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America’s Economic Gang-Rape Triumvirate: BUSINESS, GOVERNMENT, ACADEMIA

Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian:

Once again, the phrase that comes to mind is Milton Friedman's: socialism for the rich, free enterprise for the rest. An ordinary person defaults on his debt, he gets to live in his car. A banker defaults, and the taxpayer can be relied on to bail him out.

Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe:

Chief executive Lloyd Blankfein is reported to have taken home $125 million in bonuses over the course of a decade. What’s amazing about that Senate hearing is how Blankfein and other Goldman Sachs executives appeared to be unfazed when confronted with evidence of their malfeasance — pushing securities they knew to be iffy. Notoriously, the company’s e-mails use a different, unprintable word.


Top executives of the insolvent companies walked away from the crisis they had helped create with their personal fortunes intact. This happened because the boards of directors – which have responsibility for such decisions - are generally hand picked by the CEOs.

Examples include Countrywide’s Angelo Mozilo, Merrill Lynch’s Stan O'Neal, O'Neal’s successor John Thain and AIG’s Joseph Cassano.

As Obama Administration Negotiates Away Democratic Party Principles - Time for a 2012 Primary Challenge?

Karen Bernal photoOriginally published in the California Progress Report
By Karen Bernal
Progressive Caucus of the CA Democratic Party

We've had enough. The country has had enough.

As elated as we were when President Obama was elected in 2008, after a disastrous eight years under the repressive and war-mongering Bush Administration, the Obama Administration has been a major disappointment to the working class and Progressives of this country.

So much so that on July 30, the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party adopted a resolution criticizing President Obama for negotiating away Democratic Party principles to extremist Republicans, and suggesting that we may explore steps to "effect necessary change, including a possible primary challenge to President Obama." The resolution, overwhelmingly adopted at a meeting of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party July 30, did not say President Obama would not be that candidate.

The officers and members of the caucus are willing to meet with the President if he wishes to discuss our concerns. In fact, we would welcome the opportunity. Our Caucus leadership wishes HOPE BEYOND HOPE that President Obama will rework his priorities to respond to the needs of working class Americans in order to get progressive support in 2012.

You Should Not Write on US Currency, But If You Do ….

Defacing US currency is illegal.

Nevertheless, an organization called HUG PAC (a/k/a "Hippies United Globally P.A.C.") wants to register their outrage over the inappropriate corporate US tax policies with a $1 Bill Protest. They are advocating that fed-up citizens write along the edge of their dollar bills the following:

"This is $1 more than GE, Exxon or Bank of America paid in taxes in 2010".

They also suggest you might add the word RECALL and then plug in the name of a betraying representative or two. Then let that dollar and its message circulate.

They go on:

It's time to start educating people. It's time to get people talking when they read this note. It's time to shine light on what's REALLY going on with our tax dollars and it's time to send a LOUD message throughout the nation (without using violence or encouraging hate) that WE, THE PEOPLE say enough is enough!

RSVP to America's $1 Bill Protest on Facebook and let your voice be heard. It's a guaranteed fast way to get the message out. When you do participate, be sure to spend the money at local stores or garage sales, as a tip at a restaurant...places where you know the money will travel through hands before it reaches a bank.

Afghan vet says 30 U.S. deaths in Afghanistan an "atrocity,' calls for end to war‏

Afghan vet says 30 U.S. deaths in Afghanistan an "atrocity,' calls for end to war‏

Sunday, August 7, 2011
Contact: Rick Reyes cell: 213-359-8631 twitter:@rick_reyes

Loss of life in Afghanistan an 'atrocity,' U.S. should end
operations now, says Marine veteran who chairs
California Democratic Party veterans caucus

LOS ANGELES, Ca. – Thirty U.S. American troops reported killed Saturday in an Afghanistan helicopter crash emphasizes the need for the U.S. to end operations sooner rather than later in that theatre of war, according to a Iraq/Afghanistan U.S. Marine veteran, who now is chair of the Veterans Caucus of the California Democratic Party.

New agencies reported and government officials confirmed Saturday that as many as 30 Americans – including at least 22 Navy SEALs – were confirmed dead in the crash of a troop-carrying Chinook helicopter, caused by enemy fire. It is the deadliest day for U.S. troops in Afghanistan since it began in 2001.

"These men and women have real families and friends who will never see them again. This is part of a continuing tragedy playing out in Afghanistan," said Rick Reyes, who did tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

What Happened to Obama?

A lengthy article, but worth the read. If you don't have time to read the whole article right now, at least read the final paragraph - "But the arc of history does not bend toward justice through capitulation cast as compromise."

What Happened to Obama?

Drew Westen is a professor of psychology at Emory University and the author of “The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation.”


IT was a blustery day in Washington on Jan. 20, 2009, as it often seems to be on the day of a presidential inauguration. As I stood with my 8-year-old daughter, watching the president deliver his inaugural address, I had a feeling of unease. It wasn’t just that the man who could be so eloquent had seemingly chosen not to be on this auspicious occasion, although that turned out to be a troubling harbinger of things to come. It was that there was a story the American people were waiting to hear — and needed to hear — but he didn’t tell it. And in the ensuing months he continued not to tell it, no matter how outrageous the slings and arrows his opponents threw at him.

The stories our leaders tell us matter, probably almost as much as the stories our parents tell us as children, because they orient us to what is, what could be, and what should be; to the worldviews they hold and to the values they hold sacred. Our brains evolved to “expect” stories with a particular structure, with protagonists and villains, a hill to be climbed or a battle to be fought. Our species existed for more than 100,000 years before the earliest signs of literacy, and another 5,000 years would pass before the majority of humans would know how to read and write.

Science Friday: The Top Secret Pictures of Hiroshima They Didn't Want You to See | Fukushima, and other Bad Nuclear News

Hiroshima: The Lost Photographs

    One rainy night eight years ago, in Watertown, Massachusetts, a man was taking his dog for a walk. On the curb, in front of a neighbor’s house, he spotted a pile of trash: old mattresses, cardboard boxes, a few broken lamps. Amidst the garbage he caught sight of a battered suitcase. He bent down, turned the case on its side and popped the clasps.

Is it just doom and gloom or should the U.S. expect a collapse?

Dmitry Orlov

Dmitry Orlov interviewed by Bonnie Faulkner

Dmitry Orlov is an engineer and a writer on the potential economic, ecological and political decline and collapse in the United States. Orlov believes collapse will be the result of huge military budgets, government deficits, an unresponsive political system and declining oil production.
Bonnie Faulkner is the host and producer of KPFA's Guns and Butter radio program.
Source: Dmitry Orlov Collapse Gap interview downloadable mp3 file Guns&Butter

Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges: The World As It Is with Laura Flanders

Chris Hedges' new book is The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress explores the problems of a crumbling empire, inside and out. Chris joins Laura in studio for a conversation about the murder of Bin Laden and the continuing concern over terrorism and the end of empathy in the U.S.
Source: Chris Hedges: The World As It Is

Music includes Charlie Parker - Hot House, Great Anthem, We'll Met Again, Let's stop the war, Willie Nelson - Bridge Over Troubled Water, Down By The Riverside, El Mariachi, Joan Baez -There but for fortune, Jeff Foxworthy - victoria's secret, Larry Verne - Mr. Custer, Monty Pythons - The Galaxy Song, War Warning from Madison 4th U.S. President

Play Program or Download(below the fold)

Stranded coho salmon in Scott River tributaries trigger rescues, investigation

As happens every year, endangered coho salmon are being stranded in drying pools in the Scott River system, due to inaction by the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), NOAA Fisheries, the U.S. Forest Service and the California Water Resources Control Board.

An independent investigation by Klamath Riverkeeper Erica Terence reveals that in spite of the DFG "rescuing" 1,500 coho out of disconnected pools up Kidder Creek, a Scott River tributary, on July 25 and 26, hundreds of juvenile coho salmon were still trapped in Patterson Creek.

"At the rate the creek is drying up, those fish will be jerky by the end of today," Terence said in a note to DFG officials. "I suggest that in addition to rescuing what fish you can, your agency should open an investigation into nearby diversions and possible Fish and Game Code violations immediately."

CDFG Game Warden Steve McDonald responded to Terence's note within days, supplying a report that all three surface diversions upstream of the dewatered reach with the photographed dying coho were shut off or were returning all the water they diverted back into the creek after using it, according to Terence.

Although fish rescue in the Scott River fails to address the root causes of the dewatering such as irrigation dams, canals, ditches, groundwater pumping and soil deposition caused by irresponsible logging in the watershed, "it is a necessary tactic to prevent total extinction of the severely endangered Scott River coho population," Terence said.

Schwarzenegger museum should honor his true environmental legacy

“Arnie’s World,” a museum focusing on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s life in bodybuilding, acting and politics, has opened at the house in the small Austrian town of Thal where he was born.

A “soft” opening took place on July 30 to mark the ex-California Governor’s 64th birthday before a grand opening ceremony takes place later this year, the Austrian Times reported on July 29.

“Peter Urdl – an old friend of Schwarzenegger's – explained he and his team wanted to give the former governor of California a chance to attend the occasion,” according to the Times. “Urdl said the date of the official ceremony depended on the action film hero’s schedule.”

Museum managers said the exhibition will feature Schwarzenegger’s first set of dumbbells and a replica of his governor’s desk. “The 200-square-metre museum will also include the ‘Terminator star’s favourite pair of cowboy boots and many old photographs documenting the different stages of the famous Austrian’s life,” the Times explained.

I believe that “Arnie’s World,” to reflect his true record as Governor, should add some exhibits showcasing the environmental legacy of the “Green Governor.” If there’s not enough space in the existing museum, perhaps a wing can be added to the house or a separate building could be built. Here are my suggestions for exhibits to add:

Of Course Obama and Kleptocrats Savage Sick, Elderly, Young, Poor & Working Class

Paul Street in “Whose Black President” on what the Obama administration has wrought:

... Barack Obama has belonged to Wall Street, corporate America, and the Pentagon from the beginning. Consider his first year in the White House – a study in the triumph of corporate-imperial conservatism. With its expansion of the monumental bailout of hyper-opulent financial overlords, its refusal to nationalize and cut down parasitic financial institutions, its passage of a health “reform” bill that only the big insurance and drug companies could love (consistent with Rahm Emmanuel’s advice to the president: “ignore the progressives”), its cutting of an auto bailout deal that raided union pension funds and rewarded capital flight, its undermining of global carbon emission reduction efforts at Copenhagen, its refusal to advance serious public works programs (green or otherwise), its green-lighting of escalated strip mining and hazardous deepwater oil drilling, its disregarding of promises to labor and other popular constituencies (remember the Employee Free Choice Act?) and other betrayals of its “progressive base” (the other side of the coin of promises kept to its corporate sponsors), and its appointment of a Deficit Reduction Commission “headed [in economist Michael Hudson’s words] by avowed enemies of Social Security” (Republican Senator Alan Simpson and former Clinton chief of staff Erskin Bowles), Obama’s “change” and “hope” (corporatist Bill Clinton’s campaign keywords in 1992) presidency epitomized the power of what Edward S. Herman and David Peterson call “the unelected dictatorship of money.”

UN study says biodiversity loss unstoppable with protected areas alone

by Dan Bacher

While some governments and environmental NGOs have pushed controversial "marine protected areas" in the U.S. and throughout the world as the solution to "protecting" the ocean and maintaining biodiversity in marine ecosystems, a United Nations study released on July 28 said continued reliance on a strategy of setting aside land and marine territories as "protected areas" is "insufficient" to stem global biodiversity loss.

The assessment offers a challenge to those who promote projects like Arnold Schwarzenegger's controversial Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative in California, a privately funded program that creates so-called marine protected areas that fail to protect California marine waters from oil spills and drilling, wave and wind energy projects, water pollution, habitat destruction, military testing and all other human impacts upon the ocean other than fishing and gathering.

Despite impressively rapid growth of protected land and marine areas worldwide - today totalling over 100,000 in number and covering 17 million square kilometers of land and 2 million square kilometers of oceans - "biodiversity is in steep decline," according to a comprehensive assessment published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Shock Doctrine Debt Ceiling Extortion and the Legislative Coup d'etat (Part 1)

What's happening right now is a multifold kabuki theater power grab by both major political parties to consolidate power from the many (the people) to the few (oligarchs).

What this is is really involved and wonkish and they count on most people not being able to pay attention because of their daily lives. This is a process that's been ongoing since at least early in the Bush Admin when they worked in concert on the passages of numerous anti-civil rights legislation. Both parties are in on the act (act as in a play) where they accuse each other of obstruction and partisanship in public but work with each other behind closed doors in a conspiratorial power-grab. The Republicans are naturally onboard with this, but the Democrats have a harder time because they have to feign support for democratic principles.


Science Friday: DIY Fruit Fireball | All Polar Bears are Irish | Dolphins Healing Powers; Electroreception of one Species

Fruit Fireballs

    You may think that oranges seem are a fairly boring sort of fruit. Discover their more exciting side in this simple experiment.
    What you need

    Orange peel, ideally from a large orange with a thick juicy skin
    A candle

    What to Do

Thomas E. Ricks talks about the Iraq War with Harry Kreisler

Thomas E. Ricks

After 21 years of conflict with Iraq is there something we can learn? It started with the Gulf War started on Aug. 2nd, 1990 which ended in 1991. Then on to the Iraq No Fly zone war which started in 1991 and ended in 2003. The current war in Iraq started in 2003.

Thomas E. Ricks has lead an interesting life. Reviewing the conduct of the Iraq War, he analyzes the weaknesses and strengths of America's political and military leaders, the long term consequences of the conflict for the military, and the future of Iraq, and the possibilities of a new American strategy for the Middle East under President Obama.
Source: Conversations With History: The Military and the Iraq War with Thomas E. Ricks

Music includes Earth Anthem, We'll Met Again, Coleman Hawkins - The Man I Love, The Lion King - Circle Of Life, gods a gonna cut you down, Kenny Rogers - Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town, janis joplin - mercedes benz, Gil Scott Heron - We Almost Lost Detroit, Joan Baez - Blowin In The Wind, House Of The Rising Sun, Sponji Raggae,theatre of whine, Hero of War, bobby mcferrin - dont worry be happy, mariachi vargas - el condor pasa, Fiesta En Jalisco

Play Program or Download(below the fold)