Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Brain-Man of Crime

Sphere: Related Content

"We the People" to "King of the World": "YOU'RE FIRED!" ...a letter from Michael Moore

Friends,

Nothing like it has ever happened. The President of the United States, the elected representative of the people, has just told the head of General Motors -- a company that's spent more years at #1 on the Fortune 500 list than anyone else -- "You're fired!"

I simply can't believe it. This stunning, unprecedented action has left me speechless for the past two days. I keep saying, "Did Obama really fire the chairman of General Motors? The wealthiest and most powerful corporation of the 20th century? Can he do that? Really? Well, damn! What else can he do?!"

This bold move has sent the heads of corporate America spinning and spewing pea soup. Obama has issued this edict: The government of, by, and for the people is in charge here, not big business. John McCain got it. On the floor of the Senate he asked, "What does this signal send to other corporations and financial institutions about whether the federal government will fire them as well?" Senator Bob Corker said it "should send a chill through all Americans who believe in free enterprise." The stock market plunged as the masters of the universe asked themselves, "Am I next?" And they whispered to each other, "What are we going to do about this Obama?"

Not much, fellows. He has the massive will of the American people behind him -- and he has been granted permission by us to do what he sees fit. If you liked this week's all-net 3-pointer, stay tuned.

I write this letter to you in memory of the hundreds of thousands of workers over the past 25+ years who have been tossed into the trash heap by General Motors. Many saw their lives ruined for good. They turned to alcohol or drugs, their marriages fell apart, some took their own lives. Most moved on, moved out, moved over, moved away. They ended up working two jobs for half the pay they were getting at GM. And they cursed the CEO of GM for bringing ruin to their lives.

Not one of them ever thought that one day they would witness the CEO receive the same treatment. Of course Chairman Wagoner will not have to sign up for food stamps or be evicted from his home or tell his kids they'll be going to the community college, not the university. Instead, he will get a $23 million golden parachute. But the slip in his hands is still pink, just like the hundreds of thousands that others received -- except his was issued by us, via the Obama-man. Here's the door, buster. See ya. Don't wanna be ya.

I began my day today in Washington, D.C. I went to the U.S. Senate and got into their Finance Committee's hearing on the Wall Street bailout. The overseers wanted to know how the banks spent the money. And many of these banks won't tell them. They've taken trillions and nobody knows where the money went. It certainly didn't go to create jobs, relieve mortgage holders, or free up loans that people need. It was so shocking to listen to this, I had to leave before it was over. But it gave me an idea for the movie I was shooting.

Later, I stopped by the National Archives to stand in line to see the original copy of our Constitution. I thought about how twenty years ago this month I was just down the street finishing my first film, a personal plea to warn the nation about GM and the deadly economy it ruled. On that March day in 1989 I was broke, having collected the last of my unemployment checks, relying on help from my friends (Bob and Siri would take me out to dinner and always pick up the check, the assistant manager at the movie theater would sneak me in so I could watch an occasional movie, Laurie and Jack bought an old Steenbeck (editing) machine for me, John Richard would slip me an unused plane ticket so I could go home for Christmas, Rod would do anything for me and drive to Flint whenever I needed something for the film). My late mother (she would've turned 88 tomorrow if she were still with us) and my GM autoworker dad told me in the kitchen they wanted to help and handed me a check for an astounding thousand dollars. I didn't know they even had a thousand dollars. I refused it, they insisted I take it -- "No!" -- and then, in that parental voice, told me I was to cash it so I could finish my movie. I did. And I did.

So on that March day in 1989, as I was driving down Pennsylvania Avenue, my 9-year-old car just died. I coasted over to the curb, put my head down on the steering wheel and started to cry. I had no money to take it in to be repaired, and I certainly had nothing to pay the tow truck driver. So I got out, screwed the license plates off so I wouldn't be fined, turned my back and just left it there for good. I looked over at the building next to me. It said "National Archives." What better place to donate my dead car, I thought, as I walked the rest of the way home.

Though it wasn't easy for me, I still never had to suffer what so many of my friends and neighbors went through, thanks to General Motors and an economic system rigged against them. I wonder what they must have all thought when they woke up this Monday morning to read in the Detroit News or the Detroit Free Press the headlines that Obama had fired the CEO of GM. Oh -- wait a minute. They couldn't read that. There was no Free Press or News. Monday was the day that both papers ended home delivery. It was cancelled (as it will be for four days every week) because the daily newspapers, like General Motors, like Detroit, are broke.

I await the President's next superhero move.

Yours,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
MichaelMoore.com
(Go State!)

P.S. Please know that it has not been lost on any of us from the Rust Belt how our corporate bigwigs were treated (remember, the auto companies wanted a loan, not a handout) compared to how the titans of Wall Street got trillions of free cash, lunch at the White House and a photo op with the Prez. Trust me, we get it. And, if there is a God in heaven, the thieves of Wall Street will soon pay. Also... the sight of our president having to promise that he would back every GM warranty and give consumers a bonus if they trade in their old Grand Am for a hybrid, was alternately sad, hilarious, and just plain weird. This is what it's come to: the Commander in Chief of the Free World is now Mr. Goodwrench. Jeesh.

Sphere: Related Content

'How to break through police lines'

G20 protesters are circulating detailed pamphlets advising people on how to win street battles against riot police and what to do if arrested.

The vast majority of protests are likely to be peaceful but the Metropolitan Police claims extremist and anarchist groups might resort to violence.

The online pamphlets suggest certain groups are advising their followers on how to beat the police should things turn rough. One document, called "Guide to Public Order Situations", explains how to breach lines of riot police using a "snow plough" human formation; throw rape alarms to make it hard for the police to give orders; resist baton and horse charges using nets; and "de-arrest" seized protesters.

Speaking after the Put People First march in Hyde Park, London, on Saturday, an unidentified member of an anarchy group told a crowd: "We want to see resistance on the street on Wednesday. If the police are ready for you, go and fight them. If they're not, give them a surprise."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/how-to-break-through-police-lines-1657033.html

Sphere: Related Content

FBI-Muslim Relations Strained as Government Looks for Terrorists

Relations Soured After FBI Cut Ties With Prominent American-Islamic Group

The situation began last fall when the FBI quietly withdrew formal relations with all local chapters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), one of the largest Muslim American civil rights organizations. The FBI cited "a number of distinct narrow issues" that it has refused to make public.

The situation worsened in February, when it became public that the FBI had planted an informant at a California mosque who, a coalition of more than a dozen Muslim American groups charges, actively tried to recruit terrorists.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=7190735

Sphere: Related Content

'Ontario residents only' at Tent City

Tent City
Tent City residents gather as the city of Ontario starts the process of sorting out who may stay and who must leave. The city issued wristbands – blue for Ontario residents, who may stay, orange for people who need to provide more documentation, and white for those who must leave. The aim is to reduce the number of people living there from over 400 to 170.
By David Kelly
 
Officials begin thinning out the encampment, saying the city can provide space only for those who once lived there and can prove it.
Dozens of Ontario police and code enforcement officers descended upon the homeless encampment known as Tent City early Monday, separating those who could stay from those to be evicted.

Large, often confused, crowds formed ragged lines behind police barricades where officers handed out color-coded wristbands. Blue meant they were from Ontario and could remain. Orange indicated they had to provide more proof to avoid ejection, and white meant they had a week to leave.
Many who had taken shelter at the camp -- which had grown from 20 to more than 400 residents in nine months -- lacked paperwork, bills or birth certificates proving they were once Ontario residents.

"When my husband gets out of jail he can bring my marriage certificate; will that count?" asked one tearful woman.

Another resident, clearly confused, seemed relieved to get a white band -- not understanding it meant she had to leave.

Pattie Barnes, 47, who had her motor home towed away last week, shook with anger.

"They are tagging us because we are homeless," she said, staring at her orange wristband. "It feels like a concentration camp."
 
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/orange/la-me-tents18mar18,0,1589130.story
Sphere: Related Content

Family of Crawdaddy's Paul Williams needs help

Jonathan Lethem sez,


Paul Williams, the legendary creator of Crawdaddy! Magazine, fell off his bicycle in 1995 and suffered a traumatic brain injury, which has led to early onset Alzheimer's. His family's having difficulties with his care, and so a few of Paul's friend have set up a website both as a tribute to his life and work and in order to make an appeal for help.

Apart from being a true Founding Father of 'rock writing', and Philip K. Dick's literary executor, Paul should be of special interest to Boing Boing readers for his place at the crossroads where the science fiction fanzines of the '50's gave rise to an empowered and self-aware music-fan subculture -- and helped create what we now know as 'the '60's'. For anyone with a curiosity about the formation of world-changing subcultures through grassroots media, Paul was there when blogging was a twinkle in a mimeograph eye.

The difficulties Paul's wife, the singer Cindy Lee Berryhill, and his son Alexander, now face due to Paul's need for full-time care are an opportunity for crowd-sourcing at its best. This is a rotten time to be hitting anyone up for contributions for anything, but it is simply the case that if everyone who acknowledged how Paul changed their life by his music-writing and editing -- or by his efforts propagating the writings of Phil Dick back into prominence -- were to give even five or ten dollars it would transform a very unfortunate situation. (If everyone whose life had been changed by Paul's work but didn't even know his name were to contribute, they'd build his family a castle.)

Short of donating, just visit the website and glimpse some of Paul's many cultural legacies. The "Writings" section contains a lovely cascade of testimonials from people like Peter Buck, Lenny Kaye, Johan Kugelberg, Michaelangelos Matos, David Fricke, and others, some nice links to material like the original two-years run of Crawdaddy, and his legendary Rolling Stone interview with Phil Dick., as well as a guide to every book Paul ever wrote

Paul Williams
 
http://www.boingboing.net/2009/03/31/family-of-crawdaddys.html
Sphere: Related Content

WaMu staff promised retention bonuses to aid JPMorgan transition may face big tax

Hundreds of former Washington Mutual employees, expected to lose their jobs this year after working temporarily as part of JPMorgan Chase's transition team, could get winged by the congressional shotgun blast aimed at recouping multimillion-dollar bonuses paid to executives at insurance giant American International Group.

Employees return to Washington Mutual's downtown Seattle corporate headquarters in December after attending a meeting with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.

That's because the retention bonuses JPMorgan Chase promised those workers to get them to stick around would be taxed heavily under either of two bills in the Senate.

The bills were a response to popular outrage after the disclosure last month that AIG, which has received more than $170 billion in federal bailout aid, paid $165 million in bonuses.

Much of that money went to employees in the AIG unit that sold the complex financial instruments blamed for getting the insurer into trouble in the first place.

Although momentum on the bonus-tax bills appears to have slowed, former WaMu workers are concerned they might lose much of the money they were counting on to tide them over after they're laid off.

"These are not the big decision-makers leading a lavish lifestyle," said one transitional employee who spoke only on condition she not be identified. "These are regular people."

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2008959097_wamubonus010.html

Sphere: Related Content

Senate recount trial: Judges' ruling is boon to Franken

Absentee ballots to be counted will be far fewer than Coleman sought in effort to close the U.S. Senate gap.

By PAT DOYLE and KEVIN DUCHSCHERE

Norm Coleman's lawyers all but conceded defeat Tuesday and promised to appeal after a panel of three judges ordered no more than 400 new absentee ballots opened and counted, far fewer than the Republican had sought to overcome the lead held by DFLer Al Franken.

The ballots include many that Franken had identified as wrongly rejected as well as ballots that Coleman wanted opened in his quest to overcome the 225-vote lead that Franken gained after a recount in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race.

"We are very pleased," said Franken lead lawyer Marc Elias shortly after the ruling, which calls for ballots to be opened next week.

Coleman legal spokesman Ben Ginsberg acknowledged that the Republican may have lost the seven-week trial and was prepared to appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/senate/42221767.html

Sphere: Related Content

Hundreds of French workers take bosses hostage

Caterpillar's French staff say they are angry about a lack of negotiations over layoffs.PARIS, France (CNN) -- Hundreds of French workers, angry about proposed layoffs at a Caterpillar factory, were holding executives of the company hostage Tuesday, a spokesman for the workers said. Caterpillar's French staff say they are angry about a lack of negotiations over layoffs.

It is at least the third time this month that French workers threatened with cutbacks have blockaded managers in their offices to demand negotiations. Executives were released unharmed in both previous situations.

The latest incident started Tuesday morning at the office of the construction equipment company in the southeastern city of Grenoble.

The workers were angry that Caterpillar had proposed cutting more than 700 jobs and would not negotiate, said Nicolas Benoit, a spokesman for the workers' union.

They did not want to harm the Caterpillar executives, Benoit told CNN.

One hostage was released Tuesday evening leaving workers with four captives inside the Caterpillar building.

The released man was a human resources director identified only as Mr. Petit, because he has heart problems, union representative Bernard Patrick told CNN. Petit had a heart attack a few weeks ago, Patrick said.

The four others still being held are Nicolas Polutnik, the head of operations; two other executives; and Petit's personal assistant, he said.

About 500 employees were also outside the building protesting.

A top Caterpillar executive called the hostage-taking unhelpful.

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/03/31/france.hostages.caterpillar.workers/

Sphere: Related Content

Politicians get to have their cake and eat it too

Sphere: Related Content

Daily Kos: CIA Engineered Controlled Opposition?

The news you're not supposed to know...


Is it possible Markos Alberto Moulitsas Zúñiga, leader of the "Kossaks," that is to say followers and fawners of the Daily Kos, is a CIA operative? Francis Holland, posting on the My Left Wing messageboard, details Moulitsas' relationship with the CIA:

"Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, owner of the DailyKos website, now admits that he spent six months in the employ of the US Central Intelligence Agency in 2001," writes Holland. "In a one-hour interview on June 2, 2006 at the Commonwealth Club, Moulitsas, also known as 'Kos,' admitted that he was a CIA employee and would have 'no problem working for them' in the present."

"I applied to the CIA and I went all the way to the end, I mean it was to the point where I was going to sign papers to become Clandestine Services," Moulitsas admits in the interview. "And it was at that point that the Howard Dean campaign took off and I had to make a decision whether I was gonna kinda join the Howard Dean campaign, that whole process, or was I was going to become a spy. (Laughter in the audience.) It was going to be a tough decision at first, but then the CIA insisted that if, if I joined that, they'd want me to do the first duty assignment in Washington, DC, and I hate Washington, DC. Six years in Washington, DC [inaudible] that makes the decision a lot easier."

Moulitsas considers the CIA "a very liberal institution," never mind the agency, according to John Stockwell, former CIA Station Chief in Angola (see my John Stockwell: The Third World War video), is responsible for killing more than six million people.
"This is a very liberal institution. And in a lot of ways, it really does attract people who want to make a better, you know, want to make the world a better place…. Of course, they've got their Dirty Ops and this and that, right but as an institution itself the CIA is really interested in stable world. That's what they're interested in. And stable worlds aren't created by destabilizing regimes and creating wars…. I don't think it's a very partisan thing to want a stable world. And even if you're protecting American interests, I mean that can get ugly at times, but generally speaking I think their hearts in the right place. As an organization their heart is in the right place. I've never had any problem with the CIA. I'd have no problem working for them."
Is it possible Mr. Moulitsas does not have a problem with the documented fact the CIA's predecessor, the Overseas Secret Service, imported Nazis to work for the soon to be created CIA under General Reinhard Gehlen? "Gehlen was far from the only Nazi war criminal employed by the CIA. Others included Klaus Barbie ('the Butcher of Lyon'), Otto von Bolschwing (the Holocaust mastermind who worked closely with Eichmann) and, SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny (a great favorite of Hitler's)," writes Mark Zepezauer (The CIA's Greatest Hits, Odonian Press, 1994). "There's even evidence that Martin Bormann, Hitler's second-in-command at the end of the war, faked his own death and escaped to Latin America, where he worked with CIA-linked groups.
 
Sphere: Related Content

Amazing art made with old audio cassette tapes

Sphere: Related Content

Jimi Hendrix childhood home torn down

Despite an eight-year, $100,000-plus effort by a Seattle real-estate investor, the house where Jimi Hendrix lived as a child in Seattle is gone.

This is all that was left last week of a Jimi Hendrix home last week. It's gone, by order of the city of Renton.

RENTON — The demolition crew has been working at a fast pace, and the tiny, 900-square-foot house where Jimi Hendrix lived from ages 10 to 13, and first showed his love for music, was down to its shell Monday.

Despite an eight-year, $100,000-plus effort by Pete Sikov — a Seattle real-estate investor who at first wasn't a Hendrix devotee, but became one — the historic structure is gone.

If you're a fan, vanished will be the chance to drive by and imagine how it would have been in the early 1950s for Jimi Hendrix, who died in 1970 at age 27 in London, apparently choking on his vomit after an unintentional combination of sleeping pills and alcohol.

The value of the intact home, however dilapidated, was that it allowed visitors to imagine the poverty and simple beginnings of one of rock 'n' roll's greatest musicians.

That was when a young Jimi played a ukulele with one string, remembered Leon Hendrix, 61, Jimi's younger brother by five years. Leon Hendrix remembered how his brother used the ukulele to strum the hip, jazzy "Peter Gunn Theme" from the hit TV detective show by the same name, "because you could play it using only one string."

"This is where he first discovered music," said Charles R. Cross, author of the acclaimed Hendrix biography "Room Full of Mirrors."

It saddens Cross that the 100-plus-year-old house is gone.

"It's all a shame; too bad no city body stepped up to the plate to save the place Jimi lived in. Let's be blunt: He's the most famous guy to ever be born in the city of Seattle," Cross said.

Sikov doesn't refer to the house as having been demolished. He uses the term "deconstructed."

His crew is throwing out any newer additions made to the house after Al Hendrix, Jimi's dad, bought it in 1950 with a $10 down payment. The entire roof, for example, went to the dump.

But, Sikov said, original parts such as kitchen cabinets, a claw-foot tub, the back door, "and literally a ton of other pieces," will be labeled, cataloged and stored "in a safe place."

"It awaits the future," Sikov said.

Perhaps, he said, pieces could be sold as a fundraiser for First Place, an agency that helps homeless children and which Sikov has assisted in the past.

"Can you imagine a guitar made out of wood from Jimi's house? Who wouldn't want that?" Sikov said.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008952210_hendrix31m.html

Sphere: Related Content

Miss Universe had a 'lot of fun' in Guantanamo

 
A "relaxing, calm, beautiful place" may not be everyone's description of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the United States holds about 240 prisoners in a detention centre that has drawn condemnation from around the world.
 
But this was the opinion of reigning Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza of Venezuela, who visited the US naval facility in eastern Cuba this month on a trip organised by the United Service Organisations (USO) which supports US troops.

The Guantanamo Bay base, whose presence Cuba's government has contested as illegal for years, is used by US authorities as a prison camp for foreign terrorism suspects. Critics have condemned it as a symbol of abuses in Washington's war on terrorism launched after the 11 September, 2001 attacks.

Caracas-born Mendoza, 22, who visited the facility between 20-25 March along with Miss USA Crystle Stewart, 27, enthused about her Guantanamo trip as an "incredible experience" in a blog entry posted on the Miss Universe website dated 27 March 27, 2009 (www.missuniverse.com/missuniverse/blog.php).

"It was a loooot of fun!," Mendoza wrote, describing how she and Stewart met US military personnel and took rides around the camp, which is encircled by a barbed-wire fenced, minefields and watchtowers. She said they also visited a bar on the base and the "unbelievable" beach there.

"We visited the Detainees camps and we saw the jails, where they shower, how the(y) recreate themselves with movies, classes of art, books. It was very interesting," she wrote.

"I didn't want to leave, it was such a relaxing place, so calm and beautiful," she added.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/miss-universe-had-a-lot-of-fun-in-guantanamo-1658781.html

Sphere: Related Content

The button

Sphere: Related Content

Blog Archive

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Search This Blog

Salvador Dali of the Day

There was an error in this gadget
There was an error in this gadget

About Me

My photo

I am not that other Michael Dare.

Subscribe Now: standard