Archive for January, 2011

THIS IS NOT A DRILL

January 26, 2011

The Last Bald Eagle, a Patriot's Dream

This is not a wail of sorrow, but a call to action and the elements of a plan. The Catch-22 is that each one of us, cliché, has to ACT, and oh, I wish it wasn’t so, because it’s nice just lying around, drinking beer, Chablis, so forth, munching chips, caviar, watching Oprah, whatever.

BACK STORY:

I became a genuine environmentalist while in the Navy in the second half of the Sixties. I did some South Seas reef diving and became a bogus shell collector, proud to take only “live” shells, boiling them clean when I got home, thinking that the conches smelled like particularly good seafood. The conches taught me what I needed to know. I found one lying on the sandy bottom, spotted more, and soon harvested five. Score! I took them home, and while they were boiling, did the research – which strikes me as humanity’s general approach to nature, learning about it after we’ve shot, stabbed, strangled and/or overbuilt it. On this occasion I learned that conches eat the brittle star, which eats live coral, exposing the reef to erosion, which exposes the island to the waves, which erode the island – no more island. I had helped to destroy the balance, enabling one species to overwhelm another, breaking the co-dependent chain that sustains all. My ignorance gave the planet deeper grief than could be guessed. Multiplied by a legion of ignorantly indifferent shell collectors, the islands were doomed. Adding greed and superstition to the equation, which institutionalizes and exalts ignorance, we have the entire human race’s approach to the planet today. Personal note, I never took another live shell.

Global warming, global dimming, and overpopulation beset us. We are overheating the planet, interfering with its rainfall, changing the ocean currents, destroying the bottom of the food chain, and breeding like rabbits. But, not to worry, it’s all in some cockamamie book or other; written by ancient nomadic desert dwellers that knew nothing about science, who maintained – unreasonably – that’s it’s all out of our control. Some supreme invisible sky being is “planning” everything for us and in the end, if you believe this drivel, all will come out just hunky-dory. It’s all for the best, just ask Pat Robertson, or any other nut bag right wing true believer.

The rich who benefit most from natural destruction, and all who help them, are intentionally committing high crimes and misdemeanors against life on this planet; they would be felonies if committed against human beings – “but we gotta kill those forests to feed all those babies” (lining fat pockets). Until it ends. Completely.

The numbskulls are corrupting our laws and tossing aside every value other than material profit and individual power, still subdividing farmland, planting high-rise condos on our waterfronts, eating the spoils of the global holocaust, and taking immense pride in their ability to waste gas and ruin the air in a Hummer, which they have somehow mentally transmuted to the end-all of human existence. Well, they’re about to find out how right they are. I hope those Hummers come with deep space life-support.

Many people care more about some redneck bastard’s paternity on Jerry Springer, than the planet’s survival (literally, “some redneck bastard”). Money, sex, drugs, and cheap thrills prevail – as commodity, as constant pastime, as life pursuit. It’s obvious that we’re much too stupid as a species to prevent our own extinction; it’s just too bad we have to take most other species with us when we go – bad sports us.

Alas, it was such a beautiful planet. Now, it’s on its way to becoming a lifeless and barren husk. Don’t think of it as desert, think of it as Palm Springs after all the water runs out. Mars is us.

According to the best science, we’ve got ten years left to take this issue on seriously and save our butts. It may well be less, no one can accurately predict the rate of decay. It will take most of us to accomplish any earthly salvation, but if we don’t confront and dispose of our garbage: religion; overpopulation; short-term economic self-interest; and our ostrich-like tendency to duck and cover in order to avoid seeing our approaching doom, we’re screwed.

We must stop over consumption, kick capitalism into a servant’s status in our democratic life, and curb the excesses of individual and tribal (read also national) self-interest, and put the societal kibosh on religious fanaticism – it is a mental disorder, pure and simple. Impossible, you say? That’s my point: good luck wishes and the spin of prayer are about all we seem willing to invest in our own survival. If it is impossible to resist, I want to use a different word than extinction, which the movies have helped us to accept as, oh, yes, inevitable, that. Suicide must apply, instead – insane self-extermination.

SOME FACTS:

WAYS TO REDUCE CARBON FOOTPRINTS: Abstracted:Not So Carbon FriendlyJennifer Anderson, Portland Tribune. Sound Off – www.portlandtribune.com

ACTION: Measure: Lifetime carbon dioxide saved in Metric Tons)

  • ·        Recycle newspaper, magazines, glass, plastic, and aluminum cans – 17 tons
  • ·        Replace old refrigerator with energy-efficient model – 19 tons
  • ·        Replace 10 incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient ones – 36 tons
  • ·        Replace single-glazed windows with energy-efficient windows – 21 tons
  • ·        Reduce miles driven from 231 to 155 per week – 147 tons
  • ·        Increase car fuel economy from 20 miles per gallon to 30 – 148 tons
  • ·        REDUCE NUMBER OF CHILDREN BY ONE 9,441 tons 

Data from U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s personal emissions calculator and calculations by OSU statistics professor Paul Murtaugh. Annual totals based on lifespan of 80 (female expectancy U.S.) Source: Paul Murtaugh.

Under current conditions, each child in the U.S. adds about 9,4441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the parents’ carbon legacy during his lifetime. That’s 5.7 times more than the average childless person. A child born in China has a fifth of the impact of a child born in the U.S. The carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of having a child is almost 20 times more important than other ecologically minded lifestyle choices like driving a fuel-efficient car, recycling or being energy-efficient. The same conclusions roughly apply to fresh water consumption.

MORE RAGING GOOD NEWS:

DROWNING – In 1994, the Smithsonian‘s Wilson Quarterly stated, “Some of the environmental changes may produce irreversible damage to the Earth’s capacity to sustain life.” The island of Tobago in the Caribbean is being inundated by 3-4 feet per year (ten times faster than ten years ago) and is expected to lose 30-40 feet per year in the next ten. “Science and technology may not be able to prevent either irreversible degradation of the environment or continued poverty for much of the world.”

Seven Feet Not Only Possible, But Likely

It’s been widely acknowledged that the IPCC estimates from 2007 are too conservative when it comes to sea level rise. Unofficial updates to that research, publicized in March 2009 at the Copenhagen Climate Congress, said at minimum the world is likely to see half a meter, with more than a meter well within the realm of possibility. A new piece in Yale Environment 360 goes beyond that.

The world’s major coastal cities will undoubtedly receive most of the attention as sea level rise threatens infrastructure. Miami tops the list of most endangered cities in the world, as measured by the value of property that would be threatened by a three-foot rise. This would flood all of Miami Beach and leave downtown Miami sitting as an island of water, disconnected from the rest of Florida. Other threatened U.S. cities include New York/Newark, New Orleans, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Tampa-St Petersburg, and San Francisco. Osaka/Kobe, Tokyo, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, London and Nagoya are among the most threatened major cities outside of North America

Preserving coastal cities will require huge public expenditures, leaving smaller coastal resort communities to fend for themselves. Manhattan, for example, is likely to beat out Nags Head, North Carolina for federal funds, a fact that recreational beach communities must recognize when planning a response to sea level rise.

Which brings up the appalling fact that many cities are developing public housing in floodplains. It may be just in time for property developers to cash in before the land goes under. Will we, the dense public, be invited to bail out subsequently sinking subsidized housing? Will we eventually build seawalls thirty feet high at public expense to protect uninsurable money pits?

SUFFOCATING – We may not have to worry about that. If the Arctic becomes six degrees warmer, half the world’s permafrost will likely thaw, probably to a depth of a few metres, releasing most of the carbon and methane accumulated there over thousands of years say experts on permafrost. Methane is a 25 times more potent warming gas than carbon dioxide (CO2). This why some climate scientists call for a rapid phaseout of fossil fuels, recommending that emissions peak by 2015 and decline three per cent per year.

Meanwhile, energy experts believe a new generation of low-cost, thin-film solar roof and outside wall coverings being made today has the potential to eliminate burning coal and oil to generate electricity – if governments have the political will to fully embrace green technologies. Read more: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/09/20-2

We have to stand up to those fossil fuel giants and make them stand down. They are working against all life as we know it. There is NO excuse for it.

GROWTH and DEVELOPMENT – As to population, experts predict twice as many people in the United States by the year 2050. More babies are being born today than during the so-called “Baby-Boomer” generation and we ain’t seen nuthin’ yet! The ridiculous taboos around the issue of human population – usually “politically correct” arguments of small practical value – are a direct threat to our own dear, precious, misdirected, unthinking selves. We’re breeding ourselves out of room.

No brainer: unchecked growth demands greater and greater amounts of shrinking resources. The scale of many of our dilemmas – e.g. public health and housing – is attributable to too many people competing for too few resources in too small a space. Get a clue! It would seem, therefore, that some education and some action on this issue might be in order. Yet, religious institutions militantly urge membership to procreate, and sponsor armies of child-producing sectarian immigrants. Business leadership focuses on lower wages, larger markets and plentiful cheap labor. Timorous local, state and federal elected leaders bicker over tax-funded population education, and resist tax-funded birth prevention. We argue over sex education, birth control, and abortion while our overcrowded house burns down. But we can get kiddie porn on the Comcast cable monopoly!

The nation has conducted the biggest prison-building program in history, even as the hard crime rate falls. This may be due to “effective community policing,” but it is also systematic suppression of a youthful surplus male underclass without family wage jobs. Statistically, economic development largely benefits a relatively small group of players: nine-tenths of the people grin and bear eroding livability, falling wages and rising prices in a rat race fueled by non-productive speculation. We have, created whole new crimes – e.g. “simple” marijuana possession – and longer “minimum” sentences to keep our disaffected unemployed off our city streets.

For many leaders, there is no apparent alternative. Most business, elected and mainstream media leadership extols an almost mystical faith in “growth,” pursuing mythical future taxes that can never catch up with the infrastructure stresses the growth produces – particularly as corporately manipulated voters cut off tax money via “popular” ballot initiatives, and corporate lawyers run loops around the bureaucrats, do-gooders and the long-suffering public.

HOPE, THOUGH – We can turn the whole thing around right now if we have the courage to do it. We can join action committees, raise our voices in common cause to insist on green jobs, rebuild our decaying infrastructure and repair the damages of unchecked “growth and development;” there’s plenty of money, and posterity in that. Let’s clean up the Super Fund and Brown Sites – there’s work there for generations and we can charge the polluters for the damages – why shouldn’t they pay for their own destructive mess? Franklin Roosevelt improved our National Parks; they all need a spruce up right now. We can make the corporations pay us to reforest the slopes and lands they have butchered in their quest for the almighty dollar. We can make them pay a fair price for the minerals and resources they tear out of public lands for $5 per acre; why are we giving away our gold in the ground without a public cut? Cries for private enterprise are all well and good, but the public has a collective need for a life free from want and fear – have we forgotten that? Why should we let one class of narrow-minded, mean-spirited, selfish people stand in the way of the rest of humanity and planetary survival? What is this, Easter Island all over on a global scale? Let’s build those damned statues, gang, it’s all they’ll remember us by, whoever they may be. What a race of wusses we have become. Bawk-bawk-bawk, hear the chickens squawk.

RELATED:

“We have it in our power to remake the world!” – Thomas Paine, American author, patriot, founder.

NOTABLE FINAL THOUGHTS:

In 1956, C. Wright Mills wrote in the Power Elite:

“Two things are needed in a democracy: articulate and knowledgeable publics, and political leaders who, if not men of reason, are at least reasonably responsible to such knowledgeable publics as exist. Such a public and such leaders – either of power or of knowledge – do not now prevail, and knowledge does not now have democratic relevance in America.”

The rich are generally blind or indifferent to the social consequences of ignoring the welfare of the general citizenry. In the end, we all pay for their selfish indifference. If we, the people don’t get smart pretty quickly, we, the people will perish much sooner than expected, and NOT due to any particular plan, but simply because of plain old human selfishness and self-deception. The rich will succeed in killing us; our only consolation is that we will take them with us. Won’t we?

The time for each one to reach one, each one to teach one, is NOW.

“Act. There may be no result in your lifetime, but without action, there will be no result at all.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

Worthy and Effective Progressive Volunteer Action Groups:

 

  • AVAAZ
  • http://www.moveon.org/?skip=1
  • Center for Biological Diversity
  • MOVETOAMEND

     

    Eve of Extinction

     

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    WOW, CLOWNS!

    January 22, 2011

    Supreme Court “Five” 2010

    On Anniversary of Citizens United Ruling, Common Cause Calls on Justice Dept. to Investigate Scalia and Thomas over Conflicts of Interest January 21, 2011 by Democracy Now!

    Today marks the one-year anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, that opened the floodgates for unlimited corporate spending on election campaigns. We speak with Bob Edgar, the president of Common Cause, which has filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Justice urging it to investigate whether Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas should have recused themselves from the case last year because of a conflict of interest.

    VIDEO: http://www.commondreams.org/video/2011/01/21-1

    Critical Mass Wakes Up

    David DeGraw, Alternet, writes: “It has now become evident to a critical mass that the Republican and Democratic parties, along with all three branches of our government, have been bought off by a well-organized Economic Elite who are tactically destroying our way of life. The harsh truth is that 99% of the US population no longer has political representation. The US economy, government and tax system is now blatantly rigged against us. Current statistical societal indicators clearly demonstrate that a strategic attack has been launched and an analysis of current governmental policies prove that conditions for 99% of Americans will continue to deteriorate. The Economic Elite have engineered a financial coup and have brought war to our doorstep… and make no mistake, they have launched a war to eliminate the US middle class.”

    At the center of this group is the Business Roundtable, an organization representing Fortune 500 CEOs that is also interlocked with several lead elite organizations. Most Americans have never heard of the Business Roundtable. However, it is the most influential and powerful Economic Elite organization. READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/economy/145996/the_business_roundtable%3A_the_most_powerful_corporate_business_club_most_americans_have_never_heard_of

    Corporatists declared war on the rest of us. Time to fight back with full vigor and from every side, Let Freedom Ring!

    Ways to fight back and unplug from the corporatist state.(Adapted abstract from Fran Korten, YES! Magazine).

    1.      Amend U.S. Constitution to declare that corporations are not persons and do not have the rights of human beings. Congresswoman Donna Edwards and constitutional law professor Jamie Raskin speak out against the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC and call for a mass movement of people to support a constitutional amendment.

    We Move to Amend.

    We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:

    • Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
    • Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
    • Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate “preemption” actions by global, national, and state governments.

    Signed by 220,783 and counting . . . CONTACT: http://www.movetoamend.org/Loads of useful information and contact links.

    2.      Require shareholders to approve political spending by their corporations. Britain has required shareholder approval since 2000.

    Thomas Paine, American patriot and author warned us to watch, guide, and stop the powerful elite if we want humanity in general to succeed. Paine proposed that any bill that enriches a corporation or grants a corporate charter should be enacted in one session of the legislature, and confirmed in a second, AFTER A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE, to stop corporate raids on the public treasury.

    READ MORE:

    FreeSpeechforPeople.org

    http://www.alternet.org/blogs/rights/145361/a_constitutional_amendment_to_wrench_control_away_from_the_corporations/

    https://johnlegry.wordpress.com/2009/07/04/independence-day-2009/

    3.            Pass Fair Elections Now Act for federal financing for Congressional elections.

    4.            Give qualified candidates equal amounts of free broadcast air time.

    We need a reformed public ownership of uncensored airwaves, subject to strong democratic citizen oversight. Free PBS and the Wilson Center too!

    5.            Ban political advertising by corporations that receive government money, hire lobbyists, or collect most of their revenue abroad.

    6.            Impose a 500 percent excise tax on corporate contributions to political committees and corporate expenditures on political advocacy campaigns. Representative Alan Grayson (D-Florida) proposed this, calling it “The Business Should Mind Its Own Business Act.”

    7.            Prohibit companies from trading their stock on national exchanges if they make political contributions and expenditures. Another Grayson, which he calls “The Public Company Responsibility Act.”

    8.            Require publicly traded companies to disclose in SEC filings money used to influence public opinion. Grayson calls this “The Corporate Propaganda Sunshine Act.”

    9.            Require the corporate CEO to appear as sponsor of political commercials that his or her company pays for. A personal favorite: let’s see these sleezebags shill their own dirty work.

    10.        Publicize reform options, inform the public of who is making contributions to whom, and activate the citizenry. Citizens must act. Grassroots anger at corporate power is high, and when the public is angry, action is inevitable.

    ** READ MORE: Fran Korten, YES! Magazine

    http://www.alternet.org/rights/145441/10_ways_to_stop_corporate_dominance_of_politics

    Liberty crowning defiant American democracy.

    WHAT A CIRCUS!

    January 21, 2011

    Dynamic Duo Dump

    Philadelphia Too! And Fox!

    Weeks after getting dropped from New York, Glenn Beck – and fellow-hate-monger Sean Hannity – got dumped from WPHT in the City of Brotherly Love. Ever classy, Beck promptly trashed the city where he got his start, making residents even less crazy about him. And a poll finds people aren’t so crazy about Fox anymore either! –Abby Z

     Glenn Beck And Sean Hannity Dropped From Philadelphia Radio Station

    Yesterday, hate radio hosts Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity had their nationally syndicated radio shows dropped from WPHT in Philadelphia, the second radio station to drop both.

    Two weeks ago, Beck was dropped from WOR in New York, but cancellation in Philadelphia hurts more. Beck started in Philadelphia, and many of his radio staffers still live in Philly, including Beck’s side-kick Stu. Beck immediately said, Philly sucks.”

    Last October, Hannity was dropped by Deseret Media Companies (DMC) in Utah a for-profit arm of the Mormons. Hannity’s drop may be a clash between DMC’s “Mission Statement,” which calls for “light and knowledge” and advancement of “integrity, civility, morality, and respect for all people,” and Hannity’s constant lack of civility.

    Recent cancellations may be a pattern; advertisers and broadcasters grow wary over hate radio rhetoric. Color of Change reports 81 companies quit advertising on Beck’s Fox News show and Media Matter 100, including those who haven’t withdrawn ads yet. READ MORE: http://thinkprogress.org/2011/01/19/beck-hannity-philly/#

     Beck on Philly: Bluster of typical accuracy by Chris Satullo January 19, 2011. Glenn Beck, ubiquitous pundit and hawker of gold bullion, slandered our fair city. He fulminated about how no one in his right mind would walk the “killing streets around Independence Hall” after 6 p.m. for fear of being shot or stabbed. Here’s the audio. READ MORE: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/homepage-feature/item/11450-beck-on-philly-bluster-of-typical-accuracy

    "Excessive regulations" hamper business.

    President Obama’s second year in office has been like his first: good news/bad news. Unfortunately, it’s been a little worse.

    On endangered species, he revoked some damaging Bush-era policies and protected 120 million acres of habitat for the polar bear, but he also relegated 254 imperiled species to the unprotected “candidate” list and illegally removed gray wolves from the endangered species list. On climate, he began Clean Air Act regulation of CO2 from the largest smokestack polluters but blocked progress toward a science-based climate treaty in Copenhagen and Cancún and adopted a Bush-era decision to ban regulation of emissions to save polar bears. On oceans, he issued a positive decision on protecting Atlantic bluefin tuna, but exempted BP’s Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling projects and hundreds of others from environmental review — even after the Gulf oil-spill catastrophe.

    Overall, the Center for Biological Diversity gives Obama’s two-year environmental record a disappointing “C-.” Check out President Obama’s report card for yourself.

    Tunisians protest in central Tunis. Tunisia's interim president promised a "total break" with the past and hailed "a revolution of dignity and liberty," as prosecutors opened a vast inquiry against the previous leader. (AFP/Fred Dufour)

     Arab Leaders Warn of More Revolts Amid Growing Anger. Summit agrees $2bn aid for region as family of Tunisia’s former president is arrested. Catrina Stewart and Kim Sengupta in Tunis January 20, 2011 by The Independent/UK

     Tunisia began to search for millions of pounds believed stolen by the country’s ousted leader and his family. Arab leaders were warned that dire economic conditions could provoke a Tunisian-style revolt elsewhere in the region. Events in Tunisia inspired similar demonstrations, often at the risk of violent crackdowns by powerful security forces that are quick to stamp out dissent. In Algeria, thousands marched the streets to vent anger at rising food prices, while Jordanians staged demonstrations against high unemployment. Egypt, Oman, Yemen and Libya all witnessed large-scale protests for leaders to address high unemployment, soaring food prices and other economic woes.

    A Tunisian-style revolt may not sweep across the region, but protesters and political opposition are nevertheless emboldened. The street vendor who triggered the Tunisian revolt when he set himself on fire sparked a wave of copycat self-immolations. At least 12 people set themselves on fire – seven in Algeria, three in Egypt – in the past week!

    In an attempt to provide some relief, Arab League countries said they would back a $2bn aid program. Analysts warned that joblessness could only be tackled through a loosening of state control over the economy, a trend that prevails in many Arab states, and encouraging the growth of a private sector.

    STUPIDOLOGY, a serious subject

    READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/01/20-5

    The only question is, "Is it a Disaster, or a Catastrophe?"

    2010 Matches Record for World’s Hottest Year. UN climate scientists panel says human greenhouse gas emissions stoke climate change that will bring more floods, droughts and rising sea levels.  Stephanie Nebehay January 20, 2011 by Reuters

    GENEVA – Last year tied for the hottest year on record, confirming a long-term warming trend, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Thursday.

    The first ten years of the millennium are the hottest since records began in the 1900s. The trend will continue for years, how high depends on how much greenhouse gas is released. The difference between the three hottest years was less than the margin of uncertainty in comparing the data, from land-based weather and climate stations, ships, buoys and satellites. READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/01/20-0

     

    Uncle Sam Lost

     

    Reversing ‘Citizens United’ by Katrina vanden Heuvel January 19, 2011 by The Washington Post 

    It will be a year this week since Chief Justice John Roberts and his conservative activist colleagues on the Supreme Court joined together in a dramatic assault on American democracy. Their decision in the Citizens United case overturned more than a century’s worth of precedent by awarding corporations the rights of citizens with regard to electioneering, allowing unlimited contributions from corporate treasuries to flood the electoral landscape. As The Nation noted, “This decision tips the balance against active citizenship and the rule of law by making it possible for the nation’s most powerful economic interests to manipulate not just individual politicians and electoral contests but political discourse itself.” Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), himself a victim of Citizens United spending, said, “It is going to be worse in 2012 unless we do something – much worse.”

    Opportunity exists: Justice Roberts and allies overreached so brazenly that they opened a way for genuine reform. At the modest end is reviving the Disclose Act to require corporations to show how they spend money and provide disincentives for spending. However, this is triage if not accompanied by a broader push for bolder reform.

    The Fair Elections Now Act has been introduced in Congress, but best is a constitutional amendment that corporations are not people and have no right to buy elections.

    Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) introduced such an amendment to beat back the court. “Justice Brandeis got it right,” she noted. ” ‘We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.'”

    An August 2010 poll found 77 percent of all voters view corporate spending in elections as bribery. Broad majorities favor limiting corporate control over our political lives.

    In a nation where recovery feels like recession, the suffocating grip of corporate money is anything but abstract. There is the clearest possible link between the rise of corporate power and the challenges of everyday lives. Corporate money can be blamed for watering down consumer protections and diluting health-care and financial reform. There is almost no conversation we have in American politics in which corporations don’t occupy all the seats at the table. Reversing Citizens United is about more than any one issue or court case – it is, at its base, a question of whether American democracy itself can beat back a corporate takeover, whether our most cherished principles of self-government can ultimately prevail. READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/01/19-13

    RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH » Corporate Marquee

    Corporations are not persons

    Corporations are not persons and do not have the rights of human beings. Support a constitutional amendment to reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, and move to firmly establish that money is not speech. Votes and participation count. Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate “preemption” actions by global, national, and state governments. Move to Amend

      Sachs Sucks

    Goldman Defies Public Fury With Another £10bn Bonus Payout.  Stephen Foley in New York January 19, 2011 by The Independent/UK

    Just say, "Yes!"

    Goldman Sachs, mightiest of investment banks will reveal more bumper bonus payouts, averaging $450,000 (£280,000) per person, showing that bankers’ pay behaviour has failed to change. Goldman dominates trading and the continuing high level of bonuses comes despite declines in trading activity.

    Goldman is viewed as “a giant vampire squid, wrapped round the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money” (Matt Taibbi). Last week, Goldman published a 63-page report promising to tie bonuses to ethical practices. Earlier the bank was looking to raise $1.5bn in an exclusive share offer, known as a private placement, for the bank’s top clients, a “special purpose vehicle” set up to avoid US Securities and Exchange Commission rules that a private firm with more than 500 shareholders register and file public statements. READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/01/19-0

    LAST TAG:

     

    Cheney Jumpstart

    Txs! SeedsofDoubt.com

    HOLE IN THE LAW GANG

    January 18, 2011

    REALLY fine resource for the REAL truth: TRUTH OUT: http://www.truth-out.org/ 

    Hanging Out on Main Street

    What Does WikiLeaks Have on Bank of America?

    Mary Bottari, Campaign for America’s Future: “WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is promising to unleash a cache of secret documents from the hard drive of a U.S. megabank executive. Before the big banks start calling for Assange’s internment at Guantanamo, the question worth considering is what does Wikileaks have on America’s largest bank? Legal liability for toxic mortgages; reckless and illegal foreclosures; countrywide headaches [and] taxpayer paid bonuses.”

    Read the Article

    Hole in the Law Gang

    ABSTRACT: John Pilger’s Investigation Into the War on WikiLeaks and His Interview With Julian Assange Friday 14 January 2011

    The attacks on WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, are a response to an information revolution that threatens old power orders in politics and journalism. The war on wikileaks, obama administration corrupts law to send Assange to hell-hole prison, incitement to murder trumpeted by public figures in the United States, together with attempts by the Obama administration to corrupt the law and send Assange to a hell-hole prison for the rest of his life, are reactions of a rapacious system exposed as never before.

    In recent weeks, the US Justice Department established a secret grand jury in eastern Virginia that is home to the employees and families of the Pentagon, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, and other pillars of American power. The object is to indict Assange under a discredited espionage act used to arrest peace activists during the First World War, or one of the “war on terror” conspiracy statutes that have degraded American justice. Judicial experts describe the jury as a “deliberate set up. “This is not good news,” Assange said. He is making some very serious enemies, not least of all the most powerful government engaged in two wars.

    Regardless of the threats to his freedom and safety, he says the US is not WikiLeaks’ main “technological enemy.” “China is the worst offender. China has aggressive, sophisticated interception technology that places itself between every reader inside China and every information source outside China. We’ve been fighting a running battle to make sure we can get information through, and there are now all sorts of ways Chinese readers can get on to our site.”

    It was in this spirit of “getting information through” that WikiLeaks was founded in 2006, but with a moral dimension. “The goal is justice,” wrote Assange on the homepage, “the method is transparency.” Contrary to a current media mantra, WikiLeaks material is not “dumped.” Less than one percent of the 251,000 US embassy cables have been released. Wikileaks editing sets the highest standard to protect the innocent, but to secretive power, this is journalism at its most dangerous.

    On 18 March 2008, a war on WikiLeaks was foretold in a secret Pentagon document. US intelligence, it said, intended to destroy the feeling of “trust,” which is WikiLeaks’ “center of gravity.” It planned to do this with threats of “exposure [and] criminal prosecution.” Silencing and criminalizing this rare source of independent journalism was the aim: smear the method. Hell hath no fury like imperial Mafiosi scorned

    Others, also scorned, have lately played a supporting part, intentionally or not, in the hounding of Assange, some for reasons of petty jealousy. Sordid and shabby describe their behavior, which serves only to highlight the injustice against a man who has courageously revealed what we have a right to know

    The latest propaganda about the “damage” caused by WikiLeaks is a warning by the US State Department to “hundreds of human rights activists, foreign government officials and business people of possible threats to their safety.” It is bogus. In a letter to Congress, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates admitted that no sensitive intelligence sources have been compromised. On 28 November, McClatchy Newspapers reported, “US officials have no evidence that release of documents led to anyone’s death.” NATO could not find a single person who needed protecting

    Great American playwright Arthur Miller wrote: “The thought that the state is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied.” What WikiLeaks has given us is truth, including rare and precious insight into how and why so many innocent people have suffered in reigns of terror disguised as wars and executed in our name; and how the United States has secretly and wantonly intervened in democratic governments from Latin America to its most loyal ally in Britain.

    Javier Moreno, editor of El Pais, wrote, “I believe that the global interest sparked by the WikiLeaks papers is mainly due to the simple fact that they conclusively reveal the extent to which politicians in the West have been lying to their citizens.”

    Crushing individuals like Assange is not difficult for a great power, however craven. We should not allow it to happen, which means those of us meant to keep the record straight should not collaborate in any way. Transparency and information, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, are the “currency” of democratic freedom. “Every news organisation,” a leading American constitutional lawyer told me, “should recognize that Julian Assange is one of them and that his prosecution will have a huge and chilling effect on journalism.”

    My favorite secret document – leaked by WikiLeaks, of course – is from the Ministry of Defense in London. It describes journalists who serve the public without fear or favor as “subversive” and “threats.” Such a badge of honor. READ MORE: http://www.truth-out.org/the-war-wikileaks-john-pilgers-investigation-and-interview-with-julian-assange66847

    Louis and Sly Discuss "Qualitative Easing"

    ABSTRACT: The Fed Has Spoken: No Bailout for Main Street by: Ellen Brown, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis Friday 14 January 2011

    The Federal Reserve was set up by bankers, for bankers, and it has served them well. Out of the blue, the Fed came up with $12.3 trillion in nearly interest-free credit to bail the banks out of a credit crunch they created. That same credit crisis has plunged state and local governments into insolvency, but the Fed has now delivered its ultimatum: there will be no “quantitative easing” for municipal governments.

    On January 7, according to The Wall Street Journal, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced that the Fed had ruled out a central bank bailout of state and local governments. “We have no expectation or intention to get involved in state and local finance,” he said in testimony before the Senate Budget Committee. The states “should not expect loans from the Fed.”

    So much for the proposal of President Barack Obama to have the Fed buy municipal bonds to cut the heavy borrowing costs of cash-strapped cities and states.

    The credit woes of state and municipal governments are a direct result of Wall Street’s malfeasance. Their borrowing costs first shot up in 2008, when the “monoline” bond insurers lost their own credit ratings after gambling in derivatives. The Fed’s low-interest facilities could have been used to restore local government credit, just as they were used to restore the credit of the banks. But Bernanke has now vetoed that plan.

    Why? The collective budget deficit of the states for 2011 is projected at $140 billion, a drop in the bucket (data,) the central bank provided roughly $3.3 trillion in liquidity and $9 trillion in short-term loans and other financial arrangements to banks, multinational corporations and foreign financial institutions following the 2008 credit crisis.

    The argument may be that continuing “quantitative easing” (easing credit conditions by creating money with accounting entries) will drive the economy into hyperinflation. But creating $12.3 trillion for the banks – nearly 100 times the sum needed by state governments – did not have that dire effect. Rather, the money supply is shrinking – by some estimates, at the fastest rate since the Great Depression. Creating another $140 billion would hardly affect the money supply at all.

    Why didn’t the $12.3 trillion drive the economy into hyperinflation? Because, contrary to popular belief, when the Fed engages in “quantitative easing,” it is not simply printing money and giving it away. It is merely extending CREDIT, creating an overdraft on the account of the borrower to be paid back in due course. The Fed is simply replacing expensive credit from private banks (which also create the loan money on their books) with cheap credit from the central bank.

    So why isn’t the Fed open to advancing cheap credit to the states? Bernanke says, its hands are tied. He says the Fed is limited by statute to buying municipal government debt with maturities of six months or less that is directly backed by tax or other assured revenue, a form of debt that makes up less than 2 percent of the overall municipal market. Congress imposed that restriction, and only Congress can change it, said Bernanke.

    Federal Reserve is the bankers’ private club, its legal structure keeps non-members out.

    So Who Will Save the States?

    Highlighting the immediacy of the local government budget crisis, The Wall Street Journal quoted Meredith Whitney, a banking analyst turned to analyzing state and local finances. She said that, in 2011, the US could see “50 to 100 sizable defaults” amounting to “hundreds of billions of dollars” among its local governments.

    If the Fed could easily find $12.3 trillion to save the banks, why can’t it find a few hundred billion under the mattress to save the states? It could, if Congress were inclined to put non-bank lending back into the Fed’s job description. Why isn’t that being done? The cynical view is that the states are purposely being kept on the edge of bankruptcy because the banks that hold Congress hostage want the interest income and the control.

    Whatever the reason, Congress is standing down while the nation is sinking. Congress must summon the courage to take needed action, not to impose “austerity” by cutting services when an already squeezed populace most needs them. Congress must create jobs that generate real productivity. To do this, it does not have to go through the Federal Reserve. It could issue its own debt-free money and repair and modernize our decaying infrastructure, and save our states. Congress’s task is easier if the people stand with them to demand action, but Congress is so gridlocked change may still be long in coming.

    In the meantime, states can take matters into their own hands and set up their own state-owned banks based on the BND model. They could have their own very low-interest credit lines, just as the Wall Street banks do. Rather than spend or sell off valuable public assets or hoard them in massive rainy day funds made necessary by the lack of ready credit, states could leverage assets into a strong and abundant local credit system, using the accepted business practices of the Wall Street banks themselves.

    On January 13, the Public Banking Institute is being launched to explore that alternative. READ MORE: http://www.truth-out.org/the-fed-has-spoken-no-bailout-main-street66820

    Last Shot:

    DeToob

     

    OH, SPONGEBOB

    January 11, 2011

    FYI – this one’s IMPORTANT, I think. Saw television special, did some research:

     Jellyfish are eating all [sic] the other marine life, destroying human fishing resources, and creating dead spots around the world, which are growing in alarming number and speed. Irish experience doesn’t bode well for Columbia River salmon. Monterey Bay is threatened (old stomping ground). As this author says, Damn.  Congress looks pretty insignificant right now.  Peace and love, j

    ABSTRACT: from WORLD CATASTROPHE MAP at catastrophemap.com

    KILLER JELLYFISH POPULATION EXPLOSION. An Invasive Species with a 540 million year track record IF GLOBAL WARMING WEREN’T A LIBERAL MYTH, IT COULD BE A CAUSE OF THE JELLYFISH POPULATION EXPLOSION, WHICH HAS NOT YET BEEN LABELED A LIBERAL MYTH 

    Mauve stinger jellyfish normally found in Mediterranean waters are expanding their habitats globally and threatening invasion of the world’s oceans. Giant jellyfish stings can kill humans almost instantly.

    They permeate every ocean on the globe, thriving in arctic and tropics. Where other species struggle, jellyfish populations are on the rise and on the move. Populations are exploding and will pose a monumental problem unless stopped.

    But it may not be easy. A big female box jellyfish was found swollen with millions of eggs – far more than normal, and males carried billions of sperm. Threatening the jellyfish unleashes a breeding frenzy. They are genetically programmed to ensure survival by producing more offspring than normal when under attack.

    The swarms are multiplying in the Western Pacific and threaten 20,000 miles of coastline off Japan, Irian Jaya, Papua New Guinea, Australia and Hawaii.

    More Gant Jellyfish

    Evolution is on their side: The oldest known bilaterian fossils appeared in the Cambrian explosion, 540 million years ago. The box jellyfish is the perfect killing machine, its venom can bring agonizing death within 180 seconds at the briefest touch.

    The jellyfish have a formidable array of genetic equipment:

    ·  Four brains that operate competitively in the search for food.

    ·  A highly complex sensory capacity and the ability to distinguish colour.

    ·  The ability to live in inhospitable waters at a depth of up to 10,900 metres.

    ·  24 eyes with moveable pupils giving each creature 360-degree surround vision.

    ·  Box jellyfish have 6-8 ft long tentacles.

    ·  Venom is released on contact from 4000,000,000 venomous fibers even after death.

    ·  Rapidly accelerating acidification of the oceans increases its appeal to jellyfish.

    BILLIONS INVADE NORTHERN IRELAND FISH FARM

    Mauve stinger jellyfish normally found in Mediterranean attacked the only salmon farm in Northern Ireland and destroyed about 100,000 fish, worth $2 million. Billions of jellyfish — in a dense pack of about 10 square miles and 35 feet deep — overwhelmed the fish in two net pens. Company workers tried to rescue the salmon, but their boats struggled for hours to push through the jellyfish mass. All the fish were dead or dying from stings and stress by the time the boats reached the pens. Scientists cite this as evidence of global warming. The swarm went on to other attacks in Scotland.

    2009 SEA OF JAPAN ASION –  click space left for story.

    The strange behavior of jellyfish continues as over-fishing, pollution or rising ocean temperatures creates a science fiction drama in the Sea of Japan.

    Jellyfish Fishing

    From the U.S. to Japan to Australia and beyond, several species of jellyfish—and their gelatinous cousins that are often mistaken for jellies—are expanding their numbers at a rapid pace and moving into foreign waters. Far from a simple nuisance, the creatures are dramatically changing marine ecosystems, costing commercial fisheries millions of dollars, and invading tourist destinations. Notoriously understudied, jellyfish are now attracting growing scientific attention.  [Note: for some reason I can’t get the link to the original article, but it can be found through the live link below].

     Map of Current and Continuing Catastrophes – Let the End Times Roll! –  LINK TO CATASTROPHE MAPhttp://www.catastrophemap.com/index.html

    Eve of Extinction
    Eve of Extinction

    CAPITALISM MUST GO

    January 2, 2011

    "Play it again, Sam!"

    2011: Calling Time on Capitalism: Recent decades have seen a massive redistribution of wealth, imposing the cost of successive crises on the poorest. Enough! by Richard Wolff January 1, 2011 by the Guardian/UK

    "We want a bonus!"

    New Fabris factory employee in France in 2009, walks by a fire in front of the plant after 366 laid-off workers occupied the factory and threatened to blow it up unless they receive a bigger pay-off. ‘We want a bonus’ is written on the wall. (Alain Jocard/AFP)

     The end of 2010 brought renewed Washington, media and academic hype about the US economy “recovering”. It’s wrong. Recovery noises help Republicans who claim that government should do less, or with many centrist Democrats that income redistribution policies are no longer needed because recovery means growth, which means everyone gets pie. Recovery hype also helps Obama claim that his policies work.

    It’s fantasy. Nearly 20% of the US labor force that became unemployed or underemployed in 2009 remains so. A quarter found only temp jobs without benefits. Foreclosure by big bailout-fat banks is throwing millions into the street.

    Last month the Federal Reserve decided to make another $600bn of new money, and Congress and the president agreed on additional fiscal stimulus (extending Bush’s tax cuts, reducing social security withholding for 2011, etc). They did it because all previous bailouts, monetary easing, tax cuts and government fiscal stimulus failed to end this crisis. Those immune to hype recognize that more of same will fail again. 

    Manfred Max-Neef writes “We still favor the economic efficiency of greed and political dynamics of paranoia in a global system in which poverty keeps increasing and major scientific and technological effort is directly or indirectly aimed at destroying the human species.” Enthusiasm for unlimited economic growth and expansion faces real social and ecological collapse. [Our goals are dangerously]] “incoherent with our historical reality.

    Recovery noise hides fundamental instability in our economic system. “Downturns” private or government actions never prevent, impose huge social costs, plunging millions of effective, productive workers into unemployment, personal, family and community disasters. Governments chiefly tap their nations purses to rescue the private capitalists who [caused] the crisis and whose wealth protects them from its worst effects.

    Then, governments turn on their people to impose austerities (cutbacks in social programs, social security, etc) needed to restore government budgets busted by the rescue’s huge costs. Corporate America’s demands for conservative government and austerity on the grounds of excessive budget deficits is like someone convicted of murdering his parents demanding leniency as an orphan. Mainstream media and politicians take those corporate demands seriously, reminding us who controls them.

    Since the early 1970s, workers’ wage increases ended, benefits and job security shrank and government supports for average people were attacked by conservatives. These increasing burdens were justified as absolutely necessary to permit more investment and, therefore, greater economic growth. In fact, growth in the US and Europe slowed over those years (see graph below by University of Rome Professor Pasquale Tridico):

     

    Average growth of GDP per capita in US and Europe, 1961-2009. Source: Eurostat

     As workers’ conditions deteriorated, capitalist surpluses and profits soared, stock markets boomed, and poor and middle income and wealth were redistributed to the rich. Promised results did not appear: no more investment, growth slowed, the system imploded.

    Today’s recovery noises are for more bailouts, monetary easing and fiscal stimuli that have already failed. No one questions or addresses how capitalism created the crisis.

    The recovery aims at return to the US economy pre-crash. But capitalism was hurtling toward a stone wall. To return to it heads for the same wall.

    Politicians are afraid to link the crisis to the economic system that creates regular “downturns” costing millions of jobs, wasted resources, lost outputs and injured lives. For them, the economic system is beyond question; [don’t bite the hand that feeds you.].

    Thus, this crisis will continue until capitalists see sufficiently attractive opportunities for profit to resume investing and hiring people in the US as well as elsewhere. The freedoms of US capitalists to gain immense government supports as needed, and yet to invest only when, where and how they can maximize their private profits are paramount: the first obligations of government. The freedoms from want and insecurity for the US people remain a distant second priority – until mass political action changes that.

    Capitalism puts a small minority with one set of goals (profits, disproportionally high incomes, dominant political power, etc) in position to receive and distribute enormous wealth. They use it to achieve their goals and make the government secure their positions.

    No Keynesian monetary or fiscal policies address, or change, how capitalism works and who uses its wealth to what ends. No reforms or regulations are even proposed under Obama to do that. To avoid the instability of capitalism and its huge social costs requires changing the system. That is the basic issue for a new year and new generation. [Can we] break today’s version of a dangerous old taboo: never question the system?

    For more information about Richard Wolff’s work, visit his website

    No Giant Corporatists Allowed

    We really don’t need giant corporations and giant corporatists. They greedily demand, consume or despoil resources far in excess of their fair share. The greedy bastards want all of the earth’s resources. Those resources are humanity’s trust. Any attempt to privatize and unfairly profit from their sale and exploitation is criminal, anti-life, anti-social and less than human behavior.

    Corporatists and their minions and admirers are nothing more than grazing, killing, baby-making, eating, pooping machines; their single purpose is to proselytize consumers and consumption. They are animals, not humans. Their spiritual life is practiced, preached rote; an imitation of sense, sensibility and spirituality. Many “talk” to an imaginary god, which asks, to whom are they really praying? If the outcome of their chosen path is misery and deprivation for most of humanity, how can they possibly argue for a conscience, a god’s blessing, or any other claim of compassion or even simple human sympathy? It’s because they are not human; they are poor dumb animals: fodder is all.

    We humans need to parent and act as stewards for these poor dumb brutes. We need social and economic laws, rules, regulations and enforcement to rebalance power and money in this country. We left the barn door wide open and we need to put these animals back in their pens and corrals so that they will not run around willy-nilly and needlessly and destructively detract from the harmony of the farm.

    We really need the immediate suppression and re-education of all Big Guy other-directed creatures, and re-distribution of all their property and money. Old banks to be required to hand over all of their assets and accounts to new community banks and credit unions; old bankers to fold their tents and look for honest and modest human employment. The entire Health Insurance Industry should be closed down and put out to pasture – some nice place such as Angola State Prison.

    The fact that we enjoy civil and human rights now doesn’t mean that we will have them in the future. It’s up to each person, each generation, to protect, defend and cherish his/her rights and block or defeat any impending assault. We must fight to keep our rights. We must resist the tyrant (who is any would-be or actual dictator of whatever title or costume). Don’t let the bastards get started; keep them chained and humbled, unable to wreak their evil oppression, prejudices and destruction on not only people, but nature herself. What mad ego, what blind selfishness.

    In the mid-1960’s a book entitled Thunder on the Right urgently identified and warned against the anti-democratic, fundamental religionist, bigoted fanatics of the political reactionary right. Among the American Nazis, KKK hoods and militia toughs was the John Burch Society, which ran Patrick Henry bookstores filled with scurrilous lying polemics attacking and undermining and diminishing government and advocating a treasonous program of subversion and sabotage. The John Burch Society harnessed Cold War fears into hate against progressives, warning that President Kennedy, Civil Rights activists, and organized labor were in league with communists. One JBS newsletter civically advised members to “join your local P.T.A. and take it over [emphasis mine].”

    Billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch are the wealthiest, and perhaps most effective, opponents of a progressive agenda today. Ranked as the 9th richest men in America, the Koch brothers sit at the helm of Koch Industries, a massive privately owned conglomerate of manufacturing, oil, gas, and timber interests. David and Charles are also responsible for a vicious attack campaign aimed directly at obstructing and killing progressive reform. Their opposition is a long family tradition of trying to shift the country to the far right. Their father, Fred Koch, helped to found the John Burch Society in the late 1950s. His sons continue to galvanize hundreds of thousands of middle class people into supporting the Kochs’ narrow agenda of cutting corporate taxes and avoiding consumer regulations to the ruin of our equality and democracy.

    David Koch presents himself as a champion of science. Nevertheless, Koch has done more to undermine the public’s understanding of climate change science than any other person in America. Koch Industries has spent nearly $9 million dollars so far to misinform the public on climate change legislation. Much of the fierce opposition to health reform can be credited to the Kochs. Their opposition is a long family tradition of trying to shift the country to the far right.

    RELATED ARTICLE: PUBLIC ENEMIES 1 and 2

    KOCHTOPUS Koch: Even More Powerful and Well-Connected Than You Thought

    Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch don’t just underwrite a huge right-wing infrastructure of front groups, think tanks and political campaigns, reports Think Progress; they also work with corporate “investors” who oppose health, energy, financial and other reforms. Details on their symbiotic relationship with moneyed interests from Glenn Beck and the Chamber to oil and insurance companies here; more on those connections from CounterPunch here. –Abby Zimet More…

    READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/politics/144455/meet_the_billionaire_brothers_funding_the_right-wing_war_on_obama 

    Reagan Puppet

    2010 in review

    January 2, 2011

    The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

    Healthy blog!

    The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

    Crunchy numbers

    Featured image

    A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,300 times in 2010. That’s about 8 full 747s.

    In 2010, there were 60 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 117 posts. There were 131 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 62mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

    The busiest day of the year was August 14th with 71 views. The most popular post that day was YOUR ENEMIES ARE UP.

    Where did they come from?

    The top referring sites in 2010 were allhatnocattle.net, zazzle.com, mail.yahoo.com, statistics.bestproceed.com, and stumbleupon.com.

    Some visitors came searching, mostly for it’s not fascism when we do it, iww, thomas paine, international workers of the world, and republican fascists.

    Attractions in 2010

    These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

    1

    YOUR ENEMIES ARE UP August 2010

    2

    REPUBLICAN INSURANCE NAZIS August 2009
    1 comment

    3

    EASTER ISLAND BLUES February 2010
    3 comments

    4

    DENIAL NO LONGER AN OPTION September 2010

    5

    “THINK MANCHURIAN CANDIDATES” January 2010
    2 comments

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    BOOM!