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Nothing is what it seems

July 31, 2009

Here we have one artist’s unusual interpretation of Obama and his policies. A number of others are available for viewing here. The artist apparently specializes in painting celebrities with pancakes on their heads.

This one seems to be some kind of statement on healthcare. Nice Unicorn ya got there, Barry. Yoiks!

This artist’s  rendition of the Bush administration in a take off on the Raft of Medusa. The photographer is Joel Peter Witkin. More of his amazing and disturbing surrealistic images are available here.

More sources for bad Obama Art
Bad Paintings of Barack Obama

Bad Obama Art

48 Comments leave one →
  1. Stemella permalink*
    July 31, 2009 3:34 pm

    Lukery wrote about a recent new revelation by Sibel Edmonds at KK, where it was received with some controversy.

    Bombshell: Bin Laden worked for US till 9/11

    The section about the Uyghur region of China is of particular interest.

    Nothing is what it seems. We’re through the looking glass, Alice.

    • cometman permalink*
      July 31, 2009 9:07 pm

      Ha ha!! That is some craptacular Obama art. Liked the one with naked Limbaugh in it and the one walking out of the river with roses and unicorns:)

      I ran into lukery’s post here earlier and one of the comments made it sound like it hadn’t gone well at Klub Kumquat and I meant to ask you if you’d seen it yet. Haven’t had a chance to read the whole thing yet but I’m going to go see what got them all riled about it.

      • Stemella permalink*
        August 1, 2009 6:15 am

        After Lukery’s diary made the wreck list, the expected reactionary call out diary was posted that also went to the top of the list. Once DickHead and AdamBoner showed up, Lukery’s diary was instantly off the wreck and recent list in spite of the many, many wrecks. Then the author of the counter diary deleted his, his mission accomplished. Here is the comment thread of that one The “Bombshell” Diary is an Embarrassment to DailyKos

        It was all good, because the removal of those two left room for two pootie/woozle and mojo diaries on the wreck list, diaries the kumquats see as useful and beneficial to their very existence. ;P

        This one Daily Kos
        If Bin Laden was an agent, the US would never say
        posted on the same subject later went even less well. It appears Sibel is now considered a CT source by the facsista contingent at Orange. Lukery may very well follow Tocqdeville into the land of the banned if he continues posting there.

        • cometman permalink*
          August 1, 2009 7:37 am

          Had a chance to read it all and damn the Kumquats are stupid. I really don’t see what the big deal is. If anything, there wasn’t much of a bombshell there at all. I think it’s pretty clear that Bin laden was on the US payroll for quite some time and he was as a proxy against the Russians in Afghanistan. This isn’t some big secret. And at least lukery implies that after September 11th Bin laden was no longer on the US payroll. I might ask when he was ever taken off it.

          Of course the Powers That Be are very glad to have people who refuse to allow discussion of these things since that’s the same way they operate. Waxman promised to look into Edmonds’ case if the Dems got the majority and three years later we’re still waiting. Nothing ever came of the supposed investigation of Stephen Payne and all his dirty dealings in central Asia. Little markos is more than happy to comply with their wishes as long as he gets to seem relevant and the money keeps rolling in to him and out to the candidates who don’t ever change a damn thing.

          • Stemella permalink*
            August 1, 2009 8:37 am

            Yep, Mamz is 100% sold to the highest bidder. It seems as though he may be coopted by NBC given all the ads from MSNBC placed on his site and how often he appeared on MSNBC shows yesterday touting his poll.

            DK is officially MSM and is just as shallow, vapid and counter productive to liberal grassroots politics. We’ve seen this evolving for a long time, but it appears the transaction is now complete.

  2. Stemella permalink*
    July 31, 2009 4:02 pm

    Four Five more failed banks this Friday listed at the FDIC. Now up to 68 69 for the year.

    First BankAmericano, Elizabeth, NJ
    Peoples Community Bank, West Chester, OH
    Integrity Bank, Jupiter, FL
    First State Bank of Altus, Altus, OK
    Mutual Bank, Harvey, Illinois,

  3. Stemella permalink*
    August 1, 2009 8:40 am

    Krakatoa has reawakened. Amazing eruption and flow photos here

    This can’t be good news for the climate.

  4. Stemella permalink*
    August 1, 2009 8:51 am

    Thousands have taken to the streets in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to protest their own version of Habeus Corpus. The police reacted violently with water canons, gas and mass arrests.

    Police repeatedly fired volleys of tear gas and water laced with stinging chemicals to disperse the crowds after they began marching toward the national palace. The protesters — who chanted “Reformasi,” the opposition’s slogan for political change — wanted to submit a petition to the country’s constitutional monarch denouncing the security act.

    “The police are really brutal,” opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim told reporters at the protest. “This clearly shows Najib’s intolerance to any dissent. … We gather here today to fight a cruel law.”

    Government authorities had warned they would not permit the protest, saying it could undermine public peace.

    Human rights activists have held numerous smaller protests over the years against the security act, but Saturday’s event received a boost after opposition parties urged their supporters to come out in force.

    film footage here

  5. cometman permalink*
    August 1, 2009 10:29 am

    Never heard of Joe Bageant before I posted a link to one of his essays here yesterday. Now all of a sudden he’s everywhere. Or at least on Alternet with another good essay – Consciousness Capitalism: Corporations Are Now After Our Very Beings.

    Check out this part:

    …the next phase of history’s greatest ongoing screwjob, capitalism, depends on it being wired. With the demise of first mercantile capitalism, and now with industrial capitalism on the ropes everywhere, and after having wasted most of the world’s vital resources, you’d think the whole stinking drama of greed and mass exploitation would necessarily draw to a close.

    You’d think there would be nothing left to huckster after having pissed in most of the world’s clean drinking water, gutted its forests and jungles, leveled its mountains for coal and minerals, and turned the atmosphere into a blanket of simmering toxins, well, you’d think it was time for the bastards to fold the game and go home with their winnings. No such luck.

    Enter yet a third phase: Consciousness Capitalism! The private appropriation of human consciousness as a “nonmaterial asset.” Or cognitive capitalism, in nerd and pinhead speak.

    Which goes to show you can never underestimate the dark bastards at the helm. Yes, these guys are good.

    Essentially, we’re talking about stripping the human experience from life, then renting it back to humans. So how does one do that? Through the same Western European historical process used to fuck over the world in the first two rounds of capitalism — propertization. Denying access to something because it’s MINE-MINE-MINE-MINE!

    I read that not long after having read this article about Harvard, which I thought was a school but is evidently a “brand” which needs to protect itself, trying to trademark half the English language. They’ve even trademarked part of Kennedy’s inauguration speech.

    The line, “Ask what you can do,’’ from John F. Kennedy’s famous inaugural speech, is used by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government to tout everything from the school’s emphasis on public service to its fund-raising efforts. Officials at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Dorchester were surprised when a reporter informed them Harvard has trademarked a key part of the historic speech. The museum director declined to comment.

    I’ve also been reading a few books by Charles Stross who has a lot to say about the future of corporations in his sci fi which deals a lot with economics. In his book Accelerando he talks about corporations and law firms being automatically generated by artificial intelligence to the point where they consume those who once created them, but he talks about it all in a pretty humorous way. One of the characters is a rogue program that is a combination of a pyramid scheme and a Nigerian email scam and when it needs to be seen in corporeal form it takes on the appearance of a giant slug. Stross also posits people’s reputations being traded on an exchange and other things the remind me a lot of Bageant’s article.

    Paul Krugman is also a big fan of Stross.

    • Stemella permalink*
      August 1, 2009 2:30 pm

      I’d read one article by Bageant, Escape from the zombie food court a few months ago, but I’d forgotten about him since. It was good to be reminded, because he is a very entertaining and enlightening read. I found this interview of him on youtube from about 6 months ago. His concept of the next phase of capitalism of consciousness where people will buy and sell experience rather than material goods is frightening to me, but I already see the signs of it. I am reminded how glad I am to have grown up in a time when there were no personal computers. We are living through that transition, just as tumultuous as when industrialization transformed the world in the 1850’s.

      • cometman permalink*
        August 1, 2009 10:02 pm

        Thanks for that article and the vid – both were very good.

        You’re right about this being a huge transition period I think. Things are moving very rapidly in the technological realm if not the political one. The political one needs to catch up quickly or the transition will not be pretty. Our current leaders have proven that they do not possess the wisdom to implement the new technological changes properly. I feel like the entire world needs to slow down and take a deep breath for a few years and figure out some longer term approach to deal with what’s coming. Technology and automation will make more and more labor obsolete but there are still several billion people who will need to eat. We need to figure out how to restructure society for that and if we don’t the results will be disastrous.

        I’m glad to have grown up before personal computers too but I also don’t think I’d want to give one up for any huge period of time. Bageant and Zappa and many others are right about how television and corporate America condition all of us and define our culture. And although the same bad actors would love to gain control of the internet it’s a lot harder to do so for the time being at least everything you find here isn’t preprogrammed and preapproved by some suit and there is orders of magnitude more information available to anyone now than ever before in history. Sure a lot of it is crap, but a lot of it isn’t and I’d have never heard of Joe Bageant or seen Century of the Self and all kinds of other stuff that has expanded what I know about the world. But I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like for people who were born in the middle of this computer/video/internet revolution who never knew a world where high tech was 3 TV channels which actually signed off for part of the day. Sometimes I think that the next generation will grow up dull to the physical world around them but when you see that first generation to grow up in the high tech environment, they do seem to have an appreciation for the natural world and understand that it’s worth preserving, maybe even more so than their parents and grandparents did. The world probably seemed a lot larger and less finite to them growing up than it does now. Anyway, we’re going to find out soon. If nothing else these are interesting times.

        • cometman permalink*
          August 3, 2009 9:13 am

          Some more from my new favorite Joe Bageant – A Yard Sale in Chernobyl. Going to the grocery store set him off. A snippet:

          And I imagine Allen Ginsberg in this supermarket, as he once imagined Walt Whitman in a supermarket in California and wonder, as Allen wondered, “What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate their brains and imaginations?”

  6. triv33 permalink
    August 2, 2009 6:34 pm

    Oh, for fuck’s sake!

    • cometman permalink*
      August 3, 2009 7:22 am

      Nice catch triv. Hadn’t heard about that little scam before. Sounds like the Fed is basically letting Wall Street use them as a shell company. If the financial firms need to unload some securities they just dump them on the Fed at inflated prices, which of course means that legitimate investors wind up paying more because of it.

      I don’t ever want to hear any of the financial jackasses try to claim we have a free market ever again. The whole thing is rigged to benefit the insiders.

      • triv33 permalink
        August 3, 2009 7:50 am

        Yup! No need to audit here, fellas! Just bizniz as usual!

        • Stemella permalink*
          August 3, 2009 8:56 am

          I listened to Dylan Rattigan’s show on MSNBC this morning because he had Taleb the Black Swanster on as his main guest. There was the usual disjointed discussion of the economy of the MSM interspersed with Michael Jackson garbage etc, but there were a few good tidbits.

          Rattigan said the MSM needed to stop talking to the public about the economy in terms of the Democrats and Republicans, but instead as parties as represented by the different lobbyist groups. Instead of just D and R there would be the Financials party, the Health Insurance Party, the Military Hardware Party, the Pharmaceutical Party etc… and track that flow of money. It seems he is interested in being a talking head who challenges that bizniz as usual. Granted, he works for GE, he won’t get far, but it might be a good theme to spread. It illustrates who the real ownership class is and who the real governance sources are – the corporations, the too big to fail corporations that dictate the legislation to make their crimes legal.

  7. cometman permalink*
    August 3, 2009 7:35 am

    This ought to be interesting – now the Democrats are going to demonize insurance companies to try to get health care reform passed.

    They are casting the insurance industry as an obstacle to cheaper coverage for all, and in doing so, are taking aim at an erstwhile ally.

    Democrats and the White House have spent much of the last year flaunting the newfound cooperation of old enemies like drug companies and the insurance industry. But now they face a new political calculus. The House left Washington on Friday afternoon without a floor vote on a overhaul, the Senate, which leaves this Friday, is even farther behind.

    Lawmakers will now cast crucial initial votes on a healthcare overhaul after spending a month talking with constituents at backyard barbecues and ice cream socials. Insurers, unpopular with the public, are an easy target in making points with voters.

    Uh huh. So after hearing about insipid polls that claim people want reform but don’t want to lose the coverage they already have, Democrats have finally figured out that people actually don’t like the unaffordable coverage with huge deductibles that doesn’t really cover anything and that nobody can understand in the first place. What a bunch of geniuses! And now they are going to go out and convince us of what we already know so they can muster up the backbone to cast a vote against the insurance companies.

    This should provide some high comedy as they use one hand to wag their fingers at the profiteers while using the other to stuff their pockets full of more bribes from the insurance lobby.

    Why not cut the bullshit and bring on single payer healthcare HR 676? Maybe send it to the Congressional Budget Office to be scored like the current half-assed plans they’re trying to cram down our throats and compare. The Democrats might be shocked to find out that people would actually prefer the simpler and cheaper method that would really cover everybody.

    • triv33 permalink
      August 3, 2009 8:06 am

      Hold on there, buddy. Don’t you know that you’re talking crazy? Single payer? My God, man, wouldn’t that be comparable to Medicare? That’s just insane! I’ve recently been informed that it makes no difference that it’s been going strong for 44 years and has a higher satisfaction rating than private insurance, Medicare is a giant Ponzi scheme.

      • cometman permalink*
        August 3, 2009 8:50 am

        Bwah! If that hack John Stossel says so it must be true right….? :P

  8. cometman permalink*
    August 3, 2009 8:00 am

    Wish more people would join Congressional physicist Rush Holt in trying to get to the bottom of the anthrax attacks. He continues to call for broader investigations and now a new independent group has been appointed, of course at the request of the FBI so we’ll see how independent they turn out to be.

    The 15-member panel was appointed by the National Academy of Sciences, at the FBI’s request, to provide an independent review of the high-tech genetic analysis that ultimately led investigators to Ivins. The review is expected to last up to 18 months.

    And at the end of the article it looks like the FBI is still hoping for a whitewash:

    “The Justice Department and the FBI continue working to conclude the investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks,” department spokesman Dean Boyd said. “We anticipate closing the case in the near future.”

    Here’s a hint to the invest igators – just because Ivins was found with Tylenol in his stomach doesn’t mean it was a suicide. Maybe it’s me being credulous, but the same week Ivins was found dead, I watched Michael Clayton and bells started to go off when a witness was murdered in that film by cramming a bunch of pills down his throat to make it look like a suicide. The evidence against Ivins was very shaky and circumstantial at best and it was awfully convenient that he happened to kill himself.

  9. Stemella permalink*
    August 3, 2009 8:47 am

    Change we can dream on!
    Bomb, bomb, bombing our way to prosperity!! WooHoo Go USA!! WooHoo G-Obama!

    Pentagon, Eyeing Iran, Wants to Rush 30,000-Pound Bomb Program

    The U.S. Defense Department wants to accelerate by three years the deployment of a 30,000-pound bunker-buster bomb, a request that reflects growing unease over nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea.

    Comptroller Robert Hale, in a formal request to the four congressional defense committees earlier this month, asked permission to shift about $68 million in the Pentagon’s budget to this program to ensure the first four bombs could be mounted on stealthy B-2 bombers by July 2010.

    Hale, in his July 8 request, said there was “an urgent operational need for the capability to strike hard and deeply buried targets in high-threat environments,” and top commanders of U.S. forces in Asia and the Middle East “recently identified the need to expedite” the bomb program.


    • cometman permalink*
      August 3, 2009 8:56 am

      They’ll probably get it too. After all Obama has already fooled the rubes into thinking he’s tough on the defense budget by getting the F-22 program that the Pentagon didn’t want cut. Now he can go about making sure they have money for all the other useless programs that raid the national treasury to benefit contractors. Talked to my buddy about this yesterday and he so badly wants to believe Obama will change things and his vote wasn’t wanted that he was rah-rahing the F-22 cuts and trying to justify the fact the the overall budget was still more than what Bush spent. Not sure why there are so many intelligent liberals who are willing to overlook all kinds of inconvenient facts.

      • Stemella permalink*
        August 3, 2009 9:20 am

        I face that too with many colleagues and coworkers who self identify as Democrat liberal who don’t want to look behind the smoke and mirrors. They see how the economic collapse is affecting our particular line of business, but they don’t want to connect it to the bigger picture. These are all people with post graduate degrees, smarties. They are in denial or they simply don’t even want to look, preferring to examine only the world they see through a microscope and the control they can exert over it.

        To delve outward and not overlook the inconvenient facts and truths of our systems of operations is to admit that our American myths have all been fairy tales. It is to admit we are not exceptional in the world and that we might not, in fact, be so exceptionally wonderful as individual American citizens. It is a fucking deflating and depressing and negative view to take and all of us here know that and struggle with it. The morbidity of the truth is incredibly hopeless. In spite that we know we are not exceptional, we carry on, because that is what living creatures do. We have responsibilities and we carry on, upholding them. Ignorance is not bliss.

        On the other hand, I feel so much anger all the time these days. It is getting to me.

        • cometman permalink*
          August 3, 2009 10:01 am

          As you know, I’m pretty pissed off too. The other day I tried listening to NPR and they had Dennis Prager on talking about how any new health care plan was going to kill us all. Now why the hell does Dennis Prager, who has his own syndicated talk show that reaches millions, need to be given a platform on NPR to spew nonsense in the first place? I cannot listen to the corporate news anymore with anyone else in the room because of the disturbance I end up causing.

          But I’m finding small ways to carry on that make me feel a little better and stay out of the capitalist system. Lately I’ve been brewing my own iced tea in a jug on the back porch. It’s good for you and a lot cheaper than buying soft drinks which I gave up a few years ago. Ever since the squidlet came along we’ve had to cut corners and I’m finding that although it is a little difficult, I actually end up developing new habits and feeling better. Instead of buying dessert at the store, I’ve been making cookies at home and it only takes a few minutes to do. We make all our own baby food, and some of it has even come directly from our garden now that a couple weeks of sun has finally allowed it to grow. Every penny I don’t spend on crap is less profit for the crapmongers and less taxes for the government to waste on something stupid. This is my new impetus for quitting smoking – hundreds of dollars per year in taxes that our elected officials, who refuse to tax the wealthiest among us, won’t get. Thinking about my own health wasn’t enough to make me quit but this has given me some new incentive.

          Browsing through dusty used bookstores also cheers me up. Picked up an old copy of Shaw’s “Man and Superman” the other day which contains The Revolutionist’s Handbook. Haven’t had a chance to read it yet but I know the gist of it. Somehow it’s comforting to find someone like Shaw who railed against the excesses of his day just as we do in ours.

          • Stemella permalink*
            August 3, 2009 10:31 am

            All good things, and I take that approach too, trying to simplify. I make my suntea with a mix of Japanese green (bancha or sencha) and a handful of mint from the garden and a few rose hips that I buy in bulk at the health food store. It makes a nice blend that still has the caffeine that isn’t as harsh or expensive as coffee. I still gotta have my coffee first thing, though.

            And Shaw, who was a very wise man, says in prediction of Hopey Changey:

            We must therefore frankly give up the notion that Man as he exists is capable of net progress. There will always be an illusion of progress, because wherever we are conscious of an evil we remedy it, and therefore always seem to ourselves to be progressing, forgetting that most of the evils we see are the effects, finally become acute, of long-unnoticed retrogressions; that our compromising remedies seldom fully recover the lost ground; above all, that on the lines along which we are degenerating, good has become evil in our eyes, and is being undone in the name of progress precisely as evil is undone and replaced by good on the lines along which we are evolving. This is indeed the Illusion of Illusions; for it gives us infallible and appalling assurance that if our political ruin is to come, it will be effected by ardent reformers and supported by enthusiastic patriots as a series of necessary steps in our progress. Let the Reformer, the Progressive, the Meliorist then reconsider himself and his eternal ifs and ans which never become pots and pans. Whilst Man remains what he is, there can be no progress beyond the point already attained and fallen headlong from at every attempt at civilization; and since even that point is but a pinnacle to which a few people cling in giddy terror above an abyss of squalor, mere progress should no longer charm us.

            Obama and Geithner the reformers of Capitol Hill and Wall Street. Illusion of illusions.

            • triv33 permalink
              August 3, 2009 11:14 am

              I’ve been drinking my own home brewed sugarless iced tea for years. I gotta admit, I’m a hardcore cut black/orange pekoe addict. I used to enjoy a nice variety of teas when I drank it hot, but I made the switch to coffee a few years ago. Once in a great while I’ll have a cup of Good Earth Chai, but who am I kidding? I now consider myself a low-rent caffeine fiend.

              • cometman permalink*
                August 3, 2009 12:36 pm

                So far I’ve only tried Darjeeling which I think is a black tea, although there is something different about it compared to other black teas. Next I’m going to try the orange pekoe because it seems to have more caffeine in it and I do like the jolt. And if the sun stays out long enough I’m going to take Stemella’s suggestion and try a green tea too.

                I buy a lot of tea from Harney & Sons. I like to get the loose tea in the nice tin box. Which reminds me, if either of you know anybody who could use several dozen nice tin boxes, let me know :) I keep saving them thinking I’m going to make something out of them eventually, but so far I haven’t figured out what.

                • Stemella permalink*
                  August 3, 2009 1:00 pm

                  My home made Chai recipe

                  for a goodly sized pot, put all this in a sauce pan and boil for about 5 minutes, then pour into teapot with milk and honey to taste

                  Three heaping tablespoons Darjeeling tea
                  Eight cardamon pods
                  Ten or so whole cloves
                  One cinnamon stick broke in pieces
                  About a tablespoon of ginger root grated with cheese grater
                  One tsp anise or fennel seeds
                  One bay leaf

                  Your home will then smell divine

                  As to the tea boxes, use metal cutters to cut interesting snowflake like patterns in them. Attach a fairly heavy wire to two holes you punch in either side and use them as lanterns for little votive candles to hang outdoors. Or if you have skeeters use them for skeeter candles.

                  Cheap and easy Jeebus day presents!

                  • triv33 permalink
                    August 3, 2009 2:53 pm

                    If I still had a back porch I would be busy making those lanterns to hang all about the place, they sound lovely. I will try the tea, I can at least still treat myself to that. Oh, and Cometman, try a nice Irish or English breakfast tea. Some folks like Earl Grey, but I think it tastes like astringent.

                    • Stemella permalink*
                      August 3, 2009 4:45 pm

                      I know another Phillies phan who raises his nose, and pinky no doubt, in distaste at the Earl. He says it tastes like flannel.
                      I like Earl Grey quite a bit, but then again I like eating raw horseradish like a carrot. :)

            • cometman permalink*
              August 3, 2009 12:30 pm

              Thanks for more Shaw. I don’t think we can really progress very far unless we figure out how to eliminate scarcity. And if that happens maybe there won’t be a need for security any longer as people become free from want, and therefore no need for oppressive governments that are there to “keep us safe”. Yeah, it’s a pipe dream at this point but I do think we already have the capabilities to provide at least the essentials of food clothing and shelter to everyone already. It’s just that nobody can agree on who gets the money in the distribution of it.

              The elimination of scarcity is one of the major themes of that sci fi author Charles Stross who I’ve mentioned a couple of times. He has some really interesting ideas about that. One thing he posits is a cornucopia machine which is basically a new term for a replicator. In his stories these machines are dropped on to planets with varying results. In some, people just start replicating all their desires and society falls apart since nobody knows what to do when they can suddenly have anything. And of course the replicators eventually break. The smart societies which did well were ones that were bright enough to use their machines to replicate more replicators.

              • Stemella permalink*
                August 3, 2009 1:31 pm

                That’s like the story of Aladdin and the lamp. If given three wishes, what would you wish for? First wish? Unlimited wishes! Second wish up to one’s discretion. Third wish? Liberate the genie.

  10. cometman permalink*
    August 3, 2009 9:03 am

    Here’s a little bit of good news -Pam Martens explains how a victory was won recently against the basically private justice system that has been set up that allows corporations to collude with each other so no law suits can be brought against them by their customers or employees. Definitely worth reading the whole thing.

    On April 25, 2008 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit sent a chill down the spine of every current and former general counsel of every major Wall Street bank and brokerage firm. The court ordered that Ross v. Bank of America be reinstated in the District Court. The lawsuit charged collusion between Bank of America, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup (and its siblings Citibank, Citicorp Diners Club Inc.), HSBC Finance Corp., MBNA, Providian Financial Corp and related subsidiaries. American Express Travel Related Services Company had been named in an earlier, related suit and was listed here as an interested party.

    Imagine this scenario: documents surface showing that the private justice system used by the biggest banks in the country has been rigged in hundreds of thousands of cases. Next, evidence surfaces that conclusively shows that the general counsels of these very same banks have huddled together in one room to draft a uniform mandatory arbitration clause banning class action lawsuits in their credit card contracts and shared strategies on its implementation, effectively locking the courthouse doors to every credit card holder in America.

    Next consider that many of these were the same Wall Street banks who shackled their stockbrokers to mandatory arbitration clauses and used at least one of these compromised arbitration forums when employees blew the whistle; were the same investment firms that forced their investing customers into mandatory arbitration forums as a condition of opening a brokerage account; and most were the very same banks who had received hundreds of billions of dollars of public funds through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in order to survive heavy losses of their own making, then paid out billions of dollars to top executives in bonuses, including potentially some who engaged in collusion.

    It’s not hard to see that there is a public relations nightmare looming large and RICO charges not far behind.

    The curtain is little by little being pulled away and it is becoming increasingly clear exactly how the banksters have rigged the system in their favor for years.

  11. cometman permalink*
    August 3, 2009 9:37 am

    Cause found for the disintegration of the persistence of memory with a little help from our friend the rattus – high fructose corn syrup!

    Researchers at Georgia State University have found that diets high in fructose — a type of sugar found in most processed foods and beverages — impaired the spatial memory of adult rats.

    Amy Ross, a graduate student in the lab of Marise Parent, associate professor at Georgia State’s Neuroscience Institute and Department of Psychology, fed a group of Sprague-Dawley rats a diet where fructose represented 60 percent of calories ingested during the day.

    She placed the rats in a pool of water to test their ability to learn to find a submerged platform, which allowed them to get out of the water. She then returned them to the pool two days later with no platform present to see if the rats could remember to swim to the platform’s location.

    “What we discovered is that the fructose diet doesn’t affect their ability to learn,” Parent said. “But they can’t seem to remember as well where the platform was when you take it away. They swam more randomly than rats fed a control diet.”

    I always knew it couldn’t be the Mary Jane as these researchers claim. Their experiments were done with mice and everybody knows that mice are naturally foolish :P Obviously marijuana just makes you want to go to the Mini Mart where you then load up on Ho-Hos which are what really causes the stupid. This phenomenon was documented 20 years ago by the eminent researcher Dr. Tone Loc.

    So next time you smoke a little jibbah, lay off the Cheetos and have a cheese plate instead.

    Now where did I put my glasses? Wait a minute, I don’t wear glasses do I…? :)

    • Stemella permalink*
      August 3, 2009 10:12 am

      Highlarious. That corn syrup is nasty shit. If lead pipes helped bring down the Romans it will be corn syrup that destroys America. It is in nearly everything found in a can, bottle or package these days.

      Jibbah ganja sounds like just the medicinal supplement I could use today to cure what ails me. Thanks for the reminder.

  12. Stemella permalink*
    August 3, 2009 10:55 am

    Sorry, dude. Your kind did not initiate any apocalypses, as previously thought. You are aquitted of mass destruction.

    Comets ‘not cause of extinctions’

    • cometman permalink*
      August 3, 2009 11:35 am

      Dammit! But other less icy more rocky chunks of space junk are still forces to be reckoned with according to the article. maybe i should change my moniker to Mr. Bad Assteroid :P

      • triv33 permalink
        August 3, 2009 2:57 pm

        Nah, don’t change your moniker. Fire one up, fly close to the sun and make your own “fuzzy envelope!” ;-)

  13. cometman permalink*
    August 3, 2009 11:58 am

    Here’s another economist with some fresh ideas that more people ought to listen to – Serge Latouche on the society of De-Growth.

    He calls for “abandoning the objective of growth for growth’s sake, an insane objective, with disastrous consequences for the environment.” The need for a ‘de-growth’ society stems from the certainty, he says, that the earth’s resources and natural cycles cannot sustain the economic growth which is the essence of capitalism and modernity.

    In place of the current dominant system, Latouche argues for “a society of assumed sobriety; to work less in order to live better lives, to consume less products but of better quality, to produce less waste and recycle more.”

    The new society would mean “recuperating a sense of measure and a sustainable ecological footprint,” Latouche says, “and finding happiness in living together with others rather than in the frantic accumulation of gadgets.”

    • Stemella permalink*
      August 3, 2009 12:46 pm

      For a guy that looks remarkably like Sean Connery in a toupe and has a name like a cartoon character, Monsieur Latouche makes a lot of sense.

      “de-growth is not the alternative to growth, but rather, a matrix of alternatives which would open up the space for human creativity again, once the cast of economic totalitarianism is removed. The de-growth society would not be the same in Texas and in the Chiapas, in Senegal and in Portugal. De-growth would open up anew the human adventure to the plurality of its possible destinies. ”

      Just as South African Apartheid was dismanteld by divestment so too can we unite to dismantle the economic totalitarianism of our Neo-Liberalism. We all simply have to agree to do it – globally. One gallon of homemade iced tea at a time. :)

      Mr. Bad Assteroid! hahahaha

  14. cometman permalink*
    August 3, 2009 12:16 pm

    Glenn Greenwald has yet another reason not to trust (or watch) the corporate media. Evidently GE and News Corp aided and abetted by PBS’ Charlie Rose have cut a deal to stop the feud between Olbermann and O’Reilly. And not because it was hurting ratings – it wasn’t- but because it might hurt the bottom lines of the parent companies. Evidently Olbermann telling the truth about O’Reilly’s bullshit caused O’reilly *gasp* to tell the truth about GE’s business practices. And that’s bad for business.

    Another one that’s worth reading in full, and be sure to check out the part at the bottom that details what an incredible whore that little Brit-sounding pansy ass Richard Wolffe is.

    • Stemella permalink*
      August 3, 2009 1:55 pm

      Ah yes, the two wings of the propaganda machine were contradicting one another and needed to join forces to protect the bottom line. No such thing as a free press in America anymore. On PBS NewsHour and Moyers’ program I still believe there is good and useful less biased information presented. The NewsHour still reports live from the Middle East from time to time. Cable news is complete infotainment at this point and bloviation. You are correct that it shouldn’t be watched at all. Also no surprise that so called journalists slip so easily into the role of lobbyists. They are all corporate whores. Journalists are their Ad men. Lobbyists dole out the bribes and cut the deals with their politicians.

    • Stemella permalink*
      August 3, 2009 2:10 pm

      Check out this case study from Wollfe’s firm’s website

      Public Strategies Inc

      Reputation Management — DoJ Investigation

      The situation

      The U.S.-based member of a global financial services firm faced potential indictment from the Department of Justice concerning questionable products sold to certain investors. As details of the potential indictment and discussions about a settlement leaked in the news media, the firm needed to put in place a communications plan to address client and partner concerns, create an environment conducive to settlement negotiations, and manage media speculation over the settlement. A post-Arthur Andersen media and regulatory backdrop exacerbated the need for the firm to move quickly to protect its reputation over the long term regardless of impending negative media coverage.

      Public Strategies’ solution

      Before the initial media leak, Public Strategies set up a war room in the firm’s New York headquarters, working directly with the chairman, chief counsel and board of directors on a media leak strategy, message development and delivery, rapid response, and outreach with key stakeholders, including the firm’s global leadership, its U.S. clients, partners, employees, regulators and investors. After the initial news story, Public Strategies put in place a system to ensure the firm’s leadership was in a position to to address employee and partner concerns quickly. This involved managing an influx of hundreds of e-mails a week from across the country. As negotiations with the Department of Justice continued, Public Strategies worked directly with the firm’s leadership to create a comprehensive plan for a settlement announcement.

      Client Benefits

      Despite months of media coverage, client and partner concerns about the impact of the settlement were quickly mitigated through consistent dialogue with the firm’s leadership. Once the agreement with the Department of Justice was announced, the fluid communications process that had been established helped manage client and employee concerns, dispelled rumors and speculation, and allowed the firm’s leaders to put the settlement behind them so they could begin talking about their vision for the future.


  15. Stemella permalink*
    August 3, 2009 2:43 pm

    Even more on the MSNBC – Wolffe – Lobbyist story over at TPM

    On Wolffe P.R. Firm’s Client List: Exxon Mobil, Northrop Grumman, Republic of Georgia

    • This year, P.S.I. signed a six-month, $300,000 deal with the Republic of Georgia. The firm agreed to work at “enhancing through western media the reputation of the Republic of Georgia government.” The Georgian government has needed that help since last fall, when its claim that last summer’s brief war with Russia was triggered by an unprovoked Russian attack began to unravel.

    • P.S.I. also worked last year for a coalition of corporations — including AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dow Chemical, Eli Lilly, Exxon Mobil, G.E., GlaxoSmithKline, Monsanto, Merck, and Phizer — that wanted to make sure that patent reform legislation didn’t threaten their interests.


    • cometman permalink*
      August 3, 2009 9:20 pm

      What is it with Georgia hiring all these scumbags? Lobbying firm in Texas with Georgia as a client made me think of Stephen Payne and Randy Scheunemann but I did a quick search of their names with Public Strategies and nothing came up.

  16. Stemella permalink*
    August 4, 2009 6:29 am

    Michael Lewis snarks about Goldman Sux

    Bashing Goldman Sachs Is Simply a Game for Fools

    Rumor No. 5: Goldman Sachs is “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

    Those words are of course taken from a recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine and they are transparently false.

    For starters, the vampire squid doesn’t feed on human flesh. Ergo, no vampire squid would ever wrap itself around the face of humanity, except by accident. And nothing that happens at Goldman Sachs — nothing that Goldman Sachs thinks, nothing that Goldman Sachs feels, nothing that Goldman Sachs does –ever happens by accident.

    Michael Lewis is a columnist for Bloomberg News and the author of “Liar’s Poker,” “Moneyball” and “The Blind Side,” soon to be a major motion picture.

    • cometman permalink*
      August 4, 2009 9:57 am

      Ha! Funny stuff! I googled his movie and it isn’t about the blood sucking vampire squids as I’d hoped but about football and the pressures put on young poor kids to make the big time. Might be pretty good though – I really liked his baseball book “Moneyball”.

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