Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wanna Seperate The Corporation From The State?

Support Dr. Rikki Ott's Amendment 28.(Listen)
As everyone knows who has the cognitive discrimination of a mollusk, there are, at present, 27 Amendments to the US Constitution. There are also, unfortunately, a raft of 'concerned citizens' and interest groups who are proposing Amendment 28, including folks who want to install public finance of elections, a measure that institutionalizes the "War Powers Act," and of cou7rse, the Xian/Fundie/Wackloon promise to limit the use and application of the institution of marriage only to hetero folks, and mandating 'special elections' to replace any Senator unable to complete her/his elected term.

My favorite, and my pick for the honor of the the Amendment proposal to get behind is the one proposed by Dr. Rikki Ott, which would forever bar CorpoRations from claiming or incurring treatment under law thata is identical with that accorded to individual people. It would, in short, terminate the totally spurious, but unfortunately commonplace policy of regarding CorpoRations as "people" under the Law.

Dr. Ott began her campaign in the aftermath of the "Exxon Valdez" disaster in Prince William Sound, Alaska. She witnessed then the contemporary--and the continuing--successful efforts of the Exxon Corporation to escape accountability --and avoid reparations (funny thing)-- for the damages caused by the criminal act of drunkenly crashing the Exxon Valdez onto a reef in the Sound, spilling millions of gallons of toxic sludge into the environment, and unleashing an environmental catastrophe, the consequences of which still--after 20 years--have not been ameliorated. The fish stocks in the Sound collapsed, the ecology has forever been compromised, and the people's lives in the region have been devastated.

Meanwhile, Exxon/Mobil still records quarter after quarter of record profits, and strives relentlessly, and expensivley, still to escape or diminish their responsibilities. Because, whatever the costs of litigation, etc, it's stiull cheaper than actually 'manning-up' to the expense of cleaning up the 1200 miles of virgin Alaskan coastline they fucked up when the their mate drove the boat onto that shoal, split her (single) hull, and poured MILLIONS of gallons of toxic, heavy oil into the surrounding waters.

They are abetted in this by the (specious, but time-honored) presumption written into law by some feculent clerk as a 'headnote' to a late-19th Century SCOTUS decision, according to Wiki,
the result of a misinterpretation of an 1886 Supreme Court Case, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad. Opponents claim that certain rights of natural persons, such as the right to political and other non-commercial free speech, are now exercised by corporations to the detriment of the American democratic process as provided under the Constitution. Some opponents point to the recent discovery of correspondence [1] between then Supreme Court Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite, and court reporter J.C. Bancroft Davis as proof of a conspiracy among the railroad corporations to intentionally create a misrepresentation of that decision for the benefit of the railroads.

Proponents of corporate personhood believe that corporations, as representatives of their shareholders, were intended by the founders and framers to enjoy many, if not all, of the same rights as natural persons, for example, the right against self-incrimination, right to privacy and the right to lobby the government.
Dr. Ott and many others believe that until and unless the protections (wrongly) applied to corporations, which were only intended for the exercise by people, are rescinded, democracy in the USofA is, for all practical purposes, a sham, a joke, and a delusion. Join her (and me, if it matters) in ending this travesty of justice once and for all...

"Let The Structural Adjustment Begin!"

Welcome to the Third World, campers.

Here we'll learn just how it feels to be economically marginalized. I somehow missed this the other day when Jon Schwarz posted this on his A Tiny Revolution blog. I don't know how that happened, but DOTOF™ to Avedon for the reminder:
There's been a common phenomenon in the third world over the past three decades or so. A country's financial sector, in collaboration with the larger financial world, would create some type of gigantic economic fuck up. The IMF would then (in collaboration with the local financial elites) step in and provide loans in return for what was called "structural adjustment." Structural adjustment involved getting rid of any kind of social spending that made life bearable for everyone else.

In other words, the country's financial elites would use the catastrophes they'd created themselves in order to do what they'd always wanted to but couldn't get away with in normal times. They took the profit, and then imposed all the costs on everyone else.
(Sound familiar? Ed.)

I've long believed U.S. elites would attempt to do this for America as soon as they had the opportunity. Here's Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner today at the Council on Foreign Relations having a jolly laugh with moderator and investment banker Roger Altman about the process now getting under way—all thanks to propaganda assistance from investment banking billionaire Pete Peterson.

For those without a decoder ring, "everyone" being a fiscal hawk means that due to the current financial disaster, they'll soon be coming after Social Security and Medicare:
GEITHNER: Of course, we are all fiscal hawks now because of Pete Peterson. (Laughter.) There are no doves left on the fiscal side. (Laughter.)

ALTMAN: And he deserves credit for that.
Yes, the coming massacre of American lives will be quite funny indeed. (Laughter.)
Whenever ANYBODY ever talks about 'reforming Entitlements' (Pete Peterson's whole schtick), it ALWAYS means the advocates of reform are advocating reducing benefits and services and raising costs to users.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Off Widdair Phuquing Heads!

Max Keiser, unconstrained by the pressures on our *SCUM* to toe the Party Line, suggests a permanent solution to the problem of our thieving, venal, mendacious--but apparently employed-for-life--financial elites: Est-ce que je peux présenter Mlle Guillotine ?

DOTOF™, Ed Encho/Station Charon.
Part II:

I've long maintained that, if there's anything at all to the idea that capital punishment has deterrent effects, we ought to test the premise by executing a couple of the top financial mavens VERY publically.

Bernie Madoff? John Stanford? Phil Gramm? Slap 'em on a gurney and let's see what happens. Even if there may not be a deterrence effect, it'll sher help with recidivism.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Who's The "UN-SEXIEST" Man In The World?

Well according to the esteemed critics of hawt at the Boston Phoenix, it's the obese, obnoxious, odious Oxycontin overdoser, TUSH...er, that is, RUSH LIMBAUGH. Raw Story spread the news, and I found out about it at Attaturk's place, and was I ever SHOCKED...See for your self:
The man who touted 'Barack the Magic Negro' and mocked Michael J. Fox for allegedly faking Parkinson's disease has beaten out the man who stole nearly $65 billion for a dubious accolade.

Rush Limbaugh, mocked as "Jabba the Nut" by free weekly Boston Phoenix, has been selected as the ugliest man of the year by the paper. The 99 runner-up unsexiest men of the year can be viewed at this link.

"America’s ugliest moment of 2009? Rush Limbaugh, his man-boobs a-jiggle, bouncing at the CPAC podium to bask in the sickly glow of conservatism’s orgy of greed, avarice, and arrogance," the paper writes. "Here, at last, was the shining image of the 21st century Republican Party: a leeringly rich Baby Boomer squatting at the top of the mountain, reaping his jollies from the suffering of those at the bottom, praying for the failure of hope.

"If this hypocritical and morally repugnant reformed Oxy junkie wants to discuss “failure,” maybe we should talk about his career as an NFL commentator — or the last time he detoxed off prescription smack,"
they add.

Number two? Chris Brown who they say is imitating "Ike Turner's worst traits" and brings "new meazning to the phrase 'hit record,' citing his recent spat with star Rihanna. Number three: Bernie Madoff, the man who mounted the largest Ponzi scheme in history.
"Unsexy," in this usage, is apparently a cumulative puke factor, a mixture of vanity, violence, and just plain, over-all revulsion, rather than any particular, purely physical characteristics.

Attaturks summation is just about right:
Hard to believe, but it was the wet t-shirt contest combined with his patented shaking while mocking people with Parkinson's Disease that clinched it for Rush, or as the Dominican hookers know him, El Pene de las Pinzas .

Scott Horton Blogs


We, the rest, are but poor shadows.

S O S: "Stop O'Reilley's Shit"

Rightwing Arch-fucktard, serial sexual harrasser, and vicious, villainous, lying sack of shit Bill O'Reilley has a trick. (Well, according to Andrea Mackris, he has a couple of them, but only one is relevant here.)

When somebody pisses him off--say, they contradict one of his many egregious lies, or otherwise hold him up for the ridicule he so richly deserves--he dispatches a team of flying-monkey trolls, led by particularly nasty, feculent bit of work, the baby-faced, fascist fuckwit Jesse Watters, to ambush his accusers, trying to embarrass them on tape, which O'Reilley will then use on his tv show to exact revenge for the other's having had the temertity to fuck with Big Bill-o. It has happened AS MANY AS 40 DIFFERENT times.

It occurred most recently when Falaffel Bill dispateched his team of feculent orcs to trail and ambush a blogger named Amy Terkel. She'd criticized O'Reilley for hypocrisy (the easiest charge in the world to level and prove against that bill-ious duckwhistle) in seeming to support some sort of post-rape intervention while simultaneously seeming to hold women responsible for rapes if they were seeming to "ask for it." THE DETAILS ARE HERE. In short:
On Saturday, March 21, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly sent one of his producers to stalk, harass, and ambush ThinkProgress.org’s managing editor Amanda Terkel. Upset over a ThinkProgress report that noted O’Reilly’s insensitivity to rape, O’Reilly sent two men to track Amanda in a car for two hours, and then confronted her with hostile questions while she was on vacation.
The good folks at ThinkProgress decided upon a strategy to reply, by contacting Bill O'Loofa's advertizers.

They didn't complain about the toxic, rampant racism of BO's usual discourses. They didn't complain about his easily provable lying. They didn't mention his fascistic, simple-minded, ideological pur-blindness. No. They simply asked if the advertizers were comfortable supporting someone who used his public persona to stalk and attack his opponents. This is how Keith Olberman phrased it:
hinkProgress.org contacted the sponsors of O’Reilly’s TV program, asking — not if they support his right-wing stances, his hypocrisy, his racism, his misogyny, his fact-optional approach — but if they could stomach him time after time stalking people who had dared to criticize him in print or online. And tonight, UPS has said enough.
All this is preface to what, in the scope of the whole enterprise, is really nothing so much as a quibble: the name that TP assigned to their campaign. They called it "Stop Supporting The O’Reilly Harassment Machine." But it strikes me as overly recondite and wordy, so I am suggesting an alternative title: the simple, widely used, S O S: Stop O'Reilley's Shit (or Stalking, if you're telling your mom).

Similar campaigns have been waged semi-successfully against such other Rightard bags or reeking shit as Michael ("Savage") Weiner in the past. Some tens of thousands of bloggers and other citizens have joined the campaign, and I encourage my reader, devoted as s/he is, to join the campaign, too, whatever they call it, and request sponsors of Bill-o's toxic dump to reconsider their support for this clearly psychopathic, probably dangerous, shitwhistling fucknozzle.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Obama held hostage by *PPPIP*

President Obama's destiny - more than his foreign policy decisions - will be sealed by how he deals with the US financial crisis, argues Pepe Escobar. The verdict of top economists on Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's new PPPIP has not been auspicious. Some speak of taxpayer rip-off while Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman foresees a "lost decade of zombie banks". The President has been trying to appease Wall Street while at the same time appeasing America's anger directed at anything bank bailout-related. On a global level the Chinese have made it known their patience with America's addiction to debt has limits. The upcoming G-20 meeting in London is bound to discuss more radical steps, while back in the US some already dream of a new saviour, post-Geithner.

PPPIP = "Public Private Partnership Investment Program"
This obviously is the product of The Real News Network which, like TruthOut (along with a host of other 'non-profit' sites), is perennially short of funds.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Electronic Voting Easy To Corrupt, Sez CIA Expert

Donkey Punch has this up, from McClatchey/Miami Herald. Make sure your tin-foil hat's comfortable:
CIA expert: Electronic voting not secure
A CIA cybersecurity expert said electronic voting machines like those used in the U.S. have likely been tampered with during elections in other countries.

''You heard the old adage `follow the money,' '' Stigall said, according to a transcript of his hour-long presentation obtained by McClatchy. ``I follow the vote. And wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that's an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to . . . make bad things happen.''
WASHINGTON -- The CIA, which has been monitoring foreign countries' use of electronic voting systems, has reported apparent vote-rigging schemes in Venezuela, Macedonia and Ukraine and a raft of concerns about the machines' vulnerability to tampering.

(...)In a presentation that could provide disturbing lessons for the United States, where electronic voting is becoming universal, Steve Stigall summarized what he described as attempts to use computers to undermine democratic elections in developing nations. His remarks have received no news media attention until now.

Stigall told the Election Assistance Commission, a tiny agency that Congress created in 2002 to modernize U.S. voting, that computerized electoral systems can be manipulated at five stages, from altering voter registration lists to posting results.

(...)Stigall said voting equipment connected to the Internet could be hacked, and machines that weren't connected could be compromised wirelessly. Eleven U.S. states have banned or limited wireless capability in voting equipment, but Stigall said elections officials didn't always know it when wireless cards were embedded in their machines.

While Stigall said he wasn't speaking for the CIA and wouldn't address U.S. voting systems, his presentation appeared to undercut calls by some U.S. politicians to shift to Internet balloting, at least for military personnel and other American citizens living overseas. Stigall said that most Web-based ballot systems had proved to be insecure.

Rude Pundit On Michelle Malkin

Shorter: If you're a fiddy-cent whore, with suppurating dicks stuffed into all of your orifices, it somewhat diminishes your credibility as a spokesperson for chastity and abstinence. And Rude Pundit says he has no evidence that Malkin IS NOT a fiddy-cent whore...

Chomsky Discusses The Obama/Geithner(Bush) Plan

Noam Chomsky: Plan is recycled Bush/Paulson. We need nationalization and steps towards democratization"; says that "they're simply recycling, the Bush-Paulson measures and changing them a little, but essentially the same idea: keep the institutional structure the same, try to kind of pass things up, bribe the banks and investors to help out, but avoid the measures that might get to the heart of the problem."
Which makes perfect sense if you first assume that Obama's only there on the sufferance of the nations Owners, who would never have countenanced his 'election' if he posed--or even seemed to pose--the least, slightest scintilla of a threat to the smooth, profitable functioning of their world-gobbling enterprises. Via TRNN, who could use your support...

Treason--High, Low, Or In-Between-- But Still TREASON..

It sure is a shame that there seems to be no legal way to revoke John Yoo's citizenship, seeing as how the moon-faced fascist GOPhuque did everything in his power to render ALL citizenship in the Democratic Republic of America totally meaningless. Via Mark Crispin Miller's News from the Underground, America's OTHER beautiful, brilliant, talented, literate "Naomi," Naomi Wolf, interviews Michael Ratner, head of the Center for Constitutional Studies, asking the question that should be atop all our inquiries:
Do the Secret Bush Memos Amount to Treason?
Top Constitutional Scholar Says "Yes"
By Naomi Wolf, AlterNet. Posted March 25, 2009.

In early March, more shocking details emerged about George W. Bush legal counsel John Yoo's memos outlining the destruction of the republic.

The memos lay the legal groundwork for the president to send the military to wage war against U.S. citizens; take them from their homes to Navy brigs without trial and keep them forever; close down the First Amendment; and invade whatever country he chooses without regard to any treaty or objection by Congress.

It was as if Milton’s Satan had a law degree and was establishing within the borders of the United States the architecture of hell.
Naomi Wolf: Michael, can you explain to a layperson what the Yoo memos actually mean?'

Michael Ratner: What they mean is that your book looks moderate in respect to those issues now. This -- what is in the memos -- is law by fiat.

I call it "Fuhrer's law." What those memos lay out means the end of the system of checks and balances in this country. It means the end of the system in which the courts, legislature and executive each had a function and they could check each other.

What the memos set out is a system in which the president's word is law, and Yoo is very clear about that: the president's word is not only law according to these memos, but no law or constitutional right or treaty can restrict the president's authority.

What Yoo says is that the president's authority as commander in chief in the so-called war on terror is not bound by any law passed by Congress, any treaty, or the protections of free speech, due process and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The First, Fourth and Fifth amendments -- gone.
NW: So clearly you don't have to act on behalf of another state to commit treason. The Constitution defines it as levying war against the United States or giving aid and comfort to its enemies. It says nothing about the enemy having to be another state.

When the Constitution was drafted, the phrase "United States" barely referred to a singular country; it referred to a new federation of many united states. They imagined militias rising up against various states; it was not necessarily nation against nation.

Surely, when we have evidence Bush prepared the way to allow the military to imprison or shoot civilians in the various states and created law to put his own troops over the authority of the governors and the national guard of the various states, and when the military were sent to terrorize protesters in St. Paul, [Minn.], Bush was levying war in this sense against the united states?

Hasn't Bush actually levied war against Minnesota? And if our leaders and military are sworn to protect and defend the Constitution, and there is clear evidence now that Bush and his cabal intended to do away with it, are they not our enemies and giving aid and comfort to our enemies? Again, "enemy" does not seem to me to be defined in the Constitution as another sovereign state.

MR: You are right. Treason need not involve another state. Aaron Burr was tried for treason. I do think that a plan to control the military, use it in the United States contrary to law and the Constitution and employ it to levy a war or takeover that eliminates the democratic institutions of the country constitutes treason, even if done under the president of the United States.

The authority given by these memos that could be used to raid every congressional office, raid and search every home, detain tens of thousands, would certainly fit a definition of treason.

This would be the president making war against the institutions of the United States.
Not that the "The Prez" or any of the craven fuckwitz in power now will do anything about it, but it now seems there's ample evidence upon the basis of which we COULD string the scummy, slimy bastards up...

Bring out the tumbrels!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It Started With Raygun's Thugs & Gunsels

Remember PATCO? To reverse the pinch on profits from the energy-crisis-inspired economic downturn of the late '70s, the Raygun mob conspired with the Bidness Bosses to cap wage growth.

Then, when the I/T-productivity boom began in the early '80s, and times seemed to be improving, they needed to appear to spread the wealth.

Now, they weren't going to diminish their by-now record profits by actually paying the workers commensurately with their increased productivity. O, my, no.... That was a gain the bottom line wasn't going to give back. That was where the bonuses came from. So-called "Human Resources" are always the most expensive part of doing bidness, so they figured to increase profits by stiffing the workers. But they had to be careful.

So, since in a consumer economy, consumers have to have money with which to consume, the gang of thieves who were Raygun's henchmen decided to relax credit.

This is NOT, of course, the same thing as increasing wages, but it sorta FEELS like it. And there was a already growing the various bubbles that would camouflage the incipient disasters.

But nobody seemed to notice; and if they noticed, nobody--notably, not the rapidly consolidating, corporatizing, consumerizing Press--was saying anything about it. Not prudent; not good bidness...

Relaxing credit requirements, making more credit available even (especially) at high cost had two desired and desireable effects: 1) It preserved the consumer economy, at least for a while, and 2) it indentured the consumers to the credit agencies. An indebted people is a docile people. Probably, there was a third: it made folks THINK they were acting like the Elites, who did nothing to dispel the illusion.

They could'a got away with it, indefinitely, probably.

But (and this is one of those [pesky immanent contradictions of unbridled Kapitalismus, they got grabby. In the minds of this cabal, finance is a zero-sum game. What you have, I haven't got, and to win I need it ALL...

SO, in '99 and '00, with a vulnerable, "moderate" president over a barrel, they unleashed the genies, thinking (perhaps; probably they didn't care if) they had the 'spells' to control 'em.

You will have noticed that there have not yet been passed and sent to The Prez any legislation to repeal or supersede any of the Gramm/Rubin/Summers/Greenspan de-regulatory excesses? In fact, I don't think any have even been introduced.

So what now? I suppose we can't just stand on the Capital steps and chant: "I repeal thee, I repeal Thee, I REPEAL THEE!!!" And the genies will placidly return to their bottles?

No, it's gonna take legislation, and there is very little in the unfolding of the legislative dramas recently with respect to the bail-outs and the budget that should give one much confidence that even legislation will entrap the creatures again...Especially under the circumstances, and with the contentions that writing and passing such legislation would entail.

GREAT NEWS: Obama Ends "Global War On Terror!"

Ohhh, yeah, he didn't really:

April Fool...

He didn't REALLY end it, just changed the name. It's one fine example of Presidential/Administration "rebranding," something we can expect a WHOLE LOT more of, as The Prez's 'promises' drift into the maw of the 60-year-old USer 'tradition' of aggressive, global militarism...
'Global War On Terror' Is Given New Name
Bush's Phrase Is Out, Pentagon Says

By Scott Wilson and Al Kamen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, March 25, 2009; Page A04
The Obama administration appears to be backing away from the phrase "global war on terror," a signature rhetorical legacy of its predecessor.

In a memo e-mailed this week to Pentagon staff members, the Defense Department's office of security review noted that "this administration prefers to avoid using the term 'Long War' or 'Global War on Terror' [GWOT.] Please use 'Overseas Contingency Operation.' "

The memo said the direction came from the Office of Management and Budget, the executive-branch agency that reviews the public testimony of administration officials before it is delivered.

Not so, said Kenneth Baer, an OMB spokesman.

"There was no memo, no guidance," Baer said yesterday. "This is the opinion of a career civil servant."

Coincidentally or not, senior administration officials had been publicly using the phrase "overseas contingency operations" in a war context for roughly a month before the e-mail was sent.
"The Obama administration appears to be backing away from the phrase "global war on terror," a signature rhetorical legacy of its predecessor." There's real bravery there: "Overseas Contingency Operation." Nice. I like it. Takes any mention of "war" or any of that other nasty shit right outta the picture. Sanitary. Contingencies don't bleed as much as collateral damages does, I guess...

Change you can believe IN!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thanks for the Memories...

Jon Schwarz's lapidary little site, A Tiny Revolution, provided us with this fond moment:
Memory Lane

Here's the New York Times story about the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act:
Congress approved landmark legislation today that opens the door for a new era on Wall Street in which commercial banks, securities houses and insurers will find it easier and cheaper to enter one another's businesses...

"Today Congress voted to update the rules that have governed financial services since the Great Depression and replace them with a system for the 21st century,'' Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers said. ''This historic legislation will better enable American companies to compete in the new economy.''

The decision to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 provoked dire warnings from a handful of dissenters that the deregulation of Wall Street would someday wreak havoc on the nation's financial system.
Thank God this Summers guy no longer has any power over American economic policy.
Yeah, it makes a person feel all warm and confident inside, indeed it does, that the President has gathered around him so many experienced hands at managing the economy sensibly. I know you'll all join me in thanking President Obama for bringing back the best and the brightest to see us through this hour of crisis. With both Summers and Robert Rubin in there, what could go wrong?


P.s.: In the "comments" at ATR, it is revealed that Sen. Byron Dorgan predicted, at the time, that in "ten years" we'd be regretting the rashness of the move to repeal G-S.

NPR Should Never Put Juan Williams On-Air...

...without calling attention to his seriously "divided (that is, 'compromised') loyalties."

Yes, I mean his seemingly permanent, unapologetic, probably profitable--but never audibly acknowledged, on NPR, at any rate--connection with Roger Ailes/Rupert Murdoch's Fox News machine. His connections--not to say his 'loyalties'--to Fox are salient when evaluating his NPT reportage, especially given Fox's proud, recent declaration that Fox News is the 'unofficial' voice of the anti-Obama opposition.

Even though NPR has badly betrayed its origins and roots (remember when Michael Harrington, head of Democratic Socialists of America, had a regular weekly slot on ME?), the network does still pose as the paragon of objectivity, fairness, and balance (when it can get over its own clever cuteness--remember, you cannot spell REPUBLICAN without N P R), which standard is plainly repudiated when the other (conflicting?) interests of it on-air personalities are elided by the NPR management, and camouflaged by glossing--when they do not completely ignore-- salient facts about those personalities and the perspectives they 'represent.'.

Here is the message I sent to the NPR Ombudsone yesterday, after Williams was introduced to announce Cokie Roberts' usual Monday cover-ups:
I believe that your 'senior correspondent' Juan Williams should be identified to your listeners as a member of the Fox News commentariat anytime he is introduced as a commentator on NPR. I suggest something like the following: "Now here's Juan Williams, NPR Senior Correspondent, and frequent contributor to such Fox programs as Bill O'Reilly's "No-Spin Zone."

I am pretty certain most NPR listeners are aware of Williams' connection (at the wallet) with Ailes and Murdoch. But to announce it regularly might lend that aura of 'truthiness' to your own programming.
Recently, NPR begged Fox NOT to announce Williams' affiliation with NPR on the Fox Network shows on which he appears, to which pleas Fox complied, though on their 'talent' page for Williams, the Fox bio includes--indeed, it highlights, proudly--Williams' work for NPR.

In the CorpoRat State, corpoRat media are State Media...

Treading Water: How Soon Can Humans Evolve Gills?

Burning coal, whether within America’s borders or in China, above, contributes to temperature changes and rising sea levels that could cause a refugee crisis the likes of which the world has never seen. The United States’ national security will surely be threatened as untold millions flee submerged lowlands, catastrophic storms and newly created deserts.
Scott Ritter, writing on Truthdig, makes some dire predictive speculations concerning the future of the REST of the world once the sea rises to dispossess the BILLION-plus (about a quarter of the world's population) people who live now at sea-level near sea-coasts.

The oceans ARE rising, and they aren't gonna stop--absent a nuclear winter or a massive mega-volcano, either of which might spawn the 'nuclear winter' scenario. The problem is serious enough that even Obama's national security maven, Dennis Blair, is concerned.
While pundits and politicians wrestle with immediate issues such as the economic meltdown, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea, global climate change has emerged as one of the most critical and contentious security issues of the 21st century. The new director of national intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, has cited rising temperatures, combined with an increase in weather-related natural disasters, as a major facilitator of governmental instability worldwide, especially in underdeveloped regions. Issues of poverty, infrastructure degradation, social and political collapse and environmental decay will all be exacerbated by global warming. While the crises stemming from climate change will initially manifest themselves most critically in regions of the world already impacted by political, social and economic turmoil, there is a pronounced threat of spillover as entire populations migrate from the stricken regions into areas where humans have a better chance of survival. The severity and longevity of the consequences of severe weather-related events will make current mechanisms of containing and mitigating these crises inadequate. The scope and scale of these massive migrations would be unprecedented in modern history, as would the ensuing conflicts over basic resources such as food and water, not to mention energy.
Now there's some happy news to go with your morning Cheerios...See how they float and bob around in the milk? Practice, babees, practice...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Would It Be Asking TOO MuchThat Obama'z "New, Improved, More Compassionate" DoJ Please DO SOMETHING

A case for an early, prompt, unqualified pardon; a chance to undo a particularly slimy piece of Bushevik "justice." Perhaps to administer just the tiniest rebuke to the massive corruption of the Bushevik regime?

Presidents can issue pardons ANYTIME. It's their only really unfettered power.

And this is such a fuuuuking egregious miscarriage--nay, an abortion--of justice. Bernie Ward's another one, but this case just cries out for quick rectifying.

I figger He's just too busy, nest paw? I mean, He's gotta save the banks...

Via Scott Horton, on Harpers' No Comment blog:
The Prisoner

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Brendan DeMelle discuss the plight of one of the best known of the political prisoners of the Bush era, Paul Minor, in this piece in the Huffington Post:
Paul Minor did his best to comfort Sylvia, his wife of 41 years, during his brief February 20th visit. He tried to feed her, to talk with her, and to care for her the way he wished he could on every one of her final days in hospice care. Sylvia is in the last stages of terminal brain cancer, which has now spread to both of her lungs, her bones and her spine. Sometimes her mind is sharp and her conversation lucid, but there are bad days; her mind shuts down when her pain becomes too excruciating to endure. Unfortunately Minor’s visit occurred on one of Sylvia’s bad days… After three short hours with Sylvia, Minor’s prison guards whisked him back to the Pensacola federal prison camp. When the Minors’ daughter Kathryn spoke to her mom the next day during a lucid moment, Sylvia had no memory of Paul’s visit.

Minor’s abbreviated visit to his wife’s bedside was only the latest bitter moment for an American hero. Karl Rove’s crooked henchmen at the U.S. Justice Department have turned this dignified gentleman’s life into a horrible ordeal that is a disgrace to American democracy. One of the nation’s top trial lawyers, Minor stands convicted on partisan political charges ginned up by Rove’s right wing toadies at the Department of Justice. Paul Minor is serving the second year of a breathtaking 11-year sentence for non-violent, white collar crimes he did not commit.
Minor’s “crime” consisted of making campaign donations to Democratic candidates for judgeships in Mississippi, setting back plans hatched by Karl Rove and Hailey Barbour (then RNC chair and now governor of Mississippi) to take control of the state’s judiciary by flooding the electoral process with dollars from G.O.P.-loyal out-of-state business interests. The details of his case were surveyed here and here.

His appeal is slated to be argued in New Orleans on April Fool’s Day.
So what will it take for Obama to reverse this huge, suppurating injustice? Don't hold your breath.

Free Paul Minor!

Are Special Protections and Preferences for 'Frankenfoods' Embedded In Obama Food-Safety Plan?

You bet your sweet ass there are, and the fucking regime KNOWS they're in there, too...

On C&L last night, the poster NonnyMouse put up a long diary which revealed that a core part of the Obama "food safety" plan includes huge protective loopholes (put in the bill by a Rep--DeLauro, D-NY--whose husband is a Monsanto Exec--wonder how that happened?) for the continued penetration of the genetic pool of the world's food stuffs by genetically modified seeds.
There’s been quite a bit of contention erupt over a bill being proposed in the House, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, HR 875:

This bill is purportedly to establish a ‘Food Safety Administration’ within the DHHS to regulate food safety, labelling, and regulating the processing, storing, and transport of food from ‘food establishments’, promote food safety research by academic and State institutions. On the face of it, after the recent poison peanut fiasco, that doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, does it…?

… Except there’s a few problems, as it is a very rare bill that can ever be accepted ‘on the face of it’. The first problem with this bill was that is was introduced by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D – CT), whose husband, Stanley Greenburg, works for Monsanto. This may not violate any specific legalities (or maybe it does) but this is the kind of ethical conflict of interest that stinks like a three day old dead genetically modified mackerel. That alone has been enough to raise hackles and suspicions, generating accusations that this bill would in effect criminalize seed banking, impose prison sentences and fines on farmers, require GPS tracking of animals, warrantless government entry onto farm easements, and even allegations of a massive police state plot to incorporate farmland into the hands of industrial giants like Monsanto in a planned elimination of independent farmers altogether. (Of course, nobody would ever anticipate that, would they? Monsanto's middle name is "altruism." Ed.)

This bill, its detractors assert, would give the government the authority to monitor every family farm, ranch, vineyard, fishing hole, farmer’s market veggie patch, kiddie lemonade stand on the sidewalk, and demand paperwork and records relating to food production under penalty of fine or imprisonment, even seizure of goods and property without warrants in violation of the Fourth Amendment. That the term ‘food establishment’ could even conceivably mean your own kitchen or back yard garden, thus if you don’t adhere to strict government standards (strict only in enforcement, not in the vagueness of the language defining said standards), you risk being fined or imprisoned for that really dreadful home grown carrot and coriander soup you served up to the Church fundraising potluck last weekend.

Not everyone, however, is in lockstep with this ‘first they came for the Jews’ line of emotive reasoning, including a few organic farmers themselves. But there are definitely a whole lot of things wrong with this bill, and it quite rightly should be kicked back to its designers immediately for a thorough rewrite, free of any involvement or influence by Monsanto or those married to its employees.

But beyond the accusations that Monsanto is manoeuvring to impose ‘standardized’ agricultural practices that would allow Monsanto and other GM agribusinesses to control and regulate seeds, pesticides and fertilizer that would, in effect, prohibit organic farming and open the way for unregulated GM food production, there is an underlying question:

Why are we so afraid of genetic modification? We on the left all cheered wildly when Obama lifted the Bush ban on embryonic stem cell research, and genetic modification in medicine has already offered thousands of patients genuine hope for treatment and cures for a variety of deadly illnesses. So just what is it about the science of genetically modified food that makes us so wary? Why is one ‘good science’ and the other ‘bad science’?

It isn’t as if humans haven’t been practicing genetic modification for centuries – farm animals themselves are largely the most obvious result of ‘natural’ selection for certain traits. A domestic pig bears as much resemblance to the wild boar it descended from as a Chihuahua resembles a wolf.
Why is one ‘good science’ and the other ‘bad science’? Apart from the overwhelmingly obvious falseness of the equivalence, you mean?

This kind of crap annoys me beyond WORDS! Especially repeating the vile canard, repeated as if it were true, that humans have been conducting genetic modification' ever since we started to domesticate stuff? You can breed dogs with other dogs from now until the end of civilization, and you won't produce one with a tomato-gene in it for ALL your efforts. And you cannot breed dogs with sheep, or sheep with mice, or mice with elephants. Nature erected those barriers because they were needed. Dogs and wolves do interbreed (there is still about 99.995% dan match.), as do domestic pigs and wild boars when they had the opportunity. Horses and donkeys inter-breed, but nature made the off-spring sterile.

I replied, tersely, because it is such an overwhelmingly BAD idea:

Frankenfood is a bad idea.
Mon, 03/23/2009 - 05:39 — woody

How anxious are you to see the financial stock market melt-down move into the planet's food supply? What makes anyone confident that the people who are shilling for this aren't just the agricultural equivalent of Bernie Madoff?

I am morally certain that there is not a single altruistic blood-cell anywhere in the consolidated hearts of the food industry execs. They claim it, when they extol the 'world-wide benefits' of frankenseed to combat 'hunger.' But it's just a sham and a ploy to control, and profit enormously, monoipolistically on the food supply of the world...

Diversity is a biological and evolutionary necessity.

Unless people believe that evolution has stopped and, having achieved the peak of perfection, humans now have the knowledge, wisdom, foresight, restraint, and sense to MANAGE it?

Leaving me with at least one BIG question: Who does "nonnyMouse" work for?

Leave the fucking food chain alone, Monsanto, ADM, ConAgra...
Pollens from different corn stocks can intermingle, and produce mutant varieties, which is the way evolution works: But you can plant fish in the roots of corn-stalks for 100 generations and you will NEVER find a corn kernel that possesses a fish-gene, never ever everever....

Sunday, March 22, 2009

First in buses, later with tumbrels?

Some enterprising soul is organizing bus tours from urban NYC, and other NE locales through the exclusive, affluent exurbs in Connecticut, pausing to observe the spacious, 5,000-sq-ft "colonials" nestled into multi-acre, manicured estates, some with stables and grazing equines.
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – A busload of activists representing working- and middle-class families paid visits Saturday to the lavish homes of American International Group executives to protest the tens of millions of dollars in bonuses awarded by the struggling insurance company after it received a massive federal bailout.

About 40 protesters sought to urge AIG executives who received a portion of the $165 million in bonuses to do more to help families.

"We think $165 million could be used in a more appropriate way to keep people in their homes, create more jobs and health care," said Emeline Bravo-Blackport, a gardener.

She marveled at AIG executive James Haas' colonial house, which has stunning views of a golf course and the Long Island Sound. The Fairfield house is "another part of the world" from her life in nearby Bridgeport, which flirted with bankruptcy in the 1990s and still struggles with foreclosures and unemployment."

"Lord, I wonder what it's like to live in a house that size," she said.

Another protester, Claire Jeffery, of Bloomfield, said she's on the verge of foreclosure. She works as a housekeeper; her husband, a truck driver, can't find work.

"I love my home," she said. "I really want people to help us."
One wonders how much longer before the community spirit of exurban cConnecticut rallies to arrange regulations to prohibit such civic-minded entrepeneurship.

In previous crises, the rich learned by hard measures not to flaunt their wealth; a lesson yet to be apprehended by our leading lights, apparently.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

If I Wanted To Un-Do "Government Of, For, & By The People"

I'd makes sure a (seemingly) populist candidate--maybe a woman or a 'minority'--were ensconced at the helm of the ship of state when the "perfect" storm was coming: multiple international wars of aggression, domestic economic distress, planetary climate disaster, massive social upheaval, unprecedented unemployment, failed health care debacles, metastacizing energy crises, insoluble immigration conflicts, and unending border wars.

I'd make sure that that the new 'leader' had campaigned on a 'vision of change." Had promised to 'fundamentally transform" the system. Had touched and tapped all the hot, progressive issues.

I'd make sure s/he won with a smallish mandate, big enough to appear convincing, but still small enough to ensure paralysis. I'd be sure that the new 'leader' had a plausible (albeit worthless) "majority" in Congress, the "appearance" of power, without its perqs.

I'd make sure that his opposition was still basically in tact, and in charge of the agenda, and that the press was still TOOTHLESS corporate stooges and stenographers for the special interests, the captive lapdogs of the status quo; but that they'd use the new guy to demonstrate their independence.

I'd use that 'press' to (illegitimately) assign blame for the crises with the New Guy, on the principle that the 'corporate memory' of the electorate was about as long and attentive as a butterfly in a fruit-tree.

And I'd make sure the array of crucial, vital, civilization-threatening problems was both overwhelming and endless.

And then I'd sit back and wait.

Four years aren't that long, and at the end the fascists will again be in power, and such progressives as still remain will be thoroughly discredited by the failures of the regime to "fix" the problems.

Mission: Accomplished!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Welllllll, This CAN"T be Good News....

Amid his (necessary and needful) excoriations of the Israeli State and the IDF for their war-crimes in the recent 'unpleasantnesses' in Gaza, and his hortatory examination of Eric Holder's apparent reluctance to prosecute, or even investigate former Busheviks for their war-crimes, and his concordance with Paul Krugman's assessment of the Obamistas' abysmal handling of the AIG fiasco (among other economic bobbles and drops), the other day Harpers' ubiquitous critic and raconteur Scott Horton reminded us just how bad the global economic situation has become:
Global Collapse in Manufacturing

More seriously bad news. The New York Times reports that around the globe, manufacturing is in a freefall:
That manufacturing is in decline is hardly surprising, but the depth and speed of the plunge are striking and, most worrisome for economists, a self-reinforcing trend not unlike the cascading bust that led to the Great Depression. In Europe, for example, where manufacturing accounts for nearly a fifth of gross domestic product, industrial production is down 12 percent from a year ago. In Brazil, it has fallen 15 percent; in Taiwan, a staggering 43 percent. Even in China, which has become the workshop of the world, production growth has slowed, with exports falling more than 25 percent and millions of factory workers being laid off.

In the United States, until recently a relative bright spot for manufacturing despite the steady erosion of blue-collar jobs, industrial output fell 11 percent in February from a year ago, according to statistics released Monday by the Federal Reserve. “Manufacturing has fallen off the cliff, and it’s certainly the biggest decline since the Second World War,” said Dirk Schumacher, senior European economist with Goldman Sachs in Frankfurt.

The pattern of manufacturing and trade ominously recalls how the financial crisis of 1929 grew into the Great Depression: tightening credit and consumer fear reduced demand for manufactured goods in one country after another, creating a downward spiral that reduced global trade.
Time this afternoon for a depression cocktail.
I'll drink to that...

A Hidden System

Treatment of people that is so obnoxious and so toxic to humane values that it must hide in the darkness. David Niewert, on C&L, hung the vid and elaborated the case this morning. The system is disgraceful, but "immigration" is the new 'third-rail.' Our "legal" system permits terrible injustices upon "law-breakers," no matter the scale of the crime...


Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Wages of Sin? Making "The "F-List," Chingaso!

When I was working on my doctorate, I was accorded the (de facto) status of "consulting American" for many of the international students as they struggled to come to grips with "america," along with the mysteries of English and the arcana of our shared studies in "Curriculum Theory." I had the reputation in the department as an internationalist--who was interested in and conversant about world affairs--and a relativist. I was always flattered when another student, usually African, Asian, or Indian, would seek me out in my office to ask advice or just to air their ideas.

I always enjoyed it, primarily because it afforded me an opportunity to rgard my own 'social' situation from perspectives that were occasionally discordant with my own, but also were antagonistic to what they were perceiving.

I mention this as prologue to what follows not because I or anyone I know or have ever known was on the list of Forbes' 225 Greatest Fortunes--no, there was a Saudi princeling named Ali, and a woman who was related to the Thai royal family. But I do think it behooves to regard what we 'strangify' those things to which we have become the most complacent.

Like "wealth."
(shamelessly cadged from Watching America):
Forbes’ Affront
By Ernesto Lopez Portillo
(Translated By Brandon Brewer)
13 March 2009
Edited by Katy Burtner

Mexico - El Universal - Original Article (Spanish)

When we look at the Forbes billionaire list, it inevitably reminds us of the world in which we live. The 225 greatest fortunes amount to almost half of the world population's income.

The Gross National Product (GNP) of the 41 poorest and most indebted countries, comprising 567 million citizens, is less than the total possessions of the seven richest people in the world.

The personal assets of the 15 most wealthy individuals is greater than the GNP of all the Sub-Saharan nations combined. The money spent every year on cologne, perfume and cosmetic products in the U.S. is equal to half of the economic aid sent to developing countries. A board director in the United States earns 400 times the salary of the average worker. This is the outcome of voracious capitalism.

The root of all immorality lies in this inequality that makes social justice the biggest myth of modernity.

But startling us with the economic and social asymmetry of the globe was not sufficient for Forbes; it now informs us that one may also access the billionaire club via illegal means. Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, a judged and convicted criminal, who is perhaps the icon of organized crime in Mexico, is a recent addition among the elite of the famous magazine.

Here is how Guzmán met the criteria to be considered for the list: Mexicans and Colombians laundered between 18 and 39 billion dollars in 2008, money obtained from the wholesale of drugs shipped to the U.S. El Chapo Guzmán probably earned 30-50 percent of these profits, which would be enough for him to pocket billions of dollars during his criminal career and, in turn, secure a place on the list.

This causes me to react in two very different ways. On one side, I see it as a grotesque offense. The symbolic importance of including a criminal in the most prestigious list of the wealthy is enormous.

The implicit message could be the following: economic power is amassed through legal or illegal means, and, in any case, if you accumulate enough then you have a spot reserved in our little club. Whether Forbes even questioned the validity of the calculations of Guzmán's fortune is beside the point - suspicion is obligatory when it comes to organized crime. They made a profoundly cynical decision upon putting aside all ethic considerations relevant to the source of his earnings.

Luisa Kroll, editor of the publication, explained that the decision was based on the individual's success rather than taking into account his sinister persona. Forbes, then, is saying to the world that the success obtained by amassing a fortune is one thing while the manner in which one does so is another. For a global audience of incalculable dimensions, the message could not have been clearer: even wealth built over rivers of blood is justified among the elite.

The other reaction is a very different one: Forbes did nothing but recognize a fact. In this world, organized crime has free rein and operates with increasingly greater economic, social and political power. It's about the inclusion of a major-league drug dealer who travels the world after having escaped a maximum security Mexican prison.

From this perspective, the magazine jolts us with another indisputable reality: organized crime challenges the state, occasionally defeating it, and also amasses personal fortunes equal to the world's richest. It is not difficult to understand: both legal and illegal markets produce millionaires.

In Mexico, the news hits hard at the worst of times. I can imagine the anger and pain of those who, having witnessed first hand the brutal force of this character, now see him sharing the fame with the world's most successful businessmen. Think of those who have given or risked their lives to investigate and hunt down the networks that depend on Mr. Guzmán. No one deserves this. Forbes’ billionaire list is a disgraceful and unnecessary affront.
The author is this hombre:

Object lesson in the nature of capital formation, nest paw? And you already KNOW it's the 'dirty fucking hippie potheads' who are going to be blamed for ALL the violence and the bloodshed at the Border...

NATO's Top US General Says "Just Kill Afghan Drug Producers!"

According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, top NATO commander John Craddock wants the alliance to kill opium dealers, without proof of connection to the insurgency. Some NATO commanders--especially the Germans--however, do not want to follow the order.
A dispute has emerged among NATO High Command in Afghanistan regarding the conditions under which alliance troops can use deadly violence against those identified as insurgents. In a classified document, which SPIEGEL has obtained, NATO's top commander, US General John Craddock, has issued a "guidance" providing NATO troops with the authority "to attack directly drug producers and facilities throughout Afghanistan."

According to the document, deadly force is to be used even in those cases where there is no proof that suspects are actively engaged in the armed resistance against the Afghanistan government or against Western troops. It is "no longer necessary to produce intelligence or other evidence that each particular drug trafficker or narcotics facility in Afghanistan meets the criteria of being a military objective," Craddock writes.

The NATO commander has long been frustrated by the reluctance of some NATO member states -- particularly Germany -- to take aggressive action against those involved in the drug trade. Craddock rationalizes his directive by writing that the alliance "has decided that (drug traffickers and narcotics facilities) are inextricably linked to the Opposing Military Forces, and thus may be attacked." In the document, Craddock writes that the directive is the result of an October 2008 meeting of NATO defense ministers in which it was agreed that NATO soldiers in Afghanistan may attack opium traffickers.
Hey, if they're dead, they're insurgents...

Guess Who?

Via Jon Schwarz's A Tiny Revolution. Bradley Burston of Haaretz explains:
A vast war machine pretending to be a tiny country, a mobilized citizenry sterilized of morality, drained of compassion, bereft of conscience, bestial in war, imperial in ambition, Goliathized in its marriage of high tech and high explosive; incorrigibly bigoted bullying simpletons, little more than racists who vote for racists, fascists who fall for fascists, an embarrassment to the West, an embarrassment to...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

"There's No Such Thing As An "Outside" Joke."

On the CJR blog, Megan Garber struggles masterfully to unpack an internet pun which has the hackles of the PRChinese censors (aka "moderators?") rising. It concerns the permutations of meaning that may be made from the combination of Chinese (Mandarin? Guongjong?) syllables that literally translate into English as “grass-mud horse”. Ms Garber exhausts a good 500-600 words explicating the tittilation therewith aroused in the layers of RChinese officialdom. To which there's a predictably very 'profane' (i.e., insulting) denoument.

I guess everybody knows that, in Chinese, inflection is the most important part of the semantic system. But the whole exercise led me (back) to one of my "dichos" (Scroll down along the right-hand margin) quoted in the Hed above. It got me thinking, anecdotally:
Puns are demonstrations of fluency.

Puns usually suffer in translation.

There's no such thing as an 'outside' joke.

Posted by woody on Mon 16 Mar 2009 at 07:52 PM

my favorite clean pun:
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

Can it be 'translated' in a way that makes one both laugh and think, simultaneously? Can there b e a 'literal translation' of a pun that retains the thing for which we appreciate puns, to the (greater or lesser) extent that we do: the anarchy of it??
Any ideas? This is something that interests me considerably. I used to know somebody with whom I could discuss it, but she's gone. So feed me back, sil vous plais?

Some Scary Shit: USer, Mexican Militaries Seek Rapprochement For Drug War

Via Truthout, from McClatchy:
Obama's Open to Military Help for Mexico, Experts Urge Caution

Marisa Taylor And Nancy Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers: "As the Pentagon eyes a bigger role in Mexico's drug war, the military's efforts to open the door to a new relationship with its southern neighbor risks alienating the Mexican military, which has long had a strained relationship with its counterpart, experts said. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has called for improved relations with the Mexican military in response to escalating drug violence along the Mexican border and in Mexico."
This strikes me as a very bad idea, for a LOT of reasons. Firstly, there's the framing of the crisis as being primarily about drugs. It's not. It's about drugs and guns. Drugs going north, guns going south. In deference, i suppose, to the Second Amendment freaks, the drugs for guns relation doesn't get that much attention. But it is a crucial part of the dynamic. SoCal columnist Reuben Navarette describes it thusly:
Meanwhile, along the Mexican border, much has changed since the days of Pancho Villa. Today, the outlaws don't have to steal machine guns and ammunition. They pay cash. And they find plenty of Americans eager to sell them all the AK-47 s, grenade launchers, shotguns, 9 mm handguns, and bullets the narcos can haul back to Mexico by the truckload. According to The Dallas Morning News, one of the must-have items for the cartels is a Belgian-made handgun known in Mexico as mata policias - cop killer - because the bullets penetrate the body armor worn by law enforcement officers.

Or maybe the drug dealers use "straw" purchases where U.S. citizens can earn $100 per transaction to act as proxies by procuring weapons for the traffickers. But gee, that sort of thing is illegal, say the gun lovers I've been hearing from who want to downplay the role that U.S. weapons are playing in the Mexican drug war.

Illegal? You don't say. These are drug dealers! Get serious. Every aspect of their industry is illegal.
It should be noted that, by comparison with USer drones dropping munitions upon unsuspecting indigenes in Afghanistan, the Mexican drug killers, who are usually pretty careful only to kill-off soldiers of opposing groups, have a somewhat "better" record on collateral damage than does the USer military where it operates.

The gangs' numbers have swollen because of NAFTA, which mostly ended subsistence farming in Mexico, and stimulated the opening of 'maquilladoras,' along the border, which drew thousands of displaced former campesinos northward to the border. Once there, of course, the promise of jobs proved illusory, and many were recruited as soldiers in the cartel 'militias.' And many have died...

NM Senate Considers Bill Permitting Creationist Crap In Science Classrooms

New Mexicans For Science And Reason has been watching since the session began almost two months ago. Their report:
NM Creationist Bill Has a Sponsor...

OriginsEducation.org, the new Intelligent Design Creationist website for supporting anti-science legislation in New Mexico, reports that "NM Origins Bill to Get New Sponsor State Senator Steve Komadina helped get the NM Biological Origins Education Bill started, and then he sponsored it in the NM Senate in 2007. Unfortunately, he will not be able to sponsor the bill again because he was not reelected, but we really appreciate his initiative. Senator Kent Cravens has agreed to sponsor the bill in the 2009 session. Let's support him in getting this legislation through the Senate. ..."

Source: http://www.originseducation.org/news.htm

Who wrote the legislation? Would you believe... the Discovery Institute? (Shocked! Shocked, I say...) Check out the Institute's "Academic Freedom" site : http://www.academicfreedompetition.com/freedom.php (A simple WHOIS inquiry will verify that this is from the Disco Institute...)

This page offers a "sample academic freedom bill." From that model legislation:"Section 5. Students may be evaluated based upon their understanding of course materials, but no student in any public school or institution of higher education shall be penalized in any way because he or she may subscribe to a particular position on any views regarding biological or chemical evolution...."

Compare this to this sentence from the proposed NM bill: " C. Public school teachers may hold students accountable for knowing and understanding material taught in accordance with adopted standards and curricula about biological evolution or chemical evolution, but they may not penalize a student in any way because that student subscribes to a particular position on biological evolution or chemical evolution...."

A little subtle, but I could swear I see a wisp of smoke emanating from the barrel of a Colt revolver...

Source: http://www.originseducation.org/docs/NM_Origins_Education_Bill_2009.pdf
Here's the money graf:

A. The New Mexico Public Education Department, school district governing authorities, and school district administrators may not prohibit any teacher, when biological evolution or chemical evolution is being taught in accordance with adopted standards and curricula, from informing students about relevant scientific information regarding either the scientific strengths or scientific weaknesses pertaining to biological evolution or chemical evolution. A teacher who chooses to provide such information shall be protected from reassignment, termination, discipline or other discrimination for doing so.
Followed by the necessary, mendacious 'disclaimer': B. This section pertains solely to the teaching of scientific information and specifically does not protect the promotion of any religion, religious doctrine, or religious belief.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Future Is...REBRANDING!!!

Yesterday Obama announced that the "new order" in DC will no longer use the term "enemy combatant," and around the blogosphere there was considerable swooning and joy.

Unfortunately, this announcement had no impact on the actual practices surrounding what had been the process of holding on to those formerly so-named.
The Obama administration on Friday said it was abandoning the use in court proceedings of the Bush administration's term "enemy combatant" as it argues for the continued detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, symbolically separating itself from Bush detention policies.
Sounds good, separating from the Busheviks on this highly contentious matter.

Unfortunately (there's that word again; it seems to come up a LOT in discussing Obamista 'reforms'), this was mainly a semantic alteration, rather than a change in policy, as the NYTimes pointed out later in the same piece:
But in a much anticipated court filing, the Justice Department argued that the president has the authority to detain terrorism suspects there without criminal charges, much as the Bush administration had asserted. It provided a broad definition of those who can be held, which was not significantly different from the one used by the Bush administration.

The filing signaled that, as long as Guantánamo remains open, the new administration will aggressively defend its ability to hold some detainees there.

“The president has the authority to detain persons” who planned or aided the 2001 terrorist attacks as well as those “who were part of, or substantially supported, Taliban or Al Qaeda forces,” administration lawyers wrote.
SO they're not going to be called 'enemy combatants," but whatever they're called, they're still subject to indefinite detention without charge.

I said at the time, and I continue to repeat at every opportunity: No President other than Washington has ever ceded back to the State powers they arrogated for the exigent emergency. Obama will be no exception.

This has relevance to Obama's other main pledge regarding ending the occupation of Iraq, and withdrawing "combat" troops. This could have proved difficult without the semantic sleight-of-hand made possible by rebranding the prisoners we now hold illegally. They went to Iraq as "combat troops," but they'll stay there as "force protection, training and anti-insurgent" forces.

Anybody who actually thought anything in international policy, at any rate, was going to change with the new regime fundamentally misunderstands the synonymy of the two 'parties' in regard to USer "security" and international 'force projection.'

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ladeez AND Gennemuns, The Price of (De Facto) Segregation Just Went UP!

From the North Side Sun, covering Northeast Jackson, Madison, and Madison Mississippi:
Operating Costs Cited
Most schools plan tuition increases
By Anthony Warren
Sun Staff Writer
Posted: 03/12/09 - 01:39:14 pm CDT

NORTHSIDERS will have to shell out more cash to keep their kids in private school. To meet the needs of ever-increasing operating costs and a desire to keep teachers’ salaries competitive with their public school counterparts, many private schools are raising their fees and tuition for the 2009-10 school year.

Although no one argues that the tuition hikes are needed, private school officials have been faced with the dual challenges of making sure the increase will meet budgetary needs while keeping prices affordable to families affected by the current recession.

In a letter dated February 2, First Presbyterian Day School Head of School Gary Herring said that, because of the economy, “the school board unanimously passed a plan which provides for no increase in fees or tuition” for next year.

The school’s Web site states that tuition for the 2008-09 school year was $4,400 for one elementary student, $8,800 for two, $13,200 for three, and $17,600 for four. For students entering kindergarten the cost was $3,750.

Also according to First Presbyterian’s Web site, the activity and supply fee for each student is $300.
I eagerly await the time when the current economic collapse makes it impossible for Whites in the south (or anywhere, really) any longer to afford segregation their bigotry...

If the folks who sent their kids to 'private' (i.e., segregated) schools had to send their kids to public schools, the quality of the latter wuold improve overnight.

Of course, in that event, there is now an extensive and socially valorized network espousing and validating home schooling.

The reason public schools don't "work" (although they do, actually, at what they're really designed to do: think wholesale warehousing of excess commodities) is that they are funded to do only the absolute least for poor peoples' kids that well-to-do people can get away/live with. I know this from having sat in at legislative school finance committees in three "poor" states" Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.

And of course, the people who persist in sending their kids to private schools are mounting more and larger legislative initiatives to grant tax relief to private schoolers, there FURTHER impoverishing the public school system.

I am a fierce critic if USer "schooling." I draw much of my critique from reading and reflecting upon Freire, Giroux, Kohl, Kohn, Kozol, and others. Structurally and pedagogically its flaws are obvious to even the marginally well-informed observer. Its aims are restrictive and regressive, its structures are panopticly penal, and its outcomes--mainly, the alienation of the "students" from her/his own intellectual means of production)--are predictable.

But I always hesitate to agree with the folks who, seeing the corruption of the intention of public schooling by class interests intent on maintaining their privilege, call for its abolition. This is because I know as surely as the sun will "rise" tomorrow, no other institution capable of the emancipatory mission of the schools (no matter how badly betrayed) will ever be permitted to arise to replace the democratic structures and ideals that that the principle of public education embodies.

Just like there will never be another Glass-Steagal act, or another Fairness Doctrine. Just like the USofA will never NOT torture enemy combatants. The conditions of possibility for the initiation of such programs or laws no longer exist. There's no regaining virginity lost...

If there's a silver lining, it may be that there may soon be available some pretty nice campuses into which the public schools might expand, those belongong to private schools whose former parent group have gone broke protecting their kids from diversity...

Have You Seen These Anti-Wal-Mart Ads?

I'm old and single and poor, so I watch a fair amount of TV. But I do NOT recall having seen any of these ads on my local channels, or even on cable. They're pretty devastating, and I reckon that the local SCUM would be particularly susceptible to strong-arming from Wal-Mart.

There are more of these at atYouTube. Spread the news...

Btw: I have not entered a Walton-owned 'business' in 20 years, and if I can help it, I never shall, again.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Goin' To Santa Fe

Taking the RailRunner! (The photo above captured the train near Cerrillos, NM.--about 10 miles south of Santa Fe. The mountains visible in the background are the Sangre de Cristo range; the little hill in the foreground gives the locale it's name--Cerrillos = Little hills).


$7, all day, all zones, between Belen and Santa Fe.

The best bargain in the State...

Lunch and margaritas at Tomasita's...Drinks later a the Bull Ring, or mebbe Jimmy's Tiny's...(Sadly, after too many years to count--close to 40, I reckon--The Green Onion has closed! Que triste! Muchas lagrimas!)

This is it for posting today.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Is "The Pope Of Hope" Abetting the Kleptocrats To Rob Us Blind?

Well, if not the "Pope" himself, at least the financial "College of Cardinals" (Geithner, Summers, Rubin, et al.).

So says David Sirota, on OpenLeft just a while ago, who shared this lovely bit:
Your Taxpayer Dollars at Work:
TARP Money Becomes Pro-TARP Campaign Cash
by: David Sirota
Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 15:00

The Sunday Denver Post and Roll Call both tell us that the financial industry is converting a portion of our taxpayer bailouts into massive campaign contributions to key lawmakers - and those lawmakers are refusing to reject the money on behalf of taxpayers:
Bailout Firms Pay Big to D.C.

After the biggest federal bailouts in U.S. history, top Washington lawmakers are largely unwilling to say whether they will continue to accept campaign contributions from some of their biggest donors: political action committees and employees of institutions that received the money.

"On a basic level, people see executives' salaries being paid in part by the government bailout and the executives are taking out that money and giving it back to legislators that made it available to them in the first place. It's not going to look good," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which analyzed last year's contributions to Congress.

The top Democratic and Republican leaders refused to answer questions about whether they would take contributions from PACs, employees and executives of companies that received funds from the TARP.
In a way, this is nothing new - corporations have been taking taxpayer cash in the form of government contracts and then taken a portion of those contracts and given them back to politicians in the form of campaign contributions...which then keeps the contracts - and the campaign contributions - flowing.

The only difference is that when a government contract is awarded, the government is (theoretically) provided a service or a good. In the case of the bailout, the government is just giving the banks the money. In that way, the campaign contributions from bailed out banks are the highest-yield investment possible - the campaign contributions buy votes for a bailout, and the bailout recipients don't even have to provide a good or a service in return.

Meanwhile, both parties in D.C. both echo a "nothing to see here...move along" message, agreeing not to talk about the whole rip-off scheme when asked by the media.

Kleptocracy - it's just that simple.
Simple, yep. Except that the Pope of Hope has said he's four-square for transitional change.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Re: Paul Harvey, An Unapologetically "Ugly American"

Last week, upon hearing of the demise of Paul Harvey, the iconic righty/conservotard asshole broadcaster who expired on Feb 28, at the age of 90, I posted and distributed elsewhere an "obit" which some readers called 'ungenerous' and 'mean' (among the politer terms).

In it I exorcised my long-time and deep distaste (ok, loathing) for the man who was the 'prototype' of and inspiration for right-wing radio as it has metastasized into Rush, Hannity, O'Reilly, "Savage"/Weiner, "Dr." Laura, et al. Folks full of memories of riding to school in the car with their parents' listening to "The Rest Of The Story"--and therefore, almost by definition, too young and naive to tumble to Harvey's surreptitious, but none-the-less triumphalist fascism--reproved me for being impolite, uncivil, and too disrespectful of the dead when I proclaimed that death hadn't come a moment too soon to the chipmunk-eager, sharp-voiced, and frequently if not always mendacious pundit/proselytizer of Murkin Exceptionalism.

Then, this morning, whilst listening to FAIR's Counterspin, the hosts--who apparently had also been rebuked for being insufficiently honorific on the event of the slimy, sneaky little fascist fuck's expiration, referred to the following incident, back in 2005, when Harvey used his radio time to extol the all-American virtues of "slavery, genocide, biological warfare, and nuclear destruction" in the construction and maintenance of the Murkin nation. Here is a link to the media watchdog group FAIR's report on the screed at the time (July, 2005). Here's how they reported it:
Harvey's commentary began by lamenting the decline of American wartime aggression. "We're standing there dying, daring to do nothing decisive because we've declared ourselves to be better than our terrorist enemies--more moral, more civilized," he said. Drawing a contrast with what he cast as the praiseworthy nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II--a war which he conveniently avoided by being bat-shit crazy and collecting a Section 8 discharge--Harvey lamented that "we sent men with rifles into Afghanistan and Iraq and kept our best weapons in their silos"--suggesting that America should have used its nuclear arsenal in its invasions of both countries. Harvey concluded:
We didn't come this far because we're made of sugar candy. Once upon a time, we elbowed our way onto and across this continent by giving smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans. That was biological warfare. And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever.

And we grew prosperous. And yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves. So it goes with most great nation-states, which--feeling guilty about their savage pasts--eventually civilize themselves out of business and wind up invaded and ultimately dominated by the lean, hungry up-and-coming who are not made of sugar candy.
Harvey's evident approval of slavery, genocide and nuclear and biological warfare would seem to put him at odds with Disney's family-friendly image. (Disney, Inc.) syndicates Harvey to more than 1,000 radio stations, where he reaches an estimated 18 million listeners. Disney recently signed a 10-year, $100 million contract with the 86-year-old Harvey.
This was not the firsst, nor the last time Harvey's rhetorical excesses marked him as a fool and a tool. He also railed against the people of New Orleans for their "inability" to rebuild speedily after Katrina, attributing it to their racial character.

So, no, I don't spologize for my characterization of him or for my glee at his past-timely passing. And the image of his corpse slowly dissolving to ooze is one in which I find some satisfaction. Eat shit and die, bubba. Good riddance!