"The wealthy, not only by private fraud but also by common laws, do every day pluck and snatch away from the people some part of their daily living. Therefore, when I consider and weigh in my mind these commonwealths which nowadays do flourish, I perceive nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men in procuring their own commodities under the name and authority of the commonwealth.

They invent and devise all means and crafts, first how to keep safely without fear of losing that which they have unjustly gathered together, and next how to hire and abuse the work and labor of the people for as little money and effort as possible."

Thomas More, Utopia

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Meanwhile on the Wall Street fraud front...

Commercial real estate is the next shoe to drop in our ongoing financial crisis and in order to protect the reckless the (alleged) regulatory agencies who did such a bang up job as the underlying conditions for the present debacle developed, have relaxed the accounting requirements for banks holding the notes on those underwater shopping malls littering the country. And in whose face are these time-bombs set to blow up in the not too distant future? You guested it, the taxpayer.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dirty Laundry

Every once in a great while a member of the ruling class or, more often than not, one of its lackeys will find themselves grappling with their conscience and succumb to its influence. John Perkins faithfully served his masters for decades as an economist for a US based consulting and engineering firm that specialized in convincing the ruling elites of developing nations to take on massive debt in the form of World Bank and/or IMF loans for construction projects of negligible indigenous economic benefit but a source of windfall profits for western corporations and their investors. Perkins lays out all of the sordid details in his memoir Confessions of an Economic Hit-man but provides a handy Cliff-Notes version in this interview:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Big Government

I’m always amused when I hear complaints about “big government” (wink to Rue St. Michael) and how if only it would stop hampering “innovation” with its incessant meddling we’d all be on Peach Street for damn sure. When will this myth die the bloody death it so richly deserves? Oh well, maybe this little nugget courtesy of Naked Capitalism will help clear the air for those who still, even after Big Government was last seen shoveling tax dollars like a son-of-a-bitch into the coffers of the insolvent financial institutions primarily responsible for destroying the world economy, think Big Government serves anything but the ruling elite:

Beginning late in the week of Nov. 3, the New York Fed, led by President Timothy Geithner, took over negotiations with the banks from AIG, together with the Treasury Department and Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s Federal Reserve. Geithner’s team circulated a draft term sheet outlining how the New York Fed wanted to deal with the swaps — insurance-like contracts that backed soured collateralized-debt obligations….

Part of a sentence in the document was crossed out. It contained a blank space that was intended to show the amount of the haircut the banks would take, according to people who saw the term sheet. After less than a week of private negotiations with the banks, the New York Fed instructed AIG to pay them par, or 100 cents on the dollar. The content of its deliberations has never been made public.

The rest...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Dog -&-(dead)Pony-Show

Joe Bagent checks in with an amusing update on the state of Obama's America. An excerpt:

Somewhere in the smoking wreckage [of the US economy] lie the solutions. The solutions we aren't allowed to discuss: adoption of a Wall Street securities speculation tax; repeal of the Taft-Hartley anti-union laws; ending corporate personhood; cutting the bloated vampire bleeding the economy, the military budget; full single payer health care insurance, not some "public option" that is neither fish nor fowl; taxation instead of credits for carbon pollution; reversal of inflammatory U.S. policy in the Middle East (as in, get the hell out, begin kicking the oil addiction and quit backing the spoiled murderous brat that is Israel.
-Joe Bagent

The rest...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Genocide Appreciation Day!

A must read (for The Children of course):

Lies My Teacher Told Me:
Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

by James W. Loewen

(Notes on above title by Colby Glass)

Columbus discovered America and proved that the earth was not flat... Right?
We tend to "underplay previous explorers" (39). There were probably 15 or more individuals and groups that "discovered" and settled America before Columbus.
 "Even if Columbus had never sailed, other Europeans would have soon reached the Americas... Columbus's voyage.. was epoch-making because of the way in which Europe responded" (39).

 "The changes in Europe not only prompted Columbus's voyage.. they also paved the way for Europe's domination of the world for the next five hundred years. Except for the invention of agriculture, this was probably the most consequential development in human history" (41-2).
"..new and more deadly forms of smallpox and bubonic plague had arisen in Europe.. Passed on to those the Europeans met, these diseases helped Europe conquer the Americas and, later, the islands of the Pacific" (44).

 "Columbus claimed everything he saw right off the boat. When textbooks celebrate this process, they imply that taking the land and dominating the indians was inevitable if not natural" (44).
 "Most important, [Columbus's] prupose from the beginning was not mere exploration or even trade, but conquest and exploitation, for which he used religion as a rationale. If textbooks included these facts, they might induce students to think intelligently about why the West dominates the world today" (45).
Washington Irving created the lie that people thought the earth was flat until Columbus proved that it was round (57).
What is the real significance of Columbus's reaching the Americas? What made his trip different than the fifteen discoverers who preceded him?
 "Christopher Columbus introduced two phenomena that revolutionized race relations and transformed the modern world: the taking of land, wealth, and labor from indigenous peoples, leading to their near extermination, and the transatlantic slave trade, which created a racial underclass" (60).
"When Columbus and his men returned to Haiti in 1493, they demanded food, gold, spun cotton--whatever the Indians had that they wanted, including sex with their women. To ensure cooperation, Columbus used punishment by example. When an Indian committed even a minor offense, the Spanish cut off his ears or nose" (61).
 "..attempts at resistance gave Columbus an excuse to make war... For this he chose 200 foot soldiers and 20 cavalry, with many crossbows and small cannon, lances, and swords, and a still more terrible weapon against the Indians, in addition to the horses: this was 20 hunting dogs, who were turned loose and immediately tore the Indians apart" (61).

 "Columbus.. initiated a great slave raid. They rounded up 1,500 Arawaks, then selected the 500 best specimines (of whom 200 would die en route to Spain. Another 500 were chosen as slaves for the Spaniards staying on the island" (62).
 "Spaniards hunted Indians for sport and murdered them for dog food. Columbus, upset because he could not locate the gold he was certain was on the island, set up a tribute system... The Indians all promised to pay tribute.. every three months... With a fresh token, an Indian was safe for three months, much of which time would be devoted to collecting more gold... the Spanish punished those whose tokens had expired: they cut off their hands" (62).
"Columbus installed the encomienda system, in which he granted or "commended" entire Indian villages to individual colonists or groups of colonists... On Haiti the colonists made the Indians mine gold for them, raise Spanish food, and even carry them everywhere they went" (63). An Spanish observer wrote that "As a result of the sufferings and hard labor they endured [under this virtual slavery], the Indians choose and have chosen suicide. Occasionally a hundred have committed mass suicide. The women, exhausted by labor, have shunned conception and childbirth... Many, when pregnant, have taken something to abort and have aborted. Others after delivery have killed their children with their own hands, so as not to leave them in such oppressive slavery"" (63).

 "Estimates of Haiti's pre-Columbian population range as high as 8,000,000 people... a census of Indian adults in 1496.. came up with 1,100,000... "By 1516," according to Benjamin Keen, "thanks to the sinister Indian slave trade and labor policies initiated by Columbus, only some 12,000 remained." Las Casas tells us that fewer than 200 Indians were alive in 1542. By 1555, they were all gone" (63).

 ".. one of the primary instances of genocide in all human history" (64).
 "Columbus not only sent the first slaves across the Atlantic, he probably sent more slaves--about five thousand--than any other individual... other nations rushed to emulate Columbus" (64).

 "As soon as the 1493 expedition got to the Caribbean, before it even reached Haiti, Columbus was rewarding his lieutenants with native women to rape. On Haiti, sex slaves were one more perquisite that the Spaniards enjoyed. Columbus wrote a friend in 1500, "... it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand"" (65).

 "Columbus is not a hero in Mexico... Why not? Because Mexico is also much more Indian than the United States, and Mexicans perceive Columbus as white and European. "No sensible Indian person," wrote George P. Horse Capture, "can celebrate the arrival of Columbus." Cherishing Columbus is a characteristic of white history, not American history" (70).

 "The worshipful biographical vignettes of Columbus in our textbooks serve to indoctrinate students into a mindless endorsement of colonialism... the Columbus myth allows us to accept the contemporary division of the world into developed and underdeveloped spheres as natural and given, rather than a historical product issuing from a process that began with Columbus's first voyage" (70).

Friday, October 09, 2009

I'd like to thank the Academy...

The Nobel committee issued a clarification explaining that Obama was actually awarded the "Rest In Peace Prize", in recognition of becoming the most prolific active killer on the planet and thereby ushering so many human beings beyond this vale of tears to their eternal rest.  "By helping thousands of men, women, and children achieve ultimate peace, and showing every sign that he intends to do the same for thousands more, Barack Obama has truly earned this prestigious award."-John Caruso (A Distant Ocean)

Sur-Prize, Sur-Prize!!

A Nobel, who’d a thunk it? For peace! So... let me get this straight, Obomba whose administration is now contemplating the delivery of an additional 40,000 troops to the Af/Pak war of conquest while garrisoning thousands more in permanent mega bases surrounding the cites of illegally occupied Iraq... is deserving of a Nobel? For peace?

I’ll tell you the truth, I’m far more amused by the nervous twitter from the war profiteers and their media mouthpieces who fear the Obomb’s hands may be tied by the rising expectations of a peace dividend from those around the world living in the vain hope that the US will no longer behave as a rogue state. They needn’t have worried. Take this from Obomba’s Nobel acceptance speech:

“I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.
Now, these challenges can't be met by any one leader or any one nation. And that's why my administration's worked to establish a new era of engagement in which all nations must take responsibility for the world we seek. We cannot tolerate a world in which nuclear weapons spread to more nations and in which the terror of a nuclear holocaust endangers more people”

As John Caruso of The Distant Ocean points out the Barockstar used his ACCEPTANCE SPEECH FOR THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE to reiterate his administration’s threats against Iran. Threats by the way which include the possibility of a nuclear strike against this non-nuclear power. Imagine it, 10 million or more dead Neda’s.

Friday, October 02, 2009


Could you imagine a declaration such as this from a modern American politician?

From here on out the U.S. exists for the sole purpose of making you the people's life as healthy and meaningless-toil free as possible, with as much true leisure as can be accomplished, so that you may have time to grow, and think and come to know what sages know before their time is over. The government exists solely to ensure that you can be as straight, queer, or transgender or as deviant as you so choose, so long as no one is harmed. And to be as idle as you choose, yet be guaranteed the minimum entitlement of all human beings, food, shelter and civil liberty. To be as much or as little as you choose to be, and to be educated enough to make that choice.

I hereby announce that this government exists so as to preserve the earth, not so it can serve us longer, but so that we may serve the earth longer, better and with complete humility for the only mother we ever had or will have. Let us now wage peace against every war making entity on the planet. Tomorrow morning at 8 AM I will cancel the space program and its interstellar wastefulness and reassign those resources to the hungriest people not just here in America, but across the world. I herein declare the American era of material prosperity officially closed for business, which I admit is no great accomplishment, given that it is already over and dead...

All citizen debts are canceled and banks as we know them are abolished. Money is abolished, to be replaced with a system of social credits based upon planetary sustainability, meaningful and useful human productivity and an economy of human labor and art. I order the elites who have held captive the people's medium of exchange, then rented it back to them creating a nation of debt slaves, immediately to prison without any trials by the judicial commissariat who have always served their interests....

Ahhh yes, one can dream can’t he? Ramble on Joe, ramble on.