American Samizdat

Sunday, November 30, 2008. *
November 30, 2008
By Louis Porter Vermont Press Bureau


Few people in Vermont remember Dr. Robert W. Hyde, but one of his former patients can’t forget him. The doctor was involved in one of the nation’s darkest chapters in medical science: In the 1950s, Hyde conducted drug and psychological experiments at a Boston hospital through funding that apparently originated with the CIA. Later, he became director of research at the Vermont State Hospital.

The patient, Karen Wetmore, is convinced that Hyde and other researchers subjected her and possibly other patients to experiments paid for by the CIA at the Waterbury facility.

In addition to her claim, new evidence, though incomplete, suggests that such tests might have been conducted at the Vermont State Hospital.

Several books and numerous newspaper accounts have detailed how techniques developed through testing, including on mental health patients at hospitals in other parts of the country, are related to the interrogation methods used in Guantanamo and other locations in the war on terror. These well-known and well-documented drug experiments began in secret after the Korean War and were sponsored by the U.S. government.

News accounts and histories of the experiments have not mentioned the Vermont State Hospital, but a congressional committee concluded that dozens of institutions, some of which have never been identified, were involved in secret experiments for the CIA.


on a more recent note:


Marjorie Cohn: Guantanamo Bay and Interrogation Rules


Monsters then and monsters still...

But Obomba, looks set to give these fucks a pass, just like Ford did Richard Milhous Nixon.
posted by Uncle $cam at 5:29 PM
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More Sunday fun with Jesus and Mo'. Guaranteed to get you killed and/or imprisoned in most countries. And one more:



posted by Philip Shropshire at 2:39 AM
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(I posted this on a number of group blogs. I got the most response, though somewhat hostile, over at the Daily Kos. I got more supportive feedback at the Booman Tribune, where I also argued we should recruit someone like Tom Morello to take a shot at the Illinois Senate Seat for 2010. (By the way, "viable" means he has to raise at least 2 million dollars by the end of 2009.) I haven't posted it earlier because we were getting other contributors besides myself and Uncle Scam and I wanted to let their lights shine for a day or two...)

Re: Lieberman Or Why We Need A "Viable" 3rd Party

by pshropshire
Tue Nov 18th, 2008 at 08:39:45 PM EST

Edit My Story...

I read with some interest the mean things that Markos said about Ralph Nader, arguably the greatest journalist who has ever lived. I voted for Barack Obama but with eyes wide open. I think he'll be better and more sensible than the Republicans in power. But we really need to take a deeper look at our loyalty to the democratic party and the democratic party only if we're really serious about things like the rule of law applying to everyone or even getting out of wars that would be more honestly defined as crimes. In short: if you really want to put the fear of god into Democrats, then you need to start supporting third party candidates. This crazy idea that we just keep giving them more money no matter how horribly they treat us simply isn't beginning to fly anymore.

First, we need to take an honest look at the questions of electing democrats versus progressive policy. It's clear that if you look at the last several years we've been successful at electing democrats. It's also very clear that we've failed miserably to enact progressive laws, get our people into offices that matter and in some cases we've even failed to ensure some fairly common sense conservative rules that we believe in like: the rule of law applies to everyone or shouldn't democrats support the party's nominee? Crazy ideas like that. So we might have a situation where Howard Dean has no role in the current administration but Joe Lieberman does! This is why we work hard for Democrats? I would hope not.

Two, why does the DNC establishment continuously fuck us over? Glenn Greenwald outlines the reality of our situation.

It is worth remembering that the Democrats who are going to exert dominant political control are the same ones who have provoked so much scorn -- rightfully so -- over the last several years, and particularly since 2006. This is the same Democratic Party leadership which funded the Iraq War without conditions (and voted to authorize it in the first place); massively expanded the President's warrantless eavesdropping powers; immunized lawbreaking telecoms; enacted the Patriot Act and then renewed it with virtually no changes; didn't even bother to mount a filibuster to stop the Military Commissions Act; refrained from pursuing any meaningful investigations of Bush lawbreaking; confirmed every last extremist Bush nominee, from Michael McConnell to Michael Mukasey; acquiesced to even the worst and most lawless Bush policies when they were briefed on them; and on and on and on. None of that has changed. That is still who they are.

Joe Lieberman didn't merely campaign against Barack Obama and several other Democrats. That's the least of his sins. He was not only among the most vocal supporters of the Iraq War, but at least as bad, has endorsed and supported every last radical Bush policy to expand executive power and surveillance activities while destroying core constitutional liberties and checks and balances. He used his Chairmanship for only one purpose: to block oversight into Bush scandals and corruption. He has spouted the most defamatory attacks, not only against Barack Obama, but against war opponents generally. More significantly still, Democrats in his own state -- his own constituents -- booted him out of the party, no longer wanting to be represented by him.

Remember the arrogance of that Obama turnaround on FISA? Well, the answer is, under the current Daily Kos construction, we have no where else to turn. What else can we do? "Where else can you dirty fucking internet beatnik hippies go? Just give me some more money and shut the fuck up," Obama might as well have said. He'll probably say something like that a lot during the next four years. Obama will probably do things that any sensible person would never equate with real "change".

Here are the Markos rules as far as I can figure them out: We support the democrats no matter what they do. We don't support Republicans, which I think is smart because they're an evil party (there shouldn't be a party that represents private interests against the greater good at every fucking turn)but we also don't support third party candidates who would better represent us. Further, we won't expend any energy into building viable third party candidates and/or well funded well organized third party runs. Now, to me, those last two facts, the reality that we don't support third party candidates or will work to build a viable third party infrastructure, doom us to irrelevance. This is why we lose. I might stress that this is also why we will continue to lose. They simply don't fear us. Finally, this Markos construction is a boon to the Republicans. I can very easily see a scenario where the republicans stop all meaningful reform/stimulus over the next two years, declare all dem efforts "fails" and make big gains in 2010.

Three: What is a viable third party run?You don't need a 50 state plan, at least initially, to prove our point to the democrats. You really need to focus on what I've been calling my 5/25 plan. You need to fund 25 house races and 5 senate races. You need at least 1 million dollars to compete for a house seat and at least 2 million to compete, realistically and viably for a senate seat. Now, this is where the expertise of the Kos community could come in handy. What 25 house seats would you pick to make your point? I frankly think they should run "Lieberman" style. Run them in the primary first and even if they lose run them in the general. We already have two senate opportunities in Delaware and Illinois for 2010. Tom Morello has openly talked about dipping his toe into the political waters in Illinois. I actually wouldn't mind Ralph Nader as a Delaware senator because I think he would use the fillibuster. The truth of the matter is that five senators that use the old fashioned Jimmy Stewart fillibuster could change congress. Just once, I'd like to see a senator as supportive of child healthcare as they are for wall street bailouts. I'd love to see a senator talk about that over a several day fillibuster as well. (You would need a stubborn asshole to do that...Nader looks right to me...)

Finally, if you like being disappointed by the dems, then don't keep your third party options option. Just keep giving them money and clap harder. I might note that both David Sirota and Glenn Greenwald have organizations in place that could start searching for and funding viable third party runs and candidates. It's clear that's what they're thinking. Feel free to steal my 5/25 plan and start real change. That would make the dems take notice. Primary challenges aren't going to do it. Most of these guys look at "public service" as an audition for "K Street" anyway...Time to try some new ideas.

Go watch The Acid Jazz Channel.



Poll
We Should Put Pressure on the Dems by:
. Giving them money no matter how often they betray us on core issues. 0%
. Vote Republican because we should cut our noses to spite our faces or vice versa. 33%
. Support viable well funded third party candidates to show that we have options too. 66%
. Clap Harder! 0%

Votes: 3
Results | Other Polls

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posted by Philip Shropshire at 2:24 AM
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I actually think this Portishead tune "Threads" is the winner but judge for yourselves...

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posted by Philip Shropshire at 2:12 AM
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Friday, November 28, 2008. *
Adam Curtis kick
1995
The long sought after 1995 three parter has been notable by its absence from the web.

On the Desperate Edge of Now- This episode examined how the various national memories of the Second World War were effectively rewritten and manipulated in the Cold War period. For Germany, this began at the Nuremberg Trials, where attempts were made to prevent the Nazis in the dock—principally Hermann Göring—from offering any rational argument for what they had done. Subsequently, however, bringing lower-ranking Nazis to justice was effectively forgotten about in the interests of maintaining West Germany as an ally in the Cold War. For the Allied countries, faced with a new enemy in the Soviet Union, there was a need to portray WW2 as a crusade of pure good against pure evil, even if this meant denying the memories of the Allied soldiers who had actually done the fighting, and knew it to have been far more complex. A number of American veterans, including the writer Kurt Vonnegut, told how years later they found themselves plagued with the previously-suppressed memories of the brutal things they had seen and done. The title comes from a veteran's description of what the uncertainty of survival while combat is like.

Part One:


Enjoy, download, share, torrent before some killjoy comes along.


Also see, 1992
Pandora’s Box: A Fable From The Age Of Science
Pandora’s Box, subtitled A fable from the age of science, is a six part 1992 BBC documentary television series written and produced by Adam Curtis, which examines the consequences of political and technocratic rationalism. Curtis’ later series The Century of the Self and The Trap had similar themes. The title sequence made extensive use of clips from the short film Design for Dreaming, as well as other similar archive footage.

Just as, 'the power of nightmares' and 'the century of the self', you wont be seeing this on tv folks...
posted by Uncle $cam at 9:11 PM
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Thursday, November 27, 2008. *
Get the latest news satire and funny videos at 236.com.

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posted by Philip Shropshire at 11:52 PM
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008. *
Almost everything is being put into place whilst America sleeps on... Post election is going to be a white knuckle ride for people who still cherish inherent rights and freedom. The system is being put in place to begin targeting dissenters, Constitution enthusiasts and whomever the state deems an "enemy combatant. Their target is definitely blogs and sites that promote information contrary to the agenda of the Fourth Reich and resistance to it. Read here: Software Developed to Monitor Opinions or in it's entirety below.
The Camps, the "Law" and Now the Targeting System
Software Being Developed to Monitor Opinions of U.S.

By ERIC LIPTON

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 — A consortium of major universities, using Homeland Security Department money, is developing software that would let the government monitor negative opinions of the United States or its leaders in newspapers and other publications overseas.

Such a “sentiment analysis” is intended to identify potential threats to the nation, security officials said.

Researchers at institutions including Cornell, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Utah intend to test the system on hundreds of articles published in 2001 and 2002 on topics like President Bush’s use of the term “axis of evil,” the handling of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, the debate over global warming and the coup attempt against President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela.

A $2.4 million grant will finance the research over three years.

American officials have long relied on newspapers and other news sources to track events and opinions here and abroad, a goal that has included the routine translation of articles from many foreign publications and news services.

The new software would allow much more rapid and comprehensive monitoring of the global news media, as the Homeland Security Department and, perhaps, intelligence agencies look “to identify common patterns from numerous sources of information which might be indicative of potential threats to the nation,” a statement by the department said.

It could take several years for such a monitoring system to be in place, said Joe Kielman, coordinator of the research effort. The monitoring would not extend to United States news, Mr. Kielman said.

“We want to understand the rhetoric that is being published and how intense it is, such as the difference between dislike and excoriate,” he said.

Even the basic research has raised concern among journalism advocates and privacy groups, as well as representatives of the foreign news media.

“It is just creepy and Orwellian,” said Lucy Dalglish, a lawyer and former editor who is executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Andrei Sitov, Washington bureau chief of the Itar-Tass news agency of Russia, said he hoped that the objective did not go beyond simply identifying threats to efforts to stifle criticism about an American president or administration.

“This is what makes your country great, the open society where people can criticize their own government,” Mr. Sitov said.

The researchers, using an grant provided by a research group once affiliated with the Central Intelligence Agency, have complied a database of hundreds of articles that it is being used to train a computer to recognize, rank and interpret statements.

The software would need to be able to distinguish between statements like “this spaghetti is good” and “this spaghetti is not very good — it’s excellent,” said Claire T. Cardie, a professor of computer science at Cornell.

Professor Cardie ranked the second statement as a more intense positive opinion than the first.

The articles in the database include work from many American newspapers and news wire services, including The Miami Herald and The New York Times, as well as foreign sources like Agence France-Presse and The Dawn, a newspaper in Pakistan.

One article discusses how a rabid fox bit a grazing cow in Romania, hardly a threat to the United States. Another item, an editorial in response to Mr. Bush’s use in 2002 of “axis of evil” to describe Iraq, Iran and North Korea, said: “The U.S. is the first nation to have developed nuclear weapons. Moreover, the U.S. is the first and only nation ever to deploy such weapons.”

The approach, called natural language processing, has been under development for decades. It is widely used to summarize basic facts in a text or to create abridged versions of articles.

But interpreting and rating expressions of opinion, without making too many errors, has been much more challenging, said Professor Cardie and Janyce M. Wiebe, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Pittsburgh. Their system would include a confidence rating for each “opinion” that it evaluates and would allow an official to refer quickly to the actual text that the computer indicates contains an intense anti-American statement.

Ultimately, the government could in a semiautomated way track a statement by specific individuals abroad or track reports by particular foreign news outlets or journalists, rating comments about American policies or officials.

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, said the effort recalled the aborted 2002 push by a Defense Department agency to develop a tracking system called Total Information Awareness that was intended to detect terrorists by analyzing troves of information.

“That is really chilling,” Mr. Rotenberg said. “And it seems far afield from the mission of homeland security.”

Federal law prohibits the Homeland Security Department or other intelligence agencies from building such a database on American citizens, and no effort would be made to do that, a spokesman for the department, Christopher Kelly, said. But there would be no such restrictions on using foreign news media, Mr. Kelly said.

Mr. Kielman, the project coordinator, said questions on using the software were premature because the department was just now financing the basic research necessary to set up an operating system.

Professors Cardie and Wiebe said they understood that there were legitimate questions about the ultimate use of their software.

“There has to be guidelines and restrictions on the use of this kind of technology by the government,” Professor Wiebe said. “But it doesn’t mean it is not useful. It can just as easily help the government understand what is going on in places around the world.”


You get that? The empire must always gauge the resistance. What, you guys don't support the glorious War on Sentiment!?

It's a P.K. Dick world now...


*terror, war war, terror, terror and fear, al CIA duh, duck tape, anthrax, snipers, color codes, WMD etc, etc...
posted by Uncle $cam at 9:58 PM
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Monday, November 24, 2008. *
Sunday, November 23, 2008. *
Reading this post blew me away: Lambert at Correntewire found this tidbit at Steve Clemon's blog:
A senior Obama campaign official shared with The Washington Note that In July 2008, the McCain and Obama camps began to work secretly behind the scenes to assemble large rosters of potential personnel for the administration that only one of the candidates would lead.

Lists comprised of Democrats and Republicans were assembled, sorted into areas of policy expertise, so that the roster could be called on after the election by either the Obama or McCain transition teams.

This kind of out-of-sight coordination is rare between battling presidential camps and provides some indication that both Obama and McCain intended to draw expertise into their governments from both sides of the aisle -- or at least they wanted to appear interested in doing so if the information leaked out about the list development process.


Just as one of the commenters over there states, "i'm not really that surprised--it's seeing it admitted, and printed, that's surprising"...
posted by Uncle $cam at 8:54 PM
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On November 17, U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) concluded Vigilant Shield 09 (VS09), described in a press release as a training exercise focused on "homeland defense and civil support."

Launched by President Bush in 2002 in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, NORTHCOM has been mired in controversy since its creation. Among its more dubious accomplishments were illegal domestic spying operations in conjunction with the Pentagon's shadowy Counter Intelligence Field Activity unit (CIFA) that targeted antiwar activists.

Despite CIFA's shut-down and the alleged dismantling of its TALON database (now incorporated into the FBI's Guardian Threat Tracking System), SourceWatch revealed that "in accordance with intelligence oversight requirements, the DoD will maintain a record copy of the collected data." One can't help but wonder whether that "record copy" of TALON somehow migrated into a NORTHCOM database.

But the NORTHCOM-CIFA liaison wasn't the only episode of illegal military spying on Americans to come to light. In May, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Marines, including a Colonel and the co-founder of the Los Angeles County Terrorist Early Warning Center, stole top secret intelligence files from Camp Pendleton's Strategic Technical Operations Center.

Among the documents filched by the intelligence privateers were those marked "Top Secret, Special Compartmentalized Information," the highest U.S. Government classification. The files included surveillance dossiers on the Muslim community and antiwar activists in Southern California.

Before being run to ground by investigators, the spy ring regularly received and disseminated secret files and surveillance reports transmitted by Lauren Martin, a Navy reservist who worked as an outsourced intelligence analyst at NORTHCOM headquarters in Colorado Springs. Martin was responsible for the region that included Southern California.

Details on VS09 are few and far-between. However, according to U.S. Northern Command News, VS09 "included scenarios to achieve exercise objectives within the maritime, aerospace, ballistic missile defense, cyber, consequence management, and counter terrorism situations."

The training exercise ran concurrently with "other Department of Defense-sponsored and international exercises to more realistically test the synchronized response of federal, state, local and international mission partners in preparation for homeland defense, homeland security and civil support missions in the United States and abroad."

A November 5 press release described that the concurrent exercises included "U.S. Strategic Command GLOBAL LIGHTNING 09 and BULWARK DEFENDER 09; Canada Command DETERMINED DRAGON; California National Guard VIGILANT GUARD; and the State of California GOLDEN GUARDIAN."

Global Lightning 09 is a plan to use nuclear weapons in the event of a surprise attack while Bulwark Defender was described by Matthew Rothschild in The Progressive as the Pentagon's "cyberspace protection outfit."

California's Vigilant Guard and Golden Guardian were state-wide training exercises that concluded November 18 around planning for a catastrophic 7.8 magnitude earthquake along the San Andreas fault. If so, this would be an appropriate training venue for the California National Guard. Why then, fold disaster preparations into a planning scenario for the use of nuclear weapons in the event of a "surprise attack"?

Described as a "Command Post Exercise (CPX)," many of the forces involved were "notional," in other words, real units and their equipment "were not deployed from their home bases."

However, the rapidly expanding role of the U.S. military in "domestic civil-support operations" and the breadth and scope of NORTHCOM "training exercises" are troubling, to say the least.

In September, Army Times revealed that the 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT) was deployed October 1, under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, "the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks."

As Army Times noted, the BCT's "new mission" is the first time "an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities."

Perhaps a disturbing harbinger of things to come, "military support" of "civil authorities" arises precisely during a period of extreme systemic crisis not seen since the Great Depression and points to the rapid expansion of an "emergency preparedness complex" as a discrete operational division of the U.S. National Security State.


National Exercise Program: "Emergency Preparedness" or Martial Law?


more at the link as well as many embedded links...
posted by Uncle $cam at 7:15 PM
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I haven't been commenting on politics much lately, because there are plenty of others who either better express what I'd like to say, or have better insights and change my mind. Johnny Brainwash has the wisest take on the election of Barack Obama I have read:

To All The Obama Haters...

You're wasting the opportunity of a lifetime.

No, I haven't swallowed the hope pill. I have no illusions about the Obama administration, the Democratic party or electoral politics. But whatever pill *you've* swallowed must have been awfully bitter, because it's sure left you with an ugly look on your face.

I'll agree from the start, Obama won't deliver the change we want. He's an establishment candidate who's risen up within the ranks of the machine. It's not enough that he's better than the alternative- the hope he's sold millions will sooner or later be dashed.

But wait. Look at that last sentence. Maybe you've missed the crucial word: millions.

The essence of political change is mobilization, and Americans are mobilized now like they haven't been for a generation. Right now, thanks to Obama, they're fired up. They feel involved, like they have a personal stake in the process. They want change, and they're willing to pitch in to make it happen.


Full Story: Dysnomia

The comment from Trevor Blake is important.

I agree with Nick Pell's 10 reasons not to drink the hope kool-aid (here's another one: his staffing choices, which began with the selection of arch-drug warrior, war monger, and Democratic Party insider Joe Biden as VP), and wound up registering a "protest vote" for Cynthia McKinney here in Oregon on election day. That said, I think there are plenty of reasons to be happy that Obama won, and if the polls were closer in my state I certainly would have voted for Obama.

In addition to the large scale mobilization of progressively-minded people (Trevor's warnings duly noted), here are some reasons to be hopeful:

Democrats, historically, do a better job with the economy

Democrats, in recent history, have gotten fewer people killed in armed conflicts

Bonus unrelated links:

The new currency war (an article on alternative currencies)

Lone No More: a look at alternative gun culture

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posted by Klintron at 12:50 AM
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Saturday, November 22, 2008. *
The Secret Government - Constitution in Crisis



This is the full length 90 min. version of Bill Moyer's 1987 scathing critique of the criminal subterfuge carried out by the Executive Branch of the United States Government to carry out operations which are clearly contrary to the wishes and values of the American people. The ability to exercise this power with impunity is facilitated by the National Security Act of 1947. The thrust of the exposé is the Iran-Contra arms and drug-running operations which flooded the streets of our nation with crack cocaine. The significance of the documentary is probably greater today in 2007[9] than it was when it was made. We now have a situation in which these same forces have committed the most egregious terrorist attack on US soil and have declared a fraudulent so-called,"War on Terror". The ruling regime in the US who have conducted the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, are now banging the war drum against Iran, [Russia, China etc... anyone whom has resources]. We have the PATRIOT act which has stripped us of many of our basic civil rights justified by the terror of 9/11 which is their own doing.


Here's your change: This Is Change? 20 Hawks, Clintonites and Neocons to Watch for in Obama's White House

Obama's national security adviser: Boeing and Chevron

A retired Marine general and former Nato commander is emerging as a leading contender to become Barack Obama's national security adviser, the most important foreign policy post in the White House.

James Jones, a decorated Vietnam veteran and former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, is admired by Republicans and Democrats - he is a close friend of John McCain - and would bring particular expertise on Iraq and Afghanistan, two of Mr Obama's overseas priorities when he takes office on January 20.

From Wikipedia:

Following his retirement from the military, General Jones became president of the Institute for 21st Century Energy[3], an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce[8] and chair of the board of directors of the Atlantic Council of the United States.[9] He also served as chair of the Independent Commission on Security Forces of Iraq, sponsored by the Atlantic Council of the United States.[10]
General Jones joined the Board of Directors of the Boeing Corporation on June 21, 2007. He serves on the company's Audit and Finance Committees. [11]
On May 28, 2008, General Jones was elected to the board of directors of Chevron Corporation. [12][13]

... but the progressive left is still in overdose.


We'll get that change alright, but it wont be the change we sought, it will be change for the worse. As things are looking now, much worse.
posted by Uncle $cam at 5:42 PM
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Friday, November 21, 2008. *
Senator James Inhofe has revealed that Henry Paulson was behind the threats of martial law and a new great depression prior to the passage of the bailout bill, having made such warnings during a conference call on September 19th, around two weeks before the legislation was eventually approved by both the Senate and Congress.

As we reported at the time, on October 2, Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman gave a stunning speech on the House floor during which he decried the fact that, “Many of us were told in private conversations that if we voted against this bill on Monday that the sky would fall, the market would drop two or three thousand points the first day, another couple of thousand the second day, and a few members were even told that there would be martial law in America if we voted no.”

A few days before, Rep. Michael Burgess also told the House, “Mr. Speaker I understand we are under Martial Law as declared by the speaker last night,” referring to a temporary suspension of the rules and procedures of Congress by its leaders so that a bill can be passed quickly.

But the origin of the most dire warnings about physical martial law in America, to which Sherman was likely referring, has now been exposed.

Speaking on Tulsa Oklahoma’s 1170 KFAQ, when asked who was behind threats of martial law and civil unrest if the bailout bill failed, Senator James Inhofe named Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson as the source. “Somebody in D.C. was feeding you guys quite a story prior to the bailout, a story that if we didn’t do this we were going to see something on the scale of the depression, there were people talking about martial law being instituted, civil unrest….who was feeding you guys this stuff?,” asked host Pat Campbell.

“That’s Henry Paulson,” responded Inhofe, “We had a conference call early on, it was on a Friday I think – a week and half before the vote on Oct. 1. So it would have been the middle … what was it – the 19th of September, we had a conference call. In this conference call – and I guess there’s no reason for me not to repeat what he said, but he said – he painted this picture you just described. He said, ‘This is serious. This is the most serious thing that we faced.’”

Inhofe said that Paulson told members of Congress the crisis would be “far worse than the great depression” if Congress didn’t authorize the bill to buy out toxic debt, a proposal “which he abandoned the day after he got the money,” added Inhofe.

Inhofe is referring to the controversy last week when it emerged that the bailout money was not going to buy up toxic debt but instead Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, had pulled a bait and switch and ordered the money be injected directly into banks.

Senator Inhofe has slammed the secrecy surrounding the destination of the bailout money, saying that Hank Paulson could have given it to his friends and that the “blank check” must be cancelled now.

Inhofe is now trying to rally support for a freeze on what’s left of the initial $350 billion of bailout money with his “roll back the bailout” proposal, which will also require an affirmative vote on the part of Congress to approve Treasury’s plan for the remaining $350 billion. Watch the clip from Inhofe’s interview below:



Inhofe: Paulson Used Scare Tactics To Push Bailout


Tangentially related, this clip on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher; I'm not a big fan of his, but watch what he says...

Daddy, is it 'economic terrorism', yet?
posted by Uncle $cam at 1:39 PM
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008. *
From the LA Times:
"A congressionally mandated scientific panel has concluded that Gulf War syndrome is real and still afflicts nearly a quarter of the 700,000 U.S. troops who served in the 1991 conflict, according to a report released Monday.

The report broke with most earlier studies by concluding that two chemical exposures were direct causes of the disorder: the drug pyridostigmine bromide, given to troops to protect against nerve gas, and pesticides that were widely used -- and often overused -- to protect against sand flies and other pests."
posted by backspace at 1:51 AM
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Monday, November 17, 2008. *
posted by Dr. Menlo at 7:46 AM
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This is the best inside-detail article of the mechanics of what happened I've come across, and great writing. You can fault it for missing only the biggest picture: that capitalism is always going to create a crash like this.
posted by Uncle $cam at 3:31 AM
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Friday, November 14, 2008. *
House oversight subcommittee on domestic policy was playing today on cnn and c-span, grilling the assistant treasury secretary. apparently they didn't even bother to use the troubled assets relief program (tarp) to buy toubled assets. instead, they created a program to give the $700B to any bank that applied for it to do with it whatever they decided.

So...anybody want to start a bank? Credit unions take 500 members to start. $50B is still to be allocated to "new capital," whatever that means exactly.
posted by the thistle at 9:53 AM
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008. *
one of those being a regulation that "would allow state and local law enforcement agencies to collect intelligence on individuals and organizations even if the information is unrelated to any criminal matter,"
according to Rachel Maddow.
posted by Uncle $cam at 2:26 PM
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008. *
Strike one: Obama's Plan To Expand Afghan War/Get Bin Laden

Strike Two: Intelligence Policy to Stay Largely Intact

President-elect Barack Obama is unlikely to radically overhaul controversial Bush administration intelligence policies, advisers say, an approach that is almost certain to create tension within the Democratic Party.
...

As a candidate, Mr. Obama said the CIA's interrogation program should adhere to the same rules that apply to the military, which would prohibit the use of techniques such as waterboarding. He has also said the program should be investigated.

Yet he more recently voted for a White House-backed law to expand eavesdropping powers for the National Security Agency. Mr. Obama said he opposed providing legal immunity to telecommunications companies that aided warrantless surveillance, but ultimately voted for the bill, which included an immunity provision.

The new president could take a similar approach to revising the rules for CIA interrogations, said one current government official familiar with the transition. Upon review, Mr. Obama may decide he wants to keep the road open in certain cases for the CIA to use techniques not approved by the military, but with much greater oversight.


greenwald

Unlike the above-discussed report about Obama's intentions concerning executive orders, which was confirmed by Obama transition chief John Podesta, reports like this should be taken with a hefty dose of cynicism, as they are often used by people to push a President-elect in the direction they want him to go. Still, there's no question that there will be immense pressure on Obama among his closest advisers not to follow through on the commitments he made on issues relating to executive power, and -- as the article suggests -- Obama's past support for FISA expansions and telecom immunity (after he promised he would oppose them) lends credence to these reports.
posted by Uncle $cam at 6:58 PM
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This is engineered meltdown... Demo Clintion good cop/Repub Bush bad cop, and they'll let the "nigger" take the fall...


And the 'train kepta rollin all night long'... w/apologies to that washed out band aerosmith and Steve Perry's, Mcpalin supporting ass!
posted by Uncle $cam at 4:54 PM
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Also see, The Long and Bumpy Road to Glass-Steagall Reform: A Historical and Evolutionary Analysis of Banking Legislation - Other Articles - Glass-Steagall Banking Act of 1933

or you know, you can wrap your head around this one,
maw nad paw kettle math.


math ideas, presented by Ma and Pa Kettle (Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride) in the 1940s...lol

After the brief laugh, we interrupt your apathy for (drum roll please)..


Brown: Now Is the Time to Build Global Society
"The international financial crisis has given world leaders a unique opportunity to create a truly global society, Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown will say in a keynote foreign policy speech on Monday.

In his annual speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet, Brown — who has spearheaded calls for the reform of international financial institutions — will say Britain, the United States and Europe are key to forging a new world order.

“The alliance between Britain and the U.S. — and more broadly between Europe and the U.S. — can and must provide leadership, not in order to make the rules ourselves, but to lead the global effort to build a stronger and more just international order,” an excerpt from the speech says.

Brown and other leaders meet in Washington next weekend to discuss longer term solutions for dealing with economic issues following a series of coordinated moves on interest rates and to recapitalize banks in the wake of the financial crisis.

“Uniquely in this global age, it is now in our power to come together so that 2008 is remembered not just for the failure of a financial crash that engulfed the world but for the resilience and optimism with which we faced the storm, endured it and prevailed,” Brown will say in his speech on Monday evening.

“…And if we learn from our experience of turning unity of purpose into unity of action, we can together seize this moment of change in our world to create a truly global society.”




abracadabrama!
posted by Uncle $cam at 2:19 AM
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Monday, November 10, 2008. *

Husband Todd offered $100,000 and a snowmobile if he'll co-star, says Florida adult film producer


hahahaha... If I were the 'First Dude', I'd hold out for 250,000 and an Aspen season pass...lol
posted by Uncle $cam at 6:22 PM
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Waiting for Godot
posted by Uncle $cam at 4:09 PM
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True, it's not raining ice cream (blueberry chiffon cheesecake would be my preference...) yet and it looks like he wants to give Joe "I am AIPAC. No, really." Lieberman a pass, but he's already signaling some good things.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is formulating a plan to put Guantanamo detainees on trials on U.S. soil, which will lead to the closure of Guantanamo prison, a campaign promise he made.

Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, a legal adviser to Obama, was quoted by the Washington Post as saying Monday that among Obama aides, discussions about closing Guantanamo had been "theoretical" before the election, but it will now quickly become atop priority.

Obama has described the infamous prison at U.S. naval base in Guantanmo Bay, Cuba, as a "sad chapter in American history" and insisted that the U.S. legal system could be enough to deal with the detainees.

Now his aides are putting together proposals to release some detainees while sending others to trials on U.S. soil.

And there's this:

“There's a lot that the president can do using his executive authority without waiting for congressional action, and I think we'll see the president do that,” Podesta said. “I think that he feels like he has a real mandate for change. We need to get off the course that the Bush administration has set.”

Among Bush administration actions likely to be quickly rescinded:

  • The prohibition on federal funding for international family-planning agencies that provide abortions -- or counseling and information about abortion -- even in countries where the procedure is legal. This policy, known as the Mexico City initiative, was initially put in place by Ronald Reagan and reaffirmed by the current president's father. Bill Clinton removed it in 1993; President Bush restored it two days after taking office in 2001.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency's decision last December against granting California's request to impose more stringent greenhouse-gas emission standards than federal law requires. At least 16 other states were prepared to adopt California's rules if the EPA had approved the state's request to waive federal standards in exchange for its own tougher ones. The EPA ruling was seen as a victory for the automobile industry.
  • The ban on federal funding for research on new lines of embryonic stem cells. In August 2001, Bush limited government funding to the embryonic stem cell lines then in existence and prohibited any funding for development of new embryonic stem cell lines. Proponents of such research -- including many Democrats and moderate Republicans -- have pointed to the potential for cures for such devastating illnesses as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, but many social and religious conservatives liken the use of such stem cells to abortion because it requires the destruction of an embryo.


Not a bad start. I can't say I'm ashamed of my vote yet.

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posted by Philip Shropshire at 1:46 PM
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November 10, 2008—

Want to hear crickets chirping? Ask Washington who's keeping an eye on its $700 billion economic bailout.

...

Party leaders on Capitol Hill were supposed to name a special oversight commission to check how the bailout was using its legal authorities, according to the law. But over a month has passed without a single name put forward.

...

"No," said a spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., when asked if her office had been talking with others about the panel. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., did not respond to requests for comment.

...

Meanwhile, the biggest watchdog in town Congress' Government Accountability Office (GAO) placed large "Help Wanted" ads in the Washington Post and New York Times, indicating it may lack the manpower to properly scrutinize the crush of bailout activity.
...

Experts outside government are alarmed. "This poses every potential problem that Iraq has: corruption, conflicts of interest, theft, and waste of government resources," financial policy expert and investment firm partner Robert Dugger recently told Government Executive magazine. "It's Blackwater, Halliburton, and KBR, but right here at home."
...

In at least one instance, a company attempted to assert its own conflict-of-interest rules, only to be shot down by the Treasury Department.

...

A review of contracts issued by the Treasury's new Office of Financial Stability finds it has blacked out key information total spending figures, names of key personnel, experts' hourly rates.


Fed Defies Transparency Aim in Refusal to Disclose

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve is refusing to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers or the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in September they would comply with congressional demands for transparency in a $700 billion bailout of the banking system. Two months later, as the Fed lends far more than that in separate rescue programs that didn't require approval by Congress, Americans have no idea where their money is going or what securities the banks are pledging in return.


Also see, Fed refusing to identify recipients of $2 TRILLION in loans!
Fed Defies Transparency Aim in Refusal to Disclose (Update2)
By Mark Pittman, Bob Ivry and Alison Fitzgerald

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve is refusing to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers or the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in September they would comply with congressional demands for transparency in a $700 billion bailout of the banking system. Two months later, as the Fed lends far more than that in separate rescue programs that didn't require approval by Congress, Americans have no idea where their money is going or what securities the banks are pledging in return.

``The collateral is not being adequately disclosed, and that's a big problem,'' said Dan Fuss, vice chairman of Boston- based Loomis Sayles & Co., where he co-manages $17 billion in bonds. ``In a liquid market, this wouldn't matter, but we're not. The market is very nervous and very thin.''

Bloomberg News has requested details of the Fed lending under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act and filed a federal lawsuit Nov. 7 seeking to force disclosure.

The Fed made the loans under terms of 11 programs, eight of them created in the past 15 months, in the midst of the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression.

``It's your money; it's not the Fed's money,'' said billionaire Ted Forstmann, senior partner of Forstmann Little & Co. in New York. ``Of course there should be transparency.''


It sounds like it's time to enter the temple to upset the tables of the moneychangers.
posted by Uncle $cam at 1:43 PM
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Saturday, November 08, 2008. *
"As President, I will implement a Memorandum of Understanding that provides $30 billion in assistance to Israel over the next decade – investments to Israel’s security that will not be tied to any other nation. " -Obama AIPAC Speech, Rahms endorsement of Obama



Speaking of the new Chief Of Staff, Rahm Emanuel...



Will the Arab World Take Issue With Rahm's Israeli Roots and Pro-Israel Views?
November 06, 2008 7:18 PM

Israeli newspapers are already rejoicing about President-elect Obama's selection of Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., to be his White House chief of staff.

As the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz notes, Emanuel "is the son of a Jerusalem-born pediatrician who was a member of the Irgun (Etzel or IZL), a militant Zionist group that operated in Palestine between 1931 and 1948." Emanuel's father told the newspaper that his son was named after a fallen combatant named Rahamim.

In the Israel newspaper Ma'ariv, Emanuel's father, Dr. Benjamin Emanuel said, "Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn't he be? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floors of the White House."

Rahm Emanuel headed Bill Clinton's finance committee during the Arkansas governor's first presidential run, but he left to be a civilian volunteer for the Israel Defense Forces during the 1991 Gulf War. He rust-proofed brakes in one of Israel's northern bases.

Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifadah seems upset at Obama's selection of a "pro-Israel hardliner."

"There could not be a more provocative appointment than Rahm Emanuel, if he wanted to send a signal that he is going to stick by a quite hard-line pro-Israel policy," Abunimah said on Democracy Now.

Abunimah pointed out that Emanuel's middle name is "Israel," and described Emanuel's father as "a gun runner for the Irgun, the Zionist, pre-Israel Zionist, militia that carried out numerous terrorist attacks on Palestinian civilians, including the bombing of the King David Hotel. Of course, Rahm Emanuel himself is not responsible for any of that, but his record is sometimes far to the right of President Bush when it comes to supporting Israel."

In the coming hours we'll see what the reaction is from the Arab media.


From above...
What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floors of the White House."


That is one helluva racist statement. And remember that 30b when your unemployment runs out...

Oh, and going further with the Massah Obama kick...

A Homeland Security Corps...? Fueled by harnessing the power of volunteers...? Wow. He's really distinguishing himself from
his predecessor there eh?
posted by Uncle $cam at 12:34 AM
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Wednesday, November 05, 2008. *
Meet the new boss...
posted by Uncle $cam at 9:15 PM
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posted by Uncle $cam at 1:38 PM
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Tuesday, November 04, 2008. *

Nov. 4

Go vote. And Obama art here.

Realistic assessment of Obama, who I voted for just so we're clear, by Danny Glover below. I actually met him once. Have to tell that story later. He's definitely a cool guy.


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posted by Philip Shropshire at 3:36 AM
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A Paranoid's Look At A Possible Stolen Election

By any objective measurement, it should be a blowout for Obama today. By any realistic measurement, and in light of what some of us think are the Republican presidential steals of 2000 and 2004, we could be looking at yet another stolen presidential election. The good news: it should be really really hard to steal this election. It would be so obvious that even the Mainstream Media and the Daily Kos would notice. Frankly, I'm hoping that the election thieves were ordered to stand down after their masters looked closely at their shrinking stock portfolios. The Bad News: Ker Razy Christian Fundamentalists have been pinpointed as the master hackers. They're not in the reality based worlds. The only way they could win is to turnaround elections in DNC strongholds but it could still work. Obama didn't even ask for a recount in New Hampshire where he could have possibly proven fraud. If he doesn't question dicey results today, we're screwed. Everything would depend on a Green Party, Ralph Nader recount. I know they would have the balls to do that. But we would have to fund them.

First, here's the Markos prediction. In a fair world where the machines work or where the deficit is simply too big to steal believably, this is what should happen given Obama's superior ground game and early voting advantage.

Now, given the reality of what's happened over the last decade years, this is a map (below) of what kinds of voting machines are in which states. If I was an election stealer, then I would put all my resources into stealing states that are either orange or red. These states have no paper record of your vote. Some of them have internal audits but they'll simply reflect the stolen vote totals so they're worthless.

Again, if I was a thief, I'd take a good look at Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Just for fun, I used one of the free construct your own electoral vote counters from the Internets. This is what I concluded would happen if they steal states that they could easily steal. You might note that even if they were to steal Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where no records or no audits exists, as far as I know, Obama could still win. One note: Florida switched to paper ballots so they're all green now. I hope.

My prediction below:

Now, here's where the Big Fat Steal could occur: all along the Eastern seaboard. I would go after Delaware and Maryland. Untraceable. A perfect crime. You would have to go to court and ask for new paper ballot elections. You would be under the 2000 timetable gun. You would have to win in Republican courts. The public would have to buy that Obama lost in four states where he was up by 10 points or more but more than likely the MSM would be fine with it. ("Joe the Plumber struck a chord" or some bullshit like that...) Again, astonishing I agree. But possible. How crazy are right wing Christian Fundamentalist Pro Life hackers? That's not an answer I'm comfortable with. Here' the thing: Even if Obama wins this is a terrible system. You can leave your money out on the street overnight. It might be there in morning. But that doesn't mean that this is a good banking system. Ditto for our voting machine architectures. The whole country should be green with paper ballots and random mandatory audits. One more depressing note: you can steal elections in the green and blue areas too, but its much harder and it should be discovered by way of recounts.

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posted by Philip Shropshire at 3:19 AM
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Sunday, November 02, 2008. *
Despite our very justified fears of false flags and election theft, in all probability, sometime on Wednesday morning, Barack Hussein Obama, the young US Senator from Illinois, will be this country's President-elect.

His handlers have engineered a remarkable campaign, beginning with his keynote address at the 2004 DNC . . .
Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or do we participate in a politics of hope? . . .

Hope -- Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope!

In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation. A belief in things not seen. A belief that there are better days ahead . . .
Yes - a "belief in things not seen." Embracing the politics of cynicism beneath his coat of many colors and displaying a "stay on message" discipline that has surpassed even Rovian standards, he then picked off every bird on the wire, from left to right, starting with "progressives" and concluding with enough conservative defectors to gut the GOP and leave it with only headless, disembodied limbs reaching for their sniper rifles.

The Republican Party couldn't have nominated a more hapless and distasteful opponent, who ran against and for the sitting president in the same sentence and picked an even more hapless and distasteful running mate. It is as if the Obama campaign was managing both sides(!), with the Judas kiss strategically delivered by an unknown location. Too slick, if you ask me.

Senator Obama survived many threats - the Clintons, Bill Ayers, out-of-control preachers, Joe Biden, Joe the Plumber, Black Agenda Report, Bill O'Reilly, the The New Yorker cover, his steady move to the political right after his nomination, pitiful accusations of "socialist", "Muslim", and "terrorist", and his own middle name.

The man succeeded by carefully morphing from a skinny, mixed-race, South Side street pol to "President Everyman", sinking the occasional three-pointer and smoking the furtive, off-camera cigarette along the way. He clearly won the hearts and minds of the ruling class by out-manipulating and out-triangulating the masters. They've found their perfect front man. Audition over. Senator Barack Hussein Obama is become "The Chosen One". All hail.

The Bush administration is the perfect act to follow. On the surface, there is little that the Obama regime can do to look bad in comparison. It appears that they are planning to get the worst eventuality out of the way first, if Biden and Powell are to be believed. But it will not be Obama who is tested. It will be us. If our recent history is any indication, we'll stay on the disabled list.

This president will enter office with unprecedented power, albeit most of which is neither authentic or Constitutional, but conferred by precedent, forfeit, and myth. No president since JFK has been so meticulously designed, developed, and delivered. Thanks to the incumbent regime, the new guy inherits a fully developed military-industrial-financial-academic complex, a triumphant corporatism, an alienated world, a worthless currency, a ready-made mercenary armed force, unregulated surveillance technology, a one-party oligarchy, a marginalized opposition, a "democracy" reduced to the mindless, meaningless act of voting for a beauty queen . . . oh, the list goes on. Maybe I missed it, but I don't recall Obama saying anything about rolling any of this back. The only thing I've heard is that he'll take a few more thousand from some billionaires and "redistribute" it, while shifting some of our armed forces from Iraq to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, and, perhaps, the streets of Seattle and Billings.

In spite of all the accusations of being "stupid", "crazy", and "incompetent", the Bush administration did their job perfectly, that job being (1) put the citizens at the gunpoint of terror, (2) put the man behind the curtain behind a man behind the curtain behind the men behind the curtain, (3) marginalize virtue, (4) negate the Constitution, (5) bankrupt the nation in every way, (6) carry off the remaining assets. Stealth was not required, nor subtlety, just brute force and perseverance. They got away with it. We were literally robbed blind in broad daylight - and shrugged it off. "Oh, well . . . them damn pollytishuns agin."

Five and six years ago I wrote several times about boiled frogs. I was mistaken. We are, in fact, braised mutton, simmered so long that the meat has fallen from our bones, to the tune of Neil Young: "Helpless, helpless, he -- elplesssss".

All this has been billed as a kick-boxing match between "neoliberals" and "neoconservatives", but in reality it's a been a four-man relay (Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama) and the baton will be passed for the sprint leg on January 20, 2009.

The revolution has occurred. It was televised. It was sponsored by snake-oil merchants and there was never any difference between the "commercials" and the "programs". The next seasons will just be reruns - with different names. And Elvis is still in the building. You can't see him, but you have faith.

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Originally published at P!
posted by Unknown at 6:53 PM
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