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Corporatism and Fascism


Corporatism and Fascism

TomDispatch: The Relentless Pursuit of Extreme Energy, A New Oil Rush Endangers the Gulf of Mexico and the Planet

From TomDispatch this afternoon, a striking analysis of what the BP oil-leak disaster in the Gulf of Mexico really means, and a reminder that it signals the grim beginning of a new oil rush in an onrushing age of "tough oil" -- Michael T. Klare, "The Relentless Pursuit of Extreme Energy, A New Oil Rush Endangers the Gulf of Mexico and the Planet."

"Yes, the oil spewing up from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico in staggering quantities could prove one of the great ecological disasters of human history," begins energy expert and author of Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet Michael Klare. "Think of it, though, as just the prelude to the Age of Tough Oil, a time of ever increasing reliance on problematic, hard-to-reach energy sources. Make no mistake: we’re entering the danger zone. And brace yourself, the fate of the planet could be at stake."

Klare is one of our foremost analysts on the coming age of tough oil and of natural resource scarcity. In his latest TomDispatch.com post, he reminds us of a simple fact when it comes to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20th in the Gulf of Mexico: "Whether or not the immediate trigger of the explosion is ever fully determined, there can be no mistaking the underlying cause: a government-backed corporate drive to exploit oil and natural gas reserves in extreme environments under increasingly hazardous operating conditions."

This is a subject on which Klare has been a pioneer in his analysis. Here he focuses on the new oil rush in search of energy reserves into some of the most difficult areas of the planet -- the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Arctic which, by their very nature, involve an ever increasing risk of human and environmental catastrophe -- something that has been far too little acknowledged.

Klare concludes his important new piece on what the BP ecological disaster really portends this way: "The Deepwater Horizon explosion, we assuredly will be told, was an unfortunate fluke: a confluence of improper management and faulty equipment. With tightened oversight, it will be said, such accidents can be averted -- and so it will be safe to go back into the deep waters again and drill for oil a mile or more beneath the ocean’s surface. Don’t believe it... The ultimate source of the disaster is big oil’s compulsive drive to compensate for the decline in its conventional oil reserves by seeking supplies in inherently hazardous areas -- risks be damned. So long as this compulsion prevails, more such disasters will follow. Bet on it." This is a major piece of analysis. Don't miss it. Read it now.

Protesters Gather At Massey Annual Meeting


Protesters gather at Massey annual meeting
By Dena Potter, AP | Google News

A mixture of union representatives and anti-mining activists gathered outside a historic Richmond hotel Tuesday morning to protest against a common foe — Massey Energy Co.

Hundreds of people sang songs, chanted and held signs across the street from the Jefferson Hotel, while Richmond-based Massey's board opened its annual stockholders meeting inside. Their protests were focused on Massey CEO Don Blankenship, calling for him to resign or to be prosecuted on environmental and workplace safety issues.

The meeting has attracted more attention than usual because it comes six weeks after 29 miners died in an explosion at Massey's Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia. The blast is the nation's worst coal mining disaster in 40 years and has prompted an outpouring of criticism of Massey.

At least two people were arrested inside the hotel by Richmond police. Hotel officials declined to comment, and police did not immediately identify who was arrested or why.

Environmental group Rising Tide DC said group members Kate Finneran, 22, and Oscar Ramirez, 25, were arrested after unfurling a 10-by-10 hand-painted banner that read "Massey: Stop Putting Profits Over People" from the mezzanine above the grand foyer in the hotel. They were charged with trespassing and were expected to be released Tuesday afternoon. Read more.

Arrest Warrant for US Special Ops, Running Kandahar Outlaw Militia?


Arrest Warrant for US Special Ops, Running Kandahar Outlaw Militia?
By Siun | FireDogLake

The Guardian is reporting that the chief military prosecutor in Kabul is accusing “the US of creating an outlaw militia which allegedly shot dead Matiullah Qateh, the chief of police in the city of Kandahar” and “has issued an arrest warrant for an American special forces commander:”

The militia, which Ranjbar claimed is armed and trained by US special forces, also allegedly killed Kandahar’s head of criminal investigations and two other officers, when they attempted to free one of their members from a courthouse…

Ranjbar said an investigation found that the force that killed Qateh operated from Camp Gecko, in the hills outside Kandahar, a base for both US special forces and the CIA.

Officials in Kandahar said the militia supplies guards and is trained to work alongside special forces and intelligence officials in raids against Taliban targets…

He claimed that suspects arrested for the courthouse raid had confessed to being part of a 300-strong militia unit run by “Johnny”. They said they “could not move a muscle and could not leave their base without Johnny’s orders” Ranjbar said. “He was the head of the group and they [the Americans] were the ones paying them.”

“Johnny” is the only known name of the US Special Ops member who is reported to command this “outlaw milita.” Read more.

APA Scrubs Web Pages Linking Organization to CIA Torture Workshops


APA Scrubs Web Pages Linking Organization to CIA Torture Workshops
By Jeffrey Kaye | The Public Record

Like a modern-day Ministry of Truth, the American Psychological Association (APA) has scrubbed the webpage describing “deception scenarios” workshops that were part of a conference it conducted with the CIA and Rand Corporation on July 17-18, 2003. In addition, the APA erased the link to the page, and even all mention of its existence, from another story at its July 2003 Science Policy Insider News website that briefly described the conference.

In May 2007, in an article at Daily Kos, I noted that the workshops were describing “new ways to utilize drugs and sensory bombardment techniques to break down interrogatees.” Quoting from the APA’s description (and note, the link is to an archived version of the webpage; emphasis is added):

  • How do we find out if the informant has knowledge of which s/he is not aware?
  • How important are differential power and status between witness and officer?
  • What pharmacological agents are known to affect apparent truth-telling behavior?….
  • What are sensory overloads on the maintenance of deceptive behaviors? How might we overload the system or overwhelm the senses and see how it affects deceptive behaviors?

Read more.

Insider on Siegelman Prosecution Team Fears For His Life


Insider on Siegelman Prosecution Team Fears For His Life

Scott Horton, Legal Affairs writer for Harper's Magazine, exposes further misconduct in the Siegelman case quoting one member of the prosecution as saying that he would not come forward to expose government misconduct because:

--"you don't understand, these people would kill me if they have to to keep the lid on this." And Main Justice? "They’d be happy to learn that I was dead."

Horton says the person responsible for subverting justice is David Margolas, Deputy Attorney General and the right hand man to Eric Holder. (Who is David Margolas? See Scott Horton's speech below, 4th page, 3rd full paragraph.)

Please read this article and Horton's speech linked in The Legal Schnauzer. It is chilling!

INSIDER ON SIEGELMAN PROSECUTION TEAM FEARS FOR HIS LIFE

A member of the team that prosecuted former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman says he witnessed rampant misconduct in the case but is afraid to come forward out of fear for his life.

Scott Horton, legal-affairs contributor for Harper's Magazine, made the revelation in a speech last week to the Rotary Club of New York and the American Constitution Society.

Horton says that one Justice Department whistleblower--Tamarah Grimes, of Montgomery--had come forward about misconduct in the Siegelman prosecution and wound up losing her job. A second, unnamed whistleblower fears a similar fate, or worse, if he comes forward.

Horton says he has interviewed both prosecution insiders, and they corroborate statements by key witness Nick Bailey that he was heavily coached and threatened with being outed as a homosexual. Says Horton:

As I note, two members of the prosecution team were appalled by the misconduct that drove the case against Siegelman. One of them filed internal complaints inside the Justice Department. The result? Her name is Tamara Grimes. She was persecuted, hounded, and finally dismissed from her position--in direct violation of the federal whistleblower protection statute.

And what about the second member of the team?

(He) tells me he will not step forward because he knows he would face the same fate. He even indicated the fear of a mob type--"you don't understand, these people would kill me if they have to to keep the lid on this." And Main Justice? "They’d be happy to learn that I was dead."

Horton goes on to summarize the Justice Department's disgraceful handling of the Siegelman case:

So today, even though the Siegelman case has been torn to shreds in the public and 104 state attorneys general, led by Grant Woods, the national co-chair of the McCain for President campaign, have formally complained about the Justice Department’s gross and abusive handling the case, the Justice Department admits no wrong. It's even issued a series of brazenly false public statements in an attempt to cover its tracks.

The Siegelman prosecution hardly is an isolated instance of abuse. Horton discusses other justice-related matters, and the full speech can be viewed here.

Afghanistan: Whose War?

Afghanistan: Whose war?
By Doug Bandow | Daily Caller

America has achieved its objectives in Afghanistan: al-Qaeda has been dispersed, the Taliban has been punished, an anti-terrorism message has been sent. But Washington’s broader attempt at nation-building has been far less successful, despite the expenditure of nearly 1,000 American lives more than $220 billion. For all this, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calls the situation in Afghanistan “deteriorating.”

There is no better time than the present for Washington to learn humility. The U.S. cannot impose liberty, prosperity, democracy, and stability on Afghanistan. The Obama administration should focus on protecting Americans from terrorism while leaving nation-building in Afghanistan to the Afghan people.

The easiest way for an American to fly into Afghanistan is on Kam Air from Dubai. But it appears that only Americans fly into Afghanistan on Kam Air from Dubai. Almost, anyway.

The vast majority of passengers on my flights into and out of Kabul were white males, many with military-style haircuts and several with military tattoos. A few may be on active duty. Most probably are private security consultants. As in Iraq, contractors have come to play an increasing role in the way America fights wars.

More significant, though, is the appearance that this is America’s, not Afghanistan’s, war. Afghans are doing most of the dying, of course. But the conflict is what it is because of American (and Western) men and money.

As a city of several million, Kabul is most definitely Afghan. Nevertheless, the city’s organization—to the extent that it exists—is Western. Traffic, commerce, government, and much else revolves around foreign soldiers, diplomats, consultants, aid workers, journalists, and other outsiders who typically show up during war.

Taliban attacks in the capital are few, but no one feels safe. The airport is ringed by barbed wire; the road leading in is filled with concrete blocks and checkpoints. Travelers face multiple bag and body checks. Humvees topped with machine guns stand guard.

Note: The author, Doug Bandow, is the Robert A. Taft Fellow at the American Conservative Defense Alliance, advisor to Campaign for Liberty, and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. He is also a former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. Read more.

Wall Street to K Street to Capitol Hill - One Big Revolving Door

Wall Street to K Street to Capitol Hill - One Big Revolving Door
By George Goehl, Executive Director, National People's Action | Huffington Post

Big bank CEOs make their most lucrative moves not from their offices on Wall Street but from their DC addresses on K Street and Capitol Hill.

A new report by Campaign for America's Future and the Public Accountability Initiative, shows things are worse than many of us knew.

The report, "Big Bank Takeover,"...documents a revolving door where former Members of Congress and federal employees soon become bank lobbyists who work to undermine democracy and further the interests of Wall Street at the expense of the American people.

The report documents how during the financial reform debate, the financial industry has hired over 70 former Members of Congress and 940 former federal employees to lobby on their behalf. Members of both parties are guilty.

One of the key findings is that the six biggest banks - Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JP Morgan, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo - account for a disproportionate share of the activity. This provides the answer to why the U.S. Senate has failed to move on the most critical component of financial reform: breaking up the big banks whose size and reach put our entire economy (not to mention our democracy) at risk. Read more.

Euro Crisis: Only Root-And-Branch Financial Reform Can Tame The Wolf Pack


Euro crisis: only root-and-branch financial reform can tame the wolf pack
By Dan Roberts | Guardian.co.UK

Excerpt:

European optimists hope the way to save the eurozone will be to complete the project by agreeing much closer fiscal and political union between the single currency members. In future, the hope is Germany would no more allow Greece to get into this mess than it would Bavaria.

Yet recognising how interconnected our economies have become does not in itself lessen the risks. In many respects, the credit crunch which began in 2007 has just jumped another firebreak: what began as a private sector banking problem has mutated into a sovereign debt disaster as nation states try to help, and is now becoming a supranational headache instead as the few remaining stable authorities, such as the EU and International Monetary Fund, get dragged in too.

Understandably, many are now again questioning the role that banks and traders have played in this saga – not least as a government-spurred recovery in bank profits once again drives personal bonuses to record levels.

In Europe, anger at the financial system is directed particularly towards London and New York, where most of the world's currency traders and debt investors hang out. The EU is already working on plans to form its own credit rating agencies as an answer to what many see as an American hegemony....

Satisfying, and just, as it may be to turn fire back on the financiers, the complicating factor is that indebted countries have never needed them more. Perhaps only a root-and-branch reassessment of our financial system itself can save us now. Read more.

Tom Dispatch: Glenn Beck, America's Historian Laureate, The Tea Party's Guide to American Exceptionalism (It Is All About Race)


From TomDispatch this afternoon: the smartest analysis you can find of just why Tea Partyism is all about race -- Greg Grandin, "Glenn Beck, America's Historian Laureate, The Tea Party's Guide to American Exceptionalism (It Is All About Race)

The Tea Party Movement -- and Glenn Beck is its historian laureate -- is all about race in ways that are as American as apple pie, and just about as basic, so writes Greg Grandin, TomDispatch regular and author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Fordlandia. "Americans, it’s been said, learn geography when they go to war," he begins. "Now, it seems, many get their history when they go to a Tea Party rally or tune in to Glenn Beck."

He continues: "It’s easy to dismiss the iconography of the movement: the wigs and knee breeches, the founding-father fetishism, the coiled snakes, and, yes, the tea bags. It’s no less easy to laugh at recent historical howlers like the claims of Dick Armey, who heads FreedomWorks, a corporate Tea Party front, that Jamestown was settled by “socialists” or the Texas School Board’s airbrushing of Deist Thomas Jefferson from its history textbooks. It’s fun to ridicule Beck, as Jon Stewart recently did, when he goes all “Da Vinci Code,” and starts connecting Woodrow Wilson, Mussolini, and ACORN in order to explain 2008’s economic collapse.

"But historical analysis is about making connections, and there is, in fact, coherence to the Tea Party version of history, which allows conservative cadres not just to interpret the world but to act in it. And yes, it is all about race."

Grandin then explores Beck's "epic view of American history" and extreme individualism, and just why the Tea Party and affiliated right-wing movements are so unable to whistle past Dixie.

This is a deep plunge into the history of race and racism in the U.S. and why it's only a short step from where the Tea Party movement is today to a potential paroxysm of violence. Read it now.

May 13, 1985: Philly Bombs, Literally

By Linn Washington Jr.

Philadelphia loves to brag about it’s ‘Firsts,’ citing such notable things as the nation’s first capital (1774), America’s first zoo (1874) and the birthplace of the world’s first digital computer ENIAC (1946).

There is one ‘First’ that will never appear in slick tourist handouts from the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau though, and that’s the city’s first air raid on May 13, 1985, when the city deliberately bombed an occupied house containing children, sparking a deadly firestorm.

A bomb dropped on an American city by that city’s own police force?

Yes, a bomb made with hi-explosive military C-4 and powerful Tovex dropped by Philadelphia police from a Pennsylvania State Police helicopter onto the roof of 6221 Osage Ave., located in West Philadelphia just blocks from the University of Pennsylvania – considered America’s ‘First’ university.

Guantánamo Habeas Results: The Definitive List


Guantánamo Habeas Results: The Definitive List
By Andy Worthington | AndyWorthington.co.UK

This definitive list of all the court rulings relating to habeas corpus petitions submitted by the prisoners at Guantánamo, as delivered by judges in the District Court in Washington D.C. (and as mandated by the Supreme Court in June 2008) follows on from my ongoing coverage of the habeas petitions and my recent project, “Guantánamo Habeas Week,” in which I presented a list of the 47 habeas corpus rulings made at that point, with links to the articles I had written over the previous 19 months analyzing the judges’ rulings, and also wrote six new articles examining, in depth, seven recent unclassified opinions issued by the judges....

However, as I also explained, I remain deeply troubled about the justification for continuing to hold the majority of the prisoners who lost their habeas petitions, because the basis for doing so — the Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed by Congress in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and maintained as a justification by President Obama — was, and is a deeply flawed document, which fails to distinguish between a small group of genuine terrorists (al-Qaeda) and a considerably larger group of men (and boys) associated with the Taliban. The result is that men continue to be consigned to indefinite detention, on an apparently sound legal basis, even though they were only peripherally involved with the military conflict in Afghanistan to secure the fall of the Taliban, and should, all along, have been held (if at all) as prisoners of war, and protected by the Geneva Conventions. Read more, review list of court rulings.

Listen Tonight! KBOO Special Report: The Insanity Of Our Oil Addiction - Connecting The Dots In The BP Oil Disaster - Tonight 6-7 PM Pacific Time


KBOO Special report: The insanity of our oil addiction - connecting the dots in the BP Oil Disaster

Air date: Wed, 05/12/2010 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm Pacific Time

Featuring radical Texas populist Jim Hightower, renowned author and activist Antonia Juhasz (‘The Tyranny of Oil’), discussing the real issues behind the BP oil spill currently gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer and public speaker who has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top. Click here for his website.

Also on the show will be Antonia Juhasz, whose book ‘The Tyranny of Oil’ has been called the hardest-hitting exposé of the oil industry in decades, examining today's most pressing energy questions:

  • Why do oil and gasoline prices rise and fall so quickly?
  • How much oil is left?
  • How far will Big Oil go to get it?
  • And at what cost to the economy, environment, human rights, worker safety, public health, democracy, and America’s place in the world?

After Oil Rig Blast, BP Refused to Share Underwater Spill Footage


After Oil Rig Blast, BP Refused to Share Underwater Spill Footage
Message Control A Key Industry Focus During Oil Disaster Drills
By Matthew Mosk, Avni Patel, John Solomon, and Aaron Metha | ABC News And Center For Public Integrity | May 12, 2010

"The technology that's being used on the surface is over 30 years old," said Jerome Milgram, a professor of marine technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "I can say this. I don't see any practical effect for putting out booms when the sea conditions are such that the booms are totally ineffective."

BP's "worst case" scenario for a huge oil spill in the Gulf relies heavily on being able to boom and skim a half million barrels a day, according to the oil spill response plan the company filed with federal regulators.

During a series of dry-run exercises, where the U.S. Coast Guard, other agencies and oil companies practiced their response to major oil spill disasters, industry executives repeatedly pressed federal regulators to give them more say on what information would be released to the public if disaster struck.

Reports obtained in a joint investigation by ABC News and the Center for Public Integrity show oil companies targeted the potential release of "confidential" information as a key concern.

That behind-the-scenes lobbying effort helped foretell a tug of war this week over images that BP America did not want the public to see as the company struggled to try and contain the massive spill unleashed after one of the company's offshore oil rigs exploded in the Gulf of Mexico.

Throughout the clean-up effort, BP has monitored the spill site around the clock using submarine-mounted cameras at the mouth of the spill. An official at Oceaneering International, the company that operates the submarines under a contract with BP, told ABC News he "could walk right down the hall and watch it, but I can't share it without BP's express permission." Read more.

Protesters Target BP, Oil Spill Cleanup Continues

Protesters Target BP, Oil Spill Cleanup Continues | ABC News

Billions of oil barrels spilled reminiscent of Exxon Valdez catastrophe

Does Your Senator Work for You or the Banksters?

Kevin Zeese, ProsperityAgenda.US

The Senate is currently working on the so-called “reform” of the financial industry. I say “so-called” because thus far there is nothing in the bill that the big banks and the crony capitalists on Wall Street oppose. There have been several important votes and now we can see whether senators are representing the people or the banksters.

Protests As US Congress Opens Oil Spill Hearing


Protests as US Congress opens oil spill hearing | AFP

Protesters called out "BP kills" and waved signs denouncing the British energy giant Tuesday as the US Congress opened its first hearing into the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"BP kills wildlife, BP kills people, BP kills the planet," two of the demonstrators, members of the anti-war group Code Pink, called out moments before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources began the session.

The protesters also waved signs that read "BP = Bad People," and one wore a T-shirt with a crudely painted "power to the people."

A second group of protesters staged a more quiet show of opposition in black T-shirts emblazoned with "Energy Shouldn't Cost Lives," applying make-up in the shape of black tears.

Related links:

(PressTV) – BP dome fails to stop oil leak
British Petroleum (BP) has failed in its first attempt to contain oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico with a metal box as crystallized gas fills the structure. Read More Here

  • (McClatchyDC) – Video: Since spill, feds have given 27 waivers to oil companies in gulf. Since the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded on April 20, the Obama administration has granted oil and gas companies at least 27 exemptions from doing in-depth environmental studies of oil exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico. Video Link Here
  • Video: Southern Boys Show US Government How to Clean Up Oil With Hay! – Video Link Here
  • (MediaConsortium) – Weekly Mulch: Slick of Oil Industry Cash Gummed up Regulatory Works
  • The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is worse than anyone thought, and the crisis will likely go on for months. British Petroleum (BP) is tripping over itself to say it’ll cover the costs of the clean-up, yet before the spill, the company spent its time and money pushing back against government regulation and safety measures. Read More Here
  • (Spiegel) – Expert Recommends Killing Oil-Soaked Birds A German biologist says that efforts to clean oil-drenched birds in the Gulf of Mexico are in vain. For the birds’ sake, it would be faster and less painful if animal-rescue workers put them under, she says. Studies and other experts back her up. Kill, don’t clean,” is the recommendation of a German animal biologist, who this week said that massive efforts to clean oil-soaked birds in Gulf of Mexico won’t do much to stop a near certain and painful death for the creatures Read More Here
  • (Guardian) – Chevron wins access to film-maker’s Amazon pollution footage
  • Crude, released last year, focuses on the 17-year legal battle between Chevron and 30,000 Ecuadorians who say their land, rivers, wells, livestock and own bodies were poisoned by decades of reckless oil drilling in the rainforest. Read More Here
  • (AP) – Oil spill may endanger human health, officials say
  • With a huge and unpredictable oil slick drifting in the Gulf of Mexico, state and federal authorities are preparing to deal with a variety of hazards to human health if and when the full brunt of the toxic mess washes ashore. Read More Here
    (GreenPeace) – BP working hard to keep the damage hidden – Read More Here

Foreign Bankers, Low Hanging Fruit and Social Security


Foreign Bankers, Low Hanging Fruit and Social Security
Reprinted in full courtesy of NCPSSM | May 11, 2010

In these days of billion dollar public relations campaigns designed to convince the American people that somehow Social Security must foot the bill for a decade of unrelated fiscal failures, the headlines hardly surprise us anymore. But today on CNN Money we came across something which has really set the bar for balanced media coverage at a new low.

Jeanne Sahadi’s “Fixing Social Security: the Low Hanging Fruit” reads like a Peterson Foundation News Release. Quoting liberally from the multi-billionaire anti-entitlement crusader and the director of another Peterson funded group, the Concord Coalition, provides lop-sided sources for a story about Social Security. Surely CNN could have found at least one Social Security expert in Washington to balance the anti-Social Security rhetoric? Rhetoric like:

“it (cutting Social Security) would be a confidence builder with our foreign lenders” Peter Peterson, Peterson Foundation

“They could begin with Social Security, which oddly enough has gone from being the ‘third rail of American politics’ to the low-hanging fruit” Robert Bixby, Concord Coalition

These “experts” Sahadi consulted view Social Security cuts as low-hanging fruit and a confidence builder for foreign bankers …really? Is that really all there is to this story? How about a quote reminding CNN viewers and its online readers that Social Security hasn’t contributed one dime to our current fiscal mess–that Social Security is funded by contributions from American workers, not federal dollars? How about a quote from an economist or Social Security policy expert explaining that what fiscal hawks really want is for Washington to renege on its repayment to the Social Security trust fund—a trust fund built up by contributions from America’s workers over decades and now made to be the scapegoat for failed borrow and spend policies, skyrocketing health care costs, two wars, tax cuts for the wealthy and a Wall Street run amok (which ultimately collapsed our economy).

And Chicks for Free?

And Chicks for Free?
By James Howard Kunstler | Truthout

...The truth is that the imbalances of global finance are so grotesque now that the whole money system is hanging together with nothing but spit and prayer. I get rafts of e-letters every week warning of a supposedly-coming global currency -- a companion idea to the notion of a one-world government. Both are idiotic fantasies. Events are taking the nations of the world in the other direction: towards break-up, down-sizing, down-scaling. Likewise, if major currencies such as the Euro and the dollar blow up, they're much more likely to be replaced by more local bank-notes backed by gold than by some hypothetical Amero or Globo-buck.

At seven a.m. Eastern time, the European stock markets were zooming, and Bloomberg even carried a wonderfully mysterious headline saying Greek Bonds Rally. That was especially rich -- like, who in the fuck is going to load up on Greek bonds now? Is there a pension fund somewhere run by such dimwits that they would sell their positions in the Goldman Sachs issued Timberwolf CDO in order to get in on the new bargain in ten-year Greek sovereigns? I hope those pensioners are prepared to spend what remains of their lives selling chestnuts from pushcarts on the streets of Oslo, because they sure won't be clipping coupons in front of any World Cup telecast.

As if life in the USA wasn't surreal enough last week. Once upon a time, the stock market was a place where people with capital went to look for productive activity to invest in -- say, a company devoted to making soap flakes, an underpants factory. Now the market is a robot combat arena where algorithms battle for supremacy of the feedback loops. Thursday's still-baffling fifteen-minute "crash" was an excellent demonstration of the diminishing returns of technology. People too-clever-by-half, aided greatly by computers, have now gamed the investment indexes so successfully that these markets no longer have anything to do with investment -- they're just about shaving micro-points of profit at high volumes by micro-milliseconds off mere differentials in... math! This is truly quant heaven, a place where only numbers matter and there is no correspondence to anything in the real world. In other words, last Thursday's bizarre action was a warning that the American stock markets have flown up their own aggregate ass. Read more.

The Cover-up: BP's Crude Politics and the Looming Environmental Mega-Disaster

The Cover-up: BP's Crude Politics and the Looming Environmental Mega-Disaster
By Wayne Madsen | Oil Price | Note: Bolding mine. ~Chip :)

WMR has been informed by sources in the US Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Florida Department of Environmental Protection that the Obama White House and British Petroleum (BP), which pumped $71,000 into Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign -- more than John McCain or Hillary Clinton, are covering up the magnitude of the volcanic-level oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and working together to limit BP's liability for damage caused by what can be called a "mega-disaster."

Obama and his senior White House staff, as well as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, are working with BP's chief executive officer Tony Hayward on legislation that would raise the cap on liability for damage claims from those affected by the oil disaster from $75 million to $10 billion. However, WMR's federal and Gulf state sources are reporting the disaster has the real potential cost of at least $1 trillion. Critics of the deal being worked out between Obama and Hayward point out that $10 billion is a mere drop in the bucket for a trillion dollar disaster but also note that BP, if its assets were nationalized, could fetch almost a trillion dollars for compensation purposes. There is talk in some government circles, including FEMA, of the need to nationalize BP in order to compensate those who will ultimately be affected by the worst oil disaster in the history of the world.

Plans by BP to sink a 4-story containment dome over the oil gushing from a gaping chasm one kilometer below the surface of the Gulf, where the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and killed 11 workers on April 20, and reports that one of the leaks has been contained is pure public relations disinformation designed to avoid panic and demands for greater action by the Obama administration, according to FEMA and Corps of Engineers sources. Sources within these agencies say the White House has been resisting releasing any "damaging information" about the oil disaster. They add that if the ocean oil geyser is not stopped within 90 days, there will be irreversible damage to the marine eco-systems of the Gulf of Mexico, north Atlantic Ocean, and beyond. At best, some Corps of Engineers experts say it could take two years to cement the chasm on the floor of the Gulf. Read more.

Ralph Nader Draws A Big Crowd at CWU

Ralph Nader draws a big crowd at CWU
By Chelsea Krotzer | Daily Record News

Nader spent about an hour discussing corporate influence, political party power and how to become a community civic leader.

"Why are we ruled by corporations and political parties?" Nader asked the audience. "It's a good clinical project for you. Learn how to evaluate these people and, from then on, never be subjected to this nasty syndrome where you can't take out the big boys.

"If you get out of college and are a cultured political slave, you are going to be a political slave forever."

Ralph Nader had one message to give to his captivated audience of 400 Thursday afternoon.

It is time.

"It's time for you to put your arm to the wheel of justice and take this wonderful work of human kind to new levels, here and abroad," said Nader, a four-time presidential candidate. "You are the last generation that will have to give up so little in order to achieve so much.

"Go for it." Read more.

Assassination of US Muslim Cleric is Illegal, Immoral and Unwise

Assassination of US Muslim Cleric is Illegal, Immoral and Unwise
By Bill Quigley | Common Dreams

Agents of the United States are openly trying to assassinate Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a US citizen, while he is in hiding in Yemen. Despite what the apologists for assassination argue this is illegal, immoral and unwise.

Assassinating Awlaki in the US would be murder, a capital crime, punishable by life in prison or even the death penalty. Morally, few would argue that agents of the FBI or the CIA could murder the cleric in the US. If it is illegal and immoral to kill a Muslim cleric in the US why would it be legal, moral or wise to do so in Yemen?

The Imam, who lived in the US for more than two decades, is accused of using his powerful speaking and teaching skills on behalf of terrorism. Authorities say he was in e-mail contact with the Army Major arrested for killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas. He is loosely linked to the Nigerian Christmas bomber. The Times Square SUV bomber is reported to have listened to the cleric's online lectures.

Assassination has been illegal since 1976.

In 1976 U.S. President Gerald Ford issued Executive Order 11905, Section 5(g) states "No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination." President Reagan followed up to make the ban clearer in Executive Order 12333. Section 2.11 of that Order states "No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination." Section 2.12 further says "Indirect participation. No agency of the Intelligence Community shall participate in or request any person to undertake activities forbidden by this Order." Read more.

The Financial Oligarchy Reigns: Democracy’s Death Spiral From Greece to the United States

The Financial Oligarchy Reigns: Democracy’s Death Spiral From Greece to the United States
By David DeGraw | Amped Status

As the Economic Elite continue their plunder, the people in Greece riot and the big banks score yet another big blow against the people of the United States.

Democracy throughout the world is under attack. Many people can make the argument that our democracy here in America is only an illusion, but even the illusion of democracy is crashing down. Tragedies are currently playing out across the world on an epic scale. Unprecedented economic and environmental catastrophes have become the norm. Billions of people, the overwhelming majority of humanity, have been sentenced to a slow death due to a concentration of wealth and resources within the humanity’s economic top 0.5%. Ultimately, short-sighted greed has proven to be humanity’s most severe disease.

I: Democracy Vs. Oligarchy: Lessons from History

The experiment known as democracy is devolving into fascism before our eyes, the “iron law of oligarchy” is once again asserting itself. From the Founding Fathers on, we have known that you cannot have a concentration of vast wealth and Democracy at the same time, and we currently have the greatest concentration of wealth in the history of the United States. As former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, “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.”

The power struggle between democracy and the concentration of power represented within private banking interests has been a war raging throughout American history. Our Founders and early Presidents were very explicit in their opposition and our need to vigilantly guard against any private interests who sought control over our economy. In fact, our current crisis and power structure was summed up with stunning accuracy by the Founding Fathers themselves. As James Madison called it, “the daring depravity of the times.” As he described, “The stock-jobbers will become the praetorian band of the government, at once its tools and its tyrants; bribed by its largesse, and overawing it by clamors and combinations. Substituting the motive of private interest in place of public duty, leading to a real domination of the few under an apparent domination of the many.”

Leave it to Madison, the Father of the Constitution, to give us one of the most prescient quotes on modern day America you can find. For those of you who have never heard the term “stock-jobbers,” here’s the definition from a dictionary written in 1811:

“Stock Jobbers

Persons who gamble in Exchange Alley, by pretending to buy and sell the public funds, but in reality only betting that they will be at a certain price, at a particular time; possessing neither the stock pretended to be sold, nor money sufficient to make good the payments for which they contract: these gentlemen are known under the different appellations of bulls, bears, and lame ducks.”

Yes, even the Founders, long before High Frequency Trading algorithms and derivatives, had a clear understanding and great fear of the casino rigging tyrants in “Exchange Alley.” Madison also famously said: “History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance.” Read more.

High Frequency Terrorism: How the Big Banks and Federal Reserve Maintained Their Death Grip Over the United States

High Frequency Terrorism: How the Big Banks and Federal Reserve Maintained Their Death Grip Over the United States
By David McGraw | Amped Status

The following article is the third-part of a six-part report titled: “The Financial Oligarchy Reigns: Democracy’s Death Spiral From Greece to the United States.” The full report is available here.

III: Financial Terrorism Operations: 9/29/08 & 5/6/10

In the aftermath of Goldman Sachs’ public flogging before the world in Congress, and while under investigation, on the very day that Congress was voting on the “break up the too big to fail banks” amendment and cutting behind the scenes deals to gut the audit of the Federal Reserve, the stock market had its greatest sudden drop in history, plummeting 700 points in ten minutes - shades of September 29, 2008 all over again.

If you recall, back in September ‘08, as Congress was voting down the first bailout, the big banks made the market plunge a record 778 points in one day, fear and panic then led Congress to pass the bailout. Trillions of our tax dollars, the money that we desperately need to keep our society functioning over the long run, then went out the window and into the pockets of the very people who caused the crash.

What happened on September 29, 2008 will go down in history as one of the greatest acts of terrorism ever.

9/29/08 proved that when you have so much power concentrated in the hands of a few, you can manipulate a computer algorithm and make the market and economy go which ever way you want it to go. So on 5/6/10, just as the power of the big banks was threatened again on the floor of the Senate and a deal on auditing the Federal Reserve was being negotiated, in came a sudden and unprecedented ten-minute 700 point market drop. A precision-guided High Frequency Trading (HFT) attack to show Congress who’s boss.

If you think the massive sudden drop happened because one lowly trader hit one wrong button, if you actually believe that the entire stock market can plunge because of one mistaken key stroke by a low level trader, you are stunningly naïve. I hate to burst your bubble, but this was a direct attack.

Using Alleged Terrorism to Escalate War and Homeland Repression


Using Alleged Terrorism to Escalate War and Homeland Repression
By Stephen Lendman

Much about the New York bomb incident is worrisome, besides the media already pronouncing sentence, biasing future jurors to convict or face the wrath of public opinion, their communities, friends and even family. As a result, Faisal Shahzad doesn't stand a chance, guilty or innocent, regardless of his alleged confession and the plausibility that he was set up - used as a convenient dupe with his device rigged not to go off but to emit smoke to be found. Why not given America's history of using false flag incidents for political advantage.

Again, the possibility is real, given the incident's similarity to the Christmas 2009 airline one involving Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He was also used as a convenient dupe, his explosive device no more powerful than a firecracker.

Understand also how involved CIA operatives and assets are globally, especially in Eurasia. Pakistan's ISI (its intelligence service) is a de facto adjunct, both working together destabilizing the region for US geopolitical interests. So-called terror incidents in America or the West are directly connected, perhaps the New York one the latest using Shahzad as a convenient dupe.

Secret Erik Prince Tape Exposed

Secret Erik Prince Tape Exposed
By Jeremy Scahill | Nation

Erik Prince, the reclusive owner of the Blackwater empire, rarely gives public speeches and when he does he attempts to ban journalists from attending and forbids recording or videotaping of his remarks. On May 5, that is exactly what Prince is trying to do when he speaks at DeVos Fieldhouse as the keynote speaker for the "Tulip Time Festival" in his hometown of Holland, Michigan. He told the event's organizers no news reporting could be done on his speech and they consented to the ban. Journalists and media associations in Michigan are protesting this attempt to bar reporting on his remarks.

Despite Prince's attempts to shield his speeches from public scrutiny, The Nation magazine has obtained an audio recording of a recent, private speech delivered by Prince to a friendly audience. The speech, which Prince attempted to keep from public consumption, provides a stunning glimpse into his views and future plans and reveals details of previously undisclosed activities of Blackwater. The people of the United States have a right to media coverage of events featuring the owner of a company that generates 90% of its revenue from the United States government.

In the speech, Prince proposed that the US government deploy armed private contractors to fight "terrorists" in Nigeria, Yemen, Somalia and Saudi Arabia, specifically to target Iranian influence. He expressed disdain for the Geneva Convention and described Blackwater's secretive operations at four Forward Operating Bases he controls in Afghanistan. He called those fighting the US in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan "barbarians" who "crawled out of the sewer." Prince also revealed details of a July 2009 operation he claims Blackwater forces coordinated in Afghanistan to take down a narcotrafficking facility, saying that Blackwater "call[ed] in multiple air strikes," blowing up the facility. Prince boasted that his forces had carried out the "largest hashish bust in counter-narcotics history." He characterized the work of some NATO countries' forces in Afghanistan as ineffectual, suggesting that some coalition nations "should just pack it in and go home." Prince spoke of Blackwater working in Pakistan, which appears to contradict the official, public Blackwater and US government line that Blackwater is not in Pakistan. Read more.

Take Action Against Torture, For Fair Trials

Last year, Alice Walker, Stephen King and others, took our 10 Against Torture action. Now, in 2010, we're asking you to be one of 10,000 Americans committed to urging the Obama administration to following through on its commitment to close Guantanamo and restore justice to a flawed detention and interrogation system.

Please join us over the next several weeks to help get America back on track to a country that respects the rule of law and rejects torture.

Do Torture Lawyers Have Guilty Minds?

Do the 'Torture Lawyers' Have Guilty Minds?: A Response to Jens Ohlin
By John T. Parry, Lewis & Clark Law School | Harvard International Law Journal, Vol. 51, pp. 23-34, 2010

Abstract: In this paper, written for the Harvard International Law Journal Online, I respond to Jens Ohlin's important article, "The Torture Lawyers," which provides a forceful argument for the accomplice liability of Office of Legal Counsel attorneys who wrote legal opinions that facilitated coercive interrogation, including torture. The thrust of my response is to question the version of accomplice liability that Ohlin uses and to suggest that federal government lawyers who wrote opinions on the legality of coercive interrogation may have a viable mens rea failure of proof defense to criminal charges that are based on being accomplices to torture. I also suggest that the availability of such a defense is a direct consequence of the U.S. Senate's decision to require specific intent for the crime of torture, and I propose amending federal law to lower the mens rea to knowledge or general intent.

Read article in attached PDF, below right.

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