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marmar

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Home country: Citizen of the world whose address is in the U.S.
Current location: Detroit, Michigan
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 64,706

Journal Archives

AFA loonball Tim Wildmon: Too much beefcake in the locker room for Michael Sam


American Family Association President Tim Wildmon has come to the defense of former NFL coach Tony Dungy, who made headlines this week in regard to a series of controversial remarks about Michael Sam of the St. Louis Rams.

In a blog post on AFA's website, Wildmon criticized ESPN's Keith Olbermann for calling Dungy the "worst person in sports," after the ex-coach said he would not have selected Sam, who made history as the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL, becuase "things will happen" and he "wouldn't want to deal with any of it," Right Wing Watch pointed out.

"Sexually, God made man for woman and woman for man. It's obvious. It's natural," Wildmon wrote. Noting that progressives are "always trying to equate homosexuality with heterosexuality," he added, "When someone like Dungy makes a comment that can in any way been seen as challenging this narrative then that person must be immediately discredited or publicly shamed no matter the truth of what he is saying."

But he didn't stop there. Pointing once again to Sam, he then wrote:

By the way, having been a sports reporter for a few years I've been in many football locker rooms where the players walk around naked or half-naked, changing clothes and going in and out of the showers. Putting a man like Sam, who says he is sexually attracted to men, in with all that beefcake seems unfair to the straight players and a distraction to Sam.
...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/25/michael-sam-tim-wildmon-_n_5620876.html?cps=gravity



Just when you think the NRA can't sink any lower ........


Brian Judy, a senior state lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, compared supporting gun control to paving the way for the Holocaust last week.

His particular target: venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, who is affiliated with the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility and has supported a Washington state gun control initiative. Hanauer has said his family fled Germany to escape the Nazis.

Judy laid into Hanauer and other gun control supporters at a July 23 event opposing the Washington state initiative, I-594, which would require criminal background checks of individuals purchasing firearms at gun shows and online. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/29/nra-holocaust_n_5628484.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013



‘My Party Has Lost Its Soul’


via truthdig:



In a Salon review Sunday of Ralph Nader’s spring 2014 book “Unstoppable,” Bill Curry, former White House counselor to President Bill Clinton, takes Democrats led by Clinton and Barack Obama to task for making their party an indentured servant of Wall Street and gifting economic populism to the right.

Curry endorses Nader’s view that the present is ripe for a populist revival. Looking back to the Gilded Age, when “powerful trusts were turning farmers into wage slaves and the world’s greatest democracy into just another corrupt oligarchy,” he notes that agrarian populists “busted price fixing railroads and granaries, fought for rural free deliver and established cooperative banks that still provide a third of all credit to rural America.” Coming to the present, he writes:

Parallels to our own time could hardly be clearer. Like invasive species destroying the biodiversity of a pond, today’s global trusts swallow up everything smaller than themselves. The rules of global trade make organizing for higher wages next to impossible in developed and undeveloped countries alike. Fights for net neutrality and public Wi-Fi are exactly like the fight for rural free delivery. Small businesses are as starved for credit as small farmers ever were. PACs are our Tammany Hall. What’s missing is a powerful, independent reform movement.


Inaction from Democrats on these fronts has given populism to Republicans and their further-right colleagues. Tea party Sen. Rand Paul is a greater champion of privacy and opponent of empire than any of his liberal colleagues, Curry writes. And the tea party as a whole has railed “loudest against big banks and corporate corruption.”

And in response to the crisis, Democrats have had their eyes on the wrong solution, Curry explains:

Liberals have spent the intervening years debating macroeconomic theory but macroeconomics can’t fathom this crisis. This isn’t just a slow recovery from a financial sector collapse, or damage done by debt overhang or Obama’s weak tea Keynesianism. We’re in crisis because of all our broken systems; because we still let big banks prey on homeowners, students, consumers and retailers; because our infrastructure is decrepit; because our tax code breeds inefficiency and inequality; because foreign interventions bled us dry. We’re in peril because our democracy is dying. Reviving it will take more than deficit spending and easy money. It will take reform, and before that, a whole new political debate.


In response to this mess, Nader’s book advocates a cost-saving program that would earn credibility among the voting public by championing ethics, challenging big business, standing up for small businesses and incorporating new issues such as privacy. Obama was elected with a mandate to do all of these things. His victory was a win for populism. But as an exemplar of his party’s ethos he didn’t embrace the leadership. He didn’t “believe in ideas because don’t believe in people. Obama wasted years dickering with Republicans who wished him only ill. He should have talked to the people and let them talk to the Republicans,” ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/my_party_has_lost_its_soul_20140728



Michele Bachmann's biggest backers (cartoon)





http://www.truthdig.com/cartoon/item/bachmann_again_20140727


You Can’t Taper a Ponzi Scheme: Time to Reboot


By Ellen Brown, Web of Debt


One thing to be said for the women now heading the Federal Reserve and the IMF: compared to some of their predecessors, they are refreshingly honest. The Wall Street Journal reported on July 2nd:

Two of the world’s most powerful women of finance sat down for a lengthy discussion Wednesday on the future of monetary policy in a post-crisis world: U.S. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde. Before a veritable who’s-who in international economics packing the IMF’s largest conference hall, the two covered all the hottest topics in debate among the world’s central bankers, financiers and economists.


Among those hot topics was the runaway shadow banking system, defined by Investopedia as “The financial intermediaries involved in facilitating the creation of credit across the global financial system, but whose members are not subject to regulatory oversight. The shadow banking system also refers to unregulated activities by regulated institutions.” Examples given include hedge funds, derivatives and credit default swaps.

Conventional banks also engage in “shadow banking.” One way is by using their cash cushion as collateral in the repo market, where they can borrow to invest in the stock market and other speculative ventures. As explained by Bill Frezza in a January 2013 Huffington Post article titled “Too-Big-To-Fail Banks Gamble With Bernanke Bucks”:

If you think (the cash cushion from excess deposits) makes the banks less vulnerable to shock, think again. Much of this balance sheet cash has been hypothecated in the repo market, laundered through the off-the-books shadow banking system. This allows the proprietary trading desks at these “banks” to use that cash as collateral to take out loans to gamble with. In a process called hyper-hypothecation this pledged collateral gets pyramided, creating a ticking time bomb ready to go kablooey when the next panic comes around.


Addressing the ticking time bomb of the shadow banking system, here is what two of the world’s most powerful women had to say:

MS. LAGARDE: . . . You’ve beautifully demonstrated the efforts that have been undertaken . . . in terms of the universe that you have under your jurisdiction. But this universe . . . has generated the creation of parallel universes. And . . . with the toolbox with all the attributes that you have — what can you do about the shadow banking at large? . . .

MS. YELLEN: So I think you’re pointing to something that is an enormous challenge. And we simply have to expect that when we draw regulatory boundaries and supervise intensely within them, that there is the prospect that activities will move outside those boundaries and we won’t be able to detect them. And if we can, we won’t be — we won’t have adequate regulatory tools. And that is going to be a huge challenge to which I don’t have a great answer.


Limited to her tools, there probably is no great answer. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not rein in the growth of the shadow banking system, despite the 828-page Dodd-Frank Act. Instead, the derivatives pyramid has continued to explode under its watch, to a notional value now estimated to be as high as $2 quadrillion. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/you_cant_taper_a_ponzi_scheme_time_to_reboot_20140727



Clintonians Join Vulture Flock Over Argentina


from truthdig:



By Conn Hallinan


It is no surprise that right-wing Republican and hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer should be trying to wring hundreds of millions of dollars out of Argentina for a debt that Buenos Aires doesn’t really owe him. He screwed tens of millions of dollars out of poverty-stricken Peru and the Republic of Congo using the same financial sleight of hand. What may surprise people, however, is that key leaders in the administration of former President Bill Clinton are helping him do it.

Singer, who owns Elliot Management, a $17 billion hedge fund, is the leading “vulture investor”—a financial speculator who buys up the bonds of debt strapped nations for pennies on the dollar and then demands payment in full. When Argentina defaulted on its foreign debt in 2001, Singer moved in and bought up $48 million in bonds. He is now demanding that those bonds be paid at full-face value—$1.5 billion—plus interest and fees. It is a move that could derail Argentina’s long climb back into solvency, as well as undermine debt settlements worldwide.

A recent decision by federal District Judge Thomas Griesa in Manhattan may not only force Argentina to pay the vultures, it could unravel a 2006 debt deal between Buenos Aires and other creditors. Under the highly controversial principle of “pari passu” (“equal ranking among creditors”), if the vultures are compensated, so must all the other creditors, even those who settled back in 2006. That bill could reach $15 billion. Given that Argentina has only about $28 billion in foreign reserves, the tab could send Buenos Aires into a recession or force the country into bankruptcy.

The “sleight of hand” involves the fact that the countries the vultures prey on are not really in debt to creditors such as Singer and Eric Hermann of FH International Asset Management LLC. The hedge funds look for distressed countries, then buy their debt at bargain basement prices and sit on it. In the meantime, other creditors cut a deal to take a reduced payment on their bonds, which in turn helps improve the debtor’s economy and allows it to emerge from default. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/day_of_the_vulture_over_argentina_20140724



Killing Machines and the Madness of Militarism: From Gaza to Afghanistan


Killing Machines and the Madness of Militarism: From Gaza to Afghanistan

Thursday, 24 July 2014 10:00
By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout | Op-Ed


Militarism is like a lethal virus that takes as its first victim both historical memory and any sense of moral and social responsibility. In the United States and Israel, at the present moment, it is no longer one strain of ideology that permeates these societies; it is a general condition that gives meaning to almost all aspects of life. Incapable of thinking beyond military solutions to social problems, militarism absolves individuals and governments, if not the general public, of the horror produced by the weapons it builds; moreover, just as it erases the memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it suggests that the hundreds of children killed in Gaza is a military necessity.

The apostles of militarism offer jobs to the public that engage in the production of organized violence; they preach war as a cleansing solution, while they sanitize language of any meaning, erasing the suffering, misery, and horror inflicted by their drone missiles, jets, Apache helicopters, and bombs. All that has to be invoked are the words "collateral damage" or "military necessity" and the death-laden actions produced by the new militarists disappear into the dark vocabulary of authoritarian doublespeak. War is no longer a source of alarm, but pride, and it has become an organizing principle of many societies. Informed by a kind of primitive tribalism, militarism enshrines a deadly type of masculinity that mythologizes violence and mimics the very terrorism it claims to be fighting. Militarism and war have not only changed the nature of the political order but the nature and character of American life.

When children are killed by Israeli missiles while playing on a beach in Gaza, the horror and sheer brutality of the murderous act is wiped away by the crude argument that such needless slaughter is a military necessity. There is no defense for killing children, regardless of whether it is done by the Israeli state, the United States, Hamas, or anyone else. We live in a time in which political illiteracy and moral tranquilization work in tandem to produce the authoritarian subject, willing to participate in their own oppression and the oppression of others. Thus, the silence over filling our prisons with poor people of color, treating desperate immigrant children as if they were vermin, and allowing elected officials to replace reason with forms of militant religious fundamentalism. What kind of moral arrangements does a society give up when there is no outrage over the fact that the United States supplies billions of dollars in armaments to other states and thus is complicit in the killing of young children and others through acts of state terrorism?

The militarists come from various political parties and are hooked into a market-driven logic that disdains thinking about social costs or the despair they create. They are unadulterated agents of cruelty and their power serves a corrupt form of casino capitalism that breathes and breeds the ideology and policies of the military-industrial-surveillance complex. In the United States, trillions are spent on wars that were based on and initiated with lies. At the same time, social services are cut, schools abandoned, infrastructures ignored so that the military can build F-35 jets at the cost of $200 million apiece - pieces of junk plagued by mechanical failures and a sober witness to the United States' unwillingness to use the money of war and violence to build a decent, democratic society in which vulnerability and care become the watchwords rather than violence and war. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/25136-killing-machines-and-the-madness-of-militarism-from-gaza-to-afghanistan




Killing Machines and the Madness of Militarism: From Gaza to Afghanistan


Killing Machines and the Madness of Militarism: From Gaza to Afghanistan

Thursday, 24 July 2014 10:00
By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout | Op-Ed


Militarism is like a lethal virus that takes as its first victim both historical memory and any sense of moral and social responsibility. In the United States and Israel, at the present moment, it is no longer one strain of ideology that permeates these societies; it is a general condition that gives meaning to almost all aspects of life. Incapable of thinking beyond military solutions to social problems, militarism absolves individuals and governments, if not the general public, of the horror produced by the weapons it builds; moreover, just as it erases the memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it suggests that the hundreds of children killed in Gaza is a military necessity.

The apostles of militarism offer jobs to the public that engage in the production of organized violence; they preach war as a cleansing solution, while they sanitize language of any meaning, erasing the suffering, misery, and horror inflicted by their drone missiles, jets, Apache helicopters, and bombs. All that has to be invoked are the words "collateral damage" or "military necessity" and the death-laden actions produced by the new militarists disappear into the dark vocabulary of authoritarian doublespeak. War is no longer a source of alarm, but pride, and it has become an organizing principle of many societies. Informed by a kind of primitive tribalism, militarism enshrines a deadly type of masculinity that mythologizes violence and mimics the very terrorism it claims to be fighting. Militarism and war have not only changed the nature of the political order but the nature and character of American life.

When children are killed by Israeli missiles while playing on a beach in Gaza, the horror and sheer brutality of the murderous act is wiped away by the crude argument that such needless slaughter is a military necessity. There is no defense for killing children, regardless of whether it is done by the Israeli state, the United States, Hamas, or anyone else. We live in a time in which political illiteracy and moral tranquilization work in tandem to produce the authoritarian subject, willing to participate in their own oppression and the oppression of others. Thus, the silence over filling our prisons with poor people of color, treating desperate immigrant children as if they were vermin, and allowing elected officials to replace reason with forms of militant religious fundamentalism. What kind of moral arrangements does a society give up when there is no outrage over the fact that the United States supplies billions of dollars in armaments to other states and thus is complicit in the killing of young children and others through acts of state terrorism?

The militarists come from various political parties and are hooked into a market-driven logic that disdains thinking about social costs or the despair they create. They are unadulterated agents of cruelty and their power serves a corrupt form of casino capitalism that breathes and breeds the ideology and policies of the military-industrial-surveillance complex. In the United States, trillions are spent on wars that were based on and initiated with lies. At the same time, social services are cut, schools abandoned, infrastructures ignored so that the military can build F-35 jets at the cost of $200 million apiece - pieces of junk plagued by mechanical failures and a sober witness to the United States' unwillingness to use the money of war and violence to build a decent, democratic society in which vulnerability and care become the watchwords rather than violence and war. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/25136-killing-machines-and-the-madness-of-militarism-from-gaza-to-afghanistan



Chris Hedges: The Palestinians’ Right to Self-Defense


from truthdig:


The Palestinians’ Right to Self-Defense

Posted on Jul 23, 2014
By Chris Hedges


If Israel insists, as the Bosnian Serbs did in Sarajevo, on using the weapons of industrial warfare against a helpless civilian population then that population has an inherent right to self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. The international community will have to either act to immediately halt Israeli attacks and lift the blockade of Gaza or acknowledge the right of the Palestinians to use weapons to defend themselves.

No nation, including any in the Muslim world, appears willing to intervene to protect the Palestinians. No world body, including the United Nations, appears willing or able to pressure Israel through sanctions to conform to the norms of international law. And the longer we in the world community fail to act, the worse the spiral of violence will become.

Israel does not have the right to drop 1,000-pound iron fragmentation bombs on Gaza. It does not have the right to pound Gaza with heavy artillery and with shells lobbed from gunboats. It does not have the right to send in mechanized ground units or to target hospitals, schools and mosques, along with Gaza’s water and electrical systems. It does not have the right to displace over 100,000 people from their homes. The entire occupation, under which Israel has nearly complete control of the sea, the air and the borders of Gaza, is illegal.

Violence, even when employed in self-defense, is a curse. It empowers the ruthless and punishes the innocent. It leaves in its aftermath horrific emotional and physical scars. But, as I learned in Sarajevo during the 1990s Bosnian War, when forces bent on your annihilation attack you relentlessly, and when no one comes to your aid, you must aid yourself. When Sarajevo was being hit with 2,000 shells a day and under heavy sniper fire in the summer of 1995 no one among the suffering Bosnians spoke to me about wanting to mount nonviolent resistance. No one among them saw the U.N.-imposed arms embargo against the Bosnian government as rational, given the rain of sniper fire and the 90-millimeter tank rounds and 155-millimeter howitzer shells that were exploding day and night in the city. The Bosnians were reduced, like the Palestinians in Gaza, to smuggling in light weapons through clandestine tunnels. Their enemies, the Serbs—like the Israelis in the current conflict—were constantly trying to blow up tunnels. The Bosnian forces in Sarajevo, with their meager weapons, desperately attempted to hold the trench lines that circled the city. And it is much the same in Gaza. It was only repeated NATO airstrikes in the fall of 1995 that prevented the Bosnian-held areas from being overrun by advancing Serbian forces. The Palestinians cannot count on a similar intervention. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_palestinians_right_to_self-defense_20140723



Juan Cole: Gaza War Devastates Israeli Tourism Revenue, Points to Fragile Apartheid Future


By Juan Cole


A Hamas rocket hit and destroyed a house in Yahoud, a town only a mile from Ben Gurion Airport in Israel on Tuesday, raising severe alarm in among the international airlines and leading most of them to cancel flights to Tel Aviv. The US Federal Aviation Administration called for a 24 hour moratorium on US flights to Israel, and United Airlines, U.S. Airways and Delta Air lines said they would cease flying there “until further notice.” The European Aviation Safety Agency likewise cautioned European airlines from flying to Israel, and Lufthansa and other major carriers cancelled their flights.

Israel’s Transportation Ministry, in its charming way, stridently denounced the airlines as accomplices of terrorists, saying “there is no reason whatsoever that American companies would stop their flights and hand terror a prize…” In fact, the downing of MH17 over eastern Ukraine is obviously the context for the airlines being spooked. And, if a rocket can land one mile from the airport, it can land on a plane at the airport just as easily.

Israeli tourism brought in $11 billion last year, some 4.5% of its nominal GDP. Tourism employs 100,000 workers, two-thirds of them in the hotel industry. In other words, a full loss of tourism would cost Israel $30 mn a day and could idle nearly 3% of the country’s workforce. (Since El Al is still flying, there hasn’t been a full loss of tourism, but El Al is probably flying many planes that aren’t full and may take an economic hit on that account alone; jet fuel is expensive and nowadays full planes are necessary to avoid losing money).

Here are the major countries of origin for the tourists last year:

US: 623,000
Russia: 603,000 tourists
France 315,000
Germany 254,000
United Kingdom 217,000
Italy 173,000
Ukraine 134,000


A quarter of all visitors described themselves as pilgrims. Over half said they were Christians and a little over a quarter were Jewish. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.juancole.com/2014/07/devastates-fragile-apartheid.html



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