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marmar

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Gender: Male
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 70,152

Journal Archives

Judge Dread


BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Montana judge told a 21-year-old man convicted in a vandalism spree to replace his fast-food job with a "real job" so he can more quickly pay restitution.

The Billings Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/T727m2) District Judge G. Todd Baugh (baw) sentenced Brandon Daniel Turell to 10 years, with five suspended, and ordered him to pay over $13,000 in restitution. Baugh is separately facing public censure and suspension for saying a 14-year-old rape victim appeared "older than her chronological age."

Prosecutors said Turell and a co-defendant used a stolen BB gun to shoot out the windows of about 100 vehicles in December 2012. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/24/judge-fast-food-job_n_5525823.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013&ir=Politics



Trade Treaties and the Coming Rule of the Global Corporatocracy


By Don Quijones, freelance writer and translator in Barcelona, Spain. Raging Bull-Shit is his modest attempt to challenge the wishful thinking and scrub away the lathers of soft soap peddled by our political and business leaders and their loyal mainstream media. Originally published at Testosterone Pit.


Quietly, subtly, almost imperceptibly, the rules governing global trade and financial markets are changing. It is not happening by accident, but by wilful design. Despite the enormous impact it will have on all our lives, the public is not being consulted on any aspects of the process. Most people are not even aware it is happening.

The main driver of this change are the bilateral and multilateral trade and investment treaties being negotiated in complete secrecy and behind closed doors between corporate lobbyists, free trade activists and our own elected “representatives” (a term I use in the loosest possible sense, especially given the context). The ultimate goal of these treaties is to reconfigure the legal apparatus and superstructures that govern national, regional and global trade and business – for the primary, if not exclusive, benefit of the world’s largest multinational corporations.

Corporations have long been powerful economic and political entities, but in recent decades some have grown to dwarf even middling-sized national economies. According to a ranking published by Global Trends, 58 percent of the world’s biggest 150 economic entities in 2012 were corporations. They include oil, natural gas, and mining majors, banks and insurance firms, telecommunications giants, supermarket behemoths, car manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies.

Changing the Law

Right now, the representatives of many of these firms are engaged in late-stage negotiations with the U.S. and European political leaders that would make it financially calamitous for a nation-state to take any actions against the interest of corporations. If passed — and at this rate, it almost certainly will be — it will be the biggest bilateral trade deal in the history of mankind. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/06/trade-treaties-coming-rule-global-corporatocracy.html



Trade Treaties and the Coming Rule of the Global Corporatocracy


By Don Quijones, freelance writer and translator in Barcelona, Spain. Raging Bull-Shit is his modest attempt to challenge the wishful thinking and scrub away the lathers of soft soap peddled by our political and business leaders and their loyal mainstream media. Originally published at Testosterone Pit.


Quietly, subtly, almost imperceptibly, the rules governing global trade and financial markets are changing. It is not happening by accident, but by wilful design. Despite the enormous impact it will have on all our lives, the public is not being consulted on any aspects of the process. Most people are not even aware it is happening.

The main driver of this change are the bilateral and multilateral trade and investment treaties being negotiated in complete secrecy and behind closed doors between corporate lobbyists, free trade activists and our own elected “representatives” (a term I use in the loosest possible sense, especially given the context). The ultimate goal of these treaties is to reconfigure the legal apparatus and superstructures that govern national, regional and global trade and business – for the primary, if not exclusive, benefit of the world’s largest multinational corporations.

Corporations have long been powerful economic and political entities, but in recent decades some have grown to dwarf even middling-sized national economies. According to a ranking published by Global Trends, 58 percent of the world’s biggest 150 economic entities in 2012 were corporations. They include oil, natural gas, and mining majors, banks and insurance firms, telecommunications giants, supermarket behemoths, car manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies.

Changing the Law

Right now, the representatives of many of these firms are engaged in late-stage negotiations with the U.S. and European political leaders that would make it financially calamitous for a nation-state to take any actions against the interest of corporations. If passed — and at this rate, it almost certainly will be — it will be the biggest bilateral trade deal in the history of mankind. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/06/trade-treaties-coming-rule-global-corporatocracy.html



Data Storms and the Tyranny of Manufactured Forgetting


Data Storms and the Tyranny of Manufactured Forgetting

Tuesday, 24 June 2014 09:40
By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout | News Analysis


For in the world in which we live it is no longer merely a question of the decay of collective memory and declining consciousness of the past, but of the aggressive [assault on] whatever memory remains, the deliberate distortion of the historical record, the invention of mythological pasts in the service of the powers of darkness.

- Yose Hayim Yerushalmi

All reification is forgetting.
- Herbert Marcuse


The current mainstream debate regarding the crisis in Iraq and Syria offers a near perfect example of both the death of historical memory and the collapse of critical thinking in the United States. It also signifies the emergence of a profoundly anti-democratic culture of manufactured ignorance and social indifference. Surely, historical memory is under assault when the dominant media give airtime to the incessant war mongering of politicians such as Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham and retro pundits such as Bill Kristol, Douglas Feith, Condoleezza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz - not one of whom has any credibility given how they have worked to legitimate the unremitting web of lies and deceit that provided cover for the disastrous US invasion of Iraq under the Bush/Cheney administration.

History repeats itself in the recent resurgence of calls for US military interventions in Syria and Iraq. Such repetitions of history undoubtedly shift from tragedy to farce as former Vice President Dick Cheney once again becomes a leading pundit calling for military solutions to the current crises in the Middle East, in spite of his established reputation for hypocrisy, lies, corporate cronyism, defending torture and abysmal policymaking under the Bush administration. The resurrection of Dick Cheney, the Darth Vader of the 21st century, as a legitimate source on the current crisis in Syria and Iraq is a truly monumental display of historical amnesia and moral dissipation. As Thom Hartman observes, Cheney bears a large responsibility for the Iraq War, which "was the single biggest foreign policy disaster in recent - or maybe even all - of American history. It cost the country around $4 trillion dollars, killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, left 4,500 Americans dead, and turned what was once one of the more developed countries in the Arab World into a slaughterhouse. What room is there for historical memory in an age "when the twin presiding deities are irony and violence"?

Missing from the commentaries by the mainstream media regarding the current situation in Iraq is any historical context that would offer a critical account of the disorder plaguing the Middle East. A resurrection of historical memory in this moment could provide important lessons regarding the present crisis. What is clear in this case is that a widespread avoidance of the past has become not only a sign of the appalling lack of historical knowledge in contemporary American culture, but a deliberate political weapon used by the powerful to keep people passive and blind to the truth. Of course, there are many factors currently contributing to this production of ignorance and the lobotomizing of individual and collective agency.

Such factors extend from the idiocy of celebrity and popular culture and the dumbing down of American schools to the transformation of the mainstream media into a deadly mix of propaganda, violence and entertainment. The latter is particularly crucial as the collapse of journalistic standards that could inform the onslaught of information finds its counterpart in an unrelenting rise of political and civic illiteracy. The knowledge and value deficits that produce such detrimental forms of ignorance not only crush the imagination, critical modes of social interaction, and political dissent, but also destroy those public spheres and spaces that promote thoughtfulness, thinking, critical dialogue and serve as "guardians of truths as facts," as Hannah Arendt once put it. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/24550-data-storms-and-the-tyranny-of-manufactured-forgetting



Robert Scheer: Where’s Saddam Hussein When the U.S. Needs Him?


from truthdig:


Where’s Saddam Hussein When the U.S. Needs Him?

Posted on Jun 23, 2014
By Robert Scheer


John Kerry was doing his best “Casablanca” impersonation, pretending to be police Capt. Renault and was just shocked that Egypt is still a brutal military dictatorship despite our newly revived “historic partnership.”

A day after chatting it up in Cairo on Sunday with now-elected dictator Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who, Kerry assured the world, “gave me a very strong sense of his commitment (to) a re-evaluation of human rights legislation (and) a re-evaluation of the judicial process,” the secretary of state felt compelled to release a statement condemning that process.

Although the U.S. government has managed to overlook the Egyptian military’s brutal destruction of the Arab world’s most significant attempt at accommodating religious, ethnic and tribal differences through representative government, the stiff sentences meted out Monday to three Al-Jazeera journalists, all veterans of Western news organizations, have finally shocked the media establishment. They also embarrassed Kerry, who had come to Cairo to curry favor with the military dictatorship. The State Department released the following statement of condemnation under his name:

“Today’s conviction and chilling, draconian sentences by the Cairo Criminal Court of three Al Jazeera journalists and 15 others in a trial that lacked many fundamental norms of due process is a deeply disturbing set-back to Egypt’s transition. Injustices like these simply cannot stand if Egypt is to move forward in the way that President al-Sisi and Foreign Minister Shoukry told me yesterday that they aspire to see their country advance.” ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/wheres_saddam_hussein_when_the_us_needs_him_20140624



Indeed..........





Buying Up the Planet: Out-of-Control Central Banks on a Corporate Buying Spree


Buying Up the Planet: Out-of-Control Central Banks on a Corporate Buying Spree

Monday, 23 June 2014 10:28
By Ellen Brown, The Web of Debt Blog | News Analysis


"Finance is the new form of warfare – without the expense of a military overhead and an occupation against unwilling hosts. It is a competition in credit creation to buy foreign resources, real estate, public and privatized infrastructure, bonds and corporate stock ownership. Who needs an army when you can obtain the usual objective (monetary wealth and asset appropriation) simply by financial means?"
- Dr. Michael Hudson, Counterpunch, October 2010


When the US Federal Reserve bought an 80% stake in American International Group (AIG) in September 2008, the unprecedented $85 billion outlay was justified as necessary to bail out the world’s largest insurance company. Today, however, central banks are on a global corporate buying spree not to bail out bankrupt corporations but simply as an investment, to compensate for the loss of bond income due to record-low interest rates. Indeed, central banks have become some of the world’s largest stock investors.

Central banks have the power to create national currencies with accounting entries, and they are traditionally very secretive. We are not allowed to peer into their books. It took a major lawsuit by Reuters and a congressional investigation to get the Fed to reveal the $16-plus trillion in loans it made to bail out giant banks and corporations after 2008.

What is to stop a foreign bank from simply printing its own currency and trading it on the currency market for dollars, to be invested in the US stock market or US real estate market? What is to stop central banks from printing up money competitively, in a mad rush to own the world’s largest companies?

Apparently not much. Central banks are for the most part unregulated, even by their own governments. As the Federal Reserve observes on its website:

"The Fed) is considered an independent central bank because its monetary policy decisions do not have to be approved by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branches of government, it does not receive funding appropriated by the Congress, and the terms of the members of the Board of Governors span multiple presidential and congressional terms."


As former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan quipped, “Quite frankly it does not matter who is president as far as the Fed is concerned. There are no other agencies that can overrule the action we take.” ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/24539-buying-up-the-planet-out-of-control-central-banks-on-a-corporate-buying-spree



Violent and Legal: The Shocking Ways School Kids Are Being Pinned Down, Isolated Against Their Will


Violent and Legal: The Shocking Ways School Kids Are Being Pinned Down, Isolated Against Their Will

Monday, 23 June 2014 10:44
By Heather Vogell, ProPublica | Report


The room where they locked up Heather Luke's 10-year-old son had cinder block walls, a dim light and a fan in the ceiling that rattled so insistently her son would beg them to silence it.

Sometimes, Carson later told his mother, workers would run the fan to make him stop yelling. A thick metal door with locks—which they threw, clank-clank-clank—separated the autistic boy from the rest of the decrepit building in Chesapeake, Virginia, just south of Norfolk.

The room that officials benignly called the "quiet area" so agitated the tall and lanky blond boy that one day in March 2011, his mother said, Carson flew into a panic at the mere suggestion of being confined there after an outburst. He had lashed out, hitting, scratching and hurling his shoes. Staff members held him down, then muscled him through the hallway and attempted to lock him in, yet again.

But this time, the effort went awry. Staffers crushed Carson's hand while trying to slam the door. A surgeon later needed to operate to close the bleeding half-moon a bolt had punched into his left palm. The wound was so deep it exposed bone. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/24530-violent-and-legal-the-shocking-ways-school-kids-are-being-pinned-down-isolated-against-their-will



Chris Hedges: The Ghoulish Face of Empire


from truthdig:


The Ghoulish Face of Empire

Posted on Jun 22, 2014
By Chris Hedges


The black-clad fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, sweeping a collapsing army and terrified Iraqis before them as they advance toward Baghdad, reflect back to us the ghoulish face of American empire. They are the specters of the hundreds of thousands of people we murdered in our deluded quest to remake the Middle East. They are ghosts from the innumerable roadsides and villages where U.S. soldiers and Marines, jolted by explosions of improvised explosive devices, responded with indiscriminate fire. They are the risen remains of the dismembered Iraqis left behind by blasts of Hellfire and cruise missiles, howitzers, grenade launchers and drone strikes. They are the avengers of the gruesome torture and the sexual debasement that often came with being detained by American troops. They are the final answer to the collective humiliation of an occupied country, the logical outcome of Shock and Awe, the Frankenstein monster stitched together from the body parts we left scattered on the ground. They are what we get for the $4 trillion we wasted on the Iraq War.

The language of violence engenders violence. The language of hate engenders hate. “I and the public know what all schoolchildren learn,” W.H. Auden wrote. “Those to whom evil is done do evil in return.” It is as old as the Bible.

There is no fight left in us. The war is over. We destroyed Iraq as a unified country. It will never be put back together. We are reduced—in what must be an act of divine justice decreed by the gods, whom we have discovered to our dismay are Islamic—to pleading with Iran for military assistance to shield the corrupt and despised U.S. protectorate led by Nouri al-Maliki. We are not, as we thought when we entered Iraq, the omnipotent superpower able in a swift and brutal stroke to bend a people to our will. We are something else. Fools and murderers. Blinded by hubris. Faded relics of the Cold War. And now, in the final act of the play, we are crawling away. Our empire is dying.

We should have heeded, while we had a chance, the wails of mothers and fathers. We should have listened to the cries of the wounded. We should have wept over the bodies of Iraqi children lined up in neat rows in the morgues. We should have honored grief so we could honor life. But the dance of death is intoxicating. Once it begins you whirl in an ecstatic frenzy. Death’s embrace, which feels at first like sexual lust, tightens and tightens until you suffocate. Now the music has stopped. All we have left are loss and pain. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_ghoulish_face_of_empire_20140623



5 Links Between Higher Education and the Prison Industry


from Rolling Stone:


5 Links Between Higher Education and the Prison Industry
The worlds of academia and incarceration are closer than you may think

By Hannah K. Gold
June 18, 2014 1:10 PM ET


American universities do a fine job of selling themselves as pathways to opportunity and knowledge. But follow the traffic of money and policies through these academic institutions and you'll often wind up at the barbed wire gates of Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, the two largest private prison operators in the United States. In the last two decades the private prison industry has exploded, growing 784 percent at the federal level, and helping the United States to achieve the highest incarceration rate in the world. CCA operates 69 facilities throughout the United States, GEO operates 55; both typically mandate that 90 percent of their beds be filled at all times. In the last two years alone CCA has defended itself against charges of fraudulent understaffing of its facilities, medical neglect and abuse of inmates.

A series of policies, appointments and investments knit America's universities into the widening net of the criminal justice system and the prison industrial complex. Institutions of higher education have now become a part of what sociologist Victor Rios has called the "youth control complex"—a tightly bundled network of institutions that work insidiously and in harmony to criminalize young people of color. Here are five ways that universities buy into private prison companies.

1. Investing In Private Prisons

The clearest link between havens of higher education and private prisons, are direct investments of a university's endowment in CCA and GEO Group. The most public display of such nefarious investments has been at Columbia University, where in June 2013 a group of students discovered that their university owns 230,432 shares of CCA stock worth $8 million. In February 2014 the newly formed student groups Columbia Prison Divest delivered a letter to President Lee Bollinger demanding, among other things, that Columbia divest all its CCA shares and fully disclose its investments in the future (students can only view 10 percent of the university's investments currently).

These connections are glaring, the less obvious ones go by the names of Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and other members of the "million shares club"—companies that own more than one million shares of CCA and GEO Group, and which collectively own more than two-thirds of these private prison companies. They all have directors and CEOs who sit on the boards of wealthy universities like Stanford and Columbia, and these top universities hand over healthy wads of endowment cash to them too. The full list of mega-powerful conglomerates that take stock in incarceration can be viewed here. ................(more)

Te complete piece is at: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/5-links-between-higher-education-and-the-prison-industry-20140618#ixzz35N6SO24i



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