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Archive for July 2009

Good Reasons To Liquidate Our Empire- and No Reason to Expect We Will

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gladiatori graveyardAt TomDispatch.com, Chalmers Johnson describes our national dilemma-  an Empire we lust for but cannot afford- and gives some good advice to avoid a precipitous collapse. 

When I read such self-evident articles however, I wonder how one settles down to write one?  Are we not so entangled in our hypocrisy and hubris that even the obvious will certainly be ignored?  It’s like trying to intervene in a head-on collision or advising a down hill skier after he’s gone over the precipice.

If the United States were able to avoid the abyss in our near future, it would have changed course decades ago.  The US chose instead to cannibalize itself- to feed off the poor and corrupt the elite beyond Faustian excess. The American Dream has become a well established nightmare. We are past the time for good advice, only the Eulogy remains to be written.

Johnson writes: “Our unwillingness to retrench, no less liquidate, represents a striking historical failure of the imagination. In his first official visit to China since becoming Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner assured an audience of students at Beijing University “Chinese assets invested in the United States are very safe.” According to press reports, the students responded with loud laughter. Well they might.”

However soon the funeral of American expectations may come, it is clear the wake has already begun.

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Written by laudyms

July 30, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Human Health, Antibiotics and Industrial Farms

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chickenfeedH.R. 1549, the Preservation of Antibiotics For Medical Treatment Act of 2009  now under consideration by the House, would limit the amount of antibiotics that can be used on factory animal farms.  “The farm lobby’s opposition makes its passage unlikely,” The New York Times reported Monday. 

Industrial agriculture has adopted many practices that put public health at risk.  Factory farms routinely feed animals antibiotics to off-set crowding and bad sanitation.

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Why Civilizations Collapse

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INDIA-WEATHER-FLOODSA Lesson for Climate Change

Modern society is technologically far superior to any that has gone before, we have all the means to head off the worst effects of climate change and adapt to those we cannot avoid. History tells us however that the most common reason societies collapse is not inadequate science or technology but failure to take the difficult decisions necessary for survival

Prof. Peter Saunders

Surviving environmental disasters

As the world faces the challenge of climate change, it is instructive to recall that this is by no means the first time humans have had to cope with similar problems. Many societies have found themselves in serious trouble because of an unwelcome change in their environment. It may have been something over which they had no control, like the onset of the Little Ice Age in the 15th century, or they may have brought it upon themselves, all too often by clearing forests, or perhaps a combination of the two. Some societies survived, others did not.  

Long before the Spanish arrived, the Mayans of Central America had already abandoned their magnificent cities because of drought. Deforestation destroyed the Easter Island society that erected the famous statues, though a very much reduced population continued to live on the island. Others, like the Norwegian settlers in Greenland, and the original inhabitants of Pitcairn Island, died out completely.

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Saving the Bankers With a Make-Believe War

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civilian casualtiesBy Peter Chamberlin

July 26, 2009 “Information Clearing House

…..The Western media leads popular opinion to sympathize with the struggling corporate raiders, in order to help orchestrate the greatest transfer of wealth in human history. The media portrays the “war of terror” as a great struggle to save civilization, even though true “civilization” (the liberation of every soul through universal human rights) has not yet evolved. The media’s one purpose it to try to encourage the “free world” to sacrifice its children in a senseless struggle to preserve the destructive forces that have made the destruction of the old order inevitable.

Emergency measures, both economic and military, have been forced upon us, to carry on a war that is destroying both freedom and democracy, while maintaining the fiction that the war defends both. The media whips popular opinion into a frenzy to build patriotic blood-lust within the mob and the desire to kill millions of strangers for crimes that our leaders swear they fully intend to commit. The Western media and the Pakistani media, like the governments which they serve, are pushing the people to a fatal war, seeking to outrun the rising mob that wants the leaders’ heads.

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Written by laudyms

July 28, 2009 at 8:44 am

Flight into the collective self-delusion of corporate ideology

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circle jerkWriter Chris Hedges examines the cult of Corporate Happy-talk and its delusion that wishing will make reality go away:

….The driving ideology of corporate culture is a blind faith in the power and virtue of the corporate collective. All quotas can be met. All things are possible. Profits can always be raised. It is only a question of the right attitude. The highest form of personal happiness, we are told, is when the corporation thrives. Corporate retreats are built around this idea of merging the self with the corporate collective. They often have the feel of a religious revival. They are designed to whip up emotions. Office managers and sales staffs are given inspirational talks by sports stars, retired military commanders, billionaires and self-help specialists like Tony Robbins who tell them, in essence, the impossible is always possible. And when this proves not to be true, it is we who are the problem. We simply have to try harder.

………This flight into the collective self-delusion of corporate ideology, especially as we undergo financial collapse and the pillaging of the U.S. Treasury by corporations, is no more helpful in solving our problems than alchemy. But there are university departments and reams of pseudo-scientific scholarship to give an academic patina to the fantasy of happiness and success through positive thinking. The message that we can have everything we want if we dig deep enough inside ourselves, if we truly believe we are exceptional, is pumped out daily over the airwaves in advertisements, through the plot and story lines of television programs and films, and bolstered by the sickeningly cheerful and upbeat banter of well-groomed television hosts. This is the twisted ideological lens through which we view the world.

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Written by laudyms

July 27, 2009 at 9:36 pm

The Establishment Against the Rest of Us

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death6Catherine Austin Fitts who served as managing director and member of the board of directors of the Wall Street investment bank Dillon, Read & Co. Inc., and in the first Bush administration with HUD, has written a chilling- and sadly not surprising- blog entry about government machinations, Swine flu, vaccinations and de-population.

That’s right: de-population.   She writes:

As my efforts to find ways of reengineering government investment in communities failed to win political support, Washington and Wall Street moved forward with a debt bubble and globalization that was horrifying in its implications for humanity.

 Overwhelmed by what was happening, I estimated the end result. My simple calculations guessed that we were going to achieve economic sustainability on Earth by depopulating down to a population of approximately 500 million people from our then current global population of 6 billion.  I was a portfolio strategist used to looking at numbers from a very high level. Those around me could not fathom how all the different threads I was integrating could lead to such a conclusion.  To me, we had to have radical change in how we governed resources or depopulate. It was a mathematical result.

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Written by laudyms

July 27, 2009 at 3:19 pm

Transparency Abandoned as Fed and Treasury Plunder Taxpayers

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 Group-Think at NY Fed         cabalIt might be useful to look again at the Slate column written May 6, 2009 by Eliot Spitzer: Fed Dread .

After discussing the inbreeding rampant in both the banks and the NY Fed Reserve Board of Governors, Spitzer comments:

is it any wonder that the N.Y. Fed has been complicit in the single greatest bailout of poorly managed banks in history? Any wonder that it has given—with virtually no strings attached—practically the entire contents of the Treasury to the very banks whose inability to manage risk has brought our economy to its knees? Any wonder that not a single CEO or senior executive of a major bank has been removed as a condition of hundreds of billions of direct cash and guarantees? Any wonder that, despite its fundamental responsibility to preserve the integrity of the banking system, it sat quietly on the sidelines as the leverage beneath the banks exploded and the capital underlying their investments shrank?

No one has or looks likely to be help accountable.  Buddies are being bailed out.  Banksters who should be doing perp-walks continue to reign in their fiefdoms poised to finish off our economy.  Spitzer’s call for reform is ignored.

Now watch this great video:   Spitzer et al on the Fed scamming  the American people- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/32124060#32124060

UPDATE: See here Glenn Greenwald’s exposure of  Obama Treasury officials’  clash with Neil Barofsky, the chief watchdog over the $700 billion TARP bank bailout program, and their efforts to prevent transpanency. 

As Greenwald writes:  “Barofsky wants to compel banks to account for those funds and then publicize that information, while the administration opposes such efforts, claiming that accounting for TARP monies is impossible due to the “fungibility” of those funds.” ……And  “the Obama administration is now attempting to induce the Justice Department to issue a ruling that Barofsky’s office is not independent at all.”

The plundering continues……..

Written by laudyms

July 26, 2009 at 11:17 am