Monday, December 31, 2012


Other Interests

Back in March 2010, Harper's magazine looked at the Pentagon's relationship with the dictatorship of Uzbekistan, a notorious abuser of human rights, including boiling dissidents alive. In the article, Ken Silverstein sheds light on the Pentagon's shady deals with a company owned by the dictator's daughter, Gulnara Karimova--a friend of Bill Clinton, and benefactor of his foundation.

Today, in an article at Toward Freedom, Puck Lo reports on the Cotton Campaign calling for an international boycott of Uzbek cotton, which according to human rights organizations is harvested by forced labor -- including hundreds of thousands of young children -- for the benefit of the government of Uzbekistan.

As noted by Lo, the European Union -- due to the child and forced labor issue -- refused to extend a bilateral trade agreement with Uzbekistan. Meanwhile, the United States recently restored military aid to Uzbekistan that was cut off in 2003 due to the country's dismal record of human rights abuses. As U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remarked, "We have other interests."

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Apartheid Unchecked

Sometimes Israeli politicians forget to check with their public relations officers, making blatant remarks demonstrating criminal intent to violate international law. IPS reports.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Unnatural Disasters

After Hurricane Sandy, power was restored in days in Manhattan, but in the Rockaways on Long Island, many are still without heat and electricity. Is it a coincidence that Manhattan includes Wall Street, and the Rockaways include mostly poor people of color and working class whites? Nicholas Mirzoeff, editor of Occupy 2012, doesn't think so.

Writing today, Mirzoeff says while people on Long Island are planning to rebuild if FEMA ever gets its act together, the politicians and the oil and gas companies that own them are planning how to make disasters like Sandy a regular occurrence. Using high tech fracking to drill where they previously could not, and drilling in the now melting Arctic, the energy companies are gearing up for a fossil fuel bonanza that will accelerate climate change and the unnatural disasters caused by their greed.

As the global elite seeks ever greater riches through the reckless expansion of carbon emissions, the rest of us will pay the price. As Mirzoeff observes, the question is how we respond to the change, who benefits from that change, and whether those impacted by it will have a voice. In other words, it's about freedom.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Poised to Pounce

Writing at Counterpunch, Rob Urie examines the fictions floated by Obama as he leads the Democratic Party in an attack on Social Security his ideological mentor Ronald Reagan would be proud of. As the last unlooted and solvent fund under the federal government's control, the Social Security fund is ripe for the picking by the publicly bailed out banks that financed Obama's elections. Neither of these facts bodes well for the aging, disabled or poor, but then, they aren't yet sufficiently organized to put up a fight.

With Obama poised to pounce on their money, maybe they ought to start getting organized.

Thursday, December 20, 2012



Ceasefire magazine's Michael Barker interviews Canadian writer and climate change campaigner Cory Morningstar about the debilitating impact liberal philanthropy has had on the environmental movement.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Exclusion and Revolution

Arundhati Roy discusses exclusion and revolution in India, where 100 million indigenous people of the interior sit on top of vast quantities of ore coveted by corporations, and the 100 families that rule India's billion citizens by brutal military force have abandoned any pretense at democracy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Hopelessly Corrupted

If we want to avoid a fiscal cliff and punitive austerity measures, we have to prosecute serious fraud and seize offshore accounts where major financial institutions launder profits for tax evasion. Until we do, no piddly fines or bromides from the White House will accomplish anything of substance. As William K. Black reports, the Department of Justice failure to prosecute serious fraud and the Department of Treasury role in abetting serious fraud are reason enough to conclude that the Obama administration is hopelessly corrupted by Wall Street. With transnational criminal enterprise driving US policy, we can expect the next four years to resemble the second term of Bush/Cheney.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Traditions and Values

The traditions and values that Tim DeChristopher and Julian Assange grew up with are different from your average consumer-oriented family. DeChristopher's mother was an activist against mountaintop removal by coal companies in West Virginia; Assange's mother was an anti-nuclear activist in Australia.

DeChristopher and Assange's defiance of the rules imposed by Wall Street and Washington has, like their mothers before them, made them targets for retribution. While DeChristopher was imprisoned for his disruption of federal oil auctions in Utah, Assange has been targeted for indefinite detention and assassination for exposing Pentagon and State Department lies.

In his sentencing, DeChristopher was also barred from doing social justice ministry in his church. The reasoning behind such a bizarre proscription, said the federal court, is that his Unitarian Universalist activism is what led to his civil disobedience. That activism, for those who might not have followed his case, consisted of serving as a wilderness guide for at-risk youth.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Get On the Freedom Train

Wear Pants to Church Day may seem like a tame proposition for a 21st Century American feminist, but to each in turn. And while we're on the topic of radical religious developments, Queer Bloggers at a conservative Christian college has some religious right gatekeepers unhinged.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Too Big To Jail

Tax Justice Network reports on how HSBC wriggled out of money-laundering indictments. As reported in the New York Times, federal prosecutors decided against indicting HSBC on the grounds that it could destabilize the global financial system.

Sound familiar? That's the same rationale the U.S. Treasury used in handing over trillions of US taxpayers money to banks in 2008 and 2009 to cover their gambling losses.

But back to the $1.92 billion settlement agreed to by the Justice Department. If financial institutions operating international criminal enterprises are too big to indict, where does that leave us as a society? If fines for lawbreaking are viewed as just another cost of doing business, how are we expected to restabilize the global financial system that the criminals have run on the rocks?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Unnecessary Unworkable Unaffordable

Push the Pentagon off the cliff.

Sunday, December 09, 2012


Taxing Multinationals

Tax Justice Network rolls out a 21st Century blueprint for taxing multinational companies. How long do you think it will take for Secretaries Clinton and Geithner to decry this as socialism?

Tuesday, December 04, 2012


Illuminating Lawlessness

Tax Justice Network reports on the upcoming workshop, Media Training: Introduction to Illicit Finance, Financial Secrecy & Asset Recovery, to be held in London, March 19-22.

Monday, December 03, 2012


Beyond the Law

After James Baldwin, I believe that one changes the world by changing how people see the world. Lawsuits can do that. So can writing and other forms of public advocacy. So can literature or the arts. The important thing is to engage in the effort.
--David Cole, Guernica magazine

Sunday, December 02, 2012


Native Media

Native people don't have any access to any form of media that reflects them...The Native governments are structured like the American government, which is naturally corrupt. Then, they don't want media, because it is on their case...I just think they're afraid of artists, because we speak out.
--Gary Farmer, Cayuga film star, Censored News 

Saturday, December 01, 2012



The rumored replacement of Hillary Clinton with Susan Rice as Secretary of State might fly below the radar of some, but the fact that Rice comes with substantial conflict of interest baggage should raise at least a few red flags. As a member of the political elite heavily invested in energy stocks from notorious carbon intensive projects like the Canadian Tar Sands, Rice can hardly be counted on to act impartially when it comes to ruling on Tar Sands related projects like the Keystone pipeline. But then, for that matter, neither can Obama be counted on to act impartially when it comes to the Gateway Pacific Terminal proposal to export Powder River Basin coal--a project owned in large part by Goldman Sachs, the financier that bankrolled his election in 2008. While Rice and Obama might miraculously rise above personal financial interests, given their track records, that's highly unlikely.

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