Thursday, January 26, 2006

HERE'S THE DEAL -- in case you were wondering

(here's a bit of wisdom by one of my favorite DU posters. -- brook)

The Deal by arendt

There is an unspoken deal by which two intolerant reactionary forces have made an alliance to carve up something they both want: America. Its the same kind of alliance that Hitler and Stalin made when they carved up Poland and Eastern Europe. The two forces are corporate feudalism and fundamentalist theocracy, and the deal is as follows.

1. What the corporate fuedalists get

Th corporations get to loot everything in America that isn't nailed down, and many things that are. They get to loot our industrial infrastructure and ship it to East Asia. They get to loot our government trust funds, by any excuse they can find: defunding the contributions to the Pension Guarantee fund, privatizing Social Security. They get to exempt themselves from paying any taxes at all for any reason. Only little people pay taxes, and corporations are not little.

When the corporations get done, America will be a plantation economy. We will produce raw materials; and we will do menial service jobs, like distribution and retailing for products produced in those Asian sweatshops. All the intellectual property produced by generations of working professionals, all the genetic inheritance of the world will be the private property of 500 or so obscenely wealthy corporations. They will have monopoly control of all resources, locked behind walls of encryption, license keys, private networks, patent lawyers, and government regulators. It will be "hydraulic despotism" with a vengeance.

In short, America is to be rendered into economic and political slavery to the multi-national corporations. It is to be just another plantation economy to service the needs of the corporate overclass.Those few ultra-talented individuals who are worth paying halfway decent wages will be offered house-nigger status in some gated corporate community - the same way things are run in India and China today. The same way things were run in the Roman Empire.

2. What the theocrats get

The theocrats get to be the plantation overseers of Plantation America. They get to
torment and punish any slave who gets uppity. They get to force ignorance, superstition, and fear onto the slave class so that the next generation will have never heard anything about democracy, education, or a genuine middle-class economy.

They get to be totally incompetent and corrupt, but supported financially by the corporations whose bidding they do. Like Catholic priests in the dark ages, their job is to support the authority of the state, not really to save souls. The Catholic church invented simony, and lives with sodomy and pederasty to this very day. Religious hypocrites are very good at keeping the focus on women and thinking as the agents of Satan. These guys will laugh all the way to whatever sleazy motel they get caught in banging the faithful women or young boys of their flock of sheep.

Of course, the corporations will play the good cop in this phony game. You see it today, as Yahoo and Microsoft say "we were only obeying the laws of our host country". What's ironic is that it really is a "host" country, because they are bloody parasites.

3. Why both sides accept this deal

This is a much better division of labor than Adolf and Uncle Joe could work out, because those guys wanted the same thing: political and miliary power. But the alliance of feudalists and theocrats is more asymmetrical. Corporations want your money; fundies want your soul. Corporations want the people's regulators out of their accounting books. Fundamentalists want their regulators in women's bedrooms. No conflict of interest there. The corporations don't care what kind of medieval nonsense the fundamentalists impose on the slave class, because the corporate elite has no intention of being controlled by the theocrats. If the corpses don't demand complete extra-territoriality (i.e., diplomatic immunity) for all their high-level apparatchiks; they will simply find ways to bribe the local authorities. I mean that's what they have done in places like South America and Africa for decades. And, America will just be another banana republic.

As soon as the theocrats wipe out the last vestiges of democracy, there will be one of those "four legs good, two legs better" moments. Low and behold, they will decide that the Rapture isn't coming soon. Instead, they will just start burning witches and gays and intellectuals. Just like Taliban Afghanistan, the football stadiums will be turned into auto-de-fes, the Inquisition will be re-established, and religious gulags will be opened in Montana, Alaska, New Mexico, and West Texas.

The corporations will tolerate this nonsense because they will control theocrats of other denominations and play them off against each other in endless wars, which will swell the profits of their arms dealers and give all governments involved an excuse for not delivering any kind of social services or economic progress. It will be a world full of warlords, all with god on their side. Of course, women will be returned to their role as baby factories, to keep churning out the cannon fodder for all those wars.

4. The end result: stagnation

....It is customary for people living in developed economies to treat constant economic progress natural and self-evident. Yet, if one looks at the human record since, say, the neolithic

....revolution, growth is the exception and economic stagnation is the rule. Indeed, for thousands of

....years prior to the industrial revolution, all regions of the earth experienced virtually no discernible

....change in the everyday life of their people. Empires came and went, and so did the prosperity

....of merchants and aristocrats in Venice, Vijayanagar, Beijing, and Timbuctu, but the livelihood of

....the mass of the population remained essentially the same...

Engines of Growth and Africa’s Economic Performance" by Marcel Fafchamps
Department of Economics, University of Oxford, UK (1998)

A school of honest economists holds that successful economies are an exception to a dismal rule of stagnant, dead-end economies. They claim that modern, mass consumption, middle-class economies are as rare of an emergent phenomenon as the rise of multi-cellular life on earth. As some wag put it: if all there were to economics was buying cheap and selling dear, the ancient Romans would have been modern capitalists. (The Roman emperors actively rejected labor-saving machinery in order to keep the slave class employed, and therefore controlled. Today's economic statistics show that cheap labor America uses more minimum wage labor and less labor saving machinery than it did in its supposedly less technical past.)

According to this school of emergence, it is the political leadership that creates the conditions necessary for economic "takeoff". If that is true, our current leadership is creating an economic "crash landing". Of course, the claim that democracy fuels economic progress is vehemently opposed by corporate propaganda that tries to insist that economic well-being creates democracy. But, even with that theory, we end up with stagnation and authoritarianism.

Suppose that the state of government follows the state of the economy. Then, to institute dictatorship, all you have to do is wreck the middle class economy. And that is exactly what the GOP and their corporate sponsors have been doing to the USA. With a wrecked economy, we can't afford education. With theocrats in charge, we can't run sophisticated programs to support the middle class. We will stagnate.

5. Political Blitzkrieg

America today is about as screwed as Poland was in 1939. The devastation resulting from the second consecutive theft of a national election will be to the first as the Polish blitzkrieg was to the Austrian anschluss or the peaceful, if shameful, partition of Czechoslovakia. The pitiful defenses of the hapless Democratic Party - about as ineffective as Polish Cavalry officers attacking tanks with swords - are hopelessly outmatched, regardless of the patriotism of their rank and file.

The corporate media leads the attack, wailing like Stuka bombers to spread panic and fear of terrorists amidst civilians. The GOP armored phalanxes of rubber-stamp legislators switch from easy penetration to encirclement and elimination of the quaintly-named "loyal opposition", impervious to any flesh-and-blood political arguments. Bush arrogantly places himself above the law. Hanging Judge Elito demonstrates his open contempt for the Constitution with his "unary executive" and "signing statements". The Congress pulverizes middle class entitlements while increasing tax breaks for the rich. Any investigation against the ever-increasing scandals and crimes of the GOP is smothered in its crib, while the Justice Department investigates Quakers and other "terrorists". The run-up to the aggression against Iran gathers steam. Total victory for The Deal is within sight, and there is nothing left to stop them.

If you are a member of the middle class, you had better cash out and get out before they tatoo a number on your wrist and put a yellow armband on your sleeve. Kristalnacht 2 is coming. But, the beauty of religious dictatorship as opposed to racial destiny is that you can always just convert. You can find Jesus, burn all those science books, get a slave-wage job at WalMart, put your wife in a burkha, and send your kids to that religious feeder school for US Army cannon fodder. You always have a choice in the new theocratic America: martyr or slave. Love it, or we'll kill you - slowly and painfully. Because our god is a sadist.

The Christo-fascist zombie death cult is victorious, and we let it happen on our watch. I have no remedy to propose. I can only hang my head in shame at my ineffectiveness and the gullibility and cravenness of the American people.

it's not your imagination -- 2005 was warmest year on record: NASA - Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Last year was the warmest recorded
on Earth's surface, and it was unusually hot in the Arctic,
U.S. space agency

All five of the hottest years since modern record-keeping
began in the 1890s occurred within the last decade, according
to analysis by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
In descending order, the years with the highest global
average annual temperatures were 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003 and
2004, NASA said in a statement.

'It's fair to say that it probably is the warmest since we
have modern meteorological records,' said Drew Shindell of the
NASA institute in New York City."

Sunday, January 22, 2006

WAR is a Racket

(visit Veterans For Peace at the link for all of this classic piece -- b)

It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few -- the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill."

Saturday, January 21, 2006

how cool is this:

Group Tries to Evict Supreme Court Justice Souter From Home

Angered by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that sided with a Connecticut city that wanted to seize homes for economic development, a group of activists is trying to get one of the justices who voted for the decision evicted from his own home.The group, led by a California man, wants Justice David Souter's home seized for the purpose of building an inn called 'Lost Liberty Hotel.'

They submitted enough petition signatures, only 25 were needed, to bring the matter before voters in March. This weekend, they're descending on Souter's hometown, the central New Hampshire town of Weare, population 8,500, to rally for support.'

This is in the tradition of the Boston Tea Party and the Pine Tree Riot,' organizer Logan Darrow Clements said, referring to the riot that took place during the winter of 1771-1772, when colonists in Weare beat up officials appointed by King George III who fined them for logging white pines without approval."

(Pine Tree Riot? somebody please name your band this. more at link. -- b)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

it had to happen sooner or later: Justice Department to declare warrantless wiretaps legal

In a detailed 40-page legal memorandum set for release this evening the Bush Justice Department will defend the President's warrantless wiretap program as legal. A copy of the document was leaked to RAW STORY.

'The NSA activities are supported by the Presiden's well-recognized inherent constitutional authority as Commander in Chief and sole organ for the Nation in foreign affairs to conduct warrantless surveillance of enemy forces for intelligence purposes to detect and disrupt armed attacks on the United States,' Justice Department lawyers write, referring to the President's order to wiretap Americans' calls overseas.

It adds, 'The President has the chief responsibility under the Constitution to protect America from attack, and the Constitution gives the President the authority necessary to fulfill that solemn responsibility.'"

sooner or later it had to happen: Feds after Google data

The Bush administration on Wednesday asked a federal judge to order Google to turn over a broad range of material from its closely guarded databases.

The move is part of a government effort to revive an Internet child protection law struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was meant to punish online pornography sites that make their content accessible to minors. The government contends it needs the Google data to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches.

In court papers filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Justice Department lawyers revealed that Google has refused to comply with a subpoena issued last year for the records, which include a request for 1 million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period.
The Mountain View-based search and advertising giant opposes releasing the information on a variety of grounds, saying it would violate the privacy rights of its users and reveal company trade secrets, according to court documents.
Nicole Wong, an associate general counsel for Google, said the company will fight the government's effort ``vigorously.''

"Google is not a party to this lawsuit, and the demand for the information is overreaching,'' Wong said.

The case worries privacy advocates, given the vast amount of information Google and other search engines know about their users.

"This is exactly the kind of case that privacy advocates have long feared,'' said Ray Everett-Church, a South Bay privacy consultant. `"The idea that these massive databases are being thrown open to anyone with a court document is the worst-case scenario. If they lose this fight, consumers will think twice about letting Google deep into their lives.''"

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Pat Robertson Strikes Again

If you don't know already, I live in Pat Robertson country, Virginia Beach. I'm so ashamed! LOL! Here is what he had to say regarding Ariel Sharon's stroke from an article in the Virginian Pilot:
Robertson links Sharon's stroke to God's 'enmity'
By SONJA BARISIC Associated Press Writer
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson on his television program Thursday linked Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke to God's "enmity against those who 'divide my land.' "
"He was dividing God's land and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU (European Nation), the United Nations, or the United States of America," Robertson said on "The 700 Club," broadcast from his Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach. "God says 'this land belongs to me. You better leave it alone.' "
Robertson said that he had personally prayed about a year ago with Sharon, whom he called "a very tender-hearted man and a good friend." He said he was sad to see Sharon in this condition.
Robertson also said that in the Bible, the prophet Joel "makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who 'divide my land.' "
"God considers this land to be his," Robertson said. "You read the Bible and he says "this is my land" and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says 'no, this is mine.' "
Robertson spokeswoman Angell Watts did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
People For the American Way Foundation, which monitors "The 700 Club," criticized Robertson's remarks, calling them "an implicit reference to recent steps the prime minister has taken to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process."
"Once again, Pat Robertson leaves us speechless with his insensitivity and arrogance," the group's president, Ralph G. Neas, said in a statement.
Neas said President Bush should "immediately disavow these irresponsible, inflammatory statements." Robertson is a Bush backer.
The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said a religious leader "should not be making callous political points while a man is struggling for his life."
"Pat Robertson has a political agenda for the entire world, and he seems to think God is ready to take out any world leader who stands in the way of that agenda," Lynn said in a statement.
In August, Robertson suggested on "The 700 Club" that American agents should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has long been at odds with U.S. foreign policy.
Robertson later apologized for his remarks.
"Is it right to call for assassination?" Robertson said at the time. "No, and I apologize for that statement. I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him."

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Letterman O'Reilly SMACKDOWN

In this posted clip, Letterman mockingly tells guest Bill O’Reilly:
"The President himself, less than a month ago said we are there because of a mistake made in intelligence. Well, whose intelligence? It was just somebody just get off a bus and handed it to him?"

Letterman demands:
“Why the Hell are we there to begin with?"

When O’Reilly points out that the British, Russians and Egyptians also presumed Iraq had WMD, Letterman retorts:
“Well then that makes it all right?" Turning unusually serious, Letterman soon lectures: “I'm very concerned about people like yourself who don't have nothing but endless sympathy for a woman like Cindy Sheehan. Honest to Christ. Honest to Christ."

That prompts O’Reilly to contend: “No way a terrorist who blows up women and children is going to be called a ‘freedom fighter' on my program."

To which Letterman fires back:
“I have the feeling about 60 percent of what you say is crap.”

here's what O'Reilly had to say about Letterman in 2001:

"The late-night program hosted by David Letterman is the toughest interview show on television.

That's because Mr. Letterman is a smart guy who can spot a phony with telescopic accuracy and expects his guests to bring something to the table. If a guest begins to sink on this show, the bottom is a long way down."

anyone else see this last nite?


find it here.

2006 Predictions OPEN THREAD

got one, leave one.

need one, take one.

here's mine:
1. it's gonna be a year for animal news with erratic migrations and at least one high-profile mauling.

2. look for a revival of asymmetical haircuts as 80s-style Homopop becomes the new grunge and Charleston, SC becomes the new Seattle.

3. rhinestone and stud setting will replace knitting as the 'it' craft.

4. 2005 was the year of the hurricane. 2006 will be the year of the volcanic explosion.

5. Roscrusicanism will overtake Kabbalah in celebrity religious observance, raising the possibility of a dramatic mass-suicide. we can only hope Brad and Angela get the memo.