Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
Big Brother & My Privacy
Now Playing: "More" from Big Brother and citizens lack of privacy
Topic: CIVIL RIGHTS
June 30th, 2008
Z3 Readers Check out he Big Brother Article I found here:
The FBI has confirmed to Popular Mechanics that it’s not only adding palm prints to its criminal records, but preparing to balloon its repository of photos, which an agency official says ‘could be the basis for our facial recognition.’ It’s all part of a new biometric software system that could store millions of iris scans within 10 years and has privacy advocates crying foul. Quoting: ‘The FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) system, which could cost as much as $1 billion over its 10-year life cycle, will create an unprecedented database of biometric markers, such as facial images and iris scans. For criminal investigators, NGI could be as useful as DNA some day — a distinctive scar or a lopsided jaw line could mean the difference between a cold case and closed one. And for privacy watchdogs, it’s a duel threat — seen as a step toward a police state, and a gold mine of personal data waiting to be plundered by cybercriminals.
Read more thoughts on the subject here:
The Slashdot article mentions that Privacy advocates are up in arms over this, and rightly so. From the Washington Post article that Slashdot comments on:
To enable global sharing of data, NGI is to be built to technical standards shared by the departments of Homeland Security, Defense and State, as well as by Britain, Canada and other countries, Bush said.
Which is great, because those organizations have such a prooven track record of building things to secure technical standards (you should note the sarcasm). The Washington Post article continues:
The FBI also hopes to offer a service allowing employers to store employees’ prints, subject to state privacy laws, so that if employees are ever arrested, the employer would be notified.
Great. Joint privacy abuse by government and commercial… exactly what America needs more of. A final point about privacy from the Washington Post article:
Privacy advocates said that the work is proceeding before the technologies have been prooven. “Congress needs to do a better job of assessing how taxpayer dollars are being spent, particularly on programs that impact the privacy rights of Americans,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
That bold portion reads so obvious, but there it is. We’re going to spend billions on something that is eroding our privacy. It’s a celebration, so enjoy yourself.
You know, I think I watched a movie about this… there were these things called pre-cogs and they could predict the future… and they’d know if you committed a crime before you knew you’d commit the crime. Then these military police forces would come arrest you and you’d have no idea what was going on, and there was no point in running, because all over the streets were these biometric devices that could scan your face and recognize you and have the police on you within seconds. No point in running, that is, unless you are Tom Cruise.
Despite my fiendishly good looks and charming wit, I am not Tom Cruise, and this scares the jeebus out of me from a privacy standpoint (that’s not a mis-spell, it’s a Homer Simpson quote). I’m not sure I’m as worried about the police using it against me (since I’m not a criminal), as I am about the precedence it starts to create. I think that technology is currently far outpacing our government’s capability of keeping up with it, which I’m assuming puts the fear into them. I fear a world where our government makes snap decisions on things it may not understand that could have lasting ramifications. I also fear the rapid loss of our civil liberties that’s occurred since 9/11. -Nate
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 7:08 PM PDT
FEMA Trailers and lack of responsibility
Now Playing: FEMA stands for Failure
Topic: FAILURE by the GOVERNMENT
Seeks immunity from suits over trailer fumes
Z3 Readers this article was copied from here:
By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN,
Associated Press WriterWed Jul 23, 3:08 PM ET
The Federal Emergency Management Agency asked a federal judge Wednesday for immunity from lawsuits over potentially dangerous fumes in government-issued trailers that have housed tens of thousands of Gulf Coast hurricane victims.
Lawyers for victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita accuse FEMA of negligence for sheltering them in trailers with elevated levels of formaldehyde, a preservative used in construction materials that can cause health problems.
But a government attorney told U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt that the FEMA's decisions in responding to a disaster, including its use of travel trailers after Katrina, are legally protected from "judicial second-guessing."
"It is what the legislative branch is supposed to second guess, and they are doing that," Department of Justice attorney Henry Miller said, referring to a series of congressional hearings on formaldehyde concerns.
Plaintiffs attorney Gerald Meunier said FEMA can be held liable for providing hurricane victims with trailers that didn't meet federal safety standards and weren't designed to be long-term housing.
"Some of these people are still living in these trailers almost three years later," Meunier said.
Engelhardt took FEMA's request for immunity under advisement and didn't indicate how soon he will rule.
The judge is presiding over several consolidated cases filed against the federal government and the companies that supplied FEMA with tens of thousands of trailers after Katrina made landfall on Aug. 29, 2005, and Rita struck about a month later.
FEMA spent more than $2.5 billion to purchase more than 140,000 new trailers from recreational vehicle dealers and trailer manufacturers after the storms.
The lawsuits accuse trailer makers of providing FEMA with shoddily built units in a rush to meet the agency's unprecedented demand for emergency housing. Plaintiffs lawyers also claim FEMA ignored concerns about formaldehyde levels in trailers for months after Katrina.
"At what point do you say, 'We know there's a crisis here, but there is a minimal standard where people have got to be protected against danger,'" Meunier said.
Earlier this year, federal officials announced that tests on hundreds of occupied FEMA trailers and mobile homes detected formaldehyde levels that were, on average, about five times higher than what people are exposed to in most modern homes.
Miller said FEMA fielded its first formaldehyde complaint from a trailer occupant in March 2006 and only had seven or eight complaints by June 2006.
"What was the alternative (to using trailers)?" Miller asked. "To move them to Baton Rouge, to move them to Arkansas, to move them to Texas?"
Lawyers for the plaintiffs want the cases certified as a class action on behalf of tens of thousands of current and former trailer occupants in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Engelhardt hasn't ruled on that request yet.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 7:08 PM PDT
Tuesday, 22 July 2008
Cleaning Your Hard Drive Tips
Now Playing: Cnet.com - offers some links and tips to "make it run faster"
Optimize your hard drive in three easy steps
By Peter Butler, CNET editor
If you're like most people, your drive quickly fills up with music, images, and other personal data.
And even if you're good about archiving content onto DVDs or external drives, your PC's hard disk is often still pushing full capacity. To keep your machine running at top speed, you have to perform regular maintenance. Here are steps you can take to optimize your hard drive:
Step 1: Analyze your drive
First, identify how much disk space you're using with WinDirStat. This free software, based on the Linux application KDirStat, offers you an informative visual display of your hard-drive usage. It can also analyze your local devices, but let's for now stay focused on just your local drive. Depending on the size of your disk, the initial WinDirStat scan may take quite a while. Grab a cup of coffee and come back.
When you return, you'll see all of your files (for the drive or directory you decided to scan) displayed in a rainbow of colors. WinDirStat assigns colors to each file type, such as MP3, ZIP, EXE, JPG, and so on. By default, the files that take up the most space are colored blue, the second heftiest are red, and the third largest green. After the first 10 color-labeled file types, the rest appear in gray--but you can change these settings and colors through the Options menu.
Once you've identified where your disk space has gone, you can then more easily decide where you can save space. WinDirStat is loaded with features for managing your files, such as the ability to automatically delete files without even bothering with the Recycle Bin.
Step 2: Manage your files
After you've analyzed your usage with WinDirStat, it's time to quickly rid yourself of unnecessary files, such as application data for uninstalled software, temporary Internet files, and "recent document" lists. Enter CCleaner.
This helpful, free utility separates its optimization process into two windows, one for Windows and one for third-party applications. Simply select the items that you'd like to clean, such as Windows log files, Chkdisk file fragments, or Flash player application data, and then hit "Analyze." Depending on how many items you're analyzing, you'll soon have a list of files that you can delete.
Even though we're talking about smaller items on your computer, the number of files quickly adds up. Don't be surprised if CCleaner ends up saving you a few gigabytes of disc space.
Step 3: Defrag your drive
So you've backed up and deleted the files you no longer need and cleaned your machine of unnecessary system and application files. If you've deleted enough, you'll immediately notice the extra room, but you might not see any improvement in your PC's performance. That's because you also need to defragment your disk.
When you save and delete files on your hard drive, you're sending different parts of the same disk file over different areas of the disk. Those parts, called fragments, make it harder for your system to quickly access them and can definitely degrade your disk performance in the long run.
Windows comes with a built-in disk defragmenter, but I find it to be rather slow and unfriendly. We recommend Auslogics Disk Defrag, an excellent freeware program that offers one-click defragmenting and shows you information about the defragmentation process as it's happening with a helpful visual display. Also, while both programs can't fully defragment your hard drive unless you have 15 percent of drive capacity available, Auslogics can still provide a partial defragmentation if you have less.
If you haven't defragmented your hard drive in a while, you should see a noticeable improvement in your system performance. For some people, the difference will be negligible, but for digital pack rats like me, a regular defrag is essential.
Let me know in the comments below if you're also a fan of any of these programs, or if you've a better method for keeping your hard drive optimized.
This page was found here on
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:13 PM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 22 July 2008 12:20 PM PDT
"I knew I had been raped " - Bosnia between 1992 and 1994
Now Playing: Radovan Karadzic = Rapist will be at International Criminal Tribunal
Z3 Report Readers
I found this article today at this link. I am shocked and sick to read how this can go on. This ws not an isolated situtation .... <7/22/08>
'Every day we were raped'
Bosnian Muslim woman was raped daily while held by Serb soldiers during war
Jasmina says she begged for late-term abortion of attacker's baby after she escaped
Still traumatized, she says she never wants to return to her former home city
But Bosnian government policy may send her back there, she fears
By Rachel Clarke
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (CNN) -- The outbreak of war seemed like a joke to Jasmina, then just 19 years old. She dreamed of being an economist and says she played with her toddler son and baby daughter as if they were toys.
But in April 1992, the Serb soldiers took over her city of Bijeljina, in northeast Bosnia near the border with Serbia, and began to kill, torture and terrorize the Muslims there in a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing.
"Whole families were disappearing during the night. Sometimes we could see their bodies in the gardens, sometimes not even that," Jasmina told CNN.
"The men from my family were beaten up the first day. ... My mother just disappeared. I never found out what happened."
Paramilitaries loyal to Arkan, the Serbian ultranationalist later indicted for crimes against humanity, came to the home Jasmina shared with her husband and extended family to search for valuables and weapons. When they found no guns they started beating her husband, said Jasmina who asked CNN not to use her last name to protect her children.
"Then they started torturing me. I lost consciousness. When I woke up I was totally naked and covered in blood and my sister-in-law was also naked and covered in blood. ... I knew I had been raped and my sister-in-law too." In a corner, she saw her mother-in-law, holding her children and crying.
"That same day we were locked in our house. That was the worst, the worst period of my whole life. That's when it started.
"Every day we were raped. Not only in the house -- they would also take us to the front line for the soldiers to torture us. Then again in the house, in front of the children," Jasmina said through a translator, remembering the 10 other women who were brutalized with her.
"I was in such a bad condition that sometimes I couldn't even recognize my own children. Even though I was in a very bad physical condition they had no mercy at all. They raped me every day. They took me to the soldiers and back to that house.
"The only conversation we had was when I was begging them to kill me. That's when they laughed. Their response was 'we don't need you dead.'"
Once at the front line there were women soldiers who tortured her with a bottle and then slashed at her throat and wrist when it broke. Then the troops cut one of her breasts with a bayonet, said Jasmina, now looking older than her 35 years.
"It lasted for a year. Every day. ... Not all the women survived."
Tens of thousands of women were raped in Bosnia and the other parts of the former Yugoslavia between 1992 and 1994 during the rule of
according to estimates by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Karadzic was captured this week after years on the run and now will face war crimes charges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. The tribunal, set up to try war crimes suspects, established for the first time that rape was a crime against humanity and that rape was "used by members of the Bosnian Serb armed forces as an instrument of terror."
For Jasmina, some relief came one day in 1993 when a familiar face, an older Serb who had been a friend of her parents, appeared at the house where she was being kept. Jasmina was told he had bought her as a prostitute but, once in a car with him, the man said he was saving her. "I owe this to your parents," he said.
He drove Jasmina and her children to the front lines, gave something to the Serb soldiers there and directed her towards the Bosnian position, saying "Now you are free to go."
"I was very weak, I weighed only 45 kilos [99 pounds]. I carried both my children for more than a kilometer to the Bosnian side."
Jasmina was safe, but scarred. "I felt ashamed, I wanted to die, to disappear somehow. I couldn't take care of my children, others did that, I just didn't have the strength or the will."
A new low came when doctors began to treat her in one of the refugee centers around the city of Tuzla.
"They discovered that I was pregnant, six months pregnant and I didn't know that. It was too late for any abortion, but I kept saying I didn't want that child."
The gynecologist pleaded with Jasmina to have the child and give it up for adoption, saying it was too dangerous to try anything else. But that was no option for Jasmina. "I didn't want to hear about that, about giving birth to that child at all."
Finally, medics said they could try to abort the child but it was a very risky operation that only 1 in 100 women would survive. "I begged them to do it," Jasmina said, pausing to remember an 18-year-old girl who had the same operation on the same day as her and died. Jasmina herself continues to have gynecological health problems stemming from her abuse.
Months later, her husband arrived at the same refugee center after managing to escape a camp in Serbia. A man he broke out with was killed by a mine.
"It was such a difficult moment for me. I wasn't even sure if I wanted him to be dead or alive. I knew that he knew what had happened to me so it was very, very difficult for me," Jasmina said.
"I thought he was going to leave me and take my children because of everything that happened. But he told me he was not going to ask me about anything. And that he also went through terrible things himself so he didn't want to discuss anything." Yet still she says she cannot look her husband in the eye.
Jasmina said she was unable to talk to the therapists in Tuzla and tried to kill herself in 1995 -- the first of three suicide attempts.
"I will never be OK," she said, adding that she believes God kept her alive for a reason.
She now lives in a modestly furnished apartment in a tower block in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina. She has been there since 2001 with her husband and children.
Her dreams now are for her children. She believes it's critical she give them some stability, but says that's impossible when she doesn't know from day to day if she will be evicted.
She does not own the apartment and all property must be returned to rightful owners under the terms of an annex to the U.S.-brokered peace agreement that ended the war.
The same pact allows for the return of all refugees and displaced people -- more than half of the country's people left their homes during the war according to the International Organization for Migration -- and the re-establishment of the mixed ethnic communities that had lived peacefully for centuries before the war.
The Office of the High Representative for Bosnia-Herzegovina, an international body set up to oversee the implementation of the peace agreements, says almost all property rights have been restored. But it is impossible to say how many people have gone home and how many have sold their houses, leaving cities and towns like Bijeljina "ethnically cleansed" as the warmongers had planned.
A law enacted in September 2006 does include a section that homes should be provided for victims of sexual torture during the war. It is not clear who should implement the act and there is no agency making sure the law is enforced, according to the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees.
Meanwhile, authorities say Jasmina should return to her mother-in-law's rebuilt house in Bijeljina. But she says she will never go back to the place where she lost 39 members of her family and where her abuse began.
It is a fear shared by other women, according to Alisa Muratcaus, the president of the Association of Concentration Camp Survivors -- Canton Sarajevo -- a group that offers classes and other support to Jasmina and 1,200 other women around the capital, including 150 victims of mass rape.
"Many of our members must deal with the realities of return. Not all members are able psychologically to return to regions in which they suffered such extreme human rights abuses," she told CNN.
"No one raped women has returned to their pre-war houses, since it is immoral and inhuman to request their return while the war criminals who tortured them are still free and live in these regions."
The Sarajevo municipality that owns Jasmina's apartment says it does not plan to evict her and that any such directive would come from the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees.
Saliha Djuderija, head of the Ministry's Department of Human Rights, said she was aware of victims who could not face returning to the places where they were tortured and was working on a solution. In the last couple of years, between 15 and 20 women have been given somewhere to live, but lack of funding is restricting the help that can be given. Priority was given to women who testified against their attackers and Jasmina is not in that group as her case is still unsolved.
But if her future is in doubt, Jasmina's mind is made up. "I'm not going to take my children to Bijeljina. I told my children when I die, don't take my bones to Bijeljina. I don't want to hear about Bijeljina. It doesn't exist for me," she said, flashing anger for the first time in a lengthy interview.
Then she shows a picture of her daughter, a beautiful young woman, but even that causes Jasmina pain as she remembers how the soldiers picked her out. "I was beautiful once. It cost me my life."
All AboutRadovan Karadzic • Ratko Mladic • Bosnia and Herzegovina
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 11:46 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 22 July 2008 12:20 PM PDT
Monday, 21 July 2008
Impeachment Vigil -ONE YEAR outside (and inside) Blumenauers Office
Now Playing: torture is accepted by this congress - a skit by the Individuales For Justice
Topic: FAILURE by the GOVERNMENT
2 parts -
Film of the Impeachment Vigil Protest
on July 17 2008
|This marks the one solid year of weekly protesting for accountability and justice outside (and inside) our Congressman's Earl Blumenauer's office |
Here is a 2 part video skit of how our Congressman ignores Bush and this administrations use of torture and allows the madness to continue.
This marks the one solid year of weekly protesting for accountability and justice outside (and inside) our Congressman's Earl Blumenauer's office
This skit pokes fun at the obvious facts that the USA <citizens> accept Bush's tolerance and accept that Bush and the Democrat-controlled-Congress will allow torture and human right lawbreaking to continue. The skit also pokes fun at the House Rep in Dist #3 here in Oregon who finds it not illegal or morally wrong to let the Bush administration continue doing what ever they want <sic> in-spite of written laws and our Constitution of the United States?
Here is the two part videos from the event on July 17 outside Earl Blumenauer's Office.
The Individuals for Justice are average people who are coming to the Congressman's office to encourage him to obey the Constitution and to hold this White House Administration accountable for all the lies and misuse of power that they have stolen or flat out taken from all of us.
This group has seen members come and go and the number on site rise and fall, but one thing to be counted on is this vigil is not going to let Earl Blumenauer "pretend there is no issue at hand".
The Individuals for Justice show up weekly to let everyone know it that area where the House Representative District 3 is located that we want the Constitution followed and obeyed.
We want accountability!
We want honest government!
We don't want Torture, spying on citizens without a warrant, and we don't want illegal wars causing hundred of thousands to die or be wounded or be refugees!
In these two videos you will see that the, sick humor about torture, is a reality the USA now wears with pride and obvious acceptance. Our Government is not stopping it and our Congress is ignoring the pleas to get a backbone and stand tall & make it stop or to hold the lawbreaking administration responsible.
The fact that as we "joke about it" ... is proof we now live in a sick twisted times, torture by the USA is OK and here to stay, for Congress cant stop it and sits idle as the Constitution disintegrates
There should be "no joke about torture" .... but here we are!
There should be "nothing funny about it"... yet who will stop the insanity? ...we are joking that the insanity is tolerated and "approved/allowed" and especially by our Representative!
There should not be any torture going on, yet Bush and Company continues, and Earl wont even try to stop them?
There should be a government in place that will not tolerate this sick shit, that is the kind of leadership I want.
But as we chide Blumenauer about it .... he must see nothing wrong with it... and a year latter he still says say "I did everything I could to stop him" ...but that is not true!
So get your popcorn and sit down ....The USA and Individuals for Justice are proud to present the;
"Torture Video Extravaganza Skit and One Year Anniversary of citizens trying to make it all stop."
Here is the two part YouTube video set from 729 Oregon Street on July 17 2008 at 12 noon in Portland Oregon
See all the videos from this
year long vigil protest on my
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 4:10 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, 21 July 2008 5:32 PM PDT
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
"Only seven meals separated civilization from potential anarchy."
Now Playing: Capitalism Economy + Food + Housing + Fuel = Crisis
Hello Z3 Readers I copied this from Portland Indy Media today:
|The financial crisis deepens with the nationalization of IndyMac and the likely bailout of Freddie Mac and Fannie May by the US taxpayer. The financial crisis has company as inflation, and in particular huge increases in global food and energy prices, enters the fray. |
The American economic model has been discredited and the American century has lasted but a few decades. These developments have and will further open up a new period in the struggle between capital and labor on the world stage and the US working class will have a major role to play as it re-connects with its militant traditions.
AFSCME Local 444, retired
With the possible collapse of the two giants of US mortgage financing, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the world economy faces an uncertain future. What is certain is that the already indebted US taxpayer will be asked to foot some, and possibly all, of the bill.
Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have liabilities of $5.3 trillion (five thousand billion) in mortgages, about 38 per cent of US gross domestic product and almost half of the US total mortgage market of $12 trillion. In addition, they also account for 70% of all new mortgages. Their collapse is unthinkable as the US mortgage market would screech to a halt prolonging an already disastrous situation in housing and worsen an already fragile global system. Non US investors hold around $1 trillion in debt issued by what are known as Government Sponsored Enterprises or GSE's, and a loss of confidence in what up to now has been a relatively risk free home for the coupon clippers' capital could result in a massive sell off adding to the crisis even more; things are not looking good.
This relatively risk free environment exists because it has been assumed by the coupon clippers that their investments were backed up by the US taxpayer as the GSE's have a $2.5 billion line of credit with the US treasury. Surely it was impossible to lose without the US economy collapsing altogether; but that is not such a distant possibility anymore.
The present problem is simply explained; the two companies capital on hand is insufficient to support their liabilities, hence, the threat of insolvency looms. In order to keep them solvent they have to have an injection of capital in a period when the owners of it are refusing to let it go. Part of the already existing crisis is what the media refers to as a credit crunch but what is in actuality a strike of capital by those that own it; the capitalist class. So private capital is hard to come by. The coupon clippers need a sign from the government that their investments are safe and that it (the taxpayer) will cover them if they are to be expected to continue to buy Fannie and Freddie debt and not sell off what they already have.
Earlier this week, the US government re-assured the coupon clippers that their investments will be safe by promising to inject taxpayer money as needed as well as promising to use public money to buy a stake in the two enterprises. Numerous mouthpieces of capital, from imbeciles like McCain and Bush to the more astute theoreticians of the class, have made it clear that they cannot allow these behemoths to fail and will nationalize them (take them under state ownership) in total if necessary. The mere thought of this terrifies the bourgeois whose media and education system bombards us daily with the idea that the market is god and has the answer for all things.
An illuminating part of this debacle and one that confirms the power of socialist ideas and the appeal of collective action, is that there is already a plan afoot to nationalize the two enterprises if necessary. But this is a defeat for the ideology of the market that it is the answer to all things; that it is the solution to all our ills. So dangerous is the idea that such huge enterprises may have to be nationalized in order to survive that the term the government is using is "conservatorship". Even Clive Crook of the Financial Times has a laugh at this one. "A plan to take over the enterprises exists," he writes, But "Rather than nationalizing them—which would be un American and could be mistaken for socialism—they would be placed in "conservatorship". It is the same thing, except that it could allow the government to pretend the GSE's liabilities were not its own." (FT 7-14-08) The other aspect here is an attempt to hide from the American working class the fact they we are being asked to pay for yet another crisis of capitalism; they took the profit in the good times and will leave us with the bill in as the well runs dry. Fannie and Freddie's problems come on the heels of the Bear Stearns bail out and the nationalizing last week of IndyMac, the US's second largest savings bank.
When socialists talk of taking in to public ownership the dominant corporations of society and running them under workers control and management or even nationalizing them within a capitalist economy, the "red scare" is hurled at us. We can hurl a scare at them. If it is OK to nationalize the debt of these companies, we can nationalize companies themselves. Unfortunately, the heads of organized Labor will pretty much remain silent on this issue or echo the solutions put forward by those who have caused the problem in the first place.
The US government pledge to protect the GSE's and the coupon clippers' investments has calmed things a bit but each day the crisis worsens; the two mortgage lenders lost 25% of their value today as investors took a hike. But even a total bail out will have serious consequences for the US and world economy.
A government takeover of Fannie and Freddie would add $5 trillion to the present US debt of $9 trillion and would also undermine confidence in the ability of the US to continue to pay its debts. This in turn would also increasing borrowing costs; it will also further undermine an already weakened US dollar. The US taxpayer is already overburdened with debt and is feeling the strain of increased food and fuel prices as well as all the consequences of the housing crisis and the predatory wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Freddie and Fannie crisis will strengthen an increasingly global view that the US model of rampant privatization has been totally discredited and that the US consumer cannot continue to be the consumer of last resort. This will have serious consequences for exporting countries like China that rely heavily on the US consumer to purchase its products.
This financial crisis is spreading and is now accompanied by a crisis in food and energy. The dramatic rise in food and energy prices is a serious threat to the stability of the world economic system-----of global capitalism. Global corn prices have risen 138% over the past three years while food prices as a whole have increased 83% during the same period. The bourgeois are extremely concerned about this. The problem with dramatic increases in the cost of food and oil is that there is not really an alternative to these commodities---people have to eat and stay warm; and oil is a crucial ingredient in the manufacture of many commodities as well as a necessary component in agricultural production. Food production is dependent on oil for fertilizer, machinery and the transportation of food in the world market.
There have been food riots in over 30 countries and fishermen, small farmers, wine producers, truckers and others have all participated in protests and demonstrations against rising fuel prices. The capitalist class is concerned that things will get out of hand. They are concerned not so much because people are starving, rather that instability and political action will interfere with profit taking.
Commenting on the food riots, Josette Sheehan, Executive Director of the World Food Program says that the protests are, "Stark reminders that food insecurity threatens not only the hungry but peace and stability itself." She added that, "Only seven meals separated civilization from potential anarchy." (FT 6-21-08).
The food crisis is much more acute in the emerging economies of the former colonial world as food consumption is a much higher percentage of family income than in the advanced capitalist countries.
Percentage of family income spent on food (Source: IMF)
US Brazil China Kenya Bangladesh
10% 20% 30% 50% 65%
Alongside the rise in food prices has been the rapid increase in the cost of energy connected obviously to the rising cost of oil. The head of Russia's Gazprom as well as other experts in the field have predicted $500 a barrel oil by 2010.
The rising cost has forced governments in the emerging economies to lower or completely eliminate fuel subsidies. China has long shunned pressure to cut fuel subsidies which western capitalists feel distorts prices, but for these governments that compete in the global economy with a huge pool of low waged workers, fuel subsidies are used to keep a lid on social unrest. But China was forced to remove subsidies in June causing an immediate 18% increase in the price of gasoline and a 5% increase in the price of electricity.
Given the over consumption in the US, workers can cut back to a degree in response to food and gas prices. The US department of transportation reported that Americans drove 1.4bn fewer highway miles in April 2008 compared to 2007 while miles driven on all US roads during the same period declined 1.8%. The term "staycation" has become a popular noun to describe how fewer people are leaving home for their holidays these days. Americans aren't known as global travelers but even the trip up to the lake is getting pricey. But this has its limits as public transportation in the US is dismal and many municipal systems do not have the capacity to cope with extra passengers.
But living in Bangladesh or other countries of the former colonial world where upwards of 50% or 60% of family income is spent on food leaves little room for maneuver. This is of grave concern to the coupon clippers as it is likely that the riots, protests and strikes will spread. There were demonstrations in Peru in July against free market policies and opposition to the market is growing throughout the world. It is inevitable that movements of this nature despite being wracked with confusion ultimately tend to draw political conclusions and seek alternatives to the present system. The ideas of socialism begin to re-emerge after being driven deep in to the consciousness since the collapse of the totalitarian regimes of the Stalinist world.
The assault on US living standards will intensify as a crisis not of our creation is shifted on to the backs of workers and the middle class. The argument that there is no money in society will be used to drive down wages, cut social services and will be used as an excuse by the heads of organized Labor to explain their refusal to lead a fightback and challenge the offensive of capital; but this false argument cannot hold up forever in the face of objective reality.
The situation is quite grim and highly explosive; police were called to an IndyMac branch today in Southern California as tempers flared between customers wanting to withdraw their money from the collapsed institution. One has to be cautious making predictions as global capitalism has massive resources and reserves but the present crisis is without doubt the worst since the great depression and could get worse yet. It is quite possible that we are at a turning point, particularly here in the US where the crisis is most acute and the class struggle has been relatively quiet by historical standards due to the complete capitulation of the leaders of the working class to the offensive of capital. At some point the damn will burst and we are certainly witnessing some serious cracks in the monolith.
authors homepage: http://www.myspace.com/unionguy510
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:12 PM PDT
Joe Anybody and the Oregon Country Fair - OCF 2008
Now Playing: The Homeland Of Ken Kesy celebrates OCF 2008 videos
Topic: SMILE SMILE SMILE
Holy 5 days in the woods my fellow Z3 Readers let me share what I seen by posting all my video on one eady to acess spot on my website under my-videos tab ..over on joe-anybody.com
I came back from camping a mile from the fair with lot-0-tapes to edit and share with you all
I have some great drumming videos from the evenings at my camp!
Check it out here --> OCF 2008 <--
My good faithful Z3 Readers you can read all about it
or at least watch all about it here as I keep uploading the video(s)
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 4:22 AM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 16 July 2008 4:43 AM PDT
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Dennis Kucinich Introduces Impeachment on 7.15.08
Now Playing: Demanding Impeachment in The House Of Representatives
Topic: FAILURE by the GOVERNMENT
Impeachment Resolution: First Reading Today
This afternoon, at approximately 5 p.m. (EDT), the Clerk of the House of Representatives will give the first reading of the Article of Impeachment of President George Bush. Article One charges the President with deceiving Congress with fabricated threats of Iraq WMDs to fraudulently obtain support for an authorization of the use of military force against Iraq.
Once the Clerk reads the bill, I will move to refer the bill to the Judiciary Committee for hearings. I believe the American people have a right to an open airing of the charges against this President. Did he or did he not lie to take us into a war? I believe the evidence is overwhelming that President Bush knew that Iraq was not an imminent threat, was not in possession of WMDs at the time, and had nothing to do with 911 or with al Queda's role in 911. And yet, despite having facts to the contrary, he took the U.S. into war with devastating consequences for our troops, our nation, and the people of Iraq. Congress must hold hearings.
There can be no greater offense of a President or a Commander in Chief than to conjure a war based on lies to Congress, to the troops, and to the people of America.
I love our country with all my heart and I intend to persist until America is America again.
Please contact your friends and neighbors and ask them to go to our website at www.Kucinich.us and sign the impeachment petition. Thank you for your continuing support and for your love of our country and its people.
July 15 2008
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 11:38 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 15 July 2008 11:39 AM PDT
Thursday, 3 July 2008
Today is July 3rd
Now Playing: stuff
Topic: ANYBODY * ANYDAY
On This Day
July 3, 1998 - A U.S. district court ruled that encryption software did not qualify for protection under the First Amendment. The judge ruled that because code is indecipherable to most people, it did not qualify as speech.
This Month's Gem: Local Harvest - Real Food, Real Farmers, Real Community
These days, it's good to know where your food's coming from, and what's in it. Ideally, it's even better to know who grows and prepares it for market.
I came across the Local Harvest web site when looking for natural care item for my cat, and also because I have a preference for local, artisan, small-businesses and farms. Local Harvest brings that right to your desktop.
The Local Harvest web site says, "Use our website to find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies. Want to support this great web site? Shop in our catalog for things you can't find locally!"
** "Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself, which makes this void." ~ Simone Weil
** "It is impossible to move in two directions at the same time. As long as you fight against what you don’t want, you will make no progress toward what you desire." ~ Suzanne Zoglio
** "Live a life and let everything unfold -- Cease struggling and let go, let go. Open up and allow everything to fall into place. All you have to do is to Be. Stop trying so hard, for this can create a blockage where there need be none." ~ Eileen Caddy
** "There is a soul force in the universe, which, if we permit it, will flow through us and produce miraculous results." ~ Mahatma Gandhi Greetings, There certainly is a lot of 'doom-saying' these days. As Jonathan Cainer, the witty and optimistic British astrologer, says, "There is a boom for doom-and-gloom!" We could easily collect ample evidence for doom-and-gloom -- we can work ourselves into a panic of fear and scarcity -- if we want to do that. But is that really where we want to invest our focus and energy? Is that really where we want to invest our power? Is that what we want to see more of? My point is this -- and it's something I've been reflecting on and living into for quite awhile now, and sometimes struggling with, too: the questions we ask and the thoughts and actions we choose are an investment of our energy and power. As we go through our days, are we investing more in Light-and-Love or Gloom-and-Doom? It's not an 'airy fairy' or 'woo woo' thing to contemplate, because we're talking about real thoughts, real actions, and real effects on quality of life -- our own, and that of others. We've all heard the proverbial wisdom sayings: What we resist, persists. When you fight what you DON'T want, you actually give it power and perpetuate the same. Where your thoughts are, your experience follows. Where your heart is, there will be your treasure. And so on. In the higher martial arts, the best strategy isn't to fight AGAINST your opponent, which is said to give the opponent more energy. Rather, the master yields, to allow the opponent's energy to flow through her and dissipate. By doing that, he gains energy while, ideally, neutralizing violence and harm. The same is true for the things that trouble us -- and there are a lot of those things right now in this world. We can see them, and witness them as a matter of dignity, and yet not identify with and fight against them. Rather, our seeing of them becomes reason to clarify and direct our focus and energy towards that which we are FOR -- that which we want to invest in, create, perpetuate, and see more of. What breaks and wakes our hearts, what makes us angry, and what stirs our souls from sleep-walking offers huge clues to our purpose and potentials for joyful, healing service. To realize this is to take your power back, from wherever it's drained off to. To lift the heavy, dark, wet blanket off the light that you are, or to put the lamp on the table so the light can benefit all who see it. Marianne Williamson wrote, and was quoted by Nelson Mandela, that it isn't our darkness that frightens us, but our light. Our light is our Love, our power, our authentic Nature, the Divine Spark of uniqueness and authenticity that expresses as each one of us. It's our purpose to find real, joyful ways to express it in the world. This is a precious gift, and no matter how long it's rested dormant, no matter how many layers of 'old stuff' it's been buried under, and no matter how confused or fearsome things might seem, Love-Light's power to shine is stronger than anything else. Sometimes the 'dormant' stage has really been one of gestating and gathering strength for something that needs to be rooted, steady, and wise at the right time. Our world is in need of healing and a new, more empowering vision, and requires every Divine Spark that can be lighted, awakened into its Divine nature, and put to service, consciously, now. As we tap into our own inner light, that Divine Spark, so many new insights will surface, new intuitions, new creativity, new opportunities, and new ways to open up things which seem closed shut. We ripple that light-power outward in a wave that is more healing and powerful than you know. There are many things you can do -- little things and big things -- that add up to a big ripple effect. What do you want to Love into being? Put your energy there. Come as you are, and let your light shine. This little light of mineï¿½ Blessings, Joy and Happy Independence Day (wherever you may be!) - may you free yourself of all that keeps you small and hidden!
Jamie Walters, Founder, Ivy Sea and Author, Big Vision, Small BusinessThe declaration will be printed on or about July 4, 2008, as a signature ad in The New York Times. Nearly 600 individuals and organizations from 48 U.S. states and territories signed on to the ad. Click here to view the ad as it will appear in The New York Times (PDF). You can also view a flier with just the text of the declaration here (PDF).
audio and videoTo help spread the word about A Declaration for Our Times, we have created audio and video recordings of the declaration, each of which runs 3 minutes 22 seconds. Download the audio (mp3) version of the declaration for use by any radio station or programmer. The video is available on YouTube now, or you can watch it below.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 4:57 PM PDT
Sunday, 29 June 2008
The 4th Amendment Funeral in Portland Oregon by those at the Impeachment Vigil Week 50
Now Playing: Fourth Amendment Laced in Coffin Ceremony
Topic: CIVIL RIGHTS
Death of the 4th -
Funeral for the Fourth Amendment Ceremony in Portland
|It was week 50 for the Impeachment Vigil |
It was also the Funeral for the fourth Amendment
A ceremony was held outside Earl Blumenauer's Office and it proceeded to the Federal Building in downtown Portland Oregon.
This event was for FISA spying immunities and permission given to the president to spy on citizens of the US with no warrants or respect to the 4th
Over a dozen Impeachment activists contribute to a mock / real Funeral for the Beloved 4th Amendment
Different testimonies are given from citizens who love their freedom and the Constitution
There was also Music, and then a procession up 3rd Avenue past all the Federal and Justice Buildings
A sad day as the Democrat controlled Congress sends to the grave our right to privacy
The fourth amendment dies before our eyes....
The Week 50 Impeachment Vigil by the Individuals For Justice provides this ceremony out of love, respect, and grievance
This is a 37 minute Google video:
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 1:57 PM PDT
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