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Global 24 March 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, Afghanistan War, AFRICOM, Culture of Death, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iran, Iraq War, WAR!.
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opiumpoppieshelmanddyncorp

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Lashkar Gah, 1 April 2006: A helicopter operated by the US security contractor DynCorp flies over an opium poppy field in Helmand province [John Moore/Getty Images]

[A]n American empire of bases spans the globe and gives the U.S. military the ability to strike anywhere with a fair amount of speed. The Bush doctrine of preemption wasn’t just empty talk: America, as crippled by spasms of economic pain as she is, retains its status as the hyperpower, in purely military terms. The empire may have reached – and passed – its apogee, but there is no telling how long it will take for the whole massive edifice to come down.

The ruling elite is naturally consumed by a desire to avoid the complete economic collapse of their system, which is founded on fraud and coercion. Their reaction, so far, has been to pursue precisely those policies which led to the crisis in the first place: they have embarked on a spending spree, with the big banks getting the largest share of the loot, and the rest going to bread and circuses for the commoners. This, however, will lead inevitably to hyperinflation such as we saw in Weimar Germany, or as we see today in Zimbabwe. These are extreme examples, but is it necessary to remind you that we are living in extreme times?  :snip:

That from Raimondo… as for the hyperinflation.. well, let’s hope not.

***

Pepe Escobar casts a wider net:

Liquid War

Postcard from Pipelineistan

By Pepe Escobar

What happens on the immense battlefield for the control of Eurasia will provide the ultimate plot line in the tumultuous rush towards a new, polycentric world order, also known as the New Great Game.

Our good ol’ friend the nonsensical “Global War on Terror,” which the Pentagon has slyly rebranded “the Long War,” sports a far more important, if half-hidden, twin — a global energy war. I like to think of it as the Liquid War, because its bloodstream is the pipelines that crisscross the potential imperial battlefields of the planet. Put another way, if its crucial embattled frontier these days is the Caspian Basin, the whole of Eurasia is its chessboard. Think of it, geographically, as Pipelineistan.  :snip:

Pipelineistan… good one.

[I]n Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan (before it was moved to Astana, in the middle of the middle of nowhere) the locals were puzzled when I expressed an overwhelming urge to drive to that country’s oil boomtown Aktau. (“Why? There’s nothing there.”) Entering the Space Odyssey-style map room at the Russian energy giant Gazprom’s headquarters in Moscow — which digitally details every single pipeline in Eurasia — or the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC)’s corporate HQ in Tehran, with its neat rows of female experts in full chador, was my equivalent of entering Aladdin’s cave. And never reading the words “Afghanistan” and “oil” in the same sentence is still a source of endless amusement for me.

Last year, oil cost a king’s ransom. This year, it’s relatively cheap. But don’t be fooled. Price isn’t the point here. Like it or not, energy is still what everyone who’s anyone wants to get their hands on. So consider this dispatch just the first installment in a long, long tale of some of the moves that have been, or will be, made in the maddeningly complex New Great Game, which goes on unceasingly, no matter what else muscles into the headlines this week.

Forget the mainstream media’s obsession with al-Qaeda, Osama “dead or alive” bin Laden, the Taliban — neo, light or classic — or that “war on terror,” whatever name it goes by. These are diversions compared to the high-stakes, hardcore geopolitical game that follows what flows along the pipelines of the planet.

Who said Pipelineistan couldn’t be fun?

***

AND, Africom!

[E]nergy expert Michael Klare has been instrumental in identifying the key vectors in the wild, ongoing global scramble for power over Pipelineistan. These range from the increasing scarcity (and difficulty of reaching) primary energy supplies to “the painfully slow development of energy alternatives.” Though you may not have noticed, the first skirmishes in Pipelineistan’s Liquid War are already on, and even in the worst of economic times, the risk mounts constantly, given the relentless competition between the West and Asia, be it in the Middle East, in the Caspian theater, or in African oil-rich states like Angola, Nigeria and Sudan.  :snip:

The security grids, seen from China and Russia…

[A]sk any relevant expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing and he will tell you that the SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Org] should be understood as a historically unique alliance of five non-Western civilizations — Russian, Chinese, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist — and, because of that, capable of evolving into the basis for a collective security system in Eurasia. That’s a thought sure to discomfort classic inside-the-Beltway global strategists like Dr. Zbig and President George H. W. Bush’s national security advisor Brent Scowcroft.

According to the view from Beijing, the rising world order of the twenty-first century will be significantly determined by a quadrangle of BRIC countries — for those of you by now collecting Great Game acronyms, that stands for Brazil, Russia, India, and China — plus the future Islamic triangle of Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. Add in a unified South America, no longer in thrall to Washington, and you have a global SCO-plus. On the drawing boards, at least, it’s a high octane dream.  :snip:

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A mother walks with her children in Kabul, where soaring food prices add to family stress. (Veronique De Viguerie/WPN/July 2008)

Just a bit more, for fun… and Pepe stays cheery to the end. And why not?…  No matter what happens, how bad it gets, a good story to report on…

[A]s for Camp Bondsteel, it was the “enduring” military base that Washington gained from the wars for the remains of Yugoslavia. It would be the largest overseas base the U.S. had built since the Vietnam War. Halliburton’s subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) would, with the Army Corps of Engineers, put it up on 400 hectares of farmland near the Macedonian border in southern Kosovo. Think of it as a user-friendly, five-star version of Guantanamo with perks for those stationed there that included Thai massage and loads of junk food.

Bondsteel is the Balkan equivalent of a giant immobile aircraft carrier, capable of exercising surveillance not only over the Balkans but also over Turkey and the Black Sea region (considered in the neocon-speak of the Bush years “the new interface” between the “Euro-Atlantic community” and the “Greater Middle East”).

How could Russia, China, and Iran not interpret the war in Kosovo, then the invasion of Afghanistan (where Washington had previously tried to pair with the Taliban and encourage the building of another of those avoid-Iran, avoid-Russia pipelines), followed by the invasion of Iraq (that country of vast oil reserves), and finally the recent clash in Georgia (that crucial energy transportation junction) as straightforward wars for Pipelineistan?

Though seldom imagined this way in our mainstream media, the Russian and Chinese leaderships saw a stark “continuity” of policy stretching from Bill Clinton’s humanitarian imperialism to Bush’s Global War on Terror. Blowback, as then Russian President Vladimir Putin himself warned publicly, was inevitable — but that’s another magic-carpet story, another cave to enter another time.  :snip:

More than enough for nightmares… global nightmares.

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Comments»

1. marisacat - 24 March 2009

HA! Just remember:

“This is a big ocean liner, it’s not a speedboat. It doesn’t turn around immediately,” he said Tuesday night. “But we’re in a better, better place because of the decisions that we made.” – Obama, March 24

liberalcatnip - 25 March 2009

Oh I have to say it: “Iceberg! Dead ahead!”

2. Madman in the Marketplace - 25 March 2009

we are so ska-rewed.

liberalcatnip - 25 March 2009

…unless the financial industries are reggae-lated. :)

3. wu ming - 25 March 2009

that’s what truly boggles me about the paucity of attempts to get one’s own great game economy (or, more importantly for the players, one’s critical infrastructure) the hell off of petroleum, if for no other reason than to allow oneself a clear shot at monkeywrenching all the other players, it would be like an actual functional SDI.

it’s bad enough our overlords are evil, but to have them be so goddamned stupid just makes it worse.

4. marisacat - 25 March 2009

The Great Ship of State is turning around! Dow up 170+…. Yay!

5. liberalcatnip - 25 March 2009

Speaking of oil, I was reading this Calgary Herald article about how the gov’t here has to sell our dirty oilsands oil to Cali-forn-I-an (as pronounced by the Beverly Hillbillies) libruls like Henry Waxman.

The Canadian energy industry needs to champion Alberta’s oilsands in front of the powerful California politicians who now drive environmental policy in the United States, says a renowned oil and gas economist.

Haskayne School of Business professor Philip Verleger said Tuesday that Canadian politician and energy industry officials need to meet quickly and quietly with heavy hitters such as Henry Waxman, chairman of the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee, who is aiming to circulate a draft climate change bill by the end of the month.

“It is green, all green, all the time,” Verleger said of a group of powerful energy insiders within the U.S. administration.

It sounds like they’re trying to figure out how to con Waxman. Better hide those National Geographic pics from him.

To avoid any impediments to selling oil to the U.S., Canada’s oil and gas interests need to show the insiders — many of whom hail from California — are being proactive in addressing environmental concerns about the oilsands.

6. liberalcatnip - 25 March 2009

umm…lol

The Czech prime minister has condemned US President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plans as “a way to hell”.

Yes, that’s one way to put it!

marisacat - 25 March 2009

just heard Gibbsy on that one…………..

uh…pause……. — … uh… —- uh

7. liberalcatnip - 25 March 2009

Today’s ‘Corporate Asshole’ award goes to FedEx:

(Reuters) – FedEx Corp is threatening to cancel the purchase of billions of dollars worth of new Boeing Co cargo planes if Congress passes a law that would make it easier for unions to organize at the package-delivery company, the Wall Street Journal said.

FedEx may cancel plans to buy as many as 30 new Boeing planes should Congress pass a bill that would remove truck drivers, couriers and other employees at FedEx’s Express unit from the jurisdiction of the federal Railway Labor Act of 1926, the paper cited the company spokesman as saying.

In January, FedEx said its express unit exercised options to buy 15 more Boeing 777 freighters, worth $3.75 billion at list prices.

However, the company deferred delivery of some of the planes as the U.S. economy faces a bleak outlook.

FedEx’s actions raise the stakes in an increasingly bitter battle involving chief rival, United Parcel Service Inc, and the Teamsters union, which has been trying for years to organize at FedEx, the Journal said.

8. liberalcatnip - 25 March 2009

Dear A.I.G., I Quit!

Life sucks. Deal with it.

Madman in the Marketplace - 25 March 2009

I read that earlier today. Fuck him.

9. ms_xeno - 25 March 2009

[ducks in to wave and thank IB and Mcat, et al. for saying 'hello.']

Uh, life continues to bite, except for the fact that bankruptcies are so popular in this region right now that mr_xeno just got a second-tier gig helping other lawyers with their runoff. Oregon lost, on average, about 750 jobs a week during the first two months of the year (according to the McNewhouse people). Huzzah.

Oh, and I’ve temped about 4-5 non-consecutive weeks so far this year. Go me.

Carry on, you bad bad people. I’ll be lurking, if nothing else.

[crawls back to the coffee pot and aspirin bottle.]

marisacat - 25 March 2009

ms xeno! she lives! so glad you came by…

hugs to the kitties and one for you too… ;)

lucid - 25 March 2009

Hi Ms_x.

Intermittent Bystander - 25 March 2009

ms_x! Very best wishes to you. Don’t let the random bastards grind you down!

For your electrified entertainment: Extreme sheep herding in Wales.

Madman in the Marketplace - 25 March 2009

hiddee ho, ms_x!

10. marisacat - 25 March 2009

hmm from a thread at The Nation (to a thoroughly useless and in fact DUMB Katrina posting. gah)

“UCLA just forecast that California unemployment will rise to 12.5% next year and is not likely to come back down until 2012.”

lucid - 25 March 2009

Saw that at calculated risk today… not pretty. And there are already tent cities…

wu ming - 25 March 2009

my guess is that significantly lowballs it. they’re not factoring in the ripple effect from a bankrupt state govt being blocked from lifting a damn finger by insane howard jarvis bastards.

marisacat - 25 March 2009

oh I agree. .. a lot of people laid off late 2007 are falling off the rolls now… and nothing at all for them in the Stumble Bill.

If we are ”official” at 10.5 now it must be several pts higher… and will b higher still when it is 12.5. There is a lower prediction out today as well.. and I noticed most local news reports ignored the UCLA higher numbers.

11. marisacat - 25 March 2009

Boo hoo! whaddup? A San Francisco cannabis club being raided by the DEA as we speak… helicopters over head.

Shoot! Musta broken one of the Ship of State Federal Laws. Remember, we are not a speed boat!

Madman in the Marketplace - 25 March 2009

but wait, they were gonna stop that, and unicorns and puppies were gonna frolic in the streets, and and and …

:cry:

/kossak channelling.

marisacat - 25 March 2009

well… we are waiting for the full story. Myabe in the 6 pm news… or will check KCBS, they have the best news radio

marisacat - 25 March 2009

fwiw… comment from Serafina at a posting at SFist (only report listed at Google Snooze):

Medical marijuana access under attack: The DEA is raiding San Francisco
now!

Despite the recent policy change announced by U.S. Attorney GeneralEric Holder, DEA agents are raiding a San Francisco medical marijuana provider right now!

Armed federal agents are raiding medical marijuana dispensing collectives in your area as I write this. If you are able to, please head down to the site of the raid to denounce it. Others are already on site protesting this injustice!

Raid in progress at:
Emmalyn’s California Cannabis Clinic
1597 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

As details become available, MPP will send out a more detailed alert. If you are able to join the protest against the raid now, please do so immediately. (This e-mail was sent at approximately 4:30 p.m. PST on March 25, 2009.) Also, please read our follow-up alert to learn the details of this latest federal assault on California’s medical marijuana law and how you can help stop future raids.

Madman in the Marketplace - 25 March 2009

famous drug den run by Emma “Scarface” Lyn, notorious pusher and provider of relief from nausea (much needed in these times) and provider of appetite. The place sounds really dangerous.

Jennifer W.

San Francisco, CA
2/17/2009

I had a hard time convincing myself to go here for a while to tell you the truth, but who else has Happy Hour M-F from 2-6?! $10 off any eighth, – I’m all for it! There isn’t really that wide of a selection and at times can surprise you – both good and bad,

It wasn’t really the bud that gets 4 stars, but I love the staff! John John is probably the nicest doorman I’ve ever encountered. (I think there was a change in doormen…) The Asian girl that usually works the counter always makes conversation and remembers me. The older guy even passed me his J once!

Keep in mind that even though at first sight this club may look drab and small, the people are really a treat! and prices aren’t too bad if you know when to go.

People thought this was:
Useful (1)

Bookmark Send to a Friend Link to This Review

Hide your children!

12. marisacat - 25 March 2009

UNFUCKINGBELIEVABLE.

he is Alexander the Great. Too.

Is there anybody he is NOT? (what with Geithner rivaling Alexander Hamilton and all.)

Madman in the Marketplace - 25 March 2009

which part, the dying young part, the bisexual part or the arrogant asshole who conquered countries part?

marisacat - 25 March 2009

:twisted: … my guess, ‘thousands of tongues will vie to lick your body’ part.
:roll: .. however that mangled sentence read…

Madman in the Marketplace - 25 March 2009

LOL

I was tempted to link to video of the Rosario Dawson scene in “Alexander” with a link reading “first date with Michelle”, then I remembered that it was a horrible almost-rape-but-she-liked-it scene in a horrible movie and thought better of it.

lucid - 25 March 2009

Have you checked out the videogum skewering of that film in their quest for the worst movie ever?

BTW, I live for Tuesday mornings now when they post their weekly review in the quest. Next up, one that I nominated, Dreamcatcher.

Madman in the Marketplace - 25 March 2009

OMG, funniest paragraph of withering crit EVAH:

I’m not a historian, so I can’t really speak to how true this movie stayed to its source material, but basically Alexander was the Macdeonian king of Greece who was a fearless warrior with an Irish accent who expanded his empire all the way to India before dying of AIDS. That sounds about right. He was in love with his best friend Jared Leto, who also died of AIDS, which he got from drinking wine at a key party. Alexander had a very troubled relationship with his mother, played by Angelina Jolie. Did you know that in ancient times it was common for your mother to be only one year older than you, so when a 29-year-old Angelina Jolie played the mother of a 30-year-old Colin Ferrell that was actually just facts. It’s also a fact that Alexander the Great’s mom was a Nazi. And while it’s probably just an apocryphal story that Alexander screamed “you birthed me in a sac of hate” at his mother during a weird Oedipal fight, that is why he’s considered by history to be the first great comedian, because that is the funniest thing ever.

lucid - 25 March 2009

I know. You should check out the film synopsis paragraphs in all the reviews. I avoid doing it at work because they are so gut busting, I can’t contain myself… The guy, Gabe, is just one of those writers that can sum up every glaring flaw of a film in a short synopsis leaving you in uncontrollable laughter – thought you’d like his writing style.

lucid - 25 March 2009

My favorite of the synopses so far is of the truly horrible film Havoc

Havoc is about rich white kids from the Palisades who love hip hop so much that they talk like Poser Mobile and get together in parking lots on the beach to pick fights with poor Hispanic kids, because thug life. One night Anne Hathaway and her boyfriend and also Bijou Phillips drive to East LA to buy drugs from some real life gang members, and Anne Hathaway’s boyfriend pees his pants, literally, and then Anne Hathaway falls in love with Rico from Six Feet Under because he has a ponytail. So then she starts hanging out with real life gang members, because that happens, and one night her and Bijou Phillips decide that they want to become part of the gang. The way to become part of the gang is you have to roll a die and whatever number you roll is the number of guys you have to have sex with, and Bijou Phillips rolls whatever number you have to roll to get gang raped. Then Anne Hathaway decides that she doesn’t want to be in the gang anymore and she goes back to being a rich white kid from the Palisades. Bijou Phillips has a little bit of a rougher time of it, because of the whole getting gang raped thing.

Madman in the Marketplace - 25 March 2009

that movie was fucking horrible.

liberalcatnip - 25 March 2009

rofl :D

13. Madman in the Marketplace - 25 March 2009
14. Arcturus - 25 March 2009

Duke historian John Hope Franklin dies

By Jane Stancill – Staff Writer
Published: Wed, Mar. 25, 2009 02:42PMModified Wed, Mar. 25, 2009 05:39PM

John Hope Franklin, the revered historian who chronicled the South and gave definition to the African-American experience, died this morning at the age of 94.

Franklin died of congestive heart failure at Duke Hospital this morning.

Franklin was considered one of the most influential historians of the 20th century. His book “From Slavery to Freedom,” first published in 1947, was a seminal work on African-American history and has sold 3.5 million copies.

His scholarship helped ensure that no American history book could be complete without the story of African-Americans, and that America had to confront the reality of slavery and segregation in its past.

He was at the forefront of some of the biggest turning points in the nation’s civil rights history. In 1953, he helped NAACP lawyers with research for the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education school desegregation case. In 1965, he joined a group of historians who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King from Selma to Montgomery. Five decades after his masterpiece was published, he was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1997 to lead a national initiative on race. . . .

I’ve only read his bio of George Washington Williams, whose outrage over King Leopold’s Congo led to the ‘invention’ of human rights

marisacat - 25 March 2009

Fortunately in addition to the books he was interviewed extensively over the past years… I hope a lot of the interviews (at least ones I saw on Rose and Cspan) are run again in the coming days. Well worth it…

Madman in the Marketplace - 25 March 2009

there are a bunch up online

Arcturus - 25 March 2009

I caught one of those a year ago or so – probably pointed out by you – thank you . . .

15. Arcturus - 25 March 2009

Keith Harmon Snow’s latest (5 March 2009) – AFRICOM’S COVERT WAR IN SUDAN: The Winter of Bashir’s Discontent:

. . . the U.S. war for Sudan has always revolved around ‘humanitarian’ operations—purportedly neutral and presumably concerned only about protecting innocent human lives—that often provide cover for clandestine destabilizing activities and interventions.
Americans need to recognize that the Administration of President Barack Obama has begun to step up war for control of Sudan in keeping with the permanent warfare agenda of both Republicans and Democrats. The current destabilization of Sudan mirrors the illegal covert guerrilla war carried out in Rwanda—also launched and supplied from Uganda—from October 1990 to July 1994. The Rwandan Defense Forces (then called the Rwandan Patriotic Army) led by Major General Paul Kagame achieved the U.S. objective of a coup d’etat in Rwanda through that campaign, and President Kagame has been a key interlocutor in the covert warfare underway in Darfur, Sudan.

During the Presidency of George W. Bush the U.S. Government was involved with the intelligence apparatus of the Government of Sudan (GoS). At the same time, other U.S. political and corporate factions were pressing for a declaration of genocide against the GoS. Now, given the shift of power and the appointment of top Clinton officials formerly involved in covert operations in Rwanda, Uganda, Congo and Sudan during the Clinton years, pressure has been applied to heighten the campaign to destabilize the GoS, portrayed as a ‘terrorist” Arab regime, but an entity operating outside the U.S.-controlled banking system. The former campaign saw overt military action with the U.S. military missile attacks against the Al-Shifa Pharmaceutical factory in Sudan (1998): this was an international war crime by the Clinton Administration and it involved officials now in power.

marisacat - 25 March 2009

The former campaign saw overt military action with the U.S. military missile attacks against the Al-Shifa Pharmaceutical factory in Sudan (1998): this was an international war crime by the Clinton Administration and it involved officials now in power.

We saved the world from the criminal aspirin.

Madman in the Marketplace - 25 March 2009

I think Emmalyn started there!

marisacat - 25 March 2009

illegal immigrant alien aspirin. On the lam too.

Probably dragging an SKS assault rifle (Mixon’s second weapon)

Madman in the Marketplace - 25 March 2009

smuggled in by cartels through tunnels with little blonde girls on leashes wearing saddlebags.

Arcturus - 25 March 2009

while it’s a good poster image – repelete w/ fingerprints on the trigger – it’s probably one of the lesser crimes of that era . . .

marisacat - 25 March 2009

well the millions dead across the decades would be “it”.

But, then again, not to worry. Now we have Ob. Who is FDR or JFK or RFK or Truman. Or Martin…. Or AtheG. Or Lincoln.

Whoever. Whatever.

A joke… that is what we are living.

16. Madman in the Marketplace - 25 March 2009

American guns are part of the problem. Here are some bigger guns.

For instance, Mrs. Clinton said, the United States will help supply Mexican law enforcement officers with helicopters and night-vision goggles and other equipment to take on the cartels, which are armed to the teeth.

“We’ve got to figure out how to stop these bad guys,” she said. “These criminals are outgunning the law enforcement officials.”

Arcturus - 25 March 2009

John Ross was on Flashpoints tonight – said something to the effect of ‘we militarized the border under Clinton – & have since remiliarized & then militarized it again – effectively ensuring the cartels’ profits’

Madman in the Marketplace - 25 March 2009

support for multiple industries, of course. Just think how much gear the Nat’l Guard will need this time.

liberalcatnip - 25 March 2009

Since you yanks have lost interest in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the admin needs you to be excited about some war somewhere. Enter Mexico.

17. Madman in the Marketplace - 25 March 2009

Linked at the post above: The War on Drugs Is a Failure By FERNANDO HENRIQUE CARDOSO, CéSAR GAVIRIA and ERNESTO ZEDILLO

The war on drugs has failed. And it’s high time to replace an ineffective strategy with more humane and efficient drug policies. This is the central message of the report by the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy we presented to the public recently in Rio de Janeiro.

Prohibitionist policies based on eradication, interdiction and criminalization of consumption simply haven’t worked. Violence and the organized crime associated with the narcotics trade remain critical problems in our countries. Latin America remains the world’s largest exporter of cocaine and cannabis, and is fast becoming a major supplier of opium and heroin. Today, we are further than ever from the goal of eradicating drugs.

Over the last 30 years, Colombia implemented all conceivable measures to fight the drug trade in a massive effort where the benefits were not proportional to the resources invested. Despite the country’s achievements in lowering levels of violence and crime, the areas of illegal cultivation are again expanding. In Mexico — another epicenter of drug trafficking — narcotics-related violence has claimed more than 5,000 lives in the past year alone.

The revision of U.S.-inspired drug policies is urgent in light of the rising levels of violence and corruption associated with narcotics. The alarming power of the drug cartels is leading to a criminalization of politics and a politicization of crime. And the corruption of the judicial and political system is undermining the foundations of democracy in several Latin American countries.

The first step in the search for alternative solutions is to acknowledge the disastrous consequences of current policies. Next, we must shatter the taboos that inhibit public debate about drugs in our societies. Antinarcotic policies are firmly rooted in prejudices and fears that sometimes bear little relation to reality. The association of drugs with crime segregates addicts in closed circles where they become even more exposed to organized crime.

In order to drastically reduce the harm caused by narcotics, the long-term solution is to reduce demand for drugs in the main consumer countries. To move in this direction, it is essential to differentiate among illicit substances according to the harm they inflict on people’s health, and the harm drugs cause to the social fabric.

In this spirit, we propose a paradigm shift in drug policies based on three guiding principles: Reduce the harm caused by drugs, decrease drug consumption through education, and aggressively combat organized crime. To translate this new paradigm into action we must start by changing the status of addicts from drug buyers in the illegal market to patients cared for by the public-health system.

18. Madman in the Marketplace - 25 March 2009

Lots of new stuff up at BAR:

The Cold-Blooded Murder of Oscar Grant

But the events of January 1 show that these “explanations” are lies designed to cover up the truth: the killing of Oscar Grant was not a mistake or an accident, it was cold-blooded murder. It wasn’t an isolated act by one rogue cop; it was the culmination of an orgy of brutality by a whole gang of police against a crew of Black youth that included racial profiling and slurs, threats with tasers, assaults, and illegal detention.

The system didn’t treat the cops’ actions on January 1 as intolerable exceptions to what they’re supposed to do; instead, the system’s institutions moved to cover up and legitimize this violence and let all the cops but one go free. All this—and the whole nationwide epidemic of police brutality and murder—point to the cold truth that brutalizing, terrorizing, and yes murdering oppressed people—especially Black people—is what the police are supposed to do—not to “protect and serve,” but to keep people down.

Another video clip, not shown on TV until weeks after the murder, shows Pirone suddenly stride by Michael, who was handcuffed and lying on the cement, across the platform toward Oscar, hitting him hard in the face, causing his head to snap back.

Oscar fell to a sitting position and put his hands up in submission gesture. One video shows that Pirone then aimed his taser at all three youth in front of him. Although no media has reported it, the video then shows Mehserle striking the youth seated next to Oscar about three times and then handcuffing him. Oscar rises to his knees, protesting.

Pirone then pushed Oscar’s face to the pavement, still threatening to tase him. Mehserle straddled Oscar’s back, pulling his arms back. Pirone dug his knee into Oscar’s neck. People on the train started to shout, “that’s fucked up. Let him go!” Witnesses heard Oscar cry out in pain and tell Pirone, “I have a four-year-old daughter, don’t tase me.”

Oscar and his friends were fully in “police control,” not resisting. The video shows Oscar lying face down on the ground with both hands behind his back, barely moving, if at all.

But Pirone and Mehserle didn’t stop, they escalated. Pirone claims he heard Mehserle say to him “Tony, get away. Back up,” a chilling statement pointing to a cold, calculated decision. With Pirone still on Oscar, Mehserle wrenches his gun from its holster and shoots Oscar Grant at close range—in the back.

Department of Double Standards: Rep. Maxine Waters Maligned for Helping Black Banks

Every sentient being on the planet is aware of the tawdry money-lust affair between Wall Street banksters and the Bush-Obama bailout regimes. Goldman Sachs didn’t miss a beat as January 20th saw one administration morph into the other, with Sachs still in the finance policy catbird seat. Rescuing the zombie bankers from catastrophe of their own making has become the national project, an open-ended transfer of vast wealth to the finance capitalist class, courtesy of purchased politicians. Conflict of interest is a dead letter, with lawless banksters empowered to dictate the terms of their own deliverance from insolvency. The biggest beneficiaries are those institutions already deemed “too big to fail” – and whose executives are far too politically wired to go to jail.

But let a progressive Black congresswoman arrange a meeting in which Black bankers beseech the government for some miniscule piece of the bailout pie – and it is the stuff of scandal.

Los Angeles Rep. Maxine Waters, a consistent crusader for peace and social justice, has long personally patronized Black banks, as has her husband, Sidney Williams. It is a matter of principle, and community self-interest. When the local Family Savings bank was going out of business seven years ago, Rep. Waters was instrumental in ensuring that it remained in Black hands. Black-owned OneUnited bank, based in Boston, took over. Congresswoman Waters’ husband was invited to sit on the board. He received no compensation, but was required to own stock.

OneUnited became, according to its web site, “the first Black internet bank and the largest Black-owned bank in the country, with offices in Los Angeles, Boston and Miami.” The bank boasts: “In the past five years, we have finances $600 million in loans, including churches, affordable housing, office buildings and retail stores – most in low to moderate income communities such as South Central, Compton [Los Angeles], Liberty City [Miami] and Roxbury [Boston].”

President Obama Declares His DLC Allegiance: Says “I Am A New Democrat”

According to a well-sourced, but largely unnoticed story in story in Politico early this month, Barack Obama declared in a private meeting with a group of rightwing House Democrats that he was “a New Democrat,” volunteraily assuming the discredited brand of the deeply corrupt Democratic Leadership Council.

Back in 1984 and 1988 the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaigns scared the living daylights out of the white Democratic Party establishment. What frightened the good old white boys in charge of the Democratic Party most wasn’t Jackson’s poetic oratory or the color of his face. It was the middle and end of the Reagan era, and tens of millions of Americans, including white ones, were ready and eager for a deep and thoroughgoing change in the nation’s politics. Jackson might well have been the nation’s first black president. But Rev. Jackson did something that the first black president did not do.

Unlike the man who became the nation’s first black presidentf a quarter century later, Jackson brought more to the table with him than the symbolic presence of the nation’s poor and disenfranchised. Jackson took the relentless media spotlight that follows presidential candidates to farms and factories and housing projects and directly articulated the concerns, the demands of millions of ordinary people people in the Democratic Party’s base. A bigger threat to party bosses than a Democratic base mobilized behind its own will, a base that believed it had the right to craft and pursue its own policy objectives and that holds the candidates they voted for responsible for, is hard to imagine. The mostly white bosses of the Democratic party a quarter century ago and today, prefer a Democratic base that votes, and then goes away after the elections, one that allows them to do the talking instead of speaking and moving for itself, a Democratic base that will not and cannot hold its elected representatives to any standard of articulating and carrying out the people’s will for peace abroad and economic justice at home.

And despite the fact that single payer health care would create 2.6 million new jobs and cover all the uninsured while costing no more than the present and profoundly broken health care system, New Democrats prefer a healthy private insurance sector to a healthy population. They know that families who do not fear losing their precious medical benefits will be less afraid to organize and strike and fight for better wages and conditions. New Democrats favor throwing trillions at banks to “revive” the economy, but are willing to cut or gut Social Security. All these policy positions, and the New Democrat label itself are the heritage of the Democratic Leadership Council, with which Obama was briefly affiliated early in his career, but forced to disavow. Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, a leading New Democrat in the Congress, has always been a stalwart of the Democratic Leadership Council. Emmanuel used corporate campaign cash to run pro-war Democrats against antiwar Democrats in 2006 and 2008.

As potent as the DLC-New Democrat brand is, it is also poisonous. As a candidate for the Democratic nomination to the US Senate in 2003, Obama urgently needed to lock down the progressive, black and antiwar vote in his home state of Illinois, and was compelled to renounce the Democratic Leadership Council. That was then. This is now. Perhaps the president feels himself untouchable and unaccountable now that he is safely in the White Hose. Maybe he was just relaxed. Whatever the case, the truth of where his political allegiance lies is no longer a matter of conjecture.

The Democratic Leadership Council has always been “Republicans-lite,” a pack of corporate funded Trojan Horses inside the Democratic Party responsible to their funders, and not to the Democratic Party’s base. Now President Obama has assumed his place, as the leader of that pack.

liberalcatnip - 25 March 2009

Perhaps the president feels himself untouchable and unaccountable now that he is safely in the White Hose.

Freudian slip?

19. marisacat - 25 March 2009

gag. Lunch on the Hill today:

Sen. Reid: “It was vintage Obama. He made us all feel content and inspired by where we need to go.”

He’s already “vintage”.

Madman in the Marketplace - 25 March 2009

then he swallowed some Viagra and went looking for a page.

20. Madman in the Marketplace - 25 March 2009
liberalcatnip - 25 March 2009

Great site name. :)

21. Madman in the Marketplace - 25 March 2009

Chicago Police Using Military Style Rifles

The Chicago Police Department continues to move forward with a plan to equip rank-and-file officers with rifles that were originally designed for military use. Chicago, like other big cities and some smaller towns, has made such weapons available to tactical officers. Now they’d go to cops on the beat. Superintendent Jody Weis says around 500 officers have gone through the training that allows them to use the semi-automatic gun on duty. One group of young people has continually opposed giving Chicago cops the increased firepower, but they’ve not had much luck changing Weis’ mind. WBEZ’s Robert Wildeboer reports on the stalemate and the powerful weapon that’s behind it.

22. Arcturus - 25 March 2009

a trilogy:

A San Francisco federal judge on Tuesday refused to fire the independent czar of health care for California’s prisons, ruling his presence remains necessary to achieve the court’s constitutional goal.

“Based on the entire record in this case, the court is far from confident that (state officials) have the will, capacity, or leadership to provide constitutionally adequate medical care in the absence of a receivership, and (they) have presented no evidence to the contrary,” U.S. District Judge Thelton E. Henderson said.

“Nor have (state officials) offered any rebuttal to the evidence presented by (inmates’ attorneys) and the receiver … concerning the ongoing nature of the constitutional violations,”

followed by: A federal judge [Henderson] will be allowed to proceed with a contempt hearing against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for refusing to pay for improvements to inmate health care, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

& beyond oversight, outta sight:

The Medical Crisis in Immigration Detention

23. liberalcatnip - 25 March 2009
24. NYCO - 25 March 2009

Sheeyit… this is getting almost sorta kinda maybe half serious.

The war between the state

Not the first time splitting New York has been proposed by legislators, but this is slightly more of a credible attempt at official discussion. The shit’s still far from real, but these are “interesting times” to say the least.

NYC would dump Upstate first, but that probably would energize Upstate immensely.

25. marisacat - 25 March 2009

hmmm

Britain’s ambition to become a global leader in renewable energy suffered a major setback last night when the world’s biggest investor in wind power said that it was slashing its investment programme.

The announcement comes less than two months after ministers backed a string of huge gas-fired power stations, prompting concern that the Government cannot fulfil its promise of a green energy revolution.

Iberdrola Renewables’ decision to cut its investment in Britain by more than 40 per cent, or £300 million — enough to build a wind farm powering 200,000 homes — is the latest obstacle to Gordon Brown’s target of generating 35 per cent of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Lifting it to that level from the current 5 per cent would cost an estimated £100 billion. But wind energy investments have collapsed as funding dries up in the credit crunch and the price of oil, gas and coal has fallen. Delays obtaining access to the national grid and planning permission have compounded the industry’s woes. …

26. marisacat - 25 March 2009

Too funny. Masters of the masters. Of the Universe. God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the whirled.

FP NYT

U.S. to Detail Plan to Rein In Finance World

By EDMUND L. ANDREWS and LOUISE STORY

Hedge funds and traders of exotic financial products could be under stricter governmental supervision, officials said.

27. marisacat - 25 March 2009

FWIW… DEA just pulling out of Emmalyn’s the Med MJ place. Basically looked like they took most things… loaded up trucks and so on. THere for 7 hours or so.

Hints dropped the place was dealing. Some clients or patients said they thought it might have something to do wiht “free days” when Emmalyn’s gave small amts away free to low income patients. If that is what it was about (and of course sending a message)… geesh.

Will see what reports surface…

Biden and Rahm are big Drug War[riors}. Which means poor widdle Ob is too. Or fronts for drug warriors. Holder is a long time Drug War[rior] as well.

marisacat - 25 March 2009

DEA is saying they may have violated both state and federal laws. LOL But they made no arrest.

28. lucid - 25 March 2009

The Aral Sea

Our sea-dreams
Deepen myth,
Toe shells shifting.

A thoughtless
Pseudonym
Absolves fantasy.

In blissful ignorance,
We pick petoskeys
From the shore

As the water wades away
Decampimg wreckage
from childish days.

And we stand,
slack-jawed
at the premier
of our paltry scene.

Suffice it to say,
Our memory shrinks
Like the Aral Sea.

29. lucid - 25 March 2009

edited version… slightly better:

Our sea-dreams
Deepen myth,
Toe shells shifting.

A thoughtless
Pseudonym
Absolves fantasy.

In blissful ignorance,
We pick petoskeys
From the shore

As the water wades away
Decampimg wreckage
from childish days.

And we stand,
slack-jawed
at the premier
of a paltry scene.

Suffice it to say,
Memory shrinks
Like the Aral Sea.

marisacat - 26 March 2009

hey hey lucid…

lucid - 26 March 2009

…a late evenings work. ;) sleep well.

lucid - 26 March 2009

PS – I wish I could post the photos I do with these on my facebook page…

marisacat - 26 March 2009

lucid… post a link to your facebook page. … I actually joined! jam.fuse sent me an invite so I took the bait.. then he forgot he’d asked me and dropped me as a friend. :lol: (the joys of modern community) then wrote to invite me again.. anyway somehow i joined.

I will put up a lucid poem and photo.. your pick if you like, as a post… whenever you like.

[still cannot believe i joined facebook!]

wu ming - 26 March 2009

it’s like a great self-updating address book, albeit with a whole irritating sideshow of dumb quizzes and such on the side. much much easier than trying to keep tabs on friends and family one by one.

lucid - 26 March 2009

I’ve actually enjoyed facebook. It’s put me in touch with a whole host of folks that I wanted to be in touch with again, but had no means of doing so. Then again, it’s also put me in touch with a whole host of people I can’t stand… and some of my crazy extended family that I want no part of has attempted to friend me, putting me in the awkward position of snubbing them.

30. marisacat - 26 March 2009

I fell into this over at FSZ and must say I got a huge kick out of it. :lol:

lucid - 26 March 2009

oh god yeah – bhhm kicked ass in that thread… Was laughing all morning over that.

Madman in the Marketplace - 26 March 2009

go BHHM! Of course, he was casting pearls before pwoggie swine …

BooHooHooMan - 26 March 2009

Well, Whoever my nemesis is, LOL – she ‘s an Obster, a kos thread thug / apologist, and runs over the rice-paper men at FSZ with ease. LOL.
And I’m no Nostradamus, but Jeesus. Nor is The “Nothing Like A Convert” irony lost on me either:. Or the Irony of blowing a call:: I missed the CKS thing, misread it entirely…Thought Edwards would squeek by Ob and Hill would be a distant third in Iowa then Hillary and the Establisment would ultimately finish ‘em both off. LOL. So what’s my score THERE?
There’s gotta be a curve on that motherfucker, though. LOL

Anyways, I know how PA works. I know the Specter scam cold. Toomey is DOA with his background. He’s a foil. If circumstances change he’ll get the nod or the PTB will have a servile Dem do their bidding. They can have a pair of Senators then under the D label.

Also- that Lauren? LOL- she was “troll rating” me on a site where they supposedly mean nothing..What the fuck’s up with that? LOL. I hadn’t seen them since I found a display pic for an inflatable man doll named “The Armando” and dropped it on a thread (pssst…yeh that was me) that Man- Doll , ,Houle, and Del Dumb were tending after mcats famous un- outing of Melrath. Up to that mass exctinction-level event, I had only heard of her through the Anti-Christ whisperings from people who were obvious pricks….

Put it this way, “The Armando”? Didn’t go over well.

BooHooHooMan - 26 March 2009

“circumstances” being Specters Health. Bottom line if he’s alive he gets the nom , goes on for the win in PA

There’s also the thing of the sixty seats…how do you cover a scam if the electorate looks like they’re ready to actually vote in that Supermajority? gad . We get close to THAT trend, and you’ll see them have some poor sacrificial Dem bastard fucking Harry Reid and Meatloaf on live national television two days before the Election.

They’ll come up with sometin’ to run from it.

liberalcatnip - 26 March 2009

I (anonymous person on the internets) will bet you (another anonymous person on the internets) say…$5 million (going for the gusto!) that Specter will lose. hahaha

That seems to be the best she/he/it/Lauren has. And you’d better pony up the (anonymously pledged) cash if you take her/him/it up on those bets! Or else…something…

31. Madman in the Marketplace - 26 March 2009
32. NYCO - 26 March 2009

Striking French workers release 3M manager

French workers released a manager of U.S. manufacturer 3M held hostage for two days in a labor dispute over layoffs, the company said Thursday, amid rising French unemployment and public outrage at employers.

A new poll indicated that French worker frustration remains high, with a majority of respondents predicting more violent incidents in response to the economic crisis. The hostage-taking was one of many recent efforts by French workers to protest the downturn.

But hey, Dow futures point up!

33. ms_xeno - 26 March 2009

[waves at other well-wishers and applauds BHHM for never giving up on a good thing. Or on Lauren S., either. :p ]

#58– Madman, I got distracted by the story about leather floor tiles. I feel so out of the loop now. If only somebody had told me before… :/

34. marisacat - 26 March 2009

Too funny! Facebook is undergoing site maintenance.. and not available.
:lol:

35. marisacat - 26 March 2009

HA!

they seem to think Geithner has been spruced up and rehabbed! Shoving him out to MTP on Sunday.

Go for it!

36. marisacat - 26 March 2009

neue thread…

LINK

……… 8O ………


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