Thursday, February 28, 2008
Off the top of my head, the other day I mentioned that I doubted the USofA had gone more than 6 consecutive months without some kind of aggressive military engagement.
I was just guessing.
Michel Chossudovsky's Center for Research on Globalization did the leg-work (as they often do).
Turns out, I was too optimistic.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Would the telecoms VOLUNTEER to continue to participate in an illegal enterprise if they were NOT rock-solid sure they'd get a pass?
Via TruthOut.Org: Telephone Wiretaps Back on "For Now"
Reuters reports: "The Bush administration said on Saturday US telecommunications companies have agreed to cooperate 'for the time being' with spy agencies' wiretaps, despite an ongoing battle between the White House and Congress over new terrorism surveillance legislation."
The Telecom Immunity Act is in the fucking BANK, the fucking fix is IN, the fucking chex are in the mail, the train has left the station, the bird has flown, and we are SOOOOOOOOOOOO fucked, chers...
And now for some fun, bouys and gulls? What about a POOL?
After November 4th (election day), how long do you think it will take for oil to hit $150/bbl, and gas to top $4/gal?
The oligarchs will move heaven and earth to prevent it happening BEFORE November, but after the rigged 'election' is in, Katie bar the fucking door...
Saturday, February 23, 2008
This morning, in a discussion with simpering, giggling simpleton, Scott Simon, about the NYTimes piece on McStain's illicit relationship with a (female) telecom lobbyist, Schnorr propounded the insane and insupportable idea that McStain's reputation for honor should shield him from such (by implication, scurrilous) attacks.
To have reached that conclusion, the senescent Schnorr, of course, would have had to overlook McStain's LONG record for corruption and sleazy dealings (*search the text string, "McCain Sleaze"), the relevant one of which was was disclosed on "Democracy Now", yesterday, in a report from a lawyer whose clients accuse McStain of interfering in FCC bidness back in '99, in the interest of the clients of the same lobbyist whom he is alleged to have been boinking (boffing? banging? balling? boning? choose your euphemism). Wonder how Ol' Dan missed that one? I know I do.
Look-ee Hear (stet): It's a fairly complex story, but the jist of it is that McStain bullied members of the FCC to rule in favor of his lap-top hottie:
On Thursday, the New York Times revealed McCain repeatedly wrote letters to government regulators on behalf of Paxson Communications and other clients of the telecommunications lobbyist, Vicki Iseman. We speak to Angela Campbell, the attorney for the Alliance for Progressive Action and QED Accountability Project, the community groups that sought to block Paxson’s takeover of a Pittsburgh public television license. [includes rush transcript].Is it too fucking much to expect that the so-called dean of the American press corp--Schnorr is at least the OLDEST of them--should acquaint themselves with the information about a story before they unload some asshole defense of the Busheviks' heir apparent?
Thursday, February 21, 2008
By Jerry White
21 February 2008
On Tuesday night after his primary election victory in Wisconsin, Barack Obama, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, delivered a speech to a crowd of 20,000 supporters at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.Aye, there's the rub: To Obama, we NEED “leaders who can inspire the American people to rally behind a common purpose and a higher purpose.” Nobody asks "What "common" purpose? What "higher" purpose? I tell ya, friends, he's all smoke and mirrors. There's no 'there' there. He's a shiny, bright object--our first "black" candidate? Wahooo, there's 'progress.' Never mind that he's no better than second-rate senator (albeit a first-rate orator).
In his remarks, which lasted 50 minutes, the Illinois senator appealed to two disparate and, in fact, conflicting constituencies. First, he sought to tap into and channel the mood of social discontent and frustration among voters opposed to the growth of social inequality, war and the irresponsiveness of the two big business parties. At the same time, he gave several signals to corporate America that he was committed to defending its interests in the US and throughout the globe. (Emphasis supplied)
In an appeal aimed particularly at young people, Obama presented his campaign as a part of popular social movement, imbued with the same “hope for change” as earlier movements that fought for independence from Britain, against slavery and for trade union and civil rights.
“If we win this election in November,” he said, “then we are going to need your help and your time, your energy, your enthusiasm, your mobilization, your organization, and your voices to help us change America over the next four years.”
The country, he added, needs “leaders who can inspire the American people to rally behind a common purpose and a higher purpose.” His travels throughout the country had convinced him “that change in America does not happen from the top down. It happens from the bottom up.”
In his remarks, Obama deliberately sought to obscure the question of class and the fact that a genuine struggle for significant social change would require challenging America’s corporate and financial elite.
Obama has received the backing of leading sections of the corporate and political establishment because he is seen as a useful tool to establish a more popular base of support for the geopolitical interests of the American ruling class. At the same time, his talk of unity, renewal and his status as the first African American with a serious chance to win the US presidency has attracted the support of workers and young people in the first stages of their political awakening and shift to the left.
It is impossible to combine the popular demands for an end to war and militarism with the defense of US imperialist interests. Nor is it possible to put an end to social inequality while defending the “free market” and capitalism. In the end, as the economic crisis in the US and internationally deepens, it will be the expectations of ordinary people that will be dashed, not those sections of big business that are backing Obama.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Via TRUTHOUT dot org: Melissa del Bosque reports for The Texas Observer:
As the U.S. Department of Homeland Security marches down the Texas border serving condemnation lawsuits to frightened landowners, Brownsville resident Eloisa Tamez, 72, has one simple question. She would like to know why her land is being targeted for destruction by a border wall, while a nearby golf course and resort remain untouched.I know you are all as shocked and astonished by this as I am. N-CHEAT! (Nobody Could Have Ever Anticipated This!!!)
Tamez, a nursing director at the University of Texas at Brownsville, is one of the last of the Spanish land grant heirs in Cameron County. Her ancestors once owned 12,000 acres. In the 1930s, the federal government took more than half of her inherited land, without paying a cent, to build flood levees.
Now Homeland Security wants to put an 18-foot steel and concrete wall through what remains.
While the border wall will go through her backyard and effectively destroy her home, it will stop at the edge of the River Bend Resort and golf course, a popular Winter Texan retreat two miles down the road. The wall starts up again on the other side of the resort.
"It has a golf course and all of the amenities," Tamez says. "There are no plans to build a wall there. If the wall is so important for security, then why are we skipping parts?"
Along the border, preliminary plans for fencing seem to target landowners of modest means and cities and public institutions such as the University of Texas at Brownsville, which rely on the federal government to pay their bills.
A visit to the River Bend Resort in late January reveals row after row of RVs and trailers with license plates from chilly northern U.S. states and Canadian provinces. At the edge of a lush, green golf course, a Winter Texan from Canada enjoys the mild, South Texas winter and the landscaped ponds, where white egrets pause to contemplate golf carts whizzing past. The woman, who declines to give her name, recounts that illegal immigrants had crossed the golf course once while she was teeing off. They were promptly detained by Border Patrol agents, she says, adding that agents often park their SUVs at the edge of the golf course.
River Bend Resort is owned by John Allburg, who incorporated the business in 1983 as River Bend Resort, Inc. Allburg refused to comment for this article. A scan of the Federal Election Commission and Texas Ethics Commission databases did not find any political contributions linked to Allburg.
Just 69 miles north, Daniel Garza, 76, faces a similar situation with a neighbor who has political connections that reach the White House. In the small town of Granjeno, population 313, Garza points to a field across the street where a segment of the proposed 18-foot high border wall would abruptly end after passing through his brick home and a small, yellow house he gave his son. "All that land over there is owned by the Hunts," he says, waving a hand toward the horizon. "The wall doesn't go there."
In this area everyone knows the Hunts. Dallas billionaire Ray L. Hunt and his relatives are one of the wealthiest oil and gas dynasties in the world. Hunt, a close friend of President George W. Bush, recently donated $35 million to Southern Methodist University to help build Bush's presidential library. In 2001, Bush made him a member of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, where Hunt received a security clearance and access to classified intelligence.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
THis Post began as a comment on the WWL blog) which expresses what I find a distressingly common and, I fear, misguided sentiment: "Obama (is)...the candidate that can best strengthen as well as consolidate institutions that empower the progressive cause of economic and social justice."
That just strikes me as wishful thinking. And doomed to disappointment. Indeed, if either BHO or HRC IS 'elected'--a matter by no means fore-ordained--they might in fact be the persons LEAST able to prosecute a progressive agenda, for no fewer than two reasons.
The first of these is that it seems to me that I have heard nothing in either's campaign rhetoric that persuades me that they're any better than Not-Actively-Inimical to the causes of economic and social justice. He has already indicated he's willing to compromise on the
organized, professional pilferage "privatization" of Social Security, for example. His health-insurance plan is regressive. She is a corpoRat shill and hack. I for one find it difficult to see how that's going to "empower the progressive cause of economic and social justice." He seems to possess no such agenda and no particular sympathy for such a 'cause,' and she proclaims no recognizable desire to actually institute such an agenda, their social AND international policy proposals--e.g., privatize SS, bring SOME troops home--along with their core advisors, all being snugly within the bosom of the Corporatively acceptable, and all tending to lodge responsibility for the disasters of the past 7 years directly upon the victims of those practices...
But the second issue is more subtle, and relates to identity, or more accurately, to socially constructed and maintained perceptions about color/gender identity and political solidarity. It's the source of the dilemma both HRC and BHO face with regard to fault-line issues of gender and race: Default popular/public opinion on the position of so-called "women's issues" AND so-called "color" issues is that they are ALREADY defined as "Liberal" issues, and that the affirmative position in the 'debates' over social and economic justice is staked out by the "left." From the Right's POV, those shouldn't be social problems; they wouldn't even be on the agenda if it "weren't for whiny, aggrieved 'liberals.'"
Hence their specific racial/gender identities and locations in the relevant discourse--and unique political tenor/timbre on various matters impinging on these over-arching narratives--is presumed a priori to be 'liberal,' their actual platforms notwithstanding...
This means that, should either of them really achieve the WhiteHouse, either one would be impeded from acting--or even seeming to act--in the particular interests of their (either) racial (or) gendered constituencies because they would automatically be identified as a brand of irresponsible, or undeserved special pleading.
This paradox--well, it is a double bind, rally--comes out of WEB DuBois' idea of "double consciousness," a condition experienced by ALL socially marginalized/minority persons in a racialized, genderized hierarchical social arrangement. This is the awareness that one's "self" is determined not only, or even not primarily, by one's own awareness of self as by the pre-existing prejudices of others more powerful and whose prejudices determine the relevant social order. As DuBois himself wrote about it:
After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world,--a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his twoness,--an American, a Negro; two warring souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.The mere fact that both HRC and BHO are BOTH candidates for the presidency, AND the first members of their respective 'identity' groups to have advanced to even this point in the national political narratives forces the continuing accounts of their success/failure inside an ambit of description to which the candidacy of McStain, for example, is exempt: he's the 87th white guy. By the miracle of 21st Century propagqanda, he's assumed to represent the WHOLE COUNTRY! Both BHO and HRC are compelled, by the very nature of the 'difference' that propels them, to STAND FOR the membership in the marginalized groups of which they are undeniably icons, FIRST, and to thereafter to prove their loyalty to the WHOLE COUNTRY.
The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife,--this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self.
The fact that they are both constructed of and within double consciousness will be (necessarily) turned against them if they shown to act in any way that reflects the fact that they do NOT regard themselves as un-effected by the complaints of the poor and the oppressed as any (White/male) hegemons would, and they are then and therefore shown (by the Glenn Becks of the world) as buckling to the 'special interests' whose iconic representamen they must necessarily be. So, by virtue of their membership in a disadvantaged/controlled population, they will be LESS able to act in the interests of the people whom they (in this case, coincidentally) resemble.
That make any sense?
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
For the streamed version look here, at about
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
The final tally was 31-67; crossing over to vote "nay" were the following fucking useless husks of protoplasm:
Jay Rockefeller (D-WV),
Evan Bayh (D-IA),
Daniel Inouye (D-HI),
Tim Johnson (D-SD),
Herb Kohl (D-WI),
Mary Landrieu (D-LA),
Claire McCaskill (D-MO),
Mark Pryor (D-AR),
Blanche Lincoln (D-AR),
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA),
Ken Salazar (D-CO),
Tom Carper (D-DE),
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD),
Jim Webb (D-VA),
Ben Nelson (D-NE),
Bill Nelson (D-FL),
Kent Conrad (D-ND), and
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Plus HolyJoe Lie-berman. of course.
Harry Reid is worse than gutless, he's embarrassing.
Somebody wanna tell me why we were worried that Time Johnson mightn't recover from his stroke?
Expect no better from Pelousi's House, too.
Help me figure this out. Do Michigan, North Dakota, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware Colorado, California, Arkansas (twice), Missouri, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Hawaii, South Dakota, Indiana and West Virginia owe particular fealty to the telecom industry? Are their economies especially indentured to the fortunes of the likes of AT&T, Verizon, et al, that they must for the sake of sheer political exigency cast their votes to protect those coorporate interests, no matter how corrupt or criminal?
Or is it just the venality of those 18 members of the "opposition?"
Are there other explanations?
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Once asked to write a full story in six words, legend has it that novelist Ernest Hemingway responded: "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn."
In this spirit of simple yet profound brevity, the online magazine Smith asked readers to write the story of their own lives in a single sentence.
The result is Not Quite What I Was Planning, a collection of six-word memoirs by famous and not-so-famous writers, artists and musicians. Their stories are sometimes sad, often funny — and always concise.
The hed on this post is my contribution. If you got one of your own, drop it in here.
NO ONE--no candidate even on the Dim side--is saying that this is the only genuine mandate the replacement for Bush and his cronies will have. They will have--if it's either HRC or BHO--three tasks, and three tasks only, the three "Rs": Revoke, Repair, Restore--
1) Revoke all those anti-democratic signing statements;
2) Repair the Constitution (e.g., habeas corpus, the 4th Amendment);
3) Restore the checks and balances amid the branches of Govt. and the wall between church and state...
It appears to me, however, that neither of them will be up to the task: Clinton because she fundamentally agrees with the things she'd be asked to repair, and so will approach matters without much fire for change; Obama because even if he wanted to (and I'm not sure he does), his conciliatory approach cannot undo the evils of the Bush regime, but only mitigate the horrors a trifle, while preserving the essential structures of oppression.
I am not a "Democrat," but c'mon: With the least popular, most detested, "worst President Ever" against whom to run, with a populace united in opposition to the war, an environmental crisis much of which is attributable to the ruling elites, with the economy bobbong around like a turd in a maelstrom, with medical care costs growing while coverage for citizens declines, with ALL these pop/prog issues in play, the Dems offer the only two candidates either of whom will inevitably divide both the party and the Country, and who can make it close enough for the GOPukes to steal.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Thursday, February 07, 2008
"There's going to be less jobs, those immigrants aren't going home, and there's going to be more war."
I cannot think of a better, more concise precis of the oligarch/plutocrat/imperialist agenda.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
The use of proxy mercenary forces to terrorize nations into submitting to US political demands has been the cornerstone of American foreign policy since at least the era of the Berlin Wall, and it still is.The source for the preceding, and for the rest of the report, which is equally chilling (and non-partisan: Clinton was as much involved as the Chimperor or Pappy), comes from GlobalResearchDotCa, blog of the Centre For Research on Globalization, run by the indefatigable and irredoubtable Michel Chossudovsky, professor of economics at University of Ottowa, who does not give automatic credence to ANY governmental utterance.
In Europe, the American government actively sought to eliminate political opposition to its fascist world plans through the use of open violent repression and covert terroristic "false flag" attacks upon popular patriotic resistance movements and their leaders. Using ultra right-wing homegrown fascists, in both Europe and America, secret paramilitary militias were created, called "Stay Behind" forces at the end of World War II. Since then, the CIA activated these groups to successfully quash anti-American liberal and social democratic popular resistance movements. The agency denies this, but the series of exposes of their network in Europe since 1990 have proven the professed denials to be false
The secret American plans to turn dissent into a weapon for destroying democracy were applied equally, yet differently, in America and Europe. Here, the procedure called for using more subtlety, as opposed to Europe, where everything would happen outside of the controlled environment of the corporate US media. In Europe, so-called "pro-communist" forces could be fought more aggressively, using secretive groups like Gladio to physically attack the antiwar, Labor-oriented and liberal protest movements. Behind the scenes, terror attacks were carried-out by anonymous sources to be blamed on the opposition party. Using the extreme right-wing Gladio forces in this manner, as well as infiltrating and sabotaging leftist groups from within, proved devastating at the polls. People ran away from the resistance in droves, seeking security in the waiting arms of the fascists and the all-powerful state. But many people did also see through the BS of the "official story" of events like the bombing of a train stations in Bologna, Italy.
The secret plans for Europe entailed large covert paramilitary units in every NATO nation, that were trained and ready to suppress all anti-American protests by liberals and social democrats. The official name of the covert programs was "Gladio." The official cover story (and its original purpose) was that these right-wing paramilitary units were "Stay Behind" forces, which were created as copies of the French "underground" resistance, to be activated upon a Soviet conquest and occupation of Europe. The Stay Behind/Gladio forces saw a change of mission in the sixties, when the European socialist/liberal alliance began to awaken strong nationalist movements in every NATO country.1
Monday, February 04, 2008
In reply to a Think Progress story about a particularly stupid racist, nativist gaffe by some bint representing some bourgeois cracker district in Florida who is renowned for her stupid, racist, nativist gaffes, a TP commentor wrote: “They don’t teach civics in schools anymore, do they?”
Here's the ThinkProgress piece:
Rep. Brown-Waite calls Puerto Ricans ‘foreign citizens.’
In a press release last week, Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL) attacked the new economic stimulus bill for sending “hundreds of millions of dollars” to “foreign citizens,” including “residents of Puerto Rico and territories like Guam.” Calling her comments “infuriating and contradictory,” the Puerto Rican House of Representatives demanded “a public apology” today from Brown-Waite for referring to Puerto Ricans as “foreign citizens.” Puerto Ricans were made American citizens in 1917. 4:45 pm
Anent Civics: They never taught it very well.
For which there are a couple of very good reasons, mostly having to do with (what Marx called) the immanent contradictions of our ways of life.
1) Because democratic theory and practice are not highly regarded by parents where THEIR children are concerned, in their own homes. Many families I’ve know are sheer totalitarian, authoritarian at best; damn few are even remotely democratic.
2) Actually, believe it or not, democratic theory and practice are not highly regarded in the ‘marketplace,’ either, except sometimes as rhetorical flourishes, or necessary nods toward the Public Mythology…The corporate universe is precisely the antithesis of a paragon of participatory democracy.
It is much easier, therefore, to leave people in ignorance of their civic potential-–to say nothing of their civil rights and privileges–-than to have to confront the turmoil that might emerge from the cognitive dissonances folks would otherwise experience between their political lives and the rest of their worlds should such occur to them due to their educations. Much better that there should be no such dissonances.
All those pointed little heads exploding would be so messy.
President Bush's approval ratings remain low. Among poll respondents, 38 percent approve of the job he is doing, unchanged from the previous NPR poll in October. In the new poll, 56 percent disapprove of the president's performance compared with 60 percent last fall. But Bush's record low ratings apparently are getting better--with the promise of a $500 going-away present--and this is NOT going to much effect the strength of the GOPuke nominee in November.
Either/both HRC & BHO are such lightning-rods that their candidacies are going to be electric, of course. It is possible that one or the other of them will get 'elected.' But if they are, it will be because the Bosses want to use them to destroy what's left of the "naive" belief and trust to which the people have clung for the efficacy of their democratic republican system. It is ironic that candidates who seem to represent such hope will--in my view--inevitably become the tools to the destruction of all they say they represent (if you believe them; personally, I'm agnostic).
On the other hand, in national polls, now, McStain beats HRC and is within the moe with BHO. If the bosses just wanna go ahead with the wholesale, public destruction of democracy--just skip the subtle stuff and go straight for the kill--then they're already positioning themselves, cuz if it's close, it can be stolen (cf, 2000, 2004).
I am sorry, truly, if this causes distress. I wouldn't do so needlessly, I hope you know. But it just seems to me to be so transparent, once you get past the appearances--the bright, shiny promises, the hype--the 'hope', the 'change agenda' (which has no agenda other than the maintenance of some version of the status quo ante), etc.--to the realities of wealth, power, influence, etc, which are, it seems to me, these: that no subsequent President will not endeavor by any and every means to add to and expand the powers that the Busheviks appropriated from that oh-so-willing Congress. In all history, no Congress has ever won back from the Executive any power they have delegated, even once; and no President has ever willingly conceded any power to the Legislative. The balance has again shifted, definitively, and nothing ever goes back to the way it was.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Large majorities of voters believe the president has considerable sway on a range of big issues such as inflation, interest rates, the federal deficit, taxes and more. Fully three-quarters believe the president has at least some influence over health care costs, for example. Sixty-nine percent can see the president making gasoline prices go up or down.This of course is bad news for the 'people,' the poor, delusional drones who both believe that shit, and who think "change" is possible--without a REAL revolution against the CorpoRatocrats, Oiligarchs, and Pollutocrats, because no change is possible, anywhere in the system, without their consent.
And they ain'ta gonna.
Consent, I mean.
No way. And they'll ALWAYS have their 41 votes, no matter how 'popular' the president is, no matter the size of the putative 'mandate.' Money ALWAYS trumps 'mandate'...
Which is, therefore, bad news for the next president, if s/he's a Dim. (It's irrelevant if a Puke, cuz they'll just continue the current clusterfuck and say everything is working out splendidly--which it will be, for them and their CorpoRat masters).
Because the size and scope of the clusterfuck left behind by the Bushevik cabal--everything they touched turned to shit; to which they are still adding, even as we have breakfast, by preparing agreements with the Iraqi puppet govt to keep USer troops in place for at least another decade, for example--will make it impossible for the next (Dim) president to achieve anything at all. They'll be tied to the failed policies, even as they struggle to extricate themselves, and are prevented--both by their own ideological proclivities and by global 'real-politik'--from achieving anything of real substance.
Which will leave the American people--with their outsized views of the things a Prez can do--fuming, irritated and angry...and that will be directed at their "exotic" president (either a woman or a black man), who will seem to be unable to actually change ANYTHING, both due to the size of the clusterfuck, and to obstructionism by the "opposition" (which will NOT be the kind of namby-pamby opposition the Dims were for 8 years, but will attack on EVERY front, constantly, aggressively, dishonestly, viciously, and finally successfully)...
Gay-ron-TEED, chers! The Right wins either way: 1) An 'exotic' Dim gets elected and fails ("Naturally. What did you expect from 'those' people'?") to live up to the change-hype (which they will, inevitably, because of the magnitude of the problems, and the malevolence of the GOPukes), or 2) A Puke gets in and just continues 'bidness as uzhul'.
The cynic in me says NONE of this is either an accident or a coincidence.
(Cross-posted at MLW.)