Saturday, December 13, 2008
The teenagers and twenty-somethings who have come close to toppling the Greek government are not the marginalised: this is no replay of the riots that convulsed Paris in 2005. Many are sons and daughters of the middle classes, shocked at the killing of one of their own, disgusted with the government's incompetence and corruption, enraged by the broken promises of the education system, scared at the prospect of having to work still harder than their exhausted parents."Wooork?" We'd be rioting too. There's much more information on what an essentially Nazi shithole the country's been since the end of WWII. And what little hope there is, & that there's no reason to think the situation will improve any time soon.
Friday, December 12, 2008
The divide between Republicans and Democrats in America continues to grow. And it isn't just about politics. The division is also between rich and poor, between those with college educations and those without. On average, Republican communities have lower incomes and less education than Democratic communities. And those differences are growing as people migrate.
People with fewer money-making skills are moving into counties that are voting increasingly Republican. Those with higher incomes (and more education) are moving into counties that are voting more Democratic. The more lopsided the local political victory, the greater the differences in income and education. [...] We don't pretend to understand the full meaning of how this country is dividing. We can see, however, that America is becoming more polarized not only politically but also educationally and economically—and that a country Balkanized by skills and by income has more troubles than one that is simply divided by votes.Nothing but trouble ahead. That goofy Russki academician two items down may well be correct after all.
We're glad that political madness is not limited to our side of the world.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
¶A war intended to eliminate (what were later found to be non-existent) weapons of mass destruction in Iraq “ended up with Iran and North Korea much closer to having deployable nuclear weapons.”
¶A war intended to help combat terrorism has led to the recruitment of more terrorists and the spread of Al Qaeda to Iraq.
¶A war intended to create a bulwark against the ayatollahs in Tehran turned into a “strategic gift to Iran” and the empowerment in Iraq of pro-Iranian Shiite theocrats.
¶A war intended to make Israel more secure has made that country more vulnerable to threats from Syria, Iran and Hezbollah.
¶A war intended to showcase American power has ended up underscoring “the deficiencies of U.S. intelligence, the incompetence of American administration and the limitations on the American military.”
¶A war meant to boost America’s global leadership “has driven U.S. prestige to an all-time low” over the last five years and alienated important allies like Turkey.
Found at The New York Times. And the conclusion of the review:
The “pretense that the surge is a success and that therefore the United States is winning the Iraq War,” Mr. Galbraith contends, “is the opening salvo in a coming blame game as to who lost Iraq.” He suggests that the surge has enabled President Bush to “run out the clock on his term in office so as to avoid having to admit defeat” and that running out the clock serves the interests of the Republican Party, setting up a G.O.P. story line for 2009: “When George W. Bush left office, America was winning the Iraq War. His successor — abetted by the Democratic Congress and the faithless American people — squandered the victory and is responsible for the consequences.”Here we go again.
HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe announced on Thursday his government had stopped a cholera outbreak that has killed nearly 800 people, but the United Nations said the death toll was rising.
The United States, which has called on Mugabe to step down, said the outbreak was worsening and South African officials declared a stretch of the border with Zimbabwe a disaster zone because of Zimbabweans fleeing in search of treatment.
"I am happy we are being assisted by others and we have arrested cholera," Mugabe said in a speech in which he also attacked what he described as Western plans to invade Zimbabwe and topple his government.
"Now that there is no cholera there is no case for war."
Madonna too lustful for Chilean clergy Thu Dec 11, 1:41 am ET SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Pop star Madonna's antics are lustful, a stain on humanity and offensive to God, a retired Roman Catholic cardinal said on Wednesday during a mass for the late Chilean military dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Madonna performed in Santiago on the Latin American leg of her Sticky and Sweet Tour to promote her album "Hard Candy."Human filth. The Cardinal (ret'd.) not McDonna, who has never (to the best of our knoweldge) killed anyone or supported anyone who's killed anyone. We're pretty sure.
(Shown here in Buenos Aires.)"The atmosphere in our city is pretty agitated because this woman is visiting and with incredibly shameful behaviour provokes a wild and lustful enthusiasm," Cardinal Jorge Medina told the congregation. "Thoughts of lust, impure thoughts, impure acts, are an offence to God and a dirty stain on our heart," Medina said in his homily marking the second anniversary of Pinochet's death. The conservative prelate is reviled by some Chileans for his close ties to Pinochet, who died in 2006 without facing trial for the fate of 3,000 people who died or disappeared during his 1973-1990 rule. (Writing by Simon Gardner, Editing by Anthony Boadle) Chilean cardinal: Madonna rouses 'impure thoughts' Wed Dec 10, 9:22 pm ET SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) – Madonna is causing "crazy enthusiasm" and "impure thoughts" on her first concert visit to Chile, a prominent retired cardinal complained on Wednesday, as he paused in a tribute to a late dictator to denounce the pop star. Roman Catholic Cardinal Jorge Medina criticized the flamboyant singer during his homily at a Mass in honor of the late dictator Augusto Pinochet, who oversaw the deaths of some 3,200 dissidents during his 1973-1990 rule. "This woman comes here and in an incredibly shameless manner, she provokes a crazy enthusiasm, an enthusiasm of lust, lustful thoughts, impure thoughts," said Medina, the cardinal who was chosen to announce the election of Pope Benedict XV. Hundreds of fans spent three days camping outside the National Stadium in Santiago to get good spots for Wednesday's concert, the first of two. About 60,000 people were expected at each performance. One of those waiting in line, Roberto Lopez, told local reporters that he had quit his job in the southern city of Punta Arenas because his boss hadn't given him time off to attend the concert.
Pinochet died Dec. 10, 2006, at age 91. Medina said that some of those who claim to seek justice for violations of human rights under the dictator are actually seeking revenge.
In sonorous real life, Cavett's slow, measured, self-interrupting and clause-ridden syntax is 50 years out of date. Guess what: There has been a revolution in English -- registered in the 1950s in the street slang, colloquial locutions and assertive rhythms of both Beat poetry and rock 'n' roll and now spread far and wide on the Web in the standard jazziness of blogspeak. Does Cavett really mean to offer himself as a linguistic gatekeeper for political achievers in this country?
AP – EMBARGOED until Dec. 11 at 12:01 a.m.; chart shows executions and death sentences since 1993; 2 c x 2 … All but four of the 37 executions this year occurred in the South and Texas, with Ohio and Oklahoma providing the exceptions. Half of the executions occurred in Texas, where 18 inmates were put to death. Virginia executed four prisoners. Georgia and South Carolina executed three each; Florida, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Ohio each executed two and Kentucky executed one. [...] But Richard Bonnie, a law professor at the University of Virginia and an expert on capital punishment, said it was expected that it would take some time after the moratorium was lifted for the normal pace of executions to resume, and he does not consider the drop in executions in 2008 as proof of a long-term decline. What is more important, Bonnie said, is the drop in death sentences. That data is unaffected by the moratorium, which banned only executions, not death sentences handed down by judges and juries. Death sentences have been on the decline more a decade. Bonnie said that while a majority of Americans still favor the death penalty, their fervor for it was waned as violent crime rates have receded. [...] Bonnie said he believes that public attitudes have softened on the death penalty in the last decade as the violent crime rate has receded. "The real test will be what happens when violent crime goes back up again, if that will lead to a reversal of these trends," Bonnie said.Ah, according to the doctor there are other reasons for the slow-down. Perhaps so. Seems like bloodlust either way.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Holiday justice. Everyone gets something this yr.Prognostication is by far the riskiest form of punditry. The 10 commentators and leaders on this list learned that the hard way when their confident predictions about politics, war, the economy, and even the end of humanity itself completely missed the mark.Scott Gries/Getty Images“If [Hillary Clinton] gets a race against John Edwards and Barack Obama, she’s going to be the nominee. Gore is the only threat to her, then. … Barack Obama is not going to beat Hillary Clinton in a single Democratic primary. I’ll predict that right now.” —William Kristol, Fox News Sunday, Dec. 17, 2006 Weekly Standard editor and New York Times columnist William Kristol was hardly alone in thinking that the Democratic primary was Clinton’s to lose, but it takes a special kind of self-confidence to make a declaration this sweeping more than a year before the first Iowa caucus was held. After Iowa, Kristol lurched to the other extreme, declaring that Clinton would lose New Hampshire and that “There will be no Clinton Restoration.” It’s also worth pointing out that this second wildly premature prediction was made in a Times column titled, “President Mike Huckabee?” The Times is currently rumored to be looking for his replacement.
Last month, a massive group of Thai anti-government protesters invaded Bangkok's two main airports, leaving more than 300,000 travelers stranded and paralyzed the nation's tourism industry. For the protesters, the airport siege ended in triumph: A Thai court last week ordered the dissolution of the ruling People's Power Party for electoral fraud. It was too early to tell whether the Thai protest would inspire others elsewhere, but, in Britain at least, activists vowed to keep up the pressure on the country's airports. The Stansted demonstrators — speaking to British media during the protests — said they had Heathrow,Europe's biggest airport by passenger volume, in their sights. One industry-watcher said that was no idle threat. "This is not the last we'll see of them," said David Learmount, of industry journal Flight International.Commerce be dammed! Closing an airport is much more effective than breaking shop windows.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I told her: “You did not live the Islamic experience we lived in during the last five years, there was no freedom, no democracy, and no ambition for women, because Islamic movements do not allow women to work and mix with men.”Democracy takes root!! Thank you, George Bush. We'll get to work on that statue of you where Hussein's used to be. Check back in 10 or 15! 'Bye!
WEDNESDAY DEC. 3, 2008 07:21 EST Nepotistic succession in the political class (updated below) Bill Clinton yesterday was forced to deny speculation that he would be appointed to replace his wife in the U.S. Senate. Leading candidates for that seat still include John F. Kennedy's daughter (Caroline), Robert Kennedy's son (RFK, Jr.), and Mario Cuomo's son (Andrew). In Illinois, a leading contender to replace Barack Obama in the Senate is Jesse Jackson's son (Jesse, Jr.). In Delaware, it was widely speculated that Joe Biden would be replaced by his son, Beau, and after Beau took his name out of the running because he's now serving in Iraq, the naming of the actual replacement -- lone-time (Joe) Biden aide Ted Kaufmann -- "upset local Democrats who believe the move was a ham-handed attempt to engineer the election of Biden’s son, Beau, to the Senate in 2010." Meanwhile, in Alaska, Lisa Murkowski, who was appointed by her father to take his seat in the U.S. Senate when he became Governor, yesterday warned Sarah Palin not to challenge her in a 2010 primary, a by-product of tension between those two as a result of Palin's defeat of Lisa's dad for Governor. In Florida, Mel Martinez's announcement that he won't seek re-election in 2010 immediately led to reports that the current President's brother, Jeb, might run for that seat. And all of that's just from the last couple of weeks. The Senate alone -- to say nothing of the House -- is literally filled with people whose fathers or other close relatives previously held their seat or similar high office (those links identify at least 15 current U.S. Senators -- 15 -- with immediate family members who previously occupied high elected office). And, of course, the current President on his way out was the son of a former President and grandson of a former U.S. Senator. Isn't this all a bit much? It's true that our political/media class in general is intensely incestuous and nepotistic. Virtually the entire neoconservative "intelligentsia" (using that term as loosely as it can possibly be used) is one big paean to nepotistic succession -- the Kristols, the Kagans, the Podhoretzes, Lucianne Goldberg and her boy. Upon Tim Russert's death, NBC News excitedly hired his son, Luke. Mike Wallace's son hosts Fox's Sunday show. The most influential political opinion space in the country, The New York Times Op-Ed page, is, like the Times itself, teeming with family successions and connections. Inter-marriages between and among media stars and political figures -- and lobbyists, operatives and powerful political officials -- are now more common than arranged royal marriages were among 16th Century European monarchs.You needn't add much to that, though Greenwald does, as is his wont.
Having failed to find any greater fools, Tribune filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday.
TODAY'S LAST word comes from Ron Hartman: "...You're a fraud and you will soon be writing want ads for the Penny Saver." The way things are going around here, that's something.
Monday, December 8, 2008
MCFADDEN: So, you can read the Bible and not take it literally. I mean you can -- it's not inconsistent to love the Bible and believe in evolution, say.President George W. Bush and ABC News' Cynthia McFadden at a "Youth Focus" event in North Carolina. The president spoke to McFadden about the importance of faith-based programs.(White House )
BUSH: Yeah, I mean, I do. I mean, evolution is an interesting subject. I happen to believe that evolution doesn't fully explain the mystery of life and ...
MCFADDEN: But do you believe in it?
BUSH: That God created the world, I do, yeah.
MCFADDEN: But what about ...
BUSH: Well, I think you can have both. I think evolution can -- you're getting me way out of my lane here. I'm just a simple president. But it's, I think that God created the Earth, created the world; I think the creation of the world is so mysterious it requires something as large as an almighty, and I don't think it's incompatible with the scientific proof that there is evolution.
reenieWell of course, as if getting a counterfeit Social Security card w/ a dead person's SSN on it is the same as getting a U. S. Passport. Indeed, were he not a Yankee pig, he would have had to obtain a visa or residence permit to get into the U. S. after his madrassa yrs. in Indonesia. (Good thing we're pretty much preaching to the choir here. We'd hate to send the conspiracy theorists on a wild goose chase.)
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2008, 06:18:17 PM »
Is this guy an idiot or what? Give me a break. Oh I killed someone 40 years ago but hey I have lived a good life since and well the government never caught me before now, so hey, I shouldn't be bound by the law. Does this twit realize how many illegal immigrants have social security numbers and driver's licenses?
In Athens, rioters torched the capital's huge Christmas tree in central Syntagma Square. As the hooded youths moved on, some protesters posed for photos in front of the blaze, and others sang the Greek version of "Oh Christmas Tree."Go, cats & kittens, go!!
With the global financial crisis hitting Greek consumers, shop owners worried the violence would hurt consumer confidence. "It comes at a time when we have been trying so hard to establish a Christmas spirit in the market," said Vassilis Krokidis, head of the Piraeus Traders' Association. "Our challenge remains getting through the economic crisis and saving the jobs of those who work in regular businesses."Yep, Geezis Hussein Christ's miracle birth, etc., has long been perverted to give retailers hope for profit this year. But there's no more complaint about that. The traditionalists lost the "Put the Christ Back in Xmas" war long, long ago. Now it's "Atheists are forcing stores to tell their wage-slaves not to say 'Merry Christmas,'" as if the continuation of the faith depended on sales associates' greetings. Na'gonna happen, anyway, as the only faith observed in the chain stores is that oldest of them all, commodity fetishism.
[I]nvestors bet that President-elect Barack Obama’s plans to increase spending on public works projects will help lift the economy back to health.The real problem (Hey, pay some attention here, AmeriKKKa, we're schoolin' ya!!) is that our economy or financial system or whatever all this bullshit is relies on investors literally betting that something's going to happen (or not) seldom based on anything more than hunches. Is that any way to run anything?
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Mr. Putin, the former president and current prime minister, has long maintained that Russia made a colossal error in the 1990s by allowing its enormous reserves of oil, gas and other natural resources to fall into private hands. [...] Now, the Kremlin seems to be capitalizing on the economic crisis, exploiting the opportunity to establish more control over financially weakened industries that it has long coveted, particularly those in natural resources.Who said Ayn Rand is anti-statist?
Last month, for example, the government assumed greater influence over Norilsk Nickel, the world’s biggest nickel producer, whose large shareholders, two billionaire oligarchs, have ailing finances. And Mr. Putin said Thursday that he was considering other such interventions.
At the forefront of these efforts is Mr. Sechin, 48, a deputy prime minister who has been a Putin confidant since the two served in the St. Petersburg city government in the early 1990s. Mr. Sechin almost never gives interviews or speaks publicly, but he is believed to spearhead the use of the secret services and other government arms to capture companies. “He is the state’s main raider,” said Olga Kryshtanovskaya, a prominent Kremlin expert at the Center for the Study of Elites in Moscow. “He organizes these raider seizures, sometimes to the benefit of the state, or sometimes to the benefit of companies that are friendly to him.” Mr. Sechin’s role in the Uralkali inquiry immediately caused analysts and investors to presume that the company was in peril. Uralkali’s stock, once highly prized by fund managers, has plunged more than 60 percent since the inquiry began, far more than the broader Russian stock market. That has caused steep losses for Mr. Rybolovlev, 42, a former medical student who is known as Russia’s fertilizer king because of his dominance of the business of mining potash, a principal fertilizer component. Last June, when Uralkali was soaring, the otherwise low-key Mr. Rybolovlev attracted attention by buying Donald J. Trump’s mansion in Palm Beach, Fla., for $95 million.Sounds like an ideal Objectivist scenario.
With the financial crisis jolting economies around the world, Russia is hardly alone in taking ownership stakes in corporations these days. But many governments seem to view this as an uncomfortable role that has been thrust upon them. Russia’s rulers, however, appear to perceive the crisis as a chance to further expand their control over the economy, concentrating ever more power and wealth in the Kremlin. “We will put capital directly into major companies, in cases when it would be beneficial to the state and eventually to the taxpayer, and in those enterprises that are the basis of the economy of the Russian Federation,” Mr. Putin said in a television appearance on Thursday. “We do not exclude that these tools may be used in a large-scale way.”Plus ça change, plus c'est...