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Friday, April 20, 2012

Variously...

Mutants in the Gulf: I was going to post a piece on the bizarre health and environmental impact of the BP oil spill, but Skydancing has already done the job. Amazing and frightening information abounds in this brilliant post.

Want a $10 million loan? Matt Taibbi does his usual terrific job discussing the current meme that the government could solve all of our problems simply by making a loan of $10 million to every citizen. The idea was first floated, sarcastically, by former FDIC chair Shelia Bair. A few people are now pondering the possibilities.
Every time I watch a Republican debate, and hear these supposedly anti-welfare crowds booing the idea of stiffer regulation of Wall Street, I wonder how many audience members know that Bair's plan is more or less exactly the revenue model for all of America’s biggest banks. You go to the Fed, get a buttload of free money, lend it out at interest (perversely enough, including loans right back to the U.S. government), then pocket the profit.
Here's the part Taibbi hasn't considered: Bair's proposed program would pay for itself -- and it would solve the national debt overnight. After all, if the government became a big bank, then loans would count as assets. Right?
Considering that we now know that the Fed gave out something like $16 trillion in secret emergency loans to big banks on top of the bailouts we actually knew about, you might ask yourself: How are these guys in financial trouble? How can they not be making mountains of money, risk-free? But they are in financial trouble...
The anti-NDAA crusade: If you hit the "This website is a belligerent act" button in the upper right-hand corner, you'll see the damning facts about Obama's ghastly NDAA bill -- the Defense Authorization bill, which, on this occasion, contains some passages we cannot consider routine. Chris Hedges is bringing a lawsuit to stop the bill.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was launched by former New York Times foreign correspondent Chris Hedges, claim that the new provisions, which went into effect March 1, not only put them at risk of arrest but also allows indefinite detentions of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, and that the provisions are too vague. Environmentalists have also registered their opposition. In light of many prosecutions of U.S. environmental activists under ramped-up terror laws in the past six years, many fear the new law will be used against them.
...environmentalists have been subject to terror prosecutions for such acts as arson, posting information on a website and writing chalk slogans on sidewalks.
So. If you take a piece of chalk and write the words "SHAME ON BP" to protest what's happened in the Gulf, you can be subjected to indefinite detention.

The Teabaggers, incidentally, tend to be against NDAA. (Example.) But they are still pushing to flip the Senate and to get Romney elected. Of course, he will do nothing to stop illegal detention. After his election, the baggers will go silent. Once they have served their purpose, the funding will dry up.

Anders Breivik claims he is not a racist. Good to know. He has also changed his story about the English Defence League: Previously, he had claimed a close connection with the group, but now he says he hardly knew anyone there.

Best Buy, the electronics chain, is ailing, and Farhad Manjoo says he has the solution: Smaller stores with very restrictive selection. You know our motto: MooJuice is always wrong. 

If you live on the west coast, you probably know about Fry's -- a chain of huge electronics supercenters featuring incredible stock, prices that match the internet's best, instant gratification and no shipping fees for your big-screen teevee. Frys is doing well; they're opening a new store in the Vegas area. We need something similar out here on the east coast.


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