From the weblog of Harry Shutt: Capitalism's Terminal Debauch

Capitalism's terminal debauch

(republished with permission of the author)

As the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) drags on, the inability or unwillingness of the ruling global elite to recognise or address its true causes appears ever more surreal, not to say terrifying. The sense of impotence and ideological bankruptcy among political leaders is manifested almost daily – as in President Hollande's attempt on 9 June to convince his Japanese hosts that the Eurozone crisis is “over” and in Britain's opposition Labour party simultaneously embracing the governing Coalition's policy of austerity and welfare cuts even as the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies projects that this strategy will preclude any relief from public spending cuts and tax rises until at least 2020.

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US & NSA Accused of Criminal Privacy Violations in Dozens of Nations - Snowden Blowback

*** Reprinted with permission from Pluto. Thank you.

Do you remember this story from last September?

It wasn't a big story in the US, but the rest of the world took a keen and somewhat alarmed interest in it. It's the beginning point -- the first clue -- that something was very much amiss in America:

WASHINGTON, Sept 4, (AFP): A hacker group has claimed to have obtained personal data from 12 million Apple iPhone and iPad users by breaching an FBI computer, raising concerns about government tracking.

The group called AntiSec, linked to the hacking collective known as Anonymous, posted one million Apple user identifiers on Monday purported to be part of a larger group of 12 million obtained from an FBI laptop.

Contacted by AFP, FBI spokeswoman Jenny Shearer said: “We’re not commenting.”

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

{...}

It seems AntiSec had stumbled upon a tiny piece of the vast NSA "global" spying dragnet that was collecting private data profiles on ordinary citizens-- not only in the US, but throughout the world.

Ten months later, halfway around the world, Edward Snowden was monitoring the systems that were collecting this illegally accessed very private citizen data. And the data was not just from ordinary Americans and Chinese, but from all our friends and allies -- Germany, Australia, Canada, Scandinavia, Latin and South America, and many others.

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Hellraisers Journal: Not even the Governor has the power to stop forced labor in West Virginia!

You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
-Mother Jones

Monday June 22, 1903
From The Outlook: "Forced Labor in West Virginia"
This is Part III of our discussion of the article by Gino C. Speranza which appeared in the June 13th issue of The Outlook.

Mr. Speranaz believes that publicity is the great hope for reform. He says that little help can be expected from local officials, and he found that even the Governor of the state claimed to have little power over these abuses. The Governor wrote to Mr. Speranza on the issue of forced labor:

I am willing to do anything I can to bring about a better condition of affairs and to co-operate as I have the power in bringing to justice those guilty of the acts complained of, but you see my limitations...The executive in West Virginia has practically no power in controlling the administration of justice in our courts...The Legislature refused last winter to give me the necessary powers asked for in as grave a matter as lynching.

Mr. Speranza goes on to advise employers to treat their Italian laborers with courtesy and kindness:

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Weak Democrats vs. Strong Progressives Open Thread

Representative Alan Grayson:

There are no more popular government programs than Social Security and Medicare, and frankly, for any democrat, it should be a no brainer to say, 'These are the programs that I must support, that I must protect with every breath I have while I'm in office.'

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Hellraisers Journal: Hannah Silverman "The Joan d' Arc of the Silk Strike."

You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
-Mother Jones

Sunday June 21, 1903
From The Outlook: "Forced Labor in West Virginia"

This is Part II of our discussion of the article by Gino C. Speranza which appeared in the June 13th issue of The Outlook.

Yesterday we were relieved to see that the men, tied up by the contractor and bound to a mule to be dragged back to the work camp, were cut free by "the squire" who had issued the arrest warrants. But yet, that same officer of the court urged the men to return to the camp to work out their "debt." No action was taken against the contractor who had no authority to tie them up and drag them away at the point of a gun.

Mr. Speranza came to West Virginia from New York this past April as an investigator for the Society for the Protection of Italian Immigrants. He found this sort of maltreatment to be the rule and not the exception. The demand for labor exceeds the supply in West Virginia, and, rather than recruiting workers through good pay and decent working conditions, the contractors choose these brutal methods to retain their labor force.

The men arrive already in debt for the cost of their transportation. More debt is piled on for the cost of food and shelter, such as it is. The workers are even charged for the expense to the company of hiring the brutal company gun thugs that hold them in bondage...

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Kenyan judge rules that strip-searching transgender woman to determine her gender undignified

 photo kenya_zpsf42e6253.jpgRecently I wrote about Audrey Mbugua of Kenya in my Transgender Heroes series.

Audrey has been busy. Not content to sit on her laurels, Audrey has formed a lobby group, called Transgender Education and Advocacy, to advocate for the rights of transgender Kenyans. It is said to be "at an advanced stage of registration" with the NGO board.

We currently have over 40 members across the country. Our mission is to reduce the stigma and tell the transgender victims that we are stronger together.

--Audrey Mbugua

And low and behold, her group has already paid dividends. Alexander Ngungu Nthungi (legal name) won a case in Kenyan High Court against police, who were declared to have violated her rights and dignity by stripping her naked in public to determine her gender.

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The Self-Creating War of Terror Eternally Renews Itself

From Amy Goodman:

Human Rights Minister Hooria Mashoohouras heard US officials say that Yemeni government is not stable enough or strong enough to make sure the released prisoners don’t take up arms against America. They have told her that even if some of the prisoners were totally innocent and unjustly imprisoned, now—after 11 years behind bars—they probably hate the US so much that they’ll want revenge. In our meeting with Mashoohour she threw up her arms in exasperation. “So you abuse these men and then you keep abusing them because they might hate you for your abuse? Is that the way the US justice system works?,” she asked.

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"Tranny bashing" at iconic corner

 photo Vivian-Diegox400_zps1d989d9d.jpgA transgender woman identified as Vivian Diego, 22, was the victim of a vicious attack on May 31, around 2:15 am, near Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles. Vivian was waling along Hollywood towards Vine when four men started following her near Ivar.

She became involved in a verbal confrontation.
At that point [after Vivian walked away from them towards Vine], one of the males ran up behind Vivian, striking her from behind, knocking her unconscious, it appears on the video, to the ground. And then the rest of the group joined in and brutally assaulted Vivian by kicking and punching her.
--Lt. Marc Reina, LAPD

Vivian worked under her male identity as a barista at Eva Longoria's Beso restaurant. After work that night, she went to a friend's apartment to get dressed for a night of clubbing.

Vivian spent a week in the hospital as a result of the beating. Police are trying to determine if it was a hate crime.

Well, duh!

Trigger warning due to the videos on the inside.

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