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General Interest

Items of interest to all.

Stinson Beach Bubbles

Bill Moyers asks are there reasons for hope?

Bill Moyers

Bill Moyers examines the deteriorating and increasingly corrupt state of affairs that our government has devolved into and the accompanying divisiveness sweeping the country. Is there hope for things to improve? For the first time in his life, Moyers isn't optimistic.
Source: An Afternoon with Bill Moyers

Tavis Smiley speaks with William Cohan

Award-winning investigative reporter and former investment banker assesses the impact of S&P's downgrading its credit outlook for the U.S. and the taxpayer's subsidy of Goldman Sachs.
Source: Writer William Cohan

Music includes Charlie Parker - Relaxin' At Camarillo, Earth Anthem, Stand By Your Man, Black Sabbath - War Pigs, Freedom Isn't Free Tonight, Kenny Rogers - Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town, Red House, The Fool on the Hill

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Remembering Peter Falk for Columbo’s Takedowns of High Functioning Sociopaths

I want to acknowledge Peter Falk’s passing this past week in light of his Columbo TV character’s being a POPULIST icon.

I celebrate him for Columbo, relentless nemesis to the Gucci’d “above the law” types who tried to use power and money to cavalierly escape responsibility for profound crimes against humankind.

I celebrate the Columbo series’ enactments of takedowns of the down and dirty high and mighties, since we are now seriously in the Season or maybe we should call it Age of the “High Functioning Sociopath” (so defiantly in your face in Bushworld and, alas, even more in your face in Obamaworld -- Dems as amoral as Repubs, duh), with our economy captured by them, our quality of life and that of our children and their children, etc., drastically diminished by them, and the massive gratuitous violence (with millions of innocent victims killed, maimed or displaced) perpetrated by them -- with NO risk to them, by the way, except their immortal souls. (I find myself praying more and more for an especially horrendous hell for this wealthy criminal ruling class.)

We desperately need populist heroes, in real life and in art! We need them, past, present and future.

The Fog of War

Great interview and great music. The soundtrack of the movie "The Fog of War" features the life of former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. He served under President Kennedy and Johnson. He reflects on his part in the bombing of Tokyo, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Vietnam War.

This film could have been titled "The Evil That Men Do". McNamara talks about war crimes he and others have committed. He observes the failures of government officials at the highest level to understand the basis of the wars they direct. I have to ask, can we learn from history?
Source: The Fog of War Movie. Most of the book can be found at The Fog of War Book

Music includes War What Is It Good For, Earth Anthem, I Just Can't Wait to Be King, We'll Meet Again

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Why Tax-On-Millionaires Is a Slam Dunk

This article is from awhile ago, but the info is still very much relevant. And again, if you have any question of the income disparity between the 1% and the rest of us, watch the accompanying video

Why Tax-On-Millionaires Measure Is a Slam Dunk


    The case in California: Since our last discourse on the subject, the massive gap between the wealthiest 1% and everyone else in the population has gained more traction as a political issue in California.

    Paradoxically, the recent idiocy of Capitol Republicans, who blocked a popular vote on whether to extend a few modest taxes and fees

ANGRY US MAYORS: “That we would build bridges in Baghdad & Kandahar & not Baltimore & Kansas City boggles the mind!”

The following email came from NY Green Party’s Howie Hawkins:

Green Alert: Tell Congress to Vote No on Military Budget

The US conference of Mayors is expected to pass a resolution today calling on Congress to cut $127 billion from the Defense Budget by ending the wars in the Middle East and redirecting the funding towards Domestic Needs.

Unfortunately, Congress is headed in the other direction. The Obama administration has proposed the largest defense budget ever, over $700 billion, as much as the rest of the world combined and double the military budget of a decade ago.

Congress, especially in the House, have voted to slash anti-hunger programs such as WIC and food stamps and many other low-income programs in order to continue to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and unsustainable and unneeded military spending.

Message to Congress: Please vote no on the Defense Appropriations bill and redirect military spending to rebuilding America, creating jobs, and strengthening hunger, housing, education and other human service programs.

Congressional switchboard 877-762-8762 or 202-224-3121

On NATO, Libya and Holbrooke


Apparently Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense, dressed down NATO members for not pulling their full share for the sake of US-led imperialism.

This provocative statement from Marti Hiken:

While Gates says, “Part of this predicament stems from a lack of will, much of it from a lack of resources in an era of austerity,” he doesn’t acknowledge that these countries still have to answer to the concerns of their people who have not been willing to have their youth sacrificed and die at the rate that Americans are willing. It appears that the people of Europe don’t want to turn their economies into an expensive military support system for the rich. “National Security” and military hardware don’t hold as much sway overseas as they do here. Unlike American policy makers, many Europeans demand (and receive) universal medical care, a safety net, and workers’ rights and jobs.

Let me just repeat my favorite sentence from that paragraph: It appears that the people of Europe don’t want to turn their economies into an expensive military support system for the rich.

Why Over 1 Million Iraqis Were Killed & 4 Million Displaced by the U.S.

FIRST LOOK: WALL STREET IN IRAQ? – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Deputy Secretary Tom Nides (formerly chief administrative officer at Morgan Stanley) will host a group of corporate executives at State this morning as part of the Iraq Business Roundtable. Corporate executives from approximately 30 major U.S. companies – including financial firms Citigroup, JPMorganChase and Goldman Sachs – will join U.S. and Iraqi officials to discuss economic opportunities in the new Iraq. Full list of corporate participants:*

*Participating Companies in Business Roundtable

1. 360 Architects; 2. Albright Stonebridge; 3. Bell Helicopter Textron; 4. Boeing; 5. Cargill; 6. Caterpillar; 7. Chamber of Commerce; 8. Chevron; 9. Citigroup; 10. Exxon Mobil Corp; 11. Federal Express; 12. Fluor; 13. General Electric; 14. Goldman Sachs; 15. Halliburton; 16. ITT; 17. JPMorgan Chase; 18. KBR; 19. Khudairi Group; 20. L-3 Communications; 21. Lindsay Corporation; 22. Lockheed Martin; 23. Microsoft; 24. Monsanto; 25. National Assoc. of Home Builders; 26. NTELX; 27. Occidental Petroleum; 28. Schlumberger; 29. Tupperware; 30. Ventech

Faux-Photo-Ops/Faux-Jobs-Summit of Shameless Corporate-Supplicant Obama & Bloodsucking CEOs 6/13/11

Barry Grey’s “Obama promotes corporate profits in the name of job creation” is a depressing update on Obama’s recent Durham, North Carolina meeting with his “Jobs and Competitiveness Council.” The money paragraph:

The reality is that corporate America, with the support of the government, is using mass unemployment as a bludgeon to drive down wages, destroy working conditions and force workers to accept poverty wages and sweatshop conditions. The same process is unfolding internationally, as the bourgeoisie utilizes the crisis of its own making to destroy social gains won by the working class over more than a century of struggle.

May’s jobs report revealed the continuing jobs crisis in America.

So what is Obama doing? Reassuring the private sector fat cats that they are safe from regulation and that massive cuts to social spending is the way his regime will go.

Barry Grey’s attendance list for the summit:

Bush-CIA’s Attempted SmackDown of Prof. Juan Cole’s Truth-Based Iraq War Dissent

First Amendment: Protects the freedom of religion, speech, and the press, as well as the right to assemble and petition the government

Fourth Amendment: Prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and sets out requirements for search warrants based on probable cause

Remember before the Patriot Act when it was shocking and ILLEGAL for the government to poke into one’s privacy to find potentially damning information? Information to discredit, blackmail, intimidate, and/or punish law-abiding citizens. The days when much of the citizenry and more than only one or two Congresspeople gave a serious damn about assaults on the rights to privacy of US citizens.

This is not to say that such covert ops weren’t done. During the Watergate days Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office was invaded for “dirt”. The disclosure of Valerie Plame’s identity was punishment by Bush et al. for Joe Wilson’s assertion that there weren’t WMDs in Iraq.

According to NYT’s James Risen, it turns out 58-year old Juan Cole, history professor at the University of Michigan, pre-eminent scholar on the Middle East, and, since 2002, host blogger of “Informed Comment”, was enough of an ENEMY of the Bush administration re the Iraq War to inspire pushback.

Science Friday: Codes, Puzzles, and Cryptograms

Real life (mostly) codes, puzzles and cryptograms reminiscent of those used in movies like the Da Vinci Code or National Treasure. 1st, is a sculpture in front of CIA headquarters. The 2nd, is a list of 4, including the enigmatic Voynich Manuscript. The 3rd, is the Thomas Beale Cipher which sounds fictitious, but, still fun. And Lastly, is The Collatz Conjecture, which is a mathematical puzzle that may have been proven true

Watch the full episode. See more NOVA scienceNOW.

Axelrod Destroyed the Democratic Party in Order to Save It -- Destroyed Democracy for Ego and Gamesmanship

Boy, you just can’t make this stuff up.

Weiner exhibiting his “package” via email.

Thank you, Anthony. Exhibit A. That just about sums up what the ruling patriarchy is all about. Power and competition and the biggest “package” whether of a person, a party, a nation or nations. The killer drones, by the way, seem to slide very easily into the abundance of phallic imagery penetrating the public through the addicted-to-titillation, disinforming, amoral media these days.

The alleged molestation by DSK is another one of those awesome, you can’t make these perfect metaphors up, of the IMF’s will to rape Africa, Africa represented by a vulnerable and working class African woman.

But I want to go after a patriarchal player who has not been called out enough to suit my angry needs. “Obama’s Rove” some have called him. A slyer, slicker counterpart of Rove, especially in his ability to APPEAR not sly nor slick.

The Elements Of A Successful Revolution

Shadi Hamid
Simon Schama

Shadi Hamid and Simon Schama comment on what makes a revolution more likely to succeed - or fail.
Source: The Elements Of A Successful Revolution

Anand Gopal

Scott Horton Interviews Anand Gopal 

Independent journalist Anand Gopal discusses why counterinsurgency strategy works better in theory than in practice. He explains how the "denying al-Qaeda sanctuary" justification for U.S. military deployments ignores the real reasons the 9/11 attacks succeeded.

Eric Margolis

Scott Horton Interviews Eric Margolis

Eric Margolis discusses Egypt’s fake revolution. He comments on the criminal charges against former Pakistani president Musharraf and reminds us of the still unsolved mystery of who really killed Benazir Bhutto.

Lester Brown

How Close are we to the Edge

As food prices rise, and civil unrest builds throughout the Middle East, Lester Brown wonders if these two could be connected.

Music includes Earth Anthem, Subterranean Homesick Blues, In A World Gone Mad..., brother can you spare a dime, Diamonds & Rust, climate change, We'll Meet Again

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The U.S.' Perpetual State of War

Andrew Bacevich

Harry Kreisler talks with Andrew Bacevich, Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University, for a discussion of the causes and consequences of the militarization of U.S. foreign policy. Bacevich explores the origins of militarization and the factors that sustained their existence for more than six decades.
Source: Conversations With History: America's Path to Permanent War

Ray McGovern

Scott Horton Interviews Ray McGovern

Ray McGovern, former senior analyst at the CIA, discusses why the corrupted mainstream U.S. media needs to be supplanted by WikiLeaks. They comment on the State Department’s successful interference with Spanish and German courts seeking to indict U.S. officials.
Source: Scott Horton Interviews Ray McGovern, December 13, 2010

Music includes Earth Anthem, house on fire, Waist Deep in the Big Muddy, Robin Williams on Reagan, Freedom Trilogy, Who's Next, 900 Miles, We'll Meet Again

Pentagon Using Our Tax Dollars For Human Trafficking

(519 Obama-dumping days until 2012 election-Hugh's Obama's Scandals List)

There is a shocking article this week in The New Yorker entitled “The Invisible Army” by Sarah Stillman.

Ms. Stillman begins by writing of two women in Fiji, Vinnie Tuiaga and Lydia Qeraniu, who are looking for work in 2007. They get recruited by a local firm called Meridian Services Agency which promises them both jobs in Dubai. You know Dubai. You have seen pictures of that opulent, exciting city I am sure.

But once they get to Dubai, according to Ms. Stillman, they are informed they are actually bound for jobs on U.S. military bases in Iraq. They unwittingly have been dragooned into what Stillman calls the Pentagon’s “invisible army.”

According to Ms. Stillman there are over 70,000 of such workers, called “third-country nationals” or TCN’s, in both Iraq and Afghanistan. They are workers primarily from South Asia and Africa who end up living in barbed-wire compounds on U.S. bases, employed by “fly-by-night” contractors and subcontractors.

Most of them are forced to endure harsh living and working conditions, sometimes robbed of rightful compensation, sexually abused, inadequately housed and fed. Stillman claims there have been food riots involving thousands in some of the Pentagon “subcontractor camps”.