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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 02/12/2012 - 02/19/2012
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Occupy in Solidarity with the Greeks: "We're all Greeks Now"

what a sad state of affairs... the raping and pillaging continues unabated and we're all at great risk...

Protest, Syntagma Square, Athens
#OWS Joins International Day of Action: We Are All Greeks Now

Tomorrow, the people of Greece will take to the streets again to occupy Syntagma Square in protest of the extreme austerity measures being imposed on the backs of the Greek 99% to the joy and benefit of the European financial elite. The 99% everywhere are under assault by the same global banking interests. Greece is merely the most severe economic crisis yet to be imposed by the International Monetary Fund and other agents of the 1% in the Global North. People all over the world live under the tyranny of policies dictated by the IMF, the World Bank, and the G8. As demonstrated by the wholesale slashing of social services in the name of "debt reduction," New York City and the United States are not immune.

Our resistance to austerity will also be global. This weekend, the people of cities across the world will take to the streets in solidarity with the Greek protesters who have occupied their workplaces and public spaces to resist economic injustice. Demonstrations are planned throughout Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portgual, the United Kingdom, the United States, Sweden, and more. Click here for a partial listing of international rallies on Facebook. Occupy Chicago held a Greece solidarity rally yesterday. There is a rally today in San Francisco and tomorrow in New York City.

i like greece... i like the greeks... i've spent some time there and it's a wonderful country... they don't deserve this shit... nobody does...

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Moyers: Freedom of and From Religion

the war on contraception and birth control...

Bill Moyers Essay: Freedom of and From Religion from on Vimeo.

The Catholic bishops had cast the president's intended policy as an infringement on their religious freedom; they hold birth control to be a mortal sin, and were incensed that the government might coerce them to treat it otherwise. The president in effect said: No quarrel there; no one's going to force you to violate your doctrine. But Catholics are also Americans, and if an individual Catholic worker wants coverage, she should have access to it -- just like any other American citizen. Under the new plan, she will. She can go directly to the insurer, and the religious institution is off the hook.

When the president announced his new plan, the bishops were caught flat-footed. It was so ... so reasonable.


So the battle over contraception no longer seems apocalyptic. No heavenly hosts pitted against the forces of Satan. It's a political brawl, not a crusade of believers or infidels. The president skillfully negotiated the line between respect for the religious sphere and protection of the spiritual dignity and freedom of individuals.

meanwhile, in a farce worthy of monty python, women are barred from a congressional hearing on birth control...
Birth control witness panel photo – made up completely of men – goes viral

via @thinkprogress Twitter
Photo of the witness table at GOP hearing on proposed birth
control benefit measure.

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This is your democracy on meth

post title courtesy of timothy egan in the nyt...
Newt’s Shop of Horrors

ari berman in tomdispatch...
Tomgram: Ari Berman, The Politics of the Super Rich

[T]he super PACs on both sides of the aisle are financed by the 1% of the 1%. Romney’s Restore Our Future Super PAC, founded by the general counsel of his 2008 campaign, has led the herd, raising $30 million, 98% from donors who gave $25,000 or more. Ten million dollars came from just 10 donors who gave $1 million each. These included three hedge-fund managers and Houston Republican Bob Perry, the main funder behind the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004, whose scurrilous ads did such an effective job of destroying John Kerry’s electoral prospects. Sixty-five percent of the funds that poured into Romney’s super PAC in the second half of 2011 came from the finance, insurance and real estate sector, otherwise known as the people who brought you the economic meltdown of 2007-2008.


Before Citizens United, the maximum amount one person could give to a candidate was $2,500; for a political action committee, $5,000; for a political party committee, $30,800. Now, the sky’s the limit for a super PAC, and even more disturbingly, any donor can give an unlimited contribution to a 501c4 -- outfits defined by the IRS as “civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare,” and to make matters worse, that contribution will remain eternally secret. In this way, American politics is descending further into the darkness, with 501c4s quickly gaining influence as “shadow super PACs.”

so, the u.s. has now officially joined the ranks of third world countries whose super-rich elites have routinely bought and sold the national assets of their people to the highest bidder, the common good be damned...

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Glenn on the drums beating for war with Iran

where did we hear all this nonsense before...? oh, yeah... i remember...
U.S. media takes the lead on Iran

Many have compared the coordinated propaganda campaign now being disseminated about The Iranian Threat to that which preceded the Iraq War, but there is one notable difference. Whereas the American media in 2002 followed the lead of the U.S. government in beating the war drums against Saddam, they now seem even more eager for war against Iran than the U.S. government itself, which actually appears somewhat reluctant. Consider this highly illustrative, one-minute report yesterday from the nightly broadcast of NBC News with Brian Williams, by the network’s Chief Pentagon Correspondent Jim “Mik” Miklaszewski, which packs multiple misleading narratives into one short package:

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

Diane Sawyer and Brian Ross belong in a fear-mongering museum

I just saw this two-minute ABC News report from Diane Sawyer and Brian Ross that sinks to even lower depths than what I highlighted yesterday. It has to be seen to be believed. It’s a perfect museum exhibit for how empty-headed American media stars uncritically recite whatever they are told by government officials, exaggerate or fabricate bad acts by the designated Enemy du Jour while ignoring and suppressing the precipitating acts of America and its client states, and just generally do whatever they can to keep fear levels and war thirst as high as possible. This is nothing short of irresponsible propagandistic trash:

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

what a load of bollocks...

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Savage austerity measures" in Greece

from the real news network with paul jay and michael hudson...

More at The Real News

Paul Jay: In Greece, the financial elites of Europe have gotten agreement from the Greek government to another round of what some people are calling savage austerity measures, for example, lowering the minimum wage by 22 percent, a new round of privatizations, and cuts to pensions and many other social programs.


Michael Hudson: Finance today achieves what military invasion used to do in times past. So the new mode of warfare is financial, not military. It's much cheaper and it's much safer for the country doing the attack.


And in this morning's newspaper, when it turned out that Greece's GDP fell at 7 percent annual rate, not the 5 percent expected, as usual the newspaper said, to everyone's surprise, the situation is worse than projected. Well, of course it wasn't really to our surprise, because we know that when you're strangling an economy, of course it can't cope very well. And they're strangling the Greeks economy. And they're using it, I think, as a laboratory experiment to say, what's going to happen when we really just squeeze labor and squeeze labor? It's like trying to feed a horse less and less and see whether it's really going to be more efficient until it keels over dead.

yes, let's beat that dead horse... by all means...

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

When plunder becomes a way of life

moyers & co...
Here’s what we’re up against. Read it and weep: “America’s Plutocrats Play the Political Ponies.” That’s a headline in “Too Much,” an Internet publication from the Institute for Policy Studies that describes itself as “an online weekly on excess and inequality.”

Yes, the results are in and our elections have replaced horse racing as the sport of kings. Only these kings aren’t your everyday poobahs and potentates. These kings are multi-billionaires, corporate moguls who by the divine right, not of God, but the United States Supreme Court and its Citizens United decision, are now buying politicians like so much pricey horseflesh. All that money pouring into super PACs, much of it from secret sources: merely an investment, should their horse pay off in November, in the best government money can buy.

They’re shelling out fortunes' worth of contributions. Look at just a few of them: Mitt Romney’s hedge fund pals Robert Mercer, John Paulson, Julian Robertson and Paul Singer – each of whom has ponied up a million or more for the super PAC called “Restore Our Future” -- as in, "Give us back the go-go days, when predators ruled Wall Street like it was Jurassic Park.”


When all is said and done, this race for the White House may cost more than two billion dollars. What’s getting trampled into dust are the voices of people who aren't rich, not to mention what's left of our democracy. As Democratic pollster Peter Hart told The New Yorker magazine’s Jane Mayer, “It’s become a situation where the contest is how much you can destroy the system, rather than how much you can make it work. It makes no difference if you have a ‘D’ or an ‘R’ after your name. There’s no sense that this is about democracy, and after the election you have to work together, and knit the country together.”

These gargantuan super PAC contributions are not an end in themselves. They are the means to gain control of government – and the nation state -- for a reason. The French writer and economist Frederic Bastiat said it plainly: "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." That’s what the super PACs are bidding on. For the rest of us, the ship may already have sailed.

rape, pillage and plunder...

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Perhaps "anarchy" has gotten a bad rap

in this article from alternet by david morris, originally posted in on the commons, anarchy, as defined by petr kropotkin, is equated to cooperation and collaboration...

Kropotkin honored Darwin’s insights about natural selection but believed the governing principle of natural selection was cooperation, not competition. The fittest were those who cooperated.

“The animal species, in which individual struggle has been reduced to its narrowest limits, and the practice of mutual aid has attained the greatest development, are invariably the most numerous, the most prosperous, and the most open to further progress. … The unsociable species, on the contrary, are doomed to decay.”

He spent the rest of his life promoting that concept and the theory of social structure known as anarchism. To Americans anarchism is synonymous with a lack of order. But to Kropotkin anarchist societies don’t lack order but the order emerges from rules designed by those who feel their impact, rules that encourage humanly scaled production systems and maximize individual freedom and social cohesion.

In his article on Anarchy in the 1910 Encyclopedia Britannica Kropotkin defines anarchism as a society “without government – harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption…”

in my opinion, the term "self-organizing systems" is not only more descriptive but also a great deal more palatable than "anarchy"... the concept of self-organizing systems is a well-studied element of complex adaptive systems that has emerged from research done by the santa fe institute... the concept began with chaos theory and complexity theory and has since been applied to many systems - economic, social, organizational, mathematical, physical, etc. - with great validity... it also totally supports the collaborative and cooperative fundamentals revealed in kropotkin's research...

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Glenn talks about immunity and disdain for the rule of law by the U.S. gov't and compares it to recent developments in Pakistan

worth reading...
It is virtually impossible to imagine the U.S. Supreme Court ordering the CIA to disclose documents about its treatment of detainees or, even more unrealistically, to permit the victims of CIA abuse to have their grievances heard in court. Anyone who doubts that can simply review the past decade of full-scale immunity bestowed by the Justice Department and subservient American federal courts on all executive agencies in the War on Terror. We should think about that the next time some American pundit, politician, or media figure righteously holds forth on how undemocratic and oppressive is Pakistan as opposed to the U.S.

is the u.s. a great country or what...?

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Greece's death sentence

mike whitney... here's a teaser...
It’s just corporate pillaging gone haywire. Greece is a big pinata that’s just been cracked open and everyone is pushing and shoving to grab their fistful of candy.

by all means, go read it all, but stay close to the toilet in case of retching...

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This is what happens when you push people too far and ask them to pay for your mistakes

this is what austerity looks like in greece...

from spiegel...


here's the article...
'The Troika's Policies Have Failed'

European Doubts Growing over Greece Debt Strategy

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Powerlessness and Occupy

chris hedges...
The security and surveillance state has a vast arsenal and array of tools at its disposal. It operates in secret. It dissembles and lies. It hides behind phony organizations and individuals who use false histories and false names. It has millions of dollars to spend, the capacity to deny not only its activities but also its existence. Its physical assets honeycomb the country. It can wiretap, eavesdrop and monitor every form of communication. It can hire informants, send in clandestine agents, recruit members within the movement by offering legal immunity, churn out a steady stream of divisive propaganda and amass huge databases and clandestine operations centers. And it is authorized to use deadly force.

How do we fight back? We do not have the tools or the wealth of the state. We cannot beat it at its own game. We cannot ferret out infiltrators. The legal system is almost always on the state’s side. If we attempt to replicate the elaborate security apparatus of our oppressors, even on a small scale, we will unleash widespread paranoia and fracture the movement. If we retreat into anonymity, hiding behind masks, then we provide an opening for agents provocateurs who deny their identities while disrupting the movement. If we fight pitched battles in the streets we give authorities an excuse to fire their weapons.


We must assume we are targets. And we must fight back by relying on our strength, which in the great paradox of resistance movements is embodied in our weakness. This does not mean we will avoid being repressed or persecuted. It will not keep us safe from slander, lies or jail. But it does offer the capacity to create internal divisions in the apparatus of the oppressors rather than permit the oppressors to create internal divisions within the movement. Divided loyalties create paralysis. And it is our job to paralyze them, not allow them to paralyze us.

the assumption that we are targets is both a safe and a correct assumption... there's a big difference in basing an assumption on multiple observations of reality and making an assumption based purely on paranoia...

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The war on whistleblowers: "We don’t need to ask who you’re talking to. We know."

an insightful and chilling reminder of the reality of the national security state that is the u.s. of a...

from yesterday's nyt...

“The government does not pursue every leak,” said Mark Corallo, who served as the Justice Department’s spokesman in Mr. Bush’s administration. “On balance, it is more important that the media have the ability to report. It’s important to our democracy.”

That does not seem to be the view of the Obama administration, which has brought more prosecutions against current or former government officials for providing classified information to the media than every previous administration combined.

“It increases the level of paranoia,” Steven Aftergood, an expert on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, said of recent trends. “As security has been ratcheted up, so has the anxiety of many government officials about dealing with the press and the public.”

Mr. Corallo, who served under Mr. Bush’s attorney general John D. Ashcroft, said he was “sort of shocked” by the volume of leak prosecutions under President Obama. “We would have gotten hammered for it,” he said.


[Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press] ... described a conference in June organized by the Aspen Institute that brought together lawyers, journalists and intelligence officials to talk about government secrecy.


“I was told in a rather cocky manner” by a national security representative, Ms. Dalglish recalled, that “the Risen subpoena is one of the last you’ll see.”

She continued, paraphrasing the official: “We don’t need to ask who you’re talking to. We know.

The solution for reporters, Ms. Dalglish said, is to adopt Mr. Woodward’s methods from the 1970s. “For God’s sake, get off of e-mail,” she said. “Get off of your cellphone. Watch your credit cards. Watch your plane tickets. These guys in the N.S.A. know everything”.

Mr. Corallo, the former Justice Department spokesman, provided corresponding advice to government officials. “Don’t be stupid and use e-mail,” he said. “You have to meet a reporter face to face, hand him an envelope and walk away quickly.”

i have said more times than i care to count, if you use ANY form of electronic communication - mobile phone, email, atm, credit cards, wifi, any internet connection, even your supermarket affinity card - you can safely make the assumption that your EVERY transaction is being sniffed at minimum and very likely recorded for possible later retrieval and this holds true across the world... no country is safe...

(thanks to glenn greenwald for the tip...)

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