Why The President Is Probably Going To Lose

by lestro

Once again, President Obama is pulling a 180 on Candidate Obama’s promises. In this case, he promised that he would punish  those responsible for intentionally tanking the economy in 2008. Now, it seems, the president is doing everything he can to make sure everything works out in Wall Street’s favor while the good folks on Main Street who got totally and completely fucked will be left to pick up scraps and continue to slave away for our corporate overlords.

On the one side is Eric Schneiderman, the New York Attorney General, who is conducting his own investigation into the era of securitizations – the practice of chopping up assets like mortgages and converting them into saleable securities – that led up to the financial crisis of 2007-2008.

On the other side is the Obama administration, all the banks, and, now, apparently, all the other state attorneys general.  [...]

This deal will also submarine efforts by both defrauded investors in MBS and unfairly foreclosed-upon homeowners and borrowers to obtain any kind of relief in the civil court system. The AGs initially talked about $20 billion as a settlement number, money that would “toward loan modifications and possibly counseling for homeowners,” as Gretchen Morgenson reported the other day.

The banks, however, apparently “balked” at paying that sum, and no doubt it will end up being a lesser amount when the deal is finally done.

To give you an indication of how absurdly small a number even $20 billion is relative to the sums of money the banks made unloading worthless crap subprime assets on foreigners, pension funds and other unsuspecting suckers around the world, consider this: in 2008 alone, the state pension fund of Florida, all by itself, lost more than three times that amount ($62 billion) thanks in significant part to investments in these deadly MBS.

So this deal being cooked up is the ultimate Papal indulgence. By the time that $20 billion (if it even ends up being that high) gets divvied up between all the major players, the broadest and most destructive fraud scheme in American history, one that makes the S&L crisis look like a cheap liquor store holdup , will be safely reduced to a single painful but eminently survivable one-time line item for all the major perpetrators.

I love the line “the ultimate papal indulgence.”  That’s genius.

This is the essential problem facing Obama next year: the failure to even TRY to deliver on the promises he made as a candidate.

I’ve been wracking my brain; what part of his platform has he succeeded in passing?

Healthcare? nope.  He buckled and we got Hillary’s plan instead of the public option we voted for.

Closing Gitmo? nope.

Out of Iraq? not quite.

Afghanistan? still there, though we did get Bin Laden and Obama should be commended for that.

Certainly we haven’t seen the ‘change’ we were promised and frankly, I am yet to see him even try.  I expect the youth vote to stay home, once again convinced that their vote don’t mean shit, and when you remove those votes, shift the independents around and factor in a fired-up right wing, you get a mix that spells doom for the president in a race where turnout is going to be the key component…

Mark my words, this is turning into the theme song of the 2012 election:

How to play music like a war crime

by twit

Rage Against the Machine

Rage Against the Machine … protesting against Guantanamo Bay at the Reading festival. Photograph: Chiaki Nozu/Filmmagic.com/Getty Images  (The Guardian)

via Slashdot, from the AP:

At least Vance, who says he was jailed for reporting illegal arms sales, was used to rock music. For many detainees who grew up in Afghanistan – where music was prohibited under Taliban rule – interrogations by U.S. forces marked their first exposure to the pounding rhythms, played at top volume.

The experience was overwhelming for many. Binyam Mohammed, now a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, said men held with him at the CIA’s “Dark Prison” in Afghanistan wound up screaming and smashing their heads against walls, unable to endure more.

“There was loud music, (Eminem’s) ‘Slim Shady’ and Dr. Dre for 20 days. I heard this nonstop over and over,” he told his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith. “The CIA worked on people, including me, day and night for the months before I left. Plenty lost their minds.”

and that’s not all…

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The Bush Administration works hard to set the terrorists free

by twit

It has always been an indisputable point of logic that torture does not produce reliable confessions. A person subject to torture will say what they need to say in order to stop the pain.

For example, the Atlantic notes in October 2003:

Few support the use of physical pressure to extract confessions, especially because victims will often say anything (to the point of falsely incriminating themselves) to put an end to pain.

Enter the Bush Administration, and its voracious appetite for torturing suspected terrorists. I have little doubt that they got some great sounding stuff from the waterboarding and other tactics that have been reported on over these past few years.

The issue of whether torture is an effective interrogation method needs no high and mighty ideals of human rights and liberties to make it an unacceptable practice. It is a matter of simple logic, one that should have been obvious to anyone responsible with producing evidence for a criminal or war crimes trial.

As of today, logic and the rule of law prevails:

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – The judge in the first American war crimes trial since World War II barred evidence on Monday that interrogators obtained from Osama bin Laden’s driver following his capture in Afghanistan.

… The judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, said the prosecution cannot use a series of interrogations at the Bagram air base and Panshir, Afghanistan, because of the “highly coercive environments and conditions under which they were made.”

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The Moral High Ground doesn’t live here anymore

by lestro

Today’s NY Times contains a story titled “A Year Under Hamas Alters Life in Gaza” about how things have changed in the Gaza strip since Hamas, the terrorist group, took over control of the territory from Fatah, a former terrorist group, by shooting their opponents in the knees and tossing them off buildings.

http://data4.blog.de/media/875/1862875_7c90730815_m.jpegThe US and Israel reacted immediately, of course, attempting to isolate the people and force them to turn on the new leaders by cutting them off from the world.

But, as anyone who has ever read “Animal Farm” knows, isolation only makes it easier for the leaders to control the situation, as now they control the flow of information as well as the means of government, becoming providers for the people. Especially now that goods like food and fuel are scarce and Hamas controls everything being smuggled into the country (which is everything) through tunnels from Egypt.

And that taxes it, of course. It’s like the mob back in the prohibition days, controlling every aspect of business because of a failed policy on the part of the controlling authority (in this case, the US and Israel).

So not surprisingly, life isn’t good. The Israel and American blockade surely doesn’t add to the quality of life, but inside the fences, the religious fundamentalists get to rule over the territory like their own, private West Texas compound.

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