Friday, September 30, 2011

Obama: due process will find 'no safe haven anywhere'

obama has found his voice as a true neocon, but in the process has lost his soul -- having sold it to the highest bidder (his satanic majesty, dick cheney). in crowing about the assassination of anwar al-awlaki, a US citizen, without benefit of a trial or any other legal mechanism:
Obama: Terrorists will find 'no safe haven anywhere': "President Obama called Anwar al-Awlaki's death in Yemen today "a major blow to al- Qaeda's most active operational affiliate."
"Make no mistake, this is further proof that al-Qaeda and its affiliates will find no safe haven anywhere in the world," Obama said."
if the truth be known, it's not al-qaeda and its affiliates who are really deprived of safe haven, it's US citizens who have now been given notice that their right to due process under the constitution is null and void, superseded by a new "legal" doctrine that really is bereft of any legitimacy in a country that boasts that it is a nation of laws, not men.

we have now replaced trial by jury and the other guarantees of due process with law by executive order, in which the machinery of government reserves the right to deal with its opponents by whatever means it finds expedient.

it isn't especially hard to figure out where this kind of thing leads. there's nothing really very exceptional about the US, except for the rapacity and jingoism it is able to muster when it comes to dealing with anyone audacious enough to stand in the way of making a profit.

Anwar al-Awlaki assassination carried out

add to barack obama's accomplishments his historic killing of a native-born US citizen by presidential decree:
Anwar al-Awlaki killed in Yemen - CBS News: "Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born radical Islamic preacher who rose to the highest level of al Qaeda's franchise in Yemen, has been killed.

Al-Awlaki, born in New Mexico, has been linked to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's (AQAP) attempted bombing of a U.S. passenger jet over Detroit on Christmas day, 2009, and was thought to be a leader of the group.

A U.S. government official confirms to CBS News senior security correspondent David Martin that al-Awlaki was killed. Yemen's Defense Ministry was first to tell CBS News of the strike, but given previous reports which turned out to be erroneous, the relatively rapid U.S. confirmation is crucial, and bolsters witness accounts that it was a U.S. drone strike that killed the al Qaeda figure."
there's absolutely no acknowledgement of the legal and constitutional issues raised by this death by CIA drone strike. obama has simply created a precedent whereby enemies of the state in time of undeclared war against a tactic can be eliminated with extreme prejudice -- but without niceties like the rule of law, due process and the other civilized values we impute to ourselves, but fault others for not paying sufficient lip service to them.

was al-awlaki a terrorist? a criminal? who found him guilty of anything, in what court proceeding was evidence of his guilt produced, and what jury found him liable for the death penalty? what treaty or rule of international law empowers the US to rain death on people in a far-off land -- an act that under other circumstances would be a violation of yemeni sovereignty and an act of war?

the US government lays out, bit by bit, a legal framework for killing its opponents, no matter who or where they are -- citizen or not. if this makes you feel safer, it's false comfort.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

news from abbottabad, hiding place of osama

one stumbles upon some of the most intriguing sites while browsing the web, including this newspaper from pakistan, the express tribune ( datelined abbottabad -- where osama bin laden met the navy seals -- it tells of a 12-year-old christian girl who made a spelling error on an exam, and was quickly subject to persecution for blasphemy. strange stuff, to put it mildly:
Girl accused of blasphemy for a spelling error – The Express Tribune: "It may have been a mere misplaced dot that led to accusations of blasphemy against a Christian eighth-grader, whose miniscule error led to her expulsion from school and uproar amongst local religious leaders.
Faryal Bhatti, a student at the Sir Syed Girls High School in Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) colony Havelian, erroneously misspelt a word in an Urdu exam while answering a question on a poem written in praise of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The word in question was ‘laanat’ instead of ‘naat’ – an easy error for a child to make, as the written versions of the words are similar.
According to the school administration and religious leaders who took great exception to the hapless student’s mistake, the error is ‘serious’ enough to fall within the realm of blasphemy, Saturday."
of all the volatile nations out there, places where we would be justifiably concerned for the safety of ourselves and our allies, pakistan seems to stand head and shoulders above the rest. i'm sure there are many reasonable people there, people of good faith who wish to live their lives in peace, and allow others to do the same.

at the same time, it appears to be jam-packed with completely off-the-meter fanatics, who don't seem to inhabit the contemporary world at all -- having gotten stuck in a time warp and returned to the medieval period. it's frankly very scary to see in this garrison town (the school was attached to the "pakistan ordnance factories, after all), where presumably the military establishment is safeguarding the nation's nuclear arsenal to prevent it from falling into the hands of apocalyptic lunatics.

recall that the US has been doling out several billion dollars a year in aid to pakistan for the last decade -- and before that, throughout the 1980s during the afghans' war against the soviet union. aid that has coincided with the global war of terror is premised on pakistan's alliance with washington against the taliban, but actually has a more pedestrian explanation: our supply lines all run through pakistan, and without the government's consent, our military industrial partners can't move that $300/gal. gasoline to support the troops. there's no question that when we abuse the pakistanis we're spitting in our own faces.

so much for that unique relationship, which while fraying and on the ropes will endure if for no reason than bland necessity. it's possible, of course, that the CIA will contrive to install a new dictatorship, in which case the eventual blow-up will be delayed and much more destructive when it finally occurs.

while the religious fanaticism of the pakistani muslim fundies provides much fodder for criticism, and it seems outrageous to our highly refined cultural sensitivities, the united states is under identical pressures from the forces of reaction to modernity and free thinking. we are under relentless assault from tea party fanatics with the bible in one hand and 10 commandments in the other. mainstream GOP presidential aspirants openly disparage darwin and evolution, and place the parody of science called creationism on an equal footing in the school classroom.

as they watch the certitudes of their small-town world view under relentless challenge from secularism and the educated classes, they've circled the wagons and declared dark-skinned interlopers as the enemy -- who plot to destroy their way of life and the customs and comforts of white privilege.

these are people who routinely insist, while they are the dominant race, class and religious tradition to be beset by enemies on all sides whose lifestyles and beliefs are so threatening as to rate charges of blasphemy. this where the line between the taliban and the militant fundamentalist survivalist movements become indistinguishable.

what's sad is that so long as their militancy is in sync with the agenda of the oligarchy that controls the monetary and financial and corporate and military structures, they will be gladly indulged. if and when they finally become a nuisance, begin to assert some power or influence, they are expendable.

frontier justice for american hijacker?

The FBI captured George Wright, a convicted killer and fugitive airline hijacker who had been on the run for 41 years.

the FBI's fugitive task force nabbed this george wright dude in portugal the other day, and they're trying to extradite him. as usual, the infotainment media zero in on the victim's family in order to ratchet up the outrage factor -- killer and hijacker living on the lam for 40 years!!!
Fugitive hijacker socialized with U.S. officials - CBS News: "Ann Patterson, whose father Walter was killed by Wright in a 1962 gas station robbery in New Jersey, was surprised to learn that Wright lived in plain sight and managed to remain undetected in Guinea-Bissau using his real name.

"He just got away with everything. He was very adept at what he did. This is unreal," she said Thursday."
yes, the poor white american victim once again demands justice. he got away with everything -- they always do, don't they?

i have no opinion on wright's innocence or guilt, but i do wonder about the chances a black man had to get a fair trial in new jersey in 1962. georgia just executed a man the other week whose guilt was far from certain, and we're a much more advanced society in every way that matters now than we were back in the US apartheid days.

for most of the folks in TV land, that mugshot of the perp is enough right there to find him guilty. the 'off with his head' crowd has never had much patience with justice getting in the way of law and order...

some tawdry, titillating front-page bullshit

i keep seeing stories on the newswires about some woman's father-in-law being arrested for having kiddie porn in his home. the woman is missing, and the discovery of porn adds a little spice to a tale that's sure to fester and ooze like a large, running sore. first, though, here's some dirty talk discovered by CBS infotainment:
Report: Susan Powell's father-in-law liked discussing sex with his kids - Crimesider - CBS News: "Details emerged Wednesday about Steve Powell's past in a 1992 divorce case from Spokane County. Case documents reviewed by The Associated Press show Steve Powell's ex-wife accused him of keeping pornography, damaging his children's respect for marriage and inappropriately discussing sex issues with the kids.

Terri Powell wrote in the divorce papers that Steve Powell talked of teaching his children about birth control methods when they were as young as 9-years-old. Terri's sister, Becky Mulcahy, wrote in the documents that Steve Powell told her that he had shown his youngest children books about sexual intercourse when they were 6- and 8-years-old.

Terri Powell said her husband viewed people as animals and that they should be able to have sex with anyone at any time. She recalled a conversation in which Josh referred to a girl his brother, Johnny, liked. "All she is good for is her body, right Dad?" Terri recalled Josh saying. "Yeah, that's right," Steve Powell replied, according to the declaration."
then he ripped off her panties and grabbed her coochie...

what is the point of publishing this lurid horseshit, especially by a once-reputable news organization? obviously public taste has always run to the salacious, lurid and otherwise barbaric, and even if this is an age of awesome technological progress we haven't managed to budge the meter when it comes to our fascination with sexual dysfunction -- hell, we haven't even been able to move beyond the puritanical obsession with sex that has two sides like a coin: fascination and repulsion.

baby, lick my lollipop...

people say all kinds of stuff in divorce procedings; it's basically (very basically) he said, she said. so why is this to be run up the flagpole like dirty laundry? in what way does it advance the public discourse on whatever seems to be at issue here?

i have no opinion in the matter personally as to when it is best to introduce children to sexuality and normal sexual functions. i have seen little evidence that treating the subject as some great taboo has been at all successful in producing healthy, well-rounded adults. but hey, you raise your little nippers any way you like, you hear...

back to the subject at hand: some guy's sexual peccadilloes does not tell us a lot about him in other respects -- take bill clinton as an example of a cad who played a successful leader on the world stage. i do not know about this current subject of the national obsessive disorder we file under the "crime news" category.

what i do know is that at a time when national statistics show a continuing (though inexplicable) decline in serious crime, the infotainment industry spends an inordinate amount of time and resources magnifying a relatively small number of incidents in such a way that the entire nation is both fascinated and terrified by this type of reporting.

the folks in TV land cower behind their locked doors and have an insatiable appetite for the details of sex and death as experienced by real people, somewhere else.

alabama immigration law reflects spirit of america

as is standard in these kinds of racist and nationalist laws, the true believers in the tea party who want to stamp out illegal immigrants characterize those seeking work as parasites, who come only to suck the blood of white people:

Alabama to enforce strict immigration laws - CBS News: "Zan Green, a tea party activist in metro Birmingham, said she was happy with the decision, saying citizens of foreign countries have benefited for years through welfare, entitlements, education, medical care and child tax credits."

i once listened to a guy at a convenience store in louisa county, va., ranting in the parking lot about unspecified people obtaining benefits that hard-working people such as himself were denied.

it's the same as the "welfare queen" who served as the scapegoat in ronald reagan's campaign back in 1980 -- here are the undeserving, living a life of privilege and luxury while ordinary working people suffer.

the final solution is elimination...

there's just one problem in this gospel of resentment preached by the GOP: kicking people further down the ladder isn't bringing joe sixpack up a rung, it's just a palliative for his bruised ego.

being white used to mean something in this country -- or so some legislators and voters in alabama and other like-minded places think in the defective historical narrative they've created.

what they don't realize -- or have convinced themselves despite the facts -- is that the people who are supposedly living the high life on the public dime are more unemployed, poorer, sicker and worse off by every other measure. to say that someone who was rolled into the emergency room on death's door is enjoying taxpayer-provided "healthcare" is stretching the common understanding of those words so as to be totally unrecognizable.

what can alabamans expect from their draconian new laws? for one, there won't be enough low-wage, exploitable labor to do the jobs that other people don't want and won't take -- and that will diminish the state's economy as businesses go elsewhere to find workers they can exploit. if a rising tide lifts all boats, this tide will be going out...

mainly, however, it will not bring relief to taxpayers or benefit the citizens when they find that punishing others just for spite doesn't lower their taxes or provide any other economic benefits to morons who don't have enough sense but to take their own frustrations on the weaker and less fortunate.

if you want relief from high unemployment and stagnant wages, as well as all the other manifestations of a declining living standard in the US, look to the people your GOP and democrap legislators serve -- follow the money as it goes out of your pocket and into those with the resources to rig the game in their favor.

i absolutely guarantee that at the end of that trail, there won't be an illegal immigrant in sight -- except maybe tending the well-manicured lawn on someone's posh country estate.

loughner's cocktail

nullfirst they're going to sedate him, and then they're going to kill him.
Loughner remains calm, quiet at Tucson hearing - San Antonio Express-News: "Loughner's medications include the sedative Lorazepam, the antidepressant Wellbutrin and Risperidone, a drug used for people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe behavior problems.
If Loughner is later determined to be competent enough to understand the case against him, the court proceedings will resume. If he isn't deemed mentally fit at the end of his treatment, Loughner's stay at the facility can be extended. There are no limits on the number of times such extensions can be granted.
If doctors conclude they can't restore Loughner's mental competency, the judge must make another decision. If he finds there's no likelihood of Loughner being restored to competency, he can dismiss the charges.
In that case, state and federal authorities can petition to have Loughner civilly committed and could seek to extend that commitment repeatedly."
he is defective, but no worse than dick cheney, and he's out hawking his bestselling, self-justifying memoir of how he lied and killed with impunity.

loughner's strange brew of medications includes:
Lorazepam is used to relieve anxiety. Lorazepam is in a class of medications called benzodiazepines. It works by slowing activity in the brain to allow for relaxation. Lorazepam comes as a tablet and concentrate (liquid) to take by mouth.
Bupropion (Aplenzin, Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL) is used to treat depression. Bupropion (Wellbutrin XL) is also used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD; episodes of depression that occur in the fall and winter each year).
Risperidone is used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia (a mental illness that causes disturbed or unusual thinking, loss of interest in life, and strong or inappropriate emotions) in adults and teenagers 13 years of age and older. It is also used to treat episodes of mania...

no wonder that loughner is chillin' now, if they're pumping him full of this kind of mixture. chemically induced happiness and contentment is a critical component of our collective well-being these days, but usually we attain the desired state with a bit less-potent concoction -- like alcohol and the NFL, with some prozac thrown in for good measure for the little lady who's lost the joy of life.

by the time he goes to the death chamber, jared lee loughner will be rolling on the floor and laughing his ass off. what could be more appropriate in the land of opportunity?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

help loughner, then kill him

a psychologist says that the lunatic who gunned down rep. gabrielle giffords and a bunch of other people in tucson, az., after sarah palin commanded him not to retreat, but reload, says that he can be fixed up:
Loughner's competency can be restored, psychologist says – TUCSON, Ariz. -- A psychologist says the man accused of wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in a deadly shooting rampage is still delusional, but she believes he can be restored to competency after another eight months of treatment."Dr. Christina Pietz testified Wednesday at a hearing on the mental status of 23-year-old Jared Lee Loughner. She has been treating Loughner at a Springfield, Mo., prison hospital.
Pietz says Loughner, who is being forcibly medicated, remains on suicide watch but is no longer having auditory hallucinations. She says she has no reason to think he won't keep getting better."

he might have been ape-shit crazy, delusional, schizo, hallucinating, and otherwise totally off the hook when he went on his notorious rampage -- after months of frightening and disturbing behavior in the community -- but that doesn't mean he can't be made well enough to be tried and executed for his crimes.

the good doctor believes that if they continue to pump loughner full of powerful anti-psychotic medications and other mind- and mood-altering chemicals, they can make the man shut up, sit still and otherwise refrain from acting like an extremely agitated, caged animal.

so long as he can be made docile enough not to interfere with the prosecution's case against him -- not necessarily assist in his own defense, but not make a defense impossible -- then the state can easily obtain a conviction and proceed to pump him full other other drugs that will make him permanently shut and and be still.

justice works in mysterious ways in the USA.

U.S. Stocks Retreat -- quit jerking us around

the markets are in full-spastic mode, with today's retreat following several days of euphoric asininity:
U.S. Stocks Retreat as Concern Grows Over European Debt Crisis - BusinessWeek: "Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks declined, halting a three-day rally for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, amid growing concern that European leaders are divided over how to handle Greece's debt crisis."
when will these criminal shysters give it up, and quit the whipsaw special effects market manipulations that lead to irrational and wildly contradictory moves of markets in random directions?

we all know that the banks are insolvent and all this activity is just a smokescreen for the underlying dysfunction of the system as a whole. it's been rigged and gamed and fucked with so heedlessly by sociopath criminals in three-piece suits that there's no way to go but through a giant hole in the ground -- and straight to hell.

instead of occupy wall street, shouldn't it more appropriately be named dismantle corporate oligarchy, or destroy bloodsucking capitalist swine? either those, or how about restore economic justice?

i know, how can something be restored when it never existed in the first place?

these rapacious hogs at the trough control money, markets and the government, but the corporate press persists in describing them as "job creators" to a credulous public besotted with dime-a-dozen populist demagogues like rick perry and chris christie. so long as the enemy controls the means of manipulating and controlling public opinion, it serves the cause of reform and restoration to have this monstrosity of a system collapse as expeditiously as possible.

financial system will collapse

it seems like this video is making its appearance everywhere in the alternative media universe -- from zero hedge on the right to common dreams on the left -- because one trader was blunt and honest enough to speak the plain truth about the state of the world's markets:

Trader on the BBC says Eurozone Market will crash - YouTube: ""

there was even an effort to discredit him, and ascribe his appearance as a "hoax" perpetrated by a group known as "yes men" because of rastani's resemblance to another guy in a video from 2004.

it's the usual misdirection scheme: make the guy the focus of the story, instead of his remarks. it works often enough that the oligarchs and their minions in the corporate media regularly resort to it. kind of like the "climategate" story, which conflated a bit of inter-office politics with a refutation of scientists' observations that human activity is altering earth's climate.

rastani is, at one point, asked what needs to be done to "fix" the markets. his reply was blunt and to the point: he doesn't know, and that's not really his concern as a market trader. unlike the spectacular frauds who populate the media bubble, spewing relentless, obligingly reassuring drivel, he merely observes a trend that inevitably leads to systemic collapse. his refusal to sell soap -- in the form of policy prescriptions -- only bolsters his credibility. he's not promising that if you follow him, you'll be saved.

that seems to be the full-time occupation of the institutional figureheads to pontificate on the news channels and in the business press, whose palaver about how a solution to all the decades' worth of accumulated fiscal and monetary slime is exasperating in its pure audacity. no scheme or scam to help insolvent governments pay back old debt with new debt has a popsicle's chance in Hiroshima of being paid.

that is simply all anyone has on offer.

no taxpayer bailout will save the swindlers this time, since the sovereigns are almost all on the ropes themselves -- including the almighty FED -- which rastani rightly calls the whore of goldman sachs. there isn't enough money in the whole world to pay off the bad debts these greedy bastards have enabled borrowers to make.

collapse is inevitable, so let's get it on and flush the contamination out of the system. start with the TBTF banks, and work our way down the line until the web of deceit that the banksters have created is finally, irrevocably disentangled from the states and economies upon which they've dropped their devastating turds of financial mass destruction.

Amazon Kindle swindle -- another monopolistic monster

infoweek has this grinning columnist named fritz give us the low-down on the blow-down -- the incredible, earth-shaking, game-changing amazon tablet:
Amazon Kindle Fire: 4 Key Considerations - Personal-tech - Tablets - Informationweek: "Amazon finally sat down to the adults table in the tablet world today. For those expecting a Samsung tablet at an Amazon price, please try to hide your disappointment, but remember: We need another Android clone like we need another mobile patent lawsuit. Time for something different. While the Amazon Kindle Fire isn't going to be for everyone (read: Apple lovers, iPad owners, and possibly Amazon neophytes), it conjures up a simple new notion: a tablet for the rest of us."
the US seems to be in love with XL. when one of the megalithic entities of the commercial universe unveils it's latest gift to humanity, the messenger boys from the fawning corporate media establishment are front and center, on the scene and drooling over their sanctified sneak peek at the latest dick-stiffening tablet to come down from mount sinai.

amazon is just big enough, the profit margins high enough, their MTM growth rate impressive enough to be amazing and awesome whenever they deign to drop some new gadget on the market. it is greeted with hushed admiration, giving way to hoots of unrestrained joy, as the newest essential lifestyle augmentation gets its requisite welcome and fanboy adulation.

amazon calls its latest offering the kindle fire, but let's be honest: kindle swindle is a lot more catchy, not to mention it better describes this latest foray into totally unnecessary, disposable lifestyle appliance. it's such a winner from amazon's perspective that they're even willing to take a loss on the $200 sell price in order to welcome you into the amazon universe of "content" -- music, books, movies and all the other cultural detritus that keeps the skids of online commerce greased.

the kindle swindle keeps you tied to a handheld gadget that absorbs your time and your mind in ways that keep you tied to the collective we call society, but which is quite a more restrictive and controlling environment than human interactions as we used to know them. the marketplace and communities have turned into quite a different thing than they once were, and as just another node on someone's network, we begin to lose our individuality and identity.

in any event, there's no clear benefit to become enmeshed in apple's and amazon's ecosphere, where giant corporations try to control both the enabling technology and the content -- making the corporate presence a constant in one's interaction with goods and services outside the web created by these devices. centralization and control are two corporate values that are at odds with human societies and personal interaction.

corporations are -- and should never be confused with -- people, but we're locked into a paradigm where as consumers (rather than simply citizens) we're tethered to the corporate machine by a digital web that stronger than steel in its ability to keep our view of the world circumscribed.

besides, after amazon kicked wikileaks off its servers, you knew then that the corporation was at odds with the values of most of its human customers. who ever heard of a bookseller that was hostile to free speech? to me, there's no greater affirmation of amazon's corporate mission than this expression of its solidarity with the regime of the corporate, kleptocratic state.

Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore -- mush for simps

with the world teetering on the brink of some very bad economic juju, it's reassuring to know that the world of celebrity gossip seethes with life-affirming passion:
Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore Marriage Troubles? : "Amid new tabloid reports of infidelity by Ashton Kutcher, and trouble in his marriage to Demi Moore, the two – who are currently on different coasts – have curbed their prolific Tweeting in some possibly telling ways.

On Sept. 23, Moore shared a quote from Greek philosopher Epictetus, writing, "When we are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself & study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger." "
the epictetus quote is perhaps a bit pretentious in this context, but of all the verbiage contained in this article -- or is likely to ensue about the couple's marital travails -- it alone provides some intellectual heft to an otherwise lighter-than-air exercise in journalism.

if only demi and ashton could somehow be extricated from this piece, might we finally be on an intellectual plateau from which the assorted numb-nuts out there in TV-land could contemplate matters weightier than the foibles of their all-too-human idols (american, too!)?

i can't say. or add anything insightful to lift the collective intellectual malaise we are in, here in the most exceptional land of the free. not when demi moore, bless her heart, already provided it in her choice of 151 character tweet.

now, will ashton perchance post some wienerish candid photos of himself, or is being half a man enough for now?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

5-alarm horseshit storm: wall st. chooses romney

looks like president obama may be in the midst of losing the support of some of his biggest backers in 2008 -- the financial professionals on wall street!
Romney Lures Obama Wall Street Donors - Bloomberg: "The industry opposed efforts by Obama to impose new regulations and consumer protections on the financial sector, blamed for contributing to the worst economic slowdown since the Great Depression. Obama signed the new rules into law last year.
Romney has called for repeal of the new financial law, which, he said in his jobs plan, “sends a flood of new regulations washing over the financial sector and anyone seeking to borrow money to buy a home or build a business.”
Emil Henry Jr., a former Bush administration assistant treasury secretary who is organizing fundraising events for Romney, said, “Wall Street is gravitating towards Mitt Romney and away from President Obama because financial professionals see clearly the severity of our country’s financial problems and view Romney, with a 25-year career as a turnaround specialist, as the most capable to address those problems versus a career politician with zero financial background.”"
as one of my old bosses used to say, it's going to cloud up and shit!

actually, it's by no means certain what relevance this has, if any. obama has his -- how shall we put it? -- fundraising strengths. his team seems confident that they can raise a billion bucks for his reelection -- and if you believe the line they put out last time about the money coming mostly from small donors, then you're gullible enough to have voted for the snake.

well, me too. never has any politician faked me out so successfully, which is how he could win while running on a progressive platform, leading people to believe in his promises of hope and change.

nonetheless, it is instructive to note how fickle and unfaithful the financial services people can be. obama was their spear carrier, their water boy, the guy who delivered the big bailout bucks when they most needed a fat bonus, and this is how they reward him! sure, a toothless "reform" bill was passed, with additional regulations, but given the mood of the country after wall street's shenanigans crashed the global economy, you'd think they could stand a little bit of chastisement. after all, they didn't reinstate glass-steagall, did they? of course not, and in fact they allow the banks to grow larger and costly to save. the TBTF are now so insolvent and deep in the hole that the US treasury secretary is in europe hectoring the ECB and EU finance ministers to do something about the contagion of debt collapse that threatens to bring down obama's erstwhile supporters on wall street.

where's the love, guys?

obviously, if you aren't with the #occupywallstreet movement, you are part of the problem that is strangling this country and the rest of the countries that are caught up in this unsustainable web of debt that wall street's banks have created as a snare to suck down all the world's wealth. we need to separate these guys from our political process, and we have to can the politicians who are willing to accept their filthy lucre in exchange for aiding and abetting the global ponzi that's impoverishing the working people of the globe.

it's a truism that no one can serve two masters, and that goes for politicians, and for our political system as well. either the system is setup and run for the benefit of the plutocrats or it exists to serve "we the people" as is specified in the preamble to the constitution. we can't have a system that exists to enrich a tiny minority, and expect that their their magnificent generosity the wealth will come trickling down to all the rest of the anxious peons. that's the model that the state has evolved into, and if allowed to proceed in this manner, the result will be a cataclysm that all the money on wall street can't suppress.

neutrinos are fast little fuckers

hold the presses! researchers have announced that they think they've overturned one of the central tenets of einstein's physics:
UPDATE 1-Particles found to break speed of light | Reuters: "Antonio Ereditato, spokesman for the researchers, told Reuters that measurements taken over three years showed neutrinos pumped from CERN near Geneva to Gran Sasso in Italy had arrived 60 nanoseconds quicker than light would have done.

"We have high confidence in our results. We have checked and rechecked for anything that could have distorted our measurements but we found nothing," he said. "We now want colleagues to check them independently."

If confirmed, the discovery would undermine Albert Einstein's 1905 theory of special relativity, which says that the speed of light is a "cosmic constant" and that nothing in the universe can travel faster.

That assertion, which has withstood over a century of testing, is one of the key elements of the so-called Standard Model of physics, which attempts to describe the way the universe and everything in it works."
now that this is known, it puts to rest all those naysayers who insist that time travel is impossible.

as the dismantling of scientific truisms continues to unfold, we'll soon learn that all the climate scientists who insist that human activity is responsible for "global warming' are simply greedy shills, grubbing for research dollars.

close behind them are the evolutionists, who'll be next to to yield to the more sophisticated model of creationism as the explanation for how the universe and everything in it works.

it's been a long time coming -- the upending of scientific certainties and their replacement with magical explanations of our world. before you know it, human sacrifice will be resumed!

Monday, September 26, 2011

NYPD has tactical nukes -- up bloomberg's butt

i know your feeling safer already:
NYPD Can Shoot Down Planes, But With What Weapon? - ABC News: "The NYPD is capable of shooting down planes in the event of another 9/11-style attack on New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday, but it's unknown exactly what weapons the police have at their disposal, and whether their arsenal includes surface-to-air missiles.

"The NYPD has lots of capabilities that you don't know about and you won't know about," Bloomberg told reporters Monday, echoing recent comments by police commissioner Ray Kelly."
the only problem i can see with the shooting missiles and death rays and nukes and what-not at the terrorists is -- best case scenario, folks -- what goes up must come down.

so what if some numb-nuts tries to take down another high-rise with a jetliner? if it's shot down, then for damn sure it's gonna break apart and send chunks falling all over the place...

THIS is supposed to make us feel safer?

how about if NORAD or some of these billion-dollar babies of the pentagon intercept before NYPD starts with the pea-shooters?

i know this is just for PR, but for chrissake, can't they come up with anything more rational and plausible than this?

housing blows:tell us something we don't know

today's economic headline in the US domestic economy is that new home sales fell to a six-month low in august. USA today concludes its lede paragraph by nothing that for this to happen at the height of the buying season suggests the sector is years away from recovery.

to explain this phenomenon, the paper points out the following:
Big housing blow: New home sales fall, again – "High unemployment, larger required down payments and tougher lending standards are preventing many people from buying homes. Plunging stocks and a growing fear that the U.S. could tip back into another recession are also keeping people from entering the housing market.
Pierre Ellis, an analyst at Decision Economics, said that until wages increase and hiring picks up, home sales will languish."
so, what's new guys?

if they really want to be of service, perhaps they might tackle the question of why wages are stagnant and hiring is stuck in the dumps. those are, of course, two fundamental aspects to any economy, and when you have no hiring and stagnant wages, you're moving in a retrograde fashion.

there is, at its heart, a matter of who controls the economic destiny of the US, which just happens to be the oligarchy that has most of the financial resources, as well as ownership of most of the politicians and the control of mass media. even USA today, that presents this analysis, is captive to the oligarchs that sit on its board and own its stock.

no, we just stuck in one big conundrum, where for reasons beyond anyone's comprehension or control, we seem to be stuck in this downward spiral of slack hiring and retarded wage growth. somehow, while the "job creators" are doing just dandy, the economic situation for the mass majority of US workers is in a perpetual downward slide.

for those of you touting ron paul as the savior, don't get your hopes up. it's a little late in the game for your magical thinking, my friends.

Evergreen Cemetery, Revisited

this past weekend, after being excessively cooped up by the miserable, icky weather, i got a wild hair and decided to ride across town to Evergreen Cemetery, the Richmond black community's answer to Hollywood -- a fiasco that, sad to say, continues to deteriorate even as some in the community fight to reclaim it from oblivion.

it's worth noting that the volunteer crew has worked it's way from the south gate up towards the center of the old part of the grounds, where luminaries like Maggie Walker are buried. Still, like the other reclaimed sections, what's been uncovered is much worse for the decades of neglect.

a bit of whimsy in the midst of the general disorder -- a child's toy horse and a ball within the rusted perimeter of a family plot. Part of the misery of Evergreen is the casual dumping of trash that seems to have gone on there.

In a year or two, the stones that have been made visible again after untold hours of volunteer work will no doubt return to oblivion. The job of keeping these grounds maintained is just too big; there's no group or authority willing to undertake the job of preserving the gravesites.

It's obvious that this headstone, propped as it is against a yucca plant, doesn't really have much of a chance of remaining upright...

Back to the infamous Braxton mausoleum, where grave robbers have apparently returned to disturb the remains there -- or at least tried.

The thieves have managed to remove this casket from the crypt, but did not appear to be able to gain access to the contents -- which is just as well. What a damn mess.

This appears to be the tool the Braxton vandals used to try to widen the opening to the mausoleum. It's all the more disgusting, since this stone will never be returned to its rightful place (others nearby are broken to pieces!).

This is the only statue in Evergreen that I'm aware of is this one, that is across the road from the Walker family plot. It's survived in remarkably good shape, considering the general shambles of the site. Behind it sits a big dumpster, which is being used while this area is rehabilitated.

When a grave marker is uncovered after decades of being overgrown with vines and other vegetation, it often reveals intricate carvings...

Marker at the entrance to a family plot. Often no individual gravestones remain.

The past month brought with it both an earthquake and a hurricane, but the storm seems to be responsible for most of the damage on the site -- including a number of downed trees.

I'm looking forward to coming back after the frost comes and kills off the mosquitoes and a lot of this vegetation. There's so much to discover at this site, and so far I've hardly started.

cancer scare -- we might be able to afford care?

getting sick has got to be everyone's worst nightmare -- particularly in this most advanced, compassionate society we find ourselves in here the the USA, USA! so imagine the surprise when i read the following:
Rising cost of cancer sparks talk of crisis - HealthPop - CBS News: "(CBS) Will the high costs of treating cancer bankrupt the world's economies?

A new report says more people are getting cancer than ever before. And while cancer-care may be more advanced than ever, it's also more expensive - and that suggests some countries may not be unable to afford it."
an editing error, of course. if we're not unable to afford it, we must be able to afford it, right?

the fact that we spend a third of our healthcare dollars on administrative overhead, advertising and profit for the insurance industry, and get no better outcomes while spending twice what other first-world countries do, suggests that we should be able to afford better than what's available here.

even after "reform", however, things will continue to deteriorate rather than improve, because we're afflicted by that dreaded corporate profit sickness. healthcare, after all, is not a right but a financial transaction!

we get medical care to make someone rich, and only incidentally for that other thing...

Freed Hikers fail to Discuss US detainees

you would think, from the sound of this, that our hands are clean:
Freed Hikers Discuss Life in Iranian Prison - ABC News: "Freed U.S. hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer told reporters gathered at a New York hotel that they were so isolated in the Iranian prison where they were held for over two years that they didn't know they were being freed until minutes before their release last week.
Now that they are back on American soil, Fattal and Bauer are using their newfound freedom to discuss the two years they spent in a Tehran prison and to condemn their captors."
can we perhaps balance this story -- horrible as it probably is -- with tales of the thousands of captives of the US in places like bagram and guantanamo, as well as other CIA "black sites" around the world?

of course not. no need to acknowledge reality and confuse a good propaganda tale of how horrid our "enemies" are.

a word of warning to all you other innocent "hikers" -- don't go tooling around in iran, if you know what's good for you. after all, it's well know -- if not openly acknowledged -- that the US is actively engaged in "regime change" in iran, and has "assets" employed on iranian soil.

or did you now hear about that?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Quartet should just quit blowing smoke

what is the quartet and why should anyone care? now that abbas has filed the palestinians' statehood petition with the UN, these clowns are back to urging the two sides to go back to negotiations:
Quartet Calls Israelis, Palestinians to Negotiating Table | Middle East | English: "The Middle East Quartet is urging the Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table within the next month and to make substantial progress on final status issues so they can achieve a two-state solution by next year. the Quartet’s push came as the Palestinians submitted their application for full U.N. membership on Friday.

The Quartet met Friday afternoon after both Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the General Assembly annual debate.

The group, which is made up of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, then issued a statement calling the two parties back to the negotiating table."
but the israelis have already promised that if abbas did the statehood thing, they would make the palestinian people pay for their insolence. my mom tells stories about how the germans in WWII would kill 100 villagers if someone killed one german soldier. for the israelis, just standing up and ignoring their edicts gets the palestinians the same treatment -- or worse.

besides, let's be real. the only players with any say-so are the US and israel. if the international community backs the palestinians 100 percent but netanyahu tells his butt-boy obama to get on all fours and bark like a dog, obama is going to do it -- and say thank you for making me look like a silly whore!

at that rate, what do you suppose negotiations are going to accomplish? i'd say not a hell of a lot. it's going to take pressure coming from other directions to get any movement on these issues -- and there's nothing on the immediate horizon with the ability to make that happen. egypt, turkey and syria are interesting, but at the moment, nothing more.

it will be interesting, however, where the next war kicks off in the MENA region. if it's iran, well, then we might very well see a very, very fluid situation evolve -- although it will be a really ugly mess, and one the US will regret for a very, very long time.

gov't even owns what falls out of the sky

it's bad enough that NASA has this dead hulk of a satellite falling back to earth -- and it's anybody's guess who might get nailed by the debris. how much liability do you think they will accept for death or destruction it causes? well, there's this:

Falling Satellite Slows Down, Earth Strike Delayed - ABC News: ""Keep in mind that we have bits of debris re-entering the atmosphere every single day," Matney said in brief remarks broadcast on NASA TV.

In any case, finders definitely aren't keepers.

Any surviving wreckage belongs to NASA, and it is against the law to keep or sell even the smallest piece. There are no toxic chemicals on board, but sharp edges could be dangerous, so the space agency is warning the public to keep hands off and call police."

son of a bitch! if this thing comes down and blows your house to smithereens, you can't even hang on to the evidence! they'll haul that junk away and you'll never hear from 'em again!

this just proves what we know about the government generally: you just can't trust 'em. they and their cronies can cause any kind of death and destruction and not be held to account, but as soon as you want to hang onto the evidence of their recklessness or negligence, they're ready to invoke state secrets privilege so as to squelch any criticism or discussion. there's tons of examples -- think about it!

hey NASA, if you care so much about your fucking junk, why don't you go and get it before it flattens some poor peasants' village?

jury finds muslim students must be nice to israeli ambassador

a group of muslim students at a california university shouted responses to the israeli ambassador during a lecture, and then were found guilty of conspiring to disrupt the ambassador's speech:

Jury: Muslim students guilty of disrupting speech: "Jurors found 10 Muslim students guilty Friday of disrupting a lecture by the Israeli ambassador at a California university in a case that stoked a spirited debate about free speech.

Jurors delivered the verdicts in Orange County Superior Court in the case involving a speech by Ambassador Michael Oren in February 2010 at the University of California, Irvine.

The students were also convicted of conspiring to disrupt Oren's speech.

The students were charged with misdemeanor counts after standing up, one by one, and shouting prepared statements at Oren such as "propagating murder is not an expression of free speech.""

it's probably going to be played in the "legitimate" press as an issue of civility, and the students will be cast as uncivilized and a threat to our "shared values" with the israeli state. that's par for the course.

hopefully the students realize that your win some, and you lose some, but when it comes to fighting the kind of institutional injustice that characterizes the treatment of palestinians by israel, and the US' enabling of the criminal regime in tel aviv, it usually requires civil disobedience in order to bring about change. this is a long-festering issue, and up until now the winners seem hold all the cards, but appearances can be deceiving, and the occupation regime over jerusalem is not as iron-clad and unshakable as the powers that be try to portray.

it will require continued resistance, and the students -- who unfortunately are only muslims this time -- must not give up. keep working it, guys. the questions hurled at the ambassador deserve an answer, so they need to continue to be asked, even if the authorities will prosecute you.

that's how you will know that you are winning, after all!

'journalism' for idiots

if there is a better example of misleading news writing and editing, i haven't seen it lately. this gem from usa today shows you just how easy it is for the opinion-setting national media to convolute and distort the national discourse:
Senate blocks House disaster aid bill – "WASHINGTON (AP) – The Democratic-led Senate blocked a House-passed bill on Friday that would provide disaster aid and keep government agencies open, escalating the parties' latest showdown over spending and highlighting the raw partisan rift that has festered all year."
it's my understanding that the GOP finally, after much arm-twisting and haranguing of the membership in the house, was able to pass its version of the bill -- and then promptly departed for recess. this left the bill hanging out there, with no one from the GOP around to hammer out a compromise with senate democrats.

that's standard operating procedure. but knowing that the tea party will dig in its heels and refuse to pass a continuing resolution to fund government operations after oct. 1, the leadership decided to dump the bill unfinished on the senate's doorstep and leave town. the democrats, as promised, rejected the bill as written, so unless johnny boner brings his troops back to DC, the government will shut down after next week.

usa today's journalism, however, leaves the obviously distorted impression that it's the senate that's holding up a bill to fund the government, so they're left holding the bag. there may be partisan wrangling and the so-called rift may have been festering all year, but this is not an example of that so much as a cynical manipulation of the process to manufacture a misleading result.

all it needs is an unscrupulous, corporate-controlled media establishment to play along and broadcast the message that the GOP's godfathers in the oligarchy have scripted for the ploy to work.

for that, we can thank the good folks at gannett and usa today, for their part in gaming the political system for personal gain.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

GOP to Warren Buffett: we are hypocrites

the GOP wants warren buffet to submit to more than an airport patdown -- they wanna stick a hand way up his ass:

GOP to Warren Buffett: Show us your tax returns - Political Hotsheet - CBS News: "Now that President Obama has named an economic proposal after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, some Republicans are demanding evidence that Buffett's personal economic record actually represents "the gold standard" they believe it should.
"If he's going to be the gold standard, so to speak, in terms of what our tax policy should be, yeah, let's look at it [Buffet's tax returns]," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex., in a Thursday interview with ABC News."

ever since saint ronald of raygun, we've always believed and repeated the mantra that the mission of every good republican is the get the government off our backs.

isn't it ironic that in the case of warren buffett's tax returns, these professional politicians want to make sure that we all bend over and present our junk to their scrutiny?

there may be some like anthony weiner who wish to present their attributes to their facebook friends and other interested observers -- like johnny boner and the gang (i notice john cornyn is from texas, so maybe they do it that way in texas) -- want and deeply need to inspect warren's privates.

as far as i'm concerned, if the guy's not running for office, then we should leave the level of self-disclosure to one's personal discretion -- not to these invasive, nosy politicians.

if cornhole johnny wants to, though, i bet he can get the IRS to rat out mr. buffett, and expose his tax returns. it would be a return to good old republican values -- richard nixon style.

obama's top general itching for iran war

this is getting interesting: one general on his swansong tour tells congress the US needs to go to war with pakistan, while the incoming chief pushes for an attack on iran:
Gen.: Iran may seek mass U.S. casualties in Iraq - CBS News: "(AP) WASHINGTON - Iran's stepped-up arming of Shiite militiamen in southern Iraq who are targeting American troops may be designed to trigger a "Beirut-like moment" of mass U.S. casualties, the Obama administration's nominee to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress on Tuesday.
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, was asked by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., about a previous statement Dempsey had made in which he expressed concern that Iran might miscalculate the level of U.S. resolve to assist Iraq."
the US is determined to go to war with someone -- and soon. this is the eventuality that rick perry and his GOP cohort can't stand, but also can't stop.

you can't top the line about US resolve to assist iraq, either. how many iraqis have we killed already, and how many displaced persons owe their situation to the helpful americans? we've already done so much in the way of assistance, it's almost beyond belief that anyone could miscalculate our level of resolve!

ah well, they're all a bunch of dumb shits. not like the american people... get it?

obama, for his part, would like the war to come and save his reelection campaign -- which is otherwise doomed -- while his backers on wall street need the iranian domino to fall so they can gain total control over the greatest strategic prize: all that fucking money! if the US can only knock off the mullahs, they'll have the entire oil heartlands of the planet in their grasp.

besides that, what else really even matters?

so get those flag decals for your car ready. this is going to be a time of great national sacrifice, as we use all the latest video-game to go on the final crusade against the muslims!

thank you jesus!

market dives, mullen calls for war on pakistan

them's fightin' words, general:
Mullen - Pakistan’s Spy Agency Supported Attack on U.S. Embassy - "WASHINGTON — Pakistan’s intelligence agency aided the insurgents who attacked the American Embassy in Kabul last week, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate on Thursday.

In comments that were the first to directly link Pakistan’s powerful spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, with an assault on the United States, Admiral Mullen went further than any other American official in blaming the ISI for undermining the American military effort in Afghanistan."
here we go again: the wheels are starting to come off the stock market as the US economy lurches back into recession. what we need right about now is a major shootin' war in central asia!

so right about now, we have the chairman of the joint chiefs telling congress that the paks were behind the taliban assault on the US' afghan embassy last week. how these guys couldn't see 9-11 coming but can finger the pakis on this simply beggars belief -- they just aren't that smart...

unless, of course, they're just reading from the script they were handed on the way out of the office. the oligarchs are getting antsy, and they need some action to stir things up before the whole thing blows up in their faces.

while the US can't afford another war and this will be the biggest catastrophe for the US yet, desperate people sometimes depend on desperate measures to get out of a jam.

elizabeth warren vs ken starr

the journalistic bloodhounds at politico have a real smoker for us: elizabeth warren's committe investigating the TARP bailout spent $10 million and now the GOP is demanding a thorough public accounting of how the money was spent:
Warren's TARP panel under scrutiny - Scott Wong and John Bresnahan - "Elizabeth Warren became a hero of the left for her unrelenting pursuit of accountability and transparency with big banks and Wall Street firms that took billions of dollars in federal bailout money in 2008.

But when it comes to how her own bailout watchdog committee spent more than $10 million in taxpayer money, Warren has been a lot less forthcoming."
but the politico hacks seem to have no historical perspective. by feb. 1999, kenneth starr and his predecessor, robert fiske, had spent over $46 million investigating bill and hillary clinton:
The figures show that Starr's office, through the end of November 1998, had spent $40,835,000. That includes $27,749,000 in direct expenses from independent counsel appropriations and $13,086,000 in unreimbursed expenses incurred by other government agencies.

Those figures do not include costs incurred by Starr's predecessor, Robert Fiske, whose office spent about $6 million before Starr was appointed to lead the investigation.
so what's the problem here? is this $10 million going to leave such a gaping hole in the budget deficit now that the president isn't in politico's preferred political party? the whole TARP fiasco needed, if anything, even more rigorous investigation. hell, 9-11 did, too. now, however, we're going to nickel-and-dime any investigation that comes along.

at least until rick perry gets to the oval office and vows to get to the bottom of what happened during the obama administration (hint: nothing of any substance).

stock market swoons, BFD!

on a day when the DOW has tumbled over 300 points and fallen below 11,000, we're getting the usual hand-wringing and doom-and-gloom:
US STOCKS-Wall St tumbles as recession fears hit | Reuters: " NEW YORK, Sept 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks tumbled on
Thursday, extending losses for a fourth straight session, as the Federal Reserve's weak outlook for the U.S. economy and
disappointing data China heightened fears about a global recession."
where have these motherfuckers been while the economy generally has been in the tank? did real estate prices stop their decline, and foreclosures reversed their trend? how about unemployment? how about stagnant wages and income inequality? what about all the TBTF banks, who offloaded their worthless paper on to the taxpayers, so that now the federal deficit has ballooned?

all these things are out there, as big and painful as a big herpes sore right on your privates, but nobody has a solution for any of it. the FED came to the rescue last time and boosted the market with unsustainable QE, and now that that's played out and the juice is gone, the players on wall street are in a panic, waiting for dollars to drop out of the sky and into their portfolios.

what a crock! what a rotten, rancid piece of shit!

it may be economically passe, and the central planners over the economy might be running a giant ponzi scheme and all, but it's been clear from day one that unless the government stepped in to boost demand in the economy with programs to improve infrastructure and put our people to work, there is NO WAY the economy will start to recover! unless all that ginned up, fake demand that the housing bubble created is replaced by something, unemployment will continue to rise, living standards will decline and the government will be operating in the red as far as the eye can see.

there has to be a fundamental rethinking and reworking of the economy, to rely less on the gimmickry of "financial innovation" and return to good old-fashioned productive industry! we're fucking ourselves with an economy based on useless fluff. the tax code is all wrong, the incentives are all wrong for producing the results that bring jobs and prosperity to the people who work for a living.

one indicator for how far we have to go, however, is the continuing efforts of the TP republicans in the US house to play russian roulette with the economy by holding it hostage to their inane demands for curtailing spending, in their misguided conviction that what ails the country is government spending. it's not the spending that's a problem, but the priorities of the state when it makes its spending decisions, because as we've seen under the GOP from reagan to bush II, spending has continued to soar under "fiscal conservatives," it just goes out the ass of the pentagon, or to corporate subsidies to the politically well-connected.

again, we're on the wrong track and giving the stock market a reason to rise to ridiculous and unmerited heights based on phony FED stimulus is NOT the solution to our woes, just a symptom of the system's dysfunctionality.

either fix the system or FAIL. we are on an expressway to utter collapse, and until or unless there's a recognition and change of heart in this giant, teetering mess, it's going to all come crashing down -- and crush all of us.

Davis execution spotlights US blood lust

after the state killed one of its citizens -- whose guilt was far from beyond a doubt -- the "victim's" family was able to rejoice and revel in the attainment of another's death as compensation for their own loss. while they can deny it, their crusade to see mr. davis put to death was nothing but a crude, cruel expression of their own moral bankruptcy.
Davis execution turns spotlight on death penalty: "Mr MacPhail's widow, Joan MacPhail-Harris, said in a TV interview there was ''nothing to rejoice'', but that it was ''a time for healing for all families''.

''I will grieve for the Davis family because now they're going to understand our pain and our hurt,'' she said.

The officer's mother, Anneliese MacPhail, who said she was convinced Davis was guilty, said: ''I'm kind of numb. I can't believe that it's really happened.

''All the feelings of relief and peace I've been waiting for all these years, they will come later. I certainly do want some peace.''"
this woman, who claims to seek peace, has demonstrated amply that what she really craved was vengeance, without being overly particular about who should pay for her son's death. just as well one negro as another, she would no doubt admit, if she had the courage to say so.

with all the ambiguity about davis' involvement in the crime for which he paid with his life, and the demonstrably racist railroading of black suspects in the south generally, this is but another in a long and disgusting litany of crimes against people of color by a corrupt and decadent civil and legal system in the US generally and in the south in particular.

these people may think they've felt pain due to their loss, but they and their kind never take responsibility for the history of oppression, repression and aggression against people not of their race and class. they've never felt the pain inflicted by the system that maintains the wretched status quo that defines the american experience.

time to face the choices and decide

no doubt there's a lot of needless spending in the federal budget proposals circulating in congress, with the latest votes set to occur before the end of the month. in the balance is money for federal disaster relief, and whether there'll be a government shutdown over the issue of whose ox is gored:
House disaster vote sets up showdown with Senate - BusinessWeek: "FEMA has only a few days' worth of aid remaining in its disaster relief fund. The agency has already held up thousands of longer-term rebuilding projects -- repairs to sewer systems, parks, roads and bridges, for example -- to conserve money to provide emergency relief to victims of recent disasters.

The House measure contains $1 billion in immediate aid for the 2011 budget year that's about to end and another $2.7 billion for the 2012 budget year beginning Oct. 1. The Senate measure totals $6.9 billion, with $804 million proposed for the last few days of fiscal 2011."
all this wrangling is over national priorities. the particulars aren't as important than the overriding principle: is the government a force for good or is it wrecking the country.

the GOP wants to cut $1.5 in spending to encourage automakers to make more fuel-efficient vehicles, and channel the money to FEMA relief programs. the relief money is a no-brainer, but closing the government over whether fuel-efficient vehicles are a public good seems misguided.

i agree that industry should make changes to fleet efficiency on its own, but we also know that without incentives, private industry will never sacrifice immediate profits for long-term sustainability. hence, if the government isn't there to push, it won't happen. and if we don't get a handle on fuel economy, that simply puts the onus on military force in order to keep oil prices in a range that won't cripple the economy and wreck a way of life we're addicted to.

still, one gets tired of the continual bickering, all the false promises and mass delusion that fuels the national debate on role of government in society. many are looking for magical answers, and a white knight like ron paul to ride in and set everything right again. that, of course, is more about our appetite for painless solutions to real problems -- in short, a public this reality-averse will never consider two sides of any issue as long as someone is offering to take care of everything for them. yes, you can have your cake and eat it, too!

we are at an impasse. we'll of course choose to kick the can for as long as possible, but in a way the congressional republicans' intransigence is setting us up for a once-and-for-all face-off where people will have to decide. given the political situation in DC, with our amazing spineless president leading the "opposition", we're soon to feel the full brunt of declining living standards and austerity in the next few years.

this will set us up for the eventual real standoff, as those who were not paying attention or had other priorities at the time are finally tuned in to the drama that really, really matters. perhaps then, when we finally have everyone's attention, and the full implications of the choices is understood by people, we can finally have the conversation over our national values, and just what the role of government properly is.

at least, i hope it's just a conversation. with the drive towards militarized police departments, the state has already shown that it's staunchly dedicated to a status quo of money in the fewest number of hands, and those hands firmly in control. this is the government that so far is only throwing flag-waving parades for returning troops, but will rain missiles from UAVs when the going gets rough.

see you at the barricades!

a lesson too hard for rick perry

with all the attention paid to the state-sanctioned murder of errants here in the good old USA this week, this expression of wisdom and rationality is beyond what rick perry and his blood-thirsty followers can ever hope to comprehend:
Victim's son objects as Texas sets execution in hate crime death | Reuters: "(Reuters) - As Texas prepares to execute one of his father's killers, Ross Byrd hopes the state shows the man the mercy his father, James Byrd Jr., never got when he was dragged behind a truck to his death.

"You can't fight murder with murder," Ross Byrd, 32, told Reuters late Tuesday, the night before Wednesday's scheduled execution of Lawrence Russell Brewer for one of the most notorious hate crimes in modern times.

"Life in prison would have been fine. I know he can't hurt my daddy anymore. I wish the state would take in mind that this isn't what we want.""
this man is one of the few who can fathom the difference between justice and revenge. while at a recent GOP presidential debate, the audience cheered wildly at the mere mention of executions, there is a part of the public that rejects glib responses to serious issues. thank goodness for that.

the US is over-enthusiastic about about irrevocable and extreme "solutions" to problems the culture itself has largely been responsible for creating in the first place. liberty, justice and opportunity are not equally available to all, nor are the remedies against those who manipulate the system for their own gain. even the celebration of state killing is a cynical manipulation of stupid and insensitive people who want quick and painless solutions to the things that gripe them.

as miserable as this entire execrable episode has been -- and the georgia execution as well -- at least there's a glimmer of something fine and humane in this otherwise rotten and demented society, as exemplified by ross byrd, jr.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

congress going to the mat again

we understand that congress is heading towards another classic imbroglio over federal spending. in order to keep the government running after november, they've got to pass another "spending" bill, but within the bill is a killer provision: do we finance disaster relief through cuts in other programs?

it breaks down thus:
U.S. Lawmakers Headed for Showdown Over Disaster Aid - Businessweek: "“No one’s intending to bring about a government shutdown here,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, said yesterday. “The country has sort of seen enough of that. The two sides have demonstrated real differences as far as cutting spending is concerned. We’re going to focus on where we can come together.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said yesterday he was “not that sure” a shutdown will be avoided. “We’re not going to cave in on this because it’s a matter of principle,” he said."
to begin with, you can just disregard cantor's assurances that he's looking for common ground. he's always ready to go nuclear, along with the rest of his party. at the same time, the dems are jelly-kneed and spineless, and when push comes to shove -- with obama leading the band -- they always seem to fold, with a flourish that includes conceding more than johnny boner and the boys asked for to begin with.

it's coming to the time where we let the bomb drop, so people out there in TV land can see what nuclear politics is all about. we're way overdue for some authentic, homegrown austerity such as they're experiencing in europe and some of the MENA countries.

cantor and the people he represents are just beating around the bush here. let the chips fall where they may, eric. if these spending cuts and tax cuts are where it's at for you guys, bring 'em on! don't say you aren't about that kind of thing: have the courage of your convictions. when you mean cut social security and medicare, say it like you mean it so the people will understand.

up until now it's all about negroes and mexicans, and shirkers who'd rather collect unemployment than work. we would appreciate it if the GOP would stop playing on peoples' emotions and tell 'em how you really feel about working class people.

when your house gets obliterated by a tornado, message is to fuck yourself and get over it. the nation has other priorties, like subsidizing billionaires, socializing their losses and making us all self-reliant tent dwellers.

Obama says 'no shortcut’ to Israeli-Palestinian peace - just a dead end

obama crawled to the UN today to deceive and distract a world grown impatient with the US government's failure to live up to its ideals, instead coddling fanatics and butchers in the interest of political expediency and corporate profits.

when it came to the palestinians' plan to seek recognition as a state by petitioning the captive world body in new york, obama's rhetorical formulation was an extension of the ludicrous "road map" metaphor. there's freeway to peace between the israelis and palestinians:
Obama tells U.N. he sees ‘no shortcut’ to Israeli-Palestinian peace - The Washington Post: UNITED NATIONS — President Obama on Wednesday hailed the popular revolutions that have transformed the political landscape of the Middle East and urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to revive talks toward a difficult peace.

In the third address of his presidency to the U.N. General Assembly, Obama acknowledged that he is frustrated by lack of progress on Israeli-Palestinian peace, but he stressed that there is “no shortcut” to ending the conflict, and he called for understanding of each side’s “legitimate aspirations.”"
why must the politicians always bore us to death with their unimaginative and totally inadequate explanation for why the immovable forces of the status quo always line up in the face of genuine progress?

what obama should have said is that there is no peace because the peace process as mediated by the US is a dead end. it's a failure because the israelis have no reason to deal, since they've captured the political process in DC and have so rigged the game that the prospect of yielding on any issue is completely laughable. why give a shit when you have your big, strong and stupid enforcer backing you up, ensuring that you get your way regardless?

the US aspires to "greatness" -- but only in its own mind. this is why the nation almost never lives up to its founding ideals. obama goes through a laundry list of regimes that just don't cut it in the justice and human rights department, except when it's one of our "partners" who's doing it -- in which case the road to justice is impassable, and detours interminably before going absolutely nowhere.

this nowhere is no utopia for the palestinians, who must defer justice until the world is no longer dominated by big, strong and stupid. then, perhaps, legitimacy will again have some meaning besides "what i say goes."

either that, or the megalomaniacs will kill us all, in the name of peace...

Monday, September 19, 2011

padilla travesty multiplied

the US court of appeals has ruled that jose padilla -- who was tortured by the government, then railroaded on the word of the same government that he was a "star recruit" of al-qaeda -- was inadequately punished when a judge ordered him to serve 17 years. using the same irrational standard that has driven the entire war on terror to create a trillion-dollar state security establishment, padilla is just to be so horrible -- though he harmed no one -- that the government mandates penalties beyond what the legal establishment ordinarily deems sufficient:
Al-Qaeda Recruit Padilla’s Prison Term Ruled to Be Too Short - Businessweek: "Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Jose Padilla, called an al-Qaeda “star recruit” by U.S. prosecutors, should have received a longer sentence than the 17-year, four-month term he’s serving for his 2008 conviction, a federal appeals court said.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta sent Padilla’s case back to the trial court for resentencing. The three-judge appeals panel voted 2-1 to reject the lower-court judge’s opinion that Padilla will be too old to pose a threat upon his release from prison.

“Padilla poses a heightened risk of future dangerousness due to his al-Qaeda training,” the appeals panel wrote. “He is far more sophisticated than an individual convicted of an ordinary street crime.”"
recall the circus that accompanied the arrest of padilla, how john ashcroft tried his case in the press and made multiple lurid allegations -- after which padilla was tried on NONE of the supposed terrorist plots the government had trumpted as it ginned up its anti-muslim crusade.

finally, when padilla's detention by the military was about to be appealed to a civil court, the bush administration railroaded the man with one of it's catch-all material support for terror charges, upon which almost anyone can be found guilty. it's these charges for which the appeals court has decided his previous sentence was not draconian enough.

who can say whether padilla is really a threat at all, or just a person who's religious beliefs led him to have contact with people later deemed enemies of the state -- and with them, padilla. the facts suggest a far less of a threat posed by this man, which in and of itself suggests the government must inflate it's case in order to maintain the facade of legitimacy under which it wages its war against dissent and critics of US policies in the muslim world.
the travesty of jose padilla continues...

rick perry's texas goes national

remember michael dukakis' "Massachusetts miracle"? all it took was a willie horton ad to undo that message.

now comes rick perry, the guy who wrought the "texas miracle" of economic prosperity for those who are prospering, while the less said about anyone else, the better!

yet, there's the unseen other part of the texas story that will be reported but not matter. perry is a winner, and that pretty much negates anything you might find to the contrary:
Poverty grows in Rick Perry's Texas - Sep. 18, 2011: "And being poor in Texas isn't easy. The state has one of the lowest rates of spending on its citizens per capita and the highest share of those lacking health insurance. It doesn't provide a lot of support services to those in need: Relatively few collect food stamps and qualifying for cash assistance is particularly tough.
"There are two tiers in Texas," said Miguel Ferguson, associate professor of social work at University of Texas at Austin. "There are parts of Texas that are doing well. And there is a tremendous number of Texans, more than Perry has ever wanted to acknowledge, that are doing very, very poorly."
A combination of demographic and economic factors contribute to the high poverty rate in Texas, where many families, particularly in the southern swath, live in ramshackle housing with no utilities or indoor plumbing."
i'm sure that living in a shack without indoor plumbing is an existence that most prospective perry voters haven't seriously considered for themselves. the US people have an amazing knack for projecting those kinds of circumstances to other people -- and definitely not for themselves.

at the same time, so many of us are but a major crisis or two away from living in abject poverty. during the "recovery" we've allegedly been experiencing, no one but the affluent has really prospered, while the rest are basically treading water, trying to stay afloat.

these are exactly the same ones who'll buy the smooth pitch of the greasy, snake-oil peddling perry, with his promises of painless prosperity, if we just let the "job creators" have every impediment to their own prosperity removed. people will swoon over the thought of billionaires handing out good-paying jobs to every redneck yahoo who votes for the GOP. it's jesus' way of saying thank you for your support!

Israel braces for U.N.'s meaningless vote on Palestine

you would think some great cataclysm is about to befall israel, with the UN's upcoming symbolic vote on palestinan "statehood". this vote is greeted with the usual pissing and moaning about the great threat facing the likud maniacs:
srael braces for U.N. vote on Palestinians – "JERUSALEM (AP) – Israelis are greeting the Palestinian bid for U.N. membership with a mix of fatalism and wariness, resigned to the fact that they face a serious diplomatic setback at the world body — but also increasingly angry and nervous about the country's deepening isolation.

The looming showdown at the United Nations, in which a broad majority of the world is expected to vote symbolically in favor of Palestinian independence, is deepening already strong divisions and tapping into a sense that 63 years after gaining independence, Israel is still searching for its place in the world."
israel is an outlaw state -- by its own calculations and intentions. it has dealt in bad faith with the palestinians and the rest of the world that seeks a just settlement to all the "outstanding issues" surrounding the establishment of a palestinian state as envisioned by the UN when israel itself was established.

the saudis even proposed a plan whereby the arabs would recognize israel and normalize relations, provided that the jewish state allowed for the establishment of a palestinian state within the west bank and gaza, along with east jerusalem -- with the borders as they were before the 1967 war, but that has never been taken seriously by the israelis. they are only interested in territorial expansion -- driving the palestinians into the sea, to use a familiar formulation. the israeli side has never seriously undertaken negotiations for a settlement -- only dilatory maneuvers undertaken while they satisfy their territorial ambitions.

why this UN gesture seems to cause them so much discomfort? only, as far as i can tell, because they're used to always having their way. with their big, dumb and ugly partner in crime, the US, they can pretty much thumb their nose at the international community and pursue their ugly, racist policies with impunity. it's what gives them their jollies; it's their reason for being.

by ignoring the chance for peace and going all out to humiliate the other side, israeli guarantees that its place in the world will be a lonely, forsaken one. at some point their position will become untenable, and instead of acceptance in the international order, they really will achieve the result they, ironically, claim they are struggling to avoid.

that's too bad. there was a potential for an outcome far more beneficial to all concerned -- but a lack of courage to bring it about. talk about a waste.

what have "the rich" done for you lately?

the hubbub emanating today from the media machine is all about obama's reputed "plan" to tax the rich -- in an appeal to the democratic party "base":
WRAPUP 1-Obama deficit plan aimed at Democratic base | Reuters: "WASHINGTON, Sept 19 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will lay out a plan on Monday to cut the U.S. deficit that will raise taxes on the rich, striking a populist tone to motivate his Democratic Party base before the November 2012 election.

Obama will vow to veto any cuts proposed for the government-run Medicare health program for the elderly unless Congress agrees to lift taxes on companies and the wealthy.

His plan, which has little chance of getting through Congress in one piece, sets up the congressional and presidential elections as an ideological battle over taxes and spending.

With opinion polls showing most Americans disillusioned with his economic leadership, winning re-election may hinge on his success in painting Republicans as the party of the rich."
the pros' deconstruction of what it all means renders it all as a competition between the left and the right, when no such real division exists within the US political establishment. instead, there is oligarchy light and oligarchy dark.

obama has always represented the oligarchy light flavor, which is the eastern establishment of wall street and big money -- what used to be called liberal republicans, while johnny boner and the dark oligarchy is the machine controlled by the koch brothers and their ilk, the southern and mountain west resource hogs.

most everyone by now has caught on that obama campaigns one way and governs another. there may be a few who are excited by this sudden change of heart, but it's not really a change of substance -- just the rhetoric he's using to sell the same cuts to social programs that have been at the heart of his program. we'll see this driven to its logical conclusion -- regardless of what the message seems to be today.