Thursday, March 29, 2012

Girl Power

Last weekend was an auspicious occasion around my house-the premier of the movie, The Hunger Games. My girls have both devoured all of the books in the trilogy, read and re-read them, wrote reports on them for school, made projects where they designed a book cover for them, and on and on. They've both already seen the movie twice, and went to the premier in costume, as Katniss and Prim, two of the main characters.

Last year, during one of their projects, I picked up the book, and began reading randomly. I wound up reading all three in three days. The story is great, and nearly free of the self-involved super-sappiness of most young-adult genre fiction. I can't go to see the movie in the theater, since I'd be an embarrassment, bawling and heaving and having to stuff torn up napkins in my ears to dampen the sound in order to be able to stand it. I'll wait until it comes out on video and watch when I can bawl and heave in my own living room, and where I can turn down the sound and/or leave the room when it's too much for me. It will save embarrassment, and napkins.

Notwithstanding my aversion to movie theaters, I'm writing about The Hunger Games because in talking to my girls about the movie, it occurred to me that the story is such an apt analogy to our own society, it's scary.

For those who haven't been bitten by the bug yet, the trilogy is set in a dystopian society, where the continent, Panem, is divided into twelve Districts and the seat of government, called the Capitol. Each District specializes in one form of production--agriculture, mining, manufacturing, technology, etc., and the prestige and living conditions are stratified according to their area of expertise. The Capitol consists of the elite, who make nothing, consume a whole lot, and contribute only their tyrannical rule to the society. There used to be thirteen Districts, but one was rubbed out after a rebellion, and of course the threat of similar annihilation keeps the others following obediently the psychopathic ways of the Capitol.

On the premise that there isn't enough food to go around (though the Capitol lives in opulence), the Capitol pits citizen against citizen, requiring that the twelve Districts compete annually for additional rations by sending two children aged 12-18 to compete in the Hunger Games, a sadistically contrived gladiatorial fight to the death, in which only one of the twenty-four child participants emerges alive. Meantime, the carnage is telecast as a "reality show'" even allowing audience participation in the form of gifts of food, weapons, or supplies to the combatants. The rank and file go along with this barbaric spectacle to varying degrees, some reluctantly as supposed victims and others as partisan cheering sections for the butchery.

The young heroine of the story, Katniss Everdeen, volunteers as one of the contestants from her District as a substitute for her younger, tiny and sickly sister, Prim, who was chosen by lottery. Without giving away too much of the plot, I'll say that the crux of the story lies in Katniss' evolution from protective sister to angry warrior to determined disobedient, and in the process, she causes a crack in the monolithic rule of Panem by the elite and terroristic Capitol.

Thinking again on the story surprised me, as it hadn't occurred to me when I first read the books that Panem isn't some futuristic dystopia--it's already here. We have our own Capitol elites, who live in a plenty that most inherited through accident of birth, though they claim that they "earned" their place. We have the Districts--the contrived differences in geography, wealth, education, social class, race, religion and politics--that are used to keep us all fighting each other instead of the real enemy.

Most disturbingly, we also sacrifice our children every day. We sacrifice them for psychic comfort when we ignore children living in poverty in the same cities where some buy Tiffany dog collars--heck, some of us even blame the poor for being that way, and begrudge them every scrap that we throw to them to keep them dependent victims unable to stage all-out revolution. We sacrifice our children for convenience when we buy heavily processed, genetically modified, chemical-laden garbage from the freezer aisle or fast food restaurants so we don't have to make them a real meal or listen to their whining about eating their veggies. Some of us sacrifice our children for material gain when we stuff them in a daycare or with a nanny twelve hours a day so we can afford a nicer house, a newer car, or a tropical vacation. Some of us do it to keep our "place" in society when we cooperate with this runaway train of a corrupt corporate oligarchy running our world so that we won't lose our self absorbed lifestyle, our social security, or our 401(k).

Many of us sacrifice our children by telling ourselves that it's all someone else's problem to fix--that we're too small and weak to do anything of value--but even though there is no one "else" fixing it, we just let it go on. And of course we collectively sacrifice our children, our young people in the military, when we turn a blind eye to our nation's continual empire-building, pillage-then-burn occupation of the world so that the corporations can increase their profits as they suck out resources from under someone else's home or exploit someone else's labor for pennies a day, all so we can drive around in our SUVs and get two $5 T shirts made by a twelve year old in Malaysia at starvation wages, instead of a $10 one made here by a single mom at only poverty wages (insert the Wal-Mart smiley logo here). Bleak.

But maybe not as bleak as it sounds. Because while The Hunger Games' plot showed me that our world really is one sick puppy, just like Panem, it also showed that the beginning of the end comes when one girl gets her 'mama grizzly' on and stands up to the machine. Other people see it, and while some hide their eyes and some curse the girl, afraid that it will mean the end to their butchery-fed gravy train, others are inspired to join in.

We do live in a Hunger Games dystopia, where manufactured lack, fake rivalries, and terrorist governments try to beat the humanity out of each of us and make us hate and butcher each other, physically, mentally and economically, while the elite skims the cream off the top and laughs at the spectacle of we pathetic animals killing one another. And for the Capitol, it's worked pretty well for quite a long time. But just like in the story, all it takes to start the avalanche of change is for one girl, in the right place at the right time, to stop following the rules of the Games.

May each of us be that girl.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Do You Smell That?

This morning, much of the alternative media is hair-ablaze because of the "Free Speech is a Felony" law, the "Peacetime Martial Law" order, the deployment of mass assets to the Persian Gulf that may lead to a war with Iran, etc., etc., etc.

Oddly, I'm calm. Eerily calm. I think that's so because in the last couple of weeks, I'm seeing that, try as they might, the powers that be just can't seem to get their narrative to sprout wings and fly. No matter what else is going on, it seems that light is illuminating dark. Here are just some examples:

~Yesterday, Italian Police arrested 16 tax court judges and 31 others who are accused of connections to the Italian Mafia and widespread corruption involving big business and government. Story here.

~The rats seem to be abandoning ship in great numbers. Before stopping tracking the bankster resignations last week, American Kabuki's list reached 358 banksters who resigned since September, with over 200 of those since February 1.

~Other ultra-fat cats seem to be turning on one another. Aussie mining muckety-muck Clive Palmer has accused the Australian Green Party and Queensland environmental campaigners of conspiring with the American CIA to destroy the Australian coal industry. In doing so, he accused the US government and other American interests of meddling in and funding Australian politics through a secret budget. I bet we'll be hearing some more about that.

~Word is leaking out through alternative and foreign media that the recent Afghan massacre in which 16 Afghani civilians including 9 children was not in fact the work of a crazed lone gunman. An Afghan Parliamentary investigation has obtained evidence from witnesses and survivors that point to "two groups" of American soldiers--15 to 20 men--as the perpetrators of the violence. The US media may be complicit with the US government in the pinning of the atrocities on one madman, but doubts about the veracity of that account are creeping into the common consciousness.

~One of the richest organizations on the planet, the Vatican Bank, has recently been named as an entity "at risk" for money laundering, suspected of holding or distributing proceeds of drug trafficking and other organized crime. The Bank has had one of its accounts closed by JPMorgan/Chase for failing to respond to requests for information about suspicious transactions, and has had another account--over $30 million--frozen by an Italian judge. Its president is also under criminal investigation.

~Whistleblowers, both current and former employees of Big Banking and Finance, are coming forward with tales of illegal, unethical, and conspiratorial schemes at some of America's largest financial institutions. From manipulation of markets to scamming of investment clients, the whistleblowers are whistling about it, and some is even making it into mainstream news media.

~The UKs News of the World phone hacking scandal has continued to move, in spite of all Rupert Murdoch's billions. Last week, British police arrested six people, including Murdoch's protege and BFF, Rebecca Brooks, and her hubby, for the British equivalent of obstruction of justice, apparently for covering up evidence of criminal wiretapping, etc.

~The recent Kony 2012 furor was quickly questioned, crashed, and then met a fiery demise, as it became rapidly apparent to most that the film, which rightly brought attention to an awful chapter in recent African unrest, was nonetheless being used as a propaganda tool to justify more American military occupation of African nations who happened to have LOTS of OIL. And then of course there was the interesting exit from public view of the filmmaker, Jason Russell, who is taking a break for some quiet time after running the streets of San Diego naked, raving, vandalizing cars and publicly masturbating. Poor guy.

There are lots of others, including that the public is openly dubious about the government's and media's concerted and continuing efforts to say that the economy is getting better and so we can all go back to our Dancing With the Stars.

I've been saying for months that I predicted the wheels were about to come off the corrupt, slimy and stinking bus that is our government and its big business and big banking puppet-masters. Seems well underway.

So, the smell? I'm thinking that's some nice fat, meeting the fire.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Intersection of Compassion and Naivete'

KONY 2012! The words have blared out at us in the past week. Complete with celebrity endorsements from P.Diddy to George Clooney, the cause is major "news."

We're told that millions have watched the video and cried out for troops to go to Uganda to find and stop the monster, Joseph Kony, who it is said kidnaps thousands of children and turns them into killing machines and/or prostitutes for the Lord's Resistance Army. I don't know if millions cried out--I can only take their word for it. But if they did, it's because they've been duped once again by slick media, owned and controlled by the same handful of companies who own and control big business, big oil, and the big war machine of the United States.

It's pretty much undisputed that Kony and his atrocities have been around for many years, and barely registered a blip on the radar of concern by the American government--until now. And suddenly, with one heartstring-pulling propaganda piece, Kony and all those poor children are a cause celebre, and the Congress has passed a resolution to dispatch American troops anywhere in Africa to stop Kony and "protect" civilians.

Now, I know I may seem a bit of a cynic when it comes to these things, but is it a coincidence that, more than 20 years into Kony's LRA miscreations, more than 5 years after he fled Uganda, we've suddenly seen the light and have to get serious about finding and stopping Kony. Just now.

Just shortly after the largest land-based oil reserves in the world, about 2.5 billion barrels, were found under Uganda.

Just after a scandal arose in which it was exposed that officials in the Ugandan government were accepting bribes from big, multi-national oil companies.

Just after President Obama sent military "advisors" over to Uganda, Sudan, and Democratic Republic of Congo. In fact, the Kony 2012 film says directly that it's point is to demand that the advisors stay right where they are--occupying yet another country with oil. From the film's narration:

We know what to do. Here it is, ready? In order for Kony to be arrested this year, the Ugandan military has to find him. In order to find him, they need the technology and training to track him in the vast jungle. That's where the American advisors come in. But in order for the American advisors to be there, the American government has to deploy them. They've done that, but if the government doesn't believe the people care about Kony, the mission will be cancelled. In order for the people to care, they have to know. And they will only know if Kony's name is everywhere.

And, it seems, just as it looks like we're going to get our collective heinies thrown out of Afghanistan for all the protecting of civilians our "training advisors" have been doing--by urinating on bodies, burning Qu'rans, and murdering children in door-to-door massacre parties (gosh, we're awfully sorry about all that).

So, the whole Kony 2012 campaign looks suspiciously like a manipulation--one concocted at the intersection of Compassion Street and Naivete Boulevard--one designed to get well-meaning, but uninformed Americans to beg to get into yet another bottomless, ill-defined, and unending military adventure--over oil. And if there is another war, it will be because we've once again bought the ridiculously worn idea that war breeds peace, and bombing and shooting at people protects them. George Orwell is currently rolling over in his grave. Some days I envy him. He got to tell people about this stuff from a safe distance of years.

For more information, read the article here, and watch the very good video by James Corbett of the Corbett Report.

How To Be A Thief, For Fun and Profit

The answer is actually surprisingly simple--be rich to start out with. An article on yesterday, provides the outline.

Remember MFGlobal? That's the big trading firm who went belly up a few months ago after supposedly making a real lot of really really bad bets on the value of foreign currencies. When the piper came to the door to be paid on these bad bets, MFGlobal didn't have enough money to pay their pals at other big financial firms, so they took it from their customer accounts--$1.6 BILLION worth of money that belonged to someone else. Most of this money, the bankruptcy trustee says, will never be recovered. Jon Corzine, former Goldman Sachs fat cat and Democratic party fat cat, was boss man there at the time.

Neither Corzine nor anyone else from MFGlobal is in jail, or has been charged with any crime, even though it is "illegal" to use segregated client funds except as directed by the client. You know how they're thwarting the supposed efforts of prosecutors to hold someone accountable. They said they didn't mean to. Yep. That's their story. You can't make this up. It was apparently an "accident" that they took money out of customer accounts--those dang accounts, always slipping in there and tossing money onto your computer screens when you least expect it!

Now, it seems, MFGlobal executives are going to get BONUSES for being so clever as to get away with taking $1.6 billion of other people's money. Three of the fattest cats from MFGlobal are slated for bonuses of six figures each!

So, there you go. Make lots of money and cultivate lots of political connections. Take other people's money without their permission (most of us call that stealing, but apparently not the federal authorities). Get paid a big bonus. Cool.

Makes you wonder why anyone actually works for a living, doesn't it?


I have just run across a YouTube video by Charlie McGrath of If only I could be so clear. His reasoning is impeccable, and it's a call to you, and me, and every American. Two minutes of brutal truth, of why NOT to participate in one more minute of what our nation is up to, is here for the taking:

"... enough is enough. There is no more blood for oil, or blood for treasure, or blood for whatever. If you want to spend YOUR blood, Washington DC, New York City, City of London, YOU go over and fight these battles. That's enough American men and women being butchered, and it's enough citizens of this planet dying in the name of 'spreading democracy." -Charlie McGrath

We need a new Congressional bill--one that says that no military action can be taken without Congressional approval, and that your vote for the military action also serves as your enlistment in the military branch of your choice, at the lowest rank in that service, in the combat operations you voted for. I'm betting the world turmoil would calm right down.

UPDATE: The story McGrath refers to about having to disarm the troops before a visit from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is here. You suppose that having to disarm the military before your SecDef will get out of the car is a sign that something is seriously amiss with our military policy?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Not On the News

Seems that there's a rather big something out there that the news isn't telling us about. Surprise! After you see what it is, and no matter where you stand on the substance of the matter, maybe you can tell me, WHY is it not being reported?

The something is House Concurrent Resolution 107, introduced March 7, 2012, by Rep. Walter B. Jones, R, NC.

The resolution's purpose is to express, "the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution,' except when there's been an actual attack on American territory, or there's an imminent attack. In other words, if passed, this resolution could form the basis for impeachment of President Obama for using military force (in Egypt and Syria, for example) without Congressional approval.

Now, I've been rather clear about my liberal leanings, and I'll even cop to having voted for the President with high hopes that he'd operate differently than his predecessors. But I'm going on record now--the House and the Senate should pass this resolution, because:

A) The Constitution pretty clearly and expressly requires exactly what the resolution says; and

B) What Obama, and Bush before him, and a whole line before them, have been doing is systematically usurping authority to such an extent that by the order of one person, the entire nation can be tossed into war, for years or decades; can be required to pay back the debt financing of the same; and can be forced to live with the economic and practice consequences of war (as we have been for some time), without that person ever having to convince another human that it's necessary or a good idea. That illegal and immoral process is killing this country, and it should stop now.

It's just a pity they didn't do the same thing years ago.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Problem

I ran across this chart, which seems to show a whole bunch about the trouble with America, in an article in that bastion of liberal thought, Mother Jones. But after you absorb it, allow me just a moment to observe that the chart shouldn't actually lead where you think it does.

A few years ago, I probably would have thought that these results mean we need higher taxes on the wealthy, period. I still wouldn't kick and scream about higher taxes on the super-wealthy, but I'd like to observe that, when something is this out of balance, the "remedy" isn't a bumper sticker.

In fact, we've seen over the past several years exactly what causes this mess. Our system, both the liberal side and the conservative side, is set up to achieve exactly what this chart shows. For example, the financial crisis. Banks for years made oodles of money creating cash from the ether on their black screens. They then made more oodles of money trading 'derivatives,' which is a pretty word for financial fraud. Then, they crashed the derivatives market and scared the beejeebers out of everyone, who bought their line that if we just bailed them out, it would 'save' the world economy. And although it was wildly unpopular, our government voted to turn over all the money to them. TRILLIONS of dollars of money that we borrowed from them, that we have to pay back, with interest, to them, so that we could give it to them, so that they could stay in business and foreclose on our houses.

In light of this, traditional 'liberal' causes, like welfare and social security, where the government pays people a pittance to buy their consent to remain happily in poverty, while the real money gets siphoned off to the top 1%, doesn't actually seem to do much to fix the problem, does it?

We don't need higher taxes on the rich. We don't need more welfare and social security. We need a system that isn't bought and paid for, operated for the benefit of, and totally skewed in favor of--the rich.

And the start lies right here--when regular people stop thinking that the system isn't as ridiculously unfair as it is.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Quick "To Do"

After my last post, if you're looking for something to "do," here's a thought for you. A woman has started a petition on to demand the USDA stop the purchase of pink slime (see the post, It's What's for Dinner) for American kids' school lunches.

So, if you think it's a bad idea to use taxpayer money to fund the practice of feeding children garbage treated with ammonia for lunch, go here and sign the petition.

See? Wasn't that easy?

An Invitation

When I started this blog, I openly--perhaps foolishly idealistically--stated that my intention was to help make the world a better place, in the same manner as one would eat an elephant--one bite at a time.

For months now, I've been writing, pointing out ways that the old is not serving us, but rather holding us down. I've (rather politely, I think) tried to point out that WE, not some faceless THEY are responsible for the mess in which we find this world. I've suggested things that we can all do to make it better.

I've talked about ways that our "reality" has been skewed through dishonest accounts of what's going on in the world, by fake conflicts between 'choices' that all lead to the same destination, and by systems that spend a lot of time convincing us that we are powerless to change anything. My response to all of these things has been pretty consistently, "HOOEY."

Some of the time, I've talked about the bad stuff--about the unfair, unkind, bloodthirsty, money-hungry, selfish mentality that drives many of our institutions, customs, and practices. And I've done so not to tell you to hoard food, buy a gun, put a watchtower up in your yard, install a safe room, or put your head between your legs and kiss your heiney goodbye. I've pointed out the bad stuff to 1) inform people that the bad stuff exists and may not be exactly as portrayed by the powers that be; 2) try to overcome the forces of human inertia that cause people to ignore bad stuff until it arrives on your front porch; and 3) to inspire people to do something.

The last several days, my travels on the web, many of my personal conversations, and lots of circumstances are showing me that many people, even my readers, are still not 'getting it.' It seems that, in the face of lots of stuff that can be done, lots of good that can be worked, and lots of reason to believe that things can get better, many people are spending their time worrying about how the sky is falling in some way or another, or trying their best to ignore it all and cross their fingers that things will just go back to the "way they used to be." To be clear: these are not the preferred activities.

In my family, when you were dawdling about doing some task you were supposed to do, my mother would sarcastically ask, "are you waiting for an engraved invitation?" So, just in case you are, I'm issuing one, right here, right now.

You are cordially invited to help create a better world

Your invitation includes the following.

First and foremost-Let Go. I've avoided talking much about one aspect of my past because of it's inherent tendency to become cheesy, but today, what the heck. I'm an alcoholic. I've been sober (this time) for over fifteen years. When I got sober, one of the things I learned very clearly was that you can't do something new while you're still hanging on to the old. It is as if we are carrying around broken shards of pottery, and even though we pass by priceless Ming vases every day, we're too scared and stupid to drop the broken bits of our old lives and pick up the treasures.

In a conversation some weeks ago, an acquaintance and I were talking about the financial situation in the US. After we'd observed that the country is so far in debt it can never be repaid in the current format, the government so corrupted as to be irretrievable, and the financial system a mix of smoke, mirrors and BS, she said, in total seriousness, "well, we just need them to stop messing around and get stuff back to normal before they wreck my 401(k)" Hello? Are you kidding me? We are just emerging from a period which has shown us the complete and utter unworkability of the current model of financial thievery and she wants to go back to it for the sake of a 401(k)? This kind of thinking makes a mud puddle look deep as the Marianas Trench.

We need to release our attachments to old institutions that are clearly dysfunctional. Some of these are the fake left-right, D-R conflict that keeps us busy arguing about health insurance for birth control pills and Rush-freaking-Limbaugh while the fat cats pick our pockets and steal our souls in the back room; the "my ___ is better than your ___" thinking that is used to justify wars, genocides, and hatred of all kinds; and the fear-based thinking that so totally pervades our society that we're willing to stand stupidly idle while power- and profit-hungry sociopaths take our freedom, our dignity, our privacy, and our health to fight an amorphous enemy conjured up mostly in our minds (e.g., the Cold War, the Red Stain, the War on Drugs, and the War on Terror.) For God's sake, what are we holding on to? Butchery, hatred, want, spiritual bankruptcy, and a 401(k). We are capable of so much better, if we just put down the damn broken pot.

Second, we need to think independently, and stop acting like third graders or Congressmen, who have to parrot back the party line thinking in order to get our reward. We need to gather information from all kinds of sources, think it through, and adopt only those parts that strike our hearts right and make sense. For example, I know people who won't look at news anywhere but Fox, or MSNBC. I also know people who think something can't be true if it didn't appear in the mainstream media,even though it's been shown conclusively that the mainstream news is totally controlled by the same people who are stealing our wealth, buying our government, and ruining our world in the name of profit. Finally, I know people, friends of mine, who won't read my blog because they don't want to know some of the stuff I post--it depresses them. Yeah, it's better to not know--ignorance has always saved people from harm, right? It's time to grow the hell up, people! The world doesn't fit into neat, black and white boxes. And bad stuff doesn't go away because you ignore it. Get a grip, inform yourself and THINK.

Third, once you know something, DO SOMETHING. When you learn that something's wrong, tell people, write letters, call your Congressman, etc. Bitch, yell, scream, protest and demand something better. To sit silently in the face of wrong is the classic recipe for disaster. Remember all the "good Germans" who watched their neighbors taken off by the Nazis?

And it's not just refusing to go along with the bad. Everyone--and I mean everyone--can do something to make stuff better. Every small act of kindness or loving intention is a candle in the dark. Back at Christmas time, my family and I decided we didn't really need a raft of new junk, so we minimized our buying, and instead we got some fairly substantial gift cards and we went out on Christmas Eve and gave them away to strangers--a soldier home on leave, an Hispanic family out doing their Christmas shopping, and a couple baristas at a Starbucks. After an initial moment of shock, each and every one acted like we'd handed them a million dollars. I don't know what they did with their windfalls, and I don't know if they ever 'paid it forward,' but I do know that at least for a moment, they felt good. A good day's work. And maybe just as important, it changed us and the way we think. Both my kids have asked to do it again, just for the heck of it. Being irrationally nice is actually addictive.

So, hold a door for someone, let somebody go ahead in line, pay for the guy's order behind you at the drive-through, pick up a piece of litter, send someone an unexpected letter or card or gift, or just say something nice to someone. Just look up from your little, preoccupied world for one moment every day and do something good, expecting nothing in return. Pretty soon, it could become cool to be nice again.

Now, the final challenge. I know some of you read that last paragraph and concluded that it's Pollyanna-ism. Doing little nice stuff can't change the world. My response: The greatest obstacle to progress is the belief that it can't happen. And as someone once said, you're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem.

Which one do you want to be? Your RSVP is requested.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Spring "Planting"

It seems that the "mainstream media" has been caught out again. Syrian resistance poster youth, "Syria Danny" Abdul Dayem, let some damaging video get loose, and he may pay for it with his meal ticket.

Dayem has appeared regularly for months on CNN and other mainstream media 'news' begging for intervention by NATO, the US, Israel, and Great Aunt Sally, to stop Syrian ruler Bashar Assad's very own slaughter of the innocents in Syria. In early reports, Danny was portrayed as a 22-year-old "activist" opposing the Syrian regime. Last month, it was disclosed that our boy Danny is actually a British citizen, born in Cambridge. And this week, video surfaced of Danny waiting to be connected for a phone interview with Anderson Cooper.

The video of Danny's wait for a phone connection includes footage where he seems strikingly calm for someone who moments later breathlessly tells Cooper on air that 200 people have been killed by shelling in the last three hours, and that "an hour ago" he had helped pull people off the roof of a burning house that had been shelled "right over there," only 400 meters (less than a quarter mile) away. Yet before the interview, he's calm. Calm as in, at one point, joking that he needs someone to bring him a mattress.

Most damning, in the video outtake, Danny says to an unknown person off-camera, "Did you tell him to get the gunfire ready?" (HUH?)

All this and more have led Paul Joseph Watson of to conclude that Danny was staging gunfire and hyping the violence of the situation to propagandize the CNN interview and heighten drama backing Danny's customary pleas for help to protect the poor activists fighting the brutal Assad government.

Following these accusations, Anderson Cooper apparently wasn't content to merely look the fool. He could easily have written off the situation as Danny pulling a fast one without his knowledge. But Cooper had to swan dive from the frying pan straight into the fire. He put Danny on an in-person segment on his show to 'refute' the allegations of fakery. Apparently Danny's commitment to the Syrian 'grassroots' isn't so strong that he can't jet out to visit Anderson in his studio.

In that second segment, available here, after insisting that the incriminating video "should have been deleted," Danny offers several explanations that may do more harm than good. For example, he says that the fighting he was referring to was in a different area, 15 kilometers away (almost 9 miles), even though he said on the air that he'd just helped pull victims out a bombed house 400 meters away. And although he's supposed to just be some young idealist in Syria trying to free the people from a repressive dictator, at one point in his refutation, he refers to himself as a "journalist" when trying to explain why the cameraman is prompting him to say they are pulling bodies out of rubble. And finally, while Anderson and Danny go to pains to say that Danny is not paid by CNN for his segments on air, I found it interesting that they didn't even try to say he wasn't paid by someone.

He also didn't explain the quote, "did you tell him to get the gunfire ready?"

Thursday, March 8, 2012

It's What's for Dinner!

What's for dinner tonight, honey? If the answer is beef, you might want to think twice. Seems that even the mainstream news whores have finally had to report on the widespread practice of making garbage into food.

This article and video by ABC News is offering its mainstream imprimatur to the knowledge common in good food circles for years about the disgusting practice of using so-called "pink slime" in ground beef.

Pink slime, which is called by food companies "lean, finely-textured beef" is made by taking beef "trimmings" (translation: crap they swept up off the floor that used to only be used for dog food), simmering them slowly until they break into workable goo, running the goo through a centrifuge to separate out the "lean meat," and then spraying it with ammonia to kill enough of the bacteria in the slime so that it won't make you immediately sick to eat it. Nummy.

No one at these food companies seems to notice that ammonia isn't really very good for you. Really. Look under your sink at the bottle lurking there--it says to call poison control immediately if you ingest any. Unless it's in your quarter pound patty, anyway.

According to ABCNews, 70 percent of ground beef in stores contains "pink slime." And you don't get to know whether yours does or not, because the USDA (through an official who is a pink slime industry insider) ruled that they don't have to label ground beef as containing pink slime. Thanks, USDA.

They'll have to change their posters. Slime...It's what's for dinner.

Chickens, Chickens Everywhere

On the theme of chickens coming home to roost, I've been following the growing number of bankster types who are suddenly deciding to spend a little more time with their families.

All told, as of yesterday, there have been 153 banksters who have resigned, or announced their intention to resign, from their positions of power and thievery. Seventeen of the charmers took a powder just yesterday. Kind of makes one wonder whether the poo is about to hit the air circulation device.

Here's the list, shamelessly heisted from, and with thanks to, American Kabuki ( and KP ( and their readers:

  1. 9/01/11 (USA NY) Bank of New York Mellon Chief Robert P. Kelly Resigns in a Shake-UP
  2. 09/20/11 (SCOTLAND) SCOTTISH WIDOWS (RETIREMENT INVESTMENT SAVINGS FUND) There could be no Scottish representative on the board of Lloyds Banking Group, owner of Bank of Scotland, in future after it announced the departure of Lord Sandy Leitch, the chairman of Scottish Widows and group deputy chairman.
  3. 9/25/11 (SWITZERLAND) UBS CEO Oswald Gruebel quits over £1.5bn rogue trader crisis
  4. 9/28/11 (SWITZERLAND) SNB Bank Council: Fritz Studer resigns as per end-April 2012
  5. 10/29/11 (CHINA) China Construction Bank Corp Chairman Guo Shuqing resigns
  6. 10/29/11 (CHINA) Agricultural Bank of China Ltd Chairman Xiang Junbo resigns
  7. 11/01/11 (INDIA) More directors of the Beed district bank resign
  8. 11/02/11 (UK) Lloyds Banking Group chief executive, António Horta-Osório, is to take leave of absence on health grounds for six to eight weeks, the BBC has reported. (STILL OUT AS OF 2/24/12 - DEFACTO RESIGNATION)
  9. 11/4/11 (USA) MF Global, Jon Corzine, stepped down as chairman and CEO, hired criminal attorney to represent him.
  10. 11/21/11 (JAPAN) UBS’s Japan Investment Banking Chairman Matsui to Resign
  11. 11/29/11 (USA) R. David Land Submits Resignation from the Boards of Directors of Peoples Bancorp. and Seneca National Bank
  12. 12/15/11 (UK) Senior private banker James Fleming resigns from Coutts [private bank]
  13. 12/23/11 (USA VA) Bank feud: Chairman Mark Giles quits VNB
  14. 12/23/11 (USA VA) Bank feud: Board Member Claire Gargalli quits VNB
  15. 12/23/11 (USA VA) Bank feud: Board Member Leslie Disharoon quits VNB
  16. 12/23/11 (USA VA) Bank feud: Board Member Neal Kassell quits VNB
  17. 1/01/12 (NIGERIA) United Bank for Africa Plc Victor Osadolor resigns
  18. 1/01/12 (ISRAEL) Israel’s Bank Leumi CEO Galia Maor steps down after 16 years
  19. 1/03/12 (USA VA) Suffolk Bancorp president and CEO J. Gordon Huszagh steps down
  20. 1/03/12 (UK) Arbuthnot Banking Group: Neil Kirton resigned from the Board
  21. 1/03/12 (UK) Arbuthnot Banking Group: Atholl Turrell left the Board.
  22. 1/05/12 (UK) Saunderson House [Private Bank] CEO Nick Fletcher steps down
  23. 1/09/12 (SWITZERLAND) SNB Chairman Philipp Hildebrand resigns
  24. 1/19/12 (SPAIN) Spanish bank Santander’s Americas chief Francisco Luzon quits
  25. 1/30/12 (UK) Butterfield Private Bank head Danny Dixon Steps Down
  26. 1/20/12 (JAPAN) Normura’s head of wholesale banking Jasjit Bhattai quits
  27. 1/21/12 (Greece) Institute of International Finance negotiator Charles Dallara quits
  28. 1/21/12 (Greece) Institute of International Finance negotiator Jean Lemierre quits
  29. 1/29/12 (NEW ZEALAND) New Zealand Reserve Bank Gov Alan Bollard to Step Down
  30. 1/30/12 (UK) British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA) COO Andrew Graham steps down
  31. 1/31/12 (SCOTLAND) Royal Bank of Scotland former CEO Fred Goodwin Stripped of Knighthood
  32. 2/01/12 (SOUTH AFRICA) ABSA [Barclay's Bank] deputy CEO Louis von Zeuner resigns
  33. 2/01/12 (UK) Lloyds Bankging Group head of wholesaleTruett Tate quits
  34. 2/01/12 (UK) Llyods Banking Group Tim Tookey leaving end of February
  35. 2/02/12 (VENEZUELA) Banking Crisis Arne Chacon arrested for Banking Corruption
  36. 2/05/12 (USA – NY) Morgan’s investment banking chairman Joseph Perella quit
  37. 2/05/12 (USA – NY) Morgan Stanley investment banking Tarek Abdel-Meguid quit
  38. 2/06/12 (INDIA) Dhanlaxmi Bank CEO Amitabh Chaturvedi quits:
  39. 2/7/12 (USA) Bank Of America’s Mortgage Business Chief Barbara Desoer Retires
  40. 2/07/12 (INDIA) Kotak Mahindra Bank Falguni Nayar quits
  41. 2/07/12 (IRAN) Iran denies central bank resignation rumor (don’t believe until its denied?)
  42. 2/09/12 (VATICAN) Four Priests Charged In Vatican Banking Scandal (names not known)
  43. 2/9/12 (UKRAINE) National Bank of Ukraine deputy governor Volodymyr Krotiuk quits
  44. 2/10/12 (KOREA) Korea Exchange Bank chief Larry Klane steps down
  45. 2/10/12 (INDIA) Tamilnad Mercantile Bank CEO A K Jagannathan resigns
  46. 2/13/12 (KUWAIT) Kuwait Central Bank CEO Sheikh Salem Abdulaziz Al Sabbah resigns
  47. 2/14/12 (NICARAQUA) Nicaraqua Central Bank President Antenor Rosales resigns
  48. 2/14/12 (UK) Social finance pioneer Malcolm Hayday quits Charity Bank
  49. 2/14/12 (PAKISTAN) National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) chairman Syed Ali Raza resigned
  50. 2/15/12 (WORLD) World Bank CEO Zoellick resigns
    Did the White House tell the World Bank president that he’s out?
  51. 2/15/12 (SLOVENIA) Nova Kreditna Banka Maribor CEO Andrej Plos resigns
  52. 2/15/12 (SLOVENIA) Nova Ljubljanska Banka d.d. CEO Bozo Jasovic resigns
  53. 2/16/12 (UK) The Financial Services Authority Margaret Cole is to step down
  54. 2/16/12 (GHANA) Databank Group Executive Chair Ken Ofori-Atta steps down
  55. 2/16/12 (SAUDI ARABIA) Saudi Hollandi Banks Managing Director Geoffrey Calvert Quits
  56. 2/16/12 (AUSTRALIA) ANZ Bank Australia CFO Peter Marriott resigns
  57. 2/16/12 (UK) Royal Bank of Scotland Sr Equities Trader Jason Edinburgh Arrested
  58. 2/16/12 (UK) Royal Bank of Scotland director equities bus. Vincent Walsh director Arrested
  59. 2/16/12 (UK) Marex Spectron senior trader Michael Elsom Arrested
  60. 2/16/12 (AUSTRALIA) Royal Bank of Scotland Austrailan CEO Stephen Williams resigns
  61. 2/17/12 (USA) Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein out as by summer
  62. 2/17/12 (SWITZERLAND) SNB Council President Hansueli Raggenbass resigns
  63. 2/18/12 (PAKISTAN) The Bank of Azad Jammu & Kashmir executive Zulfiqar Abbasi resigns
  64. 2/20/12 (RUSSIA) Head of Russian Bank Regulator Gennady Melikyan Steps Down
  65. 2/20/12 (SWITZERLAND) Credit Suisse Chief Joseph Tan resigns
  66. 2/20/12 (ISRAEL) Bank Leumi le-Israel Ltd: Zvi Itskovitch resigns
  67. 2/20/12 (USA WA) First Financial Northwest Director Spencer Schneider Quits
  68. 2/21/12 (ARGENTINA) Central Bank of Argentina (BCRA) Gen Mgr Benigno Velez, resigns
  69. 2/21/12 (BANGLADESH) Nitol Insurance Co. Ltd director Abdul Matlub resigns
    conflict of interest with director seat on unknown bank
  70. 2/21/12 (BANGLADESH) Nitol Insurance Co. Ltd director Selima Ahmad resigns
    conflict of interest with director seat on unknown bank
  71. 2/21/12 (BANGLADESH) Nitol Insurance Co. Ltd director Abdul Musabbir Ahmad resigns
    conflict of interest with director seat on unknown bank
  72. 2/21/12 (BANGLADESH) City General Insurance Co. Ltd director Geasuddin Ahmad resigns
    conflict of interest with director seat on unknown bank
  73. 2/21/12 (BANGLADESH) Social Islami Bank Limited director Taslima Akter resigns
    conflict of interest with director seat on Eastland Insurance Company Limited
  74. 2/21/12 (JAPAN) CITIBANK JAPAN: Bakhshi is taking over duties from Brian Mccappin, who the bank said in December would resign after the unit was banned for two weeks from trading tied to the London and Tokyo interbank offered rates.
  75. 2/22/12 (HONG KONG) DZ BANK project finance head Tim Meaney quits
  76. 2/22/12 (USA) Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund Group Chief Howard Wietschner to Retire
  77. 2/23/12 (SOUTH AFRICA) Richard Gush resigns from Standard Bank
  78. 2/23/12 (SCOTLAND) Royal Bank of Scotland Group director John McFarlane resigns.
  79. 2/24/12 (INDIA) Breaking: ICICI Bank GC Pramod Rao resigns
  80. 2/24/12 (HONG KONG) Citigroup Pvt Bank Global Real Estate Kwang Meng Quek Resigns
  81. 2/24/12 (NEW ZEALAND) FSF Executive Director Kirk Hope resigns
  82. 2/24/12 (USA) Evercore Partners Head Eduardo Mestre steps down
  83. 2/25/12 (AUSTRALIA AND NZ) Goldman Sachs Chairman Stephen Fitzgerald quits
  84. 2/27/12 (GERMANY) Deutsche Bank Americas chief Seth Waugh steps down
  85. 2/27/12 (BAHRAIN) Khaleeji Commercial Bank CEO Ebrahim Ebrahim quits
  86. 2/27/12 (FRANCE) Societe Generale’s Investment Banking Chief Michel Péretié Steps Down
  87. 2/27/12 (MALAYSIA) Elaf Bank CEO Dr El Jaroudi resigns
  88. 2/27/12 (INDIA) Kotak Mahindra Bank Ms Falguni Nayar Quits
  89. 2/27/12 (GERMANY) Equiduct chairman Artur Fischersteps down
  90. 2/27/12 (BAHRAIN) – Mumtalakat Holding [Sovereign Wealth Fund] CEO Al Zain resigns
  91. 2/27/12 (IRAN) Bank Melli CEO Mahmoud Reza Khaavari Resigns – Flees to Canada!
  92. 2/27/12 (IRAN) Bank Saderat CEO Mohammad Jahromi resigns
  93. 2/27/12 (UK) Lloyds Banking Group Glen Moreno steps down
  94. 2/28/12 (HONG KONG) Hang Seng Bank CEO Margaret Leung Ko May-yee quits
  95. 2/28/12 (CHINA) Bank of China International ECM global head Marshall Nicholson quits
  96. 2/28/12 (SINGAPORE) DBS security head Jim Pasqurell quits, cites health reasons
  97. 2/28/12 (HONG KONG) Bank of America’s Asia-Pac. mrkts Brian Canniffe quits
  98. 2/28/12 (BELGIUM) KBC’s CEO Jan Vanhevel is to retire after a career spanning 41 years.
  99. 2/28/12 (CANADA) Ontario Securities Commission chairwoman Peggy-Anne Brown quits
  100. 2/28/12 (AUSTRALIA) Bank manager Colin John Carleton jailed nine years for $3m theft
  101. 2/28/12 (SRI LANKA) Sri Lanka Com Bank CEO Amitha Gooneratne retires
  102. 2/28/12 (SOUTH AFRICA) REDEFINE INCOME FUND director Gerald Leissner resigns
  103. 2/28/12 (ITALY) UNICREDIT: Chairman Dieter Rampl not available for a new mandate
  104. 2/28/12 (UK) Bank of England Sir David Lees re-appointed Chair of Bank of England and gives notice of resignation at end of 2013
  105. 2/28/12 (IRELAND) State Street Global Advisors Cash Funds plc Director Keith Walsh resigns
  106. 2/29/12 (AUSTRALIA) Perpetual portfolio manager Matt Williams steps down
  107. 2/29/12 (UK) Honister Capital CEO Richard Pearson steps down
  108. 2/29/12 (GUYANA) National Investment and Commercial Investments Ltd. (NICIL), Executive Director Winston Brassington resigns, “We feel that (Winston) Brassington knows everything…A to Z about all the transactions,” said Chairman of the Alliance for Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan, as he sounded a warning that controversial figure could be subpoenaed to appear before the Parliamentary Economic Sector Committee.
  109. 3/1/12 (MALAYSIA) RHB Bank Bhd deputy managing director Renzo Viegas quits
  110. 3/1/12 (ITALY) Italian Banking Association Chairman Giuseppe Mussari talks to reporters in Rome after he and seven other executives offered to resign in protest over new banking-fee rules included in the government’s legislation on boosting competition.
  111. 3/1/12 (USA FL) Florida Venture Forum [Venture Capital] Exec Dir Robin Lester quits
  112. 3/1/12 (USA) PineBridge Investments said Win Neuger has resigned as chief executive. Neuger helped build AIG’s third party asset management business, PineBridge still manages AIG assets
  113. 3/1/12 (SINGAPORE) UBS Singapore – James Tulley is leaving Switzerland’s largest bank, it is not clear where he is going.
  114. 3/1/12 (USA NH) Piscataqua Savings Bank CEO Jay Gibson retires
  115. 3/1/12 (ICELAND) Iceland’s Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) fired its director Gunnar Andersen
  116. 3/2/12 (CHINA) China Construction Bank Corp, the assistant general manager and head of corporate banking Mickey Mehta quits
  117. 3/2/12 (USA) Deutsche Bank Student Loan CEOJohn Hupalo quits to start student loan counseling firm.
  118. 3/2/12 (UK) Bank of England Sir Mervin King resigns in June, Lord Sassoon tipped as replacement.
  119. 3/2/12 (BOTSWANA) Barclays Bank Botswana managing director Wilfred Mpai forced to resign
  120. 3/2/12 (HONG KONG) New Century Group Hong Kong Ltd [investment house and leisure group] Wilson Ng resigns
  121. 3/2/12 (USA) Citigroup Richard Parsons to step down as chairman
  122. 3/3/12 (AUSTRIA) Volksbank AG (VBAG) The contract of CEO Gerald Wenzel will not be extended
  123. 3/3/12 (ETHIOPIA) Dashen Bank’s board dismisses president Leulseged Teferi
  124. 3/3/12 (RUSSIA) Enza Capital KK, Wealthy British banker Philip Townsend (Baron Townsend of Rathmore) and his wife
    killed at Estonia holiday home and and
  125. 3/4/12 (KOREA) Hana Financial Group Inc, prominent figure in the history of South Korean finance Kim Seung-yu , resigns
  126. 3/4/12 (USA) JP Morgan prop trading chief Mike Stewart quits
  127. 3/5/12 ( SAUDI ARABIA) Al Rajhi Bank CEO Abdullah bin Sulaiman Al Rajhi has resigned
  128. 3/5/12 (UK) Jupiter fund co-manager Tony Nutt steps down
  129. 3/5/12 (UK) Jupiter fund co-manager John Hamilton steps down
  130. 3/5/12 (NEW ZEALAND) Insured Group Bill Jeffries has resigned as chairman and director
  131. 3/5/12 (USA) Reliance Bancshares chairman Patrick Gideon resigned
  132. 3/6/12 (FRANCE) Blackstone Group’s Paris office leader Jean-Michel Steg will step down
  133. 3/6/12 (JAMAICA) Jamaica Money Market Brokers Limited, Patricia Sutherland has resigned as Executive Director
  134. 3/6/12 (JAMAICA) Jamaica’s Financial Services Commission (FSC), Executive director Rohan Barnett, has resigned the position, the Ministry of Finance, Planning and the Public Service announced this afternoon.
  135. 3/6/12 (USA) USA Technologies Inc Bradley M. Tirpak, a nominee of Shareholder Advocates for Value Enhancement, has resigned from its board subsequent to a settlement agreement with the investing group, according to an SEC filing.
  136. 3/6/12 (UK) Sterling Green Group has announced that Philip Kanas, a non-executive director, has decided to resign
    Sterling Green Group PLC became a cash shell following the disposal of their subsidiaries Taxdebts Ltd, Sterling Green (Mortgages) Ltd and the back books of the clients of Sterling Green Ltd. during December 2011.
  137. 3/7/12 (GERMANY) Deutsche Bank AG’s (DB) Chief Risk Officer Hugo Baenzigeri to resign
  138. 3/7/12 (GERMANY) Deutsche Bank AG’s (DB) Chief Operating Officer Hermann-Josef Lamberti to resign
  139. 3/7/12 (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES) Dubai Mercantile Exchange announced Thomas Leaver will step down as CEO
  140. 3/7/12 (SCOTLAND) Macfarlane Group Chairman Archie Hunter to step down after 8 years of service
  141. 3/7/12 (USA) BlackRock Emerging Markets Fund co-head Daniel Tubbs, has left the group to pursue other opportunities.
  142. 3/7/12 (UK) Goldman Sachs (GSI) Christopher French resigns from board
  143. 3/7/12 (UK) Goldman Sachs (GSI) David Wildermuth resigns from board
  144. 3/7/12 (UK) Goldman Sachs (GSI) Matthew Westerman resigns from board
  145. 3/7/12 (UK) Goldman Sachs (GSI) co-head of global mergers and acquisitions Yoel Zaoui resigns
  146. 3/7/12 (UK) Goldman Sachs (GSI) Phil Beatty resigned as head of European power and natural-gas trading
  147. 3/7/12 (SINGAPORE) Nikko Asset Management Timothy McCarthy is retiring as chairman and CEO at the end of the month
  148. 3/7/12 (HONG KONG) UBS Senior Asia Economist Jonathan Anderson Departs
  150. 3/7/12 (FRANCE) Société Générale Private Banking, Daniel Truchi is to step down as head of Société Générale Private Banking
  151. 3/7/12 (AUSTRALIA) Customers Ltd, Tim Wildash has cashed himself out as chief executive of Australia’s largest ATM operator
  152. 3/7/12 (USA CA) CALSTRS, Pascal Villiger, senior private equity portfolio manager at the $145 billion California State Teachers’ Retirement System resigns
  153. 3/7/12 (USA) Astaire quits Bank of America Merrill to dance to Barclays Capital’s tune

Buh-Bye, and good riddance, Resuming public happy dance.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Another Chicken, Another Roost

Looks as if some more poultry has swooped in to a new domicile. Internet sources are reporting that our illustrious Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, was arrested, questioned and released last week due to his involvement with the AIG and Goldman Sachs transactions in the financial bailouts. Makes one wonder on whom he dropped the dime to get his walking papers so quickly--I'm guessing we'll be hearing soon how far up the food chain Mr. Geithner placed the blame. Update: The video, which I originally imbedded believing it to have been recent, turns out to be taped long ago. Interesting nonetheless, and the internet sources cite Pentagon officials for the report of last week's arrest.

Looks like perhaps the first wheel has just come off the corrupt bus that is our Federal government. May I be the first to publicly do the happy dance.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Big Idea

I was working today on another post, yet to come, when I ran across this. This video discusses a series of experiments and experiences about how people are motivated to do their best. The results are nothing short of revolutionary. They show that money really DOESN'T make the world go around. In fact, it seems it actually stands in the way of progress. Watch.