Thursday, April 30, 2009


The so-called “swine flu” exploded because an environmental disaster simply moved (and with it, took jobs from US workers) to Mexico where environmental and worker safety laws, if they exist, are not enforced against powerful multinational corporations.

False mental constructs of borders – the kind that cause US and Mexican citizens alike to imagine a flu strain like this one invading their nations from other lands – are taking a long overdue hit by the current “swine flu” media frenzy. In this case, US-Mexico trade policy created a time bomb in Veracruz that has already murdered more than 150 Mexican citizens, and at least one child in the US, by creating a gigantic Petri dish in the form pig farms to generate bacon and ham for international sale.

None of that indicates that this flu strain was born in Mexico, but, rather, that the North American Free Trade Agreement created the optimal conditions for the flu to gestate and become, at minimum, epidemic in La Gloria and, now, Mexico City, and threatens to become international pandemic.

Welcome to the aftermath of “free trade.” Authorities now want you to grab a hospital facemask and avoid human contact until the outbreak hopefully blows over. And if you start to feel dizzy, or a flush with fever, or other symptoms begin to molest you or your children, remember this: The real name of this infirmity is “The NAFTA Flu,” the first of what may well emerge as many new illnesses to emerge internationally as the direct result of “free trade” agreements that allow companies like Smithfield Farms to escape health, safety and environmental laws.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tell her he's a liar. Tell her he's an anti-Semite. Tell her we'll ruin his life.

Everyone involved in the dispute over William I. Robinson talks about lines being crossed.

A tenured professor of sociology at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Robinson said that his critics have crossed lines of fairness by equating his criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, and that the faculty judicial system is crossing lines that are supposed to protect academic freedom by investigating him.

His critics say that he crossed a line of professionalism by sending e-mail to all of the students in one of his courses material about "parallel" images of Nazi and Israeli attacks. Some students view the material as anti-Semitic, and they quit the course and filed a grievance against him.

Faculty members are in the process of selecting a panel that will consider the charges against Robinson and determine whether to recommend that a standing faculty panel conduct a full investigation of the incident. While no action has been taken against him at this time, he views the inquiries as an attempt to quash criticism of Israel. Robinson is consulting with lawyers and may sue to block the coming proceedings.

At issue is an e-mail message that Robinson sent to the approximately 80 students in January in a course about sociology and globalization. The e-mail contained an an article criticizing the Israeli military's actions in Gaza. Part of the e-mail was an assemblage of photos from Nazi Germany's persecution of Jews and from Israel's actions in Gaza. Students were invited to look at the "parallel images." A message from Robinson argued that Gaza would be like "Israel's Warsaw."

For Gaza? Honestly?

Seven Jewish Children - a Play for Gaza.

Now what could Gaza want with this play I wonder?

Someone in a haloscan somewhere "was struck by how powerful and moving it was". Yes.

The crazed, positively illiterate reactions of Jacobson and Goldberg of course incite one to defend the play from their absurd, cynical, malicious comments.

And that's a pity because the piece is not only anti-Semitic (in a distinctively British philoSemitic way) but, more disturbingly, contemptuously Orientalist, Eurocentric (racist) and Imperial-apologetic. And of course a very competent piece of theatre. Engaging, moving and entertaining.

Did the British public really need yet another piece of deft kitsch of this sort, another compelling statement of the comfortingly familiar white British viewpoint which shoves Palestinians to the barely glimpsed margins of their own calamities, reduces them to silhouettes loping along the background horizon on camels and bloodied corpses flashed on television, while preferring to examine (as foil for its own righteous self) the endlessly fascinating collective psyche of an AngloAmerican-mass-culture-produced Jewish Tribe as the ultimate Type of victim-perpetrator, a compelling figure of traumatised imperialist, and to remind us that history arrived in Palestine with European Zionists in the early 20th century? “For Gaza”, yet another solemn account of how terribly some previous incarnations, less ancestors than earlier avatars of the Type, of the agents of white supremacist imperialism besieging and bombarding it once suffered? Gaza needs yet another reiteration of how really the Middle East came under European imperial domination and so remains because of some anguished parental protectiveness taken to extremes? Another acknowledgement that the path to Palestinian Liberation must lie through the therapeutic mass psychoanalysis and cure of the only true protagonist of Palestinian history: "The Jewish People", that is, generations of identically loving parents of little girls?

“For Gaza” yet another touching tale of the psychic pain and terror endured by the European overlords? “For Gaza” a play about the eternally well meaning compassionate innocent inheritor of expropriated wealth and land, a parade of little harmless helpless girl children, hiding from Cossacks, orphaned by Nazis in Europe, cherished by refusenik cousins in Israel? "For Gaza" another explanation of how all the propaganda fables under which Palestinian history is obscured - here on stage yet again - have been concocted to protect the ignorant naivety of a vulnerable little girl, to keep this innocent of genteel civilisation from being frightened? “For Gaza” yet another emphatic illustration that Palestinian suffering is endowed with what little significance it has – should it become too garish and bloody - only by the hazy disquieting reflections it leaves in the piquantly tormented psyche of this ordinary European family with its pretext children, giving rise to the familiar powerful poignant stories - so familiar they can be fully conveyed in this abbreviated way (the entire genre of Holocausterie transmitted by "don’t tell her what they did”) - that English people tell their children and their theatre audiences?

(I suppose it is what one expects of a British playwright whose Romania of 1989 hosts vampires and whose "critique" of British colonialism consists of a sex farce set in that old reliable "unspecified African country".)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Pynchon, Vineland

Justin found his father and Zoyd in the back of a pickup, watching “Say, Jim,” a half-hour sit-com based on “Star Trek,” in which all the actors were black except for the Communications Officer, a freckled white redhead named Lieutenant O’Hara. Whenever Spock came on the bridge, everybody made Vulcan hand salutes and went around high-threeing. About the time the show ended, Prairie came by, Zoyd and Flash went off looking for beer, and she and Justin settled down, semi-brother and sister, in front of the eight O’Clock Movie, Pee-wee Herman in The Robert Musil Story. It was mostly Pee-wee talking in a foreign accent, or sitting around in front of some pieces of paper with some weird-looking marker pen, and the kids’ attention kept wandering to each other. “There’s the Movie at Nine,” Justin said, looking in the listings, “Magnificent Disaster, TV movie about the ’83-’84 NBA playoffs – wasn’t that just back in the summer? Pretty quick movie.”

“They’ve been getting quicker over the years, from what I remember,” Prairie said.

“Hey Prairie, would you like to baby-sit me sometime?”

She gave him a look. “Some baby. Maybe I’ll have to kid-sit you.”

“What’s that?”

“Involves some tickling,” Prairie already headed for her new brother’s armpits and flanks, and Justin squirming even before they touched.

Out under yellow bulbs at a long weathered table, Zoyd found himself trying to help flash with the shock of meeting so many in-laws in one place, both men from time to time looking around fearfully, like unarmed visitors in a jungle clearing, as out beyond this particular patch of light Traverses and Beckers went practising on scales, working on engines, debating, talking back to the Tube, sending up gusts of laughter like ritual smoke cast to an unappeasable wind. A Traverse grandmother somewhere was warning children against the October blackberries of this coast, “They belong to the Devil, any that you eat are his property, and he don’t like blackberry thieves – he’ll come after ya.” Even sceptical adolescents weaved in her voice’s spell. “When you see those unhappy souls out by the roadside, back up the lanes, in the ruins of the old farms, wherever the briars grow thick, harvesting berries out in the clouds and rain of October, why just drive by, and don’t look back, because you’ll know where they’ve come from, and who their labor belongs to, and where they have to go back to at the close of the day.” And other grandfolks could be heard arguing the perennial question of whether the United States still lingered in a pre-fascist twilight, or whether that darkness had fallen long stupefied years ago, and the light they thought they saw was coming only from millions of Tubes all showing the same bright-colored shadows. One by one, as other voices joined in, the names began – some shouted, some accompanied by spit, the old reliable names good for hours of contention, stomach distress, and insomnia – Hitler, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Nixon, Hoover, Mafia, CIA, Reagan, Kissinger, that collection of names and their tragic interweaving that stood not constellated above in any nightwide remoteness of light, but below, diminished to the last unfaceable American secret, to be pressed, each time deeper, again and again beneath the meanest of random soles, one blackly fermenting leaf on the forest floor that nobody wanted to turn over, because of all that lived, virulent, waiting, just beneath.

Krystian Zimerman

Sunday, making his Disney Hall debut in a recital sponsored by the Philharmonic, Zimerman, who has become arguably the greatest pianist of his generation, made the surprise and shocking announcement from the stage that in protest to America's military policies overseas and particularly in Poland, he would no longer perform in the United States.

“Get your hands off my country,” he said, soft-spoken but seething. He accused the U.S. military of wanting “to control the whole world,” and made a reference to the U.S. military detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Approximately three dozen in the audience walked out, some shouting obscenities. “Yes,” he answered, “some people when they hear the word military start marching.”

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sshh! Waterboarded 183 times: the "admitted planner" (sic) of 9/11

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - CIA interrogators used the waterboarding technique on Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the admitted planner of the September 11 attacks, 183 times and 83 times on another al Qaeda suspect, The New York Times said on Sunday.
One hundred and eighty-three times in one month, that is. So, does this mean they stopped as soon as Waterboarding Month was over? And does it mean they nearly drowned him only 183 times in total that month, or that they subjected him to 183 sessions, in each of which he was nearly drowned several times?

Let's not quibble. For KSM is, as Reuters and the NYT tell us, "the admitted planner of the September 11 attacks". (I thought that was the late Osama bin Laden, or rather Mohammed Atta, he of the Evil Eyes, but let's not quibble.) No doubt KSM, this quite exceptionally Bad Guy, also admitted to shooting Abe Lincoln. Who wouldn't, under the circumstances? I know I would, especially if my kids, like KSM's, were being tortured simultaneously.

Fuck it, I'd admit to being responsible for the Great Fire of London.

Fine things, admissions. And useful. Note that KSM's grotesque and utterly worthless "admission" was a major prop (in all senses of the word) of the worthless yarn issued by the grotesque 9/11 Commission, commanded by the equally grotesque Philip Zelikow, who is undoubtedly worth something to some grotesquely powerful and ruthless people.

Perhaps some fine day the opinionmakers of the Anglo-Saxon liberal left (from Cockburn to Corn to Taibbi to Monbiot to...) will finally have the minimal decency to admit, without being waterboarded, what everyone else in the world has long since noticed: that the official account of The Crime That Served to Justify Everything is an insult to the intelligence of a budgie, and that this still matters enormously, for many more reasons than one.

Much more likely, though, we shall hear not a tweet from those prominent pro- and semi-pro dissenters. They will continue to be a) prudently silent and b) very carefully and selectively ignorant, because it's safer that way, and by god they know it. (See Chomsky and Herman, passim.) So the torture of "Khalid Sheikh Mohammed" (if indeed it is he) and his children, and what this entire filthy story tells us about the Trifecta administration and its universal casus belli, will remain discreetly unmentioned and wholly unmentionable.

Meanwhile, the "trial" continues, not that you'd notice if you restricted your reading to left websites, while the Fourth Estate continues to report with a straight face.

Well, we all have our trials. It would be too easy to cite Kafka here, and anyway, Beckett sums it up better:

"Human nature. Marvellous thing."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

No time for ideology sorry


Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and then-Treasury Department chief Henry Paulson pressured Bank of America Corp. to not discuss its increasingly troubled plan to buy Merrill Lynch & Co. -- a deal that later triggered a government bailout of BofA -- according to testimony by Kenneth Lewis, the bank's chief executive.

...The Wall Street Journal previously reported, in a page-one story on Feb. 5, that Mr. Lewis agreed to proceed with the Merrill merger only after Messrs. Paulson and Bernanke said that he and his board would lose their jobs if Bank of America backed out of the deal. Mr. Lewis's testimony with the New York attorney general's office corroborates that account.

Mr. Cuomo's office says it has been unable to gather a full picture of the Fed's role in the December discussions because the Fed has invoked a regulatory privilege, allowing it to keep some documents confidential.

Mr. Lewis has previously said that he first considered backing out of the Merrill deal on Dec. 13, when he said his chief financial officer told him projected after-tax losses were "about $12 billion."

Shareholders of the Charlotte, N.C., bank voted to approve the purchase on Dec. 5, and the deal was completed on Jan. 1.

Bank of America agreed to accept $20 billion in new capital from the government and announced the injection, in conjunction with the Merrill losses, with its regularly scheduled earnings release on Jan. 20.

Mr. Lewis has since been vilified by lawmakers and shareholders for his handling of the purchase. Several investors, including TIAA-CREF, a major pension-fund manager, have said they intend to vote against his re-election as chairman. Some argued that Mr. Lewis should have informed shareholders of the potential losses at Merrill before the Jan. 1 closing of the deal.

During his testimony, Mr. Lewis described a conversation with Mr. Paulson in which the Treasury secretary made it clear that Mr. Lewis's own job was at stake. Mr. Lewis still was considering invoking his legal right to terminate the Merrill deal. Mr. Paulson was out on a bike ride when Mr. Lewis phoned to discuss the matter, according to the transcript.

"I can't recall if he said, 'We would remove the board and management if you called it [off]' or if he said 'we would do it if you intended to.' I don't remember which one it was," Mr. Lewis said. "I said, 'Hank, let's de-escalate this for a while. Let me talk to our board.' "

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

Israel Rejects Vague US Calls for Peace Talks
The Israeli government is rebuffing mild US calls for peace talks with Palestinians toward reaching a two-state settlement. On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Palestinians must recognize Israel as a “Jewish state” as a precondition for future talks. Palestinians have called the demand a non-starter, because it would mean not just acknowledging but legitimizing Israel’s takeover of their land and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who used to live there. Netanyahu announced the demand after meeting US envoy George Mitchell. Mitchell said the US will insist on pursuing a two-state solution.

George Mitchell: “It is in the United States’ national interest that there will be a comprehensive peace settlement in the Middle East that should include settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a two-state solution involving a Palestinian state living side by side alongside the Jewish state of Israel in peace, and hopefully stability and prosperity. And we’re going to do all we can during the rest of this visit and over the coming weeks and months to move toward that objective.”

Report: US Will Impose Two-State Settlement
The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Achronoth is reporting, meanwhile, the Obama administration is prepared to force the Israeli government to accept a two-state peace deal. An unidentified Jewish leader quoted White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel as saying, “In the next four years there is going to be a permanent status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it doesn’t matter to us at all who is prime minister.” The Obama administration has yet to outline whether the two-state solution it favors would meet minimal Palestinian rights. Previous US-backed proposals would have still left Israel in control of the large West Bank settlement blocs on Palestinian land.

US: Israel, You Must Lose! We Don't Care How You Beg! You Must And Will Lose!
Israel: Just whatever you do, d-d-d-d-don't throw me in the Briar Patch!
US: Into the Briar Patch we will throw this loser! Loser! Ha ha ha!
Israel: Oh no no, not that! Anything but that! Anything but the Briar Patch!

Winter Soldier

(Viewer discretion advised)

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Bubbles and Illusions

...skimming the top off of asset bubbles appears to have become the leading way to get rich in these United States in the past three decades. much of the apparent US productivity miracle, a miracle not shared by Europe, was a statistical illusion created by our bloated finance industry?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Somali Pirates

Two Piracies.

"Are you or are you not a communist?"


Naked Capitalism: "KBW, a firm specializing in bank stocks, expects Wells Fargo to show $120 billion in "stress test losses", meaning losses under the assumption of a supposed worst case of recession through the first quarter of 2010 and unemployment reaching 12%."

Time: "The initial TARP may also have provided time for the new Administration to put together its widely hailed bank "stress test" program meant to determine which of the big financial institutions have dysentery and which do not. Finally, the hundreds of billions of dollars that went into the largest banks late last year allowed Secretary Geithner to produce his public/private partnership to buy toxic assets off of bank balance sheets. All of those plans, no matter how well-intentioned they may seem, are unnecessary now. Wells Fargo (WFC) indicated that it made about $3 billion in the first quarter of the year and declared its buyout of the deeply troubled Wachovia to be a success. Wells Fargo (WFC) said that the low cost of money from the government combined with a surging demand for mortgages was all the medicine that it required."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Stop Deportations Of Haitians From US

Ezili Dantò Note: Please folks, kindly call the White House Comment Line and Ask for a stop to all deportations to Haiti and a grant of work permits.

The White House is paying attention. Your call will make a DIFFERENCE. White House Comment line: 202-456-1111; FAX: 202-456-2461 (If you also fax, see sample TPS letter below) and

A legislative "solution" - that is a comprehensive immigration reform - will not get on the Congressional agenda for at least a year. Tell President Obama Haitians need the US to stop exacerbating Haiti's crisis now and that granting TPS of Defered Enforced Departure (DED) is the least that can be done RIGHT NOW. Please call the white house comment line (202-456-1111) and leave a message asking that President Obama grant TPS or DED to Haitians immediately. This concern of the Administration that an exodus from Haiti will follow is not only silly but discriminatory as others granted TPS have not had to deal with such excuses. It's a silly concern because how will this exodus happen when if Haiti had enough trees to make boats it would also have had enough trees to stop the ravages of last fall's storm floods!!!. Haiti has practically zero forest cover. So, no wood to make enough boats for such an EXODUS to occur! The few Haitian boats that do make it on the high seas are routinely intercepted by the US Coast Guard. Moreover, when President Clinton granted Haitians deferred enforced departure (DED) there was no exodus from Haiti. At the stroke of a
pen, President Obama may begin to stop exacerbating Haiti's suffering by formally stopping all deportations to Haiti, provide work permits and release all qualified deportees from ICE detention.

The White House is paying attention to the public's concern on this and the TPS issue is on their watch list and tallying sheets. Please increase our chances on this. Advocate directly to the Obama Administration by calling the White House Comment Line. Your call will make a DIFFERENCE.

White House Comment line: 202-456-1111

FAX: 202-456-2461 (See HLLN sample letter below);


Sample Letter - (See also TPS Update: U.S. Resumes Deportation flights to Haiti).

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Phone: 202 456-1111
Fax: 202-456-2461 |

The Honorable Janet Napolitano
Secretary, Department of Homeland Security
2001 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20528
Phone: 202-282-8000
Fax: 202-282-8401
Homeland Security Comment Line: 202 282 8495

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Phone: 202-647-4000

DATE: ____, 2009

Dear President Barack Obama/ Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton / Secretary Janet Napolitano

Please designate the country of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for a period of 18 months with specifications to stop all deportations to Haiti.

In 2008, hurricanes and storms devastated Haiti, and presidential candidate Barack Obama stated:“I also urge the United States to work in partnership with President Rene Preval and the new Haitian government … to immediately assemble a task force on reconstruction and recovery to begin work as soon as the storms pass…Together, we can help Haiti recover from this terrible series of storms and renew efforts to bring hope and opportunity to the people of Haiti.”

Today, deportations to storm-ravage Haiti continue. When the US deports an income earner to storm-ravaged Haiti, this decreases remittances and further impoverishes family members. Diaspora remittances are the most effective and direct aid to the Haitian poor in Haiti.

In 2002 TPS was renewed for Nicaraguan and Honduran immigrants because of continuing difficulties caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. At this point, Haiti is in much worse shape than Central Americans were at the time. Haitians in the United States should receive equal treatment and protection. Haiti qualifies for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and should be granted this disaster relief.

Four tropical storms and hurricanes battered Haiti during last year's harvest season, killing almost 1,000 people nationwide, decimating Haiti's agriculture and causing $1 billion in damage to irrigation, bridges and roads. Mudslides still cover entire towns. Houses are flooded. Schools have collapsed on children and people are starving. It's inhumane to deport Haitian back to Haiti under these devastating conditions, where they will find no home, no employment, no food, no personal safety and security.

TPS was established to provide protection to people who are temporarily unable to return to their homelands. Please help the people in Haiti by permitting their friends and relatives in the United States to remain here and to continue to send support to a nation in severe crisis. Please affirm the United States tradition of caring for and protecting persons in vulnerable situations by granting TPS and/or stopping all deportations through Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) or any equivalent administrative or executive ruling, with a specification to stop ALL deportations and provide work permits to Haitian nationals.


Your name and contact information



cc: Marguerite Laurent, Esq.
President, Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN)
Phone: (203) 829-7210
P. O. Box 3573
Stamford, CT 06905

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Lesson 1

Threatened Glasgow schools occupied by parents

Submitted by afraser on Apr 3 2009

Parents have seized control of the closure threatened Wyndford Primary and St. Gregory's Primary Wyndford in the Maryhill area of Glasgow.

School occupations of Wyndford Primary and St. Gregory's Primary Wyndford both now running through the night.

Both schools are threatened with closure by Glasgow City Council.

An originally tense situation with police - who had threatened to storm the buildings around 6pm - has been resolved through negotiation, and the peaceful protests are being allowed to continue unharmed.

A rally in support of both schools to be held outside the school buildings (which adjoin each other) at 12 noon on Saturday 4th April.

Messages supporting the parents have been coming in from across Europe, including from the Dundee workers carrying out the Prisme Packaging factory occupation.

Heres some background from Resistance:

Plans hatched by Glasgow City Council to close 25 primary schools and nurseries have been met with fury by both parents and the wider Glasgow community. Reaction to these plans have seen thousands-strong demonstrations, roof top occupations and lock-ins as parents and the community make their anger heard.

Despite the city council, over recent years, selling off its social housing stock and passing common good property such as libraries, museums and sports facilities to private concerns, they still seem to have managed to spend £6,000,000 over-budget. Due to the council displaying the financial acumen of a jakey on giro day* they now claim that it's the city's children, and by extension its future, that has to suffer.


*The Anarchist Federation would like to apologise to Glasgow's colourful street drinking community for implying association with the city cooncil.
President Obama: “I will say this, that I believe that peace in the Middle East is possible. I think it will be based on two states, side by side, a Palestinian state and a Jewish state.”

Sunday, April 05, 2009

In the New York Times last week Ban Ki Moon noted: "Yes, Haiti remains desperately poor. It has yet to fully recover from last year's devastating hurricanes, not to mention decades of malign dictatorship. Yet we can report what President René Préval told us: 'Haiti is at a turning point.' It can slide backwards into darkness and deeper misery, sacrificing all the country's progress and hard work with the United Nations and international community. Or it can break out, into the light toward a brighter and more hopeful future."

Last August the secretary general was full of hope: "The time has come to rebuild the institutions that have been destroyed by years of neglect, corruption and violence, to strengthen them so that the State is able to deliver the services that the people need."

In his latest visit Ban said: "It is easy to visit Haiti and see only poverty. But when I visited recently with former President Bill Clinton, we saw opportunity. "My special adviser on Haiti, the Oxford University development economist Paul Collier, has worked with the government to devise a strategy. It identifies specific steps and policies to create those jobs with particular emphasis on the country's traditional strengths - the garment industry and agriculture. creating the sort of industrial 'clusters' that have come to dominate global trade.

". dramatically expanding the country's export zones, so that a new generation of textile firms can invest and do business in one place. By creating a market sufficiently large to generate economies of scale, they can drive down production costs and, once a certain threshold is crossed, spark potentially explosive growth constrained only by the size of the labour pool.

"That may seem ambitious in a country of nine million people, where 80 per cent of the population lives on less than $2 a day and half of the food is imported." Can anyone really be so ill-informed? Can anyone believe that a country of nine million poverty-stricken people living on less than $2 a day and importing half their food can generate thriving markets for anything but subsistence production? Ban Ki Moon is our new Dr Pangloss: All is for the best in this best of all possible worlds.

Hold on tight to your screams!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

“African Americans register at only 71.1 percent on the Equality Index – and slipping.”

Back in March of 2007, presidential candidate Barack Obama did a grave disservice to African Americans when he proclaimed that Blacks had already come 90 percent of the way on the road to racial equality. We don’t know where Obama came up with that ridiculous number, but he was way, way off the mark. According to the National Urban League’s State of Black America report, African Americans register at only 71.1 percent on the Equality Index – and slipping. Blacks fell almost half a percent further behind whites on the Equality Index between 2008 and 2009.

The Index measures Black progress, or regression, in five areas: economics, education, health, civic engagement and social justice. In only one of these categories – health – did Blacks slightly improve their relative status. And that minor blip was the result of the racial gap narrowing between Blacks and whites who share the misfortune of not having health insurance.

The general state of affairs for African Americans remains much as it has been for most of the last 40 years. "Ironically,” says the Urban League report, “even as an African American man holds the highest office in the country, African Americans remain twice as likely as whites to be unemployed, three times more likely to live in poverty and more than six times as likely to be incarcerated." That’s a very great distance from Barack Obama’s 90 percent-of-the-way nonsense.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Moment of Zen - Overseas Contingency Operations Budget
Daily Show Full EpisodesEconomic CrisisPolitical Humor
GROSS: Are you saying that you think Vice President Cheney is still having a chilling effect on people who might otherwise be coming forward and revealing things to you about what happened in the Bush administration?

HERSH: I’ll make it worse. I think he’s put people left. He’s put people back. They call it a stay behind. It’s sort of an intelligence term of art. When you leave a country and, you know, you’ve driven out the, you know, you’ve lost the war. You leave people behind. It’s a stay behind that you can continue to contacts with, to do sabotage, whatever you want to do. Cheney’s left a stay behind. He’s got people in a lot of agencies that still tell him what’s going on. Particularly in defense, obviously. Also in the NSA, there’s still people that talk to him. He still knows what’s going on. Can he still control policy up to a point? Probably up to a point, a minor point. But he’s still there. He’s still a presence. And again, because of the problems this administration’s having filling jobs, a lot of people who served in the Bush Cheney government, particularly even in the White House people on most sophisticated staffs are still there. You simply can’t get rid of everybody, you may not even want to. Some are professional people. But Cheney is, I would never call it admiration, but, you know, formidable, yeah, this guy. This guy is the real McCoy.
1. President Barack Obama believes a quick, negotiated bankruptcy is the most likely way for General Motors Corp. to restructure and become a competitive automaker, people familiar with the matter said.

2. ...based on estimates in the CDS market, there are about $1 trillion in CDSs betting on GM and their bonds. Any change in GM's situation, will create a rippling effect in this $1T CDS community of GM.