Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

like a duck in a noose

The Laureate:

'The Noose Is Tightening'

Ah, but for whom:

One week after an international military coalition intervened in Libya, the cost to U.S. taxpayers has reached at least $600 million, according figures provided by the Pentagon.

U.S. ships and submarines in the Mediterranean have unleashed at least 191 Tomahawk cruise missiles from their arsenals to the tune of $268.8 million, the Pentagon said.

U.S. warplanes have dropped 455 precision guided bombs, costing tens of thousands of dollars each.

A downed Air Force F-15E fighter jet will cost more than $60 million to replace.

And operation of the war craft, guzzling ever-expensive fuel to maintain their positions off the Libyan coast and in the skies above, could reach millions of dollars a week, experts say.

But don't stop now, saith the Pentagram Pentagon:

Speaking to members of Congress today, Adm. James Stavridis admitted that, while allied forces were not yet considering the deployment of troops on the ground in Libya, it was a possibility...

Meanwhile, in our sister state of Airstrip One, Libya is declared a stroke for "moral realism".

Or whatever.

"Ain't but one way out baby..."

Think Progress's Mike Elk:

...despite making $14.2 billion in profits, General Electric, the largest corporation in the United States, paid zero U.S. taxes in 2010 and actually received tax credits of $3.2 billion dollars. The article noted that GE’s tax avoidance team is comprised of “former officials not just from the Treasury, but also from the I.R.S. and virtually all the tax-writing committees in Congress.”

After not paying any taxes and making huge profits, ThinkProgress has learned that General Electric is expected to ask its nearly 15,000 unionized employees in the United States to make major concessions.

This year, 14 unions representing more than 15,000 workers will negotiate a new master contract with General Electric. Among the major concessions GE has signaled that it will ask of union workers is the elimination of a defined contribution benefit pension for new employees, a move the company has already implemented for its non-union salaried employees. Likewise, GE is signaling to the union that it will ask for the elimination of current health insurance plans in favor of lower quality health saving accounts, a move the company has already implemented for non-union salaried employees as well...

If the foxes (i.e., the bank$ters) didn't already totally own the henhouse (i.e. the unions) the G.E. corporation would come to a screeching halt over this. But the principal reason unions have lost so much in this country is that like the government, the banks, and G.E. itself, they are controlled by highly organized criminals. So while I predict the possibility of some smoke, noise, and posturing over this issue, I expect nothing much will be done.

The game is already over.

And yes, Joe Biden, when organized labor rolls over in this country, our precious freedoms are lost.

This started some time ago and gathers speed as we watch, and you really helped it along.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

and you thought oil spills were bad

...nukes bring good things to life!

...Levels of radioactive iodine in the sea near the tsunami-stricken Fukushima nuclear plant are 1,250 times higher than the safety limit, officials say...

Nothing to be alarmed at here, folks!

Move along!

swan song for the soul singer

Bob Herbert gives his final column for the New York Pravda, which is about to make you good-for-nothings pay to get your propaganda catapulted on you:

...So here we are pouring shiploads of cash into yet another war, this time in Libya, while simultaneously demolishing school budgets, closing libraries, laying off teachers and police officers, and generally letting the bottom fall out of the quality of life here at home...

Well, yeah, and obviously someone forgot to tell Mr. Herbert the idea after the Rumsfeld-Cheneyburton Show was to keep the Empire Invisible, which is why the racist Company allowed an African-American figurehead Laureate to be $elected Dear Leader.

The Medium Lobster has a much firmer grasp on the reality of the situation.

...Freedom! If there's one thing America loves, it's... well, war. But if there's two things America loves, it's war and torture. But if there's three things America loves, it's war, torture, and genocide. But if there are several dozen things America loves, they are war, torture, genocide, chattel slavery, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, assassination, poverty, institutionalized bribery, remote-controlled flying death robots and somewhere down the list, between prison labor and lagoons of toxic pig shit, there is almost certainly a special place in our national heart for freedom.

And so it is that the United States is fighting to free the Libyan people from the Libyan people by killing the Libyan people. The situation is fairly straightforward, after all - Libya faces a humanitarian crisis, and the only way to address a humanitarian crisis is to bomb it with hundreds of cruise missiles. I'm told that the Red Cross still delivers bottled water and medical supplies by duct-taping them to the nose cone of an outgoing Tomahawk. More importantly, the Libyan people are oppressed by a bloodthirsty dictator - a dictator who kills his own people - and the least we can do is kill those people ourselves. How, I ask, can we stand idly by and allow people to be slaughtered by a ruthless tyrant when we could be slaughtering them instead?

You may ask, what makes getting killed by the United States any better than getting killed by Qaddafi? Because we are America, killing for a great American cause, in the name of Americanness, and our murder victims, in their last moments, as their houses are burnt and their schools destroyed and their neighbors incinerated and their families turned into hamburger, will come to know our American values: of freedom, of liberty, of toxic pig shit...

But do not blame Bob Herbert for his failure to grasp the situation in a world where "1984" is regarded as an instruction manual for better government: he's not alone.

Some great comments to Herbert's swan song. I like this:

...this re-run of Iraq, now repeating in Libya as farce, and the whole tragedy of our broken energy politics, have had their surreal moments these past few days:

--the U.S.-armed Saudi army pouring across the border into neighboring Bahrain to protect the despotic “king” and scatter the Bahraini people who were peacefully demonstrating for freedom at Pearl Square just days before our military intervention to “protect freedom demonstrators” in Libya;

--our bosom friend and ally the dictator of Yemen ordering his sharpshooters posted on rooftops to massacre over 40 Yemini citizens demonstrating peacefully for freedom in front of his palace while we were running our spin-op about “protecting Libyan citizens from being massacred” by the Libyan dictator;

--Gen. Petraeus and Sec. of Defense Gates being caught by an NBC boom-microphone in their March 7th tarmac exchange: Petraeus “You going to launch some attacks on Libya or something?’’, Gates “Yeah, exactly.’’, back when Gates and Obama were denying any such intention;

--British Prime Minister David Cameron, famous so far for slashing the budget and his country’s social safety net, and sending hundreds of thousands more to the unemployment lines, suddenly finding lots of new money for a new war;

--President of the Republic Sarkozy rebounding so quickly, cannily staging photo-ops with Cameron and Clinton next to his presidential color guard, dressed in uniforms harking back to the era of Napoleon, just days after being shamed for offering military support to Tunisia’s dictator as he was stealing bars of gold from his central bank and fleeing the country in his private jet;

--savvy-sounding, empty-suit pundits at CNN and Fox News giving animated presentations, just like in the old days with Iraq, but now with more colorful, even wall-sized graphics, describing the latest military hardware on display over Libya, in reports again completely devoid of any information on the real nature of this war;
Pres. Obama and Energy Sec. Chu, and Interior Sec. Salazar were also busy providing us with comic relief this week:

--you may recall how Pres. Obama slashed new construction credits for renewable energy projects in half this past fall (from $6 to $3 billion);

--for balance, this week he repeated his desire to triple federal credit guarantees for new nuclear plant construction (from $18.5 billion to $54.5 billion!) just as we were witnessing the disaster of multiple G.E.-designed nuclear reactors in Japan overheating, exploding, burning, and spewing out massive amounts of radioactive materials over the region (we’ve got some 23 of that model here in the U.S.);

--to round things out, the Obama administration this week first opened the door for 2.35 billion tons of new coal mining;

--then he signed off on 4 new deepwater oil drilling permits to multinational oil giants Shell and Exxon in Gulf of Mexico just two days before a report became public showing that the blowout preventers now in use are flawed and won't work in an emergency (like the one that resulted in the BP Gulf oil disaster).

Funny how history sometimes does seem to repeat itself as farce, isn't it?

Yes, Obi-Wan, the Farce will always be with you.

Friday, March 25, 2011

it's good to own the King, or the Emperor for that matter

Taxes are for the little people!

General Electric, the nation’s largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010.

The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States.

Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion...

...Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore. G.E.’s giant tax department, led by a bow-tied former Treasury official named John Samuels, is often referred to as the world’s best tax law firm...

Yes, the taxes of millions of American taxpayers go to pay the tax refund of GE.

They bring good things to life. Their life, of course... you have to pay.

If there's an occasional meltdown or two, that's obviously the fault of the consumer.

Hence GE's response to the earthquake/tsunami-generated meltdown: excellent! we obviously need more nuke plants!

Hence the $enator's response to the news GE's getting a billion-and-a-half tax refund: less taxes for the GE!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

unConstitutional intervention

Dennis the Menace had better stay off small airplanes.

...Refusing to let up on his outspoken opposition to the U.S. intervention in Libya, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) on Thursday sent a letter to President Barack Obama pledging to try and block funds for the military campaign.

In the lengthy letter, Kucinich reiterated his questions regarding the constitutionality of Obama's decision to proceed with a no-fly zone followed by air strikes in Libya without Congress's approval. He also doubted the feasibility of the mission and whether the U.S. can afford it...

Dennis probably supports the whole notion of only fighting wars that can be won, so he's obviously not a realpolitik n-dimensional playah like the Laureate.

but they can budget this

The Austerians are happy to cut Head Start, but they can fit this in:

The Federal Bureau of Investigations announced recently that it is dedicating up to $1 billion for a Lockheed Martin-developed system that will enable on-the-fly analysis of detailed identification information that can be instantaneously shared with law enforcement all around the world.

It's called the "Next Generation Identification System" (NGIS), and if you're a fan of television dramas like the CBS crime drama NCIS, it may sound pretty familiar...

Of course, it will be incapable of mistakes, because it will be just like the Tee Vee...

Monday, March 21, 2011

...but it's not fascism when we do it...

Dennis the Menace isn't buying it:

...The anti-war Democrat said Obama must know he violated the Constitution, referring to this quote from candidate Obama in 2007: "The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."

"So what the president did is, by his own words, outside the Constitution," Kucinich said. "This isn't a case of him not knowing. He knows clearly that he has not complied with the Constitution. And that's a very serious matter because he's using the ultimate authority of a president..."

Was he? It seemed to me he was only following orders.

no economic incentive for the Laureate

...if there's no Hope to use one of these
what's the point of Change?

In Bahrain..., there was deep cynicism among Shia demonstrators, who argue that they too have been suppressed and attacked by loyalist forces, but have received no such western backing. "There is a double standard with the Americans," said Ali al-Akri, a committee member of the National Democratic Action society. "It suits their interests to go after Gaddafi now because the crimes he committed cannot be defended by anyone. But in Bahrain it is the same and our experiences are there for all to see. Yet what do we get from the US? Demands that we tone down our protests and gentle pleas that the regime change its ways."

Like in Afghanistan? We have ways of dealing with civilian protests...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

economic stimulus package priorities

At a million dollars a pop, 110 tomahawks as we write.

Life is good for Lockheed, General Dynamics, Raytheon, et alia ad nauseum...

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Our austerian betters would rather spend hundreds of millions of our money (minimally) on bombing both oppressors and oppressed in Libya, instead of using it to help the Japanese, or create alternative energy solutions to nuclear power and fossil fuels.

Do not question the bipartisan wisdom of the Old Ones or their designated alternative the Laureate, it is said...

and they make house calls

The New York Pravda chronicles some "suspicions" about what is going to go on in Libya.

I particularly like this link to Ian Williams at Focal Points:

...We can accept that a patient with a brain tumour might desperately need surgery, but there is still cause for alarm if Jack the Ripper offers to operate. Both method and motive are open to question.

So while no person with a conscience wants Gaddafi to win his sanguinary battle of repression against his own people, there are more than enough doubts that the US is the appropriate specialist to call. However, like Jack the Ripper — they do have the knives.

One supposes the men in black are having a good go with their new software over this, too. Many comments will be swift, articulate, and likely astroturf from a pre-sentient Skynet.

real options among the fantastic

Somehow the financial realities never sunk in. Bob Herbert tries to lay it out for people about nuclear power:

...Building new plants, which the Obama administration favors, can be breathtakingly expensive and requires government loan guarantees. Banks are not lining up to lend money on their own for construction of the newest generation of Indian Points.

In addition to the inherent risks with regard to safety and security, the nuclear industry has long been notorious for sky-high construction costs, feverish cost-overruns and projects that eventually are abandoned. The Union of Concerned Scientists, in a 2009 analysis of the costs associated with nuclear plant construction, said that once a plant came online it usually led to significant rate increases for customers:

“Ratepayers bore well over $200 billion (in today’s dollars) in cost overruns for completed nuclear plants. In the 1990s, legislators and regulators also allowed utilities to recover most ‘stranded costs’ — the difference between utilities’ remaining investments in nuclear plants and the market value of those plants — as states issued billions of dollars in bonds backed by ratepayer charges to pay for utilities’ above-market investments.”

The refrain here is familiar: “The total cost to ratepayers, taxpayers and shareholders stemming from cost overruns, canceled plants and stranded costs exceeded $300 billion in today’s dollars.”

Nuclear power is hardly the pristine, economical, unambiguous answer to the nation’s energy needs and global warming concerns. It offers benefits and big-time shortcomings. Ultimately, the price may be much too high. 

Unfortunately that was then, and this is now, when the bank$ters own the Treasury, and a lot of the worst nuclear industry gougers are now also financial industry gougers.

It doesn't help when progressives go all austerian TANSTAAFL and line up for the nuclear kool-aid, either.

There are technological alternatives. The road to them will be difficult mostly because of human folly. But the simple matter of fact is that in the long run nuclear won't work, and the fossil fuels will be gone.

Friday, March 18, 2011

the shock doctrine as a diversionary tactic

Now, with the world reeling again at the safety implications of nuclear power's use near large population centers, is obviously the best time to press the war on Terra.

Chris Floyd:

And so now, another war. Led by the United States and the religious extremists in Saudi Arabia, the UN Security Council voted to intervene on behalf of one side in the Libyan civil war. Having already armed and trained Moamar Gadafy's armies and security forces, the Western war-profiteers have now decided to do the same for his opponents.

These opponents, it must be noted, are at present led by top players who only weeks ago were at the center of Gadafy's murderous, repressive regime -- which was itself, only weeks ago, considered a worthy partner by Western governments and business interests. As As'ad AbuKhalil -- a fierce critic of Gadafy for many years -- noted today, before the UN vote:

The Libyan people have been betrayed. Their revolution against the Libyan tyrant has been hijacked by US and Saudi Arabia. That lousy henchman for Qadhdhafi, Mustafa Abd-Al-Jali [leader of the rebel's Libyan National Transition Council], is now a Saudi stooge who hijacked the uprising on behalf of a foreign agenda. I mean, what do you expect from a man who until the other day held the position of Minister of Justice in Qadhdhafi's regime, for potato's sake? And don't you like it when Western media constantly refer to him as "the respected Libyan minister of Justice." Respected by who? By Western governments.

It should also be noted that the Saudis are even now staging a military intervention in Bahrain to help the autocratic regime there put down -- with deadly force and brutal repression -- a peaceful resistance movement seeking democracy and justice. "“We want to support the opposition who are standing against the dictator,” Hillary Clinton declared today. But she was talking about the dictator in Libya, not the dictator in Bahrain, who has willingly turned his country into a fueling station for the projection of American dominance in the Middle East.

Finally, it should be noted that the UN Resolution is not in any way restricted to establishing a "no-fly zone" to keep Gadafy from bombing Libyan cities. This has been the holy grail of our humanitarian interventionists who, despite the evidence of their own eyes over several decades, still seem to believe that military action -- the application of massive, violent force -- can be done without hurting anybody but the mean old bad guys whom we suddenly don't like anymore for whatever reason.

But this is no "light touch" intervention. The UN decree greenlights everything short of an outright land invasion of Libya. Indeed, within minutes of the resolution's passing, American officials were already talking about a "no-drive zone": direct attacks on Libyan tanks and artillery. What's more, US officials were already considering sending in "military personnel to advise and train the rebels..."

How deft of the Laureate. Similar to the 150,000 'Merikans in Iraq who with the stroke of a pen were changed from "troops" to "advisors", I suppose.

...Today Hillary Clinton decried the "terrible things" that Gadafy will do "to Libya and its neighbors." And why will he do this? Because he is, of course, a monster: "It's just in his nature. There are some creatures that are like that."

But this creature has now spent the past several years as a staunch ally of the West, especially in the "counterterrorism" fight. The Americans and the British have given him arms, training, equipment, expertise and other support. (Just as they did, for years, with Saddam Hussein.) He was precisely the same "creature" then as he is now. Western elites knew that Gadafy had done "terrible things to Libya and its neighbors" for years before they embraced him -- and his oil money --- with open arms. None of this bothered them before.

But now that Gadafy is doing exactly what the United States government would do if an armed faction took over whole swathes of its territory -- respond with furious, murderous force -- he has suddenly become a monster again.

Luckily for Washington, the Libyan opposition -- "the more secular and radical trend represented by the professional associations" noted by AbuKhalil -- has, as he said, been hijacked by ex-Gadafy goons and Saudi tools who will now, with the West's military intervention, avidly seek to provide the same kind of profitable "stability" in Libya that we see in such wondrous beacons of democracy and enlightenment as Bahrain.

What forces will now be loosed in Libya in the chaos, corruption, hatred, fear and corruption that invariably attends these "humanitarian interventions"? Iraq and Afghanistan give us ample warning.

Strange how the Austerians always have billions for humanitarian interventions, designed to uplift the accounts of the bank$ters that own the oil: public risk, privateer profit again.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

it can't happen here

[of course not]

they have everything under control

Minor, absolutely minor, and there is no reason to worry about that oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, either.

There is no reason for alarm

Why on earth would they lie to you?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

by now, if they say it, you should know it's not true

Sorry, Austerians, but we aren't broke unless you break us.

[tip o'teh tinfoil to [ Avedon]

assurances of propriety

yes, Glenn, from the Pentagram Pentagon, and i'm sure they have nothing blacker than their budget to hide...

Monday, March 14, 2011

pay no attention to the 800 lb gorilla in the room

...that 'Merika's Paper of Record will not put on the front page, but the Guardian will:

...The hacker group Anonymous has released a cache of emails obtained from someone said to be a former Bank of America employee.

The group alleges that the emails, dating from November 2010, detail improper lending practices at the bank, an allegation the bank denies. The leak comes as consumer groups have accused major US lenders of foreclosing on many homes without having proper documentation in place.

The emails detail correspondence between employees of Balboa Insurance, a Bank of America insurance unit, in which they appear to be discussing the removal of details from documents in loan files.

The bank acquired Balboa when it bought Countrywide Financial in 2008. Countrywide was the US's largest seller of sub-prime home loans. Last month Bank of America announced plans to sell Balboa.

The emails detail one loan related to GMAC, one of the largest mortgage lenders in the US.

"The following GMAC DTN's need to have the images removed from Tracksource/Rembrandt," an operations team manager at Balboa wrote. DTN refers to document tracking number, and Tracksource/Rembrandt is an insurance tracking system.

In reply, the Balboa employee wrote: "I have spoken to my developer and she stated that we cannot remove the DTNs from Rembrandt, but she can remove the loan numbers, so the documents will not show as matched to those loans."

According to the emails, approval was given to remove the loan numbers from the documents.

Anonymous also released correspondence between the group and the former employee in which the ex-worker described the bank as a "cult" and said the company was now intent on destroying his career. "I'm well known throughout Bank of America. They saw to that when they showed everyone my picture and labelled me as a terrorist," the former employee said in one email.

A representative of Anonymous told Reuters that the documents related to the issue of whether Bank of America has improperly foreclosed on homes. The bank was not immediately available for comment but a spokesman told Reuters that the documents had been stolen by a former Balboa employee, and were not tied to foreclosures. "We are confident that his extravagant assertions are untrue," the spokesman said...

And if you aren't, they have ways of dealing with you...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

backed by the experts

your tax dollars at work. not.

it's like you never left

...All President Obama needs to do, Paul Wolfowitz asserts, is man up, arm the Libyan rebels, support setting up a no-fly zone and wait for instant democracy.

It’s a cakewalk...

Just add water. Don't forget to remove all the oil first. Would Wolfie lead ya wrong?

Reasonable Goals

...The Anonymous manifesto:

•We are a decentralized non-violent resistance movement, which seeks to restore the rule of law and fight back against the organized criminal class.
•One-tenth of one percent of the population has consolidated wealth in unprecedented fashion and launched an all-out economic war against 99.9% of the population.
•We are not affiliated with either wing of the two-party oligarchy. We seek an end to the corrupted two-party system by ending the campaign finance and lobbying racket.
•Above all, we aim to break up the global banking cartel centered at the Federal Reserve, International Monetary Fund, Bank of International Settlement and World Bank.
•We demand that the primary dealers within the Federal Reserve banking system be broken up and held accountable for rigging markets and destroying the global economy, effective immediately.
•As a first sign of good faith we demand Ben Bernanke step down as Federal Reserve chairman.
•Until our demands are met and a rule of law is restored, we will engage in a relentless campaign of non-violent, peaceful, civil disobedience...

However, accept no downloads from these people. It is worth remembering the Man was able to nail many who used Low Ion Cannon without encryption.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Big Lie

Greenwald on the Laureate:

...Obama -- for reasons having nothing to do with Congress -- worked from the start to preserve the crux of the Bush/Cheney detention regime. Even with these new added levels of detention review (all inside the Executive Branch), this new Executive Order is little more than a by-product of that core commitment, and those blaming it on Congress either have little idea what they're talking about or are simply fabricating excuses in order to justify yet another instance where Obama dutifully "bolsters" the Bush War on Terror template. Indefinite detention and military commissions are continuing because Obama worked from the start for that goal -- not because Congress forced him to do so.

As as happened over and over, while progressives and civil libertarians are furious about the new Order, former Bush officials and right-wing Warriors are ecstatic...

I like this comment, on Emptywheel's post cited previously:

the big lie,

the soviet-style reaallly big lie,

i thought it would leave with g.w. when he left in jan, 2009.

no such luck.

turns out obama and his gang are big fans

of the big lie.

let’s see now:

we’re withdrawing from iraq,

we’re succeeding in afghanistan,

al-quaeda still a big-time nat’l security threat

guantanamo captives still a big-time nat’l security threat

no problem with gulf oil spill quantity, damage, and reparations,

public option in health care,

bradley manning and other whistleblowers a nat’l sec threat,

aig bailout necessary and appropriately done,

bank executives bonuses just after bailouts,

new laws reining in banks not needed,

no unwarranted foreclosures have occurred.

help me, what have i left out?

Only the lies that we still take as Truth.

it's morning in 'Merika

The Laureate has given instructions to the Fed to be sunny regardless of the rainy data.


...Jason Grodensky, who paid cash for his house yet lost it to Bank of America in “foreclosure” nevertheless. The Fed says there were no wrongful foreclosures.

Christopher Marconi, who got foreclosed by Wells Fargo on a house he didn’t own and had never seen. The Fed says there were no wrongful foreclosures.

Jonathan Rowles, who never missed a payment, who got foreclosed by Chase while he was away in Iraq, in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. The Fed says there were no wrongful foreclosures.

Granted, they came to this conclusion, in part, by defining wrongful foreclosure in a way that totally ignores title problems, failure to serve homeowners, and tack-on charges servicers have used to force people into default so they can foreclose...

...they’re not releasing the report–they’re keeping it totally secret! I can only presume that the logic and data (based on just 500 loan files) behind it is so laughable that releasing it would be more damaging than simply issuing this claim with no proof...

What, the most powerful economists of the greatest superpower in world history can't use anecdotal rationale and Classify the data? Don't you trust your government?

"The superficial logic that so often passes for thought in Washington typically sees causation where there’s only correlation."

Robert Reich:

...In fact, there’s no reason to believe that Clinton’s lurch rightward at the start of 1995 is what won him re-election the following November. He was re-elected because of the strength of the economic recovery...

Best to read the whole thing, because this man is one who knows it from the inside.

The Laureate is going to duck out of the budget battle, thinking he's playing n-dimensional chess for the victory in 2012. In reality he's playing a high-stakes shell game, and thinks he's the shill, when he's really the mark.

no one would have guessed

Yet more disasters

IWAKI, Japan An explosion at a nuclear power plant in northern Japan on Saturday blew the roof off one building, brought down walls and caused a radiation leak of unspecified proportions, Japanese officials said, after Friday’s huge earthquake caused critical failures in the plant’s cooling system.

...and we get hand wringing about how there's nothing we can do while the Austerians try to make sure there is nothing that can be done.

After all, that's money that could have gone to bailout bank$ters and fund military bases, right?

Someone does need to really get a grip about what is happening, but it won't be the Laureate.

Friday, March 11, 2011

giving up, paczki you

I gave up Iron Age theism for Lent.

now you see it, then you don't, then it's back again

All for those those fun Koch bros.

...Here's the language in the second version of the document:

Governor: Allow the Department of Administration (DOA) to sell any state-owned heating, cooling, or power plant or contract with private entities for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount the Department determines to be in the best interest of the state.

As a reminder, that power plant provision points directly to Koch Industries, who is already advertising for power plant managers...

Never let it be said the Tea Party Boys can't pull a bait and switch, and switch again.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

turning away from Discovery

...and, if the Austerians have anything to do with it, conservation, health, and welfare too.

All so hack hedgefunds operators can have a house in funky Nassau county, the Hamptons, and Hilton Head, too. And don't forget the yacht, either.

Ain't 'Merika great? No?

What are you, some terra'ist?

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

not one of "us"

If I hear any of the idiots I work with at UM saying Rick Snyder couldn't be bad for Michigan because "he's a Wolverine" again, I hope said weasels lose their jobs before I do.

There's no other way to educate said fools.

Rachael Maddow:

...“This is about a lot of things. This is not about a budget. This is using or fabricating crisis to push for an agenda you’d never be able to sell under normal circumstances, and so you have to convince everyone that these are not normal circumstances. These are desperate circumstances and your desperate measures are there for somehow required. What this is has a name. It is called shock doctrine.”

In Britain they're starting to talk about responding to the Austerians, but talk is cheap.

Here, the mind control is better, and it's going to take a Dust Bowl sized environmental dislocation before people even think about real change. Unemployment, outside of the government-doctored figures, is much greater, and we don't have inflation because, you know, wages have to rise with prices for real inflation to occur measurably. Some can see the world as it is, but too few. Too many Faithful believe exactly what they're told to believe by those that would rule.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

jamais vu

...from a worthwhile post by Kuntsler, a comment

...I feel like part of a small cadre of people walking around with this crazy, dark knowledge, thinking as I look at others rushing around me: "You have no idea -- and wouldn't believe me if I told you."

Well, sure. It's been that way since Phillip K. Dick realized Timothy Leary was a shill for the Man.

No Roosevelt's Solution

The wealthy FDR saw the writing on the wall. His peers hated him, they called him a traitor to his class, but he saw. As a result, the nation- and his class, the wealthy, the aristocrats, survived the Great Depression, and the $treet gained regulation that lasted until Reagan, Clinton, and Bu$h.

In the 1930s we had no bloody revolution like the Russians did at the turn of the 20th century. We had no Hitler or Mussolini. We had the Civilian Conservation Corps.

But that was then.

Now, the desert shows signs of returning, and when the Dust Bowl blows again, most likely response will be for Goldman-$acks to sell water futures, draining the Great Lakes for speculators, and then make a killing when the midwest goes Sahara.

coincidence theory

Monday, March 07, 2011


"...a wall of silence has developed."

[from the folks who gave you Joe McCarthy]

It's called the 5th Amendment to the Constitution, asshat, and when you are ready to indict people for their religion, you don't exactly win respect and co-operation.

Far more Americans have been, and will be, killed by right-wing 'Merikan extremists and mindless Company drones than by American Muslims.

Case in point.

everybody knows

yes, Avedon, you can be sure everybody knows how to end the economic crises.

You can be sure everybody, from Robert Gates on down the line, knows that entering Libya right now would be a colossal mistake.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

apologies not accepted

Imagine that.

And it doesn't matter that we have no photo record of this happening, Jon.

Remember Bradley Manning? He managed to release images of the mass murder of a lot of Afghani civilians- including some journalists. If we had images of the firebombing of innocent Afghani children, the people who made and released the images would be subjected to the full wrath of the 'Merikan military-security-industrial complex, and the government it so clearly owns.

If the current conditions prevailed when Viet Nam occurred, we'd still be there, and by now, at full scale War with Eastasia and Eurasia both.

Which is my way of saying: if we can't turn around the present situation within our government and the Company that controls it, we will be yet.

treading lightly

velvet slippers over an iron jackboot work best

Scott Horton in Harpers:

...candidate Barack Obama promised to protect whistleblowers who come forward with information disclosing government waste, abuse, and inefficiency. Unfortunately, President Obama has done exactly the opposite...

but with Audacity and Hype... and sneakiness:

...Covertly obtaining and then digging through the phone, banking, and travel records of journalists is about as extreme a step as can be taken in trying to detect and punish whistleblowers. By itself, the chilling effect on a free press is substantial and obvious -- what whistleblowers would speak to reporters if they know their most private records can be so easily invaded by the Government? -- and the invasion of privacy which a journalist has to endure for doing his job is immense.

But what makes this conduct particularly indefensible is how the Obama DOJ is venturing back into the past to dredge up these forgotten episodes. Sterling hasn't worked for the Government or had a security clearance in more than 8 years. The alleged leak took place in Bush's first term. Disclosure resulted in substantial embarrassment for the U.S. but -- given the utter failure of the operation -- no identifiable national security harm.

For a President who insists that we must "Look Forward, Not Backward" -- when it comes to investigating war crimes by high-level Bush officials -- this anti-whistleblower assault reflects not only an obsession on preserving and bolstering the National Security State's secrecy regime, but also an intense fixation on the past. And increasingly extremist weapons -- now including trolling through reporters' banking and phone records -- are being wielded to achieve it. As Thomas Jefferson warned long ago: "Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues of truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is freedom of the press. It is therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions."

Somehow this keeps surprising people, which one supposes is a good thing, because otherwise there would be no notice.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

the black hole in the budget

...that no one talks about, because if they told you, they'd have to kill you.

...Welcome to the world of the real U.S. national security budget. Normally, in media accounts, you hear about the Pentagon budget and the war-fighting supplementary funds passed by Congress for our conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. That already gets you into a startling price range -- close to $700 billion for 2012 -- but that’s barely more than half of it. If Americans were ever presented with the real bill for the total U.S. national security budget, it would actually add up to more than $1.2 trillion a year...

The Austerians preach Austerity because it fits in their scheme of creating a feudal world with the Austerians on top.

So they don't worry at all about spending as much as possible on the biggest, bestest, mostest guns.

the muzzle slipped

The head of the Bank of England is acknowledging it's not really capitalism anymore:

Britain risks another financial crisis unless it undertakes fundamental reform of the banking sector, the governor of the Bank of England has warned.

Mervyn King said "imbalances" in the banking system remained unresolved and were "beginning to grow again".

He criticised high street banks for routinely exploiting their customers and urged them to take a longer-term approach to their business rather than simply trying to "maximise profits next week".

"We allowed a [banking] system to build up which contained the seeds of its own destruction," King has told the Daily Telegraph.

"We've not yet solved the 'too big to fail' or, as I prefer to call it, the 'too important to fail' problem. The concept of being too important to fail should have no place in a market economy.

"The problem is still there. The search for yield goes on. Imbalances are beginning to grow again."

I could see helicopter Ben saying something like this. Not.

Change-less abandoned Hope

In Chile, they do not give up hope as long as you're breathing.

In 'Merika, if there's no profit in rescue, you are simply allowed to be buried alive.

The United States of Amnesia, a worse place to live than many so-called "third world" countries, more bananas than the banana republics it produces and enforces.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

well, why aren't they?

Yes, it's been linked to before, but the reminder that Madoff was a fall guy makes me want to ask with Tiabbi: why isn't Wall Street in jail?

the spice must flow

The Fed is doubtless scandalized that the Bank of England has broken the "don't tell the kids" rule:

...The governor of the Bank of England said that people made unemployed and businesses bankrupted during the crisis had every reason to be resentful and voice their protest. He told the Treasury select committee that the billions spent bailing out the banks and the need for public spending cuts were the fault of the financial services sector.

"The price of this financial crisis is being borne by people who absolutely did not cause it," he said. "Now is the period when the cost is being paid, I'm surprised that the degree of public anger has not been greater than it has."

...Asked when living standards enjoyed before the crisis would return, King said: "The research makes it clear that the impact of these crises lasts for many years. It is not like an ordinary recession, where you lose output and get it back quickly. We may not get the lost output back for very many years, if ever."

King faced tough questions from Labour MPs who believe the Bank should not have supported the Treasury's cuts programme. Accused by Andy Love, the Labour MP for Edmonton, of giving George Osborne cover for spending cuts, King denied that meetings with the chancellor resulted in a cosy agreement to keep interest rates low to support austerity measures.

...In a further provocation to the financial sector, King set out plans for an overhaul of City regulation and oversight that would allow banks to fail when they get into trouble. He told MPs it was necessary to move away from rules designed to prevent banks failing, with a safety net provided by taxpayers, to a system that allowed banks to fail in an orderly way.

Now that's one governor with his back to the wall. It takes a threat to employment to make someone in that position to tell the truth. The biggest threat being, of course, that the British government just can't create money out of air fast enough to satisfy the hunger of the bank$ters. 'Merika has lots more people who can sign away the future to do that, so we aren't as desperate as the Brits are getting. Yet.

Ian Welsh on that vanishing point:

People will not ship or produce if the cost to produce+ship is higher than what they can recoup. There is a bottom on prices despite what the idiotic supply and demand curves in textbooks show. Contrary to what they tell you in economics 101 supply and demand is not a law, there are significant exceptions.

In fact, if the price of shipping increases enough to make production uneconomic, then people will be laid off. When this is occurring throughout the world, you get a ripple effect. It’s not self-reinforcing in the sense that it increases the price of oil (in fact, it decreases it), it is self-reinforcing in the sense that it does make the economy worse, because it reduces demand for a wide variety of goods, whether shipped or not.

What happens then is what we’ve seen before, the price of oil drops and you get a “recovery”, which is to say a pendulum from shitty economy to sucky economy and back again. The current economic juggling act is about making sure the economy stays sucky, and doesn’t get to shitty, and you do that by keeping the price of oil from exploding. When it does, you lose.

There can be no good global economy right now. There is not enough oil in the world to do it under current economic models. Cannot be done. You may be able to have a few places doing well, but only a few. The solution to this is to GET OFF OIL, but no one is willing to allow that to happen, because old money wants to control the new economy and isn’t sure they can do that with current technologies. That’s why you have idiots talking about shale oil, or using natural gas, or anything else which keeps an economy where a small group of people provide the energy for everyone else, and make a killing doing so.

So instead you have revolutions, you have unions being crushed and so on. At its base this is all related to the price of oil. Oil in Saudi Arabia costs about $7/barrel to produce. Think about what that means in terms of profit, especially in a country where those profits stick to the hands of a few people. Think about the fact that with all that money they could buy anything, unless the US has rich as rich as Saudi Princes and companies which are so large in terms of market capitalization that they can’t be bought. (Well, or they could do ownership controls, but strangely, they prefer to be stinking rich.)

The rich MUST be kept rich. If they aren’t, the oilarchies buy up everything. That’s not exactly true, but it is true enough because that’s the way the people at the top think. They know that they either stay so big they can’t be bought, or they’re bought...

One way to deal with this is to have the Company take advantage of the economic stressors the Company imposes (for example, Goldman-$acks buying up all the food future derivatives and releasing them at the right moment) to destabilize said oilarchies.

The trouble with that strategery is that after awhile it gets a bit transparent. People notice that if you can't force up the price of oil one way, you just knock off the strongman who's trying to play it. It's hard to pretend uninvolvement when your Secretary of State opens her mouth and your Pentagon floats carriers offshore.

The bank$ter-owned military-industrial complex wants to cash out on its n-dimensional poker game, and one way is to simply take the best cards. However, this annoys your dealer who is doing his best to unobtrusively cheat- on your side, even. It's difficult to convince everyone at the table of your impartiality when your gun is on the table.

It's hard to weave an invisible web, and to get all the orcs to ignore it, when you're as big and voracious as Shelob.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

because we wear white hats

They are the good guys, it says so right there on the label:

...The head of communications for the training mission, Lieutenant Colonel Shawn Stroud, said Holmes or others with information operations were asked to help with routine work and not ordered to engage in psychological manipulation against VIP visitors.

"I categorically deny the assertion that NTM-A used an Information Operations cell to influence distinguished visitors," Stroud said in a "personal" statement released to AFP on Monday.

"Personnel with backgrounds in IO (information operations) were utilized only because of their availability. They were never directed to use their specific IO skills while preparing background information for the command in advance of distinguished guest visits," he said...