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The Next “Revolution” Will Be Televised

September 16, 2010

And it’ll have corporate sponsorship too.

One of the oldest public parks in this country and a site around which many events of the American Revolution took place will soon be getting corporate partners if Beantown’s movers and shakers get their way.

The cracked concrete, missing bricks, and growing patches of bald earth on Boston Common have pushed boosters to consider a new initiative: tapping corporations to sponsor repairs and improvements to America’s first park.

Picture a neatly planted flower bed with a discreet sign crediting a bank for the blossoms. A petite placard alerting park-goers that the Common’s new WiFi comes compliments of a prominent software company. Or an engraved stone subtly attributing a refurbished plaza — with chess boards, moveable tables and chairs, and a portable lending library — to the generosity of a national department store.

…the effort to find corporate partners has already won the qualified support of key local power brokers, including Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Michael P. Ross, City Council president. It underscores a new fiscal reality in which shrinking budgets have forced municipalities to embrace creative sources of revenue.

You’d think that when governments have no money and the corporations have it all, that might be a sign that corporations ought to pay a little tax once in a while to even things out.

And of course the original American Revolution was fought not just to free the colonies from the tyranny of the crown but also from the British East India Tea Company which would today be known as a corporation and had the same types of special government-granted privileges today’s corporations are given which enable them to privatize profits and stick the public with their debts when they go bust.

Makes you wonder why Paul Revere even bothered getting on his horse.

42 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    September 16, 2010 1:28 pm

    More signs that The Windup Girl world is already here –

    Over the past several years, entities closely linked to the private security firm Blackwater have provided intelligence, training and security services to US and foreign governments as well as several multinational corporations, including Monsanto, Chevron, the Walt Disney Company, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and banking giants Deutsche Bank and Barclays, according to documents obtained by The Nation.


    One of the most incendiary details in the documents is that Blackwater, through Total Intelligence, sought to become the “intel arm” of Monsanto, offering to provide operatives to infiltrate activist groups organizing against the multinational biotech firm.


    According to internal Total Intelligence communications, biotech giant Monsanto—the world’s largest supplier of genetically modified seeds—hired the firm in 2008–09. The relationship between the two companies appears to have been solidified in January 2008 when Total Intelligence chair Cofer Black traveled to Zurich to meet with Kevin Wilson, Monsanto’s security manager for global issues.

    After the meeting in Zurich, Black sent an e-mail to other Blackwater executives, including to Prince and Prado at their Blackwater e-mail addresses. Black wrote that Wilson “understands that we can span collection from internet, to reach out, to boots on the ground on legit basis protecting the Monsanto [brand] name…. Ahead of the curve info and insight/heads up is what he is looking for.” Black added that Total Intelligence “would develop into acting as intel arm of Monsanto.” Black also noted that Monsanto was concerned about animal rights activists and that they discussed how Blackwater “could have our person(s) actually join [activist] group(s) legally.” Black wrote that initial payments to Total Intelligence would be paid out of Monsanto’s “generous protection budget” but would eventually become a line item in the company’s annual budget. He estimated the potential payments to Total Intelligence at between $100,000 and $500,000. According to documents, Monsanto paid Total Intelligence $127,000 in 2008 and $105,000 in 2009.

  2. cometman permalink*
    September 16, 2010 2:16 pm

    More on whatever it was that Elizabeth Warren was appointed to do from Yves Smith.

    Expect Warren to be pushed further to the sidelines, just as Paul Volcker has been (oh, and pulled out of mothballs when the Administration desperately needed to create the appearance it really might be tough on banks). Perhaps they hope her tenuous standing as acting head can be used to keep her in line. But she may also believe she has more influence even in a likely to be weakened position than on the outside as a critic. And sadly, that may prove true. Individuals, no matter how stellar their resumes, command far less media attention than those who hold powerful posts.


    Will Warren last? Both Brooksley Born and Sheila Bair have been accused of not being team players. With the team being industry cronies, that’s a badge of honor. But each also had a clear bureaucratic role, and Born was still pushed out. I’m surprised Warren is accepting such a compromised position. Perhaps she believes she still has a bully pulpit and can embarrass the Administration into doing the right thing. But it will take a very thick skin for her to follow that course of action.

    Once again when presented with the choice of doing the right thing or giving the appearance of doing the right thing, Bushwa Barry chooses the latter. It would be nice if this clown could do the right thing for it’s own sake. But even if he is only looking towards re-election, appointing her would still appear to be a no-brainer. Who’s going to argue against a crack down on thieving banksters? Ferxrissakes, appoint her and have her immediately do something about this – Bailed-Out Banks Finance Predatory Payday Lenders.

    American taxpayers bailed out the big banks. Now many of those banks are returning the favor by extending credit to payday lenders who sucker consumers into a spiraling debt trap.

    That is the claim in a new report published this week by National People’s Action (NPA) the Chicago-based community organization. The report, called Preditors’ Creditors, names Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase as some of the biggest lenders to the booming payday loan industry.


    Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase received $95 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bailout funds in 2008 combined. These banks continue to be subsidized by the taxpayers, receiving near zero-percent interest funding via the Federal Reserve. While the big banks have been reluctant to invest in American factories and small businesses, they have decided to support the predatory payday loan industry which charges customers an average effective interest rate of 454 percent on small loans.

    The Wall Street banks have extended $1.5 billion in credit over the last few years to publicly traded payday loan companies and almost double that when privately held payday loan firms are included. The estimated 22,300 payday loan stores nationwide make $30 billion in loans each year. Wells Fargo is the worst offender financing one third of the payday loan stores in America.

    454% is commonly known as usury and once upon a time it was illegal. It may not be illegal for banks to finance these leeches, but they’d be a lot less likely to do so if the payday loan companies were no longer allowed to extract quite so many pounds of flesh. This is exactly the type of thing the CFPA, led by Warren, would do if Barry allowed it to have any teeth at all.

  3. cometman permalink*
    September 16, 2010 6:35 pm

    Check it out -32 recent pics from various orbiters and spacecraft currently cruising around the solar system here.

  4. cometman permalink*
    September 16, 2010 6:55 pm

    Just looked in at Talking Points Memo for the first time in a long time and there is story after story after story on the front page mocking Christine O’Donnell who I actually never heard of until melvin mentioned her here a couple days ago. Even then I didn’t now who she was (assumed she was some TV talking head) until I started seeing her name splashed all over the place for winning the primary. Do people like that really need to be given that much media attention? I mean we’re talking about Delaware here.

    Remember when it was Patty Murray who was all the rage a few years back – the mom in tennis shoes? Sort of similar to O’Donnell’s story on a superficial level at least, except Murray isn’t a complete ignoramus. Whatever happened to talking about politicians like that?

    • cometman permalink*
      September 17, 2010 8:17 am

      Son of a bitch the bus driver had the radio on this morning tuned to some mouthbreather program and it was all about O’Donnell O’Donnell O’Donnell. Had anyone ever heard of this woman before the last few days? Is she just the newest flavor of the week or have I not been paying attention? Still can’t figure out why I ought to care.

      • artemis54 permalink
        September 17, 2010 8:43 am

        Spawn of Sarah. We need Sigourney Wevaer to blow em out the airlock.

  5. artemis54 permalink
    September 17, 2010 5:12 am

    A few photos of Story Circles are up at the deli

  6. artemis54 permalink
    September 17, 2010 9:05 am

    Some sort of “values voters” nutbagapalooza in DC today. It is being broadcast on cpsan for some reason – rep Mike Pence from IN was just on foaming at the mouth about the need to keep DADT, etc.

    Your new girlfriend Christine O’Donnell will be addressing them this afternoon, as soon as they can clean up after Santorum. So you’ll be able to worship her at the cspan archives for a while.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 17, 2010 10:51 am

      Chris Floyd has a good post putting the meteoric rise of my new girlfriend into perspective

      So I’m sorry, but I just don’t see how a putzy, klutzy, wilfully ignorant Tea Partier from perhaps the most corrupt state in the Union is somehow more dangerous than the people we have in power now — including a Vice-President who for decades was the senator (and corporate bagman) from this very same most corrupt state in the Union, and used his power to advance a “Bankruptcy Bill” that was one of the most savage class-war attacks on working people — and the poor, and the sick, and the vulnerable — that we have seen in many a year. Then again, as far as I know, Joe “Bankruptcy Bill” Biden has never publicly condemned the practice of masturbation.

      • artemis54 permalink
        September 17, 2010 11:04 am


        Supportive of the idea that we won many of the culture battles of the sixties in terms of exual freedoms, etc but lost the war.

  7. artemis54 permalink
    September 17, 2010 9:17 am

    A miracle!

    Flock of angels appear in UK, greet pope

    His Rattiness is on cspan now. Must be theur Freaky Friday show.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 17, 2010 10:06 am

      Ha! That was priceless.

  8. cometman permalink*
    September 17, 2010 9:28 am

    Bwaaahahahahahahaha!! A reviewer trying to give a positive review of MAMZ new book gets punked.

    Then there’s the issue of the thirty-seven (as I write this) reviews of American Taliban on Amazon’s listing of the book, with a 3.5 ranking out of five possible stars for the work. More than half are five stars. Many others at the bottom are more revealing because the reviews that praise the book are well-written and those that condemn it are not. Here’s the opening of a negative review, posted by a reviewer who identifies himself as “Gen. JC Christian, patriot”: “I don’t read books written by demonic pipe-smoking communists with well-trimmed beards. I don’t read books by homosexualist [sic] intellectuals with button-down collars who fill my head with vile carnality every second of the day. And, I don’t read books written by subversive eyeglass-chain-wearing foreigner-praising English teachers–why don’t they dump Shakespeare; he never wrote a play about the real Americans of the Heartland. Indeed, I take pride in the fact that I never read anything written by libislamunistofascists [sick]. The problem is syllables. There are too many syllables in their books. It all seems a little too Muslimy to me. It also gives me headaches.” Incredible as it may seem, that’s a direct quotation. I did not make it up.

    Logically, I should end my own commentary of the book here, since Gen. JC Christian is the perfect example of what Moulitsas demonstrates on every page of his hard-hitting analysis: American ignorance, currently at an all-time high.

    You’d think somebody at Counterpunch would have heard of Jesus’ General.

  9. cometman permalink*
    September 17, 2010 10:02 am

    Some unrelated links –

    Good rundown on recent news in the Gulf from Washington’s Blog. Unfortunately not much of it is good.

    From Meryl Nass’ blog, Rush Holt is still trying to get to the bottom of what really happened with the anthrax letters that most have forgotten about.

    First nations, scientists and concerned citizens try to get somebody to pay attention to increasing numbers of deformed fish showing up downstream from an Alberta oilsands project. Once again we find that previous studies were done by the oil industry.

    The Alberta government monitors the area’s environment, largely through information provided by industry, but Schindler said the province’s program lacks transparency and credibility. He points out that the industry’s own figures in the federal pollutant registry show hundreds of kilograms of contaminants are released into the environment annually, yet don’t show up in provincial reports.

    And a longtime Castro supporter suggests that it’s time for Castro to shut the hell up.

    The ironies of history: the CIA failed, and here’s Castro taking up the task, methodically assassinating his reputation, week after week.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 17, 2010 10:53 am

      One more. Interesting interview with a Nietzsche biographer from Scott Horton at Harper’s.

  10. artemis54 permalink
    September 17, 2010 10:17 am

    Kudos to my old friend Mike on his new book: Banana Breeding: Progress and Challenges At $140 a pop it probably won’t hit the bestseller list, and I’m sure his only reward is in heaven.

  11. artemis54 permalink
    September 17, 2010 12:15 pm

    Postponing all chores to see this O’Donnell critter in her natural habitat at the Know Nothing convention.

    I can see why they need her as young blood; when she enters the hall it will lower the average age by ten years. Currently Gary Bauer is spouting his shit. Turns out tomorrow they’re opening the crypt and hauling out Phyllis Schlafly.

    Interesting during the DADT hatefest portion of the program, they mocked the Dutch military – nice, btw, mocking a NATO ally who sent troops to Afghanistan – but failed to mention others that allow open service like, oh I don’t know, Israel. Even though mindless support for anything and everything Israel might ever do seems to be the foundation of half the other speeches.

    • artemis54 permalink
      September 17, 2010 12:34 pm

      This Bauer clown is disgusting. On and on about no Muslim condemnation of 9-11.

      Fuck’s sake, for once and for all, here are sixty-some such condemnations from the time

      And there are many more. This game was old a long time ago. Refuse to publish or acknowledge them, and pretend they don’t exist, secure in the knowledge that your audience is too stupid to question it.

      • cometman permalink*
        September 17, 2010 12:49 pm

        Xrist almighty even the Taliban condemned the attacks when they happened.

        Wonder if the Stewart/Colbert rally at the national Mall next month will restore any sanity at all. Probably not – too many people haven’t figured out yet that Colbert is just joking.

  12. cometman permalink*
    September 17, 2010 12:45 pm

    If you have some time to kill over the weekend, I suggest an attitude adjustment and then a perusal of the Cassini Equinox Mission website.

    I was looking at it last night and it looks like they’ve added some new bells and whistles. NASA has really done a nice job with it and it’s nice to see a few tax dollars at least going to good use. Lots of new pics coming in every day and you can view both the prettified versions and the raw satellite photos.

    Couple cool things I found – a virtual tour of the moon Enceladus (there’s also one of Titan) and this solar system simulator which gives you virtual views of different places in the solar system at different times depending on the criteria you put in. Neat-O.

    Looking at this stuff puts the escapades of slatternly would-be senators into perspective even better than a Chris Floyd rant.

  13. artemis54 permalink
    September 17, 2010 12:45 pm

    Oh boy.

    Miss O’Donnell looks like her makeup was done by the late great Divine. Her right eyebrow is painted clear down to below the bottom of her eye, very weird, and the left one is a completely different shape, starting down as normal and then swooping back up. My god this is unbelievable. Get the old vaudeville hook and haul her off.

    Not ready for prime time.

    Her text, meh, it’s the same old.

    • artemis54 permalink
      September 17, 2010 12:48 pm

      Definitely needs to hone her act. My suggestion would be that she go live with Ike Turner for a few years.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 17, 2010 12:51 pm

      Heh. Let me know if she finds a warm dog turd to eat on camera too. That ought to send the ratings through the roof.

  14. cometman permalink*
    September 20, 2010 8:23 am

    Once again it’s a tiny country making a big sacrifice to try to preserve the environment

    Kiribati, a small nation consisting of 33 Pacific island atolls, is forecast to be among the first countries swamped by rising sea levels. Nevertheless, the country recently made an astounding commitment: it closed over 150,000 square miles of its territory to fishing, an activity that accounts for nearly half the government’s tax revenue. What moved the tiny country to take this monumental action? President Anote Tong, says Kiribati (“Kir-ee-bas”) is sending a message to the world: “We need to make sacrifices to provide a future for our children and grandchildren.”

    President Tong isn’t mincing his words. Kiribati looks to make the ultimate sacrifice by mid-century, when much of the country is projected to be largely uninhabitable. Rising seas will contaminate freshwater supplies, ruin agriculture lands, and erode beaches and villages, forcing its people to flee. Kiribati has done nothing to earn this fate—its greenhouse gas emissions are negligible and its population barely tops 100,000. Yet it is already looking at buying land in other countries for eventual resettlement of a substantial proportion of its population.

    Kiribati is among the world’s poorest countries. It has few natural resources other than fish and copra, the dried meat of coconut. It does however have of some of the world’s most pristine coral reefs and healthiest fish stocks, which have now become the basis of its contribution to the well-being of the planet: the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), which at 408,250 square kilometers is the largest marine World Heritage site.

    PIPA is part of President Tong’s bigger, more ambitious initiative, the Pacific Oceanscape—38.5 million square kilometers (24 million square miles) of ocean, an area larger than the land territories of the United States, Canada and Mexico combined. Over the past two years, President Tong has brought together 16 Pacific Ocean nations to develop the initiative, which seeks to maintain ocean health by improving management of fisheries, protecting and conserving biodiversity, furthering scientific understanding of the marine ecosystem, and reducing the negative impacts of human activities.

    Who knows how successful the effort will be since the article mentions that Kirbati has only one boat to monitor the area and is depending on the US for enforcement, but it is definitely a policy the rest of the world would be wise to follow. Just STOP. No compromise allowing reduced fishing of an already depleted stock, and then when it gets reduced some more make another compromise, rinse and repeat. All this does is guarantee fish stocks will never recover.

    Near the end of the piece President Tong says:

    I refuse to believe that any individual with a conscience would deliberately continue on a business-as-usual path knowing that their actions would result in the demise of others.

    If he’s right about that, it confirms my long held suspicion that neither Olympia Snowe nor Susan Collins have a conscience. They have both advocated for the status quo and have recently spoken out against listing bluefin tuna as endangered because well, it isn’t Maine’s fault.

    Maine’s Republican U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe says she opposes listing the bluefin tuna as an endangered species. She spoke out Thursday as a member of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard.

    Snowe said the decision to consider the petition will force American fishermen to bear the cost for other countries’ over-exploitation of the bluefin tuna. She also points out that the international catch limits for bluefin and other species of Atlantic tuna were strengthened in 2009.

    Snowe was unavailable for comment today, but in a prepared statement she said:

    “No one disputes that bluefin tuna is overfished…for years, U.S. fishermen have led the world in efforts to conserve highly migratory fish stocks such as bluefin tuna. It would be inappropriate and counter-productive to repay them for their stewardship by blocking access to the lucrative foreign markets, particularly when those markets will be filled with bluefin tuna harvested from weaker stocks.”

    Sen. Susan Collins and Maine’s two congressional Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree have also maintained that Maine fishermen are already complying with quotas on the fish, and any ban would put them at a competitive disadvantage.

    Those fishermen will be at a real big disadvantage when the tuna are extinct.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 20, 2010 8:33 am

      On a somewhat related note Gaga comes to town in just a few hours to pressure Snowe and Collins to repeal DADT. Perhaps she’ll attach some lobsters to their mammaries until they cry uncle ( the “strange” one who never got married that the family doesn’t talk about much). May have to try and check that one out.

      • artemis54 permalink
        September 20, 2010 9:14 am

        Snowe’s pretzel logic is that of a slow child. I thought she was supposed to be one of the grownups.

        Gaga has brought hundreds of thousands of new activists into the battle overnight. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, with which she has allied herself, reports its website has been swamped with hits, overwhelmingly sympathetic, since Gaga brouth it up at the VMA’s.

        These are people who didn’t even know who their senators were.

        Go Gaga.

  15. artemis54 permalink
    September 20, 2010 11:12 am

    Retro me Satanas

    Exodus 22:18

    Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 20, 2010 12:27 pm

      Sigh. Buddy of mine mentioned over the weekend that Bill Maher has said he will continue to release one clip per week from O’Donnell’s prior appearances on his show where she makes a fool of herself until she agrees to go on his show again, where she will presumably be made a fool of again. That’s entertainment!

      On a very related note, one of my favorite commentators on our national lunacy throws up his hands, tears into the Dems, and calls the 2012 election for Palin – Tea With Frankenstein: Please, No Masturbation .

      Still can’t bring myself to care whether he’s correct or not.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 20, 2010 1:30 pm

      The funniest thing about this video to me is this –

      “I hung around people who were doing these things. I’m not making this stuff up. I know what they told me they do,” O’Donnell told Maher.

      I’m guessing they told her that not because her school was a hotbed of the black arts, but because they realized she was a rube of very little brain who likely thought Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a documentary.

  16. cometman permalink*
    September 20, 2010 12:34 pm

    Drug companies are caught by PLoS Medicine hiring for-profit ghostwriting companies to place favorable articles in academic journals.

    The company DesignWrite boasts that over 12 years they have “planned, created, and/or managed hundreds of advisory boards, a thousand abstracts and posters, 500 clinical papers, over 10,000 speakers’ bureau programs, over 200 satellite symposia, 60 international programs, dozens of websites, and a broad array of ancillary printed and electronic materials”. They proposed a “planned publication program” to Wyeth, consisting of review articles, case reports, letters, editorials, commentaries and more, using the medical literature as a marketing tool.

    DesignWrite wrote the first drafts, and sent them to Wyeth, who then advised on the creation of a second draft. Only then did the paper get sent to the academic who would appear as the “author”. Review articles cost Wyeth $20,000. Abstracts are $4,000. The academics weren’t paid cash, but they did get an easy publication in an academic journal for their CV. And once the publication process was in train, the chap from Wyeth’s marketing department helpfully provided comments and suggestions for the authors to use in response to peer reviewers’ comments.

    Here’s the paper from PLoS Medicine exposing this blatant corruption, which somehow is legal – The Haunting of Medical Journals: How Ghostwriting Sold “HRT”.

  17. cometman permalink*
    September 20, 2010 12:39 pm

    Here’s a link to some good free documentary programming – Top Documentary Films.

    Lots of interesting ones in there (and some that look like clunkers too), many have appeared on cable TV or PBS before. Couple of Wernor Herzog documentaries and you can watch Life with the David Attenborough narration instead of the grating Oprah version. Good stuff for a rainy day.

  18. cometman permalink*
    September 20, 2010 1:20 pm

    Some links on financial news –

    One more reason to dislike Warren Buffett and his calcified old fart of a sidekick – Munger Says `Thank God’ U.S. Opted for Bailouts Over Handouts. Imagine the horror if we’d helped individuals instead of banks and this ratfucker who looks like he dropped dead a few years ago were forced to live out his few remaining days with just a few hundred million.

    The whitewash that were the European bank “stress tests” finished up a few months ago but those for Greece are being delayed, presumably until the oligarchs can cook the books to make it look like Greece actually has a pot to piss in.

    Yves Smith with more on why the Elizabeth Warren nomination likely won’t amount to a pisshole in the snow

    Friday brought the bizarre combination of a full bore PR push in conjunction with more evidence that Warren’s role was certain to be limited. It isn’t clear whether there was a change in plan or merely a later release of full details, but it emerged Friday that Warren had never planned to take a five year term as head of the agency (!). So the ambiguous nature of her role wasn’t simply, as reported earlier in the week, to avoid a confirmation battle the Administration might lose, but also because she did not want to serve a full term. Accordingly, the Administration announced, Warren would help select the person who would be nominated permanent head of the agency.

    Now I have to tell you, this is mighty peculiar. It is now official that Warren is at best a placeholder; she cannot have much impact. She can’t make much in the way of policy or personnel choices; that would encroach on the authority of an incoming director. And even her ability to influence the choice of a nominee is questionable. Her taking the advisory role now assures that the nomination of the permanent director will come after the midterm Congressional elections. Given the virtual certainty of Democratic losses, the odds are high that Team Obama will settle on a “conservative” meaning “won’t ruffle the banking industry” choice, and argue its hands were tied.

    Washington’s Blog notes that statistics which show Americans deleveraging and paying down debt may be misleading at best. Some have just stopped paying their mortgages and are spending on other things instead and the debt reduction or savings we’ve been told about isn’t really savings, but companies writing off loans that will never be repaid –American Businesses and Consumers are NOT Deleveraging … They Are Going On One Last Binge.

    Keep your eyes on your pension if you’re lucky enough to have one as pension funds have been increasingly been using actuarial tricks and some slick accounting to hide problems –The Illusion of Pension Savings.

    Earlier this year, Illinois said it had found a way to save billions of dollars. It would slash the pensions of workers it had not yet hired. The real-world savings would not materialize for decades, of course, but thanks to an actuarial trick, the state could start counting the savings this year and use it to help balance its budget.

    Actuaries, including some who serve on the profession’s governing boards, got wind of what Illinois was doing and began to look more closely. Many thought Illinois was using an unorthodox maneuver to starve its pension fund of billions of dollars, while papering over a widening gap between what it owed and how much it had. Alarmed, they began looking for a way to discourage Illinois’s method before other states could adopt it.

    They are too late. The maneuver, and techniques that have similar effects, are already in use in Rhode Island, Texas, Ohio, Arkansas and a number of other places, allowing those states to harvest savings today by imposing cuts on workers in the future.

    And today’s must read if you can stomach the technical language, but well worth slogging through. Michael Hudson addresses Brazil’s economic advisers and cautions them against listening to anything the US, the IMF, and World bank have to say – Challenging the Model of the North . Excellent explanation of how economies all over the world have allowed the financial industry to extract wealth from their populations.

  19. artemis54 permalink
    September 21, 2010 2:49 am

    Today will lvie in infamy if pom-pom darling Jim Webb is the 41st vote against cloture and to stab LGBT America in the back.

    • cometman permalink*
      September 21, 2010 6:41 am

      If he does he’ll have to answer to Gaga. Didn’t make it to the rally yesterday, but she really let them have it. She told the homophobes to get the hell out of the military.

      “Our new law is called, ‘If you don’t like it, go home,’ ” she said. “If you are not committing to perform with excellence as a United States soldier because you don’t believe in full equality, go home. If you are not honorable enough to fight without prejudice, go home. If you are not capable of keeping your oath to the armed forces, to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to do the same, unless there’s a gay soldier in my unit, then go home.”

      Here’s her whole speech –

      • artemis54 permalink
        September 21, 2010 8:16 am

        Poor Webb. He’s already got Choi on his ass: this is heartbreaking.

        • cometman permalink*
          September 21, 2010 11:55 am

          Sounds like the repeal isn’t going to happen. But I’m sure the pom pom girls will still be cheering for the former Republican Webb when he’s up for re-election.

          • artemis54 permalink
            September 21, 2010 12:55 pm

            In the end Webb voted to shut off debate and proceed. Not so the dem piles of crap from Arkeensawwwwww. Or the Maine girls. Snowe practically tied herself in a knot trying to justify her vote.

            • cometman permalink*
              September 21, 2010 1:04 pm

              But those two bitches will still be labeled as “moderates” in tomorrow’s paper.

  20. cometman permalink*
    September 21, 2010 12:02 pm

    Monbiot is not in the least bit sanguine that the powers that bill will ever do a damn thing about global warming – Climate change enlightenment was fun while it lasted. But now it’s dead.

    Meanwhile, the Cock (sp?) brothers spend another million on a CA ballot initiative to overturn existing climate change legislation

    Four years ago, bipartisan majorities in the California Legislature approved a landmark clean energy bill that many hoped would serve as a template for a national effort to reduce dependence on foreign oil and mitigate the threat of climate change.

    Now a well-financed coalition of right-wing ideologues, out-of-state oil and gas companies and climate-change skeptics is seeking to effectively kill that law with an initiative on the November state ballot. The money men include Charles and David Koch, the Kansas oil and gas billionaires who have played a prominent role in financing the Tea Party movement.


  21. cometman permalink*
    September 21, 2010 12:12 pm

    Couple of financial links –

    Good post detailing the recent disclosures that lenders are trying to foreclose on homes using fraudulent paperwork – How Serious is the GMAC Problem? Pretty Serious and Not Just GMAC. Several more articles on the subject at Naked Capitalism over the last couple days.

    And Dean Baker very succinctly explains why TARP was a colossal fraud – Wall Street’s greatest heist: the Tarp. Talked about it here before but the following bit ties in quite well with the Michael Hudson piece posted yesterday. If the banks had collapsed it would not have been the end of the world, it would simply mean that the oligarchs would not be able to extract their “rent” from the economy and the rest of us would have gotten to keep it.

    We are also supposed to feel good that the vast majority of the Tarp money was repaid. This is another effort to prey on the public’s ignorance. Had it not been for the bailout, most of the major centre banks would have been wiped out. This would have destroyed the fortunes of their shareholders, many of their creditors, and their top executives. This would have been a massive redistribution to the rest of society – their loss is our gain.

    It is important to remember that the economy would be no less productive following the demise of these Wall Street giants. The only economic fact that would have been different is that the Wall Street crew would have lost claims to hundreds of billions of dollars of the economy’s output each year and trillions of dollars of wealth. That money would, instead, be available for the rest of society. The fact that they have lost the claim to wealth from their stock and bond holdings makes all the rest of us richer, once the economy is again operating near normal levels of output.

    Yes, there would have been some unemployment and other difficulties, but in the long run it would have been far better for the vast majority of us.

  22. cometman permalink*
    September 21, 2010 12:20 pm

    Bushwa Barry craps on liberals again and wishes the left would stop picking on him. Rather than listing all of the epic failures he’s presided over in the last two years, I’ll cut Barry some slack today. As Tom Engelhardt explains, his continuation and escalation of the worst of Bush’s policies (look the economy has recovered! We just made $123 bil arming the Middle east to the teeth!) only ensures that the empire will collapse even faster, something that can’t come a moment too soon.

    It may sound terrible, and in Afghanistan and elsewhere, terrible things will indeed happen in the interim, while at home the economy will, at best, limp along, the infrastructure will continue to deteriorate, more jobs will march south, and American finances will worsen. If we’re not quite heading for what Arianna Huffington, in her provocative new book, calls “Third World America,” we’re not heading for further fame and fortune either.

    But cheer up. The news isn’t all bad. Truly. We’ve just gotten way too used to the idea that the United States must be the planet’s preeminent nation, the global hegemon, the sole superpower, numero uno. We’ve convinced ourselves that neither we nor the world can exist without our special management.

    So here’s the good news: it’s actually going to feel better to be just another nation, one more country, even if a large and powerful one, on this overcrowded planet, rather than the nation. It’s going to feel better to only arm ourselves to defend our actual borders, rather than constantly fighting distant wars or skirmishes and endlessly preparing for more of the same. It’s going to feel better not to be engaged in an arms race of one or playing the role of the globe’s major arms dealer. It’s going to feel better to focus on American problems, maybe experiment a little at home, and offer the world some real models for a difficult future, instead of talking incessantly about what a model we are while we bomb and torture and assassinate abroad with impunity.

    So take some pleasure in this: our troops are coming home and you’re going to see it happen. And in the not so very distant future it won’t be our job to “police” the world or be the “global sheriff.” And won’t that be a relief? We can form actual coalitions of equals to do things worth doing globally and never have to organize another “coalition of the billing,” twisting arms and bribing others to do our military bidding.

    Since by the time we get anywhere near such a world, our leaders will have run this country into the ground, it’s hard to offer the traditional three cheers for such a future. But how about at least one-and-a-half prospective cheers for the possible return of perspective to our American world, for a significant lessening, even if not the decisive ending, of an American imperial role and of the massive military “footprint” that goes with it.

    It’s going to happen. Put your money on it.

  23. cometman permalink*
    September 21, 2010 12:38 pm

    Some unrelated links –

    Make a career out of being a raging bigot and get a chair named after you at Harvard!

    Fascinating – parasitic snail flatworms exhibit “hive” behavior. Not so sure I want to use them for medication though –

    These colonies also act like an immune system, defending the body of the snail from other fluke infections, said second author Alan C. Wood, a marine science lab manager at UCSB. The soldiers behave like white blood cells; they attack other unrelated flukes, biting and killing them.

    These flukes with soldier castes may also have a biomedical application. They might be used in the biological control of major human parasitic diseases such as blood flukes. There are 200 million cases of blood fluke diseases worldwide, said Kuris. The soldier worms might eliminate infections from forming in the snail hosts, preventing infections in humans. Liver flukes might also be controlled.

    And some levity –

    CD name Fail.

    Fermi paradox solved!

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