Sunday, July 31, 2011

Murdoch, Homer & history

In an article, in this week's Economist (7/23/11), a writer named "Schumpeter", I don't know what if any relation he is to the famous Economist/political scientist Joseph Schumpeter, writes
He [Rupert Murdoch] saved the British newspaper industry from being destroyed by thuggish print unions, endured years of losses to make satellite television a success, cracked the American television triopoly with the creation of Fox and gave the world Homer Simpson.
I leave it to you to decide for which of these Murdoch will ultimately be remembered. I know which my choice would be - "doh!."

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Amy Winehouse follows a tragic rock tradition

The death of Amy Winehouse follows a rock tradition we could do well without. Winehouse (1983-2011) shares one thing in common with Rolling Stones' Brian Jones (1942-1969), Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970), Janis Joplin (1943-1970), Jim Morrison (1943-1971) & Kurt Cobain (1967-1994) besides being rock stars. If you do the math, you'll notice they all died @ 27. It does make you re-think the importance of fate in human events.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pushing Crisis: GOP Cries Wolf on Debt Ceiling In Order To Impose Radical Pro-Rich Agenda

Two things are becoming more & more clear as President Obama & Congress come to an agreement on how to resolve the current manufactured "debt limit" crisis. First, the corporate oligarchy is following the same historical pattern that Naomi Klein demonstrated so masterfully in The Shock Doctrine. After either a real or manufactured crisis - like the Aug. 2nd deadline to raise the debt limit - is created, the corporate oligarchy takes advantage of the shocks that emanate from the crisis to further enrich & empower themselves. This is, of course, enabled by the corporate-owned politicians & media. And that's effectively what Prof. Michael Hudson argues in this episode (7/22) of Democracy Now. He says:
What's happening across the world is an attempt by the financial sector to really make its move. ... This is their opportunity for a power carve up the public domain & give themselves enough money, they're taking the money & running,,,, The only question is how much can they take & how fast.
The other thing we're learning is much more about President Obama and his role in all this. Sometime ago, it was suggested that if there were still progressive Republicans, Obama would be a Republican. Michael Hudson says:
You could see it all coming before Mr. Obama took office when he appointed the Deficit Reduction Commission. He appointed opponents of social security [like] Republican Senator Simpson, Bowles, Clinton's Chief of Staff. Obama really believes in trickle down economics. He believes that Wall Street [are] job creators, not downsizers And outsourcers and foreclosers. That's the tragedy of all this. Now the question is how can a Democratic president put forth a Republican program? In reality there has to be a crisis [when] in reality there is no crisis at all.

Pushing Crisis: GOP Cries Wolf on Debt Ceiling In Order To Impose Radical Pro-Rich Agenda

What do Obama, the Gang of Six and Paul Ryan have in common by Jack Rasmus (Truthout)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Aug. 7: Hiroshima/Nagasaki Memorial:

Sunday, August 7, 2:30-4:30 PM
Casserly Hall, below St. Joseph's Greenwich Village Church.
( Enter on Washington Pl just off Sixth Ave)

Hiroshima/Nagasaki Memorial: This event is a commemoration of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and an appeal
to abolish nuclear weapons today. The theme is Interfaith Perspectives on Nuclear Weapons. It will provide an overview of Catholic Social Teaching on the topic and then hear from Buddhist and Muslim presenters.

Speakers: Hiro Sakurai, chairman of the UN Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security, representing the Soka Gakkai NGO, a lay Buddhist organization, and
Ibrahim Ramey, Program Director of the Muslim American Society and former Program Director on Disarmament with Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Preceding the talk and discussion will be an interfaith prayer, followed by a public witness.

Whose side is Obama on?

Here's what President Obama said yesterday (7/19) about the "Gang of Six" plan on the economy:
The good news is that today, a group of senators, the "Gang of Six," Democrats and Republicans -- I guess now gang of seven, because one additional Republican senator added on -- put forward a proposal is that is broadly consistent with the approach that I've urged.
For Republican senators to acknowledge that revenues will have to be part of a balanced package that makes sure that nobody is disproportionately hurt from us making progress on the debt and deficits, I think is a very significant step.
Dean Baker co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), issued the following statement on the Gang of Six deficit plan:
In short, this is a plan that should be expected to please the wealthy since it will mean large reductions in their tax liability in the decades ahead. On the other hand, most of the rest of the country is likely to feel the effects of lower Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits, in addition to other cuts that are not yet fully specified.

For more on this see Who Will Suffer Under the 'Gang of Six' Plan? | The Nation

Bachmann's problem is foot-in-mouth disease, not migraines

If anyone believes that it's migraine headaches that would prevent Michelle Bachmann from being a good president, they haven't heard a word that comes out of her mouth.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Neo-cons & Iran: Chalabi redux

What can we say about people who keep repeating the same action and expecting a different result? Here's the neo-con version of this psychiatric dilemma.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Right wing Agnotology or "culturally-induced ignorance..."

My friend Burt asked me if I had ever heard about the term agnotology, which according to Paul Krugman "is, culturally-induced ignorance or doubt." It seems to me that it explains allot about the current debate over increasing the debt limit.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Quote of the day: Dean Baker, "Manufacturing deficit fear"

As survey after survey shows, the vast majority of the public are incredibly ignorant of the most basic facts about the budget and the economy. If we treated their teachers in the media the way the educational reformers treat public school teachers, few economics and budget reporters would have jobs.
From: Dean Baker, "Manufacturing deficit fear"

Friday, July 08, 2011

Israel's no fly zone: European airlines refuse to board pro-Palestinian activists by Dahr Jamail (Al Jazeera English)

Yes I.F. (Stone) "All governments lie", but Israel's leaders must now have the longest noses in the world. Here are just two examples of Israel's demonic fantasy world:
On July 5, Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch called the activists "hooligans" and said they would be barred from entry.

Israeli Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said officers deployed at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion International Airport have been prepared to deal with scenarios such as airport officials being attacked or activists settings themselves on fire.

Israel's no fly zone from Al Jazeera English

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The-Plot-Thickens-on-2012-Race (CCDSLinks--Weekly News and Views)

This looks like a link worth following, I'm going to add it to the blog links & follow it for a while

The latest news from the Freedom Flotilla (Al Jazeera English)

A French boat has set sail for Gaza from Corsica in the latest attempt by activists to deliver aid to the Palestinian territory, according to a journalist aboard the vessel.
Meanwhile, the captain of a US ship, who was arrested by Greek authorities, was released on [today] and all charges against him dropped, Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal reported from Athens.
"He has not been fined for anything, and he is a free man. This after Greek authorities arrested him or detained him late on Friday as he tried to bring his ship out and take the passengers to Gaza," Elshayyal said.

French flotilla boat sets sail for Gaza (Al Jazeera English)

Monday, July 04, 2011

Hope lost, audacity found: the latest on the flotilla (from: Al Jazeera English)

While watching the 4th of July fireworks from our living room (our video of some of it is on Facebook) I couldn't help but wonder what we were celebrating, certainly not freedom w/ the Gaza Freedom Flotilla mired in Greek waters. Today a second flotilla boat was hauled back by the Greek Coast Guard after attempting to sail to Gaza. This article from AJE is an interesting comparison of Obama & the flotilla and JFK & the freedom riders in the '60s. Obama could be demanding that U.S. citizens be allowed to sail to Gaza if they so choose, but instead he's threatening to arrest them. While liberty is celebrated above the Hudson River, we are clearly losing more & more of ours every day.

Hope lost, audacity found - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Israel proves I.F. Stone right again, "All governments lie..."

(Photo: Reuters)

News note: A Jordanian union leader told Agence France Presse that a boat has been purchased for $800,000 in Greece to carry construction materials, medical supplies, and 200 additional passengers to join the Gaza Freedom Flotilla of ten ships and several hundred passengers from 20 countries. [As I'm sure you already know] The Flotilla, which was scheduled to depart last week, is currently being delayed by Greek authorities. (from IMEMC News) Also eight Flotilla Activists, who were arrested while on a hunger strike at the U.S. embassy in Greece, have been released. U.S. Boat to Gaza

The full I.F.Stone quote is "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." Without in any way suggesting that the courageous flotilla activists shouldn't stick with it, it's also time to declare victory. The flotilla has forced Israel to attack boats that haven't even left Greece. What are they afraid of? Talk about terrorism, what about sabotaging boats in Greek waters, just to keep them from heading for Gaza. Here's a perfect example of how much Israeli spokespeople can be trusted:

It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the situation of Palestinians (particularly in the occupied territories) that the U.S. media would echo the Israeli propaganda. Richard Falk writes:
On a second level of Orwellian distortion, a somewhat more subtle case against the flotilla has been put forward. The daily existence of the entrapped, impoverished, and mentally and physically debilitated Gazans have been depicted by Israeli propagandists as if they were enjoying a glitzy pleasure kingdom that benefits its 1.6 million inhabitants. No less a journalistic personality than Ethan Bronner, long a skilled Israeli apologist, opens a front page story in the New York Times newspaper on June 28, 2011, ... [an] absurdly glowing description of the situation in Gaza
What makes this travesty on conditions in Gaza newsworthy is not these good things that are supposedly happening, but its relevance to the Israeli contention that the humanitarian rationale for the flotilla mission is fatuous and unnecessary because life for Gazans, despite appearances to the contrary, is going along in sprightly fashion behind the barbed wire and walls that enclose the enclave.
In other words, as usual, Israel lies and the U.S. media swear to it.

International support for the Flotilla is growing. There may be counter pressure on the Greek government to let the Flotilla sail to Gaza forcing Israel to act openly instead of under the radar.

Friday, July 01, 2011




At 9:45 am EST, the Audacity of Hope set sail from Greece, but less than half an hour later the Greek Coast Guard stopped the boat and demanded it return to port (see updates below).

Emergency protests are being called all around the US.

Join the NYC protest today (Friday), 5 pm!

LIVE BLOG: Greek Authorities Intercept U.S. Boat For Gaza Minutes After It Set Sail (Updated 12:45 p.m. EDT)

July 4th: Annual Public Reading & discussion of the Constitution w/ Norman Siegel

Monday, July 4th, 12:00 noon

Central Park Constitution Festival with Norman Siegel

Strawberry Fields

Join famed civil liberties attorney Norman Siegel at the Annual Constitution Festival! We will discuss the various articles and amendments and determine how well or how poorly they are being applied and interpreted today. If it rains, worry not - there is a nearby sanctuary!

Enter at Central Park West and 72nd Street and follow the sign to Strawberry Fields, about a block away.