December 27, 2010 archive

Should Societal Judgment Be Time Limited?

The impetus for this post was a most unlikely subject. I’ve been recently deconstructing my own uneasy feelings towards disgraced NFL Quarterback Michael Vick. My partner, a native of Philadelphia, is a huge fan of the Eagles professional football team and is thrilled at the its recent success with Vick at the helm. When the dog fighting revelations surfaced, I admit that I wanted to see him banned from the league for life. Instead, Vick served nearly two years in jail, filed for bankruptcy, missed two full seasons, and was blackballed from his original team. His stunning return to form was highly unexpected. And as much I try to be a forgiving person, I simply cannot extend it to a player who is nonetheless a strong candidate to be eventually awarded the National Football League’s Most Valuable Player for a most impressive season.

Nano Thermite Makers!

Patents on nano-thermite!  Demolition companies!  Spy agencies that spy on the CIA!

Nothing to see here folks, move along.

Walmart University for Social Work

I’ve been researching just how deep the Corporate Hand has reached into the bowels of the Universities of America, and just how much it directs curriculum and policy thereof in preparation for my interview with Noam Chomsky.

Even a jaded cynic as myself found my flabber thoroughly gasted by what I have discovered. It goes far beyond the Economic or Business School’s infiltration one would expect. The right-wing Chicago Boys model has infiltrated even the traditionally most Liberal of Departments: Social Work.

The list of donor’s to Washington University – St. Louis’ Brown School of Social Work reads a who’s who list of Neo-Conservative Think Tanks,

Citigroup is on the lengthy list, as are the following: MasterCard, Levi Strauss Foundation, MetLife, the Federal Reserve Bank, Ford, the Kellog Foundation….and yes, that really is the New America Foundation on the list…the same NAF with ties to the Council on Foreign Relations and that is funded by fabulous characters like Goldman Sachs, Walmart, and Google–just to name a few.

Small wonder that the Chair for the Center for Social Development, Michael Sherraden, has concluded that the poor are only poor because they don’t invest enough in banks. Small wonder, funded by banks and insurance companies, that Timothy McBride PhD, health economist and associate dean for public health at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis recently opined that mandated health care purchase is a MUST to address social health problems.

“In particular, insurance companies need to know that everyone will be required to purchase insurance so that the insurance pools are large enough to cover those with pre-existing conditions who will be required to be covered under the legislation, without penalty for their health conditions.”


Universities are churning out young men and women who at every level have been indoctrinated into “free market capitalism” (read predatory capitalism) as the only viable solution to society’s every woe.

And you wonder why we call them sheeple?  

World Has Had Enough Of U.S. Imperialism

Michael Hudson is President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and is the author of “Super-Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire” (1968 & 2003), “Trade, Development and Foreign Debt” (1992 & 2009) and of “The Myth of Aid” (1971).

ISLET engages in research regarding domestic and international finance, national income and balance-sheet accounting with regard to real estate, and the economic history of the ancient Near East. Michael acts as an economic advisor to governments worldwide including Iceland, Latvia and China on finance and tax law.

Here Hudson talks with The Real News Networks’ Paul Jay about the 800+ empire of military bases the U.S. has established around the globe, about how all of the money that the military spends abroad is spent on foreign economies and is then “siphon[ed] up into the central banks. And the central banks would have nothing to do with these dollars but to keep their currency stable by recycling the dollars into US Treasury bills.” and about how “If it weren’t for the military deficit, America would have had to finance its own domestic budget deficit. It’s been foreigners that are financing the budget deficit.”

Hudson concludes here with the observation that “Now that foreigners are essentially saying, we don’t want any more dollars, we’re not going to fund your deficit, all of a sudden they think: who’s going to fund the deficit if not foreign central banks? The answer is: American labor, the American middle class and working families are going to fund it, not the military.”

The rest of the world has had enough of financing it’s own encirclement and subjugation by the U.S. military.

From here on in it is you who is going to be paying the bill…

Real News Network – December 26, 2010

World Tired of Paying Bill for US Military

Michael Hudson: Major countries looking for alternatives to US dollar

transcript follows

Snowy Monday Blues: Teena Marie, 1956 -2010

Teena Marie, a singing partner of the late Rick James, has passed away at the age of 54 in Pasadena, CA.  She is survived by a daughter, Alia Rose, also a singer.   Teena Marie’s first album was “Wild and Peaceful” in 1979, which had her first top 10 hit, “I’m Just a Sucker for Your Love.”   Although best known as a R&B singer, she also did movie soundtracks (Top Gun, The Goonies, Undisputed).  Rest in peace, sweet Lady Tee.……

Fire and Desire – Rick James and Teena Marie  Originally from Jame’s 1980 album Street Songs

Six In The Morning

It’s A Good Thing Republicans Are Paranoid  

That Way They Can Hate All Those Not Like Them

When Republican lawmakers take over the House and gain strength in the Senate after the new year, a decadelong drive to overhaul the immigration system and legalize some of the estimated 11 million undocumented migrants seems all but certain to come to a halt.

When New York Republican Peter T. King takes over the House Homeland Security Committee in January, he plans to propose legislation to reverse what he calls an “obvious lack of urgency” by the Obama administration to secure the border.

Among other initiatives, King wants to see the Homeland Security Department expand a program that enlists the help of local police departments in arresting suspected illegal immigrants.

Late Night Karaoke

Taking money back from Wall Street

   By 1933 Americans were losing faith in the banking system. Banks had been failing by the thousands since 1930. When a bank failed it took everyone’s life savings with it.

 On February 14, 1933, a coalition of major banks asked Governor Comstock of Michigan to declare a statewide bank holiday. He granted it.

 The governors of Iowa, Tennessee and Kansas declared bank holidays in January, but it was Michigan that tipped the scales. It set off a nationwide panic that led to bank holidays in almost every state. On March 4, 1933, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York requested a statewide bank holiday be declared. On the same day that FDR was inaugurated as President of the United States, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania all declared bank holidays.

 The banking system had utterly and completely failed. In most counties there wasn’t a single working bank even before the bank holidays. Now the entire banking system simply vanished from the face of America despite years of federal government support.

 No one was sure if any bank in America would ever open again.

When FDR instituted the Emergency Banking Act the following week there was no one to oppose it.

 It was in this atmosphere of crisis that famous economist Irving Fisher proposed a radical new idea for money.

A Donkey in Wardak

A donkey in Wardak Province, Afghanistan

The population of Wardak Province, Afghanistan is blah blah. The history of Wardak is blah blah. The politics of Wardak is blah blah. The demographics of Wardak is blah blah.

And that’s all America wants to know.

Now look at the donkey!



‘Don’t Go, Don’t Kill’

In the past few weeks a series of reforms have been passed which some are saying justify President Obama’s, the Democratic Party’s, and American liberals’ extreme moderation and corporatism (or, in some cases, a mere subservience to, if not an outright embrace of, this horribly corrupt form of capitalism).

However, I would advise you to consider these words which Malcolm X uttered in another terribly corrupt and unequal world which, as the US continues its decline as an empire and omnipotent economic presence, even many liberals and radicals are starting to get nostalgic for:

You don’t stick a knife into a man’s back nine inches, pull it out six inches, and call it progress.

That is, if you ignore the context in which these mild reforms are taking place, you are ignoring the fundamental problems which need to be solved.  This is particularly apparent in the case of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  

Ex-CIA Spook Calls For “Covert Action” vs. Assange

Two writers with close ties to U.S. intelligence agencies published a shocking article Dec. 22nd in The Miami Herald asserting that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is “a narcissistic nut” with “blood on his hands” and President Obama should do “whatever it takes to shut down WikiLeaks.” Without giving a single example of how Assange’s disclosures caused blood to flow, co-authors Thomas Spencer and F. W. Rustmann warn, “No nation can operate without secrets. Unless we adopt an aggressive plan, adopt new tough laws and take immediate action—overt and covert—we face disaster.” The authors go on to state the president should be joined in this suppression of the press by “Congress and our entire intelligence, military and law-enforcement communities” because “(our) lives are depending” on it.

While the above is vaguely worded it does appear that Spencer and Rustmann are calling for “immediate” and “covert” action—to put a stop to Assange’s activities. In short, they appear to be saying Obama & Co. has the right to terminate Assange covertly, that is to say, secretly, and, as the word has come to mean in CIA parlance, “violently” as well. It is no surprise that two writers closely tied to U.S. spy agencies appear to be advocating covert action against Assange, but it is a bit of a shock that the Miami Herald would publish this seeming call for blood.

Pardon me for suspecting this hysterical screech for Assange’s scalp was published with the blessing of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Rustmann spent 24 years as a CIA payroller and was an instructor in its covert training center, so he would know, if anybody, how to stick Assange’s feet into a block of cement and dump him in the Everglades. (Hollywood might even make a movie about it, with Rustmann’s intoning, “He sleeps with the alligators.”) As for Herald co-author Spencer, he is a lawyer who represents intelligence officers and is a Life Member in the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.

Read the rest here:

Pique the Geek 20101226: Rare Earth Metals

This time we have decided to get back to geeky science and technology.  I had thought about writing about Winter Solstice celebrations through the eons, but that has passed now.  Next year for sure.

The Rare Earth Metals are a group of elements that are extremely closely related in atomic number (henceforth called Z), mass, and chemical properties.  I would wager that most folks who are not technical have never heard of them, except maybe on Mythbusters (the neodymium magnets are the strong ones that they use now and then), let alone touched one to their knowledge.

But almost everyone uses them on a daily basis, and most have indeed touched at least one.  Please come with us and let us explore these interesting and essential elements.