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99th_Monkey

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Gender: Male
Current location: Potlandia
Member since: Fri Sep 28, 2007, 04:39 PM
Number of posts: 11,947

Journal Archives

The TPP: Toward Absolutist Capitalism

Good read on TPP. An informed & thoughtful analysis IMHO.

The TPP: Toward Absolutist Capitalism
Saturday, 25 April 2015 * By Lambert Strether * Naked Capitalism via TruthOut

There are many excellent arguments against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), two of which — local zoning over-rides, and loss of national sovereignty — I’ll briefly review as stepping stones to the main topic of the post: Absolutist Capitalism, for which I make two claims:

1) The TPP implies a form of absolute rule, a tyranny as James Madison would have understood the term, and

2) The TPP enshrines capitalization as a principle of jurisprudence.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/30368-the-tpp-toward-absolutist-capitalism

You Must Judge This Book by it's Cover!!!

Hell, the TPP 'cover' says "American Jobs, national security, etc."
so it MUST be good for America, right?

If those 600 very-clever global corporate lobbyists & lawyers who wrote the TPP
think it's good for America's middle class, what could possibly go wrong?

If corporations are legal "persons" then Why Not Chimpanzees?

In Historic Ruling, Pair of Chimpanzees Recognized as 'Legal Persons'
Two research chimps granted right to seek relief from imprisonment in habeas corpus ruling
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 * Common Dreams * byNadia Prupis, staff writer
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/04/21/historic-ruling-pair-chimpanzees-recognized-legal-persons

Wake-Up Call by UN: "World on Fire: Multiple Crises Raging Out-of-Control"

It isn't just the climate that's heating up at an exponential rate, it's also an epidemic Trail of Tears, socio-political meltdowns into chaos & misery that the UN feels helpless to even begin to address. How long before this Fire reaches the USA?

Oh wait, it's already here. Never mind. What the hell was I thinking?

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World on Fire: UN Helpless as Crises Rage in 10 Critical Hot Spots
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 * Inter Press Service & by Thalif Deen, IPS News

UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations is fighting a losing battle against a rash of political and humanitarian crises in 10 of the world’s critical “hot spots.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says even the U.N.’s 193 member states cannot, by themselves, help resolve these widespread conflicts.

“We need more support and more financial help. But, most importantly, we need political solutions.” —U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric“Not a single country, however powerful or resourceful as it may be, including the United States, can do it,” he warned last week.

The world’s current political hotspots include Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Ukraine, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic – not forgetting West Africa which is battling the spread of the deadly disease Ebola.

Historically, the United Nations has grappled with one or two crises at any given time. But handling 10 such crises at one and the same time, said Ban, was rare and unprecedented in the 70-year history of the United Nations.

Although the international community looks to the world body to resolve these problems, “the United Nations cannot handle it alone. We need collective power and solidarity, otherwise, our world will get more and more troubles,” Ban said.

But that collective power is conspicuous by its absence.



http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/04/21/world-fire-un-helpless-crises-rage-10-critical-hot-spots

Prison Labor is Industry’s “Best Kept Secret in Outsourcing” and What Has Killed Your Job

Prison Labor is Industry’s “Best Kept Secret in Outsourcing” and What Has Killed Your Job
April 20, 2015 * by Mac Slavo * DC Clothesline

There’s “free trade.” There’s “fair trade.” And then there’s what’s really happening. The realities of globalization have made the price of labor somewhere between rock bottom and worthless.

Since the days of NAFTA, the WTO and a flood of cheap Chinese goods, major corporations – American-based and all the rest — have offshored production, taking advantage of virtual slave labor and the only edge that this kind of competition brings.



But now, American companies are taking advantage of something better than low-wage offshore labor – straight forward prison labor may be the best of both worlds for mega-corporations.

Don’t think they think they see it that way?
Now they are proud of it. Just see this promotional video: https://
They boast the ‘advantages of domestic contact centers at offshore prices.” It just isn’t fashionable to call it slave labor anymore.

Bad news for the honest, law abiding worker.

Of course, the inmates aren’t getting rich. They work for pennies which gradually go towards heavy fines and fees levied on inmates inside the private prison system that must be re-payed, along with the time they are doing.

This treasure trove of privatized slavery is managed by UNICOR, a government corporation managed under the Federal Prison Industries, who are officially “dedicated to employing inmates across the U.S. and providing them the job skills needed to succeed in life.”

Link to whole article: http://www.dcclothesline.com/2015/04/20/prison-labor-is-industrys-best-kept-secret-in-outsourcing-and-what-has-killed-your-job/#more-47642

Since Democracy is Dead in America

Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/princeton-experts-say-us-no-longer-democracy

Jimmy Carter: ‘America no longer has a functioning democracy’
http://dailycaller.com/2013/07/17/jimmy-carter-america-no-longer-has-a-functioning-democracy/

...then why do we even bother having elections at all?

Why not just put up the Presidency and Congress seats for bid, and the highest
bidders win ... then all the billion$ now spent on lobbying, campaigns & elections
could go directly into the US Treasury.

Disturbing Trend: NSA Spook/Lobbysts are Staffing Congressional Committees "overseeing" Intelligence

In the run-up to next year's reauthorization (or not) of the US Patriot Act, the timing is, shall we say, "convenient" for those wishing to goose-step the nation into an even more draconian Police State.

Ex-Lobbyists for Spies Are Overseeing Government Spying
Apr 11, 2015 * TruthDig.com * by Leo Reynolds

Increasingly, the task of overseeing the National Security Agency is going to former lobbyists for NSA contractors and other intelligence community insiders.

Investigative journalist Lee Fang reports at The Intercept:

A wave of recent appointments has placed intelligence industry insiders into key Congressional roles overseeing intelligence gathering. The influx of insiders is particularly alarming because lawmakers in Washington are set to take up a series of sensitive surveillance and intelligence issues this year, from reform of the Patriot Act to far-reaching “information sharing” legislation.

After the first revelations of domestic surveillance by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, President Obama defended the spying programs by claiming they were “subject to congressional oversight and congressional reauthorization and congressional debate.” But as Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., and other members of Congress have pointed out, there is essentially a “two-tiered” system for oversight, with lawmakers and staff on specialized committees, such as the House and Senate committees on Intelligence and Homeland Security, controlling the flow of information and routinely excluding other Congress members, even those who have asked for specific information relating to pending legislation.

The Intercept reviewed the new gatekeepers in Congress, the leading staffers on the committees overseeing intelligence and surveillance matters, and found a large number of lobbyists and consultants passing through the revolving door between the intelligence community and the watchdogs who purportedly oversee the intelligence community. We reached out to each of them earlier this week and have yet to hear back

http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/lobbyists_for_spies_are_overseeing_us_government_spying_20150411

For those enamored with local citizen's Police Review Boards: The Devil's always in the details

For those enamored with local citizen's Police Review Boards: The Devil's always in the details

Oregon has had some kind of police review board for over a decade, yet it was still cited and successfully sued by the US Dept. of Justice to force changes and "improvements" over time to curb excessive force against unarmed civilians. Stir up shit with the cops? Expect resistance, non-compliance, lame excuses ... anything and everything BUT mending their corrupt ways.

Still, police review boards are definitely a step in the right direction. My point is they are definitely NOT a panacea.

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Former state Sen. Avel Gordly criticizes Portland leaders for not educating community panel on police settlement
By Maxine Bernstein * 4/9/15 * The Oregonian

Three months after Portland set up a new community board to help monitor federally mandated police reforms, members on Thursday night heard a city attorney offer training on the settlement the city reached with U.S. Department of Justice officials.

Former state Sen. Avel Gordly, a member of the new Community Oversight Advisory Board, politely interjected and then bluntly criticized the city, saying such training should have occurred at the board's first session.

She called it a "huge oversight'' by the city. The settlement stemmed from a 2012 federal investigation that found Portland police used excessive force against people with mental illness.

"It's just mind-boggling, really, to be at this point to hear you offer Settlement Agreement 101,'' Gordly said.

Deputy City Attorney Ellen Osoinach agreed the training should have come much earlier.

"We weren't very thoughtful about the way we prepared you for this role,'' Osoinach said. ""I'm sorry it's taken this long in the process.''

The board's meeting came a day after the stunning announcement by former Oregon Chief Justice Paul J. DeMuniz that he was withdrawing from chairing the board as the city-hired community liaison and a week after the board hosted a contentious public hearing.

The hearing revealed the public's deep distrust of police and dissent among board members about whether the community board could truly act independently. The city and Justice officials are still working to determine how to fill DeMuniz's position.

Whole Story: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2015/04/former_state_rep_avel_gordly_c.html#incart_river

For those enamored with local citizen's Police Review Boards: The Devil's always in the details

Oregon has had some kind of police review board for over a decade, yet it was still cited and successfully sued by the US Dept. of Justice to force changes and "improvements" over time to curb excessive force against unarmed civilians. Stir up shit with the cops? Expect resistance, non-compliance, lame excuses ... anything and everything BUT mending their corrupt ways.

Still, police review boards are definitely a step in the right direction. My point is they are definitely NOT a panacea.

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Former state Sen. Avel Gordly criticizes Portland leaders for not educating community panel on police settlement
By Maxine Bernstein * 4/9/15 * The Oregonian

Three months after Portland set up a new community board to help monitor federally mandated police reforms, members on Thursday night heard a city attorney offer training on the settlement the city reached with U.S. Department of Justice officials.

Former state Sen. Avel Gordly, a member of the new Community Oversight Advisory Board, politely interjected and then bluntly criticized the city, saying such training should have occurred at the board's first session.

She called it a "huge oversight'' by the city. The settlement stemmed from a 2012 federal investigation that found Portland police used excessive force against people with mental illness.

"It's just mind-boggling, really, to be at this point to hear you offer Settlement Agreement 101,'' Gordly said.

Deputy City Attorney Ellen Osoinach agreed the training should have come much earlier.

"We weren't very thoughtful about the way we prepared you for this role,'' Osoinach said. ""I'm sorry it's taken this long in the process.''

The board's meeting came a day after the stunning announcement by former Oregon Chief Justice Paul J. DeMuniz that he was withdrawing from chairing the board as the city-hired community liaison and a week after the board hosted a contentious public hearing.

The hearing revealed the public's deep distrust of police and dissent among board members about whether the community board could truly act independently. The city and Justice officials are still working to determine how to fill DeMuniz's position.

Whole Story: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2015/04/former_state_rep_avel_gordly_c.html#incart_river

We've Been Stingrayed: FBI's secret deal with police hides phone dragnet from courts

Another day, yet another 'discovery' that, yes, it really is worse than we thought.

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Stingray spying: FBI's secret deal with police hides phone dragnet from courts
By Jessica Glenza and Nicky Woolf * Friday 10 April 2015 * The Guardian

The FBI is taking extraordinary and potentially unconstitutional measures to keep local and state police forces from exposing the use of so-called “Stingray” surveillance technology across the United States, according to documents obtained separately by the Guardian and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Multiple non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) revealed in Florida, New York and Maryland this week show federal authorities effectively binding local law enforcement from disclosing any information – even to judges – about the cellphone dragnet technology, its collection capabilities or its existence.

In an arrangement that shocked privacy advocates and local defense attorneys, the secret pact also mandates that police notify the FBI to push for the dismissal of cases if technical specifications of the devices are in danger of being revealed in court.

The agreement also contains a clause forcing law enforcement to notify the FBI if freedom of information requests are filed by members of the public or the media for such information, “in order to allow sufficient time for the FBI to seek to prevent disclosure through appropriate channels”.

The strikingly similar NDAs, taken together with documents connecting police to the technology’s manufacturer and federal approval guidelines obtained by the Guardian, suggest a state-by-state chain of secrecy surrounding widespread use of the sophisticated cellphone spying devices known best by the brand of one such device: the Stingray.

Stingray box

“The device has the ability to pull content, so all the sudden your text messages are at risk, your phone calls are at risk, and your data transmission, potentially,” said John Sawicki, a former police officer who consults attorneys on technological evidence, of the Stingray device made by Harris Corporation. Photograph: Harris Corporation.



http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/10/stingray-spying-fbi-phone-dragnet-police
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