April 2, 2008 archive

Shoot Yourself For Earth Hour!


The solution to global warming that nobody is talking about!


Also today Micheal Graham was talking about coed college rooms. Mike is Boston’s own “right” wing talk show host. Gender neutral room assignments they call it.  Hell, wish I was eighteen again!

Four at Four

  1. Bloomberg reports IMF Cuts Global Forecast on Worst Crisis Since 1930s. The International Monetary Fund said there’s a 25 percent chance of a world recession and…

    The financial shock that originated in the U.S. subprime mortgage market in August 2007 has spread quickly, and in unanticipated ways, to inflict extensive damage on markets and institutions at the core of the financial system… The global expansion is losing momentum in the face of what has become the largest financial crisis in the United States since the Great Depression.

    “The IMF forecasts were on a slide presentation prepared by its Asia-Pacific department” and new forecasts are schedule to be published April 9. Of course, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who is more interested in further deregulating the financial markets, described the IMF’s analysis as “overblown“.

    Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that “Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, presented his bleakest assessment yet of the economy on Wednesday morning, warning a Congressional committee that economic growth was likely to stagnate – and perhaps even contract – over the first half of the year.”

    With the dying U.S. economy, more attention is being paid to John McCain’s financial advisors, or as the Washington Post reports Economic slump underlines concerns about McCain advisers. Former Republican senator Phil Gramm “helped deregulate the financial services industries in the 1990s, and now sits in the corporate suites of Swiss banking giant UBS, which yesterday announced $19 billion in investment losses tied to the crumbling U.S. real estate market… Gramm, UBS’s vice chairman, said yesterday he was ‘totally unaware‘ of his bank’s massive holdings of securities tied to subprime mortgages, but, he added, ‘I’m confident we’ll recover.'”

    Gramm was chairman of the Senate Banking Committee in 1999 and under his misguided leadership, “tore down the Depression-era Glass-Steagall wall separating regulated commercial banks from largely unregulated investment banks. And little regulation was put in to replace it.” So Gramm is directly responsible for the current subprime mortgage mess and is clueless about his own bank. Feel confident in John McCain?

Four at Four continues with ‘terror’ financing and shipping from our good friends in Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E., John Yoo’s torture memo, and an update on Big Brother.

Mind if I scare the living shit out of you for a moment?

Okay, I got something really good coming down the pipes, actually doing a little investigative reporting. Seems there were some fronts used in the subprime market that are of very questionable legality. But more on that later, today I am gonna scare the living shit out of you.

I’ve heard a lot about American Depression this, Holy Fuck Our Money Is Worthless that, but where is the data?

Where are the charts?

Where is the pure information that will prove we are not over a barrel, because we can’t even afford the barrel anymore?

Well, folks, here it is. Take a drink, hit the bong or prozac up like a suburban soccer mom, because here we go into the rabbit hole:

On Becoming A Bit

Sure, you FEEL like a human being. Like a …..person. You have flesh and bodily functions and other people treat you like a person and all, but you aren’t a person anymore in a very important way. You are a bit.


States quietly buy, mine personal data — including names of your associates and relatives

And of course, it all starts at the top…

The Bush Administration Intelligence Hydra

You are an electronic file.

And when you displease the government….or your credit card company…or your HMO by say, wanting medical treatment….

Your file is pulled. And scrutinized. And judged.

Your life is no longer private. Your police record is no longer separated from your medical record or your credit record or your driving record or your tax record. If not now…soon. And if not now, soon….the jamoch at the DMV or the phone company can pull up your file and there you are, laid out like a centerfold. And it is only going to get worse Real ID as a wedge issue

I’ll admit it, I’m a refugee

I like this place, a lot. The more I’m here, the more I like what I see, overall.

I’m going to be checking in here a lot more often that the orange place, in part because of Front Page diaries like this biased piece and the other trash that fills orange space [I’ve gone back to check, because I miss some of the posters].

It’s sort of funny. I have grown to appreciate Barack Obama more, but have grown nearly totally disenchanted with the Great Orange Satan. You folks have to understand, I posted tens of thousands of comments a year at the GOS, and I was a lurker long before I registered, even.

So that is all, just my pleasant way of saying I’ll be hanging out here for a while. I enjoy the less polizei type atmosphere where people don’t yell at each other “It’s not really a diary” and while I have not seen anyone get a ‘Wrong!’ for a Frist here, the lack of general animosity is very refreshing.

Fox News Is No Longer The Number One Cable News Network

Continuing a long pattern of decline, Fox News once again underperforms its competitors. The first quarter of a presidential election year can generally be expected to boost viewership for news networks. For CNN and MSNBC this has been markedly apparent. For Fox News…not so much.

Breaking: New Article On Torture at Guantanamo

Via Raw Story

Top Bush Administration officials pressured underlings to use torture tactics at Guantanamo

Of Guantanamo interrogators: “You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas.”

“Torture at Guantanamo was sanctioned by the most senior advisers to the president, the vice president, and the secretary of defense, according to the international lawyer and professor of law at University College London Philippe Sands, who has conducted a forensic examination of the chain of command leading from the top of the administration to the camp at Guantánamo,” Vanity Fair will report on newstands today.

The article directly contradicts the administration’s account to Congress, which placed responsibility on military commanders and interrogators on the ground for the practices banned by the Geneva Conventions.

Raw Story has an excerpt, go read.

Tibetans to Bush: Don’t Go to Beijing Olympics — Rally in DC — UPDATED

Please see the update at the end of this diary, with letters to the Chinese people and the world from His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

On Monday, March 31, a large group of Tibetans, Americans of Tibetan ancestry, and other American supporters gathered at Lafayette Park outside the White House in Washington, DC to ask President Bush to make a statement for human rights and refused to attend the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics in protest of Chinese government oppression of Tibet.

I have been very moved by the mostly nonviolent struggle of the Tibetans to regain their freedom, and by the strength and compassion shown by the Dalai Lama in urging them to maintain nonviolence at all times. I decided it was important to go and stand in solidarity with them. This is my report on the event.

writing in the raw: DocuDharmathon

I love campaigning. Love it. Knocking on doors, meeting strangers, … getting into political debate. I know, doesn’t sound like me, but…………………

I discovered this after finally finding a Democratic party in my township (no easy feat, I can tell you).  I was swept away, meeting people who cared about all the same issues and who put so much into making the township and, by extension, the country a better place. I became a county delegate the year that Jon Corazin and former Gov. Jim Florio were vying for a U.S. Senate seat.

Our country chair was an influential guy and A debate was arranged between Corazin and Florio staged a debate for our delegates, each wanting to win our endorsement and support.

And my passions (it was challenging both Jon Corazine and former Gov. Jim Florio somehow got me hooked into running for township committee in 1999. The one thing I didn’t quite feel comfortable with was asking for campaign donations.  

On small, pyhhric victory. But still a thousand battles left to fight.

It seems that Wal-Mart was finally shamed into dropping its suit against the Shanks.  (Thanks to tinyfirefly for pointing this out in last night’s entry.)  But let’s not make any mistake: this wouldn’t have gone as far as it did had the corporate media reported on this months ago, as it should have.  And Wal-Mart is unlikely to reimburse the Shanks for the money they had to shell our for lawyers’ fees and court costs.

To recap: Debbie Shank, a Wal-Mart employee, was involved in a car accident with a trucker, and came out of it a cripple with the memory capacity of a fish.  Her son, Jeremy, was killed in Iraq last year.  But because his mother cannot hold a memory, she forgets soon after hearing the news.  So each time she is reminded of Jeremy’s death, it’s not a reminder at all; she is literally, from her brain-damaged perspective, hearing about her son’s death for the first time, every time, until the day she dies.  Debbie Shank cannot mourn her son, cannot move on from the loss, because of the injuries to her brain.

Wal-Mart, however, was not content to leave well enough alone.  Because of a clause in its insurance contract with employees, the company claims it is legally entitled to settlement money stemming from the Shank family’s lawsuit against the trucking company, whose driver was partly to blame for the accident that crippled Debbie.  So it took the Shanks to court, won, and subsequent appeals have been denied by the Bush-stacked court system.  According to the MSNBC article:

Shank, 52, lost much of her memory and ability to communicate or walk in a crash between her minivan and a tractor trailer in May 2000. Her family sued the trucking company and won $700,000. Court records show that after attorney’s fees and costs, the remaining $417,477 from the settlement went into a trust to care for Shank.

The fund now has about $270,000, the family said.

Shanks’ health insurance was through Wal-Mart, where she worked nights stocking shelves. After the Shanks won their lawsuit, Wal-Mart sued the Shank family to recover medical costs totaling about $470,000.

Wal-Mart won its case and subsequent appeals by the Shanks that went as far as the Supreme Court, which closed legal avenues this month by declining to hear the case.

During the case, the Shanks also lost one of their three sons when Jeremy, 18, was killed in Iraq last year while serving in the Army.

Finally, with little thanks to a lazy mainstream media that didn’t see this as a worthy news story until recently, Wal-Mart caved in and did what it was supposed to do.  But don’t expect this to be over; the Shanks have been screwed out of money that was supposed to go toward Debbie’s long term care.  Now that money has been whittled away, and the family isn’t going to get it back.

What’s more, Wal-Mart is still screwing over its other employees, both current and former.  In one of the latest insults, the company is refusing to rehire a veteran, as per the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act of 1994.  Air Force airman Sean Thornton, who was discharged from the service, was supposed to get his old cashier job back at Wal-Mart, returned from duty to find his former employer has decided it doesn’t have to obey the law.  And why should it?  Federal lawsuit from the Department of Justice or no, the company is fully aware that thanks to Congress and the Bush regime, the courts have been stacked with judges whose sole purpose is to uphold anything and everything corporations deign to get away with.

Here are some sources listing the abuses by Wal-Mart, travesties the government (under conservative misrule, including during the Clinton administration) has allowed to go unpunished.





But hope is not dead.  As the Shank case reveals, the company can be shamed into doing what it is supposed to do, which is to treat its employees fairly.  Public pressure must continue to be mounted, on Wal-Mart and on local, state, and federal legislatures.  After news of the company’s refusal to rehire Airman Thornton was reported, its stocks fell significantly.  So public pressure and media coverage work.  But legislatures (and executives) must be made to act as well.  Anti-trust legislation must be restored, passed, and enforced.  Abuses of employee rights must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and judges who violate the spirit (if not the letter) of the law by upholding abuses removed from the bench.

This can be done, and with your vigilance, it shall be.

Pony Party, What’s Goin’ On?

Today, let’s think about Marvin Gaye, born on this day, April 2, in 1939.


Ventura: Chickenhawks, Cusack: Military Contractors

Jesse Unloads on the ‘Chickenhawks’ who force their ‘Wars of Choice’ yet refused to fight when those before them, their peers, did same! And making sure their own don’t come into the Harms way they have set up!                                                                                      

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