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Current location: Potlandia
Member since: Fri Sep 28, 2007, 03:39 PM
Number of posts: 19,326

Journal Archives

Interesting Darrell Issa (2007) rant at Democratic critics of David Petraeus

Time-warping to watch Issa's genuflective praise of Petaeus, and also some
interesting comments about Special Ops being used to guard Embassies
and State Dept. personnel.

I couldn't even tell what Issa was trying to say about the latter topic (Special
Ops etc.). Is anyone on DU familiar with this footage, who understands WTF
Issa was hinting at regarding the military guarding embassies?

WSJournal More Interested in Caviar & Foie Gras Than Worker-owned Firms

Wall Street Journal More Interested in Caviar and Foie Gras Than Employee-owned Firms
Published on Saturday, December 8, 2012 by Common Dreams - by Gar Alperovitz

Social pain, anger at ecological degradation and the inability of traditional politics to address deep economic failings has fueled an extraordinary amount of practical on-the-ground institutional experimentation and innovation by activists, economists and socially minded business leaders in communities around the country.

A vast democratized “new economy” is slowly emerging throughout the United States. The general public, however, knows almost nothing about it because the American press simply does not cover the developing institutions and strategies.

For instance, a sample assessment of coverage between January and November of 2012 by the most widely circulated newspaper in the United States , the Wall Street Journal, found ten times more references to caviar than to employee-owned firms, a growing sector of the economy that involves more than $800 billion in assets and 10 million employee-owners — around three million more individuals than are members of unions in the private sector.



This could be the start of something big. What's not to like about "democratizing the US economy" via worker-owned enterprises?

This kind of restructuring of our economy, literally from the ground up, represents a golden economic recovery opportunity: a win/win strategy that hugely benefits virtually everyone, everyone except the Filthy Rich who are insatiable parasites .... a "1% luxury" we can no longer afford, to continue to run roughshod over the bloody corpses of everybody else, at will.

This could totally become a game-changer, if we choose to make it so. For those of you rusty on your labor history, the early labor movements were ALL about worker-ownership.
In the 1880s, workers formed the Knights of Labor to resist capitalist efforts to reduce wages, create a reserve army of labor, and devalue worker skills. The Knights expanded to become the largest workers organization through mobilizing labor in factories and applying its resources to establish approximately 200 industrial cooperatives. By the end of the 19th century, as mercantile and finance capital established dominance over US politics, the Knights’ effort to create a national cooperative alliance with rural farmers failed to materialize. However these efforts reached an apogee in 1887 through the formation of a coalition with the Farmers Alliance and the organization of succession of new political parties to serve and represent the interests of the new cooperative movement.
In the 1880s, new worker-influenced political parties emerged, included the Greenback-Labor Party and the Populist Party to express the frustration of rural and urban workers against the growing domination of corporate trusts. Unfortunately, the movement was all but destroyed by the “Great Uprising,” the monumental confrontation between labor and capital that was building throughout the late 1800s and ended in the collapse of the Knights and the consolidation of corporate rule in America.


Worker-ownership is the next big thing, an idea coming full-circle, whose time has finally come, as evidenced by the WSJ's studied ignorance of this burgeoning phenomenon. This is no "pie in the sky" pipe-dream, as we speak US Senator Bernie Sanders is putting legislative legs onto this concept in Congress: http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=782b77ac-49d6-408e-9b32-369735f0091b

We've come a long way, from the daze of Reefer Madness. So come on BHO, let's do this thing.

Washington businessmen toast ‘the beginning of the end of prohibition’
As marijuana legalization became the law of the land in Washington state as of midnight, Jamen Shively rang a bell and raised a toast to what he called “the beginning of the end of prohibition.” Shively, a former Microsoft executive, joined fellow businessmen Wednesday night in celebrating both the legalization…

Nate Silver to Conan: GOP should take up drug legalization like ‘a rational political party’
In a fascinating long-form interview with late night talk show host Conan O’Brien published online Friday, New York Times pollster wiz Nate Silver said — while wearing a Cookie Monster T-shirt — that a “rational” Republican Party should take up drug legalization, among other issues, if it hopes to stay relevant. Around 22 minutes into Conan’s interview, he asked Silver what advice he would give the Republican Party going forward in 2016. Silver said that “a rational political party” would modernize its views on issues like same sex marriage, immigration and drug legalization.

“Yes, of course you’re going to shift to the center a little bit on immigration and gay marriage, which are two issues where the younger cohort feel much differently than than older voters do,” Silver said. “Right? Maybe drug legalization and a few other issues like that. That’s what a rational political party would do.”

With marijuana now legal in Washington, what’s next?
marijuana officially legalized in Washington, and Colorado set to join within the next 30 days, Americans are about to get a glimpse at what the future might look like with a radically altered drug war. But that progress also begs the question: Where does the movement to end prohibition go from here?

“I’ve been working 25 years at the tip of the spear on [changing the drug war] and it’s really frustrating that we didn’t seem to get much traction talking about civil liberties and social justice,” Vivian McPeak, executive director of Seattle’s annual Hempfest, told Raw Story. “We start talking about tax revenue and the other financial aspects and, boy, everyone starts to perk up. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how we get there. These policies are hurting America way more than marijuana is hurting America.”

Obama Releases National insider threat memorandum: What is the threat?

This is the first I've heard about this. What do you make of this? It makes me
a little nervous and curious as to what all is going on here. Also I somehow suspect
that the Patraeus scandal is somehow involved. Is anyone else trying to connect
these dots?


National insider threat memorandum: What is the threat?
By Gregory Patin (Page 1 of 3 pages)
OpEdNews Op Eds 12/6/2012 at 07:11:33

On the day before Thanksgiving with little or no media attention, President Obama wrote a memorandum, that is an unofficial directive, to the "heads of executive departments and agencies" that addresses "insider threats." While the corporate media largely ignored this memo, there has recently been much speculation in alternative media as to why Obama felt the need to address insider threats at this time.

The subject heading of the memo is "National Insider Threat Policy and Minimum Standards for Executive Branch Insider Threat Programs." It is short enough to reprint in its entirety:

This Presidential Memorandum transmits the National Insider Threat Policy and Minimum Standards for Executive Branch Insider Threat Programs (Minimum Standards) to provide direction and guidance to promote the development of effective insider threat programs within departments and agencies to deter, detect, and mitigate actions by employees who may represent a threat to national security. These threats encompass potential espionage, violent acts against the Government or the Nation, and unauthorized disclosure of classified information, including the vast amounts of classified data available on interconnected United States Government computer networks and systems.

The Minimum Standards provide departments and agencies with the minimum elements necessary to establish effective insider threat programs. These elements include the capability to gather, integrate, and centrally analyze and respond to key threat-related information; monitor employee use of classified networks; provide the workforce with insider threat awareness training; and protect the civil liberties and privacy of all personnel.

Here's link to rest of story, which also has other links embedded in it to source materials.

Regarding the USA’s “War on Terror”

Regarding the USA’s “War on Terror”, it is high time to start calling it what it is:

A) A “cover” for conducting a perpetual imperialistic military crusade to impose US hegemony on the rest of the world to insure the US’s ability to economically exploit the environmental and human resources any given nation at any such time as the US chooses to do so,

B) An excuse for repressing, criminalizing and obliterating, at will, any meaningful domestic dissent of “the people” that in any way seriously challenges the private interests of our monied corporate oligarchy.

C) A way of keeping the shadowy “military/industrial/prison complex” in absolute control -- yes, that very same $editiou$ Franken$tein that Ike & JFK tried to warn us about -- not only of US foreign policy, but also our domestic policy and fiscal policies as well. In short, the whole ball of wax.

Why anyone spends one more precious minute pretending that this hideous “war on terror” charade is anything other than a deadly cancer on the body politic is utterly beyond me. The so-called "War on Drugs" is similarly an inordinately cruel and repressive force wielded by minions of The Dark $ide, for profit and unfettered power. This is just how near-boiling the water is, in our little proverbial frog pond.

I don’t know exactly what the answer to all this is, but I'd like to think Team Obama has "got this". I fervently hope that our President is discretely moving in very incremental steps to restore the same kind of sanity and humanity to our public life that JFK, FDR, MLK, RFK, et. al lived and died for; but I’m not exactly holding my breath either, in light of Obama’s drone policy, kill lists, NDAA, Gitmo, Bradley Manning, etc.

The irony is, even if Obama IS doing what I am hoping, he wouldn’t be able to come out and say it publicly. He would have to pretend to be doing otherwise, to be Mr. Macho WinsWarOnTerror -- until a sudden and sure moment of truth, where there is a sea change, before a shot is fired on anyone ... rather like the Smedley Butler incident. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smedley_Butler

I honestly and whole-heartedly wish Obama and Biden et. al. all the best, and I do support them because that's who I voted for, that's who we elected; but also feel strongly about this being THE opportunity to put a halt to these two tragically misguided "Wars on ...". Instead, let's wage peace, and bring our "nation-building" home, rebuild our infrastructure, support education, health-care for all, etc. rather than piss away our precious resources waging deadly perpetual counter-productive "Wars".

What a crazy f*cking world we live in.

Hedges on Sandy's persistant & disproportionate impacts on poor people

...and how Occupy Sandy is providing for many basic needs of those being pretty much abandoned otherwise.

Katrina, All Over Again
Tuesday, 04 December 2012 13:46
By Chris Hedges, Truthdig | News Analysis

"Food distribution centers, most of them set up by volunteers from Occupy Sandy Recovery, hastily close before dark every day because of the danger of looting and robbery. And storm victims who remain in their damaged homes, often without heat, electricity or running water, clutch knives against the threat of gangs that prowl at night through the wreckage.
This is the new America. It is an America where economic and environmental catastrophes converge to trigger systems breakdown and collapse. It is an America divided between corporate predators and their prey. It is an America that, as things unravel, increasingly sacrifices its own.
Lauren Ferebee, originally from Dallas and now living in Greenpoint in Brooklyn, sits behind a table in the chilly basement of the 123-year-old St. Jacobi Evangelical Lutheran Church, founded by German immigrants. On large pieces of cardboard hanging from the ceiling are the words “Occupy Sandy Relief.” The basement is filled with donated supplies including pet food, diapers, infant formula, canned goods, cereal and pasta. The church was converted two days after the storm into a food bank and distribution center for the victims of the hurricane. Hundreds of people converge daily on the church to work. Volunteers with cars or vans deliver supplies to distribution points in other parts of New York and in New Jersey."

While the West beggers its citizens with "austerity", China has other plans

China prepares to grow vegetables on Mars

Oh noes!!! Now we are losing the space race to the Commies!!!

TruthOut: More on Obama's drone war

Obama Breaks the Golden Rule on Drones
Dec. 1, 2012
by Thom Hartmann & Sam Sacks, The Daily Take | News Analysis

One day after his re-election President Obama ordered yet another drone strike in Yemen, killing an alleged al-Qaeda operative. In the process, our nation's moral standing in the world was further downgraded.

Family members of the man killed are outraged and bewildered, wondering why their loved one was sentenced to death from above, rather than arrested and put on trial. They say that while Adnan al-Qadhi may have held an extremist ideology and may have lent some low-level support to al-Qaeda, he was not actively engaged in any terrorist activities. Relatives say the drone strike was a complete shock and that al-Qadhi could have easily been arrested, and, had he known he was being targeted, then he would have cooperated with authorities.

The details of this latest drone strike appear to violate the rules of engagement laid out by the President's own counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan, who in April suggested drone strikes are only used when, "A significant threat might be posed by an individual who is an operational leader of al-Qaeda or one of its associated forces" and "capturing the individual is not feasible." As al-Qadhi's brother told McClatchy news, "We could have made sure he turned himself in. If [he] was guilty of any crime, then arrest him, put him on trial."


HuffPo: 10 ways to Trim Budget Without New Income Taxes or Entitlement Cuts

Fiscal Cliff: 10 ways Obama, Congress Could Trim Without New Income Taxes, Entitlement Cuts

WASHINGTON -- Just about every policy lawmakers are considering for a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff would involve either raising individual income taxes, or cutting benefits in Medicare and Social Security. But there are a host of other avenues available for reducing the federal budget deficit that are rarely talked about, despite their mathematical merit.

There's an old axiom in the investment business that applies to the federal government, as well: You have to spend money to make money. Paradoxically, the U.S. fiscal position would likely be better off if the government simply spent more money. When the economy is booming, government spending can easily be wasteful. But when the economy is not meeting its capacity, the government needs to step in to give it a boost, according to several schools of economic thought. At a time when there are more than four job applicants for every job opening, the economy is clearly not meeting the demand for work, and the government can productively step in by spending money to hire people and get things back on track. By boosting long-term economic growth through short-term spending, the government could actually ease the deficit by ponying up money right now.

That's probably not going to happen, because most lawmakers and think-tankers in Washington are more interested in cutting various social insurance programs than in stabilizing the nation's fiscal position. Nevertheless, even if the government abandons the "spend more" approach, there are at least 10 ways to cut the deficit without raising income taxes or slashing important programs for senior citizens.

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