How the 3rd world stays 3rd

And how the 1st stays 1st.

Aid? You know – that stuff that GOPers don’t like? Well, they should like it:

(From Palast)

“Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the president of Liberia, is urging MPs to back a bill banning vulture funds from using British courts to prey on poor countries when it comes to a vote on Friday. Liberia lost a $20m (£13m) case in London last year against two so-called vultures. Such funds buy up the loans of poor governments, wait for them to win from the international community, and then use courts to pursue the countries for assets.

Sirleaf said: “We’ve been waiting for a parliament or an assembly to take this kind of hard decision. I hope the US Congress and maybe some others in Europe will pick up this gauntlet and will follow the example… Continue reading “How the 3rd world stays 3rd”

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I thought this was real interesting.

At a conference I was at this week, Daniel Ellsberg recounted a time in 1969 when he explained to Henry Kissinger what would happen after he was given the dozen or so clearances above Top Secret (the existence of which is also classified, of course). What happens first is you feel like a fool. You’ve published books that you now discover were filled with stuff that was wrong. You have believed you understood how things worked for your entire professional life, but you now find out you were completely wrong, that the real world is entirely different from what you have been told. The books you’ve written, the lectures you’ve given are based on a false understanding of the world.

But this stage only lasts a few weeks. After you have been reading this material hitherto unavailable to you for a while, you begin to see everybody else as fools. Only with people with these top level clearances know the truth. People whom you previously regarded as experts become ignoramuses, doubly so because they don’t realize that they actually know nothing.

And so your conversations with them become telling them what you want them to think.

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Odds are, you’re smart if you’re liberal

(CNN) — Political, religious and sexual behaviors may be reflections of intelligence, a new study finds.

Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa at the the London School of Economics and Political Science correlated data on these behaviors with IQ from a large national U.S. sample and found that, on average, people who identified as liberal and atheist had higher IQs. This applied also to sexual exclusivity in men, but not in women. The findings will be published in the March 2010 issue of Social Psychology Quarterly.

The IQ differences, while statistically significant, are not stunning — on the order of 6 to 11 points — and the data should not be used to stereotype or make assumptions about people, experts say. But they show how certain patterns of identifying with particular ideologies develop, and how some people’s behaviors come to be.

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Minnesota Nice

LINO LAKES, Minn. — Ever since his 1996 Toyota Camry shot up an interstate ramp, plowing into the back of an Oldsmobile in a horrific crash that killed three people, Koua Fong Lee insisted he had done everything he could to stop the car. A jury didn’t believe him, and a judge sentenced him to eight years in prison. But now, new revelations of safety problems with Toyotas have Lee pressing to get his case reopened and his freedom restored. Relatives of the victims — who condemned Lee at his sentencing three years ago — now believe he is innocent and are planning to sue Toyota. The prosecutor who sent Lee to prison said he thinks the case merits another look.

If you’re interested in reading the whole story, here’s the link.

Here are my comments: The fvcking Minnesota rednecks had themselves a Hmong to persecute, and would never, NEVER have admitted they may have been wrong — except for the fact that they HAVE to admit they were wrong, or they can’t sue Toyota.

They can’t squeeze any money out of a just-got-off the boat young Hmong family man, but they CAN squeeze some money out of Toyota, I’ll betcha.

On about the same topic, one of my Japanese students asked me last week, if safety problems from US car manufacturers get covered over and over and over again in the US press (the way this Toyota problem has, day after day after day), and if the CEO of any US car company has ever been so forced to accept personal responsibility for a safety problem as the CEO of Toyota has had to.


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“Big” changes

Dubya’s admin applied the iron fist in an iron glove. Many people expected this admin to apply a soft hand in a soft glove, recognizing the fact that our intererests aren’t universal.

But what we got was what we had under JFK, LBJ, Carter and Bubba (as well as Nixon and Bush I) – an iron hand in a velvet glove.

IOW, what’s changed is how we sell the same ‘ol same ‘ol. The biggest difference is with regards to the way we sell “our” interests… to the domestic audience. And that’s “change we can believe in” for those who didn’t take to the brutal honesty of the neocons but apparently didn’t care overmuch as to what was sold previously.

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My take

I have to start off by saying that my overall feelings after watching last night’s televised “experiment” is one of nausea.

On one side, the adamantine GOPers, shovelling their bullcrap knee deep, not caring about truth, basing their entire dialectic on their semiotic, propagandizing, spin.

On the other side, gutless wonders incapable of calling a spade a spade, afraid of rocking the boat.

All for a bill that insurance would LOVE, if it wasn’t convinced it could get something better, including the maintenance of the status quo.

But other than the ridiculous posturing of two virtual allies, what made me sick was the rhetoric.

No, I’m not talking about talking points this time around, although they were the base of “both” sides stances. I’m talking about the condescending, frightened, false language used by both sides.

Language – our greatest tool – was turned into another form of kabuki last night. Politicos from “both” sides talked down to us, made “points” with arguments that ideally could only convince 14 year-olds that haven’t taken Civics yet. The politicos were afraid of leaving the tried-and-true soundbites, to delve into specifics or to enter into any details. It was if their image-advisors had hammered into their heads that anything they said MUST be capable of being reduced to a meaningles, but emotionally charged, condensation of nothingness.

Truth? Falsehoods everywhere. Ideas/ideals? No, just “values” on one side, and some populistic rhetoric on the other. As a citizen I feel insulted to the core.

What was the use of this experiment? If it was to show the contrariness of GOPers, and knowing what we know of cogdis, it was an exercise in futility. And if anyone earned any points last night (amongst that amorphous blob called the “undecided”), the GOPers won.

Unfortunately, the very idiomatic basis of the “debate” reinforces the greatest evil that our kabuki democracy has fostered – apathy. Vietnam and Watergate made many people (and their children, through inherited “politics”) lose faith in government, which can only benefit libertarianism (which, unlike the rest of the world, is rw in the US). Last night confirmed the rw framing, allowed them to maintain if not increase their initiative in fucking over progress.

I didn’t expect much from last night, yet my worst fears were confirmed. Against zealots one needs an equal and opposite reaction.

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Afghan Leader Prepares to Cheat Better in Future Elections

“President Hamid Karzai signed a decree last week giving him the power to appoint all members of the Electoral Complaints Commission, a group previously dominated by U.N. appointees that uncovered massive fraud on behalf of Karzai in last year’s presidential election.”

http: / / / s / ap / 20100224 / ap_on_re_as / as_afghanistan_701

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