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U.S. President George W. Bush re-enters the White House East room to say goodbye to staff and friends after his primetime address in Washington, January 15, 2009. Bush on Thursday defended his actions to avert a collapse of the financial system and protect America from another terrorist attack as he mounted a farewell bid to polish his troubled legacy. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)

The Lunar Calendar used here in Asia has rolled around, full moon tonite (Jan 27th), and it’s the start of another year, the Year of the Ox.   According to the papers, astrologists in China, joining economists, say its going to be a bum year.  Certainly the signals of economic collapse are all around, a surprise for some, but anticipated now for some years by this soul.   It didn’t take a crystal ball or star gazing to figure it out – it just took a cold-eyed look at what was in front of our collective noses, along with a side-long glance at certain socio-economic data, to see that something was drastically amiss.   CEO’s pulling in 100’s of millions, Wall Street “bonuses” of billions, trade deficits up the kazoo, shoddy McMansions popping up like mushrooms across the landscape for 1.5 million a pop, $5 Starbuck coffee; transparent corruption all over the place, particularly in that booming military-industrial sector.  And the plastic frauds of government and business leering out from the TV, telling you all was hunky-dory, just A-OK, you betcha.

Don’t get gored by this particular Ox year, but likely it’s going to be rough.  More so than you can imagine.  Or than a young friend of Marcella’s who came by 2 days ago, a ripe 22, who just could not conceive of what is going on, having been raised through this glossy period of utter decadence which to him all seemed perfectly normal.   He figured it was all media hype (rather, than as it has been for a few years, media suppression of “the awful truth”), and that after a bump in the road things will sort out and be back on more or less the same road.  In for a rude awakening, I am afraid.

Meantime here’s an interesting-if-long look at pics of the Bushed era, a conversation with Errol Morris.

Preceding the lead-off photo were these:

Looks like somehow that old faux Texas swagger has left him, and he looks, frankly, “Bushed.”   Now if a shred of justice exists in this world, following the cranking of some time and political fudging, as the economic collapse heightens the realization of what a truly catastrophic mess this man and his men and women facilitators, have left us in, step-by-step the move to try and convict them for innumerable crimes, not to mention moral turpitude, Mr Bush will either find himself in Den Haag on trial for war crimes, or will discover that he is imprisoned in his own house, it being too dangerous for him to exit.   A failure on the part of America to purge itself, legally and Constitutionally, by bringing George W. Bush, Richard Cheney and numerous others to trial for illegal and unconstitutional actions while in office, will leave us permanently stained, and utterly discredited in the broader world.   Failure would leave us not merely morally stained, but would signal a terminal disease of our political fabric, in which the destruction of the rule of law – always tenuous in the real world – would be inevitable.   We do not have a choice to evade this out of political niceness or convenience; we have a moral, political and legal duty to do so, or to admit that our Constitution is a fraud, and that it’s binding social contract is an illusion intended to serve those for whom the law is but a tool to fuck the public.

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3 Comments

  1. Unemployment figures are way worse than the information given would suggest. It’s not taking into account beginners who don’t qualify for UE benefits, or part-time workers, or intermittent workers. In actuality, we’re likely above twenty percent. And just for kicks, I’d like to ask our new President about his campaign promise to not tax UE benefits as income- Wha’da’ya say, sir, how ’bout that? All it takes is a stroke of the pen, sir…

    I’m actually pulling for the guy. I think he’s decent. But, the time is right for a bold push for a new kind of country, a fresh start at money policy. For shits and grins, he could start by telling us his administration is preparing to to dissolve the IRS. That’d get my attention. Or maybe that all US companies whose goods originate elsewhere are going to have to pay an import tax, and that it will be even more severe if the country of origin forbids unionization of its workers. You know what I mean? Goddamn, Obama, give me something!James Owen, CEO of Caterpillar, is about to lay off twenty thousand workers. Caterpillar is infrastructure. Give that man some TARP money and tell him to hold his hat, the gubmint is gonna need every goddamn thing he makes. But what do I know? I’m not ivy league. I’m not a master of the universe. I’m just a malcontent with an irregular voting record. Fuck it…

  2. Jost, catch this. At least some are turning away from the gospel of Davos:

    Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) — Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula
    da Silva is shunning the World Economic Forum in Davos this week
    and the chance to hobnob with business leaders and 41 heads of
    state. Instead, he’ll join more than 100,000 activists from
    around the world at an anti-capitalist jamboree in the Amazon.
    Lula’s government is spending 78 million reais ($34.4
    million) to bring groups from 59 countries to the 8th World
    Social Forum. They include a sex workers union from India and
    Belgians seeking to abolish the World Bank. Today, he’ll discuss
    the global financial crisis on a panel with Venezuelan President
    Hugo Chavez, one of the U.S.’s harshest critics, and Chavez’s
    presidential allies from Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay.
    “He’s picked sides,” said Oded Grajew, a former
    businessman who organized the first Social Forum as a
    counterpoint to Davos in 2001 and has been a friend of Lula’s for
    20 years. “Lula doesn’t want go to Davos and hear the same ideas
    that led the world into bankruptcy.”
    Lula’s decision to attend the forum is a slap at the bankers
    whose “casino” mentality he cites almost weekly as bringing
    about a crisis in capitalism. It also helps shore up support
    among his leftist base, who heckled him at his last appearance at
    the forum in 2005 for allegedly governing on behalf of Brazil’s
    elites.
    ‘Human Face’
    In 2003, Lula, a former trade union leader, used his first
    trip to Davos as president to assure investors he had no
    intention of defaulting on the country’s foreign debt. Returning
    for the third time in 2007, he was praised by Davos president
    Klaus Schwab for creating a model of “globalization with a human
    face.”
    Opposing globalization was one of the organizing themes of
    the first Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Lula’s Workers’
    Party, which helped fund the event, has backed it ever since. In
    2002, Lula, 63, announced his presidential candidacy at the
    second gathering, telling red-flag waving crowds that Brazil was
    “too poor” to pay foreigners what it owed.
    This year’s forum, titled “Another World Is Possible,”
    takes place in Belem, a city on the mouth of the Amazon River.
    ‘Oysters and Champagne’
    “These days, any suggestion Brazil’s credit standing
    depends on whether its president sprints to a Swiss ski resort
    and eats oysters and champagne with bankers is preposterous,”
    said James Galbraith, a University of Texas economist who’s
    scheduled to meet Lula in March in Brasilia and advised President
    Barack Obama during the campaign. “Davos needs Lula. Lula
    doesn’t need Davos.”
    Still, for the leader of the world’s tenth-largest economy,
    the so-called Tropical Woodstock makes for offbeat company. In
    contrast to Davos, attended by U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown
    and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, hundreds of Amazonian
    Indians in traditional garb danced this week to the beat of samba
    drums in Belem to publicize their land claims. About 20,000
    activists are sleeping in tents at a “youth campground.”
    “I don’t see any reason for him to be in Davos and many for
    him to be at the World Social Forum,” Marco Aurelio Garcia,
    Lula’s top foreign policy adviser and the former head of the
    Workers’ Party, said in a phone interview. “Maybe Davos should
    be just a meeting of bankers so they can do a self-critique.”
    Presidential Politics
    Lula will be joined by a dozen cabinet ministers, including
    his preferred successor as president, Cabinet Chief Dilma
    Rousseff. The intrusion of presidential politics is stirring
    fears among some activists that the Social Forum is evolving into
    a genteel debate forum like the one it set out to counter.
    In 2001, French anti-globalization leader Jose Bove,
    infamous for destroying a McDonald’s Corp. restaurant, was
    arrested with members of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement after
    raiding a farm run by Monsanto Co. By contrast, this year’s 1,900
    activities range from a workshop on how to hold banks accountable
    to society to ways the Amazon rain forest that engulfs steamy
    Belem can be protected.
    “There’s always dissent among activists, but I have no
    doubt Lula will be well received,” said his friend, Grajew.
    He has a standing invitation to Davos, too, where a record
    41 heads of state, up from 27 last year, make it “the place to
    be” for mapping strategies to end the global economic crisis,
    said Mark Adams, a spokesman for the forum.
    Of those attending, 11 hail from the Group of 20 major
    economies. In November, following the group’s first heads-of-
    state summit, Lula said the more exclusive G-8 “no longer had
    any reason to exist” in a globalized world. The next meeting of
    G-20 leaders will be London in April.
    Nick Chamie, global head of emerging-markets research at RBC
    Capital Markets, said he sees Lula’s skipping Davos as a “missed
    opportunity” to raise the profile of Brazil and its companies as
    they seek to refinance $64 billion in maturing foreign debt this
    year.
    “This may play well with the local electorate but it
    certainly doesn’t help Brazil internationally,” Chamie said in a
    phone interview from Toronto.

  3. And finally, I am pleased to see that once again the people of France have taken to the streets, forcing their elected oafs to accountability.

    I find it difficult to imagine Americans protesting like this, which is a real shame, since our once touted economy now stands a good chance of collapsing and sending us into absolute poverty. Protests on a scale like this would strike fear in our government to change for the better or else! But we are too isolated in suburbs, too busy watching American Idol on our big screen tvs, and especially too decentralized into 50 different states each with their own distinct governments, governors, and policies. The founding fathers were afraid of true democracy, they were afraid of the people’s will, so they created this complex structure of government that divides people as much as possible to make them weak and servile, thus protecting the interests of the wealthy and landowners. This might be why we as Americans view ourselves as inferior and below our government and the French people, who have a unitary and more democratic government, view themselves superior to the government, the people’s will is apparently much stronger. I think it might be time for our second republic here in America.


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