September 5, 2009 archive

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 G20 aims at bank pay and capital; stimulus to stay

By Sumeet Desai and Louise Egan, Reuters

11 mins ago

LONDON (Reuters) – G20 finance leaders on Saturday took aim at excessive bank pay and risk-taking at the root of the financial crisis and insisted trillions of dollars of emergency economic supports would be needed for some time.

Although the global economy looks brighter than when the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers met in April, their closing statement said they would not remove economic stimulus until the recovery was well entrenched.

While the timing of these eventual policy reversals may vary, the G20 said for the first time there should be some coordination to avoid adverse international fallout.

Dark Soul Chapter Thirteen

appy Saturday and welcome to the Dog’s serialization of his novel Dark Soul. This is a work in progress, so if you have any thoughts or suggestions, don’t be shy about offering them up. Sorry this is posted a little later than usual. There were internet connectivity issues here at the Dog house.

If you have just started reading this, you can find the previous chapters at the following links:

Dark Soul – Chapter One

Dark Soul – Chapter Two

Dark Soul – Chapter Three

Dark Soul – Chapter Four

Dark Soul – Chapter Five

Dark Soul – Chapter Six

Dark Soul – Chapter Seven

Dark Soul – Chapter Eight

Dark Soul – Chapter Nine

Dark Soul – Chapter Ten

Dark Soul – Chapter Eleven

Dark Soul – Chapter Twelve

This serialization is only available here at Docudharma!  

Doctor tells Congress all, about Health Care Denials

Doctor Linda Peeno, a renown expert in the field of “Managed Care”, explains to Congress the dirty little secrets behind the Business of Health Care Denial:

Doctor Linda Peeno, a renown expert in the field of “Managed Care”, explains to Congress the dirty little secrets behind the Business of Health Care Denial:

THE REAL DEATH PANELS: Insurance Companies That Deny Care



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

Linda Peeno, M.D.

In the spring of 1987, as a Physician, I denied a man a necessary operation, that would have saved his life. And thus caused his death. And I’m haunted by the thousands of pieces of paper, on which I have written that deadly word: Denied.

American Bread

“Gee Honey, this is scary!”

“What?”

“Look at these hot dog rolls I forgot in the microwave!”

Yes we don’t use the microwave in the camper other than it being an overpriced bread box.  Low and behold the month old hot dog rolls looked just as fresh as the day they were bought.  Miracles of modern preservatives, or soylent green.

More Apocalypse News after the break.

Chris Hedges – Go to Pittsburgh, Young Man, and Defy Your Empire

Posted with kind permission of Truthdig

By Chris Hedges

Globalization and unfettered capitalism have been swept into the history books along with the open-market theory of the 1920s, the experiments of fascism, communism and the New Deal. It is time for a new economic and political paradigm. It is time for a new language to address our reality. The voices of change, those who speak in powerful and yet unfamiliar words, will cry out Sept. 25 and 26 in Pittsburgh when protesters from around the country gather to defy the heads of state, bankers and finance ministers from the world’s 22 largest economies who are convening for a meeting of the  G-20. If we heed these dissident voices we have a future. If we do not we will commit collective suicide.

The international power elites will go to Pittsburgh to preach the mantra that globalization is inevitable and eternal. They will discuss a corpse as if it was living. They will urge us to remain in suspended animation and place our trust in the inept bankers and politicians who orchestrated the crisis. This is the usual tactic of bankrupt elites clinging to power. They denigrate and push to the margins the realists-none of whom will be inside their security perimeters-who give words to our disintegration and demand a new, unfamiliar course. The powerful discredit dissent and protest. But human history, as Erich Fromm wrote, always begins anew with disobedience. This disobedience is the first step toward freedom. It makes possible the recovery of reason.

The longer we speak in the language of global capitalism, the longer we utter platitudes about the free market-even as we funnel hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars into the accounts of large corporations-the longer we live in a state of collective self-delusion. Our power elite, who profess to hate government and government involvement in the free market, who claim they are the defenders of competition and individualism, have been stealing hundreds of billions of dollars of our money to nationalize mismanaged corporations and save them from bankruptcy. We hear angry and confused citizens, their minds warped by hate talk radio and television, condemn socialized medicine although we have become, at least for corporations, the most socialized nation on Earth. The schizophrenia between what we profess and what we actually embrace has rendered us incapable of confronting reality. The longer we speak in the old language of markets, capitalism, free trade and globalization the longer the entities that created this collapse will cannibalize the nation.  

What are we now? What do we believe? What economic model explains the irrationality of looting the U.S. Treasury to permit speculators at Goldman Sachs to make obscene profits? How can Barack Obama’s chief economic adviser, Lawrence Summers, tout a “jobless recovery”? How much longer can we believe the fantasy that global markets will replace nation states and that economics will permit us to create a utopian world where we will all share the same happy goals? When will we denounce the lie that globalization fosters democracy, enlightenment, worldwide prosperity and stability? When we will we realize that unfettered global trade and corporate profit are the bitter enemies of freedom and the common good?

Corporations are pushing through legislation in the United States that will force us to buy defective, for-profit health insurance, a plan that will expand corporate monopolies and profits at our expense and leave tens of millions without adequate care. Corporations are blocking all attempts to move to renewable and sustainable energy to protect the staggering profits of the oil, natural gas and coal industries. Corporations are plunging us deeper and deeper as a nation into debt to feed the permanent war economy and swell the military budget, which consumes half of all discretionary spending. Corporations use lobbyists and campaign contributions to maintain arcane tax codes that offer them tax havens and tax evasions. Corporations are draining the treasury while the working class sheds jobs, sees homes foreclosed and struggles to survive in a new and terrifying global serfdom. This has been the awful price of complacency.

Protests will begin several days before the summit. Many of the activities are being coordinated by Pittsburgh’s Thomas Merton Center. There will be a march Sept. 25 for anyone who, as Jessica Benner of the center’s Antiwar Committee stated, “has lost a job, a home, a loved one to war, lost value to a retirement plan, gotten sick from environmental pollution, or lived without adequate healthcare, water, or food. … ” There will be at least three tent cities, in addition to a Music Camp beginning Sept. 18 that will be situated at the South Side Riverfront Park near 18th Street. Unemployed workers will set up one tent city at the Monumental Baptist Church on Sept. 20 and five days later will march on the Convention Center. The encampment and the march are being organized by the Bail Out the People Movement. The Institute for Policy Studies, The Nation magazine, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, Pittsburgh United and other organizations will host events including a panel on corporate globalization featuring former World Bank President Joseph Stiglitz, along with a “People’s Tribunal.” There will be a religious procession calling for social justice and a concert organized by Students for a Democratic Society.

But expect difficulties. The Secret Service has so far denied protesters permits while it determines the size of the “security perimeter” it will impose around the world leaders. Pittsburgh has contracted to bring in an extra 4,000 police officers at an estimated cost of $9.5 million. Activist groups have reported incidents of surveillance and harassment. The struggle to thwart the voices of citizens will be as fierce as the struggle to amplify the voices of the criminal class that is trashing the world’s economy. These elites will appear from behind closed doors with their communiqu├ęs and resolutions to address us in their specialized jargon of power and expertise. They will attempt to convince us they have not lost control. They will make recommitments to free-trade agreements from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT, the World Trade Organization and NAFTA, which have all thrust a knife into the backs of the working class. They will insist that the world can be managed and understood exclusively through their distorted lens of economics. But their day is over. They are the apostles of a dead system. They maintain power through fraud and force. Do not expect them to go without a struggle. But they have nothing left to say to us.

“Those who profess to favour freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground,” Frederick Douglass wrote. “They want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

If you can, go to Pittsburgh. This is an opportunity to defy the titans of the corporate state and speak in words that describe our reality. The power elite fear these words. If these words seep into the population, if they become part of our common vernacular, the elite and the systems they defend will be unmasked. Our collective self-delusion will be shattered. These words of defiance expose the lies and crimes the elite use to barrel us toward neofeudalism. And these words, when they become real, propel men and women to resist.

“The end of something often resembles the beginning,” the philosopher John Ralston Saul wrote in “Voltaire’s Bastards.” “More often than not our nose-to-the-glass view makes us believe that the end we are living is in fact a new beginning. This confusion is typical of an old civilization’s self-confidence-limited by circumstances and by an absence of memory-and in many ways resembling the sort often produced by senility. Our rational need to control understanding and therefore memory has simply accentuated the confusion. … Nothing seems more permanent than a long-established government about to lose power, nothing more invincible than a grand army on the morning of its annihilation.”

Chris Hedges’ latest book is “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.”  

Docudharma Times Saturday September 5

States Cut Back and Layoffs Hit Even Recipients of Stimulus Aid



By MICHAEL COOPER

Published: September 4, 2009


ST. CLOUD, Minn. – It was just five months ago that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. made the New Flyer bus factory here a symbol of the stimulus. With several cabinet secretaries in tow, he held a town-hall-style meeting at the factory, where he praised the company as “an example of the future” and said that it stood to get more orders for its hybrid electric buses thanks to the $8.4 billion that the stimulus law devotes to mass transit.

But last month, the company that administration officials had pictured as a stimulus success story began laying off 320 people, or 13 percent of its work force, having discovered how cutbacks at the state level can dampen the boost provided by the federal stimulus money. The Chicago Transit Authority did use some of its stimulus money to buy 58 new hybrid buses from New Flyer. But Chicago had to shelve plans to order another 140 buses from them after the state money that it had hoped to use to pay for them failed to materialize. The delayed order scrambled New Flyer’s production schedule for the rest of the year, and led to the layoffs.

Political infighting threatens survival of the bluefin tuna

The bluefin tuna is one of the ocean’s most magnificent creatures, a half-tonne predator that swims at 40mph. But political scheming in Brussels may condemn it to death

By Martin Hickman, Consumer Affairs Correspondent

Saturday, 5 September 2009

The last chance to save one of the most majestic fish in the sea is on the verge of collapse because of political jockeying in Europe.

A proposal to ban the sale of bluefin tuna is being fiercely opposed by Malta, the capital of the lucrative global business, and by its representative in Brussels, the fisheries commissioner, Joe Borg.

Spain and Italy are also believed to be resisting an application to bar trade in bluefin under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), which would cut off exports to the main market, Japan.

The European Commission will decide next week whether the EU will submit the application to a Cites committee meeting in March.

Conservationists fear that support from Britain, France and other northerly European nations for decisive action is wavering amid the objections.

This is number 1,000

Just 1,000 shy of breaking the Soviet Union’s world record

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the U.S.-led coalition, has now more than 100,000 troops deployed in Afghanistan. McClatchy reported there are “101,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan according to Pentagon figures. The New York Times reported the level to be slightly higher at 103,000 troops for the coalition.

The Soviet Union’s military force in Afghanistan was kept roughly between 80,000-104,000 troops for duration of its occupation in the 1980s. The Moscow-backed Afghan government fell despite more than nine years of Soviet military assistance and nearly 14,000 Soviet casualties.

The U.S.-led occupation force is even larger when private civilian and military contractors are added to the Western military footprint. For at least the past couple years, contractors have outnumbered U.S. troops in Afghanistan the NY Times reported on Tuesday.

Big banks grow more powerful under Obama

Umm…surprise, surprise.

Original article, by Andre Damon, via World Socialist Web Site:

Double Dactyl

Christopher Parkening

Heard angels hearkening,

Strumming his feminine

Wooden guitar.

Practicing schmaticing

Lingering fingerings,

Forced by his father, he

Loved through the bars.

Japan’s Sea Of Change

On Sunday August 30  voters in Japan did something that most thought would never take place a change of government. Unlike previous times one Liberal Democratic Party leader wasn’t replacing another. In a complete about face voters took a huge leap of faith and voted in the opposition Democratic Party of Japan led by Yukio Hatayama.  

In what Americans call party platforms (manifestos in Japan) the Democrats laid out what they hoped to achieve if elected.  One plank of the platform stood  out: Bureaucratic reform. Unlike America lawmakers don’t have large staffs which include experts in several fields of the members interest. Because of this elected officials have become overly dependent upon carrier bureaucrats for any research  or relevant information needed when crafting legislation. Given this the final bill will mirror not the original ideas put forth by its sponsor but those of the bureaucrat providing the information because its their job to promote policies of the ministry which employees them rather than those of the government in power.

Additionally there are few independent think tanks in Tokyo able to provide a further layer of expertise unlike Washington which has hundreds of them reflecting the ideas of the political landscape.  

The Democratic Party of Japan could achieve the changes in the current system if the choose to be bold.

First they could have civil service reform enacted through legislation which would if done right keep the ministries independent but allow for parliamentary oversight which doesn’t really exist at this time. Once a person joins the civil service they should no longer be allowed promotions based on seniority rather than merit.

Second they should increase the size of the members staffs so that one: They will have access to their own experts and two they can lose their reliance upon the bureaucracy.

While these are simple ideas the fact remains that this is still Japan and change here usually comes at a glacial pace no matter which party controls the Diet.  

DISTRACTIONS

Here are some of my distractions for you.

I`ll start with an old Frank Sinatra one called

Old Blue Eye Stalks

 OLD BLUE EYESTALKS DSCN4343

The Seven Deadly Sins of Politics



triangulate

equivocate

prevaricate

capitulate

appease

deceive

manipulate

These are not sins inside the Washington bubble, where they are seen as business as usual by the eternally morally-challenged.  But they are the reasons most Americans dislike and distrust politicians.  Why?  Because they are Destructive and Dishonest and most people understand that.  We thought, hoped, that Barak Obama understood that as well.  Apparently not.

And the growing exposure of his moral ambiguity is the reason some are now losing faith in Barak Obama.  Because he’s committing every one of these “sins”.

First, he packed the White House with un-liberals.  Conflicting “leaks” come out of the White House almost daily.  He’s spinning on health care.  He’s refused to pursue violent and illegal torturers.  He’s refused to even investigate out-and-out war criminals from the previous administration.  He insists on appeasing openly obstructive Republicans and Blue Dogs.  His adminstration was willing to spend billions for Wall Street, and reluctant to support Main Street and Labor.  He’s ramping up of the war in Afganistan, despite a dismal outlook for achieving anything useful there.  He appointed what can best be described as a “centerist” Supreme Court Justice.  He’s openly disdainful of public education. (Despite having never attended a public school in the United States).

We hoped Barak Obama was different.  He SAID he was going to be different.  He dangled hope for change with the consumate skill of a seasoned huckster or televangelist. (Same difference.)

What some of us worried about before the election, but hardly dared express for fear of being stomped into oblivion, was that he was too inexperienced to stand fast for the people’s needs in the moral sinkhole that is Washington.  

Apparently we had reason for our reservations, because Barak Obama seems to be diving headfirst into the muck.  He has a choice now.  He can pull back from the brink and regain his credibility.  Or he can sink.

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