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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 12/11/2011 - 12/18/2011
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Anonymous calls out Congressional representatives who voted for the NDAA

more like this...

from raw story

The National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 has been assailed by civil libertarians for its provisions which allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial. Now the hacktivist collective Anonymous has joined the battle in its own distinctive manner, declaring war on the members of Congress who voted for the legislation under the operation name #OpAccountable.

“This is an open letter to the US leaders,” the operation wrote in a document released on Friday, which cited both the NDAA and attempts to pass so-called anti-piracy legislation that critics fear would amount to preemptive censorship of the Internet.

“We have watched as you have violated the very laws that guarantee your power. We have witnessed your fall from Representatives of the People to Representatives of Greed and Corruption. We’ve been watching you systematically destroy the rights of your own people, one law at a time.”

here's the full letter from anonymous...

Greetings from Anonymous.

This is an open letter to the US leaders. We have watched as you have violated the very laws that guarantee your power. We have witnessed your fall from Representatives of the People to Representatives of Greed and Corruption.

We've been watching you systematically destroy the rights of your own people, one law at a time. No longer shall we stand by and watch you enslave our fellow citizens.

You have continued down this path of treason by creating acts such as the National Defense Authorization Act, Stop Online Piracy Act, Protect IP Act, and more. You've tried to conceal the true purpose of these bills, and pass them without the consent of the American people.

We are now here to undo your sordid life's work in its entirety. No longer will your transgressions go unnoticed. No longer will you enslave the people. The world will know of your violations against the rights of the citizens you were elected to represent.

The eyes of the people are open. We see your hunger for power, money and war. You label those with voices that speak against you as terrorists, and vilify true freedom in the process.

This is a warning for anyone who thinks they can make a profit off the people without repercussions. We will not stand silently and allow you to enslave our country. We will not comply.

1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

2. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

3. No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in manner to be prescribed by law.

4. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

5. No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

6. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

7. In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

8. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

9. The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

10. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

This is the Bill of Rights. Every time you violate these amendments we will ensure the people are aware of your actions. You may have previously succeeded in concealing your actions, but that time has come to an end. You were elected by us, and you can be removed by us.

We are legion.
We are the Tzu's divine organization.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Expect us.

accountability... such a quaint notion...

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The NDAA - the United States of Gitmo

from rt...

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Bradley Manning

i would be seriously remiss if i didn't give some space to the incredibly critical case of bradley manning that's now in a hearing phase at ft. meade, maryland...

here's keith olbermann discussing the case with daniel ellsberg...

ellsberg makes several key points, among them that manning has been judged guilty by president obama before even being brought to trial and, even more ominously, that manning's prosecution is a loud and clear signal from the obama administration about how it treats whistleblowers...

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Over half the world's largest economies are corporations

a very interesting and revealing report from the swiss federal institute of technology...

The network of global corporate control


here's an excerpt from stephen lendman discussing the report's findings...

The study says 147 powerful companies control an inordinate amount of economic activity - about 40%. Among the top 50, 45 are financial firms. They include Barclays PLC (called most influential), JPMorgan Chase, UBS, and other familiar and less known names.

Twenty-four companies are US-based, followed by eight in Britain, five in France, four in Japan, and Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands with two each. Canada has one.

Moreover, "top ranked" companies "hold a control ten times bigger than what could be expected based on their wealth."

As a result, they have enormous influence over political, financial, and economic activity.

In his book titled, "When Corporations Rule the World," David Korten said they're able to transfer enormous amounts of power, wealth and resources from public to private hands with government complicity. Money power and concentrated wealth in few hands especially harm humanity.

"These forces have transformed" financial institutions and other corporate predators "into instruments of a market tyranny that is extending its reach across the planet like a cancer, colonizing ever more of the planet's living spaces, destroying livelihoods, displacing people, rendering democratic institutions impotent, and feeding on life in an insatiable quest for money" and profits as a be and end all.

Only bottom line priorities and market dominance matter, not human welfare, environmental sanity, peace, equity and justice.

Transnational giants are the dominant institution of our time - especially financial ones with money power control of everything.

They decide who governs and how, who serves on courts, what laws are enacted, and whether or not wars are waged. Corporate dominance, especially financial power, and democratic values are incompatible.

They operate ruthlessly as private tyrannies. They're predators. We're prey, and every day we're eaten alive. They do it because they can, and in America by mandate.

Publicly owned US corporations, including financial ones, must serve shareholders by maximizing equity value through higher profits. They do it by exploiting nations, people and resources ruthlessly.

Social responsibility doesn't matter. Neither does being worker-friendly, a good citizen, or friend of the earth. Bottom line priorities alone matter. Failure to pursue fiduciary responsibilities means possible dismissal or shareholder lawsuits.

Yet nothing in America's Constitution or statute laws endow corporations with their rights. They usurped them by co-opting Washington, the nation's courts, state capitals, and city halls.

As a result, over half the world's largest economies are corporations. Financial ones controlling the power of money are most dominant.

Corporate personhood enhanced their power, yet imagine. Although corporations aren't human, they can live forever, change their identity, reside in many places globally, can't be imprisoned for wrongdoing, and can transform themselves into new entities for any reason.

more reasons to occupy...

lendman's concluding comment...

Can revolutionary sparks be far behind? Expect pain levels eventually to cross thresholds of no return. Anything after that is possible, good or bad.

it's happening right now, methinks...

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50 gagging statistics on the U.S. economy

i wish the u.s. and europe would stop trying to prop up the house of cards... once it collapses, we can get about the business of starting over...

from the economic collapse blog via information clearing house...

#1 A staggering 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be "low income" or are living in poverty.

#2 Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be "low income" or impoverished.

#3 If the number of Americans that "wanted jobs" was the same today as it was back in 2007, the "official" unemployment rate put out by the U.S. government would be up to 11 percent.

#4 The average amount of time that a worker stays unemployed in the United States is now over 40 weeks.

#5 One recent survey found that 77 percent of all U.S. small businesses do not plan to hire any more workers.

#6 There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million extra people to the population since then.

#7 Since December 2007, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation.

#8 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006. Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million.

#9 A Gallup poll from earlier this year found that approximately one out of every five Americans that do have a job consider themselves to be underemployed.

#10 According to author Paul Osterman, about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.

#11 Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

#12 Back in 1969, 95 percent of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job. In July, only 81.2 percent of men in that age group had a job.

#13 One recent survey found that one out of every three Americans would not be able to make a mortgage or rent payment next month if they suddenly lost their current job.

#14 The Federal Reserve recently announced that the total net worth of U.S. households declined by 4.1 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2011 alone.

#15 According to a recent study conducted by the BlackRock Investment Institute, the ratio of household debt to personal income in the United States is now 154 percent.

#16 As the economy has slowed down, so has the number of marriages. According to a Pew Research Center analysis, only 51 percent of all Americans that are at least 18 years old are currently married. Back in 1960, 72 percent of all U.S. adults were married.

#17 The U.S. Postal Service has lost more than 5 billion dollars over the past year.

#18 In Stockton, California home prices have declined 64 percent from where they were at when the housing market peaked.

#19 Nevada has had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation for 59 months in a row.

#20 If you can believe it, the median price of a home in Detroit is now just $6000.

#21 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18 percent of all homes in the state of Florida are sitting vacant. That figure is 63 percent larger than it was just ten years ago.

#22 New home construction in the United States is on pace to set a brand new all-time record low in 2011.

#23 As I have written about previously, 19 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 34 are now living with their parents.

#24 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

#25 According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980. Today they account for approximately 16.3%.

#26 One study found that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.

#27 If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.

#28 The United States spends about 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.

#29 It is being projected that the U.S. trade deficit for 2011 will be 558.2 billion dollars.

#30 The retirement crisis in the United States just continues to get worse. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 46 percent of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, and 29 percent of all American workers have less than $1,000 saved for retirement.

#31 Today, one out of every six elderly Americans lives below the federal poverty line.

#32 According to a study that was just released, CEO pay at America's biggest companies rose by 36.5% in just one recent 12 month period.

#33 Today, the "too big to fail" banks are larger than ever. The total assets of the six largest U.S. banks increased by 39 percent between September 30, 2006 and September 30, 2011.

#34 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans combined.

#35 According to an analysis of Census Bureau data done by the Pew Research Center, the median net worth for households led by someone 65 years of age or older is 47 times greater than the median net worth for households led by someone under the age of 35.

#36 If you can believe it, 37 percent of all U.S. households that are led by someone under the age of 35 have a net worth of zero or less than zero.

#37 A higher percentage of Americans is living in extreme poverty (6.7%) than has ever been measured before.

#38 Child homelessness in the United States is now 33 percent higher than it was back in 2007.

#39 Since 2007, the number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent.

#40 Sadly, child poverty is absolutely exploding all over America. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4% of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1% of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6% of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6% of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty.

#41 Today, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

#42 In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income. Today, government transfer payments account for more than 18 percent of all income.

#43 A staggering 48.5% of all Americans live in a household that receives some form of government benefits. Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent.

#44 Right now, spending by the federal government accounts for about 24 percent of GDP. Back in 2001, it accounted for just 18 percent.

#45 For fiscal year 2011, the U.S. federal government had a budget deficit of nearly 1.3 trillion dollars. That was the third year in a row that our budget deficit has topped one trillion dollars.

#46 If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for about 15 days.

#47 Amazingly, the U.S. government has now accumulated a total debt of 15 trillion dollars. When Barack Obama first took office the national debt was just 10.6 trillion dollars.

#48 If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 years to pay off the national debt.

#49 The U.S. national debt has been increasing by an average of more than 4 billion dollars per day since the beginning of the Obama administration.

#50 During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.

pretty sobering, eh...? no wonder we're occupying...

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Manufacturing Consent

i watched the classic canadian documentary on noam chomsky yesterday... i'm familiar with most of chomsky's ideas it contains but the films is still essential grounding on what's taking place today...

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Good news - SOPA vote delayed in House

let's hope the damned thing goes away and never comes back...

from the chicago tribune...

A key House vote on controversial anti-piracy legislation has been delayed.

The House Judiciary Committee adjourned on Friday without deciding on whether or not to send the so-called Stop Online Piracy Act to the House floor.

The committee had been engaged in a marathon markup version of the bill, but the session came to an abrupt end, as Congress had to turn its attention to a floor vote on a nearly $1 trillion spending bill that would avert a government shutdown.

The discussion will resume when Congress is next in session -- which could be next week.

it's a bill for censorship, pure and simple, designed to serve the monied interests and has nothing at all to do with the common good, free speech or open internet access...

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NYT - The NDAA has so many objectionable aspects that we can’t go into them all

the nyt trashes obama on the ndaa...
This is a complete political cave-in, one that reinforces the impression of a fumbling presidency. To start with, this bill was utterly unnecessary. Civilian prosecutors and federal courts have jailed hundreds of convicted terrorists, while the tribunals have convicted a half-dozen.

And the modifications are nowhere near enough. Mr. Obama, his spokesman said, is prepared to sign this law because it allows the executive to grant a waiver for a particular prisoner to be brought to trial in a civilian court. But the legislation’s ban on spending any money for civilian trials for any accused terrorist would make that waiver largely meaningless.

The bill has so many other objectionable aspects that we can’t go into them all. Among the worst: It leaves open the possibility of subjecting American citizens to military detention and trial by a military court. It will make it impossible to shut the prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. And it includes an unneeded expansion of the authorization for the use of military force in Afghanistan to include indefinite detention of anyone suspected of being a member of Al Qaeda or an amorphous group of “associated forces” that could cover just about anyone arrested anywhere in the world.

glenn expands...
[T]here is simply no question that this bill codifies indefinite detention without trial (Myth 1). There is no question that it significantly expands the statutory definitions of the War on Terror and those who can be targeted as part of it (Myth 2). The issue of application to U.S. citizens (Myth 3) is purposely muddled — that’s why Feinstein’s amendments were rejected — and there is consequently no doubt this bill can and will be used by the U.S. Government (under this President or a future one) to bolster its argument that it is empowered to indefinitely detention even U.S. citizens without a trial...


Even if it were true that this bill changes nothing when compared to how the Executive Branch has been interpreting and exercising the powers of the old AUMF, there are serious dangers and harms from having Congress — with bipartisan sponsors, a Democratic Senate and a GOP House — put its institutional, statutory weight behind powers previously claimed and seized by the President alone. That codification entrenches these powers. As the New York Times Editorial today put it: the bill contains “terrible new measures that will make indefinite detention and military trials a permanent part of American law.

here's the occupy reno response...


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Thursday, December 15, 2011

There is now no longer any difference between formal democracy and dictatorship

from adbusters...
Capitalism burns all around us, leaving behind the debris of a bankrupt financial and political system. The illusion of limitless economic growth and the endless utopia of consumption have been forever shattered. Now governments have only austerity and hard times to offer us. Yet their assurances are wearing thin. Our political and economic masters know that people no longer believe in them, and behind the calm visage of power there is fear, fear of the specter of insurrection, the old fear that has haunted the imagination of every regime. Doesn’t everything – from the statements of politicians to the market predictions of economic gurus, to celebrity reality shows – now have a slight air of desperation, as if the entire spectacular-capitalist system (a system which in any case no longer even believes in itself and probably never did) is terrified lest it reveal the nihilism behind its facade?


[T]here is now no longer any difference between formal democracy and dictatorship; it’s simply a matter of degrees of repression.


And what is democracy in any case but a system that encourages a mass contentment with powerlessness, a collective voluntary servitude legitimated by the purely symbolic ritual of voting? The recent insurrections should be seen as being more than just about democracy, which in any case is now such an ambiguous term. Rather they were a collective form of voluntary inservitude. They were the realization that every system of power is ultimately fragile and dependent on the alienation and relinquishment of our power.

"a mass contentment with powerlessness"... kinda fits, doesn't it...?

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How do we overthrow neoliberalism - we first admit that we don't know what we're doing

naomi klein offers what, imho, is some of the most solid wisdom i've yet heard on the magnitude of what we are facing... the part referenced in the post title starts at approximately 22:15...

Naomi Klein - interview with Occupy Vancouver from Ian MacKenzie on Vimeo.

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Obama's proclamation commemorating the 63rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

the opening paragraph...
With the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly affirmed the eternal truths that all people have the right to liberty, equality, and justice under the law. On Human Rights Day and during Human Rights Week, we celebrate our fundamental freedoms and renew our commitment to upholding and advancing human dignity.

take a moment and absorb the unbelievable and utterly bone-chilling hypocrisy...

then absorb this from jason leopold...

Apparently, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning president doesn't believe the extrajudicial killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a US citizen the administration asserted was a top leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula who was assassinated last summer by a drone strike Obama personally authorized, without being afforded the right to due process as guaranteed by the Constitution; or the indefinite detention of detainees at Guantanamo, especially those who have already been cleared for release; or the administration's refusal to allow prisoners detained and tortured by the US government in Afghanistan to challenge their detention, rises to the level of human rights abuses as outlined in his stunningly hypocritical proclamation.

Obama's proclamation also contained another embarrassing contradiction: it declared the week of December 10th as Human Rights Week, the same week Congress debated and is set to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a controversial piece of legislation that would give the president the power to indefinitely imprison without charge or trial or a court hearing anyone suspected of terrorist activity in the US.

imho, we've entered a new phase of critical citizen action required in response to the on-going assault on domestic civil liberties...

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The 9/11 Conspiracy Theory

all the interesting questions that remain unanswered in less than 5 minutes...

the corbett report, thanks to kevin at cryptogon...

9/11: A Conspiracy Theory

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A direct threat to the freedom of the American people every bit as menacing as any we face from foreign enemies

and a happy holiday to all...

robert scheer...

The defense authorization bill that Congress passed and President Obama had threatened to veto will soon become law, a fact that should be met with public outrage. Human Rights Watch President Kenneth Roth, responding to Obama’s craven collapse on the bill’s most controversial provision, said, “By signing this defense spending bill, President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in US law.” On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney claimed “the most recent changes give the president additional discretion in determining how the law will be implemented, consistent with our values and the rule of law, which are at the heart of our country’s strength.”

What rubbish, coming from a president who taught constitutional law. The point is not to hock our civil liberty to the discretion of the president, but rather to guarantee our freedoms even if a Dick Cheney or Newt Gingrich should attain the highest office.

Sadly this flagrant subversion of the constitutionally guaranteed right to due process of law was opposed in the Senate by only seven senators, including libertarian Republican Rand Paul and progressive Independent Bernie Sanders.

That onerous provision of the defense budget bill, much discussed on the Internet but far less so in the mass media, assumes a permanent war against terrorism that extends the battlefield to our homeland. It reeks of a militarized state that threatens the foundations of our republican form of government.


What’s alarming is ... the ease with which an otherwise deadlocked Congress that can’t manage minimal funding for job creation and unemployment relief can find the money to fund at Cold War levels a massive sophisticated arsenal to defeat an enemy that no longer exists.

Throwing $662 billion, plus hundreds of billions more in non-Pentagon “security” programs, at what that other great-general-turned-president, Dwight Eisenhower, condemned as the “military-industrial complex,” with its tentacles in every congressional district, is an act of absurdity in a world bereft of a serious military challenge to the United States. Not even the best-funded terrorists can afford aircraft carriers.


We had every right to expect President Obama to stick to his word and veto this bill, not as a means of forcing a much needed bigger cut in government waste, but more urgently because its assault on the Constitution’s requirement of due process represents a direct threat to the freedom of the American people every bit as menacing as any we face from foreign enemies.

feeling that holiday spirit yet...?

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America's top bosses enjoyed pay hikes of between 27 and 40% last year

and people still have the nerve to ask what it is that has people in the occupy movement so upset...

via alternet...

America's top bosses enjoyed pay hikes of between 27 and 40% last year, according to the largest survey of US CEO pay. The dramatic bounceback comes as the latest government figures show wages for the majority of Americans are failing to keep up with inflation.

America's highest paid executive took home more than $145.2m, and as stock prices recovered across the board, the median value of bosses' profits on stock options rose 70% in 2010, from $950,400 to $1.3m.

when i think about how little it takes me to get by especially in comparison to these grossly overpaid toads, i see red... i've worked with some of these senior guys and i can tell you, their vastly over-inflated opinion of themselves is the only thing that compares in size to their vastly over-inflated compensation...

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Obama's veto threat of the NDAA proves to be as bogus as he is

sorry for the rancor, but i'm fucking fed the fuck up... the fact that this truly abominable piece of constitutional-destroying legislation could possibly become law is the final straw for me... now, i'm REALLY PISSED...
The White House on Wednesday said it would not veto the controversial National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

President Barack Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney said lawmakers who crafted a compromise version from rival Senate and House versions of the legislation had addressed his worries about proposed tough rules on detainees.

fucking goddam son of a bitch... our president should be impeached for shredding the united states constitution... son of a BITCH...! if our president is looking to radicalize people, he just succeeded with me...

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Large private banks no longer deserve public trust

more like this...
[L]arge-scale global banking cannot safely be entrusted to private banks. Their behavior yields socially unacceptable costs. They failed their fiduciary duties, betraying both public and private trust. Their continued existence imposes equally unacceptable risks. Modern societies do not leave military security to private armies, nor education to private schools, nor ports, harbors and transportation systems to private conveyors, nor control of the money supply to private banks. Governments, enterprises and households have now become dependent on credit in most advanced industrial economies. The extension of credit ought to be as equally socialised as dependence on credit has become.

when will the failures be prosecuted...?

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A failed Obama presidency

harsh but pretty much right on...
President Obama Richly Deserves to Be Dumped

By now it should be obvious that the system, and the Democratic Party, run Obama, not the other way around. Under this arrangement, the president carries out his duties as pre-eminent party functionary—fundraising being at the top of his list of responsibilities—and defers on legislation, leaving it to corrupt Democratic barons such as Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.), devoted friend of the insurance, pharmaceutical, and banking crowd, and sworn enemy of reform.


Obama’s hypocrisy in Osawatomie, Kansas, set a new standard in deception. Among other things, his speech blamed “regulators who were supposed to warn us about the dangers of all this [the unfettered sales of bundled mortgages], but looked the other way or didn’t have the authority to look at all. It was wrong. It combined the breathtaking greed of a few with irresponsibility all across the system.”

What’s truly breathtaking is the president’s gall, his stunning contempt for political history and contemporary reality. Besides neglecting to mention Democratic complicity in the debacle of 2008, he failed to point out that derivatives trading remains largely unregulated while the Securities and Exchange Commission awaits “public comment on a detailed implementation plan” for future regulation. In other words, until the banking and brokerage lobbies have had their say with John Boehner, Max Baucus, and Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner. Meanwhile, the administration steadfastly opposes a restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act, the New Deal law that reduced outlandish speculation by separating commercial and investment banks. In 1999, it was Summers and Geithner, led by Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin (much admired by Obama), who persuaded Congress to repeal this crucial impediment to Wall Street recklessness.

and, to my mind, the most damning indictment of all...
Barbara Ehrenreich, just after billionaire Michael Bloomberg and mayors of other cities cleared public spaces of Occupy Wall Street protesters [said]: “Where in all this was Obama? Why couldn’t he have picked up the phone and called the mayors of Portland and Oakland and said: ‘Go easy on these people. They represent the anger and aspirations of the majority.’ Would that have been so difficult?” Well, yes, particularly if your principal occupation is shaking down bankers and brokers for campaign donations on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

just another nudge in the direction of rocky anderson (see previous post)...

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rocky Anderson and the Justice Party

when this story first surfaced yesterday, i read it and shrugged... today, i took a closer look...

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

here's what the justice party says it's all about...
The Justice Party seeks governing authority at the local, state, Congressional and national levels, beginning in the 2012 election cycle. The Justice Party is being created as a new 21st -century political vehicle to allow all citizens to work together to bring innovative results-oriented, justice-based solutions to the political debate as soon as possible.

Rocky Anderson, the former Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, delivered an address explaining why the Justice Party is needed at this critical juncture in U.S. history to rapidly achieve economic, social, and environmental justice.

and more...

Courageous Americans are joining together to create the Justice Party. Our intention is for the Justice Party to serve as a major new political party that will shape American politics in the public interest for decades to come. We seek governing authority at the local, state, Congressional, and national levels, starting in 2012 Election. We believe in the following core principles, namely:

  • We are patriots. We believe in the greatness of America’s national ideals. We believe America has an indispensable purpose in the World: to demonstrate, by example, the power of peace, freedom, equal opportunity, and justice for all;
  • We are dedicated to bringing integrity to the intentions of founding documents of our nation: including the Declaration of Independence, The U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. We are dedicated to advancing justice, peace, and freedom. America was founded in freedom—freedom to speak, to worship, to choose whatever path to happiness suits us best—but that freedom comes an equal responsibility to country, community, family, and the World.
  • We believe that justice-based values are what enable a free and just society to regain its strength. These values are: pragmatism tied to principle, honest and integrity, hard work and personal initiative, self-sacrifice and self-discipline, fairness and compassion, competitive striving and fair play, and a desire to serve the nation and advance justice in solidarity with the rest of the World.
  • We believe that we should measure the nation’s progress by whether every citizen has a fair shot. We believe that all citizens should have the opportunity to advance on the basis of talent and merit, and by the degree to which we promote the common success of all of our citizens. Additionally, we believe that we should measure the nation’s progress towards addressing complex global challenges, including disease, illiteracy, climate change, poverty, and strategic insecurities as central priorities towards advancing America’s moral leadership.
  • We believe that we should measure a citizen’s worth by contribution to country and community, not by wealth or power—that those whom America has benefited most should contribute in proportion to their good fortune—and that serving others should be esteemed more highly than serving self.

i have to confess... even the mere hint of a viable alternative to our present completely corrupted, dysfunctional two-party system captures my attention...

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The World Revolution of 2011

an interesting perspective on occupy and the global awakening that seems to be taking place...

david graeber posting at adbusters...

It only makes sense then that the World Revolution of 2011 should have begun as a rebellion against US client states, in much the same way as the rebellions that brought down Soviet power began in places like Poland and Czechoslovakia. The wave of rebellion soon spread across the Mediterranean from North Africa to Southern Europe, and then, much more uncertainly at first, across the Atlantic to New York. But once it had, in a matter of weeks it had exploded everywhere. At this point it’s extremely difficult to predict how far all this will ultimately go. Truly historical events, after all, consist of precisely those moments that could not have been predicted beforehand. Could we be in the presence of a fundamental shift like 1789 – a shift not only in global power relations but in our elementary political common sense? It’s impossible to say, but there are reasons to be optimistic.

Let me end by listing three:

First, in no previous world revolution has the main center of mobilization been in the imperial center itself. Great Britain, the great imperial power of the 19th century, was barely affected by the uprisings of 1789 and 1848. In the same way, the US remained largely immune from the great revolutionary moments of the 20th century. The decisive street battles typically happen not in the imperial center, nor in the super-exploited margins, but in what might be termed the second tier: not London but Paris, not Berlin but St. Petersburg. The 2011 revolution started according to that familiar pattern, but it has actually spread to the imperial center itself. If this is sustained, it will be quite unprecedented.

Also, this time the power elite can’t start a war. They already tried that. They’re basically out of cards to play in this respect. This makes an enormous difference.

Lastly, the spread of feminist and anarchist sensibilities has opened up the possibility of a genuine cultural transformation. Here is the big question: Can we create a genuinely democratic culture? Can we change our fundamental conceptions of what politics must necessarily be like? For me, the image of middle-aged white guys in suits, in places like Denver or Minneapolis, patiently learning consensus process from pagan priestesses or members of groups like Anarchist People of Color so as to take part in their local General Assemblies (and there are … it’s true! I’ve heard reports) may well be the single most dramatic image to have come out of the Occupy movement so far.

Of course this could be the first moment in yet another round of recuperation and defeat. But if we are witnessing another 1789, a moment where our most basic assumptions about politics, economics, society, are about to be transformed – this is precisely how it would have to begin.

it's only been in the last two-plus months that i've started to become familiar with david graeber (see previous posts here), but the more i read of him, the better i like him...

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Parallel police manuals: one for how to protect the rich and the other detailing how to deal with the poor

allison kilkenny writes about the occupy protests at the ports and in front of goldman sachs yesterday...
It was strange to see a large police response for such relatively tame acts of civil disobedience, but that's become a theme of Occupy Wall Street. The 30:1 police-to-protester ratio is a familiar theme of these kinds of protests, but only, of course, if the protest target has something to do with the financial district in New York City or major companies' import-export practices. When activists in New York City chose East New York as the site of their protest, very few police officers turned out to monitor the event. Those who did show up allowed protesters to march down the middle of the street, disrupt traffic, and block the roadways outside of homes.

If Occupiers attempted similar behavior in the financial district, police would arrest them en masse. That's not mere speculation. That exact scenario occurs every time protesters stray into Manhattan streets, and I've personally witnesses an NYPD officer tear the press pass off a foreign cameraman's neck when he went into the street to film police activity.

It almost seems as though there are parallel police manuals: one for how to protect the rich and the other detailing how to deal with the poor.

just another clear example of what it means to be the 99%...

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An expectation of serious domestic social unrest - surveillance by drone and, coming soon, weaponized drones

glenn outlines a very serious - but, unfortunately, totally expected - problem with the increasing militarization of domestic law enforcement, in this instance, responding to this la times story...
Police employ Predator drone spy planes on home front

glenn [emphases added]...
For those dismissing concerns about drones by claiming (falsely) that they are the equivalent of police helicopters, won’t those same people dismiss concerns over weaponized drones by arguing: there’s no difference between allowing the police to Taser you or shoot you themselves and allowing them to do that by drone? This is always how creeping police state powers are entrenched: one step at a time. For those who are perfectly content with having stealth, hovering drones over U.S. soil for sustained surveillance purposes — based on the reasoning that the police can already engage in surveillance so why not let them do it more efficiently? — what possible objections will there be to having the police use weaponized drones? After all, the police can already Taser, pepper spray and shoot people: why not let them do it with drones?


The fact is that drones vest vast new powers that police helicopters and existing weapons do not vest: and that’s true not just for weaponization but for surveillance. Drones enable a Surveillance State unlike anything we’ve seen. Because small drones are so much cheaper than police helicopters, many more of them can be deployed at once, ensuring far greater surveillance over a much larger area. Their small size and stealth capability means they can hover without any detection, and they can remain in the air for far longer than police helicopters. Their hovering capability also means they can surveil a single spot for much longer than military satellites, which move with the earth’s rotation... .


It’s beyond obvious that policy planners and law enforcement officials expect serious social unrest. Why wouldn’t they: when has sustained, severe economic suffering and anxiety of the sort we are now seeing — along with pervasive, deep anger at the political class and its institutions — not produced that type of unrest? Drones are the ultimate tool for invasive, sustained surveillance and control, and one would have to be historically ignorant and pathologically naive not to understand its capacity for abuse.


No matter one’s views, the escalating addition of drones — weaponized or even just surveillance — to the vast arsenal of domestic weapons that already exist is a serious, consequential development. The fact that it has happened with almost no debate and no real legal authorization is itself highly significant. One thing is for certain: this is a development that is going to continue and increase rapidly. It needs far more attention than it has thus far received.

i just emailed a friend that i sometimes wish i wasn't such a hopeless news junkie... it really doesn't do much for my mental and emotional well-being...

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Matt Taibbi - does getting filthy rich now equate with winning the full rights of citizenship?

matt discusses some of the ramifications of the passage of the national defense authorization act with its indefinite detention provisions...
On which side of the societal fence do you think the McCains and Grahams would put, say, an unemployed American plumber who refused an eviction order from Bank of America and holed up with his family in his Florida house, refusing to move? Would Graham/McCain consider that person to have the same rights as Lloyd Blankfein, or is that plumber closer, in their eyes, to being like the young Muslim who throws a rock at a U.S. embassy in Yemen?

A few years ago, that would have sounded like a hysterical question. But it just doesn’t seem that crazy anymore. We’re turning into a kind of sci-fi society in which making it and being a success not only means getting rich, but also means winning the full rights of citizenship. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see this ending well.

no... i don't see it ending well... not at all...

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Time to stop addressing our concerns to the hired help; from now on, we deal directly with the masters

the post title comes from an article in truthdig by lawrence weschler...

Time to Start Preoccupying Wall Street

i'm a little uncomfortable with the notion of "dealing directly with the masters" if only because i don't acknowledge them as my "masters"... i know that, for all practical purposes, they ARE my masters but i'm not interested in petitioning them for a goddam thing... i think they simply need to go away and in so doing release their monopolistic stranglehold on money and power... get the hell out of the way so that ordinary folks can step into the power of self-determination - the way it was meant to be and the way we were born to be...

in the article, weschler offers, as so many are doing following the shut-down of so many occupy encampments, his prescription for next steps for occupy, in short, "a major national mortgage and student loan strike"... whatever the merits of such an idea, the purest grain of truth in the article is in this paragraph...

In doing so, the movement ought to build on another of Occupy Wall Street’s greatest conceptual breakthroughs: the insight that it’s become pointless to address our concerns to the politicians—a political system virtually paralyzed, evenly divided between bullies and weenies, with a president for all intents and purposes veritably palsied with compunction and misgiving (who knows why and who cares anymore?). You don’t occupy Capitol Hill; you occupy Wall Street. And the formula needs to continue to be: time to stop addressing our concerns to the hired help; from now on, we deal directly with the masters.

again, as i've said before, we're dealing with a massively systemic problem here and attempting to address it through the existing system is ludicrous... we're way past the point of incremental fixes...

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The law should be changed to allow the directors of failed banks to be automatically banned, fined and stripped of their remuneration

a story on the recently issued report on failure of the royal bank of scotland from the ft...
The law should be changed to allow the directors of failed banks to be automatically banned, fined and stripped of their remuneration, according to a long-awaited report into the catastrophic failure of Royal Bank of Scotland three years ago.

In a near 500-page report into the management and regulatory failings that brought about RBS’s collapse following its takeover of Dutch rival ABN Amro, Financial Services Authority chairman Lord Turner says the regulator was legally hamstrung.

“The fact that no individual has been found legally responsible for the failure begs the question: if action cannot be taken under existing rules, should not the rules be changed for the future?”

Banks are different from other kinds of company, Lord Turner says. The failure of a bank is “a public concern, not just a concern for shareholders”. As a result, major bank acquisitions should in future require explicit regulatory approval, the report concludes.

"banned, fined and stripped"... sounds good to me... i'd like to be hearing that kind of recommendation being discussed for our banksters here in the u.s... hell, i'd like to hear anything involved real accountability being discussed here in the u.s...

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

You vote for the president to spend some part of 20% of his days raising money for his own future from the incredibly wealthy

tom engelhardt...
[Recently,] President Obama hustled around my hometown, snarling New York traffic in the name of Campaign 2012. He was, it turned out, “hosting” three back-to-back fundraising events: one at the tony Gotham Bar and Grill for 45 supporters at $35,800 a head (the menu: roasted beet salad, steak and onion rings, with apple strudel, chocolate pecan pie, and cinnamon ice cream -- a meal meant to “shine a little light” on American farms); one for 30 Jewish supporters at the home of Jack Rosen, chairman of the American Jewish Congress, for at least $10,000 a pop; and one at the Sheraton Hotel, evidently for the plebes of the contribution world, that cost a mere $1,000 a head. (Maybe the menu there was rubber chicken.)

In the course of his several meals, the president pledged his support for Israel (in the face of Republican charges that he is eternally soft on the subject), talked about “taxes and the economy” to his undoubtedly under-taxed listeners, and made this stirringly meaningless but rousing comment: “No matter who we are, no matter where we come from, we're one nation. We're one people. And that's what's at stake in this election."

Outside his final event, Occupy Wall Street protesters saw something else at stake, dubbing him the “1% president.” The end result from a night’s heavy lifting: $2.4 million for his election campaign and the Democratic National Committee, nowhere close to 1% of what they will need for the next year.

These were the 67th, 68th, and 69th fundraisers attended by Obama so far in 2011, or the 71st, 72nd, and 73rd. (It depended on who was counting.) In either case, we’re talking about approximately one fundraiser every five days, a total of 6% of the events in which Obama took part in this non-election year.

Think about that. You vote for the president to spend some part of 20% of his days raising money for his own future from the incredibly wealthy. Or put another way, the Washington Post now estimates that if you add in the non-fundraising, election-oriented events that involve him -- 63 so far in 2011 -- perhaps 12% of his time is taken up with campaign efforts of one sort or another; and this is what he’s been doing 12 to 24 months before the election is scheduled to happen.


It’s clear enough -- or should be by now -- that the electoral process has been occupied by the 1%; which means that what you hear in this “campaign” is largely refracted versions of their praise, their condemnation, their slurs, their views, their needs, their fears, and their wishes. They are making money off, and electing a president via, you. Which means that you -- that all of us -- are occupied, too.

So stop calling this an “election.” Whatever it is, we need a new name for it.

the country belongs to the 1%... we're just their indentured servants...

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