American Samizdat

Wednesday, December 31, 2008. *
posted by Anonymous at 4:55 PM
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Israeli Patrol Boat Rams Gaza Relief Vessel Cynthia McKinney & CNN Penhaul Reports

Anyone else remember how the Israeli lobby threw boatloads (pun intended) of cash to McKinney's opponent? Which in turn made her lose her seat in congress? by the nation’s most powerful lobby and attack dog republican group, for her failure to tow the Israeli line, mostly because she confronts corporate media malice in court, defense contractors and jackals during hearings?

Yeah, that Cynthia McKinney.

McKinney Grills Rumsfeld

After watching the above vid, know that she never got her written report from these murders, and she soon lost her seat in congress for asking embarrassing questions.

Civilians aboard the Dignity

(UK) Denis Healey, Captain
Captain of the Dignity, Denis has been involved with boats for 45 years, beginning with small fishing boats in Portsmouth. He learned to sail while at school and has been part of the sea ever since. He's a certified yachtmaster and has also worked on heavy marine equipment from yachts to large dredgers. This is his fourth trip to Gaza.

(Greece) Nikolas Bolos, First Mate
Nikolas is a chemical engineer and human rights activist. He has served as a crewmember on several Free Gaza voyages, including the first one in August.

(Jordan) Othman Abu Falah
Othman is a senior producer with Al-Jazeera Television. He will remain in Gaza to report on the ongoing military onslaught.

(Australia) Renee Bowyer
Renee is a schoolteacher and human rights activist. She will remain in Gaza to do human rights monitoring and reporting.

(Ireland) Caoimhe Butterly
Caoimhe is a reknowned human rights activist and Gaza Coordinator for the Free Gaza Movement. She will be remaining in Gaza to do human rights monitoring, assist with relief efforts, and work on project development with Free Gaza.

(Cyprus) Ekaterini Christodulou
Ekaterini is a well-known and respected freelance journalist in Cyprus. She is traveling to Gaza to report on the conflict.

(Sudan) Sami El-Haj
Sami is a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay, and head of the human rights section at Al-Jazeera Television. He will remain in Gaza to report on the ongoing military onslaught.

(UK) Dr.
David Halpin
Dr. Halpin is an experienced orthopaedic surgeon, medical professor, and ship's captain. He has organized humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza on several occasions with the Dove and Dolphin. He is traveling to Gaza to volunteer in hospitals and clinics.

(Germany) Dr.
Mohamed Issa
Dr. Issa is a pediatric surgeon from Germany. He is traveling to Gaza to volunteer in hospitals and clinics.

(UK/Tunisia) Fathi Jaouadi
Fathi is a television producer and human rights activist. He will remain in Gaza to do human rights monitoring and reporting.

(USA) Cynthia McKinney
Cynthia is a former U.S. Congresswoman from Georgia, and the 2008 Green Party presidential candidate. She is traveling to Gaza to assess the ongoing conflict.

(Cyprus) Martha Paisi
Martha is a senior research fellow and experienced human rights activist. She is traveling to Gaza to do human rights work and to assist with humanitarian relief efforts.

(UK) Karl Penhaul
Karl Penhaul is a video correspondent for CNN, based out of Bogotá, Colombia. Appointed to this position in February 2004, he covers breaking news around the world utilizing CNN's new laptop-based 'Digital Newsgathering' system. He is traveling to Gaza to report on the ongoing conflict.

(Iraq) Thaer Shaker
Thaer is a cameraman with Al-Jazeera television. He will remain in Gaza to report on the ongoing military onslaught.

(Cyprus) Dr.
Elena Theoharous, MP
Dr. Theoharous is a surgeon and a Member of the Cypriot Parliament. She is traveling to Gaza to assess the ongoing conflict, assist with humanitarian relief efforts, and volunteer in hospitals.

was this (see below) the kind of thing McKinney was eluding to in the McKinney Grills Rumsfeld vid about trafficking in women and children??

Child Maid Trafficking Spreads to US

IRVINE, Calif. (Dec. 29) -- Late at night, the neighbors saw a little girl at the kitchen sink of the house next door. They watched through their window as the child rinsed plates under the open faucet. She wasn't much taller than the counter and the soapy water swallowed her slender arms.

To put the dishes away, she climbed on a chair.

Shyima Hall, 19, was just 9 when she began working as a servant for a wealthy couple in Alexandria, Egypt. A year later, the couple moved to California with their five children and took Shyima with them. She worked up to 20 hours a day with no days off. Her pay: $45 a week. She is part of a surge of child trafficking for domestic labor in the United States.

But she was not the daughter of the couple next door doing chores. She was their maid.

I think so...

Child Maid Trafficking Spreads to US?

In America? Really? so these kinds of things are now blatant and out in the open? And not one goddamn law maker, leader, public servant says one goddamn thing about it, and those whom do get shit canned? This is not goddamn acceptable! Either covertly or openly! The American people have become numb and the "leaders" are fucking career treasonous criminals of the highest order. This burns my ass!

If the interweb ever goes down, and they get it back up, the Average American will be happy with only one service: the Celebrity Death Beeper.
posted by Uncle $cam at 4:04 PM
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Of course, this could all turn out to be hype. Most of my friends have strong doubts that the "Change" Barack Obama represents means anything beyond being an effective ad slogan. My own view is more complex. Personally, I don't see the next President as a token figurehead or a liberal messiah, but as a dedicated political realist. As Obama himself explains, "since the founding, the American political tradition has been reformist, not revolutionary." He appears to be actutely conscious of the comprimises he makes and the games he's playing, and he's got a larger vision behind everything he's doing.

Here's the good news: if I'm wrong, I'll find out very quickly. The online organizing and social networking that engineered Barack Obama's rise to the White House wasn't just an expensive tool, it was a culture. A culture of people who are motivated, informed and demanding, and a culture that will turn on Obama once they suspect they've been used.

In fact, we might watch Obama alienate his fan base before he even gets sworn in.
posted by Klintron at 10:56 AM
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Tuesday, December 30, 2008. *
Monday, December 29, 2008. *
Forget Hamas - it's all about the home front
As the new Sparta of the Middle East runs roughshod over the laws of morality and basic human decency, Israel's amen corner in the U.S. is going into overdrive in an effort to prettify one of the ugliest incidents in a decade of unmitigated cruelty and brutality. All the familiar "progressive" voices – with certain sterling exceptions – are suddenly stilled: we hear nothing from our Democratic politicians, those fabled agents of "change," except expressions of support for Israel's war crimes. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declares that Israel has "the right to defend itself," without deigning to inform us as to whether the Palestinians have the same right. Given her record as AIPAC's most reliable congressional ally, who can always be counted on to echo the Israel-first party line, one assumes not. Powerful foreign affairs committee chair Howard Berman concurs, as does our about-to-be-sworn-in chief executive.

Appearing on Face the Nation, Obama's chief adviser, David Axelrod, averred that "we have only one president at a time" – a consideration that hasn't stopped the world's most famous community organizer from publicly organizing the biggest raid on the U.S. Treasury in American history. In any case, as the Huffington Post put it, Axelrod "did reaffirm Obama's commitment to the 'special relationship between the United States and Israel' in a way that suggested general sympathy for the Jewish state's actions."
posted by Uncle $cam at 9:08 PM
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*Note see the fireman to the right of Bush...

Published: Monday December 29, 2008

As the outgoing administration coasts toward a quickly approaching, inevitable end, its dwindling number of staunch supporters is waging a media offensive in an effort to polish the blood-soaked legacy of George W. Bush.

We've heard it echoed in every corner of the national media. Bush wants to be seen as a "liberator of millions." Rove insists that "history will be kind" to his former boss. And Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is sure that "this generation" will thank George W. Bush.

That remains to be seen. But even for Republican lackeys and apologists who seek to obscure Bush's monumental failures in the pages of history with obfuscations and outright lies, this one is low.

"For me, the saddest part about the terrorist attacks of 9-11 is the long-term impact on the presidency of George W. Bush," wrote Tony Campbell, an adjunct professor of political science with Maryland-based Towson University, on The Moderate Voice Monday.

Nevermind the 3,000+ Americans who died on Sept. 11, 2001. Or the resulting wars. Or that one of the countries Bush chose to invade had nothing to do with the attacks. Or even the lingering, unanswered questions as to just how exactly the 9/11 attacks were pulled off.

"As Bush prepares to leave office, in my opinion, the presidency of George W. Bush was hijacked as surely as the four planes that crashed on that fateful September morning seven years ago," he continued. "The event of 9-11 pushed all other domestic and foreign policy initiatives off of the table. The demands of Homeland Security replaced the promises of 'Compassionate Conservatism.'"

Campbell worked for the Bush transition team in 2000, and was appointed to the Social Security Administration by the outgoing president.

Ultimately, Campbell believes Bush will be "vindicated" within two decades "for his actions that kept his country and its citizens safe ... Even while they cheered as he moved out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."

hahahahaha.... I can't help but wonder how much Jr. will spend of YOUR TAX DOLLARS on PR to make him self look good.

Remember, the Bush Administration Spent Over $1.6 Billion on Advertising and Public Relations Contracts Since 2003, GAO REPORT Finds, and that report was merely from 03 through 06... If the hubris of that wasn't enough, mostly to keep the war going, Imagine how much the narcissistic bastard will allocate of YOUR money ahead of time to make himself look good after leaving office.

MSNBC Scrubs Bush ad Story.
Posted Monday, March 8, 2004
n a Newsweek article posted on MSNBC's web site, Michael Isikoff includes this paragraph:

Another, less publicized aspect of the ad flap: Everyone but the firefighters were paid actors. The firefighters posing in a firehouse was "stock" film footage of volunteer firefighters -- shot and available for purchase to the general public.

When the article was originally published over the weekend, the article instead contained this paragraph:

Another less-publicized aspect of the ad flap: the use of paid actors—including two playing firefighters with fire hats and uniforms in what looks like a fire station. "Where the hell did they get those guys?" cracked Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, which has endorsed John Kerry, when he first saw the ads. (A union spokesman said the shots prompted jokes that the fire hats looked like the plastic hats "from a birthday party.") "There's many reasons not to use real firemen," retorted one Bush media adviser. "Mainly, its cheaper and quicker."

View the archived version of the original scrubbed article here.

As we enter the final months of the Bush administration, Bush's legacy seems to be the topic on the mind of many political pundits. Yet what type of legacy will George Bush leave?
George W. Bush's legacy ... Hell, if I was using YOUR money, I'd have one hell of a legacy blitz...

Oh, one last thing, Jr. & Co. still has time on the clock... three more weeks, until the fucking whistle blows.
posted by Uncle $cam at 5:10 PM
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Sunday, December 28, 2008. *
(via Orcinus)
posted by Anonymous at 6:06 PM
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This column is an attempt to aid in the understanding of the current financial crisis, using classic texts by Robert Anton Wilson that explain the difference between wealth (real wealth or real capital),illth, and money (money wealth or money capital).
posted by Uncle $cam at 1:35 PM
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Saturday, December 27, 2008. *

Trap people like rats in an open air prison then bomb the fuck out of them from the air...

Coward motherfuckers wont go in on the ground cause they'd get their ass handed to them...

I think it is about time to bring back the parallel: Gaza = Warsaw Ghetto.

there is also a serious need for work here to try to bring the truth about these attacks to the American audience since Israel flew US made and sold F16s and Apaches that drop the bombs. Israel could not do what it does without US approval - and while I am not hopeful that we can change US policy, we sure need to try.

Also see,

When, in a movie, you see a gun on a table, you can be sure someone will be shot within the next hour. Likewise, when yesterday Israel allowed 90 trucks into Gaza to deliver humanitarian assistance, you knew an attack was imminent.

Gaza has been under supertight siege for the last 2 months (not to be confused with the tight siege since Jan. 2006). It's an open-air prison with 1.5 million inmates denied food and medicine. Inexplicably, Hamas chose not to renew its 6-month truce with Israel. (What part of the word "starvation" could those terrorists possibly dislike?) It's been raining bombs over Sderot ever since and it can't be much fun living there: 9 Israelis have been killed since 2005; on the other hand, 1,400 Gazans have been killed by Israeli forces.

Bombing Gaza is Israel's version of "Yes We Can!" It's electoral politics by other means. (There's a big election in a month.) If Lebanon '06 is any indication, this may end up badly. A ground invasion will be resisted at all costs by Israel (too dangerous), but, without it, rockets from Gaza are unlikely to be stopped. So, then, what? The US is in no position to do anything: Condi no doubt sees birth pangs again, somewhere, and Obama is windsurfing; Bush is on his victory tour; and Hillary? She's learned not to kiss wives of terrorists and won't soon forget that lesson. Plus the US does't not talk to Hamas, anyway. The EU, as usual, talks, and that's pretty much all it does. Maybe UN soldiers from the Fiji Islands can help...? Except that the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has been missing and it's only a matter of time before his picture appears on milk cartons at your local supermarket. Tony Blair flies to the region once a month; no one knows why.

— Bernard Chazelle

The civilians in Gaza need your help now!

"Some targets were hit twice, particularly in the eastern part of Gaza City, so that the second strike killed rescue workers and people rushing to help victims of the first strike."

Your tax dollars paid for this.
posted by Uncle $cam at 9:38 PM
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Monday, December 22, 2008. *
These days, no one should be faulted for feeling a certain overload of the senses and emotions. Good news seems to be hiding under big boulders somewhere. "If it isn't one thing, it's another" is a cliche that doesn't quite get at it.

It isn't just the economy or the environment or the wars and rumors of wars - it's damn near everything. "Hell in a hand basket" doesn't make the grade either. Where is the relief? Even those who hoped that things might brighten up with the ascendancy of Barack Obama are finding holes in their armor of "hope" and "change".

It's as if we were bolted into the tarmac at the intersection of several runways. Toward each one of them a massive, crippled Airbus heads in for a crash landing, landing gear up, engines aflame, air brakes screaming.

Under the circumstances, it's hard to look even at the most immediate questions: "Is my money really gone?" "Will I have a place to live?" "A job?" "Food?" "How long before things are 'normal' again?" "Months?" "Years?" "Ever?" For some, a darkness has already come. For others . . . soon, I'm afraid. It's numbing, that's what it is.

In this context, examining the phenomena described in the title of this article, however onerous and overwhelming, is crucial. It is these issues, rooted as they are in power, which decide what path humanity takes from this crossroad. The implications of these trends and their convergence are serious and immediate. Very little can be "done about them", except making personal and community choices and spreading awareness and insisting on discussion. To the point . . .

To begin, two terms should be defined - "The Singularity" and "Transhumanism". We'll rely on Wikipedia for both (see the articles to read footnotes):
The technological singularity is a theoretical future point of unprecedented technological progress, caused in part by the ability of machines to improve themselves using artificial intelligence.[1]

Statistician I. J. Good first wrote of an "intelligence explosion", suggesting that if machines could even slightly surpass human intellect, they could improve their own designs in ways unforeseen by their designers, and thus recursively augment themselves into far greater intelligences. The first such improvements might be small, but as the machine became more intelligent it would become better at becoming more intelligent, which could lead to an exponential and quite sudden growth in intelligence.

Vernor Vinge later called this event "the Singularity" as an analogy between the breakdown of modern physics near a gravitational singularity and the drastic change in society he argues would occur following an intelligence explosion. In the 1980s, Vinge popularized the singularity in lectures, essays, and science fiction. More recently, some prominent technologists such as Bill Joy, founder of Sun Microsystems, voiced concern over the potential dangers of Vinge's singularity (Joy 2000). Following its introduction in Vinge's stories, particularly Marooned in Realtime and A Fire Upon the Deep, the singularity has also become a common plot element throughout science fiction . . .
Please remember that last part. We'll come back to it. The second term:
Transhumanism (symbolized by H+ or h+),[1] a term often used as a synonym for "human enhancement", is an international, intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of science and technology to enhance human mental and physical characteristics and capacities, and overcome what it regards as undesirable and unnecessary aspects of the human condition, such as disability, suffering, disease, aging, and involuntary death. Transhumanist thinkers study the possibilities and consequences of developing and using human enhancement techniques and other emerging technologies for these purposes. Possible dangers, as well as benefits, of powerful new technologies that might radically change the conditions of human life are also of concern to the transhumanist movement.[2]

Although the first known use of the term "transhumanism" dates from 1957, the contemporary meaning is a product of the 1980s when futurists in the United States began to organize what has since grown into the transhumanist movement. Transhumanist thinkers predict that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into beings with such greatly expanded abilities as to merit the label "posthuman".[2] Transhumanism is therefore sometimes referred to as "posthumanism" or a form of transformational activism influenced by posthumanist ideals[3] . . .

Here is the gist: (1) in the not too distant future (some say between four and ten years), "robotic/artificial intelligence" will surpass human intelligence and robots will be able to create themselves and (2) at the same time, we will have the technology to determine our own evolution, perhaps into something "superhuman" or even "suprahuman".

It is not as if all this is a big secret. "Sensationalist" stories about scientific "breakthroughs" are ubiquitous in both the mainstream and alternative media. Robots have been around for decades and have become quite sophisticated. The notion of "human enhancement" has been a fact of human life since an early humanoid picked up a stick and a stone, then discovered the wheel. Every tool we use is an enhancement, per se. For millenia, mankind has concerned itself with making bigger, better, more destructive sticks and stones, faster, more powerful wheels.

Here is where the problems arise. We are become immune to "sensationalism". News of scientific "advances" are received with a kind of learned ho-hum. And we thus are being passively indoctrinated, accepting these new phenomena uncritically as "progress". Above, in the quoted definition of "The Singularity" was the observation that, "Following its introduction in Vinge's stories, particularly Marooned in Realtime and A Fire Upon the Deep, the singularity has also become a common plot element throughout science fiction . . ." The issue is that science fiction and science fact are becoming the same thing, the lines among past, present, and future are amorphous. The difference between dystopia and utopia is unclear.

What is clear is that such science is literally out of control. The result is a tyranny producing de facto "techno-fascism". To underline the point, here's a snip of a counterpunch piece of June, 2008 by Chellis Glendinning, "Techno-Fascism: Every Move You Make", which notes,

“Inverted totalitarianism,” as [political scientist Sheldon Wolin] calls it in his recent Democracy Incorporated, “lies in wielding total power without appearing to, without establishing concentration camps, or enforcing ideological uniformity, or forcibly suppressing dissident elements so long as they remain ineffectual.” To Wolin, such a form of political power makes the United States “the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed.” . . .

Wolin rightfully points out that the origins of U.S. governance were “born with a bias against democracy,” and yet the system has quickly lunged beyond its less-than-democratic agrarian roots to become a mass urban society that, with distinct 1984 flavorings, could be called techno-fascism. The role of technology is the overlooked piece of the puzzle of the contemporary political conundrum.

What are its mechanisms of control? . . .

Less obvious are what could be called “inverted mechanization” whereby citizens blindly accept the march of technological development as an expression of a very inexact, some would say erroneous, concept of “progress.” One mechanism propagating such blindness is the U.S. government’s invisible role as regulatory handmaiden to industry, offering little-to-no means for citizen determination of what technologies are disseminated; instead we get whatever GMOs and nuclear plants corporations dish out. A glaring example is the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that, seeking to not repeat the “errors” of the nuclear industry, offers zero public input as to health or environmental impacts of its antennae, towers, and satellites – the result being that the public has not a clue about the very real biological effects of electromagnetic radiation. Inverted mechanization is thrust forward as well by unequal access to resources: corporations lavishly crafting public opinion and mounting limitless legal defenses versus citizen groups who may be dying from exposure to a dangerous technology but whose funds trickle in from bake sales. In his Autonomous Technology: Technics-Out-Of-Control as a Theme in Political Thought, political scientist Langdon Winner points out that, to boot, the artifacts themselves have grown to such magnitude and complexity that they define popular conception of necessity. Witness the “need” to get to distant locales in a few hours or enjoy instantaneous communication.

Even less obvious a mechanism of public control is the technological inversion that results from the fact that, as filmmaker Godfrey Reggio puts it, “We don’t use technology, we live it.” Like fish in water we cannot consider modern artifacts as separate from ourselves and so cannot admit that they exist . . .
In the West, "fascism" is a sexy buzzword. As such, its meaning becomes amorphous. If by the term we mean the obliteration of the lines among technology, government, and private power; if we mean the absence of democracy and the rise of a totalitarian force, the term is apt.

The fundamental questions are, "Who chooses?" "Who controls?" "Is it good or bad?" "How will it be used?" Or perhaps even more basic - "Who are we?" "What is 'a human', 'humanity', 'life'?" "What is progress?"

There are a few in the scientific community who are asking these questions. Michael Anissimov, author of Accelerating Future, is one. His recent post, "The Terasem Movement 4th Colloquium on the Law of Futuristic Persons" is a good example to read. Think about what he writes here:
Do we need to think about ethics for robots (an inclusive term for AI and virtual/physical bots). Yes, beginning now. Robots are already making decisions that effect humans good or bad. Initially in very limited areas, these will quickly expand. Several ethical questions: Does society want computers and robots making important decisions? This gets into issues of society’s comfort with technology. Are robots the kind of entities capable of making moral decisions? The bulk of this book looks at how we can make ethics computationally tractable, something that can be programmed in today or technology with the very near future. Not just predictions that we will have human-level computers.

We break the area into three subjects. Top-down approaches: Asimov’s Laws, Ten Commandments, utilitarianism, etc. Bottom-up approaches: inspired by evolution and developmental psychology. Not an explicit notion of what is right and good, but developmental. Third area: Superrational faculties. Is reason enough to get robots to make moral decisions, or something more? Are embodiment, emotions, consciousness, or theories of mind necessary? This looks at such an inclusive area of ethics that it is fascinating in its relevance to human ethics as well. Once we’ve granted personhood to corporations, it isn’t a huge leap to translate personhood to machines, so that will also be relevant . . .
Please read the first few sentences at least once more. These are not toys, although they are marketed as such. Cute little R2D2s and C3POs taking our kids to the playground? Who programs these things? What about those adorable robo-pets? Is there a doomsday chip and/or program in there somewhere?

Nick Bostrum is another scientist who advocates a cautious approach. His web site has always had the following introduction:
I want to make it possible to think more rationally about big picture questions.

Some of these questions are about ethics and value. Others have to do with methodology and how we make predictions or deal with uncertainty. Still others pertain to specific concerns and possibilities, such as existential risks, the simulation hypothesis, artificial intelligence, human enhancement, and transhumanism. Others are more mundane.

Suppose we get many little things right and make progress. What use, if we are marching in the wrong direction? Or squandering our resources on projects of limited utility while pivotal (maybe unconventional) tasks are left unfunded and undone? What if we are attending mainly to matters that don’t matter?

My working assumption: Macro-questions are at least as important as micro-questions, and therefore deserve to be studied with at least the same level of scholarship, creativity, and academic rigor.

This assumption might be wrong. Perhaps we are so irredeemably inept at thinking about the big picture that it is good that we usually don’t. Perhaps attempting to wake up will only result in bad dreams. Perhaps. But how will we know unless we try?
Indeed. But who are "we"? The discussion must do its best to inform not just scientists, not just "the ruling/owning class", but all of humanity.

In and of itself, no scientific or technological development has an intrinsic moral value. That value is determined by its use. Its use is determined by its owner. And you don't own this stuff. If you buy a robotic AI unit and you're not in control of both its hardware and software, you are at its mercy. Furthermore, these new machines are touted as potentially smarter than their original makers and able to learn. Learn what?

The original creators of this technology are, well, humans. The initial rules, the basic assumptions, the algorithms are all human-made. Considering the plight of humanity and its home, a dire situation brought on itself in the name of "progress", skepticism is, at the very least, healthy. I chose that word carefully.

For example, although I will only mention it, but not explore it here, the field of eugenics has gained some momentum. It also has met with a great deal of critical examination. It's relation to population control and the "new world order" raises some monumental questions. Conspiracy of the elites or not, again, the question that must be asked - and answered - is, "who chooses?"

Humanity as a species has not demonstrated two essential qualities which will prove necessary to its own survival - restraint and humility. As an atheist, I cannot for one minute think, "Just do it. God will sort it out. Everything gonna be OK." Because that's what we've been doing and everything is not OK. Our greatest talent has been in developing the means of our own destruction (as well as a great deal of where we live and what we share it with). So to imagine that suddenly our own science will bail us out: Sheer, and probably fatal, denial.

Also, as an atheist, I am able to stand away from biblical myth and emotionalism to appreciate, for example, the cautionary tales that the ancient writers imparted. The lesson of Adam's and Eve's banishment from the Garden, I believe, is quite simple: "Not everything that can be done, should be done." God didn't say this. A human did. One perhaps not as smart as Ray Kuzweil, Richard Dawkins, or PZ Myers, but, in my opinion, a great deal wiser than the three of them put together. The nasty serpent, I think, is not in our imagination, it is our imagination - childish, undisciplined, remarkably ignorant of consequences, driven by arrogance. God or not, we have not done well by ourselves.

The "new atheism", as I see it, is complicit in and often drives this madness. Born as it is within the backlash against the abuses and downright destructiveness of evangelical "christian" zealotry and Muslim extremism, it is, in fact, zealotry itself. It is amoral, anti-intellectual, and ultimately nihilistic. And fashionable, oh, so fashionable. Anything goes. No rules. The conceit of science is such that it seems to believe that now god is out of the way, the only laws are the ones they make. We can twist and remake the laws of physics. We can make life. Nothing and everything is synthetic. We are what we make ourselves. One superficial reason this writer does not believe in god is that it hasn't bitch-slapped a few of these poor folks.

Let me wind down with two thoughts. First, the absence of god from the position of CEO of the Universe does not mean that humans are qualified for the job. Second, we ignore at our peril that trusty old adage, "It's not nice to mess with Mother Nature".

Be at peace.

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posted by Unknown at 6:14 AM
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Sunday, December 21, 2008. *
Remember when, 'help was on the way', circa 04?

Well, well... the plot gets thicker.

I smell <8)))><... and it's not fish head soup, more like horse head in the bed.

Some live to tell their story:

National News Briefs; Senator Lands Airplane After Propeller Falls Off

Senator Lands Airplane After Propeller Falls Off

Published: May 10, 1999

Senator James M. Inhofe made an emergency landing on Saturday after the propeller of the small airplane he was flying fell off.

Mr. Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, was not injured, said his press secretary, Danny Finnerty.

Mr. Inhofe said he had been in the air about 10 minutes when the propeller dropped off.

Mr. Inhofe, who has been a pilot for 41 years, glided for about eight miles before landing at an airport here.

Mr. Finnerty said the F.B.I. had been asked to investigate because ''propellers don't just fly off airplanes every day.''

Also see, Rove Threat to Blackmail GOP IT Mastermind Triggers Immunity Request to Ohio AG by Election Lawyers
posted by Uncle $cam at 10:06 PM
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President-elect Barack Obama with his nominee for secretary of education, Arne Duncan. (Photo: Reuters)
Obama's Betrayal of Public Education? Arne Duncan and the Corporate Model of Schooling

Wednesday 17 December 2008

by: Henry A. Giroux and Kenneth Saltman, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Since the 1980s, but particularly under the Bush administration, certain elements of the religious right, corporate culture and Republican right wing have argued that free public education represents either a massive fraud or a contemptuous failure. Far from a genuine call for reform, these attacks largely stem from an attempt to transform schools from a public investment to a private good, answerable not to the demands and values of a democratic society but to the imperatives of the marketplace. As the educational historian David Labaree rightly argues, public schools have been under attack in the last decade "not just because they are deemed ineffective but because they are public."[1] Right-wing efforts to disinvest in public schools as critical sites of teaching and learning and govern them according to corporate interests is obvious in the emphasis on standardized testing, the use of top-down curricular mandates, the influx of advertising in schools, the use of profit motives to "encourage" student performance, the attack on teacher unions and modes of pedagogy that stress rote learning and memorization. For the Bush administration, testing has become the ultimate accountability measure, belying the complex mechanisms of teaching and learning. The hidden curriculum is that testing be used as a ploy to de-skill teachers by reducing them to mere technicians, that students be similarly reduced to customers in the marketplace rather than as engaged, critical learners and that always underfunded public schools fail so that they can eventually be privatized. But there is an even darker side to the reforms initiated under the Bush administration and now used in a number of school systems throughout the country. As the logic of the market and "the crime complex"[2] frame the field of social relations in schools, students are subjected to three particularly offensive policies, defended by school authorities and politicians under the rubric of school safety. First, students are increasingly subjected to zero-tolerance policies that are used primarily to punish, repress and exclude them. Second, they are increasingly absorbed into a "crime complex" in which security staff, using harsh disciplinary practices, now displace the normative functions teachers once provided both in and outside of the classroom.[3] Third, more and more schools are breaking down the space between education and juvenile delinquency, substituting penal pedagogies for critical learning and replacing a school culture that fosters a discourse of possibility with a culture of fear and social control. Consequently, many youth of color in urban school systems, because of harsh zero-tolerance polices, are not just being suspended or expelled from school. They are being ushered into the dark precincts of juvenile detention centers, adult courts and prison. Surely, the dismantling of this corporatized and militarized model of schooling should be a top priority under the Obama administration. Unfortunately, Obama has appointed as his secretary of education someone who actually embodies this utterly punitive, anti-intellectual, corporatized and test-driven model of schooling.

Barack Obama's selection of Arne Duncan for secretary of education does not bode well either for the political direction of his administration nor for the future of public education. Obama's call for change falls flat with this appointment, not only because Duncan largely defines schools within a market-based and penal model of pedagogy, but also because he does not have the slightest understanding of schools as something other than adjuncts of the corporation at best or the prison at worse. The first casualty in this scenario is a language of social and political responsibility capable of defending those vital institutions that expand the rights, public goods and services central to a meaningful democracy. This is especially true with respect to the issue of public schooling and the ensuing debate over the purpose of education, the role of teachers as critical intellectuals, the politics of the curriculum and the centrality of pedagogy as a moral and political practice.
posted by Uncle $cam at 7:54 PM
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Obama expands his job stimulus plan, moving the goalposts from 2 to 3 million jobs to be created over a 2 year period. There are a few things that don't add up in this. First, these are largely jobs that cost the US economy money, instead of making it richer. And that economy is already so broke that any more additional costs will weigh heavily on it. Second, the expectations for the numbers of jobs lost in the economy are rising towards a cruel, eye-popping and devastating 1 million per month for 2009, and likely beyond. Creating 3 million jobs while a potential 24 million will be lost, it's not a very reassuring statistic.

Besides, it puts the US in a category of economies that has members in the likes of Bulgaria before the Berlin wall came down. State run, inefficient, and most of all doomed to fail. The trillions of dollars spent so far to "rescue" the utterly bankrupt US banking industry have not created a single job. The billions thrown carelessly and with eyes closed at the automotive industries of America and Canada will not save one single job either. They'll just move the problem ahead for a few months, leaving Obama, as the proverbial patsy, to face an insurmountable issue that may well prove too much for him, perhaps as early as next year.
Still, all that could be forgiven if the current and incoming administrations would tackle the one problem that nobody dares stand up to: Toxic Assets. All of the money spent so far, all the trillions, every penny of it, will be a complete waste if these assets are not forced out of their closets. Everybody talks about the need to restore markets by restoring trust and confidence. Well, Mr. Obama, here is your key to reviving that trust. Find your own Elliott Ness, this one specialized in derivatives, get him the people he wants and needs, and start raiding the banks' vaults, and the hedge funds, and the pension funds. Force it all out into the open. Refuse to give them even one more nickel, until all of it is on the table. All of it, not just some of it. If that doesn't happen, the US economy will not recover, because there will be no trust and no confidence.

Would be nice, right? Well, don't count on it. The man behind the curtain of Obama’s financial team is Robert Rubin, and his proxies are the likes of Tim Geithner and Larry Summers. These guys have one goal in mind only: to let the firms, and the very culture, that enriched them and provided them their lifestyle and friends, their yachts and mansions, and the power they so enjoy, endure. Even though they are smart enough to understand that that culture is gone, broke, bankrupt and dead, this is still the sole thing they will work towards. And they will do so at the expense of hard-working or no-longer working ordinary people.

An era is over. We have been the last of the affluent, the carefree and the innocent. Not that we're really all that inncoent, mind you, it was all just pretense all the way, many millions of people have died for our affluence. We just never told ourselves their life stories. They will be our stories soon.

Are you now ready to fight in the streets, to protect your family, to share your meal with the hungry? It’s not about being a leftie, or a softie, and I certainly am neither. It’s about survival. It’s about being smart enough to read the world you live in. The model of the nuclear family will die with the affluence. It’s never been but an aberration. You will, like your ancestors before you, need your family, your friends, and your neighbors.

Life itself is about to come calling.
posted by Uncle $cam at 10:22 AM
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Friday, December 19, 2008. *
thank you for throwing your shoe

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posted by Dr. Menlo at 3:23 PM
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Besides making an international celebrity out of Iraqi reporter Muntadar al-Zeidi, the now infamous shoe-throwing incident is cropping up in surprising ways across Iraq, where a population beaten and exhausted from years of war is once again finding its voice against the US military presence and the Iraqi government seen as its enablers.

The city of Fallujah was one of the hardest hit in all of Iraq, nearly destroyed earlier in the war. When students at the city’s university held an impromptu rally in support of the jailed Zeidi, US soldiers were quick on the scene. The students raised shoes and some of them threw rocks, prompting the troops to open fire in an attempt to disperse the crowd. One student was wounded, shot in the foot according to his doctor.
posted by Anonymous at 7:05 AM
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008. *
William Greider knows the way around the filibuster. Make it 55 votes not 60 for cloture. I learned from this article that you can do this with a simple majority vote in the US Senate. Of course, why didn't they do it last session? That would have helped the country, lots and lots probably. I really think this is essential if the Democrats are going to do anything. I just see this happy confluence of corporate dems and corporate republicans doing a lot of bi partisan "things" that I'm really going to hate. Lots. Related: This is also related to these two stories here and here.

If the Democratic Party intends to get serious about governing, it can start by disabling the Republican filibuster that gives the minority party in the Senate a virtual veto over anything it wants to kill. The chatter in Washington assumes that since Democrats failed to gain a sixty-seat majority, there's nothing they can do. But that's not true. Democrats can change the rules and remove a malignant obstacle from the path of our new president. Given the emergency conditions facing the nation, why should Mitch McConnell and his right-wing colleagues get to decide what the Senate may vote on?

This proposition disturbs the happy talk about the "postpartisan" politics Barack Obama has inspired. But let's get real. McConnell is making nice for the moment, having survived his re-election scare in Kentucky. But he will use the filibuster to stymie the new Democratic administration whenever it looks to him like a political opportunity for Republicans. Thanks mainly to McConnell, the 110th Congress of 2007-08 set a new record--138 cloture motions to limit debate and head off filibusters. That is double the level of ten years ago. Who really believes McConnell will voluntarily give up his starring role as Senator No?

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posted by Philip Shropshire at 11:52 PM
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008. *
posted by Dr. Menlo at 7:24 AM
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Monday, December 15, 2008. *

Yet another edition of Good Obama, Bad Obama.

Booman has some positive things to say about Obama. (I'm personally excited about his appointment of Chu for energy...he's a for real alt fuels scientist....)

These are all solid progressive picks and none of them are white dudes. I think this points out the folly of thinking that we, who have received no applications and have done no vetting, can make the best selections for important administration jobs. Other than Carol Browner, I didn't know who any of these people were until I read their biographies tonight. Are they going to be capable administrators? I don't know. How could I? But they all appear to be solid on the issues and to have sterling qualifications. They're not big donor flunkies or political appointments.

I know there are some obvious limitations to the idea that you can or should just trust the Obama administration, but I learned repeatedly over the course of Obama's presidential campaign that he deserved my trust because he and his team consistently made decisions that were better than anything I had been able to dream up. I do trust him. I'm not going to lecture you about how you ought to trust him, too, but I think you should look at what he is not doing.

He is not filling his administration with donors and lobbyists and concessions to different political constituencies. His cabinet is amazingly diverse, but he hasn't made a single pick just to pay someone off or to satisfy some interest group. His picks are all qualified, and many of them are well positioned to get things done.

I would definitely have made different picks, but I just can't argue against the way Obama is staffing up with incredibly competent people that are willing to implement his campaign promises.

Yes, I'm happy with these picks.

Makes sense. Now the bad news: what's happened in the last two years is that the republican filibuster stopped pretty much everything progressive that the dems wanted to do. We got 700 billion for rich fat cats, possibly 2 trillion unaccounted for by the fed, but nothing for the autoworkers. I'm trying to figure out how Obama beats this or whether he even wants to. Here's a key: don't let Bush spend the remaining half of that 700 billion. There's no plausible reason why they should. I mean, if it's that hard to get a lousy 15 billion, come on....Firedoglake puts it best:

As much as I think Dubya is the worst president of all time and can't wait to be rid of him, he was damn good at getting shit done. Sure, almost everything he got done was stupid and destructive and unpopular, but that just makes his "achievement" even more perversely impressive.

Remember after the 2004 election, when Bush declared that he had political capital and intended to spend it? That was not exactly a landslide victory, and his approval rating dipped below 50% immediately afterwards and stayed there. Republicans did not have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. And yet, Dubya was still able to bully and bluster Congress into giving him almost everything he wanted... even after the Democrats were in the majority!

Now compare that with Obama. As the Democratic nominee, he caved on telecom immunity, and was perfectly happy to push for the financial bailout without insisting on oversight. Now that he's the landslide president-elect chock full o' political capital, I don't see any evidence that he wants to spend it - at least not on the auto industry. Here's what Obama said before the bridge loan failed in the Senate:

The legislation in Congress right now is an important step in that direction and I'm hopeful that a final agreement will be reached this week.

And here's his statement after:

I am disappointed that the Senate could not reach agreement on a short-term plan for the auto industry. I share the frustration of so many about the decades of mismanagement in this industry that has helped deliver the current crisis. Those bad practices cannot be rewarded or continued. But I also know that millions of American jobs rely directly or indirectly on a viable auto industry, and that the beginnings of reform are at hand. The revival of our economy as a whole should not be a partisan issue. So I commend those in Congress as well as the Administration who tried valiantly to forge a compromise. My hope is that the Administration and the Congress will still find a way to give the industry the temporary assistance it needs while demanding the long-term restructuring that is absolutely required.

He sounds like an innocent bystander with no ability to influence the outcome, either as a senator or a president-elect. No cajoling, no arm-twisting, no deal-making, not even any of that if-we-don't-pass-this-immediately-America-will-be-destroyed rhetoric that Dubya deployed so effectively. He couldn't even persuade everyone in his own party to show up and vote the right way. (Okay, I'll give him a pass on Teddy, and Harry voted Nay for procedural reasons.)

As Ian points out, there are still ways that Obama can make this happen, and they don't all depend on congressional approval or being president. Let's see if he's willing to take action to avoid catastrophe, or if he's content to just wring his hands on the sidelines and hope that Dubya can make something good happen for once.

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posted by Philip Shropshire at 11:55 PM
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This was from Nate Silver. He uses it to prove that Obama is a progressive. I think the problem here isn't what Obama stands for its what he'll fight for. There's an old John Edwards video where he points that things aren't going to change much if you replace a bunch of corporate republicans with corporate democrats. He even used the example of how republicans, with the usual sell out Democratic Party members, stopped healthcare reform but managed to push through the Horrible "Let's Compete with Slave Labor" NAFTA. If we follow this theory, then everything at the bottom of that list is likely to pass, with very little at the very top, or more progressive laws ever getting a hearing thanks to the GOP Senate filibuster blockade (hat tip to Froth for that link) of all that's meaningful.


posted by Philip Shropshire at 7:08 PM
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Friday, December 12, 2008. *
I'm Godsmacked that this Dkos post hasn't been deleted...

Greenwald: "One of things that often gets overlooked because these programs (Guantanamo, extraordinary rendition, etc.) are typically blamed on the Bush Administration - and rightfully so since they are the ones who conceived of it and first implemented - it is the extent of the complicity on the part of leading congressional democrats..."

Maddow: "Bingo"

Greenwald: "in most of these programs."

Greenwald: "Not only were they briefed on it, people like Nancy Pelosi, Jane Harmon and Jay Rockefeller were briefed that we were torturing, that we were eavesdropping illegally. In many cases they did nothing about it. Often they assented actively to these programs."

Greenwald: "You also have a whole series of laws that have been passed with the aid of the democrats and even with the democrats in control of congress to authorize things like the military commissions and to immunize the people in our government who have broken the law and violated international treaties."

Greenwald: "And so the fact that the leading house Democrat on the intelligence committee (Sylvester Reyes) is urging that the CIA Director and the Director of National Intelligence, the people who have overseen these programs that have done such damage to our country, urging that they be retained and that some of these programs be maintained by Obama is not surprising. Many of these Democrats have given full-throated support to a lot of these programs even as they try to keep the blame on the Bush Administration."

Video: BILL MOYERS sits down with political commentator and blogger Glenn Greenwald who asks: Are we a nation ruled by men or by laws? A former constitutional and civil rights lawyer, Greenwald looks at the legacy of the Bush Administration, the prospects for President-elect Obama's cabinet choices, as well as the possibilities for government accountability.
posted by Uncle $cam at 11:32 PM
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Eviction Day: Foreclosure Crisis Forces Man From Home

In the third quarter of 2008, more than 700,000 Americans faced foreclosure -- a new and troubling record. While mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced last month they would temporarily halt foreclosures and evictions from Thanksgiving to Jan. 9, the moratorium is likely to affect only a small percentage of homeowners. On a cold December morning, ANP witnessed an increasingly common, but rarely documented, tragedy: someone being evicted from his home.

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Paulson Hire's Private Contractors to Handle Bailout with Billions of your money.
posted by Uncle $cam at 7:50 PM
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Thursday, December 11, 2008. *
Since Gary Webb’s suicide four years ago, I have written annual retrospectives about the late journalist’s important contribution to the historical record -- he forced devastating admissions from the CIA about drug trafficking by the Nicaraguan contra rebels under the protection of the Reagan administration in the 1980s.

News flash, it wasn't a suicide.

Also see, Investigative journalist Gary Webb refused to be complicit. [Coke or Pepsi]


R.I.P. Gary Webb -- Unembedded Reporter
posted by Uncle $cam at 6:26 AM
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Teaching children to use Windows is like teaching them to smoke tobacco—in a world where only one company sells tobacco.

Not Free at Any Price
Why I switched to the OLPC—and why I dropped it Richard M. Stallman

The One Laptop Per Child project, launched by MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte in 2003, was supposed to lead millions of children around the world to information technology and freedom. The plans aimed for low cost, enabling many children to use the machines, and free software, so they would have freedom while using them. I thought it was a good idea; I even planned to use one myself when I found in the OLPC’s promise of free software a way to escape the proprietary startup programs that all commercial laptops used.

But just as I was switching to an OLPC, the project backed away from its commitment to freedom and allowed the machine to become a platform for running Windows, a non-free operating system. [What makes this issue so important?] read on..

proprietary software sucks ass, I try to use 'open source' wherever possible, which is becoming less and less due to the control issues.
posted by Uncle $cam at 5:42 AM
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Monday, December 08, 2008. *
Tobiah - I Love Your Music

More Tobiah here.
posted by Anonymous at 6:41 PM
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Sunday, December 07, 2008. *
A Fable of Blasphemy
According to the Torah, when the followers of Moses were stranded in the desert, beset by serpents and come to be poisoned, the father of their tribe would bring the ailing to a nearby cave to administer the cure. It consisted of the revelation of a bronze serpent afixed atop a ceremonial staff. Touch the serpent, he told them, and your illness will exorcised.

Moses, before leading his people into exile, was himself a student of Egyptian magic and learned his craft while enslaved to that mighty empire. We cannot know if he learned the details of this ceremony from the Egyptians (or indeed that he existed in reality), but we can say that ceremonial staves surmounted by bronze serpents have been found in Egyptian tombs, and depictions of such staves are found throughout the various media of Egyptian art.

In Egypt, the serpent was used iconically throughout the history of the Empire. Various sources vaguely categorize the Egyptian Uraeus as a protective charm. Fewer note that, as such, the protective function of the idol was one more example of what Egyptologists call apotropaic magic, the use of like to cast out like. In addition to serpents, the likeness of other animals were used to protect against the hostilities of those animals against mankind: jackal, falcon, crocodile, and so on.

Egyptian society was organized into collectives called nomes, and each nome was symbolically resided over by a patron diety. Moses was born in the Land of Goshen near the Nile Delta, a portion of Lower Egypt. Lower Egypt's patron god was the Uraeus, also called Wadjet, the spirit of the Eye in the Pyramid, depicted so often as emerging from the foreheads of the Pharoahs.

Whether or not the healing ceremony of the bronze serpent was performed by Jews in the deserts of Sinai, I cannot help but read its form as a semiotic reference to the casting off of Imperial shackles. For all those who enter in such communion, to commune with the symbols of the oppressor, to familiarize oneself with them, to use them, is to dispell the power of those symbols and to reconstitute a new system--or no system, if that is the healthy choice. That is the essence of magic.

"Let each one go to his or her limit. Resist that which resists within you."

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posted by Anonymous at 1:57 PM
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Politics as Unusual
Philip, I don't think Brainwash is criticizing Obama. The sentiment seems to be more that Obama is ultimately less important than the movement that has been created around him, and if you want to get anything done politically, you will always have to work with some segment of the population that's focused in a particular direction. Of late, the groundswell around Obama is the most powerful political segment--at least with regards to governance.

Importantly, this is exactly what Obama said several times going into the election: his term in office isn't about "me" but about "all of you," that he wanted his supporters to hold him accountable, and that he would do everything he could to open government to the participation of The People. To some people, this sounds like political pandering.

I think what the critics are missing is just how seriously this economy is going to hurt. People won't take things lying down after it gets to a certain point. The idea that they will in the future just because they have in the past is false.

The "financial crisis" is an illusion which simultaneously distracts from the real economic problems (distribution of real goods and services rather than the movement of monetary "values" in a computer) and exacerbates the real problems by vacuuming money out of the economy.

The quickest way I've thought of to describe the financial crisis is to say, Remember the food crisis a few months ago? The financial speculators were sequestering food in silos in order to raise demand for that food and thereby raise prices. This financial crisis is analogous. The banking sector is sequestering money from the economy in order to increase demand. Only the speculated payoff isn't higher monetary returns in the abstract, but political power.

As we all know by now, Paulson broke the TARP. As shitty as the deal was, as much in the favor the banks it was, he broke it anyway and did whatever he (and his friends) wanted with the money. Rather than execute a massive purchase of assets from the private sector by the government, he helped the private sector consolidate their political power. And remember that the passing of this law constituted a major turning point in the election in favor of the Democrats. To repeat: Breaking the TARP was a calculated affront to the Democrats, Obama, and, it follows, to the majority of American voters. What we have is a staredown between the finance sector and just about everybody else, viewed via the fractured lens of two-party politics.

Not all conservative accolades for Obama are given with the same motivation. Some are with the intent to shore up the cohesiveness of the Republican party. Some are with the intent to inspire paranoia in the Democratic ranks. Some are attempts to ingratiate the new ruling party. And some are made with the sincere belief that America must pass beyond the Republican vs. Democrat dynamic.

It seems less meaningful to me now to regard conservatives as a bloc. Compiling a list of accolades from conservatives at this point, sorry $cam, gives the Republican party not only more power than they deserve, but more power than they will ever again be able to manage.

What really matters now is the dynamic between the banking sector and everyone else. We can speculate about whether or not Obama represents the interests of "The People," but, again,  those who think this line of inquiry is important are underestimating (deliberately or idly) the severity of the crisis. When people get hungry, they become conscious of their hunger and seek to do something about it. That's politics for you. Obama has claimed his election is an opening. The American public will take that opening, whether or not he's telling the truth.
posted by Anonymous at 3:31 AM
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Saturday, December 06, 2008. *

From the Daily Kos Gallery:

Aside from the commitment to what sounds like a great progressive stimulus plan, one sentence struck me: Will your job or your husband’s job or your daughter’s job be the next one cut?. Read that closely. In a speech about universal fears and hardship, he is addressing his primary listeners as women. Never have I heard sentence construction like that from a president -- women addressed directly in a non-"women's issues" setting as legitimate, fully fledged and very concerned and invested breadwinners. The effect is stunning.

I'm actually impressed with this guy's work ethic and again he's less likely to send me to a detention center for opposing the Iran war. Or Israel's war against Iran. Whatever. I don't care what that mysterious Johnny Brainwash sez...

versus the Real News:

and this:

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posted by Philip Shropshire at 11:01 PM
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posted by Anonymous at 5:57 PM
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Tuesday, December 02, 2008. *
As Barack Obama's opus, Team of Rivals, continues its rolling debut, the early reviews are in and the "critics" are full of praise for the cast:

"[T]he new administration is off to a good start."

-- Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell.

"[S]uperb ... the best of the Washington insiders ... this will be a valedictocracy -- rule by those who graduate first in their high school classes."

-- David Brooks, conservative New York Times columnist

"[V]irtually perfect ... "

-- Senator Joe Lieberman, former Democrat and John McCain's top surrogate in the 2008 campaign.


-- Karl Rove, "Bush's brain."

"I am gobsmacked by these appointments, most of which could just as easily have come from a President McCain ... this all but puts an end to the 16-month timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, the unconditional summits with dictators, and other foolishness that once emanated from the Obama campaign ... [Hillary] Clinton and [James] Steinberg at State should be powerful voices for 'neo-liberalism' which is not so different in many respects from 'neo-conservativism.'"

-- Max Boot, neoconservative activist, former McCain staffer.

"I see them as being sort of center-right of the Democratic party."

-- James Baker, former Secretary of State and the man who led the theft of the 2000 election.

"[S]urprising continuity on foreign policy between President Bush's second term and the incoming administration ... certainly nothing that represents a drastic change in how Washington does business. The expectation is that Obama is set to continue the course set by Bush ... "

-- Michael Goldfarb of the neoconservative Weekly Standard.

"I certainly applaud many of the appointments ... "

-- Senator John McCain

"So far, so good."

-- Senator Lamar Alexander, senior Republican Congressional leader.

Hillary Clinton will be "outstanding" as Secretary of State

-- Henry Kissinger, war criminal.

Rahm Emanuel is "a wise choice" in the role of Chief of Staff

-- Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, John McCain's best friend.

Obama's team shows "Our foreign policy is non-partisan."

-- Ed Rollins, top Republican strategist and Mike Huckabee's 2008 campaign manager

"The country will be in good hands."

-- Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush's Secretary of State

Signed, Johnny Brainwash
posted by Uncle $cam at 11:53 PM
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Maddow: Why wont Obama pursue war crimes, torture?
By David Edwards
President-elect Barack Obama has been doing a lot of compromising lately, and it seems that his ideas are the ones falling by the wayside. Is he giving too much away to Republicans? Rachel Maddow is joined by senior editor Dahlia Lithwick.

This video is from MSNBCs The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast Nov. 24, 2008.

posted by Uncle $cam at 11:36 PM
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I don’t really believe in “The People”, only people. My view of the polity owes as much to taoism and discordianism as it does to marxism, anarchism or whatever.

When I talk about mobilization, I don’t mean some nebulous mass of people. I mean finding the people who are inclined in the same general direction I want to go and forming them into a cohesive interest group. Even in periods of high mobilization, except maybe during peaks of revolutionary activity, most people are still on the sidelines. Decisions aren’t made by masses- they’re made by organized parties or factions that are able to exert political influence.

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posted by Klintron at 4:27 PM
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Monday, December 01, 2008. *

Alex Grey is one of my favorite artists, right up there with Shepard Fairey and Banksy.

Speaking of art, I have been recently thinking of some new projects and I resurrected an old idea I was thinking of putting forth in a new way: International Art Machine. So I bought and I was thinking of something like the old Defunker (which seems to have merged with BustedTees) wherein people could upload their designs - and not just for t-shirts but prints, coffee mugs, etc. And some profits to go to charity. So a user-generated art project, commerce site, good causes giver . . . if only there were a for 'web 2.0'? Anyone? Anyone?

. . . Thanks to Klintron of Technoccult for the Obama link. Klintron is quite the bright young entrepreneur; he just launched an online store called: The Swift Fox. Plus, he has a model for a gf named Jillian who has her own online store featuring delectable handknit goods. Plus, he puts on "crazy happenings" . . . watch out for this kid, man. He's got cult following potential.

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posted by Dr. Menlo at 9:42 PM
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