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And, yes, I DO take it personally
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"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
- Noam Chomsky
Send tips and other comments to: profmarcus2010@yahoo.com

And, yes, I DO take it personally

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I'm back

ok, i had a nice sabbatical... time well spent, i might add...

i decided to revive the blog for the same reasons i started it in the first place, to give me a place to vent, rant, muse, observe, and otherwise extemporize on the ginormous number of things going on in my head... since my situation has recently changed, i now have time to pursue such an unpaid and self-serving avocation... besides letting off steam, a big plus for me is, by giving expression to my thoughts, i am inevitably better able to brush away cobwebs and disperse biologically, chemically, and environmentally-induced fog...

in subsequent posts, i'll attempt to offer some perspective on the changes (and there have been many) i've been through over the 28 months that i've been absent from this space... in short, all of my perspectives and opinions have either remained or been strengthened and, in one major instance, an entire package of opinions has been solidly validated, e.g. edward snowden...

i plan to post regularly but not obsessively, a lesson i learned the hard way... however, as was my intent in the first 7 years of active blogging - february 2005 to august 2012 - my posting will focus on pieces i consider to be critical for anyone seeking to exercise their skills in pattern recognition... the signs we are seeing today all seem to point to a global shift of enormous proportions... ironically, i've seen those signs since my journey into full consciousness began in the early 70s, but they do seem to be stronger now than at any previous time...

enough blather for now... ttyl...

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Sunday, August 05, 2012

I think I may be done

it's been since this past wednesday that i've posted and i find that i really don't have energy to keep putting them up... i may or i may not continue but, after all, i've been at this since early 2005... i've done it primarily for my own satisfaction but i'm finding that there's less and less of that to be had... things don't seem to be getting any better and i find myself being boringly repetitive on so many subjects that make my blood boil that it seems hardly worthwhile to keep doing it... i will undoubtedly keep close tabs on many of the same topics i've been following - civil liberties, the national security state, the surveillance society, the on-going shredding of the u.s. constitution, the insanity that passes for our foreign policy, assassination without a whisper of due process, etc., etc., and may occasionally put up a post or two, but it won't be with anywhere near the same frequency or diligence that i've worked so hard to maintain in the past... i know i have a few readers out there who have encouraged me to stay the course and i've greatly appreciated it, but times change and so do people... please know that i'll still be out here...

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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Gore Vidal: The only regime change that need concern [us] is in Washington.

i've been waiting for the right quote to mark the passing of gore vidal... it's in the post title taken from the following excerpt of an essay he wrote for the nation magazine in july 2002...

from common dreams...
[N]o matter how corrupt our system became over the last century--and I lived through three-quarters of it--we still held on to the Constitution and, above all, to the Bill of Rights. No matter how bad things got, I never once believed that I would see a great part of the nation--of we the people, unconsulted and unrepresented in a matter of war and peace--demonstrating in such numbers against an arbitrary and secret government, preparing and conducting wars for us, or at least for an army recruited from the unemployed to fight in. Sensibly, they now leave much of the fighting to the uneducated, to the excluded.

[...]

Despotism is now securely in the saddle. The old Republic is a shadow of itself, and we now stand in the glare of a nuclear world empire with a government that sees as its true enemy "we the people," deprived of our electoral franchise.

he will be sorely missed...

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Headline of the day from Germany: 'Romney Has Already Disqualified Himself'

ya gotta love it...


from a round-up of german views on romney's big european adventure 

from spiegel online international...

'Romney Has Already Disqualified Himself'

Center-left daily Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:


"Travel educates. As a result one should assume that Mitt Romney, the Republican challenger of Barack Obama, wants to learn something during his visit to Israel. Wrong! Almost everything that the candidate organized in Jerusalem fuels the impression that he doesn't want to try understanding how complicated the Middle East situation is. Instead, Romney paints the crisis region in black and white: Israel is good and the rest -- the Palestinians and the mullahs in Iran -- are lumped together."

"This one-sided world view is less dumb than it is coldly calculated. Romney is soliciting campaign donations in Jerusalem (the minimum price for two plates at breakfast is $50,000.) And he is ensnaring Jewish voters at home."

"The trip to Israel may help Romney in the short-term. But in the long-term the Republican has done damage. The Middle East needs the US as a mediator. As such, the presidential hopeful has already disqualified himself."

how wonderful that we can send a candidate for arguably the most powerful office in the world to represent us in europe and display his masterful command of foreign affairs and diplomacy... it certainly makes ME lean toward supporting the guy, doesn't it do the same for you...?

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

When the 2012 election is over, here's who will own the country (not that they don't already)

our overlords...

Meet the 26 Billionaires Buying the 2012 Elections | By Sen. Bernie Sanders

So far this year, 26 billionaires have donated more than $61 million to super PACs, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And, that’s only what has been publicly disclosed.

This $61 million does not include about $100 million that Sheldon Adelson has said that he is willing to spend to defeat President Obama; or the $400 million that the Koch brothers have pledged to spend during the 2012 election season.

These 26 billionaires have a combined net worth of $146 billion, which is more than the bottom 42.5 percent of American households (equal to nearly 50 million families in the United States).

note: there are only 23 listed because #2 includes the three koch brothers and #12 includes two marriotts...
Here is a list of the billionaires:

1. Sheldon Adelson, owner of the Las Vegas Sands Casino, is worth nearly $25 billion, making him the 14th wealthiest person in the world and the 7th richest person in America.

While median family income plummeted by nearly 40% from 2007-2010, Mr. Adelson has experienced a nearly eightfold increase in his wealth over the past three years (from $3.4 billion to $24.9 billion).
Forbes recently reported that Adelson is willing to spend a “limitless” amount of money or more than $100 million to help defeat President Obama in November.

While $100 million sounds like a lot, it equals the same percentage of Adelson’s wealth that $300 to $400 does for the typical middle class family (with a net worth of about $77,000).
Sheldon Adelson owns more wealth than the bottom 40.2% of American households or 47.2 million American families.

2. The Kochs (David, Charles, and William) are worth a combined $54 billion, according to Forbes. They have pledged to spend about $400 million during the 2012 election season.

3. Jim Walton is worth $23.7 billion. He has donated $300,000 to super PACs in 2012.

4. Harold Simmons is worth $9 billion. He has donated $15.2 million to super PACs this year.

5. Peter Thiel is worth $1.5 billion. He has donated $6.7 million to Super PACs this year.

6. Jerrold Perenchio is worth $2.3 billion. He has donated $2.6 million to super PACs this year.

7. Kenneth Griffin is worth $3 billion and he has given $2.08 million to super PACs in 2012.

8. James Simons is worth $10.7 billion and he has given $1.5 million to super Pacs this year.

9. Julian Robertson is worth $2.5 billion and he has given $1.25 million to super PACs this year.
10. Robert Rowling is worth $4.8 billion and he has given $1.1 million to super PACs.

11. John Paulson, the hedge fund manager who made his fortune betting that the sub-prime mortgage market would collapse, is worth $12.5 billion. He has donated $1 million to super PACs.

12. Richard and J.W. Marriott are worth a combined $3.1 billion and they have donated $2 million to super PACs this year.

13. James Davis is worth $1.9 billion and he has given $1 million to super PACs this year.

14. Harold Hamm is worth $11 billion and he has given $985,000 to super PACs this year.

15. Kenny Trout is worth more than $1.2 billion and he has given $900,000 to super PACs this year.

16. Louis Bacon is worth $1.4 billion and he has given $500,000 to super PACs this year.

17. Bruce Kovner is worth $4.5 billion and he has given $500,000 to super PACs this year.

18. Warren Stephens is worth $2.7 billion and he has given $500,000 to super PACs this year.

19. David Tepper is worth $5.1 billion and he has given $375,000 to super PACs this year.

20. Samuel Zell is worth $4.9 billion and he has given $270,000 to super PACs this year.

21. Leslie Wexner is worth $4.3 billion and he has given $250,000 to super PACs this year.

22. Charles Schwab is worth $3.5 billion and he has given $250,000 to super PACs this year.

23. Kelcy Warren is worth $2.3 billion and he has given $250,000 to super PACs this year.

we will all be working directly or indirectly for these people (if we aren't already)...

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Larry Summers wanted a flagging economy so he could torpedo Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

this goes back to a point i've made countless times here... there is nothing whatsoever incompetent about how our super-rich elites are running the show... the constant carping about incompetence under george bush made me crazy... those bush administration bastards knew exactly what they were doing and so do the bastards running the obama administration... they're carrying on with the same agenda that's been vigorously pursued since ronald reagan - shredding of the social contract and making sure that those who have the money and the power not only keep it but add to it significantly... and, guess what...? it's working splendidly...!

What [Obama’s chief economics advisor, Lawrence Summers] wanted was exactly what he got, a slow, underperforming economy with high unemployment and huge deficits. Does anyone really think that an economist with Summers’ impressive education and experience could be $1 trillion off in his calculations? (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was eventually whittled down to $787 billion) It’s ridiculous. Summers wanted a flagging economy so he could torpedo Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. These were the targets from the very beginning.

As for Obama, well, he probably figured that the $800 billion fiscal package would be enough to carry him over the finish-line in the 2012 elections, but not so big that it would subvert the goals of his chief economics advisor who was beholden to Wall Street and big business. In truth, Obama wanted the same thing as Summers, a justification for attacking the meager programs that keep the elderly and vulnerable from destitution.


[...]


Obama could allocate $300 billion per year to rehire the 650,000 teachers and other state and local workers who’ve been laid off since the crash. That would be the easiest thing to do. Skip all the red-tape connected to infrastructure and gov job’s programs and just rehire the people who got their pink slip after the crash. The money spent on jobs would more than pay for itself by raising state revenues and boosting economic activity by many orders of magnitude.


Have you seen a graph of how many (state and local) jobs have been lost under Obama? It’s shocking! Take a look: http://streetlightblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/government-job-destruction.html
We need to get these people back to work so they can feed their families and pay the bills. If we can afford $11 trillion to bail out crooked bankers, we can certainly afford a measly $300 mil for hard-working middle class families. It’s just a matter of priorities.


[...]


Obama is just as committed to gutting Social Security as Romney. The only difference is that he’s a better pitchman. Much better.

and where do you suppose all that money will go after social security and medicare lie in ruins...? hmmmm...? that's right... the social darwin .0001% are closing ranks, raising the drawbridge, flooding the moat and heating up the barrels of oil... when the peasants finally storm the castle, they want to make sure their fortress is impenetrable...

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The psychologically destructive conundrum of war: ’Thou shalt not kill’ vs. ‘Go get ‘em and kill for your country’

bill moyers...

What It’s Like to Go to War


excellent interview... i wish everyone could listen and absorb this kind of thoughtful exchange about the ugliness of war...

as a vietnam army vet and with 8 visits to afghanistan under my belt (fortunately not connected with the military), i never cease to be amazed at how constricted and narrow is the "news" reporting from the regions where our prized young adults and the future hope of our country are being psychologically scarred, physically wounded and dying... not only is our media reporting all about glorifying our troops and body counts (theirs and ours), it is also conspicuous in its complete disregard for the fact that the "enemy" consists of fellow human beings who, for the large part, want nothing more than we want - food and clothing for their families, a roof over their heads, access to education and health care, the chance to live in peace and quiet, and the opportunity and means to support themselves... dehumanizing those we are told we must kill is just part of the brainwashing...

i have received my health care from the veterans administration for the past ten years and it is among the finest health care i've been privileged to receive... i would strongly recommend that every american citizen should regard it as his or her sacred duty to spend one hour a year in the lobby of a va hospital to personally witness the ceaseless parade of human wreckage that is the legacy of our endless wars...

as a final comment, i object strongly to the use of the term "warriors"... in our society which has already been heavily indoctrinated to accept endless war as a way of life, substituting terms like "warriors" and "warfighters" for "soldiers" and "members of the military" is a subtle means of further glorifying the means by which our rich elites send off struggling members of the lower classes to insure that their access to even more riches goes undisturbed...

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Friday, July 27, 2012

James Petras: the operation and strategy of our growing police state

yes, it's growing as we watch...

The key to the police state operations of the US in the 21st century is to repress pro-democracy citizens and pre-empt any mass movement without undermining the electoral system, which provides political theater and legitimacy. A police state ‘boundary’ is constructed to ensure that citizens will have little option but to vote for the two pro-police state parties, legislatures and executives without reference to the conduct, conditions and demands of the core, inner and outer circle of victims, critics and activists. Frequent raids, harsh public ‘exemplary’ punishment and mass media stigmatization transmit a message to the passive mass of voters and non-voters that the victims of repression ‘must have been doing something wrong’ or else they would not be under police state repression.

The key to the police state strategy is to not allow its critics to gain a mass base, popular legitimacy or public acceptance. The state and the media constantly drum the message that the activists’ ‘causes’ are not our (American, patriotic) ‘causes’; that ‘their’ pro-democracy activities impede ‘our’ electoral activities; their lives, wisdom and experiences do not touch our workplaces, neighborhoods, sports, religious and civic associations. To the degree that the police-state has ‘fenced in’ the inner circles of the pro-democracy activists, they have attained a free hand and uncontested reach in deepening and extending the boundaries of the authoritarian state. To the degree that the police state rationale or presence has penetrated the consciousness of the mass of the US population, it has created a mighty barrier to the linking of private discontent with public action.

[...]

Ideologically, the police state depends on identifying the expansion of police powers with ‘national security’ of the passive ‘silent’ majority, even as it creates profound insecurity for an active, critical minority. The self-serving identification of the ‘nation’ and the ‘flag’ with the police state apparatus is especially prominent during ‘mass spectacles’ where ‘rock’, schlock and ‘sports’ infuse mass entertainment with solemn Pledges of Allegiance to uphold and respect the police state and busty be-wigged young women wail nasally versions of the national anthem to thunderous applause. Wounded ‘warriors’ are trotted out and soldiers rigid in their dress uniforms salute enormous flags, while the message transmitted is that police state at home works hand in hand with our ‘men and women in uniform’ abroad. The police state is presented as a patriotic extension of the wars abroad and as such both impose ‘necessary’ constraints on citizen opposition, public criticism and any real forthright defense of freedom.

open your eyes... it's all around you...

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Glenn and Bruce Ackerman on the extreme advance of executive power under Obama

overreaching executive power and the virtually complete negation of constitutionally protected liberties lie at the heart of the choices we are being presented in the 2012 presidential election which, upon even cursory reflection, are no choices at all...

glenn ...
[Consider] the years-long screeching over President Bush’s mere eavesdropping and detentions without any judicial review or transparency — he’s assaulting the Constitution and Our Values! – compared with the reaction to Obama’s more extremist assassinations without any judicial review or transparency. Or consider how a high-level aide to John Ashcroft marveled with envy over Obama’s ability to prosecute whistleblowers with such abandon, noting to The New York Times that the Ashcroft DOJ was deterred by the prospect of a political storm that Obama simply does not face:  ”We,” lamented the Ashcroft aide, “would have gotten hammered for it.”

This was the same dynamic that led former Bush OLC official and current Harvard Law Professor Jack Goldsmith to explain quite presciently (and celebratorily) back in May, 2009, that Obama — by leading progressives and Democrats to support his embrace of Bush/Cheney Terrorism and civil liberties policies — was doing more to entrench those once-controversial policies as bipartisan consensus than Bush and Cheney themselves could ever have dreamt of doing:
The new administration has copied most of the Bush program, has expanded some of it, and has narrowed only a bit. Almost all of the Obama changes have been at the level of packaging, argumentation, symbol, and rhetoric. . . .
[...]

. . . Obama — as he has proven — can get away with far more aggression and belligerence by all but eliminating the pervasive political conflict that arises when done under a Republican President.

an interview on presidential power conducted by lane greene of the economist with bruce ackerman, sterling professor of law and political science at yale...

so, what are we supposed to do in november when facing that election booth handle...? continue to delude ourselves into thinking that we're participating in government by and for the people...? continue to believe that we actually have a choice when voting for president...? whoever occupies the oval office is and will continue to be the bought-and-paid for property of our global ruling elites who have demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are the ones in charge of the world's economic and governmental systems...

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Yes, it's been one of those don't really give a shit periods

seems to happen every few weeks... other than a few more criminal bankers being arrested (see here) - which is always a good thing - there just hasn't been much going on other than the usual shit, and pardon me if i don't give a rat's ass about mitt, barack or the olympics... besides, i've been busy so deal with it...

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Adbusters - Tactical Briefing #36

Tactical Briefing #36

The Strategic Pincer.

Alright all you existential diggers and expectant souls out there,

Defying all cynicism, the passion on the streets keeps burning … with the crisis of capitalism intensifying people’s rage only grows, erupting in unexpected places like Quebec, Moscow, Mexico, Tel Aviv, Khartoum, Addis Ababa … meanwhile we keep learning new tricks in Madrid, Los Angeles, Greece, Palestine, Manhattan and Hong Kong.

The Zuccotti encampment model may have had its day, but the spirit of our movement lives on in the hearts and minds of hundreds of million of people around the world who know in their gut that the future does not compute.

Now a new operational model is emerging: the strategic pincer —> We attack the global financial system from above with big bang protests, uprisings and revolts —> concurrently we attack the global financial system from below with hundreds of daily move-your-money actions at the 35,000 branches of megabanks worldwide.

The Bank of America has 6,200 branches, Wells Fargo 6,600, JPMorgan Chase 5,500, Citigroup 1,300; Barclays has 4,700 branches in 50 countries, Deutsche Bank 3,100 in 72 countries, HSBC 7,200 in 85 and Goldman Sachs has over 70 offices worldwide … in front of these outposts of global capital we pitch our tents, bang our pots and pans, hold our credit card cut ups … we hand out pamphlets to the customers going in and out … we engage them in passionate conversation and convince them to move their money … we trigger a chain reaction and move $1-trillion away from the megabanks before yearend, changing global banking for good.

With our strategic pincer we beat the shit out of global capitalism over the next few months — metaphorically speaking of course — and then we escalate towards a series of global solutions: a Robin Hood Tax, pushing through a binding accord on climate change and launching hybrid Blue/Green Pirate political parties in the U.S., Canada, Australia, the UK, Japan …

Stay loose, play jazz, keep the faith … Capitalism is heaving and our movement has just begun.

for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ

 

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Our nation’s oligarchs believe at their core that they are entitled, by all notions of what they believe to be basic fairness, to be exempt from the rules they impose on everyone else

glenn calls out dianne feinstein, the epitome of corrupt, super-rich, elite arrogance and hypocrisy, for her crusade against leakers and whistleblowers when she herself is one of washington's biggest leakers...

Dianne Feinstein’s “espionage”

The California Democrat is both the prime enemy of leaks and "one of the biggest leakers in Congress"

[...]

That the powerful Senator who has devoted herself to criminally punishing low-level leakers and increasing the wall of secrecy is herself “one of the biggest leakers in Congress” is about as perfect an expression as it gets of how the rule of law and secrecy powers are sleazily exploited in Washington . . . Dianne Feinstein should be criminally prosecuted for espionage and threatened with decades in prison (indeed, as an American citizen and government employee, she certainly has greater legal duties not to leak than does, say, private Australian citizen Julian Assange, whose espionage prosecution she is demanding).

But as Democrats are very fond of pointing out these days — as they did, very fairly, when Mitt and Ann Romney recently took angry offense at the notion that they should disclose more than two years of their tax returns (“Dear me, it appears that Lady Romney has lost her patience with the riff raff and their unseemly questioning about money”) – our nation’s oligarchs believe at their core that they are entitled, by all notions of what they believe to be basic fairness, to be exempt from the rules they impose on everyone else. That is Dianne Feinstein at her core. It’s how she can be both Prime Enemy of leaks and “one of the biggest leakers in Congress” without having her brain even recognize, let alone recoil from and revolt against, this most grotesque of aristocratic privileges.

glenn makes note not only of the senator's hypocrisy but also her corruption...
[T]he senior Democratic Senator from California and Intelligence Committee Chairwoman, Dianne Feinstein, who also serves as the National Security State’s most faithful servant (a National Security State which, just by the way, has greatly enriched her extremely rich military contractor husband, Richard Blum; Feinstein herself reported a net worth of $80 million back in 2006).

it's the same arrogant, corrupt, hypocritical mindset that lets the u.s. preach human rights to the rest of the world while maintaining the practice of indefinite detention without either charges or trial and killing innocents via remote control while decrying the horror of "terrorist" attacks...

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Barry Ritholtz: This corruption is not an accident. It is the product of years of very patient work.

from economonitor, originally published in the big picture...
We live in an era of defective government.

This corruption is not an accident. It is the product of years of very patient work. It has been brought about through expensive lobbying, relentless propaganda, agnotology. You can see it in this election cycle, where 196 Americans — 0.000063% of the population — have given more than 80% of Super PAC dollars.
Is it democracy or plutocracy when less than 200 people drive election spending in a nation of 300 million?

Previously, we have pointed out how brazen the lobbying has been to actually cut the SEC enforcement budget. This has created an agency that is defective by design. Take a guess who loses in the battle between you, the individual taxpayer versus the corporation.

Wall Street has taken advantage of the crisis and morphed into a cartel. The tragedy is the only entity that is large and powerful enough to offset their wealth and power are national governments. Yet where ever we look, we see that government has been corrupted and rendered neutered by corporations:
-The Federal Reserve Zero Interest Rate policy is a balm to banks whose balance sheets still have so much bad real estate exposure that higher rates will cause corporate bankruptcy;

-The SEC brings minor insider trading cases while enormous financial crimes go unpunished;

-The Supreme Court has granted natural rights to corporations — rights previously reserved for living and breathing Human Beings;

-The CFTC no longer does the sort of daily audits that can prevent fraud like MF Global and PeregrineFG;-The US Attorney’s office has been captured by the Treasury department, which in turn was captured by large Banks long ago;

-Laws that used to be written by Congressional staffers and academics are now drafted by the regulated industry itself;

-The Attorneys General offices of the states are too timid to sue these same banks for obvious perjury;-Tax loopholes allow wealthy companies to pay very little taxes relative to profits;

-Copyrights that should be in the public domain are retained by companies who have changed intellectual property laws by corrupting legislators.

-The Minerals Management Service (MMS) gives away oil leases and mineral rights for pennies on the dollar.-Money has somehow been equated to speech, turning the idea of “One Person, One vote” on its head.
To function properly, all of these agencies need budgets, a career path for a motivated staff. Yet most of that has been gutted.

Take a look at Neil Barofsky’s book Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street. He describes a Federal prosecutorial system that has been systematically disassembled. There are few career lawyers with the know how, budget and balls to go after the big fish. There is little institutional memory.

We see  this throughout government, a product of even a debate that has been corrupted. The framework is not “How can me make government more effective, efficient responsive?“  Instead, the debate has degenerated into “How can we get government out of the way? How can we make taxes lower?

Its not that I want big government, I want effective regulations. Its not that I want to pay higher taxes, I want efficient government that can accomplish things. I don’t want to live in a corporatocracy, I want to live in a nation where there is a Rule of Law.

The only way to make this happen is to change the campaign finance laws. Without that, we are a plutocracy governed by lobbyists.

Hence:  Its the bankers world, we just live in it . . .

so, what the fuck are we going to do about it...?

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More on our elites' hidden money

the pirate banking industry... 

from rt, speaking with james henry, the author of the "tax haven" report...




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Glenn details Obama's most recent curtailment of the already unconstitutionally repressive rules governing detainee rights

and the sack of bollocks he sold to the american people about guantánamo...

glenn...
Last week, the Obama administration imposed new arbitrary rules for Guantanamo detainees who have lost their first habeas corpus challenge. Those new rules eliminate the right of lawyers to visit their clients at the detention facility; the old rules establishing that right were in place since 2004, and were bolstered by the Supreme Court’s 2008 Boumediene ruling that detainees were entitled to a “meaningful” opportunity to contest the legality of their detention. The DOJ recently informed a lawyer for a Yemeni detainee, Yasein Khasem Mohammad Esmail, that he would be barred from visiting his client unless he agreed to a new regime of restrictive rules, including acknowledging that such visits are within the sole discretion of the camp’s military commander.

[...]

The New York Times Editorial Page today denounced these new rules as “spiteful,” cited it as “the Obama administration’s latest overuse of executive authority,” and said “the administration looks as if it is imperiously punishing detainees for their temerity in bringing legal challenges to their detention and losing.” Detainee lawyers are refusing to submit to these new rules and are asking a federal court to rule that they violate the detainees’ right to legal counsel.

[...]

When the President finally unveiled his plan for “closing Guantanamo,” it became clear that it wasn’t a plan to “close” the camp as much as it was a plan simply to re-locate it — import it — onto American soil, at a newly purchased federal prison in Thompson, Illinois. William Lynn, Obama’s Deputy Defense Secretary, sent a letter to inquiring Senators that expressly stated that the Obama administration intended to continue indefinitely to imprison some of the detainees with no charges of any kind. The plan was classic Obama: a pretty, feel-good, empty symbolic gesture (get rid of the symbolic face of Bush War on Terror excesses) while preserving the core abuses (the powers of indefinite detention ), even strengthening and expanding those abuses by bringing them into the U.S.

[...]

In fact, Obama’s “close GITMO” plan — if it had been adopted by Congress — would have done something worse than merely continue the camp’s defining injustice of indefinite detention. It would likely have expanded those powers by importing them into the U.S.

[...]

Now, here we are, almost four years after the vow to close Guantanamo was enshrined in an Executive Order, and the rights of detainees — including the basic right to legal counsel — are being constricted further, in plainly vindictive ways. Conditions at Guantanamo are undoubtedly better than they were in 2003, and some of the deficiencies in military commissions (for the few who appear before them) have been redressed. But the real stain of Guantanamo — keeping people locked up in cages for years with no charges — endures. And contrary to the blatant myth propagated by Obama defenders, that has happened not because Obama tried but failed to eliminate it, but precisely because he embraced it as his own policy from the start.

which goes a long way toward explaining why i must battle visceral waves of disgust whenever i receive an obama campaign solicitation...

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Our global, super-rich, elite "cabal" have at least $21 TRILLION tax-free stashed away

truly staggering but not at all surprising... merely a confirmation of  what we have already assumed to be true...
 
from the guardian (emphases added)...
A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary £13 trillion ($21tn) of wealth offshore – as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together – according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network.

James Henry, former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has compiled the most detailed estimates yet of the size of the offshore economy in a new report, The Price of Offshore Revisited, released exclusively to the Observer.

He shows that at least £13tn – perhaps up to £20tn – has leaked out of scores of countries into secretive jurisdictions such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands with the help of private banks, which vie to attract the assets of so-called high net-worth individuals. Their wealth is, as Henry puts it, "protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy". According to Henry's research, the top 10 private banks, which include UBS and Credit Suisse in Switzerland, as well as the US investment bank Goldman Sachs, managed more than £4tn in 2010, a sharp rise from £1.5tn five years earlier.

The detailed analysis in the report, compiled using data from a range of sources, including the Bank of International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund, suggests that for many developing countries the cumulative value of the capital that has flowed out of their economies since the 1970s would be more than enough to pay off their debts to the rest of the world.

Oil-rich states with an internationally mobile elite have been especially prone to watching their wealth disappear into offshore bank accounts instead of being invested at home, the research suggests. Once the returns on investing the hidden assets is included, almost £500bn has left Russia since the early 1990s when its economy was opened up. Saudi Arabia has seen £197bn flood out since the mid-1970s, and Nigeria £196bn.

"The problem here is that the assets of these countries are held by a small number of wealthy individuals while the debts are shouldered by the ordinary people of these countries through their governments," the report says.

The sheer size of the cash pile sitting out of reach of tax authorities is so great that it suggests standard measures of inequality radically underestimate the true gap between rich and poor. According to Henry's calculations, £6.3tn of assets is owned by only 92,000 people, or 0.001% of the world's population – a tiny class of the mega-rich who have more in common with each other than those at the bottom of the income scale in their own societies.

"These estimates reveal a staggering failure: inequality is much, much worse than official statistics show, but politicians are still relying on trickle-down to transfer wealth to poorer people," said John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network. "People on the street have no illusions about how unfair the situation has become."

the bottom line is that our super-rich elites owe allegiance to no one... their citizenship is merely a formality maintained for appearances and to facilitate crossing those pesky borders... the rule of law and accountability is for the unwashed masses...

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