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Corporatism and Fascism
Corporatism and Fascism
First look at George Bush's memoirs
The former US president's memoirs are to be published in November, and will consist of an account of his key decisions. Below is an exclusive preview from the first draft . . .
By Tim Dowling || Guardian.co.UK
Point 1 One of the biggest decisions of my life was the day I decided not to be an alcoholic any more. I don't remember any decisions before that.
Point 2 Everybody remembers where they were on September 11, 2001. And everybody remembers where I was, including me. I was in a school in Florida, listening intently as some children read a story called The Pet Goat. It was about a little girl who had a goat that ate everything. Her parents wanted to get rid of it.
At some point my chief of staff, Andrew Card, whispered to me that America was under attack. Immediately I made the decision to carry on listening to the children. I've faced some criticism for that, but I knew then that I was facing the hardest day of my presidency, with some tough choices ahead of me. I would need all my powers of concentration and judgment, and I couldn't afford to be distracted by wondering how the story ended. I had to find out what happened to that goat. Read more.
Washington, D.C.--StopTheChamber.com, a network of national organizations dedicated to corporate accountability, has been calling for months for a full criminal investigation into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its top staff, including CEO Tom Donohue, for racketeering, fraud, false reporting, and campaign finance violations. Now the network is adding obstruction of justice to that list. In the past two weeks, the United States has been hit with three major disasters, all tied to the polices and practices of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. First, 29 miners were killed in a Massey Energy coal mine explosion, second, 11 oil workers were killed in an British Petroleum oil rig fire, and third, Goldman Sachs was charged with a massive billion dollar fraud enterprise. Each of these companies uses the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with its army of lobbyists and lawyers, as its first line of defense, corruptly influencing politicians and judges to protect corporations and thwart investigations, and spinning public relations to justify criminal conduct.
The Chamber has spent hundreds of millions on behalf of Wall Street robber barons, and has been directly coordinating with Goldman Sachs to maximize its profits and minimize the fallout from its criminal activities. The Chamber has been fighting laws and regulations to protect worker safety on behalf of Massey Energy and British Petroleum, and in fact, Massey CEO Don Blankenship is a Director of the Chamber and confidant of Chamber CEO Tom Donohue. Massey and BP have been cited for thousands of safety violations, while the Chamber has been representing them and their trade groups to avoid regulation of any kind.
Bobby Kennedy Jr. said on Sunday (watch video here) that “Massey Energy is a criminal enterprise” that “cannot stay in business without breaking the law.” He says that Don Blankenship should “be in jail” for creating the conditions that led to the deaths of the 29 miners. On Tuesday, Eliot Spitzer, probably the most experienced attorney general to go after Wall Street criminals, asked, with regard to Goldman Sachs, “Where are the prosecutors?”
StopTheChamber.com calls on both the United States Attorney General and state attorneys general to launch widespread criminal investigations of the operations of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, racketeering and other serious felonies. “The Chamber is like the mafia dons of past eras,” said campaign spokesman and attorney Kevin Zeese. “All the criminal companies have to pay off the Chamber in order to get protection. The Chamber in turn launders that money in secret, and then pays off judges, politicians and even the media with donations, advertising, jobs, and other means of corruption. Tom Donohue, to quote Eliot Spitzer, ‘has never once found a crime that he couldn't justify, as long as it was committed by one of his dues-paying members.’ The Chamber, like the mafia, also uses threats to get its way, unleashing waves of goons, lobbyists and lawyers to intimidate anyone who dares to challenge it. Tom Donohue proudly says that the Chamber is so strong that ‘when it bites you in the butt, you bleed.’ We are calling on attorneys general across the country to focus their prosecutorial resources on the root of the corporate wrongdoing problem, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which enables, protects and conspires with these criminal companies to violate the law to the detriment of all Americans. There can be no more business as usual, and the Chamber must be held accountable in the same way the mafia dons were held accountable—prosecutions for conspiracy and racketeering.”
Is the CIA's secret program of drone strikes against terrorists in Pakistan and Yemen a case of illegal assassinations or legitimate self defense?
That was a central question Wednesday as the program came under fire from several legal scholars who called for greater oversight by Congress, arguing the attacks may violate international law and put intelligence officers at risk of prosecution for murder in foreign countries.
Four law professors offered conflicting views, underscoring the murky legal nature of America's nine-year-old war against extremists. The conflict has spread from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to a complex campaign against al-Qaida, the Taliban and other insurgents worldwide.
Both the Bush and Obama administrations have defended the use of attacks from unmanned aircraft. But they have also tiptoed around the issue because the CIA program — which has escalated in Pakistan over the past year — is classified and has not yet been acknowledged publicly by the government.
The CIA strikes are "a clear violation of international law," said Mary Ellen O'Connell, law professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School, who added that going after terrorists should be a law enforcement activity. Read more.
UPDATE: CIA drone operators could be prosecuted for war crimes, lawyer tells Congress
The US's unofficial program of targeted killings against terrorist suspects could result in the CIA's drone operators being prosecuted for war crimes, a prominent law professor told a congressional hearing Wednesday.
Loyola Law School professor and former Navy officer David Glazier told a House foreign affairs subcommittee that, because CIA agents are not legally considered combatants in a war, the law could see them as being civilians who carried out killings writes Nathan Hodge at Wired.com. "Unless a judge in, say, Pakistan, wanted to issue a warrant, it doesn’t seem likely." Read more.
On April 20, 2010, author and political gadfly Ralph Nader gave a lecture at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), in Baltimore, MD. He spoke before a near capacity audience for over an hour. Mr. Nader spotlighted corporate power and abuses in the U.S., and how AIG, the insurance titan, is the biggest recipient of “welfare--$182 Billion!” He showed how the workers in Western Europe have long had splendid social programs, like: “universal health insurance,” that are regularly denied our citizens. Mr. Nader submitted that the American psyche is dominated by a “fundamentalist market” ideology. Corporation loyalty, he also charged, citing various examples of gross abuse, is to the “dollar sign,” and not to the country. Professor Fimin DeBrabander of MICA introduced Mr. Nader.
If money is an abstraction, the investment industry's creative inventions are abstractions of abstractions of abstractions. Banks no longer just give people loans to buy houses. Now Wall Street's geniuses -- and they are ingenious -- trade bizarre financial products in which the original loan is packaged with thousands of others and buried under piles of equations and economic gibberish.
Goldman may face SEC charges, but it's the entirety of our deregulated financial system that's on trial. In this new order, the inventiveness of our entrepreneurs goes not only into creating products that actually enhance our lives (from refrigerators to laptops to iPods) but also into fashioning "absolutely conceptual and highly theoretical" financial products whose main function is to enrich a very small number of well-placed people.
Maybe the next time someone calls Barack Obama a socialist, the president shouldn't issue a denial. He might instead urge his accuser to read the hearing transcript of this week's congressional testimony from the Goldman Sachs guys in their beautiful suits.
Capitalism has not taken a hit like this since Mr. Potter made his appearance as the evil banker on "It's a Wonderful Life." No leftist polemicist could come up with as damning a description of contemporary capitalism as the contents of an e-mail that Goldman's Fabrice "Fabulous Fab" Tourre sent to his girlfriend.
"Well," he wrote, "what if we created a 'thing', which has no purpose, which is absolutely conceptual and highly theoretical and which nobody knows how to price?"
Perhaps Fab once read the Karl Marx who wrote: "The more abstract money is, the less natural its relationship to other commodities." Read more.
Kaptur's letter calling for criminal investigation into Goldman heads to DOJ
By Vicki Needham | The Hill | Reprinted in its entirety courtesy of The Hill
A letter signed by more than 60 lawmakers calling for a criminal investigation against Goldman Sachs will be delivered to the Justice Department on Wednesday.
Rep. Marcy Kaptur, (D-Ohio), who spearheaded the charge, will take the letter with the support 62 Members and a petition with 140,000 signatures to Attorney General Eric Holder.
Kaptur has worked with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and MoveOn.org, to collect signatures backing the call for criminal charges.
Several Goldman Sachs employees, including CEO Lloyd Blankfein spent all day Tuesday on Capitol Hill discussing their firm's actions leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.
To see a copy of Kaptur's letter, click here.
To view the petition, click here.
Not only did Goldman Sachs profit on betting against CDOs they designed to fail; more importantly, they insured them through AIG which led to a $182 billion taxpayer bailout.
Have you heard the news? It’s everywhere! The SEC and Congress have all of a sudden sprung to life and are now “getting tough” on Goldman Sachs. Is this all the first phase of a long-awaited investigation that will reveal the causes of our current economic crisis, or is this just more show trials and psychological operations designed to manipulate public opinion and make the American people feel that our elected officials are finally standing up to their campaign funders on Wall Street?
First off, let’s address these SEC charges against Goldman Sachs. At first glance you might think, oh big deal, this is just a minor civil suit that only indicts a low-level Goldman employee. Goldman will just throw some money at it and it will most likely go away. After all, Wall Street firms have already thrown over $430 billion out to derail 1500 cases against them, so what will make this any different?
We are also left wondering, if the SEC was serious about this case, why aren’t they investigating and prosecuting John Paulson and top Goldman executives under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) statutes? Even the NY Times reported that top executives were involved in the process. If you think Lloyd Blankfein wasn’t fully aware of this billion dollar deal involving John Paulson, you’re delusional. Blankfein became CEO of Goldman due to his outstanding expertise in this particular area, serving as Goldman’s head of the Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Division (FICC) since its formation in 1997.
So unless this is just the first of many moves on the part of the SEC, this whole case amounts to a psychological operation designed to once again quell popular outrage. These indications lead me to believe that this is a classic “limited hang-out.” As Wikipedia explains it:
Japanese Military Joins U.S. And NATO In Horn Of Africa
Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site | April 25, 2010
Japanese navy commander Keizo Kitagawa recently spoke with Agence France-Presse and disclosed that his nation was opening its first overseas military base - at any rate since the Second World War - in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
Kitagawa is assigned to the Plans and Policy Section of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, as his nation's navy is called, and is in charge of the deployment.
AFP quoted the Japanese officer as stressing the unprecedented nature of the development: "This will be the only Japanese base outside our country and the first in Africa." 
The military installation is to cost $40 million and is expected to accommodate Japanese troops early next year.
Djibouti rests at the confluence of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, across from strife-torn Yemen, and borders the northwest corner of equally conflict-ridden Somalia. The narrow span of water separating it from Yemen is the gateway for all maritime traffic passing between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean via the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.
Over the last decade or so, the police have had the run of things – vast investment, a huge increase in numbers (17,000), regiments of Police Support Community officers (16,000) to do the unglamorous jobs, and permission to write controversial policy that by-passes parliamentary scrutiny. That is why I took notice of an article from the Police Federation about "excited delirium" which subtly advocates the forcible chemical sedation of suspects by officers.
Kevin Huish, the custody specialist for the Police Federation, has returned from the conference of the Institute for the Prevention of Deaths in Custody – yes, there truly is such an organisation – with a description of excited delirium syndrome and the protocols for dealing with it.
The syndrome is defined in the Police magazine article by a multitude of symptoms, some of which may seem unnervingly familiar – running for no apparent reason; running wildly; being naked (trying to get cool); stripping off clothes (trying to get cool); apparent superhuman strength; seemingly unlimited endurance; violent resistance; violent resistance after being restrained; muscle rigidity; and the subject claiming "he can't breathe". In other words, pretty much anyone who is an agitated state, possibly because they have been wrongly arrested, have missed the last train out of Sheffield or cannot breathe because a police officer is kneeling on their windpipe.
Huish's tactic is clear. "The Federation is currently undertaking work to formulate a strategy which we intend to lead to recognition and acceptance of excited delirious syndrome by the British medical profession." Once this is achieved, it seems only a matter of time before officers are being issued with hypodermics as freely and thoughtlessly as they have been issued with thousands of Taser guns. Read more.
Acts of rebellion which promote moral and political change must be nonviolent. And one of the most potent nonviolent alternatives in the country, which defies the corporate state and calls for an end to imperial wars, is the secessionist movement bubbling up in some two dozen states including Vermont, Texas, Alaska and Hawaii.
These movements do not always embrace liberal values. Most of the groups in the South champion a “neo-Confederacy” and are often exclusively male and white. Secessionists, who call for statewide referendums to secede, do not advocate the use of force. It is unclear, however, if some will turn to force if the federal structure ever denies them independence.
These groups at least grasp that the old divisions between liberals and conservatives are obsolete and meaningless. They understand that corporations have carried out a coup d’état. They recognize that our permanent war economy and costly and futile imperial wars are unsustainable and they demand that we take popular action to prevent citizens from being further impoverished and robbed by Wall Street speculators and corporations.
“The defining characteristic of the Second Vermont Republic is that there are two enemies, the United States government and corporate America,” Thomas Naylor, who founded Vermont’s secessionist movement, told me when I reached him by phone at his home 10 miles south of Burlington. “One owns the other one. We are not like the tea party. The underlying premise of the tea party movement is that the system is fixable.”
Naylor rattles off the stark indicators of the nation’s decline, noting that the United States stands near the bottom among industrialized countries in voter turnout, last in health care, last in education and highest in homicide rates, mortality, STDs among juveniles, youth pregnancy, abortion and divorce. The nation, he notes grimly, has trillions in deficits it can never repay, is beset by staggering income disparities, has destroyed its manufacturing base and is the planet’s most egregious polluter and greediest consumer of fossil fuels. With some 40 million Americans living in poverty, tens of millions more in a category called “near poverty” and a permanent underclass trapped by a real unemployment rate of 17 percent, there is ample tinder for internal combustion. If we do not undertake a dramatic reversal soon, he asserts, the country and the global environment will implode with catastrophic consequences.
The secessionist movement is gaining ground in several states, especially Texas, where elected officials increasingly have to contend with secessionist sentiments.
Lockheed Still Tops Misconduct Charts, But No Misconduct Pattern for Over a Third of Top Gov't Contractors
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is releasing its updated Federal Contractor Misconduct Database (FCMD), with a new top 100 ranking based on the fiscal year 2009 data of USAspending.gov. POGO's release is concurrent with the operational date for the federal government's contractor responsibility database — the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) — which will not be publicly accessible.
For 27 of the top 100 recipients of federal contract dollars, POGO did not find any instances of misconduct. "The fact that over a quarter of the top 100 contractors have no known instances of misconduct is further evidence that we should not accept contractor misconduct as a cost of doing business," said POGO Investigator Neil Gordon.
An additional 11 contractors in the top 100 have only one known instance, showing that more than one-third of the companies in the database do not show a pattern of misconduct.
However, 63 contractors did have multiple instances of misconduct, and once again Lockheed Martin tops the ranking with 50 instances of civil, criminal, or administrative misconduct since 1995. In FY 2009, Lockheed Martin received almost $40 billion in federal contract awards. Read more.
Launched in October 2003, Cageprisoners is a human rights organization dedicated to raising the "awareness of the plight of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay" and other War on Terror victims. As a "comprehensive resource," six words explain its mission: "education, campaign, support, motivation, co-operation (and) prevention" for its efforts to educate the public, campaign for Guantanamo and other detainee repatriations or their asylum, and have prisoner rights guaranteed under international law, including humane treatment not to be:
- indefinitely detained;
- disappeared; or
- denied proper legal representation, due process, judicial fairness, and access to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), medical personnel and families.
In April 2009, its report titled, "Fabricating Terrorism II: British Complicity in renditions and torture" followed its same-titled 2006 report. Part I covered 13 cases with evidence based on detainee testimonies, interviews with security service officials, and other research.
Part II updated it (including 16 other cases - 29 in all), focusing on Britain's claim to be a human rights leader. Stating it ratified the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) in 2003, its practices belie its commitment.
Prior to 9/11, Britain became complicit in America's War on Terror, and the worst of its crimes, including renouncing the rule of law, due process, and judicial fairness in persecuting innocent people, subjecting them to barbaric torture, other abuses, and long internments.
Muslims were targets of choice for their faith, ethnicity, prominence, activism, and at times charity. They've been singled out, hunted down, rounded up, held in detention, kept in isolation, denied bail, restricted in their right to counsel, tried on secret evidence and bogus charges, convicted in sham proceedings, then incarcerated as political prisoners for practicing Islam at the wrong time in America and Britain.
Targets were kidnapped, illegally detained, then extrajudicially disappeared to black sites, called extraordinary or irregular rendition, or the practice of forcibly transferring someone from one nation to another. The term is undefined in law.
From Peter Tucker, WPFW Pacifica Radio:
A group of us who are opposed to DC's mandate that sixth grade girls receive the controversial HPV vaccine testified at the DC Council before the Health Committee on Wednesday morning at a hearing on the DC Department of Health budget. The Chairman of the Committee, David Catania, who is responsible for creating the mandate, could not respond to Emily Tarsell's testimony.
Ms. Tarsell lost her daughter, Christina, 18 days after Chris was vaccinated with her third dose of Gardasil. Chris had shown signs of complications after the second dose, but since doctors don't always forewarn those receiving the HPV vaccine about the possible side effects, Ms. Tarsell had no idea that it was Gardasil that was causing the complications and that further vaccination could make things worse for her daughter.
Ms. Tarsell is a psychologist and she has merged her grief from losing her only child with her scientific skills and has become an expert on Gardasil. Among other things, she has started a website in honor of Chris (Gardasil and Unexplained Deaths). After giving her amazing testimony, as she was riding in a car to Union Station to catch a train back to Baltimore on her way home to northern Maryland, I got to interview her. Click to listen. The interview aired Wednesday evening on Spectrum Today on WPFW 89.3 FM
She is truly an amazing woman. Please spread this far and wide.
Note: For further shocking information on this, read gardasildad's comment here.
I'm Lila Garrett host of CONNECT THE DOTS Monday mornings 7 on KPFK 90.7 fm). On April 26th we discuss how Corporate America continues to call the shots:
- John Nichols author of the new book, OUR MEDIA NOT THEIRS, whacks press prejudice which gives small right wing rallies big coverage and big progressive rallies almost none at all.
- Bob Edgar, President & CEO of Common Cause on combating the recent Supreme Ct Decision which empowers Corporations to buy our elections with unlimited contributions.
- Marcy Winograd, jobs & peace candidate for Congress climbing in the polls as she continues to challenge war hawk incumbent Jane Harman in the California's 36th district. Winograd, for the people; Harman for the corporations. A real choice here.
Lila Garrett (Host of CONNECT THE DOTS)
KPFK 90.7 FM in LA; 98.7 Santa Barbara
Airs Mondays from 7AM to 8AM.
To pod cast or download the broadcast just use this link:
Each show is on line for three months.
Morning rush hour drivers into downtown Minneapolis were greeted by several banners across the interstates reading, "Jobs not war" and "Recruiters lie people die." This was the start of Zero Recruitment Day (ZRD), where more than 150 people protested at six military recruiting sites in Minnesota.
"We are here today to oppose the illegal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan by resisting military recruitment across the Twin Cities. We initiated Zero Recruitment Day to expose the lies that recruiters tell about serving and about the war," said Anti-War Committee member, Misty Rowan. She spoke at a press conference with other ZRD organizers outside Knollwood Mall, which houses military recruiting offices in Saint Louis Park.
Rowan continued, "A surge of combat forces has brought civilian casualties to an all time high [in Afghanistan], just as footage has surfaced of U.S. soldiers firing on unarmed Iraqi civilians - a criminal act that the U.S. military is denying responsibility for. Our government continues to spend billions of our tax dollars on war abroad while at home we’re faced with economic crisis. Military recruiters then use these conditions to prey upon our youth, disproportionately targeting those from low income families and people of color." Read more.
Jan. 21, 2010, will go down as a dark day in the history of U.S. democracy, and its decline.
On that day the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government may not ban corporations from political spending on elections—a decision that profoundly affects government policy, both domestic and international.
The decision heralds even further corporate takeover of the U.S. political system.
To the editors of The New York Times, the ruling “strikes at the heart of democracy” by having “paved the way for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections and intimidate elected officials into doing their bidding.”
The court was split, 5-4, with the four reactionary judges (misleadingly called “conservative”) joined by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. selected a case that could easily have been settled on narrow grounds and maneuvered the court into using it to push through a far-reaching decision that overturns a century of precedents restricting corporate contributions to federal campaigns. Read more.
No matter what the Dodd bill says, if one of the big 4 banks fails, they're going to have to get bailed out -- their assets equal 50% of GDP! Incremental steps are nice, but that's not what we will fight for. They're going to have to be broken up!
Loud support for Breaking up the Banks is growing! The power of too-big-to-fail banks to skirt regulations and get a bailout is too big.
Yesterday, Baseline Scenario blogged the petition. Democrats.com is now running it too. Lawrence Lessig, key advocate against political corruption, signed onto our petition, among some of your favorite thinkers: McJoan of Daily Kos, Nomi Prins, Economist Dean Baker, Chris Hayes of the Nation, Zephyr Teachout, Law Professor, Heather Booth of AFR, Adam Quinn of Credo, David Arkush of Public Citizen, Jan Frel of Alternet, Cryn Johannsen of AllEducationMatters, David Cobb, 2004 Green Party Presidential Candidate, Rob Johnson of Roosevelt Institute, and Dana Balicki of Code Pink, Doug Rushkoff of Life Inc.
For those of us against the bailouts and too-big-to-fail, this is our bill. For those of us for fair and safe competition, this is our bill. For those of us railing against political corruption, this is our bill.
Breaking up the banks is supported by Alan Greenspan, Thomas Hoenig of the St. Louis Fed, Robert Reich, Joe Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, Michael Moore, Paul Volcker, Simon Johnson, Arnold Kling, George Soros, and ... Citigroup (seriously).
War is Failure
By Missy Comley Beattie
Sheesh, if I receive another email invitation for something like brunching, for a donation, of course, with a Democrat, I’m going to want to kamikaze the address of the gala. I do not feel a need to sup with, commune with, or brush the shoulders of the shills for Corporate America. And, yes, the requests from the opposition (hahahahahaha) party arrive, as well, in my inbox. I don’t want these solicitations. No eggs Benedict or build your own omelet for money. No schmoozing for dollars. Hey, that sounds like a new reality show—Schmoozing for Dollars. Or Schmoozing with the Stars, where politicos and their contributors eat and drink, merrily, for greed.
I’ve declared my independence, powerlessness acknowledged. Life had become unmanageable. So, I threw off the shackles of the mainstream where my vote and my voice had no chance of being counted or heard. To vote or not to vote? Is this a serious question?
Again, I say, “Sheesh,” because I don’t understand the big deal about voter fraud when the Republican and Democratic candidates are, well, frauds. Show me contenders who represent the interests of the people and I’ll care if our elections are compromised. Introduce candidates with integrity, who aren’t in the palm of Big Business, and I’ll be on the side of ridding the world of punch screens that can be hacked. Endorse a man or a woman who isn’t headlining a licentious lottery to sell a seat at the brunch or dinner table of Let’s Make a Deal and I’ll give a damn about the outcome. Put up for consideration political aspirants who are concerned that you and I may be the Biggest Losers here in the US of A, and I’ll contemplate dying to protect the vote.
Mr. Wrong, my ex, used to say, “Life is a shit sandwich without the bread.” Seems he was right, at least, about this.
The case of the missing 92 CIA interrogation tapes would be a good subject for a modern day Agatha Christie mystery. Someone at the CIA decided the tapes had to be destroyed — even at the risk of an obstruction of justice charge — but no one's confessing. By now John Durham, the assistant U.S. attorney investigating the tapes' destruction, must be scratching his head wondering if everyone at the CIA was complicit.
What we know to be fact is that in 2005, the then-head of the CIA's clandestine service, Jose Rodriguez, ordered the destruction of 92 videotapes of the interrogation in Thailand of two al-Qaeda suspects. The tapes were then destroyed, but that's where the trail ends. We can only guess whether Rodriguez acted on his own authority or on the orders of a higher-up. And then there's the question of why the tapes were destroyed. Did the CIA want to destroy graphic evidence of sleep-deprivation or waterboarding? They were interrogation methods approved by the Department of Justice in memos sent to the CIA, and therefore shouldn't have been deemed a legal problem. The closest thing we come to answer is an internal CIA e-mail released last Thursday, in which an unidentified CIA officer writes that Rodriguez decided to destroy the tapes because they made the CIA "look horrible; it would be devastating to us."
But was Rodriguez acting on his own, or following orders? Rodriguez's lawyer said his client had cleared the decision up and down the CIA's chain of command, even notifying Congress. The CIA director at the time, Porter Goss, denies it, saying he never approved the decision to destroy the tapes. But in one e-mail an unidentified CIA official writes that Goss had approved the tapes' destruction — but only after the fact. The CIA's acting General Counsel at the time, John Rizzo, also denies he knew of the decision, and says he was informed only after the tapes' destruction.
What adds to the mystery is that it wasn't as if the tapes' disposal was a routine administrative matter, easily lost in the press of business. One of the internal CIA e-mails described White House counsel Harriet E. Miers as "livid" when she heard about the tapes being destroyed, especially since she'd instructed that she be consulted before any decision was made about what do with the tapes. Read more.
ScienceDaily (Apr. 22, 2010) — A comprehensive assessment of global fossil-fuel subsidies has found that governments are spending $500 billion annually on policies that undermine energy security and worsen the environment.
Click "Read more" below to access this 447 page report.
On April 20, 2010, author and political gadfly Ralph Nader gave a lecture at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), in Baltimore, MD. He spoke before a near capacity audience for over an hour. Mr. Nader said corporate crimes, as opposed to “street crimes,” go mostly under-reported by the establishment media in the U.S. and are “rarely prosecuted.” He detailed how corporate “misbehavior, negligence and crimes” cost thousands of deaths every year in the country from “preventable” work-related diseases and injuries, [the Massey Mine Explosion]; air pollution; negligence in hospitals; and from medical malpractice cases. He also spotlighted how Wall Street insiders, using various schemes, looted “trillions of dollars” from workers’ pension funds. Mr. Nader added: “Forty-five thousand people die every year because they don’t have any health insurance.” Professor Fimin DeBrabander of MICA introduced Mr. Nader. For more information on Mr. Nader, go here.
Goldman Sachs: Master of the Universe
By Stephen Lendman
The status applies to all Wall Street giants, none, however, the equal of Goldman, the Grand Master. Like the fabled comic book Superman hero, it's:
- faster than its competitors, thanks to its proprietary software ability to front run markets (illegal, but no matter);
- more powerful than the government it controls; and
- able to leap past competitors, given its special status.
Founded in 1869, GS calls itself "a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of services worldwide."
Since going public in 1999, the same year Glass-Steagall ended letting banks, insurers and securities companies combine, GS became a giant hedge fund trading against the advice given clients with the full faith and blessing of Washington - the same thing other Street giants did and profited handsomely.
On April 20, 2010, author and political gadfly Ralph Nader gave a lecture at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), in Baltimore, MD. He spoke before a near capacity audience for over an hour. Mr. Nader spotlighted corporate power and abuses in the U.S., and how AIG, the insurance titan, is the biggest recipient of “welfare--$182 Billion!” He showed how the workers in Western Europe have long had splendid social programs, like: “universal health insurance,” that are regularly denied our citizens. Mr. Nader submitted that the American psyche is dominated by a “fundamentalist market” ideology. Corporation loyalty, he also charged, citing various examples of gross abuse, is to the “dollar sign,” and not to the country. Professor Fimin DeBrabander of MICA introduced Mr. Nader. For more information on Mr. Nader, go here.
Ralph Nader Rips Obama, Praises Rep. Ron Paul On April 20, 2010, author and political gadfly Ralph Nader gave a lecture at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), in Baltimore, MD. He spoke before a near capacity audience for over an hour. During the Q&A, he was asked his opinion of President Barack Obama. Mr. Nader labeled Obama as “conflict-averse,” and criticized both his foreign and domestic polices. In response to a question about Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), Mr. Nader said Rep. Paul was a “fresh voice,” and that he was “right” about ending the current privately owned Federal Reserve System, (“The Fed”), and that it should be a public agency and held “accountable” to the U.S. Congress. Mr. Nader also praised Rep. Paul’s opposition to “the wars of aggression” and to “empires,” but disagreed with him on other social justice issues. Professor Fimin DeBrabander of MICA introduced Mr. Nader.
Stock deals are rigged for insiders. Big money runs Congress. And we've gone to war based on a series of calculated lies.
Are you willing to accept the fact that our elections are subject to the same type of corruption?
If you are, then Proving Election Fraud by Richard Charnin pulls back the curtain and exposes the pattern of election fraud over the past four decades. It's not a mystery when your look at the numbers and check them against multiple public sources. The information is all there - if the experts care to look.
Charnin is the widely known internet poster using the name TruthIsAll. He was the first to discover the glaring discrepancies in the 2004 election results shortly after the polls closed. His internet posts on the mathematical impossibility of a Bush victory were critical in fueling the doubts about that election and those that followed.
His many posts are the basis for a consistent narrative and argument using a clearly outlined and heavily quantified analysis. The result is a wealth of information about how elections really work and a methodology (the True Vote Model) that allows the interested reader to check the official results of any national or state election.
Charnin's straightforward style fits his subject matter. For example, early on he makes a powerful point, one of many that appear throughout the book:
"Simple mathematics proves that the 1968, 1988, 2004 and 2008 elections were fraudulent. The returning voter mix required for the Final Exit Poll to match the recorded vote was not just implausible -- it was impossible. In each election, more voters from the prior election returned to vote than were alive. The fact that they were returning Nixon, Bush 1 and Bush 2 voters cannot just be a coincidence. The statistical anomaly has no rational explanation other than election fraud." (p.52)
When the official victory margin includes dead voters and excludes uncounted votes, it's more than reasonable to assume election fraud. Read more.
Diversity dead-end: Inclusiveness without accountability
By Robert Jensen
After a recent talk on racism and other illegitimate hierarchies at a diversity conference in Dallas, I received a letter from one of the people who had attended that asked “why you feel it necessary to perpetuate and even exacerbate the divisiveness of language when addressing a group of people assembled to learn how to live better together and be more accepting of differences?” He suggested that by being so sharply critical, I was part of the problem not the solution.
Calls for diversity and inclusiveness from people with privilege (such as a white man with a professional job living in the United States) are meaningful only when we are willing to address the systems and structures of power in which inequality and discrimination are rooted. But because such a critique strikes many people as too radical, crafting a response to those who want to avoid that analysis is crucial to the struggle for progressive social change. Below is my letter to him.
Dear ____: Thanks for the note and the challenge to my presentation. It’s clear we disagree, and getting clearer about where we differ is important.
First, I disagree with your suggestion that we should not assess blame for existing patterns of racial inequality and injustice, though I would substitute the word “accountability” for “blame.” I can’t imagine how we could move forward on any question of injustice without holding those responsible for the injustice accountable, which means holding ourselves accountable. This reflects a basic moral principle -- those who inflict injuries, or turn away when they see others inflicting injuries, must be accountable for their behavior.
To recognize the injustice, as you do, but then demand that we ignore the patterns at the root of the injustice in order to reach a state of inclusiveness is counterproductive. That simply allows people in positions of power and privilege to escape accountability, which inevitably places the political and psychological burdens on those with less power and privilege. That’s simply not fair.