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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 07/15/2012 - 07/22/2012
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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, July 21, 2012

Hedges: It’s absolutely imperative that we begin to understand what unfettered, unregulated capitalism does

it is absolutely imperative that we understand because it's killing us and, ultimately, the entire planet to say nothing of destroying our souls...

chris hedges talking with bill moyers via raw story...
Journalist and activist Chris Hedges appeared Friday on Moyers & Company to talk about the conclusions of his latest book. Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt is dedicated to investigating the most exploited and impoverished places in America, places that he says are “virtually off the radar screen in terms of the commercial media.”

“It’s absolutely imperative that we begin to understand what unfettered, unregulated capitalism does,” Hedges emphasized. “These are sacrifice zones, areas that have been destroyed for quarterly profit. And we’re talking about environmentally destroyed, communities destroyed, human beings destroyed, families destroyed. And because there are no impediments left, these sacrifice zones are just going to spread outward.”

When Moyers asked Hedges what he meant by saying there are no impediments left, he explained, “The political system is bought off, the judicial system is bought off, the law enforcement system services the interests of power, they have been rendered powerless.” Even worse, Hedges believes these devastated communities represent the future for all of us.

Hedges was particularly eloquent in describing the coal-mining areas of West Virginia, which “in terms of national resources is one of the richest areas of the United States [but] harbor the poorest pockets of community, the poorest communities in the United States. Because those resources are extracted, and that money is not funneled back into the communities.”


“These corporations know only one word, and that’s more,” Hedges went on. “And because the mechanisms of governance can no longer control them, there is nothing now within the formal mechanisms of power to stop them from the creating, essentially, a corporate oligarchic state.”

“We have become complicit,” he noted sadly, “because we’ve accepted this as a kind of natural law. And the acceptance of this kind of behavior, and even the celebration of it is going to ultimately trigger our demise.”

the video from moyers & company...

you can see the kind of thing hedges is talking about happening all over the country...vacant, foreclosed homes... shuttered, empty storefronts... dying downtowns... and, worst of all, people walking around with blank, dazed expressions, wondering what's going to happen to them, just waiting to get back home to watch tv, the opiate of the masses... the only exceptions seem to be in the enclaves of our super-rich elites, but it's even beginning to affect those... friends of mine who are massage therapists in one of the wealthiest areas of the country speak of clients complaining about being "down to their last million"... certainly a problem most of us would like to have but interesting nonetheless...

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Defining "terrorism" and deciding who's behind a "terrorist" attack prematurely as a form of propaganda

of course i've been following the situation in syria and the damascus suicide bombing without the slightest notion of who are the good guys and who are the bad guys (although i am strongly leaning toward the belief that both sides are pretty bad)... i also have no firm idea of who is propping up the assad regime and who is giving support to the rebels... that both the u.s. and israel have their hands in the matter up to their elbows i think is almost a given and that both of them would certainly like to see a regime emerge, no matter how brutal or totalitarian, that would befriend the u.s., tolerate israel and serve as a buffer to iran as well as turn a cold shoulder to russia and china, is hardly in doubt... it's also very interesting to note, as glenn points out, that news reports on the damascus bombing have pointedly avoided labeling it as a "terrorist" attack...

so, how utterly convenient to have the "terrorist" bulgarian bus bombing suddenly occur that, without preamble or investigation, israel can blame first on iran and, on further consideration, iran via hezbollah... israel and the israel-besotted neo-cons steering u.s. foreign policy would like nothing better than to turn loose the dogs of war in the region and will go to any lengths to make it happen... this is just another thing they can point to but, cynic that i am, would not put it out of the realm of possibility that mossad is behind it... true, it's hard to conceive of israel killing its own citizens but, given the total nutcases in charge, it's not out of the question...

glenn, as always, does a masterful job of dissecting the meaning and justifiability of terrorism in the bulgarian bus bombing in similar fashion to the job he did a few days ago with the damascus suicide bombing which, added to the analysis of "terrorism" he has been doing all along, provides a much-needed perspective on the reality of events...

meanwhile, cnn reports this...

In a televised statement Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the attack was "perpetrated by Hezbollah, Iran's leading terrorist proxy," as part of a global campaign that has reached a dozen countries on five continents.

But he offered no evidence. Israel's U.S. Embassy said Wednesday that it had no proof that Iran was the instigator of the attack.


oh, and btw, will the colorado movie theater massacre be labeled "terrorism"...? somehow, i don't think so...

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

The 2012 election through the eyes of Mr. Fish

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The dismantling of “the charter of every self-respecting man”

chomsky reflects on the magna carta and the upcoming millennium celebration of its creation in 2015...
Recent events trace a threatening trajectory, sufficiently so that it may be worthwhile to look ahead a few generations to the millennium anniversary of one of the great events in the establishment of civil and human rights: the issuance of Magna Carta, the charter of English liberties imposed on King John in 1215.

What we do right now, or fail to do, will determine what kind of world will greet that anniversary. It is not an attractive prospect – not least because the Great Charter is being shredded before our eyes.

worthwhile reading... as always, chomsky provides important historical context which is rarely a part of our political and social discourse...

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The legality of execution by executive decree without due process

The ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights this morning filed a lawsuit in federal court against several Obama officials, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and CIA Director David Petraeus. The suit is brought on behalf of the survivors of three American citizens killed in Yemen by the U.S. Government — killed specifically by the CIA and the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command — with no due process and far from any battlefield: Anwar Awlaki and Samir Khan (killed together in a drone strike) and Awlaki’s teenaged son Abdulrahman (killed two weeks later).

The suit alleges that the killing of these Americans violates their Constitutional rights (including their Fifth Amendment right to due process) because “the United States was not engaged in an armed conflict with or within Yemen” and “these killings rely on vague legal standards, a closed executive process, and evidence never presented to the courts.”

by all means, go read the rest...

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Two video clips from RT on Bohemian Grove

why is it that our global super-rich elites, the very people who pull the strings of governments, corporations and, by extension, all of us, get to gather to discuss who knows what without any media scrutiny...? why is it that the only media coverage comes from a russian cable news network...? what a sad commentary on our so-called "news" media...

Inside of Bohemian Grove 2012

It's the secretive meeting that the world's elites don't want you to know about - some of the world's richest and brightest are descending on Bohemian Grove yet again this year. RT correspondent Abby Martin is on the ground and she is bringing the latest on what's really going on there.

2,000 of the world's most rich and powerful take a yearly voyage to the Bohemian Grove, a secluded camp out in the redwoods of Monte Rio, CA. With little to no media coverage of this elite pow wow, RT correspondent Abby Martin set out to cover the event herself. There, activists, protesters and grove attendees elucidate the dangers of power players colluding behind closed doors and how it affects the rest of humanity.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Stiglitz: Unrestrained power and rampant greed are writing an epitaph for the American dream

i was pointed to this by commenter mettle...

from the guardian...
The ancient Greeks had a word for it – pleonexia – which means an overreaching desire for more than one's share.


In The Price of Inequality, Joseph E Stiglitz passionately describes how unrestrained power and rampant greed are writing an epitaph for the American dream. The promise of the US as the land of opportunity has been shattered by the modern pleonetic tyrants, who make up the 1%, while sections of the 99% across the globe are beginning to vent their rage. That often inchoate anger, seen in Occupy Wall Street and Spain's los indignados, is given shape, fluency, substance and authority by Stiglitz. He does so not in the name of revolution – although he tells the 1% that their bloody time may yet come – but in order that capitalism be snatched back from free market fundamentalism and put to the service of the many, not the few.


The Price of Inequality is a powerful plea for the implementation of what Alexis de Tocqueville termed "self-interest properly understood". Stiglitz writes: "Paying attention to everyone else's self-interest – in other words to the common welfare – is in fact a precondition for one's own ultimate wellbeing… it isn't just good for the soul; it's good for business." Unfortunately, that's what those with hubris and pleonexia have never understood – and we are all paying the price.

and the price we're paying is horrific...

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Taxing the rich to make investments that grow the middle class, is the single smartest thing we can do for the middle class, the poor and the rich

here's that ted video that ted deemed "too controversial" to post on their website...

and here's some of the transcript...
I can say with confidence that rich people don't create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is a "circle of life" like feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion this virtuous cycle of increasing demand and hiring. In this sense, an ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than a capitalist like me.


Anyone who's ever run a business knows that hiring more people is a capitalist's course of last resort, something we do only when increasing customer demand requires it. In this sense, calling ourselves job creators isn't just inaccurate, it's disingenuous.

That's why our current policies are so upside down. When you have a tax system in which most of the exemptions and the lowest rates benefit the richest, all in the name of job creation, all that happens is that the rich get richer.


If it were true that lower tax rates and more wealth for the wealthy would lead to more job creation, then today we would be drowning in jobs. And yet unemployment and under-employment is at record highs.

Another reason this idea is so wrong-headed is that there can never be enough super-rich Americans to power a great economy. The annual earnings of people like me are hundreds, if not thousands, of times greater than those of the median American, but we don't buy hundreds or thousands of times more stuff. My family owns three cars, not 3,000. I buy a few pairs of pants and a few shirts a year, just like most American men. Like everyone else, we go out to eat with friends and family only occasionally.

I can't buy enough of anything to make up for the fact that millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans can't buy any new clothes or cars or enjoy any meals out. Or to make up for the decreasing consumption of the vast majority of American families that are barely squeaking by, buried by spiraling costs and trapped by stagnant or declining wages.


We've had it backward for the last 30 years. Rich businesspeople like me don't create jobs. Rather they are a consequence of an eco-systemic feedback loop animated by middle-class consumers, and when they thrive, businesses grow and hire, and owners profit. That's why taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all is a great deal for both the middle class and the rich.

So here's an idea worth spreading.

In a capitalist economy, the true job creators are consumers, the middle class. And taxing the rich to make investments that grow the middle class, is the single smartest thing we can do for the middle class, the poor and the rich.

about time a wealthy capitalist stood up and told the truth...

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