Friday, January 30, 2009

Bruce Sterling's prediction for '09: A planetary hostage situation

So 2009 will be a squalid year, a planetary hostage situation surpassing any mere financial crisis, where the invisible hand of the market, a good servant turned a homicidal master, periodically wanders through a miserable set of hand-tied, blindfolded, feebly struggling institutions, corporations, bureaucracies, professions, and academies, and briskly blows one's brains out for no sane reason.

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Wes Jackson on sustainability and being realistic

RJ: It’s also likely that many people reading this will dismiss you as idealistic, as unrealistic. How would you answer that?

WJ: These are the same people who believe it’s realistic to continue practices they know to be unsustainable. The basic choice is simple: Do we want to work at coming up with a system that can produce healthful food and healthy communities, one that is economically and ecologically viable? Or do we want to continue to contaminate our soil and water, as we watch that soil continue to be eroded by that water? That contamination and erosion are both material reality and metaphor for our cultural and economic condition.
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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Working Americans bail out the corpos; now the corpos seek to shaft working Americans

"Bank of America is now not only getting bailout money. They are lending their name to participate in a campaign to stop workers from having a majority sign up [provision]," said Stephen Lerner, Director of the Private Equity Project at SEIU. "The biggest corporations who have created the problem are, at the very time, asking us to bail them out and then using that money to stop workers from improving their lives."

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The co-founder of Home Despot wants to use the money you were forced to give him as part of the corporate "bailout" to keep you from joining a union and working together to improve your own finances and prospects. To do otherwise would be "the demise of a civilization." (Which only goes to show that to these cocksuckers "civilization" is synonymous with "serfdom.")

He, the CEO of Bank America, and all their ilk really need to be forced on to the Robespierre weight loss plan. Lose ten to twenty pounds of useless weight instantly!

If you doubt me, here is the audio of these douchebags conspiring to fuck working class people over even more than they already do.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What "reaching out" really means

clipped from
As you know, the president was up on Capitol Hill meeting with Republican leaders in the House and Senate. He definitely wants to reach out. Republican leaders we have talked to say, well, he might want to reach out. He's not accepting our ideas, so all of this is essentially for show.

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Evidently, according to Congressional Republicans, President Obama only "reaches out" to them if he accepts their ideas.

Last time I checked, reaching out meant including someone else in the discussion, not giving them sole decision-making power.

That's because I'm not a Republican. Silly me. I should have known.

When a Republican is in power, reaching out means that the Democrats do what the Republicans want.

And when a Democrat is in power, reaching out means that the Democrats do what the Republicans want.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The truth about the truth in the US

The crises facing us right now demand an unprecedented amount of national (and international) re-envisioning, and yet we still have a hard time speaking the truth when it really matters. This combination does not bode well in these times.
Obama would have to take risks that opportunistic politicians never take in order for the US to become a nation of law instead of a nation in which the agendas of special interests override the law.
Truth cannot be spoken in America. It cannot be spoken in universities. It cannot be spoken in the media. It cannot be spoken in courts, which is why defendants and defense attorneys have given up on trials and cop pleas to lesser offenses that never occurred.
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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The War on Some Drugs and the burgeoning US prison population

Regardless of where Obama's appointees stand and how much, if any, political capital he is willing to spend on drug-policy reform, the need to turn his campaign slogan into reality has never been greater. Last week, the Justice Department released numbers showing that 1 in every 100 Americans is now in prison, and 1 in every 31 is either behind bars, on parole or on probation. For this grotesquerie we can thank the war on drugs. More than half of federal
prisoners (95,000 people) are behind bars for drug-law violations -- a record. Nationally, around half a million people are in prison on nonviolent drug charges. The Drug Policy Alliance estimates that this is a tenfold increase since 1980, totaling more than the entire prison population of Western Europe.

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Priceless, if tragic

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Date on which the White House announced it had stopped looking for WMDs in Iraq: 1/12/05

Years since his acquittal that O. J. Simpson has said he is still looking for his wife’s “real killers”: 13

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Progressive in America: taming rage, living with grief, and digging in for the long haul

[T]o work against the U.S. empire is to dig in for the long haul. Our task is not to play to Americans’ sense of being special, but to help this country come to realize that if there is to be a decent future for anyone -- indeed, if there is to be a future at all -- the United States has to step back from its position of arrogance and affluence. We must imagine what it would be like to live as one nation in the world, not as an arrogant nation that attempts to dominate the world. We must imagine what a good life would look like if we were to give up our commitment to affluence and work toward a just and sustainable world at the end of the high-energy/high-technology era.
With that analysis, there is the possibility of authentic solidarity. And that solidarity is our only way to tame the rage, our only way to live with the grief.
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Finkelstein on Gaza

Every year, the United Nations General Assembly votes on a resolution entitled “Peaceful Settlement of the Palestine Question.” And every year the vote is the same: it’s the whole world on one side; Israel, the United States and some South Sea atolls and Australia on the other side. The vote this past year was 164-to-7. Every year since 1989—in 1989, the vote was 151-to-3, the whole world on one side, the United States, Israel and the island state of Dominica on the other side.
The one and only obstacle is Israel, backed by the United States. That’s the problem.
Mr. Obama has to level with the American people. He has to be honest about what is the main obstacle to resolving the conflict. It’s not Palestinian rejectionism. It’s the refusal of Israel, backed by the United States government, to abide by international law, to abide by the opinion of the international community.
And the main challenge for all of us as Americans is to see through the lies.
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My Second Life takes as much energy as your first life

Our obsession with entertainment and virtual reality while the world collapses around us reminds me of Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burned.

Nicholas Carr, author of The Big Switch, Rewiring the World, has calculated that maintaining a character (known as an avatar) in the Second Life virtual reality game, requires 1,752 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. That is almost as much used by the average Brazilian.

“It’s not an unreasonable comparison,” said Liam Newcombe, an expert on data centres at the British Computer Society. “It tells us how much energy westerners use on entertainment versus the energy poverty in some countries.”

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Killer cops: Where intention is never the issue

If a young black or Latino male pulls a gun and someone winds up dead, intention is never the issue, and first-degree murder charges are on the agenda, as well as likely murder charges for anyone of the wrong color standing nearby. If we reverse the current situation, and the gun is in Oscar Grant’s hand, then racist voices would be squealing for the death penalty regardless of intention. And yet when it’s a cop pulling the trigger, all the media and public opinion resources are deployed to justify, understand, and empathize with this unconscionable act. One side is automatically condemned; the other automatically excused.
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Monday, January 5, 2009

Pollution and hormonal disruption: excessive yang becomes yin

Scary stuff, but maybe good in the long run. After all, I can’t help but think that it was the males of species who drove us into the cul-de-sac in which we currently find ourselves. I remember reading about something similar in Benjamin Hoff’s (otherwise dreadful) Te of Piglet --- at some point, excessive yang (i.e., masculine) energy spontaneously converts into yin (i.e., feminine) energy. So maybe we boys are putting ourselves out to pasture.
The report found that male fish in British lowland rivers develop eggs in their testes, 40 percent of male cane toads have become hermaphrodites in areas of Australia, male alligators in Florida suffer from lowered testosterone and higher estrogen levels, and baby boys who have been exposed to chemicals in pregnancy are being born with smaller penises and feminized genitals.
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