.

[...]

Does an 84-year-old woman need to be tear-gassed in Seattle? Does a three-tours-of-duty veteran need to be beaten until his spleen ruptures in Oakland? Does our former poet laureate need to be bashed in the ribs after his poet wife is thrown to the ground at UC Berkeley? Admittedly, this is a system that regards people as disposable, but not usually so literally.

Two months ago, the latest protests against that system began. The response only confirms our vision of how it all works. They are fighting fire with gasoline. Perhaps being frightened makes them foolish. After all, once civil society rouses itself from slumber, it can be all but unstoppable.

[...]

[T]he grounds of my hope have always been that history is wilder than our imagination of it and that the unexpected shows up far more regularly than we ever dream. A year ago, no one imagined an Arab Spring, and no one imagined this American Fall -- even the people who began planning for it this summer. We don’t know what’s coming next, and that’s the good news. My advice is just of the most general sort: Dream big. Occupy your hopes. Talk to strangers. Live in public. Don’t stop now.

i confess... i'm a hope junkie... i keep thinking that maybe, just maybe, there will be a breakthrough and we'll see some real change... how that will happen, when it will happen, if it will happen, i couldn't begin to guess...

this morning, i visited the occupy reno site and caught up on what's been going on there while i was out of town... the good news is they're still there and still cranking away... they're going to be at the mall at midnight on black friday and plan to project the bat signal the way it was done on the verizon building in nyc... a lot of people will be gathered waiting for the doors to open so they can trip all over each other in their mad rush to part with their money so it will be a captive but not necessarily receptive audience... i'm thinking i'll join them just to see how it goes...

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The economies of the European countries explained

a classic variation on the old abbott and costello "who's on first" routine...

clarke and dawe...




keep in mind that this was recorded almost two years ago...

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Privacy or health concerns about airport body scanners...? The UK says tough shit...

the uk has always been one step ahead of the u.s. in the police state department...
Britain Says No Opt Out Of Body Scans

Passengers flying to and from the United Kingdom will not be able to opt out of having a body security scan, the country's transport secretary said on Monday.

Instead of a 'pat down' search, passengers will have to pass through a security scanner, a procedure which could be rolled out across the United Kingdom in the future, Transport Secretary Justine Greening said in a statement.

Proposals recently agreed by the European parliament include the right to request an opt-out from scanning.

"I do not believe that a pat down search is equivalent in security terms to a security scan," Greening said.

"The purpose of introducing security scanners in the first place was to protect the traveling public better against sophisticated terrorist threats: these threats still exist and the required level of security is not achieved by permitting passengers to choose a less effective alternative," she added.

so, lemme see if i got this straight... the eu allows opting out but the uk, an eu member state, says nope, you gotta do it, and that's despite this...
The European Commission has called for further expert reviews of the potential health risks from security scanners and has asked the European Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks to review any new evidence.

i guess i hafta refer back to my post from last wednesday and add the uk to the mix...
Our F— You System of Government

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MF Global is back in the news and about goddam time

mm-hmmmm...
MF Global Trustee Says Shortfall Could Exceed $1.2 Billion

back on november 3, i posted this, courtesy of zero hedge...
The theft by MF Global was not stealing hundreds of millions form its customers: it has stolen a whopping $1.5 billion

i just love that word "shortfall"... it sounds so much better than theft, doesn't it...?

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Occupy Davis general strike is starting right now

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A smidgen of good news from Tahrir Square

i posted extensively on the february uprising in egypt (here) and have been following it ever since, altho' recently i've been focusing more on our own domestic uprising...

i was thrilled beyond words to see egyptians come together to challenge their u.s.-sponsored puppets and persist beyond all reasonable limits in insisting that real power was vested in the egyptian people and not their super-rich elite overlords... i was glued to the al jazeera livestream for the better part of every day and repeatedly felt chills running up and down my spine as i watched...

i didn't believe for a single moment then that the egyptian ptb would easily step aside any more than i believe now that our own super-rich elite overlords in the u.s. will do anything other than give a condescending nod to the concept of citizen-led democracy, social justice and the quaint notion of service to the common good...

i give the egyptian people enormous credit... their persistence is a shining example for us all... may they prevail...


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A suspected police informer was surrounded by an angry crowd after he
was severely beaten in Tahrir Square in Cairo on Monday.

Moises Saman for The New York Times
Egypt’s Civilian Government Submits Offer to Resign

After three days of increasingly violent demonstrations, Egypt’s interim civilian government submitted its resignation to the country’s ruling military council on Monday, bowing to the demands of the protesters and marking a crisis of legitimacy for the military-led government.

The step was reported by Egyptian television, and it remained to seen whether the military would accept or reject the offer of the resignation, which followed the most sustained and bloodiest challenge to military’s hold on power since the fall of Hosni Mubarak as demonstrators clashed with security forces around Tahrir Square and across the country.

again, may they prevail, and may my country finally decide to pull its head out of its ass...
Crackdown in Cairo, excuses in Washington

As Egyptians return to Tahrir Square, the Obama administration sides with the military

keep your eyes and ears open... very shortly, we'll be inundated with propaganda telling us that egypt will fall under the control of radical factions of islam if we don't support the egyptian military and their rule of brutality...

and, btw, where did the egyptian military get their equipment and learn their tactics...?

Egypt uses U.S. teargas on pro-democracy crowds

600 injured as military clashes with demonstrators demanding return to civilian rule

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Wondering why trained killers, steeped in violence, might consider suicide as an option

let's consider what goes into the making of what our government, in the most horrific perversion of verbiage imaginable, now prefers to call "warfighters"...

without passing judgement, the typical military recruit occupies a lower rung on the socioeconomic scale, has internalized a great deal of the media and government propaganda (new car, shiny electronic toys, owning your own mcmansion, a smoking hot squeeze, gq fashion, and, last but not least, the united states as global #1) dished out on a daily basis, has limited job prospects, and is educated to the high school level or perhaps a year or two of community college... he - or she - sees the military as a respectable option, a way to learn skills attractive to future employers, and as a way to be fed, clothed, and housed for a few years in the bargain...

enter basic training...

basic training is carefully constructed to strip away as much of your former identity as possible and replace it with the identity of a killing machine... the threat of a depersonalized, dehumanized "enemy" is constantly being thrown in your face along with the notion that it is you and your military "buddies" (the term "buddy" is military code for watching someone's back) who are the only thing standing in the way of the united states being overrun by the "enemy" who wants nothing more than to destroy the entire american way of life...

let's assume that, following basic and advanced training, the recruit receives an assignment in afghanistan... since i am somewhat familiar with both the military and afghanistan, i have a fairly good idea of what he or she is exposed to and, believe me, none of it is pretty... i've stood behind a soldier in line at the camp phoenix post office who was inquiring about how to best wrap body parts for mailing... (you can only imagine the scenario in which they were obtained...)

every day, whether there's action or not, revolves around either actual or potential violence, the kind of violence that scatters the blood, intestines and body parts of adults, the elderly, women and children everywhere, some of it perpetrated by others and some perpetrated by you... the only person-to-person contact with real afghans is with interpreters, basically mechanical accessories to a patrol or a sweep... it's almost impossible to get to know the locals as fellow human beings and the dehumanized stereotype of the afghan as murderous dirt-ball never has the chance to be challenged or dispelled...

the intensity of such circumstances cannot be overstated... it seeps into your very bones and is so far removed from the daily lives of those you left behind that you might just as well be on another planet... such "seepage" happens in the course of a single deployment and multiple deployments only lock it in... imagine coming back to the u.s. (and many return to a domestic shambles that has formed in their absence) to take in all the "support our troops" bling and trying to accept that your life will never be what you hoped it would be and that the experiences you have racked up in the past year, two years, three years, five years, will be a burden on you for the rest of your life...

and we wonder why so many returnees chose suicide as an option...

then you're treated to the vapid, soulless, essentially dishonest treatment of returnee suicides in today's nyt...


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The statistics are endlessly grim: From 2005 to 2010, service members have killed themselves approximately once every 36 hours. For veterans, the rate is estimated at once every 80 minutes.

Why do so many current and former service members, including those who are never deployed, kill themselves? How can the U.S. reduce that suicide rate?

how...? in all the blather, the only really effective solution is the one that the nyt would never allow to be considered - let's stop the endless war...

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

This week presents the most extreme convergence of events the world has seen since September of 2008

james howard kunstler...
The Blue Bus Is Calling Us

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Percentage of millionaires - Congress vs. the general population

this oughta make us all feel better, right...?

chris piascik...


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A prison of personal choice, I might add

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it's possible to move away from consumerism and the endless pursuit of things material... no one says we HAVE to keep buying...

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UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walks to her car

the silence is deafening...

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Now that Occupy isn't just about tents and occupying, where do we go...?

occupy reno is moving into community service...


chris hayes talks with laura flanders
about whether or not the media will stop paying attention...


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Glenn: creating a climate of fear so that you know we can do whatever we want to you and no one can stop us

glenn posts this morning on the uc davis atrocity and offers his views on why such barbarity is being employed...
Implanting fear of authorities in the heart of the citizenry is a far more effective means of tyranny than overtly denying rights. That’s exactly what incidents like this [UC Davis] are intended to achieve.

[...]

[T]hey are all about deterring meaningful challenges to those in power through the exercise of basic rights. Rights are so much more effectively destroyed by bullying a citizenry out of wanting to exercise them than any other means.

glenn then includes this video clip of his talk at claremont-mckenna college on 4 november in which he cites the repressive tactics used on bradley manning as a clear example of why such extreme measures are not only being used but widely advertised... the second clip from that talk makes the same point about how effective the demonization of wikileaks has been in stoking fear in the citizenry...





i have to confess that, in the limited exposure i've had while protesting with the occupy movement, i've been acutely aware that, were i to be arrested, it would probably bring to a screeching halt any opportunity i have of gaining fresh contract work in my chosen field of international development... besides making it potentially difficult to pass any background checks, the possibility also exists that i could be placed on various watch lists that could turn entering and leaving the country into a endless nightmare... while i'd like to be able to dismiss such concerns, i cannot help but consider the consequences of having my last few years of earning a living snuffed out by my government...

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