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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 03/25/2012 - 04/01/2012
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"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
- Noam Chomsky
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Occupy - surviving the winter

more from al jazeera's fault lines, chronicling the occupy movement...

Occupy Wall Street: Surviving the Winter

Fault Lines follows key Occupy organisers through the winter as they continue to build a movement even after violent evictions across the country.

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The chances of George Zimmerman spending time behind bars for killing Trayvon Martin are about the same as Sergeant Robert Bales

alexander cockburn in counterpunch...
You Really Think the Killers of Trayvon Martin and Those 16 Afghan Villagers Will Ever Do Time?

I’d say the chances of George Zimmerman spending time behind bars for killing Trayvon Martin are about the same as Sergeant Robert Bales doing time for killing those 16 Afghan villagers the night of March 11. Zero.


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Thursday, March 29, 2012

It's good to be a (Bank of America) banksta

at a time when bank of america is widely seen as one of the most voracious plunderers in the world, how can its ceo allow this to happen...? oh, wait... it's going in to his own pocket... well, how can the board of directors allow it to happen...? how can the shareholders allow it to happen...? how can we as citizens allow it to happen...?
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan's pay quadruples

In a year when Bank of America’s stock plunged 58% and the company announced plans to lay off 30,000 employees, chief executive Brian Moynihan’s compensation package more than quadrupled to nearly $8.1 million.

Here’s why: In 2011, the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank recorded $1.4 billion in profit after losing $2.2 billion the year before. So far this year, the stock is up more than 70%.

So although the bank’s compensation and benefits committee kept Moynihan’s salary the same at $950,000, he also landed $6.1 million in performance-reliant stock. Then there’s the $420,000 worth of tax and financial advice, along with use of the company’s aircraft, that’s also part of his package.

Along with various other components, Moynihan will have made nearly 317% more last year than the $1.9 million he pulled in during 2010, according to a BofA filing Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

yes, that's the bank of america ceo collecting almost 4 times what he collected the previous year, the ceo who heads a bank about which matt taibbi says this...
Matt Taibbi: Bank of America Is a “Raging Hurricane of Theft and Fraud”

There are two things every American needs to know about Bank of America.

The first is that it's corrupt. This bank has systematically defrauded almost everyone with whom it has a significant business relationship, cheating investors, insurers, homeowners, shareholders, depositors, and the state. It is a giant, raging hurricane of theft and fraud, spinning its way through America and leaving a massive trail of wiped-out retirees and foreclosed-upon families in its wake.

The second is that all of us, as taxpayers, are keeping that hurricane raging. Bank of America is not just a private company that systematically steals from American citizens: it's a de facto ward of the state that depends heavily upon public support to stay in business. In fact, without the continued generosity of us taxpayers, and the extraordinary indulgence of our regulators and elected officials, this company long ago would have been swallowed up by scandal, mismanagement, prosecution and litigation, and gone out of business. It would have been liquidated and its component parts sold off, perhaps into a series of smaller regional businesses that would have more respect for the law, and be more responsive to their customers.

i guess it's time to revive my post from last november, an ows spoof on the Geto Boys’ 1992 song “Damn it feels good to be a gangsta”...

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

War is a cash cow

why is it so hard for us to acknowledge that those who continually push us to get involved in yet another war are those who either themselves stand to make the most money from it or work for those who will...?

jeremiah goukla guest-blogs for glenn...

For people in the national/homeland security business, war with Iran would be a cash cow. They and their clients stand to benefit handsomely. Just stoking fears of war can get money flowing, from studies to retrofitting naval vessels. Bombing would be better, as even something as small as the Libyan war involved spending more than a billion dollars. But full-on war, that’s the mother lode. An invasion followed by an Iraq-style lingering occupation and reconstruction would open up hundreds of billions and possibly even trillions of taxpayer dollars for the grabbing.

time to revisit smedley butler...
War is a Racket by Smedley Butler is a famous speech denouncing the military industrial complex. This speech by two-time Congressional Medal of Honor recipient exposes war profits that benefit few at the expense of many. Throughout his distinguished career in the Marines, Smedley Darlington Butler demonstrated that true patriotism does not mean blind allegiance to government policies with which one does not agree.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Worker-owned businesses


good stuff...
It may not be the revolution’s dawn, but it’s certainly a glint in the darkness. On Monday, this country’s largest industrial labor union teamed up with the world’s largest worker-cooperative to present a plan that would put people to work in labor-driven enterprises that build worker power and communities, too.

Titled “Sustainable Jobs, Sustainable Communities: The Union Co-op Model,” the organizational proposal released at a press conference on March 26 in Pittsburgh, draws on the fifty-five year experience of the Basque-based Mondragon worker cooperatives. To quote the document:

“In contrast to a Machiavellian economic system in which the ends justify any means, the union co-op model embraces the idea that both the ends and means are equally important, meaning that treating workers well and with dignity and sustaining communities are just as important as business growth and profitability.”

It might not sound like big news to members of their local food coop but it’s revolutionary stuff in the context of industrial production. The United Steelworkers represents some 1.2 million members; the average steel plant requires millions of dollars of investment, and there’s history here when it comes to worker ownership—some of it painful.

Thirty-five years ago, when local steelworkers and a statewide religious coalition put forward a plan to transfer the Youngstown Sheet and Tube steel mill to worker and community control, the USW’s attitude was very different. As recounted by Gar Alperovitz in his (recently updated) "America Beyond Capitalism:"

“In the late 1970s the union saw worker-ownership as a threat to organizing, and it opposed efforts by local steelworkers to explore employee-owned institution-building in cities like Youngstown.”

This Monday, Leo Gerard, forward-thinking president of a very new kind of international USW, had this to say:

“To survive the boom and bust, bubble-driven economic cycles fueled by Wall Street, we must look for new ways to create and sustain good jobs on Main Street…. Worker-ownership can provide the opportunity to figure out collective alternatives to layoffs, bankruptcies, and closings.”

“The union’s gone through a huge transition,” Alperovitz told me when I reached him at his office shortly after the press conference. “This is a real declaration of a new direction for labor.”

It’s been a few years since the USW first became curious about the Mondragon cooperatives after they had a good experience working with GAMESA, a co-op friendly Spanish wind turbine outfit that opened up three plants in Pennsylvania. In 2009, with their Spanish colleagues' help, Gerard sent a delegation to the Basque region of Spain to investigate Mondragon, now a $24 billion global operation. Since then, the USW has worked slowly with Mondragon and the Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC) a university based coop-outreach center founded by one of the organizers of the Youngstown initiative, to fine tune the US version presented Monday.

i sincerely believe this this is the way things need to go... unfortunately, as long as the current model of capitalism remains the state-sponsored religion, it will never take off...

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Quantitative Easing - explained

clarke and dawe...

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Chris Hedges: If there is no rolling back of the NDAA law we cease to be a constitutional democracy

reading chris hedges is always a depressing proposition but, as hard as it is to read, it's also the cold shower of truth and reality...
I spent four hours in a third-floor conference room at 86 Chambers St. in Manhattan on Friday as I underwent a government deposition. Benjamin H. Torrance, an assistant U.S. attorney, carried out the questioning as part of the government's effort to decide whether it will challenge my standing as a plaintiff in the lawsuit I have brought with others against President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta over the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), also known as the Homeland Battlefield Bill.

The NDAA implodes our most cherished constitutional protections. It permits the military to function on U.S. soil as a civilian law enforcement agency. It authorizes the executive branch to order the military to selectively suspend due process and habeas corpus for citizens. The law can be used to detain people deemed threats to national security, including dissidents whose rights were once protected under the First Amendment, and hold them until what is termed "the end of the hostilities." Even the name itself—the Homeland Battlefield Bill—suggests the totalitarian concept that endless war has to be waged within "the homeland" against internal enemies as well as foreign enemies.


It is in conference rooms like this one, where attorneys speak in the arcane and formal language of legal statutes, that we lose or save our civil liberties. The 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act, the employment of the Espionage Act by the Obama White House against six suspected whistle-blowers and leakers, and the Homeland Battlefield Bill have crippled the work of investigative reporters in every major newsroom in the country. Government sources that once provided information to counter official narratives and lies have largely severed contact with the press. They are acutely aware that there is no longer any legal protection for those who dissent or who expose the crimes of state. The NDAA threw in a new and dangerous component that permits the government not only to silence journalists but imprison them and deny them due process because they "substantially supported" terrorist groups or "associated forces."


Totalitarian systems always begin by rewriting the law. They make legal what was once illegal. Crimes become patriotic acts. The defense of freedom and truth becomes a crime. Foreign and domestic subjugation merges into the same brutal mechanism. Citizens are colonized. And it is always done in the name of national security. We obey the new laws as we obeyed the old laws, as if there was no difference. And we spend our energy and our lives appealing to a dead system.

will we ever break this downward spiral...?

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